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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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ShatteredSorrow posted 2/7/2019 22:11 PM

@Nothisdoormat I'm glad it helped. It really helped me understand what I'd be signing up for and what I do or don't want for my life

@bluetears I suppose it's not necessarily that they're always lying. The point for me is that you/I will never know. And you'll never believe or be confident that you know. Even if they told the truth from this point forward forever, you'll never feel sure. And I feel like that is also no way to live. We deserve so much more than that out of life.


ShatteredSorrow posted 2/7/2019 22:27 PM

It also amazes me how many of us have/had partners who seemed like good, kind guys and that this seemed so put of character and out of the blue. That is really eye opening.

Something I've realised is that what I need to work on is loving myself completely and truly knowing my own worth - things I've always struggled with. That good can come out of this if I am happier and more confident in myself and my own ability to take care of myself (and my kids). I think that's possible for all of us with great therapy and hard work.

veryhurt2018 posted 2/8/2019 06:36 AM

Thank you Lionne! I read the "Cycle of Sex Addiction" and it is so him!

ShatteredSorrowWhere do I get this book? I've done a google search and can't seem to find it. Thanks so much.

Lionne posted 2/8/2019 11:08 AM

The point for me is that you/I will never know. And you'll never believe or be confident that you know. Even if they told the truth from this point forward forever, you'll never feel sure. And I feel like that is also no way to live. We deserve so much more than that out of life.

Well said.

Choosing to stay or go is complex. I like to think that, had I found out in my 30s or even 40s I would have had the strength and resolve to leave, before our finances were so entangled. That's hindsight, notoriously inadequate. I had a tough childhood, too, and being alone was very disconcerting.

Knowing what I know now, I would have left if only to protect my kids. But who knows? He loves those kids, did nothing DIRECTLY to damage them, but the fact of living with active addicts is damaging. More so, IMHO, than livig with "regular" dysfunction.

I DID start to trust him after (I thought) several years of sobriety and was in the process of trying to lower my shields. Maybe I had an unconscious thought that he wasn't sober and that's why my wall was so tall and impregnable. Probably not, I'm giving myself too much credit.

Now, I clearly don't trust him. But oddly, I don't care. It seems I am stronger, or maybe just inured to the idea that he will never be completely honest with any one. I don't take it personally, he is a seriously damaged and dysfunctional person when it comes to his addiction.

Seeing my own clear path, should I decide to leave, has been liberating. The idea of staying is far less tangible, I just don't know what that looks like right now. I have a sense of ennui, of paralysis that is preventing me from living the way I want to. I'm fighting that.

I NEED to fix myself, heal from this most recent trauma. It's absolutely what we all must concentrate on, regardless of our ultimate decisions about our marriages.

PS. I like the Brene Brown book. Just don't know what to do with the message quite yet.

[This message edited by Lionne at 11:09 AM, February 8th (Friday)]

ShatteredSorrow posted 2/8/2019 12:06 PM

I am currently listening to Brene Brown's the gifts of imperfection. I plan to work my way through her books as they were recommended to me and WH in therapy and I think she's brilliant.

I think her message is ultimately to always be vulnerable with people and authentically you no matter what your circumstances because thats the only place where love, joy, freedom, peace, happiness, etc can exist. Even if it means getting hurt. Even if it means making hard decisions. Whatever it means really.

Lionne posted 2/8/2019 12:11 PM

I think her message is ultimately to always be vulnerable with people and authentically you no matter what your circumstances because thats the only place where love, joy, freedom, peace, happiness, etc can exist. Even if it means getting hurt. Even if it means making hard decisions. Whatever it means really.

In theory, this is wonderful. I believe it, I accept it. But I lived like that, way back when I had suspicions but no evidence. I CHOSE to believe, CHOSE NOT to be that wife.

And I was completely traumatized and incredulous when I found out the truth.

No idea how I will be able to be that "whole hearted" person with him again.

ShatteredSorrow posted 2/8/2019 15:44 PM

In theory, this is wonderful. I believe it, I accept it. But I lived like that, way back when I had suspicions but no evidence. I CHOSE to believe, CHOSE NOT to be that wife.

I think her thing at that point wouldn't have necessarily been to choose to believe and trust.. that that's not actually being vulnerable and open with what you're feeling and experiencing. It would have been to honour the feelings of suspicion and Express that you were feeling that and insecurities and why. To be fair we have been living with addicts so they probably would have lied and gaslighted anyway. but I suppose then the point would still be to continue honouring and expressing your inner voice/space/feelings in the external world.. that is what 'whole hearted Living' is about.

She also however stresses the importance of simultaneously having and maintaining very clear boundaries, essentially meaning what you are ok with and what you are not ok with. Ie. Continued lying is a boundary, if I find you have lied more, I will leave. (or cheating etc) but this can be applied to any situation.

[This message edited by ShatteredSorrow at 3:47 PM, February 8th (Friday)]

Lionne posted 2/8/2019 15:47 PM

Thanks SS. I am plowing through the book. It's well written but it's taking me time to digest it.

Wish I didn't have to do this work. Wish we ALL didn't have to do this work.

ShatteredSorrow posted 2/8/2019 15:56 PM

I am actually slowly getting through it (2 small kids...)

I agree I wish we didn't have to do this work. I so wish I had the life I thought I had and I feel an immense sense of loss for that life. But at the same time I feel hopeful at the prospect of feeling totally loveable and worthy and capable all on my own. I really hope I can create something good out of all of this heartbreak and despair and darkness.

Check out Brene's Ted Talk if you haven't already. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability/up-next?language=en

And here she talks about boundaries:
https://youtu.be/BESvQB6J5rc

[This message edited by ShatteredSorrow at 3:58 PM, February 8th (Friday)]

ElZorro posted 2/8/2019 16:44 PM

I've been on SI for a while now, mostly in the Wayward's side, and I thought I would check this out and share a bit of my history.

I was accused of being a sex addict. The more that I dug into it, I'm not quite sure I agree with that statement, but more on the love addict side. I'm hoping to get feedback from others. I've talked to my therapist about it as well and she doesn't feel like it's one particular addiction but instead addicted to numbing.

I've struggled with my idea of masculinity since a young age. I was always the "Just friends" guy in high school and even in college, when I wasn't in my toxic relationship. I'm not a guy who can fix cars, trucks, likes to hunt or fish often, and I have an office job in broadcasting/marketing.

I was in a marriage for 8 years. Our sex was hit and miss. I tried to be provocatively flirtatious with my wife via text and in person and about 95% of the time initiated any sort of sexual flirting. We had 3 kids and so flirting was tough with them around and keeping up with their activities.

I was/am a recovering alocholic. This past year I was grieving the loss of my friend and her kids in a house fire. It really hit me hard. Then things at home started to fall apart and instead of not getting help I blamed everyone else for my issues of coping.

I'm a care-taking/rescuer codependent. I worked hard to provide for my family. I not only had my full-time job but I started a small side business for play money. In September I decided to cope by relapsing in to drinking and joining a sugar daddy site to talk to females, send money and receive topless photos in exchange. I never got off or did anything to the photos, but the fact I was talking to them, had money to send, and was getting topless photos back it made me feel "manly". We would talk about meeting up, but to me it was always a fantasy and knew it would never happen in my mind.

This was all recently discovered after I became drunk and was escorted out of my house and left my phone for my wife to go through and see how much I spent and the images.

She's accused me of being a sex addict. Which, I guess is correct in the sense that I paid women for topless photos a total of 4-6 times when they needed money.

Sex between my wife and I was about once or twice a week and if she said no, I respected that and went to bed and fell asleep or if she forgot I didn't go search for relief else where.

I've since started 12 Steps for alcoholic recovery, recognize I'm addict to not just alcohol but shopping (I'd buy my wife pretty much whatever she wanted most of the time), working, social media, and rescuing/care-taking.

So, I guess I'm in limbo and would like input. I've been reading Dr. Brene Brown's work on shame and vulnerability and it's changed my life. I have a college subject binder full of notes. Like she said, I have the "poo poo platter" of addictions. It's not just one, but I do like to numb. Or liked to. I'm still working on the social media/cellphone side of things, but all else I've established healthier boundaries so I can be a safe, healthy person with integrity and morals.

Thank you for your time. i appreciate it.

Notmine posted 2/9/2019 11:41 AM

ElZorro - BS here, alcoholic, 20 years sober. WH, 23 years sober, addict, alcoholic, sex addict.

First, I see that you have found the

12 Steps for alcoholic recovery
I am hoping that you mean that you are involved in AA or another program of recovery and that you have a sponsor and are working the steps. Long term sobriety is not sustainable without these pieces. As you have discovered, the disease will find ways to insert itself into your life and cause destruction. Any activity which is pleasurable and allows you to numb yourself to life on life's terms is potentially addicting. All addictions progress, so be very wary of your motives. When you say:
She's accused me of being a sex addict. Which, I guess is correct in the sense that I paid women for topless photos a total of 4-6 times when they needed money.

it sounds like a rationalization. This behavior is destructive to your marriage. It is destructive to your finances. It is important to realize that this is addict thinking and to cease and desist in engaging in it. For information which might help you with the sex addiction piece, there are some helpful interviews with Dr. Patrick Carnes, a leading sex addiction expert, on Youtube.

bluetears posted 2/9/2019 13:26 PM

Shattered, I should have worded that different. I actually just read several "articles" on line about the cycle. I guess instead of saying it is "so him", I should have said, "I now believe that is so what he's been doing". And, unfortunately I don't think he'll ever stop. Sorry, for the confusion. If I do find a good book on it, I will let you know. And vice versa, k?

Lionne posted 2/9/2019 19:07 PM

Elzorro, denial is a powerful thing. I don't know if you are a sex addict, and the term love addict is offensive to some of us who truly love someone. Generally, the pattern of flirtation, looking for affirmation from people other than a committed partner, is just a step in the process of escalating behavior. My husband never thought he'd cross that boundary until he did. Porn addiction is a growing problem IMO with such easy access to internet porn, a far cry from the Playboy porn of my childhood.
Sex addiction, porn addiction, "love" addiction aren't about sex. It's an intimacy disorder, and like alcoholism, is about numbing one's emotions. Addicts LOVE isolation and the act of truly being vulnerable to a partner scares them to death.
The trauma that the partner experiences is beyond comprehension. Many of us have PTSD diagnoses. Your wife is likely scrambling to make sense of the insanity.
Go to a 12 step meeting for sex addicts. You'll find it identical to AA which I hope you are attending. You'll probably find people struggling with many of the things you are. Take what you need and leave the rest. But keep an open mind.

[This message edited by Lionne at 7:11 PM, February 9th (Saturday)]

DestroyedWife80 posted 2/9/2019 22:01 PM

I feel like I am going insane. My WH has managed to completely sweep all of this under the rug. It's like he blew me up with an IED and just goes about his everyday business like I am not bleeding out with missing limbs and screaming in agony in front of him.

I 100% DO take responsibility for my part- I choose to stay in this relationship. I have ALLOWED him to scare me/manipulate me into 'shutting up'.

But I really feel like I need a way of communicating with him my feelings- what I think, how I feel, how I am suffering, what would help me.

I know it sounds SO easy...but he basically shuts down any avenue I try. He doesn't want to deal with the fallout from his actions & if I push the matter he explodes. I have not grown enough balls yet to push the matter. That doesn't mean that my resentment and my overall feelings on the matter are not building and building...

I know my pattern. I choose men who are wildly unsuitable. I 'put up' with their mistreatment for years...resentment, anger builds. I *do* try to communicate and make things better but I suck at enforcing boundaries. When I've had enough? I am done. It's over. My mind has moved on. My love is extinguished. Nothing on their part can fix the relationship. I no longer feel any positive feelings for them. And they are left in a useless heap of blubbering tears on the ground begging me.

I was thinking, maybe to make it less confrontational...I could make an email address that we both had the username/password to...and I could email my thoughts. He could log in and read them so maybe he doesn't feel attacked or overwhelmed ??? I don't know. In my logical mind I know the answer. This is hopeless. But I need my heart to come to terms with it.

DestroyedWife80 posted 2/9/2019 22:05 PM

AND??? FUCK HIM for completely destroying me...and here I am 'oh maybe a special email address won't be so overwhelming for him and he won't feel attacked'....


When all I am trying to do is to get him to accept responsibility for HIS CHEATING!!!!!!!!!!!

DevastatedDee posted 2/10/2019 01:36 AM

Yeah, fuck all that. He isn't a partner right now. He's still so selfish that he can't even see you. You deserve better, period. I am so not down with babying grown-ass men who treated us like absolute shit. It doesn't help anyone or anything about the situation. It allows them to stay in denial and not feel. It causes you more pain and makes you feel even more alone than you already did. It's not sustainable long-term and it will eat you alive. To be so discarded by your spouse is just beyond agonizing.

Superesse posted 2/10/2019 08:00 AM

Destroyed, you said that you have a pattern of ending up with unsuitable men, and then hanging on through their mistreatment, for years. To help you untangle this a little, maybe look at why did you even "choose" someone (or let them "choose" you, as the case may be) if - as I took it - you recognized from the start that they weren't going to be good bets? (Or did they "change" into 'wildly unsuitable,' after you got involved?)

I wonder how much of this struggling to survive staying married to a sex addict, (rather than shucking the relationship off, like the rotten outer leaves of a head of cabbage where we'd keep the good leaves) goes on so fiercely because they have re-injured us in the essentially the same way we were hurt (rejected, put down, not accepted) as children?

If as a child we experienced unconditional acceptance and love, and grew up knowing we were deeply loved, it seems it would be so outside of our self-concept to hang with someone who treats us poorly, right? BUT, if NOBODY ever could be counted on to show us that kind of love, we are left craving what we never found, and so we keep hoping and hanging on, no matter the odds, because something, even something dysfunctional, beats what we really fear we will end up with,: nothing at all. We operate from emotional deprivation.

When I look back on my life to see how I got involved with the men I did, it has helped me understand my motivations, when I can connect with how I thought about myself, to begin with, how much I wanted to be accepted by others, make a good marriage, be socially and emotionally not alone, etc., etc., etc.

[This message edited by Superesse at 8:02 AM, February 10th (Sunday)]

DestroyedWife80 posted 2/10/2019 10:18 AM

Dee- Exactly!!!!! I am about to send him just a regular email- because it helps me organize my thoughts and then he can't hang up or leave etc. And again I am all worried because he's out of town on a business trip & scared how he will be able to fucntion. O well! He didn't give ONE single solitary FUCK about exploding my world and then leaving me to try to function at work or as a mother.

Superesse- 100% agree with you! I am in counseling and she has just about wrapped up on the triage/trauma care for now & we are starting to delve into WHY. WHY do I choose these men and WHY does the situation play out over and over again (embarrassed to say I have been married 4x and I am not yet 40). I guess the 'good' news is that I always have a tipping point that I walk away and don't look back. The bad news is I fall into the same trap again with someone new very quickly after leaving. The goal is to stop the cycle. She said my priority should not be to leave him- but to get better to the point that I have no desire to stay with an active sex addict. And better to the point I will never make these same decisions again. She said if I left too soon, before healing all the way, I would go right back to him or find someone just as bad right away.

Thank you ladies

ElZorro posted 2/10/2019 11:25 AM

It's an intimacy disorder, and like alcoholism, is about numbing one's emotions.

Thank you Lionne for that insight!

We’ve had a very troublesome marriage. When she became pregnant with our first child (unplanned...but didn’t use protection because she didn’t like it) she became cold, distant, and cruel. She was completely opposite from when we were dating.

I tried to understand, tried my best to adjust to the changes, and did my best to provide. After trying to talk to her about my feelings (which I got laughed at, ignored, or told I was too sensitive) and trying to talk to a therapist and family and friends I turned to a female friend then chasing limerance. I truly regret my actions and choices.

I loved her the best I could with the knowledge and idea of love I had at the time. I wanted to give her and my kids the best life, I struggled in telling her no when she wanted to eat out when money was tight or wanted a high priced item because when I tried to explain our finances she would pout at times and give me the silent treatment. It was easier for me to work more and provide than fight. I loved to make her happy, provide the life she dreamed of, and go above and beyond the role of a typical husband. I had no healthy was of coping and chose the cheap, easy and cruel way of dealing with my pain.

My affair was emotional. She did have an affair on me that was physical (she claimed it to be one time only, but recently found out it was multiple times and she was still emotionally attached to him).

So I’ve always been chasing that “high” by “innocently” (not) talking to others. I’ve recognized I have codependency, poor boundaries, low self esteem, depression/anxiety, perfectionism, addiction (flirting/shopping/working/alcohol) issues. I also lacked accountability on my end. I’m still trying to learn my shortcomings, take responsibility & accountability and grow.

Notmine - I am in AA, have a sponsor and am working through the steps with their help. I tried “white knuckling” my sobriety on my own and it failed. I wasn’t ready to admit I have an addiction and I was afraid of the judgment/labels. Brene Browns work has REALLY helped me embrace my flaws and attack my shortcomings. I recognize I need a place like SI as well as CoDA and AA to fight this disease and keep it in check and continue to stay mindful.

Thank you all for the feedback and helping me understand this better!

NotHisDoormat posted 2/10/2019 11:33 AM

Thinking of you all today as I stumble through neck deep shit my WH tossed me into. I have enough anger for all of us.

This is so exhausting. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on to try to understand this addiction. There is so much work that needs to be done on my part to R again and I am not sure I have it in me. Part of me loves him and part of me despises him so much for putting this burden on my shoulders.

Part of me thinks any man would do this. So might as well just be alone.

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