The Pergola Project


Summer! Finally! I love this time of year when the warmth of the sun seeps deep into my bones and the pace of life seems to slow down. I am an outdoor kind of girl and love to putter around the yard, so it was no surprise to Will that I wanted to put up a pergola over our patio this year. After getting quotes and searching online for a ready-made pergola, we came to the conclusion that the only way to get exactly what we wanted, was to build it ourselves. This alone was slightly triggering. Let me explain.

In the past, Will would begin to argue, complain, attack, withdraw etc, the minute a project was proposed. What I know now, that I didn’t know then, was that he resented spending time on projects which he felt could be better spent practicing his addictive behaviors. All I saw was him telling me how my idea was stupid, that we couldn’t manage it, that it was too expensive, that it would take too much time…blah, blah, blah. He was completely unwilling to work with me and intentionally put up obstacles and resistance to thwart my plans. This made for a hellish experience when renovating our first home from pillar to post. Much of the work on that house was done by me…and my kids when I could recruit them.

So, when it became clear that building a pergola together was the best option for our plans and our bank account, I immediately bounced back to days when Will would disappear to make a Home Depot run…and didn’t come back for a couple of hours.  I thought of the many, many times when he promised to take care of some aspect of a project I couldn’t do on my own…and he never followed through. I remembered how he told me the kitchen renovation was not gonna happen unless I could do it on my own with a $500.00 budget. (I did and came in under budget at $380.00!) I know now that as we were building storage in our garage, Will was coordinating with the Skank for her trip to MY home, to sleep in MY bed and have sex with MY husband.  So…yeah, a building project with Will was an event that I both dreaded and needed to confront.

After receiving the lumber and spending a week staining and setting the footings for the posts, Saturday morning was the day. We started out okay…and then things quickly went downhill. See, Will is inflexible. He gets an agenda or method in his mind and if something doesn’t go as planned, he loses it. This is something he has been working n, but has much more work to do. So, he had in his mind a certain way to begin the pergola, and without going into the weeds here, it wasn’t a viable plan. I suggested we do it a different way and “Old Will” quickly emerged. He discounted what I was saying, began to be short and abrupt, interrupted me or spoke over me. It was not going well. But then…something amazing happened. He was on the ladder, I was on the patio holding the drill and lag bolts. He was on his way up the ladder and our spat had grown into an argument. We were sniping at each other and it was painful and ugly. He stopped going up the ladder and came down to where I was. He looked at me and said, “This is not us anymore. Let’s start over.” And we did. We spoke to one another instead of at each other. We calmly discussed our views about the best way to accomplish our goal. We apologized to one another and hugged.

Now, for some people, this is their normal. For Will and I, this was nothing short of miraculous. We worked together the entire day. From 8:30 am to our finished project at 9:30 pm. We have never, ever finished a project, even a much simpler, smaller one, in a single day. Ever. This was such a valuable lesson for us both. I learned that Will is truly changing and is trying to be present. Will learned that projects get done when he is here and present.

And we have a beautiful new 16’ x 18’ pergola that we have been enjoying every day.

Progress, people. Progress.



16 thoughts on “The Pergola Project

  1. It’s so frustrating how somehow during our lives together with our SA husbands we became part of their problem, the enemy, even though they came to us with their (hidden) addiction and they chose us because we are awesome! We are NOT part of the problem and it is a very happy day when they start really thinking about their behavior and changing it! What a great day for you both and what a beautiful pergola! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. After almost 39 years of marriage, my biggest struggle in recovery is remembering that I AM awesome and that Will is the one with the problems. For so long, the gaslighting and blame shifting tore down my confidence and self-esteem. It became a default feeling for me. Now, when he does something like stopping to suggest we start over, it allows me to recognize that I am coming from that old place of fear and I am able to bounce right out of those horrible feelings. It is the everyday small steps like these that are so helpful in healing. It is progress…slow sometimes, but progress nevertheless. **hugs**

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a process, a brutal one. Will came on my blog first (of the two of you) quite some time ago and starting commenting on old posts. I knew from both your blogs how brutal the struggle had been to that point, but I could also read in his words that he wanted to change and that he recognized how much you had suffered because of him. That’s the first step. After that it’s a slow crawl out of the darkness. It is so important that we are able to separate us from them, and I from we. We are survivors, and you are awesome, with or without Will, you are a whole person. ❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 3 people

  2. When OH and I would attempt DIY projects together, he would always have an idea in his head of how to do it. If that didn’t work, he would try every which way EXCEPT the way I suggested, because he couldn’t bear me to be the one with the solution. That was during his affair.

    I am pleased that we are far more respectful of each other’s opinions when working on things together these days. It took work, but much better now.

    Your pergola looks fab!

    Liked by 1 person

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