Archive | April, 2012

Something A Little Lighter

30 Apr

There have been a lot of heavy emotions and tough subjects coming up for me lately.  Which means this blog has been a little on the depressing side as well.  I decided on this Monday to give myself a little extension on my weekend and stay away from the serious stuff.  A few bloggers I follow have been take a break to answer some silly questions and let people know a little more about themselves outside of the norm.  I decided to take a page from their books and do the same.  I picked 25 questions from The Other Side of Infidelity and Sunday Stealing that I thought would be fun and interesting to answer.  Here they are in no particular order:

1. What is your most annoying habit?
Probably correcting people.  Or that I hate to be wrong.  Or maybe that I tend to over-analyze and over-think…  Let’s go with all of the above.  🙂

2. What was the last clothing item that you bought?
This shouldn’t be as difficult of a question as it is…  Wait!  Now I remember.  A t-shirt for myself from Woot last week.  It hasn’t come yet, but I can’t wait for it to get here!

3. Horror Movies or Chick Flicks?
That depends on my mood.  A really good horror movie can’t be beat.  I’m really loving zombies at the moment.  28 Days Later has always been a favorite of mine, and The Walking Dead is just spectacular.  On the other hand, a good chick flick can be a nice way to just turn my brain off and laugh – though I’m not sure what qualifies as a chick flick per say.  I just watched Hitch again the other night and laughed until I dissolved into a coughing fit when Will Smith had that horrible allergic reaction.  It still makes me chuckle just thinking about it.

4. What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in the past year?
I’m sad to say that my life right now isn’t terribly interesting.  I need to change that.  Let’s see, though…  The most interesting thing I have done in the last 12 months is take a ghost tour in Charleston, SC.  Or at least half of one (high-heeled shoes are a very bad choice when walking long distances over cobble stones).  It was still very interesting, though.  And almost worth the three silver-dollar sized blisters on my feet.

5. Do your friends/family/coworkers know about your blog?
No.  My husband knows about it, but that’s it.  I wanted to have a place where I could be completely honest about all of my feelings without worrying about judgement.  I also didn’t want to be one of those people who bug all of my family and friends or guilt them into visiting my site.  I like the anonymity of just putting my feelings out into the ether and having them float there unattached to my “real life.”  It also means that I know the people who find me and comment have come across me organically and can relate somehow to what I am going through.  Or that my words drew them in or were interesting in some way.

6. What one thing is on your list to do before you hit 30, 40, 50 or whatever significant birthday is next?
My next “significant birthday” will be 30.  And it’s only 3 years away.  Before that time I hope to have traveled somewhere out of the country again.  At this point I will take anything – even Canada.

7. How long does it take you to write an average blog post?
That’s tough to say.  If I am really feeling my emotions then my blog posts can come up very organically and be done in 30 minutes or so.  But then I try to go back through, edit things, get them making sense, and add a few photos.  Depending on how focused and uninterrupted I am that can take another 30 minutes.  Some days I type and edit and re-type and think things through as I go.  That can take almost all day off and on.

8. What is your bedtime? Is sex always involved?
“Bedtime” is a loose term in my house.  As a rule I like to always give myself at least 8 hours of sleep.  On the weekends it doesn’t really matter where those 8 hours begin and end.  During the week I usually like to get into bed somewhere around 10 to 10:30.  That usually means I’m asleep somewhere around 11 since my brain takes a while to turn off.  Unfortunately, sex is not always (or even usually) involved.  I am very much an evening sex kinda person, but my husband is really not at all…

9. If you had the power to make one thing better, what would it be?
Wow… This is a deep and thought-provoking question.  I think if I had the power to make one thing better it would be true equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.  There are still so many scary laws all across the country, and especially here in the South.  In my state we actually have an amendment to our constitution banning same-sex couples from getting married.  Even worse than that, they can still be legally fired just for revealing their sexual orientation.  Business are allowed to discriminate against them.  They are allowed to be denied housing.  They cannot adopt children.  If you assault someone based solely on their sexual orientation it is not a hate crime – no matter what you say, do, or believe.  They don’t have the right to visit their partner in the hospital.  And so much more.  It is sickening to me how people can wave the flag of religion and morality to deny others basic human rights.  Now I will step off of my soap box…

10. Introvert or extrovert?
I am a total introvert all the way!  I am reading the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  It is an amazing look at our society, what it really means to be an introvert, and how undervalued we are in general.  I highly recommend it.

11. What is your biggest fear?
This is another tough one.  I guess my biggest fear is that I am not good enough and never will be.

12. What easily ticks you off (puts you in a bad mood quickly)?
Hypocrites.  Stupidity.  People wanting me to be their brain.  Bad service at a nice restaurant.

13. Dog person/cat person/both/neither?
I am a dog person 100%.  I am unequivocally opposed to anything that shits inside my house and doesn’t use the toilet.  I have only ever made one exception to that rule.

14. Is there anything you have ever regretted writing on your blog?
Nope.  I told myself right a tthe beginning that I wouldn’t hold back and I wouldn’t regret anything.  I don’t feel the need to apologize for my feelings anymore.  I might have in the past, but I am a new me now.  And I’m happy to embrace the beautiful mess that I know I am.

15. Why do you blog?
Mostly to get my thoughts out of my head so they will stop running around in there smashing things up.

16. Which TV character do you think you are most like?
Hmmm….  Probably Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) from Grey’s Anatomy.  Not only is that one of my all-time favorite shows, but the character is so perfectly flawed.  She is strong, intelligent, stubborn, blunt, a perfectionist, competitive, ambitious, and driven.  But she is also vulnerable, a little crazy, bossy, scared to love completely, hurt, and someone who can let loose and dance with all her heart.  She reminds me of myself in so many ways.  And her character has also been dealing with her husband’s infidelity recently.  If you add in a little bit of Callie Torres (Sara Ramírez), then you are getting even warmer.  I really relate to her goofy, girly, sexy, confident personality, her smokey, sultry voice, and her wonderfully curvy figure.

 

17. What is your favorite type of music?
Country, generally, but I love anything with strong vocals, thoughtful words, and a beat you can tap your feet along to.  See my previous post Music – A Soundtrack for Life for more about my thoughts on music.

18. They say that you learn something new every day. What was the last thing you have learned?
I read a Yahoo article today that said 34% of adults who have combined assets with a spouse or partner say that they have lied about finances, debt, or money earned.  Scary!

19. What can’t you live without?
Down time.  I need time to just do nothing.  Or to read.  Or to just snuggle under a blanket without a care in the world.  I thrive on solitude, contemplation, quiet, and calm.

20. What is your favorite drink?
Water!  It is basically all I ever drink.  Especially now that my antidepressants have ruled out alcohol – which used to be my only other form of liquid refreshment.

21. Any guilty pleasures?
Television.  I’ve mentioned a few of my guilty pleasures already – The Walking Dead and Grey’s Anatomy.  I can spend an entire day on the weekends just tearing through my DVR – Bones, Criminal Minds, The Big Bang Theory, Celebrity Apprentice, America’s Next Top Model, How I Met Your Mother (love it!!!), Judge Judy, Law & Order: SVU, and the list goes on…

22. Paperback, Hardback or Kindle? Which of these is your favorite reading format and why?
I have to admit, this is one area where I am old school big time.  I will take a paperback over any fancy e-reader.  I like the feel of the book in my hands, the smell, the sensation of the paper between my fingers as I flip the pages.  There is something comforting and relaxing about holding a worn paperback with its creased spine and well-read pages.  I have come to associate the smell of old books with the library, adventure, childhood and my Mom’s voice.  Likewise, opening a new book has the thrill of the unknown and anticipation for the world that I will get to explore.  No hard plastic screen will ever compare.  This is one thing that I will never give up no matter where technology advances.

23. Is there a job/career you wanted but realized you couldn’t possibly do for one reason or another?
I dreamed of being a professional singer.  I had fantasies of one day going to Nashville and trying to make it big.  I still love to sing, and I know I have a better voice than a lot of singers on the radio (not bragging, it’s just a sad reality).  I am not cut out for living the kind of life that it takes, though.  I wouldn’t do well taking miscellaneous jobs, working in bars, singing and playing sporadic gigs, and not knowing when (or if) I would ever get past it all.  Plus, I took on a lot of responsibility young – by 19 I had multiple dogs, a long-term relationship, and a house.  Now I’m too old to be appealing to Nashville and too set in my ways to upturn my entire life for something so chancy.

24. Where would you most like to visit and who with?
There are so many places that I would like to visit that I don’t even know how to choose.  I yearn to travel and see everything there is to see.  My husband and I have been wanting to go to Ireland for a while, though.  If I had to pick just one place and just one person that would be my choice.

25. If I could do anything, I would:
Pack a few essentials, sell my house, quit my job, and just take off.  I wish I had the courage to sever my roots, spread my wings, and take on the world.

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Helpful Perspective

28 Apr

I know it’s late and this is my third post in 24 hours, so I will make this very to the point.  I reached out to the SI community and once again they came through with great advice.  One person suggested that I share something called “Joseph’s Letter” from the Healing Library with my husband.  I went, printed it out, and gave it to him when he finally came home at around 1:00 am.  Here it is:

Joseph’s Letter 

This is a post by Joseph, a member of the now defunct BAN Message Board. He wrote to this letter to his wife to explain why he asked for details of her affair.

 To Whomever,

I know you are feeling the pain of guilt and confusion. I understand that you wish all this never happened and that you wish it would just go away. I can even believe that you truly love me and that your indiscretion hurts you emotionally much the same way it hurts me. I understand your apprehension to me discovering little by little, everything that led up to your indiscretion, everything that happened that night, and everything that happened afterwards. I understand. No one wants to have a mistake or misjudgment thrown in his or her face repeatedly.

No one wants to be forced to ‘look’ at the thing that caused all their pain over and over again. I can actually see, that through your eyes, you are viewing this whole thing as something that just needs to go away, something that is over, that he/she doesn’t mean anything to you, so why is it such a big issue? I can understand you wondering why I torture myself with this continuously, and thinking, doesn’t he/she know by now that I love him/her? I can see how you can feel this way and how frustrating it must be. But for the remainder of this letter I’m going to ask you to view my reality through my eyes.

You were there. There is no detail left out from your point of view. Like a puzzle, you have all the pieces and you are able to reconstruct them and be able to understand the whole picture, the whole message, or the whole meaning. You know exactly what that picture is and what it means to you and if it can effect your life and whether or not it continues to stir your feelings. You have the pieces, the tools, and the knowledge.

You can move through your life with 100% of the picture you compiled. If you have any doubts, then at least you’re carrying all the information in your mind and you can use it to derive conclusions or answers to your doubts or question. You carry all the ‘STUFF’ to figure out OUR reality. There isn’t really any information, or pieces to the puzzle that you don’t have.

Now let’s enter my reality. Let’s both agree that this affects our lives equally. The outcome no matter what it is well affect us both. Our future and our present circumstances are every bit as important to me as it is to you. So, why then is it okay for me to be left in the dark? Do I not deserve to know as much about the night that nearly destroyed our relationship as you do? Just like you, I am also able to discern the meaning of certain particulars and innuendos of that night and just like you, I deserve to be given the opportunity to understand what nearly brought our relationship down.

To assume that I can move forward and accept everything at face value is unrealistic and unless we stop thinking unrealistically I doubt our lives well ever ‘feel’ complete. You have given me a puzzle. It is a 1000 piece puzzle and 400 random pieces are missing. You expect me to assemble the puzzle without the benefit of looking at the picture on the box. You expect me to be able to discern what I am looking at and to appreciate it in the same context as you. You want me to be as comfortable with what I see in the picture as you are.

When I ask if there was a tree in such and such area of the picture you tell me don’t worry about it, it’s not important. When I ask whether there were any animals in my puzzle you say don’t worry about it, it’s not important. When I ask if there was a lake in that big empty spot in my puzzle you say, what’s the difference, it’s not important.

Then later when I’m expected to understand the picture in my puzzle you fail to understand my disorientation and confusion. You expect me to feel the same way about the picture as you do but deny me the same view as you. When I express this problem you feel compelled to admonish me for not understanding it, for not seeing it the way you see it.

You wonder why I can’t just accept whatever you chose to describe to me about the picture and then be able to feel the same way you feel about it.

So, you want me to be okay with everything. You think you deserve to know and I deserve to wonder. You may honestly feel that the whole picture, everything that happened is insignificant because in your heart you know it was a mistake and wish it never happened. But how can I know that? Faith? Because you told me so? Would you have faith if the tables were turned? Don’t you understand that I want to believe you completely? But how can I? I can never know what is truly in your mind and heart.

I can only observe you actions, and what information I have acquired and slowly, over time rebuild my faith in your feelings. I truly wish it were easier.

So, there it is, as best as I can put it. That is why I ask questions. That is where my need to know is derived from. And that is why it is unfair for you to think that we can effectively move forward and unfair for you to accuse me of dwelling on the past. My need to know stems from my desire to hold our world together.

It doesn’t come from jealousy, it doesn’t come from spitefulness, and it doesn’t come from a desire to make you suffer. It comes from the fact that I love you. Why else would I put myself through this? Wouldn’t it be easier for me to walk away? Wouldn’t it be easier to consider our relationship a bad mistake in my life and to move on to better horizons? Of course it would, but I can’t and the reason I can’t is because I love you and that reason in itself makes all the difference in the world.

I think he wrote that explanation letter in the simplest, most eloquent terms.  I can’t add anything to it and don’t have the emotional energy to do that right now anyways.  I hope this helps someone else out there put words to their feelings.  Good night to all and to all a very happy weekend!

He Walked Out

28 Apr

Emotion

As I talked about in my last post (Bad Memory), I was triggered big time today (or I should say yesterday at this point).  Those memories brought up a lot of feelings and emotions that were pushed aside in the aftermath of the affair that I found out about in 2009, which had been going on for several months.  Back then I wasn’t as strong and determined as I am now.  I was too quick to take Mr. Mess’s word on things and believe him when he said he had stopped behaving that way.  We had several tense weeks/ months after my discovery, and I laid out a few actions that I wanted him to take.  But overall I didn’t really know what I was doing, I didn’t seek support or assistance, and I didn’t hold him accountable like I should have.

Back to today.  When I got home he asked me how my day went.  I told him that it had been pretty crappy.  He asked why, and I gave him the surface stuff (like issues at work, not feeling motivated, etc).  Then I added that some old emotions had also come up.  He asked what, and I told him the general chain of events that I outlined in my last post.

At first he said that he was sorry I was feeling upset about it.  I told him that I didn’t feel like we ever really dealt with everything.  He agreed, and he said he was willing to do anything we needed to now in order to move past it.  I asked him something about how everything started and about other women he had sex chats with.  He completely denied there were any other women even though I had logged into his messenger account several times and seen some of those interactions.

He still denied that he had been in any sex chat rooms.  Again, he maintained that lie even when I told him that I had checked the internet history several times, and found activity from more than one sex chat room.  He claimed that he met the other woman in a “Virginia” chat room.  I asked how things could progress to something sexual if he was in a non-sexual chat room.  He said that he “tested the waters” and threw out sexual stuff to see how she would respond.  I asked if that meant he had initiated things.  He said yes – that he started everything, and that it was all entirely on him.

That was like a sucker punch to the gut.  And not at all the story he told me back then.  He spun this whole thing about how they were friends before, how they had met up once at a bar long before he knew me, that she wanted things to go farther back then but he didn’t let them.  He said that they were just reconnecting at first, that he was telling her about me and his life, and that things just got out of control.  Back then he painted her as a “crazy bitch” (one of his favorite terms  about pretty much any woman in his past that now makes me want to barf).

With all that in mind, I think I still reacted pretty reasonably.  I told him that it was incredibly hurtful.  I said that hearing that now after everything we have gone through is hard to wrap my brain around.  The fact that he met her in a “Virginia” chat room was almost worse to me than what I imagined.  Because in my mind that means he was looking for someone close – someone in this state that he could have the option of moving things into real life with.  He swore up and down that wasn’t his initial intention.  He did eventually go to her area several times, and spend the night due to work.  Using his company to facilitate his cheating made me feel even more nauseous.

I asked why he never told me the truth – why I had to specifically ask before he would be honest about it.  He said that he was really hoping that we could just forget about it.  He echoed my previous statement that we didn’t really deal with things completely back then.  He also told me that he doesn’t like thinking about it.  I reminded him about what the marriage counselor said about the difference between forgetting and forgiving.  And how forgetting is actually really hurtful for the marriage because it doesn’t deal with anything and leaves the door open to the same thing happening again.  He said he knows that now.

We had previous dinner reservations for restaurant week tonight, so we packed up the emotional baggage and went to dinner.  He was still on his best behavior.  It was extremely cold in the restaurant, so he went back to the car and got his jacket for me.  It was sweet.  Here and there throughout the dinner we even had a nice moment.

He mentioned something about giving me a massage once we got home to make it all go away.  I told him honestly that thinking about him touching me like that right now was making me disgusted.  I told him that I am sorry that I feel that way right now, and that I really don’t want to hurt his feelings.  He said that he has no right to get upset, and that I am entitled to my feelings.  He said that he can’t argue because it is true – what he did was disgusting.  I said just because something is true doesn’t mean he can’t be hurt by it, and that he could also have some feelings.  He said that he was sad that he did something like that to me.

As dinner finished I told him that I still have a lot of doubts about that time period.  I said that I feel like he lied to me a lot and I still don’t know what the truth is.  He admitted a few small lies about doing drugs when he told me he hadn’t.  He said he would tell me anything I wanted to know.  I said that I do need more details – that I need to know everything.

He then gave me a really, really abbreviated version that went something like this: “I initiated things, we talked about everything you can imagine, and we had very inappropriate sexual contact.”  The end.  I said that I really would like to know more – what does that mean, how did it happen, when, for how long (I had thought only about a month, but everything he told me was a lie back then), what types of things…  And what were lies and what was the truth in the story he told me?  He admitted that he lied when he said he knew her, that the whole story was completely made-up.  However, anytime I pressed for more details about the REAL story all he would say is that he doesn’t remember.

He also made a big deal that he couldn’t get any more specific than those vague statements because he can’t recall things “verbatim.”  I tried to explain the difference between verbatim and the bare minimum.  He still didn’t get it.  I gave him several examples.  I said if you asked me what Transformers was about I could tell you it was a movie about cars that turned into robots.  That is the quick, 5 second recap.  But there are plenty of other things I could tell you about the plot, how the story progressed, what happened, the sequence of events, etc. without repeating the script of the movie word for word.  He still claimed that he had no idea what I meant.  He said that my example made no sense, and that the short summary he told me was “everything.”  I disagreed whole-heartedly.

We rode home literally in silence. Then near the end of the ride he said he would try to think about it and “tell me what I want to hear.”  Once we got home, the conversation continued, although at that point it was no longer a “conversation.” It was him yelling at me.  When I didn’t yell back or engage he only yelled louder and threw in sarcasm and contempt to bait me (sarcasm is my ultimate pet peeve when I’m having a serious conversation with someone).  He kept saying there was nothing to tell, and that he can’t “remember.”  I expressed my disbelief that he wouldn’t remember anything at all, especially since he was the one doing it, and he admitted he initiated everything.  I proposed that maybe it was just too hard for him to admit all of the things he had done because it would expose a part of himself that he didn’t want to face.

He said that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and that someone on the computer or in one of the books must have filled my mind with crap that’s not true.  When I didn’t rise to his level of petty anger he became furious and starting literally yelling sex acts at me.  He screamed “that good enough for you?”  I stayed calm, didn’t raise my voice, and told him that I needed him to stop yelling and being sarcastic.  He said that I am trying to “fix” things again.  I told him, no – I was only expressing my needs and asking him to respond with respect and not defensiveness.  He said something like “yeah, right.”

Then he got more defensive and self-righteous.  He said it wasn’t even an affair since we weren’t married yet.  I told him that seeking her out online, initiating sexual contact, hiding, lying, and carrying on behind my back IS an affair, married or not.  He said something like, “How can you say that if you say I’m not telling you the details of what we did” or something similar and snarky.  Again, I didn’t engage the way he wanted me to.  I said that we both know what he did was wrong and was an affair and a betrayal.  He countered with “whatever” or something just as intelligent.

At one point I started to cry a little bit (I tried to hold that back but just couldn’t after his last comment).  Mr. Mess started mocking me and saying that I am “playing that card again.”  He said it won’t work, and I couldn’t try to make him feel bad.  At that point I did slip and argue back.  I told him that sometimes I can’t hold back my emotions, and that he was making me feel very upset.  Instead of listening he interrupted (par for the course at this stage), and said something like “What, so I don’t ever show my emotions?”  I gathered my thoughts, pulled myself back together, and tried to stop the pointless arguing.

Then he started in again with the yelling.  I told him I would not deal with it.  I walked away and went into the bathroom to take a breath, then got changed out of my dinner clothes.  A few other inconsequential things happened where he raged like a little kid throwing a tantrum once I came back in the room.  He asked for his coat back, but I told him that I was wearing it now, and that was that (he’s like a jealous kid trying to take back a toy he let another kid borrow once he sees they actually like it).  He went in and got on the computer.  After a few minutes of thinking I went in and told him that I don’t feel comfortable with him being on the computer right now.  I didn’t explain any further, but the computer and his inability to deal with his emotions in a healthy way were the catalysts to this whole mess.  He said something like, “Wow.  I can’t believe you,”  and pushed past me.

I went into the kitchen and calmly stood there watching him.  I picked up one of the books I had gotten from Amazon – How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful.  It reinforced several things I was thinking – that he should not become defensive and yell, that he needs to think about my needs, that he should be sensitive to the fact that I want details, and that it can take years to overcome one (especially if it was never been dealt with).  He was doing his best to make me feel crazy and like I was being unreasonable, but he couldn’t shake my quiet confidence that I had a right to ask these questions.  And it was obviously driving him crazy that he couldn’t drive me crazy.  Mr. Mess then made some comment that he doesn’t know what “this” (gesturing towards me) is all about.  A few minutes later he grabbed a few things, said “Now you’re getting what you want,” and left the house without giving me a chance to respond.

I don’t know what I’m feeling.  Sad for sure.  Disappointed that he went right back to anger and defensiveness and sarcasm.  Resigned to the fact that he can talk a good game, but anytime I ask him to do something that is actually hard for him he will give up.  Naïve for thinking that he had actually changed his blaming and intimidating patterns. A little numb and detached from the whole thing.

I am also proud of myself because I haven’t called him or texted him.  I don’t care where he went (okay, I do care a little bit).  But I’m not going to stress about it.  Him leaving hurt, but it should have expected it because that’s always how he reacts when the truth is too hard to handle.  I guess him leaving is better than having him stay and continue yelling at me.  And at least it’s a Saturday so I can stay up writing, processing, and dealing with my emotions on my own.  Because with or without him I will get past this.

So I’m not sure where that leaves me.  I was feeling positive about reconciling, but now I’m not sure he has the emotional capacity to do the work that it takes.  He just wants to “forget and move past.”  That’s not going to work for me.  We shall see.

Bad Memory

27 Apr

I’ve been having pretty good, positive days lately.  I am really doing my best to think about all of the good things I have in my life and to build towards a really great future.  I haven’t even experienced any “triggers” that I can think of this week.  Until today.

I posted previously about purchasing a few new books so that I could continue processing and moving forward.  One of the books has a chapter about full disclosures (which I haven’t gotten yet from my husband).  In this book the author recommends using a polygraph machine.  I’m still not sure what I think about that, but he says that it helps to really build a firm foundation of trust.  He points out that unfaithful partners get so good at lying that they can be very believable – even to the point of tearing up during a lie to make it seem genuine.

That immediately sent a flash through my brain of an instance where my husband (then boyfriend) had done just that.  I didn’t really think about this morning – just kinda pushed it aside and went about my day.  Then I popped over to a forum at lunch.  One of the first things I stumbled upon was something about how cheaters can disguise themselves so well.  One man with a girlfriend who had been unfaithful twice was feeling suspicious (with good reason – due to a lie).  But he was doubting himself because she seemed so perfectly reformed in every way, and even had a picture of him as her phone wallpaper.  Several people immediately jumped in with their stories of significant others who had outwardly appeared very loving and caring while they were actually actively carrying on an affair.  One of these hit me especially hard.  She said, “My H would come downstairs from his office and kiss me and tell me he loved me and go upstairs to his office and text his OW (other woman). He also had a pic of me on his phone. And on his computer, that he was emailing her from.”

That hit so close to home because it is exactly what Mr. Mess was doing.  Outwardly he appeared to completely adore me.  He had a picture of me on his phone and our computer – both of which he used in his affair to contact the other woman.  He would tell me he loved me, then hang up and call or text the other woman.  He would call me baby or honey or darling while thinking about her or just after making contact.  He went on a vacation with me (which I paid for) where he professed his love and talked about possibly getting married – then texted her while I was in the shower or went to the bathroom during a show.  He took a lovey dovey photo where he is holding me and looking totally infatuated – when he had been in contact with the other woman the same day.  Looking at that photo turns my stomach even today.

But the specific incident I was referring to earlier happened on New Year’s Eve of 2009.  We attended a party that one of his friends held out of town.  We got a room there so we could stay the night and not have to worry about driving home.  Mr. Mess kept disappearing at various times during the night.  I would be talking to someone with him next to me engaging in the conversation, then he would be gone.  There were a lot of people there, and we mingled separately a lot.  As it got closer to midnight I sought him out, and we went to watch a game of cornhole (wonderful name for a game, right?) or beer pong (also very classy).  He asked if I would like another drink.  I said sure, that would be nice.

The next thing I knew, 15 or 20 minutes had passed.  I looked at where the drinks are, and there was no Mr. Mess.  There were only about 10 minutes or so until midnight.  I started wondering where he went, as I continued to scan the room, and he was nowhere in sight.  I stepped outside of the room into the hall that lead to the elevators and a side hotel entrance/exit.  The door outside was propped open, and even though it was cold I noticed several people’s figures.  Sure enough, Mr. Mess was one of them.  And he was now extremely high.  I told him there were only a few minutes to midnight and asked him where he went.  He said something to the effect of, “I told you I was leaving the room.”  When I recounted the drink conversation he suddenly remembered and said he had run into some of the guys, and they wanted him to come get high with them.

This was pretty typical behavior for Mr. Mess at the time.  I didn’t quite know the extent of the drug use in his group of friends, but suffice it to say I know now that none of them ever go to a party without planning to get excessively drunk and preferably high.  At least the segment of the group that he most closely associated with.  I told him it was pretty inconsiderate of him to just disappear like that to get high when I was expecting him to come back.  Now people were really getting excited in the room because there was only a minute to midnight.  He agreed with me that he should have told me, then said that he loves me more than anything and would never do anything to hurt me.  He started tearing up, and said that he would do anything to prove that I am the most important thing to him.

I was caught off-guard and touched, plus he was starting to get animated and drawing attention with his teary eyes and loud pleas.  Someone called us into the room as the count-down to midnight began.  He gave me a passionate kiss as the ball dropped, and 2009 began.  I brushed his behavior off as insensitive and a bit careless, but told myself the bad feelings I had were just exaggeration.  I mean, the man was crying from all the emotion and love he felt for me.  That must be real, right?

Well…  less than 2 weeks later all hell broke loose when I finally discovered the truth (see my previous post Gaslighting).  Needless to say, when I checked later, I found that he had been texting the OW that night.  So the disappearing act was even more selfish and sinister than I had initially thought.  And the whole crying bit was just that – an acting job.  He was using simulated emotions to manipulate me and cut my valid concerns off at the knees.  Happy New Year to me!

Fireworks over Copenhagen the night before New...

All of those emotions and memories flooded back to me today.  It made for a very difficult day.  It was hard to focus and stop those mind movies from running on a continuous loop.  I will even admit that I backslid on my newly set goal of being more healthy and ate almost half of a chocolate bunny at lunch…  😦   I tried talking to Mr. Mess tonight about all of these feelings.   I thought it would go well after some recent breakthroughs and positive sessions with our marriage counselor.  Wrong again…  But that’s another story.

Taking the Leap

26 Apr

Yesterday I was contemplating changing the name of my blog to focus more on me and more on the positive.  I took my friend Ben’s advice and slept on it, and today I decided to make the change.  I have officially changed the title of my blog to Beautiful Mess.  I have also updated the website address to www.beaingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com.  I am already glad that I have made this leap.

I have beeing taking other leaps of faith in my “real” life, too.  I am still working on letting go (see my post Letting Go… Easier Said Than Done), and I have been seeing much more success in that area lately.  In the last few weeks I have let go of my feeling of responsibility for my husband going back to individual counseling.  I told him why it was important to me, how it would make me feel if he went back (safer, loved, and important), set a deadline…  and he took care of it!  I realized how good it feels to give away responsibility for things that weren’t mine to take responsibility for in the first place.  I want to be the “fixer” but then get frustrated that I’m having to do all of the work.  The only way to stop that is to stop “fixing” and start asking for what I need.

I have also worked on my procrastination (see Procrastination… Check).  Last night I went back to my women’s support group for wives of sex addicts, and remembered how much I love being able to connect to other women who are going through the same thing.  It was like going back to your childhood home – that feeling of nostalgia, welcome, and being transported back like nothing ever changed.  Of course things had changed a bit – for all of us – but there was the same camaraderie and understanding.  Blogging and being part of an online community are very valuable, but there is something about being in a room and speaking face-to-face with other people who honestly know how you feel that is validating in a way I can’t quite describe.

That’s certainly not to discount my blogging buddies!  I have also been inspired by other bloggers a lot this week.  I have found several women this week in the forums and blogs who seem to be going through the same internal battles that I am.  One really struck me today:  If Happy Ever After Did Exist – Diving Off The Cliff.  Her blog in general always hits home – it’s like we are living parallel lives.  In this particular post she talks about coming up with her expectations for their marriage recovery, then handing them over to her husband to let him discover his own way to meet them.  That is exactly where I am right now.  I get to set the bar, but my husband has to find his own way to get there.  It is his problem to solve.

Just like me, the whole process is somewhat terrifying for her.  The overriding fear is what will happen if he doesn’t do the work.  I have those same worries.  If I’m not there driving, will he take the wheel or crash us?  What if he can’t figure out his own way? What if he isn’t motivated?  What if he just doesn’t meet my goals or expectations?  It used to paralyze me.  It is still really, really scary if I’m being totally honest with myself.

But I’ve realized that all I can do is make goals, set deadlines for when I want to see things accomplished, and be ready for him to either do it or fail.  And if he fails I have to decide what that will mean for me and what actions I will take in response.  I guess that is the scariest part – am I ready to deal with failure?  Historically I’m not very good with it and have done everything I can to avoid it at all costs.  For now I am choosing to feel positive.  I’m not pushing away or burying my fear, but after I feel it I try to let it go.  I am choosing instead to believe in my husband and that he will step up.  I have to give him the opportunity to shine.

So for now this play-by-the-rules, need-to-be-in-charge, scared-of-failure woman is taking a giant leap and letting go of the outcome.  I’m going to trust, face my fears, and stop worrying if my husband will be there to catch me.  I just have to believe that he will be.  Thanks again to My Ideal Woman, Repairing Shattered Pieces, and all of the other people out there in blog world who have been reading, supporting me, and helping me to feel positive and empowered about myself!

Beautiful Mess

25 Apr

Today I’ve been thinking about the username that I chose for this site – beautifulmess7.  It’s something that I have used from time to time in the past, although it has never been my main username.  When I started thinking about blogging it came to mind immediately for a few reasons.  First of all, it doesn’t contain any part of my name which is important to me since I want to remain anonymous.  Secondly, none of the other usernames I have used in the past seemed to really fit the theme of this blog.  But more than anything it captures what I am now, who I was when I started this relationship, and it embraces the fact that I can be a total mess and still be beautiful inside.

I also have to admit something.  I stole the idea from a song.  You already know that music is a huge part of my life.  This is just more proof of that.  So I decided to continue along the music theme and explain my choice with songs.  Here are a few videos of songs that have inspired my choice and express some of the various aspects of how I feel about myself.

Diamond RioBeautiful Mess

Okay, so this was the original inspiration.  This song came out about 10 years ago, and I loved it.  Then when I first met my husband in 2007 I felt like I really knew what the song meant for the first time.  I wanted to spend all of my time with him.  I was staying out late.  I felt this heady mixture of adrenaline, endorphins, and reckless abandon.  It was definitely something like an addiction – and I know now that it wasn’t all that healthy.  Still, the sly smile was always on my face and for the first time in my life I didn’t have everything under control, in its place, and buttoned up.

Then later, after the infidelity and all of the crazy ups and downs, the beautiful mess part had a deeper meaning to me.  I felt like I was the mess.  Now the “haze” was from shock and hurt, not lust.  I literally had a terrible time concentrating on anything and I was always tired.  But it wasn’t fun this time.  Yet somehow I was able to find strength inside of myself that I didn’t think I had.  Instead of his unfaithfulness making me feel worthless, I discovered that I now knew with conviction that I didn’t deserve this.  That I am worthy of honor and respect.  That I am beautiful.  Despite the turmoil and the pain.  Despite the awful mess I found myself in.

Here are the parts of this song that resonated with me the most then and still do today:

“Going out of my mind these days
Like I’m walking round in a haze
I can’t think straight,
I can’t concentrate
And I need to shave

I go to work and I look tired
The boss man said son you gonna get fired
This ain’t your style
And behind my coffee cup I just smile

What a beautiful mess, what a beautiful mess I’m in
Spending all my time with you
There’s nothing else I’d rather do
What a sweet addiction that I’m caught up in

Cause I can’t get enough
Can’t stop the hunger for your love
What a beautiful mess
What a beautiful mess I’m in”

Hunter Hayes – Storm Warning

 This song is one that I just heard on the radio the other day.  I have to admit that I hadn’t even seen the video until today.  Even though I only heard it one time, it stuck in my head.  It took me a while to find it this morning, but I’m glad I did.  The first thing that struck me had absolutely nothing to do with the song itself.  He looks like he is about 15!  I’m not sure how old he really is, but I do know that he seems very talented.  After doing a quick search I found out that he plays a ton of instruments (guitar, piano, drums, bass and more) and has written songs for Rascal Flatts and Montgomery Gentry.  Very impressive!

Back to the song.  I like the imagery of the woman being like a storm.  It feels very powerful.  I also really connect to the part when he says she is, “One part angel, one part perfect, one part a wreck.”  I certainly don’t feel perfect, but I like the contrast between being something ethereal and beautiful and ruined all at once.  It also mentions burning wheels and being somewhere between coming and going.  I feel like that a lot these days.

Here are the parts of this song that I relate to the most (I realize that it is most of the song…):

“Have you ever noticed every hurricane
Gets its name from a girl like this?
She’s a cat 5 kind keeps you up at night
Hangin’ on to the edge of a kiss

She’s a beautiful mess
Yeah, the kind you love to love
But what happens next?
I got a feelin’ when the sun comes up

I’m gonna wish I had a storm warnin’
I’m gonna wish I had a sign
I’m gonna wish I had a little heads up
A little leeway, a little more time
Some kind of radar system
Locked in on love
I got a feelin’ by the time the night finds the mornin’
I’m gonna wish I had a storm warnin’

Ain’t it funny how it feels when you’re burnin’ your wheels
Somewhere between goin’ and gone
You get so lost that you can’t turn it off
You give in and you just turn it on
She’s a heart full of rain, red lips like a flame
She’s a girl from your favorite song

What a beautiful mess
One part angel, one part perfect, one part a wreck
The kind of flood you’ll never forget”

Well that’s it for now.  Those are really the two songs that I had on my mind this morning.  More of my ramblings will be coming later on.  In the meantime, what do you think about me potentially changing the name of my blog to Beautiful Mess?  I have been thinking about it a lot, and I think it might represent more of who I am.  It is also a bit more positive, at least in my mind…

Being a Procrastinator

23 Apr

Since I have vowed to myself that I will be honest in this blog I have to admit something.  My husband is not the only procrastinator in this relationship.  I think one of the reasons that the D-Day Antiversary (I’m stealing this term from someone on SI because it is perfect) hit me so hard is that I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been.  This post is not about my husband.  I am not discounting that he has put off a lot of things that are really important to me, stopped going to individual counseling for 6 months, and has been passive in the recovery process.  But I’ve got to focus on me, and I’ve been just gliding along, too.

This weekend I realized that some of the books I started reading at the beginning of this process are still sitting unfinished.  In the first month or two after D-Day I threw myself into the process of figuring out what happened, dealing with my emotions, trying to find a way to grow, and reading anything I could get my hands on that helped me understand what was going on and put it all in perspective.  I had individual counseling sessions every week, I attended group sessions with other betrayed wives every Wednesday night, and if it wasn’t related to infidelity, sexual addiction, or working on my marriage I wasn’t reading it (and I’m a lifetime, avid reader of just about anything).  Then I burned out.  So here are my personal 12-Steps into and back out of the destructive procrastination cycle.

The first step for me was taking a mental break from 24/7 self-help reading (Step 1: Much Needed Respite).  It actually wasn’t a bad decision because there is only so much that a person’s brain can take in, process and applyGame of Thrones was about to come out on HBO, and I got a great deal on the box set of books from Amazon.  I told myself I would just read the first book as a brain break, then go back to the Shattered Vows book my group was working through.  After all, we were only covering a few pages at a time and I was already caught up to our current place.

This seemed much more appealing…

… than this.

It sounded great.  But I devoured the first book and was through it in just a few days.  I told myself I didn’t take nearly enough “time off” from dealing with all the emotional crap.  I deserved at least one more book…  Before I knew it I had read all 4 and the Shattered Vows book was sitting somewhere collecting dust (Step 2: Enjoying my “Vacation” a Little Too Much).

But I was still going to my group every week, I still had individual counseling, and my husband and I had even added in marriage counseling.  Surely that was enough…  In fact, maybe it was too much (Step 3: Rationalization).  My group meeting was late at night (starting at 7:30 and not ending until after 9:00 pm most nights), far away (at least 45 minutes, over a bridge, and through a few tolls), and all of this constant thinking about the infidelity was really starting to get me down (of course I was clinically depressed at that time and in complete denial).  Still, I kept going because I did really love the women in my group and the support I got.

Then in July my husband lost his job, had surgery on his deviated septum about one week later (it was already scheduled), and my grandfather died (the same day as my husband’s surgery).  Now I was reeling emotionally not just from the betrayal but also because my grandfather and I were extremely close.  Although he was sick with cancer and we had known for a few months, his death was due to a slip and fall that was completely out of the blue.  On top of that we had medical bills, a significantly reduced income, and a very unsure future in more than one way (Step 4: Life Happens).

Being the “fixer” and overachiever I am I decided to get a second job.  It was a good idea, and I was able to get one surprisingly quickly as a tutor at a local franchise.  I would be able to earn a little extra money, help pay down our bills, and give myself a little much-needed reassurance that we would make it through this.  The only problem was – I had to be available nights.  And Wednesday was a big tutoring night, especially for the SAT kids that I specialized in.  There goes group (Step 5: Over Functioning).  Sure, I kept in touch with some of the ladies (still do) and told myself I would swing by on nights when I wasn’t scheduled to teach.  But somehow that never happened.

Then my husband started school and got a part-time job (that transitioned to a full-time position).  Our schedules got hectic.  We barely saw each other since one or the other of us always seemed to be out of the house for something – work, school, second job, therapy, group meetings (him), etc.  We had to cancel one marriage counseling session, then never made another one – mostly because we arbitrarily decided we didn’t really like her (Step 6: Justification).  My own individual therapy sessions petered out, then stopped (Step 7: Withdrawing).

Before I knew it I was stuck on this hamster wheel of working, scarfing down a few bites to eat, then working some more.  If I ever did get “down time” I felt extremely exhausted and mostly wanted to fill it with sleeping, watching TV, or some other mindless activity (Step 8: Major Depression).  The 5th Game of Thrones book came out, and I pre-ordered it through Amazon.  It was on my doorstep bright and shiny the day it was released, and you can bet that I cracked that sucker open immediately and made time to read it.  I should have realized then that my excuses for not continuing my full-on recovery were just that (Step 9: Denial).

Something happened around September of last year that caused enough impact that my husband and I found another marriage counselor and gave that process another shot.  I can’t remember the exact incident (that’s how foggy everything had become), but I do recall that it was something that I strongly requested my husband take initiative on.  Whether it was guilt, anger, something surrounding our 1 year wedding anniversary, or an entirely different matter I’m not sure.  But it was a really great decision, and the psychologist was a really great choice.   We started going weekly.  I noticed that we were communicating better, connecting more often, and having fewer arguments.  I somehow allowed myself to believe that was enough – that I could bury everything else and we would be great (Step 10: Coasting).

Then over the weekend of March 31st everything I was keeping deep inside busted out in one torrent of emotional vomit.  And like my reaction to vomiting in real life, once it started I couldn’t stop it (I have been hospitalized twice for dehydration related to uncontrollable vomiting – once as a baby and again 3 years ago after an unfortunate food poisoning incident).  Since then I have come to realize that all of the feelings and hurt I had about the infidelity and my husband’s sex addiction didn’t just go away.  I was just covering them up with activity, denial, fear, and a false sense of accomplishment (Step 11: True Self-Discovery).  I was reverting to the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” mindset that if I didn’t acknowledge something it didn’t exist.  It’s the completely non-fun adult version of “peek-a-boo” – I put my hands in front of my face so I couldn’t see my pain then acted surprised when it jumped out at me.

I decided this weekend to recommit myself to personal growth and healing.  I found the book Shattered Vows and dusted it off – literally and figuratively.  I have already found a lot of things that I relate to and can apply directly to where I am today.  I also pulled out the marriage book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, and we worked through one of the “quizzes” and the exercise that followed.  I asked my husband to commit to doing at least one of those per week together.  He gladly agreed.  I have also combed through some of the books that other women recommend on SI, and ordered myself 4 of them with a gift card I won the weekend I had to work (D-Day Antiversary #1).  The way I figure it there is no better way to treat myself and use those winnings than investing in my own health and future.  I will not be passive in my healing again (Step 12: Resolve).

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Letting Go… Easier Said Than Done

23 Apr

One thing I have been struggling with lately is letting go and detaching from the decisions my husband makes and the responsibilities that are his alone.  The issue of co-dependancy has been on my mind a lot.  I was reading a blog post, Third Person Perspective, from another woman who is going through a similar situation.  She wasn’t really talking about co-dependency.  Her post was about how her triggers are still gut-wrenching and how her husband’s upcoming business trip is causing anxiety.  Some of the comments talked about what her husband could do to help alleviate those fears since she wasn’t able to take off work and go along.  She also delved into some of her own insecurities surrounding his behavior and her worry that he might not be able to “stick to his ideals.”

I have some of the same worries.  Even when I think my husband has no intention of doing wrong, I get nervous and anxious in situations that seem similar to what we went through.  I know that is partly due to “triggers.”  For those not familiar, a trigger is an event or situation that is similar to something you have experienced before that immediately brings back the same emotions from the past.  I have talked to my husband about the different things that trigger me – like seeing that his phone ringer is completely off or catching him in a lie, no matter how “small.”

But I also realized today that a lot of my anxiety is about the fear that I can’t control how things turn out for us.  A lot of this is really on him.  And that scares the shit out of me.  He is the only one who can stop himself from lying, cheating, destructive behavior, and his negative patterns.  Sure, being there for him and supporting him is something that I can do.  But I can’t be there all the time.  He is on his own the majority of every day when he’s at school or work.  A lot of his past behavior was at work, but if I dwell on that fact it would drive me crazy.  So I’m working on finding a way to let go of the things that I have no control over.

It’s really not easy.  Because if he can’t control himself (like he couldn’t in the past), I know now what that will do to me.  And I know I can’t handle it.  It’s hard to hand your future sanity over to someone who has hurt you so deeply, even if you are rebuilding the trust.  But somehow I have to do it because there is no way to control his every action.  I have also come to realize that I don’t want that responsibility.  Maybe that means I’ve made progress. Who knows…

What I do know is that he has to make the right choices whether I’m in the picture or not.  I can’t be his conscience or therapist.  He needs to develop his own boundaries, figure out his own way of staying right, and go back to his individual counselor who has a plan and can teach him the correct tools for healing.  I’m not going to be his guide through this anymore – he needs to take some action on his own.

So, back to the whole idea of co-dependency.  What is it really?  At what point does it become unhealthy?  Are there different “rules” if you have been cheated on?  Is it something I should be concerned about at this point?  What can I do about it?  Depending on who you ask it is either a terrible thing or a necessity for a marriage (to a certain degree).  Every article I read also seems to have a different definition of what codependency is.  Under some definitions our relationship could be characterized that way, but under others we don’t fit the bill.  Some things I read sound like I could be an “enabler,” but other things are so far off base that I would be termed something more like a “disabler.”  It can get quite confusing.

For now I have reached the conclusion that the important thing is finding a healthy balance of personal independence and dependence on your spouse.  After all, if I wanted to be completely unconnected and independent of another human being why would I be married?  In his book Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship, M. Gary Neuman encourages couples to establish a “healthy co-dependence” in their marriage.  I haven’t read the book, but I think I will have to order it because I want to know how to do that.  I certainly don’t want to feel chained like the picture below, but I also don’t want a relationship where we merely co-exist in our separate lives without worrying about the other person’s needs, feelings or desires.

Looking Forward to the Weekend

20 Apr

The last few weeks have been incredibly emotionally draining.  Besides all of the thoughts and memories brought up from the D-Day Anniversary I have also been dealing with a lot of stress at work.  I was supposed to be out of town this week at a training, but had to cancel at the last-minute and stay behind because of a “crisis” at work.  All week I have been on and off the phone, multi-tasking like crazy, and generally being all things to all people (even more than usual).  So I am super excited that today is Friday.

Why so excited you may ask?  What fascinating and amazing weekend activities do I have planned?  Absolutely nothing.  Literally.  I did have a semi-fun weekend planned with a trip to a Wine Festival that is about an hour and a half away.  I had two discount admissions courtesy of Groupon that would include souvenir tasting glasses, all the wine we could drink, music, cooking demonstrations, and various other festival-like activities.

Alas, my procrastinating husband has put off yet another school project to the last possible minute.  That means he now has only 2 days to start and finish a project that a good portion of his grade depends on.  Not to mention, he should have already registered for Summer classes but has yet to figure out what classes he should take, what time they are offered, and when and where he needs to go to take the placement test required for math.  Oh – and he also needs to LEARN math so he can pass said test.  Those things combined with new anti-depression medication that doesn’t encourage drinking and the prospect of a rainy weekend has killed my chances of going to the wine festival.  I hope my sister and her boyfriend enjoy it.  Here is what I plan to do now – As little as humanly possible.

I probably should be at least a little upset.  I am frustrated by my husband’s lack of responsibility and general motivation.  But I am learning to let that go.  It is possible that I could be co-dependant and I have definitely been an enabler in the past.  I am trying to move past those things and let him fall on his face or succeed completely on his own, even if that means he ends up with a 70-something.  It sucks.  I don’t like to see others struggling while I sit back and watch with the ability to help them.  It seems cruel.  I also have very high standards and hate it when someone doesn’t live up to their potential.  But apparently that is my co-dependance talking (I’m still not sure how much I buy into that whole thing).  I will go into all that later (probably), but right now I think I’m going to start my weekend early by giving my brain a break from deep thinking.

So, to recap – My husband will spend the weekend basically chained to his computer and a math book.  Meanwhile, I will be perfectly content with the couch, a blanket, and a few good books.  In fact, as an introvert, that sounds like an absolutely perfect weekend to me.

Halo and Wings

18 Apr

Well, yesterday was a setback, but I’m feeling more positive again today.  The song below popped into my head this morning.  I love Steel Magnolia – they have such a beautiful sound, wonderful voices, and this amazing harmony both personality-wise and vocally.  This is one of my favorite songs on their CD (although I have played the thing almost to death because they are all great).  It is called “Just by Being You,” but it also has the secondary title of “Halo and Wings.”

I think the “Halo and Wings” aspect of this song is what brought it to mind today more than anything else.  The chorus is:

“And I’ll take off my halo, if you take off your wings.
You don’t have to be invincible cause I sure ain’t no saint.
You’ll always be my angel no matter what you do
Cause you take me to heaven just by being you.”

I am truly not perfect.  We both have things to work on in this relationship and would even without the infidelity.  The imagery of taking off vestiges of an unattainable ideal is powerful for me.  We really have to acknowledge that each of us is dealing with an imperfect human being who has flaws.  This song is a bit of a gut-check and a reminder that there are so many things about him just being him that I love and cherish.

The second verse also speaks a lot to where we are now.  One particular part of it says:

“Even in your weakness
Baby drop your guard, just let it go
Until everything’s exposed
And you don’t have to feel ashamed”

This entire ordeal has brought us to a point where we can (hopefully) be more real with one another.  Sure, he has slip-ups and lies about stupid things sometimes, which makes me feel temporarily insane.  But when I take an objective look I can see that we now have more true intimacy.  I mean that in the deeper meaning of the word.  We are gradually becoming able to drop our guards, share thoughts and emotions that are personal and hard, let each other see the imperfect, vulnerable person inside, and help each other feel validated and accepted.  That is something I want to strive for in our marriage as a continual thing.  I don’t want to lose that communication and intimacy again.  I think that is one of my biggest fears.

What do you think about the song?  Do you have fears like that in your own relationships?  If you have found a way to push through them, especially in a situation where there has been infidelity, I would love some tips.  How do you keep yourself honest and admit your own flaws?  That is a tough one for me.

Angel or devil ?

“Small” Lies Create Big Problems

17 Apr

AARRGGH!  Okay, so things have obviously been going too good for me.  I have been feeling much more positive and upbeat this week.  The anti-depressants seem to be kicking in a bit because I have more energy and feel more like the “old me.”  My husband and I had what I thought was a very honest, deep conversation last night.  Then another one of his stupid, “small” lies pops up and throws a wrench in my whole day.

So here’s the short story – and this really is stupid.  I got a free Redbox rental code texted to me Sunday night (they do that once per month).  We decided to rent a movie even though there wasn’t anything in particular we wanted to see – because hey, it’s free.  Husband picks up movie.  We watch said movie.  He says he will return it the next day (yesterday).   I would have returned it since I have to go by a Redbox on my way back from work (literally – right past one within a few feet).  But he said he would take care of it.  I wake up and the movie is gone.  I assume he had probably taken it back like he said.

Let me back up just a quick second.  I have a Redbox account.  They have my phone number (obviously) and email attached to that account and every credit card that I have ever used is automatically tied into that account.  Every time I use one of those cards, put in my email address at checkout (with a new card), or use an exclusive coupon code they have texted to me I get a nifty confirmation email of my purchase and return.  Automatically.

So let me continue…  I got the email confirmation when my husband picked up the movie.  After all day yesterday not seeing the return confirmation I thought he may have forgotten to return it (since Mondays are very hectic with school, work, quickly home, then back to school).   When he got back home I casually asked him if he had a chance to return the movie.  I added casually because it really was – not accusing, not angry, just an off-hand remark after we had already caught up with the day.  He immediately said he had taken care of it.  I was a bit confused and said something like, “Hmmm, I usually get an email for returns and I didn’t get one for that.”  He said something to the effect of, “Wonder why that is?  I did return it.  Weird.”  I just took his word for it and we continued on our merry way.

Until this morning.  My husband left unusually early this morning.  He was up and out the door before 6:15, and sometimes he doesn’t even get up until 6:20 or 6:30…  I thought it was a bit unusual, but thought he probably had something going on at work since they are making a lot of changes.  After I got into work I started my morning ritual of checking my emails – both work and personal – something I monitor throughout the day and sometimes at night since I have a tablet now.  Bam!  There was an email confirmation for a Redbox return.  This morning.  At exactly 6:17:30 AM.  Wow…

Image representing redbox as depicted in Crunc...

I kept my cool, forwarded the email to him with the words “I don’t know why you would lie about this.”  When he called me on his break I didn’t mention it.  I was too busy, and I was planning to talk to him about it tonight.  But then it started festering.  By the time he called around 3:15 as he was getting off of work I just couldn’t wait.  I wanted to get it off my chest so we could hopefully have a good night.  He also has to leave for school again at 5:30, which would give us less than 30 minutes to talk when I get home anyway.

So… we chatted a bit about our day and I told him I needed to get something off my chest and clear the air.  He said, “Okay.”  I asked if he knew what I was going to say (since I told him last night I get confirmation emails of returns).  He said “No, what is it.”  I pressed…  You’re sure there’s nothing that you want to fess up to.  Again, nothing.  I came right out and told him that I know he returned the Redbox movie this morning because I got the confirmation email.  He denied it!  Up to this point I was pretty calm, even internally, but that really just blew me away.  Really?!?  He’s going to try to lie to me when I know conclusively he’s not telling the truth?!

Yep, it would seem so.  He said he returned that movie last night.  He has no idea what I’m talking about.  It was later in the evening, but he absolutely returned it yesterday on his way home from school.  I was flabbergasted.  So I tried another approach.  I told him I had noticed he left earlier this morning than normal, and I know now that it was because he was returning that movie.  Again, he denied it.  In fact, he argued that he hadn’t left the house early and he always leaves by 6:15 – something that is not only BS but again totally beside the point and not worth lying about!

I totally had it by this point and said that I really don’t understand why he would continue to lie to me when I have the proof right in front of me!  I told him I get these emails all the time and they are always accurate.  Not only to the day, but down to the very second the movie was rented and returned.  I have the location, I have the date, and I have the time the movie was returned.  Why the hell was he still lying to me about it??!!!  FINALLY he admitted that he was lying and that he DID return the movie this morning.  I mean really?!?!  You thought you could actually just LIE your way out of this and convince me that REDBOX was the one not telling me the truth!?!  This is not only gaslighting but delusional!

I asked him what he was trying to accomplish, what he really thought he was doing by lying to me.  He said he didn’t really know.  He said the movie was late, and then his voice just petered out because he probably realized how incredibly stupid the excuse was that was about to come out of his mouth.  I mean honestly, he thought that admitting he forgot to return the movie and we were charged $1.20 would have been an issue?  Of course not!  And certainly nothing even comparing to this trust-smashing, ridiculous lie that either I’m too stupid to read a date or Redbox is in some conspiracy to make him look like a liar.   I told him that this is 10,000 times worse than anything that could have happened last night.  He admitted I am right.

I also asked him why he would think that lying to me like that over and over would work when I had proof in black and white in front of me.  He said he didn’t know I had that.  Wait?!  Were we not in the same conversation?  Did I not just tell you I was looking at the email at the very beginning – that is how this whole thing came up!  Well, he didn’t know all the details it had.  Like that makes it okay to try to lie to me – he didn’t think I really had enough proof to hang him!

I asked again why he would lie to begin with last night when I provided the opportunity to admit the truth in a completely non-threatening and supportive environment?  He said he didn’t know.  I asked him why he didn’t just admit the truth the second I brought it up.  He said he didn’t know.  I asked him why he would even try arguing with me about it.  He said he didn’t know.  I told him that I gave him the opportunity today even AFTER the lie last night to come clean with the truth.  I asked him why he didn’t.  He said he didn’t know.  I told him that these “little” lies make it almost impossible for me to believe he is telling me the truth about bigger things.  He said he knows that.  I asked him why he would risk the trust we are building for something so stupid.  He said he didn’t know.

I told him that “I don’t know” is not good enough anymore.  I am tired of it.  He does know because he is the one who did it.  And I am tired of being his conscience, his brain, and his therapist while I’m trying to deal with all of the emotions and crap that his lies have caused.  I told him when I get home he better have thought about it and have a better answer.  I know that probably sounds like an invitation for more lies and bullshit (which it probably is), but I just don’t know what else to do.

Why does he have to make things so fucking difficult?

Music – A Soundtrack for Life

17 Apr

Music has always been a huge part of my life and who I am.  I was raised in a household full of music – singing, instruments, and hours devoted to practicing, performing, and enjoying it.  My mother is a pianist, led the church choir, and was a long-term music teacher substitute at the local middle school when the choral director was out on maternity leave (twice).  My uncle plays the guitar, my aunt led worship, my cousins play a variety of instruments (trumpet, sax, drums, guitar, bass, and more), my brother plays the drums and learned to manage a sound board, and my sister even tried violin once (it didn’t stick).

I was in chorus all the way through school, and in my senior year of high school I was part of the show choir and chamber ensemble.  I decided to skip “early release” and add an extra music class – even though I already attended choir every day.  I dropped out of the International Baccalaureate Program when the extra class requirements would mean I couldn’t focus on music the way I wanted to.  I went to county and state vocal competitions, traveled all over the country and once internationally with my show choir, and even formed a band of my own for a short while.  I never learned to play the piano the way my mother does, but I did pick up the acoustic guitar and teach myself a few things.

More than those collections of facts, though, music is a part of my soul.  I remember singing in the car to the radio as one of my earliest memories – yes, I was that young.  Music has this amazing power.  It can transform my mood, bring me back to the past or into my future in an instant, and express all of the emotions and thoughts in my head in a way I haven’t even considered yet.  Songs are intimate.  They are expressions of our deepest desires and most shallow thoughts.  They can lift you up, tear you down, make you laugh, cry, and sing along at the top of your lungs even if you don’t get a single note right (like my Dad).

I am constantly amazed by all the new ways that song writers can express age-old themes in fresh and exciting terms.  Just when I think every word has been said or every song has been sung on a particular subject I hear something else that blows me away.  The best song writers are the ones that bare everything – all of their fears, hurt, guilt, shame, joy, triumph, loss, love, and the list goes on.  There are songs and song writers that are so raw and real they touch a place inside of me that I thought only I had access to.  There are songs that speak to me and seem to speak for me.  Truly, songs are a backdrop for everything, a soundtrack for life, because they incorporate every part of life.

In this blog I have already shared some of the songs that are capturing my life, or at least some of my feelings, right now.  I think that will be a continuing theme here because sometimes words alone aren’t enough to express everything inside of me.  Here is the latest song I am really connecting to – “Let it Rain” by David Nail.  It has been rolling around in my head for hours.  I really like this version better than the official music video because it is a very clean, honest performance.

The words of this song are really powerful for me.  It helps me understand some of the emotions that my husband feels, especially the chorus.  There is guilt, shame, acceptance, pain, regret, and so much more wrapped up into the song.  It’s not just the lyrics, either.  He puts such emotion in his voice that it just shoots straight through me.  I’m going to sit here for a little while with this song on repeat just listening and feeling and enjoying another great song that is beautifully written and poignantly performed.

Gaslighting

16 Apr

I have mentioned a few times that I found a website called www.survivinginfidelity.com that is a great resource for everything that I have been going through.  Not only do they have forums and support groups, but they also have resources and FAQs that are packed with great information.  As I was browsing through the FAQ I found one on what they call “gaslighting.”  The first part of the answer describes this behavior perfectly:

“This term is taken from the movie “Gaslight” where the husband (Charles Boyer) tries to make his wife (Ingrid Bergman) think she is going mad by convincing her what she thinks she is seeing isn’t real. When the WS is either caught or suspected, he/she may try to convince the BS that they are not seeing what they think they see or that something didn’t happen, even though everything points to the fact that it DID happen.”

I have never seen the movie and I hadn’t heard that particular term before but it is SO accurate.  I even tried to find the movie on Netflix or cable so I could watch it, but 1944 movies don’t seem to be in high demand.  Anyway, it is something that my husband did to me early in our relationship.  It is really hard to accurately describe how it feels to be on the receiving end of gaslighting.  It is disorienting.  It reeks emotional havoc.  It is a terrible, self-doubting experience.  It is incredibly cruel in the way it turns your own mind against you.

Let me give you just one excruciating example from my life.  A few months after my husband (then boyfriend) moved in with me (about a year into our relationship) I started feeling very uneasy about his behavior.  I won’t go into all of the reasons right now because they aren’t really pertinent to this particular story.  I will say that I had already experienced gaslighting on a smaller scale, and I was starting to see quite a few signs that things weren’t quite right.  Around the same time we moved in together we also decided to combine phone plans (actually I added him onto mine).  One day when the anxious feeling was especially strong I decided to log into the phone bill online and do some peaking around.

I don’t know what I expected to find.  Most of me was hoping that all my fears would be assuaged, and I could get on with my day blissfully.  Part of me knew that there was nothing good waiting for me on the other end of the “Call and Message Details” link.  I clicked bravely and held my breath as the data loaded… and felt it all knocked out of me when I saw page after page of calls and texts to a number I didn’t recognize.  Still, I tried to rationalize, go through a list of possible reasons in my mind, try to convince myself one of his friends or brothers got a new number without me knowing (after all, they are his friends and family, so its possible).  I did a reverse phone lookup (those things are quite amazing), and I could feel my stomach winding up into a tight knot – it was a cell phone registered to someone in Madison County.  As far as I knew, he didn’t have any friends or family there.  I called the number trying to get more information and got the voicemail for some woman.  A woman I had never heard of.

I don’t even know how I got through the rest of the day.  It was all a blur of mind-numbing pain, confusion, and deep hurt.  When I got home from work that night he wasn’t there yet, and I found myself pacing and restless, unable to sit down or stop my racing thoughts.  I decided to go to a local park.  I had an overwhelming need to get out of the house – away from all the walls that seemed to be closing in on me.  While I was driving there he called me.  I managed to answer the phone even though my hands were shaking from a combination of anger and anguish.  He was cheerful, called me “baby,” and said that he was on his way home to me and couldn’t wait to see my face.  I remember just feeling shocked that he would sound the same – that he could seem as loving and happy as he always did – when my world had just imploded.  I don’t know what I said, but I know that he caught on very fast that something was wrong.  I told him that I needed to talk to him, and I told him the park where I would be.  He acted like he was completely unaware of what could possibly be the matter, but he put on the concerned, supportive boyfriend voice and said he would meet me there.

Those first few minutes alone in the park were surreal.  I went over to the swing set and just started swinging.  I wasn’t crying.  I wasn’t planning what I was going to say.  I was just sitting there, swinging between two worlds – the one I had in my mind where I had a loving, devoted boyfriend and the real one that I was about to confront where he had been cheating on me.  The motion and breeze on my face were comforting, and the calm and still of the park at night were a direct contrast to the swirling madness going through my head.  All too soon his headlights cut through my reverie, and it was time to face reality.

©2008-2012 ~goose77

This screenshot shows Ingrid Bergman being gas...

This screenshot shows Ingrid Bergman being gaslighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unispired

12 Apr

I am feeling very uninspired.  I have a lot of days like that now.  This blog and SI have been fueling my energy and giving me a place to channel my feelings.  But today I’m back to just being “blah.”  I started some anti-depression meds this morning after talking with my doctor yesterday.  I know they aren’t “happy pills,” but the doctor did say it should be like a lightbulb slowly turning back on in the next few weeks.  I’m looking forward to that.  I could use a little light in my life.

It’s funny sometimes how I can come across exactly what I need to get me through a tough moment.  I was browsing around on www.survivinginfidelity.com.  I hadn’t made any posts today or replied to anyone.  Even though there are always painful topics and a lot of emotions from women in various stages of this terrible process I normally feel validation and solidarity connecting with people and offering support where I can.  A lot of times I can pull myself out of a funk by taking strength from women who have dealt with so much more than me and are still giving it everything they have.  Today I was just feeling deflated.

Until I came across a post from a woman who shared that she finally went to her doctor and got antidepression medication 2 weeks ago.  I don’t want to violate her privacy, so I will mainly share how her post made me feel and my personal reactions.  I immediately connected with what she was saying.  I was hesitant to ask for help for a long time.  At first I thought these emotions were something I needed to work through and really feel (which they are).  Then when the sad didn’t go away or seem to get better I thought it was something I was doing wrong.  I felt a lot like this is something I should be able to deal with on my own.  Even though I knew I made the right decision to talk to my doctor and he shed a lot of light onto things for me yesterday I still had a nagging doubt that maybe the whole problem is that I’m just not strong enough.

I’m happy to say that I don’t feel that way anymore.  Thanks SI and all the women there who share their feelings.  You’ve come through again for me when I needed it.  I hope to be able to report in a few weeks that I am feeling much better and more motivated.  I do have to quote one section from the post because it is terribly inspiring and I agree completely.

“I love my husband. I always have. I am truly trying to see him now as the man who loves me and not just the man who made a horrible mistake and did this to me. Wish me luck.”

Better Than I Used to Be

11 Apr

Today while I was driving I heard the song “Better Than I Used to Be” by Tim McGraw on the radio.  I hadn’t heard it before, but it struck me immediately.  It’s a great song about a man who is making himself “better.”  The tag line is “I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be.”  The song is very honest and heartfelt about mistakes he has made and issues he’s had, but it is also positive and inspiring.  Here’s the video with the lyrics running across the bottom (I don’t think there has been an “official” video released yet).

When I heard the song it made my think of my husband immediately.   Even though this blog is from my perspective and things have been hard for me, its been a very intense process for him as well.  I think this song is a perfect anthem of achievement and growth.  It made me stop and reflect on all of the things my husband is bringing to the table every day and the progress he has made so far.  I am so proud of him for the guts it has taken to give himself a good hard look, be proactive, and actually make changes.  It is painful to self-examine (I know because I am truly my worst critic).  One particular line says, “I’ve pinned a lot of demons to the ground.”  That is great imagery because dealing with bad habits and ingrained behaviors that are unhealthy is a real battle – it takes strength and resolve to take on your demons and bring them to the ground.

I see a lot myself in the lyrics, especially the first part.  The song mentions, “I’m learning who you’ve been ain’t who you got to be.”  That is something that I’ve had to learn through this process.  Neither one of us are the same as we used to be.   It is hard to change, but it’s definitely possible.  The first verse also talks about holding grudges and burning bridges.   That has always been more of my style in a hard situation – I have let friendships and relationships go over conflicts and held onto my anger for a long time.   At first I thought staying and working on my marriage was a weakness.   I thought it meant I didn’t have enough self-respect or that I was a “doormat.”  That’s not true, though.  It’s actually harder to forgive, let things go, and mend fences.  I don’t want to throw away the connection that my husband and I have, even if I was hurt immensely.  It is healthier for me to find a way past it.  Our relationship will be more resilient and durable because of it.

“Put some faith in me and one day you’ll see there’s a diamond under all this rust.”  I know that statement is true for our marriage.  It will take some polishing and a whole lot of faith, but there’s definitely something rare and beautiful underneath all the crud from our past.

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