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dumb and dumber July 29, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in addiction, separation.
6 comments

Husband has just informed me that he has moved out of the house we lived in prior to the separation, and in with a friend of his…a friend who happens to be female.

He tells me the relationship is a friendship only, as does another friend of mine who knows the woman in question. But…don’t you think it’s kind of…dumb? He is a SEX ADDICT. A sex addict who is separated from his wife. It just doesn’t seem like the type of decision that someone who says he is trying to avoid a divorce should be making. I don’t know this woman. And I’m supposed to send my son over there to spend the night? He makes twice the amount of money I do, and I used a large chunk of what I had to rent this 2 bedroom duplex so my son could have his own room and we could have our privacy during these sure-to-be-painful next few months…and he decided to be roommates with some woman I don’t know?

Huh. Not sure what to think…except…well, it kind of confirms that my decision is the right one.

UPDATE: I asked for the address, and he told me what it was.  He said, “It looks terrible from the outside, but I’m going to work on that.”  Hmmm…

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July 28, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in addiction, birthdays, family, food, marriage, separation.
6 comments

7-28-07.jpg This morning I made myself a birthday cake, complete with candles which I plan to blow out after singing “happy birthday” to myself. I also plan to cook a nice meal for myself: tomato-basil chicken and a salad, and maybe some pasta with olive oil and lemon. What do you think? I mean, my so-called “birthday lunch” with husband was a complete bust, and I figure I deserve something better. 🙂

I called our car insurance company this morning to get a new quote on my own policy, and I will be visiting a wireless phone service store this afternoon to obtain my own phone and plan. Once those are done, I will sit down and ask for a divorce.

The decision has been a painful one, and I honestly didn’t expect to reach it feeling as definite as I do less than a month into our separation. I really, really thought that I would take the entire 6 month period of my lease and give my husband ample opportunity to show me that he valued me and our marriage. And yet…and yet…

I have changed everything about myself for him. Some of those changes have been positive ones. While I have had many, many reasons to be angry with him over the years, I haven’t always handled my anger in the right way. I’ve thrown things and slapped him and been a right proper bitch at times. And I have been sorry afterward. I have never once felt entitled to display violent behavior, and I have experienced genuine remorse, and I have changed my behavior. And some of the changes have been very, very negative ones. I sacrificed my self-respect in favor of peace. I believed that staying in this marriage and being supportive was holy, and right, and good. I covered up the parts of my personality that made me funky and fun around my in-laws…for example, the first weekend I went to go meet them, I changed my hair color from cherry bomb red to a mousy brown on husband’s request. And the greatest sin of all – I sacrificed relationships with people I love and need to have in my life because my non-traditional family configuration made them uncomfortable. They never said these things, mind you. That’s the problem – they never SAY anything. But it was obvious nonetheless in tiny grimaces, uncomfortable looks, and dead silence when I would say anything that they disagreed with. They might as well have had a big cartoon-type word bubble above their heads that said “SINNER!” Whereas in my family, everyone says, “Oh, THAT’S complete bullshit! Where’d you get that dumb idea? Now, what do you want for dinner?”

I think the straw that has broken the camel’s back is the current situation with my car. As I posted, my car broke down while husband was driving it home from work. We had switched cars because mine gets better gas mileage and he has to travel further. I made it crystal clear that if I agreed to do this, he was responsible for any repairs. The repairs are going to come to $2600 for a refurbished engine and labor (don’t ask me, the car drove FINE when I had it). He says he doesn’t have it. I told him to handle it and get me my car back, or to give me the truck to drive. He said he can’t give me the truck because he has to get to and from work. I said so do I. He said, “You’re going to be mad at me no matter what I do anyway.” He also said that I needed to quit being such a bitch or he would just have the car towed to my driveway and I could worry about it. I said this wasn’t acceptable, and that he had agreed to take care of anything that happened while he was behind the wheel. He said he will, but he won’t have the money until the end of September. I said I can’t be without my car for that long. He said he would give me rides, and I could find rides to and from work with friends. And that quick, the lightbulb came on over my head. Once again, he has placed me in a situation where he is attempting to isolate me and make me dependent upon him, all while making it look like that it’s just a case of shitty things keep happening to us. Every situation that has drawn me further and further away from my home, my family, and my friends has been somehow related to his addiction and his acting out. The fact that I have ZERO savings after almost 5 years of marriage to him, when I had a pretty considerable nest egg for emergencies and my future graduate education set aside prior to the marriage, is a big, big problem to me.

No remorse. No responsibility. Only blame, shame, excuses, and a total lack of respect for my feelings and my boundaries. And I simply can’t do it anymore…nor do I any longer think it is the right and holy thing to do or that God intends me to stay with and support this man for the rest of my life, while losing MYSELF in the process.

I got a neat, neat comment from someone on the other site:

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{Angel},

How very sad for you and for your son. My heart longs to find words which will heal and sooth your pain, which feels all too familiar to my soul. Sadly, there are no magic healing words, your heart and soul must come to their own peace in your life’s journey with our Lord.

I pray that you consider for the sake of your son, and especially for your own sake, filing for and following through with a divorce as soon as possible; and getting counseling for yourself alone. You will not be able to begin your journey toward health and wholeness until you begin to free yourself from your husband’s evil. I pray from my heart that you will do this soon. I pray for you from my own journey from sorrow and suffering, in a marriage to another pastor who had serial affairs with women in his congregations, to a sense of wholeness and hope for new life, fifteen years after my divorce.

The day I was able to confirm my then husband’s actual acts of clergy sexual misconduct is the day I kicked him out. The next day I changed the locks, and the following day I was filing for divorce before noon. Not because I didn’t love him, Lord knows I did, deeply and with all that I was, but because even more deeply I could feel my own soul dying. The unique and beautiful soul God created and knew in my mother’s womb was being destroyed by trying to make sense of a world where evil was good (a marriage which was killing me by dishonoring me and what I knew to be right) and where good (nurturing and honoring the gift of my own unique soul first with God) seemed evil. As important as love and marriage and family and children are, please remember the great commandment to love God with all your heart and mind and soul. You cannot do this if you are bound up in your husband’s evil. It clouds your vision of God, of your self and of your son.

It is not just addiction which drives men like these. They have what some call negative empathy, an ability to use their understanding of other’s emotions to manipulate for their own ends. This is a life long personality pattern. It can be a manifestation of any one of a number of personality disorders. It can not be fixed by love or couples counseling, indeed these types of interventions only gives him more ammunition to use against you. Even an AA type program cannot get to the core of the problem. Remember the success rate for AA is only about 20%, the watchword there is the AA-ism, “The program works if you work it.” Your husband, over many, many years has shown no willingness to “work it.” Angel, you on the other hand can work toward a new and fulfilling life for both you and your son. I pray that God’s hand leads you on a journey which brings you new life and hope and peace.

God’s very best for you, Dorothy

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Amen. And thank you Dorothy. I needed that. I tried to click on your link to see if you had a site, but the link was broken. So God bless you, dear, and thank you again and again.

pros and cons July 27, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in separation.
3 comments

from the Daily Episcopalian:

“So many parts of me want to go back to the place that makes sense to me and yet at this point in my life I know that is not my path. It is not where God is calling me to be.

Call is a funny thing. I still haven’t figured out how you are sure that the Holy Spirit is calling and when she is not. It makes me wonder about the disciples and their call to follow Jesus. How did they know that it was the right thing to do? Did they weigh the pros and the cons? Did they follow their gut? Was it a combination of the two? Did they think about it at all?”

As someone who is currently engaged in the process of making endless lists of pros and cons, this kinda hit home. I mean, how do you ever KNOW what to do? Why aren’t the answers clear? And why do some people seem to move through life so confidently, and others agonize over every little thing. I’m an agonizer, myself. But this decision IS an agonizing one. I keep thinking thoughts like, “it’s not too late” or “it’s been less than 5 years, you can still make your break”, or “now’s the time to start over”. But I think these are not good things to be thinking. No matter what I decide, I am never going to be able to leave these years behind me. For one thing, I got my son out of them. For another, I loved/love (who knows?) my husband. For another, you simply can’t erase time, just because unpleasant or even degrading things were happening. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it is that running away from a situation does NOT make it go away. In fact, is packing my bags and running away from unpleasantness really any different than my husband sitting in the same room as me, or even next to me, and refusing to speak? He’s running away too…he just does it in his head, while I do it with with my feet.

On the one hand, I don’t want to rush into this decision, and on the other, a part of me knows this has been coming for a very, very long time. I talked to someone wise yesterday who was thinking out loud with me on the phone, and she said “You’ve only just moved out almost a month ago, don’t you think you should give it a little more time before you decide this? But then again, there is the argument that you have given several years and several chances, and the same thing keeps happening over and over again…how many more do you need to give?”

See, even wise folks who have been through this themselves can’t tell me what to do.

I don’t know where the place IS that “makes sense to me.” I don’t know how to acknowledge the fact that every time husband reaches for my hand and I pull away, I wish I didn’t want to pull away…but I do want to. I have this feeling that if I cave in on even one thing, it will be no time at all before I will be inviting him to move in here. And then the very next day I will look at him and think, “I wish you would GO AWAY.”

“Maybe there is a lesson for me in those Gospel stories (shocking I know), a lesson in how to leave a place taking what I need with me but leaving the other odds and ends behind. The Gospels don’t provide a specific list of what the disciples took with them or what they left behind (other than the nets), but I can take some educated guesses. I imagine that they disciples brought the clothes on their backs and the sandals on their feet while leaving most other tangible items behind. They brought with them their hearts, souls and minds; their questions and their searching for understanding. They took the knowledge of the love of their friends and family and their love of God. “

Well, that I do have…the knowledge of the love of my friends and family, and love of God.

July 26, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in addiction, birthdays, blogging, family, food, marriage, separation.
1 comment so far

My car broke down yesterday while my husband was driving it, and now it is in the shop. So, husband drove me to and from work today. Beforehand, he spent the day pacing around my living room making phone calls to the mechanic, the car rental company, his employer, etc. And all I could think, over and over and over again was, “I wish he would go away.” I stayed in my bedroom for the many hours he was here, just because being in the same room as him makes me so desperately unhappy.

This disturbs me. So, my birthday, in spite of the many birthday greetings, e-cards, and well wishes from my family members and my friends inside the computer and out (though not a single peep out of my in-laws, who keep saying they still love me…strange, huh?) was not really a happy one.

When I went to see MB last weekend, I tried to explain to her (without sounding like a complete fruitcake) that the very act of making plans to move out, and then the act of actually doing so, took SO MUCH psychic energy, that right now I don’t have anything left to actually do any of the “work” on this marriage that I keep saying I want to do. I had to dig very, very deep down into myself to do this, and part of the reason it was so hard was that every time I have been betrayed by his lack of fidelity and another relapse, I had forgiven him WITHOUT requiring follow-up action (I supposedly required it, but I didn’t leave when he refused, so…draw your own conclusions)…and with that act I chipped away at my self-respect, little by little. The parts of me that knew I deserved better began to shrivel up and die, one by one.

I asked husband after he had made yet another lap around the living room (he can’t sit still when talking on the phone, he paces) if he could watch Boy-o while I ran to McDonald’s to treat myself to a Value Meal cheeseburger for my birthday. He said, “I was going to take you somewhere better.” I said, “Oh, that’s nice of you. Okay, thanks.” I went back to my room and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I looked at the clock and saw I had to be to work in an hour and a half, so I went back out and asked if he was going to take me somewhere, or if I needed to go get myself lunch, since I needed to be taken to work. He looked at me blankly and then said, “Okay, let’s go.” He took me to my favorite local Mexican restaurant (they don’t know how to do Mexican food up right in this state, but this place is an exception), but he didn’t speak to me the entire meal. I thanked him for lunch, tried to engage him in conversation about things, made fun of the Tejano music over the loudspeaker, and generally tried to be witty and entertaining. He was silent the whole meal, and most of the time he had his face buried in his hands. I have no clue why someone would offer to take someone out to lunch and then be uncommunicative the whole meal. I tried to figure out of it was the whole separation issue, or if he was upset about the car, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he has always been this way. If it’s not one thing he’s worried about, it’s another, and I have never been, and will never be able to make it all better for him, no matter how smart or cool I am.

He absolutely will not respect my boundaries. I’ve asked him to please knock or ring the doorbell when he comes over to my house, but he continues to walk in if the door is unlocked. I’ve asked him not to call me “babe” or “baby”, but he won’t stop. I am so angry because it seems as if he just wants to pretend that none of this is happening. Which is exactly what he learned growing up, I suppose. “If I don’t acknowledge it, it’s not real” seems to be the MO over there.

My mom called me to see how I was doing, and I told her that husband had been pacing around and what I had been thinking while he did so, and that this was leading me to believe that I just need to go ahead and file for divorce and get it over with, because at this point, after this many years and this many betrayals, I don’t know if I will be willing to ever take the risk of trusting him again, even if he DOES decide he wants to recover from his addiction. And no marriage can exist without trust. She asked me if I still loved him…and I couldn’t answer. All I can think is that…for the past 6 years I have created this fake story in my mind about how wonderful our life together was, and I had mostly talked myself into believing it. My brain is screaming, “OF COURSE you love him! Don’t be an idiot!” And the part that knows better says, “Well, he did give you a beautiful son. And you have had some good times together. But maybe what you love is what he meant to you at one time, and not who he IS.”

More later, after I process some more.

Oh, I’m sooooo pissed. July 15, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in separation, unemployment.
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When I logged on to file my weekly unemployment claim a few minutes ago, a screen popped up informing me that I am scheduled for an Appeal Tribunal Telephone Hearing on July 27th at 2:00 PM. Yes, that’s right. My former employer is appealing the state’s Employment Security Commission’s decision to allow me unemployment benefits of $234 per week. What the hell??!!!! So, the two agencies are gonna duke it out, with input from me, and I’m sure, from the county director who sacked me, or possibly her boss. Who do you think will win?

I am so done with this mess. I’ll fulfill this 6 month lease, and then, if my marriage is not well on its way to a healthy place, I’m goin’ back home. This flat-as-hell, landlocked, no-ocean-for-hundreds-and-hundreds-of-miles hellhole ain’t home, and while I desperately hope that I will learn to trust my husband again and that we will reconcile, for my own emotional health I need to plan for the worst case scenario.

Plans July 14, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in education, separation, unemployment, vocation.
3 comments

Well, here I am at all KINDS of loose ends. Unemployed. Separated from my husband. The possessor of an utterly useless college degree in hospitality management (I managed both a restaurant and the reservations department of a hotel in a major metropolitan area, and did each long enough to determine that I loathed the industry, the hours, and being responsible for others’ mistakes). Most recent job experience in social services, a field that I cannot be re-employed in because a) I don’t have a degree in social work and b) I was sacked. Believing that I have a call to the priesthood, but unable to effectively pursue it because all this chaos in my life definitely will not make me an appealing candidate to the powers that be who are in charge of these things. Living in a small town with a small 4 year state university and minimal job opportunities…at least jobs that would allow me to support myself and our son adequately. Most recently, I’ve been turned down for the youth ministry position at my parish. I serve on the vestry, wrote the job description, suggested some recruitment tactics (because this is a very, very small town and we would have to bring someone in from somewhere else). Thought about it, prayed about it, sought advice from friends and mentors, and decided to have a go at it myself, and was ultimately told that the vestry wanted to take their time and interview other candidates.

So, long story short, no job, no partner, no prospects. Very, very alone, and very, very discouraged. 2 short months ago, I had all of the above. But then I tell myself, I didn’t REALLY have a partner. Partners participate in the business of marriage, and he had checked out awhile back.

So, since I’m in somewhat of a holding pattern at the moment, I’ve decided to go back to school for a second bachelor’s degree. The husband asked me about aspirancy, and I told him that God was being funny and had yanked the carpet of stability out from under my feet, possibly in an attempt to let me know that it is obviously not going to happen on MY timetable. In the meantime, I need to earn a living, and I need to choose a growing field that will allow me to find a job no matter what or where I live. So, BS in Health Information Management, here I come. I actually worked in a hospital medical records department for over a year when we first moved to this state, and I got to know the coders pretty well and see what they do. I saw firsthand that you can go into hospital administration with this degree if you choose, but you can also make a perfectly decent living just doing coding and billing if you don’t want to manage others. It’s a highly technical degree, so it will take a bit longer than if I was going to get a second degree in another business field, but I figure that’s okay.

It really does feel like I’m starting my life completely over. Last night, I bought a futon for my living room because I didn’t bring any of the living room furniture with me, since it was purchased together. I told a friend that I was chatting with that I was pretty sure I had read somewhere that futon ownership is a requirement if you are enrolled in even one undergraduate course. I’m sure there are other requirements as well, but I’m definitely gonna draw the line at waiting tables again.

We’ve been separated for a week now. July 13, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in separation.
4 comments

The husband came to pick up the boy last night, and we talked a little.

He drives an hour and a half each way to and from work, and I told him that I thought he should consider moving to the town he works in, and that I would still make sure that he saw our son frequently. I said it probably wouldn’t work during the week, but I could bring him up on weekends or alternating weekends or whatever he wanted to work out. I told him that I knew I had said I wanted him to stay in this town we live in, but that I was in the process of changing my mind.

He got visibly upset and said, “So what changed your mind, why don’t you want me around here anymore?” And I said it wasn’t that, it was just that he is spending a fortune on gas. I told him I really thought he should either move to where he works or get a new job in this town to save some money. I didn’t say that this suggestion is a precursor to me asking him for some child support – I figure the time will come for that, as unemployment doesn’t stretch very far.

As I was saying all this, I was getting the boy ready to go, and he decided to have a little meltdown of his own. He has been doing all right with the transition so far – he pretty willingly accepts my answer that this is Mommy’s new house, and he is going to go see Daddy at his house, although he does what 3 year-olds tend to do and asks the question repeatedly, just to make sure he’s going to get the same answer every time. Anyway, husband started moving him toward the car, and boy started saying, “No, Mommy, you come too! Get in the car, Mommy! You come with me to our house!” The husband started crying at this point, and I wanted to hug both of my boys so bad and say, “It’s okay, you’re right, this whole thing is stupid.” But I didn’t. I played it so very cool. I told boy to have a good time and to be good for Daddy and I would see him tomorrow, and I shut the door on them. They were both crying, boy loudly and husbandly silently with tears running down his face as they got in the car. I choked down sobs of my own as they drove away, but I also felt a slight sense of victory that I had not let him see me crack.

It makes me feel like shit, as though I’m rejoicing in his sadness. But I’m not. And yet, at the same time, hell YEAH I want him to feel hurt. No matter how hurt he is, it won’t even begin to approach the level of hurt he’s inflicted on me with his unfaithfulness. I remember back at the beginning, he had the nerve to tell me that he was just a normal guy who wanted some variety in his sex life, and that meant not being with the same woman forever all the time. Mind you, this statement came AFTER we were already married. I can’t even begin to explain how betrayed I felt. And instead of giving him a piece of my mind, I bought into his argument that men are not biologically wired for fidelity. I should have gotten out then.

Oh HELL, this sucks.

so much for my happy ending July 10, 2007

Posted by introspectreangel in separation.
16 comments


“You were everything, everything that I wanted
We were meant to be, supposed to be, but we lost it
And all of the memories, so close to me, just fade away
All this time you were pretending
So much for my happy ending…”
-Avril Lavigne

My husband has been cheating on me…again.

This time, I found out by opening the cell phone bill and discovering a series of phone calls over the past month to a number in British Columbia. Other times in the past 6 years it has been by checking the browser history and discovering his profiles on adult-oriented dating sites or by sitting down at the computer when he has left his email up and finding pornographic pictures sent to him by former co-workers and friends…and a little backtracking shows that the pictures were sent in response to his sharing of photos of himself. After I installed filtering software on the computer, it was discovered when the weekly chat logs were sent to me via email. This goes on regardless of periodic (but not consistent) attendance at 12 -step meetings for people who engage in compulsive sexual behavior, and regardless of how many tearful conversations I try to have about how he is violating his marriage vows. Furthermore, the behavior is always my fault. 6 years ago, it was because I worked nights and he was lonely. 4 years ago it was because I have a temper and I smacked him when he said something awful. 2 years ago it was because I don’t really “love him for who he is”. And this time, he has been having phone sex with his ex-girlfriend because I am irresponsible with money.

He’s an addict, plain and simple. He cares nothing for the job I gave up because he was lonely, or the counseling I attended that taught me better ways of managing my anger, or the time I worked two jobs to save for the wedding and the budgets I have implemented to control extraneous spending. I can’t fix this behavior, because it is his choice, and it really has nothing to do with me. And that is a lesson that has been a long time coming. He has no remorse, and has rarely apologized to me in 6 years without first being asked for the apology. He has a sense of entitlement a mile wide, and he believes he deserves time off from recovery for good behavior. He can never say, “I had a slip” without following it up with, “But you don’t understand, it wasn’t my fault.” And I have decided that I’m done. So last week, while he was at work, I moved out.

I did it without telling him of my plans, because he needed a smack upside the head. He needed to have clear and convincing evidence right in front of him that he is on the verge of losing his family. It is my belief that part of the reason he has had no motivation to address this behavior is because I have been so busy making everything safe and comfortable for him, and he needed to be yanked out of the nice warm, comfortable place where he can live in a fantasy world of his creation about what women are really supposed to be.

It was right up there at the top of the “most painful decisions I have ever had to make” list, regardless of how matter-of-fact I sound here. I sound this way because I have had over a week to mull over all of it…a week in which I have re-discovered that I know how to talk to landlords on my own, as well as pay utility deposits, install showerheads, hook up appliances and take out my own trash. I can hang up pictures and make sure they are straight, and I don’t have to nag anyone about picking up their clothes or making the bed. And that feels damn good.

I opted to sign a 6 month lease on a place in the town where we were living rather than returning to my home state because, in my heart of hearts, I love him and want him to get better, and I hope that having our son near will help the process. I’m not filing for divorce just yet. I want him to beat the addict that has control of him, and I want to once again see him smile. I’ve told him many times in the past that I fell in love with him the first time I met him and saw him smile, because the smile covered his whole face and made his eyes crinkle. He hasn’t smiled like that in years, and what breaks my heart is the realization that I don’t remember when the smile went away…I only know that I haven’t seen it in a long, long time. I was looking through a scrapbook I made of the time when we were engaged and I gasped when his beaming face jumped off the page at me. It was that shocking.

After an initial, very angry meeting in which he attempted to use our son as a pawn and to take him away from me in a public place, I very quietly and very firmly told him that he was welcome to do that, as we are still married and he is his dad and there is no legal authority that would stop him. I continued to speak quietly, but told him that if he chose to put our son in his truck and drive away from me that he would be on his own for child care the next morning when he needed to go to work and he would not be able to call me to come get him. He reconsidered, and put him back in his carseat in my car. We met again the following day, and he apologized to me for the things he said and told me he was going back to meetings. I told him it was a start. The difference being that, in the past, a start was enough to make me cry, “All is forgiven!” and pretend as if nothing had happened. Not this time. This time, a radical personality change is in order here, if this marriage is to survive.

None of the above means I’m perfect, you know. It simply means that I have my own problems to deal with, and I will not allow him to blame me for his choice to violate his marriage vows any longer.

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“You have to be strong, because he is being weak. You have to do the right thing, because he is doing the wrong thing.” – a friend