Accepting that your new reality is a part of your marriage and story is a required first step if you hope to heal. But it’s also one of the most gut-wrenching things you will ever have to do. A marriage compromised by sex addiction is simply not what you signed up for! But if you want to heal emotionally and stay healthy physically, there is no way around it. For your healing’s sake, keep reading.
Just what do I mean by accepting your situation? Let’s begin with what I am not saying. I am not saying that you must approve of your husband’s addictive behaviors. Nor am I asking you to turn a blind eye, or to put up with your situation for another day—much less indefinitely. Acceptance is not approval.
Acceptance is acknowledging that what you’ve learned is true and it’s real. It’s a very real part of your new reality. Acceptance requires that you acknowledge and admit the facts as you now know them. It requires that you stay present in the midst of your situation. For some of us, this is a tall order; we would rather dissociate than stay present with this painful wrinkle in our story.
Acceptance is about feeling the grief, the pain, the loss, and yes, the anger, that comes with this journey. It requires that we:
- Accept the truth about our husband’s behavior and his brokenness, even though it has brought trauma in our lives
- Accept that it’s his job to make changes in his life; and that we can’t do that work for him.
- Accept that we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and get the help we need, even if he isn’t working to change.
Acceptance and healing are hard work.
Early in my own journey of acceptance, I found the recovery expression, “It is what it is” to be incredibly helpful. I had to repeat it often to maintain acceptance in my life. Back then it helped me accept that my husband was very broken, and he needed to find his own way. I couldn’t do it for him. And it helped me remember I had to focus on me, my healing, my journey, my life moving forward, whether or not my marriage healed. Sadly, my marriage did not survive, because ultimately, he chose his addiction over his healing. But clinging to acceptance as I moved through that loss—repeating “It is what it is”—kept me on task as I lived out the new loss that came with divorce.
Like everyone else, initially I found the idea of acceptance difficult to grasp. I knew I needed to reach and embrace it, but it took time to get there. So if you are struggling with acceptance, know that it’s hard for all of us. But if you keep showing up and doing the work, you will get there in time.
When you finally open the door to acceptance and walk through it, you open the door to adaptation, and with adaptation comes healing and new growth. That healing and new growth brings rich rewards you would have missed, were it not for this journey.
If you are struggling in this area, come and join us on this journey. We can help you get there. Begin by filling out our assessment form for a 1-hour free call with a coach who has walked this journey herself.
Your sister on this crazy journey,
Coach Katherine, CPLC
Certified Professional Life Coach