The List: Dawn Share’s Her Wants, Needs And Boundaries

The other day, I wrote a list and thought I would share it with the women on your web-site.
Although some of it is contrived, maybe others will add to it.
Here it is.

I cannot be in a marriage that has proven to be anything other than dishonest.
I cannot live with constant wonder if you are telling me the truth.
I cannot live with a husband that has to take lie detector tests.
I cannot live with the wonder if I will get a sexually transmitted disease.
I cannot live with the fear that should I get sick, you will take care of me and wonder if  you be having sex with another woman while I am sick.
I cannot live with the angst of wondering if you slept with women when I meet them at various occasions.
I don’t want to travel to places with you where I think you might have fucked another woman.
I don’t want to live in pain anymore.
I will not and cannot live with a partner who has stolen my self esteem.
I will not and cannot live with a partner who has betrayed me throughout our marriage.
I refuse to live with someone rationalizes angry outbursts as a result of their addiction.
I can’t and will not live in fear that I will “give it one more chance” only to reopen old wounds.
I won’t live in secrecy and shame.
I will not live as if I have two lives, one private and one public.
I will not live with a husband who continues to put me in harms while driving and using a cell phone.
I will not compromise my self to meet someone else’s requests which goes against my own morals, values and beliefs.
I will not use denial as a way to cope and mask my pain.
I will not go through last 1/3 of my life with a distorted view of reality.
I cannot and don’t want to trust you as it relates to your having sex outside the marriage.
I don’t want to live with a man who cannot watch certain programs because they get triggered.
I don’t want to live with a man who has a sex addiction but continues to have immediate access to the internet and social networking sites.
I won’t live with a man who has been this sick for this long and has refused to see a doctor or take medicine to help.
I won’t live with a man who plays by their own rule book while enforcing different rules to others.

I want to travel out of the country. I want to go to Vietnam, Paris, Italy, Rome, bike ride through Italy, stay in a castle in a country like Ireland.
I want to jump out of an airplane.
I want to learn to bake
I want to perform on stage
I want to see broadway plays
I want to try new restaurants
I want to trust my life partner
I want to feel safe with my life partner
I want to live with someone who knows what the golden rule is and lives by that
I want to spend time with people who are different from me
I want to have a parakeet in my home
I want a partner that does not have to ask “how can I help”
I want a partner that likes to stay at home and watch old movies
I want someone to enjoy tinkering around the home doing chores
I want someone in my life that lives life with the same values I have as they relate to morals and living by the 10 commandments.

I deserve to live my life as I feel pleased.
I deserve to get angry with someone
I deserve to change my mind
I deserve to have beautiful clothing
I deserve to be silly
I deserve to be treated with respect
I deserve to be loved
I deserve to die with dignity
I deserve to say no
I deserve to say yes
I deserve to make mistakes
I deserve to stay healthy
I deserve more than my fair share
I deserve to live with honesty
I deserve to live with integrity

I need to have shelter
I need to have good healthy food
I need to have good medical care
I need to have my family in my life
I need to have friends around me
I need to be honest with all my friends and family
I need to be listened to
I need to be caring
I need to be loving
I need to be happy
I need to be funny and have a sense of humor
I need to laugh
I need to cry
I need to feel safe
I need to exercise

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Responses

  1. Dear Dawn,
    this is BRILLIANT! We should all print off this list and post it on the bathroom mirror.

    I would add this one:

    I want lover who is aroused by my touch, my presence, my lips, my words.

    Thank you for sharing,
    D.

  2. Thank you, Dawn, for sharing this list. I remember that I had a WHOLE BUNCH of items that my husband was to adhere to before I would move back into the house. It’s called taking care of yourself. Eventually, once some trust was restored, some of those rules and boundaries were relaxed. Other items will be boundaries forever. That’s just life with a sex addict. You have to know your limits and reevaluate them as time goes on.

  3. Awesome Dawn…..here are some I would like to add…
    I will be loved, honored, and cherished, just as I do the same for my life partner.
    I will be respected and protected, just as I do the same for my life partner.
    I will be able to depend, believe, and let the fear and walls go, because there is a life partner who wants nothing but joy for me just as I want the same for him.
    I want to dream and accomplish with a life partner, not have my dreams and accomplishments claimed by him.
    I want to have credit for what I do and who I am, not discredited with lies to further a deceitful partner’s narcisism.
    I need someone that has my back, not stabbing me in the back.

  4. So I had put this list together one day either last week or the week before. They just came to me – well the list of what I will not “live with”.
    Then one of the women from my 12-step group asked me to add to the list by writing my wants, needs and what I deserve.
    To be honest, it was harder to do the wants, needs and deserve. Doing that exercise, opened my eyes. It was clear that I had spent so long in a sick relationship, I had totally lost me.

    Having said that, I had to get specific. No more broad sweeping statements like I want to be happy. That is where the “I want a parakeet” and other stuff like that came in. It was fun and also made me laugh.

    I have tons of work to do on myself. However, and I must say, rather selfish I might add . . . . I like the feeling of knowing that the work I do on me, will be carried out. I spent to many years working on my marriage only to be disappointed.

    I am so glad I found this site!

  5. Hi there,
    You inspired me to make my own list. I’m starting with just two—“I need” and “I want”.
    Wow, it’s quite revealing. This is a great exercise. Thank you! This life of constant care-giving has separated me from these things. But I’m the only one that can give them back to me.

    Diane.

  6. Dawn – Your’e list is so enlightening. I think it rings true for all of us, because we all want and need those things. Diane – The statement you made about wanting someone
    “who is aroused by my touch, my presence, and my words” really tells it all. I have never had that the entire 2 1/2 years we have been together, and never will.
    I keep having people ask me why I can’t just have a marriage of companionship and stay for the security. Although it is very tempting, because of my financial situation, I know I would be giving up myself for this man who cannot ever give me what I need.
    I guess it is really good to put our feeling “out there.” I don’t know about you all, but after I write down my frustrations on this site, I find myself thinking “Why would I even question or think about going back to him.” It is really just like journaling. You gals are great, and listening to all of you really puts things back in focus.

  7. Sharron,

    You are so very right.This site to me also serves to be a reality check.

    Everytime I start missing the relationship or when my SA establishes contact and gets all weepy on the phone i come here..read the new posts and reread the old ones.

    And all thoughts, if at all , of maybe things can work out , go staright into the garbage bin.

    And ,Dawn , just one more item o add to your list.

    I DON’T and WILL NOT have him in my life.

  8. Sanity,
    I just looked at my list yesterday. I need to add that to my list. I love this site as well. Mostly, I love the honesty. Now, I am not knocking the S-anon program, but get so annoyed with the “elders” in the group that might as well be fucking door mats.
    I am very greatful for the tools of the program, but I am reading the literature much differently now. Just wondering, sanity, do you attend S-anon meetings?

  9. Great List, thank you so much for sharing.

    I’ve been lurking on this site for a few months now, thought it was about time I chimed in.

    I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to print the list and stick it on my bedroom wall so I can read it before I go to bed each night.

    Starry

  10. Zachette,

    With due respect to all these programs , i just cant function in groups.

    I even had to change my counsellors twice and then discontinued with the third.They just dont get it.

    I find this site much more therapeutic and all of you here much more qualified than people with a string of alphabets behind their names.

    All of us here are in various stages of their relationships so one can identify so much with everyone, be it the ranting and venting,or the forgiveness , or even the rethinking and going back to try to help out the partner one last time or forging ahead and rebuilding your life without him.

    The best part is that there is no condemnation for anything that you do just a gentle nudge in the right direction by the “thespians” here.JoAnn , Diane and Lorraine have done that with me and it has helped me “re-regain” my sanity .:)

    And ,in one of the weepy moments, i stumble upon your list.
    I dont think and therapist in the entire world could have helped as much as you have.

    You all here are Godsends.

    Love you all.

    Sanity.

  11. drummer1,

    Every woman here who has loved her SA feels some measure of sympathy for you. But not as much as we feel for your wife.

    If you’ve read around here, you know that we have all dealt with (or are still dealing with) the guilt, the need to save them, the desire to make them better and to help them heal. But you will also have read about the selfishness and all-about-me attitude that is inherent with the disease. As your post shows, you are very much in the thick of that self-centered part of your addiction.

    No one should go what you have gone through. But no one should have to go through what your wife is, right now, going through. I hope you can convince her to join this site, where she will get some support.

  12. Drummer,

    I agree with jessie..i see a similar trait in my sa too.

    I discovered there was deception during the entire 8 years of my relationship starting with online chatting to going to hookers.

    Its been 2 months since things have been outed and all that my sa can feel is his trauma and pain and shame.

    He just doesnt feel my devastation and is scared of losing me.

    I keep telling him , for once , turn the focus away from yourself and towards another person and maybe that would be the journey towards recovery.

    With SAs its always their needs their wants their traumas their shame etc etc.

    Yes, all of us have anger but if you notice most of us here are trying in one way or another to help our sas as is your wife.

    I doubt if any of the SAs would be with us if the roles were reversed.

  13. Its funny you should say that because I was just saying that out loud to my husband. The traits they have – the self esteem issues, or depression, or inability to feel loved, the anger – all of those things would prevent them from standing by and not taking revenge. Not to mention those traits would all be execerbated by betrayal from their spouse. I have said many many times that if I had done these things we would be divorced by now.

  14. I recommend the Recovery Nation site. (JoAnn has a link here under Resources.) If nothing else, it will allow your wife to heal for herself, and perhaps for your marriage, should you recover.

    There are some people who find COSA helpful, but it does require that your wife admit she is a co-addict. If your relationship is very codependent, or she has had relationships with addicts in the past, this might be applicable. For alot of us, however, we had NO IDEA this stuff was going on. We didn’t know, we didn’t agree to it, our partners seemed normal, if not damn near perfect, on the surface. If that sounds like your situation, and your wife is angry and shocked and hurt, getting her to admit to some responsibility for being a co-addict is not going to fly, and she is going to be more angry and hurt that she should have to take any of the blame for the massive betrayal she experienced.

    One of the reasons this site is here (correct me if I’m wrong, JoAnn) is that there are many different groups – Sexaholics Anon, Sex Addicts Anon, Sexual Compulsives Anon, Sex and Love Addicts Anon, and more – for people who suffer with SA or PA. The only place for us (COSA) tells us your recovery is none of our business, we need to accept responsibility for our co-addiction and also be completely hands off, save for setting our own boundaries, etc.

    There is a post on this forum about it. I think you should read it, and also do some more research about what is out there for her. She should start by getting her own therapist, whether she has decided to stay in the marriage or not. Based on her particular past and needs, her therapist will be a ble to recommend other resources.

    And just a bit of advice here, from the wife of an SA – telling her what she needs to do for her is not going to feel like you are putting her first. It is probably going to feel like you are being holier than thou because all of a sudden you have a good group and you know so much, that you – the person who betrayed her – are now trying to tell her what’s best for her. That may not be the way you mean it at all, but that could be the perception. I think that by researching it, and offering her several resources like books, forums, groups, therapists, websites, and doing it in a humble way that includes a validation of how what you have done has made her feel would go over much better.

    I hope you want her to get some help in her own healing for her well-being, although it sounds like you want things to not be so hard for you right now. But it is going to be hard for a while, maybe a long time, and perhaps it won’t get better. I am giving you this advice, not to make it easier for you, but in the hopes that she will benefit from it.

  15. You know I really have a hard time when these guys come on this site with the same crap we’ve all been listening to at home. “Poor me. You have no idea I only my wife would… I’m trying but it’s really hard…what do you want me to do… blah blah blah”. This isn’t a support site for them at all.

    Do they have to suck the oxygen out of every room even on the internet?

    Can’t we have one place—just one bloody place where we don’t have listen to these whiny sucky babies!!!!?????

    The whole bloody programs of SA etc. are out there and designed for them, even to the point that they design wife programs that keep the wives as derivatives categories of the SA. Isn’t that enough?

    Here we are trying to build some safety zones for ourselves, share stories, learn about the trauma model for spouses of SA’s as a REAL means of recovery for us, encourage each other, stand up to the emotionally abusive approaches of some therapeutic tracks, and start laying the groundwork for good therapeutic support for all the women coming along behind us….and we still have to listen to these self-centred babies whining about this and that! And we still try to fair when we do it. I am sooooooo sick of it.

    Why the fuck are these assholes on this site? Grow up and find your audience somewhere else. Why does it always have to be about you you you you you? Even here.

  16. Diane, you are absolutely right. I know we have talked about this before, but some little piece in me just felt like I had to answer this guy for the sake of his wife. I was wrong. By allowing any Sex Addict to come on here whining and asking for help compromises the safety of the women here.

    I promise not to allow any comments from Sex Addicts on this site again. If I miss a Sex Addict’s comments, or, like today, decide to answer one, you all have my permission to hold me accountable.

    New Policy:

    THIS SITE IS FOR WOMEN ONLY. THIS SITE IS FOR WIVES AND PARTNERS OF SEX ADDICTS. ANY SEX ADDICT WHO COMMENTS HERE WILL HAVE THEIR COMMENT DELETED AS SOON AS I RECOGNIZE IT.

    WE ARE NOT HERE TO HELP SEX ADDICTS. WE ARE HERE TO HELP OURSELVES TO HEAL FROM WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO US.

    GO FIND YOUR OWN SITE.

  17. Alright JoAnn!! These guys are only looking for sympathy, or a way to to feel better about their guilt/shame. We hear that everyday from our SA’s. Our agenda is to heal.
    Thanks.

  18. I couldn’t agree more. As I mentioned before, my husband has begin reading this site. I totally freaked out at first, especially when I saw that he had contacted JoAnn. I was worried that he would try to post here looking for sympathy or manipulating the situation and/or lying or just being rude and embarrassing me enough that afterward I would feel uncomfortable saying GOOD things about his recovery – he and I talked about it at length. There are many times he wants to defend himself or something, or just give the SA viewpoint, but he understands that this is not the place for that. He also knows that someone would tear him a new one, and his post would be deleted before he could say Boo.

    I explained to him that this is my place, the people here are supportive of the partners of SAs, not sympathetic to the SAs themselves, that we are here to support, empower and give common-sense advice to one another. I was worried it would cause me to censor myself, knowing he was reading it, but if he chooses to read it, he has to deal with the feelings he gets when he does, and I still need to be able to ask questions of people with more experience than I have, or help someone else by sharing my own situations. I need to be able to talk about decisions I am considering, so you ladies can tell me when I am being naive and stupid – we love them so much, sometimes we see what we want to see, even when we know better.

    I am not saying I advocate spouses knowing you post here or reading the posts. It is good to have a safe place of your own.

  19. I just want to say thank you for being here for me. I found you a week ago and now I know what addicted feels like. I thought of you all day after the first day I found you a week ago. It was the evening following my second session with my counselor. He has helped me a lot. But you have fortified and brought clarity to my understanding. Someday perhaps I will write the short version of my long, sad story.

    A month ago when my SA brought pornography under my roof (we live in separate towns) he crossed the line. THAT I COULD control. So he left and off to the counselor I went to understand his disorder. Now I have hope for a blessed end to a very sad story. Thank you all for telling me so openly what I am dealing with. I had so little good internet information. Family recently with empathy even listened; and then backed away. The topic didn’t even exist at my EAP site. I am so relieved of the burden of suffering it all alone for so long. And my SA in his hedonistic and vulgar world counted on all that, if he gave anything besides his pleasure any thought at all. Thanks sisters.