I almost never write about my ex-husband. That’s because his issues are his journey, and my kids don’t agree with me about what happened, and I don’t want to hurt them. Not that they have ever read this, but they might one day and I don’t want to hurt them. But today I feel I can write about something fairly and honestly and it’s something that hurts women and needs to be said.
My ex-husband has sex addiction. He has struggled with it since he was a teenager and found pornographic magazines in a fort in the woods. It changed the way he viewed women and it impacted our marriage in a very negative way.
When we had been dating for about 6 months, I had lost a few pounds and was feeling good about myself. I said something to him about it and he said “the fat on the back of your leg still jiggles.”
I should have ended the relationship then and there. It would have saved me years of grief. But I chose to believe him. I then embarked on a journey of lies that almost killed me.
Every time I got up in the morning and got on the scale I hated myself. I was embarrassed to go out in public. I was thinking about how I looked all the time. He was only too eager to help me. He would tell me when an outfit made me look fat and I would dispose of it.
I would go on unhealthy diets and starve myself to lose weight. I would exercise like crazy.
My weight would go up and down, but even when I was small, he would point out the imperfections, the cellulite, the stretch marks, things I couldn’t do anything about. It was hopeless. I gave up.
I used substances to kill the pain. The depression was great. I couldn’t get out of bed. I stopped parenting. I stopped bathing. I couldn’t get sober.
Now, there were other things going on as well. I did things I should never have done. Sinful things. Damaging things. Those were my choices. I had options and I didn’t take them. This wasn’t his fault. This was mine. I didn’t have the strength or the guts to do what I needed to do. I didn’t tell anybody. I take responsibility for my part. I had a part. When you are in a relationship, there are always two of you.
It’s astonishing to me that two Christians could go down this road in this manner and get so lost. All this time we were trying to raise Christian children. We knew the truth and we weren’t living it out, either of us.
Why am I writing about this now? Why do I feel free to do so? Well, yesterday, after being separated for 4 years and divorced, he phoned to apologize. He’s starting to see his part in it. He asked me what his sex addiction did to him for the first time and I told him very directly. He listened and he said he was sorry. He sounded broken.
I couldn’t believe I was hearing it.I never thought I would. The blessing of it all is that God has been healing me. In 2015, I met a man who fell in love with me at 248 pounds. He found me desirable and beautiful and he told me so over and over. And I believed him. It was very healing. I began to see myself as beautiful. He loved me. The me that’s inside. He saw that I’m smart and funny and a little wacky and he loved all of it. Just me. The real me. It’s the kind of accepting love that God intends for us. The kind of love He has for us.
I lost the weight. I work out now. I work out a lot. But it’s because I love it. I’m in the best shape of my life. I weigh 142 pounds and I am medium sized and I am beautiful. I have a sagging stomach and thighs, but I have these beautiful biceps and quads. I can run 5 miles. I can cycle 50 miles. It feels so good to work my muscles and be strong and accomplish things. I never worked out that way before. It’s freeing.
I don’t need substances today. When upset, I run. I run as fast as I can and it feels good. I feel the air around me, I smell the outdoors, I feel my muscles pumping and it calms me.
When I go out in public, I put on clothes that are ‘me.’ I fix my hair and makeup and I feel good. Nobody is staring at me. I don’t think about my thighs. God has done a major work in me. Major. And he’s doing it in my ex-husband too.
How can the church address a situation like this? I can tell you that they tried. They really tried to help us and they couldn’t. That’s the dialog I’ve tried to have somewhat on this blog, and I’m not sure I’ve come up with any answers. Maybe it’s a conversation that needs to happen. I don’t know. I think talking about it is a start.