Click here for part 1
For the following very long 8 days we traded our boys back and forth every other night. My husband was staying at his parent’s house and they were out of town so they had boy’s sleepovers with him. My daughter wants nothing to do with my husband and hasn’t for many years, her finding out about the affairs is just icing on the hate cake she carries around for him.
During this time I felt so amazing. I loved the breaks from the boys. I loved having my own space, my own room, doing my own thing. I began to remember who I was and as I remembered I remembered how I actually really like who I am. I had needed this separation so much. I needed to be separate from him to see truth of who I am. I needed it to get out of shock. I needed it to get a break from being re-traumatized constantly and get my feet under me so that I could stand up. I felt like I was strengthening my emotional core muscles, like I was able to hold myself emotionally upright for the first time since d-day. I felt peace, and happiness. My husband was still around. He wasn’t sleeping at the house but after the first few days, once I moved past the anger that made me to fear hurting him, we were able to be peaceful and be around each other. I felt very unsafe with him and was not affectionate at all with him for days. Eventually we would hi-five goodbye when he would leave which was actually super funny and playful and nice. We had several very open, tearful discussions. Through one of these discussions I got another big blow to my safety. I found out he wasn’t actually working a recovery program. A friend of mine had brought up some questions in me through a conversation we had had earlier that day and I asked him some very direct questions and discovered this. I had asked him several questions on a handful of occasions and was assured he was doing what he needed to do. He wasn’t. There is addict brain again. Normal person brain: “If there’s something I’m supposed to be doing daily that I’ve only done a few times over the past 5 months that my wife has had me sign a form saying she will divorce me if I don’t do these things that’s a BIG deal. First of all, this means I’m really struggling to make this a daily habit. Second, my wife is going to be very hurt and my marriage is in danger”. Addict brain: “I’ve done this a few times over the past 5 months. I’m doing it.” Except of course addict brain doesn’t actually think even that clearly or with such self-awareness. It just instantly concludes that anything done once or twice has been done and will then assure itself and anyone else that it is being done as promised. Again, it’s maddening. I’m learning the hard way that though I would love to be totally detached from his addiction and his recovery, in order to keep myself safe I have to ask pointed questions. And I have to think like an addict and think of questions to ask that don’t naturally come to mind to me because I have a rational brain and things that are blatantly obvious and common sense in my brain are not so in an addict brain. A few months before we had had a discussion about doing step work daily. He had told me at that time that he hadn’t been doing it daily, that he had been praying and reading scriptures daily and that he felt those were the most important things. I spoke my peace about the importance of the steps and working the program, fully expecting him to come home (this was a text conversation) and be upset with me. He came home, hugged me and told me I was right and promised he would be doing step work daily. So I was led to believe he was doing it daily from that point on, but he wasn’t. I had also asked him if he was working on the “roster.” I would like to know exactly how many women my husband has been with and I had asked him to take an inventory. He had done this for his first polygraph but when I read over it there were people missing that he had told me about before and he was rushed into doing it (the polygrapher requested he do it while we were in his office for the test) so we knew the dates and time frames were off, in fact the few I knew about were different on paper than what he had told me before. He had said that he was working on it. Turns out what this really meant was that a few times he had written a couple of name’s down on a piece of paper and then forgotten to work on it, found the paper later and shredded it and started over. Repeat process. I found out he had never at any point written anything in his 12-step book. He was “doing” the writing portion of the steps in his head. He had referred to his inner circle behaviors in conversations before, so I assumed he had actually put his circle map down on paper. No, that was in his head too. How convenient for the survival of his addiction because anything left floating around the head can easily be warped and justified and addict behaviors can quickly take over. I discovered that he did not even know what step 1 for SA entailed, even though he had claimed to have been working step 1 for 5 solid months (no step should ever take 5 months). He had read straight through the book and up to step “8 or 9” according to him at the time (it turned out in truth he’d read up through step 6) but he had no memory or knowledge of what step 1 was even about or what he was supposed to be doing in that step… which is to take a full inventory of his sexual history. This is HUGE and is the most painful and dreaded thing for myself and all wives. This is where I get to learn even more traumatizing stuff that he didn’t tell me or remember in the beginning. He had insisted for months that this inventory was part of step 4, and I honestly feel that he was avoiding progressing for this reason. Had he really read the manual he would have known sexual history inventory was part of step 1 and that step 4 inventory was a whole-life inventory. This was brought to my attention by a friend who showed me in the SA white book what it says they need to do in step 1. All he had really been doing was praying and reading scriptures. He seemed to want props for this because he sees it as the most important part of recovery. I do not wholly disagree. It’s a given that everyone needs to pray and read scriptures daily. Those two things are the foundation for all healing and growth and no one is without need for that. However, he’s an addict and he’s an addict because of childhood issues related to his parents. He’s got to do a lot of work in order to heal negative core beliefs and the cause of this addiction.
We separated on Friday January 13th. By Sunday I was feeling so amazing I PLAYED with my kids. Like, full-on pretend-played with actual getting down on their level and being animated and laughing and having a great time…. This is not something I’ve done in years! My husband was at our home as well playing with the kids. It was a wonderful day.
It was on Saturday evening, though it seems like it had been days after we’d separated, my husband called me crying. He said that nothing was worth losing me, that I was his whole life and that even if he lost his business –even his whole career- it would be worth it to have me in his life. He said that he would talk to his business partner on Monday about hiring men and letting the women go. When he hung up he immediately sent a text to his partner telling him he needed to talk with him on Monday. That meeting did not go so well. His partner asked to think about it overnight and the next day we had both received emails stating that he would not agree to discriminating and hiring only men and that if my husband didn’t like it he could walk. On a side note, I find this hypocritical considering they both originally discriminated against men when they were hiring employees. I still have not had the courage to read this email and my husband cautioned me that it may be very hurtful to me. We have been friends with his business partner and his wife for about 8 years. It feels like another betrayal to me. I guess you learn who your true friends are when you go through difficult times. His wife had just hugged me at our son’s baptism a few weeks before and told me I could count on her for anything I needed. Clearly not. This leaves us with several options, none of them ideal. We now need to have a meeting with them to present these options and see what happens. This is very scary for me for two reasons. One, because this will potentially be very emotionally damaging to me because I’m in a fragile state and I’m facing two completely business minded people who have betrayed me as friends. Two, because pretty much any option is going to cause upheaval in our lives financially and emotionally. The third, and most scary, is that these people have information that could end his career should they decided to use it against him. That would leave us with school debt far beyond anything he could ever pay off with any other job. The good news in all of this is that every option will put my husband in a position to only have male employees and the best part is that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help me to feel as safe as possible.
As we’ve been going through this we’ve also been going through a struggle to get an appointment with our polygrapher and my husband was due for his second test the first week of January. Our guy is busy with contract work right now and not taking private clients. The only other good guy in the area only sends the reports to counselors. And he’s more expensive. So basically this guy wants me to pay hundreds of dollars for something I don’t actually receive in the end. This was hugely triggering for me. The polygraph is for ME. MY questions that I have written are what are being asked on it. I should be the one the official report is sent to and I do not want my husband’s counselor involved in it in any way.
I was very sad at the beginning of this separation because one of the gifts we had given our kids was a family trip to stay at a cabin in the mountains to play in the snow. Our youngest had never been in snow before and none of our kids had ever even been sledding. Initially I told my husband to take them by himself and bond with them. After contemplating a few days I realized I was not willing to let him ruin this family trip for me and I was going to go and we would just have separate rooms and it would be like an in-home separation. We were set to leave on January 22nd.
For the continuation of this story, click here.
(This entry was written 164 days after D-day on January 28, 2017)