Detached therapy.

I went to therapy with The Player recently. I went because his/our therapist asked us to come in three weeks  post detaching and because I felt bad for The Player, who basically had pegged everything right – I am pulling away and it’s good for me, bad for us.

He cried a lot during this appointment. He usually pushes down crying but there was so much at this appointment he wasn’t able to. He cried the hardest when he told me he is desperate to stay together, he knows he is asking too much of me to stay with him above all, he wants me to be happy, even if it means we can’t be together. He apologized again for all he’s done to hurt me. The strange thing about that is he intellectually knows what he did to hurt me but has little to no empathy for me. This has become decidedly clear since the trip in which he failed so miserably to communicate with me.

He might have a chance of getting it but not right now because he is so focused on himself – as selfish people do – that he can’t really take in my pain. He can see it when we talk about it and he’s seen it for over a year now. During therapy he tried to show that he understood my pain and when he started to talk, he AGAIN explained why he couldn’t do this or that on that goddamn trip. I had to leave the room. I said, “I need a minute. I have to leave for a minute.” Our therapist said, “I hope you come back.” I had to leave or I was going to scream and I didn’t want to. When I returned the therapist was talking about empathy and what it means to be empathic, as an explanation to my husband, The Player. I sit there, quiet, shocked that my “beloved” husband has to be told what empathy was:

em·pa·thy
ˈempəTHē/
noun 1. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Fuck if we finally realized The Player doesn’t have the ability to be empathic. I guess I mistook his concern for me and his noticing my sadness as being empathic but he most definitely is not. It was confirmed by our therapist, who said it would benefit The Player to write details about the impact on me. Take each point about things I’ve said and really think about how it has impacted me.
I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer, but no way can he do this right now. He does not have it in him. Like I said before, he does not have the capacity to do much else than go to therapy, go to group and go to SAA meetings once a week. There’s work and regular life too. I’m somewhere down there towards the end, but he will argue he’s doing everything to fix him so he can fix us. He said it’s his end goal to fix us.
I think an important point in the equation is going to be having some empathy for me, asshole.

The Things I Know

I know I love my husband

I know my husband loves me (as much as possible for him)

I know I can survive without him and without my marriage.

I know the distance is helping me, hurting us.

I know I could be in the beginning of the end of my marriage.

I know I love myself.

Oh the smugness!

Mine that is. It hit me today unlike before that for the last two decades I’ve held up my marriage as an example. An example to the world! “Look at us! We struggle! We work through it because we’re dedicated, loving, caring people! Especially to each other!”

Turns out it wasn’t that way at all. Perhaps it’s karma’s way of biting me in the ass. A hard bite, at that.

I’d thought it was so good and respectful and reciprocal. I was reading the Chump Lady’s book and one of the things she writes about one of the most painful things to realize is that when this happens – especially at the length The Player’s betrayals – you lose your story. I was always to proud about our story of togetherness, our mutual admiration and respect. I loved that we were faithful and I used to say, quite smugly, “He always puts me first. In every decision, he always puts me first.” When I’m tired and out of my mind, I think I must have brought all of this on by being so smug about my wonderful marriage to The Player.

Karma showed me.

Me day, not V day.

So I had dinner with a friend for Valentine’s Day. There’s was just so much fucking pressure to have a red heart kind of date that I didn’t want to live up to so I said nada. Luckily we’ve never held Vday in high esteem anyway that it didn’t matter to The Player that I wanted to go out with a friend. The Player did want to go out the night before Vday and gave me a necklace and a card in sort of non celebration of Vday.

We had a nice dinner, great sex (as per usual) and a serious discussion-free night. It was good. My head is spinning a bit from my conversation with the other spouse as well as The Player’s enlightened discussion about how (all of a sudden, to me) he IS working the program. We had a short conversation today about that and he admits, he wasn’t clear that he was digging into the program to “work it” and I expressed my thought that he’s saying this now because he’s scared and nervous I have a toe out of the door. He disagreed vehemently.

I do know a lot about 12-step programs and there isn’t really a way to fake it. I’m going to know and his CSAT is going to know but the most important way to tell is that a 12-step program is a lot of fucking work. It takes a lot of fucking work and to go through, you really have to go through it. It’s not something you can really half-ass your way through.

I’m wondering if he’ll share that moral inventory of his with me. Can’t wait to see if his matches up with the one I have for him.

A relapse.

Not him, surprisingly. It was me. I had a fucking relapse. The Player got me into a quick discussion about us. He’s so smooth it just sort of “happened.”

Shit. I guess one relapse isn’t too bad. Unless it’s to fuck someone else I suppose.

I had a discussion with a betrayed wife my counselor set me up with because I wanted to talk with someone who stayed in a marriage after years of hidden behaviors. It was good for me. Really, really good. She confirmed a lot for me about where I was in the process and I feel validated.

It’s been hard for me to locate betrayed spouses with two decades of hidden affairs who had marriages that worked. I’m finding out that it is due in a large part to the unwillingness for some people to do some shitty, hard work for years, not weeks or months. I can see why they cut bait and run. I honestly think The Player is doing all he can manage. Unfortunately, it’s not enough for me.

I’d explained to her my new-found detaching and the few events which led me to this phase. First, the overall feeling he isn’t doing what we agreed on, second, the fucking trip where he failed miserably to do what was agreed on and expected and third, his explanation that he wasn’t sure he was a “sex addict” and therefore wasn’t working the steps/program. She and I agreed, he’s doing enough for himself to get by with me and I explained about how he said he’s at “capacity,” I was fearful there wasn’t anymore for him to give. He’s not exactly a deep person or self-reflective, so this therapy and introspective plan is a huge leap for him. While I believe he is sincere in that he wants to do the work, I’m not sure he has it in him, you know what I mean?

The Player was curious. That’s how the conversation started. “So, how did it go? Do you feel better?” I told him yes, I did because I had one light bulb moment. I explained she made me cry in one part of the conversation and it was about the fucking trip and his miserable lack of contact. I told her about all the triggers I had around the trip about him, me, time of year, anniversaries of happy events and anniversaries of sad events. I told her we discussed his contact level. I went on to tell him she said, “It sounds like he really abandoned you when you needed him to show up the most.”

BAM! Tears flowed.

She’d  hit it. I didn’t understand why until she said it exactly that way. It’s why that trip was such a pivotal point for me in determining what my next step was because I knew I didn’t want to go on like that, fuck that bullshit.

Two points The Player made about our current situation. One: he said he never told me he didn’t want to work the program, just that he was working the first step slow. What the fuck did you say? On more than one occasion I told him I wasn’t happy that we’d agreed he would do a 12-step program and he wasn’t following through. Not once did he mention he was working the first step slow.

Two: regarding the trip, he got a little agitated and irritated when I brought up the contact on the phone’s observation of his abandonment. He actually got defensive, AGAIN with all the “I’m doing all I can” bullshit, even though I and his/our counselor said he was being defensive about it, he went through the many reasons trying to create legitimacy of why he failed to do his part. It felt like is was just another “it was beyond my control” conversation. Again. Mutherfucker, you’re going to pull that shit again?

I said “Wait. What one goddamn mutherfucking minute. I am tired of you defending your non-action on that fucking trip.” I started crying. He tried to interrupt me a few times during my final words. “Let me finish and quit interrupting me!”  I went on to say, “You know what would have been great on any number of the fucking times you’ve explained defensively might I add, why you didn’t do well with connection on that trip?  YOU WANT TO KNOW? I would have liked you to sincerely say, “Listen sweetie, I’m so sorry I hurt you. I failed during that trip and I know it. I know you needed more connection from me, I did and when I didn’t do that, I should have been sensitive to how horrible that made you feel and I just wasn’t. I hate that I created this situation for you and for the pain when I travel. On this particular trip especially, I didn’t make you feel better and I’m so, so very sorry.”

That would have been nice on any of the given 10 times he was defensive during his long explanations of why he couldn’t/didn’t reach out to me on that trip.

He said, “I’m sorry. I get it now.”

I said, “I’m done with this conversation.” and I walked away.

 

Dammit, the sex is still good.

When we covered the rules about my detaching I decided not to give up physical contact and affection unless The Player thought it’d be easier. At mention of my detaching and ground rules, he said, “Maybe no sex!?! I’m going to be very worried if we’re not connected somehow in some way with each other. If sex and affection are all you’ll give me, I’ll take it.”

He knows me well. There really has to be a big goddamned crisis going on for me to not want to fuck him. I’ve always been able to separate life and fucking. We’ve always been able to connect in that way. It was a great way for us to lovingly be together without talking. Like I’ve said before, we are really good at it. He’s excellent in bed and an extremely thoughtful lover, which makes it hard to give up right now. I mean, my fucking world has imploded, I have to give up my orgasms too? That ain’t right. So I shut down that idea of mine pretty fast and he was relieved.

Ironically enough, the “sex addict” doesn’t need much sex. He’d have been fine if we had sex 1-2 times a week. Me? Not so much. I could fuck him every day. (this boggles a friend’s mind) so I have to compromise somewhere in the middle.

I could take him or leave him right now. If I could still take him, that is.

Tempted

At any given point in the day thoughts come to me about the affairs or our marriage that I want answered by The Player. Of course, I’m not talking to him about the affairs or us and so, this has been hard but is getting easier. As I have these thoughts, I jot them down in the notes app on my phone for another day or for never, if that’s how this all plays out.

The notes stare at me some days, begging to be read out loud to my cheating, liar husband and he would gladly take any questions from me now that he knows the difference between talking about us and not talking us.

He is worried – as he should be – about us not talking about us or working on us in therapy together. At least once or twice a day he mentions in someway how uncomfortable he is with this arrangement because he believes I am pulling away from him and our marriage. I usually reply, “Oh well. Sorry.” When he talks about being uncomfortable, I’m tempted to pull out my list on my phone and get back into a deep discussion with him until I remember how peaceful it’s been since I made this decision.

I’ve been at peace. I think I am in limbo but a friend reminds me that making the decision not to be entangled and to detach is making a decision to be out of limbo and to be at peace. Being at peace is a pretty good place to be at after the months and months of being jerked around first by his lies, then his decision to omit, then by his decision he doesn’t have the “capacity” to do what I need in order to heal our marriage.

We all have decisions to make. I’m no longer living at the whim of a decision by The Player. Those days are done.

The Detatching

So, two weeks ago I alluded to The Player that I might want to detach a little bit, slow down on our reconciliation activities together. One week ago I told him I most certainly had decided to do it because of a few main reasons.

1. He’d been asking what he could do, I had been telling him and he wasn’t doing it, which was pissing me off and hurting me.

2. I needed some peace. I felt like our entanglement was hurting me.

3. I was ready to move into another phase (I don’t like limbo and felt it was largely limbo).

4. I decided he was changing what we had agreed on that he would do and that was something that took me a long time to realize and a short time to realize it made me uncomfortable; like I had little control of the direction. In this, of all the things I know, I know what I need to heal me and he wasn’t cutting it.

Last week I stopped checking his social media accounts, emails, history on his computer, stopped having discussions about “us” and our future and reconciliation. I removed very nearly all affair related materials off of my computer and put it on flash drives. Yes, drives, there was a lot of information as you might imagine with multiple affair partners, proof, communications with most of them and since he remained friendly with almost all of his partners, this was easy. I just backed off completely, much to his surprise and relief. Except he’s worried about us, which he says causes more stress.

So, it’s been a week and it isn’t horrible. I think that is good because my quality of life is better since this change has taken place and worse because I think my ease into this transition might mean I am letting go of him, of us.

Maybe I am.

I think in order to protect myself I do have to let go. Before this change, I felt a little bit like a rag doll because thrown around without much thought by The Player and it’s good to be done with that phase. I don’t feel like I’m at the mercy (pathetically so) of the progress The Player’s “recovery” any longer.

In a couple of weeks we are going in for an appointment with his/our therapist as a check-in to see how detaching is working for us. Ironic we’re going into to talk about not talking. I am not sure what I’ll say then, but today, I’d say I’m better off being untangled from the man I’ve called my husband for over 20 years.

I am not sure we will be married much longer. This is largely the first period throughout the past several months that I’ve been processing that fact. It’s a sad fact and it’s not where I wanted us to get to, but here we are. I didn’t cause it and I can’t fix it.

He has to fix it, that much I know.

If he can’t fix this, I’m at peace with it enough to move on knowing I did all I could. I think that’s the difference between what I was feeling a few weeks ago and now. Now I feel like I can tell the kids I did everything I could and their dad either wasn’t capable or willing to do what it took.

Communication with Wives and Whores

As I’m pulling back from my relationship and husband, I am thinking a lot about what I want from him and if I think it’s possible he will provide. I guess only he really knows that, right?

I think a lot about the emails and text messages between he and his affair partners I have recovered since I found out about the affairs. I found some 3000+ messages. I know behavior is different with wives than affair partners (Fantasy!) because well, new romance is different than long-lasting love. It just is. That’s why affairs look so good in the beginning and why people who leave their marriages for affair partners often regret doing so. Real life can never live up to what they had when they had during the affair with no children, no household chores and responsibility and less time around each other.

He spent all day and night communicating with the last affair partner. He doesn’t do that with me. In fact, comparing his behavior on a recent trip with me and previously with this last affair partner, it was a lot different. Calls and texts to her non-stop (remember I have phone logs, text messages and emails) and barely calls to me, with very little contact with calls. His contact with me was lackluster, at best. I don’t give a shit if you are “going to dinner.” I want to know you’re thinking of me, not just doing the obligated check in.

The content of his communication is also a factor. I realize he was caught up in a whirlwind and trying to entice her into fucking him and then to keep fucking him and it wasn’t real (emotions) with the whore, but I do compare. I just do. I don’t need him to contact me all day and night (fuck that would annoy me) when he’s out of town, but something above a “I’m here” call or text.

Is it fair to compare? I don’t give a fuck if it is or isn’t. It counts to me.

Things I Never Thought I’d Say

There’s this on going list of things I never thought I’d say. Since the morning I found out that my asshole, liar husband – The Player – was an asshole, liar husband, I’ve said a lot of things I can’t believe had to come out of my fucking mouth.

“Are you having an affair?” (complete with phone throwing)

“I need to make an appointment for an STD panel.”

“I can’t believe you and any one of your whores didn’t give me something besides heartache and pain.”

“So, do we have an agreement? You quit fucking people and I continue to not fuck people until we decide what to do with our marriage.”

“I can’t believe you just said, “It wouldn’t be the end of the world if we got divorced.””

“So, basically you’ve been cheating our entire marriage.”

“So, I guess congratulations on passing your polygraph test.”

“Yay! My husband passed a polygraph! I know about all of the multiple affairs he’s had dating back 20 years!”

“Wait. So you have a list of women that you obsessed about that you would have gone after to fuck and then there’s a secondary list that you obsessed about probably wouldn’t have gone after to fuck. That is seriously fucked up.”

“Remind me why I should stay married to you…”

“I can’t believe this is my life.’

“You’ve left me two shitty options, I just have to figure out the less shitty one.”

“Sorry, but yes, the dates do matter to me because silly me, it does matter if you fucked someone on our anniversary.”

“Seriously? I’m sure they’d love to know you picked them because they were homely and that’s how you knew they’d say yes.”

“All the books say, if we split, you have to tell the kids you did some things that were very dishonest and hurtful to me and our marriage and that is why you have to leave the home.”