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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:02 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Exercise One

For exercise one I have decided to post my initial heart dump, which I posted back in February after the worst D day (there have been many). Whilst I can see I am more emotionally stable since then, my emotions are the same. CLoz and I are pursuing the couples workshop and are now both taking our individual healing/recovery workshops.

I am new here. having found this site in a recommended book given to me from my councillor. It is extremely comforting to read the stories of others, as when you find yourself in this total dark mess, it feels as if you're the only one.

I will try to be brief, but brevity is not my strong point. I have been married for 27 years and with my husband for 29 years in total. Ours was a whirlwind love story, a strong attraction on both sides. We lived together after 10 months, married after two years and our Son was born after 5 years. Following the birth of our Son, I found porn material (this preceded the internet) I was upset, according to my husband overreacting. As far as sI new it didn't continue. In 2002 my father-in-law died and my husband took it badly. We decided to move house, out of the area for a new start. My husband suffered severe depression and anxiety, which I gave him total support with (he has had this throughout our whole marriage and seen various, psychiatrists etc, taken a cocktail of different drugs) However, our sexual relationship began to suffer, he blames me totally for this, say I pushed him away and made him feel worthless. I had a previous marriage which ended in my husband having an affair, so I have to think, although not intentional it may be true. He now says he felt bullied by me, this was never my intention.

From 2004-2011, he began to be watch porn continuously, this then moved to chat sites, web cams etc. In 2011, I asked him to leave so we could consider what we both wanted, he left for 6 months but came home due to financial reasons. We attended marriage guidance but the issues just weren't tackled, mainly because he did not think they were problems. He had always had a problem with drink, but the drinking got much worse, he became an alcoholic, something else he did not admit to,

In 2014, I found some very graphic photos of him, I asked if he was posted on websites, which he denied. We decided to separate, we both did not want this. We stayed in the family home, until it was sold and during this time he kept telling me how much he loved me, how I was the only one for him, how we shouldn't be apart, how I should just accept him for the way he was.

We separated in 2015 but after 8 months, I missed him so much I asked if we could talk and if there was a way forward. He agreed to attend counselling. We found a SA councillor and started a programme together, within only a couple of months, he appeared a changed man, totally loving, attentive, I could not have wished for more. He had disclosed and we had drawn a line. He kept telling me he wasn't looking at porn, he only drank when we were together. My Son lives with him and commented on how well he was doing with the drinking, but said to me a couple of times, ask Dad if he is being honest with you. Throughout the 10 months, clues arose to suggest the disclosure had been nothing but a pack of lies. He had said he had just met women on the internet but in fact he had been seeing a friend of ours for 5 months and continued to see her when we were together. We drew another line. I continued to find information, names, meeting times, parties etc that did not add up.

End of February we went on holiday for some Winter Sunshine. He asked me to look at something on his phone and I discovered he was back on chat rooms, he denied it even when I showed him the evidence (which I suspect he always planted).

I was devasted to think that he had so easily deceived me over the years. He has been a kind and loving husband and a great provider and Father, a real family man, whom all of my friends and family have loved.

Over the years there have been other women come into our lives where I have had my suspicion that sex between them had taken place. For one reason or another they were always flaunted in front of me and brought to our home. Then everything was denied and I was held and reassured that he understood my insecurity from my first marriage.

When my Son was at Uni, my husband spent time with him and mentioned that he had been in the bedroom of the women next door, just to see if the house was the same as my Sons. When I questioned this he said the woman was on her own and he felt awkward.

Over the past week I am now pretty certain that he has had sex with many women over the years. Sickeningly all these women have been in very vulnerable situations in their life, as was I when we met. I chased him in the beginning, because he always came over shy and not confident and told me he thought I was too good for him, he totally charmed me.

He has agreed to take a 12 step program. I hate myself for still thinking there is any hope. I have been totally used, abused and duped by this man. I am feeling pretty desperate. My whole married life has been a lie. My new dreams for the future are dashed and I know it sounds dramatic, but I just don't know how to go forward. There is no point in asking what has happened in the past because he will just lie. I am so sad that my Son is so involved but I don't know what I would do without him.

I am going to try and go with the flow before I make any decisions, but how many times can you forgive and move on, I really just want to get over him and walk away. This is difficult at 56, he has taken all of my young years. I am financially independent, which is a blessing and I own my own home. I have been given a month off work and I am in a very dark place.

I suppose I just needed to get this off my chest. I know lots of you are in a place of forgiveness, but I just feel I cant be there right now.

If you are reading this, thank you.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:13 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Exercise Two
I would like to build a strong emotional resilience, which would enable me to successfully live independently (I do now, but it needs improvement) I would like to build trust in my partnership with the ultimate aim of decided how Or if I want to remain in the Relationship.

My goals are to be more self confident and assured in myself. To be able to regain my love and joy of life. To be more compassionate and forgiving to others. Also to have a fulfilling relationship based on trust, honesty, love and compassion. Sharing life's ups and downs, joys and sadness with those whom I love and care for. To take life easier on approaching retirement. To travel more. To one day build a house.

I want to support our Son and grow with him as he progresses through his life. I want to continue to share my time with my extended family, Mum, Dad, sister and her family. I want to share my time with my friends, going to the theatre, cinema.

I want to take walking holidays, enjoy the beautiful countryside where I live. I would like to challenge myself, for example walking The Great Wall of China.

I want to continue to keep fit, practise yoga and weight training. I want to continue to grow and learn about this life we live. Oh and learn an instrument and keep a dog when I retire!!

I want to grow spiritually.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:17 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Exercise Three

A. There have been many tines when my gut feelings were eventually proved right. I had found photo's and a web cam, which suggested my partner was meeting with women for on-line sex and posting pictures of his erection. He lied to me that it was him feeling insecure, blah, blah, blah. I never truly believed him, but I just didn't want to face leaving him at that time, eventually I did. In the midst of his addiction my partner lied about everything, not just his porn, internet and phone sex addictions., EVERYTHING. There were many, many times when I just didn't believe him, but was eventually proved right. When we were apart, he lied to me that he was meeting women on line for sex, when in fact he was having an affair(something he still denies) with an acquaintance of mine (as well as meeting women for sex, phone, internet, sex, porn and masturbation). There are still many occasions involving women, which my partner denies were ever sexual, my gut feeling says they were.

B. As In A above. I believed my partner because I still loved him and wanted my marriage to work. These days I am stronger and have my boundaries in place.

C. I find this difficult to answer, as I am deferring all judgement and trying to trust my partner and believe in him, in the way in which Jon suggests. If something arises that I do not feel comfortable about then I can confront my partner and he always has an explanation. I have access to his phone, iPad and can follow him with 'my friends' There are still times when I get that gut feeling and things are not totally explained; in these instances my partner has to take the consequences for breaking my boundaries. I worry sometimes that I want life to go smoothly, so I will just let things pass, then I think of the bad years and I know I won't do that.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:36 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Exercise Four
1) Make a list of those values in your partner's life that — in your gut — you believe is a part of him. Set aside the addiction and the behaviors that were a part of that addiction. Focus on what values you believe will survive the recovery process. Post these in your Healing Thread. If there is a time when you are feeling close to your partner, share these thoughts with him — so that he knows that you are beginning to separate the addiction from his core identity.

Not a list but my thoughts ... I still find it hard to separate the addiction from Cloz's core identity. This is mainly because I now feel I never really knew him. He would always be very accepting of casual sex, pornography, he once suggested that if our Son wanted to be a porn star 'then if he had it flaunt it'. These conversations always caused big arguments. The only way I can separate these core values and think that this may have always been the addiction is that it did seem to conflict with the caring father and husband that Cloz often was.

Cloz has always been a family man and is generous with his time. This continues. He always supports his family, this continues. I still feel his values are somewhat skewed between what he thinks he should be and what his values really are. I know he wants to achieve a healthy lifestyle and when he is truly committed to something he carries it through. I believe this is a strong value. He is kind and loving, these are values that I think will continue.

2) Make a list of those qualities in your partner that you believe will continue to pose as obstacles throughout your relationship.

Unreliable - forgets to carry out what he has promised. Forgets dates, times, arrangements. (He is working hard on this)

Complacency during our marriage there have been many times when Cloz has promised he will change. As soon as our relationships calms and the latest disclosure subsides, Cloz slips back into his old ways. THis is my biggest fear.

Depression - when Cloz sees life as futile.

I am seeing a transformation in Cloz and hope it continues and the above are unfounded. I am not looking for utopia, but do need a long term commitment to change.

Exercise Five
Addiction is a rational way to manage life using irrational behavior. Meaning, there is a very logical purpose for the existence of addiction in a person's life. Though to all, the actions/choices associated with that addiction are often completely irrational.
A. How do you manage your stress? What would it take for you to become so emotionally overwhelmed that you would turn to irrational behavior to produce enough intensity to escape from that stress? Can you think of a time in your life that you have turned to such a measure?

A. Depending on the stress. I practise yoga, meet with friends, chat to family, eating chocolate. When I was going through the last BIG disclosure, I didn't cope. I saw my GP and went on antidepressants. I felt suicidal and more than once I had crushed tablets to take. I called a helpline and talked it through. I turned to my friends and family for support. On two occasions I did drink, but did not continue as it felt irresponsible and I am still a mother, daughter, sister, friend. I have to be there for others too. Being the partner of a SA is the worst thing I have dealt with in my life.

B. Consider a compulsive behavior that you have engaged in. Break it down thoroughly. Get a sense for the anxiety that you experienced prior to engaging in the act. Imagine the continued anxiety that you would have experienced had you not engaged in the act. Describe that anxiety in your own words.

B. I can think of two compulsive behaviours. One was relaying everything that was happening in my relationship, to my Mum and Sister. I felt such a relief once I had told them. If I could not contact them for a couple of hours, I used to get in a high state of anxiety. Feeling scared, irritable, hopeless, nauseous, unable to sit still and a sense of impending doom. I ate nothing but chocolate for a week. However I was telling more and more detailed information. One day my Sister got very upset and said she could not listen to the explicit content. That she was there for me, but could not listen daily and in such detail. It really made me think and I knew I had to find another way to deal with it.

C. In contemplating the role that addiction has played in your partner's life, imagine what his/her life would be like without this life management skill in place. To be clear, the task here is not to imagine his life without the consequences of the addiction, but to imagine how he would manage his emotions without having the compulsive act to engage in. How would he stimulate himself emotionally? What would he use to regulate his stress? Not how should he, mind you, but how would he?

I believe without the compulsion to drink, smoke, take drugs or act out Cloz would be able to control his stress by working out. By playing, listening and writing music. He would draw more. Spend more time in the outdoors, gardening, walking. Learning new things.

Exercise Six
Understanding the sexualized mind will go a long way in allowing you to better relate to what you are currently experiencing. The more objective insights and awareness that you develop, the stronger will be your ability to maintain confidence and control in your life. And, the faster it will be achieved.
A. If you have not already done so, consider reading the first half of He Danced Alone.
B. Quite often, many sexual behaviors occur with such subtlety, such consistency and/or are so well disguised (through humor, anger, guilt, etc.) that it is not until you filter these behaviors through a net of sexual addiction when you realize that they are indeed woven from the same cloth. But the reality is, the majority of sexual addicts have positioned themselves within a cocoon of sexuality that is not related to their personality, but rather, their addiction. With this in mind, think of your partner's behavior over the course of your relationship. Describe the patterns that you suspect can be attributed to a sexualized mind.

Sexual jokes and innuendos, which would often be crude and explicit. This would particularly be about career women. Although my partner always supported me in my career and in studying for my degree later in life. He would say he is a feminist. In many ways he is!

Filtering everything through sexual behaviour. He still does this. A much younger colleague at work said she admired the way I looked for my age. She asked what I did to keep fit. When I told my SA he said she must be interested in me sexually. Not only does this still show he is still very much in recovery, but it minimises the effort I put in to keep myself fit and healthy.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:36 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Exercise Seven
A. Consider the role that you have played in your partner's recovery to date. In the field below, describe these roles as they relate to:
I. Effective communication
I am an effective communicator, I speak the truth and say what I am feeling. I still get emotional and angry at times and I am working on this.
I am more comfortable in communicating my needs and boundaries.

II. Managing your partner's recovery
I still try to manage my partners recovery. It's difficult because he lets me, wants me too. This is the old way and I have to let go. Reading in the forums, learning from the lessons. I have to do this. I am getting better. My partner is not just recovering from sexual addiction, with lying and withholding information very much a part of that, but also alcohol and prescription drugs. I want to help and support and because he finds it all so difficult I do take control. I know I have to stop this and that part of my control is fear of him failing to be able to do it alone. I know that when he puts his mind to things he achieves them.

III. Empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health

I eat healthily, take care of myself, personal grooming, exercise, diet etc. Cloz has always kept himself physically fit, although he struggles with this currently. I try to lead by example. I try not to manage Cloz's health, but it's difficult, the same old me, controlling everything. I find it frustrating when he eats and drinks (sodas not alcohol) and I know it causes mood swings. I try not to be judgemental. I try to encourage Cloz but feel extremely frustrated when 18 months into recovery (and 29 years in altogether) we are still going over the same old stuff.

B. Consider the focus and attention that has been offered to your partner in recovery; are you gaining equal resource to heal your own wounds? If not, what can you do to ensure that your healing is considered every bit as important as your partner's recovery?

I do not have the same resources as available to Cloz, he has a therapist and attends a 12 step programme. I do not have any friends to whom I can confide (I do have many friends, but none I would tell) I have stopped confided in my Mum and Sister as I gave my word that going forward, it would be between Cloz and me. It was my choice to stop seeing the therapist, although I have agreed to see her for couples therapy. Cloz often says to me, he feels like his whole world has collapsed, so has mine. Some days this feels worse than others.

C. (optional) For those who have made the decision to either stay in the relationship or "wait and see", considering the roles discussed in this lesson (or additional roles that you have thought of), what changes might you consider making to your relationship that would increase its chances for success?

I would take the advice to be a good listener, without judging. I would stop going over the past and asking questions. I would enjoy the moment more. I will keep my boundaries in place (I find this very difficult). I would not engage in destructive behaviour, but make a good life for myself (we live apart). I do need to start living a life more independent of Cloz. Cloz needs to show me he can live a peaceful independent healthy life. Only when we both achieve this can we think of a future together.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Exercise 8

I would like Cloz to be more vulnerable with me, to share what he truly feels. I do feel that he only shares the positive aspects of his recovery.

I would like that if we are both in a trigger situation (e.g. Being somewhere where I know he has taken other women) that Cloz acknowledges my pain and his own, rather than just go quiet or shut down.

I would like to see Cloz have a more mature response to forgiving himself. Often his guilt appears almost childlike.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Exercise 9

A. What are the key signs that you have observed in your partner that lead you to believe that he/she is engaged in a healthy recovery?

Cloz is fully engaged in recovery. He attends a 12 step programme, visits a therapist and is working through RN. He is now working on his own initiative and trying to share his feelings with me with honesty and integrity. He often has epiphanies, which he shares. Cloz realises that his multiple addictions are ways to cope with his inability to deal with his emotions. All in all, I can see a huge turnaround in how he is trying to live his life.

B. What are the key signs that you have observed in your partner that lead you to believe that he/she is NOT engaged in a healthy recovery?
Warning signs are when Cloz uses the same excuses for not doing things as he did when he was drinking or viewing porn/internet sex. For example, being deserving. Deserving a break etc. If he relapses on any of our contract points, he will sometimes make excuses. On the whole I see more ability to engage in recovery than not.

C. How have you communicated your observations to your partner? Have you communicated the healthy observations as well as the unhealthy? How has your partner responded?

I have communicated the healthy and the unhealthy observations. Cloz will say he appreciates my praise (for want of a better word). However, he has trouble accepting praise. Most times we can discuss constructive criticism, occasionally he becomes defensive.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:22 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Exercise Ten
Return to your vision created in Stage One; Lesson Two. Select the three most important values that you need right now to help you stabilize your life.

Deepening my spirituality
Developing forgiveness
Healthy relationships with friends and family

Deepening my spirituality - this resonated with me
I gain comfort from my spirituality. When I practise what I have learned I am more peaceful. I do not have any particular faith, although I was raised with Christian morals. I believe all gods exist or call it universe, but there is something bigger. I would gain more meaning by practising more of what I believe. I would like to join a meditation group, but working full time and having other commitments prevent this at the moment. I will consider finding something on-line I can join.

Developing forgiveness
I find I am still extremely angry and often feel out of control with my emotions. My rage and anger, hurt and resentment would, I am sure, be so much less if I could find forgiveness. I guess as my partner builds trust and I see honesty in my relationship I may find forgiveness easier. I also understand that forgiveness is for me and I deserve to benefit from this. This makes me feel uneasy, so I should begin by exploring my own unworthiness.

Healthy Relationships with Friends and Family
I have really good relationships with friends and family. I do find however that they take up a lot of my time. I need to not feel bad about saying no sometimes. This does not mean I do not care for friends or family. Often I spend short amounts of time with people to 'fit them in'. I need to see each of them less often for more quality time. It's just that I appreciate their friendship and some of them have been really supportive.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:03 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Lesson 11

I will come back to this as I do not feel ready at the moment.

Lesson 12

A. Describe where you are now in terms of your response to the discovery of your partner's addiction. Not where you were last month, or where you hope to be next month. Where are you right now?

Right now, I am not where I want to be. I have been better and am trying to tell myself that I always feel down in the darker winter months (despite feeling joyous as I love winter) . At the moment I continue to have obsessive thoughts about my SA's acting out. I have mood swings, feel happy and positive and then desperate and sad. I am more confused now than at any time. My SA has made great improvements to his life but the 'termites' as Jon called them are very much alive. We have talked about living together again and have a lot going for us. In many ways our relationship is better and certainly more honest than it ever has been. I am not trusting and afraid it will all happen again. I also feel very angry with him and the women who were willing to do what they did with him. I need to be told constantly that I am the best, looking, sexual partner, wife, mother, daughter, mum, employee - I despise this in myself as I hate feeling so needy.

I love my SA but sometimes I don't think I can ever put it behind me. Sometimes I think I deserve a more peaceful life.

B. Because you have experienced a traumatic event in your life — and the discovery that the foundation of your life has been jeopardized is severely traumatic — there are common patterns that you should expect and even prepare for in the months and years to come. Discuss what these patterns might be and how you will deal with them. There are no right or wrong answers here. The goal is to begin looking ahead with a realistic and constructive eye. To realize that with even the best healing process in place, the trauma that you have experienced will have a lasting — albeit not permanently destructive — effect on your life.

I am now 10 months along from the last disclosure, which was by far the worst so far. I feel I should be feeling more stable, know what I want for the future and be able to forgive by now. Some days I feel more towards this than others. I expect I still have to face triggering situations. Feel the hurt, anger and distrust. I have to grieve the life I expected. At the moment I often feel destroyed, on the other hand at times I can see a future. I am still waiting for my SA's actions to bring me peace. I know I have to work on my own peace. I am thinking of finding a therapist in the new year to work in some of my ingrained insecurities and beliefs also.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:22 am
Posts: 36
Exercise Thirteen
A. One of the first steps on the road to healing is to take inventory of all the ways that your partner's compulsive behavior has affected you. Begin listing these consequences and post them in your Healing Thread..

Lost my family home 8
Watched my son go through so much pain 10
Family relationships spoiled - 10
Had to leave the village I loved 9
Wrecked my self-esteem, trust, (sounds dramatic, but trust in humanity also) 10
Wrecked my confidence, my relationships with others 10
Lost some of my friends - 8
I have lost all my dreams for the future - 10
I loved where I lived, now it is polluted with all the women he acted out with - 10
I am always scared someone will recognise him from the internet when we are out, so I do not like to go out locally - 10
My financial future is now not secure - 8
Shame - I feel ashamed that my husband did the things he did. Sometimes I am ashamed that I have decided to stay with him 4

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