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I Can Relate     Print Topic    
User Topic: Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts 5
too trusting BW
♀ Member
Member # 15459
Default  Posted: 9:26 AM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

cafeaulait,

Your story sounds just like mine. No sex, pushing me away....

I had NO idea the amount of porn and M'bation was going on. I felt really ignorant for a long time. Not anymore, now I just realize that they have had far more years perfecting their shadow side than I have living with an addict.


Tenacious,
Keep in mind that acting out is not just an affair.
M-bation, seeking attention, etc can also be acting out behaviors for a lot of addicts.

For me, a big red flag is the computer usage. That would signal some kind of acting out for my SAH.
Long before I knew of the SA, my SAH's laptop was pretty much parked at our kitchen table. Our kitchen is pretty big, and central to our main floor of our house. I spent at least half of my evenings IN the kitchen. My SAH was looking at webcams, corresponding and IMing with women and "acting out" right there in front of me.
My SAH and best friend would play grab ass and touchy-feely, right in the midst of our group of couples and families, camping, or at one of the houses, and even in the hot tub as we all watched football. (Yes, hot tubs are OUT forever! I was sooo naive!)

The shower, and how innocent and basic a part of day that is, was a frequent "acting out" place. All of the computer usage, fantasizing and objectifying of women was stored up in his head and he could pull it out and get "a fix" whenever he wanted to.

The point I am trying to make, is that as you go along, and hopefully as your SAH becomes more honest and vulnerable, he will let you know all of these ways in which a sex addiction permeates almost every minute of their day.

Just going to work and coming home doesn't mean it isn't happening.

You also don't really need to confront. You know his behavior is unacceptable, and you do not need to know the cause. You only need to take care of you, by having boundaries, and detaching when necessary. I say this now, but I do know how hard it is to stop trying to find the cause AND the solution.

Not your job. He has the resources to figure this stuff out and ask for help.

Trying to figure out his bad behavior and recognizing that it may be "new" is wasting your energy, unless it is simply for seeing a pattern and detaching.

My personal assumption is that he is being an ass for no other reason (my SAH did this too) than he is uncomfortable with the fact that you are more aware.
My SAH translates this into "you are going to judge me."

While its nice for you to recognize the days effort, do you see how you are trying to manage by rewarding good effort? In some kind of hope that it will encourage him to continue.
Been there done that, and I still have a hard time not being his cheerleader.
Its a bit hard to articulate for me, but it isn't your job to encourage every little effort.
For me, one of the things I realized was that I was setting myself up to be the scapegoat when things weren't working for him. If I was his cheerleader when things are "right" then when they are wrong it MUST be because I was not encouraging enough.
Sounds silly and out of whack, but it is how our relationship was functioning.

I am working on that one.



Me 39
SA-FWH 44
11yrs M
In R-maybe
3 DC from Marriage #1
1 DS together
at least 4 d-days

Posts: 1300 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Kansas
too trusting BW
♀ Member
Member # 15459
Default  Posted: 9:33 AM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

WOW Tal,

You described life with my SAH almost exactly.
I heard the whine "we never have fuuuuun" so many times I now have to fight myself to want to do something like a date or fun with him.

It was never enough.
The disconnect is almost as painful as the abusive words.

To feel invisible and unimportant is NO way to live.
I always felt like I "bothered" him any time I talked to him, whether it was important or just small talk.

UGH my XH was a nasty nasty rude hurtful person, but my SAH has hurt me just as much.


Me 39
SA-FWH 44
11yrs M
In R-maybe
3 DC from Marriage #1
1 DS together
at least 4 d-days

Posts: 1300 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Kansas
TenaciousBW
♀ New Member
Member # 29058
Default  Posted: 11:13 AM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My personal assumption is that he is being an ass for no other reason (my SAH did this too) than he is uncomfortable with the fact that you are more aware.
My SAH translates this into "you are going to judge me."

While its nice for you to recognize the days effort, do you see how you are trying to manage by rewarding good effort? In some kind of hope that it will encourage him to continue.
Been there done that, and I still have a hard time not being his cheerleader.
Its a bit hard to articulate for me, but it isn't your job to encourage every little effort.
For me, one of the things I realized was that I was setting myself up to be the scapegoat when things weren't working for him. If I was his cheerleader when things are "right" then when they are wrong it MUST be because I was not encouraging enough.
Sounds silly and out of whack, but it is how our relationship was functioning

I always learn a lot from you Too Trusting. What struck me the most was the part about him feeling uncomfortable about me being more aware about what was going on-learning more about the addiction-figuring him out. I think you hit that dead on!

And I never thought about the cheerleading and how its setting me up for feeling responsible for his failure or success. I keep needing those knocks on the head that nothing "I" do makes any difference at all.

Tal, you are right about the pissyness. I do think he needs to maintain a level of anger and resentment to justify acting out. He looks for reasons to be angry. I dont know if its his depression or if he is acting out. Currently it is possible that he is in contact with his LTA partner who lives several states away. But I would have no way to know that. I have accused him several times but he swears that he isnt. If he is, I can only pray to God that He will let me know somehow.


Posts: 25 | Registered: Jul 2010 | From: United States
Tal
♀ Member
Member # 3300
Default  Posted: 12:06 PM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

He is still saying "I wasnt happy, the marriage wasnt satisfying to me and that is why I acted out". When I point out that he was still acting out on his OW whom he says he was madly in love with he says "she must not have been the one".

The "one"? Ah geez, that's like there is supposed to be one magical person out there that will fix what's broken in him. So, an addict would go through one AP after another looking for the "one"?

That sounds like a crack addict doing what is called "chasing the dragon"...always trying to recreate the feeling of that first high.


Posts: 2145 | Registered: Jan 2004
UnexpectedSong
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Member # 21761
Default  Posted: 12:28 PM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I hope I'm not out of line posting here... I just wanted to make a couple of comments...

While its nice for you to recognize the days effort, do you see how you are trying to manage by rewarding good effort?

The SA has to want to work on it him- or herself. Keep chanting 7's mantra: you didn't cause it, you can't control it, you can't cure it. If my husband were to praise me for not acting out, it would just be strange. Likewise, him berating me for not working on recovery would also be strange. He's not my parent, he's my spouse.

You are not your husbands' mothers.

If they are making you uncomfortable, reiterate your dealbreakers and follow through. Nothing else will work.

I do think he needs to maintain a level of anger and resentment to justify acting out. He looks for reasons to be angry.

I think this is backwards.

SAs do not look for something to justify acting out. The acting out compulsion happens because of some circumstance, some trigger. Fighting the compulsion takes a lot of energy - someone else said that her H seems to "check out" when acting out. It's not checking out - it is that controlling the compulsion takes everything, so you have nothing left to give loved ones. You are holding on so tight and barely managing to get through the day. At least, that's how it is for me.

The anger is the same thing. When you are concentrating all your effort to not do something, you have no patience left for other things, things that you know you ought to be doing, but you just have no energy left for it.

I don't know if any of you have ever felt compulsive behavior - it is stronger than that voice that wants a cookie when you are on a diet. It is that irrational need to drink, need to gamble, need to eat, need to smoke. It is like an unstoppable tide and it takes everything you have to just stay in place.

Acting out provides relief. Fighting that compulsion takes energy - and that takes the appearance of indifference or anger.

Now I will check out of your thread. Sorry to intrude.


WW(SA)
"Feedback is the breakfast of champions." - Boris Becker

Posts: 6046 | Registered: Nov 2008 | From: California
TenaciousBW
♀ New Member
Member # 29058
Default  Posted: 3:17 PM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Dear UnexpectedSong,
THANK YOU SO MUCH for your input! Your words of wisdom are pure gold! Its so valuable to get input from someone who has lived it. Please dont feel like an instusion! What you said about the anger really hit home for me. Actually your whole post hit home for me. Thank you so much!

Posts: 25 | Registered: Jul 2010 | From: United States
sheila0304
Member
Member # 25041
Default  Posted: 3:30 PM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Please share with us Unexpected Song. My Ws is suffering. He tries to deal with his compulsion alone and is losing the battle. Your insight helped me tremendously. Thank you.

Posts: 1160 | Registered: Aug 2009
UnexpectedSong
♀ Member
Member # 21761
Default  Posted: 5:27 PM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

A couple more thoughts... The appearance of anger and/or checking out may be a good sign that he is trying to fight the compulsion. It is bad because fighting it alone consumes all his resources. It's not fair to the BS; but it is what it is.

A sudden return to good humor may indicate having given in to the compulsion or somehow have fought through it. For me, when the demon sleeps, there is a lovely peace. Like, wow, life can be (relatively) carefree.

Having a spouse who is aware of the SA definitely adds an extra dimension of shame. I have been able to talk about basically everything with my husband, but it is difficult for me to tell him when I am feeling the compulsions. He wants me to, but I cannot. It is like admitting that you are an inferior being. (ETA: For example, I would not be able to make this post while in a compulsive episode.)

Finally, my therapist (who is not a CSAT but is well-versed in SA and whom I prefer over the CSAT that I did see) says that stuffing the compulsions down without other support is detrimental. The feelings will come out somehow - very likely as depression.

Depression presents differently between men and women. Women tend to have "classic" symptoms - sad, sleep excessively, listless. Men tend to be snappy and angry and threaten suicide.

So, just a few things to watch for...

[This message edited by UnexpectedSong at 5:46 PM, August 6th (Friday)]


WW(SA)
"Feedback is the breakfast of champions." - Boris Becker

Posts: 6046 | Registered: Nov 2008 | From: California
TenaciousBW
♀ New Member
Member # 29058
Default  Posted: 9:25 PM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Dear UnexpectedSong,
You have described my SAH exactly! And he is trying to do this without any support and just as you said he has fallen into a deep deep depression. In his depressed state his main emotion is ANGER! You are dead on! I hope you keep posting on here. Your insights are so much more valuable than you can imagine!

Posts: 25 | Registered: Jul 2010 | From: United States
Tal
♀ Member
Member # 3300
Default  Posted: 9:48 PM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Now I am totally confused!

When my WS is depressed, acting out with porn, building up resentments that can lead to an in-real-life A, he's checked out. He's pissy and just plain unavailable emotionally or otherwise.

Now after a D-day when he's trying to be more involved & available--lies are out in the open & he's not acting out--he seems happier.

He doesn't seem like he's white knuckling it to keep from acting out on his compulsions. The compulsions seem to only be there when he is depressed & angry.

What am I missing? Is my husband NOT really an SA? Why does the pattern seem so different than what the rest of you are describing.


Posts: 2145 | Registered: Jan 2004
too trusting BW
♀ Member
Member # 15459
Default  Posted: 9:51 PM, August 6th (Friday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Tal, It can be both.
My SAH can work up resentment when he is struggling to stay sober, just as much as when he was in full acting out mode.

It can be all of those patterns and it can change, IMO.

We can only trust our gut to tell us how things are truly going.
You know when people say "you'll know" they are correct.

I never believed it, because I didn't think I could trust me.


Me 39
SA-FWH 44
11yrs M
In R-maybe
3 DC from Marriage #1
1 DS together
at least 4 d-days

Posts: 1300 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Kansas
too trusting BW
♀ Member
Member # 15459
Default  Posted: 7:25 AM, August 7th (Saturday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Tal,
In effect, our SAH's change in some ways, especially in early recovery.

Part of what I hear in your description is something I expereienced, and do at times now.

When my SAH is keeping things from me, big or small, he is more likely to be tense and disconnected. Once he allows himself to open up, he will more pleasant, more "happy" and just simply present.

I know for me, my SAH has a very very hard time sharing with me just how very hard recovery and sobriety are. Like I will be disappointed that he is struggling.

In the very beginning he was so relieved to have a place and people that understood him, he was very very happy and relaxed.
Didn't completely last at that time, because there were still secrets and he had so much more work to do.

The key here is really the disconnect and how we trust our gut to know things don't feel right.

Personally, it is always so validating (?) to hear someone else's story that is similar. It reminds me that I was not an idiot for not seeing the signs.

So it's important we don't try to pigeonhole each of our SAH's. Certain things are going to be almost identical, and others completely different.

I think we all recognize the patterns themselves, even if each of our SAH's presents differently.



Me 39
SA-FWH 44
11yrs M
In R-maybe
3 DC from Marriage #1
1 DS together
at least 4 d-days

Posts: 1300 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Kansas
deceivedone10
Member
Member # 29042
Default  Posted: 11:10 AM, August 7th (Saturday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I've been reading the books (codependency, SA books by P. Carnes, etc.). I def. fit the CoD pattern--I've begged, pleaded, and threatened him to change. Obviously it did not work. From what I am reading, one of the first steps is that you must realize and admit that you are powerless over the SA--you can't change him no matter how hard you try. I'm struggling with that and I'm not sure why. The principle is so simple--You can NOT control others. You can NOT make someone want to change. You can't do the work for them, they have to want it for themselves. Why can I not get my head wrapped around this simple idea?? I guess I think that if I preach enough to him, encourage and beg for change enough, tell him how much I hurt on a daily basis, recommend books that he read and websites that he visit, therapists to make appointments with, lists he should make, things he should do, that eventually he will start doing those things. BUT HE WON"T.
He has agreed to see a therapist specializing in addiction issues. But guess who is making the phone calls to book the appointment? Guess whose insurance is paying for the treatment? Me of course. Who is on this website right now-me. Who spent $40 last night on 2 new SA books-Bingo...me! Who has 20+ books at home on SA and infidelity...right again, ME!

What does he do? Well, he reassures me that he loves me and wants to change. He says "make the appointment and I will go". Other than that---nada. No books, no websites, nothing. He says "I need one on one attention. I don't like to read. I want to work with a PERSON, not read books and go to websites".

I just feel really really hopeless.

But anyway, back to my original question: What are some ways to come to accept this "powerlessness"?? I have no clue how I am going to get it through to myself that I can't make him want to change.


Counting on Karma...

Posts: 133 | Registered: Jul 2010
7yrsbetrayed
♀ Member
Member # 10198
Default  Posted: 12:51 PM, August 7th (Saturday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

He says "make the appointment and I will go".

Are you his MOTHER?? That's bullshit. Give him the number and it's HIS responsibility to call. PERIOD. In fact you should tell him, "I am your wife, not your mother, put on your big boy pants and do what YOU need to do."

He is acting like a child and you're letting him.

Use the phone number yourself and get into IC for you to break your co-dependency.

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
caregiver9000
♀ Member
Member # 28622
Default  Posted: 12:51 PM, August 7th (Saturday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I want to chime in again with thanks to mite and UnexpectedSong. It is a gift you give those of us who are struggling with spouses who don't communicate, those of us who can't ask and receive answers from our own addicts. My H actually claims that he has no problem and that I want him to have an "addiction" because that is how I cope by labeling things and if he has a problem then I can study it. This sounds so reasonable on the surface that it is scary.

I have a question about the advised six months of no decision making. Does that apply to spouses dealing with a SA as well? Does the fact that my H is in full blown denial of an addiction change anything?

If this time frame is reasonable do I communicate it to him? Is it possible that my giving up and the idea that the marriage is over is actually comforting to my H? His acting out has gone through a recent period of high escalation (20 plus hours a day of craigslist communication, porn, and eventual meet ups). I feel confident there is physical activity at this point because the online behaviors are now sporadic and the attention to our children has all but stopped completely. H is making excuses for not coming to visit. Does anyone have any suggestion for protecting the boys? This is my primary concern at this point. How do I protect them physically from exposure to inappropriate sexual activity? How do I protect them from the disappointment of having expectations of an addict?

I hate everything about this. Absent the children, I would walk away and never look back. I know this with every fiber of my being. This man is a long term train wreck and the instinct to run is so great. The children tie me to him and I have to monitor and have to have concern and have to have contact.

I am grateful for this group. Even when there is no answer it is comforting to have a support group. Thank you to all of you for being here and reading and answering and supporting.


Me: 43, independent, happy, despite co-parenting with a lower muppet
FT "Stretch" (and Skew!) ;)
DS 12 DS 9
S 5/2010
D 12/2012

Posts: 5310 | Registered: May 2010 | From: a better place
Tal
♀ Member
Member # 3300
Default  Posted: 11:23 AM, August 9th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Caregiver, something you asked really struck me. You asked how to protect your kids from dissappointment of having expectations of their addict father.

If your kids had a father who was addicted to drugs/alcohol, there are meetings like Alateen. Those kinds of meetings help kids understand that they are dealing with a parent who has a disease. A good counselor who knows about addiction could help too.

How much do your kids know? I can only imagine that it would be much harder to talk to kids about this kind of addiction. I know that I have a much harder time disclosing to anyone in my life, much less to children.

The fundamentals would be the same: helping the kids to understand that this has nothing to do with them, it has nothing to do with whether or not their dad loves them, and has everything to do with their father being very sick. How you are able to explain how your husband is sick--I don't know. Maybe some of the other people here will have some experience in that area.


Posts: 2145 | Registered: Jan 2004
caregiver9000
♀ Member
Member # 28622
Default  Posted: 1:06 PM, August 9th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks Tal. It is tricky. The kids have a certain level of understanding. They know the word "cheated." And that really makes me sad. I have them signed up for a divorce care class which I hope will help with some of it. But specifically about the disease? I can't imagine how to go there. I know that there are others who have traveled this road so I am looking forward to their wisdom.


Me: 43, independent, happy, despite co-parenting with a lower muppet
FT "Stretch" (and Skew!) ;)
DS 12 DS 9
S 5/2010
D 12/2012

Posts: 5310 | Registered: May 2010 | From: a better place
too trusting BW
♀ Member
Member # 15459
Default  Posted: 1:57 PM, August 9th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I would suggest Claudia BLack's book, How to tell your child about addiction. ( I think the title may be wrong, I will look it up)

It was very informative, based on ages, ages when recovery started, how much, how little to tell.

It seemed easy for me to translate it to sex addiction.

My 3 younger children know, 21 yr old, 20 yr old, and the 10 1/2 yr old.

My 24 yr old was not living with us for several years, so the relationship is not on the same level in a lot of ways.

I strongly suggest any disclosure be facilitated by the counselor, and that you as spouse have some IC before disclosing to the children.
Reading some of articles about families and exposure by Jennifer Schneider is very helpful to understand why it is so important to do it without anger and impulse.

I have to say, it was pretty cool to hear my 10 yr old ask his dad which step he was on, and what it meant. We were camping on vacation and my SAH called in to his SAA group to hear a close friend's first step.
My son saw some real intimacy between his dad and another man in such a healthy way, and felt comfortable enough to ask.


Me 39
SA-FWH 44
11yrs M
In R-maybe
3 DC from Marriage #1
1 DS together
at least 4 d-days

Posts: 1300 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Kansas
Nouveau
Member
Member # 1731
Default  Posted: 5:32 PM, August 9th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wondering if your SA has siblings/family members that you suspect may have SA issues as well.

He once told me that his brother was staying with him a few years ago and his daughter (then a teenager) discovered a porn video that her uncle left in the VCR.

And this same brother has a really dirty mouth that I cannot stand. And seems to have zero respect for women. And brother stayed with us for a couple of months last year and he openly admitted to me while he was here that he masturbates.. often!

So brother sent my SO an email today and his email username was "spunkmonkey"... (which I didn't know what that meant, so I looked it up)

And brother now lives with a beautiful woman who is educated, classy, etc. And I'll bet she doesn't have a clue was a pig he really is... or if she does, she's ignoring the red flags waving all over the place. I think she and I need to have a woman-to-woman talk...

My SO's mother had been married 4 times. Each one of her 5 children had different fathers. She also was an alcoholic. I can only imagine the shit she subjected her children to.


I sing the songs of a woman who has passed through anger and outrage to a kind of stunned resignation in the face of overwhelming human folly.....

Posts: 4895 | Registered: Jul 2003 | From: The great frozen tundra
New Joy
♀ Member
Member # 17120
Default  Posted: 10:46 PM, August 9th (Monday), 2010View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

This is my 1st post in this forum. I'll try to make the recap of my story short.

My H is 63, I'm 62, we've been married over 41 years. 7 years ago things came to a head over his e-mail exchanges with a former employee who was 23. We saw 2 different MC's. A little help from #1. #2 was a disaster. At that time I gave up on MC. I'd been going to an IC during that time but we reached a standstill so I'd quit seeing her. Several months later I knew I needed serious help & started seeing a psychologist. What a huge difference she made in getting me on the path to my own healing!

Fast forward to the last few months, I've really seen the results in my personal healing. For me it's meant huge strides in learning what's mine to own in this mess & what's not. In that I've been able to really think through what's really been going on with my H.

Bottom line is there is & has been a serious issue with porn. Thanks to those of you who've taken the time to explain & discuss details, I've come to the conclusion that this problem has been going on for years & has, of course, been impacting our marriage for years.

The thing is I'm not sure I have it in me to start fighting that fight so to speak. I'm not sure I care enough any more to give the emotional energy for the years it would take to work through this.

At this point I don't know that I'm asking for help, though input is welcome. What motivates me to post is at last I've found all of you so I'm at least able to share my story with someone who understands

[This message edited by New Joy at 11:03 PM, August 9th (Monday)]


Me - BS - 64
Him - WS - 65
Married over 40 years
Adult DS & DD
2 DD's in one that I call Double-D-Day - When confronted WH about his A he confessed to another affair years earlier.

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