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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:11 pm
Posts: 23
I'm not quite sure how to explain this, but I am hoping someone gets it and can either relate, give me advice, or both.

My husband is working hard at a healthy recovery. I can see it in every aspect of his life. So, there is no reason for me to believe otherwise, and my gut isn't doing somersaults with worry anymore. My focus, thanks to RN, has switched to my own well being while being present in my marriage. Things are going quite well so far. Here is where the strange part comes in...almost like a subconscious need for self-preservation, as he becomes more present in our marriage and more open, I find myself suddenly keeping my husband at arm's length. I find myself thinking "I am not that happy. Maybe I should end this" or "Don't be stupid and enjoy your marriage, end it now, save yourself more pain in the long wrong". I am happier than I have been in a long long time though!

Any insight would be great. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:16 pm 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
andsoitgoes wrote:
Things are going quite well so far. Here is where the strange part comes in...almost like a subconscious need for self-preservation, as he becomes more present in our marriage and more open, I find myself suddenly keeping my husband at arm's length.


I can't remember how far along your husband is in recovery, but I know EXACTLY what you mean. My husband is six months into recovery and working hard. In my case, I know he is still dishonest and still uses deceit as a management tool for his life. He IS changing and he is getting healthier, but I believe he still minimizes, rationalizes and justifies. Not as much as before, but more than I think is healthy.

In my case, I want to see more sustained action in terms of honesty; more follow up on promises; better management of time; engaging in spontaneous, meaningful conversations; understanding his emotions..... He needs more time and more work to get there. So, at this point for me, things are better than they were but not where I would like them to ultimately be.

So, I still hold back. I am not yet safe. He has not yet demonstrated he is trustworthy. It would be foolish for me to trust him. Without trust, there is no way I will feel comfortable being fully giving. I trust myself completely on this. I believe I will FEEL when he has changed enough for me to consider trusting him and for me to open up my heart. I know I won't open it up fully, when I do start to open up, but it would be in stages. Not there yet.

So, I know what you mean and I trust myself and I trust you to know when and how much to open up our hearts and our emotions.

With compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:21 pm 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:49 pm
Posts: 675
I absolutely remember this. There are even times when this happens for me now, for short periods of time. No matter how far into recovery our partners are, we now know how much potential there is for them to hurt us. When I got married, I expected some nights of being furious with my husband, even some nights crying myself to sleep. I knew marriage was hard. I did NOT expect to wake up in the middle of the night in a panic attack or feeling my soul crushed as I watched my marriage die a horrible death. It's far beyond what I ever expected. And once you know how much that hurts, the knowledge doesn't go away.

There was an odd thing that helped me, and it actually related to a slip that my husband had. I had been away for the weekend, and when I returned my husband and I had a big fight where, at the end of it, he confessed that he had slipped. For about an hour after that I felt like my world was spinning. But at the end of that hour, I sat up and thought, "I need to take care of myself. I need to eat something. I need to sleep. I need to make sure that my son can't access anything on the computer." I got up, and protected my values; and my life, while still hard, went back to manageable. It was from that slip that I discovered that I was really going to be okay, regardless of what my husband did. I knew he had the ability to hurt me still. But he didn't have the power to undo me.

In those moments where you want to run, return to your values. What values support the choice that you have made to stay? Has anything changed? Are there extra boundaries that you need to put up temporarily to maintain your stability and safety? Remember, these boundaries aren't about correcting poor behavior in your partner, but about maintaining stability for yourself. The fact that your partner is continuing to pursue health does not mean that your boundaries must stay the same. In those moments, give yourself permission to just stop and take care of yourself. Take a long bath, paint your nails, drink a glass of wine you love, watch a tv show that makes you laugh. Self care can really help us center ourselves again.

Be Well!
Mrs Jones


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:20 am
Posts: 131
OMG.....these insightful ladies have said not only what you needed to hear, andsoitgoes, but I also needed to hear this!! THANKYOU for the post and thanks , ladies, for the comments! Some days you see glimmers of hope and other days you want to run screaming! Give yourself the gift of time.........and take time for only you!!! My life imploded only 6 months ago and my brain is finally clearing enough to accept things as they are, as he is......and let go of his behaviors. Working on my values and boundaries are also finally making sense! Progress in baby steps....be good to yourself!!

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It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:24 pm 
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So these baby steps of taking care of ourselves, sticking to our values, developing boundaries, finding serenity....they do add up. That and my indivdiual therapy work has gotten me to a point where I realized that I was just exhausted. Physically and emotionally exhausted by sex addiction. It has helped me to detach even more from my husband's recovery work. It has helped me to clear my mind of the worry about what he is doing, about slips and relapses, about the future. I still am hurt by the past and present betrayals and deceit, but not as much. It's just too draining. Life is too short. I've spent too much time and energy on all of this.

It is so much easier now to focus on myself. And, yes, as a result I am not as warm and giving to my husband. I don't start conversations the way I used to. I don't "entertain" or caretake as much as I used to. All of that emotional energy is focused on me.

If and when he is transparent, vulnerable, adult, healthy...then I can respond. And that does happen on occasion.

I don't know if my husband will fully recover. I do know that I will continue to heal. I don't know what will happen to us. It is still to soon for me to make a decision. And, if he returns to addiction, or violates a major boundary, or decides he has had enough, I will be okay in reacting to whatever comes my way.

I've still got work to do to heal. I still am living in transition. I still have hurt, anger and shame. All of this will get better. I will be scarred, but I will be okay. I feel stronger every day. I can feel the warmth in my heart for me and my dogs. I am starting to see people again and feel my warmth and joy with them. I need lots more work on this, but it's a start.

I feel compassion for all of us partners and wish us continued strength, serenity and solidarity,
dnell


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
Hi there, andsoitgoes,

I hope you don't mind my replying to your thread, these days I restrict myself to the recovery side. The reason why I chose to reply is that I've found what you are describing in a book I read some time ago, "Women who love too much" by Robin Norwood. The example in the book was about an alcoholic's wife, how she pulls away while the H begins dealing with his issues. I don't know if you would find meaning in this book (if what they describe applies to you or not) but my guess is you could give it a shot. Many things there helped me a lot to make sense of myself ... not all but many ... and reading this book has been a very liberating experience.

This being said, I also know how scary it feels trying to be vulnerable with someone who has hurt you so deeply. I know how it feels wondering if I shouldn't quit while I'm ahead. If this is what is going on, you've received excellent advice.

I wish you well,
Ursula

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"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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