Facing my fear of going to the beach. Wow, just the beach. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. Beaches, swimming pools, wherever people are dressed in whatever way you want to say it. I’m struggling with figuring out how to face my fear of going to the lake, beach, or any body of water where there are females wearing extremely revealing swimsuits with my family. I really enjoy going to the beach and my kids do too. But seeing my spouse look at other women in next to nothing triggers me pretty badly. I’ve expressed to him how hurtful it is, and he says he won’t do it again, but it seems like he just can’t help himself. I’ve been especially hyper-aware of his behavior since discovery of his recent porn usage. I feel like I’ve been acting like a cow and avoiding all bodies of water and robbing my kids of summer fun. How would a Buffalo handle this fear?
Maybe you just take your kids. I don’t know how far the beach is from where you live, but maybe you just take your kids for a day, if that’s possible, if you live close enough to the beach or a lake. Take your kids to get yourself exposed in that environment, and some people would call that exposure therapy, where you put yourself in that environment where the trigger, your husband, isn’t there. Observe your emotions there. Now he’s got to do his thing, he’s got to be cautious to make sure that he’s not there lusting and doing his thing, if he does come with you at some point. But for now, it’s you being able to create an environment where you go.
Now, if you’re not comfortable with that, then in some situations, you go there fully expecting that you’re gonna have more conversations with your husband, and you’re gonna emotionally be able to check in with each other and be accountable. I’m triggered, you’re triggered. Whatever it is, we’re going to pause, we’re going to take a time out while the kids are doing their thing and playing. But if you guys can stay talking there, that type of connectedness or accountability with each other can be helpful. I’m triggered here, maybe it’s that he looks at you and says, I’m here. And you guys work to develop a system of communication where if one of you is triggered, you can turn and look at each other and say, okay, we’re here, we’re doing this, and let’s just sit down for a minute and let’s talk or let’s go out and play with the kids. Stay focused on what you can control rather than letting this thing grow. Focus on what you can control, reclaim those places. That’s what I suggest to my clients, reclaim the places, and that’s creating a strategy around those.