CH, I'm sorry to hear about the tragedy thrown at you. I don't know your story well, but I applaud what I read. Good luck in this epic battle you're in.
UMBL, I read about your H's 3-month chip and felt such hope. Congrats! Hearing the success stories--even if there are steps back--is so uplifting. Thanks!
MM, thanks for the recovery group advice you gave. I DID go last night and it felt right. One of the women (65+?) is actually the OW and married the WH. Yikes! But I didn't want to punch her, so maybe it's OK as long as I don't sit next to her? Should I even feel that way?
CDS, addictions transfer. When my H first got into R 8 years ago, he quickly transferred the rage and sex addictions to food. Food was an acceptable alternative because I don't love him for his girth--or lack of it. Ultimately, as they get more and more years or recovery behind them, they can start to work on ALL the addictions, but starting with the most dangerous ones is for the best. My SAWH's therapist said he had a "God hole" inside him that needs to be filled with God but that instead gets filled with anger or sex or food or . . . It's all in a quest for comfort.
SJ, I DO feel like S-Anon is the right step for me. Best news is that I found out last night that right next door is a companion SA group. Maybe my WH and I can make it a date night? Strange kind, but . . . There were no men in my S-Anon group and no women in the SA group, which I assume is usual, so it should be safe.
Woman, I love your posts. Read here for weeks before finally posting. You are so wise!
Kat, you, too, are one of the wise women! :) I'm sorry to hear about your son, but if he has ANY of your genes, he'll pull through this. It's nice that you know how to support him in a way that allows him to grow and do the work but shows him that you still love him.
PollyA, wish you weren't here, but . . . Since you are, welcome. :)
Did I miss anyone? Sorry. You've given so much to me while I was lurking and trying to catch up on this thread. Wanted to finally express my appreciation. Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend! I'm off to a high school football game to watch my DS rock. :) TTFN.
I retire from my 37 year teaching career on Friday. I leave for a bucket list trip to Europe on Saturday. I sure wish things were a bit more settled in my life at this juncture of my life.
And yippee for a bucket list item getting done, retirement and Europe! It sounds like your son is making his way, SK, so go and enjoy!!! Don't worry about us, either; we'll be here when you return.
Welcome to new members. Sorry you have had to find your way here, but we know how much it hurts and we'll help the best we can.
CDS- yes he will be seeing a CSAT and we are considering in patient treatment. I will also be going to a CSAT. We have to figure out our financials a bit first. Our life is a mess at the moment, its like a hurricane came along with the addiction, literally. I love the idea of the written document with my requirements (CSAT, SA, books, treatment) will all be part of it. I will be writing this 'contract' today.
I understand that it takes a long time, and I appreciate your sincerity with me. I do want to go to MC but I know we both need personal healing first. Time is what scares me. I said I would give myself a year to see how things go, and to make a decision. I'm scared because I can't plan for tomorrow. We had plans, before all this happened, to start forming a family end of this year, and now that plan is crushed. I know I'm young still (29), but I'm not getting any younger, and it scares me to no end to think that when we are finally in a good place I won't be able to conceive anymore :(. And it scares me that this thought will make me want to rush recovery, and that's not good for anyone.
Missy- you're always so helpful. Part of the reason I'm moving in is also financial, you are right, but he has also shown some progress by reading books and attending SAA, and i told him i would come back when he starts taking this seriously and starts treatment, at least SA or SAA. I hate going back on my word, specially now, when i need him to know i mean what i say. We only have one car, so he technically can't even go to a CSAT, yes he could take a cab but it would cost like 60 bucks one way. For the past month he has been taking mostly cabs as public transportation is not that great where we live, and it has taken a toll on our bank account. He bought a bike to be able to go to the grocery and for exercise, he is able to bike to his SAA meeting. We need to save as much money as we can since our situation at the moment is a mess. We don't have health insurance, he is out of a job and looking for contract work (he has never been out of job like this, he actually had his own company, which went bankrupt at around the same time I discovered his secret life. He was big shot so he feels he is being punished by God because he has lost it all), currently I drive 1.5 hours to work one way from where I am staying, and gas doesn't come cheap either. We are looking into renting a cheaper apartment also.
PollyA- thank you for the suggestion. I did look at recovery nation before but will take a closer look now. I know my H also contacted them but not sure what came of it. I will ask him. I also feel like you, how could I not know that he was doing this for 7 years, 3 of those right under my nose :( I never noticed, never suspected. All the lies, I can't even tell when he is lying or telling the truth, I hate that. Im glad recovery is going well for you guys.
SK- I will keep trying to call the Sanon group. Enjoy your Europe trip, it sounds fabulous!
SJ--You sound like you have a very good head on your shoulders. I am hoping for the best. I don't know if you work or if that carries health insurance but health insurance with broad psych coverage is really, really helpful in recovery. I am sure your H would freak at the thought but he is probably not ill-served being a barista at starbucks and taking advantage of their health insurance! As for the fertility, I know more about this than I care to, and it is very, very unlikely you need to worry at 29 or 30 or 31. In fact, a review of the research recently published in the Atlantic monthly found that the point where fertility drops into the problem area for women is 37 or 38. Even if one or both of you have a fertility problem, there is a ton that can be done for you at 35 and under in terms of medical assistance. So, I would try to shelve that concern, your head is going to explode with all of this!
[This message edited by cds22 at 2:10 PM, September 21st (Saturday)]
Please, please understand that recovery isn't linear. He will MOST LIKELY HAVE SLIPS. This isn't OK. But it's likely. My boundary was, any skills with real life women and I was gone. His skills were none-the-less devastating. In retrospect minor. But not when they happened. That's why you need your own IC or group and/or us. He'll have a plan with his sponsor and IC to deal with the slips, and your boundary list should include consequences.
I did this all wrong, the management of SA has grown a lot in 5 years. But I slept elsewhere after the two slips that I knew about. I told him if he had other slips with porn or near porn, I didn't want to know, but that he was to address them in group and IC. I was confident I'd know about anything else since he had no easy access to money.
Good luck as you begin your journey. Check in here often. We are with you. One day,I hope the two of you are planning a journey to Europe together!
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 2:19 PM, September 21st (Saturday)]
I totally get how you feel. I am mid 40s myself. I am looking at potential break up as "I would rather be getting a D at 45 than 55." When I talked with D women about my situation (the affair and not the SA) they consistently said their only regret was that they wished they would have gotten out sooner. The other posters are right when they say that recovery is not linear. I am a very linear person and this has been hard on me in that respect. I always have a mental checklist going about everything. Well...this is different because there is 30+ years of dysfunction going on here. Stuff that happened WAY before the two of you met. This stuff is going to take time. SAWH is 3 months in to his therapy and is now starting to attend meetings. I'm seeing changes, but definitely not at the pace I would like or expected to happen. The mind just doesn't work like that. You can't just flick a switch. So you are going to have to be patient. Not my strong suit and I hate it but if this is going to work, I have to cool my heels. I've given a "deadline" of 9 more months for things to be mostly in good shape. I know it may never be perfect.
Anyways - DDay was last October 2012 for me (3 weeks after DS1 was born) because "stuff" came out with the nanny. Ugh - makes me sick thinking about it.
I am in this crazy place right now of still believing the sex addiction status. I know my SAH has had a problem since the beginning of the marriage with internet porn but part of me dismissed it - because he is a man.
After everything came out that he had PAs with multiple women and EAs with others, I felt it was less and less a SA. I felt he was blatantly making the choice --- "don't like my fat wife - I'm going to get it somewhere else". And I still somewhat stick to that story. But the reality is that there are several of his addictive behaviors that scream SA.
On the flip side of all this, deep down (and I haven't told him this) - I love my husband and he is a good father and I just have no interest leaving him. I may say it and certainly feel it but just want to see this out.
He has been doing meetings and work - not all the way I want it to but part of me is like he's got to own this. I also have DD2, DS1 and another one on the way (any day now). I have my obsessive, depressing moments but I have my joyful moments with my kids and SAH as well.
Sometimes just as easy as it is for someone to say f*&k him and leave him, sometimes I just want to say f*@k it, he is a f*@k up and we're just going to deal with it and I am staying married.
Who knows - maybe I am just a naive stupid beyotch or I am just doing my thang. If I run out of energy I am trusting and hoping I have the strength to move on. The truth is - if I leave - it's not like I am going to feel comfortable marrying another MAN! (that idea just makes me laugh!)
SJ: good luck! I admire you for setting boundaries. That's something I need to work on better. I keep approaching this whole thing from my heart. And while that's been a good decision the majority of the time (because he DOES love me), it may not always be. I understand the desire for separate space; I also know that affection is what has kept my SAWH and I together so far. It fuels his love for me and makes him want to get better for ME. I don't think he loves himself enough right now to do it for himself. Does that make any sense at all?
Since my husband started acting "weird" last November, I've lost 50 pounds. Knowing my SAWH was unhappy, hearing him say we'd talk about it "after the holidays," I KNEW something drastic needed to be done. I wouldn't call myself fat (no one would have), but I was definitely getting plump. He never complained about it (like he could--he almost doubled my weight); it was MY hangup. Because of his pornography viewing, I wasn't comfortable having him see me naked. Or being intimate in the light or the daytime. Or wearing lingerie. Or . . . I honestly don't know if I was protecting myself or denying him, but I decided that my behavior needed to change. For him, yes, but primarily for me. I hated feeling ugly and undesirable and it was affecting me outside of the bedroom, too.
I NEVER imagined he'd have an affair. Ever. But something big needed to change, so I started going to the gym with my 15-yr-old son. Finding out my SAWH had had sex with a prostitute a couple weeks after I'd started my fitness routine certainly jumpstarted the dieting part. Not being able to eat for a couple weeks helped me drop 15 pounds or so.
The rest has been a result of "move more/eat less." I've never felt better! And when he came clean about the affair at the end of January, he decided to try to make us work because he saw me making such dramatic effort and progress. It told him--with his own self-esteem issues--that I was invested in our marriage and was willing to make changes instead of just blaming everything on him. And I did it without knowing what he'd done, so it meant more to him.
In a strange way, I understand that. I know how important communication is, but I still want him to do things to help us and to help our marriage without being led to every, single specific step. Sometimes, he's been incredibly dense during this recovery and has needed direction. Sometimes, he's done the right thing because he actually thought it out for himself. THOSE are the moments that matter most to me--although I'll take both types. :)
Our R has definitely not been linear. At the beginning of this month, I even found he'd been trolling some hook-up sites. Believe me, it was hard to separate myself from his acting out. The part of me that doesn't get SA thought, "I'm more beautiful and sexy and thin than any of the women he messaged. WTF?" The part of me that does get his SA thought, "It's not about me. It's about him and his hospitalized dad and his DD leaving for college and his new promotion at work and his not being able to cope with it all."
That doesn't mean I accept it. I confronted him, and while I didn't like his behavior during that conversation, he took what I said seriously and he has made some positive steps toward changing himself. He finally made an appt to see a CSAT--or whatever addiction specialists Kaiser has. His appointment is for just a couple days after he returns from international travel.
While he's been away on this trip (with the OW), he's been very transparent. He hasn't been on this site and doesn't know our lingo and I didn't give him a list of behavior for this trip (because how do I control him 19 time zones away?), but he's making me feel as safe and secure as possible. So far. Do I trust him. No. Not yet. But under the circumstances, I'm feeling hopeful.
He's sharing what's happening on the trip, he's sending photos, he's FaceTiming me, he's calling, he's telling me how much he loves me and misses me and wants me. Last time he went on this trip--in the midst of the A I didn't know about but with the OW I suspected was an EA--he didn't communicate aside from one e-mail. True, there's no cell service and he didn't know that until he got there, but he did have a way to communicate and he chose not to.
So . . . kinda got away from the original question, didn't I? Still, it's a valid one. I mean, I want my husband to desire me. That's understandable for a woman married to a man she loves. But is it acceptable when married to a sex addict? Do I feed that out-of-control drive by dressing in lingerie, by indulging in sexting with him, by participating in "quickies," by spending time on my outer beauty? Or do I just do for me what feels good for me and leave it to him and his therapy and his group and his sponsor (when he gets those latter two) to teach him how to differentiate between love and lust?
Even though it's not my responsibility to heal him, it's in my best interests to help him into recovery. Just don't know how to support in a healthy, effective manner. Ideas?
Ripped, I guess I am concerned that you mentioned I think there were SA incidents 8 years ago, then some form of recovery, then a major relapse, then a relapse a few weeks ago with the hook up sites. And he just made an appointment with a CSAT? To me it doesn't seem like he is in recovery??
I have come to the conclusion that in some ways I am a hard woman, and even more so after this SA experience. These are my own thoughts, some controversial.
1. I think too many people apply "normal" reasoning to the SA situation. For example, thinking my efforts to lose weight signal my marital commitment and my spouse will respond in kind. Of course one would think this! But this is not a normal situation. These men are addicts with a gazillion degrees of f-ed-up-ness and a huge problem thinking the world revolves around them to begin with.
2. I believe a 90 day sexual abstinence period at the beginning of treatment is vital.
3. It seems that the only hope for recovery is if the SA is attending SA meetings (ideally 2x week) plus IC once per week.
4. OK, now I am getting more controversial. I suspect that it is necessary for full marital recovery that the spouse at some point becomes emotionally and otherwise strong enough to leave. I mean, when you really know in your heart -- I can leave. Screw the money, the lifestyle, even my love for this person, I can make a good life for myself. For a variety of reasons, I don't think either individual or marital recovery is likely to occur until the spouse knows in their heart they can leave.
5. I also suspect that the spouse having boundaries like steel and being less caring, less nurturing etc are important to both partners' recovery. I am very on top of my H's treatment options and learning about addiction, particularly when I question whether x treatment is worth the time/money invested. But, really, truly in my heart I feel like he has to sink or swim primarily on his own -- for him and also if there is ever to be a hope of me ever regaining respect for him. I also think that my tendencies to being a fixer supported his whiny, self-absorbed, and weak character. And those days are OVER. Mostly these days I am sitting back . . . H is having to do more with the kids and house, he is having to take the lead on working on our relationship, he is having to deal with his stressors with less support from me.
I love my H very much. But it is very hard for me to fathom the desire to win back a cheating, half-man of an H or to accept long-term a relationship that is going to lead to emotional pain for me as well as risk of disease. For me, speaking personally, there has to be a strong recovery going on and some reasonable likelihood of success at it, to have been interested in staying. And even with all that I still think the jury is out on whether I will want to stay long-term in a marriage that has been tainted this way.
[This message edited by cds22 at 12:51 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]
I reserve the right to tell him to leave. He knows that. I've given him certain dates, saying that I will stay at least until 9/27/13, or whatever date I set. I won't mention us breaking up and I'll revisit it on that date to determine if I feel there is a sincere attempt at progress.
I have very rigid boundaries. If he goes on any porn or hook up sites, or doesn't move forward in his own recovery, ( meetings, the recovery nation lessons), he will have chosen his addiction over his marriage.
Maybe I am hard, too. If he is truly still in the flawed thinking stage, I'm done. I don't want to waste another moment of life.
For six years his acting out with men having anonymous sex put my life in danger and robbed me of a real marriage. We have some really good times together, but if I don't get to the point where I trust that he won't put my life in danger, what's the point? Can a person have a marriage if you never feel safe exchanging body fluids?
I have a wicked confession. Sometimes I wish he'd relapse so I have a clear answer to end the relationship...
[This message edited by PollyA at 1:27 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]
So I found out the poly results Saturday night. To be clear, SAWH came home after and thought he failed it, despite the fact he felt he told the truth. I know he is in the phase of recovery where he is really facing all he has done and is mental state, and he feels tremendously guilty about everything he has done and may do. He has gone overboard with his boundaries, to the point that if you are familiar with three circles behaviours, he feels like all three circles = certain doom and now I have flunked sobriety. I saw an ad on TV that was suggestive, now I am a failure. It is so much like dealing with my Aspie daughter who has so much trouble understanding and wanting to follow guidelines, but doesn't grasp or process them like other kids do.
Also, SAWH has a history of saying he's done something wrong or won't be able to do something he promised, so he can actually do the right thing and hope that I will be grateful he did what he was supposed to do anyway. So when he tells me crap like this, I don't even listen any more. I felt in my heart I really didn't have anything to worry about the poly, that what he needed to do was get into the group therapy/recovery start kit so he could finally overcome the shame and better understand the boundaries/rules as they are intended. His CSAT wanted him to pass a poly before he would let him in a group. :rolleyes:
So anyway, I was prepared for two scenarios: pass or fail. Pass, we celebrate and move on. Fail, and he needed to do intensive therapy probably beyond SA treatment, and I needed to make other plans because that's a whole 'nuther thing. Imagine my surprise when I forgot there is a third scenario: indeterminate results. <slaps forehead>
So what happened was he sailed right through my hot button questions, was disclosure complete, had he remained faithful to me, were the kids safe, were our babysitters/teen neighbors safe. Then it came to the question of his sobriety, and the scales went awry. He had talked to me and CSAT about this beforehand about a half dozen "slips" he had - and by my definition and the CSAT's they are not slips, they are yellow circle behaviors (things that will lead to trouble so you avoid them as much as you can). CSAT told him to take it up with his sponsor, so he could have a third party tell him they are not slips.
SAWH never did. And he discussed them at length with poly guy, who probably also was thinking WTF dude, not slips, so they could be isolated out of the questioning. But he feels so guilty about them, he of course has the scales going. CSAT told me this might happen, it is not a surprise it did. Still, I am annoyed because once again, I am going into SA joint therapy thing expecting A or B, and C happens.
Point of reference, I had a friend who has her SAWH take a poly every six months, and he had a similar experience. Always passed his tests, but had a weak moment once when someone left a Playboy book out in a regular book store. He was with his kids, picked it up so they wouldn't see it, and peeked inside to verify it was a porn book and not some other kind of parody book and put it up where his teen kids wouldn't see. Kids saw it anyway as he put it up so they verify the story. They had no clue about SA and thought it was funny he was "embarrassed" by it. He tried to isolate it out of his poly question, and had the same result. All other questions pass fine, sobriety question, scales all over the place because he's racked with guilt. So I know this happens.
So we discussed it a bit, and my only concern was that lets not make this another barrier to SAWH getting into the group therapy/recovery start kit class. CSAT says he can proceed into class, and they will work on him getting a clean pass in about six months, because it will probably take that long for him to understand what sobriety really is. SAWH is a bit devastated he didn't get a clean pass, still doesn't feel right about it. I'm just disappointed because I don't feel I can celebrate, but then again I don't really feel failure either.
I know in my heart that the right group therapy will jumpstart everything for him. I don't really agree with his CSAT that he had to wait for the poly to do this, but I am glad he finally is. I've already been laying the bricks in place to D if I have to, and will continue to do so. I could definitely manage without him, and he knows it. I've seen amazing changes in him, but I have also seen him hold back because he hasn't gotten far enough in recovery to really let go and let it work.
I just wish this had all happened a year ago. Because it has taken so long, and will take so much longer still, it is hard to really appreciate how far he has come. I'm pretty sure that if you told me it would take this long on DD, I would have filed immediately. But then I wouldn't have had the perspective I have now, and I would not have been prepared for a smoother exit like I do now. I'm just really glad I have taken as much time as I have had to work on and take care of myself.
cds22: I know how it sounds. I do. If I weren't in it, I'd question it, too. Yes, 8 years ago, he was in therapy with a non-CSAT counselor who knew enough to have him be abstinent for 6 months. He did well for about 3 years, then eventually stopped with the IC, the group therapy and the sponsor--for various reasons. I wasn't much concerned because I hadn't educated myself on it much (no time, I thought; my kids were 9,7,5,3; it was his problem) and thought he was "better." Plus, before there'd been inappropriate boundaries with women and some porn use, but no affairs, no hookers, no trolling. I'm not sure either of us took it seriously after the first year or two.
The major relapse was a year ago, roughly, and although he made great strides in how he behaved toward me and his kids, he didn't get IC. He started the process, but Kaiser can be convoluted. We (wrongly) both thought IC locally that he could actually get to was more important than an addiction specialist 45 minutes away that he couldn't get to. That was BEFORE I started reading on SI generally and BEFORE I started reading on this thread specifically. So when he sent messages to 5 women (probably not even real--just lures who never answered), I said enough! It was time to go hard-core, to meet with the addiction specialist (still don't know if it's a CSAT), to start group therapy, to get a sponsor, to stop "white-knuckling" it and to start a journey to true recovery--one we were BOTH educated about.
So, no, I don't know how this will work out, but I feel like we're both committed now and on the same page. I started S-Anon meetings last week because I realize they'll be invaluable whether my marriage makes it or not. While I feel strongly that the dad he is now (unless his behavior changes for the worse) is of paramount importance in my boys' life, I would implement an in-house separation or divorce him once the boys are out of the house (5 years), if he doesn't uphold his end of the recovery effort. I couldn't say that 9 months ago; I don't want to say it now. But . . . And, actually, I don't find that controversial.
He is tainted right now, and he tainted our love, our marriage. As long as he's going forward, though, I WILL tolerate some slips (no physical ones) as long as he's remorseful and redoubles his efforts afterward. Maybe because he's so intelligent, maybe because he's such an intolerant man in general (is that him or the SA?), he really can't pretend remorse. He's going to the CSAT (for lack of a better word right now) because he knows it's the right thing to do. If he wasn't willing to try to fix himself and us, he would NOT go. So as long as I'm physically safe and I see him progressing with his treatment in SA and his treatment of us, I'll be here to support him. Except for the trust issues that came with the affair and subsequent acting out, our M since 2/16 (a day he decided he was "in love" with me again) has seldom been better. Our children have noticed it; our friends have noticed it; our congregation has noticed it. So while I'm willing to end our marriage, I'm hopeful that won't be necessary.
PollyA: I don't think your confession is at all wicked; I think it's normal. Our minds are so overloaded right now that it seems to tempting to have the oh-so-obvious answer presented--gift-wrapped--to us. When I first heard the OW was being sent by her company on the same experiment my SAWH was overseeing, I wanted to die. But then I knew that this, however bad it might be, could be a blessing in disguise. That's how I prefer to look at it still. And considering that he actually forwarded the e-mail to me showing me the names of all the different company reps involved (from his work e-mail that is classified), he actually helped to rebuild my trust in him a bit. I'd have never known without his transparency.
[This message edited by RippedSoul at 3:14 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]
Good luck! Every day that goes by, you are stronger and stronger. Let's just hope he decides that's a goal worth striving for for himself, too. Hugs!