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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 18

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number4 posted 4/20/2018 22:27 PM

10YrsNowWhat -

Just curious, what makes you think you don't belong here? Honestly, if it were me, and I'd just discovered all the information you have recently, I'd be in such a state of shock I wouldn't be able to coherently put together the post you did!

I know CSATs recommend formal disclosures, and we didn't have that because at the time of my discovery(s), H was not forthcoming, so there was no SA diagnosis, therefore, no need for a CSAT. So we (MC and I) got the drip, drip, drip disclosure. I know this might be different for everyone, but if H had told me everything I know now, back last June, I don't think I could have handled it; I doubt we'd still be together. So yea, it's been miserable, but I think I would have jumped to divorce right away, despite being told not to make any major decisions for at least six months. I do things like that :(

Our MC has told us that the kind of disclosure we eventually went through (I created a list of questions with the input of my IC based on my detective work) was more thorough than what CSATs typically do with a formal disclosure. Each time I found something new, I was all over my husband's ass, no matter whether it was 8AM and he was at work, or 4AM and he was sleeping. Perhaps not the most efficient way to go through it, but trauma does that to some people!

Back ten months ago, we (our MC and I) just didn't know the extent of his acting out, so the term formal disclosure wasn't even in my vocabulary. I just don't know which direction I'd go if given the opportunity to do it over again. Thankfully he is now with a CSAT, but I doubt she's going to walk through a formal disclosure for my part since I already know so much; she may do it just so she knows everything. We'll see.

allusions posted 4/20/2018 23:52 PM

Lavender: I have not confronted him regarding the phone records because he will figure out some other way to hide things from me. Heís done things like rent porn on cable, then he threw away the bill so I wouldnít see it, but I figured out how to log into the cable account and caught him and of course, he lied and gaslighted about it. I was planning on discussing the phone records in a session with the CSAT but I might before then.

Thanks for the hugs.

Secondtime: I donít think I even need my gut to tell me heís been lying to me. Whether or not heís been viewing hardcore porn is an unknown. I do have some suspicions that are unconfirmed. I think his recovery program is very superficial. A couple of years ago he was telling me he had a year or more of SA sobriety, even making a big point of showing me his one-year Ďchipí but it was all a lie. He was lying to his 12-step group and lying to his sponsor. He doesnít talk about his sobriety length anymore.

Nevertome posted 4/22/2018 10:54 AM

need help and advice

my story is in my bio
No one knows what is going on in my life and i am contemplating sending this to my parents and sister; would love to hear pros and cons. One moment, I think they should know. (My parents have always held my husband on a pedestal above everyone else). The next moment, I think I should just suck it up and keep moving forward because the burden of them knowing will further negatively affect me.

Here is the letter:

What I am about to tell you is true and painful. But first, I need to set some rules. We are a family of problem solvers and secret keepers and neither of those things have helped this family. Problem solvers donít listen and they donít help heal, they are just opinion givers; they donít provide empathy and they donít promote a family bond. Secret keepers prevent closeness and prevent true knowledge about another person. I can remember when I started dating seriously and a boyfriendís mom would start talking to me about such personal things and I was stunned. This happened over and over in my life. And each time I realized that I knew them more intimately after dating their sons for a year than I knew my own parents. We have never discussed our hurts, our crushed dreams, our regrets. We have never spoken of feelings; happy or sad. This is so ingrained in our DNA, that I am not sure any of us are able to actually discern whether they exist in us at all. Secrets castrate families.

So, I am not going to keep this secret and I do not want your advice or your opinion. I have done endless reading and counseling. And I am unfortunately a near expert on the matter. This will be very difficult for you to digest. And you may have your opinion on what I should do or what you would do and I can tell you that when it is you and you are actually faced to live with the problem and the specifics of your situation, the waters are muddled.

So, why am I telling you? This is a great burden that I have been carrying alone. And a burden that I donít want to place on you. But, I am telling you so that I break the hold that secrecy has on this family and to make you aware of something that has changed my life completely.

My husband was never a very good husband. He was distant. He tried to separate me from the kids when he was around. He refused to take pictures of me with the kids. He attempted to make me feel inferior. He never concerned himself with my day to day life and never let me into his. This worked because I was independent and grew to a place where I did not need him except as a provider. There was a great deal of animosity between us and yet, I didnít let it affect my life because I knew that we needed him to provide and I had the freedom to raise amazing kids my way. We had our jobs and life was fine. Why I accepted this as a long term life situation is a whole different path of introspection. I did fear the day that he retired and often thought that there was no way it was going to work, but unfortunately, I probably would have just dealt with it.

Many times over the years you and others have said isnít it amazing that (insert husbands name) turned out so well coming from that family of his. Well, the truth is, he didnít. He is, in fact, the sickest of them all. They display their illness for the world to see, he hides his in a secret compartment. He has the emotional intelligence of a 6-8 year old. This is a product of some things that happened to him as a child as well as a lifetime of being neglected. I am in no way excusing his behavior, I am trying to give you insight as to how the therapists have explained how he was able to live and do what he did to the only three people who he professes to love.

On our 16th anniversary, after dinner and after he fell asleep, I heard his phone buzz. I was greeted with a picture of a half dressed black woman calling him baby. I spent the next 8 hours researching his phone. Over the next three months, I was provided staggered disclosures until on September 15th with a polygraph and both his therapist and mine present, I was given a full accounting of his 20 + years of transgressions. The details are disgusting and beyond a functioning humans imagination. He has had every kind of sex with every kind of woman. He has had one night stands and long term girlfriends. He has done this openly with some of his friends and certain employees aware of his ďother life.Ē He has spent business trips, as well as family vacations, fixating, sexting, and arranging for future escapades. He has had sex with strippers, prostitutes, street walkers, Asian masseuses, and wives and mothers. He never used protection. He has no other children that he is aware of and by an utter miracle neither of us has an STD.

We have spent the past year trying to heal. Me from his betrayal and he from the clarity of who he is. He is in daily therapy of some sort. He goes to two therapists, two different twelve step groups, and a sex addiction menís group. He has weekly phone calls with men who have been through the process and help guide him. He is committed to his recovery. He is remorseful and ashamed.

I am taking life day by day. I have hatred and anger and I will probably never fully forgive him nor trust him. And yet, our relationship is closer and more honest than it has ever been. Each day is full of questioning and necessary affirmations of good behavior. He is polygraphed every three months. I choose each day to stay until I choose to stay no longer. He has a lifetime of therapy and contrition ahead of him.

Ifeelalone posted 4/22/2018 13:02 PM

That was very articulate. So many similarities with my husband. People always say "how did he turn out to be such a wonderful human being when everyone else in his family is so dysfunctional". Your writing was truthful and honest.

I have no advise as to what you choose to share or not share. We have chosen to not share at this time- mainly because we are trying to stay together and parent and that would be impossible with my family criticizing everything. But eventually we will probably share with our children when they are adult enough for the information to be helpful.

Love and hugs,
I feel alone

Lionne posted 4/22/2018 14:32 PM

Your letter is amazing. Only you can decide if it's too much to share. Give it a few days while you do that. You may have described too much, maybe give broader strokes instead of the details.
A few thoughts, yes, I chose not to share with my family. I SHOULD have shared that at least we were having trouble, because I really did without their support, and I'd have gotten it, but it is such a sordid story, and SA is so misunderstood, I didn't at that time. I also didn't share with most of my VERY GOOD FRIENDS, but did share with two. It wasn't that they would "judge" except, of course they do. And, at the time, SA was not in the lexicon. IMO, unless one is willing to do a large amount of reading and research, SA is still far harder to understand than other addictions.
On the other hand, I did tell my (adult) sons, a little bit. Subsequently, my H told them more of the truth, not gory details, not as much as you have. Our family is full of addicts. Honesty isn't a hallmark of families where addiction is rampant. Passive aggressiveness is, denial, gaslighting, conflict avoidance are all common behavioral traits of these families. As a result of 12 step work from all of us, we have become a healthier, more honest family. That's just the 4 of us, my extended family still doesn't know much. That works for us.
It's also my opinion that people who have done the hard work of recovery, those who work recovery every day, are more reliable and healthy than many who have never looked at themselves with this level of scrutiny. Not everyone will agree, especially if they haven't gone through this.
Good luck.

secondtime posted 4/22/2018 20:52 PM

I would only share if you 100% sure your family will support you if you decide to stay.

My parents didn't. Wouldn't even refer to my husband by his name. Its awkward to have to choose one or the other..

Of course, I was younger in my early 30s.

But its weird to have your relationship with your parents die while they are still quite alive.

sami1234 posted 4/23/2018 09:27 AM

Nevertome what a wonderfully insightful and articulate letter. I think first of all, you need to decide what you want the outcome of sharing this letter to be. Then I would weigh that against the outcome you most expect will occur. If those things don't match then maybe you make some adjustments to the plan or the letter. Most of all, I'd like too see you get what you need from your family, and if this is a tool for that to happen, then so be it.


"

how did he turn out to be such a wonderful human being when everyone else in his family is so dysfunctional".

Ifeelalone I completely understand this. And I said as much to WH.He was the one who had always escaped the impact of the dysfunctional FOO, or so I thought.

repairingme posted 4/23/2018 11:05 AM

Hello all,

I have been reading your posts for a few days and I didn't feel right reading such personal things and not saying I'm here. I'm not fully ready to share yet, but in brief, I found out my husband is a SA(diagnosed by his psych.)last week. He also has lots of trauma to deal with from his childhood. But I don't want to talk about him so much here.

My DDday was this past November and he did trickle truth for about a month after that. Honestly, last week felt like another Dday and I'm back to learning to deal with this new information. I will be ok, I KNOW I will be ok...but I could use an ear once in awhile. For lots of reasons I can't share it with anyone close to me. So here I am reading all your stories and they help. Thank you.

I should add the basics. We have been married for 18 years but together since we were 16. He was my first everything. From the outside we look like we have the perfect life; high school sweethearts, kids, dogs, vacations, dream house, success on every corner, except for his secret lifelong porn addiction, sexting/PA/EA with 5 other women over the last 2 years. Minor detail huh? Ugh. How is this my life?

I'm sorry you are all here. I'm sorry I'm here. Thank you for sharing all your posts with me. It does help. I will share more another time.

DogsnBooks posted 4/23/2018 12:38 PM

Ugh. How is this my life?

I keep asking this same question.

I wholeheartedly believe my WH has porn addiction and possibly some level of SA as well. He initially agreed with me - then aftet his last therapy appointment, he says that they figured out it is more of a ďbad habitĒ than a deep-rooted ďrealĒ addiction. WTF Iím not buying it.

I found a random porn addiction assessment quiz for him to take online and he scored 4/7 which put him at ďmediumĒ risk. Who knows if he even answered honestly though.

I also wanted him to take the official SA screening test but he hasnít yet ...

Smjsome1 posted 4/23/2018 15:23 PM

Repairingme - what a great name, since healing and self care are so important.

My DDay 1 was Aug, my SA DDay was in Oct. itís such a shock - Iím so sorry you are here. But glad you found this place. I like to think of it as one of my safe places. And everyone here as part of my safe people.

Itís very isolating, SA, as so few people understand or even believe that SA s a real thing. Some days Iím not sure I believe!

So please post, please feel safe here

marji posted 4/23/2018 18:48 PM

Repairingme A great name you've chosen and your spirit and gumption really come through in your post.

Glad you have found some comfort in the company of us here on SI.

Feel free to say or or not say whatever you feel comfortable with. I've learned over the past two plus years that notwithstanding all sorts of horrible stories, all kinds of betrayals these partners of ours have put us through, most of us do survive; most of us come out whole and healthy inspire of their sickness; we come out strong inspire of their weakness. You surely sound that way already.

ashestophoenix posted 4/23/2018 20:11 PM

Nevertome, I also agree it's a very thoughtful letter. That said, I'd think about sending it for a few days before you do so. I agree, if you think your family will support you NO MATTER WHAT, and this is critical, it would be so good to have that support. But I can tell you that the reactions to people I have disclosed some of my troubles to, whew, it's not always been good. Mostly they wanted me to leave RIGHT THEN AND THERE. I have people who are still angry at me for staying even though I have explained the financial and medical reasons for staying. And my husband is in an active recovery program. And these friends, they will never visit me again since my husband is here.

I won't tell my husband's family since that is his call, not mine.

repairingme, feel free to post what you want. Anyone on here can read these posts including addicts who joined SI. I don't care. The support I get from the posters here is so healing.

DogsnBooks, my husband never got an official diagnosis, but I took those on line quizzes (he couldn't be trusted in his answers early on), and his 12-step colleagues and his IC and MC all believe he is an SA. As I learned about this addiction, I knew my husband was a porn/sex/love addict.

My sober husband has a long way to go to become mature. I'm still dealing with a wounded 8 year old boy. It's tedious, exhausting and sad. Very lonely as well.

ashestophoenix

secondtime posted 4/24/2018 06:30 AM

Nevertome

I have young kids. 3/4 of my kids are 10 and under.

They are a VERY big reason that I do not disclose. We all know SA is really misunderstood (and IMVHO, even having folks like Tiger be identified as a SA has done nothing to break down the misunderstandings of what it actually is.)

Anyway. I won't have my kids losing friends or otherwise being shunned because their dad is an SA. If the addiction were more socially acceptable (like alcoholism or gambling) or if DH was mentally ill...I really believe these would be different.

But, I think people will jump to all sorts of conclusions when you put SA and kids together in the same sentence.

secondtime posted 4/24/2018 06:36 AM

Allusions

So. You know your husband is an addict that's really not really working his recovery.

I think the ball is in your court to proceed how you'd like given that information.

What do you want? Do you want to stay in a relationship? Do you want to stay married on paper only? You've got lots of options.

I hear that you are tired of dealing with this. You have the power to change that. And if you can't right now, you can still take steps towards change.

Nevertome posted 4/24/2018 13:42 PM

Ladies,

Thank you. Thank you for your thoughtful answers. Thank you for making me take a pause. And thank you most for providing a place where I can let all this crap out and feel supported and understood without judgement and without creating a permanent alteration in how I am perceived through no fault of my own.

So, I have decided not to send the letter or any iteration of it. Like, ashestophoenix, I fear my sister would prevent my nieces and nephews from visiting and would hate my husband eternally. My parents, on the other hand, may very well support my husband, believe it or not. I can imagine them excusing his behavior due to his horrible childhood and because he travels so much on business.

Neither of these reactions encourage recovery for my husband nor I.

Lionneó

number4 posted 4/24/2018 14:39 PM

nevertome - sounds like you already got some great wisdom here, and have come to a decision right now that you can live with. Doesn't mean you can't ever revisit the possibility of some kind of letter, but for now, until you get a better grip of what your future might look like, you're wisely holding off based on what you know about your family and how they might react.

number4 posted 4/24/2018 15:19 PM

So I think one of my worst fears is coming true... it's as if I have been waiting for it to happen.

I think I shared early on I have a psych history with anxiety/panic attacks/depression, which has been managed most of my adult life with meds. 6 1/2 years ago I went down a bad road that led me to seek out inpatient care; this place really focuses on CBT and DBT and it just didn't click with me. They did manage to get me off of the 1-1.5mg of xanax a day I was on, and on their part, I suspect they think I'm a success story. But I was only off for a month or two, before I had to start using it every so often, then more often, then back to every day. I was practically agoraphobic and really only went out for doctor/therapist's appointments... so depression set in, and I can't remember how many different anti-depressants we tried before my suicidal ideation was too intrusive. So I went back into a different hospital (a real hospital with a psych ward) and did ECT. When I was discharged, the depression had already begun to lift incredibly - they did not try to take me off of the xanax, but about a couple of weeks after I finished my last ECT session, I realized I wasn't needing the xanax anymore, and every few days I'd cut out one of the dosages until within 2-3 weeks, I was off it. I sailed through my life for the next nine months, not taking any xanax, and feeling physically great - until I was then diagnosed with cancer - the shock of it sent me reeling, and within a week I was back to taking an occasional .25mg every few days; I stayed that way for a long time, only using it only as needed, which could be every few days or sometimes once every week or two.

Fast forward to the first DDay last summer and the shock of it eventually started a habit of taking it more often again - not as often as previous cycles, but every few days. Over the last few months, the use has increased, where now I can barely go 24 hours without taking any.

For those of you who have suffered with debilitating anxiety or panic attacks, you get what it's like. I told H the other night, "It's like I've been through this hundreds and hundreds of times - my anxiety is ramping up to the point where I know a full-blown panic attack is next, so I take some xanax. But in the period it takes for it to kick in, there's no one in the world who can tell me I'm not going to die, despite the fact I've been through this so many times and didn't die." And I told him I start beating up on myself at that point, saying, "How stupid are you to have been through this so many times, seen you didn't die, but can't accept that answer in this moment?" So then the incredible shame kicks in and I just go down a dark rabbit hole. H and I have been reading some Brene Brown stuff about shame, and I know it's just not healthy, but it's there and I can't seem to let it go. So now we've got me in my shame, and he in his shame, and it's hard to rebuild a relationship when both parties are so deeply mired in shame.

Deep down, I know I'm writing this post because I want someone else to tell me, "It's OK... take the fucking xanax. No one expects you or judges you to get through this trauma, given your predisposition to anxiety without some medication support" Thing is, I've heard this from my psychiatrist, my long-term therapist, my new trauma therapist, etc. So I'm not sure why I expect someone here will change my view, other than you members here have been through what I've been through; you know the toll it takes. All my professionals, they haven't been through it, so how do they know, in their heart, what this is like?

In my head, I've already projected that this will end up with another hospitalization, another round of ECT, but it will pull me out of it. It did before and it was wonderful. But I hated the short-term memory loss. In fact, I remember asking my psychiatrist at my last appointment, if I have to have ECT again to pull out of this and have short-term memory loss, does it mean I'll have to relive all the disclosures, etc. of the last ten months? And she said no, that the kinds of memories I have now from all the disclosures are encoded in my brain so deeply due to the nature of them, that those aren't the kinds of memories I'll forget; it'll be more like the memories of mundane things, which are the kinds of memories I lost last time, like going to a restaurant, or whose house we went to for Easter, etc. And even those memories, once someone talks about them to me, they come back.

I'm just so mad, though, because I went nine full months in 2013-2014 without taking any xanax at all, the longest I'd gone in probably most of my adult life... until I got my cancer diagnosis.

I guess I just needed to vent... I don't feel like I can necessarily blame this on H because I was just born with a predisposition to anxiety/panic attacks (it's in my family), although the disclosures of information certainly were the catalysts to this latest bout. And blaming him isn't going to change the outcome or whatever treatment I end up requiring.

Other than my COSA group, I attend another monthly support group for partners of people who have been cheated on (so not necessarily sex addicts); at our meeting last week, there were about six people present, and two of them very openly spoke of being suicidal after realizing they'd been cheated on. I just remember thinking, "Wow, I guess I should be thankful that particular issue hasn't arisen for me (yet), given my psych history. And it made me wonder how many other people experienced suicidal ideation after an initial disclosure? I don't necessarily see it being mentioned here (although I certainly have not read ALL the threads). But maybe I'm looking for some validation, other than, "I feel hurt, angry, resentful, humiliated, rageful, frustrated, violated, diminished, etc." And I think at one point I did ask her, how bad did it get for you.

Sorry for the long rant/vent. I just needed to get it out there in writing so it will help me articulate my fears when I next see my therapist.

Lionne posted 4/24/2018 16:51 PM

@Number... I'm so sorry you are dealing with all this on top of experiencing the trauma of SA. Sure, you have a genetic propensity towards anxiety but surely it's exacerbated by his actions.
My family has this tendency, too. I don't, but my mother did, all my siblings, my son. It's debilitating. You really need to reframe your use of meds. IMO, anxiety and depression, bipolar, ADD, etc., have organic basis. Like my migraines, like diabetes, like high blood pressure. Certainly you'd take insulin if that was required to live with diabetes, right? Why is taking medication that enables functioning shaming to you?
Anti anxiety meds can be abused, of course. But you are taking them with the full monitoring of your docs. You are doing it mindfully, not just popping extra pills Willy nilly.
There are other meds, I know my sister takes Klonopin, I'm sure you've considered this, and your docs as well. Ativan has similar properties but it's less habit forming, but one does build a tolerance to it.
I'm betting you have also tried not medical intervention, breathing, mindfulness, hypnosis, etc. My son had had good results from acupuncture, no clue if that's just placebo but it's helped my migraines a lot.
It just seems to me that you are medicating appropriately for you.
Would it be helpful to discuss this with an IC?
HUGS!

[This message edited by Lionne at 4:58 PM, April 24th (Tuesday)]

Lionne posted 4/24/2018 17:05 PM

Second, such sadness in these words!

But its weird to have your relationship with your parents die while they are still quite alive.

SA is often called a family illness. Just for this reason. I mean, look how judgemental people in other forums ON THIS SITE are if we say we're considering reconciliation.
Nevertome, I'm not sure why my name is at the end of your post
Did you want to direct something towards me? Sorry if I'm being dense!

ashestophoenix posted 4/24/2018 18:22 PM

Number4, this is such a traumatic experience that I take advantage of every resource I can. I have taken anti-anxiety meds and I am so glad I did it. I work with a man who can only manage his depression with ECT. I started anti-depressants, but didn't like they way they made me feel. But I'd go back and try again if I need to.

I mean, we are under such stress that I think it is inevitable that we need as much help as we can get. The way I look at it is that I need it now; not forever. So rather than think "OMG, I have to do this again..I'm such a failure" I think, "Thank god I know that this stuff helps me and I'll use it as long as I need to."

Having anxiety and panic attacks seems to me to be rational post discovery. We have to process this trauma, and it takes time and hard work. I needed help to get through the day before I could benefit from my trauma therapy. I think this is reasonable.

Haven't you been under pressure for so long? Don't you deserve love, compassion, understanding, gentleness and support? I know I do; and I know you do. There is no shame in our reactions. They are what they are and they make complete sense given what we have been through, and with the awful awareness of the truth of our relationships that we were not allowed to know.

ashestophoenix

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