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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 20

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secondtime posted 1/18/2020 11:44 AM

If he balks at the idea of giving you access, or seems annoyed that you checked the account in the first place, I'd be worried.

I dunno.

I'm pretty hands off with my husband's recovery. I think some privacy is needed to work through some of their crap.
For recovery Round 1, I never asked a single thing. For recovery Round 2, I do ask that my husband share something if I can handle it. Between work and the kids and school, sometimes staying in my own lane is a big enough job. I've had heard some encouraging things with Round 2. But even still, it's two steps forward, one step back.

That said, also, I have looked when I shouldn't have...rather than using my words and communicating. It hasn't turned out favorably for me. In hindsight, I wish I would have made different choices.

That said, not sharing information that an email was reactivated would upset me. And I would say something. "Remember when we talked about full transparency? That includes doing things like reactivating emails, even if it is used for your recovery group."

secondtime posted 1/18/2020 12:02 PM


I've not heard of that book before.

The only question I would ask is why his CSAT is recommending books on how to heal you at this stage?

Your husband needs to be focusing on himself, his sobriety and his recovery.

Is your husband still using porn? That would give me pause...quite a bit, actually.

FWIW, when my husband had been sober/working his recovery for 18 months, the changes were big enough that we didn't need MC. He didn't need to "help" me heal. But, we were also young, in our 30s, naive, and not married for very long.

I suspect, now, if I'm going to commit to our marriage, we'll need to see a MC. How to help me heal is a source of frustration for both of us..as I perceive that there really is nothing my husband can do. My husband lied to me about a multi-year relapse. Chose to do nothing when it started as a once or twice a year slip. My husband during that time, up until DDay2 was still very present. He still could look me in my eyes and lie to me.

So, we are stuck, because behaviors don't tell me anything and well, his words aren't believable, either. I've told my husband the only way I think I can begin to trust him again is if I can jump into his body and really see what's going on in his mind and soul for myself. Since I can't do that..it appears there's no way for my husband to help me heal.

As of right now, my husband is a couple months shy of having 6 years of sobriety/recovery under his belt..3 years the first stint, and three years now. I still think it's waaaay too early for your husband to be thinking about helping you in the process.

gmc94 posted 1/18/2020 14:36 PM

SecondTime - good question. I ASSUME that it's bc my WH has not done jack WRT any of the "work" post dday. Or it could be that he talked quite a bit about my PTSD. Or his suicide attempt. Or some combination.

My CSAT (a colleague in same office) indicted they were the 1st things for a SA seeking to R.

So- who knows.

But from a cursory look at the workbook, it appears it could be helpful to my WH regardless of where we are.

gmc94 posted 1/18/2020 14:36 PM

SecondTime - good question. I ASSUME that it's bc my WH has not done jack WRT any of the "work" post dday. Or it could be that he talked quite a bit about my PTSD. Or his suicide attempt. Or some combination.

My CSAT (a colleague in same office) indicted they were the 1st things for a SA seeking to R.

So- who knows.

But from a cursory look at the workbook, it appears it could be helpful to my WH regardless of where we are.

littleAvocet posted 1/21/2020 06:05 AM

I wanted to ask a question, my apologies if itís been asked before. There is no one else I can talk to about this, and as I start to unravel years of damage from living with a SA, I need to know Iím not a) alone b)insane
Iíve been having gynae problems for years. Because of the amount of pressure put on me to have sex, these problems have become a source of terror for me. Whenever my bartholins cysts start to play up, I am struck with fear that it affects my ability to have sex and therefore my fwh will leave me. For him, sex equalled love. If I didnít do it, I didnít love him. It left me feeling worthless and afraid. Thereís no room to feel concerned about my pain or discomfort. Iím too busy feeling afraid of how he will react. Has anyone else had to deal with this? Iím paralysed with fear at the moment even though my fwh is working on his recovery. Iím too afraid to even begin doing the recovery work I need to do to regain my healthy sexuality. I hate all of this.

Olwen1 posted 1/21/2020 06:49 AM

Smjsome1: Thanks so much for your response on boundaries. I will look around on the older pages on here and see if I can find other responses (I have a hard time searching on the forums)

So I've tried to be offline for a few days and just try to get my own head feeling a little more "sane" if that's possible.

I confronted WS about his email.. I sat him down and said I came across something and he immediately told me about it. I kicked him out of the house for the evening and told him to write down his thought process leading up to reactivating and how he thought it triggered me and how he thought he could prevent it in the future.

Looking back, I probably shouldn't have asked for all that, I feel like I overstep and almost am counseling him a bit and I don't want to do that. Same time, it seemed to help him understand.

I am meeting with a life coach trained in SA and trauma model and will be asking for help on boundaries. WS found a CSAT and is working on disclosure. His CSAT is supposed to reach out to me to get my side of things as well.. So that is somewhat promising. The CSAT is also doing assessments to see if SA is really whats going on. We suspect, but it would be nice for a professional to say they agree vs. He is just an Asshole.

I think what is so hard about these boundaries is that WS' SA was so underground to me, I didn't feel a lot in my life. I'm also struggling on what I need vs. what I want him to stop doing.. if that makes sense. Really hoping that the coach can help me sort through this.

littleAvocet: I'm sorry you are dealing with this. I haven't personally experienced this, but I'm sure others will reply with some thought. From what you said, it sounds miserable if you stay the way you are, but if you work on recovery for yourself to feel a little better, it could stay the same, it could get better. I think as scary and hard as it is, you need to do something for you. Even if it's small. Things will not get better if you stay where you are. I'm no expert nor have I been in a position exactly this, but I do know you need to take care of yourself.

thewalruswaspaul posted 1/21/2020 07:59 AM

littleAvocet: Bartholin cysts are SO painful. I can't even imagine trying to have intercourse.

Do you guys have a couples counselor? This is something that I think could be good to bring up with a supportive third party. You might even ask your fWS to set up an appointment with his therapist for the both of you. Someone who will understand where you're coming from and who can also help your fWS understand the kind of insane pressure you feel due to his behavior.

My situation is not as acute as yours, but when my WS stopped watching porn entirely, I was actually incredibly anxious about it. I felt like I would have to supplant his porn use and "step up" to be more sexually open and available now that he didn't have porn as an outlet. That fear that I wouldn't be enough for him on my own, that he would let his feelings of rejection overtake him. I brought it up in a MC session, having that space to talk about it and not being alone was really helpful.

littleAvocet posted 1/21/2020 16:10 PM

Just to clarify, since the A he has stopped all pressuring behaviour. Iím trying to figure out the damage done by decades of this pattern and wondered if this was a common theme. He hid his SA very successfully for a long time, but looking back he was so obviously unhealthy.

thewalruswaspaul posted 1/21/2020 16:41 PM

littleAvocet: My story is not exactly the same as yours, but similar outline. I have a history of being raped and that has made it very difficult for me to assert myself and keep my boundaries in sexual situations. After Dday, my WS committed to stop using porn because he felt as though his addiction to it was a "middle line" behavior for him that ultimately led to the other stuff. We both thought it would make me feel better, but it turned out that I was so anxious about it. I felt like taking porn off the table meant that I was the only sexual outlet he had left. And I had never said "no" to him before. Not outright. I freeze, I don't actively resist. It's not something I feel safe doing. And with all that extra pressure on me to "make up" for the lack of porn. I had a really tough time.

I brought it up to our MC, and that seemed to help. But something I still want to do is to see a sex therapist/somatic therapist on my own. That's something you might think to consider. Although I've been having a hell of a time finding one, much less figuring out how I'm going to schedule and pay for it.

crazyblindsided posted 1/21/2020 16:53 PM

littleAvocet while I didn't have physical issues, mine were more mental. The more my STBX would push and threaten sex the more I didn't want it. I can clearly remember after having my first child and him threatening to D me if I didn't step up my sex. I began having sex out of fear and that triggered my childhood sexual abuse. Eventually it felt like duty sex and he wanted no part of that and I couldn't pretend that I was over-the-top into it. It became a vicious cycle until his A's.

A little over a year ago I laid down a boundary that I no longer wanted to participate in threesomes (I opened the M up temporarily after D-Day...god knows why I can't even figure out what would have prompted me to allow this) and he had an absolute meltdown and stated he expected me to really step up in the sex department. Well it sent me in the opposite direction once again and we stopped having sex altogether.

Never once did it ever occur to STBX that maybe he had to make me feel safe (not threatened) to be able to enjoy sex again.

secondtime posted 1/21/2020 22:48 PM

More trickle truth today.

December of 18, I specifically asked DH if he fantasized about the moms at the kids' school. He replied "Yes."

We talked at length about my concern over whether or not he would take it further if he started talking to them. I mean..it's pretty easy to go from..hmm...He assured me that he didn't fantasize about any mom that he talked to. That he would never take it that far.

In the past, I specifically asked if fantasized about coworkers. He said no.

I was thinking about things this morning...and was like "Shit, this doesn't make sense."

As it turned out, in round one, he was fantasizing about his coworkers, that of course he did talk to. I suppose at least he told me the truth now...and perhaps that means he's progressing in his recovery.

My gut nagged at me. I told him I got worried about him interacting at other women at work. Of course he blew me off and said that there was nothing to worry about..This was a year, straight, before I discovered on DDay1.

And. I was right.

I asked for names, and of course he can't remember now. I ask for descriptions of what he likes, and he can't remember that either. Because apparently he doesn't have a type. And 6 years of sobriety has apparently made him forget anything and everything about getting high for at least 17 years.

I know I'm not supposed to project out. But, fuck. I've got three girls. My oldest one is 12, and she's really quite lovely. They are going to grow into beautiful young women. My oldest is a total girly-girl, which means her friends will be all dolled up.

And I have a husband that struggles with fantasizing about other women. And I'm supposed to believe that he's going to be "safe" on her wedding day? With all of those brides maids?

I think at this point, he really must take me for a fool. Between all the potential out there, and the fact that he keeps telling me that real loves mean that you continually lie to your partner..indeed he must think I'm a fool. Of course he'll deny that, too.


DashboardMadonna posted 1/22/2020 02:36 AM


I am sorry and you are not alone...DONT BLAME YOURSELF! I have endometriosis and struggle with chronic utis related to sex. I literally have to sterilize myself, before sex. It was a mood killer(although I tried to be descrete), but I dont blame that on who my husband is. I didnt use to get UTIs...could they've sexually transmitted, despite studies against it?! Who knows... while he was screwing prostitues, I ened up with a couple of bouts of bacterial vaginosis. I know he gave them to me....I never had those before or since. There are some studies that support vaginosis can be transmitted...in my case, I believe it.
In terms of sex with my husband, I was always up for it, he denied it from me from the beginning and could only get it up with me, when I was drunk it was from behind. His hookers were just about all other ethnicities, unlike me....I'm not his thing. He has a major madonna-whore complex... as all narcissistic men do. They fear/loath intimacy. Any inkling to being human and he is done with you. Seeing us vulnerable is weak and disgusting to them. Those nights of being sick, cold cream on our face, 10 lbs.over weight is what they use to reason to themselves that they deserve questionably aged young girls.
They see prostitutes as beneath them, and this is why it turns them on. They are misogynists at their core. Everytime they masturbate or fuck a whore, it is revenge on us, as we represent their abusive/neglectful mothers. This "SA"/narc (whatever this thing is) is pathological and doesnt get "better", only better in terms of hiding it, as they escalate everything they do.
I also had a spiral in suicidal depression (ironically caused by him and my parents) and this was the time he claimed to start his "hooking a nut"... I needed to be hospitalized, but he went out all night partying at concerts and driving home drunk. I was bedridden with my depression...he knew I wanted to die and didnt care...still doesnt. This is who they are. Literally reptilian mind set...very primitive.

[This message edited by DashboardMadonna at 2:59 AM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]

DevastatedDee posted 1/22/2020 07:59 AM

Eh, deleted. It was probably unhelpful. I'm sorry you have to worry about this stuff, secondtime.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 8:52 AM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]

DashboardMadonna posted 1/22/2020 09:53 AM


This is part of why I filed...I just couldn't see myself ever getting beyond snooping and comparing myself to them, the way I know he did. On top of that, he isnt remorseful, but a person that does this has a lot of screws lose...spiritually bankrupt, while never understanding what love means, do to a lack of empathy.

I couldn't even watch t.v., without being triggered by some young girl and think "yeah, he would fuckthat and I'm sure hes thinking about it".

DevastatedDee posted 1/22/2020 09:58 AM

I couldn't even watch t.v., without being triggered by some young girl and think "yeah, he would fuckthat and I'm sure hes thinking about it".

I went through that too. Seriously, fuck all that. No one has the right to put us in that headspace. Life is too short for that bullshit. Seriously. Living like that is like being itchy all the time.

DashboardMadonna posted 1/22/2020 14:12 PM


I agree. It really is beyond devastating, in terms of your self-esteem. To them, you'll never be enough...that is not something I want to live with any longer. I dont need him to feel lonely.

This has damaged me so much, that I dont see myself ever being able to trust a man enough, to see me naked, much less date (do people still date?)...

The past few days, I find myself looking up plastic surgeons and fillers....even though logically, I dont need them. It seems that women are supposed to be more plastic than ever, for men to find them attractive. I honestly feel bad for young women, when porn is being forced down our throats as something "normal" and women should suck it up.

I know that the majority of men look at porn and the ones that say they dont are most likely lying. I NEVER want to go through this again.

That thread in "general" section "sex acts denied..."... its beyond triggering and it's the same old narcissistic men that chime in, while the new ones encouraging it. There is one there, that gets under my skin and I refuse to post...I agree with what you said, there.

This group of misogynists, only validate my assumptions and fears...these "men" are everywhere. Its sick.

[This message edited by DashboardMadonna at 2:32 PM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]

secondtime posted 1/22/2020 14:47 PM

I'm not compelled to snoop...and I don't really compare myself.

And I know these are just shitty thoughts. During Recoveryv1 I felt it was my job to do my part and use all the self talk until no more obtrusive thoughts.

This time, I feel no pull to do my part this time. To spend the work with the self-talk until I believe it. Part of the problem is I don't know what even to say to myself...because what I used to say "he's not that person anymore." doesn't work...because he is that person.

But, also, he's not ready to repair the marriage. For 6 years, I've been very clear about what my triggers are. Once in 6 years has he anticipated them.

This morning we talked again some more...well, it started was my brain doing rapid fire asks of other categories of people that he could have fantasized about..a previous neighbhor, moms in the parent/child gymnastics class he took our kids too, those sorts of things.

DH reiterated that he couldn't remember. Then I asked him....well, did you even spend 10-15 minutes trying to remember? You all can guess what the answer was.

Dude has got a ton of regret and not so much remorse.

dontsaylovely posted 1/22/2020 17:01 PM

Olwen: I had trouble with boundaries for my SAWH. But I desperately wanted/needed them. I used the Stephanie Carnes workbook to come up with mine. They included in house separation, move out, divorce, etc. depending on what he did after dday.

We both used the same CSAT for IC and he did a therapeutic disclosure. That happened about 11 months after our dday. I agree with what I read that they are not ready right away to disclose all - the shame and all. He had several meetings with the CSAT to work on the disclosure and it did take that long for him to - be able to, be ready to, to understand that anything less than the truth would be a dealbreaker (pick any or all).

I had many bad scenarios in my mind. Mostly his disclosure was not as bad as I imagined but part was much worse. For me the fact that he disclosed the much worse part satisfied that he had disclosed all that he remembered. I qualify that because his memory is bad at the best of times so if he had piv when we were first married (20 years at Dday) he maybe didn't remember to divulge. And really, there comes a point when that number of times doesn't matter. One is bad, two is worse, 3+ and respect is gone. In his case it was 3+ but the whole double life equalled respect is gone. 6 years later he is still trying to make it up to me. For me nothing is enough to make up for his actions but my age and health have me staying. Those initial boundaries I set though, with the help of that workbook, are still in place.

They all have their root causes and their means of filling that void. Generalizations don't always work and some don't apply, IMO, to my SAWH. I say filter accordingly. I don't have it in me - at this age, emotional state, health - to check his online activity daily. I check sporadically and so far so good. But I have no illusions that he is a dry drunk. I believe his mother was the issue but he has been unwilling (unable???) to delve deeply there. When he starts to wax poetic about her I shut him down. He knows but cannot acknowledge. I say then you don't love me enough, he denies but still won't touch that one in therapy. I get that it hurts but I'm her and she is long gone (was gone well before he met me).

If I was younger and in good health I like to think I would have just left. But I always said I would leave a cheater in a heartbeat and I didn't so there's that. Take care of yourself.

ashestophoenix posted 1/22/2020 17:15 PM

Secondtime, I came to realize that every woman/girl my husband saw went through his filter of: "how hot is she?". He would keep a kind of score. Ugh, right? I don't want to know the scoring system. So he was a sexist jerk in his mind with this rating/evaluation based on appearance. Don't know what triggered him to fantasize. I do know that he had different categories for his "romance" addiction from his "masturbation" addiction. Yes, he had that whole madonna/whore thing going on.

And the reality is, me, the woman he chose who was in front of him, he did not see clearly. I really get this now that my husband never really "saw" me. That doesn't have anything to do with me, and everything to do with his fear of intimacy.

Sucks big time, no doubt about that. This reality of what my husband was doing in his mind all the years of our marriage destroyed any sexual or romantic desire I had for him. That had been damaged all along, but this reality destroyed it forever.

My husband is very sober and working hard on learning relational skills. I can tell that he is starting to see me more clearly and getting to know me. Amazing on so many levels and sad as well.

You know I think a lot of these SA's are character disordered. I don't think they all are. I think my husband really is acting out of childhood trauma and mother enmeshment. It doesn't excuse him nor does it change the fact that he was an abuser. But I don't believe he is character disordered. He acted in an incredibly selfish manner but he does not have NPD.

Who knows what he does now when he sees women and girls. He acts much differently than in the past, so something has changed. I'll never really know, though. But I do know he is different and I do know that he is disgusted with the reality of who he was. Once the denial and minimization was lifted, he was left with the realization of what an asshole he was. I have no doubt about that.


[This message edited by ashestophoenix at 5:16 PM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]

ashestophoenix posted 1/22/2020 17:29 PM

littleAvocet - Love that name! Avocets are beautiful.

I resonated to your post about equating sex with fear and unworthiness. Now there is a definition of abuse by our husbands. For me it started with anxiety since I picked up on his anxiety. He so frequently lost his erection and became angry and blamed me. Now I know why. Duh. All the jerking off to porn. But, I didn't know that at the time. I was clueless about this addiction and about his acting out.

So I became anxious about his performance, his anxiety, his anger, his blaming. I knew it was BS and I tried to be sympathetic and supportive. If he had only been honest I would have worked with him to solve the problem. But we all know that was not going to happen.

My husband was sexually anorexic rather than voracious with me. That is also abuse: the withholding of sex within a marriage. I didn't realize this at the time. And frankly, looking back, I started to become like a "battered wife" over his anger, his moods, his anxiety, his rejection, his blaming. I didn't think I was doing this but I was.

I look back now and feel how oppressive it was to be with my husband. At the time I just started to shut down emotionally without even knowing it. At some point I started to avoid being with him. Sounds extreme to me now, but I had taken in the messages that there WAS something wrong with me. I also had been abused by therapists who told me that I was expecting too much out of marriage, that I was "projecting my disappointment about myself onto my husband", that I was responsible for bringing happiness and meaning into the relationship.... Ugh. More abuse. From female therapists who believed they were helping me. I'll never figure that one out.

So I had a constant low level hum of worry and a feeling of unworthiness. I was shocked, and still am, at how much all of this shattered my self esteem. Honestly, I didn't fully get it at the time. I do now.

What has really helped me was to emotionally detach from my husband and my marriage. I needed to focus on rediscovering me. I spent time, without my husband, doing things that I loved and hadn't done because of him. That was great! And, I found a very good trauma therapist. That has been critical to my well being.

The good news is that over time, I feel so much better. I'm still in therapy and I'm still working on thriving in my life. I as well don't trust men, though I have found friendship with men I work with. This makes me sad that I can't conceive of a romantic or sexual relationship with a man. I actually can conceive of objectified sex with them, and isn't that weird. So I am now aware of MY fear of intimacy. So more to work on.

LittleAvocet, you aren't crazy. You're traumatized. Please be gentle with yourself. Please know that healing can occur. It takes time and it's a hard road, but things do get better.


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