Skeeter, so proud of your continued NC! You're doing great, keep it up!
Superesse, happy to hear you're thinking about looking at your legal options now! You'll feel so much better once you're free of him. I'm sure the fact that he's a foreign national complicates things. I know I would have been scared to move, and would have ended up in limbo in that situation too.
I know it sounds crazy when you read all the stuff about my dad, huh? You know what's crazy about all of it though? Up until 2 years ago, I would have never put all of that together. Did I find him annoying sometimes? Yeah, of course. Did his joke-telling seem off-color and ill-timed? Sure, but that was just dad being dad. I would have just shrugged it off. Up until all of this blew up, I honestly would have told anyone what a great guy my dad is. I probably would have described him much like you describe your dad, Dee.
My therapist is the one who blew it all wide open for me. After digging in about my childhood for a couple months of sessions, I would rehash stories from my XH, and she would say "And who does that sound like?"
*Raises hand* Also in the misfit group. I could have fit in with the in-crowd once I grew out of my gangly, stringy hair, reads for pleasure in the corner phase, but by then I knew how fake they all were, and I was more comfortable with my own random group. I think my younger years really set me up to be a student of human nature. I'm very observant, content to just watch and pay attention to how others interact, body language, semantics etc. This is why it surprises me so much that I didn't see him for what he was. It wasn't the first time I had encountered people whose actions belied their stated intentions. I've always been pretty damn good at reading people too.
Here I thought I was being the cool wife letting him go out with friends and not being a nag.
Here we were, being mature adults and assuming they were too. Yep, very familiar.
Of course. We didn't assume they were doing insane things, because we aren't insane.
It is weird that these men like feminist, strong women - but I suppose a clingy partner would make leading a double life logistical difficult. They want us busy. They want us successful.
So in a way, I was exactly who someone would want if they wanted to get away with a lot of sneaky stuff. I wasn't clingy, wasn't all in his business, didn't need to know where he was at all times and didn't have the interest in policing another person. I wasn't demanding because I didn't need him. I appreciated anything he did because I was so used to taking care of myself.
THIS^^^ Also, IMO, choosing us as partners is the ultimate form of faking it 'til you make it. They wish they were like us, and they think that our healthy independence will rub off on them somehow, or maybe seep into their souls through osmosis. Turns out it doesn't work that way.
I could always tell when my XH was in a healthier swing, because things were more calm and he was more focused on how well I handled things. Very appreciative, and wanting to learn from me. But the second he wasn't perfect at it, down the shame hole he would go again.
It didn't hurt that when he spiraled out like that he now had the perfect kind of partner - the one who would give him his space, and let him go out to blow off steam. Knowing something was off, and understanding that he needed some time to process it. NOT knowing that his way of processing it was meth and NSA sex.
I was a strong independent woman when I met my XWH. He seemed to love that, but he also hated it...I wasn't conditioned to depend on a man to do things. It didn't occur to me that something like a broken washing machine was "his" job. So my independence attracted him at first and caused him to resent me later.
Yup. We converted our dining room to a bedroom for one of the girls, and needed to put some curtain rods up in a wall in the alcove that didn't have any studs in it. So she and I went to the store and bought some 2x4s to anchor them, had the shop guys cut them to the size we had measured before we left the house. Then came back and used my drill to attach them to the wall, install the rod holders and the rod. He came home that day and said "Why didn't you wait for me?" My answer - I was perfectly capable not only of doing it on my own, but of teaching younger DD how to do it, so it didn't occur to me that we needed to wait. He never used the term, but he felt emasculated by all sorts of stupid shit. I was like dude, I'm not helpless, I'm not going to ask you for help with every little thing. If that's the kind of woman you want in your life, you picked the wrong partner!
And the whole time we were together, he was either mad because I called him during the day and interrupted his precious work or he was mad because I didn't call during the day to check on him and tell him I love him.
OMG, this!! If we were to right a collective memoir, it would be titled Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't: The Spouses of Sex Addicts Story.
On the subject of how we each got here, I thought of another possible shared history question: who was like me, such a loner teen that the whole "dating scene" was missed? Like, you never got invited to the Prom, and by the time you were out on your own, you were already feeling behind the other girls your age, therefore "grateful" for any attention? This could certainly explain some things I did....
I was more in the middle ground. I dated in high school, but it was all spotty and I always kind of felt like a pity girlfriend. My first highschool bf I was hooked up with through mutual friends, and then he broke up with me after 3 months because it was "too hard to be long distance" (he went to a high school about a 30 minute drive away). Second bf was the new kid in school from out of state, we "dated" which basically consisted of making out at his house before his mom got home, only went to prom together because we were dating, then he broke up with me a week later, also at the 3 month mark. I basically started feeling like I had a 3 month expiration date. I ended up going to senior prom with a guy I had very briefly dated my freshman year, and he hung out with his friends the whole time while I sat at a table by myself, then he ditched the after party. The common denominator among all of them was me, and also the fact that I wouldn't sleep with any of them. I think this feeling of having an expiration, of not being useful because I wasn't sleeping with them, is what made me susceptible to the love bombing from XH.
To meet him, you'd never think he was an a#hole. Very hard worker, calm nature, mostly kind-hearted, rarely gets angry...people get the impression I'm the one with a case of the GRUDGE.
It's easy for us to look like the crazy people - they've made us nuts. My STBX is so well-liked, comes off as such a sweet, unassuming guy - I am totally sure there will be plenty of people who think I was the problem.
It's the kind-heartedness and the smiling easy-going facade that makes it so hard to comprehend. This is a special kind of threat. I never would have described my XWH as unemotional and cold. Never. I wouldn't have described him as unempathetic. I would have told you that he was tender-hearted and kind.
Yup. I would have told you he was one of the most compassionate, caring people I knew. Loved his daughters, deeply. Cared for me equally as much.
Actions, not words, not tears, not loving facial expressions. Once I looked purely at actions, I saw it. I saw how he loved his dog, but I was the one who did everything for our dog. I saw how he loved his daughter, but when she was with us, I was the one caring for her. I saw how he "loved" me, and he had been sleeping with other women behind my back for I don't know how long.
Yes, that's the trick and it is a trick - because they do all of the more cosmetic stuff so well. When I look at his actions alone, I feel like a fool - his actions pretty much never aligned with his words.
Yup. And my upbringing with my dad is why I think I so easily fell for this.
He can flip on a dime too like everything is ok and he is this "really good person." I think it's strange that he has to announce that he is a good person. Who does that?
To hear my dad, to see how emotional he gets etc., how he can go on and on about how much he loves his kids and adores his wife, you would think he does. I mean why insist so strongly on something that isn't true? I never had any reason to question him on it before. I just took him at his word. Just like I took my XH at his. He could write you a novel about himself as the hard-working single dad with the heart of gold who just wants the best for his daughters and is so happy to find someone so great to share his life with (me). But normal people don't have to convince people that they're a good person. They just go about their life being a good person, and that's that. I think they're trying to convince themselves as much as they're trying to convince others.
He could not get it. He could pretend to get it like a champ. That shit is scary to me.
I was amazed at how knowledgeably he articulated remorse, the few times he did, only to revert to a "what's the big deal?" attitude.
This is the single scariest part to me. This is my biggest fear in dating again. I was duped before. I can't physically, financially or emotionally handle being duped like that again.
And the doctor yesterday confirmed prolonged stress can cause most of the symptoms I've had, including even my recent elevated fasting glucose. So now I'm going to have to watch that, too...the fun never ends.
Yup! I've had arthritis since middle school, but it definitely flares up when I'm stressed. The whole 6 months after DDay I felt like an old lady and could barely use my hands to grip anything because my knuckles were swollen.
BlackRaven, having your therapist on the phone with you while you took that call is fucking genius!! FWIW, I wouldn't be satisfied with any of the mumbo jumbo they fed you either. Sounds like stock answers to me. Maybe I'm just jaded. Or maybe I've just been on this merry-go-round one too many times and now don't believe an SA can be vulnerable that easily.
Like secondtime wrote
The progress addicts make are so slow. And you are right to question the vulnerability.
I didn't know it at the time, because we never took on rehab or any sort of 12 step, but I wrote several impact statements over the years. I do think it's worth it. Yes, I did often see changes in him for a time after one of our heartfelt discussions/reading of my letters. But after the first couple of go-rounds, I kinda knew that would be short lived. It really did help me process things though. It was good to get it off my chest in writing, without being interrupted or derailed when the focus/attention was drawn to his shame.
I had always thought of girls with daddy issues as being needy and clingy and unable to do anything for themselves. I'm not any of those things. Thought I would be able to steer clear of the dating/bad picker pit falls because I wasn't like that. I was too smart for that. Well, that was all a lie.
Oh, and re: criminal histories. I put together a lot of strange stuff after DDay. I mean, meth use in and of itself. Plus whatever he did to get it. Plus the escorts.
But I'm also pretty sure he stole one of our cats. He just came home one day with a cat, and then refused to take the calls of the shelter even though we needed more medication for his eye infection. He told me later that he had told them he would pay them the second half of the adoption fee later, so he wasn't picking up their calls because he didn't want to pay. He wouldn't give me the phone number to let me handle it. I was livid, and I let him have it. I still don't really know where that cat came from.
He did a similar thing with his car once. Went to get it smogged, but they were trying to fix the machine. They offered to switch out his headlight bulbs for him while he waited. He left after they had finished, convinced them not to make him pay for it, saying he would come back when the smog machine was fixed. He never went back, took it somewhere else to smog it. To his chagrin, I ended up going to the place and paying for the lights myself, then charged him for it.
Oh, and he was always trying to steal stuff from restaurants. Like if they had a glass that he though was cool, or some kind of fancy plate or something. He would take flowers out of the vases on the table to give to me and the girls, even after I told him how uncomfortable I was and to please put them back.
I wonder how many petty scams like this he has pulled off over the years. Another benefit of the non-nagging wife - you can scam people all you want as long as she doesn't find out about it.