A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

How Many Layers?

onion1As the days go by, I realize over and over that my boyfriend’s betrayal has gone (and continues to go) beyond just having sex with someone else behind my back. He used me, friends, and even my own insecurities and personal struggles to give himself peace while he created a fantasy world for himself in which he wasn’t accountable.

[**Warning: You may be witnessing the decline and fall of Rosie’s sanity–please wear a hard-hat.**]

The man I love and devoted my heart to did the following (that I know of):

  • Claimed to love me, that we were “in it together,” and pledged that he would “pay attention.”
  • Became sexually unsatisfied with our relationship and claimed it was his lack of libido. Made multiple promises that he’d get help, but I was ok with being with him regardless. (In fact, as he knew, my libido was affected by my anti-depressants.) If he’d become paralyzed, I would have happily been his partner for life.
  • Ignored my attempts to address our declining intimacy.
  • Sought sex outside the relationship (i.e., this wasn’t an accident) and rationalized that a) what I didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me, and b) that he was entitled to have his needs met, regardless of mine.
  • Woke me with a kiss every morning, went to work, rented hotels in the afternoon (while wondering aloud at home where all our money was going) and carried on his sexual relationship, which he rationalized was not about me. Was generally home in time for dinner, though now I doubt his every move from cello lessons to drinks with friends.
  • Took his lover on a business trip to San Francisco–one of the ones I did not go on, but you can be certain he texted me the whole time updating me about his accommodations, meals, etc. without a trace of irony.
  • Used at least one of OUR FRIENDS as a decoy for his rendezvous. Said friend has confirmed this deception.
  • Woke me with a kiss one Saturday morning and said he was off to shop for a “surprise” for me. Remained occupied for the entire day making vague excuses about not finding what he was looking for until I texted him in a panic because my drug-addicted brother showed up, at which time he dressed, I assume, and “rushed home in a panic cursing traffic.” He showed up looking guilty as fuck, and of course bearing no “surprise” for me. (Surprise! I was fucking someone else today!)
  • Said he wanted to work on our intimacy and fix our relationship while fully (and later, admittedly) intending to continue a sexual relationship with his lover.
  • Refused, after I discovered his infidelity, to break off contact with his lover, choosing instead to break off contact with me. (This is the part where I packed his shit.)
  • Followed that act by posting on Facebook how awful he felt about what he’d done to me and how he is dedicating the next year to figuring out how to be the person he wants to be (and got lots of sympathy for his pain and loss, of course), while offline telling his lover that I’d tracked her down on the very same website (yeah, couldn’t help myself) at which time she blocked me and he became HER FACEBOOK FRIEND. Oh, and while I changed my status to “single” he changed his to “separated.” Was that meant to give me a tiny spark of hope, followed by a full-on slap in the face? “We’re only separated, but I’m going to go ahead and publicly friend my lover on Facebook.” I don’t even…

What will I discover next?

Yes, I’ve done obsessive, stalkery things, but the book I’m reading says that’s perfectly normal and GUESS WHAT? I’m still not as stalkery as his ex-wife who I DON’T EVEN BLAME ANYMORE. (Yes, this is a pattern. I didn’t recognize it because he had one foot out the door when he met me, moved out immediately, and we didn’t have sex for over two months–she got way better treatment than I did.) I told him I would fight for him, but I can’t if he’s not fighting for me. I’m not going to show up where he’s having dinner with his lover or at his office or church. I’m not going to chase her in my car or insist on meeting her so I can tell her what she’s done to me. Yeah, she’s an asshole, and somebody probably ought to tell her so, but it won’t be me. She didn’t do this to me. He did. This is a man who will apparently stop at nothing to have his sexual and emotional needs met at the expense of everyone in his blast radius. He needs help. He’s a serial monogamist and very possibly a Narcissist. And, God help me, I still love him. Or who I thought he was, anyway.

Some may think it’s wrong of me to be so public with this. But I have no desire to protect him from the truth and the consequences of the choices he made and is continuing to make. And I’m entitled to heal in my own way. If he had chosen to be here working on things, that would have been a completely different path to healing. But this is the one I’m on now and I have to find my own way through this, and the fact that my dog is dying, and everything else life throws at me during this dark and fucked up time in my life.

How can I have spent seven years of my life with someone I loved, but didn’t know? How do I move forward knowing that I can’t truly know anyone? Readers, I know you know these are rhetorical questions that can only be answered with, “That’s just the way it happened.” and “You’ll find a way.” But right now the confusion in my head can be summed up in four little words I find myself repeating often:

“I don’t get it.”

16 responses

  1. writing, writing, words words words.

    Love to you Rosie. You’re a trail-blazer and writer I would aspire to be. Thank you for your courage to share. My ex of 4 years finally admitted that on those twice-yearly trips to Amsterdam and Bangkok, he would get the massages with the hand-job finish. For 6 years he lied and said he didn’t get the finish. In my heart I knew what he was doing and it made me crazy, because I couldn’t prove that that was what he was doing. In the end I was always the one who looked like a nutcase. I’m sure the massages weren’t from eighty year old grand-mas. So I see him as a sexual tourist and child molester. His rational is what happens out of the USA doesn’t count. Wow. Gas-lighting. Narcissist big-time. At least he’s someone else’s problem now.

    February 14, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    • Ugh. The gaslighting is so abusive! So glad he’s out of your life!

      February 15, 2015 at 11:29 am

  2. Ang

    I wish I could say that I don’t understand your every word. But, I do. After an abusive childhood and a young marriage to the first man who made me feel “safe” who ended up having a porn addiction. 13 years later and a huge battle finally divorced only to meet the man of my dreams. My SOUL MATE. He knew all my shortcomings, all my past and pain and was everything I ever wanted. Everything I never imagined. Until six years later, I find he has lived a secret life as a second addict the entire time. He will swear on his own Childrens lives that he is telling the truth! He will become angry and hateful and nasty that I dare question him. He makes me believe I AM crazy. And I guess I am. Because I am still here. I have been shocked a million times over. I have learned things I never imagined. Been hurt more then I ever could have thought possible. I can’t believe in ANYTHING. Everything I ever knew was a lie. Nearly every single day I find something else. I die a new death each and every time. And yet I still pray and hold on waiting for him to realize all he has done and all he will lose. How could it be worth it? For something not even real? I know in my heart that he will eventually kill me. He will never change. I am consumed by his addiction, and have lost myself completely.
    I only wish I didn’t know your pain.

    February 13, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    • I am so sorry you’re going through this. I remember those feelings so well. I really hope you are able to do whatever it takes to take care of yourself.

      February 14, 2015 at 1:40 pm

  3. Gai sensei

    They are both living in a fully separate reality from ours. Don’t attempt to follow a thought process that isn’t based in the world the rest of us live in. Trying to do so is not productive.

    January 1, 2013 at 4:50 pm

  4. That sucks that it happened to you.
    Feel free to vent.

    December 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

  5. chatalee

    Re-learn how to take good care of yourself. Inevitably we keep moving forward, hurled along by the evil forces of time and space. Trust your feelings, they are real. Test your intuition; I say “test” rather than “trust” because that expression has bedeviled me for a long time. I felt guilty when I couldn’t follow my intuition, disappointed in myself, but when I “test”, it’s more like data collection and I can collect a history of when things work out better or not when I follow my intuition without yelling at myself inside my head. I have to keep practicing these things constantly and even so, too often experience that gut clenching, body tightening panicky feeling of overwhelm. When I’m taking good care of myself, I remember to breath out that overwhelm like it’s just toxic and I can blow it right out of me, and then the evil forces of time and space take over again.
    I really mean to say that I find everything you write wonderful to read. This story is gut wrenching. I reacted by wanting to give you advice/help; that would be my selfish egocentric side. Ah. Please keep writing.

    December 27, 2012 at 6:40 am

  6. Pat MacEwen

    Being utterly unqualified to offer advice on relationships, I won’t. But I do know this… you’re strong enough to get through this, and you’ll be stronger yet when you get to the other side. A lot of us know what it feels like, getting kicked between the eyes by the one person you should have been able to trust. It’s no fun at all, but it is survivable.

    December 27, 2012 at 5:41 am

  7. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Welcome to the unfortunate club. I’m two months in. The pain is still great but the shock has (slightly) worn off. I’m sorry for what you’ll have to face these next few days and weeks. The pain is immense. I’m still in the thick of it. The level of deception sounds incredible. Brace yourself. Best wishes.

    December 27, 2012 at 4:08 am

  8. Anna

    what you don’t get is how a person who claims to love you and put up a front of commitment, can be so callously deceptive. actually, you’re not supposed to get it. because getting it would be going into the recesses of the sociopathic mind, and that is a scary, dark and evil place to go. don’t go there. there is no cure for the sociopath. the cure for you is to kick him to the curb and do not look back. arm yourself with information about the sociopath, unfortunately, there’s many out there. one good book: the sociopath next door. i don’t remember the authors name. i feel ya regarding the question of not truly knowing anyone…..it takes a very long time to get to know someone. i have no answer to that one. take care of yourself and get a restraining order against the SOB.

    December 27, 2012 at 1:59 am

  9. *hugs*

    December 27, 2012 at 1:54 am

  10. Leah

    Sending more hugs. I’m going to second regnistegg999’s advice to get an STD screening. The detachment process sucks. You’re going to spend a lot of time being pissed and not enjoying things (movies, concerts) because you’ll be thinking of him. One thing that might help is to get a small notebook to carry with you and write down whatever when you feel sad or pissed (or happy). A safe place where you can be completely honest and not have to worry about censoring yourself. If you like, you can show entries to friends, but just having a private place will help a lot. Be around friends you can trust who will listen.

    December 27, 2012 at 1:37 am

  11. I’m feeling your pain. I’m so sorry for your betrayal and the pain it’s causing. I think that talking about it is a good & healthy thing to do. My ex-husband cheated on me, with 2 other women as well as a few men. I found him having sex with a man in my kitchen when he thought I wasn’t home. After that initial and shocking discovery, he confessed to years of cheating. I eventually learned that it was ok to objectively love him from a distance, ok to not at all like what he was doing to me and our relationship, and how to un-attach from him and my dependency on him & recognize that our life together was an illusion. It was hard to detach from him/ us and reclaim myself but the hard work was worth it. I’m worth it and so are you. I also went to a doctor to make sure I didn’t have any STD’s or AIDs. (Clean…Whew!) Day after day, things got better although the first few weeks, I was extremely miserable from the shock of discovery and the abrupt & harsh change in my life. Good woman friends to talk to over a glass of wine (or 2 or 3) and a good meal together was one of my important saving graces. Hang in, treat yourself well and the best to you.

    December 27, 2012 at 12:58 am

  12. Been there, Rosie. I didn’t get it either–still don’t– and it’s been a few years now. Thinking of you, sending good juju your way instead of platitudes :)

    December 27, 2012 at 12:29 am

  13. Linz

    I’m so sorry, honey. Come to me whenever you need. I’m always available to talk. (Barring my not hearing my phone, which happens, but I’ll call back.)

    December 26, 2012 at 11:12 pm

  14. JackieP

    big hugs and yes you will find a way out of the hurt. In your time. Till then, I send you light and love.

    December 26, 2012 at 11:10 pm

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