SK, what do you mean by ritual? That is interesting. I will say that the precursor to every single slip/relapse has been a week of huge tension between us and my expressing (yes, repeatedly, in detail, and with anger) that I am not sure I love him anymore and I am really angry with him for destroying something that could have been great. The other precursor (usually cumulative with the relationship angst) is that he has these weeks of intense work, 7 days, 14 hour days).
Anyway, since I feel like I have both a need and a right to express my feelings and lack of certainty within the marriage I don't see the slip/relapse business improving. And I resent that it seems to be linked to me even though H would never say that and at least in his words takes full responsibility.
WH does not have a diagnosis of SA, but in pretty sure he is.
Part of the reason we struggled in the area of sex is that I could not tolerate the "nasty" element. Porn, dirty language, etc. he started detaching from me during sex several years back and that just made things worse.
OW says all the nasty things he likes, sends him naked pics of herself, is up for anything he wants to try...
He is already lying to her about things we've done together and things that she can be his "first" for.
Its heartbreaking and maddening and sickening all at once.
I just don't even know what to do or think. But I know I can't demean myself like that ever again. WH says it isn't demeaning because we are married. Why did it feel demeaning??
I just want it all to stop.
Wait for The Lord; be strong and take heart, wait for The Lord.
You WS may be an SA, but from all you have posted he screams common everyday ordinary NPD to me and textbook asshole. Throw in spoiled baby who wants his own way at every turn. Don't give it to him.
We in this forum have learned that the best way to survive this insanity is to DETACH. Those letters stand for Don't Ever Try And Change Him. We also say the serenity prayer often...
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 4:14 PM, February 17th (Monday)]
Definitely experienced the "escalation" of things...needing more and more...more porn, more stim, more acrobatics, what have you...that sort of why I put the kabosh on some activities....it was never enough.
I feel like *I* was never enough.
On the other hand, if you feel like a support group will help you, look up a meeting in your area and go! My sisters in my Sanon group truly helped me stay out of the Looney bin for the first year. They helped me set boundaries and detach.
Try a CODA meeting, COSA or Sanon.
You have to file IMHO. Shock him with YOUR independence. You love the man you thought he was not this selfish, stupid guy who isn't choosing not to hurt his kids. Find your strength and kick him to the curb.
Maybe to be able to talk with other people that get it!!
His sexual behaviors could cost him his professional license. He needs an intervention. Seriously.
I also want to know what to look out for in the future!!
I'm not willing to invest the rest of my life with someone I constantly feel like I need to check up on. I love him but, if he still needs to masturbate and look at porn, he can have it. I can't do it. Reality tells me that my own H has had slips. The sad thing is he has never been honest about things from the very beginning so I constantly wonder if he is still fighting the demons and if they are playing tug of war.
SK, could you elaborate on the FASST check in? What exactly do you discuss at these check ins?
Weekly Checkin With Partner
1. Determine day and time. Make this a standing appt and keep it. (SAFWH wasn't very good at this)
2. Check-in is the responsibility of the SA to initiate (see above)
3. The purpose of the FASTT check in is to keep the partner informed as to recovery activities, normalize talking about recovery related topics and allow both partners to be alert for signs that recovery needs to receive greater priority.
4. Follow FASTT format
F - feelings check
A - activities in recovery. There is a formalized point system used here, described in detail in the book and in Magness's video series. We didn't use it. I was pretty confident of my SAFWH's sobriety by this time.
S - Sobriety statement or slip report. YOU decide how much you want to know.
T - Threats T - tools both "ts" are discussed together, the threats to sobriety and the tools used or would be used if any threats arose. Example, "for any visual threats I would use..." "for intrusive thoughts I would call..." It's important for the SA to NOT give any more than GENERAL information here so as to not traumatize the partner. Example; "I was feeling stressed at work this week and I used [recovery tool] to deal with it"
5. The check in can also include things such as accountability for money or safety in travel and such.
It is important that the partner provide a SAFE ZONE for sharing. Listen without interruption, no questions, and hug and thank your partner when he is through. Any questions need to wait for the next day...
****we stopped doing this since Retrouvaille. That program has given us a better format for communication. So far.
I strongly suggest the Magness book. Listen to the video in which he describes the feelings of the spouses. He GETS it. I also heartily recommend Retrouvaille. I think it is an excellent program to enable healing. We just did our first followup session and we will do the others.
What does recovery really mean for a SA? Does it mean they no longer have the "urges" for the type of sexual behavior they have been preciously engaged in (fetishes for example, not just sex)? Or will they always have those desires and learn to "filter" them out in a sense?
I think the answer to your question is somewhat individual, but SAs can and do learn to have "normal" sex lives. Whether they lose interest completely in the divergent activities or not depends on the person..
Not all sex addicts are fetishists. But most have some level of escalation from the "normal" at least in their fantasy life.
As for losing his license, unless he is caught with a hooker, (and if it isn't pled down to a lesser charge) caught with an underage girl or with kiddy porn, its unlikely.
Your other concern, about meeting and falling for another dysfunctional a$$hole is very real. We have all developed codependent and enabling behaviors while married to these guys. Many women fall into the same trap. IC, IS ESSENTIAL.
Sammy, I'm glad I could help a little. I remember early on one of the people in my S-Anon group telling me that it was a good sign that H was going to meetings and doing therapy. I wasn't ready to hear it at the time. I kept wondering why all the praise and focus seemed to be on him. At that time, I didn't care how hard he worked, because damn it, I wasn't going to let him anywhere near me again anyway.
But he has been consistently working hard, and it's impossible to not see that. Recently he told me that his turning point was realizing that he WAS the bad guy. He couldn't shift any blame onto me. That realization allowed him to also see that he didn't have to stay the bad guy; that he could work to change.
After saying that though, it's important to keep the focus on you, not on him. Sure it's nice that he's doing all this and is getting healthier ways of coping. But if I had an unremorseful spouse, I really do think I'd be going through a similar personal transformation without him.
And this transformation is a little scary and exciting at the same time. After years of suppressing emotions and denying needs, I now feel almost overwhelmed by them. I'm having to try to learn to balance it all. I think because our marriage was probably more dysfunctional than many out there, it's been more of an adjustment for me. Honestly, we went from a completely sexless, affection-less partnership to now going through somewhat of a HB time. How do you go with it and stay grounded at the same time? Still figuring it out!
As for the other conversation going on about slip ups: it is difficult to know how much I really want to know. There have been no slips in months and he has maintained sobriety. I know because he goes on the phone most mornings and nights to re-affirm his sobriety to his sponsor (we have no cell phone any more, so he can't leave the room to talk...lol!). He does still struggle daily with lust though. His sponsor tells him to not hurt me with the little details like that. I think I agree, but he wants me to be the one to make that call. He doesn't want to lie anymore, so it's yet another thing that I have to decide on.
One thing I will say is that I can't really embrace the "co dependent" model. I embrace the trauma model instead. Discovering all of this - porn usage, affair - has been traumatic. Spouses of SA may find it more helpful to be treated as victims of PTSD. Our therapist indicated that the S-Anon/COSA meetings were probably not going to be helpful to me but she said use what is helpful. I went to a couple. Nice group of mostly women. My observation was that many of the long term attendees seem "stuck" in their anger or misery of their situation. Almost like "victims." After a certain point, telling my story over and over again is not helpful and I needed to DO something about it vs. feel sorry for myself. One of my longtime friends who is about 20 years older than I am gave me some great advice. She said "don't be a victim." I did not understand that at first but I definitely do now.
12step support groups can help us feel we aren't alone, give us coping mechanisms, and help us figure out strong boundaries. As WIF said, take what you can use and leave the rest. Also, you may be bewildered at the first meeting. Give it a few before you see if it's for you.
It's amazing to me the similarities between these two "life events". The shock, the grief and the humongous struggle to regain a sense of normalcy. Because I went thru that, I know that in time I will rebound but, getting there will be a tremendous struggle. All the whys and what ifs will battle for control of my mind and I know I have to be secure in my beliefs. The problem for me is that as hard as it was to bury that child, I can honestly say this has an element that proves to be a bigger struggle because there are portions of it that are finite. She was innocent and I know where she is. Doesn't make it easier but, it is somewhat comforting.
With addiction there are no certainties except that this is lifelong. In fact, the odds of relapse are too high for me and, frankly, that is almost more than I am prepared to deal with. Even with my SAFWH doing every thing he can possibly do right now, I find that I am incredibly resentful. Resentful of every single time I conceded to his wishes or needs over my own in the name of love. Resentful that he thought so little of me and the love I tried so hard to show him that a nasty piece of ass was worth the risk of losing everything.
I keep hearing year 2 is worse and I'm starting to understand why. I have the gift of a clearer understanding but, just like before, I find myself not wanting to see it for what it is.
I don't think I'll ever understand why this happened but, after having gone thru losing my baby, I know that there will be times where I will see things about life that many people will never grapple with and I'll be a better person for all of the life experiences I've had.
I'm having a hard time imagining myself 20 years from now
[This message edited by outtanowhere at 9:49 PM, February 18th (Tuesday)]
Thanks for the advice.
Unfortunately, sanctions from his governing board that issues his license could be very real. He has violated several serious rules in the code of conduct. His brother, who is in the same profession, is scared to death that OW will expose all of this conduct if WH ever leaves her. I'm scared of that as well. The only good thing about that is that I have evidence of OW participating in a violation of her license as well, and it could result in criminal charges, so I can at least help to protect him from himself if she should threaten him.
I plan to give BIL copies of all that I have in case he ever needs it to get WH out of a messy legal situation. Won't help him with his governing board though.
I was reading about narcisism and SA today. Sounds exactly like my WH.
We are entering year 2 soon as well, and it scares me for sure. Every day, I try to actively give my life over to God. I am trying to trust that he would let me know if something is going on, or at least give me the strength to deal with anything that comes my way. I guess all the 12 step talk is rubbing off on me.
On another note, I also want to emphasize again that I too believe in the trauma model as opposed to the codependent model. I certainly didn't live with the knowledge that he was SA. It was the biggest shock and trauma when I found out. Codependency just happens to be one of the things I personally have to deal with. I have always ended up with high functioning addicts, and it has all just blended together for me in my path to recovery.
But clearly, the trauma model is a better fit overall. I think the 12 step literature needs to be amended to reflect that. Still, there is no better place, if the group is a good one, to find support and comfort, and to learn how to set boundaries that work for you.
@outta what can I say girlfriend? Hugs and LIGHT..