My stomach did back flips the night I got the email. There’d been no announcement, no warning it was coming. It was just a simple text note with a header in a purple font. I’d just received a friend request from someone on… OpenDiary.
What what what?!
I can’t believe it has been resurrected! I was such a naive, wee lass when I first started journaling here at the age of, what, 22? My posts during those early years were jumbled and disjointed, petty, and full of nothing interesting at all. As I got older and my life filled with new experiences, my writing became more fine tuned and… provocative. When I finally settled down and got married in 2012, I wrote less and less frequently. A few months would pass, then a year. Then one day, when I decided to write a much deserved update, I opened the website, and it was just gone. All of it. All of those years of immortalized memories. I was devastated, not because I could no longer write here, but because I felt like I lost a piece of me.
I was awash with relief that not only was OD back, but all of my old posts were reclaimed (minus the pictures — poop) and many of my old friends are still active. Some of you I’ve become friends with on Facebook. But most of you were lost to me the day OD was taken offline. And let’s be real… we’ve shared some deep shit with each other.
So, what’s going on in my life now? Jesus, where to start.
I guess I’ll get the big thing out of the way right off the bat. Chris and I separated just a few months ago. We’ve been married for 5 1/2 years, and our split caught me completely off guard. I was neither expecting it, nor did I want it. But now that it’s happened, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on our marriage and how unsatisfying it has been the last couple of years. I’ll try not to write a novel, but there’s a lot to unpack.
Chris is a sex addict. Like, for real. And I know what you must be thinking. “Felina, we know you. We know the kinky shit you’ve been into your whole adult life. We know you’re a fucking sex fiend. How can having a sex addict for a husband possibly be a bad thing for you?” Well, for true sex addicts, especially for those like my husband who are addicted to porn, it typically leads to no sex with the partner. The sex had diminished very early in our relationship, even before we got married, but at the time I thought it was just due to job stress and the ridiculously long commute my husband traveled every day. I thought that when he changed positions and found something closer, it would perk right back up. But it didn’t. It eventually dwindled to less than once a year. Yep, that’s what I said. Once a year.
Anyway, I found out about the sex addiction about two years ago. We’d each been seeing a therapist separately just for general life drama — work stress, childhood issues and the like. But we started seeing her for this new revelation as well. I admittedly didn’t take it very seriously at first. I think mostly because I’ve never had any hangups about sex or porn. I thought that if I embraced this part of him, it would be something we could partake in together. But in reality, I was just enabling him and making it worse.
Last summer, we started making plans to leave the DC area and move back to Colorado. My brother and his family wanted to move there, and proposed the idea of us all moving together. I was iffy about it, because I never really cared for living in CO when I was there in 2006. But for the first time in years, Chris was excited about something, so I agreed. We started getting our house ready to put on the market and working with our jobs to transfer us. Chris kept pushing for us to move by the end of the year, but if we could hold off until 2018, my company would pay for it.
Well, in February, the coming soon sign went up outside our house. We weren’t planning to go on the market until the first of March, but someone drove by, saw the sign, and asked for an early showing three weeks ahead of schedule. They ended up putting an offer (above asking price) on it a couple of days later, and suddenly, we were under contract. Two days later, as I was making travel plans to house hunt in Colorado, Chris gave me the we-need-to-talk speech.
I’m not going to write about all the drama that’s happened since then because I’ve rehashed it in my mind a million times already. But long story short, we tried to stay together for another month. He started going to SA meetings, and I started S-Anon. He also started working with a new, focused therapist on his addiction. We’ve both learned a lot about ourselves through this process. And in the end, he has realized he has absolutely no idea how to function in a healthy relationship. He says I’m the only person he can imagine spending the rest of his life with, but that he can’t give me what either of us needs until he fixes himself. So he moved out. I’m currently living in his parents’ vacant, furnished condo in Maryland, and he got an apartment close to our former home.
I think the biggest thing that hurt me was that through all of this — through his addiction and the ensuing depression and anxiety around it — I’ve stood by him and supported him. I was completely faithful to him for six years, even though there was little physical connection with him. I made a commitment to him the day we got married, and I intended to keep it. Yet, he was the one that ultimately left me. Yeah, that fucking hurt.
But, I’m not angry with him. I never have been. I know where all of this stems from, and I know he’s hurting. And even though we disconnected, I still love him. The recent time apart, though, has made me realize that I was missing much more than just sex. He hasn’t been emotionally available in the last couple of years either. And I know now that I miss feeling the excitement of a relationship. I miss feeling in love. And I 100% miss sex.
So… where does this leave me? Well, I’m moving on with my life. I really have no choice. I have no home. Chris and I made plans together, but just because he backed doesn’t mean I can. My job has had an office set up for me in Colorado since the first of the year, and they’ve already hired movers for me. I’m currently writing this post from a hotel room in Colorado. I was here for the week for work, and I stayed over for the weekend to find a new home. And I’m happy to report that I signed a contract on a beautiful house just yesterday!
Maybe Chris will find the help he needs and work through his shit. I truly hope he does. Maybe we will reconcile. Or maybe we won’t. I already told him that I won’t get back together with him unless I know that he is healthy, sober and willing to put just as much into this relationship as I have. I won’t go back to my old life with him. But I also can’t just sit around at my in-laws’ place waiting for him to figure it out. No, I’m reclaiming my life.
But what else is new with me?
Well, I now have three, count ’em three, English Bulldogs — Bruce, Banner and Betty. They are my world. I’m now the Director of an engineering department at my company (the same company I’ve been with for the past 11 years). I was the first woman at my company to make Director, so that was pretty fucking exciting! I started a side business back in 2013 as a cake and cookie decorator, and am stoked to move operations to Colorado. I’m totally considering opening up a pot cookie shop later in life, by the way. Oh, I’ve also got a YouTube channel! I make videos for lots of different crafts, but mostly cake decorating, soapmaking and painting. I guess one upside to my dwindling relationship with Chris was that I channeled my energies into mastering many different hobbies. I’m sure there will be many photos to come in the future.
And just three days ago, I rekindled the spark of my old spirit. I shoved all of my inhibitions out the window, and thoroughly enjoyed an illicit affair with an old friend from my early Baghdad days — no-strings-attached style. Holy shit, y’all have no idea how much I needed that. Maybe I’ll write about those sordid details soon. Because of who it is, a coworker, I can’t tell anyone in real life. OD is where I used to share all my dirty secrets, and boy, have I missed having this outlet!