30 March 2015

Qualifying My Happiness

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There are a few blogs I read that seem to be all sunshine and roses.  Occasionally the blog author will confess to a disappointment or a bad day, but then it seems they always qualify their negative experience with the words

“But then...”

For example.  “What an awful day, the kids were so naughty and I forgot my appointment and our dishwasher broke.  But then… my amazing husband showed up with Chinese take-out and a dozen roses.”

I feel like on my blog here, it’s a bit more dark clouds and noxious weeds, and occasionally I confess to moments of pleasure, but then I feel obligated to qualify them with “but then… my toddler pooped in his underwear and my husband acted out.”

I’m not quite sure at what point I began to feel ashamed of happiness.  But it seems that now, I’ve spent so much time in self-pity that I’m not sure how to enjoy happiness.  I don’t subscribe to the belief that happiness is the end-all, be-all object of my existence. Rather, I think sorrow and other non-happy feelings are meant to be part of our mortal experience, as teachers.  But as I’ve come to really accept anger and grief as guests at my table, I think I’ve left little room for happiness.

Who am I to be happy anyway? I’m the despairing wife of the sex addict, it is my identity and my role.  I am meant to forever be the pitiable victim.  And yet, even in my moments of martyrdom where I square my shoulders and accept that my circumstances simply are what they are, I’m still not quite feeling real happiness, but reluctant consignment.

Pete and I were discussing last night how this part of our lives can get so bogged down in the negative.  He was saying how his sponsor probably thinks his children are demons because all he ever says about them are his resentments.  And it’s true, I never think to call my sponsor when I’m basking in sunshine and my heart is filled with bliss.  I think to call her when I’m pissed or when I’ve been hurt or when things go wrong.

Lately I’ve been experiencing moments of real happiness.  I really love the place where I am living.  I really enjoy the ages of my children and their blossoming personalities. Even Pete and I are finding some common ground again to try to rebuild a relationship.

And yet each time I feel these feelings of gratitude and joy, I feel something pulling me back, telling me to hedge my bet or keep it to myself.  It’s almost as if I’ve forgotten how to be happy.  I've come a long way in learning how to sit comfortably in sadness.  So why can't I sit comfortably in happiness?


Post Edit:  As I've thought about this, it has occurred to me that I've spent a lot of my life faking happiness, and now to feel the things I've pretended to feel makes me a little uneasy.  Is it real? Am I being authentic?

Can anyone else relate?


  1. I so can relate. It's the story of my life with my husband. It's all I can see it being. I put my smile on and no one knows how hard my life has been. So much conflict. I think my children bring me "real" happiness and I find it in certain situations, but I don't feel it with my husband. I won't let myself go there because any time I've done that in the past, it's led to disappointment. This is the lesson I have learned. But no one will understand how I really feel because I've been faking how good it is. Such a mess. Glad you are finding common ground. That's a very good place to start. Hang in there.

  2. You are definitely being authentic. Pornography addiction is based in misery, it rips at a spouse's core. It's aweful! It makes putting on a smile, even when you are happy about something, very hard. But you deserve happiness. And even though it sits uncomfortably because of what you are dealing with, you deserve to feel happy. Pornography can't take that away from you, but it will try. Like I said before, I think you are being completely authentic.

    1. Thanks Jenelle. All I ever want to be on this blog is authentic, so your encouragement is valuable to me.

  3. Hey Jane
    I can relate to this a lot. I have some thoughts on this. Do you have fear around getting comfortable in happiness due to protecting yourself from those other crappy emotions -- disappointment and hurt and sadness, etc? It's a form of manipulation or control of my emotions in order to protect myself. My big question is -- Will I ever get to a point of long-term consistent contentment and happiness? I guess the bottom line that I'm learning is that I can't ever hinge my happiness on any one other person. But is this true for just me, wife of an addict, or is this principle true for everyone and I just didn't realize it before? -- June B

  4. nowadays about Porn Addiction is great problem....
    thank you so much share the great post..............