Seventeen years ago I married the “boy next door” to my college apartment - he was thoughtful, brilliant, and handsome. We married after nine intense months of dating and spent the next ten years becoming the "All-American Couple". We had lots of money in the bank, traveled extensively, and planned three children. Our marriage and family seemed to be thriving, but I felt frustrated and lonely. I denied constant intuitive feelings that something wasn’t right, and learned to bury them because my husband and my life looked so “perfect.”
Then after ten-and-a-half years of marriage, my husband’s long-kept secret was revealed: he had been having numerous affairs during the length of our marriage. I was repulsed and heartbroken beyond what I thought I could bear. And I had to start looking at the reality of our marriage--it was far from thriving. In fact, it was probably the most troubled relationship of any I knew. In the subsequent weeks, we would learn through counseling that my husband was a sex addict, and had been for as long as I had known him.
As a result of the pain that ensued, I began a healing journey that has brought me to the happiest place I have ever known. This tragedy shook me to my core and uncovered a soul that had been dying a slow death. It has since been reawakened, and I am living a life that inspires even me. I am thankful for the process and for the long, wonderful, difficult journey.
It took eighteen months of daily crying, questioning, and writing to begin to rid myself of the pain, the losses, and the shock, but I came through the experience without hate, anger, or revenge. I grieved it fully. The infidelities are a distant memory. And in order to heal completely, I had to first uncover my own shortcomings and take responsibility for my contribution to our co-created relationship.
My memories of our family are bittersweet. I remember the laughter, the fun, the jokes, the vacations, the silliness, and the love. All of it was real. But addictions have nothing to do with loving someone. My marriage ended in divorce because an untreated addiction killed it, not because our love died, or we grew apart.
I began writing this book several days after my new life began, only I didn't realize it at the time. Writing was cathartic for me, so I kept a daily journal to document my experiences and feelings. Most of what I journaled, I tore out and tossed away as I began to heal. The reminders were too difficult to relive. After the divorce my story finally unfolded onto paper and later took shape as the words you are now reading.
This project chose me. The idea to write this book came as a clear message from deep inside of me, and I followed its strong urgings. Every time I tried to give it up, it called me back. It has become my mission, and I am meant to be sharing it with you. It is bigger than I am. I am merely the messenger.
Nearly eight years later, I am a changed woman, committed to sharing my story so that others can also heal. My story is an opportunity for the other side of addiction - those of us who love the addict - to be heard. We are seen as the sane survivors, the population without the problem, but we lose to the addiction, too. The effects of sex addiction cross every cultural, economic, and educational paradigm. I am one such statistic.
I have had the opportunity to share my story with hundreds of people and the reactions have been powerful and confirming. Recovering addicts have approached me with tears in their eyes, pleading that I publish my story. They gained new insight into how their addiction contributed to their partner’s anguish, and partners were relieved to know that healing was not only possible, but could really bring joy to their lives. People who hear my story recognize it as a powerful message from a survivor who is thriving.
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