So, the third fucking year.

Just like that another 12 months has passed since I learned the truth about my husband, aka The Player, and my marriage, aka The (Former) Good Marriage.

It’s been heart breaking and soul crushing to know I believed in him and in us so much and he played me silly. He was exceptionally good at it. I mean, exceptionally good. You could have heard collective gasps as my friends and family learned about him and what he had done. So, at least I know I wasn’t the only one played, right? Strength in numbers or some fucking shit like that.

He’s done soul-searching hard work. He’s done the personal work that has been required to be a person who lives with integrity (who knew it was so hard to just be honest, even about the small stuff?). We both have done some hard work to stay in the marriage. Our paths have both been hard but for different reasons.

Where are we three years later? I wouldn’t say we’re fully healed – if that is even a thing, “fully” healed – but we’re on our way to what healed means for us. It means we’re committed to putting this family back together, to staying married, to figuring out how to live better. I am figuring out how to live long-term with someone who betrayed me, knowing it was about him and never about me, or us. The Player is figuring out how to live authentically and with integrity long term for the first time in his life and to let all of his flaws show, freely. He’s given up the need to present one thing and do another.

Three years later I am more reserved, most likely never again to be as vulnerable as I was with The Player. It’s not miserable, just not was I’d envisioned when I got married, but then who ever does envision being lied to for two decades. Three years in I now know The Player married me thinking he would and could be faithful. He didn’t know himself well enough to know that any insecurities he had would be magnified as his career grew, adding to the treatment of his parents, especially his father and the memories of a teacher, a coach, a young woman, relentlessly teasing him, and all the while being in an unsafe environment at home, unable to speak to anyone in his family about his feelings.

Once The Player figured out that he couldn’t fix our marriage with his old self, he made noticeable progress. Once he realized he could accept whatever would happen to us and to him because of his actions, he made great strides. Medication didn’t hurt, either. It allowed him to cope with all of the turmoil he created and he was able to cope with the highs and lows without wanting to kill himself.

Some of the things he did to heal himself and the marriage…

  • A year after discovery he told me everything and well over a year he told me the same things over again and again until one day after the next and the next I just stopped asking.
  • He backed up his disclosure with a polygraph.
  • He is rarely defensive. Maybe early on before full disclosure he was, but I can count on one hand since then that he’s been defensive, even when I was being pretty intense.
  • He made himself accountable for his whereabouts and (usually) didn’t require me to ask him to check in when we were apart.
  • He gave me access to his technology until I didn’t give a shit I had access, knowing that me doing that didn’t change any outcome and only actually added to my stress to keep up with it. Side note: monitoring his technology the first year when he was sexually sober but still not recovering actually led me to a text he received that raised suspicion and pushed me to check our server, finding inappropriate emails really pushing me to push him to a polygraph, at which time he brought me into his CSAT for a full disclosure. Side note to the side note: he has stated that monitoring him is the only thing that kept him faithful before he worked on real recovery.
  • The Player has mostly done the right thing. There’s an unfortunate day he spent in a bar then lied about who sat down at his table and to whome he handed out his phone number out to (a provocative woman family friend, confirmed he was attracted to her because we joked about it) and a couple of lies relating to travel because he just didn’t want to deal with my questioning him. He had a couple of more lies that he corrected and did a follow-up polygraph to prove he quit lying.
  • He is willing to do polygraphs, whenever I like, even more than annually.
  • He is the first (usually) to bring up our check ins with each other.
  • He went/goes to group, therapy and SLAA consistently.
  • He is learning/has learned how to bring up things when he is uncomfortable. He used to just stuff it (remember, no talking about anything emotional in his family) and then resented me for his inability to discuss with me, further using this to justify how I didn’t understand him and justifying to himself it was okay to cheat.
  • He really listens.
  • He acts on what is bothering me and corrects or changes his behavior to help me.
  • He isn’t afraid of expressing his emotions.
  • He shares everything he learns about himself and has brought me on his journey to see for myself what he’s learned and how he is implementing new behaviors and his new belief system.

Things are okay three years out from the destruction and trauma The Player caused. I’m happy for the kids and the family and for us as a couple because we’re still together, a family unit, especially since we have a child with significant needs. I am mostly okay having reconciled the past life of mine and ours, now able to accept what I believed to be my reality mixed in with parts from The Player I believe he was truly engaged with me and the kids. I’m still somewhat sad and maybe I will always be about some of the times I thought he was “with” me but really wasn’t.

There’s a memory in our lives when we were under great stress and I used to think of it fondly and often. I held onto that memory of us fighting together for the life of one of our children very tightly for a very long time and it got me through some tough times before discovery. Letting that one go has been tough. It was like letting go of a part of me, never to be seen again, but that’s the reality of recovery and healing. That is sort of how it is, though in this world, isn’t it? For me anyway, it’s been taking the good with the bad in order to move forward.

 

 

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Omission is lying, right?

I’ve missed being here with you. I have a lot to tell you.

The most recent fucked up thing is that I had to fire our CSAT from working with me in group and in couples’ counseling. Last time I was in group with a handful of other women he shussed me (again), only it was with more gusto. He also cut me off at the end after encouraging me to share when I was literally crying. He’s frequently annoyed or irritated with me. In the past, his behavior was so slightly nuanced that only I had noticed but over the weeks a woman in the group said something to me. The last time I was in group it was overt. Even the other people in the group told me while talking outside they couldn’t believe it, either. The behavior had been increasing in frequency and intensity.

So I sent him an email the next morning say I would likely leave group because of his behavior towards me. All of what I said was based on how I felt, nothing accusatory, but that I felt this and felt that. He replied back that he knew what I was talking about, had some perspective on me, and would like to talk to the group about it, oh and he said he saw me “somewhat differently” than the rest of the members and didn’t now how to address it. He said he was sorry three times but only about how I felt, he was not sorry for his behavior. It was not what I expected or needed. At the end of reading that email, I knew my “likely leave the group” moved to “hell no, no fucking way would I ever go back to that group.”

I said no, didn’t feel like being a focus of a group discussion and whatever he didn’t like about me (strong personality, call him out, speaking up in group, etc probably, maybe?), but I would talk with him over the phone. He said he’d rather talk in person but I wasn’t comfortable then he told me he couldn’t talk yesterday because at the end of the week he is depleted, and he only had 10 min increments Monday for me. So I said forget it. You go your way, I’ll go mine, thanks for all you did for The Player that has helped us. I said The Player would probably still see him for group but our couples’ counseling is out. Bye!

Another loss.

Another man who broke my trust.

Another hurt to get over.

Another thing to accept.

Another thing to be fucking pissed about and move on from.

Luckily The Player earned a lot of cred by being great about the situation, saying he will leave this CSAT if needed, either if I want it at anytime or if he doesn’t think the CSAT can handle working with him without the bias against me clouding the situation.

I’ve process it but am pissed because he had an issue that influenced his behavior as a therapist in treating me and didn’t fucking deal with it. Omission is lying. I believe I’ve had enough lying liars in my life, don’t you? I don’t think I need it from a therapist, too. Another fucking liar and one who depends on honesty in his work in order to help people. I sure hope he bring this to his own therapy. Because it’s fucking bullshit and fuck that.

I’ve clearly worked my way into the anger phase.

 

Don’t call me.

Pre knowing The Player was a player and when he traveled, he used to call me at the end of the day to touch base. As couples do, we discussed in brief our day which typically involved the kids, the home and whatever went on in The Player’s day including his stressors and successes. These calls would come to me usually when he was “in his hotel room,” or sometimes because time differences, while on the way to or back from dinner or an event at a conference, which was a lot of times, free-flowing with alcohol.

Looking back now, of course, it’s clouded with anger and pain. He will tell you the majority of the time, it was as it was presented to me. The Player will tell you there were hundreds of times he wasn’t trying to flirt the night away with some whore. He will tell you that he did stay in his room after we spoke. He will tell you that majority of nights he was alone, after having had dinner with friends (and “friends”) or drinks and he went back up to his room alone and he didn’t even fuck anyone. Sure, many of his calls were in fact, truthful. Of course, those calls aren’t the problem. It’s the ones where he was just using the call to get it over with to go and do what he wanted to, which it turns out as we all now know, was to play.

Too many times to count he would quickly get the call “out-of-the-way” so he could go and do what he wanted. Sometimes it was to stay out drinking, jumping from hospitality suite to suite at an event, free drinks, don’t you know. Sometimes it was to hangout at a bar after an event with a group of people with one or more of the women on his hit list, “hit list.” I say hit list, because there is a long list of women he just flirted with but never had the opportunity to work them into being someone he fucked. But hell if that didn’t stop him from trying.

So fucking pathetic, even I can’t believe it.

So in the one to two years since I found out the entire truth – after gaslighting me for over a year – he has tried to make me feel safer while on the road. When I say “tried” I mean, you know, he hasn’t actually done that all the time. When he is traveling to host a meeting or event, or there for a client, and he’s “busy” he sort of fails. He loses track of time, he bounces from one meeting to the next, he’s entertaining, meeting for drinks and side bar meetings, he having meetings between meetings, etc, you know I’ve heard them all. The problem is that he managed my expectations that he was going to stay in contact one way and then he didn’t for those reasons above.

On a recent trip he didn’t call me or touch base with me at all for nearly three days in a row. The contact was sporadic and when he did, it was open-ended, “sorry I missed you” in one text, or “At dinner, will call you later,” if he texted at all. On the last day of the trip I was so fucking worked up that I was crying because he had the nerve to call me from outside a bar, where he said he was going to have, “one drink” with a client and then would be returning to his room. It was already a couple of hours time difference, so I had to sleep and said, “Forget it, do not call me back.” I was so fucking pissed and hurt.

I thought, “Fuck that.” I was tired of being a second thought on those busy trips, busy trips that he arranges that way – so I said, “Fuck this,” when he called back. I said, “You had the fucking nerve to call me from outside of a bar? In the same way you used to touch base with me so you could then go fuck someone? Fuck this.”

Then I hung up.

Something changed in me about his contact while on the road. I just refuse to live like that. There was a time that I craved the time alone. His traveling meant easier dinners,  less work for me, time for me to see friends, spend time doing things I enjoy and certainly not worrying about if he has called me or not.

I am not that kind of person, the kind that waits for her husband to call her and gets upset when he doesn’t. Or at least I didn’t used to be. That last night of that trip, I swore I would be changing this arrangement.

As it so happens sometimes, we had a therapy appointment together scheduled the next day. I was able to announce my new stance. “I don’t give a shit if you call or don’t call when you’re traveling. I’m letting it go because I’m tired of being disappointed by you. I’m taking responsibility for how I respond to your actions and I’m letting this go.”

The Player did not take this well. He wasn’t upset at me or anything but he does not like when I use the word “distancing” and I used it several times in that session. The CSAT had to say, “Distancing has worked well for you in the past, I can understand why you want to do it.” He added to The Player directly when he was concerned about it, “We have to respect what she needs to do for her.” The Player said several things like, “I understand you deserve more from me.” I said, “But I don’t care anymore. You’ve gotten me to the point where I don’t care anymore.”

The next trip that The Player took was to a city in which The Player had a lot of personal fun in. I mean, he fucked a lot of people, or tried to anyway and guess what? I didn’t give a shit that he went and I didn’t expect to even talk to him because remember, I decided to let it go. He did stay in touch a lot, which great, one trip! Good for him. Whatever.

A friend in the infidelity family asked if this lowering my expectations was setting up an unsafe environment for me and I basically told her that it was an illusion anyway. Even if he called me every hour it wouldn’t mean he wasn’t acting out. I told her there were behaviors that were not conducive to us being married but him calling me? That really isn’t one of them. As long as he’s still working on himself and sharing with me what he is learning and allowing me to talk freely about his recovery and our recovery, I am okay with his lack of contact on the road. Distance has been good for me.

 

I recently wondered if distance on his issue is creating distance in me in other ways. I can’t tell if I’m distancing myself from the drama that the lack of contact caused me or making myself apathetic to him in general.

Whose story is it, anyway?

So we got past (mostly, I guess) the stupidity of The Player drinking all evening with a male, friend of the marriage, and sending a flippant message when I inquired about his ETA. The Player came back to me the second morning (in all fairness I didn’t speak to him almost all day on day one even though he tried) and told me he’d been thinking about it a lot and what he planned on changing about it next time he goes out with a friend. I guess we’ll just see if he can do it.

“We’re humans, we fuck up. It’s not realistic to believe The Player will never make a mistake.” Those were the words of our CSAT, who said at least we talked through it a couple of times in healthy way when I was ready because it was also healthy for me to avoid The Player until I could talk calmly. The Player came to me on his own about how to address it and why he thought he did it. That was good enough for me. While we’re humans and all, I expect a certain behavior from The Player. I get it that were humans and we fuck up, but unfortunately, there are some luxuries he doesn’t get for the foreseeable future, at least or maybe ever. I’ve told him a hundred times he has to do his life to  never even give the slightest hint of impropriety. I guess he’s still working on that, because we’re humans, we fuck up.

We’re getting back to the other matter of looking back at the deep loneliness I felt and how I dealt with it in the past. The Player insists that he was “in the marriage” and that it was real and he claims, even intimate, that he was there for me. He said there were short spaces of time where he was distracted with fear and insecurities and he looked for other ways to get through it and in his case, felt pretty good getting attention from other women. This came in the form of many “friendships” that turn sexual and in the form of a twenty year very on and off affair. The same woman who would fuck him very sporadically, hooking up with him on a few business and personal trips. In addition he would spend months at a time throughout our marriage speaking with her on the phone every two to three weeks. He said he thinks there were several years he didn’t speak with her but he isn’t sure. He is completely convinced we had a close, intimate, honest (at least in part) relationship. He’s tried many times to explain how much he loved me and cared for me and how we were “there for each other” even though he had this “other side” of himself. What. The. Actual. Fuck, People?

What he said isn’t unreasonable. From the outside looking in we were there for each other.  He absolutely was there in times of great pain in our family, throughout our shared tragedy. I felt our marriage was good, although I knew he was distant because he didn’t handle stress well, which is one of the reasons I carried a lot of pain by myself. Since d-day I have been able to tell myself that my marriage on my side was good and faithful. I even found joy on my side of the marriage. But with this recent loneliness realization I didn’t even have that any longer. Was he pretending? Like I said, he has tried to tell me that he loved me through it all and thought his acting out and his destructive behavior was separate from me. That right there is the messed up mind of someone who has compulsive or obsessive or addict behavior.

Just like I can’t comprehend what he told himself, he can’t comprehend my reality and the depth of my pain, can he? After a few heated discussions, some soul-searching, some meditating, and some journal writing, I realized it was up to me to figure out how to work with the history without letting it get in the way of building some kind of future with The Palyer. As per usual, if I want to move on in marriage that is healed, I’m going to have to figure out out to live with the past, and do that hard work alone. The Player can’t do it with me or for me. That day sucked, I have to tell you.

As I was sitting in group therapy the other night our discussion turned to our stories as betrayed spouses and the different stories of our cheating/lying/SA spouses. Someone wondered if it were ever possible for a sex and/or love addict to fully ever understand the pain they caused and the enormity of how difficult it is to move on to recovery in the marriage. Someone spoke up that she and her partner were working on their narrative and had been working together to figure out “their” story, creating one story, one with each other about their past, about what happened.

I thought about that and it didn’t feel right for me, in fact, I had a negative reaction to it and it didn’t take me long to figure it out why. I would never want The Player to tell me what my story is; what and how I experienced it. It was at that moment I thought, “How the hell could I tell The Player what his story is when I don’t want him to tell me what mine is?” I decided The Player had a right to his story. 

It was that realization that helped get me unstuck. I can move on just a little bit more.

Aloneness

Over the days since that therapy appointment I dipped into some big pain and did a lot of journaling to help me process it. I think this didn’t come up until now because my head was full of processing other Big Shit and I didn’t have room for the pain, you know? Like I put it off until I could deal with it. I guess that time is now.

Through writing about it, I realize I have a deep sadness about it now looking back. Up until now I’ve had a few ways I looked back on our life together and the one way I came to terms with the entire almost 25 years together was that I had a good marriage on my side. I was honorable, supportive, sexual (I never turned him down), and I did keep my vow of monogamy. He would even tell you I cherished him. During this recovery I have been looking back and been okay with the narrative I created, the one that said, there were good times and bad times and there was love, I mean, unless there wasn’t love, when he was fucking other people. It was one I could live with.

I feel without true intimacy – which we didn’t have, obviously – you can’t really be there with and for someone in the way someone in a marriage needs (or at least I did). All those years of trauma with the kids when I was here doing my part (thinking he was doing his part for the family) – I had a stressful life at home, hospitalizations, life and death stuff, tragic stuff, he was mostly on the road and/or checked out. Then when he wasn’t here “sharing in my burden,” I argue he had an escape, which I didn’t get. Nope. I was here 24/7, building a support system – surrogate spouses – around me so I could cope. He disagrees saying he compartmentalized and THAT (you know SLAA stuff) was just a different side, you know, but we were still close, he was here for me, etc.

To his credit (I can’t believe I have to say this as a great thing he does when empathy is  given) he listened, wasn’t defensive, didn’t cave to my thoughts on intimacy (he used to be an avoidant on issues we disagreed on), asked how he could help, apologized about the past and that I felt alone…

Then that same night he went out with a (friend of the marriage) friend, told me he would be home around 10:00pm or let me know when he would. Well, he didn’t. So I texted him at 10:30 and said, “I guess it’ll be after 10. Sigh.” He texted back a picture his friend took with a drink in his hand, laughing, eyes closed, “I guess this doesn’t help my position.” Then nothing. He was home after midnight and the next morning hungover and home from work.

Honestly, all I kept saying over in my head, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

The stupidity and insensitivity is astounding. The dance is always two steps back, isn’t it?

 

 

The Future

Well, if you count The Future as the next six months. The CSAT asked us to consider how we’d like to look back on the next six months sitting from next January.

For you to know why he asked that, you’d have to know we’ve entered this next phase of recovery, whatthefuckever it shall be. We’re not in crisis as a couple, I’m not fucking smack dab in the middle of trauma any longer and The Player is moving along pretty well, still learning but feels “solid” with where he is. He’s even been talking about starting to work 12-steps with a sponsor. You won’t hold your breath? Yeah, me, either.

We’ve – or I’ve – been struggling with the lack of amount of energy coming into me and us and I’ve been saying it for a few months now. Each time in therapy together, like once a month, I’ve brought it up. Until recently, The Player acted like he didn’t really know what I was talking about. I’ve said it’s a lack of connection, energy, and time being pointed towards me and our relationship. I stop short of saying we’re lacking intimacy, but maybe that’s it? I don’t know.

Anyway, the CSAT said because of the areas we’ve passed during this recovery, it’s no surprise that we’d need to learn what this next level of our relationship is. During our last session The Player talked about how he feels it’s under a year since he’s been in true, full recovery, because of the medication that has lifted the debilitating depression. Since things have calmed down, I have had more twinges of “huh?” about our relationship. Not necessarily his recovery and his sobriety, but our relationship. Like “What now?”

So during this appointment when the CSAT asked about The Future, The Player did a lot of talking. He said he hoped that we could grow closer, that we will continue to recover in the marriage and I would perhaps even trust him a little  (will I ever fully trust him? I don’t know.). He said he hoped we could be closer and “share each other’s burdens.” The CSAT asked him what he meant and The Player said, among other things, when we each need support he wants there to be a very open line of communication to share those burdens, and joys, I suppose.

I just thought to myself, “What the fuck did you just hear?”

After I said, “Can I say something,” the CSAT said he visibly saw me tense up just then and I know he is observant and so I really tried not to physcially tense up but I said, “I feel really defensive about that statement, because while The Player hasn’t really been sharing in my burdens for probably the whole marriage, certianly not deeply and unfortunately when it counted, I certainly have shared in his.”

The Player was surprised. He questioned it. He actually said, “What burdens have I shared with you?” I told him pretty straightforward several conversation examples, I cited several examples (4) of people – including their first and last names – of situations in the past several months that have been stressors that I have allowed him the space to talk and process. I talked about the stress of money and dividing his time. I mentioned specific quotes from him about several of these issues, proving, indeed, I have shared in many of his life’s burdens.

He sat quietly for a moment. “I guess you have shared in my burdens.”

No shit, dumbass.

I every so slightly started tearing up and the CSAT asked me what my emotion was about and I had to tell him, finally, that all of those years I was dealing with the incredible special needs of one of our kids, I hated to admit now that I felt alone. I guess I didn’t know it at the time throughout the years, because I had this false sense of a team or a family unit with myself and The Player, I didn’t notice, he wasn’t only “doing his part,” as I had attributed to his lack of involvement, but he was actively escaping, by having emotional relationships and fucking women all of the years of our marraige. I guess I hadn’t spoken about it so plainly. I guess I haven’t had the mental space to process it until now that The Player wants us to “share in each other’s burdens.”

I have known for many years, and The Player has admitted, the he was unable to take on anymore stressors for a majority of the marriage because of his own shortcomings. He said at that appointment he let so many things get to him that shouldn’t have, that his self-doubt took over his life. We both knew I was better at managing crisis. I was better at juggling the multiple things one must for a family to get through crisis. I told them both that the void I felt with The Player’s absence was filled up by doing the at-home mom thing and the friends and family who stepped in when I needed. They were my surrogate spouses. The middle of the night calls, the help to get the other kids to school when I was in the emergency room or their sibling was hospitalized. I filled it up with hobbies and interests. I traveled to see and traveled with friends (and alone!), made incredible new friends (lost some too, who couldn’t handle the threat of a child of ours dying). I picked up new interests, kept growing as an individual.

The floodgates of tears and emotions has opened apparently, waiting for the perfect opportunity to do so. I hadn’t been able to see it, or really feel it until now, but I have a deep, deep grief for the years I carried my own burden.

I was alone.

 

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A few months ago The Player picked up his One Year Chip from SLAA. Whoohoo. The Player has lived a life of integrity for a year.

While I admit I am rolling my eyes at this – because fuck, he’s lived half a century in years and just one of them with integrity – it is an accomplishment. A good one even. Even I have to admit that. I gave him a card that morning. I said I was proud that he did the hard work necessary to get to this point and that I was impressed he addressed some painful issues in his life to find out the Whys and Hows he ended up being the person he did. Because, after all, as many times early on from dday he said, “I’m not that person,” his CSAT was steadfast in reminding him, “Player, we are what we do man, we are what we do.”

Right on CSAT. My sentiments exactly. If you live a life with integrity you are a person with integrity. This is not a difficult concept.

In a conversation about his one year meeting, I asked if there were any newcomers. He mentioned, one man and one woman. Admittedly, I am still uncomfortable with mixed gender meetings. I mean, let’s face it, it’s a little bit like having an AA meeting in a bar, but hey, The Player has been honest about how he’s felt being in meetings with women during the last couple of years sitting in meetings.

As a side note on timing, the reason it’s been nearly three years since dday and just a little bit over one year since his one year sobriety date is because it’s the day he put a stake in the ground and wrote out bottom line behaviors he was committing to avoid and middle line behaviors to be mindful of. While he hasn’t had sex outside the marriage, attempted to have sex outside the marriage, he hasn’t reached out to have any women pump his ego up, nor tried to begin any relationships, he wasn’t living in integrity. He spent the first year lying about his betrayals, and gaslighting me. He spent the next several months coasting while I was bitching about his lack of effort in 12 step work and he was spending a lot of time spiraling into despair. It wasn’t until  he attended an SLAA meeting after several weeks of SAA meeting attendance that he felt like he’d found his people. The message of SLAA resonated with him and he picked his start date, picked up a one day chip from that group and began to recover in a different way.

Back to women in SLAA so you have some history. At the beginning of his attendance in SLAA meetings he made a note to avoid women altogether. One would sit down next to him and he’d move. He’d wait for breakout/small groups to be formed before joining so he could avoid women. He admitted to me he didn’t like it speaking with them, it made him uncomfortable. As time went on he said he was fine to converse with them in the program because he realized they were there for the same reason. Several months ago he was in charge of welcoming newcomers and wouldn’t you know, a woman entered, nervous, of course. He directed her to another woman in the group with whom he is aquatinted and she helped her. Unfortunately as the other women joined to welcome her, he didn’t leave and ended up in a newcomer welcome group with 4 other women. It took him a week to tell me about it because he thought I would be uncomfortable knowing he was uncomfortable. In another example he mentioned he ended up in a break out with just one other woman and again, he didn’t speak up and leave the breakout even though he felt he should have. He’s worked on that issue and feels fine about telling people he’d rather do one thing instead of another. In these cases, he wanted to be clear, he didn’t want to reach out to start anything with them, nor want to help them out of his own SLAA behaviors, but did not do what he felt he should, which was avoid one on one contact or women only contact in meetings.

So back to our conversations about his one year meeting day.

Me: “So were there newcomers in your meeting that day?”

The Player: “Yes, two. A man and a woman.”

Me: “I still have a twinge of WTF about you having sex addict meetings with women, I mean, as a rule.”

The Player: “I hope you know that I think nothing inappropriate about them, they are there for the same reasons. I’m glad I’ve been in groups with them because I’ve learned some things about my behavior with women because of them.”

Me: “I get it, I do. I mean, you’re all fucked up. I guess it only bothers me because I don’t want you to see your whores as them, as victims because of their experiences with men.”

The Player: “I do feel that I took advantage of the women I was with in the own co-dependent issues.”

Me: “So now you’ve taken advantage of them? And poor them, they did nothing? Sorry, we’re going to have to agree to disagree with this. They knew you were married and made a choice to do it. Like you, to make choices against integrity and character.”

The Player: “I can only control me and not them and can only take responsibility for my behavior, which I think was playing on their codependent issues.”

Me: “I know it makes it sound so much better to say it’s an addiction or affliction But sometimes I just think it was you and it was them making bad choices and not living a life of integrity.”

The Player: “I think it was my and their codependent issues and me taking advantage of them.”

Them we arrived where we were going and I dropped it. This is how it is now I guess. I can have a discussion like this and not feel triggered because these discussions are now part of our relationship vernacular. 

We talk. We stop. I move on. Until this next discussion. 

I mean, I guess I move on. 

 

 

 

A couple of month’s time.

I knew it was a while since my last post, and honestly, I’m surprised it was just April. I thought it had been longer.

There have been a lot of times in the last couple of months that I wanted to blog, but have stopped myself many times. Probably because of time, I’ve been busy with the kids ending school and I’ve just not known what I wanted to share here, in this space.

Things have been relatively calm. Like I’ve mentioned, I’m past the trauma so I don’t linger with my feelings in the past, for the most part, which makes it calmer. The thoughts I have from those terrible times are fleeting, mostly as a result of a technique from the hypnotist I saw for a couple of months last year. He led me through visualizing the worst of the visions I was having – of The Player courting, flirting and then having sex with other women – then pushing it away. The visions were unusually vivid but then my imagination is vivid so that doesn’t surprise me. He had me close my eyes, picture them and flip them over, push them away and spin them if I needed to, which I started doing and after about 10x of doing that with the worst ones, they started to dissipate. Again, they blip in an out every so often now.

We experienced a set back or two when The Player told “white lies” early in the year and he was caught or in two cases, came forward. I don’t trust him, as is no surprise, but I don’t think he is doing anything heinous anymore. So there’s that. It’s so fucked up that I see that as a positive in my marriage.

It’s the new marriage though. Not the one I even wanted, or want at this point I suppose, becuase at the end of the day, does anyone really want to be with a two decades cheater? No tme, but it sure is fuck were I am.

I feel like he’s been coasting a bit, taking advantage of the lull in the drama and the (now lack of) energy being directed towards me and our healing. I’ve mentioned this at our last three appointments with his CSAT. I call it “complacency” and The Player doesn’t agree that he is, which I think, “so what, I do and that’s all that matters.” The CSAT is sure we are just moving into another phase about how we behave now, about how we communicate.

The Player admits there is a lull in his work. He cites being “busy” and I called bullshit on that, also during the last three appointments with his CSAT. Our lives will never not be stressful because of issues beyond our control. I said, “We’re going to have to figure out how to stay connected during all the times because we are always stressed out. Stress is our normal.” We’re still in discussions about this because while I know things wax and wane, he doesn’t get the luxury of THIS being flexible. More discussions to come.

I’ve started a partner’s group a few weeks ago and that has been really good. It’s never a bad thing to share your story and hear others because among partners in our situation, there are commonalities that make us feel not alone.

There is more about our recovery and healing, but I’m not ready to work it though in writing yet. It’s about my faking my way through this recovery and working through if I am now the liar in our relationship, which is, ironic, right?

 

 

Hate to Admit

I hate to admit this but I have been thinking – not obsessing – about the whores. I have no idea why I am other than this is just where I am, taking this bullshit one step at a fucking time. What comes, comes. Then I face it.

I am so bothered that they don’t know the work he has done to have a chance to stay with me. I want so fucking much for them to know, that once I found out I was married to the “man” they fucked, that I didn’t put up with his bullshit. I want them to know that he has had to do a shitload of work to stay in this home. He’s had to deal with his own hurt, his own shame and face it. He’s had to take barrage after barrage of questions over the last couple of years from me – a lot of them the same questions. Days, weeks and months at a time. Over and over. He’s taken two polygraphs. He’s told his story countless times to strangers, he’s attended meetings and counseling sessions. He opened himself to the process.

I want to tell those vaginas that I wouldn’t keep the man they knew, that if he was the same man that they knew, they could have him. I wouldn’t have his sorry ass, even if my kids would have to live without him in the home and see him 8 days a month. I want these loser women to know that I’ve survived, that their unimportant relationships with The Player meant nothing to him and didn’t ruin me.

I want them to know they aren’t important to me, either. They don’t consume my thoughts anymore because they aren’t worth it to me. I want them to know I know details about them; what they said, what they tried on my husband that he couldn’t or wouldn’t do with them. He told me about their faults, their insecurities. He told me how he manipulated them into staying interested in him. I’ve read their texts, seen a picture of naked fake tits and their kids and The Player has shared intimate details about them and their lives with me. I’ve read their emails to The Player and he told me details about their encounters. He told me why he believed each one of them was desperate for his attention and how easy it was for them to agree to fuck him.

He’s gone into great detail about how he felt about each of them and it’s not pretty. He’s not talked to any of them post disclosure except for an awkward hello at a conference because it was in front of a group of people and those people knew they were friends and it would have been hard to ignore her. I wish they knew that once he saw how they used each other he felt shame about them, about what he did. He felt disgusted. He felt evertyhing about them was mistake that he didn’t understand at the time until he looked at his real problems, until he looked at himself. When he felt better by making them giggle or getting their attention and flirting back, his feeling better was so fleeting. He thought it would, it never did.

I know they aren’t worth my time, I know this. Yet, I want them to know I’m not a pushover, and that the person they knew was the lying Player, the gross one who went after gross desperate women. Them.

I want them to know that he has done the work that is required to be in my company. I want them to know that The Player considers himself lucky. Priviledged to be near me and to be able to show his love to me. He feels like he can truly be himself and he is grateful for the chance I have allowed him. He’s amazed at the amount of grace and compassion I’ve given him. He told me yesterday he was surprised each morning he wakes up and I am still next to him.

I want them to know these things, but why? I guess so they don’t think they pulled something over on me in the end. That I know it all. I wish I could send them a note and tell them these things, but you know, I don’t want them to know I gave them the 20 minutes in time out of my life it took to write this.

 

Faking Healing and Healing.

Since I am through the PTSD trauma of that horrible d-day and weeks and months following in which The Player fucked up multiple times and hurt me, and lucky me, has now been seared into my beautiful brain from over 2 1/2 years ago, I’m trying to figure out how to navigate my next steps.

I’ve done my part. I allowed The Player time in our home to get his fucked up self some help that has helped. During the last year and greatly the last eight months The Player has been highly motivated to fix himself. First for me and us, which didn’t work, then finally for himself, which was and is the only way this will work with us. I did give him a lot of grace and compassion and in doing so and it has been difficult for me to hang in there. I’m sort of surprised I did, if I’m honest, because he did not make hanging on easy.

I got my own therapy and help in multiple ways. I’ve written here and privately. I’ve tried alternative therapies including hypnosis. I’ve built a community of partners who have been betrayed so we can support each other and that has helped me feel normal in my craziness. I have let go of a lot of pain and resentment, not for him or us, but for myself. I started paying more attention to me and less to him. I’ve made a conscious decision to stay with him and let go of a lot of some bullshit in order to move on to create a calm and peaceful home for my kids and myself.

Truth be told, my kids were the only thing keeping me here for a many number of these months. They are a great reason to do so and I feel a lot of pride that in the face of great personal pain, I put them first. I do love him, but I have struggled wondering if I love the idea of who he was and what we had? Or do I love him as a person, even if I didn’t know all of the parts of him for 20 years?

The Player has done a lot of work on himself and he’s doing well. I even like the person he is becoming and if I was just meeting him,  on the outside he’d look like a great catch. Because he has continued to work on himself (and let’s fucking face it, it didn’t hurt he passed a polygraph just a couple of months ago) I want to move forward for my kids and our family unit. For me too? Not quite yet. I’m hoping to get there someday and in order to get there, I am faking it.

Until I make it, I suppose. Since I am generally a happy person, I am acting like a happy spouse. A happily married spouse. I am helpful, supportive. I am charming, even. I do all of the things I did before (his acting out of 20 years was realized) and in the 2 1/2 years since d-day but I am doing those things more calmly and seemingly joyfully. I welcome home The Player with a hug and a kiss. I have let go with enough of the resentments I have towards him that I’m able to  do things for him without hatred or wishing him pain. I am surprised by how my positive behavior changes are helping me with my attitude and caring towards The Player and the marriage. Is that fake, too?

I doubt it’s THE answer to our healing woes, but maybe it’s a step in the right direction. I had the realization, as per usual, that I am the reason our family is together. If this works, I am the reason it will. It’s taking a great amount of discipline and caring of my children to make this marriage work. I am a badass to do this, I don’t mind telling you.

I think it might take me a while to let go of the resentment towards him that he put me in this position in the first place.