Esme

A partner’s story on surviving disclosure and finding oneself…

Tell me your story and why you came into therapy.
I began therapy because my boyfriend was a sex addict and had disclosed it to me in our second couples session. I began therapy willingly at first…but after learning about the truth of his therapy (that he was a sex addict, and that I was a co-addict) I was forced into individual therapy (kicking, screaming, whining…I’m not the one with the problem! I’m not the one who’s a lying unfaithful asshole!) I went though, every week because somewhere, deep down, I knew that I couldn’t figure out where I went wrong on my own. I needed some serious help.

What was your darkest hour?
Friday night, the day after Christmas, my boyfriend of nearly six years revealed to me in a disclosure that took over two and a half hours that he was a sex addict. I was blindsided. I learned the intricate details of his addiction, of his unfaithfulness, and that I’d been lied to for the past six years. I cried for three days straight. My eyes were so swollen that I could barely open them and I felt like I didn’t want to be in my body anymore. I had the sensation of wanting to physically remove the skin from my body. I felt like this was not who I was and this was not my life.

How did you survive that moment?
I called one friend who I thought I could trust to help me understand what I was feeling – because no one I knew, knew these things, it somehow felt unreal. To tell a really good trusted friend, who could and would never reveal this intense secret to anyone, grounded me in the reality of it and allowed me to find my bearings. I also survived by calling Thuy. By going to two S-anon meetings. By forcing myself to leave the house in small increments: to take a walk. To go to an s-anon meeting. To get food for myself. The only way I could survive was to know that I was not alone and that there were people who loved me and wanted me to find a way to get through this. I also, somewhere very very deep down, knew that in time, I would be okay.

What have you learned about yourself in the process?
I learned that I am much stronger and much more fearless than I gave myself credit for. I learned that trust is the most important element in any relationship but like all wounds, my relationship with trust can and would heal. I learned that there was the potential for me to achieve what I truly wanted for myself, for my life and in my relationships – but that core beliefs I held about who I thought I was and who I thought I couldn’t be stood in the way of getting that life and making those dreams come true.

Where are you now in your life?
I am the most successful I’ve ever been. I have found and fallen in love with a man who is not a sex addict, and who shares so many of my interests, beliefs, and core values. He truly sees me for who I am, flaws, wounds, and all – and adores me. We moved in together several months ago and I wake up nearly every day in a state of wonder: Is this really my life? Am I really this lucky? Have things changed so quickly that two short years ago I was miserable and at some point even contemplated driving my car into a telephone poll? And now, today, I have everything I’ve ever wanted? I periodically have moments of doubt, of fear, but I have tools that help me work through where the fear and doubt is truly coming from, and how to communicate it to my partner, to colleagues, to friends, and even to my family in a healthy way.

What are your gratitudes?
I’m grateful for my ex-boyfriend for having the strength and courage to be honest with me about his addiction, his infidelities, and his lies. I’m grateful that it forced me into therapy, and that through therapy, I was forced to take a long hard look at who I really was and the choices I was making that kept me from living up to my true potential. I’m grateful for having the strength and courage and patience to come to the decision to leave him and trust that I would be okay. I’m grateful for the process of therapy – while not always easy, and not always fun, I learned the tools that have allowed me to move into a life that I’d always dreamed of. I’m grateful for my partner, for the love we share and the support he gives me as I continue to pursue my dreams.

What would you like to say to others that could be helpful to their journey?
Don’t let fear guide you in your decisions. Listen and pay attention to your body and your intuition. Your body will often tell you things you otherwise might not want to hear. Pay attention to the signs from the universe/god/whatever you believe in – and stay open to receiving them. Be gentle with yourself, you are not and will never be perfect. No one is…and there is beauty in that. Trust the process and trust that you are doing exactly what you need to do right now. You will be okay. You are loved. And you will get through this. Let go and let God.

What is one positive affirmation that best represents you now?
I am grateful for the love in my life, the work that feels like play, and being able to live an authentic life, taking ownership of my place in this world.

What was your experience working with me or in therapy? Why would you recommend or refer others?
Working with Thuy is incredible. It’s challenging, painful, heart wrenching, rewarding, exciting, invigorating, emotional…sometimes all of these things within the first 15 minutes of a session. What I liked most is that Thuy’s focus in our sessions was on my being able to move forward: she didn’t want me to be in therapy forever. She wanted to help me heal the wounds that I was in denial of having, help me acknowledge and deal with my baggage, and send me on my way to conquer my dreams. To do all of this meant doing the work and trusting the process, and most importantly, trusting her (I developed the motto: Trust in Thuy, particularly when I didn’t know why she was doing what she was doing.) It all works out in the end, if you trust yourself and trust the process.

What do these images mean to you?

Birds: My neighbor gave me these as I was “feng shuiing” my house. She said that they were two love birds: I put them in my room and used to think “Birds of a feather flock together.” Several weeks later I met my partner.

Candles: The inexpensive way to feel luxurious. Even if I was crying, I’d light candles. They somehow made it feel more peaceful, even if I was a wreck.

My boots: These boots help me to feel empowered to keep moving…and to kick some ass while I do it.

The couch: My first real piece of furniture that I bought for myself post break up. Nicknamed my “Make out couch,” I bought it with the intension of welcoming loving, romantic, sensual energy into my home for the first time ever.

Wine Glasses: Enjoying a good bottle of wine with my partner is something we both love to do.

Del Mar | West Los Angeles | 877.361.2551 | info@lifedesigncentre.com