It seems that there is no single definition for what recovery from compulsive sexual behaviors look like. I’ve read books and blogs, listened to podcasts, completed courses, and spoken with other betrayed partners about what recovery is. Most of what I’ve read and heard seemed too lenient to me. I didn’t want to settle for “good enough”. I didn’t want to be married to a man who still struggled every day to remain faithful to me.
JP and I developed our vision for recovery and the future by sorting through what we didn’t agree with.
- We don’t believe that relapse is part of recovery. Relapse is part of the acting out cycle. I made it clear early on that I would rather live alone than be married to a man who continued to act out, even if less frequently. Sobriety is the first step in recovery and JP made changes in his life in order to stay sober.
- We don’t believe that men are wired to lust and there’s nothing they can do about it. I refuse to stay married to a man who evaluates the attractiveness of other women and has to “bounce his eyes” or “surrender lust”. I want to be married to a man who can be faithful to me in his heart, mind, and actions.
- We don’t believe in powerlessness and that this has to be a lifetime battle. There are root issues and core beliefs that have to be addressed. Shame has to be resolved. Lasting change can be made.
- We knew our marriage would not survive a three to five year recovery timeline. We rearranged our lives to focus on recovery work.
- We don’t believe that sex should be about the addict “redirecting” his urges toward his wife or about the wife “helping” him not to act out. We believe that it should be a mutually pleasurable bonding experience that results from emotional, spiritual, and intellectual intimacy.
What I see in JP in recovery is an emotionally healthy, honest, kind, empathetic man who makes meaningful connections with others. He makes wiser decisions in all areas of his life.