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Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by Susannah, Nov 28, 2018.
Thank you, friend!
Yes, he wants only that from you because then he isn't faced with the reality of what his actions have done to hurt you. Your lack of confidence in him isn't because you've just chosen to feel that way. Your pain, your wariness, and your inability to forget about all that's happened are completely reasonable and justified. I understand that he wants an enthusiastic cheerleader supporting him all the time, but doing that isn't really an essential part of your healing process.
I don't believe that you acting as if nothing ever happened would be helpful to his recovery. It would only allow him the opportunity to avoid facing the consequences of his behavioral choices.
I've spent the last two days doing some much-needed financial work. At this point, I am preparing for divorce. I haven't made up my mind, but want to be ready with the financials. I spoke to an attorney after the January, 2019 D-Day, so I know I need to put together some income/expense spreadsheets, etc. In addition, I have finally finished the whole-house clean sweep that I start in response to that last D-Day, so everything is organized and stuff I want to take with me is in boxes and marked. I haven't quite gotten to the point where I have a bag packed, but it's not a bad idea. There have been a couple of times when I really wanted to go, but felt too overwhelmed in the moment to pack and decide where to go (late at night). One time, I managed to pack a bag and start the car warming but was too furious and fuzzy-headed to think of a place to go. (None of my relatives or friends know about this sordid mess.) So I came back in, defeated and just lay down and cried myself to sleep. It was humiliating and demonstrated to him that he is right to have no respect for me. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would let a man steal this from me, I wouldn't have believed you.
So now I feel the need to prep and have a solid plan so that I don't lose my resolve when the time comes. Even if I never execute, it will give me some peace of mind.
A depressing business.
I'm sorry you're hurting so much right now. This is a horrible thing to endure, but I think you're showing a lot of strength by doing the things necessary to prepare yourself for the various potential outcomes.
I don't think this justifies his not respecting you. You are deeply hurt by his betrayal. Now, you're wading through this cesspool the best you can. He should respect you for still being there and trying to support him through this any way you can. Many would've already walked away. I hope you can find some peace soon regardless of how things turn out...you deserve it.
I'm here to journal about a sort of watershed moment, or a straw that broke the camel's back, or a turning point, or a "dawning". Just pick any one of the many ways humans have tried to talk about moments of sudden clarity! This morning I had one. It is amazing how sometimes these biggest, brightest insights come after seemingly tiny incidents or as the result of hearing a particular word combination. Here's how mine happened:
Was lying in bed with my husband after he woke me up at 6:30 with his restlessness. This is very unusual, as the typical scenario is that I wake up flooded with thoughts of pain and addiction and BT and lie there ruminating, waiting for him to wake up and hopefully cuddle and talk. Often, I will read or write in my journal while I wait, but as soon as he is awake, I drop everything and say "good morning" and turn my attention to him. This is because I am genuinely happy to see him and want to reach out and connect. The days are so hard that I find it is very helpful to try to start out in a really solid, good place. Otherwise, the day just seems a slog to get through.
So this morning, he was awake and restless. I said I was still sleepy and he said his brain was buzzing with some work-related thoughts he wanted to get recorded. Would I mind if he got his laptop? Of course not - that sounds fine. I know how it feels to be afraid you are going to forget something important. Type away! I'll just hang out here for a few while you finish. So before long I realized that he was not typing, but reading. So I hung out a bit longer. Finally, I asked what he was doing. He said, "Oh, I am reading the news. I got distracted and never made it to the note-taking." Some background: in the past, "reading the news" has been very problematic for us. The "news" was nothing but an opportunity to look for P-Subs, and he is still very furtive about it. So this was triggering for me. But I thought to myself, “Ok - so he was truthful. I appreciate that.” So I got up to get a book to read while I waited for him to finish. More time went by and I tried to go back to sleep, but found myself getting more and more upset thinking about all the times that I have stopped what I was doing in order to spend time with him. Finally, he must have sensed something because he put the computer down and said "Oh, are you awake?" Am I awake!?! I spoke to you in coherent sentences four different times! I read a chapter of a book while lying 1 inch from you. I offered to go get your glasses so you wouldn't have to hold the screen so close to your face. I GOT UP AND WALKED across the room and back! Am I awake? He claimed he had no awareness that I was awake and said he "just got it into his head that I was still sleeping" and didn't notice that I wasn't.
I was so angry. But lately I have been trying to look past the anger to see what the underlying feeling is, so I disciplined myself to do that. What I found there was hurt. So what thoughts were the source of the hurt? The thoughts were: I express my love by wanting to direct my attention to him in the mornings. Usually, I have to wait for him to wake up, but when he finally does, I make a choice and feel a desire to interact with him. That is the most satisfying thing for me AND I want him to feel valued. This morning, when the situation was reversed, he did not feel the same need/desire to direct his attention toward me, but chose instead to engage in a trivial distraction that he KNOWS has been a major fuel for his addiction and source of pain for me. He chose it over me. Again. I was hurt because I longed to receive attention from him, thought I should have it, but did not get it. It was that simple.
It was at this moment that my anger and resentment seemed to vaporize. I suddenly realized that this futile exercise I refer to as "the last two years of my life" has been nothing but a giant whirling vortex of the following: Me longing for his attention, trying mightily to get it, feeling unworthy and ugly because he was giving it to others, refusing to acknowledge that I couldn't somehow force him to give it to me, me feeling even more desperate to get it. Rinse, repeat. In other words – insanity.
What a realization! What would have been painfully obvious to any outside observer has finally dawned on me! I cannot force him to want me. I cannot force him to direct his attention to me. I have better things to do with my life than to sit stewing in a pool of self-loathing and disillusionment while I wait for him to finally get to the point where I (or anyone, for that matter) can hold his attention. And what is so precious about his attention, anyway? What feeling have I been chasing? Rather than a specific feeling, I think I have been chasing confirmation of a dream of connection and love and specialness between two people that I thought I had, but didn’t. So now it is very clear to me that it is finally time for me to start doing what I should have been doing all along. Instead of trying to get him to act as if he loved me, I should have been mourning the loss of that dream. A revelation! It was as if I was suddenly released from all the oppressive thoughts, all the stress of working on the relationship and his addiction, all the debilitating thoughts of self-loathing that came from the stubborn refusal to acknowledge that I will never be what he truly wants. Relief from the last two years of essentially stamping my feet and screaming, “No, no, no! This can’t be happening!”
I admit I did spend a few minutes this morning beating myself up for being needy and pathetic. The effects of the addiction have made this second-nature to me. But it isn’t true. I find no evidence in either my previous history or in other area of my life that I am either needy or pathetic. So I have no reason to beat myself up. I have been doing all this for one reason - because I loved him. I have cut out chunks of my flesh and mind in order to embody this and demonstrate this. I have sacrificed my health and well being trying to make this work. I am not ashamed of it. Loving fully and committedly was absolutely the right thing to do. But it won’t make someone love you back. Funny thing is that I have long dreaded this moment of clarity – the “switch” flipping – I think because I was afraid that when it happened, I would feel a tremendous feeling of loss. But in fact, I feel a sense of lightness and freedom. Praise Jesus! I no longer care!
How do I know? My husband works from home most of the time, but goes in to the office one day per week. This has always been a terrible day for me, as his workplace has historically been the site of egregious sexual acting out. I would valiantly try to get through the day, sticking to my routine, but all the while tormenting myself with visions of him, running amok like a kid in a candy store (he works with a lot of young women), indiscriminately spewing his sexual energy and attention all over them, never once thinking of me. But this morning was different! I was actually in a hurry to drop him off at work so I could get on with my day. And I find that I have not spent any time worrying about what he is doing or thinking. He is completely free, as far as I am concerned, to leave pools of drool on the table when he has lunch in the cafeteria, perv on passersby reflected in his office plate glass window, hump the potted plants. For the first time ever, I just don’t care!
So I intend to take the rest of the afternoon off and just think about what I intend to do next. Wish me luck!
Thank you for your support and good wishes. I'm working now to decide what direction to go next. I'll be fine, no matter what.
It’s great that you had this realization!
The feeling may go back and forth but the facts do remain the same.
1. You can only control you.
2. Your value has nothing to do with your husband’s actions.
3. You choose happiness. It is not a result of circumstances.
Just remember these when the emotions come up that try to tell you otherwise.
I heard a therapist say something that is on my mind today.
“Recovery includes the ability to tolerate pain without needing to numb or control”
I'm so sorry you are going through this. It is agonizing. I wish you the best as you take the time to decide what is best for you and your future.
Yup. Well under way. Feeling much more capable of making a clear decision now.
So, my last sentence about clear decisions notwithstanding, I don't have any desire to do this. The house was even mine before we got married, but I don't even care about it or anything in it. I fantasize about just getting in the car and driving. Just drive. Find some little motel off the beaten track, hole up and lick my wounds.
Of course, I'm flattered.
Yes. I am a sweet, considerate person. (Trying to say nice things about myself)
Yup. It's enough to make a girl resolve to never again have another expectation.
Yes. Another nice thing about me. I can be counted on to try to take the high road.
I know this is true. But I have a deep-seated horror of coercing others. If this is what it takes to get his attention, I don't want it. I want enthusiastic, loving participation - not grudging, forced change. One thing he does that's his own idea is worth a thousand he does because I asked him to.
This is a thing I wish more men knew about women. So many times, men seem blind-sided by the decisions women make, when it's the woman's perspective that she has been screaming at the top of her lungs for years.
Can I put this on a tee shirt? changing the pronouns as appropriate, of course.
Thanks. I don't really have the feeling of healing yet. Right now I'm still just hollow-feeling. But I have no choice but to get healed, so I will.
Thanks - this is critical for me to remember. I have already felt self-doubt creeping in. But I know that my greatest responsibility is to myself. If I back down again, it will be a breach of trust in myself that will be difficult to recover from.
This one is hard. Why am I not worth fighting for? Why was I the one to love more?
This is easy to know intellectually, but I am not yet to the point where I can see beyond the circumstances. I have a lot of anger over this situation I did not ask for and have not been able to control.
Thanks for your support.
Today, I am doing a bit of a post mortem on my marriage and, as a result, certain things have started clearing up for me. As I’ve written about before, my husband works with lots of women, most of whom are in the 22-35 year age range. Granted, even 22 is a bit long in the tooth for his 64 year old self, but, hey, if that’s all there is around, a man has to make due with dregs…. Soooo anyway, his recent disclosures have revealed just how dysfunctional his work behavior has been over the years. I had always suspected as much, but when I questioned, he always denied it, claiming that somehow, magically, he was able to function normally with female co-workers and saw them only as colleagues. It is still unclear whether he believed this himself at the time or if this was just another of his outright lies. I suspected the actual behavior was mainly ogling and fantasizing, but it turns out it has been a much more severe problem than that. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say his work life has involved as much addictive behavior as it has work over the years.
So all that is just to set the stage for the agreement we came to, whereby he (on his own initiative) would touch base with me (for strength and mindfulness) immediately before meetings and give me reports (for my reassurance and his reinforcement) directly following meetings. The problem was that, although well intentioned, he is also very lazy and had a typical addict’s lack of empathy and thoughtfulness, so he often forgot. When I would remind or ask him, he would always say sorry and jump right in according to plan, following through with the preparations or reports. Okay – fine. Everybody got what he or she needed. Right?
Wrong. Now that the smoke is starting to clear, I have realized how deeply humiliating and damaging it was for me to have to remind and ask for him to hold up his part of the agreement. Looking back on it, those times when I had to jump in and remind, it now feels as if I was made to ask, “Meeting’s over! Oh please, sir, can you tell where I stand now? Could you please tell me, on a scale from 1-10, just how badly you wanted to fuck all the girls sitting around that conference table? (1 on the scale being “not at all – she’s a dog” and 10 being “What’s that you say? Sorry - I’m still picturing myself fucking her”) And, sir, for those who ranked a 5 or higher, could you tell me when, where, and in what ways you wanted to fuck them? I need to know how absolutely ugly, demolished and suicidal to feel for the rest of today. “
I felt I had no choice then, but now, looking back, I can see that it was deeply humiliating and I should NOT have had to do it. And what’s worse, instead of paying attention to my own feelings, I would often jump in and begin taking care of the women. I would have talks with him that often went something like this. “You know, you will have to be working on this project with Mary for the next few weeks. If you are openly ogling her, she is going to feel uncomfortable. And when you feel compelled to flirt with her, remember that she does not actually think you are funny, but has been heavily socialized and feels compelled to laugh at older, more senior men’s jokes. She should not have to endure either in her workplace.” And I was right to try to take care of them - my husband is a predator and those women needed protection. But I never took care of myself and he certainly did not take care of me. For that, he and I share the blame. I should have been able to care for myself, and he should never have put me in the position of having to.
Since my "conversion experience" last week, when I realized I no longer cared, I have become very curious about just how this happens to a person. Why does it seem so out of my direct control? Why was I seemingly trapped in this place where I was not only engaged with my relationship and my husband, but deeply engaged? Rescuing, preserving and healing the relationship was an emergency that took up almost all of my time. I made myself sick, emotionally and physically. I gave up social opportunities and volunteer obligations. I gave up friends. I ignored family. I was a bulldog that would stop at nothing to bend the outcome of this drama to my will.
And then...one day it was just over. Nothing momentous happened. There was no big showdown. No big new discovery. No new betrayal. Just a little one - much like countless others before it. But this time, I just no longer cared. It was an unfamiliar feeling that snuck up on me. It took me a while to understand what was happening. It wasn't a flood of emotion. More like an absence of emotion, in fact. I felt calm, empty, peaceful, free, composed, and very very weary. One week later, still do. Feel weary, that is. The other stuff, sometimes.
So was it even possible to conjure this "conversion"? And if so, how? I wish I could have done it much, much earlier, I think. But I don't think it was possible. It's more like something just "snapped" in my mind. Or maybe it's more like something just crept over me like a shadow. Does the mind or body just become exhausted? Does one just have to shut down in order to preserve sanity? Is it a protective callous that finally just seals over the heart? I don't understand the mechanism at all.
Anyway, it happened and I don't think it's really that important to understand how or why. Just curiosity, really.
"This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper".
I think it's like the saying goes...the straw that broke the camel's back. It doesn't have to be a huge event. Everyone has a limit, and there has finally been enough heartache to push you past the line of yours.
If you don't mind me asking...do you feel any sense of relief now that you've gotten to this point? Is it scary at all? I've often wished I could get to where you are, but I also am afraid of it. (If you do mind me asking and would rather not say, I understand.)
Sunday was my birthday. Happily, my children remembered and sent me nice texts, etc. Did my husband come through for me? Of course not. At some point during the day, he looked at me and said, "Oh. What's the date today?" I said I didn't know. Then he said, "Happy birthday". I said "thanks". And then the lying began. He began scrambling to tell me he hadn't forgotten and that he had been thinking about it all week. Did he have anything planned? No. Was there a gift? No. Was there a cake? No. Did he have a card? No. Did he understand that saying he had remembered but didn't do anything at all about it was actually WORSE than forgetting it altogether? No.
I wasn't actually even mad, since I hadn't had any expectations. Just feeling completely unwanted and unacknowledged. UNTIL...he began asking me things like, "Well, what do you want to do?" " Is there something special you want for dinner?" etc.
So. Let me get this straight. You forget my birthday, lie about having done so, decide that something should be done, then expect ME to do the work of doing it. That is just what I wanted for my birthday - to have to think about what I want, arrange for it and execute it. And all this from the man whose entire lifestyle has served to act as a daily reminder that with each passing moment, I am aging further away from his sexual ideal.
Happy Birthday to me!
@Susannah that is terrible. Nobody should have to feel that way, especially on your birthday.
For whatever it's worth, Happy [belated] Birthday from those of us in this forum. Your posts and insights have been a huge help to me, and I'm sure to many others - both SO's and PA's.
Happy Birthday !
(I hope you at least did one thing you enjoy.)
Very sweet. Thank you!
Thank you, Kenzi! I treated myself to a take-out pizza. I never do it and for some reason, I just wanted it.
I'm so sorry your day turned out this way. Make it a birthday week and do something for yourself everyday. A movie by yourself tomorrow (I love movies by myself!), a mani/pedigree on Thursday, Friday go to a salt cave, Saturday, a massage.
Have a Happy Birthday week!
Thanks, sweetie! Not a bad idea...