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Reconciliation :
Advice Please!? Should WH Listen to 12 Step Sponsor or Wife & Therapist?

Topic is Sleeping.
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 IndigoSkye (original poster new member #81020) posted at 3:40 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

My WH has a sponsor for SA and he has been working with him for ~7 months now. The sponsor has him moving painfully slowly. He is only on step 2 after all this time!

WH attends meetings every day sometimes 2-3 times a day. We were/are both concerned about the snail's pace his sponsor is moving at. He tried out another sponsor and after maybe 4 weeks, he was already on step 4 with him. However, that sponsor seems to have overcommitted because he can't find time for WH anymore.

I am needing amends/atonement NOW, as I have been in false R for 16 years unbeknownst to me. (He was still in the A for 3.5 years after he was caught and insisted that there was NC then lied to me for 16 years, while masturbating to porn that looked like the OW crying barf ). Our IC agrees - we both see the same therapist but individually.

The sponsor is discouraging WH from moving any faster and is accusing him of only wanting to move forward to make me happy and save his marriage, saying that is not the right focus. Husband says yes! He wants to begin working on a new marriage and make amends to me and our family but that is not the only reason he is doing it. He wants to do it for himself. WH plans to be a sponsor himself and agrees that the way he is going through the steps with his sponsor is definitely preparing him well for sponsoring others, but he is trying to find a balance or some way to honor his sponsor, as well as me.

WH says he is fine with going back over the 12 steps again slower and doing it as many times as he can but he wants to make these amends sooner rather than later...and boy does he have a LOT of amends to make.

I am the one saying I need it now, the therapist sees it, my WH wants to do it but the sponsor is saying no.

By no means am I saying he should race through without truly absorbing it all, but only 2 steps, the easiest steps of all, after close to 7 months? And his sponsor accusing him of having bad motives when he is finally trying to respect and provide for his wife's needs and wants?

Following Gottman, after an A nothing can happen before atonement/amends and I definitely feel that too. I am not able to attune or allow WH to attune at all because I still feel there has been no reparation or "justice" so emotionally, I am having a terrible time letting him near. Remember, I thought he atoned in 1/2007, that was why I let him come back home and went on to marry him. So this is what I NEED. NOW, because I will not make the same mistake twice.

What would you suggest? Should WH go ahead and do what he feels is best to start the process of making amends and atoning, or wait another year to get to the steps where amends are made? Am I looking at this the wrong way?

Thank you all so much for your time and help. You all are an amazing group of people making the best lemonade out of the most sour and bitter lemons.

Me: BW 37, WH: 38 Together since 15 & 16.
M: 05/05/07 - 9 children
DDAY 1: 12/2006. Told me 1% truth "Unsuccessful ONS"
DDAY 2: 12/2021. 4.5 years 2006-2010 EA&PA, 15-year Porn addiction. Porn chosen to look like the OW.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Sep. 28th, 2022   ·   location: SE USA
id 8763411
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:46 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

What amends do you want? How would you know he is or is not making them?

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 28158   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8763422
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 4:59 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

I am not able to attune or allow WH to attune at all because I still feel there has been no reparation or "justice"...

IME, there's no justice to be had in R. If you want justice, you choose D. In R, you can't punish your partner without punishing your marriage, hence yourself. It's by releasing the need for justice that you can write off the debt and clean the slate.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 6300   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8763424
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 5:08 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

There are no amends. There is nothing he can do to make this up to you. Nothing. It stinks. There's no justice for the BS. That's part of your work,if you want reconciliation. You have to learn to be ok with that.

What he can do,is work on becoming a safe partner for you. A better person for himself. In return,that will help you feel better about attempting reconciliation. It will help you feel safer. It will help you feel more comfortable. The more work he does on himself, the more strong your marriage becomes.

[This message edited by HellFire at 5:09 PM, Thursday, November 3rd]

posts: 4994   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8763426
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 6:53 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Sexual addiction and infidelity are two different things, and it sounds as if they are being confused here. Going to SA meetings is PART OF the work a WS (who is an SA) should be doing, but the outcomes of SA meetings really have little to do with your marriage and the trauma of infidelity. To me, that's almost like having a broken stove and wondering why taking cooking classes isn't fixing it. Knowing how to cook and care for your stove will help in the future to prevent further breakage of the stove, but you need a repairman to fix what's broken now. Or a new stove.

WH attends meetings every day sometimes 2-3 times a day.


Can I ask about this? Why is he practically living at the SA meetings? New AA members (for example) are often encouraged to do "30 meetings in 30 days" in order to get started, which in itself is a little extreme, but it's just to get things started, then you switch to a less intensive meeting schedule, often weekly or less. I would assume SA is the same. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not an SA). To me, I'd be a little curious if he's meeting someone there, or not actually going and just saying he is. It sounds fishy to me.

ChamomileTea and Hellfire are 100% correct in my opinion, and that is my experience in my own recovery as a WS and in our marriage. Short of a time machine, what was done cannot be undone, and there is nothing in heaven and earth that will make what happened "go away" or "feel settled". It's like losing a limb. There are things you can do to help mitigate the loss, but the loss and the damage done are permanent. It's a big loss and a big adjustment, yes, and everyone needs time and space to accept it. But at the end of the day, you either choose to focus on your pain and loss, or you choose to be a survivor, and focus on who you want to be, and what kind of life you want to live moving forward. You own your happiness and joy, and he owns his. Whether you can move forward in your new lives together is the real question.

Your healing is your own, and your husband's healing is his own. The idea isn't to "heal as a couple". Rather, you both need to deal with your own trauma and recover as individuals. Then, when both of you are healthy enough to even consider a new relationship (with each other or with someone new) you restart the process, from the beginning, almost as if you had never met. Because you haven't, at least, not as healthy individuals.

Following Gottman, after an A nothing can happen before atonement/amends


From my own experience, I find this... worded poorly. I don't see how one can atone for a betrayal. "I'm sorry" doesn't help. What helps the most, in my mind, is to have the other person be capable of true empathy and personal accountability. It isn't so much about what they say or do, it is more about who they are at their core. Jeffery Dahmer and Mother Teresa and two completely different people for example. Who they are, their motivations, how they identify themselves, what kind of energy they put out into the world... that's what makes us who we are. For example, if you accidentally hit and killed a child with your car, how would you feel? My guess is, you'd be devastated, unable to sleep or eat, unable to stop thinking about the loss that occurred and the emotional pain and suffering of the parents, etc. It's not just guilt, it's more about understanding the devastation you caused, and then doing anything and everything in your life to make sure that never, ever, happens again, even if that might mean not driving anymore.

WS's are often incapable of this level of self-realization, at least, in their current state of mind. They are too selfish, too inwardly focused, and often focus on trying to "do or say the right thing" in order to make this go away so that they can finally feel better about themselves. That approach does not work, ever. The way you feel better about yourself is by being a better person, and often, that means a LOT of therapy and hard work, an understanding of how you got to the point where you betrayed someone else in the first place, and most importantly, why it wasn't important enough for them to respect themselves enough (let alone their spouse and kids) to not do so in the first place.

My only advice is to try and step away from the thought process that there is something he can do or say that will make you feel better, or trust him more. He can't. You will trust him more when he does the hard work to become a more trustworthy person at his core. When that happens, if that happens, you will know it, because it will be as obvious as the sun in the sky.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1336   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8763443
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 9:01 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

I'm curious what amends looks like for you. I know it's part of the 12 steps but do you have something(s) specific in mind?

I agree with others that your healing is your own but I also think if there are specific things you want or need from him, that should be clear.

For example, amends might include reimbursement of funds for any money spent on the affair. I'm not saying that will heal you but for you, that might be important.

Do you have some specific actions you'd like him to take to make amends?

posts: 309   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8763471
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 IndigoSkye (original poster new member #81020) posted at 10:05 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

DaddyDom - thank you for your response. The meetings are via Zoom, so I know he's not meeting anyone. He attends them because he just wants to. We are entrepreneurs and he has the time. All he does is log in and put his earbud in a goes about his work or family life while listening in and sharing. He says he gleans a lot from the meetings and he enjoys the "company" of people walking the same road as him he has said.

I understand there is nothing he can do to repair any of it, it's irreparably destroyed. But what I mean is, when I accepted him back in 207 his "amends" and way of restoring me/us were, to choose me and stop talking to her (#1 but he never did), no more going out to parties, handing over passwords, coming home on time etc. Actual things and even with that, he still decided to cheat at work.

This time around, I understand clearly that his heart wasn't in it last time, but this time it is, only now, it's been 16 years and he can't just go and tell her, "I'm choosing my wife and I'm done with you." I don't know what I need to feel restored at this point. I'm hoping for suggestions but it seems that everyone is saying the work is what will do it. Problem is, he showed me change last time but it wasn't real, so I don't know how I will believe it now this time around.

I just can't shake this feeling of humiliation, shame, and disrespect I feel knowing that he was at work and people knew and saw what he was doing, all the while smiling at me, telling me what a great wife I am, commenting on our my pregnant belly in excitement to meet our new baby, then seeing said new baby and our small children and acting super happy for me and WH and saying what a perfect and beautiful family we were. It feels like a searing pain in my soul that he reduced and shamed me like that and others knew and no one even attempted to inform me.

TheEnd I'm not sure what really can be done 16 years later. WH has mentioned writing a letter to the coworkers aka co-conspirators who knew and didn't tell me and basically issuing an apology for putting them in the position to compromise their morals by either choosing to honor him as their coworker, or me as his wife and their "friend". And letting them know that he has had serious mental/emotional health issues and that there was nothing preferable about the OW and nothing defective about me.

Would any WH or BW like to tell me what they did or what was done for them that really helped in this area? False R of 16 years is really breaking me apart and is making this so much more convoluted.


ETA: Sisson, HellFire and ChamomileTea - thank you for your responses. I understand there is nothing that can be done to repair or undo it. I just dont know if after 16 years of false R, if anything will be sufficient for me to feel okay to move forward with a man who could be so cruel and wicked to me, for so long, in so many ways, and with no remorse. I feel that I have no honor or dignity. I feel so embarrassed, stripped down and shamed.

I feel destined to spend my life alone now because I'm too broken to be a sufficient wife for WH, let alone a new, deserving man who didn't break me.

[This message edited by IndigoSkye at 10:19 PM, Thursday, November 3rd]

Me: BW 37, WH: 38 Together since 15 & 16.
M: 05/05/07 - 9 children
DDAY 1: 12/2006. Told me 1% truth "Unsuccessful ONS"
DDAY 2: 12/2021. 4.5 years 2006-2010 EA&PA, 15-year Porn addiction. Porn chosen to look like the OW.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Sep. 28th, 2022   ·   location: SE USA
id 8763480
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 10:16 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

That's a huge problem when it comes to False R. If you are going to give them another chance, what will they do differently this time,and how can you trust it??

You can,right now,make requirements for you to consider attempting reconciliation. Don't be so quick to give him a second chance. He should earn it.

Some requirements..

Std tests.

Complete transparency. You get full access to all accounts, including the phone. Passwords included.

He apologizes to your friends and family, for hurting you.

No going out, for fun,without you.

One thing you could do is he gets an old flip phone. No internet,unless work related. That would be a big consequence.

You should see an attorney.

Maybe a separation while he works on himself.

He moves out of your bedroom.

Right now, other than meetings,and your pain and anger,he's not really uncomfortable. He doesn't believe you will leave.

Does he know about this site?

posts: 4994   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8763481
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 IndigoSkye (original poster new member #81020) posted at 10:32 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

HellFire - thank you for that list! Most things I have done already.

Some requirements..

Std tests. - done

Complete transparency. You get full access to all accounts, including the phone. Passwords included. - done

He apologizes to your friends and family, for hurting you. - he has confessed to everyone (huge because his reputation and persona as a faithful, loving husband and father were his lifeblood) and issued apologies but says he plans to do it in a more formal and complete way.

No going out, for fun, without you. - he already never did since 2007, so this wouldn't be a consequence.

One thing you could do is he gets an old flip phone. No internet,unless work related. That would be a big consequence. - we have discussed this but it made more sense to keep the smartphone because our work requires wifi and certain apps. So I have no clue how to get around this.

You should see an attorney. - he has said he is going to put all assets in my name alone, so that should I choose to divorce for any reason, everything is mine, no post-nup needed and no fighting in court.

Maybe a separation while he works on himself. - we are in-house separated right now and have been steadily for about a month, and I left our home twice for 6 weeks total from June to August.

He moves out of your bedroom. - done as part of our in-house separation

Right now, other than meetings,and your pain and anger, he's not really uncomfortable. He doesn't believe you will leave. - I told him I want to move back across the country to our hometown. Our house is currently for sale and I told him that upon sale, I will be deciding if we will be moving together or apart. He KNOWS I'm serious. I'm selling our dream home and acres to go back to a mega-populated city. He knows!

Does he know about this site? - I have mentioned it to him because I told him I liked that there is a forum for reconciliation on here but I do not think he has ever come on here.

[This message edited by IndigoSkye at 10:35 PM, Thursday, November 3rd]

Me: BW 37, WH: 38 Together since 15 & 16.
M: 05/05/07 - 9 children
DDAY 1: 12/2006. Told me 1% truth "Unsuccessful ONS"
DDAY 2: 12/2021. 4.5 years 2006-2010 EA&PA, 15-year Porn addiction. Porn chosen to look like the OW.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Sep. 28th, 2022   ·   location: SE USA
id 8763484
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 10:47 PM on Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Ok..he uses a phone with internet access during work, only. After work,no phone.

Move. It will help you to be in your hometown.

Since he knows about this site,make it a requirement that he sign up,and start posting in the wayward forum. We have wonderful former waywards who will help him do what he should be doing.

posts: 4994   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8763485
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 IndigoSkye (original poster new member #81020) posted at 2:33 AM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

HellFire - It will help some but our hometown is where all the infidelity took place so it's going to be ultra-triggering. Definitely gonna get worse before it gets better kinda thing.

Me: BW 37, WH: 38 Together since 15 & 16.
M: 05/05/07 - 9 children
DDAY 1: 12/2006. Told me 1% truth "Unsuccessful ONS"
DDAY 2: 12/2021. 4.5 years 2006-2010 EA&PA, 15-year Porn addiction. Porn chosen to look like the OW.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Sep. 28th, 2022   ·   location: SE USA
id 8763513
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Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 8:37 AM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

You should see an attorney. - he has said he is going to put all assets in my name alone, so that should I choose to divorce for any reason, everything is mine, no post-nup needed and no fighting in court.

You should still see an attorney, I don’t know what the law is where you are (hence you should see the said attorney) but in the UK all marital assets are split in half regardless of who’s name is on the deeds. If it would be that simple, buy the house in your name, its yours, people wouldn’t create pre and post-nups. I truly doubt it works that way so please get legal advice.

Dday - 27th September 2017

posts: 1637   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Europe
id 8763537
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Solarchick ( member #80222) posted at 12:31 PM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

It can be really hard to turn your will and your life over to the care of God as you understand Him. It took me 3 years, and I only did it when I had no other option. Some long-timers admit that they half-assed this step and soldiered on to the 4th. They're long-timers, so evidently, it worked for them. But you kind of do the 3rd on a daily basis, and there are still days when I push my will past God's. Then there are days when I am eternally grateful that God has the wheel, and I just enjoy the ride.

Regarding the number of meetings, what your WH says about wanting to be in that environment is valid. I went through a phase where I needed to be around other recovering addicts, to keep my head in the right place. As long as he's meeting his life responsibilities, I wouldn't worry if he needs to steep himself in the recovery mindset.

One thing about sponsors - they're right most of the time, but not all of the time. If your WH feels he's ready for his 4th, by all means, he should go for it. It's not like any 12-step program will fine you for doing a step too soon. He may end up starting one, then trash it because he's not being honest in it. That's OK.

But you can't rush him through his steps because you need it. Al-Anon can help you deal with this issue. I recommend you go and avail yourself of their experience, strength, and hope. They can definitely share insights with you regarding your struggle.

And feel free to vent there that you shouldn't have to be at Al-Anon because you didn't do anything wrong. There is a wealth of support there for that feeling. (I did Al-Anon for a while to cope with my XWH's SA.)

Your WH's sponsor may be holding him back from doing a 4th because he feels your WH doesn't have the capacity to be honest enough to do an effective 4th right now, due to his NPD. That said, doing a "practice" 4th and stashing it away could provide him with a good perspective on how far he's gotten later.

As with anything, take what you want from this post and leave the rest.

Me: BW, 56, two awesome grown sons. Remarried in 2010. That lasted 11 years.
WXH: Not even a blip on my radar anymore. I'm glad he's messing up the OW's life now and leaving me alone.
D (with cause) in 2004.

posts: 153   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2022   ·   location: Charleston, SC
id 8763540
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 2:26 PM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

I do think 7 months for the first two steps is a long time, but if you read the steps then those two are relatively "easy" if you can define your Higher Power.

For most (and to the originators of the 12-steps) this is God, but with the increase of doubters, atheists and non-believer many have had a hard time defining their "higher power". This can’t be fast-forwarded because the steps are in that order for a reason. Personally I suggest you meddle as little as possible with your husbands SA and 12-step process but if you want to possibly help him then ask him about his Higher Power.
There are plenty of resources to help those that have questions about this higher power. For many of us our relationship with God is something that our parents, priest or society placed in our minds, but most of us haven’t really given its justification or existence a good reasoning or thought. I’m religious, but I had to think about my God and what it was and represented. It’s definitely not the old man with a beard image my church-of-origin told me about.
These resources also deal with those that can’t define a deity as their higher power. There are good books on this available. Maybe go online and order him one.

Having said all that…
Don’t meddle with his process. It takes time. The amendments? That’s step 8 or so. Even with good progress that might be 12 months or more from now. Heck… even then there is a clause saying that if making amends directly causes more pain you make amends with actions. Like an abuser in a past relationship might cause concern and pain if he contacted his ex, and his amends might be to voulunteer or donate to an abuse-center.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 11239   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8763594
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 5:28 PM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

Reconciling with a sex addict isn’t exactly the same as "typical" infidelity. Of course it all sucks and is painful. But if your husband is a sex addict he will have extra issues to work through, more than "typical" cheating. Are you seeing a therapist that specializes in betrayal trauma and partners of sex addiction? My ex is SA. My life improved greatly when I kicked him out. Read through the "I can relate" section of this site. And do not lose yourself.

Yes he should do a full disclosure with poly and amends letter. Yes he should be in a program and therapy. But don’t lose yourself. Yon don’t have to stay. If you want to and it feels healthy then go for it. But do not lose yourself. The addiction talk and programs and letters and steps - it’s a lot. Focus on YOU.

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 844   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8763662
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:55 PM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

First - ABOVE ALL - you need to understand with every fiber of your being that your H's cheating is about him, not about you. In ALL probability you are a fine partner. It's your H who is a lousy one. HE'S a cheater. He failed. You didn't.

You are not destined to be alone. You are destined for a good life, if you do the work you need to do to heal ... which is: process your feelings of fear, grief, anger, and shame out of your body. Shehawk posted about feeling joy again in the G forum today. I suggest you read her thread, because it will tell you about what may happen to you. Actually, given the steps you've taken toward your own healing, it almost definitely will happen to you. smile

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 28158   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8763663
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 6:39 PM on Friday, November 4th, 2022

Also keep in mind that HE has a problem and HE lives in the life of sex addiction. It’s a dark world and you didn’t sign up for it. He needs to work the program regardless if you stay or go. But you don’t have to stay and be a part of that world.

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 844   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8763669
Topic is Sleeping.
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