Monthly Archives: January 2012

Alienation

I allowed myself to get tricked into believing that because I am feeling positive about my relationship, everyone else’s feelings will follow suit. It takes a lot for me to avoid getting disgusted and angry that my relationship has become a public topic of debate. I am angry at myself for years of lacking opinion in my friend’s relationships and otherwise being supportive. And here I am judged and alienated because I am working on my marriage, our relationship which is 10 years in the making – longer than most of the relationships with friends that sit in limbo today.

One of my best friends is coming to visit in a couple of weeks from San Francisco. It is difficult to put into words what this friend has meant to me or how she has supported me over the last 6.5 years since we first met in the Bay Area. She is amazing. Generally as planned visits get close I get ridiculously excited. Except this time. It’s different. As the idea of a visit gained clarity and concrete plans made their way into the weekend, it hit me that it could not be assumed that Steve would be invited along for any of the fun. So I had to ask. And she doesn’t want to see him.

I remain open with my husband and came home to him waiting at my house, explaining my frustration by the time that has gone by and how little anyone has heard his perspective, caught him on the phone, been able to see him. It gets exhausting to be the only one communicating a huge gap that has occurred in our relationship over most of the last decade. It is even worse to be expressing hope within a scenario that seems unimaginable to the majority of this world and doing so alone. I asked that he take some initiative and reach out to people over the phone whose calls had been left unanswered. I also asked that he reach out to my friend to address her uncertainty about what would be said after all of this time. And so he did.

I felt like a kid waiting for the outcome. I wanted to hear form my husband what was said. We discussed it at length and the conversation settled well with him despite her anger towards him. It felt human. He received a reaction, any reaction, and was able to process what they had discussed. I connected with her a couple of days later, expecting a bit of the same response and received the opposite. The dots do not connect for her, she believes my husband remains shielded, his responses scripted from a therapy book, and his view of the last 10 years as lacking the appropriate weight.

It is hard not to spiral into a place that maps a future with very few friends. I need to bring myself back to a place where this does not define my future. This is one relationship, albeit a very important one. Very little time has passed and time does change things. I can handle the reality as it stands today little by little and I need to prevent myself from extrapolating today into forever. Appreciate this time for its ability for us to focus on ourselves and our relationship. Something we rarely did in the old version of ourselves.

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Am I Listening?

My husband had another court date on Friday. At certain points since the last time we drove up to Gilpin County, it felt like this would be it. That his lawyer would have finished negotiations with the DA and both sides would be presenting the resolution. But most of the time, I know better than to put any hope for resolution within the legal system. I knew nothing would happen and nothing did. Another extension. Again. March 16th. Normal until then, or at least our new normal.

I am learning to put very little faith in the maybes about how everything will resolve from a legal standpoint. Every time I get a glimmer of hope it is blown away. I cannot leave room to dream for a positive outcome. It will be what it will be. I cannot control the outcome and I cannot control the process. I am just riding shotgun.

I had a few red flags pop up over the last couple of days and finally brought them to the attention of my husband yesterday afternoon, after court. I think I let them surface beyond small thoughts into a conversation partially because I was frustrated by another continuation. A realization that his addiction is not going away. Ever.

My husband is not allowed to be on the Internet at all while he is on probation. We have signed into his accounts together for necessities and we keep a log. Initially I password protected my computer but I have gotten lax about shutting it down every single night to restrict his access. I will now leave notes and recipes for dinner saved to the desktop in Word format for him to access before I get home from the office. On Wednesday, I realized an article I had open on Chrome had been scrolled down a bit to reflect the midpoint of the article rather than the top. I mentioned it at the time and he said “yeah I scrolled through that article.” Still no big deal. Then over the course of a few days I realized I had to reinitiate signing in to several of the pages I visit all the time. My stomach churned. Really it just boils down to a game of my doubt and his reassurance.

Standing outside of the courthouse yesterday his mom mentioned their meeting with his lawyer. Until that moment, waiting in the wind for the two of them to smoke their cigarettes and reflect on another court date that ended just like the last, I was under the presumption he went to see his lawyer alone. I have offered, several times, to go with him. For support and for my own reassurance that I get the full picture as its presented. So that I can understand the consequences and the chances. Tiny glimpses into my future that seem like wide open black space 99% of the time. I was hurt. I was hurt that I was not included and hurt that he didn’t mention it. What is he hiding? What does he not want me to know?

His days off work consist of working on himself. Working the program. Doing the homework required for his therapy. I took the rest of the day after court and worked from home. It seemed like a rare opportunity to share time at the kitchen table, me crunching numbers and him working his program. I came straight home and got an early start while he grabbed lunch with his mom. When he got to the house, he cuddled with the dog on the couch and fell asleep. For the entire afternoon. What is his therapy time commitment really like? How does he spend his days off work?

I am also assured that he takes care of our dog on days that his schedule allows. He is providing a bit of company, the window for exercise that our dog deserves. Friday the day floated by without his mention of taking the dog for a walk or out to the park.I asked a couple of times but it was “after this or let me just do this.” Ultimately I took him out while my husband slept. I was bitter, contemplating why exactly I had decided to take the rest of the day and spend it at home. What was my intention?

Tiny moments. Small things. A representation of things I have always brushed off. I cannot let myself continue down that path. I am not listening to myself. And yet I am still here. Allowing those things to happen. Just watching as they do.

 

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Backwards

I am feeling depressed today – could not pull myself out of bed. These lows are a byproduct and having days that seem somewhat normal with my husband. Yesterday was our first weekend day together in several months. After losing his job, he was able to secure work at a breakfast place but his hours are early mornings and both weekend days. I have teetered back and forth on feeling guilty asking him to try to get weekend shifts covered – we are no longer sharing money and I know those shifts are the most lucrative. He suggested he take yesterday off – we both needed one of those days that felt normal.

I had been feeling discouraged about a life in Colorado without my outdoor sport companion and we had planned to take the day and do some snow shoeing. I went to my Al Anon meeting in the morning and when I came home we just wanted to be with one another, as though it were any other day from 6 months ago. We got some brunch, did the NY Times crossword, took the dog on a walk, ran a few errands, cleaned up the house, made a delicious dinner and settled in with a movie and some reading.

I kept joking that life would be perfect if we could hunker down in our house, getting rid of all of the external sources from the world. Something that is simply impossible and ridiculously unhealthy in practice. But this morning, that is what I am yearning for. I want him to be back at home with me, drinking coffee and enjoying the long weekend with me and our pooch.

Today’s list of things I had scheduled seems overwhelming to battle and I am feeling behind. Looking at the week feels even ore daunting. One day at a time or at least that is what they say.

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What is authentic?

Over the weekend I headed into Denver to see the movie Shame at the Mayan. I was genuinely excited to see the film. I feel like living under the constraints of sex addiction has put me on high alert . It seems to be everywhere and yet it is rarely discussed and is clearly a faux pa. The movie was beautifully done and the characters had quite a bit of depth. They made things real.

It got me thinking really about two things.

The main character did a fabulous job of portraying the all consuming nature of sex addiction. Many of the things my husband has discussed with me became real and I could empathize with the pain and lowness that stems from this disease. And yet I was scared out of my mind. Above and beyond all of the shocking moments in the movie I felt immense sadness thinking about how someone can be in such a deep hole and not lean on their spouse to come out. That they would turn instead to a place that lacks all authenticity.

Secondly, one of the questions looming in my head throughout my process of therapy and discovery has been feeling stumped by having a thriving sex life with my husband with this disease in the background. I have struggled to understand what, if anything, that we have created intimately together was a result of his conversations and web based activities with women. Was he exploring our individual sexual desires or dictating the ideas of others. Was anything really natural? There was a scene in the movie where the main character sees a couple having sex against a window and he is driven to reenact that scene in his own personal escapades. Part of me has been able to create a separation in my mind and witnessing the idea of mimicking sexual encounters made me sick. That separation is beginning to break down.

 

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A Visit to COSA

I decided to give COSA a visit today – a 12 step meeting for co-dependents of sex addicts. When the initial shock of finding out my husband had been arrested wore off, I scoured the Internet for resources on sex addiction. I was absolutely amazed that no one was maintaining an up to date blog on being married to a sex addict. In fact there are very few blogs maintained by sex addicts themselves.

I had a bit of a glimpse on why this may be in tonight’s COSA meeting. I was the youngest person by at least 20 years. Rather than feeling like I could be a part of something I grew scared by a glimpse into my future. Why I am the youngest? Probably because anyone at my age dealing with a sex addicted partner would leave without even a question. I found myself disgusted by the idea that I could be 50 and attending support groups to deal with my husbands addiction. I want to see myself getting over the hump and coming out on the other side. Perhaps the hump has no peak and there is no other side. I don’t think I can commit to this life if I find that to be the truth.

Even further discouraging was the realization that even in such a specialized 12 step group, no one could relate to the legal repercussions that my husband is facing and the inevitable ways in which it will change our lives. I can continue to alter my life to open the door for recovery, but the adjustments our life will require to live within the legal confines feel incredibly unmanageable.

Where are all of the people whose spouses have been arrested as a result of their sex addiction? Is anybody out there?

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An Internal Shift

As part of my recovery I have been attending Al Anon meetings. My mother started her path to alcoholism 10 years ago. My husband also comes from an addict ridden family and he has been a great source of support. But because he understood  my family dynamic and was equally guilty of not facing his issues face on, I had plenty room to ignore my issues that rooted from an alcoholic family.

Al Anon has been a huge resource, but I am only just beginning. Today’s talk was about assessing what you really need to take responsibility for and what you can pass along. The ability to ask for help, which I am terrible at. I made a small revelation that I wanted to share. For years I ignored my problems and never even considered addressing them. In doing so, I obsessed over small details that surrounded me. Now I find myself at a point where I know I need to make a decision. I am obsessing over the outcome so much that I have lost interest in the details, any details. Nothing else matters. I am giving up control because now I wish I didn’t have the power that lies within me to decide. Will I stay or will I leave? I know that I need help, but I don’t even know what to ask for.

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Just Another Weekend

The loneliness feels suffocating this morning. I wanted to sleep in late today, shrinking the today’s window of when I can think about things, but I am cursed as an early riser. I am making my way through another book on addiction – searching for something that sounds familiar. It is the weekends where my life feels lost. My husband lost his job shortly after his arrest and is now working full time at a breakfast restaurant which consumes his weekend, our weekend.

Things seemed a bit more real this week than they have in a while. He did intake with a new state certified therapy center where he will be required to attend sessions regardless of the legal outcome still pending. Therapy is time consuming. I feel exhausted by the idea of how we are supposed to work on our marriage when we are living lives that feel more separate than ever. I work standard hours, 9 to 5, and he works mornings and weekends. Evenings are jam packed with therapy and meetings for both of us, leaving us the off chance of a Wednesday or a Sunday evening that we can share with one another.

And therapy is permanent for addicts. The issue does not go away. You learn to live with it, peacefully, and without acting out. I feel empty thinking about how I have lost my partner, my best friend, and my lover. Some days it feels far to overwhelming to imagine the other side of this ordeal and today is one of those days.

My therapist asked that I set a conscious intention for why I want to be with my husband on days we decide to see one another. My husband spent the night on Thursday and as I was driving home from work, I was thinking about my intention and what brought on the excitement I was feeling. I came home exhausted in thought and said to my husband that I was looking forward to our time together because it seemed limited – it was not going to last forever. I just didn’t see how we could be us anymore in this new life, full of new circumstances. He didn’t show his optimism as he usually does, but agreed he had put me in a situation that would be difficult for anyone to live within. He has resolved to letting go of anger if I chose to leave. I deserve the best, but all I want is us. The old us.

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Sitting with Loneliness

My husband has been out of the house for nearly two months. When everything first began, I traveled quite a bit – visiting old friends and sweeping myself off to places where I would feel inspired to explore and experience change. On a return trip back from a ladies weekend in Chicago, I got intense anxiety and a serious dread of not wanting to return home.

I was in a place where I never felt like myself. I had started a new job and did not want to reveal any details about my personal life. Things had shifted dramatically in our social circle and my husband had been primarily alienated as a result of his moral decision making as it related to his addiction. At home I felt like I could not just be. I needed my own space.

Last night was the first night since returning back to Colorado form holiday break with family that I came home to an empty house. I felt overwhelmed by nearly everything – the dishes in the sink, the cleaning of the fridge from food that I should have thrown before I left, the need to take my dog for a walk alone, and prepare dinner for myself. My husband had been at the house on and off over break and I realized how he hadn’t stayed here as though it was his home. Things were out of place and still seemed untouched.

This got me thinking to how no matter how disconnected or how fast things had been shifting at other points in our relationship, home was common ground. And now we didn’t feel like a team anymore. It felt like we were living separate lives, sometimes intersecting for evenings that never quite felt normal. Nothing is normal.

Tonight at my weekly dose of therapy we discussed loneliness. I feel it all around me. It is all consuming. Everywhere. I feel alone in my thoughts. Alone in my thinking. I need to learn to embrace this. The answers are not going to come from anyone except me. I desperately want to lean on people for support and for answers, but I hold those answers. I just need to dig deep enough to find them. I need to do the work.

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The Beginning

It almost feels inappropriate to call my first post the beginning. It has been nearly 5 month since I discovered my husband’s sex addiction. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday and sometimes it feels like the day he was arrested was a decade ago. Some days I feel like I have grown and evolved a lot since that day and often my thoughts feel more scattered than ever.

Today was particularly painful. This morning I caught up with a friend living overseas on the phone and she asked about my resolutions for the New Year. This topic mirrored a conversation I had shared with my husband last night on the way home from the airport. He had just picked me up from an extended holiday vacation with family. The truth is that the idea of coming up with a resolution hadn’t even crossed my mind. I have not cried on my way to work in more than a month but just uttering the words This year has to be better than the last made me cry. But doesn’t it?

The rest of the day I have been reflecting. One Resolution? Get my intuition back.

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