So yeah, I felt real, genuine compassion for my philandering husband. I saw how difficult it was to dig deep into his soul and call up all the demons that had haunted him his entire life. He revealed things he has never told another person and that did take some courage. But I’m also human and flawed and was dealing with some serious Betrayal PTSD. So the bitch in me came out quite often for awhile. As many times as I tried to kick him out of our home, Music Man never left. I kicked him out daily. He was and still is, on the surface, a model bipolar patient, a model former sex addict.
I could interject some mean stuff here, like he sure wasn’t a model citizen, buying sex slaves. But I will hold back. I tend to have a snarky, sarcastic sense of humor. So that is where I gravitate under stress.
In an effort to heal myself, I started seeking private therapy. The first place I went, was a center for sex addiction recovery. I went here to participate in a spouses of sex addicts therapy group. Wow! This place was crowded. I walked in, and my eyes immediately began to dart around the room looking for any familiar faces, so I could make a quick exit. No one I knew….whew. Then I had to go in for a session with a counselor. I told her my story and she told me I was a love addict. I told her I also had a brief fling a few years back and she told me I was a sex addict (even though I didnt have sex?) I told her that I loved my husband and she told me I was co dependent. So there was my diagnosis Love Addict, Sex Addict? and Co dependent. I also had to hear her preach about how she is a food addict. WTF? After our session ended, I went to the group section and this guy kept staring at me (I’m no Christy Brinkley, but I know when someone is looking). In my head, I was wondering if people came here to meet up with other sex addicts? I could see how this would be better than Craigslist. So I got the hell out before I wound up doing something stupid. I definitely did not need to be in a room that included sex addict men. Too intense for me.
Music Man and I began to see a new marriage therapist who specialized in sex addiction and worked with many bipolars. She was wonderful. We always had great homework and honestly, when my anger was at bay and I had a few moments of peace, I felt love and passion and deep inside, I really wanted our marriage to work.
I also found a certified sex addiction therapist for myself that I LOVED. Her approach was so different. She helped me understand my PTSD brain, and so much more. I learned how my self esteem played into the person I chose to be my spouse. We learned about the dynamic between Music Man and me, and all the dysfunctions in between. She taught me how to control my anger, how to stop and recognize where my anger was coming from and how to treat my spouse with respect, despite this terrible situation.
One takeway lesson I find myself repeating quite a bit, is that non of us are born perfect. We are all imperfect. No one here on earth is better than anyone else. If you believe you are better then others, you live in a false reality. I loved that philosophy and still carry it with me .
All the while I was binge reading every single book on sex addiction I could find. I really learned a lot. I realized that men are brought up surrounded by sexual messages. From the time they are just boys, they are learning what women should be. They are watching their parents and possibly learning about infidelity through their role models (My husband watched his father get it on with a woman on the couch of their home.) His 12 year old self sat on the top of the stairs, hidden from view. He saw more than a kid should ever see his father do. At the time, his dad had briefly left his mom for another woman. This was the activity when dad was watching the kids. His parents later reconciled. I learned the impact of that message on my husbands psyche.
My husband and I read a book. It was somewhat pop culture, but I do recommend it for any woman going through discovery. It is by an author named Neil Strauss. The book is called “The Truth : An uncomfortable book about relationships.” It helped me see sex addiction through a man’s eyes. Written by man with plenty of insight and self awareness.
It’s like God doesn’t hand you a perfect life on a silver platter. At least not in my world. But if I continue this healing journey with my husband, we could possibly wind up with the marriage I have always dreamed of.