I'm convinced that not only was my ex capable of killing me, but that he was actually planning on it.
Why? If I had died, he would have collected over $1M in life insurance, my business and my 401K.
Just weeks before D day, he told me he wanted to move to a state far away, and basically live in the wilderness. He wanted me to sell my business so we could move. I objected strongly. So he found a life coach and started taking me to see her.
We had numerous sessions and I only went because I wanted to find out just what he was up to! He had such a sense of urgency about all of this and it made NO SENSE. I watched him manipulate the life coach into getting on his side of the thing and she was trying to convince me that this would be the "smart" thing for us to do.
At the time, I was totally unaware that he had been conducting a very seedy secret life. This secret life included young strippers/prostitutes and a "persona" he had created for himself in which he pretended to be a wealthy enterpreneur.
Suffice it to say, the guy was not an enterpreneur. Not even close. I stupidly put him up in his own business after we married and the only thing that kept him from bankruptcy while we were married was ME.
My family is fully convinced that he was setting me up and making plans to do me in to get his hands on some money. To hear them say that was sobering, because it is what I thought, too.
D day was truly a blessing for me. It probably saved my life because that is the day that his mask came off and I saw who he really was. And it freaked me out.
I had a legal annulment in one month after D day and I moved as if my life depended on it because I felt it did. I was able to immediately remove his name from my life insurance, but could do nothing to prevent him from collecting on my business and 401K if I died and we were still married.
So my ex is a SA, but he is also suffering from a serious personality disorder. Sometimes they co-exist.
Suffice it to say, four years later, if he came knocking at my door, I'd call the police and would have a loaded gun ready to go in case they didn't arrive in time.
Like so many of you here, I just dont know if or why I should stay here. *sigh*
On another note, and I know Ive asked before, but has anyone been to the weekend intesives offered in various locations? The only one I have heard feedback about was Milton Magness in texas and thats pretty far from me Why have I waited till almost the end of summer?! Thats the only time I can do it.
H is visiting friends in his hometown area. We watch each other on google latitude during the day if we worry about where the other is. Usually I'm too busy at work to care, but he checks on me often. Tonight he is going out with "the bros" and one of them wants to hit a strip club, which, according to SAH, is atypical behavior as they have only done this once before together. He asked for my advice on coming up with his escape plan. I told him I didn't want to be his crutch and that he'd have to figure it out on his own. And then with more of him hmming/hawing and feeling vulnerable, he got me to suggest something (*sigh*).
I told him to come up with something more fun to do so that no one bitches about not getting to see nasty strippers Why he couldn't think of this by himself is beyond me. Then he tells me his escape plan is that he has booked a hotel room nearby so he doesn't have to drive home drunk, and he will feign tiredness and go back to pass out. or try to get the bros to go to the hotel bar with him instead.
TBH, he knows how to manipulate google latitude to say he is somewhere he isn't, and I basically have to take his word for everything. you know, nbd, take a SA's word for everything. while he gets to doubt mine and be uncomfortable when I say I want to go out with a girlfriend this weekend.
I didn't even suggest seeing strippers. or drinking lots with my friends. He even suggested that he drive by OW's house so I can see on google latitude where she lives so I can be at ease that he isn't there. WTF?
Sigh. I know this is peanuts compared to what you ladies have been thru, I just freak and worry when I give myself enough time to during breaks from work.
anyway, Wednesday hugs to you all.
It is unfortunately true that most SAs will not enter into a sustained recovery. I do not know the actual percentages, but it is not in our favor. That is why working recovery for YOU is so vital. Recovery also includes making plans for yourself outside of the relationship...financial plans, plans for your children, ways to cope in a healthy manner, making friends and reaching out. SA is so isolating, devastating, and overwhelming when it is all new. It gets easier when you start to put one foot in front of the other and move in a direction to take care of yourself. I know that at first that seems impossible, but you can do it. You are stronger than you think!
It is a natural reaction when you are new to this to think that you can "help" the SA. Honestly, that just leads down the road of co-dependency, a term so many bristle at, but when living in a home of addiction, it is a commonality that develops among spouses and children (another reason why SA is so devastating to children). You cannot control him. You cannot force him to choose recovery through ultimatums. You cannot dictate recovery behaviors. Recovery behaviors have to come from within, and if the addict does not want it for himself, they will not truly change. They may curtail their behaviors for awhile (white knuckle, act like a dry-drunk), but they will go back to acting out, and it will escalate. BTDT. If you think you know everything, you don't. And you may never.
Once you accept that you need to move forward either with or without your SA, you will make progress. Everyone is at a different stage in this journey. While my H has been working a recovery program for almost 3 years, if he relapsed tomorrow I would be gone. That is my bottom line. I don't need boundaries or to track him. My gut has always told me when he is acting out in the past, and I trust it.
YOU are worth it! YOU are special! Take care of YOU!
I am sorry you find yourself in this situation. This is NOT a man interested in recovery. Recovery means changing your friends and patterns of behavior completely. I know that sounds harsh, but a recovering SA can't be friends with men who think it is ok to party at a strip club. That is why 12 step is important for the recovering SA. They need to build intimate relationships with men who are in the same place.
I think you are right to say that you will not be his crutch. I wish he could have been stronger on his own.
I know people from S-Anon who have attended intensives. Their experiences have varied. Some of them attended the same programs. I think the biggest factor in whether the intensive (which was very expensive) was worth it was their SA's commitment to recovery. The ones that had SAs that were working their own 12 step programs and invested in recovery obviously got a lot more out of it then the ones who were putting a half-hearted effort in to save the marriage.
Is your WH doing any sort of recovery activities? 12 step? CSAT? Workbooks? Recovery Nation? If not, it may promote some good feelings, but I can't see it being worth the expense in the long run. Just my opinion based on observations of acquaintances experiences attending intensives.
There is no magic cure for SA. It can be managed with a lot of time and commitment from the SA, but it requires an internal motivation.
He wants me to telecom in with him and his CSAT in the next week or so, I guess there's stuff we need to work on together and we are all in different locations ATM. Have any of y'all done this before/ had a session/ guest appearance with your SA's CSAT? Not sure what to expect.
Also, the books NG suggested have arrived from Amazon so I've got my weekend reading at the ready.
Detachment is *healthy*, not a punishment or a consequence.
This is something I am just starting to realize. I haven't figured it out, though.
I'm going to my first S-Anon meeting tomorrow. I had heard negative things from my wives of SA group through a local therapists office; however, I am now ready to give it a try.
[This message edited by beautifulmess7 at 9:57 PM, July 20th (Friday)]
So I believe detachment goes against our best instincts. In ordinary circumstances.
On top of that, I think that the SAs chose people like us because we tend to be a very caring, thoughtful, conscientious group. We are likely to hang on too long, trying to stop the addict, trying to help them, trying to fix the problem. Many of us have been successful at other things in life, so it's nearly impossible to accept that there's such an important "problem" that's simply unfixable.
So detachment is not an easy concept to grasp until, perhaps, we ourselves hit some sort of rock bottom. I probably would have continued to fight to the end for my "perfect" (haha) family if I hadn't opened my husband's infamous email account. It wasn't until then that I realized that I needed to detach to protect myself and my children.
It's a strange concept. But it works. Even now, after everything my STBX has done, I sometimes find myself wondering how I can send him back to a CSAT - how I could set up some sort of inpatient treatment for him - how I could pay his bills so he doesn't get into trouble, etc, etc. And THEN I quickly remember that I CAN'T STOP HIM FROM GETTING INTO THIS TROUBLE ANYMORE. I can't fix his problems anymore. I can't fix him, period. It doesn't work.
He needs to do these things himself. He needs to get help for himself. It has NEVER worked for every long when I forced him into recovery, even though he saw some incredible doctors and logged so many hours in therapy and in 12-step programs.
So I continue to detach. I know it may not end well for my STBX, and that's painful to me. It's why I'm still on this thread. But detaching is the only way to save myself and my children.
And detaching with love? Just wait until they throw that one at you. That's way down the road - for me, at least.
Good luck. I saw the world's most wonderful therapist/CSAT after D-Day, and he was the biggest proponent of Al-Anon. He believed it was often more helpful than COSA and other SA groups.
So, through all this mess, fear has been an overriding emotion for me - fear of the future, fear of financial loss. I ran across mention of post-nuptial agreements on a couple of posts here, and started warming to the idea that having it all written out, in black and white, enforceable, not just verbal promises, would help ease my fear burden and let me concentrate on healing. I broached the subject with him, and he has agreed to it. I have another post in the General Forum asking for advice from those familiar with it. If any of you have any advice, I'd love to hear it as well. I'm hopeful that not only will it give me peace of mind, but be a concrete reminder to him of the consequences if R doesn't work.
He started telling me about how his latest therapy session was going (usually I don't want to hear because it makes me feel panicky - triggers I guess), and he said they are working on the "why". He has never been able to tell me why he did it, why he thought it was okay. It wasn't like he was seduced by someone new or fell in with an old flame - he purposefully sought these encounters out and developed this whole lifestyle around it. He says his therapist and he have gone over his past trying to solve the "mystery", but have come up with nothing. No reason. They will explore it more, he said. I just can't fathom this - how can there be no reason?? How can I trust that he won't fall off the wagon when he has no clue why?
I asked him again if he had done any more acting out - looking on the net for girls, emails, new accounts, etc. and he swears he hasn't, and says "it was like a light switch once you found out, and I'm just not interested anymore". I find it hard to believe that 10 years of acting out can be shut off like a switch, so I'm leery. I know he's still into the porn.
On another front, had my last IC appointment on Tuesday. I'm getting frustrated with them. Not feeling like I'm getting anywhere, and when I'm distressed, she just keeps recommending the exercise and journaling. Just not feeling much growth, especially when my one-hour appointment was curtailed 20 minutes early with a curt, see you in two weeks. Thinking I may stop for awhile. Also had my 14 year anniversary yesterday. Kept busy with my kids and my parents who took me out to dinner. Thank goodness for family support.
I agree with the others that detachment is crucial to one's survival. No matter how often I heard this, I could not do it. It was counter-intuitive after loving my husband for forty years. But I became very ill - mentally and physically.
He had no desire to work on recovery, since he did not believe he had a "problem". The "bottom" for me was the night he encouraged me to kill myself, all while he continued to "text" someone right in front of me. THAT WAS IT!
I am slowly recovering from this nightmare. There is no fixing this marriage - or fixing him. Only fixing myself. SAWH is a trainwreck on every level, but I'm getting off the pain train.
Sending all of you strength, support and hugs on this difficult journey...
Ghost- I'm glad to see you here, posting. I've been worried about you.
"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."
Thanks, Sabina. I'll try contacting her.
[This message edited by Beneficence at 11:16 AM, July 21st (Saturday)]
In the beginning of recovery, I went to Sanon meetings VERY regularly. Saved my sanity. But I don't ascribed to ALL the concepts, for the most part it's life giving.
My SAfWH agreed to, and later enthusiastically embraced two concepts for my peace of mind. 1) I was able to track his EVERY MOVE via cell phone. These were older non-smart phones and we used verizon family locator. It beeped everytime he arrived and left work, or wherever I set it up to notify me, and would also alert me if he drove by or went to any trouble spots.
2) He has NO easy access to money, no MAC card. He could go to the bank and withdrawal money, but I'd know about it quickly. He has credit cards, but I check those all the time simply because I do the day to day finances anyway. I DO make sure he always has cash, without him having to ask about it.
While both of these may seem that I am controlling him, or treating him like a child, HE embraces this and ASKED for it. At first it was almost as though he wanted an extra accountability partner and I refused. He asked me again and I agreed. Then he told me he wanted to make me feel safe, but still wanted to be able to come and go, and get reinvolved with his HEALTHY activities as well as go to SA meetings, and didn't want me to worry about where he was.
Both worked out well for us. We have since switched to smartphones and dropped Family Locator. The app we use isn't as reliable, but I'm not as needy, I'm more certain he isn't slipping, at least not with RL women or at strip clubs (still unsure about internet porn completely) But I have the added insurance/assurance that I would know something was up if $$$ went missing.
As for a post nup, well, we don't have young kids. We are close to retiring. He spent TONS of joint money on his addiction. He had some money that was his alone. I insisted he put all assets into a joint account. And he wrote up a statement that we would split everything down the middle if we split. I don't want anything else. My kids are independent, thank goodness.
As to why I stayed? One day at a time. He has worked mostly consistently on his recovery. Sometimes more strongly than others. His slips have been of the internet crap variety, and he has been, at least since I finally got the whole slimey story, remorseful and transparent. He's trying to make it up to me.
I am still very broken. I don't know if I will ever be whole or happy again. But I don't think I'd be better off without him. I do enjoy being with him and I love him.
But I miss having a whole marriage with someone.
Before DDay, H and I were pretty much having joint accounts for the bulk of everything, and I was somewhat happy enough to trust him to manage our financial future. stories like yours make clear to me that I can't expect a future free of relapses if he has too much freedom. I fear if I give him too much rope, he will hang himself. I *really* fear that this will happen when we have small children.
it will take me some time to learn balance. I'm ditching my current IC and making an appt with a CSAT Monday. Current IC is not equipped to handle issues in my M now that SA is in the open.
Here's a question that's been going through my head lately. For any of you spouses, what are your feelings on porn? My SAWH used porn as his gateway drug, per say. He supposedly stopped cold turkey from the prostitutes and texting on D-Day, but hasn't given up porn. He says he needs it because "he is a visual person". I just fear that this will overrun any progress he makes with his IC and it will replace that place in his SA. I brought it up to my own IC a few months ago, and she wasn't concerned, but I still am. It still feels like he's wallowing in fantasy/cheat land by continuing to indulge in it.
What do you think? Is complete abstinence to porn necessary to recovery, or can they coexist? Maybe I should just be happy its "just" porn?
I think there are a couple schools of thought about porn/ no porn. I think the important thing is that it bothers you, and as your WH he should be doing what it takes to make you feel like he is safe to you again.
Pre D-Day, it didn't bother me. Even after WTF Day when I found out he was SA and the depth of his issues in this area, I had a hard time understanding that it's a trigger. But I'm learning more and more that it's a sort of gateway drug, like you said. Maybe someday we'll be at a point where it's ok. To me, IMO porn in theory is okay as long as it's just a hypothetically monogamous couple having healthy, reasonably normal sex. When it gets degrading, that's when I have a problem with it. The problem to me is, how do I mediate that? For now, I think it's v critical for my H to not be partaking in porn until he gets a handle on the SA. I think maybe he and I can mutually agree on what is acceptable porn at that point.
I have been in a work/school environment with 80% men for the past 6 years, so I do think maybe I am more biased to think that porn is acceptable and okay because that's how I've been conditioned. But really I think when used in a healthy way it can be okay for a couple as long as it doesn't detract from your relationship together. To you, it bothers you, therefore it detracts from your relationship.
I think that the whole "just" porn thing is a justification. It bothers you, you've told him that it bothers you, and yet he wants to justify his use of it. Doesn't sound super remorseful to me. Did you just say that you didn't like him using it, or did you say how hurtful it was to you that he is using it when he clearly has a problem? I'm sorry your IC wasn't really understanding and helpful on that front. Is he reading Out of the Shadows yet?
scaredyKat- it's nice to hear that you believe recovery is possible. I am scared for times of relapse... I'm really hoping we can stave that off for a little while, I'm really not emotionally ready for it. Probably never will be, but y'all have been there before..