feet in bedAre you still having sex with your spouse or partner even though you know that they are a Sex Addict? Do you practice safe sex by using condoms?

This usually happens early in the process of discovery and disclosure. I guess it’s just human nature–and our primal need to feel close to someone we love again along with a bit of denial about facing our fears about the unknown future.

Most of the women I know, myself included, have had sex with our spouses or partners soon after we found out about the Sex Addiction. I can only speak for myself, but I think I was in so much pain that I just wanted it all to go away, to have even just a brief moment of how it used to be.

Very quickly we realize that things are not the way of they used to be and we have to face some harsh realities about our relationship. The pain of facing all the deceit, lies and visions of what they did and who they did it with after having that brief of moment false intimacy is like throwing salt on a wound. At that point most of us make the decision to stop torturing ourselves by seeking intimacy that never existed . We eventually face the fact that our life can never be like it used to be and–how it used to be was all a lie.

Is needing that closeness soon after the discovery of Sex Addiction in our relationship just a normal part of the recovery process? What do you think?

What loneliness is more lonely than distrust. ~ T. S. Eliot

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24 Responses

  1. I allowed my husband back into my bed the night he came after being with prostitute. And it was not me he was with! He wanted to do all kinds of things that we had NEVER done. That was pretty much when he told me “if we did this every night, there would never be another problem”. “It’s like I’ve fallen in LOVE with you all over again”. And now…not so much! My husband also informed me that he didn’t feel “wanted”. That I never show him how much I want him. Guess he forgot about the sex we had in our kitchen the day before he hooked up with the prostitute! Now he is acting all sad, because his marriage is in the toilet!!! I am finding that these guys need constant attention. Like a chid! When they don’t get what they want, they act out. Even when they are getting what they want, they still want more. It is never enough. I’m sure that my husband is probably still doing the things he’s always done. Why should he stop? He has wife-E at home waiting for him, cooking, cleaning, free sex, support, best friend. No he is not happy. He has lost his best friend, wife & lover. When I first found out just what he was & is about, I told him that things would never be the same between us. He was thinking that it would pass quickly, like all the other times he would lie, and manipulate his way around what really was going on. It has been a year and a half now, and it is just now ocurring to him that when I told him that our marriage would never be the same…I meant it! How could it be any thing other? You know what they are thinking about…that girl he had in his hotel room, all of the other girls he has been with, re visiting his little moments of pleasure with them. He says he doesn’t. What a LIE!!! Thats all these guys do…fantasise about these girls. Then theres tv…some how I am suppose to not be uncomfortable when every night theres a reminder about just how screwed up things really are. You all have I’m sure been there. You are watching tv, you are trying to be “normal”, forget things for a while, when it happens…the prostitute scenes, skits on full release massages, it seems like it is EVERYWHERE!!! I actually had to explain to my husband, just exactly how it was making me feel. So, you see, these guys have no feelings. He actually can’t get over the fact that it will always be there, always be hanging in the air. He now is not happy.

  2. Bambi,
    I am so sorry for your pain, I have been married to a sex addict for many years so I understand all too well everything you are going through. I have not been able to find the courage to leave him/divorce him. I think I have stuck with him because of our children but now that they are getting older I keep having this voice inside me nagging me, telling me I will never be happy with him and that he will never change. Its so hard because I do still love him but staying with him is destroying me. I no longer care about sex anymore and I am convinced that I will never be with any man again if I divorce him. I have been with my husband since college, so we have been playing this codependent/addiction game for a long time and we do it well. We are currently in another denial phase this has gone on for about 2 years since the lasttime he crushed me. Just know that you are in for more hurt if you stay, i hope you can love yourself enough to leave him, especially if you don’t have kids!

  3. Last Christmas I found out my husband had cheated on me with my sister in law. It was at my brothers house, while me and my brother were downstairs. We had all been drinking a bit. She called me about a week after crying and telling me about it. When my husband got home from work that night I confronted him, and asked the fateful question “has there been others”. Well, there had. Many. Many over 8 years of our marriage. I kicked him out, and he started working on his problem. I had started thinking he was a sex addict well before that, as he was the one that had to masturbate everynight, and if I didn’t have sex with him more than once a week, I obviously didn’t love him. Well, to make a long story short, he promised to do anything it took to win me back. We started in couples therapy, and he went to another therapist also. Got on a lot of meds that helped with all the sexual thoughts he had. Things were going really good, until he left his phone home the other day. Stupid me, I wasnt even really curious, but started going thru his phone. I found a couple of naked pictures of a girl. I sent them to him and he immediatly came home. He addimitted that he was at it again. this time only one girl twice, but he had been going to strip clubs on his lunch hour, and had tried to pick up another girl at lunch one day, but she saw his wedding ring and wouldn’t go there. So now what? I had told him last time that if it ever happened again I was leaving. We have been married 14 years and have 4 kids from 12 to 4. I am a stay at home mome and am looking at the hard reality of what would happen if I tell him to leave. The biggest problem in the whole situation is he has been in therapy for a year now, and had not even told his therapist that he was back at it again! So. He again is begging me not to leave, saying he will do anything…etc etc…everything I heard about last year. I don’t even know what to think. I found your website, and was very happy there are resourses out there. However, how in the world could we ever go past this again!? How could I ever have trust in him. He says he would let me look at his phone…bring home his work laptop everyday so I can see his emails..etc. But we all know that isn’t good enought, and I shouldn;t have to live my life like that…checking up on him, and having no trust. I am broken and just don’t know what to do.

  4. Roni,
    See a lawyer so you will not be so unsure of your future. Visit with his therapist and show his therapist what is going on. Do not depend on him to tell his therapist the truth. Start planning and moving towards a new life, but don’t make anything permanent. Just have yourself and your children ready.
    My heart is with you.

  5. As soon as I found out about he SA, it was clear to me that I did not want my husband to touch me. It’s been Day 3 and I won’t even allow him to hold my hand because it repulses me. I don’t know if it is damaging to his recovery but I only know that I need to hold onto and keep what is left of me together. But other then that, I am as supportive and caring as a best friend can possibly be. I guess my main concern is what I may do or am not doing that will put his recovery at risk.

  6. Please kat, your main concern should be yourself not your husband. This is so new for you, the full impact of what is happening has not hit you yet–the emotional toll is yet to come.

    As far as putting his recovery at risk by what you are doing or not doing, that is not something you have any control over. Whatever you do or don’t do will not make a difference in what your husband chooses to do. Only he can move forward in his recovery and he needs to take full responsibility for his actions and choices. What you do or don’t do, how you act or react or what you say or don’t say is truly your own choice. You have a right to your own feelings, emotions and actions and you have the right to express them in your own way. Never for a moment believe that anything that you do or say is a cause for him acting out or not recovering.

    There is an interesting research paper that I ran across by Jennifer Schneider, MD, PhD. (http://www.jenniferschneider.com/) who has written several books on Sex Addiction, that states that a nurturing attitude toward a Sex Addict will always (100%) have a negative effect on the addict’s recovery. They don’t need nurturing (which can easily become enabling), they need boundaries and they need to be made accountable for their choices. Because they are emotionally immature they need to learn ways to make mature choices.

    I’ll try to put together a post about Schneider’s paper on nurturing. Good luck, keep in touch and let us know how things are going. We are all here to help.

  7. JoAnn

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. My husband has always been the one to give me the shoulder to lean on, and to talk to whenever life’s little obstacles are presented. I don’t feel I can tell him anything in fear of giving more burden. I told him if he continues or lies to me again I would leave him. Is this an impossible boundary this early in the stage? We are going to our first therapy session tomorrow, but so far his ‘coping’ is by blocking it out which I know is unhealthy, but that is his coping mechanism which obviously doesn’t work for me because it puts me in the dark. Pretending it never happened is living a lie. I mean we are literally going to therapy tomorrow and hanging out with friends after as if nothing happened. Is this healthy? Is it a good idea to be in the company of friends and keeping our schedule busy? My husband believes keeping occupied has always helped him cope with the urge (ex- working out and socializing)I know I must maintain a sense of mental health for myself first and foremost. I’m just upset because it took me a long time to become mentally strong and find self love thinking the worst days are over, learning to be ‘independently dependent’ and marrying the most wonderful man I have ever met, and all of a sudden this thing happens. I can hardly function. How did you face the world and function (friends /family/work)? He had this secret life and now I feel like I am part of it now. I have to partake this huge burden and ugly secret truth. How can I pretend to be ‘normal,’ whatever that even means anymore?

  8. Wow. Kat, you named it.
    “he had his secret life and now I feel like I am a part of it now.”
    That’s exactly how I have felt as I continue to keep his secret. And I found, like you, that I couldn’t be together with our friends and people we knew anymore. I felt shattered. The expectation of pretending everything was fine was too much to ask.
    One thing my addict husband and I did was to agree on a script–we worked out a way to describe our decision to live apart that was not a lie, but that did not disclose the information that could jeopardize work and relationships. It required that he take main responsibility for our problems, but indicated we were both working hard to find a way through it.

    BTW, the “blocking it out” phase that you husband is in is a particularly difficult one for the spouse. I just wanted to slap him everytime I saw him. (I didn’t).

    One little ratio I kept in mind (and I just made it up–it didn’t come from a book etc) was that I didn’t do ONE thing to help my husband until he did TEN things to help himself. eg. adding up the SA meetings, the sponsor mtgs, the support phone calls, the therapist appt, the journaling etc.

    There’s often too much running to HELP, done by the wife. That’s just a set-up for more betrayal, denial, lies, and excuses. Don’t put your money on the table until he’s put it on ten times.
    I think that’s what Joanne might call setting up some boundaries for the initial stage of disclosure.

    And, Kat, I think all of us on this site are so sorry you’ve been hurt like this. But we’re all finding our way out of the abyss, at different speeds, with different approaches. Hang in there.

  9. Thank you Diane. Knowing I am not alone and sharing the ugly secret is a relief for me. For the 10 things to help himself before I help him, he is so far doing everything I said for ‘us.’ I know the turning point would be if he wanted to do it for ‘him,’ but I don’t know if he has it in him to dig that deep. He is a very ‘blocked out’ person. He doesn’t remember a lot of things. He’s never really ‘there,’ I have no idea where he is sometimes. As for seeing the therapist, he was the one to make the calls, everything, etc. He basically said “Hi I have SA and I would like to make an appt asap” which was the best thing I heard after I found out, but reading this now, is just really sad. I feel like my past life was a dream. Thank you Diane and to all the beautiful individuals on this site. None of us deserve this, but perhaps it is a learning experience and we’ll be stronger than we could ever possibly have thought ourselves to be.

  10. After I found out, my husband and I didn’t sleep together for a while. As it happened, he ruptured a disc in his neck and then tore his rotator cuff, which caused an extended period of no contact between us.

    Eventually, we did begin to have “relations” again. At first I felt the pain and distrust all over again. Everytime it happened, all I could think about was him with the other women. Questions went through my head the entire time. I obviously couldn’t “enjoy” myself.

    We have been talking to each other about our feelings, and have been working on our relationship regularly. It is getting better every day.

    I want you all to be encouraged. If your spouse TRULY wants to get better, it is possible to move on and be happy together. First, they have to know WHY they have the disposition to sex addiction. WHAT triggers them, and what it triggers IN them. THEN they MUST deal with those problems FIRST. If the underlying psychological problems are not dealt with, the disease will continue to rule their lives. They must also actively participate in a support group. SAA is perfect. If you can’t find a group of SAA in your area, find an NA group. Chances are many of those addicts suffer from sex addiction as well. That has been the case with my husband’s group. While they are primarilly Narcotics Anonymous, many of them have sex addictions, as well. So they are able to support each other through multiple addictions.

    It is possible to recover from this successfully. It is possible to fall back into love with your partner. Your relationship can NEVER go back to complete trust. It will NEVER be the same. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. Might even be better because you KNOW what they are dealing with and how they are fighting to maintain “sobriety.” Knowing what you are dealing with and knowing it has been defeated is a wonderful feeling. You CAN be happy because you know that the happiness you will eventually get to will be sincere, where it wasn’t before.

    All this I say with the inference that they WANT to be sober and ACTIVELY pursue it. With absolutely NO excuses or minimizing. No justification for the behaviors. They must face it head on and be willing to fix what’s wrong in their minds that causes the addiction to be active in the first place. If this is done willingly and truthfully on their part, then the results will be WONDERFUL for both parties.

  11. I would like some feedback. I read the comment above and it gives me real hope-yet that fact that you can never go back to complete trust just baffles me. How can you really live like that? I need someone to restate this for me. Right now, my husband is in this thing where he doesn’t want to say much because he says it “just sounds like excuses” and he doesn’t want to add insult to injury with the offenses he has commited. He says he is just a “bad” person who can’t be trusted with boundaries. I think this is “Acting in” but he insists he just has to live in restriction. Crazy I think. This morning I told him I am really leaning toward leaving and he says he just won’t come home after work tonight then…I asked him to still come home. If we are going to split up we need to do it right, like with respect to job, kids etc. And we have a house to sell in an area where they aren’t selling. BESIDES ALL THAT-HOW do I know I’m just not being emotionally reactive! I found another “secret” on the computer last week-which really doesn’t change the whole picture but it just hurt me, more salt in the wound etc., and I was demonstrative of that-being distant and short. He says he can’t share and move forward while I am actively mad and finds it impossible to accept that I can be mad after I have said I have forgiven him for anything in the past. Maybe he is right about that. He is still not sugar-coating it, he says he has done wrong many times and ruined our relationship but he is so much in the mire of self-loathing I feel like we are too emotional to be reasonable. I am a “feeling” person though so that is hard for me to blend with reason-to find a “wise mind”. He is reactive as well. SO, is it just my reactivity and my looking for safety that wants to send me running today? OR if this is going to loom in my heart forever is it better to just let go now? One other thing, he says it would be better if I would just let go now if there is any chance I might leave in the future. Interesting, because he is basically being self-protective here right? AND if I don’t leave I am risking getting hurt again too. How does anyone make peace with this? This has been consuming me for 3 months. This is just one of many “incidents” over the course of our 15 year marriage.
    Feeling terrible today-looking for any advice you have.

  12. Also, I comment here because, yes, after other discoveries we did have sex. It was like-ok, we can work through this and that was how we expressed it. It was reassurance. This time, we have not had sex and that void is growing. The therapist said that if we didn’t have any sex we may as weel just give up now, that people can admit loss of trust and and still choose to live in relationship. For me though I feel like I am voilating myself through all of this…AH! More pressure. I am at such a loss. This is just driving me insane. AND AGAIN, I don’t want to hurt my kids. I am so afraid of what is going to happen today.

  13. J.,

    I did write you a couple days ago, but perhaps you didn’t notice it. Your husband is a real piece of work. Please read my other response. He has given you the answers, himself, but he is really nothing but a complete and utter immature coward. Here, I will be put my comments in (parentheses), to hi-light, how I have come to my conclusions, which I already had, the other day.

    I would like some feedback. I read the comment above and it gives me real hope-yet that fact that you can never go back to complete trust just baffles me. How can you really live like that? I need someone to restate this for me.

    (Sonya’s situation is nothing like yours.)

    Right now, my husband is in this thing where he doesn’t want to say much because he says it “just sounds like excuses” and he doesn’t want to add insult to injury with the offenses he has commited.

    (This is not HIS choice to make and it is just more excuses to cover up his heinous behavior and to prevent himself from even having the possibility of recovering from his sex addiction. In other words. He isn’t ready to get well.)

    He says he is just a “bad” person who can’t be trusted with boundaries.

    (Finally, the TRUTH!!! Hallelujah! You can trust him here. He means this.)

    I think this is “Acting in” but he insists he just has to live in restriction. Crazy I think.

    (Yes, he is crazy, but this isn’t your problem.)

    This morning I told him I am really leaning toward leaving and he says he just won’t come home after work tonight then…

    (How old is he? 10, 12–tops??? Did anyone give this boy ANY kind of boundary, consequence, anything at all, growing up??? He is a complete and utterly immature twit. And I am being kind, here!)

    I asked him to still come home. If we are going to split up we need to do it right, like with respect to job, kids etc. And we have a house to sell in an area where they aren’t selling. BESIDES ALL THAT-HOW do I know I’m just not being emotionally reactive!

    (Emotionally reactive? Let’s see… I don’t even know you guys and *I* feel like ripping his eye balls out!!!I’m not a violent person, however, just extremely angry that anyone could behave like this towards someone they claim to “love”)

    I found another “secret” on the computer last week-which really doesn’t change the whole picture but it just hurt me, more salt in the wound etc., and I was demonstrative of that-being distant and short. He says he can’t share and move forward while I am actively mad and finds it impossible to accept that I can be mad after I have said I have forgiven him for anything in the past. Maybe he is right about that.

    (He is NOT right about that!!! Hun, this is more gaslighting, emotionally and psychologically abusive behavior and you are falling for it, because it is a pattern of survival that you have had to maintain for the last 15 years! You have EVERY right to be angry and his inability to communicate with you in an honest open way, even IF you are justifiably angry— is not normal. This is the problem and it is HIS problem, not yours. He CANNOT share and he never will! And he will come up with any G-d damned excuse in the world to see that he will never give you the information that is YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW.)

    He is still not sugar-coating it, he says he has done wrong many times and ruined our relationship

    (uhhh… yeaaaaahhhh, but what has he really done about it? nothing to hang your hat on, unfortunately. Most of it is just lip service to keep you hangin on. Don’t fall for it anymore.)

    but he is so much in the mire of self-loathing I feel like we are too emotional to be reasonable.

    (Again, not your problem. If he hates himself, that has nothing to do with you and there is nothing you can do to “fix him” or make him like himself.)

    I am a “feeling” person though so that is hard for me to blend with reason-to find a “wise mind”.

    (Of course you are. Normal people, feel and empathize with others.)

    He is reactive as well. SO, is it just my reactivity and my looking for safety that wants to send me running today?

    (Yes, your survival instincts are telling you to run and I think you must—not today,and not tomorrow but soon… and for the rest of your life. but first you need a plan.)

    OR if this is going to loom in my heart forever is it better to just let go now? One other thing, he says it would be better if I would just let go now if there is any chance I might leave in the future.

    (I really, really am starting to hate this man.)

    Interesting, because he is basically being self-protective here right?

    (ugh, who cares? He is being a complete and utter self-serving ass.)

    AND if I don’t leave I am risking getting hurt again too. How does anyone make peace with this?

    (Its going to take a lot of time and a lot of love–from the right people and support)

    This has been consuming me for 3 months. This is just one of many “incidents” over the course of our 15 year marriage.
    Feeling terrible today-looking for any advice you have.

    (And please read the other posting. I know this is a very very tough time for you! There’s lots in the other posting too. We are all here for you and rooting for you, and it sounds like you have an excellent support net work with your parents. Please make a plan for yourself. I totally understand your grief, J. Please remember that you are indeed VERY young and you have so much to offer and you have given this guy more chances than he even deserves. It is time to protect your future and the future of your children. I am never an advocate of divorce, but with everything you have said, I simply do not see any other viable choice. Yes, there will be grief and over-whelming sadness, but I DO know, that one day you will look back and feel nothing but an enormous amount of relief. If anyone disagrees with me, please feel free to chime in. It sounds like you know this in your heart and are just looking for validation.)

    Please feel a collective and tremendous amount of strength and love coming towards you. You deserve it and a whole lot more that is just out there waiting for you, if you’ll let it!



    PS: Please don’t forget to read the other posting.

  14. Thanks Lorraine, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    J., you are trying to make sense out of his nonsense. That’s why spouses and partners of Sex Addicts develop such dysfunctional methods of survival. They don’t even know how to think straight after trying to decipher the made up babble that Sex Addicts produce to protect themselves and to cover their lies.

    I hope you have a counselor as you will not be able to ever work your way out of the fog without one.

    Now, as to the trust question. The fact is that even if a Sex Addict embraces their recovery, works through all the psychological and childhood issues and remains open, honest and sober for years, they will always be a Sex Addict. It’s something that happened to them during their formative years and that cannot be changed, it can only be managed.

    So, anyone who decides to stay in a relationship with a Sex Addict has to face that reality. Trust is something that must be earned, and over the years I feel that my husband has earned some trust. But, I too have to face the reality that he is a Sex Addict and I have to be vigilant to watch for any signs that he is slipping into his old habits of depression, denial, teasing the addict with certain behaviors or withdrawing. Knowing that you can never completely trust an addict is one of the compromises that you have to decide if you can make if you are considering staying in the relationship.

    How can I live like that? It’s just a part of my life. After three years of complete sobriety on his part we have settled into a fairly comfortable life. Do I worry every day or even every week? Of course not. But once Sex Addiction has entered your relationship it is there forever. That’s just how it is. If I gave him my complete trust I would be a fool.

    I’m so sorry that you are feeling so low. I think everyone on this site understands that because we have all been there. Do you have a counselor? Even if you have to beg, borrow or steal, a counselor can be your strongest ally during this difficult time. Friends and family may be able to help, but because of all the shame, guilt and social hypocrisy surrounding sex it’s often difficult to turn to these people for support. If you really can’t afford counseling try calling as many counseling centers as you can to get information on community services that may be low cost or free.

    My thoughts are with you. Stay connected with us and be brave. You are strong and your future is in your hands now. You make the decisions that are right for you.

  15. Lorraine, where is your other posting now? Please forgive me, but I have just been on overload and I don’t know where I put my other comment. I think I know the one but I want to make sure I am not missing something…I want to hear everything you all have to say. I have read and will re-read your comments (above). I appreciate them….I feel so insane right now. Yes, I do have a counsellor-I say a good one, she is supposed to be good. I see her every other week, we see her together and he sees a different man on his own about the SA-this since February. I feel so obligated to figure things out on my own (pull myself up by the bootstraps), so I really need help from the therapist to give me the tools to do that. Maybe I need a different type of therapist-she is a sex therapist and also deals with addictions. How can I tell if this person really is trying to help me in the right way with respect to our situation with SA?

    Anyway, I will look again for the other post, I will re-read everything you have written and I will still have more questions. I will thank you all in advance for your patience right now. If, like you say, I am so dysfunctional in relation to dealing with this situation (which I acknowlege)…finding myself even after splitting up seems like such an impossible task-finding myself in the midst of it seems even harder… I wonder how I will ever trust ME again!!!!

  16. I’m cutting and pasting it here…below, and I am keeping close tabs, because I am worried about you. Can you chat on the forum? If not, that’s okay. Look, you must understand a fundamental thing. ANYONE who has been living with someone like your husband for so many years would most likely be in the same situation. As a matter of fact, I think you’re doing amazingly well! Its like what I say about my son with autism sometimes. “up is down and down is sideways.”

    It is impossible to do it all on your own. Eventually, you will, but not right now.

    You might need your very own therapist.

    Joann is completely right. You need a lot of support right now from professionals. I think I read that your parents at least understand and that is good. At least you’re not having further difficulties and obstacles with parents who are undermining your determination to do the right thing for yourself and your children.

    I think what I would do is put in an emergency call to your current therapist and tell her what is going on. Every therapist is different. Some may feel that they can still help you individually, but many will feel that if they are seeing you as a couple, that you would be better served by seeing someone else, and perhaps she can give you a referral.

    I’m standing by, if you need more support.

    Here’s the other post.

    Hang tough sweetie!


    Funny, I used to call my ex “J” as well, but listen please. You DO know what your future holds in store for you, if you stay, but are understandably having trouble facing it. It is also most likely part of what is at the root of your depression. Depression is usually a combo of anger and sadness and sweetie, you have every reason to have both of those feelings, in spades! So yeah, treat the depression with some meds, if that helps. Get regular exercise. Eat well. Sleep. Pamper yourself. Talk to your therapist and get all the support you can!

    Now, I would like to give you a new mantra, if I may. “I am still very young and anything is possible.” 36??? OMG!!! That is a baby, in my book, right Diane and others of us who are waaaaaaaaaay older? I didn’t even have my second child until I was nearly 39 and he’s now 15! My shrink mother who is 87 went back to college at 47 and she still sees clients! She remarried, my incredible step-father at 54 and spent 25 glorious years with him until he passed away nine years ago. I went back to college at 32 and had my first child at 34 who is now almost 20. Sweetie, you are not old,you’ve just had to pack in a lot more livin’ than anyone should ever have to do in an entire lifetime!

    Your children are NOT losing a father. He has not died (yet)and when they are old enough to understand, they will applaud and admire you for your courage and strength to free them from a very unhealthy situation. Of this, I am absolutely 100% certain.

    Leaving him would be the most loving thing you could do for your children. I only wish my mother had left my father 10 years earlier than she did. His illness only escalated (hugely) in that time, and the pain of that can never be erased. This will most likely be the case with your husband who hasn’t even hit his mid-life crisis yet! Oh boy… You’ve done everything (and them some) to help him.

    As a matter of fact, leaving him would be the most loving thing you could do for your husband. For if you stay— he will never have even a remote chance of recovering. Not because of YOU, but simply because he will continue to use you as HIS excuse. Right now staying with him would be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    “Run Forrest, run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    And please do not worry about what others are thinking about you either. Let them walk in your shoes and then they can judge. Hold your head up high, you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. nothing. Do not worry about your spouse either. Right now, I feel like punching him.(ick, he’d probably enjoy that) He’s totally full of it and he’s dragged you right down into his low, low world.

    Yes, it is scary, but even scarier, would be a life of needless suffering. And please remember, that you will never be alone. And there is never a need for anyone to fear growing old alone, either.

    My shrink told me that she has a client who at 74, found for the first time, the love of her life.

    You see, anything is possible!



  17. Thanks for the encouragement-especially the laugh at me for worrying about being so old-you are encouraging. I would like to talk more with you about what you mean about making a plan. I did sign up for chat tonight-figured it out! Nobody was on but I will check back later in the evening and then again tomorrow morning.
    Thanks again!

  18. To J. I feel for you. It seems to me that what you are holding on to is hope. And it’s just a human instinct when we love someone. It’s normal and it’s healthy but you are drained and emotional and your self esteem has suffered. Are you getting what you need in terms of commitment from him while he pursues a path of recovery? Are you getting what you need from this relationship in terms of his recovery? Are you getting what you need full stop? Is this what you want. How hard for you. How awful because you have children with him and you love him. Does he deserve to have your support at the moment? He doesn’t seem fully committed. Hard to hear I’m sure but so much of your time spent analysing your situation and being sad and trying to see the positive. Perhaps you could say to yourself that if you took the decision to leave and he fights to get you back with full commitment to recovery, there might be a chance for you to be happy. If he doesn’t fight for that, it’s hard but is he then worth it? You have not caused this issue and you have not asked to be involved in something that destroys relationships. I hope you feel better soon. Thinking of you. x

  19. Thanks Seren-You are right-I am holding on to hope. I am the queen of overanazlying…everything he says, I don’t think he means to be a game, but it is-to protect himself in his own mind. He intellectualizes everything and is the very life example of JoAnn’s article about black and white thinking. I keep hoping he will snap into reality. I want him to be in a 12 step program but he and his counsellor (that we see together) both agree he isn’t ready. That alone bothers me but yes, I HOPE he will go. Yep, I am a stay at home mom, 36, with a 1 year old and a 5 year old who dearly love their daddy. That is gut wrenching. But, today, out of shame, he says that if he goes he wants to just stay out of all of our lives. I think he means it. I really even fear he might hurt himself. He says, “I guess I’ll just start walking”…the thing is, knowing him, I think he would and I would worry. I KNOW this all sounds ridiculous and yet it is like I am caught in quicksand. Lorraine mentioned making a plan. I am ready to do that. I had my ultimate high and then low today…telling him I wanted to go and yet showing him hope…I shouldn’t have done that. I guess I fear that feeling of the aftermath. Having to deal with people that would call when he doesn’t show up etc… I don’t know how to do that yet. I appreciate everyone’s tollerance of my weakness right now. I know I haven’t causes this relationship to fail. I think I would feel relief if it were over, just the fear of how to tell my 5 year old without screwing up HIS feelings of security.

    Thanks again……J.

  20. he isn’t ready for a 12 step program??????????

    uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…WHAT??????? What does it take for him to be READY??? down, down the rabbit hole we go…….. Is he screwing the therapist too? believe it or not… it has happened.

    if he goes he wants to stay out of all of your lives???

    wow. I feel sick… i can’t even begin to imagine how you feel.

  21. Look, J… sweetie..There is no shame in leaving (if you choose to) and there is also nothing wrong with still having hope that he recovers–no matter what YOU decide is best for YOU. As a matter of fact, as I stated before, I truly believe that his ONLY hope for recovery is if you DO leave. Obviously, marriage for him… (with anyone, not just you) is a way for him to maintain some kind of semblance of “normalcy.” And behind this mask of the “perfect little family”, he is able to maintain his sickness. That is what my lover did. Remove the mask… and he will be forced to face his demons.

    If he wants nothing to do with his kids… Then you know what??? That is not a man at all…That is an invertebrate of the lowest order. He is manipulating you left and right and you are also manipulating yourself regarding the kids. There are books and resources available on how to divorce with kids and they will be fine. Half of my older son’s parents are divorced and those are the best adjusted of the bunch. Gosh, his best friend had a completely absent father. Lovely young man now… Almost 21… His mom finally got married at the age of 42 a few years ago and is very happy now.

    I am still reeling from the shrink saying that he’s not ready for the 12 step program.

    Look, no change like this can happen over night, in any case. You need a lot of guidance through a counselor and other resources. You need to make a plan regarding your future. Perhaps you need to visit a career counselor to see what your options are.

    But, the most difficult part is going to be to stop listening to his manipulative crap. He is a drowning victim and he will take you down with him, if you allow it. You may have to do a little maneuver we learned in a life guarding class. When the drowning victim tries to hang on by holding you under, so that they can stay afloat— you have to take control by actually taking the drowning victim even further down into the water… That is the last place they want to go… and soon, they will let go and you can escape.

    I will check back as often as i can.



  22. Hi Lorraine-I will not be able to get onto chat again until tomorrow. I do go to a COSA meeting. It is just me and another lady who need to talk so that really helps me and that is tonight.
    My husband is actually in church work (I know, I know) and he knows he is not fit and needs to resign so he told me he was going to do that at the end of May. He seemed oddly calm this morning when he told me that. I hope this means he got over his initial anger and is starting to accept the reality of our situation. I want to be here in early May because it is our son’s birthday and he really wants a party-one last thing for him. Husband knows I am “deciding” what I will do. My current plan is to go to my parents after that and finish a degree online relatively quickly. I already know I can go there and that will not be destructive…plus my Dad will be great for my boys. I wanted to give it a year but I can’t. I just feel so sick. After yesterday, and all he said, even though he is hurting I feel like I took a gunshot to the stomach.
    Now, for the painful task of separting money, etc. (which unfortunatley is mostly tied up in the house and we will loose)…cars, etc. He may just walk out and I will have to deal with all of this-not sure how to do so when there are two signatures on everything. I already started my own bank account a couple of months ago and have been slowly stashing money in it-not a lot but this gives me some sense of control over this vortex. Also, I have been separating our things out into separate containers, which he hasn’t noticed to my knowledge. So, I am saying, I have been trying to prepare myself for this in little ways. I am trying to be patient, and will talk to my parents next week. We have a big family trip planned this Summer with them anyway, so that will probably be a great time for me to get away with the kids and them and clear my mind and formalize my plan.
    I am so grateful to you for listening to me and for giving it to me straight. I was an honor student, a college grad and have had a great job in the past in the past and now with the bad economy, my distorted thought process and depression I feel so pathetic. I will find a way through though. I don’t want to be a negative person!!!
    I wish I could offer you some comfort too, in gratutude for your encouragement, but it sounds like you are deep into your own recovery and in a much improved time of life. I am happy for you and I look forward to the day when I can look back and not feel like I am sick and damaged.

    Thanks again.

  23. http://www.womansdivorce.com/index.html

    Hi J,

    I put this at the top, because this is a great web site for anyone who is considering separation or divorce. There is just about everything on there and also a lot of references. This is just to give you support and advice so that things don’t get even worse! You need to protect yourself and your children and you do have rights. If your husband walks out on you, that is considered abandonment and would be a most unwise move on his part.

    You need a lawyer and/or a mediator, as well.

    Now, one thing does concern me. I do not like his talk about quitting his job (even if it is at a church–OYE!!!) and “one last party” for your son. This sounds like the talk of someone who is planning to kill himself. If he threatens this or even hints at it, it is cause for concern. Not to alarm you, or cause any further worry. He needs to understand,however, that this simply is not an option and if necessary, you will have him committed to a mental facility for treatment. That is where suicidal people need to be. Yes, he does have due cause for considerable distress, depression and more and he needs to treat this, but again… he may become like the “drowning victim”… and will do or say anything to preserve the “status quo”… However, death threats are not acceptable, and must never be taken lightly!

    You are going to have to learn little by little to set the boundaries/consequences, since he is too weak to do that for himself.

    Divorce is not a death of a person, just of a marriage. Life will go on and he sure better be a part of his boy’s lives!!! There will be zillions of parties, birthdays, holidays, graduations, marriages and so forth and he is expected to be there—and with bells on! You can even be friends with your ex husband. (presuming that this is where you are heading) You can go out to dinner or to a movie with your ex and your kids. You can support him, from afar as well, in any way you choose. You can go to 12-step meetings with him. Why not? Or you can choose to not do any of those things or just some of them.

    There is a good book, called “The Good Divorce” by Constance Ahrons.

    Again, it doesn’t have to be all black and white. Happy cozy little dysfunctional family OR nothing at all.

    Thank you for your well wishes and I do not need or wish for anything in return; yes, its all a process and baby steps for all of us, I guess.

    I just ran into a newish neighbor. One year ago, her very affluent husband, got a gun and killed himself and if that wasn’t enough misery for her.. she had one back surgery before he died and has had to have THREE more in the past year,(she showed me her scar which runs the entire length of her spine!) including bone grafts and more agonizing pain and suffering than one can imagine, along with the grief of her unthinkable loss. Seeing her limping into her home, made me really appreciate all that I DO have! Life is very precious.

    I guess it seems like most of us are continuously “recovering” from something or other. But change is a part of life–it is necessary and it is a good thing.

    Try not to see yourself as “sick and damaged”… You are just in a lot of pain, right now… Anyone in your place would be. And there is a lot of grief too. That is completely normal. Allow your sadness to be, but don’t wallow in it. Get out with your friends and have fun. And I mean fun! Make your own plans and tell your husband that HE has to “stay at home” and take care of your babies. And do this frequently!!! Continue to ask for strength and wisdom and it will come.



  24. Here I go-patience and tolerance. After some major drama yesterday when it really hit my husband that I was actually goint to separate/divorce from him…we had a good conversation. He stayed home with our kids last night while I went to my Cosa meeting. He was disclosing feelings to me after I got home in a most honest and refreshing way. It was almost unreconizable to me. I didn’t feel manipulated. His 4 hr long walk after this ton of bricks hit him cleared his mind. There was absolutely no attempt to pursuade me of anything. He told me he was being too extreme, was hurt and angry and responded poorly (yes, I know) and could only say he was sorry. We talked about finding our way through this reasonably with our counsellor and his resigning in a responsible way. He said he felt he would like to get into a twelve step group after he resigns and get involved in a new church denomination. (another big struggle for us is we are an hour away from any large community-we go this far for all of our counselling and meetings. This still doesn’t change what we are planning to do, but moving into a larger community would make taking these steps easier for each of us. I guess it really hit me driving home then, how much I do love him, and how painful this is going to be but I am trying to use wisdom and not overpowering emotion. It would be lovely if he would get into that group, start his own new life of healing and I would get separate and start to heal… who knows what that time might do. In an ideal world I could have my husband back. But, for now, I feel much peace that something amazing happened yesterday, his reality set in and he might just be ready to face his demons on his own. That is so hard, because when he isn’t being crazy, he is fun and engaging and has been my dear friend since I was a teenager. I guess to get anything back I have to be willing to let it all go and that is what I did yesterday. I acted instead of reacting. I put an emergency call into my counsellor because things were getting too intense. I set us on a course to let it all go and let some healing begin. I feel so good today about that-devistated and sad about my impending losses, but good about what might come from it.
    I will check out the book! Thanks again for “walking me through.”


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