Drawing the Line

So back in November Jay and I drafted up and signed an abstinence agreement. We were both going to be completely sober and refrain from any sexual activity for 120 days. Last week Jay came to me asking me to supply the password for the filter he’d loaded onto his phone because he’d been tempted to look at porn during our abstinence period. This got me to thinking so on Tuesday night I asked him if he had masturbated or looked at porn. He said he had. I was stunned.

“How many times?” I asked.
“A few.” Sigh. Anyone who lives with an addict knows that answers like these mean quite a bit more than a few.
“I told my therapy group and SAA meetings.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I’m still trying to learn how to tell the truth.”

Really?? How old are you?? 36? Or 5?

At first I decided that we would have to extend our abstinence period but I didn’t want to say that we’d have to sleep in separate beds. We’ve never slept in separate beds except when living in different cities so it seemed a little extreme. I told him he needed to tell me about any breaks in sobriety within 24 hours or we would definitely be sleeping separately.

The next day I spoke to the ladies in my therapy group. Thank god for B and Jo. They advised me that I needed to keep the attention on his breaking our agreement and lying to me about it rather than letting him divert the conversation to how I reacted. They also talked to me about boundaries and how to define and defend them.

In the end I told him that I needed him to be completely sober for 90 days or I was filing for divorce. I said that I deserved a sober and honest husband. I would like for it to be him but if he can’t give me that, I’m done.

He understood, agreed, and offered to stay in the other room. I took him up on it. I think that surprised him. I don’t think he expected me to actually ask for us to sleep separately. Then I went climbing with some friends, came home, and took a nice relaxing bath.

He’s been sad and depressed about it and I have too, but I also feel liberated. I have always perceived my bedroom as my safe place and I didn’t realize before how unsafe I’ve been feeling there with him in it. Now it’s my safe place again.

I had a dream last night that someone was setting fires to intimidate me. I knew and told them though that I was descended from a fire elemental. Then I ran through the fires to show them and they were amazed. Aw yeah.

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The push-me-pull-me game

So the holidays were kind of rough. First there was the drama with my former friend, then my mother-in-law came to town briefly, our program and therapy schedules were disrupted, and then came the final kicker, we were purposefully excluded from a NYE party that many of our friends were going to because the one acquaintance who was inviting everyone knew that Jay’s last AP was going to be there and this guy is still friends with her. It triggered me something fierce, and Jay, who was unable at that point to face the shame he felt at the pain his choices have caused, just kept saying, “Don’t you think you’re being negative? Try to see the positive!”

“Positive????” I wanted to scream. “What in hell is positive about this?” I just felt like he was criticizing me and I was ashamed of being triggered so I just got worse and started hitting myself. I hate it when I get like that but rather than turn all that emotion on other people it’s easier to just abuse myself in an effort to get my mind off the torturous pain I’m feeling. At least I don’t cut myself anymore. I have all sorts of scars from doing that in my teens and early twenties.

After group therapy yesterday I realized that I stayed with Jay for so long through all kinds of horrible things, because it was a better deal than what I got with my mom. My mom was blatantly abusive. Her bipolar disorder causing her to write me songs of how I was “the best song her heart ever wrote” one minute and then spit in my face and tell me I was worthless the next.

Jay’s push-me-pull-me game was far more subtle and there was a lot more love there than with my mom, so I settled. “At least,” I thought in my abuse-addled brain, “he doesn’t hit me or call me names.” He just turned his back on me repeatedly and when I needed him most. He just betrayed me and my trust in him in some of the most violating ways, endangering my health, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

When my mother was in jail when I was 22, my half-brother came to live with us for a couple of months. Our grandmother had rejected him and the son of the people from her church that first took him in bullied him so he came to live with me. I was a 22 year old trying to take care of a 13 year old. I had no friends of my own where I lived. I was overwhelmed and so lonely and instead of supporting me, Jay turned his back on me and increased his acting out with his AP at the time.

It made me so sad for myself to think that I was so ill treated as a child that I settled for a slightly less blatantly abusive relationship as an adult. I usually shrug off people’s pity and compassion for what I grew up with but I also never offered myself that compassion.

I talked to Jay about this last night and you know what he said? He said, “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed me. It’s no excuse but I was a little boy and didn’t know how to handle things. I hope to become more of a man and to be there for you the way you need me to be in the future.”

Wow. That seems like a really mature response. And it meant a lot to me so I thanked him for it and told him how much it meant to me. Maybe there’s some hope for us after all.

Farewell!

So the friend from my last post emailed me on Saturday to tell me that she “knew what happened” and that she would not even entertain an apology from Jay. She said that we had a “difference of opinion” and that she would like to continue to be friends.

But how can I remain friends with someone who wouldn’t even listen to an apology from my husband that she accused of rubbing her leg with his in what she felt was an unwelcome lascivious manner? It’s a bit more serious than a difference of opinion. And it jeopardizes everything I’m working for with Jay. So I explained that I needed her to hear him out, or I wouldn’t be able to remain friends. She only replied “OK” and unfriended me on Facebook, which is pretty final in this day and age.

I am not and don’t want to be one of those women who blindly defends her husband, because that’s how abuse continues. I have tried to look at this as logically as possible and this just doesn’t make any sense at all to me. Intentionally rubbing a freshly married lady’s leg with his own in a lascivious way is just not something he does or has ever done, even in his worst moments. Rubbing her leg with his was something that could have happened by mistake. My “friend” is acting like Jay ran his hand up her leg or groped her boob or something. I can’t believe she would refuse to even listen to an apology for unintentionally making her uncomfortable.

But to each her own I suppose. All I know is I don’t need that kind of additional drama in my life. Things are dramatic enough as it is with the addiction recovery. I’m sad that I’ve had to lose so many friends in the past few years but I simply will not tolerate manipulation by anyone any longer, not by Jay, my mother, my brother, or any friends.

Tired of this shit

So a friend called me on Wednesday night to tell me that at her wedding reception the previous Saturday, while she caught up with Jay briefly towards the end of the night as we were all getting ready to go, Jay apparently rubbed his leg against hers twice and she felt uncomfortable. I didn’t quite know what to do with this information so I thanked her for telling me and talked to Jay about it. He was righteously angry because he didn’t remember ever touching her inappropriately, or even close to it, at all and he has become particularly sensitive to behaving appropriately now that he’s in recovery.

I believe him. It’s not in his MO to touch someone who is primarily a friend of mine and that he barely knows. All of his APs have been primarily friends of his, except for one who was equally a “friend” of us both. They were also all consensual. All of his APs participated freely in his infidelity even though they had previously voiced opinions against infidelity (but when you’re lonely and feeling low, a charming man full of compliments can be very persuasive). It’s also not in his MO to approach someone at their wedding reception, especially someone that he has voiced some trepidation previously about their mental stability.

At the same time I feel she has a right to her feelings but it makes it extremely awkward for me. So I asked Jay to apologize to her. He talked to his therapist about it and he feels Jay should apologize also even though he’s not actually at fault. It is the bigger more mature thing to do.

I texted her last night to tell her that I had spoken to Jay about it and that we both felt it had been an accident and that he would like to apologize. She said it wasn’t necessary and wanted to think about it. I told her how I felt caught in the middle and how I felt that her being made uncomfortable needed to be addressed even though I believed the leg rubbing was an accident and that he may not even have realized it was her leg, or that, because he has such a little sense of personal space, that he had not realized he had violated hers.

She merely replied that I shouldn’t feel caught in the middle and that she understood what I was saying but she wanted to think about it. I get that but I make up that she still feels like Jay’s a pervert who gets off on rubbing freshly married women’s legs. Even though he is a pervert (sex addict right?), I feel like this makes it difficult to continue a friendship with her. I feel like she is turning out to be a drama queen who enjoys playing the victim and that her focus on Jay as a victimizer is unhelpful to our individual recoveries.

I feel like I attract people who are needy and unhealthy. I can’t seem to find friends on a similar health level to me. I either find friends who are seemingly healthier and I become the needy unhealthy friend, which I dislike, or I find people who are needier and unhealthier who try to drag me down into their drama.

It’s extremely frustrating and feels very lonely. I just want to be on an even keel with some friendly peers. I have a few friends like that, and I guess I should focus on fostering my friendships with them.

Surrender

How does one surrender? I wrestled with this thought last night, the idea of this particular step in the recovery process. I feel I am in quite a bit of denial. I don’t want this to be my life. I don’t want an abusive mother. I don’t want a deadbeat brother. I don’t want my friend to have died or her friend to have been so unhappy that she committed suicide. I sure as heck don’t want to have a sex addict for a husband. I especially don’t want all this pain, insecurity, and fear. I don’t want any of this, and yet it is all a part of my life. It has all helped to make me who I am today despite the fact that I don’t want it. I have to accept it because there is no going back to what was before and I can’t change any of it. I can’t control it. I can’t go back in time like that goofball in Just In Time ( though he is pretty cute. Man do I have a thing for gingers), and change all the missteps or mistakes or decisions I or anyone else made.

Even though I feel like this is not how things are supposed to be, I keep reminding myself of one of my favorite tales by Lao Tzu – One day an old farmer had his only horse run away and so he was unable to plow his fields. “What terrible misfortune!” His neighbors said, but he just shrugged and smiled. A few weeks later, the farmer’s horse returned and brought with him dozens of wild horses, increasing the man’s wealth a thousand fold. “What great fortune!” The man’s neighbors proclaimed, but again, the farmer simply shrugged and smiled. Soon after, the farmer’s son broke his leg when he fell off while trying to tame one of the wild horses and so was unable to help on the farm for many weeks. Once again the farmer’s neighbors cried, “What great misfortune! You have had such bad luck!” Again, the man shrugged and smiled. A few weeks later, the emperor entered a war with his neighbors and conscripted all the able-bodied young men for his army. But the farmer’s son couldn’t be forced into the army because of his broken leg. The farmer’s neighbors exclaimed, “What good luck!” The man just smiled and shrugged.

So I am trying to keep that story in mind. You never know what will be good or bad luck in the end. Perhaps this journey will lead me somewhere wonderful.

Smash!

I had been feeling the anger build, the frustration mount, and the panic pile on. My husband, let’s call him Jay for efficiency, had found a sponsor the night before and been ebullient since. I couldn’t understand this dramatic change in his attitude from depressed and mopey to all of a sudden happier than a cat in a pigeon pen. It scared me. I tried to explain to him how it scared me, but he didn’t understand and became frustrated. And that was the last straw. I became angrier and angrier. By the time I got home I was furious and raging. He was still at work and so I just screamed at the top of my lungs and with all my heart, “I DON’T WANT THIS!!!! I DON’T WANT THIS LIFE!! I DON’T WANT ANY OF THIS!!!”

Years ago, when Jay was still in college, he took a photography course. For one of his final projects he took these dramatic and beautiful black and white photos of friends and family. They were large portraits, all about 11 x 17, and we had them framed and had lived with them around our dining room ever since. One of them was a portrait of the woman I wrote about in my last post: Another Bomb Goes Off… . I had taken the photo down after he told me about his relationship with her. I couldn’t stand to look at the smarmy self-satisfied look on her fat face anymore. I took her husband’s photo down too, because though I like the guy, he’s a reminder now too of that terrible time when I was in need and my boyfriend of the time, now husband, turned his back on me and betrayed me.

In my fury on this day, I broke. I grabbed a hammer and hammered in the face of this woman in the photo. I smashed the glass, I smashed the photo, and wished it was really her face or his face, and then when the glass was all over the floor, I grabbed the photo and ripped it to shreds. It was so satisfying! I wish there were more things for me to smash to smithereens!

I didn’t want to lose my temper like that, but sometimes it builds up and it simply feels so incredibly unfair and unbearable. The pain, the fear, the anger….it’s just too much to stand. I want them (Jay and all of his APs) to hurt like I hurt, and I know that, even though they hurt from all of this or have at some point, they don’t hurt like I do. None of them know what this is like. None of them have felt pain this deep. I know this, because I have experienced more pain than most people deserve or have ever thought possible in this life from a very early age, and this is the absolute most excruciatingly awful pain I have ever felt. Both the person I trusted and loved most in the world and people, friends even, that I believed in and trusted all stabbed me in the back, over and over and over and over again.

Jay protests sometimes, “What about my pain?” It makes me want to scream at him. I really don’t care about his pain at the moment. The pain that he has caused me, the man I loved (love? I don’t know anymore), is so punishing that I want to die just so I don’t have to feel it anymore. There is no way for me to escape the agonizing hurt he and his f*ckbuddies have caused and that I in no way deserved or brought down on or chose for myself. I have to live through it. Every day. Every day I have to suffer this searing emotional pain wondering if it will ever get better.

What about your pain, Jay? F*ck your pain. Go sit on a stick and spin or take a flying leap off a cliff or a long walk off a short pier cause I really don’t want or need to hear it.

 

Sorry for the angry post today y’all. I just had to get it out.

 

Another bomb goes off…

The Monday before last my husband sat me down and said that he had something to tell me. He said that it was going to be really hard to say and to hear, but that he loved me more than anything and he wanted me to know that this was not about me, but about his addiction and his failures. Then he proceeded to tell me that almost fifteen years ago when we were still dating he had carried on a year long affair with a friend of ours who was dating one of his best friends. At that time in 2000 she eventually ended the physical affair when she became engaged to her boyfriend, though the emotional affair continued on for several years.

This was a woman who I had always had suspicions about and asked my husband about because of her close friendship but with whom he had always denied having a physical affair. Since D-Day he had acknowledged he had an emotional affair with her, but he repeatedly denied having a physical affair.

Despite my suspicions, I had thought both of them were better people than that. I had thought they would have the decency to think about other people besides themselves. My husband was one of her husband’s groomsmen for fuck’s sake! And her husband was one of ours! My husband said that it was for this very reason that he had always hid this relationship from everyone, but that now that he was going to therapy for his addiction and going to group meetings, that he didn’t feel right talking about it with them and not with me, his best friend to whom he owed the utmost honesty.

I have not been sure how I feel about all this. It is a bag of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am glad that he had the guts to finally come clean and be honest with me on his own. On the other hand, I am devastated that he slept with this woman for over a year while I was living with him and going through some very difficult things such as my mother being in jail and my 13 year old brother living with us. On one hand this affair ended years ago and on the other I am having to deal with the destruction and betrayal of the memories of that time now. There are so many things in our house and about that time that remind me now of how I was betrayed.

We have been together for over 17 years and I wonder if it means anything. I used to brag about how long we had been together, because most of our friends haven’t experienced that, but now I realize that it was all just a fantasy I made up in my head of this man loving me so much that he would never do something like that or like any of the affairs he’s had. I now count three physical affairs and five online affairs. Who knows what he hasn’t told me or hasn’t remembered? He says that’s it, that I know everything now. How do I know, though?

The first week after he told me was still good though. He was proud of himself for telling me and I was glad he did. Then the weekend before last we went on a camping trip with several friends. We had a good time for the most part. I could feel things weren’t completely right, though, and he started to do his usual thing of spending a weird amount of time with other chicks and away from me. I know he didn’t have the time or space to do anything, but I know that it gives him a high to flirt with other women to get them to feel better about themselves. He also has a real talent for doing this. He’s a great charmer. On our way home, I said something to him about it, but he didn’t take it well. I said that I felt neglected and rejected when he would spend a lot of time talking to other women, leaving me to do things on my own (like pack the tent and make breakfast). I appreciate that he’s trying so hard to work on his addictive behavior, but this is a part of his behavior that I wasn’t sure he was aware of. He became angry and antagonistic. We ended up just getting into an argument.

I also feel like I can’t trust anyone to behave with any sort of decency. I feel like so many people I know are incredibly selfish, willing to do things that they know will break the hearts of other people, even the ones they care about. I know that there must be some good people out there, but I don’t feel like I know a single one who can be trusted to behave with integrity.

This is such a confusing process. I am feeling good about setting my boundaries and asking him for the treatment I know I deserve for once. I feel like he is being so selfish though. He is often depressed, resentful (of everyone, not just me, but most especially himself), and angry now. He mopes around feeling like he’s been such a shithead, which of course he has, but it feels like he isn’t spending much energy on doing anything about it, about making things better, about finding ways to show me the love and respect I deserve for once. Sometimes I feel like slapping him across the face and telling him to grow the fuck up, but I know it’s difficult for him. Growing up is hard for everyone.

It makes me wonder though if he’ll ever grow up. I have seen more signs of maturity since he admitted he was a sex addict, but I wonder if he will ever fully become a man and take responsibility for himself and his actions. Will he ever grow up enough to have empathy for and to think about people other than himself? How long do I give him to let him grow up? When do I move on?

To add to the difficulty of figuring out when enough is enough, I realize I don’t want to have children with a child. I want to have children with an adult man who will be responsible. But my time to have children is quickly running out. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that it may end up that if I stay with this man, I will never have children. Children may never be a part of my life. That’s a hard thing to come to terms with.

I feel like I never should have started dating or married him. I feel like I should have just avoided any relationships with anyone completely.

I feel trapped. I don’t want this. I don’t want to have to deal with any of this.

Depression Overload

So the first D-Day was two years ago on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, when I learned that my husband had been sleeping with a “friend” of ours. The second D-Day was in February, 2012 when he finally admitted to me that he was a sex addict and told me about most of his acting out over the years. Since then we have been working hard on our marriage and ourselves, and going to marriage therapy. In the spring, I felt like we were finally getting somewhere, that things were getting better and that there was some real hope for us. The summer has pretty much blown that feeling to smithereens. It turns out that we were just starting to pretend again like we had before when we were naive and unwilling to acknowledge our problems.

He had several slips and at least one relapse over the summer. I don’t know if it was the depression from the season, because summer will be forever marred in my mind from the first D-Day and thus always depressing, or if it was my traveling without him, but he relapsed pretty badly, and in the process I discovered some things he had been lying to me about still, even after two years. So we both slipped back into pretty severe depression and we haven’t been happy since.

I’m working on it. I’m working really really hard. My doctor has since diagnosed me with Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder so I know that’s at least part of the problem. But I am also working on thought-stopping, loving myself, and telling that awful, critical, demeaning voice inside my head to just stfu.

He’s still so depressed, though, that it feels kind of selfish and self-absorbed to me. He talks about how he thinks he ruined too many things and has destroyed our marriage. Sometimes it seems like he’s determined to ruin us just to prove a point about what an awful person he thinks he is and how badly he thinks he screws everything up. It’s crazy making and so utterly frustrating.

I say that he just destroyed the image that we had built up of our marriage. The problems were still there, we were just hiding from them and pretending they didn’t exist until they turned into a rotting foment of trouble. I say we still have hope but only if he’s willing to work at it and go see a CSAT and go to SA meetings. I keep telling myself that I can’t control him or his behavior. I just have to work on myself, loving myself, healing myself, with the hope that this will help my marriage and that he will work on himself as well.

First thoughts

I’ve had blogs before, but never really stuck with it. I don’t know why I don’t just journal things, but somehow it seems that this reaching out is more satisfying or fulfilling. I don’t even want anyone I actually know to see this. But it seems worth it just to put this out there in space, maybe connect with someone else who knows what this is like, because it is so damn lonely.

I feel like I’ve aged decades in the past couple of years. Life’s challenges have been flying thick and fast. Life has always been a bit of challenge having grown up with a bi-polar narcissist for a mother. But you grow up, you get older, you find friends, and start to feel that life is gonna be ok…

Then that mother and your half-brother move in with you, your mother moves out because you can’t stand having her in your sacred space, your husband has an affair with a narcissistic sociopath you thought was your friend, your half-brother who you helped raise and has been living with you comes out (which is lovely), but then is immediately admitted to the county psychiatric center for suicidal thoughts, he loses his job, his direction, and his goals and resents you for being able to keep your sh*t somewhat together, the Vespa you won in a sweepstakes gets stolen two days before Christmas, you discover that your husband is a sex addict and had at least one online affair before and during the physical affair and that he has been visiting chat and extreme (read, illegal) porn sites, you spend thousands on lawyers in the hope he won’t go to jail, your longest friend (one you’ve had since you were 11 when you still had all those lovely childhood dreams and who has been helping you deal with the trauma of your husband’s affairs and addiction) dies from a possibly non-accidental prescription drug overdose, your husband gets in a wreck and totals your car, your house gets broken into and robbed (twice in one year!), a lovely friend you met at the memorial service for your oldest friend commits suicide, you’re thousands of dollars in debt because of everything you’ve been going through and your husband’s unemployment, your husband’s staggered disclosure of porn addiction and online affairs goes on and on, tearing you apart every single time and destroying your trust all over again, and you wonder how you carry on and keep on living.

It’s rough. I can’t help but feel that this is some sort of cosmic joke. It’s so awful I can’t help but laugh at its absurdity. So karma…wtf did I do to bring this on?