Topic From Forum–Rebuilding Trust

confused woman at computer 150x226 Topic From Forum  Rebuilding TrustI know some of you have had trouble using the forum, so I decided to place my forum topic here so that everyone could join in the discussion. You can either comment here, or join the forum and comment there. So, here it is:

One of the most difficult aspects of Sex Addiction that we spouses and partners have to deal with is How do I ever learn to trust him again?

Maybe a better question is–should we ever trust them again? I think that in order to go forward in rebuilding a relationship with a Sex Addict, we have to swallow a strong dose of reality and face the fact that no matter how far along in their recovery they are, Sex Addicts will always be Sex Addicts.

We may not like it, and those of you who say you don’t want to live like that should examine other options, because living with a Sex Addict requires both a mindset and a lifestyle change. In my own relationship Larry has worked diligently for years to rebuild trust within our marriage, and I do feel quite comfortable. BUT–I will never forget the fact that he is a Sex Addict and, just as he must be ever vigilant to avoid temptation and triggers, I must also be watchful for any signs of regression and deception.

I have outlined quite clearly in my posts how Larry and I have managed to work on our trust issues. I would like to hear some of your ideas on how each of you are managing the trust issue in your relationship.

17 comments to Topic From Forum–Rebuilding Trust

  • Kimberly

    Josephine,
    I’m so sorry for your pain, however, your story is CLASSIC and the norm, not the exception. and NO, relapses are NOT normal and not a natural part of the “recovery process.” You see… he was never recovering to begin with and these so-called “recoveries” (fake recoveries) are more common than corn on a farm in Iowa. His rationale that he became “comfortable” and was “too ashamed” to ask for help made me audibly heave because you know and I know and everyone who reads this knows that he’s full of shit. Jo, he’s a sex addict and he. cannot. stop. He only became a wee bit better at pulling one over on you.

    You really have only two choices. Either you stay with the realization (and anxiety) that you are living with a liar and cheater who has too much “shame” to be honest with his wife, himself and the rest of the world too, OR you kick him out for good and take his effed up ass to court for a divorce. There IS no other possibility. He has made it perfectly clear that he cannot change. Again, I’m very sorry, to have to be so blunt, but this is the reality of this disease. If he hasn’t made it yet, he is not going to. I’m sorry but all the crocodile tears and begging is not going to put that shattered egg back together again. best, Kim

  • Josephine

    Hello,

    I am looking for support regarding this topic. My husband realized his sex/relationship/porn addiction about eight years ago after multiple affairs. He got into SLAA, went to meetings twice a week, and I was able to forgive him. We had some really good years– I could see that he was devoted to his recovery, and he became a warmer, more present, caring man. I loved the “new” version of him that recovery revealed.

    A few months ago, I suspected something was wrong, and he confessed to a two-year mega-relapse that included three more affair partners. He has broken them off, is just as remorseful as he was eight years ago, and is begging me not to leave. I don’t know what to do. I feel like it was all I could do to give him a second chance eight years ago, and at the time I even rationalized staying by telling myself, “If he does it again, I’ll have to leave.” When I asked him how it happened, he said he “got comfortable” and coasted in his recovery, slipped, and was too ashamed to ask for help. The slip turned into the kind of downward spiral that I’m sure many of you are familiar with.

    I keep hoping that there is some truth to the “relapse is part of recovery” idea. I want to believe him when he says that he has a greater knowledge now of necessary boundaries, so his recovery has the potential to be stronger than ever before. I’m not sure I do believe it, though. I have given myself permission to not make any big decisions for a while, and I have asked him to move out, which he has done. I just don’t know what’s next. I would be grateful for any experience you all have with partner relapse, both as a force for good (stregthening recovery tools) or a final straw (destruction of the marriage). Thank you.

  • Jessica

    I don’t know if this website is still active or if anyone still reads this but I desperately need to talk to someone who understands. I am very early in the process. I am about 2 months out from discovery and a newlywed and I’m struggling. Most of the SAnon meetings in my area that have responded to me have indicated that they are “out for the summer.” Is anyone out there?

  • Starry

    Hi Annie,

    Just back to this thread now :)
    Thanks for your words! I think thats kind of what I’ve done, but maybe in not such a direct way.
    At the suggestion of my counsellor a while back, on the basis that I kinda-sorta wanted to see if our relationship could work, we entered into a 12 month agreement where we would remain married and no choices about leaving were to be made till the 12 months were up, or we could extend the trial period at that time. Now this bears in mind that neither party is to do anything to hurt the relationship on purpose. Acting out hurts the relationship, and is a deal breaker. But other than that, we are meant to be free to speak openly without the other stomping out and sayong “oh efff this, I’m outa here”
    My H knows that I do not know if we will be together at the end. He knows that I cannot make that choice right now. The best I can give him is that I asked for (an recieved) an engagement ring. I refuse to wear my old ones.

    I’m not tryig to make plans :) I’m a bit further along than I was when I wrote that post. Ya, stil bothers me that in 12 months time he could be doing the same ole thing, and I’ll have wasted my time. However, I will know in my heart that I tried.

  • Annie

    HI Marian, I agree with Flora. Hold off on the affair. I am in a similar holding pattern right now. I am trying to live while he is recovering but it appears he is going on with “business as usual” Meanwhile, I cry at the drop of the hat or if I just see a hat. Same thing, he asks what’s bothering me or did he say something wrong…wtf???? What does he think is wrong with me!
    Anyway, I am not sure whether to stay or go but I am staying for right now.

    I will tell you I recently had dinner (platonicly) with an old boyfriend. The effect for me wasn’t so good. I think it made me feel like I missed out on the potential of a more normal life. Hence I am more depressed. I am afraid any “benifits” would have made it worse (for me at least).

    It is exhausting living this way. My best to you :)

  • Flora

    Hi Marian,
    I understand what you are saying and what you are going through. Yes it is his duty to earn trust, not yours to give. My SA is the same and has done little to earn trust back, after the betrayel and the lying, in addition looking back I had blind trust. I even went so far as to request the bank statements, cc statements, log of unaacounted for time, all fell on deaf ears when it was just a request. Then when I told him why he then made an effort. Yet again, as with your SA, not important unless in affects him in some way.

    Now my SA comes across as the most kind an loving person, but when it comes to proof and evidence, there is none. as in “show me the money” …show me how you love me and help take care of the house. He makes no effort towards the house, finances and now no effort toward forgiveness or repairing the betrayel in any kind of noticealbe way. He does attend meetings and thearpy once a week, but this is no way even comes close to the work he needs to do. I feel sometimes that I as well am being not kind or loving, but this has been the story of our marriage. I am no longer excepting shreds when i want the whole big picture. This is no longer “good enough” for me.

    So far my SA has been at this for a little over nine months, a year is in February. Little has changed, and so far my optimism has gone lower and lower each month. I am getting what I figured I would, and he has not changed, nor would it appear that he will anytime soon…possibly not ever.

    I would not have an affair, it is better to make a clean break and then move. Nothing fair in making the worst a nightmare. Not to metion be wary of the kind of man you attract who is happy to date a married women!?!? TROUBLE. Plus you have to be carefull about what you are doing to yourself and your son. Take care of him, focus on you an him. I know this does not make sense. But it will bring you more joy than your SA can or is possible of. Paint, go for walks, join a group or club (meetup.com is a good place to start), town recreational things tend to be cheap (park and rec department), get that pet you or your son always wanted etc. etc.

    Now that my SA is gone the computer is no longer locked and we can stream netflix on the Wii without having to worry about content. I have three kids, you can make it work if you really put your mind to it an be creative.

    Hugs and Stay Strong

  • Marian

    I’ve been thinking about this whole trust thing lately and it occurs to me that the onus is on sex addicted spouse to EARN that trust. Not for us to have to police them or not leave the house because they might indulge. It’s so hard to just focus on myself sometimes because I don’t want any screw ups. I don’t want to deal with the pain.

    ATST, I am finding it hard to live in the grey zone that’s become my life. Half in, half out. It’s easier to be raging than feel numb. I am going through a spot just now where I feel perilously close to breakdown and final options. The sex addict seems to see that I am not doing well but does absolutely nothing. There is no discussion about my not coping; it’s just business as usual for him. Holy crap! If I saw a friend dragging him/herself around for days, I’d sit right down and find out what’s happening.

    But I know what the deal is. He’s afraid. Afraid I’m going to kick him out and what will he do then. He’s got no friends. He’s got nowhere to go. Part of me feels bad about doing that. I don’t know why. Kind-hearted or a fool or maybe both. A lot of my hesitation comes from wondering how I can look after my son as it’s physically demanding. If I leave, it falls 100% on me. Right now, I can at least get help from the spouse for that.

    Which brings me to this: I’m tired of making allowances and having to watch my back. What about what I want? I have considered an affair. I wouldn’t do it behind his back. I’d be upfront. A friend with benefits. Someone who really cared about me because I sure as hell don’t feel cared about. Yes, he dotes and he smothers but it’s all about him. He needs a hug so he should get one.

    Having gotten that all off my chest, I probably wouldn’t be able to pull something like that off but if given half a chance, I’d run with it. Does that make me a bad person? Should I just focus on preparing to leave over the long run?
    Thanks for listening.

    Marian

  • annie

    Starry,

    Not sure if you are still following this thread. When you say, “if its all enough? Sure, he’s doing good now, but what about in 12 months when he thinks I won’t leave…” I have the same worry. I was spending so much time being bitchy beacuse I didn’t want him to think he was off the hook so to speak.
    Maybe this will help you…it helped me. I was told to tell him that I don’t know what our future hold or if I will stay or go down the road. For now I am staying and inviting you to be a part of this family but please don’t mistake my pleasant demeanor or affection as having settled for staying.

    I am probably not wording it correctly but it gave me some peace to give myself permission to decide down the road. I felt so pressured to make my decision now. Because in essence he is doing everything now that he should. He isn’t denying or rationalizing and is in an active aggressive counseling program. So I will let time tell and meanwhile I will slowly gather some financial resources for myself just to have. It will be slow and may not amount to much.

    Although the idea of even leaving down the road I know scares me. I do love him and am probably too afraid to be alone. But maybe 5 years down the road things will be different but i might have a nest egg.

    Who knows :)

  • Starry

    Hi Annie,
    Yes, my husband seems sincere, and is working at at..but you know, there is still a part of me that wonders if its all enough? Sure, he’s doing good now, but what about in 12 months when he thinks I won’t leave…. I know I shouldn’t be thinking like that, but it creeps in somedays anyways.

    Oddly enough, the only person who has ever patted me on the back is my husband. He thanked me for leaving him, for opening his eyes to to damage he was doing to me, to him and to us. He also thanked me for the years we had together, that even if there were some bad, there was enough good that he was greatful to have been a part of it. I dunno..maybe BS? Maybe sincere? Time will tell.

  • annie

    Thank you both. Yes, Flora, I did read the subtle siren song. It is so true. Maybe everything is still too fresh but I just feel like I can’t muster the strength to be on guard like that again. either that or I am just so mad that if he does act out again then it will be an easier choice. In reality I know none of this will ever be easy with or without him. He is the father of my kids and a good one. And he is working so hard right now to get it under control. But I feel a time will come when I am manipulated again.

    I am starting to worry because he will be working from home soon. Even though he acted out in his car on the way to work I think it will be harder having him here while I am home during the day. I will be afraid to leave during the day because he may be tempted to dabble in internet sites that are questionable or who knows what he’ll do. So I am no where near trusting him.

    i have a constant knot in my stomach. Perhaps I am at the spiteful stage where I feel he doesn’t deserve me to be on guard for his bad behavior.lol. But I think he would say it won’t be an issue.

    Starry, you are right, the selfishness knows no bounds. It sounds like your situation is very similar to mine in that your husband sounds sincere in recovery and is working diligently at it (if I am remembering your past posts correctly)

    No one is patting us on the back for years of fidelity or congratulating me on 10 years without legal trouble. I sense my tolerance is very low right now and my anger is high. Thanks for letting me ramble! :)

  • Starry

    Annie,

    Your post really drives it home. I know that this will be in my life forever. As JoAnn says, we will always have to be watchful. Its a terrifying thought, that after 10 years your SA went down that road. Your mother passed and he should have been there for you, not looking for an excuse to act out.
    Its been said time and time again on this site, that the selfishness of the SA knows no bounds. I think your example points that out perfectly. In your time of need, he loses control, to me that is selfishness of the highest degree.

    Be well

  • Flora

    Annie,
    I think that there is no excuse for acting out. He made his mothers death opportunistic, not you. Life is hard, harder with stressors, but we make it everyday even with this crap going on. We don’t turn to drugs, alchohal or other addictions. We are able to maintain, and that it what he is/or was supposedly working on. There are and should be not excuses or slip-ups.

    This is a tough life you have entered in to (as well as many others) and that some of us are contemplating. I guess many posts here say you can never let your guard down, that the SA will never be recovered, that it is just a lifestyle of maintenance. I am just re-wording what I have read, but the words are wise, ring true, and made sense to me.

    Don’t feel bad either. This is not your mistake, and he broke the boundary. If you have not already read the post by Joanne of sexual addictions subtle siren song.

  • annie

    I don’t know if the forums section is still running..I couldn’t access a link but I wanted to share in this section anyway.

    AS I have said in other posts, my husband acted out after 10 years of good behavior. I actually let me guard down completely these last five years. After this recent acting out he told me right away (because he feared arrest I am sure) and got himself into what seems to be a great couseling program.

    the thing is I am just realizing that this really is a lifelong commitment. I think I am too tired to put my guard back up and worry if he is in situation where he can act out. I guess my trust is gone. I do love him and see a very sincere effort to get things back under control but I don’t want to live with this on the back burner. We have too many young kids and they haven’t been affected by his issue except for the fact that mommy is sad and tired a lot. But I see my self staying bacuse I don’t want to be alone, financial reasons, and the kids would be devastated. They adore him. I love him too but I am too tired for this nonsense.
    So I trust his effort is sincere but I don’t trust his sense of control should he have another stresser that triggers his acting out. I feel like a bitch. He did this when his mom died. So my sympathy for her death has been completely overshadowed. One supposed episode after 10 years and I am being a total hard ass I know. But he broke my heart. So do I look forward to years of being on guard and guessing whether I am being manipulated?
    Thanks.

  • Hi SoulInTheSun, and welcome to the site.

    I hope you will find support, comfort and friendship here.

    The Boundaries eBook, which you can get by clicking the menu tab above for EBooks, has both Personal and Relationship Boundaries worksheets and a Relationship Contract as well as a lot of information that helps sort out the difficult issues of boundaries. It’s a complex subject that I could not address thoroughly in my book, so I put together an eBook specifically addressing the issues.

    I think that will find the answers you need there.

    If there is anything I can help you with please, don’t hesitate to ask either here, in the comment section, or privately through the Contact Page.

    My best to you,

    JoAnn

  • SoulInTheSun

    Do you have an outline or guidlines for Boundary Agreement. I need help with this.