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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:32 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:27 am
Posts: 5
Exercise One

I have been with my husband for 17 years. We have 2 lovely daughters in their pre-teens and until recently I thought “we had it all”: a loving family, work, health, financial stability, great children, an exciting life living and traveling around the world… I have always considered my husband as my soul mate – my best friend and my lover. Being with him was what made my life so great.

I quit my highflying job 12 years ago to let my husband develop his and to be able to fully take care of our family. I was happy to do so – as I felt this was my calling in life.

Over the years, my husband did well for himself professionally. But this led to a lot of stress placed on him. Over the last few years (I am not sure how many) the pressure became very high. My husband wasn’t quite himself and I wasn’t sure what to do.

This past year, I felt that my husband was very distant. He was travelling more and more for business and spending a lot of money on business trips. On August 1rst, I searched through his emails and discovered that he had a mistress. As I confronted him with this information, I further learned that he had been seeing prostitutes. I do not know the extent but he hinted that it was quite big. He told me that he had his first sex fling in a bar in Hong Kong in December 2015 and met his mistress in September 2016.

This came as a huge surprise for me. I had never seen my husband look at another woman. I would never have imagined it from him.

My husband does have a history of addiction. As a student, he smoked marijuana regularly (10 a day for 2-3 years). He stopped when he met me. After, he smoked heavily but stopped when I was pregnant with our first child. Over the last 2 years, he has developed a mild (?) addiction to alcohol (he must have 3-4 strong beers a night and cannot envision a social event without drinking heavily).

After I discovered his secret life on August 1st, my husband put all the blame on me: I didn't see when he was in pain, I am not good in bed, I have become uninteresting, I don't let him party enough, I am enjoying life too much not working, I should have looked for work in the last years, etc etc…

After the initial choc, I surprised myself by wanting to forgive my husband. He, however, was disoriented and did not know what he wanted – a life with me or without. For a few weeks he became the good father and husband that I used to know but then I discovered that he had secretly planned a Sunday night with his mistress in Singapore (we live in Asia) when he was supposed to be meeting a head hunter.

I am now at a crossroad. I feel extremely hurt and betrayed. I do not have the strength to leave him- deep down I still love him - but he shows no signs of empathy towards me. I feel I’ve been “used” all of these last years and I do not know what the future holds for me. I need to find the strength to make my own choices.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:24 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 669
Merlinda - Welcome to Recovery Nation. I am sorry you need to be here, but this is a healing place to be.

I am now at a crossroad. I feel extremely hurt and betrayed. I do not have the strength to leave him- deep down I still love him - but he shows no signs of empathy towards me. I feel I’ve been “used” all of these last years and I do not know what the future holds for me. I need to find the strength to make my own choices.

I understand. The partners here understand. You are not alone. I could have written these same words.

Know that you do not need to make a decision right now. As long as you and your daughters are physically and financially safe, you have the time to focus on yourself, your daughters and your healing. I encourage you to continue the lessons. They were very helpful to me. I also encourage you to read and post in the partners community forum. For my healing, I also found an individual therapist who specialized in treating trauma. She has been a life savior for me.

Addicts blame. My husband blamed me for his addiction and behavior. They also lack empathy. They are very, very self centered. As you go through the lessons, Jon helps to make this clear.

I was in shock after discovery, and my discovery went on for some time since my husband continued to lie and keep secrets. For now, be gentle with yourself. Please know that the shock alone is traumatizing. I do not underestimate the trauma of this discovery.

But I can tell you that you will feel better and you will feel stronger. It takes time and it's hard.

With deep compassion,

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:47 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:27 am
Posts: 5
Thank-you Dnell for your support and kind words.

Exercise Two

My Values
Integrity – I believe that complete honesty is what should drive me. I have always tried to stick to this principle.

Compassion – I must stay open-minded and help those who need help.

Importance of family – My family is my base and what is most important for me.

A balanced life style - I want to balance out work and leisure. I am not particularly ambitious but will always do well when I engage myself in something.

Simplicity – I do not need a fancy life style. I like simplicity.

Activeness – I like to do things – I enjoy hiking, walking and engaging in activities with others. However, I am not comfortable in social gatherings where there is nothing to do but talk.

My Vision
I want to be a good person with a healthy mindset, leading a balanced life. I need to be a good role model for my children so that they grow up to be balanced individuals, enthusiastically embracing what life has to offer. Ideally, I would like to embrace my own life with a soul mate who will love me, support me morally and understand me - whatever my own faults and weaknesses.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:10 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:27 am
Posts: 5
Exercise Three

A) Brainstorm the times when your 'gut feelings' have been right about your partner's sexual and/or romantic behavior.

Until my discovery on August 1, I actually never suspected my husband of sexually interacting with other women. Over the last 17 years, in my presence, he never ogled a sexy women in the street, made sexual jokes, gotten too close to another woman at a party... I truly thought he thoroughly loved me and that I was the only woman he truly cared for (apart from his mother and sisters). At the beginning of our relationship he liked to go out and drink with his friends - something I am uncomfortable with. I would be jealous and make a a bit of a scene when he would come home. But in the last years, he would always come home by midnight and though I would secretly wait up for him, I thoroughly trusted him.

B) Identify as many major situations as you can where you allowed your head/heart to override your 'gut feelings' in relation to your partner's behavior.
In the last year, my husband had been going more and more on business trips and spending large amounts of money (often cash). I started to question in my mind the validity of the business trips. I did ask my husband how the money was spent - thinking that he was inviting his colleagues to expensive meals in lavish restaurants that could not be reimbursed by the company. I also thought he was getting used to luxury - for example upgrading his flight tickets. He was working hard, making quite a bit of money and wanting to enjoy some of life’s luxuries. It absolutely never crossed my mind that he was spending it on other women.

C) Relying on the experience you have gained, make a list of likely behaviors, situations and/or feelings that may trigger a conflict between your gut instinct, your value system and/or reality.
I have now identified patterns that should have triggered doubt in my mind:
- Compulsive planning of business trips; going the day before or early when it was not necessary; setting up trips to meet people when it was not required. (I think my husband got a kick out of the planning stage)
- A high level of spending; especially cash from ATMs
- Always on his cell phone; being afraid when I ask to use it
- Not asking for sex from me then performing it lamely
- Company meetings over a weekend in Bangkok or team building in Pattaya (known for it’s sex industry)
- Staying in retreat, in the dark, at home not wanting to engage with myself or the children

Until recently, I thought all of this was linked to his problems in managing the stress that came from his work. I wasn’t sure what to do about it. He was looking for another job and I thought that that was our way out. I often felt guilty that my life was so much easier than his, so over-extended myself in community service projects.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:22 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:27 am
Posts: 5
Exercise Four

1) Make a list of those values in your partner's life

- Compassionate, kind and caring
- Family is important (children, parents and siblings)
- Healthy lifestyle (sports, healthy eating)
- Trustworthy (before)
- Curiosity and openness

2) Make a list of those qualities in your partner that you believe will continue to pose as obstacles throughout your relationship.

- Very self centered
- Managing stress through alcohol; his relationship to substances
- Difficulty to share his feelings; does not talk
- Thinks (intellectualizes) too much
- Pride, Needs to prove himself

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:05 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:27 am
Posts: 5
Exercise Five

A. How do you manage your stress?
I am stressed easily and can get quite hyper, venting out my stress. It can be very hard for those around me because I solely focus on what is stressing me out and block out the rest. That said, I don’t think I have ever done anything irrational to escape from the stress. I eventually deal with it and move on.

B. Consider a compulsive behavior that you have engaged in.
Two years ago, I started playing “Hay Day” on my phone. For 2 months, it became an addiction. I would play it all day long and would lock myself in the toilets at home so that my children and husband would not see me. I felt guilty about wasting so much time doing something pointless and for being a bad role model in front of my children. I can't remember how I gave it up. I just got tired of it and stopped one day. As I write this I realize that I had engaged in this when I was having a deep crisis involving a group of people I was leading for a community project.

More sporadically, when I worry about my husband, I will compulsively check what I can to see what is going on (his email, our bank accounts…). I do understand that I should have given him more space to breathe and that is one of the reasons that pushed him to act as he did.

I very rarely have deep compulsive behavior problem (such as the Hay Day incident). I can’t think of other similar situations in the last 20 years. I like to be “in control” of myself and really try to lead a healthy life.

C. In contemplating the role that addiction has played in your partner's life, imagine what his/her life would be like without this life management skill in place.
I’m not sure how to answer this one. My husband needs to learn to balance his work/leisure life. He needs lo learn to let go of the pressure from work and not give himself undue pressure when he has free time. It seems that whatever he does, it needs to be "extreme". He probably also needs friends who are good role models. I only see toxic people around him and their poor values do not help my husband overcome his own. I thought I was the friend he needed but I obviously failed at this.

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