I’ve found myself watching a lot of videos in the past few days about covert narcissists. I know that narcissism is a term that’s kind of thrown around when people don’t act the way that you expect them to. While stbxw does display a lot of the characteristics. I am also aware of my shortcomings as a husband. It’s sort of a bittersweet revelation.
In retrospect though, the relationship was lacking in the depth of connection that I should have felt for someone I was so “in love” with. I dunno, i guess that I was expecting a deeper connection. But the reality is that I was projecting something that wasn’t there. It’s kind of hard to explain. It seemed to lack real substance. Like empty calories or something. I’m not sure how it seemed that way at the time. Maybe I was just too “in love” with her at the to see it.
We are so different about a few fundamental things. I thought that they were superficial and not so important.
A few examples.
My stance on phone privacy is that your s/o should be able to have access to the phone, email, and social media accounts at all times. It’s not to say that they should check them all the time. But those type of secrets just don’t sit well with me. Trust does and should work both ways, if she can trust me with her secrets, then why is the phone a secret? If you don’t have anything to hide, then you don’t hide anything. If she has to question me about a strange text that comes in or whatever….if I’m not hiding anything, then it should be easily explainable if there is a question about it. I was raised to believe that trust and honesty were keystones in a relationship. If i didn’t suspect her of anything, then I’d really have no reason to go through her phone. Same as me. I never had a problem with her going through my phone and knowing my passcodes. I didn’t have anything to hide. On the flip side, perhaps attraction is maintained by keeping a tiny bit of mystery in the relationship. Plus it’s a bit flattering imho if she does go through it OCASSIONALLY, just to let me know that she is a little possessive. But apparently, A LOT of people feel like that the phone is an invasion of privacy so I didn’t trip too hard. So it wasn’t a deal breaker at the time. Granted it should have become one because I did find inappropriate texts between her and her “best friend”(later turned one of her affair partners) early on in the marriage.
Small things matter. I really like sharing small gestures and making meaning of common things. For example, something as simple as walking to the store together sometimes (even though we both have vehicles) could be a time to connect. Just going to the park and hiking. Kick the soccer ball sometimes. Throw a damned frisbee or something while there instead of just being on the damned phone. She was a real girl’s girl. Dunno, I like women who might wrestle with me sometimes and be more physical. Not a deal breaker, but I like a bit of athleticism. She never could. Never wanted to mess up her hair. And she “hated bugs”, “heat”, “most things outside” and so forth. I’m somewhat athletic, but then again, she is a woman, so I couldn’t really expect that she’d like outdoors like that. Again, at the time, not a deal breaker.
Girls like to have fun. I know this. But her type of fun was more bougie. Like the stuff you’d see women do on the housewives of ATL or basketball wives. She liked traveling (really vacationing). Going on Sunday brunches. Claiming she’s a “foodie” when in real life, she didn’t act like one. Going to spas or wanting to go to the lastest thing that everyone else was doing. She liked using popular slang … over and over again. She liked watching all the stuff that black pop culture was in to without questioning it. I personally question things and tend to be critical of ‘trends’. I’ve learned over time not be so critical, but I’m not much of a follower in that regard. Nothing wrong with that, at the time, not a deal breaker.
She didn’t like drinking with me. Sure, I know that sounds superficial. But I like a chick who can drink with me sometimes. When she did drink, she’d just go to sleep. Perhaps she couldn’t handle her liquor. Not a deal breaker, but, i have heard that couples who party together and drink together tend to bond better.
She was secretive about the money. She made more money than me. I didn’t think it was a big deal since I do make a decent amount and always contributed to half of the bills. It was only recently that I discovered that MOST women have a real problem with that. It wasn’t like we lived in poverty and it isn’t like she is really all that amibitious as far as having a side hustles or jobs. She just so happened to choose nursing as a major. I’m not discounting the effort she put in, but I know people who work way harder who make less than than her. Her job just so happens to pay a lot. Again, I’m not mad at that and I know she works pretty hard. Still though. If I made the most money, I’d split the bills based on what percentage of the income we brought in or I’d pay for everything and use her check to invest. She didn’t like that idea. And if I’m honest, i was a bit insecure about the fact that she did bring in the most money so I didn’t push her as hard, but this was mostly because whenever I asked how much she made, she never gave me a straight answer. I should have been more forceful in that. But at the time, it wasn’t a deal breaker. Perhaps she expected me to catch up to her someday. If she voiced that concern before cheating then perhaps I may have gotten off my ass and tried to “level up” faster.
She was selfish. It seemed that she didn’t mind doing things as long as it wasn’t a huge inconvenience for her. Or as long as it was something she wanted to do anyway. She was motivated by self. She never seemed to want to do things I wanted just to make me happy sometimes. I’m not suggesting that she always drop everything for me. But way more often than not, she’d decline any invitation to participate in something I wanted to do just for my sake. In the end, this included sex. We’d only have sex when she wanted it. I always wanted it, so like a damned fool, I was ready to hop on it when offered. In my mind, I wouldn’t turn my s/o down for sex too often because 1)i knew that it might hurt her esteem and 2)i wouldn’t want her even thinking about getting it from someone else and 3)it keeps you connected. It’s like oral sex….this might be a bit graphic….but just saying. Some people do it because it’s expected and they want to play the role. Some do it because they just feel freaky in the moment. Some do it because of those, plus it has the added incentive of making you realize that you’re pleasing your partner even more. She did for the former two and not the latter. She did in the beginning, but i guess once the thrill was gone AND she knew she had me, so was her motivation. At the time, I just figured,” hey, I married her so we’ll work on that. It’s not breaking my family up over.” So again, at the time, not a deal breaker.
Honest communication. I like to talk about our issues so we can figure out how to fix them. While I do believe that tact is important, I do believe that it is important to let your s/o know what the issue is. I told her on many occasions about my issues with her. I did let them slide. She (especially in the end) doesn’t seem to value honest communication. I prefer a hard truth to a soft lie. She prefers to lie and keep things secret. I figured that she was ok with everything as she didn’t complain much about anything, so at the time, I figured that us NOT arguing or fighting was a good thing. In retrospect, i didn’t see that not being passionate could be a deal breaker.
Us against the world? To me, once you’re married, your spouse takes precedence over anyone else. Former friends and even family relationships come second. I’m not a jealous guy, but I am a man and I did see that her “best friend” didn’t seem to respect our boundaries. This was due to the inappropriate texts I found with the “i love you’s” in them. Maybe one I love you is acceptable. But it got to the point of several I love you’s within a few weeks. Not to mention that by the time I saw them, the conversations were a bit disjointed suggesting that she had deleted a few. I couldn’t forbid her from speaking to him, but I told her that i wasn’t comfortable with that relationship. She insisted that they remain friends. Years later, after finding out that they had indeed slept together after the texting incident (confirming my suspiciouns about the guy), she insisted that they remain friends. OK This is a deal breaker.
Cheating is a dealbreaker. No point in rehashing this point. Especially when there is no remorse for multiple offenses.
Because of the last two, especially the cheating/affair parts. I’ve come to realize that all of those things, though not dealbreakers, were huge red flags directing me towards this outcome. Her lack of transparency, selfishness, different understanding of ‘loyalty’, and lack of empathy isn’t something that I can deal with in a healthy manner. I probably shouldn’t say that “she’s for the streets” as I don’t know, maybe she’d be different (or even right) for someone else. But one thing for sure, she isn’t right for me.
Maybe I just haven’t found anyone who just “does it” for me yet. Out of fear that soulmates just don’t exist, I was willing to settle in order to keep my family together. I was hoping that someday, she’d compromise or that we’d somehow pull it together, if not for us, but for our family. But i just don’t see her trying to compromise. I don’t see how this could be fixed. Lack of loyalty, empathy, family first mentality, communication, and selfishness are a lot of things to overcome. Not to mention the trauma from multiple affairs and betrayals that occurred in them have really fucked with me mentally. Especially when it comes to the way I interpret anything she says.
As hard as it is to have to step out on faith and hope that our family will be ok. I have to get over the possibility that she’ll find someone to take her on and that I might remain single forever. (Which tbh, may not be a terrible thing). And that she might indeed find happiness even though she unnecessarily crushed my heart, humiliated me, and destroyed our family on the way there. Dunno perhaps it’s just my ego that wants justice. Why should I care? I’m still alive ….right? She didn’t kill nor maime me physically. She hasn’t taken my freedom of liberty. Yeah, it sucks to get treated like this, but hey, it is waht it is….right? I’m not the only person this has happened to and some people do bounce back. Kiddo has to be fine, other kids have gone through worse and came out on the other side.
We can’t hold our breaths waiting for her to take accountability or have remorse for this. Even if she doesn’t, it won’t fix anything. We have to soldier on and learn from this.