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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 21

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DevastatedDee posted 4/2/2021 08:29 AM

Yeah, you get what I'm saying, Graphite. It reminded me of an apartment I moved to years ago. It was in a perfect location, close to work and walking distance from my daughter's school. The rent was great and it was a good size. I was absolutely in love with the layout. I was so excited about it, until certain neighbors moved in and my cozy happy home became infested with roaches. No matter what decorations I put up or how much cleaning I did, that apartment was ruined for me. Home was no longer a safe and welcoming place. I couldn't get rid of the roaches. I lost joy in everything. I moved out and though I moved further away and it was less convenient, home could be a sanctuary again. I have a strong need for home to be safe. I can't be happy in any aspect of my life if I don't have a safe home base. It doesn't matter how big or fancy home is just so long as it feels safe. It didn't take long to figure out that was the core of my problem with finding joy. It came back pretty much immediately when I bought my little house and left. That may not be how everyone works, but that's definitely me.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 8:30 AM, April 2nd (Friday)]

Superesse posted 4/2/2021 22:03 PM

Some good descriptions of the loss of joy, here, which has been a struggle for me for y.e.a.r.s. Helps to read this tonight, thanks! (And glad to "see" you ladies!)

Maybe somewhere along the line, as I reached my 7th decade in the midst of the world-wide pandemic year, I ceased expecting myself to actually flourish, and just accepted "survival?" I guess I accepted that my life choices, such as staying stuck in one place with a dysfunctional man rather than starting completely over yet again, have probably forever dampened my capacity for bold optimism, let alone joy! It's just the "new normal" every day, that I never would have signed up for - can y'all relate?

Graphite posted 4/3/2021 03:24 AM

I understand that 'survival will do' mode, particularly in a pandemic, and I lived much of the past few years in that mode. But I resent it and it is against my nature to settle for it. I think the phrase you use, bold optimism, is the source of all joy and momentum. I will never give up aspiring to that, looking for the best in myself snd others, looking for beauty and humour in the every day in order to find direction. From that perspective it is a blessed relief my ex has gone. If I am sad, which I am, it is my sadness to feel. I have rare days of inspiration where I am glad to be me and feel there is a different future ahead and that there is more to be had out of life. Other days I feel he has stolen my joy. But I refuse to let that win.

Lionne posted 4/17/2021 08:13 AM

This is difficult for me to write. I think at least some of you are in the same boat.
Marital sex

Started off good. That didn't last. I tried to talk about it and was shut down or mocked when I suggested that alternative activities might help me climax. I tried to plan romantic encounters but was told it should always be spontaneous. He'd close his eyes tightly and refuse to look at me during sex. Ultimately, he stopped having sex with me unless I "seduced," him. Told me my (fit toned thin) body disgusted him. At our last encounter, during a romantic weekend I'd planned, he turned away from me screaming that he wasn't into necrophilia, apparently I wasn't writhing like a stripper.

During this time I'd only learned the tip of the iceberg, 2 EAs turned to brief PAs, strip clubs and lap dances and internet porn. UGLY, violent porn, rape porn, snuff porn with avatars.

He was sober for several years before the porn use started again, apparently 4 years of relapse. If I'm to believe him, he's now sober again for about 3 years. I have reason to think that's true.

During the time since the beginning of the ddays he's changed drastically. He is remorseful, attentive, kind and compassionate. He acknowledges that this is his fault and he'd rather stay with sexless me than go anywhere. He knows I'm broken and that he can't fix me. I realize that this whole situation brings him great shame and regret and he struggles to forgive himself. I doubt if that shame will ever be healed but he gives a valiant attempt.

I have developed a sick and distorted view of sex. Our previous non existent sex life continues. Before that last relapse I was working on trying to fix that broken part of me but now I'm worse than ever. EVERY time I think about sex with him those images pop up. I look at other couples and think about their sex lives, not in a creepy way, I guess I'm trying to figure out what THEY figured out.

Our kid is getting married in a few weeks. Our first grandbaby will be born to our other kid in October. I am greatly looking forward to both events but I'm so angry this history taints it all.

At this point I'm too old to think this will ever change. It makes be bitterly angry and terribly sad.

[This message edited by Lionne at 8:15 AM, April 17th (Saturday)]

DevastatedDee posted 4/17/2021 10:34 AM

Sex is an area so vulnerable to serious psychological damage. Sometimes I feel like I spent so many years in a war with my sexuality fighting against men who tried to destroy it, Lionne. I reacted to teen rape by basically becoming a whore. I react to trauma with anger and defiance, so that makes sense, but many people just freeze up sexually after sexual trauma. Neither way is the right way. They're both just trauma reactions.

I healed in that area in my early 20s and went from having sex in order to own it and claim it back to having sex because I enjoyed it. I was promiscuous, but not in an unhealthy way. By the time I met my XWH, I was in fine form in that area. I knew what I wanted and how to get it. I was not boring in bed. I was experienced. He absolutely loved that. He acted like he had never encountered anyone like me and made me feel like an absolute goddess in that area for the first few years. We got married. Then he started rejecting me. Made a comment about my weight. Started acting like something I did wasn't enjoyable here and there. Was unimpressed with lingerie he'd previously been all hot about. Turned down blowjobs where all he would have to do is sit there. Then DDay comes around and I find out he's been sleeping with women half my age and less than half my age. I reacted like the rape victim I once was and went out and slept with a stranger that very day. Right back to all the damage, all the insecurity, all the trauma. I think this hit me harder than the actual rape at 16, or maybe it brought back the rape at 16 to sit right alongside infidelity betrayal and sexual rejection and I got hit with it all at once. Sex with him was utterly ruined and would never be anything good again, no matter who he'd have turned out to be. He turned his entire body into a weapon against me sexually by his infidelities and his criticisms of me.

After I left the marriage and moved out, I did have a one-night fling with a younger man and though I don't even remember his name (ha, shame, I know), I was my old self with him, so I know that I'm not broken outside that marriage. My sexual self is still here and still intact. Thank goodness for that. I'll always be grateful that I got to discover that so quickly after leaving.

I don't know how you have healthy sex with someone who inflicted sexual trauma on you, Lionne. I don't know if that can happen. I don't know how it could happen. What I hope you don't do is assume that this means you personally are irreparably broken, because you almost certainly aren't. You're being expected to have sex with someone who gave you sexual trauma. It has to be similar to how it would be to be expected to have sex with your rapist. They turned themselves into weapons against you in your most vulnerable space. Your reaction to that is just human and probably healthy. And I want to hug you so badly.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 10:37 AM, April 17th (Saturday)]

Lionne posted 4/17/2021 23:10 PM

Thanks, Dee 💘. You make perfect sense. I'm so sorry for all the trauma you experienced. Just horrible.

I don't know where I go from here. Maybe no where, maybe I get some internal resolution. But thanks, it sure feels good to be validated.

PS he isn't pressuring for sex. He's terribly sad too and understands this is his doing.

Hugs back at you!

PurpleReign posted 4/19/2021 12:59 PM

Hello strong and resilient ladies. Iíve been reading here for weeks to get caught up on this particular thread. Iím actually writing you all from the very restaurant my cheating husband. took his whore. It used to be ďourĒ restaurant. Not anymore. Anyway I was hungry and it was close. I havenít been here in over a year. Iím here because my spouse is clearly a sex addict. I asked him to go to SA meetings or to get completely out of my life. I was not prepared for the angry backlash I would get coming from him. My brother is an alcoholic and I thought I had seen it all. Obviously I had not. I had to cut off contact because he was getting so ugly.

Well obviously we still have a house together, bills, pets so complete NC is impossible. While speaking to him about household shit he told me he had attended 4 meetings after I went NC. I said ok because itís the least he could do. He also laid another disclosure bomb on me. I was told he asked a stripper/prostitute to give him a lap dance in our car. He used Uber to act out for over a year. As usual I was told he did sexual acts with the prostitute. Then at one point he realized the person was a transgender woman. The whole confession made me physically ill. I was also told how far his thoughts went with the vile porn he would watch as well.

So my poor mind has been reeling ever since. Iím under so much stress and have so much anxiety. I just donít know how to navigate the darkness of their mind and addiction. Itís frightening. He wants a chance to prove heís worthy of a millionth chance with me. Some moments I consider it if not purely doing the devil you know and the desire to fulfill the dreams of our dead marriage. I also just found out his living arrangements end in July with his family. Their lease is up and we donít have enough funds for separate living until we sell the house. Itís just a lot to process.

Today after suffering from stomach pain I told him that I had hit my limit. I asked for a 2-3 week break from him. I was communicating through messenger and I didnít use code when talking about his SA. Well I get a call about 2 minutes later. He was trying to manipulate me into not disclosing his behavior in written form. I was crushed. I thought he was calling to check on me at the drís office. Nope. It was good old fashioned selfish addict behavior. I cussed him out. I told him itís not my job to protect him from his illegal behavior. That I will not mince my words. I said heís a selfish trash addict. I also said itís too late to care about getting caught when he already chose to engage in these behaviors. I swear itís a part of me that hopes he does get arrested because Iím tired. The fcking audacity of these addicts to assume we will protect them from consequences. He can go straight to hell.

So I cut off communication so I could recover. I signed up for
SAnon today. Just waiting hopefully to hear back from them. Life with an addict is pure insanity. I donít know what Iím going to decide or what is to come of all this. I just know my spouse has predator behavior and I donít know what to do with that. Iím scared of this whole situation. He went from vile sick porn to hiring prostitutes for sexual favors. Oh did I mention he called me later that night after the big confession and said it wasnít solicitation or prostitution. I tore him a new one and heís singing a new tune. This is just unreal and I finally had to reach out to women who get it. Thanks so much for listening. I canít wait until this chapter of my life is all over.

crazyblindsided posted 4/19/2021 13:33 PM

(((PurpleReign))) I'm so sorry it just sounds so awful. I can't stomach these SA's and their twisted ways anymore. On top of that and being completely traumatized sexually to the point that I don't know if I'll ever be able to have sex again.

and this from Lionne...

I have developed a sick and distorted view of sex.

This is something I struggle with as well. Since I have both trauma from CSA and now from my Ex I can't imagine seeing sex in a normal way again. I believe it is why I fear dating again and the pressure of keeping up with sex I don't want anymore.

My Ex too used to say he could tell I wasn't into it. Not sure how a person is supposed to respond to that. My Ex would want me to always talk dirty or pretend to be doing something I would rather not be doing just so that he could climax I was probably like a corpse too as I felt deeply repulsed by him at times and his perverted nature.

I don't know how you have healthy sex with someone who inflicted sexual trauma on you

Exactly this^^^ I don't know and I don't think it is possible.

I am definitely in the camp of sexually traumatized for life.

[This message edited by crazyblindsided at 1:34 PM, April 19th (Monday)]

PurpleReign posted 4/19/2021 19:04 PM

Thank you CrazyBlindsided for your response. I feel totally alone in all of this. Itís not like you can bring SA up over coffee with friends. Some important people know about his addiction but I try not to go into all these horrible details.

It does harm us sexually. Iím also a survivor of CSA and itís triggering some old trauma but somehow Iím pushing through and staying strong. Heís asking me to lie for him and keep his secrets. I refuse. Itís exactly what my abusers asked me to do. Thatís not my job.

Hearing how he acted out is turning me completely off from sex. Which is not like me because I usually have a pretty healthy libido and sex drive. I think I need some space and distance from his addiction and I feel things will return to normal for me. I hate that SA is robbing anyone of a healthy sex life and relationship. Itís a lot.

Lionne posted 4/19/2021 20:05 PM

I'm glad you reached out to SANON. In the early days they saved my sanity. While I never felt the need to officially work the steps, there is a ton of common sense wisdom in the sobriety movement via those 12 steps. Not just for addicts and their families but for everyone who interacts with humans.
That said, SOME attendees are very rigid in their practice. The discussion of materials other than officially sanctioned Material is against the rules. I found that to be shortsighted. The idea that the trauma model fits most situations rather than the old model of addict/coaddict-emabler is not part of sanon teachings. I truly believe the organization will catch up with enlightened positions but it's an all volunteer organization. Change is very, very slow. It truly depends on the group
And the ability to talk to others who have been there is positively priceless. Just adopt the slogan "take what you need and leave the rest."

PurpleReign posted 4/19/2021 23:35 PM

After reading many of the blog testimonials I donít think SAnon is a good fit for me. But Iím still open minded enough to hear them out. Itís just a lot of self blame in those blogs. Many speak as if we attracted these sex addicted men to us. I refuse to take any responsibility for my husbandís trauma or behavior. He was like this years before we met. Iím not codependent either. Ugh itís so hard to find where I fit in. Looks like counseling and I do mean short term counseling is the way to go.

I do feel stronger for being able to call out his bullshit and shutting down his manipulative games he tried to play today. I read so far that it takes the addict 3-5 years to recover if they recover. I know addiction is lifelong and there is no cure. Iím 45 and I donít have that kind of time to play the wait and see game. I donít love my spouse in a romantic way at this point. Heís more like an old moldy sweater with holes that I keep at the back of my drawer for some odd reason. I truly want my life to change for the better. Is it odd to want to divorce and allow him to work on his addiction on his own? Or have a very long term separation. I think as my life changes like getting back in the workplace etc my perception toward everything will change.

Lionne posted 4/20/2021 08:39 AM

Hi Purple. I have been in this trauma for a long time, predating Tiger Woods. Here is a bit of whay I know about 12 steps in general.

AA and NA work. Brother and son are good examples.

SANON's usefulness is completely tied up with the individual meetings and the members. I think you should give it a try, you might be surprised.

The seeming emphasis that you see on some of the blogs is about, IMO, the very accurate assessment that we cannot control the addict, we can only control ourselves and our reactions. Most of us are terribly traumatized by what we discover and emphasizing self care is essential.

We aren't all codependent, and most of us were shocked at the discoveries. SA are master manipulators and liars. Some of us may have married that guy who regularly got drunk on Friday nights, may have even joined him thinking he was just a fun guy. I doubt very much if we'd have married that guy who neglected us for online porn or who drained the bank account for strippers and happy endings. For me, I DID have all the classic reactions of a daughter of an alcoholic. However, I thought I picked a guy completely opposite of my mother only to have him morph into her in terms of abuse. I had no way of knowing that, so when the abuse began I reacted as that DoA. I enabled, I made excuses, I worked really hard to change myself in ways that weren't broken. In general I BECAME codependent, thinking that it was my job to make him happy. Almost as soon as I discovered the hobbies, I stopped that. the codependent behaviors disappeared, especially after listening to some of the SANON teachings.
You don't sound at ALL codependent and I applaud you.
Twelve step work for addicts is all about taking personal responsibility. And learning to ask for and accept help. Most addicts, especially process addicts like gambling, shopping, porn, are deeply ashamed. That shame cycle feeds on itself. If an addict can admit that they need help, that they just cannot make the changes they need on their own then recovery can begin. IME sex addicts RARELY ask for that help and so don't ever really enter strong recovery.
I suggest you attend a few meetings and really, really listen to the openings that include readings. You might just find some concepts and ideas that will help you on your path.

Is it odd to want to divorce and allow him to work on his addiction on his own?

Not only is it not odd, it's perfect. It is the only way he might ever recover with any stability.

If I were 45 and knew what I know now, I would definitely not stayed. Who knows? He might get some strong recovery time and you'll meet up in the future.

DevastatedDee posted 4/20/2021 09:43 AM

After reading many of the blog testimonials I donít think SAnon is a good fit for me. But Iím still open minded enough to hear them out. Itís just a lot of self blame in those blogs. Many speak as if we attracted these sex addicted men to us. I refuse to take any responsibility for my husbandís trauma or behavior. He was like this years before we met. Iím not codependent either. Ugh itís so hard to find where I fit in. Looks like counseling and I do mean short term counseling is the way to go.

Girl, PREACH. I went to Al-Anon and Nar-Anon (because my genius went from prostitutes to drugs and prostitutes and I only knew about the drugs) and was like "yep, not my fault, nope, can't fix it, and nope, not his mommy and have no interest in controlling shit." I walked in with all the lessons known. It helped me to be around all the people who were going through the same stuff, though. That empathy is priceless. But codependent? Nah, I didn't really have that. I had the opposite, if anything.

And btw, your sex drive will come back if he isn't your sex partner.

DevastatedDee posted 4/20/2021 09:48 AM

If I were 45 and knew what I know now, I would definitely not stayed. Who knows? He might get some strong recovery time and you'll meet up in the future.

I honestly doubt that any of us who leave a sex addict and get some healing time would ever want them in the future. Once that spell of love is broken and the clarity has kicked in, there would be no reason to go back. There are far too many men out there. There's a whole world out there. Mine could come back to me having become as perfect a human as exists on this earth and I would have no desire for him. Just the idea of relapse being so common really does take any recovering SA off the menu. I may travel many roads in the future, but this one is permanently blocked off.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 9:49 AM, April 20th (Tuesday)]

PurpleReign posted 4/20/2021 13:07 PM

Lionne thank you so much for your response. Iím listening and taking in everything youíre saying. Iím looking at all my options. My number one goal is to put me first. Whatever path I take has to put my well being and happiness first. Despite the trauma and issues my spouse has caused Iím pushing through every day. Just having anyone listen to me here has helped me tremendously in the last 48 hours.

The SA spouse tried it today and I shut him down before he could complete a sentence. I told him nope youíre using addict speak and trying to minimize your behavior. I reminded him Iím not the one to be tried and he acknowledged that itís not my makeup to coddle his balls. Iím making it clear Iím not his mommy and I donít coddle or make excuses for addicts. I told him he can call someone else for that bullshit.

I will definitely attend a meeting to gain any wisdom I can. Right now Iím taking care of some health issues. Stupid stomach crap. I couldnít do my 5 mile walk today or yesterday but hoping to jump back in soon. Going to Home Depot to pick up extra large boxes to start packing the Master Bedroom up. Iím honestly feeling great today. I canít tell yíall how much itís meant to me just to finally speak to others that get it. Iím trying to share my journey with others so I donít feel so isolated.

PurpleReign posted 4/20/2021 13:34 PM

DevastatedDee I so hear you. I refuse to get lumped into this idea that as the spouse we played any role with the addiction. If people donít know what enabling looks like or all the things you shouldnít do with an addict then these groups are excellent for that. I agree that just having people around that get it helps. Itís just I never enabled my brother with his alcoholism either. Iím blunt AF so if an addict wants to cry on my shoulder Iím not the one. I support people who help themselves. I truly think telling women that they attracted this dysfunction or participated in this mess is just retraumatizing them. Plus addicts can just say see you are part of my illness too. Fck that noise.

I know things will get better and clearer every day. My goal is push forward.

DevastatedDee posted 4/20/2021 14:00 PM

DevastatedDee I so hear you. I refuse to get lumped into this idea that as the spouse we played any role with the addiction. If people donít know what enabling looks like or all the things you shouldnít do with an addict then these groups are excellent for that. I agree that just having people around that get it helps. Itís just I never enabled my brother with his alcoholism either. Iím blunt AF so if an addict wants to cry on my shoulder Iím not the one. I support people who help themselves. I truly think telling women that they attracted this dysfunction or participated in this mess is just retraumatizing them. Plus addicts can just say see you are part of my illness too. Fck that noise.

Oh, all that plus the "collateral damage" bullshit. I refused to accept being "collateral damage". Nah. I'm a full person with an entire life. The addict being unable to recognize my humanity does not negate my humanity. How that term was ever supposed to soften the blow is beyond me. All it did was enrage me. He harmed me directly. Telling me that I could have been anyone and that it wasn't about me inflamed my anger more. You don't get to treat me like nothing. I don't play that game.

Lionne posted 4/20/2021 16:53 PM

Collateral damage is similar to "it wasn't about you." So, the fact that you just dismissed my existence to screw other people is supposed to make me feel better.

If you never made excuses about your husband's absences, never made excuses to explain away his abuse, you probably didn't behave in codependent ways. I did. SANON and a really strong, educational post here on SI helped me recognize and change that behavior. And it's tough to distinguish between healthy partnering and unhealthy codependency. If you have adopted some codependent behaviors, it's not a character flaw and doesn't mean you have any responsibility for his addiction. It means you need to examine yourself carefully to assess your reactions.

The addict alone is responsible for his behavior. Our job is to detach and heal. 12 step work is an EXCELLENT way to improve the way people interact with others, regardless of addiction.

The idea of enabling and codependency plays a larger role in drug and alcohol addictions, imo. The spouse who buys his favorite beer or goes with him to the bar, or puts him to bed when he passes out. Most spouses of SAS have no idea about the activities. I was shocked beyond reason when I found out he was going to strip clubs for lap dances on a regular basis, had to Google what that was! But I definitely made excuses to others and to myself.

It's TRAUMA.

Lionne posted 4/20/2021 18:17 PM

I found the thread that I referenced above. It's LOOOOONNNGGG. But the first few pages are most useful.

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=598643&AP=1&HL=

There is also a topic post in the Healing Library.

I'm really not pushing codependency on you all. Your voices and posts suggest you are a lot stronger, wiser and self confident than I.

Take what you need and leave the rest

[This message edited by Lionne at 6:18 PM, April 20th (Tuesday)]

BlackRaven posted 4/21/2021 00:32 AM

PurpleReign,

I want to encourage you to shop around the various 12 step groups and the meetings within the group. I've attended SA Lifeline meetings rather than SAnon. I like them because they are by zoom, rather than phone, and I have a choice of numerous meetings each week, where my local SAnon is only twice, and sadly, not at great times. Also, where SAnon formats can vary by the moderator, SAL is more uniform from meeting to meeting so it's easy to pop in on a different day. That said, we do discuss non sanctioned things, but at appropriate times of the meeting. And there's always a 30 minute post meeting chat to followup on things or ask questions or just shoot the breeze.

I found that different meetings had a different tone, and found the ones I liked. Also, I got a sponsor pretty quickly, even before starting the steps (which tbh, I still haven't started) and it's wonderful to have someone who just gets it and is there for me. I tried some Al-Anon meetings years ago and they did nothing for me, but I find the SAL meetings very different, and it's really helped me keep my sanity. (Actually, it really has. I just redid my assessments and my PTSD scores have dropped significantly in the past six months.)

I'd urge you to try at least several meetings before making a decision. I couldn't believe in my first few minutes that some of these women were smiling and laughing. I didn't think I'd ever be able to do that again, but they seemed so ... strong! It was nothing like the blogs you referenced.


I have developed a sick and distorted view of sex

Lionne,
You didn't mention if you or you and your SAWH are in counseling for the sex issues - which, from what I've read, are 110% normal.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 12:37 AM, April 21st (Wednesday)]

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