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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 18

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veryhurt2018 posted 8/31/2018 10:25 AM

Twentyplus, I'm sad sad to hear that you wished you would have left in 2011 even though your WH is sexually sober. I'm just beginning this process (3 months since DD) and I hope to get through it as I love my WH very dearly. I hope you find peace with your life and can be happy.

Since my DD (5/9/18), I/we have made a lot of progress, but its costing us an arm and a leg to get there. I think we've spent $20K on therapy etc. and that's killing our bank account. All worth it though if we get through this married. Actually, I think it's even worth if if we don't stay married because we have to get through it either way.

WH just wrote me a letter and read it to me last night that he wrote with his therapist that was a big step for him. It was taking the "blame" off of me (which he kept doing) and putting it on him, finally. He admitted that he had an addiction, which is the first time he has said that. For us, I discovered his problem very early on, so I'm hoping because of that, he can recover quicker and stop damaging our relationship. My fear is the issue of relapse. It will be hard for him, as I'm the one that does the finances, and now I monitor the cash very, and only give him a certain amount, of which he has to bring receipts to get more, that will be hard to relapse. What are your experiences with this?

Lionne posted 8/31/2018 14:11 PM

I also locked down the finances. He supported this in early recovery, a bit grudgingly, but did it. As time went on. He became less resentful. of everything, really.

Since he no longer had an atm card, and his paycheck was direct deposited, I made it a point to have a bit of cash on hand that he could take if needed. It was never a lot, $50-60, but we both use credit cards all the time, rarely use cash, so that was enough. I wanted him to NOT have to ask me for money, he was dealing with his own significant humiliation, I didn't want to add to that. If he needed more cash he had access to the money and always told me about it, in advance if he could.

He has a debit card now, uses it for purchases, still let's me know if he withdraws cash.

I can't prevent a relapse but I'd sure know about it quickly.

secondtime posted 8/31/2018 14:44 PM

RE: Relapse...

It depends on the nature of acting out. My husband's behavior had/has not yet escalated to prostitutes or cheating.

Porn and compulsive masturbation. Both done for free.

So. It did take me 4 years to get confirmation of his relapse. DH was sober for maybe 3-3.5 years...worked with a CSAT, but no 12 step group.

During that 4 years when he was relapsing, I had asked on occasion, when things were just slightly off. And he denied. I didn't have a reason to not believe him. Plus some of that was when we were both extremely sleep deprived (like sleeping 3-5 hours a night for 13 months straight) because our third kid was a crap sleeper. So it was hard to pinpoint the reason for my gut going off.

I also fully expect that should my husband relapse again, and his behavior escalates, he'll find a way to cheat for free. He's cheap. He has plenty of opportunity. (Our 8 month old isn't exactly in a position to report out what DH does during the day when he watches her. And as the primary caregiver, he not only has access to SAHMs at school, but also opportunity through meet up apps and what not) And he's really good at hiding his addiction, all while giving me the illusion transparency means something. In DH's case, I had full access to his cell phone (finger print) to go on there and look. Still used his phone to get high.

I do trust myself that I'll find out again, eventually.

I always accepted that a relapse would happen. But, we were young at DDay 1, in our early 30s. While I didn't have a very good childhood, neither one of us have really dealt with big stressors, like losing a parent, sibling, or child. I fully expected during times of great stress like that, that DH would likely relapse.

The lying about it is what I don't find acceptable, and will eventually be the end of our marriage.

[This message edited by secondtime at 2:46 PM, August 31st (Friday)]

ashestophoenix posted 9/1/2018 08:25 AM

I also control our finances and thank goodness. I highly recommend doing this for all the partners here. It's the least they can do to hand over the finances to us. They don't have the maturity or thoughtfulness to be in charge of the couple or family's financial life. Heck, my husband couldn't really be in charge of his personal financial life.

Twentyplus, I get what you are saying. I think the bigger issue than the addiction is the intimacy anorexia. We really do have to figure out as well if our partners are disordered or "just" addicted/immature. My view is that once they are sober, the hard work begins. They have to grow up and confront their fears about connection. And their fears about sexuality. I think they need specialized and talented therapists to do this work. And there aren't many out there, in my experience.

My husband is actually starting to do this work. But it's very slow and it's life long. My husband is 75. A young 75, but still.... He's emotionally very, very immature. He doesn't really know who he is. He doesn't really know how to be honest and authentic. He doesn't know how to communicate. He doesn't know how to identify, express and manage his emotions. That's the work he should have done over the course of his lifetime.

And, now that I see him clearly, he's immature, ignorant, confused and ashamed about sexuality. His. Mine. Anyone's. Given all the acting out, he was stuck at about 9 years old.

Sad and tragic, no doubt about that.


veryhurt2018 posted 9/2/2018 12:23 PM

I think Marji posted about this (Thank you so much Marji), but I just wanted to give you the links. This is a podcast (2 of them) that was on the General forum from 6 months ago about spouses trauma in sex addiction. I listened to both of them and they are both amazingly accurate. I'm going to have my SAWH listen to them too. They are each about 25 minutes long but they are so worth the time listening to them. Here are the links:

Podcast 1:

Podcast 2:

marji posted 9/2/2018 13:45 PM

Hi VH Thank you for giving me credit but credit goes to Superesse who posted on it in the EI group before my commenting on it there. She was sharing the info that was first put on SI by Shellofme in General about 6 months ago.

The issues in our SA and EI groups are very similar as is betrayal in general.

I listened to Part 1 last night and want to listen to Part 2 together with my H. She certainly was voicing what was all too familiar to me. Like the so many others she mentioned, I too said I had been raped. Not the violent kind--but yes, the kind the kind that meant there would not have been consent had I known who I was living with, known what he was doing, known how he could live that creepy double life.

I was a bit puzzled by her saying she had not been familiar with the codependency models that had the traumatized partner being criticized in various and condescending ways since she was certified by the Carnes Institute which pretty much takes that view notwithstanding additional recognition of trauma, but that's probably of no consequence.

Thank you for posting on this and for your recommendation. I think we need to keep trying everything and anything that might be of help and the sharing of information on resources as you have done here is extremely helpful.

Bestthing posted 9/3/2018 08:28 AM

I donít know if I belong here but I can say I already found useful resources by reading your posts.

My husband got handjobs for three years and then moved onto 2 affairs and kisses with 2 other women. One of the affairs lasted 2 years followed by a year of them remaining ďfriendsĒ . With all these episodes, he reported feeling sick to the stomach heading there. Once there he dissociated, either enjoyed himself or did it as quickly as possible to get it over with, but he would initiate another meeting himself afterwards .

With the two women he kissed, it was sort of out of pity and gratefulness that they liked him. He is a childhood sexual abuse survivor and carried a lot of shame about sex that he didnít share with me throughout our marriage.

Addiction also runs in his family. I definitely see addictive personality in other aspects of his life.

I want to know if that feeling of being sick, like he is heading to a dirty desperate neighborhood to get his next fix, not the Hilton to meet his AP, is what sex addict feels. He says he doesnít care of any of these women, yet he canít successfully give up an affair that ended up lasting 3 years. I suspect I am dealing with a sex addict of sorts?

Any comments welcome especially from WS.

[This message edited by Bestthing at 8:29 AM, September 3rd (Monday)]

veryhurt2018 posted 9/3/2018 09:39 AM

Welcome to the group Bestthing, and yes you completely belong here (I'm so sorry for that). My SAWH has finally admitted to me that he didn't actually enjoy the sex as much as he enjoyed the thrill of finding the sex and the acts before getting there. The actual act of the sex was so shameful and he then felt days of guilt about it afterward, but he couldn't stop doing it. He also admitted that in the beginning, he didn't feel like it was an addiction, but slowly became one, which probably happened to your WH as well.

I'm glad this place helps you. Keep coming back. I've only just found this in the last month (I've been in recovery from SAWH for 3 months) and it's been a wonderful place.

Lionne posted 9/3/2018 11:45 AM

Patrick Carnes started the move that identified SA as a condition that would benefit from 12 step philosophy. Drugs, alcohol, both have a tendency to create codependency and even co addiction. When we first went to a therapist group in 2009(?) The group's leader and most of the other counselors were trained at the Meadows. Even at that time the idea of trauma was beginning to peak out. More recent writing from Carnes incorporates spousal trauma as the direction to take for spouses.

So, if older CSATs haven't had retraining, they won't be useful.

The organization that certifies and "markets" CSATs is IITAP, INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE for TRAUMA and ADDICTION PROFESSIONALS. Their website allows a geographic search.

I was clearly made codependent. Trauma, fear a d very real indoctrination from my fSAWH and FOO issues made me a great candidate. My SANON experience was very useful to help me regain my footing even though I can't accept a lot of what is read.

Google "betrayal bonds+trauma. You'll find a lot, including this quote.

Betrayal is a form of abandonment where who you are Ė your interests and wellbeing Ė are continually ignored. It is purposeful and self-serving. It is often difficult to see because the betrayer may be close to you, as with your boyfriend.

Exploitive relationships create betrayal bonds. They occur when a victim bonds (or attaches) with someone who is destructive to him or her due to the presence of danger or fear (often, of losing the relationship). The bond is an addictive attachment to the person who is hurting you. You may try to help them understand what theyíre doing, attempting to convert them to become a non-abuser. You may blame yourself for their behavior. The relationship usually also has positive attributes, which confuses the picture. When you cease making positive choices for yourself, the negative is outweighing the positive and the relationship has become destructive.

I'm not pushing you all on codependency. If you've examined your behavior with a thorough understanding of codependency in mind, then you are golden one way or another. Just give it a therapeutic thought.

Displaying codependent behavior does not mean you have any responsibility nor does it mean trauma recovery isn't your Good Orderly Direction.

Lionne posted 9/3/2018 11:48 AM

PS Betrayal Bonds by Carnes is getting a new edition in February 2019

Bestthing posted 9/3/2018 12:25 PM

Veryhurt, I am sorry you are here as well. I will definitely check out the resources here. When I am on the Reconcile discussion group, I felt my WS experience was slightly different from the others. What you described with your husband seems more similar. Donít get me wrong, I am sure he enjoyed the sex mostly, but he enjoyed the texting in between more. They were not developing a real relationship at all, just escape talk. He seems so broken. I am having trouble finding a way to stay without hurting myself.

Lionne posted 9/3/2018 13:39 PM

It wasn't sex for my husband either. That was really an afterthought. He loved the chase, the feigned "adoration" of the crowds.

Trauma bonds, an excerpt, is available online, free. Very eye opening

[This message edited by Lionne at 3:18 PM, September 3rd (Monday)]

marji posted 9/3/2018 17:15 PM

Whoops, just a little confused here, Lionne. Do you mean there's excerpts from Barnes's book, Betrayal Bonds, or from other books entitled Trauma Bonds, e.g. by Snow?

Also wondering if you're familiar with the APSATS program which focuses on the trauma of the partners and the spouse and based on the work of Omar Minwalla?

Im not sure I see codepency and trauma as mutually exclusive. Maybe it's a matter of attitude toward typical behaviors? The trauma model coaches know that certain kinds of behavior is normal given the violation and the new knowledge the betrayed has about the partner or spouse, e.g. it would be unusual to still trust that person; it would be unusual not to have questions; unusual not be be angry, etc.

How a typical SANON 12-step program fits with that perspective is still a puzzle for me.

Any thoughts?

marji posted 9/3/2018 19:17 PM

Bestthing It is very common for SAs to feel shame and repeat. But if you and your H think that he is an SA then he might want to take the tests that are free and on line to get an idea and then make an appointment with a therapist who specializes in SA. But even apart from labels, sounds like your H should be working hard in therapy and that you might benefit from working with a therapist who is trained and experienced in betrayal trauma. You say you are having trouble staying in the relationship without hurting yourself--Im thinking you mean hurting yourself psychologically; a good therapist can help you regain your sense of self and decide how best to go forward. It's also very helpful to be in a IRL support group as well as with us here in SI.

Lionne posted 9/3/2018 20:41 PM

Whoops, just a little confused here, Lionne. Do you mean there's excerpts from Barnes's book, Betrayal Bonds, or from other books entitled Trauma Bonds, e.g. by Snow?

It seems to be an excerpt of an article call Trauma Bonds, by Carnes. I'll email you the link. Snow's book is called Trauma Bonding.

It actually may be a complete article/essay. Not sure.

marji posted 9/4/2018 06:32 AM

Thank you!!! Gosh, I think we should be getting Ph.ds in all this by now. You deserve the very first one, Lionne. Much appreciation.

veryhurt2018 posted 9/4/2018 08:23 AM

Bestthing, Just wanted to piggy back on what Marji wrote and share the SA test online that we took (SAWH and I both took it and then printed it out and brought it to our therapist). I took it like I was him to compare how we both felt about him. The test that we took is called the HBI-19 Test. If you google it, you can take it online and then print the results and share it. You end up with a number score, and then you can read what the results mean. Our therapist explained to us that anything over 50 is "Significant" and means you are an SA. I remember my SAWH and I scored almost exactly the same about him, which was 49 (his score) 54 (my score), which meant he was a lower end SA. I discovered his problem very early on so that's the only reason it was "lower end". He admitted to me in therapy that he was getting worse over time, so I'm sure he would have continued his addiction and gotten a higher score if it had continued. Hope this helps.

veryhurt2018 posted 9/4/2018 08:32 AM

HBI-19 Test. Hope this link works. Here's the test.

[This message edited by veryhurt2018 at 8:34 AM, September 4th (Tuesday)]

marji posted 9/4/2018 09:26 AM

Bestthing Another test your H can take on line is the one associated with Patrick Carnes; it's an easy Google. I think we are not supposed to post links here on SI without permission from the mods or I would try to do that. It's also about 20 questions and gives an score number. My H was advised to take this test by a CSAT who has all potential SAs take it.

I am not familiar with the HBI test though I think Pathways uses it; Pathways is an SA recovery therapeutic group. I suspect the questions are similar. I think they both require radical honesty on the part of the possible SA and some of the questions, maybe most, have to do with his internal thoughts and feelings, fantasies, rather than behaviors alone.

DogsnBooks posted 9/4/2018 11:40 AM

I have lots of catching up to do! We moved into the new house this weekend so Iíve been very busy.

veryhurt I am mainly the one who handles finances in our house, although it has nothing to do with the addiction. Like with secondtime, my WH did all of his acting out and cheating for free. Actually, my perspective is a bit opposite - I would rather he use his debit/credit card because those can be tracked ... cash canít be tracked.

The Addicted Mind Podcast episodes are very good. I listened to them a while back ... I would also recommend the podcasts Healing Broken Trust (tho more geared to affairs than SA); Sex Addiction 101; and The Betrayed, The Addict, and The Expert.

Bestthing Yes, the sick feeling and dissociation are pretty typical. My SAWH would dissociate big time and often not even remember what he just did or looked at. Now that he has supposedly stopped, he is having recovered memories of some of the things he did as an addict (which has been very painful for me).

Marji I too do not see betrayal trauma and codependency we mutually exclusive.

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