Tag Archives: honesty

Prelude to a Second Date

12 Sep

You will have to excuse the sappiness of my next few posts, and maybe my entire blog from this point forward.  I’ve been told that happiness is rather boring to read about.  In that case, prepare to be very bored.

Lately, I’ve been keeping you updated on my foray back into the dating world.  After my first first date in a while (which you can read about here), I half-heartedly perused messages from other men on OkCupid.  They paled in comparison to the interactions with my date, who I will refer to as Tony (inspiration drawn from Iron Man) moving forward.

(Side note:  I agonized over what to call him on this blog.  Being a master over-thinker and an emphatically uncreative person, this was difficult.  I contemplated it unenthusiastically for days, which is one reason for the delay in my posts.  Finally, I put in a concerted effort and landed on that nickname for a variety of reasons that I find quite clever, but which may be painfully obvious.)

Tony and I continued talking and texting, quite frequently.  His wit and eloquence and humor left my head swimming in a delightful way.  I was a bit awe-struck.  Dazzled.  Fascinated.  Those words don’t seem quite right, but I can’t think of any more suitable.  He is quite possibly the smartest person I’d ever had the pleasure of talking to in such depth.  He kept me on my toes, and with a permanent smile on my face.

The most striking and surprising thing of all, though, was his honesty.  Truthfulness has been at the very top of my list of must-have’s for a long time.  Those that have followed my journey thus far know that honesty is something I value almost above anything else.  He went about showing me how much integrity he has from the beginning – not because I asked, but just because that’s who he is.  Our interactions were peppered with little nuggets of truth that I knew he didn’t have to give me, but that he did.  I discovered that we share a very similar set of values about dating, exclusivity, and chivalry that I had begun to think no longer existed in my generation.

Case in point:  He had three future dates already lined up, and he had gone on a few before he met me.  He joined the dating sites to meet a variety of people, and see if anything popped.  He was looking for a relationship, but not to just fall into one with the first person who came along.  He was very up-front about the other dates, but also about the fact that he really liked me.  The way he handled himself was extremely mature, and it was so refreshing that I didn’t have to wonder where I stood with him.

One date was scheduled for Monday evening, and another for Tuesday.  He texted me after each one.  In fact, I saved a text message that he sent me Tuesday night after his last date.  It said: “My feeling is that both last night and tonight, I found myself thinking I would rather have you sitting across from me.”  Getting that message made my stomach jump.  It wasn’t just a line.  His sincerity was palpable.

So was his level of transparency.  Both of those dates invited him back to her house.  One was very specific that she wanted to sleep with him.  He turned them down.  Mostly it was because he will not have a one night stand or sleep with anyone unless he’s exclusive.   It was also partly because he didn’t want to do anything that could negatively affect his chances with me.  Even before our second date, he was open and respectful.  I told him it was astonishing.  He showed me more regard and consideration after one date than my husband did in our entire relationship.

I also had a date scheduled, tentatively.  A man had gotten in touch who lived in Arlington and worked in Washington, D.C.  He seemed smart, he was nice, and he wasn’t bad-looking.  He proposed that we meet about half-way, in Fredericksburg, on Friday night.  I agreed, before I had any plans for a second date with Tony. This guy, who I called Politician Steve, was light on details and follow through. He didn’t pick a place or set a time.

As things progressed with Tony, we began discussing when we would have our second date. I had a previous engagement Wednesday and Thursday. He had another date pre-planned for Saturday. It was looking like it would be a week, and another Sunday night before we could see each other again. Even that was iffy because of family events and the Monday holiday.

Then, almost simultaneously, we made a choice to choose each other. I told him that I would like our second date to be on Friday – that I wasn’t worried about Politician Steve. He cancelled his date for Saturday. He said it wasn’t fair to her because he would be thinking of me the entire time, the way he was with the other two. He felt it was better to cancel than go with the thought that he would just “get through” so how could proceed with me.

The days leading up to that Friday night were tantalizing and filled with fascinating conversations. He told me that getting to know me was like the best class he’s ever taken. It was a sentiment I shared. I had never been more excited for a second date in my entire life.

Apparently my excitement level couldn’t compare to his, though. On Thursday night I told him that I could hardly wait for our date. He said that he believed me, but that he didn’t think I knew what real excitement was. One of the last messages I received from him that evening was, “There’s no way anyone else could be as excited for a second date as I am.”

The date wouldn’t be a disappointment for either of us.

It’s Funny What People Will Tell You When They Know Things Are Over

29 Nov

Today at work my Office Manager said that she hadn’t heard me mention how Mr. Mess is doing lately.  I told her that’s because we’re getting a divorce.  At first she was slighty surprised, mostly because she didn’t notice that I haven’t been wearing my wedding rings in some time.  Then, the truth started rolling right out of her lips.

I was able to learn that she knew he had been lying to me about several things for a while.  One thing I had always suspected, but could never get him to admit: Mr. Mess continued smoking the entire time he told me he had quit.  He made a big show of taking Chantix, but only for 2 of the 3 months because it “worked so well.”  The Office Manager was aware because she has also been trying to quit.

Well, it turns out my suspicions (and nose) were right.  She said that she passed him several times turning into or leaving our neighborhood or the grocery store or various other places lighting up, smoking, or tossing cigarettes out of the window.  She is all over this town, and misses nothing (as good gossips rarely do).

Additionally, my Warehouse Manager’s mother lives in my neighborhood.  He visits her regularly to have lunch during the week.  He passed Mr. Mess several times sitting on my front porch smoking.

All that time he was lying through his teeth to me.  I am desensitized to it now, but wonder how many other things like that were complete lies.  Probably more than I could ever imagine.

Just to give you a slight taste of what I’m talking about, let me elaborate a bit on this one lie.  According to Mr. Mess, any time I  smelled cigarettes it was because he walked through a group of people smoking at school.  Or (conveniently) later on because he worked in the catering department on site of one of the largest manufacturers of cigarettes.  That suspicious charge in the same exact amount every day at work wasn’t cigarettes, it was a chocolate muffin and a coke.  Riiiiigggghhht!  I knew he was lying.

I even saw evidence from time to time – cigarette butts in the front flower bed (which he acted like belonged to some prowler), wrapping from the outside of a carton in the back seat of the car (which someone else must have left there), ashes on his dashboard (which he claimed was just “dust”), burn marks on the visor of the new car (which he had no idea how they got there), lighters that would magically appear and disappear around the house (which he just “found” leftover from before or were for lighting candles), and the horrible, ever-present smell of cigarettes in his car and on his clothes that he just COULDN’T smell.  Wow…  He must have thought I was an idiot or something to believe his half-assed, poor excuses.

But those lies are just a metaphor for the pitiful, half-assed, poor excuse of a man that he is.  The sad part is that it doesn’t make any sense to lie about that shit.  If he was a man, he would just be one.  Tell the truth.  It’s not that hard to do.  Really.  Want to slowly kill yourself with foul-smelling, cancer-sticks – just say so!  Seriously… why all the (bad) lies?

I think the answer is because at the end of the day he doesn’t have a backbone.  Also, he knows how I feel about cigarettes and couldn’t handle my truth.  If smoking was that important to him, then put that out there and be ready to accept the truth of what’s important to me.  That would require honesty.  And possibly an end to his gravy train.  Which is what I think is ultimately the cause of all of his recent pettiness and temper tantrums.  He actually has to stand on his own two feet now that I’m not picking up what’s he’s putting down.

The other thing that the Office Manager said that really stuck with me is that she should have known I was done with him because of how happy I’ve been lately.  Oddly enough, that was the second time today I had heard something very similar.  My therapist told me that I am the most content, peaceful and happy that he has ever seen me.  It’s true.  I laugh and smile all day long.  I do the things that make me happy.  I am living without lies, and the honesty I’m getting back from the world is amazing.

I told my Office Manager today that the next time she meets someone I’m dating she should let me know if her loser alert starts going off.  Apparently it had been all along with Mr. Mess.  However, I got married very shortly after starting there, and we didn’t have the kind of honest relationship that we have now.   She told me that she was always concerned that he was just using me (ding, ding – you get a cookie!), that he was far beneath what I deserve (right again!), and that I can do much better (amen!).  She committed to full honesty from this point forward, knowing that I can handle it (and won’t fire her – :)).

Somehow I have a feelings that I won’t have that problem again, though.  I’ve had my fill of lying, messed up, immature, irresponsible, uneducated, men who lack ambition, imagination, sex drive, and a future.  I am a stronger, more confident person coming out of this than I was going in.  I know what I deserve, and I’m going to make sure I get it.

Being Authentic

21 Nov

Another blogger, emilylonging, wrote something yesterday that spoke to my soul.  She said:

“None of this is intended to be manipulative: my writing, the trial separation. It’s honest. For the first time in years, my actions match my feelings. And that’s good for my soul.”

That is where I am right now.  I am being completely authentic.  Several times in the past few days my husband has accused me of having ulterior motives, or of being manipulative, or of lying.  He doesn’t understand.  I am not doing or being any of those things.  I’m being me.  I am actually doing the things that make me happy.

Yesterday I went to karate for an hour.  Then afterwards there was a kickboxing class.  I decided to stay for that, too.  At the end of two hours I was hot, exhausted, soaking wet, and feeling fantastic.  The karate class was great because I got to practice my punches with a partner.  The kickboxing class was so intense I thought I was going to puke or pass out or both.  I pushed through it, and it felt great.

My husband tried to ruin my night by threatening to break into my house to get a set of darts.  He texted me right before I was going to walk out the door for my karate class telling me (not asking) that he was coming by right then.  I didn’t have time to go looking for them or figure out a way to leave them somewhere for him.  I was literally walking out the door and needed to be there early to register, get my uniform, change, etc.  He did not take it well.  I foolishly engaged with him.

I’m not going to do that again.  I’m not going to argue.  I’m not going to defend myself.  I have nothing to defend.  For now I have peace in knowing that I am being true to myself.  I’m going to do my best to carry myself with integrity and honesty and grace no matter what he does.

What Made Me Pick Him? What Do I Want Now?

18 Nov

I had a therapy appointment yesterday, and my counselor asked me a great question.  He asked me to rewind 5 years and tell him what attracted me to my husband in the first place.  I thought about it a little, and the initial attraction was that he could handle my dry, sarcastic, insult-ladened sense of humor and give it right back to me.  That’s still an attractive quality in a mate.  Not everyone gets me, and even fewer people can handle me. I’m complicated and intimidating and different from a lot of people.   At least that’s what I’ve been told.

Beyond that initial spark, though, he seemed family-focused and caring.  That made me think he was worth getting to know.  He came from a big family, I come from a big family, and he said the things I wanted to hear.  I discovered several lies he told me back then (not even counting the crazy sexual stuff), including the fact that he hardly visited with his family even though they all live close by.  He also told me that he was a construction foreman.  I discovered not too long later that he was not even close to that – he had just started with the company and wasn’t even hired on full-time yet because he was employed through a temp agency.  Yet somehow I made excuses for him or accepted his – it was hard to keep in touch now that his parents had passed because they were the glue, he was trying to make a good first impression, etc., etc.

I also overlooked a lot of things because I had empathy for his situation.  He was about a year out of a tough relationship and had just gotten a new job after a period of depression that left him homeless and without a vehicle or most of his belongings.  I, too, was recently out of a long-term relationship that ended badly.  Although I still had my house and vehicles and a good job and was getting excellent grades in school on top of all that, I could understand how easy it could be to lose it.  I could imagine saying fuck it, and spiraling down emotionally so much that the rest fell apart.

Empathy is a good trait of mine, but I now see that my other traits led me to want to rescue.  I thought I could help.  I liked him and related to his situation.  And there were other positive qualities he had that I thought out-weighed something as shallow as monetary concerns.  I still don’t necessarily care how much my partner earns, but they need to have passion and drive and ambition.  I have to admit that the prospect of not having all the pressure on me is very appealing, though.  Five years ago my need to be needed was fulfilled by his situation, and I got a rush from knowing how much he was attracted to me and admired me.  It made me feel worthwhile.  Back then what I was looking for in a relationship was validation.

My therapist then asked me what I was looking for in a relationship today.  The very top of my list is honesty and stability, two things my husband doesn’t have at all right now. I think a big thing that changed is I now know I am worthwhile. My validation comes from inside. Without that intense need to be needed I can focus on what I need.

At the very tippy top of my needs is truthfulness. Honesty is vital to a relationship.  It literally cannot function if honesty isn’t present – like gas is necessary for you car.  I guess in theory you could push your car around in neutral with no gasoline, but it would be a lot of hard work that would get you nowhere fast.  That’s what I feel like my marriage has been lately. He’s been sitting in the car with his feet up while I’ve been trying to push and steer at the same time. I’m so over that.

What I need in a relationship is openness, vulnerability, and the complete truth, even if it’s hard to take.  Honesty is the only way to make an informed decision, and I’m only interested in someone with integrity.  Stability is important to me now because I have lived with the ground constantly shifting under my feet for years.  I want a man who knows himself, and is comfortable and confident with who he is.  I don’t need someone with a lot of money, but I do need someone with direction and follow-through and goals.  I need someone who brings as much to the table as I do, including emotional awareness and maturity.

I don’t want to make sacrifices on the important stuff anymore. I realize that no one is perfect, and I know enough now to run the other way if someone claims to be. However, I can’t be the only one working, digging, and trying to be the best me. I want someone who can push me, not someone who lags behind. I want someone who pursues me, not someone I have to beg for the minimum effort. I want someone who wants only me, who will be faithful, not someone who is actively looking for the next sexual high or who would stop putting forth effort in his relationship. I also want someone whose entire existence doesn’t depend on me. I want someone with interests and intelligence and something special to offer me. I deserve it because I’m worthwhile.
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Inspirational Photos

17 Nov

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That last one is where I’m living right now.

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

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.

Flirting: Where To Draw The Line?

24 Jul

This post hit me hard today. Both my husband and I have been guilty of harmful flirting in the past. It is such an unhealthy behavior, and one I’m glad to see gone from our marriage. This is a must-read!

Being Honest

13 Jun

One of the things on my mind lately has been honesty.  I really value honesty.  It is one of the most important things to me, especially now with all of the dishonesty that has occurred in my relationship.  Even before that happened, though, honesty was at the very top of my list of “must haves” in my life.

Growing up, I was often accused of being tactless.  I would speak my mind, whatever happened to be on it.  When my Mom got angry at me about something I said, she would call me “Mouth.”  I think that description probably fit me well.  I have to admit that sometimes I did say things that I didn’t need to say just for the shock value or to get someone out of my face.

One story that my parents love to tell is from when I was about 4 or so (I’m really bad with gauging children’s ages… even my own).  We were part of a big church that was very boisterous (for lack of a better word).  Although we were technically non-denominational, it was a Church of Christ.  They believed in speaking in tongues, dancing in the aisles, and jumping up and down with the spirited gospel music that was always being belted by the choir and their bosomy lead vocalist.  She was a wonderful, cheerful woman who had a ridiculous amount of children (12 or 14… something like that).

This particular day at church one of her many daughters (this one in her 30s at the time I think) came up to me and started talking to me in this baby voice about how cute I was, pinching my cheeks, and all that gushy, saccharine stuff.  I hated that, even at such a young age.  I looked her straight in the face and said “I don’t like you.  Leave me alone!”  Apparently at the time my outburst came across as funny.  She laughed at me.  That, of course, made me even angrier and I stomped away.

I got in trouble later for being “rude” and not “respecting” my “elders.”  What about my personal space?  How about respecting me by not treating me like a moron?  Of course I couldn’t really articulate those feelings at the time, so I sulked.  Obviously I have evolved a little bit since then.  I know how to express myself much better, so I don’t resort to name calling or blatant “I don’t like you” statements.

There are a lot of things that haven’t changed since then, though.  I find that people still seem to think honesty is amusing.  Oftentimes people laugh when I say something honest, even when I’m not trying to be funny.  I think it’s because they aren’t used to it.  Sometimes they laugh because they are taken off guard – maybe they expected some platitude, rote response or common white lie.  Sometimes they laugh because they feel uncomfortable.  Sometimes they laugh because they think it’s a joke – after all, most comics that I’ve seen recently are just telling the truth.  Real life is pretty funny!

In my adult life I have also come across people who seem to think being honest and straight-forward is a bad characteristic.  I suppose part of that is because I work with salesmen.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that way about all salesmen.  One of the salesmen I work with is the most genuine, down-to-earth person who truly believes in the system and products that he is selling.  Not all of them are that way, though.  I can see now why salesmen have gotten a bad reputation.  Even when they are selling a fantastic product or service there are some salesmen who just have that “slick” feeling to them.  They are always looking for the best “angle.”  I say the best angle is straight on.  Beating around the bush and talking in circles doesn’t make anyone feel comfortable.

Since I was a little girl I have learned about tact, though.  Not everything you think has to be said.  And if it does have to be said there is often a way to soften the blow of bad news or critiques.  I have found that pairing honesty with love is the best policy, especially in intimate relationships.  The difference between being mean and being loving is immense when it comes to honesty.  Thinking of the other person’s feelings is a really good thing as long as we don’t let it convince us that we would be “protecting” them or their feelings by not being honest.  Because the truth is, I would take the tactless truth over a sweetly told lie any day!

I’m going to close with some great quotes about honesty and lying.

“A half truth is a whole lie.”
~Yiddish Proverb

“A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie.”
~Charles Edward Montague, Disenchantment

“A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.”
~William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence,” Poems from the Pickering Manuscript

“Truth is the most valuable thing we have, so I try to conserve it.”
~Mark Twain

“When you stretch the truth, watch out for the snapback.”
~Bill Copeland

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
~ Mark Twain

“No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.”
~Abraham Lincoln

“Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children.”
~Oliver Wendell

“There is always a way to be honest without being brutal.”
~Arthur Dobrin

Being Normal

31 May

I recently read a post on SI from a fellow Year-2-of-Recovery warrior.  She put into words something that I have been feeling in the back of my mind.  She said, “I am so scared of just being normal.  Our marriage was OK pre-affair.  We had a few issues, nothing major but we have done a lot of work and things are great now but I just can’t relax.  I am just so scared that if we relax into our marriage it will go wrong again.”  That is true for me as well. 

Just like the author I thought our marriage/ relationship was going pretty good before my last porn discovery.  The rockiest time in our relationship was at the end of 2008/ beginning of 2009.  That was when the affair discovery happened (see Gaslighting for more info).  After that we had a few ups and downs revolving around lies, strip clubs, and pornography.  The last incident like that was around August of 2009.  In April of 2010 he proposed.  Just a few short months later in September we were married.

That time of our lives was really great (I thought).  We were connected, we were enjoying the wedding planning, not taking things too seriously, and we had our financial situation pretty well set.  He was probably more involved in the wedding planning than I was.  He picked out the food, the cake, helped with deciding the decorations, and was really enthusiastic about everything.  The photographer and music were really the two main areas of importance to me.  I was never one of those “bridezillas,” so the entire process went smoothly with very minimal stress.

I have never been a girl who dreamed about her wedding day – in fact I would have preferred something small with no fuss.  A courthouse or backyard wedding would have been just fine with me.  But my mother and future husband were more set on something with a lot of family and friends, a white dress, tuxedos, and the whole 9 yards.  Don’t get me wrong, I ended up loving our wedding.  I’m glad now that we did things the way we did – even though it was expensive (I consider myself a very frugal person).  One of my most cherished memories is the look on his face and tears in his eyes when I came down the aisle.

Our honeymoon was wonderful.  We had so much fun together – in and outside of the bedroom.  We picked a place that had amazing food, great music, culture, adventure, and energy.  Our room was spectacular, and we spent a lot of time bonding with each other and just enjoying ourselves.  The pictures from our honeymoon are full of laughter, joking, and obvious love.  Even after we got back to reality that connection and euphoria stuck around.  At least I thought it did.

Then about 6 months in I started getting that old familiar feeling that something was off.  I followed my gut, picked up his phone, and opened his browser history.  There were pages and pages of porn.  Even though he had promised he wasn’t doing that anymore.  Even though we had tons of conversations about how hurtful it was.  Even though it was over the line of the clear boundaries we had set in our relationship.  Even though our sex life was great.  The frequency, concealment, and lying weren’t the only issues, though.  The content of that porn was quite disturbing to me.  It still is.

That’s what is so hard about being married to a sex addict.  They can compartmentalized so well that everything can seem completely normal, superb even, while they are acting out in secret.  I know that my husband would take that the wrong way if he read it today.  It is not that I don’t have confidence in him.  It is not that I don’t believe he is staying sexually “sober.”  It’s not even that I have any kind of “bad feeling” about what he is doing.  That is not where the fear is coming from.

I think most of my fear is coming from the fact that it is so hard to really gauge what is going on in the mind of a sex addict.  The fact that my husband is generally so closed off to his emotions, especially any seemingly “negative” ones, makes it incredibly difficult for me to feel completely secure.  He can so easily lie to me and just go on living his life normally as if that lie doesn’t affect him or isn’t weighing on his conscience at all.  Part of that is what happens with an addicted brain.  They are great at denial, justification, and keeping things separate. 

One of the most difficult things for me still is how he could text her, send her messages and pictures, and call her in-between calls and texts with me or after just leaving and giving me a big kiss and “I love you.”  How is that possible?  How can you lie to someone that you love right to their face with no emotion or guilt?  How can you be loving, funny, caring, and completely engaged one minute and just turn it off the next for a sexual fantasy with another person, pornography, or a strip club?  How can you promise one thing and do a completely different thing effortlessly?  It is terrifying.

Even though my husband is no longer that person it is difficult to just turn off the part of my brain that lives in constant fear and uncertainty.  He makes it better every time he opens up and tells me things.  He makes it better every time he goes to a meeting.  Every time he goes to a therapy appointment.  Every time he answers a question honestly or lets me see his vulnerability.  Every time he reads a book or does an exercise with me.  Every time he shares his day, calls me “just because,” holds my hand in the car, and all the other little things that mean so much when they are added together.

Those things are my new “normal.”  I think to a certain extent they will have to continue to be our new normal for quite a while if not indefinitely.  That’s not because I think I will never trust him fully.  It’s quite the opposite.  I want to keep the same level of richness, honesty, trust, love, and connection that we have now forever.  I don’t want to “relax” if that means falling back into a rut where we aren’t being real with each other.  I want to be able to feel completely safe and know that I can trust him because we talk, I know what’s going on with him, and we are each other’s best friend, confidant, and unconditional support.

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