Backing up.

Remember when I wrote that The Player was having a hard time meeting all my needs? I finally figured out why. Although The Player wants to meet my needs, it turns out he is just unable. I know it’s not for lack of trying on his part. I just finally realized when I added up all of the things he was not doing great on (for me and my liking), most revolved around his lack of empathy for me.

This is a recurring theme. We’ve talked so much about empathy together and with his (our) therapist, I finally asked The Player if he even knew what it was. He said he did and that he has it, he just has a hard time communicating it and can’t find the words.

I believe he has a communication problem other than he is so fucking self-absorbed right now that he cannot see me. He. Cannot. See. Me. He can’t see me, my pain, my struggles and really take in where I am. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t feel horrible for what he has put me through. The Player has shown real remorse. His actions point to remorse and accountability. However, he is so goddamn broken, he can’t see past his own shit.

In therapy with him I finally was able to communicate my issue with his lack of empathy and how it’s impacting me. I was able to make the therapist understand it’s not that The Player isn’t trying, I do think he is. It’s that he has nothing to give me. He doesn’t have empathy for himself, how can he have any for me? He is so fucking closed off to any emotion that the emotion and caring and comfort I need from him aren’t there for me. He’s using it all to stay afloat himself. There is no way he will be able to give me anything for a good while.

So I am bowing out. I’m tired of trying to explain what I need and him listening and wanting to give it to me, but unable to at this time. I was crying when I said the words, “I need more from him that he isn’t and can’t give me. I hope he can some day but right now, I need some peace and I think he needs space and time, not necessarily me. He isn’t able to help me heal or help our marriage heal. He’s going to have to heal himself, by himself, if we even have a shot at getting to a point of working on the marriage. The Player is very uncomfortable with this new arrangement. Rightfully so.

He’s uncomfortable because I told him I’m letting go. I’m letting go of him. Our marriage. The outcome. He’s uncomfortable because I am very impatient and hate living in limbo because of my childhood. Limbo is one of the worst things for me. I had to remind The Player and the CSAT that I actually HAVE been fucking patient. In a few months, it’ll be two shitty, fucking years of patience.

I am enormously sad about this development but I’m at peace in a way, too. It’s the obvious next right thing for me. I felt unsafe in the “marriage” as it was, without the empathy piece, the 12-step program being worked so I had measures and the time and energy of his to devote to me and us, I just couldn’t do it anymore. It seemed pointless.

So, where does that leave us?

I am still figuring that out, but for now, no more counseling together. No more discussions and talks about the affairs or us. I haven’t decided about sex (which I find hard to give up, which is ironic since I am not the “sex addict”), dating or general affection towards each other. I think we can be great co-parents for sure, so I hope that the rest becomes clear to me in the next couple of weeks.

When we were leaving therapy, the counselor said something about the gift I am giving The Player and how he doesn’t really see this, a betrayed spouse with the level and length of the betrayals that The Player did against me, giving a chance like this to the betrayer. He talked about the compassion and grace I’m showing. It’s unusual. I’m unusual. I said, “The truth is, I care about him. He’s doing a lot of hard, honest work. Even if we can’t be together, I believe in him and I need him healthy for our children. Luckily, I am healthy and a fan of taking care of myself. The problem with that for The Player is that I am healthy and I know what I want and don’t want.”

11 thoughts on “Backing up.

  1. I wish you the best. I can completely understand where you both are coming from. I am experiencing some of what your husband is. I am not sure why I am not giving my wife more. I hope he saves himself for all your family and marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I appreciate it. I hope he does the work too. He has a lot of hard, sad, horrible work. If he can do it and climb out of the abyss, we have a very good shot.

      I hope you do the work for yourself too. I think for my husband (and maybe you?), he’s been so self-centered and self-absorbed during the affairs and posts affairs that it’s really hard to see my pain. If he takes in and sees my pain before he is emotionally well, I don’t think it will be fully or authentically. So, he has to figure his shit out first, then maybe we can go from there. I’m not willing to “try” when I know not getting any healing from it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • We are still living together and will probably up until I make a final decision. I won’t put my kids in limbo. It’s my desire to work it out and I am giving The Player some time and space, but not at the cost of losing my dignity and self respect. I get to say what I want this time, because he really took that away from me the last 20 years.


  2. Yes, getting empathy has been torture. I see it now, but it is not always there. It’s not like it arrives one day, unpacks its bags and moves in. It comes and goes. I hope your new arrangement helps you both.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He’s trying but he’s not really cutting it. I have to lead him too much. The only empathic things he can say are “I know it must be hard for you.” and “I know I hurt you.” Blah.

      I know his therapist now gets why WE aren’t progressing, so that is good, really good. The Player either will or won’t right. I can’t control him or the outcome so it’s best to let all of that go.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I agree with you. We lead them too much. It won’t work. But the empathy does take time. All I can say as we sit here going through the same exact things as you, is that empathy takes a huge toll on them. They are self protecting because I think instinctively they know that if they dive too deep too fast into empathy, they will drown. That’s my impression after seeing some real, solid empathy, and then not seeing it again. The worst for me is when I am down and I say, “how could you have hurt me so bad… ” and he goes into some long, drawn out text book crap about how the addiction works. I effing know how the addiction works, but how could YOU do THAT to ME. I really just want him to break down and say, I don’t know. As soon as I hear something that most likely came out of the “white book,” I want to scream.

        You are right, they either will or won’t work their recovery and there is nothing we can do. We weren’t enough before for them to not do their behavior, or stop their behavior, we won’t be enough for them to recover. They have to do it themselves. My husband and I have talked at length about his moving into his own furnished apartment for a minimum three months if he stagnates on his 12 step recovery (keeping in mind our kids are grown, but still, it’s that important that they have no crutches, no excuses). This whole sitting around taking months to do a step… there’s a fine line between being kind to yourself and going gently into this and just plain doing nothing and being lazy because it’s too difficult. They’ll never recover that way. And then, two months, six months, 12 months down the road they are back at their lies and feeding their addiction because that is how insidious addiction is. Anyway, I hope you feel good about your decision. I think it sounds like the right one. If Blue Eyes hadn’t had a break through with his empathy and communication a couple months ago, he would be living in an apartment right now. You are not alone!

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I feel really good. I have worked really hard to not be reactionary, to be patient, to practice compassion and kindness because I sincerely believe he wants to work it out and is doing that. But he is too effed up for me to entangle myself anymore so I am for sure stepping out.

    If our kids were grown I know I would have asked for physical separation.

    As always, thanks for your support and for sharing your story. I’m so appreciative.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OH! Yeah, we are done waiting on him to work steps. If he thinks 12 step isn’t for him, that’s fine, but he had better have some kind of personalized program worked out with his CSAT that gives me measurements for check ins. Or we are done. That is not negotiable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, if they are not going to be in a 12 step group, they have got to be doing something else just as intense. For my husband, the CSAT is just not enough, but maybe that is because his CSAT knows he is in 12 step. Who knows. The 12 step gives my husband so many resources when he needs them, and even when he doesn’t think he needs them. I have probably said this before, but I never really embraced 12 step before I saw my husband make some serious strides after doing the first steps. I ignorantly thought it was a bunch of addicts sitting around being addicts or commiserating with each other for being addicts, but it doesn’t work that way. I mean, some guys are still going to do that, but the program is set up for healing. I can see how finding the right group can be difficult. Everyone has their own path and as long as they are living in their own reality, have resources, and don’t let themselves off the hook, even for a short period of time, I’m sure it all works… it is all about what is going on inside them, and we will never see that. So we take care of ourselves instead and do the best we can. I get it, I really do.


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