Just under 5 weeks ago my wife suddenly died, and of course my whole world has turned upside down. We were together 15 years and have two young children.
The last post I made was about where I was even considering whether we should stay together. When I look back at the issues we had, in context, oh my god they were not worth sacrificing our relationship over. She was an incredible person who loved me unconditionally, and I never appreciated it. I never allowed myself to be loved. And I allowed my singular obsession with sex to dictate my happiness and cause a huge rut in our relationship.
There is so much I could talk about, but this post is about how my addiction has manifested since she died. As it is the one part of my life I haven’t really been able to talk about, it is causing me a lot of anxiety.
For the first 3 or 4 weeks, I was doing fairly well. I was watching porn but I was getting sleep and being very productive. Being really close to my friends and family, and doing a good job with the kids etc.
Then I started to fantasise. I fantasised about having sex. I realised I was single and that sex was now a possibility. More pertinently, I realised that after 15 years in a marriage with love but lacking any physical intimacy, I might be able to finally explore my sexual desires. Of course I had no idea how I might achieve that.
So I started to explore this. I saw it as a way for me to have some physical intimacy with someone. Some me time, as an escape from the shit that my life had become. Despite all the support from my friends and family, they were still all connected to my new situation, and I wanted something completely different and separate, just for me. To help me feel I had a sense of identity as an individual, not just a parent/widower.
I signed up for a bunch of anonymous online dating/hookup sites, to no avail. I even messaged an escort but got cold feet. Then I signed up for Tinder, and shit got real. I started chatting with lots of local women, and have met a few of them already.
My goal was to have some sort of no-strings-attached / friends with benefits-type thing, but the closer I got down the process, the harder I found it, and the more anxiety it created in me. I’m not a natural womaniser, and so once I started meeting women in real life, my actual human side kicked in, and we’d just chat and get on great. I have no idea how to make moves on women, and the thought of doing so was stressing me out.
So I guess what has been interesting to explore here was the difference between my unrealistic sexual expectations and the reality of creating relationships with women. I felt I could simply have a sexual fling with a woman, but the closer I got, the more my non-addicted humanity kicked in. This caused an inner turmoil that has been eating me up.
I think for most people, meeting women who were interested in you would be a great thing. For me it is stressing me out. And I guess the only explanation for that is that it is too soon for me to be doing this. I know that probably sounds completely obvious, but I thought that maybe I could just have a physical escape. But I realise that’s not possible; a physical relationship comes with a human element – this is something my addict brain didn’t really appreciate.
The reality is I love making friends with women. Most of my friends are women. So I’m actually making a few friends. And that’s comfort-zone territory for me. It is when I place some pressure on myself to be sexually interested then it all starts going wrong. And again, it is quite simply because it is too soon for me to feel ok with that. I simply feel guilty. I feel it is disrespecting my wife to be pursuing other women so soon. I don’t feel any of my friends or family would understand or sympathise. I don’t think there’s any way of looking at this behaviour that makes it ok.
And all the while, I’m spending more time thinking about this than I am about my own day to day life. And that’s understandable, because as soon as I stop thinking about the escape, I’m miserable again. And lonely. I want someone to chat to that is special to me, not just a friend or family member. But I guess doesn’t everyone who is single. That’s single life I suppose. It has been 15 years since I’ve been single, so it is no surprise that I’m feeling isolated, lonely and unwanted, and that I might want to seek that from someone else. I want some companionship.
Interestingly, while I was in the midst of making these arrangements with these new women, I stopped watching porn completely. Not even through any conscious effort. I just lost interest. It was like the hole I use porn to fill was being filled by this new pursuit. Now I’ve turned off my tinder profile and have stopped trying to pursue this, I’m wanting to watch porn again. There must be more to unpack here.
Anyway, this is just a log to put down in writing what’s going on with me right now. I may very well continue to post in this blog from this new perspective of ‘widowed addiction’!