Houston, we have a problem.

Perhaps, I am overreacting, but I don’t feel like I am. Perhaps I am spiraling, perhaps I am being a bitch, perhaps it is justified, perhaps all, perhaps none. I really need some feedback.

MC is traveling, again. I know that his current position requires it much more than his last position, but similar to some previous positions. I’ve been relatively ok with it. He text messages me when he boards the plane, when he arrives, when he goes to a meal and with whom he goes to this meal. When he gets back from dinner he calls. He is available to take my call or respond to messages all through the night. He text messages me “good morning” every morning right when he wakes up (usually before I’ve woken up). He texts me when he goes to the gym, when he returns, when he hits the shower, calls after the shower before he goes to breakfast, text messages me when he heads to work from breakfast, and also if he is going into a meeting and will be out of contact. You get the point, pretty much every step of the way. And, even still, I know it is no guarantee. I usually don’t respond to much of these updates, but I’ve grown accustomed to these little notes when he travels.

This trip, his time is an hour earlier than our time. So, this morning, just before I go wake the kids for school at 6 AM, I am looking over my e-mails. An e-mail from our attorney was in my inbox. It’s a business issue that has me a very stressed (former tenant broke lease), and MC knows it. It was a short note explaining next steps and I forwarded it to MC, asking for his thoughts. I’ve been handling the whole thing without any help from MC. But was just getting dragged into more drama than I can handle right now. He was supposed to be taking this drama off my shoulders. It is now 7 AM and kids are just waiting for the bus and I see he never texted me “good morning.” I know he has been up for at least an hour at this point, as he is a morning person and exercises early. No “good morning,” no “heading to the gym.”

Here’s a copy of our conversation:

Me: Where are you???

MC: Back from gym. Ready to shower.

Skype call ensues. Don’t understand why he didn’t respond to my e-mail, at least with a loving kind response to not worry. Or, at least, to text “good morning” as normal. I got NOTHING! I express fear as his MO when cheating was to ignore my existence. Ignore calls. Ignore e-mails. He has a variety of explanations. At first it was because it was so early, he didn’t want to wake me. I call complete Bullshit.  He knew I was up, I needed to wake kids and I also sent him an e-mail. He also has always texted good morning, often before I was even awake. Then he states that things have been going so well, that he got lazy. Continuing by stating he was focused on gym time and was being selfish and clearly still needs to be flexible. I explain that even if that is all that is going on, it is still completely hurtful that I didn’t rate above his workout.

More texts:

Me: It’s not about being flexible. It’s about the fact that after 4.5 years, the gym is still your top priority. If that wasn’t true, there would be no need for flexibility.

MC: I understand

Me: What do you understand?

MC: I was selfish

Me: What was your top priority.

Me: The gym was/is your selfish pursuit. OWs were your selfish pursuit. Never me. Always someone or something else, never me.

MC: I understand nothing should be a higher or more urgent priority than communicating with you and reassuring you.

MC: I know

MC: I need to show you, and show myself, that I can make you my highest priority.

Me: 💔

MC: I can’t view the icon on this device.

Me: Broken heart

MC: Is it a tear?

MC: Me too.

Me: It shouldn’t be as hard as it is,

MC: I know.

MC: It’s my fault, my habit of self-centeredness

Me: Perhaps you are trying to force yourself to do something that you actually just really don’t want to do.

MC: That’s what I must continue working to overcome.

Me: Perhaps you don’t really love me. If you did Forcing this wouldn’t be an issue. Just like you don’t have to force yourself to exercise, because you actually love doing it.

Me: You never forced yourself with others or for gym, because you wanted those. The fact that you have to force yourself with me says it is because you don’t actually want me.

MC: I love you.

MC: I want you.

MC: I have bad, selfish instincts and habits.

Me: Why am I not one of your selfish instincts?

MC: good question

MC: It’s not lack of love

MC: It’s a bad part of me that I have to correct.

Me: And, in the meantime I’m left to feel like I am not important to you.

Me: At least not in action.

MC: I know.

MC: I must work harder.

Me: And you’ve known for a long time, and still…

Me: Words…

MC: I know.

MC: I stumbled today.

Me: No, you willfully and consciously chose to show me that I am not important

MC: I beg your forgiveness.

MC: I see your point.

He calls our teenage son every morning from work to make sure he woke for school, not trusting our son or me will be able to accomplish this amazing feat on our own 

Me: Did you call (teenage child) this AM?

Still no answer after an hour

Me: Did you call (teenage child) this AM?

I take his delay in answering to mean he is scared to answer. 

Me: Stop trying to devise a narrative to control the outcome and just honestly answer, “yes, I did” or “no, I didn’t.”

MC: I did not call (teenage child). Sorry.

MC: Devise a narrative? What?

MC: I failed. Yes, I did. No narrative.

MC: No excuses.

MC: I love you. I failed.

Me: What were you doing instead, given you always call him?

MC: That would have been 5:50, which was 4:50 here. At that time I was trying to sleep, and then I brushed teeth and shaved.

MC: Test

Me: 😡

MC: What does that mean?

MC: I can’t see it too well.

MC: Very sad?

Me: No

MC: Hmm

Me: How about: 🖕

MC: Can’t read it.

MC: Giving up?

MC: Anger?

Me: First was anger

MC: Despair?

Me: Second was middle finger

MC: Thought so.

MC: I know.

MC: Disappointed in myself.

MC: Also, scared and sad.

MC: Definitely not traveling to country A and B next week.

By the way all, I have never heard of such plans in all his plans discussed thus far. First to me that he was going to do yet another trip so soon after this one.

Me: Too bad you have to force yourself to give a shit about me.

Me: I don’t see how we can ever move forward in a healthy way when you only make effort to care out of fear of what you will lose, go through or experience, not because you actually care. I will always fear things going well because you have confirmed that things going well makes you lazy. If you truly care, there is nothing to get lazy about.

Me: The fact that you have to force yourself to care about me is probably the thing that hurts most of all.

MC: I have bad, selfish instincts.



14 thoughts on “Houston, we have a problem.

  1. Ya’ know, as an outsider looking in, your response to this incident seems…harsh. However, in light of past events and circumstances, he should expect these kinds of reactions. One thing I did find interesting, that you said when he was texting you about his every move, down to getting in and out of a shower even, that you didn’t usually respond. I can see him thinking that his efforts were being dismissed by you not responding. Not that you have to give him a cookie or something. This bed was made by him, and it’s his job to rebuild trust. But, by you not even responding it could lead him to wonder if his efforts are insignificant and/or meaningless in your eyes. Recovery is a two-way street. It sounds as if a conversation is in order. Not a shouting match or accusation fest. A rational talk, explaining feelings and positions, from you both. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Issues like this may develop, for years. Those who succeed in recovery are those that acknowledge the problem then work as a team to solve them. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sonofabeach,

      I know when I trigger, I can really go off the deep end. I haven’t really shared what that looks like to our readers. So, now you all have that window.

      He has never not texted me good morning before. So, it really worried me when he didn’t do so, especially after I sent him a message, and so it was a huge trigger for sure. I am so afraid of being gaslighted. . .But, I definitely appreciate your perspective.

      We will definitely talk when he gets home.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I get where you’re coming from. Like I said, he made this bed. And I think it’s entirely reasonable for you to react strongly to any trigger. It is y’all’s new reality. Again, as a result of his activity. But, y’all have to work it out, together and honestly, if the marriage is to survive. It really sucks that he travels so often. It would be so much easier to resolve issues face to face. Don’t lose faith though. There’ll be more speed bumps along the way. Just tackle shit, together, as it comes. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi TL,

    I get every little bit of the above. I also understand sonofabeach’s response.

    I felt taken for granted as the “rock” who would be there all the time and who kept the family afloat and the kids healthy. No matter where their father was.

    My husband could travel, build up his career, escape the mundane and make impressions on others and most of these others do not even count in the grand scheme of life. He knows that now and I hope he never forgets.

    I also want the reassurance that he is doing the work. He has currently many meetings and also has to travel to Europe. He did not text me once yesterday and as he was in meetings, I could not text him. It got me worried and the old fears came back, followed by being angry at him and at myself.

    When this happens, I can do two things:
    1. Letting it drive me mad that I have no guarantee that he is doing as promised…and being not nice to him when he has forgotten to tell me something that according to our previous talks needs to be mentioned.

    2. Or I can trace back the root of my anxiety, which is fear, and which has caused me to doubt myself and work on that part of me that is broken and that I have to heal as he cannot do that for me. This is working on my self-worth and confidence that results in self-healing which is separate from healing the relationship. It is unfair that we have to do this as we did not cause the pain, but stating this and not healing ourselves does not change anything.

    I do not want to be that person anymore who has lost faith in her own abilities and who needs re-assurance from her husband that he still loves her and wants her.
    I am smart, “not totally unfortunate looking”, healthy and fit and I am a professional and make a decent contribution to the family and I always did and always will do as long as I can. I deserve to be loved and wanted.
    This confidence has to come from myself based on self reflection and based on feedback from those I respect.


    Liked by 4 people

    1. E,

      I knew you would understand. I think our lives have many parallels!

      “I do not want to be that person anymore who has lost faith in her own abilities and who needs re-assurance from her husband that he still loves her and wants her.” This REALLY resonated with me. Why is it so much easier in theory than in practice for me?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Because you are hurting.
        Believe me…I am like you. I do the same things (I read it between your lines). I know that it is not helpful, but I do those things and say those things and afterwards I feel even more worthless as I lowered myself to someone I do not want to be.

        We have to help each other. Let’s heal!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I completely get what you are feeling. It is fear. The fear of history repeating itself – you are having a PTSD type of response to the fear that it’s happening again. I don’t think it is unusual for you to have this kind of response in this situation. I can relate to your comment about not showing him that things are good because it makes him lazy. That hurts a lot. I also don’t understand why they have to work so hard at being faithful to us and making us a priority the way they did with their secret life. I’m so sad to hear that this is happening for you after 4.5 years. I would have hoped it would be much easier by now.

    I agree that maybe the difference now is that you know better than to believe BS. And you both have tools to talk and work through it, which you probably didn’t have before. I hope it works out ok for you. Stay strong.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. BoomerFit,

      Yes, I think you are right that my reaction is attributable to fear and the trauma from the past. I am scared of being played the fool again by anyone. Also, I am not currently seeing a counselor, but “exhibiting symptoms of PTSD” has been mentioned more than once by previous counselors. And, yes, I have very little patience for any possible BS. I don’t really pull any punches anymore.

      We did talk recently. We are working through it. And, unlike this text convo where I was really really pissed (UK friends, I mean angry, not drunk), we talked together and it was helpful.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. PS: I love your title for this post.
    You are smart, have a great sense of humour, are critical of all you read and you are someone who is capable to love with your mind, body and soul.
    That is my feedback to you, absorb it and use it for your healing <3!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I can’t intelligently give an opinion as Loser never tried to do anything to repair what he had done. He left all the work up to me. I finally grew tired of being the only one who sought counseling and made an effort.
    I will say that looking back on our almost forty year farce and hindsight being 20/20, the most texts and emails and phone calls came….when he was feeling guilty for having started screwing another tramp.


    1. Laurel, thanks for your perspective. Active communication is definitely no guarantee. It is just that active, engaged communication, is the polar opposite of how he acted when he was cheating. So, any sign of that previous way of behaving toward me is a trigger, to put it mildly.

      Liked by 1 person

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