Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:18 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:14 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:35 am
Posts: 1123
I can't remember the last time I posted but I thought I would check RN out again and am happy you're still here but of course would much prefer that your services weren't required. I came here in Oct/Nov 2007 and did so much work, received so much help, support and encouragement, and here I am back again. Well, it's not just here I am, this is a different version of me to the version I was 10 years ago but not different enough. I'm still with my husband and wish I could turn the clock back and do what my gut told me to do back then and that was to leave. He was 70 recently and I'm 70 next year. I'm becoming more and more aware of the passage of time and that my life is getting away from me. He's had prostate cancer so we have no sex life but I have to say our sex life was more or less non existent before the cancer was discovered. We still share a bed, but it's a very big bed and there are no cuddles under the covers, thank goodness. It's somewhere to sleep. My life has changed inasmuch as I stopped my own addictive behaviours - drinking too much, obsessive cleaning in the house, searching for proof of his behaviour - you all know the kind of stuff. Because my feelings no longer run very deep for him I don't feel the need to check up on him, I can't be with him 24/7 and he'll do whatever he wants to do regardless. I wouldn't have a clue if he is still active sexually in some way, nor do I care. I do care if he behaves badly when he's out with me as it can occasionally be humiliating, so we don't do much socially together. He sees a therapist - not an SA one though - once every 6 weeks so that he can have a whinge about life in general. I also see a therapist, the one I've had for the past 6 years, and she has helped me continue to grow as a person and find coping strategies to deal with the situation I live with. What has upset me and brought me here today is that we go to our grandson's school concerts and he scopes out the little coloured girls and the blondes - they are all between 8-10 years old. I'm sickened. It happened this afternoon and as he caught me watching him he very quickly dropped his gaze down to his hands which were holding the programme. We haven't had a conversation about it and we won't, I refuse to play his games of denial followed by his usual passive/aggressive behaviour. I don't think he's ever been involved with children but he still looks and it's disgusting and totally inappropriate. I don't know him, have never known him and will never know him. I thank him for working so hard to provide everything we have but that's all I can manage. I have managed to find ways of being happy without his input, I don't mind my own company, I have my two grandchildren and friends and my wonderful camera. Today, I just felt I could do with 'talking' to someone who understands as the whole saga is too difficult to share and it's not fair to burden friends with such a complex and unpleasant problem. Thank you for listening.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:59 pm 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 619
Lizzie - Welcome back and I'm sorry you need to be here again. Your situation is very similar to mine, though you are about a decade further along than I am. I am relieved that your life is improved compared to years ago, and so sad that your husband has not been able to achieve intimacy with you.

Your story of the little girls. I am familiar with that as well. So much shame associated with this kind of behavior. For my values, it's intolerable. My MC wants me to see the distinction between fantasy about little girls and overt acting out. But to me, both are extreme. I think my husband was always obsessed with teenage girls and that over the years his addiction progressed to pre-teen girls. Without D-day would it have progressed to even younger girls? I don't know. I don't think he does either. But it is shameful and disgusting. Just after D-day my husband called 11-12 year old girls "young women." That's how distorted his thinking had become. I'm also aware of how objectified and pornified our culture has become about girls. That does not justify our husbands' behavior.

What I do about this is make a firm boundary: I will not attend a school event, any school event, with my husband. I have asked him to make amends to girls by NEVER going to a middle, elementary, or high school. I also do not want him attending sporting events for girls. Whether or not he will do this, I have no control, but I did ask. So he misses his grandchildren's events...tough. He isn't thinking about his grandchildren and if he were, he would not be doing this sort of thing. I've learned not to ask my husband if he was acting out, I just trust my instincts and implement yet another boundary. It's not negotiable. I will not attend any school event with my husband. Ever. He needs to stay home, and if he does not, then you can attend separately if you so choose.

With deep compassion,
dnell


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:35 am
Posts: 1123
Nell, thank you for your response. I knew that someone here would understand my horror at seeing my husband gawping at little girls. And, yes, it's shameful. He's spent most of his adult life - and our marriage - using prostitutes and my gut tells me that he's never crossed the line with under age girls. I am constantly changing my boundaries but I don't particularly always tell him about it as it's a total waste of time. I have a boundary around alcohol which I enforce and won't tolerate it being broken. This one he most definitely knows about. Oh it's just all such a pain in the backside that life has to be this way. And no it doesn't HAVE to be this way, it's because I am still here in the marriage. It could all be different.

I stopped physical and emotional intimacy a very long time ago. He's not capable of emotional intimacy and I cannot bear the thought of physical intimacy with him. He would still like for things to change but it isn't possible, I would have to care for him in a totally different way than I do for that to happen. He keeps hoping that the situation will change and doesn't seem to be able to take on board that things could get a whole heap worse but not better. Had I known who he was or might turn out to be I would never have involved myself with him in the first place. How many of us here wish we could have seen into the future. His values and mine are poles apart. I miss intimacy, I miss sex, I miss cuddles, I miss everything that a loving and healthy relationship ought to be and yet how on earth do I know what that kind of relationship looks and feels like, I've never experienced it. Actually, that's not true, I did briefly, but let it slip out of my grasp because of my huge trust issues.

We very rarely ever discuss his feelings, how he deals with stress etc because all of that gets way too close to his addiction and how he deals with it now. We talk about our photography, our family, our beautiful grandchildren, the garden, nothing very deep. I accept responsibility for my own happiness these days and try to include activities in my life that I enjoy and I take notice of the natural world around me and I try my hardest to forget what I think I'm missing. Resentment and anger bubble up more than I'd like and rather than stuffing the feelings back down I acknowledge them and know why they're there. I have never forgiven my husband and never will. That doesn't cause me any issues, I don't need to forgive him anything to feel better in myself. The person in all of this who I can't forgive is myself. If anyone sits on my shoulder, it's me! I can't forgive the fact that I've had the opportunity to go and didn't take it. I can't forgive that I haven't divorced him. I can't forgive that I've continued to give him years of my life. Oh there's payback for me by staying here otherwise what would have been the point. I'm still warm and very comfortable and I don't want for very much in the material sense. I'm a young 68 and look much younger and I know if I put my mind to it I could possibly find myself someone else but trust or lack of it would get in the way and sabotage any prospective new relationship before it got underway.

Today I have something planned just for me with my photography so am looking forward to that later. I do more and more things under my own steam. After 6 years I actually have started to believe in myself as a half decent photographer and just need help with marketing my work. I've had so much positive feedback and encouragement I know the time is right for me to progress. 3 hand surgeries in the past few years hindered me quite a bit, but that's all behind me now. I learned so much here, I still try to put as much as I can into practice and one lesson has been to acknowledge my feelings good and bad, but lean towards positivity rather than allowing constant negative thoughts to drag me down.

Thanks Dnell.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:03 am
Posts: 216
Hi ladies,
I just dropped in to say "Hello and Well wishes to all of you." I've been absent from this forum for a while. My husband is active in his SA groups. I run a small local group for support of people who are dealing with the trauma of sexual betrayal. My husband and I enjoy our grandchildren together and outings. We do not have physical sexual intimacy. That helps me to feel that I am taking care of myself and keeps a lot of stress out of my life. It lets me stay appropriately detached. I miss what I thought our life would be at this point but for the most part I have made peace with where we are. I love my camera, too, and take lots of not-so-skilled pics of the grand kids for fun.
I think of all of you out there often. And I am also so glad that RN is still here !


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:38 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 114
Lizzie, your story is so sad. To find yourself where you are today, in spite of all your efforts and beliefs that you could heal your life and your relationship perhaps, that sense of resignation and deep sadness really comes across. To know that your husband sexualises children, even if “only” in the fantasy sense, must be truly awful. There’s nothing “only” about this sort of fantasy. It’s deeply disturbing, of course. Having to witness it must be horrible. You are absolutely correct in setting this boundary for yourself.

I feel so sad when I read the stories here because the one common experience for many women is that of a life wasted, not because we acted against our own interest, but because someone else did by stealth and deception. We end up finding ourselves where we are today because of someone else’s behaviours that were outside of our control.

I also understand the reasons for staying. I believe it’s a completely valid decision to stay for material and financial security. We’ve built our homes, we’ve planned our finances according to the future we expected, we would most likely see a fall in our standard of living if we were to leave. Let’s face it — our men wanted all of this AND their acting out behaviours. They didn’t question leaving the relationship when they were steeped in their addiction.

Like many women here, I hoped for a recovery that didn’t happen, and isn’t likely to. Last night when journaling, I realised that my husband’s sexuality exists outside of our relationship. He doesn’t see it as something to be shared and nurtured within the relationship, as I naively believed. I suppose it’s obvious considering that we had a completely sexless marriage for several years before d day. He could meet his sexual needs without me. Somehow he didn’t see that situation as abnormal. Even now, he would still rather masturbate in secret than direct his energies into our sexual relationship. We have almost reverted back to a sexless marriage for precisely this reason. Sometimes I wonder whether ‘recovery’ has been worth it.

As for my own recovery, it’s really hard sometimes. I’m only just seeing the personal cost to me. I’ve paid for it with my mental health, my physical health, the loss of who I thought I was, the loss of my sexuality, my relationship to food is all wrong, I have lost confidence in how I look, I have lost sexual confidence. Yet here I am. I remain in a relationship that did this to me.

As partners, we are asked to be understanding and empathetic towards our spouse, and I have really tried. I tried to understand as well as anyone ever could. That’s all very well, but even being compassionate and understanding can also be a one way street. I read the books and the info online, I watched the videos, I listened to the podcasts. My husband hasn’t done the equivalent. I have accepted a lot of his behaviour and let it go. I have forgiven most of what I know. Does forgiveness help? No. Because I’m still left to make sense of my own life whilst he carries on with his a watered down version of his previous behaviours.

Lizzie, I wish you well in your photography. Photography has been my lifeline at times. It’s the one time when I can truly live in the present. Meanwhile, I hope you can carry on and be your best self in spite of your situation.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:06 am 
Offline
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 619
I see our stories, at this point after discovery, as ones of grief. Huge amounts of grief.

Lizzie, I hear you about not being able to forgive yourself for not divorcing. This is important work that I am doing in my individual therapy. None of us chose this type of marriage and very few of us would have married if we could have seen the future. As Jon says at the very start of the lessons, "life is unfair." And, yes, it was unfair to us due to the deceit and selfishness of our partners. But the reality for me is this: I have divorced my husband. I as well, in order to survive emotionally, had to detach. And the more I detached, the better I felt. And as my husband continued his betrayals and cruelty, I detached further. I'm not really "married" in the way I think of marriage. I'm in a business arrangement. It's sad, but it's realistic.

My husband as well wants things to be different. But he's still passive and waiting for me or fate or something to deliver him life, a marriage, fulfillment....whatever. It's still an immature approach to life. My husband is trying, there's no doubt about that...but that's all I hear: "I'm trying. I don't know what to do. I don't know how." There's the immaturity. And I think our husbands are not really married to us but are in a life management relationship. They need us to help manage their lives and get adult maintenance of life done on their behalf.

There are reasonable reasons to stay. There are reasonable reasons to make the best of things. I would never judge any of us poorly for our choices. Oftentimes any of our choices have significant costs. There often isn't a clear choice we can make that is in our best interests.

I know very few partners who stay who have a sexual life with their husbands. Blue, I agree with you: my husband and I are sexual strangers. He still keeps his sexuality completely to himself. For people who thought sex was their greatest need and did so much acting out, my husband to me actually seems asexual. He clearly fears real life relational sex. Even with sobriety, that underlying fear and anxiety about emotional connection with sexuality is a huge piece of intensive work my husband needs to do. I don't think he has the time, strength or integrity to do this. I have compassion, since I believe this was due to early trauma. But, we pay a huge price for our partner's unfinished trauma work. We don't need to. That's not our job or the purpose of our life.

And, while it is more peaceful living with my husband, the superficiality of our interactions is life draining. It's deadly tedious, actually.

If there is one thing I have learned, it's this: be gentle with myself. Search for self forgiveness and gentle self care. Celebrate baby steps. Be aware of the grief I carry. Continue to work on rebuilding self esteem and joy, connection and meaning. The reality is we have been traumatized, deeply. It takes time and an enormous amount of personal strength to heal.

dnell


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group