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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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doesitgetbetter posted 6/13/2019 21:20 PM

veryhurt2018, I was just reading one of my SA partner books last night and it talked about that topic. Basically it said that yes, the SA had free will, but eventually they lost their free will as they spiraled down into the depths of their addiction and their addiction dictated what they would do rather than them making the decisions anymore. I do agree with this, any addiction can take hold of a person and make them do things they would never do in their right mind. A heroine addict picking up a needle out of the gutter and using it to get high comes to mind. But they absolutely started out having free will.... they just lost it eventually.


So here is where I'm at today. I found a tablet that SAWH had hidden on his desk about 3 weeks ago. He's been using that tablet to play a train game, and to do genealogy for a few months now, and I knew about that, no big deal. But for some reason when I saw it, I freaked out and questioned him, and he cracked. He's been emailing people since October. In the past, he's met and had casual sex with over a dozen different women, he always starts with emailing them and sexting and whatnot. He was definitely doing his dance and heading towards a full on relapse. I absolutely consider this a relapse since it happened for 7-8 months and he didn't ever ask for help from me or a sponsor and just let it continue.

I left the state immediately. But I couldn't stand punishing myself. I left my home, my business, my children, my entire life, at the drop of a hat because of his horrible choices, and I was the one paying heavily emotionally for that. So I opted to come back home.

He is now back in his recover program. Going to SA meetings twice a week, journaling everyday again, working on his SA workbooks, counseling weekly, all those things. I am hopeful that this was a moment of "I'm better, it's been a few years, I'm healed, don't need to work on SA stuff anymore cause it's fixed.... whoops, turns out it's a lifelong problem and now I know I need to work on it forever" type of situation. Am I the biggest fool ever to think it might be that simple? Could it be that simple? That he just thought he was fixed so he stopped doing the work and started with a slip that turned into a relapse heading towards a full on belly flop into the SA pool?

Am I missing something? And why do I feel so good this time? I almost feel relieved... he's never been able to be faithful for more than 3-4 years at a time, and this time was no exception. Am I relieved because I was right? Or am I relieved because now I feel like I have 3-4 years of him being sober again to get my act together and make up my mind? What the heck??? I'm tired of feeling crazy.

DevastatedDee posted 6/13/2019 22:13 PM

I think you have been in this situation for so long that you no longer feel the horror that you would have felt before. Had you not found it, he'd have been meeting people for sex again. Being with an addict of any kind is kinda like being institutionalized and your normal becomes very far outside of what actual normal is. You aren't crazy, you've just been in a surreal situation for so long that it has become normal to you. Your husband is sexting with women and was heading towards cheating again and you expect this to happen again in the future and your brain has been trained to think "this is what life is".

Lifeexploded posted 6/14/2019 08:07 AM

I am so sorry Does. Thats interesting that you feel good. Like do you feel good that it happened or that you handled it well? Im confused.

Thanks to everyone who answered my 3-5 year question. It confirmed my suspicions.

I would like your thoughts on this. I dont understand this behavior. Heres the story. A couple of nights ago our 6 and 9 year old boys were being difficult to get to bed. They were running around fighting instead of going to bed. I was in the shower. Sawh was trying to get the 2 year old daughter to go to sleep but she was crying and totally losing her shit because it was too loud in the house and sawh was losing his patience fast. I got out of the shower and he is yelling at the boys for fighting, being being loud, etc. He told them that if they didnt stop fighting he was going to take turns holding each one down and let the other go to town. He also informed them he ought to "fucking whip their asses". I stood there to make sure it didnt get fuether out of hand. We went to our bedroom and I got dressed. Sawh could tell i was upset because i wasnt really talling and he asked about it. I told him that his language was out of line and abusive. Our conversation qas as follows more or less:
Me:" you can just say i am going to give you a spanking, saying i am going to fucking whip your asses is abusive. I cant belive you told them you would hold them down and let the other one hit them as much as they wanted.
Sawh:" well yeah i would" (he said he would do it but i cant remember the exact sentence he said)
Me:" *calmly* if you ever do that i will call the police on you."
Sawh:" *explodes* HOW DARE YOU! I CANT BELIEVE YOU WOULD DO THAT. THE KIDS WOULD GET TAKEN AWAY!!! BLAH BLAH BLAH"
ME:" *calmly* no, they would take you away."
Sawh:" well i would never really do that."
Me:"you just said that you would."
Sawh:"i only said that after you said you would call the police because i was mad. (No, he said it before which is why i told him I would call if he did that.)

The conversation was pretty much over at that point. I went to talk to the boys, tried to calm then down. The older of the two was very upset about dads language about whipping them and i agreed that dad was wrong, blah blah, validated kids while still letting them know their behavior was out of line also but sayung it was a not an excuse for dads behavior blah blah.

We went to bed. Sawh didnt say a word to me. He acted like he was asleep. Fine. I spent a little time on my phone like usual. When i turned it off and started to get comfortable, he goes "dont you want to give me a kiss" being all nice. I give in because i do not have time for another argument. And he says "you know sometimes you could initiate the good night kiss too. It doesnt always have to be me." Then, he says we need to get the two ywar old sleeping in her crib again so we can snuggle.

So let me get this straight, you want to verbally abuse the kids, threaten to make them abuse the eachother, yell at me for informing you i will protect them, and then complain that i dont want to kiss you and we cant snuggle? Is he delusional?

What planet is he living on exactly??? To be clear. This is how he was raised, abuse etc. So he learned all he knows about parenting from parents who were a hundred times worse than he is.

The next day i got all four boys together, told the older two about what had happened and told all of them that if sawh ever tried to do that to not participate. Fighting isnt ok and hitting eachother isnt ok but it really isnt ok when the other person cannot defend themselves. They all agreed.

This is why i dont want to divorce until they are older. I should have said something right when i got out of the shower. I am kicking myself now.


Oh, heres another thing that happened. This is already long so i will give you the cliff notes. We got a new counselor. She is big into forgiveness and started pushing me to forgive him and i informed both of then that i am not interested in exploring any such thing and will not discuss it. So sawh cancelled the marriage counseling. That he said was our last chance before divorce. Because we dont have sex. Because he isnt doing recovery work. But the problem is that I will not give forgiveness. OK.

veryhurt2018 posted 6/14/2019 11:37 AM

Lifeexploded - Wow, that's so sad that he was abusive to them (and yes, that's very abusive). If he does act on it, you definitely need to call the police on him. I'm proud of you for sticking it out for the children but make sure that he doesn't abuse you too. Then, you need to do something.

As far as that counselor goes; I think all MC's want you to forgive, but it takes A LOT of work on both people and it sounds like he's not doing his part. you need to make sure he knows that.

doesitgetbetter - 2 things; 1. Thank you so much for your post. This is exactly what I feel. I think I was struggling with my boys because they were really you and we weren't having sex a ton (which is what he wanted) so instead of talking about it, he chose to go outside our marriage. He then continued from there. It truly makes me sick. Ugh!! 2. As far as your feelings go about the relapse/slip; I totally would feel the same way. It's almost a relief that you now have a few years to not worry. Also, for me, I think that the trauma that I went through, I am bracing myself for it to happen again. So it won't be as painful. I'm sad that your SAWH had a relapse but I'm happy for you that he got himself back into recovery. Please try to turn to all your help and not run from your life if it happens again. That's what all the help is for. Maybe your therapist, parents and the few people that you've leaned on.

I'm off to Pilates now. I hope everyone has a wonderful and healing day!!

doesitgetbetter posted 6/14/2019 15:39 PM

Lifeexploded, I don't feel good that it happened, I feel relieved that I've been braced for it for so long and I can let my guard down and relax now. It's happened. Sort of like standing on a bridge ready to jump but being terrified, holding onto the ledge, trying to get the workers let you off the ledge but they are holding you there because you have to jump, but you don't want to, you're tense and scared and fearing the worst. Then you jump, and you can relax because it's over. You may not ever jump again, but you're glad it's over.

I don't know, I'm certainly not relieved it happened.... I'm just relieved that it's over. Maybe relieved that what I thought would happen actually did, maybe I protected myself a little and I'm grateful for that (I didn't let myself fall in love with him again this time, so I am relieved for that as well). I'm just glad it's over. I'm glad that I caught it so soon, all the other times he'd been actively cheating for 5 plus years before I found out, this time I caught him before he could get to the active part so I'm SUPER proud of myself for that! I'm trusting me more, I'm glad for that. I feel more in control this time, and I'm definitely glad for that.

I wasn't running from my life, that wasn't my intention. I was leaving my husband. My kids are young adults, so they have a life and were not wanting or able to come with me. My entire support system is in another state, so that is where I went. I knew if I stayed close to home that I would just relent and come help save him, pay the bills, take the kids to work, help with the business, etc. and he wouldn't fall to his very bottom. He wouldn't see all the things that I do for him every day, and I was right. He fell hard while I was gone, he failed at taking care of business, he failed at taking care of bills, he failed at taking care of the kids, he failed at all of it. He realized how much I do around here, he even wrote that the imbalance in work around the home should be a crime because it's so unfair how much I do and he takes for granted. He has been helpful every minute of every day since I came back. He is stopping what he's doing and asking if he can help me do what I'm doing.

More importantly, he is getting back on track with his recovery.

Lifeexploded posted 6/14/2019 19:06 PM

That makes a little bit more sense. Qhen my sawh has relapses (although they are very small in comparison) I do not feel relieved. I feel validated that I was right. I dont want to be right. But i am trusting my intuition and not falling for his gaslighting and thats awesome.

veryhurt2018 posted 6/16/2019 13:43 PM

I just finished watching the DVD "Pleasure Unwoven", has anyone watched that? It's a DVD about who the brain works differently of an addict. It's really really good. I got it on Amazon, just in case anyone wants to get it. One of the people in my group of SA Spouses recommended it, I believe. Highly recommend it.

My SAWH has been working very hard. I'm actually really proud of him. What scares me though is that he still tells me little white lies and that really bothers me. My MC tells me that he's trying really hard but he is trying to ease the pain so he tells me these little white lies. I hate it because I don't want him to lie on ANYTHING, no matter what. He can't seem to do that 100% and so we are going to have to work on that.

My boys are only teenagers so we still try to do something as a family for Fathers Day and I usually get a card for SAWH from me. That was really hard this year and last year as there is nothing in them that says what I REALLY want to say to him. Ugh!! Anyone else feel that way?

Lifeexploded posted 6/16/2019 16:18 PM

I cant do it. My sentiments are "fuck you and the horse you rode in on" and no cards say that. So the kids get him gifts.

Shocked123 posted 6/16/2019 19:30 PM

There is no card that I would buy that would be 100% sincere.
I passed on one this year but did plan a family outing that was quite pleasant . I just canít praise him as a father or partner in raising the children.

Cally1975 posted 6/16/2019 19:45 PM

For those that have seen recovery before I have a question.
It's sad I know that we question everything. But for those who's husbands have had recovery what behaviors did you notice?
My SAH has had quite a few behavior changes. But one I noticed lately is lots of love bombing I call it. He totally planned a 3 day get away for us. He puts social media posts of love on my wall. He gives lots of affection with kisses, hand holding, cuddling in bed. He bought a very romantic gift for our anniversary. He has planned a romantic vacation for us also with no help from me. He is all over me in the bedroom. But lovingly stops if I don't want to. He makes my coffee, cares about the house again and has taken charge of helping lots. He has cooked me meals.
It's like everything I was missing for so long. Everything I wanted him to be. But yet I am, well I can't even explain it. Skeptical, hurt and betrayed. Perhaps I am trying to distance myself afraid of being hurt again. I know we still have a long journey and this won't go away over night.
But for those that did want to stay in the marriage and work through recovery how did you begin to let your guard down?

secondtime posted 6/16/2019 20:53 PM

Cally-
I felt like DH was really a partner about 18 months after DDay1.

Most of the behaviors after DDay1 remain, even while DH was slipping/relapsing.

So..for us, it's been about a decade.

At about the 18month mark after DDay1, I felt safe enough to decide that I'd give the marriage a shot..and begin to trust.

We're about 2.5 years out from Dday2, and I want different things now...my husband is still very defensive when I call him out on stuff..and has very little empathy.

If/when he gets to the point where he's less defensive and has more empathy and stops saying to me "I've been sober for X years, now...I think you should be trusting me a little bit by now" then I'll know he's safe for me..and I'll let my guard down.

secondtime posted 6/16/2019 20:54 PM

Since DDay 2, I don't get cards for DH.

Plan things, yes. Cards..no.

doesitgetbetter posted 6/17/2019 08:56 AM

Cally, my SAWH was really good at being romantic again after all of our DDays. First DDay he spent about 2 years putting flowers in my car while I was at work, or cards, dancing with me in the living room at night, taking me out, romantic adventures, etc. He spent years not appreciating me, not feeling like I loved him (one of the many lies he told himself to justify his acting out) and then all of the sudden on DDay his eyes were open and he was woken up from the stupor he was in. He then realized how madly in love with him I had always been, and how much he really appreciated me when he could see clearly. So he expressed that, and he did a great job of it for a very long time.

It's normal for the BS to be on guard for a while, or a long time. After our 2nd DDay, I was on guard for the long haul. He hasn't been faithful to me for more than 3-4 years at a time, so I was ready. And sure enough, at the 3.75 year mark I found out he was out emailing other women again. But I was miserable the whole 3.75 years, living life ready for the shoe to drop, waiting for the floor to fall out from under me, bracing myself for impact. After the impact came, I was finally able to relax this last time. The first DDay I was able to relax much sooner, but not the second DDay. This third one, I've already relaxed much more much more quickly. This third one was a wake up call for SAWH that he has to work on sobriety every day for the rest of his life, he's not going to be healed as though he had a broken leg and walked on crutches for x amount of time and now he's all better. He has a wound inside of him that will never be healed and he has to handle that forever. I am greatly encouraged by the fact that he now knows that.... I know he can be sober, he's done it for years at a time, but now that he knows there is no end to the work, I have hope that he can do it forever.

But letting down your guard comes with time. It's hard for US to believe that what they said while they were acting out, and the things they say now which may sound very similar, are true now even though they were lying to us before. My SAWH would still leave me notes every once in a while while he was acting out telling me how much he loved me, and they read very much like the notes he leaves me now. But he was lying to me back then, trying to convince himself that he loved me...... I believe he always did and that was just a little glimpse of him being honest with himself before he let his demons take over for the day/week/month/minute.

They don't call this the crazy train for nothing.

Somber posted 6/20/2019 19:40 PM

Any thoughts on cognitive behaviour therapy for sex addiction? Or sex addiction aversion therapy?
While in rehab, my WH is now starting these with his therapist or psychologist there.

He is really trying to convince me he will be a safe partner and I should stay. But with alcohol, drugs and sex addictions I am not sure there is much hope. I do hope he will recover! The loss of hope is for me to forgive all that has happened based on defining all his wrongdoings under a huge addiction rug.

He is home for good in 2 weeks...I am not ready.

Superesse posted 6/20/2019 20:01 PM

Somber, from what I learned in my (one) graduate-level counseling course on choosing therapies for different problems, CBT is NOT recommended in cases where addiction is suspected, althought it might help at some stage.

The problem being that any actual addiction alters the introspective brain capacity needed for Cognitive Behavior Therapy to really lead to change. Scary, right? It is because most of the "work" of therapy happens between sessions, as the client chews over challenges the therapist has prompted them with, to address their "stinking thinking."

The idea is that a self-aware client will eventually develop insights and summon the motivation to change, based on their OWN reflections! Whereas, addicts usually short-circuit all that "deep thinking" stuff....just my humble opinion.

DevastatedDee posted 6/21/2019 08:16 AM

He is really trying to convince me he will be a safe partner and I should stay. But with alcohol, drugs and sex addictions I am not sure there is much hope. I do hope he will recover! The loss of hope is for me to forgive all that has happened based on defining all his wrongdoings under a huge addiction rug.

Yeah...that didn't work for me either. The sad part is that when he relapsed on drugs, I was relieved. I knew that I was never going to be happy in a relationship where I had to wait for my WH to figure out how to be an adult and know that it could all blow up again at any point. To know that no matter what work he did on himself, I could never trust him again because that would have been stupid. I had been trying to stay long enough for my son to graduate high school and kind of see how things progressed and if I'd have a reason to change my mind, but no. He relapsed on drugs (no idea about whether he relapsed sexually) less than a year after DDay and I was out. No way I could live with the uncertainty again. It is a life sentence of knowing that the person you're supposed to trust the most and who can affect you the most grievously can turn on you in a second and trash your life. Tomorrow, next week, next month, 2 years from now, 10 years from now...I couldn't deal. I need peace and security in my home and I was more than willing to leave him to get that back. I just can't live that way. Those of you who do have to be so damned strong for it not to break you completely.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 6/21/2019 11:13 AM

It's hard for US to believe that what they said while they were acting out, and the things they say now which may sound very similar, are true now even though they were lying to us before.
Somber, I think what doesitgetbetter brought up above is incredibly relevant to your situation (to all of ours really).

When SAXH used to get indignant when I was suspicious, saying, "you always think I'm lying because that's what you want to think!" I would say "That's just it, I don't want to think that. But the person who lied to me over and over again, and the person who is now insisting they are not lying, are saying the exact same words."

The loss of hope is for me to forgive all that has happened based on defining all his wrongdoings under a huge addiction rug.
Have you talked to him about this? That addiction can be a reason, but not an excuse? Pardon if I missed it, but is he in a 12 step program? That is what making amends is all about. Admitting that there was wrong doing, and accepting their responsibility for it.

Sorry to hear that you aren't feeling ready for his homecoming in a couple of weeks. Try to plan a few nice things for yourself during the first few weeks that he is home. Maybe once or twice a week, have something planned that is just for you. Getting your nails done, hanging out with friends, going on a long walk at your favorite park, going to a movie, whatever works for you. That way no matter how tough things get with him being home, you have a little something to look forward to.

Somber posted 6/21/2019 12:11 PM

Thanks Superesse that is helpful information. Perhaps I should be taking some courses too!

Devastated, yes I struggle with wondering if I will ever trust him and if I donít then what a sad relationship we would have. Iím not sure I could live with the uncertainty either. Iím happy you share that you didnít. There is always reasons to stay and also always reasons to leave. Itís hard. A friend in alanon really pushes itís a disease component. I get that and empathize with that. I feel pressure to stay based on viewing it as a disease. Through sickness and health vows...this is the sickness. Itís the only kind of sickness that destroys relationships and trust.

I will respond more later...thx girls

Superesse posted 6/21/2019 16:03 PM

Somber, glad that you got something helpful out of my observation, however, I think I should have worded my first sentence about Cognitive Behavior Therapy a little less definite-sounding than I did, because my emphasizing "NOT Recommended" wasn't meant to imply CBT would be "Bad therapy." CBT has shown good results provided a person is ready to do the necessary thinking and changing of their own behavior. I was more trying to emphasize my recollection from coursework that CBT might not be the most effective, results-oriented therapy for an addict to start out with.

(In our counseling technique course's final exam, I remember we had to select the most appropriate type therapy for certain problems, and if I'd picked CBT as the "best" therapeutic approach with someone affected by addiction, I am pretty sure I would have gotten points deducted by my professor!) The textbook we used emphasized that all therapies have their uses, but some approaches are more effective with certain types of people, than are others.

Lots of horror stories on this board about getting the "wrong" therapy, such as MC for a SA, or a SA's continued lying to a therapist. Therapists are only human, so it can be a case of "Garbage In, Garbage Out," as that old computer world saying put it. Unfortunately, too, many therapists have their own blind spots; a big reason I decided to study counseling theories, myself! I know I wouldn't have married my SAWH if the couples counselor not missed his issues by a mile....(the very fact I felt a need to see a couples counselor with him pre-engagement, should have been a huge clue, right? Intimacy avoidant!)

But anyway, if your SAWH is getting benefit from the CBT work he is doing, that you can tell, then "good for him," you know? I just wanted to clarify that I, as the BS, no longer assume any addict is going to be truly ready and able to do the "mental homework" part of CBT. I know my SAWH sure as heck wasn't!

You sound very clear and good.

marji posted 6/21/2019 16:22 PM

Somber Many of the men in my H's SA group are using and have used CBT to help them control what seems to be all but constant urges, temptations, thoughts, feelings that stand in the way of their peace of mind to say nothing of all that standing in the way of a healthy relation with their spouse.

I know that many believe, and have therapists who believe, that their brains have been altered in such as way that makes it extremely difficult to rid themselves of those urges, thoughts, feelings. They work on controlling themselves so as not to give in and act on those feelings and thoughts. Sex Addiction aversion therapy is more controversial but again, it's based on the idea that the brain has been altered and so requires something like a rewiring if the person is to behave in a trustworthy, decent way.

Some of the men in the group have been attending meetings and working with therapists for more than 10 or 15 years and have tried a variety of methods to control their urges; some have tried methods intended to change their brains so they would not have those urges; some also had drug and alcohol issues--gambling as well. And yes, some seem to now be safe partners and some of the women say that after many years, they are glad they stayed. Both the men and their partners are testament to the possibility of hope and change--a happy ending if you will. So yes, some change; but some do not. All we want to know is if our H's fall into the success category and how can we know that without the passage of time?

Some of the women say they have forgiven; others say they don't even think about that concept and never use the word; more appropriate is that they have come to accept the past; the thoughts no longer ruin their day so longer as their H's remain sober and continue to attend meetings and work the program.

Somber you are in your life forever but you do not have to be with your H forever. Why not try to unburden yourself of the feeling you need to make any commitment beyond say, the next few weeks. Why not just see how you feel; if it turns out that you continue to be unhappy then you need not continue; if you remain unsure then so be it. You are under no obligation to make any long term promises. Maybe just the promise to be as courteous or kind as possible but nothing more other than the most important promise which is to yourself--to do the best possible for yourself and to make each day as good for Somber as possible. We want to know how things will turn out but those crystal balls are so darn unreliable.
So instead, play it by ear. See how it goes--you say he's home for good--and you're not ready. If you're really not ready then maybe this is not the time for him to come home; alternatively if you don't feel ready, then how about he comes home but the "for good" gets changed to home and see how things go?

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