"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 was in a funk all day yesterday, couldn't get out of bed. I feel bad for my kids when I have days like that. I'm thinking it may be time to get on an anti-depressant.
On another note, I let my husband kiss me on the lips for the first time since DDay last night. Once that happened it turned into a full blown make out session. I realized how much I missed him. I checked in with him a few times to make sure he was with me "in the moment" I was worried he would "addict out" on me. Can't be sure. Too many emotions...it's all just too confusing.
My H has repeatedly tried to tell me that he was not attracted to the APs, he did not enjoy the sexual experiences, and he was disgusted by himself and lived a very conflicted life. My/our therapist backs him up and says what he was doing was revisiting his childhood sexual abuse with the same uncomfortable/wrong sexual feelings followed by disgust. Another aspect of it was having control and dominance over women since he was convinced, manipulated, forced to do things as a child and never resolved his issues, he felt compelled to do the same to others. It all sounds very logical and convincing, but damn it, seriously?!
I mean, they are telling me that my husband pursued sex and oral sex with other people off an on over the course of four years and he didnít like it, but he kept going back for more? Really? Can you see how this is a hard one for me to grasp? My mind is torturing me by picturing him in these passionate encounters with attractive women when he tells me it was dry, emotionless, mechanical sex with old/overweight/unattractive/awkward/bad smelling women. He told me that while he also felt disgusted by his masturbation habit, he actually preferred that because he didnít have to deal with telling a person to get out of his face when he was done. Ugh, barf. I had a breakdown yesterday thinking about how he used to treat me and the things he used to say and I just couldnít help but think all the time he was being a total jerk to me he was out being Mr. nice guy to stinky sluts (of course he says it was not like that). I remember the way he was and the things he said and they do not match up with the ďconflicted guyĒ theory that I keep hearing. The therapist tells me how he loved me but was overtaken by the addiction and couldnít express love to me or our children because of his abuse and subsequent addiction. I remember a guy who was selfish and arrogant and did whatever he wanted without any regard to anyone else. My therapist tells me this arrogance was his way of overcompensation for the shame and worthlessness that was inside, but it is SO HARD for me to put these two together. I fell like if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duckÖ
I hate this because sometimes, not all of the time, I feel like I am being tricked. I feel like no one has the guts to come out and tell me that of course he enjoyed what he was doing. Why else would he have kept doing it over and over, all while treating the family like garbage. HE ASKED me to do the same things he did sexually with other people and I asked him why he was constantly after me when he was getting it elsewhere and he said he hope that if he did these things with me, his wife, that they would be enjoyable. I asked him if it did not feel good, like sex is supposed to, then what did it feel like and he said ďit felt like NOTHING!Ē
I have tried so HARD to stop thinking about this and focus on myself, but it keeps creeping up on me. I feel so unresolved. I do not like feeling deceived, for obvious reasons. My H said he will not tell me that he enjoyed his addiction or the other people because that would be lying, and he will not lie to me just to satisfy what I think I need to hear. Any input? Iím so tired of this. I feel like if he and the therapist are telling me the truth, then I am torturing myself with my own imagination. I want it to stop. Things are so different now, and so much better. I am tired of being stuck in the past.
I don't know that I have a whole lot of helpful advice to offer. I have struggled with some of the same things myself. My SAWH claimed that he really wasn't attracted to the OW and that he didn't even enjoy the porn and sex chatting. It is incredibly difficult for me to believe. Especially considering how much he did it. And that he often rejected me sexually in favor of these other outlets.
Here is how he has explained it to me. I have to use porn as an example (which I know is not the same thing you are dealing with) since that seems to be the root of all the other things for my H. He said that it might start with a feeling of inadequacy. Maybe he was feeling very tired or stressed, maybe I had made a move and he couldn't perform (there were some ED issues), or maybe he was just feeling like he wasn't in control of things. He would turn to porn (or the other fantasy outlets) to try to "prove" to himself that he was manly. He would find videos, watch filthier and filthier things, and try to replace those negative thoughts with physical pleasure. Sometimes it would work and temporarily get rid of the stress. Other times it wouldn't (more and more often), which would put him back in the same cycle only this time with more desperation and more and more disgusting things. Then shortly after either of those results came the guilt, the shame, the feelings of inadequacy... And the whole cycle would start again.
For him the sexual release was secondary. Maybe he didn't understand that consciously at the time, which is another reason the process was more frustrating than fulfilling. Sex or ejaculation wasn't really the ultimate goal so much as feeling in control, like a man, getting rid of the stress, proving he was still sexual after an ED episode, and feeling disconnected from the other emotional pain. My H isn't good at confronting emotions or dealing with painful things. So that was his coping mechanism. A coping mechanism that ultimately made him feel even more disgusting, embarrassing, worthless, and shameful.
You or I would argue that there are plenty of other, more healthy ways to cope. There are a myriad of outlets for relieving stress, taking charge of your life, and dealing with pain that don't involve sex or any of these deviant behaviors. Yet somehow this is how they chose to react. That is the addiction part, I think. Because certainly a rational mind would recognize that cycle is self-defeating and destructive. That their behaviors make things worse, don't solve any problems, and in fact cause many more painful emotions. But they either didn't realize that or didn't have the power to stop. All of the guilt and shame couldn't have made it any easier.
I say that not to excuse anything. It is all wrong and terribly hurtful for their significant other (and themself). I also don't fully understand all of the dynamics. But I can picture that cycle and start to see that it doesn't sound fun, glamorous, or like all the magazines and porno flicks make it out to be. It isn't healthy, loving, and validating sex like you or I might experience. And I can only imagine that because it could never live up to the fake, idealized version of sex and it didn't have the loving emotions of true intimacy then it probably wouldn't have been all that enjoyable or fulfilling, especially with all the other crap going on in the background of their twisted minds.
Hope that helps at least a little.
I know for my SA FWH watching porn was a coping mechanism and an escape. And the guilt/shame/etc. sets in. But then the addiction kicks in, and it's a viciuos vicious cycle.
Former 80s Icon wishful thinking
Mending a shattered heart (for me)
Out of the Shadows (him)
In the Shadows of the Net (him)
Don't Call It Love (him)
Porn Nation with the workbook. (him) (Though this has a very strong religious leaning and I'm not sure he'd like that...)
I'm a reader, I'll read anything. Anything else that may be helpful?
I have these horrible days where I feel like Iím intentionally hurting myself.
OMG Kansas - I was just getting ready to post this sentiment myself.
I keep reliving these terrible memories (some of them imagined - I didn't actually watch him have sex with someone else, and yet I can picture it clear as a bell!)
Why do I do this? Why do I torture myself? How do I stop? I don't know...
Someone mentions a baseball game. I think about how he told me he was at a baseball game when he was really with her. Someone mentions moving. I think about how I was helping my parents move instead of being with him at the baseball game he was supposedly going to when he ended up sleeping with her. Someone mentions Hawaii. I think about how we just came back from vacation when he brought her into our home and fucked her on the living room floor. You get the idea...
I want to forget. I need to forget. I need to move on. I am only hurting myself...and yet my mind keeps going back there. I keep dwelling. I keep being hurt. I remain in this stupid funk, stuck in the past, unable to move forward.
I think part of it is that I do the same thing you seem to be doing Kansas. I keep thinking WS must think of sex the same way I do. I mean sex is sex is sex. Right?
I'm thinking no. Sex is such an emotional spiritual thing for me - I don't know why. I don't know if that's a healthy view, if it's a female view, if it's a cultural view, or if it's just how I was raised. That moment of being connected...it is sacred to me, so beyond the physical. And so when I think of him being sacred with someone else...obviously that is very upsetting. It makes me feel like what we have is no longer sacred.
But I keep reminding myself...according to what he describes, what I read, what others say...that sex for SAs is not that way. It is a physical thing, or worse, a psychological manipulative thing. It is not experienced as a sacred connection, as a loving, spiritual, special thing. Rather for them, it's like riding a roller coaster. Something you do that's fun in the moment, and then not really thought of again. Something that gets old after a few times. Something that you constantly need a new and different roller coaster in order to maintain the thrill.
And I "know" these things with my head, I guess I just need to "know" these things with my heart.
I just hope that someday he may learn to experience sex the same way I do...as an expression of love.
But I guess only time will tell.
You know, he won't even admit to the excitement or the rollercoaster. He's really opened up and tried to describe how he felt and I don't take him seriously because itís just so OUT THERE.
He is an athlete, former college and pro football. He told me that at times, he didn't even play for the love of the game. He played because knocking the crap out of someone gave him a power/adrenaline rush. Dominance. He would get into physical fights seeking the same feeling, as well as an outlet for his rage and anger.
He says he got the same feeling during sex with these yucky women. It was a rush of adrenaline, dominance, power and control followed by thoughts of "get the hell out of my face so I can clean my junk with baby wipes and throw up". Then he would promise not to do it ever again, make a few days, weeks, maybe months, then again, back to that place of disgust. He said about half the time he was unable to reach orgasm because the disgust would hit him mid-act.
He tells me it felt like "nothing". I guess that would make sense, right? He was numbing himself and not knowing what or why he was doing. It sucked living with a numbed out man.
I get it with my head, but not my heart. And I don't understand why he had to act like such an ass to me and our girls. He was so distant, so mean, and sometimes cruel. If he felt so bad about what he was doing, why the cocky attitude? Therapist has tried to tell me the macho badass act was a cover-up for a broken little boy. He tells me he felt I didnít love him because I stopped responding to his sexual advances. Of course I did! No foreplay. So pushy. If he related sex with love, then why was it different with these other women? I am there to love and they are to use? Really? Too many conflicting thoughts for me to wrap my mind around.
He tells me he feels so much worse about blowing me and the kids off than he does about the cheating. He tells me he feels like he missed out on so much. My therapist tells me he was disassociated. For years I see that he truly feels that loss, and it's sad.
I have no advice for the memories or perceived memories. I think I'm about a year ahead of you and it's still hard, but I guess I either have to learn to accept the worse possible scenario (what I imagine) or believe him and take it for what it was.
It just doesn't match up to the way he acted and I hate that. Itís those conflicting thoughts that keep me second-guessing still. Still feeling like someone is trying to gloss this over or minimize. I get why he would want to do that, but why my therapist. I SO want to be the wrong one.
I just hope that someday he may learn to experience sex the same way I do...as an expression of love.
At 15 months out from the first disclosure, 3+ years past his last A, I am happy to say our sex life is better than it has ever been. We are both so connected and into each other and it's great. There is hope
NIK, My FWH hasn't gotten to the point (at least in our marriage, I know he used prostitutes overseas regularly, as did most of the single sailors) but I know he has told me that he often felt horrible after masturbating to porn. He'd feel disgusted and ashamed. But it was such a compulsion.
I can sort of relate, but on a different level because I've struggled with an addiction to pain medication years ago. You feel good for a moment, because of the endorphines that kick in, but the second you realize what you've done...it jsut all crashes around you. He's often said it's not ABOUT the porn, it's not ABOUT the women in the porn, it is about the feeling he gets from it. It's nothing about what he's seeing on the screen at all. It's just a means to get there. He has said he's addicted to the feeling of climax. He used to m'bate 3-4 times a day (ow!?) and wasn't always using porn to do it. But he just HAD to have that feeling. But then afterwards....the guilt, the shame.
The women he chose were educated professionals, but also young and attractive. This puzzled me. I asked him why their profession or education mattered to him IF he was only looking for some sex on the side. His response: "well, you know I hate bimbos". WTF????
I asked him if he cared if his AP's were sexually satisfied in their encounters and he said, he did not care one bit. He said his orgasm was the release he was looking for in order to escape his problems. He said they might as well been blow-up dolls, as he had no emotional connection to any of them.
But I don't believe him. One of his AP's was a 9 month affair, although he still f*cked OW during their time together.
He said he purposely chose other married women because he loved me and had no intention of ever leaving me. Well thanks so much, assclown. I feel so special. *snort*
I kicked him out in February because he doesn't think he has an addiction problem and refuses to seek therapy. He calls it "temporary insanity". I call it permanent asshole-ishness.
My mind movies have stopped, only because I am detaching. I wish I could be of more help to all of you.
Hugs and strength to all...
Thank you for putting into words what has been going around and around in my head. Logically I get it, but emotionally I'm just not there.
Some other books I've read and recommend: My Sexually Addicted Spouse, The Language of Letting Go, The Couples Guide To Sexual Addiction, and I highly recommend Hope & Freedom For Sexual Addicts and Their Partners. This book gave me some real hope for my marriage. My SAWH is also working through the Thirty Days to Hope & Freedom From Sexual Addiction: The Essential Guide to Daily Recovery. For those whose husband endured emotional incest by their mothers read Silently Seduced, the updated version and When He's Married to Mom, both by Kenneth Adams. I've just started How Can I forgive You? by the same author who wrote After The Affair.
NIK: I'll be adding Lust Anger Love to my list of must reads, thanks.
When they get going try to imagine a large stop sign. See it get bigger and bigger. At the same time throw arm out in front of you making the stop with your hand and yell "STOP!" Repeat as needed. Obviously be aware of where you do this, as it may freak some people out.
I've tried it a couple of times repeating quite a bit and it does work. Hopefully it can help you all as well.
WS, my mind movies, in the form of intrusive thoughts continue to this day...4 years after my knowing of the facts, 10 and 8 years after the events. Not every day, and the days seem to be getting further apart. When they hit, it's bad, for both of us because I no longer keep it inside. I can't. WS's IC explained it like a boiling teapot. If I try to contain it, it will either hurt me or explode in a damaging way.
Sadly, my SAfWS was emotionally attached to ALL his whores. (Even thought the strippers were his friends.) As much as an SA can be attached. Or at least that's his explanation. They weren't good people, he knew that. They were part of the fantasy that had him be somebody else, part of this separate world, playing with these creepy people, being someone other than the person he really was. I knew the real person, loved, respected and admired him. He didn't feel the same way about himself. So I must be crazy. My opinion was therefore without value. I was nuts. I was just some useless person to be disregarded and discarded. But THEY knew only the OTHER guy. Now THEY counted...
I don't really have a suggestion for moving past this, except to consciously focus on the present, on yourself. Work through your feelings. The poster whose WH said that this is the *spouse's* problem to work through, is, IMO, correct. As much as that feels like a slap in the face- which for me is what it feels like. My IC & the CSAT each told me that just as I have no control over WH's feelings and actions, he has no control over my feelings & actions. In other words, he can't help me deal with this, he can only support me. Until very very recently I haven't been in a place to hear his support or to hear what he needed from our relationship.
I continued to pain-mine until the destruction it did to me and to us was forcefully brought home to me recently. Despite my best efforts and knowing what everyone has already shared on this topic, I was stuck. I saw everything through a haze of emotional pain and rage. And it was hurting me. I was trying to hold on to him with one hand and emotionally beating him over the head with the other hand. I had to consciously decide (and to reinforce every time the pain comes up) to remain in the present. To work through my pain in my journal. WH knows my pain.
Re book suggestions: I second the suggestion to read "Lust Anger Love" by Maureen Canning. An excellent book that really helped me very much.