Finding hope when it feels hopeless
by a Partner
First, full disclosure, I’m a Partner of a Sex Addict in recovery. I can’t promise you that I have great advice. I can only share the road I’ve walked. I always fear my spouse’s relapse so the New Year is met with a lot of fear for me.
New Years for me has been triggering. It’s supposed to be about new goals and expectations. YET when I was in in the thick of things, I just wanted to ask, “Is brushing your teeth daily an ok goal?” I’m so tired. I took a shower. Does that count? I’m so sad. My world has been turned upside down with discovery.
Sex Addiction creates REAL betrayal trauma. It’s nothing you made up. You’re not being unreasonable. It’s rocked you to your core. It IS abuse. You have the right to be disorientated. You have the right to be depressed. You have the right to question your relationship.
BUT, you also have the right to take your life back. There are endless books and resources for Sex Addicts and their recovery, yet Partners for the most part are left high and dry. We are in recovery too. NOT that we did anything wrong. I didn’t. You didn’t. But, we are recovering from the shit storm our Sexually Addicted Partner produced. It’s not your fault an earthquake happened, but unfortunately, you are still left to pick up the pieces. Sex Addiction Trauma is not fair. No one deserves to live through it, but here you are. So, what do you do?
Can you set goals for this New Year that will bring you peace?
I think you can. It’s just not conventional, but Sex Addiction is not conventional so sometimes you have to get creative.
Here’s what I did one year to find hope….
I found REAL support…
I know this part sucks. Why do you have to pay for therapy when he’s the asshole who screwed up? Well, because you need support. BUT, real support. You are NOT sick. You are NOT to blame. You need safe support that can help you. I can’t endorse every therapist at Banyan Therapy Group (because I haven’t met them all), but they are worth looking into because they endorse a Partner Trauma Model. Trust your gut. You’ll know. The biggest thing is to make sure your therapist understands that you have endured severe trauma. YES, it was severe.
Along with a therapist, a good strong friend support network is key. This part is hard. It can be hard to find safe people that can hold this information. A therapist can help you navigate this. I found 5 really close friends that I can trust with anything. It took time. But, I found them.
I identified my deal breakers…
It took me a while to learn that I could say that’s not ok for me. So, a great thing for a New Year’s Resolution is to identify your deal breakers. I was honest with myself and allowed myself to say NO is ok. I can hate certain behaviors. I’m not responsible for my Sexually Addicted Partner’s shame. I’m unique and can say that this hurts me deeply. You chose this relationship which means you chose all of me. Your therapist and friend group can help you create a deal breaker list. It will take time, but give yourself all the space you need.
I set boundaries…
With support from my therapist and friends, I finally drew a line in the sand and committed to the fact that I deserved more. I deserved respect. I deserved love. I deserved honesty.
SO, What about OTHER goals for this year…
You do need to set some hard recovery goals, but you also need to set some serious self-care goals. If you need a day to take a break from the chores of life, do it. If you need to sleep all day, do it. Or if you need to stop beating yourself up for what you “should” be doing, do it. Please take care of you.
I insist that you schedule at least one self-care moment a week. I would like you to have more, but one is a good start.
I encourage you to make a list of things that make you happy. Write it out. Look at it weekly. Just pick one thing to do. My list includes:
- Hanging out with a girlfriend
- Mindless TV
- Dinner at my favorite restaurant
- Afternoon naps
Also, being caught in Sex Addiction Trauma is NOT the end of your life. Even during seasons of grief, you can accomplish whatever you want. I just encourage you to be kind with yourself. You’ve been through a lot, but you ARE NOT DAMAGED. You are strong and a fighter. You wouldn’t be reading about recovery if you weren’t.
Being in a relationship with a Sex Addict is scary
It’s normal to be scared. It’s normal to feel off balanced. What DO YOU WANT for 2018? Be gentle with yourself. When dealing with trauma (and yes, discovery is trauma, I don’t care if it’s been a few years ago, it’s still trauma), goals may look different, and that’s ok.
If you are fighting to figure out your relationship, I applaud you, that’s not easy. I know that first hand. It can actually be horrible at times.
Maybe for this year, you can simply commit to taking care of you? Take a step back each week and take care of you. You don’t have to hold the world up on your shoulders. Perfect beautiful you deserves love, support and care.