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Stages of understanding an addicted spouse

By Rabbi A.

obormottel Wednesday, 27 June 2018
Stages of understanding an addicted spouse

This journey has taken me through a number of different stages in how I view my wife’s struggle, how much I’m involved, and how I feel about myself because of it.

Stage one was the hardest. I felt bad for myself for being stuck with someone that is “lower” than me. I felt abandoned, cheated, and betrayed. I just didn’t want her problem to exist and as a result, at times I didn’t want her to exist!

Stage two was the acceptance that we are soulmates, with all her problems, she’s a good person, and because of this, her problems are really our problems.

This gave our marriage a whole new freshness. I felt lucky to be married to her, she finally became completely open with me, and we finally started to become one.

Stage three happened once I realized that our being one and me accepting her problems as ours will not make them disappear. When I realized that she’s still struggling and there’s nothing I can do to make these problems go away, I had to find new tools to help me cope.

And here it is: Even though I’ve accepted my wife’s struggle as our struggle, after 120 years, they won’t hold me accountable for her porn. They will, however, ask me if I supported her the way I should have.

Realizing that we’re married and can be one, even though we’re on very different levels regarding these things, and that doesn’t make me any less of a person, regardless of how much progress she does or doesn’t make. I guess I didn’t realize until now how much my self-worth was hurt by her struggle.

In other words, stage one is that her problem is my problem. Stage two is that it’s our problem, and stage three is that we can still be one and I can support her without it being my problem.