He had also been diagnosed with chronic depression, ADHD, and if the times had been different would have also been labeled with social anxiety disorder. He also shows clear symptoms of Asperger's syndrome.
My point is that this addiction can have its root in many places and things. But also IMHO, at a certain point, addicts make choices. And the whys and whats don't matter except as a way to plan to FIX things. You can't stop a leak if you don't find the cause of it. But the addict is ultimately responsible for the bad decisions. And the FOO, PTSD, childhood abuse can't be an excuse to get out of that. If you knew my history, and that of many of the non-addicted, faithful spouses on this site and IRL, who never cheated on their marriage vows, well, let's just say that if there are REASONS to cheat and be an a$$ to those I love, I've got a basketful.
On the other hand...meds to control mood disorders such as BP and OCD can help recovery a lot if they are carefully monitored.
He says "let's look at the happy times" I say "What happy times?!! When you were visiting strippers to the tune of $2000 a month? When you were screwing the Tramp from T_______? When you were pretending to love me but spent hours every day masturbating to porn instead of joining your WONDERFUL children and I on the activities we'd do in the summer? My marriage, our family was a fake, a farce, because YOU didn't give two cents for us. WE were an inconvenience that you had to put up with...!!! Your boys needed you and you chose your addiction and your women over them.
So. I am seriously furious. I think this may, in fact, end this marriage.
I wish my SAWH would agree to treatment, but he will not. (read my profile for my story). Interestingly, my WH went off the rails after a cancer diagnosis and the perfect storm of multiple stressors that found him unable to cope. He did not share his fears with me.
I honestly did not see a pattern of acting out before this. We were joined at the hip since we were teenagers. He did have a couple of admitted ONS early in our marriage while intoxicated. I do think alcohol has been a problem over the years, but no other real overt signs. It's puzzling.
Those of you with husbands in treatment, and working towards recovery, have a real fighting chance. I feel pretty hopeless about my particular future if my WH continues to live in the land of denial. *sigh*
Wishing you both the best of luck going forward. This is a wonderful forum and the women here are incredibly supportive and wise.
Hugs to you -- and all my sisters here...
Edited to add: NG, we cross posted. Honey, stay strong! Legal work can take a while. Not unusual, but absolutely nerve wracking! Keep distracting yourself as best you can. We're here, sweetie...
[This message edited by Ghostwalker at 7:37 PM, February 7th (Tuesday)]
How is DS doing??? I think of him everyday and have kept you all in my prayers.
Kat, don't let your broken H break you!!! Just. don't. Keep posting. Keep venting.
Hugs, hugs and more hugs...
And you're right sk, I have a million reasons from childhood and life to have done bad things in my marriage but I haven't. However, I've always had much stronger boundaries.
Nature, first let me say, I'm a fellow homeschooler!! I do agree on the policing, but with the computers at home that my kids use, I put the filters on to protect them. I put the filter on his phone in anger I admit.
Ghost, my WH did not share his feelings with me after my health issues started either, he just blocked me out, then ignored me, only showed interest in me when he wanted to have sex, which made me feel like nothing more than a prostitute and led to resentment and then a vicious cycle.
I'm all for helping him, but he has to realize he has a SA. I think he's sort of getting to the point that he thinks it was after our therapist and psych talked about it, but because he stopped looking (so he says) he's overcome it.
But what he doesn't realize its still ALL he thinks about 24/7. He still talks about sex often, still gropes me constantly, would still have sex twice a day if I let him, and he still masturbates at least twice a day. Just now, he can't always finish because of the meds, which frustrate him to no end. So he still has an addiction, he just doesn't want to face it.
[This message edited by SamanthaBaker at 8:22 PM, February 7th (Tuesday)]
Former 80s Icon wishful thinking
I'm glad you're back on the board - I've been thinking of you and your son so much and praying for both of you. It is so heartbreaking...and so unfair...
And yet with regard to your parenting skills, I think you must have done something right because he had enough self-awareness and self-love to admit that he needed help...that what he was doing wasn't the right way to heal the pain...a much better response than any of our H's...
I'm sorry that you're going through all this. Lots and lots of love.
Currently I'm focusing on myself and my healing. I began a part time job last September, am trying to detach and start a nest egg of my own. I'm strongly leaning towards S but am financially unable to at this time. I keep tabs on his computer activity (he doesn't have a cell), but otherwise I refuse to be his gatekeeper. Neither of us has any idea on how to interact and communicate in a healthy manner.
SK, I too think you're expressing long term anger and resentment, and that this is normal,
"Live a life not an apology." Edward R.Murrow
"I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it."
I am heading out of town until Saturday for a conference with three of my students who are being recognized at a state level competition. I'm taking the computer, but I don't know about the wireless capabilities at the hotel. Suffice it to say, I will be thinking of all of you.
Love and prayers.
You are an amazing woman! Enjoy your trip (if you can) -- and keep us posted, hon...
No question is too personal at this point...look at all the crap we have all been through!
TMY - Lots of questions! Ignore any that are too personal: 1) Any regrets on staying with H? 2) Did you notice a real "difference" in H once he was truly committed to recovery? 3) Does he still go to groups on a weekly basis? 4) Has your sex life returned to "normal" and/or improved compared to when he was actively in addiction? 5) Has he had any slips / relapses? 6) Does your everyday life still "revolve" around H's SA?
1) Absolutely, I do have regrets. My biggest regret is that I stayed with him so long and tolerated his acting out. There were many wasted years. It also set a bad example for our children who are now very disillusioned about marriage and relationships, and the many years of dysfunction in our children's lives subjected them to neglect and even abuse and exposure to addiction. Recovery is about breaking those cycles, but it is a slow process and sadly I see the shame and dysfunction that we have brought into their lives.
2) Absolutely, there is a real difference when an addict is committed to recovery! I would say that in the first 3 months, my H was beginning to detox. He describes having physical withdrawal symptoms that a drug/alcohol addict would have. We were separated during this timeframe. I was supportive of him during this time as a good friend, and towards the end of our separation we did begin the R process. Having said that, he really struggled those first few months, still slipping with really bad porn. After the detox occurred, I definitely began to see things sinking in. My H is now a man that I enjoy being with, a man that I am intimate with on every level. He is genuine. I know that seems paradoxical, when I say that SA'a are master manipulators and liars, but he does things without motivation for me and our children. He has been very humble when our oldest lashes out at him (our oldest is the one who is most bitter about things). He checks in with his feelings. He initiates physically. He is processing the FOO stuff (sexual, physical and emotional abuse and neglect). He follows through with his homework. He reaches out to other men. There are just so many changes, I couldn't begin to describe them all.
3) Yes, he still attends 12 step every week, and his CSAT led therapy group every week. He also sees the CSAT every other week.
4) Our sex life has changed dramatically. The last ten years before recovery I was lucky to cajole/guilt him into having sex with me 2x's a year. I always had to pressure him into it and he always did it grudgingly. There was no lovemaking for sure! I felt extremely sexually deprived. When I first realized that he was acting out (right after the birth of our 2nd child) the porn was beautiful big busty girls (I have no idea about the people he was physically acting out with at the time, but I can assume the same...he was hanging out in an area of town known for prostitution). I, of course, felt extremely insecure and ugly. Why would he want me? By the 10th year of our marriage it had warped to personal ads with women that were grotesque and porn that was very bizarre and not at all attractive. I think that while this should have made me feel like I was better than all that, I felt even more depressed and gained even more weight. By the time the last d-day hit, I was drinking a lot and contemplating my own affair. I had been actively losing weight and trying to look hot to attract male attention, because I knew it wasn't me! I felt like I needed to prove that I was still desirable, after having been rejected for so many years.
We have slowly been building physical intimacy. In the last year things have dramatically improved on that front. We now make love 2-3 times a month. I know that doesn't sound like much, but after being sex starved, it seems like a feast! It is really important that we are both present and connected during the act. There is no pressure to perform. It is something that his CSAT really worked with him on, to get him to that place where he could fearlessly open himself up to a real intimate sexual encounter.
5) No relapses, but he did have a couple of slips with porn. The first was during the first month of recovery. The second was in the first year of recovery. Both instances I found out because I trusted my gut. I do not monitor him. He checks in with his sponsor, CSAT, and group friends. He has made plans and understands the trigger points. That is a big part of recovery.
6) No, I would not say our lives "revolve" around recovery. Contrary to what it may sound like when I post, we both have careers, new friends that we have made, and have taken up new activities to give ourselves social outlets together and with friends. I think that at home we still have a lot of work to do with our children, and I am still working hard on my own FOO issues (interestingly enough, mine mirror my H's..but that is another post). We do check in emotionally and try to stay connected. We talk about politics, world events, vacations, etc., all the things "normal" people (HA! is there such a thing?) might talk about.
Hope that helps. I hope you have a relaxing time at the hotel.
I really understand what you are feeling, but I can't feel angry anymore. It is the oddest thing, but it is like something broke inside me. I used to boil over with anger. I even got a 3 day suspension at work once for going off on a colleague. But all I feel now is sadness. I can't even feel healthy anger at my FOO. I think for me it has been the compounded trauma of everything.
I feel a lot of sadness when I look back at my kids' formative years. My H would also take their side in the "mom is so mean" grumbling. To them, he was so great. They really looked up to him, and that is why it impacted them so hard when they learned that maybe he wasn't always the good guy. I know that after the last d-day when they found out enough about things to make them seriously upset with him, I was a single parent. Our oldest still does not refer to him as father or dad, but usually "he/him/you" or even bad names when upset.
Taking all that on is tough. We can't change the past. I understand the resentment. My H has also said that line about looking back and that there were good times. I know that is hard to believe, because our marriage was a farce, too. However, I do chose to believe that there were some good moments in my kids' lives. I have to. I definitely wasn't a perfect mom; I was stressed and silently dealing with his addiction, as you were. But I did love my kids. I know I did. I didn't always show them the love I had. I really feel a lot of guilt and shame.
However, we can both move forward. I know your kids mean the world to you; mine do too! That is one of the biggest things that has changed for me in my recovery. I want to be there for them. I want to tell them I love them. I want to be different.
You didn't do this to him. Or at the very least, this didn't occur in a vacuum. Does your H take any responsibility? Does he realize the impact that addiction has had on the lives of your children? I think that was my H's rock bottom moment, when he realized that his actions had damaged our children.
I think WS is right...you did something right because he is alive and in treatment. As long as he is living and breathing and reaching out for help, there is hope. I sometimes have to remind myself of that, too. This is not over for our kids! I refuse to believe that. I am going to keep on working recovery and reaching out to them. I am hopeful that they can break the cycle!
HUGS to you! You are an incredible, strong lady who loves her kids.
Here's my latest on divorcing a sex addict. Right now, he lives with OW/fellow sex addict (and denies it), so he has to visit the children here at our home. It's twice a week, one weekday and one weekend day. Basically I have to let him into the house and pretend nothing's wrong. I try to keep an eye on things, but I don't really want to see him either. It's difficult to detach under these circumstances.
My children are 5 and 7 now. H has been out of the house for nearly five months, but he refuses to tell them that we're divorcing. He's a coward. The children know that "mommy and daddy are having problems, and that's why he didn't spend the holidays with us." But that's it. I'm afraid it's going to cause long-term emotional damage to them, and I've given H an ultimatum: sit down with me and tell them by the end of this week, or I'll have to do it myself.
He continues the acting out with OW. They continue to post ads on various sex sites and CraigsList. They are now posting for men to join them. They posted for a man to basically mimic a rape scene with H. I read it and went to bed for the entire day afterwards, trying to recover.
Financially, things are a mess. He lost a lot of clients last spring/summer/fall when the acting out started. He seems to be picking up new ones, but our savings are gone. (They weren't deep, to start.) I'm a SAHM, and have stayed home for seven years now. Thank god I have a little family money that I didn't know about.
It's all very stressful. I continue to detach - the fact that he left his family makes it much easier. I often wonder how long I would have stayed with him if he didn't leave. He's not in any sort of recovery whatsoever; he knows his behavior is "unusual" but seems to find nothing wrong with it at other times. He has told people that I was "mean" to him and "yelled" at him, and that is why we are separated. He also blamed me for the sex addiction the one time we went to visit a CSAT together - again, he claimed I was mean to him.
This is the short version of my story. My father and I are working on tracking every penny spent in my household for the past several years. Then it goes into a computer program and we send it all to the L. I am going to fight for sole custody, given the acting out and the OW. I have a lot of dirt/proof, and we are planning on using it.
The only good news is that my children are doing remarkably well. They saw very little conflict before D-Day. They know nothing about the SA, obviously - they are young.
As for our history, I saw sex ads circled under his bed when we were dating about 17 years ago. I was about 23 years old and he came up with some story that I chose to believe. He's had this problem for a while, but I never in my wildest imagination believed it would get this bad or end up like this. The latest acting out was caused by the death of his domineering mother (with whom he was estranged). Lots of guilt on his part as he watched her die from lung cancer. And lots and lots of job and financial pressure. He felt he was falling behind all his friends and former colleagues who had always looked up to him. He didn't talk to me about it.
But he's always had these problems/proclivities. Also, as for physical intimacy between us - forget it, he really did everything he could to avoid it for years and years - really 15 years since we got married. I've wondered lately if he is gay. It would explain a lot of little things I've noticed through the years. Also, OW is fat and extremely unattractive. She, her car, and her house are slovenly. I've killed myself during my marriage to keep myself fit, etc. This woman probably weighs 50 pounds more than me. Oh and H has probably gained 30 pounds himself and looks like hell. He's stopped cutting his hair b/c OW likes it that way. I'm trying to get him to cut it so that he blends in more around my neighborhood and children's school. Basically, he once looked sort of like a Ken doll. Now he looks like Michael Moore. It's so depressing.
If anyone is still reading, thank you. I can't stop typing. Oh, and we're still caught up in all sorts of addict/codependent dances, so I'm really working on NC and detaching. It's so hard with the children.
Thanks for indulging me. I'll go back to reading all your posts and lurking here again.
[This message edited by ChoosingHope at 5:10 PM, February 8th (Wednesday)]
I am so glad you are detaching from your SAWH. My stomach flips in empathy when I read about your SAWH's acting out and dangerous behavior. Naturally, he will always be your children's father, as mine will. It is my greatest fear that my SAWH will do something so foolish and dangerous, he will get himself killed. He laughed at me when I expressed this fear to him. But, as he is a former member of a cheater's website, what if a jealous husband had found him and pummeled him to death??? It could happen...
Hope, even my adult children are affected by this. They are all more anxious than usual, and some are self-medicating. I feel terrible about this and now wonder if I should have left him years ago.
I am still trying to detach, but right now there are so many problems, on so many levels, that I've decided to take my time in order to gather strength. You are an incredible Mom!!! Your children are so fortunate to have such a strong, proactive and protective Mama Bear!
Wishing you all the best, hon. Please stay in touch with us. Love and prayers...
(((HUGS TO HOPE))))
Today I noticed that the history on his computer had been erased over the weekend. I had a program on it (keylogger) but his computer crashed last month and we wiped the hard drive. (He didn't know about the key logger).
I asked him about it when i found out today. He swore up and down that he wasn't looking at porn, and that he hasn't. I asked why the history had been erased. At first he denied he did it. Second he said that he may have forgotten that he did it. Then he said he was looking up the sexual side effects of his zoloft and he didn't want me to know.
I can't prove anything because I didn't have the key logger on. *sigh* My gut says he's lying.
I told him he can't delete the history, because we still have a LOT of trust issues.
Things have been going well lately, and I just don't want to deal with this right now.
And all during this he's in denial about a SA. It's just so...frustrating.
Conference is both anxiety-ridden and yet somewhat comical as I am playing out a 007 role...(you can see my post in the Divorced/Separated thread). Warning: sailor mouth struck again, haha.
Perhaps what is hardest is being in this hotel room alone...thinking about all the times I stayed in this hotel with WS at this exact same conference. It was such a highlight of the year for us...being able to go out to dinner every night, to have drinks and conversation with other adults after the students were all tucked safely away in their rooms, to enjoy so many wonderful concerts, etc. etc. etc.
Maybe we did have a few happy memories amongst those nine years of deception...
Anyway, I am reading what you are all writing, and I see this common theme about the guilt/concern of exposing children to SA fathers...
And I go back to my earlier conundrum...if I choose to stay with WS, does that mean I will have to give up my dream of having children? It would be selfish to have them with WS since I know full well of his addiction. None of you knew when you had your kids, but I know...(and know all too well thanks to disclosure.)
TMY - Your H is in recovery. Do you think he would make a good father now?
**((Hope))** - I think it is great that you post here. So many of us are in different stages: unsure but suspecting, found out recently and a few steps short of the funny farm (that would be me, lol), in limbo, separated, separating, divorced, divorcing. I personally find it very insightful to see all the possible paths this can take...there is truly no one right answer. So post away!
NatureGirl, I don't have any language yet about custody/visitation, but I'm happy to share everything with you as it unfolds. We can compare notes. I'm not thrilled with my L. I chose her when I was very vulnerable, right after D-Day, and I might have to switch to another L who understands my "situation" a little more. We'll see.
Ghost, scandal and death are my biggest fears too. They keep me awake at night - and have done so for many years. I went through a period where I was afraid to open the door, answer the phone, or open the mail. I didn't know if I was more afraid of some SA S&M lunatic coming to kill H, or of a policeman coming to tell me that they found my H's body in a hotel room.
I don't know if it will make you feel better, but my IC likes to point out that millions of people are serial cheaters - and a very very small percentage of them ever end up hurt or dead. A small comfort, huh!?
TooManyYears, I was really touched by your description of your husband's recovery. The sad thing is that I saw some of those changes in my husband between 2009 and 2011. He just never reached the point of recovery that your husband has obviously reached. Your story is really amazing - it shows that there is such a thing as a real life after SA. I'm happy for you. And somehow, I hope that stories like yours can help future spouses of SAs to get help right away - and to get the right sorts of help. I failed to do these things because I didn't know enough about SA, and I hope that future spouses will have more information and support than I did. In fact, I hope that the medical and scientific communities will someday figure out this horrible addiction because our society is losing good human beings to SA - and the heartbreak felt by the families, especially the children, is just tragic.