Monthly Archives: January 2016

Is it real?

MC does a lot, but I worry, “is it real?” Still, after 3.5 years it continues. If there is a mask, it has not yet fallen. Then, I realize too, I’ve gone from someone who always saw the good in people, to someone who now is always watching and waiting for the worst to appear in all people, not just MC. I hate that, I don’t like it at all, but I don’t want to be naive ever again either. So, I’m trying to find what is real. Not looking for the best in others, nor the worst in others, but learning to see the reality of a situation, an act, a person, etc.

So, where does that leave me with MC?

All the lovely, beautiful gestures are nice (the flowers, the trips, arranging dates, etc.). All the lovely, pretty words are nice. I know without these things I would be in an even worse place. I would not be able to “get over” that he would do for others something more than he would do for me. Not having them would be devastating, but having them does not do a whole heck of lot to improve the situation, if that makes sense? And, I don’t want such gestures out of obligation, but to be natural and instinctive. I don’t always know how to tell the difference. Is it real?

Then there are the safety measures. The full timeline backed up by a polygraph and subsequent polygraphs whenever I want to help me feel safer in my thoughts that he is, at least, not INTENTIONALLY lying or hiding anything from me. The post-nuptial agreement with infidelity clause is another of these. Again, without these I would not see a way forward to have safety while building trust, but they do not predict the future only offer a modicum of after-the-fact knowledge and protection. And, I don’t want honesty based on whether or not he thinks it will be asked on a polygraph. I just want full and complete honesty in all things, about facts and emotions, past, present and future.

When I think about the times he has told me truth, knowing it would be painful, but telling me anyway, I think yes, he is getting there. If you’ve read our blog, you know the rose story. How we went out to dinner with several couples as a young couple, and all bought their wives a rose, but MC did not for me. I was crestfallen when seeing my disappointment, he asked, “Did you want one?” and when I after replied “not if you have to ask” he didn’t. So, when I asked if he bought flowers for any OW and he told me the truth, I know that was scary and difficult for him. And, I won’t lie, it hurt/s like an SOB. Still, to know that he was telling me hard truth, answering me no matter what I needed to know, that was HUGE for me. Seeing him tell me the truth immediately about his current co-worker being overly friendly, has been helpful for me to know that he is putting honesty above all else. Still, when I think of how he hid smoking from me while he was away for that year, until the polygraph, that was a HUGE set-back for us. And, I wonder is this honesty “real?”

Realizing how many hours MC spends listening to my pain, being there with me in the pain he caused, sometimes we spend hours in a day discussing, even still. Admitting he was a selfish ass and working to root out the cause of that selfishness, his self-pity, and understanding how he was able to have two such disparate selves, disparate lives. His real life ruled by his need for methodical routine, discipline, organization, hard work, avoidance of conflict, and only the most calculated of risks allowed, if any at all. Versus his fantasy self ruled by impulsiveness, lack of fear and complete denial of the existence of any risk at all. Still, is it enough. I wonder if I will ever be able to move beyond the pain of the past, of his desire and ability to consistently make choices against our  marriage, to time and again make choices against us, against me. In many ways, a sex addiction diagnosis would bring a sense of relief, a way for me to believe that such choices were out of sickness, not actively and specifically against me. But, that just was not the case for MC, it wasn’t and I so I have to live with knowing that he was a morally corrupt coward. For the last 3.5 years, I see someone working and trying to overcome what was such a long-term defect. I think the changes are real, I feel like the changes are real, but I cannot help but wonder still “is it real?”

Working to be more flexible and let go in terms of his obsessive compulsive need to organize, micro-manage and control the time-management of our family, and of our lives. I see him struggle, but I also see him trying. Reducing his beloved work-outs and career aspirations to be a part of his life, but not the main focus of his life, to no longer do such things at the expense of family. Overall, learning to not be a selfish oppressive bastard anymore! Not being afraid of conflict, not cowering and hiding, not telling people what they want to hear and then hiding his true thoughts, feelings and actions. Essentially, being authentic (assertive, not aggressive) even with his parents and bosses, instead of allowing anger to fester and grow. Seeing him calmly and matter-of-factly call out his mother on her mean-spirited behavior, not allowing her to put him in the child role was something that I had never seen from him before. He did not cower or cave in the face of her temper tantrums. He was not cruel, but just stood up for himself and for our family. Such acts show me how he is moving away from his cowardly instincts.  His actions speak louder than his words and they show someone who has decided to grow the fuck up. Still, I have the push-pull of hope in the present and future and utter despair over the past. And, I cannot help but wonder, “is it real?”

 

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Off the grid

So, we’ve been off the grid a while. A bit of a check-in here.

We took the kids on a vacation. It was tiring, but fun too. When we came back, I had a bit of a meltdown with me crying “was this real, I don’t know what is real anymore?”

In other news, our counselor B is retiring in a couple of months, we’re not sure what we will do in the short time remaining after she retires, before we move.

We also recently decided to take a three week break from sex. When he was away for that year we had months at-a-time between visits, without sex. But, there was no chance for physical affection during that time either. I just need to feel what it is like to have MC’s love and affection knowing there is no other agenda in these acts, not that there is an agenda, but I just cannot tell.  I just want to see if I, if we, feel a difference when sex is off the table.

In the past two months I’ve had two car accidents, both my fault after years of a clean record. I am also finding that I can no longer focus on 3D shows. Stress, 20/20 vision finally declining, or perhaps both, or neither???

I went back to work, part-time, working from home for a long ago employer of mine. And, I will start back to school soon too. I’m a little worried about doing both at the same time, but having an opportunity to work from home and a job that can travel with me was too good an opportunity to pass up. The extra computer time certainly isn’t helping my vision, that’s for sure. MC tells me I look cute in my new cheap Walmart reading glasses. Maybe it is time I go to the eye doctor though?

Finally, MC has started his next language class in prep for our move, balancing that with his normal work duties. I don’t know how he keeps all the languages straight in his head, for me they all meld into one. He is also fighting off a bad cold right now. As we prep for the move, I think our to-do list is growing, the real one, not the MC OCD created one. Is there a difference? I don’t know, maybe not.

Day-by-day, and we continue on. . .

Why take an affair partner to a resort?

This is a difficult post to write.  Writing this requires me to go back four years, to when I was pathologically self-centered, angry at the world, and desperate for attention from women outside my marriage.  It takes me back to when I did things that were indefensible, inexcusable, and unforgivable.  I lacked compassion and perspective.  I’ve spent the last three-and-a-half years working to develop compassion and perspective, to become a new, better, “normal” husband.

Back then, during my final affair, I took AP3 to a resort.  It was a weekend when TL and the kids were out of the country.  I drove three or so hours out of town with AP3, and we stayed the night at a spa resort.  There is one sickeningly selfish and heartless reason I did that.  There are also two frighteningly sad, and inaccurate, theories TL has as to why I did that.

I did that because I wanted to take the woman to a place where I could walk around with her with an expectation of anonymity.  TL fears that to not be true because the place I took AP3 is actually frequented by people in our social circle.  It takes very little reflection to realize TL is correct in pointing out that the place was well enough known to people in our circle.  However, at the time that I made the selfish and unfortunate decision to take AP3 to that place, it didn’t occur to me just how known that place was.  TL is incredulous that it did not occur to me.  I don’t know what to say.  It simply did not.  I do have a track record of making dumb decisions.  That decision was not only wrong and selfish.  It was also dumb.

I sincerely believe the paragraph I just penned.  TL fears I’m wrong.  I’d be interested in opinions from readers. This perplexes me.

TL fears that I in fact took AP3 to that resort with the goal of being seen in public with her, so as to stroke my own ego.  TL fears I wanted to tell myself I was successful with women and to use my presence with AP3 to validate that thinking.  TL is absolutely correct in assessing that I spent four decades trying to convince myself that I was successful with women.  There is also a painfully shameful example during my first affair when I basically bragged to a friend about my affair. Further, there is the childishly shameful fact that I basically bragged to my second and third affair partners that I had been with other women.  At those moments, I wanted to hear myself say that out loud, hoping it would make me feel sexually successful.  It did not.

So, did I take AP3 to that resort with the goal of being seen in public with her?  No.  I did not do it for that reason.  Can I prove that I did not do it for that reason?  No.  Do I have any reason to lie about that not being my motivation?  No, particularly in view of the fact that I have passed several polygraphs and anticipate more polygraphs, always including questions about whether I continue to lie to or withhold information from TL.

TL’s other fear is that I took AP3 to that resort with the primary goal of giving her something TL had wanted and that I had not given to TL.  This theory’s description of the end result is accurate:  I gave AP3 something TL had wanted.  The theory is not correct about my motivation.  I achieved this terrible result by selfish, thoughtless, blundering, not by design.  Did I know TL had wanted that spa resort trip?  No.  I should have, but I did not.  Why didn’t I?  Because I was so self-absorbed and uncaring that I simply didn’t consider what TL might have wanted.  I cared about what I wanted:  sex and validation.  That’s all.  Did I have some motivation to treat AP3 better than I treated TL?  I suppose the motivation was to lull AP3 into giving me sex and validation.  I had told myself I should not have to entice my wife, but must entice an AP.

So, it seems I did have a motivation to treat AP3 better than I treated TL.  It is not that I wanted to hurt TL, though clearly I’ve hurt her more than any man could hurt his wife emotionally.  But, I did want to leverage something from AP3 in return.  TL says leveraging sex and validation from AP3 could not have been my motivation because:  a) I could have obtained those things from AP3 without the spa trip, and b) I ultimately didn’t really obtain much of those things from AP3.  I don’t think TL’s two excellent points really cast doubt on my accuracy about my motivation.  They simply show that my cost-benefit analysis in deciding to take AP3 to that resort was as sloppy and stupid as it was evil and selfish.  It also shows that I really wasn’t very successful at getting things from AP3, even with corrupt objectives.

So, where does that leave us?  I did not take AP3 to that resort with the conscious objective of hurting TL.  In fact, I hurt TL terribly.  But, I did it with the mindless self-absorption of a shark biting a seal, not with the calculated hatred of a terrorist executing a victim.

I did not take AP3 to that resort in order to tell myself people admired my sexual prowess for being seen in public with her.  I was the kind of childish clown who wanted that kind of validation.  But, I did not want to get caught in my adultery and lose my marriage.  I wanted to continue exploiting both of my double lives.

I did take AP3 to that resort to impress her, and thereby to get sex and validation from her.  My strategy, in that regard, was as flawed and unsuccessful as it was hurtful and deceptive.

So, that’s what I know and believe on this topic.  I will seek professional advice on this topic.  Also, I’d genuinely be grateful for any reactions from readers on this.  Every once in a while, TL and I have the foregoing discussion.  Each time is the same.  We speak the same words.  She asks the same questions.  I give the same answers.  I’m not complaining or pitying my own situation here.  At this point, I almost feel like a scientist, studying this phenomenon  impassionately.  It’s simply a puzzle I can’t solve, and I’m asking for second opinions.

It bears repeating

I don’t like the idea of love being conditional. In my view, that is cheater think. It is exactly what MindlessCraft believed as he rationalized and excused the irrational. If only it was so easy for us betrayed to turn on and off our love like some water spigot. It is not, which is why I think it is so important to understand that love is one thing, but safety is another. In my view, staying in the marriage is conditional. Love and safety are not.

ETA:

So, when I talk of “love,” I define it as “wanting the best” for my partner, my parent, my child, my sibling, etc. What does this mean exactly? It means wanting this person to have the healthiest life possible, living to their fullest potential in both a healthy and loving way.

I think of my mother. I had anger toward her. I couldn’t have her as a part of my day-to-day life as she was not safe for me emotionally. But, I loved her. I always wanted her to be healthy and to have the tools within herself to live to her fullest potential in a healthy and loving way. My love for her was not conditioned upon anything, it just was. The fact that she was not safe for me did not turn my love off for her. The fact that I loved her did not turn off my need for my own safety. Love and safety were separate, independent variables. Having her in my day-to-day life was conditioned upon maintaining my safety, regardless of my love for her.

I get very scared, especially for victims of domestic violence who have been conditioned to believe in this “love is conditional” crap, when we make such declarations. Love is wanting what is best for the other. Enabling abusive behavior is not healthy and has nothing to do with love. So, instead of talking about love being conditional, I think we should talk about staying in the relationship as being conditional. And, so, this is what I mean by saying, “staying in the marriage is conditional. Love and safety are not.”