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User Topic: Spouses/Partners Of Sex Addicts
newdaysahead
♀ Member
Member # 10467
Default  Posted: 9:56 PM, August 11th (Monday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Love – I agree that your H is trying to manage his addiction. Also, it is not unusual for an addict to substitute on addiction for another.

Brokenhart – SAs are all different. I think it is the exception rather than the rule that they fit the descriptions exactly. My H would not even consider the possibility that he was SA at first, and even after he said that he might be – it took going to meetings and learning about it before he actually agreed that he is a Love addiction, not necessarily a Sex addict. It is frightening to find that your partner has this side of him that you don’t know nor understand. It becomes easier for an addict to feed the addiction, than address the issues that cause it. You do not have to crave “sex”, they crave the feelings that are associated with the acting out.

Reading Out of the Shadows is a bit much for an initial read. A lot of other good books have been suggested. Another that may help is called “Addictive Thinking”. It explains the thought processes that accompany an addiction. It may help you better understand the whole cycle that creates the addiction.

I am sorry to hear about your MIL’s reaction, but it is kind of expected. I think most families feel that this is a personal issue between H & W, sex does not concern anyone else. Additionally, they probably don’t want to feel that their child is this way because if how they raised him. My IL were supportive of me when there was one OW, when the problem expanded and other behaviors, OW and problems were encountered – they stopped being supportive of me and kind of buried their heads in the sand at that point. I do not think IL family has ever been good when it comes to dealing with things that are “unpleasant”.

Take care of yourself first. If you feel it coming on, take care of your depression. Don’t feel pressured to make any life altering decisions right now. It is impossible to say what life will be like with a SA, it depends a lot on him and how much he is willing to admit to himself and how much work he commits to.

As far as confronting him with more of what you found, perhaps it is something to address in MC or he can address in IC. Going forward, maybe it is time to set a boundary as to having receipts for cash spent.

Just Wow – a lot of people have difficulty with the co-addict or co-dependent tags. I think some people are a little, some people are a lot and others are not at all. If you had no idea what your H was up to, did not have any uncomfortable or uneasy feelings and were just plain blindsided, then I can not see how you would be any kind of co-addict/co-dependent. If you had things that were never fully explained, things that did not add up – but you let go, or uneasiness that you didn’t questioned, that you might have tendencies of a co-addict. I let lots of stuff go, had a lot of stuff not add up and never was good at setting any type of boundary/consequence – I was (am) definitely co-addict material.

Innerstrength – I think that the SAnon and COSA meeting provide great support. They will also help you keep the focus on yourself. There are several people in my group who have successfully competed other 12 Step programs (like AlAnon) who were also blindsided by the SA when it came to light. Many people need the support when they find out that their partner is SA, because they go thru the lots of emotions, self doubt and self blame. People who attend meetings use the programs differently: some actually work through the steps and others never formally work them, some come for support and to have others they can talk to. If you decide to attend meetings, give it a few times – there is a saying “take what you need and leave the rest”. You do not have to buy into the whole program, some do and some don’t, but nobody faults anyone for how they choose to use the program.

Now for me….I am having bad triggers and dreams of late. Every night for the last week, I have had awful dreams involving H and his OW and SA. I have had triggers that I have not really had in a long time. I am not sure if they are coming on as we are approaching a 1 year mark of his returning home, if it is the program we have been attending together, if it is just the remembrances of past summers, if it is in part my sister getting married and feeling the loss of the intimacy of what our marriage should be, preparing our daughter to go off for her freshman year of college 200 miles away or bits and pieces of each. For the past several months I have felt confident in my decision to be here in this marriage. For the last several weeks, I have begun to feel the connection to my H return and that has been gone for a long time. We have been attending a program for SA and partners run by a group in our area that specializes in SA. Learning and getting a better understanding of the SA, working on things in the program together, each of us participating in the program was giving me a sense of security and calm. I have seen him working on himself, I have seen changes he has made, and I began to allow the door to open a bit because of these things. However, he recently told me that he has felt less connected to me over the last few weeks. With that, the door slammed shut again. I thought I felt intimacy creeping in, but he says he feels even further apart. I am frustrated and confused as to why it is like this. Is he still able to manipulate me and how I feel? Is he still gaslighting? Is he feeling vulnerabilities that he does not know how to process, so it is easier to say that they are not there?

The most difficult hurdle to deal with is a healthy sexual relationship between the two of us. It had been returning in the last few weeks. For me, the emotional piece needed to be there to feel safe enough to return to a sexual relationship. It was there, tenuous but there. Then he drops this “I don’t feel a connection, we are further apart than ever” and damn do I feel used, feel like a fool and scared to pieces. Intellectually, I feel that this is probably the normal learning curve for him, but emotionally I feel that I am being fooled again. Input?


Me BS 39
Him WS 40, SLA,LTA and many other PAs and EAs
M 20 years, now separated



Posts: 396 | Registered: Apr 2006 | From: SE PA
toonice
♂ Member
Member # 19862
Default  Posted: 10:11 PM, August 11th (Monday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Innerstrength; thanks.
My FWW's mother abused her, emotionally, and at the same time, coddled her older sister. Sometimes, she's just so frantic for approval for others, and no amount of verbal encouragement will satisfy her - other times, she lashes out at other people and judges them harshly. She believes this is part of the reason why she trades sex for attention/friendship/approval. She didn't have any friends as a teenager, except for her boyfriends, who took her in, gratefully accepted her offers of sex, and were in turn, a social vehicle for her.

I don't know if this makes her a sex addict or what.

brokenhart;
funny you should mention seeing your H in a picture where he seemed like a totally different person. My FWW's OM would have her call him by a different name than his real name. She thinks that he may have done that for his other OW too. She said that they used to fight a lot, when they weren't having sex. And one fight "broke them up" for about a half a year, and she said that after that fight, his personality changed, like he was a different person. He almost lost his wife during that time as well, she threw him out but only kept him away for about a week. (unfortunately, because when he was away, he moved to a different town. Oh how I wish he had stayed.)

As far as the codependent label goes; I guess I am, I don't know. When my wife has expected me to "defend her" or "stand up for her" (in fights with her sister - or when OM stalked her); she was very disappointed in me for not doing so. My attitude was - she's a big girl, she should be able to take care of herself, right? Her attitude was; "he didn't defend me, he doesn't love me." - - so, in that regard, I don't think I'm a codependent at all. Yet, there has to be some reason why, out of the 4 women in my life whom I've been close to, 3 of them cheated on me, and came from abusive backgrounds. Hell, even the reason why I'm currently staying with FWW (on bad days, when I can't think of any other reason) - is because she needs a stable place to get help, and heal, and she's got noplace else but our home. That's messed-up. I know it, because it "sounds noble" - but really, is doing the hard work for her.

[This message edited by toonice at 10:19 PM, August 11th (Monday)]


Stronger than reason, stronger than lies, the only truth I know, is the look in your eyes.
BH(42) FWW(41; 8+ OM/OW, 5 year LTA)
M: 16yrs, 2 kids DS16, DD13. d-day 6/17/2008 (after 9 months of MC+gaslighting).

Posts: 4898 | Registered: Jun 2008 | From: CA
2br02b
♀ Member
Member # 19664
Default  Posted: 8:51 AM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Just Wow – a lot of people have difficulty with the co-addict or co-dependent tags. I think some people are a little, some people are a lot and others are not at all. If you had no idea what your H was up to, did not have any uncomfortable or uneasy feelings and were just plain blindsided, then I can not see how you would be any kind of co-addict/co-dependent.

NOT EVERY PARTNER OF SA IS CO-ADDICT OR CO-DEPENDENT!

Now that I have gotten that off my chest I feel better. The H and I have been reading all the Carnes' books where they say the partner, by default, is co-something. I have a hard time with that. Voiced my opinion as such at the one COSA meeting I went to and was told that "we all say that but if you stay for 4-6 weeks you will learn you really ARE." Excuse me? Is that not dichotimous? In order for you to "help make it easier" for your recovering addict you need to admit to co-addiction and work your own program? Sorry, not falling for it and not working any "program" except my own personal quest to make myself feel good again.

As for making it easier on my recovering spouse - it's NOT MY JOB TO MAKE IT EASIER ON HIM! If my not copping to some trumped up label of co-addict makes it harder for him then BUMMER! He obviously didn't work to make things easier for me. It's up to him now. I am not monitoring his computer use, not checking to see where he's been or who he's called, not doing all that stuff because I am NOT co-dependent and his recovery is his gig. I will go to RCA with him but that's as close to a "program" as I will work.

I guess the moral of my soapbox rant is to let you know that you do NOT have to accept the labels or share the blame. That means you are not co-dependent.


Me – 51
Him – 53 (and SA)
D-Day#1 – 9/19/1981
D-Day#2 – 11/23/2008
D-Day#3 - 6/6/09 (Actually D-Day!) - full disclosure given.
Forgiveness - 8/30/09
Married 29 years
2 adult children
Reconciling
2BR02B - that is the question.

Posts: 81 | Registered: May 2008 | From: Phoenix, AZ
Eternaloptimist
♀ Member
Member # 15029
Default  Posted: 10:32 AM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Newdaysahead,

Not sure I can help with the sex/intimacy issue, but I certainly know what you're going through. I finally told my husband that I didn't want any sex in our relationship until I could feel that he wanted to be with ME, not just that he was horny. I know he loves me, I don't doubt that at all. But I also know that this notions around sex are so messed up that I end up feeling like a big disappointment. It's easier at this point to simply not go there. He's working with an SA counsellor and dealing with intimacy issues, but it sure takes a long time. And he says he doesn't really miss sex with me because it carries with it all the feelings of guilt/remorse/etc. that he's trying to overcome.
Sad...


Me: BS
Him: WS, SA
Married: 12 years
Three kids: 9-year-old D, 7-year-old S, 5-year-old D
D-Day #1: December 11, 2006 (LTA)
D-Day #2: June 17, 2007 (found out about SA)

Posts: 656 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Toronto
newdaysahead
♀ Member
Member # 10467
Default  Posted: 11:57 AM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I do not believe that everyone falls into the co-addict or co-dependent label and I appreciate your stand. I urge you to give COSA a few more times or maybe try a different group. You will not agree with everything everyone says or agree with all things you read, but like you said in your last post, it may help you on your quest to make yourself feel good again. You do not need to admit to anything to make things easier for anyone, other than yourself. There is a group saying of “take what you want and leave the rest” apply this to what you read and hear. The story in your profile indicates that you have been through a lot due to this addiction and the groups are another outlet that can help you deal with all the residual fallout from the addiction. You do not have to accept the labels, but you have to accept things for what they are. If someone has/had co-addict tendencies then those need to be dealt with and those tendencies are dealt with the same way regardless if you accept the label or not.

What are you doing when you do not set boundaries, when you cave to behaviors that go against your morals, values and comfort zone, when you lose weight and wear different clothes? Were you not accepting some blame for the situation? Then I would say I was trying to save my marriage, now I know I was just being co-addict. I do not view being a co-addict, or someone with co-addictive tendencies, in a relationship with a SA as accepting the blame for his actions, he is responsible for those actions – I see it about taking the blame for my actions or lack of actions. The co-addiction is about you and how you allowed the addiction to impact you. By my not placing boundaries/consequences on things, by going along with things, by letting him get away with things – I know I enabled him. I take responsibility for my actions and how my actions impact my life: I did not creating boundaries that would protect me and keep me safe; I did not create an environment that was healthy; I did not standing up for myself; I dressed, acted and did things I felt would make me appealing to him; I created excuses for his behaviors; I bailed him out when he put himself in certain positions; I went against my values and morals in attempts to keep him and make him happy, but all this did was enable his addiction and caused me to fit the tendencies of a co-addict. My personal quest is to find out why I did these things, why allowed these things, why I did not honor myself as I should have and in doing so, I will be happy. By my doing these things, I am in no way making like easier for my H. In many ways, I am probably making things harder: I am not rolling over to his every whim; I am standing up for myself, my vales and my morals; and he not only has to deal with the past but also needs to learn how to deal with the now. I am not going to cave because I am afraid that he will leave or act out - if he does, it is on him not me.

2br02b - The story in your profile indicates you found out about OW and affairs, you listened to him talk and accepted his saying hurtful things to you, he blamed you for his acting out, you changed your appearance by losing weight and using products you thought would make him happy, you initiated sex. Wasn’t all this an attempt on your behalf to manage your H’s addiction? If you can be all he wants, he won’t need the addiction - right?

You admitted to “going along” and “accepting it”. You said you participated in a sexual relationship with your H that included fetishized sex and doing things outside your comfort zone. You covered up for him and his addiction when you “pick up his paraphernalia” and “make excuses for when the kids did see his panties. He would leave video tapes of himself in the VCR and I would have to get those out before the kids saw them” and you enabled the addiction to a point when you caved to his “asking me to do things out of my comfort zone”. Look at these situations, what were they?

Maybe today things are better and you are not checking, you are not following him around and not actively doing things you did in the past, but your behaviors in your story need to be dealt with too, no matter what you call them or how you justify them. Just like the addiction does not go away when a SA stops acting out, the partner’s tendencies don’t go away because you stopped acting on them. They go into hibernation and only go away when dealt with.

Eternaloptimist – Thanks for the reply. It is hard because recovery does not occur at the same pace for all involved, nor does it follow the text book examples. My H does miss sex with me, but also says he feels further apart then ever. It was almost 8 months after him starting his program that we even decided to go there, but maybe it just is not time yet.


Me BS 39
Him WS 40, SLA,LTA and many other PAs and EAs
M 20 years, now separated



Posts: 396 | Registered: Apr 2006 | From: SE PA
2bewildered
♀ Member
Member # 20305
Default  Posted: 4:09 PM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I am going to stand up and declare myself NOT co-dependent.

I was completely blindsided by the A and all of his activities, I had absolutely NO suspicions, and have made it abundantly clear I think his behavior is unhealthy, disrespectful (to say the least) to me and our relationship, and above all it is intolerable. I may look into SAnon at some point, but COSA does not at all seem like the place for me. Right now I am sticking with IC, and that works best for me. In the Shadows book, I did find all of the descriptions of Co-dependent behavior as a pretty good warning of a road I did not want to go down. I don't think it's fair to label all partners of addicts as co-dependent, many of us had no idea and when we found out were not willing to tolerate it. ok, rant over!

Newdaysahead, A little devil's advocate here.... Or maybe a look on the more hopeful side... It is awful to hear your spouse does not feel close to you, but could it be a good sign that he is telling you that instead of just bottling it up like he may have done in the past? Have you tried to ask him what is causing him to feel a lack of intimacy? Discuss together what actions/behaviors you BOTH could do to help further intimacy? I have told my WSO that he SHOULD tell me if he is feeling tempted by that other lifestyle. I would rather know and be able to support him in resisting than have him struggle with it on his own. I think that could apply to any negative feeling not just temptation. Anyway just a thought.....


Doing a decent job of moving on.

Posts: 1365 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Florida
wantshope
♀ Member
Member # 20246
Default  Posted: 4:46 PM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

New to this thread. Just recently found out my WH is a sex addict. Before then, I was strongly feeling that I had some issues I hadn't dealt with. I now know that I am struggling with co-dependancy and abandonment issues. Any help on coping? Any good books and/or literature to find?


Me- 25 BS
Him- 29 WS 2 EAs & 1 PA
Married 8 yrs
3 children
DDay #1-12/05 DDay #2-5/29/08
DDay #3-6/18/08 DDay #4-7/29/08
DDay #5-8/7/08
Status: Working hard each day towards R

"Habit will reconcile us to everything but change."


Posts: 102 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Texas
innerstrength
♀ Member
Member # 19540
Default  Posted: 5:52 PM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

newdaysahead-
Thanks for your input... I know that I have been wanting some more support lately with this and after reading I thought that I should be going to meetings... I went online and started to look up the groups and it just didn't sit right with me... I think I will take your advice though, and try to go to a few meetings and see what I can get out of it. I appreciate your input...

As for the intimacy issues you are encountering... I had a big breakthrough with our counselor a few weeks ago, because at least in my H's case, he does not know what intimacy is. Honestly. He has never felt it and has no clue how to get there. He's so terrified of mixing sex with emotions that he literally shut down when we started to talk about it.

Throughout the reading I have done, it seems that a lot of SA's have no emotional attachment with sex... Even with the people that they love the most in the world... This is so true for my H and it breaks my heart.... I didn't realize it before, but he has a very hard time opening up to me in a truly intimate way... Sex has never been an issue, but intimacy is very very hard for him.

I started doing some research with Dr. Carnes info and they mention that the intimacy isuues typically don't get addressed until usually year 2-3 of recovery because it is too much for the SA too early on... That at least gave me some hope and something to look forward to, because I feel that for me, I NEED that and I don't want to live my life without that ever again...

I'm not sure if this shed any light for future discussions for you and your H, but I wish you all the best... It's so hard to get over the extrememly personal hurt this addiction causes in the partner...
(((hugs)))


Me: BS
Him: WS,SA
D-Day #1: 10/22/05
D-Day #2: 4/27/08
In R, LOTS of counseling this time!
I'm finding out day by day how strong I can be... I wish I never had to get to this self-discovery...

Posts: 189 | Registered: May 2008
innerstrength
♀ Member
Member # 19540
Default  Posted: 6:01 PM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

(((wantshope)))

Welcome to our forum... Sorry you find yourself here, but glad you found us all the same!

There will be many people to welcome you and give great advice and input to any questions you have...

My response to your first questions about books to find, is that I would recommend what was recommended to me when I first joined...

"Mending a Shattered Heart", by Stephanie Carnes and "Don't Call it Love", by Patrick Carnes.
There are others, but it seems to be the general consensus to read those first to get a good grip on SA, before reading some of the more intense ones...

Also, if your WH agrees that the problem exists, to find a CSAT therapist if there is one in your area... (http://www.iitap.com/find_csat.cfm) If not, to try to find someone who specializes in addiction for him and definitely IC for you if you have the means to do it...

There will be more suggestions added- Listen to these voices and ask lots of questions... I always feel like the more you know, the more you can move forward with your life...

Good luck with your journey.

-Innerstrength


Me: BS
Him: WS,SA
D-Day #1: 10/22/05
D-Day #2: 4/27/08
In R, LOTS of counseling this time!
I'm finding out day by day how strong I can be... I wish I never had to get to this self-discovery...

Posts: 189 | Registered: May 2008
Eternaloptimist
♀ Member
Member # 15029
Default  Posted: 7:19 PM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I echo what innerstrength recommends re. reading material. I found Out of the Shadows really helpful in that it allowed me to put myself in my husband's shoes and really acknowledge that this wasn't the "frat party" I had thought it was. It came with a whole lot of shame and self-loathing, no matter how much he compartmentalized.

And thanks to all for their thoughts re. sex and intimacy. I always assumed that my husband felt like I did. I've always really enjoyed sex, but with people I've cared deeply about. So I just assumed that my husband's experience felt like mine -- and he, of course, never told me any different. Now that I know how much fantasy played a role in our sex life and how exciting he found increasingly degrading behaviour, it's really hard for me to feel any connection when we have sex. Which is why I decided to remove that aspect from our relationship at this point. Bizarre because when I told my husband -- and I simply said that I found it too painful, brought up too many issues, etc. -- his panic was around losing affection, not sex. He CRAVES affection -- hand-holding, hugging, etc. So many people think sex addiction is about these sex-crazed people. It's so not about that. It's about affirmation, avoiding feelings of pain. It's almost impossible for my husband to connect sex with intimacy.


Me: BS
Him: WS, SA
Married: 12 years
Three kids: 9-year-old D, 7-year-old S, 5-year-old D
D-Day #1: December 11, 2006 (LTA)
D-Day #2: June 17, 2007 (found out about SA)

Posts: 656 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Toronto
newdaysahead
♀ Member
Member # 10467
Default  Posted: 8:48 PM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

2bewildered – I do agree with you and I am glad that he does share how he feels, good or bad, with me. I think real intimacy comes from sharing the bad as well as the good, probably more so. We have talked about how he is feeling and I know he is very overwhelmed by lots of things. I still hear “I don’t know” a lot when it comes to discussions on feelings. I feel like he would rather put things behind us and jump in and just go forward. We are working on actions/behaviors to help this along, but could probably do a better job on each side. Thanks for that input, sometimes you just have to hear it again as a reminder.

innerstrength – I am glad you are willing to give meetings a few tries. If you are lucky enough to have different meeting locations or groups near you, try different ones. The mix of people create different dynamics within each group.

Eternaloptimist – I see that my H would probably feel the same way your H does…about feeling the loss of affection, not sex. However, I do not sense that he differentiates intimacy/affection/sex at this point.

Wants hope –Take care of yourself, with 3 children it is difficult at best, but put yourself first as often as you can. Find support through this site, at meetings or through IC. One of the most helpful things for me was knowing I was not alone in this.

Thanks for the responses.


Me BS 39
Him WS 40, SLA,LTA and many other PAs and EAs
M 20 years, now separated



Posts: 396 | Registered: Apr 2006 | From: SE PA
lovedontlivehere
♀ Member
Member # 20055
Default  Posted: 9:21 PM, August 12th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The other crappy part of the "competition" issue for me is that I've actually *tried* and failed miserably at having sex/making love with him again since d-days and feeling like I've rocked his world. Sure, he's up for the sex (pun intended) but the second I want to make love instead, he claims he's "too tired" and "why couldn't I have initiated it sooner?" and "why do I have to be so direct about it because it takes away from the mood?" WHAT?????!!! He's always told me that he "can't read my mind and I have to specify what I want." So I did. And it "killed the mood for him." Oh but wait - I'm sure if I appear on his computer monitor in some scandalous CHAT ROOM, then my "directness" would be perfectly acceptable THEN? RIGHT? I don't know why he's being all funny about the "make love" issue when in those moments I just wanted so badly to feel close with him again. Now, it's almost like HE'S the woman in our relationship about the sex and I'm the MAN! And I feel really really low - like my husband would rather be with every girl in the city except his wife.

That sounds like something I have written about my partner b/c those are the exact issues we have when he's acting out.


Partner still wanking off into fantasy land.
*update* No longer together, but he was STABBED and now wants R. Whatever.

Posts: 1256 | Registered: Jun 2008 | From: Deep South
7yrsbetrayed
♀ Member
Member # 10198
Wink  Posted: 1:29 AM, August 13th (Wednesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Woefully behind here. Crazy busy with, I dunno...life.

I reworked the analogy essay I wrote and I shared it with my IC who insisted I share it with my group who all said it is really good. After skimming, through here, I thought perhaps it would be a good read for you all as well.
7

Garbage, Sewage and Alligators (Oh My!)
by 7yrsbetrayed

In starting down my path of recovery from the trauma of my marriage to a sex addict I often heard an analogy about boundaries being like fences. I’ve gone a bit further and used that as a basis for describing my experiences with the discovery that my husband is a sex addict who cheated on me with multiple other women and the impact that’s had on me.

I fell in love with my husband based on what he chose to share with me and he chose only to share the good stuff. His house was tidy and he had pretty flowers in his yard. It seemed that his fences were well maintained but his gate was open and I felt welcome and safe. I'm not particularly interested in hashing out whether or not I was subconsciously drawn to him because of the hidden sewer line in his yard. Maybe that made his flowers prettier, who knows? I could only proceed with the information I had and I assure you, I didn’t know about the sewage he was hiding. I knew there was some garbage in his basement (a recent divorce and some issues with his family) but he assured me that it was under control and contained in his basement. I had no reason to suspect otherwise. While he did choose to hide quite a lot about himself from me, I don’t believe it was done with malice.

He was drawn to my good stuff as well. My tidy house and pretty garden. I was honest and admitted that my yard was so pretty because of the landfill beneath it. It contained some of the garbage from my past, which I had put to rest there. I was proud of the work I’d done in my garden and felt I could be honest about my garbage. I had tried diligently to remove things that were particularly toxic. I processed and then buried the larger, more toxic items in my backyard and planted flowers there. Not to ignore the garbage but because I truly believed I’d put it to rest. I explained that I thought I'd worked hard on my remaining garbage, sorting, labeling and stowing it in my basement. I figured that if I needed to look at items more closely they were accessible and eventually I could move more things to the landfill in the yard and clean out my basement. I didn't attempt to conceal it, though I may have minimized it a bit. It was working fairly well. Not a perfect system certainly but a workable one or so I thought. I didn’t realize that there were cables attached to many of the items in the basement which connected to buttons in my attic. I thought I was being open and honest, not knowing I was providing a control panel for him to use against me when his secrets were threatened.

After we began dating all the garbage in my basement and the landfill in my backyard was forgotten because of the warm glow of love coming from my newly lit fireplace, the heart of my house. Things were pretty perfect at first but gradually moved away from perfection to what I saw as REALITY. No relationship is perfect. No couple is all gooey, gushy, gah-gah in love every moment of every day. No couple has a roaring fire going in the fireplace every moment of every day. We settled into life with its ups and downs. We built a shared courtyard to join our houses and yards. In the center is a beautiful large tree and it was there that we placed our daughter’s tree house to keep her safe between us. I didn't know what was flowing in the gigantic sewer line buried beneath his yard or that it infringed upon our shared courtyard, nor did I know about the cesspool in his basement that was feeding it. I didn't see or smell it and I couldn’t have because I am not psychic. I did not have the keys to his basement, but I had inadvertently given him access to my basement through the control panel in my attic. When I got too close to his basement door he started pushing buttons in my attic, setting off alarms to draw me back to my house and to keep me away from the secrets in his basement.

We had been together for six and a half years when I accidentally punctured his sewer line. I wasn't intentionally digging in his yard. I was in our shared courtyard and had no idea that his sewer line extended into our common areas. The initial geyser flooded not only his yard but mine, narrowly missing our daughter’s tree house. My husband slowed the geyser to a trickle with a patch on the sewer line and a deadbolt on the door to keep me out of his basement where the really nasty shit was stored. He lit up my control panel and caused a short circuit. For eleven months I slogged through the sludge in my hip-waders trying to keep his shit out of my attic as well as our daughter’s tree house. I almost didn't succeed, I almost let his sewage completely drown me. The trickle was slowly killing me, poisoning my well. My yard was unlivable and my house was quickly becoming so as well, so I kept jumping the fence to dig in his yard and trying to pick the lock to his basement for the answers I needed. I knew that trickle had to lead to more. Finally, because I had no other choice, I jumped the fence and used a backhoe to dig in his yard until I broke through his patch and released the geyser again. This drained his basement cesspool out into his yard and mine. Thankfully, our daughter’s tree house was mostly spared though the stench of the sewage did have an impact on her. We both tried to protect her. At this point his sewage also flooded my basement. It started eating through the boxes that held all my garbage that I'd tried to neatly box, label and stow away. The next thing I knew, all my garbage was floating in his sewage. Then sinking. All the flowers in my yard died and his sewage seeped down and unearthed all my toxic stuff that I thought I'd seen the last of. Suddenly I had big ass crates of toxic waste coming up out of my yard, breaking open and adding to the disaster. The level rose at an alarming rate, his sewage mixed with my garbage was a huge volume of shit. It got so high that it flooded the heart of my house and for a time I couldn't light my fireplace at all. My attic was in grave danger of flooding too. It was hard to keep it dry. All the while I was also trying to keep my daughter out of the worst of it.

The enormity of the geyser in his backyard drew all the emergency crews. A lot of people were working hard to clean up his yard, his basement, the heart of his house, and even his attic, including me. My yard, my house, my hearth, my attic were an afterthought at best. My garbage was just part of the mess and sometimes it was hard to tell my garbage from his sewage. My basement went mostly ignored and so did the heart of my house. Some attention was given to the yard (gotta keep up appearances) and my attic (gotta keep the house alive.)

I've spent the last couple of years slogging around in shit. I was asked to wait while the worst of his sewage was dealt with and my soggy garbage was unceremoniously dumped back into my yard in worse shape than ever. With the help of my counselor, I dug around in my attic and found a life raft. I pulled myself in and tried to get dry. Then I started using a shop vac to clean out my house. There were times when my husband was so mired down in his own sewage that he kept trying to climb into my life raft and shove me out. There were times it felt like he also kept smacking me in the head with the paddle every time I tried to climb back in. Many times, I saw him coming and jumped all by myself. Sometimes, I simply dropped my paddle and set myself adrift because I was just so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of shit. I kept expecting my husband to throw me a lifeline. Sometimes he did, sometimes not. Often I had to just find my paddle again. Sometimes my counselor handed it to me but mostly I had to find it on my own because funding for my recovery was limited by the vast amounts being spent on my husband’s recovery.

I think I've slowly been draining my husband's crap back into his yard so that I can find all my garbage so that I can deal with it but sometimes it’s hard to keep my gate closed. His sewage has left a hell of a mess. And alligators. Big ones. Lurking and waiting to jump out and sink my life raft and drag me under. If I’m lucky a gator will just yank my paddle away but there are times the damage is much worse and I find myself in a battle for survival. So here I am with this gigantic mess, one that's not easily cleaned up and I’m also plagued with alligators. I have to fish all my soggy, smelly garbage out, then sort, label and stow it again, hopefully without losing a limb. Some of it just needs to be burned. Wet garbage doesn't burn so well. This entire task seems overwhelming to me. When it was just my garbage and it was dry it was easier to deal with but now it's all soaked in his sewage and some of it seems to have tripled or quadrupled in weight. Plus his shit made it sticky and some of it is cemented to the sidewalk now, making my path slippery and treacherous when I do dare to step out of the life raft into our shared courtyard. I'm slowly trying to shove it out into my front yard to dry it out then deal with it. But let's face it, the stuff in the house is small, it's the giant broken crates of toxic waste in the back yard that loom over me and scare me back into the house. Plus the alligators, let’s not forget them.

My husband's got a full crew over at his place helping with his recovery (a CSAT and weekly group). I've had some help (my counselor) but much of what I've had to do, I've done alone. I tried going down to the community center (a support group for spouses of SA) expecting to find women in similar situations who could share tools and perhaps we could tie our life rafts together to make us less vulnerable to the alligators. My husband found a lot of help at the community center (his SA group) and it seemed reasonable to hope I'd find the same. I gladly loaned out my tools in the hopes that by doing so, I'd get to borrow some useful tools I could use to get rid of the alligators. It sure didn't work out that way. Mostly I was told that I chose to be dipped in his sewage, that I had to have known it was there all along and now I had to either abandon my house or learn to live in shit. At times, additional sewage was pumped into my yard from the community cesspool. I refused to accept that! I changed groups and I think I’ve found a better fit, I think they’ll allow me to tie up with them and we can all help each other.

My husband has been working very hard on his house and yard. We’ve both worked hard on our shared courtyard so that our daughter has a safe, clean, dry place. We are able to come together in the safety of the courtyard more and more now. We’re planting flowers together and my fireplace is glowing again.

It's time for me to attack the mess in the yard. The big stuff. The toxic stuff. The really soggy, nasty stuff that's so overwhelming. And the alligators, I still have to battle them too. I can’t do it alone. I'm not even sure I've got the right equipment. The infomercial says I can do it in 12 easy steps but that program doesn’t feel right for me. I cannot accept their labels and decrees that I am a co-addict. I don’t think the program allows for or helps with the alligators. How can I take the steps when I’ve got alligators nipping at my heels? But I’m working on finding what will work for me.


Me(44)
Him(46) arthurdent (rSA)
Married 12 yrs, together 15
Renewed Vows 12/19/08
One DD(8)
You can avoid reality but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.~Ayn Rand

Posts: 2167 | Registered: Mar 2006 | From: Colorado
Whoknew?
♀ Member
Member # 9270
Default  Posted: 5:11 AM, August 13th (Wednesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

7yearsbetrayed, thank you for sharing your interpretation of your trials. It's beautiful and I think most of us will easily identify. Glad to hear that you're planting flowers again! :)

Posts: 85 | Registered: Jan 2006 | From: Florida
2br02b
♀ Member
Member # 19664
Default  Posted: 8:40 AM, August 13th (Wednesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What are you doing when you do not set boundaries, when you cave to behaviors that go against your morals, values and comfort zone, when you lose weight and wear different clothes? Were you not accepting some blame for the situation? Then I would say I was trying to save my marriage, now I know I was just being co-addict.

Yup - I was trying to save my marriage. I don't call that co-addiction or the population is co-addictive/co-dependent

I HAVE set boundaries, he knows them and he's to follow them or the marriage is over.

The story in your profile indicates you found out about OW and affairs, you listened to him talk and accepted his saying hurtful things to you, he blamed you for his acting out, you changed your appearance by losing weight and using products you thought would make him happy, you initiated sex. Wasn’t all this an attempt on your behalf to manage your H’s addiction? If you can be all he wants, he won’t need the addiction - right?

You admitted to “going along” and “accepting it”. You said you participated in a sexual relationship with your H that included fetishized sex and doing things outside your comfort zone. You covered up for him and his addiction when you “pick up his paraphernalia” and “make excuses for when the kids did see his panties. He would leave video tapes of himself in the VCR and I would have to get those out before the kids saw them” and you enabled the addiction to a point when you caved to his “asking me to do things out of my comfort zone”. Look at these situations, what were they?

I did not cover for his addiction when I shielded my children from things I could not answer. I always confronted him - he always knew my displeasure. I was young, unemployed and had 2 small children. What would any mother do? A mother bear is not co-dependent.

The fetishized sex (his wearing women's underwear/lingerie) was the only thing done out of my comfort zone. I was not afraid to tell him so either.

you listened to him talk and accepted his saying hurtful things to you

I will cop to this because it was something learned from my father. I am discovering that in therapy and don't feel it's co-dependent; simply the dance I learned early in life.

I am not saying I have not had twinges of co-dependency or enabling behavior- of course I did. We all did.

However, my conjecture is you are not co-dependent or co-addictive until you are aware of the WHOLE situation and can make a consensual decision on how you want to live your life. If you discover the addiction and set boundaries immediately - I don't think you can be co-addictive or co-dependent.

I'm just saying.


Me – 51
Him – 53 (and SA)
D-Day#1 – 9/19/1981
D-Day#2 – 11/23/2008
D-Day#3 - 6/6/09 (Actually D-Day!) - full disclosure given.
Forgiveness - 8/30/09
Married 29 years
2 adult children
Reconciling
2BR02B - that is the question.

Posts: 81 | Registered: May 2008 | From: Phoenix, AZ
2bewildered
♀ Member
Member # 20305
Default  Posted: 12:49 PM, August 13th (Wednesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

7years, thanks for sharing that essay. It was very..... I don't have a word.... It just hit home. And it was beautifully written. Thank you.


Doing a decent job of moving on.

Posts: 1365 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Florida
7yrsbetrayed
♀ Member
Member # 10198
Exclaimation  Posted: 5:44 PM, August 13th (Wednesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Here's my take on the whole co-addict or co-dependent label.

I'm sure there are a few partners of addicts (of ANY kind) that meet the criteria in all the literature I've read but I believe that the vast majority of us DO NOT deserve that label, especially co-ADDICT. I also feel that the labels are far too broad and all encompassing.

I do believe there are co-dependent behaviors that many of us engage in at one time or another that are unhealthy for us, but that does not make us co-addicts or co-dependents. Especially if we stop engaging in said behaviors. I also think there are some behaviors labeled as "bad" that are simply self-protection when done in moderation.

Bottom line. We are married to very broken people whose behavior is bound to bring out co-dependent behavior in us at times. We are human and the craziness of our partners behaviors cannot help but affect us. Labeling us and blaming us is not helpful or therapeutic and in some cases is extremely harmful.

That's why I recommend "MASH" so highly. It's the first book I read that even begins to acknowledge that it is possible to be blindsided and that we don't have to take on responsibility for having not seen it coming.
7


Me(44)
Him(46) arthurdent (rSA)
Married 12 yrs, together 15
Renewed Vows 12/19/08
One DD(8)
You can avoid reality but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.~Ayn Rand

Posts: 2167 | Registered: Mar 2006 | From: Colorado
JustWow
♀ Member
Member # 19636
Default  Posted: 7:15 AM, August 14th (Thursday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

7yrs said:
I do believe there are co-dependent behaviors that many of us engage in at one time or another that are unhealthy for us, but that does not make us co-addicts or co-dependents. Especially if we stop engaging in said behaviors. I also think there are some behaviors labeled as "bad" that are simply self-protection when done in moderation

These same behaviors, if we weren't involved with an addict would be labled compromise, committment, etc.

There is a normal level of give and take in a normal relationship. That we assume the best of our trustworthy spouse, that we make allowances when he ticks us off, because we know we're no princess to live with. All kinds of stuff. If you're in a healthy relationship that is not with an addict, all these co-Dependant (not co-addictive) behaviors actually get good press.

Once we are aware of the addiction, we MUST set our boundaries, or these titles fit us, JMO.

Thanks so much for everyone's thoughts.

[This message edited by JustWow at 7:17 AM, August 14th (Thursday)]


BW - Reconciling

edited for typos (I always have to!)


Posts: 3557 | Registered: May 2008 | From: Midwest
Whoknew?
♀ Member
Member # 9270
Default  Posted: 7:58 AM, August 14th (Thursday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Last night I saw that a woman was IMing my H on Second Life. Later when I went into his office to tell him good night, he was dancing with her and she was IMing him again. This morning after he left the house I longed on as him and checked his IM log for several different women. Two of them were women he has had SL sex with. They're still in communication and talking suggestively to one another, all the while talking about the need to be discreet to keep my H out of trouble. Needless to say I exploded. I IMed him calling him a name, telling him what I saw, and letting him know that I'm no longer going to be sleeping in the same room with him.

Then it occurred to me! Our daughter has a townhouse not far from our house that she needs to sell. I told her that I would find some furniture, etc. and stage the place to make it look lived in. I know how to make it feel lived in. I'll MOVE IN!! I'm sure she'll be willing, but not happy about the reason (no one in our families know about H's SA). I'll just tell her that I need some space for a while.

H and I have been planning a trip to go up North and visit some of his family, but I don't want to go now. I'm tired of pretending that we're a happy couple.

I'll keep reading MASH, but I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get past this. HOw can I get past something that never ends? H still says that I have a problem, i.e. he's just behaving normally. Time will tell if our marriage will survive.


Posts: 85 | Registered: Jan 2006 | From: Florida
2bewildered
♀ Member
Member # 20305
Default  Posted: 12:43 PM, August 14th (Thursday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Can I ask what this book MASH that everyone keeps mentioning is all about??

((((Whoknew))))

I am so sorry to hear about your husbands behavior, but commend you on your strength to stick to your boundaries.


Doing a decent job of moving on.

Posts: 1365 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: Florida
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