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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 7:13 pm
Posts: 470
Background: I was on here years ago when I was married to a sex addict. That marriage didn't survive. Four years ago, I married a man that I believed was a gift... a reward for what I'd been through with my ex. Two years ago, I discovered that he had been having an emotional affair (he swears they were never physical, but their texts and pictures to each other held nothing back). Since then, I've been working on rebuilding myself (I crashed in a massive way, resulting in hospitalization) and doing everything I can to fix the marriage, with zero effort from him. After D-Day, he swore to me that he would be an open book and I would have unlimited access to his email, Facebook, and phone. Just after that, though, he changed all his passwords. I could still access things through his phone when I wanted, though I rarely looked. In two years, I've looked at his phone four times. Once, I asked him for it and he handed it over. Twice, he fell asleep next to me and I looked through it. I realize I may be condemned for this, but I'm trying to be honest. It felt SO awkward to check his phone while he stood over me waiting to get it back that I just wanted to look at it without him tapping his foot at me.

Current-ish Issue: About a month ago, I started to look at his phone while he was sleeping. He woke up and got incredibly angry at me for looking at it. He kept griping at me and demanding my phone (which I gave him... I have nothing to hide). He said that it was "only fair" that if I looked through his phone, he should be able to look through mine. Side note: that's like my daughter saying that if she isn't allowed to do something, neither should her brother. Sometimes some people earn different consequences for themselves. Anyway, I didn't get to look through things as much as I'd have liked, but I haven't even tried to look at his phone since then. Honestly, I think there has been some fear on my end that I'd actually find something. Anyway, this week, something happened that has my stomach in knots, my heart racing, and goosebumps popping up all over my body (all things that used to happen with my ex). We were out as a family (first time in ages that he's actually given us his time... he's been running away to another state every weekend to "work on his dad's house") and my brand new phone started acting up. He took me to a T-Mobile to see if they could fix it and they told me to call tech support and they should be able to send a reboot that would fix it pretty easily. So, I told my husband he could go into the restaurant with the kids while I called tech support in the car (the restaurant was very noisy). Tech support told me that I might need another phone for talking while I adjust settings on my main phone. I told her that my husband was inside a restaurant, but that I could use his phone if needed. We tried changing settings as much as possible on speaker phone, but got to a setting that I couldn't change while the phone was on a call. She asked me to go in and get my husband's phone. I walked in (with the tech on speaker) and asked my husband for his phone so that I could finish fixing mine with the tech. He refused to hand it over. I told him why I needed it (again, with her on speaker) and he continued refusing to let me have it. I had to tell her I'd try to fix it some other time, when I have a spare phone available. It was so humiliating.

I honestly can't think of any good reason why a man who has a history of infidelity and has done NOTHING to restore my trust in him would refuse to let me have access to his phone.

_________________
"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
I Peter 5:10


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:33 pm 
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Partner's Coach

Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:36 pm
Posts: 1291
Galinda, I understand your distress. I'm not sure what good reason he might have but doubtful it's a good one. The thing with phones though is he can delete things. And you probably know that if he wants to continue, he will find a way. I still go back to thinking I had my bases covered with my ex-husband, to prove the emotional affair was over, only to find out he went to our daughter's dentist's office who had free computers with internet. That's where he continued emailing her. That's the day I loosened my grip on monitoring his computers, phones etc. Because if he wants to continue, he obviously will. And if he wants to recovery, he will do that too.

Other than the obvious, it seems he is still minimizing what he did and that isn't good. And you are feeling that emotional upheaval and instability. I totally get it, and still experience it sometimes. That said, I wonder if your best course of action could be to ground yourself so you can see your choices more clearly. One way to do that is to revisit your values and your boundaries around them.

Another thought that I wrote about this morning that I am still have in my mind, is the idea of making requests. This helped me see how my values, boundaries, what my parts are and what his parts are. The idea is to make a request, open book with accounts, phone etc, then respect and believe his response.....from his actions. I made the mistake for many years in going over and over his words and then getting furious, exasperated, frustrated (insert other bad feelings.... :s:) over his actions. I did this rather than simply listen and respect his actions AS his answer to my requests.

He knows you want him to be an open book. I'd be surprised if that wasn't crystal clear to him. I don't think you need to drive yourself crazy with his response to that request, that boundary. It may be better to simply think of your values and how to protect yourself in this situation. I'm not sure what that would be but maybe shift your thinking to include that if you can.

_________________

"What day is it,?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:45 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:40 am
Posts: 67
My husband and I signed a healing contract with boundaries and consequences clearly spelled out. One of the defined items was to adopt a transparent relationship. All emails, passwords, phones , phone records, computers etc. are to be available at all times to the other, no questions asked. We gave each other email/password lists and his phone, as is mine, is fair game. He actually set up a network between all of our apple computers and iPhones/ipads so I can see his messages as they come in, if I want to. Him being willing to adopt this transparency has really helped me feel safer, but also cared for that he understands this need of mine. I used to check everything obsessively, almost daily, but from doing the work here and getting stronger and focusing more on myself, I don't obsess about what he's doing much anymore. It's a work in progress for sure.
Having said this, if he became squrirly about me checking his phone, or changed his password without updating me, he knows the immediate consequence would be separate bedrooms and an ASAP session with our MC so we could discuss the contract violation. So your husband, if he were mine, would be in violation of our contract.
The wonderful thing about these contracts is that it removes a lot of gray areas where maybe my husband could do what yours did, and then try to make me out to be the crazy or paranoid one. Nope, it's spelled out, you signed, you're in violation. We established these contracts from a lesson in the couple's workshop here on RN. It was one of the first things we did, and it has helped me regain a sense of control in an out of control situation. It benefits my husband as well because it allows him to have concrete ways he can build trust with me and show me he respects my boundaries and feelings.
If you don't have a contract in place, I highly recommend you and your partner work on adopting one together. His willingness, or unwillingness to participate will speak volumes.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 7:13 pm
Posts: 470
Thank you all for your responses. You "heard" my fears and concerns and responded in very kind, understanding ways. I do think that maybe I should rework the lessons... or at least my boundaries/values. I know that he has crossed them. We've lived in separate rooms for MANY months because he violated my boundaries that protected my values. This is another violation, but I feel like my hands are tied because there isn't anything I can do when we're already living separately. My ex still has legal rights regarding where I live, so if I leave my husband for more than 60 days, I'm in violation of law, unless I get my ex-husband's permission. So, if I choose to leave the house, I'll have only 60 days for major changes to happen and that's scary. We all know that sometimes these "click" moments and changes can take months and years... to confine that to 60 days is terrifying. But what I'm doing now is clearly NOT working. So, I feel like I have no control and I'm doomed to be in a loveless marriage with a man who isn't remotely committed to me.

_________________
"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
I Peter 5:10


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:26 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
galinda -

Quote:
So, I feel like I have no control and I'm doomed to be in a loveless marriage with a man who isn't remotely committed to me.


I am so sorry. Your comment resonated with me and I just feel your sadness. I agree that sixty days is not enough to do what you may want to do about your life. For me, reviewing my options is critical. Sometimes I'm just not in an emotional state to do so, but when I am, it is helpful. I feel more in control even if my options are not great. In thinking about your situation, I can think of some options:

1)Staying but really separating emotionally and finding fulfillment in other areas of life. I think of this as being in a stinky job with needed benefits.
2) Planning to go and figuring out what that means. Finding a job? Finding someone to live with? This takes time and energy, but just thinking about it is helpful to me. Then, when I am stronger, I can start actually taking action. Maybe even apply for a job? Risk getting rejected? Risk getting accepted?
3) Spending as little time as possible with your husband and living life.

I think for me, the need to regain some sense of control was critical. That was and is one of my top priorities. The thought that I may never experience a truly intimate relationship with a man....that's very painful. It may be my reality. I don't know. But, if it is my reality, it doesn't mean I can't have a fulfilling happy life.

I am giving myself the gift of time to muddle through my healing and to figure out and and finally take action to live the life I want. I am not always successful, but I needed to shift my thinking from my partner to me.

With compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:01 pm
Posts: 45
dnell,

Can you say a bit more on how you have 'regained your sense of control'? That's a problem area for me.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
sapodilla - Such a good question. I'll try to fumble around with an answer. Doing the lessons really helped me at the start and as I think about it, the first step I needed to take was to focus on me and self care. Literally, I focused on: I need to eat and it should be healthy; I need to shower and get dressed; I need to take care of my dog; I need to exercise and get sleep; I need to follow up on doctor and dentist appointments. Just focusing on my routine for the day helped me start on my most important path--detaching from my husband's addiction, recovery, craziness and focusing on me. Then, I focused on doing something nice for myself each day even it was small--eat fudge (okay, not healthy eating but wonderful), read a book, go out for a walk, email an old friend, buy some new clothes. I just wanted to feel....normal...not dirty, not ugly, not crazy. After that, the lessons really helped me. I remember assessing the damage to me, while very painful, was actually very helpful. Writing it down, putting it on RN, all of that in a way makes it both real and somehow more easy to manage. Then, I searched for a trauma therapist. I've posted before that it took four tries, but it was crucial to find someone who would not label me as a co-addict or co-dependent.

Then, I focused on my options. Should I stay or go is the question that confronts all of us. I continually revisit this question. I had to take the time to really focus on my financial situation. I had moved, just prior to D-day, which was both a blessing and a curse since I am very isolated and that is awful for us. So, I have to think hard about where do I want to live. Knowing I had options really helped me. Even if I can't afford to divorce, there are different ways to stay. I think about this all the time. My options are becoming more clear as are the obstacles and the different paths I would need to take. I have not yet taken action (e.g., looking for a job), but I am feeling stronger every day so that I can do that.

Then, and this really helped, I started to figure out boundaries. Hard to do which is a devastating realization for me, but that was my reality. Really thinking hard about this, as in, if my husband has sex or an emotional affair with someone other than me I will leave regardless of the financial impact, was very empowering. It is so important to get back our dignity and self worth which my husband relentlessly and systematically destroyed. Well, damaged severely, but not destroyed. I will not let him destroy me. Smaller boundaries became easier and really helped me. I just don't do what is harmful or hard for me with my husband. For example, at first I was obsessed about his fantasy life and it helped to figure out what the heck he was doing. Now it makes me want to vomit and riles up disgust. So if he wants to "share" something I thank him for his candor and courage, but tell him I am not ready to hear it. Period. No discussion. No anger or whining. When he blames me for his crap, which is also relentless, I just say "I have done nothing wrong and I am not putting up with this" and I leave the room. It really, really helps.

This all takes time. I had to learn to be gentle with myself and to celebrate small steps. This helps. I still need to do that. In retrospect, it would have been better to physically separate from my husband, though it would have been tough financially. I let him convince me to stay, and I was worried about money, and without realizing it, I emotionally separated. That really, really helped me. I feel myself being able to slow down enough to think about what I am feeling, why I am feeling it, and what do I want to do about it.

I'm trying to learn to meditate, which will also be helpful. Therapy is costing me a mint, but it is well worth it, and when can afford it I will add massage.

It is essential to focus on ourselves and leave our husbands to do whatever it is they will do. It is essential that we protect ourselves from their ongoing harm.

As I write this, I realize that another thing that helped me get back a sense of control was to get back a sense of me...of who I am...of who I was...of who I want to be. The values and vision work of RN helps on this, but I spent a lot of time thinking about the years before I met my husband and my dreams. Do I still want those same dreams? How have I changed? What do I value in myself? What do I like about myself? I am much clearer about this and it has so helped me.

Finally, I allowed myself in therapy to feel everything and to express everything. I have some very strong feelings about my husband and lots of them are not nice. I can't unload them on him right now since they are too raw and explosive and he doesn't have the health to deal with it. But, my therapist validates these feelings and that in itself is so empowering. If you are not amenable to, or can afford, or find a therapist, use the partners community forum to write about your feelings---all of them. When my therapist says, "of course you feel that way, it makes sense" and "your feelings are reasonable" it makes we want to cry with tremendous relief. It is very, very healing.

sapodilla, I believe in you. I believe in me. I believe in all of the partners. I want my faith and hope to be focused on me and not my husband. Can he get healthy enough to be a decent enough man that I can give him my gifts of faith and hope? Don't know. But he trashed and manipulated those gifts for decades so he cannot have them now. But I can have them. You can have them. We deserve them.

Keep posting. We are not alone. Celebrate something about yourself today.

With compassion,
dnell


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