In part 8 of Sex Love and Obesity I was getting on a plane and going back to wrap up my life in Portland – put all my things in my car and move myself all the way across the country to be with the man I had loved for the last 10 years.
I did that. I arrived in North Carolina in February of 2014 after 3 miserable months in Portland of trying to figure out how to tell the people in my life where I was going and what I was doing.
Now let me be honest about what that looked like in my world and how I rationalized this. I didn’t tell them I was leaving and not coming back. I told them I was going to North Carolina to take a job offer at a gym where I had the opportunity to get my start in fitness, build my career, and that I’d be back in a year.
Why? Well I had a lot of good reasons when I made the decision to lie about my plans. The third-party in our relationship asked me not to make any decisions right then. They wanted a chance to get their life together and get settled before I broke the news to my husband and they got faced with the challenge of having to move out on their own and stand on their own two feet financially.
I had this weird sense of broken obligation. I had made a commitment to be a slave. To do whatever he told me and even though he had broken every promise he had made to me along the way, I had some weird sense of financial obligation to make sure that when I left, all his finances were in order.
But more than anything, I didn’t want to face what was happening. I wasn’t ready to say the words “I want a divorce, I’m leaving” out loud because the one thing that I’ve been afraid of my entire life is being alone. If things with Superman didn’t work out, if I needed an escape route in that relationship, a safety net to fall back on, even though I was unhappy, leaving the way I did allowed me a sense of security if things went horribly wrong.
So far, life had shown me that things usually go horribly wrong.
I never used that safety net. I never went back. But things did go horrible wrong, and it was nobody’s fault but my own. I hadn’t even begun to deal with my issues. I had dealt with my obesity, I had dealt with my addiction to food. But I hadn’t come near dealing with the stuff that and drove me there to begin with.
On top of those unresolved issues we had now added to the mix the grief of losing my Father. Something I hadn’t dealt with; I had instead masked it. I had relapsed into smoking several times. When life got stressful I’d pick up a pack of cigarettes, chain smoke, and then quit again.
Back in 2011, stuck in a house in California surrounded by my dysfunctional family and not having food as an available coping mechanism while I was trying to deal with my father passing away, I had started smoking marijuana again as a way of escaping the emotional pain. In the family I come from, drugs are a readily available, accessible and acceptable escape route from our problems. When I’d gotten back to Portland after my father passed away, I had obtained a medical license for it. I had spent the better part of the last 3 years smoking the pain away in one form or another.
I had started drinking. Not to the point that I would consider myself an alcoholic, but to the point that it was becoming an issue. As a bariatric patient, I get drunk fast, it can get away from me quickly if I am not being responsible.
My intentions when I moved in with him were to not do any of those things. I wasn’t going to smoke anything, I wasn’t going to drink. He didn’t do any of those things. His life was low drama other than my involvement in it.
At first things with Superman and I were perfectly fine. For the first few months. I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, our life was everything I wanted it to be and more. I was happy for the first time in as long as I could remember.
But June rolled around, Father’s Day came, and neither one of us was prepared for how that grief was going to hit me. I didn’t know how to ask for help, I didn’t even know I needed it. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I felt like I was suffocating, I felt anxious, I was stressed out.
Then July came around, the anniversary of my Father’s death hit, and it just got worse. I didn’t even know what was happening. There was this feeling in me I couldn’t explain or describe, this pain that nothing made better. I don’t think either of us realized what was happening. I started smoking again. Chain smoking. Something he very clearly told me he found unattractive.
He started becoming distant with me. Less affectionate. I felt rejected.
I understand, now, far too late, that this is where it really started to fall apart. Looking back, I wish I had realized what was happening. I wish I had gotten back into therapy, started trying to get help. I had recovered from my food addiction. But I hadn’t realized that the food addiction wasn’t my primary addiction. My primary addiction was sex.
It makes so much sense to me now. Now that I can look back on it, have gotten into therapy, can reflect on it. I could write an entire book on how sex had been my primary addiction my entire life. But once I started smoking and he stopped being intimate with me, a down whirl spiral was about to ensue.
I was trying to grieve. But I had no idea how to even begin the process. Sex was healing to me. It was one the thing that always made me feel better. Now, the choices I was making were causing him to not want to have sex with me, and him not wanting to have sex with me had my whole world spinning upside down.
I couldn’t do this again. I’d been in sexless relationships for far too long. I needed sex to make me feel better. I needed intimacy to make me feel wanted and loved. But now, in the middle of trying to deal with everything that lead me to obesity and the grief of loss of my father, sex was pretty much being withheld from me.
Him withholding sex from me made me feel abandoned.
I started burying all of that in a bottle. Not just a social drink here and there. No, this was more like, start drinking and don’t stop until you don’t feel anything. This was another behavior he didn’t find attractive. The more I exhibited behaviors he didn’t find attractive the more he disengaged from our sex life. The more he disengaged from our sex life, the more I looked for something else to escape in.
The situation just kept spiraling and neither one of us realized what was happening. I kept looking at the relationship wondering what was wrong with me. I kept wondering why he couldn’t give me the one thing I really needed from him. I tried to tell him what I needed. He didn’t want to lay the blame for the lack of attention at my feet, so he made excuses. He blamed it on age, lack of libido, anything but me.
When the alcohol started to affect my weight, I panicked. Regain was one of the most terrifying things in the world to me. I’d gained all my weight back once before, I wasn’t going to do that again. I stopped drinking and went back to smoking marijuana again. Another behavior he didn’t approve of. The cycle continued.
I think if either one of us knew how much the decisions we were making were hurting each other we both would have tried to fix it. We both would have tried to get me help.
Our relationship just kept circling the drain.
We went close to a year, in this vicious cycle where my actions made him reject me and his rejection pushed me deeper and deeper into my vices. I told him several times that if he didn’t give me the attention I wanted I’d start finding it somewhere else. My threats only made the situation worse.
Eventually, I made good on my threats. I started cheating. First it was a one-night stand at a weight loss convention that I’d never admit happened. Then it was me running off for a weekend to fool around, completely denying it while asking him to drive me back and forth the airport.
In less than two years my inability to recognize I needed help dealing with the grief, my lack of understanding of an underlying sex addiction and my tendency to turn to anything that would make me feel better rather than face it all had all dramatically damaged our relationship.
He was still there though. He wasn’t leaving me or giving up on me. But the lack of sex left me feeling unloved and feeling unloved and rejected by him was something I’d lived with inside of me for the last 12 years and something I just couldn’t do anymore. He loved me. I had no doubt he loved me. To this day I have no doubt that he loves me. But I couldn’t accept love in the way he was speaking it. I was just too broken and damaged to be loved.
Unfortunately for us both, someone else had come along and offered me “happily ever after”. Someone else was offering me the best of both worlds. Someone else was promising me unconditional love, unwavering acceptance and an absolutely amazing sex life.
Two age-old adages apply to my story here.
For me, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” – I went to go check out other pastures.
For Superman, “If you love something set it free, if it comes back it was meant to be.” – He let me go, without any fight or any resistance to see if I could figure it all out.