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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:04 pm 
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I'm struggling. I guess I am looking for some support so I don't feel so alone.

Last night I found a receipt for a restaurant on a night that I think he told me he was at work. It was about a month ago. I confronted him and he told me that he had gone to visit his parents and had stopped at the restaurant on the way home to eat. I do sort of remember some visit to his parents in that timeframe. However, I looked up the restaurant and their menu online. Entrees were about $20. The bill was $55. I think it's pretty clear that he's lying.

I know about boundaries, although I'm not really sure how to enforce a consequence when he denies what I think is the truth. He has told me the truth before when confronted, but this time maintains that I'm incorrect. My gut keeps telling me otherwise. I've shared this story with friends and they think I'm
probably right. They know his history.

At this point, I think that I need a break from the relationship. I found out at the end of 2012 about his problematic sexual behavior. I gave him an entire year to seek help. When he didn't, I told him I was walking. He started treatment a few months later in April -- told me he slipped at the beginning of May -- but has been doing well since then. I personally think he has a long way to go. I have worked the RN program, been in 12 step, individual therapy, group. I am doing much better, but when something like this happens, it steals days of my life.

I haven't wanted to give up on this relationship but I feel like I have to right now. What kind of message does it send to him if I allow unacceptable behavior to continue?

I guess I'm just not sure how to do it -- or more accurately, I am not sure how to do it in a way where I feel like I am taking back my power, because it really feels like he's stolen most of it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:10 pm 
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What you are going through is my worst nightmare. My bottom line fear is that I would trust his changes then find out he has been playing me all along. However, you don't seem to trust his changes. Him saying that he is doing good a few months along the line doesn't mean anything in my experience. So, your intuition tells you he is lying. I've been a few times in this situation ... My intuition screaming at me but when I allowed him to explain, his version made a lot more sense so I could see that I'm probably having a traumatic response ... However, it always boils down to the overall picture, if he made real, objective progress in terms of initiating recovery work, being consistent, being open, sharing uncomfortable things or details, how involved he is overall ... So, I struggle not only with him but also with myself. However, my decision is mine and I do not allow him or myself manipulate what I objectively perceive to be the truth. I am strong enough now to stare truth in the face. Sounds like you are, too.

It also sounds like you want out but you don't know how to proceed. I don't know what to tell you about that. For me getting my strength back proceeds leaving him. And it comes from within. And I know it without any doubt. Maybe you are having doubts still? If you do, try to think in what terms you would still continue. I've been in that point and I gave him an ultimatum of one month to be prolonged if he is doing ok with another month and so on. I put very specific rules and boundaries for e.g. Anything like stopping by a restaurant and not tell me about it would be disastrous. If you want to walk at this point, I found it very helpful not to think at the grand scheme ... like, oh, my Gosh, I'm getting divorced, I lost so many years, what will happen, etc. I just think ...ok, what is there to do practically ... Small steps like going tomorrow to court, ask for a divorce form, call my mom, my former boss, etc. Planning the whole thing practically, step by step can help you focus on action instead of crying over spilt milk.

Take care of yourself. You are not alone even if it seems that you are ... I'm thinking about you and I wish you have the strength and clarity you need to find your path, whatever that might be!

_________________
"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: Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:23 am 
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Quote:
If you want to walk at this point, I found it very helpful not to think at the grand scheme ... like, oh, my Gosh, I'm getting divorced, I lost so many years, what will happen, etc. I just think ...ok, what is there to do practically ... Small steps like going tomorrow to court, ask for a divorce form, call my mom, my former boss, etc. Planning the whole thing practically, step by step can help you focus on action

This is good advice. I am currently going through separation leading to divorce. The process is tough. It is easy to lose sight of the value based reasons I made the decision in the first place. It is easy to get caught up on “what he’s doing/not doing” (which is very much like being back at square one in terms of discovery and disorientation…it isn’t pretty). :w:

So, it’s one day at a time for right now. But, I do also look at the big picture (beyond “omg, I am getting a divorce”) and think about the real big picture which is my vision for my life, which includes, more specifically in this case, my vision for partnership.

There is a very real possibility that he is lying to you. This is a possibility for each and every person here. It is up to us to determine for ourselves what the cost is and what our values are and what is most in alignment with that bigger picture (of your vision for your life, not what it looks like to others, or even to yourself, that you are getting divorced, or whatever). What is your bottom line. Once you reach it, you will know. Every day that you spend beyond your bottom line will slowly wear you down, erode your sense of self, taking even more from you than his addiction has already taken. But, this applies to your bottom line, not to the intermediate areas where you are staying for other value based reasons that you prioritize over those values that would have you walk. These will be different for every person, as will the bottom line.

In my own situation, I was sleeping in the spare room for the last 3 years. I had decided that I was staying for a specific amount of time, given that he was supposedly working on recovery. I tested the waters, and 99% of the time felt the disconnect and was overcome with sadness.There were other tells but I was committed to give him space to work it out (he needed to learn to trust me) and because I truly believe in the possibility of recovery and I saw what was possible for us beyond addiction, because he really was my best friend, and not in some cliche way. I could see him beyond his addiction, and I knew that if he could get past it, too, that we'd have a great life tighter. I believed in the values that I thought we shared. But, he was pretty much white knuckling it all along, and sadly, once the other shoe dropped, he did a quick turn around. This is because he didn't have a vision and he hadn’t connected to recovery for its own sake. Over the past few years, I became distracted (with other value based things). However, more recently it had become more and more apparent to me how far off he was, and it was beginning to wear me down. I knew he was watching but I waited for him to come clean (he never did). And then one day I found out he violated a bottom line boundary. Also, given his history of “recovery” (not meant to be sarcastic, but maybe a little), I think he realized there was no turning back on this one. He tried to excuse himself, and justify his actions, he was completely irresponsible and reactive, and trying to control his environment. Not long after, he made a complete 180, and said he “wants porn” and “likes sex” and “this is who he is, we’re just different people, you have your thing and I have mine and we just don’t belong together”. He's "happy" now and "feels free", "more free than he has ever felt in his life, even before he met me". Wow. Anyhow, this is not to be about me, but I still get flabbergasted every time I review those words.

The point of all of this is, and what was really reinforced for me (yet again) through this experience, is how much I can--and should--trust my intuition. I really think that intuition is nothing more than an acute pattern detection/learning process that occurs at a super fast speed and beyond our explicit awareness. Not to trivialize intuition, because there is nothing trivial about it, but for people who don’t believe in intuition, because it seems to rely on some sixth sense, I think it can be easily understood as a memory/learning/detection phenomena. I'd love to have the opportunity to research it...I digress…

So, first I would filter your options through your prioritized values (i.e., your vision). What are some of the top values you hold, what are the ones you are flexible on? What values are violated by leaving and what ones are violated by staying? How long are you willing to allow some values to be compromised in favour of what might be. Remember, there are no guarantees.

It is really crappy to be in a position such as you are, to have to choose between two things that are both subjectively undesirable: Ending your marriage or putting up with all that comes with being in a partnership with a person with addiction. These were my options, too. I know that I certainly do not want a life partnership with a person with addiction who is so selfish that they continually make choices for me and without my consent, by continuing with a behaviour that they know undermines trust and partnership, and lying about it so that they can avoid consequences and continue on as they were. I certainly did not want to end my marriage, either. But, those were my options, and it sucks. For me, the choice was pretty clear.

It is also important to learn to trust yourself. Do you trust that, when push comes to shove, you will make the choices that are right for you? If no, this is an area for you to work on.

I am really sorry that you are in this position. You are not alone.

_________________
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 Jul 31, 2014 3:25 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
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CoachMel wrote:
There is a very real possibility that he is lying to you. This is a possibility for each and every person here. It is up to us to determine for ourselves what the cost is and what our values are and what is most in alignment with that bigger picture (of your vision for your life, not what it looks like to others, or even to yourself, that you are getting divorced, or whatever). What is your bottom line. Once you reach it, you will know. Every day that you spend beyond your bottom line will slowly wear you down, erode your sense of self, taking even more from you than his addiction has already taken. But, this applies to your bottom line, not to the intermediate areas where you are staying for other value based reasons that you prioritize over those values that would have you walk. These will be different for every person, as will the bottom line.


WOW! This is it. I've been trying so hard to make sense of what I was feeling ... I knew you reach a bottom line but I thought somehow that if you choose to stay that bottom line somehow extends or you bounce back up ... I've never visualised that you actually go beyond and in doing so you actually betray yourself and your vision for yourself, therefore you experience the wearing down and erosion. And all the regrets if you stayed too long. I used to think about this in terms of acting from my strengths and acting from my weaknesses. I used to think that as long as I have hope for us and I still enjoy our partnership I'm acting from my strengths and I exercise my values as patience, understanding, support, vulnerability, courage ... But once hope is lost and I get that "I want out" feeling not walking out might be coming from my weaknesses, basically fear or dependency issues and if that is so I have boundaries around that.

But as you put it it makes more sense to me and from now on I'll be assessing my bottom line and whether I'm above or under it. It is indeed so empowering to get clarity of your emotions. Thank you for providing yet another piece of the puzzle that fits perfectly into place.

_________________
"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: Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:18 am 
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Quote:
I knew you reach a bottom line but I thought somehow that if you choose to stay that bottom line somehow extends or you bounce back up ... I've never visualised that you actually go beyond and in doing so you actually betray yourself and your vision for yourself,

It is also possible to extend your bottom line, through something like adaptation or acclimation (kind of like when you walk into a room that is noisy, or smells a particular way, then after a while you don’t notice, it becomes your "new normal", or like in the summer, cooler days feel cold, and in the winter, warmer days feel very warm, because your comparison level has changed). This is different than intentionally choosing to go beyond the bottom line (temporarily) because your other values outweigh the bottom line…but in this case I would argue that it wasn’t really your bottom line.

But as you put it it makes more sense to me and from now on I'll be assessing my bottom line and whether I'm above or under it.

:g: I am glad you benefitted from the conversation.

_________________
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 Jul 31, 2014 9:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
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Quote:
Every day that you spend beyond your bottom line will slowly wear you down, erode your sense of self, taking even more from you than his addiction has already taken.
This, for me, is about self awareness at a gut level. The years prior to D Day did just this - wore me down because I was not honoring myself and my values. Part of the problem was that I hadn't defined my values. I knew I felt his violations, but still trusted him. This pattern continued on even through counseling until I came to RN and developed the tools I needed which is on-going for me.
Quote:
But, this applies to your bottom line, not to the intermediate areas where you are staying for other value based reasons that you prioritize over those values that would have you walk. These will be different for every person, as will the bottom line.
Those intermediate areas - looking at the big picture was key for me. As Coach Mel told me and I have passed onto to others, there comes a time when you decide what you can live with and what you can't based on your vision and values. With that comes the responsibility to make peace, as best you can, with what you still don't like - acceptance. For me, my age was a deciding factor. Had I been 10 years younger, my choices might have been different.

I continue to strive for self awareness - to tune into myself, to know whether I'm above or below my bottom line which does tend to fluctuate. I'm confident that my H is not acting out, but he has other issues that get in his way, my way, our way. Those tend to be erosive, corrosive if I let them.

Just thought I'd throw this out there.

Nellie


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm
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CoachMel wrote:
Quote:
So, first I would filter your options through your prioritized values (i.e., your vision). What are some of the top values you hold, what are the ones you are flexible on? What values are violated by leaving and what ones are violated by staying? How long are you willing to allow some values to be compromised in favour of what might be. Remember, there are no guarantees.


Thank you, all, for your thoughtful replies and support. It means a lot to know that I'm not alone.

The above really helped me. I hadn't thought about filtering this through my values.

I guess I feel -- as I suspect that most of us do -- that he is trying -- and I need to support that. However, that doesn't change the facts of the situation. His behavior hurts, causes me emotional pain and endangers my physical health.

I should've provided more information about our relationship because I think that frankly it's a big part of why I am struggling and confused.

We are not married, but have been together for seven years. However, we do not live together. We are both in our 50s. He calls me his girlfriend and tells me that he loves me.

At this point in my life, I am not looking for the same things that I was when I was in my 20s. However, I'd be lying if I said that the relationship was working for me.

My therapist tells me that my boyfriend is not committed to the relationship and is not serious about recovery so I should disengage, not bother to try to set boundaries, etc.

I've talked to him about this and he has talked to his therapist. His therapist thinks my therapist is out of line. We have been trying to set up a 4-way meeting to discuss this.

I'm not sure my therapist is completely right, but I agree that our relationship is missing some key elements of commitment for me. I don't know if that's a symptom of his "sexual addiction" or whether he actually doesn't give a sh*t.

I guess what I'm asking is...Is it worth fighting for a relationship like this? I do care about him -- and we have talked a lot about how much we mean to one another -- but those are just words.

At this point, I feel like just disengaging. It feels like the only way I can take back my power...and dignity. I'm not talking about ignoring him completely, but I am talking about trying to move on with my life and about making decisions that do not take him into consideration...

My values tell me that I owe him a conversation about this, but maybe I don't need to do that now.

I don't know. I'd love to hear your thoughts...


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:59 pm 
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sp2007 wrote:
At this point, I feel like just disengaging. It feels like the only way I can take back my power...and dignity. I'm not talking about ignoring him completely, but I am talking about trying to move on with my life and about making decisions that do not take him into consideration...


Yes! This is the way you get your power over your own life back. When the coaches and mentors talk about detaching, this is what we are referring to. (At least what I am!)

sp2007 wrote:
My values tell me that I owe him a conversation about this, but maybe I don't need to do that now.


I'm writing this because there are two different possibilities for what this means, and I know for a while I felt this way in an unhealthy way. So, as usual, take what you can use and leave the rest. You could mean, "I'm changing the baseline of the relationship, and he deserves to know that I'm doing that. So I should tell him." If so, then I agree. Telling him will clarify your boundaries and will allow him to make decisions based on where you're at, not where you've been in the past. However, what I meant by this for a long time was, "He deserves a chance to influence my boundaries and give me new information." If this is what you mean, then I don't think I don't agree.
In healthy committed relationships, partners do allow each other the opportunity to influence (not set!) their boundaries. They allow each other that influence because, over time, the partners have shown that they are committed to respecting each others core values and have the good of the other person and the relationship as a priority. In unhealthy relationships, like one where one partner struggles with addiction, one partner has shown over time that they will NOT respect their partner's core values, and that they do NOT have the health of the person and the relationship as a priority. The natural consequence of this is that they lose the trust that allowed them to influence their partner's boundaries.


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