Our steps, part two

So, how could I defeat the vampire?  Contrary to myth, this one was not affected by garlic, crosses, holy water, or even sunlight. It was real, and I needed real weapons.  That was step two.  The weapon was values.  No, I’m not yet to the point of talking about abstract values such as honesty, faith, peace, and the like.  I mean, what is valuable to me?  Illicit sex?  Money?  Love?  Family?  Flattery?  Work?

I had been pursuing all those things, even when some contradicted each other.  I had been obsessively pursuing illicit sex and flattery in a way that detracted from my pursuit of family, love and financial responsibility.  With my double-life suddenly exposed, I could no longer pursue all those conflicting things.  One of my two lives had to die, instantly.  I had a split second to decide which life would die.  I decided I wanted the “positive” life to continue — the life with family and self-control.  The “negative” life died instantly — the life of affairs, prostitutes, porn, masturbation, and lies.  It died that instant.  I’ve spent the last almost three years trying to build enough mental health to be sure it never rises again.

Step three, the next weapons were transparency, reducing vulnerabilities, and giving TL safety.  Transparency meant giving TL complete, unfettered access to all my phones, computers, and accounts.  Never again would I be able to send or receive any message without my wife’s knowledge.  We only relax on this when I’m planning surprise gifts or events for TL.  But, even then, she could look if she wanted to look.  Transparency also meant, on my own initiative, consistently informing TL about my location, plans, and activities.  We talk, text, and e-mail often each day.  When I travel, we talk by FaceTime at least twice a day.  I try to minimize my travel.  I do everything I can to show TL that her safety is my top priority.

Transparency also means I have told TL, and you now, every detail of my double-life.  I try to remember more details to share with her.  She asks lots of questions.  I answer them all. On the rare occasion that I remember some detail that previously was lost to me, I volunteer it immediately.  We talk regularly about current events in our lives, including me volunteering whether there are any women or other temptations that could be vulnerabilities.  I have passed at least three polygraph tests.  I’ll take another in a few weeks.  Each time, TL helps develop the questions.

Reducing vulnerabilities means I never let myself be alone with another woman who could potentially be a temptation.  Creating safety for TL means a post-nuptial agreement, with generous protections.  Step four is trying to make amends, trying to give TL all the things I owed her and more, not for the purpose of pleasing, but just because I wanted to do it out of love for her.  We traded in our old wedding rings.  Two years after D-day, and after my religious conversion, we renewed our wedding vows, this time in a beautiful ceremony with friends and family and in the proper religious tradition.

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