Really? But They Seemed Like Such A Nice Family, So Normal

Once during one of our “discussions”, he had said to me that “everything is not all about you”.  While on the surface this could be seen as a hurtful statement, I understood (I think) what he meant by that even though he may not realize it.  Doing so would mean he must acknowledge the dysfunction in his family of origin.

Sometimes people mistakenly believe that all abuse is mean, direct, straight forward, name calling, drunken beatings in a lower, deprived class of people.  That is so NOT TRUE at all .  Sometimes it is blended into what is basically a warm and loving family.  This family wants what is loving and nurturing and healthy for it but (for whatever) reason in their history something stained it .  Sometimes it goes outwardly bad, easy to recognize.  Other times it grows inwardly, causing it to be sickened despite still wanting what is good.

To own this means you acknowledge  what was always presented as “perfect”, simply is not so. It is not the truth. It is a facade, all for outward appearances  It hurts to realize that your behavior was (albeit unintentional) detrimental to yourself and the one you created. If you refuse to accept this as part of your reality, you deceive yourself.  When you finally (maybe) see a glimpse of it for what it is, it’s too painful so you push it away.  Don’t acknowledge ,then it won’t be true.  Otherwise people will recognize it for the facade it was. To cover up the pain that sometimes comes along with the love, within families.

My husbands’ inability to acknowledge any of this (in our family or his FOO), is ultimately what was the cause of his affair/s. However I feel like I do see moments of a little understanding from him.  I think I’ll call it vague recognition, like when you know but you really don’t want to know. If you never acknowledge it then it can never be real.  He doesn’t want it to be that he grew up in this type of family. Who would? But not acknowledging it is catching up with him, and that is what he meant when he said “It’s not always all about you”. At least that’s what I think because I see hints of recognition from him every now and then.

Maybe I am trying to read his mind.  I have to . He doesn’t share whats going on inside very well, if at all.  This is the life of a covert narcissist.  Wishing that everything is perfect (who doesn’t) but can’t accept that life is just not really that way. We are all human with flaws and imperfections.  I think one of the most appropriate descriptions of this is from Christopher Leasch in a book he wrote a long time ago about Narcissism (can’t remember exact title).  He describes a covert narcissist as someone who;

“Although perfectly capable of lighting candles, prefers cursing the darkness”

But people pretend (families pretend, sometimes for generations) and when it eventually catches up with some of them, they try to cast that away.  Which causes hurt , to them, their significant other and children, basically their immediate family.

I guess that’s where the saying “you only hurt the the ones you love” may have come from.

That’s what I believe he means by the “it’s not all about you” statement.  That he is recognizing that much of the strife between us, was not always about us.  It was about him.  And he knows that deep inside. Even if he refuses to outwardly admit that and accept it.Heck my family of origin was pretty screwed up as well – I admit it is the root of a lot of my own issues.  I don’t like it but I acknowledge.  I know I brought baggage from childhood into my family. I know that husband and I are the ones responsible for the problems that our kids deal with.  He does not like when I say that. I don’t either but you just got to own it to change anything, ever.

I am glad to say that not all betrayeds are dealing with a narcissistic spouse.  Many may not even know or have come in contact with this type of person. If you have, I’m pretty sure you couldn’t tell, you were on the outside, looking in and weren’t privy to such behavior.  It is not uncommon for this type of spouse  (narcissistic) to go on undetected by others for a long time.  One of my good friends (who knows of my husband’s affair and is very supportive of me) even said to me recently,  “I believe you, but I just don’t see it”.

It made me realize that there may be others who cannot see it, for what it is-COVERT ABUSE!  The link below is an excellent website about understanding Narcissism written by Michael Samsel MA, LMHC. The specific article titled Narcissism as ‘Difficult behavior’  explains it so well   If you don’t have time (right now) to read the entire article (although I reccommend it )– PLEASE scroll down to the last paragraph or two that are specific to covert abuse.

It’s time for people to understand this about our society, in hopes of making changes so we educate young people on how to prevent this from happening.  We Must break the generational cycle somehow, someway.  It is destroying what are basically good people and their families. No one deserves the pain abuse causes. Sometimes, affairs can be a symptom of underlying abuse.  We need no reminders of how painful the discovery of an affair can be.  If you’ve been there you will know what I mean.


How many miles have you logged on your treadmill?

There may be a few of you who have noticed that I’ve been MIA recently.  It has to do with a brain that works overtime,   overtime that never reaches the end of the shift.  Like running on a treadmill, always moving, feels like forward but you just never get there. It can happen due to lots of different things I imagine.  For me it has been  learning trying to live again and cope with  life beyond the trauma of infidelity with a narcissistic husband.

Even after the conscious decision to let the obsession go, my mind refuses to stop.  I have read about those who NEVER move beyond the mind treadmill.  It is actually a symptom of a type of disorder.   OMG am I disordered?  Because I still find it difficult to empty  my mind of the persistent thoughts, they refuse to go away.  And while THIS life line, that I found some 22 months ago, (through writing this blog and the reading of others’) can be attributed with my surviving after his infidelity, it can also be like kryptonite.

The fuel that contributes to the never-ending cycle in my head. I found that if I get busy and don’t check in with blogs I follow,  my mind kinda moves on to other things.  But then I find a window and begin catching up, and  my brain jumps right back on that treadmill and I’m off and running again. When I try to not think about it, it makes think about it, and I try to not think about it, which makes me think even more.  I needed a break.  My brain needed a break.  It makes one realize that there can be positive and negative in everything we do. The proverbial two-edged sword.

So why then does my brain not let it go when I make this conscious decision ?    After 20 months and much improvement in our marriage why won’t it stop?  If I attempt to bring it up he gets upset, because I think he has no intention of ever answering those questions.  Maybe it’s all make believe.   There does come a point where if you can’t ever move past it,  it will begin to push your partner away.  If you’ve gotten the answers you needed, your spouse works with you towards healing, maybe you only have fleeting thoughts, not treadmill activity, then you’re moving forward.  But if you still have unanswered questions, you may be on a treadmill too.

It’s not that we don’t spend time together (doing things we enjoy and chores too) it’s just the way he can seem so detached. I mean he’s there, I can see him physically there in the same room, yet I can feel like i’m alone. WHY?? It is one of the hardest questions I have still have. Why can it still feel so disconnected, yet seem so good? Is he still thinking of her despite everything?

Much of the research indicates that a long-term emotional affair can be very difficult to detach from. Is he still stuck on her? How did he detach from her SO easily?  No matter how good it has been between us why can’t I believe him?  Why? Because it feels like he wishes he was somewhere else.  I mean how do we work on this marriage if it’s all superficial.  He doesn’t seem to want to tackle any of the deeper stuff we need to address. And I don’t mean affair I mean us issues. It’s all about keeping it the peace, keep it looking good from the outside.  Don’t get me wrong, he has made many changes. But  something is missing. I needed to know once and for all if he was still contacting her. Since my private investigator was pretty much worthless,  I made a very bold move in an attempt to know the truth, once and for all.


The Turtle Pond

This last summer my youngest son came home with two red eared slider turtles. Someone he knew had them and couldn’t take them where moving to and since we have a fish pond he brought them home and put into the pond. My husband was a bit worried about his fish some of the smaller ones could of been eaten so he made them their own pond.

Keep reading I think you’ll like the twist at the end!!

Their shells measured about 5″ x 7″ both about the same size. To tell them apart I glued a small jewel to their backs, one turquoise and one orange. You wouldn’t think that turtles have much personality but after observing them daily, I realized just how much I enjoyed interacting with them. However the pond was not deep enough and it became difficult to maintain. I decided to dig a bigger, deeper one that would be located under a shade canopy where the boys dirt pile for playing used to be.

About this time my next door neighbor (who also has a soft spot for animals) asked if I might take three more turtles that were going to be abandoned. I wasn’t sure if I wanted that many to care for but I didn’t want to see them released into the wild so I agreed. She brought them over when I wasn’t home and son put them in the new pond. Two of them were smaller than turquoise and Amy G. (the orange one), about 5″x 3″, the twins. And a bigger one, that I named Diva. At first the new additions were very skiddish, but finally adjusted and seemed to LOVE their new home.

Each morning I would take my coffee and sit and observe them. It was awesome they have such personalities, are curious about things and love to try to escape. I began to see that the smallest one really liked Diva. Always following her around getting right in her face, taking his front paw/claws and would ruffle his fingers along her cheeks and then swim behind her appearing to mount her. I thought that seems like a mating
ritual so off to the computer to research it and sure enough it was. Do I know about love or what?

I also found out how to tell whether male or female, sure enough the littlest one is a male and the other four are female. I call him junior and junior is in LOVE with Diva. Only Diva, junior doesn’t perform this with any of the other girls just Diva. He is obsessed with her, follows her everywhere, won’t leave her alone. It seemed so cute, at first.

After a while I began to notice that the back of Diva’s neck looked raw like her shell had been scraping against it hard or something. I didn’t know what or why this was happening to her and it appeared to be getting worse. One morning as I walked up to the pond junior was attached to Divas neck, biting her and even when I poked him with a stick he wouldn’t let go! When I finally got him to let go I pulled him out and put him in a big tote. (These turtles live in water). But after a few days I felt bad for him and put him back in. Sure enough the next morning there he is again attached to her neck- okay FUCK THIS YOU LITTLE BASTARD- I’m not going to let you abuse Diva- back in the tote. What was I to do?

Being the clever, resource gal that I am (and the fact that we have so much crap in our garage) I found two plexi-glass sheets large enough to section off a corner for junior to live in (its bigger than a 25-gallon aquarim) so he can be in the same pond, still see the others, the three little fish go back and forth between the cracks so it’s still all one environment. But junior does not seem to like it. He spends his days trying to swim through or escape to the girls in the rest of the pond. And they come to glass and observe him in his relentless pursuit, he still will follow Diva only back and forth along the glass wall. He seems to suffer so.

And here’s the part you’ve been waiting for, wondering where this post is going: I enjoy it! I enjoy torturing him and watching him suffer the loss of his lover, the one that he abused so viciously when no one was looking. And I felt Divas pain when she looked in my eyes asking me to get him away from her and I understood how she felt like no one would help her escape the torture, of being loved and abused in the name of that love. Am I sick or what? It feels so good to punish an abuser, imprison him in the compound and force him to look out at the lover he wants so badly but cannot have, cannot escape HIS prison.

It sounds twisted but please rest assured junior is not harmed in any way. Actually he has the favorite corner of the whole pond, along with the good go under rock that they all coveted before the compound was built. I would never actually harm him, putting him in there and watching him tormented just made me feel like I could stand up against abuse. I don’t have to be quiet anymore. Someone has to speak up, and I’ve always been told I speak to loud, so why not me? I think I’m the perfect poster girl for what 20 years of emotional abuse can do to a highly sensitive person. Can you say MIND FUCKED?

I know not where this road in life leads me but I think i’m ready to see. I don’t want to get stuck in the pleasure that making junior suffer with a broken heart break brings me.

I want turtles to love again without harming each other.

Can a person forgive too soon?

Fairly soon after I discovered my husband’s affair, I made the decision to forgive him. He’s human, he makes mistakes. So many (both men and women) once discovered simply walk away and don’t look back. So when he said he wanted to stay together and make it work. He said he had ended the affair. He said he was sorry. So I took what he said at face value, decided to be the bigger person and offered forgiveness for past transgressions and tried to move forward positively.

Squarely thinking we would be working together at this reconciliation. It seemed like it was working, for a while. But everything just started not to feel right. I didn’t feel better, everything seemed to trigger me, and I was always feeling like shit. Apparently I wasn’t supposed to share those feelings with him. I was always told I’m over thinking it, or just get over it already. I thought maybe it was too soon to have forgiven him? But I did. I couldn’t just take it back. My thinking about it was I need us to be on the same page about this working together to put it behind us. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I thought it was the right thing to do. And in many ways I still do.

I forgave him also for myself. I thought if I just let it go, it would fade away, not bother me and I didn’t want to dwell on it. If he had been genuinely remorseful I think it could of worked. But here’s the thing:

it’s difficult to be in a place of forgiveness without taking enough time to process your feelings and emotions about all of it, even when they are remorseful. Especially when you don’t have all the information needed to understand the severity of it all. If husband had exhibited any of the behaviors of a truly remorseful spouse, and meant what he was telling me I think early forgiveness could of worked. We could of moved forward in a healthy way.

However being married to a narcissist, I should have realized that much of the conventional wisdom on healing and reconciliation after affairs, doesn’t really work/apply for us. As a matter of fact, most advice to spouses of a narcissist says to run as fast as humanly possible to get away from the harm that these people cause.

Despite the fact that a year has passed since d-day, I felt we were slipping further apart. All our interactions seem superficial and forced on his part (sometimes on mine too) and everyday I was feeling more and more resentment because I felt something was missing from this picture.

What was/is missing? A true heartfelt apology that shows his remorse. Not the excuses, and blaming and justifying type of (non)- apology that I received. But an apology that showed his understanding of the severity of the situation and what it has done to me. An apology that was focused on how his choices had caused me severe trauma and how he would help the healing of wounds inflicted by him. But that’s not what I got, no what I got was basically a non-apology camoflaouged as one. But I didn’t recognize it at the time.

I wish that I had been able to record those very few discussions that we DID have about the affair. That way I could go back and listen to what he actually said (now that my head is clearer). Because I now feel like there never was an apology just excuses and blaming. I understand no one likes to be confronted about mistakes they have made and many times they are upset and feel forced into apologizing. So instead they twist their apology to reflect their lack of responsibility. They will say things that sound like:

I’m sorry you feel that…

I’m sorry but…

I was just trying to help…

If I hurt you, I’m sorry…

If you think…

If I made a mistake…

Fill in any of the blanks and you’ll see an attempt to apologize without it really being their fault. A great apology includes an ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RESPONSIBILITY, and when it’s lacking, what they imply is they think they did nothing wrong. In my opinion no apology would have been better than his half-ass, piss poor excuse for an apology that he gave me.

“A cheater who refuses to acknowledge and address their failings is a cheater who expects you to accept them as the person they were on the day they decided to have the affair” Wayfarer

I realized at the moment I read this quote that he never apologized because he doesn’t feel that he has done anything wrong. Nope, not him true entitlement. He will never apologize to me. He doesn’t think he was wrong one single bit. He will take years of a not so great marriage and twist the story to fit his needs. He has re-written our history to fit his behavior, this has become his reality. Twisted as it may be it is now “his truth”.

In my situation by forgiving him too quickly several things happened: I had not worked through any of my emotions and feelings regarding his affair. I guess I was so glad that he hadn’t just walked out the door and never returned giving us a chance to make it through this. I thought it was his way of showing me he still wanted to try so I felt that I should show my willingness to work things out by offering forgiveness. I thought I had established a couple of boundaries and made sure I heard what he was saying about what I wasn’t giving that he needed. Believing he would be doing the same for me. And for a while it seemed like it was working.

And secondly, there really were no consequences for him. Not that him being a narcissist it would of really made a difference. I thought asking him to end the affair, him doing (saying) that he did was a consequence. It should be a given not thought of as a consequence. But you know I really wasn’t thinking clearly those first few weeks. Getting through a day without crying and a new discovery took everything I had. Oh that and trying to be a better wife. I thought that’s what he wanted. That’s what I heard when we had talked. Those few times that I was allowed to bring the subject up.

I would initiate a discussion about our circumstances (which he never wanted to do, but did so a couple of times reluctantly) and I would get these non-apologies, twisted blaming and projecting his bad behaviors back to me. Don’t get me wrong I’m no angel, I have done some pretty crappy things in this relationship as well (not infidelity). He is the one that is the emotional abuser but still cannot, will not, refuses to see that!! But I always have owned my mistakes, took responsibility for my actions or in-actions. Him, Hell I can’t think of a time that he didn’t think that I was responsible every thing wrong in our relationship. It is a classic example of projecting everything that he sees as wrong in our marriage as only coming from me. Unable to see any wrong doing on his part WHATSOEVER!!

So while I tried to forgive him I realize now I am holding a grudge against him. He has inflicted emotional abuse on me for a very long time and this affair is just coup d’grau for his sick little mind. Yes his perfectly charming, twisted emotional abuse, it eats you alive. I have zero trust in him. I know that he doesn’t follow through on things he says to me, even though the outcome is detrimental to him as well. (Like refinancing the house because we have a terrible interest rate, he just refuses to make it happen.) Doesn’t he realize that when he doesn’t keep his promises he is telling me he simply doesn’t care. I mean if he can’t or won’t change his mind why is being honest about it so bad.

Yes if he is using this past year as a way to make me leave this marriage (because he is a coward and won’t do it himself) then I’ll have to say he is doing a fine job of it. Because like the song by Lifehouse says:

Halfway Gone
I’m halfway gone

You were always hard to hold
So letting go aint easy
I’m hanging on you’re growing cold
While my mind is leaving

Talk, talk is cheap
Give me your word you can keep
‘Cause I’m halfway gone and I’m on my way
And I’m feeling, feelin, feelin this way
‘Cause your halfway in but don’t take too long
‘Cause I’m halfway gone, halfway gone

Do I know what I am going to do yet? No not yet, but I have hired the private investigator and before too long the truth will be set free. Then I have what I need to confront him, even though I don’t think it will make a difference. His eyes are shut, and I don’t think he wants to open them. Too bad he’s gonna loose a DAMN GOOD WOMAN!!

Don’t struggle, remember it’s quiksand!

I hate this feeling of being stuck. Not in the manner that I am stuck in this relationship because I know I am not. I do possess the capability of leaving/divorcing my husband (the strength I occasionally question but not the option to do so) if I choose, just as he could at any time as well. But here’s the bigger meaning of “stuck” in relation to me at the moment, stuck as in unable to progress.

And I realize that part of the reason just may be that I approached this reconciliation all wrong, forgave him TOO soon, before I had even processed and dealt with any of the emotions and feelings coursing through my body. But then again who would blame me. When d-day happens and you think you now see the problem and try your best to deal with it, you have limited knowledge of what is really transpiring, so you do what you feel you must do to make through those awful agonizing days and weeks following discovery. Sometimes the choices are positive or good and others although thought of as a good choice may over time come to be not so wise choices. Pretty sure thats why they say make NO DECISIONS when your in the throes of initial trauma.

I’ve gone through this last year wondering why? Not why did this happen? No that’s not it at all. It’s “why did I forgive him so easily”? This man who has deceived me (most likely) our entire marriage. He is not well, physically, emotionally or spiritually. It may not be his fault, but it is his to possess as an adult. It is who he is, a man who had an upbringing that wounded his soul, who must now do anything and everything to make himself feel good, feel alive. It is sick and it made him personality disordered. But it is who he is even if I don’t think he realizes it. He has worked so hard all his life at keeping that mask on and making it look perfect that he no longer possess perspective of himself or his behavior.

If you listen to my words as a reader, I would think, “well sounds like you’ve answered your own question girl, just leave him, what’s the problem?”. And my answer to that would be my heart! Because despite being in an emotionally abusive marriage and discovering infidelity, I most likely you still love the man I married (hate him now as well but i think most understand what I mean). The man in front of me now is not the man I married. I know that now. I know that I only know a small bit about him but in spite of all that has happened I can’t quite throw in the towel. Call it Stockholm syndrome or whatever you wish I think most betrayed spouses don’t really want their marriage to end. Im no different. I’ve spent almost 23 years of my life beside this man- I just don’t stand up and walk out when the problems come to surface. So I try and He tries but I don’t think either one of us is giving what the other needs. I’m starting to see how that may never happen.

I’ve really been struggling these last couple of months first having the one year d-day milestone (not that the actual day bugged me just knowing how much time has passed). And secondly the lack of intimacy between us. I don’t mean sex in reference to intimacy as used here, more as I’ve never felt further from him than I do right at this moment. Oh don’t get me wrong, he knows how to do it, make it appear that we are more intimate together. We do things together, we have (almost weekly) a date night, he calls when he’s supposed to without fail, generally greet and hug and are pleasant to one another, we even have sex. But there is no closeness growing between us, as a matter of fact I would say the distance is increasing at least for me it is.

I think the biggest indicator for me is when I realized I no longer really desire to have sex with him. He’s just not turning me on at all. I don’t think I like him much anymore And I’m sure it comes from his lack of REALLY wanting a better marriage, nope he wants things just the way they were. I think that he likes the protection “a wife and family” bring him. He looks like the hard working upstanding man, everyone thinks wonders of him, and we are the perfect scapegoat for the lies and alibis that he uses to deceive them as well. Has to leave work because “my wife is real sick”. Can’t commit to an affair partner because of the “bitch wife at home”. Has no money to spend because his “kids suck him dry”. I can only imagine the things he has said about us through the years

He has improved his game somewhat so to speak, no longer carelessly leaves his receipts and the paper trail that was pretty easy to find before. So I don’t know if he’s just playing games or what but it’s time for the truth to come out. If what I recently have added up, pans out then the discussion is over anyway. I will not celebrate (falsely) a 20 year anniversary milestone with him. I have only a little over two months until that day. I can wait no longer I’ve decided to hire a private investigator. I have to ask my step-dad for the money. I’m nervous because i cant ask to borrow the money – i don’t know when i will ever be able to pay it back, so I’m hoping he will just help me. I know it’s a lot to ask of anyone but I’d rather be honest with him than deceive him into thinking I could pay him at a given time. So wish me luck i’m headed over there now.

I don’t want to feel stuck anymore, it’s like living in quiksand half -in, half -out of the real world. Stuck unable to move. I don’t want to feel stuck anymore.

Two steps forward and 42 steps back

I find it a bit ironic, that for two people who (supposedly) still choose/want to stay together, in this almost 20 year marriage, why I feel so stuck in relationship healing. I’m reluctant to use the word recovery, primarily because I don’t want to recover my old marriage, no way, too unhealthy. I thought the wall had been coming down, a little bit, stone by stone, but it feels like we are headed for that same old familiar spot. Oh hell NO!!

What I’d envisioned, was a better, new and improved version of my marriage. Foolishly I really did think that since so much had been brought to light about all the negative issues (past and current) that we would be able to get past the narcissism crap. Re-create our marriage in a healthy way that fills both our needs. Oh chely, what makes you think you are so special that you could beat the odds?

In many ways, during this last year our actions radiated the feeling that we were on the right path, we have been able to come closer. He has been considerably less abusive. So the appearance of a healthy, loving relationship, that facade from before, is taking shape, because we have reached a sort of an impasse in our healing. I’m not sure where I read this, whose blog it was (but one from a professional), the term used was “flat tire repair” to describe this type of recovery.

I’m paraphrasing here so bear with me; When dealing with infidelity in a marriage, Like a nail in your bike tire, you now have a leak) many partners say they will do whatever it takes to repair the damage. When partners try to work things out, to heal, it does improve some. (you have put a patch on the hole) Yet when trying to talk about these issues your partner continues to avoid the subject (this movement/friction works to loosen the edges of the patch creating that slow leak). It’s not that you don’t wish to talk about the hard stuff. But every time you attempt to, your partner won’t have that conversation. Without this communication about the difficult issues, the air continues to slowly leak from the tire, eventually going completely flat. Oh it may be possible to drive on a flat for awhile. But ultimately this tire can no longer be patched. The term used to describe this behavior is Stonewalling.

On the blog, Anger in the age of entitlement, Steven Stosny PhD. gives the following description:

“Stonewalling is absolute refusal to consider your partner’s perspective. IF you listen at all you do so dismissively or contempously. You stonewall to gain leverage or power. Stonewalling can also be a defense mechanism, a person can feel like they are trying to protect themselves and their families. Stonewalling is an avoidance strategy”.

Criticism, resentment, defensiveness and stonewalling are just a few of the ways a partner may emotionally abuse, all while smiling and putting on an appearance that all of it is for one’s own good, in other words “helping”. Stosny goes on to say it is “Important to note emotional abuse is about the effects of behavior, NOT the words used. You can say the most loving words with sarcasm and silently communicate contempt through body language, rolling eyes, sighs, grimaces, tone of voice, etc.” Other examples include silence, mumbling monotone utterances, changing the subject or physically removing self from current situation, withholding or insisting on sex, or even manufactured aches and pains (medical problems) that seem to crop up whenever the conversation goes into an uncomfortable place..

Yes this is such a perfect description of my husband’s behavior. If you want to make sure that no one willingly co-operates with you then be sure to criticize them regularly. Add some stonewalling to your efforts and you’ve got the perfect receipe for disappointment, which leads to resentment. Being chronically disappointed can lead to constant frustration and stress. “Resentment multiplies stress and the perception of unfairness. In NOT getting one’s needs met. It is so unfair as you realize that there will be NO help, NO consideration, NO praise, NO reward, NO respect or NO affection”, states Stosny.

So Husband just came out into living room, and once again asked what I am doing? “Writing” I replied. “May I see?” he asks. I hand him my notebook and he
begins to glance at my notes. As he reads, his demeanor and body language tell me he’s not liking what he is reading. He comments, “So tell me what does all this do for you?” “It mostly seems like a bunch of drivel”. “I learn why I feel the way I do sometimes” I reply. His response doesn’t surprise me at all, “just seems like a big waste of your time to me”.

This all started the other day, when I came to the conclusion that he does not or chooses not to understand WHY I HAD BECOME THE UNSUPPORTIVE PARTNER and had attempted to leave many years ago. I decided to ask. “What do you think is the reason was that I had become so unsupportive which lead to you seeking attention from another?” I stood silently and finally he answers that he does not know. No real surprises here. I thanked him, emotionally calm and went to leave the room, when he asks if I was going to tell him why? “You have been emotionally abusive to me and the boys for a long time.” I didn’t want to fight, hash it out or seek a solution, just a simple answer. After we stood there for an uncomfortable moment, he just smiles turns and walks away.

I think I finally get it. He does not and most likely never will. My narcissistic husband is clueless or the best actor I’ve met. We will never address our issues (not just his mine as well), we will never even agree to disagree. We will just stumble along, semi comatose still pretending that all is well. The resentment and stonewalling will continue. There is no love between us anymore. Maybe that’s not quite right, there is some love in the familiar we’ve been together so long, we know nothing else. But there is no desire, no passion, mind blowing sex, no dreaming of our future. It’s more a disappointment that his heart probably hasn’t ever been “in” this relationship. So sad, I have been alone for a long, long time.

John Gottman sums it up this way, “when you are making every effort to address a problem, whether you are attempting to talk about something upsetting you, explain your feelings about on-going areas of conflict, trying to reach a resolution AND YOUR PARTNER IS PRETENDING THAT YOU AREN’T THERE. You are likely to reach a level of upset or anger SO HIGH, that you psychologically and emotionally “check out” as well.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard it expressed so well.

Take the sunglasses off girlfriend.

Open your FUCKING eyes.


This wall needs no more stones I never could climb over it before, what makes me think I can now.

What we don’t know about mid-life CAN hurt us.

Even before the discovery of his affair I had come to realize that my husband was having a “mid-life crisis”. He talked about getting a new sports car (we have more cars than the average family). He complained about his health (the aches and pains as the body ages and the years of not exercising and eating right were catching up with him). Several of his co-workers had been retiring (his original plan was to retire at 55 and although we save and invest there was no real plan). He had known three men who recently passed away (one a very close friend who died from sleep apnea, (something he suffers from but won’t sleep with the c-pap). Our boys still live at home (even though both are out of school and do work), and continue to be a major expense in our budget. Due to the economy, our finances not as solid as before. Our marriage had been unhappy (for us both) for sometime, even though I thought we had finally reached a point that we were working on improving it. Then I discovered that text message which changed my life forever.

Mid-life, getting older, it is unavoidable. It happens to us all, both men and women. It can be described as a period of transition or crisis. You realize the years of your youth are past. You begin the second half of your life. Some people accept the inevitable, and transition gracefully. More often, this period is met with denial. Refusing to accept a fact of life. They fight against the realization that time is unstoppable. We are getting older and someday we will no longer exist. I know my husband was feeling this way about his life but I never realized how much so. And due to the years of emotional abuse I lived with, I was unable or unwilling to be supportive of him. Like I imagine a partner in a healthy marriage would do. (I still think he doesn’t get WHY I WASNT THERE FOR HIM.) Feeling overworked and unloved I imagine is when his affair began. I wonder if he thinks this solved his problems? (maybe a feel good band-aid). In my opinion, this did NOT solve his problems, only add to them.

So is mid-life crisis an excuse for having an affair? Some would say yes. Some would say no. I think there is more to it. As our bodies produce less and less of hormones needed to remain balanced. For women the primary indicator is the cessation of menstrual cycle. No more periods. Some are never affected by the loss of these hormones. Others experience many uncomfortable symptoms, and take hormones to make their bodies function better.

But what about men and their process of aging? Obviously they don’t have periods, so how do men know? For many men the most obvious symptom is in their penis. Sex has less intensity, they may no longer get that rock hard erection of their youth. Also they are more irritable, restless, they look at their life, their family, their spouse and begin to wonder, is this it? Feeling lost and unhappy they question their existence. Why haven’t I accomplished more? What about my dreams? Maybe they realize their life didn’t turn out the way they had planned, feel defeated. (Maybe they actually have a good marriage/life but due to these hormonal changes experience many similar feelings.) The years have slipped by and what do you have to show for it? They look for someone to blame, most likely their spouse. They grasp at what they feel is their last chance to hold onto their youth. Maybe they buy a sports car, have an affair, or even abandon their families. Most don’t have a clue about what is going on within their bodies because doctors only address the erection part of it and fail to educate about the other symptoms. For men, this period of transition is much longer than a women’s, It takes men 10-15 years to complete. It’s called andropause.

The effects of hormones “pausing”, in both men and women, can lead to the types of behavior mentioned above. Hormone therapy is readily available to help women, and for men if they discuss with their doctors. Men generally don’t like to acknowledge a lack of testosterone If. But it’s so much more than not being able to get/keep an erection. Both the physical and mental/emotional changes can have traumatic effects on his life without an understanding of what’s happening it is very possible that these effects can be a significant cause of why (some) seemingly happy, successful men seek affairs or commit suicide.

So the term “midlife crisis” may be appropriate, simply because they are in denial about the aging process. However it is not an excuse to have an affair, people know right from wrong. But these changes can skew their thinking process, make them rationalize inappropriate behavior. Knowing this helps me understand, how despite us making a lot of progress in our relationship, husband sometimes doesn’t seem “present”. My mind instantly thinks that his thoughts are of his AP, and maybe that may not be the case at all. He is stuck in the dilemma that his body is out of balance- leaving him in that hormone fog I spoke of earlier. This is a serious medical issue. Without information to assess this properly, many just feel too overwhelmed , stuck and unable to do anything to help themselves and some end their lives. Or they have an affair thinking this will make them feel better. For most it does not, it only makes them feel worse, and increases the chaos in their life.

If your husband (or if you are a guy that is reading this) has any of the symptoms listed below you may want to check out this website by Dr. Jed Diamond (MEN ALIVE) It is filled with information aimed to assist those who are in crises, and those that love them. It is ultimately up to each man to seek what they need. Not all who have an affair have hormones out of whack. Some are just infidels. Don’t let them use this as an excuse. That would be a disservice to those who actually have reached mid-life and transitioned gracefully. Or those who with medical assistance have finally found peace, love and happiness in the second half of their lives. I pray my husband falls into that category, with me.

Despite his narcissistic tendancies, I believe these hormonal changes play a big part in his behavior. Making an attempt to do the right thing, even while it doesn’t feel totally right. I believe that is why his actions don’t seem genuine to me. He is still in a fog, not an affair fog but a hormonal one. And he has to address this, before he will see significant improvements. I can’t make him change. If he wants to feel better it is something HE will have to do, because I am not the cause of all his problems. I don’t control his body or what he does. If he refuses to do anything about it I cannot force him to address the problem. It may sound as if I am trying to control him but He is the one who shares with me his aches and pains and worries with me and asked me for help. (Wow it just dawned on me that he is SHARING feelings and concerns with me – that’s a step in the right direction for sure.)

So no sports car or hair transplants for my guy, hopefully some hormones will bring us even closer to really healing after that affair. Damned mid-life!!!


1.reduced libido or sex drive

2.reduced potency or ability to maintain erection

3.fatigue, loss of vitality

4.irritability and “grumpiness”

5.aches, pains and stiffness increase

6.depression which manifests as anger or boredom

7.night sweats (or day), hot flashes

8.dryness and thinning of skin

9.restlessness and a longing to “break free”

10.weight gain acquiring a “pot belly”