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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:52 pm
Posts: 19
I don't know where to actually start. My husband is a SA. Obviously. Porn, objectification, fantasy and love addiction. He's never had an affair or done anything with anyone. Over the course of a year we've tried smart recovery and a few meetings. They fizzled out as he just didn't go. He seems pretty on board with this. He's on lesson 6, posts regularly and does his lessons. I can see his emotional capacity change, zero porn, he's updated me on things and says everything goes well minus the blips of fantasy that pop into his head and he creates a break in the cycle. All sounds well right?

No. He still sucks at the things he says to me. Example? He doesn't know if he wants to be here. Then he'll change it. He does. He was thinking for a minute how it could be without a family. WTF. Why? I know, because you're an addict, but why say it out loud and hurt my feelings? He apologized. I don't care if you're sorry. He lately has really been struggling if he wants to be here apparently. Good. I mean, personally I don't care right now and have been contemplating it anyways but am giving myself time to make a rational decision. Would I LOVE for him to get better, and us to have a good marriage? YES. Do I have faith right now that will be us? Not so much. Why on earth would he be doubting being here? Is this normal? He says he goes emotionally numb. He can't feel a lot of love for me or an overwhelming desire to be here he just knows he is supposed to be due to logic and the fact he wants to see our children grow up and he knows logically he cares about my wellbeing. The sentence alone made me angry. Am I over reacting? I just feel so confused and angry through all of this. We went through so many periods right after discovery that he told me, he didn't know if he loved me, then he did, then he wasn't sure, he didn't find me attractive, then he didn't know why he said that, then the girls he saw were hotter than me, I had issues, my body wasn't as good, he was so sorry, etc etc. So this just SCREAMS similar to me. Why does my life have to be like this? Did anyone stay and have any hope or a semi normal marriage? I just can't see it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
srenae wrote:
Did anyone stay and have any hope or a semi normal marriage? I just can't see it.


I wondered the same thing when I started on my own healing. I couldn't see it either. I was searching for success stories here, and the best I found was couples who were years into recovery and still in a less-than-ideal relationship. Or at least, less than what I would want, according to my values. The fact is, and I can say this four years since D-Day, it is a long, challenging road for both the partner and the SA, whether you stay together or not. I do believe in humanity and the power of each of us to heal and transcend into better humans. It's just that there are no easy answers, no quick fixes, and definitely no straight trajectories. There will be stops and starts. There will be relapses. There quite likely will be dropping out of recovery for the SA, statistically speaking. It's just part of it.

The good news is that you do not have to decide right now. Some wise advice I got early on was to wait for a year into my own recovery before making any decisions. That allowed me to work on my own healing and learn the difficult realities of upholding boundaries. I got good practice that serves me to this day.

A couple of observations. 1.) It's highly unlikely that your partner is very far into recovery, if at all, after just a few meetings and only six RN lessons. And that observation is backed up by his saying emotionally abusive things to you. If it screams similar to past behavior, it is similar. As you work through the lessons, you will learn that your gut is your truth. Listen well. 2.) You will learn that words are meaningless. What does he mean? His actions tell you. Those are your measures of recovery. 3.) The turning point for most of us here is letting go of our partners' recovery. The sooner we realize that we have no control whatsoever over whether, when, or how our partner will (or not) recover, the sooner we can get to the real business of what we are doing here: our own healing.

And finally, to your question, "Why does my life have to be like this?" The answer I came to was that it doesn't have to be like this. You have many options. That's part of what you'll start to answer for yourself as you go through the lessons.

Be well.
—(still) Rising


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 665
srenae - I completely understand what you are experiencing.

Very early after the first of multiple D-days, the hurtful and cruel things my husband would say to me really, really hurt. I am shocked and hurt to this day. I think he was finally really telling me what he thought of me as a porn and sex addict (not young enough, hot enough, pretty enough) and as a romance/love addict (not romantic enough, loving enough, adoring enough). He drilled down to specific harsh criticism of my body parts. This is when I saw the addict in my husband and how he inspected and assessed women and girls. My SAH protected his addiction by rejecting and judging me harshly. He kept me at a safe distance since he also deeply feared true intimacy. And, he was addicted to rage and cruelty as well. They were life management tools for him in addition to his addiction.

This really hurts. I will NEVER forget the cruel things he said to me. It enraged me as well. It disgusted me. It horrified me. And it is completely in violation of my values and beliefs.

Now, three years into my healing, I am much better at establishing boundaries. My husband also is in active recovery and he is learning to manage his anger and to develop compassion, kindness, empathy and generosity. In deep addiction, those feelings and skills are absent.

And, honestly, I think my husband was confused about what love meant given his distorted thinking and his addictive fantasies.

At first I was desperate to find marriages that had survived and thrived. Frankly, there aren't many. And I only listen to partners. I know of one woman who is happily married. Her husband is sober and a different man. She does not completely trust him. Most partners tell me their recovered partners continue to have trouble with honesty. I know of another happily married couple but they are sexually anorexic based on mutual decision.

I didn't realize that my most important question wasn't about the future of my marriage. it was about what I would do to heal. And then, what kind of life did I want and how could I get it. the more I focused on me, the more these answers began to emerge.

It takes time. I'm not done yet. It is very painful, but I have been healing.

dnell


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:52 pm
Posts: 19
dnell wrote:
srenae - I completely understand what you are experiencing.

Very early after the first of multiple D-days, the hurtful and cruel things my husband would say to me really, really hurt. I am shocked and hurt to this day. I think he was finally really telling me what he thought of me as a porn and sex addict (not young enough, hot enough, pretty enough) and as a romance/love addict (not romantic enough, loving enough, adoring enough). He drilled down to specific harsh criticism of my body parts. This is when I saw the addict in my husband and how he inspected and assessed women and girls. My SAH protected his addiction by rejecting and judging me harshly. He kept me at a safe distance since he also deeply feared true intimacy. And, he was addicted to rage and cruelty as well. They were life management tools for him in addition to his addiction.

This really hurts. I will NEVER forget the cruel things he said to me. It enraged me as well. It disgusted me. It horrified me. And it is completely in violation of my values and beliefs.

Now, three years into my healing, I am much better at establishing boundaries. My husband also is in active recovery and he is learning to manage his anger and to develop compassion, kindness, empathy and generosity. In deep addiction, those feelings and skills are absent.

And, honestly, I think my husband was confused about what love meant given his distorted thinking and his addictive fantasies.

At first I was desperate to find marriages that had survived and thrived. Frankly, there aren't many. And I only listen to partners. I know of one woman who is happily married. Her husband is sober and a different man. She does not completely trust him. Most partners tell me their recovered partners continue to have trouble with honesty. I know of another happily married couple but they are sexually anorexic based on mutual decision.

I didn't realize that my most important question wasn't about the future of my marriage. it was about what I would do to heal. And then, what kind of life did I want and how could I get it. the more I focused on me, the more these answers began to emerge.

It takes time. I'm not done yet. It is very painful, but I have been healing.

dnell



Thank you so much for your reply. The end is true. I don't know what kind of life I want or how to get it. I just want to be content right now and that seems so far away. It's hard. I am going to really focus on trying for myself, it just seems fairly difficult. Thank you, so much. Glad you are working on it still.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:52 pm
Posts: 19
RisingtoChallenge wrote:
srenae wrote:
Did anyone stay and have any hope or a semi normal marriage? I just can't see it.


I wondered the same thing when I started on my own healing. I couldn't see it either. I was searching for success stories here, and the best I found was couples who were years into recovery and still in a less-than-ideal relationship. Or at least, less than what I would want, according to my values. The fact is, and I can say this four years since D-Day, it is a long, challenging road for both the partner and the SA, whether you stay together or not. I do believe in humanity and the power of each of us to heal and transcend into better humans. It's just that there are no easy answers, no quick fixes, and definitely no straight trajectories. There will be stops and starts. There will be relapses. There quite likely will be dropping out of recovery for the SA, statistically speaking. It's just part of it.

The good news is that you do not have to decide right now. Some wise advice I got early on was to wait for a year into my own recovery before making any decisions. That allowed me to work on my own healing and learn the difficult realities of upholding boundaries. I got good practice that serves me to this day.

A couple of observations. 1.) It's highly unlikely that your partner is very far into recovery, if at all, after just a few meetings and only six RN lessons. And that observation is backed up by his saying emotionally abusive things to you. If it screams similar to past behavior, it is similar. As you work through the lessons, you will learn that your gut is your truth. Listen well. 2.) You will learn that words are meaningless. What does he mean? His actions tell you. Those are your measures of recovery. 3.) The turning point for most of us here is letting go of our partners' recovery. The sooner we realize that we have no control whatsoever over whether, when, or how our partner will (or not) recover, the sooner we can get to the real business of what we are doing here: our own healing.

And finally, to your question, "Why does my life have to be like this?" The answer I came to was that it doesn't have to be like this. You have many options. That's part of what you'll start to answer for yourself as you go through the lessons.

Be well.
—(still) Rising


Thank you so much. You are right, I DO NOT have to decide right now, and I told him I can't. I need more clarity before rushing into such a large decision that right now, I feel would be 100% emotional based vs. logical. #3 is so true, and one of the hardest for me to grasp. I dislike having no control, and this is truly a scenario where I have zero. I need to heal, I WANT to heal, and at the same time, so badly I want US to work out also. So how do you lose that need? To have a healthy marriage?
I put it in one of my lessons (14) that his actions are vital to me. I am going to observe those vs. managing his recovery, or micromanaging his words because it's all I've got.
I appreciate your response.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 3:47 pm
Posts: 174
Dear srenae,

First of all, my heart goes out to you. I haven't been on the forum for a long time, but I felt led to encourage someone today and found your message.

As someone who has survived, and in many ways has flourished, and stayed in her marriage, I want to encourage you to first of all, as others have told you, look after yourself and figure out what your values are, and learn to protect them. When we live with someone so paralyzed and numb, many times we lose sight of our own vision. Addiction has already robbed you of so much, don't let it take anymore.

It will be 9 years on the 30 of November that I discovered that my husband had lived a completely double life alongside our life as a family, for 25 years. (He had endless relationships, some ongoing, with needy women and was into online porn the last while as well.) To say that this discovery threw me into a tailspin is a great understatement. I look back and have no idea how I survived, but I do know that my faith, Coach Cheryl, Recovery Nation, and eventually a trauma counselor played an immense role, in my, and our healing.

Embrace the lessons and you will learn that your intuition can be trusted. Actions, on your husband's part speak much louder than words. Words to an addict, in my experience, are terribly cheap. It seems to me that the second they are spoken, they trick themselves into believing they are truth. Lying is like breathing to an addict, so, again, if they have uttered the words out loud, it seriously becomes embedded in their mind as fact. My husband lied to me many times a day for 25 years; it had become a major part of his value system, and oh the deep, deep damage it causes for both parties! The long term affects of the lying, take a great deal of time to bring into the light and change. So, total transparency, for us, was imperative, and now after endless failures, I'm happy to say happens naturally. There needs to be transparency even about the smallest of things. You will learn to identify red flags and know that when they arise there is something behind them. Again, do the lessons, learn to trust yourself. My husband had been a master at gas lighting. (Check it out online if you're not familiar with it. I wasn't aware of the term at first.) He made me think he was the one in control of his emotions and that I was the opposite. Anything to deflect the heat and protect the his secret life. Anything not to be discovered. Anything from allowing himself to be vulnerable. The two worlds do not meet in their minds; in their totally skewed value system, one exists completely separate from the other.

Along with working on myself, (post traumatic stress is an issue for me), I have spent the last nine years watching, and not so patiently waiting sometimes, as I watched my husband unthaw. it was hard to accept, as someone that I'd lived with for so long, someone standing right in front of me, that he really and truly was a numb and paralyzed human being that was operating from a completely unaware and robotic place. I am not making excuses, whatsoever, but I think this paralyzed aspect is true for any type of addict right across the board. At 54 years of age, my husband was still a selfish, self-centered child in so many ways; he believed that he deserved to get what he wanted. Serving himself under the dark guise of being a husband, father, provider, and respected community member, had become his entire value system. When I try to imagine how he juggled it all, I can't fathom it. He says, now that he can't either.

Even though there were times it has been pure hell, and challenges continue to arise periodically, I am glad I have hung in there, and today, no we don't have a perfect relationship, (I don't believe there is such a thing) but he is respectful and a person that is striving to be mindful about what he says and how he acts. He is not always successful, but we can manage to talk about it and he learns from it. He can now, unprompted, openly express his regret and chagrin for his past life, and his great thankfulness to be living in one world without secrets and shame. When he speaks about the grace that has been offered him by God, myself and his children, it brings him to honest tears. We can now talk about anything together and have managed to continue to work together in our business. Would I wish for something different? Of course, but this is my reality and it has taken me years to accept it. I lived far too long in regret and in the past. My mourning period took many years and I still have moments of deep sadness at the thought of 'what if', but I also know there is no Utopia out there. Sometimes I see couples with fidelity in place, that have been married for many years, with nothing to say to each other anymore. Over this, I will take my situation, even though it has been rife with pain.

Each person's reality is, of course, different. If my husband had not desired to recover, the whole thing for our marriage would have turned out differently. But even though he desired change, the challenge in my experience, beyond the pain of betrayal, was to watch as he tried to do the lessons, but was completely so numb and unaware that he couldn't see himself in a truthful way. Addicts lie to themselves as much as everyone else, I think. For him to actually see the truth about his own life took years, but as he 'unthawed', there would be moments of truth and realization that would surface. These moments would cause him grief but there would also be healing take place.

There was a time, where our family was completely shattered and I didn't know if my children would ever be in our home again, but now, whenever we gather, which is quite often, I am so grateful. There is still a guarded barrier there, particularly with our daughters, but it too is thawing out a bit at a time. My grandchildren love their Papa and he adores them and is daily overwhelmed with gratitude.

I continue to work on myself and move forward in my own personal goals which are many. God has granted me the gift of accomplishing many of them even in the midst of all of this. There are days where what is inside of me doesn't keep up with my outsides; at times I still struggle with many triggers, depression, the 'what ifs', and anger over his past actions can take me down if I allow it, but most times I'm successful at keeping it in check. I know that even if infidelity and betrayal had never happened in our marriage, that life would still hand me struggles, just in different ways.

So, all in all, our marriage is so much better than what it was before and he, after years of struggle, has surfaced as the person that I still love and he is once again my best friend.

Give yourself time. Don't make any decisions this early in the going. Realize, but don't make excuses, that the activity your husband has been involved with has done great damage to him as a person. If he truly wants to make changes in his life, it is very possible, but it won't happen overnight.

Wishing you health and peace,
Hollyhock


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 3:47 pm
Posts: 174
Dear srenae,

First of all, my heart goes out to you. I haven't been on the forum for a long time, but I felt led to encourage someone today and found your message.

As someone who has survived, and in many ways has flourished, and stayed in her marriage, I want to encourage you to first of all, as others have told you, look after yourself and figure out what your values are, and learn to protect them. When we live with someone so paralyzed and numb, many times we lose sight of our own vision. Addiction has already robbed you of so much, don't let it take anymore.

It will be 9 years on the 30 of November that I discovered that my husband had lived a completely double life alongside our life as a family, for 25 years. (He had endless relationships, some ongoing, with needy women and was into online porn the last while as well.) To say that this discovery threw me into a tailspin is a great understatement. I look back and have no idea how I survived, but I do know that my faith, Coach Cheryl, Recovery Nation, and eventually a trauma counselor played an immense role, in my, and our healing.

Embrace the lessons and you will learn that your intuition can be trusted. Actions, on your husband's part speak much louder than words. Words to an addict, in my experience, are terribly cheap. It seems to me that the second they are spoken, they trick themselves into believing they are truth. Lying is like breathing to an addict, so, again, if they have uttered the words out loud, it seriously becomes embedded in their mind as fact. My husband lied to me many times a day for 25 years; it had become a major part of his value system, and oh the deep, deep damage it causes for both parties! The long term affects of the lying, take a great deal of time to bring into the light and change. So, total transparency, for us, was imperative, and now after endless failures, I'm happy to say happens naturally. There needs to be transparency even about the smallest of things. You will learn to identify red flags and know that when they arise there is something behind them. Again, do the lessons, learn to trust yourself. My husband had been a master at gas lighting. (Check it out online if you're not familiar with it. I wasn't aware of the term at first.) He made me think he was the one in control of his emotions and that I was the opposite. Anything to deflect the heat and protect the his secret life. Anything not to be discovered. Anything from allowing himself to be vulnerable. The two worlds do not meet in their minds; in their totally skewed value system, one exists completely separate from the other.

Along with working on myself, (post traumatic stress is an issue for me), I have spent the last nine years watching, and not so patiently waiting sometimes, as I watched my husband unthaw. it was hard to accept, as someone that I'd lived with for so long, someone standing right in front of me, that he really and truly was a numb and paralyzed human being that was operating from a completely unaware and robotic place. I am not making excuses, whatsoever, but I think this paralyzed aspect is true for any type of addict right across the board. At 54 years of age, my husband was still a selfish, self-centered child in so many ways; he believed that he deserved to get what he wanted. Serving himself under the dark guise of being a husband, father, provider, and respected community member, had become his entire value system. When I try to imagine how he juggled it all, I can't fathom it. He says, now that he can't either.

Even though there were times it has been pure hell, and challenges continue to arise periodically, I am glad I have hung in there, and today, no we don't have a perfect relationship, (I don't believe there is such a thing) but he is respectful and a person that is striving to be mindful about what he says and how he acts. He is not always successful, but we can manage to talk about it and he learns from it. He can now, unprompted, openly express his regret and chagrin for his past life, and his great thankfulness to be living in one world without secrets and shame. When he speaks about the grace that has been offered him by God, myself and his children, it brings him to honest tears. We can now talk about anything together and have managed to continue to work together in our business. Would I wish for something different? Of course, but this is my reality and it has taken me years to accept it. I lived far too long in regret and in the past. My mourning period took many years and I still have moments of deep sadness at the thought of 'what if', but I also know there is no Utopia out there. Sometimes I see couples with fidelity in place, that have been married for many years, with nothing to say to each other anymore. Over this, I will take my situation, even though it has been rife with pain.

Each person's reality is, of course, different. If my husband had not desired to recover, the whole thing for our marriage would have turned out differently. But even though he desired change, the challenge in my experience, beyond the pain of betrayal, was to watch as he tried to do the lessons, but was completely so numb and unaware that he couldn't see himself in a truthful way. Addicts lie to themselves as much as everyone else, I think. For him to actually see the truth about his own life took years, but as he 'unthawed', there would be moments of truth and realization that would surface. These moments would cause him grief but there would also be healing take place.

There was a time, where our family was completely shattered and I didn't know if my children would ever be in our home again, but now, whenever we gather, which is quite often, I am so grateful. There is still a guarded barrier there, particularly with our daughters, but it too is thawing out a bit at a time. My grandchildren love their Papa and he adores them and is daily overwhelmed with gratitude.

I continue to work on myself and move forward in my own personal goals which are many. God has granted me the gift of accomplishing many of them even in the midst of all of this. There are days where what is inside of me doesn't keep up with my outsides; at times I still struggle with many triggers, depression, the 'what ifs', and anger over his past actions can take me down if I allow it, but most times I'm successful at keeping it in check. I know that even if infidelity and betrayal had never happened in our marriage, that life would still hand me struggles, just in different ways.

So, all in all, our marriage is so much better than what it was before and he, after years of struggle, has surfaced as the person that I still love and he is once again my best friend.

Give yourself time. Don't make any decisions this early in the going. Realize, but don't make excuses, that the activity your husband has been involved with has done great damage to him as a person. If he truly wants to make changes in his life, it is very possible, but it won't happen overnight.

Wishing you health and peace,
Hollyhock


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