In the days and weeks following the discovery of my husbands relapse, I was bombarded with thoughts, ideas and questions about his behavior. I also had a lot of common sense “suggestions”. Calling, texting and IMing with him during the day was not fulfilling as I could never get all of my thoughts into a succinct conversation. I started to write down my thoughts instead, to construct them to explain what I was thinking, and when they were ready I would email them to him to read when he had an uninterrupted moment. This method was way more constructive so we both benefitted. Of course, I know that I can’t change his behavior and that all of my rational ideas are just a joke to the addict in his mind…none the less, I am going to share one of the emails:
I can’t help but worry about if you are now – or will be able to stay sober in the upcoming weeks, months, years. I worry about you being able to develop and use the tools that you would need to access if you ever feel antsy. You haven’t really been able to in the past and that is my biggest concern.
It is a natural thing to have sexual cravings and hopefully that will be something that you will want to openly share with me and that we will explore together to satisfy your desires, needs or curiosities in a way that doesn’t send you over the edge. But maybe it looses it’s luster to share that stuff with your wife of 8 years. Maybe sharing it with me only gives you a portion of the thrill of sneaking around on your own and that ceases to be enough. Maybe you will start to miss the freedom you have been allowing yourself over the past 5 years. Maybe not now – but in a few months – once we are more settled. Maybe you will start to try to reintroduce that into your world and will search for justification to do so. In that case I feel like you should rather be single because I highly doubt you will want to tell anyone about it (you will again think you have it all ‘under control’) and I don’t want to keep riding this roller coaster of catching you, forgiving you and repeat.
I think you can ‘have your cake and taste it too’ in a marriage…but can’t really ‘have your cake and eat it too’. I mean, if your cake is ‘us’ and you love being married for all the happiness it brings – but then you get bored with monogamy and miss the thrill of the chase, etc. There are sexy things we can do together to evoke some of those old feelings and such….but it’s not going to be as free as what you have been doing (obviously). So you won’t be eating the cake so much as tasting it. So there is going to be a sacrifice. I mean – you can not have it ALL and that’s just the way life is and you need to be mature enough to understand that and not let your narcisistic mind try to constantly find a way around it. Though that is tempting in and of itself – and I GET THAT. I struggle with that shit too. I think ‘oh, I can flirt with max’ and I justify it cuz you’ve done worse and you have mentioned giving me permission and quite frankly I feel owed it. But really, does that make it ok? If it doesn’t hurt you or risk our health or cause me to lie then I suppose it’s ok. But maybe it’s not. I’m not even sure anymore about boundaries and that is going to have to be something that we sort out over the next month or so. And I know it will be revisited and the boundaries will change over time but we need a starting place that we can both actually respect and commit to without too much trouble.
But when you act compulsively due to procrastination, boredom or stress – and it either is or isn’t about the sex – then I’m not sure how you are going to get those habits under control. I know we talked about it, but I hope you can figure out one guy from program that you can call when you feel tempted to act out or distract yourself in a way that isn’t deemed healthy.
It’s all so weird for me to talk about because I personally think it would suck to not be able to just do what I want when I want if it eased my brain. it’s odd also because I don’t see the real harm in much of what you have done. I guess the harm is that you A. aren’t dealing with the root of the emotions and B. feel like you need to lie about it thus making you feel like shit about yourself (and hurt me/damage us).
I am just starting to feel like you are a little afraid to talk to me – starting to shut down a little. Maybe it’s just cuz you are sick of talking at all after all the meetings and therapy. I won’t say I am never going to have a reaction to anything you say. But I can tell you that as long as you try to remain truthful with me that I will completely accept who you are and love you and won’t abandon you.
Sacrifice sucks. But you have to remember that it’s for the greater happiness and good. I hate dieting – but when I really do make the sacrifice then I am thrilled with my body and it is well worth it. You just have to remember that the sacrifice of giving up your middle and inner circle behavior will be completely worth it when you can feel totally loved and accepted by those around you. You have no idea how great that is going to feel.