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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:22 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
It's been a year since DDay. I spent the last year throwing myself into my husband's court case, couples therapy (mistake) and trying to keep a healthy environment for my kids, instead of focusing on my own health. It has taken me a year to really embrace this as sexual addiction, because my optimism just couldn't let in the darkness of it all. Some would call that denial.

It took finding porn again, clearly stating a boundary about porn, and then finding it accidentally on his phone again for me to come to terms with the reality that I have been with a sex addict for 20 years.

Now finally internalizing that reality, I decided that I simply can't live with this in my life--either for me or for my kids. I realized that if I were my daughters, I would not want this relationship for them, and I need to model being the strong woman I hope they will be for this cycle to not be repeated for them. I started making plans for a divorce as I work my way through the workshop and get back to my own health.

Of course, just when I forced my partner to face the music, he realized what was at stake and began RN. It's only been about a week, but even in that week, I have tiny glimpses of the affectionate, humble, sincere, open person I thought I had married. Damn him.

So now I am in wait and see mode. One foot preparing to walk, the other foot loving someone deeply and wanting to be there.

The problem I'm facing now, as I read through people's stories who have walked my path, is that I can't find examples of partners who have stayed and aren't still, years later, dealing with new discoveries or doubts. Even the ones who seem to be in healthy relationships still grapple with SA in some way or another with their partner.

I mean, honestly, don't you just read some people's stories and think, oh, honey, it's so obvious--do you yourself a favor and walk away? And yet, I'm sure people read my story and think the same thing. Ha. I read my story and think the same thing!

So can someone please tell me the truth? Is there anybody out there who is in a healthy, loving, fulfilling relationship post-SA, without there being some doubt in the back of their mind?

I think if I could know of an example that shows that a healthy relationship is very real and not just a concept here, I would have the hope to at least give my partner time. But I don't want to even consider it if we're all just talking theory here and I'm going to make another discovery again when I'm 65, and realize that I could have left before it became my entire life.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:53 pm 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 675
I keep typing and erasing things trying to figure out how to give you a good picture of what my marriage is right now. My husband and I are post SA and (for the most part) healthy. We have our issues at times, but we work through them like other couples do. My husband still has some character flaws that exist because he matured later than he should have. He struggles to be consistent in helping me with house work - a common problem for couples, but related to his SA because it is related to impulse control and poor planning skills. There are still times when I struggle with trust, not in that I think he is sexually acting out (I have confidence that he's not), but in trusting that I am safe to be intimate and share my weaknesses with him. We have been building from a (mostly) healthy place for a bit over a year now. There are rare occasions that I become triggered by something related to sexual addiction and start to feel panicked that he might be using pornography again. But each time that has happened, when I sit down and work through what I'm feeling and the rational signs of what is going on, it's clear that he is healthy and honest with me. That's happened twice in this past year and both times I have eventually determined that it is largely due to my (diagnosed) anxiety disorder.

Why do I believe that he's not pulling the wool over my eyes? He is not the same man I married. I loved him when we got married. And I considered him to be a good guy, but there was an abusive side to him. He was always emotionally detached. He couldn't handle criticism. He had no impulse control. He lived in his own fantasy world where negative consequences couldn't happen to him, and if they did, they were always someone else's fault. That guy is gone. The good news is that we have a really great relationship right now. The bad news is that it took us 6 years of miserable, horrifying, painful work to get here and it wasn't guaranteed. I have so many other thoughts about this, but I'm struggling to get them out so I'll leave it here for now. If you have any other question, feel free to ask. Be Well,
Mrs Jones


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:02 pm
Posts: 420
The process of healing and recovery is a slow process of unveiling. Of course, for me, dday itself was a horrific wakeup call that he was not the person I had thought he was. But also for him, my husband discovered more about me through the process - as he became less self-centered and learned to listen and hear. He realized I was not entirely the person he had thought I was. And some things he always knew about me, but didn't think he was obligated to honor or respect them, were far different characteristics to contend with, when he realized he has to actually honor & respect me, not just appear to do so. So, even in the best of circumstances, where the SA partner commits completely to changing, the relationship/person you both thought you committed to never existed. Over the course of healing and recovery, you will discover that there are actually many things that were true, but you will also have to process the grief over what was not true, and then decide what you will or won't accept for your future.

I have been processing a lot of this in the last few months - trying to let go of my ideals and accept what we are together, instead of continuing to hope and be disappointed. I could only allow myself to do that, though, because he reached a degree of health and taking responsibility for himself that led me to willing compromise. Unlike our life before, I am taking stock and making conscious choices about what I will and won't live with, instead of subconsciously adapting to whatever he dishes out. And also, I am motivated to do this because of how much of my own life vision and values are at stake (children, home, etc). If it were just he and I, starting out together, I have not reached a place where I could say I'd do it all again. That is something I long for - to look at him, with everything else stripped away, and say, "Even if it were just the two of us, with nothing else, I'm glad I married you; I'd go back and do it again." I love him, but I don't feel that kind of "mean-to-be" love for him. But there, again, that may be because I don't feel safe enough to be that vulnerable to him again and that could change as we continue to grow and learn and heal.

Hope that helps. I searched for hope when I first came here, too, and found the best case scenarios still fell short of what I wanted.

I will say this - I wouldn't go back to day 1 of our life together and tell myself "you're going to be glad you married him," but I would go back to dday and say "you will be glad you stuck it out." There are a plethora of things I wish I had understood sooner and lots of moments I wish I could take back, but overall, I am glad I am still married to my husband and I love him very much. I am also very proud of him for having the courage to confront himself and change. It was and still is unbelievably hard and painful for him.

May you find joy in whatever life you choose -
thebagholder

p.s. the doubt in the back of your head - I don't think that is possible. We were innocent not to have a doubt in the back of our head, and we are no longer innocent. The workshop is not about losing the doubt in the back of our head, it is about building a life where we do not have to fear the possibilities, where we know who we are and what we will live with and what we will do if our boundaries are violate. It is about being able to live well in a real world where other people, even our closest loved ones, can and do violate our boundaries sometimes. It's not about a return to innocence, it is about becoming wise.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:36 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Thank you all for such a thoughtful, realistic picture. I have to say it doesn't sound all that promising, especially since I'm gathering that your three cases approximate the best case scenarios. I want so much more.

For now, I'm sticking around because I need some time for myself to process for my own health without more major upheaval for me and the kids. I think if I left now, I would just shut that part of me off and let the scar tissue form, as well as have a difficult co-parenting situation on my hands.

In the mean time, I feel like I'm making great strides in my own recovery--building my support network, working through the lessons, putting clear (and difficult) boundaries in place.


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