For many wives, dealing with the reality that their husbands have been sexually acting out, again, can be overwhelming and terrifying.
You may have tried to cope for years. You may have ranted, raged, sobbed and begged him to stop.
Your tears turned to resentment. The anger slowly dissolved into depression.
Self loathing fills your being. You cringe at the person you are becoming.
And then one day you start to get the picture.
With both feet planted firmly on the ground, you tell him straight,
I am done with your ongoing sexual betrayal in our marriage! I will NOT share you intimately with other women, whether you gaze at them in porn magazines, online, on your phone, in real life or in your head. It’s your choice. Make up your mind and choose!
You may have held the belief that it was your duty, yes, your responsibility to forgive, forgive, and forgive yet again.
True, there is a place for forgiveness and you are prepared to forgive.
However, you have come to the place where you will no longer be forced to reconcile when it is clear there is no true lasting remorse.
You may need to carve out some space where you can read, reflect and receive the support you need from your trusted supports (eg. friends, support group members, family, clergy, and therapist/coach who specializes in betrayal trauma).
And one day, you get the picture and admit to yourself . . . there is something very very wrong with this relationship.
And with trembling fingers, you slowly begin to peel back the layers of deception, one betrayal at a time.
Don’t isolate! Continue to reach out to your wise and loving supports.
You may need to consult with a legal advisor to understand your rights. Do what you need to do to gather essential information moving forward.
Give yourself permission to attend a workshop or participate in a support group related to sexual betrayal.
Read everything you can get your hands on related to the topic of healing from betrayal trauma.
During this time, you will likely feel very, very tired. Don’t be surprised at this. Trauma from sexual betrayal is exhausting to deal with. Practice good self care. Be gentle with yourself.
Yes, you are powerless to change him. This is true.
However, you are not hopeless, helpless or worthless. You have the power to take control of your own life.
You may have been victimized by his sex addiction, however, you do not have to live the life of a victim.
You have choices.
You have the right to make plans and set goals. You have the right to take responsibility for your own life. Yes, you can make your own decisions and own your own recovery.
Over time, with the support of others, you can learn how to be confident and assertive.
And one day, you will start to get the picture and everything will become much more clear.
Louise works as a professional counsellor in her native Canada. Through her private practice, in online forums, and through public speaking and writing, her work is about helping others find hope and healing in their lives. When her first three-decades’ long marriage ended in divorce because of ongoing sexual betrayal, Louise knew in her heart that she was to use this painful experience for the good of others. Many of her clients are women who have experienced the trauma of sexual betrayal. They know Louise “gets” their pain; this helps them not feel so alone in their journey of healing. Louise is finally happily married to a man who loves and respects her for being herself.