“Kick his ass to the curb!”
How many times have we heard that? How many times have we thought that? Why did we stay with the people who cheated on us? Especially if they were sex addicts?
“She’s better off without him!”
I was hearing it now as I sat at the picnic table, waving mosquitos away. We had moved from inside to the backyard after watching an episode of The View. My sister-in-laws all spoke at once, giving their opinions about the latest celebrity who had been caught allegedly cheating on his wife. Only I noticed one talk show host had remained quiet, Sharon Osborne, and only I remained quiet at the picnic table.
“What do you think, Elsie?” One of my sister-in-laws asked, fired up from the debate.
“I think you guys are way to worried about some guy out in Hollywood. Who wants a beer?” Deflection. My counselor always said I had a knack for it. This time it served me well.
Why did I stay? The simple answer would be love, but the honest answers are never simple, are they? No, honesty is usually a bit more complex. Not to mention, love wasn’t enough, not this time.
I stay because I was able to love my husband despite his addiction. I was able to remove the addiction from the equation of his character, as I had always known him, as the man he was when we met and love him. Then, I added the addiction back into the equation and added all of the things the addiction included. The setbacks, the lies, the required patience from me, the meetings, the counselors and I still found I loved him for the man he was and still is today.
I stand by his side because as a 25 year sober cocaine addict, I have a unique understanding of walking his path. My path was not as difficult and that’s okay, it was mine and I don’t judge him for his struggles because it’s not my place to judge, I am not God. I do understand the desire to want to be sober and the disappointment when there is an inner struggle between want and ability. I have faith. Faith in him and Faith it will be okay.
I’m here because I am finally healthy enough mentally to know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s because I want to be. I always knew I was able to walk away if I had to, and I still will in need be. Devin knows if he cheats again or recovery is not ongoing, I’m leaving. I will live in a cardboard box before I would put myself through that mental anguish again. However, I am finally confidant enough in my recovery to know I am not codependent and I have exorcised all my demons. I don’t need the confirmation of my rockin’ counselor to confirm it this time.
I was once asked how I could respect my husband after all he had done to our marriage and me. For me, it’s quite easy. He is more than his addiction and his actions were a result of his addiction. I’m more than my addiction too. My addiction does not define me any more than his defines him. The thing I respect the most; he is remorseful and has been since Disclosure Day. It has helped me heal and move forward and get past my triggers.
Another question asked of me was how could I allow him to touch me again? How could we be intimate? This was trial by fire. We went through hysterical bonding. It’s common; if you’re new to the disclosure world, don’t be surprised, you’re not alone. When that phase wore off, I found I would cringe at his touch. I would cry if we tried to be intimate or even in the middle of being intimate. I had to set boundaries and often times those boundaries changed on a day-to-day basis. We took it slow. We held hands, then hugged, then progressed from there and made a game of it until I was comfortable again, always knowing I could trigger at anytime and that was okay.
A word of advice that I wish was imparted on me: It is normal to want to surround yourself with people in your situation. People who understand your pain and who also think your husband is a prick for cheating on you. Please allow me to caution you, if you truly want your marriage to work, try your best to stay away from those people. They are bitter and you may become bitter too. The same holds true for anyone who is stuck in the loop of hyper vigilance. It is normal to behave this way for a little while, it’s a natural response, but it has to come to an end and if you’re surrounding yourself with people who thrive on that behavior, you will too. It’s unhealthy and will bring you down and cause further damage to your healing process. Please trust me on this. It happened to me. I got stuck there for months!
No, I am not a doctor…I only play one on Blogger…
One a waaaay lighter note:
Much thanks to – Janice's Footsteps! She gave me the Big Balls – No wait..I saw balls on the award…Rockin’ Blogger Award and she knows me well. I don’t have to do a damn thing. Just cut and paste. Muchly appreciated, Janice!!
Also, I’ve been trying to put up a poll to see what you guys would like me to write about. I know this is a blog about sex addition but I am writing my book and it’s opened up this wildly creative side. You guys have been paying the price. My posts have become, well, full of narration. So, would you like me going back to my roots and stop writing this blog like a book or what. It’s in your hands, my Hooligans…vote away! Or not and I’ll just go buck wild. Whatever. (There is NO option for shorter posts...for that go elsewhere ha ha ha)