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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 18

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Lionne posted 6/12/2018 21:08 PM

SMJ, I often feel like that, like I am a spectator in a play but I have a few small lines here and there. I think it's roots are in our horrific childhood experiences where we really were invisible. The trauma of finding out our marriage was also full of fantasy exacerbates that.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I posted in Off topic about my current state of mind. I am going to aggressively pursue a curriculum of meditation and mindfulness but I'd sure appreciate any feed back from you guys-my people.

number4 posted 6/12/2018 22:55 PM

I think mindfulness and meditation are great tools to develop. In all the behavioral health programs I've done, they always tout these as key tools to get you through difficult times.

The key, though, is you really need to develop a daily practice. When you practice it daily, then when you have a difficult patch, you're more readily tuned in This is where I fail. It probably says something about my fears, or my not reaching the point where I care about myself enough to make time for this practice. I almost always do better when I have someone I'm accountable to, for instance, I will exercise more when I work with a personal trainer, I do Pilates more when it's one-on-one with an instructor. I participate in a Monday morning meditation group led by a Zen Buddhist priest, who is also a LCSW. I really enjoy this group, mostly because, as questions come up for me about meditation practice, I have a trained professional there to ask and get answers to, which has allowed me to learn more about it, and in reality, it has created more of an environment where I learned I need more compassion for myself. For instance, several months after joining this group, I finally got the nerve to ask how people handle it when they have tinnitus. Three people in our group suffer from this (including the leader) and each had their own perspective on how to try to accept it and try to quiet it.

As another sort of tangent, I've been working with a PT to improve my diaphragmatic breathing. The PTs I've seen are all certified Pilates instructors, and they incorporate a 'device' called an Oov. While most meditation is done sitting on the floor or in a chair, my PT told me she has some clients that use the Oov to meditate on. The position you lie on it forces you to use more diaphragmatic breathing because your diaphragm is elevated a tiny bit above your chest when you're laying on it, so it forces a different kind of breathing that is conducive to relaxation.

http://www.oov.com.au

But when I'm at home, I rarely will set aside time to meditate. There are some excellent apps for people who don't have access to a regular group. The one I have is called Insight Timer. There are thousands of meditations to choose from, depending on your goal, the time you have set aside, and your experience level. A map shows you how many people are currently using the app across the world, so you feel a sense of community. For instance, I just opened my app and it the first screen tells me 410,135 meditations today, and 6478 people are meditating right now using the app. It takes some exploring to learn everything the app has to offer, but for those who don't have access to a regular group, it's a great tool.

Please feel free to ask me any more questions about my experience.

number4 posted 6/12/2018 23:09 PM

Just a quick update on our end. H got the formal job offer in writing today which would require us to relocate 2000 miles away.

I am having my colonoscopy tomorrow (it took me over 45 minutes to write the previous post because I kept having to get up and go to the bathroom!), and if it is clean, I will be good for a year, which would allow me to assemble a new health care team in SoCal.

Friday we meet with our financial advisor to see what creative options we have to get into the housing market there, then we will weigh all pros and cons before giving them an answer. Let's just say I've taken more Xanax since Friday (I was out there Friday until last night - H just got home) than I have in a long time. And I've now had three cold sores in four weeks - the last one I had was probably over a year ago, so yea, I'm stressed.

Would appreciate any positive vibes in the next twelve hours to several days.

Lionne posted 6/13/2018 07:22 AM

Number, I'm holding you in the LIGHT!

marji posted 6/13/2018 08:19 AM

Number Here's hoping all good news on your test this morning. You inspire me to keep taking good care of myself the way you do you.

Thank you for sharing your journey. It helps.

number4 posted 6/13/2018 21:47 PM

I got a clean report! Good for a year. Thanks for the well wishes and good thoughts.

For anyone facing a colonoscopy, ask your physician about a new prep called Clenpiq. The rep dropped off samples at my GI doc's office while she was in with me in the exam room. Only two pre-mixed 16-oz bottles of prep that wasn't the worst thing I ever drank. Didn't have to hold my nose or use a straw. One at 5PM; one at midnight - that was the difficult one - after each 16 oz. bottle, you have to drink loads of clear liquids, and I was up until 2:30 trying to finish my liquids between runs to the bathroom (no pun intended). I think I came into it with a deficit, though; since I'd been traveling the previous three days, my eating habits were poor, and I hadn't 'gone' since leaving home on Friday afternoon, so my body had extra 'stuff' to get rid off. So it took longer for the prep to work, than if I'd been at home the few days leading up to it and had more control over my food intake.

The difference between this prep and the last one I had? H got home from his trip last night around 11PM (he's usually falling asleep by 10:30), and he stayed up with me until I finally finished the liquids and was done going to the bathroom at 2:30AM. We didn't interact too much (hard to have a conversation when you're being interrupted every ten minutes), but he stayed up with me until I was ready to turn off the TV and lights. I really, really appreciated it. Just one more way I didn't feel so alone in a very temporary, but solitary experience.

marji posted 6/13/2018 22:07 PM

Number Good to hear your good news--clear on the test and your H showing care and consideration.

Lionne posted 6/13/2018 22:21 PM

Great news, my friend! And that he stepped up, doubly good!

sami1234 posted 6/14/2018 20:38 PM

number4: YAY, I am so happy for you. And that he stepped up to the plate. Awesome!

I love my meditation, yoga...all of it. A major help getting through all the rough times.

ashestophoenix: I resonate with a lot of what you said. That your sexuality is yours, not his, that you do with it what you want. I totally am there. But then you said it "I don't love my husband anymore." Does he know that? Have you told him that? How do you know that? I feel that way often, but I tell my WH that I just don' t know what love is anymore. I guess that's my way of deflecting. I have often thought I'd like to really separate to test that, to see if I love him, but I know that when we are apart I don't miss him, not one iota. However, when we are together we have fun, I enjoy the sex as it is MUCH better than it was before Dday but it really is not a connection for me. I now feel like we are roommates in a business agreement rather than man and wife. I no longer feel the connectedness I have always felt for hm and I miss that. I see that we are similar in age, so I thought I would ask you if you experience these things if you are comfortable answering.

number4 posted 6/14/2018 23:16 PM

I went through several periods of time throughout our marriage when I wondered if I loved my husband anymore. I was always afraid someone was going to ask me directly, and if I told them I didn't know, that I'd be judged for staying with someone that I didn't even know if I loved... crazy times. But once he hit bottom and made it perfectly clear he was willing to do almost anything to hang onto me, I really began to feel his love. Of course, I was also operating out of a mindset where I'd just watched his best friend die, and I was willing to try to let go of some resentments I'd been holding onto, although it still took a few more months before he came around and began to understand how his resentments turned him into the obstructionist (his term, not mine) of the marriage.

So tonight he came home from work and said to me, "Can we make a decision this weekend?"... meaning about the job offer. I wasn't quite prepared for how much this has worn him out. He is ready to move on and leave his current employer. Perhaps part of it is reminders of how badly he behaved with some of the women he had affairs with. We meet with our financial advisor tomorrow, but started crunching numbers tonight, and realistically, we can do it. However, after he said this, and I had some time to think about it, I made a proposal. I told him I'd be willing to make a decision if he and his CSAT let me come into his session with her on Saturday. Now that she's gotten to know him, I want to hear her impressions on how he's doing with his recovery. I need to hear she thinks he will be proactive, find a new CSAT quickly, and a new SAA group quickly. So we discussed this with our MC counselor tonight (told her he wants to make a decision this weekend), and she thinks it's a good idea for me to join him in his appt. on Saturday. I've only met her one other time, the first appt. he had with her. I am very curious as to how she sees him making progress, and sees areas where he might be struggling more. So once we see her on Saturday, I suspect we will make a decision - I'd say it's at 85/15 that we'll go. And I'm still terrified. But staying doesn't really relieve the terror as he'd always feel he has to watch his back. Speaking of resentments, I am totally dealing with a lot of it right now with his current employer. His boss came in today and threw out a few more ideas of how he could fit in the company once this other person takes over his job, and they all sucked. I had previously gone almost a year without a cold sore, and in the last 4-5 weeks, I've now had three. The stress is getting to me, but again, staying here isn't going to relieve the stress. Over the last 3-4 weeks, every day he's come home from work, I see a minutia of more disappointment in what they're doing; I think he's already made the mental transition. Oh, I did find out the health insurance plan is really good and behavioral health is through BC/BS. Around here, BC/BS is coveted (well, compared to the other providers). So I have more faith that issue might end up working out better than what we have here. None of our mental health providers here are in network; I don't know anyone who takes United Behavioral Health anymore.

Tomorrow will be the year anniversary of when we met with our MC after I kicked him out four nights earlier when I learned about #4's existence. It was the night he told me he'd go into individual therapy ad committed to finally engaging in the marriage work, and again, although things weren't linear, it was the start of our way back to each other. And oh, #4's house finally has a contingency on it after six months of being on the market. She dropped the price 9% over that six months. Even though it looks like we won't be here much longer, I'm thrilled that hopefully selling her house will put closure on her presence in our state, after moving 2000 miles away when H ended it with her.

Anyone on here in the LA area? If so, I'd appreciate it if you could PM me? Thanks.

number4 posted 6/14/2018 23:24 PM

QUESTION/POLL:

Do you ever get tired of hearing people you share your story with telling you how strong you are? I suppose this could go either way, whether you try to reconcile the marriage or choose to divorce. I am so frickin' tired of people telling me how strong I am, because internally I feel as fragile as a piece of glass that's been dropped. I do a really good job of portraying that I'm holding it together, but internally, it never seems to end... it feels like a constant trauma, despite the work he's doing.

I can put on a pretty good show, but what are our options? Telling everyone how good we are at pretending, but that in reality, we're mostly all suffering from PTSD? I just don't feel strong... at all. Am I doing things to contribute to my self-care, but to me, that's about survival. With all the recent news of celebrity suicides, I just keep thinking to myself, "I get it; I get how life can get so bad you feel like suicide's your only choice to escape the pain." I haven't really had any suicidal ideations, but as I said, I get it.

Lionne posted 6/15/2018 00:57 AM

Do you ever get tired of hearing people you share your story with telling you how strong you are?

GRRRRRRRRRR!

Yep. I have heard that all my life. Then, of course, I "have" to live up to that, never admitting vulnerability, never able to ask for help. It's my opinion that the majority of people who say that are ones that simply don't want to hear your issues.

I had a terrible situation in a first grade classroom one year. A child with Down's syndrome was placed in my room along with his two aides, a full time spec ed teacher and a daily speech teacher. I welcomed him, welcomed the challenge but boy, was he MEAN. He hit and hurt children regularly, pinched the nipples of the women who were tasked with changing his diaper (!) They were not allowed to say NO to him and NOT allowed to react in any way because that would reward the behavior. He tried to kick me everyday. He LOVED our songs and fingerplays. He HATED any academics that required a book, a pencil, etc. so he'd go under the table and masturbate.
The other kids were great. We had a lot of class meetings and the kids' suggestions were all about being kinder to C, to make friends with him, to show him that he didn't have to hit to make a friend. Bless them. It didn't work. They gradually learned to fear him. The parents were awful. The father, who worked away from home 3 out of 4 weeks said that the other children were learning good lessons, that interacting with differently abled kids was enriching and they were learning a lot. I replied that the only thing they were learning was that kids with differences HURT you. They didn't get it. And BTW he was a monster at home, the 12 year old sister and 10 year old brother were in charge, mom made herself unavailable. Both siblings got heavily into drugs.
My principal would often say, "Well, if anyone can handle this, you can L." That bewildered me because obviously I'm in her office telling her I'm NOT handling it. But I didn't defer, just decided to keep plugging along.
We, the professionals who cared for him, learned a LOT about medications that year. For us. Not the kid.
I'm not strong. I'm like a roasted marshmallow, hard shell on the outside, complete goo inside. But I hide it well. I'm always the A student, the one that can't fail, and if I'm in danger of failing, I work my tail off to clean up everyone's messes.
I'm sick and tired of it. Won't someone other than me, make a freaking decision and follow up on it?

ashestophoenix posted 6/15/2018 09:01 AM

Number4, great news all the way around!

Samil, I can answer the question about not loving my husband anymore. Who we both were when we married; over the course of our marriage; and now post discovery and in recovery...we are/were different people. Now, my husband is a fairly sober man but an emotional 8 year old and a cognitive 13 year old. He just turned 75. (I'm 60). He doesn't look that age and he is physically very robust. But he acts and speaks in a profoundly immature way. He is desperate to keep my married to him, but I don't see it as love, I see it as need. He's a little boy who needs a mommy. I don't think he is fully aware of this.

I don't think my husband was loved as a child and he definitely doesn't love himself. I think he is so isolated and fearful of people that he really doesn't even know connection. He does show caring for our dogs, but that's about it. And it's only some of the time. Now that he's been in therapy, I see glimmers of caring and concern for me. But they are glimmers and in frequent.

I have told him I don't love him. But remember, I'm talking to a little boy. The reality is we will both be at a significant financial disadvantage if we divorce and we can never make that up given our ages. I have pointed this out to him. The other reality, which I have not discussed, is I made more money and was more careful with it then he was so I would lose more. I also need the health insurance that comes with him retirement program and would cease coverage for me if I divorce. I need that insurance. I have NOT told him this since I believe he would use it as a weapon against me. Someone who loves me wouldn't do that; I can't love someone who would.

What I have said is that I think we should treat each other with mutual compassion and respect given our history of suffering, and be merciful towards each other. We could be as kind and supportive as possible given the suffering that has occurred. That's not love, but it's decency and mercy. But, he can't have this conversation with me...he's not mature enough.

It feels awful to feel this way and to have these kind of conversations. But the reality is, while I do a million less caretaking things, he still is getting a great deal living with me. I still do most of the "work" of adult living. So in my mind, he is a business agreement: I get health insurance and can keep my money; he gets a life maintenance employee.

I am not having sex with my husband. When I restarted it wasn't all that great. I don't want to have sex with a little boy and that's how it would be with him. I also don't have fun with my husband. "Fun" is a whole mindfield of crazy with my husband and his family. It's a big deal for them and they can ruin any good time. They're the kind of people at a family get together that insists "we are GOING TO HAVE FUN" and everyone has to do exactly the same thing. (Can't have fun with that level of anxiety and demand). They'll be rigid and controlling, and make a huge, complicated mess of an event. I remember when we had to go rafting on a river in Alaska. We had to go to the most challenging part of the river; no one cared that we didn't have the skills; they were so anxious to get to fun they didn't plan and bring the right equipment; it was too long, too hard, too anxiety provoking and then there was tremendous anger and disappointment. It was nuts. My husband is the same way: he has rigid expectations and fantasies about what "fun" will be and then is controlling and critical and .... no fun. I remember an old MC asked me if there was anything "safe" we did together and I was shocked to realize, no, there wasn't.

How do I know I don't love him? I'm happier when I'm not with him. Anything I do (go to a movie, the store, travel, watch TV, garden) is so much easier and more fun without him. I'm not permitted to have a need or want. He is still extremely self centered and doesn't show much caring or concern about me. I no longer really, truly care about his well being. I don't enjoy his company. I have infrequent meaningful conversations with him. He has a hard time sharing his feelings. He doesn't really share his life. I no longer care.

Ideally, I would be divorced by now. I have some harsh realities given my health history. I'm trying to make the best of it. My husband IS changing. Maybe he can become mature enough and decent enough to be a friend. I don't know. It's possible, but I no longer am attached to that outcome.

This is all quite sad but I realize, I have been much more fair and kind than my husband ever was: I told him the truth about how I was feeling about him and our marriage. He never did that over our 35 years together. His desperation to keep me, it's not love. It's immature need.

ashestophoenix

Superesse posted 6/15/2018 10:51 AM

This is some great discussion here! And I can SO relate.

I have little new to post about, but I read here every day, and this question: "Do you ever get tired of being told you are strong?" really got to me, as Lionne expressed so eloquently! 🦁😾

As the tallest girl in my class throughout elementary and high school years, this was the perception of others, and my parents dealt with my peer-group teasing and ridicule at school, by telling me I was "above all that" never addressing the pain of their child. In fact, as the oldest child in my FOO, I got recruited into a lot parental assistance, and was told I was "too old for..."

I still remember the feeling of heartbreak and shock I felt at age 2, still thinking of myself as a "baby," when my beloved grandmother wouldn't let me sit in her lap any more, telling me "No, you're too big!" My brother was 14 months younger and I guess it was his time for being babied when she came to see us. I was expected to just accept that I was too grown up now....at age 2? I know a boy of 3 that just recently stopped saying "baby!" when he wanted to be cuddled by his grandparents...in the old days, I guess we were supposed to grow up fast....

I also have a photo of me as a toddler at an age when I was only able to stand because my aunt was supporting me, and a friend who works with children estimated my age in that photo as 3 years old, due to my long legs...

But maybe Lionne is right, the people who say how strong we are just hope they are saying something helpful, because they wouldn't want to trade places with us! They don't know how THEY would survive it, but since we are still standing, we must be stronger than they can imagine?

Also, ashestophoenix, your explanation on your relationship makes me wish for a solution for you, sort of a trial "going separate ways without a divorce." I understand some people get separate houses but have no plans to divorce. In fact I know a man who lives here and his wife lives 70 miles from here....it is not abandonment if you two agree to that, at least in my state. Just wondering if you could talk him into you getting your own place for a time, so he wouldn't have his routines totally threatened, and it could give you long-term clarity about whether you would have a better time without his presence, or whether your time alone is just serving as a relief valve for you, but solo living wouldn't be an improvement? (I have this exact same thought, myself, about my situation. Not sure what I'd feel!)

secondtime posted 6/15/2018 14:49 PM

Number4-
So glad that you got a clean report.

As for sharing. I don't with anyone, really. So I never hear "You are so strong."

There's one person that knows the whole story...that I've told. The only person I would tell at this point would be a therapist or folks in a 12-step group.

Most of this is because
1) When I'm out socializing-the little I do, I don't want to talk about H's SA
2) I learned the hard way that my friends and parents were not really safe for me to confide in.
3) I have young kids at home that still have playdates..and we are involved in scouting. Not a chance in heck I'll risk other parents assuming DH is a pedophile (from misunderstanding of what SA is) and having my kids be ostracized for that.


Lionne posted 6/15/2018 16:09 PM

Remember my comment how I wanted someone else to take charge? Apparently I should be careful what I wish for.
If you read my new post in OT, my sunroof exploded last night, no obvious reason, no impact, etc. It was upsetting but in reality, my dealer already ordered the glass, my insurance company is scheduled to inspect and I'll be out the copay. No biggie. I have a decent loaner to use. But apparently, this is happening all over, car companies are balking on payment/recall/ whatever. There are several class action lawsuits in the works.
Me? I'll pay the money, report it to the highway commission and maybe check out the class action in a relaxed way, no urgency. SAFWH is itching for a windmill with which to tilt. He's angry, indignant, on a crusade. After making sure he was taking his medicine I told him to go for it.
He'll keep at it till another project arises. But if he starts to inundate me with details and rehashing of the unfairness of it all, I'm going to the movies. For several days.

number4 posted 6/15/2018 16:38 PM

@secondtime - I certainly see your perspective, and if I had kids still at home, would NOT be telling anyone. I really only have one friend who knows about the sex addiction who has kids (adults) that are friends with my kids (adults). I trust her implicitly. The other couple of adults who know really have no relationship with my kids; they're people we met after our kids graduated college and launched themselves across the country.

But you're so right about the misinformation out there. You utter the word sex addiction, and many people immediately go to pedophilia. Gah, I hate that there's such a stigma attached to it. Just like I don't tell many people about my having had ECT five years ago. They think of it as they remember it from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest that was released over 40 years ago.

number4 posted 6/15/2018 16:41 PM

I should have clarified... more people know about the affairs, but very few know about the sex addiction. So I do have more people to talk to about that, and really only a couple have said things that hurt or were truly insensitive.

sami1234 posted 6/15/2018 18:02 PM

I think that for most people saying "you are strong" is just something to say that is supportive and positive when they don't know what else to say. Yet, we ARE strong. Strength doesn't come from feeling courageous and brave, it comes from facing fear head on, from being weak in the knees but still staying the course. It manifests by staying in a relationship that you want to fight for but realizing it may someday wrench the rest of your soul dry. That takes a lot of strength, but our bodies and minds don't perceive it that way because we are staying in the midst of our own trauma and fear.

Then again the choice to leave also takes strength. It takes strength to form a new life without our wayward, facing many unknowns, being judge by others for leaving without knowing the full situation (i.e. he seemed like such a nice guy) etc. There is strength on both sides because no matter which we decide, we persevere for what we believe in despite our fear and apprehensions.

Ashes: thank you for expounding. I think at our age(s) marriage looks very different than it did when we were younger. I feel mine is now more of a business relationship. We meet each others needs better than we did before, and I stay for pragmatic reasons. Financially I'm fine either way, but I now have seen the little boy in him that "needs" me and it is sad. I do care about his well being no matter what, and that would be true if we were together or not, but the luster and shine is now gone. It is what it is, we feel more like friends with benefits now than we ever have. I now see that not only are we very different people, we exist on completely different planes and will likely never find true intimacy. On the flip side I do see a ton more maturity and insight in him than ever before and I like what I see, yet I would take the old guy back without the infidelity in a second. This is my side of it...I actually think he is happy, which kind of pisses me off, so I remind him from time to time that it's not there for me...yet...maybe never...and I may or may not be ok with that as time goes by. That's just honesty on my part.

number4 posted 6/16/2018 23:44 PM

Thanks to everyone who answered my questions with honesty and genuineness. I shared some of your responses (not the personal stories) with H after he (not realizing I was spending a lot of time contemplating on how dismissed I feel when someone tells me I'm strong) told me he thought I was much stronger and had more tools than I did six years ago when I ended up hospitalized. I tend to catastrophize, and we talked about how we might handle it if we move out there and I withdraw, isolate, and lose my ability to function. Before I was hospitalized and had ECT five years ago, we had to use a hodgepodge of paid caregivers for a few weeks while my psychiatrist was trying a variety of different medications with me to see if anything would work. I told H I think the only way I could commit to this relocation is knowing if, once we got out there, and I relapsed into the treatment-resistant anxiety and depression, we wouldn't hesitate to hire caregivers again. I told him I didn't think it was fair to him or the new company for him to be preoccupied with my mental health as he's starting out. Yet, I can't promise it won't happen.

I had a major meltdown today for about three hours - for some reason was feeling there was absolutely no way I could handle this transition. I even went with H to his CSAT appt. and she is not worried about a relapse of sexually acting out, which was reassuring. We all agreed before H would relapse into anything like drinking or sexually acting out, his coping skills would manifest themselves as having the workaholism return; then if that didn't fill him up, he'd then be at a tiny, tiny risk of sexually acting out. As I think I've said before, work was always his first mistress. So she said they are going to work on identifying those triggers as they might appear in the workplace of a new job.

He keeps asking me what he can do for me, and I keep telling him I don't know. But today I think I really realized at this point, there's nothing he can do for me... what I need to heal is going to have to come from within myself. And it's incredibly hard to imagine myself doing that because I have such low self-confidence right now. Interestingly, a year ago today, he was spending his first night back home after I kicked him out after D-Day 1. I remember that day feeling completely in the driver's seat, and I'd never felt more self-confident. Oh, to have some of that back right now.

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