For now, I’m keeping him

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Saturday, January 11th, approximately 1:00pm, was the six year anniversary of the phone call from the other woman. The phone call that forever changed the lives of my little family. I haven’t said it in a while, but it is true that if this awful woman hadn’t called my phone, it is likely that I still wouldn’t know about my husband’s secret life. I want to believe he would have come clean, but I don’t think he would have. I think he would have continued to feed his addiction in numerous ways, but most definitely with grooming, porn, and continued affairs. He might have even gone back to this same woman. What transpired after their last “quickie” wasn’t all that different from what had happened in the past, at least as he explains it. With the hindsight of thinking about this for six years, I think she is the one who ended “it,” and she did that through me actually answering a no caller ID phone call, and her having the guts to speak. It was at that point that their affair actually ended, and my new life as the betrayed wife of a sex addict began.

I think every time they were together, he intended to end it. Right after he got that hit, or right after they separated at the airport, her in anger, him in relief that he was out of his addiction for now. I know from phone records that she would continue to call, harass, beg, whatever for a while and then eventually it would die out or he would put a hard stop to it, for example the day we left for a family trip to Hawaii in April 2013. The phone records showed obsessive phone calls from her and then nothing. Right about the time our plane took off, nothing. My 50th birthday, a 3-week trip to Paris with our boys, picking up Blue Eyes’ new puppy… and not a word between them. Then four months later he was at it again, July 2013. He made the first move, desperately calling her to schedule a fix. He did tell her no more, but he kept answering her phone calls for days past what he remembered. Again, the phone bill set the record straight.

flowers

But then there was the flower lady. The one he was talking to regularly, giving her business advice and all that. She would have been quite the score if he had nailed that. I think that was his plan, to divert his energies from the alcoholic hoarder to this voluptuous former burlesque performer basically hanging out right outside the office doors. But he didn’t get the chance because his secret world was exposed and I knew the truth (or some of the truth) now and I was wise to his grooming ways. What I thought was innocent flirting or extroverted friendliness, I now knew to be a critical part of his addiction.

Boundaries were put in place. No more flirting, no more visiting women about town who he had a “special” relationship with. He hadn’t had sex with any of them, but honestly, I feel like the sex with the woman from the wrong side of the tracks was just laziness. She was so easy, too easy. There were plenty of other fish in the sea, better fish, younger fish, prettier fish and the hits were had by thinking about them, visiting them at their place of business, the deli in our office building, the square around the corner, who knows where else. I’m sure there were numerous women I knew nothing about.

I would like to say that once he was diagnosed in January 2014 that all sexual acting out behaviors immediately ceased, that he figured it all out quickly, that he started telling the truth, and that he was at peace. I know this is what he wanted, but of course they didn’t and he didn’t, and he wasn’t. He hid from the truth, he lied constantly, he kept back a lot of the information I needed, to heal. It wasn’t that I NEEDED to have the DETAILS, but that I needed to know he could tell the truth. It took months and months before he really stripped back all the layers. For months he hid details, and dates, and even a whole separate acting out partner. I needed him to be able to tell me the truth. Then I needed him to be able to stay with me in times of trauma. Then I needed him to stop acting so unhinged. Then I needed him to not continue to use sex to soothe.

There are so many theories about how to handle this particular addiction, the diagnosis, the recovery, the effects on the partner, the marriage (if there is one). Addiction is an innately selfish disease. The 12 steps (one of Blue Eyes’ chosen paths to recovery) are there for the addict, for their recovery. It’s not there for the partner of the addict. The partner is expected to go to some separate place/meeting/group, whatever and that’s fine. But when the couple is together, the addict NEEDS to be able to act like a partner, or there is no partnership. The addict is used to lying and hiding to get his way. He’s not used to paying attention to his partner’s needs. Some of us don’t even realize this until we find out our partner is an addict. We then realize how much we gave in order for our partner to continue being an addict. It’s not our fault, but it is a devastating reality to a certain degree. And then what we want is to NOT be taken advantage of anymore. We deserve the truth. We deserve to be loved and nurtured. We deserve a partner who no longer rationalizes hurtful behavior. And this, my friends, takes a long, long time.

First they have to admit they are the ones with the problem and then they need to find their path to sobriety and recovery. It’s complicated, it’s stressful, it’s tiring. And at the same time we are dealing with betrayal trauma, we also have to figure out how to really take care of ourselves because this level of pain takes a toll, a mental and a physical toll.

We are heading into year seven of our healing. I have the feeling that Blue Eyes’ sex addiction medicated a lot of his rougher edges or I, frankly, have become less patient over the past seven years. His frenetic energy zaps me on some days. His lack of attention to rules, schedules, plans–his never seeming to think ahead… drives me crazy, some days. His addiction medicated his attention disorder, to a degree. I think I also had more energy before. I was healthier before. I was more patient before. I’m back to being at the office full time and it takes a toll. I love my husband, I know that to be true. I am committed to forever, but I’m still learning how to ask for what I need. I honestly wish my needs were instinctual to him at this point.

party

We are about to hit the 36 year anniversary of the day we met, at a Fraternity Super Bowl Party in January, 1984. I can still remember that day. I can still remember the awkward 20-year-old boy with the tight Levis and large-framed glasses. I remember him staring at me from across the room. He was about as far from my “type” as a guy could get. He pursued me for months and finally convinced me he was worth a chance. We dated for a year before becoming engaged. We were engaged for nearly five years before marriage… and we were married for nearly 25 years before my husband’s secret life was revealed. It still blows my mind.

Saturday was an uneventful day. I am rarely triggered anymore, by anything, so definitely not by the anniversary of discovery. No more sweats and shakes when we pass “her” exit on the freeway. No more anxiety around phone calls. No more thoughts of my husband in bed with other women. No more nightmares about her stabbing me or kidnapping my children. I still have sad days, something that had never happened to me pre-discovery, but nothing that floors me or stays with me. We actually worked all day Saturday making up for the time lost the day after my 12-hour all-night shift at the hospital with my Dad. Dad’s still in ICU on the ventilator. He has made progress in some areas, and not so much in others. After work we went with The Peacemaker to see ‘Uncut Gems’ starring Adam Sandler. Wow, that was an intense movie. Talk about a crazy life. Blue Eyes was highly affected by the movie. It reminded him of some people he knows. Adam Sandler did an amazing job of being totally out of control. Honestly, if Blue Eyes had ever exhibited any of the types of behavior as Adam Sandler’s character in that movie, I would have divorced him a long time ago. The thing is, what was up with Blue Eyes was not obvious. It was hidden. His craziness was medicated and in some ways the medication was the craziness. I will probably never fully understand how he was able to keep it all secret. I’m actually quite perceptive, but you wouldn’t know it from this story.

I’m glad his acting out days are over even if I have to deal with an ungrounded guy sometimes. As he would say, “well I’m YOUR ungrounded guy.” And he’s right. For better or worse, he’s mine and for now, I’m keeping him.

24 thoughts on “For now, I’m keeping him

  1. “I think I also had more energy before. I was healthier before. I was more patient before.” Yes to all of those things. I may be strong and resilient and all of that, but in many ways I am a diminished version of myself because of the betrayal and resulting trauma and harm. I was certainly more tolerant of him before. Now, his baggage is sad and occasionally infuriating. I have no time or energy for it. It’s just so sad to me that I signed up for “forever” but at best I get “for now.”
    💔
    Six years is a long time to hang in there. It’s not at all what any of us signed up for.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It has been six years of a progression… keep that in mind. It has gone from unbearably painful and debilitating to manageable, to good. It is definitely not what we signed up for and staying with them will always carry with it a reminder that they broke their promises, but it does get better. I think you guys are right in the heart of the healing part… I NEED to get over to your blog and comment on the evil SOS site… I saw in my inbox that you wrote about it. OY!!! ❤

      Liked by 3 people

    • BA, and Kat, – This trauma does change us, and energetically, too. I believe that will come back after more healing for all of us (and for me, I had a setback with the tumor and thoracic surgery – as far as stamina / energy – so I just need to deal with “what IS – right now”). It’s not all bad. Some of this tremendous wounding helps us become more wise, empathic, understanding of other in addiction or trauma, be more present – here and now – or ??? Hang in there. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My energy comes and goes. I know when I am in North Carolina being all healthy and stuff, I have a lot of energy. Stress levels decrease substantially. I’m able to lose weight, build strength and muscle, get off meds, and come home with a new outlook. Then, I’m home and all kinds of crazy stuff happens and I am back to stressful situations, bad eating habits and lack of exercise. I always have the best of intentions, but… this is the time of year I should be cutting back on calories and yet, of course, all I want to do is eat comfort food. I try not to be too hard on myself, but I look at my dad and know now is the time to make consistently good choices. Time to up the meditation and remind myself I don’t need chocolate chip cookies to survive. ;). Hugs and love to both of you!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Interesting you mentioned “upping” the meditation. I had a discussion and hypnotherapy yesterday w my therapist and she took me on a journey while really relaxed and it helps me see what I need to be healed. It was a very good session. I am going to try to meditate on some images I saw when I was on my journey. I haven’t been inspired to blog, but I think that will be a good topic (healing) and good for me to write down and process what transpired. She’s an amazing therapist/healer. Really, she helps guide people to heal themselves. We all have the power to heal ourselves. I need to keep seeing and saying that to myself. xoxoxo

          Liked by 1 person

  2. While I don’t deal with addiction with my husband there are many days I just want to throw in the towel and say I just don’t want to deal with YOU and everything that goes with HIM any more! But I have agency and I can leave whenever I feel like it. No one is holding a gun to my head to stay so stay I am… for now 🙂

    Ugh saw Uncut Gems and have to say it was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I saw a couple leave and the middle and I wanted to leave as well. I had the Sandler character. I hated his wife and his children and everyone around him. I’m glad it ended the way it did. I felt no sympathy for that guy. Out of control is right! Also I hated the dialog. My God how many times does one have to say the F word till if finally drowns out any other meaningful dialog. I hated it and thought it was awful I’m glad it’s not getting any awards. I’ve lived enough reality of people behaving badly. I no longer want to be entertained by it.

    Now on the flip side I saw Little Women. Great movie. Beautifully filmed and cast. The sets and the costumes were perfection. The acting was convincing and meaningful. Loved everything about it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well somehow, TH, your comment ended up in spam. I hate when that happens. Just glad I decided to check it. I rarely ever do. Yep, we are making the conscious choice to stay, it’s good to know we are in a position where we have a choice where fear or any other stressful emotion isn’t driving it.

      I think Uncut Gems is a love it or hate it kind of movie. Liking characters certainly isn’t a requirement for it to be a quality movie, and I think the acting was good, but the material was just too stressful and unlikeable for me too. My son really appreciated the movie for the writing and the acting. I don’t think he would say he “liked” any of the characters either. He did mention he thought Kevin Garnet did a great job for a basketball player. The whole thing was unnerving to me, camera angles, claustrophobic shots, Adam Sandler’s character… (I’m sure that was the intention of the film makers) it made me tense and my back hurt after. Blue Eyes didn’t like it at all and it was triggering for him, reminded him of people he knows that are that crazy. During the daughter’s play, I just wanted to yell at the wife, don’t go out to the car. Just watch your kid. How could she stay married to him as long as she did??? I guess she knew when she married him that he was nuts.

      I’ve heard good things about Little Women, all from middle-aged women, but this was a family night out and there is no way I could get my 26 year-old son to go out to the theater for Little Women. I remember liking the novel as a child, but I couldn’t even get my son to see Knives Out. He’s a filmmaker himself, so he would never be happy with a story like Little Women. Not that he wouldn’t watch a movie about women, just not that one, for a few reasons. I’m not a big fan of awards shows, especially not the Academy Awards, but I do think Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker was pretty amazing. Definitely not a likable character either, but so well acted.

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  3. Here and Now, I remind myself of that constantly in our life. In fact it has become my mantra (one of two) for this year. In fact we could go so deep as to say this is what we hope for in the future, but that is still only here and now, next week, month, or year, we may hope for something different. Sending some hugs Kat, it is so hard when people we love are ill, it is one of only two things we have no control over. ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, my Dad is still in a very rough spot. He made choices throughout his life and now he may be forced to get nutrients from a tube for the rest of it. He’s really unable to communicate enough (with the breathing tube still in, and all the pain meds) to say what he wants. We all make choices and those choices have consequences, good or bad. I have a feeling if they decide he needs a tracheotomy, and will need to be fed through a tube long term, he will choose to leave us. It will ultimately be his choice. I am staying in the here and now, enjoying a little snow flurry out my office window. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

        • I’d like more snowflakes, but it’s a little too warm for that I think. We also have a lot going on and I would like to get back up to see Dad later this week, so not too much crazy weather is better. I still have plans for that quiet weekend in the snow… maybe next month. Maybe it will snow for me in Tokyo/Kyoto when we are there later this month. I know I’ll be watching the Australian Open from Japan, so that will be strange. I’m taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy it. Thanks for the love! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  4. That “for now” reverberates. I have to restrain myself from saying it to BG. I did once, and he gave me a weird look. Seemed a bit offended.

    I don’t presume much anymore. If I ever did. And everything is just “for now.”

    I hope your for nows keep stacking up x

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think “for now” is where we need to focus. Yesterday was heartbreaking and tomorrow is a bit scary so “for now” it is!

      I wish “for now” that my Dad would get that damn breathing tube out! Enough already! It’s stressful!

      ❤️

      Liked by 4 people

        • It’s true! Other than Tiff, everyone has been up there taking shifts and worrying, that’s 8 adult children who want him to stay with us. I’m pretty sure he knows that, but he needs to be able to want it for himself. I have reconciled who my Dad is, and love him anyway, and frankly I don’t think it is his time to go. I guess we shall see. The twins are only 38. They’re on the other end of the spectrum with the old Dad. I have the young Dad. It’s strange. Love you! xo

          Liked by 1 person

  5. What a ride. Not at all what you expect when you say “I do”. You are an amazing woman, Kat. Possibly stronger than you imagined. Surviving all of this and being at the place you are at today takes tremendous inner strength, grit, unending work (and a very deep love???)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Definitely could not have predicted this in my life. Thank you for the kind words. Some days I don’t feel strong, but I know I am. Today, even with everything we’ve been through in the past 6 years and in fact the past 6 months, I feel like we’re in it together and I do know that the way I love and the love I have for my husband has kept me going and kept me on the path with him. The betrayal was brutal, but sex does not equal love, and I know that. ❤️

      Liked by 4 people

        • I know I would not have had the patience or will to continue this path with him if not for his taking full responsibility for everything he has done and doing the best to be a better, healthier person. He tries really hard, I know he does. As I’ve said before, he will never be like me and I’ve had to accept that and make my decisions accordingly.

          Liked by 2 people

          • You hit the nail on the head, Kat, with this piece of writing, and “in it together” and “he tries really hard” — that’s what matters. IMHO, there’s no perfect human. Does the person “show up” when the other needs them? Did I show up that one horrid day and he’s still alive? Yep. Has my husband shown up when I’ve desperately needed him, like during my tumor issue? Yep. Carry on. ❤

            Liked by 1 person

            • I think the trauma from the discovery of the betrayals (and with you, add on the utter devastation of the suicide attempts), magnifies the events (their acting out habits) for us. It is traumatic and we react accordingly. As the trauma starts to morph into healing, we realize that this is not the end of the world. It’s not what we wanted or signed on for, but it’s what we’ve got. As I said over on Blackacre’s blog today, even if I wasn’t with my husband as his spouse, I would still love him and want him to be healthy and happy. I feel like I deserve that healthy and happy husband, but if not, I can walk away with dignity knowing I did everything in my power to be there for him. I know he wants to be with me and I know he is doing everything he can. It’s been a difficult journey because he wasn’t always “in it” 100% in my opinion, but that’s part of the trial and error of the recovery process. Me backing off from his recovery path helped him realize I couldn’t help him. I couldn’t do it for him, and I wasn’t responsible for him. He had to do it on his own. I am carrying on. xoxo

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