I never addressed the video link in my last post. Not sure music needs explaining, everyone has their own interpretation and there in lies part of the great impact of music. Music often resonates deeply for me especially if there are lyrics and they align with my beliefs or experiences. In this case, I used that particular video (for anyone who took time to watch it, especially since youtube forces you to watch a short car commercial first) specifically because I felt the two songs together, by those two artists, did a decent job of representing both mine and Blue Eyes general problems around sex, or at least our current challenges. If there is anything I have learned over my life and also specifically noticed reading others’ blogs, music impacts people in a unique and personal way. What a powerful medium.
Anyone who listens to pop stations on the radio, or listens to what is playing in the local coffee shop, or watches American television might be familiar with the first artist and song in this particular recording of “Take Me To Church” by Irish musician Hozier. The soulfulness, the beat, the fact that I can understand the words as he is singing, immediately made the song appealing to me. I have heard it numerous times. There are quite a few songs that I have heard that make me think of Blue Eyes, and our situation, and his addiction, and I am often compelled to stop and listen to those words and they immediately impact me. They grab my heart in a way they didn’t before, before dday. In the case of songs that hadn’t been released before dday or that I hadn’t heard before then, I believe these songs will always represent a deep and undeniable pain. In the case of Imagine Dragons “Demons,” and Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” they will always represent how I feel about Blue Eyes’ illness… the secret life, the shame he felt and still feels around sex. “Take Me To Church” just happens to place it in a religious context. That religious connection does not necessarily align with Blue Eyes and his experiences, however, phrases like “‘We were born sick, you heard them say it” in my opinion implies sex (without the intent of procreation, of course) is a sin (taught to us by churches, our parents, conservative media, whoever, whatever) and we were born to seek it out (most likely referencing back to Adam and Eve). The beauty of music is it doesn’t really matter to me the intent of the author, or what that person was thinking or feeling. What matters to me is what I am thinking and feeling. Sex is pleasure but can be wrapped in pain. “A fresh poison each week.” “The only heaven I’ll be sent to, is when I’m alone with you.” That gives sex a whole lot of power in a person’s life. Sex is something to be pursued, worshipped. In Blue Eyes’ case, it was all of those things: pleasure, pain, something shameful, something to be worshipped, something to be manipulated, and controlled.
Enter Annie Lennox. I love so many things about that woman. No point in going into all the wonderful things she is and does. In this particular Grammy’s performance, however, she is powerfully and convincingly singing “I Put A Spell On You.” “Stop the things you do. Watch out, I ain’t lying. I can’t stand no running around. I can’t stand no putting me down.” “I put a spell on you because you’re mine.” I know Blue Eyes is heavily driven by his need for sex in order to medicate his moods. I am aware and have been for a long time that taking away his drug completely will help him get in touch with his emotions. Not instantaneously, not overnight, but over time I believe he will be able to master the emotions without using sex to merely float them out. I know the time is now to help him on that part of his path to recovery. Since dday, I have felt particularly vulnerable around Blue Eyes. Even though I talk a lot about Blue Eyes’ pathology and how he was able to do what he did, I was completely unaware of what he was doing. I am a quick learner. Now that I know about the lies and the secret life, about the addiction and all that comes with it, the truth is before me and it is fucking scary. As much as I hate the fact that my husband is a sex addict and all the horrifying realizations that go along with revealing his secret life have literally knocked me to my knees, I am enlightened now. But, I am still broken and traumatized. I wasn’t ready before. I wasn’t ready to face the reality that I needed to release the sexual bond in order to realize the emotional one, not just for Blue Eyes, but for me too. Letting go of the sex felt like letting go of the marriage. Frankly, I was being medicated almost as much as he was. I put a spell on him. I kept him close with the promise of his drug (albeit a lesser drug than he had been using in the past, but still a drug). The sexual connection and physical pleasure was medicating me and maybe even slowing down my trauma healing. The sex was most definitely slowing down his recovery.
I have traveled a long distance on this healing journey and I still have so far to go. I still question my own strength. I know I am strong enough to leave and heal. Am I strong enough to stay, and heal? I am doing better this time around. Last year our forced celibacy period during Blue Eyes’ intensive program elicited a deep and undeniable trauma response. I felt like I was losing him, or maybe it was that without the medication of the sex, I was pulling away. Sex (or lack of) will do that to a traumatized spouse. It will cause you to question everything.
We are now on Day 11 of our celibacy period. I realize some people go regularly without sex for more than 11 days, no big deal. Not us. Not us before dday and most definitely not us since dday. Here is a literal accounting (from my perspective) of what has transpired during this first phase of what I will call our sexless intimacy period:
Monday, April 6, 2015 (The unofficial day before celibacy)
While in NYC, Blue Eyes was doing a good job of communicating and opening up and connecting with me about our “new” reality. Not so new anymore really, but constantly evolving (sometimes devolving). I had been thinking about a celibacy period for some time and loosely decided on my own that we needed a celibacy period. Blue Eyes and I discussed it after what I think was our third time having sex in a 24-hour period.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 (The unofficial 1st day of celibacy)
I call it unofficial, because we had not met with Blue Eyes’ therapist yet. I was already considering it a celibacy period but I’m pretty sure Blue Eyes’ hadn’t quite committed fully to it in his mind.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 (The unofficial 2nd day of celibacy)
At this point, I started devolving. For me, the celibacy period was definitely on, I was feeling ungrounded, and I started ruminating about all the ways Blue Eyes’ sex addiction was and had negatively affected me and my life. Very late in the evening, I wrote the really long post about my friendship with Colleen. I was in a lot of pain. I wanted to be comforted, but there was nothing Blue Eyes could do. Blue Eyes is my best friend and yet he is ultimately the source of my pain. At nearly midnight, I had nowhere to turn. I poured myself out into my post and then slept very little.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 (Day 3, the celibacy period becomes official)
We finally got in to meet with Blue Eyes’ therapist. We were there as a couple to specifically discuss the celibacy period. It was a good session. Blue Eyes’ therapist talked a lot about non-genital touching and about intimacy. I find out Blue Eyes has told his therapist that he has tried non-genital touching and gentle intimacy (recently?) with me and he feels really good about himself. Whoa, wait, stop the music, WTF? I have no idea what he is talking about. I question when this was and Blue Eyes said it was last week, or during our trip to Miami & NYC. I am totally confused. How did I miss it? First, while we were away, we had sex every single day sometimes more than once. All roads led to sex. One day I was struggling, Blue Eyes started caressing me. All roads led to sex. I honestly wracked my brain for a time, any time, when Blue Eyes had practiced gentle, intimate, non-genital touching that was for my benefit and didn’t lead to sex (and wasn’t in public). Nuh uh. Nope. Didn’t happen. That’s okay. I’m not saying I was expecting it, or ever asked for it, but why the lying? Because… Blue Eyes loves it when his therapist says (not in these words of course)… good boy Blue Eyes. You have done well my son. Yeah, sorry I am being a bit facetious, but I cannot tolerate the lying especially when it is to feed a dirigible-sized ego. In the end, we left the therapist officially agreeing to a celibacy period of 30 days. We agreed to meet with The Shrink when the 30 days is up, to discuss, and potentially re-up the 30. After the therapy appointment I asked Blue Eyes if he really thought he had practiced being intimate with no desire for sex and he said, he didn’t know. Of course he didn’t know. He so often wanders through life aimlessly, all caught up inside his head, and manipulating people to make himself feel better. Ugh. We have a long way to go.
Later in the day, or evening, or whatever, Blue Eyes read my post about Colleen and the associated comments. I was still suffering myself from the implications of my emotions that went into that post. It’s not really the post, but the reality of my actual situation. I had decided to sort of unofficially say good-bye to one of my oldest friendships. No closure, just the end. It hurt. Blue Eyes was feeling the brunt of what he had done. Even though we were just a few days into the celibacy period, our emotions were raw. We were having to face our realities without medicating. I started devolving and I could feel it.
Friday, April 10, 2015 (Day 4 of celibacy)
The day that went from bad to worse. Blue Eyes went to his meetings and then later in the morning we went to a tennis lesson together. I still wasn’t feeling great. Blue Eyes was at work later and messaged me in the afternoon and I could tell he was in one of his hyper, unbalanced moods. He was going on and on about something benign (to me) that was going on with one of our sales guys. I expressed my need for him to come home so we could connect and get grounded. We could practice some non-sexual intimacy. I just needed to hold him and I needed him to hold me. I had a horrible headache and decided to move from my office to our bedroom. I tried to read a book, but my mind kept returning to Colleen. After a couple hours, I started to wonder about Blue Eyes. Where the heck was he? I rested for a bit more trying to clear my mind. Eventually, Blue Eyes arrived home in one of his flustered, high on himself moods. I asked where he had been and he said, the grocery store. But while he was there, he got a call from one of his college buddies.
Some months ago, Blue Eyes and I had agreed that we would not tell anyone else about his addiction unless we did it together. When he originally decided to share with a couple of his male friends he made the decision that he would send them the most compelling book on sex addiction that he was aware of, have them read it, and then he would meet face to face with them to discuss and gauge their response to see if they were “safe” as guys outside the program he could count on for support. That plan worked great with Smiley and his wife, not so great for The Traveler. He eventually sent the book to another friend. At some point I decided that sending the book was great, but when he went to discuss it (which was supposed to be in person anyway, this a big deal, really it is) I wanted to be with him. Blue Eyes has a very tenuous grasp on reality and a lot of his tactics are manipulative and self serving, which leaves me in the cold, and feeling cold inside. When it comes to discussing our situation with people we both know, I want to be able to at least hear how close to the truth he is able to get. I realize the addiction is about Blue Eyes, but we are a couple and if he wants to keep our coupleship, I need to be involved in his life. NO MORE SECRETS. The first thing that usually happens when a guy tells a friend that he is cheating, is the friend assumes it has something to do with the marriage or the wife. I don’t even have to go into this because I know everyone knows what I am talking about. Now, Blue Eyes has never insinuated to anyone that any of his addiction, or his cheating, or lying or whatever has anything to do with me. But what Blue Eyes does do is leave me out of the story completely, which leaves a big gaping question mark in people’s minds, in my opinion. I feel like as a couple, we are better equipped to share the reality of the situation. If we decide to separate, I will have no problem with him sharing his story with every person in the world and in any way he wants because I will no longer care about how much he hurts me and our marriage with his lies and half truths. I will be long gone. Since that is far from our current situation, I expect him to abide by the rules we have decided on together.
Somehow, he forgot all about our agreement regarding sharing with friends. He went on and on with his friend and of course, the friend asked how he knew he was a sex addict versus “just a cheater.” A question that has been asked by many and Blue Eyes knows full well how to answer it, but not in the middle of the grocery store on a mobile phone with a friend he rarely sees. As I have said before, for Blue Eyes, rules were meant to be broken. As he went on and on about his discussion with his friend, I became more and more unhinged. I could feel my disconnecting from Colleen rolling together with Blue Eyes re-connecting with his college friend BECAUSE of his sex addiction. While I was losing a friend, he was regaining one. I could feel my head start to move back and forth, no no no no. I needed him to stop talking about himself. Stop the story. Stop this fucking ride, I want to get off. He immediately went from grandstanding mode to caretaker mode. I do not want him to be my caretaker, I want him to stop hurting me. We made an agreement and he broke it, without even thinking about it. Without even thinking.
Saturday, April 11, 2015 (Day 5 celibacy)/Sunday, April 12, 2015 (Day 6 celibacy)
As Saturday came and went, I started feeling better. This was just another bump in the road. I’m strong. Blue Eyes has a long way to go. As so often happens, however, our roles were reversing. Blue Eyes was suffering. Later in the day, Blue Eyes went for a drive by himself and started having chest pains. When he arrived home, he looked visibly exhausted. He had bags under his eyes. We sat together and he touched me intimately and then, he started going to that forbidden place. Truth be told, we both did, but I stopped it. We need to be aware of why we are engaging in a period of celibacy in the first place. By Sunday morning, Blue Eyes had the chills. He shook uncontrollably at one point. We had to cancel our Sunday activities. He was barely eating. We eventually tracked down the thermometer but could not get it to work. I could feel he was running a fever, not a high one, but definitely a fever. He wasn’t vomiting, but he had other symptoms of a stomach flu bug. Due to Blue Eyes intestinal history, his body does not react like a “normal” functioning body. He is missing most of his intestines and a bunch of other stuff too, and dehydration is always an issue with his compromised digestive tract. He has severe absorption issues.
Monday, April 13, 2015 (Day 7 celibacy)
I had scheduled us at a training facility here in town. Their clients range from paraplegics, to NFL football players, to regular old chubby middle aged women like me. I was scheduled for a fitness evaluation and potential personal training session and Blue Eyes for Physical Therapy. Because of his years suffering from Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and his numerous surgeries to treat his Ulcerative Colitis, Blue Eyes has very little joint flexibility and limited abdominal strength. He has needed physical therapy for years, but has never followed through on it. I had been referred to this particular facility a couple months ago by a friend who suffered severe adult onset rheumatoid arthritis. She was basically bed ridden and dependent on heavy doses of medication. She was only 45 years old. A physical therapist at this company helped bring her back to life, out of bed and not dependent on the meds. I was excited to get Blue Eyes in for an assessment. Blue Eyes was scheduled with a woman. Apparently this was also something he was stressed out over (on top of the whole friend/Colleen thing and my trauma) and he talked at length about it with “the guys” at his Monday morning meeting and fellowship. Fantasizing about and being sexually attracted to nurses and other caregivers when he is in pain has never been Blue Eyes’ pathology, so I wasn’t terribly worried, but Blue Eyes worries about EVERYTHING now. Some of this can be a trigger for me because for some crazy reason, early on, he actually told Camilla that I wouldn’t let him go to a physical therapist because it was too expensive. I can only imagine the conversation that precipitated that insane lie. Once when he arrived at her house for a sexual hookup, she had invited a massage therapist friend of hers to “help” Blue Eyes with his lack of flexibility and pain. How sweet, ha. Supposedly, according to Camilla’s online bio on the real estate website, SHE is a licensed massage therapist. Lies beget lies beget lies. She never once, in eight years, gave him any kind of massage (other than the obvious). He was mortified that there was some guy in her house who knew his name and about his relationship with Camilla and he refused to allow the man to touch him.
Anyway… I did end up with a personal trainer and a free hour of fitness training plus an assessment. I felt great. My trainer is a cute young guy with loads of energy and enthusiasm for his job. When I was done, I felt pretty good. I was looking at the options for membership and class availability, etc… trying to figure out what worked for both me and Blue Eyes in terms of class availability and what to pay for as we got a new client discount that day. When Blue Eyes approached me after his session, I was astonished. He looked gaunt, the bags under his eyes deeper and darker and he could barely walk properly. I asked him what had happened. He said his joints were locking up all over the place. I asked him if they had recommended any of the classes for him. He said no classes for him, just physical therapy. He would be unable to participate in any class at this point. I went ahead and paid for my membership and we scheduled both of us future appointments. We returned home and Blue Eyes decided to rest for the day.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 (Day 8 celibacy)
Blue Eyes was going to cancel his individual therapy in the morning, but I suggested he go so The Shrink could really see him in one of his other natural states. Not sure if his illness was precipitated by a bug, or stress from the past week including detox from all sexual activity, or both, but he was still very much in the throes of it. Blue Eyes went to his session and felt like it was productive in that The Shrink could see how angry Blue Eyes was. He gets very angry over his compromised health and dysfunctional body. Blue Eyes resents the fact that he suffers from all these illnesses especially since he feels like they could have been avoided if he had been better equipped to deal with the stress and trauma of his childhood. It is so difficult to watch him go back over and over again and wish for something different and truly believe he should have had control. I used to do this daily (go back and wish for something different) in my trauma so I do understand, but Blue Eyes has been living this way since he was a small child. Time to get a grip!!! Blue Eyes also called his gastroenterologist and got an appointment for later that afternoon. In the meantime, we went to our couple’s therapy because it was near the doctor, it was too late to cancel without a fee, and I also wanted our couple’s therapist to see him in the condition he was in. IF he could get through it without being in too much pain. The alternative was the emergency room. The dehydration had escalated and even though he was constantly drinking, he was suffering. He could not keep up… nothing was being absorbed.
What was most interesting to me about our couple’s therapy was that when Blue Eyes got angry about his situation in front of the therapist, he deflected onto me. We were talking about our celibacy period, a somewhat painful conversation at that point, and he actually accused me of taunting and teasing him and trying to get him to lose his sobriety. The therapist came down pretty hard on me. I reminded her how difficult it is for Blue Eyes to see and live in his own reality. She still kept after me, asking if I had done ANYTHING to tempt him. I told her I sleep naked. I have done this our whole marriage. I have enough difficulty sleeping as it is and if you put clothing on me, forget it. I toss and turn and drive myself crazy. I explained to her that my taking off my clothes for bed is a trigger to Blue Eyes. Actually, my being a woman in a bedroom, is a trigger for Blue Eyes especially in this period of celibacy. He is struggling. No doubt, but he needs to learn to deal with it. He encounters women all day every day, they could all be triggers to him now that he knows he cannot have his drug. I would have to move out of our house not to be a sexual trigger to him. Probably because Blue Eyes was suffering right before her eyes, he had to take his shoes off because his toes and feet were cramping up something horrible, I think she couldn’t bring herself to address Blue Eyes and his culpability. At first I was pretty defensive and she took this to mean I was feeling guilty. I know this because she actually said, “you seem defensive, are you sure you are being honest with yourself about tempting your husband?” I told her I was defensive because I was angry at being accused of doing something I was not doing. She was implying that Blue Eyes was innocently sitting there and/or asking me not to tempt him, and I was doing a full on striptease on his lap. We are a married couple. We play, we banter, we tease. Frankly, I think it is good for Blue Eyes to actually have to fight off his feelings of sexual desire, FOR A CHANGE!
I got over the appointment fairly quickly as I tried to put it all into perspective. The therapist is a trained sex addiction specialist. She wants the addict to have the best chance possible at success. So do I. I am not perfect but I am pretty damn close, ha, JUST KIDDING. There is a learning curve for both of us on this one. Unfortunately, however, if I am not able to sleep naked in our bed, one of us will have to sleep in a different room. How many married couples sleep in separate rooms because they WANT to have sex with their spouse TOO MUCH? Crazy!
We got Blue Eyes to his doctor on time, and he was promptly checked into the hospital with severe dehydration. They hydrated him overnight and he was eating regularly and they prescribed him Immodium.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015/Thursday, April 16, 2015 (Days 9 & 10 celibacy)
Now that Blue Eyes is feeling better, we are attempting the non-sexual intimate touching more frequently. One of the recommendations by the shrink was for Blue Eyes to stand behind me and gently place one flat palm on my upper chest, and one on my belly and gently massage me. As it turns out, that is a huge turn on for both of us. I guess we will have to put that one aside until we are further along in this process. As his hands were touching me and I could feel his hot breath on my neck, even I had a difficult time getting my mind to overpower my sex-starved body on that one.
And we keep striving for celibacy success… We haven’t broken it yet, but we haven’t done a very good job of keeping the demons at bay either.