I was finishing up the Lilith class last week (about ways to manage the Surge energy) and I wrote to them about one of the experiences of the Sex Surge® that really shaped me. It was one of the best and most awful moments of my Surge experience.
And lest you think this story only relates to the Surge, hang with me. It’s about clarity- and clarity is something that happens in both the Surge and in peri-menopause. The Surge brings clarity because that’s one of things a little extra testosterone gives us- focus and clarity. Peri-menopause also gives us clarity, but from a completely different direction: the loss of estrogen; we don’t care to nurture and tend as much anymore and that brings clarity.
Having worked with both of these experiences at this point in my life, they do feel a little different. Which sounds weird, I know. They have the same outcome, but it’s like they are coming from slightly different places. It’s similar to washing your clothes with your regular detergent but instead used a fancy, ‘delicate clothes’ detergent- you still get clean clothes, but the way you got there is slightly different. Anyway…clarity, sometimes radical clarity, is a part of mid-life and the Sex Surge.
What I wrote to my class participants was this. I struggled, for a long time- months- trying to figure out whether I wanted an affair or whether I wanted to stay with my husband or try for an open marriage or xyz other option. I struggled trying to make the decision because it seemed like my heart, my soul, and my body were going in three different directions. And sometimes my body was in charge, sometimes it was my heart, and sometimes it my soul. I could never get them to line up. It was fucking frustrating, to be honest.
But I finally figured out which part of myself was going to give me the best advice amongst those three. I asked for guidance and the answer was: stay with your husband and don’t have an affair. And the answer was clear. Like, C-L-E-A-R. And it remained the clear answer for weeks afterwards. This was the answer I couldn’t run from, the answer that wouldn’t change. It was the clarity I had been seeking.
But you know what?
I really did not want that to be the answer.
I really, really did not want that to be the answer*.
I had a few heavy, sobbing, self-pitying, ugly cries about it over the next couple of weeks. I really wanted to have an affair. But it wasn’t the answer for me.
NOW: I know this is not the path for everyone. That’s why I talk openly about affairs and open marriage and other options for women in the Sex Surge. I know that these options are the answer, the clarity, for other people.
Here’s the thing about clarity at mid-life: sometimes it ain’t pretty and sometimes it ain’t what we want. Sometimes peri-menopause clarity looks like divorce. Sometimes Sex Surge clarity looks like moving out. Sometimes peri-menopause clarity looks like telling a family member to fuck off. Sometimes Sex Surge clarity looks therapy for childhood trauma. Sometimes clarity is I need a therapist, coach, or a better best friend.
Clarity doesn’t always feel like a gift. Yes, clarity can feel like we were in a dark room and someone finally opened the curtains and we can see light again. But sometimes that clarity is realizing that the window has a view of the garbage dump and that we’d like to smash the window with our fists.
I actually don’t want to make something happy from that or wind it up all pretty and easy. Clarity doesn’t always feel like a gift. It might feel like a relief in a lot of situations, but it doesn’t always feel like a good thing. Even as I knew staying in my marriage was the right answer, it also really sucked. Suddenly, I was cut off from desires and fantasies- and there is grief that comes with losing those things. I felt angry at Life. I wanted to have a tantrum and refuse (but I know better). Even as part of me knew it was the right answer, many other parts of me weren’t happy about it.
The only advice I can give you here is that when clarity comes and it doesn’t feel like a gift, be honest about that. Let your self cry, scream, break things, run and curse and flail. And I only offer this because it helps reduce the internal conflict, which makes accepting the clarity easier. If we let the anger, frustration, grief, and jealousy sit inside us, it makes taking action on the clarity less likely to happen. So, let the truth be what it is: your clarity is not always a gift, and sometimes you need a good cry about that.
For me, in the end, the clarity was helpful and kept me from not just an affair but also an emotional connection that probably would have blown me to bits. My FF isn’t a good person and if I had poured my heart into him, it would have broken me. On my worst days, I could also fall back on the understanding that what my clarity showed me was the best thing for my particular life and I could believe in it; I could get through because I knew it was the right way for me. But clarity wasn’t, and isn’t, always a gift. And that’s okay. Mid-life is like that sometimes. And we’re gonna make it through, I promise.
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* Now, this tells you how much the Sex Surge fucks with your brain, because my husband is one of the good ones. He listens, he splits chores, he raises our kids with me, he is infinitely supportive of me and my dreams, he fucking communicates and talks about his feelings and needs. He really is a very good man and I am lucky to have him. But in the Sex Surge, these things didn’t matter as much. Which is ridiculous- and I can see that now. I am truly, incredibly grateful that I didn’t have an affair these days because I would have lost this amazing man. I am also truly, incredibly grateful that he stuck with me and we were able to deal with the Surge together. I know many women don’t have any of this, so I am very glad I figured out my clarity- even if it felt frustrating in the moment, it really was the best decision for me.