Friday, February 10, 2012

Its been awhile

I want to tell you about how I'm on the up and up, but I'm going to start out by saying, "screw tonight!"
Sat down with the wifey tonight after she told me she had broken up with her boyfriend for a couple days, and then got back together with him about 10 minutes before I got there. I told her that was ridiculous, that she was more dedicated to her extra-marital boyfriend than to her husband by giving him a second chance when he asked for it. She listened to me for a minute, I mean she really listened. In the end, she decided to stonewall and that was that. She is making the biggest mistake of her life thus far. She is so deep in her situation that she is acting exactly like an idiot teenager. Making the same mistakes that I made that hurt her in the first place. As if she doesn't know where the life she is choosing will take her. Her heart is the hardest I have ever seen. She proceeded to cry and tell me that I don't know how it feels to have every man she's ever loved cheat on her with pornography, to which I sincerely agree'd... and then told me how her boyfriend is perfect... and looks at pornography. I wonder if she can even hear herself? I wish I could help her, not even primarily for our marriage, but just help her. I love and miss her so much. I know the "new her" isn't the real her.

Then my best friend/confidant/ear and shoulder to talk to and vent on for the past few months pretty much asked me to leave her alone for awhile, understandably and I'm happy to accommodate her, but good gosh I'm feeling it tonight. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to that understands a little, someone that can take a crap day and make you smile. I'm losing that with this friendship, at least for now... and hopefully forever if she can make her marriage work where I couldn't.

That being said, I do generally feel on the up. Last week sucked, bad. On friday things kind of turned around though. I went to help my friend with some drywall work, went shooting with him and his wife, went to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead, and went to dinner with them. It was a good day of getting my mind off of hurting. Saturday morning I woke up, and it was like a whole new world with the theme song "Feeling Good" by Michael Buble. My attitude was just great. I wasn't stuck thinking about my wife cheating on me or my loneliness or anything. I just felt good. I then did awesome on a job interview, had an awesome week with my son, and topped it off by finding out that since going without my blood pressure meds for 8 months because of no insurance, that between losing weight and maybe handling stress in a more positive way, my blood pressure is officially in the green without them. I feel like today is an emotional relapse, but I'm moving forward.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Letter

About a week ago, I had a particularly abrasive night with my wife when we exchanged custody of my son. There weren't any harsh words, the atmosphere was just cruddy in a way that couldn't be denied.

She sent me a text message an hour or two later saying, "sleep well" to which I replied, "You too, I hope you can get some good rest tonight" and then out of nowhere she sent me a message saying "I'm sorry you hate me"

We text a few more minutes, and the gist of the conversation was "I don't hate you, I miss you, I hate feeling miserable and I hate you cheating on me" and her saying "don't assume you know how I feel, I miss us, I'm hurt."

It was like a slap in the face. I realized that my feelings and attitude were apparently not well known and maybe if they were, she wouldn't be so bitter towards me and maybe it could improve our relationship. The thought had been on my mind to write her a letter for a couple months now, and I decided it was time.

So I did, I'm still trying to decide if I am willing to put it up here. I don't think I will.
 The basic idea of the letter was
1 - ask her to not read into anything I said or didn't say in my letter. To take what I say at face value and if she was confused or took offense at anything I said that I would appreciate the benefit of the doubt and I was willing to talk about it.
2 - Admitted my wrongs, and enumerated her wrongs that had hurt me the most, and then bore testimony that both us had done things that were beyond human ability to repair, but through the atonement of Jesus Christ that there IS a way that we can be healed.
3 - Explained to her that I am not gone yet, its not too late yet. That I still love and miss her, and then listed a bunch of the things I miss about her and doing with her. 4 - Told her I would not compete for her, that I love and miss her and enjoy spending time with her, but I can't be her #10. I can't be her go-to guy when her boyfriend is out of town and she is lonely. I need to be her #1.
5 - Told her again, that I am still here, that I am ready to forgive her and to work for her forgiveness, and that I love her
6- I listed a bunch of things I hate about our current situation, and then clarified that I do NOT hate her. I Told her more than anything, I hate the idea of me not being able to make her happy. I told her that "If I can't be that guy, we both deserve more than that and I genuinely and sincerely hope you find it somewhere someday; I just wish you would wait a minute until we are officially over before she starts looking."
7- I told her I felt betrayed and abandoned by her.
8- I told her the things I need my wife to strive for to make me happy in this life.
9- I told her that my next marriage, with her, or someone else; will only work if the ultimate goal is eternal marriage in the temple.
10-I made her 5 promises of the major things I can offer her if she decides I am worth it.
11- I clarified again, that I would not compete for her. It was her choice whether she wanted to date me again, and try to make things work. But I wouldn't even think about going there, unless she loses the other guys.
12- I closed, basically saying that I wrote this because I saw a sliver of hope. I'm not trying to persuade you to make a choice, but rather making it clear what the choice of coming home will mean in both terms of costs, expectations, and benefits.

I gave it to her on Tuesday the 24th. I don't know if or when she read it.

All I know is the atmosphere changed between us the last couple days. Yesterday she asked me to watch all 3 kids in the morning and afternoon. After her deal, she came over and sat here on the couch right next to me touching me for about an hour talking and joking while the kids played.

Last night when I went to drop off my son, she invited me in. She put in a movie, we talked, joked, laughed, played with the kids, and just had a pretty good time for a little over 2 hours. The whole time she was sitting right next to me, putting her legs on me, basically I took it as a sign of wanting to be close to me. I felt really really really really really good last night. I have missed her soooooo much. I have yearned for exactly that with her. I sat up day-dreaming until like 3am. It was a little piece of peace. A little slice of bliss. I woke up at 8 and thought of a few things we could do today. She told me yesterday afternoon that she didn't have plans today. Around 10 I figured she would be awake so I called her and asked her how her morning was going, and if she had plans. She said yes, I'm hanging out with Jason.


Now I feel worse than I would have if last night had never happened.

I feel like I am experiencing a chemical substance addiction cycle even though I've never taken a non-medicinal chemical drug in my life. They say, at least in health class, when you come down from your highs you get lower and lower every time as you become more and more used to it. I feel like after every roller coaster ride I dip lower and lower losing more and more hope. I am starting to yearn for sweet indifference that comes with time after no good times.

I pour my heart out and enumerate one and only one request if she wants to spend time with me at the moment, and her attitude changes and she starts spending time with me. I never asked for clarification on her intentions or anything, but I guess I started to assume she had told him its over. She wasn't wearing the jewelry he gave her, I didn't see any sign of him at her apartment anymore.

And then, the very next day she makes it apparent that she doesn't care. She completely disregards everything I said.

This morning I was feeling better than I have in a LONG time. I was chipper, I was excited, I didn't have to drag myself out of bed. And now, this afternoon, I feel beat up, I feel drained, I feel exhausted.
I don't know what else to say.
Did I just lose my last sliver of hope?
I don't know, I'm going to give it one week and see what happens.
Frankly, today just sucks.

My Current Thoughts on Pornography Addiction Recovery

I am in remission, thanks to the healing effects and power of our savior and lord Jesus Christ.

I have been "sober" of my addiction since April of 2011. Sober to me meaning: that I have not sought out pornography; and when I have come across it in typical internet, print media, and television usage that I have not stayed longer than recognizing the threat and backing away from it. My definition of pornography is anything that incites carnal feelings or desires outside of my marriage (which is literally non-existent at the moment, so virtually anything that incites carnal feelings.)

I will never forget the look on my wife's face when I admitted my addiction. It is seered into my mind forever and still breaks my heart. It was the initial motivation I found to abstain from my addiction. I think that if I had come clean sooner, that if I had told her myself without first getting backed into a corner that she would be here helping me. I think that my child wouldn't be living in two homes, and I wouldn't be losing my two step daughters who were 6 months old and in the womb when I met my wife. I am the only dad they know, their biological father is in prison. My life is literally in ruins because of the damage of pornography.

I am now 8 weeks into attending an Addiction Recovery Group 12 step program put on my the LDS church derived from AA. It has moved me past my initial motivations of getting my wife back, and now I feel truly committed and in it for the right reasons. Technically I am on step 4 working from step 1 forward in the class literature, but I find myself jumping around a LOT, applying principles from other steps as I learn them.

I have found limiting the media in my home has been the biggest deterrent to experiencing cravings, I don't know how much it is the actual media, but rather that the spirit of god can't dwell in any unholy place and I have been working my hardest to make my home a refuge from the world and inviting to the spirit of the lord. I have all but stopped watching R rated movies, I look up all PG-13 movies online to understand their reasons for being rated that way before watching them. I tried turning the internet off on my phone for awhile, but I found it didn't really help me. I found that the key to not indulging in my addiction comes not from impeding my ability to seek it out (internet filters, ect...) but rather recognizing the triggers and getting control of the thoughts as they first creep into my mind. I do this through prayer, scripture study, and spiritual hymns. If I get to the point of wanting to seek out the pornography I have already let it go to far and my addiction is controlling my actions as opposed to myself.

Over time I came clean to a number of people. Wife, Ecclesiastical Leader, Father, Mother, Brother, individually selected extended family, and now a handful of my friends. I have found it easier to address the problem the more open I am about it (within reason). A lot of support comes out of the woodwork as soon as I am willing to be the first one to come out and expose my addiction. A LOT of people struggle with pornography or have at some point, I never would have guessed some of the people who have confided in me with their struggles and/or past once I came forward first.

I heard once, that addiction is like mold. When you tuck it away in a dark damp place, it only festers and endangers our mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health. As soon as it is brought out into the light, it is a simple problem, it may be deeply rooted and it may require extensive repairs, but its no complicated affair. I firmly believe this.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Another crumby day

Today started out well. But now I can't get my wife out of my mind. I can't get it out of my mind that she spent all evening with her boyfriend alone at her apartment. I am hurting again tonight. I can't shake the thoughts. My imagination is being a real douche. I close my eyes and see images of her with him in ways I don't want to describe. I cant turn it off tonight, I think its going to be a long night.

I wanted to have a good night with her tonight.
I made a plan to take her and all of the kids to Beauty and the Beast 3D if she would go.
The conversation got out of hand so fast, I really don't even know what happened.
 I really cannot effectively communicate with her at all, and I don't know any way that I can take the blame for that. I asked her a second time for her ssn and her new address for divorce papers tonight and she somehow interpreted it as me trying to screw her out of everything.
A couple months ago we went to lunch and we talked about what we wanted and reached a general consensus and agreement. I told her I would fill them out with her when she was ready, and even brought it up several times on bad days. She never wanted to take the time to fill out the papers. Finally the other night, I realized it was time and I was going to fill out the divorce papers and file them myself if she wasn't wanting to do it with me. She is self-admittedly in an intimate, sexually-active relationship with her boyfriend. She doesn't care about getting a divorce unless it happens to work as ammunition to throw a fit, act the victim, or get something at the particular moment she is in. I've decided to let her move on the right way. I filled out papers exactly how we discussed. Giving her the more reliable, valuable car, giving her the majority of our last joint tax return, giving her the agree'd upon time with Grayson. I actually went above what she asked for and said I would cash out my 401k and give her half of the cash. I'm trying to do this as fair and reasonably as I can, but because I'm the one filling out the papers she goes on defense and threatens me to make it as hard as possible on me. What the heck am I supposed to do?!? I thought I was doing everyone a favor by filling out and filing the papers. I still want her back, I still think if she would only let me I could make her happy. I'm doing this so that she isn't committing adultery anymore, because whether she cares or not right now, I think she will face a lot of pain about these decisions in the future and the sooner she can be committing fornication as opposed to adultery, the better. I'm doing this because I'm a failure at making her happy, and I want her to find that somewhere somehow, even if it isn't me.

It hurts to see our relationship in such ruins I can't even ask her to go see a movie with me.

I often ponder, if I had the knowledge and insight that I do now last April-ish, if I could have made things work. If I knew then what I know now, would things have turned out differently?

I'm starting to think that it wouldn't have helped anything. From the first moments of our problems, when she said she wanted a divorce, but she would move downstairs for a few weeks at first, she was seeking comfort from other men.
A couple days ago, my thoughts were that if I had only given her the space she asked for upfront, that it would have given her the opportunity to cope herself before trying to cope with the relationship. Now I don't think she would have used the time effectively if I had given it to her. I think we would have found ourselves in this exact situation a lot sooner.
In some ways the space of her moving out and only texting here and there has been nice. It has allowed me to attempt to emotionally distance myself from her. I don't know if I am just pretending, or if the pain is really getting more bearable seeing her boyfriend in my car while she drops off my son. Lately my blood hasn't gone to insta-boil. I've been able to shrug it off by making fun of him for having matching jewelry with my wife. I've been able to not dwell on it. Not tonight.

I don't know if my numbness is a good thing, or a bad thing. Sure, its nice to not feel my heart ripped to pieces every moment of every day, but the pain and suffering is what inspired my personal growth. Am I no longer finding reason in this? Am I no longer using it to progress into a better person? Am I feeling less pain because my life is slightly drifting to a lesser place? I don't know the answer to these questions. I pray that I can have the strength and ability to wake up every morning, and be a better person than I was the day before.

I'm going to start telling a story here and there from the last year of my life to share my story and get it off my chest.

I'm going to start with sometime in May 2011. The night I told her I was addicted to pornography.

It shattered her whole existence. I will NEVER forget her face that night, and the remorse I feel for causing it. It still causes tears to come to my eyes. This face was my entire motivation for turning my life around until a few months ago. She told me she wanted to be left alone, so I went into our bedroom and laid down. It must have been 30 minutes or so later I heard a "thud" and I went and saw that she had fallen off of a kitchen chair while getting a coloring book off the top of the fridge. She said she was fine, and told me to go away. A few minutes later I heard the cupboard open and quietly went back into our kitchen to find she had already consumed an obscene amount of alcohol. Nearly two large bottles of whine-cooler, at least a third of a fifth of Whiskey, and was in the process of drinking a mug full of Brandy. I didn't leave her side for the next 7 hours watching for any signs that she needed to go to the doctor. She was such a wreck.
Keeping her from falling down stairs all night, falling off chairs, laying on the floor bawling for 30+ minutes at a time because she couldn't move. She went into the backyard by rolling over the railing of our steps and falling a good 5 feet. Then she came inside and exhibited her most typical symptom of drinking, a desire for sexual intimacy, but I told her no. I kissed her, I held her, I told her how sorry I was and how I wish I could take everything I had done back, but I told her I wouldn't go there in her current state of inebriation and emotional distress. Her reaction was a textbook example of my life even to this day in regards to our relationship. She screamed at me, she told me she wasn't attractive enough for me. Eventually after what seems like hours of ripping into me, calling me a worthless piece of &*$, then coming down on herself because of her physical self-image, she drifted off to sleep and I watched her until the sun rose the next morning so I could ensure she kept breathing.

The next day, I thought she would appreciate my not taking advantage of her in such a vulnerable state, but no. I got yelled at again. The thing is, I KNOW that if I had given into her advances, I would have been wrong, I would have been taking advantage of her, and if she did remember, she would have hated me for it. The last year of my life, I genuinely can't think of a single situation where my decision actually mattered. She is prepared to take offense at either direction I go.

I wish more than anything I had never caused her this pain. I wish I had never caused her this inner turmoil and hurt. She isn't this person she is pretending to be now. She KNOWS the damage she is doing to herself and our children by being in this extramarital relationship. She felt that pain herself through my pornography and through her first husbands actions that landed him in prison.
I believe it was January 1st. The last night she slept here at home. I was going on a business trip and asked her to come over a couple nights before I left so we could spend some time together. She was tucking the girls into bed and stepped on a block, and her initial gut reaction was yelling the f word. Right there in the girls room, over stepping on a block. That is not the woman I know and love. She has such bitterness and hurt inside. I wish I could take it all away.

One sunday, she was very emotional. I had made a habit of attending church weekly at this point, on the weeks she would go she would refuse to sit as a family or associate with me, so her very limited attendance didn't influence mine. She had a huge problem with me going without her, but I knew I couldn't win and I knew what I needed most in life. If I went to church, I was being self-righteous and condescending. I decided to stay home and do my best to nurture her this particular week, I thought that was the most important thing I could do that day. I don't think I stopped getting criticized for missing church that week for two months. It "proved that I was just a fake." I can't win.

In hindsight I think the reason she wouldn't sit by me, and would never go with me was an act. She had "vented" to ladies in the ward; exaggerated, and straight up lied about things I had done. The ladies in the ward thought I was seeing other women during our marriage, they thought I was going to strip clubs, they thought I was abusive, they thought I used porn as a weapon to hurt my wife, they thought I had partook of prostitution, and worst of all, they thought I raped my wife.
I cheated on my wife while we were dating, and I had an addiction with pornography in our marriage. These are the two ways I was untrue. I was 100% in the wrong, but I think cheating in marriage and before marriage are two separate issues.
Was I a dirt bag? Yes.
Do I blame her for not wanting to be married to someone who would do that? No.
Am I an abusive, sex crazed, prostitute visiting, rapist? Absolutely not.
Looking these women in the eye at church every week was extremely hard. It took all my strength to smile and just wait for their beliefs of me to be proven wrong over time... and that was before I started seeing Facebook messages from them, and my extended family to my wife giving her advice on how to take my son away from me.
Overcoming that bitterness has been one of the biggest struggles of my life.
But I look back now, going on a year later, and I can't remember exactly how bad the pain hurt. I can't duplicate those feelings. People are starting to see what is really happening, and for that I am extremely grateful. My life has slowly been filled with true friends. People who know me, and trust me, and have my back. I remember not even being able to describe the pain of some of the most important people in my life thinking these things about me, I remember being reduced to sobs for hours on numerous occasions, and this being a part of that pain that brought about the deepest despair and hurt I've ever felt. I am eternally grateful for the memory of the pain and the lessons learned from it, but no can't begin to express my gratitude for longer having it as a daily struggle in my life.

Think what you want of me, it doesn't matter. I have true friends I can rely on, and ultimately the only people I have to answer to are my bishop, my wife, and the lord. All three of those people know, or can know through inspiration the realities of what they are told, and obviously know if they are spewing hateful lies.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today was better

I feel like shouting my good news from the rooftops, but I don't know how appropriate that would be.
So I will utilize this blog to shout my news.

Today, January 10th, 2012 I was interviewed by the stake presidency and found worthy to be ordained an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood. It looks like I will most likely be ordained this Sunday, January 15th 2012 by my father.

This has been a long time coming. It has been a lot of change, a lot of work, a lot of prayer, sorrow, peace, and joy.
I am a completely different person than I was one year ago today, and that person is great. I am proud of my growth this year, I am proud of the person I have become.

Today Hurts

Today is painful.
I don't know where this post is going to go, but I feel like writing.

I miss my wife. I miss my kids. I miss my best friend.
Last night we had a family dinner at my dads house for my wife's birthday. It went surprisingly well. We had dinner, brownies, and then played sequence together. My heart aches for her to come home so bad, to be a family again. To let me throw her on the couch and kiss her. To come up behind her while she is doing dishes and wrap my arms around her and tell her I love her. To bring flowers home with me and surprise her. I want to hold her. I want to stay up late playing mancala and mall madness. I want to go to her with big decisions, concerns, fears, and questions in my life for input and support. I want to consult with her about our future. I want to lay in bed late at night and remind each other of old times and funny things the kids have done. I want to go to class with her at night. I want to stress about final exams with her. I want to drink sparkling cider in front of the fireplace with her for no reason other than to feel high-class and posh to unwind from a hellacious week. I want to read together with her at night once the kids are asleep....we never made it through the series we started together. I want to surprise her with a musical greeting card and a can of gourmet cookies on my way home from work for no reason. I want to waste a chunk of my workday on her with skype. I want to text pictures to her in the most creative ways I can think of to say "I love you", like nibbling chicken tenders into a "I, <3, U" shapes. I want to see a ring on her finger, and to feel like she is proud to be my wife. I want to not be able to find a babysitter when we desperately need a date night... so we give the kids a dose of benedryl and put them to bed by 7pm. I want to complain to her about how bad I want a dog and pretend like she is the one stopping us from getting a puppy. I want to braid her hair and for her to pretend like she isn't embarrassed.

None of that matters anymore.
She doesn't love me, and its my fault.

There have been some changes recently, at least in my mind, and I am officially admitting failure.
She has a place of her own now, she has a boyfriend she loves. She thinks this is what is going to make her happy, not me. I disagree, but that is irrelevant at this point. For the last several months, I have been holding her back from moving on. She has been committing adultery because I didn't "give" her a divorce when she asked for it long ago. She obviously doesn't love me anymore, our relationship means nothing to her. It is past my time, and I have filled out divorce papers to let her move on. My heart aches and yearns for her to lay in my arms, that term doesn't seem to do my feelings justice, but its the best I can do right now.

Even when we are together, were not together. Even when I hold her, I know she's not there. When I hug her goodbye I know that it's not the same. It's the shell of my wife. I miss her so much, and there isn't anything I can do to satisfy that yearning for her love, it really does feel like I'm lying next to a ghost.

"Theres too many questions
and too many strings
and they won't keep their self tied
On a roller coaster ride
It feels like I'm lying next to a ghost at night"

Right Where I Belong - 3 Doors Down

Every lost-love song seems like it was written about me, and how big of a screw up and failure I am.

Maybe she really is just too good for me. I genuinely do not know a single thing I could have done more to try and express my regrets and show my love for her. I'm not saying I did things right, I would change a lot if I could, but I gave it EVERYTHING I had and in the end..... I'm out. I want her to be happy, and if I cant give her that after the last 5 years, I guess its time to let her find it somewhere else.

Sometimes I wish she could see the changes I've felt in myself the last year. Maybe they are all in my head... maybe I'm just the same dirt bag that I've always been, just on a roll being able to abstain from my weaknesses in an effort to get her back?.... No, that's not true. I know that Jesus Christ is my savior. I know that through the grace of god I can rise above my character weaknesses and flaws, and turn them into strengths. I recently spent a lot of time alone on the road, a time that would have historically been very difficult for me. Instead of inner turmoil and temptation, I felt peace. I felt help. I felt the companionship of my grandfather in one particular leg of the journey. I'm being blessed, I'm experiencing a complete change of heart that I have been seeking. I don't want to change for her, I want her to change with me. I guess that is why young marriages are so prone to failure. Both people still have a lot of growing to do, and they could grow any number of directions.

I want it to go away, even for a moment.

"If I lay here
If I just lay here.
Would you lie with me,
and just forget the world?"
Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars

Well this post has been for no one but myself, and I feel slightly relieved of my bottled up emotions. I think I will end here, and write another post that may be of benefit to others who may read this someday for information on what I did or didn't do and how it affected the outcome of my troubled marriage.