JoAnn… this is pretty intense… but perhaps you will post it. I’m not sure if I will check back for responses. I may be too afraid of what I might read. But your site has been soo good for me in many ways… BTW, my real name is not Aira.
This isn’t a story quite like the others–although there is deceit, heartbreak, lies, naivete and all the other lovely little elements are there. I pretty much destroyed a part of my soul to keep my marriage together.
We met in 1983, married in 1997, and… will be divorcing in 2010-2011, although he doesn’t know that yet. Way back in the 1980s when we were both in our 20s we got an apartment together. I was his first real girlfriend. One of the things we did was fool around with the camera, and take pornographic pictures of each other.
I had no idea he was sending them to swingers’ magazines with a “fake ad” in order to get pornographic images in return. But in 1991, after we had bought a house with a rental upstairs to help pay the mortgage, got a dog and “settled down”… I was waiting in his truck one afternoon while he ran into a sandwich shop. Bored, I opened the glove box… and found pornographic letters from another couple and a bisexual male. When he returned, I said, “… you have some really weird letters in your glove box.” He was panicky and desperately reassured me that he was only “curious” and wouldn’t actually meet with anyone, and the letter from the bi male was a “mistake. I don’t know how I got that one.”
I still wanted to give the “house and dog” scenario a chance. So I forgave. Frankly, I grew up watching my older siblings in the late 60s and 70s and was pretty darned open minded about sex and pornography. I knew he subscribed to Playboy. Didn’t care. Honestly. So I believed him… sort of.
Went on a rampage looking around the house and found other letters to women, and copies of pornographic pix he had made of himself to send out. Confronted him and said we needed to talk. Asked him if he wasn’t uneasy about sending pix of himself out. Again got reassurances that he hadn’t met with anyone–OR, since I directly asked, sent out pix of ME. (Later found out he had indeed.)
Shortly after this discussion he produced a photo–one I’d found earlier–with his face NOW cut out of it, and claimed that this was how he sent out photos. I should have known at that moment that he would tell any lie to try and keep me from leaving the relationship. But I forgave. And… I stupidly agreed to take out a “couples ad” in the magazine. Hey, he wasn’t the only one curious. But first I had him sign something I wrote up that emphasized–have fun, giggle and be curious, but COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PARTNER. He signed it. But he didn’t “get” it. After one encounter with a single male, who was sweet and intellectual and whom I actually liked, I put a stop to this activity. Said I just didn’t want to do that anymore. Deep inside I knew something was very very wrong with that scenario… but I still didn’t really understand…
While traveling in 2001, he suddenly ended his trip and came home, saying he was having panic attacks (not the first time).. When he got back, he confessed he was on his way to meet with a couple for sex, and had stopped at a store, and suddenly realized “what am I DOING?” Changed his airline tickets, came home and said, to me and our counselor, “I want to focus on ‘Aira’ and our relationship because I don’t want to lose her.”
OK, here’s where I got really really stupid. I agreed once again to “play around” as a couple. I again thought of myself–and still do–as open minded. And… at first it was actually fun. We went to private parties, I bought and ran around in sexy lingerie, felt beautiful, flirted, did a LOT of giggling and dancing. And yeah, we “did stuff” with others, although it was “friends first”. To me… the “flirt parties” were the fun part. But it started to get weird. He started drinking after 10 years of sobriety (following an OWI) and his alcohol addiction became once again apparent. And he started making “arrangements” with others nearly every other weekend… and informing me only after plans were set.
He set me up with single guys who wanted an “older woman”. And it stopped being “friends first”. At the end of a party he’d be frantically running around looking for a couple to “hook up with” before the night was over. It was …sex first. He pressured me into doing things I didn’t want to do, including threatening to leave me in a motel in a strange city because I wouldn’t go back to a party and “do something.” After which I told him I was no longer interested in this alternative “lifestyle”.
I went to a lawyer, finally in 2007. And secretly. The next day he lost his job. A week later he chose detox. He was still an angry alcoholic when sober… until he couldn’t get another job. Depression set in. He started going to AA (I went to Al-anon first). Started meditating. Seeing a counselor on his own (in addition to our joint counseling). Was gentle, and more loving…For a while there I thought we might recover. What I didn’t realize was this was a narcissistic personality. It still was all about HIM and HIS recovery.
He started up with diet/exercise addition and had weird and scary low-blood-sugar moods. Our “lifestyle experiments” were still over. We hadn’t had sex for years–including with each other. Last spring (2010) he admitted, in one of our very few meaningful talks (always initiated by me) that he was still “looking online” but hadn’t had sex since we last did in 2007. I said, “Well, I don’t care if you look but if you decide you want to meet with someone please be honest and TELL ME.”
Of course by that time he’d made plenty of attempts to do so. I don’t think he’s succeeded. I don’t really know. But I came home from a meditation seminar in early August and, by accident, found a pair of “soiled” women’s underwear and two dildos in the bottom of the trash. Knowing his quirks, I suspected the underwear might be …his. (He does have quite a collection of heels and lingerie for himself.)
I finally looked online and found that our old profile on an adult porn site–which included pix of me that I SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED HE REMOVE FROM ALL ONLINE LOCATIONS (since he was our main “contact person)… was still available to all viewers… That, along with finding the “home alarm” in his bedroom (yes separate bedrooms) that warned him when I opened the garage door (i.e. arrived home) is when I finally realized what I was up against. Including the narcissism.
The day I got back from the meditation seminar, I showed him a booklet explaining it and told him it was really changing me, giving me a lot of tools to cope with life, and he might find it interesting. His first words, “Well if that is the same place you went to in 2007 (it was) I already know about it.” Followed by, “I’ll read it but not now.” Later, I tried to explain that though HE doesn’t like being questioned, I would be pleased if he had any questions and happy to answer them. Response to that, “I SAID I would read it but not now, I will LATER.” He didn’t even hear my words. Two weeks later, of course it still sat unread at the bottom of a pile of papers. I’ve since taken it back. He never noticed.
That behavior is pretty much typical with this guy. Of course there is so much more to my story. There always is. The heartfelt letters I wrote trying to connect with him, the “Languages of Love” book I tried to read with him (he kept dozing off), the counseling, the compromises, my efforts to simply communicate openly and honestly with each other.
Now I understand why he would not. There is too much he’d have to give up. I kept trying to connect, trying to see the good in this man who could fix anything and whom I knew was a frightened but spoiled child underneath it all, Finally, there was the email I sent him asking “what do YOU want from this relationship? To me it is as shallow as a mud puddle. Do you want it this way? Do you want to change things? What about US?” He said he read it… promised to reply. That was Dec 31, 2009. Of course he never replied, and when I tried to have such a conversation, he wouldn’t respond. Shrugged. That email also said I was “taking myself off hold” waiting for communication from him, and I set about building a support group of friends—of which, as a real loner, I had few.
We’re in better shape with that now. A friend or two. A great sister I can trust. Today I once again went to a lawyer. There is no turning back. It doesn’t matter that we have a beautiful home we bought over a year ago when I still thought I could handle life with this person.
Lets just hope the f—-r doesn’t lose his job again. And that I don’t have to pay alimony since I now make more than he does. Wisconsin is a marital property/no-fault divorce state, so this should be interesting. And you know what? I don’t care anymore what I lose in terms of material property and money. I want my soul back–or at least the part that is still alive and kicking.
There is just so damn much that happened. My story above is only a small bit of it. I am so tired, yet feel hope, true hope, for the first time in a long, long time. I WILL BE OK, dammit.
Thank you for listening.