Last week, while snuggling before sleep, my SLAWH told me he loved me. A few seconds later he hugged me tighter, explained that he was emotionally stifled so didn't know how the "I love you" actually sounded, but that he wanted me to know he really did love me.
I believe he does--as far as he is capable of loving anyone. There are times he seems narcissistic and lacks empathy. Last night, while trying to have a long-overdue conversation with him, I realized he just doesn't get it. He doesn't get my hurt. And he isn't in a spot to care much. Instead, as he's emerged from the fog, he has realized how horribly wrong his actions were, he feels incredible amounts of guilt and shame, and lives there, wallows there. He's, quite simply, stuck.
He has an IC but only meets with him monthly because they both have such crazy schedules that it's hard to find matching openings on their calendars. FYI, I call BS on much of that. It's true, it's hard. The IC is 2 hours from his work. He has to take off a half-day anytime he goes there. But he's a problem-solver at work. He knows how to schedule in advance. I've asked why he can't schedule every Monday morning--first appt--for the next 4 weeks (or something like that). It just never happens that way. His IC is an addiction specialist, but their focus, I believe, is on WH's childhood and his FOO and not on his M or his A or his escorts or his trolling or his EAs or . . . So I'm supposed to just "be patient."
Basically, he's so focused on himself and his own problems (which, granted, are far worse than mine) that my pain and healing and needs are far, far from his mind. Since he's not acting out with his drug-of-choice, I'm staying. I would rather my boys (the girls are grown enough to separate from him) have him present in their lives as a couch potato than to have him three states away and see him quarterly--if that. Plus, I love him. I hope he'll get the help he needs.
When I encourage him to post here or to read books, he reads that as my being disappointed in his progress (duh!) and as controlling his recovery. So I retreat, lick my wounds (can you tell we had this conversation last night), and vow to carry on as an almost single woman. Before I ever found SI, I instinctively carried out parts of the 180 and worked on healing myself, polishing my rough edges (from living with an addict for 20+ years), separating as much as is healthy in a relationship, and focusing on me and my needs and the needs of my children.
So . . . any grand suggestions? Besides D? I don't mean to change him--that seems to be his job and one I'm not allowed to encourage or support without being labeled a meddler. I'm leery of becoming a martyr. I don't want to be the long-suffering wife who toils while her lazy (mine is more depressed than lazy although the outward presentation is the same) husband does zilch. Do I just live my life as if he's not here? Do I just work around him until he's "better?" I feel like that's what I was trying to do BEFORE he fell off the wagon two years ago and rolled so, so, so far from who he really is. I WAS able to detach and go about my business of living a parallel life. But it wasn't very satisfying. And I feel like the result was that it weakened him (not my fault--his choice) and us enough for him to contemplate and carry out the ultimate betrayal.
These past few months have been very "sweet." He is grateful to me, he is loving to me, he is affectionate with me. Little sex, though. Don't know if it's a result of how overweight he is or how overcome with shame he is or how damaged he is by years of porn. All my porn-induced insecurities aside, I know that I would turn on a healthy man. If I can get him away from his electronics, we can even communicate and have fun together. I make it a point to stay away from topics that men complain wives talk about--children. I try to stick to his work, to what's going on in the world, to funny things I've heard about, etc. He seems to enjoy the escape.
But getting help from him is frustrating (I think he's either PA or the depression/shame makes him behave that way?). I don't ask for much, but I seldom get even what I ask for. And I have to remind (or, as H's generally term it, "nag"). In fairness to me, I do NOT nag. I remind once. If he doesn't do it, it either doesn't get done or I ask my children to help. Not sure if that's fair to any of us. But then I wonder if any illness is fair. He's "laid up" with depression/addiction and can't do anything. Maybe others are laid up with cancer or MS or diabetes complications and so can't do anything. Do I just suck it up and work on my own self more so that I'm not as resentful? Any books I should be reading? Any books on patience? Does anyone get what I'm trying to ask (do I?)?