So I am a month in of the ''no contact rule'' and 6 months separated (although been back and forth since) and for some reason it seems like it is getting harder again??!! What the bleep??? Maybe I am imagining it and it is actually not as bad as it was (I am getting down the gym, into work and having a social life so cant be so bad) however it hasn''t helped that I have driven past my stbx a couple of times (he moved in around the corner from me :-/) that sets me back every time.
Also it is our Wedding Anniversary tomorrow and I plan to ignore it/celebrate that I am no longer with a compulsive liar. If only I knew then what I know now.....
I have no choice really but to post it here. Other wikis need not respond to my points below as this was written over a year ago and to be honest looking back, I can not relate to what I have written below. I felt it all at the time, but my life has moved on so much! I find it difficult to comprehend now why I gave him so much headspace but that is what moving on does for you. Blimey its got better since I wrote this in March 2011!
Anyway KK this is for you. Sorry for any formatting problems, I have done my best with cut and paste
Those that have time to read my blog (!) will know that some time ago, I made a promise not to contact my stbx for 60 days. The time of no contact was a result of looking into what professionals say is enough time to achieve some kind of emotional distance.
So, my friends, today I have reached day 60 without contacting him. I made a promise to myself to take control and ease my own pain 2 months ago and I have benefitted so much from this decision and my own discipline. In fact, I am actually physically with many of you to celebrate today! I wanted to share with you my experience of no contact with stbx for a long period. So grab a cuppa and put your feet up as I now ask for your patience as you read, for this is a long and deeply personal story that I am about to share and a life transforming journey in exploring my heart.....
I was actually driven to no contact by my stbx behaviour. Like so many adulterers, he announced he was leaving and that was that. He did not bother to tell me the truth about his latest infidelity (swore on everything living that there was no one else) I found out about his sordid affair a week after he told me he was leaving me. His behaviour towards me was unbearable, cold, brutal and unforgivably aggressive. Every time I saw him after he told me he was going, he would look at me with his emotionless eyes and adopted a tone with me as if he was dealing with an irritating subordinate. I felt I had no option but to cut contact with this monster and stop him pouring salt into my open wounds with his behaviour.
So I embarked on the no contact. For a couple of weeks, I heard nothing from him. Christmas and New Year came and went with no communication. I assumed he was living it up with the other woman. However, with no contact, the first thing that occurred to me was that he can inflict no more pain. Sure, my imagination was running on overtime but he actually could no longer hurt me with his cruelty. So the first few weeks of no contact are ok as making that decision gives you a feeling of being in control of the situation.
After a couple of weeks, I got some voicemail messages. Well, if anything needed to confirm to me that I had indeed made the right decision these messages did that! He was still talking to me like an irritating subordinate and seemed to have adopted this rather odd way of speaking that I did not really recognise. I did not return those calls. Another week passed and I got an email - very formal, very short, no real content apart from saying that he hoped I was ok. Again, I held firm and did not respond.
The middle part of no contact however, I found the hardest. Watch out for this if you go down the same path. You assume it gets easier as time goes on. I found this not actually to be the case. My stbx stopped trying to contact me after a few weeks and then I started to torture myself with questions. Did he ever care? Does he not wonder what has happened to me? Why is he not bothered? These questions consumed me for about a week. I could have been dead for all he knew and boy his indifference cut like a knife.
However, I stayed strong, with determination and knowledge that the monster he had become would not be able to help me. Calling would have achieved nothing apart from giving him control back which I was not prepared to do. And this is when the magic of no contact really kicked in. About halfway through no contact, I started to remember things in my marriage and I started to feel differently about him. I gained perspective on my marriage that was quite unbelievable - I had all kinds of revelations about the marriage, him and my part in it all.
The perspective on the marriage heals actually; the no contact period only facilitates that. I realised early on that if I gave him the opportunity of contact, he would continue to hurt me and I would be dealing with this new hurt constantly rather than getting the time and space to heal from my broken marriage.
To get the best from no contact, you have to do some work on yourself. Sorry guys, this is the painful bit. I read books, read blogs and posts on this site, made myself go out and socialise, saw a counsellor religiously every week and did lots of cathartic writing (letters to stbx that I will never send) It was the no contact and tireless hours of working on my own recovery from this man that led to the revelations listed below about my marriage breakdown. Time does heal but you need to do some work on yourself with professional support if you can, to make sure you heal well if that makes sense? For example, if you broke a bone, and you did not go to hospital the bone would still heal to a degree in time. But it probably would heal badly, take longer than it should, be far more painful than it needed to be and might just give you problems for the rest of your life.
So, this work has been about making sure my broken heart heals properly and that mistakes are learnt from so I give myself the best possible chance of happiness in the future.The distance helped me spot the following overall themes about my relationship.
1. He cared about me as much as he has the capacity to care. He has limitations and he cannot love others, he is emotionally unavailable. He never truly loved me and cannot place himself in a position of vulnerability with another.
2. At heart, my stbx has virtually no self-esteem or self-worth. He believes he is not loveable and seeks validation from women that he is attractive and desirable. We all know that self-esteem and self-worth comes from within - but my husband does not get that. He chases the initial adoration/adrenaline rush from relationships or brief sexual encounters. When it becomes a routine, i.e. when usually true intimacy is usually established he just can''t go there. For him the relationship loses sparkle due to fear of intimacy and possibly getting hurt, so this means he needs to find fault in the partner and the consequence of this is that he no longer feels validated due to the perceived "faults"
He feels then personally less attractive and desirable as a result. He then feels despair and anger because of it and he needs the adoration again from someone different to make him feel better about himself. That, ladies and gentlemen, is his spin cycle of serial adultery and my life of hurt and betrayal for years and years. You now can see what is at the core of emotional unavailability, intimacy is too scary and they run from it with affairs, lies and cheating and in my stbx case the relentless search for perfection in a woman.
If he attracts perfection in a woman, he believes he will get the ultimate validation. See how this avoids intimacy as he never finds the perfection he seeks. Nothing to do with me - all his issues.
3. My stbx would manipulate and control to make himself look like he cared more than he did for me. So giving something to me was usually self-serving. He would do just enough to keep me believing he cared more than he did and to keep his web of lies intact to ensure opportunities for adultery.
The watch out for all people here in testing levels of emotional investment is that you hear the words about love and caring from the partner but these are not often followed up by actions. You know if you have been in one of these relationships as you will have had a feeling something is not quite right in your marriage but not being able to put your finger on it.
Also, crushing, soul destroying disappointment and loneliness is a pervasive feature of your marriage which takes every ounce of effort for you to rationalise and minimise in your own mind. You end up kidding yourself that things are ok and deep down you know the truth but become trapped like I did because I thought his treatment of me was because I was not good enough. I felt I was getting what I deserved at the time.
4. My efforts to change my behaviour and appearance to become perfect in his eyes would never change his feelings towards me. Some human beings are incomplete emotionally due to past hurts (usually from childhood) and cannot open up. This unresolved hurt has stopped my stbx being able to form a heart connection with anyone in his life, he simply can not trust another human being to meet his needs. This is why this type of person is very manipulative. They feel that this is the only way to get their needs met.
5. He was cruel, hurtful and spiteful at the end of the relationship due to guilt and his ego was seriously dented by me not fighting for him. He wanted to go and I let him without comment. Best bit of advice I got about the behaviour of my stbx at the end is he attacks to defend himself. So very true.
6. The affair was due to his issues, not because anything I had done/not done in the marriage. I cannot emphasise this point enough. When you truly believe that it is not your fault and the affair was due to how they feel about themselves NOT YOU (see point no 1, and 4 above) there is a sense of peace. When I accepted this, true recovery began. My sleep instantly improved literally overnight and I now get a full night''s sleep without exception.
This is how powerful getting to the bottom of something actually is
7. These emotionally unavailable people project their bad feelings on to their partner. They manipulate, blame and control. Mine blamed my weight for his serial adultery. These types of people will pick on vulnerability and exploit weakness in others. By blaming me, my stbx felt his actions were justified (!)and he would not need to look within himself for why he was a cheat or even feel bad about it. His wife was "fat" he felt he deserved someone thinner. Sorry, I know how horrible it is to read that but it was these sick thoughts that kept him engaged in highly dysfunctional behaviours.
I realise now, there would always be something "wrong" with me in his eyes, so he could always hold something back to avoid true intimacy and in his own mind feel his adultery was my fault. A typical thought process might be" if my wife took care of herself and was thin, I would not need to do this" I engaged in a battle I would never win, even as a size 12 my husband thought I was obese!
8. I had failed to spot my husbands controlling behaviours whilst in the marriage. Due to his view that I was too "fat" he would check what food had been eaten, empty bins to look for confectionary wrappers, once even snatching food out of my hands and putting it back in the cupboard, he would weigh himself in front of me regularly and make comments about my excessive "size" All to keep me in my place, him firmly in control and his excuse intact for the adultery. I was in denial....
9. ht his demons and win through for me and our life together. I know that he has lost his battle for sanity, he has to find rock bottom now.
My life moves on regardless without him. In the end though, I was trying to do the work for both of us. It was not a life and certainly not what I dreamed of when I stood at the altar in my wedding dress. But I have saved myself from his ever increasing insanity. I have peace of mind; my dignity and pride are intact despite his extremely poor conduct. That counts for a lot.....I hope my detailed notes of recovery help some of you too....I am wishing you all strength and courage as we all navigate this path of divorce. I now embark on the legal and financial processes of divorce but I know I can handle whatever he throws my way now. I am stronger, firmly and determinedly in the driving seat of my own life. I will get through this and be better and stronger for it. I still have many twists and turns to take yet on this road to recovery but now I know I will be ok. I will be back in a month to let you all know how I am getting on.....
Thank you Shoegirl, I was expecting it to get easier over time and as I have gone over the half way point (just) I was feeling very confused as to why it suddenly seemed to be getting more difficult again it really helps knowing that you have experienced the same and that maybe its common.
Undoubtedly the fact that is it our anniversary today (and I have been thinking about it for the past week) isn''t helping.
its just another day and I am determined to get through it sane!
I had a similar experience on my wedding anniversary too. Sat there wondering if he had remembered etc. It was horrible.
It''s gets easier over time. I had not looked at my blogs for ages until today and looking through them well it reminded me just how far I had come.
I found writing cathartic at the time and my goodness looking back on it gives you a real sense of how far one has progressed.
Getting to indifference takes time. I''m not sure I am even there yet in terms of feeling indifferent. I can say though that I am emotionally detached and found strategies that are right for me to move my life positive forward as you are doing. You resolve to carry on carrying on at first despite the shxt. Somewhere along the way, slowly a new life is built. And I would not swap my new life for my old one now for any price.
Recovery takes time and focus. You are doing everything right. Keep going as the good and bad days will come. Know though over time the bad days become much less and convert into the odd bad hour or two every now and then.
Big hug as a wedding anniversary was always going to be difficult under the circumstances. Take care.