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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 21

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BlackRaven posted 9/27/2020 15:27 PM

Superesse

I am proud of you for taking the initiative to get some new social connections, pronto! It's part of our survivng this.

I'm trying, but this business of spending months waiting for disclosure while he's inpatient is just killing me. Sometimes I can set it aside and say I can't control the timing or the information and I need to just surrender (to a higher power?). But other times (like now) I think about how he was lying to me even on recent calls and I freak out about what awaits.

What is SAL?

Skeeter - SAL Lifeline is a 12-step program. My therapist recommended it instead of some of the others because it doesn't take the premise that we were codependent. We don't get blamed for what they did because they are miswired.

Also, it's supposed to be more inclusive in terms of religions, or not. But I can't really offer an opinion on that since I don't have anything to compare it to.

It offers meetings for the BS and the WS, but the BS ones are only for women, so it's got a safe space feeling to it.

skeetermooch posted 9/27/2020 18:32 PM

Your story confirms what I was told, which I hadn't ever heard happens in real life. Sounds like exactly what these people were telling me. The one part of your pals' relationship that would seem to be awkward potentially, is where they both are dating others. Maybe they were parents together, so that would make more sense. I just know how folks on SI tend to feel about EXs being too chummy!

Well, as I mentioned there was no infidelity, lying or abuse in their marriage. That's hugely important. She can trust him because he's not a liar and no history of abuse and trauma for either of them to heal from or forgive. They don't share children, but were trying when married. He drank too much and I think was somewhat immature at times (they are both in their late thirties). Their other relationships are not at all awkward for them. I've witness each of them talking about sex with other people, in front of each other. They are really evolved in that regard. They were polyamorous when they were married, which necessitates a lot of healthy, truthful communication - that practice has served them well post-divorce. Her current flame and her ex are quite friendly. My first husband and I had a post D relationship like this. His new wife didn't appreciate it and put the kibosh on it though. His current girlfriend was a good friend of mine and she too has put the kibosh on our friendship - so it obviously doesn't work for everyone. My ex and I were pretty happy to stay friends and hang out on occasion with or without our daughter and I must say it was wonderful - but again, he never cheated on me or abused me.

Having experimented with maintaining a friendship with my STBX, I can say, for me, it's impossible. He's an abusive cheater. I thought trust wouldn't be an issue because marriage and fidelity are off the table. What do I really need to trust him with? But, he's still a pathological liar. I can't even trust him to stay with my kid and dog as promised for two days. And, he's only trying to the limited extent he is because he hoped to get back together - so he's got an agenda. And that agenda requires copious amounts of lying. There's just no point to having a snake as a friend, whether he's a former husband or anyone else. Why have people like that in my life?

On my side of the equation, I'm too raw to suffer even small disappointments, betrayals and lies from STBX - it compounds the trauma and hurts like hell. If he'd kept his word, it would have been a small brick laid in the foundation of a new friendship and a little healing even. He blew it, and when confronted resorted to immediate gaslighting and blame shifting.

I'm going to check into SAL.

DevastatedDee posted 9/27/2020 19:50 PM

Don't hate yourself, Skeeter. None of this is easy for anyone. You aren't going to be perfect. I'm certainly not judging you. I know how hard it is. It took a lot out of me to leave and be done the way I did. To go no contact with someone you shared so much of your life with is seriously hard. I haven't spoken to my XWH in over a year and it still sometimes amazes me to think that you can be so very close to someone and then they really do become "somebody that I used to know". It feels unnatural because it is unnatural. Nothing about dealing with these guys is natural or instinctive. My 1st husband and I are friends. I've given him dating advice. He and I coparent well and text several times per week. He is not dangerous to me. My XWH is dangerous to my mental health. Feeling sorry for him is dangerous for my mental health. Being anywhere near him is dangerous for my mental health. I can't treat this like a breakup with a healthy person. I have to treat it like I escaped from a burning building, or it isn't safe for me.

So Superesse and Skeeter, don't ever think I'm judging you for having trouble just cutting them out of your lives. I recognize how outside of normal dealing with an SA is.

DevastatedDee posted 9/27/2020 19:51 PM

My ex had crossed the line from sex addict to sex offender - he'd literally done things I could have filed charges against him for. I didn't press charges (though I truly regret it now) because first, I was so traumatized by the discovery, and secondly, my adult kids were completely blindsided and so devastated by what they learned about who their father really is (they still don't know the worst of it).
I did speak to a victim's advocate at the DA's office. She told me that while she couldn't give me legal advice, since I knew I wanted out and had already filed for divorce I should try to finalize it as soon as possible. She said he sounds like a loose cannon and it would be best to cut my ties to him before he got into legal trouble by sexually assaulting someone or got caught being a peeping tom (yes, he'd done that too).

Sometimes staying legally tied to someone can result in further damage emotionally, psychologically, physically and/or financially.

OMG girl. I am SO SORRY you had to deal with someone like that. I'm with you, staying legally tied to someone with these issues isn't safe for any of us.

skeetermooch posted 9/27/2020 21:18 PM

My XWH is dangerous to my mental health. Feeling sorry for him is dangerous for my mental health. Being anywhere near him is dangerous for my mental health. I can't treat this like a breakup with a healthy person. I have to treat it like I escaped from a burning building, or it isn't safe for me.

Breaking up with an unhealthy person is nothing like a normal break up - nothing. The same rules can't be applied. The closer I get to him the more muddled my thinking. I rationalize and my mood depends on him - what he does, if he lies, the insane bs he projects onto me. In a matter of days I went from feeling on top of this to a puddle.

The man who holds me and whispers sweet nothings in my ear, wells up as he tells me loves me, runs around to multiple stores to get me camping supplies is the one I miss and want. The man who lies to my face, blames me when he doesn't keep his word, has sex with numerous other women, jerks off to webcams for hours and hours a day - lives inside of that man. Mr. Wonderful lures me in so the other guy can torch my heart. It makes no sense. It's just sick.

Superesse posted 9/27/2020 23:10 PM

Skeeter, books on this split personality mystery have been best-sellers for ages. The lure of trying to figure out the Dr. Jekyll - Mr. Hyde conundrum is exactly what hooks our brains. Learning theory calls it "intermittent reinforcement" and it is considered the most powerful training tool, with all animals; I'm sure you've heard about it with dog training.

Well, the Final Exam for this crappy course on Who The Heck IS This Man, asks us to choose one answer from the classic 4 multiple choices. Goes like this:

From the following options, choose the answer that best fits the evidence about this man you have accumulated over this course:

He's

a. a real sweetheart
b. a real A#hole
c. both a. and b.
d. neither a. nor b.

At some point, we have to come to terms with the fact that the correct answer is most likely: c.

So don't work so hard on this one...cracked is cracked, right? Like Dee says, we could randomly pick from many other people who wouldn't be this much of a human "dumpster fire." The unfortunate fact is we had little to no way to discern this, ahead of time. And I'd bet our vulnerabilities, created by our lack of other crucial social support, somehow allowed us to let them get this close.

That is a sobering thought, but my history right before I met this man suggests it's accurate: my life was a series of major losses after my divorce, my mother's death, the man I thought would be my 2nd husband choosing to break up and marry another, followed by 3 other a#hole BFs in his wake!

I think that's why, by the time this guy showed up, I just wanted someone to take to the Christmas party, exactly as you said! I was done "trying on shoes" like I was Cinderella's ugly sister...nothing fit. And I know my self-esteem was frayed pretty badly, like a dress that had been on the rack too long...

So I didn't look this big, overly-quiet, but kindly gift horse in the mouth too closely during 4 years of "dating" I purposely kept light and casual. No wonder I missed some clues....!

skeetermooch posted 9/27/2020 23:38 PM

I was done "trying on shoes" like I was Cinderella's ugly sister...nothing fit.

I can totally relate to that. That explained my second husband for sure. With my STBX the circumstances were different but also a list of vulnerabilities that allowed him to slip past my better judgement. I truly didn't get to know him. I trusted he was as he seemed, because I so wanted him to be. Who he seemed to be was exactly what I wanted. Only it was an act or only half of the story or both.

I was so easily bamboozled by this psycho, I don't think I can ever trust myself. And even after dday, I gave him another chance - so really, maybe I can't be trusted to choose anyone, ever again. I'm out of time to waste on douche bags, abuse and infidelity.

DevastatedDee posted 9/28/2020 08:34 AM

I was so easily bamboozled by this psycho, I don't think I can ever trust myself. And even after dday, I gave him another chance - so really, maybe I can't be trusted to choose anyone, ever again. I'm out of time to waste on douche bags, abuse and infidelity.

These types of men bamboozle A LOT of intelligent people. Each time I decide that I was a complete dumbass, I remember how my parents adored him. How his boss adored him. How his friends thought he was such a sweet guy. How my friends thought I was so lucky to have found him. This is not a group of stupid people who thought my XWH was the absolute best. I don't know of anyone outside of his family possibly quietly thinking it who thought my wedding was a bad idea.

When I tell new friends about why my marriage broke up, they are shocked. They are shocked because these men are not normal and not everyone encounters them. You don't tend to get "yeah, I was with a guy like that before". You get "WTF, that's AWFUL". They are outside of normal. Like I've said, we hit the fuckwit jackpot finding these men. We were profoundly unlucky. We didn't know better. We didn't know to look for this kind of disordered. I had signs that I couldn't read at the time because this was outside my experience.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 8:35 AM, September 28th (Monday)]

Superesse posted 9/28/2020 10:59 AM

Oooooh Dee, another home run with bases loaded!

I think you ought to write a pop psych book on this topic. I was going "ME, TOO" the whole post!

These types of men bamboozle A LOT of intelligent people.

Using your list, I was going through it nodding my head, because:
* my father thought highly of him
* his boss thought he was his top employee
* his coworkers and friends sung his praises to me
* my friends ALL thought I was so lucky to have found him

This is not a group of stupid people who thought my XWH was the absolute best.

* My father was an aeronautical engineer and computer analyst.
* SAWH's boss was a self-made millionaire in the auto racing industry with many team successes my SAWH helped him achieve over the years.
*My friends were all older or happily married women who'd never met anybody like this - but they'd all heard my horror stories about my XBFs, and compared to them they all thought he HAD to be Mr. Right!
You don't tend to get "yeah, I was with a guy like that before". You get "WTF, that's AWFUL". They are outside of normal.

It gives some relief when you can put into words how broken these guys are, by anyone's standards. And I would like to add one other category to our list of people they fooled: THERAPISTS!

Thinking back to the what Skeeter said, which also summed up my situation (girl!), when my last XBF suddenly disappeared after an intense 4 month, full-time relationship, dinners with his parents, sleepovers, holidays and a fun trip with his family, the shock of sudden abandonment really sent me into a tailspin. (I think I missed his mother as much as I missed him, and I sent her a card telling her that, too!)

But I couldn't believe it had hit me so hard! I thought I had been processing the grief of my mother's death, the loss of my "true love" fiance and after him, the ending of several relationships before that one, but it was obvious that coping with my losses by denial and working harder at my job hadn't really helped me cope.

I felt it was time to see a counselor but to be honest, she wasn't much help; the only thing she did was listen to my idea when I told her I needed to SCHEDULE something social to do, every day and maybe even every hour, to get me through the worst of it. She thought my idea of putting upcoming events on a calendar I could look at when I was feeling bad sounded like a practical way to cope with all the loss and help me reconnect with others, just like Black Raven talked about the other day.

We have to "do our homework" with this. How's everybody doing?

[This message edited by Superesse at 11:09 AM, September 28th (Monday)]

BlackRaven posted 9/28/2020 11:27 AM

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who did a Full Theraputic Disclosure with a lie detector. Are you glad you did it? Did you learn new things and how did you cope with that? How did you prepare for it? etc. I'm absolutely terrified and keep trying to get my brain around why this is a good idea.

Also, I just finished reading the book "Trauma Induced Sexual Addiction" by Michael Barta, which was given to me by my trauma therapist.

Has anyone else read it?

skeetermooch posted 9/28/2020 11:27 AM

We were profoundly unlucky. We didn't know better. We didn't know to look for this kind of disordered. I had signs that I couldn't read at the time because this was outside my experience.

Thanks, Dee. That is very validating. I bristle at conversations about us fixing our pickers. Not for nothing, I had my pick of a few people when I met my STBX. He and I had the most in common. I was very attracted to him. We wanted the same things, blended easily with each other's friends and had several friends in common. And, yes, people adore him. He's the golden boy - people are continually throwing opportunities and invitations his way. I've never been invited to more parties than when I hooked up with him. People love him. They still do. Everyone I've told is shocked - they all thought I was so lucky and that we were so perfect for each other.

I was fully unprepared for someone so completely mentally ill and sociopathic, so skilled at charm and devoid of empathy. I hope they're rare. I hear the same response from folks as you do. Right now all I can imagine is another disordered fuckwad or some dumpy 70 year old with a potbelly and long nose hairs.

Disordered men have this ability to shine a warm light on those they focus on - but it turns off and on - leaving us confused and wanting more. When they really turn it on full blast, love bombing us to the altar, it feels like heaven and destiny. No more love bombers, no more dating people who give mixed messages. No more making excuses for confusing behavior.

DevastatedDee posted 9/28/2020 11:33 AM

Yes, Superesse! You've got it. It's kind of like watching The Sixth Sense. That plot twist at the end totally shocks you, but then you look back and go "OMG! How did I not see that?". You didn't see it because you weren't meant to. It was hidden from you. There were numerous signs, but you didn't know to be scrutinizing and interpreting them because you hadn't seen that story before. On a rewatch, you totally catch it. I'm thinking we'd catch this if we saw this again.

DevastatedDee posted 9/28/2020 11:37 AM

Disordered men have this ability to shine a warm light on those they focus on - but it turns off and on - leaving us confused and wanting more. When they really turn it on full blast, love bombing us to the altar, it feels like heaven and destiny. No more love bombers, no more dating people who give mixed messages. No more making excuses for confusing behavior.

It's crazy. I could not have felt more adored and valued for 4 years. Then we got married, and within the first year it just went away cold. Being a sane and rational person, I tried to speak to him about it and totally bought his "I'm struggling with depression" answer because it made a lot more sense than "I'm disordered as fuck and now that I have you, I'm totally uninterested in you". That answer is irrational as hell. It's the true answer, but I am not stupid for not figuring that out after he had handed me a plausible reason.

DevastatedDee posted 9/28/2020 11:44 AM

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who did a Full Theraputic Disclosure with a lie detector. Are you glad you did it? Did you learn new things and how did you cope with that? How did you prepare for it? etc. I'm absolutely terrified and keep trying to get my brain around why this is a good idea.
Also, I just finished reading the book "Trauma Induced Sexual Addiction" by Michael Barta, which was given to me by my trauma therapist.

Has anyone else read it?

That does not sound like fun, BlackRaven. We're here to hold you afterwards. Any new things I learned were because I found them out on my own. I never again will be a private investigator in my own marriage. You all know how truly awful and soul-sucking that is.

I haven't read it. To be honest, I didn't put forth much effort into "what made you so disordered". That's one of the reasons that I wasn't a good candidate for R even if he had kept his shit together. I never got past being appalled that he treated me that way. I didn't want to hear "but my sadz and FOO". For me, it was "You have trauma, just like millions upon millions of other people. So do I. Thanks to you, I now have current trauma that eclipses all that I have ever experienced and I'm forever changed. Nicely done."

skeetermooch posted 9/28/2020 11:53 AM

I agree Dee should write a book! It would be an incredible service to teach young people how to spot a disordered person in relationships.

I thought I had been processing the grief of my mother's death, the loss of my "true love" fiance and after him, the ending of several relationships before that one, but it was obvious that coping with my losses by denial and working harder at my job hadn't really helped me cope.

Not necessarily, Superesse, maybe you were coping, maybe it wasn't denial but just you working through grief and living your life. If your husband hadn't been a disordered cheater the relationship might have been healing and nurturing and provided a safe place to continue processing other losses. The only fucked up thing here is WHO you ended up with, not you. You had every right to want a relationship, to be excited to date and get involved with someone who seemed wonderful.

If your ex hadn't turned out to be a disordered cheater, this would be a happy ending. He's the problem. We are smart women, as are our friends and families, who endorsed our mates. We chose to the best of our abilities but we were no match for sociopathic addicts. Maybe now we are - but we weren't before we knew these idiots.

I'm tired of blaming myself but going forward it's zero tolerance for anything that seems hinky.

I threw my back out so I'm stuck in bed today. For my homework - I'm digging into some new work opportunities. I've been investing in a couple of friendships (the folks I camped with this weekend) and they are good, kind, intelligent people I feel safe with. They might not be the same as family, but I do feel I can be myself and get some support from them. Honestly, my family, God rest their souls, weren't the most supportive and kind people - but they were family and I knew push come to shove I could call them (as long as I was willing to listen to how I'm an idiot and this was all my fault they would eventually be somewhat supportive .

DevastatedDee posted 9/28/2020 11:58 AM

As for preparing for disclusure, I don't know, BlackRaven. A part of me thinks that this is twisted and disturbing. I'm torn. On one hand, you deserve to know every single damned thing that he did to betray you. On the other hand, it's almost trauma porn. Bunch of professionals gathered around to watch a BS get her heart shattered with new information about betrayals.

My thoughts in the first year after DDay and my thoughts now are totally different.

Then, I wanted EVERY SINGLE DETAIL because it helped me to fill in the blanks on what had been going on in my life.

Now? I just assume he did a hell of a lot more than I uncovered on my own. I knew enough to make my decisions. If I were offered the chance now to know everything I would turn it down. I don't need it. I know who he is and what he's capable of and that is sufficient.

DevastatedDee posted 9/28/2020 11:58 AM

I agree Dee should write a book! It would be an incredible service to teach young people how to spot a disordered person in relationships.

I think ya'll are beautiful and are giving me way too much credit, lol.

skeetermooch posted 9/28/2020 11:59 AM

It's crazy. I could not have felt more adored and valued for 4 years. Then we got married, and within the first year it just went away cold. Being a sane and rational person, I tried to speak to him about it and totally bought his "I'm struggling with depression" answer because it made a lot more sense than "I'm disordered as fuck and now that I have you, I'm totally uninterested in you"

Yes, Dee exactly. I bought the work stress excuse. I've often asked what would be different if I waited before marrying him or letting him move in but I really think nothing would've been different. He could have more easily hid this shit when we weren't living together. I still would've married him eventually - there's really nothing that would've clued me in before it was too late.

[This message edited by skeetermooch at 11:59 AM, September 28th (Monday)]

DevastatedDee posted 9/28/2020 12:00 PM

Not necessarily, Superesse, maybe you were coping, maybe it wasn't denial but just you working through grief and living your life. If your husband hadn't been a disordered cheater the relationship might have been healing and nurturing and provided a safe place to continue processing other losses. The only fucked up thing here is WHO you ended up with, not you. You had every right to want a relationship, to be excited to date and get involved with someone who seemed wonderful.
If your ex hadn't turned out to be a disordered cheater, this would be a happy ending. He's the problem. We are smart women, as are our friends and families, who endorsed our mates. We chose to the best of our abilities but we were no match for sociopathic addicts. Maybe now we are - but we weren't before we knew these idiots.

I second every word. This didn't happen because there's something wrong with us.

DevastatedDee posted 9/28/2020 12:04 PM

Yes, Dee exactly. I bought the work stress excuse. I've often asked what would be different if I waited before marrying him or letting him move in but I really think nothing would've been different. He could have more easily hid this shit when we weren't living together. I still would've married him eventually - there's really nothing that would've clued me in before it was too late.

Same here. I got married with zero doubts that this would be the man I grew old with happily. There was no second-guessing at the altar. This was my person. To say that I was blind to this is putting it mildy, and I am neither codependent or unintelligent.

It hurts me to see any of us blame ourselves for not seeing this coming. This was not our crime.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 12:06 PM, September 28th (Monday)]

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