When Sam and Nancy Sam in for couples coaching, they shared a common scenario.
Sam was looking forward to being home after treatment. He had been a way for 30 plus days and had been feeling lonely. He got excited when he thought about being with his wife again. He was committed to his recovery and was working a solid recovery plan.
Nancy was excited too. But when she thought about Sam coming home, her excitement was met with anxiety. She wasn’t sure how long this would last this time. And she was afraid to get her hopes up too high. He had disappointed her before. And she promised herself this was the last time she would go through this whole rehab thing.
Nancy could see that Sam was working hard this time. But she found herself withholding. Every time Sam would tell her he loved her, she would kind of dismiss it and wouldn’t say it back.
Every time Sam would make a move on Nancy, she would make up an excuse or flat out turn him down.
They wanted to come together, but they weren’t sure what was happening. That’s when I explained the common 3 reasons people withhold love after treatment.
1. Nancy is afraid if she shows affection, Sam will get the idea that everything is o.k. She wants him to understand how bad she is hurting. And if she acts like her old self, he will assume that the slate has been wiped clean. So instead of having a conversation with Sam about happy she is feeling, she withholds instead. She also thinks that if she lets him know how bad she is hurting through withholding, that it will somehow be a motivator to keep him sober. That of course, is a lie. Because, the only thing that keeps someone sober is working a strong recovery plan.
2. She withholds love and affection and uses it as a carrot. Nancy believes that sex is something Sam can work towards, so she uses her affection as a means to entice Sam to “do a good job” in his recovery. This of course won’t work, because again, the only thing keeping Sam sober is Sam working a strong recovery plan.
3. Nancy is trying to keep an emotional buffer. She believes that if she keeps some emotional distance and Sam relapses, she will be less hurt. However, that’s just not the case, as getting hurt hurts, no matter how much buffer you think you have.
So, my advice to Sam and Nancy was to live in the present moment. There are absolutely no guarantees in ANYTHING in life. But you are granted one thing for sure….THIS MOMENT. And if you decide to spend time living in either the past or the future, you miss the moment entirely.
I urged them as I urge anyone else who this resonates with, do not wait to love. LOVE NOW.
With so much love!