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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm
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I belong to a few different forums. I'm never really quite sure which one to post to when I have a question. It's complicated because we are not married and don't live together. Also, most people just tell me to leave because what he has done...and continues to do...is just so crappy. But I get a bit confused in my head about whether my expectations of this relationship are realistic (putting aside the fact that I can really have no expectations because he's a sex addict or personality disordered or whatever). I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes he may not be doing anything wrong, but I think he is? So I feel like maybe it's not as bad as I think? OK, I'm losing it.

It was my birthday this week. It was also the anniversary of my father's death. I had to remind him on both counts. To make matters worse, he is on vacation with his children so he has a built-in excuse for forgetting things that are very important to me or does he? I don't know why being on vacation with your children means that you can't pick up the phone and call but apparently it does. It also means you can't send a text. It makes me feel like crap to have to be the one constantly reaching out. Even worse, to be hidden from his children -- and oh yes, I am -- after 8 years -- it's just bad.

Anyway, I still have access to a few of his accounts. I really do not check them, except when something feels off (which seems to be every other week now. OK, that made me laugh because yes, this is completely pathetic.). Yesterday I was thinking about it and something told me to check one of the accounts. I did and found a reservation for 2 adults and 2 children at a hotel. I now know that he is on vacation with someone else. Although I don't know with 100 percent certainty, I am fairly certain it's not another girlfriend or anything like that. It's most likely his ex-wife.

It's not the first time they've done this. If he was another person, I could perhaps give him props for trying to put his children first. And it may be what he is actually doing, but with everything else that he's done...It just screams...I have no boundaries and I don't care about what you think or feel. To make matters worse, he did not tell me anything about the trip in advance. He still hasn't actually told me, in fact. He led me to believe that it was just him and the kids, but I now know that's not the case. I suspect he feels pretty guilty about that though because he was acting strange before he left, saying it was just the stress of the trip, being away from work for a week, etc. And he did nice things that he doesn't often seem to do for me...

I am just so done with all this. Does it matter if he is a sex addict, a psychopath, or just a completely bad boyfriend? He sleeps with hookers -- is on every dating site you can think of -- and just makes me feel like sh*t. I can't trust him at all. And I'm not wrong to expect something different than this, am I? Just two weeks ago, after finding him on Tinder, we had another DTR conversation, during which he told me that he considers me his girlfriend. I don't know why I'm still having that conversation with him after being together for 8 f'ing years, but I guess that tells you something.

He texted me last night -- because I asked him to do so -- and I haven't bothered to reply. It was just some crap about what his kid ate for dinner, what they did that day, etc. Why should I care about this when the kid doesn't even know that I exist? And why should I care about what you did for the day...with your ex wife?

There's just nothing right about this relationship.

I think something in me has just snapped. The anger I now feel for everything he's done is hard for me to deal with. The anger at myself for not ending it after I found out the truth about his sex addiction (or whatever you want to call it) is far worse. It can actually be hard for me to function sometimes the anger is now so overwhelming. How could I be so f'ing stupid? I'm smart, attractive. I can do so much better than this.

I thought about blocking him last night. I tried to write an email to tell him what I'm thinking (because I think that's the right thing to do after EIGHT years together?). I know that if I try to talk to him about any of this, he will just turn it all around and make me feel like I've done something wrong, like somehow my ideas about boundaries are flawed or my expectations for the relationship after all this time are unrealistic.

I feel so completely trapped and so completely weak. Like a victim of Stockholm Syndrome or something. Anyone? Please?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:50 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
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sp2007 - I am so, so sorry for what you are experiencing. It is so very painful.

I agree with you....he has been and is treating you badly and it's a combination of his addiction and god knows what else. Does it really matter anymore?

I think it was Coach Autumn who said that in her leaving her partner it was a matter of letting go of things over time. I know what she meant. I find I have less and less expectation about my husband. I'm now at the point I've let go of initiating conversation even. What I realize is I've reached my limit on abusive behaviors. So, when he's knee jerk defensive and angry about anything I say; when he just isn't present or listening when I speak; when he forgets things I say two minutes after I say it; when he tells me one thing and the opposite a day later....well, why bother talking to this person. The more I give up, the better I feel, and the more I realize how far removed I am from a relationship with my husband. I'm not even talking about an intimate relationship, just a basic human relationship.

But, I know what you mean about self questioning and self loathing. It's brutal. My work with my trauma therapist is really helping me with these issues. It's taking time, but I need the time. I am healing but I could not do it without my therapist's help. I realized that my husband was an abuser, but not the kind who wouldn't let me have a car or my own money. He was the abuser; but I was my own jailer. That is devastating. But, I understand why I did that and I am in the process of forgiving myself.

Right now, be gentle with yourself. You are not alone.

Many years ago my husband "forgot" my birthday too while he was dealing with a family health issue. Yeah, sure, there was an excuse. But it was really just a symptom of how little he cared about me or thought about my feelings. I was hurt then; he didn't give a damn; and it should have been yet another warning alarm that I should not have rationalized away. But I did. Tough stuff. But, please, please be gentle with yourself.

With deep solidarity,
dnell


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:29 pm 
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Thank you dnell. It's good to know that I'm not alone out here. I guess I've just broken. I can't do this any more.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:49 pm 
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Hi sp2007-

I'm going to post a link to an article that was validating for me, and helped me feel understood. While the article uses psychological terms related to personality disorders, it is the gist of the piece that I hope may give you some support and help you be kind to yourself:

"Why do we stay? Dismantling stereotypes about abuse survivors."
https://selfcarehaven.wordpress.com/201 ... survivors/

Quote:
I thought about blocking him last night. I tried to write an email to tell him what I'm thinking (because I think that's the right thing to do after EIGHT years together?). I know that if I try to talk to him about any of this, he will just turn it all around and make me feel like I've done something wrong, like somehow my ideas about boundaries are flawed or my expectations for the relationship after all this time are unrealistic.


The article addresses this better than I can, but in short, it can be much harder to leave an unhealthy or abusive relationship than a healthy one, due in good part to what you describe in your quote above. It's rarely a "clean" break, one with healthily expressed emotions and mutual kindness. Instead, we are dismantled even as we leave. We often leave feeling invalidated and misunderstood.

I struggle with how to leave. My Decision to leave has been mostly made, but knowing how he is likely to be in a conversation is overwhelming, and so I am possibly considering leaving town and leaving him a note, to protect myself emotionally.

I can see why you feel leaving him a note feels like it's the best thing to do and honors your values. But you also have awareness you will likely not be "heard" or understood.

With that awareness, and knowing he is likely to undermine your values and boundaries, and knowing you cannot control him, what can you do for you that honors you?

As dnell insightfully noted, you may need more time. I know I do. That even though Im changing and stronger, I need more time to find the right choices for me in the context of everything. And this is frustrating, but in some moments I accept that and am at peace with my needing more time.

Sometimes we don't get clarity right away, even if we so desperately want it for ourselves. It may be that time will give you more detachment, and in turn, you will find the right choice for you in communicating with him. Even now, as you refrain from communication directly, you are making a choice and boundary, and that is ok.

Meep


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm
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I am embarrassed, but I have to admit something. I went back to the website today where I found his hotel booking and created a fake booking. I realized that the default for hotels is 2 adults. So there is a chance that I was wrong about what he was doing. He may in fact have been truthful with me.

I know this doesn't change anything -- he has definitively lied, deceived me, and not treated me well. But maybe it shows me why I need to end it. It illustrates just how deeply what he did affected me. I can no longer think straight where he is concerned. It also shows how little I trust him. It's sad really -- he ruined everything. His behavior has made it impossible for me to ever know the truth.

I hate what this has done to me. I really do.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
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Hi sp2007,

While I think it's ok to feel embarrassed, I want you to know you don't have to. When a person has been psychologically derailed as many of us have, it is a completely human response to begin questioning one's reality from many directions.

The simple fact is, your partner's past behavior and current lack of recovery work laid the groundwork for you to be suspicious.

What you noted is excellent awareness: you see now just how much it affects your own capacity to feel secure in the relationship, and from that awareness you can make choices that protect you first.

Your parner is not choosing recovery, and so the continued affect on your life, as long as he remains a part of it, is clear to you. I want to emphatically state that even though we can learn detachment and boundaries, we should not feel bad or "wrong" if our partner's behaviors still affect us. Meaning, you are not a robot, and that his choices impact your life is to be expected!

Even if he was being truthful about the hotel booking, there is a strong likelihood of deception--even if not sexually related--going on with him, as long as he is not choosing recovery and addressing his behaviors. Deception to you, and also to himself. This is the nature of this addiction.

Now that you see the ongoing affects to you, it may help you further make choices that protect your mental health. You are worth self kindness, sp2007. And you are not alone.

Meep


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm
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Meep, thank you for that link and for your words.

I agree completely that it is very hard to leave this sort of relationship, even when you really want to. I know that no matter what I say or do, he will twist it and I will end up feeling badly. He's very good at pity plays. I know that is why so many people say to simply go no contact.

I really don't feel right about that though, so I need to find another way. I keep coming back to the idea that I need to be strategic in my approach, and that I have to be 100% sure that there is no hope left in my heart, because that is the piece that will keep me stuck.

The fact is that this man is just not capable of meeting any of my needs and continuing to expect that he will is emotional suicide. I need to keep my focus there and on the fact that what I need is completely reasonable.

It's not just the sexual acting out...it's everything.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:00 am 
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Quote:
It's not just the sexual acting out...it's everything.


That's the best summary of our situation I have ever seen.

I read a book by Lofgren (The Storm of Sex Addiction) and she says several times: sex addicts are incapable of intimate relationships with another human being. That kind of sums it up. She goes into why it arises from trauma. To cope with their emotions, which we learned here on RN, they escape into the mind numbing euphoria of their addiction. And the addiction is fueled by shame which increases isolation which increases shame and on and on. Add in playing the victim, blaming, anger and rage, resentments, dishonesty.... It all makes sense in a horribly destructive way.

She says sex addiction is a severe intimacy order but then she talks about us, the partners. She mentions the trauma to us. But I am looking hard at myself. I don't believe I am co-dependent, but I do wonder if I am trauma bonded. Ugh. Talk about something awful. I think I do suffer from trauma bonding with my husband. I have really become so fully aware of how deeply abusive he was to me. I do see it comes from his woundedness, but that doesn't absolve him of the responsibility for his abuse. But it is so incredibly painful for me to realize I PUT UP WITH THIS. It became, I don't know, normal. I think just coping with getting through each day with him kind of numbed me to the big picture. That's a very hard reality for me to accept, but I have to accept it. I also realize I was shocked by some of his words and actions, and this was before I knew about the addictions, and I kind of went into this weird denial, as in "this can't be happening to me".

So I know about hope. Hope kept me going for way, way, way too long. If my husband had been working on recovery or had even a shred of integrity, that hope would have not been so misplaced. My situation was complicated by my marriage counselor who betrayed me as well by telling me these fairy tales about how "beautiful and perfect" our "partnership" was and how we were "made for each other." Yeah, probably, but in a destructive, unhealthy way. Those messages, which never seemed real to me, made me question my truth. And my husband was a master at making me question my truth. So here I am not trusting myself, coping, being in denial, why wouldn't I find solace in hope.

I have worked hard in therapy this last year and a half to take that hope and focus it on me. Not on my husband. Not on my marriage. On me. My husband is working on recovery and working hard on figuring out his underlying trauma. He's making progress. He's got a long, long way to go to become a healthy, mature man. But, he will have to earn my hope. Right now, I just think: "I don't know if he will get healthy. I don't know if we'll stay together." I think this is reality. My challenge is not to let myself become hopeless about me. About my future. About my ability to create meaningful and healthy relationships.

I want you and all the partners to feel my hope for me, for you, and for all of us. For the addicts in our lives, I hand them over to themselves and wish them well. I respect their courage in recovering. I have compassion for their wounds. But hope.... My husband can have back some, but not all, of my hope and optimism if he earns it by recovering, becoming healthy, becoming mature, learning to connect to me in an authentic way, to learn to give and not be so self absorbed. Until then, I have learned that
"hoping" for him is harmful to me.

dnell


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:36 pm
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So many good insights on this thread.

sp2007 wrote:
I know that is why so many people say to simply go no contact.

I really don't feel right about that though, so I need to find another way. I keep coming back to the idea that I need to be strategic in my approach, and that I have to be 100% sure that there is no hope left in my heart, because that is the piece that will keep me stuck.


This really jumped out because it can really keep us feeling trapped. I think maybe not knowingly, this hope is why so many people with addictions try to appease their partners with a little recovery work, a little revealing, a little truth. Because we do want to have hope and those things make me wonder if maybe this time it's real. After all, this is a person we love and are committed to and that hoping for the best is a natural and healthy thing to feel in a healthy relationship. But a healthy relationship takes 2 healthy individuals and if one has an addiction, that kind of healthy connection can't happen until they are healthy.

The reality I've come to is there is always hope he will recover, and I genuinely told him awhile back I hope he does get healthy. The other reality I've come to is until he is actually healthier, his actions will continue to hurt and damage me. I talked to a sex addiction counselor awhile back and told him how my ex-husband has so much potential. He agreed with me but then said that I will continue to get hurt if it's just potential I'm staying connected to him. That my ex-husband needs to be the one who comes with a willingness and actions to do whatever it takes to keep me in his life, not the other way around.

It's taken me a long time to really detach from him and I can still get looped in with hope. I can see myself sometimes reacting to his declarations of wanting to get healthy and it's interesting. Sometimes it's takes me awhile to see once again I've been sucked in. For example, recently he told me the problem is/was I was impatient and may never forgive him. Took me one day of mulling that over to realize and say to him....no, his lack of health or recovery is a matter of his lack of actions towards those things not a matter of my impatience of unforgiveness.

It can be hard to untangle ourselves but little by little we can do it. Working through the workshop helped me a lot.

Wishing you well.

_________________

"What day is it,?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
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CoachAutumn wrote:
This really jumped out because it can really keep us feeling trapped. I think maybe not knowingly, this hope is why so many people with addictions try to appease their partners with a little recovery work, a little revealing, a little truth. Because we do want to have hope and those things make me wonder if maybe this time it's real. After all, this is a person we love and are committed to and that hoping for the best is a natural and healthy thing to feel in a healthy relationship. But a healthy relationship takes 2 healthy individuals and if one has an addiction, that kind of healthy connection can't happen until they are healthy.


Thank you for your additional insights CoachAutumn and dnell.

I admit to feeling very trapped right now. It is the dread surrounding the conversation with my husband regarding my decision to leave, and any subsequent words and actions of his that follow.

While I can take steps to protect myself legally, etc, I run into what sp2007 cited: the least painful, and least damaging way -- emotionally -- for me to leave is to leave, without a conversation, and perhaps with a note. This is in me knowing me, in knowing how the dynamics affect me, regardless of how much work and counseling I do. The distortd ways in which he speaks, or begging, pleading, etc all affect me to the point I lack trust in myself to follow through with my decision if I choose to talk with him about it.

Yet, like sp2007, the idea of leaving and going no contact just doesn't settle well with me, and maybe this is because I still want to believe that in a split, my husband can suddenly behave like a healthy person, and together we can separate with kindness and respect. But my "hope" and values doesnt line up with my reality. Thus, we return to CoachAutumn's statement on feeling trapped, to the point where I wish my husband would choose an action, such as looking for real life hook ups, to help me let go of any hope or need to speak with him.

I wish us all continued peace as we navigate all that is tangled.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:28 pm 
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meepmeep, my heart goes out to you.

I sought legal advice about my situation and found out that like therapists, finding good lawyers is a must. And I did find good ones. Here's the first thing they told me:

You have to protect yourself.

Every move I made, they wanted me to think about self protection. Now that was advice I was getting everywhere.

Here's the second thing they told me:

You can't trust your husband.

When I talked about post-nuptial agreements, contracts for living together, something structured....they very kindly told me that in a contract, the parties have to both fully disclose and abide by the contract agreements. And, as they kindly told me, my husband entered a legal, emotional and spiritual contract when he married me and he did not fully disclose nor did he abide by the agreements. They advised me to be careful and to put myself first, always. They weren't concerned about my being fair, they were concerned about my husband being unfair. And that's the point Coach Autumn made. It's not about us proving something anymore. Absent significant and meaningful change in our partners, they simply cannot be trusted. So, in making the decision to stay, leave, wait it out, or whatever decision we make, we must do as Jon says: we must put our best interests first.

My husband didn't give a fig about my feelings or my well being for decades. He was totally self-absorbed and lost in his addictions. Nothing I did over the course of our marriage could be compared to his abuse. Now there's a truth my recovering husband still can't accept or acknowledge.

At this point I don't know what will happen in his future, or my future with him. I do know that every decision I make has to put me first. What a change. What a relief. It doesn't mean the decisions are easy, it's just there's a whole heck of a lot of stuff I don't worry about anymore.

In solidarity,
dnell


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