Why is he doing this? I am having such a hard time understanding. He told me this stuff is making him sick, and he knows he has a weakness. He doesn't want to lose us. In his "addict" brain, does he really think he can fix it himself, and "whiteknuckle" his addiction or does he really have no intention of fixing it, and just thinks he can hide it better?
When a SA goes into recovery, do they have a whole change in personality? Do they get better about talking about this stuff, and start talking about it on their own without prompting? Trying to share their recovery and insights?
What I am basing my ideas on, is I dated an alcoholic who had been sober for 11 years. And he was so totally open and painfully honest about everything, he took me to some AA meetings, told me how lying and secrets led back to the drinking and he never wanted to go there again, and that is kind of what I was looking for in my H. He was so open and intimate and caring about others, I miss him.
Could you post on what actual recovery looks like in a SA.
But, from the 12 steps - Step one is admitting he is powerless over his addiction.
He's not admitting that. He's bargaining with acting-in and avoiding counseling, believing, or trying to convince the both of you, that he DOES have power over the addiction.
You're boundary for him to get counseling is soooo spot on, hun. He's trying to manipulate with the idea of doing it himself. Addicts are great self-decievers as well as manipulators, so he may not even be doing it conciously, but he is doing it.
edited for typos (I always have to!)
Step one is admitting he is powerless over his addiction
Yup. Forgot that one. He thinks he can control his way thru everything.
Addicts are great self-decievers as well as manipulators
Thank you all for the help and 2 by 4's, I don't want to do something really stupid here, and end up moving my family in with someone who is still terribly ill.
Your D Day was in July. From my personal experience, about 6 months out was when I neglected my own healing and obsessed about my husband. You have passed the initial acute shock stage, and you have likely resumed most daily routines. That’s when you may let your own healing process slip. It took me a couple of months after the 6 month mark of obsessive checking up and interrogation of my husband to realize that I am not even close to fully addressing the emotional aftermath. Around 9 months out was when I re-focused on myself and my own healing. This time around, I participate in my counselling sessions with a sense of empowerment and greater understanding of myself.
7yearsbetrayed’s post may be direct, but she is dead on. While your husband is remorseful and recognizes his acting out was unacceptable, he seems to have stalled in the recovery journey by not seeking help. It is important for you to set clear boundaries, and let go. You cannot control someone’s action or inaction – you cannot drag him by a leash to the counselor and even if you can, you cannot make him talk. My husband is dragging his feet on MC, and knowing my legal background, my IC said it wittily, “You cannot make someone go for counselling by court order”.
It is recommended that no major decisions be made in the first year. Until you have healed sufficiently to be able to make an informed decision, there is no rush to move a decision to move. When you are ready, you will weigh your options with a clearer frame of mind and choose the path that is best for you.
Refocus on yourself. This is the time when you have regained sufficient emotional stability from the early days to make real progress in your own healing.
You are in my thoughts.
He said I won't let this stuff go, that I pound him over the head with it too much, and I am hurting him physically. He said he was so angry after he got off the phone last night, that he was shaking, and is right now. He started crying that I am killing him. He said I need to let him go, and he wants us to take a break from each other for a week.
He said he is working on his problems, but I don't need to keep bringing up his past. I guess he is right on that, but when he talks about what he is doing to heal, he talks like it is just a small porn problem, and that he just watched maybe one or two too many PPV porn movies. He totally neglects to bring up the facts that he pushed me to try 3-ways (which I said no to, so now he can minimize that and pretend it was just a fantasy he wouldn't have followed thru with, but he would have done them if I had allowed, I am sure of that--because he pushed really hard).
He conveniently forgets about the email to the hooker (his letter to her is still burned into my brain, about how the wife is back home, and he needs female touch, and if the price is right, they could meet) and all those calls to different escort agencies. Whether he went thru with them or not, I am sorry, that is not normal.
He is either really good, or I am really weak, because while I am on the phone with him, he totally has me believing that this stuff is no big deal, and that I am totally nuts and "not normal" to obsess so much over some stupid porn. But it wasn't just the porn! He keeps forgetting that, so if I gently say, "yeah, honey, but I also need to know why you felt it was okay to try to send your private parts over the internet" he freaks out, and says I am beating him up over this, and I won't let us heal, and I am manipulative and controlling and trying to make him pay for my pain.
I don't feel I am a vindictive person, I just want him to realize that if he is working on this, there is more to it than just watching a few movies. Watching a few movies wouldn't have given me ptsd!
I'm not trying to make him feel bad, but I understand how bringing this stuff up does. I usually wait until he brings something up, but then I will expound on it, or give my views, and he doesn't like that.
He told me I have to support him more, and said that I was kind of being abusive for bringing this stuff up so much, and I asked him for specifics on what I was doing that had him so upset (because I truly don't understand all this), and he has a hard time with specifics, he says he just knows that I am killing him.
He was a total wreck on the phone, and just kept telling me I had to let him go, because if I truly feel he is such a bad person, then I don't deserve him, because he is a really good person, and he said if he goes to meet Jesus right now, he will have no guilt because he is doing everything he can to fix the problem. The only thing is, that is exactly what he told me after d-day when he promised no more porn at all, then I found the cable bill. So how can I believe him?
I know I really need to go back to COSA and work on detaching again, I think I took a little bit of hope and just ran with it here. I missed COSA last 2 weeks because of weather. And I got all caught up again, in loving him and thinking of the good life we could have together. A life of fighting to meet bills with being a single mom just isn't so appealing, but he doesn't see how this has physically affected me. I am a total basket case these days. I can't even think clearly. So that's how I know I have to detach again, but I still love him. Yuck. I'm getting sick of this crap.
Just a short response to your most recent post.....
It does sound like you have let your own healing slide. It is easier said than done, but set boundaries then let of the outcome, AND resume your own healing. Re-focus on yourself.
Also, I think your husband might be "out of the fog" with respect to the affairs, but not sex addiction. I posted on this issue a week or so ago; you may wish to read it. He is blaming you, avoiding responsibility, and depressed with self-loathing, shame and guilt. It's like "I know I was wrong to have affairs, but I have stopped them now, what more do you want?". So long as he is not receiving professional counselling/group therapy, he will not recognize his addiction or recover. There is hope - it took my husband two months after D Day 1 to recognize his problem goes deeper than "just affairs". But it is up to HIM, not you, to make the realization; and you cannot control nor force that.
You are worth it. You are valuable. You deserve emotional well-being. Take care of yourself. Like they say on flights - put on your own oxygen mask first before you help others.
PS I will not be able to check into this site this weekend, but hang in there. I'll check in on Monday.
[This message edited by birdwatch at 12:59 PM, February 20th (Friday)]
If anyone else on this site has found out about active SA after many, many years of marriage and managed to accept and get over it, please PM me and talk me thru this.
You are so right, I will start taking care of myself again, and maybe a week off from him would be good for me. I hope you have a good weekend!
WatchingU: I am so sorry for what you are dealing with--I understand the pain!!!
Someone tell me I will survive this
It threw me back into PTSD (which I had from my last H but had under control), and the hardest part seems to be remembering to take care of myself.
There are other much more experienced members on this board, and they will have some invaluable help for you, but for now I just wanted to let you know I heard you and am sending support for you.
I posted about the latest disclosure and my confusion and pain this week. I am feeling much more centered again and remembering myself.
I was looking through our emails to one another last year, and instant messages, to see if I could pinpoint when it happened.
One of the things I kept getting frustrated with and more angry was how so many of his words then are the same now. The anger kept growing as I kept searching for this elusive timeframe that he can't remember.
Just when I was about to let all of it out right onto SAH, it hit me: all of my words to him were the same as they were then.
I was so focused on how he hasn't become better at communication or honesty (or anything else I was so angry) that I was missing the real need here:
I need to stop trying to control the outcome by telling him certain things or asking the right thing.
I am not going to find the magic words. I have to focus on me.
I am back to working on me and not worrying about him. Feels so much better!
[This message edited by too trusting BW at 4:10 PM, February 20th (Friday)]
I can say that since he's gone, I dont' really feel triggery even though he's in Vegas. I'm a little too busy doing my own thing.
I think I will start writing down everything he says and get him to sign it. I'm tired of looking crazy when I bring up something he says but he *swears* he never said it. I'm sure I would really look bonkers at a counseling session. I don't know, maybe it's his addict talking.
NA, even a meth user will admit that what they do makes them absolutely sick. They keep doing it b/c it's a crutch and b/c they need their high. I wouldn't be surprised if it was similar for SAs. If he's not seeking any help even if he's trying he's missing out on opportunities to grow offered by (some) therapists, groups, etc.
[This message edited by island_girl at 3:51 AM, February 21st (Saturday)]
Here is my advice. Your WH needs to go to IC with a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist)[see below for how to find one] and you need a good IC for yourself. MC is not going to be helpful right now, you each need intensive IC before MC will be productive. (I speak from experience.)
Here is the advice I give to all women who just found out their husbands are (or could be) SAs.
I am the spouse of a rSA (recovering Sex Addict) and I have 10 years of experience living with that (about 7 of which were spent not knowing about the sex addiction but knowing something was "off.") The observations I make and the advice I give are based on my experience. READ MY PROFILE.
Educate yourself about sexual addiction.
First and foremost you should read, "Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts" by Stefanie Carnes. (This is the absolute best book I've ever read for spouses of SA. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I would have given anything for this book to have been available when I found out 3+ years ago, because at the time, there was nothing!)
This is Dr Patrick Carnes' website. He is *the* expert on SA.
This is the 12-Step group I recommend. If you look at their site you'll also find information for yourself that may be helpful. (I personally recommend SA not SAA because SAA is too lax in their definition of healthy sexual behavior. This is my opinion.)
To fully understand SA you both need to do some reading. If he doesn't face his addiction you should still do the reading to help yourself and decide what you want. I don't advise women to stay with SAs who are not in recovery and who are not sober.
"Don't Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction" by Patrick Carnes (I recommend you read this after you've read "Mending a Shattered Heart" but not before.)
"Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction" by Patrick Carnes
(I don't recommend you read this book, but it would be an excellent read for your husband to start while you read "Mending a Shattered Heart")
You said he has a porn habit, this book "Porn Nation" by Michael Leahy, would be a good book for your husband. Mr. Leahy is a recovering sex addict who had a serious porn addiction that cost him pretty much everything before he finally hit bottom. (I don't recommend that wives read this book at first. It's too triggery for "just found outs")
His best hope for recovery is to seek treatment with a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist) Here is a resource to find CSATs by zip code:
You might also want to start on that website to find a good therapist for yourself. He has to work his recovery on his own and even if he doesn't get help you'll need counseling to recover from the trauma of being married to a sex addict. And believe me, it IS a trauma. You need to find counselors who are experts on SA otherwise you're in for a world of confusion. (This is my opinion based on experience)
You might also find this post really helpful. It's about setting healthy boundaries with your spouse.
This is going to be vital for you going forward. You cannot force him to seek or stay in treatment and you cannot control him but you do have a right to set boundaries to keep yourself safe.
PM me anytime.
As our counselor said, "what does it matter?" It really does not change the devastation. He is correct.!!!!
NOW, we need to worry about us, for once, not them. We need to get in touch with what we can and cannot tolerate.
For me, one more episode of an EA, it's done for me, our marriage that is. I have reached my limit.
The consequences of porn however, are, it destroys my intimacy with my h, makes me disgusted, might have him sleep in another room until I'm ready, AND, continue on working on my detachment, which BTW, COULD LEAD to me filingfor d if it continues.
We all have to come to know what we can live with, put up with, etc.
You all are so lucky if your spouses are in SA, are repentent and are working on their issues. Mine is simply in denial he even has a prob.
Now, letmeknow what some boundaries could look like????if you discover h has been accessing porn again? How would some of you wives handle it? Specifically? We cannot force anyone to change or even go to meetings?
7 years, what would you do if your h had a slip? If you caught a porn video in the house or something?
I can completely understand your frustrations! My WS refuses to acknowledge he has a problem also. After trying to R for a year and a half, I gave up. I filed for D.
I *looked* at his computer twice in that year and a half. I discovered he had continued viewing porn...days worth. Each time, he said he never looks and he was just "curious"!
But, my WS has had one A that I know of and has been with prostitutes... He has addictions and issues that he(I) has struggled with for a long time. This A just blew open his 2nd life.
My WS didn't consider any consequences, because he didn't believe he was doing anything wrong. He doesn't see it as he has problem. But, he doesn't see the damage his *problem* has caused. He is now losing his family. He has lost the respect of people. But, he doesn't connect the two...he is the victim in all this! He see's it as me trying to control him! When really, it was about me trying to save our family....Now it's about me saving me and the kids.
I have no advice to give....I just wanted to share with you and support you!
~Feel your emotions, but control your behavior~ Unknown
Just wanted to let you know, I think you did the right thing sister. God will bless you and be with you, don't ever doubt it for a moment. Your hubby is a filthy louse, let him relish his unfaithfulness till he's old and withered.
I hope you find a good church with great friends who can be a support to you in this time. Your post is most appreciated.
Your Friend on here----
he said if he goes to meet Jesus right now, he will have no guilt because he is doing everything he can to fix the problem.
Tell him to read Matthew 5:27,28.
These are Jesus' words.
I don't know how religious you guys are, but since he claims that he's ready to face Jesus he'd better start reading the bible cause this problem is covered.
The first thing my WH SA did when he started reading the bible was to research the sex addiction. He got his answers.
Right now your WH is trying to manipulate you just like mine did. He said the same things to me that yours said.
Now, letmeknow what some boundaries could look like????if you discover h has been accessing porn again? How would some of you wives handle it? Specifically?
We cannot force anyone to change or even go to meetings?
7 years, what would you do if your h had a slip? If you caught a porn video in the house or something?
First and foremost the SA should have his own boundaries and consequences. My rSA (recovering SA) has his own set of boundaries / behaviors / consequences and that is vital. The SA should be working a program and have two lists; "boundary behaviors*" and "bottom line behaviors**" and have self imposed consequences for violating those. (Although I just discussed this with my rSA and he said that if an SA is only going to SA or SAA he may only have a "bottom line" list. I personally think my rSA's approach is much better.)
*Boundary Behaviors: These are behaviors that the SA identifies as things that could lead him to breaking his sobriety or things that are generally unhealthy based on his core issues. For example some of my rSA's boundary behaviors are:
~Flipping through the program guide on cable he sees "VH1's 50 Hottest Celebrities" and flips to that channel to take a look.
~Seeing an attractive woman in the grocery store and going out of his way to get another or better look at her.
~Not changing the channel when something inappropriate comes on or not looking away.
So, if he does any of those things he's put on his list he's broken a boundary behavior and will set a consequence on himself, usually a chore he despises like cleaning the toilet. Again, this is HIS stuff. I stay out of it completely. The only exception would be if I were to see him do something and it upset me, I would talk to him about it and share how it made me FEEL. Period. This is not mine to put consequences on. This is HIS front line defense. Again, those are HIS "boundary behaviors."
**Bottom Line Behaviors are those which he would be required to reset his sobriety for. Examples are: looking at porn, masturbating, looking at online personal ads or visiting inappropriate websites like AFF, having sex with anyone other than me. His "bottom line behaviors."
Those are the two sets of behaviors that the SA needs to identify FOR HIMSELF and there is a difference.
Ok, here's my answer to your question. My boundaries and consequences are all based on his BOTTOM LINE BEHAVIORS (NOT boundary behaviors) and there are levels of severity.
My Level 1 Boundary: He looks at porn or masturbates.
My initial consequence: I ask that we do another 90 day abstinence contract and I ask him to show me that he is recommitted to working his program by going to additional counseling and more group meetings and that we go to more marriage counseling.
My secondary consequence: If he refuses to respect my boundaries and refuses to do the things I've asked, I will separate from him for 90 days to give him time to decide what he really wants. (I'll be the one to leave and take our daughter with me.) If he still cannot respect me and do what I've asked, I will file for divorce.
My Level 2 Boundary: He looks at online personal ads or places an ad but has not progressed to meeting anyone, he's just looked.
My initial consequence: We separate and I will ask HIM to move out. I will ask that he show that he is recommitted to his recovery by going to counseling more often and attending more groups. I will consider letting him come home when he's been SOBER for 6 months.
My secondary consequence: If he doesn't get sober or if he will not do what I've asked and respect my boundaries, I will file for divorce. (This includes if he refuses to respect my boundary that he has to be the one to leave for the separation.)
My Level 3 Boundary:
If he has any kind of sexual physical contact whatsoever with another person.
My consequence: DIVORCE. Period. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. There are no second chances on this one. He fucks around again and that is it, I'm done. I don't care which one of us moves out but one of us will and that's it. Final.
For levels 1 and 2 there is an additional note, if he tells me about it the consequences stand as written, if he does not tell me and I find out on my own there will be an additional consequence for lying. I don't have that one set in concrete right now but I'm sure I will be able to find something that is appropriate. For Level 3, I have no illusions about that one, if I find out it will be on my own, he will never confess that to me and even if he does confess, that does not change the consequence. He screws around again and I'm gone. Period.
I hope that is helpful. What you have to do is figure out what works for YOU and your relationship. These are what work for me and yours may look very different.
Ingrid, my situation is different because my rSA is, well, recovering, and he's in treatment. So he's got his boundary and bottom line behaviors figured out most importantly my rSA is SOBER so his thinking is not distorted.
If you want to set a boundary on YOUR husband regarding porn, YOU have to figure out what the consequence will be and stick to it. Period. I've posted this website too:
about setting boundaries. It's very good and you should be able to figure out how to set a boundary and consequence. I hear you asking us to tell you how to manipulate your SA or how to control him. You want us to tell you that you can somehow be the only spouse ever to force her SA into treatment. YOU CAN'T. Look closely at my boundaries. I'm not looking to control him, I'm looking to keep myself and my child SAFE and if he cannot or will not respect my boundaries, I've surrendered the outcome. I will divorce him. If he can't or won't stay sober, then I can't or won't stay married to him. He makes his choices, and I make mine. No where does it say I will force him to go to more counseling, it says I will "ASK." I will request that he do things to repair the damage he's caused. I will ASK. That's all you can do. You can ask but he doesn't have to comply and when he doesn't comply you have to back your request up with a consequence that you're willing to surrender to.
[This message edited by 7yrsbetrayed at 3:16 PM, February 21st (Saturday)]
My husband was diagnosed by a CSAT that was recommended to him by his SAA sponser. He goes for IC with the CSAT and we go for MC with marriage and family counselor. I am really considering going to IC. I need some help coping with the stress and to also figure out my role in our marital issues. I don't blame myself for WH acting out(most days). But I know that we have other issues besides that which contributed to the situation. I guess I am blessed that he recognizes he has a problem and is working on it, but I would rather not be in this situation at all. It is not really what I imagined when we got married. I think he is committed to making it work, but I still don't trust him and I don't know when I will be able to do that again. And I also find myself thinking about the emails I found between him and OW over and over again. Some of the things he said about me to her were really hurt and I don't know if I will ever really be able to forgive that. In one email he told her that he was only staying with me because of our children and that if it weren't for that they could be together. When we discussed it in therapy he stated that it was part of the fantasy and drawing her in and that it wasn't true. But my thought was well if it wasn't true why did you say it. I am really confused about the whole situation and somedays I am really just angry and some days I just cry. And I never used to cry alot, now I find myself tearing up at least once a day. Maybe IC will help me work through that. I have ordered that "Mending a Shattered Heart". Hopefully it will give some good insight!
I am really considering going to IC.
Everything you said after saying you're considering counseling are all things you need to work through with a counselor. Not that it helps but those are all very common, standard feelings for the spouse of a SA. You are not alone. Hopefully you can find a support group too, that is really helpful. Try COSA if you can find a chapter near you.
I'll say it again, MC is kind of a waste of time until you both have a lot of IC under your belts. He needs to get sober (if he's not already) and be sober long enough for his brain chemistry to balance out and you need to get past the initial shock and trauma. If you don't want to stop MC you should consider at least cutting it back to once every couple of months or maybe monthly so that you can both really focus on your IC. I speak from experience. We wasted a lot of time in MC when neither of us was really healthy enough for it. At times our MC sessions set off really bad arguments and fights and really bad patches for us because it stirred up so much of our issues that we should have been dealing with in IC.