My marriage has been plagued with problems from the day we said I do, and who knows, maybe even before then. I’ve talked a little about it and while I don’t particularly enjoy airing my dirty laundry, I am hurting emotionally, so I think it’s time to write about it.

Ever since our wedding day we have had problems. He was a “wanderer” so to speak. Every 6 months or so he would get a wandering eye. He swears up and down that he did not cheat, but he had many emotional affairs of the heart, said some unthinkable and very painful things about me to those he was talking to and had a serious porn addiction. He would also meet with girls for lunch or dinner without telling me. I could continue, and probably go on blogging for days about it, but I will stop with that.

For the better part of 7 years I always had to stay on my toes waiting for the next blow. The question was never, “will it happen?”  It was always,”when will it happen?”

I could chart it pretty much to the month. I spent hours on the phone with my mother, my best friend and my brother in tears trying to understand what was so wrong with me that I could not keep my husband’s attention. He was famous for his screw-ups during my pregnancies as well. That made it hurt even more.

He would tell me to lighten up, quit being possessive, quit being so paranoid, quit being so needy, relax, accept him for who he is. He would tell me that I could not pick his friends and if he wanted female friends, female friends he would have. If he wanted to maintain contact with ex-girlfriends, he would. He constantly filled my head with this “oh it’s okay” or “get over it” or “that’s just me” crap. It was drilled into my little head for so long that it became an active part of my belief system.

His number one defense that still hurts: “I’m just not affectionate. It’s not me. You have to figure out a way to deal with it.” So, I did as he asked and figured out how to deal with it. I started believing him: he won’t change, accept the marriage for what it is. He is not affectionate, he is not passionate, he is just not that guy.

It took him nearly 7 years, but he did it. He changed my entire belief system on marriage. The final straw was when I was 8 months pregnant and he went to dinner with an old “sex buddy” that he was still talking to. He did it behind my back, lied about it, lied about where he was, and as usual, all I heard was “get over it, you are over-reacting.”

When I found out the truth, I changed. That very moment, the core of everything I used to be, was gone. I even became a stranger to myself. I was a cold and distant woman with no heart, no love, no passion. I had no regard for his feelings or anyone else’s. I basically became emotionally detached and absent. I quit my marriage. I quit me.

That marked the beginning of the end. The start of my emotional issues, the start of my marital issues and the start of my parenting struggles. It basically kicked off 2 years of chaos. I lost myself in the whirlwind of pain.

So basically, after spending 7 years allowing my husband to change me, I am having major problems. He wonders why I am emotionally absent, why I am not passionate, why I am not loving, caring, or giving.

Honestly, I forgot how. I don’t know how to be the woman I used to be. I don’t know how to be passionate, endearing, loving, giving, or caring. I’ve been burned and hurt so many freaking times that I basically shut down emotionally.

Now, it’s as though we have swapped places. He is the one hurting because I am not giving him what he needs. I don’t know how to change. I question so much on a daily basis. I lived for so long in fear and in pain, wondering what was going to happen next, that I gave up on feeling anything at all.

I warned him countless times that there would come a day when nothing would matter anymore; that eventually everything he did would turn around and backfire. Unfortunately that day is here, and I don’t know how to deal with it.

Maybe this is all part of how I ended up being so screwed up. I have no idea. I guess therapy would be a good place to start. I know that spending so many years in a permanent state of pain, anxiety and fear can really affect someone, so maybe I am just dealing with things all wrong. Maybe it’s marriage counseling I need first.

I wish I could play back everything he’s done, from the porn addiction to the cheating, the women, the ex-girlfriends, the partying and the drinking. I wish I could hit a rewind button and let him watch what he spent 7 long, painful years doing to me. I don’t think there really is any other way to make him see that he changed me a long time ago. The change he thinks he sees in me now is really in him. Now that he cares, I don’t.

I told him dozens of times: “there will come a day when you will never be able to hurt me again because I just won’t care anymore.” I welcomed that day with a smile, knowing that he could never, ever hurt me that way again.

The main question now is, what can be done to undo all of this? There is no way to go back, and moving forward seems impossible. How long can I stand still?

Heart falling into cracks photo available from Shutterstock.