I am back after a hiatus from blogging for more than 4 years. I hope to unfold the story of what has occurred between then and now over the coming weeks. My blog entries from today forward will represent what is true today as I reflect back on the events that were the catalyst for my creating this site. I am in the process of writing a book about my experience. My goal in doing so is to be a voice for secondary victims – the women who are impacted by the sex addiction of others and whose trauma and story, while intertwined, stand on their own.
My original intent in creating this site was to reflect on my own life – a life that seemed to evolve without my consent – and to send a calling out to the internet world to find others like me. I was stunned (and still am in searches today) about how little voice our group holds in the Internet space. I know far more today than I did years ago and have the pleasure of meeting women from all walks of life impacted by their significant other’s sex addiction. There have been tiny signs calling me to revisit my story publicly and those signs have grown stronger over the last year.
As women, we put tremendous pressure on ourselves to keep everything together, even when life brings us chaos. In my writing this week I was reflecting on the extent of the pressure I put on myself to handle trauma perfectly, partially because of the plethora of opinions coming into my world, but more so because I thought keeping it together would somehow make things easier. Pretending can disguise itself as a savior.
With each step on my journey, I was fearful that any misstep would somehow end me and begin an unraveling that happened anyway. The months between my husband’s arrest and our therapist assisted disclosure process seemed to drag on endlessly. When the time finally arrived, the pressure to create the list of questions to guide the discussion felt a lot like trying to drive from Point A (total lack of knowledge) to Point B (perfect knowledge) without any road signs or assistance. Until the few months prior, I hadn’t known that sex addiction existed and I was somehow supposed to know the exact questions I should ask to uncover the extent of the life that was happening behind the scenes. It felt oddly like my only opportunity to procure information from my husband. One of the pieces of feedback that came back from my therapist at the sex addiction center was “it feels like you are really focussed on communication, which seems good between you and your husband” and “you should end with questions 3 and 4.” I was dumbfounded. How could communication be good when he had been hiding a big secret from me for nearly 10 years. I simultaneously felt like an idiot for being introduced to an idea that the questions should follow a certain order. I could hardly keep my thoughts straight let alone a line of questions that was supposed to uncover the truth of our existence as a couple.
What I wish I had known then, and which I now know, is that disclosure was just a starting point. It was one step in a long chain of information gathering which still exists today, many years later. The things that were important then became less important over time and new places of focus and curiosity emerged later in the process. There is no proper unfolding or one single event that will reveal everything magically. The only part of my experience that happened in an instance was a phone call from my husband’s mother letting me know he was in jail for soliciting minors online. Everything else was an evolution. And while we all know that patience is a virtue, what I wish I could give to the version of myself back then is patience for myself and a gentle affirmation that buying a matching bra and underwear set to wear during disclosure is ok. Anything I needed as OK. It sill is.