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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:50 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Hi CoachMel, I really appreciate your long and thoughtful response to my latest entry. The points have given me much food for thought, although I realize that some things I said made it seem like my H is just
is coasting on a wave of old, familiar, automatic behaviours
I think that might have been true specifically about the gawking, which he only seemed to start when he stopped the P. And since I have pointed it out, he seems much more mindful about it. But beyond that, I think his attitude is changing a lot, and I don't think I characterized him very well if I gave the impression he is only fumbling around.

You said,
Given your partner isn’t following any kind of path, his process will surely take longer, as he fumbles through on his own
. In fact, I don't know what he's doing but he seems to be making a lot of serious progress lately, particularly the last month.

When he bought those erection-enhancing drugs at the sex shop, I know that he was really trying to relate to me, but at teh time his choices were misguided. You said:
The reason he lied could be anything, but the fact that he lied is an issue. It indicates that he is trying to control his environment/manipulate, so that things “appear” a certain way. It is very good that you addressed your concerns with him.
and yes, that discussion prompted some very good insight, I think, in him.

That night when he bought the pills, he told me he didn't tell me he had gone to the sex shop because he wanted the exchange between us to feel as spontaneous as possible, and that he fully intended to tell me about it later. When I asked him about when he did actually get the pills, he stopped to think. So I told him that I hope he will get away from "buying time" by hesitating so that he can make up an answer. I said that if he is really committed to recovery, he has to tell the truth. Unembellished. No more making up answers as he had become accustomed to for years. Since then, I have seen what feels like a real transparency and in fact, a real openness. He starts dialogues now, which before he might have resisted.

That night also gave me the chance to say that if he really wants to take circulation-enhancing pills, he can get a much better deal at the drugstore's health supplement section. So he went to get some stuff at the drugstore. And more importantly, he is really watching his diet, almost completely avoiding alcohol, keeping his diabetes under control, and even going for walks on a very regular basis. In other words, he is focusing on LONG-TERM health goals now, rather than trying to be sexual for just one night. He is mostly resting and sleeping these days, which he is finally able to do now that his nerve pain has subsided enough that he is actually able to sleep (for months now, his sleep has been very erratic, but since December 2012 he is now getting some real quality sleep).

And yes, I was focusing on him and his attraction to me probably too much. But I do want to clarify something. By flipping the "attraction switch" I meant I am doing things that make him feel emotionally attracted to me. In other words, finding ways to talk about things that are fun, meaningful, and so on. Maybe I didn't make that very clear. I don't think I have been feeding his addiction if that is what I made it sound like.

It seems that in fact, he really is physically attracted to me without me having to try to entice him or do anything. That feels good. Especially since I don't feel very attractive physically these days. But that is something I am working on inside myself. I lost 5 lbs in the last 6 months. I eat pretty well, I walk a lot, and so on. I think that this feeling unattractive is in my head. I have just joined a recovery group in my neighborhood, so hopefully that will help too.

And lately I have been making myself the primary focus, and doing a lot of good things, such as tackling some parts of my housecleaning and sorting that I was neglecting for years. Feels good. thanks CoachMel for the feedback. :g:

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:50 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Exercise Thirteen

A. One of the first steps on the road to healing is to take inventory of all the ways that your partner's compulsive behavior has affected you. Begin listing these consequences and post them in your Healing Thread..

Given the complex nature of addiction, especially as it relates to family and relationships, this process should take several hours, rather than several minutes. It will be important for you to consider the affects to your physical, emotional, social, spiritual, economic, interpersonal, potential selves--as well as any other area that you feel is relevant. There are no right or wrong answers, only ways that you believe this behavior may have impacted your life.

Consequences and their ratings in parentheses:

family: my H's confusing and rejecting pre-dday behavior towards me was upsetting and devastating to me, so I turned to my son for advice and as a sounding board. He resented this a lot, and I think it damaged our relationship a lot. He rarely wants to see me anymore, even for birthdays and holidays, and even though I don't dump my problems on him anymore, it's probably had a lasting or maybe permanent impact on our relationship. I am only guessing, and I don't know if my son has consciously decided to reject me because of this. But he did complain to me a lot during those years when I treated my son as a quasi-counselor that it made him not enjoy being with me. Also it is now embarassing that my son and his wife tend to relate to my H with very aloof civility at best. Even at Christmastime, they had us over and served tea and nothing else. They seemed quite happy to end the evening and get rid of us. This hurt me a lot, and my son has not even returned a call I made inviting him to go to a favorite restaurant with me. In fairness, it is possible that my son might be wanting a distant relationship with me for other reasons, but I am sure that the chain of reactions as described above had an impact in some way. And now, I don't dare ever turn to my son with problems or support of any emotional nature. I feel like I can't let my hair down with him. My son is the only family member (other than my H) that I have any real relationship with, except for a few relatives in another area of the country that I only have the most superficial exchange with. But it seems that my son is no longer very concerned about my happiness and a lot of the time, he does not seem interested in contributing to my happiness, except in what seems to be an obligatory way because I'm his mother (although this is just projection, because there could be other factors I don't know about, and he does have a very demanding job, and his wife discourages him from relating to me as a way to cope emotionally with her parents' rejection of him due to their interracial marriage). But since my son's time with me is very limited regardless of the reason, it is quite painful to have no relationships with any family except my H -- he is now virtually my only "family". And I do think that that me expressing my unhappiness about my h to my son was at least partly a factor in his resistance to spending much time with me. My son did have a good insight though: he said that things would only change once I changed how I related to him. Which was true, and when I put that advice into action, things did start changing for the better between my h and me.

relationships: Pre-dday I used to tell friends what a great relationship I had with my H. But since dday, I realize it was all a sham. And I don't want to ruin his reputation so I have not confided in a single friend about the true nature of my problems and pain. I can't talk about what really matters to me, not to any of my friends, as I don't want to take the likely chance that they might feel differently about him or me or both, or even reject us. So all my "relationships" with friends are superficial and will have to be that way for as long as I am with my H -- unless I do something unorthodox like finding friends who don't know my H and never will meet him -- which is quite unrealistic and unlikely. So with my H in my life all my friendships will have to be limited, which is something I feel sad and resentful about. And sometimes I worry that his primary motive to stay with me is not that he really desires a full, permanent and committed relationship with me, but because he worries that I will blow the whistle and reveal all his horrible details if we split up. So maybe the primary reason he keeps me in his life is to keep me quiet.

physical: the emotional distance created by the p and especially the AO with actual outside sexual outlets took a big toll on his desire for sex with me. And the emotional distance that he deliberately created so that he could AO with the P or the hookers resulted in a bad vibe between us not conducive to having much sex most of the time. Also, the drinking he did to emotionally handle what he was doing, sapped him of his strength and energy which contributed to his lack of physical energy to do much of anything, whether going swimming or having sex or anything. As a result of not much fulfillment, I tended to overeat and oversleep and my health deteriorated.

emotional: for years was very distraught at the lack of closeness and connection. I tended to engage in my own fantasies and had a short-lived LA, although I do not think the person I had in mind realized it, as we never got directly involved.

social: I was tired of going to parties without my H, who was usually too hungover from his p and AO to do much with me. So I went to social events anyway, but I was not happy having to go to the events on my own as if I were single. And this also resulted in men wanting to dance with me and talk to me, when I wasn't really interested in their attention, so that was an annoyance that I wouldn't have had to deal with as likely if my h were there. I was depressed and did not enjoy social events like I used to, and I even tended not to go swimming as much, as people would be inclined to ask me about where my h was, and always having to be reminded that he didn't want to spend much time with me was depressing.

spiritual: my spiritual experience was not affected quite so much, although it was affected too, in that anything I did was affected since i was depressed, and I was less inclined to read anything, including self-help books. There was a particular book my h bought me for my birthday, during his AO period, and he was very angry at me for not reading it. He used to use spiritual or intellectual books to bolster his views that life was meaningless or that suffering was inevitable, so I actually resisted reading those sorts of books which he would likely have used to strengthen his arguments against the viability of relationships. These efforts on his part to try to convince me to be cynical were depressing and discouraging.

economic: the money he spent on all the P and AO could have been spent to buy musical equipment and advance our career and my income.

interpersonal: there was an aloofness between us, and he often found ways to discourage me from being around him. He often avoided me, wouldn't phone me, avoided calls, and basically created distance and I felt very alone and uncared for much of the time. He always wanted to argue it seems, he refused to resolve outstanding issues (like defending me to his mother), and he was manipulative with me when I questioned him about what he was doing in my absence, making me doubt my intuition.

potential selves: we missed out on so much fun we could have been having together, career advancement, and having fun with friends and doing fun activities together that all were forsaken when he was spending most of his time using p and AO.

other: this list is pretty exhaustive so I can hardly think of much other impact, except that I guess the p and ao and the guilt of keeping it all secret made him afraid of relating to me, the longer he went without trying to open up. So even times like vacations, when couples often reconnect, were times that we did fun things together, but the emotional distance was always apparent to me, and I feel real remorse that he didn't want to do things with me that would have drawn me closer, such as looking at the stars together.

B. Rate the affect of each consequence from a 1-10. "1" will represent the most significant consequence that your partner's addiction has had on your life. Do not worry about which consequence might be a "6" and which might be a "7"; or which is "1" and which is "2"--what is important is to gain a general idea of the impact (or potential impact) they have had on your life.

(8) family
(2) relationships
(1) physical
(1) emotional
(6) social
(6) spiritual
(5) economic
(1) interpersonal
(1) potential selves
(5) other

Last edited by Healthlove on Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:38 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Doing lesson Thirteen has been extraordinarily hard for me. It has reminded me of even more impacts that my H's behavior has had on my life -- things which I would have included in my "letter" had I been reminded of them before composing the letter. I wonder why that list of impacts was not discussed in an earlier lesson so that I could have easily included those points in the "letter". meanwhile, regardless of where in the process those points are addressed, I realize how extremely sad, depressed, and angry I am about those losses. The relationships I have with my son and friends are now very superficial and that is very upsetting for me.

It also makes me feel that the only way my H can put it right is by becoming a superman: someone who is amazing on many levels to make it up to me. Which of course is impossible -- and given his weaknesses highly unlikely. I have a hard time imagining him realistically doing all the things that I think it might take to convince me he is really committed, reliable, trustworthy, enthusiastic, attracted, devoted, energetic about relating to me sexually, pampering me, doing the dishes, helping fix things around the house, chauferring me around, taking me out to dinner and dancing, and paying for the evening, taking me on vacation and paying for it all, helping me with my bills, and making a formal commitment to me, ie getting married. In other words, becoming a completely different guy. It's not that he isn't becoming loving and caring.

But he is too sick to work, so he is very cautious with money, he is not a handyman, and so on. And his health limits him in many ways -- the pain keeps him in a very stressed and depressed mood much of the time -- his pain is severe and unremitting and nothing helps very much except for a few hours. At least he doesn't feel pain when he is sleeping and he is thus inclined to sleep many hours every day, off and on all day and night. Yes, he is loving, but he is not a lot of fun to be with these days because of how awful he feels almost all the time.

I do love him and I hate to leave him. But life is very challenging still -- not quite as bad as pre-dday when he really wasn't very loving at all. But now that he wants to be kind to me, he has such a hard time relating to life, to me or to anybody now. And it is very very stressful for me. I need to take a bit of a break tonight before carrying on with the lesson. And I have very pressing problems these days (furnace barely working, and the repairman dealing with another emergency this week, so I am stuck at home, as I need to turn the furnace on every few hours). And I am behind in my work and worried about that too. So this is a really stressful time in my life.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:36 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
I haven't yet finished Lesson Thirteen above. Need a break from it, and wanted to post something about the main thought hangup I still have. Which is:

I've been trying to figure out how to get out of my obsessive and disturbing thought loop, which is still a big obstacle for me to deal with. I read various threads and this one "Need a little support guidance" started by faegan viewtopic.php?f=22&t=20507 which had a contribution that caught my eye and makes sense to me:

CoachMel wrote:
Sometimes we need those immediate distractors, to turn off the images and thoughts that seem to constantly run through our minds (that is, when we are in the disorientation or trauma phases) so that we can effectively get to doing the work that will bring about the healing. Essentially, we could indefinitely create distractors for ourselves until the effects of whatever triggered us wear off... until they come around again (and they will). This option constitute a pattern of denial, a kind of forced abstinence that no more resembles healing than it resembles recovery for persons with addictions. As long as this is how we go about trying to find peace in our lives, we will remain on the emotional roller-coaster that is disorientation, reliving the trauma any time we let our guard down -the thoughts will invariably sneak back in; sometimes with a vengeance (after having been ignored and denied for so long; what you resist persists!)

Now of course, it makes sense LOGICALLY but I still find myself caught EMOTIONALLY. Also people have given me lots of feedback about focusing on my values and all that, which I do, but that feels like resisting the thoughts (the two primary ones are: did he secretly like her or find the sex exciting even though he says he didn't all those years, and secondly: how to I resolve this when I find her to be more alluring than me? which always brings me back to the first question -- ie, if I find her to be captivating, why wouldn't he? and that prompts me to wonder if he is with me even though he is more attracted to her, which then prompts, if that is so, do I really want a man who finds another woman sexier than me?)

When I think about my H with one of the OTHER OW besides the main one he saw, it doesn't bother me nearly as much as the main one because the main one was MY idea of beautiful -- ie she had the face and figure that I guess I wish I could have -- I think that's the problem, combined with how excited my H first was about talking about her. But I even wonder about that perception on my part about how beautiful/sexy she is, and how I would have felt about her if I had never known he'd been seeing her for years. Might that have affected me differently if he had never been actually involved with her? He tells me that since she looked like a certain movie actress from the 1930's, he developed a fascination with that "type" when he was a boy. And if he was indeed raped by the lady down the street when he was 5, apparently that woman looked similar too. So it seems like he had some early imprinting. (And in a way that OW did look something like his own mother, who was very emotionally distant and demanding, and only gave him conditional love when he did what she liked. And since she disapproved of me, she was pretty mean to him for being with me.)

When we were in a store a couple of years ago, we saw a woman who looked a lot like the OW hooker, including what seemed like transgendered or trans-sexual, and my H seemed to be all entralled. So maybe he is just very ingrained to get excited over any woman who falls into that "type" category -- and I am nothing like that type at all -- well maybe I would be a bit like her if I lost about 75 lbs and got implants. I don't know. But regardless, he says that when he is relating for real, in fact he prefers my "type". And he says that he likes my natural breasts. So maybe he is just fascinated with extra tall, strange-looking women but not necessarily sexually attracted to the OW he was seeing for 11 years. But I still wonder if he left her DESPITE being attracted. Or was it just that he was looking for something strange and kinky, as the P he was viewing morphed from girl-next-door to really strange so his involvement with the OW was perhaps nothing more than part of that morphing into strangeness. I don't know.

The problem with ALL OF THIS THOUGHT PROCESS AND THE QUESTIONS AND DOUBTS I HAVE is that comparing myself to the main OW doesn't really fit my values -- I know I shouldn't compare myself to someone else. I know I should focus on myself. And besides, my H has reassured me upteen times over the last 3 1/2 years that he absolutely does not want to be involved with any OW anyway -- including the main OW hooker. He says he wants ME.

He stopped seeing her BEFORE dday because, as he says, he WASN'T ATTRACTED TO HER AND DIDN'T WANT TO LIVE THAT WAY ANY MORE. He tells me that even if I were to leave him, he still wouldn't go back to her. He was ONLY attracted to her clothes, hair and makeup, which of course, anyone could replicate. So I realize that this hangup is in MY mind, not because of anything he is doing NOW to cause me to doubt his interest in me.

I look back and think that the excitement he demonstrated at the beginning of his being real with me (ie the days and weeks after dday) was probably remnant obsessive feelings on his part. And of course, he associated HER with orgasms and that brain endorphin state that he had developed with the ingrained P, M, and AO. I realize all this.

And yet I still have those trigger thoughts, and the doubts, and I wonder if I should set him free and see if he really does come back to me. I would not want to make a total commitment just to have him drop me because he finally meets another W who looks like the OW -- when maybe he does find her attractive subjectively and just WISHES he didn't, because she doesn't fit his objective and logical notions of attractiveness. I have tried to talk with him about this, and he always reassures me that he is not genuinely attracted to her, and that he is attracted to me. And he really hates when I bring her up, so lately I have been trying not to, and mostly succeeding.

I have been trying to do something new to deal with that intrusive thought: whenever I imagine my H involved sexually with the main OW, I now imagine the pain he experienced that went along with it: the dissociation, the lack of self-esteem that went along with the experience, the guilt he felt afterward. I try to imagine the unhappy emotional state that he experienced. Then I imagine him kissing me, and how tenderly he has been relating to me lately, full of love, in the moment, authentic. Yes, he is still too sick to be actively sexual, but he occasionally gives me a wholehearted, spontaneous hug or kiss, and that counts too. In fact, those demonstrations of affection count big time. And he often takes the opportunity to tell me how attractive I am to him -- yesterday he was reviewing a video of the last stage show we had, and he said he thought I looked so cool and everything. That made me feel good, and made me feel reassured about his sincerity that he does find me attractive.


PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:45 am 
Partner's Coach

Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:19 pm
Posts: 452
Good morning Healthlove –
In regards to your post above, I’d like to suggest a couple of books that not only helped me heal, but really transformed my life (if you haven’t read them already).

Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins (I actually checked this out as a book on tape from my local library and then downloaded it onto my Ipod)

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh

Here is the link to the RN book section, which has a review of “The Road Less Traveled” by Coach Mel and “The Art of Power” by me and a few other partners (including Coach Boundless).

If you decide to purchase any of these, remember to use the Amazon link (below), so that RN is awarded credit for the sale of the book :g:

When it came to triggers and getting those “pictures” out of my head, Awaken the Giant Within is what helped me. Some time ago, I had a situation where my daughter and I were driving to a vacation destination and we had to drive through the town where my ex-sabf and his new gf lived. I thought, “I’ll be fine”, but when the time came and as I was getting closer and closer my anxiety continued to build to the point where I was stopped by a highway patrolman because I was speeding! After continuing on, I could not get the image of he and this new gf out of my head. Fortunately, I’d brought Anthony Robbins’s cd along and I popped it into the cd player (much to my daughter’s dismay!). I listened to that cd for hours and while I was driving I continued to practice many of his techniques. It was a life-saver!

As Coach Mel said in her quote above, getting over the images is the first step, but ultimately not healing.

The other 2 books above (the road less traveled was recommended to me by Coach Mel and it was the 1st one I read) were life-changing, in the sense that they helped me to see how I was the only one in control of my life and that by changing my thoughts, I could certainly change anything else in my life.

Hope this helps -
Coach Sue

"You are the designer of your destiny. You are the author. You write the story. The pen is in your hand, and the outcome is whatever you choose." Lisa Nichols

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:42 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
I thought a lot today about CoachSue's suggestions about self-empowerment, and books to help with that. I also continued thinking about the issues that have been in my mind, and realize that not ALL of it is just obsessive, triggered thinking, but valuable thoughts about where I stand in my H's eyes.

And I have realized that even though much if not all of his "relationship" or LA with the OW hooker was based on his fantasies of love, some of what transpired between them is still relevant to me and I communicated about those things with my h today.

For example, at one point in their liaisons, she noticed him playing music in a public place (he and I are musicians). So she approached him and asked him to give her music lessons in exchange for sex. He agreed to that -- although not without first showing me her business card and asking for my approval, even though I didn't know he had already been involved with her for years at that point as a paying customer. I guess he was hoping to get my agreement on the lessons to absolve his guilt/give himself permission or something, had I said it sounded like a good idea.

But I didn't agree. I took one look at the card and said "She seems like a call girl or something -- I don't think it's a good idea. At the very least, should you decide to go ahead with this, I think I should go to the lessons too, to keep her from trying anything sexual." But he said that wouldn't work, so I said I thought he should just steer clear of her. Then he went ahead with the "lessons" and just lied when I asked if he ever heard from her again.

Later, when he confessed it all on dday, he revealed that the lessons took place too -- and not only did he give her two hours' worth of lessons in exchange for a sexual encounter each time, but that the lessons took place in her bedroom.

I told him in recounting this stuff today, that part of my continued focus on that is the fact that over the years, when I used to ask him for guitar lessons, (and he never liked helping me with technical details) but whenever he would it was always in the living room -- and I said that he behaved more romantically with her than he does with me. He said that music with me is romantic wherever we play it. Okay, I'll grant him that, if that is how he sees it.

But I still said that he acted with her in a way that would set the stage for romantic feelings to take place or simulated romantic feelings -- and that with her, even if the "romance" was contrived and part of a LA, he still acted in a more romantic way with her than he did then or does now with me. I said that i wished he would at least consider checking out RN so that he could get some insights and inspiration into how to get in touch with his real romantic feelings and see what works for others, and see if the ideas offer him anything too, as a lot of RN is about not just abstaining from P and AO but learning ways to build a healthy life.

Later, he disagreed that he doesn't feel romantic towards me, and said it's not true that he isn't romantic. That was nice to hear, since for years he used to tell me he is not romantic at all.

But then again still later that evening, I noticed and then talked about how he doesn't normally kiss me much any more, even a good morning or good night kiss -- and that that tendency to not kiss me seemed to start when he started seeing her. He again insisted that he didn't feel romantic towards her and didn't want to hug her after sex (perhaps doesn't recall how he claimed to want that with her -- when he said so during a drinking episode that I mentioned in an entry above).

Okay, maybe that's true, but I still said that he doesn't seem to feel very romantic towards me these days and that even if he felt nothing for any of the hookers he got involved with, it all seemed to have a negative affect on how he feels towards me.

I told him that it seems that his feelings towards me changed when he was finding a "romantic" (ie pseudo-romantic) outlet elsewhere and someone else to hold and kiss and do romantic things with like playing music in a bedroom, so that he no longer needed me for those things, and that I went along with all of that lack of romantic element for so many years, because I assured myself that even though it wasn't very emotionally fulfilling for me, it was "all he could do" and that "at least he was devoted to me."

He seems to recall it differently and thinks his tendency to not want to be romantic with me is because of what happened POST dday. He said that even though what he did was wrong and he understands how painful it was for me, the fact is that I did treat him really badly after dday -- which is true, I do admit it -- and he said that this was probably a factor. I did also mention that I know he's in pain, and that since we no longer are able to have sex at this point, he doesn't associate me with sexual pleasure and maybe that is a factor too.

But I do strongly feel that there was a subtle, yet real difference in his enthusiasm for me when he started going to others for sex -- (which also, now that I consider it) also accompanied my boundary at the time that he not try to be intimate with me if he was drinking. It was shortly after I set up that no-drinking-sex boundary that he turned to the hookers. But he did change his behavior towards me and kissed me much less -- and was very unenthusiastic sexually. If fact, our sex life became almost non-existent and quite uninspired during the whole era he was cheating.

But regardless of reason for his lack of enthusiasm now, the fact is that he doesn't seem to feel very romantically interested in me these days, except for an occasional fleeting moment. I told him that had I known he was not devoted, that his lack of kissing and excitement with me would not have been tolerable, and that in all probability I would have ended the relationship. So I said that my going along with his lack of affection and romance all those years (through no fault of my own of course, since he led me to believe he was devoted, through his failure to tell me what was really going on) helped train him to feel unemotional towards me. And that since he isn't getting back to feeling much interest, I am concerned about the future of our relationship.

I said I wonder if his running around killed his desire for me, and that I wonder if we should take a break or maybe I should move on. Or if it will just take time for there to be a track record of good experiences between us to re-awaken any feelings for me he might have.

We ended the discussion there, but I continued thinking about it all. I am concerned that maybe he never really wanted me in the first place -- that maybe I was also just a part of his P and LA fantasies. How do I determine that? How do i figure out if his kissing now is just his way to pretend he is romantically interested or if he doesn't want to lose my companionship and just does that to keep me involved? Of course, getting to experience some sexual pleasure together is not necessarily an indicator of commitment and devotion or even love, but at least if we could be having that pleasure together that would likely be part of the reward circuit that being in a relationship can build, if the other elements of a relationship are healthy, and maybe would help him feel inclined to relate to me more enthusiastically.

But the absence of a sexual reward circuit makes this whole situation so difficult for me. And I hate to leave him when he needs my help and we are enjoying each other's companionship on the non-sexual level. And when he is looking after himself now so that perhaps eventually he will be able to be at least a little sexually functional, ie at least be pain-free in the genital area so that he can stand to be touched again.

Without that minimum, he is simply not able to feel sexually inclined in any manner whatsoever, so the only thing we can do at this point is gentle massaging, hugging and kissing. It still is very difficult for me to think that I might have to abandon any hope of a sex life if we do stay together, which might be the fact, although there is a glimmer of hope, and he is feeling slightly less pain than he did a few months ago.

In any case, I am glad that I was able to think things through with all this romance stuff, over and above the sex part of the cheating, and be able to talk about it with him without the conversation deteriorating into a big reactive meltdown. Instead, it was true and honest communication, even though it wasn't easy. But we're making headway I think, in terms of thinking it all through, and trying to get at the truth of the situation.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:40 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
I finally finished Lesson Thirteen. It wasn't so bad now that I did all that other processing in the previous posts between the initial stab at Thirteen and tonight. The lesson hasn't triggered me now like it did when I first started to think about the issues that the lesson raises, now that I have thought about and communicated with my h about the outstanding issues that I needed to address -- and which we have talked about quite thoroughly lately, particularly my need for romance and creating a happy, romantic vibe together -- which is now starting to happen again.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:52 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Exercise Fourteen

In Stage One; Lesson Two of the Partner's Workshop, you were asked to develop a general vision for your life. This vision focused on developing an anchor to health and stability by allowing you to identify and re-attach yourself to those areas of your life that you truly value. Now, you are asked to create a second vision. This one is more of a 'mini-vision', isolated to how you will manage your life over these next few months--through your healing (and your partner's recovery--if applicable).

To assist you in developing this limited, practical vision, here are a few questions to ask/answer. Think about the questions in normal type; answer the questions that are italicized in your healing thread.

*Over the next month, how much time do you intend to spend focused on managing, tracking and/or assessing your partner's addiction/recovery? List the role(s) you intend to play in his recovery. If none, say so. If some (and there are potential healthy roles for you to play), list them.
I think it is beneficial when I have some insights to share them. I trust my own understanding of what has happened, based on the feedback and discussions at RN, so I am confident about sharing those insights. I still do a spot-check occasionally, but very little time or energy do I put into tracking or checking up on him. Usually I just ask him what he did today and see if I sense anything evasive or indicative of something unhealthy. Lately, everything seems to check out, including his scanning behavior which seems almost non-existent now.

*How much time do you intend to spend secretly investigating his actions? If none, how will you manage those times of mistrust and/or doubt? I usually spend no more than 5 minutes a month now. The best way to deal with the doubt and so on seems to be direct communication, and his responses have always put my doubts to rest lately.

*What personal values are you willing to allow your partner to continue damaging over the next month? If none, how will you protect these values?
None. Thinking about my values, boundaries, re-writing if necessary. Communication directly with him what I want and need in our relationship if it is to be fulfilling for me and for me to want to stay.

*Over the next two months, what mistakes are you prepared to tolerate from your partner and why? What mistakes (if any) are intolerable and will serve as the catalyst to end the relationship? Note: think with your head here, not your heart. You are no longer ignorant as to what to expect in recovery and so, define those true 'bottom lines' for you and your relationship.
A small lapse into p could be tolerable if it was during a time he was not prepared to be triggered, ie looking up something online and his favourite p model was featured in a news item or some other unexpected opportunity. And this would be that much more tolerable if he volunteered what he did and how it happened. AO again with any hookers would not be tolerable, as I think this would indicate a continued secret life and a failure to commit to health -- if something like this happened, I would need a greater solid indicator of commitment to recovery, such as a commitment to go to a counselor of his own, or preferably to undertake the RN program.

*How much responsibility do you intend to invest in changing your partner? Versus placing the responsibility for change on them? How do you envision communicating your observations about their motivation/responsibility--both positive and/or negative? For those positive observations, how will you make them seem genuine? For those negative observations, how will you make them seem non-punitive?
Since my h is still quite ill, I do help remind him to take his vitamins and to exercise and remind him to make appointments and help him locate papers and so on. But besides that, i have been leaving everything else up to him. I give him positive feedback about how he is looking better, in a better frame of mind and all that, as I spontaneously observe those things, and I do think he realizes I am sincere. I gently suggest that when he does --- (eg drinks too much caffinated beverages) that his nerve pain worsens, in a matter of fact way.

*Do you intend to motivate change in your partner by threats and/or rewards? Or by simply sharing your needs and allowing your partner to find the motivation to meet those needs? If the latter, how much clarity do you have in determining and communicating your personal needs?The latter. And thinking the details through, and journaling here, provides the clarity and validation I need.

*How do you envision moving beyond two individuals in recovery/healing to becoming a team in overcoming those areas of your relationship that have been damaged? What changes will YOU need to make in your own perspective to regain a sense of teamwork? What changes do you need to see from your partner for this to happen?
I need to generally stop re-envisioning the past and stop bringing the past up with him, as it depresses him and discourages him, and makes him feel like he can't make me happy. I need for him to see that if I ever do bring up any details from the past it is because of a relevance to the present (although I will try to stop framing things I need now in terms of the past, or comparisons between the OW hooker and me). I need for him to hear me and to be compassionate about how he hurt me and empathetic about what I need from him.

*Apart from your partner's addiction, identify the current major obstacles that your relationship faces. For each obstacle, seek out any patterns that will eventually need to be worked through as a team. For instance, communication. We have fallen into a pattern of dysfunctional communication that must change. Here is what I can envision doing to bring about change to these dysfunctional communication rituals:
His short temper. He still has an immature reaction when he is triggered emotionally. My disorganization of the space and things in it. I will need to continue to perservere with cleaning and tidying.

*Should you find yourself struggling to manage your own life (intense emotions, undefended boundaries, deteriorating values, neglected values, etc.) how do you envision getting yourself refocused and back in balance? List this general plan. Go back to the RN lessons and forums. Also, turning to my h, who is becoming a good source of emotional support.

*What signs will you look for in your partner to generate confidence in the sincerity and stability of his/her recovery?
Good living habits, initiative to take on more vitamin therapy or undertake new exercise regimens or hobbies, a return to his interest in writing and music, a reconnection with friends

*What unique signs will you look for in your partner over the next few months to generate warning of imbalance and/or insincerity?
A return to drinking or smoking, a disregard for his diabetes or exercise, a cynical complacency about life, evidence of hiding things like receipts from a p store or evidence of smoking (which he always associated with p and ao).

These are just some of the questions that you will want to consider and prepare yourself for. There are potentially many others. List anything additional that you feel is important in preparing yourself to face this transition in your life/relationship over the next few months.

The only things that now come to mind are:

How much do I want this relationship if he continues to scan?

How important is a sex life to me? How willing am I to stay in a relationship if he continues to only be minimally sexually functional? Am I willing to be in this relationship if it continues to be rewarding in other respects?

I will continue to think about the answers to these.

Last edited by Healthlove on Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:44 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Yes, I did dread valentine's this year. My h has done a lot of soul searching lately and at least realizes that his P and AO addictions came from fear and a desire to escape. That is good that he realizes it. But he is very seriously depressed about it and has not found a way to start feeling positive about himself.

He is not doing the RN program as far as I know, which would probably be an excellent resource and source of support. Yet he seems to need to try to resolve everything on his own and he is in a really bad state of mind these days -- so much so that I am starting to seriously doubt whether we can ever have that pinnacle sort of relationship that bagholder describes in a forum topic about valentine's: "making the most of a loaded holiday": posting.php?mode=reply&f=22&t=21148

Valentine's is a bad trigger time for me anyway. When my H was into his worst phase of his AO, he actually made me leave after we went out for a "romantic" dinner that year, and told me not to return for a few days. Then within hours, he went to see the OW ( the particular hooker he saw enough over the years, that she was just about as if an OW, so I call her the OW hooker). Anyway, that Valentine's day we went to a nice restaurant, but he pleaded financial restrictions, so I had to buy my own dinner.

Then the next day, he unhesitatingly gave her $50 for a few minutes of her time. His name is the same as the hooker's deceased husband and on that day, according to his journal notes he showed me after dday, she even called out in delight (or feigned delight or fantasizing about her own past or her own love addiction or whatever) but she said the words, "my husband" to MY h.

That hurt me a lot, to know that such intimate words were spoken even if they were just fantasies or escapism. Who knows, maybe she was just saying it because she had just learned his name at their previous encounter, so it might simply have been novelty, and therefore fun to call him "my husband" in a playful way or something. But even if that was the motive, it still hurts that she was able to provide fantasy diversion for him so well.

Which brings me to the crux of the issue now. It seems that after all this time, even though my h has successfully stayed away from P and any AO as far as I know, for months now, and has even stopped scanning (or just about stopped as far as I can tell) he still has not developed a sense of how to find stimulation from me, I don't think. I do think a factor was that the wrecked woman had such a pathetic life that it was probably easy for her to think he was just great in comparison, after he had hyped himself up with fantasy, "love letters" to her in his journal, and everything he could manage to do to amplify the stimulation, even though it was artificial, before he went to see her. And thus, a circle of stimulation was reinforced, I think, by her apparent positive emotional response to him. And so in comparison, my disgust with him and his shabby treatment of me over the years was probably not so fun in comparison. But it was he who chose to put me in that bad-by-comparison situation.

Lately he has deteriorated into a terrible state of mind since he is in tremendous pain from the health consequences of his careless and reckless living habits for years, including continued heavy drinking and very little eating for almost three years since dday. Terrible because the pain is so extreme, and because he is going through such a feeling of disgust with himself over what he now sees as foolishness and self-destructiveness, not only to his body, but to his sense of self. To me that is actually a positive step, because if he is developing a real distain for the artificial stimulation and everything that went with it, that is great insurance against reverting to it or even desiring it.

I know he is paying the price now for his unhealthy living habits (as heavy smoking and drinking went hand in hand with the P and AO) and even AFTER dday, when I was terribly distraught and wanting comfort, he didn't give it for a long time, but just continued to drink a lot, to ignore his nutritional needs and disregard his diabetes and sugar control, and threw caution to the wind. He continued secret P use until I caught him -- accidentally, NOT snooping, but walked in on him unexpectedly when i forgot some keys and returned to find him with a multi-media event in full swing. Since then he only had a minor slip one more time as far I can tell.

And since then he has gotten his diabetes under control and does not drink at all hardly, since the nerve pain always worsens if he does. And he hasn't smoked for weeks now either. Which are all good in themselves.

But the pain is so intense, he can hardly manage to do anything these days. He mostly lies in bed, trying to stay asleep because that is the only time he can really avoid the pain. He rarely goes for a walk or swim, except for once or twice a week for a walk, and swimming once or twice a month. Other than that, almost complete immobility. And he hasn't bathed in two weeks, even though that would probably help relax him and help the pain subside a little.

Well, this Valentine's he was feeling so badly that he was in so much pain that he didn't think he would be up to doing much. At least he offered me a portion of a sandwich he brought back from the shop. I didn't want it, and then went to work. I was ravenous afterwards and wanted a nice meal. But he said he wasn't hungry or up to doing anything at all. The previous day he bought some nice herb tea I asked him to get, but he wasn't interested in drinking any of it either. Again, herbs that would probably have helped him feel a little more relaxed. But he didn't want dinner or the herb tea. He suggested I just eat the sandwich. That sounded like a depressing way to spend Valentine's, instead of what I always like to have as a special occasion, much like a birthday or other sort of celebration.

But I didn't let his mood stop me from having a meal out myself. So I went to a nice local pub and had a great meal myself. But I was very lonely and didn't really enjoy it. And once again, I had to pay for the dinner myself -- no pampering like I would have liked. At least the food was really enjoyable -- having a sandwich was simply too depressing for Valentine's and yet, going out alone was depressing too. I guess I held out some unrealistic hope that my h would actually have looked forward to having a nice shower, then a nice dinner out, which might very well have taken his mind off his pain, and given him some much-needed nourishment. Instead, he went to sleep about eleven hours ago, and is still asleep as I write.

Maybe this is a turning point, and all the sleep is going to make a positive difference. But I am tired of waiting to see him adopt a really healthy approach to living, or really truly learning how to tap into his true sexuality and how to create genuine romantic ambiance with me -- IF he even really feels that way towards me. Maybe he only was really interested when he saw ME as a fling or diversion.

Once he realized I was serious about our relationship, his attitude to me seemed to change quite quickly and I am not sure he has really wanted me since. Maybe he never really did, other than as a "trophy" partner who made him feel normal and look normal to the outside world. Maybe that's really all he wants in me now too. I am starting to have serious doubts about his desire for me.

And doubts about his commitment to really improving his nerve health this time around. It is starting to look like he is only interested in doing the bare minimum it takes to manage his pain, but he is not really interested in doing what he needs to in order to actually help make it go away and to heal his body, such as starting each day with a brisk walk, and eating adequately, and finding ways to feel positive about himself, about life, to feel motivated to take the initiative to do fun and exciting things, and to find ME exciting.

Of course, with all his pain, sex is out of the question. He says he wishes he could make love to me. But I'm not sure he really wishes he could do that with me, or simply that he wishes he was capable of sexual activity in the abstract. I am not sure his reasons are that he really wants to be able to be closer to me, or just that he would like to reassure himself that he is sexually functional. Either way, i am sad and uncertain about how he really feels and what the future holds.

Or maybe, as I mentioned above, he never really wanted me in the first place. Or doesn't know what he wants or even if he wants a sexual relationship with me or anybody. Maybe the only way he knows how to feel excited is in connection with fantasy, and he has no real clue about how to get in touch with natural desires or ones in keeping with his current values of getting in touch with reality.

But the bottom line is that, regardless of his reasons, things are not looking good. He doesn't seem very inclined to embrace life or to find support to feel better about himself. He has isolated himself, and I am now repulsed about even being physically close to him at all, since he smells so foul. And that is a really sore point for me, since over the years, when I tolerated his benders and him wearing the same sweaty, soiled clothes for days on end, that was when he made sure to shower and use cologne when he went to see HER.

And after all he has put me through, he doesn't seem to care about trying to please me and dress presentably. Now, granted, his depression about his complete lack of sexual functioning might very well be at the root of his thorough breakdown these days. His total lack of hygiene and proper self-care. But I do not want to enable it and told him I will not massage him or anything until he bathes.

But after returning from dinner, in a fit of disgust and triggered emotions over the above-noted Valentine's where I had to pay for my own dinner, I lost it and told him I was leaving him for good. It was in the middle of the night, so I went to sleep on the couch, rather than head to my home.

So now I don't know what to do. I realize that I blurted it out in an emotion-charged fit of anger, hurt, remorse and disgust. But the fact is, that I do not have the closeness or fun or feeling of encouragement that this person is someone who fully cares about me and about being the best he can in order to help make me happy. Sure he might want those things. But now he doesn't want to do the things that are necessary to get there.

The last time he had this nerve problem and its intense pain, he lived much healthier, at least in the short term, than he is doing now. As is the case this time, he also refrained from drinking and smoking back then (and P too, as he was in too much pain to want to even think about sex). But back then, over ten years ago, he was at least swimming and walking really regularly, and then, I think, due to his consistent efforts to keep his circulation going, the pain subsided over a two-year period.

But back then, it didn't take long once the pain settled down, for him to resume all his unhealthy living habits -- and to continue the unhealthy drinking and smoking even after dday three years ago when he claimed he was now a "brand new man" -- unhealthy drinking and malnutrition habits he continued until he once again started feeling the terrible burning and aching pain from the diabetes starting last June. And he has been in agony ever since, except for a few hours here and there when the pain decreased a little -- usually after swimming. He sees results from things like swimming, so it baffles me why he isn't more motivated to keep doing the things that are working.

But this time, he isn't often doing the exercise that is necessary to make the nerves heal and the pain subside. He knows this is what he needs to do, but he simply won't put in the time or effort because he says that exercising is too painful (which really only means it is just too painful to walk to the car to drive to the pool), which he finds quite soothing once he is at the pool. But instead he just mostly writhes and moans and wishes the pain would magically go away. Or perhaps he is in despair and has just given up. Or perhaps some dementia has set in and he just isn't thinking it through logically. Or maybe he has just lapsed back into his old, familiar habit of doing what feels good right in the moment (stay motionless in bed) even though that means sacrificing long-term goals (forcing himself to get to the pool and increase the circulation that actually repairs the damage).

Things seemed like they were coming along so well just a few weeks ago, and now he seems to have abandoned most efforts to heal. And as a result I am not seeing progress at this point.

So I have to ask myself realistically how likely is it that things will improve. The more realistic scenario is to wonder how much worse they are likely to get. And to realize that without a major change in attitude and behavior in him, that he will never again be able to be that pinnacle person, or perhaps not even anything much at all, as he seems to be just about completely uninterested in creating or maintaining the type of relationship that he knows I want for me to feel fulfilled.

I had not expected things to deteriorate like this, especially after all the big progress he has made in the last year, getting away from P, stopping drinking almost entirely, and apparently quitting smoking too (he hasn't smoked for weeks now, which is the first time he has gone this long in over ten years). But as for me? I am low on his list of priorities at this point it seems. And I am trying to learn to be realistic, and not also just fall into a trap of wishful thinking like he might be doing. But I realize how connected our lives are in many ways, and how I might be having to look at a huge change of lifestyle and that is very daunting and depressing. Also, the logistics are really tricky, in that I am almost broke and need to use a printer to print my manuscript that I am typing for work, and usually use his desk and printer as I do not have a printer and his is not compatible with my horrible operating system.

So having to be separate means having to find another computer setup -- and with my credit card maxed out, I don't want to invest in equipment since I am welcome to use his printer. Of course, even if we DO split up, he would probably let me still use his computer (and appreciate the free nurse-maid services I would likely offer, such as washing laundry or cooking for him, as I have done for over 15 years) but would this be healthy for me? Or would it better to make a clean break and avoid him unless I wanted to be there just to spend a little time with him? I am very confused now about this sudden turn of events for the worse, and how to handle things. I am rather overwhelmed and of course, it is very painful to see someone I care about appearing to give up and deteriorate. He acts like he is not interested in living, much of the time. And now that he has suddenly given up shaving and bathing, it is very depressing and discouraging to be around him.

Now maybe this is simply a low ebb, and something will turn it around or he will find the inspiration somehow to change his outlook. I hope so. But without any outside support or inclination this time around to be active, the prognosis is possibly quite bleak and I am very depressed myself at the possibility that maybe it is too late to save our relationship. And that maybe he is more seriously ill than I realized. He is definitely in bad mental and physical shape. And I feel awful.

Last edited by Healthlove on Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:17 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Here it is weeks later, and not all that much has changed, except for a few more insights on my part. My H is still in tremendous pain, although now he is taking alpha lipoic acid, which seemed to really help last time he suffered this much from nerve pain.

Anyway, he still feels terrible. Maybe even worse than a few weeks ago. He mostly sleeps, and is now resisting exercise and showers and things that always seem to help. He goes swimming once in a while, and always feels better afterward, then goes back to inactivity and feeling worse. It's very painful to see him avoiding the very things that would help him. And yet, I can understand how it must be hard to motivate himself when he's tired and in pain so much of the time. And it's been terribly dreary. Who knows, maybe the sleeping is the right thing for him at this point, but his medical adviser says he should be exercising daily, and swimming 2 or 3 times a week if possible.

Anyway, as far as how he relates to me, the pain overrides most of anything else. He is never out of pain long enough to want any sexual touching or sexual activity of any kind. Although lately, he does feel okay about me massaging his belly -- something he couldn't handle at all a couple of months ago.

But beyond the sex or the touching is the emotional connection. It's been okay lately when we are alone. He pays attention to me, wants to cuddle, asks for massages, holds my hand when we watch movies. But when we went out last week to see the doctor in (the town where the OW hooker lived) I wanted to go to a certain pub I thought looked nice, so that I could try to have a new and positive association with the town.

He agreed, and we went there. The food was lovely and cheap, but I noticed he was ogling the young ladies again -- something he hasn't done for a while. And I realize that nowadays he only seems to ogle (scan) when he is drinking. He did only have one drink, but once he is in that mental realm, that is the same state of mind he was in when he used P or AO all those years. He denied the scanning, but I could see he was doing it.

And it dawned on me that when he is under the influence of any alcohol at all, maybe he goes into such an altered state of consciousness that he really doesn't realize he is scanning. I don't know, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The problem, as I see it is:

that when we go somewhere and he has even one drink, he reverts back into "scanning mode". And so last week, the very time I was hoping to create a nice, new experience to replace the bad feelings I have when I am in that town, because of the reminder of the OW hooker, that experience last week just added to my pain and reminded me of my H's infidelity. The scanning hurts badly, as it reminds me of the even more painful things he did.

So i told him that whenever we go somewhere that serves alcohol and he drinks, that he tends to scan and I don't want to have to deal with the scanning, so for now, I no longer wish to go to any of those places with him.

Being diabetic, he is trying to avoid drinking anyway, and only has one or two drinks a month these days as it is. Interestingly, in some licensed places that aren't bars or bistros, he doesn't tend to want to drink when we eat. Just the places that tend to primarily serve alcohol. They seem to trigger him to want to drink, and that seems to trigger him to start scanning. I guess it helps him not to when we go out somewhere that is NOT a bar, because at the bar-type restaurants, the women tend to be very scantily-clad.

I also wonder if the scanning is because he is completely non-functional sexually, and therefore all he is able to do is scan. I don't know, but maybe that is how he feels, and finds scanning preferable to relating to me, since the pain keeps him from even wanting to kiss me most of the time, but scanning is easy? I've talked to him about this. He doesn't really have insight, and since he actually seems to not realize when he is scanning, it's hard for him to identify his feelings about it, I guess.

Anyway, that is what I have decided for now. No bars or restaurants where he is tempted to drink. It is amazing how he never seems to scan (or very little evidence of it) when he is perfectly sober. And since he is trying to get his diabetes really in order and avoid alcohol, he really doesn't mind staying away from bars and pubs at this point anyway. I can always go without him to see my friends if I want to, but I am not feeling inclined to spend money out much these days anyway, as work has been relatively scarce. And I haven't been much in a mood for parties or socializing anyway these days. Sort of feeling reflective. Hibernating in the cold, wet weather we're having.

Anyway, it feels good to have figured out when the scanning happens and to have put my foot down so that I don't have to be dealing with it. On the other hand, I am concerned about having a relationship where it only seems to be working when we are by ourselves, and I can't trust him when we are out. Besides, what does that say about how he feels about me? How he is not being mindful to avoid the scanning after all the pain I've been through over him. And particularly not being sensitive last week when he KNEW I was trying to create a new, PLEASANT experience to replace the bad memories and feelings. Doesn't he really care about me? Or is he even capable of caring about me? Maybe that is the more important question.

Because if he is only being concerned about me just because he is avoiding alcohol, and if it were all to go out the window if he does start drinking again later, then it might show that he is only really concerned about my happiness when it is convenient.

And this week, I asked him for reassurance that he will never see the OW again, as his previous reassurances have been less than reassuring, since he had said, "It's not likely to happen again." So he got mad, and said, "Look, I've been trying to tell you: IT'S NOT LIKELY TO HAPPEN AGAIN!"

Well, I don't know if that is a Freudian slip or what?!! But the fact that this is what came to mind seems to show he wants to leave a loophole. I told him that, and he says he is probably just a commitment-phobe. On a more reflective occasion, when I said that it didn't sit well with me that he reiterated that it is "not likely" to happen again, he said this time that it won't. On other occasions, he has said that it won't happen unless he goes back to unhealthy habits. But who is to say he wouldn't do that?

Sure he is living healthy now, but maybe he is allowing for the unhealthiness to return, as he has done in the past when he is depressed and reverts to a feeling of despair, in which case he has abandoned healthy living habits. I know he is struggling badly these days, since he is in so much pain and perhaps is already feeling that despair again, but is just not daring to drink and smoke (part of what he used to do for years, along with P and AO) since his health is already so compromised and he doesn't want to deteriorate further -- but maybe wishes he could? In any case, he seems to be feeling very depressed and unhappy these days.

Meanwhile, I am very confused about what to do, whether to stay or go. Do I stay with someone who might not be likely to get better, and thus give up having sex? Or do I move on, even though my H is trying hard to be devoted, and IS being devoted at least in romantic, if not sexual ways? Is it right to leave him now that he is genuinely trying? But he never asked me to stay for better or worse, or sickness and health. And he probably would not be in this health dilemma if it weren't for the P and AO and the unhealthy living habits of extremely excessive alcohol, tobacco, and hardly any eating that went along with it. So am I really obligated to stay? Would I feel okay being with someone else when I really am still in love with him? Yet, he has never truly committed himself to me, never promised to stay with me forever.

Should I try to check out other possibilities, and see if I can find someone who is already healthy who might be interested in me? Or should I just wait and see? Or wait until he dies and then start dating again? Or should I give up on men, even though the lack of sex and the thought of having to give it up with the man I love, is heartbreaking and depressing? I think if I were to date, that would be very depressing for him. And that might add even more tension that what we already both feel now that he is in incessant pain.

Not having an answer, not knowing what to do, is driving me crazy.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:43 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Things are going better. My H has been sleeping and eating better and even started getting a tiny bit sexual with me. His supplements and healthy living habits seem to be starting to pay off.

As for the scanning, I have pointed it out when he seems to do it. I realize it is probably fairly common for a man to look at a healthy woman who happens to walk by, but I have also told him that given what he's put me through, that I would appreciate him paying special attention to avoid it around me.

Meanwhile, he has been open and loving for the most part, and actually rather good company this past week.

And I have paced myself, and find life enjoyable, just getting over a bout of shingles and giving myself permission to have a little down time.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:24 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Stage Three, Personal Development, Lesson Two

Exercise Fifteen

A. Make a list all of support resources (people only) that you currently have available to you in helping you to deal with this current crisis? How many of these people have you already turned to for support? What have you found beneficial in their responses? What have you found to be disruptive? No people except for my H. He is helpful when he listens and reassures. Not helpful when he gets annoyed or defensive, but lately he has mostly been helpful.

B. List all resources (not people) that you have available to you in developing a balanced, healthy support system. This list should contain at least eight items. Put an asterisk in front of each resource that you are currently using to help you through this crisis.

Revised list:

*recovery workshop
*library movies
*swimming pool
*facebook contact
*reading self-health books and online articles
mental health organization

*new mental health organization

The new mental health organization listed above is a social and support organization that offers even more than the original one, because it provides a drop-in that has a lot of activities that are fun for me, and give me a little bit more of a social network. They also provide low cost meals at a convenient time for me to go there, and staff people available for counselling and advocacy. And so for all of it gives me some time off from my problems or depression and helps me focus on things that are pleasant and constructive for me. The other mental health resource has been helpful too, but more intermittently, by referral to another workshop, which I took in January, and free tickets to music and theatre events. But the new place is more of an ongoing drop-in for me.

C. Discuss a time when you were a part of someone else's support system. Was it a positive or negative experience for you? What made it so? Is there anything that you would have done differently? How can you use these insights to further define your own support system?

When J----- has turned to me, sometimes I felt drained listening to her. I didn't communicate my boundaries. I was frustrated that she didn't take my advice. I should have listened more and not tried to solve things for her or make suggestions. I would want more listening and less advice, and also try to get into better give and take with others, and also try to focus on the here-and-now more.

Last edited by Healthlove on Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:37 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Stage Three, Lesson Three, Understanding Your Values

Exercise Sixteen

A. Create a list of at least ten core values that represent the person you want to be. You should be able to rely on this list with confidence in guiding decisions, actions, prioritization, etc.


B. In your own words, how can you use these values to guide you through this current crisis (or a future crisis)?
I can be myself. I can strengthen my values and abilities in order to guide me in my choices. I can turn to my strengths for comfort whenever I want to, in order to feel good, thus not depending on others' behavior or values to determine how I feel.

C. Compare this list to the vision that you created in Stage One; Lesson Two. Are they similar? They should be. In fact, they should be practically identical — with your vision serving as a narrative for the list you have here. If they are not, change whichever is inconsistent with the life that you want to lead. Your vision must be forged from your core values or you will continue to struggle with imbalance and chaos.

My vision from Lesson #2:

I want to be able to feel joy in life. I want to be able to embrace life, to make this life exciting, fun, to feel enthusiastic and energized, and to surround myself with people who love life, who love others, who want to be close to me, including friends, family and, if possible, a partner.

I want to have more of sense of wonder, more humor and silliness, to be able to communicate in a more effective, non-demanding way, a way that inspires and makes my H want to draw nearer.

I want to live my life so that I put my beliefs about relating into practice. For example, to be able to deal with issues when they come up and to have people in my life who are able to be honest and forthcoming with me about they feel, how they want to relate to me, and for us to have the willingness and motivation to make that happen. For example, a partner who I can talk with, who acts loving and respectful towards me, while I do the same. Someone who needs me like I need them. And who makes me feel appreciated as a partner, lover, friend.

And if they do not relate in a way that is fulfilling, then I want to either find a way to resolve the issues or else to have the strength to abandon the relationship and open myself up to new possibilities.

I want to build strong values, first of all within myself based on a life dedicated to healthy choices that make me feel happy and fulfilled.

I am learning to identify my needs, wants and boundaries -- about what I do and don't want in my life, and to learn to communicate them clearly and effectively. And I expect my boundaries to be respected, and to protect myself from harm if they are not respected.

I want a relationship with someone who loves, desires, respects and cherishes me. I want to build strong values in such a relationship, based on honesty, openness, and monogamy. As Marc of Marc and Angel says, “Intimate relationships are a sacred bond – a circle of trust. If both parties aren’t 100% onboard the relationship isn’t worth fighting for.” This is how I feel. I want that kind of relationship. And not just monogamous, but actual devotion to each other's happiness. And if there is something in the way of happiness, then I need someone who consistently does what he can, either on their own or together, to stay open and loving. To keep at it, no matter what, to be committed to continued personal growth – and then in this situation, relating to him will be fulfilling for me.

And the same goes for non-sexual relationships. To forgive, to stay open, to be communicative – or to realizing the limits of the friendship and not try to make it too deep. I do not want to be in relationships of any kind where I am doing most of the work to make the relationship happen – or feel like I am doing all the giving without being appreciated. I need relationships that are real. And I want to have the chance to be with someone whose heart is open, who feels loving, who is able to forgive, who wants to keep trying when things go wrong.

I want to be the kind of person that people admire, who they feel is their ally, who they feel they can trust with being themselves, who they feel is compassionate and empathetic. I want to be that person, and I want others to recognize it.

I want to surround myself with people who focus on the positive and who are willing to not sweat the small stuff. People who accept me as I am. And to be able to not worry about trying to have relationships with people who do not respect me or like me. To be able to let those people go, knowing that I am creating space for better relationships to come into my life. And I want to actively create the space to help bring those relationships into being.

I value balance, and having a combination of work I enjoy, fun with friends, quiet alone time to think and read and have fun enjoying nature and animals, working on artistic projects, improving my spacial organization, giving myself permission to be as active or quiet as I want to be. To be able to ignore the judgment of others when I do not think they are right. And to have the humility to accept their feedback if they are right and I am wrong.

I want to be able to hear and respond to my H when he tells me he is not happy, and to feel good about working with him on the issues that concern him, to help bring into being the things that he needs from me to feel happy. I want to have the emotional strength to give him those things. To be in a centred, grounded and energized frame of mind to do what is difficult if I realize that those are things that need to be attended to, such as the big cleaning tasks I have allowed to remain undone. I want to create the time and energy to get them done.

And I want to be able to give him the compassion and understanding he says he needs from me to be able to forgive himself for hurting me. I want to do that anyway, even if it does not result in him feeling closer to me, but I want to develop compassion and understanding towards everyone, while developing good boundaries, recognizing my boundaries, and to protect myself if those boundaries are violated.

I want a life that feels fulfilling, with lots of play, enough work to get by with but not so much that it tires me out and deprives me of playtime, and to do work that I genuinely enjoy. I want to develop gratitude about what I have and what is working in life, to feel good about myself regardless of what anyone else thinks or feels. I want to feel free inside, to feel loving towards myself. To feel happy. To create a life that feels rich and exciting. To love and to feel loved.

Yes, I feel that the vision and my values are consistent. I went back up to the core values list and added compassionate, because I realized that is something I want to espouse but had not included it in the list.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:55 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Yesterday was rough, but also cathartic. First of all, it was the OW's birthday. I should say EX OW. I really do think he is over her -- the day before he says he can't even really remember what she looked like. That helped me.

But on her b-day, I started the day off triggered. Then we were late for an appointment because of him, and then he started to say that if I had walked out the door the same time as him, we wouldn't have been late. That wasn't true, since I was at the appointed place at the agreed-on time. Things escalated, he told me I was ugly -- and that's when I lost it and I dumped coffee in the car (I knew it wasn't hot). Some got spilled on me and I hate the smell of coffee so I had to spend the day at medical appointments smelling like coffee. I offered to clean the car, and now I am doing a clothes wash.

Later, I realized one of the reasons I "get going" like that. The dynamic runs like this: he accuses me of something unfairly, then things escalate, and he can't handle the conversation and tells me to be quiet. Then later on when I try to bring it up, he says the topic is dead and that I shouldn't dredge up the past. Which puts me in a no-win situation -- and I told him that. I said that if he expects me to stop talking, it should be on the understanding that we revisit the topic later when things have cooled down. He did see my point that it's not old news if there is still unfinished business, and it's important to get it on the table so that the outstanding issues get resolved. He agreed. I was very proud that I stood up for my self, knew my values and set boundaries that worked, in principle at least.

Of course, the logical thing is to prevent having to rush for an appointment in the first place, ie go to the filling station the night before, etc.

Anyway, we both calmed down, I'm doing the laundry, I gave him a backrub, then after midnight I admitted I had been triggered since the morning -- I asked him if he knew what day it had been, why it had been significant, and he thought about it and couldn't remember. Another reason to think that he really has more or less forgotten about her -- at least he does not have any sentimental attachment to her -- which is what he explained to me on dday. So that's good.

Meanwhile, he needed more eye treatment to stop the retinal bleeding and needs more surgery next week.

Also he started an anti-convulsant pain killer this week, got samples from the endocrinologist. I am worried about the potential side effects, although the pain inself precludes him wanting or being able to handle being touched, so the nerve pain creates sexual side effects as it is. But he's on a low dose, and it did help him sleep well last night and he woke up with reduced pain -- although that could also be because the supplements and healthy eating are finally kicking in. In any case, there does seem to be a bit of positive change and each day that he takes care of himself is another day he is glad to be away from the booze and the terribly unhealthy living. I'm really starting to think he does feel romantically inclined towards me and the main reason he isn't all that amorous is the extreme daily pain. So I am finally feeling encouraged that he is turning around his living habits and appreciating that I am in his life.

And I am trying to live in a good responsible way and getting ready for the surgery I hope to have soon to fix my bladder problems. Got a lump in my neck checked -- going to see the doc again on Friday. There's always something new, but what can I do? Find out what that is, and take it from there.

At the end of the night, we each apologized to each other: him for accusing me of making us late and for name-calling, me for not stopping talking when he asked and for spilling coffee in the car.I will clean it up today. And now the three bags of laundry are done.

Last edited by Healthlove on Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:21 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 am
Posts: 322
Suddenly, things are going better between my H and me. He has become very affectionate and is obviously developing a new zest for living. He has been reviewing his childhood home area photos and says that they help him get in touch with himself.

He has also been starting to get a bit sexual AND being affectionate at the same time! He is starting to feel physically better, with all the supplements he's continuing plus I guess the nerve painkilling medication allowing him to sleep so he has the energy to get the exercise he so badly needs too, which is increasing his circulation and resulting in him actually being healthier and feeling more vitality.

Plus, now when I talk to my son, I am using the healthy things I've been learning at RN to relate in a healthy and positive way to him, and now hopefully starting to heal that relationship too.

Another thing that was great is that I was better able to identify and communicate a boundary to my H. Previously he agreed to asking me to give him one of the ed-drug samples he was given (which I put away for safekeeping so that he couldn't use it for M or AO). But then he went and bought some herbal stuff on his own. I realized that I needed him to be straight with me and if he really just wanted to get his own supplies and take his own initiative, then I wish he would just tell me so. Because him doing something different than what we agree on is problematic for me for two reasons -- reasons that relate to each other:

1) he has a history of not doing what we understood to be the agreement between us
2) when he does something different, I have a hard time trusting him.

And I communicated all this! And he listened and was empathetic. So if he wants to get his own ed-support herbs or fill the prescription he has, then fine. Just don't say you don't want to do that and then do it differently. So I am glad we are learning to dialogue about things, and I hope he will be assertive with me (and I think being assertive and feeling like he is free to make his own choices has been a problem for him).

Also, I lost one job today and five minutes later was offered another one -- that involves less work and better pay. So things are certainly looking up. I am feeling very encouraged.

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