Have you ever had one of those blog posts you knew you needed to write – in fact, you very much wanted to write – but you struggled to just get out there?
Well, here it is mid-March and it’s taken me far longer to write this and here’s why…
I started it before Valentine’s Day in anticipation of one more “special” day to endure. Now that’s passed and I still want to share my core disappointment around holidays for partners of sex addicts.
In February 2016, I thought a “holiday” for whom? To me Valentine’s Day is just one more commercialization of my loss… of the indefinable tug that remains, always, no matter how far out I get from the date that I discovered my partner’s sex addiction, just about this time of year in 2013.
And no matter how far out I get from the dates closing in on our last shared days – 2011 her cancer diagnosis, 2012 her death, 2013 exhuming the illusion of our nearly three decades together – I never completely shake the vulnerability in my heart that gets exacerbated by these marketing occasions.
At least Valentine’s Day marks for me the end of much forced joviality that began for us annually in October with Halloween.
If you’re at all like me, you may know what it feels like to dread well-meaning people asking if you have any plans or what you’re going to do to celebrate … I used to remain quiet, but now I let store clerks and such know that since my partner died, I don’t ‘do’ holidays.
This is not something that I usually talk or write about but rather endure. However, I know I’m not alone, and it’s not just the death of a partner that brings up this heaviness. Just as quietly painful is the death of the relationship all partners of sex addicts suffer once the betrayals are exposed.
Gratefully, I have the knowledge and understanding that my thinking will shift, these thoughts will pass, and that things will continue to get better. I won’t die if I have some memories and feel subdued.
Yes, memories are only thought. But what else do we have to cling to immediately following the shock of finding out that our years together were nothing but a blasphemy to our trust? In the early years, good memories helped to soften the blunt force of my agony. There’s comfort in looking at the good times.
For example, Valentine’s Day at our house wasn’t about exchanging store-bought cards and Recchiuti chocolates. It was an Event that began in January!
My partner was an artist and every year she handmade 50 or 60 heart-shaped gifts from scratch, detailed with scraps of ribbon, lace, tulle, Japanese paper, and foils that had been saved for years in old, used incense or cigar boxes and cookie tins, or lovingly flattened and rolled around a cardboard drum for the next project.
Her biggest thrill was passing them out at work. She was always surprised that people loved her artwork, and that they seemed genuinely touched to receive these sweet hearts.
So, no, I don’t want to completely forget how it was and dismiss my entire past as mere thoughts, even though Syd Banks, the founder of the 3 Principle movement was right when he said, “memories and longing for the past are thoughts and that they don’t have to hurt nor become the present.”
I can still cry at the drop of a hat and wish my partner was alive and well. She was a magnificent soul and she began each holiday season this way, Halloween, early November plans for Thanksgiving, followed by early December lists for Christmas and ditto for New Year’s Eve.
One of my coaches and I have been at odds over what’s most important for new clients to receive from me: to mention first and foremost Sydney Bank’s spiritual message that “memories and longing for the past are thoughts and that they don’t have to hurt nor become the present,” or to listen quietly and comfort clients about their devastation… So, I am going to offer a little spiritual buffet here to include both aspects, which I believe are equally important.
Looking back at those long months immediately following the discovery of my partner’s sex addiction, I didn’t have the depth of understanding of the 3 Principles that I have now. All I knew was that I felt awful and that meant that I was having awful – or, at least extremely unhelpful – thoughts. And I knew my thoughts would pass. I knew feelings follow thoughts. Therefore, I knew I wouldn’t always feel that way. That little piece of knowledge assuaged many thoughts of revenge and blame. That knowledge alone sustained me from dropping into a deep depression and giving up hope.
So, yes, I understand going back in time, even though “memories and longing for the past are thoughts and although they don’t have to hurt nor become the present,” can offer us a glimpse of love and compassion for the person we thought we knew and loved at that time. Funny thing is, we still love that person. They haven’t changed. Our perspective of them has.
In any event, you can turn to me.