Avoidance – A Close Cousin of Denial?

Even though things are generally going well, I am still aware each day of the need to take care of myself in every way possible. A part of that self-care is taking measures to protect myself and my children in the event that Handsome relapses. I see no signs of this happening, but a few months of good behavior doesn’t wash away several years of horrors, nor can I predict the future based on his present intent. I don’t doubt his present intent not to act out again, but then I didn’t doubt his intent when he said our marriage vows either.

Absent a crystal ball, the best that I can do is ensure that I’ve taken the steps necessary to anticipate and to address the possibility of future problems. Fortunately, for the most part our finances have always been separate. We have one joint account, but it rarely has anything in it unless we need it to for a particular reason. We do, however, have assets, and I need to protect those not only for me but for the benefit of our children. Our son and daughter are the only two kids either of us is ever supposed to have. Everything that is ours is intended to be theirs and theirs alone should some harm befall us. Handsome and I agree on that. While I can ensure that I don’t have more children, I cannot really ensure that Handsome doesn’t get some trashy, holster-sniffing tweaker chick pregnant. He still insists that the Whore was the only AP he had intercourse with and that he used protection, but who knows? I’m not betting the proverbial farm on it. (She is actually pregnant and due next month and Fire Dude has no idea if it is his or not.) More specifically, I’m not betting my kids’ futures and college funds on it or on his ability to stay sexually sober.

I have asked for two things: a post-nuptial agreement and for him to get a vasectomy. Given what Handsome did, who he did it with, and how long his behavior went on during our marriage, I don’t feel as though either of these requests are unreasonable. Uncomfortable, sure, but not unreasonable. I pondered both things for months before I broached them with Handsome. He’s pretty miserable about both asks.

He raises all of the issues you’d expect a guy to raise about the vasectomy. (“It’s surgery!! On my balls!! What if it goes wrong???”) I can’t help but feel like he should have thought about that before he screwed the Whore and crawled into bed with Angel Baby in my f’ing house. It is literally the only way that I can ensure that I don’t open my door one day to find some ho bag standing there with a kid that looks like my husband. My family’s assets will not be used to pay child support for the spawn of his compulsive behavior, nor will my kids see their current standard of living diminished as that money goes out the door. Not happening. Not on my watch.

As to the post-nup, he’s absolutely indignant about it. If we divorce generally (not arising out of any new infidelity), we each walk away with what we came with, anything we inherit from our families, and our pensions. We split anything we accrued together. If, however, we divorce because of future infidelity (not what has already transpired), in addition to walking away with their own stuff the betrayed spouse also gets half of the betrayer’s pension. That infidelity clause (not allowed in every state, by the way, but allowed in mine) was originally specifically directed at him. In the petty move of the century, he whined that it needed to apply to me (the faithful spouse who didn’t kick his ass to the curb after all the shit he did) as well. Fine. The change was made. I know I’m not a cheater. I’m confident in my core values.

He is avoiding both issues like the plague. I think he believes that if he drags his feet enough, I’ll forget or I’ll decide they aren’t really necessary. That’s not happening. I’m happy to wait till next month to bring them up with the CSAT, but I will also continue to raise them each week in our check-in. I am nothing if not persistent.

I absolutely understand why avoiding difficult things is preferable to facing them head on. I get that. But I also think that avoidance is closely tied to denial. If Handsome had never acted on his sexual compulsions, there would be little need for either ask. But the reality – that he created by his own conduct – is that I sincerely believe that both things are necessary to protect me and our kids from his possible future behavior based upon his actual behavior in the very recent past. To take the position that this is somehow overkill is to deny that undeniable behavior.

We cannot even say that bad behavior on his part is unlikely in the future, because if I have learned anything these last few months it is that the behavior of a sex addict cannot be predicted. I know what his present intent is, and I believe him completely when he says that he doesn’t want to ever act out again. Nonetheless I, for one, would rather be safe than sorry.

25 thoughts on “Avoidance – A Close Cousin of Denial?”

  1. You absolutely need to protect yourself, and reading this is making me think about an infidelity contract myself. Which yes, can (and should) work both ways.

    I think avoidance is linked to denial, but also rationalization. He may be rationalizing to himself why he should avoid it.

    Good for you, taking care of and protecting yourself and the kids is priority #1 xo

    1. Thanks SSA. While I don’t want to be punitive for past actions, I also don’t want to blindly trust that our kids and I are protected in the future. I’m still here. I’m still fighting for us. But I’m not going to assume that I know what will happen years down the road.


    2. I should add, just to clarify, that the post-nup would apply in the event of any divorce, not just one arising from infidelity. (It’s just like a pre-nup, but entered into during the marriage.) It does, however, contain the infidelity clause that I described. In some states those clauses are prohibited or not favored, but my state permits them and deems them enforceable. Even though I am a lawyer, I consulted with a specialist in matrimonial law to draft the agreement.

        1. He says absolutely not, that they had intercourse only once in the hotel (in July 2015… evidenced by his credit card bill). Because I had her burner phone, I got to read ALL of their communication and it appears that from August 2016, if not earlier, through the day Fire Dude found her phone, they hadn’t been alone in each other’s physical presence. There are a bizillion sexts about how much they each missed each other and engaging in various sex acts. (blah!) Plus, there were questions on the polygraph about her, so I’m comfortable that I have much of the truth about her. Absent that, I’d be a complete basket case.

          Angel Baby had a baby a month or two ago and I was freaked out about that since he has admitted that she was in my home for two nights last June and that they shared a bed (he insists that they spooned but nothing else). He was polygraphed about her too. I do think that if she even suspected that it was Handsome’s kid she would be in court in a heartbeat looking for support. She always viewed him as a meal ticket. Since she isn’t, I’m assuming that it’s not his.

          At our couples intensive, 4 of the 20 couples in attendance had to deal with kids born to affair partners. Apparently those guys all missed the STD/ unwanted pregnancy prevention day in health class too in school. It just seems to happen way too often for me to assume that I’d be some kind of exception.

          1. Oh my dear, I saw one email I cannot imagine reading years long texts – I’m so sorry ☹️ I wished I had looked at more than the one email at the time, I’m glad now that I didn’t.

            You’re exceptional ❤️ so I believe you are the exception here. He’s almost at the 9 month sobriety mark so the baby fear will soon be over xo

  2. This is a really good post, BW. I would add that in states that don’t support post-nups, such as mine, another option is a legal separation. In my state, a legal separation is a financial separation, not a physical separation. I, too, am an attorney, but not in family law, so I consulted with a family law attorney and this is what she recommended. Interestingly, she has had previous cases with SA situations and she warned me that the odds are not good and that I must protect myself. Not what I wanted to hear, but it is reality. My kids are adults, and I have made arrangements that certain assets will go to them and not H if I pass first. If my kids were minors, I would fight like crazy to make sure everything went to them.

    Yes, the skanks pull the pregnancy card,, especially if they think there are any assets. You don’t have to be rich, either. If you have a decent home, that’s enough to get them thinking there’s a potential pay day.

    Thanks for posting this, BW.

    1. Thank you Maggie. I kind of feel like some of these things are elephants in the room that no one wants to bring up. I’m willing to be “all in” with Handsome’s recovery and our marriage, but I do not want to selflessly devote more good years only to find myself in the exact same position, completely unprotected. As I’ve pointed out to him, nothing about this says that if he relapses we automatically divorce. It simply lays out a division of our assets that safeguards our kids and me if it comes to that.

      And I agree with you on the pregnancy card and that’s why I want it completely off the table. It’s not brain surgery, and while it may not be pleasant, it’s way better than writing a huge check every month to some pill popping, unemployed high school dropout.

      I absolutely hate that I have to think about these things, but I’m really mindful of that “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” saying.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and the concept of a financial separation. I wasn’t familiar with that process at all.


  3. Hmmm….I’m torn on a few things here so I guess I’ll just attack them one by one.

    I don’t like the post-nup idea and I’ll tell you why. That ship sailed. You don’t get to re-do the marriage contract unless you simply want to void it. You signed a contract and even said or agreed to the “better or worse” vows in one way or another. This is like Tom Brady going to management and asking for more money in his contract because he’s having a great year. He agreed to the terms of his contract not contingent on future events. If Tom Brady had a horrible year and Patriots ownership went to him and said “Will you take less money?” he’d just laugh. And you may say this isn’t the same thing, but the principle of it is. If your husband had never cheated on you to this point, would you be offering to go the lawyers to make sure he got MORE of your assets in the event of a divorce? No. You’re wanting to punish him outside of a legal agreement you already have.

    I think the vasectomy is too much of an ask. What if you’re killed in a car accident tomorrow and he meets somebody down the road. I think much like the contract, you’re stepping beyond what’s right and trying to exert control in a place that you can either choose to trust him or not trust, but mutilating his body to prove a point seems barbaric to me. I’d be more angry at this if my wife suggested it than the post-nup. I don’t care what he did to you, you don’t get to control his body. If he says no, the answer is no.

    I think that avoidance isn’t even a cousin of denial. I think it’s the stupid twin brother. Denial has some panache, some cunning, some forward thinking and calculation. Avoidance is the puppy who craps on the living room floor and runs away, thinking if they pretend it’s not there, then it’s not there. Denial is the puppy who points at the crap, then points at the toddler and says, “I’m not cleaning up that shit!” Avoidance is cowardly, non-intellectual, and without charisma. Both are bad, but i think they’re almost exactly the same thing. Denial is just flashier.

    You seem to be preparing yourself for him to act out again, just waiting for it, and hoping you’ll be in a better position to really do some damage if and when he does. It reminds me a little bit of the TV shows about the people who build underground bunkers waiting for the world to end. They almost seem like they’ll end up disappointed if it doesn’t come to an end. They just keep prepping and prepping and end up creating a bigger future-casted fantasy world underground that they constructed and have full control instead of the world on the surface. That would is one of little power, where unfair situations can hurt them, be it man-made or Mother Nature. These people never finish prepping their fantasy underground world. It’s never done. If he goes through with the post-nup and vasectomy, whats next? Where does your wish list stop?

    Anyway, maybe you don’t want to hear any of this, just delete it if that’s the case and no hard feelings, but I see both sides of what you’re going through. He should be willing to kiss the ground you walk on for you staying….but you shouldn’t need him to kiss the ground you walk on for staying. Does that make any sense?

    1. I’m glad to have your perspective. No worries on that. Honest. I absolutely get where you’re coming from. I do. And Handsome can certainly say no to either or both of these requests – and he may – but then the questions is whether I can be okay with that in this marriage, and I think the answer is no.

      I would suggest to you that Handsome voided our marriage contract via his years of physical and emotional affairs, pic collecting, sexting, compulsive masturbation, porn usage, voyeurism, etc. etc. etc… . He created a one-sided open marriage, which was not a part of our agreed upon contract in any way, shape, or form. You know that language in almost all contracts that says something like “Modification. Changes to this contract must be in writing and signed by both parties.”… well, I didn’t sign on for any of his compulsive behavior. I see this as a new marriage, because the old one was blown to smithereens. Since I’m starting from scratch (picture Tom Brady getting released and negotiating a new contract with a different team) I’m negotiating a new deal. Heck, I’m Kirk Cousins in this deal waving adieu to the Redskins in my rear view mirror as I settle into my $84M guaranteed contract with the Vikings (just to continue the football analogy…).

      As to the vasectomy, I hear you, but Handsome is not a 28 or 30-year old with a potential lifetime of baby making ahead of him. He’s old enough to qualify for AARP (much to my amusement and his chagrin), and a mere few years from Social Security. As a woman who has always borne the responsibility of birth control throughout our marriage, I’m okay to pass that obligation on to him. You may say “fine, but then let him use condoms” to which my response is “right, but there’s no guarantee he’d use them with anyone else.” Unless and until the FDA approves an IUD (I guess maybe it would be an ISD???) for dudes, there is only one way to ensure that there are no more Handsome-sponsored pregnancies.

      I am, by all means, preparing for him to act out again. I am not, however, waiting on it or expecting it or dreading it, or anything else. To the contrary, if I feel protected I think I’m much less likely to be rocked and devastated by any future conduct. In my mind, it’s like flood insurance. If you live in a flood prone area, you buy the insurance “just in case” so that if a flood happens you can rebuild. You don’t wait nervously for the flood or really plan on it happening, but if it does happen you know it’s not the end of your world. Same here. Handsome is generally doing really, really well in his recovery efforts. I laud that and I 100% believe that his present intent is that he’ll never relapse. But I don’t have blind faith any longer, nor can I just hope that I’ll be safe and protected.

      I hope maybe that makes a little sense even if we agree to disagree. 🙂

      1. The line in your entire piece that really gets me is toward the top when you say, “And Handsome can certainly say no to either or both of these requests – and he may – but then the questions is whether I can be okay with that in this marriage, and I think the answer is no.”

        So does this mean you are the final decision maker in all instances moving forward? Do you see this all ending well? What’s the end game for you?


        If he requested that you have a double mastectomy because you’re too not going to have babies to feed and he thinks they just attract other men’s attention, is that a realistic request?

        And while he may have voided that marriage contract, you just sink to his level re-voiding it. It kind of reminds me of Trump supporters who start sentences with “But Barrack Obama…” or “But Bill Clinton…” Rise above it. Don’t wallow in the muck.


        And I don’t really disagree with you on anything. You’re taking your own path at I applaud that. I’m trying to learn about it and learn from it, hence the oppositional questions.

        1. I don’t mind the challenging questions. It makes me think through everything and I appreciate the spirited discussion. Let me address your points as raised…

          Does this mean that I’m the final decision maker in all instances moving forward? No. Handsome and I have generally been fairly egalitarian in our decision making throughout our relationship. I believe, however, that there are moments in any relationship (boyfriend/ girlfriend, employer/ employee, husband/ wife, etc.) where one or both parties has to evaluate where things stand and make a decision about whether to continue the relationship and on what terms. Sometimes, you get dumped or fired. There isn’t much you can do about either once it happens. Sometimes you are told that things are rocky and things have to change for the relationship to continue. In our marriage, this is one of those times. Handsome did horrible things. I had no say whatsoever in how I was damaged and our marriage was harmed. I can’t change what happened in the past, but I can look out for my future. I’m willing to work through those things, but not without safeguards in place for me and our kids. I get to say what I need. He gets to decide whether or not he’s willing to meet those needs.

          That then flows into your next questions about this ending well and the potential end-game. If you said “but BW, you’re making him decide between these things and splitting up his family…” I think you are correct. I do not disagree. Again, it may be a really miserable choice, but it is still a choice. As certain as I am that his present intent is never to relapse, I am even more certain that no addict intends to relapse and an unwanted pregnancy to one of these women is beyond my breaking point. Since at least two of them are/ have been pregnant recently I’ve had plenty of time to ponder this very issue and I’m certain that is a “point of no return” for me. Moreover, it is a real enough possibility (again, based on his own behavior in the very recent past) that I worry about it. I don’t want to live my life worrying about such things.

          The mastectomy argument is, I think, too apples and oranges. Maybe a better analogy would be if I was the SA and engaged in sex with other men, would Handsome be justified in telling me that he wanted me to get my tubes tied or an IUD implant or the like as an assurance against unwanted pregnancy? I’m not saying I’d be ecstatic about it, but I’d absolutely understand, and I might feel differently about the request if I was 30 than I do now much later in life. I would have to recognize at either age though that it was my behavior that caused the trauma leading to the insecurity and lack of safety that forms the genesis of the request. I could say no to the request, but I would have to face the consequences of that decision.

          Now, I’m sure you didn’t mean to slight me by equating me with a Trump supporter (because I’d have to drive to New England and flog you with my pussy hat if you did), but you are correct that I absolutely do not get to prevail in every argument for the rest of our marriage by saying “well, you fucked other people, so I win.” Not only is that not the kind of marriage that I want, it is oppositional to my belief that we are all more than the worst thing we have ever done. Handsome is more than the sum of his compulsive behaviors. If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here. I’ll just reiterate though that to stay here I need to feel safe, protected, and loved exclusively. I have not been any of those things for the better part of the last six years. As I said above, I’m willing to stay and work hard to save our marriage (and, as the primary earner by three-fold who can work from anywhere in the world, that is in many ways the much harder, suckier road for me on a day-to-day basis as we deal with the SA and betrayal trauma), but not without safeguards in place. I get to say what I need. He gets to decide whether or not he’s willing/ able to meet those needs.

          Maybe the comments from some of the other betrayed spouses here are helpful as well? I don’t think that many betrayed wives who are trying to hold their marriages together sit around and think “I have to make him pay!” and then come up with things like this. Instead, when you boil it down I think the thought process is more along the lines of a risk sharing analysis. (“I want to stay but I would be a fool to bear all of the risk of staying, so how do we spread that risk and take steps to ensure my safety in the process?”)

          1. These are fantastic answers. I really appreciate you opening up and explaining your positions. Now, do you want my address for the pussy flo….oh, hat. You said hat. Nevermind. 🙂

      2. I agree that the former marriage contract has been voided. My attorney did not like the idea of the post nup as she feared it might not hold up in court. But I’m in a conservative state with conservative judges. The legal separation is often used by people who no longer want to be married but won’t divorce for religious reasons. Also, people were using it instead of divorce to retain medical insurance eligibility but apparently the insurance companies have caught on and are cracking down on it. There’s no requirement to live separately in a legal separation in my state. It’s a financial separation. My H and I have separate medical insurance and have kept finances separate, but we’re in a community property state.

        This SA stuff is so traumatic at so many levels. Imagine dealing with a a pregnancy as a result of acting out! Prostitutes pull that, too, and in this age of DNA testing it’s easy to determine paternity even with a prostitute. Not only could you be writing the checks, that’s an actual child, a human being to deal with. What does that make us, “step moms?” Oh hell no to that.

        I agree with the flood insurance analogy. You don’t pay for home owner’s insurance expecting disaster. You pay for it so you can sleep at night.

        1. I’m with you Maggie. I’m not going to step-parent the unlucky child of some skank who basically functioned as a masturbatory aid for my sex-addicted spouse. Similarly, my kids are not going to have half-brothers or sisters who toddle around the street in 2-day old diapers because their ex-con moms can’t buy diapers with food stamps and they’ve blown the four-figures we’d be paying them each month on booze/ drugs/ gambling. Nope. (And I’m not exaggerating who these women are… they are literally the dregs of humanity.) I’m not putting myself through that and I’m not putting my kids through that. Not if I can help it.

  4. My husband did both the post-nip and vasectomy. By doing so, he showed me with actions that my and the kids safety was a top priority and that he was willing to do what he could to take as much of the risk of reconciliation off of my shoulders as possible.

    1. Hi TL! That’s exactly the issue in a nutshell. The risk of reconciliation should not be entirely on the betrayed spouse.

      I hope all is well with you two.

  5. I’m just wondering out loud if you had called the post-nup and vasectomy “boundaries” rather than “asks” if that would have somehow made it more palatable to those who are uncomfortable or disagree with your requests. “Setting boundaries” certainly is a recovery buzzword that is strongly encouraged, respected and required in a recovery process to protect ourselves. Which essentially is what you have done. Stated what you need in order to feel safe and protect the future of yourself and your children. Boundaries can still receive pushback, and not be adhered to, but for some reason don’t often receive the same indignant reactions as a request does. Kind of interesting how that works.

    I was admiringly nodding my head while I read your post and comments. I am impressed by your foresight and practicality and don’t think either was unreasonable or too much to ask. If Handsome thinks it is, well, then, you’ve got another issue there….

    1. Great point, Cynthia. Boundary work is such a staple of betrayal trauma recovery… I wonder if it would have made a difference in perception.

      We shall see what Handsome ultimately decides. He asked for a bit of time and I agreed, and I know that we can address these with the CSAT next month if we need to.

      1. I have generally given my husband a bit of time when discussing bigger things. I don’t want his response to be from emotions in the moment, either positively or negatively, but from careful thought. I did learn however, that often no further thought occurred. So, I had to begin giving him deadlines of sorts – please let me know by the end of the week- and then follow up as he seldom introduced the topic again. It sounds like you have that covered though in your weekly check-ins.

        I doubt in this situation it would have made a difference with Handsome whether it was setting a boundary or making a request. It is just my perception that in general, setting boundaries, unless they are unreasonable, is considered healthy and applauded, whereas asking for something often seems whiny and over reactive. Sometimes the nuances do matter.

        I’m sure you will update us on his decision in a future post……

        1. After all of this awesome discussion? Of course… updates will follow (hopefully sooner rather than later). 🙂

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