I’ve been married 4 times and my pattern for leaving always takes a similar path. Sadly, I’ve started down the path to leaving Stephen.
Stephen hasn’t been willing to actively work to get his sex addiction under control. He’s lied to me, his therapist and has continued with his cheating. Cyber sex with other people recently. hundreds of hours looking at pictures, watching porn, searching out pictures to post, posting pictures of me without my consent, maintaining hook-up type profiles, posting sex pictures with his exes without their consent, maintaining questionable relationships with exes and fuck buddies while refusing to give them up. The list goes on. His sex life is with his cell phone and his imagination. I’m left out of the loop alone and being cheated on while being a good girl and staying faithful through it all.
Last week I gave into my gut feeling after weeks of ignoring my spidey sense and looked at his phone. Within 30 seconds I found his profiles and chats again. After a few attempts at lying to me he finally admitted he’s never stopped. Not really. Very short periods. I’ve tried to ascertain what it will take for him to hit bottom and actually stop. That’s not my responsibility! It’s his. Taking care of myself is my sole responsibility.
I’ve permanently disposed of our wedding rings. I will not wear a ring nor allow him to unless we’re actually committed and married in every sense of the word. I’ve filled out divorce papers and have them saved on the desk top of my computer ready to go. I take responsibility for my part in continuously allowing him to hurt me. It’s not the first or even the second. There is a laundry list of egregious actions on his part which I have accepted and tolerated buying into his story of I’ll change. I’m not ready to leave quite yet, but I am on my way. Drastic measures on his part would have to happen in order to stop the train that’s moving. I’m not sure if true forgiveness is possible.
I went through domestic abuse counseling after leaving my ex husband. All kinds of lights went off and I was validated on all those feelings I had telling me things weren’t right. Abuse takes many forms other than battery. It clicked for me the other night as he worked that I was being abused once again. Emotional abuse, gas lighting, abandonment, being blamed for his inability to deal with his emotions. There’s more, but I think you get the point. Both of us had extremely abusive fathers. He has always prided himself on being nothing like his father. Well… he is like his dad. It would be easier to admit I’m being abused and leave if I had bruises to show for it.
We have the begging and pleading for me to forgive him with false promises to never do it again after an event. Followed by a honeymoon period in which I remember why I fell in love with him and things are ideal. Complacency hits where things feel “normal” until he starts sliding back into behavior to a point I can’t ignore it. And… the cycle starts again. This is exactly what I went through with my ex husband. The abuse was different, but the feelings and patterns are the same.
Being aware of just how inappropriate his behavior is makes it that much harder to ignore. It takes what it takes to leave. I haven’t hit my threshold quite yet, but I’m getting there. With my ex, it was him screaming at me out of control and non-stop in front of my best friend over literally nothing. That was the straw. It wasn’t as bad as other incidents. I’d simply had enough and was ready to get out.
I’ve made it abundantly clear to Stephen that this is what’s happening and eventually I’ll quietly serve him with divorce papers and kick him out of the house. I don’t know when. I am just certain that I cannot and will not live in a relationship where I’m being lied to, cheated on, ignored, sexually ignored and my feelings don’t matter. It seriously saddens me that I’ve tolerated it more than once… not mention several years worth.
Making a choice to literally starve myself for a couple days to manage my feelings says a great deal about the state of my relationship. It didn’t last long, by the way. My ability and willingness to starve myself gratefully isn’t what it used to be.