What is the good?

I’m going to be one “those” people today. The one who posts on Facebook, “Worst. Day. Ever!” But then never actually tells you what happened when you ask. I’m going to be super vague and share that I had a flashback of a childhood memory over the weekend but I’m not ready to share what that memory was, and honestly I don’t know that I ever will. So, yeah, I’m going to be that chick.

However, I’m not going to be that chick because I’m seeking attention. Rather as a way to say that while I know I have a long journey ahead of me to heal from the memory, I also discovered what a fucking rock star my husband is. Yeah, I said it. A fucking rock star. Because while I was an emotional puddle in the kitchen (again in the kitchen…what is it about that room?), he was my emotional rock.

His recovery has amplified his listening skills and his ability to empathize to such amazing levels, I am truly astounded. And blessed. Not only did he hold my hands, wipe my tears, and listen while I wept and shared my memory; he offered words of wisdom and insight too. Things he’s learned from his own recovery.

For me, it was another reminder of why I stayed with him through all the turmoil of his sex addiction. His recovery, my recovery, and our recovery together was what made this weekend’s discovery a bit easier to navigate.

While it’s easy to say, “what good is it?” because whenever I think I’m done digging through the muck of my traumatized brain another hurt reveals itself, I’d rather say, “What is the good?” And here it’s definitely my husband. My hero. Because this time, I have him here to lean on while I process through all of my emotions. I know I don’t have to go through this hurt alone. How cool is that?

 Who's your hero? Do you know someone on Facebook who posts something dramatic but never tells you what's actually wrong?

A Newer Nicer Agreement

Recently I decided to update my Boundary Agreement with Devin. As I wrote it I thought, this is a ton of work, do I really need to revise it this long after disclosure day?

Then I mentally gave myself a kick in the ass. I reminded myself just how important my agreement is because I’m married to a sex addict who struggles with proper boundaries from time to time. And, so do I. 

I knew when I decided to walk beside Devin as he worked through his recovery, and then I committed to working on mine, that it could be a rough journey.  The beginning was the most difficult to wade through, but after time and solid recovery work, it grew easier and easier to stay committed to making our marriage work. Plus, it helps that he’s a wonderful guy who is much more than his addiction.

Did I think I’d ever be in relationship that requires an agreement with consequences attached to it?  No.  It never even entered the deepest recesses of my mind (and that’s a scary place!).  But, I understood I needed that physical piece of paper to help me feel safe in our marriage again.  It helps me express my expectations and verbalize what will happen when boundaries are crossed.

Just like before, I’m going out on a very personal limb by posting my Boundary Agreement and understand if you click away since it's geared towards partners of sex addicts.  

I don't expect everyone to understand my unique situation.  I’m sharing this in an effort to help those that walk the path after me. To let them know they aren't alone.  My hope is that someone in a relationship with a sex addict will take what they want from it and leave the rest.

It’s a bit long because I changed my tone from being a total dictator to someone who is much more understanding of the things that may happen because I’m married to an addict.  Since it’s lengthy, I’ll just post an example and add a page for those who’d like to read the whole version.

(Taken in bits and pieces after a personal note to him before I start digging into the meat and potatoes of the agreement.  If anyone remembers my old agreement, this is a drastic improvement tone wise)

I hope you understand this is not an effort to control you.  It’s a way for me to maintain trust in you so we can keep a healthy relationship.  It will also help me not to shut down when I feel like my emotional boundaries are crossed.

So, here it is, in a much healthier format than before (at least to me ;p)

Being married to a sex addict can be very difficult at times.  To help me feel safe in my marriage I chose to create a boundary agreement specific to our situation.  I'm posting it here to help others who are in a similar situation and remind them they aren't alone.  There are lots of us out there.  I hope this helps someone draft one of their own if they think they need it. Please take what you want and leave the rest.

Be well and shoot me an email if you have any questions.

I hope you understand this is not an effort to control you.  It’s a way for me to maintain trust in you so we can keep a healthy relationship.  It will also help me not to shut down when I feel like my emotional boundaries are crossed. 

So, here it is, in a much healthier format than before (at least to me ;p)

Healthy Recovery:
            Your progress in your recovery has made the relationships in our house thrive, especially with the kids. Your hard work shows by how you interact with all of us, even when you feel hurt or angry. You’ve learned to explain your feelings and not isolate. I’m so proud of you.
            It would help assure me that you’re in a healthy recovery if you shared with me what inspired you, or touched you, during your meetings. Telling me what you felt and learned, versus if the meeting was crowded or uncomfortable, lets me know you’re still active in your recovery and mentally present in your meetings. I know I’m smart, but I still can’t read minds. Not yet, anyway.
            If I don’t see any change, or that change happens and then slips backwards again, I’m going to have to end our relationship. I feel I’ve been patient, and I can’t stay if things stay the same. Work your recovery like our marriage depends on it, because it does.

            Please be honest with me. I feel being lied to is worse than what the actual truth may be. Whether it’s being deceived about a slip or a simple omission about an everyday event, not being told the truth the first time around or having to dig for information hurts. It causes me to lose trust and not want to be affectionate. Then that causes you to withdraw and before we know it, we’re stuck in an unhealthy cycle. Neither of us wants that. I know we can make our marriage work if we keep working on it.
            The damage from the past makes any lie, big or small, equal to the same thing for me and causes me to go back to that hurtful place from years ago. As the sayings go, “It’s better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie” and “The worst thing about being lied to is knowing you weren’t worth the truth.” Lies just suck and they destroy my trust and faith in you.
            I ask for honesty during our first conversation about whatever it may be. If I don’t get the truth, or if I have to pry it out of you before you tell me what’s going on, I will enforce a consequence.  
            If you aren’t transparent or keep secrets from me, I want you to sleep in the other room for two nights. If lying or omitting the truth becomes frequent, I’ll have to end our relationship. I can’t handle being continually lied to. It makes me feel like I’m not worth anything to you. And I know that’s not true. I know you love me and want our marriage to flourish just like I do.

Slips and relapses
            I need you to understand I am a safe person to come to if you slip. Whether it’s porn, masturbation, or anything else in your inner circle, I’m at a place in my recovery where I can handle it and won’t judge you for it. I promise not to scream, cry, or attack you. Those days have long since passed and I know you deserve better.
            I understand there are potentials for slips, but I expect full transparency and to be told when they happen. I ask that you tell me either the day it happens, or the day after. If you forget, then the consequence will be sleeping in the other room for three nights and only basic affection (kiss goodbye, etc).  
            While this may seem extreme, to me it’s an extension of lying and deceit. When a slip happens and you don’t tell me, it causes me undue anxiety that causes me to trigger and become hypervigilant, and that’s an unhealthy place for me. It also makes me feel like you’re not in a good place in your recovery, and I deserve to know that.
            If you tell me right away, there won’t be any consequences. I understand slips may occur. I just want honesty about them. We’re a team. The more honest we are with each other, the more emotionally connected we’ll continue to be.
            I also ask that you figure out why you slipped. As our counselor said, slips don’t just happen. There are reasons behind them whether it’s stress, boredom, or anger; it’s up to you to figure it out, so you can prevent them. If your slips become a relapse, then I will have to leave. We are at a point in our recoveries where relapses shouldn’t happen. Especially with me not knowing what’s going on. The more we work together, the happier we’ll each be in our relationship.

Emotional and/or Physical affairs:

            It goes without saying (and yet I’m saying it anyway just to be clear), I will file for divorce the moment I find out you’ve had another affair or inappropriate contact with someone.
            I want us to succeed in our marriage. I want to be more than just cohabitants; I want us to be best friends, lovers, and supporters of one another. I know we can continue to do it, it just takes continued work on both our parts.
            Never forget how much I love you and how important you and our marriage is to me. You’re a good man, a wonderful father, and you’re more than your addiction to me.


            2016 ETA: There’s a bit more to it, but that covers the big stuff. Feel free to use it as a guide for your own boundary agreement. Remember, you’re not punishing the addict for their addiction. You’re safeguarding yourself from it. For us, we've gotten to a place in our recoveries that this BA isn't really necessary. Now we sit and talk things over because it's been so long since he's had a slip. However, when slips were happening two, three times a year, I felt I needed to have this for my emotional well-being.

On a total side note I’m so over the cold weather and the snow.  Where the hell are you spring?