So concentrate on You. Find a support group for spouses, COSA or S-Annon. Come here and post, all of these ladies here are wise, helpful and compassionate!
N&N - Hope you are doing ok in all the craziness! Let us know how it turned out. As far as how nice everyone is on this thread, I tend to think it is because we are all in recovery and learning not to control each other. Learning that everyone has their own path and choices, so we are respectful of each other. I love that about this thread!
My question is this: do ALL sex addicts cheat?
I think the reason many of us sound a little pessimistic is that the recovery rate is low, to even have a fighting chance at that involves years of intensive therapy and a lifetime of SA meetings, it is a very long and hard path. For me the factors that influenced my decision to stay were that my H embraced recovery quickly and is highly motivated in his efforts and we have two young children. If either of those factors were missing . . . well let's just say a life without chaos, pain, fear of disease is pretty darn appealing.
On remorse I agree with what Missymomma says in general but I will say my H felt deep and sincere remorse from the onset. I do think this is unusual. In the beginning it was also mixed in with shock, terror at losing his family, shame, etc. Now, I would say he has settled out after 6 months into mostly remorse, still some shame but less with recovery.
Nicnac-My H was primarily addicted to porn for decades. There were a handful of lap dances over a decade and one sexual acting out with oral sex with a stripper that was his rock bottom moment and causes him to seek help. But the heart of his addiction revolves around porn. The thing that was very hard for me to understand was that it wasn't much about sexual pleasure for him -- it was about stress relief and escape and self-soothing. That is really what made him an addict because obviously alot of people watch porn and alot of people cheat.
As for us, a new chapter in the battle of the SA Titans. H's sponsor called last night and said he would fire him unless H attended 2 SA meetings per week. H had started attending 1 SA meeting, 1 group therapy as a short-term thing across 10 weeks of a group therapy session. The sponsor feels that the therapy group is a threat to H's sobriety because the level of sobriety in the therapy group is so low. So, H really feels like he cannot lose his sponsor right now and we need to suck up two months of 2 SA meetings, 1 group therapy, and IC. He had to pre-pay for group so he is stuck in that and also his CSAT is very adamant he go to group. There goes our MC for the foreseeable future. I am bitter over this and worried about the amount of stress H is under. He literally has no down time and is frantically running from his 60 plus hour per week high stress job to these meetings to then spend every other minute possible with our kids. At some point it seems like putting so much pressure on an addict is counterproductive, grrrrr.
[This message edited by cds22 at 9:16 AM, August 30th (Friday)]
In the initial DD/discovery phase, I did some extensive snooping to determine he was lying about his activity, and it was worse than he presented it to be. Then a year later I learned it was 10X worse. So as bad as what you know right now, please understand it may be WAY worse than you know. Clinging on to "it was only X, not Y" is not healthy nor a reason to make any major decisions. Because that is just setting yourself up when you find out it was in fact Y later.
IMHO there is no threshold. There is no excuse, even addiction. Any acting out is not acceptable. Porn without consent of the spouse is not acceptable. Sexual activity outside the marriage of any kind, even once, is not acceptable. The line has been crossed. So what you need to do is decide what is best for YOU at this point. Is crossing the line a dealbreaker? Then plan as if you will D, but give yourself time to heal and don't rush (unless legally advantageous to do so). Get your things in order - your physical and mental health (IC, STD testing, meds, etc), your financial house in order (all records for the past 12 months), and explore any and all options with multiple legal services. Make your exit plan without duress, if possible. And if you want to try to R, still do all this but keep an exit plan in mind so you are not building one under duress. And if you are not sure, you still do all this.
In my case, my priority was the kids - and not in the "I will stay for the kids' sake" mentality. It was the "I need to know I can tell my kids I tried everything to get their dad help, and everything to stay in the M, and that I made decisions based on my and their best interests every day. But not at the expense of my health, their health, and our general well being" way of thinking. I had special needs kids that needed support and services they weren't getting, and I had to resolve that with or without him in the future. I had measures in place so I knew he wasn't pledging change and remorse while going underground, so my hand wasn't forced.
Because it was out of the blue, and we had made other agreements based on assumptions of no betrayal, I was not in a good scenario to make an easy exit. I was not marketable or especially employable, and had stayed at home with the kids for seven years, and currently lived in a area with one of the nation's highest unemployment rates. We had no real savings, no family or friends I could stay with locally, and my situation was not as such that it warranted me going to a shelter. Financially any kind of separation was not an option.
I also gave myself a year to make any real decisions about my M (barring ongoing abuse, etc), and I do think it was best in my case. I kind of wish I did not tell SAWH I was waiting a year, because he didn't really kick into high gear until that year was almost up. I often wonder if I had said 6 months (while thinking a year) if things would have played out differently.
I continually stated my requirements and expectations behind closed doors, away from the kids. Some he met readily, some he gave resistance, some he forgot or ignored. He white knuckled for nearly a year, pretended he was too busy at work and trying to help at home to really commit to therapy/recovery, couldn't possibly go to 2 meetings a week plus IC plus group. He really didn't start going in interest until 9 months in, and not even to my expectations. But that was when he realized the year was nearly up, and I was in a much better position to leave. And because *I* was committed to my recovery, I was getting better and stronger and it was clear I didn't *need* him. He stepped up his recovery work to a minimally acceptable level.
18 months out, he failed the poly. It was exposed he was going through the motions, had not fully disclosed his story to anyone, hadn't even embraced step one despite going to 2 meetings a week and IC (he was not allowed in group yet until he could take a poly to prove he was not doing the above). I took off my wedding ring. Told him I had to consider other options. That I would always love and support him, but he was not taking me and the kids down with him. That he could do his indefinitely white knuckling with no safety net by himself if that was the life he chose.
That was his rock bottom. One could argue if I had done that first thing, our lives would be very different. Perhaps so. But I know because of my circumstances, I could have not gotten the help I needed, the kids into the schools and support they needed, and be able to prepare myself for the psychological/financial/logistical effects of S and D. I have a very favorable post nup now. I am starting a new PT job which all the income will go into an account he can't access to build a real emergency fund. I have an exit plan that will have much less harmful impact on me and the kids.
But as it turns out I may never need it. He is finally making progress at what I consider an acceptable rate. He is finally being a present dad and husband, and doing actual recovery work. It took more than two years for it to happen, but it beats going through two years of a messy contested divorce with an addict. Had you told me it would take more than two years on DD to get here, I would have filed for D the next day. But I know now I am in a much better place all around because of the path I chose for my unique sitch. And I still can always leave with a much softer landing.
Like Ann Landers said, "Are you better off with him, or without him?" That's really all you need to know. If he is actively acting out, won't embrace recovery, etc. you know you need to get out. If betrayal is a dealbreaker, you need to get out, because you have it in spades. If you need to get your ducks in a row, then you stay in limbo until you get your ducks in a row and then decide.
But honestly full commitment from the get-go is very rare with SAs. They are usually too mentally incapacitated to do it, even if they wanted to. They can get there, but it often takes years of therapy, meetings, and going through the motions before it really takes. And quite honestly, because we have been completely gaslighted, and are spinning from the aftershocks of finding out the betrayal, we are not in any shape to see what their true level of commitment and remorse is. I was lucky that I understood that intellectually early on, even if I didn't understand it emotionally or see it in myself at the time. So I was able to put blind trust in the recovery process, my IC, my support here and elsewhere. I knew *I* needed to get further on my journey before I could make the hard decisions, so I could be sure I made them in my best interest. I was lucky I was able to do that without him going off the deep end and forcing me to do other things.
It is not an easy journey no matter what road is taken. There are so many variables to consider, so there is not one true path that works for all or even most. And sometimes you take steps backward. But if in general you are moving forward, even if slowly, then you are doing pretty damn good.
Holding all of you in the light....
[This message edited by hathnofury at 2:05 PM, August 30th (Friday)]
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 11:55 PM, August 30th (Friday)]
The second issue is your doubts and ignoring your gut, which comes from years of being with a SA. Here's my litmus test, if it helps. I expect SAWH (and myself) to behave a certain way when they are watching the kids in the house. I have the same expectations I would have of a babysitter I was paying to watch the kids. Would I want them locking themselves in the bathroom to watch porn? NO! Not acceptable. Then the emphasis is not on the SA and excusing that behavior but what is best for your kids.
I say this because if your even if your children are older and know what sex is and have masturbated, that is still messed up to walk in on your father masturbating just a few feet from where you are - definitely shows that his addiction is unmanagable if he can't hold off for a couple of hours - he has to masturbate right then when the children are with him.
If your children are young and don't know what sex/masturbation are, exposing them to their father masturbating before they are ready is going to expose them to sexuality before they are mature enough to handle it, may cause them to sexually abuse other children (innocently "trying out what dad was doing" on other kids, then possibly causing those kids to sexually abuse, perpetuating the sexual abuse cycle), may give them shame about sexuality, and can cause them to become sex addicts themselves. All this can happen with ONE exposure to dad masturbating to porn. So in my opinion, there is ZERO TOLERANCE for this type of behavior when the kids are around.
Please know that I am being so strong about this to back you and your H up about this being a BIG deal. It is not meant to upset you in any way.
Good for your for setting the boundary of separating if it happens again, even though it was difficult. You are setting boundaries (so important!) and getting stronger - great work.
Also, totally understand about wanting to rugsweep to protect yourself from new traumas. This is traumatic on so many different levels.
cds - glad to hear that your H's sponsor is setting a boundary due to the low level of sobriety in the group. Can you talk to your H's CSAT to see if he can switch the group for an SA meeting? Seems like this would be something that could be talked out. Didn't you and your H have reservations about the group too? I don't think your CSAT should force your H to go to group if your H and his sponsor don't think it's good for him. Maybe asking more questions of the CSAT - what are your specific reasons for having me go to the group meeting; I don't feel comfortable, my sponsor doesn't feel comfortable, etc. I think there should at least be another convo about this, and consider dropping it altogether. Not worth the stress.
SJ - The only other thought I had besides what has already been said is: do you think your H's family is codependent? It sounds like they are "supportive," but does that mean they excuse his behavior and tell him, don't worry, everything is going to be fine; we'll help you clean up your mess? Or do they give him tough love?
hath - thank you for your INCREDIBLE post. It was so good to hear someone's story who is farther along the road of recovery AND the nutshell/bird's eye view. I am so bogged down in the details, it is difficult to see the forest through the trees. Your observations and insight are pure gold. Thank you!
I inadvertantly stumbled upon a picture of him with a prostitute in his bed while on a business trip back in June. Over the next week he confessed to cheating on me with 31 women over the past 7 years (he came clean without much prodding although I'm still sure there has to be more). Of the 31, 10 of those he had sex with, 9 of those were oral sex, and the other 11 were just kissing. Included in that 31 were 5 prostitutes (2 he had sex with, 3 just oral). Almost all of them were ONS. He only kept in touch with 3 of the girls. There was 3 he was with multiple times and didn't use a condom after the first encounter with them.
WH has been traveling extensively for business all around the world (hence the screenname) for the past 3 years. The first OW he actually slept with was a prostitute nearly 3 years ago while on a 3 month assignment where we only saw each other for 1 weekend. He says he only intended to get a bj from her, but she had a condom and put it on him an it just happened. B@#%s#%t! So, anyways, the vast majority of the cheating has been in the last 3 years. I should also mention that we have been together for 12 years, since we were 18 me and 20 him and were each others 'onlys'.
Dday occured while we were living overseas. I quit my job 10 months ago to move overseas with him and went to work for his company (he co-owns a business). After 4 weeks of limbo and TT I booked a flight home. It was hard to leave, but impossible to stay. Before I left I put spyware on his phone. Of course, Of Course!!! in the first week I was gone he was with 2 more women. I'm not sure exactly what went down with the first, but I actually listened to / recorded him having sex with another woman on a 5 minute delay on Aug 1. At that time we already had a scheduled Skype 'date' on Aug 2. So I confronted him and told him I knew about the two women and that it was over. I kept my cool through our 2 hour conversation, trying to channel a 180, but also pretty sure it was over regardless.
He came home a week after that (he asked permission to come home first and I simply told him it was still his home too). He walked into the house with tears in his eyes. Long story longer, he was here a week before he had to go back. It was good to have him home, but also heartbreaking because it was good. He has finally hit rock bottom and although he admits he felt no guilt/remorse for the past 3 years while he was actually cheating, I think it has finally hit him like a freight train. He called me at 4:30am (overseas time) a couple days ago crying. In the 12 years we have been together I had never seen him cry until after Dday. I've now seen it numerous times.
I flip-flop every day, multiple times a day whether I think I can stay or should go. I don't know how to stay, but he is all I know so I don't know how to leave either. I do think he is finally remourseful what he has done, but is that enough for me to stay? When I actually force myself to consider the totality of his infidelity, it is just too much to overcome.
We have both been in IC. He has said he will do anything I ask of him including quitting his own company and selling his shares of it off. That I have made so many sacrifices for him, it is his turn to make sacrifices for me. Whatever I need/want. He has also started the process to transfer some of his shares into my name (which was his idea bc he said I deserve it for all the sacrifices I have made for him and his co.). He has followed through with transparency and IC so far.
He is coming home again a week from today. I just don't know what to do. Still. Will I ever? I'm 30 and we don't have kids. We had just started trying for kids in January. I feel like whether I stay or go, kids are now lost to me because it will be years before I ever let a man (WH included) come anywhere near me.
Sorry for the long rant, pity-party. It's been a particularly bad day.
Happy Labor Day everyone.
I know there are wiser ones on here that will offer you some wisdom and kind words. I am so sorry that you find yourself here. I am only beginning to learn just how far a SA will go. Unfortunately, my WH has not hit bottom and I'm not sure he ever will.
The best advice I know is that you don't have to make any decisions today and can take your time until you are ready.
I'm sad to have to welcome you to the sisterhood but, you've landed in the best place possible. I'm a mere 6 months out from my dday so I'm still learning from the more seasoned members here.
Of course, nobody actually knows what they would do until they are faced with that particular set if circumstances so, with that in mind, please take what is said here for what it's worth. I don't know if you read Hath's post that was just up thread of yours but, I agree with her thinking. I think that if this had happened to me before I had children
I would have cut and run. Even tho my children are all adults with kids of their own I still feel very protective of them and have no intentions of blowing up their lives as they know it.
I've been with my H my whole adult life & have a hard time imagining how it would be without him. He has devoted himself to recovery but, this betrayal cuts so deep I honestly don't know yet if I will ever get to the place of acceptance & be able to move on with my life with him. As long as he is working his steps & maintaining sobriety, I am ok with staying but, that whole trust thing has been shot to hell so it doesn't take much to make me rethink that position.
This is a grueling journey and I'm just now getting to where it's not all I think about every waking moment. Sometimes I go as long as an hour before it begins to consume me again.
You have some difficult obstacles ahead. Think about what you feel like you will need in order to consider R if that's something you even want to try. You definitely need to find a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist or a counselor with experienced with addiction. Have you had STD screening? If not, please do this ASAP. A book that has helped me tremendously is "Deceived" by Claudia Black. Maybe you have time to read it before he comes home. It has a lot of good advice about dealing with the information you are likely to get. I wish I have known about it in the early days after my dday.
I always said infidelity is a deal breaker but, obviously I have redrawn that line by my staying. I have yet to realize if I'm going to make it but, it's my personal goal to know that I did everything possible to make my marriage work. That's not for everyone so, you decide what you are or are not willing to live with. Just know that you did nothing to cause this and you can't fix it. Only he can do the work needed to fix him.
Keep posting. There is a wealth of knowledge here for the asking. Sending you strength & hugs as you move thru these trying days.
[This message edited by outtanowhere at 10:12 PM, September 1st (Sunday)]
Hath, I'm not sure H's insurance would cover long distance therapy, but I will look into it.
sadone - I'm so glad that you weren't offended! I went through all the thoughts you are going through now too. I thought that if I stayed, I could at least protect the kids bc I could be around all the time and just limit his alone time with them. That won't work bc you can't be there every moment when he is there; that is like house arrest for you - it would only take one time of you being gone for them to be exposed to something. I was told that the kids are being damaged by me staying in the marriage bc they learn dysfunctional relationship patterns from us. It just sucks all the way around. So sorry you are grappling with these issues; it is really heartbreaking dealing with kids and an SA.
I have news to report: today I told SAWH that I can't stay M to him anymore and he has to move out. This was my response to his contract (posted on page 28 of this thread). He acted truly surprised and confused; said that he thought he was offering all the things I wanted: polygraphs and going to CSAT/following recommendations. He conveniently failed to mention what he wanted "in exchange for" him being in therapy: my son and I to reduce our therapy, reduce cleaning lady and he wanted to take a Vegas trip with the same guys that he went to Vegas with when he cheated on me. It's so interesting to watch now that I know how he manipulates - it's really easy to see now and for that I am thankful.
He took it pretty well. We are going to tell the kids tomorrow and he'll move out in a week or so to give them some transition time.
The only wrinkle was when he asked for his contract back. I told him I would get it back to him. He said he needed it RIGHT NOW and kept on demanding it; at first demanding the original, then demanding a photocopy RIGHT NOW. He was talking in a threatening tone and said he was going to get it if I didn't give it to him. I asked him if I needed to call the police and then he backed down.
I told him when I gave him a photocopy of his contract that if he was going to act like that then he was going to have to leave sooner than we discussed bc I wasn't going to tolerate that. He then was conciliatory, but who knows?
So that's my update for now; I'll keep you posted....
I am so sorry to hear this for you. I understand how difficult a decision that is to make. It is good though that you can see your spouses actions as manipulations. It is amazing what we can see once the blinders are off!
Stay strong! It has really helped me to go NC and get some distance from all the lies and manipulations. It definitely helps you see things in a differently light when the fog starts to lift - at least it did for me.