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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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Smjsome1 posted 7/9/2019 19:20 PM

On to my selfish side! Is all about me!

I wanted to tell someone this, as I have a few days before my next IC appt. group really wasnít easy to talk about myself last night, we had new people going thru so much pain.
Iíve been feeling up, since EMDR, had a grandson to stay. All the real life fun stuff. SA has been really showing improvement.
Oh, wait - empathy from an SA I wanted to say this earlier when reading, my SA is the baby whisperer, any child under three, he knows exactly what they need, he looks at them and is able to provide them with the comfort, fun, etc, that they need
As an LE/and a veteran, in any state of an emergency, someone hit by a car, for example, he is able to calm them. Help them:

But when it comes to me, or anyone not a baby or a victim of some tragedy, not at all able to help.

Iíve come to the conclusion itís just not that he doesnít have empathy, he panics because he ďmight make the wrong choice, say the wrong words, they might get mad at meĒ
He is - always himself first. If itís not easy - he panics. Goes into ďletís ignore it!Ē ďLetís make it go awayĒ. Ugh.
I guess itís an improvement from ďitís all your fault!Ē

So back to me - July -August or Julgust - Hell month, as it shall forever be known is here. It hit me this weekend, the anniversary of his affair. Brought me right down. But Iíve had some time to think, Iím in a better place now, because I trust myself, I value myself, and if he wants to be with me, I have to see continued real changes.
So why do I feel so freaking exhausted and fragile suddenly - I look back to last year - I was literally bleeding out - skin raw, breathing hurt. I felt like I was dying. This year it feels like very fragile scabs have formed, Iíve gone back into hiding.

Please tell me
Please! That next year will be better!

DevastatedDee posted 7/9/2019 19:43 PM

We talked about shame last night in group, many - almost all who have chosen to stay are made to feel shame by family and friends, it has no place here.

Oh goodness, there is no shame here on any of your parts who are staying. You didn't do the cheating, you are not to blame and you have no reason to be ashamed. I mean yeah, most of us BSs in any circumstances feel shame from the actions of our spouses and that is always a battle when staying and trying to R however the infidelity happened. That is something everyone on the board can relate to.

I know about the shame feeling. I felt so much shame that I picked a man who was this damaged. I took so much of his actions on as a statement on my judgment. I gave my kids a stepdad who wound up cheating and doing drugs. I struggle hard with the shame of that, even though I'm the only one shaming me for it. Changing that around in my head is hard. He should be ashamed, for damned sure. He had a great life and tanked it completely. He had people who loved him and he betrayed all of us. I chose to love someone who seemed pretty great. That's not a crime. None of us are responsible for this mess, but I know the shame feeling even though I left.

marji posted 7/9/2019 20:01 PM

Dee, thank you so much for sharing all that you do with us. I find all your posts, intelligent and fair, wise and helpful. It's awesome that you can so empathize with those of us who have stayed, those of us who have not completely quit and interesting that you understand the shame it brings to us even though you have left.

DevastatedDee posted 7/9/2019 20:47 PM

Thank you, marji. I didn't post here for a long time because I knew I might come across badly because I genuinely am just pissed off than any of us have been dealt this hand in our marriages. It's beyond upsetting and it hits me hard. It seems to me like the sweetest and most empathetic beautiful women wind up in marriages with SAs.

I know I don't come across as kind to the SA spouses, because I'm just not. I'm appalled by what they put their spouses through. That makes me look like I'm anti-R. I don't care whether anyone stays or leaves, honestly. It's not about that. I just wanted to add my voice to all who encourage the non-SA spouse in healing and looking out for themselves. To me, we spouses are the important ones. We were handed a lot of trauma and pain to deal with and our actions didn't cause it. If I were to win the lottery and open up a recovery center, it would not be for the addicts. It would be for the "collateral damage" folks. My WH got fancy rehabs with yoga and therapy and horseback riding. Lord knows we could use some of those.

You make me feel like I'm not coming across as quite as much of an ass as I worry that I do sometimes, lol.

demolishedinside posted 7/9/2019 20:52 PM

Yeah, shame. I think Iíve felt it this whole time. Shame I picked him. Shame he cheated. Shame I stayed. Shame Iím divorcing. Itís like all of the awful things we e heard in society get stuck in our heads. Why we take on shame that is not ours is so unfair. I still feel it when I share my story. I feel like I should be talking in hushed tones.

I think, unfortunately, itís part of our healing from this. I know when I was in R, I felt that shame as a betrayal of myself for staying. I thought if I ever left, it would go away. Nope. I guess for me, it just shifted.

DevastatedDee posted 7/9/2019 21:04 PM

Oh yes, totally that. I thought the moment I left I'd lose the shame part. There's just so much. First it was shame that I wasn't the hot 20-year-old girls he apparently wanted, I was just a woman in my 40s who looked good for my age. Then it was shame that I hadn't immediately left. Then it was shame that kept me from telling everyone what he did. Then it was shame for having picked him at all. I left and was so totally no-nonsense about it, and there was shame for having two failed marriages. The shame of having picked him at all is still with me. The shame of my kids going through all this turmoil is all over me. The shame of having had my life nicely together TWICE and having to start over after a divorce is huge.

Lionne posted 7/9/2019 21:05 PM

I've mostly worked through the shame on my part. But still, I've kept this all a secret, sharing little with friends and family. Sex addiction is horribly misunderstood. People hear sex addict and immediately think of pedophiles, womanizers, flagrant promiscuity. Several of the wives I know are married to men who "only" used porn compulsively. I know they'd judge me for staying. It is far more complicated, of course.
Oh Dee, I think you do just fine. I am angry too, my heart breaks when newbies post. They have so much trauma to work through. While I may have residual sympathy, I look at it all through the lens of "they brought the consequences on themselves, too bad so sad."
My husband is (mildly) expressing frustration that his phone is blocking legitimate searches. I installed, with his knowledge, an app. It's not terribly effective nor selective. But it's there. Tough toenails Tootsie...

demolishedinside posted 7/9/2019 21:25 PM

Yeah. I try hard to not project my situation onto anyone elseís. Itís hard because Iíve sat through groups where beautiful women stay and continue to get hurt. One stayed after more than six Ddays (all PAs). Itís hard not to scream at all of us to go. I think Dee is very right. Itís no mistake we are a very empathetic bunch. Iím not kind to SAs either based on my experience. Do I wish that all of us could have the marriage we deserve? You know we all wish that. But what Iíve learned from years of this insanity now is that maturity is such an issue for most of them. Add lack of boundaries and some simply not wanting to get better and itís a cluster. I know Lionne has met several who have been sober. I wish I had that experience to pull from. At least it would give me a hopeful perspective. Perhaps thatís why I go quiet. My SA did all of the work and yet he cheated again. I knew the risk. I guess Iíd just hoped to hear the odds.

I wish so much we all could escape to an ocean beach house and sit around and talk and support each other. No one else quite gets it. I felt alone whether I stayed or went.

[This message edited by demolishedinside at 9:25 PM, July 9th (Tuesday)]

Somber posted 7/9/2019 22:16 PM

This shame talk has me thinking...why do I feel shame? If I didnít cause his addiction, canít change it , canít cure it...then why do I feel shame?

I feel shame when I think of leaving. I think how can I leave an addict who needs help and support? How can I not try to make it work since he has finally gone to rehab? How can I do this to my children?
Shame also surrounds my thoughts of staying. How can I put myself through a lifetime of insecurity with this man? If I know I will never trust him despite his efforts (or not) why would I stay? What is wrong with me?

There it is, the answer to my shame! I think there is something wrong with me, that I am somehow responsible. Self blame causes my shame. No matter how many times I am told that it is not personal, I still feel it has to be. What about me is not good enough? I know better to not think this way but I do! I feel insecure, unattractive and unwanted. Nothing is more personal than the intimate betrayal of infidelity. Isnít sex addiction still infidelity? I canít easily change the view that his infidelities were caused from deep rooted problems creating an addiction. So now I am faced with the dilemma of feeling empathetic for him and his struggles...almost as if it erases the regular response to infidelity itself. Infidelity, aside from SA, would have me feel like perhaps there was something I could do to better myself so as to not experience it again. With SA, that control element is gone and I am left confused and vulnerable.
I feel shame that I ever believed he cared or loved me, shame that didnít trust my instincts, shame that i believed the lies.

In addition to all that, SA is not a topic I feel comfortable sharing with family and friends so I feel shame that I have something in my life to hide. Something I couldnít share based on fear of judgement, fear no one would understand, fear that I wouldnít be accepted if I chose to stay, also fear that it would be celebrated if I left (but it doesnít feel like a win to me either so not something to be celebrated). The isolation that grows from these fears only reinforces my insecurities and shame.


outtanowhere posted 7/10/2019 08:05 AM

I feel ya....all of you! Iím 6 years in now and still struggle with the shame, insecurities, fear, you name it. Iím hoping yíall have had a chance to listen to some of the podcasts I referenced a week or so ago. The one by Rob Weiss is excellent and addresses so much of what is being discussed here. Do yourselves a favor and take a minute to look it up and listen. There is a broad range of topics available and the information is invaluable.

Praying for peace for us all!

DevastatedDee posted 7/10/2019 10:23 AM

I wish so much we all could escape to an ocean beach house and sit around and talk and support each other. No one else quite gets it. I felt alone whether I stayed or went.

Amen to that. That would be amazing. We might have different thoughts on how to handle these situations and have had different reactions, but the bottom line is that we all went through the same thing and we all know the pain and madness of it. We have so much in common there.

DevastatedDee posted 7/10/2019 10:27 AM

I feel shame when I think of leaving. I think how can I leave an addict who needs help and support? How can I not try to make it work since he has finally gone to rehab? How can I do this to my children?
Shame also surrounds my thoughts of staying. How can I put myself through a lifetime of insecurity with this man? If I know I will never trust him despite his efforts (or not) why would I stay? What is wrong with me?

There's nothing wrong with you whatsoever. You're a sane person in an utterly insane situation trying to do the right thing for you, your kids, and your spouse. Both answers suck. At a certain point, you have to make the decision that keeps you the sanest.

Seriously, there's no shame in either decision, but I SO know that you feel it anyway.

Isnít sex addiction still infidelity?

Oh definitely, yeah. It's like infidelity on steroids.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 10:30 AM, July 10th (Wednesday)]

HeHadADoubleLife posted 7/10/2019 15:18 PM

why do I feel shame? If I didnít cause his addiction, canít change it , canít cure it...then why do I feel shame?

I feel shame when I think of leaving. I think how can I leave an addict who needs help and support? How can I not try to make it work since he has finally gone to rehab? How can I do this to my children?

Shame also surrounds my thoughts of staying. How can I put myself through a lifetime of insecurity with this man? If I know I will never trust him despite his efforts (or not) why would I stay? What is wrong with me?

It's such a double edged sword. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I felt sad, and frustrated when he would relapse. I felt angry at him. I felt stupid for letting him deceive me again and again. And that's where my shame came in - shame that I believed him, even when he had showed me over and over that I had no reason to.

I was ashamed that I let him get one over on me, but then it almost became like a challenge to see who could outsmart each other. If only I could just prove to him that I was too damn smart, and that I would always catch him, maybe then he would stop. Couldn't he see what a better life we would lead if he would just stop lying?

I didn't feel shame for staying though. If anything, staying made me feel like I was compassionate and understanding. In a weird way, it made me feel like I had control, because I was choosing to stay. I also wasn't as well educated on SA as I am now. His biggest issue at the time was excessive masturbation and porn use. And I kept saying to myself, well, so many guys think porn is just normal and accepted, how will I ever find anyone who doesn't? And once that was tainted for me, I didn't feel like I would ever be okay with it, so it felt easier to stay with the devil I knew then trying to go out and start over with anyone else.

I didn't find out about the escorts until after he left, and he still denies them, even though phone bills don't lie. Had I known about that, I would like to think I would've made different choices. But honestly, I probably wouldn't have. Like what Somber said, how could I leave someone who so clearly needed help?

I know about the shame feeling. I felt so much shame that I picked a man who was this damaged. I took so much of his actions on as a statement on my judgment.
I relate to this completely. I always thought of myself as such a good judge of character. Hell, I have a friend who started dating a guy, and within 3 weeks, just based off of some texts he sent, I warned her that I thought he would be the type to get physically abusive. 6 months later she was in the hospital, emailing me photos to hold on to in case anything ever happened to her again. I could see it so clearly when it was someone else, why was my judgment so clouded when it came to my own life? I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, even though there was barely any doubt to go off of.

Now that he left me, I have shame that I wasn't worth staying for. That after years of working through his problems, I wasn't good enough for him to help me through mine. That it was easier to create a giant web of lies than to just sit down and be brutally honest with me about his real feelings. He kept stonewalling me, and I couldn't get him to look me in the eyes.

I had seen him be vulnerable. I knew all about his dark family history, his father's abuse. I knew all about the broken little boy, which is a huge part of why I stayed. I knew he wasn't maliciously inflicting pain on me. He just didn't know how to help himself. And yet when I was going through my own shit - unable to focus on anything but trying to get pregnant, something which frustrated him and made him feel like "just a sperm donor" - he couldn't handle it. My IC said he just wasn't equipped to help me in the same way that I was equipped to help him.

But what Iíve learned from years of this insanity now is that maturity is such an issue for most of them. Add lack of boundaries and some simply not wanting to get better and itís a cluster.
Yes, the maturity is the biggest issue. No concept of cause and effect. That actions have consequences. Even when it came to the kids he didn't understand it. When they did something wrong, he just wanted to scream at them, and thought that would magically make them not do it again. No concept of punishments that fit the crime. He would actually tell me, "punishments don't work on them, they don't care." So what, they should just never have consequences for anything?

And I agree, I think that many of them don't want to get better. In fact, I think they are afraid to get better. They have been using this as a coping mechanism for so long, they are deathly afraid of having to feel their feelings out in the open with nothing to dull the pain.

I often felt trapped. Because with kids, you can lay out specific consequences. With spouses, who are supposed to be our equals, the only real consequence is leaving. I mean, obviously I withheld sex when he would relapse. But then I just felt him building up resentment towards me, because he felt like I was taking something from him. Now I was the frigid wife. But I damn sure wasn't going to let someone enjoy my body who didn't understand how his actions were affecting my mind.

But how in the hell do you lay out consequences with a grown man? I tried, so many times. If you use a pair of my underwear, you must immediately go online and order me 5 more pairs to replace them. Or if you use my lotion, you must immediately go to the drug store and buy me two more. But it never happened. His excuse was always that he was broke, and didn't have the money for it. If you don't have money to buy it for yourself, then you are too damn broke to do it!!

In addition to all that, SA is not a topic I feel comfortable sharing with family and friends so I feel shame that I have something in my life to hide. Something I couldnít share based on fear of judgement, fear no one would understand, fear that I wouldnít be accepted if I chose to stay, also fear that it would be celebrated if I left (but it doesnít feel like a win to me either so not something to be celebrated). The isolation that grows from these fears only reinforces my insecurities and shame.
I will say that sharing with my friends and family was what got me through. I was able to vent, but also to bounce ideas off of them. It felt like a safe way to discuss my frustrations, to talk about whether I should stay or go, without having to always talk to him about it. I'm sure I would have felt different if I had the knowledge of escorts as well, so I don't judge anyone who doesn't like to talk about it. But I felt isolated even just that I was the only person I knew actually dealing with this kind of issue, so sharing with friends felt like the only way to get it out. I'm lucky in that I have friends who are very trustworthy and would never say anything to anyone.

My SAXH however was not happy about me sharing this info with anyone. He found out that one of my best friends knew, and he flipped out and refused to spend time with her anymore, saying that he just felt like he was being judged. He told me I wasn't allowed to tell anyone. I told him that being able to talk to her was one of the only ways I was able to process all of this, and he'd better count his lucky stars that I had her, because without her to bounce things off of, our fights would have been a LOT worse.

He felt me talking about it was a violation of his privacy. I told him that I need to be able to talk to my friends about the things that go on in my life, good or bad. So I stopped telling him that I was talking to anyone, yet I continued to talk to them. I feel bad for lying about that, but also, there's no way I could have survived that situation without support. I still feel conflicted over that.

And yet I laugh when I think that I probably feel worse for talking to my friends about the traumas being inflicted on me, than he did for inflicting them.

Somber posted 7/11/2019 15:05 PM

You're a sane person in an utterly insane situation trying to do the right thing for you, your kids, and your spouse.

Thank you, I donít feel like it sometimes, this SA is so crazy making! It never stops either, perhaps only after full disclosure and an SA who stops their behaviour. The details and women just keep trickling in. Lastnight, my neighbour told me that my husband and a very ďdesperate housewifeĒ ( her term) have been flirting when I am not around and this women claims to be very interested in my husband despite his commitments. How many more people am I going to have in my life with piss
Poor boundaries!!! Anyhow, years ago I noticed this flirtatious exchange and suspected something and well I likely suspected right.
I am sadly serious when I say I can not walk around the block without being triggered by 4 women right here on the same damn street or around the corner. 2 I have confirmation of sexual relationship, one sexting and then my suspicions of this trashy neighbour. Wtf, I canít begin to heal being surrounded by this. Even on a good day, it takes seeing one of these 4 or just waking by their house with my kids to set my mood off. Itís beyond unfair!!!!

Hehadadoublelife, I share many of the feelings you expressed and empathize. I would feel worse too sharing versus how he feels about what he has done. It shocks me that he pretends to carry on as normal a bit without us deeply addressing the main problem.

Either choice feels like a loss. I feel I have to weigh which loss is greater than the other. The loss of seeing my children every day has always seemed the greatest loss for something I never caused. I fear my children will lose their best side of their mom staying where I am so distracted with my WH behaviour, fear of relapses, resentment towards him and the whole damn neighbourhood, and also distracted with my own codependent and self esteem issues. Itís all lose lose!!!

I likely do need to share with more people for that support. My best friend is good but also voices her concerns about me staying based on his infidelities alone (this is without knowing about the SA). Itís a lonely place to be...

marji posted 7/11/2019 15:35 PM

Somber Not sure what you mean by your friend knowing "about his infidelities alone aside from the SA." Are you thinking they are two different things or just that you have not mentioned SA to her? Do you have any reason not to mention it? I don't remember but why do you think your H is an SA? There are men who repeatedly cheat in a variety of ways--that does not mean they are SAs?

Also wondering if you have any reason for not pursuing an IRL support group--if not one in person than by Skype and/or phone. It can make a huge difference because if nothing else it breaks the loneliness and isolation.

Also, I think this has come up before, but why do you think you would not be with your children every day if you separated? I don't know a thing about the laws of your location, but here, a spouse's repeated betrayal would be considered when a court determined custody and it's doubtful that full custody would be granted to someone repeatedly showing disrespect and engaging in abusive behavior. It would not be considered a choice in the best interest of the children. Sometimes such a spouse will not even be granted overnight visits but has to settle for supervised visits on a less frequent basis.

Somber, Im thinking that Im being a little pushy here with you; putting on a little too much pressure. But you really do seem like the nicest and most thoughtful person and I would very much like to see you feeling better and getting better. Yes, you're in a lonely place but you do not have to be there. Is your H working with a good IC? Is he in a group? Is he acknowledging that he is flirting and is that a boundary for you? And finally, wondering if you have considered moving? I know several women who moved after discovery and were very happy they did so. Maybe it's something you could consider.

Lionne posted 7/11/2019 18:28 PM

spouse's repeated betrayal would be considered when a court determined custody and it's doubtful that full custody would be granted to someone repeatedly showing disrespect and engaging in abusive behavior. It would not be considered a choice in the best interest of the children. Sometimes such a spouse will not even be granted overnight visits but has to settle for supervised visits on a less frequent basis.

Oh, I don't think this is universally true. Too many people find their divorce doesn't even consider infidelity, even if it's extreme or blatant. No fault states, most of the country I think, certainly don't.

My disclosure took place after my kids were adults. I believe that had we separated while they were young, he would have gradually stopped seeing the kids, it would have interfered with his activities. I would have hated to be separated from them, too.

Somber posted 7/11/2019 19:28 PM

Thanks Marji. I do not find you pushy, instead I find you thoughtful and caring.
I have not mentioned SA to anyone, although my few closest friends know he has had affairs and is an alcoholic. I find it embarrassing and also feel I would be judged by even the closest people in my life if I were to stay. Perhaps that is not the case.
I do not think men who cheat often are SAs. My WH identifies as a SA, I agree and his therapists also agrees. Aside from the affairs and dating sites with hook ups, my WH identifies that the addiction is with the constant search for validation and attention from women where he has uncontrollable urges to contact other women and start communication. He believes it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with his low self esteem.
I have no reason for not pursuing a IRL support group. I suppose I find myself busy with kids and work and donít make the time to seek one out. I believe I am emotionally exhausted and by night I am in bed early. I should make it a a priority.

I saw a lawyer prior to my WH going to rehab. Even then, with his drinking, I was told that as long as he can prove to be sober when in our children's care then access would be 50-50. It is a given here that parents start with 50% split of everything, including children. It is seen as what is best. From there, I would have to fight for reasons to prove otherwise. That fight would lead us to court which would be a tremendous financial burden. Infidelity doesnít matter in regards to splitting child custody/access. It is seen as personal between the couple and I could go that route out of spite but it would not change the courts view on parent/child relationship. Most people divorce under no fault and it is not seen as worth it to pursue infidelity route.
My WH does have a good IC, he attends AA but nothing for the SA. He has only been home 2 days, itís strange and confusing navigating our day to day with him sober now. It is a burden lifted to know I can leave him with the kids now.
I do not think he acknowledges flirting, I wasnít there. I canít even be bothered to bring it up as I wouldnít trust his response anyways.
I would like to move; however, I am not sure if I want to move with him. I do not want to be trapped in a new bigger mortgage with him. The housing market where we are is unrealistic. We couldnít even afford to buy our own house anymore but I suppose that means we would make money off it now if we sold too.
I do consider myself nice and thoughtful, thank you. Iím an empath! I once considered those positive attributes, now I view them as a target for people like my WH. I also have been told my entire life that I am pretty, attractive...but I tell you all I see are flaws when I look in the mirror now. I think the extent of his infidelities and personally knowing 3 of them, I just compare myself and have become so self conscious. I feel like I have lost a tremendous amount of myself and I sure do hope and plan to get myself back.

[This message edited by Somber at 7:33 PM, July 11th (Thursday)]

veryhurt2018 posted 7/11/2019 19:56 PM

I also have been told my entire life that I am pretty, attractive...but I tell you all I see are flaws when I look in the mirror now. I think the extent of his infidelities and personally knowing 3 of them, I just compare myself and have become so self conscious. I feel like I have lost a tremendous amount of myself and I sure do hope and plan to get myself back.
- This is me 100%. I used to have so much self confidence and now all I do is see my flaws. I hate it. I don't even want to look in the mirror. My SAWH is 59 and I'm 49 and all I can think about is that he was with 20 year olds for 13 years. I can't compete with their looks as I'm 49, not 20. Sure, I looked really good at 20 too. I'm trying so hard to get through this but I seriously don't know many people that would. All of my friends that know think I'm absolutely crazy. It's very hard to stomach that. Somber, just like where you live, my state is a "no-fault" state which means that it doesn't matter what happens, with the exception of abuse and something illegal. SAWH would get 50%

[This message edited by veryhurt2018 at 8:19 PM, July 11th (Thursday)]

Somber posted 7/11/2019 20:12 PM

All of my friends that know think I'm absolutely crazy. It's very had to stomach that
.
I fear I would have the same reaction from my friends. Itís funny, they seem supportive in regards to the alcoholism but SA is just such a personal injury making it more difficult to accept.
I canít compete either with the women my WH seeked. One of them was in her early 20ís and I view that as borderline minor!! Itís hard to wrap my head around it. I am not sure I was ever super confident anyhow but felt pretty good from 18-28. I once thought having kids, body changes and a some weight gain changed my opinion of myself. Now I think it very well could have been my WH infidelities all along. I just never felt good enough in his eyes.

marji posted 7/11/2019 22:07 PM

LionneSo true in matters of divorce, adultery may not be considered as a ground or "cause." But that's a matter different from custody matters which is about the "best interest of the child" in which case a responsible hearing will be concerned about the ways of parents. That's why it's so important that anyone concerned about custody would do well to speak to an attorney knowledgable, experienced and successful in dealing with custody matters when serial cheating is involved; alcohol and drug use, general irresponsible, unhealthy behaviors of all sorts that might be harmful to the emotional and physical health of children can all be matters of concern.

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