Tag Archives: lies

10 Excuses People Use to Stay with a Cheater

15 Aug

I wanted to post a follow-up to my last opinion piece.  I talked about reasons to leave a cheater (or, rather, reasons to kick them out).  This one will address what I believe are common excuses that people tell themselves to stay.

1.  “I owe it to him/her to see if this can work.”  No, you don’t.  You don’t owe the cheater anything.  You’ve already given things a chance to work, and they didn’t.  Your spouse threw that away.  They chose not to work on things (themselves or the marriage, if there were marital issues before they strayed).  Instead, they caused further destruction.  Face it, your relationship wasn’t great before or during the cheating.  Communication and intimacy have to be screwed up for something like that to be possible, and your partner obviously had no concern for your feelings or, often times, health.  Now that something this huge and damaging and hurtful is added on top, what was shitty before is not going to become magically wonderful.

2.  “But he/she loves me.”  That is not love.  Someone who cheats on you does not love you enough to stay faithful.  See this post for an elaboration on this point.  It was written by a wayward spouse, with my commentary added, and it really takes a hard look at the kind of “love” a cheating partner is showing.

3.  “But I love him/her.”  I’m sure you do.  You’re not getting that love back (see above, and just look at their actions).  Love isn’t always enough, especially if it isn’t returned in equal measure.  A relationship with a cheater is incredibly unbalanced because the faithful partner obviously cares much more than the unfaithful one.  Loving someone can be a good thing, but it can also cause you to devalue yourself if it gets to the point where your love leads you to accept treatment and behavior that is completely unacceptable.  Try loving yourself first, just as much or more than you love them.
screenshot952013-08-04-18-38-17-114. “What will happen to him/her if I leave? I can’t abandon him in such a vulnerable time. What if he commits suicide? Him, him, him, him, him, ad nauseum…”   I see this so much, and I just want to grab the person, shake them, and tell them to stop making it about the cheater.  Stop expending your energy and emotions over their feelings when they didn’t care one iota about yours.  Do you need to be cruel and mean and hurt them the way that they did you?  No, absolutely not.  In fact, I discourage it because it won’t help you.

However, you do NOT need to fuss over them, or worry about the ramifications that their choices will have on their lives (it was THEIR job to do that, and they obviously decided the risk was worth it).  Believe me, they are playing that sympathy card and working you like a fiddle.  They know the more they can put the attention on their poor, pitiful me act, the more you will be distracted and the less you will focus on how you’re feeling.

Don’t fall into the trap of comforting the cheater more than you comfort yourself or looking out for their interests more than your own.  You can give them the phone number to the crisis/ suicide hotline and the yellow pages for a psychologist with emergency appointments if they really are considering that route, because they need professional help anyway.  Other than that, take care of yourself, and let them deal with the fallout from their actions, whatever they may be.  The bottom line is that you cannot live for someone else.

5.  “He/she is so sorry!” Sure they are… sorry that they got caught.  No matter sorry they claim to be or how guilty they say it made them feel, they were able to get past that long enough to cheat.  If they are one of the rare few who actually confessed what they did, it was most likely for selfish reasons.  Furthermore, being sorry does not change anything about what they chose to do.

6.  “He/she never loved the affair partner.”  Maybe.  Maybe not.  If they didn’t, that’s actually worse.  Someone who can throw away fidelity and their spouse’s trust over a person who they have no feelings or attachments to is the scariest kind of cheater.  It reeks of sociopathy.  And if they were in love?  Then there are a whole new set of problems to consider.
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7.  “I don’t have any other options.”  There are always other options.  Don’t stay because you feel trapped.  Use the law to your advantage, reach out to family or friends, find an organization that helps people in situations like that, look into pro bono attorneys, think about taking a class, even a low-cost community one, and give yourself a fighting chance at happiness.  Unless you’re kidnapped, enslaved, or chained down, there are always ways to get out.

8.  “He/she is the best I’ll ever find.”  This one makes me sad.  People who tell themselves this have had their self-esteem beaten down to the point where they feel like the poor treatment they are getting is the best they deserve.  I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.  There are millions of people in the world.  There is no “the one.”  Does that mean there aren’t some people out there who will stay single forever and not find another person to fall in love with?  No, I wouldn’t go that far.  However, I firmly believe that it is better to be happy on your own than be taken advantage of by someone just to have a “partner.”  I put that in quotes because anyone who behaves that way isn’t a real partner at all.  I’d rather be in a ship alone that in it with someone who keeps shooting holes in the bottom.  Plus, when you take care of yourself and learn to find fulfilment within yourself, you will start attracting people toward you without even meaning to.

Maybe this is your longest relationship or the best, healthiest one you’ve ever been in.  Even if it’s the best you’ve ever had, it’s still not good enough. If you can’t trust your partner, you can’t build a life together. Move on. It will be hard, it will hurt, and you will grieve. But it will allow you to find someone you can trust who will be all of those things you deserve

9.  “I’m ashamed.  What will we tell our friends/family/kids?”  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  You can’t make someone cheat.  That is a decision that they make all on their own, no matter how bad the marriage was to begin with.  There are always options – talking about it, therapy, marriage retreats, plainly stating that xyz needs aren’t being met and it’s making me think about xyz, asking for a divorce, going to a pastor or religious leader (if that’s your thing), and the list goes on.  They chose not to do that.  Instead, they cheated.  There is nothing shameful about walking away at that point.  Tell people whatever you want to tell them.  The truth, if you feel comfortable, or nothing if you don’t.  It’s not their business anyway.  Now for the kids part…

10. “I can’t leave because of the kids.” I don’t have children, so I’m obviously not a parent.  I’m not a child psychologist.  Surprisingly, I haven’t even dug up a lot of research on this subject to post here (although you know that sounds just like me to do, and I have read plenty of it in my journey through this mess because of my thirst for knowledge).  Instead, I’m going to tell you a story.

My family growing up looked perfect. From the outside. My parents didn’t really fight in front of us. They didn’t really have conflicts.  My Dad had some control issues and not very much patience, there wasn’t a lot of affection, and there was sometimes tension in my household, but no one from the outside knew anything was wrong.  As I child I couldn’t point to one thing and say – “that’s really messed up” or “because of THAT my parents aren’t a good match.”  However, I remember wishing, praying, and even once begging my Mom to get a divorce.  I think she was taken aback that time, because I truly believe she thought they hid things exceptionally well.

And they did, for the most part.  There was no cheating.  No abuse.  No horrible, terrible things happening in my house.  But there also wasn’t happiness, love, or open kisses and hugs between my parents.  I had a wonderful childhood in just about every sense – I had everything I needed and more.  I had support from both parents.  I was involved in sports and they both cheered me on, I had horses, went to shows, we ate dinner as a family together every single night, and more.  But I knew.  I just KNEW that they weren’t happy.

It was in the air.  I could sense it, even if I couldn’t put my finger on it.  The relationship I had modeled for me was not a healthy one.  The marriage I watched the entire time I was growing up is not what a real marriage should be.  It was like looking at something through the bottom of a thick glass.  Or looking at your reflection in a spoon.  It was warped.  Off.  The best word I can think of to use is unfulfilling.  It was unfulfilling.  Suffocating, even.  Except that everyone thought it was wonderful.  While I was envying my friends’ divorced parents, people were admiring how great it was that my parents were still together.  If only they knew what it was really like for us kids…  It’s horrible to know something isn’t right but to have everyone around you not acknowledge that fact.

My parents stayed married until I was 18 or 19.  It wasn’t long after I left the house.  My brother and sister lived there when they separated.  My brother went off to college a year or so after, but my sister was still there through the divorce.  I remember talking to my parents, really talking to them both, for the first time in years… maybe ever.  Especially my Dad.  The honesty was so refreshing it was like a revelation.  All of the pretend and make-believe, the façade that we put up as a family… I finally got confirmation that I wasn’t imagining it.

From my Mom, too.  We were always pretty close, and she recognized my intelligence and treated me accordingly from a fairly young age.  But from that point on it was different.  She told me stories and things about their early years together, about the conflicts and family struggles that brought them together.  She told me about things that I never, ever would have imagined happened.  She told me about the pain of losing her father and having my Dad’s father be in jail.  How she thought about leaving, even back then, but never could find the “right time.”  She told me how circumstances interceded, how she got swept up in it, how we children were the best things she got out of the marriage, and other things.

We all made it through just fine.  In fact, it was the best decision, by far, that they ever made.  Hell, I remember being as young as 7 or 8 when I would wish every night that my parents would split.   Ultimately, they did, and it was the best thing for both of them.  It was a little difficult for a year or two, more for them than for us children.  Honestly, we all got it.  My sister was the youngest… 13 I think.  Even she understood it was for the best.  I recall her saying something along the lines of how much it needed to happen, and how she was glad it did.

My parents are both remarried to spouses much better suited for them in every way.  Again, there was no great tragedy, no huge betrayal.  They were highschool sweethearts who came together during difficult times for both of them and fell into marriage.  It didn’t work.  They weren’t well matched.  They should have divorced well before they did.  I was the only one who spoke up and said it to their face, because that’s the kind of kid I was, but I wasn’t the only one who thought it.  We all did.

It didn’t irrevocably damage any of us.  In fact, the most damaging things of all were the years we lived with them pretending everything was fine when we could soooo tell it wasn’t.  I have a better relationship with my Dad now than I ever had.  My sister, who was maybe the most upset in the very beginning, now lives with my Dad.  We’re all close.  We love both of our parents completely.  We know that their failure to make a marriage work did not and does not reflect on us in the least.  We always knew that.  But living in the middle of the unhappiness was far, far, far more confusing than watching them let go.

The other thing?  Having parents who you can sense are unhappy, even as they pretend they aren’t, puts a lot of pressure on a kid.  I felt like I had to be perfect.  I couldn’t screw up because I couldn’t add any more stress to their lives.  I knew they already had plenty, even if they thought they were “protecting me” from that knowledge.  My brother was the super helper.  He would try extra hard to do all sorts of extra stuff.  That was his way of relieving the tension we could all feel.  My sister was the most sensitive of all.  She would try to be the peace-keeper, between my brother and I, between the animals, you name it.  We all knew something wasn’t right, and we all tried to be “better” to “fix it.”  We got to be great pretenders, too.

It took its toll.  I don’t think it’s by chance that my brother has never had a girlfriend, my sister has been involved in a string of relationships with losers, and I was married to someone who was never there for me emotionally or otherwise.  We learned from them.  We observed.  We were taught, whether we knew it or not, that relationships did not have emotional support.  Didn’t have affection.  My sister now craves that affection and grasps onto anyone who gives it.  My brother avoids connections, partly because he’s shy but I believe largely because he doesn’t know how to interact with a woman in a healthy way.  I’m a mess.

I can’t blame my parents completely.  I’ve made poor choices.  My issues are my own.  But I did learn from them.  I learned from watching.  They taught me excellent things separately.  My Dad taught me how to play softball, how to be financially responsible, what it means to be a hard worker, and so much more.  My Mom literally taught me logical thinking, empathy, how to show people respect, how to write a great paper, how to study, how to be a woman, and so many things I could never name.  But together… they weren’t a good couple.  They weren’t a good example of what a marriage or a relationship should be.  They’re all I had to model against, though… their relationship is the only one got to see, day in and day out.

I tell you that story to tell you this – I may not be a parent, but I was a kid of parents who should have divorced long before they did.  Children deserve an example of a healthy relationship.   I know some people with children think that holding onto something broken that makes them unhappy is somehow the best choice for their kids.  It’s not.  A situation that makes you miserable is not healthy for anyone, your kids especially.  It doesn’t set a good example.  Neither does sticking around after being betrayed and lied to, over and over.  Kids seek out the type of marriage that they see their parents display.  It’s a subconscious choice that takes a lot of hard work to fight against.  No matter what you SAY to them, it is what you DO that makes all of the difference.  When you have an unhealthy example, that’s what you gravitate towards, even if you think you know better.  How do I know?  I lived it.

What other excuses do you tell yourself to justify staying in a bad situation?  If you really looked at them, these excuses that you tell yourself, how valid would they be?  How many other people deal with the same circumstances and come out just fine?

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My New Take on Boundary Agreements

17 Mar

I will probably get some push back on my opinion tonight, but I would like to tell you what my current thoughts are on boundary agreements.

If you were an original blog reader, you know that I had a boundary agreement with my soon to be ex husband. I understand the point and purpose of one, in theory and in practice. Hell, our boundary agreement even helped me to stand firm in separating from him when I discovered another big lie.

However, at this point I would never, ever accept a relationship with someone I couldn’t trust enough to use his or her own good judgment (or to have good judgement in the first place). Period. I’ve reached a point where I don’t want to be with someone who has to have a piece of paper full of self-explanatory things that they should give the person they’re in a relationship with in order to be a decent partner. Someone who needs that to guide what is right and wrong is not a person I ever want to be attached to.

In fact, if I ever feel the need for a boundary agreement in the future I will RUN in the other direction. On that same note, I would tell anyone considering the need for such a document in their own relationship to get the hell out. NOW!!! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Just save yourself the future pain and heartache that is sure to come.

I realize that is probably offensive to some. I apologize. It’s just how I see things now. It’s also why I don’t post as much anymore. I think my input is a little too harsh. At the very least it comes from a much different place than those of you still hoping to reconcile with someone so untrustworthy that they need something in writing that details (very specifically) what is unacceptable to do to someone you supposedly love.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe communication is important. I think when any relationship starts to progress toward something serious there should be an open discussion about values and expectations and the importance of honesty, fidelity, respect, and all of the other critical aspects of a relationship that need to be present in order for it to succeed. However, if you do not trust your partner’s words, actions or morals enough to believe they can and will follow through on the supposed “shared values” you have unless they are written on a checklist somewhere with the accuracy and precision of a legal document, then they are not SHARED values at all. In my humble opinion, that itself dooms the relationship.

Compatibility extends to more than just the bedroom. Relationships that go the distance have one key thing in common – the people in them share things in common. Not necessarily the same religion or the same background or the same politics. No. Although those things don’t hurt, it is really shared VALUES that make the difference. If we both value respect highly and equally then we can choose to respect religious or political differences, for instance. Likewise, if only one of us places a value on respect (or values something else, like religion, more highly) then those differences will likely cause strife.

So what do I think boundary agreements are good for? A long laugh. Okay, that’s not the serious answer, and it’s also not fair. I think boundary agreements can help the injured partner feel heard and feel safer. You notice I said “feel.” That’s because they don’t actually guarantee a damn thing. Except maybe that when you see the person who claimed to love you cross a clearly drawn and agreed to line you can finally see what everyone else already could – what they’re doing to you is wrong.

The truth of the matter is that a spouse who crossed one of those lines knew what they were doing. They knew what was right and what wasn’t. They knew what they did wasn’t acceptable. Maybe they have justifications or rationalizations that made it easier for them to swallow, or maybe they’re narcissistic and delusional. Either way, writing it down on a piece of paper won’t change anything. They will choose to do better, get help, and fix things or they will continue making excuses to themselves and you and others. A boundary agreement won’t change that.

For those of you who have a boundary agreement and believe in them, best of luck. I really hope it works out. It is just another of the many tools available to people going through this difficult journey. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I understand. I just no longer agree. Personally, I would rather make an agreement with myself that I deserve more.

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This is me this weekend, enjoying my agreement with myself that I’m worth it. And sporting my new pink cat eye glasses. 🙂

Being with a Narcissistic Sociopath – Part 2

15 Mar

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So, here’s the continuation of my first post on this topic.  I’ve been working on these for a while.  It has been eye-opening to see the traits and characteristics detailed and described like this.  It’s even crazier to see how many of these he had.  I knew he was a narcissist, but seeing how much that overlaps with sociopathy and relating it to the last 5 years of my life I am shocked by how much I put up with.  Now that the time with him is really almost officially over and done with, I think this is a good time to examine these things, then leave them in the past where they belong.  I will never again let someone like this be part of my life.

Again, this list came from Paula’s Pontifications.

Once it’s clear you’re dealing with a narcissist, go through the following list to see if the narcissist is also a sociopath. (You’ll discover many overlapping traits from each list.) The list below of 20 sociopathic traits is taken directly from the book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D:

1. Glib and superficial charm. The tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Sociopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A sociopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.  My Mom always said that he was a “charmer.”  He definitely never worried if he didn’t know the facts behind something.  He still had an opinion.  A strong one.  Whether it was actually based on anything or not.  He always talked over me, and in social settings he made sure he was the center of attention.  His voice was often booming and inappropriately loud, even in intimate, otherwise quiet settings.  It was embarrassing, but I thought it was just because I was an introvert.  All of those other red flags I just assumed went along with an extroverted personality.  

2. Grandiose self-worth. A grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart.  Sociopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.  He had no concept of where he actually stood in relation to others.  He was very, very cocky.  He would also brag about the smallest thing like it was some crowning achievement.  It’s one thing to be proud of yourself.  It’s another to take something mundane or normal and gloat about it to everyone. 

He was also adamant about being so much better than everyone else he worked with, no matter what the job.  He complained about being “stuck” with incompetent people or having to take up other people’s slack.  In retrospect, it’s funny how in EVERY single job he was the best…  Yet it was never reflected in his pay or position. He always had excuses, though. He just wasn’t an ass-kisser or he was too valuable in the field to get promoted. When he was fired it was someone else’s fault and they were out to get him. Yeah…

3. Need for stimulation or proneness to boredom. An excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Sociopaths often have low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.  The first part of this one doesn’t ring too true.  He could be a bump on a log sometimes – sitting and doing nothing for days.  He wasn’t into thrills like sky-diving (which I want to do).  However, he did have a very short attention span.  And low self-discipline doesn’t even begin to describe it!  He would start things all the time and not finish them.   That is why I have half-finished counter top, a living room with only one wall retouched, and various unfinished projects that he promised to take care of and didn’t.

4. Pathological lying. Can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.  Hahaha… Pathological lying for sure!  He was certainly manipulative, dishonest, deceitful and deceptive.   Read basically any of my past posts, and you will see that.  That man would lie about anything and everything just for the hell of it.

5. Conning and manipulative. The use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.  I don’t think my ex had real concern for the things that he did to people.  He felt entitled to the things that he took from people, even if they were taken through deceptive means.  He didn’t have any problem with lying to me in order to keep me around longer, stay in my house, and con kisses and sex out of me that I wouldn’t have given him if I knew the truth.  He could pretend to understand what I was going through, but he never actually did get it.  He would cry, but it was out of self-pity, not because of what he did to me.  It was always, always about him.  He could pretend to be concerned about my feelings, but when given the opportunity to behave the same way again he would.

6. Lack of remorse or guilt. A lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.  Oh look!  My last comment transitioned perfectly into this one.  His apologies were never really about being sorry.  They were about doing what he needed to in order to keep what he wanted.   He never incorporated what he was sorry FOR – it was just about the words.  He couldn’t grasp the way he made me feel and find real remorse for that.  As far as other people outside of our relationship?  I never, ever saw him empathize.  He would bitch about people and judge them for the VERY SAME things that he did.  I used to point that out to him – how can you judge someone else harshly for being in a position that you have been in (unemployed, homeless, living off of other people, etc., etc.)?  He just couldn’t put himself in another person’s shoes even if he had BEEN in those shoes before.

7. Shallow affect. Emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.  I like the term “emotional poverty.”  He was certainly “openly gregarious,” but with a very, very shallow pool of real emotions to draw from.  From afar and at parties and such, he would come across as a very likable, charming person.  But it was all on the surface.  It didn’t run deeper.  He didn’t let anyone in, ever.  Maybe there was nothing deeper.

8. Callousness and lack of empathy. A lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.  He could fake warmth for a certain amount of time.  He was certainly inconsiderate and tactless.  If you actually sat down and talked to him about a specific person or situation, you would soon see how little empathy he had.  Everyone on welfare or unemployment was a drug dealer (except when he needed unemployment – oh, wait, and he WAS a drug dealer at one point!).  When his sibling(s) got into a jam, he wanted nothing to do with helping.  He was very judgmental about my sister and everyone he had ever met that he felt the slightest bit superior to, which was basically everyone.

9. Parasitic lifestyle. An intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.  Hahaha…  That is spot on.  He is 48, almost 49 and has never, ever lived on his own.  He lived with his parents off and on well into his late 20s and even some in his 30s (I believe).  He lived the college, drunken party life into his late 30s even though he never went to college.  He always had multiple roommates.  He sold pot and did every single drug imaginable (that didn’t have to be injected because he’s afraid of needles).  His friends paid most of the bills.  He might have pitched in here and there.  Maybe.  He moved from couch to couch in his friends’ houses after his last breakup until he wore out his welcome with every single person.

He even lived with his sister for years in his 40s.  She always covered him when he was short, which was every month. This is the same sister he couldn’t be bothered to help out when she lost her job of 20 years.  Oh, and he had no sympathy for her, either. From his perspective she should have had money saved up for something like that. Nevermind that he didn’t have a penny saved himself.  Then he found the gravy train with me. He had me fooled for a bit.  Once that was over it was back to couch surfing. Now he’s living with another friend and supposedly paying rent… I feel sorry for that guy. 

And don’t even get me started on his lack of motivation!  What motivation? Selfish also doesn’t begin to describe how completely self-centered he could be.

10. Poor behavioral controls. Expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.  He had little to no control over his anger.  He would blow up at the drop of a hat.  He threw things.  He had temper tantrums like a child.  He would strike out and become incredibly petty. I found myself unconsciously trying to smooth things over and attempt to control his wild mood swings before they happened.

11. Promiscuous sexual behavior. A variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests. We all know this one applies. I think 50+ sex partners off of the internet counts as “indiscriminate,” especially since his only criteria was that they were female and willing to fuck him. Multiple affairs? Check. Having more than one sexual relationship going at a time? Check.  Brief, superficial relationships? Check.  Bragging?  Triple check.

12. Early behavior problems. A variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home. The only one of these I don’t know for sure is the glue-sniffing. Knowing him that probably happened, though.  He even set an entire grove of woods on fire as a kid.  

13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals. An inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.  Realistic and long-term were two terms he didn’t even know.  He doesn’t have anything saved.  Nothing.  Maybe the $5 they make you put in the savings account to keep it open.  That’s it.  He just raided his “retirement” account (which only had a pathetically small amount of money in it anyway).  His long-term plans (become a famous chef, open a restaurant, become a millionaire) would only have been possible if we lived in a magical world where a genie could grant wishes.  He had huge pipe dreams and absolutely no feasible plan for making them happen.  Before he knew me he was extremely nomadic – moving every year basically.  

14. Impulsivity. The occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.  Yep.  At first I called that spontaneity.  It seemed fun.  He seemed to be a good balance for my overly planned, serious nature.  Then I started seeing it pop up in ways that weren’t just a spur of the moment vacation.  I started to noticed that he failed to think ANYTHING through.  Even if he tried, he failed.  He might say that he was or was not going to do XYZ, no matter what.  Then the second he was actually faced with the choice he did the opposite of what he said he was going to do.  He would spend money he didn’t have.  He had unprotected sex with people he didn’t even know.  When he drank he often got hammered.  There was no moderation, no control, and no thought of what the negative consequences of his foolish actions might be.

15. Irresponsibility. Repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.  When I met my husband he had terrible credit.  He blamed his ex.  Now I know that was a huge red flag, and I should have run in the other direction as fast as I could.  At the time it seemed reasonable.  They were renting a house together.  She moved out and (he said) left him with all of the bills, some of which got out of control.  I had just gone through a breakup.  I, too, was left with the house and all of the bills.  It was a struggle.  Of course I never let anything get past due, and I never, ever would have.  But I could see how someone making less than I was could have a hard time.  It had been over a year since that breakup, but he still had bills that had gone into collections.  I helped him pull his credit report for free so he could get the number of the agencies and work out some sort of payment.  

Fast-forward 5 years later to the present day – Some of these bills are STILL in collections.  He had more than adequate opportunities to pay them off.  Hell, I would have helped him out with them.  Besides the fact that I was paying most of the bills already, if he had called and set up something I would have helped make the payment to get them off of his credit.  Call me a push-over and an enabler.  It’s true.  I was.  Not anymore.

Besides those examples from the past, within our relationship he would often overdraft his bank account, go over the limit on his credit card, and hide bills from me that were in his name and past due.  I didn’t let him fuck up MY credit or my bill payment.  He knew enough to know that there is absolutely no way that would fly under my radar.  But anything that didn’t have my name attached to it wasn’t paid more often than it was.  He was fired from his construction job for sloppy, lazy work.  He has all sorts of excuses, but the bottom line is that plus his bad attitude got him fired.

16. A failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.  Mr. Mess had never once accepted responsibility for a single thing he did wrong. Ever.  There was always an excuse.  It was his ex’s fault, his boss’s fault, his co-worker’s fault, my fault, our dog’s fault, the doctor’s fault, the cell phone company’s fault… You name it.  If you asked him, the entire world was in a conspiracy against him and he’d never done a single thing wrong.  Antagonistic manipulation is the perfect term.  I’d never heard it before, but it fits perfectly.  That’s why gaslighting was so easy for him – it was second nature to place the blame anywhere and everywhere besides himself, and if it made me feel crazy in the process all the better because it made lying to me easier.  And his denial of responsibility was always used as a tool to manipulate – he made me feel sorry for him about the way his last relationship ended, and I know he is doing that today with the story he tells about us.  Everything is designed with a spin that puts him in the role of innocent victim.

17. Many short-term marital relationships. A lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.  I was the only idiot stupid enough to marry him.  That didn’t last long, though.  Before me, his longest relationship was 3 years (maybe).  Other than that, it was 6 months here, 6 months there, and a whole fucking lot of one-night internet hookups.  I am shocked that he was able to keep the friends he had for 20+ years.  The main reason I see for that being possible is that most of them were just as immature and messed up as him – gatherings always had to include drugs and drinking, there are only 2 friends who are married (even though they are all his age), and they still play video games non-stop.  That plus his manipulation, party vibe, and victim mentality kept people distracted and feeling sorry for him and ready to get drunk and high.  Then once that has occurred basically anyone is tolerable.

18. Juvenile delinquency. Behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.  He was the drug dealer at his school.  He was almost expelled on more than one occasion, but his parents always fought tooth and nail with the school and threatened to sue them.  He laughed about the times they tried to catch him red-handed and couldn’t get the concrete proof they needed to put him in juvie.  He got drunk and crashed his Dad’s car at 13.  He used to get in fights a lot.  More than once he bragged (yes, bragged!) about the fact that he thinks he only passed high school because they wanted to get him the hell out of there.  

19. Revocation of condition release. A revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.  After high school he joined the Coast Guard on a whim because his cousin was doing it, too.  He only lasted a few years there before he was dishonorably discharged for drug use and insubordination.  Lovely.  Before that he was caught a few times (I believe), and thrown in the brig.  He didn’t stop, and in fact got worse until they didn’t want his ass around anymore.  He had his driver’s license suspended and revoked more than once.  Usually it was for failure to pay a fine.  Often the fine was related to something else he was supposed to do (like have insurance on a vehicle or report one sold and turn in the tags), but failed to.

20. Criminal versatility. A diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes. (Hare 2011).  I’m not sure how criminally diverse he was.  The things I mostly know about involve using and selling drugs.  He did drive drunk a lot.  He got caught once for that.  He did tend to brag about getting away with things.  He would laugh and act proud, like not only was he brilliant to get away with things, but the cops were incredibly stupid and didn’t have a chance against his mastermind.  Snort.

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In addition to the above two lists of traits, the biggest trait (or magic trick as I like to call it) that makes narcissistic sociopaths so dangerous and effective is their ability to go unnoticed by the rest of us. They can do this, because they are good at pretending (lying) and wearing many masks (again, lying). Simply put, they lie to themselves and everyone else. They lie so much that some of them are convinced of their own lies, which is where evil is born.  This part obviously has to be true.  Although now, looking back on all of the above traits and stories, I feel naive and stupid to have fallen for it, that is how these people go through life.  They lie.  They are good in small doses.  They have explanations for everything.  I honestly believe that he had convinced himself that his version of things was the truth.  Even faced with proof to the contrary, he would adamantly stick to his improbable story with so much conviction that it made the other person question reality.

I am no psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor. However, I have lived alongside a narcissistic sociopath and feel the need to share, even if in a tale-like fiction setting, how I understand the psychopathology that insidiously penetrated my body, mind, and spirit until I was nearly convinced that I was the evil one. How? Projection, transference, and control, that’s how.  To this day I know his version of our marriage is that I was controlling, jealous, and a “nut job.”  For too long I let him play on my insecurities and almost convince me that I was the problem in this relationship.  This blog – you people out there who read my story, gave me support, and grounded me to reality – and my individual therapy are the two things that kept me sane.  Well, those and my family.  And books.  Thank goodness I had those support networks.  If not, I can only imagine the hell that I would be living in for the rest of my life.

I hope you enjoy this story and pass it along to your family, friends, others you love, and anyone you suspect is or has been a victim.

Paula Carrasquillo ~ July 2012
Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath

There’s No Coming Back From the Dead

27 Feb

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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.

Viral-Zombies

Thoughts & Quotes About Trust

8 Jan

The concept of trust is something that I struggled with in my last relationship quite a bit (as you know if you’ve read this blog at all).  As I move forward and put my past behind me, I know that I will also need to open my heart and learn to trust again.  In theory, that seems like it should be difficult considering everything that I’ve been through.  However, I already have more peace and trust in my heart in this moment than I did for the last year or two combined.

Part of that comes from no longer having the constant lies in my life.  However, I think I no longer have the constant lies in my life because of a deeper change in ME.  I have learned that my trust is within my control – who I trust, what I trust them with, and what I accept or don’t.  I can give trust away freely in some circumstances and require much more for other types of trust.  I can loan someone my trust, but always be mindful of how they are treating that precious gift.  My trust can be taken away in small increments, or all at once.  My trust in one person can and should be based entirely on their actions.  I can trust in varying degrees – I may trust one person with my entire heart and soul and mind, and another person just enough to hang out and talk football.

I feel a certain freedom in making that revelation, which probably seems so basic to most people.  Trust used to seem like an absolute thing.  I’m not sure why, since I am generally a “shades of gray” person (now the book has added a dirty connotation to that phrase), instead of someone who sees things in black or white.  Trust always seemed like a straight-forward concept, though.  Either you trusted someone or you didn’t.  Simple, right?

I used to trust easily – I took almost anyone I met entirely at their word.  There was a time when I believed that people were inherently good.  I got burned so much that I flipped my mentality.  I came to believe that virtually everyone is twisted, corruptable, and out for themselves.  I trusted hardly anyone with hardly anything.  The people who I did let in, though, got my absolute trust.  If I had to choose between trusting my instincts or someone I loved, I would opt for the latter.  Trusting everyone naïvely and trusting a few people more than I trusted myself were both unhealthy ways of thinking.  Now I believe I finally understand where the middle ground is.

Yesterday I saw a quote about trust that I loved.  I thought about this topic all night, and today I wanted to find that quote again.  I did find it, but I also found many more that inspired me in different ways.  I would like to share those quotes and pictures below with a little commentary.

This first inspirational tidbit isn’t necessarily about trust.  To me, though, it’s about trusting my destiny and realizing that it is up to me to make the best out of everything.  I read this, and it makes me think of all of the moments that led me to where I am now – the big ones, the difficult ones, the tiny ones that I didn’t think meant anything, the joys and sorrows…  Everything we experience tells us something else about who we are, and what we do with those moments will define us forever.  I want my life, my moments, and my experiences to bring me to a place of deeper understanding, happiness, and authenticity.

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This next quote is about trusting yourself – that voice inside that tells you what is right for you and what isn’t.  I’m not going to disregard that voice again no matter what.  I have learned that I have to trust myself first and foremost.  No one can tell me what to believe, who to trust, what to do, or what is the right path for my life.  That means I have a lot of responsibility and a lot of freedom to determine where my life should go.

the-voice

I absolutely love the 16 “harsh truths” in this quote.  I have faced each and every one of these truths in the recent past, and I’m learning every day to embrace them.  I can’t change the past, there is a lot I don’t know, I will fail, and I can’t control much of anything.  Information and knowledge are not the same thing, I have to prove my own value and worth to be successful, and I will never feel 100% ready for something new, so it’s best to just dive in.  I can only get out what I put in, but I won’t always get what I want.  Someone else will always have more than me.   Life isn’t easy, good friends will come and go, people won’t always like me, and nothing in life is guaranteed.  With that in mind, the only person who can make me happy is me.  When I accept all of these things it makes me stronger and more able to really live!

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This one is self-explanatory.  It’s what happened in my last relationship.  In fact, by the end I was trying to use the eraser dust because that was all that was left of my trust.

trust-is-like-an-eraser

This next quote is both hilarious and entirely true.  This is why I think that lies of omission are just as dangerous as blatant lies.  A little bit of truth is a very, very dangerous thing.  I always want to make sure that I’ve got the whole truth and the entire picture.  If not, my trust won’t last long at all.

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Yet another simple truth – the truth is always simple.

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This is the quote I saw yesterday that started this entire train of thought.  I am trying not to be a bitter person who doesn’t give their trust away at all, however I believe that trust is fragile.  When I give it to someone, I truly hope that they treat it as such.  Don’t make me regret trusting you if you want me in your life in any capacity because I no longer stick around to be damaged.

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This quote is sweet and optimistic and hopeful.  It is a good mantra.  Pink also happens to be my favorite color at the moment – along with red, black, silver, sparkly (I know, technically not a color, but go with it), and purple.  I want my future to be full of laughter, kissing, happiness, pretty things, miracles, and strength of character.  I believe I will truly be fulfilled then because with those things and love you can’t go wrong.

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Okay, I have to throw this one in just because I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw it.

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I’m going to end with this one because it resonates with me.  The next person I let into my heart and my life full-time will have to be someone who lives their truth, not simply speaks it.  I have learned that words alone are cheap.  My future trust will be based on what I see, not on what I hear.  I’m looking for integrity, strength of character, and actions.  Just know, if you can’t prove it, if you aren’t going to follow through, and if you’re not in this all the way you’re better off not wasting my time.  🙂

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You Won’t Find This

30 Dec

In the last week or so since my last post I have been really enjoying my family and having a spectacular holiday.  I truly can’t remember one in recent history that has been so nice.  For the first time ever my grandma on my Dad’s side celebrated Christmas on a day other than Christmas Eve.  We all gathered down there on Sunday.  I got to see my cousin who I haven’t seen in years and catch up with my Dad’s brothers.  It was nice to watch football, drink beer, and talk about silly things.  I laughed a lot and was glad to interact with my younger cousins who I usually only get to see on Facebook (and boy do they love it).

On Christmas Eve I spent time with my Mom’s Mom, who taught me how to knit.  I went to a candlelight Christmas Eve service at my Mom’s church that was surprisingly wonderful – full of Christmas carols, family, and joy.  Then I had dinner, watched my step-sisters and niece and nephew open presents, and hung out with my step-Dad’s side of the family.  It was great to see the excitement on the faces of the two kids.  There was Christmas music playing in the background, presents everywhere, beautiful lights, and a real sense of happiness and family in the air.

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There was some sad news, too.  My grandfather, Pa, who I wrote about here and here, was my Mom’s step-Dad.  Her father died when she was 16, and he was the only grandfather I ever knew on that side.  His son, who is named after him, owns homes in Georgia and Florida.  I wasn’t very close to him growing up, but when my grandfather got sick, he and his wife moved up to this area.  I really, really like him.  He is a pilot, just like Pa was.  Right before Pa died his son took him up in his helicopter.  Having his son around made my Grandpa so happy, and they became quite close with the rest of us as well.

His wife, my aunt, was a very sweet woman.  She had lung cancer a few years back, and they thought it had been cured.  Shortly after Pa died they discovered that it had moved to her brain.  They moved back to Georgia where some of her family and her doctors were.  My Grandma talked to her all the time.  She even offered to have them both come stay with her when my aunt’s brain cancer got so advanced that she was starting to get disoriented and confused.  On Christmas Eve we got a call that she had passed away that morning.  It was very hard for my Grandma to deal with.  We found out right before the candlelight service, which made that service even more emotional.

Despite that loss, or maybe because of it, sharing Christmas with my family was very sweet.  I savored the moments – really soaked them in.  I also didn’t have the constant pain and hurt and fear hanging over my head from my ex.  It was just the pure, simple pleasure of being with people that you love completely who love you the same in return.  I spent the night at my Mom’s house on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas morning my brother, Grandma, sister and her boyfriend all came over, too.  We watched Christmas movies, had brunch, opened gifts, talked, laughed, and had a ball.

Afterwards my brother and step-Dad came back to my house and put together my brand new, amazing bed frame for me.  It was nice to hear them connecting and bonding over building that bed for me.  It is gorgeous – hand-welded metal, heavy-duty, intricate iron work – my dream bed.  It’s even better to get rid of a bed frame that I hated anyway and shared with both Mr. Mess and my previous partner.

My new bed

My new bed

I have also begun wrapping things up in other areas, too.  Slowly but surely Mr. Mess and I are unravelling all of the loose ends still left.  I have gotten rid of the car he had that was in my name.  I had to take a loss, but he’s going to let me keep the tax refund to help cover it.  He’s also supposed to be off of my car insurance, although that didn’t actually happen.  Instead, when I checked yesterday not only was he still on there, but so was his new car.  Huh?

I texted him to let him know and find out what was going on.  He said that he got a new card and it doesn’t have my name on it, so he doesn’t know what I’m talking about.  I checked online and called – both places show him on my account as well as his new car.  I took the extra car off yesterday by phone and told him to check his insurance because if he doesn’t have his own policy then he no longer has car insurance.  During the course of that conversation he said something like, “if you think I want to have anything to do with you then you are crazy.”  Ummm… okay.  I was just trying to let him know to be nice.  Guess I should have just cancelled it and let him get in trouble with the DMV or cops.

That comment got me thinking, though.  His actions have left him in a place where he lost something that he will never find again.  My family is wonderful.  We are close, we spend time together, we do everything we can for our own.  He was one of us.  Now he has lost an entire extended family – grandparents and parents (which he doesn’t have anymore), brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins.  He has some of those things, but they hardly ever see each other.

Not only that, but he will never find another woman like me.  I know that sounds vain, but it’s honestly true.  I’m educated, emotionally intelligent, well-rounded, accomplished, sweet, giving, beautiful, sexual, young, vibrant, and well-spoken.  I gave him more acceptance and love and forgiveness than he can hope to get from another person ever again.  I gave him everything I had and then some.  He used me and lied to me and took that all for granted.  And now I’m the crazy one?  It’s laughable and sad at the same time.

This song came to mind yesterday, and it’s still with me.  He won’t find what he had with me.  He won’t find the things that he threw away.  He might not be single forever, but he won’t find this.

Did you check the tires
Put gas in the car
Don’t think you need too much,
’cause you ain’t gonna get that far
Did you pack the good times
Don’t forget a map
Just in case the route you take isn’t there to take you back

You can hold any girl that you like
Fall in love when it’s easy at night
But, you’ll wake up wondering why she ain’t ever something better
When you’re lost and run out of road
Find what I already know
 In the end, close is all there is
But you won’t find this
No, you won’t find this

There’s once in a lifetime
And there’s once in a while
And the difference between the two is about a million miles
Oh, you might get lucky while the moon is looking up
But in the truth of the morning, the stars will be long gone

You can hold any girl that you like
Fall in love when it’s easy at night
But, you’ll wake up wondering why she ain’t ever something better
When you’re lost and run out of road
Find what I already know
 In the end, close is all there is
But you won’t find this

You can hold any girl that you like
Fall in love when it’s easy at night
But, you’ll wake up wondering why she ain’t ever something better
Find what I already know
In the end, close is all there is
Oh, in the end it’s me you’re going to miss
‘Cause you won’t find this
Oh, you won’t find this

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.

I Do Not Follow the 90/10 Rule

17 Nov

This past week we were taught that when you are getting to know someone, especially a prospective customer, they should talk 90% of the time and you should talk 10%.  Apparently studies have shown that the more someone else talks, the better they like you.  I admitted several times over the course of our training that the 90/10 rule is the hardest part of prospecting for me.  Hell, it’s the hardest part of life.

As you all have come to realize by now, I am verbose.  I am also an over-thinker, an overachiever, and a perfectionist.  I want to tell someone everything I can, especially if I really believe in what I’m talking about.  Another tidbit of knowledge I gained, “Don’t spill all your candy in the lobby.”  Sometimes less is more.  It’s a hard lesson for me to apply.

The Friendly, Silent, Questioning Stare is also a great tool for a top sales-person.  I think it translates to life very well, too.  One of our trainers said that in the beginning he would sit there after asking for the sale and feel all of the unsaid words bubbling up from inside, just waiting to erupt like a volcano. He would think of what he didn’t mention, what he could have done better, and want to break the silence.  A 30-second pause would feel like 3 hours.  He had to use every ounce of his strength to push those words down and wait for the other person’s response.

I easily recognize that talking too much is a fault of mine.  I am working on fixing that, although I know I’m still not very good at it.  One of the reasons is that my brain is full to the limit with countless thoughts, ideas, feelings, desires, hopes, fears, uncertainties, doubts, and emotions busting at the seams to get out.

Just to give you a slight hint at the current shit-storm in my brain, here are random snippets of things that are bouncing around in my head.  I’m not going to try to organize these thoughts, and they are in no particular order, just what happened to pop into my brain as I was typing.

  • “Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile goals.”  That is the most inspiring thing I learned at my sales training.  I heard it at the very, very end (even after the test).  In fact, I got misty-eyed.  You would have to listen to the entire presentation to understand, but this resonated with me so strongly.  I am a success if I’m taking steps towards a worthwhile goal, and I definitely think I’m doing that right now.
  • Just because I’ve wasted some time floundering around being lied to and deceived doesn’t mean I’m not successful or I can’t be in the future.  Maybe it means the goal I had wasn’t worthwhile (trying to make a marriage work with someone who hasn’t told you the truth since day 1).  Or maybe I had to do that floundering in order to understand what is worthwhile and what isn’t.
  • “If you’re not making mistakes, you aren’t doing it right.”  Wise words from a friend spoken to me last Saturday.  I’ve been letting that ping around in my brain ever since, and I like it.  I am finding it easier and easier to admit to the areas where I’m making mistakes, partly because I know it gets me closer to where I want to be.  Life is full of beauty and mystery and wonder, but you have to take chances and sometimes make errors in order to grow, learn, and get where you want to be.

  • “He has always been unsure about me, unhappy, dishonest and cheating from the earliest moments.  All the while I was living in blithe ignorance of what was really going on.”  From a woman whose life seems eerily similar to mine right now, emilylonging, in her post Were things ever good?  Those words ring so true.  We were in two different relationships.  I never had the full truth.  I was living in blissful ignorance (some of my own making), and every single “good memory” we have ever had together is tainted in some way with a lie, deception, or half-truth.

***All of this time I had somehow convinced myself that this was the best it could ever get for me – that not dying was the same as living.***

There is so, so much more, but that’s just a taste.  A great friend of mine told me that there’s nothing not complicated about me.  That’s very true.  For now, I’m going to accept the fact that I think and talk too much.  It seems like some people still like me anyway.

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.

Collective Wisdom

16 Oct

I am constantly reminded of the benefit of the collective wisdom that can be gained by sharing my thoughts and getting feedback and perspective from other people.  Today was no exception.  I decided to post some of my previously private ramblings (here) which included more details about the incident and conversation leading up to my present situation.  I received this very insightful and thought-provoking comment from a reader:

Rollercoasterider

I am so sorry. Your situation has had me concerned as it has progressed. You seem like a strong woman–not the victim type at all!

I believe in marriage, but that doesn’t mean I feel there aren’t exceptions to my no-divorce rule. Addictions is one of those exceptions–he is refusing recovery. Serial affairs are another exception–and since his addiction is sex–that’s two exceptions right there.

And you have been doing the work to earn your way either into reconciliation or out of your marriage.
I also did not think you were behaving codependently in that situation. You had a Knowing–an inuitive hit or whatever you want to call it. I discovered that if I ignore those, they bring anxiety–even if I am not mentally feeling anxious my body reacts with the physiological symptoms of panic and anxiety.

When you said you asked for a separation, what did that mean? Here’s what I mean by my question: I am a sticker for precise language. When Sweetheart asked me for a divorce, I told him ‘no.’ Hey, he was asking! Were you asking for permission or agreement–did it need to be a joint decision that he could void by disagreeing?

What did asking for–or saying you wanted–a separation mean for that day? Did it mean he could come home, stay the night and you would talk about it? Basically, how firm was the boundary? Did you or do you have a formal Plan of Action for boundary breaches?

Ex: For me it was if Sweetheart was continuing his relationship with the alienator he could not live at home and he could not be in a marital relationship with me until she was out of the picture. So when I discovered he was still seeing her (this was back in 2007), I kicked him out. I was not perfect in the boundary, he came home the first night and I packed his bags while he was at work the next day. When he got home, he entered through the back door and I walked him through the house and out the front. No explanation was necessary because Boundaries are communicated ahead of time; he knew why.

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? And what do you think you should be doing?

See….  THIS is why I posted my thoughts and asked for feedback.  She asked some really great questions and made fantastic points.  I had to actually step back and consider a bit before I knew how to answer.  I started answering her comment in that post, but then realized that I had so much to say that I needed to create a new post to share my answers with everyone.

In fact, my answer got so long that I’m going to be making several posts for the questions/comments that I want to address so that you can pick and choose which ones you want to know the answer to without having to sift through thousands of words (aren’t I considerate?)  🙂

We Obviously Need to Wait for Thursday

16 Oct

I learned another hard lesson today:  I should not text late at night or when I’m feeling lonely and tired.  This lesson was one that I should already have learned the night before (see the account of my last late-night texting adventure here).  However, I am nothing if not hard-headed…

Yesterday my husband asked if we could meet after work today (Tuesday) to talk about this separation and our plans moving forward.  At first I agreed, but then I really thought about it.  I have a lot of things to consider.  I have a lot of questions going on in my head.

When my husband came by yesterday to pick up some clothes his frowney face and surly attitude also told me that he wasn’t exactly feeling remorseful about his lying.  At least it didn’t seem that way.  He also made a comment that led me to believe he was going to push this whole thing off on me.

Keeping that in mind, I asked if he could wait until Thursday to talk since we already have a marriage counseling appointment set up at 9 am, and I want to make sure we are being productive.  He said something like “Whatever is more convenient for you.”

I should have left it at that.

I fully intended to.

Photo Credit: Alex Ragone/Flickr.com

Then around 9 pm my husband texted me and said, “I just remembered there are two whole chickens in the bottom drawer in the fridge you should freeze them so they don’t go bad.”

First of all, I know that text is perfectly fine.  It’s very nice of him to let me know that so the chickens don’t go bad.  I never look in that bottom drawer and would not have known they were there.

Secondly, I realize that 9 pm does not sound very late to most adults on the planet.  However, I was hopped up on medicine for my strep and ear infection and had been laying in bed for at least 30 minutes, so it was already too late for my brain to function properly.

Like a moron, I texted: “If you want to come over tomorrow night for dinner I might roast one of them.”  Insert foot in mouth.

I want to defend myself by saying that I didn’t think before I texted.  Bad idea.  I had been thinking about roasting a chicken all day, but didn’t realize there were any in the house.  We love roasting chickens with the rotisserie in the convection toaster-oven that I bought him for his birthday in August.  We have this amazing smoked sea salt that makes them absolutely delicious.  I knew I couldn’t eat a whole chicken by myself.  I thought maybe dinner would be nice.  Blah, blah, blah…

To his credit, he responded with, “I will let you know tomorrow.”

This morning, after getting sufficient sleep to improve my brain function and let all cold medicines wear off in the night, I awoke with a pit in my stomach.  I quickly texted him, “That probably wasn’t a good idea.”  I didn’t hear from him again until lunch-time today, when the following text disaster occurred:

Him: “I guess you are talking about having dinner together not being a good idea i never said that.”

Me: “Yeah, but it was kinda implied.  And it might be a bad idea.”

Him: “If you say so.”  (passive-aggressive much?)

Me: “I don’t.  I just don’t know.”

Him: “That last statement does not make since to me.  You know how you feel and by what you have been saying i dont think having dinner with me is what you want”

Me: “I do not really know what I feel right now.  Thats the thing.  I don’t know if it would help or hurt things so I guess the safest bet is to talk in MC.” (MC stands for marriage counseling)

Him: “All i know is “i dont know” has never been an acceptable answer from me yet im accepting it from you.  I hope you figure it out then we will both know” (Ok, Buddy, now you’ve crossed a line!)

Me: “Its not fair to put everything on me.  You put us in this situation with your lies then expect me to make all the decisions about where that leaves us.”

Him: “Im not asking where it leave us im asking where it leaves you.”

Me: “Thats the same thing.”

Him: “We should just keep this conversation for thursday.”

Me:  “That’s exactly what I was saying.”

So, we now officially have a gag order in place until Thursday, at least in my mind.  I think no contact for a day and a half really won’t be a bad thing.

Poked, Prodded and Cracking…

15 Oct

Last night I took a look down my throat with a flashlight and did NOT like what I saw…  This morning I got up and made my way immediately to the doctor’s office.  I was poked, prodded, and swabbed everywhere imaginable.  They did a strep test on my throat, diagnosed an ear infection, and I had them go ahead and run the full panel of STD tests while they were at it.  I could have gone to Planned Parenthood and probably saved some money in the long run.  I don’t care.  I just wanted it over and done with.

Only an hour later, I was walking out with antibiotics, a prescription for a yeast infection, and a little more peace of mind.  I still don’t have the STD results back yet, obviously, but having it taken care of is a relief.

On my (short) ride home I called my Mom.  She said something that really struck home.  She said as women and as wives we do our best to remain vulnerable, to give our husbands the opportunity to protect us.  We let ourselves need them.  We give them the chance to take care of us.  When they blow that chance or squander that opportunity we have to pack up that vulnerability and be strong for ourselves.  When we take that next step to care for ourselves we also end up not needing them anymore.

I tried to need him.  I tried to give him the opportunity to step up for me.  I wanted him to be a man, to protect me, to make my health and safety a top priority.  He didn’t, so I had to take the bull by the horns and take care of myself.  Once I found out he hadn’t gotten tested, it took me only until the next business day to get tested myself.  Those tests, plus the extra ones because I’m so sick, took only an hour.  One hour.

In that hour I stopped needing him.  I stopped being vulnerable.  I took back my independence.

At the same time, I feel my resolve cracking.  Last night was the first time I really started wanting him here badly.  My codependence started peeking through.  For most of the weekend after his big lie was revealed we had only minor contact.  Last night he texted me with:

Im not sure what things from the kitchen are mine to take.  I know the new cook ware is yours just wondering about the things i was given as gifts.  If you want them they are yours.

My first reaction was something like – Seriously?!?  That is what he’s worried about right now?  Then I realized that I should have been prepared for this.  It’s what I asked for.  Here are some of the other thoughts I jotted down in my journal:

  • I’m weak.  I want him here in bed with me.  I want to touch him, hold him.
  • I find myself considering an in-home separation.  I just know I can’t do that.  I’m not strong enough.  I would talk to him, laugh with him, fall into those old patterns…
  • I want to call him an ass for sticking to business (what he wants, when he can get it), but that’s what separation IS.  He is doing me a favor, really.
  • I want him to fight for me, for us, but I want him to be well first!
  • I can’t have it both ways – him now & him better because he is obviously not better.
  • I HATE THIS!!!!

Those were just my cliff notes version of the things going through my head.  I wasn’t going to respond to his earlier text.  In fact, I held out for quite a while.  Until after midnight.  Yeah… bad decision.  Nothing good comes from texting someone that late.  I engaged in a few back and forth texts, told him the gifts belong to him, and let him know about my strep.

In the morning light I realized that I need to disconnect myself from him emotionally.  Letting go of my expectations for him, his recovery, his health, his therapy, etc. is my job now.  I can’t control him.

He’s going to be coming by at some point today to pick up a few more things.  I don’t know how I’m going to react.  I don’t know if he will even try to talk to me.  I don’t even know if I want him to.

On a completely unrelated note, I now have a Twitter and Facebook account for my blog.  Check them out if you want.  I could use a little distraction.

My Internal Debate

14 Oct

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

I still don’t know where all the chips will ultimately fall, but I asked for a separation yesterday.  My husband has been out of the house for over 24 hours now.  I feel a calmness and relief that I never anticipated.

At the same time, I feel sad.  I watched the amazing space jump today, and had to fight myself not to call or text him.  It was a spectacular event to see, and I missed being able to share that with my best friend.  It’s all those small, every day moments that I will miss more than anything – sitting on the couch, holding hands, talking over dinner, cuddling up at night.  Those losses are hard to bear.

I don’t really think it matters what the long version is of why I chose separation.  The short and not-so-sweet version is that he lied to me again.  It was a pretty big lie.  It was also sustained over more than a week.  He lied about getting STD tested, even though in his disclosure he revealed sleeping with up to 50 sexual partners, some (or many) without protection.  He has endangered my health all along by misleading me about his sexual history and his STD testing status.  This last week of lying was the final straw.

The sad part is that he hasn’t acted out sexually in over a year, THAT I KNOW OF.  It doesn’t matter, though.  That inner circle lying behavior just destroys any chance that we have of becoming a healthy couple.  I can’t do it to myself anymore.  I just can’t.

The thing that sticks out in my head from this past week is how easily and convincingly he lied, over and over.  At one point last Friday I confronted him about a breach to our Boundary Agreement.  He got very emotional, said that he was going to change his way of thinking, and seemed to really “get it.”  He went to his SA meeting the next Saturday and confessed that (relatively minor) lie of omission, tears and all.  Meanwhile, he was hiding this huge lie from me and everyone else.  He lied in our last MC session.  He lied over and over during the week (“I’m just waiting for the test results to come in the mail”).  He lied straight to me, even after I had the proof that he never went to get tested.  He made a big show of going down to the clinic to “straighten things out.”  It just makes me feel sick.

That man is not my husband.  That man is not the person who cares for me when I’m sick and rubs my feet at night.  That is not the man whose smile can light up my world.  That is not the man who looked at me with such love in his eyes on our wedding day that he cried as I walked down the aisle.  That is not the person who has slept next to me at night for over 4 years.  That man is not the person I fell in love with.

The man who could lie to me over and over like that is not someone I can live with for the rest of my life.

I need to check out divorce and separation laws in my state.  I need to go get STD tested.  I need to take his name off of my bank account.  I need to look into getting his car out of my name.  I need to figure out what bills still need to be paid and determine how much money he left in our joint account.

I don’t want to do any of it.

I want him to get better.

I want him to WANT to tell me the truth.

I want my best friend back.

I don’t get what I want.

THAT SUCKS!!!

1 Other Woman Became 4…

5 Oct

That’s about all I’m emotionally able to say right now.  I’m still processing…

I am glad that I have a therapy appointment today at 11.  I really need it.

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