No Desire

This particular blog is especially hard for me to write as it is something I am still working through and it feels very raw to me.  However, after reading many of the comments in the Community Forums on the Affair Recovery website I recognize the importance of speaking out.  My main goal of this particular piece is for those of you also struggling with this issue to know you are not alone and there is hope.

In my last blog ("Acceptance") I mentioned being treated for PTSD, something I didn’t even know I had until recently.  All I knew was that part of me was shut off.  I was still me but a lesser version of me.  My ability to feel was muffled in a sense.  I felt this even before my husband disclosed his sex addiction to me. 

Before disclosure, my intuition was telling me that something was “off” about my husband but as he continued to lie, mainly through omission, I began to trust myself less and less.  I actually began to think I was going a little crazy.  I grew up in a lonely, neglectful home and have been told all of my life that I am too emotional and too dramatic.  I have had multiple traumas affect me, some of them big and some of them small. 

Why do I bring all of this up?  I brought this into my marriage not knowing it.  Whenever my husband would tell me the opposite of what my intuition was telling me, I began to shut down.  7 years later, I found myself unable to be sexually intimate with him.  I began to only have sex with him out of my “duty” as a wife.  I began to cringe and tense up when he would touch me or kiss me.  What was wrong with me!?!  I love my husband and we are great friends but I would have been just fine if we could have the marriage without the sex.

After disclosure, which was very traumatic for me, I did what I had always done and I stuffed all of the terrible emotions inside of me not knowing how to deal with them.  I felt horrible physical pains in my stomach area, unexplained shaking and trembling, and tightening of the chest on a regular basis.  I began going to my therapist who specializes in the area of addiction and trauma recovery.  He helped me understand that there wasn’t anything wrong with that little girl who wanted to talk about what happened.  That little girl just wanted to connect and when the pain was too much she coped with it in the best way she could.

My therapist began doing tapping exercises with me and brain spotting, similar to EMDR.  They are body awareness exercises designed to help me feel the pain and process it in a different, more positive way instead of feeling it and stuffing it in.  Multiple trauma equals multiple triggers.  I can trigger trauma in my body without even thinking of a single thing. 

This week I have been really focusing on pressing into the pain instead of scrambling to stuff it or make it go away.  To my relief, I didn’t crumble up and die.  The pain in my stomach felt similar to birthing contractions and was extremely painful but it went away after I did the exercises prescribed by my therapist.  This is the first week since disclosure I have slept through the night without the help of a sleep aide!

Just recently, God has given me a friend who struggles with the exact same thing.  To my advantage, she is further along in the process and I can tell you from her experience that we can turn that part of us back on!  It just takes time, practice and a lot of patience both from you and your spouse.

If you too are struggling with this I want to tell you there is hope!  I believe it and am seeing results in myself even though they are small right now.  There is a great audio resource on the site called "Rekindling Desire After an Affair".  It has an audio recording of Rick Reynolds interviewing Nancy Houston, LPC, who is an expert in sex therapy. 

I want to encourage you to find a therapist in your area who specializes in this.  I also want to encourage you to reach out and find somebody you can talk to who understands.  Find a support group or open up the lines of communication on the AR Community Forums if you are a member to see if anybody else is struggling with this.  You are not crazy, you are not alone and you are not broken.  It takes time and a lot of work but I am willing to work through the pain to get there.  I don’t want to be partially healed, I want to be fully healed and thriving.  I believe with all of my heart that this is God’s plan and his plan is always better than my own.

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Comments

Perfect timing as usual

I'm so glad to see this blog today. So often these are posted at just the right time, parallel to my situation at the moment! I too deal with PTSD from multiple traumas and brought so much of that baggage into my marriage without realizing. I too am reeling from my husband's most recent affairs (it's happened before) and am feeling lost and alone. We are in treatment and, I believe, he is working from a much better place than before. It's been about five months since discovery (I caught him, again). We seperated for about two months and during that time, my desire and passion was at an all time high. Previously, and throughout much of out marriage, I too found myself typically not wanting or needing sex often. My husband shows affection sexually and as a utility, a major need of his. With the abuse and trauma I have dealt with in my past, sex is not a thing or a utility to me but much more of a spiritual event for me. Everything needs to be just so for me to give and receive in that way. Lately, I have little or no desire to allow myself to be so vulnerable to someone who has been responsible for causing me so much pain. It's really been hard to remind myself of how little time has past and how much more healing is possible and necessary. It is hard to be hopeful right now even when early on, I was the champion of hope to salvage and rebuild our broken relationship. It would be easier to give up and go our separate ways (even though we share two children and would never really be out of each others lives) but after nearly two decades, this person is still my very best friend and the love of my life and I still feel that way regardless of everything. Treatment and time have been so important on this journey of my life and without that help I would truly be lost and forever angry (as pain and hurt always seem to manifest as anger for me. Without counseling, I never would have recognized that about myself.). Thank you for your candidness and disclosure of your situation. It's hard to be honest with yourself, let alone anyone else in these situations. I believe there is a stigma within those affected by PTSD that stems from abuse and trauma. Acknowledging it makes me feel weak and foolish. I spent so much of my life also being accused of being melodramatic and overreacting but that is the goal of someone who is taking advantage of or exploiting you, to discredit you and make you feel like you are the one with the problem. We must remember that and remind ourselves of that. You aren't crazy, you don't have a problem, you aren't misbehaving, you are traumatized by the wrongdoings of someone else. I hate and hesitate to call myself or anyone in a like situation a victim but surely we have been victimized. I'm very sorry for that and it makes me very hopeful for you that you have support and I hope your healing is everything you need it to be!

Thank you

Thank you so much for your encouragement and for sharing your story! It gives me hope to hear other people's stories and I too am hopeful that we can find healing! I can already feel my body shifting and letting go of stress it has been holding on to. Truly amazing!

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I needed to know this is normal! I am 2 years (and 2 months) from D-day. I feel like I should be completely healed by now - including physical desire for my husband. The truth is - I have none.
I also began to think I was going crazy prior to D-day. At that point I began to seek counseling, however, once the truth was finally revealed my counselor told me he didn't specialize in infidelity, so couldn't help much, but continued to tell me I was doing remarkably well. I felt like he was patting my hand and sending me on my way. I didn't feel like I was doing well. So, I stopped going. And here, 2 years later, still feel broken (although not as broken as I did then). (And no - I have not done a course or a weekend - to be honest the prices are far beyond what I can pay right now, and since we are 2 years out he is not interested in help because we are "past that").
I trigger a lot (AP #1 lives within walking distance to me & I have to drive past her mom's house to get to mine), and now have an STD that has caused precancerous cells, but what bothers me more than anything is that I almost quite literally freeze up when he tries to be intimate with me. It's as though everything inside me is screaming that I have no desire for this, for him. I love him because I have decided to. But my body does not want to cooperate.
I hope I can pull up the link to the audio you posted. Thanks again for making me feel normal.

Freezing up

I freeze up too. However, I have noticed when I make the decision to be intimate, even something small like hugging, a psychological shift happens and my body doesn't freeze up as badly. I hope some of the links have helped you! I also know that finding the money to get help can be challenging. If you are able to set some aside each month toward yourself, I just want to tell you that you are worth it and it is possible to heal. You are worth it!

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