I fell in love with my now ex-husband during my favorite season: the time between Halloween and Thanksgiving. We shared our friends and family at holiday gatherings, taking turns introducing each other with pride. It was a deeply bonding experience to watch the other represent our partnership to new people. At night, we twinkled over bonfires and sang love songs by the record player. We were young, attractive and successful. Behind his pinstripe suit and ring of business associates was a man with family values and a great sense of humor. He proposed, and we started trying for a baby the following year. I filled my days with yoga and decorating. I found my flow in married life quickly and soon enrolled in online college courses, started a fiction piece and resumed chasing my dreams, all while continuing to fulfill my “wifely duties.”
My then-husband, Sam*, had a 45-minute commute each way to and from his office in downtown Atlanta. Early on, he would be home by seven at the latest, never too late to share a meal. Atlanta is notoriously bad for traffic, so when he started “waiting it out” at his local crawl, I didn’t think twice about it. After a while, I realized we hadn’t had dinner together on a weeknight in almost a month. I wanted to trust him, but all the time alone at home went to my head. With no one around to talk me out of it, I installed spyware on his cell phone. (I do NOT suggest this as it is illegal in some cases, and massive breach of trust in almost all). I was relieved to discover he was not cheating on me. However, during his lunch break, the GPS feature showed Sam in the parking garage. During this time (for about an hour, sometimes up to two), the browser log listed pornography sites. Almost all the URLs listed included the word “transsexual.” My heart plummeted, and a chasm opened up between us where our intense sexual bond existed only seconds before. I felt the swelling expanse of doubt for our history together and the future to come. I read the evidence over and over to the point of obsession before something inside me snapped.
Every person is different, male and female, as is each relationship. I believe the spiral of hatred and disgust down which I was falling ceased only due to my mind, body and spirit’s last resort when faced with such a trauma: a complete numbness.
We pursued counseling, made extra strides in our sex life and put on brave faces for our families. Sam’s sexual advances increased in frequency and aggression. I retracted into my work. Nights turned to mornings like a waning tide. Two months later, we separated. I moved to the most beautiful beach I could find. I was in my mid 20’s, running circles around a deep emotional wound I wasn’t ready to face. That numbness continued for a long time, even when I thought the most beautiful beach would save me.
Since that day, I have sought, received and witnessed healing in many forms. I am able to feel again and most importantly, experience hope. Each day still brings new challenge, lessons and restored faith in my path. I was introduced to Integrity Restored and knew almost immediately that I wanted to help. Here, in this place, I will share the hope and healing I’ve found in my own modern life, and invite you to do the same. While my story may not be the same as yours, betrayal, loss of trust, and journey in recovery put us all on the same team.
I still believe in love. I take life and its people as they come. It would be nearly impossible to find a man or woman on this earth who hasn’t struggled with trust issues, addiction or trauma. There is no magic pill or dotted line that can secure freedom from forces like temptation and doubt. Let us explore a healing path on this journey to recovery together.
With hope and love,
*Names have been changed.