Something isn’t right–at least, that is what your heart is telling you. But there seems to be no evidence to support your feeling. “He’s a great guy,” you remind yourself. “He’s just working hard to provide for our family. He’s stressed, tired, and that’s all it is.” So, you shake off your nagging doubts. Then, you tell yourself that you are imagining things and try a little harder to feel connected in your marriage.
Sexual Addiction In Your Marriage
For many of us married to men who struggle with sexual addiction, this is the first suffering we endure—recurring cycles of fear, frustration, and self-doubt. We feel crazy because our hearts tell us one thing while our husbands are busy convincing us that nothing is wrong. Chronic self-doubt eats away at our confidence and self-esteem, making us anxious or irritable. As a result, we become vulnerable to stress-related illnesses, depression, and unhealthy coping strategies. And we get exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to manage conflicted emotions.
Finding Out the Truth
When the truth about our husband’s sexual behavior is eventually revealed, many feel a strange sense of relief. Unfortunately, this relief is mixed with the gut-wrenching grief over his betrayal. “How could he hurt me this way?!” is followed swiftly by the thought, “I knew something was wrong! At least I’m not crazy.” While the validation that we were right is somewhat comforting, in the aftermath of disclosure, suffering intensifies dramatically.
Whether you never saw this coming or your husband is just one more man in a long line of men to hurt you somehow, your grief over his broken promises is agonizing. Many of us have said it would have been easier if he had died. And it doesn’t matter if he is addicted to porn or prostitutes or anonymous sexual encounters with men in restrooms. Sexual betrayal strips a woman naked and mocks her in front of everyone.
An Untrue Message Dealing with Sexual Addiction in Your Marriage
“You aren’t beautiful enough. You aren’t thin enough. You aren’t sexual enough. You are not important. You are not wanted. You are inadequate. You are a failure as a wife. You are not cherished. You are not loved.”
Of course, none of these messages are true. However, every woman who experiences sexual betrayal hears them resounding through the corridors of her heart. Some of us choose to put on war paint and drown out the accusations with our screams of rage and resentment. Others curl up into a ball with their hands over their ears, wishing they could disappear from life. Many of us vacillate between the two—furious one moment and weeping bitterly the next.
The Reality: Addiction
And then reality sets in. This is an addiction. My husband is an addict. If I stay in my marriage, I could experience this pain repeatedly. This realization is enough to make even the most committed and compassionate woman hesitate. Those who have already endured much wounding cannot imagine ever feeling safe in the relationship again. Leaving the marriage becomes the only option we can bear. Others of us choose to stay in the marriage. Either choice presents its path of painful challenges.
As a spouse who has chosen to remain in my marriage, I can truthfully say that I do not regret my choice to join my husband on a journey of recovery. However, it has not been an easy journey, and at times the pain I have experienced along the way has been excruciating. For those of us who are married to sex addicts, it can be tempting to define ourselves by our husbands’ struggle and the suffering it brings into our lives. Yet, while our suffering is real, so is our choice to remember that we are women of great worth and value, capable of changing the world for good in spite of our pain.
Contact HopeQuest Group today, if you want to find help to overcome sexual addiction in your marriage.