it’s no surprise if you’ve read for any length of time that I am impatient.

In my current fucked up life I’m really having trouble waiting. Waiting must be done if we proceed being married (because the marriage I am in fucking sucks hairy ass and he has a lot of work to do) to The Player or if I can’t live with the situation and we divorce. Either way, I’m screwed.

If I didn’t have the kids, it would be a different story alltogether. It’s hard to say with 100% certainty, but I don’t believe I would give him this chance if we didn’t have kids. I’m only giving this chance because he is in a lot of therapy and he passed a polygraph.

Still, what kind of bullshit it is to base your (never really) marriage on those shitty things. Whoohoo! Good for me, he’s in therapy and promises he won’t cheat on me again!

I don’t want this and I don’t want him.

He keeps saying it won’t be the same and he’s changing, doing the “hard work” for him and our marriage.

The problem is, he’s a confirmed, certifiable liar. Actions, baby, actions.

The Shame the Betrayed Carry

The first thing I did besides throw up when I learned The Player was having an affair was call my best friend. I walked outside because it was early and a school day and I didn’t want the kids to wake up, fearing I already had from my vomiting and wailing.

“What’s wrong?” she asked as soon as she picked up the, knowing I would only call that early if there was an emergency. “The Player is having an affair,” I said. She could only keep saying, “No. No. Oh no…” I was doubled over because I was still sick to my stomach. She recommended I call another friend who also had a husband who cheated and even though it was so obvious, I couldn’t see it.

Beyond the soul-crushing hurt in those first few weeks and even months, there’s a soul-crushing shame attached to everything we feel as a betrayed spouse. What could I have done differently? Was it my fault? Betrayed people have the notion that we must have done something or not done something in order for this to happen. We think that about our situation because we’ve thought that about others who’ve been cheated on. Maybe not in the direct sense, but you know we’ve thought, “I wonder what was wrong with that marriage for there to be cheating.”

The thing is, within a couple of days, The Player told me it was basically my fault. He said he wasn’t happy because of my weight, because I talked about my kids too much and because we didn’t do anything – like a hobby – together. It wasn’t hard to make the leap from, “What the unbelievable fuck just happened?” to “It must be me.”

It’s worthy of mentioning here we did not have a horrible marriage. In fact, it was a great one. He and everyone around us would tell you it was a great marriage and I was a great wife. Supportive (supported his career changes and job changes), sexual (in 20+ years of marriage I never turned him down and in fact pursued more sex heavily in the last several years), joyful, traditional and faithful. I will also tell you I was even a happy person, creating a place of happiness and warmth in our home. We had all of that even in the face of some tragic circumstances in our marriage. Of course, as is the case with most cheaters, their behavior is about them, not the person they cheat on. It wasn’t what was lacking in me (thinness, mothering skills, not wanting new adventures), it was what lacking in him. Which I often say, is morals, character and self-worth. Even when I knew it was his issue, I still carried the shame.

As the story of his grew and I learned more, the shame grew.

Ground Zero Whore Affair. (“Didn’t mean anything. It’s over.”)

One Night Stand Seven Years Prior. (“I was drunk, it just happened.”)

Ground Zero Whore Affair. (“No, it’s really over now, I just needed to do it my way.”)

Ground Zero Whore Affair. (“It’s REALLY. REALLY over now, because I want to work it out with you.”)

Different Whore Evidence. (“We’re just friends. You’ll see when you meet her, she’s that way with everyone.”)

My “Must Be More” Stance.  (“I just want to tell you everything. Come clean. Once and for all.”)

You Did This When? Where? (“I wasn’t thinking of you at all. I blocked you out of my mind.”)

Wait? You love me? (“I do love you. I never wanted to leave the marriage. I just did some bad things.”)

“You are what you do.” (Silence. No comeback from The Player.)

Are You Fucking Kidding Me, You Asshole? (“I hope by telling you everything I can slowly start to repair our relationship and if I can’t, I hope we can co-parent well together.”)

It went something like that and with each piece of knowledge of how he betrayed me the shame piled on. One whore? Five whores? More? Someone I know and consider a friend? In our vacation home? Okay, then.

Embarrassment? Check!

Played a fool? Check!

Shame? Check!

I’m not sure when it happened, actually. Months later as I told my mother and father? Or my sister? Or a friend who is a counselor? Somewhere along the way, the more people who knew and knew me, knew it wasn’t my shame to hold. They stood with me in the belief that it was his problem and his problem to solve and the shame started to subside.

It’s been hard to let it go completely and creeps back in every once in a while when I focus on a detail of any of the affairs. The latest detail that is consuming me is that The Player never took off his wedding ring. His hand that I held over two decades ago and placed a ring on is the same one that touched the whores’ breasts and faces and vaginas and hips. The same hand with the ring that I held and talked about my undying and abiding love. How the circle of the ring was a symbol of those feelings and commitment. They were only of my commitment and undying love, apparently, and a promise I kept. Hence the reason I don’t wear the ring he gave me. Locked away. To help keep people to shut the fuck up, I wear a ring that symbolizes someone special’s love for me that passes for a wedding band.

The shame wrapped around the belief that I had anything to do with his behavior over the two decades is ridiculous and I refuse to carry that for him.

His brokenness. His choices. His shame.

My pain.

More of a good thing? 

I’m feeling really good about the distance from The Player and I’m wondering if more distance would make me feel even better.

For a couple weeks we’ve not been going to therapy together or having our weekly talks. It’s been easier to do than I expected. In fact, I wished I’d done it sooner.

He is doing hard work but it is going incredibly slow. What is incredibly slow? For starters, his new sponsor relationship isn’t moving at all. He’s supposed to be reading a book but for two weeks now they have not been able to get together. The Player is attending an additional addict meeting each week (so one SAA and one SLAA) but big deal. He still hasn’t progressed to step one yet.

I admit I am a terribly impatient person but honestly, with the rate at which he moves I could be at a year or more into this bullshit and still nowhere near feeling safer with him.

I feel I am out of immediate crisis. I feel like he is sincerely working on himself. But I do not feel his can hold at this level of sobriety without a plan. History says he can’t do it without a belief in a higher power and peerless – a group of people to reach out to in crisis, a plan if he gets into a bind or slip to prevent a relapse, or a longterm plan for remaining connected to what helps him stay sober. For those reasons, I do not feel safe to work on reconcilation.

Let’s not forget he’s been living as a philanderer for 20 years. The work he’s going to have to do to get better is abundant. I don’t think he has it in himself.

So, will I do better to move to next phase? Which is probably an in house separation.

Standards, people.

The Player said something that made me think he didn’t know really why I am pulling back from working on us, so this morning I said, “So you know why I’m doing that, right?” He said, “I think so, it’s because you don’t want to work on us.” That is true, but I had to ask him again, “But why am I doing that, do you know?” He said, he guessed he didn’t. I proceeded to tell him it’s because he isn’t giving me what I need and want.

It’s not complicated. Really, I don’t think it is. I told him – again – it’s because he is lacking the empathy piece. I have to say it again? I should say it’s because he can’t remember what the fuck I have been saying for a few months now – I need empathy from him. I told him I believe he is remorseful. I believe he is sorry he hurt me. I just don’t believe he has really taken in what he has done and it’s impact. If he was ready to deal with that, don’t you think he would have responded to the impact letter the CSAT told me to write in December?

He said, he thinks he has it, but he must not be communicating it very well. He told me he is afraid he won’t be able to communicate it to my standards. He’s afraid it won’t live up to my expectations. Empathy is different from shame and remorse. I honestly think he’s confused. Or maybe that’s his “communication problem.” That could explain a lot.

Was he fucking kidding me with that response? Was he? Because that response is from someone who hasn’t recognized the effort I have put into staying together in the face of 20 years of mutherfucking lies and betrayals. It’s not like I haven’t given him months and months to get with it, months to come up with some empathy that isn’t given because the CSAT or I am pulling it out of him. He is just so fucked up it’s going to take a while. I don’t want to sit around and be hurt, time and time again because I am not getting what I need to promote healing in our marriage. It’s like I was begging for it. I started thinking I was pathetic, explaining many times I needed it, showing examples when he could have provided it to me. It’s gross. Pathetic.

You know what the hell I am NOT going to do? I am not going to feel pathetic anymore because of the shitty mess he made of our life, all because he felt bad about himself and decided fucking other people while he was fucking me over was the answer to his happiness. I mean I want to scream at The Player, “Get your head out of your ass, grow the fuck up, get some balls and dig deep, quit being the person that thinks it’s all about you. Be better. Do better. You know how you quit thinking you’re a loser? You quit being one. That’s when you’ll feel better about yourself.”

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.”

The grief.

I seem to be grieving today. Perhaps I was grieving yesterday too, but today the grief turned into tears and before I knew it make-up was running down my face. There was no tissue or crumpled up used napkin either, which didn’t help my situation.

I am not sure what triggered this reaction. Maybe partly because The Player has been traveling and we’ve been separated by geography (and his fucking around I suppose, I guess that has separated us as well) which has been known to send me spiraling into rages of pain and uncertainty. Today’s grief is more of a “I wonder if it’s time to move onto getting some space from The Player” grief. Like I am wondering if this is the beginning of the end or the ending of this phase.

I am still grieving badly.

I am grieving losing my long-held belief that The Player put me and the kids first.

I am grieving losing the pride I felt in our marriage and in my husband.

I am grieving the ending of our marriage as I knew it to be.

I am grieving that I will never, ever be able to look at him again and know for certainty he is there for me always.

I am grieving that I no longer seem strong but pathetic.

I am grieving my marriage and all it meant to me.

This loss is profound. Almost two years ago when the first wave of lies hit me in the face I started grieving. I feel like I have been in mourning for that long. I’ve been in mourning about losing all I knew to be true and learning that not only did I lose it, I never had it.

The Player argues that we were still there for each other and he loved me through it all. He will argue that he never wanted to leave our marriage or hurt me or lose me but his actions said something else. The Player argues that he was still present in our marriage and that “the other side” of him just did some bad things.

The Player would be wrong.

I still, months later from knowing the full and total truth of his deception, still feel like the life we lived was a lie. He was never fully present at all, if ever.

You don’t say…

From the DUH files.  

The Player said, “When I’m stressed, I know what I can’t do now.” 

Yeah. He’s referring to flirting and fucking and trolling.

I know I shouldn’t be snarky, but really? What. The. Actual. Fuck? What kills me about that sentence is that you ever thought that was okay to do, asshole.

First I thought, “Wonderful! Now maybe you won’t go and flirt with other women and fuck them!”

I also thought, “That’s an important thing to know. Duh.”

I also thought, “What the fuck are you going to do instead?”

I had to point out to The Player that he doesn’t have anything that he does regularly that can help with stress or  become an outlet for him. One thing I’m great at is hobbies. I also have wonderful friendships that I cultivate so I have some people to do things with when I want to do something. The circle of friends is wide and I use them for fun and support.

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.

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.

Unwilling or Incapable

In those early days after I found out about the first affair when he was saying one thing and doing another I had a feeling. Just a gut feeling when he wasn’t doing everything he could to heal me. He was sort of going through the motions because he was confused but he sure wasn’t letting the Ground Zero Whore go, as I found out. I remember telling him several times during that period that it appeared to me like he was unwilling or incapable to doing things I needed.

I had that same feeling on a recent business trip of his. This trip was a huge trigger, because there was a cornucopia of pussy there, old “friends” and new ones to conquer and time on his hands. He knew what I would need because we talked about it in therapy a few days before he left.

Again, I’d argue, this list wasn’t complicated.

– I’d need more contact. I’d reasoned that with Ground Zero Whore he spent a lot of time juggling working and staying in contact with her day and night. I needed him to check-in with me often. It didn’t have to be a phone conversation but it did need to be frequent.

– I needed to know he was thinking of me during those points of contact.

– I’d need to confirm his whereabouts every once in a while. We have technology to see each other easily via video calls and GPS.

– He would let me know if he got into any situations that were considered “dangerous” or “triggers” for acting out behaviors.

That’s pretty much it. Honestly, just that when he was thinking about me and more contact than in the past on his trips. Not complicated. I honestly think any Neanderthal could do what I’m asking. Looking back I can see that he got off the hook a lot with me and contact at home. I had a very “hands-off” approach, always with complete and utter trust.

What a fool.