I write here often of how well my husband is progressing with his recovery and how helpful he has been to our joint recovery. When he “gets it” things are good, bordering on great. Sadly, the opposite is also true. When I give him a chance to be there for me and he completely and utterly blows it, I’m devastated. Again.
Some back story: Handsome and I, like many couples, seem to have different internal thermostats. I like to be warm while he wears shorts to shovel snow. About 6 or 7 years ago Handsome started sleeping in our lower level guest room when he was working overnights (so, about 5 days a month) because it was isolated and quiet for him as he tried to sleep during the day. Starting about 5 years ago he started spending more time sleeping there and telling me it was because he was too hot upstairs in our bedroom which was generally about 70 -71 degrees. It was a slow progression, but by last Fall he was sleeping downstairs almost every night.
Did I think this was all okay? Hell no! Once it started to shift from a few days a month to more often than not, I regularly tried to talk to him about it. We seemed to be roommates (with benefits) and not spouses, but whenever I would bring it up he would kiss my forehead and assure me that it was just that he was too hot upstairs. He made me feel silly for even raising the issue, but it still bothered me. I mostly wrote it off to what I perceived to be his mid-life crisis.
Last year at this time we went away without our kids. It was a weekend filled with fun and romance and I was very sad when we flew home because I wanted that closeness to continue. Handsome was in our room at bedtime and he was setting out his clothes for work the next day. I sensed he was going to leave so I asked him, “Aren’t you going to stay in here?” He stood at the foot of the bed, laughed heartily at me and said, “Not a chance. I’ll see you again in a couple of months.” (I believe that he was referring to our big trip to Europe a little over two months later.) I was absolutely crushed. Heartbroken. At the time, it was the most devastating pain my husband had inflicted on me. I cried the entire night and for a few nights thereafter.
Post DDays, his virtual move to the guest room makes all the more sense. He could watch porn and/ or masturbate without interruption. He could use his burner phone in our house while the rest of us were asleep upstairs. He could sext and text with impunity. He could drink excessively and come and go from our basement door to get rid of the empties without me seeing them. His intimacy disorder could flourish because he separated himself physically, and eventually emotionally, from his family.
Coming into late September this year, I thought I was in an okay place mentally. Handsome and I are going on a trip this week to the same place as last year. I was caught off guard by the waves of deep, unsettling emotions as I thought back on last September. I was feeling very overwhelmed for several days with vivid, painful memories of his treatment of me when we returned from the trip, not to mention the texts I now know he sent the Whore within hours of our return home (basically belittling the vacation and telling her he wished she was there with him). Over the weekend, I tried to explain to Handsome why what happened last year hurt me so deeply and how that was bringing up all kinds of feelings now.
At first, I thought it was going to be okay. He held me and held my face and apologized for the decisions he made that hurt me. He was sympathetic. He kissed me and held me some more… and then he opened his mouth again and said, “… but you know, sleeping in the basement was really mostly about the temperature.”
Um, no. No it wasn’t. There was no sleeping elsewhere for 6+ years before we had a guest room. There was no sleeping elsewhere after we moved to the house with the guest room but before his compulsive behavior started to consume him. There was no sleeping elsewhere when we amicably negotiated the thermostat setting for years. The temperature became – and apparently still is – a convenient excuse for an act that hurt his family and which fed and facilitated his addiction and compulsive behavior. To suggest otherwise is to blame me for everything. “Gee, my wife likes the thermostat at 70 degrees, so I guess I have to move to the basement and masturbate.” “Oh, she’s got it set at 71 today? Guess I’ll go watch porn.” WTAF? It’s shorthand for, “Because of you, BW, [and your silly need to stay warm enough to keep your nose from running 24/7] I was compelled to physically distance myself from you, and I just happened to engage in all of this awful behavior as a result.” What was the excuse last summer when he and Angel Baby had the sleepovers at our house? I wasn’t home and was hundreds of miles away. He could have set the thermostat at whatever temperature made him happy. Nope. They still slept in the other room. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE HE ENGAGED IN THE VAST MAJORITY OF HIS ACTING OUT IN OUR HOME. It had nothing to do with the thermostat.
I am mindful that seeking solace from my SA husband is akin to an assault victim looking for empathy from her attacker. Nonetheless, he’s all I’ve got. I had hoped that with 9 months of therapy and a couple of intensives under his belt that he might be in a position to display just enough empathy to help me work through this momentary struggle. No such luck. I’ll spare myself the disappointment and keep my mouth shut next time. I’ve had about all the deflection I can handle. Thanks for nothing, Handsome.