There’s No Coming Back From the Dead

27 Feb


I was reading the post of one of my favorite bloggers when I had an epiphany of sorts.  Her last few posts have been about trust, which you know is on my mind a lot.  In the post Reflections on trust, she talks about all the ways her husband’s lies have affected her and made her feel devoid of value.  She went through 20 years of being lied to.  It blows my mind.  Still, some people who comment on her blog seem to think that she should devote more time to waiting around for her husband to magically change.

One went so far as to say,

“A trauma that taught him as a child to lie and keep secrets. Just because he has a grown mans body, a job, kids and a wife does not mean that he was ever taught to tell the truth. Do do what we are taught as children, it carries over into adulthood. You know I’m not making excuses for H’s affair, it was wrong he knew it was wrong but he was doing what he learned as a child. Now he’s trying to unlearn those behaviors, it’s not going to happen over night… Don’t punish him for what he IS doing.”

That literally made my blood boil.  It’s not going to happen over night?  Give him more time?!  That’s your advice?!  He was screwed up as a kid, he wasn’t taught to tell the truth, he’s just doing what comes naturally to him, so… what?!?!  She should just accept that?  Learn to live with it?  Wait some undetermined, potentially indefinite period of time for him to MAYBE, POSSIBLY LEARN to have a conscience and stop being a lying piece of shit?!?!?!?!?!  Disregard the 20 years of lies?  Forget about all these months he spent as an unremorseful ass?  Push aside the fact that he may not be in love with her at all and just keep hanging onto a dead marriage…? Because he did two decent, minimal things and made a few short-lived gestures?

What about the possibility that there is no change coming down the road…?  What if there is no fantastical, happy ending?   What if there is no pot of gold?  Maybe he is just broken.  Irreparably.  Maybe he will be a lifelong liar.  Maybe there just really is no hope for their marriage.  Have those people stopped to consider the fact that she isn’t obligated to continue being dragged around in the mud behind him?

Maybe they have and maybe they haven’t.  I guarantee that they haven’t had a moment where the switch flipped and they just knew that it was over.

I know how much lies can just destroy your soul.   Lies can literally kill any love that you had for someone.  I reached a point with my husband’s lies where that one more lie was just too much to handle.  That only took 5 years for me.  I can’t imagine the hell of being with someone emotionally closed-off from you who has been actively lying for 20 years!  It blows my mind.  She deserves a medal for toughing it out as long as she has so far.

Another thing I know those commenters don’t understand is that there comes a point where there really is no return.  No more “waiting” for the other person to make a change that will be too little, too late.  Once I turned that corner and flipped that switch, it was over.  Done.  No turning back.  There was a moment when I knew that there was no recovery, no making the marriage work.  I even tried to fight against it a little, but it was hopeless, even for me.  Once you have crossed that line, an impenetrable wall goes up and that’s just it.

It is hard to describe that moment to someone who hasn’t had one.  There isn’t an overwhelming feeling of hatred or spite.  In fact, the presence of those emotions for me meant that I was still hanging on to him in some way.  That moment of letting go, feeling the relationship die, it didn’t make me want to scream and yell and kick.  It was just a gentle click.  In that moment I lost all ability to feel much of anything for him besides vague pity, lingering hurt, and a deep desire for it to be over and to no longer have him in my life.

I can say with absolute honesty that my husband could do everything I ever asked of him, worship the ground I walk on, and never tell me a single lie for the rest of his life, and it wouldn’t matter.  I could have assurances that if he even uttered one false word he would be struck dead in his tracks.  He could never cheat again, never watch one more second of porn, never so much as look at another woman. He could make every dream I’ve ever had come true.  He could hit the lottery and win millions.  None of it would matter.  Nothing he could ever do would be enough to get back the love I once had for him.

He murdered that with his lies.

He destroyed it with years of half-truths, gaslighting, and hiding his true emotions and feelings from me.

Like I wrote in my post, I’m Getting Tired of Talking About Lying, I got to a point where I was tired of being lied to, tired of wondering what the truth was, and tired of expending emotional energy on the same thing over and over.  He was too broken, and I could not wait around anymore.

That moment for me came when he lied about STD testing and health insurance.  That is when he killed any chance we ever had of being together.  That was the final “click.”

The love just shriveled up and died.

Just like people, love can’t come back once it’s dead.  Even if it could, it would be a zombie – undead, cold, feeding off of the flesh of anyone close to it.

I don’t want zombie love.  I want the real thing.


27 Responses to “There’s No Coming Back From the Dead”

  1. unflinched February 15, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    That ‘switch’ analogy is so accurate.
    About three weeks ago we were out to dinner, I decided to forgive him for being 1.5hrs late to come home because he had to stay back at work (happens every day), and he looked so tired. But during dinner he started accusing me of being flawed and difficult out of the blue.
    After putting up with him for 3yrs, blaming myself for being constantly hurt and unable to control my emotions due to him not drawing boundaries with other women (not to the extend of cheating, but he nevertheless hid them from me and accused me of overreacting when I confronted him about his activities), not telling me where he is or when he goes out to drink (as a form of punishment for me being upset!) – just to name a few, never mind how he lets his mother get in our relationship’s way – my switch finally flipped.
    And yes, it was peaceful and calm. The love I held for him, I felt it fading quite fast because I finally knew if anyone deserved the love I had to give, it was myself.
    I will never ever go back to him, I will not believe him should he apologise and claim he has changed (although I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s done nothing wrong). They never change. If there were changes, It’ll only be over many years and I’m not giving any more of my life to wait for him to wake up to himself.
    Both my father and my 1st boyfriend are both narcs. My 1st boyfriend (after breaking up + 9years) is still begging me to take him back, showing me he is still a narc.

    • beautifulmess7 February 16, 2014 at 7:57 am #

      Yeah, it’s odd how you can struggle and struggle with a decision, and then suddenly there is peace and a knowing. Once it is past that point, there’s no going back.

  2. axisblue March 14, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    I read this and it took me back to a point in my life when the switch happened. It was with my first wife who had started having affairs within months of us getting married. The hardest part was she was my childhood sweetheart and letting her go would mean losing a lot of my childhood too. I was hurt by her on a daily basis and it seemed because of my inability to walk away, she just knew that no matter what she did I wouldn’t leave her. I even tried letting her have affairs so I felt somehow in control, but even in a open marriage she still lied and deceived me. I was cuckold and regularly waited on her coming home knowing she was out with other men, unable to change the situation. It seemed everyone knew what was going on but me and I was always the last to know.

    In the end I walked out and joined the Royal Navy, changed jobs friends places I lived my entire identity and turned my back on my own life in order to forget her. The problem was I didn’t forget her. She haunted my dreams, she had planted a seed of doubt in me so deep it rooted and took hold of my every action. When I met new women I was almost apologetic about myself. What a fucked up individual I had become, I was 6’3″ dark hair athletic decent looking but felt shit in bed and didn’t trust anyone. If women said they enjoyed sex I didn’t believe them, if they complimented me I brushed it off. I never got close to one person for 3 years then out of the blue I bumped into her sister. She told me how after I left my first wife had suffered with her nerves and had been hurt by a couple of guys and that she had said she was wrong to have hurt me and she would do anything to get back with me. Like a fool I arranged to meet her and as soon as I met her I fell in love again,

    After three years I was back in a relationship I thought had ended, but it hadn’t and I knew deep down it hadn’t. Every dream was about getting back with her, even my Mum knew I would get back with her, I was totally in love with her and within a few weeks we were a couple again. Then came the cloud which hovered before, she started the conversation “I have been thinking about buying you out the Navy”? She said. I was shocked, “why would I leave the Navy?” I asked her. She responded “its just not you, you have changed and we can’t be together if you are in the navy”! The issue is you can’t buy your way out the Royal Navy and I owed them return of service. I told her that she would have to wait till I could come out. She exploded into a rage which was about how I had ruined everything and that I had created this perfect life, with my new clothes, new friends new job. She then said something which threw my switch! “The trouble with you is everything has to be perfect”! …… I stood there and looked at her and looked how manipulating and controlling she was and how when she didn’t get her way this is how she acted. ..I just said “And it was all perfect, but before I go let me remind you, you broke it”!

    I walked out and when I did it was like I had just been given my life back. I loved her but not enough anymore. I think we all hang in there too long and hang on to the hope of it being perfect again, sometimes subconsciously, but I do agree that when the switch is thrown its not that you stop loving them, it’s just that you start to love yourself again.

    • beautifulmess7 March 14, 2013 at 8:18 am #

      That last line is exactly right, “… when the switch is thrown its not that you stop loving them, it’s just that you start to love yourself again.” I’m sorry for all you went through.

      • axisblue March 14, 2013 at 8:27 am #

        Hey never be sorry, the experiences you have make you who you are, I’m happy with who I am today. At the time I didn’t think it was a good experience but its what you do with it. Never stay angry or bitter reflect and move on. You deserve a better life!

  3. midlifesurvivalguide March 2, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    I had the click occur in the last 48 hours. Once it happens the anger and resentment subside, and you are left with sadness and acceptance. I’m trying to own my feelings – my husband told one too many lies and the trust between us is gone. I have been trying for two years to see if we could make it work, and I now know without a doubt that it won’t and it’s okay. I’m okay, and my kids will be okay.

    • beautifulmess7 March 2, 2013 at 9:15 am #

      What you described is exactly what I was talking about. You will be okay.

  4. peregrinerose February 28, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    This hit starkly today. My Dobby asks occasionally ‘Is it too late?’ Too late for me to forgive, to trust, to heal. Even assuming he never tells another lie, never acts out, commits to his healing process with the kind of determination and enjoyment he has for the past two months, is it too late for me to ever be in love with him again? I love him, and always will, but will I ever be in love again? Our old love is dead. Well, it was never real to begin with, I suppose, just a sham. Life will never be the same. The question I grapple with is can I live with that? I still don’t know.

    • beautifulmess7 February 28, 2013 at 11:30 am #

      You will know if it is too late. There will be a moment when it just is. That’s not to say that it couldn’t happen now even if nothing else ever comes out. Sometimes it is a gradual process. It was for me… very gradual. But he kept nudging me there, closer and closer, until I was over the edge one day.

  5. Our Journey After His Affair February 28, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    You know, I’ve been thinking about this same subject the past few days/weeks/months. It has been a topic that comes up for me when I think about everything I have gone through with Mike and his affair.

    The other day the thought crossed my mind that maybe I no longer love him like I used to and no longer can. Maybe that is why we still argue and I am disgusted with his behavior. Maybe that is why I constantly focus on the negatives because I am trying so hard to get him to fix them so he can be the man I always wanted. Maybe I was just in love with the idea of what he could be if he just fixed this and improved on that.

    But then I think about my unreasonable expectations. I knew he was this way before I married him. I just have to accept that he isn’t my “project” to fix; that I should love him and all of the great things about him and look past all of the things I want to fix about him. I should focus on what made me fall in love with him.

    It’s hard because the one thing I want to fix the most – or should I say erase (the affair) – is something that can NEVER be fixed.

  6. Goddess February 28, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    The switch flipped for me last summer, about two months before the eviction. I felt it and I knew. I’ve been fighting it all this time. One minute I’m done, the next I think I should try to work it out. Deep down I know I’m done. My husband could also do everything I ask and change, but I can never trust him again. I know this, yet there’s still a small part of me that holds out hope. It’s nothing but torture. We have kids(whom he hasn’t tried to see in 6 weeks)and I have to stay in contact with him for them. It’s painful. Pisses me off that I can’t just be rid of him.

    I know he’s the way he is because of the way he was raised, and it’s a very sad story, but I don’t care anymore. I don’t think he’s ever going to change and that’s really sad for himself and our children. I agreed to marriage counseling with him for various reasons, but after the last few days I’m wondering why? It won’t change anything! Maybe it cold help us learn to co-parent better, but from where I sit, he’s never done much parenting and has slacked off even more so since I left him.

    There’s been physical abuse, verbal, and emotional abuse throughout our entire marriage and I realize now that I stayed for all of the wrong reasons and brought innocent children into the mix. I don’t know of anyone rooting for my marriage anyway so I may as well stop feeling obligated to raise the dead.

    • beautifulmess7 February 28, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      I know what you mean. I tried to fight it a little bit after the “click.” It was futile. And there is no obligation to raise the dead. It’s okay to be done.

      • Goddess February 28, 2013 at 10:18 am #

        “It’s okay to be done” Some days I feel it and other days I feel so guilty. I need to examine where that guilt really comes from.

        • beautifulmess7 February 28, 2013 at 10:24 am #

          Yeah, especially with all of the abuse. I felt that way for a little while, too. I think part of it is that I don’t like giving up, especially on a person. Another part of it probably has to do with my religious upbringing – the “turn the other cheek” mentality.

          • Goddess February 28, 2013 at 10:27 am #

            Yea, I know my religious upbringing plays a part. I had someone tell me that I’m under contract with my husband and God so I have to stay no matter what. I should sit back and let God fix my marriage.

            The thing is, when I don’t talk with him, I feel so much better, happier, stronger. Talking to him is draining and I know what I need to do. I’m trying to be the bigger person for the kids sake and he’s taking advantage of that.

            • beautifulmess7 February 28, 2013 at 10:41 am #

              I’ve been taken advantage of like that by my soon-to-be-ex husband. People like that see kindness as a weakness to be exploited for their own purposes.

  7. Anonymous February 28, 2013 at 1:01 am #

    I don’t think it’s about punishing him for what he is doing right. It’s about her and what she needs and her boundaries.
    Not her fault he suffered trauma as a child. Not his either. But as a grown man, it IS his responsibility to get help. If he doesn’t, no one, repeat…no one should be expected to live with that, or accept that. It is unacceptable. Period.
    Staying with an SA, should be based on his sincere effort in recovery (however an individual judges that) and the good qualities they posses that will resurface. Kind of a ‘does the good outweigh the bad’ scenario.
    But, good Lord, no one put a gun to this man’s head and MADE him do anything. His choices.
    We all have consequences for our choices. No one escapes that.
    If the spouse wants to stay and gut it out b/c he is worth it……stay. If not…….peace. No harm, no foul.

    • beautifulmess7 February 28, 2013 at 7:06 am #

      Yeah, it is absolutely about her and what she needs and her boundaries. Right now she needs his help to heal. Its okay that she try to get that without also committing to stay in the marriage.

  8. Still Loving Him February 28, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    My comment to BV was based solely on things she said in that post and previous post. I was not at all implying that she wait around for him to stop lying, what I was saying is that it does not happen over night.

    I was lied to for 7 years by my husband who had a 6 year affair and 8 other women in addition. I know exactly what it feels like to me lied to. I also know what it feels like to reach a breaking point when someone is not making an effort to change, I walked out on my ex-husband for that very reason.

    BV had sounded hopeful in a previous post because H was finally getting it, he was finally starting to do the work. I was only trying to be supportive, if what she wanted was to fix the marriage.

    And, childhood trauma especially the kind her H and my H went through absolutely teaches them to lie and live in shame. The behavior has to be unlearned and without therapy that’s impossible. There is no SO what about it.

    I have zero sympathy for my husband in regards to the trauma he’s caused me, even if it stems from his fucked up childhood. What I do have sympathy for is little boy that from the ages of 12-14 was sexually abused by his alcoholic mother. For the boy who thought something was wrong with him, for the man who for the last 24 years of his life lived with the shame of what was done to him. I know it fucked him up. It’s not an excuse for what he did, but I understand that it contributed to his addiction and to his infidelities. He sought out women that were like his mother. So in that regard I also have sympathy for BV’s Husband, but not for what he’s done to her.

    I also understand childhood abuse far to well. My father beat me, my little sister and mother. I can’t even stand to wear a belt and did not own 1 belt until I was in my late 20’s for that reason. Severe childhood trauma affects us far into adulthood.

    If BV’s H was a run of the mill normal guy, no abuse in his past I’d say string him out to dry. But he is broken and from her story it sounds like she was pretty broken too when they hooked up. Hurt people find each other and then they hurt each other some more.

    Anyway I wasn’t encouraging her to do anything she does not want to do and I was not defending H’s actions. I simply understand. I’ve been through enough therapy and I’ve seen the results of my husbands psych evaluations to know that childhood abuse affects you into adulthood and that change is absolutely possible with the right help. Barring of course a severe mental illness.

    Peace and Love…

    • beautifulmess7 February 28, 2013 at 7:03 am #

      Look, I get it. Objectively I know all of that. I understand the mechanics of what helps to build a compulsive liar. I just honestly don’t give a damn anymore. At some point, enough is enough and I can feel compassion for that hurt child inside without wanting to be married to it.

      Like I said in my reply here to BV, I know where your comment came from (a place of trying to help). The anger I felt and the need to defend her (very valid) choice that she just can’t find the will to continue in this marriage no matter what progress he makes drove some of the harsher comments. I realize my response is more about me than you. I hope you can understand that.

      Sometimes it feels like those who choose to stay no matter how F’ed up their spouse is see those of us who have flipped the switch as not understanding enough… like with the proper explanation of our wayward’s bad childhood or poor coping skills or abuse or whatever, we would see that we have to stick by them as long as they are putting in a minimal effort to change. It’s maddening. Your choice is what is best for you, but it isn’t a road I would recommend to very many.

      Leaving is a valid choice, whether they are a “run of the mill normal guy, no abuse in his past” or not. In fact, I feel completely opposite of you on that entire sentence. My advice to anyone tangled up with a deeply scarred and broken person who lies to them compulsively is to run like hell! Unlike your “normal guy,” he may never, ever stop. Lying is his default. Changing that is terribly difficult, will take years and years of real, hard work (that they oftentimes aren’t ready to commit to), and will tear your heart out over and over. There may never be recovery. They will never, ever be “normal” and process love and sex without the baggage and mess of their abusive past. The way I see it, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of heartbreak voluntarily once you know the train wreck you’re with and choose to stay.

      If that’s what you want, go for it. I know it’s complicated. People have their reasons. After the “click,” though, it doesn’t matter. You might have felt like you were at the end of your rope, but that switch flip is pretty final. Once it’s really flipped it is locked into place. No amount of reasoning will unflip it. That was ultimately my point.

      • Still Loving Him February 28, 2013 at 9:11 am #

        I reached that point with my ex-husband so I know and understand the flip you speak of.

        I’m staying in my 12 year relationship/marriage because my husband is one of the guys that’s doing everything he can to get better. He left his VP job, he’s in therapy, went to rehab, he’s 100% accountable to me. I see all of his efforts. If he was not all in if he gave an ounce less, I would leave him. So I get it I really do.

        At the same time if the tables were flipped I hope that he would offer me the same level of forgiveness and opportunity to fix myself as I’m giving him.

        It’s complicated no matter how you slice it.

        • beautifulmess7 February 28, 2013 at 10:10 am #

          Yes it is. I don’t judge your choice. I don’t think you judge mine. There are people who do, though.

  9. rgonaut February 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    I get it! I agree! If you feel like this it’s best to separate legally. Share what is right to share what is fair. Get on with what’s left of your life. You don’t need to say never even after a divorce people do get back together but you have to accept its not now and probably never and move on. The H goes back to being just another man, who fathered your kids. You’re in control of your life, able to make choices about men as you see fit.

  10. blogventer February 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    This is it, exactly. You totally get what this feels like.

    I just want to note, that I absolutely adore those bloggers (and all of my commenters), who I responded to in the “Responses to comments” post. And I appreciated the fact that they pushed me to consider the angles even harder. And I felt the wall of resistance go up, and I knew it was the wrong direction for me. So it was good that they did that.

    But I was crying reading your post, here, tonight. Thank you for “getting it” and for standing up for me. I’m so sorry you’ve had to live through this! But I’m honored to be in such wonderful company. Thank you!

    • beautifulmess7 February 27, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      Oh, I know. This wasn’t intended as something mean towards those commenters. I knew it probably came off a bit angrier than I wanted it to. The anger is part of my defender nature, even when I know they meant no harm.

      I thought about cutting it out completely, but I left it because I wanted to examine those emotions a little more. After rereading this several more times (like I do with almost everything I write) I realized that part of that need to defend comes from lingering anger at MYSELF.

      I wouldn’t change my decision. It was inevitable that a crossroads would happen when I just had enough. I stand by what I said that he could do everything I ever asked for and at this pont it would never be enough. And even though I know that is a valid feeling, it still feels selfish.

      Yet when I see the same thing happen to another person (you), it suddenly becomes perfectly clear. Someone who hasn’t experienced that click just wouldn’t know. The anger comes from a place of feeling I have to defend something that someone who hasn’t been there has no way of understanding.

      What I’ve realized is that we don’t have to. You don’t. I don’t. Feelings can’t be explained logically, at least not fully and completely. It is enough that I know. Really KNOW. It is also great to be able to share those feelings with someone who just gets it.

      • Joyce May 7, 2018 at 7:37 pm #

        Here I am five years after this blog post. I have been trying to figure out why I am so depressed and why I don’t care to try and fix my mess of a marriage anymore. It’s the switch. It was flipped. I think my switch was flipped a little bit at a time, but, at some point, the entire thing flipped. I can’t wven recall anything specifically that pushed me over the edge. I am okay with that. I had 11 years of marriage under my belt when I found out about this addiction. It is three years later and I can’t say that I care to try anything else now. I know that what I want is to be alone. To fix me, to nurture me and take care of me! I’ve given so many chances, it’s time to give myself a chance. I am scared. I am almost 44. Will I ever find another love? When you no longer care about finding love again, and just sheer saving of your own self, you know it is over.

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