There are a lot of unknowns with this addiction, as I'm sure it is with any addiction. Right now, much of the unknowns are focused around his recovery. I hear people talk about "true recovery" vs. "white knuckling," and I don't think I really understand those terms. I also don't know where Ben fits in. Part of me feels like he is in true recovery--meaning that he really is trying. But, I know there is a part of his heart that isn't fully there, so does that mean he is white knuckling? I don't know, and it honestly doesn't matter right now. He is making steps towards recovery, and for that I am grateful.
I'm still experiencing some major trauma. I don't know why, but it bothers me. I think I've gotten accustomed to things, or I think I have forgiven certain things, but then they don't leave me, and I get in this cycle of ruts, pulling myself out, and peace.
Most of my trauma is regarding physical intimacy. Physical intimacy went out of the relationship for a season: about three months, maybe four. I'm not really sure. It got to the point where I just couldn't do it, and he didn't question it or pressure me (thank you). We worked on our emotional intimacy. We worked on healing. I took off my ring at one point. And all of that was NICE. I didn't feel the same disappointment every month with infertility or his relapses. I've been sad at not having children, but I've been more accepting of God's plan with that. During that time, there was no pressure for anything, just the desire to improve our marriage. Things would start going really well, and then he would mess up again. Tension would rise, and our relationship would take a turn backwards. But each time it became easier to recover.
Thanksgiving marked the day we started trying to have kids again (purely coincidental date btw). Things just flowed. It felt rewarding and beautiful. And then the next time...everything hit me. Questions. Trauma. Emotion. Everything.
What is he thinking about while we are doing this?
Will I ever feel fully secure in our relationship again?
How hard is he really trying to overcome his addiction?
What if I don't get pregnant this month? Again. Then we will have to keep going...having "scheduled" sex while fighting the trauma of his addiction.
Trying to get pregnant puts a strain on your physical relationship. I mean, I can't speak for everyone. I can only speak from the perspective of being married to a sex-addict. But it does put on a strain, and it is overwhelming at times.
Right now, I think my biggest fear is that we will try to get pregnant, it won't happen, disappointment will follow, we will start getting strained, he will fall back into old addiction patterns, and then we will have to take another break. The pattern and cycle is really getting to me. I just want to be happy.
I'm praying, praying, that we will be blessed with a child this month.
I've heard countless times that maybe God isn't sending us children because we need to work out the kinks in our relationship so the baby can be raised in a functional home. Or other things along those lines. It makes me sad, and I think that possibly adds to the trauma a little bit more. I see my wopa (wife of porn addict) friends and their families, and I wonder why not me? Because yeah, sure, we have problems in our marriage, but I don't think God is not sending us children just because Ben is a porn addict, and I don't think it's fair to say anything like that to anyone. I know having children won't solve our problems, and I know some things will get a little harder. But at the same time, I feel like we are ready and possibly even need that next step in our relationship. Ben is a really good guy. He is going to be a great father. We are going to be great parents. He is trying to recover from his addiction. He is trying to put God first. He isn't perfect, but no one is.
I've definitely grown from both of these trials (addiction and infertility), along with my other trials (physical trials such as back, feet, and neck, along with the stress of some other personal things) and if anything, I think I'm being prepared for something great. I don't know what that something is, but I'm growing a lot. I feel older than I am. I have faced so many HARD trials, all at the same time, and I feel like I have aged a ton in the past four years. It's weird to look back at when I was 20 and think of how silly I was. I'm 24, and I feel like way more than four years have passed. I think I've grown in ways that normal 24-year-olds don't.
After this week(ish) of trying to get pregnant and giving in to the physical intimacy side (which was only able to come after a lot of work on the emotional intimacy side), he struggled with his addiction again. He masturbated. I don't remember when the last time before that was, and it doesn't matter. It was long enough ago that I was feeling safe, but feeling too safe. I started getting the fears and worries of "When is it going to happen again? When is the addiction going to come back, whether in little pieces or in full force?" I started closing down. I stopped communicating to him, and solid, open communication is something that we have worked really hard to achieve.
When I found out about the masturbation, tons of questions swirled through my mind. I don't feel the need to go into those questions. The main question I came down to, after spending much time studying, pondering, and praying, was "How do I turn this over to Christ?"
I've found a lot of answers and helpful things in the scriptures lately, but something I read today hit me the hardest:
By betraying Christ, which was the ultimate betrayal, Judas broke bonds of trust and love. Those bonds are similar to the bonds we have in marriage. Christ felt pain. He probably felt heartbroken. He even felt alone when he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46).
He has felt the betrayal. His betrayal was even greater than my own. Not only that, but He took upon Himself all of the pains we have felt, no matter the cause, when He was in the Garden. He has felt every bit of the pain I have felt, both from the infertility and the addiction. He has felt the pain of my unanswered questions. He has felt the pain of my trauma. He has felt it all.
He has felt it all so He would know how to succor me. He has felt it all so He would know how to lift me up.
And He can heal me. He can heal all.
He has promised to be with us always as long as we are faithful.
This gives me peace. I still have unanswered questions and pains. I still have fears, but I know as I turn it all over to Christ, I can be healed. I have a long way to go for healing. I also have a long way to go for complete humility and desire to do His will. But I'm working. And Ben is working. We are both imperfect, and I can't really expect more than hard work and steady progress on his part, even if the progress feels incredibly slow sometimes.