Friday, January 12, 2018

Jealous of My Friend, the Widow-



This powerful piece is written by a brave guest Author:  #Myhusbandisaddictedtopornography. Please contact me at willis.katy@gmail.com or through social media if you would ever like to guest post, even if you need complete anonymity in order for your voice to be heard. I would like it to be as "tasteful" as possible; however, I don't believe we do anybody a favor by assuming that means we must omit the rawness or realness of betrayal trauma (so I am looking for something more in the "middle." Freely expressed; however, focusing as much as possible on the solutions.) XOXO ~Katy
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Jealous of My Friend, the Widow-

At 4 am a few months ago, I sat on the edge of my bathtub scrolling through Facebook, hoping to not have to think about my own worries for a few moments. As was often the case, sleep had failed me. Grief hit quickly, however, when I came across a post for an obituary for my dear friend’s husband. I ached, cried, and prayed for her, but there was something else. Something that I couldn’t quite figure out for a few minutes, but finally recognized. Plain and simple, I was jealous. I let this realization roominate for a while, but when I truly grasped that I was jealous of my friend, who recently found herself to be a widow, my grieving turned to myself. Laying on my bathroom floor with torrential tears of anguish, I ached for what I had wanted all my life, a marriage that would last into the next life. I was already experiencing trauma from discovering that my husband had been viewing pornography… again… for the past year and a half, and this realization seemed overwhelming. To the best of my knowledge, my friend’s husband had always been faithful to her. He had fulfilled important church responsibilities, been a good provider, and she was treated with kindness. Yes, she suffered a tremendous loss, but to me, she had gained the gold mine, the piece de resistance, even an eternal reward in her husband’s arms. Her marriage seemed like a sure bet, where as the eternal state of my marriage is questionable.

BRIEF HISTORY

My husband has been addicted to pornography since he was about 10. I found out 9 months into our marriage, and had no idea how deep the roots of addiction were for him. When I first found pornography on the computer, I said something like, “I forgive you. Go talk to the Bishop, and don’t do it again.” But he did do it again. If he had slipped for an episode, then quickly repented, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but that was almost never the case. We would go years where things just weren’t right. Frequent and unexplained raging anger over tiny things, mixed with an inability to connect with him were filled with loneliness and discouragement. Once or twice he white knuckled it through a couple years of sobriety, but when things got rough, pornography was what he turned to. It would typically take years before I found out. Therapy had been helpful for a short time, but when I couldn’t hide the pain his addiction caused me, shame reared his ugly head. My husband stopped talking with me about anything uncomfortable. With one fell swoop, he cut the ties that bridged our communication about anything that might cause him more shame.

PRAYING FOR HIM TO BE ADDICTED

A few months ago things got bad. Really bad. My husband fell into a bad depression and simply wouldn’t get a job. His anger was so out of control that my children and I were afraid. Although he never physically hurt any of us, I was beginning to fear that he might resort to that someday soon. Things weren’t right, and I knew the signs, so I asked the hard questions. He was well practiced though and looked me in the eye on many occasions as he calmly promised that he wasn’t viewing pornography. Even still, I wondered. I remember a particular prayer that went something like this, “Heavenly Father, things are really hard right now, and I don’t have any answers. This might be wrong, but part of me wishes that he was suffering from addiction. If he was struggling with addiction then I could encourage him to go to counseling, Addiction Recovery Meetings, and we could access other resources. Right now I have no answers and no direction.“ About a week later as I was praying, I was prompted to look on my husband’s computer. My husband saw me looking, but wasn’t worried; Likely because he assumed that he had deleted everything related to his secret, but the Holy Ghost knew better, and now, so did I.

TRAUMA

All previous times of discovery, I had handled things pretty well, but this... this was different. It was as if the panicked thought, “I can’t do this again,” kept repeating itself over and over in my mind. I couldn’t seem to do normal, daily activities, like laundry or cooking, and I was struggling in a severe way. Questions like, “Has he been unfaithful with someone,” “Could I have an STD,” and the painful thought, “I’m not even his type,” brought terror to me. His dishonesty brought fear and worry to me at a level that I had not experienced before. I recognized that our marriage, in its current state, was not one made for eternity. I didn’t know everything, but I knew one thing: Either he would have to really change this time, or I would have to leave.

TIME WILL TELL

Our story is too fresh to guess the ending, but I am glad to say that my husband has successfully completed one program for his pornography addiction, is going through Lifestar with me, and has been faithfully attending the 12 Step Addiction Recovery Program. (Side note: I have been attending the meeting for spouses and love it.) I wish that I could give you a glowing report, but the fact is, I don’t know. I do, however, have hope. As long as hope glimmers on the horizon, I will gladly walk towards it, even if I have to walk through knee-deep mud that slows my progress. On the other hand, the knee deep mud is what has made me plead with Heavenly Father in frequent, mighty prayer on so many occasions that I have come to know my Savior. I can even praise Him for this trial. No, I don’t want my husband to have an addiction, but for what I have gained I am truly thankful. I’ll save that story for another day though.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE (for the spouse)

In the meantime, if your spouse is suffering with some sort of sex addiction, know that you are not alone. Know that there are resources. Know that you can come out of this stronger and happier. Sometimes we need help to heal. I will write more on healing another time, so stay tuned to Katy’s blog.

ADVICE FOR THE ADDICTED

If you are struggling with addiction, can I give you piece of advice? Tell your spouse. Be gentle, and perhaps consider disclosing it to them with a bishop or therapist, but don’t make your spouse find out like I did. Don’t make your spouse feel traumatized and fearful of things that they don’t know because you have been less than honest. Yes, it will be difficult, but love them enough to not live a secret life that will make them feel like they are crazy. Love them enough to care about their healing. Give them hope for their eternity, and don’t make them jealous of a widow. Contrary to what you might think, your spouse is suffering. Even if they don’t know that you are struggling with addiction, they likely feel that something is not right. Resources are improving for you, and you can gain the courage to access them. You hold the key to their recovery. Well, you and the Savior, of course.

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