Dear wife of the sex addict,
Good morning, sweet lady. What’s good about it, though, right? Your whole world has been shaken, and you’re not even sure you can force yourself to put one foot in front of the other, much less agree that it’s a “good” morning. I know.
Betrayal takes everything.
Everything you once knew and everything you once treasured is just... gone. All that was sure is no longer sure and you don’t understand. You feel lost... broken... lonely.
Your heart feels like it could actually break. You can barely eat or sleep. The darkness and depression you feel are closing in on you. He stole your smile and your song- just like that. All you really want to do is scream, cry, and run, sometimes all at the same time. If you could do that, maybe you’d feel a release.
You want to leave and be done with the whole mess, don’t you? But because there are kids in the mix, the ones you treasure, you surely can’t let them down by running out on them.
The man you so adored repulses you now but he’s the only income. What would you do if you actually left? How could you survive with all those mouths to feed? And who would help you with them? You were already frazzled from the day to day with your husband's help. How on earth would you manage alone? All these questions, yet no answers.
Day after day, you're silently wondering if you will ever get past this and if you could ever love him again because right now you just don’t. You hate him for what he has done.
The "what-ifs" and "maybes".
While you abhor the sight of him, you begin to question yourself, "What could I have done differently? Maybe had I been more willing to perform my wifely duties and be more creative in the bedroom... or hadn’t gained all that baby weight. He likes my hair better long, what if I hadn't cut it? Maybe if I was a more confident woman with a nice wardrobe instead of a drab stay-at-home-barely-making-it-mom... maybe he wouldn't have needed to... desired to..."
Can I tell you something, sweet girl? None of those things matter. Oh, he may tell you or lead you to believe they do but those are excuses that make you "the bad guy". You are NOT the bad guy. I’m here to tell you, as the wife of a former sex addict, it doesn’t matter how "fat", "ugly" or "naggy" you think you are, it’s not your fault. Ever. Period. By his own choice, he violated your wedding vows.
He trampled our vows.
He betrayed you by taking your wedding vows and doing everything but crumbling them up right in front of your face. You wonder if, since he obviously disregards them, you can be free from the trap you find yourself in. The truth is, friend, you can. Sexual addiction does violate your vows. So, in this case, can you be free from your covenant before God? Technically, yes.
Before you go, I need you to ask yourself a couple of questions:
1) Is he truly repentant?
2) Does he want reconciliation?
If the answer to either of those questions is yes or even, “I think so,” then you need to hold tight.
Am I saying to stay and endure the day in and day out? Not necessarily. I'm saying in the case where he’s truly repentant (not just saying the things you want to hear) your marriage deserves a fighting chance.
My husband and I saw our pastor for marriage counselling and the one thing I still remember him saying even years later is, “Take your dictionary (an actual physical dictionary) and blacken out the word divorce. It’s not a word to you. It’s not an option”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he was saying in the case of unfaithfulness we had to stay no matter what. He was saying we needed to commit to try and work through the hard things.
It’s not easy. More days than you can imagine will be harder than hard. Many days, you’ll be angry and you may want to run away. Some days, you may be ready to die it hurts so bad. I know. It’s in those times and on those days that you have to let Jesus, the lover of your soul, pour over you.
How do you turn to Jesus to heal this pain?
Seek out someone to bear this burden with you! I cannot tell you how important that is. Pray and ask the Lord to place someone in your life to carry you through this time. You may be embarrassed but please, please find someone. It could be me- I’ll pray for you, speak truth to you, love on you... you need someone.
Christian counselling may be what you need. In fact, I would encourage it. Sometimes we need someone to help us sift through those difficult emotions and memories because when we are hurting everything becomes blurry.
Get lost in God’s word, even when you can’t even see the words through your tears. He is faithful and will speak to you through His word. Keep leaning into Him, keep pressing on, keep fighting for your marriage.
Pray. Cry out. Scream if you have to. God is big- He can handle it! We have been told we can’t question God but David did and he was called "a man after God’s own heart" [Acts 13:22]. Beg God to speak to you and comfort your heart. Tell Him how you don’t understand and don't be afraid to ask, "Why?". He may not tell you "why" just yet but He will send Comfort.
In truth, sweet lady, it’s going to take time. An intimate bond has been broken and the foundation of trust in your marriage has been shattered. Allow yourself time. Focus on yourself and your relationship with Jesus. Pull your babies close (if you have them) and allow them to be your comfort. Take time to draw close to a fellow sister in Christ. Let her be your crutch. And most importantly, don’t try to hide it. Do not try to carry this burden alone. We’re here, your sisters, ready to carry you through.
Much love and lots of hugs and prayers!