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 Post subject: Not sure..
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 7:43 pm
Posts: 16
I've started and deleted this post about a thousand times trying to figure out what to say. Mostly I am at the point where I feel detached to the point of being pathological in its own right. Every time he hugs me, gives me a kiss hello or touches me I am...numb. The only exception to my numbness is when he starts talking about how he isn't interested in sex at all and that it doesn't control him anymore. I think this pisses me off and saddens me because 1) we are still less than a year out from d-day where I found out that it wasn't just porn, but prostitutes, strippers, etc and 2) deep down I suspect that he really thinks that anorexic level abstinence is the end goal. He only goes to group, never individual therapy, and even though I have told him that I'm not interested in the details of his group meetings, he has admitted that pretty much all he does there is give status updates.
I guess I'm not sure where I'm at. On the one hand, I feel so detached from his recovery that I don't give a shit what he does. I've told him that if he wants the blockers off his phone and computer, then all he has to do is say the word because I'm not his mother, I'm his wife and he can make his own decisions about how to handle his recovery. If he wants to stop going to group or if keeps deciding that he doesn't want to add individual therapy to supplement group therapy, that is his deal, not mine.

ALso, I don't look at our phone bill but once in a blue moon because it makes me crazy. I also don't meticulously track his spending, mostly because he is neurotically paying down debt...which is great in some ways, I suppose, but my gut tells me that he is just refocusing his addiction like he has done a half dozen times before; rather, that he is choosing a new addiction that is impossible to argue about because it improves our financial status to supplant the inappropriate one. I am paranoid for thinking that this is just another way to avoid actually doing the hard work of recovery? Thoughts? Are these the red flags that I think they are or are they really attempts at getting better?

And for that matter, is there such a thing as overly detached? Put another way, am I engaging in my own pathological avoidance or am I on the right track?


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 Post subject: Re: Not sure..
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 659
ladyhawke - I'm right there with you on detachment. But you also asked about red flags. And I would say less than a year out, in my case, my husband was still not sure he was an addict. My husband was just doing half-assed recovery work at this point. I would completely trust your gut on whether or not your husband is sincere.

I would be concerned as well if the recovery work my husband was doing was just going to 12-step a giving a status report. I can't remember if your husband completed the recovery workshop. Are you seeing any signs of maturity and health? Anorexia is clearly not healthy sexuality. My husband is in active recovery and a year and half out, he goes to individual therapy, marriage counseling, 12-step, group therapy and a men's group. He needs all of this. Even with all of this, recovery, and more importantly, health, takes time. I see some improvements, but my husband has a far way to go to become a mature and healthy man. If you aren't seeing improvements in your husband's behavior, then I would trust your gut and assume he does not have enough recovery resources.

As far as your detachment is concerned, I've reached that point as well. Took me longer. It's great on some levels to just not be involved in their crap. It's weird, since it's lonely (but I was lonely before). It's different, but better. But, given what I now know was really going on with my husband all these years it makes me sad to be in such a f'ed up relationship that gives me so little. I feel that acutely. On the other hand, I'm working in therapy on me and that is great. So, pathological? No.

I do see what Jon says is right for us: our big decision is IF our partners recover IF they get healthy, will we want to reconnect? Will there be enough there for us? At that time, and I'm not near it, I may have become so detached I have no desire to reconnect. But I don't see that as a problem for me. Detachment also makes me realize monitoring my husband's health is so much easier. I am more aware of my bottom line boundaries and more prepared to leave if he violates them.

I trust your gut. I trust you.

With compassion,
dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Not sure..
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 7:43 pm
Posts: 16
Thank you for the reply and sorry for how scatterbrained my post was. There is SO much bouncing around in my head that I can't seem to settle on what is bothering me the most, ya know?

Anyway, he has not done the workshop, no. He doesn't seem to think there is any value in it but he doesn't want to spend money for individual therapy or marriage counseling either.

Moreover, right after I finished writing my post (which he read a little bit of over my shoulder) we got in a fight about it and I mentioned that I wouldn't be joining him at the super bowl party because I didn't want to go AND because he probably needs time to reconnect with his friends so that I am not the sole source of his happiness(because I can't and won't be)...and he said that he is going to this super bowl party because that's what his therapist and "your stupid blog" says he should be doing, not because he actually wants to go either. He also hinted at his lack of identity by saying that he "wasn't going to a super bowl party, a hollowed out version" of himself was. He then berated my longstanding social anxiety, saying that he "caught it" from me because now he is anxious all the time. I replied that he has probably always been anxious but that he dealt with his anxiety via his addiction. His [i]very[/i] telling rebuttal was that "at least back then he had the cure for his anxiety." Yes, he actually called his addiction the cure for what ailed him, which makes it clear to me that he is pining for his old life enough that it probably won't be long before he relapses. If I am honest, this comment derailed my detachment quite a bit because now there is a very clear and present danger to my emotional well being. There is no longer any speculation about where he is in his head. Frankly, it is really hard to maintain detachment when I can see the train of eventual betrayal hurtling toward me and I dont' know if I can get off the tracks or out of the relationship in time.

ANother complicating factor is that I think he sincerely believes he has vanquished the addiction. He keeps saying that he doesn't even remotely desire sex so it doesn't control him anymore (ergo, he is healed, I guess?). But I've been down this road with him before when he gave up porn for a year and the backlash of that little foray into "abstinence" was sleeping with prostitutes.


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 Post subject: Re: Not sure..
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 7:43 pm
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I posted too soon..to answer your other question, no I don't see much in the way of maturity or health beyond him wanting to get out of debt and exercising some self control over his spending (too much control, I'd think, if individual therapy is an expense not worth incurring). I do frequently hear him complain about how being an adult is boring and how there is no passion in our life (granted, I don't disagree with this...but I'm also not going to feed his need for an emotional high by inserting passion I don't feel into our marriage..I was codependent once and I'll be damned if I go back).
I don't know how to impress upon him that its not just the absence of bad behaviors that I need to see, but the adoption of good ones (ones that don't smack of addictions themselves, regardless of how beneficial they may be, such as individual therapy) I don't want to lay an ultimatum about individual therapy being a condition of staying together because it feels too much like taking responsibility for his recovery, but at the same time,I don't want to leave it unspoken either. Any recommendations about how to broach this? Like the super bowl party, I expect that merely mentioning that I need him to have support in his life other than me might make him comply...but if it is under duress or if he is just doing it because its what I want, is it really recovery? And will it muddy the waters as far as determining sincerity is concerned?


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 Post subject: Re: Not sure..
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 659
Ah, ladyhawke, I'm so sorry. Lots of addict behavior here. They sure can blame. They sure take no personal responsibility. Talk about immaturity. Now you know all of this is a stinking pile of BS.

But, I feel for you. I know what it is like to feel that oncoming relapse and return to addiction.

It's so sad, and tragic, and hard. I send you my virtual embrace.

dnell


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 Post subject: Re: Not sure..
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:20 am
Posts: 131
Ahhhh,detachment.....elusive, isn't it??? Sometimes, I feel like I am over-detached, as well! My husband has been frustrated with my detachment and continually repeats, "I don't understand why you haven't seen any change in me over this 1 1/2 years! I'm not as healthy as I'm going to be, but I'm healthier than I used to be". IMO he still is looking to me for praise/approval and that his abstinence translates to 'change'! It seems as if it's not being acknowledged by me, then is it worth doing?!?! And, yes, I think we are BOTH waiting for him to have a relapse......and my clearly stated boundaries do dictate a major shift in our life, if that were to happen. But, what if I dont know about it? I do wonder if he is healthy enough to be able to disclose a relapse so then..........
This winter we spent 6 weeks in a beach town and at some point I did think to myself, "in what alternate universe did I think THIS was a good idea???"!!! We even had a nudist resort a 1/2 mile down the beach which I suggested we walk past to just get it over with, but his reply was "I cannot go there" even though I know he had already been past it. I know he struggled a lot with triggers and lusting, but was unable to share anything honestly with me about it so I really have no clue how he got himself through it. We had a few conversations initiated by me but when I could see he was filtering everything he said, I just withdrew with a "let go, and let god take care of him".....

_________________
It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


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 Post subject: Re: Not sure..
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
hi ladyhawke,

one of the things we learn in the workshop is many--if not most--of thsoe who go into recovery do so at the behest of a partner, under duress, or in a knee-jerk response to a crisis. A very significant number of them enter recovery/healing/a program/whatever withOUT the long view in mind. you can read more about this here:

http://recoverynation.com/partners/part ... op_001.php

specifically:
Quote:
Bluntly, the single greatest effect they can have on their partner's recovery (early on) is through threat. The threat of divorce. The threat of ending the relationship. But the motivation based on such fear is short-lived and it is not processed by the person in recovery as one might think. It does not serve as a 'wake up call', so to speak. Instead, it presents as an immediate crisis to manage and with that, instantly, the fear of losing such an important role (the role that you play) in their life serves as their impetus for action (note the selfishness in this sentence). But what action does it lead to? Is it to 'end their addiction above all else'? Or is it to 'end their addiction in hopes of saving the marriage'? Exactly, the latter. This is a very, very painful reality for partner's to learn that may seem fairly innocuous at first, until you examine the implications of placing 'saving the marriage (or relationship)' first: with ongoing deception at the top of that list.


that you need to see your partner beginning (and later, continuing) a recovery program in order for you to have any faith to say is, basically, a boundary on your part. And it's one you have every right to uphold.

In terms of how to communicate it to him, you know your husband best. What works for one person may not work well for another. We partners have to dance this difficult step where we find the balance between honoring ourselves and also getting through to a partner, and often the latter is an astronomical feat. Many of us take it as a personal failure that we cannot get through to them, until the day we conclude it truly isn't us, it's them.

There are no magical words that will make your husband change or enter recovery. There is nothing (and I know, I know, this is so painful to accept) you can say that will ultimately impact the choices he makes.

So what you are left with is saying what you need to say...for YOU. For what honors you. For what is your truth, and your truth may be something you choose to speak with decorum or whatever way seems best to you.

In my own personal experience: the way I shared with my husband, that honored ME, that recovery could save our marriage--did NOT work. Yet to this day, it's not in alignment for me to be emphatic or extremely direct about what I want him to do. At some point I realized I had clearly communicated my expectations. That he did not hear, did not comprehend, did not choose to change, is not on me. And it's not on you, either.


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 Post subject: Re: Not sure..
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:21 am 
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 7:43 pm
Posts: 16
Thank you, all, for your replies. There are no group resources in my town for the spouses of sex addicts so this and other online forums are the only place I can get feedback from people who are in the same awful boat.


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 Post subject: Re: Not sure..
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:13 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 659
Ladyhawke, I found for me the best resource was a therapist who had expertise in treating trauma. That has helped me so much. If you can't find a good one, someone who knows EMDR (eye movement desensitization). It sounds wacky, but it is very effective at treating trauma. Or, someone who does body/energy work around trauma. In the meantime, meditation helps. Massage helps. Please focus on you.

With compassion,
dnell


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