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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 21

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BlackRaven posted 3/5/2021 18:17 PM

I haven't blocked him anywhere yet because I'm letting him enjoy the spectacle of me moving on with my life, post-haste. But I will probably do that in the future.

My opinion only, but I think it would be a good move to go full NC. I'm a big advocate or us focusing on ourselves, and on our own recovery and healing, and any effort you expend wondering what his 'reaction' is going to be is energy you aren't spending on yourself. Any 'necessary' communications could be through a third party or lawyer.

His blameshifting makes him sound like he has Borderline Personality Disorder, or traits at least.

DevastatedDee posted 3/6/2021 19:45 PM

My opinion only, but I think it would be a good move to go full NC. I'm a big advocate or us focusing on ourselves, and on our own recovery and healing, and any effort you expend wondering what his 'reaction' is going to be is energy you aren't spending on yourself. Any 'necessary' communications could be through a third party or lawyer.

I second this. You'll heal a lot faster if you put your energy into you. There's a stage you want to reach where you honestly will not care what his reaction to anything is, and it's a gorgeous place to be. NC is necessary for that.

BlackRaven posted 3/6/2021 21:16 PM


I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Michael Barta,author of TINSA: A Neurological Approach to the Treatment of Sex Addiction, speak last week to a group of betrayed women. (He is a CSAT and also trained as a trauma therapist so he understands both sides.)

He was an alcoholic, joined AA and then replaced booze with sex as his addiction. He's now been in recovery for 35 years. His advice to us; we need to focus on our own healing and let the addicts work their own recoveries. He also pointed out that avoiding the acting out behavior is sobriety, but it's not fixing the intimacy disorder that led to the behavior, which they do through learning to be intimate and vulnerable with their sponsor and through SA or SAA meetings until they get to the point where they can 'show up' for us. Trauma work (he recommended brainspotting) helps them deal with the early stuff that they've been trying to numb through their addictions. But while they do their stuff, we keep the focus on us.

It was a good reminder for me to stay on my side of the street, and also a hopeful reminder that for some addicts, recovery is possible.

Graphite posted 3/7/2021 05:05 AM

Hi there, I haven't posted on this thread before but relate so much to what I read here, the monster who can't own what he did, the utter compulsion and sickness of the repeated behaviours, the complete lack of empathy. My STBXH was never diagnosed as a sex addict but everything I found after he left says so. He was certainly diagnosed as an addict, first exercise then alcohol! He gave up alcohol cold turkey, guess why, cos he had another addiction in the closet. Looks like he was a member of a sex forum with sex drugs thrown in. Although he still hasn't responded to me asking him to view the pictures of a sex orgy I found, it must be progress that it is starting to feel irrelevant that he never responded.

We are NC, pretty much since Xmas, though when he sees the kids every fortnight, that feels like contact.

I wanted to ask about two things that are really bothering me at the moment, well maybe three actually.

It sounds like many of you have the satisfaction of knowing your WS feels something about the destruction they have caused, even if it is they can't face it because it makes them feel so bad. My WS made no effort to let me know he registered the loss of me, he comes across as if he has successfully performed a frontal lobotomy.

My DD saw STBXH last weekend and said they speak of nothing much, it is quite superficial and he doesn't really ask what is going on in her life. She seems resigned to him being emotionally unavailable. How fucking sad is that.

I can't understand how he has gone cold turkey, or so it seems to me, in cutting off feelings for me and possibly even the kids too. I would rather have a blubbering wreck who left the odd fucked up message down the phone. But this inhumanity is chilling. It is as if he has banned vulnerability. And yet I can't help wondering, does some young woman now get his 'soft side'? I know I should be beyond caring but I'm not there yet.

Also, do many of you still have intact memories of the precious stuff you shared, or does it become impossible to have any good memories of what you once had? Does this depend on whether they lied throughout or changed at some point? My memories, of the kids being born, of all the many happy times, are just scattered on the hard shoulder. Like after a car crash. And I just don't know if I will ever have them back in one place again.

BlackRaven posted 3/7/2021 16:16 PM

Graphite.

Welcome to the club you never wanted to belong to.

My memories, of the kids being born, of all the many happy times, are just scattered on the hard shoulder.

Yes, that's how it is for me. I've started going through photos and any pictures with him or his family in it go in a box for him to save for our daughter. I don't want them. My delivery experience was always tainted because my in-laws showed up in the delivery room uninvited. I just remind myself that my DD has brought me more joy than I knew possible and focus my thoughts on her.

In terms of his going cold turkey, sex addiction at its root is an attachment disorder. If you keep that in mind, then his tossing over you and your daughter is not that surprising. He's incapable of truly connecting to someone because he never received it. No one will ever get his 'soft side' because he will remain incapable of attachment until he does the hard work and tames his ghosts, and he's clearly not doing it.

Please make sure you take care of yourself and work on your healing with a qualified trauma therapist. SA-Anon, or SA Lifeline are also life savers and you'll find women who just 'get it' - if your DD is over 18, it might be a good place for her too.

Good luck

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 4:16 PM, March 7th (Sunday)]

marvelousdarling posted 3/8/2021 08:25 AM

.

[This message edited by marvelousdarling at 5:16 PM, March 9th (Tuesday)]

bonitabellows posted 3/8/2021 19:41 PM

Graphite, it is the same for me - my memories are tainted. It is a horrible feeling, maybe will lessen with time? I just can't imagine a time when it lets up.
Wish you the best.

MakeMineReal posted 3/8/2021 21:33 PM

Hi Graphite,

So sorry you have a reason to be here. But there is hope, and it will get better! (In the very early days it actually made me angry when people said that.)

You asked about memories, and if the happy memories return. I had a really hard time with that - the memories brought back so much pain and the realization that what I thought I had turned out to be a halogram. But I've found, very recently, that the memories may still be bittersweet but are finally also bringing me joy.

My history: I suspected an affair for a very long time, then started finding out the truth after we'd been together over 30 years, one week shy of our 26th wedding anniversary. My kids were all adults at that point, had no clue I'd ever suspected anything, thought the world of their dad and also felt they'd had a great childhood. They were blown away by what they learned, even though they don't know the most horrific details. I lost the husband I thought I had, they lost the father they thought they knew, and we all lost our family as we knew it. As I've read many times, sex addiction affects everyone in the family, and all our relationships.

So, back to your question on memories - just recently I've been able to embrace the memories, all the good times, knowing I was there, it was real for my and my kids, no matter how much the ex participated or how present he was or wasn't.
What we did, as mothers and wives, with and for our kids, our husbands, our families, are what forged our relationships with them. My kids remember growing up with parents that (they thought) were there for them. I was all in, their father was apparently there when it was convenient for him, but was able to fake it enough to make the kids, and me for the most part, believe it.

My youngest went away to college years ago and never moved back 'home'. He is generally very reserved, is a thinker but doesn't open up much. This last Christmas was the first year he did not come home for the holiday, due to covid. I was feeling pretty down about it, since for the last five years I've been single and living alone. A gift from him arrived, and it was very thoughtful, something he knew I'd really like. But it was the handwritten letter that brought me to tears.... He told me what a great mom I was, that he recognized the sacrifices I'd made for our family over the years and how hard I've tried to forge new memories and tried to keep our family together since everything had exploded. And how much he appreciated me...

Graphite, it will take some time to put your heart back together, but your memories are real, for you and for your kids. As much damage as our spouses/partners have done, they cannot take away our memories or our relationships with our children. You and your kids will get through this. Get as much help for yourself and them as you all need, and just keep loving them and letting them know you will always be there for them, no matter what.

crazyblindsided posted 3/9/2021 16:00 PM

My memories, of the kids being born, of all the many happy times, are just scattered on the hard shoulder.

Yes my memories are this way as well. During labor with my firstborn STBX left for the majority to take care of some "business stuff" with work. He almost didn't make it when they announced I needed a C-Section. I won't ever forget it. Then after she was born he would stay out late leaving me to care for the baby.

Unfortunately I have blocked him out of the whole upbringing of the children as I believe he has been having A's throughout the whole M so all photos with him are tainted. I cherish my memories with the kids though. I gave them an awesome childhood and was a good mama to them still am.

Graphite posted 3/11/2021 14:01 PM

Thanks BlackRaven, yes, it does help me to repeat 'he has an attachment disorder'. He developed one, or something imploded, because I know our attachment was real until his warped NPD tendencies took over. My daughter started IC this week and the therapist was taking family history from us. She really seemed to get the picture that something switched when his dad died, causing problems for all of us. My DD has very positive memories of early years and remembers him changing in a marked way. It helps to go over the narrative. The narrative was we were healthy together until he became sick.

Makeminereal, that letter sounds heartbreaking but also gratifying. I do believe the care and love of children, maintainig what they dishonour, is a healing force and vindication of sorts. You too have trodden this difficult path. But you also deserve to be seen and validated by an SO, at least that's how I feel.

CBS thank you for chiming in. It sounds like you had to do all the heavy lifting work in the early years, that your ex was not there when you needed him. That is not true for me, my ex was very present and showed up to do the work in those early years. An effin switch flipped.

He doesn't even have photos of our family life, nor has he asked for them.
I hate the polarisation, I get to feel, see, know everything, he gets to see, know, feel nothing. I couldn't not know my own life.

Graphite posted 3/11/2021 14:41 PM

And thank you too Bonitabellows, didn't mean to leave you out. I hope we both get some distance soon from the pain of tainted memories and that some new remembrance gets to grow.

Lionne posted 3/16/2021 14:54 PM

Just an observation from years away from dday.

I believe the dysfunction that fuels addiction is rarely completely overcome. It takes conscious effort and continual work to guard against stinking thinking...ex. my husband had surgery, he's fine, benign tumor. But he's supposed to refrain from lifting for a month. Yesterday he hauled 2 35lb bags of cat litter around. He won't ask for help (readily available, me or a nearby son) The act of asking for help, the idea that HE NEEDS help, is anathema to him. I believe this is often pervasive in addiction, and too often leads to other stupid behavior. What do you think?

My husband just turned 70. It's very, very unlikely he'll ever completely overcome the mental handicap he's nutured all his life.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...

gmc94 posted 3/16/2021 16:34 PM

The act of asking for help, the idea that HE NEEDS help, is anathema to him. I believe this is often pervasive in addiction, and too often leads to other stupid behavior. What do you think?
My WH too and I could not agree more.

I think the idea of needing help equals weakness is a really good protective measure stemming from:
I'm worthless
therefore
I do not DESERVE help
therefore
I should not ask for it (cuz asking and being denied is worse)

And it gets turned into this perverse superhuman thing in an addict. And why wouldn't it? It's a heckuva lot more comfortable to think/believe/tell yourself that you are perfect
than it is to think/believe/tell yourself you are worthless.

BlackRaven posted 3/17/2021 02:24 AM

Lionne, gmc94

It's interesting for me to hear your stories. My SAWH is newly in recovery, about 6 months into it.

By way of background, we aren't living together and I'm filing for legal separation to protect my assets and bury the marriage that was a sham. I don't know if we will reconcile, but I know if we do it won't be THAT marriage.

I do see tremendous progress in him. Certainly not perfect, but one thing I have noticed is his willingness to admit how badly he has screwed up his life, and he shocked me today by admitting that he was wrong about something. A few weeks ago, he wanted to leave his dbt group. I challenged him on that and he decided to stay, and today he admitted that it would have been the wrong decision. I was pretty surprised by that. I understand that's different from asking for help, and it's also different from asking for help with something unrelated to his addiction recovery, like a back issue.

Some times I'm optimistic, and sometimes I just don't think I'll ever be able to get past what he did. And sometimes I wonder why I would sign up for a future with someone I know has so many problems who will always have to be home for a meeting, who can never go to a wine tasting with me, .... On top of that, will I always be worried about relapse? The range of emotions can be exhausting.

I just try to remind myself I'm not making any decisions now, or even next month, and try to trust that I'll know the answer when it's time.

I guess I'm wondering how your knew and if you regret it?

Lionne posted 3/17/2021 20:36 PM

Sigh...I regret that I didn't recognize what I was in for when I was younger. I regret that I exposed my kids to his toxicity even though I didn't know what was really happening. I regret that I didn't stand up for myself and let myself sink into the codependency that happens in addiction families.
If I knew then (age 40ish) what i know now, at almost 67, I like to think I would have left.
My husband is a totally different person from the asshole he was. He listens, he doesn't fly off the handle at the smallest thing, doesn't blame me for everything, seems to actually enjoy life. He's remorseful and so sorry he sabotaged our marriage. But he's an addict. He is capable of, and has certainly followed through with reverting to his acting out, specifically internet porn. I don't think he's exactly white knuckling, but he has to CONSTANTLY check his reactions and behaviors and guard against using. I don't think that will ever change, frankly, don't believe any addict is completely free of their drug of choice. And SA is particularly insidious since we really can't see their internal behaviors.
My son and his wife are alcoholic, in strong recovery. They attend meetings regularly, live the slogans everyday and frequently check in with their fellowship. They too are always knowledgeable that a slip can become a relapse.
PS. All the above family members also are Bipolar. It's pretty clear to me that their addictions were self medicating. They take drugs that are effective for them and DS and DIL monitor one another for bipolar behaviors as I do with my husband. I firmly believe that after a year of sobriety, addicts must have a psychiatric evaluation. An addiction mixed with a brain based mental illness is a formula for disaster.
Hugs to all of you. We didn't deserve to be thrust in these situations.

BlackRaven posted 3/18/2021 00:20 AM

Is anyone else feeling triggered by the massage parlor shootings in Atlanta?

As soon as I heard the report that it was a massage parlor, I said, 'I bet it's a sex addict - Eroticized rage.' And when the guy admitted he was an SA and that he was driving to his next target, some porn studio, I didn't know what to feel.

Everyone is claiming it's racially motivated, and that frustrates me because it seems like there's more to it. A person can be a racist AND a sex addict, and those are two different conversations, but only one is happening. It's important people realize that Asians have suffered terrible hate crimes in the past year. And it's also important to get sex addiction come out of the closet and into the conversation. SAs who want treatment can't afford 100K. We spouses need support systems. (I was watching a show a while ago on netflix and the story line was about some politician, and there was a line in there about someone wanting funding to deal with porn addiction, like it was some joke.)

Of course, none of this is helped by the dumb statement from the officer that the shooter was 'having a bad day' - an idiotic remark delivered by a cop who is probably a racist and a misogynist.

Plus, those poor women working in the massage parlors - there's probably at least a 50-50 chance they were victims of human trafficking. A sad painful life followed by a sad painful death. It just hurts on so many levels.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 12:26 AM, March 18th (Thursday)]

BlackRaven posted 3/18/2021 00:20 AM

duplicate post

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 12:20 AM, March 18th (Thursday)]

Lionne posted 3/18/2021 12:41 PM

Massage parlors were not my SAFWH's conduit. But clearly they are used by a great many people who cannot or will not participate in RL relationships. I find it terribly sad as well as despicable. Asian women are too often festishized. Sex workers are too often forced by circumstance or coerced into the industry. Porn too, too often created by abused or otherwise compromised people.
Clearly this guy wants to avoid any sense of personal responsibility. It's Asian women because that's how his addiction feeds itself and that's because our society sees Asian women as objects.
BTW, there is a terrific massage and spa business in my town, owned by an Asian woman, and is certainly not a sex shop. So let us not assume all spas are.
That sheriff should be ashamed of himself. But he won't.

DevastatedDee posted 3/18/2021 13:20 PM

I was triggered by this too and ranted a bit in the thread about it in General. I could not even with the poor victim sex addict having a bad day. He's racist and misogynistic. Sex addiction is mysogynistic all by itself. Targeting particular ethnicities for objectification and fetishizing them is racist.

The triggering part for me was that perpetual victim bullshit. He has a problem, so the solution was to eliminate the women he was attracted to. Fuck this piece of shit. That victim shit doesn't generally lead to murder sprees, but it certainly does lead to all the other shit a sex addict puts people through. Life is hard and I have a sad. Must destroy others.

My XWH didn't get it that I wasn't angry at any of the prostitutes. I hadn't married a single one of those women. Spoke to one for 2 and a half hours and came out of that pissed at him on her behalf as well for perpetuating the honestly tragic lifestyle she was leading.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 1:22 PM, March 18th (Thursday)]

HeHadADoubleLife posted 3/19/2021 01:39 AM

Annnnd add to the list of disgustingly terrible ways that men objectify and dehumanize women - today I learned that there is a site called RubMaps where people rate and review the various sex services they receive at massage parlors.

Fuck, I'm glad I have therapy tomorrow.

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