It is impossible to reason or make sense with someone whose perception of reality is so skewed. There is absolutely no way to negotiate our differences, when he doesn't even remember the truth about what happened last week.
Silla, on the computer monitoring stuff, post out on the general board. There are a lot of people there that do this, and I have seen discussions out there on it, so that should get you an answer, just keep bumping your thread every few hours until someone with some knowledge can help you.
Iwillrecover - in most relationships where a partner cheats, there are some pretty mean and nasty words and accusations (some probably false), and sometimes even some throwing and destroying of things. If you read on the general boards, this stuff happens all the time, and if you get a remorseful spouse, or one that cares enough about the relationship, most WS will put up with that, because they TRULY understand the hurt and pain they have caused.
Now, regarding a SA, I believe it may be a bit different in some cases, as many SA's seem to stay in denial with their addiction until they get the traumatic "wake-up call" (which can be the relationship ending, or a disease, or whatever else it takes for them to truly get it).
Since they are still in at least partial denial of what is going on, they will still minimize their actions, and also, addiction is a very selfish disease, and an addict cannot really feel anyone else's pain in a deep way, because their insides are too filled up with their own pain. They may feel guilt and shame, and they may have an idea of the pain they have caused, but for many of them, they compartmentalize it away, because they cannot deal with it.
That is the trauma in dealing with an addict, because it is impossible to get your needs met by them, while they are in their addiction. That is why IC and COSA and other support groups are so important, you have to look outside the marriage, but you need to do that in a safe place, like these boards, and the aforementioned places.
So my job for me during that time was to take the best care of myself as I could. That included detaching from him, a bit. I had to shelve my desire for R, as unfair as that was, the plain fact was he was not healthy enough to do R and do it right. So in the meantime, all the trying, crying, fighting, etc I had been doing, trying to get some empathy from this stone, trying to get him to own his shit, trying to get him to understand, was not only co-dependant, it was also futile.
The disease is an intimacy disorder. These guys run like hell from the stuff R requires. They have virtually no healthy coping skills for the smallest discomforts, never mind the really big stuff. Their minds work on distorted thinking, justifications, minimizing, manipulating and externalizing blame. Until they get treatment, that will be the picture of your R.
That's why you detach. You put some distance between you and them to prevent more damage to YOU. You put some distance there to protect your M from more harm. You take the very best care of your own self, and its hard to imagine how actively trying to have a relationship with an unhealthy person is taking good care of yourself.
Do you need to physically separate? I don't know. That depends on how much YOU trust YOU to take good care of yourself while living with him. We didn't separate. This is where knowing, defining and defending your boundaries to take care of you come in. And knowing yourself well enough to know what it is going to take to make you hold firm to them.
Detaching from the problem. Preventing more damage. Is this where you want to be? Probabl yes and no, if you're like me.
Yes, I wanted to separate myself from more damage, more hurt, more futile stupid attempts to R that got no where. But where I wanted to be wasn't detached, I wanted to be R'd.
That's where good self-care comes in. Don't be impressed with my wisdom here, folks, I stayed on the I-want-to-R-now hamster wheel for about 8 months while h was toying with recovery and going to a crappy IC and still using at his lowest level (scanning). During this time I think my relentless pursuit of R hurt us both. And discouraged the hell out of both of us, because we just weren't getting there. I just didn't have through my thick skull that we COULDN'T possibly get there at that time. I was a slow learner.
Your SA wont be ready for R till they can be honest. Chances are, they aren't even honest with themself, so they will feed you the same lies they feed themself. They will even lie to you when they know its a lie, because they don't believe you could ever love them if you knew the truth. They don't know how to love themself, they probably don't really know how to love you properly either.
Your SA needs to learn trust and trustworthiness. In something other than their acting out.
Your SA needs to learn transparency and accountability and empathy.
See, if you look at what the "pillars of R" are in the recon forum, and you look at what an SA is, you will see that they just don't go together. They can't.
Detaching is the answer, no matter what your SA does with regard to his disease. Until he gets stable enough in his recovery to tackle some of the relationship issues, you are going to drive both of you crazier beating your heads against a wall. If he never gets into recovery in earnest, responsible self-care says to put a good deal of distance between your heart and him.
And I know, it is not fair. It is a shitty hand to be dealt. It sucks. It blows. But it is what it is.
You can't R with an addict and have a healthy relationship. You can with a recovering one.
[This message edited by JustWow at 6:51 AM, May 11th (Monday)]
edited for typos (I always have to!)
You do not have to apologize for your feelings. You have every right to feel the way you do. You feel angry that your husband has betrayed you, furious that he does not seem to love you enough to want to stay together, silly that you are the one who is urging the "offender" to stay, and jealous that some SAs heew are committed to the relationship while your husband doesn't seem to be.
You recognize that you have just recently been aware of your husband's SA. It therefore is also new to your husband. Not to excuse his mis-behaviours at all, but he is likely feeling guilty, shameful, self-blame, confused, angry, afraid, paralyzed, helpless and hopeless.
To add that to the mix, a major element of SA is the inability to handle stress. Their dysfunctional way to handle stress is to act out and become secretive, which eventually leads to an escalation of compulsive sexual misbehaviours. Not only is his acting out now exposed, and he now has to deal with a myriad of feelings, it is causing him monumental stress which he doesn't know how to handle. He simply doesn't know how. And since it is still the early stage and he has not even begun reocovery, his compulsion is still looming large (the addiction doesn't magically go away because the SA got exposed). Finally, he as lived a separate life with secrets for a long time. The thought of him having to give you full disclosure about past acting-outs, and to have to be completely honest to you is likely scaring him to death.
The addiction is not about you - it is about him. The addiction also does not necessarily have anything to do with his love for you. You have done nothing wrong. You could have not known earlier. You could have not changed anything. You cannot control his, or anyone else's, behaviours or recovery.
As recommended by most experts, no major decision should be made in the first year. Even if both of you would decide to end the marriage in a year, at least you will each be more emotionally stable, and more financially, emotionally and practically prepared, for the decision and separation.
In the meantime, you should set boundaries with consequences and strongly urge your husband to see a CSAT and participate in group therapy/12 steps program. It is important for him and for his own life to seek help, irrespective of whether you two stay together (from your post, it seems that he fully recognizes he has a serious problem).
As for you, after setting the boundaries and consequences, and after urging him to seek help, you should then re-focus on yourself and detach (easier said than done, it's a struggle for all of us here to walk the talk, but it's still important to try). If you two eventually stay together, you need to heal because a healthy relationship involve two healthy partners and there is no hope for a successful marriage if you are emotionally wounded and unavailable. On the other hand, if you two decide to end the relationship, you will also need to heal so that you can move forward with your life. Either way, focus on self-care.
Please keep us posted. We are here to support you and we love you.
[This message edited by birdwatch at 12:22 PM, May 11th (Monday)]
I am not sure if you have already been cut off from the internet.
While it is generally recommended that no major life decisions be made within the first year, there are exceptions to that, and yours is one.
Your husband is not only verbally and emotionally abusive and manipulative, it seems like he is forcing you to have sex with him (at least verbally for now). This is simply not acceptable, legally or otherwise. And I don't even want to think about the health risk you are putting yourself in should you have unprotected sex with him.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not necessarily advocating that you divorce him right this moment. However, your decision to remove yourself and your children physically from him is a wise one. You need to protect the physical safety of yourself and your family. You also need to remove yourself and your family from verbal and emotional abuse.
It may be that in time, your husband will seek treatment and recover from SA and alcholism. This is still early stage. Most addicts do NOT magically break down, have a "zen" moment, seek treatment and recover on a smooth and consistent path. However, in the meantime, please look after yourself and your children, and seek IC if possible (free IC may be available at women's shelters). Either way, your focus now should be on you and your children. If he threatens you in anyway, please speak with a lawyer for a restraining order or other appropriate legal remedy. His acting out behaviours and his recovery (or lack thereof) is out of your control. Detach. Let go.
This is terrible. I am so incredibly sad for you. But you are a strong woman and are making good decisions. You will survive this. I am thinking of you and your children, and hope that you will find peace which you so much deserve.
Thank you for your kind response. I'm really at a loss about what to do. My IC said something about with an addict you just reach a point where you have to give them up to god and hope that god fixes them.
I know my WH is scared and in pain, but if he has given up on us I feel like there is nothing else I can do.
I'm just so sad because I feel like the man I fell in love with is still somewhere, but I can't reach him and I'm powerless to.
I have so many times when I think if only he'd gone to a better counselor, if only he'd find a sponsor, if only his father hadn't cheated, if only I had caught on sooner...
I can't even set boundaries with him because he doesn't want our marriage anymore.
Do I just have to accept that my marriage is over? I want to fight for him, but I can't do it alone.
Sorry I ramble again. I wish you guys lived close. I wish I could talk to someone who really understands. I don't have any close friends or family who have experienced anything like that that I know of. Of course, I'm happy they haven't, but I need more support.
The sad thing is the town I moved from had lots of support (Ban meetings, COSA), but now I'm in a small town that has nada.
Thanks for your comments. I haven't slept with him in over a month. It's the last couple weeks where I think he has been sleeping with numerous people.
Im packing everythign up tomorrow while he is at work. I went to a homeless shelter today they wanted me to come back at 8pm tonight and stay. I had agreed, but I got home and just started crying. I don't want to bring my kids to a homeless shelter even if it's just temporary. Im going to stay with my sister for now.
All my stuff will be going in my friends garage for now.
I know God is with me right now and giving me strength and courage to get through this. Everythign I have learned in Alanon helps A LOT.
I think he has had his sex addiction for a LONG time. He told me before he has cheated on every girlfriend but me...well he has cheated on me now. And I think all the times I accused him in the past I was right which lead to about 9 different women. ..Sorry not sure if I wrote that yet. Wrote on a lot of forums and pm's last few days.
It's hard, painful, but it's what has to be done to save my own sanity and for me to live a peaceful life.
The internet still works not sure if he even shut it off. But my sister doesn't have internet so not sure how long it will be till I come back here. I will check in tomorrow before I leave.
Porn has been a problem for a while. I had asked him to stop looking at it, but it would always be a fight.
I'm pretty sure the porn led to the acutal PA.
WH is completely unrepentent, continuing the A while we are separated. He has rewritten the entire marriage, as if it was terrible. He is also very passive-aggressive, which was one of the mail problems in our relationship... His PA paired with my dominant personality.
He is so anti-therapy, I am concerned he will never wake up from the fog!
You can't R with an addict and have a healthy relationship. You can with a recovering one.
This is my new mantra. I'm going to steal it for my sig. Your post really spoke to me. I just haven't been able to comprehend why my H can't heal himself and us at the same time.
Since he decided our marriage is over, I told him that I couldn't be his friend anymore (probably should have made the rule sooner). Once he confessed to so much he said " I know now it's not possible for you to love me." and I assured him that is not that case. That I still love him and I just wish he'd do the work to heal himself and to find honesty.
We haven't talked much since (just about a couple bills) but he has sent a few emails to me and always ends with I know you've had time to think about what I told you and I know you hate me now. It's like he can't hear my words or believe that anyone could love him. I'm not really in the mood to assure him.
Hon, you are in my prayers. I think you are making a brave and wise decision to protect yourself and your kids. I wish there was more than praying that I could do to help. Let us know how you are when you can.
Welcome, and sorry you find yourself here - sounds like JFO doesn't it?
Below is a link our "fearless leader", 7yrsbetrayed assembled of much, much good information about SA. If you haven't had the opportunity to look at it, I think you should. The more you understand this the better you can cope, IMO.
I'm glad that helped. I pounded my head against a wall for months before I finally started to realize some of what I wrote. I hope I didn't sound preachy, because most of what I've learned about this came straight from the school of hard knocks - how not to do things.
Your H is at a crossroads. He doesn't want to lose you, but doesn't TRUST that you love him given all you know. To not lose you, he has to give up the one and only thing he does trust, and it is also his one and only coping mechanism. He is likely very, very frightened.
I think you're wise to take friendship off the table for now, simply to protect yourself from more harm. He probably won't understand how you can love him and have nothing to do with him, but you know your own boundaries to keep you safe and that's what you're doing. Don't expect him to understand that.
Hugs, hon. I'm praying for you, too.
[This message edited by JustWow at 7:10 AM, May 12th (Tuesday)]
He still chose his addiction over us. And my biggest question (that I have posted on here about a dozen times, because it just does not compute to me at all), is why? Why would he give up such a wonderful, loving family, to go chasing whores?
The answers I get back, and they make sense, but are still hard for my brain to comprehend, is:
A lot of it is fear. He is afraid of 1. Looking into himself, and finding the real him. 2. That maybe he is not "fixable", maybe he feels that he is just too broken, and there is no help that will work for him. 3. That it is impossible for me or anyone to love him, if I truly knew everything about him.
I believe mine will be in denial until he is forced to face it, as, 1. His face gets in a bust and he is on the news, and people start coming up to him and saying, hey, aren't you the one....., or 2. He ends up in the hospital with a bad disease.
Apparently losing the only people that truly love him is not a big enough wake up call. Thing is, if you do enough work on yourself, and detach and get some distance, you won't mind after a while. I don't want him back anymore. I want a chance for a healthy relationship with someone that is not going to require years and years of work before they can be there for me.
I have come a long way in these past 8 months. You can do that too. Just keep focusing on you, and your needs and wants. (Most of us overlook ourselves, in order to take care of the "sick" ones in our lives)
Melissa - hang in there, you are on the right path, and it is hard and painful, for now, but it will get better.
NeedingGodsHelp - I don't know if maybe my post to broken might help you also with the counseling stuff, since you say he is anti-counseling? Some of them do go, and get help, and the ones with spouse's that did that can maybe give better ideas how they got their partners into counseling, I just had no luck at all with mine.
[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 6:34 AM, May 12th (Tuesday)]
I donít have anything against these individuals but I think I will not feel comfortable in that room to share my feelings knowing these individuals donít respect women the way I respect them
I think that it might be good for you to go and see what its like... I think you might be surprised. The SA's that will be at that meeting will be interested in their recovery. And they will be there because they care about their spouses, and about "fixing" what they have done. I think you will find that they don't necessarily disrespect women... But women (and men, and porn and anything else) have just been their "drug"... I think you will find that they are very supportive and would welcome both you and your H. Let us know if you decide to try it.
I'm sorry about what has been going on with your H, but I agree with everything that has been said- He IS afraid, and by his continuing to ask if you "really hate him now"... It's almost like he's waiting for confirmation that you do, so he can let go and justify continuing on the path he's going. He can't fathom that you'd actually be able to ever understand and forgive or love him ever again.
Keep on posting and stick around here, regardless of what happens... We'll be here for you.
Good luck- You are doing the best thing for yourself. I'm glad you will be able to stay with your sister. That makes it a little less scary. Check in when you can- We're rooting for you!
We welcome you here with open arms... Check that link that was given to you- So much information there and it really does help to be informed. This is a great group and you will find lots of support here.
NA, birdwatch and JustWow-
You guys are giving some awesome advice... I love that you are all here.
[This message edited by innerstrength at 8:04 AM, May 12th (Tuesday)]
Back from holiday!
I wanted to respond to a few newcomers -- welcome to everyone who finds a place here of understanding and acceptance. If there's one thing we're all learning, it's that WE don't control the addiction. Time and again, I read things like "he chose his women over me", or he "chooses porn". I read in another forum that trying to get someone who hasn't been cheated on to understand the feeling is like trying to describe a color to someone who can't see. It's the same with addiction. We, who don't have an addiction (except perhaps to the fantasy that we can change someone by simply loving them enough, being enough, etc. ) can't imagine that addiction is not really a "choice". I confess I've struggled for years (decades!!) with this concept. It might start out as a "choice", as in a teen who discovers that masturbation or porn makes their anxiety go away for a awhile. But it quickly becomes a compulsion and an addiction for some people. Their days become about seeking it, or trying to talk themselves out of seeking it, or trying to work it into their schedule without getting caught, or beating themselves up for doing it "again"... It consumes their lives and the more stressed and anxious they get about it, the more they need their "drug" to manage the stress and anxiety. It sounds crazy to us because it IS crazy. But it has nothing, NOTHING to do with us. And the sooner we realize this, the sooner we can start detaching from their addiction and begin making healthy choices for us. They are welcome (if we choose to let them) to join us in creating a healthy life. But if they simply aren't able yet to seek recovery, then we've got to move forward without them. We owe it to ourselves and frankly, we're not doing them any favors by trying to change them. It just gives them more reason to stay immersed in their addiction. It's when they hit bottom -- whatever their bottom happens to be -- that they're more likely to seek help. As long as we're "engaged" in their behavior - even if it's engaged in trying to change it -- then they're not having to truly face the consequences of their actions.
Good news: We had an awesome weekend away without ANY issues or hurt feelings. And last night I TOLD him I was joining group therapy and he agreed it is an awesome idea, but not happy that it's on Mondays (his busiest day). I just told him I can hire a babysitter if I need to (which of course he doesn't want to shell out the $$ for that).
Bad news: He forgot my birthday Friday. He knew it was my birthday because that's the whole reason we were going away for the weekend. But never even said Happy Birthday. Finally around 6pm I told him and he felt bad. Then on Sunday it was like 3pm before he remembered it was Mother's Day.
REALLY bad news: Saw on the keylogger that he was looking at porn again last night (first time that I know about since we started counseling). He's obviously not sober. He has his appt with his CSAT this morning so we'll see how that goes. I didn't tell him I found out. In a way, I think I've just come to accept that it's HIS problem and HIS problem to fix. I'm going to get myself healthy and when that happens if I see he's still not sober (or at least putting in an honest effort), then I will have to leave.
Anyway I think he is leaving me. He said he is cos I accused him of something tonight & he was innocent & I yelled at him continuing the accusation until he lost it. This was after criticizing him all day for doing everything around the house wrong.
I think I'm just so mad at him for everything & the lying when I was trying to give him another chance.
I know I have been impossible to be around but I'm being understanding...he should too.
I think I'm just so mad at him for everything & the lying when I was trying to give him another chance.
I know I have been impossible to be around but I'm being understanding...he should too.
You are not alone. My husband and I bicker ALL THE TIME now. If my husband does or says something wrong, I get hysterical and I automatically think he is acting out again. Or I think "It's so typical that you are selfish/clueless." If my husband is happy, I think "What are you so happy about? Isn't it great that YOU can move on so quickly and feel happy!"
I think the cause is that we are still not healed and still have unresolved feelings. It takes years to recover so be gentle with yourself. Talk to your IC. Remember that getting angry all the time is not only detrimental to the marriage, but also to yourself. I do not like the person I am becoming - bitter, suspicious, angry and exhausted. I am not taking away my husband's responsibility for his actions. I am always not saying run away or bury your feelings and angry. But now that what's done is done, I myself simply cannot live this way. Forget about my husband, my behaviours are huring ME. We should explore our feelings and angry in a healthy and productive way, with our ICs, instead of being incapacitated and imprisoned by them.
You can discuss your feelings, anger and anxiety with your MC so that your husband can hear you and vice versa. I told my husband, if you think the D Days and the disclosure would be the toughtest part in the recovery, you are wrong. The most difficult part of the recovery has just begun: I have to learn to rely and depend on you again and to trust you again, after 7 years of lies, betrayal and humiliation, despite every fibre of my body wanting to distrust you ("fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me"). I think these are natural feelings that we should share with our husbands: not as a complaint, but as a way to feel understood and supported.
Alas, I hope I can tell you I am walking the talk, but I am struggling with daily bickering like you, and my husband's patience is wearing thin like yours. Just know we have each other, girl friend.
[This message edited by birdwatch at 12:17 PM, May 12th (Tuesday)]
I looked up the symptoms of sex addiction and she is all over it. Any suggestions?
It would be very hard for me to forgive her and maybe not even possible no matter how hard I tried. But.....
Does anybody know the likely progression of sex addiction? She had a gambling addiction for years and has pretty much controlled that for about a year, however she broke us in the process. I have some responsibility for that as well since I was a classic co-dependent enabler and I fight that every day.
Your thoughts and suggestions would be welcome.
I'm so sorry that you find yourself here. Yes, it does sound like your wife is a SA and that her addiction is progression. However, with her history of gambling addiction, I suspect that the problem is more involved - such behavior impulse control can be the marker of several things (like bi-polar, manic disorders, etc). Has your wife had a psychological evaluation with a psychiatrists?
You may want to check out the book Mending a Shattered Heart which is specifically for the spouses of sex addicts. Also, you may want to look up a meeting in your area for spouses of sex addicts.
I don't have much experience in this arena, I only recently discovered that my husband is a sex/porn addict. HOwever, many people on here do have a lot of great resources.
"In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate." - Asimov
"Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you." - Ovid
Here is a link with a lot of good references re: SA that one of our members put together:
Check it out and learn as much as you can.
The progression is as different as the people who are addicted. Some switch from one type of acting out to another, some don't, some only change because of availability of their preferred fix, some switch to avoid being caught.
Do you suspect your wife to be SA based on the last 4-5 months, or a much longer pattern?
Is she in IC or you two in MC? If she's getting counseled, it is really, really important that she be seen by someone qualified to treat SA, or addictions at a minimum.
What do you need to do to take care of you? That should be your primary concern, but if you're like many of us here, you probably aren't so used to taking care of your needs. See the doc for STD testing, at a minimum. If you need anti-depressants or sleep aids, don't be too macho to get the tools you need to weather this shitstorm.
Post often. We're our own little family here.
As we are all going thru this, and the intense pain, the hurt, the confusion, the self-doubt, the myriad of emotions that come with this, do you all realize the tremendous amount of strength and courage it takes to deal with this kind of addiction?
You are the ones that are NOT running away from the problem. You are the ones that are seeking answers, trying to save your relationships, and then saving yourselves when that proves futile. You are the ones that are doing the hard work, learning and seeking the truth, taking the necessary steps (at your own paces) to do what you need to do, to face this problem, sometimes head-on, sometimes little bits at a time, but everyone on here is doing the hard work of seeking answers and support, even and especially thru the ups and downs, and the periods of deep depression that we all have in dealing with this.
I am so amazed and awestruck by how caring and strong everyone on here is, and I just needed to say that today.
(and to the newer people, this goes for you also, because you are on here seeking answers that are not pretty, and sometimes will be hard to swallow, but you are here nonetheless, working your own paths).
You are am amazing assortment of people, and I am so glad to know you all!
Happy Belated Birthday!
It really sounds like you are getting your feet under yourself, taking care of your needs and nurturing you. Keep it up, hon, one step at a time.
There is something inside her that needs to be fixed. She is working on filling her emptiness, her stress, her self-doubts, with outside pursuits, and she apparently has not learned any healthy coping skills.
You wrote she is out of town with a guy right now, so she apparently is not working on getting help at this time.
You have to decide what YOU want, and what you think you can deal with. If you feel you are very co-dependent, a good step for you would be IC, along with a program such as COSA, or S-Anon.
They can help you to detach in a healthy way, and start learning to fulfill your own needs, as many times the spouse tends to get lost along the way in these addiction relationships.
Take care of yourself, and keep posting, we are here to help!