Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Story

I know I have shared parts of my story on the blog, but after reading more on recovery, I feel the need to share my whole story, or my whole story up until this point.

I loved to flirt and date when I was a teenager and my number one goal in life was to get married and have babies. I loved being part of a family and wanted to start my own "happily ever after". My parents marriage wasn't always great, but I was going to do better, I was going to be happier. Oh to have the knowledge I have now and the optimism I had as a teenager. I have since come to realize that we create our "happily ever after" through hard work, sacrifice, compromise, forgiveness and pain. I digress, I am putting the horse before the cart here by sharing what I have learned before sharing how I learned it.

As I was saying, I wanted to be married, badly. I wanted to be loved and cherished, taken care of and have someone to take care of. I'm not saying that I regret marrying my husband, because I don't. I love my husband and am sincerely working on being "in love" with him again. I want to rediscover that spark and light that first brought us together. Again, horse, cart, sorry, back on track. 

I met my husband country dancing. We both went dancing on Friday nights, him because his sister dragged him and me because I wanted to meet boys. We would both arrive a little early and help set up for the dance, we would both take a shift taking money at the door and then help clean up so that we could get in for free, since we were both in school. We were all part of the same group of friends, but I knew his brother and sisters more than I knew him. He was quiet and reserved and liked being in the background, where as I am anything but quiet and back then loved to goof around and be loud. I started scheduling my shifts to sit and take money at the same time as his, and I started attending some single adult dances that he helped with. All in hopes that he would ask me out. He didn't, not until I gave him my phone number and told him we should go fishing sometime (it was something we both liked to do). He finally asked me to go with him and his little brother fishing. On the way home his brother and I had a belching contest, I figured if he would ask me out again after that I had it made. Well he asked me out again the very next day and we were engaged two short months after that. 

We were young, I was 20 and he was 23 when we got engaged. Due to meddling parents on my side and hands-off parents on his side, we ended up postponing our original wedding date from December to March. This meant a seven month engagement to get into "trouble" morally as well as having to see both of our bishops. It finally got to the point where either we couldn't be alone together or we weren't going to make it to the Temple. We made it. During his Spring Break and the middle of my semester, we were sealed for time and all eternity in front of our family and friends.

The first year was hard (well every year was hard). We had NO IDEA what it took to run a household having never lived on our own (other than my husband's two year mission for our church which is a very "structured" living on your own). We didn't know how to manage money or pay bills, balance a checkbook or make a budget and stick to it. As I now reflect back on that time, a lot of our problems were a symptom of a bigger problem that I was not even aware of at the time. My husband's pornography addiction.

I'm not rewriting history here, I was not prepared to be a wife and we have had a lot of struggles that we didn't need to have because of it. I'm just saying that a lot of our problems were compounded by the person my husband became because of his pornography addiction. 

A couple of years into our marriage I was looking for ways for us to be closer and happier as a couple. We were at a local video store and I saw the porn movies and thought "maybe this will work". It only took a few times of watching together to "enhance our sex life" to realize they were doing more harm than good. We decided together not to watch anymore. Little did I know that this was just the tip of the problem.

A few years later, when we had one child I discovered that B had been looking at naked women and masturbating while I wasn't home. What!?! Why wasn't I enough? Maybe if I lose weight and get skinny he won't look at porn. Maybe if I have sex more and dress in sexy lingerie he won't need porn. It's taken me years and years to realize that it wouldn't matter if I was a Playboy Bunny willing to do whatever, whenever he wanted, it wouldn't "fix" his problem. I can't fix it for him, he has to do that. I still sometimes struggle to remember this.

I feel like I am rambling, but it seems like the only way I can get this whole story out. In bits and pieces as I remember them. I am sorry if it seems disjointed but I am telling it the only way I know how. It's my story to own, so I am owning it, in whatever disheveled way it comes out.

Many wives stories I have read talk about D-day. I don't remember a specific D-day. I remember several discoveries by myself, admissions by my husband, days I was ready to quit and days I just said "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em".  This has been a process of addiction, enabling, lies, hope, heartbreak, forgiveness, counseling, attempted recovery, selfishness, pain, betrayal and eventually hard and painful  work. Let me just share with you the most recent chapter in our story.

A few months ago, probably right around our anniversary in March or my 40th birthday in April, I'm not sure which, I had had enough. B was not working to recover. He was thoughtless, selfish and only looking out for himself. He had taken so much of my life that I was numb. I was numb to pain, numb to joy, just plain numb. I was done. I was done with my marriage. I knew I couldn't in good conscience leave B without knowing I had done everything in my power to make my marriage healthy, I'm just not built that way. I went to see a counselor and at first he refused to go with me. I knew I had to go and work on my own issues and fixing me before I could say I had given it all I had. The second visit he came with me to help participate in some testing the counselor wanted to do, and he continued seeing her with me after that. We worked with her, and she opened the doors for both of us to truly want to make an honest effort at saving our marriage. She is not a specialist in sexual addictions or recovery, so she could only take us so far, but she opened the door, and for that I will always be grateful.

We are now both seeing individual counselors that specialize in recovery from sexual addictions for addicts and spouses. I am working on my own recovery. I honestly didn't recognize in all my years of study, counseling and soul searching, that I had to recover too. I always wanted to be supportive and help B "fix" himself. It's only been the last few weeks that I have honestly realized that I need some serious "fixing" because of the betrayal I have felt. I was numb for so long that I didn't realize how much of my pain and hurt I had shoved inside. It came out in the form of orneriness, a food addiction and pure honest to goodness anger directed at my family. My kids have suffered because of this anger, and I am working on controlling it. 

I know that this is going to be a long journey. I know that I have a long ways to go before I will trust anyone in general again. I am hoping that B will continue to work on his recovery and try to gain my trust back as I heal. I am hesitantly hopeful for the first time, maybe the first time ever, that there might be a way of emerging from this pit with my marriage not only intact but stronger than it has ever been. I have bad days. I have good days. I am working through all the anger and trying to turn it into the will to fight FOR my family instead of fighting WITH my family.

I am broken, I am working at healing. It is a slow, painful and arduous process. I want to get better overnight. I want that peace now. I know that's not possible. I know that I have to walk the uphill battle before a little relief will gradually come. I am working everyday to turn this over to the Lord and let him guide me. I am praying for hope, healing and love to come into my family.

Sharing my story,


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