Time Heals

Even before disclosure, I was really good at catastrophic thinking. I would hear a story and go to unimaginable places such as the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I cried for weeks because I imagined what it would be like if my own children were murdered mercilessly at school. It was almost too much to bear.

After disclosure, I often would think about the worst case scenarios such as, “What if my husband would have gotten caught? What if he was the next big news story?” I imagined how it would ruin our kids’ lives at school and how I would probably have to move to another state just to start over with a clean slate. Would I stay with him? Would I leave? Then, I would come back to reality and remember that God has only given me the strength to deal with the present. Futuristic thinking does nothing but create anxiety that I may or may not even need to deal with in the future.

At this point in my recovery, it feels impossible for me and my husband to have the “amazing” connection that other couples who have recovered seem to have. I have closed myself off so much that I literally have to learn how to open up again to allow myself to be vulnerable and “known.” Don’t get me wrong, we have a great friendship but the romantic part of our relationship has waned due to the disconnection his addiction has caused.

I also have my own “issues” I have to deal with. For 15 years I struggled with eating disorders and only over the past 2 years can I say I have been recovered. However, I still have body image issues and hearing that my husband really didn’t have his eyes and mind only on me has been hard.

This whole process has caused me to revisit many of the traumatic events of my past, but I know without a doubt that God is holding my hand through all of this.  I need to do what is good for me and that means I need to let go of the “control” I have tried so hard to have.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to “get better,” but over time, I have come to realize that I need to give myself grace and to not rush the process. I also have to remind myself that I am not broken. It has helped me so much to hear from other friends that all of this is completely normal.

For instance, my husband and I are not regularly having sex. I have some issues I have to deal with before that can happen. I have done it out of “duty” for so long that all of the enjoyment for me is gone. Knowing that my husband has his own issues, my first instinct is to fear that he will go back to his old habits because his “sexual needs” are not being met.

I decided to sit down with him a few weeks ago to talk with him about it. I shared my frustration with how long it is taking me to heal. I apologized for not healing sooner and my husband assured me that he is doing okay. In fact, he feels this time of celibacy has only caused him to grow closer to God. We are both learning how to reframe our beliefs about sex. Instead of believing the distorted view of sex our culture sells, we are learning how God intended it to be.

I am grateful that my husband is being very supportive of me, but even if he wasn’t it doesn’t matter. I cannot control what my husband thinks or does. All I can do is trust that the Holy Spirit that is working in me is also working in him. I have faith that He is doing a good work in both of our lives and will continue until it is completed.

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Thank you for your insights

Amy- Thank you so much for sharing your feelings in your blog. My husband is a sex addict. I have had 2 D-days - the first one was when I initially found emails on his phone to prostitutes, which at that time he made up a story about only seeing prostitutes to talk. My 2nd D-Day was last June when he told me for 28 years of our 36 year marriage he has been seeing prostitutes regularly for sex. I, too, am so frustrated that it is taking so much time for me to process this, and my husband for the most part is being patient. We are trying to work recovery, but it is such a slow process. Reading your blog helped me a lot, as I feel that I am not alone or unusual in my situation of dealing with this type of infidelity. I feel God is walking with me and helping me see that my husband desperately wants to heal himself and desperately wants to stay married to me. My prayers are with you as you and your husband continue on your journey of healing. Thank you again for sharing your feelings.

jeh53- Thank you so much for

jeh53- Thank you so much for sharing your journey with me! It helps me to know I am not alone in this journey, as well. :) My husband has been a sex addict for over 20 years since before we got married. He struggled with exhibitionism and public masturbation. It has really changed my view on the world since, before all of this, I used to view men who did those kinds of things as "creepy" and "disturbed." My husband is the last guy I would imagine would be doing those things but such is the nature of addiction, it comes in all shapes and forms. It sounds like your husband is committed to recovery with you and that makes me so happy to hear! I thank you so much for your prayers and you too will be in my prayers! Blessings to you as you continue your journey, Amy

Time is a gift...

When I first started on my healing journey (about 9 months after BD about 11/11) I kept hearing the phrase "you are being given the gift of time". I hated that saying as well as "time heals all pain" for a very long time.... Now 5 years post BD, I have started to see some wisdom in those words.

But for me, it wasn't about healing the relationship with my husband, it was about the journey to self love and acceptance, and an intensified "knowing" and strengthening of my relationship with God. And for that matter, the mindfulness and attention that was brought to every relationship I was involved in. Having someone you trust beyond measure, your most cherished and primary attachment-- cheat and hurt you, brings about an awareness of how horrific it is to live life without trust and authenticity.

Amy, the journey is long and I'm not sure it has an ultimate end point. The path through intimate betrayal is painful and it is not linear. The only thing I can imagine being worse is the loss of a child. Even after 5 years of work, I still wonder if I will ever have a completely satisfying relationship with my husband. Choosing anniversary cards is a challenge....

Part of my growth and acceptance of an imperfect relationship has been about redefining what a "good" relationship looks like. I saw a post recently that said "all relationships go through hell, the good one come out the other side." If I claim that as a criteria, then I'm well on my way. Seriously, there is something about walking through the gates of hell with someone who has a awakening and realizes what they almost threw away.

I love that you are giving yourself lots of time to heal and deal with the trauma. I hope your husband is as well, and I hope he too understands that it can take many, many years to resolve most of the trauma. Forgiveness comes in layers over time, but forgetting, well, forgetting is not in the cards for me. As valiant and noble as a betrayed spouse can be, forgetting intimate betrayal, I believe, will only happen on the other side. I know some people are better at this then others. I hope to learn more about "forgetting". Even the best CBT techniques seem to fail, although they can help.

Using your "gift of time" as a journey to wholeness, and as a wake up call to mindfully create authentic relationships based on love, compassion, and selflessness (well, most of the time....) is one talking point I use to work through the tough periods.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was good "timing" for me as I was beginning to slip a little over the holidays.

Beautiful said

Anonymous- Thank you SO much for your insight and wisdom. I 100% agree with you about the journey to self-love and acceptance and knowing God in a deeper way! My husband and I have been reading the book “You and Me Forever” by Francis and Lisa Chan and it is spot on. God is really helping me debunk so many beliefs I have engrained in me, ideals and beliefs I didn’t even know I had until they were put to the test. I agree with you. It is about the journey and the journey is ever evolving which means we need to continually learn to adapt. I guess we never truly reach “there” until we get to heaven but praise God we have the opportunity to experience a little bit of heaven here on earth! Thank you again for sharing. I know it was a breath of fresh air to me and others too.

Thank you so much for this

Thank you so much for this blog! It couldn't have come at a better time! I'm almost a year to D day my marriage is broken but we r still together and I'm feeling it'll never be fixed! I can't be intimate with my husband I feel nothing towards him and I'm afraid of all the things you have written here! This helped me so much thank you ❤️

Thank you

Jennifer- We are in this together sister! I don’t know if you read what Anonymous wrote but I think what she said was exactly right. Right now, it is not our job to fix our marriage. It is time for us to heal and that means embracing the journey toward self-love and knowing God on a much deeper level. I believe with all of my heart that if we seek God, he can change our hearts and help us to love on His level which is much deeper than anything we can ever experience. It is easy to love somebody who loves you back but to love somebody who has hurt you deeply…that is the true test. I am praying for you and know you are not alone!

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