Here’s the thing: something can look great on the outside but be completely messed up on the inside. This is true of people and relationships alike. And in my case: both were true of myself and my marriage of the last nearly 5 years.
[I will say this right now: I’m not looking for sympathy. That’s not why I’m penning this. I am penning this because for too long I have made excuses, softened the details and manipulated situations so I wouldn’t have to face my own reality and just how messed up I was. I also did this because I didn’t want people to see me that way; I don’t think anyone ever wants to be seen for their addictions, hang ups and problems but truthfully that’s the only way to get better.]
Around the age of 8 years old, I first discovered pornography. I discovered it in two ways: playing in the woods with my friends, we discovered some Playboy magazines that had been hidden in the leaves by some older kids in the neighborhood and I also discovered it on the Worldwide Web. Unfortunately for me and my parents, I was always the living definition of “curiosity killed the cat”….so when puberty hit early, I had a lot of questions that they weren’t ready to answer. And so, being the curious kid I was: I went in search of my own answers.
Now, I was 8. I knew right from wrong; and when I discovered porn (both times), I knew it was something I shouldn’t be seeing. But, like with any other addiction, once you’ve done it once: you want to do it a lot more.
And I did. It’s a weird combination of wanting to quit but wanting to continue that I cannot put into words, but where I went wrong was: I never really allowed myself to ask for the help I so desperately needed. I would try to walk away for a bit but then, when I thought I was doing a good job, I would let my guard down and fall in deeper than the time before. By my late high school/early college years and up through more recent times: it wasn’t unheard of for me to watch 5-6 hours of porn straight in one sitting, when the time was available to me. Am I ashamed to say this? Absolutely. It’s unbelievably disgusting and horrifying to think that I could not only do that to myself but to those who loved and cared about me, from my parents to my spouse.
Needless to say, I carried this addiction into my marriage and over the years, it completely destroyed any semblance of trust that was there. Because it isn’t just that I was cheating with my eyes; there were lies told to try and cover my shame, manipulations in order to buy myself more time to watch porn, etc etc etc. That my wife stayed with me, stuck up for me and loved me through all of that alone is beyond my powers of comprehension. She is likely the strongest person I know and it will always be my biggest regret that I didn’t fight harder for her. She certainly deserved it.
In addition to, and really spurred on by, the porn: I had three minor affairs with real life people. Meaning, two of them I flirted with on a regular basis (in addition to the thoughts left only in my head) and the third was an indecent encounter, though I don’t think this person ever knew I saw anything. These people never knew and never will know because that isn’t their burden to carry. But I had a crush and I allowed it to grow and take up space in my mind that should have only been reserved for my wife and my wife alone.
Beyond that, I learned somethings about myself that I think I always knew deep in my subconscious but had never wanted to admit to myself.
1) I am an incredibly manipulative person. This is the exception to the above statement because I knew this about myself and, in business situations, had even prided myself on it. What I didn’t want to admit to myself was that I was just as manipulative in my relationships, and in particular my marriage, as I was in the business world. I don’t honestly know why I allowed myself to be that way in regard to the people I love. I can only assume it’s an ego and a pride thing and also a desperate need to be right and get my way. And yes, I realize how disgusting I sound right now. But the only way this gets better is if I fully admit that I did these things and that I know how awful they really were/are.
2) I am an emotionally abusive person. This one I cannot explain. My genuine desire is to be a good person and to love those I’m close to. But somehow, in the middle of all the other shit: I began behaving in ways that were emotionally abusive. Figuring this out about myself and then seeing it in action was probably one of the worst moments of my life.
3) I am incredibly selfish and narcissistic. It’s true, and it hurts to admit. If it isn’t something that directly affects me, makes me happy or in some way fulfills me: I generally find myself drifting off from it. Whether it’s in conversation, at a theme park, whatever. And it’s one of the many things I’m desperately trying to correct because I do NOT want to be that person. But I have been for years and, yet again: it played an integral role in the destruction of my marriage.
4) In the midst of all of the above, I also found myself becoming quite a good liar. It goes hand in hand with addiction and manipulation and I got very good at it. I am not happy to say that this one I was aware of and I didn’t allow it to scare me as much as I should have. But, I am also happy to say that it is one of the areas I am getting better at quickly. It’s not fun to have to admit when you made a mistake or something is your fault but it’s better than being a liar. Believe me.
5) I was a complete control freak. Not in my life so much as in my marriage. The money, what she was doing, who she was talking to, the whole nine yards. I genuinely don’t know why I was that way, but I was. And the scariest part was that I didn’t see it for a LONG time. And she deserved so much more than having to put up with that, or with any of this for that matter!
So, where is all of this coming from? Well, my previous posting was really a disaster for many reasons. The intention behind it was pure and, though I knew it would hurt people in my life, I really felt like I wanted to post it. I won’t pretend that there’s not a small chance some of the reasons deep down were self-serving; I don’t know in the midst of everything exactly where I am with my shortcomings. But I truly believed that I was doing the right thing and tried to be as careful about it as I could.
I’ve made mistakes, which ended up causing a lot of pain and hurt beyond what I ever could have imagined. The first was that I wrote it very late at night and made the decision to allow it to stay posted on the blog. Originally, I hadn’t intended for it to publish but since I hadn’t really blogged all that much, I was going about it wrong and it was published. I told myself it wasn’t a big deal because it wasn’t on Facebook and therefore not likely to be seen by anyone my wife or our families know.
The second mistake was that when my wife pointed out it had been published, I didn’t delete it until she had time to give the okay. I showed her first because I knew it was a hurtful subject and ultimately wanted her permission to post; but all the while I continued to leave it public.
The third mistake was after I published it on Facebook, I met with some heavy criticism from a family member. I did not defend that family member when some of my friends attacked them (out of love or not, the defenses were fairly pointed) and when my wife chimed in to point out that I hadn’t been truthful when I said she’d given permission: I panicked and deleted the post. I will not lie and say it wasn’t from a selfish point of view; but I can also tell you that the other part of the truth is: I didn’t want people to take her (my wife’s) anger out of context and attack her next. This isn’t justification for the other mistakes, it’s simply part of the narrative and part of the truth.
So, here I am. My wife is incredibly hurt, her family is incredibly hurt and I am here to say publicly that I am very much a messed up human being. I have made some horrible mistakes, terrible choices and caused a lot of hurt and heartache to many people over the last 8+ years. Frankly, it doesn’t matter if that’s “not what I meant to do” because the damage was done either way.
I apologize sincerely to my wife for all of the hurt and heartache, the lies, the manipulations, the cheating (in real life or online), the emotional abuse and for not standing up for her when she needed it most. Nothing I can say or do will take these things back.
I apologize to my parents for any hurt and heartache I have caused them throughout this ordeal and most especially if they feel that I, in any way, threw them under the bus with my previous post.
I apologize to my wife’s family for the residual hurt and heartache you have suffered from me not being there for your daughter/sister as I promised to on our wedding day. I also apologize for the times when I have not defended you like I should have. You all were my family and I should have given you that courtesy just as you have me over the years. You all deserved better from me as well, and I’m sorry I didn’t give you that.
And I apologize to everyone else for painting a picture of myself that misrepresented me. I may have the best intentions in my head and heart but I often fall very, very short and I never want anyone to try and paint a picture of me that isn’t accurate and doesn’t include the fact that I’ve done some seriously messed up shit.
To all of you: I am not taking this lightly anymore. This public admission comes because I am done trying to hide myself from you and from me. I have already begun to make serious changes in my life and I will continue to do so and all I ask is that you bear with me as I do. I promise I will seriously fuck shit up along the way, but I will also own it and rise above it to be the person I know I should and CAN be.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. My only request is that you refrain from commenting. Feel free to private message me with any comments, concerns or beefs you may have. I will do my best to field all of them.
Oh, and if you’re a friend to my wife: please let her know that she’s loved. Let her know that someone cares and that it will get better. Because she deserves that happy ending that I couldn’t give to her.
Cheers for now,