Emotional Intimacy Is A Huge Trigger


I have been struggling with so many of the past issues, emotions and behaviors that my husband has been doing. All I could think of was that he lost his sobriety and that we are back in the addiction. It didn’t make sense that he would lose his sobriety but that is what 2 + 2 equals to me.

I just read a comment from Frank who shared incredible insights that have shed an incredible light on what is happening to me and within my marriage.

I was struggling with the broken trust, the layers of pain from our past and was not able to experience any joy, happiness or love from my husband beginning to change his behavior. I took my confession to our therapist and our last session. My husband told me and the therapist that he was ready, willing and able to handle dealing with some of the past. But was he ready, willing and able to deal with the fallout of that kind of emotional intimacy.

Our session brought up a time when he left me during a huge crisis in my life, when I was past exhaustion and totally overstressed. He left me. He abandoned me. He left me alone to deal with all of it and I had deep emotional scars that were buried deep inside of me.

We touched on the surface of that pain.

My pain brought up an equally painful time for my husband. A time when in my lowest of low moments I was abusive, controlling and I can’t think of the words to describe just how horrible I was to him. It was the cumulative effect of years of unresolved, buried deep pain all coming out in one explosion of pain directed directly at my husband.

I was ashamed of myself. I was beaten and broken and that moment was my rock bottom.

We left the therapists office thinking that we were ok for the next couple of weeks until we met again but now I am thinking that we were walking time bombs.

The next day, my husband brought up a comment regarding a feeling that came out of our session. That opened the flood gates of my pain and I purged thoughts, feelings and pain that were buried so deep that I didn’t even know that I felt it.

That began a couple of weeks a hell for me. He shut me down. He said what he needed to say to hurt me and make me stop talking. I did. I stopped talking and retreated so emotionally hurt to be that vulnerable and open, to only be pushed away.

I felt rejected. I felt abandoned. I felt insecure about my deep share. I was confused by the level of emotion that came out of me that I did not know that I had.

Since then my husband and I have not been able to communicate. There have been broken promises, broken commitments and more isolation on his part.

That has created fear, mistrust and anger in me. I have retaliated by trying to make him understand what he is doing but all that does is make him go farther away from me. He stops talking. He avoids me at all costs. I am left more alone, more lonely, more hurt, more rejected than before I opened myself up to him.

It makes me regret attempting to communicate with him. It makes me feel that having an intimate and open relationship with my husband is impossible. It makes me feel that my needs, feelings and experiences are not acceptable to him and he needs to run away from me until I shut down completely.

That cycle makes me angry. It makes me resentful. Here I have stayed committed to a man and a marriage that has been so destructive to me. I have continued to love and honor. I have continued to give my 100% to this relationship and what I am rewarded with is more rejection, more isolation and more pain. How is that a fair reward?

After reading Frank’s comment, I got to wondering, did the intimacy of the moment in our therapists office actually become a trigger for my husband’s intimacy disorder that he had to do these same destructive things to our relationship in a warped way of thinking that he was protecting himself?

How do you heal an intimacy disorder that he has had his entire life? How do you begin to face deeply emotional, traumatic and painful events and remain connected to your partner when you are trying to heal an intimacy disorder.

He kept saying that he did not see his destructive behaviors. He kept asking me what was wrong with me? When I would tell him he would say that he did not know how to handle it and would run away from me. When I would write it in a letter he would say he didn’t understand.

How can he hear me say how much pain I am in and not understand that I am hurting? How can he hear how much it hurts when he disappoints and rejects and breaks promises and then be confused as to why we have a trust issue?

It is all black and white to me. Cause and effect.

What is it in his brain?

Does logic of cause and effect even work for him? Will he ever begin to understand that the outcome is a true indication of the success of an action? If I am in pain and crying when he thinks that he is being honest or loving, will that ever translate to him that he is not creating the life he thinks he is?

My husband is taking medication for a serotonin deficiency. He must have had it all his life. I understand that this is common in addicts. But now that he has been properly medicated for many months, how do we resolve the intimacy disorder?

And does he even want to?

I think that is the key. Does he truly want an intimate, open, caring, nurturing relationship where both of our needs are met and we are safe with each other?

Or does he prefer to coexist with me, living like roommates but never really touching true intimacy?

Will the serotonin producing medication ever make a difference on how he deals with people or will he remain like this for the rest of his life?

I am miserable. I have been miserable most of our marriage. When the addiction really kicked in and kicked me out of his heart (about 9 months after our wedding) I have gone back and forth between misery and hope that things will get better. I have never really touched on happiness or love or trust or respect. I just hope and pray for those things.

Before recovery I tried to “fix” everything and do it all “right” so that we could return to our pre-wedding relationship. The periods of misery would increase and hope was almost destroyed.

They we joined recovery. My periods of misery were lessened and my times of hope increased but still I have not gone back to love, to happiness or trust or respect.

Is this my life if I stay with this man? Will I live with the fantasy and hope that things will get better, that one day he will love me and respect me and cherish me but always finding those experiences to be a hope in the future but never an actual experience?

I am tired of hoping. I want the real thing. I want to be loved. I want to be cherished. I want to be safe in my marriage. I want to know that I matter to one person in this world – my husband.

I want to stop feeling alone, rejected, not good enough. I want the security that comes with true intimacy, knowing that no matter what happens, he will always be there loving me.

I don’t know that. I know daily, on-going, never ending – emotional rejection.

How do we navigate this one?

6 Responses to “Emotional Intimacy Is A Huge Trigger”

  1. 1 inhibited rose

    I read your blog and always relate in my own, very similar, way. My sa and I are separated and divorcing and it kills me everyday. I love him with all of my heart. But could not do it anymore and I feel week because of it. But the monster I became because of the anger I had in me is not ok. I struggle every day even though he has been gone for months. But some how feel better without him, though I don’t quite know how sometimes. Follow your gut it will never put you where you don’t need to be.

    • Inhibited Rose,

      I absolutely love your final sentence: “Follow your gut it will never put you where you don’t need to be.” For over a year I listened as my SA told me that everything was just fine and that all my worry and concern was simply my fear. I would look him in his eyes, trust the words coming from his mouth, and completely ignore that nagging feeling deep in my soul. For over a year I put my feelings and strong beliefs that “something” just wasn’t right on the back burner. I wanted; no I needed, so badly to believe him. But that feeling inside never, ever went away… if anything it only got stronger. Needless to say it all came out eventually. My partner and I are now in recovery and it is the most challenging time of my life. To this day I am still learning to forgive myself and move past the fact that I ignored my gut for so long. Thank you for this insight!

      SteadyHealing~ http://apathtohealing.wordpress.com

  2. 3 L

    I often wonder the same things that you do; especially about the “black and white” issues. How can they NOT see things the way we do? But, they don’t, they aren’t wired the same way we are.

  3. Hi,

    I came to this site seeking answers. I related my story – albeit in a very brief form because I thought it might be illustrative. I’m sure it failed. What I have learned from my experience with Sarah is very painful and completely outside the realm of previous relationships (mine and of those in whom I’ve confided). I came to this site wanting to know if I was alone feeling that all the warmth and goodness of my love was really poison to the one I loved. I wanted to know if recovery actually worked – selfishly, if my addict could conquer her fears and one day, be in a healthy relationship with me.

    I entered my relationship with S completely ignorant of Sex/love addiction and fears of intimacy. After all I’ve read (books upon books) and learned, I can never know what it’s like for the addict, but I know that my participation only yeilded frustration, hollowness, and pain for me.

    I don’t know why I am unhealthy for her, I assume that I will forever be so. I can’t hope to have a relationship with her – which sucks because I still love her – I can think of all the things she’s done to rationalize why I shouldn’t love her but… For a long time I just want some demonstration of my value to her: S couldn’t meet me half way or even 10% of the way. She accused me of abandoning her when I told her I wasn’t going to put up with her behaviour and when I did, she accused me of being a co-addict.

    She made it impossible for me either way. I couldn’t win and it was torturous to love her and see her turn my love as a weapon against me. I came to understand that her pain is very deep and that I am just a bystander and actually, irrelevant to what she is trying to achieve in recovery.

    I do not know what recovery means to the love addict. Does it mean that they simply control their destructive behavour? Can they begin to love normally? I’m beginning to believe that my love addict and possibly many SA’s are irrepairably damaged emotionally.

    I do feel sad for all that seek to receive an equal measure of the love they offer, but get shortchanged because of this horrible affliction. Sometimes however, hope is not enough.

    • Frank,

      It is so interesting, and hopefully this does not come off as insensitive or unkind, to see and hear a male perspective on sexual addiction. Thank you so much for having the courage and strength to reach out and communicate about your experiences and your pain. You ask some really important questions and I can fully understand when you express concerns that she may be “irrepairably damaged emotionally.” It is a tremendous task to try to understand the mental and emotional well being of an addict of any kind. I do believe that recovery, not a “cure,” is very possible. However, trying to gain understanding of the addict often leaves us feeling lost, alone, worthless, and ashamed. An addict must absolutely want and more importantly be WILLING to seek help on their own; completely independent from our wants and needs for them. If they are not in a place where they want it even more than they want a relationship with you, then recovery is highly unlikely. When you say, “She accused me of abandoning her when I told her I wasn’t going to put up with her behavior and when I did, she accused me of being a co-addict.” What this is telling me is that she is deep within her addiction and is using addictive behaviors to make you feel stuck or as if you are to blame. You are not unhealthy for her necessarily. The choices an addict makes causes it to be just about impossible to be in a healthy relationship with ANYONE… it is not personal, it is the nature of the disease. Addiction stems from a place far deeper than our present situations, and for many people, not just addicts, it is far too painful a task to dig up, face, heal, and grown from the wounds of our past. This, in my belief, is why so many addicts do not seek true recovery. It takes a great deal of strength to look at ourselves in the mirror and face all that pain and shame. Try to focus on healing yourself and discovering what is best and healthy for you. Thank you so much for your words, Frank.

      And, thank you so much Mysa, for this blog and giving us the opportunity to grow and heal together. You are not alone!

      SteadyHealing~ http://apathtohealing.wordpress.com

  4. 6 frank

    I’m sorry if I sound callous or insensitive to your pain. I know that it is a very great pain, I have felt it too. I don’t know what to say that might soothe your heart, It is a very profound sorrow to have to carry without a clear direction of resolution.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: