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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:30 am
Posts: 95
Need a bit of perspective and to see if I'm the only one in this situation??

I'm working my way through the workshop and this line jumped out at me in Stage 2, Lesson 1:

'Your partner will likely be desperate for you to forgive him and/or for some guarantee that, should they do what they need to from this point forward, that they will get a second chance.'

At no point has my husband seemed to want me to forgive him or wanted to make amends - oh, he's asked me to tell him I don't hate him and that he's not a terrible person, but he hasn't shown any real desire for me to forgive him. In the weeks after D Day, I couldn't figure out what was going on.. he was withdrawn, cold, distant - not what I would have expected if he really wanted to keep me and / or win me back.. all of this was while I was doing my best to get my head around his porn addiction and reeling from his betrayal of my trust. In the middle of all of my pain, I was up and down on a rollercoaster between feeling sorry for him and feeling hurt and angry towards him. I could feel his hurt and his struggle, and I was feeling compassion towards him. I was willing to work at things to make it better - to communicate, understand his feelings, what had brought him here. But I couldn't understand why he wasn't reaching out at all to me or making any small gesture to show that he understood my pain and wanted to make it better.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, he revealed that he'd been holding back on the fact that he doesn't feel the same way about our relationship any more, that his love for me has lessened over time, and that he feels emotionally 'vacant' towards me etc. Talk about a double whammy - first, I've kept a huge secret from you, second, I don't love you as much anymore. I felt like curling up into a ball. I couldn't, though, because we have two children getting back to school and all that goes with it, so there was no time to let the grief settle and take hold.

What I'm struggling with now as I go through the workshop is the assumption I'm picking up (possibly wrongly) that most SAs want their partner to stick with them or support them, whereas mine doesn't seem to want any input from me. He is functioning totally separately from me and doesn't seem to want my involvement in his emotional life any more (in any real sense), other than in the day to day stuff of running a family and a house. While I know I need to view my recovery as fully independent from his, I'm finding it hard to understand what happens when your SA is not connected to you in terms of their recovery. Do I just get on with it myself? It's hard to feel in any way supportive of him / invested in how he recovers when he doesn't feel the same way about me. I have no idea if he even wants a future with me, so the future seems to hazy and intangible at the moment.. it's like the landscape of my whole life has changed and I don't have a map!

Has anyone else been in the same boat, where your partner has stated that they don't love you as much any more? Do you still care about their recovery? If they did say that, did they change as they went through their recovery? I don't know if he's feeling this way about me because he feels so inherently unlovable himself at the moment. I hope I'm getting my question across properly.. It's kind of hard to put into words. My head is all over the place at the moment.

Thanks,
Beachcomber.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:42 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
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Oh, Beachcomber....I am so sorry to hear about the painful interactions with your husband. My situation isn't exactly similar, but, yes, I got for YEARS (and doesn't that make me feel...ugh...to type this) that I wasn't good enough and my husband wasn't sure if he loved me, but he did love me, but it wasn't good enough,....and on and on. Just past discovery, he was desperate to keep me, and more desperate to keep his addiction, and desperate to have me leave, and desperate to finally find the perfect one, and desperate to.... I mean, he was a mess. Addicts are an emotional mess and have been so for a long time. Honestly, I don't think they know how they feel since they are so emotionally immature and have spent decades running away from their emotions to their rituals. My husband also really wanted to hurt me post discovery. I mean he had been cruel for years, but some of the things he said post-discovery are so unbelievably cruel. In my husband's case it comes from shame, which he can't tolerate, lack of self worth, which he projects in tons, and just a general inability to handle anything without rage and his addiction. And, let's not forget blaming!

I used to be really wrapped around the axle about whether or not my husband "loved" me. Here's what I know: my definition of love is nowhere near what my husband would define as "love". Remember we're dealing with selfish toddlers with our addicts, not mature men. And, in my husband's case, he has such self loathing at his core (which he really wasn't aware of...kind of amazing but I get that now) he is incapable of loving anyone else unless and until he can love himself. And, remember, they have to blame. Always. So who the heck knows what is going on with your husband. I see these addicts as chaotic messes who thought they were gods but wanted to be taken care of like children.

Here's where I ended up on this question of "does he/did he love me": I couldn't figure out what was worse, that he didn't love me, or that he did and he treated me so badly. So rather than dwell in that ugliness, I just stopped caring. Now, it's about me and my well being. My husband needs to recover and to get healthy, and, frankly, not only does he need to make amends, he needs to prove to me he is deserving of my love and respect. And, Beachcomber, it took me a long time to get to that realization. But that holds true for you as well. Your husband needs to earn your trust, your love and respect. He needs to make a sincere commitment to recovery and health for himself, and then have the maturity to treat you better.

I can't remember if he is in an active recovery program or not, but as you learn boundaries, you might make one that requires him to be involved in some sort of program. In the meantime, keep working the lessons and try to focus on you and your children. The more you can detach, and oh I know how hard that is, the better you will feel. And the more I detached, the more I focused on me. Here's what I am learning, and getting better at doing though it's not easy: when he starts to hurt you with his words or behavior, you have the right to tell him to stop, to escape, to stop listening, to walk away....anything to not let him hurt you anymore than he has. Now the reality for me is that staying with an addict who was not sincere about recovery at first involved more pain. But, I am getting better at making boundaries to stop this abuse. It takes time. It takes practice.

Here's another thing that helped me: early on, and even now, when words start coming out of my husband's mouth and I know they are lies or I know they are going to be more BS abuse, I am getting better at walking away or tuning him out. Or, imagine garbage falling out of his mouth, or spewing out. And, it's all about him. It's not about me.

Today, now, do something nice for yourself. You are lovable. You are worthy. You are desirable. Hug your children.

With compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 8:38 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:30 am
Posts: 95
dnell wrote:
You are lovable. You are worthy. You are desirable. Hug your children


Thank you so much dnell.. this last line of your post brought me to tears.

dnell wrote:
I just stopped caring. Now, it's about me and my well being.

I'm trying to get to that stage, but it's so hard. How do you live with someone as a husband and stop caring whether or not they love you.. and please don't think I'm being snippy or anything - I genuinely want to know. I feel like I have to shut down a huge part of myself and it makes me feel physically ill.

dnell wrote:
Your husband needs to earn your trust, your love and respect.

Thank you so much for this. Last night on the phone, he was telling me about his therapy session and, although it sounded tough and painful, he seemed to be making progress. And bizarrely, it made me really upset afterwards. I'm scared that he'll think that if he addresses his issues and makes an effort, it will all be ok again between us, if he even wants that. And it so won't - not for me. I feel like he's brought me to my knees emotionally and hasn't once offered me a hand to help me get back up again. I'm not sure I will ever be able to get past that. And your line above serves to remind me that he has to earn me back again - that's his job to do if he wants to.

I'm sorry your husband put you through so much also.

Beachcomber x


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:33 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Hi Beachcomber - I don't advocate partners stop caring about whether or not their partners love them. That's just me and the way I handled my situation.

What I would say at this point is that it is more important to love ourselves; to believe in ourselves. Our addicted partners are the only ones who can recover, if they are sincere and if they commit to recovery. Our love, at this point, needs to be focused on ourselves and our children. That doesn't mean we can't be supportive of our husband's recovery (and there is a lesson on that), but we don't need to be responsible for it in any way. And, to me that is loving: to realize we have no control over our husband's recovery; to hand them over to themselves; to focus on ourselves and on our children.

I don't want anymore of the kind of "love" my husband gave me. But, to be fair, he was an emotional toddler. He could only love, even absent the addictions, like a child. I want a mature man who can love me in a mature way. But, that's me and how I deal with my reality. I can live with my husband because I have compassion for the wounded child that he is. I am curious to see if he can become a healthy man that I could respect, like and love. He is working on his recovery, and he is working hard. It is going to be a long road. It is not a straight road.

I admire the partners who feel a strong and ongoing love for their husbands/partners. I envy the partners whose husbands/partners express love to them. Each of us has a different journey to understanding and acceptance. For us, there is no right way. What I do want to convey, though, is that I wouldn't right now put a lot of weight on your husband's words. Whether or not he loves you, was losing love, whatever, they are just words coming from an addict just post discovery. Now I know how hurt I am by the awful things my husband said to me post discovery. I won't forget them. Ever. But, as painful as they are, I now know they are more lies. More BS. More addict talk.

Quote:
I'm scared that he'll think that if he addresses his issues and makes an effort, it will all be ok again between us, if he even wants that. And it so won't - not for me.


Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I've been at this for two years and I still don't know what will be the outcome of my marriage. I do know, that because of this, I have to focus on me and my well being. And, sadly, it is so hard to do! But the good news is if my relationship succeeds, my being happy and self-focused can only make that relationship better. And, if my relationship fails, I will be in good shape since I will have focused on my well being.

With compassion,
dnell


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