I married at 17 years old, before I graduated from high school...NOT because I was pregnant, but because I did NOT want to be a June bride! Looking back at my n
aivete, I never imagined
that, in my desire to escape a dysfunctional and abusive family life, I would end up having to endure the pain of being married to a sexual addict .
I believed that my husband’s problem with porn, masturbation and affairs was because he found me less than attractive. I had been dealing with self-esteem issues for years, most of which were tied to my weight problem. For the first 30 years of our marriage it seemed like a never ending cycle of emotional, mental and verbal abuse.
Then eleven years ago, after confronting him over an affair with my youngest sister, he moved out for a year. During that time I began a healing process that involved Christian counseling, Biblical study and just plain old hard work in my faith walk. I started to learn how I was an enabler in many ways and how I could stop this unhealthy behavior. I began to stand up for the convictions I believed the Holy Spirit was imparting during my studies. My husband ended his affair and asked to reconcile, which we did the following year.
The next ten years were hard. He did not have any physical affairs with anyone, but his addiction to porn and masturbation continued. God always allowed me to find out he was still viewing it without me actually actively looking for it. Through every discovery, God would grow my faith in Him. I began to see how, no matter what, I would not be destroyed if my husband left again, because God had become my strength and my foundation.
Last fall a friend told me about the support group for women who had been betrayed by their husbands. But life happened and I just didn’t really get around to going to a meeting until after the first of the year. Too be honest, I wasn’t really sure that I needed to go, as I felt that I really had a good support system and had worked through so very much of the emotional, mental and spiritual garbage that comes with being married to a sexual addict. But then Michele called and left a voice message and I decided to go to at least one meeting.
That first meeting changed my life and the life of my marriage. I found a sisterhood of women who TRULY understood my pain, unfortunately, because they too had experienced it firsthand themselves. NO our stories are not identical, but they are the same in so many ways. I learned that I had healed in many ways, but what was left from that healing was a “scab”, a “scab” that needed to be RIPPED off, and ultimately the underlying infected tissue scrubbed clean. Now I know that sounds nasty (believe me it was NOT pretty that night as I cried my eyes out!) but what was revealed to me was that the infected tissue under that “scab” needed to be removed so that my heart and soul could experience true healing and growth in the Lord.
Group has given me a safe environment to “vent”, to learn, to cry, to come alongside someone else and for others to come alongside of me. These women have encouraged me to not continue in the same unhealthy patterns and habits, to invest in myself and to practice good self-care. They make me laugh and their pain brings tears to my eyes. They’ve challenged me when I’ve claimed things are “alright”, but celebrate with me when things really are ALRIGHT! I’m realizing that I am not alone in my walk as a woman betrayed.
Cathy ~ Maryland