Archive | October, 2012

Welcome to My Town: The Smoking Remains of My Marriage

30 Oct

I’m going to tell you a little story today.  I want to give you a tiny peek into a corner of my brain where I have been living recently.  First, though, I want to explain the catalyst to this creative inspiration.  Samantha’s post today about the grieving process made me stop and think about where I am right now.

The Five Stages of Grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  Those “stages” are all interchangeable, and you generally don’t experience them in any particular order.  I examined each of those stages today, and considered where I might be on the spectrum.

I quickly determined that I’m not in denial.  In fact, it’s more like I am finally coming out of it.  I have lived in the fantasyland of denial and delusion and optimism for so long, hoping and hoping and hoping that my husband would change.  I have been trying not to harp on the failures and lies, instead focusing on the positive things, even if they were sometimes as small as breadcrumbs.  That denial left me thinking that although my town was far from perfect, it was like a charming, old town somewhere in the mountains that was built of stone and could weather any storm without being too much worse for the wear.

I have also bargained with myself and with my husband for quite a while – feeding my denial with the hope that THIS deal, THIS agreement, THIS conversation, THIS slip, THIS lie, THIS time would be different, enough, the last time…  However, I’m not there anymore, either.  I left the bargaining behind the same time I stopped trying to deny my reality.

Depression has also been my constant companion for quite a while.  It has been there looking over my shoulder at almost every corner of my little town.  Although my depression is still hanging around, I am not living in his deep, dark cave anymore.

After my husband left, those first 2 weeks were much different.  I started really accepting the truth that I can’t expect the truth from my husband.  During that time I felt disappointed about the lies, but I was almost resigned to the fact that this is what my life has become.  I had accepted that he had done what he had done, he had continued lying to me, and there was nothing I could do to change that or him.

I also felt such relief when he was out of the house.  It felt wonderful to reclaim my domain.  I cleaned and cooked and washed tons of laundry.  I felt accomplished and proud of myself for sticking to my boundaries.  This was progress for me!  It was the first time I have drawn a line and then left it there once he crossed over it.  I didn’t let him erase it and draw his own line farther into my personal territory, encroaching more and more into my comfort zone, leaving me backed against a corner.  That was my normal pattern, and I had broken it.

If you’ve been following along with the stages so far, we have already hit on denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  That leaves one option for my current stage of grief for the destroyed fantasy of my relationship.  I actually didn’t have to think very hard to come to this conclusion.  I am angry.  Tired.  And ANGRY!

The title of my last post said that I am “getting tired” of all the lies.  That’s actually not accurate.  I am already extremely tired of the lying.  It’s not that I’m “getting there.”  I have arrived.  In fact, I am the mayor of the town.  Or maybe the governor (inspired by the last episode of The Walking Dead).  Yeah, that sounds about right.  I feel just diabolical enough right now to have a wall of severed heads in my office.  Only every single one would belong to my husband.

That town is the setting of my story. It’s a dark and twisty place.  There are lots of dangers lurking around.  It looks like something out of the set of Revolution – no electricity, buildings in ruins, vines growing all over everything…  The current Frankenstorm that is hammering the East Cost is the perpetual weather there.

I have always been the governor of this town.  My husband was my partner – my right-hand man, so to speak.  We determined that there were issues in our town, and set about trying to fix them.  Once we had decided on something we wanted to do, we would figure out how it could be accomplished and work together to make it happen.  Or at least that’s what I thought…

Sometimes I would identify a threat to our town or the progress we were making to repair it.  In order to protect our little town, I would put a boundary around that area – complete with cones and a “Danger” sign.  He would agree, nod his head, say he completely understood and that he respected that boundary.  Then he would walk right over it.  He would demolish any signs or markers I had erected to protect myself and our town.  He would march right through without any heed to the promises he had made.

The sneaky thing is that he would do it at night, when there were no lights on that boundary and no one there to guard it.  When I eventually found the destruction in the morning light he might first say he didn’t do it.  He would say it was someone else’s fault or give an outlandish explanation.  If I found his fingerprints all over the crime scene, he might then “come clean,” apologize, and swear he wouldn’t do it again.  Alternatively, he might try to make me feel bad about where I placed that boundary.  He might blame me for putting it in his way.

No matter which option he chose, at the end of the interaction my boundary was no longer standing intact.  Sometimes he would move it.  Sometimes he would pretend to rebuild it, but leave himself a way around.  Sometimes it was so smashed up that it didn’t seem there was any way to repair it.  On rare occasions, a brick wall would be built there to block that particular boundary from being crossed again without a lot of effort.  Even on those occasions, there were always lasting remnants of the vast destruction that had occurred there.

This time I was able to stand back and survey my little town from a distance.  I saw all of the craters, demolished walls, the smoke coming out of buildings that had been set on fire, the graffiti covering the walls, the overgrown shrubbery, and the wreckage of my trust and hope and love and marriage.  For the first time I realized our town wasn’t quaint.  It wasn’t slightly flawed or full of “character.”  It was destroyed.

I realized patching up this one boundary, moving it a little farther back, letting him “get away” with another crime against me and the town was not the answer.  I decided to banish him from the town for 3 months and go about the business of cleaning up and restoring my township.  For two weeks I have been throwing away garbage, hauling away debris, and taking inventory of what was left over.  Being a governor keeps you busy, after all.

In the last day or two I realized that I had allowed him to drop bomb after bomb on my town over the years.  I stepped back again and saw that two weeks of hard work on my part had done a little bit, but the devastation was so immense that the town might never recover.  I thought about all the time I had spent on the town, how many times I thought he was there next to me building it, how I had trusted him to care about it as much as I did.

Then I recognized that while I was living in that fantasyland of denial and hope and optimism, he was stomping around wreaking havoc on everything.  He would be in planning meetings with me, talking about ways to make the town better, then leave and destroy something else.  I realized how naïve I was to keep believing that he had the town’s best interest at heart, even if he “slipped up” and lied or smashed something.  I felt guilty that I had let him stay in the town, damaging things so much that now they are in a completely ruined state.

Then the anger rolled in on a strong gust of wind.  I became indignant and full of rage for all of the broken bits of the town lying at my feet.  How dare he attack the town like this!  What a complete ass!!!  I wanted to seek him out in the desolate outer reaches beyond the town where he was banished to throw some of the ashes and rubble at him.  I wanted to scream and rage and show him just how fucked up everything was – because of him!!!

Just as quickly as that thought entered my mind, so did the anger at myself.  He wouldn’t have been able to do so much extensive damage if I had grasped earlier that this town was not what I thought it was.  If I had comprehended that I was the only one working on the town, caring for the town, nurturing and putting energy in it.  Maybe I would have left that town behind altogether and be in a new town by now where plans were kept, boundaries were respected, and there was another person just as committed to making it flourish as I am…

I’m still standing in this destroyed town.  Anger and depression are my companions while the storm rages on.  I still don’t know if the town is worth rebuilding.  I don’t know if it will ever be inhabitable again.  I don’t know if he will come back from his exile as a strong, capable, responsible, reliable, accountable man ready to actually work on making this town viable.  Or if things are past the point of that ever being possible.  I’m fairly certain it’s the latter, but only time will tell.

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I’m Getting Tired of Talking About Lying

28 Oct

This time the lie I uncovered was another long-term one. Remember my post about Judge Judy? It turns out that the “truth” I uncovered then was just another lie. I didn’t share the entire story then, and I’m honestly feeling exhausted thinking about telling it now.  You will probably be exhausted, too, after reading it all.  I suppose that I need to for my sanity, though, to clear my head and get everything out there so I can’t delude myself again.

It all started in July of 2011.  My husband was fired from his job.  As far as I know, he was fired for being sloppy (not cleaning up his work truck) and having a bad attitude. There was a little more to it, but it doesn’t really relate to this story. After he lost his job it was important that he have insurance because he also had a surgery the week after he was fired. His previous health insurance was good through the end of the month, but he also had follow-ups and other things health-wise that needed to be taken care of. Plus, I am a huge believer that everyone needs health insurance. You just never know what might happen.

Naturally, we went ahead and added him to my insurance at work. It was a much better deal than anything he could get on his own, and it was convenient to just have it come out of my check. We worked out a budget together to compensate for his lack of a job and the additional money coming out of my paycheck. It was a little tight, but we were actually doing just fine. In October he got a new job, and told me that he would be eligible for health insurance in 3 months.

Things at that job progressed, but not as well as he had hoped. He had just barely 32 hours per week due to his school schedule, which they worked around for him. The building he was working at was also being shut down, so he was going to transfer to another building with a different manager. He said that he made sure to talk to the HR people about the insurance situation so that he would still be eligible. He assured me that he would be.

In January at the end of the 3 month period, I asked about the insurance situation. We were planning to compare the pricing through his work to the pricing through mine to see what the best option would be. He told me that he wouldn’t be eligible until February – eligibility begins on the 1st of the month after 3 full months of employment, and he started in mid-October. That made sense since that’s how we do it at my work.

Then February came, and no insurance… He told me that he dropped the ball. He had forgotten to talk to the HR department to get the paperwork, fill it out, and get it back on time. I was disappointed, but that is my husband. He is horribly lazy about things like that. It was his responsibility to take care of everything, and he didn’t. I wasn’t pleased, but I wasn’t surprised. I asked him to get the pricing and information so that we could compare it together and make a decision. He said he would. Of course he didn’t.

As March approached, I still hadn’t seen anything about the insurance. I didn’t want to nag, so I only mentioned it once. He said he had the information at work, but kept forgetting to bring it home. Then March was here, and there was no extra time. He called me and said that he looked at everything and it was better for him to go through his work. He said that he had to get the paperwork in, so he was going to fax it from his job. I said that is fine with me – he should take care of it.

He told me that the new insurance was going to be the same as the insurance he had through his old company – United Healthcare.  That was doubly fantastic.  You see, his individual therapist was part of the United network, but not Anthem, which is what I have through work.  That meant we would save money twice – cheaper insurance and no more $90 a week out-of-pocket expense for his therapy session.  Yay!  This letting him take care of things seemed to be working out really great.

Around mid-April or early May I started feeling like something was off.  It is something one of my readers dubbed a “knowing” (you can read about that here).   No matter what I did I couldn’t shake that feeling… BUT things seemed to be going so well, so I tried to push that feeling away.

My “knowing” was not to be ignored, though.  Sometime around this point I found charges for several hundred dollars on our joint account from a company I didn’t recognize.  After some research I discovered it was an online health insurance company.  I was completely confused…

Mr. Mess spun some story about looking for health insurance through his school in January when he was uncertain what would happen at work.  He said that he signed up for health insurance through a company, then changed his mind the next day after speaking to someone at work.  He claimed that he called and cancelled, and he had no idea why they would be charging him now, several months later.  He called the company and told me that the woman he dealt with was gone, and someone else had taken over her accounts.  He claimed someone found his application, saw it wasn’t processed, and put it through (without calling or verifying anything with him first).  Once he explained that he had cancelled, they agreed to refund his money.  Sure enough, the money did come back.

Still, I was hurt and felt betrayed that he would make a decision like signing up for insurance without talking to me at all.  The other crazy thing is that it was MORE expensive than the health insurance through my work, so it didn’t even make sense.  He rationalized that he was going to tell me, but then he cancelled it before anything happened so he figured it didn’t matter.  Huh…?

I also started noticing that my husband’s story about his copay kept changing.  First he told me the copay for therapy was $30 (the same as mine), then he said it was $35.  Either way, we decided to change our marriage counseling over to my insurance while he was waiting for his new insurance information.

It took us a few weeks to come to that decision and probably another one or two to get it taken care of because we see our therapist on Saturdays when no one is in the office.  That meant there were still a few sessions under his expired insurance that had to be resubmitted to his new insurance.  That created a bit of a problem for me because they kept trying to charge me for those sessions that should be going through his new insurance company.  We finally got things clarified with that so my account and his were separate, and I just had to pay for the sessions moving forward.

Part of the delay in getting the old charges taken care of (according to my husband) is that he hadn’t gotten his new insurance card yet.  He told me when it was supposed to be mailed, and since it hadn’t come he was trying to get with the HR department to have the card resent and get a temporary one in the meantime.  He said he would take care of it, so I trusted that he would.

Then I found more money discrepancies… charges for about $155 or so from his therapist’s office split over several different payment methods.  First he said that he was paying a past due bill plus his copay.  The numbers he gave me just did not add up.  His copay amounts kept changing.  The past due amount kept changing.  It made absolutely no sense to me.  That is when I relied on Judge Judy’s wisdom and told him if it didn’t make sense it wasn’t true.

He kept lying for a bit, then finally admitted that his therapist was NOT covered through his new insurance.  He said that he thought it was United Healthcare, but it was really US Health (or something like that).  When he found out he had been mistaken he was worried that he told me the wrong thing.  He said that he panicked and lied about it.  We talked about it extensively in therapy.

The unpaid back bills from our joint therapy sessions also remained an issue.  He would tell me that he was going to take care of it.  He kept not taking care of it.  At the beginning of July he lied to me about it, then admitted his lie when I pushed a little bit (I talked about that here).  Week after week passed with excuse after excuse until I just stopped asking.  It was his bill.  It was his credit being ruined.  I decided to just let him worry about that bill on his own.

It didn’t come up again for a few more weeks, at the end of July, when our therapist asked about it.  I mean, seriously, these bills were from March or April (I really can’t remember the month, but it was a while back).  He was going to be out to deal with prostate cancer for about 6 weeks.  He asked that my husband make a point of taking care of the bill during that time because he doesn’t get paid if he doesn’t work, so having that money come in would be helpful.  Mr. Mess promised he would take care of it and ensure the office had his new insurance to submit those old charges to.

Again, the matter fell off of my radar.  Then we had the issue with him not taking his meds in August (that story is here).  He got gout in September.  Finally, there was the STD testing fiasco (the very long story of that is here).  That was the last straw for me.  I asked him for a separation.  He has been out of the house now for 2 weeks.

This past week a bill came for an X-Ray he got in September when they were diagnosing his gout (and ruling out other possible causes).  It clearly stated that there was no insurance company to submit the charges to.  Suddenly it all clicked.  MY HUSBAND NEVER GOT HEALTH INSURANCE!!!

Everything for at least the past 7 months has been a lie.  I can’t even count the number of times he has lied to me about this subject.  The above summary is only the beginning.  I don’t even know when the lying started.  In March when he said he submitted the information?  In January or February when he should have been eligible?  As far back as October when he first got the job and told me he would eligible for insurance in 3 months?

I think back on all of the times he lied, and I feel empty inside.  In marriage counseling more than once.  In bed when we talked at night.  When he was telling me the “truth” about his new health insurance company.  All the times he was reassuring me that he cares about me, wants to be 100% honest, and is committed to earning my trust.  It was all a farce.  He even looked a man in the face who was worried about his upcoming cancer operation and lied to him.  Shamelessly.  How low can you go?

I really don’t know.  I’m sure it can and probably would have gotten much worse.  I don’t know if he can ever change.  I do know that I am SO over talking about lies.  I’m tired of being lied to.  I’m tired of wondering what is the truth.  I’m done expending any more emotional energy on this topic.  Either he figures it out and fixes it, or he doesn’t.  I don’t even know how I will ever be able to tell.

What I do know is that I will not accept lies as a regular part of my relationship anymore.  I’m done believing in his “higher potential.”  I am not going to let my optimism cripple me anymore.  My eyes are wide open.

Our First Post-Separation Date (With Each Other)

25 Oct

image

We had our first “date” since the separation, and it was a disaster.  I have to start by saying that I looked hot. Seriously. I have battled with poor self-esteem, and even I knew I was smoking.  He didn’t say a word.  Nothing.

He ordered water and refused to eat.  He didn’t start an argument, he wasn’t sulky, and he didn’t act angry, but he also wasn’t engaging or interesting.  I think he tried to make small talk. He asked what I had been doing, told me he was doing “nothing” and shared that he has been writing and working his book.  He did say he wants me to read some of what he has written because he can’t process and articulate correctly in person.

I think he was unsure what to talk about.  Mostly we just chatted.  He asked about my work, then briefly listened.  He bitched about his work extensively.  He complained about the apartment he is renting – how it feels like a jail, how he has to lay on the bed to watch TV, how he wishes he knew earlier that his brother was out of town so he could be staying at his place, etc.  He said more than once how tired he is and how he falls asleep at 8 most nights.  He talked about HBO and two new female co-workers.

Overall I got too much of a “poor me” vibe and not enough “man of action.” Of course no STD or psychological testing was mentioned.  He was full of excuses about looking for a new job even though this one is apparently awful and pays shit (basically his assessment).  He did say he feels he is accomplishing something with his therapy to uncover his reasons for lying.  That was encouraging.  I shared some of my little personal growth moments from the last week.

Finally, near the end of our time together, after I returned from the bathroom and caught two guys checking me out, I mentioned something about his lack of notice/caring/whatever of me. I did it in a very I-know-I’m-hot-so-I-don’t-even-care-that-you-don’t kind of way, with an evil smirk on my face. He said he was just thinking how good I look, but he didn’t want me to think he was being disingenuous or trying to weasel his way back in with me. He said he was completely overthinking things.

The whole lackluster event ended at 8:30, only an hour and a half after it started, without us touching each other once. He didn’t try to hold my hand, hug me, or even really get close at all. He never ate. I paid my bill. He didn’t even walk me to my car.  If this was a first date I would not be going on a second one.

However, I know that this WASN’T a first date.  We have a lot of baggage trying to tag along.  I need to cut myself and him a little slack.  Hopefully they will get better.  For now, it’s a start.  I know my expectations were too high. It has only been 2 weeks since our separation. Change is gradual and takes time. That’s why we planned to separate for 3 months.  I have to realize things are messy and complicated right now. I need to let go of my fairy-tale, romantic-movie fantasies. I can’t change him or this night, so I have to work on changing me.  I will use this as an opportunity to make myself stronger and healthier.

Results from the Affair Analyzer

24 Oct

Today I decided to take the Affair Analyzer on the website where Rick Reynolds has his blog.  I have read quite a few of his articles, and I really thing he is insightful and spot-on.  The website has a little tool where they can give their take on the infidelity you have experienced if you answer a few questions.  I spent less than 5 minutes on it today and got the below result, which I think is scary-accurate.  I have highlighted the portions that really spoke to me the most.

Affair Analyzer

We’re truly sorry you’re going through this, but as difficult as this is, you’re the type of woman who will find a way to survive. As you’ve discovered, infidelity is totally disorienting, and one of the most difficult aspects of recovery is finding where to start in order to avoid prolonging the recovery process.

Although you are extremely hurt and shocked by your husband’s betrayal, you’re probably already exploring what needs to be done to address the situation. Your drive and resolve will likely carry you through the first portion of your recovery, but coping may become more difficult later on.

Your husband’s infidelity may have caught you off guard, especially if you assumed he was as committed as you. Conversely, you may have realized some time ago that you do the majority of the giving in your relationship. But you were hoping that he would, at some point, also realize what a catch you are and begin to put more into your relationship. You probably believed that love conquers all and because of that, your love should prevail.

Many people in your position are willing to give their mates another chance, particularly if the mate is truly remorseful and willing to address the problem. You may be questioning how you could have married someone like this since you are a woman of integrity and thought you had married someone who was also. In the long run, your ability to live well despite your mate’s behavior may be one of the characteristics that will prove crucial to your family’s recovery.

About what happened

Continuing a marriage while one mate has a sexual addiction requires commitment from both parties. Regardless of good intentions and strong desire, addicts do not overcome their behavior on their own. However, this presents a problem because these individuals usually experience such deep shame as a result of their behavior that it may terrify them to admit the problem and seek help. Instead, they will resolve to never do it again, believing they can overcome the problem on their own. In fact, depending on how the addiction came to light, this may be the first time your mate has ever really addressed their addiction. If that’s the case, then your mate may still need to discover their powerlessness over the addiction.

The Path Ahead

MarriageAs the hurt spouse, you will  likely find yourself in need of guidance on how to respond and cope with this  disruption of your life. Since you still may want the marriage you  should try to respond in a way that will cause your mate to pause and  consider well their own options. At the same time you don’t need to  compromise your own integrity. You are probably not only hurting from  the betrayal but also shocked by what happened.  You may also be  wondering how you can ever trust this individual or any person ever  again. This betrayal may have left you feeling inadequate and foolish  for even considering staying with your unfaithful spouse.

In fact, you may well receive contradictory counsel from different people.  Some will tell you to leave the marriage and others will advise you to  stay and work on the marriage. However, few of these people, if any,  have actually been in your situation and they have no idea how they  would really react if in similar circumstances.

Immediately  following the revelation of a betrayal, too many emotions, impressions, fears, and too much pain exist to make reliably good decisions.  It would likely be best to not leave your marriage until you can observe  changes in your mate that will indicate whether it is a safe and viable  option to stay in the marriage.

Exploring the motivations for both leaving and staying in the relationship may prove very helpful to you  both now and in the future so as not to repeat history somewhere down  the road. Your decision to stay or go may actually alter with time.  Frequently, the pain created by the betrayal will be the primary  motivation for leaving in the initial period after you find out.  Eventually this pain may subside and you may feel differently. Of  course, you may also notice a shift in your desire to stay if your mate  fails to make a serious effort at reconnecting in the relationship. If  you base your decision to stay on your mate’s promises to change, you  may be disappointed if their efforts to change do not meet your  expectations.

Since a part of you wants to save the relationship, you may find yourself trying to control your mate’s decisions and  manipulate them into staying regardless of whether this will result in a healthy marriage. You may start denying your own needs for healing and  safety in an attempt to save the marriage.  Saving the marriage at all costs would be unwise if the marriage in the end were not a healthy one.  Be careful not to compromise your physical or emotional health.  The  emotional pain of infidelity does not just go away; denying it will only compound the problems it has created.

Part of your uncertainty may be due to the fact that part of you genuinely cares about your mate, but another part of you wants to get as far from them as possible.  You will likely find yourself wanting the opposite of what you feel pressured to do.  If your mate and those around you encourage you too much to stay, then you will want to leave and vice versa.

Before you make a final decision to leave the marriage, consider your  motivation for leaving honestly and carefully.  If you actually want to  leave because of marital dissatisfaction, it would be best for you to admit that is the reason taking responsibility for your departure rather than putting the blame wholly on your mate.  If you are having trouble  with this decision because of your fears, it will help you to recognize  those fears and deal with them directly so that you can make your  decision based on reality.

It is important to understand each other’s recovery in order to learn to support each other.  Men typically want to compartmentalize and avoid thinking about things that are painful.  They need space to think about it on their own and in their own time.  Women, on the other hand, tend to process trauma verbally often wanting to talk about what has hurt them until they can touch the wound and not get an emotional charge.  She may actually ask the same questions over and over again in an attempt to desensitize herself from the pain.  Both spouses need to recognize that avoidance (from the men) and repetition (from the women) are just the ways that we typically deal with pain and give each other the patience and grace to handle this life-altering trauma in their own way.

Regardless of the outcome of your marriage, in order to heal, you will need to confront, grieve and release what has happened and then learn from the experience.  If  you are unable to sufficiently heal, then you may end up repeating the same pattern of hurt again. Infidelity is an emotional blow that cannot be ignored; however it is not an insurmountable hindrance to your future happiness.  You should give yourself ample time and grace to complete your essential healing journey.

About your mate

Since your husband’s position is unclear, your best course of action is to focus on your own healing. Make sure to allow him to take responsibility for his own recovery. You must be willing to let him succeed or fail in his recovery so that it will truly be his own. If your husband stays because of manipulation, you may feel successful initially, but it could lead to bitterness because he feels controlled instead of confident in his decision. Also keep in mind that if your husband is ambivalent about staying in your marriage, then he will not be wholly committed to the relationship.  Note that pressure will frequently influence people who are ambiguous to take the opposite position.

Unless your mate is willing to take responsibility for his actions and what his behavior has cost you, he most likely will not be able to participate in a healthy marriage.  You may need to be stronger than is comfortable or usual for you and create a list for yourself of your, at the very least, minimum requirements to stay in the marriage.  It may prove virtually impossible to know whether the relationship can be healthy and viable until you can witness your husband’s response to your needs.  You will need to be careful in determining if he is truly willing to do what is necessary to restore your relationship.  If your husband is not willing to help at all then you must understand that you cannot trust him with your heart.

Next Steps for Recovery

Recovery requires a safe and supportive community. AffairRecovery.com provides this community and is comprised of others who understand. Processing what happened is one of the most effective ways of dealing with healing and understanding what’s happened. Having others who can empathize and validate your experience helps the disorientation created by the attachment wound.  If at all possible try to find a therapist or program specializing in the treatment of infidelity.  Not all helping professionals are trained to address the issues of infidelity.

If discovery of the affair was in your recent past, you may have difficulty identifying any positive reason for working on the marriage. Frequently the pain of the betrayal clouds our ability to find the benefits.  Our culture is far more tolerant of divorce, where children are wounded and families separated, than we are of exploring the potential advantages and possibilities associated with recovering from an infidelity.  This leaves many believing that exploring the possibility of salvaging their marriage is a sign of weakness.  Those of us at the Affair Recovery believe it’s a sign of phenomenal strength.  If he is willing, then we’d encourage you to consider this possibility.  There is hope, and you can heal.  Your probabilities for having the relationship you’ve always wanted is far greater with this relationship than with the one that’s unknown.

I’m Feeling Sassy Today

24 Oct

I got up this morning and put together an outfit that makes me feel amazing.  I found a gorgeous drop-waist royal blue dress on clearance last week.  I paired it with rocking black lace tights, Tahari peep-toe heels with little bows, and a long black necklace.  For work I topped it with a tailored black jacket with bell sleeves.  I feel like I need to come up with somewhere to go tonight to show off all of this awesomeness.

Some Recent Fun

23 Oct

I spent a nice day on Sunday with my sister and her boyfriend.  We attended the local Celtic Festival and Highland Games.  A few weeks ago I also went to our state fair.  Here are some pictures of that recent fun.  I thought I would share some of the great highlights recently since you guys have been mostly getting the bad stuff.

Freshly cooked mini donuts at the fair! They added powdered sugar AND cinnamon to the top. It was delicious!

I want a goat! They are so adorable…. 🙂

The small ferris wheel at sunset. I love how the tree almost looks like lace.

Another shot of the ferris wheel.

Fried Kool-Aid!? How does that work?

I liked this cool hat… I couldn’t pull it off, but I thought it was neat enough to snap a picture.

Hmmmm…. That could be fun.  Too bad I don’t really like any of those drinks.

Funny!

Bagpipe music filled the air all over the festival grounds.

I got to watch some old-fashioned blacksmithing. It was really quite a fun demonstration.

In addition to what I took photos of above, I also got to watch a hurling match (very strange game), part of a rugby match, hammer throwing, the hale-bale throwing thing (not sure what they call that), and some other sort of thing where they throw something large and heavy into the air.  Unfortunately, I missed the caber tossing because that happened on Saturday.

I also ate some really yummy food.  I decided to pass on the haggis.  Instead, I had an oyster po’ boy and fried pickles.  It may not be very celtic, but it did remind me of New Orleans, which I love.  And it was very, very good.  Especially the oysters.

Oh, and I got really, really sunburnt.  Yay.  In my defense, I had brought a coat that would have make sun-screen not necessary.  I wasn’t prepared for it to be in the high 70s, lower 80s in the middle of October!  Oh well, my mistake.  I’m applying a lot of lotion and waiting for the peeling to start.  At least I had a really good time!

Additionally, my football team won on Sunday (Who Dat!), and I got to catch the highlights and the last 15 minutes or so.  The rest wasn’t on TV in my area.  I have been spending lots of time with the doggies.  I had dinner with my Mom and step-Dad on Saturday night.  I have also started reading Killing Lincoln, which my step-Dad told me is really good.

The last thing I want to leave you with is advice that my Dad gave me today.  He said, “You don’t always have to be a rock.”  Thanks, Dad.  I love my family for reminding me of that.

Confused Much?

22 Oct

My husband is confused.  That much is obvious to me.  Other than that, I’m really not sure.

He came by tonight to bring me the joint checkbook that he took from the house last week.  He knocked.  I let him in.  He asked if he could use the computer to balance the checkbook (even though he had it for days, apparently he didn’t actually do anything with it).  I said, sure.  He went to the computer room.

When he had arrived I was in the middle of making myself dinner (it was about 6:30 pm).  I went back to what I was doing, then asked if would like some roasted chicken or a glass of wine (both were sitting on the counter already).  He said no, that he was fine.  I carried on with my preparations, then took my dinner to the den and proceeded to watch The Family Feud.

Once the episode was over, and I had finished my dinner and been properly amused by the silly answers the contestants gave, I started putting things away.  Mr. Mess was still in the computer room.  I decided on a fudgecicle for dessert, and yelled back to ask if he wanted one.  Again, he said no.  That was fine with me because those are my favorite treats right now.  I get the Healthy Choice sugar-free 100 calorie bars, so I don’t even feel bad about having ice cream.

I went back with my treat on a stick to see what was taking so long.  He was still on the bank site.  He finished up as I watched and told me that he had set up the new password in the computer system.  He said it was the same one he had texted me, except he forgot to capitalize the first letter in his text (which makes a big difference).  I said okay.  He said he was going to head home and go to sleep.  He picked up his mail and exited the house.

I have gotten used to his sullen mood and antisocial tendencies over the last week and a half, so I just let his behavior roll right off of me.  A few minutes later I got a text that read: “I dont get you one day you dont want to have dinner with me then you invite me to have wine and dinner.  You have done a good job confusing me.”  I responded with, “That was before we talked & had the meeting with the therapist.  You could have spoken to me while you were here which is really all I was trying to do.  That & be kind.”  I really don’t get it…  He basically pretends I don’t exist while he’s here, then starts texting me when he leaves.  Huh?

A few seconds later my phone rang.  He said that he is “trying to follow the rules we talked about in therapy” by only talking when we are in a neutral location.  That really isn’t how I interpreted things, but okay…  We discussed in therapy about sitting down in a neutral place to have a conversation once a week, but we did not say that we should not talk at all outside of that once per week “date” (for lack of a better word).  In fact, we discussed making sure to speak about any sensitive subjects or those that could be confusing by phone or in person rather than by text.  It seems he was violating a “rule” in his quest to follow another.

I said that I am still more than happy to do that, he just hasn’t made an effort.  He said that he is planning to set something up later this week, but he didn’t think we should talk at my house.  I asked why he decided to come here today then.  He said “to drop off the checkbook,” then said that he wants to spend as little time as possible at my house right now because he feels “uncomfortable” here.  I questioned why he chose to come here and stay for 45 minutes then.  He had some excuses about being tired, not having computer access at his house, not wanting to drive to the library to balance the checkbook, etc., etc.  Again, they were excuses, not valid reasons.

He also said that he doesn’t understand why I would offer him something to eat or drink.  I asked what he would rather I do – ignore him and be mean?  He said no.  Again, I just said okay…

I really don’t know what is so confusing about me being polite to him.  I didn’t ask him for anything, I just offered some of the chicken that was already prepared.  I didn’t even ask him to leave the room he was in.  He said that he “doesn’t feel welcome” in my house and that I have made that “obvious”…  I guess my friendly offer was somehow nefarious or had ulterior motives in his mind…?  He said it was “implied” that I wanted him to sit and have a deep conversation with me, which he didn’t think was appropriate.  Again…. huh?  When I was noticeably confused by his answers he said that he must not know how to take me, or something like that.  At least we were on the same page with that one.

I tried to see what he meant by what he was saying.  More than once I asked him “In what way?” or “What do you mean by that?” in response to one of his vague statements.  He would usually just repeat the last thing he said, like I had told him that I couldn’t hear him, not that I couldn’t grasp his thought-process.  I know that move – it’s his way of shutting me down and stopping any conversation from going deeper than the shallow end of the pool.

In the end he said that he was feeling too emotional to have this conversation.  I asked him how we are ever going to reconcile and have a real relationship if he runs away and hides every time he has an emotion.  He said that he is not running away.  I told him that I really don’t see what else this could be…  He waits until he leaves to text me, then calls instead of speaking to me in person, then avoids any real conversation by saying we will talk “later.”  The only problem is that “later” will never come – at least not if history is any indication.  He has already said once this week that we would talk “later” about the anger that came out of nowhere this weekend.  I think it’s probably clear that didn’t happen since he is barely speaking to me right now.

Tonight he has me wondering why he pushes me away anytime I try to be the least bit cordial to him.  It seems that he has already decided that I am angry or bitter or want this marriage to be over.  Anytime my actions don’t fit with this fabricated reality he doesn’t seem to know what to do.  Or maybe it’s just that he is miserable and can’t stand that I’m not.  Who knows…

What I do know is that I’m going to continue trying over the next 3 months.  Whether he chooses to try as well is up to him.  After all, that’s what this separation is all about.  Will he step up or won’t he?  That is the question at the moment.

The Music That’s Making My Heart Sing

20 Oct

Today I’ve been doing a fair bit of driving – much more than usual for me.  I drove to S-Anon and home.  I drove to the ATM.  I distracted myself by driving out for an hour or so of shopping.  I drove to my Mom’s house for dinner.  We drove around to Sam’s Club and BJ’s (very unfortunate name) and a few other places, then back to her house.  I just drove home.

During all of that driving the common thread was that the radio was blaring.  Not the radio so much as some of my favorite music that has been loaded onto a flash drive that my radio can play.  Either way, you get the point.  I thought I would share the two songs that seem to be epitomize where I am right now.

For my husband:

Little Big Town – Looking for a Reason

Chorus:
Lookin’ for to make some sense out of nothin’
Lookin’ for the hunger to hang on
Lookin’ for to know if you’re really worth it
Lookin’ for a reason not to be gone

Your signs are fadin’, Baby
I can’t read ’em anymore
Can’t you see where I’m standin’, Baby
I got one foot out the door
You better show me somethin’ fast
‘Cause my patience for you, it ain’t gonna last

Chorus

If there ain’t nothin’ there
Well, that’s my time you’re wastin’
If you say you’re givin’ all you’ve got
Well, that’s my chain you’re yankin’
Love is on a slippery slope
Barely hangin’ on at the end of my rope

Chorus

 So tell me what you’re gonna do to keep me around
And Baby, whatever it is, you better do it now, now, now

My state of mind (or at least the one that I’m trying really hard to have):

Martina McBride – Happy Girl

I used to live in a darkened room
Had a face of stone
And a heart of gloom

Lost my hope, I was so far gone
Cryin’ all my tears
With the curtains drawn

I didn’t know until my soul broke free
I’ve got these angels watching over me

Chorus

Oh watch me go
I’m a happy girl
Everybody knows
That the sweetest thing you’ll ever see
In the whole wide world
Is a happy girl

I used to hide in a party crowd
Bottled up inside
Feeling so left out

Standing in a corner wearing concrete shoes
With my frozen smile
And my lighted fuse

Now every time I start to feel like that
I roll my heart out like a welcome mat

Chorus

Laugh when I feel like it
Cry when I feel like it
That’s just how my life is
That’s how it goes

Oh watch me go
I’m a happy girl
And I’ve come to know
That the world won’t change
Just ’cause I complain
Let the axis twirl
I’m a happy girl

Chorus

Oh, yeah
Oh, yeah
I’m a happy girl

Every time I start to feel sorry for myself or get the urge to mope or complain, I think about the above song.  It is true, as simplistic as it may seem.  I just choose to be happy instead.  I don’t push my emotions down, as I admitted earlier today I still cry when I feel the need.  I just try not to dwell in that place.

I get my emotions out, feel the pain, let the gratitude and thankfulness for my family and those who care about me wash over me, then think about or do something that makes me happy.  I cuddle with my dogs, turn up the music, laugh at a funny story, or text someone who brings me clarity, strength or even just a distraction.  I pick up my journal and write.  I organize or clean something (there is never a shortage of that to do).  I take a deep breath, wonder at the beauty of the changing leaves, revel in the perfect October weather – warm sunshine, a cool breeze, the crispness in the air of the beginning of Fall.  I have a lot of reasons to be happy, so that is what I choose to focus on.

I hope everyone’s Saturday was full of love, beautiful weather, good food, and great music!

I Told My Dad

20 Oct

Today my husband came over to pick up the majority of his clothes.  It didn’t really go well.  It wasn’t a disaster, but he is an emotional wreck.  I tried to be calm and talk to him.  He really wasn’t ready.  He is so angry.

I wasn’t prepared for it.  The more I tried to connect to him, calm him down, and be rational and kind about this the more he lashed out.  He called me condescending, even though that was not my intention at all, in the least.  He really started to lose it, and I suggested he get some puppy love in the back yard.  Shortly thereafter, he said it was all too much for him to handle, and he left.

He contacted me a bit after, and he may be coming by tomorrow to finish dividing up some kitchen stuff and food that I can’t use all by myself.  I tried to let him know that I’m not trying to make this process any more difficult than it already is.  I know he doesn’t believe me (because he said as much while he was here), but I’m not angry.  I just know that this is a necessary step if we are ever going to be able to make this marriage work.

After he left I heard the lawn mower going outside of the window in my den.  My Dad is my neighbor, which I think I’ve mentioned before.  The sound was coming from the direction of his house, but I knew that his grass was already cut.  Mine, however, was in need.

Let me back up for just a second.  As of this afternoon I still hadn’t called or sat down with my Dad to explain the situation yet.  My sister lives with him, though, and you all know that my Mom has been helping me through this process for over a year.  After Mr. Mess moved out last week my Mom asked if it would be okay for her to mention to my sister that we are separated and trying to work through a few things so that she doesn’t get overly concerned.  I told her that was fine because I am still processing how much I want to tell her – she is sensitive, kind and loving, but also very emotional.

When my sister texted me a few days ago to invite me along to the Celtic Festival tomorrow with her and her boyfriend, I knew that my Mom had told her.  That gesture touched me quite a bit.  I also knew that meant I needed to have the conversation with my Dad.  He is very observant, so I figured he would notice that my husband’s car was missing from the driveway.  I just didn’t know what to say.  I was going to talk to him last night, but then I got invited for dinner and a movie with the girls.  I had decided that today after my S-Anon meeting and after Mr. Mess left I would go over and speak to him.

So, when I heard the lawn mower going I knew that the time had come.  I walked outside to tell him thank you.  He turned off the lawn mower and gave me a hug.  Then something happened that hasn’t happened since this entire ordeal started last week.  I began crying.  There I was, standing in my front yard, hugging my Dad with tears streaming down my face.  Even now just remembering and typing the story I am sobbing again.

I told him the cliff notes version of things, including my struggle with how to tell him, how to explain, where to start, how many details to go into, etc.  I know that it hurt his feelings that he had to hear second-hand.  I wish I had had the courage to rely on him sooner.  I know that he loves me.  I know that he is supportive of me.  I know that he understands.  I talked to him a lot when he and my Mom were going through their divorce.  I also know he isn’t one to judge.  He told me today that he really likes my husband and he hopes we can work this out.  It was a mistake to wait as long as I did to reach out.

As much as I love my Mom, as much as I value and respect her opinions, as much as I love her, and as much as I know she supports and cares for me – my Dad was the one I finally felt safe enough with to break down.  My Mom is so together.  She is so perceptive.  She is very contemplative and insightful.  I want to be as composed and  introspective and amazing as she is.  I feel the need to “keep it together” with her, even though I know she wouldn’t look down on me if I broke down.  My Dad is amazing, too.  It’s not like I’m saying he is a mess or something.  In that moment, I just felt like his little girl again.  It was nice to have his arms wrapped around me.  The last time that happened was on my wedding day.

Here’s a picture of that moment – the first and only time I have ever danced with my Dad.

The Start of Our Separation Guidelines

19 Oct

Yesterday morning my husband and I had our marriage counseling session.  He was late, and for the first time ever (seriously) our marriage therapist was running a bit early.  That meant I had about 5 minutes or so to tell our therapist the story of the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Okay, it was more like a beam than a straw, but you get the point.

Once Mr. Mess arrived he told the therapist we had been separated since the previous Wednesday…  Really?  You can’t even remember when this all happened?  Apparently the separation seemed to have lasted longer for him than 5 days.  He was kinda sullen and frowny-faced.  We had a bit of a moment where we disagreed in the re-telling of an incident.

None of that is really the point of this post, though.  Those little details don’t matter at all.  What does matter is that we both agreed that the separation needs to continue so that we can focus on ourselves.  Our marriage counselor concurred.  He felt that at this point it was a healthy, positive decision for us as individuals and for our marriage.

Once that was decided, we set upon the task of setting a few guidelines for the separation.  We didn’t cover everything there is to cover, but we did get a good foundation laid.  He utilized the book Should I Stay Or Go? : How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage by Lee Raffel.  I have already ordered the book so I can read the rest.

The first thing our marriage counselor covered was a time limit.  He said that in a controlled separation it is helpful to have an idea of when we want to sit down, take stock, and consider moving back into the same house again.  He recommended a time limit in the 1-6 month range.  He advised that both extremes of that time limit would probably not be the best choice at this time.  We settled on 3 months.

For the next 3 months that means we will maintain separate residences.  Both of us also agree not to file for divorce or see a lawyer to move forward with divorce proceedings.  At the end of the three month period we will talk about whether we want to move back in together, extend the separation for a period of time, or divorce.  In those three months we will continue going to marriage counseling together once per week or as often as both of our schedules allow.

The next issue was to decide on our continuing relationship and contact outside of marriage counseling.  He gave us both an opportunity to offer suggestions and provide our ideas on things that we want, need, or expect during this time.  Based on my not-so-great experiences of the previous 5 days, I proposed no contact after 9 pm.  He agreed, and our marriage counselor added his suggestion that we only use texting for basic housekeeping and non-emotional topics – no strong feelings or loaded conversations allowed.  That sounded like a good idea for me.

I also asked that Mr. Mess announcement himself before entering the marital home.  In the 4 days before our counseling session there had been a few times when he just used his key to walk right in unannounced.  He would send a vague text like “I’ll be coming by at some point tomorrow for some things,” but I didn’t get any real idea of when until he was letting himself in.  I asked for that to stop, and to at least get a specific call or text with notice and a knock at the door when he arrives.  He agreed, then upped the ante by saying he will give me the key back.  Okay…  I didn’t ask for that, but I’ll take it if that’s what he wants.

Contact-wise, those were my main requests.  Then it was Mr. Mess’s turn.  He said he is fine with my requests, then said that he would like to have some face-to-face contact with me at least once per week outside of marriage counseling.  He suggested meeting at a neutral place just to talk about how we are doing in our respective recoveries, how things are going in general, and other lighter topics that we should be able to handle without a mediator.

I considered that request, and didn’t see a reason not to comply at this point.  I truly do not have animosity towards him.  I just can’t have him be a constant presence in my life while he isn’t a trustworthy person.  Always a details girl, I asked how these meetings will be coordinated.  Our marriage counselor said that he would recommend that my husband take the lead and show initiative in this area.  He (very aptly) explained to my husband that I am looking for him to step up and show me that he is invested in this marriage and willing to fight for it.  I didn’t even have to be the one to say it…  I love our marriage counselor!

Somewhat surprisingly, Mr. Mess said that was absolutely his plan (although really, how could he say anything different?).  He said that he will contact me a few days in advance with a suggestion of a time and place we can meet.  He even said that he will choose a location close to where I am since he isn’t sure yet where he will be staying.  No matter where he ends up, he said he is willing to come to an area that I am comfortable and familiar with.

In the final few minutes we decided on a basic financial arrangement for joint bills like his car payment, car insurance and our cell phones.  I include his car payment on this list only because it is in MY name, not because I will actually be putting any money towards it.  In fact, that car payment is the bulk of what he is contributing to “joint” bills – 3/4 of the amount we agreed on, in fact.

He suggested removing himself from the cell phone plan and getting his own.  That immediately triggered me.  First of all, most of these plans require a 2 year contract.  If he is going to get off of our joint account and commit himself to 2 years on his own, then my thinking is we may as well proceed with the divorce.  Suddently 3 months of separation is turning into 2 years?  Uhhh….  what did I miss?

Secondly, it made me think that he is looking to hide things from me.  Why else would he need his own cell phone plan?  Joint plans are always cheaper, and he isn’t making a ton of money.  In fact, in our financial discussion of just a few minutes prior he made a point of how little he will have left over once he puts in for the 3 joint bills he would currently have to contribute towards.  So WHY exactly would you be looking to increase one of those expenses?  His current payment for his cell phone is $50 – with unlimited texting, a decent amount of minutes, and free nights and weekends.  It is actually on the lower end of plans that Verizon offers, and I can’t imagine even on a bare bones pre-paid phone he would pay much less than that…

It just got my spidey senses tingling and made me feel uncomfortable.  The marriage counselor advised against separating things too far or making any changes that aren’t necessary, especially long-term ones.  Mr. Mess said that was “fine” with him, but never offered his reasoning for not wanting his phone connected to me.  I still find it very strange and disconcerting.  When I pair that with the fact that he changed the password to our joint account without telling me and took the checkbook and register out of the house (again without telling me), I am feeling more uneasy today than I was yesterday.

Still, I’m trying to give this separation a chance.  I committed to 3 months of the above plan.  We would have to be separated for 6 months in order to be granted a divorce anyway, so there is no use in me getting caught up in a “what if” or “what is he doing” panic.  Instead, I choose to focus on the positive, and on how I can keep my serenity during this time.

One really fantastic thing has been the support of my S-Anon group.   Tonight I went out with a few women who I have gotten to know.  We had dinner at a Mexican place, a few of the women had a margarita (me included – raspberry – yummm), and then we went to see Taken 2.  I love, love, love the first movie!  The second movie wasn’t quite as good (in my opinion), but it was just perfect for tonight.

I found myself laughing, cheering, shouting at the screen, and getting caught up in the action (yes – I am one of those people).  I wasn’t alone.  The whole theater seemed to be sucked into the storyline.  I really couldn’t believe how fast the movie seemed to end.  A glance at my watch confirmed that it had run the proper amount of time – it just flew.

I’m still on a little bit of a high from the pumped up action.  Plus, who wouldn’t want a man like Liam Neeson who is handsome, rugged, bad-ass, and who will go to any lengths for his family?  Especially when so far the man in my life has put forth a very lackluster, pitiful effort on the simplest things – like getting STD tested or telling the truth.  Maybe he should watch the movie for a little inspiration.

Be Honest With Me

18 Oct

What Are We Doing Now Regarding Separation?

18 Oct

Like these two trees, we are separate to the naked eye, but below ground our roots are still very tangled.

I thought I had already published this, but obviously I hadn’t. I will have a more updated version of this later now that we have been to marriage counseling this morning.

A continuation of my answers to questions from a reader that I posted here.

So what are you doing now then–regarding separation? Are you waiting for counseling on Thursday to decide? Are you not in the same house now?

I’m going to answer all of these at once.  Right now, regarding separation, we are not staying in the same house.  I’m not sure where he is staying, and I have decided not to ask or go searching for the answer.  I really am waiting for counseling on Thursday to make any long-lasting, more “permanent” (to use his word) decisions.

Saturday he came by and picked up a few things.  I was feeling very sick, but got a deep urge to clean and organize.  I wanted things germ-free and more serene.  So I did about 4 loads of laundry.  I cleaned the dishes, the kitchen table, the counter-tops.  As I was doing laundry I started separating out his things because I noticed some of his work clothes.

That led to me separating all of our clothes in the massive pile of laundry I had accumulated in the den.  In order to get his stuff out of my way and make it easier for him to pick up what he needed, I put those items of clothing in the spare back bedroom.  I cleaned some of my new clothes off of the couch and chaise in the living room where they had been sitting for a few days (yes, our house looked like a clothes bomb had dropped on it before all of this organizing).  I started putting those things away.

While I was in the bedroom I got tired of his clothes that were overflowing out of his laundry basket into the floor, blocking the closet doors from opening all the way.  In my cleaning frenzy and frustration, I picked up his dirty laundry hamper and all those annoying, closet-blocking clothes and moved them to the back bedroom, too.

From there, I decided to just continue and clear out the dresser and closet of the remaining clothes that were cluttering everything up.  I figured I was killing three birds with one stone (I really am multi-talented, see?) – put everything in one place for him (how convenient), make my cleaning/ organizing job easier, and reclaim my space.  When he texted to say he needed to pick up his badge for work on Sunday, I moved that into the back bedroom with all of the other stuff, too.

By the time he came by I had also added two pictures of his parents to the pile.  I had just unpacked a Yankee Candles purchase (from weeks before – my shopping was really getting out of control), and
le looking for a place to put the new candles I decided he would probably want those pictures as well.  After all, what am I going to do with them?  I never met his parents because they passed away before I met my husband.  I also figured it might make him feel more “at home” or at least comfortable wherever he was if he had something familiar like a picture of family around.

I wasn’t angry or bitter in taking any of those actions, just in sick, cleaning/organization mode.  I was probably also trying bolster my sanity by removing his things from the bedroom I knew I was going to be sleeping in all alone that night.  Lighting a few candles, having things clean and organized, not tripping over his clothes or slippers – they all made me feel more calm and at peace.

I’m sure he probably didn’t perceive things that way.  I definitely didn’t volunteer the information.  Not my best communication ever, in retrospect.

Be Still My Swirling Thoughts

18 Oct

So, I got a few more great questions today.  I have not been able to do much real thinking because of all the swirling thoughts.  However, I’m going to attempt to answer a few of the simpler ones – mostly to occupy my brain and fingers until I get tired enough to actually fall asleep.

Is your husband capable of being honest—does he even know how? That is the fundamental question. He may want to be honest and he may hate himself for his lies, but if he doesn’t know how, is that something he is capable of learning? Is it really a choice he can make?

That IS the fundamental question.  I’m not sure I know the answer.  I would like to think he is capable, but if I really examine that I can see it is magical thinking – I want it to be that way, so I convince myself it is.  Truly, there is not much evidence to prove that he is actually capable of being truthful and fully honest.

Whether or not he can LEARN honesty – overwrite his old behaviors, replace them with new ones, have truthfulness be his first reaction instead of his last – is a question someone else will have to answer.  I think only a trained psychiatrist can even say if that is possible.  Whether or not it is probable considering his history is a completely different question.  Again, using history as a guide, he tends to not put forth the complete effort and follow-through that a huge change like that would likely require.

What is his pattern?  Has he ever admitted to a lie when you’ve discovered it, but before you’ve shown your evidence?  Does he always or almost always continue to lie in the face of evidence or until you show evidence?  Think about that.  Admitting he has lied when faced with evidence is not a sudden burst of honesty—he doesn’t get a positive check mark for it.

To answer this question I have to admit that he does have one basic, overriding pattern.  That is to lie, then lie some more, then stick to that lie even when it is no longer a reasonable, feasible story that any rational human-bring would believe, then finally cave when presented with irrefutable evidence that cannot be explained away.  So, yes, in that regard he does not deserve a check mark for finally fessing up when to do otherwise would be tantamount to absurdity.  It would be like pointing at the sun and calling it a coffee mug – you can do that all you want, but no one will ever believe it because it is so obviously false in every way.

That is not to say that he has NEVER admitted a lie before I have found out.  It just rarely happens.  In fact, I think the ONLY time it has ever happened is with his last disclosure where he told me about the random online sex hookups.  I had no way of knowing that.  I had no way of finding out.  I hadn’t really ever asked him about it directly, although we had plenty of indirect conversations where that topic would have naturally come up – like when we talked about how many people we have slept with, whether we have ever used online dating services (technically a sex chatroom isn’t a dating site, I guess), exposure to STDs, etc.

There have also been a few times in the recent months where he has told me something that did not sound true or didn’t make complete sense.  When I questioned him by saying, “Is that really the truth,” he then said, “No, it isn’t” and gave me the real story.  Those occasions felt like HUGE steps forward – mini victories in and of themselves.  Now it seems almost absurd that his level of dishonesty was so high that having him admit to a lie when asked seemed like some ginormous progress.

There are different levels of separation. No Contact is the strictest level and it is only broken for limited exceptions: financial issues, emergencies—one of you is in the hospital. As for how long, that depends on the progress. I don’t think No Contact should be an option in your situation. If your situation gets to a No Contact level, it should go all the way to divorce instead.

Agreed.  Completely.  If we have to get to that point, then there is no way we will ever be able to salvage this marriage.

So for a lower level separation you could start out with No Contact other than counseling sessions and draw up a plan for gradually increasing contact. Of course that begs the question and brings up the fear: without your presence is he even less trustworthy?

Another blogger commented on that as well.  If my presence makes a big difference in his recovery, his level of committment to change, or his trustworthiness, then I think we are already doomed.  If he can’t be a trustworthy individual without me right by his side, then he really can’t be a trustworthy individual, right?  At least not trustworthy enough for me to intrust my life, safety, and future to.

ProgressWhat is progress? What sort of things can prove progress? Is it something objective and measurable or is it subjective?

These are excellent questions.  How DO you measure someone’s honesty objectively?  How do you measure progress with something so abstract?  My only answer is that someone else will have to assist me in making that call – preferably a trained therapist or psychiatrist.

I don’t think he can make real progress on this issue alone.  I don’t think I qualify as a real judge of progress in that area.  I certainly don’t think it’s healthy for me to be the one who decides when he is being honest and trustworthy.  So that means I can’t accept that progress has been made on this issue until I can see that he has actually worked on it with someone who is qualified and who believes change is possible and has a plan for how to get there.

“Full disclosure with polygraph? (Does it even matter if he’s lying to himself?)” Will this tell you anything new? Sure, it might tell you when he’s lied regarding something specific, but you already know that he is dishonest in general. Can repetition with a lie detector train honesty into a person?

That is what I keep coming back to.  Will a polygraph tell me anything new?  Even if he passes every question I can think of, that will not change his general dishonesty.  It won’t change the fact that there isn’t one “perfect” question I could ask that would ensure he won’t lie again.  It won’t tell me whether he is already keeping something from me that I could never imagine to ask about.  It definitely can’t tell me that he won’t lie in the future.

Can regular polygraphs “train” someone to be honest?  I don’t know.  Some people seem to think it is necessary for recovery from sex addiction.  My thought is that if you have to be strapped to a lie detector regularly to scare yourself into telling the truth then you are probably not a person I would ever want to put my trust in.  My husband seems to think that I want a polygraph, that I have decided that is the only way I can move forward.  The reality is exactly the opposite – I haven’t decided anything yet with regards to a polygraph.  I’m still on the fence, and I’m honestly leaning towards the “what good would it do?” side.

“My goal would be to work towards REAL recovery and reconciliation where we are each taking responsibility for our own healing.” A noble goal, but only part of it is within your control. Your goal is for you to take responsibility for your healing; your desire is for him to take responsibility for his healing, but that cannot be a goal of yours because it is not within your control.

Very, very true.  Again, I have to be reminded of what I can really control.  I may be able to ask for something from him, but I really can’t control if he does it or not.   I can’t set a goal for our marriage that relies on his actions right now because I do not know what actions he will take.

I often wonder if my go-getter nature enables his lazy, passive side.  I do the research, I read the books, I make the lists, I look at the details, I set the goals, I figure out the plan to reach them – so he thinks he can just sit back and watch.  Since that is my nature and it is not his, I tend to become the only one really taking a hard look at things.  His move is to say “here’s a decision that needs to be made, let me know what is going to happen.”  He certainly did that in this case. 

I have realized that I cannot control or dictate how he does the work, or even if he does it at all.  I can’t ever say that “my way” would be the best way for him – it probably wouldn’t be since we process things so completely differently.  He needs to figure out what HIS way would be – or he needs to stop trying (or pretending to try) altogether.  Actually, I need to stop saying that HE needs to do anything.  What really has to happen is I need to figure out what my bottom line is…

That last part is where I have been trying to get.  That is where all of this thinking, list-making, questioning, and soul-searching has been leading me.  I have to figure out what MY needs are, what plan of action I will take, and at what point I stop waiting for him to figure things out on his own and just keep moving forward without him.

You have been focusing on your development with hope that he will too. As I said in my previous post, you have been earning way to reconciliation or divorce. But at some point you need to say you are there. What is the reality of your situation?

Yep.  I can feel that I am getting closer to discovering the reality of my situation.  You would think that “reality” would be easy to discern, but, funnily enough, it has been one of the hardest processes I have ever been through.  We shall see what tomorrow (really today at this point) holds as I take yet another step closer to wherever it is this journey is leading me.

Find a Way or Find an Excuse?

17 Oct

If something is important, you’ll find a way.  If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.

Random Mental Meanderings

17 Oct

These quotes are really hitting me today. I love the examination of truth and reality, the challenge to change myself and my perception of things. I love the strength and reflection in the writer’s application of these quotes to his life. We may be in different circumstances and different places in life, but I think we could all benefit from taking in the wisdom of these great people and considering what it means for us.

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