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.