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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:52 am 
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my question... does anyone have any thoughts, insights, ideas on compulsive checking, monitoring, trying to catch their partner....

I remember the exercises that covered this...early on and struggled with it so much! checking and trying to catch him had become my identity!! I worked so hard to wrap my mind around this part of who I had become...and made a lot of progress...

I thought I had this part figured out. I had a wonderful stretch of over a month with no checking....almost no checking. I had stopped with his phone, pc history, checking pockets for receipts etc. we both seemed to be doing well. having very open conversations, enjoying time alone together, he was sharing more details (little innocuous things that he would normally hide), even being intimate a few times...I was feeling like I was on the right path. Seeing him as my best friend again, not my enemy!

Then as part of my boundaries which I discussed with him. I installed opendns on our router. It has awesome blocking features for porn, dating etc. but it also has logs. One of my boundaries is that I do not want porn etc in my house. The thought of him lying in our bed msging other women sickens me. The thought of my 13 year old accessing it and developing a problem terrifies me! So I wanted it blocked. I was supposed to tell him when i installed it. I wasn't supposed to monitor the logs...just have the blocks on for peace of mind ... but I didn't tell him....and checked...and found porn...and lost my mind. It has been 2 weeks of obsessively checking everything!!! awful arguments as I actually broke my word. Although I don't have passwords for his pc and phone now I found new things to check....I wont even list them but if any of you obsessively "checked" you might know :( I seriously feel like I went crazy this past week and knowing that my behaviour went against many of my values sucks even more. what happened?!?

It is possible that we had a virus on one of the devices as he swears it wasn't him. so we took all the steps to clear everything. After it happened a few more times I found I couldn't believe him. He still defends that he hasn't watched or done anything, and his originally sympathetic approach and wanting to find a way to prove it wasn't him has turned into anger and frustration. It has become all about me not being able to trust him. About how it feels to live with someone who is always suspicious. About how great our relationship could be if I weren't so insecure. Which I defended for a while, but the fact is I am still insecure, untrusting and terrified that he will do it again. Living in this kind of fear is more hurtful then if he actually was! we are now back at square one. I'm online this morning to start back at the beginning with my lessons. I have taken the logs off and given him the passwords for the router etc. blocked him on Facebook as I only use it now to check his online status and to see if new girls are commenting on his photos etc....his social media use is a huge trigger for me!

It makes me so sad that we have lost all of that progress and that i could so easily fall back into my crazy ways!! Maybe it was him...maybe not...but the fact that I tried to control and monitor him yet again remains. Will I ever be able to completely stop obsessing about this. Does anyone have any lightbulb....aha moments that helped them turn the page? I do think that once my head is back in a good space that I can focus on myself, my values, and rely on my instincts. I guess I should just look at it as a set back and move forward even stronger, but I have been beating myself up about it and feel pretty horrible and defeated.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:21 am 
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I am stating my opinions, here. You may take it or leave it.

There is a difference, in my opinion between obsessively checking and investigating red flags. If I had survived a house fire and later on smelled smoke in my house I would certainly check my house so I can leave the house for safety. Not investigating danger signs is not protecting yourself, my opinion. Regardless of how you discovered it, It does seem like something is going on (my opinion). If you believe that boundaries have been crossed enact the consequences. I just told my boyfriend that my heart and body are connected, if he betrays my heart, i cannot then trust him with my body either. That's one of my consequences to boundary crossing.

I recently came out of a similar little 'relapse' myself. I stopped. i realized that I didn't need to 'prove' anything. I already knew. I already know he will only admit to what can be proven, but I knew, so what do I have to prove? He is the one that is supposed to be proving to me, earning my trust. I trust my gut feelings. Combined with some odd actions on his part that were lacking in reasonable explanation and angry, defensive reactions on his part and disappointing recovery work, I have enacted consequences, without absolute proof. Even if he hasn't slipped or relapsed what he had done I considered to be disrespecting me and breaking agreements about honesty, transparency and rebuilding trust, that alone has consequences.

You are aware that you were starting to lose it again, you are getting yourself back together. I think you are doing ok, :g:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:03 pm 
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I had a very hard time with checking also. It was a process of working out what was important to me (i.e. was I spending my time doing values based things?) When I was in super-sleuth mode I was certainly not spending my time on values based things, and instead violated my values in many ways. Neglecting my children was probably the most devastating. They ate lots of kraft dinner and spent large amounts of time entertaining themselves, back them. I was irritable and sometimes snapped at them. Sad. But true.

Anyhow, CoachBoundless saw this post and dug up an old post by Coach Jon, from a book he was working on (Jon's Gems). Here it is:

Quote:
Obsessive Checking/Monitoring By Partners

Q: "I can't get over my obsessiveness about monitoring him."

A: While such obsessive monitoring is not uncommon, at some point you have to slow your world down enough to recognize how damaging this is to the long-term health of your relationship. With him or without him, you must establish your own healthy world—one that he can either choose to be a part of or choose not to be a part of.

In the best-case scenario, this unhealthy obsession offers you little more than the illusion of control. But how much control does it actually offer you? Not much. Because what happens when you don't find any signs of acting out? Are you comforted? Not likely. Most likely, your mind turns to additional places that you haven't searched or ways that he is possibly “getting around” being caught. There is no comfort when a partner takes on the role of accountability. There are rare exceptions to this, but none of them involve an obsessive, secretive flavor.

What you are doing instead is allowing his addiction to further influence your life. I get that you love him. I get that you want to spend your life with him. But thinking that this checking must be a part of such a life is “learned” and certainly not healthy. Somehow, you must break free from this self-destructive behavior—behavior that is destroying more and more of your value system in the here-and-now, and behavior that will eventually further deteriorate your respect for him and the relationship in the future.

It will have no effect on whether or not he actually ends his addiction, nor will it have any positive effect on moving your life forward. It does not promote trust; it undermines it. It does not promote accountability; it undermines it. And it does not promote true recovery; again, it undermines it. The onus for change must come from within him. If he does not take responsibility for this, then you may still choose to stay with him, but know that you are also choosing to stay with his addiction. No amount of checking will change that.

On the other hand, take care of yourself. Protect yourself. Establish your own healthy life and vision, then let him choose to be a part of that life—through his actions, not his words. That is the only path that lies ahead for you where you will be able to achieve a healthy partnership.

Q: “I don’t know if I can keep from losing my mind while he is gone [on a business trip]. I am going to be constantly thinking and wondering about him using porn while he’s gone.”

A: I am going to be really blunt here. This is not his problem, it’s yours. This is you mismanaging your life. He is going to do what he is going to do. It makes sense, because his actions have such an impact on your future, that you would be concerned—but that concern must never come at the expense of your mental health, your stability, etc. You must develop a foundation for your life where, when you know you are dating a sexual addict, you do not make your life so extremely vulnerable to the instability of his addiction.

So what to do over this time away? Rebuild your own life. Focus on developing those other relationships that have been neglected. Focus on developing those other areas of your life that have been isolated and/or neglected. Take your life back and let him return to someone who is confident and secure in managing their own life—someone worthy of being so much more than an accountability partner.


Ah, yes. Reading through this again I remember very well how these words sunk in. "Illusion of control" is what resonated with me most of all. I realized that I was selling myself out (forsaking my values, my vision) all for this illusion of control. It still makes me shudder. :w:

But, if this is where you are, don't make yourself wrong. There is nothing less effective in getting you out of a frame of mind than trying to force your way out. It will come, especially when whatever resonates with you sinks in. Speaking from experience, and borrowing from wisdom of others, anything you resists-persists. In much the same way that a person with an addiction has to choose to stop for themselves, the obsessing partner must also choose.

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:17 pm 
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I would like to add, I agree 100% with jacki3030--there is a difference between obsessively checking and investigating red flags. The difference is palpable. Yet, there is a fine line. The person who is truly obsessive-compulsive or has diagnosable anxiety disorders will also swear that their behaviours are for safety (i.e. "investigating red flags") and it becomes a downward spiral. In my experience, unhealhty checking leaves your body and mind feeling unhealthy. If you have the awareness, then you can start practicing not being obsessive by recognizing what the cost is (and it is huge). Then, when you align your behaviour to your values, you start to recognize how much better you feel. The cloud is lifted. But, it isn't as easy as I am making it sound. It took work, for me. I was quite righteous in my checking. But as I said previously, when I recognized the costs, and I didn't like the damage that I was doing, then I was motivated to put an end to it. Checking is not bad or wrong, but it can become an unhealthy coping mechanism, and it never guarantees anything (as Jon pointed out, the sense of control it provides is illusory).

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:17 pm 
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jacki3030 wrote:

There is a difference, in my opinion between obsessively checking and investigating red flags. If I had survived a house fire and later on smelled smoke in my house I would certainly check my house so I can leave the house for safety. Not investigating danger signs is not protecting yourself, my opinion.


I agree with this 100% You have more than just yourself in this situation, as you have stated. You have a son that you are invested in protecting from this. Which means that if you need to keep an eye on the logs to keep your computer clean so your son doesn't come across anything, that could be a healthy approach. Not "checking up" on them is NOT about them. It's not about making them feel like they can do anything and you're going to turn a blind eye. It's not about giving them a weapon to throw in your face when you find something. It's not a commitment you make to them to make them feel secure in the relationship. That's a load of something, let me tell you!
He has not earned a relationship in which his partner never feels suspicious, and so he doesn't have one. He hasn't been a partner who has provided security in the relationship, and so his partner feels insecure. Your insecurity is NOT a personal weakness of yours. His expectation that you will never wonder about his fidelity is unreasonable. His pretending that your current relationship struggles are due to the fact that you looked at the logs is fantasy talk. NO! :no: :no: :no: Your current relationship struggles are due to the fact that he was unfaithful. He has coped with stress in an unhealthy and damaging way and has traumatized you and your relationship in the process. This is on HIM, not on you. If you suddenly trusted him again, it might be fine and dandy for a while - but it wouldn't be healthy and it would only end in you getting hurt again, because he still hasn't learned to live his life in a healthy way. You have lost progress, NOT because you checked on him, but because you found porn in your home. You have lost progress, NOT because you looked at logs, but because he looked at porn.

To be completely up front, it's not that you lost progress, it's that the progress was never there to begin with. He hasn't been honest with you. He hasn't done what he said he would do. He hasn't respected you. He has blamed you for things that are not your fault. He has not been a safe or healthy partner for you. He wants you to pretend that everything that I just said there isn't true; but if what you wrote is accurate, then what I said is true. You may have been a best friend to him, but he is clearly not capable of being a best friend to you at this point. A best friend would not take the hurt they had caused you, throw it in your face, and try to remove the tools that you have to protect yourself. He has a lot of growing and healing to do before he can be the partner you need and deserve.

Now, secondary issue, you're right the obsessive checking behavior isn't healthy. I think the key here might lie in everything that I wrote above. If you remain emotionally attached to someone that you know has a high likelihood of hurting you, you are going to look for ways to control that, to shield yourself from the pain that you know is coming. To NOT look for it would be like handing them a metal baseball bat, knowing they were going to try to hit you with it, and then promising to stand there with your eyes closed. Could you control yourself and NOT peek? Could you force your eyes to remain closed, knowing that at some point there were going to slam that bat into your face. If you peek, maybe you can duck? So the solution here, is NOT to keep peeking, but to move yourself out of the range of the bat! If you keep feeling the urge to peek, that's a hint that you're not far enough away from it yet!

That doesn't mean that you need to physically move yourself necessarily. It means that you need to set up some boundaries so that when he chooses to look at porn, when he chooses to blame shift, when he chooses to do his best to make you feel like all the problems in the relationship are your fault, you are emotionally out of reach. The tough work for you right now is to disconnect yourself from him and his choices. When you've done that, you'll probably discover that the urge to check in on what he's doing has diminished greatly, because the consequences to yourself aren't so great.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:15 pm 
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[quote="So the solution here, is NOT to keep peeking, but to move yourself out of the range of the bat! If you keep feeling the urge to peek, that's a hint that you're not far enough away from it yet!

.[/quote]

Wow, Mrs. Jones I feel like you just hit me with the bat of truth! :s: :g:

It's eloquently simple and so obvious and true I don't know whether to laugh or cry that I didn't say it myself!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:50 am 
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mrsjones007 wrote:
If you remain emotionally attached to someone that you know has a high likelihood of hurting you, you are going to look for ways to control that, to shield yourself from the pain that you know is coming. To NOT look for it would be like handing them a metal baseball bat, knowing they were going to try to hit you with it, and then promising to stand there with your eyes closed. Could you control yourself and NOT peek? Could you force your eyes to remain closed, knowing that at some point there were going to slam that bat into your face. If you peek, maybe you can duck? So the solution here, is NOT to keep peeking, but to move yourself out of the range of the bat! If you keep feeling the urge to peek, that's a hint that you're not far enough away from it yet!


Mrs.Jones, that is genius!!!! I read it last night and thought WOW!. I kept coming back to it this morning and I feel the urge to post it on my bedroom wall. I do not peek anymore. No urge, no desire. It happened abruptly after I ended up in the hospital because of peeking. Now I SEE without peeking. I see with my heart, with my mind, with my intuition. I don't need details, I don't need facts, I don't need proof to KNOW things are not as they should be. If what I see is not accurate, it is not my fault, it is his. I know I'm doing my best to SEE. Is he doing his best to SHOW? As I told him the other day - Do you trust me? He said Yes. So I asked again - Why is that? Do you trust me because you trust people or because I'm trustworthy? ... If I don't trust him it's because he doesn't put in much effort to be trustworthy. Therefore, it is his responsibility and the solution lies with him, not with me. Under no circumstance will I accept justifications or blame shifting to make me the one responsible for my lack of trust. I have good values like fairness, honesty, compassion, empathy and the way I grow and respect them makes me confident that my lack of trust in him is not my problem. If he proves worthy my values will force me to grant him trust. That is the mechanism at work and I will accept no other shortcuts.
Thanks again for that. Genius!

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:34 am 
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Great analogy, MrsJones! I also especially like your advisement, as it provides a practical guide of what a partner CAN do:
Quote:
That doesn't mean that you need to physically move yourself necessarily. It means that you need to set up some boundaries so that when he chooses to look at porn, when he chooses to blame shift, when he chooses to do his best to make you feel like all the problems in the relationship are your fault, you are emotionally out of reach. The tough work for you right now is to disconnect yourself from him and his choices. When you've done that, you'll probably discover that the urge to check in on what he's doing has diminished greatly, because the consequences to yourself aren't so great.


:g:

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:22 pm 
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Mrsjones' insights are, per usual, just stellar. Thank you!

About the illusion of control, I'd like to expand on this in my own experience.

I used to look at finding stuff as giving me a moral high ground above him. I don't ascribe to that any longer, and find such a stance unhealthy. But finding evidence gives me a really clear, easy, understandable "out."

I hope in time I will see I can leave a relationship for any reason, if it's not right for me and my values. But I'm just not there yet. :/


Last edited by meepmeep on Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:22 pm 
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This site has really helped me through the most difficult time of my life. Funny how when I started I needed to fix or solve my relationship problems. Everything that was wrong was because of his SA....but my perspective has changed so much! Finding RN has brought me to where I have needed to be for a long time. Every word of advice and wisdom and support means so much and makes me feel empowered! Thank you ladies for your comments. The baseball analogy made me laugh and cry (a good cry) at the same time!!
Just a little update....I have kept the blocks on and given the password to a friend so neither of us has access to the logs! the peace of mind having porn and dating sites blocked is perfect!! i realise that where there is a will there's a way but at least for my 13 year olds sake it is blocked!
I read back through a lot of lessons (especially lesson 7) and feel like my relapse was just part of my journey. I have restricted him on social media as it was just another way to keep track of him. We had a very lengthy conversation about my insecurities, what he does unknowingly to perpetuate them and what I can/should do when I start feeling insecure. He has openly been showing me his FB , email and text msgs, I know he can delete and edit them before hand, but I also know my perceptions as to what he is up to are usually worst case scenario....and not always true!
I am guilty of labelling him as an addict and feeling like ALL of his intentions and actions are a result. I was treating him like my enemy and refusing to see the positive changes. A big hurdle for me is knowing the difference between his secret addiction and his real life and where his boundaries lie. I still don't think they are the same as mine but we are much clearer on my expectations, boundaries and have a bit of a plan for "what if" situations. A little sense of security (fragile, and very sad that I can no longer be naive and trusting , but it's something)
I am clear of the bat for now at least lol and refocused on my vision. I started yoga back this week. I'm enjoying spending time with the kids, friends, walking the dog etc. I can really see how crazy it makes me when I'm in managing mode, and the negative, time wasting effects it has on my life. Should be motivation enough to work harder :w:
just a sidenote to meepmeep....I dont ever give advice on the boards because I am absolutely not qualified :) but in my experience thus far....I also have gotten very stuck on waiting on "irrefutable proof" that he wont/can't change and be the man of integrity I thought he was. I continuously reflect on whether my partner has the true core values and qualities that I think he does. Whether I can see him in my vision and see a healthy happy future. Whether all of the amazing times, moments, and memories have been real. If they are enough....I do believe he is an amazing person and it far outweighs this roadblock we've come upon. I know I could be blindsided and proved wrong lol, but I believe that baseball analogy...if I'm out of swinging range, and if I'm here by choice for healthy reasons, I will be able to make a decision that is best for me.
Hugggggs to all of you on your individual journeys!!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:44 pm 
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Quote:
To be completely up front, it's not that you lost progress, it's that the progress was never there to begin with. He hasn't been honest with you. He hasn't done what he said he would do. He hasn't respected you. He has blamed you for things that are not your fault. He has not been a safe or healthy partner for you. He wants you to pretend that everything that I just said there isn't true; but if what you wrote is accurate, then what I said is true. You may have been a best friend to him, but he is clearly not capable of being a best friend to you at this point. A best friend would not take the hurt they had caused you, throw it in your face, and try to remove the tools that you have to protect yourself. He has a lot of growing and healing to do before he can be the partner you need and deserve.


WOW! I read this the other day and it kept coming up in my thoughts, journaling and today while I was crying in frustration. "Progress was never there to begin with... He is not capable of being a best friend to you at this point." I know this is true in my situation as well. I know he has healing and growing to do before he can be that for me and I know he is choosing not to do that healing and growing today.

I want to write a concluding sentence to that thought, like - So, what this means for me is I cannot be with someone who is going to be okay with treating me that way. BUT, I don't know if I'm REALLY ready to say that. I think I'm forcing myself to say that because it seems like the healthy thing to do. Maybe I need to re-read this post again, and again and let myself feel whatever comes up. Maybe I need to stop forcing myself to move through so quickly and sit with the things that seem to resonate with me.

Such a great response and such a simple, but painful way to make sense of my feelings right now.
I have thoughts on the rest of this response but I think I'll sit with this for a little while.

Thank you for sharing.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:08 pm 
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movingthrough wrote:
I want to write a concluding sentence to that thought, like - So, what this means for me is I cannot be with someone who is going to be okay with treating me that way. BUT, I don't know if I'm REALLY ready to say that. I think I'm forcing myself to say that because it seems like the healthy thing to do. Maybe I need to re-read this post again, and again and let myself feel whatever comes up. Maybe I need to stop forcing myself to move through so quickly and sit with the things that seem to resonate with me.


I just want to give you a hug! I've been there before. I think a lot of us have heard what the "right" thing to do is in these type of situations. But when it comes right down to it, what is healthy is to act according to our values - not go through some culturally predetermined set of steps. Doing what you "should" do won't bring healing. Doing what you know is right for you, when you know it's right for you will. I love your comment about just sitting with things that resonate with you. I struggle to do that as well. It's a good reminder for me. Creepy internet hugs!
Mrs. Jones


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