My wife and I went out to a late lunch and were chatting when things got hard.

Things had been going well for us lately at home and when we were on vacation.  We were able to talk a lot.   I was able to keep a little distance from her, letting her have space when I knew she was feeling depressed or hemmed in without trying to ‘fix’ things.  She was reaching out to me more, wanting to do things together.  I felt we were turning a corner.

So I was surprised when she said that she wanted a space.  It’s something we’ve discussed in the past, getting her a space to do her art at.  Her work takes up some space and it’s not easy to do it all at home without taking over a room.  The idea wasn’t new to me, but in our current context, I immediately had a cold wave run over me.

She showed me a picture of the small office and asked what I thought.  I stalled for a bit while I tried to decide what to do.  The codependant part of me wanted to say, “Yes, whatever will make you happy.”  the more honest side of me said, “I think you want a place to go act out”.

I finally said “When will you go there? and How much time are you planning to spend there?”.  She immediately shut  down and said, “Fine, we’ll talk about it in six months.”  We went back and forth a bit trying to discuss how to move forward.  She said she ‘couldn’t discuss things like this’ and completely walled up.  I told her that we needed to be able to say the tough things to each other.  She referred to the formal settings of boundaries that we still haven’t done.

I got overwhelmed at this point and was barely keeping the tears in.  We left the restaurant and went home.  We continued talking there.  We were dancing around the real issue.

After an agonizing time, I finally said, “I want to know that you aren’t going to have sex with other people”.   She said, “I can’t promise you that.  I could lie and promise that, but it’s not so simple.”  I was stunned.  For all I wanted her honesty, I didn’t want this.

We talked a lot about her feelings and compulsions.  About how she can’t associate sex with love and that’s why it’s hard for us to be together sexually for her.  She was trying to make me understand what she’s dealing with.  It’s hard to really grasp it.

Needless to say, I felt terrible.  Hurt that she can’t promise me this and fear that she could act out again.  I was glad we talked honestly, but I slept terribly and woke still upset.  We spoke a little in the morning before getting ready for our busy day and I was still on the edge of tears.

Finally toward the late afternoon, I was feeling better.  I was able to keep things in perspective and realize that it was ‘progress not perfection’ that we were able to talk about these things in a way we never could have back at discovery.  She and I talked briefly about it.  I even told her I was proud of her for her honestly.

Cut to the evening after everyone but me has gone to sleep.

I noticed her phone out of place in the kitchen and picked it up.  I flipped it over and saw a text that said, “I am HARD” from a number I didn’t recognize.  Even then, my codependant self debating whether I should look further.  I looked and it took me only a second to realize that she had been texting with her acting out partner from before, the one I discovered way back in September.

Crushed, I read back and saw that her side of the conversation was non-sexual, but that fact that she was still communicating with him was huge.

She had been texting him that day, even while I was praising for her honesty with me.

I went and woke her up and confronted her with I saw.  It wasn’t easy.  She admitted right away that she had kept open “lines of communication” with him.  That she wanted to stop, but couldn’t.  That there was something in her that was filled by this kind of action.  She said she wasn’t having sex, but had been texting.  I told her how betrayed I feel.

She tried again to explain how much she wants to stop but how out of control she feels.

I said that I can’t make her do anything or fix the problem, only she can make that decision and do the hard work, but the toll on me is huge.  I asked some tough questions about other things and nothing new surfaced.

She told me how horrible she feels about herself and how her reaction is to run away.  The discussion went in circles a bit about me saying it’s up to her to do the work and her saying how sorry she was, but how hard it is to change.

With nothing more to say, I told her to go to sleep, I was going to watch a movie.  After about 10 minutes, she came up to watch a bit with me looking devastated, she had nothing to say and I guess this was her way of showing that I’m important to her, and we finally went to bed after about a half hour.

This morning was awkward.  I woke before 5, unable to get things out of my mind, and went up front to watch TV.  She came up soon after to get ready for her exercise.  We didn’t talk much as there wasn’t much to say.

I need to get back to some serenity.  I knew I should have expected this at some point in recovery, but it still hurts a lot.

The thing is, that the ‘hard discussions’ get harder, but the dark feelings go away sooner.   I’m able to feel better about myself and not so codependantly pathetic, but I still hurt.  I am finding it easier to recover from these events.  Notice I said ‘eaiser’ and not ‘easy’.  There is nothing easy about this.

Today I need to write up my boundaries and formally give them to her tonight.  I stupidly thought that waiting would be better.

In the past, I would wonder if it really was sex addiction and whether it was just a cover-up for an affair.  I now know it is truly an addiction.  I have to be strong and do the right by myself and my family to deal with it.

I hope you had a better weekend.

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