“The most precious gift you can give to the one you love is your true presence.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
I cut back on my blog reading and writing, trying to spend less time in front of a computer screen and more time being present with Blue Eyes in the evenings. I have arrived at a consistently better place in the last few weeks than I have been in months. I am healing, I can feel it. But I have also read a few times in regards specifically to sex addiction bloggers, that once things settle down a bit, bloggers stop blogging. They stop sharing. Once the bad is mostly over, so is the blog. I really don’t intend for it to be that way with my blog. First, I have a feeling all the bad is not in our rearview mirror. I continue to grow as a person because of everything that has happened to me and is happening to me. As I become more positive, I want to add more positive elements to my blog and Blue Eyes still has a very long way to go on his path to recovery. I intend to share our journey because I love writing and I want readers to see that there is hope that two people can work towards being better people, partners, human beings, even through devastating times.
When I first read the quote above, of course I thought of Blue Eyes. He spent so much time in his head with his unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, he was stealing time from me and his boys. He wasn’t present, and I do not believe he even knew what love was. He is changing.
I am changing too. I was spending too much time blogging and focusing on infidelity. I decided there is an equilibrium here and I set up some guidelines for myself. With my new boundaries firmly in place, I still allow myself time to read and socialize via social networking and blogging, just less time. I have read a few blog entries in the past week and had some conversations with friends where there seems to be a running theme. The theme: cheating spouses refusing to take responsibility for their behavior and who gaslight their victims (in this case, their wives). Throughout our recovery so far, approximately the past 19 months, Blue Eyes has taken full responsibility for what he has done and for changing. Sure there were lots of lies in the first year. Sure he thought that next thing he divulged about his secret life would surely be the one that would send me packing. There were some serious deflections on his part. Deflections away from true recovery and healing, and his starts and stalls kept me from moving forward on my healing path. Now that he is embracing everything about recovery, he is embracing getting to know who he is, what he has done, who he wants to be, and how he needs to get there. I feel his true presence with me more. That mountain he has been standing at the bottom of for months and months, well, he’s now slowly and steadily climbing it. But when I hear about husbands telling their wives that they have fixed themselves, they just needed a wake up call, or there was no emotional affair, it is all in the wife’s mind, it was a purely innocent friendship (even though the wives have loads of proof that there was indeed an inappropriate relationship) and oh, by the way the problems now reside with the broken spouse because she is refusing to just heal already, I find it very sad. How can the perpetrators look at the person they have harmed and then minimize their pain and ignore their needs. How can they continue to be so selfish? How can they refuse to work on themselves while deflecting to their innocent victims? The problem is not solved. I long for the cheaters to be strong, to man up, to take that road less traveled, to fix what is broken in THEM. I am going to post here again the passage that Blue Eyes was assigned to read out loud at his very first Buddhist Meditation (realizing that no one in that group knew he had been diagnosed a sex addict) back in February:
I am aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.
More on the four basic elements of true love according to Buddhism (excerpted from the website Spirituality & Health)
According to Buddhism, there are four elements of true love. The first is maitri, which can be translated as loving-kindness or benevolence. Loving-kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, to bring joy to a beloved person; it is the ability to bring joy and happiness to the person you love, because even if your intention is to love this person, your love might make him or her suffer.
Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking directed toward the person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. That is the message of the Buddha. If a husband, for example, does not understand his wife’s deepest troubles, her deepest aspirations, if he does not understand her suffering, he will not be able to love her in the right way. Without understanding, love is an impossible thing.
What must we do in order to understand a person? We must have time; we must practice looking deeply into this person. We must be there, attentive; we must observe, we must look deeply. And the fruit of this looking deeply is called understanding. Love is a true thing if it is made up of a substance called understanding.
The second element of true love is compassion, karuna. This is not only the desire to ease the pain of another person, but the ability to do so. You must practice deep looking in order to gain a good understanding of the nature of the suffering of this person, in order to be able to help him or her to change. Knowledge and understanding are always at the root of the practice. The practice of understanding is the practice of meditation. To meditate is to look deeply into the heart of things.
The third element of true love is joy, mudita. If there is no joy in love, it is not true love. If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, and if you make the person you love cry, this is not really love―it is even the opposite. If there is no joy in your love, you can be sure that it is not true love.
The fourth element is upeksha, equanimity or freedom. In true love, you attain freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love. If the opposite is true, it is not true love. You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free, not only outside but also inside. “Dear one, do you have enough space in your heart and all around you?” This is an intelligent question for testing out whether your love is something real.
I really believe shortly after d-day, Blue Eyes struggled with understanding what love was. What being a loving person and father and husband means. Because he didn’t really know how to love, he was unable to accept the true unconditional love that was being given to him, had been given to him from the day he left his childhood home. It is also true that Blue Eyes continued to surround himself with people who could not provide true love, no doubt mirroring the feelings he received in childhood, and also feeling like this false love was the only love he deserved. Loving ourselves and being able to love others, are inextricably intertwined. Some experts say we must love ourselves first. But, I think that by learning to give love, true external love as described above, it is inevitable we will understand how easy it is to accept that love upon ourselves. I was given true love by my parents and in turn I learned to, and was able to, give that true love to others.
I am now seeing through Blue Eyes, that his being able to add spiritual elements to his addiction recovery has been his pathway to understanding and being able to give and receive true love to himself, and others. It’s a good thing. ❤