Merging Lies with Everyday Life

That was some day nearly a year ago that I learned the depth of the betrayals. My marriage of 20 years was with a serial cheater. A betrayer. For the last 20 years he will tell you he was also a devoted husband and father. He will tell you that his life with me is real.

How is that possible?

He’s taken time away from me and his children to fulfill a desire to have women adore him. He’s spent extra time on the road. He’s lied on the phone so he could have the life he wanted to on the road. He put his energy into other women. He continued all of the relationships in some form, even while not sexual, with the women he had sex with, in order to satisfy his insatiable need for attention and adoration.

He also took a lot of time away from his family because he spent a lot of energy covering his tracks, even introducing me to a couple of women he had sex with, or having sex with one woman I personally knew. But the women closest to him in work became the ones who “adored” him and therefore easily fuckable, apparently.

I guess he felt guilty, but you’d have to tell me how that manifested itself because guilt didn’t stop him and it didn’t change the direction of his time and affection. He was increasing his extra bold extra marital affairs. The affairs were getting closer together and overlapping. The last affair he brought into our daily life, sitting right beside me in bed while I was asleep, talking about how much he cared for her. He was caught and spent another few months trying to continue the affair because he doesn’t know why, but “he just couldn’t let it go.”

I will tell you why he couldn’t let it go. He wanted the feeling of being desired more than his family. He wanted the feeling of being desired more than the wanted his children to look up to an honest and honorable father. He wanted the feeling of being desired more than the wanted to tell the truth and be an honest person. He didn’t want to let go of the feeling the other women gave him. He put himself first during this time, not unlike the 20 years prior, so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The sex with other people, I could probably get over with remorse and hard work on himself. The lies? The betrayals? I am not so sure. What makes a person lie? What do they have to tell themselves to keep doing it?

What was my husband thinking about when he was calling me from our vacation home on a trip with one of the whores? I’d strongly encouraged him to take the trip because of the pressure he was under at work. She sat beside him as we talked about our day, the kids’ school day. What was he thinking when he called me when there was another woman in the house waiting for him to fuck her? What was he thinking as he opened the car door for her on a dates to our favorite restaurants? Or holding her hand on the the very same walking path we laughed on?

What was he thinking on all the other nights as he would talk to me to get the call him over with, only to have the evening to himself and one of his affair partners? Was there a woman sitting on or laying in his hotel bed while he made his call? He’d call home, tell me he loved me and then head down to the bar so he could laugh and drink it up and get one of the willing vaginas to come up or invite him up to their rooms.

He never really ended any of the affairs, in fact, he remained friendly with them all. He remained flirty and fun and interested in them. What did all of these women have in common? The adored him and were willing. But he didn’t let them go. From what I understand the sex wasn’t anything magical or special, in fact, he had some performance anxiety (guilty much?) on several of the occasions. I’d be stupid not to admit, that gives me a little thrill.

I can’t accept he had a real life with me in our shared tragedy and celebrations without acknowledging he was also the liar, cheater and betrayer. How do I merge those two lives?

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The Thought of Five Years

I was talking to someone about the length of time The Player’s CSAT said it would take to feel more even keel, or “better,” or maybe even healed. Nearly a year ago he said it would take 3-5 years from the last lie, and probably on the longer side for myself and The Player, if we ended up going that route.

That’s three to five mutherfucking years. Longer for our healing because of the length and nature of the betrayals. That means many whores, the depth of deception in years and the year of lies from the time I found out he was a lying liar who lied, to when he decided to fucking man up and be generous enough to bestow the truth on me, which was a (wasted) year. Right after I found out, “I want to work it out!” he said, the same hour he contacted ground zero whore through a family “friend” and a dump phone. Trauma from finding out he was a lying liar who lied and then again when I learned one lie, one more whore fucked, one more trip with one, one more lie to cover up something, one more thing he said to them, one more and so on.

That re-traumatizing bullshit? That was a horrendous thing to do to me, because he hurt me more and prolonged my suffering. During this last – I don’t know what the hell to call it – break (?) of ours, I’ve been thinking a lot about what five years out looks like.

It plays out three ways:

  1. It works. He does the fucking hard work. Well, the work and a little bit more. He does the work, agrees to annual polygraphs for however fucking long I want, keeps the current boundaries and rules he put in place for himself and stays in a 12-step program. We do okay. It’ll never be the same for me, but I’ll be married to a moral guy after twenty-some years of marriage and twenty-some years of knowing him. We stay together, retire to the beach and he never fucks anyone else. Oh, and for kicks, I will continue to NOT fuck other people, you know, as I do.
  2. It works, then it doesn’t. He does the fucking hard work, but relapses. Sure, he does the work, but I am not willing to stay if he fails a polygraph or fucks anyone else. “Slips” as they are called in the program* are the behaviors (for The Player those are drinking alone in bars, alone time in bars or dinners with women, even for business, flirting with women, trolling on Facebook for visual stimulation, excessive porn) leading to the ego strokes and then dick strokes by women, so to speak. He has a slip, catches himself before any sexual contact**, tells me, I will stay. He relapses – in any stupid mutherfucking way – I’m done. Hopefully the kids will be old enough to understand.
  3. Who the fuck cares if it works. I live in whatever limbo for the next 7ish years until all of our children are stable in lives of their own and mature enough to handle the split and then I leave. I figure I can spend the next years getting myself prepared financially and simplifying our lives. Then I leave. If I go with this solution then I can either still demand polygraphs to know I’m safe or make him wear condoms and just assume he will cheat, because if there is no safety net, no uncovered dick goes into my vagina.

My choices aren’t spectacular and honestly, staying with him in any of the choices above doesn’t really thrill me, but it’s our kids. Our kids didn’t ask to be brought into the world only to have an unstable, broken home during their teenage years. The Player made the choices he made and they impact everyone in the family. Would I be sacrificing myself for my kids? Yeah, I will be, but is there any better reason? Will I live a miserable life because of any of the choices above? No. I will not live a miserable life. I will find a way to have a rewarding, fulfilling life, no matter what. I won’t live miserably because I do not want to model that kind of living.

That’s what healthy people do. They assess the situation and make the best choice for themselves. For me, my kids’ happiness is best for me. That will absolutely work for me.  Will it suck sometimes, yes. Will I be pissed I have been back into a corner to choose between myself and my kids? Absofuckinglutely, guaranteed. Will I play the “What if…” game? I am certain I will. Will I survive it and can I create a peaceful and calm home for the kids?

Yes. That’s the choice I make.

* For The Player, that is SLAA – Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and trust me, months later and I still have a hard time believing an entire 12-step program is needed for “sex addiction” and not for just being Asshole or having a Character Problem but whatthefuckever.

**Sexual contact as described as ANY touching someone in other than a benign way, kissing, caressing any part of the body, sexual intercourse, anal/oral sex. In other words, The Player cannot pull a Bill Clinton. If he wouldn’t do it in front of me or his mother, then it is considered sexual contact.

Was it real?

As I look back over the last 25 years of my life with The Player, I often get stuck. My mind is realistic and knows that The Player wasn’t present In all the ways a husband should be during the entire marriage. Sure, he says he was in it and I suppose he went through the motions of being in it, but a big piece of him – the unhappy side that couldn’t cope with life’s challenges that so many people cope with everyday – wasn’t in it.

I think of a particular horrible time for us because of a personal, shared crisis. He came home from traveling to find me utterly broken and inconsolable. He wrapped his arms around me, reaffirmed that we would get through the crisis together, and he made me feel like we were on a team. He made me believe that we could handle this – that I could handle it. Was that a lie? Or was he present in that moment only to leave town the next week to charm a friend and fuck her? He says he was present, that he just “had this other side” to himself that was bad and wrong in very small blips of time. He even added up what he thought to be just a few months of actual time away to cheat added up together as if that would make me feel better because I had him almost all the time!

Lucky me.

I think about our current situation of the shitty back and forth of reconciliation and the question of are we the fuck in it or out of it and I always stumble back to that inconsolable night. I miss that closeness with the husband I thought I had. I miss knowing, without a doubt, he put his family first and would do anything for us. I miss the way he made me feel like he had my back, like he believed in me and us as a family unit.

I brought that horrible time up and the closeness I felt in that moment while with The Player and the therapist and spoke about how I want that again. It was on that day about a month ago that we left the therapist’s office and I agreed to reconcile.

I thought that would put us on a new path but here we are. Here I am. Not only am I on the outside of anything he is doing right now, I am alone in the marriage, and that closeness I felt on that horrible night with him ten years ago is gone.

I fear he is slowly but surely squelching any chance of that closeness right out of me. I haven’t been thinking about ways to live with him and the betrayals to move forward, I’ve been thinking how we can live as co-parents as a (new kind) family, but not in a marriage.

Those thoughts in my head are real, that much I know.

I don’t do waiting well.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I’m not a patient person. It’s just been a little over a week since The Player lost his shit and so now I wait. Mutherfucking again. I wait. I fucking hate it. I am changing the more he makes me wait.

I have been waiting for a long time for him to find his shit. It is getting old, but yet, here I sit. Somewhere around 4 hours after I went to sleep and hours before I need to get up and I contemplate why I wait.

The main reason I stare up at near blackness above me is because I wonder if I am here because I am afraid to be alone. I dismiss it as quickly as it enters my mind because I know that I would leave and be fine if it weren’t for our children. Their happiness is my happiness. I cannot be fine if they are not fine, I don’t care how many therapists say, “You know they’ll be okay, don’t you?” No, I don’t because they won’t be “fine.”

I can stay right now because there is progress, albeit slow. Also, I guess, because there is no more acting out, “At least I don’t have to deal with that right now, too,” I think to myself. My kids are worth all the tries I can give to their dad but he is not making it easy. I don’t know how long I can stand the emotional whiplash he insists on placing on me but I am truly living One Day at a Time, a favorite saying of someone I love, who has maintained many, many years of sobriety. Or I could be living an Hour at a Time, or maybe a Minute at a Time, I am unsure.

My patience and what love I thought I had for him is thinning and I can feel the change taking place as I wait for him to be able to handle his life better. I am letting go as I wait for him to work through his daddy issues, as I wait for him to handle stress without wanting to be numbed by the giggles and vaginas of other women. I can feel a change in me as I wait for him to act like a moral, decent human, I can feel myself letting go.

No matter what I tell myself, or him for that matter, I think I might be letting him go. Even while letting go, I know I will figure out how to live in this marriage – even in name only – to create a peaceful and loving home for my children. I start crying at the thought of staying in a marriage with a partner who causes me so much pain.

So I look up at blackness above me.

The Player Speaks

The Player has a lot of pressure on him right. Probably as much work pressure as I’ve ever seen in over 25 years we’ve been together. Then he has sobriety/step work, self-care, then the kids and then me. I’m at the bottom of a very long list of demands right now. After discussions last night, he was very reluctant to stop counseling, check-ins and my ability to come to him with my pain surrounding the affairs and his acting out for the last two decades.

We talked again this morning. He didn’t want to forgo discussions or counseling together, because of fear of losing me. I feel like I had to really pushed him to think about if he could or could not be there for me and he finally relented and said no, he couldn’t do it all, or at least all well. I didn’t want him to think or hope he could meet my needs for reconciliation I wanted to know if he could, not a maybe. I asked him to “please, please, spare me the disappointment again.”

He was sort of confused about what I need, which surprised me or maybe he just wanted clarification. Of course, check-ins were on the list, as well as during those once a week discussions, I would be able to get my affair questions answered, I would be able to make statements about the affairs/betrayals and we would attend counseling with CSAT together once a week. In addition, if something came up that triggered me – I used an example this past weekend – I’d be able to bring it to him for comfort, support and reassurance. He thought long and hard and finally said, “I don’t think so. I don’t want to disappoint you more.”

He was literally having a nervous breakdown last Monday and I know he has to get work stabilized or that is bad for both of us – no matter what happens with us – since he is the breadwinner.

I’m super sad, but you know, I’ve been not having my needs met for a very long time in this relationship so I should be used to it. If all goes as planned and hoped for, at the end of September we can pick back up where we are leaving off and begin the work again. I’m hopeful in the long run this will be good for him, then us.

Oblivious. 

God bless him but he is completely oblivious. As we went to bed he asked what time we are talking tomorrow morning for check-in.

What did he ask? Oh yeah. He asked what time we are doing the thing that seven days ago very nearly sent him to the looney bin. I asked him what the point was since we aren’t going to be addressing my needs for the time being and that’s what I felt those were for so I assumed they were gone. He was shocked.

We went round and round about can he meet my needs, can he not meet my needs and I still think he’s unable. I made him say the words because he has a habit of making it look like it’s not his choice when I ask if he has enough to meet my needs, by saying, “I guess not.”

I told him I’m just tired. I feel like he’s giving me emotional whiplash with his ups and downs. I told him I’ve been nothing but supportive, compassionate, and kind throughout this mess he fucking caused and I’m exhausted. I don’t know what he wants from me.

I picked up my pillow, moved to the spare room where I am now not going to sleep.

The Bedroom Scene

I do not like that we share a bed all of a sudden. I think in the next couple of days I need to decide if one of us moving out of the bedroom makes sense to me. I want to take my time to decide because I don’t want to do it out of spite. If I do it I want to do it because it will help me.

It’s ever more apparent that he is unable to meet my needs. Someone asked me if he is working “his program” for sex addiction. I have to answer that honestly. He is and boy is it ever his program. It’s nothing like I’ve seen other 12-steppers work a program but I realize not everyone is the same or needs the same or goes about working a program the same way.

There’s a reason he is still in the home. He is, by all I can tell, attending group, CSAT individual counseling, and one meeting a week. He hasn’t seen his sponsor in about a month and as far as he last told me, his sponsor has him working on a “resentment and fear list.” I haven’t seen it, don’t want to. But that is the last I heard of something he was working on for the program.

The Player is just moving at a fucking snail’s baby’s pace and that it is infuriating because I feel like I have suffered enough and put up with enough bullshit that he ought to fight like hell to work fast. I know I can’t make him work faster or a different way and honestly, I don’t want to. I don’t want to because I want his recovery to be authentic and to be authentic (if he can recover) he has to find his own way.

I want him to want to move quickly. I want him to want to fix himself. I want him to get his ass in gear and go to meetings and work on the work his sponsor is requesting but he isn’t doing it at a pace that works for me. So what am I to do?

Goddammit, it means distance again.

I think the distance by me is warranted. The Player wanted to rush it with me probably by pushing me into “reconciliation” and I let him, but not again. Not again until he shows progress in working through some steps, progress with managing his stress, and progress managing his sobriety.

I knew this would be a long haul (CSAT said to expect 3-5 years for turmoil for myself because of the length and level of the deception). I’ve been in this fucking shit nearly a year (CSAT only counts last lie as start date) so there is a long way to go, if I believe the CSAT and I do believe him.

At this point, I know if I didn’t have kids, I’d have left him and I’m willing to bet he knows that too. When he’s not meeting my needs emotionally as a husband or as a remorseful husband hoping to rebuild his marriage, I’m daydreaming. I’m daydreaming of a life where I’ve happy moved on from The Player and his slow ass fucking recovery journey.

He’s got a long way to go to stop those daydreams of mine and to help me start some other dreams that include him as my spouse.

Because right now? I want to tell any one or all of the ladies friends free whores of his they are welcome to come and pickup and keep his sorry, pathetic, cheating, lying, mutherfucking ass.

The Selfishness is Deadening

Deafening. I meant deafening but I suppose deadening applies, too. I shouldn’t be surprised, but you know what? Sex addicts are selfish mutherfuckers. The Player has been selfish for most of this nearly two year journey of hell. Otherwise know as My Life.

The crash and burn of the beginning of the week has left me floundering. Again. I feel alone in our “reconcilation” and I don’t see that letting up for the foreseeable future. I’ll have to admit though, I am trying to not look past a few days or a week into my future, so my “foreseeable future” is quite a short time into my future.

Last night I started to realize even when I am upset, crying, and/or triggered, there isn’t much help he can give me. Why you ask? Because as he can barely survive himself, I’m on the outside. By outside I mean he is putting work first, then himself and his recovery, then maybe the kids and then maybe me.

I get it, I do. But when the actual fuck do I get to be the center of his attention, the center of therapy attention, and the center of recovery attention? When does that happen, if at all?  I’m realizing it doesn’t. Not on his planet.

It is mightily unfair that I have to wait during our “reconcilation” to have my needs for healing addressed. I mean none of this fucking bullshit has been fair so what the hell am I exactly talking about? I should be used to this after all, shouldn’t I?  I’m not though. It goes against common sense that someone could be a cheater, liar, and pretender for 20+ years then make it so you have to wait for him. It goes against common sense that the cheater/liar/pretender gets all the attention, the kudos, the efforts, and the resources for his issues instead of directed to a spouse that is trying to heal to stay in the marriage. It goes against common sense that the betrayed has to wait for any goddamn thing.  Yet here I sit. Waiting. It’s like he convinced me he was ready to work on reconcilation, but he wasn’t ready to give me what I needed.  I’m distancing myself. Again. Someone needs to pay attention to my needs. It’s going to be me since I’m the one person I can depend on.

It can change on a dime. 

Monday at our regular check-in, The Player was ready at seven. He’d mentioned it the night before. He wanted me to know it was important to him. He wanted me to know that he was all over it.

Then is was 7am and he started giving me his run down…

He was feeling down and not able to snap out of it. Check!

He had legit reasons for missing group and therapy and SLAA meetings. Check!

He had no issues of slips or relapses. Check! Check!

He told me he wanted to stay in bed all weekend and wanted to sleep. Check!

As he was talking to me he was looking tired. Like he was going to fall asleep. I said, “Don’t take this the wrong way but you look horrible. You look like you will fall asleep when I am talking to you. I know you wanted to do this for me and I appreciate your commitment to do it, but I can’t in good conscious ask you questions or make statements about it to you. You can’t handle it. I can tell. You’re not at a place where you can receive it from me in a way in which I need.”

He didn’t disagree. He wanted to be there for me but he was losing his shit. Work is hell. He feels pressure about me and the kids. He came unglued and I became worried for him. I asked him if he was suicidal. He said no. While he was getting ready for work I sent a note to his CSAT to give him a heads up. I made him promise to call him or any of the men in group or the program. Or even his sponsor. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to tell them I need.” I told him it didn’t matter. Just let them be there for him.

He did set up an appointment and I went with him. It was about him and what he was going through. It was good for him to share. I said very little.

His CSAT suggested that he is under stress and is unable to act out now that he is in recovery and this is very  likely the first time it’s been this bad for him and he hasn’t been able to numb himself with scummy whore women who adore him.

BINGO.

Or that is what I believe. The fact of the matter is that he isn’t able to give me what I need. He can’t even fucking say, “Thanks wonderful wife of mine, the same wife who I betrayed for 20 years. Thank you for having the staying power and strength you do to be able to weather these storms with me in my darkest hour. Thank you for loving me with great tenacity that is allowing you to have compassion for me at my weakest. I’m sorry I am unable to give back to you right now. But I am trying to be well and be the husband you deserve. Thank you for staying and fighting for me and for us.”

Would that be so damn hard? Is the best he can come up with, “I’m sorry, I will get it together.”

So he came to bed and wanted to have sex. For the first time ever – or at least the first time I can remember 10 or 15 years I said, “No. I can’t do it. It will be fake closeness because you aren’t really there for me and meeting my needs right now.”

What can I expect and when? Is it just all about him and the grand work he is doing? I need him there for me, too. I asked him if he could give me the support I need right now. He finally had to say he probably couldn’t.  So I broke down crying because I don’t know what I can expect from him.

This is the exact reason I pulled back in April and did real distance. I KNEW he didn’t have enough for me but I let him make me believe he did.

I’m so fucking stupid. I am right back where I started.

I have no fucking idea what the hell we are doing. Are we reconciling? Or not? Can you just pause reconcilation?

This is such billshit. I’m so over it.