“Compassion is the ability to place yourself in the position of another, without judgment, criticism, or the need to control. It is the realization that everyone is fully capable of resolving their difficulties and challenges, then standing with them in that awareness.” Iyanla Vanzant
Powerful words. Compassion is needed when dealing with your spouse’s addictions. But before compassion, comes self healing. After realizing I had to trust myself and not my spouse, I was able to move closer to compassion. I was able to accept my husband’s claims that he wanted to stop his addiction and move forward because I could trust myself that I would be fine if he went back into his addiction. My life would go on and I would too. It would be his choices to make, not mine. His failure, not mine. When I was at this level of self trust and acceptance, then I was able to move forward with compassion.
I was able to stand by my husband as he went through recovery for his porn addiction. I was able to see his addiction for what it was, not as his reason for his affairs. I was able to offer support and love without judging or condemning him.
When you are both willing to honestly put the work in, then it is fully possible to work through addictions and affairs. It is fully possible to love again, to stay in your marriage and make it strong.
Even after I have made my choice to move forward with my husband, doubts still pop up. Something I read will spark a conversation about addiction or healing or affairs. We will be having a great conversation discussing something and out of nowhere doubt starts seeping into my mind. I will be clarifying something my husband said to make it “make sense” in my mind, and I will be mid sentence when it slaps me across the cheek. Maybe that really didn’t happen…maybe that’s not what he means…maybe he lied about that just to make me feel better…etc. How will I ever trust him? But I know it’s not about trusting him…it’s about trusting myself.
I didn’t really know what it meant to trust myself or how to explain it as I progressed in my healing. I think the following quote does a nice job for explaining what trusting yourself means.
“Allowing ourselves to trust means that no matter what happens in our lives, we believe in our ability to overcome it. Allowing ourselves to trust also means if we stay on course and follow our dream, we will arrive at the destination meant for us no matter how circuitous the path. Allowing ourselves to trust begins with understanding where we are at the present moment and finding the grace and courage within ourselves to move forward into the unknown. Trusting ourselves wholly and fully begins the journey to our own radical fulfillment.” Carol Gignoux, M.Ed.
I have realized it isn’t my husband I now trust, but it is myself I trust. I trust myself to know if my husband is making progress or not. I trust myself to know if I should stay or go in my marriage. I trust myself to know that if I stay, I will be ok no matter what choices my husband makes. Make this healing about yourself, not your spouse.
You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep reading the last one.
Just recently, there have been a number of people signing up to follow my blog. It made me realize that I haven’t posted anything in quite some time. Made me think it was probably time to make a new post, but what would I write about? I was stumped. I had no idea what to write about. I asked my husband if he had any ideas, and he suggested I write about just that. I asked my sis in law for a suggestion and she too said write about just that. So that is what I am going to do…
My blog began as a way to cope with my pain. A way to express the pain, get through it. I also started my blog late into the discovery of addiction and affairs, so the messy really bad shit I had already gone through. I also wanted to share my story to others going through the same situation…to others looking for support to make things work…to offer hope….
Here is some more hope for you…the pain will go away. My pain has gone away. This is why my writing stopped, the pain went away. Now of course I went through a lot of pain, a lot of fighting, a lot of tears, a lot of giving up, but I kept on. I had to do my work and my husband had to do his. That is how you will succeed. You must do the work to make things better, to make the pain go away. Yes time is a healer to wounds, but we all have to do our share of work to help with the healing. I know I would still be in pain even after this time if I or my husband didn’t do the work. When I say work, I mean communicating, counseling, reading, dealing with addictions, etc. We can’t sweep it under the rug and think only time will heal all.
So now I come to you for help. Please share with me what you want to read about. What brought you here? Questions and sharing with me will help fuel my fire and give you a hand to walk through your pain.
Do I stay or do I go?
Stay married or get divorced?
If you aren’t certain of which choice to make, why rush yourself? Why put that unnecessary burden to your growing list of burdens?
Your husband’s actions will help with your decision. Forget about what he tells you, his actions will do his talking. Is he carrying on with old ways, old habits or is he slowly making changes? Slowly turning into the man he should be?
Your emotional wounds need time to heal, just like physical scars. You wouldn’t run a marathon the day after breaking your leg bone. You need the bone to set, and to heal and you need to walk slowly before attempting short runs. Why even think of a marathon when you have so much healing and pain to take care of before running again?
Same thing with your marriage. Take the time to heal. Don’t rush through it. If your spouse is willing to stay with you, to help see you through your pain, to talk with you about your pain, then take this time .
When you take time to heal, the answers will start coming to you. Be patient, you are worth it.
Why do we focus on what our partner isn’t doing? Why are we focused on what our spouse should be doing to heal, to move past the affair/addiction, to grow, to make us happy again? Why do we do this when they don’t hold that power? We do. We are the ones that make ourselves happy. We are the ones who make ourselves become strong and grow after affairs and addictions. Your happiness lies within you. It is up to you to heal yourself, not to heal your spouse.
I have read many comments made by many women feeling stuck and trapped and thinking they should leave their partner after the affair because it would help them forget what happened, make the pain go away, make the unhappiness go away. Like this is the only option to their happiness. Leave and be happy or stay and be stuck, resentful, angry, bitter…
Leaving your spouse will not make anything go away and it won’t help with any of your pain. Loving yourself, learning about yourself, and making yourself happy will be the ONLY thing that will help you. Even if you leave your spouse and you don’t work through your own shit, you will still be angry, bitter, unhappy, lonely, confused….
Take the focus off your spouse, and put the focus on yourself. Learn and discover why you are unhappy, alone, afraid, bitter, angry, etc. Don’t worry about what books he should be reading, or what books he isn’t reading, or not going to therapy, or talking, or anything else that you find yourself blaming him for your unhappiness. I played that victim for quite awhile before learning that I was blaming my husband and his affair and his addiction for my unhappiness. Yes, of course there was unhappiness and sadness stemming from his actions, but my root pain had nothing to do with him, it was all me. (just like when your spouse had their affair/addictions. all about them, nothing to do with you).
Don’t allow your spouse to define your happiness and who you are. Love yourself and heal yourself.
remember, you have a choice in all you do
Everything in your life is a choice. After addictions and affairs you have a choice. The spouse who was addicted and/or had affairs had their choices too when everything came to light. They could choose to come out of their lies and face the truth with you, they could run to the hills, they could continue to lie and deny, continue to have affairs, continue with their addictions.
And you too have the choice to run to the hills, live in anger and bitterness or you could choose to love.
The beginning of 2013 I was stuck. I just couldn’t move forward. I really wanted to move forward with my husband, but I was done. I was tired of doing all the heavy work in the relationship. I still felt alone. It was almost one year since discovering my husband was a porn addict. He claimed he was clean, but I was waiting for that other shoe to drop. I just didn’t trust him.
Then one evening my sister in law told me “you have to read this book! Your hubby thinks you are an acts of service person, but you are really a quality time person.” Like you, I had NO clue what she was talking about. I was very curious though. I read the entire book that night, all in one sitting. So many light bulbs were going off, and my sister in law was entirely correct. I am a quality time person. The website states “This language is all about receiving your undivided attention.” In order to feel fully loved, I need to have my spouse’s undivided attention, need quality time spent with my spouse. All these years my husband has been giving me acts of service to show his love. This means actions speak louder than words to feel loved. Totally not what I need. I realized the real reason why I felt so alone and distant. Why I was so tired of my relationship, why I felt stuck and knowing we were going nowhere. I wasn’t being loved the way I need to be loved. Up to this point I had no clue this was what I needed. I was never able to express this was what I needed. Not to mention the addiction robbed my husband of emotions, intimacy, communication, true real love. It just all made sense to me. It was just, so simple. I knew then I had a choice. I now knew what I was missing to feel loved, I knew why my husband had his affairs, and everything was now in print to show my husband what I need. I made the choice to love my husband. I knew I had to give him what he needed to feel loved, knew I had to support him through his recovery, and I made a choice to do just that.
Would he love me the way I need? no idea. Would he relapse and go back to his addiction? no idea. Would the world swallow me whole if he relapses or doesn’t make me feel loved? No. I know that if that should happen, then I will be ok. I will know he made his choice. I can’t control his choices. I am stronger now. More aware now. I made my choice and I hope you can too
please read this book by Gary Chapman