I can understand your frustration. SAs thrive in secrecy - otherwise, they would never have been able to act out for so many years without us knowing.
I agree with Eternaloptimist. Lack of communication is both a problem within a "regular" marriage and a problem for a SA. Have you tried sitting down with your husband, explaining calmly to him your concerns and your love for him? When he makes an effort to open up, do you "reward" his behaviour by actively listening without judgement or do you "punish" him for not opening up sooner or for expressing his feelings which you do not "approve"? Do you reciprocate by communicating to him honestly and frankly as well? Have you tried MC, especially in the beginning, to lay a foundation of honest communication and active listening? Have you tried setting aside a set time (e.g. 15 minutes a day or an hour a week, whatever works for you), when both of you would sit down and talk about "heavier" matters, so that your husband doesn't feel like he is under a microscope all the time? Is there a specific time that your husband is more willing to share (e.g. early morning or when you two are talking a walk)? If this lack of communication is a symptom of your husband not being in true recovery, have you discussed this with him? Is he in IC with a CSAT or in group therapy to discuss this issue? Is your husband's unwillingness to share stemming from other life events/trauma (e.g. childhood abuse) and if so, you may find that once your husband finally exposes and explores that issue with a professional, he will also correspondingly be more willing to open up to you.
I have posed more questions than answers, but I do not believe in this case, labelling yourself as a co-dependent is helpful. Communication is a tricky business for all couples. Marriages do not come with instruction manuals. All of us mere mortals are learning as we go.
Good luck and be gentle with yourself.
I also found out that he is somewhat bi-sexual we think. He wont do most things with a man but stuff has happened & he looks at pics of penises, a lot less than pics of women I've noticed but they are there.
I don't have a problem with sexual orientation as such but I am wondering if he will ever be satisfied with only me cos I don't have a penis. Obviousy his SA would need to be dealt with but even a non SA or one in recovery couldn't be fulfilled with only a woman if they need the penis as well could they? I don't know because I am hetero.
I don't know whether to R. I don't know what to do. I know what he needs for recovery but I don't know if I want to stay & risk all that could be a risk here.
In the meantime I'm gonna call S Anon & find a meeting. Dunno if I'm S Anon cos I don't think I have trouble leaving, especially if he is not in recovery. I have snooped but that's because he has lied & I need the info to know what I'm dealing with...someone who got drunk & had a ONS or a SA. Anyway I'm sure I'll know at the meeting if I need to be there. I cold surely benefit.
He says that I have always provided a "safe" environment to be truthful, even when he chose to drag the truth out over 2 yrs.
I have sat him down, and discussed this issue with him, many times.
MC we went to for a year (before SA diagnosis or learning of As) and we definitely had great communication except for him lying about so much of himself. We both enjoyed MC, actually, and even knowing he was having an affair through the second half of MC, it was US time. Sounds contradictory, doesn't it?
Here is what I think happened for me last week:
I have been struggling to not try to "fix" his secrecy issues but encouraging him to talk and open up. The rewarding him for being truthful has actually backfired in some ways. He will open up and be a little bit vulnerable right about the time I am about to give up. He feels great because he lifted a little more of the weight of the lies, and I feel hope because I have a glimpse of the real man inside.
That's it for a few weeks, then the cycle continues.
I realized that my putting too much emphasis on his vulnerability, hurt me when it didn't continue as I expected.
He also came to realize that he is expecting me to give him a good gauge of his recovery progress.
The book "Language of Letting Go" had a section on not giving into panic the other day. That is what I was doing. I was panicked about giving up my detachment. I was panicked about getting my hopes up that he will become less secretive now. I was most panicked about reacting in a way that perpetuates the dance.
I didn't need to panic.
So what if I made a mistake? So what if I didn't say exactly the right thing? I will still be ok. I can still return to the calm of healthy distance.
I have done a pretty good job not interfering in his recovery. He has only recently become real about it himself. It was mostly lip service, and still trying to control it.
He goes to IC, SAA, Group therapy regularly, but this particular part is very stressful as so much of his activity has been work-time. As long as he keeps that shadow side, he is keeping his addict alive. BUT that is his to deal with, and I have to decide what I can live with.
Thanks for so patiently trying to help as I lost my compass.
After d-day, when people say that, I want to punch them. I try to smile and nod, but sometimes that doesn't even happen. And I really really want to say, are you kidding, do you know what he has put me thru, and what he does, and he won't even treat me like a wife!
And to go a little further, even before d-day, because our intimate life has been sporadic at best, and he was ALWAYS talking about sexual stuff and all, everyone seemed to have the idea that we were like rabbits, and that ticked me off too.
After d-day, I rode with him on his route at work, and we were late to a stop, and his buddies were all teasing like, oh...you got your wife....I know why you were late, ha ha ha. And I just had to walk away. Not even close to being funny, because he hasn't touched me since d-day.
Thanks for your input. So do you think that if he is in recovery from SA he would be satisfied with me? We actually have a healthy sex life, regular, intimate, normal & connected. It is sometimes less than I would like (down to once a week occasionally less & often more so not bad I think) but I think it would be more if he was not acting out.
Would he have to avoid the situation that allowed it to happen or is that unnecessary if he's in recovery? I am in recovery for alcoholism & being in a bar is not risky for me.
[This message edited by Iwillrecover at 3:11 PM, April 13th (Monday)]
What I do know about it, is because it is a progressive addiction, you need more and more different kinds of stimulation to keep getting the same "high", kind of how a drug addict needs more and more of the drug.
If he is an addict, the person he will be once he is in recovery will likely look quite different than when he is in his addictions.
[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 5:41 PM, April 13th (Monday)]
We did have sex, it did seem like he tried not to masturbating on me, but he's still doing it. I started to tell him he was doing it again, but honestly, I don't know if having sex with him does it for me anymore. It's like when we do it someone has turned my lower body numb.I think it's a consequence of what I've been thru the past year. Plus, he wants me to moan like a banshee, and I've just never been like that. I think he gets in from you-know-where, and I think he wants me to be 3d porn for him. If I don't, he takes it personally.
To others my partner looks like a swell, hardworking catch. He does go above and beyond in some points, but I think a lot of that has to do with compensating. I think we both know I wouldn't have stuck around so long if he didn't otherwise seem like a good catch.
I do agree they are esp. good with women-they just seem so darn nice!!! I think it's really dangerous when the woman they are putting the charm on is an inexperienced counselor.
Many women would have run for the hills after all the affairs, let alone the added element of SA. Yet I stayed, despite the unspeakable hurt and betrayal. When do I get the medal?
YES TO THAT!!! I've wanted to tell my partner so many times that he should be grateful that Ive stuck around. Most women would have chalked my partner quick, fast, and in a hurry.
I think he's a good guy with a problem. I've tried to see him thru rose colored glasses, but instead of rose red they are slowly turning doodoo brown.
[This message edited by lovedontlivehere at 5:50 PM, April 13th (Monday)]
Answers in the Heart: Daily Meditations For Men And Women Recovering From Sex Addiction
It's screenshots of her on her webcam doing various vamping poses, and one of her her naked boobs (haven't seen those in a while) and screenshots of other (creepy!) guys separately, and in one case someone's dick with a hand around it.
My SAh was in charge of booking a hotel block of rooms for our kid's wedding. After much whining and complaining and weeks and weeks of 'investigating' I took over. I researched and withing ONE day found a number of hotels within a good price range. He was in charge of finalizing it.
Now he is emailing all of our side of the family to inform them of the final decision for a hotel. Again he looks like the planner; the HERO.
The interesting thing? I don't care. Let him be the hero. He always has been. Why change it now?
I am continuously amazed at how much I do not care anymore. I feel us drifting farther and farther apart. I have so little to say to him. Because what I would normally say is something to soothe his empty soul. I simply cannot do that anymore, as hard as I really, really try. He has to find his way for that.
Does that mean this marriage is over? I don't know. But I think if I just left, he would be stunned. Maybe not. Maybe that's what he wants. Not so he can have many women in real life. But because he doesn't have to work at this marriage. He's tired. He's too self-centered to do that. I'm not sure.
[This message edited by 1Forward1Back at 8:49 PM, April 13th (Monday)]
Yep- me too- I have, on soooo many occasions wanted to jump out of my happy exterior and strangle the innocent people who are trying to be nice and tell my how lucky I am... And, no, I don't think anyone here would ever think you are being ungrateful! Take care of you...
My H also got into the "bi-zone" and at first that's what I figured that it was and I had exactly the same thoughts you did... After much exploring and soul searching by my H, at this point he feels that, no, he is not bi-sexual, but the allure and ease of having such taboo sexual acts couldn't be resisted. He is not, and was not, attracted to men, but it was easy (much easier than having sex with women) and it was so secretive. It escalated the "high". (NaiveAgain is absolutely correct) He was always so disgusted afterwards and said that he had never looked at a man on the street as being "hot", whereas looking at women was an all the time occurrance.
I think it is fairly common in the SA world to have experimented with the other side, especially since it adds so much to the high itself...
You guys definitely have a lot of talking to do , and it sounds like at least he is willing to explore the issues he has with the counsellor... I would not be surprised if you find out some more later though- Just a hunch here, but if he has experimented with men, he probably hasn't felt safe enough to tell you about everything. He's probably just "testing the waters" to see how you will react. I'm not an alarmist, and I don't want to cause you any reason to worry (that will do no good anyway) but, just think about it as a possibility. And try to be as prepared as you can be to find out some more later... Trickle truth is especially prevalent with SA's... There is so much shame involved with this addiction that they can barely even realize what they have done on their own... Let alone start to confess it to the person they've betrayed...
It really does sound like he has some issues to work through- SA, or not- It's good that he's at the IC's office.
I have and still am, at times, right there with you on the communication issues... That has always been my biggest challenge with my H. If I ask too many questions, he shuts down. If I don't ask questions, he doesn't talk about it except very sporadically and only in very short bursts. I am still trying to get to a good balance between talking to him and letting him have some space to figure stuff out... It drives me crazy sometimes though! I am such a "get it all out there in the open" person, that I hate having to hold myself back from really almost badgering him to tell me "How did the meeting go?", "How are you doing?"... etc... He sometimes says "I just spent the last hour and a half talking about it- Can I just not talk right now?" And I respect it, but it still drives me crazy... I am learning that to detach, but still be supportive, is working out the best for me. It gets hard, but I have to remind myself that he will only open up to me when he wants to, and I can't really do anything about it. I have no suspicions that he is acting out, so I have to step back. It's really hard sometimes, but I'm slowly getting better at it. Part of teh recovery is learning to be vulnerable and to start to trust enough to open up to your group and your partner... I am waiting... Take care-
So sorry- Have you figured out how you are getting her to go to the meeting?
Hugs to you- It has to be hard to be planning a wedding when you are feeling like you're far away from love and marriage.
I'm sorry that you are feeling distant (Although sometimes it's a great step towards detaching from a bad situation and allowing you to move forward with your life... Good luck.)
[This message edited by innerstrength at 9:40 PM, April 13th (Monday)]
I am having a follow-up counseling meeting with my church's pastor this Saturday. My pastor already gave the counselor I intend to meet on the 28th his highest recommendation (among pickings in our area). So, I will pitch it as something to "try" on my pastor's recommendation (my wife values my pastor's opinions), and will bill it as a "routine" marriage counseling "checkup". Wife doesn't know that I have already met with the guy and provided him with transcripts of her chats. Pastor doesn't appear to emphasize or focus that this counselor also has a significant specialization in sexual addictions.
This is the biggest "set-up" operation I have ever tried to engineer in my life! Even if nothing goes well after "the confrontation", I hope this one act at least goes as planned.
My first S Anon meeting tonight & I haven't learned much yet but I will keep going for now. I still can't see how I can R with someone who keeps lying. He has looked me in the face since Dday #1 saying he will never do anything ever again & that he hasn't etc.
I am too exhausted to comment on other people's posts and mostly I don't feel I can offer advice on something I am so new to but thanks everyone for your support.
Edited to write the correct meeting. I went to S Anon not SA. If only I could go there & hear what happens. Maybe I would run from the room screaming or maybe I would know more about my SO.
[This message edited by Iwillrecover at 1:21 PM, April 14th (Tuesday)]
Good luck. I hope it goes well.
But because he doesn't have to work at this marriage. He's tired. He's too self-centered to do that.
He has NEVER been able to support me emotionally, or even deal with any emotions from me except happy. Sometimes he would get angry if I wasn't happy all the time. This is one I have had a hard time putting in words, and explaining, but it is like he feeds off of others, so for him to be happy, everyone else has to be, and if he is around people that are sad or depressed, it makes him sad or depressed, and he can't stand it, so he gets angry.
I kind of felt that he is totally empty inside, and now that I know a little more about what this disease is about, I feel like perhaps he is so busy fighting this addiction, and trying to remember all the lies in his entire life, that it totally takes all his energy just managing the addiction, and he has NO energy for anything else, including this relationship.
He has nothing to give. He can only receive, because there is nothing in there at all, except confusion and lies and it has worn him out. He is ALWAYS tired. He can't handle anything, and you were talking about him not getting around to dealing with the hotel arrangements ---ME TOO!
Mine cannot handle any problems that come up in life, it is too much, he procrastinates or actually most of the time he just runs from them. Compartmentalizes all his problems away, because he cannot deal with one more thing, as he is already totally consumed with managing his addiction and lies and false life.
This has been a HUGE thing for me, because I have to take care of everything, and I always felt like I have to go behind him, cleaning up his messes, like his mommy. He has bills from 5 years ago he is running from, because he just won't take the effort to deal with them.
And I never understood this, because when I get a problem in the mail, I am on the phone that day, fixing it, so it doesn't have to stay in my head as one more thing to deal with. And that way my problems don't get insurmountable, as I deal with them as they come up. He just runs from them.
I know EXACTLY how you feel. Everyone thinks my husband is such a superstar...and I do find myself thinking, "If they only knew..."
my husband was one of the SAs who ventured into sex with men. Like innerstrength, he insists he wasn't attracted to them beyond the ease and increased high of sex with men. He said it was easy to keep it meaningless and simple -- no emotional ties to worry about. Just a transaction. But yes, you do have a lot to consider and your SO needs to either come clean completely (there are "disclosure" guidelines by some SA therapists or CSATs). Until everything is on the table, you can't really understand what you're dealing with and make a healthy decision.
I'm going to sound a note of caution re. your approach with your wife. I fear that she's going to feel ambushed and react badly. What you want, I assume, is for her to recognize the extent of her problem. But I'm also assuming you want to do within the context of offering her help with it, not "outing" her for humiliation. I would hope that an experienced counsellor will be able to do that in a compassionate way. Otherwise, I'm afraid she'll just be angry and you won't be any further ahead.
that's the story of my life. I'll never forget when my eldest was only about 2 and I asked my husband to change a lightbulb (he's tall; I'm not). My daughter jumped up and down like he'd just invented the damn bulb, shouting "Daddy fixed the light". Yeah for Daddy!!! What about who cooked dinner, did the laundry, played dolls, read books, tidied up, walked the dogs, etc. etc. BUT I know how low my husband's self-esteem is and that he NEEDS that stroking more than I do. I'm also aware that making a decision is really, really difficult for him because he's so afraid of making a wrong one (and I'm not kidding when I say that he worries about buying the wrong kind of ketchup, for example). All he hears is that he might screw up again... So I'm able to feel empathy for him much of the time. I wouldn't want to be in these guy's heads, with all that negative talk going on.
So, just an update. Jekyll and I went to a CSAT. CSAT said that he believes that Jekyll is a sex addict and gave him some basic 'home work' assignments before his next meeting. He thinks that the big, underlying issue behind his SA is his depression - that he's acting out sexually to self-sooth. Jekyll has struggled with long-term depression and has taken ADs off and on (usually off). His family has a big stigma with depression and ADs (his dad once told him that he just has to 'decide' to be happy and his mother thinks he should take St. John's Wart ). The CSAT wants him to make an appointment with a psychiatrist to get on a good AD and to ensure that he doesn't get on one that will kill his sex drive - he said something like "Most Docs will hear you say "I'm a Sex Addict" and their response is "Alright, I'll give you something that will take care of that!"" Of course, that's not the issue. That's why he recommended a psychiatrist rather than an MD. Next, he told him that he wants him to find an SA meeting and go. Last, he gave him a homework assignment to help him get to know Jekyll. This appointment was Thursday. Soooo....
Jekyll's general go to move when he is afraid or nervous about something is to procrastinate. I fully expected him to go to his next appointment and tell the CSAT "sorry, I didn't have time." I also knew that I would have to sit on my hands as my go to move is to be proactive, look up docs and meetings for him, etc. Boy, was I wrong.
The CSAT meeting was on Thursday. By the weekend, Jekyll had looked up four psychiatrists that were on his health plan (one that specializes in addiction). He didn't get a chance to call yesterday (I believe him, he called me on his 2 minute break during lunch) but he plans to call them today. He also looked up SA meetings and he *went* last night! No prompting or urging from me at all! So, he was super, super nervous and anxious about the meeting. I could see that he was visibly stressed. When he got home, he was actually relaxed and reassured. We talked about it a little bit (they can't talk very much, due to the anonymity of the program). His meeting was all men (this wasn't a meeting closed to men, just how it turned out). He met some of the newer guys and the ones who had been there for a while. He told me that it was comforting that many of them were younger guys, his age. He commented on the fact that he thought he was getting help at the right time - as he saw first hand what happens when this addiction goes unchecked (people who were divorced, homeless, professionals who lost their licenses, etc). He said that he was invited to stay for the second meeting, but he opted out (it was already eight o'clock, the second meeting would have run til ten). However, he told me "I want to go to the meeting on Wednesday night. Is that okay?" He also said he might do the 'double meeting' thing in the future, but just wasn't prepared for that the first night. Of course I said, "Absolutely!" He also brought home several brochures and read through them last night and posted the 'call list' in an area he could access readily.
The most telling incident is what he did with his first day chip. He had it in his pocket and showed it to me - I didn't ask for verification that he went to the meeting, he volunteered it. He had it in his pocket. That night, we were going to bed and he pulled it out of his pocket. I said "You can put it in my jewelry box if you'd like." he said, "No, I'm going to put it in my wallet" That's where it went. His wallet, no statements of "What if someone sees it!?"
What's so nice is that this is the first time since before the CSAT that I've seen him so relaxed and hopeful. I think that he feels very much less alone, and that this behavior and action is 'treatable' and 'fixable.' Yay! I also told him that he needed big kudos as this is the first time I've ever seen him take initiative in *anything*. I mean, when we decided to reconcile after the Affair, I had no doubt that he wanted to reconcile. However, he never took the initiative in reading books, reading SI, etc. I would get sad/upset and then he would do it. I was the one who made MC appointments, etc. This time, he's taking the initiative. I also told him that I originally thought he would procrastinate and not go to an SA meeting or find a psychiatrist (I told him this *after* he had done both). I'm immensely proud of him. I am incredibly hopeful about the future, I would say "Hopefully Optimistic." That's okay right?
"In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate." - Asimov
"Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you." - Ovid
My husband had a similar reaction to yours when he went to his first meeting. I think for so long these guys have kept this secret locked away -- convinced that it makes them abhorrent and perverted. I often say that secrets lose their power when you shine light on them -- and I think going to these meetings where SA is discussed openly allows them to truly be who they are. My husband, too, is aware that many of the guys there have really lost everything and are putting it back together. He feels lucky that he managed to stop his behavior before he'd lost it all. So I think the meetings are good in that regard, too.
I'm happy for you both that he seems to be getting the help he needs...without you guiding him to it.