Sunday, July 27, 2014

Part of this Circle

I'm a WOPA.  I don't really like the title, I certainly don't like what it means, but it's part of who I am.  My husband views porn compulsively and after five years of dealing with it, we are finally achieving a kind of peace.  We talk occasionally, he works on it privately, and I don't obsess about it.  It's not ideal.  Ideal would be him being porn free and telling me often that he is winning the battle.  But it's peaceful and I am at a place where I feel like my life is happy and functional.  I'm not in the depths of despair every two to three weeks according to his relapses.  He's doesn't fear me, I don't curse him, and we are working on our marriage in ways other than, "are you sober?"  The porn addiction doesn't consume my time and attention like it did for many years after the hard realities hit.  I'm a mom of four, and frankly, I don't have the time to pour over internet histories or read articles wondering why he isn't the one googling ways to quit. Yet, I do still come here to our little corner of the internet every so often because I want to see how you ladies are doing. There are so many women that I've silently followed and rooted for and I just want all of you to know that I'm still here.  I'm doing well and I wanted to share because stories like ours can have such tragic endings.  My story, like everyone's, is far from over.  I have doubts about the future of my marriage often and I feel fear and hurt more than I'd care to admit.  But on so many, many days I feel love and joy.  Love for my kids, love for my husband.  Joy in my marriage and hope for the future.  Life is good.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Realizations About Myself

Friday, August 9, 2013

Emotionally Tied at the Hip

New post today

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I have to do it for Me

New post

If you'd like an invite to my blog, please email at


Monday, July 15, 2013

Would this be helpful?

Since I've gone private, I thought I would post a link here so friends will know when I have a new post up.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Thoughts on Blogging

I like being a part of this circle.  I like knowing other WOPAs and making connections.  I thought when I started this blog I would share my insights and path to healing.  It could maybe help someone else to find healing too. But the problem is, I'm often discouraged and don't have so many great insights to share.  So I don't blog.  And then I don't make connections.  And I get stuck in isolation.  I know some of you much better than you know me, because you eloquently share and I remain silent.  How can I call that a meaningful friendship? I know lots of you and even have a handful of numbers saved in my phone.  But I never call to reach out because I figure that someone is probably too busy.  

I'd like to turn over a new leaf and become more active in our circle of WOPAs, but I think I need to modify HOW I blog.  I'm going to try an experiment: going private. I'm hopeful that if I know and trust my readers I will be more willingly to be vulnerable and really share what is going on in my life.  I've given up on the idea of being some recovery star that has lots of wisdom to share with an unknown audience.  I want to be real, but in a safe place.  I'd like to trade anonymity for meaningful connections.  If you will email me, marleehere (at) gmail, I'll send you an invite to the new blog.  I'm going to leave this blog open because I'd always like to make new friends.  So regardless of when you read this post, feel free to contact me.  I'm no expert at recovery, but I understand the pain of being a WOPA.  See you soon on the "safe side."


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Understanding Him a Little Bit Better

For the last few weeks I've been determined to eat well.  I'm staying away from sweets  and refined carbs.  I'm also working to get everyone around here to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Overall it's a lifestyle choice that I like so it hasn't been too hard.  But yesterday I had an off morning with some friends and I came home from my morning at the park feeling emotionally unstable.  I had a huge urge to dive into the pantry and self sooth with comfort foods.  I wanted to eat away that nagging feeling that I was not as good as the other ladies I had been hanging out with.  I wanted to eat my out of feeling hurt.  Cognitively I could see where I was at.  I knew if I ate it would be out of an emotional craving, not out of actual hunger, and I was determined to not give in.  I worked around it by playing a few songs on the piano, looking around the web a bit, trying to take a nap, and sadly sisters in the end, I gave in.  I was so bugged that I couldn't feel better on my own, that after 40 minutes or so I went to the pantry and deliberately grabbed as many triscuits as I could hold in my hot little hands.  I knew I was choosing to escape through food rather than deal with my emotions, but it just didn't seem to matter anymore.

Ok, so big deal.  But it taught me some compassion and I could see how when my husband feels those emotional voids, how the urge to just "make it all go away" could be so tempting.  He has told me about how he fights, fights, and fights, but the urges eventually wear him down.  I don't think it justifies his behavior, but it helps me see into his struggle a little bit better. One day at a time.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

It's Been One of Those Days

Today was hard. I took the day to feel my emotions and didn't try to rush past the sadness.  By the end of the day I was ready to move past it, but felt stuck.  You know how it is, right?

I listened to a interview by Sheri Dew on the Mormon Channel to escape reality just a little longer and found a gem of advice perfect for me at that moment.  Just as the interviewer is winding down things she asks Sheri,

Heidi Swinton: If you today could counter the voices that are out there telling women , “Do this; Do that; Look at it this way; Look at it that way; Dress this way; Dress that way; Live here; Live there -- All of the voices that are trying to command the Lord’s daughters on earth today—What would you tell them?

Sheri Dew: I would probably say to them, that if they really want to be happy and to feel a sense of peace about their lives that the only way to do that is to find out what God has in store for them. 

HS: It’s that simple.

SD: Where does Heavenly Father want me to be? What does He want me to do? I get questions all of the time.  'Please talk to my daughter cause she’s not married yet either'…and that’s probably an obvious target for someone because they see that I’m not married yet, but the bottom line is that everyone of us, everyone of us, has heartbreaks. That we have to deal with.  Or disappointments that frankly it just doesn’t feel like we’ve gotten an answer yet from the Lord.  We’ve prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and we don’t yet know the answers.  That’s a common thing of the human experience.  Disappointment, loneliness, pain, heartbreak: we are all going to have some degree of it.  And the only solution to any of that is, Am I where the Lord want me to be? Am I doing what He wants me to do? That’s what brings peace.  That’s what brings confidence. 

With those simple questions I was able to shift my focus from sorrow about my husband's choices, to pondering my own position in the Lord's eyes.  Have I followed the Lord's promptings? Am I where I need to be?  Am I learning the lessons He is tailoring for me? That shift in perspective helped so much.

I also appreciated her perspective on the universality of heartbreak. Sometime I get so down and feel like my lot in life is overly difficult.  But I could see through her words, though the trial changes for each one of us, the feeling of heartbreak -- soul sobbing, gut wrenching, disappointment or hurt -- is central to our existence on earth.  That is why Christ said He came to heal the broken hearted. 

I hope if you are having one of those days, you can find peace from her words too.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I've read a lot about detaching, but I've never felt that I've done it really well.  I know I can't fix my husband, but I've never been able to free myself from the mental angst and sorrow that comes with his addiction.  I can tell myself to detach, but I have a hard time not reacting to things he does.  To me, detaching has always been trying to move away from his issues, sometimes mentally, sometimes physically.  To detach I avoid calling to check up on him, or look for activities that I can do on my own like playing the piano or scrapbooking.  But the bottom line is, I don't feel happy when I am distant from my husband.  Detaching has meant that I avoid him, again mentally or physically.  

This week we had a conversation that made me think all along I've gotten it wrong.  Here's how it went down.  I was frustrated with my husband over some time management issues. He's a grad student, so he sets his schedule and hours, but seeing as there are five of us living on a grad school stipend, I am highly motivated for him to make progress on his research and graduate on time.  I was leaving for the afternoon and didn't want to go feeling frustrated with him, so I brought the subject to a head. 

"Why do you think you can just read your book all morning?"

I felt like a nag.  I felt like I was putting my nose in his business.  And I felt like I was NOT detached. 

I continued to articulate how I was feeling.  I worry that his procrastination will come back to bite me when he has to put in extra hours a few days down the road and I have to pick up his slack at home. I worry about vulnerability to porn when he is stressed and tired.  I told him how I felt like I was working hard, and he should be too.  There was a moment of pause while he took it all in. I started to feel guilty and finished up with this eloqent closing statement, 

"Well, aren't you upset at me? After all, I've been attacking you!"

He didn't deny that he felt defensive, but he helped me see that he truly does want to know how I feel.  He said that telling him how I feel is ok, as long as I am not telling him WHAT he should do.  We talked about how me bottling up my emotions when I am feeling upset about things is not detaching, it is isolating.  And isolation is a huge trigger for both of us.  When we are emotionally distant I start to mentally exaggerate his crimes against me.  I get a visit from my neighbor insanity and we throw a pity party.  For him, isolation fuels his addiction.  He escapes that pang of loneliness through the balm of instant gratification. 

I do need to detach.  And I hope to get better at it, but detaching from my husband hasn't seemed to help either one of us.  I hope that detaching from how my husband chooses to solve his problems will be healthy for me.  We are married, our lives intertwine in hundreds of ways.  Yet, he and I are dynamic individuals that need to feel space to exert our agency.  And I hope that as we work together as a couple to stay connected, individually we will be motivated take care of ourselves.

Friday, February 1, 2013



Today at therapy we talked about an old AA strategy called H.A.L.T.  The idea is that the addict will more likely act out when Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.  I think it's a good idea to put in the addict's arsenal of tools, but I want to focus on what I learned on how it applies to me. 

My codependency really flares up when I find out my own discovery or my husband's confession that my husband acted out.  I suppose someday if he reaches a few months of sobriety, there would be other things that could trigger me, but right now I do just fine unless I find out that he's slipped again. And if he slips in rapid fire succession,  I fall progressively harder with each new slip.  I feel overwhelmingly sad, don't want to face the needs of my kids, eat junk food, and allow my thoughts to cycle endlessly on the same cycle of, "I'll show him.  I don't deserve this.  I'm leaving."  From my perspective it seemed that none of the HALT symptoms applied to my cycle of emotions. After some discussion, I realized when my husband acts out, I feel lonely.  I feel like he abandoned me.  I translate his acting out as a departure from our relationship.  I agonize over the part of him that overrides his commitment to me.  I hate that he can push aside thoughts of how this will affect me, and click his way to indulgence.  And in the end, I feel disconnected and lonely.  

Although my usual pattern is to keep my distance for a day or two until I soften, I think the better route might be to seek for re-connection right away.  If I am lonely, I want to try to remedy that emotion by telling my husband exactly how I feel and doing what I can to connect again.  Another option is to try to connect with a friend or make a phone call to ease the loneliness.  Those will temporary solutions, but they can help until I can mend my most intimate relationship.