Sundays

Sundays are hard.

I strive for it to be the sabbath day of rest God intends for me, but sometimes it feels more like the finish line of an emotional marathon. It is not pretty. I crash, because it’s the one day a week I can. It’s the one day I can play emotional catch up for all the suppressing, just-get-through-it-ness I’ve had to do the previous six days.

Attending church helps me feel closer to the spirit which heals my heart. But that closeness to the divine can also intensify the pain. Feeling the spirit almost acts like a flashlight, pointing out the deep emotional wounds that are still so fresh. Going to church has felt like a burden at times- I have to physically arrive at a designated place at a certain time where I’m guaranteed to cry and feel like a mess. And I get to go through all that emotional turmoil publicly, in front of people I know!

I’ve found some solutions. I sit in the back. The very back. I sit alone. I bring pens or markers to doodle or color with. Or I bring something to crochet (i’m 80 years old, can you tell?) (Ok, I’m not. But you’d never know it!) as I’ve found that keeping my hands busy clears my mind and focuses my feelings. I can still partake in the spiritual nourishment of sacrament meeting, but I don’t get dragged under by the turmoil that can occupy my mind in those quiet moments.

Particularly at the start of our separation, attending church alone was incredibly painful. For one, It felt like there was a huge spotlight on me and it was embarrassing. And two, those three hours were hyper emotional. Everything said over the pulpit or in a lesson seemed to speak to my circumstance. Even feeling the spirit in a positive, affirming way led to tears and heartache, which then added to the embarrassment of crying alone on the back row, and the cycle just continued…

Everything now is in such stark contrast to what it was before. We always sat in the first 6 or so pews, together, and next to friends. We sang hymns together. We wrote and took notes during the meetings, we whispered ideas and plans to each other. We met up after our classes and held hands out the door then made our way home together. Together together together. Now everything is so very much alone. I arrive alone, I leave alone. I come home alone and spend the rest of the quiet day alone.

I’ve found some solutions to this too. I often meet up with my friend for lunch immediately after church gets out. This weekly catch up and bonding time is a welcome balm for my heart. And takes up important time on these long Sundays. I try to take my dog to the park for extended periods of time in the afternoon. I save some craft project for Sundays when I know I can commit to it.

In the past five months, my capacity to get through three hours of church has improved. I’ve accepted my experience for what it is and now do what I need to to be present and uplifted by my attendance. I can now stay for all three hours and in the past few weeks, I’ve even felt brave enough to participate again. I go for me, for my communion with the Lord, to take the sacrament and renew my covenants. In some ways, getting dressed and out the door shows me that I can do hard things. And even- being able to show up in front of people who know something about my circumstance helps convince me of my own strength. And I even wore heels, so that has to get me bonus points somewhere.

 

Wishing all of you restful, restorative Sabbaths, wherever you may be.

 

Rage Monster

I spoke too soon.

I was zen, and calm, and dreaming of forgiveness. Then when I least suspected it, a rage monster rose up in me and erupted all over him and the living room.

He came over last week to sort through his things in preparation for me moving into my own place. That was simple, he didn’t want to keep anything. And if I was willing to do the literal heavy lifting of moving our life and furniture out of this apartment, he wasn’t going to object.

But then the conversation turned to a completely unproductive place. I said, “this isn’t going anywhere, we should end this now and you should go.” I was sticking to the boundary I had clearly set in place- I can choose to disengage from you if you continue in blaming and justifying language. But he insisted he needed some answers and understanding and I agreed we could talk for a few more minutes. So he says-

“Why are you moving out?”

“No one in my life accepts me for who I am right now.”

“You, my parents, the bishop are all just shaming me. But my work friends still see I’m just the same person, nothing has changed.”

“You’ve forced me to be the responsible one here.”

“Your choices are taking away MY choices.”

And then, the boiling lava of rage suddenly surfaced from a deep well of anger I didn’t even knew I had buried within me. I started shouting. And then I yelled, and then soon enough I was screaming at the top of my lungs, hands slamming town into the coffee table, rising out of my chair and flailing my limbs, tears streaming down my face, hair wild, uncontrollable devastation pouring out of me.

“You have RUINED MY LIFE!”

He sat, wide-eyed and silent. I walked into the other room and said, you need to leave. And he did. He stood up, walked across the room, and shut the door behind him.

Perhaps now he has the slightest clue what he has done to me. What his choices have led to. But, probably not. Because to protect himself and his addiction, he will continue to hide and blame until one day, far from now, he is able to face the consequences.

I don’t feel bad about totally losing it on him. I don’t feel the need to apologize. I feel like maybe I was finally really honest with him, albeit in a terrible, and brutal way. It was a cathartic experience, almost out of body.

There’s no way to tie this story up in a neat little package here. That’s what happened. It makes no difference to him, but it’s what happened. And it’s ok. Anger is ok. Last week, my counselor even said to me- don’t even think about forgiveness right now. Be compassionate with yourself, you are going to feel every possible emotion as you continue on this journey, and that’s ok.

I am cycling through the stages of grief in such a real way over here, sometimes hour by hour, but most of the time every few days a new wave washes over me. Last week it was anger. This week has been a bit of acceptance. I wonder what tomorrow will be.

 

A resource for women like me

When life came crashing down around me for the second time in my marriage, I was in need of different resources. Separation has been the right choice for me, and at this point I don’t see a path that will bring my husband and I back together. Most sex addiction support groups, blogs, books, etc. that I have found center around partners who are each striving to make their marriage work.

But what about when that is not possible? What help is there out there for those of us whose spouses have chosen their addiction over us so completely, that the only safe choice is to walk away from the relationship?

I don’t have any of the answers, but I hope to create a small corner of the internet where women can feel not alone in their choice to separate or divorce their sex addicted spouse. In all things, I hope the Lord guides your choices and comforts your heart. I feel grateful for a Heavenly Father who has made known to me that He will support me through whatever choice I make. I know He will take care of the rest.

Until Seventy Times Seven

I wasn’t sure what to name this blog. “Wives of Sex Addicts,” “Alone and looking for support,” or “Betrayed and really mad about it!” were appropriate (though terrible) titles. 

At church today, someone gave a lesson on Elder Lynn G. Robbins talk titled “Until Seventy Times Seven.”

Nephi’s unwavering faith helped him go from failure to failure until he finally obtained the brass plates. It took Moses 10 attempts before he finally found success in fleeing Egypt with the Israelites.

We may wonder—if both Nephi and Moses were on the Lord’s errand, why didn’t the Lord intervene and help them achieve success on their first try? Why did He allow them—and why does He allow us—to flounder and fail in our attempts to succeed? Among many important answers to that question, here are a few:

  • First, the Lord knows that “these things shall give [us] experience, and shall be for [our] good.”4

  • Second, to allow us to “taste the bitter, that [we] may know to prize the good.”5

  • Third, to prove that “the battle is the Lord’s,”6 and it is only by His grace that we can accomplish His work and become like Him.7

  • Fourth, to help us develop and hone scores of Christlike attributes that cannot be refined except through opposition8 and “in the furnace of affliction.”9

Why did the Lord allow this to happen to me? Why, when I tried with all my heart and might, did my marriage collapse so suddenly? I’ve strived for a successful relationship, why has this ‘righteous desire’ been denied me?

The last thing I want to think about sometimes is that this is all “for my good.” That one day I’ll look back and have learned from this experience. But at other times, it really helps me to get a glimpse of God’s eternal plan for me. It’s certainly better when I spend time in that mental place.

I also have a strong testimony of each individual’s agency. Each person gets to make their own choices. Sometimes those choices affect other people, and sometimes in traumatic and terrible ways. And God allows that to happen, because to take away a person’s agency is to rob them of the whole purpose of our human existence. I didn’t choose for my spouse to lie to me, act out sexually, and want to leave me. Nothing I did makes me responsible for his behaving in that way. However, I now get to choose what to do because of that. I have different choices to make, but I still get to make my own choices.

This is where the forgiveness comes in. In the depths of my pain and grief, thinking about forgiving the person whose choices brought me here is at times unfathomable. It doesn’t seem possible. But I’ve done it before and I hope to again. Forgiveness is not the same as trust, nor is it the same as reconciliation. Forgiveness is a gift I give myself and one that my Heavenly Father begs for me to take part in.

Christ taught us:

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

-Matthew 18:21-22

And what about me? How often will the Lord forgive me? How often will Christ rescue me? Until seventy times seven. And then a few more thousand times.

Elder Robbins said, “We need to continue getting up each time we fall, with a desire to keep growing and progressing despite our weaknesses. In our weakness, He reassures us, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)”

My faith in Christ is what keeps me going. My faith that God’s plan is better than mine. My faith that angels surround me every day- in my family and friends and in unseen spirits that fill my lonely apartment. This road is so long, and I take comfort that until seventy times seven, I will forgive and Christ will succor me.