Dear Amber Fuller, LMFT,
I recently found out the most devestating news of my life. Two weeks ago to this day I was digging through some old cabinets and I came across some receipts of my husband’s that were from a bar/strip club that he went to while out on a business trip a few months ago. I wasn’t sure what to do about because I had never known my husband to be in this type of environment before. Later, I was on our computer looking up the strip club (I know, I went stalker on him but I felt I had no other choice) and as I was looking up the strip club my computer screen started filling up with pop ups including pornographic material I never knew existed. I checked this history of the laptop and sure enough, my world really did end. I confronted my husband about this later that day when he got home from work and he told me that he’s been addicted to porn for the last 10 years. Spending 1-2 hours on it daily while at work or late at night. I know that we have a ton to work through, and I know I want to stay and he wants to work things out, but I’m just not sure how to stop myself from feeling overly anxious and then checking his computer history only to be disappointed and overly anxious all over again. Help me!
Loved one of a sex addict
Dear devestated loved one,
Welcome to trauma. I’m so incredibly sorry that you are experiencing this. The world NEEDS TO STOP BECAUSE OF HOW MUCH PAIN YOU ARE IN! I wish there was a way to make it all go away and I hardly know you. There is so much that I could say regarding this issue due to it being a specialty of mine at Fuller Living & Associates, however, I will stick to answering just your question. Please know, however, that you need to see a counselor. If you are wanting to work things out with your husband it is almost near impossible to do it without the support and help of a professional. We would love to meet with you at Fuller Living. Having been through this experience personally, I’ve seen myself go through what felt like the most devestating storm of my life and make it out alive saying things like, “I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything”. You can do this.
Now, regarding your question. Let me first address anxiety. When feeling anxious in the times that you are, who do you have for support? There are some great support groups for loved ones going through such a disclosure such as COSA (http://www.cosa-recovery.org/). Accountability and group support is a critical component to your own recovery through this process.
I’d like to bring up a point that is motivating enough in and of itselt and I call it, “the impossibility of building trust on mistrust”. Every time you feel that anxiety you go to the computer or the cell phone and you put your detective hat on looking for proof or evidence that you can trust again. What is trust? Trust is believing that one is capable of and pursuing whatever it is they’ve set out to pursue. Without faith, we have no trust. Faith is the confidence that things we want will happen without SEEING IT. I also like to state that “faith is the ability to be at peace with not knowing because He knows”. When detective mode goes on, it is counter-productive to any form of trust that could ever be built because faith is missing. What do you do then? You trust that YOU WILL BE OKAY. You are a strong woman and no matter what happens, at the end of the day, you are going to be okay. Your husband loves you (I encourage you to go to counseling to establish how something like this could happen and he would still love you). Your husband is responsible for his thoughts, feelings, and actions and they are not a reflection of you. You are good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, kind enough, and you do matter. I promise. Detective mode is only going to make you feel like you aren’t. Build trust on trusting that you will be at peace with not knowing because He knows and dwell in that place of peace.
Until next time,
Amber Fuller, LMFT