You know you’re a badass, right?

Since shit went down a year and a half ago and I found out I was married to a cheater for 20 years, I’ve come across a number of amazing spouses who have also been through the same hell. Our hells are similar and they’re different. One thing that is true is we are all fucking badass for surviving what we have survived.

Let’s take a look at some of the things we’ve survived. We’ve survived finding out, rather shockingly, that our loving spouses are mutherfucking liars and anything but loving. Some of us were newly married, some of us together decades. We were either alone while we discovered that we were married to an asshole or we were sitting with someone and maybe even the asshole themselves. Some of us took a huge breath in and held it because we were hoping when we exhaled slowly the ground around us wasn’t giving way and opening up to swallow us in a black hole.

We’ve survived the shitty knowledge that our spouses have fucked other people. The same spouses that made a vow to love us and honor us. Some of us have even survived our spouses fucking our best friends. We’ve read emails and text messages from our beloveds professing their love for their affair partners, we’ve read first-hand about their disdain for us. Our spouses have casually talked about our children to their lovers. They’ve even used the cute family nicknames of our kids and shared our kids’ pictures with their loves and can you believe some had the fuckity fucking gall to introduce our kids to their lovers.

We’re still standing – mostly – after learning truth after brutal truth through intuition and detective work, having to develop a skill we never thought we’d need. Some of us spouses have been sitting in the offices of people we don’t know – therapists who specialize in infidelity – who are “supporting” our spouses through their “full disclosure” to us about the disgusting things our spouses have done. We’ve learned they paid prostitutes and escorts. They’ve had multiple affairs for multiple years. They’ve had sex on our marital beds, in their cars, holy fuck, they’ve had sex in our cars, the same cars they carry their children to and from school and church. Some of our spouses left to go on dozens of business trips into the waiting genitals of someone else, making their traveling their own special me time. We’ve sat through learning some unbelievable, mutherfucking shit, haven’t we?

We’re amazing, we’re completely badass and our cheating, fucked up spouses don’t even deserve us. You and I both know it. They’ve taken our devotion and love and taken advantage of it because they are selfish assholes who only thought of themselves and in some cases still only think of themselves.

You know another reason we’re badasses? We are keeping our heads above water, all the while dealing with the pain bestowed upon us and we’re working our asses off to figure this shit out. Most of the burden of someone else’s choices fall on us. Should we stay or should we go? We’ve got the patience of saints, the tenacity of search and rescue dogs and the strength of grizzly bears. Most of us have bigger things to think about than our spouses fucking someone else because someone has to and we’re those only ones who haven’t lost their mutherfucking minds. Someone has to think straight so we sometimes have to set aside and stuff down our pain and sorrow to think about our family, home and our children. Someone has to put the kids first and it’s up to us. We’re amazingly compassionate, sometimes to our remorseful partners and sometimes to ourselves when we know our marriage is over.

Some of us are trying to stay married even though odds are our spouses will cheat on us again. Day after day we have had to face the realization that we’re in marriages with fucked up spouses who are cheaters. Day after day we have to think about going or staying or starting over. Any which way you look at it we have to cope somehow, someway. We have learned to figure it out as we go because nothing is the same or ever will be the same. Our worlds shattered, our heart closed. We are amazingly resilient to be surviving this and to have survived this bullshit.

We’re a heap of smart, caring, loving badasses. Don’t you forget it.

The Schedules of Cheaters

Since we dropped them in January, The Player nearly begged to get our scheduled affair/relationship talks back into our lives because he was concerned we were going in the other direction. He asked for three times a week, I agreed to one. Today is that day.

Yippee!

So, my life now revolves around scheduled talks, keeping our family’s life moving, making sure I’m detached from The Player so I’m not obsessing about him and his shit and of course, couples therapy.

It’s fucking pathetic. The thing that annoys the shit out of me is that I didn’t create one fucking piece of this misery, yet here I am having to deal with the fallout. He fucked things up but I am paying the fucking price. If I want my kids to have an intact family, I have to live my life with a goddamn, mutherfucking liar. Even if he can “transform,” he is still and will always be the man who lied to me for the first 20 years of our marriage.

He will have you believe none of his (literal) fucking other women was planned. Apparently his dick ended up in the vagina of (free) whores everywhere just by chance. He actually said, “I didn’t know sex was going to happen until we were in the elevator kissing.” He will have you believe that they were all flirting friends because of business or the way he is and that all the fucking, “Just happened.” and he will have you believe that they aren’t really “affairs” in the first place.

What the fuckity fuck did I just type?

You read that right. He didn’t consider these ongoing “relationships” with these women affairs because he didn’t buy them gifts, carry on with them outside of conferences or even fuck them at every conference even though they could have, he wasn’t obsessed like he was with his last whore and because they didn’t invade his life with me.

What. The. Actual. Fuck?

I’m done talking about this today but I have a little handy list for discussion with the therapist as well as for our next Thursday chat.

First question up? “If there were no plans like you say and you ended up in elevators kissing people, which led you to fucking people, what are all the emails back and forth between you and some of them lining up your travel schedules? What was the line to whore #something, “I forget, do we have travel planned in next month or do we need to create a trip?””

So, wait? That was making no plans and having no communications like “real affairs”? Answer me that, mutherfucker.

The Last Word

“Is this it? A divorce? Is this how it’s going to end?”

I spoke those words in the car on the highway after date night. It wasn’t supposed to go like this, our night out. We were going to go out to a simple dinner, a new place. Just a couple of hours then back home. Easy. Relaxing.

I guess the week’s stressors got to me and I broke my rule. I asked a question that led to a statement by him, which pissed me off. It wasn’t even an explosive conversation as much as it was a sad one. We’re at a crossroads, I think.

He’s not doing everything I need.

He’s doing everything he can.

In the past I said he’s at capacity. I believe it. I know he can’t handle anything else. It’s not a cop out, it’s just the fact. I know him well and he doesn’t manage a lot very well. Right now he is managing a lot yet I don’t know how to lower my expectations of what I need to heal the marriage, to heal us.

We both admit it’s not a great place to be and I feel like if we have a shot at working, I’m going to have to expect less than what I want right now, which doesn’t seem fair to me. I mean damn it already, I’ve already had so much taken from me, haven’t I? It doesn’t seem fair that for two decades he cheated on me and cheated me out of having an authentic marriage and family. It doesn’t seem fair that he’s taken my peace of mind, my security, everything I believed to be true and just fucked with it in order to make himself happy, all at the expense of me and then now I have to expect less than I want?

I realized he cheated himself too, I know, but that shit was his choice, sex addict or not, it was his fucking choice. He was doing what he knew to be wrong and he never tried to stop it. He lived a surface life, only connecting so much with me, his children, friends. I suppose only his whore “friends” knew his true identity. They knew he was a cheater and a liar and they accepted him for that, but then they only saw one side of him: the confident guy, the one who can make you smile and laugh and feel good about yourself. Based on what he’s told me sexually, they didn’t even get the best of him sexually. What a waste of space, time and emotion. What a waste of a good, strong marriage.

So I said the words. “Do you think it’s time for us to plan on you moving out?”

He said, “Is that what you want? Would it make it easier on you?” Me, “Yes. But I think if we separate right now, we’ll probably end up divorcing.”

“Then we’re not separating. We’re not at that point, are we? No. We’re not. We’re not going to talk about divorce right now,” he said, firmly.

“But we just did.” I said, then I cried. Then he completely shut down for the rest of the night.

Well okay, then.

I got a call from The Player’s relative, who was sort of representing a group of The Player’s relatives. She said “we” a lot, as if to tell me there was a group of people rooting for us!

Key phrases from her:

We really do love you. We are not against you. I hope you know that.

We really want to see you work it out.

It’ll be better on the other side.

I’m not sure I even want to know any more. (When I mentioned the cheating went back two decades)

Yeah, we’re really worried about the kids, too.

I hope you can forgive him and move on.

I’m heartbroken for you both.

I just hope you don’t make any quick decisions.

You do have had a lot of grief.

+++++++

Key phrases from me:

I don’t think you’re against me, but I can’t say I think you’re for me, either.

I’m most worried for the kids. I don’t care about me, I’m so terribly worried about the kids. A strong family life is something I knew we could give them in their uncertain lives.

I don’t know how I am going to live with his history. It’s pretty bad. Twenty years and with people I know?

I’m only heartbroken for me and the kids. The Player made his choices. Many times.

It’s my wish to work it out, I just don’t know if I can do it, if I can forget our entire life together and start over because I understand that is what it is going to take.

I think it’s best for the kids and The Player to work it out but I can’t say it’s best for me.

Well, The Player has all the comforts of home right now, he’s not doing too poorly.

I don’t know how to look at my whole life with him and know it was a lie. All of it. He was really good at living a double life. He is very closed off, not introspective or insightful so this journey of his isn’t going to be easy, if he can do it at all.

I can’t believe this is my life.

Broke it for years.

I didn’t break it, I can’t fix it.

I don’t know where I saw that but I typed it in notes on my phone, which makes me think it was online somewhere on a forum or sex addict spouses’ group’s website.

I didn’t break it but I sure have to fucking deal with the fix, don’t I? I resent the fuck out of him. How do I get over that? The CSAT says over time, the pain, which is a gapping, open wound, will one day scar over. I’ll know it’s there because I can see it and feel it, but it won’t be painful anymore.

He also said something I remember well. He said I won’t really be out of turmoil to a place of any type of healing until 24 months from full disclosure.

What. The. Actual. Fuck?

Remember I’ve already had almost a year and a half since he admitted a slip, an affair, nothing, he said. So if you add that year and a half to the two years the CSAT said it would take me to find my footing, it’s three and a half years of me and our marriage in limbo. Three and a half years in a marriage I don’t want with a husband who treated me so badly that it’s hard to believe sometimes. Three years in a marriage watching and waiting for him to “recover” from his fucked up “addiction” (or character problem).

I’m not sure I can’t do it. The Player is asking me to do it, to give him just this one chance to make it right, to fix himself, to be the kind of husband I thought I had and the kind of person he wants to be. I want to do it, I just don’t think I can.

My resolve changes all the time, this week I think, “I”m fucking done with this shit.”

That is where I am today and probably tomorrow. Probably next week it will change again. I’m just noticing I’m in the “I’m done!” a lot more lately. 

Too good.

I’m too good for him.

That sounds fucking horrible doesn’t it? Righteous. I’ve only said that out loud to a couple of people to hear but I said it sort of kidding but I really wasn’t kidding.

I’m not kidding. I’m too good for him. The ironic thing is when he had his fucking fake persona I thought HE was too good for me. He came from a stable family without huge issues, his parents stayed married, he was raised in a church he attended weekly for his whole life, he was a “good” guy, he was successful, caring, smart and if I look closely, insecure at times with his own ability. Not often did he let that show. He was the hero in my family, the one who bailed out his sisters and my brothers if needed.

When I was speaking to someone who also has a cheating, liar, “sex addict” for a husband but way farther down the road in recovery, I told her, “I know it sounds bad and I know I’m not perfect, but…. (pause), I really think I’m too good for him.” She said, it was no doubt, I am, but that has nothing to do with figuring out if I’m going to stay with him or not. If he fixes his sorry fucked up ass maybe I wouldn’t be too good for him, but right now I am. Face it.

Once in therapy we were talking about how one of the whores ended up on a business trip, hiding in his hotel room for four days and how another whore met him for a couple of days at a resort on the way to a business trip. Yeah, I thought he was working. He was a mutherfucking Player. He pleaded that it really wasn’t what I thought, that he hadn’t “invited” them to come, they just sort of just ended up there after saying, “Why don’t I come?” and he didn’t say no. Recently, he said about the many other women who adored him, “I couldn’t say no to them or they might not adore me any more. I just couldn’t say no.” I told him I had to disagree with that because for the past two fucking DECADES he’s said no to me, basically saying FUCK YOU WIFE, NO, YOU DON’T GET WHAT I PROMISED YOU. He’s said NO to monogamy. He’s said NO to character and morals. He very much was fast and hard when he said FUCK NO to our marriage vows.

We’re all broken in our own way, I suppose. It’s his broken ass that has really fucked me up, from the core. The very foundation of everything I believed in is gone. Never to return. Now people – him, therapists, other betrayed spouses – talk about new beginnings, opportunities to grow, fresh starts, forgiveness and having a “deeper” marriage than before. Fuck that and the fucking betrayal they rode in on.

I was pretty happy in the one I thought I was in, minus the inauthentic, fucking liar cheater, “sex addict,” of course.

Detached Marriage

There isn’t a way to detach from the chaos of the “sex addict” and hang on to the marriage. It is not possible for me because in order to detach from the addict I have to back out of a lot of discussions that could benefit the marriage.

I have a lot of things to say and The Player was right, they are bubbling to the surface waiting to explode in his fucking face. I have a lot of questions still about the timeline of the affairs and some details of the affairs and the people, most of which I knew or knew were work colleagues. I want a few more details, mostly on timing and money.

I’m detached now mostly from discussions, except for a therapy visit a couple of times a mont and don’t feel I can ask him about details anymore. Then, I remember a condition of his staying in the home was to work a 12-step program and I don’t think by definition he is “working” is very hard. He goes to weekly meetings and has only reached out to his sponsor three times that I know of in four months although they do see each other weekly at a meeting but not before or after as to work on any of the steps.

Do I have the right to find out what is happening with his 12-step program of recovery? Or is that crossing the line of detaching that I’ve put in place?

The Player’s Words

Since therapy a couple of weeks ago, The Player is trying to be more thoughtful about what he says, about listening and about really hearing me.

It became clear he needs to up his game in the empathy department. He’s not considered me and my feelings for so long that he completely shut out how I feel about anything. His counselor told him he wasn’t getting it and that instead of repeating how he is sorry he did this or that because of this or that he needed to start considering what I was saying. So in addition to hearing what I say, really listening to my words and my pain and take them in.

Later that day, I emailed the counselor to ask him if empathy could be learned or if you don’t learn it you never will. He said unless the person is a true sociopath, empathy could be learned. He said there would have to be a long time without destructive behavior in the way of him learning it that it’s like a muscle that atrophies without enough use.

The real question is, can The Player do it? Can HE learn empathy or can he retrain those muscles to walk again? I don’t know. It’s one of the big questions I have right now and I’m not really getting any answers. I’ve backed so far away we don’t really talk about deep things unless we are with his counselor so it’s hard to say if he is getting closer to really taking in what he’s done. I know he feels shame and guilt but aren’t those two things as a result of getting caught? They aren’t really taking in how deeply he hurt me. He says the right words, “I know I have no reason to ask for another chance because of how badly I’ve hurt you.” But the empathy isn’t there. He’s confused about what empathy is, really.

His words are just that; words. Actions are what will speak louder. If you look at the cards he’s given me over the years in most of them he says something about how he hopes he shows me with his actions how much he loves me.

I heard him loud and clear.

He wants me to stay?

He’s got a long way to go.

The Emptiness is Deep

At therapy recently his (our?) counselor focused a lot on the negativity The Player has surrounding everything. He’s always been an Eyeor, a kind of glass half-empty kind of person. I’ve always been more chipper, more a glass half-full kind of person. I’ve thought about that a lot, both while sitting in the therapist’s office as well as once we left his office and made the drive home and back to work.

We had a dance, The Player and I. The dance involved my supporting him and his existing in a form of chaos, while not really thriving on it. He certainly loved relishing in the successes out of the chaos. It fed his ferocious need for ego boosts, which turned out to be impossible. Feeding that need also resulted in finding, the flirting, the chasing, the sex, the knowing he could fuck them anytime he wanted and not lose them, the obsessing about women he met or saw, and to the always rotating “hit list” (in two tiers including one list of women he visually liked and thought and fantasied about and one list of women he was trying to move to full affair status or would have if he had the slightest of chances) was trying to fill the ever-fucking-present hole in  his soul.

It’s not possible to fill that, though. It’s never possible to fill a hole in unauthentic ways. You can’t fill it with stuff, or vagina’s or raises or praises. You can’t fill it with getting your ego stroked or your dick sucked. You can’t get it from your partner’s praise and love and support. You can’t get it from buying sex or watching porn. Those are all temporary highs.

It comes from within. No matter what happens to us or around us, we are responsible to take care of ourselves and fill our own emptiness. Not anyone else. You get it by loving yourself, being kind to yourself and others, by giving and receiving with grace, by helping others, by figuring out what moral, legal and safe pleasures feed us. We feel good about ourselves when we feed ourselves in healthy ways, not in destructive ways.

The Player has a lot of the hole of emptiness to fill. I don’t know if he has it in him and I can’t do it for him. Honestly, I don’t know if he can. I do not know if I will be around to find out if he can do it.

Our marital roles.

I had an appointment with our counselor and we talked about many things but the one thing I am thinking about since that appointment is about our marital roles and how I reconcile our different authenticity in our two decades of marriage.

I am not perfect. I am independent in a lot of ways and dependent in some. I like to problem solve and that was annoying sometimes. I have an active social life so I was not sitting around waiting on The Player, which I think sometimes he resented although I am grateful I didn’t sit around waiting on him because, well, I needed my social circle. I have some idiosyncrasies that aren’t too much fun to put up with but The Player was giving on those areas just like I was on several things.

I was also a faithful partner. I was a great wife and mother. I was a supportive, dedicated partner who was kind and loving. I was sexual with him and happy around him. I built a warm and loving home for him and our children. I worked hard to advocate for our child who needed it and supported all of the kids through learning their way in the world. I took on all of the household responsibilities so he could focus on work although I worked as well but had a flexible schedule therefore allowing me to take care of the home, gladly. I have never been resentful for being a wife and mother and The Player would tell you he agreed with me on those items.

He went through the same motions. The Player had things I had to put up with too, like he takes a very long time to make a decision. He is methodical and it drives me crazy but I’m also grateful. He wasn’t a very deep thinking person with a lot of emotions but he made up for it by expressing his feelings in cards occasionally. He always wrote how much he hoped I would know  how much he loved me by his actions. You see how that worked out for me.

He was also a great provider and father, an excellent lover and supportive husband. He was thoughtful about how his actions impacted me and our children. He had a great sense of humor – even though not always appropriate – got us through some very hard times. He does the more manly things around the house. He just takes care of them. He’s thoughtful with things like filling up my gas tank, getting me coffee intuitively, meeting me at the car with an umbrella when my car pulls up at home, that sort of thing.

We had a deep respect for each other and it showed. Except where our vows and fidelity were concerned I guess.

Do his betrayals that covered our entire marriage negate the good points? This is a reoccurring theme, obviously. I told him it is hard to think about him in all the loving ways because of the betrayals during our entire marriage. If I gave everything and had a good marriage and he didn’t it sort of negates a lot of it for me. The Player was talking about how he was 90% good and 10% bad in our marriage (referring to the cheating as 10%). I started to explain that the 10% doesn’t seem like much but honesty, trust and fidelity are at the foundation of a marriage and without them the 90% is just nothing. It’s ruins the 90% for me.

It turns out our therapist had a great analogy about what I was trying to say and that is that if there was a lake and it was 90% pure and clean and 10% of it was toxic that it spoils to entire lake until more good water is put into or all of the water goes through a filter to clean it. That statement was exactly what I was trying to say.

. The therapist says that it depends on The Player. It seems to him that he has the desire to do the work and he has started but it’s about to get very, very hard so we will see truly what he is willing to do.

Currently our marital roles are the same in the motions, meaning we are doing all the same things without the feeling and commitment behind it (for me anyway). The Player is going to have to do some fucking good water filtering in the next few months to make a difference for me.

Because I’m starting down the road of indifference with a marital role of ex wife.

S