Back in the “Grief in the Discovery” series, I mentioned the stage of bargaining in the grieving cycle. You can find more detailed info in that post, but a short answer of what bargaining looks like, are questions such as “what if” or “if only”. “If only I had done ABCDEFG, then my spouse wouldn’t have cheated.” However, there is a side that looks similar to bargaining, allowing a person to ask “what if”, but it is much deeper, as it causes the betrayed spouse to question their entire identity.
We have not spent enough time in our recovery process to dissect for you the ins and outs of sexual addictions/sexual integrity issues, but one thing that has stuck out for me was how incredibly personal adultery is. While other addictions, such as substance abuse, are painful and can rip families apart, issues of sex involve another person.
When I found out about the other woman, it threw me into a fury of comparison. Her hair is dark, does that mean he doesn’t like my blond hair? She is thinner, is he hating on my pregnancy fluff? She is fun and flirty, does he reject my uncanny ability to thrive on structure? Whether in real life or via fantasy, I am talking about a person, someone other than me. I think we can all agree here that I wouldn’t have compared myself to a can of beer with the same respect.
Daily I fight the images of the other woman, and I won’t lie to you, sometimes I wallow in comparison, entering into deep insecurity. I reach beyond the action “what if” in bargaining, grabbing the “what if” of my entire identity. Like my good friend Shelley, I wanted to know why my husband would choose someone over me. What if I was thinner? What if I had better teeth? What if I were shorter?
Somewhere in my self loathing and infinite sadness, God met me and reminded me of a few things;
In a post to come, I’d like to share with you what the counselor recommended when it came to physically resetting our…* eh hem * orgasm, and what has been a practical way for us a way to gain intimacy with one another after our marriage was in ruin. Sex, after any form of adultery, can be emotionally painful, especially if unaddressed.
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