I know you are all wondering how in the world I shrugged off this last "discovery." You'll have to wait a couple more days since I want to share something else first, but let me assure you that I am not pretending in the least. I am fine. I am happy. And, if you really want to know, we have been happy, we have been having fun together (and we have great sex twice since I dug up the truth on Wednesday). "HOW IN THE WORLD?" you ask? Stick around and I'll tell you in a couple of days.
In the meantime, I want to talk about consequences.
On Wednesday, I found out that my husband (dubbed Mr. Mac by some good friends) was once again, hmmm, how shall I put it? Lying to me? (Ugh. Those words are so ugly. But the truth is the truth.)
The night before Mr. Mac's lies were uncovered yet again, we briefly spoke about consequences. We didn't, however, set any that night. Of course.
You see, our biggest problem at this point is him being afraid (unwilling?) to tell my when he slips back into looking at pornography. So having some sort of pre-determined punishment is not going to encourage him to come to me in honesty. He already dreads my reaction. Additional punishment is not going to encourage honesty.
Instead, we talked the other night about implementing a consequence for lying. That made more sense to both of us.
When Mr. Mac got home from work on Wednesday, we talked about consequences. I've talked to girls about various consequences they have implemented, and I brought them up to my husband. (Please note that these consequences are very effective for many of the woman who use them--all create a safe place and help them heal and deal with things. You'll notice that I didn't choose any of them, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be right for you.)
- Sleeping on the couch: Some couples decide that the husbands will sleep on the couch for a pre-determined number of nights. This creates a safe place for many women. You see, going to bed brings up anxieties about groping husbands and sex and associations with porn. That's a rough association for many women. I haven't felt this kind of anxiety in a long time, and my husband actually enjoys sleeping on the couch, so this choice didn't make any sense to us.
- No sex: Some couples decide that there will be no sex or sexual advances for a pre-determined number of days. This also creates a safe place for women who are struggling with associations of sex with porn use. It encourages the strengthening of emotional relationships. If you can't have sex, you have to show affection in other ways. Safe place, non-sexual affection. I have craved this many times in the past, but right now in my life, it's not what I need. Besides--we have always been once-a-week-sexers, so this consequence wouldn't even make much difference for the first few weeks. (That and I've been wanting sex more, so I'm totally being selfish in which consequence I choose.)
- Moving out: Some couples decide that the husband should find another place to stay for a pre-determined number of nights. This is obviously more extreme than the others, but it is something I would not hesitate to implement if it felt right. Once again, it creates a safe place for the woman, giving her time to heal and not feel pressured to show or accept emotional or physical advances. I didn't feel the need to have him move out, so this was off the table.
Where does that leave us? I asked Mr. Mac for suggestions. If you follow my blog, you know that I believe strongly in having the husband make many of the decisions in his recovery process. I planned to have a strong say in what was decided (since I am the one being lied to), but I wanted him to be the one coming up with the suggestions.
He thought for a few seconds and the first thing he said was, "No TV for two weeks." It was at this point that I started to cry. The crying caught me completely off guard.
You see, I have issues with the TV. Throughout our entire marriage I have gone through many periods of feeling like I was being replaced with the TV. He watches for hours each night. I go to bed by myself most nights, because he isn't tired, has shows to catch up on, and stays up watching TV. As soon as the kids are in bed, the TV goes on. There isn't much Mac time unless I want to sit on the couch and watch with him. This is hard for me. It always has been. He knows it.
So to have him suggest that the consequence of lying to me is to lose TV privileges for two weeks was quite significant. It was probably the most endearing thing he could have offered to me: his time.
The verdict is in: no TV or internet at home for one week this time. Next time it will be two weeks. Perhaps the next it will be three. I'm not sure he could have come up with anything better.
Have you and your husband determined consequences for relapses or lying? I'd love to hear what they are.