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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 18

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ashestophoenix posted 7/23/2018 07:14 AM

Dogs - Here are some potential consequences for relapse that I've used:

I stopped doing stuff for him--washing his clothes, making his meals, cleaning up his messes.

I've slept in another room; or he can sleep in another room.

He can go spend two nights away at his mother's. You can go spend two nights away somewhere fun.

I think I had to get to the point that I had to finally believe that at some point I would have enough and actually leave my husband. That actually took me some years in therapy to reach that awareness. And isn't that sad? When I reached that point, my husband could tell I had changed and that I really could leave him. When I knew I could, and when my husband knew I could, boundary violations were easier for me to enact consequences.

ashestophoenix

Lionne posted 7/23/2018 08:09 AM

There have to be consequences for slips, imo. It helps you feel that you have a bit of power in your life. Not power over him and his addiction, but power to insist you deserve better.

Ashes has good suggestions. But also, I insisted on extra meetings, extra CSAT appointments, extra time with his sponsor.

His slips were online, so he voluntarily put away his computer using it only for essential work and while seated next to me.

JadeC posted 7/23/2018 12:58 PM

I was advised to have him sleep downstairs when he had a slip. That's not much of a consequence for him, though, as he works third shift and doesn't sleep with me anyway. Plus, it's quieter and darker downstairs.

secondtime posted 7/23/2018 20:05 PM

Dogs-

My boundaries for a slip or very close to one DH telling me he needs to work his recovery harder..and then I would give him the space to do that.

My consequence/boundary for relapse and lying about it is divorce.

Fortunately for DH, I accidentally got pregnant (the child is a BC and infertility fail) and I couldn't terminate. So I couldn't divorce right away.

So. I now get 4.5 yet, to decide if I want to divorce.

Since DH has been the primary caregiver of our kids, I would owe him quite a bit of alimony. So, to lessen that damage, if DH wants to stay married to me he's going to need to work full time if/when I request it.

I have considered a post nup, in which I get the house.

I also need to check to see if legal separation can be a legitimate solution for us.

I don't trust my husband. That's another consequence. Sometimes, if I'm triggering, he has to account for his where abouts, even if its a quick stroll around his office floor.

I don't feel safe with him all the time. So, for now, I dictate our sex life and I control the level of emotional intimacy in our relationship. If I don't feel safe, it cuddles on the couch and chatting about inconsequential stuff.

I'm also going to insist that I continue going to my craft retreats once a year. I deserve a 3-4 day break a year.

Also, should we divorce, DH will absolutely be explaining why to the kids, in my presence. He knows the expectation is that he will be 100% taking the blame for divorce, and he will make it crystal clear to the kids that none of this is my fault. I will not be made out to be the bad guy in all of this.

Other than that...really, I think the shame, guilt, and grief DH feels for his treatment of me with respect to his addiction is enough of a consequence.


sami1234 posted 7/24/2018 14:31 PM

I have a new IC. He's challenged me in new ways which I like. Some good, some just different. Not sure I agree with everything he says. He is more about looking at addiction and having empathy for the addict. Although my WH has not been diagnosed as an SA (mainly because he thinks he isn't and only went to therapy enough to understand how to behave) He says if I "shame" my WH he will not be honest with me. Ok, well, I don't know that during the D-day period it was my "job" to play therapist and not "shame" him. That was something I couldn't deal with because I had been traumatized. But now, three years out, I think I might begin to be able to have different responses to his behavior and one's that allow for more empathy to learn who he really is. But then, am I sure I want to know?? Do I need to do that to help him commit to true healing?

My IC has mentioned I might want to go to CoSLAA meetings? Do I have that acronym right? Again I tell him that WH has not been diagnosed. My IC says I am dealing with everything that partners of SA's deal with so we can call it what we want but he still thinks I would benefit. Anyone shed some light?

Lionne posted 7/24/2018 18:15 PM

Well, I may just be jaded and selfish. I read this:

having empathy for the addict

as understanding enough about addiction to understand that you have no role in the (crappy) choices they make. Addicts LOVE to pass the blame on to others and absolve themselves of the responsibility for their behavior.

As to an "anon" program, I haven't heard of one the partners specifically with SLAA, but I wouldn't be surprised. I'm betting that no matter if it's called SANON or COSA or COSLAA or anything else, they use an adapted form of AA steps, or ALanon steps. And that means that the meetings are as useful (or useless) as their membership. Overall, the anon way of dealing with life is a good one, except when the term "coaddict" rears its ugly head. I clearly had developed some codependent behaviors to cope with the gaslighting and deception and abuse, but I did not act as some partners or parents of those with visible addictions sometimes do. Most of us didn't, simply because we didn't know they were acting like hound dogs.
I encourage you to go, try 3-4 meetings to see if it's useful, take what you need and leave the rest. I learned a LOT and still use the skills in everyday life with everyone.

secondtime posted 7/24/2018 18:37 PM

Sami-
Only my experiences..not even sure they are worth one cent..let alone 2.

I've never had a full disclosure from my husband. I go back and forth on wanting one and not.

DH is still an addict. Me knowing every acting out behavior isn't going to change that. I will never be able to trust DH with regards to his addiction. So, I don't even know that I'd get the full story in disclosure. I'm not sure anyone would. A lie detector test would help with that, but I'd rather use that money for other things.

I have empathy for my husband, to some degree, because I get the need to escape. I was a self-injurer and workaholic by the time I hit 13. I had no other outlets or didn't want other outlets, so my choice of behaviors made a lot of sense. His choice of using sex to get high makes sense. He stayed away from drinking because one of his grandfather's was an alcoholic. There wasn't the opportunity for drugs..but porn..yes.

Where I don't have as much empathy is I chose to fix myself, and he didn't. I didn't lie to my husband about my self-injuring for 95% of our relationship. My self-injuring didn't affect our sex life, etc. There's a huge difference there.

When I am feeling extra pain from my husband, I sure as hell know how to push his buttons to shame him. Knowing how to verbally abuse a partner is one of the more unflattering gifts my mom gave me.

I've done it 3 times in the past 16/17 months after DDay 2. I did it much more often in the years leading up to DDay1. And no, I would not expect my husband to think I'm a safe person if routinely verbally abused him.

number4 posted 7/24/2018 22:16 PM

Well I learned yesterday that my instincts are waaaaaaay off sometimes. H and I were in the car driving along a route we don't normally go. Along the rural interstate area I saw a couple of signs for adult book stores/video stores, and it made me realize I'd never really asked a lot of questions about H's porn habits. So I brought it up in the car, and said I had a couple of questions. What I was curious about was, when in our marriage was his porn viewing at its peak, that he was watching it more than other times. What I fully expected him to say was in between affairs, or when we weren't having sex. He told me it was during the time of his final affair. i was shocked. He said the only way he could explain it was that it was part of the escalating he needed to get the same high - I inferred that the sex alone with the whore wasn't good enough to maintain the excitement, so he started watching porn more. I asked him if he had told her he was watching it, and he said he did, he thinks as a test of some sorts, to see how she'd respond. I do know from asking him last fall if he ever watched porn with her, and he said he had a couple of times. But mostly he was doing it alone, either early in the morning on weekends when I was still asleep (he's an early riser and I'm not), or in the evenings when I'd be out. He said he also didn't always masturbate when he watched it... that was just sometimes. I'd give anything to know what she thought of him doing that, and if she was icked out when he wanted her to watch with him. This is a woman who told him, despite having been married for three years, and having previous boyfriends, he was the first one she let ejaculate inside of him without a condom - which he now realizes was a big lie - she was just trying to flatter him, and of course it worked.

Lifeexploded posted 7/25/2018 21:41 PM

So I just need to tell someone this. For this, our 16 year old daughter is "C".

We got in an argument today. That's a long story, but somehow it escalated to my husband saying "That's why C hates your guts."

I am just so blown away by his level of .... I don't know what to call it. Asshole-ism. I have never wanted to hit him as badly as I did right then. How dare he hurt me by saying something like that!? I mean how low can you get? Cheating is bad enough, but this? Not sure i can recover...

sami1234 posted 7/26/2018 07:38 AM

Lifexploded: Don't know what the argument was about but it sounds like it escalated to point where, as often happens, people want to hurt each other. What he said was meant to hurt you, and it did. There may be little or no truth in it.

I'd wait until I could maintain my own calmness and try calmly ask him to rethink his statement, see if he walks it back and apologizes. Simply state that you know it was meant to hurt you and what does he think of the statement now some time has passed. His answer would be pretty important if I were you.

If the argument was about infidelity then his going to that level is really much harder to excuse because as of now he should be all about supporting you and not hurling darts.

Think it's important as couples to have a signal to walk away or regroup once an argument gets that out of control. Of course, the only arguments we have had in our M that have been that out of control has been about WH infidelity. I had no control.

Lionne posted 7/26/2018 08:13 AM

My husband was always saying very hurtful things that he later tried to walk back. It simply doesn't work. Despite the fact that he is truly a different, kinder, smarter person, I can still "hear" that nastiness in my head.

Addicts do this. They lash out at everyone, especially someone who is challenging their access and right to their drug of choice. It's not okay, not right.

He needs to take this to his CSAT and his fellowship. It's a sign he isn't in strong recovery.

All MHO, of course.

secondtime posted 7/26/2018 08:15 AM

What do you do with a husband that maintains you come before his addiction, but always puts his addiction first?

This, and the lies, I think will be our undoing.

I have a therapist appointment soon. I'm hoping it will help.

I just don't understand why he still can't be honest. "I love me my attractive ladies. I value that more than anything I could build with you. Or even you."

No. I'm supposed to believe his words, but not his actions.

He's got nothing more to lose by finally admitting the truth. I just don't know why he refuses.

[This message edited by secondtime at 8:16 AM, July 26th (Thursday)]

DogsnBooks posted 7/26/2018 12:02 PM

So I realized I forgot to include this detail when I posted about my WHís relapse last week. He did it WHILE I was away at my S-Anon meeting, which makes it even more f*cked up!!

Obviously Iím still reeling. How do you know if you have what it takes to be married to an addict? I really donít want to leave him but I donít know if Iím cut out for this.

DogsnBooks posted 7/26/2018 21:35 PM

So I realized I forgot to include this detail when I posted about my WHís relapse last week. He did it WHILE I was away at my S-Anon meeting, which makes it even more f*cked up!!
Obviously Iím still reeling. How do you know if you have what it takes to be married to an addict? I really donít want to leave him but I donít know if Iím cut out for this.

But wait, thereís more! This wasnít just a relapse ... no, he never stopped. He still kept at the porn and compulsive masturbation every 2-3 days while lying to me about it for the past 6 months ...

Lionne posted 7/26/2018 21:38 PM

Addicts are completely and totally self centered. Their addiction dues take precedence over everything. Most are incapable of honesty even to themselves. What do you do about it? You detach, you practice self care you prepare to leave if that's your choice.

Don't
Even
Try
And
Control
Him

Slogans are useful because they are true.

Dogs... You are so young. You have your whole life in front of you. Staying with him means you are living with an addict for the rest of your lives. It's possible that he can become a recovering addict but that is out of your control.

That being said, I've learned the hard way that slips are part of recovery. It's always devistating to us. It's important that slips be handled in a constructive way-with his group and his CSAT.

I know many of you feel that he needs to tell you about every slip. Speaking from the pov of someone who's husband had been in recovery for awhile, I don't think you should subject yourself to that trauma. Set your boundaries about what will cause you to leave-mine was ANY contact with RL women. I didn't want to know about porn slips, the ones I did find out about just about killed me. Why? Because it felt like this was insurmountable. I stopped actively looking, stopped thinking about slips, healed myself and watched the whole man. He's changed. He's so happy in his recovery, he's completely different. I trust myself to know if he slips badly. If that happens he'll either get back on that horse or he'll go off the deep end. I'll pull the plug of that happens.

Fighting addiction is lifelong, every single day waking up and resolving to do the next, right thing. Addicts slip.

If I were 24 when I found out I don't think I'd sign up for 40 more years of this.

Holding you all in the *****LIGHT*****

marji posted 7/26/2018 22:07 PM

Dogs so very sorry that you are having to deal with this awfulness and the conflict of not wanting to leave him but not comfortable staying.

You use an interesting turn of phrase in asking how to know "if you have what it takes to be married to an addict." It's interesting because that phrase is typically used when people are asking if they have what it takes to work hard towards a special goal--as in, do I have what it takes to pursue my dream of becoming an actor or dancer--do I have what it takes to continue honing my skills as an athlete--but have what it takes to live with an addict is somewhat unusual.

Im sure you have whatever it takes to achieve your goals in life, DAB. You seem ever so intelligent, thoughtful, caring and kind. You seem very strong and beyond wise for your age.

But another question is, do you really want to spend your life this way? Many of us continue to live with our betrayers on the condition that they cease operations--that they work their butts off to become honest, decent, healthy human beings. Many of us decide not to continue to live with someone who has such serious psychological problems that we cannot trust them to be solid, wholesome, dependable and normal mates.

Some decide they cannot stay married but they can continue to be friends.

And the reasons people do stay can vary greatly; some because of the children; some because of business and other arrangements; some because it seems more practical given the details of daily living. I haven't decided to stay--I just do--but that's in large part because of my senior years--and my H seems relatively safe; if I were younger I doubt I would stay because the relationship has been so badly damaged by the betrayal.

You have no children Dogs, and you are so very young--around here where I live, many woman postpone getting married till their middle thirties--early forties--and you are all of 23. My guess is you'll come to a wise decision eventually--but "what it takes to live with an addict" well, if it's an addict who is not in recovery, if it's an addict who is still acting out, then what it takes are maybe character traits that we hope we don't have.

JadeC posted 7/26/2018 22:36 PM

Dogs-I will echo that you are very young and have many years ahead of you. If you were to find it in your heart that you can no longer stay in your toxic marriage, I don't think there would be any shame in that
However, I advise you either way to continue with your SAnon and therapy (can't recall if you are currently in therapy or not). There is a reason why we were attracted to these damaged people and chances are very high that you would end up with another addicted person.
SAnon and therapy will help you recognize and perhaps change that unhealthy dynamic.
Everyone has their reasons for staying. At first, I stayed so that my teenage son would not have to deal with his dad alone. But I see my husband doing the work (albeit at a plodding pace) and I am seeing gradual changes. My SAnon ladies tell me they have seen some significant changes in me in the last year and a half. My teenage son seems to have turned a corner as far as his hatred for his dad, and we are spending more time as a family.
I think it possible for an addict to change, but they have to want to make that change more than anything else in the world. It doesn't sound like your husband is there yet.
Don't be afraid to use your phone to call one of your SAnon group. I will be pulling for you.

[This message edited by JadeC at 10:39 PM, July 26th (Thursday)]

number4 posted 7/27/2018 13:58 PM

@DogsnBooks - agree with what so many others have said, but wanted to add my experience. Many of the times my H met with his affair partners, I was at some sort of meeting that was for my own self-care. I have been a regular member of DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) for at least six years, and he'd use the nights I'd be at my weekly meeting to have more contact with them. I also weekly had a psychotherapy group I attended, and I know he used those times to sexually act out.

Those were particularly difficult disclosures to deal with. Here I was, out trying to take responsibility for my own recovery so the marriage would work, and he would use those opportunities to act out. It just felt like a different level of betrayal. Oh, #4 KNEW we were in marriage counseling, too, and still pursued him. At least I know he didn't tell her about my psych history - in fact, he told me whenever he talked about me, he told her what a wonderful mother I was to our daughters, and how if it hadn't been for me, he wouldn't have had the time to give to his career (which is one of the things she stroked his ego with... how successful he was in his career). He never dissed me in front of her - only told her that he felt unappreciated and not valued in the marriage.

number4 posted 7/27/2018 14:23 PM

I am really struggling. H got his severance package finalized (got what he asked for) yesterday afternoon, and his last day at work is next Thursday. For the last 2-3 days, I have just felt so defeated I've felt it was necessary to come up with Plan B. Anxiety continues to ramp up, and while the Xanax is still able to help me manage it, I'm finding no real joy in life. I'm pretty sure that no matter how long I stay on Xanax, the lack of joy and happiness isn't going to go away. I am increasingly obsessed with health anxieties, and it's just no way to live a life. My world is becoming increasingly smaller - there are fewer and fewer things I'm willing to do outside of the home, unless they are for therapy appointments, or OT (the vertigo), or PT appointments. I do still see my trainer and Pilates instructor, but I feel like every time I go in, I'm telling them to dial back my workout even more because it drains me for the rest of the day.

So I made a decision yesterday to call The Meadows and start inquiring about their treatment for PTSD. This morning I had an official 'intake' interview. Ideally, I'd like to do anything I can to stay home until after we head out to CA, which we're thinking will be right after Labor Day. I want to be able to put closure on the 29 years we've lived in the Midwest. Both our daughters will be in town next weekend, and it will be the last time our nuclear family will be in Illinois together, with me and my H calling this our home. So I want to do whatever I can to make sure that happens. And so then the next goal would be to stay here until we can get out to CA (we have to drive one of our cars - will ship the other - because of our pooch), then if I'm still in the same place I am now, go to The Meadows then. In the meantime, the intake counselor has all of my paperwork lined up, and I could literally leave at a moment's notice.

As I shared my story, going back to my childhood trauma, hearing myself repeat it, I realize exactly how much stress I'm under, and how I can't seem to get my feet underneath me. I don't know how I can move forward without dealing with some of this stuff. The downside? Well, they made it clear they will wean me off of the Xanax. I get it; it's hard to do the deep therapeutic work when a benzo is altering your mood and numbing some of the traumatic feelings. Unfortunately, my psychiatrist left town on Wednesday and won't be back until next Thursday; I forgot, and sent her an email and got back an auto-response telling me she was out of the office. She has a backup for emergencies, but I have no idea who this guy is, and have no desire to run my history past him.

So we'll see how this all plays out. If I go to The Meadows, I will have no computer access the entire time I'm there, so I'll go dark on SI. Would like to think I'd give you guys a head's up if/when I decide to go so I don't just disappear off the face of the planet.

Ifeelalone posted 7/27/2018 14:46 PM

Dogs, my beloved csat counselor told me on our first meeting, "I don't know what is in your husband's future, but we need to work on you- because what we don't want to happen is for you to ever end up with another sex addict". For some reason, we were drawn to these people. Mine was sick when I met him, I just didn't know it for 10 years. I'm 2.5 years out from discovery and it still consumes a good portion of my life. Every decision I make about my future and my kids future and my future with my husband has a contingency plan attached for what I'll do if he relapses. This is his sole chance to get it right. I have three children and the thought of leaving them (young) with someone whose behavior was so destructive was more terrifying than staying. I had the addict who loved acting out. Orgies, threesomes, men, women you name it. He never paid anyone. Like lionne said, he's come a long way, but even when I think he's being genuinely sincere and honest, I part of me wonders if he is swindling me again.

You're in my thoughts and prayers.

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