One of the first questions out of my mouth to her, once their story was finished, was "Did you ever feel like he didn't support you in your trauma?"
And her answer was "NO."
"You mean he never got mad at you?"
Then he piped in, and with all sincerity, and over the course of the evening, with tears in his eyes he said,
"I knew I had caused it."
"I made this bed, now I need to lay in it."
"I would come home and just immediately ask what she needed of me. A break from the kids? Time to get out and exercise? To just be there with her and hold her."
"I did worry that she would never want to be intimate with me again, but I knew I had to just be there for her."
"We talked about sex quite a bit, but I never got upset that she didn't want to have sex."
"I knew that she needed time to heal."
"Sometimes I would ask what she needed and she would say, just ride this wave with me, so I did."
"I called every day at lunch."
"I checked in every night."
"I learned to tell her I loved her all the time, with all the reasons."
"I knew she felt worthless, so I tried to build her up."
It took her 2 years when she finally looked around and felt "normal" again.
And his whole recovery involved supporting his wife to help her heal.
In fact, they overcame his addiction together. She was his greatest support, and he was hers.
And today, I am mourning that THAT never was us. Never could have been us.
The porn, the addiction. It brought so much trauma.
But the blaming, the defensiveness, the cruelty, the impatience, the pressure to be intimate or sexual before I was ready, the general lack of understanding of my feelings, the big "WHY ARE YOU STILL FREAKING OUT?" that loomed over my head in just about every interaction over the last year, it hurt worst of all.
His actions sent me a message that said, "My actions really weren't THAT bad." Which caused me to question everything I thought our marriage was founded on, all over again. I even remember asking him in the very very beginning, right before I kicked him out, how he would feel if he found out I cheated on him. He responded with saying; he wouldn't really care, which was why he couldnt understand why I was freaking out. That was his addict brain talking. Barf. It makes me feel like I want to purge. What about our temple covenants? What about this church that we belong to, and have made covenants to REPRESENT the Savior? What about our eternal family?
Today, I am mourning all the pain that came AFTER the disclosure. Pain that doesnt include relapses. Pain that doesnt include porn or lust.
Pain that just came from a broken boy, who had never really stepped into his man shoes. For the worst year of my life, he wasnt really there for me. He spent the year recovering so that he could BEGIN TO TRY, to be there for me.
My theory, about the gentleman from last night, is that he DID learn how to be a man. But, in his manhood, he was caught off guard, complacent, and searching for something. So Satan craftily gave him porn. When his covenants hit him upside-the-head, he listened, and stepped up, stepped back into his man shoes, which were worn and familiar. And took care of his shit. He never relapsed again. He crosses his every thought, action, glance, interaction, just like every man should. He needed very little emotional support, he needed a very shallow "low" to have the point drilled into his soul.
For most of our poor husbands exposure came between 8-11 years old and they have no clue how to be a man to their wives. They have tried, they have "pseudomatured". But they have never really awoken their wise man within them. They never knew how.
A boy, stuck in the body of a man.
My life right now is very different. Which is why I am mourning. It is now safe for me to mourn this aspect of our recovery. My husband has been MORE man and LESS boy, for 3 months. He feels like this stage of recovery is the stage where he can see humans as humans, not objects. He sees women dressed immodestly as daughters of God, with a face, with a whole soul. He sees his our children as real people. He sees his business clients as human beings, and responds to them quickly and with respect. He even cares about his home-teachee. But most of all, most important to me,
His knee jerk reaction is to objectify me. For instance,when I got home from Togetherness Project last week, I was in trauma. I warned him before I got there. I was low, and struggling. It was mostly because of my relationship with my mom, not my relationship with him. I told him that. But it did affect him because I didnt want to be close to him. And his knee jerk reaction was to get mad at me. After a few hours, he changed. He stopped, and he started loving me, and he started listening to me to hear me. And of course by then I was deeply traumatized and it took about another 24 hours of him repeating over and over how much he loves me and wants to support me, calling me back quickly, asking me how I am feeling and seeming genuinely interested, before I was able to get my guard down and be close with him again.
But just three months ago, he was so mad at me. I was "emotionally abusive" he would say. I was "a hypocrite" he would say. I felt like everything I said or did was twisted and used against me in some form or fashion. He was sober, but he resented me in almost every thought, word and action. He was trapped there and didn't know how to get out.
I don't wish I had married the man who spoke last night.
I just wish the boy I married knew how to be a man sooner than he did.
There is lots of room for forgiveness here.
But I certainly am not going to force myself to move on and forgive. Just earlier this week I was so full of fear that he would just return to his old ways and stay that way forever. He is still working on it. And I am glad he is. It isn't fair or right to have to deal with anything else.