This week I have read a lot of other bloggers write about the “BIG” issue of SEX in sex addiction recovery. It is so confusing for all of us …. What do you do? Should you even be having sex? Should you talk about it? Will having sex trigger our partner? The questions in our heads go on and on … and then there is a huge emotional safety thing going on there. Everything is bubbling on the surface so it is a time that needs to be handled with compassion for everyone! I figured I always have a lot to say on many things so I am joining the discussion on the sex in recovery topic.
I am writing this in 2 parts … Part 1 is my experience during our relationship and Part 2 will be what I have learned through all of this insanity!
Intimacy for Ed and I has ALWAYS been a huge issue. When we first started dating our sex life was incredible! I mean crazy, fun do it everywhere crazy!!! After about a year, the awesome sex died. Almost like a balloon that has a hole in it … it just begins to fizzle until all of the air is sucked out and then it just flops to the floor. That is a perfect visual that explains how it went down!!! It has been a major source of fighting for much of our life but we have always been best friends, which is what kept us together but the sexual connection had been non existent for much of our relationship.
And I know that this is a piece that many women can relate too. It is a pretty common pattern that happens for many of us. The passion is so intense at first and when it dies, it leaves both people confused. You love each other but once that passion and lust turns to a more intimate connection ....well, we know what happens then! We kind of cling to that memory, want it back (or just a piece of it) but it isn't there and the cycle begins!
For me, I never understood where that hole in our balloon came from and Ed couldn’t either. Many times we would have the discussion of questioning his sexuality … well, he thought that if he didn’t want to have sex with me than maybe he is gay. I can remember quite a few discussions on that. I even supported that feeling … I mean if you are gay, you are gay I said. But that obviously wasn’t the problem. All I know is at night I became lonelier and lonelier the older I got.
Then we had kids (yes, we had to do it a few times for that) …. and that gave us some big distractions. We were so focused on our life, our new house and our new babies that although I thought about it …. I was really too tired to really deal with it. He was a great dad and that was what made me the happiest then …
As I danced my way into my 30s the lack of sex started to become a HUGE issue. My sex drive increased "dramatically" ... they say that women are at their peak in their 30's ... well, this is surely the case with me. The more I would try the farther he would pull away .... and personally I think this desperate push toward physical intimacy was like the straw that broke the camel’s back for him. He just couldn’t give me what I so desperately wanted, that made him feel horrible, he started resenting me for it, he craved intimacy, I would cry and yell, he would distance himself, I felt horrible, he would act out (I didn’t know it then though), he would feel shame and guilt …... and the damn cycle kept on swirling around … and around …. and around …. and around ….
So, most of you know the rest …. he hit rock bottom, lost his mind, made the choice to recover, embraced that recovery with me and worked so hard to understand the inner workings of his mind and learned to separate much of those from himself. He learned to make healthy choices and also learned how to be a partner in our relationship! We both did!
We did this together and none of it was about sex (that doesn't mean I didn't want it - I mean really , really want it).... but for recovery it was important for us. It was interesting once we took sex out of the equation how we focused on connecting and both of us felt safe doing it. Our latest podcast in Sex Afflictions & Addictions talks about safety and why creating a safety agreement can be so useful in sex addiction recovery. Check it out .... you may learn something, feel understood and maybe laugh a bit too .....
So there is a brief history of our story. It is something that is hard to talk about, we all want sex, we all need sex, it is an IMPORTANT part of any marriage. But if your hubby has chosen recovery and you have chosen to stay with him (for now at least) then there is HOPE! I promise you that!
Stay tuned my friends for part 2!!! I am going to talk more about my thoughts on SEX in sex addiction recovery!!!!