Seeking Answers

pregnant womanJoAnn,

I just wanted to express how relieved I was to find your site and read some of the stories on it.  A lot of the characteristics and experiences of the spouses on the site mirror mine, especially right now at this moment in time.  I really am in need of a support system right now and given my situation that makes it especially tricky..it seems like whatever I do or whichever way I turn, there are no clear answers…not that life is or should be clear, however I could use a little clarity right now.  .  And I feel like I can trust you, insofar as I can trust anyone right now.  Ok…here goes…

I dated my husband for 3 years and we have been married for 6 years.  Initially, we had an intense physical connection and a good communication flow.  I trusted him completely and felt that that trust was reciprocated.  He told me things about himself that I’m certain he’s never told anyone else and in the process revealed a pattern of emotional and physical abuse throughout his childhood, and also an extremely complicated relationship with his mother based on abandonment issues.  So, I knew what I was getting into from the beginning.  I knew he had serious psychological issues and that he drank a lot and could be very closed off at times and was just  a really angry person.  Despite all this I fell in love with him and we got engaged.  He then joined the active duty military and proposed to me.  I accepted and then to be with him to his first duty station.

We were very happy in the beginning even though he was deployed to Iraq three times during our marriage.  I would say that the total amount of time we spent together in person throughout our whole relationship, due to these multiple deployments is considerably less than the amount of time being away from each other.  I got pregnant when he came home on leave from a deployment and we now have a young child and one on the way.

So looking back now, I can see the signs.  He stopped being interested in having sex with me.  Eventually I had to always initiate it and it was invariably bad…so after a while I stopped initiating and our sexual encounters dwindled to almost nothing.   When I talked to him about it he would be evasive and do the whole supposedly woman thing…”honey I’m tired.”  And throughout all this he drank heavily…which is nothing new…he has always drank.  But now it was getting to the point where he would pass out somewhere in the house and not even sleep in bed with me.  So it went on like this for a couple of years…with me getting progressively unhappier and him withdrawing more and more from me, and us arguing about the same things over and over.  Eventually, I think we just stopped engaging each other on a deeper level.

Fast forward to recent events.  He has been at home a lot more but his job does still involve him taking trips away from us. After he got back from his last trip, he told asked me if I was happy and that he hadn’t been and he thought we should separate.  He said he thought we both should work on ourselves and decide what we wanted in life.  He proceeded to say that he was a bad, bad person who had done bad things and that I was better off without him and that we were better off without him and he didn’t want to drag us down with him.  Then he expressed the wish that I date other guys while we were separated and see if I could find someone better.  He also suggested have a separation agreement drawn up outlining all these points…child support etc.

I asked him how long he thought we needed to be apart and he said probably about two years but if we decided to get back together sooner, we always could.  I brought up therapy and he nixed that idea emphatically.  I said I would consider it but that I would need time to think.

He is again away on a trip and before he left I discovered while going through the cell phone bill suspicious call and text messages to and from a number based in the place he had just been for his trip.  I asked him who it was because of the odd times and the frequency of the phone calls.  He said it was just a friend.  I initially believed him and then had to look in detail at the phone bill because there was a discrepancy and we went over minutes for some reason.  In doing this, I realized not only was there texting back and forth, but that there were pictures sent and that the frequency with which he was contacting this person was extremely high….My suspicions were aroused.

I kept bringing it up and he said we would talk when he got back from his trip.  The ideas kept going around and around my head and I couldn’t keep it in.  I talked to him on the phone and demanded that he tell me what was going on.  What was really going on.  I brought up the baby and said that the stress of not knowing was taking away my appetite and I couldn’t sleep and that this wasn’t good for the baby and he owed me an explanation and I couldn’t wait until I saw him in person.

He finally caved.  He confessed(again  I could tell he’d been drinking)  that he had several times done things he was ashamed of and that he didn’t think he could stop either.  He also said he would never tell me the details but told me to read between the lines.  I asked him if he could have given me STDs…He said that he had used protection.  I was horrified…here I am pregnant and I brought up the baby again and I couldn’t stop thinking how this might have effected the little one.

Again he reiterated that this was not my fault and that he was messed up and it stemmed from his childhood upbringing.  This didn’t reassure me.  It just confirmed my suspicions that this person he was talking to so frequently was involved with him and that he was trying to throw me off the scent.  I was hurt all over again.  It is more that I feel he is withholding and not being completely honest with me that is tearing me up….the infidelity itself would not be so hurtful were he to come clean completely.  Not to mention, I can’t stop thinking about the danger he put me in and our baby….I just can’t get it out of my head….how he he could do that to us.

It makes me feel so incredibly weak that I still care about this man…maybe even still love him, I don’t know..despite all this.  And it bothers me that I am still hurt as well by what I consider his indifference towards this pregnancy.  I feel affronted that he has been so distant with me and with the uninvolved with the progress of this pregnancy and our child.  I know I should be more concerned with what this man has done to us…the great betrayal he has perpetrated on this family and me and my well being, both emotional and physical…but I can’t help myself…I find myself crying at odd moments and all I want to be is angry.  And the fact that I still feel something for him makes me feel angry and helpless.

So as things stand now…I will stay until the baby is born and I am making plans to get credentials to start working again.   I think that I am leaning towards going through with the separation…it’s just a matter of when it happens.  I am not sure if I can make it through that first year, raising a newborn and a young child by myself while going back to school and then working.

My initial instinct is still to seek therapy.  And I know, regardless of whether he admits it or not, that therapy is necessary for him.  He obviously deep issues whether or not he is a sex addict.  And it makes me uncomfortable and it did from the beginning, that he is refusing to go to therapy and says it will only hinder, not help him or us.   I am also worried about my husband.  I am truly afraid for his well being, emotional, physical and otherwise…if we all leave.

I don’t know if I could deal with the guilt if after I left, he spiraled farther and farther into deeper and darker places.   That being said…I feel like I need to be concerned more about myself and my children and our well being.  What makes it harder is that we are still not self-sufficient and our well being is intricately tied up with my husband’s.  I have been a stay at home mom basically since my child was born and so am financially dependent on him…also he is wonderful dad and I would hate if something really bad happened that maybe would not have happened if we had stayed and supported him(well really me…I guess).  But also I feel like his love for his children helps him connect and feel some sort of light in his life.  I am in such a quandary right now….at this point in time I am fairly resolved on seeking therapy for myself even if he does not go.  That is the only solid decision I’ve made so far.

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Responses

  1. Dear Seeking Answers,
    First, I don’t think I really have any answers. But I do care and want to reach out to you.
    Last night, after I turned out the light, you and your story started floating around in my head. It was around midnight and I started to cry. This is not unusual. I always cry a little every night–at least for the past 11 months since the rug was pulled out from underneath my life. What was unusual was that I was crying for someone else—you.

    I just feel the sadness of your story—your tortured, unfaithful and unhappy husband and your noble efforts to hold yourself and your marriage in a place of hope and dignity. To think your husband was courageous and strong enough to do three tours of Iraq, but can’t tell the truth about his own pain and go to a 12 step meeting. Not even for the baby he made with you still unborn.

    You need to get some help to put a plan together for you and your children. Are there support or resources available to you as spouse of veteran? Start a bank account in your name only. Make a list of what has to happen to ensure your and children have money to live, a place to live, and security. Stuff with your husband can wait. You have to be the parent here, and get their needs met. Can family or friend help you prepare for the baby?
    if he’s not going to be there for you when the baby comes, you need a birth support plan, so you are alone through that.

    Show yourself and your children that you value their lives. When they grow up and ask about what should have been a precious time, you will have story about how you made sure it was, inspite of everything else that was happening.

    Last night I cried for you instead of me. I’m going to trust that was a turning point in my life. Don’t know exactly what the will mean, but I’m going to live as if it was. You need a turning point too. Focus on the promise of life that grows within you, and believe in it. It could be turning point for a good future with less pain and more joy.

    love,
    D.

  2. You are such a lovely woman, Diane. Thank you so much for your hopeful and compassionate message. As you know, it can be very isolating and depressing when the people you normally turn to for help;your husband, family and friends, cannot help you and can’t know what’s really going on. Thankfully, I found this site and people who I can talk to. As for a plan, I have one. I have been speaking to someone close to me who is going to help if it comes to that. I do have some savings….and an account in my name. I prepared, and there is still lots to do, but I know what needs to be done and I am in the process of doing it. My children are my priority and also I am starting to realize I need to be a priority as well, and maybe this has been a part of why I have not been happy myself. I need to put myself first,too. So I am trying to come at this from the point of view of what will be best for me and my children. And I will be definitely going to therapy and maybe I can find some answers there…if not about my husband about myself.

  3. Seeking answers,

    I read somewhere that we only ask for advice when we know the answers but wish we didn’t. When I read your reply to Diane, I knew you were headed in the right direction. Yes, your priority now has to be yourself and your babies. If you focus on your spouse, he will drag you and the babies down with him. He has refused help. That tells me he’s willing to sacrifice all. Don’t go there with him. I can guarantee you, it’s not worth it. No matter what good qualities he has.

    Congratulations on taking the first step toward freedom and self-respect. Your babies will thank you 🙂

  4. Hi Ms seeking answer, i admire your courage to handle this kind of problem, what you did is right and your starting to pick up pieces into places.despite of the pain,discouragement and disappointment you still manage to live with your life and your two angels.your on the right track now.for sure the two angels will be proud of you!

  5. hi seeking answers,

    i cannot imagine going through what you’re going through pregnant and already with a child. i have a 2-and-a-half year old, and i thanked Whoever-It-May-Be every period i got after my husband and i split. my husband also had a lot of emotional/physical abuse/neglect and abandonment (his mother left him on a platform one time as she went to kill herself, supposedly; he was only 4), all of that he revealed to me only when i confronted him about his addictions (gambling and sex).

    in may, when i found out about my husband’s 10-year sex addiction (we were together for 14), i made him leave, called daycare to set up a schedule for my son, picked up extra shifts at my 2nd and 3rd jobs (yes, i was working overtime to support my husband who was “working from home” and couldn’t find a job for the last year b/c of the “poor economy”; he found and started working at a job 6 weeks after he moved out), got myself tested, moved ALL the money into my name, canceled all his credit cards (he declared bankruptcy b/c of his gambling addiction, so all his cc’s were under my name – except for the one that he used to see prostitutes, of course), emailed ppl for a good lawyer, called the mediation service in town, saw a therapist – all within one week of finding out. i was in crisis and i went into cold and calculated military planning mode. you will be able to do the same – you sound intelligent enough to have put away money and you have someone you can lean on. 2 weeks after i “took care of business”, i fell apart – i went into deep grieving mode. i stayed there for a while, june and july were very dark. my son also started sleeping terribly, started having crying fits, and behaved massively horribly – it took us about a month to get back on track.

    it is all incredibly hard. but the entire time, i kept my eye on the prize – i did it all for my son. before i had my child, i would not have had the courage to kick him out and get rid of him. i would’ve been too afraid. afraid of being alone, afraid of making the wrong decision, afraid of missing him so much it hurts. but now that i have a child, the decision becomes so very simple. my husband showed no remorse, no inclination to change, no water-off-his-back for what has happened, so i had to do what’s best for my child – to REMOVE my child from that situation. i then realized that if i can be strong for him, i can be strong for myself. i need to be strong for myself. that’s the only way the little one and i will come out of this alive. let the Mother of Two in you out and let her take care of business. when we women have children, we become this whole other strong, powerful being, the mother. you can do it. i have utter faith in you. get rid of that disgusting, whoremongering bastard. teach your children how to correctly treat women they promise to love and stay faithful to. we deserve SO MUCH BETTER. and i just keep telling myself – as i work on myself, LOVE myself, support myself and teach myself how to be strong, i will be, and i will surely recognize the intense bullshit the crazy addict will invariably put me through. i have nothing but faith to go on right now. sheer, bull-headed faith.

    have a good night.

  6. Hi Cheryl,
    What a terrific post to read first thing in the morning!

    Not that your experiences weren’t horrible with your SA, but that you “let the Mother out” and found strength to get the job done for your son’s sake. The “after crash” sound hard, but at least you were safe and ready to build a new life.

    Your courage and strength have set me up for the day. Thank you. And may those who have been frozen by fear of the unknown, reach out and grab life like you did.

    All the best to you,
    D.

  7. Hi Cheryl and Seeking Answers,

    First to Cheryl… Brava girl!!! U totally rock and are an immense inspiration in dealing with this atrocity with the utmost grace, class and courage. WOW!!! Thank you so much for sharing your most inspiring story!!!

    To Seeking Answers,

    I read your post the other day and then reread it today and my heart goes out to you in so many ways— As a young mother, that I once was and with another on the way, to have all this dumped into your lap is unimaginably painful. Thank you so much for reaching out and for courageously sharing your very difficult story.

    Now, I know that you are seeking answers and when someone is seeking advice, answers and help, I read recently (it might’ve been here!) that is when they already know the answer themselves, and just need verification or simply to hear it somewhere else. I believe that you do know the answers, honey, because it is right here in your post! They are not easy answers, however, but they are right there.

    You wrote: (my words in parentheses)

    “After he got back from his last trip, he told asked me if I was happy and that he hadn’t been and he thought we should separate”

    (Answer #1 He wants out.)

    “He said he thought we both should work on ourselves and decide what we wanted in life.”

    (He already knows what he wants and hopes that you will find another path for yourself)

    “He proceeded to say that he was a bad, bad person who had done bad things and that I was better off without him and that we were better off without him and he didn’t want to drag us down with him.”

    (WOW WOW WOW!!! Believe him here!!!!!!!!! He is telling you the HONEST, UNVARNISHED TRUTH here)

    “Then he expressed the wish that I date other guys while we were separated and see if I could find someone better.”

    (Honey, I’m so, so sorry, but he is completely done and is letting you go…)

    “He also suggested have a separation agreement drawn up outlining all these points…child support etc.”

    (he’s done)

    Sweetie—this is so tough. But, it is clear that he has made his decisions. He is done with your marriage and he wants out. And I’m so, so, sorry—

    He’s done “bad things” and you would be better off without him?

    Believe him sweetie. He is not the man you think he is or want and need him to be. (AND deserve for him to be!!!) And it is not up to you to help him or see that he gets help. He does not want help. If he can do 3 tours of Iraq and get out alive, he can figure out his life and he actually already has. He is not ready to get well, not for you, your children or himself and there is nothing you can do for a man who is not ready. (even a man who is PRETENDING to be ready, which he isn’t even there yet!)

    He wants you to date and find another husband. As horrifically painful as this must be for you, in some ways, he’s doing the most honorable thing that he is capable of, by still being a part of your life while you find his replacement. He is a man of extremely weak character traits, a sex addict and an alcoholic and honey, it is not going to get better… It is only going to get worse–much, worse and he told you this too. As painful as this must be, he is in many ways doing you an immense favor. A lot of these guys just go on as if everything is hunky dory, only for their poor wives to discover, months, years, decades—a lifetime later that they have been unwilling patsies in a deep, dark, devastating world they did not sign up for.

    Cheryl’s post was so inspiring. You are still young and it is not too late for you. It may not be easy, but you will see your way out of this. I read your later post and I can see that you are well on your way to recovering your precious life back. You are strong and you are a good woman and deserve to have a strong and healthy partner in life.

    The answers that you seek live inside yourself—Sometimes it is difficult to hear, because the mind, the heart and the soul have to be on the same wavelength and that is not easy to do, particularly when we love someone dearly. But, sometimes the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and for someone else, is to let them go…

    Please rest, take care of your body, feed it good things for the precious life growing inside you— It will take time, but you will be fine. I’m positive.

    Please stay in touch and let us know how things are going.

    Love and ((((hugs))))

    Lorraine

  8. dear everyone,

    thanks @Lorraine and @Diane – i’m so happy you guys thought my reply was awesome… i felt awesome for the 5 minutes i wrote it last night, but came back here tonight when the main thought on my mind is how depressed i am tonight.

    @seeking answers – i think when i found out about my husband’s sex addiction (i found arrest papers from 2006 this past may – he just left them lying around on his desk! i was looking for something else entirely unrelated), i had one tiny leg up on you, which is that i’d gone to gam-anon for a year about 3 years ago (when i was pregnant with my son) – so i knew a little about addictions – though still not enough about sex addictions. your husband, like Lorraine so elegantly deducted, is actually for once telling the god-awful truth. i know you don’t want to accept it – shock and denial, after all, are the first stage of grief, and that is exactly how our mind works to protect us in the face of immense trauma. when i first found out, there would be days when i walked around in a complete haze because i didn’t know what i wanted to do (my husband initially denied having any intercourse with anyone after the 2006 arrest – we had since had a little boy – so i was very much tormented in whether i stay with him or not during the 10 days of my husband’s continuous denial.. although deep down i knew that he COULDN’T have stopped the sex addiction, b/c from gam-anon, i knew that an addiction doesn’t just go away because you willed it to, you have to actually do hard, physical work to be in recovery) – i felt like my mind was not in my body. i was going through the motions. the sun was shining on me and people would be talking to me, but somehow that was another person who felt the rays and replied back. all my senses were dulled. it was probably the worse i’ve felt, to be honest with you – even compared to my deep, dark moments of extreme, painful grief. it was the worst because i had DOUBT, because i was unsure.

    but i will tell you, seeking answers, the DAY i told my loser of a husband – “we’re through” (when he finally admitted to continuing with his prostitute and gambling shenanigans, DESPITE after having been arrested) – is the day the dark clouds lifted. i remember, it was 5/24/10 around 12pm – i went to my first appt with my therapist right after i told my husband “J, you and i, we’re THROUGH” – and on the way there, i felt light. i felt precise. i felt sure. i felt like i had shed about 50 lbs of smelly, decaying garbage. i felt like i got all my feelings back. it was the first time in my life i felt like i made a GOOD decision for myself (i wasn’t given too many chances to make life decisions; my parents were extremely strict and didn’t care whether i was ever happy; they made me go into a career that took MANY, many years of schooling and hard work against my will; marrying my husband was the only true decision i made for myself – and i realized what a terrible choice he was). you will feel the same. i promise you. the day you say to yourself, i do NOT want to be with that man anymore, i am letting him go – you will finally feel what it’s like to KNOW. like Lorraine said, your husband already told you in as many words that you and he are over. as painful as it is, i will tell you what another divorcee had told me – in several months, you will be SO happy that you left him. you will be SO serene when you think of this junction in your life when you separated from him. – this is what my friend told me… i can only believe it, because let’s face it, we really don’t have any other choice, do we? i haven’t gotten to the serene part yet, but i can tell you, that after about 3 months of my husband moving out (we try to avoid having any significant contact with each other – my husband is definitely still in the “honky dory” stage, and continues to blame me and spew pure hatred towards me – that way he doesn’t have to take any responsibility for what he’s done)… i have definitely thought “i’m so HAPPY i’m not with him anymore!”

    the best thing for you to do now, seeking answers, is to find a good therapist – a therapist who has a lot of experience in dealing with partners of addicts, esp of sex addicts. you need someone on your side. you need someone who can see the situation clearly. and you need someone to watch your back. because you and i both know that we are the WORST at that. i would lay myself down on the tracks for other people in an instant, but i have no idea how to treat myself even a little bit nice. another thing i will say to you is, after having read some books and multiple sessions with my super-awesome therapist (who’s a certified sex therapist and has lots of experience with sex addicts) – do not go to someone who wants to expound on your “codependent” nature. i know that’s what cosa’s do. but you do not need someone telling you that you need to work on yourself, as though you have a huge defect. EVERYONE i know needs to work on themselves, but it is not because they are married to a sex addict. you are a wonderful person just the way you are, and to come out of this alive, you will have to be stronger, and treat yourself better, but you do NOT have a character defect!

    you will find the strength within you, this i promise you. you know what you need to do for your children – and you will do it. the self doubt WILL come – we are somehow wired that way. but do not falter. tell yourself that you are a great mother, a great woman, and you are a good person, and you are doing the right thing. (i’ve been struggling immensely with voices in my head – they all sound eerily like my mother’s – that tell me, “you’re stupid!” “you’re retarded!” “you’re an idiot!” “why couldn’t you have seen this coming?!” “it’s all your fault anyway you married him!” – can you tell my mother completely opposed our union – only for the reason that he doesn’t have a doctorate… i wrote down a set of things i tell myself whenever my mom starts speaking to me in my head – i sound like a schizophrenic!)

    i read a great quote somewhere, “things are only difficult until you have no other choice.” this describes our situation to a T. godspeed, seeking answers, you and your babies are in my thoughts.

    love,
    cheryl

  9. Cheryl I am so glad you shared your story with me. And Eva thank you for your words of support. It does help to hear other people’s stories and how they deal/dealt/are dealing with the same crazy situation that I am. Lorraine, you are right, I do know. He has pretty much told me that he has moved on and I see it and I hear it but I think what’s been holding me back is the past and I’ve been holding onto what I thought we had which I’m starting to see now was never real. And my concern for his well-being, which I also know, until he wants to help there really isn’t anything I can do. I am moving forward though, slowly but surely and not without a few tears but yes “the mother” in me is out in full force and that is what is really going to get me throught this.

  10. First, Cheryl, my hands hurt from clapping for you! You bring to mind Helen Reddy’s song, “I Am Women”! Lorraine,
    you said everything I wanted to say, only better than I probably could! Also Lorraine, even though we are dealing with nothing short of tragedy, much of the time, on this board, I wanted to let you know that you have made me laugh several times – and Lord knows we all need that!!

    Seeking Answers, I feel all your sorrow, hurt and pain!! It
    will get better! I’ve been divorced for a little over two months. I wasted 15 years hoping and praying that my SA, ex,
    would get better. I still struggle with “feeling sorry” for him. I even probably still love him in some ways, He’s like
    a poor, abused, abandoned little boy, but we were in the middle of the ocean, drowning, and he was taking me D-O-W-N!
    I have good days and not so good days. I got a really good sleep last night and this morning over coffee (with myself),
    I felt almost tingly with joy! Joy that I can have peace and serenity. Joy that I have a future filled with possibilities and hope. I can honestly say (as can most of us on this board) – I know EXACTLY how you feel. Someone said (I think it was Lorraine), that these men pick compassionate, decent, loving women. So true! Alot of us hang on to hope, when the ship has been down for a long, long time. I had to let go
    of so many fears – one being, “what’s the use – I’m to
    old to start over” – Do I wish I had done this when I was
    40? You bet I do. But when I’m 80, I’ll be damn glad I did it
    when I was 59!

    Diane, I wish you were my neighbor! I’d love to have you over for coffee and conversation. You’re such a nice, nice
    lady!