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 Post subject: Advice Needed - Trust
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:36 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:40 pm
Posts: 2
I am new here and spent a lot of time reading through posts and lessons last night to get a sense of this space. I suppose I found myself here because I'm feeling a little lost and in need of a community of understanding. My circumstances are slightly different from many of the partners' stories I have read and I find myself a bit lost in wrapping my head around my role in all of this and how to move forward. Let me explain:

My partner hit bottom and sought help before we met, so I have not experienced the lies and betrayal that some of you have. He attends SLAA meetings weekly (has for almost two years), has a sponsor he checks in with regularly, a therapist he sees monthly, and has been open with me about his addiction and triggers (promiscuity and anonymous sex at his toughest time - he was not in a relationship at the time, so no deception in that respect - mostly though he struggles with masturbation and pornography use when he is feeling alone/lonely). He was open with me and shared his addiction quite early in our relationship (perhaps 2 weeks in) and has communicated openly with me when I have asked questions or sought a better understanding of his addiction and what that means for us. I want to make sure that our communication stays strong and open. We have been together just over a year now and are living together and talking about marriage (both in our early 30s and ready to settle down and start a family).

He has given me no reason at all to doubt him. I have found him to be unfailingly reliable, devoted, and caring in our relationship since the very start. That said, I find a small lingering worry - simply based on what I understand from others' experiences with broken trust - that based on the nature of addiction, I should reserve some trust or be wary in some way. I don't want to, but what I know of addiction makes me start to doubt my own gut instinct (perhaps this has been heightened also by reading some of the challenges you all have faced, which are frankly, scary). I'm not sure if this is an answerable question, but how do you know when to trust your instincts? That probably sounds rather naive, but that's what's coming to mind lately.

Lastly, we are encountering some challenges with our sex life in terms of infrequency. It was most exciting early on (before we were emotionally so close) and when it tapered off, we discussed it and he shared how he never associated sex with intimacy in the past and more often linked it with shame and loneliness, which makes it harder to combine sex and emotional intimacy now. He is working on it and I am working on being better at initiating, but finding that after a period of success, it goes back to a dry spell. Aside from continuing to talk openly about it, his conversations with his therapist, and my own efforts to initiate (which he says helps, and which is a little more out of my comfort zone too), are there recommendations you have regarding how to work on redefining sex as something associated with love/intimacy rather than shame/loneliness?

Thank you all for your postings and for any advice you may have! I'm so grateful for this resource.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:53 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 666
kph, welcome to RN.

You ask some very good questions and important questions to ask before starting a family. I would NOT want to start a family with an active addict. I don't know if your boyfriend is acting out or not.

I would encourage you to start the partners' lessons here on RN. I think they will be helpful in giving you some of the answers you need.

The most important thing I had to learn is that my husband had to do all of his recovery and healing on his own. Since this addiction is related to an underlying intimacy disorder, and if I knew then what I know now, I would not have married my husband. They most not only stop the acting out, they must learn to live a life based on values and begin to understand how to relate to others in a mature and healthy way.

One of the things we partners learn here is to ALWAYS trust our gut, or intuition. You are saying, I think, that you feel there is something a bit "off." Pay attention to this. I so dearly wish I had paid attention to those feelings and that awareness.

An SA can't dabble with porn and masturbation. I see that as not being in recovery. I see that as using sexual acting out in order to escape and self-medicate.

And, SA's substitute intensity for intimacy and you seem to be noticing that. It's a red flag for me. It's chasing the high of addiction, rather than living in reality with the depths of human connection. It's a fear of intimacy.

A red flag for me is the decreasing sexual frequency.

It's your boyfriend's work to figure out how to associate sex with intimacy and not intensity. There is nothing you can do about that. If you have your own issues about this I would encourage you to seek out your own individual counselor.

I know my words may seem harsh. I am relieved that you are thinking about all of this before you take the serious step of marriage and family.

I do not know what is in your best interest to do, but I do know that the lessons here will be helpful. I also know that if I went back in time and knew that my husband was an active sex/love/porn addict, I would not have married him nor spent a minute with him. If he was recovered? I don't know. I believe in recovery and I believe addicts can become healthy and addiction free. It's a tough road.

With deep compassion,

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:42 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:40 pm
Posts: 2
Thank you dnell for your compassion and thoughtful response.

To clarify, my gut is actually NOT that something is "off". Rather, my gut is that all is well. It's my brain that worries I cannot trust that gut -because reading the posts here on RN and elsewhere about all the awful challenges others have faced makes me question the feeling and I guess question how recovery is possible - I'm relieved to hear that you believe it is. My boyfriend's commitment to his recovery and his open communication with me has all indicated to me that he is in a healthy place and that the trust I feel is well-placed...I guess I'm just scared by the lies and cheating some of you have experienced and fearing that there's a universal element to that.

It sounds to me like I've got some more work to do on my end and that the Partner's and Couple's lessons on RN might be a good place to start. I also shared some of my newfound concerns with my bf last night after posting here and talked with him about how reading more about SA in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding has brought up some fears that I did not previously have. He suggested that we see his therapist together (he specializes in SA and relationship counseling) and offered that I could have an appointment with his therapist or another one on my own if I wanted. I think that might be a good place for us to begin, particularly to continue open dialogue and for me to address some of these newfound fears.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:31 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:11 pm
Posts: 21
I know this response is a bit late in coming, but I wanted to say a couple things.

First, after being completely and honestly shocked the first time I found my husband lying to me, I eventually realized that the only difference between me and a person who trusts their partner to never hurt them is simply a reality check. Nobody is immune to betrayal. This may sound cynical, but as long as we can only ever control our own actions, we are susceptible to other's secret lives. It's not your fault when people lie to you.

Second, I have never been wrong when I suspected "something was going on" with regard to discovering my husband's relapses. Not once. Today I got a very long email from my husband who's on RN, telling me how committed he is to being the best man he can be, true to his values, etc. Not the first one, btw. I don't even know what my cue was, really, but within hours I found current chat room evidence. I somehow just knew.

Being with a known addict means you must be prepared for relapse. Only you can know your limits and boundaries regarding the amount of trust you require in an intimate relationship. I'm very idealistic, so even after 20 years of marriage, four years of broken trust have managed to completely destroy everything we built together.

Good luck.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:17 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
hi, kph

He suggested that we see his therapist together (he specializes in SA and relationship counseling) and offered that I could have an appointment with his therapist or another one on my own if I wanted. I think that might be a good place for us to begin, particularly to continue open dialogue and for me to address some of these newfound fears.

Your bf's willingness to work with you on this is commendable, as is his openness.

With regards to counselors: understand that if the therapist is first and foremost your boyfriend's therapist, it is safe to assume he will have a bias, and possibly even professional obligation to be of more "service' to your boyfriend than you.

If it were me, I would want to work with a separate relationship counselor who a) has comprehensive experience (years) with SA b) understands and does not discredit the role of misogyny in our culture and its relationship to SA and c) is not an SA "apologetic" (basically the kind of person whose values are an extension of "this is what all men do and you need to accommodate it.")

I write this because I have personally seen friends destroyed by counselors who minimize the issues of SA, who reinforce dangerous gender myths, and who make the partner feel like she is the one who is crazy. THese friends have been set back years. I don't want to see this happen to you.

take care,

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