For the first 14 years of my marriage I believed the lies I was told and that replayed in my head.
I believed I was not enough and never would be emotionally or physically.
I believed that my marriage had hard moments because I was a jerk, quick to anger, a prude and unforgiving.

If only I was … then we’d be happier.

I suspected his behaviors our first month of marriage and pulled back. I lost trust in his actions and words.
I didn’t understand why the man I married chose to seek other women over the one right in front of his face.
I didn’t understand, and nor did he that it was an addiction that could not be cured by marriage, religion or prayer alone.

Coby worked many years traveling to Europe and Australia for weeks at a time.
I was working full time as a kitchen designer and we had no kids.
After six years of this we got pregnant but soon I miscarried and was devastated. Just months later Coby asked for a divorce.
I was in shock, how did we come to divorce without me knowing things were so bad?
He began to tell me that he had been caught having an emotional affair.
At the time I didn’t understand what that was and I don’t believe I fully did until years later. We went to our church leader, who put us in the right direction. Coby started a 12 step program with our church and admits he did nothing except prayed he would stop.

11 years into our marriage and life was in a routine, we rarely talked about Coby's problem because it always led to an argument. We decided to start marriage therapy and I believe it helped, we were functioning, we had more happy moments and we were trying. However we were not dealing with the real issue.

Later that same year an old friend from high school asked me to LIKE her new Facebook page, The Togetherness Project. I was terrified she knew something that I hadn't shared with anyone. What did she know about me and my marriage?! I didn’t leave much time to wonder, I messaged her asking what this new page was about and she shared her own story with me, and for the 1st time in 14 years of marriage I opened up and shared my own story. It was scary to say the least but from that moment I knew I wasn’t alone.

I had felt a huge need to protect the man I love because I knew the judgement that would come.
I never told anyone of our struggles and felt incredibly alone.
I myself judged him and his behaviors so how would my own family, friends, neighbors and strangers not judge him?! I was ashamed that I wasn’t good enough for the man who married me.

My friend convinced me to attend her conference where I learned that I played a role in finding recovery from this addiction that fueled my husband. I learned that I had “betrayal trauma” which mimics symptoms like PTSD. I realized I could no longer just pray for him and say so little in therapy.

I remember the sleepless nights, nightmares, anxiety, depression, low self worth, anger and resentment. I knew I needed to do something but I also knew I couldn’t force the man I loved to change. We started back with marriage counseling but it seemed we were dancing around the real issue. Coby saw an ad on TV and called a local company who specialized in addiction recovery.

We started at Addo Recovery in August 2014 and that is when our lives found new hope.
We began couples therapy, Coby went to individual therapy, while I went to a Betrayal Trauma group for women, followed by a shame group for women and a 12 step program.
Coby also attended a men's group, and chose to also incorporate SA (Sex Aholics).
Our lives quickly became devoted to recovery and sobriety.

I remember going to therapy thinking “my husband’s pornography problem isn’t that bad, at least he hasn’t …” I remember going to 12 Step and thinking “I shouldn’t be here because these women are clearly more hurt than I am and I don’t fit in.” I even remember Coby coming home telling me his addiction was not as bad as he had thought. We truly were clueless.

You hear the saying “people don’t change,” but I began to see my husband change and I began to change with him. We worked on ourselves as we pushed through the hard stuff, doing all we could to both get through this once and for all. Just as I felt I was doing awesome the wind got knocked out of me and I fell hard.

Coby came home after only 6 weeks of therapy to tell me that he had a second affair a year before.

I surprised myself as I took deep breaths and just processed what I was just told.
My mind quickly raced to the time period he mentioned of the affair.
What were we doing then?
Did we go on trips, did HE go on trips?
Were we happy?
Then I realized I HAD had many promptings that something was wrong.
I remember asking several times if he was having an affair. Of course he said no, what person would say YES!? I remember telling him I felt like he was changing into someone I didn’t know.
He would get angry and tell me he was the same and so were his behaviors.
But they weren't and those feelings were right but I wasn't skilled enough or had the right frame of mind to not accuse. I wish I had slowed down, written down my thoughts and promptings and prayed more.

I left Coby's side after he told me and went to my bathroom and sobbed.
I cried and cried, asking God why he thought it was OK for me to experience so much trauma.
I was angry, hurt and lost.

That day he moved to the basement and I cried in my room.
Days later we were on a plane to San Diego with our kids to attend our friends wedding and go to Disneyland. Life had to go on but the unknown was heavy on both our hearts. Hard?
Yes! The hardest trip ever and it included our daughters as we then headed to Disneyland.
We didn’t talk to each other much that trip.

At this point the only thing that kept me going was mothering my girls and being there for my fitness clients. I struggled to go to church with my broken marriage.
No one really knew the heartache I was going through as I continued to share only with my therapist, group and my best friend.

With the help of our therapist, Amy, we were both able to move forward and truly progress.
To learn what true forgiveness, empathy and love were.
Coby became a different person than the boy I had married so many years ago.
He was making huge efforts on his own to make things right and to be a better husband, man and father.

We shared because years ago we both felt so alone, felt helpless and that we had failed.
Neither of us regret the years we shared together, the years of growth & together we created the best things in our lives. Coby chose to leave the marriage in 2021 and together we uncoupled using the same tools we had learned through our journey. Our marriage ended after 7 years of recovery work together side by side, sharing publicly on our podcast, but we continue to live a life of recovery individually & continue to mentor those who’s stories have similarities to our own.

Healing either way … with your partner or without. That was our motto.

I know now that I am beyond enough and that with hard work there is hope and people CAN change.
Today I live with hope, understanding, empathy, mindfulness and love.

No regrets in staying … the best good we did was together. We shared episode 200 on our podcast about the emotions that came out of us choosing to uncouple in 2021 & doing our best to put our kids first & hurt in therapy to process individually as we now navigate separate lives.