The current state of my marriage, or part 2

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Well...I never did get around to finishing the story last week. But I was right...blogging about it was infinitely helpful. Putting into words the events leading up to the demise of my marriage helped me to HEALTHILY face the situation. It took away some of the confusion, the shame, and the anger that I was experiencing, while taking away my ability to turn away from it and deny it was happening. That help was priceless. I was also completely gobsmacked by the outpouring of support I received from my Spark Friends. We've been helping each other through the trials of developing healthier lifestyles, but it honestly never occurred to me that we could help each other through the other garbage that life throws at us...and that is even more priceless. (Which I don't think is an actual unit of measurement, but I'm at a loss for words on the subject, and it's the best that I can do to describe my gratitude. :) )

Anyhow...the week and a half following "the boot" was one of the hardest I've ever been through...and that time (in retrospect) was only the beginning. He and I were not the only people affected by the sudden split...we have two daughters. My 10 year old is technically not his (my first marriage), but he has been her "father" since she was three. Our four year old is an amazing little creature, but she is only 4 and (even though I feel he has not deserved such devotion due to his "absence" from her life) she thinks he hung the moon for her. So while trying to process "the situation" for myself, I found myself shifting the focus off of myself and onto protecting the girls from what was going on. Slightly unhealthy for myself, as it was an easy way to not fully face the issues at hand, but it is and probably always will be my first instinct to protect my children above all else. I told the girls that Daddy had to go do some "work" out of town, which is probably the worst/weakest story anyone has ever attempted to tell, but it was all that I could manage at the time. My 10 year old immediately knew it to be a lie, but in an uncommon display of sensitivity (at least for my 10 year old) she let me tell the story. My 4 year old exhibited disappointment for roughly 30 seconds, then went back to watching Star Wars. Which just made me even sadder...having a father who doesn't interact with her for more than 30 broken minutes a day 90% of the time is just normal for her, because it's all that she's known.

I didn't hear from him until Monday, which was a blessing. I was holding it together, but just barely. My house became "Martha Stewart Clean" because keeping busy was keeping me together by distracting me from the situation. I participated in the Y's "World's Largest Cardio Class" (an attempt for the Y to get into the Guiness Book of world records) on that Saturday in addition to keeping up a fairly brisk workout schedule because the physical activity was keeping me from falling into a complete depression. (Endorphins...nature's Xanax). My friends and family rallied around me to keep my spirits up. I began to look for another job, because again, taking care of my kids has to always be priority #1 and I was hugely concerned about supporting them through the divorce in case my husband cleaned out our bank accounts or closed our credit accounts. While it is my dream to NEVER return to nursing, it is where my education led me and is a fairly steady/substantial form of on the hunt I went. was moving on very quickly for us, because that is how life works. It doesn't stop for catastrophe, no matter how great.

When I returned home on Monday from the Y, there was a bottle of cheap sangria on the front porch of my home with a note rubber banded to it. As expected, the note contained a whole lot of "I" statements from my husband. "I miss you", "I'm sad", blah blah. Guess how much I cared about how HE felt after he ripped our family to shreds? Guess how offended I was that he thought a bottle of cheap sangria was going to fix the HUGE betrayal? Guess how offended I was by the implied statement that I am the kind of woman who would down a large bottle of booze when I was by myself with two children? I could go on and on. Result: killing rage.

The next day, I received a text from him. Again, "I" to the Nth Power. There was also a line in there about him "allowing" me to have time until I was ready to talk to him. As if HE EVER has any kind of control over my feelings, my ability to speak, whatever. Result: Killing rage.

Wednesday morning, my 4 year old finally became very persistent about her father's absence (after not hearing from him for 5 days). When is daddy coming home, why can't I talk to him, etc. All day. In what was probably the hardest, stupidest, maybe most mature thing I've ever had to do, I texted him to tell him that she wanted to see him and told him he could see her for 2 hours that evening, with the understanding that he was only home from work for that time, and would be going back to "work" as soon as they were done. He showed up at 6 to take her to McDonald's, hiding something behind his back. Turns out, it was a very large box of chocolate covered cherries, which are one of my favorite foods in the world and a HUGE trigger food for me. He tried to hand it to me, I wouldn't take it. Feelings/thoughts going through me at that moment: I can't have those because I'm carb cycling, why does this ahole not know that when I had been telling him that for weeks before hand, offended that he (again) thinks a trip to Walgreens is going to fix our marriage. I said perplexedly, "I can't have those..." to which he replied, "It's okay, I know your "time" is coming" (meaning TOM). Really? I'm not mad because you are a lying cheating piece of crap, I'm mad because I'm just another hormonal woman. I said loudly, "Seriously???" with what must have been murder in my eyes because he backed off QUICKLY and put the box down on the table by my front door and hustled my 4 year old out to his truck. I was seeing red, literally, but in the interest in not going to prison for beating him to death with a box of cherries in front of our 4 year old, I quickly threw myself into my vehicle and headed off to the Y, where I beat the crap out of a Spin bike for 2 hours. When he brought her home around 8, I met them outside, scooped her up and brought her in the house. She was impressed because it was the first time he'd ever taken her to McDonald's by himself. This made me horribly sad.

The next day, I heard nothing from him and was incredibly grateful for it. During this week, I'd been processing a TON of information, off and on. It had occurred to me during the sleepless nights I'd been spending that he and I basically had two options: divorce, or reconcile. (Beating him to death with random household items is technically a third option, but not realistic, so we are going to stick to the two.) My brain said (and is still saying) divorce the bastard. My heart had/has different ideas. The reasons to divorce are easy, but the reasons to reconcile were much more difficult to find. So because I'm a bean counter at heart, this is the list of reasons I made to try to reconcile the marriage.
1. I already have a MISERABLE relationship/divorce with my first husband. I don't think I can manage a second such situation without ending up in a rubber room. (No joke. Living nightmare that will probably never end.)
2. My 10 year old already has a really, really hard time with her relationship with her "real" father and the resulting issues.
3. My 4 year old will end up in the same situation my 10 year old is in.
4. I will "lose" the financial stability that I currently enjoy as the result of years of careful planning and hard work.
5. I've invested/wasted (depending on how I'm looking at it at a given moment) 7 years in this relationship.
6. There is no guarantee that I'm ever going to find a man who is perfect right out of the box.
7. While I'm an ALL STAR dater...there is not a single man alive I cannot pick up whether I'm fat, thin, or anything in between...I'm apparently not very good at long term relationships or choosing a "good one", so this is most likely going to happen again with a different man.

I'm sure there are more things, but this is what I came up with at 3 am.

I shared this list with a lot of people, and got a blanket answer from "the team"...if you think there is a chance that you both can work it out (no matter how small), you should try. For no other reason than he and I have to have at the very least a civil relationship so that we can raise our daughter(s) together as divorced parents. Which is something that my brain and my heart can both agree on. I received some stellar advice from my step father, who suggested that I needed to sit down and have a long conversation with myself about the things I "need" from my husband to at least set ourselves down the path to civility. I came up with:
1. Full disclosure, no matter how shameful or unpleasant.
2. Stop attempting to "Howard" me.
3. Extreme, long term counseling. For us as a couple, and HIM personally. I wouldn't turn it down for myself either.

So I sent the ahole an email telling him such. Two options, divorce or try, and this is what I need from him for me to consider trying. I sent this email late Thursday night, and I didn't hear back from him until late Friday. He doesn't want to divorce, and he's willing to try things my way. So we made an appointment to meet on Saturday. I got a sitter so that we could really talk (can't be honest about this stuff with kids eavesdropping)...and we did. 2.5 hours worth of conversation. Here are the high points from that conversation in the order that it happened:
1. He'd already sought counseling on his own earlier in the week. Apparently, he was looking for sympathy from his friends, and was told that he is a piece of crap...and I guess that was his wake up call. No one to reinforce his belief that he was "awesome" made him finally take a long hard look at himself and realize that he has a lot of issues that HE has to fix before he can have a "real" relationship with anyone, be it romantic, friendly, parental, whatever.
2. He admitted that he has been talking to the other women, but swears it was only online. He swears he never actually met anyone in real life, and those conversations with the women from his past were never sexual.
3. He has an addiction to online, live web cam porn.
4. He WANTS to fix himself because he is ashamed of who he is/has become.

Do I believe this stuff? Not really. I wouldn't believe him at this point if he told me that water is wet. For the record, talking to the exes is a huge, huge betrayal. At the very least, he broke our wedding vows by not honoring me. I consider the online web cam crap to be (not only disgusting), but cheating. I don't care if he never laid a finger on them, he was still having sex with women who are not me. It's cheating.

The fact that he disclosed the above gives me a rice sized piece of hope that at the very least, we can regain enough of a relationship to at least be civil someday. I don't want to say that we are "trying to work it out"...because it is SOOOO trite. And I don't even know that I'm trying to work on saving the marriage...I don't know that it can be. What I AM trying to work on is rebuilding a basic, civil relationship with the father of my child. I am still angry. I am still hurt. I am still HUGELY doubtful. I still don't trust him. I still want to do him bodily harm. So things are not "better", and I'm not going to pretend that they are. There are so many things 'wrong' that it's hard to know where to start. He is 2 visits into counseling, and his counsellor wants to see us together, but at a later date after he and my husband have worked through a bunch of stuff. I'm willing to wait. I told my husband that I'm willing to do everything that I "can" to help him so that it can help us...and I mean it. But everything kind of rests on him right now.

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    emoticon emoticon
    2587 days ago
    I love you and support your decision no matter what it may be. Just know that sometimes being alone is better than being with a man that causes you misery and heart ache. If you guys can work it out via counseling and all that then that is great. But honestly (this is just my opinion and opinions are like buttholes, everybody has one), if you stay with him for the kids sake, but if you guys have a really unhealth relationship because of his where there is a lot of fighting, anger, bitterness, then your children will be affected by this more so then by living in a one person home. I know so many people who have bad marriages but they say that they stay together when the marriage is over for the kid's sake and it is so hard on the kids to see their parents constantly at each other's throats and both miserable.

    I am not trying to be a debbie downer though. The counseling is a huge step in the right direction. I do know some couples that had infidelity in the marriage and they were able to overcome it. I also think something as sacred as marriage is worth trying to reconcile before just throwing it all away. I absolutely applaud you for everything you are ding. You are handling this is a very mature, healthy way and I am so proud of you on so many levels. Just know that if it DOES not work out. If you lose yourself while trying to hold onto your marriage then you are NOT doing an injustice to your children by ending the marriage. Taking care of yourself, not just physically but mentally and emotionally is the best thing you can do for your children.

    you are in my thoughts and my prayers. I personally would love to kick his a$$ for you. At the very least bitch slap him. But that wouldn't solve anything. Still though. I would like too.

    Anything I can do for you, you know where to find me.
    2592 days ago
  • BLIND914
    Hey Girl, thats great, you got this, proud of you , spoken like a true woman. emoticon please dont let hussies or make you stress in any form.
    I feel sorry for your husband lol because the new jess gonna be something else.
    2597 days ago
    Dear dear Jessica, I was thinking I hadn't caught up on your latest and greatest and came to your page to find this......I am so, so, so sorry.
    I'm proud of you for not giving into your murderous feelings. I say that jokingly but still honestly. I too would be happy to have killed any man that had treated me that way but I too would no doubt have exercised some self control...maybe not as much as you.
    I am also pleased that you have decided to try and reconcile as much is as possible. Betrayal takes time to recover from and a rebuilding of trust does not happen overnight either. Try to be patient....I expect there will need to be months, if not years, of healing for a good relationship to reform if it ever does but...... to be fair on yourself and the girls...... I urge you to use the same determination to make that happen as you have with your weight loss. If then it still fails you can in good conscience say you have done your very best. Otherwise I think that you may end up continuing to beat yourself up for a long time to come that you could have tried harder (once this initial pain wears off) because as much as he was in the wrong here, it takes two to rebuild and maintain a relationship. You don't want to give him (or your girls) any satisfaction whatsoever for being able, for any reason, to point the finger at you in the future.
    I'm not saying jump back in with both feet but I am saying give him every chance to change for you sake and for the sake of the girls. They still will want a father even if you decide you don't want this husband. Time can be an amazing healer.

    2597 days ago
    I stumbled across this blog, and am so glad I did. I can relate, as my marriage ended over very similar circumstances. It is a long, hard road, and you're right, it mostly all rests on him. My (ex)husband didn't choose to do the work he needed to do to save his marriage, and I've found it was the biggest blessing in disguise. I now have a man that is everything I deserve..trustworthy, honest, real, straight-forward, loving. And my children have healed from the HORRID mess their father's crap & my denial put them through, and are learning that real love doesn't cause pain, distance & trust issues.
    Please know that no matter which you choose (divorce or reconciliation), you *are* strong, and you *do* deserve the best, as do your kids.
    I know you don't know me from adam, but feel free to PM me if you need to chat. I spent 9 years dealing with the crazy, so I know what it's like to have noone to talk to.
    2597 days ago
    2597 days ago
    I admire you so much for sharing and opening up with this. You are still in my prayers. I do agree with what GODDESSELLIE07 told you -- she has some very wise words.
    2598 days ago
    Not sure what to say... but I want you to know my best wishes are with you and your little ones. emoticon
    2599 days ago
    Thank you for being so brave and honest in telling your story. Whatever you decide, my thoughts are with you.
    2599 days ago
    emoticon Just remember those kiddos need a healthy and happy mommy. If "making it work" will leave you happy and healthy then jump on it but if it will leave you unhealthy in any sense of the word think long and hard about doing something like this solely for your kiddos! Remember we have your back! emoticon
    2600 days ago
    I have way too many things to say and I can see that everyone else has shared plenty with you. I have been thinking about you and I am so glad that you have given an update, I was worried. Just know that I have first hand experience with what you are going through. Again, if you ever need to talk, I am here. Email me if you want to exchange numbers. You are doing the best you can and you are doing great. Hang in there. emoticon
    2600 days ago
    2600 days ago
    I'm sending your a private message...
    2600 days ago
    I'm so sorry you are going through such a rough time. Reading through you list of reason to reconcile, I see a very important one missing. Not once did you mention that you love him and that you want to try and fix it. I agree, you'll need a civil relationship with him, because your daughter deserves to have her dad in her life, but don't stay with him out of pity, or because of her, or because you've "wasted" that time in your relationship already (remember its not a waste because you got your daughter). I hope that no matter what you do, that you know that you are so strong!
    2600 days ago
    My mother stayed with my father for 29 years who abused us and treated us horribly because my grandparents convinced her it was better for kids to have a "father" than be from a broken home. My brother and I will tell you that is absolutely not true and it was much more harmful to be in a house with fighting, abuse and constant disrespect. I left a house and stable life and all that I had worked for to be happy and it was the best decision I ever made and now I am engaged to the love of my life who will be my third husband as well. Social stigma be damned. You don't have to stay because you "should". I hope you can find some peace and closure with whichever path you choose. For me it was not possible to forgive, ever. Hugs
    2600 days ago

    My husband and I also worked things out, and 4 years I feel we are stronger most of the time, but I still have those days of doubt.

    I'm here if you need to talk.
    2600 days ago
    Glad to hear that you have not been arrested for beating him to death with any household appliances! With that said, an addiction to internet porn is invasive. My ex husband cheated on me in real life and it was devastating, ultimately ending the marriage as I could not trust him and I doubted my own self worth that he would do it. My marriage limped along for 3 years after I found out.

    Fast forward a few years and I was in a relationship with a really nice guy. Then I found out that he was addicted to internet porn. It explained so many things. He also talked on the phone with an ex and when I found out, I called her and she and I had a long chat about what he had lied to me about and what he had lied to her about. I put out the counseling or it's over options. We did counseling. He went, I went and we went together.

    It didn't work. I am still friends with this fella because at heart he is a decent guy but the behaviors and habits that came along with the internet porn never went away and even though he said he didn't do it anymore, I never believed him for one instant.

    I wish that whatever is best for you and your girls is what happens but I can tell you that the internet porn addiction with a man who I was only dating was far more emotionally draining and self esteem busting than my husband of a decade physically cheating.

    Of course you know we are all here! You are doing great! emoticon
    2600 days ago
    Keep your chin up. You are a very stong woman, and it shows. Do not stay in a relationship just for the kids. It could do them more harm than good if they realize that mommy is always unhappy and stressed out. Plus, you will feel trapped. As I tell my daughters, don't let your heart overrule your head emoticon
    2600 days ago
    I am so glad you posted a blog. I've been thinking about you a lot and all you're going through and was worried. Can absolutely understand wanting to pummel him w/the cherries! It's great that you sought out exercise to deal w/all of the emotions flowing through your body. You have some big decisions to make -the counseling sounds like a good start -he really needs to be honest and forthcoming and though I realize he says he didn't get together w/anyone it seems he should explain the cell phone in his car and the late nights at work and if it involved anyone else -he needs to completely terminate that relationship. You're a wonderful, intelligent, and beautiful woman with a terrific sense of humor. You deserve to have someone who treats you with respect and love. I hope your husband can be the partner to you and father to your daughters that he should be.

    You are a caring and supportive mother. Take care of yourself. We're here for you and thinking of you. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2601 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/8/2012 11:08:45 PM
  • .DUSTY.
    I'm also so sorry you're having to deal with this Jessica!

    To me the "cheating" is secondary to the, "He has an addiction to online, live web cam porn". I really hope you decide to end your marriage. This is scary in so many ways, especially since you have children. Overcoming that kind of addiction is extremely rare.

    Please really be careful. I hope you're not offended by my comment.
    2601 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/8/2012 10:50:24 PM
  • STLSUE01
    I am so very sorry for the pain you're having to endure. Huggz.

    2601 days ago
  • 1AVERY
    I have been in your shoes also. It took years and years to trust.
    The other issue is some men don't know how to relate and interact with their children. Hopefully counselling will help him with that issue also. Everyone thinks my DH is the salt of the earth and he never spent time or did anything with the kids when they were young. He loved them but didn't know how to spend time with them. Some men have a hard time with knowing what to do with girls. They don't realize a trip to McDonalds by themselves would be a great idea and something they will remember.
    I chose to forgive but you never forget the betrayal. He has been faithful for years but he has a drinking problem and so I will compare that to the computer issue. I was leaving mine again a few years ago and he did seek a counsellor on his own to try to make the marriage work. I was totally impressed he would never admit he had a problem. I wasn't going to under any circumstances take him back. I had real estate agents selling the houses. The counselling worked but he still drinks too much for my liking but I have chosen to deal with it because even the doctors say he is not an alcoholic and my childhood could play a factor in my feelings about alcohol. I don't drink at all.
    So I agree with all the other responses we are here for you and it sounds like a lot of us have had to deal with similiar experiences. You have to make the decision in the long run and it sounds like you are taking your time and not rushing into anything. I think the computer issue is something that will come back to haunt the relationship if it isn't dealt with properly.
    A relationship with NO TRUST is not a good relationship for anyone. I learned to Trust again but it is a hard issue to deal with. I am glad you will seek counselling when the time is right. Couples/individual and family probably wouldn't be a bad idea if you decide to try to work it out.
    Take care and your sparkfriends are here for you.
    Congrats on your going to the Y to take out your frustrations and not hitting him with the cherries. You have good control we have all been where you are and want to hurt them.
    The good news is sparkfriends are always here to listen and help if possible. We all have to make our own final decisions though it is nice to have other peoples stories to compare to and know we aren't alone in our journey in life.
    2601 days ago
    You know, from my PM, that I am probably very biased on this subject but the biggest and clearest thought in my head has always been what kind of example would I be setting for my girls to allow a man back into our lives that disrespected and damaged us all in such a tremendous way. Just another side...

    Do whatever you think is best for you and your girls and you will always have my support!
    2601 days ago
    WOW~ you are very brave and so mature for seeing that what you and he do now will impact the girls. I'm still seeing red for you-I've known so many people whose spouse cheated...some for years and sad. Prayers~
    2601 days ago
  • BARBIE176
    Sening you much emoticon and prayers. I commend you for being able to give him a chance, but the trust required in your marriage will be a very long time coming. I pray for you and your children that the two of you can work on things together and make it a success, but if he is addicted to online, etc. he should be willing to get rid of that temptation completely. Good luck and emoticon on staying strong and holding onto your principles!
    2601 days ago
  • JANDK156
    Whatever you need. emoticon
    2601 days ago
    What a great mom and unknown to him wife you are being. I think that it is wonderful that you are sticking to your guns and another that you have not hurt him. It shows great restraint don't know if I would have been able to.
    As for can you fix it, I walked that path, trusting was a hard part for me in fact it took several years, and to be honest dont think i ever did completely (side note he has since passed). I had to decided if I loved him enough to try. It is truly a hard choice, but you have your head and your emotions in check. You will make the right choice for you and the girls, trust in yourself you are doing a great job already!
    2601 days ago
  • DONNI1891
    Having gone through this not long ago. The only advice I can give is that the trust will take a long time to come back. If you ever can; some people have no problem with it I'm not one of those. It's been over a year now and I still have a hard time trusting (even though nothing has happened to my knowledge). I'm very proud that your sticking to your guns/ make sure you do no matter what. I will keep you in prayers.
    2601 days ago
  • KIBA78
    This situation is a lot to deal with, but I commend you for not letting your emotions empower you to make a decision you would regret. I understand the betrayal. It's amazing how Spark allows us to deal with the whole sum of things/people/etc that have contributed to weight and lifestyle issues. Keep smiling, and I am definitely rooting for you. God Bless!
    2601 days ago
    Everything should rest on him right now. My kids have the same kind of dad, absent. He sees them now when it's convenient for him. I think it's good for the kids to get counseling too. The thing I didn't see in your list was any type of feeling from you towards him which makes me think you don't want to get back together. That could change as you process things. He needs to do a lot of work on himself while you continue to do what you need to for yourself!
    2601 days ago
    What a tremendously trying time but you are doing a GREAT job on staying focused not only on your girls but on yourself too!

    It is a great step that he'll go to counseling.

    Isn't spark people wonderful?! Not only help for the weight loss and healthy lifestyle but support and advice for ALL things in life!
    2601 days ago
    Out of everything and because I went through this the ONLY question/comment I have is can you ever trust him relationship will work even when it's built with the best of intentions if there is NO TRUST...just remember that....some people don't have problems rebuilding it...I am NOT one of them...big trust issues...

    It may take time but just remember if the trust isn't there then it's not a relationship...

    I'm on your side and rooting for you... emoticon
    2601 days ago
  • LEEANNZ_85
    You are very brave, especially for thinking of your kids first. No matter what happens, always remember them. But don't let your protection of the them, let your decisions take you to a place that makes you miserable all the time and not able to be a wonderful mommy for them.

    Take care of yourself and the girls and know that your spark friends will always be here if you need anything.

    2601 days ago
    Praying for you and your girls. May God grant you peace and serenity and the ability to make the right decisions, even through this stressful situation. emoticon emoticon
    2601 days ago
    Lots to say... too much for this comment. I'll email you.
    2601 days ago
    A step in the right direction...him seeking counseling!
    Even tho you feel like doing bodily harm (and I would too), you have taken steps toward healing this week. Being able to sit down and lay the cards on the table was great. Working out your anger and rage through exercise was terrific!

    Praying for you and the girls that these positives continue. It takes enormous strength to do what you are doing. I pray for continued strength for both you and your husband. Don't know if you go to church, but drawing him into church activities may help his issues.

    Your children are lucky they have you for a mom! Take Care.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2601 days ago
    Good for you! I am impressed that he sought counselling. He obviously needs to grow up and swallowing some pride to do that is a big step. I hope it helps both of you. Maybe he will become a better father out of this? Maybe?

    I give you a lot of credit for not hitting him with the box of cherries.

    2601 days ago

    And this: 'but in the interest in not going to prison for beating him to death with a box of cherries '

    made me laugh out loud!

    Hang in there.
    2601 days ago
    Wow. you are so brave. Will be praying for you.
    2601 days ago
    You are so great for thinking of your kids too! I could only imagine how hard this is for you. We all care about you here. I am so glad you kept exercising and taking care of yourself. You might feel worse if you stopped your exercise and healthy lifestyle.

    I hope you find the answers you need. If you need anything we are here for you!

    It is a big step he has started counseling. There are many people that would never consider it. (I know some people that I wish would go to counseling but they never will)

    Take care of yourself and your girls!!
    2601 days ago
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