And even if he isn't capable of real love, you are.
You know, I internalized his messages, his grooming of me, so deeply that sometimes all I can see are my faults. Thank you for reminding me that *I* am capable & *he* is the emotionally broken one. That's obvious most days, but once in a while I need shoring up.
CallMeRed, thank you for reminding me that all of us struggle with these feelings, that SAWH's behaviors aren't different & that there are other women out there who struggle as I do. It's helpful for me to know that I'm not very alone. Sometimes I feel singled out & need a shake to get me back to where I belong.
I just wanted to say something even if I am incapable of helping one bit.
Ah, CMR, you're very capable of helping. Don't allow your WH's issues to cloud that. Addicts are masters of manipulation, nurture yourself so that you're less vulnerable to his ploys.
Again, thanks ladies for reaching out to me. I feel better. My new IC is a trauma specialist & will be helping me process the emotional traumas I've gone through. I'm sure this is only the beginning of the rollercoaster ride. SAWH is not a safe person to share feelings with, so I did the best I could after my first therapist retired, but I have a long way to go. I very much need this therapy, although I expect it will be difficult and draining.
Thanks again, Sabina
"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 still figuring this all out myself so I have no words of wisdom. It's interesting that I was looking at my husband while he was sleeping last night and envisioning a world without him and for the first time - I didn't panic. I don't think I love him anymore.. if I am completely honest with myself.. how can I? So I am trying to figure it all out too.
My heart breaks for you.. and for us all.
Keyloggers are wonderful, but they might not capture flash drive or SD memory card usage.
My WH filled a flash drive with tons, and I mean TONS, of all kinds of porn...hundreds of images and videos and sound bits and fantasy story text, etc. So, he was able to view volumes of porn without my keylogger picking it up. He didn't have to access any sites on the internet because he had his flash drive which he simply plugged in.
My point is that if you are in the monitoring and gathering information stage, it might appear by keylogger that there was no inappropriate internet/computer activity. But, consider the possibility of a secret flash drive or memory card. My WH had them. Yours may, too. Just be aware.
I am so glad you are seeing this new IC who specializes in trauma. It is a harsh reality, but SA's who are not active in recovery are not safe people to share feelings with, for all the reasons you mentioned. In an ideal situation, a spouse should be the person we share our emotions and our struggles with. But until there is real recovery and real change, our spouses can't be that person. Sometimes they can fake it or they can say the right things, but in the end they are either disinterested in our feelings, or they cannot relate to emotions and how to deal with them anyways, so it makes them uncomfortable.
I know that I internalized the blameshifting, gaslighting, and grooming, too. I really felt crazy for years. I think that between S-Anon and my CSAT, I have really begun to gain some peace. I still have a lot of work, and you are right, it is difficult and draining. But know that you are moving in the right direction, and that you will come out of this stronger.
You are such a gentle, good person. Be kind to yourself.
Active addicts will find ways to act out that you can never imagine. They will use work arounds like flash drives, second phones, or other computers. My H was rerouting porn through work computers (he had network administration rights). My H was also very active in scanning, which most SA's (if not all) engage in. When you read about SA, it can be frightening to see the myriad of acting out behaviors it encompasses. As addicts progress in their behaviors, and as we learn more about them, they can become more and more clever or desperate to obtain their fix. The cat and mouse game only makes us crazy in the end.
I never used a keylogger. For one thing, I knew my H was very computer savvy, Masters in Information Systems; it was of no use. Secondly, I am not his accountability partner. It is not up to me to monitor him. If he is going to act out, nothing I do will control that, including monitoring or competing with the addiction (trying to sexually satisfy him so he won't look elsewhere). Thirdly, I trust my gut that I know when he is acting out. Early on in recovery (in the first year), he had slips with porn and masturbation. I could tell that something was off and I confronted him about it and he admitted to it and addressed it with his CSAT and sponsor.
I understand that a keylogger can offer a snapshot of their activities and where their head is at, but my point is that SA is progressive, the addict is devious, and that there is the possibility of acting out in ways that a keylogger will not detect.
Keep reading and learning about SA. Find an S-Anon group if at all possible and a CSAT for you. It is all too easy to put the focus on the SA and their activities, but we need to put it back on us. On taking care of us and doing things that make US healthier, regardless of what the SA is doing.
They can help you feel safe in a *very* limited way. As has previously been said, the addict will find a way around whatever we spouses use to try & verify. He will slip. Their addictive behaviors win for a long time. In my case, SAWH uses the cat and mouse game we play as a justification for further acting out. Keyloggers can help. Sort of.
I can assure you, though, that your gut instinct will serve you far, far better. As SABW's though, many of us feel like we *can't* or *shouldn't* trust our gut. There are many parts of me SAWH has damaged, but my gut works. I know that SI preaches trust but verify & I agree with this- but we must trust our gut too.
My SAWH is acting out & denies his polyaddiction, most of you know this. Every time he has slipped, my gut told me first. Before my verifying ever did. Truly. I still verify, don't get me wrong. But never let go of your instincts. Never let what he says trump your gut. Ever.
Just my .02; YMMV.
Once again it is about distinguishing between control and boundaries. We can't control them but we have the right to say NO PORN IN MY HOUSE. If they choose to ignore us we have to be ready to enforce our consequences. Hard work, all of it.
In the early days, I checked his email account frequently, looked at his internet history several time a week and had a constant signal on his phone telling me where he was, when he arrived and left set locations. I did and still have the only ATM card. My SAfWH is NOT computer savvy and I did find evidence of scanning behaviors and once porn use and slippery slope crap. My first reactions were bad ones. Later I learned to respond instead, telling him it wasn't acceptable, he needed to increase his step work, talk to sponsors and I slept elsewhere for as many days as I needed to feel safe.
I don't do this stuff as well as I should. Like someone else said, I have bad days, I cry and rant, it reminds him of his shame, and we spiral down again...but my instinct is to NOT tell him how I feel, to once again PROTECT him from all the bad stuff and that's destructive to me. I spent too many years protecting him from his actions. I know I need to find more constructive ways to deal with this but I am at a loss. Those traumas were too frequent and pervasive and are still haunting me.
He is remorseful and doing all the things he is capable of. And he is completely different from the addict he was. And yet he is still somewhat self-centered. Still incapable of seeing (despite me telling him very clearly) that I am affected by the years of abuse EVERY SINGLE F-ing DAY. He thinks if I am quiet that we are "making progress" He doesn't see that the pain is always with me, always simmering just below the surface.
It's hard. And I don't see an end to it.
I haven't posted in quite a while, but have been on the site every few days and reading all your posts. There's been a lot of good advice going on here.
I've been doing a lot of soul searching and researching. I had been trying to craft a post-nuptial agreement so I could feel more secure about the future, but upon talking with my lawyer, he said while they are legal in my state, they are easy to puncture and don't always hold up. He suggested a legal seperation or outright divorce (right now we are physically seperated, but not in a legal way). He drew up all the divorce papers, and my parents and I have looked them over. Its scary stuff - makes me shake to read through it.
Overall, I just can't see a happy outcome with him. Even if he never acted out again, I don't think I could ever fully trust him again, or live with that axe hanging over my head. I'll always know that he did these things. I'll always know how much he didn't care. I'll always know the immense effort he took in finding these people and hiding his activities and creating his pervy lifestyle. I'll always know the time he spent elsewhere away from our family. If I had just met him on a date, and he revealed this type of history to me, would I continue dating such a person? Hell no! Does he get a pass because we have history and children together, because he successfully duped me for 10 years? Hell no! I've decided I just have too much self-respect to settle for someone who holds me in such little respect. You only live once, and I intend to live it happily and fully, not settling for Mr. Mistakes. If it had been a one time affair, a drunken mistake, yes, maybe there could be a chance. But 10 years of this deception, with how many many men and women?
So. I have the settlement papers. I am sitting on them for now. Even though my heart is so out of the marriage, my financial stake isn't. I need to get myself through school and get on my feet again, and by golly, I am going to wring out that lemon of a marriage for every bit of juice I can get before I toss it out. Is that really fair? Probably not, but I think I deserve time to get back on my feet. I wasn't given the choice to prepare for this ahead of time. None of this is my choice, but here it is. I'm getting past my grieving stage and working on my future. While it is still tempting to try and forget things, I just have to remind myself of the scope of his actions and that it is just playing ostrich.
Sorry for the long vent - it feels good to get it out. By the way, has anyone read ChumpLady.com? I think she is a member on this site, and is pure straight talk and I love it. Keep your chins up, Spouses.
I have to ask some of you SA, do you have a line in your head? A line that, if crossed, will mean the end of your relationship?
I am already aware that porn wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me because over the years I have got used to that. But any sort of chatting on hookup sites or physical stuff with someone else and I will be changing the locks.
Some of you sound a lot more forgiving than me. How do you cope with the repeated behaviours? I just don't think I could put myself through it all repeatedly.
So.. I am going to install a keylogger because my WS is NOT computer saavy.. That is my industry. When I am not in the home he uses his laptop.. Most of the time it's an iPad.. So I shall install the logger and leave to go somewhere for the day.. and then monitor my email.
He is also going to Austria in a month for a few weeks. I have an idea that he isn't a good boy over there either.. So soon I shall know.. hopefully!
And yet he is still somewhat self-centered. Still incapable of seeing (despite me telling him very clearly) that I am affected by the years of abuse EVERY SINGLE F-ing DAY. He thinks if I am quiet that we are "making progress" He doesn't see that the pain is always with me, always simmering just below the surface.
It's hard. And I don't see an end to it.
It's hard. And I don't see an end to it.
((sK)) That's essentially my SAWH too. My heart goes out to you. Truly.
Even though my heart is so out of the marriage, my financial stake isn't. I need to get myself through school and get on my feet again, and by golly, I am going to wring out that lemon of a marriage for every bit of juice I can get before I toss it out. Is that really fair? Probably not, but I think I deserve time to get back on my feet. I wasn't given the choice to prepare for this ahead of time. None of this is my choice, but here it is. I'm getting past my grieving stage and working on my future.
Beneficence, this is me too. Working my plan. Licking my wounds. And I don't feel bad about this either. Thanks for the heads up re: chumplady. Great stuff!
Some of you sound a lot more forgiving than me. How do you cope with the repeated behaviours?
CMR, I'm not forgiving him. This isn't intended as a rant, it's simply how I feel:
Frankly, I've buried a lot of the pain & trauma. I've paid a huge price for staying- as have many spouses. SI'ers talk alot about entitlement, often in a negative connotation. Frankly, after 25+ years together, 3 kids, I earned a chance to stand on my feet. I sacrificed my individual goals & dreams (wrongly) for his career & our children. I thought that was a *joint* decision. Boy, was I wrong! He had/has a great set up. To finish my education, to find a job that at least gives me a shot at self support. I don't feel guilty. On my own I wouldn't be able to do therapy with a specialist, return to school- any of these things. I refuse to leave homeless & jobless & without a skill. If that's bad, oh well. *shrug*
How do I cope? With strong self care. Reaching out to IRL support and members here who have offered me a shoulder and a listening ear. By taking protective measures at home. By measuring time one breath at a time. By reminding myself I have a plan & I'm actively moving forward.
As far as the line in my head? He's already moved past it. Last summer, in fact. He recontacted an EAOP. I got a job shortly thereafter & I've been slowly working towards my goal.
None of this is easy for us. Each spouse has difficult decisions to make. No two M's are alike.
I'm a bit of the odd girl out here in that my husband seems to have some distinct issues from the group here. For one, he's never pressured me to do anything sexually perverse (for lack of a better word). I've never been raped, molested or roughed up by him in anyway sexually. I don't feel like I have to keep him satisfied sexually so he won't go anywhere else. In fact, that's the problem--my husband can't do much of anything physical with me.
He has some kind of like body dysmorphia for men. I was the first woman he was ever fully naked in front of. He'd has sex before me with a couple of other women, but it was very awkward for him. He's always had trouble being naked with and intimate with any woman. So he turned to porn early on to compensate. And from there, he turned into cybersexing. It's like he can do all the things he wants to do in real life but can't, and he's become obsessed with it.
So my goal out of all of this is to actually have a sex life with my husband. He's supposed to work on building intimacy with me to get away from all the porn/cybering.
Some people have asked me, "You have no kids, and you're not that old, why not just go?" Well, the thing is, apart from our sex life, we have a great relationship. I feel only now that the problem has been truly identified that he may recover. I need to see what happens with that for me; I feel I can't just walk away yet. He had some issued with compulsive shopping online when we first met, and he worked on it, and kicked the habit. I'm hoping he can do the same with this and go into remission. Time will just have to tell.
Hugs to all the SA spouses. You gotta do what you gotta do.
I moved back home in May when he finally agreed to go to MC and IC. Actually the MC insisted I move back home even though I didn't feel ready, but that a whole different topic.
We went to MC for almost 3 months and I felt like he was BSing her the entire time. I called him out on everything, I had proof with emails and all he said was I was bored... nothing ever happened. At our last MC session, I begged him to tell me if he had cheated. I told him we could get past it, but I needed to know. He denied everything. I then told him, if I ever found anything else I was done.... That conversation didn't really seem to affect him. Now loking back, he had gotten away with being a liar and a cheater for so long, I think he thought he could continue that behavior. I was such a push over and forgave so much. I think I enabled him.
A few days after our MC sessions, he answered that fake ad and as you know he just gave me disclosure about the sex parties and multiple ONS! :( With the ad and finding out our entire marriage was built on a lie was crossing the line.
Before I knew the details, I was considering R because I love him. Now, I don't think I can ever look at him the same.. Knowledge truly is power. I'm still feeling so sick and so lost!
Well, you already know what I think of your MC. You go to someone for help, and they don't support you. That's rough.
I think the best thing you can do for yourself and your H is just to stay separated right now. He obviously won't get any help if you're together. He doesn't view your pain as his concern. As you say, you think staying around may have enabled him. I don't know about that, but if you truly love him, I think the best thing for him is to be on his own. He's gonna have to put on his big-boy pants and get help for himself. But if he doesn't then that's where the loving YOU part comes in. You also have to love yourself enough that if he doesn't get help, you won't let yourself go back to him.
(And I mean real help, not this MC who isn't doing anything for him. He has to do something genuine.)
[This message edited by QVee at 12:23 PM, September 2nd (Sunday)]
I thank God that I finally put a keylogger on the computer. If I hadn't done that, I would still be living the Truman Show in many ways with his secret 'other life' still hidden from me...like it was our entire M.
The keylogger 'saved' my life and changed my life...to living in truth and reality rather than relying on my WH's presentation, facade, and act. What he says/does is one thing. But, the keylogger never lies...and has totally exposed my WH to be a fraud...a talented actor...skilled with deception...and manipulation.
It makes me sick to think that if I hadn't monitored him using a keylogger, that he would have me totally fooled right now...bs'ed into a false R of sorts and that I would be buying his bs.
So, I think a keylogger can be an absolutely vital tool in getting to the truth about your WH and M.
He had/has a great set up. To finish my education, to find a job that at least gives me a shot at self support. I don't feel guilty. On my own I wouldn't be able to do therapy with a specialist, return to school- any of these things. I refuse to leave homeless & jobless & without a skill. If that's bad, oh well. *shrug*
Right on!!! Why should we get the short end of the stick through no fault of our own? I'm releasing the guilt too.
Call me Red -
Yeah, my line was crossed. I never knew I had a line - just always thought that marriage equalled fidelity, and that was that. But, after finding out the DECADE worth of physical affairs, yeah, that crosses the line.
Your H has his head up his *ss. Seriously. He is totally taking you for granted and lying straight to your face, even while you present him with the evidence?? They are such smooth liars, I believe they totally brainwash themselves! How can you ever trust people like that? They are a *KNOWN* and *PROVEN* liar. Marriage is built on trust, loyalty, and shared values. They've violated all of them.
I honestly never thought I would even say (type) that word, but knowing this started before we were even married is devastating. I've given him so many chances the last few months to be honest and he just spit in my face by continually lying and cheating.