ED: always, from the beginning
Porn: not really, unless it's S&M related. He prefers to spend his online time trolling for and conversing with real people. I now know he probably did did the entire 16 years I was married to him.
Viagra: lots and lots of it. Carries it in his briefcase. Not sure if he wants to be ready when opportunity strikes, or if it's the only way to hide it from OW. At any rate, he's lucky he's not dead from taking too much of it, esp. considering he buys it illegally, probably from China. He pops those pills so quickly that I found an email from his "dealer" expressing shock about it.
Weight: he's gotten really fat. The men in his family (on both sides) tend to get very fat, and the women are bone thin. He's done the same. I think a doctor would tell him to lose 50 pounds for health reasons - and probably more than that to actually look thin and fit. He started to gain weight around the time this all heated up for the first time in 2004. Since he left this house in September, he's gained nearly 50 pounds. Maybe it's not that much - I'm not a good judge of men and weight. But it's fair to say that he doesn't look like the same person that I married, that's for sure.
(Then again, he ISN"T the same person.)
I’m willing to settle for emotional distance and pain if he would *just be faithful.* That’s ugly and demeaning to me, but it’s the truth of where I am right now. Are I worth more than[*just fidelity*? I’m trying to be gentle with myself; I know this is the bargaining stage.
I felt similarly since 2004 when I was pregnant and had my first D-Day. By then, children were in the picture, and if I could ignore the SA, life was good. My bargain with myself was: NOTHING mattered as long as he was faithful and pulling in a paycheck. He could be a SA, he could be gay, we could have a sexless marriage, etc. etc. But as long as he stopped acting out, I would make it work.
By 2011, I changed my bargain to: if he just doesn't get caught and cause a huge scandal and no one really knows about what he's doing (INCLUDING ME), then I can settle for that. I threw myself into being the best mother I could be, and I compartmentalized him out of the picture until the bulk of my life was great.
Great might be too strong a word. I was living in complete fear, with the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Anyhow, when I opened Pandora's Box (his email account) in September, nothing could make things normal again. Hath, it was the full 1,000,000 package. The second I told him to leave the house, he happily took off and moved in with a married woman. And then there was no going back.
Sabina, I'm glad you're so self aware compared to how I was - and that you're being gentle with yourself.
My husband has almost no desire for me sexually when he was acting out. I could be coming onto him, wearing barely anything, and get no response.
VERY demoralizing. Especially as a, now old, woman, knowing that he screwed around with much younger whores. I feel like I was a fool trying (then) to seduce him, knowing what I was competing with. Now I just don't care. Back in those dark days, before I knew what was happening, I read all kinds of books, tried everything I could to be attractive in every f-ing way, only to be rejected in the most vehement and nasty ways he could think of "your body DISGUSTS me!" he shouted when I pleaded with him to tell me why we didn't have a normal sex life. After disclosure, (NOT done officially or with professional support) I screamed "why? WHY?" "Because I needed a REAL woman!"
So, I am not inclined to feel sexy, or to let myself feel the vulnerability and relaxation required for a healthy sex life with one's spouse. And I DID! I WAS adventurous, open-minded, generous, and HE was the closeminded, prudish one in our marriage.
As Sabina said
it’s fairly unusual for a sex addict to have sex with their partner- it’s too intimate.
And yet, to feel this way, this hurt, this angry, is only damaging to me. At one point in the long saga that was my life with an unknown SA, despite my niggling doubts, I made up my mind that I was NOT going to be a suspicious, doubting person. I was NOT going to live my life angry, resentful and crazy. And then of course, the world caved in. So where am I now? Living my life as all of the above. But my IC helped me see something more clearly...Why did I make that original decision? Because I didn't want to be that miserable person, that shrew, that unhappy, frustrated, nasty ass woman. In other words, I didn't want to be MY MOTHER. Nor did I want to be SAfWH who was JUST as mean as my mother had been. So while that decision to keep my head in the sand was, in some ways, damaging to me, because I let the crap continue for too long, but my motives were correct. I DIDN'T WANT TO FEEL LIKE THEY DID, mean, nasty and cruel.
So, if you are still kind enough to be reading this, I have to figure out what to do with this information. I have to figure out how to get ME back, the person who is loving and generous, forgiving and optimistic. And yet, I still have to protect myself from the dangers of life with a bipolar addict who could, at any time, revert back to destructive behavior that could bankrupt us financially and destroy me emotionally.
But that's for AFTER vacation.
"You gotta know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run."
I'm so glad I'm done & not playing that game any longer.
The settling thing is something I really need to put more thought into. I never thought about the bargaining phase, but I know I did go through it.
The weight thing - My SAWH has always been underweight. He could eat anything he wanted 24/7 and not gain an ounce. He has since switched from construction to culinary, and now for the first time he is within a healthy weight range.
As for being demeaning or putting me down, my husband never did that. I'm so sorry for the emotional abuse you went through. My husband always told me how sexy and beautiful I was, which was extremely confusing given his lack of sexual interest. It really made me feel like I must be Spongebob something wrong, even when he insisted he was just tired or whatever. I thought he was jp st trying to spare my feelings.
SAWH and I are going away for two nights Tuesday & Wednesday (3rd- 5th) to the ocean. I love the beach, we haven't gone in several years. I have a chance to change jobs at work, more responsibility & requires another background check- but no more money. I didn't have to apply, and the position wasn't posted, I see this as a vote of confidence in my abilities & work ethic. Please cross your fingers for the background check! I'll let you know when things are finalized.
I'm trying to work on self care & stop pretending I can control the outcome. This $h!t is exhausting, I swear. I'm steadily working on improving my job performance and will go to the bank for budgeting and credit repair planning next week. I want to take two community college classes this semester and then apply to our local four year college as a degree seeking transfer student.
One of my biggest mistakes has been to assume SAWH has been working steadily toward the same goals- recovery, trust, transparency, honesty. I've spent the last year+ in denial. When I realized he's PD (Jan. '12) I mentally reviewed the events of the last two years and realized that no matter which issue you frame our M with, or even both issues together, SAWH isn't on board. He's gone right back to the same behaviors. There have been multiple instances of boundary breaking or abusive behaviors (didn't exist before DDay#1).
The thing is, sisters, I don't feel like confronting him about the trend. It's stressful. It takes too much out of me. I'm not his policeman or his whipping post. I can't wish or love him into authentic recovery. I've read a lot of posts by Solus Sto and I'm trying to take her words to heart. All of my energy is focused on self care & planning. I'm so discouraged for *us* yet happy for *me*.
"Live a life not an apology." Edward R.Murrow
"I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it."
I have been contemplating other things you posted. When it comes right down to it, even if he's all in, we both do everything we are supposed to do toward our healing and recovery, best case scenario stuff - I'm still settling for less than I truly deserve in the short term and probably in the long term. And that is a really bitter pill to swallow.
I've had two incidents this week that has made me lose some faith in him. Faith he could not afford for me to lose at this point, but of course he doesn't know I had stumbled on more evidence and thus know way more than he thinks. So he doesn't know how additionally devastating it is to get hit with this crap, even if it's minor because I've already been hit with the giant crap.
First was one night he started reading his Nook for the first time since he bought it two months ago. He bought it because he thought he could read his SA meeting stuff on it, even when I told him that wasn't possible (yet). I told him he could read all the books I've bought, and he didn't bother.
So I ask, what are you reading. He says Stuff. WTF? Really, you think that is ok to say to me? I ask again later, and he says religious stuff. What kind of religious stuff? A book about Hinduism. Then he says he's going to go read it upstairs, because my TV show is preventing him from reading.
It blew up into a big fight. He got all pissy, saying looking into religion was part of exploring step 2, why was I giving him grief? Got downright disrespectful about it, and I called him on it. And I told him I can ask questions about his electronic usage any time I want, and not get any grief for it, and he should not act like he's hiding shit and doesn't get to choose when I want to talk about it. He's said he wasn't hiding anything, I can see all his book purchases. True, but the Nook also has internet capability, YouTube, Hulu, etc and is effectively a tablet - how do I know he's just reading a book?
Basically a big stupid fight that could have been avoided if this happened:
What are you reading?
Hinduism for dummies.
I'm just exploring different religions as part of my 12 step work. Don't read any more into it than that. It's not like I'm converting or anything, and I'm really too tired to have a deeper conversation about it than that right now, if that's ok with you.
But instead because he was an ass, now I'm all worked up because he is still capable of being an ass even after all he has put me through, he clearly doesn't understand my perspective unless beaten over the head with it, I have lots of doubts about his choices, etc. He has since come around, apologized profusely, made all sorts of offers about ways to be more transparent with the Nook stuff, his step work, that he will learn to control his frustration and not take things out on me, etc but I'm so over it.
Then the second thing, this morning. I told him I had a new boundary, no work travel any more. Previously it was avoid all work travel as much as possible. Now that I have figured out he has basically acted out on every work trip ever, it's a huge trigger for me (although he doesn't know I know that yet). And I knew there was potential for trips soon, and one that he would have great difficulty getting out of, so I wanted to lay down the law to give him time to accommodate my boundary.
Typical reaction. I'll do what I can. I can avoid anything with travel in the future, but IDK if I can avoid trip X. I tell him I'm giving him time to extract himself from trip X and other things. IDK if I can, if the team has to go, we have to go, and he won't be alone. I tell him I take no comfort in that. He says limiting his travel limits his ability to move up more quickly. I say I understand that, but I value my sanity more. It is not my fault, it is a consequence of YOUR actions. He says he will do everything in his power to avoid it, but he may have to anyway. I say if you go, I cannot promise I will want to stay married to you anymore. And he says "I understand that." Thud.
He realizes quickly what he just said, and that I was not playing around. The damage has been done. He's been backtracking, etc ever since, says he can get out of everything etc. Trying to do more things for me, etc. Tremendous blow for me to swallow, and I told him that. You basically said your career is more important than our M. So he's all freaking out and trying to do damage control, because he says that's not what he meant.
Sigh. I am an idiot.
I haven't been here in a while - sorry. I was trying to find balance in my life, trying to not let SA consume me. But I'm in a really rough place today, and hopefully you guys won't mind if I vent.
Tomorrow is our 9th wedding anniversary. One year ago today, my husband was with a prostitute during the work day. Then he came home, had dinner, helped me put the kids to bed, then went back into work. He was unreachable until he got home at about 3am. Turns out he was with the same prostitute, in a hotel.
So I've been dreading today and tomorrow for months. I know he had sex with prostitutes many, many times, and this is just one more day.. but the fact that he was with a prostitute the day before and leading into our anniversary is just so disgusting. We talked about it a bit in the past few days, what I might want or need today, and we left it at, "I probably will want to ignore it but if I think of something you can do to help, I will tell you instead of just hoping you'll figure it out." Healthy, right?
I tend to do a lot of retrospective contemplation.. on special days, I always look back to where I was a year ago or a couple years ago and compare how life is now to how it was then, what I should change, what I haven't gotten done that I wanted to, what I need to bring back into my life, etc. So I emailed him and asked him to do the same.. because I know what I'm thinking about today, but I wanted to know what he was thinking about. Basically, I wanted to hear, "I sucked then, but in the last year, I've realized how much I love you, how stupid I was, blah, blah, blah." I gave him a few questions to think about for the "what was my life like last year" and a few for "what is my life like now" because if I'm not specific about what I'm looking for, he doesn't get it.
So his first response is to say that he doesn't really want to do it because he thinks that a lot of the questions are confrontational and will just cause me more pain. Then he tells me that he thinks that me asking these questions is unhealthy, and that I should speak to my therapist (I have an appointment tomorrow, how appropriate is that for an anniversary activity?) about controlling this impulse of mine to ask for painful information. Now, I'd also like to point out that I haven't asked ANY painful questions for months now. So it's not like I'm nagging him.
Anyway.. it turned into a big fight. He was pretty honest in assessing where he was mentally last year, at least as far as I know, but was so totally not reassuring about what has changed - why he'd rather be with me than a prostitute, in other words. I called him on it, and again, he said that he thought this conversation was unhealthy.
So.. yeah. I'm really angry, really hurt, and all sorts of other things that I know you guys can imagine. I have ice cream in the fridge, but I'm obese and trying to diet (oh, one of the things he admitted to was having nightmares about me losing weight, because then I'd leave him).. and I have Ativan and Vicodin in my medicine cabinet. I'm trying so hard to be healthy and not turn to 'addictive' substances, to not be afraid of my anger and pain.
But it sucks. :(
He was pretty honest in assessing where he was mentally last year, at least as far as I know, but was so totally not reassuring about what has changed - why he'd rather be with me than a prostitute, in other words. I called him on it, and again, he said that he thought this conversation was unhealthy.
This is confusing to me. Why would he think it is unhealthy for you to want confirmation that he has changed? On your anniversary and anti-versary of him being with a prostitute (twice if I read what you said correctly) it seems completely normal and healthy to seek comfort, reassurance, and insight from him about the ways he has changed. In fact, I think you need to know that in order to be able to move forward.
I am overweight, too, and trying really hard to not rely on food for comfort. I am filling my fridge with healthier choices. I am also going to be starting a diet on the 16th - right after we get back from Retrovaille. It is easy when you are depressed and feeling low to not really care how you look, though. Just try to remember that you should be focusing on you and what makes you feel good about yourself!
I went out on the 3rd and got myself a nose ring and a new tattoo. It was great! I did it just for me and didn't even tell my husband what I was planning. He lied to me again this week, and I am doing the 180 and protecting myself. It feels very empowering.
[This message edited by beautifulmess7 at 10:45 AM, July 5th (Thursday)]
So I'm just sharing because I'm in the shake my head mode today. He hasn't been acting out (you can assume the "That I know of" part) and he is going to meetings, IC, etc. He's working on his 4th step with his Step Study group. It's a lot for him. Overall he's been doing fairly well. However, he does slide back into selfish mode pretty easily. If I ask him to do something, no problem, but it's gone back to me having to ask him. Anyway, that's neither here nor there.
So this week, he came to pick up the kids so I could go shopping. I didn't know he was coming for that purpose. His plans got changes. I truly don't ever think he's there to help unless he specifically says so as he's not been like that before. KWIM? Finally he says "I can take the kids and you can go get your shoes without having them with you." Nice gesture. So we switch cars and when I get in his car he has a pen from a hotel. With no time to process, my first reaction is "Why do you have a Sheraton pen? Where did it come from?" and I kept trying to hand him the pen. Basically a "This is NOT what I can handle, take it away." He said the pen has been in the car forever (and that's probably true) and he has no idea. Later he told me that he was really hurt by my tone and accusation. Which is sharing, which is good. I told him that I won't ever not confront over anything again. Period. However, he had to understand that I didn't have a moment to process so what he got was my first instinct and reaction which was a "What the hell is this?" He says it was just a big reminder of how badly he had ruined our marriage and of the state we were actually in.
So, we discussed that and I thought it had been settled. However, as you all know, with any trigger, it stirs up all sorts of stuff. Which brought up questions. For me, I'm in the state of wanting to know his state of mind during things. When you knew you were entering the A, did you stop and realize what it was and how wrong it was? Why didn't that stop you? Would it have been easier if we had been divorced? At this point he answered all the questions calmly and said that it would have been much easier if we had D'd. At that point, and honestly it's because I am still trying to make sense of things, I asked "Why didn't you ask me for a Divorce. I just don't understand that." At this point, he says "This is all too much. I am still dealing with the pen situation from yesterday and I was hoping for a comforting conversation tonight."
At this point, I figure It's late so I told him that we could pick this up later. Today I'm waiting to see when/if this comes up again and if it's a "poor me" thing or what.
I swear this toxic shame is just exhausting. I can see him pull in on himself into "poor me" mode. I get that this shit is exhausting. I deal with it every day too. It's not going to go away so why don't we just dig it up, air it out and figure it all out!
I think I'm just venting today. All in all, he's doing the work. Could he do more? Of course. I'm just keeping on working on myself and making sure the kids are good.
As for the pen? Well, I do think it's more than possible it's an unfortunate coincidence. In this house, pens seem to appear from the far reaches of the world...
I just read your story. Why can't you confront him when you find something suspicious? Why is HE upset and angry?
I think I might be missing something? Or have you pledged to never confront him about anything again?
And yes, I think it's logical and perfectly normal to worry about the pen. Like all of us, myself including, you're dealing with a sex addict.
I didn't really know that he was SA... I thought maybe... but I thought maybe it was a slight SA thing. This is much bigger than I thought. I wonder how you all dealt with the information when you came to this realization?
NothngElseMattrs - sorry you are here. If I read your profile correctly you two live apart right now. It will be very hard to adequately deal with SA and feel safe long-distance. My two cents are stop doing things for him now. It's better to set the precedent right from the beginning that this is HIS responsibility to take care of.
It's better to set the precedent right from the beginning that this is HIS responsibility to take care of.
This is going to be so, so hard. I worry that if I don't help him through this and be gentle and understanding, he will stop telling me the truth. He hid so much... I don't know how it didn't eat him alive. I have my own FoO issues that I only recently disclosed to him, too... which contributes to feelings that I am not entirely innocent in this relationship. Often I find it clouding my judgment and reactions to his half of the equation.
I will stop doing things for him, though. You're right, this isn't a precedent I should be setting. I think I'd eventually get overwhelmed. And it's not my job to take on responsibility for his mistakes. I've got enough trouble dealing with my own mistakes, if I'm going to survive all this, I have to take care of me first.
You are only in charge of yourself, and that's where you need to be concentrating. I hope you can really internalize this message and live it. Set him free from your control (actually, from the illusion of control) and let him sink or swim on his own. You have no power to help him, anyway.
let him sink or swim on his own
How ironic that you chose those words. I told him today that I was going to drown if I had to pull us both out of this. I told him that he has to swim for himself, because I couldn't do it for us both. Uff.
You cannot fix him or live his life for him or "help" him make the right choices.
You have no power to help him, anyway.
This is so hard to accept, but I am going to get right on it. The sooner I get this through my head, the sooner I can heal myself.
Boundaries in Marriage
by Cloud & Townsend
Co-dependent No More
The New Co-dependent
by Melody Beattie
Out of the Shadows
by whoever, I don't remember
I am the poster child for a perfect SA's wife due to my co-dep problems, which of course stem from my FOO. Information & self-illumination are critical for you to heal & get better mental/emotional health. If you have the funds, please find yourself an IC and start going weekly. You're in your 20's? Lord have mercy, you have your whole life ahead of you. Please take this opportunity to change course so you can live a full life.
I just bought all those books off Amazon.
I am in IC and go weekly. I'm thanking my lucky stars I have an appt tomorrow. This will be the first time bringing up SA issues, as I am just finding out about them, though. Previously in IC I've only covered our A's.
Yes, I'm really young. If anyone had told me on my wedding day that in <6 months, I'd be dealing with all this shit, I'd have laughed my way down the aisle. Now I'm just so sad and in disbelief that my life could change so much so quickly. I had no idea who I married.