The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

2 for 1

Went to couples therapy by myself today because our therapist wanted to me to do EMDR alone so I could be free from any conscious or unconscious concern for Husband's reaction to the session.

During the EMDR session she had me separate Husband into two parts: The aspect of him that is the addict, and the aspects of him that are not the addict. At first I separated the Addict from him, giving him the status of victim (this not responsible for his actions) and the Addict the status of stranger/intruder.

She instructed me not to separate him from the addict in that way, but to have both parts be him. The addict was him, and the part that was not the addict was him.

Doing it this way gave me access to two different things. I could more readily express more intense feelings of anger, rage, even hatred toward Husband The Addict, and keep him responsible for what he did. And I could be with Husband Not The Addict in a more trusting way. I was less afraid, I had compassion for his struggle with Husband The Addict, I could feel my love for him, I could see how powerless he felt against Husband The Addict (during the EMDR we were looking at a point at which Husband was still having sex with prostitutes.)

As a result of the perspective I was able to gain from that session I feel I can consciously work on building a relationship with Husband Not The Addict, because that's who he is now. Not that he's not an addict, but he's aware of both aspects, and he's choosing to pursue being Not The Addict with all his strength and will. He's actively in recovery, actively seeking support, and actively working to rebuild our relationship. The Addict isn't going anywhere, but right now Husband Not The Addict is the stronger aspect, and with the help of his community and his higher power, he's keeping Husband The Addict at bay one day at a time.

Whew - some clarity!


Sophie in the Moonlight said...

You are so brave in your approach to your marriage, to his recovery, and to your recovery. At less than a year since Discovery, you have made more strides and shown more fortitude in caring for your relationship than many women do in a decade.

Learning to separate Husband the Addict from Husband Not the Addict is an impressive step for someone at your "stage". Truly impressive.

There is also a way to separate yourself when you are angry at the addiction. After my husband's last stumble I made it clear to him that Sophie the Best Friend was there to support him, but that Sophie the Wife was neither ready, nor willing to be involved with him in any way, shape, or form. It let me have the time to heal without abandoning him at a time of great need.

Again, I am proud of you for your steadfastness and your commitment to seek out such a plethora of therapeutic resources.

P.S. I loved the end of your last post. Maitri sounds wonderful for keeping cognitive distortions at bay. I need to look into that. Any suggestions on introductory reading materials?

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

One of the things that has been hard for me is to realize that there are things about Husband the Addict that I really like and have been attracted to -- the things that hurt me are contained in Husband the Addict, but also some of what I found charming.

woman.anonymous7 said...

Sophie - Pema Chodron's books are where I think I first read about the concept of maitri, and I highly recommend When Things Fall Apart and Places That Scare You.