Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Anonymous Letter

Dear Sister,

You know me.
You go to church with me.  I teach your children.  I brush shoulders with your parents.  I see you on the street and at the store.  We've been inside each other's houses.  We've served together.

And in all that time, I've never told you.
My husband has a lust addiction.  He looks at porn.  He likes it when he does it -he gets caught up in the moment and he stares at other women, lusts, leers, and lingers for hours.  He flips through their pictures, studies their videos.
And I sleep.  or do the shopping.  or take the kids to the park.

I wish I could say I was blissfully unaware.  I'm not.  I know -much like the woman who knows her husband is cheating on her though she may lack physical proof.

I can't tell you that because you wouldn't understand.  You would think he was a pervert -a bad, disgusting sex maniac.
He isn't.
He is human. He's a great father, a protective husband.  He's a caring, thoughtful son. He tries.  When he isn't acting out, he hates his addiction.  He hates himself.

Our home is a sanctuary only so far as I can make it.  I can set up filters, throw out DVDs I don't feel comfortable having... but where there's a will, there's a way.
He can upset the beautiful sanctuary of my home in a few clicks of a button, a few taps on a screen...
And the sacred sanctuary is obliterated.
Our home is infiltrated with filth.
It doesn't matter how much I clean, organize, or let light in... the spirit of porn settles into the cracks, as filthy as nicotine stains.
I crave true sanctuary.
I close my eyes and imagine myself walking the halls of the Temple.  I can feel the cleanliness and purity surround my soul, and all is well.

I weep for sanctuary lost.  I weep because no matter how hard I try, I can't keep lust out of my own home.  And I'm angry because I can't keep lust out of my church building.
I'm angry with you.
I shouldn't be.  I shouldn't be angry with you because it isn't Christ-like.
But you're making my life so much harder... you're so beautiful.  I can't compete with you, and I refuse to try.  I'm not glamorous.  I won't wear flowers in my hair the size of cantaloupe.  My heel-height is limited by my already towering frame.  I will never own a pair of shiny red stilettos like yours.
You're married, and your children are so beautiful.  Of course they are -they get it from you.
You're married.
So why?  Why is your skirt so tight that the fabric is stretched to the MAX over your perfectly fit and plump booty?  Why is your blouse cut so low that we can see down into the valley?  Why is your make-up so smokey-eyed?
Do you know the young men are looking at you?  Did you know they're preparing for missions?  Do you know they HATE that they want to look at you?  It makes them feel dirty -it makes them feel bad.  They're staring at the body of a married woman.  They're good boys.
Do you know that my lust-addicted husband is looking?
It irritates him that you dress like that, and at the same time... it's HARD for him.  He attends church for sanctuary.  He does not find it.
What he does find is a thong line, perfectly visible through a tight khaki skirt.

I watch you jog by my house.  You're wearing a sports bra, or a tight tank top.  Your shorts are so short.  So very, very short.
You are tan, and your body is disciplined and taut.
I wish I didn't know all of that.  I wish I didn't know what the bottom of your rear end looks like -what your stomach looks like, what the top of your breasts look like.
I don't need to know all of that.
After I come home from church or see you run by, I have to face myself in the mirror.

For years, I battled not being good enough... not being sexy or glamorous or taut or tan.  It was ugly, very very ugly.  Today I'm much better, but the old feelings return now and then, usually after I come home from church or see you run by my house.
I spend an hour in front of the mirror trying to give myself smoky eyes, and in the end I only end up with a look that screams "battered hooker."
I try to put on my tallest heels, and I totter slowly forward and stumble and finally kick the damn things off.
I'm too pregnant to be sexy.
I have tight clothes.  I put them on, thinking, 'I could pull this off, right?'
But I can't.  Literally.  Once I get them on, I can't pull them off.

I want to feel badly about the whole thing, but when I look in the mirror again -when the make up is gone and I've got my style of clothes back on and my ballet flats back on: I feel that old familiar homey comfort and I'm home again.  I'm me again.  I love me.

You aren't healthy for me to have around, and I want to tell you to stop.  I want to tell you to go shopping for new, looser clothes.  I want to tell you that PORN and LUST are running rampant and that you're feeding the beast.
And when I say "I want to tell you" what I really mean is "I want to YELL at you."

Is it your fault my husband looks?  No.  It isn't.
Am I still angry at you?  Yes.  I am.
Is it your fault you're gorgeous? No.  It isn't.
Am I still angry with you?  Yes.  I am.

You would understand if your husband had spent your entire marriage looking at other women -lusting for them, wanting them, dreaming about them...

It's a horrible ride.

Please look in the mirror and ask yourself why you do it and BE HONEST.  Are you trying to look your best for YOU?
I don't think you are.
Are you trying to look your best so men will notice?  I do believe so.

Please understand that we are all susceptible to lust.  Please understand that someone just like you almost lost her entire family to a flippant affair.
And she was just as beautiful, just as fit, and just as church-going as you are.
Her skirts were just as tight.
They made me equally uncomfortable.

I wanted to write this letter to her, but I never did.  She's a good woman.  You're a good woman.
But I'm still angry.
I don't expect my anger to be validated...
I just expect to air it out in this letter and be done with it.

I also expect it to be renewed every time you run by my house in a sports bra and cheeky shorts.

If you're not doing anything today, would you mind reading THIS? and then THIS?
I don't believe you are oblivious to what you are doing, and that makes me angry.
I also don't believe you realize the extent of the horrible effect you are having, and that gives me some degree of compassion... but not enough to override the anger.

And so I say, because I can't say it to your face:
Cover up!
You're making a spectacle.



  1. I was just telling someone the other day how I hate the fact that I hate all nearly-naked women. I know it's wrong- but all things "sexy" are a trigger for me. I'm working on it, trying to get over my feelings of inadequacy and rage at the objects of my husbands obsession. But I get all kinds of frustrated when people justify or disguise their desire to be lusted after. Sigh.

    Having said all that. I hope one day to have heart so softened and compassionate that I can love everyone in whatever spiritual and emotional place they are. We shall see.

    1. I'm with you -I hope one day to be more compassionate. Some days I actually AM more compassionate... obviously I wasn't when I wrote this. My husband had just opened up to me about her and how her appearance bothered him while he was at church. It got under my skin. Hence: the healing, angry letter ;)

    2. Yeah. I wrote an angry letter once too. You can read it here. :)

  2. Wow Alicia! I have had these same thoughts about the women in my ward. It makes me sick that I was such a hypocrite and used to try to be that gorgeous woman in order to get attention. That's really why they do it. Maybe their husbands are looking at porn and they dress that way to boost their own self worth or they do it, because they want to be envied. Lust is so messed up!

    I hate the women who flaunt it and wish I could scream at them to stop. Two weeks ago new girl moved in and she wore a short low cut dress, she kept bending over in Sunday School to pick up her baby and you could see everything. I was ticked!!

    I almost want to bear my testimony about modesty and thank those who dress modestly for setting an example for my daughter.

    This letter is perfect! I even had the thought of printing it off, minus the pregnant part and leaving it on all of the doorsteps of the women who draw looks from my husband. I love how when you write I feel like your in my head.

    1. We all have so much common ground in our little community! This is something I'm sure most (if not all) of us struggle with. Sometimes it doesn't bother me a bit -other times? Well. Other times I write angry letters and then feel better. Ha!

  3. I can totally relate! Except where I live, it's mostly the youth and I feel a TINY BIT more sympathy for them than MARRIED women, like you said. That is so hard. It's all a trigger isn't it? Sometimes I want to move to Russia or one of those countries where women wear a burqa - obviously THOSE countries have other issues though.

    And, seeing women like this, especially at church, makes me sad. When I see women like that (at least right now), I wonder - does her husband have a sex addiction? Is she trying in all of the wrong ways to try to help herself feel desirable and valued by her husband? Is that not working so she is hoping if she feels desirable by other men it will help her feel better about herself? When I'm not wanting to shake them and hand them thick coats to cover themselves up (ie - when I'm feeling more compassionate, which *cough* isn't as often as I should - sigh), I want to point them to that talk about self worth. I want to remind them of their worth as daughter's of God. I want to teach them about the sacredness of our bodies and about modesty and showing respect for God and our bodies.

    In the meantime, this world is so messed up. So many messed up messages bouncing around confusing everyone. I'm so grateful for the gospel.

    Also, You are great - I love your posts. Keep 'em coming! :)

    1. I definitely feel for the young women because they really have no idea how men think. At least I had no real idea of how they thought until I was married to one. After that I was definitely WAY more careful about what I put on, haha.

      I think we all feel this same kind of anger with this same issue at one point or another and then we all tend to have the same reaction: anger toward another woman, guilt aimed at ourselves for feeling anger toward someone else, self-soothing through cookies... haha :)

      The world really is messed up right now. Thank GOODNESS for the Savior. Where would I be without Him?

  4. I'll put my two cents in as a male. I don't have a sexual addiction but I do enjoy it. I've been married for 24 years and I love the female form. I agree with sentiments be expressed. I find it very difficult to keep my mind on track in sacrament meeting or work or the grocery store when women dress like they do. It's every where I turn. Why do they need tv ads for Victoria's secret. I know what they sell, I like it, but I dont need to see anyone but my wife in it. What do I tell my 18 year old daughter at the pool about these "Mormon Mommies"? It's difficult to teach that sex is a good thing but please dont flaunt it. We men are human and our brains immediately think one thing when presented with those images. We dont have to act out, or comment or act inappropriatley but it is very hard and discouraging to be bombarded with that on a daily basis.

    1. Thanks for your insights, Bob. I hear ya! I love that you posed this question "What do I Tell my 18 year old daughter at the pool about these "Mormon Mommies?"
      My recovery has really helped me to be more aware of what I'm teaching my children through my actions. I AM one of those Mormon Mommies -what am I teaching them about what it means to be a Mormon Mommy? I've learned to be careful not just about what I wear but about how I speak about myself.
      It's been really hard to NOT say things like, "I'm not pretty/hot/sexy enough..." and now that my kids are getting old enough to really hear and understand what I'm saying I need to watch it.
      My recovery is slowly reprogramming my brain, and thank goodness. I would hate for my beautiful daughter to grow up putting as much emphasis on image as I used to.
      I shouldn't be this upset about a sister in my ward wearing tight clothes, but it can be so disheartening sometimes.
      Thanks again for your insights.

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