Another one I found to be informative is "Don't Call It Love"
One thing that has been true for me is that I couldn't understand SA from reading books. I had to hear my H tell me what was going on with him fro, his own mouth, his own perspective, and I just finally got that a few days ago.
It is an intimacy disorder. They cannot be truly intimate with anyone, for whatever reason (different for each person) thus seek validation and "feelgoods" through other means. In the case of SA through sexually-related means, and it almost always is without any true intimacy at all.
All addictions are pretty much a pathological relationship with any mood altering experience or substance, whatever gives them the chemical reaction in the brain or body they want, to the extent it has life damaging consequences. In the case of SA they are addicted to the chemical high in their brain that comes from their sexual acting out.
The sad thing, as with all addiction, is it is not really about the experience/substance. You can't take the drug of choice away, wait for the withdrawal to go away, and just keep them away from the drug of choice. There is a very complex tangle of reasons behind why someone becomes addicted, they are essentially broken from that tangle of reasons. Usually FOO is involved. In addition, in the case of SA, usually the SA failed to bond properly with one or both parents as an infant, which compromises their capacity for intimacy.
My personal criteria for SA?
When you spend a disproportionate amount of time in sexually-related activities than you do living your normal life.
When the acting out continues even after consequences, and takes away from your other obligations, and you know it is harmful.
When you put yourself and others at risk to be able to act out.
When there is escalation in the acting out to achieve the "high", because the status quo is not enough.
And that my friends, is the newbie Texas yahoo stuck in the midwest's version of what's what.
I just called him at work to ask him about one of his personal ads (which I cant understand... he opened every email from them, but when I click it, it says he has to sign up to read the emails OR view profiles. Its too old to see if the emails he had at that time or if he had sent any(darn it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) because they only keep for maybe 30 days maybe even less. BUT I signed up for an acct to check things out and Im able to see everything AND reply.) also I was asking him about the hotel room he got, because I got triggered about that.
At first he answered okay, but then he says "what are you trying to find out because this is starting to piss me off". So I go off on him, because I cant handle any response like that. How dare he?!
Then .... we sit silent for a bit. Then he says "sorry, i just wish you would stop thinking about it all the time and feeling hurt. I dont know what to do."
That makes sense of course, that he would want me to stop thinking about it, and hopefully that he would want me to stop feeling hurt. I said that he can start by just answering my questions (they werent even the bad questions I often have) but then...
He starts saying something about "he cant tell me what to do when Im home all day" and suddenly it hits me that this isnt about me... its about HIM. HE doesnt want to deal with me.
I think Im so stupid to stay.
I also think its bad for me to call him at work because he says all kinds of things, right there at his desk, that I know everyone is hearing. Obviously they know what is going on if they hear him say "It was X hotel. Yeah it was nice. There is a chair next to the bed, where I sat at first and she was standing and drinking alcohol and walking around." Initially, when I had to talk about this stuff ALL THE TIME, he said much much much worse things, while at work. Im a little worried about him losing his job.
There are other things going on not related to him and I just cant deal with all this.
My personal criteria for SA?
When you spend a disproportionate amount of time in sexually-related activities than you do living your normal life. At times, she would masturbate all day some days.
When the acting out continues even after consequences, and takes away from your other obligations, and you know it is harmful. She knew if i ever found out it would not be good, she told me it drove her crazy every time she acted out with someone
When you put yourself and others at risk to be able to act out. She gave out Home,and cell numbers, Yahoo ID which was also her email. I showed her what i could do with that info. Anyone could drive up to her front door and have done anything they wanted with no one could stop them.
When there is escalation in the acting out to achieve the "high", because the status quo is not enough. YES she went from one every other month to 6 in less than 4 weeks at the end
I've been wondering what was going on with you. I'm so sorry it's not been good.
I feel your pain. It's totally normal to want to understand what's happened. It's like that Joseph's letter in the Healing Library, or wherever it is, where the WS has all the pieces to the puzzle but wants it gone, and you just have some of the pieces and no picture on the box. And it's especially scary in SA because you don't know how BAD the missing pieces are, if they are critical to decisions you need to make in your life.
Here's the thing. Now is not the time to press for details. Now is not the time to be asking him questions at work. First, step back and breathe. Next, make a comprehensive list of everything you want him to answer. Sit on it a while, then wait and see if you REALLY want/need to know the answer. Then make a date to sit and talk to him about it when he's not at work.
They say an SA's disclosure is best facilitated by the pros, and I totally get that. It could so easily get out of hand, and either side could get abusive. You need neutral third parties there to ensure it goes efficiently and with the least amount of pain of everyone involved. Usually they say details like you spoke of are not important and not going to help you heal. Details like he did it on your birthday, or with a man and a woman without protection, those are important. This is where the objective third party professional would be really be helpful in disclosure, one advocate for each of you.
Now saying that...you know WH and I had informal disclosure on our own. I had to get an idea of the scope of the problem ASAP, as much as he would tell me, and get an idea how truthful he was being about it. We made a specific date to talk about it beforehand. He came with a list of dates and expenses. I asked about patterns in the dates, how many and of what gender was involved, if protection was used, if underage people or animals were involved, if drugs or alcohol were involved, if it happened in our home, etc. I tested him with things that I knew about (that he did not know I knew) and he was truthful. But I've never asked the kinds of questions you mentioned. You also know that later on I found out about the ED pills, and how they played into the game, which I considered an omission while he thinks was an oversight (because he did not associate them with cheating). So even if they THINK they are giving you the whole story they may not be because they just don't think like a logical healthy person does.
We are going to have a formal disclosure at some point facilitated by a CSAT for him and a therapist for me in the future. The center recommends we wait to do it until after we complete the course, because things we learn in the course will affect what we say and how we receive the info. I don't really expect anything newly shocking, but I've already said what does it matter if its 10/30/100/1000, one is too many. The veterans here and the experts say and the collective research of SA says that its more likely than not I don't know the whole story yet. So even though I don't expect there to be, there is a good chance there is.
I guess what I'm saying, after all this rambling, is quit torturing yourself. Ask yourself is the info I'm seeking going to actually help me heal. Is it something I HAVE to know to move forward, with or without him. Now is the time to focus on YOU, get your shit together so to speak. Work on things in the realm of your control, that will help YOU. Give yourself a break, do some nice things for yourself and get away from this crap for a while.
But I totally feel your pain. You and I are very new to this, and it's just awful. And it's likely to get worse before it gets better. And that's regardless if we stay together or not. And that just sucks.
But it will get better. Eventually.
I did have him read josephs letter and thought it helped but, not really.
I have often thought of writing out my questions but, honestly, some of them would be too embarrasing to write. I cant bring myself to write those. I could write the others I suppose. But I feel like I dont get true answers anyway! He has somehow forgotten everything, even stuff he already told me. What you said about they think they are giving the whole story when they are not is also SO TRUE. Especially with my H who is so non-detail-oriented!
I will try to remind myself of those things. You give really good advice and level headed perspective
Next. The women who engage in sex trade businesses..two of my cousins were "dancers" They were/are pitiful, manipulative, ugly people. Their opinion of their "marks" was awful, the names they called them, disgusting. The thought that my H was one of their "wienies with wallets" well, you get the picture.
The patrons? Ugh. Think the poor acne marked kid in the back of the brass section. The one who can't really play the trombone but they needed one more body to make the line come out even. And his uniform is too tight. And short.
I WENT into the strip club where I knew my H was one fateful day. While I didn't find him, he was "busy" downstairs, lovely, I saw the girls. Young! But NOT sexy. Silly costumes. Not glamourous like you often see on TV. Bad makeup, flabby, even the thin ones, and 2 were shooting some kind of drugs into their labia when I went into the bathroom. "No track marks" She explained when she saw me glance her way. "Clever" I said. It was all I could do to get out of there without vomiting.
A friend teaches photography and processing techniques. One of her students came to learn advanced editing. Apparently, many obese women have very sexy voices. But not, to the average person, bodies. So they pay WELL to have their full faces, um, ALTERED, then pasted on a more porno body so they can be phone sex kittens. I guess it's ok to pretend you have a different body but they have to be AUTHENTIC about the face.
I really wish I had gone to my grave not knowing any of this stuff.
So I mentioned the pix I found from his phone. I was not looking for them, was not expecting them to be there, did not know they existed or that any such pix existed. And once again, dumbass I was, checking out stuff within 10 feet (but not in direct view, thank god) of the children.
When I first saw it I literally recoiled. I was horrified. That he would actually record it, that there was no-doubt proof in front of my face. And I could see her face. And like it's been said, she was young...but that was it. She looked skanky, gross, used up. No wonder ED pills were involved. My heart was pounding and I wanted to throw up. I will never be able to erase that from my mind, ever. I would not wish what I experienced on anybody, ever.
Which is why I say be careful what you ask for, DrivingPast. That image will never ever do a thing to heal me. It traumatized me to no end. The only good of it was that I could use it to tell if WH would tell me the truth, and subject him to see a portion of what seeing that image did to me. So he had to face a little demon, as it were.
That pretty much solidified for me that I didn't need any more details than what was necessary for my safety and to know the scope of what was going on. I mean, I had pretty much decided that beforehand, but if I had any lingering doubts they got squashed in that instant. I had a really bad trigger while out with him and the kids having a grand adventure, because WH said he couldn't remember the last time he had Orange Crush soda. I knew. I saw it in one of those pix. Almost ruined the whole trip. I can only imagine what it would be like if I knew every sordid detail.
Be kind to yourself. Let it go for a while. Find yourself and what is important. What is your dealbreaker. What is it you want. Not chase puzzle pieces that you may never find and may not help you, ok?
((hugs)). To all of you.
And Scaredycat, thank you for sharing the description of the club and the "dancers." It is similar somehow to the people/scene I found on my husband's disgusting fetlife website. People who are ugly, inside and out, is what I keep reminding myself.
This is such a sick twisted disease. Addicts end up taking everything that is good in the world (children, family, rewarding work, even a sunny day) and replace it with dangerous filth that they somehow glamorize.
I've been tracking my husband's Craig's List ads and other online activity so that I can hand everything over to a lawyer. But thanks to these posts, I think I'm going to try to take a break for a few days. It's just too sordid and depressing.
I hope everyone manages to have a few good laughs or relaxing moments today.
What should the consequences be? WWYD?
I read your post in JFO, too, and wanted to respond. First of all, SA's will do things that aren't really porn when they are white knuckling, such as scanning (which you have NO control over, because they can scan anyone anytime). It is that slippery addict slope that makes them think there is a loophole, and it isn't really porn. That is why I think things like taking away the computer aren't effective. And besides, you are not his mother, he has to choose responsibility.
I don't know how soon you leave for the trip, but could you get an emergency appointment with the CSAT?
I guess my question for you is how willing is he to do everything to get into recovery? The list that you posted from the class is very comprehensive and is congruent with all I have learned and experienced in my own journey. Is he ready to change? Or is he just attending these classes to appease you at this point?
As for consequences, what have you told him your boundaries are? This is definitely a boundary violation; dishonest, slippery slope behavior, either bordering on acting out or he is masturbating without using porn. Only you can determine your boundary and the consequence for violating it. I think it is important to remember that boundaries are not to punish the addict, but to protect US. Have you already entered into your 90 day celibacy contract? If not, I would institute the boundary that I will not sleep with or have sex with an addict who is not in recovery. But this is MY idea. You have to do what you feel is right. I think that this protects you because it doesn't expose you to false intimacy.
Now, if I have read the situation wrong, and he is in an early recovery, he may be having a hard time with the withdrawal aspects of SA. I know that during my H's 90 days he really struggled with withdrawal at first. My H said it was like a physical withdrawal, with nervousness and shakes. My H did have a couple of slips with porn in the early part of his recovery. They were not dealbreakers for me at this point. We discussed the slips with his CSAT, and I held off on any intimacy (not just sexual, but hugs, etc.) until that issues could be addressed to my satisfaction. This works for me, because my H likes hugs and cuddles (just never liked sex with me when he was an active addict, lol).
Good luck. All of this is really hard, and even with a very remorseful recovering spouse it takes a good year or two to start feeling better and to get over some of the bumps in the road.
[This message edited by TooManyYears at 2:59 PM, October 20th (Thursday)]
He was told to start 90 day sobriety starting no later than this week as part of theclass. hecould not start earlier because he had a vasectomy and they require a minimum number of system cleanouts to see if it took. the agreement was only meet the minimum requirements, not use porn, etc. i did help him twice in situations with appropriate intimacy, but that was before the celibacy requst from the course. otherwise there has been no sexual contact with me, because i refuse to even consider it until we both pass the 6 month secondary hiv test.
so techinically not even withdrawal to blame it on. maybe he wastesting me post relapse class, idk. he clearly has boundary issues, givenan inch will always tkae a mile.
depending on his next move, i will suggest an immediate appt with csat, or at least to make one the day i come back. but i dont want to be his accountability personuntil he can find another.
im seriously so livid and wondering what else i dont know. if i didnt have this trip and the postnup notfinal iwouldkick him outat least temporarily.
sack of suck.
First of all, it sounds like you have appropriate boundaries in place to protect yourself. And I commend you on the post-nup. I have one too, but I am not entirely sure of its legality in our state of residence. That is a question I will ask our attorney, as things I have read on SI have caused me to question that.
You are going away on a trip, and I think at this point I would focus on self-care. What can you do for yourself to relax and make the trip enjoyable? Massage? Pedicure/manicure? A good book? Etc. I think right now you are doing all you can. I know that this is easier said than done, but putting the focus on YOU is so important right now. You can't control him, and you already know that. I am really impressed that you don't want to be his accountability partner. That shows a lot of healthy thinking on your part. So many times as a spouse we want to be that person, but we have to look out for US first.
I just want to reaffirm you and tell you that you are strong, beautiful, and that you are handling this with as much grace and fortitude as anyone could at this point. Go on the trip, enjoy yourself, and deal with this in time. He is either going to have to make the choice to commit 100% to recovery or not. In the meantime, make yourself a priority.
I hope your trip is somewhere warm and sunny. It is freaking miserable here...cold and rainy.