Saturday, February 27, 2010

Backsliding

D informed me last night that he was going to spend a couple hours after work today helping a (female) friend move. Now, when I work through things, I tend to love making lists. So, without further ado...

Pros:
  • He told me about this apparently as soon as he knew about it.
  • I know the friend. She's a pretty nice girl who has hung out with us several times.
  • D promised he had only agreed to help for an hour or two because we haven't seen each other very much lately and he wanted to make sure we got to spend an evening together.
  • I have no reason to believe D has any interest in this girl or is doing anything other than being a nice, helpful person to her/her roommate/her family/her dogs.
Cons:
  • This kind of shit still makes me get nervous. Still.

I wish, oh but I wish I could just hear something like that and not react. But I can't yet. Maybe I never will. When he first told me, I stayed calm and asked for details, but inside I was shaking and my bottom was dropping out. And then, of course, come the little niggling voices... "What if he's only doing this because he's trying to flirt with her?" "What if she asked him to do this because she's interested in him?" "What if they've been texting or e-mailing under the radar this whole time and the moving thing is just a front to hook up?" "Last time he helped a female friend move it was many years ago when he was still acting out and he was being too flirtatious and manipulative with her." And on and on.

Like I said above, I have no reason to think D isn't sober. I openly explained to him this morning how I was feeling--that I didn't mind the idea of him helping his friend move, but situations like these still sometimes stir up old, bad feelings. I even explained the fact that the last time he helped someone move it was a person with whom he had an inappropriate relationship (albeit not physical, but emotional infidelity hurts too). But somehow it still doesn't feel like enough. I still don't feel right about it. I'm still worried that somewhere somehow something bad is going to happen (or already has). I just wish there were a way to make the thoughts and worries and stomach lurches go away so I can have a nice, normal, non-sex-addiction day.

4 comments:

Bernadine said...

Hey B,

I'm so sorry. I can imagine that this is definitely a trigger. I hope you're taking care of yourself okay.

Also, from my perspective (just so you don't think you're the 'only' one) I would be triggered as hell by something like this. Especially from what I learned in disclosure-- to my addict husband, nothing could ever be innocent. Because he didn't view the world from an innocent place, all women were potential acting out partners.
We even had an agreement that he would never (EVER) spend time alone with a non-relative, who was a female, unless he absolutely couldn't help it, like a work situation. And in those no-choice instances, he was supposed to bookmark it with calls to fellows, etc., and tell me as soon as he could.
Now, I realize we're getting a divorce and he was acting out most of the time, even in recovery, but I vividly remember the honesty of what he expressed when we talked about how he viewed women.

I would say, if it continues to trigger you, even after the fact, it might be an indicator to you that some boundaries that you weren't aware of, might be applicable, for you to feel safe.

John said...

B, sorry to hear about the situation. Triggers are windows into the past, into unaddressed trauma. I believe in most cases the real issue is not addiction, but what perpetuates it. It is important to deal with the surface behaviors like sexually acting out, but more critical is what drives the behaviors. Sex addiction is not about sex, it is about intimacy or the lack thereof. In relationships we act as mirrors to our partners untreated traumas. Every time I get trigged it is an opportunity for me to examine my own history, my own wounds, and what work I need to do to heal. You might get a lot out of reading the book "fear of intimacy" by Robert Firestone. Relationships are the most challenging thing we do in life, but they are also where the gold lies. Hang in there.

Check out: http://addictionmanagement.org/2009/07/trauma-is-the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving/

John

B said...

Bernadine, I totally agree. I'm still trying to work out exactly what made this particular situation so triggering so that I can examine if there are any boundaries I need to set or at least discuss with D. The thing is, D wasn't even alone with this girl--there were multiple people (both guys and gals) involved with the helping, and when we discussed it after the fact, D even offered to let me call and talk to any of them. Still--it's just tough. Obviously there was something about the whole situation that made me very uncomfortable, and when I can put a finger on it, hopefully that'll lend some clarity and help me do what I need to take care of myself in the future.

C. Christine @ battleofjoan said...

Wow, that is a toughy. I admire John's comment. I don't think I would allow my husband to do that, just because I know his vulnerability.