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Lust or Love - The Rabbi that saved my marriage

Lust or Love - The Rabbi that saved my marriage
When I first got married, I was idealistic, happy, naïve.  I couldn’t understand what people were always talking about how marriage takes work, how difficult it can be, how much one has to work on their middos.  I am naturally a giving person so giving in a marriage was not a challenge for me.  At that point, I had never encountered anyone like my husband so I didn’t understand what was happening in my marriage.  Honestly, I was just confused.  I kept thinking- “What am I doing wrong?” My husband was just never available.  If I asked him for help with something, if I wanted to just talk, it didn’t matter.  I felt completely alone emotionally and physically.  When different things happened in my life the answer was always no.  Sometimes it was small things, sometimes big things but I learned to manage it all on my own.  This made me feel very resentful, but what choice did I have?  Then there were times that his abandonment really crushed me like when something really huge happened like a death in the family, or a miscarriage.  When my husband was completely unavailable during those very crucial times in my life I was devastated.  This pain and hurt happened over and over and no matter how many times I tried explaining how he’d make me feel, my husband just didn’t get it.  He kept thinking I was making a big deal out of everything.  
I withdrew more and more into myself.  I would isolate from people never telling friends how alone I was, how badly my husband made me feel.  I felt like I didn’t matter. I was no one. Finally, after years of being ignored, I went to a therapist.  I found it helpful to talk things out, things I wouldn’t share with anyone.  I shared the utter shame of my husband not being there for me physically.  My husband would constantly talk about how attractive I was, but being that his learning and davening were more important he just couldn’t find the time.  He would sometimes wake me up at odd hours telling me he couldn’t physically handle not being together.  This made me feel worse than anything.  Why don’t I matter?  Why does he just get to wake me up at 3am because he can’t handle his urgent physical need? I felt lowly and very depressed.  After a while, when I saw therapy was no longer helping me I stopped going.  I felt stuck in my situation and just numbed out by drowning myself in TV shows and movies.  I would literally spend every night busying myself with my shows so as not to feel the pain I was experiencing.  
One night, as I was checking my email, I saw an unfamiliar email.  I realized it was my therapist. He was checking in and asking how I was doing.  I thought “Oh! That’s so sweet!” and I quickly responded.  One response led to another. And another. And another.  After some time, it snowballed into a full blown relationship.  This man offered me everything I was missing from my husband.  He acted like I mattered, he wanted to hear about me, he cared about me.  He would constantly talk about how attracted he was to me. I was thrilled! We would talk or email every night.  To me, he was my best friend.  The only problem was the I was an orthodox married Jewish woman and he was an orthodox married Jewish man.  This pained me tremendously because I knew what I was doing was awful and going against G-d.  But I needed him! He made me so happy and I could not give up the relationship.  Every time I tried stopping I went right back to him.  Thankfully, we were never physical.  He would beg me to meet with him in person.  He would promise that we would not touch.  But I knew that if I would meet with him I would not be able to control my urge for being with him.  I knew that would be the end of me.  So no matter how much he urged me, I refused to see him.  I am so grateful for that.
 As much as this relationship meant to me it also caused me much pain.   I would cry all the time, even to him, about how I was betraying Hashem.  I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop.  One day, a friend of mine told me she watched a life changing video by Rabbi Yaron Reuven.  I found that intriguing.  I watched the video and it really moved me.  It actually shook me to the core. I watched everything I could get my hands on.  As much as it scared me, I felt awakened to hear the truth.  I quickly texted Rabbi Reuven with an endless stream of questions.  In his kindness, he answered them all. His videos, his answers, his shiurim really changed me.  I feel completely different now. I filtered my phone and computer and I never watch TV shows or movies anymore. I don’t speak to the married man that I had considered my best friend.  Surprisingly, I don’t even want to speak to him anymore.  Had you told me a year ago that I wouldn’t want to speak to this man I would not have believed you.  Now my husband will sometimes watch Rabbi Reuven's shiurim with me.  We go to a marriage therapist together (we had gone to many in the past and none of them helped), and although there are still struggles, things are a world apart from where they were.  He now understands that I am a person with emotions and needs.  Our physical relationship has tremendously improved through watching the intimacy series.  I feel purpose in every day of my life.  I strive to do teshuva every day and really become the best version of me that I can become.  I often walk around feeling like I'm on a "high" from not having the garbage in my life that was there before.  I don't want to be stuck in the muck, it was a sickening place to be.
  I am truly grateful to have started this Teshuva journey.

From A Happier Married Orthodox Woman

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