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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 18

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ashestophoenix posted 5/28/2018 08:18 AM

Number4, I hear you. I can't tell if my husband has no communication skills, or rusty ones, or he just doesn't want to communicate. It's probably a combination of all of these things. He won't hold his end up in a conversation with me, with his family, at social events....anywhere. He's either immature, or pontificates, or is silent. It's unattractive, boring and immature. And he won't reach out to his 12-step mentor either.

I have asked him time and again to learn to converse with me. Now I have an MC who tells him he has to learn this. Over the years he acted like this request was some sort of outrageous burden. "Why can't we just do things and have fun? Why do we have to talk?" There's the intimacy disorder for you. (Plus he doesn't know how to have fun but that is a whole other issue).

Asking our husbands and expecting them to be able to conduct adult conversations with us and others is expecting them to be adults. This is a reasonable expectation. It is not an unreasonable demand. It's what the world expects of them as adults. Saying "it's not fair" is really whining "it's too hard!" We're asking them to develop a skill that helps them to be more empowered and connected adults. This is good for them, for us, and for the world. It's not a question of fairness: it's a question of maturity.

I went to a play last night with my husband for his birthday and at the intermission he and I just stood there in silence. If I don't carry the conversation, it doesn't happen. I'm just exhausted being the only adult in the relationship. I'm tired of being his mommy/caretaker/nurse/daycare provider. My MC tells me "don't work so hard." And he's right. So I realized, I had nothing to say to my husband. Not one thing. Isn't that sad? Isn't that revealing?

We went to dinner and the only conversation was mine. Two glasses of champagne helped, but honestly...what an empty evening.

And, do I find this attractive? Does it create desire? Um, no....... It's boring and tedious and empty. But that's my husband's internal life. He's lonely, sad and empty and he spent his entire life in fantasy and pursuit of the 'perfect one' who would fill him up and make him wonderful. He still does not want to take responsibility to grow up. He may be sober, but he is still immature. At least he didn't drool over the waitress which was an improvement.

I remember some years ago, prior to D-day but at a time when I knew something was seriously wrong with my husband, going to a dinner party of people he worked with. I walked into the living room where there were about 20 people sitting and chatting. My husband is off to the side, alone, with this goofy look on his face (now I know he was probably scanning and fantasizing about the women there) not conversing with anyone. And I thought, "Ugh....I don't want to sit and talk to him either." And isn't that sad.

They have to commit to getting sober then growing up. They have to commit to working very hard in therapy on understanding their fear of human connection. We can't do it for them. And, yes, the thought of living with this for the rest of my life fills me with despair.

I see improvements with my husband. It's slow, but it's there. But, honestly, he has so far to go and I have no patience. I have 15 more months until it is financially optimal for me to file for divorce.


[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 8:29 AM, May 28th (Monday)]

number4 posted 5/28/2018 16:51 PM

Thank you ashestophoenix - when I got home today, I actually read part of your post to H so maybe he'd 'hear it' from someone else. We actually talked for a long time, and he has said (once again) he knows this is an issue and will work harder on it. He said he was just so taken aback by my strong reaction last night when we got home... that I would leave the house over it.

I told him it wasn't about just last night, it's been about hundreds and hundreds of gatherings over the years. I also told him that this was something he's been telling me for six months he realizes he needs to work on. I told him to only work on it if he wants more connection with people, not because I want us to have more connections with other people.

You know, we did go out for a walk this afternoon, and as I was thinking, it occurred to me, the title of this thread is such a misnomer. It really should be partners of people with intimacy disorders... it's not about the sex - it's about the inability to connect with others. I'll bet if we took a poll of all sex addicts, not a single one of them would only have a problem with sexually acting out - they all have problems much deeper than sexually acting out that are still there even if they stop sexually acting out and are 'sober'... am I right or what?

kayaker55 posted 5/28/2018 19:00 PM

Bang on number 4.
That was key for me to finally learn about SAs
Intimacy Disorder. None of my ICs talked about it.I learned of it here, and then started reading.
Before seeing the light I was focusing on all the beautiful strippers, hookers, APs that were getting his attention...and how he was choosing that over me.
It had nothing to do with me...he couldn't connect intimately with me...he is Disordered. And has been all his life.
Allowed me to realize I can't fix this marriage. He needs specialized help and I focused on healing me and how for 30 years I missed this.
Crucial for anyone dealing with a SA to read up on Intimacy Disorders in my experience.

marji posted 5/28/2018 19:43 PM

Number Social connection, talking small talk, talking big talk, listening, attentioning--being present, being into other people, curious, noticing--this is all the stuff our C has been coaching H into for nearly three years now--yes, connecting with the SA members, calling, chatting --it's all about getting out of his shell--getting beyond his isolated self.

And now I do see change so I think with the right counseling and with lots of time it's possible. But it's very hard to change basic modes of being. My H was the shy and quiet one--and the very very boring one. I used to joke with one of my friends that if I die I want "boredom" as cause of death. He was "nice" enough but o so boring. At some point he'd actually fall asleep at dinner with friends or family. Totally disinterested, totally uninteresting.

But Number if you've made it very clear that that is no longer acceptable to you, that you might just find it no longer tolerable given the extra layer of betrayal (since now I consider that social withdrawal a form of betrayal) and if he commits to changing I think it's possible. Very hard, very long time in coming but possible.

Funny but for years I had expressed my discontent with my H's personality and when I finally saw the huge cash withdrawals each week it was she who suggested the parlors--that kind of betrayal just fit his withdrawn, non communicative self. It wouldn't have been a real affair with real emotions.

So yes, the ones who engage in EI, the ones who are SA or borderline or "sort of" have serious intimacy issues and those become what needs the real hard work once the acting out has stopped. For some that's the hardest part of all.

Lifeexploded posted 5/28/2018 22:29 PM

This whole last page is all about my husband too. I think he is better than some of yours, but i remember the difference whe. He was a drinker. Like when he was in the military before we got together. He would screw a different woman nearly every weekend. So obviously he had to be somewhat interesting to accomplish that. But now, sober, be cant hardly carry on a conversation with me in public. He is too worried other people will overhear. And what are they thinking? Yada yada.

It is getting old and tiring. I am tired of trying. I realized I am the only one making sure he does his work, read books, listens to podcasts, calls his accountability partners, does work with me, etc etc. So i stopped. And wouldnt ya know it, so did he. And, he has relapsed with masturbation 7 times in as many weeks.

Poor baby, we arent having sex (only one time since our 10.5 month old was born), and we arent close. And he feels like i dont love him. Wah wah. Its a vicious cycle. He doesnt try to work recovery or improve our relationship, i dont feel safe, i pull away, no affection, which perpetuates his feelings of worthlessness, so why should he try anyway.

So he masturbated today, told me about it, and we were having a discussion about it like we always do. We get to talking about how i feel like he should be taking the lead on recovery, reconciliation, etc. He said he doesnt think he should be the only one working to fix the relationship. All i could think was "oh really? You managed to fuck it up all by yourself with no problem. Pretty sure i didnt help you with THAT!!!" i am really proud of myself that I didnt say that outloud.

He also said he felt it coming (the relapse, he knew he was tempted) but felt like he couldnt talk to me about it because i had been in a bad mood. Totally untrue. I have been jn a perfectly fine mood, its just his addict brain not wanting to take full responsibilty. So childish. Its really getting old.

Lately i have been having little fantasies in my head about what i would do if, in a perfect world, i wasnt married to him and could support myself and the kids financially. I have noticed that most thimgs are social things like hanging out with people he is jealous of, try out for community theater, go out for drinks with friends, etc. He really is such a boring person and reading your comments above kind of connected the dots for me.

number4 posted 5/28/2018 23:18 PM

So obviously he had to be somewhat interesting to accomplish that.

I wouldn't count on that. I think of the four affair partners my H had, and they weren't looking for interesting. They were all Chinese immigrants who he met through work, who saw a successful white male and thought they could ride on his coattails. So they worshipped him for his position, stroking his fragile ego and he ate it up. All they ever talked about was work. How interesting can that be after a few fucks? They just felt better about themselves that they got the attention of someone up the work chain from them. All this despite none of them having any reporting role to him, so he was in no position to help them at all. They were just stupid. The only one who really hoped to take him away from me is the only one who knew anything about me, or was interested in doing things with him other than fucking. I laughed when he told me the kinds of things she got him to do with her... certain movies, a museum he'd never choose to go to, music, etc. that would be the LAST thing he'd ever do, if HE'D been given a choice. The only thing they had in common was their favorite NHL team, and they did go to two games. There were no other overlap interests. She never asked him what he wanted to do when they went out on their dates in public... because she knew if she asked, he'd suggest something so unappealing to her, she'd have to injure his poor ego and say no.

You're giving some of these cheating bitches too much credit. Although deep down, I know in the end, they are just as damaged as our partners are, they KNEW (at least in my case they did - H never took off his wedding ring) he was married; who chooses to get involved with someone who is married? Someone with a serious intimacy disorder, just like our husbands. But sorry, I have no sympathy for them, perhaps because, again, they knew he was married, and #4 was devastated when he ended it with her. All her fault. Don't go after a married man, especially if you want to start a family, and he says no way, been there, done that.

secondtime posted 5/29/2018 15:42 PM

So, last night DH let it slip that he doesn't feel the need to be accountable to me, and apparently never has, with regards to his SA.

And, by accountable, I mean telling me he knows he's getting close to slipping, slipping, or relapsing. I never asked for details. All I asked for was a heads up so we could make sure he got the help he needed (in terms of schedule jockeying) so that he wouldn't relapse.

He said he realizes now the first time around was a failure because he wasn't accountable to anyone but himself. He was just using a therapist, when he was working his recovery initially a decade ago.

He told me last night that he feels accountable to the 12 step group, his sponsor, and I was tossed in at the end like some afterthought.

I'm not sure how to even begin processing this.

marji posted 5/29/2018 16:40 PM

Secondtime Im wondering about the tone and way he said this to you. The way you've expressed it here it sounds as though he sounded arrogant, smug.

Arrogance is a serious defect according to SA. It's one of the most awful defects. Smugness too.

Accountability? Doesn't he owe that to everyone he shares his life with? Especially you?

If any conversation with your H about anything at all, anything, has you feeling like an afterthought, has him sounding smug and arrogant and insensitive that sounds like he needs to be working his 12 step program much harder.

Please do not doubt your worth. Do not even think about the term "over reacting" though you might want to consider working more to do things to make your feel good and happy, work more to detach-after letting him know he needs to work more toward the humility that 12 step encourages along with acts of love.

[This message edited by marji at 4:41 PM, May 29th (Tuesday)]

Lionne posted 5/29/2018 17:11 PM

You CANNOT be his accountability partner. Not and stay sane. It's simply too traumatic. Each time he is triggered, it triggers you. Then you start to see slips and relapses all over the place. It's not your job to make sure he has scheduling freedom, as long as you think this, it disables your ability to detach from the addiction. It's your own stinkin, thinkin talking.
You have to realize he is going to be triggered, going to have his own demons to fight. Alcoholics often crave a drink smokers a cigarette YEARS after becoming sober.
What matters is what HE does about it and what you do in the meantime to be healthy. And it's NOT involving yourself in his work. His fellowship, his CSAT, THEY are the ones equipped and tasked with potential slips.
An addict works recovery for themselves. Only. It just doesn't work unless that's the focus.
His responsibility to you is that he be as transparent as possible and give you a clear and definite plan that he will undertake if he's triggered. Your responsibility to yourself is to learn to trust yourself, understand that you have your own plan if he betrays set boundaries.
It's a lonely life being married to an addict in early recovery. They remain selfish but that's how they MUST BE. It's not forever, they ultimately start to take on the task of healing a relationship by taking full responsibility, but early on (a time frame varies from addict to addict) it's still had to be all about them.

Lifeexploded posted 5/29/2018 17:57 PM

Number4, this was before we got together. They were one night stands. I meam, i doubt these women let him bed them after an evening of staring across a table. He must have been interesting to a point. And it was the alcohol that allowed that. Without alcohol he isnt much fun.

My husband is accountable to me. He might tell me he was tempted to masturbate but didnt, did but stopped before the big finish, or that he followed through. He does t always tell me if there is a slip, but if he doesnt then there is always a relapse which is followed up by him spending a night on the coucb. Which is fine with me. I prefer him out od the bed anyway. Its frustrating amd disappointing but i use it as my opportunity to netflix in bed. He doesnt have anyone else to be accountable to. Or doesnt think he does rather. I just stopped micromanaging. Either he does recovery or he doesnt. If he does it because i am making him, then it isnt real recovery so i might as well not bother or waste my energy.

Lionne posted 5/29/2018 17:59 PM

Friends, there is a wonderful post in Divorce and Separation by Chili. It's very clarifying.

number4 posted 5/29/2018 23:47 PM

His responsibility to you is that he be as transparent as possible and give you a clear and definite plan that he will undertake if he's triggered.

Exactly! He may share his plans with you, but you absolutely should not be his accountability partner. That puts an incredible amount of pressure on you, which is unfair. If he slips, will that mean he tries to blame you, because you're his accountability partner... perhaps you didn't ask often enough what he was doing all day long, or into the evening when you were out... so he slipped? That won't work. He has to have someone/something else. When you mentioned his 12-step group, I wondered if he shared that because he sees his group as his higher power; many people who are agnostic or atheist (or for other reasons) see their group as their higher power that they are accountable to for their actions. He is more likely to reach out to someone who is going to help get him back on track with sobriety that won't yell at him, shame him, deride him, like us spouses will if they tell us about every possible trigger or slip. The sooner he reaches out to someone to let them know he's triggering, the more likely he will keep from a complete slip, and that's what you want. You definitely want transparency, but not accountability.

If I'm close to slipping in my recovery, I'm not going to reach out to someone who is going to be hurt from my slip; I'm going to reach out to someone who understands the program and can give me the tools I need to stay clean... and that wouldn't be my spouse. Now, if I find myself in a pattern of behavior over time that I'm really working hard on, and am discovering tools that are helping me particularly with the help of a therapist or other 12-step member, I might share that with my spouse. I have a dear friend who I met 20 years ago in ACOA. Although neither one of us is currently active with ACOA (she moved away and doesn't have a group near her, and I didn't like the direction the group took), when I feel triggered, I reach out to her first, because I know she will tell me, with love and firmness, that engaging in that behavior is not healthy and I ultimately will feel like shit if I go through with it. If I were to call my husband first, he would react out of anger, which (at least for me) would propel me into doing whatever it is I was contemplating doing! My friend might even tell me, "I get what you're feeling, and if I were you I might be thinking of doing the same thing, but you and I both know it wouldn't end well."

number4 posted 5/29/2018 23:58 PM

Number4, this was before we got together. They were one night stands. I meam, i doubt these women let him bed them after an evening of staring across a table. He must have been interesting to a point. And it was the alcohol that allowed that. Without alcohol he isnt much fun.

Not proud to admit this, but in college particularly (I was a virgin until age 18), I was pretty promiscuous. If I had enough alcohol in me, the guy could be boring as hell (and some were), but because I associated physical intimacy with love, I was willing to overlook any personality deficits if sleeping with someone meant I'd feel loved, even if only for that night. Of course, in my mind, I hoped every one-night stand would turn into something longer, but it never did. I was just starting to figure this out when I met my husband... in a bar. He did try to take me home that first night, but I said no - in fact, he told me his roommate left without him and he needed a ride. Little did I know that as we walked out of the bar, we walked right past his roommate (who I had not been introduced to). He did call me several times that week to chat, and we set up a real date. To me this was progress, that I hadn't slept with someone the first night I met them, so I gave myself permission to do so after our first date (yea, talk about love addiction!). Interestingly, I found out months later, it was my husband's first time - he was still a virgin at 21 years old. Anyway, I'm not proud of my behavior - I had no respect for myself, but when I had sex with someone, I equated it with love and I needed love so bad (lots of childhood trauma to make up for) that I sacrificed my self-respect.

number4 posted 5/31/2018 01:24 AM

Can I just say, every time I look at this website and see the thread "Dealing with OC", I am triggered; it was a year ago today (5/31) H found out #4 was pregnant.

number4 posted 5/31/2018 17:47 PM

And to add to my horrible one-year anniversary date, I got my genetic counseling results back today that I asked you all about several weeks ago. I have a mutation on a gene that greatly increases my risks for developing colorectal cancer (and it explains my endometrial cancer four years ago). I was in shock when she called me - luckily I was at a friend's house, so I can't remember all the numbers. She is going to email the results to me.

I immediately texted H to ask him when he was coming home, that I had gotten results back with a gene mutation, and he replied, "I'm on my way." It was about 30-45 minutes earlier than he'd typically leave work. He works for a healthy care company, so having him at my side while I Googled stuff was helpful. But the genetic counselor told me she'd email me my results as soon as we got off of the phone and they haven't come yet. And she's off on Fridays. Ugh. I wish I could just skip May 31st for the rest of my life.

JadeC posted 5/31/2018 23:07 PM

One thing that is said in every SAnon meeting is, "The sobriety of the sexaholic is not your responsibility." This has been my mantra ever since I first heard that sentence, especially when I get frustrated and want to start controlling his recovery and what he is "doing" towards it.

sami1234 posted 6/1/2018 19:39 PM

After 2.5 years our MC recently said "you guys are proof there is life after infidelity, that there is GOOD life after infidelity." I have to wonder what kool aid she is drinking. Then I realized that she is just making herself into a commercial...what a great MC I am that these guys are working through it. I'd have to rate our M at this point a C to C minus, honestly. Not particularly bad, but certainly not outstanding or wonderful. His behavior and attitude is an A minus, but I've lost so much through all of his immoral behavior, things I'll never have/feel again, how dare she tell me there is GOOD life after infidelity. Made me mad, or maybe I'm just not ready...don't think I ever will be. Counselors can say the dumbest things sometimes, seriously.

number4 posted 6/2/2018 01:35 AM

Made me mad, or maybe I'm just not ready...don't think I ever will be. Counselors can say the dumbest things sometimes, seriously.

I think you owe it to yourself and the counselor to tell her how you felt about her comment. If you keep it to yourself it will only hurt you. I know it's not easy to tell our professionals when they've let us down, but she is denying your reality.

I've had several times when I felt diminished by something a counselor said, and I eventually spoke up. It ended up being a good thing... allowed for some clarification on both our ends and she apologized for things she hadn't meant for me to take the way I did. It was just poor communication on her part at the moment when I was in a place of shame, so I took her comments really personally. When we talked it out and I was able to say what it made me feel like, I really felt like she heard me, and we were able to get back on track.

Yes there are some terrible counselors out there (H's first one was) who shouldn't be practicing, but they are human, too, and sometimes need to be told how their comments affect us. I found it was actually good practice to do this with the counselor as I was learning to do this to improve my communication with my H.

marji posted 6/2/2018 05:08 AM

Sami I am wondering about what seems to be the disconnect between you and the MC that you've been working with for 2.5 years.

She seems to have a very wrong impression of the state of your M and, maybe more importantly, the wrong impression of your state of mind, your feelings.

Either your MC is not as perceptive as a good therapist needs be or you are not fully conveying your feelings about the relationship and if you are not fully conveying your thoughts and your feelings then something is very wrong.

If therapy is going right, after 2.5 years a solid relationship should have been built and there would not be the kind if disconnect you're describing here. It's as if your reality, your thoughts and feelings about your relationship have not been honestly conveyed and after 2.5 that seems like a huge problem.

Your MC said something that you say is totally off track; totally wrong. After 2.5 years that must have been very frustrating to hear but Im not sure what you mean by "how dare she tell" you what she did.

I want to know what my therapist thinks; I value his opinion and of course a therapist has every right to voice his or her opinion. Therapy sessions can be a give and take, a shared human experience. But your MCs opinion about your M is so completely at odds with your own that I think it might be wise to have a talk with her about this where your fully communicate how you feel and why you feel her impression is so wrong and, if that talk doesn't seem productive to you, you might want to consider another therapist. They are supposed to be helping not making you feel angry and, while they are only human and sometimes say things that are wrong, we shouldn't be continuing to work with any we don't respect and whom we thing is so wrong.

ashestophoenix posted 6/2/2018 06:30 AM

Sami, I got the same thing from an old MC. She was the one who told me how much my husband "loved" me; how "unique our love was"; how we were "perfect" for each other. In other words, she was telling me to stop "complaining." This was before D-day and she was fooled by my husband. In this case, I DID tell her that I didn't feel that way and she basically told me I was "projecting." The reality was that she was projecting some fairy tale that made her feel good at my expense. So, yes, I agree you should say something, and it may be healing or it may not.

My current MC, who knows about my husband's addiction and knows all about SA, would never say anything like this.


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