This is how progress feels. It feels like freedom.

My husband, being a sex addict, had countless liaisons with people over the years.  95% of these acting out partners were strangers.  He didn’t know their names, didn’t care who they were, and probably wouldn’t recognize most of them in a crowd.  Of course, there were a couple of women who he did know.  They weren’t close friends, just acquaintances who made it clear they had loose boundaries and he ended up having sex with them.  Never more than 2 or 3 times – the thrill would wear off for him by then and he would move on.

I’ve written before about this one person who still contacts him.  The emails from her are few and far between – maybe twice a year – but every time she reached out to him in the past it really triggered me.  I felt sick to my stomach and got angry with my husband and started to ask questions that had already been answered.  Until now.

A few days ago, my husband saw an email from this person.  she sent it late at night so he received it when he got up in the morning.  He needed to leave for work before I got up so he came to wake me.  He said “I didn’t want to wake you but I need to tell you that I got an email from that lunatic”.  At first I didn’t know who he meant, but I figured it out pretty quickly.  I asked him what it said and he said he hadn’t read it yet.  He asked if I would like to get up so we could read it together.  I rose and we read the stupid email.  It was just a sentence or two of no consequence.  I don’t understand why she writes to him especially since he hasn’t had contact with her in 2 years.  From her emails, it doesn’t appear to be romantic or with a desire to see him.  The simplest explanation is that she is afraid of him being her enemy since they work in the same industry.

I don’t know her reasons, but still she writes.  Every time she does, we read it (and delete it) together.  But one thing changed this time.  I didn’t have a negative physical reaction.  I didn’t dwell on it all day.  I didn’t feel anger toward my husband.  I saw this for exactly what it was.  I’m not talking about this woman and her motivations.  I am talking about my husbands actions.  He isn’t hiding anything from me.  He didn’t pre-read her message to find out what it said before alerting me to it.  He loves me and wants me to learn to completely trust him again.  This is the truth.

My husband has offered for me to put a rule on his account so that her emails will forward to me, or will be immediately deleted, or bounce back to her.  Anything I want.  Anything that makes me feel comfortable.  I used to want to read them for some clue about his relationship with her.  I thought perhaps there were secrets I didn’t know.  But that’s not the case.  I know everything I need to know.  I know he is sick and acted out with her and others.  I also know that he is recovering and changed and worthy of my love and trust.  I don’t need to control his emails to know all of this.

This gal may write again, she may not.  I don’t really care.  I couldn’t much control it if I did.  But, from here on out, it won’t affect my relationship with my husband if and when she does.  This is freedom.

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4 comments on “This is how progress feels. It feels like freedom.

  1. CrazyKat1963 says:

    That must be a great feeling. I don’t feel anything about the women anymore (thankfully), not even the last one–the stalker. The struggle we do have over here is still with the steps and my husband not being able to shut down the overwhelming shame associated with his behavior. Hopefully once he gets through the steps, the progress in that area will be obvious because, as we know, the acting out was just the symptom and the shame elicits the feelings of worthlessness, anger, guilt, resentment, etc… He shut down all contact with the stalker right away… he had to shut down emails and change mobile phones in order to do it, but he did and now, since she has stalked us in person on a plane, he has seen his drug outside the addiction and realizes how scary it is and how far gone he was. What a strange way to live life. I am glad he is getting help and it is so nice to hear about you and your progress.

    • Mitzi Palmer says:

      “…he has seen his drug outside of the addiction…” wow. It seems clear to me that even in your struggle, you can see the changes in him.

  2. Mitzi Palmer says:

    I appreciate the reminder that this journey is not an easy one, and that I am not alone. I am grateful for the oh-so-familiar details of your email experience.

  3. Madeline Harper says:

    I love the honesty and totally think that’s why you lost the anxious feeling. Great progress.

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