This is my fourth spring since finding out about my partner’s other life as a sex addict for the 27 plus years we were together. I assumed my relationships and social life would be more robust and varied by now. Not so and I am discouraged.
Because I just got snubbed by one more person whom I thought was going to be a friend and who dumped me when I wasn’t interested in sex.
I had no clue this was on her mind. To make matters worse, some of her behaviors indicate she may have sex addiction problems herself, which she acts out in the place of business where she’s employed and where I shopped, past tense.
This is a pattern that I’ve experienced three times now since being widowed by my partner who was a sex addict. The first two hurt for a long time afterwards and I am still having difficulties coping with the effects of this latest incident.
When I first discovered that my partner had been a sex addict, I didn’t have any friends or family to turn to. I was vulnerable, raw and putty in pretty much anyone’s hands. I joined a group struggling with similar issues and one piece of recovery humor I took with me is this, “If I find myself liking someone new or someone new liking me, there must be something wrong with one or both of us.”
That first year it’s best not to get involved with anyone except for maybe recovery group members during meetings.
We partners do come to learn over time exactly how we innocently play right into the hands of our partners by enabling, denying, having poor boundaries and communication skills. But, when I was wobbling through the first half-year of this crisis, I didn’t follow this advice and became involved in a couple of relationships, the added pain of which nearly brought me down for good.
A couple of very savvy, young, manipulators befriended me in two different places of business that I frequented.
One came across as a very competent and highly-professional yoga teacher with whom I immediately hit it off. The second person was a young woman who said she was a student studying for vet school. She was subtle and dear and just the right amount of friendly that I could handle given the pain I was going through in 2013. I was as fond of her as I would be of my own grandchild.
She, too, suggested meeting outside and I only came to understand many months later that she too had wanted sex. When it became obvious that I didn’t understand what she wanted, she changed overnight, stopped speaking to me, and blocked her phone and email. Later, it became obvious that she had some serious personality issues. That hurt didn’t subside for a long time either. In fact, those two relationships were simultaneous.
I hadn’t dated for 30 years. I was approaching 70 years of age. I wasn’t and still am not looking for anyone. The emotional and sexual numbness that followed in the wake of my partner’s death left no space in my soul or heart for romance. It would be the last thing on my mind for a long time to come.
And, now, I’ve just had another relationship scare in 2016 that has shaken me to the core. The same story has just repeated four springs later. I thought this was all behind me and those three years of intense study of the Three Principles, of absorbing the 12 Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction, and of getting a perspective on how thought and illusion impact relationships, had sheathed me in discernment! Not so.
My idealist nature always gets me into trouble. This time around is no exception.
I am an idealist and now feel frustrated, disappointed, and even angry because this seems to be happening again?!? I thought I was befriending a young housewife or artist, someone quiet and profound. Turned out she was quiet because she was cruising where I shopped. She doesn’t know how to communicate.
She, too, cut me off and blocked my phone number. She won’t speak to me. Stonewalling for seven weeks now. Why? Because she sensed some disapproval and disappointment on my part over her provocative and inappropriate dress and behaviors one day at work and it hurt her feelings. And it hurts my feelings as well, because I like her and miss her.
I was looking forward to our friendship blossoming outside of work. But I’m not going to go down that road again.
It hurt my feelings too, that I’ve made another mistake of this magnitude. That my soul or instincts have gone on the blink and I don’t attract the healthy, highly-conscious people whom I want in my life, whom I once had in my life. Where did my innate wisdom and intuition go? What happened to the Kathy I knew before my partner died?
This experience woke me up to how innocent and vulnerable we partners of sex addicts remain to predators and master manipulators who seem to fill the ranks of so many sales and cashiering jobs, front office positions, anywhere there is a constant turnover of customers on whom to prey. They prey on us. They prey on our partners.
They are our partners! An enormous pool of lost souls cruising, using, humping and dumping. They are available to each other all the time. We have no control over that or them.
They are our partners! This week is the first time it hit me why ending up with these women in my life is so disturbing. Because it forces me to look at what my partner was doing for 27.5 years when she was out of my sight! When she was at school or working. When she was commuting to and from work…When we were at the farmers markets or staying in hotels. When we were shopping or eating out or just walking down the street.
Reviewing the experiences I’ve had with these young women since 2013 is a painful reminder of how I wasted the best years of my life.
Fortunately, instead of being ripped apart by three separate incidents with three wounded people, I’ve been able to connect the dots of these relationships to remind me WHY I do the work I do… That’s all! To have love, compassion, and forgiveness for them instead of fear and contempt and feeling used.
As my sponsor used to say, they’re not happy doing these activities. They feel even more shame and self-loathing afterwards than they did going in. They know no other way to “connect,” except through manipulative, serial, sexual encounters.
So, I guess the takeaway from all of this is that you’re not alone! I’ve gone through and I’m still struggling from time to time with meeting new people and trusting myself and the relationships I create. And, I’ve got the tools to help me connect the dots and bounce back more quickly than many other partners of sex addicts. But, the truth is, we all have the resilience to bounce back and learn from our mistakes and create better relationships.
This is the whole point of the Three Principles for Partners of Sex Addicts groups and the one-on-one consultation and coaching services I provide… So that people like you and I can share our experiences, disappointments, frustrations, and heal with the help and support of each other.
What are your thoughts? Have you had similar experiences? Let me know your questions and comments below and I’ll look forward to hearing from you…