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To talk or not to talk...

Lionne posted 4/7/2021 21:42 PM

My marriage is in a weird place. I'm not going anywhere unless he engages with RL women. He is an addict and slips with porn happen. I don't dwell on it because I cannot control it but there are filters on media and devices that he probably could circumvent. It's up to him to continue his recovery work. From what I see, he's okay. But addicts are never not addicts.
We are friends. Good friends that can depend on one another, we enjoy the same hobbies and activities and have 2 great sons, one, married and expecting a baby and one getting married. It should be among the happiest times of our lives.
And it is. Except I still have an underlying anger towards him. For denying me of a normal sex life, for treating me like shit and taking out all his frustrations on me, for more or less abandoning his kids to explore his hobbies. He feels absolutely terrible about it all, works every day to be a better man, and is grateful that he still has his family.
We've talked all this out ad nauseum. He knows I am not "healed" from all the trauma and knows how horribly I was damaged. But I feel the urge to tell him again, how angry I am that his actions destroyed the "we" that could have been. We are weird in that we don't enjoy going out to drink, prefer an ice cream cone, love to work in our yard and garden, we like to go birding and whale watching, and prefer travel that involves nature and cheap accommodations instead of fancy places and old buildings. There are few people who share our kind of lifestyle and, if not for the years of abuse and infidelity, are lucky we found each other.
So, do I express my anger knowing it will probably accomplish nothing other that to make him feel like shit, ashamed and embarrassed, and won't change his actions? It seems pointless to speak up.
But I'd love the opinion of the wise people here.

The1stWife posted 4/8/2021 04:04 AM

Hard to have the answer to this one.

Iím sure he doesnít want to be reminded of his past.

But you need to vent your feelings to him for the pain he caused.

Have you considered counseling just for you?

Lionne posted 4/8/2021 05:52 AM

Thanks. The thing is, IDK if I really need to say this out loud.
I have a counselor that I see on a need to basis. I'll think about that.

Lionne posted 4/8/2021 05:52 AM

Thanks. The thing is, IDK if I really need to say this out loud.
I have a counselor that I see on a need to basis. I'll think about that.

Unhinged posted 4/8/2021 08:18 AM

Just my 2c here. It's never pointless to speak up. How else is your husband going to know how you feel, what you think, where you are in the healing process, unless you speak up?

ISurvivedSoFar posted 4/8/2021 12:22 PM

Absolutely speak up! Speaking your truth and/or physically writing it is a known way to process trauma and it is helpful and healing. That said, maybe you also do care that he is an addict and this could happen again.

It's up to him to continue his recovery work. From what I see, he's okay. But addicts are never not addicts.
Gently I'm not sure this is true. From the perspective that yes, an addict may always have a propensity to abuse or use, perhaps that is true and perhaps that is what you mean. But from the perspective of root cause, the reason someone choses to use, that can be addressed and can be a game changer.

I would urge you to continue on your healing journey and for him to do the same. If he hasn't gotten to his own source of pain that he turns to his addiction to quell, then perhaps you really do not feel safe and are still hanging onto anger and rightly so.

It is great that the two of you are so compatible but how does he react to your pain? What are his actions when he realizes he hurt you so badly? How has he changed since discovery?

sisoon posted 4/8/2021 15:55 PM

On the whole, I'm for speaking up, but in a way that's about you, not about him. I know I had a very hard time understanding that concept - the BS feels the pain of being betrayed because the WS actually betrayed the BS.

But talking in terms of your pain - for example, 'I'm angry when I remember that you did ____' - is about you, not him.

Also, very important, it is best for you to express the anger you feel, but there are many ways to do that, some of which you can do on your own. For example, you can hit a punching bag. You can write, 'I'm angry about ____' for as long as you can come up with the things you're angry about. You can whack a pillow.

Some anger is really just in you; you don't need to share it.

Some is connected to something like a sore spot. Sharing that with your H may very well result in his not putting pressure where you hurt.

tushnurse posted 4/8/2021 17:28 PM


I think you are basically struggling to let go of the pain he caused for so long. Which is really hard to do when there is no guarantee that 8tn8s all in the past.

I do think you need to figure out if the anger is at him the situation or yourself first and foremost and that may require some sessions to figure out. If its anger at yourself you just have to lay it down and be done with it. If its anger over the situation and the past and things not being fair, again it just needs to be laid down because it's in the past and really serves no purpose.
So that leaves anger at him. I agree that talking it through can be helpful and discussing your own feelings may avoid the shame and guilt he will feel.

Or is it just a season of life and just letting it happen and know that next week it won't be an issue. There are days and times we look at our spouses no matter how good they are we still want to punch them or scream at them. Its part of life.

Those things being said I'd say its time to do some Journaling and then see your therapist.

Lionne posted 4/8/2021 19:28 PM

Helpful suggestions and insights, thanks.

ISurvived, just to address your questions, it's very hard to describe what he hasn't changed. He's gotten counseling, learned about his BP disorder and is taking medication that's effective. He admits when he's wrong and gives me credit when appropriate. The brokenness that lead to addiction, in addition to the mental illness has been explored and continues to be a topic for him and his IC. FOO issues, a life long hearing loss, all lead him to feel less than, ignored, not valued. He often feels isolated, he can't hear what's going on, hearing aides are only a little bit useful. Like other addicts, he went searching for that perfect fix, perfect activities, woman, boat, car, etc. Today he is far more introspective and extremely grateful for his blessings, including me. Oddly enough, some of the porn use began as curiosity, as a escape from boredom. Evolved into compulsion that effectively erased our sex life.

Sisoon, thanks, good points. Wow. You and Tushie really did hit the nail on the head. Great idea, I'll journal it all out and my questions may just be resolved.

...you just have to lay it down and be done with it

Or is it just a season of life and just letting it happen and know that next week it won't be an issue. There are days and times we look at our spouses no matter how good they are we still want to punch them or scream at them. Its part of life.

Some anger is really just in you; you don't need to share it.

Posting these on my bathroom mirror...

secondtime posted 4/8/2021 20:03 PM

I dunno.

I just don't know how I can never *not* be angry at the crap my recovering SA pulled.

Starting with taking away my ability to decide if I wanted to marry an addict or not.

Sorry. My husband had NO RIGHT to take away that sort of agency from me. He had no right to play god with my life.

I mean. Great if someone people can be like "Oh, honey, it's totally OK that you pulled a bait and switch about who you were when we got married. It's absolutely OK that you took away my abilities to make decisions over my own life."

But, that will never be OK with me.

(I mean, certainly, it's pissing me off now thinking about it.)

But, I don't think about it all the time.

I will always be pissed off, hurt, angry, you name it with my husband's SA.


We both know it. Sometimes I voice it. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes, I just say...I'm having an angry day.

I actually felt safe enough to have sex with my husband a few weeks ago. It's been like 5 months since that happened. My response to him "Don't fuck this up, again. Because you know what will happen, again."

But, if I choose to stay in my marriage...(for a lot of the same reasons you do)...well, that's part of staying in the marriage, and these are the terms I must accept.

What helped me the most was cultivating some mindfulness. Not the meditation variety. But, the learning how to be fully present when you are cutting the lawn or knitting or whatever. That's actually been an amazing gift, as I've been dealing with a recent breast cancer diagnosis (which, I find rather ironic..given my husband's SA).

I also need to stay away from triggers.

And I really began investing in myself again. While I am very lucky I did find my husband..I also have found myself. I have goals for myself. PhD by 50. Some career related goals, for the first time ever. I have hobbies that are just for me, and in non-covid times, I try to get out a little bit and socialize with people that know very little about my personal life.

Maybe you still need to grieve the marriage and life you wanted? Maybe it just takes you longer to get the anger stage. After DDay1, it took me 18 months to get through the anger stage. After I discovered my husband's relapse, it took me almost 3 years to work through the angry stage. (Side note: if my husband relapses again and lies about it...I'm guessing the angry stage will last 6 years..)

My anger stage is also does not come quickly. This time, it took me a year after DDay2 to get angry.

It is who I am. It is not changing.

My husband also knows this is the terms of staying in a marriage with me. He also knows he's free to leave, and I will not stop him. Yet, he stays.

lifestoshort posted 4/8/2021 22:42 PM

I think its good to vent and air out how you feel and what to not do to trigger it but at some point, we have to move forward to not keep stabbing them for the pain they caused.

I agree with what some others have said, some pain is what you will experience but not for airing out. thats where the counseling on a monthly basis or weekly comes in handy. Thats why I see mine. just to let go of things we cant say to our partners. and not all things need to be said to them, nor our friends.

Lionne posted 4/9/2021 09:01 AM

Secondtime, you are so right. The intense, everpresent anger I felt immediately after Dday went away almost 5 years to the day later. Then, of course, I was triggered by his relapses. I know I can NEVER trust him again. He could slip at anytime despite the work he is doing. I'll be gone in a flash if he ever slides into RL interactions.

The thing is, the anger hurts me more than anyone. He isn't exactly oblivious, but clearly things don't weigh on his mind like they do on mine.

I attempt mindfulness, but my head is just every place. Journaling may just be the key.

sisoon posted 4/9/2021 12:20 PM

Some anger is really just in you; you don't need to share it.
Oh, boy, I neglected to complete that thought.

We all probably have some anger that is really all about us. That angered doesn't have to be shared, but it does have to get resolved. This where journaling, screaming, punching a pillow, etc. can be useful.

And although it doesn't have to be shared, it can be. It's OK to tell one's partner, 'I'm angry at the world today' or 'I don't know quite why, but I feel angry,' etc., etc., etc.

Shockt posted 4/9/2021 12:29 PM

This has to be the hardest thing about reconciliation after any kind of infidelity. I so often feel torn between the real and valid need to express my hurt/anger/disappointment (my IC would say, "you are his partner and he always needs to know what it's like to be you." ) and the realization, at the same time, that I can't constantly beat him over the head about it/punish him for it. .. either if what we both want is R. Reading along on this board I clipped the message below a couple weeks ago that I found helpful - sorry to say I've lost who posted it - thought it expressed so well what I felt anyway - I want some sort of "justice" Also shared it with WH, who found it helpful/enlightening as well. Here was her post:

I did recognize very early on though that punishment is not compatible with R. We can't rejoin the team and then punish our partner without punishing the marriage as a whole and hence, ourselves. And by this time, I'm thinking no way I'm going to tolerate any more punishment. I've had plenty, thank you. But
there was this outstanding debt my WH owed me too, sticking in my craw and making me feel like if I didn't do something, I was allowing it. In the end, I basically made an accountant's trick of it. I sort of
mentally totted up what I felt like he owed me, subtracted his hard work toward character remediation and relationship recovery. Then, I wrote off the balance as uncollectable. I can't stand around forever waiting for payment which can never come. There's no coin which can compensate for the kind of pain he'd caused me. And yes, there were lots of things he could do to help, but it was never going to be
enough to cover the entire balance. There's just no way for a WS to pay us back for our anguish, no matter how badly they might want to. But we really do have more control over that sense of debt than we think. I
didn't want a lopsided marriage where I win every fight because he cheated. If we were going to do this, it was important to me that we find a way to be equal partners again.

Shockt posted 4/9/2021 13:05 PM

Just went back to check further. What I quoted above about the accountant's trick was from Chamomile Tea (wanted to give credit).

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