It’s pitch dark outside on our 2 1/2 acres.  I hear 10 year old telling 8 year old “pull back.  I repeat, pull back.”

I’m sitting here just smiling.  Picturing the way my husband 2.0 leans into them when he hugs them, tilts his head towards them instead of away from them when they snuggle or hug or share a little moment.  They were so cute all out at the campfire.  I got the little guy to bed and then the puppy and I went out to have some s’mores.  So good.

We look around at all that we “have” and it truly is so us.  So “me.”  The acres.  The space.  The trees.  The grass that need not look like astro turf.  The privacy.  The not perfect exterior that tells the world that visits that it’s not our priority to be beautiful on the outside of our house.  The good stuff is inside.

It’s been a bit of a money suck and even more of a time and project suck but we aren’t getting too sucked in.  Well, I’m not.  He has been doing so so good until the past few days… he says he is feeling the pressure of the cement not getting done in the CH, the riding mower problems… says it is all building up and feeling like he has so much to do but relying on others to make it possible.  Has gotten him down and pretty distracted, which is not cool.

Everything is just so different.  Thinking of how things were Last December and every fucking day since 2002- it just boggles my mind.  Today one of our songs came on.  He got teary and told me he is so thankful for me.  The first words out of my mouth, no filter, was “I don’t even know how I survived that.”

I mean really.

I was busy giving birth to his four children.  Working my ass off to make almost 500k over 8 years .  Offering myself in a million different “ways,” trying to find something that would stir him.  Offering myself to him in lingerie, offering sex, blow jobs, kisses and hugs and love and affection and compliments and kindness.  Asking him to go to bed with me, asking for him to compliment me.  Asking him to please stare at my pregnant belly for 10 seconds, thinking that maybe if he stared long enough, it would occur to him that I was beautiful and he could communicate something.  Asking him to compliment me, to kiss me in the morning when he goes to work, to touch me sweetly instead of like petting a dog.  Nothing got through, ever, never.

The pending divorce of 2006 didn’t get through.  Me going to a boxing gym didn’t get through.  Me becoming a certified personal trainer didn’t get through.  Me buying all new sexy underwear and bras didn’t get through.  I wanted to make him THINK.  Give him pause to wonder, to realize, if maybe he should notice me.  But he never ever did.

And I remember that night I snooped.  That the lovely people on the forum encouraged me that it must be, I believe it was either 1. an affair 2. gay or 3 porn addiction.

None of those could be possible.  I mean, an affair…. was it possible?  I was scared to know the truth.  Was he gay?  Acting upon it?  Surely it wouldn’t be PORN addiction because I mean- every man watches porn but that doesn’t mean they neglect their wife.  That their wife becomes invisible to them.  And anyways, my husband wouldn’t be addicted to porn because heck.  He was asexual.  So that wasn’t it.

I remember kneeling down next to his bed looking at his history and finding it odd that it was completely empty.

Puzzled, I went deeper.  Not the most tech savvy girl, I am pretty dang impressed that I figured out quickly where to go.

I unplugged it and took the phone downstairs.

I sat in horror in the red room in one of my fancy beautiful chairs, body trembling as I went through the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of porn image links.  Nothing could connect me to the image it had once shown, but then there was that pesky prostitution site.  What was that?  Surely that was just some pop up ad (on his phone?) that he didn’t mean to visit.  All the porn images though- what the fuck?  I had to wake him.

I went to the forum, posted what I had found.  They told me to collect evidence.  I couldn’t wait.  Impulsive.

I woke him up at 12:45.

He had no idea it was coming: none.

The rest was a blur.

All I know that lies were piled on top of lies.

That he looked at porn and masturbated once a month.

Tears.

What?  When I’m lying upstairs masturbating myself because you won’t take care of me, only to go cry in the bathroom when you do give it up because you can’t look at me while we are doing it?  You can’t hold me afterwards, can’t tell me I’m beautiful, that you can’t even French kiss me before, during or after making love to me?  So I’d go in the bathroom and cry and wonder what the fuck my life had come to.  How long until I’d cheat.

The next day I’d call my best friend and tell her I couldn’t WAIT to find someone to have an affair with me.  Only sex.  Didn’t want to get sticky or complicated.  That I’m good with disconnecting emotions.  Just sex.  I just wanted to be wanted.  And I was always looking.  Inviting the universe to put someone in my path.  This went on for years.

So when he told me he masturbated once a month, maybe every few weeks- my heart sank.  Broke and then sank.

I went to the mall the next day and sat in the parking lot and cried, feeling so betrayed.

Over the next few weeks, I would learn it wasn’t once a month or every few weeks.  It would take about 5 rounds of lying, completely, utterly totally convincing me that THIS time it was the truth.

So it went from the initial confession to “well, actually it did happen a lot, maybe several times a week.” To “Yeah, when I travelled it would be several times a day sometimes.” To “yeah, I actually did it at work, I was pretty much doing it every day.” And my favorite: “I did it after you went up to bed.”

I badgered the HELL out of him repeatedly, trying every tactic- kindness, guilt, sadness, compassion, reasonable understanding, irate fury, moderate anger, tears- everything.  I tried to get him to tell me that he did have an account on the hooker website.

For weeks, he “only went there for the funny articles.”

I died inside, still dead, from that.

Later, in February, when he realized he wasn’t getting out of the polygraph test, (after TRYING to get out of it) he confessed that he did physically cheat on me with paid women.  He gave his orgasms to other women repeatedly, usually with just hand jobs, sometimes with blow jobs, at least once with intercourse.

Crushed.

Dead inside.

Dead.

I guess the confession of “20” instances of cheating on me could have been worse.

The polygraph in CO told me that that was true.  It was also true that he used protection for the sex.

I guess at least it wasn’t hundreds of times.  That is a lame attempt at looking at the bright side.  At least he isn’t paying secret child support to dozens of other baby mommas.  At least he…. yeah.  I don’t fucking know.

I do not know how I recovered from this.  Me, as a PERSON.  Me.  Not so much US.  I don’t know how “we” recovered from this, or how we “are” recovering from it, but I don’t know how *I* recovered from it.

I think in this regard, that I am pretty fucking amazing.

I remember the days on the couch that I was dying.  I don’t know how my kids got through the days because I barely remember getting off the couch.  No one took them.  I did not neglect them but I was far FAR FAR from being on my mom-A-game.  I don’t remember anything about those days except the pain.  I felt like a cancer had taken over my soul, my heart, my inner core.  And that it was eating my body, taking what I had and just eating it and removing it from me.  I was being emptied out by it.  Except that it wasn’t cancer, it was my husband.  And it was me, allowing him to have that power over me.

Once he moved out, things got so much easier.  I needed that space, that distance, that… room to breathe.  I needed that room to not be seen, looked at, touched, smiled at, nothing.  I needed the room.

It felt so good.

Doing whatever I wanted.  No one to expect a single fucking thing from me except for my beautiful, amazing children.

The day he left was a nightmare, but every day after that, the sun shined brightly.  Even in the dreary moments, the sun was still shining.

It has been about 7 months now.  Only about 5.5 months since the full reveal when he called me from CO.  So much has happened, changed, moved since then.

I feel whole.  I don’t know how he feels.  Sometimes he seems off.  A little off… or more off.  Sometimes he seems distant.  Sometimes he is negligent.  Sometimes he is amazing, fulfilling, endearing and appreciative.

Rarely, does he see me.  I mean, SEE me.  That is what I am working towards now.

He has made real changes in a very, very real and non-temporary sense.  The actions that used to make me humiliated to know him, to be by his side, to be his wife- he has changed those for the better and they make my heart throb when faced with them.

Things like, not tipping, no disregard for service workers, littering, expecting strangers to revolve around him and work around him – literally, total disrespect for helping others and just doing the right thing in general (grocery stores comes to mind.)  Things that made him an embarrassment to mankind in my eyes- I don’t know if it is for me or just because he sees the reality of his ways, but those things have changed, and have been changed for a very long time.

Now we are working on continuing the open and honest relationship, asking for what he wants, making decisions and stating them, doing social things away from me/family without guilt, feeling his emotions and allowing them to exist… all of these things have been happening, have been gloriously on track.  The big one now is that I still don’t feel like he SEES me.  I’ve given him manymany examples of this and he gets it in theory, but it is very hard for him to go there.  Today he tried to slow down and be present and see me.  I felt like he did see me.  I felt touched, seen and felt, but it was without words.  Words aren’t always needed, but I kind of think at this point that they are necessary to show me what he is seeing.  I want to be noticed by him like I am by other men.  I want him to see how tiny my wrists are, to look at the ridges in my fingernails, feel the squish of my floating ribs, the fine little arm hairs, to trace the freckles on my neck, the lines of my collarbone, the curve of my breasts, the softness in my belly and the bones of my hips.

All of those things are overlooked.  I told him today that I think overuse of porn desensitizes someone to see others as just an object.  That I believe he doesn’t see the details of me because I am, to him, just there.  A blob of existence.  He has started telling me often that he is thankful for me, that I am so “cute” or he “likes my hair” (while staring at my face and touching nothing), things make me think that he is TRYING but it just isn’t piecing together.

I don’t like for him to feel like my project, neither to me or to him, yet it is a bit of a project.  Not that HE is my project, but helping guide him to wholeness, to existing in reality, in the moments of real life.  It is always a project, but it is for me too.  I can get distracted.

I yearn for more from him, I yearn for more from daily life.  The mundane-ness of normal life is tiring.  Draining.  I want to work more, or work on ME more.  I miss working out, but it is so hard, SO hard right now.  My 1.5 year old little redhead terror makes everything so hard.  Sometimes I feel the claws of depression keeping me down.  We have a new puppy.  Day 4 today.  Our last dog had to go to a new home because she repeatedly bit the children.  Broke my heart, still does.  She is with a very, VERY good home, where she couldn’t be happier.  Too much chaos in our world here for her.  This little guy will grow up with our chaos as his norm.  Husband said he is a “homely” looking dog, which I think is code for ugly, which makes me laugh because he is CUTE.

That is all.  Update of where we are.  I’m not blogging much because I’m busy living.  Life is good, and will be good no matter what.  Thankful for the gifts even in the hard times, and thankful for the good times that life is offering right now.