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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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Lionne posted 3/8/2019 23:33 PM

Oddly, I just got an email from POSARC, an online source of support. They are advertising three dates for retreats in three places. I know nothing about them, I'll research later but wanted to give a heads up. It's not overly expensive at $1800, and that's all inclusive.
Google POSARC and Sweetwater retreats.

bluetears posted 3/9/2019 00:03 AM

Cally, Ashes, Lionne and all of you, I am still shell shocked that there are other women in this world that went through and are going through what I did! Wow! I really love this site and reading all of your posts. Thank you!


As of tonight after work, I will be on vacation for 3 weeks. I need it more this year than ever! I am going to unwind my "brain" and figure out what the hell I'm going to do. Be prepared, I will probably bombard you all when I get back with more questions. Thank you so much for your support.

delilah2016 posted 3/9/2019 07:49 AM

Google POSARC and Sweetwater retreats.

I can make any of those dates work. If anyone else decides to attend, please post which one. I'd love to attend with SI friends.

Shocked123 posted 3/10/2019 07:24 AM

Delilah2016,
I will speak to my IC about the idea of a retreat and ak for any other suggestions and share them here.


My H finally told me yesterday that his CSAT is suggesting he is an SA and proposing a 12 step program.
He was somewhat angry and upset at her assessement. I played cool and simply said that if he is not in agreement, he should continue to explore the reasons he pursued his habit for so long and with such consistency. That if it wasn't in fact an addiction and that he has no urges now, he should discuss why he had them then. I suggested that there is a possiblity that he simply does not have as strong a commitment to marriage as I thought he had. Perhaps our values differ and his level of restraint is not where it should be for this marriage to continue.

Again, he claims that he has had absolutely no urges to be go to an AMP or private masseuse any longer. It's been 10 months since DDay and has never thought about going back.

After a 12 year habit, no urges whatsoever.

Thoughts anyone?

Lionne posted 3/10/2019 10:49 AM

I've heard of husbands who say that. Maybe. Or maybe he's white knuckling. There really isn't any way to know for sure especially if he's not realizing it himself, denial is strong.
He could be scanning or using porn or fantasizing. Maybe excessive masturbation. How would you know?
But, say he really can refrain from all inappropriate sexual thinking/acting. Say he isn't a true sex addict. He's used an unhealthy action to deal with issues, be it stress or CSA or just poor coping skills. He does need to continue IC and unlock some of that.
Sounds like he has an IC who is timed in.

[This message edited by Lionne at 10:51 AM, March 10th (Sunday)]

secondtime posted 3/10/2019 13:13 PM

So, best I can guess, my husband was a SA for 15+ years at DDay1. 25 at DDay2.

My husband worked for a CSAT for 3 years after DDay1. No urges.

I don't know exactly, when my husband started slipping. Maybe a year or so after that? So, 4 years with no urges..and then, it was a pretty small number...1-3 slips a year..

Of course, now, the slips snowballed into something that was very close to being a full relapse (depending on how one defines relapse).

So. Yes it could mean no urges. But, Lionne said..there's still a lot to unpack. If that work isn't done. The behaviors will return.

marji posted 3/10/2019 13:58 PM

Shocked yes, it's quite possible he has no more urges, thoughts, desires, temptations, whatever. My H has repeatedly said the same and it's over 3.5 years later.

I smoked for 15 years; I was addicted. I stopped smoking 45 years ago; I've never had an urge, thought desire, temptation to smoke again.

I've known people who were habitual drug users; heroin, coke, weed, etc. They stopped using years ago and had no urges, desires, temptations, to use again.

People can change with regard to habits and addictions. It happens all the time.

So I believe my husband. But that doesn't mean there was nothing, that there is nothing very wrong with him and about him. He did twice a week counseling with someone very knowledgeable about sexual addiction for three years; he still attends a twelve step program and he works with a sponsor.

Fortunately for my H, he does not experience the constant torments and temptations of the typical SA but he nonetheless benefits from working the program and I feel safer attending SANON meetings.

I benefit because what he'd did twice weekly for over a decade still fills me with shame and disgust; our life, my life can never be same and being around others who deal even with a remotely similar consciousness gives me comfort; my SANON meetings are the one place I can speak however I want about whatever, even joke about whatever and knowing he is in some manner working a program that requires he attempts some degree of self-awareness and reflection is also helpful.

So thoughts re your H? I think Lionne expressed it perfectly--they had poor coping skills and acted in very unhealthy ways; I'd go further-they acted in extremely immoral and exploitative ways; the therapist who worked with my H stressed the utter depravity of such a way of life--so yes, whether or not your H has ongoing urges now, he should still be able to benefit working with a good IC. Men who are capable of living that life should be working to change.

Not sure why your H would be angry or upset about his IC suggesting he work a 12 step program though I am surprised he wasn't advised to attend as part of the assessment process. Therapists here typically advise possible SAs to attend as many 12 step programs as possible. The steps are are self awareness; they promote introspection. Men who habitually use prostitutes and engage in impersonal, escapist sex are typically not prone to self awareness, introspection; they do not typically give great thought to quality and depth of their relationships. Seriously working the steps can help.

ashestophoenix posted 3/10/2019 17:18 PM

I heard this from my SAH at first. In my case, I don't believe one word. I think it was a combination of white knuckling, gaslighting, and outright lying. I also think that addict that he is, he would think: "It's only an urge if I watch two hours of pornography, masturbate and then have to lie because she asked, otherwise, no, it's not an urge." Or, scanning for women, staring at them, fantasizing...that's not an urge since he just continued to do it.

I'm quite certain what I would consider an urge and what my husband would are quite far apart. I also know that what I would consider addictive behavior and what he would are probably not close. There's a good conversation we should have. Doubt he could do it honestly.

I frequently read blogs or books of men who are recovered/recovering addicts. They all talk about urges. They say they decrease, but that they can be hit with one without warning. They seem to have the biggest problems with "visual triggers." Meaning, women and girls. Their bodies. Seeing their bodies and doing whatever crap they do. Since images of women and girls are everywhere, well, I will never believe my husband doesn't have urges. He may manage them, but he would have to do tons more work to not have them.

ashestophoenix

[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 5:20 PM, March 10th (Sunday)]

Shocked123 posted 3/10/2019 19:23 PM

Thanks for your feedback, everyone. About triggers, well, there are massage parlours everywhere--something I never noticed until all this came about. Stress is still present in his life and I'm not sure why he thinks his Sudoku is going to cut it as a coping mechanism.
Nonetheless, I do think that he is motivated to change. The problem is the label and what it entails. The suggestion of a 12 step program was scary for him; he mentioned that this would mean he has a lifelong problem. He seems to think that it was a period of his life where he actied immorally, irresponsibly and selfishly but was in no way addictive.
However, I do remember him telling me how he would leave these places and hit the steering wheel of his car and tell himself he was a scmuk and promise himself he'd never go back. He was digusted with these visits but kept going. He had two regulars but kept searching for others. He knew it was wrong and ruining our marriage but kept going.
These are not good signs...
As Marji says though, it's entirely possible that the consequences of this actions and the ugliness of the secual transactions may have simply extinguished the behaviour.
Still, I am married to a man who could not "use his words" and chose sexual release with strangers to cope with life.
That just isn't normal and is very scary for everyone involved.
At least for that reason, I believe h should pursue IC with this CSAT and perhaps he will either stop denying his compulsion or at least understand why he felt the need to act out in such a way.I also think that there is more to this story, especially what happened in China on his very frequent and extended trips.
I think the CSAT is still open to other reasons why he did what he did, but the onus is on my H to figure that out now.
In the meantime, as I explained to him, the label doesn't matter to me so much right now. I was hurt and I need to heal.
Addict or no addict, he was with all kinds of women hundreds of times.
YUCK.

marji posted 3/10/2019 20:28 PM

O dear, Shocked, I can't imagine what I said that suggested I thought that "it's entirely possible that the consequences of this actions and the ugliness of the secual transactions may have simply extinguished the behaviour."

I did say, that I think it's possible for people to give up habits; I do think it's possible that not all men who engaged in habitual, predatory, sexual behavior continue to have the same urges--but how or why that may be the case--I have no idea. I guess it's possible that getting caught might in itself shock someone out of their predilection--I think that was mentioned as a possibility on Recovery Nation-- but who knows?

And like you say, whether the urge is there now or not, they did what they did and it's all creepy and disgusting and we have to continue to make our lives ok again.

A huge article in the paper last week about the parlor women and girls and the huge sex trafficking enterprise they are part of. It set me back two years. Now another article about a woman who is putting on a play about her H's child porn habit and arrest. I read many, many letters in response to the article, the vast majority blaming her for continuing to stay with him. Im sure my story would elicit the same reactions even though the details are different-these men finding satisfaction and comfort by using the wretched of the earth. What does it say about us that we can stomach looking at them and sharing our lives with them knowing what we do about what they did and liked to do?


Shocked123 posted 3/10/2019 20:59 PM

Marji,
Nice to hear from you again, by the way.
Our first IC and MC (same person) calmed us both down by stating that some men who engage in unappetizing repetitive sexual behaviour simply stop when found out. The fear of what they could lose and the realization of how much it hurt them and their loved ones is enough to simply eradicate any future urges.
She put it as simply as that. He has been riding on that explanation ever since. I ditched that therapist because my point has always been and will always be that I need to understand the why's. She argued that I may never know because he probably doesn't or will never admit it to himself ot to me.
I don't buy that argument and this is where we knock heads.
While he isn't comfortable with the though of his being a SA, he cannot explain in any logical way why he could not stop, why when he knew it was wrong that he kept doing it and why he did it when he needed to escape life.
All he keeps saying is: It was easy, I had the time and the money. He used to use the stress, anxiety, hating his business partner excuses but hasn't brought that up in a while now. Why? well, because he still has those stressors but isn't engaging in his habit so why did he have to then?
Never any explanation as to why he completely shut me out of his life as well as basically ignoring the kids for most of their lives, why he would not have relations with me at all, why he was angry, irritable, defensive and verbally abusive.
You see, what's not clear to me, even after all these months is why he would turn to this activity knowing full well that if I found out chances are I would ask him to leave. I take that as him choosing his dangerous habit over our life togeher. Even if he compartmentalized , something allowed him to feel that it was acceptable to disrespect me and our children.
That alone is enough for me to throw in the towel. When I really think about how he used these women after timely research on CL and numerous phone calls to several of them day after day, how he felt uninhibited enough to undress, let them fondle him and climax, it just makes me sick.
This is a man who covered himself up in front of me as soon as he got out of the shower! I had not seen his body in years. YEARS. And yet, he felt these women were important enough to him to "manscape" down there. I was appaled when I finally saw that- TMI, I know....
I understand your examples of smoking, alcohol etc and I know people who have done the same. I'm just not sure my H is willing to dig really deep as you and your H have to figure out what motivated him and what he can do to find healthier ways to deal with life.
Taking me out, seeing friends, telling me he loves me. That's all good but it's all normal. It's not reparative, it's what I expected from the start. If he's expecting a medal for that he will be dissapointed!
I have time on my side. No rush to make any decisions and all the time to work things through while he pays for the therapy.
At least in the meantime, our children get some semblance of what a marriage is. Finally.

Shocked123 posted 3/10/2019 21:02 PM

Marji,
I misquoted you. It was our first IC/Mc who said the behaviour can extinguish itself due to consequences.
Then she threw us into MC and looked at the reasons he felt he had to escape his marriage and spent time telling me i was too "black and white'. Made me watch one of the Estel P Ted talks.
Omg, I wasted so much time with that IC.
Thanks for re-directing me.

marji posted 3/10/2019 21:57 PM

O Lordy, Shocked--I am so sorry I reminded you of that awful MC-please forgive; she seems truly terrible and totally unfit for jobs like we have to offer. Thank you for explaining though I can see why what I did say reminded you of what she had said.

Actually she should maybe be given some credit for not just assuming you H is an SA because of his habit--many MC's immediately jump to that opinion even without meeting the person in question. But saying you're too black and white, "too" anything really, and suggesting you watch an Esther Perel Talk instead of listening to Marnie Breecker or reading Omar Minwalla-well Im glad you didn't stay with her and that you and your H are now both working with people who have a better grasp of the illness and the trauma it creates.

Do hope your H decides to attend the 12 step programs; two therapists strongly advised my H to do that even though he didn't meet the Carnes criteria for SA which typically includes feelings of guilt, attempts to stop, and ongoing tormenting urges. But then only Carnes presents a "test" for SA and his institute is the only place that offers a certificate.

Theoretically, alternative SA criteria could be offered that would broaden the scope and enlarge the symtomology--so it's ultimately personal and arbitrary and so some therapists will suggest a potential SA attend the meetings to gain self awareness, to become more introspective and to help self diagnosis. The "diagnosis" as such or as you better describe it, the "assessment" ultimately depends on a self awareness since it's so much about subjective states of mind and not simply actions.
You seem to be dealing really, really well Shocked. You seem so strong and you help so many people here. Im sure you're going to figure out what's the best way for you and your kids going forward.

marji posted 3/10/2019 22:14 PM

Shocked My H hasn't dug deep at all to find out anything at all. His explanation was it was an easy escape; he could afford it and after a while he assumed he wouldn't get caught. He went twice weekly to the therapist but so much time was spent on just basics of dealing with his anger. He is constitutionally unable to dig very deep mentally, spiritually, psychologically. The therapist tried working with him one to one but my H offers to little that I was invited to join the sessions.

He has been dealing with the anger issues and there's been nothing unpleasant for a long time now; he speaks with a sponsor but its about the steps and about anger issues. He works on trying to be more present--he avoids the other means of escape as well--endless chores, answering surveys, etc. but no, no real delving. He can't speak about his childhood because he basically amnesiac about it; he couldn't even remember being on a Little League team; he doesn't remember any teachers or experiences. It's very strange. He is working on trying to relate more to people in general; to communicate and to listen better. But he's in his 60's and there's a long, long way to go.

Shocked I understand your saying your H acting decently, lovingly now is not reparative but how he should have been acting all along. Im not sure that acting as one should have been isn't reparative though I do understand it not deserving any medals. I think it's good that he's now being normal. I think acting right is reparative though it might be reparative of his soul rather than the relationship but yes, good for your children to see positive behavior.

Mine generally acts loving too though I don't think the relationship will ever be repaired. There's no way to delete; no way to change what he did for so long and so often. I don't think about it all the time but it's always there. It means I still can't bless him when he sneeze. I still can't take his hand. I cannot reciprocate a hug and I cannot offer a kiss. A kind word is about it; and I can accept gestures of affection.
I require nothing more of myself than basic courtesy.

DestroyedWife80 posted 3/11/2019 00:15 AM

Lionne- Wow! That work on 'philanderer' men is SO spot on!!!

I know my H doesn't care for strong women. He can't handle it.

My therapist said they become sexually anorexic with us bc they can't stand to be intimate physically AND emotionally with the same person, it's too overwhelming. That made a lot of sense for me. She said they act out sexually with women who have no meaning to them. And can't be sexual with women they are emotionally involved with.

I have asked my SAH what it is he wants!? I will (would have) done anything (so long as it was legal lol)! But he won't ask me to do anything like that. He is almost an asexual prude with me. If I make jokes or comments he will turn red and say 'oh stop, don't say that kind of stuff'. REALLLLLLY!? I cannot believe its the same man who wrote the nasty shit he did to the men in the craigslist ads!!!

She said they feel as though we are suffocating and controlling them- even if we are just partaking in the regular parts of a relationship. The 'acting out' lets them escape and break free for a while.

I am so unhappy right now with my life- and I can't seem to break out of it and 'work on me' or 'get better for me'. I am stuck eating like CRAZY. I have gained like 30# in 6 months. I am drinking almost every night I am off (3 nights a week) to feel 'numb'. I stay up late watching my shows on Netflix and then can't get out of bed the next day.

I am going to counseling but I don't know how to 'fix it'.

Smjsome1 posted 3/11/2019 00:21 AM

Shocked

My IC says that SA’s can have their urges overridden by the fear of losing us. The panic, so to speak.

My SAWH says he has no thoughts or urges, my IC says, that while you are both in shock (it’s been a year and a half, but still reeling) he is so caught up in the fear of losing everything that it takes up all the space.
She says my pain is so big, his fear is so big, he can’t have urges, he’s got nothing left for those.

Not her words, she said it much better. She said that’s why so many SA’s relapsethe 2-3 year mark, life is returning to normal.

He has admitted to fantasizing, well, “Starting” to fantasize but stopped himself, twice. I’m not sure that’s all, but strangely it seems right. But only after she explained the above.

Shocked123 posted 3/11/2019 12:16 PM

Snjsome1,
Thanks for that feedback regarding urges.
Our first IC’anoii tnwas that BECAUSE he claims to have no urges whatsoever, he cannot possibly be an SA. Sh stated that
The more someone has to lose, the more they are turned off by the discivered behaviour, to the point of repulsion.
Where she really dropped the ball though was trying to figure out why he would allow himself to pursue this type of activity and ignoring the fact that he admits to doing this to escape his real life.
She summed it up like this:
He did it once, he liked it, he had the money and time to keep doing it and he knew you’d never find out out. So why wouldn’t be continue? It was fun for him.
He actually repeated this to me this past weekend.
So after 12 years of this “fun” he claims to have given it up without a backwards glance. Very possible and good for us if that is in fact the case but if it really was just for the fun with complete disregard of me and my feelings, what does that say about his perception and appreciation of our marriage.
This is what I’m trying to get through to him.
It’s all fine and dandy that you may or may not be an SA, that still does not address what made you feel that you could do this, your sense of entitlement, the stress you were trying to relieve, the anger you were trying to numb, the life you were avoiding, the unappreciated children, the “happy” wife that yountesented.
All those things are still present in your life.
Why would I believe you can suddenly handle them without acting out?
He has a lot of holes in his arguments and to be fair he is trying to figure things out. I realize more and more that we are at the very beginning of a long process.

DestroyedWife80 posted 3/11/2019 12:21 PM

Smjsome1-

That is actually a huge fear of mine! My counselor and everyone, it seems, advises that you ‘take care of yourself ‘, focus on yourself and get better, etc.

But my fear is- by me ‘getting better’ and ‘acting normal’...won’t he feel like what he has done is ‘no big deal’ and could continue? If he SEES exactly how thing hurts me, won’t it be a bigger deterrent?

That has been my biggest roadblock so far- I refuse to move on, become immersed in self care of healing- because I don’t want him to think I’m ok, that we are ok- when we SO aren’t!!!!

Shocked123 posted 3/11/2019 12:53 PM

Our first IC claimed that because he no longer has urges he cannot be an SA.
Sorry about the typos at the beginning for my previous message.

Lionne posted 3/11/2019 13:02 PM

So, these clairvoyant ICs can see into the mind of these guys and KNOW that they aren't fantasizing, scanning, etc. They are consummate liars, expert liars, able to manipulate and convince wives who have known them for many, many years...And we doubt them.

Sorry, I just Don't buy it.

Is it possible? Sure. But I'm betting it doesn't happen often.

We aren't going to be able to change what they think, nor know what they think. We can dictate what ACTIONS we permit in our marriages.

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