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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 18

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number4 posted 4/9/2018 17:13 PM

sami1234 - It has taken H nine months to 'get' that he has to do his recovery for him, and not for me. Our marriage in repair is the by-product of him doing his recovery. He expressed to me very early on that he wouldn't be doing this recovery for himself if I chose to leave him. As of last week, he finally admitted that he is motivated also now by his desire to change who he is, along with the marriage. People who have such low self-esteem (I've been there, I get it) need a lot of time to internalize that their recovery is for them first, then their loved ones. It takes time, because the addict has to basically admit sh/e is worthy of a life in recovery. Because I'd been through this realization many, many years ago, I was prepared to be patient with H when he kept saying, "I'm only doing ____________ (fill in recovery tool) because I don't want to lose you." Now he sees it differently. When you're filled with so much self-hate, shame and self-loathing, it's hard to want to change for oneself.

I do think there are (and will always be) addicts out there who never reach that point of grasping they are worth the work they're doing. But I also don't think it happens in just a few weeks, nor can it be an external message (from you); it has to come from internally, and that takes time. I think the abstinate behavior can begin at day one, but as time progresses, they have to, at some point, be able to understand they are worth it. For those who have never been to a 12-step meeting, almost all of them end with the group gathering in a circle, holding hands, saying the serenity prayer, and ending with (a variation), "Keep coming back; it works if you work it; and work it because you're worth it."

The BS is always going to have to make a choice whether they're willing to stick around to see recovery unfold... whether they have the patience for it or not, but it will take time and it's not linear.

Oh, the recovery chart... yes H has done a couple of them, one in inpatient rehab, and one as part of his 12-step group. It's a pretty common tool to use.

Lionne posted 4/9/2018 18:50 PM

I'm not familiar with that kind of bullseye chart. is it possibly his inner and outer circle behaviors? That's very different. here's a description from SAA

In the inner circle we put the sexual behaviors we want to abstain from, the ones we consider “acting out.” ... In the middle circle we put behaviors that may lead to acting out, or that we are not sure about. In the outer circle we put healthy behaviors that enhance our life and our recovery.

Lionne posted 4/9/2018 18:58 PM

I think that identification of inner circle motivations is key. Too often,,addicts don't know how they get to sordid situations, or blame others for why they are there. This graphic is an important step for them. Understanding it happens over time.

AA has a slogan that serves us all well when we are tempted to overeat, over shop, over medicate, etc.

This handy acronym reminds us to take a moment (HALT) and ask ourselves if we are feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. It seems simple enough, but when these basic needs are not met, we are susceptible to self-destructive behaviors including relapse.

But it is still ABSOLUTELY not about you keeping up the healthy activities. It's on him, it's ALL on him and his recovery work.

My husband has many interests and talents. So does my alcoholic son. While in active addiction, these hobbies just disappeared from their lives. It's up to them to feed the healthy parts of their brains. it's actually one way I accepted that they were in real recovery.

sami1234 posted 4/9/2018 19:33 PM

Many many MANY times in this marriage I have been Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired to the point of distraction. But I have NOT resorted to self-destructive behaviors. Not once. To me this is a sign of addiction, but WH has not actually been diagnosed as an SA but was just told to "be careful" by his IC...meaning that he was showing signs. I think he definitely shows elements. As he tells it his behaviors escalated from five years of EA's to one year of PA's. Of course...who really knows. He told me his behaviors are not "likely" to return again as the circumstances of that time are not likely to repeat themselves. Do I hear someone NOT taking responsibility? Read my bio, thoughts?

Lionne posted 4/10/2018 07:58 AM

Many many MANY times in this marriage I have been Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired to the point of distraction. But I have NOT resorted to self-destructive behaviors. Not once

I do. I eat too many carbs, distract myself from my emotions by cleaning things that don't need cleaning, watch mindless tv for far too long, etc. I shop but don't buy. It's obviously not as destructive as drinking or surfing for porn, but it's not the best use of my energy. The fact that you aren't doing this is very commendable.

And yes, he's ignoring reality. A compulsive person, or an addict, will explain away their poor choices. And invenr a reason to act badly.

I'm always wary when an addict says "it will never happen again." It speaks of complacency and an ignorance of addiction science. Addicts need to be constantly self monitoring.

[This message edited by Lionne at 8:02 AM, April 10th (Tuesday)]

ashestophoenix posted 4/10/2018 08:16 AM

number4, thank you for your gift of hearing and understanding. Finally my truth is validated. After decades of deceit and gaslighting by my husband, and gaslighting by therapists, it is so healing to be able to say my truth and have it recognized.

My marriage is so lonely. It's an emotional graveyard. My husband is truly intimacy averse. Deeply. It's not me. It's soul killing, though, to live with these intimacy anorexics. And a sober anorexic is easier but not a true partner.

For those of us getting crummy advice from therapists, I'm sorry to say it happens frequently. Therapists can be life saviors but they can also do tremendous damage. I am being treated for therapy induced trauma in addition to other trauma, and the irony is I need a good therapist to help me. If they don't know about this addiction, they'll not understand our reality. They'll do "traditional" marriage counseling which will not work for us.

I don't think we, as partners, need an official diagnosis of SA. Once we learn about this addiction, and see the effects of our partners' behaviors on us, we can "diagnose" it on our own. Were they out of control and sexually acting out? Were they using their acting out to self soothe, to escape? Are they stunted emotionally and immature? Are they intimacy averse? Can they have healthy sex? We know the answers to these questions.

samil, the bullseye isn't instructions for us; it's an illustration for the addict. We are not responsible for fulfilling their need to learn healthy behaviors. I got a LOT of this when my husband was in mid-recovery..."You need to do X so I won't relapse." Bullshit. This is bullshit. They are responsible for their behavior. They are responsible for managing their lives. They are responsible for managing their emotions. And because they were addicts and stayed as emotional toddlers, the burden is on them to grow up. I no longer play the nurse/caretaker/mommy for my husband. Great way to kill my desire to demand that I play those roles.

HALT is for them; not us. They have proven they can't manage their lives in a healthy manner and they need to learn to do so, and they can NEVER become complacent. Imagine having to learn this after spending a life time doing everything half assed and blaming everyone for your mistakes.

Of the gazillion differences between me and my husband a big one is I want to address my trauma. My husband is such a scared little boy he doesn't want to look at his, but he has to if he wants to achieve some sort of redemption.

ashestophoenix

[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 8:17 AM, April 10th (Tuesday)]

Sherlytemple posted 4/10/2018 09:03 AM

Hello Ladies... just a quick note to tell you all that you are ALL AMAZING.

I read your words and CLING to them. Struggling lately.

THANK YOU

Lionne posted 4/10/2018 13:13 PM

HALT is for them; not us

True. But it's one of the things that I learned in 12 steps that helps me control my reaction to life.

Not all of us need all aspects of SANON and similar programs. Many of us see degrees of codependency or other dysfunctional behavior in ourselves. It's absolutely imperative that we focus on finding healthy behaviors for us.

Ashes, I worry about you, too. I know the reasons you are staying, those are valid. I hope you are continuing the self care you know you deserve!

sami1234 posted 4/10/2018 14:05 PM

Lionne: I don't see those as self destructive behaviors, but rather coping mechanisms. Sure, I have had an extra glass of wine, or two, cleaned everything in the house, gone shopping, etc. But I haven't gotten crazy drunk and done things I regretted, cleaned for three days straight without fulfilling other obligations or shopped until I've maxed out our credit on things we don't need. In other words it's all still somewhat within my control. I think we are fine...have a cookie or two on me

because they were addicts and stayed as emotional toddlers, the burden is on them to grow up. I no longer play the nurse/caretaker/mommy for my husband.

ashestophoenix: Couldn't have said it better myself. The times he has said..."all of this is just proof that I really NEED you". Well I don't need the burden, I want him to fix it himself. My theory is that I can't have a successful relationship with someone who is not whole in and of themselves. For some reason my whole life people/friends have turned to me for advice a shoulder to lean on, etc. I'm always the strong one. I'm done with that.


Lionne posted 4/10/2018 14:13 PM

I'm always the strong one. I'm done with that.

Hah! Let me know if you're successful!

I was a gym rat prior to d day. I stopped going and became pretty paralyzed. I deeply regret that. And you are right, some of this is coping. But I think it's important to be cognizant of any actions that cause us to become less healthy.

It's all about moderation. And SELF CARE.

JadeC posted 4/10/2018 17:22 PM

My husband has been having a rough time at work this week. This morning (he works overnight) he came to me and asked if I might consider taking off the filter program on the downstairs computer "just for today". He's been having urges. I told him I was in the middle of something,(I work from home), but when I was done, we could discuss it.
All the while, I was hearing from SAnon "The sobriety of the sexaholic is not your responsibility." I wrestled with this for about ten minutes, and then he came into my office and said he wanted to withdraw his request.
We both have meetings tonight and he will talk to his sponsor and I think he'll probably discuss it in his group as well.
I don't know if this can be considered a win or not, but I'm pretty proud of him.
Now I hadn't made a decision on whether or not I was going to do as he'd asked. The CSAT is the one who told me to put the filter on, but then she also told me during our last meeting that I shouldn't be checking up on him or tracking his phone.
I need to discuss this with my group tonight.

[This message edited by JadeC at 11:23 PM, April 10th (Tuesday)]

Lionne posted 4/10/2018 17:41 PM

I don't know if this can be considered a win or not, but I'm pretty proud of him.

I think it's a near miss, but a win.

Don't remove that filter under any circumstances. I agree that checking up is not healthy for you, this is insurance. It's like my alcoholic son, who lived with us at some points during his recovery. We simply did not have liquor in the house, didn't drink if we went to dinner, didn't serve it during holidays. It wasn't because we were policing him, he could have gone out at any time to buy booze. We were simply supporting his recovery and setting an example for him.

sami1234 posted 4/10/2018 19:40 PM

Haha, Lionne I like your sense of humor. What I meant to say, is that I will no longer make excuses for him, or do the hard work for him, he has to do that on his own! I totally agree, we are having sooooo many talks about mindful living, mindful decisions! New concept for him apparently.

JadeC: yep, don't remove that filter!

Smjsome1 posted 4/10/2018 20:25 PM

Jade - That sounds very stressful! I agree with Lionne, do not take it off!

My experience is this -

My husband has a program on his electronics suggested by IC, which the IC at the time (we went thru some real problem ICs for a while) wanted me to install and it would report to me

That was a bad idea, as I am not his parent/jailer, he “has to be responsible for his recovery”, etc.

Basically it has false positives so to speak which need checking and after the second one I demanded that I no longer wanted to be his “administrator”, it was too upsetting and interfered with my recovery.

he set up to have it go to someone in his group.

Much better for me

JadeC posted 4/10/2018 23:27 PM

I do know better than to take it off, but sometimes the urge is so very strong to just let him have his porno and just walk away from the whole thing.
I mean, this isn't the marriage I signed up for.
As one of the ladies in group said, the decision whether to stay married or not is made day by day.

number4 posted 4/10/2018 23:44 PM

We (H) had a victory of sorts tonight. He's on his first business trip since last summer when all hell broke loose. An item on his list of behaviors to abstain from is having dinners with women from work (all four of his APs over the years have been met through work). As he and his boss (female) were heading from the airport to their hotels (they were staying in different hotels), H was driving, and his boss was texting another co-worker, also in route to the hotel in a separate rental car. Before H could even say anything, his boss had arranged dinner for the three of them once they reached their destination town. As H is driving to the restaurant, all of a sudden it hits him that he will be alone with two women from work for dinner, and I get an SOS text, saying, "I'm stuck in an awkward position." And then all of a sudden his earlier text from when he checked into his hotel hit me, which was, "Going to grab a bite to eat with (insert boss' name)." I know his boss (I did NOT know his APs), so for some reason it didn't bother me, but when I saw his text, I asked him if he needed to call me. He called and said as he walked into the restaurant, it dawned on him that he'd promised he would not have dinner with women from work alone, but he was now stuck since he had the rental car. He said he felt like he needed to tell me immediately, so excused himself before they were seated and called me to tell me. He said if he'd given it some forethought, he would have realized an hour earlier that that's what was going to happen and would have found a reason to get out of the dinner, but now he was stuck. I told him from here on out he needed to think further ahead on work trips, who took care of the rental car, and how he could excuse himself if invited to dinner with female co-workers. He was already coming up with other alternatives for tomorrow and Thursday nights. The reason H is the rental car driver is that I am flying to meet him on Friday and we are driving out to spend the weekend with his brother, so it made it easier for him to have the car rental, as opposed to his boss. Anyway, it was a learning experience for him, that he needs to proactively plan out business travel trips so that other people are not planning his down time without his input. Again, this was his first business trip since last summer, so it wasn't really a habit yet; hopefully it will be going forth. At least I was glad he reached out to me as soon as he realized his oversight.

Lifeexploded posted 4/11/2018 08:31 AM

I confronted my husband on monday. He admitted to relapsing 3 times in the last week, the most recent being sunday night. Two of the times he was masturbating using techniques that didnt involve his hands (dont ask, its beyond stupid, you will pee yourselves laughing). The reason was so that it wouldnt be "blamed on him". What he means is he thought could pass a polygraph. He raised a red flag that got me pressing for more details by stupidly suggesting that we use the question "Have you masturbated using your hands since the last polygraph". LOL well if that wasnt just obvious. Long story short, i kicked him out of the bedroom. He is sharing a bed with our 8 year old who peed the bed last night!!!! Ahahahahahahahaha. He has to stay out a total of 5 nights, one for each relapse plus 1 for each relapse that he didnt disclose the day of it happening. He tried to get me to push it to weekend days and I laughed at him. I guess schedule your jack offs for fridays then.

I am struggling with this so much. How in the world can he honestly think we can have a healthy relationship when he is being so deceitful? Planning his masturbation so that he can sneak it by me!? Grow. The. F*ck. Up.

Oh, and I almost forgot! There were two different things, which after dragging out of him, he tried to tell me that he was planning on telling me about it that day but I had asked about it first. Yeah right. I call bs. So, from now on when I need to confront him about something I guess I have to ask him like he is freaking 3 years old "is there anything you need to tell me about?"

This is so STUPID. I want to be married to a real MAN, not a stupid scared weak selfish little boy who learned how to "please" a woman from pornography and has no concept of honesty or real intimacy. I am quickly losing what little respect I had for him left, which wasnt a whole hell of a lot.

But still here. Still sticking it out for the kids. I feel like i have wasted my life. I made such a huge mistake by marrying him. I feel like i will regret it forever. He told me that is is scared i am just staying with him so he will support us. Well I guess I am the dishonest one now because I denied it and was pretty convincing. It was an oscar worthy performance. Also, it would hurt the kids and i dont want another woman raising my kids. And since he makes shit decisions i cant trust him to choose a good one. I guess the way I look at it is the 10 years before discovery were bad. No love, no respect, all fake. I knew it but couldnt prove it. It i can survive those plus the 2 years after discovery, surely i can survive another 12. In 12 years 4 of our 6 kids will be adults and the other two teenagers.

Wow, i am a debbie downer today. I just dont see any hope at all when stuff like this happens. He KNOWS that lying and deceitfullness hurts me but he does it anyway. So frustrating!

Superesse posted 4/11/2018 08:45 AM

number4, this sounds like the kind of thing my SAWH almost always has a problem with: thinking ahead! It isn’t an easy skill to pick up, I have learned, at least not for mine. Your SAWH also was in a little bit of a bind there, as it was his boss who made the dinner arrangements and usually bosses don’t ask their subordinates about something like that. Glad he at least told you, he could have kept quiet about it and you might never have known. So that shows honesty.

I used to think all kinds of bad thoughts like “why couldn’t HE see this coming?” Everyone I know IRL kept saying I was expecting too much, because that is “just how men are...” Well, I am sorry but I don’t agree that is “how men are,” as a whole. Yet I can agree that some men, those with impulse control issues, seem to also lack “forward thinking.” I mean, if they had that skill, they might have avoided destroying their marriages.

So, in the long run, it is back to trusting. Can he be trusted and if not, how can your life be made safe, going forward?

Lionne posted 4/11/2018 08:48 AM

What a kick in the teeth. I'm sorry. He is an immature jerk. He is also still an addict. The planning, the attempt to elude responsibility by changing his "technique" the defense that he was going to tell you. All stinkin thinkin.

I understand about staying for the kids. And not wanting them to have another person. But can you sustain this? Can you "act" for a long time without it destroying your soul?

You consequences are excellent. Now, if he takes that to heart and attends a few extra meetings, well, good for him. But don't count on it. He had to want to change.

Closing with my favorite phrase, SELF CARE!😊

Smjsome1 posted 4/11/2018 08:53 AM

Jade - I get it! Numerous times I’ve thought, and even said, I’ll just go! You can have all the fun in the world and since you won’t be married, would they be considered lapses or slips? You could just be that weird guy always sexing and such.
But you are right, it is a win for him, he admitted and he saw, and he eventually said no. Small steps in the right direction are steps in the right direction

Ashes - you gave me the same advice about therapists, and I took it, not in time, I see the damage one did, but sooner than I would have, so my damage is not as extensive as it would have been without your advice, I want so say thank you and I now have a great therapist I’ve been with for a month. So much better. I went from horrible, got your advice, moved to okay, saw that wasn’t really working to now very good. I’ve also moved into a counselor led group. Much better. Last night I went to my old group and honestly saw how damaging that was, it was a free for all of random advice and bossiness.
So THANK YOU!

#4 - im so glad he caught and realized - so glad!

Life exploded - I wish I could hug you

I can’t remeber who posted about HALT - WH talked about that this week, he also has the FASTER technique, and talks about Whacks and Lacks. It so weird they need these terms to act like adults. But, whatever helps him to help himself and learn. When he talks like this I feel like saying “preschool for the emotional immature?” But I don’t want to hurt his feelings and I see it’s helping him.

Last bit is for me - I just posted this in general
I’m tired of pain and exhaustion being my only reality, and woke up to an ultrasound picture from my daughter. After many years of dealing with PCOS she is pregnant! Our family grows!
She told me a few weeks ago but we had to wait till today to “feel good”. We are hanging back on the “being excited” for a few more weeks.
So I am not excited at all. Not one bit!
I even forwarded the pic to WH.

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