I'm a wife dealing with her husband's addiction to pornography. I hope to be a resource for wives (and family members) dealing with similar struggles. Please join in the conversation and leave comments--even if you are here for curiosity's sake and are just learning about this kind of struggle! You can read my story here and the 4 things I think every addict's wife should know here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Nuggets of Wisdom

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I don't necessarily consider myself wise on this topic, but I feel I have acquired a few nuggets of wisdom along the way. These have been bouncing around in my head over the past few days as a result of conversations with Mr. Mac and other friends.

I've found that the farther I travel down this road, the less it becomes about me and the more it becomes about making sure other women know these things. Not just hear them, but know them, believe them, live them. Sometimes I feel like if I just close my eyes and concentrate hard enough...push all my thoughts and vibes in your directions...then maybe you will know the way I know. But that's not how it works. We have to figure these things out on our own. All I can do is tell you what I know for me.

1. He will change when he is ready to change. We want that to be now. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Trust me: His recovery efforts that come from you wanting them won't even compare to his recovery efforts that come from him wanting them. I've seen both. It's different when he wants to change for himself and not just to appease his unhappy wife.

2. Trust your gut. Your gut often knows a lot more than you do. In my life, my "gut" is promptings from my constant companion, the Holy Ghost. You can call it your guardian angel. You can call it your conscience. You can call it your gut. Whatever you call it, trust it.

3. You do what is right for your relationship. Set your own boundaries.* Set your own consequences.* I have so much respect and love for my fellow bloggers on this topic, but I don't always agree with their approach to the topic. You see, I don't have to. And they don't have to agree with me. We are all doing what is right for our own relationships. You* decide what is right for yours.

4. *Did you notice all the asterisks in #3? I'm opinionated about this. If you don't want your husband to look at porn, go ahead and set a boundary that you don't want him looking at it. Period. Then ask him his opinion on that boundary. Does he agree? If so, ask him to set a consequence for when he does. You can have your say on whether the consequence he chooses meets your expectations, but let this be something he takes charge of. He needs to be on board. If he's on board with the boundary, let him take responsibility for the consequences. If he's not on board with the boundary, you set the consequences, but chances are the behavior isn't going to stop if he's not even on board that it's a problem.

5. It sucks to accept that you may not be able to trust your spouse. It sucks. But it's a reality for many of us. I trust myself. I trust that I will be okay no matter what. I trust my Father in Heaven. But I'll whine and complain that I want to be able to trust my husband. I should be able to trust my husband. Unfortunately, that's not my reality right now. Maybe in the future, but for now I have to face the facts. Sometimes life just isn't how we wanted it to be. That's okay. In fact, I think that's the case for the vast majority of people on this earth. We'll be okay.

6. Nothing you fix about your looks could fix his problem. You're right: your body is not like a model's, you're cute but not drop-dead gorgeous, you've likely had kids and your lady parts are all stretched out, and you aren't all that kinky in the bedroom. Am I right? Of course I am. You're like me. You're normal. If you left your husband today and he started dating a gorgeous model who filled his every sexual fantasy, the porn problem would not go away. If he thinks you are the root of the problem or that he wouldn't look at porn if he were with someone else, he is in for a rude awakening. It's not you. The problem is between him and porn. It affects you, but it's not because of you. No, you aren't perfect. But you aren't the reason he looks at porn. Stop letting those thoughts into your head. They are a waste of your time and energy. (Besides, I have met some of the most stunningly beautiful women whose husbands have porn and sex addictions. They are living proof that the woman is not the problem.)

7. Find your self worth and hang onto it for dear life. Where do you find self worth? Inside yourself.

16 comments:

  1. This is incredible!! You have such a good understanding on it all. I love the way you process and think - so methodical. I LOVE it!

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    1. I'm a work in progress, but your words sure make me feel awesome. ;)

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  2. Thank you so much. This is awesome. #4 and the first #5 really resonated with me and where I'm at with things right now. I sure wish I could talk to you in person! One of these days I will email you, though. This blog means so much to me. Thank you!

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  3. Ha! "the first #5" I'll fix that. Thanks, Anonymous! Definitely email me. Who knows? Maybe we even live near each other. If not, there's always the phone. :)

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  4. I am trying to believe that it has nothing to do with me but it's SO hard! Call it self centered, or whatever, but human nature has a tendancy to make things about ourself. We are the center and core of our whole universe and life as we know it. That being said, I really like YOUR thinking and hope that someday I can make peace with myself on this matter.
    On a side note, I think I'm developing a "pretty girl phobia". I literally feel myself tense up and stomach knotting up as soon as I see one coming on the horizon. Sometimes I wonder if I'm going crazy. I didn't feel this uncomfortable or the need to "compete" til I found out he views porn. I wish I knew how to fix myself. Until then I will live vicariously through you. Thanks for your insightful posts.

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    1. I know it's so hard to do. We are absolutely the core of our universe, so everything seems to be about us. But remember that as the center of the universe, everything affects us in one way or another, but we aren't always the cause.

      Ah yes. Pretty girl phobia. We emailed about that, right? I'm trying to be very conscious to not compare myself or get nervous when a beautiful woman walks by us. I never felt like that before. This pornography/lying thing really does punch you in the gut, huh? Makes us uneasy in ways we never experienced before. But bit by bit we can punch it back.

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  5. Yay for another Mac post. It's been too long, girl. ;) I love the 'what I want other wives to know' posts. I think it's so good for wives to hear many of these, because then they can start to see patterns and figure out what, in their gut, feels right for where they are.

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    1. Thanks! I'm not sure why this all made so much sense to me from the get go (i.e. it's not a reflection of ME, self-esteem is key, etc.) but I'm so grateful. I've been on a rollercoaster for sure, but that part has been constant from the beginning. I'm acutely aware of all my physical flaws, but I think that's something every woman does. I've been lucky that I've been able to separate them from the pornography. (Although if my husband actually acted out with another woman, I'm not sure I'd be able to hold up the self confidence as well. I'd like to say I would, but I'm not sure I'm that strong.)

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  6. This is so great Mac... way to go.... This resonates with me on so many levels... with or without addiction...

    Thank you :)

    Miss you!

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  7. #6....wow!! This resonates with me so very much!

    I found you through Jane and glad I did. Although my active part in the addiction is over (we are no longer together) what my mind plays over and over is the crappy part.

    Thanks for this post!!!

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    1. Hi Stacia! #6 is something so many women struggle with. We let our own self worth crumble in the wake of their choices. THEIR choices. I hope you can slowly push those "crappy parts" of your memory out. I think that's the hardest thing to do, right? Sending you love!

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  8. Oh but Mac, you are extremely wise! perfect

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