You know the term déja-vu? When you think you see the same thing twice? You obviously push it out of your head because that’s just not possible, right?
Well, the shattering of my marriage, the discovery of sexual infidelity and official diagnosis of sexual addiction was the culmination of that process. In the short 8 months since that discovery, I am learning through literature and relationships with other wives of sex addicts that this is “normal”.
Let me go back and explain. I grew up in a conservative Christian home. Both my parents came from very broken families. My grandfather on my dad’s side had been an alcoholic but was able to do the work of being in active sobriety when my dad was around 7. My mother came from a sexually abusive family. I’m amazed at the mother and woman she became despite all the trauma and abuse.
I had high hopes for marriage. I believed that because we had kept ourselves sexually pure, that we were involved in ministry and both professing Christians, our marriage would be beautiful. That first marriage only lasted two years. I found pornography on his computer a few times but that wasn’t what actually ended our marriage. No, it was him meeting a beautiful, blonde haired, blue eyed, 15% body fat (yes, he shared that detail with me) at the gym. He left on our 2-year wedding anniversary and never looked back.
My current husband was an old friend of mine. Once the divorce was final, we began dating. I suppose our dating had its share of “crazy” as well. I knew, and he had shared, that he was promiscuous prior to our dating. Still, he was the worship leader, heavily involved in his church and ministry and had TONS of male and FEMALE friends who vouched for him. To me, he was a changed man who had already experienced his “mid-life” crisis. His parents were married and devoted to each other. I thought he was my second chance.
Even during dating things struck me. He would never engage in “making-out”. He seemed to wear a chastity belt at all times. It made me curious since I knew about his past but also gave me confidence. He would need this type of self-restraint if we were ever to get married. Self-restraint that obviously my first husband had not possessed.
Beyond the physical restraint there was a lack of emotional intimacy. Now, I’m not saying I was or am emotionally healthy and have healthy intimacy myself but there was something strange in how he processed and related to me. Case in point; the date he proposed I honestly thought we were going to break up. I actually tried talking him out of proposing to me because the emotion of having confidence he actually desired and wanted to be married to me was severely lacking.
This emotional and relational incongruency continued into our marriage. That first year was ROUGH and his acting out behavior wasn’t even in full affect yet. AND I had no idea of it (I’m 8 months out from discovery in a marriage of almost a decade now). Things would “improve” but other glaring things would emerge. There were the random text messages I might happen upon from females. Nothing sexual but just casual conversations. The first was after the birth of our first born. I was in tears, but he promised it was nothing and that he would respect my wishes to not speak to women I didn’t know. Manipulation.
He was always on his phone and our sex life seemed more of a chore to him. I felt so rejected. I reasoned he must be comparing me to all those women prior to me. That I was inexperienced, and he was bored with me. He would tell me I placed too much emphasis on sex and that it wasn’t fair to him. Still, it didn’t feel right. I reasoned it was my Christian wife duty to “die to self” and just deal with the fact that I married a man with a low sexual libido.
Then the dreams started. I had a dream he was having an affair with one of my best friends from church. He asked what was wrong with my mind? He even suggested I needed therapy from the impact of my first marriage and that he thought of my friend “like a sister.” Gaslighting and emotional abuse.
Well, now I am here, 8 months from discovery and I have the validation, in the most painful of ways, that I am and WAS NOT crazy. The affair dream? It was really happening. The sexting with more than a dozen women throughout our marriage; VERY real. The money spent on things I’d rather not write...VERY real. The shattering of my world...VERY real.
I hope that in writing this, if you are new to discovery, the realization that you were not crazy will bring you some tiny shred of comfort. Our intuition is so POWERFUL. The Holy Spirit is so powerful and the damaging of our ability to trust ourselves can and will be rebuilt.