Lightbulb connections

Once again, I’ve been revisiting the blog archives. I came across one where I was questioning my marriage and it turned out that it was another one of those issues that became much clearer with time and eventually resolved.

I only told a couple people about what happened in my marriage a couple years ago but it was something that I’ve never really addressed in blog format.

For many years, I was pretty upset that our sex life was less fulfilling than I wanted. I thought it was a lack of compatibility, even though things were actually good when we got together. I just couldn’t understand why he never seemed to want me. Finding the old blog post, I saw that he said he had similar issues with other girlfriends before me.

And surprise: when he told me three years ago that he’d had a lifelong addiction to porn that was substituting for intimacy with real-life women, everything became so clear.

I know that the concept of addiction to porn is controversial. Some people don’t believe it exists or tie it to religious arguments. But I believe that it does, in the same way that people can become addicted to gambling or spending or even video games. I don’t believe that something has to be a chemical addiction to be a real one or at the very least a compulsion that can destroy your life.

It was so vindicating to find out that it wasn’t because of a basic physical incompatibility between us, because of the way I looked, or because of other things about me. But I have to admit that it was difficult for me to believe at first that it wasn’t my fault. That’s probably the only good thing about my time with the evangelical church: I was attending there at the time and it was a source of comfort for me.

But it wasn’t just the truth finally coming to light that made things better, because I felt so hurt and betrayed. It was that he changed. He stopped using porn cold turkey and has never gone back. He changed things in himself that made him treat me better and stop blaming me for things that weren’t my fault. I had been the scapegoat for things that went wrong in our lives, like the house we bought in Michigan (which my blog archives showed he not only was on board with but actually brought up the idea first.)

I learned a lot from that about why I accepted the role of scapegoat so easily. Growing up, I came to believe that a lot of things were my fault when they weren’t actually a big deal. I think I played a scapegoat role growing up, both at home and at school. And a lot of it was just plain an aspect of my personality, which I’ve been working on addressing.

And on another note, my blog was full of lots of stuff about how important college was to me and about how much I wanted to get a master’s degree. I always wanted to be either a sociology professor or a therapist. That’s still what I want to do. I’m not sure how much I can do with my disability and I have to find out what the allowable activities are. But I spent so many years since finishing my bachelor’s degree feeling unhappy and like I didn’t have a direction. I know that the lack of direction is because I’m not really doing what I want to do.

Maybe now is the time to believe in myself and to stop accepting that things happen to me that are against my will. I can’t give up on myself yet. Just like I knew all along that there was something wrong with my marriage and I was right, I know this is what I really want to do. But also like my marriage, knowing what’s wrong doesn’t fix the problem. There had to be some real changes to make things right.

2 Comments

  1. I definitely agree that porn can be an addiction. Just like the new videogaming addiction disorder – the criteria is if it’s consuming enough to affect functioning and responsibilities. It’s not about the number of hours played / watched, but if the person prioritises the game / porn over sleep, food, work, friends, family etc.

    It sounds really hard when your husband would scapegoat you. I’m glad you don’t blame yourself for your husband’s addiction.

    As for revisiting your dreams – I hope you can discover what steps you can take towards those goals! You clearly have a value system you are guided by (our values influence our goals) and even if jumping full swing back into college isn’t an option, how about some part time classes?

    Therapist-wise: Some places offer “mental health first aid” courses, which teach some useful active listening and mental health crisis skills. There’s also peer support workers – usually there’s a training course as well.

    I always wanted to study counselling or social work but college is out of the question for me for the time being, so I took up a short term “basic counselling” skills course which I definitely don’t regret. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks! I agree that many things can become addictions if they take priority over real life connections and commitments.

      It took me a long time to get over blaming myself for my husband’s addiction. I am lucky that he was so willing to do the hard work of getting past it and of reassuring me.

      I think I am going to revisit my dreams! I will likely go back to grad school once things become more stable with his cancer.

      I’m happy that you found something you can do to work toward your interest in counseling! They have courses on Udemy where you can do just that and I signed up for one to learn cognitive behavioral therapy.

      Liked by 1 person

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