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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:13 am 
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First, I’d like to say hello and let you all know how comforting and reassuring it is to read all your stories and know that I’m not the only one in this situation.

My regret, which I’m wondering whether anyone else shares, is that if I had known on D-Day what I know now about sex addiction (a year and half’s worth of reading, research and counselling later), I would have made it a lot harder for my husband to continue his life as if nothing had changed.

At the time I kicked him out, but only for a long weekend. I was so devastated and disbelieving almost, and of course so desperate to make everything OK and not have our children or anyone else know what was happening … and he was terrified that he’d finally been caught, and was telling me he would get professional help and basically ‘do ANYTHING’ to make things OK … and of course I wanted to believe him so I let him come home and we began our new life of me urging him to pursue Recovery, and him taking half a step forwards followed by several steps backwards.

In short, there have been no consequences for my husband – no wake up call, no rock bottom, no real reason to change. I have no idea whether he’s acting out, but I do know that there’s been no real change in our relationship, no increase in communication, no difference in his attitude or behaviour.

On hindsight, I wish I had told him he wasn’t coming home until he was attending weekly counselling, weekly 12 step meetings, had at least the first 7 RN exercises completed, and I was convinced that he really wanted to change.

Does anyone else wish they’d handled things differently?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:36 am 
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Jenny,

Please read this thread viewtopic.php?f=22&t=21241&p=204183&hilit=the+only+true+rock+bottom+is+death#p204183

It will help you understand that there is no rock bottom and you are not responsible for creating that for your partner.

Also, I doubt there were no consequences. Have you not changed your attitude, your way of relating to him, your discussion topics, have you not detached, felt like you're losing hope, spent your time differently? There are consequences, whether he allows himself to see it or not.

We cannot punish them, push and pull them into recovery. I know cause I've spent one year and two months doing it. Now I'm done. I finally understand I am responsible only for my happiness and for my safety. It hurts still seeing him how he doesn't get it. It really breaks my heart and I'm not even blaming him. I begin to think it might prove to be somethig he cannot do nor understand and I need to protect myself from getting drowned in this sea of sadness.

Regret is an emotional reaction to your thoughts. You think you could have done better. You think you are responsible at some level. Are these thoughts true? In my experience I think not. The truth is he doesn't really want or know how and it's something no one can do or teach him. Sad as it is, it's the truth.

And it's never too late for consequences. Just make sure they come from a desire to protect yourself, to take care of yourself and the ones that depend on you, to live your life to the fullest and be happy. As long as your actions will be fuelled by your need to create some sort of impact in him, you will never be free and that's a miserable life. And most certainly all your efforts will hit the wall that he creates around himself. That wall you can never bring down. Only he can do that. I know cause I've tried so hard and everytime I thought I'm getting through it wasn't more than a split of a second before he closed it again.

You are in my thoughts.

_________________
"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: Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:43 am 
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Hello Jenny,

Your post struck a cord with me and I am no stranger to pangs of regret. Having said that, over many years now I have retrained my way of thinking (long before I met my partner). This new thinking has become a way of how I choose to view my life so that I can pull myself back on track quite quickly when I fall into the regret-trap for what I consider a bit too long for my liking (when I am starting to feel depressed too much, too long).

I think it is normal to feel regrets. How could this not be at least part of what we feel? We are often stumbling on our way blindfolded. It is not something that happens to us. It happens only on Jerry Springer.... surely? But then we search for a way and with a bit of luck we find something that fits. And RN fits for us. I feel the same as you. I also tried all and sundry to get to grips with this craziness (to the point of making myself crazy, (especially during the first post ddays in our relationship), but only now I can see myself moving truly forward from it.
Also if there are children involved it puts a whole new dimension on the dilemma we find ourselves in. My partner brought 3 lovely boys to our relationship and even though we were 'only' part time parents I was always looking for ways for our dramas not to affect them. In some ways I feel I have done good, in others not so much. But I had no help from my partner at the time, who still thought of himself as a good role model. I had to find a way for the boys, for me, for us... and this is a herculean task! What can we do better? Sadly-Nothing! Not back then in the past. You have done all you could with what resources you had. Hindsight is not a good friend, unless we use it in a way that helps us (learning from the past and moving forward). I found having regrets made me feel stuck in pain and anger. So I changed how I handled those thoughts when they affected me.

I am not sure if my sharing some of my thought processes when regrets try to weavel their way in helps you a bit. You have been here longer than me and you may have found your own way of dealing with these pangs and just wanted to share. But I will do it anyway and hope it is ok.
I am still quite new here, but a lot so far of what I am reading/the workings of addiction etc confirms what I had figured out for myself already over the past years. But there is still so much to learn and open my eyes to new perspective and actually well and truly facing up to it all is something I am now learning here. And this is the crucial point imo.

.... the facing up to reality/the realization that our love & devotion is not enough to show them the way, and then stepping back from our partners to the extend that is needed for us to heal and cope is I think the first big and very painful step for all of us. It is huge for me and to be honest many times (getting less now though) I wish I would not feel the way I do in my down moments. With that naturally come thoughts of 'if onlys'. I had them too. Powerful they were at times and they effected my emotions profoundly. And I still sometimes feel them creeping in. For example, I am now working on my third exercise here and listing where I could have followed my instincts makes regrets flare up .....and whoops! down the slippery road I slide..... If only I had trusted my instincts....
....But then I think to myself hey girl! you chose to think in the right way. You want to think based on trust and love and compassion and hope for a deeper connection. Because let's face it, where would I be heading if I did not think in that way? I would be thundering down the road away from what I want in life. And would I have lived by the example I want to set? I now understand that this is what they mean when they say we think our values have failed us, but in fact they did not. We hold on to a normal way of thinking. This is success and not failure. This is being true to ourselves and our values. It is the SA who have failed themselves and not us failing ourselves.
I sometimes look back and I see myself hanging on to my values to the point of dear life. During the past 11 years living with a SA, on many occasions I made conscious choices when I had doubts/suspicions. I chose to think trust based. Because I did not like the alternative. I would have been in great danger of becoming a very unhappy if not even obsessed snooper/detective. I chose trust and self respect instead. Did it get me the desired results. Nope! And with that thought a few more 'if onlys' reared their ugly heads again.
....But then I thought to myself enough is enough. I cannot change the past and I cannot change my current situation instantly, but I can see from my past what I don't want! Now I want to create what I do want. Because (this is a simple question that has become my very best friend over the past many moons) - What is the alternative?????

I may be wrong, but I think your current sense of regret is connected to you not seeing and feeling any real progress in your relationship and the resulting fear of you wasting yet more of your life and time on this. And wondering how it will affect your children short and long term. There is no easy answer and you will need time to find what is right for you and your family.
But sadly 'real consequences' may not produce the change you need to see. I have left my partner which sent him into a sense of panic. For the first time in 11 years there are so called real consequences or shall I say more like drastic measures. But will that make him recover? NO! Harsh truth. But it won't. It may serve as an incentive/a goal, but this does not alter the fact that he needs to truly want to change his life so that he feels better in it himself. Not for him to become a better actor. The real consequences I see as a way of putting myself back together, rather than a way of making him well. This is a new way for me to think about the 'consequences'. They are for me and not for him! Not a tool for manipulation to push him (kicking and screaming) down the path I want to see him on. And believe me I did push! Thinking surely he must see...but painful experience taught me they sadly don't see unless they are ready to look.

If you don't feel change then there probably isn't. Your husband is not ready. My partner had to sink really low and his addiction had to cross a few big lines, before he actually considered seeking help. It took him 40 years of addiction to even start looking! And this is the crucial point. He for the first time took initiative that was not prompted by me. My partner is now in early recovery, maybe approaching middle even. And I see change now. But also I see a lot of old ways still. I chose to leave him as I need the distance (at least initially) now for my own healing. But going back home is also not out of the questions. We now communicate much more and we talk about the things that are hard to talk about instead of skirting around them. And the main difference is that my partner now often initiates these discussions which is totally new in our relationship. If your husband is not showing real change then ask yourself what would you have done if you had known what you do know now? And maybe this is what you need to do? We can give a little guidance to them. But if we feel resistance then we must not keep on pushing, but let them be. I do this by removing myself from the living with him / the situation of being too close / I end phone calls calmly if they head nowhere. He then figures the next step out for himself or not. While I keep on rebuilding my own life. But this is me and it fits my life and my journey. For you and your family it will probably be different what is right and what you can do within the existing framework of your life.

I was in turmoil after initial dday. I so wanted to find my 'it', which is the thing inside me that makes me want to do that leap of faith. But as it happened wanting to look after myself now was stronger this time than wanting to go back to him. Someone here gave me valuable advice. If I don't quite know what to do, then to put a set time period to how long I would like to hang around to 'see what happens'. And not to pressure myself. This helped me a lot.

Healing Hugs.

_________________
NewDawn x
Giving up is not an option...
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over,
she became a Butterfly!


Last edited by newdawn on Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:06 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
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Jenny - Welcome, and sorry you have to be here, but this is a wonderfully supportive place to be.

Quote:
Does anyone else wish they’d handled things differently?


Ah, where to start. Before all of my discoveries, I would have said I had no regrets in my life because even though I made mistakes, whatever path I traveled was okay. I don't feel that way right now and I really look forward to getting back that old feeling of resolve and confidence.

Doing the RN lessons has really helped me not blame myself for: not knowing the truth, trusting when I should not have, not trusting my instincts, staying in an abusive relationship, and on and on and on. My desperate need for wanting some control of my life and to make sense of all the craziness makes me question my decisions. But, as Jon says in the lessons, all of this has already happened. We can't change it. Oh how I wish I could. Oh how I long to take back my 30 years and do things differently. But, I can't. And when I let myself stay in that longing, which is so understandable, I just get sad and depressed, and feel even more out of control. This is something I am working on and it is improving. What I really need to do is focus on the here and now and on the future. Lots of unknowns. Lots of risk. Lots of uncertainty. We really do need to focus on ourselves (and on our children).

The RN lessons really help. This forum really helps. I'm in individual therapy which really helps. Detaching from your partner's addiction really, really helps. Once I truly accepted that what my husband does or not do about his addiciton is so out of my control, it was a huge relief. I am so terrified of making more mistakes that I am paralyzed from making decisions. Now that is a problem. But, we can all understand this. I am working on this.

Others on this forum really helped me in supporting my confusion; understanding our second guessing; saying it is okay to be in a muddle.

You are not alone. I send you my gentle embrace.

dnell


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
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Dear Ursula, New Dawn and dnell,

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply in detail - I really appreciate it. This is my first time communicating with other people with SA partners, and it feels good.

Ursula, it wasn't until I read your reply that I realised that wishing I'd made things harder for my husband is really me making myself responsible for his Recovery - something I already know I can never do. I know that only he can choose Recovery.

However, I do somehow feel compelled to keep reminding him that he can't expect things to remain the same if he's not prepared to do anything. Him not doing anything makes me feel outraged that he thinks he can deceive me the way he has for almost 18 years and get away with it.

I find it very difficult to understand why he wouldn't want to pursue Recovery when he knows this would make him a happier person.

I'm not ready to make a decision regarding our marriage yet but the RN exercises are really helping, and I think I will eventually know what's right to do for me and my kids.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for your encouragement.

Jenny209


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
Jenny,

Jenny209 wrote:
Ursula, it wasn't until I read your reply that I realised that wishing I'd made things harder for my husband is really me making myself responsible for his Recovery - something I already know I can never do. I know that only he can choose Recovery.

:g: :g: :g:
Jenny209 wrote:
However, I do somehow feel compelled to keep reminding him that he can't expect things to remain the same if he's not prepared to do anything. Him not doing anything makes me feel outraged that he thinks he can deceive me the way he has for almost 18 years and get away with it.

That is you stating your needs and boundaries. Even if you are not clear just yet on the consequences of him violating your boundaries and not meeting your expectations/needs. You know deep down you will not allow things to be as they were because it's not the life you want for yourself and the only reason why it even happened was that he has been deceitful. You have never signed up for this, it has been taken from you ... it's normal to feel outraged, especially seeing how he is not in a hurry to make amends. You will get more clarity on this and people say the lesson about boundaries really really help ... I never made it so far as I moved to the recovery side but you will get there soon enough.
Jenny209 wrote:
I find it very difficult to understand why he wouldn't want to pursue Recovery when he knows this would make him a happier person.

Well, the answer to this is complicated ... Some ideas ... It's a very hard and painful process of introspection. You have to face terrible things that happened to you or things you've done to others. There is a lot of guilt and shame. Not many are brave enough to face themselves and to discover how they've wasted so much of their potential, so much of their life on meaningless and temporary things. The most difficult thing is to stop lying to yourself ... to learn how to dissociate yourself from that little voice inside your head that makes you deny and justify all the unpleasant things you do ... to grow awareness, to connect with your values, to get your emotional stimulation from acting in line with your values ... It's hard work, really hard work. Compare that with the immediate gratification process of acting out that brings immediate relief.

Think of yourself first and foremost. Figure out what makes you happy. Change whatever you can change and accept what you cannot. Forge the life you dream of for yourself. I know you will be just fine.

_________________
"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 Dec 03, 2014 12:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:43 pm
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Ursula, - what a fantastic reply you have given !!!!

_________________
NewDawn x
Giving up is not an option...
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over,
she became a Butterfly!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
Newdawn,

I'm glad my reply resonated with you. I had great teachers ... Coach Mel, Mrs. Jones, Nellie James, the bagholder ... to name but a few of those whose posts consistently helped me understand things for myself. These days they are not online that much which is quite a loss but all that wisdom is within these threads for those who like to venture ... I would encourage anyone to read as much as possible from the old threads ... there is a tremendous amount of insight, wisdom, strength and endurance that shines through time.

_________________
"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 Dec 04, 2014 1:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:49 pm
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You have gotten some good advice. I'll just jump in here with a few thoughts.
Quote:
I find it very difficult to understand why he wouldn't want to pursue Recovery when he knows this would make him a happier person.
In a nutshell: FEAR. He's afraid to face himself and the consequences of his choices. The SA has lived a duality for so long rationalizing and validating his choices that his behavior patterns have become a comfortable place for him to be - sounds crazy to you because your thinking isn't skewed. These old patterns are hard to change - it's all part of the addiction. It will take hard work on his part over time, BUT he has to want to become healthy (for himself) because he values a healthy life. He can't do it for any other reason or it won't work. This is all a process that will be unique to him just as your healing with be a process unique to you.

Recognizing that you can't take responsibility for his health is a huge insight you can build on. We all tend to second guess our way for a while, but the lessons educate us about this addiction and help us develop the tools we need to go forward with our lives. You can learn to set and clearly state your boundaries with appropriate consequences - not to change him, but to protect what you value. The key is to enforce your boundaries consistently or they're meaningless. I'm not sure where you are in the workshop, but later lessons will help you do this. As things jump out at you in terms of boundary violations - write them down. Be clear with yourself in defining the value violation, and when you are ready, be clear with him. I am a firm believer in communicating in a straight forward way with no expectations. Just to be heard and to underscore that your boundaries are not negotiable. It's hard at first, and he will resist, most likely, but stick to your guns on this.

Also, check in with your vision regularly - see if it still fits. It's not set in stone. You can refine and revise as you see the need and as you become healthier yourself. Also, find your joy. Do those things, often simple things, that make you smile, give you satisfaction, and change your focus. I also believe that it's important to stay with the order of the lessons acceptiong that this is a continuum of learning. Cherry picking for a quick fix just doesn't work. !D You will have light bulb moments along the way, I promise. :w:

Well, I said more than I intended. I hope some of this helps. :w:

Nellie James


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:59 am 
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Thanks, Ursula - you are amazing! Perhaps you should consider becoming a Counsellor yourself when you're ready?!

And thanks Nellie James - I appreciate your input, and it certainly does help!

Jenny


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