The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2 years, 8 months

Things continue to be...good. I think that's the best word. When I focus on being related and connected, Husband are I are related and connected. Sometimes, though, I become aware of the distance that I still feel between us, all coming from my side I think.

We were making love last night and I felt like Husband couldn't come and I was wondering if he was or would have to think about other women in order to climax. Wondering if I wasn't turning him on.

So still a lot of work to be done on my side of the street.

We hardly talk about sex addiction these days. We talk about recovery instead. But I still have nagging thoughts pop into my mind regularly.

Last night I went to a spa. Lying on the table with my eyes closed, I wondered if there was any way Husband could get a relaxing scrub like I was getting. But I really have trouble with the idea of him going to get a massage. My mind wondered about husband at those massage parlors. What it must have been like with strange women rubbing his body and jerking him off. Eventually, when he got bold enough to leave the right amount of money on the table, climbing onto the table and sliding him inside them. How did they feel in his hands? How do I feel different from them?

Yes, my crazy mind still goes to these places.

I do a pretty good job of stopping myself before I go too far down the dark rabbit holes of my frightful imagination. I know they all lead to the same place, and I don't want to go there because it has nothing to do with the reality of the present.

Jeff Bridges said in a recent interview about his wife of 30-something years that they've been through hard times and the very things they thought could rip them apart made their bond stronger in the end. I find myself longing for the closeness I used to feel before all of this, but I can feel that I don't trust husband enough to feel that way. Maybe I never will, because maybe it was a naive kind of trust that I've grown past. Perhaps I'll need to find a completely different kind of deep bond in who I am and who we are together today. Not a very satisfying thought at this moment. But healing demands time, if nothing else.

So 2 years and 8 months later, things are good, Husband is truly a different man, I am a different woman, and neither of us are perfect. And my absolutist self now understands the peace to be found in letting that be, in surrendering (once again) to "progress, not perfection."


lostinla said...

Why search so hard for convoluted explanations?

A relationship that was not spoiled by whoring would simply be better. "That which we thought would rip us apart makes us stronger, blah and blah..." - - I certainly doubt that they were referring to the pathetic image of a man f*cking a masseuse who was probably either a drug addict, molested as a child, impoverished - - or all three. That is darkness. Plain and simple. Evil. No need to go on and on crafting a philosophical buddist BS tale of how it all makes sense. Why does it need to have a frickin smiley face tacked on at the end of a dark tale of whoring? Straight up evil - through and through and through!

Just because he paid for a "happy ending," don't make for a happy ending. If he has actually changed - - that is the rarest most isolated event on this planet. But even if true, that doesn't make the evil past anything but just pedestrian pathetic run-of-the-mill happens-every-day evil. Whoremongering is not some kind of fairy tale where all the loose ends get tied up into a happy bow at the end. Why does it need to be something other than what it is in its ugly reality???

woman.anonymous7 said...

lostinla - You make some points that resonate with me. I no longer view prostitution as a victimless crime. And I have and sometimes still do question my willingness to accept addiction/compulsion as an explanation (though not a justification) for Husband's actions; and my decision to try to make the best of a very bad situation.

But I have to go on living, and that being the case I'd rather have peace than pain and bitterness. I believe I'm ultimately responsible for how I experience life, and I'm happier when I dwell in who Husband and I are today, instead of who we were in the past; when I allow for imperfection and impermanence and the pain that comes with that rather than clinging to my natural longing for perfection, predictability and safety (and from my experience the pain of that is greater,) and when I have faith that on the other side of pain and suffering is opportunity.

I don't know whether or not any of that is The Truth or just BS, but it's a perspective I take that improves my experience of life, and allows me to be open to the possibility of good things, which seemed impossible 2 years and 8 months ago.

lostinla said...

My god do I hope for your sake that you are right about this guy. You clearly deserve to be right. I want you to be right. Any decent person would hope that you are right.

However, there are quite a few blogs written by amazing, obviously intelligent, good and kind, articulate women who are in relationsips with recovering sex addicts.

I have not conducted any scientific survey, just haphazardly reading blogs here and there but I noticed a pattern that the male sex addict bloggers are not nearly as impressive. In fact they strike me as quite dull and well, just 'lacking.' But more to the point, and crucial to the women that are hanging their hat on these guys - - the sex addict's blogs of hopeful-recovery-from-sex-addiction END - - abruptly and without explanation.

I have been there in the sisterhood-of-suffering making the best of things and weaving a philosophy of living happier in an imperfect but strong partnership, striving, individual therapy, couples counseling, 12-stepping, meditating, focusing on myself, living in the moment, working the process, commiting to emotional and physicial health, giving it every effort...

And a wonderful woman's utter devotion to all these admirable goals doesn't do a damn thing to keep the guys pants up - - be it 2 hours and 8 minutes or 28 years. If he is a human-mimicing-psychopath/sociopath/narcissist, then he is a human-mimicing psychopath/sociopath/narcissist. There isn't a damn thing that you can do or not do that will change the ultimate outcome.

So why not just live as happily as possible in the present with a partner in recovery and "control the things you can..."?

Because, far too many good women are standing neck deep in men that are nothing but human refuse. Yes, that's what I said and I meant exactly that - - human REFUSE.

And the moral is - - life passes. And if you have even a shot at living it within an intimate relationship that hasn't been sullied by this filth - - or a chance to live alone and free - - then more women need to not walk but run to give themselves that chance.

Life is hard enough and women do not need to have these disgusting parasites dragging them down. Good and decent women are erring on the side of living in bondage with an anchor of some sicko's so called sex-addiction hanging around their necks.

lostinla said...

Here is my personal theory on sex addiction: The characteristics that make up sex addition, as they are relevant to the partner, are an "orientation." Akin to someone being homosexual or heterosexual. Some believe that a homosexual person can go through aversion therapy and become heterosexual. I don't.

I think that the sex-addict can white knuckle it, they can sublimate it, they can repress it, they can "act out" occasionally or emphatically, or they can chase the dragon all the way to hell - - - but they cannot change their essence.

This is my opinion only. I believe that, beyond basic genetics, sexuality in humans is heavily influenced by imprinting. Think about the nuances of your own sexuality. Maybe there is something particular that you or I got "imprinted" with that arouses us (or alternately, that diminishes our arousal). We may or may not act on it and it may be something that is of no consequence and doesn't harm ourselves or anyone else one way or another. But still, how easy is it for us to change those most intimate things about ourselves?

What I wonder is what is the point of your blog? It may be a journal of your individual experience, but because of the public format is is not just a journal. You are speaking to other people, especially other women. Especially other women that find themselves in a similar relationship.

If your partner is that one-in-100 sex addict that might actually be capable of change then you are incredibly lucky. But if you truly are that lucky, then how does that help the 99 other women that read your blog that really should, by nature of the reality of their situations and the extreme-rarity of sustained change by sex addicts, get the hell out of dodge?


Disclaimer: Bitter much? Pain? Uh, yeah. I do not have the answers. I can't tell anyone how to live or how to find happiness. Frankly, who would choose to be in my shoes? Not me. I am no expert - - I am just another victim of a lowly-run-of-the-mill-banal-evil-sex-addict-psychopath. My life has been devastated.

All I can say is that for the first time in decades I am living with both feet firmly placed in reality. No fairy tale. No happy fairy tale. No demented-sick fairy tale. I am in pain and bitter, and my eyes are clear. I am free. And that is something.

woman.anonymous7 said...

lostinla - I'm sorry that you're in so much pain. My experience is that, while there can be a lot to gain it still f'ing hurts. I remember literally feeling raw, like the top layer of skin on my entire body had been scraped off. But I agree that pain can open one's eyes to what is really there. It can get you beyond the fairy tale like nothing else.

In response to some of the questions you pose...

My relationship, which used to be the "forever" kind, is now the one day at a time kind. As long as I feel good (not just have the potential to feel good, not having to tolerate or bear anything, but actually feel generally good, healthy, satisfied, happy) then I'm willing to work together with Husband to nurture our relationship. But if it ever becomes clear that Husband can't keep himself from doing things that hurt me, that his words and actions no longer match, then I'll have to change course. I'm no longer so enmeshed that I can't envision that step.

Although I feel a lot of happiness as a result of the relationship we have, I know very certainly now that I don't need my relationship with Husband in order to be happy.

I also think that there are definitely people who are so deeply into their addictions that the path out may be too long. At least too long to preserve a relationship. Based on what I know at this point, if I found myself in a relationship with someone like that, I'd leave. I think the cost to my own mental and emotional health would be too great to stay with someone who had a long and hard battle with sex addiction ahead of him.

For Husband it appears (to me and to our posse of therapists) that his primary addiction is food, and that sex addiction is a secondary addiction. If he were struggling as much with abstinence from inner circle sexual behavior as he struggles with abstinence around food, I think there's a good chance I'd separate from him (at least if it involved sexual contact with other people.) I know a lot of partners who deal with "slips" and I believe perfection is not a healthy standard. I guess it all comes down to what your boundaries are. The boundary of no return for me is sexual contact / interaction with other people. There are other slips I could tolerate, as long as his actions made it clear that he was back on the path of recovery. Lying is another thing that I have little tolerance for. I did catch him in a lie once, and that was difficult to get through. But it didn't involve sexual behavior, which is why we were able to work it out.

As long as Husband continues to be the good partner I believe I deserve, actually, not just potentially, I'm willing to accept that he was sick and that he's recovering. I wouldn't intentionally pick a partner who I believed was likely to lie to me or to be unfaithful. But right now I don't believe that Husband is that person anymore. I picked him without knowing his problems (and turning a blind eye to some of them, like his relationship to food.) I didn't know about narcissism and had never heard about sex addiction. Now that I have a clearer picture of Husband's weaknesses and problems than I did before, I still find him a good and worthy partner. And I make that assessment one day at a time.

It is something to be in reality. Ground not taken without sacrifice and scars. Breaking through shattered a lot of things I held dear. But I have found that, though life has a different feel to it, the possibility for deep happiness and satisfaction exists in reality as much as (maybe even more than) I thought it did in my fairy tale. And that is something, too.

C. Christine @ battleofjoan said...

I hope, Iostinla, that you will free yourself from your husband someday. I believe Anon7 is the one who is truly freer. She stands next to her husband on her own 2 feet. Calm. If he falls, if he decides to run away, she is where she is.

GentlePath said...

Does an unspoiled relationship exist? I doubt it.

And sex addiction, unfortunately, does make sense. Just like foot binding results in tiny crippled feet, certain circumstances warp your sexuality. Addiction does not equal psychopathy.

However, everyone has the right to live a happy life, and that includes NOT staying with an addict. I agree that it's often easier and less painful to recover individually.

Ground Zero said...

C. Christine

- I am not free of the suffering that I have endured at the hands of a sick perverted evil SA. I never claimed to be free of the suffering. I am free of the source of that evil. I had no idea he was an evil pervert. The moment I found out I eliminated the source of evil. However, I cannot magically make myself healed from his ravaging and shredding of my life. I am where I am. It will take time, if ever.

You were comparing me as being un-free compared to WA-7? As I clearly said, if she is with the <5% of SA's that does not re-offend, then more power to her. Isn't that the goal/fantasy of those of us unlucky enough to have been exposed to this sick pathetic world of SA's.

However, C.C. - my message was that 95%+ of women with SA's, that stay and go through the hell of trying to heal the relationship, will be victimized AGAIN because the rate of SA's re-offending is close to 100%. Those are just the facts.

When it comes right down to it, all we own is the currency of our time on earth. Wasting it on evil men is a cost to women. Women do not give their heart to a SA, discover his evil, go through the agony of trying to rebuild the relationship, get hurt yet again - - and then just freely waltz away with no cost. That is just absurdity. They will have lost - years, hope, faith - perhaps their health or even their life if they contract an STD!!!

Too many good women are wasting their brief time on this earth on worthless scum. We cannot Oprah and yoga evil away. Wish that it were so.

I have read many blogs written by clearly good and smart and kindhearted women that are giving it their all to weave a "beautiful live of recovery" with a SA.

Statistically, what the heck is going on?

Is each and every women that has been lucky enough to get herself a "good SA" blogging about it???