And the worst thing is that if they find out when they are older that you knew about his SA and you stayed with him. You let him treat you this way. Those are the children who are permanently scarred, and who feel overwhelming shame and anger towards BOTH their parents. Their whole lives will appear to be a lie.
I worried that my kids would one day find out how sick X was and ask me why I didnít do anything, since I knew. I tried to get him help, and he wouldnít accept it.
Iím glad I left the marriage and I hope that it helps my children to see that there was a consequence for what their father did to me.
My situation is a little different as my X is also abusive. I didnít know. There was so much denial in my life. My X drank every day, a lot. I had read a little about alcoholics and thought I was unaffected by it because I didnít engage with his drinking. Wrong. I was affected and I raised my kids in an alcoholic home. I have to live with that decision, or failing to overcome my denial. When I found out about his cheating, I went into control mode immediately. I was in denial about that co-dependent trait for over a year. When people started handing me domestic abuse cards after I shared in 12-step meetings and my counselor gave me an abuse checklist, I still didnít think I was an abused spouse. I was sure I would never stand for that! More denial. I started reading and noticed on the emotional abuse list, there were very few things that my X didnít do to me, but it was still hard to get it in my head that I was abused.
When I first came to SI, people tried to tell me that my X wasnít treating me right, that he was showing no remorse. I tried to deny that to myself, too.
For me I now know that denial is one powerful thing. I even said to my X in our last marriage counseling session that if he hadnít hit bottom yet, I understood. I think I hit bottom twice, and I wasnít able to believe I had a problem until those times.
As for the effect on my children? I already see it. They are young adults and each is trying to deal with it their own way, but living in our family has affected them. It troubles me greatly. I regret not leaving a lot sooner, because I gave up the chance to model a healthy relationship for them as children. I strive every day to become a healthier person so that I am at least modeling that now for them. They know I am in counseling and that I attend support groups. They see I have changed and see I am stronger. I know they have to live their own lives and will stumble, as we all do. I pray that by looking at me now they will see that seeking help is the answer.
On a different note, Im in a bit of a questioning mood I guess. About my own situation. So the following questions arent directed at anyone in particular, just things mentioned that Im reflecting on and wondering about.
Im wondering what is meant by 'the first time I caught him acting out'. Was it something you knew was a problem? Or only realized it in retrospect?
Life with an addict/secrets and coverups: Is this different for those who did not have the back and forth behaviors of relapse/promises to change? Or continued acting out inspite of being caught? Because in a lot of ways I dont feel I have lived the "life with an addict", just living the aftermath of course.
How extreme is sexual anorexia? Is it complete lack of sexual feelings/acts or can it also be low drive, ED, etc?
Do you think theres a thin line between someone who wants/seeks to cheat and a sex addict? Or a raging gap?
Thats enough for now. I may not be able to reply over the weekend, but am thinking of you all. Hugs!
FWIW, here's my 2cents on SA stats. I am not a firm believer in medical stats of any kind, they are never collected in a manner anywhere close to reality and considering all other relevant factors. But I think they can be helpful in pointing out general trends.
My personal belief is that of course there is a higher failure rate than success for SAs, but I don't think the 5% is all that accurate. I think those numbers are based on old data, when you were only identified as SA when you were an extreme case that often included law enforcement involvement. I think the invention of internet and easier access to electronic media/communications has made a lot of people who would have never been SAs (or at least would have taken years/decades longer to become SAs) not only become SAs, but made them escalate much faster than they would have otherwise. And because electronic trails are easier to track than live ones, we can "catch" the escalation a lot easier and quicker than before. So all these stats that use the 5% number, they are largely built on old data and old parameters.
So the flip side of this advanced technology is we can educate ourselves faster on the issues and treatment. My personal story, going from discovery to finding out what SA is, and that my WH met all the requirements, how radically different the treatment for it was than garden variety infidelity and other addictions, and that there was a whole different treatment that needed to be applied to me as a spouse in the matter of THREE DAYS (because of SI) is not only a miracle but a game-changer for stats now and going forth. SAWH and I would not be where we are now if not for that. And yes, there is still a higher chance of failure than success, but dang you gotta admit it is probably better than 5%.
Just sayin'. But again I still feel I needed to reminded what dealbreakers EVERYONE should have regardless of their sitch, because I know my judgement will not be at 100% for a long time.
Im wondering what is meant by 'the first time I caught him acting out'. Was it something you knew was a problem? Or only realized it in retrospect?
I hope I can offer some perspective rather than answers. In my case, I knew my ex for 8 years before I walked in on him "masterbating" in our apartment, but didn't think too much about it seeing as he is a guy who does it just like anyone else who simply got walked in on and we were newly married.
Fast forward to summer of 1992. I walked in on him masterbating in front of our 15 month old and so technically that would have been the first true definition of him "acting out" that took me by surprise. I knew something was terribly wrong and that this behavior was a problem. I snatched up our son and left the room crying, etc... His acting out increased from there 5 fold once our second child was born. He was cheating on me then, but no proof or suspicions at that time for me.
Life with an addict/secrets and coverups: Is this different for those who did not have the back and forth behaviors of relapse/promises to change? Or continued acting out inspite of being caught?
I can only respond to what my experience was with my ex. He didn't do the relaspe/promises to change because he was (in his mind) never accountable for his dysfunction. This is where he'd always blame me for it. Life with the lies and secrets creates a lot of anxiety in the home and in one's mind. Since he was never totally honest nor ever sought treatment for his addiction (all of which was self labeled by me, of course) then my heart never got pulled and pushed around by empty promises and fake recovery. He was in way too much denial to ever bring himself to look at his FOO and the causes of his inadequacies.
Do you think theres a thin line between someone who wants/seeks to cheat and a sex addict? Or a raging gap?
IMHO, I am not sure I'd say a raging gap but rather a fine line between the recipe of addiction that creates the selfishness and ability to ignore and mistreat those around you that you love vs. plain ole deviant, evil minded, hateful people who actually go out of their way to hurt and blame because they can; and don't necessarily have any addiction issues.
Human behavior is very, very complex and what drives one human to do one thing can completely reverse itself in another.
My ex could actually block out the fact that our infant son was in the room and had no consiousness of what sort of damage he'd be creating simply because he justified that our son couldn't talk, walk or fend for himself. In my mind, what would provoke any person to actually whip out their private parts and start satisfying themselves while in the presence of children, strangers, computer or any other thing that wasn't an adult partner that I was exchanging intimate behavior with. But, that all remains a mystery to me.
Regarding sexual anorexia; I wouldn't have any such clue as I have a pretty high drive and so did my ex. Perhaps another member on here can share some thoughts or experiences of it.
Bottom line..... someone hurt and stole my ex-husband's youth, innocense and badly damaged a young boy by sexually abusing him somehow. It's still not known how or who. I think I know who, but he's in such denial that he'll probably never be able to bring it forward.
For what I saw out of him and having lived with his psychosis for 25 years, I knew I had to protect my kids from the cycle continuing with him so I ate the big ole self sacrifice pill to keep them from growing up sexually violated just as he.
Hope I've helped in some way here.
Ugh!!! Gotta drop this subject now so as to not ruin my day!!!
[This message edited by 2kidsandadog at 10:20 AM, October 12th (Friday)]
Too many Ddays to count. Enough said!
1) He is the one that told SAWH to start taking opiates for his pain, that it was interfering in his ability to deal with his mood disorder. He knew SAWH's family background and the severe addictions in it.
2) He was telling SAWH that he was asexual and would always just be this way. To just accept it. This further led to his hopeless feeling, further feeding the drug addiction from the medication the doctor was recommending.
3) When we came to him when SAWH and I were reconciling. SAWH had just started looking at websites (hadn't acted out otherwise yet). I told him it felt like addiction to me. He said I was wrong. This reaffirmed to SAWH that there was nothing wrong with what he was doing and that he had control over it.
We spent years, off and on, with this psychiatrist. Spent a fortune and really got bad advice. My codependency let me take his word for things that I knew weren't right. That is my fault. Should have fired him when he told me that intimacy wasn't the problem.
Sorry for the rant. It is just frustrating when you have spent years looking for the right kind of help. Seem to have found it through Carnes and very grateful for that.
I wanted to give an update after my first meeting with the CSAT.
I took a questionnaire; it had about 25 questions. CSAT said if I answered "yes' to 6 or more, WH was likely a SA, with increasing likelihood the more questions I answered yes to. I answered yes to 20.
He wants WH to come in for evaluation. CSAT said he wants me to come to the sessions too so that I will not have any doubts about what was said in the sessions. (Which I LOVE, BTW - this CSAT ROCKS!)
CSAT said what I know (EAs) is probably just the tip of the iceberg (many on SI have told me this too). This really freaked me out, because it reminded me that there has been large amounts of cash taken from our account by WH in the past, so I am thinking strip clubs, prostitutes, etc. Also, the fact that WH has always protested vehemently in the past when I asked about prostitutes (he doth protest too much...)
CSAT took me through the process:
-WH gets busted
-WH denies, TT, etc.
-WH goes to CSAT and gives entire sexual history ("from birth to present")
-WH does a disclosure statement to me, read to me in the CSAT's office
-WH and I sleep in separate places the night of the disclosure
-I write a response to WH concerning how the disclosure has affected me and read it at the next CSAT session
-WH writes a clarification letter
-WH writes an empathy letter
-WH takes a polygraph and I get to ask 3 or 4 questions at the polygraph in addition to the dozens of SA questions that the polygrapher asks WH
-CSAT said after the polygraph, everything is "wrapped up" in a package and then it is done. Then we start working on recovery.
Basically, my head is spinning....
I think this has made my decision to D much easier, because to me:
SA not in recovery = cancer that will destroy our family.
So, my plan is to tell WH that we need to make appointment with CSAT; if he refuses ---> I will proceed with D. If he agrees, but is half-assed or insincere in any way ---> D. I was comforted by the fact that our CSAT will give WH various tests; CSAT showed me examples of what we will learn from them. E.g., There is one that tests how ambivalent WH is about treatment; CSAT said if WH is high on the ambivalence scale, CSAT will tell WH that he is not ready and to come back when he is ready to do the work. It also had what kind of acting out behaviors he does (sex for money = power, etc. - things I had not seen before). He also had another chart that shows what their attachment style is: avoidant, secure, etc.
I also like the discussion about post-nup with hathnofury. I asked my L about post-nup and he said no; I have a meeting with him again in a couple of weeks and I will print out hath's info and ask again. I am going to my L to finalize the D paperwork and then I should be ready to file if WH refuses recovery.
I do have a question about visitation with the kids if we do D. Since I don't know the extent of his SA, how do I handle this? I will ask L this too. I don't feel comfortable letting him alone with the kids without knowing the extent of his SA. I do know that WH has masturbated to porn in the room right next to my son (at night, while my son is sleeping), which is very disturbing to me. I am thinking along the lines of asking for full custody until WH is evaluated by a CSAT, but don't know if this is possible.
I thank God for this thread and send out big hugs and good healthy you mojo for all who are suffering with this addiction.
[This message edited by numbandnauseous at 7:08 PM, October 12th (Friday)]
I do have a question about visitation with the kids if we do D. Since I don't know the extent of his SA, how do I handle this? I will ask L this too. I don't feel comfortable letting him alone with the kids without knowing the extent of his SA. I do know that WH has masturbated to porn in the room right next to my son (at night, while my son is sleeping), which is very disturbing to me.
If you get separated, you can work with an attorney and a psychologist if necessary to create a "parenting plan." Overnights could be contingent on a mental health evaluation of both parents. It is a long process, but worth it to protect your children.
When you divorce, the custody tends to simply follow the existing parenting plan. So let's say your H moves out when you get separated. You file for D six months later in most states. IF he has no overnights in that time, and the parenting plan gives him enough quality time with the children (daytime), then the D will probably just cement the existing arrangement. Judges are strongly prejudged against changing an existing parenting plan that seems to be working for the children.
So, time is your friend. I hate how long my D is taking, but STBX moved out 13 months ago. It will work in my favor if we end up in court.
In my case, STBX moved in with OW because he didn't know where else to go. The shame was too great, he's estranged from his family, and he didn't want to tell any friends. And of course because he thought it would be a jolly good time at first. Anyhow, he is not a threat to my children, BUT it will be over my dead body that my innocent kiddies (6 and 7) will be exposed to OW, her home, her own child (3), any porn, sexual instruments, or sexual innuendo of any sort.
So I talked to a L, set up a parenting plan that allows him to visit the children here in my home one evening a week. He comes over, I go to the gym, he feeds them dinner, works on homework, reads to them, puts them to bed. Again, I'm not worried about abuse. Then he has them one full weekend day, from about 10 am (or whenever he rolls in here) until 8pm.
Frankly, it's not the best of all worlds. I HATE having him in my home. HATE IT. But really, I think it's the best possible situation for the kids. They are safe. They are in a familiar place. They keep their routines. He brings them to baseball games, birthday parties, etc. (which mortifies me, but I just allow it for my kids).
I live in a very liberal no-fault, joint-custody state, but it looks like I'm getting sole physical custody. He fought it briefly, but then gave up. I don't think the OW wants anything to do with my beautiful children. Thank you, God.
So that's just one scenario. If he has relatives or friends you trust, he could do overnight visitations there, but really, how practical is that? But it might be one other way to manage it.
Best of luck to you. Protect your little kiddies, over everything else! Remember that SA IS PROGRESSIVE WHEN YOU THINK OF HIM AROUND YOUR CHILDREN. And if it makes you feel better, my younger child had just turned five when I asked STBX to leave our house. She is doing better than my older child, who is just 18 months older. He feels more of a sense of loss. My daughter, however, can't really even remember when her dad lived here. Our new life is "normal" and happy to her. The psychologists say she's doing great. My son is actually doing great now too, but he was very confused and angry when this all started. He blamed me, which just about broke my heart. Yes, thank you SA, the gift that keeps giving --
Regardless of the decision that someone makes, and how much we agree or disagree with it, we must realize that it is their decision to make. Life is about the journey, and whatever decision a person makes, I'm sure they did not make it arbitrarily. I think we need to accept their decision and give them support, whatever it may be. If they ask for advice, then give it; but we all should realize that many people are here just because there is no one they can discuss this stuff with at length, in their daily lives.
Last, I think we all need to realize our own bias. As I look back at the latest posts, I think that some of the "reconciler" posts are a bit too hopeful, and some of the "divorcer" posts are a bit too jaded. The reality is probably somewhere in the middle.
Thinking of you all. ((SA spouses))
Tell your WH how you feel about the porn tapes (his infidelity has changed EVERYTHING, including how you feel regarding his porn use/tapes; it is upsetting to you; causes you anxiety; etc). Ask him to remove them from the home.
Also, do you want those porn tapes in the hands of your children? If the tapes are in the home, it can happen. Tell him that, as well.
Bottom line, if he does not comply, it'll be yet another demonstration of his lack of care and consideration for you and your feelings. This may be useful in providing you more peace and confidence should you decide to move forward with D.
I don't want to make him angry
Why are you afraid of making him angry?
I do think it is up to everyone what they chose to do. Don't think I am very overly optimistic. Don't buy the 90% success rate that has been reported by Carnes at some point. I also don't find a 5% success rate to be accurate either. The hard part is that I have no control over whether my SA works his program and stays sober. So far, so good. All I can do is set the boundary that I will leave if that isn't the case. We start MC next week. I refused to do it until after disclosure and seeing the changes in him. No way was I going to try and really work on the M until he had shown me he was working on himself.
You have every right to a porn-free home and porn-free marriage. Your children have the right to grow up without being exposed to porn. It is not unreasonable to expect your life to not have porn in it.
If your WH will not do this, then you have your answer as to how committed he is to you & your marriage. That answer would be "little to not at all". It needs to be your WH doing the throwing away, not you. All actions that are done by you are ineffective and a symptom of your own "codependency". An addict never gets better unless they are doing the work themselves.
A healthy marriage and a safe home for children takes two fully committed adults. One person cannot sustain the marriage.
I would venture to say that most SAs don't get to working the program and that may be why the big difference in success rates: all-SAs vs. those truly doing the work.
ETA: thank you, Hope for info on visitation after D. I will keep all your points in mind and I like the idea of having him come to my house and then me going to work out! I know how it must make your skin crawl to have him in your home, though - incredibly difficult to see/deal with him, I am sure.
[This message edited by numbandnauseous at 3:37 PM, October 13th (Saturday)]
All I can do is set the boundary that I will leave if that isn't the case.
IMHO, early recovery for YOU is all you can work on. And it's all about setting boundaries. This one is the big one. You have to mean it.
You have every right to a porn-free home and porn-free marriage.
In spades. There is NO WAY you should put up with this in a relationship with an SA. It's like living with a drug addict who still smokes pot.
If your WH will not do this, then you have your answer as to how committed he is to you & your marriage.
In the early days, when my knowledge of SA could fill a thimble, I fumbled my way through detachment. I told him I wasn't going to put up with his strippers (his choice of acting out) I didn't know about anything else. If he wanted them instead of me, go for it. I meant it. I was ready to end the marriage. What I didn't realize was that it wasn't as easy as his making a choice and sticking to it. Once he started SA meetings, he was able to stop all acting out, including the online porn I found out about several months after I found out about strip clubs. He had a few online slips, but no more strip club visits, I wouldn't still be married if that were the case.
I NEVER expected he would stick with recovery, much less stick with meeting attendance and working a program. This is a man who never finished much of anything unless EXTREMELY motivated from an extrinsic source. He has. It hasn't always been linear progress. And we don't talk much about his program. But he is a totally new man. And far happier than the previous active addict. I SEE the difference. He LIVES the program more than he talks it. "Walks the walk" in the jargon of 12 step.
One thing that jumpstarted OUR recovery was a 8 week intensive out patient program we attended together. It was 2 hours of education/therapy, 1 in a mixed group of addicts and partners and the second in a split group. I learned a lot. From there he started seeing his CSAT and I started my IC, experienced with addiction recovery. I have seen his CSAT with him, that hasn't been too useful, for a variety of reasons.
The state of our marriage is complicated. I am still VERY angry and regret the time wasted. I am 58 and spent the largest part of my life married to a man who pretended to love me. And his BP rages and SA behavior caused him to abandon me emotionally and sexually. (Sexual anorexia. No sex for YEARS!) That's reality. He wasted my life. I tried very hard to make him happy, to help him through career and family crisis's, and he was busy elsewhere. I thought I was being a loyal wife and I was being taken advantage of. He is bending over backwards to make it right. He is willing to stick with me forever until I heal, he recognizes that I waited forever for HIM, he will wait forever for ME.
I am trying to heal. I don't want to give up my house, half my pension and my family after all I have worked for. And I don't want to start over in a world filled with people with problems I don't know about! (the devil I know, and all that!)
So, also in 12 step jargon, one day at a time...
My blessings are my sons. They are truly amazing, compassionate young men. DS#1 is working hard to fight his own demons, and doing it with grace and responsibility. DS#2 is adorable. His career is good right now, and he is having tons of fun. Both love their family and value the right things.
It's a long journey. We must support each other. We are the only ones who GET how hard this is!
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 3:42 PM, October 13th (Saturday)]
At the same time, I feel sad. I watched the amazing space jump today, and had to fight myself not to call or text him. It was a spectacular event to see, and I missed being able to share that with my best friend. It's all those small, every day moments that I will miss more than anything - sitting on the couch, holding hands, talking over dinner, cuddling up at night. Those losses are hard to bear.
I don't really think it matters what the long version is of why I chose separation. The short and not-so-sweet version is that he lied to me again. It was a pretty big lie. It was also sustained over more than a week. He lied about getting STD tested, even though in his disclosure he revealed sleeping with up to 50 sexual partners, some (or many) without protection. He has endangered my health all along by misleading me about his sexual history and his STD testing status. This last week of lying was the final straw.
The sad part is that he hasn't acted out sexually in over a year. It doesn't matter, though. That inner circle lying behavior just destroys any chance that we have of becoming a healthy couple. I can't do it to myself anymore. I just can't.
The thing that sticks out in my head from this past week is how easily and convincingly he lied, over and over. At one point last Friday I confronted him about a breach to our Boundary Agreement. He got very emotional, said that he was going to change his way of thinking, and seemed to really "get it." He went to his SA meeting the next Saturday and confessed that (relatively minor) lie of omission, tears and all. Meanwhile, he was hiding this huge lie from me and everyone else. He lied in our last MC session. He lied over and over during the week (just waiting for the test results to come in the mail). He lied straight to me, even after I had the proof, and made a big show of going down to the clinic to "straighten things out." It just makes me feel sick.
That man is not my husband. That man is not the person who cares for me when I'm sick and rubs my feet at night. That man is not the person I fell in love with. That man is not someone I can live the rest of my life with.
I need to check out divorce and separation laws in my state. I need to go get STD tested. I need to take his name off of my bank account.
I don't want to do any of it. I want him to get better.
I want him to WANT to tell me the truth. I want my best friend back.
I don't get what I want.