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 Post subject: A 2-pronged question
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:36 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:52 pm
Posts: 106
It has been a year and a half since my husband's last relapse. We've both been through this program successfully at least once. Among many other great things, I learned the art of healthy detachment. My first question is: how do I now reattach to him in a healthy way? I fought hard during recovery not to become bitter. Now that it's all over, I find that frustration consumes me...which seems a bit unfair to him. But I just can't seem to let myself feel vulnerable with him.
Next question: he's built many good things into his life; but he's still immature in so many finances, time management etc. This is where the bitterness comes in. I'm just so sick of dealing with it!
Ant insight you have is greatly appreciated.

 Post subject: Re: A 2-pronged question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:26 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 80
From my experience — and I can’t speak for everyone — recovery is never really “complete”. Recovery isn’t a linear process and as one issue becomes resolved, there’s invariably another that rises up.

The way I see it is that healthy detachment is for life. It doesn’t mean that you cannot be “attached” (if that’s the right word), and it doesn’t exclude emotional or physical intimacy either. It’s about recreating your own identity and recognising that all intimate relationships need this mix of attachment and autonomy. Chances are, somewhere along the years you lost that autonomy. It happens a lot. It happened to me. It’s probably the flipside of porn/sex addiction. That’s why (re)creating our own identity, sexuality, individuality and autonomy is crucial to our own healing and it’s probably what we lost along the way.

Re-attaching, in my experience (can’t speak for all), is an erratic two steps forward/one step backwards kind of process. You need enough trust (doesn’t necessarily mean 100% trust) in your partner. It feels risky because you are indeed taking a risk, because intimacy requires vulnerability. And that’s tough because we did that before and we were hurt, and now we’re trying to be open and vulnerable with someone who hurt us. You can’t get to that level of intimacy without taking that risk though, and it’s a risk you’ll have to take over and over.

Like your husband, my husband hasn’t quite mastered the art of emotional maturity. No way! He still wants to eat crap and drink too much, no matter what I do or say. I’m not going to stop him because his junk eating takes place outside the home, during the working day mostly. Yet he complains he can’t lose weight — well, go figure! I don’t care so much about his weight but the fat and the salt and the sugar isn’t good for anyone. He keeps harking back to when he was in his 20s but he’s now in his 50s and can’t seem to understand that he isn’t going to be that age again! I wouldn’t be surprised if many sex/porn addicts in their 40s/50s/60s are living in a fantasy world where they’re still 24 or 27 or thereabouts. I actually believe that they are stuck at whatever stage they failed to mature emotionally and develop adult life skills. We can’t force our addicted partners to grow up, it’s something they have to realise they need to learn for themselves. Even then, they will backslide into old ways of thinking. There are certain traits my husband has that I’ve had to (sort of) accept.

 Post subject: Re: A 2-pronged question
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:44 pm 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 580
I think Blue gave sage advice. Addiction stunts emotional and life skills development. I husband got stuck in the emotional management of a little boy and the life skills management of an adolescent. The addiction prevented him from learning new skills. I am really struck by this and it's something that Jon teaches in the lesson: the need to evaluate the consequences of one's behavior. My husband didn't do that for decades. So once they are sober, our partners are faced with the daunting task of learning all the skills for maturity that is expected of them.

My husband is in his 70's and I think he saw himself as an 18-25 year old until he was about 65. Remember the distorted thinking that goes with addiction and an active fantasy life.

It's hard to re-attach. There's no doubt about that. And, now, you get to decide if there is enough in your husband that you want to risk being vulnerable with him. Now comes the hard decision. Do you respect this man? Do you trust him? Do you think he cherishes you? Will he be there for you when you need him? Does he respect you?

Further, do you enjoy your time with him? Do you find him interesting? Do you desire him? Do you respect him?

You may or may not decide to risk being vulnerable again. Or you may negotiate a relationship that is less dependent on trust and openness.

IC and/or MC can be of help.

I think for me, this really is an exercise in thinking about what I want for my life and my future. And, thinking not just about what is "okay", but what I dream for.


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