Valentine’s, Love and Other B.S.

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I hate roses. Hate them. I don’t like the way they smell, they are expensive and they die quickly. They were always the flower of choice for Will…he bought them for his affairs and for me. On my fortieth birthday he had forty red roses delivered to me at work. It was a huge bouquet and the entire building saw it. I was humiliated and embarrassed. Forty was already hard and then this giant bush of bright red roses that dominated my desk, making it impossible to work, making me gag from the overwhelming sickening smell was like a bullhorn yelling out to my whole office that I was old. Older than most of the twenty somethings that I worked with. It was a long, miserable day. When I got home I dutifully said thank you, told him how beautiful they were and cried after unsatisfying sex and him falling asleep.  Sex with Will was a one person endeavor. It was for him..not me. It never lasted long, that was a plus, and no matter what he did, it just wasn’t good. For me. He was too busy performing. Making sure he played the part. Pretending like I was the only one. There was never any real connection..he saved that for his O.W….even the prostitutes. After awhile, even the effort and the pretending was too taxing. He couldn’t even perform. His addiction had rendered him useless in our bed. In some ways it was a relief for me. He stopped trying, I stopped pretending, I no longer had to fake it. But I still craved affection, attention…love. I learned to live without it. Will, on the other hand, was getting it anywhere and everywhere he could. Of course I didn’t know that. I naively assumed he finally figured out that he was really bad at the whole sex thing and conceded that the effort was way more trouble than the payoff was worth. That’s the way our sex life has been for at least the last decade. I do wonder if he was any good with any of his other women. It is very easy at this point for me to go down that rabbit hole and wonder what would have made it better and start questioning if it was me but, no, I know it wasn’t.

I know because I did something entirely against my values and my character. I know that I am still capable of being wanted and desired. I know because a few months after d-day, I had my own affair. It was brief. There was a lot of talking, texting, time together There was affection, laughter, intimacy….and then…yes, amazing sex. I learned, at age 54, what the big “O” was all about. I found out that I had a G-spot and it functioned just fine, thank you. I never knew. I found out that I am capable of inciting desire in a man. That I AM desirable. Trust me…I did not think that was possible. Now, to be clear, I do not, DO NOT, advocate to anyone traveling this road to go out and have sex with someone. I did not go and look for it to happen. It was not in my plan or on my radar. I was definitely in a very triggered, PTSD fog when all of this happened. That is not an excuse, just a means to explain why I would do something so completely against my nature. What I will say, is that it was strangely validating and for the first time, sex was fulfilling and satisfying, and when it ended, I was OK. I was sad that I had hurt someone and degraded myself, but knew enough about myself to learn from it and take the lessons to heart.

I learned what we as partners confuse all the time. We believe somewhere that sex equals love.  That is one of the reasons betrayal and sex addiction in our spouses is so devastating to us…why it causes the trauma. If Will could have sex with so many others but not me, then clearly, I am not who he loves. Not true. In the sick mind of the addict, he couldn’t perform with me because I was the one person he did love. Sex for him was medicating all the ugly in his life from childhood on. It became a means of escape and he didn’t want to escape from me. Only he did. Emotionally.  That’s the dichotomy. When I had my affair, there was a true connection…it was not love, but a genuine intimacy and affection. No secrets, no pretense. Because of that, there was emotion. Not love but emotion. Something Will is incapable of. Something I have been starved of for my whole marriage.

When the emotion is taken out of the act of love-making, it’s just a physical need for release. It’s not love, it’s not really even pleasure. In my experience it is just a painful, empty, humiliating use of my body. That’s what married sex has been for me as the wife of an addict. That is what I am learning to heal from. My affair helped with that..likely the most unhealthy way to come to my healthy conclusion, but that’s just me.  Brene Brown describes love/betrayal in this way:

“Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows,  Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”

Well, aside from the “rare” part, I believe that I can still survive all that has happened regarding the “love” in my life. I am able to acknowledge things for what they are and heal from the effects. As Valentines Day approaches and red roses are everywhere, as the stores are filled with hearts and chocolates, I am not fooled. I am able to distinguish the difference between sex and love and all the B.S. in between.. I am counting that as progress.

But I still hate roses.

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16 thoughts on “Valentine’s, Love and Other B.S.

    1. You know, it’s not something I am proud of or would recommend for anyone else. It really complicates things and goes against everything I believe in. However, having said that, where I was at that point in my trauma, I honestly feel like it saved my life. I’m glad I’m in therapy…I clearly need it 😳!!!

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      1. It might be out of character for you what you did, but you needed to feel wanted and appreciated you had been neglected for so long. It is normal and natural wanting to feel something and if The attention of another man is what made you feel sane in those moments that is OK, nothing to feel shamed about. You were separated correct? It is not like you were deceiving your husband.
        Years ago when I was younger I went through my first and the only heartbreak with an ex bf, I remember I was suffering and I had a friend who encouraged me to go out and have fun and maybe find someone to have sex with. I never did but perhaps if I had it would’ve helped speed up the recovery of my broken heart. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I felt whole again and knew what true love was.
        However, when my sister’s marriage imploded on her and the cheating of her husband was discovered, they were separated after, I know she went out and found partners if you will, nothing serious, just sexual at the time but that helped her.
        We all find our own way of coping with trauma, broken hearts, and the likes.
        But good for you to be now in counseling. Xx

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  1. I think we do things at the time that are out of character inpart because the hurt is so powerful and overwhelming that you want to feel something, anything different. I found myself cutting because that physical pain was more bearable than the emotional pain. Are they the best ways to cope- absolutely not!

    But I think behaving out of character also lets us see how far gone we really have become and it’s sometimes the first step in getting us back to where we truly want to be- back to the “me” I used to be, the me I know and recognize.

    I’m sorry for all the ways your husband has deeply hurt and disappointed you. I think it’s important for you to get it all out. I think it’s also important for him to know all this but also to know that while he can take it as you writing in anger or bitterness, what he truly needs to understand and keep in the forefront of his mind is that what you’re sharing comes from is a deep, deep well of sadness.

    What you have experienced is a deep trauma- and you’re choosing wisely to let that out through writing. If he reads it I’m sure he will be hurt but his focus really needs to be on you this time and not himself.

    That’s really love- getting our eyes of our own hurt to see someone else’s.

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    1. Well, there is little chance of him reading it and I don’t care one way or the other. He already knows about it anyway. (That’s a story for another day!) He doesn’t know I blog. I think he may have a blog somewhere too but we really aren’t in one another’s lives at this point so….I write this stuff down for me mostly. To get it out and to get feedback like yours. I am finding that it helps. Thanks so much! *hugs*

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      1. Yes- that’s a lot of pain to get out, and I think writing it out is a good healthy way for all of us to cope- but it took me almost a year in before I could actually sit down and handle the pain through writing! Knowing we’re not the only ones sucks and helps all at once! Hugs right back to you! ❤️

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  2. He does have a blog Leigh. I am glad you are blogging. It does help to get it all out and there are some really understanding people here. Some reconciling and some not but most of us in the same boat. Some with sex addiction and some with narcissists. It is crap place to be but not a lot we can do about it.
    Stay strong and sending you hugs. (((((((Hugs))))))))

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    1. Hmmm…well I hope it help him as much as mine is helping me. How do you know it’s my H? Also, for some reason, I am unable to view your blog..it says it’s private. I sent an access request if that’s ok. Thank you for your sweet comments..hugs back atcha…😊

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      1. He has a blog called ‘ will surrender’ the story matches and his wife is called Leigh. I am so sorry you are here. He has done some really awful things.
        They all have lead lives of deceit and manipulation to live so selfishly and leave us here questioning and hurting and trying to heal.
        I wish you healing and recovery on this journey . Xxxxx

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      2. He said he read my blog because it gave him some hope in reconciliation but after reading your posts I can feel you are a million miles away from thinking that way. Xxxxx

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      3. Yeah, the thing with Will is that he is still pretending…only now he’s pretending at recovery. He is “going through the motions” I’m sure his blog is just part of it..or it’s a new way to meet women. He’s done something similar before. In recent weeks he’s stolen my mail, peeked through the windows (stalking), and emailed MY therapist. It’s all about control. I hope he doesn’t come across my blog…I’m sure he will try to find a way to sabotage or hijack it. Part of me feels sorry for him..he’s a smart guy but so utterly clueless. As far as reconciliation? That is a distant hope at this point. I don’t think he will ever be well and I won’t live with an addict. So….yeah.

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      4. I certainly won’t tell him about your blog. I had contact with him when he first read my blog and I am not sure I can remember but there was something he said or some reaction he had and I commented that it was not a healthy way for him to react.
        The trouble is that they have learnt to lie and manipulate so well that it is hard to know the real truth. All my therapists have said that if it is still their narcissistic manipulation they will slip up. If it is the real deal then time and actions will tell.
        Xxxx

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      5. Well, hopefully he will figure it out. Either way, I’m just working on me and I have found such great insight and support thru blogging. Thank you for your words…it is so good to converse with others that actually understand. *hugs*

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