The Bullshit They Tell Themselves

Over the weekend The Player went to a bar to watch a game with a friend. This friend is what I like to call a Friend of Marriage – meaning I have no reason to suspect he’d be okay with what The Player did – and this friend doesn’t know about The Players infidelities. It’s fine, not everyone in his circles has to. I am and was generally okay with The Player going to watch the game at a bar. As long as it’s not alone and not on the road for work.

I was somewhat annoyed because it meant he was leaving early in the day to attend an SLAA meeting then heading straight to the bar. He mentioned us going out that night together alone because we’d had a lot of family time and I asked him if he thought that was a good idea if he was going to be drinking with this friend. I knew he’d likely be tipsy and tired after 4 hours in a bar drinking. We had a little chuckle because we both knew I was right so we did not plan to go out that evening. After his SLAA meeting, he did swing by home to change and off he went at 11:30 in the morning to catch lunch with a noon game start time. Figured a few hours later he’d be on his way home, probably by cab or a call for me to come get him.

That isn’t what happened though. That day I had the very unusual situation in that all the kids were out of the house for various reasons and I was left to my own. I joined a friend for a movie and during the movie my phone received a text from The Player informing me that it looked like he was going to stay for another game. I didn’t get it until over an hour and a half later. He didn’t ask he could stay. He didn’t ask if I was okay with him hanging out for another four hours in a bar. Nothing. I guess my late response he also saw as an “okay” from me. It was already half way through the second game when I got the text so there was no point in changing was was done.

He taxied it home and I was right. He was drunk. Being drunk isn’t a usual thing for The Player, so this isn’t a situation in which there is a co-addiction for him with alcohol but you know, seeing him drunk isn’t my favorite thing in the world but he’s generally a nice, happy drunk (hence it being a good time to hit on women in the past while on the road drinking). I was in bed already reading and he tried to snuggle up to me. I just said, “Please don’t. I’m not happy you spent nine hours in a bar today and don’t want to talk to you about it while you’re drunk. But thanks for getting a taxi home, I appreciate that.”

The next morning we had a brief chat before I left for church and I communicated my displeasure at him for being in a bar all day. I asked him about his behavior because he was so drunk and especially how this related to women in the bar. He told me he sat at a table, not at the bar and he had two women servers; two because he was in the bar long enough for a fucking shift change. He told me he also saw (we’ll call her) Christi, who we both knew from The Player’s hometown. We both knew her to be a previously scantily clad man hanger and flirter. She would attend events we were at while visiting The Player’s hometown and there were always side glances her way by the women because her skirts were short, heels were high and shirts were tight and her close proximity to their husbands and boyfriends.

Exactly The Player’s type. Great. I knew at this point the conversation would not end well.

“What did you all talk about?” He told me they had a “brief” conversation getting caught up on hometown things as well as long enough to tell him where she was working temporarily. That afternoon he showed me a text from Christi that said it was great seeing him and she was interested in talking to him about job prospects and would like to find a time to meet or talk.

What the fuckity fuck did I just read?

My face must have said it all, things like “What the FUCK is going on that she is texting you?” because The Player immediately said, “I showed you right away, I’m being transparent!” I told him being transparent would have been disclosing that he’d given his number to a previously (at the least) scantily clad woman the first time he mentioned he ran into her. The day spiraled down from there because honestly, what the hell could he say that would justify the bad judgement of staying in a bar for nine hours then handing out his number to another woman?

We talked in circles. Him sticking to the fact that his sobriety was never in question and me saying that was sex addict behavior – specifically HIS SA behavior. Hang out in bars, get personal with women then make a connection (this one being him offering job advice) and being a hero so women think he is smart and generous and oh, so helpful, feeding the ego that loves to eat. This was exactly The Player’s modus operandi. So, what do you know? I was brought back to another place in time when my husband cultivated “friendships” with women on the idea that he was a “great guy” and so they could adore him. He went back to the fact that he wasn’t at all looking for ego strokes, that he knows exactly why he did it in the past and he’s not doing it again because he’s dealing with the reasons and he loves me and the kids and wants to stay in the marriage.

So yes, I was pissed and hurt and sort of stunned at his being surprised I would be upset at this behavior. He said the only error in judgement he made was to not check in with me once or twice to make sure I was okay while he was getting drunk in a bar and to see if I was okay with him staying another four to five hours. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In no way was he taking responsibility for the connection with Christi. He really didn’t see it. Didn’t see the problem with it since he told me immediately when the text came me, after all, he reasoned, he was being transparent.

We decided to table discussions Sunday and Monday because I didn’t think we were getting anywhere. We made an appointment with the CSAT to dig through it because I felt we needed an unbiased (?) opinion about the situation and I felt the CSAT was the best individual to do that since he knew it all. We did talk about it last again (before appointment with CSAT) and I think he understands better why it hurt me and it’s not appropriate but he is VERY FAR from the empathy it takes to truly take in why it hurt me and he is VERY FAR from knowing why it’s SA inappropriate.

He maintains his sobriety wasn’t in jeopardy, I maintain that he is having selective memory, which is going to be discussed soon with the CSAT. It’s like he’s making the memory of two therapy sessions – which he remembers – match his wrong behavior, which is total and absolute bullshit.

During those heated discussions I said under no circumstances would I be okay with The Player having friendships with women outside of our marriage. We had a long discussion and I got pushback from The Player and CSAT to be specific, which I was, because as the CSAT pointed out, “women are in business so it’s unavoidable” << I was all, “Um… I think I know that.” No interpersonal relationships with women. No private dinners/lunches/drinks alone with women. It wasn’t a hard concept, really, it’s not.

I remember, very clearly, stating to BOTH of them, in no way was I okay with The Player having personal relationships / friendships with women so if he felt that he wanted to do that or was “safe” doing that, he’d have to do it without me and we needed to start having conversations about how to live as co-parents and not be in any form of reconciliation.

He started to point out some bullshit how he knows and understands “now.” Apparently (insert sarcasm) he didn’t know he couldn’t talk on the phone to an old family friend, and now that he knows it could jepordize his marriage, he would stop that behavior. I feel he was using a loophole and because he’s smart, he’s being the master at bending and twisting things to match the rules we set from above… (“I was never going to see her in person and I told you as soon as she texted me.”). He is telling himself these things because he wants to feel like he is “solid” and strong in his sobriety, he is literally bullshitting himself.

Then, as usual, he pulled the “Every SA is different and our triggers and bottom/middle lines are different. It’s not like AA where all I have to do is avoid alcohol. I was not talking to her or giving her my number for any erotic notions or ego strokes like I have done in the past.” He also tried to tell me about a male neighbor he also is trying to help find a job, “What about him!? Can I not offer him help now either?” I said, “Come on. You’re just being an ass now. Yes you can help him, unless you’ve lied along the way and you want to fuck men too, because then yes, that means no personal male friends either.”

That’s when I lost it. I said in the past he also did the exact same thing as part of his SA behavior that led to multiple affairs. Hang out in bars, drink alcohol to lower inhibitions and make him cheerful, playful and collect phone numbers or continue friendships he’d made through work by buying drinks and dinner at events. Offer help and keep the “friendship” going to the point of doing it some more in person, then seeing them alone at dinner, then drinking more, then making them laugh and feel good then BAM, another relationship. Then goddamn repeat and repeat for two decades.

He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t see it. He’ll comply, which is great, but I won’t feel settled about it until he sees this behavior as WRONG and not just WRONG FOR ME but wrong from him, a self admitted sex addict. There can be no open windows or doors. No connection by technology. No, “I’m going to help her because she is a family friend.” Period.

I don’t know much right now and so I cling to what I know to be true for me and there is no way this event of his will ever be thought of as harmless and there’s no way I will ever be okay with him having any kind of personal relationship with women. I don’t care if he thinks it’s a safe friendship, or even if it’s communication by fucking carrier pigeon.

I am strong in my righteousness. When I’ve wavered, I’ve had other sex addict spouses remind me. No means no, and I’m not willing to negotiate. That much I fucking know.

 

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11 thoughts on “The Bullshit They Tell Themselves

  1. Sending you a hug. I think there is a tendency to overestimate one’s abilities. No matter how smooth the road we are on may appear, there is a ditch that runs its full length and over-confidence leads to losing focus of that road. MC recently had a reminder of that fact. He talks about it in “travel travails” and “follow-up to travel travails.” I don’t know if it might help your husband to see that perspective from another former serial cheater. Perhaps The Player’s group will be aware enough to guide him away from over confidence and back to “eyes on the road.” Any which way, your concerns are justified and I hope he take this experience as something he can learn from instead of minimizing it. All doors slammed shut immediately, always. Nice guy image be damned! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly, if his group isn’t all over his ass, I question them and their recoveries. If his CSAT doesn’t hold him accountable in our couple’s session, I’ll be shocked. If no one tells him that he is so far off base it’s unbelievable, I’ll have to believe that he isn’t in the right place for recovery and then I’ll have to figure out where things go from there. The doors slammed…always.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You know how I feel about his, I think. I think The Player has a lot of freedom and leeway under the circumstances and he takes full advantage of it. Of course I am an outsider and have limited knowledge. But I read your words with care, even if I do have my own biases. I guess I was “lucky” (if you can consider any part of any of this lucky) that BE immediately went into full recovery mode. The boundaries were incredibly strict. Some were set up by him and some by me. They included very strict guidelines regarding 12 step, therapy, his circle of guys, check ins, etc… Only the most basic of those guidelines are still active because, frankly, BE did a pretty good job during that first year, and since. The no women thing was absolutely no relationships with women. No chatting. No talking. Period. Still there. That will not change. Dumping his Facebook and the rest of his social media helped a lot with that. A number of his high school friends friended me after he went off Facebook, so they can see what he is doing. They really care about him… which is nice, but an open invitation to a sex addict. Recently, I have offered for him to share my FB account. He says he doesn’t need it. He likes hearing about them through me. It feels safe and right. He did well with the not chatting up women post d-day once he purged the strange grooming habits from his system. He struggled a little when it came to women he already had been flirting with, i.e., the girl at the deli and the flower lady. He avoided the deli altogether for a few months and by the time he returned, she was gone. It was difficult with her because no matter how much he tried to ignore her, she engaged him aggressively. It was part of a pattern they had established and she had no idea that the game had changed. About 6 months after d-day he was catching the public transportation near his office and the flower lady called out to him. He froze. A train came and he jumped on without even acknowledging her. That is awkward. He has avoided her completely since that point. Hopefully some day he will feel comfortable at least walking by that area, which is one block from his office, without it being awkward, no need for idle chit chat, or trying to “help her with her business.” There was a bit of a caveat with his business, but he quickly realized that he never had to be alone with a woman while doing business. He realized that all on his own. He could always have another guy there, namely our safe sales guys or other associates, even at meetings. One of BE’s behaviors was clandestine meetings with both men and women. This is not all about sex. BE did not want to have sex with the men, he wanted to be helpful. He wanted to be worshiped. He wanted to be their hero too. Actually more with the men than the women. Being a woman’s hero meant a whole lot of baggage… like them asking him to leave me. Once he got his stroking from women wanting to be with him, talk to him, listen to him, the sex came as a bonus, offered up to him by the women. All that time spent “helping other people” (even men) was time spent away from me and the kids. He spent a lot of time away from us and boosting his own ego, all part of his pathology. Throughout my blog I think I have mentioned little moments in time where he was defensive about certain behaviors, or even more commonly didn’t even realize he was doing the behaviors, so when I pointed it out, he was naturally defensive. He looks back now and cannot believe his own actions. Personally, I would have drinking on my not acceptable behaviors for now (regardless of no propensity for alcoholism, but BE doesn’t drink due to his other health issues, so that is easy for me to say). I just think anything that alters their inhibitions and brain function is a bad thing. I feel this strongly in general though. As you know, coming from a family of addicts, addiction is just not something that can be taken lightly or easily, there’s no letting themselves off the hook. My sister is an addict and I have watched her make excuses and rationalize her behavior for years. She will never recover. I am thankful BE really wants to recover, not just to save our marriage, but for himself. The guys in BE’s 12 step that continue to struggle after years of “sobriety” are the ones that just plain don’t take it seriously enough and don’t put strict controls on their own behavior, and often their biggest temptations are at work and in bars. They may not have had sex outside their marriage since participating in 12 step, but the underlying issues are still there. I know how difficult this situation is, but I think he is making it even more difficult on you with his selfish behavior. I know you love him dearly, and the family needs to stay together, and you want to disconnect from his recovery, but staying in a marriage where only one person is really aware of how their behavior affects the partner, seems so unfair, but I know none of this is fair. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Of course, you always make good points and make me think. Until this incident, he’d been going along okay with the boundaries. I think he got into a situation and because he was drinking made other poor decisions. We had a drinking rule on the road while he travels and being alone in bars or restaurants for that matter. He has stopped all of that. He eats in his room most meals unless it’s with a group of people or men.

      I personally don’t think you can tell someone to do a 12 step program, I’ve encouraged it as well as his CSAT and I’ve said how much I wanted it because I felt he is lacking some transformative changes – he may get there eventually – but with 12 step, it’s a path laid out. There are other things he is doing that I am satisfied with; group, SLAA meetings, weekly therapy (either couples or indv) and dinner once a week with a group of SAs from a meeting that wasn’t fitting his needs anymore (came out of the meetings depressed rather than stronger with information to help him in his journey). Our CSAT says he’s seen it both ways – 12 step work and not work and other avenues work and not work. He believes he’s doing real work (he’s his group’s counselor as well with other SAs).

      I don’t think he is clueless about how everything impacts me but I do think he needs to keep working on empathy. This is not settled for me because of the reasons you say, most of all that HE doesn’t see this as a problem for him and he’s going to comply when I want him to see it as an issue for an SA to be engaging in the same behavior as before, citing him knowing why he used to do it and now that he won’t because of XYZ. That is the bullshit a bullshitter is telling himself IMO.

      I don’t know what will happen in the next day or so as he has group and we have therapy together, but I do know it’s not going to stay the same. I’ll be interested in what his group and his CSAT says about this.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My h and I have tight boundaries and we go over them quite a bit just to make sure we are on the same page. Because in his past behaviour he was in bars and chatted to women, being friendly on the bus, chatting to women at work etc the first boundary is no talking to women. Sorry, but he just can’t be trusted. If he is approached by an old friend he is to be polite and excuse himself. No fucking chit chat. He feels he is sometimes being rude but it is his boundary. Same with alcohol. The boundary is that he cannot have a drink if I am not around. This means business dinners. Especially business dinners where there are women. A few drinks and a what the hell attitude is a path to break a boundary.
    I would tighten boundaries. Another boundary? No giving his phone number to women. No excuses. Nada..
    With the history my husband has even he is now accepting of dangerous situations and he gets it. He gets how easy it is to be the nice friendly loveable man willing to help any female out and he gets it now that this is not what he is allowed to do anymore. He feels rude is he brushes off a woman. Too bad. Get used to it. Anything else is crossing a boundary. He has to be aware of that line.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make an excellent case for revisiting OFTEN the boundaries list. Who knew? Who knew that common sense would not prevail for a man who has been on the planet for five decades. Here’s the thing…he knew and he found a loophole – a family of origin friend is who the woman was! Not a stranger! He’s unbelievable. He literally justified his behavior, as if that is possible. I keep saying it but he doesn’t get to decide what I need to feel safe! I do!

      It would be easier to leave than stay.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If the boundary rule is no talking to women then it means all women. Old family friend, no excuse. She is still a woman. He needs to have no loopholes. As much as he thinks he is being sober and not acting out he actually has acted out in this case. It will be interesting to see what the others think that are in his group. Besides, if it makes you feel unsafe …him drinking in a bar for 9 hours and chatting to a woman and giving her his number then he has to stop and he should realise he just cannot do this anymore. Sure he behaves when he is away but he should behave all the time.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thing is… the no personal contact with women WAS a boundary. It’s like he’s twisting it now to make it work, which I also have a problem with, obviously. I know our CSAT will agree with me. Unfortunately he isn’t able to cover with his group until next week.

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  4. Alcohol is no excuse either. Forgetting to call if late. Sometimes I feel Like I am disciplining a young child and considering his immature behaviour for 30 years he is not that different. At least now he knows but for him it is a constant struggle to change the way he thinks. That instant gratification he got when women laughed at his jokes etc.

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  5. Stick to your guns. Can a “normal” man chat and help a family of origin female friend out? Yes, but our SA husbands are NOT normal, and now that we know that, they need to know it too. My FWH acts as a job reference for those skanks that used to work for him. That’s how his A started, he demanded sexual favors for being a reference. Recently, someone he had acted out with (long story but it wasn’t sex), informed him that someone would be contacting him about a reference. He replied, “I am focusing and working on honoring my marriage, which means that I no longer welcome communication from women who are not my wife.” (Yay him!). What does she reply? “Ok I understand, I’ll only contact you to give you the heads up about reference calls.” (stupid cow). He didn’t respond, and while I’m fortunate that he made the first text, he didn’t tell me about the texts and I discovered them for myself. Granted we were holding vigil for my dying father at the time, and he didn’t want to add to my troubles…but he STILL was held accountable for not telling me, and not replying to her text that she is to remove him as a reference. (which he then did).

    Your SA husband was wrong for giving out his number to another woman, and until he can see that, acknowledge it, and make amends for it, his recovery will only be half-hearted. He NEEDS to see that NEVER being able to do that EVER again, is just one of the many consequences he has to accept for his past behaviours.

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  6. Pingback: He Passed! | He Played Me

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