I do know exactly what to do. It’s just that it’s coming up on the first anniversary of the official DDay (it’s tomorrow) and I feel shitty about myself that I’m still here. It is so ridiculous to admit but I have some sliver of hope that he will “get it.” After everything — the hookers, the trannies, the lies, the interns, etc. — he could still fix things. I can’t believe it’s true, but it is. A little counseling, a few books, a vow renewal, any sign of caring — I would eat it up. I don’t want to be here, hanging off the edge of a cliff by my fingernails.
You talk a lot about needing validation and I completely understand that. On an intellectual level, I know I’ll never get validation but that’s so hard to accept. How can a person be so successful, smart, charming and popular but be so disconnected from reality?
I always — and still do — feel like he was the football captain and I was the shy, kind homely girl. He is super, mega, crazy sparkly; smashingly successful in his profession, good looking, tons of acquaintances who admire him, hordes of women chasing him. He appears so sensitive and kind to outsiders. I even think he could charm you — nobody would believe the kind of person he really is. I feel like a nobody without the validation of being his wife. That’s very scary.
Leaving his sphere of awesome is hard because it feels like blackness after almost a decade together. I am addicted to the drama, the game of catching him, playing marriage police and making him feel just bad enough to win his attention. I keep hoping to get some of that sincerity back, that caring, to provoke it by making him understand what he’s done – years and years of lying and cheating that add up to him being a complete asshole and a bad person. It’s so odd to me, strange and weird, that he’s just a void, a black hole, with no concept of the damage he’s wreaked on my entire life. He still vehemently defends his privacy, his integrity. How is that possible to hurt someone so profoundly and just not care or even care to understand?
I hate that this is totally out of my control, that the failure of my marriage is not my fault. I didn’t want any of this. I tried, I really tried and the ending has nothing to do with me wanting to be single or find happiness. It’s become survival. I wanted this to work. I know I will eventually have to jump. It’s a question of courage; that’s the reason for the therapy.
Thanks for everything you do. You are the one voice of reason with no skin in the game (I’m not your daughter, friend or patient). I’m sure there are many chumps like me creeping on your blog, too ashamed to admit we’re stuck in limbo.
You don’t need therapy to find courage. You just need faith in yourself. I’m all for good therapy, but it doesn’t hold a candle to action and self preservation. You said yourself you don’t need anyone to tell you what you need to do, (“the hookers, the trannys, the lies, the interns, etc.” Yeah, that’s BAD.) You know you need to leave. It’s not insight you need, it’s balls.
If I’m in a burning house, I don’t need a physics lecture on fire. I don’t need someone to ask me how I feel. (I feel HOT. Like I might burn to death.) And then sit back and let me contemplatively connect the dots. Huh… it looks like fire… it feels like fire… fire can burn you to death… but maybe a rain storm will put the fire out for me? Maybe a fireman will rush in and save me? Maybe there’s a really good explanation for this fire? Maybe I’m running a fever? Or… EUREKA! maybe I should run out of the burning building?
This is the way therapy works. Therapists are not allowed to tell you to LEAVE, to flee that burning building. You’re supposed to come to that conclusion yourself. Or not, and spend a lot more therapy dollars in limbo.
But you didn’t ask a therapist, you asked Chump Lady. So I’ll tell you — RUN OUT OF THE BURNING BUILDING, EMILY! IT’S FUCKING BURNING!
You can’t have it both ways. You can’t enjoy the validation of being Mr. Sparkles’ wife and resent the price of admission. But, but — I want Mr. Sparkles without his trannie hooker habit! No, they go together. You want to be a different person? ACT like a different person. Because the person you are ACTING like — reflecting your values — is that you will tolerate a lot of cheating and disrespect to be Mr. Sparkles wife. That’s the truth of it. If you don’t want to be that person, ACT like it. Run out of the burning building.
ACT, and THEN work on understanding in therapy. Do all your second guessing on the safety of a shrink’s sofa.
Oh, and Emily? He’s not that fabulous. I’m sure there are plenty of people who think Mr. Sparkles is a total douchebag. You’re drinking the Koolaid. This is what happens when you’ve been in the narcissist orbit too long. Try no contact for a year and tell me how the sparkles look then.
So what if you’re the only one who thinks Mr. Sparkles sucks? (Doubtful.) You’re also the only one who is married to him. It doesn’t matter if the rest of the world thinks he lights the moon, you’re the one who has to live with him — a guy who demonstrably doesn’t give a shit about being faithful to you. That’s either okay with you, or it’s not.
After awhile, Emily, limbo stops being paralysis and it’s its own choice. I don’t WANT to decide. I want circumstances to decide for me. How many failed attempts at him “getting it” do you need? Your husband “gets it” plenty. You have shown him through your actions that he can cheat and you’ll be there to take it. He’s heard your cries for vow renewals and book readings and monogamy and — he’d rather not, thank you. He doesn’t agree. You can accept his answer, accept his terms, and stay, or you can reject it and leave.
Or you can do what you’re doing now — stick around and be pissed off about it.