I am really enjoying your site. I have a piece of writing I would love to submit. I posted it on my blog today, and if you’re not opposed to having something that has already been posted somewhere else, I would love to share it with the community you have built.(If not, I totally understand…)
I am really enjoying your site, and I’m honored that you took the time to look over mine.
This is a letter that I wrote to my husband about 9 months after I discovered his sex addiction problem…
It should come as no surprise to you that I have been deeply affected by your outside sexual activities throughout the course of our relationship and the way you deliberately and systematically hid them from me. The past nine months have been a nightmare as I have come to grips with the severity of your problems and, by extension, the problems in our relationship.
Everyone knows me as one of the kindest and most generous people around. I gave you so much over the past 11 years, and I didn’t ask much in return. I asked you to be honest with me; to protect me and our family from harm; and to think about my needs in addition to your own. I never held you to some high and lofty ideal for what a partner should be. I wanted you to have your dreams as much as I wanted to have my own. I believed we both could have anything we wanted.
So when you admitted to me that you had perhaps as many as 100 sexual affairs; that you lied to me throughout the course of our relationship; and that you had put both of our lives in danger multiple times, I was devastated. I can recall the physical feelings clearly. My chest felt tight for days. My hands shook, and I had frequent stomach cramps. For months I had that eerie feeling you get in a haunted house, as if something terrible is lurking behind you, ready to strike.
You may remember the day a few weeks after your admission that I went to the health clinic to get tested for a battery of STDs. I was the worst day of my life. I felt like just another idiot who didn’t use protection because they assumed their husband was clean. I felt so small.
Then the nurse began asking me the required questions from the health department, I started sobbing in the exam room. Here I was, in a brand new city with a brand new house and a brand new job. And the nurse was the only person I could tell about this.
In the early weeks, I remember having all these compulsions I felt like I couldn’t control. As you know, I would break into your e-mail and check your phone logs several times per day. I would check your MySpace and Facebook pages for any clues of misconduct, and I would read anything and everything personal that I could get my hands on. Part of me felt so stupid, naïve and foolish for not picking up on what you were doing for the first 10 years of our relationship. I was determined never to be fooled again. Another part of me was sick about how I had become a spy; that kind of behavior was never part of my value system.
But that was what this whole experience was like — watching my value system, the core of who I was, erode before my very eyes. During the two years we lived by the ocean, I had developed a lot as a person. I ran my own business, lost all that weight and became involved in a spiritual community. I had gained self-confidence beyond anything I had ever experienced before.
After your truth came out, it became so easy to slide back into bad habits, negative thoughts and a dreary, ho-hum existence. At one point, I blamed myself for all of your problems. I actually thought that maybe I had spent too much time at the gym or that my success in other areas had “scared” you away. Always willing to blame myself for your problems, I kept punishing myself over and over. I felt empty and depleted most of the time.
But the worst part is what happened to my dreams for the future. One of the reasons I was so excited to move to a new city was that I thought this would be a nice place to settle down for the rest of my life. I imagined we would spend our first year here getting the lay of the land, fixing up the house and thinking about children. I didn’t think I’d spend my first year head bouncing around between counseling appointments and support group meetings. I never imagined I could feel this miserable for this long.
When we were moving here, I believed that our best years were ahead of us. With both of our careers taking off, all of the sacrifices of the past 11 years — the crummy entry-level jobs, the debts, the crappy apartments, grad school — would finally pay off in a big way.
Now I know that relationships can be fleeting, and the our “relationship house,” which I thought was built on a strong foundation of love, was full of illusions, a house of cards. So it’ s both difficult and terrifying to commit to rebuilding a relationship with you, even a new kind of relationship like the one our therapist has proposed.
I know that I will always love you, and I believe that someday I will actually forgive you (even if forgiveness, as our therapist says, isn’t exactly the goal). But from where I am standing, the risks of entering a new relationship with you seem to outweigh the benefits.
I remain undecided.
I am grateful to you for listening to me.
P.S. from JoAnn: Sorry about the ‘comments are closed’ that showed here for a while. My mistake. It has been corrected and you can comment on this article now.