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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 18

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Lionne posted 12/11/2018 08:26 AM

IME an addict who is sober for any length of time is not a safe partner unless they are doing the 12 step work. Sobriety is not recovery, sobriety can happen quickly but recovery takes a lot longer. Continued attendance keeps sobriety from being white knuckling and reminds addicts to do the next right things. There are four groups that I know of, Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, and Recovery Nation, an online program, I think. There may be RL meetings. I know most about the first three but, even though there are "rules" and dogma that is somewhat standard, the meetings themselves are as individual as snowflakes. In my husband's case, SAA and SA are acceptable groups to him, having boundaries and a formal he finds comfortable. My sanon group fits me. And is somewhat flexible about literature discussed, for example.
12step work is lifelong. addicts continually work the steps throughout their lives in all aspects of life. In my opinion, it should be part of high school curriculum albeit without the religious slant since separation of church and state is vital.
My son has attended AA Meetings for years. Each is different, his former home group is now uncomfortable to him, as people changed, the tone of the meeting did too even as the format was identical. My brother's NA group still has the same flavor it's had for years.
It's essential to find, and work with a good sponsor on a regular basis.
I'm Aware there are other groups, mostly local, faith based ones. They can be just as effective and most do some version of 12 steps even if it's not called that.
The number of people who identify as sex addicts is growing as people become educated to the dangers.

[This message edited by Lionne at 8:29 AM, December 11th (Tuesday)]

ashestophoenix posted 12/11/2018 18:29 PM

WhoamI, it's a long, hard road.

My husband is sober and working on recovering. I agree with Lionne that they have to be active in 12 step...for the rest of their lives. I have done Recovery Nation and it has a partners program and an addicts program. It is a self-guided, online resource that also includes forums. It's not so much a 12 step approach, but a sobriety/recovery approach that works for many people. It was the first recovery workshop my husband did and it set him on the course of recovery he is on now.

In addition to a lifelong commitment to 12 step meetings, I think they need individual therapy work. I also think, for addicts who are men, they need to get into a mens group that focuses on maturity and responsibility. My husband has been engaged with all of these recovery tools for four years. He is sober, and he is a bit more mature. But, whew, he has a long way to go to become the kind of partner I want.

As everyone says, the focus must be on ourselves and our well being What to do about my husband and my marriage comes into clearer focus on the more I focus on me and my well being. I encourage all partners to seek individual therapy with a trauma therapist.

Sobriety is definitely possible. Think a couple of years. Recovery...possible, harder, much, much slower. That is my experience.

ashestophoenix

delilah2016 posted 12/12/2018 15:38 PM

I am always lurking. I've posted a few times, but I wanted to thank Lionne and Ashes especially for all of your advice!!

I am now 3 years past DDay #2 and the realization that my whole marriage is/was a sham.

Sobriety is definitely possible. Think a couple of years. Recovery...possible, harder, much, much slower. That is my experience.

I do believe that my husband is sober, but his recovery is sooooo slow.

He is still very immature when he's stressed. We had a conversation just last night that i feel like everything that comes out of his mouth is what he thinks I want to hear. I have no idea who my husband is. He is still trying to please his parent, siblings and me. I'm tired, so tired of staying when my gut tells me this is a life sentence. Not with his addiction, but with his immaturity.

Anyway, THANKS to all for your posts. I check in most days, but don't feel far enough along to offer any real advice. Maybe someday.

Prayers and Happy Holidays to all!!

delilah2016 posted 12/12/2018 15:38 PM

duplicate post. oops

[This message edited by delilah2016 at 3:39 PM, December 12th (Wednesday)]

bluetears posted 12/13/2018 21:26 PM

You sound very strong Delilah. I too check in and read the posts for advice. My Dday was not too long ago so I can be all over the place right now.

My problem is WH admitted to doing Porn every night but I have proof of him also going to massage parlors at least twice and seeing a prostitute. (Like there is a difference) I asked him several times if he has been physical with anyone since we were married but he denies it over and over. I have not shown him my proof. Due to finances, I'm keeping that to myself for now.

I wanted him to tell me the truth so bad. I think I might have been able to work with that. He says "he's done with porn" and went cold turkey. After reading the posts on SI, I know this is probably not true. (He works out of town) Now, I am planning on filing for a D a few months down the road. How can I even think about a R if he won't admit to anything. I KNOW he would never admit to a problem much less see an IC or be in a 12 step program!

So my questions are:

Has anyone else confronted them and they lied?

Did you confront your WS and have to demand they get help or lose you? How did you get them to get help?

He says he is sorry, wants to be with me forever and just wants "to get past this and move on". He does not want to talk about anything he has been doing. Did this happen to you? What did you say?

I'm trying to give him time to tell me the truth. How long should I wait?

I agree that Lionne and Ashes have great advice. Were you this confused in the beginning? Any help would be appreciated. Also, hang in there Delilah!

marji posted 12/13/2018 22:25 PM

bluetears I am so sorry that you are living this now. They do typically lie, yes; they do typically want so not to have to talk or think about what they have done, what it has caused, what pain, disgust, disillusion they have created.

Some are more willing than others to try therapy and programs but even they can attend meetings and not really do the work.

So your H is not very unusual. We can't really make them react and be any different; indeed if they were very different, very thoughtful, very honest, very in touch with themselves and their feelings, if they were very able to cope with life's challenges in very healthy and mature ways they most likely would not have done what they did.

So I think all we can do is decide our boundaries; all we can do is figure out what we need to feel safe-indeed to even begin to feel safe, let alone respected, honored and loved. We need to decide our boundaries, make them clear to our partners/spouses and decide on the consequences that would be the best for us if they choose not to honor those boundaries.

You say your H would not see an IC or be in a program. If you decide that you will not feel safe if he does not work a program and work with an IC then you can calmly tell that to your H and make clear to him the consequences of his decision to live a different life.

If you are having trouble figuring out just what you need to begin to feel safe again, if you are confused about your boundaries and consequences then working with a good trauma therapist can be of help as well as participating in an SANON program.

About giving him time to tell the truth, I just don't know. Again, rather than giving him time, I would instead try to focus on yourself and what you need and how best to achieve it. He says he is sorry and wants to be with you forever--so maybe what is best for you is to figure out what you need him to be doing to enable that togetherness.

And yes, for many of us, confusion is exactly what we feel in the beginning.

Smjsome1 posted 12/14/2018 10:12 AM

Blue tears - I spent years believing lies because they believe their lies. I hit rock bottom long before he did!

Marji is right, for me I needed help, still need help, figuring out, setting, my boundaries.

I donít know if this will help you any but -
There was not one thing he has admitted to without me forcing it. And seeing me willing to walk away, even walking away, has made him really look at himself and start the real work to fix himself. Because I canít be safe with the addict. And he wi always need to work on himself, always for the rest of his life.

We recently had a discussion about how I donít think Iím beautiful and he told me ďeverything about you is beautiful to meĒ. And laying in bed half a country away from him it dawned on me that he doesnít see himself as anything but a monster, that he thinks I see him as a monster. So I sent him a note that said ďall these years youíve never understood have you? You are mine and I have always loved you faults and allĒ. He told me no, he didnít he only saw himself thru his own eyes as a monster.

Heís always hidden his stuff but not from me, from himself. I truly never seem to get that part, that literally none of it was about me, none of it. But it all hurts me, and I canít live with that.

My trauma specialist IC, my friends here, my group all helped me get to here. Iím still broken, still hurt, will never fully trust, but I heal me and set my boundaries.

veryhurt2018 posted 12/14/2018 11:18 AM

bluetears, I'm so sorry you're going through this. Please know that we all understand on this forum and we can all be there to support each other through this crazy nightmare that we call "Life" right now.

My WH too did not tell the truth for months and just this past Monday I found a bunch more info. I too feel that he won't admit to anything unless I find it first. My therapist (who knows him very well too) has told me that he will not admit it to himself so therefor he won't admit it to his own therapist nor to me. It's very hard to hear. This week, I felt very strong and I gave him an ultimatum and told him that I couldn't stay in this marriage unless he got open and honest with me and also committed to SA or SAA for life. This is a hard thing to commit to, I know, but this is what my therapist has told me to do, and as time goes on, we can change if needed. He will do anything to save our marriage so he is committing to this. I think the way he's going to get open and honest with me is by going to SA or SAA and working the steps. The struggle that I have is that I suffer from mental illness, and he stuck by me through all the crazy stuff I went through to get well about 10 years ago (it was very hard), so I feel like as long as he's willing to work at this, then I want to stick by him as well. The other thing is that I love him so much. If I didn't I would have left a long time ago.

secondtime posted 12/14/2018 13:41 PM

Bluetears-

Addicts lie. It's part of the behavior set. While in no way does it excuse the behavior..at least it is an explanation.

I actually don't know a whole ton about all my DH's acting out behavior. I'm happy with the cliff notes version. It's a choice, I make. For me, knowing that DH is an addict is enough.

My boundaries on DDay 1 were that I was not going to live with an active addict. My husband still had full control of whether or not he chose to get help. He did see a CSAT, but unfortunately he was white knuckling it.

FWIW, my husband was not ready to tell anyone the truth, until he was really willing to accept that he was an addict and wrap his mind around the first step of the 12 step tradition. It took him a long time to get there...about a decade after DDay 1.

I can't say I'm mad or angry about it. He has to process his own recovery in his own time. But, I do wish there was I way that I could have been less hurt in the process.

Lionne posted 12/14/2018 14:45 PM

Did you confront your WS and have to demand they get help or lose you? How did you get them to get help?

This is about setting boundaries. You have the absolute right to set conditions under which you are willing to live. If you have kids, you have a responsibility to expect a partner to live a healthy life.


The key is to word it from your point of view. "I will not live with someone who isn't honest" If you don't (fill in the blank) I will leave." For instance, my husband has trouble with alcohol. My boundary is, two mixed drinks or three glasses of wine (over the course of a long evening) or I will leave the venue. It's not about controlling what he does, which is futile, it's about what I will subject myself to...

Personally, I will not stay if he stops attending 12step meetings, and if he slips, finding a CSAT to see.

[This message edited by Lionne at 2:45 PM, December 14th (Friday)]

bluetears posted 12/15/2018 00:07 AM

I just read all of your responses and had to get up and walk away. The tears just started welling up a little bit. Wow! All of you are amazing with your advice and support! You all sound so strong! I feel so good right now. Thank you!

I have no words at the moment but will definitely check in soon. Be prepared! ha ha ha


DestroyedWife80 posted 12/15/2018 00:17 AM

Bluetears: it sounds like we are in very similar places!!

So my questions are:

Has anyone else confronted them and they lied?

Did you confront your WS and have to demand they get help or lose you? How did you get them to get help?

He says he is sorry, wants to be with me forever and just wants "to get past this and move on". He does not want to talk about anything he has been doing. Did this happen to you? What did you say?

I'm trying to give him time to tell me the truth. How long should I wait?

I had phone calls (to escorts and massage parlors), Waze history (to escort's house and massage parlor), ATM withdraws in those areas on the same dates/times that I could not reach him for an hour at a time. He still denies. Will not even admit to GOING to a massage parlor or escort. I am blown away that they can lie and deny SO boldly!!! It is truly maddening!!!

Mine is also heavy into the 'lets just move forward and stop dwelling in the past' and won't answer any of my questions or talk about any details of what went on.

What is honestly helping me right now- I found a counselor that specializes in dealing with partners of Sex Addicts. She basically says that with my husbands depth of denial, I am very unlikely to get him to 'break' and admit that he has a problem- much less get him into a successful recovery program.

She also says that it will probably be 6-12 months before I am ready to make a decision and that is ok and normal- you don't have to rush into anything. In the mean time, I am stockpiling money, seeing a lawyer, a real estate agent, getting my credit squared away.

Her advice was that *I* need to be strong and ready to give him the final ultimatum- get help, admit you have a problem, do all the Reconciliation work (full disclosure, full transparency, etc) or IT IS OVER. She said the only shot I have is to stay strong and not cave when offering him this ultimatum. They cannot be guilted into admitting their problem and agreeing to get help- they have to be leveraged. What will they lose if they don't XYZ? We do not have a child in common- so the most I can bargain with is our marriage and the home we just bought.

Shocked123 posted 12/15/2018 09:13 AM

Destroyedwife,
Sounds to me like you have a very good therapist. I can't see any other way than for you to focus on yourself as you are doing. At some point, if he is going to deny, even with proof, something will have to be done. I am glad you are planning for that possibility.
My H has admitted to his long term massage/prostitute habit but hasn't come clean about the frequency and duration. I have proof of that but have not confronted him with it yet.
Once day I will surprise him with it, but not until I plan financially, just as you are doing.
Good for you for not accepting his denial and moving on with a lot of rug sweeping.
Keep doing what you're doing.

Lionne posted 12/15/2018 12:19 PM

Her advice was that *I* need to be strong and ready to give him the final ultimatum-

This goes hand and hand in the advice of my IC when I asked her how I could ever trust him. She said that absolute trust is unlikely, that I would feel more safe eventually, IF he should consistent honesty in words and actions. That took time, both for him to unlearn habitual lying and for me to be ready to feel it. But the thing that struck home the best was that she told me I had to trust myself, that I may not know about slips immediately, but that I'd know if he had really gone off the rails. And at that time, I'd learned to trust myself to do what was right for me.

She was right.

Smjsome1 posted 12/15/2018 16:35 PM

Lionne is right, Iíve been thinking there is something, and we are good right now. I finally just said I canít keep feeling this way, and he told me about a memory from his childhood.

Bluetears and Destroyed.
For me it was one affair discovered, which destroyed me, a year ago Aug, and my IC suggested a polygraph. Which horrified me.
But when I saw his face when polygraph was mentioned I knew there was more. And oh was there. Just so you know, I think the initial polygraph was valuable to him seeing his problems, also him attending a group.

Iím currently staying while we go to IC.

So many have told me ďitís the forward movementĒ and I am finally seeing that forward movement.

Having a good IC for yourself, a good support group, those are the important things. You need to work on you.

Several women in my group - their SA will not go to IC, or group, or anything - their pain is so terrible. If at anytime my SA stops working the steps, going to IC - Iím out.

Smjsome1 posted 12/15/2018 16:35 PM

Oh, another thing I find very important, posting here, no question is a bad question!

ashestophoenix posted 12/16/2018 14:27 PM

Confrontation...I've done it all.

First time was confronting him about his porn use. Mind you I found it on his computer (page after page, browser history FULL of daily viewing for hours at at a time) and he lied to my face for about a year. I eventually stopped confronting him and just took it as a fact. This was my year of snooping when I really got to understand how deeply addicted he was a what a liar he was.

I did Recovery Nation and that helped me realize my husband needed to be threatened. So I told him I would divorce him if there was any more porn or any more inappropriate contact with real women. I demanded he get an IC. That was what I needed to do all along...demand a particular action. I actually found him an IC, which I shouldn't have, and I'm glad I did. They have to believe you mean it. At that point I wasn't fully ready to divorce him, but I was so angry and I had stopped believing the BS coming out of his mouth. Just calling him on his nonstop BS helped him to know I was serious.

Fast forward (well, slow walk) four years later and he is in active recovery; 12 step, IC, group therapy, a men's group, MC. He needs all of this.

I needed my own IC. I didn't go the SA route, I got a trauma therapist. Now I know I can divorce my husband. He knows it. I do things differently now.

It takes time and our own healing. I now know I can divorce my husband. In 8 months I'll be at the point it is more financially feasible. I know it exhausts me thinking about how much work it will be. On the other hand, my husband is changing. He is sincere about his sobriety and recovery, It's just that he is so deeply messed up it will take lots of time for him to really mature.

Just today I caught him in a lie about something really stupid. And it wasn't about acting out. And I thought, "Why does he keep doing this when he knows how important this is to me." And with a crystal and overwhelming clarity, I realized, "he does this because it is rewarding to him...he doesn't care about what I think or feel, this is all about making him feel better." He's lied for so long and so successfully (over 50 years of addiction until I discovered it), that it's so habitual for him.

Now that's sobering. It's depressing and scary. The difference for me now is I very calmly but forcefully tell him that this very dishonesty is what will make me divorce him and prevents and kind of intimacy, let alone even a friendship. After whiny excuses for himself, with my not putting up with this nonsense, he finally gets why it is a big deal and he finally gets that this behavior is very, very destructive. Hard for him to stop.

He's more honest than he used to be. He's not even close to having the integrity of a decent adult. He's still a little boy. He's much less angry and much less a jerk, but he's a little boy.

That's my reality.

ashestophoenix

[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 2:31 PM, December 16th (Sunday)]

ashestophoenix posted 12/16/2018 14:27 PM

[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 2:29 PM, December 16th (Sunday)]

Shocked123 posted 12/16/2018 15:14 PM

Destroyedwife80,
How did you discover your H's cheating? Do you know how long this has been going on?
How do you know he's an addict? Has he ever spoken to a therapist or CSAT?
I am asking because my H behaved in much the same way as yours and even with all the "evidence", his IC maintains it was not an addiction or at least if there was a compullsion, it is over and done with now.
Is your H able to explain how he will manage his triggers to do such things? Has he reassured you that he has no urges, no propulsion towards seeing any of these types of women again when he is stressed or whatever else was his excuse?
I'm asking you this because moving on with things is not a solution. Something deep inside you H made him do this.
Unless it is uncovered and dealt with, unfortunately there is a chance of it starting up again.
This has been explained to me time and time again and it is the reason I have raked my H over the grills countless times over the past 8 months. I wil not let up until I either uncover enough to be satistifed that most of the truth has been unveiled or until the reason he did this is understood by both parties.
I also will never love him the same way, nor will I ever truly let my guard down again.
I hope your H will start talking to you more and that you can find some answers. I know what it's like to walk around thinking why? All. day. long.
So sorry for you and your family.

DestroyedWife80 posted 12/16/2018 15:50 PM

ashestophoenix-

I too am seeing a trauma therapist. I am still in the very early stages with her- but I am slowly seeing the path lit up in front of me- I can see where she is going with it...and that is very enlightening for me and makes me feel very hopeful! She said last time "you will love your self out of this" and that resonated with me. She also echoed your sentiment that the ONLY thing to get them to change at all is threat. What are you taking from them? How will their life be ruined if they do not agree to the changes? AND- she also confirmed what you said about YOU/ME (the BS) needing to be 100% ready to stick with following through with the consequences and be strong enough to make it look convincing. She also said I am not 'there' yet and that is 'ok'. She said she will get me there

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