I'm proud of you!!!
As for your question, hindsight really is 20/20. Looking back, our love life (which I thought was great) was really more of his selfish behavior to get off...it was sex, not making love. Sad and really difficult for me to grasp, but I'm getting there.
Our ICs recommended a 90 day abstinence period for us, which I've extended because I'm just not emotionally ready.
I guess I'm just saying that giving him the attention, sex, love, etc. isn't going to fix him or keep him from straying again. This is an issue he has to come to admit and try to overcome. You can't repair a marriage by yourself.
I am proud of you for seeking counseling and meetings to determine your level of codependence. I've fought that idea for myself (the codependence) up until my last meeting with my IC when we really delved into my past and how I relate to some things and how I am so self-sufficiant and how I don't ask for intimacy all attributing factors that led to selecting my WH who never provided much intimacy. This is just crazy sometimes!
Others please chime in, but should she try the 180 on him since he doesn't admit he has a problem?
I'm lucky in a sense (that's just twisted logic) but my WH immediately recognized he had a big problem and an addictive personality.
I can't even imagine how heartbreaking the past week has been. I've thought of you often.
Planting a lilac, which are so beautiful but have blooms that are sadly short-lived, sounds like a perfect gesture.
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find an SA who IS a good lover -- certainly not until they learn how. My husband was good technically, and I did a good job deluding myself that the sex was as emotional for him as for me. Turns out, not so much. Sex is an act with the goal of ejaculation. You are a prop to enable that to happen.
And I agree with Mourning that you deserve HUGE credit for taking care of yourself, regardless of what he thinks/says/does.
My husband and I didn't do an "official" abstinence, though our sex life has dwindled to that. It's bizarre because my husband has always been incredibly needy (or demonstrative -- depends on perspective) in terms of affection. He was always the hand-holder, hugger, kiss good-byer, etc. I'm far less affectionate and it has always bothered him. Yet when it came to sex, I've always been emotional and truly believe that genuine intimacy is a spiritual experience. I assumed that my husband felt the same. Yet there were certainly times that I was aware that he was there physically but light-years away mentally. What I didn't realize was that fantasy played such a huge role in our sex life.
Now neither of us are ready to dive right in again. Which isn't a bad thing at this point.
But my ultimate question is are a lot of SA's selfish lovers with their SO or is it just my H?
In my case, my H was obsessed with me getting off, not him. But that was selfish too.
He watched so much porn and masturbated compulsively that he could not have orgasmed no matter what.
As well, he was a very sick woman pleaser. It was all tied into his sex addiction. So pleasing a woman in bed was his entire selfish focus.
I quit having sex with him some time before D-Day when I found out about the affair. He blamed his A on that, of course, for a period of time.
But as I told him, it got so that he could not perform with me, even with Viagra.
What did he think that did to my self-esteem? Every time it happened, it chipped away another piece of that sense of self-worth.
Avoiding sex was absolutely imperative to my survival.
Mine has now attended two SAA meetings. But I know he is not sober and told him so last night.
I'm just working on me right now. And I'm doing well. If I have to leave in the next year or so, I will still do well.
It's day to day as I deal with this.
I am also proud of you for being strong! Whether you wish to stay or to leave, you need to learn to love and respect yourself, and to beleive that you are worthy of love and respect from others. We have your back here - post any time.
Whether sex addict was or was not a selfish lover to his spouse is, I believe, only looking at the symptom of a much bigger problem. Whatever caused a sex addict to engage in self-destructive and compulsive sexual activities are the core issues to be addressed.
But if you really wish to "poll" us here, Mr. Birdwatch is similar to Mr. 1Forward1Back. Mr. Birdwatch avoided having sex with me for months, but would pleasure me on a regular basis. He has since confided in me that he was so ashamed of himself for cheating on me repeated, but yet could not stop his compulsion, that he did not think he deserved to have sex with me, but rather, he should service me "selflessly". At least, he thought, he would feel "better". I will never understand that, but I thought I would report this anyway.
I am so sorry you have to go through this. However, you are not alone. All of us here share similar experiences.
Like you, Mr. Birdwatch and I were the envy of many of our friends. Like you, I would not complain if Mr. Birdwatch hang out with a buddy to play video games (or so he claimed) and I would not even call him on his cell phone. I wanted to respect his space and to show that I trust him. I had not one clue. I only found out by chance, like you, when I saw a hotel charge on his credit card bill. That led me to, like you, to go through his emails. I then discovered he posted on "intimate encounters" on dating sites. Like you, I was in shock and disbelief, and still am.
First off, and I know I am repeating this in many of my posts, see your doctor for STD tests. Inform him/her that your spouse has been unfaithful, otherwise, you will receive a reduced number of tests. Also discuss anxiety and depression issues if they apply to you. And do not have unprotected sex for now.
Post here often.
Some books I recommend are After the Affairs and Mending a Shattered Heart. The former deals with cheating in general, and I found it the best first book to read because I found comfort in having my feelings validated. The latter is addressed to spouses of sex addicts, which is more "heavy duty". Your spouse, if receptive, may read Out of the Shadow, which is addressed to sex addicts.
Individual counselling for you and your husband will greatly help you both.
This is probably information overload for you. Breath. One hour at a time. Remember to eat and drink water. Take multi-vitamins. In the early stages, survival becomes a conscious and deliberate process. I remember lying on my bed for days, alternating between crying hysterically and staring into space for hours, and having to set my alarm clock for meal times.
But you will survive this. All of us here will help you through this. Try to trust us.
A short note in response to yours about resources for a shopping addict. The only thing I can think of is for your relative to call the Centre of Mental Health and Addiction in Toronto. You can google them. It is a highly reputable facility. They may not deal directly with shopping addiction, but surely can refer your relative to other agencies. Also Bellwood (which we talked about in our private messages) should at least be able to direct your relative to the right people.
Since I basically called him a bad lover in from of a counselor, he's been better. Now he'll do it with me instead of just to me, but I've been asking for him to do things for me since March and it hasn't happened. But yet if he wants something he has to have it like *snap* that.
He does concern himself to some degree about whether or not I am being pleased, but on the other hand he won't do things I ask for. To be frank, what has gone on this year hasn't exactly been a turn on for me. I would definitely say he is the one who has the control in our sex life.
Is it possible for someone to be an addict and co-dependent?
[This message edited by lovedontlivehere at 7:20 PM, October 24th (Friday)]
Sorry you have to be here, but glad to hear that your husband realizes he has a problem. That's truly the first step (as cliche' as it sounds, it's true!)
I have heard about food addictions being closely linked to sex addiction. My H is one of them. (His food and sexual acting out were almost synchronous... It was crazy how if he was out of control sexually, he was also out of control with eating- He's been fighting his weight since he was a kid- same with the sex addiction)
I read somewhere about the pleasure centers in the brain and that food and sex are so closely related, they can easily be substituted for eachother... I also read that they can be the two hardest to overcome because they are essential and fundamental human needs and desires.
Also to echo what eternaloptimist said about transferring addictions... I have also heard about that... Compulsive is compulsive, and it's not just about THE THING they're addicted to, it's the background behind WHY they're addicted that seems to make the most sense. (Although lately with the internet and readily available porn industry, more and more people are getting addicted to sex than ever before... Even those without the traditional "issues" of most addicts)
Hang in there and learn all you can- Knowledge is power here... There is a lot of wisdom on this forum- ask questions, post often and learn from those of us who are in the same situation...
Take care of yourself- we are here for you!
[This message edited by innerstrength at 9:33 PM, October 24th (Friday)]
Glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself first... It really can be so foreign for us to be "selfish" sometimes. It was a really difficult lesson for me to learn. (And I still have to stop myself sometimes and ask- "Is this what I really want? Will doing this compromise me in any way?" If the answer is no, then I've finally been able to step back and say so.)
I didn't know of any resources for shopping addiction- but I looked around a little and I found debtor's anonymous at: http://www.debtorsanonymous.org/, and also a few other resources that may be helpful to pass along:
http://www.recoveryconnection.org/addiction/compulsive_shopping.php (This is based in the USA, but maybe they might have some other resources in Canada)
I am so sorry again for your loss. How awful to have to wait for almost a week... I think a lilac bush is a lovely symbol and your little angel knows how much they were loved already. I feel so sad for you and you have been in my thoughts.
Take care of yourself and have your husband hold you extra tight for awhile.
Welcome to the forum. I have to first congratulate your courage for going to the COSA meeting. I definitely think it's a great step for you. I read your profile and I think that the group will be so beneficial for you to set your own boundaries and be prepared to follow through with any consequences you set. That was a hard first step to make and I admire your courage!
I am only sorry that at this point your H is telling you that you are "psycho-analyzing everything"... You are not! It defnitely sounds like he has a serious problem with sexually compulsive behavior.
As for the "hyper bonding" with your husband- I think that is pretty normal. I went through it too. It was like; all of this craziness was thrown at me and I felt like if we could "bond" over the experience and be together it would somehow be better... That he would realize how crazy it all was, and of course he would want to be with me... I was so much better than all of that crap!
It subsided and I got my feet back on the ground as I started to learn more. I realized that no amount of bonding was going to help this go away. My H was going to have to do some serious self-work. And really be committed to his own recovery if WE were going to work.
At the COSA meetings I hope you will learn that nothing we do can ever change them if they don't want to be changed. You are only responsible for looking out for yourself and being in control of how you want to live. They have to make a conscious decision about the path their life is heading and decide if they like where it's going or not. We have to let go of thinking that anything we do will change that.
Now for your question:
my ultimate question is are a lot of SA's selfish lovers with their SO or is it just my H?
ETA: I also wanted to point out that there are so many resources in this thread- websites with sexual addiction self assessments- ie: www.sexhelp.com (I asked my H to take it and that was when he really "got it" that the had a problem... But he was already leaning that way before taking it) Also many books to read and advice about counselors. Look back and try to read some of the past threads if you can- I know it's long and overwhelming, but there's lots of good info there.
[This message edited by innerstrength at 10:34 PM, October 24th (Friday)]
A welcome to you too. I have to say you are not alone in your thoughts...
I was always so secure
I knew about the magazines, and I worked through my jealousy of not being perfect like those airbrushed, silicone shaped bodies. I even let him go to strip clubs for bachelor parties, and farewell parties, because I TRUSTED him. I even told my friends that I never had anything to worry about, because I am so secure in our marriage. One of my neighbors said that I was so lucky to have so much faith in our relationship. Turns out that I am just a fool.
Turns out, you are not a fool- You trusted your husband. The person who promised in front of everyone that he would be FAITHFUL and true to you. I can't tell you how many times I said the exact same words. And I truly felt like I was a fool. I am only recently realizing that I'm not. You gave the gift of trust and love. That is nothing to feel foolish about.
My H's affair partner was my "close" friend. And I would talk to her about our relationship and any issues we were having... I also would encourage that they go out together when I went away... To "keep eachother company". I actually had friends who would say- "Wow, you really trust him huh? She's really hot!" I was absolutely convinced that he was head over heels in love with me and would NEVER do this to me. HA! Want to talk about feeling foolish? I can definitely relate to you on that one. My point is- I get where you're coming from, but I have to say after some time to let it all sink in, I can realize that he was the foolish one. He had unconditional trust and he threw it away forever. (And he was nice enough to keep reminding me of that when I would start to question why I trusted him so much.)
My life is in turmoil. I want everything to be how it used to be. The thing is, he doesn't want to end our Marriage, he wants to work it all out. I am torn. He broke my heart, and deceived me in the worst way possible. Do I tear my children's lives upside down? They don't deserve any of this. Hell- I don't deserve any of this.
As for your experience with the "trickle-truth" I think that is pretty common as well. They don't know how much we know and they want to minimize the hurt as much as they can. He still loves you and really DOESN'T want to hurt you- Despite all of the crazy, irresponsible, selfish actions that have occurred. My only advice is that you should probably expect to find out more. It may continue to trickle. The important thing is to let him know that by doing that, and not giving you a full disclosure, he is prolonging your healing and making it harder and harder to ever want to consider a reconcilliation with him. (It sounds like he wants to stay and work on this) Sometimes the "trickle" hurts more than what is being revealed. It's a continued display of lying and can be so hard to get past.
Good job on getting the STD tests... I think that one is a must for all of us.
And as for these thoughts:
"what if I was a better wife" This truly sucks.
Even if you were the most perfect wife in the whole world and did absolutely everything your H wanted- He would tire of you. Even if you had the best boobs, the best porno body, the nicest smile and a hot dinner being served on your naked, perfect figure every night... He would get bored. That's the hallmark of the SA. It takes more and more to get the same high. There is a progression and usually a pattern or esclation. It may start with porn, then move to more extreme porn, then move to phone sex, then move to meeting, etc... You get the picture... It's never enough and it becomes uncontrollable.
Believe me... There is absolutely nothing that you could have done differently to have stopped this if he is an SA. Release any blame or control that you may feel about this. It's really out of your hands. You can only look after yourself and do what is best for you and your kids. If your H is willing to get help, there are many of us here who are reconciling and are making it through. There are also those here who are not reconciling, but who are gaining strength and learning from their pasts, so as to not repeat any mistakes in the future.
Whatever you decide to do- we are here. And unfortunately, and fortunately all at the same time- We understand.
Take care of yourself.
Good luck with this journey. You will make it through.
[This message edited by innerstrength at 11:18 PM, October 24th (Friday)]
Is it possible for someone to be an addict and co-dependent?
Okay- So now that I've caught up with the new posts here- I had an interesting conversation last week with an ex-boyfriend of mine and I wanted to share with all of you guys...
He contacted me because he is trying to make amends to those he has hurt in the past... It sounded a lot like a 12 step program, so I asked him about it. Turns out, he is addicted to marijuana and alcohol. Now- He wasn't drinking or smoking when I dated him (He was my first serious long term boyfriend in high school) BUT- It kind of floored me. We did break up because he was cheating on me. (After being together for 4 years- 3 high school, 1 college)
Lucky for my ex, I made the conversation a little easier, because I told him very vaguely that I had someone close to me who was going through a recovery and I was very familiar with the 12 steps. And I also told him that I was happy for him for getting help.
I had read that people who are in relationships with addicts tend to repeat the pattern, and I always said that did not apply to me. I never felt like I could relate to that and it never made any sense, since I never knew about any of the stuff my H was doing while it was going on. (And obviously this new information has me wondering...)
I read back to what eternaloptimist said about being drawn to people who have overcome struggles, b/c they feel more deeply, and I wonder if I'm drawn as well, but for another reason... Who knows? But it really shook me up a bit.
Anyone else ever have a similar situation?
It just seemed all too coincidental...
[This message edited by innerstrength at 11:51 PM, October 24th (Friday)]
Dear 7 what a terrible heart break. I am so sorry for yours and your husband's loss.
Glad to read your body is now healing well.
it's all about James Hunter, now ;)
And here's the 180 link:
I took some of 7's boundary/consequence ideas and other tips here and around the board and made up a pretty impressive list of my own that will be presented to WH when he gets back. If he doesn't want to comply with anything on it-then I will rethink my situation.
On a bit of a fun note (well fun for me anyway) Guess what I've been doing this morning? Deleting his accounts on Boootycall and AFF and whatever other ones I can find and figure his passwords out (he's not very creative with them).
I did find out a lot of information from his profile on AFF and I think I know now what else is "eating him" in his life that causes him to eat/porn/addict whatever you want to call it. It's sad really. Too bad he didn't bring up some of those fantasies with me-they sounded fun!
Status: Struggling Everday to
what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another-Anatole France
So sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, that tends to be the norm with an SA...
It doesn't make it any less hurtful and awful though.
I think you said that he was away on business right now, right? As terrible as it is, and no matter what you decide to do... Allow yourself time to fully digest your decision.
I was absolutely disgusted and tortured by the thoughts in my mind, and it's taking me as long time to get to a place where I can truly appreciate the addiction and the hold it has on my H. His willingness to get help and his desire to eliminate this disease from his life has really helped me to get through all of the awful feelings I had (and continue to have at times).
I have said it a few times to him, but I really think that our relationship can be better than it was before, because in the future I will really be able to see who he is. He spent so much time trying to hide things that he was not the person who I thought I married.
He's trying to find that true, honest person down inside. And he's been doing okay with it. (Not to say it hasn't been really hard on him- It's a difficult addiction to work on)
Whatever you decide to do, we are here for you. There are people here who are not reconcilling, but who are here so they can work through their pain and keep from picking another addict down the road. There are also people here who are reconcilling after all of it and who can give great advice and share their stories to help inspire you and keep you going. (They have helped me immensely- Dealing with this addiction can feel pretty hopeless at times-)
I wish you peace during this tough time and I hope you continue to learn and get strength from all of us.
It disturbed me and I found myself distancing myself from my SA.
As per usual on Saturdays, we went back to bed after being up early. I like to read; he just needs to warm up under the covers because he is consistently cold.
After I put the book down, he snuggled up to me 'spoon-style'.
After awhile, I said, "You know, whenever I join Weight Watchers, I am absolutely obsessed with food for the first few weeks."
He said, "Oh man I know exactly what you mean. Dealing with this SA head on by going to meetings and IC has me obsessed with acting out. I can hardly think of anything else."
I suspected this, thus my reason for making the Weight Watchers comment.
I'm glad I did. I found it simpler to detach, and to ponder whether I really loved this man anymore.
But doing what I did was the right thing to do. Although not involving myself in his recovery at this point, he needs to know I am 'with him' in this struggle of his life.
I am almost afraid to post the information in case he can subpeona this information. I realize I am finding just the tip of the iceburg and that there is much more information that I will never know.
I still wake up every morning asking the question "is this really my life" and how did I get here? After 20 years with my husband, I had no clue. I am not buried in the sadness anymore but I struggle with how to deal with those 20 years with him. It is as if he not only took my future away but he took my past as well. I want to know how long and how far back were my memories and my life based on lies.
When does one reach a point where this does not matter and I can start moving forward?
Welcome! Sorry you have to be here.
In answer to your question, I honestly don't know when that happens. You have to reconcile yourself to 20 years of this; I'm trying to do that with 31 years.
31 years married is when I found out he was having an affair, so I do not include the last two years.
My H and I are in reconciliation of sorts.
However I still struggle with all those years of marriage. And I *knew* about his use of porn. I just did not know how sick some of his acting out got.
He swears he did not cross over to real live women until two years ago, and I have no reason not to believe that.
Since I am still with him, I consider myself not married; and never was. I will never wear my wedding rings again.
I find no pleasure in memories of the wedding or honeymoon. I do not want to look at those photos again.
Yesterday when I was driving home I was remembering the absolute terror I felt over a girl I worked with having a major crush on my H. She was actively pursuing him and taunting me.
He thought just telling me he was not interested was enough.
Yesterday I raged against him as I drove. He did not understand how finding out about his infidelity during our engagement on our honeymoon (and thus me feeling trapped in the marriage), set me up to fear infidelity on his part for our entire marriage.
But that aside, that's how I deal with those 31 years; having the mindset that I am not really married. It was all a dream.
Not sure that helps, but just thought I'd ramble on about the subject.