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What am I supposed to do?

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nekonamida posted 7/14/2020 14:41 PM

I don't ever plan on divorcing her. I will accept it if she absolutely needs to for her, but it's not what either of us really want.

This is extremely selfish. You terrorize your wife. You traumatize her to a point where she will need YEARS of therapy to get over even if you never do it again . Hurting her is a pattern so ingrained in you that it's a normal part of your daily life. And yet, you think her BEST future, her BEST life, is to keep being hurt and traumatized by YOU? Because maybe you'll get it together in a few years? Do you seriously believe YOU are worth YEARS of her pain and suffering?

Yes, she does ABSOLUTELY NEED to leave you for herself. She can NEVER heal if you keep hurting her. It's impossible because the new trauma you are causing her is compounding the previous trauma by her parents and by you. It's not a situation where she gets over her family trauma, is fine, gets hurt by you, gets over it is fine again, and is now in a position to handle the current trauma you are inflicting. It's that every step of the way she has been further damaged, further broken, and each new trauma you cause is now even worse because it's opening old trauma wounds. Even people who have gone to therapy and rarely think about their trauma will experience triggers and the opening of old wounds when confronted with new trauma. You are destroying her by keeping her locked in this toxic cycle of abuse.

The kindest thing you can do for her is leave. You don't want to do the work. You don't want to stop hurting her. You're looking for a complex reason for why you do it that you probably will not find as the key to stopping bad behavior. You don't need to know WHY you hurt her to stop hurting her. You simply need to stop. And if you can't stop because of your addiction or because of your personality disorder, you need to leave and give her space so that she can TRULY heal and move on from all the trauma she's experienced. If YOU manage to stop relapsing and stop doing the hurtful behaviors, then you can be re-introduced to her life.

If you really want your wife to get on a path of healing and towards leading her best life, ask her to go to a trauma based IC. Preferably one who works with spouses who are being abused by their partner. Send her to support group for addicts. Send her here or to another support forum for infidelity. Get her the help she needs no matter what the outcome is for yourself. I know you said she was in IC but if she thinks your actions are in any way acceptable and is not taking big strides to detach from you while you are unwell, she is not getting the help that she needs. She's repeating the cycle of abuse.

I want you to really confront this for what it is:

She definitely doesn't want it.

Stockholm syndrome. Trauma bonding. Addiction. Fear. She too is addicted to the roller coaster you've got her on. It's hurting her. It's ruining her life and her sense of self. It's costing her money to pay for your legal defense. Fines, lawyers, missed work. It's costing money to pay for IC/MC. Your issues are affecting your kids negatively because NO ONE can be a good parent while addicted. You're too caught up in your porn/sex/voyeurism and she's too caught up in you and your issues. No one is putting the kids first and the things they are learning about personal responsibility, marriage, and what normal looks like is just atrocious. They will need years of therapy to undue the damage you are causing them. She doesn't want to leave you just like a heroin addict doesn't want to get clean because the dysfunction you bring is all she knows and she is convinced that she can't function without you.

Your addiction has become her addiction and both of you will be going down with this sinking ship bringing your innocent children along with you. Worrying about romance and whether you've had enough date time is like debating on which drapes to buy while your house is on fire. It's her chasing a high to justify the low you just brought her. You have a choice to put your wife and kids on a life raft while you battle the sinking ship. Will you do it?

JanaGreen posted 7/14/2020 14:57 PM

100% agree with nekonamida.

gmc94 posted 7/14/2020 16:02 PM

I have used my words so much to manipulate that they can't be trusted anymore. I've also KNOW all of the things I'm supposed to do. But I fall back into old habits again and again.

You don't need to know WHY you hurt her to stop hurting her. You simply need to stop...... you need to leave and give her space so that she can TRULY heal and move on from all the trauma she's experienced.

If YOU manage to stop relapsing and stop doing the hurtful behaviors, then you can be re-introduced to her life.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 4:03 PM, July 14th, 2020 (Tuesday)]

Thanksgiving2016 posted 7/14/2020 19:48 PM

I also agree with nekonamida.

TheFallen posted 7/15/2020 09:57 AM

Thank you guys. Really, thank you.
These last few days have been really bad over here.
Actions vs intentions...something my wife and I have been talking about. The example I came up with is that even if I didnít intend to run over someone with my car, they are still dead. It doesnít matter what I wanted. It matters what happened. Or even if I think I didnít want to hit the person with the car...did I actually make the action of swerving the car out of the way? Or did I just let it happen?

My wife is familiar with S-Anon. She has been there and is thinking about it again. Iíve just passed on the information about the type of IC she may want to look into.

Iíve taken another week off from my job. My wife asked me to remove all distractions to the repair of the relationship. After some effort, we got rid of every item I own. Down to the last sock. I am purchasing things as we need them. New clothes, new life, new actions. My current job also requires me to have a smart phone. Itís a very well paying job with excellent hours and benefits. But the smart phone is my AP. I selfishly placed the decision on my wife as to whether she would rather me find a way to lock down the phone like Fort Knox or just fine a new job altogether.
Obviously, the answer was a new job. Whatever it takes. I often drag my feet...but she ďgets toĒ now. I actually read How to Help Your Spouse Heal From an Affair. After my wife read it like 3 times. And it was suggested to me a long time ago. Iíve started dropping some medication that I believe adds to some of my apathy. Iíve started daily physical exercise, to help my mental state. There are an infinite number of things I have the ability to do. I donít want her in pain anymore. I donít want her to be the subject of my abuse. Right now the big fear is that my small actions wonít last. She requires consistency in order for there to be safety. Iím sure all BSs do. Iím frustrated that I didnít do the work at the beginning, because Iíve created so much more work for the both of us. But today is tomorrowís yesterday. The sooner it starts, the less time there is to look back in regret.

TheFallen posted 7/15/2020 10:00 AM

Oh, and just another quick thing. Thankfully, we donít have any children yet. This would have been an absolute nightmare to raise our kids through. We are very religious and would like to avoid divorce...but the Bible says infidelity is grounds for divorce. My wife is giving me chance after chance. But I know Iím hanging by the thinnest of threads.

nekonamida posted 7/15/2020 14:16 PM

Not having kids changes nothing. In fact, it's even worse for her to stay because she can't bring kids into the environment you've created. Every year that goes by is another chunk of her fertility gone and the window for having kids gets smaller. Does she want kids? Because if so, even more reason for you to remove yourself from this situation for her sake so that she can make a good decision about it.

I don't think you have a clue just how much she's sacrificed for you. I don't think you understand just how humiliating your sexual deviance charges are for her. Was there a news article written about you? If someone Googles her name, will your shameful actions pop up? Will that impact her ability to find a new a job and pass a background check for as long as she's married to you? For how long did she have to look at those strangers knowing you sexually abused them? How many times was she triggered looking at the same window you were caught looking through? Depending on how small your neighborhood is, it's nearly guaranteed that everyone knows what you did and knows that she chose to stay. Worse yet, the wives of sexual deviants get blamed just as much for your crimes because they ask themselves, "How could she stay with him after THAT? And why?" They start to think that maybe she knew. Maybe she encouraged it. Maybe you've been peeping and publically masturbating for a while with her permission and this is just the first time you got caught. They whisper about her every time they see her in public. That shit is DEVASTATING. That shit will follow her for as long as she lives in town. Even longer if her name is attached to your crime publically and is easily found on Google. Not once have you mentioned it.

Did you have to register as a sex offender? If so, you've permanently caused her a whole new set of problems. You've permanently affected where she can live. Your actions have diminished the benefit of the doubt she would get if she had kids with you and CPS was ever called even for a false report. You have put her through hell and she will be stuck there to some degree her whole marriage even without your current addiction issues. Those are shit icing on the shit cake you are asking her to eat each and every day she's with you.

Make a deal with yourself now. If you relapse, you must go to a 30 day treatment center and be apart from her. Or 30 day inpatient therapy. If you do anything else hurtful, you will separate for X number of weeks and stay with family while upping the amount of therapy/SAA meetings/help you are getting. If she will not make the decision herself to get clean of you no matter how badly you hurt her, make the hard choice for her. Do the right thing for her. You keep saying you want her to live her best life and be happy again. You KNOW she cannot do that while with you when you are unwell. So make the choice that will give her a greater chance at healing AND TELL HER WHY.

And honestly, what the hell throwing all your stuff away and buying new going to fix? What is new socks going to do for your sobriety? That's a waste of money and a bandaid solution for a gaping wound.

MrCleanSlate posted 7/15/2020 14:30 PM


You are not 'very religious'.

People flout that they are religious and go to church, etc. - but you are not living a true devout life now are you? A pet peeve of mine is all the people strutting around going off to church on Sunday and then going off and stealing and cheating, etc. No honesty there. I gave up on the church years ago but get that a lot of people get comfort from it - to each his own. But let us be honest and not pretend. Pretending got me into my A. Pretending got you arrested.

Sometimes I think the problem is that people use religion like an excuse or a shield. Own your actions.

Now, I don't have a lot of experience with SA, but I was addicted to smoking and drinking. I managed to finally quit both in the last few years, and it is hard to admit things about oneself. It took will power and a lot of perseverance. It took me more than 5 years to quit smoking. It took me more than those years to admit I had a drinking problem (I was a good functioning drunk) before I was able to stand up and admit I had a problem. You talk a good bit about recognizing you have a problem. But are you really ready to accept it and really, I mean really, ready get the help you need?

TheFallen posted 7/15/2020 19:56 PM

Talking with my wife after reading these posts...First I realized I was getting angry because you guys are right. And I donít like it. Even if I say I understand, Iím not actually accepting reality. Iím a horrible Christian. I use God as a tool to further my own words. And make myself look better. I also tend to say things like that in order to seem like I have some self-awareness.
I donít know how to be real. I havenít internalized everything Iíve done to my wife. No matter how many times I say I do or ďhonestlyĒ think I do. Itís like Iím at Day 1 of discovering Iím a sex addict.
Iím still just living for myself. And while I was about to ask how to stop living for myself, I see that no one can say or do anything except for me. You are all companions on this journey. Not the magical wizards who will wave a magic wand and turn me into a prince.
I have a lot to think about.

Stinger posted 7/15/2020 21:51 PM

If you have NPD, it is probably best for you to be on your own. You risk further damaging your wife.

Rose2206 posted 8/31/2020 15:19 PM

HI, so I've been learning this the hard way and did not want it to be true for a while. BUT, I finally gave it more thought and it is true.

In order to work on your relationship and help your BS you MUST be in a position to do so. Which means you have to figure your own head out first. If you now only focus on your relationship and your wife then who will work on yourself?? The reason you cheated in the first place was YOU. WORK on that before you start working on anything else. It sounds super selfish (that is why it took me a while to accept this and I am still struggling at times). But it is not selfish to work and improve yourself so you can be a safe partner to your wife.

This does not mean to not care about her. But you must take time to work on you! I highly recommend reading Brene Brown or sit down alone or maybe even with your wife and watch her Netflix special and Youtube TED talks.

Becoming defensive is something I struggle with too. I feel like I am improving slowly tho. You will f up. You will make mistakes. Journal those.

For your wife, there is a book called: Co dependent no more. That may be a good one for her to read!
Please try to be the best version of yourself for yourself. It will not work if you do it "just" for you wife. You have to want it too!
Wish you guys lots of strength!

gmc94 posted 8/31/2020 19:51 PM

From what I've read, it seems one of the very first things for a WS is to figure out empathy for the trauma their BS is experiencing. I assume part of the basis is that if a WS cannot learn empathy, they will not be "R material" (which makes a heckuva lot of sense to me).

I'm a big fan of Dr Omar Minwalla, Marnie Breecker, & Duane Osterlind - all of whom are CSATs (and it looks like OP may be SA). The 1st steps for their retreats is teaching the WS about relational betrayal trauma and the way in which it has impacted the BS, and to then focus on becoming empathetic to the BS' pain and trauma response.

There is a workbook on empathy for WS called Help.Her.Heal. by Carol J Sheets. It has exercises to try and work in responding to triggers, etc. I can't say how effective it is, bc my WH has had the book since Nov/Dec and I don't think has ever actually read it or done the exercises.....

If WS/BS are S or on the road to D, then it may look differently. But if they are still living together and trying to R, I can't say that the WS' self focus as to their whys & hows in those early weeks would yield a lot of benefit in managing the immediate trauma response. There DOES need to be self focus to the extent that a WS needs to learn to identify & manage their shame. However, a lot of folks on the BS side might say that's work for a WS in their own time.

OP says his last acting out was only 6 weeks ago, which would likely put his BS in a pretty bad trauma response (I was a complete wreck for about a year -give or take- after dday. And I mean WRECK).

And TBH, if there is ANY way the OP can do it, looking into 30day inpatient may be the best thing, given the history and criminality of the (presumable) SA.

And Rose- I am certain you mean well as to the CoD No More suggestion. However, you may not be aware that there is a pretty well recognized school of thought that labeling a BS as CoD for their trauma response is a way to pathologize a NORMAL reaction to trauma. IOW, it basically re-traumatizes a BS to say that their reaction to dday is CoD. Now, I had CoD tendencies before dday, so I went back to CoD readings on my own. But for a WS to recommend CoD No More to a BS is, IMHO, a recipe for disaster.... Not only by pathologizing what is trauma response, but also bc a WS telling a BS what they "should" do to "fix" themselves is a pretty tall order, and in the eyes of a traumatized BS, is often heard as "here's what YOU should do to go fix yourself and figure out how to eat the shit sandwich I've just served up", which shows ZERO empathy for the BS' trauma. If you are interested in learning about the BS trauma response (and I'd advise not doing this unless you are able to really manage the shame) listen to the Marnie Breecker 2-part interview on Duane Osterlind's "The Addicted Mind" podcast about relational betrayal trauma. It's the best description I've ever read/seen/heard of what it's like to become a BS (there are a fair # of good ones, but I still find that interview to be the best).

[This message edited by gmc94 at 7:53 PM, August 31st, 2020 (Monday)]

Pippin posted 9/1/2020 09:56 AM

TheFallen, I don't have great advice other than to say that the important thing is to keep trying. (sorry for the following sports analogy, it's what works for me) You are training for a marathon and if you can't run it on the first day after getting yourself up off the couch, don't give up and tell yourself you are lazy and awful and will never get there. You've got to keep at it, be proud of your little successes and always keep your mind on the long term goal. So have both pro-active things to do - tell her what you love about her, do the romantic things she needs and wants - and re-active strategies - think ahead about how you will manage when you bring her flowers and it triggers her (i.e. your plan to be romantic doesn't work - that is an opportunity to help her!)

Sorry for the t/j TheFallen, I hope you don't mind if I respond to a sub-interaction on here. Rose, I think it's very important that you think about how you responded internally to gmc94's post. You think you had figured something out (the co-dependency model) and thought it was helpful and shared it. She gave you a deeper understanding, the next level. This is what your life is going to feel like for quite a while. You figure something new out, apply it in everyday life, etc, then you learn that actually it's not what you thought and you were maybe even doing damage with that approach (but obviously not as much as you did with infidelity). This happens over and over and over as you are learning both how to think about yourself and how to help your BS. If you had angry, uncomfortable, or whatever negative feelings about her response, breathe through them and try to realize this is a chance to level up. There are posters who are unhelpful or wrong (though I think they are never wrong when they are writing about their own experience and response to it), but she is not one of them and from an outside POV, her response gives you an opportunity to understand more. Also that podcast she referenced is fantastic, both the two part episode and the whole series.

gmc94 posted 9/1/2020 11:43 AM

Thanks for the insight & clarification Pippin.

You are training for a marathon and if you can't run it on the first day after getting yourself up off the couch, don't give up and tell yourself you are lazy and awful and will never get there. You've got to keep at it, be proud of your little successes and always keep your mind on the long term goal.
I just love this metaphor - that 'lazy and awful and will never get there' is a common issue (and certainly one my WH struggles with).

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