Yesterday was horrible. I survived, though, so I felt like a rock-star. Minus the crying. Crying always makes me feel a little less than rock-star status, hence the reminder that crying doesn't make me weak.
Because we moved and I'm pregnant, I decided to substitute teach this year rather than get a full-time teaching job. Subbing yesterday proved to be very challenging and was the base of my horribly hard day. After I finished the school day, I was grateful to go home, and I looked forward to the evening with Ben. I was counting on him to be a strength and comfort to me as I unleashed some of the trauma I experienced yesterday at school. And he was. Until he confessed some things.
Fast forward through the hours of tears shed last night to the point where I was actually able to process my feelings and get to the root of why this relapse impacted me so much worse than any have since April.
I'm raw from telling my story at Camp Scabs. I've recently revisited all the pain I have suffered our entire marriage. That pain has come from acts of infidelity, countless lies, and a breakdown of trust and love. And now I'm feeling all that pain again. I'm sitting in it. Because I've been let down in a major way that has let the trauma rush back in. Everything has come cycling back, and I can't get it to leave.
I've been feeling so much joy from the past six months. I've felt hope. I've seen his potential as a husband and father. I've seen our potential as a family.
We "started over" back in April. I allowed the past to be put behind us. I chose to let our relationship continue to develop rather than shutting it down. I chose to open my heart back up to trust and love. I gave him everything and am now carrying a baby with Ben's blood running through him.
I trusted Ben to work as hard as he could to find recovery. I trusted him with my heart and my child. I took a huge leap of faith, and I feel like I have been shot in the heart again. And again and again and AGAIN. The bullets won't stop coming. And they are getting closer and closer together. I'm afraid I might actually die. [Okay, not literally. But I'm certainly breaking.]
For a while, the relapses were growing farther apart. It's not ideal, but it gave me hope that real changes were happening. But the relapses are now growing closer together, and I can see that real changes are not happening. Or at least, they aren't happening as fast and as well as I thought they were.
Sometimes I can handle this well because I remind myself that it's an addiction and he needs help. And that the addiction won't just go away overnight. And that it's not about me, and it's not about infidelity. It's about addiction.
But when it comes to sex-addiction, you can't leave the infidelity out of it. It's an integral part of this addiction, and addiction plus infidelity SUCK SO BAD.
Porn doesn't just happen. And masturbation doesn't just happen. Little things trickle in and build up. Lust happens. I know it's not really about me, and I don't ever doubt Ben's love for me. But all the fantasies and lusting while watching porn is certainly infidelity.
And even if you're not sold on the idea that porn is infidelity, porn certainly leads there. With addiction, one level is never enough. It will grow worse and worse until there are physical acts of infidelity. [also, I'm really bad about minimizing because so many people in "the world" think porn is not a big deal. the struggle to validate myself is real. that is why this paragraph even exists. shut up, stupid brain.]
Most of my current trauma level stems from fear. He has said things to me in the past that make me afraid for our future. The fact that porn is creeping in more and more with less time in between each viewing worries me. I'm afraid he will give up and leave. I'm afraid he will become so hopeless that he is suicidal. I'm afraid it will grow from fantasy and brain work to physical affairs.
I'm afraid for our future family. I've seen families ripped apart by the effects of porn. THAT'S NOT IN MY PLAN! But I'm afraid it could arrive there by his choices.
I honestly feel a little ridiculous because I'm sitting here thinking of all the worst-case scenarios when the fact is, I still see hope. But I've had hope for so long... And fear feels natural.
The thing is, I still have hope. I still love him. I still see his potential as the father and husband he should be. And I am truly, deeply grateful for the healing that has taken place this summer because earlier this year I was almost ready to give up. Had we not experienced what we have, I would be ready to give up again. But I'm not. Because I love him, DANGIT! And I still have hope. And lots of swear words are running through my head right now.
It's not fair. It's just not fair. I can do everything "right" and still end up in a crap-hole because of someone else's agency.
But I do know this: I am not alone. I've been in so much pain the past 24 hours, but I've never felt alone. I've felt God circling me with His love, and He keeps showing me hope. So I guess I'm grateful for that.