Thirty-Nine YEARS

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June 30th was our anniversary. Our 39th anniversary. It’s a long time to be married. It’s an even longer time to be married to a sex addict. 😏

When we were married in 1979 (yikes!), the world was a different place. Men were different and women were different. All I wanted was to be married to someone who loved me like crazy and would be my friend, my lover, my protector and the father of my children. I was committed and meant every word of our wedding vows…to love, honor and cherish. Thru thick and thin, in sickness and in health. I MEANT those words. I think those words were completely foreign to Will. He did not comprehend, let alone mean any of them. And, let’s face it, he’s not a quick study.

Many, many times in the past 39 years, we have come close to calling it quits. When he cheated, when he lied, when he ruined us financially (over and over), when he was demoted in the military (twice), when they courts martialled him, when he confessed “everything” in 1996 and pretended to turn over a new leaf…and then of course, D-day. Never in that time, was I truly happy. Never in that time did I feel loved and protected. As puzzled by the words love, honor and cherish Will was, I was equally puzzled as to why my marriage was always so difficult and why was there something missing? I did not know what it meant to be loved, honored or cherished. I thought what we had, was as good as I deserved. Will often told me, in so many ways, that I was not good enough, I was difficult, I was the cause of everything that HE had done. And I believed it. Only really special women were loved and cherished…and I was not special. When D-day and the aftermath of slow mini disclosures came about, I had complete confirmation that I was not special…not to Will, not to my girls, not to my mother or sister. I had always felt alone…after D-day, I realized I had always been alone. It was the hardest time of my life. And I tried to end it. I thank God that I failed. That was three years ago when we had been “married” for a mere 36 years. Times have changed.

Looking back, I can’t honestly say why we are still together. We don’t have an epic, overwhelming love story. We aren’t the beautiful, wealthy, accomplished people who seem to have it all together. Currently, we don’t have the passion for one another that we hope to have when we get to that point in our recovery. But, I think there is much to be said for commitment. But, like I said, 39 years ago, men and women were different. When you married, you stayed married.  Even through all of Will’s infidelities, when his addiction was at its peak times, the thought of divorce never crossed his mind. When we married, I committed to Will…heart and soul. I took our vows seriously and I lived them. Will took what he understood, seriously…it’s just that he never understood them. He just knew that somewhere within him, he didn’t want to be without me. It has taken him 39 long years to start figuring it all out. But, we both look back now, and understand commitment differently. We treasure our history, our shared memories, our family, our experiences, our laughter and our sorrows. I think this is all why we are still together and willing to keep working for our marriage.

Today I can say that I am not alone. I do still get lonely and I am working on that. I am no longer puzzled by the past because I have my eyes wide open now and the confusing signals I got then, make sense knowing what I now know. I have discovered that Will is not the key to me feeling special or “enough.” I now know that his addictions were born largely out of his own feelings that he was not special or enough. I am still learning what it is to feel loved. Will is still learning how to love. We still have much to learn…but the difference now is that we are learning together. Finally, after nearly four decades, we are on the same path. We are living our lives differently now and it feels so much better and healthier. We see little changes in one another that are making big differences. Life is good. I am blessed and grateful.

Leigh ❤️

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The Pergola Project

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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.

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Three

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Today is my D-day anniversary. Three years. Three years ago, May 17th was a Sunday. Will and I had gone to church, come home and had Sunday dinner and then our son and his wife called us as they usually did on Sunday afternoon. Will and I had returned a few days earlier from a trip to Florida. A work trip for him. Time to relax in the sun for me. Time “together” in the evenings for us as a couple. Only….it didn’t really work out like that. For some reason, Will had meetings late in the afternoon and early evening. I spent each night on my own (table for one please) and he was wrapped up in “work stuff” on his phone and IPad.

Well, that Sunday evening, after returning home, it all became clear. Those distant too-busy-with-work-to-spend-time-with-the-wife moments were spent with “The Ho’” planning their next encounter when he would travel to her state ostensibly to work, but actually to have sex. Disgusting, can’t-vocalize-the-words kind of sex. That trip never happened because that narcissistic Ho couldn’t resist sending selfies of herself to Will’s phone…while it was on speaker…while having our Sunday evening convo with our son and daughter in law and grandson. He was busted and my heart was broken out that day.

So, yes. It has been three years since that day. Guess where we are. Florida. Same business conference. Same state. Same time of year. But…different. I am OK. Will is OK. He went to a golf meeting today with a client and unlike last year, I stayed at the resort. I spent time with myself. I read, I watched T.V., I took myself out to dinner and had alone time. I was alone like that trip three years ago, but I wasn’t lonely. We have come a long way. He checked in throughout the day…not to be accountable, but to connect. To say he loved me. To tell me how his golf game went. To tell me what he was having for dinner. It was nice. It was comfortable. It was healthy.

So, yeah….three years. Time has not flown by. It has been rough. It has been painful and we still have our moments. But it is better. Better than deceit. Better than loneliness. Better than neglect. Better than the insanity of addiction.

Just…Better.

Leigh ❤️

Still Here. Still Trying.

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The saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun” is not what comes to mind when describing my little six months + hiatus from blogging. It has been a rough half-year.

Nothing catastrophic or life changing. Just. . .life. Will and I have had the least healthy period in our lives. From flu, to bronchitis, to pneumonia to surgeries and infections…well…we are both currently healthy and looking forward to a warm active summer. But, I gotta say, it’s been a long, cold winter of discontent.

We had an odd Thanksgiving. No family this year…just the two of us. I had a minor surgery on my wrist in early November which got infected, then became critical requiring a second procedure and a pic line of antibiotics. It put a damper on the day for sure. This was the beginning of our (insert ominous music here) season of sickness. We had a quick trip to see daughter number 2 and her family, then had a lovely time decorating this new home for Christmas and enjoyed shopping for family. We had a peace and contentment with the season until about a week before Christmas, we both came down with the flu. The I-wish-God-would-just-end-my-misery-with-merciful-death kind of flu. We struggled through Christmas Eve dinner and then a short visit to daughter 1 on Christmas Day. Then quarantined ourselves for the next week and a half. We delayed our annual New Year’s Day feast for a full week as we just couldn’t manage. A series of disturbing laboratory results for me was followed by the same wrist surgery for Will. By February, we were both suffering from medical fatigue. Too many trips to doctor appointments, hospital visits and consultations. In March, our beloved canine child began failing and we lost him to pneumonia among other old age maladies. Then, bronchitis and pneumonia laid us out for a couple of weeks. Thankfully, we have a different doctor than our dog and we were not put down. 😏 Anyway, we are both now feeling better and still working hard on our marriage and recovery.

All of this illness has been such a harsh reminder of our mortality and our very human frailty. In the midst of some of our worst days over the last few months, it was impossible not to think about the what if’s. What if one of us did not survive the flu from hell? What if that infection had paralyzed or disabled me? What if that pneumonia was so severe that Will could not be cured? And, what if I was alone throughout this season of sickness?

The words, “in sickness and in health,” keep coming into my mind. In our, now nearly 39 years, of marriage, we have had more sickness (emotionally, physically and psychologically) than health. And yet, here we are. Still working on full health. Still recovering. Still here…together. Still trying.

I am heartened by this wonderful quote from Jeffrey R. Holland-

“Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”

There ARE good things to come.

Leigh ❤️

On Being Lonely

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Will and I used to have such a “great” social life…back in the day. Lots of friends, lots of parties, fun times out, friends over for dinners and holidays. We really were a go to couple for social gatherings and good times. What I didn’t know was that Will was more than social with more than a few of those so-called friends at the time. In 1995, I had had enough of Will’s drinking and abuse. He had ruined us financially with his gambling and finally disclosed his serial cheating. (I thought completely at the time..he was still lying) I was leaving. I went back to my faith and began making plans for divorce. Will seemed resigned at first but then had a change of heart. He, too, began to attend church and we reconciled. He seemed to be a new man. I never saw him drink, he cleaned up his language and never laid a hand on me in anger again. Because he dutifully served in the church, I believed his sexual acting out and gambling had stopped too. Our social life changed. We had a few close couple friends who knew our story and were with us through our life changing conversion from party people to a solid family committed to our marriage and to God. Then we got orders and moved.

It is always difficult in a new place in the military lifestyle. It takes a little while to find one’s niche…one’s posse…one’s crew. But this move was a little harder. At church we felt at odds telling anyone about Will’s past…at least Will did. he didn’t want me to give anyone details…so I didn’t. He didn’t go out drinking with anyone at work and didn’t really like anyone he now worked with. I had friends at my job and tried to go on double date nights with Will and my friends and their hubby’s.Nothing ever clicked. We had several good friends thru church and had an active enough social life in that respect…just no one we felt really close to. I felt like we were hiding the big secret that was Will’s “former” life.

Will retired from the military and got a great job. I thought maybe this would lead to some new social opportunities. But, no. A couple of great company trips and hanging out at resorts with his co-workers…but that’s it. He moved within the company to a new division and, well, he didn’t really seem interested in making good friends or introducing me to anyone. I retreated into myself. I began to find it harder and harder to make friends. I dreaded questions about Will and I. How long we had been married. Where we had lived. Why had we fallen from our faith and what had brought us back. It became easier to just rely on my family, my kids, who knew our history.  I would find a group of girlfriends at work, but when talk of the past or of personal stuff came up, the friendships became scary for me and I would just sort of let them go. I know now that I was suffering from unresolved trauma but did not know what it was. All I knew was I felt much like I always had…there was something shameful and embarrassing in our past and I shouldn’t talk about it. So I didn’t.

I felt myself slowly diminish into a shadow of myself for 20 years. 20 long years. I was so alone. I had my children…and then my grandchildren. I took care of my home, my husband, my family, my job, was a dutiful daughter and sister. A faithful church member and friendly neighbor. But I was so very lonely. My oldest daughter had never been able to stand me. I think she loved me, but it was somewhere very deep within her. She admits to hating me for a very long time. My son was away on a mission for two years and my younger daughter lived out-of-state.  I had my two dogs…which Will did NOT want to get but allowed and did love eventually. Still, I was alone. Will began to travel a lot. I was lonelier still.

In 2013, an amazing thing happened. My younger daughter moved home! Her husband had been stationed at our nearby base and they bought a home less than 5 mins from me. I was ecstatic! My four grandkids and my best-friend-daughter-that-never-hated-me was home! I wasn’t lonely for the first time in decades! They would go to the zoo and invite me. I wanted to go out to lunch and would call them. They needed someone to help with Halloween costumes…I was there! It was glorious! I was happy! Will would go out-of-town and it was ok…I would go over for movie night.

Then D-day. My daughters were the first people I called. They came over. My oldest preferred to call Will before getting to the house. In the meantime, my sweet daughter who shared everything with me and me with her, did not take the news that I had asked Will to leave the house because I caught him having an affair. She screamed. And then said simply, “I can’t be here.” And left. My older daughter came in and told me that Will was staying at her house and she already knew what had happened…she had just gotten off the phone with him. She offered to stay with me for a few minutes. My son called and all he could say was, “Oh my Gosh.” He just kept repeating that. His sweet wife texted me 30 minutes later saying she loved me, came stay with them out-of-state for awhile if I needed to.

And then. . .nothing. I was left to myself. My oldest called to make sure I was “okay.” My younger daughter did not call. My son texted, “I love you, mom.” None of the kids could or would talk to me. I foolishly thought that after protecting them and nurturing them their whole lives, they would be there for me when I was so very alone. I was wrong.

Later when I found out the full extent of the betrayal from Will, I called and told my mother. I told her about Will and my sister. She took my sister’s side. My sister attacked me via text with such vile and disgusting language I had to block her.  I no longer have a mom or a sister. My older sister died just after this incident two years ago and I was threatened if I came home for the funeral. Tomorrow, my older sister would have been 58. Again, I was a fool to think that after supporting my mother, bailing her out financially, protecting my sister and being there for here time and time again…there would be comfort or support for me. Again, I was wrong. Neither of them are part of my life anymore.

Now, over two years after D-day, I am again alone. We have moved again. Our new church does not know our history or the trauma. They do not know us. I am afraid of the questions. Why did you move? (Because my husband screwed a nasty herpes infested whore in every room of my old house and it reeked of skank and deceit.) Yeah…not the best way to gain new friends.

My younger daughter and her family have moved again too…out of state. But, that relationship has never been the same. I no longer have a best friend. My older daughter is still here and she no longer hates me, so that is good. But we are not best friends. I don’t have friends. I am so very, very alone.

Will works farther away from home now, twice the drive to and from, so is home with me less. I am physically alone most of my day…every day. I talk to my dog…and the robot vacuum. I don’t like who I am becoming. And I haven’t got the first clue how to change it. It is exhausting even thinking about trying to make friends. I am terrified that somehow, someone will *gasp* find out! That we will be looked at as “those” people. The pressure of living an isolated, hidden, shameful life is slowly killing me. How? How do I get past this, blogger friends? What do I do? Please help!

Leigh ❤️

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Recovery. . .

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A couple of weeks ago, on my way to my twice monthly appointment with Ron the Therapist, I stopped to get gas. I had been shopping on the East side of town and stopped at a place I have never been. I had plenty of time before I had to meet Will at the therapist’s office so planned on running my car through the car wash after filling up.  My car never got that wash. As I was only a couple of gallons in, I heard a voice, with a little chuckle in it, calling my name. I turned and there he was. I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in many, many, many months. Not gonna lie…I HAD thought of him. He was the first man with whom I realized sex was more than just something to be endured because the man enjoyed it. He was THAT guy. The man with whom I had had my PTSD fog-filled affair.  Then why, oh why, did seeing him there, unexpected, make my heart flip-flop and my knees turn to jelly? All of the sudden, things occurred in the ‘ole nether regions, that had long been asleep. Against all recovery advice, I did not politely extricate myself from his presence and leave. I couldn’t. I. Physically. Could. Not. We talked. We both kept smiling. He asked if we could pull over and get coffee. My brain said NO! OF COURSE NOT! But I heard my voice say, “sure.” Now, before anyone out there thinks I completely lost my mind…NO! Absolutely nothing happened. Zero. We talked. He bought me a soda. We caught up. He kept saying how great I looked. And kept asking if I was happy. I kept thanking him and assuring him I was working hard. He left for work (night shifts), I headed to my marriage counseling appointment.

So, here is my problem. I have kept this whole thing to myself. Not a word to Ron the Therapist. And worse-not a word to Will. And I have no idea why!  It isn’t that I feel guilt. For whatever reason I don’t. Nothing happened and after all is said and done, I know that I will always care for this man. Love? No. Affection? Absolutely. Why, you ask? Simply because he was kind, compassionate, sensual, thoughtful and loving when I was at my most needy and vulnerable. And, because despite everything, he gave me something I have never had before. Fulfillment. That is not easily forgotten.

I am struggling with this because I feel that I need to be honest with Will and with Ron the Therapist, but there is a perverse need in me to keep this to myself. It’s almost as if I am savoring it and holding it close.  I don’t know what to do with this. I don’t want to share it, or give it away, or make it an issue. I want to be selfish and keep it for myself. In just seeing and talking to him, I felt beautiful and sexy and desired and funny, and smart and loved. Why doesn’t Will make me feel that?  What is wrong with me?

Time

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Time is a funny thing. The older I get the more elusive time tracking gets for me. My memory is so very crystal clear about many things; my grandchildren’s sweet faces and words, my kids as they have grown into such amazing adults and parents themselves, places I have been, things I have experienced, foods I have tasted, feelings. . . Ah….here is where my memories become so muddied and time seems stilted and disjointed.  So many of my memories are not just sights and sounds and smells, but the feelings that accompanied those senses. And those feelings get jumbled when the lens of betrayal is placed on them. And I have no choice but to see things through that lens now, because nothing is as I thought. And then the time warp begins. I desperately want those good feelings to remain intact. I want the happiness and contentment I thought I felt to stay firmly in place. I need my memories of my life to remain stable and sane (relatively 😳) so that I feel sane and stable. Relatively. Only they are not. Nothing was what it seemed. Time cannot be regained. Tainted memories cannot be erased. History will not be rewritten.

June 30th marked 38 years of marriage for Will and I. I have been committed and engaged and working hard on being married for at least 36 of those years. (There were some really horrible times when I just didn’t care and wanted to leave.) For Will, he has been really, truly a married man for nearly two years. I still feel so cheated and cheated on. I still have so much resentment. I still hurt. I’m still triggered…way more than I want to be, or feel that I should. Will is still doing all the recovery stuff he is supposed to do. . . But. . .

I caught him taking a second look today at a woman in short shorts at CostCo. The look of guilt on his face was not one of  “I can’t believe I stumbled in my recovery.” It was more like, “Crap, I got caught!” I spiraled. I’m not good. I’m mad, I’m hurt, I’m disgusted, I’m. . .I don’t know…but not good. I feel like he has been doing double takes and fantasizing all along and lying about it, and I only just now caught him because he got sloppy. I HATE this. I am doing some self care. I have asked for some distance..not physically..just detach for awhile so I can process.

I just want this to stop. I don’t want to be this person and I don’t want to live like this forever. When will it get better?