I feel like the more I learn in this journey the more complicated things become. I never knew fears were so complicated, I never knew addiction was so complicated, I never knew sex was so complicated. If you feel like these things aren't complicated, do your Step 4 inventory.
But I've also learned that trust is complicated. It runs deep. Lack of trust is hidden and manifested in otherwise dusty corners of my heart.
I couldn't begin to address the many facets of trust here. I will defer to an amazing post by Jacy on the subject, and then I will share what has been on my mind.
My mistrust isn't about years of lies. There have been periods of quasi-honesty, but not on the large scale. My mistrust came from years of obligatory sex. It was desperate love-making on my part, intented to curb my husband's sexual apetite and prevent him from looking to pornography. After these guilt-driven sexual encounters I would feel angry, ill or just sad.
As a side note- I have learned that sex outside of marriage, in the form of self-gratification or infidelity, is a different ball-game than sex in marriage. Unfortunately pornography and lust blur these lines, but I think ultimately every addict will admit that the satisfaction of emotional consummation is altogether different than simple carnal ejaculation. My point is that because they are inherently different, the one will never satisfy the addicts desire for the other.
So I began to resent sex, I felt objectified and used because I allowed myself to be. Then I began to resent affection. I felt any affection he offered was just a means to an end. Any hug, kiss, flirting automatically triggered a nervous anxiety that he was aroused and I needed to intervene before he looked elsewhere. The bottom line, I hated it when he touched me because I felt like he was manipulating me into sex. I didn't trust his intentions.
Once I started seeing a counselor I explained that my biggest issues involved intimacy. I told her how I would turn ice cold when he kissed my neck. When he would roll over in bed, or pull me close to him I would become rigid and I would immediately construct an emotional fortress. She gave me the following advice, and I think it represents the foundation of rebuilding trust. [I could say a lot more about this regarding intimacy, but this post is about trust.]
Twice a week we designate as sex-free nights. It's off the table. BUT that doesn't mean he does his thing and I do mine. It means we are affectionate, we hold hands and cuddle but it's not "going anywhere." This has worked well for us. Quality time that meets my emotional needs, but gives me a "safe" environment to be affectionate. Only once has Pete pushed the limits, and pursued intercourse on a day he wasn't "supposed" to. It was a set-back for sure but I think it was an important lesson for him about how quickly he could destroy his efforts to make me vulnerable to him again.
Rebuilding trust comes down to Pete saying he is going to do something [or not do something] and then he does it. [Or doesn't do it.] Each small task/event/behavior that lives up to his word is an example to me that he cares, he is invested, he is making an effort.
The specific pattern we chose is just one small example that suited our needs to repair the broken pieces of our life together. Pornography, addiction and lies are a big deal and are going to take much more time and effort than just this one small example. But it's a step, and so long as Pete can be patient with me as I recover, I can slowly come to feel the love behind his kisses, and find meaning in love-making once more.
No doubt, it is scary to let my fortress down. I mentioned the other day that learning to trust God is like learning to trust our addicts again. But there is a critical difference. When we trust God we are liberated, he is PERFECT. We can trust him immediately, today, right now. But our addicts, love them like we do, are not perfect. We don't have to trust immediately, today, or right now.
And that's okay.