So lied at professional disclosure, stuck point for marital recovery. So one stuck point for me is that my husband lied during a professional disclosure in polygraph in 2017. He had not stopped viewing pornographic material, and at the time of the disclosure, I didn’t know that, and he lied to that therapist. He’s also lied to every therapist he’s worked with. He claims to be sober at this point, and I believe him. He’s been earnest in his recovery that she knows of for the past six months, and that’s good.
However, the reparative and traumatic steps that they went through with trained therapists that he ended up lying during is a sticking point for her. It bothers her that he wasn’t sober during any of these repair steps. She’s not sure what can be done to correct a repair. All of these events, which he said he was sober since, and he wasn’t. His new sobriety date is June, 2019. Granted the porn wasn’t as bad as his previous or risky betrayals. But the issue is still a stuck point because he lied at important steps, and lying threatens my safety. If I think back to how he was versus how he is now, he has come a long way and still has a long way to go, so that’s good. He did write another letter of apology recently and read it and expressed emotion. That’s good too. I don’t want to focus just on the bad. I want to focus on the now, but the tainted steps, repair steps are a big issue for her.
So first I want to say that is totally normal that you would be feeling apprehensive to believe the repair steps that he’s doing now, when you thought that you could believe him then, and then it turns out that he was lying still. Especially to therapists and during disclosure, just not just random times, but during important things where you really should be able to trust what he’s saying. And that trust takes time to build back.
I think it’s great that you don’t want to focus on the negative that you want to see the progress that he’s making and that you’re wanting to focus on that. Those are all amazing things and he should be grateful for that as well, and it can’t make what he’s done go away. There is trauma surrounding it, and it’s going to take time to move past that and to just to be able to validate that there’s a reason why you’re feeling this way. Even if he’s doing all, all the right things now, that’s not going to suddenly disappear.
I think what often happens in recovery work is as the spouse or as the addict continues to make good choices and show you that he has integrity and that he is who he says he is, and that he’s going to put your needs above his needs and the needs of the marriage above your needs, that those things, those negative things start to get outweighed by the positive things. And it’s easier to see more positive, and the negative becomes less looming or less in your face, and I think that’s a natural process.
I’m not sure by the message of the question, whether he’s pushing, like you should be forgiving me, why aren’t you forgiving me or not? But if he is, again, that’s not a process that can be rushed and it’s not appropriate for him to ask you to be in a place that you’re not in because of his actions. Your relationship was demolished by his actions and there’s consequences that come from that, whether we like that or not, or whether he likes that or not. And he will be able to show you and needs to show you that he can be trustworthy.
Healing is supposed to take time. It’s not supposed to be instantaneous. Sometimes the struggle is what helps us to heal. And I think that that’s true for spouses and also for the person who betrayed for the addicts. That they need to struggle with what they’ve done and see that the positive things that they’re doing make a difference in their lives and their spouse’s lives. And that gradually is changing. We talk about walking before you run, right? This is, these are the walking steps, so we can’t get to the running before these basic things are established. And if his sobriety date isn’t until mid 2019, that’s not that long, unfortunately, or fortunately, and COVID and all the stuff that that brought along with it probably complicated matters as well. Which, I’m not going to speculate in which ways it complicated things, but it has complicated most people’s lives. I would imagine that it’s at play here as well. Safety is at a premium these days. What does the future hold? You don’t know if he’s going to be consistent, and the world and life is very inconsistent right now. It can be hard to know whether to trust or what to trust.
That’s the part where you can do something, is work on your own personal recovery healing that trauma. Whether that be through EMDR or writing or groups or therapy or marriage therapy or D, all of the above. But do the things that you need to do to heal you and know that this process will unfold as it’s meant to unfold, and it’s okay that it’s not happening immediately. I think as you continue to have those gut feelings and act on them and you build that confidence, that you can trust yourself to do what’s right for you and not self betray, which we all do in small ways or big ways, not on purpose, lots of times. But as you continue to build that relationship with yourself and with your higher power and with any supports that you have, that will help you become a stronger person. Which also, of course, will positively impact your marriage and help you to know when you can trust him for real, and not believe lies that he’s telling you.
There’s a beauty in recovery, that is a by-product that is sometimes not expected and definitely isn’t expected for addicts. As they work on their sobriety, their wife can tell. They absolutely can tell that it feels different. They are more present, they’re more available, they are more there. And when they start to slip back into old habits, whether it be dangerous or harmful or just disconnecting and not being as vulnerable as they need to be, or that you need them to be, you can feel it. And I’ve noticed that a lot of times women can say; Hey, something feels off and actually help their spouse to notice that prior to something bad happening.
So I feel like that is a gift. It’s a gift that is, like I said is unexpected. But when you have those dates of sobriety and you have you see the difference of them before versus them after which you probably didn’t see before, because how could you have if it was always like that. Now that you can see the discrepancy, you can have more faith in that when something seems off, you may not know what’s off, but you do know something is off and you need to investigate it. And then go ahead and ask the hard questions and have the hard conversations. You won’t regret it. It’s hard to do, but it will confirm what you already know and build the relationship or not build the relationship, and then you will know where you stand and where your relationship stands.
Remember there’s always three clients in any addict, addiction, betrayal situation. And that’s the addict, the spouse, and the marriage. So you can get better and he can get better, but then the marriage doesn’t get better. Or you can get better and be working on the marriage and he still doesn’t get better. So there’s, the hope is that each person works on themselves and then that also makes the marriage better, and I hope that’s happening for you. And I’m grateful that you’re seeing those changes and seeing the person that you married and the potential that you know was there and that you knew was there. And I hope that he continues to do the right things for himself and for you to know that it’s okay, and I’m just going to keep going and eventually it won’t feel this big, but right now it does and that’s okay.
Oftentimes, there’s not ownership of one’s own sexuality, regardless of where your spouse is at in a marriage. And I think that it’s something worth exploring for your own work and his own work is what does my sexuality mean to me? And how do you own that as a good and godly thing that is to make you better and your marriage better? But unfortunately, it’s been used in a very maladaptive way, so how does it get to a healthy way? How do you know that something doesn’t feel right and say; Hey, this, I don’t want to participate in this. I’m not just gonna give in to what you want or otherwise. Because I want to co-create this sexual relationship together, and not have you be going outside and not have me going outside or shutting down or whatever’s happening, I’m not of course positive.
But that’s just something else to consider. As a piece to, that you can work on yourself in the meantime of him doing his own work, so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. The forgiveness that needs to happen eventually, or the thoughts that are still there that you’d like to go, but aren’t quite gone yet.
Sorry, that’s a very long answer, but hopefully it is giving you information that you need in order to feel settled within yourself for where you’re at and trust yourself and know that you can do this and it will unfold. And what he chooses is what he chooses and time will tell, but if he continues to make good choices, you will be able to forgive him and move past good luck. And if you have any other questions right back again.