I have began over the past couple of months to read the blogs of women whose lives have been horrendously affected by their husband's sexual addiction. As I read how hard it is to rebuild trust, to not feel inferior, to go through divorce or try to rebuild the marriage, my whole body aches, but my heart truly hurts.
I could stop reading and avoid the pain, but at some level it is a part of the truth I really need to see. I seek it out not as self-punishment, but as a way of seeing what is real and what is a lie.
In my addiction, I have closed myself off from the feelings of the women who wash the dirty underwear, raise the kids, and put up with the egos of the men I took to bed. It's not that I never thought of the wives of the men I slept with. In fact, I often did. But I never allowed myself to think I was hurting them. It makes me think of the lies my stepfather must have believed while he was molesting me -- Everything's fine as long as no one finds out. Those are the same lies all sex addicts believe until they realize their soul has been stolen, and their life is no longer recognizable.
There is a usually unspoken lie that is perceived as the truth among people like me and the men I have slept with -- it is that our affairs have nothing to do with our partners. We are motivated, rather, by the screaming lie that we cannot go on, that life is incomplete and impossible, that we are nothing without that "zing" we get from acting out. We express our love and care for our families to one another and in the latter stages of the disease wish desparately that we could just stop and get back to our real lives. Thankfully it is when we get sick and desparate enough that we hit bottom and it is what brings the worst of us into recovery.
Even that doesn't stop the bleeding pain ... not for either side, not for a long, long time. What it does do, is give us hope where there was none.
2 months ago