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 Post subject: Confused and shocked
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:30 pm
Posts: 12
I became involved with a longtime friend (of 40 years) who sought my friendship, insight, energy, intelligence, stability, philosophical outlook, and companionship. Our connection runs deep. He lives in another city, we'd speak on the phone about a wide variety of subjects while he was breaking up with his girlfriend of 6 years. He became involved in an affair with this woman while still married, he eventually separated from his wife, and then moved in with the girlfriend and her two children. It took him over five years to get divorced from his wife of 30 years. When I realized that he was not breaking up with his girlfriend, I respected his efforts to work it out and we stopped talking. Several months later his wife and I renewed our longstanding friendship; after six years, she continues to be stuck, obsessing about him, still loving him but hating him for "ruining her life".

I told my friend (my high school sweetheart 40 years ago) that I would not consider being involved with him until he divorced his wife, broke up with his girlfriend and moved out of her home. Eventually he divorced and broke up with his girlfriend. We have always connected on many levels and ultimately we become involved.

For many reasons, mostly because it was new, undefined, and we were "seeing where things would go", I did not choose to share this with his ex-wife. Within days of reconnecting, she found out from his ex-girlfriend that we had seen each other and she understandably felt betrayed by me and cut off her friendship with me. Clearly, I was not ready to share this with her nor invite her energy into this new situation. I don't feel that I was hiding anything, I simply was not ready to share it with her. I sought therapy to discuss my feelings, and my therapist concluded: The ex-wife is stuck in her attachment; my partner is divorced from her and he broke up with his girlfriend; my partner and I have connected on many levels; and, until my partner and I decided that the time was appropriate would we share things with her. My therapist also correctly advised me that I would run the risk of the ex-wife feeling that I had betrayed our friendship by not sharing this information with her.

We flew out to see each other three times, every two weeks. After the last time we saw each other, which was fabulous on all levels, I learned that he was sleeping with his yoga partner. He didn't want to hide it, but he reported that his relationship with me was "too good to be true", he was testing himself, and since he had been in two monogamous relationships since college, he felt a need to "sow his oats". A few weeks after that, I learned from his ex-girlfriend that he was also sleeping with her; she knew that we had started seeing each other but she really blew up when she learned that he was also sleeping with his yoga partner. I was sick, shocked, angry, confused, and depressed. He still claims his love for me, has sought professional help, and has decided not to see anyone for one month.

On the one hand I'm delighted that he is seeking help to work through his adjustments to being single and disengaging from his ex-girlfriend, and that he is aware that he has not been behaving considerately nor rationally. On the other hand I am confused and I ask myself several questions:
- Does this behavior constitute sex and love addiction? Though he has just started therapy, he reports that his therapist does not think so, that this behavior is not uncommon in his situation.
- I am working on dealing with my feelings but how can I build a position of being less vulnerable? My gut tells me that he will be back after a month; he declares that I am the one he loves. I want to do my own internal work during this period to gain a healthy perspective on what happened and when and how to find a place for compassion, forgiveness and trust.
- I look forward to participating in the rest of the workshops for partners.


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 Post subject: Re: Confused and shocked
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Quote:
- Does this behavior constitute sex and love addiction? Though he has just started therapy, he reports that his therapist does not think so, that this behavior is not uncommon in his situation.
The label that we give the behavior doesn't change the hurt that we feel. He is the only one who knows the truth about himself and if he is addicted to his behavior, he will validate his choices and believe his own version of the truth. At this point, what is your gut telling you about him regardless of the label?
Quote:
- I am working on dealing with my feelings but how can I build a position of being less vulnerable? My gut tells me that he will be back after a month; he declares that I am the one he loves. I want to do my own internal work during this period to gain a healthy perspective on what happened and when and how to find a place for compassion, forgiveness and trust.
Healing after betrayal is a long and painful process for us all. He has told you a series of lies which transalates to a series of "red flags." Doing the lessons will be a good way for you to educate yourself about the nature of sexual addiction and gain clarity about his behavior. Trust has to be earned by what he does now, not what he says. Regardless of the reasons he has given you, he has to accept the consequences of his choices and do the work to live a healthy life according to healthy vallues. Forgiveness, for me, comes incrementally, as I see my H sincerely working to change himself and learning to be empathetic and compassionate toward me for all the hurt he has caused.

One key lesson at the beginning of the workshop is about determining the vision you have for your life, with or without him. It's your roadmap in your healing journey. Later, you will determine your values and boundaries and consequences to protect those values all of which will become amazing tools for you to use to empower yourself and no longer feel vulnerable.

For now focus on you. The lessons will help you get where you need to go.

Hope this helps. :w:
Nellie James


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 Post subject: Re: Confused and shocked
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:30 pm
Posts: 12
Thank you, Nellie James. Yes, that was very helpful. I am however still struggling with trusting my gut, since I am not able to observe his actions due to the distance. I agree with the statement:

"Trust has to be earned by what he does now, not what he says."

What he says all makes sense, but I also learned from the workshops that at this stage of his recovery he is likely to be experiencing a loss of identity and multiple identities. I leave room for him saying, yes I'm monogamous and I feel healthy and alive when experiencing a deeper sense of purpose, fulfillment, personal integrity and responsibility to self and others; he may not know at this point if his feelings now are merely an "illusion" or for real. He may also be thinking that he is not monogamous and really does not want to commit. How will I be able to discern, since he lives a plane ride away? I guess I will just have to trust my gut and prepare myself for all possibilities, but I welcome any insights!


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 Post subject: Re: Confused and shocked
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:28 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
Posts: 3834
Yes, long distance relationships present their own set of problems. Some of our Community Forum partners deal with this, too, due to employment or the military. Perhaps, putting this on the forum as a specific topic might help as others share their experiences and what has worked for them. However, your job is yourself - focus on your vision and what you want for your life whether he is part of it or not.

Quote:
I also learned from the workshops that at this stage of his recovery he is likely to be experiencing a loss of identity and multiple identities.Yes, this is a possibility.
Our first counselor told me not expect any security from my H because he was not sure who his authentic self was and it would take him time to sort it all out. She also told me not to believe a thing he said because lying was such an ingrained pattern with him even though he though he was honest. She was right. SAs feel validated in their version of the truth and in reasons they offer for their choices. Their thinking is skewed and irrational until they develop and awareness of this and work to change it. Again, listen to what he does, not what he says at this point. :w:

Quote:
I leave room for him saying, yes I'm monogamous and I feel healthy and alive when experiencing a deeper sense of purpose, fulfillment, personal integrity and responsibility to self and others;
His process to get to this point may take a long time and will be unique to him. My H worked with a private counselor and did the Recovery Workshop - it took over two years and he's still a work in progress and so am I. It will be hard and sometimes painful work for each of you. It's up to each of you to take responsibililty just for yourself.
Quote:
I guess I will just have to trust my gut and prepare myself for all possibilities,
:g: Good plan! Especially planning ahead - action plans to put in place are very helpful as will be boundaries to protect your values.

Compassion, yes. Responsibility, no. Forgiveness for his betrayal of you will take time and, for me, comes incrementally as I see my H continuing to do sincere work along with learning to be compassionate and showing empathy for me. Trust has to be earned - what your SO does now and continues to do will help you determine whether he is becoming trustworthy.

Keep working on the lessons. The pieces of the puzzle will begin to fall into place. :w:

Hope this helps.
Nellie James


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