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I Can Relate :
Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 21

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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 4:35 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

The New York Times has an article on Love Bombing today! It's mostly about getting into new relationships, not about covering guilt & shame during a relationship. But at least it puts the topic out there for people to consider. Wish I'd seen it 30 years ago.

posts: 321   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8708996
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 11:12 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Ooh yeah, that's a good subject to educate people about. It's an effective as heck technique. I wish I had understood more about "mirroring". That one got me. We just had so much in common, lol.

Mandy - check in with us when you can. I've been thinking about you.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 4999   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8709175
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 7:42 AM on Saturday, January 15th, 2022

I came across and email I sent to my exSAWH 12 years ago, a decade before I knew about his behavior. It was a summary of a session with my therapist (also our marriage counselor at the time). What is stunning is that a) we spent so little time talking to one another that I had to email him about the session rather than have a face-to-face discussion with him b) I talked about wanting to go back to work since I knew I'd be happier if I did, but the (male) therapist questioned how I would have time for that and for all the other things I did (a lot of what I did was try to make life easier for my addict spouse because he was always complained about being stressed/tired/frustrated at work/having back pain/migraines etc etc etc. Interesting the therapist didn't suggest I find a way to try to eliminate or delegate some of this responsibility so I could do what I knew would make me happier, and while I don't have a reply from my then-husband, it seems apparent that he didn't suggest we find a way for me to go back either, and c) another interesting thing from the email is that the therapist told me that while I was a far less demanding wife than most, physicians often left it all at work and had nothing left for home - or in other words, he rationalized and justified my spouse's emotional anorexia rather than suggesting I deserved more.

As I've thought about it, I realized that a lot of the women I know who suffered betrayal trauma from SAs were raised in families with a male-chauvinist father. My mother was a smart, strong (unhappy) woman, and my father always tried to make a joke out of his chauvinism, but it existed. I think because of that, what the therapist was saying didn't seem unreasonable to me. Of course I needed to set aside my desire to return to work, of course it was OK that a doctor leave it all at the office ... ; man was I screwed up.

posts: 321   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8709985
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Riverz ( member #79713) posted at 7:39 PM on Monday, January 31st, 2022

I have been doing some reading about sex addiction since my ex spouse (still struggling with the reality of him being an ex since it’s only been about a month and a half since DD1) definitely fits that diagnosis. He is apparently seeing a therapist and has taken some test that he is a high risk SA.

When we last spoke, which is a while ago, he recognizes he has a major problem, he’s disgusted and ashamed of his behaviour, and he says he has hit rock bottom and needs to change as he can’t continue to behave in such a destructive way.

He has never blamed me...in fact, he takes full responsibility for his actions. He knows it will be a difficult road to recovery, but he is willing to do whatever it takes to get his life back on track for himself. At the time we talked, I asked what strategies his therapist suggested to curb his urges to act out...the therapist said to put restrictions on his phone to block inappropriate material, and also to go for drives or read or listen to podcasts or do something else for an hour and then the urge should pass (there’s probably more, he was paraphrasing). I’m not sure if a 12 step program was suggested since then...which I’ve read is very important for recovery.

During our relationship, he was never outwardly abusive in any way (obviously he was abusing me while he was betraying me). He was completely loving, caring towards me, and often told me how lucky he was to have me in his life. It seemed like he really loved and adored me (which has made the discovery of his disgusting betrayals so unbelievable)...and I never suspected a thing...especially since he kept promising me how he could never betray me. He was a typical SA with an incredible deceptive double life and lots of lying for a few years...which I still have trouble even thinking about.

I know he has issues from his past that he needs to deal with...abuse and likely sexual abuse, which is probably tied into his out-of-control acting-out behaviour.

My question is...has anyone on here actually had or known anyone who has had a successful recovery and reconciliation with a sex addict? I have read that either it’s impossible or possible, depending on who is telling you. How might you know if the SA is serious about committing to doing the work necessary to change his ways, if that’s even possible?

I’m just curious...thanks.

posts: 130   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2021   ·   location: Canada
id 8712943
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 8:11 PM on Monday, January 31st, 2022

I would mostly ask if you want to be in a relationship where a partner needs to work a serious program for the rest of his life to keep from cheating on you. That is not a great bet. Not even a little bit romantic.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 8:11 PM, Monday, January 31st]

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 4999   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8712955
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secondtime ( member #58162) posted at 5:22 AM on Sunday, February 6th, 2022

My husband is probably a success story.

He had one three year stint of sobriety/some recovery, followed by a period of time where he was slowing moving towards a full blown relapse (defining relapse as going back to past frequency, etc). My husband will be 5 years sober/in some recovery again as of April.

He even managed to stay sober while I/we dealt with my dad dying and me getting breast cancer last year.

The truth is you really don't know how serious the SA partner is or isn't. You never will. You cannot hop into their body and read what's in their heart and mind. You only get, what they choose to tell you.

So. The question becomes, what do you think you want to see?

I thought I saw everything that I should have in recovery v1. My husband was more open and communicative. We felt like partners. He doted on me. We even connected during sex or the first time. My husband worked with a therapist. He read the books and did the homework.

What I didn't know was:
1) my husband really didn't hit rock bottom
2) my husband had a ton of shame still left
3) my husband developed no plan for when he got triggered

Items 1 and 2 were internal to my husband.

Now. I think for recovery v2..I think the above items are taken care of.

But, as it turns out, it's not enough for me.

There was a small list of items I wanted before I would consider reconciliation. I wanted the following:

1. An amends letter as part of working the steps
2. Real actual apologies when my husband apologized. Like the five step apologies. Not "I'm sorry you feel that way."
3. Names of the moms he fantasized about at the kids' school.
4. Just some general sharing out of what was talked about, reflected on during his 12 step meeting.

I have come to accept I am never going to get the above things. Don't get me wrong. My husband tries. He actually does everything but what's on my list.

Fortunately, we are still well matched partners and good friends. We enjoy each other's company. We laugh. We snuggle and hold hands. We get through the everyday tasks of living/child rearing well. We've even talked about what next after our kids get older/leave the nest. We still have some shared future goals/values/interests. But until I get that list, I don't consider him safe enough to have sex with. Or, until he can regularly communicate that he realizes that I am a prize that he would be sorry to lose, he doesn't get the prize.

And he KNOWS this. I just brought this up few weeks ago. Something triggered me. I told him it hurts that he's never written me an amends letter. That he's not interested in doing it. I know by now I'm not going to get it, and that's fine. I've accepted that. But, it still hurts from time to time.

We're both fine with the consequences of his choices. It is quite a good life. But we aren't reconciled, and I don't think we ever will be.

posts: 1065   ·   registered: Apr. 5th, 2017
id 8714187
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 7:39 AM on Sunday, February 6th, 2022

Secondtime,

That's really interesting, because I asked for an amends letter many times and never got one as well.

-I asked after DD1 when I thought it was 'just' an affair and we were reading "Not Just Friends" (which recommends an amends letter) and working with a MC. Actually, he wrote one but never sent it to me, probably because he knew he was still gas lighting.
-I asked when I submitted my impact letter to him while he was inpatient at Gentle Path.
-I asked during our Full Therapeutic Disclosure. I never got one. (I ended any possible reconciliation a few weeks after that when I found out he was still lying to me because he had a secret email to communicate with his mommy and daddy.)
-I asked at our divorce
So 22 months after DD1, I've gotten a lot of 'you deserved better' but never any true amends.


.

posts: 321   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8714190
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 5:34 AM on Sunday, February 27th, 2022

My exWHSA is also narcissistic, possibly sociopathic (how did I not see it!) and as a result of that and my own co-dependence, I don't have any local friends, despite having lived here for 20 year. I have acquaintances, but no one I really feel connected to. When we moved here (after he was fired for an affair that I didn't know about) people said, 'you'll make friends when your kid is in school,' but that never happened, and now she's grown and out of the house. I've lived in a lot of places and never had such a hard time fitting in.

Now that I'm single, I wrestle with what to do. I think my first choice would be to build a community here, but I just struggle making progress with that. Other options would be to move someplace else and start over, but I really don't know where that would be. I don't want to live too close to my FOO, and don't want to move back to a big city ... so wherever I go it would be starting from scratch. At age 60, that's pretty terrifying.

For two years my therapists have told me not to make any major life decision until I'm out of the trauma, but I feel like I need to move on. I'm just not sure what that looks like.

I guess my questions are:

any suggestions for how to make friends after betrayal trauma
anyone have any experience with starting over someplace fresh?

Appreciate your thoughts.

posts: 321   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8719050
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Hurtmyheart ( member #63008) posted at 7:09 AM on Sunday, February 27th, 2022

I understand what you are going through BlackRaven. Our journey's have been somewhat parallel... so I understand your plight

I'm tired and it's been exhausting. Time for a vacation from trauma, sadness, hurt, etc.

Hopefully things will come together in a reasonable amount of time so we can begin to feel somewhat normal again instead of feelin life is passing us by and we are too frozen feeling to move.

I'm just hanging in there hoping that these dark clouds will shift soon so that I can get on with my new journey that I didn't ask for in the first place.

Life sure can be tough. I never thought that I would be 60 years old and alone. I'm sure you weren't wanting this either.

posts: 845   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2018
id 8719056
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 5:36 AM on Friday, March 4th, 2022

TRIGGER WARNING: If anyone here follows HONY (Humans of New York) on Facebook, the March 3rd post features a 13-part series about a woman who was married to a sex addict, narcissistic, sociopathic man.

posts: 321   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8721036
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 2:33 PM on Friday, March 4th, 2022

any suggestions for how to make friends after betrayal trauma
anyone have any experience with starting over someplace fresh?

I completely missed this and I'm so sorry. I kept the same job, but I moved to a completely different town and lost most of the friends I had because some of them knew what my XWH was up to and I just couldn't carry on with them after that. The new friends I've made have been through getting involved with animal rescue and they are pretty great people. I'd suggest getting into a hobby or volunteer type thing, though COVID certainly hasn't make that simple.

As far as just being somewhere new, I loved that part. It's freeing. I found that I could start over with just about everything and tailor my life to who I am without having to compromise that with anyone else. Exploring a new town, learning more about what I like..those were very cool things. It's a new level of authenticity.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 4999   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8721171
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 2:53 PM on Friday, March 4th, 2022

TRIGGER WARNING: If anyone here follows HONY (Humans of New York) on Facebook, the March 3rd post features a 13-part series about a woman who was married to a sex addict, narcissistic, sociopathic man.

That was a powerful read. Thank you for sharing that.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 4999   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8721192
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 11:07 PM on Monday, March 7th, 2022

I haven't been here in a while. I will post an update soon but basically, I couldn't do it. So much damage done, I will never love or trust him again. We are sorting through the financial mess he left here and I should be able to be no contact soon, we are currently low contact. He still wants to work things out because a loveless, no intimacy relationship works great for him. He's still "sober" - I don't give a shit. Some distance from him cleared my head and just recovering from the PTSD type issues of being blindsided. Edit to add: I kicked him out in July and he hasn't seen my kids since then. Setting a boundary about them was easier to stick to than loving myself at that point!

Anyway yes, the Humans of New York post was triggering but it was a great read, my heart broke for her and her kids. But mostly her kids. The way she talks about her oldest son and the way she basically made him into a substitute partner triggered a lot of anger from my own family of origin. We have the power to cause our kids great harm. Although she and her son seemed to paint her a hero, I would imagine her kids have much trauma to work through.

[This message edited by stubbornft at 11:11 PM, Monday, March 7th]

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 822   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8721648
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 4:06 PM on Tuesday, March 8th, 2022

I promise you, stubbornft, this is going to lead to a happier life. It's a mess to dig out of, but once you're out, life is a lot more peaceful.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 4999   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8721773
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 8:20 PM on Tuesday, March 8th, 2022

Thank you Dee ♥️ I was talking to my therapist about how I have held my boundaries and feel like I know exactly what to do now. I told her I felt proud of myself and then realized I couldn’t remember the last time I felt proud of myself. I am working out again and I am starting to feel like myself again.

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 822   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8721833
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MakeMineReal ( new member #62275) posted at 4:04 AM on Friday, March 11th, 2022

Stubbornft, I don't know you but I'm proud of you also. Any woman (or partner) who survives the level of betrayal and devastation inflicted on them by a SA is a hero in my book. It's great that you're working out again, physical exercise is so good for the body and the mind.

It's been just over 6 years since d-day for me, and I can't say I'm 'feeling like myself' because I don't think I ever really knew who I was. The wound is (mostly) healed, the scars will be there forever, but I have found this strong, resilient, pretty-freakin'-awesome person inside that I never knew existed. Boundaries? Wow, they're not just for property lines! And who is this woman who's saying "no, that doesn't work for me", or "Yes, I can help with that, but I can only give you an hour"?! I have more real friends now than ever in my life, and I truly believe that having boundaries has been a factor in that. I got a compliment recently from one of my newer friends: "That's what I like about you, MakeMineReal, you're direct and honest".

One of my favorite quotes, no idea who wrote it: "I know what I bring to the table, so believe me when I say I'm not afraid to eat alone"

Keep believing in yourself and pushing forward, Stubbornft. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, so don't ever settle for less, from a partner or a friend.

[This message edited by MakeMineReal at 11:48 AM, Friday, March 11th]

"She packed up her potential and all she had learned and headed out to change a few things."

posts: 42   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2018
id 8722394
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 6:29 PM on Friday, March 11th, 2022

MakeMineReal, thank you for that sweet post. You sound awesome!

I can't say I'm 'feeling like myself' because I don't think I ever really knew who I was.

Oh man, same. I actually feel a little panic when I try to think who I even am when it isn't a mom or a partner or employee or what I do for others. I am working on it, though. I think that is another reason the working out is so good for me, because it is just for ME. I am existing finally in my own life.

I am so proud of you, too! Love that you are so direct. It's refreshing being around people like you!!!!

Something I really got from SI is when Dee has said (can't remember her wording) that love will go away once we start detaching. That is so true. I am a little over a year out from Dday and I can honestly say I don't love him anymore. He made it easier to detach by being such a miserable ass. I don't hate his guts and don't want him to be harmed but I don't love or respect him and I don't want him in my life. Because he doesn't deserve to be in it.

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 822   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8722610
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 7:06 PM on Friday, March 11th, 2022

Something I really got from SI is when Dee has said (can't remember her wording) that love will go away once we start detaching. That is so true. I am a little over a year out from Dday and I can honestly say I don't love him anymore. He made it easier to detach by being such a miserable ass. I don't hate his guts and don't want him to be harmed but I don't love or respect him and I don't want him in my life. Because he doesn't deserve to be in it.

It is absolutely true, and sometimes I think the best thing about love is that you can fall out of it. Love is the most amazing and beautiful thing in the world, but it can also be the most insidious trap when it's directed towards someone who hurts us. Hate isn't the goal. Indifference is, and you're getting right to that point. I don't wish harm on my XWH either and I think it would be great if he could become a good person, but I don't want anything to do with it. I don't even need to ever know about it one way or another. He is merely something bad that happened to me. I do hurt for people who come here and can't leave their WS because they love them and I do get it. It's excruciatingly painful to take the steps needed to detach and allow the love to die. Like crawling out of your own skin. But worth it? OMG. So very worth it.

You'll get to know who you are and what you enjoy and that's a fun journey too. Indulge yourself any way you can. Even if you think you have bad taste, lol. One of the first things I did was paint my bedroom brown and fill it with pictures of sunflowers and actual fake sunflower plants (some of them several feet high) and is it tacky? Hell yes. But I love it. It's me. That was all that mattered. And hey, sunflowers are quite cool nowadays if you watch the news.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 4999   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8722615
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 8:33 PM on Friday, March 11th, 2022

Dee your room sounds awesome! Good for you!

I was lucky to find a really amazing therapist last year. A huge moment for me was when I realized that even if he got all better and could somehow become a loving and wonderful partner (not likely!), he was going to have to do that with someone else. It was too late for us, there was too much damage done. It feels good. Some days are still hard and I let myself feel a little sad when I need to. But it doesn’t change my course.

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 822   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8722623
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MakeMineReal ( new member #62275) posted at 8:58 PM on Friday, March 11th, 2022

Stubbornft, I totally get your point about not loving the ex. The minute I found out that my ex had been cheating our entire 31 year relationship, something in me just broke, and even though it was some time before I filed for divorce, I knew from that moment on that I would never love him again. I've come to realize that I loved someone who didn't exist - my feelings were for the person he was pretending to be. That made detachment so much easier for me.

"She packed up her potential and all she had learned and headed out to change a few things."

posts: 42   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2018
id 8722631
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