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Bump in the road and I just don't know anymore

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Mama3030 posted 5/17/2014 16:22 PM

Short background-

We've had an extremely rough year, WH's dad died suddenly last July when we were expecting our third child. WH found his body which was extremely traumatic. FIL and WH ran a business together and now it's all on WH. Currently going through probate court to assess all of FIL's assets (FIL's widow being distant and uncooperative).

DDay 2/21/14. After lots of drinking (he's an alcoholic) and no intimacy I snooped on his email/phone. After finding a suspicious email he confessed he had seen 2 escorts since his dad's passing and been going to "massage parlors" weekly. He agreed to counseling for himself, stop drinking hard alcohol and full disclosure with the phone/etc.

Things have been OK. He had stopped the daily drinking. He has been home more, trying to be a better husband/father. I have been trying to forgive.

When all of this went down I asked him to download the "find my friends" app on his iphone so if I needed I could see where he was at (the times he cheated he was supposed to be at work). He was fine with it. I check it periodically. Well last week I saw he was at a local bar/restaurant by his work that he had frequented during our troubled time. I hoped he was just eating lunch but after a couple hours he was still there. I called him and he was drunk. He had gone through a particular rough day at work and went back to his old unhealthy coping mechanism. After angrily telling him not to come home I quickly changed my mind and called him back and told him that he did, in fact, need to come home (which he did).

After he came home he deleted the app which I just discovered. He has been acting quiet and distant again. We have been intimate a handful of times in the past 3 months since this has happened but still very infrequent.

I find myself needy, crying a lot, self-esteem is shot (which is understandable in our situation I would think). I am bitter and angry of course. He cheated while I was 8 months pregnant! He has been seeing a counselor who is trying to help him be there for me. I know I need my own counselor but I haven't had the courage to take that step yet.

Today I blew up about his lack of attention and then the iphone app drama. He said that he is growing resentful that I want him to be miserable and admitted deleting the app but said "if you want to track me 24/7 go ahead and install it on my phone again."

I am furious. Why should I be the one to make this effort? Maybe it is unreasonable but I feel like he should be kissing my ass for what he has done. He should be affectionate and loving. But he's depressed and unhappy with his job, with me, with everything.

I am a stay at home mom and I have applied to go to nursing school. I don't want to depend on him anymore but IF we stay married I want to ease some of the financial pressure in our family so he doesn't have to keep this business if he doesn't want to.

Sorry this is so long. I just don't know if I want to stay married anymore. He is a good father, a good provider, and I don't really think he will cheat on me again. But he still isn't providing the emotional support I need right now. I hate the needy person I have become, and I suspect he does to, even though it is largely his doing.

I don't know if I can fake it for 2-3 more years while I go to school. I am lost. Any advice or support would be greatly appreciated.

SeeingRed posted 5/17/2014 18:07 PM

Escorts and massage parlors are usually a symptom of SA (sex addiction). You mentioned a lack of sex between you and him as well which is also a huge red flag for SA.

If you haven't already try and suss out his porn usage. A sex addict will begin to replace actual sex with their partner with porn and then the porn starts to lack the desired effect (thrill) and they then seek out prostitutes, strangers, etc. in order to bring "porn" into reality.

So if he's a sex addict and not getting help (from a CSAT and support groups) and truly dedicating himself to controlling his addiction then it might explain his depression due to him "white-knuckling" it without actually fixing the underlying issues.

blakesteele posted 5/17/2014 18:09 PM


I am saying a specific prayer for you both right now.

My wife's mom passing marked the start of her path to adultery. Grief is tough to process, made exponentially tougher when coping skills block healthy feelings and healings.

Please find a therapist for you. Consider attending alanon meetings.

I know you love your spouse. I love my wife. But while a spouse is actively engaged in one if the four deadly A's (adultery, addiction, abuse, abandonment) separating, at least emotionally, from your spouse is the healthiest thing to do.

His while "fine, if you want to do it....then do it" is a big time cop out and a manipulation tool. As a former codependent I easily recognize that part of the cycle as well as my unhealthy attraction to "save the day". IC has broken my part of that cycle.

Keep the faith......keep posting.

God is with us all.

Mama3030 posted 5/17/2014 18:36 PM

Thank you both.

Since we've been together (13 years) he watches a few minutes of porn daily to "get off". It bothered me in the beginning but we had a healthy sex life so I got over it.

After the birth of our second child I found out he was using webcam porn (interactive). Spending thousands of dollars. Apparently stopped when caught. We went to marriage counseling and had a good couple of years.

Then I got pregnant for a third time and the rest is in the original post.

I have definitely questioned whether or not he is a sex addict. He views porn daily before he gets in the shower in the morning (getting off as a stress relief as he puts it). It is less effort than being intimate with his wife apparently. When we are intimate it is good still but I don't know if that matters.

Both the cheating and the webcam stuff (which many would also consider cheating I'm sure) is directly related to drinking. I think the alcoholism is more of the main issue. He is able to refrain when sober. He sees no issue with the porn stuff though.

[This message edited by Mama3030 at 6:37 PM, May 17th (Saturday)]

Mama3030 posted 5/17/2014 18:39 PM

Blakestele do you have any advice on how to separate emotionally? I find masking or even controlling my emotions very difficult (I manage when kids are present but it's tough).

SeeingRed posted 5/17/2014 18:49 PM

Daily usage of porn just to "relive stress" is NOT normal. A sexually healthy male might occasionally look at porn. Daily use and then escalating to hookers is a serious sign that your H's infidelity stems from SA and thrill seeking.

If he is a SA it takes YEARS and YEARS of treatment just to get their addiction fully under control. He obviously has an addictive personality hence the alcohol abuse.

If he is a SA then it won't end until he decides to get help and fully commit. There's absolutely nothing you can do to fix it or help him.

I'd advise you to ask him to make an appointment with a CSAT to see if he is a SA. At least then you'll know what you're dealing with even if he refuses to get treatment.

SeeingRed posted 5/17/2014 18:55 PM

Just to recap:

-He uses porn daily

-He spent thousands of dollars on webcam hookers, maybe stopped when caught

-Used real life hookers

-Went to massage parlors weekly

I don't even have to be a CSAT to diagnose him with SA. I'm sorry and gently, your husband has a sex addiction and will NEVER stop unless he fully commits to treatment to control it.

SeeingRed posted 5/17/2014 19:07 PM

"I think the alcoholism is more of the main issue"

Alcohol does not cause a person to spend thousands on webcam hookers, real life hooker and massage parlors.

While he may also be an alcoholic that is NOT what is causing the sexual issues.

blakesteele posted 5/17/2014 20:20 PM

I, too, have had a difficult time detaching. I was able to achieve this with 4 main steps.

1. My wife's affair overloaded all of my coping mechs.....I simply ran out of them and had to find a better, healthier way.
2. IC for MC for a bit.
3. Reading. Codependent no more. Love must be tough. 2 books that opened my eyes to my destructive choices.
4. Prayer. Spiritual growth continues to be beneficial to me.....especially as my wife chooses some of her old coping mechs.(which is happening less and less).

As a man who used porn in the past, with a wife who knew about it and participated with it.....I am proof the addiction, compulsion and habit can be broken.

But just like all other change the person who must change has to decide for themselves that they desire change.

I had a couple of DD's because my wife did not want to change. When I showed up on her AP,a porch.....he decided he wanted to change!

Change occurs when the pain of same exceedes the pain of change. Me in agony, our family in danger was NOT enough for my wife to change.....and she clung tight to her A. The fear the AP felt upon my visit had him cross that threshold.....and he dumped my wife.

Now, he did not repent. Instead he started (or grew an already existing) another affair.

When I decided to stop using porn it was imperative that I back fill in that space with something healthy. There are other steps and process's too......but it all starts with a choice.

Every Mans Battle book/program was a key component to me.

Choices. You have choices too. Right now, if you are like I was back when my wife kept choosing destructively, you need someone to lead help you feel feelings you may have spent a lifetime avoiding and them to help you find that list of choices you have to you.

Another thing that will help......first consultation with a D lawyer. It will take some of the anxiousness out of D as a choice.

I know you are in pain. I am sorry for that. I know what I have posted here will increase your pain initially. But, speaking as a guy who has gone through gets better.....lots better.

And being porn free (14 months now)? It is so liberating! I wold be willing to be a cyber accountability partner for your husband if he would like. RL is better....I have them. But I also have 5 SI male friends too.

You can do this. You CAN do this.

God is with us all.

blakesteele posted 5/17/2014 20:40 PM

Mama3030......RL relationship friendly female friends are a must.

I have a couple RL relationship friendly male friends that I lean on when my emotions are urging me to action....which hardly ever results in anything healthy.

Feelings are indicators, not dictators. Your emotions are STRONG right now.....perhaps the strongest you have ever felt. Good reason......your husbands actions are a serious threat to you and your family.

Have you felt real anger towards him?

I ask because.....I lacked real anger upon my DD. It took 2 months of weekly IC therapy for me to find the anger I needed to to protect myself and my family. In the mean time my wife took her EA to PA status.

I did the "loving thing".......resulting in even more destruction.

The REAL loving thing would have been to employ righteous anger.

Try this one time.

Next time you are about to choose an action, put one of your children in your place. Imagine them at your age, married to a spouse like you have. Then imagine them choosing like you are about to. If your heart breaks for them, DONT choose that action. Restart the imagery and choose again.

This simple yet affective technique helps me stay out of my comfortable but destructive codependent rut.

Make a habit of this for 30 days and YOU will experience an internal shift.

Read "love must be tough" by James Dobson first.

Apply what you learn.

Them read Codependent No More.

They are separate authors but I found reading these two back to back really helped me.

(((((Mama3030))))). I so feel your pain. I also feel the pain I inflicted on my spouse throughy choice to use porn.


[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:57 PM, May 17th (Saturday)]

Mama3030 posted 5/18/2014 05:38 AM

SeeingRed you are right. It has been a slow progression over 13 years and I was very young and nave when I met him. I was 20, he was 29. I was a virgin who had not ever had a long term boyfriend, he had been married before. I had no real experience of how a relationship "should" be. I guess he just convinced me that his porn habits were normal. Now at 33 (he's 42) I am finally realizing he isn't healthy, this isn't normal. I always had friends who would complain their husband's wanting sex all of the time, well I never had that with him. It was about once a week, max twice, always. As I got in my thirties it wasn't really enough for me anymore. And now after all of this we are barely intimate every couple weeks. It contributes to my neediness and insecurities.

Blakesteele- Thanks for your advice. I will buy those books on Amazon today. I am so codependent on him it makes me sick. I have close girlfriends but I've only told two of them (one until very recently) because obviously this is an embarrassing turn of events. I feel like if I decide to stay with him then they will hate him forever and think I'm weak.

Which I AM weak. I need to get strong. That is my #1 goal.

[This message edited by Mama3030 at 5:39 AM, May 18th (Sunday)]

blakesteele posted 5/18/2014 06:50 AM

Don't let false assumptions limit and slow your healing.

This pain is different then say grieving the death of a loved one or fighting a serious illness......those trials have more universal, compassionate social responses, making it somewhat easier to share. But people will surprise you when you reach out from the pain of adultery.

His choices are not yours to be accountable for. Any shame you might feel from his choices is his sin being put on you. I felt shame for my wife's actions too. We had regular sex....multiple times a week for most of our M. I tended to her needs and orgasms were regular for her. Yet, upon my DD, I still felt like I didn't satisfy her. This, of course,was wrong.....IC and SI helped be see and accept that truth.

My wife and I were "firsts" and were on track to be "onlies". But we were adventurous in our bedroom and learned each other's likes and dislikes.

The truth is......I could not have loved her more, better, done more date nights, etc., to keep her faithful. Some void, some specific brokenness within her made adultery an option and one she embraced. That part of her was within her long before we met. Your husbands brokenness and choices were within him well before you met.

What we are also discovering is that we both had (have) fears of real intimacy. That is one reason porn was a part if our M and why adultery was an option for my wife....both false intimacies.

The codependent cycle within you? I bet that was a part of you before you met Mr mama30......I know mine was. Some events when I was 12 put into motion some "relationship limiting" coping skills of my very own.

We are all broken. Our spouses chose adultery to "fix" their brokenness. I did codependent things to "fix" mine. Really not fixing anything.....just masking it with unhealthy actions.

As you gain knowledge you will see the choices that were available to you all along. Your husband will if he chooses to. My wife is as she is choosing to. I am too.

I am sorry adultery was chosen BEFORE real "fixing" was tried......but that's the nature of coping skills. We lie to ourselves by using them.

The first lie to infidelity is to yourself. It's just porn, we are just friends, it's just a blow job.......

Note: has really cheap used books. (Long standing Dave Ramsey fan here!) Most of the time those books are less than $8 including shipping. I have read north of 40 books since my DD's 22 months ago.

Also....reach out via PM to other women on SI. I don't PM female members (boundary for me). It will comfort you.

Added you to my specific SI prayer list.

God is with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 6:56 AM, May 18th (Sunday)]

Mama3030 posted 5/18/2014 07:07 AM

Thank you thank you thank you.


Can I ask a dumb question? What does "IC" stand for? Sorry I'm still navigating the forums and for some reason some of the links in the tagged posts don't work for me.

Edited never mind I figured it out. I need to make the call this week. I know I need my own therapy.

[This message edited by Mama3030 at 8:18 AM, May 18th (Sunday)]

blakesteele posted 5/18/2014 08:36 AM

You're welcome.

IC = individual counseling.

To be clear, my wife used porn solo too. I used it more but this false intimacy was equally accepted by both of us.

Honestly, one of the main ingredients that kept ME from an A was enough self realization that it was a temptation for me. I had boundaries in place that kept my opportunities at bay. My wife's AP was really the first male relationship she kept secret. Her "innocent phase" at the top of that slippery slope was very short in duration....1-2 weeks tops. She very quickly compartmentalized her relationship with him and fed it like crazy.

It's an odd thing.....this desire / fear relationship many if is have. We desire the comfort, security, safe, nurturing of being in relationship with others......yet we do things that actually limit or prohibit this from ever taking place.

For my wife and I, a similar FOO programmed us to connect.....but only so far. We learned it was terrifying to actually bond with someone else.

We had the independent thing down. We knew codependency very well. We were comfortable with false intimacy. But we never moved into the healthy "4th corner".....the interdependent marriage.

We are attempting to do that now as we try to restore our very broken M. Broken not just because of my wife's affair, but broken because of our joint brokenness. KWIM?

Right now.....just focus on yourself and what you can do to protect yourself. I know it's disengage from your spouse. I know I did not do this necessary step early on....but I did do it. I continue to do it as needed.

I ramble a lot when I feel anxious. I so relate to where you are at right now. My heart does two things for you right now.

1. It hurts for you.

2. It has hope for you.

This is painful....traumatically painful. Their is hope.......22 months into it and I am a changed man. My M is changed too. My wife is changing.

Change is possible. Each of us has the power to change. We must find the courage to change. Then we must take actions TO change. But it all starts with that singular decision to change.

You have made that change. You will grow through this trial. Time. You'll learn to both live and hate this component. The other component is action. I already see this alive and kicking in you.

And that is a great source of hope.

God is with us all.

SpecialK posted 5/18/2014 08:54 AM

I find myself needy, crying a lot, self-esteem is shot (which is understandable in our situation I would think). I am bitter and angry of course. He cheated while I was 8 months pregnant! He has been seeing a counselor who is trying to help him be there for me. I know I need my own counselor but I haven't had the courage to take that step yet.

Mama, your last sentence jumped out at me, You have to find your "happiness/peace" within YOURSELF. You can't depend on others (husband, children, boyfriend/girlfriend) for that. What "courage" are you talking about? You can't control anyone but yourself.
Do you want to remain where you are forever? Get thee to a good counselor who will help you "be there for yourself".
In my opinion, HIS counselor should be helping him figure out why he uses alcohol and whores to deal with stress......

Mama3030 posted 5/19/2014 12:55 PM

^^^ Yes, yes you are right 100%. My WH's counselor is helping him work through his issues but I swear he has so many he needs inpatient treatment or something at this point.

I have contacted a counselor for myself and ordered those books. Thanks for giving me the push I needed to get myself help.

We did talk this morning and he agrees that none of his habits are normal and they are all hurting our ability to be intimate. We both hope that he can work through this stuff as it is in the best interest of our family for us to work this out.

We still get along for the most part and have very little "drama" day-to-day. My biggest focus is on the kids and then myself now (not him).

I will share something funny. When I told him I realized how codependent on him I have been over the course of our relationship he said "What can I do to make you feel more independent? I will do anything, whatever it takes." I just looked at him and I had to laugh, said "Do you hear the irony in that statement?!?!"

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