26 February 2014

Please don't say the "S" word!

You wanna talk about what?

Things have been going well with Pete since his last relapse.  He works hard at recovery.  He sees his therapist- who is really in tune with sex addicts.  He attends meetings at least twice a week.  He makes daily phone calls to his buddies to “stay current.”  (Not exactly sure what that means…)

We haven’t quite got back to the level of emotional connection that we were before the relapse, but we are closing the gap.  Unfortunately this time of year is demanding for him at work and we haven’t had the quality time I need for any kind of intimacy.

But last night he approached me and said he wanted to talk about sex. He’s been asking for better communication about sex and I’ve been trying. But honestly I’m terrible about it.  I hate talking about it.  It is all so complicated in my brain and I’m trying to sort through it all. 

When he brought it up last night something happened inside me.  A physiological response.  A trigger.  I listened to him share his frustrations and let him talk.  I choked out an


He started to back-pedal a little bit, probably because once he said it he realized it wasn’t “right”. But it was honest, and he was trying to communicate.

But my adrenaline kicked in. It was fight or flight and this time it was flight. I couldn’t get away from him fast enough.  I locked myself in the bathroom and lied down on the floor.  Breathe in, breathe out.  I was reasonably calm.  I wasn’t sobbing or slapping walls. But something inside me was saying

“Get AWAY from him. He is not safe.  He is a threat. He will hurt you.” 

Scabs told me once that triggers can be lies. And this one was. I was in full-out trauma mode.  My instincts were shooting flares. 

It sucks when he brings up sex. I really wish he wouldn’t.  I have sex when I feel safe having sex. End of discussion.  And maybe it was insensitive of him to mention it.  But he’s not what he used to be, and yet I’m responding to the way he used to be.  I’m conditioned.  

I think the ultimate goal is that someday he can bring up sex and I won’t have a meltdown.  Someday he will be able to communicate his feelings (right or wrong) and I won’t personalize them.  Someday I won’t feel massive anxiety about how I’m handling our sexual relationship.  Someday.

Despite the setback last night, and the way my body told me that my husband was poison, I feel optimistic today.  I see it for what it is.  I see the trigger. I see the lie.  He isn’t totally safe, and he hasn’t completely earned my trust.  Be he isn’t poison anymore.  And I can call out my feelings and fears- I can label them for what they are. Feelings and fears.  Not facts.  Not reality.  I can process them on the bathroom floor if I need to.  And then I can tell myself truths. 

I am okay where I am. 
I am enough. 
His frustrations aren’t about me.
I can hear him. 

I am enough.   


  1. too close for comfort. can't even respond. but I will anyway. :)

    did he respond at all? like is this just "wreckage" or does he get to be hurt?

    1. He did respond. He didn't necessarily take any ownership of my trauma response. Which was fine. He said that his sponsor and therapist called him out. Helped him see that being hurt was more like self-pity. They both said "So are you just gonna take your ball and go home?"

      I'm trying out vulnerability here Amy. I'm trying to say "I'm done being the victim every time he makes a mistake."

      (And that's assuming that bringing up sex WAS a mistake, which it's possible it wasn't?)

      I think he doesn't want to be a victim anymore either. What does that do for us? Just put space between us again?

      I'm not sure. Did this make any sense?

    2. Why was him wanting to communicate about sex a mistake or wrong? That seems like a really honest approach about something he wants with you, as long as he wasn't guilting you about it.

  2. Hits very close to home for me too. During the past several years when his addiction was in full swing and I knew some things, but not the full extent of it, we had sex fairly often. Which is surprising with a sex addict, but it was usually me initiating because "sex was the most important sign of love." Lately, now that he is much more honest with me albeit not sober, I have no interest in sex. There has been (for me) a noticeable distance. I no longer cuddle with him in bed except to hold hands or touch him over his shirt. I just don't feel safe. I can't continue to worry if he is "with me" while having sex or being intimate. I can't worry if I am just some obligation and that he can use me to 'act out'. I haven't been able or willing to say anything to him about it, and it feels unfair. Discussing sex is so rife for battle, and I don't have the strength for that any more either.

  3. I just found your blog and I want to THANK YOU so much for your words. My husband has a pornography addiction and I am feeling so many of the same things as you. It's so nice to have someone who understands what I am feeling and going through. I just found out about his problem recently and it's wonderful to know that I have a "friend" who understands. I am so grateful for your blog.

  4. i feel like this is my sex life right now. seriously.
    everything is some times tirggering.. and i feel myself pull away and try to protect myself. but like you said.. he isn't the same as before.
    Its just crazy.... so complicated in my head.
    I think i'm good at communicating about it... but it still sucks. and it sucks to battle these emotions.. and battle my thoughts on his true intentions. sighhhhhh

  5. Thanks for your posting. My husband and I have had many talks about sex since this is the part I think the porn has destroyed the most in our relationship. My husband led the dual life for years. He became addicted at 10, then would try to get out, but was never successful. He told me a little about his porn use about 8 years into our marriage, but minimized it so much I thought he came across it innocently and that he knew it was wrong and didn't have a problem. Then I ended up catching him after we had been married for 17 years. He says he is out of it now, but I don't know if I believe him. The trust issue makes sex so hard for me. I need sex to mean a deep connection, a commitment that is only between us and no one else, that he cherishes me, the security that the relationship will last forever. I want him to show over time that he is consistent in being virtuous, faithful, and trustworthy. He says he has been out of it for 9 months now. I still struggle with trusting him. Do you have any suggestions of how the trust is rebuilt? I haven't read all your posts, but if there is one you could refer me to. Thanks.

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