A Complicated Journey

Discussion in 'Significant Other Journals' started by Staying Positive, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    After listening to some podcast episodes on Friday and a ton of support from this forum, Friday evening was actually pretty positive. My husband has been opening up a little more each day this week, including getting his NoFap profile up and running and trying to check in with the Feelings Wheel to become more aware of his emotions.

    We watched tv together and ended up talking until very late. After the immense help that the Q&A for partners of addicts by Dr Rob Weiss was, I’ve been reading his website www.sexandrelationshiphealing.com and saw that he and his team offers a number of free interactive webinars on sex addiction. Some for partners, some for addicts and some for couples.

    This week, Wednesday evening after our friends had gone home after the game, there was a partner support group webinar. I was feeling so anxious and out of it that evening, but I really wanted to see if it would help me so I grabbed my computer and joined the meeting. Unfortunately my anxiety at seeing actual real people on the screen made me freak out and close the meeting...I just didn’t feel ready, it all felt too much, nothing super logical but I just wasn’t in a good emotional place.

    So Friday night, I decided to check while sat on the sofa with my husband for other webinars coming up during the week that we might want to watch together, and it just so happened that there was another webinar Q&A for partners starting in 10 minutes time. I was about to say no and close my laptop again, but my husband was really supportive and said that it was worth a watch even if I didn’t want to join in the Q&A part.

    I watched it, I got to have both of my questions answered by a professional therapist and hear her give loads of advice to other women in the chat, and I was crying with relief at the feeling of being heard and validated and seeing a way forward. I’ve never been to therapy for myself, and the time I went with my husband to an addiction therapist, I was actually asked to leave so that she could talk to my husband without me there which was very disheartening.

    I’m actually excited now for the next webinar, I’m going to try and join the partner support group on Wednesdays and I even heard back from an English-speaking therapist here in Stuttgart the next morning to confirm an appointment.

    Saturday was spent buying some colourful plants for our apartment, making a food plan for the week together and evening heading down to a music festival for the evening. I did feel a little awkward and anxious at the music festival, especially with so many people and still a bit worried that my husband’s mood can be unpredictable, but in the end it was nice to be out of the house and I hope he had a nice time.

    I feel...cautiously optimistic? I think? Frustrated still at lots of things, and still underneath I feel sad from things that have happened, but on a more day-to-day scale of emotions today feels hopeful and peaceful.
     
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  2. This is HUGE! I hope he finds this site to be a positive experience and makes some meaningful connections here. I wish my partner would engage here, but alas, I'm not the boss of him. :)

    I've never tried these. Does it actually show your face on the screen during this? I think I would have freaked out also. Something I like about nofap is that I am basically an anonymous person at this point.

    Ok, so can you watch it without participating? If so, I think I may check this out. I think this is such a courageous move towards your recovery!!

    WOW! Can I just say you are amazing? I'm so glad that you are reaching out for support and engaging in your recovery in such an active way. That therapist did more damage than help to YOU in what you mentioned above. Therapy is so tricky. I haven't gone there at this point. I personally don't know if couples can really engage in counseling together so early on in the recovery process. Being in a session with my partner sounds triggering AF to me. I made a decision awhile back that for me, working on myself is the only part I am not triggered by for now. Later when we have made a lot of progress individually, I'll entertain couple's counseling. It also doesn't help that in conversations with my partner's mom she always suggests that I need to attend counseling with her son. Amazing how these types of comments trigger me so bad. We have stopped talking to her during our recovery time. She does so much harm it's not worth it.

    I'm glad you got out and did something fun together. I don't know about you but that's hard for me. I'm always triggered by the women around, especially the ones who dress like street walkers. That's probably just one of my things I need to work on AKA my own self-esteem and how damaged it is at the moment.

    When I get discouraged I try to remember that this is a hard process. Emphasis on HARD! It's taken such a long time to get to where it is and it will take a long time to get out of the current place. Cautiously optimistic is a great word especially since you are both taking steps towards recovery. What I see most in you is that you are no longer feeling as responsible for his well-being. I see you shifting towards things that are beneficial to you first. That's a great step. I have definitely realized that one of my goals in my recovery is to let go of control and trust in a higher purpose and power than myself.

    I enjoyed reading this. Keep posting. I look forward to hearing your triumphs and empathizing with your struggles.
     
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  3. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    Me too! He’s started his journal here, so hopefully he’ll feel good getting some feedback from someone that isn’t me. I think the problem is that I’ve always been his only accountability partner, and getting him to reach out to someone else feel strange to him and scary to me to potentially let go of that much control.

    But, from what I’ve seen, him looking at other relationships from an outside perspective seems to help him vocalise his views on addiction easier without feeling like the spotlight is on him, and as he talks about what other sex addicts could do to help their situation he sometimes sees our own relationship from another point of view. Early days though, so we’ll see.

    It seems that some of them are ‘support groups’ which everyone can choose to show or hide video but must have their microphone on to take part (although I believe you can configure ‘push-to-talk’ so you aren’t speaking all the time), but anything that’s listed as an informative talk followed by a Q&A is more anonymous. You just join the meeting with no sound or video, but can see and hear the therapists. You can then anonymously type questions in the chat and if they get time they will answer them.

    Weirdly, I wasn’t expecting myself to freak out at the video calls, and my reaction kind of surprised me. I’d been looking all this time for support, and then I wanted to close the laptop and walk away, but reading your post I think it’s exactly that fear of losing anonymity that made it too ‘real’.

    Before that, I was just reading books and having talks with my husband, but the problem was still completely hidden and I could kid myself on good days that the problem didn’t even exist at all. Actually participating in therapy was like my final step to admitting that I was truly traumatised and in a bad situation that wasn’t going to go away, and that took a lot more courage than I realised.

    Going to try to attend some more this week, so I’ll most certainly post an update if I manage to do that and let you know if they are any good!
     
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  4. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    And so ends another rollercoaster day. Not sure if it was positive or negative in particular, but I’m laying awake at 1:00am not able to sleep, so perhaps journaling will help get the thoughts out of my head so they can go round and round on here and keep someone else awake instead.

    I’ve checked the Feelings Wheel, and ‘going out of my mind crazy’ was not one of the available options...I may write to the author. Let’s go for tired, overwhelmed and frustrated instead.

    My husband has lists of things he has to do, like most people do, and because he often finds work overwhelming or stressful, he often leaves said to-do list until the weekend. Having not seen so much of him during the week Monday to Friday, this can then lead to a relatively predictable situation of feeling isolated and lonely while actually in the company of my husband all weekend.

    As it happened, I actually woke up this morning feeling very low and sad, not wanting to get out of bed at all. I’m not sure if it’s just stress or if it’s totally random, but I’ve decided for the meantime that I’m just going to try and feel however I feel without trying to change or hide that feeling because I’m worried about my husband’s reaction. I think it took him a little while to pick up on it, but he did, and he was very sweet. He set me up on the sofa with a blanket, cup of tea and tv, and said he was going to go work through his list of jobs and then come sit with me when he was done.

    And that was it for the rest of the day really. He had some meal prepping to do, and then while sitting 10 feet away from me, he disappeared. Namely, he disappeared into his iPad into his Dungeons and Dragons game prep, for about three hours.

    At first it was ok. I was watching trashy reality tv, letting myself feel bad and not worrying about not being productive. Then I started to get restless and impatient for him to finish. Then I realised I was waiting for his company and felt like I was failing my ‘look after myself’ plan, and tried to find something to do. In the end I got up and started cleaning the bathroom, just out of desperation for something to do as another hour went by of waiting quietly for him to finish his list so he could spend time with me, and there being seemingly no end in sight.

    I knew he had more things to do after this story-writing job too, and at this point it was getting on for about 5pm. I felt so humiliated, like I was a child that had been placed in front of the tv so the exasperated parent could get on with their own life.

    So that triggered all my anxiety. Was he lying that he wanted to come be with me but had this important list of things to do first? And if he wasn’t, and he genuinely had to get the task list done before he could spend time with me, that must mean that everything on the task list is more urgent or important than being together.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not insane, sometimes getting that important email sent off or prepping food for lunch just does need to get done before you can relax. And I might be wrong about this, but my journal is my place for my feelings and this is how I feel; writing a story for your dungeons and dragons group is not more important than your wife feeling depressed and anxious while 10 feet away from you.

    And here is why I feel like I’m going crazy. This is not the first time this has happened. I even mentioned it last month.
    Feels like going in circles because he did the same thing before, this disappearing into his iPad.

    But there are positives to this as well. This time he did tell me beforehand that his task list involved some writing so he is trying to be more intentional. The issue is that he’s pretty lazy, and tends to leave tasks to be done later, and also that he has very little concept of how long a job will take or how to plan his time.

    The result is that he ends up suddenly with a massive list of tasks or spends hours on a single task when that time should have been used elsewhere. It’s a problem he has at work too, and causes him (understandably) lots of stress when he comes to the point that he has more jobs to do than time to do them in, or spent way too long on a job of very little consequence.

    I just lost it today. Not screaming and shouting, just crying and ranting and generally deciding that I’d lost the plot, because I am going round in circles.

    He needs a therapist or some kind of official therapy to teach him how to identify his emotions and to empathise with the feelings of other people. I think that’s something we have agreed on. He did apologise, which was nice, and we went to get ice-cream and ended the day on a good note, but now it’s 1am and I’m back on the sofa because I just can’t think right now.

    He wants to be able to empathise, but it’s like no-one ever taught him how.

    I need to be understood, and I felt sad today thinking of how far this journey has yet to go.
     
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  5. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    So today is, for me, a very big day. After years at the mercy of a combination of British dentistry and parents with phobias of the dentist, saying I absolutely hate the way my teeth look is probably the understatement of the century, and since I was old enough to start caring about how I looked I started counting the days until I was an adult and would be able to get my teeth fixed.

    Well, being an adult came, and although I did eventually overcome my own learned phobia of dentists and actually start getting things like fillings sorted, my teeth always still looked horrible to me. My husband never takes photos of me, and although at first I felt sad, I also realised that part of me was more than happy to not be in photos. Because of how awful I feel my teeth look, I’ve never taken a photo of myself smiling properly that I haven’t later deleted or regretted taking. I never wear lipstick so I don’t draw attention to them, and just seeing someone take out a phone to take a photo starts this panic to make sure I remember to smile with my lips pressed together.

    I guess everyone’s got something they don’t like about themselves and, especially given the price of adult braces, I don’t think I’ll even have the teeth I really want, so I think that there is probably an element of just being happy and content as you are that should come into play here.

    We’re also Dave Ramsey followers and always have our budget every month. I’m the nerd saver, and I do get pretty anxious about spending money, so the idea of a big budget item on getting whiter teeth never seemed like a good financial decision.

    We managed to put some money aside in the budget, and last time I saw the dentist I decided fuck it, I’ll just book it and I can cancel it later if I don’t feel like it. But here I am. And I feel like it’s a completely selfish luxury, but also maybe self-care? Doing something to make myself happy and feel better doesn’t just have to be free stuff. I think. Maybe. I’m still very confused.

    The only thing making me sad about this is that my husband has known that I hate my teeth, and when I asked him he encouraged me to book the appointment. But then he just forgot about it. It’s there, in our joint calendar, but this morning he just got up and left for work and I assume he hasn’t even looked to see if I have anything on this week.

    I would have liked some encouragement and support (I’m really worried about coming out looking either ridiculous or exactly the same as I went in but €150 down) or even just a “good luck”, but I also don’t want to be like “hey, you haven’t given me attention about this thing that I’m doing by myself today”. There’s already a calendar event, he doesn’t need physical push notifications from me to notice what I’m doing. It’s there if he wants to look.

    It’s one of the reasons I feel like I’m always in control and responsible for everything. Sometimes it would be nice for him to remind me to take care of myself, or that I have a doctor's appointment today, or that there was a podcast episode he thought would help me, or to be aware of household jobs that need doing, or we’re busy on Saturday so don’t book that thing at the same time.

    Feeling excited about getting my teeth whitened, but sad that my husband seems to forget about me sometimes.
     
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  6. Yes, this is self care! I used to be very self conscious about my smile. I have had a lot of dental work done in the past and put it on a payment plan. It was one of the best investments I ever made in myself. It was costly but in the years since the initial large investment in several crowns and bridges, I have never regretted that decision. It felt selfish at first but it was definitely self care. I think this a great boost for a person's self esteem. I hope it goes well. Just remember, you are the one who will feel better about yourself after this. He doesn't have to get that. This is absolutely about you.

    It's funny because in the last few years after all the inital cosmetic work, I have slacked on following up. I just wrote picking back up on dental care for myself on my self care list again a week ago.
     
    Staying Positive likes this.
  7. As a woman, I totally get this, wanting to spend time with your partner. I guess I have two questions relating to what I read, do you have a support system outside of him and do you and your partner have any activities you do together?

    I used to be very codependent on my partner to meet all my needs. I used to just stare at him like, hello! See me over here? I need your attention and time. I have started working on one friendship with a friend that has proven herself over the years and a good relationship with my mom. Also, relationships here. My mom always tells me that the more interested I become in myself, the more interesting I become to others. That has made sense to me in my relationships with men. There's always the option of you having other plans if he is busy or behind on his to do list. That could help you feel less neglected and could maybe promote his time management skills to be better. Just some thoughts. It almost comes off as he is not prioritizing his time with you. What are things you would want to do with him when you are spending time together? I think this is fixable but I think it has a lot to do with you being less flexible in being available when he gets around to spending time with you. If his list is long, maybe you could say...hey it looks like you are going to be busy until late afternoon so I'm going to do this activity and will be back at this time. If you are worried about PMO while gone, maybe it's time for accountability software so you aren't worried while you are away.

    I have so been there on this exact thing! I sometimes felt like a prisoner not wanting to leave him alone but not having his attention either.
     
  8. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    You've absolutely jumped to the heart of the problem; I have no support network. Now that's no-one's fault, but right now it's a huge issue. I'm living with my husband in Germany, which means my few family members are in the UK. I'm a complete introvert, which is normally not a problem, but it means that in times of crisis I don't have anyone else to turn to.

    He has a great group of friends at work who regularly come over to play tabletop games together, but apart from that I don't see any of them. I've not really ever had a 'meaningful' conversation with them, and to be honest I might be wrong but they don't feel like people I could be super open with.

    And here is the big problem. I don't work, and my husband finally admitted that part of his lying to me over the years has been the lie that he wants children with me.

    Typing that now is just heartbreaking. I don't want to look at the words on the screen. But that's part of my betrayal trauma and I'm hoping something that someone out there might have a solution for.

    I don't fit into an office particularly well, I have too much social anxiety. I'm a good business person though, and I've had a relatively successful graphic design freelance career in the past and am currently running an Etsy store to keep myself busy, but I'm definitely a work-from-home person. I was running side-businesses alongside being at university in England, but since we've moved to Germany it turns out that's really difficult if you don't speak German. We don't have a car either, so popping out to meet a client or driving somewhere nice for the day is out of the question.

    Since I was a little kid, all I've ever wanted was to be a mum. I've done babysitting, scout leading, teaching, taken a job as a Nanny, all just happily dreaming about the day I hold my own child in my arms. But then, finally, my husband admitted that he never wants kids, has never wanted kids, and has been saying "maybe later" or "not now" because he couldn't bring himself to tell me that I was never going to be a mum.

    Just like the addiction right? Maybe worse, to be honest.

    So I've been spending the last year since I found out trying to find what else I could want in life. Who I am. My identity. The thing that gives my life meaning. And to be honest, I'm really struggling to see it. I just see myself growing old with no children and no family. And just like your husband doesn't want to talk about the addiction, my husband can barely stay in the same room with my when the subject comes up. He feels so guilty for saying no. So I'm left alone with the problem.

    I've been watching TED talks on women being empowered without needing to be a mother. Looking into fostering. Trying to see the positive sides of not having children. But to be grieving the loss of motherhood and then for the person responsible for making that decision to be withdrawing from me too? I feel like I have nothing left.

    I can find activities to do day-to-day. I can keep myself busy. I obviously can't leave him alone for a long time because he will most likely relapse into addiction, but I've realised it's so much more than keeping busy for a Sunday while he does his to do list.

    I feel like Sunday was a mini version of my whole life. Just waiting. Living with the trauma of so much hurt and just waiting for something new to start.

    We both want to live in America, and he's starting to apply for jobs so we can be in an English speaking country, but of course the process is going to take a very long time. My life is completely in his hands. I need love, support, understanding, security and something to replace this huge emotional hole that not being a mum is creating. I'm isolated and scared, confused, and wandering alone through the wreckage of my life, wondering what the fuck happened, and of course the one person who should be there for me can't be because of this addiction and the damage it's caused.

    I can't even go to the swimming pool for the day without being criticised for not being able to speak German to the receptionist, let alone try to join a club or activity group nearby to make friends. My family are less than supportive (when I had depression, my mum told me that if I was going to choose to go onto medication then I may as well hang myself) so I can't talk to them. This forum is the closest I've ever had to someone to talk to.
     
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  9. Ok. The not having a child thing is huge. A lot of men are gun shy about it but if it's really important to you, then you have to be on the same page with it.
     
  10. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    I know right, I thought he was just shy too. When he told me how he really felt it was an absolute bombshell. Just seen your message though, so I’ll reply to you there!
     
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  11. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    The books are right, the experts are right, @HeartBrokenAndScared you were right. Letting go of control of his recovery is still terrifying and I'm having to, for the first time, face my own issues from all of this, but I feel like it finally maybe sort of worked? It feels weird to say that not doing anything caused something good to happen, but I've been trying to really stick to the idea that his recovery is his own journey and we definitely had some kind of breakthrough last night.

    My husband had been feeling really sad all day. When I texted him to say I'd had the teeth whitening, he said he'd remembered it was today but I guess he was too upset and confused about his own issues and emotions to have been able to reach out to me about something happening in my life. When he got home from work he was despondent and distant, and I don't think he had anywhere to start in trying to begin to deal with such strong emotions. Normally his addiction or numbing behaviours (video games for example) take over and get rid of the strong feeling, but they obviously weren't an option last night.

    So I put on a ten minute guided meditation for both of us, and that seemed to help me calm down a bit, and once again the mantra "you can't help him, this is his journey" keeps going round in my head. So, he grabs his iPad to read some Sex Addiction 101 by Dr Rob Weiss, and I head to our bedroom with my iPad to maybe watch some YouTube and stay out the way until he wanted to talk. I did remember the advice I have been given that when he wants to be left alone I should find my own thing to do, so I decided to pop out to Lidl and grab some food that I needed to buy.

    I got some music on my phone and walked to the shop, and on the way back I saw a shop selling chilli plants (which my husband has been looking for recently), so on an impulse I bought one. Then I fretted all the way home that he'd see this as me trying to buy favour for myself, or a cheap attempt to cheer him up. But much to my surprise he did seem happy with the present, and after some time alone he did seem a little calmer.

    I was also surprised that he said he was still up for attending the webinar men's Sex Addiction meetup group, and so after some dinner he got set up on the sofa with the laptop and I went back into our bedroom with my headphones on to give him some privacy.

    That was possibly one of the most nerve-wracking sixty minutes of my life right there.

    I could hear some muffled voices, so I knew the meeting had started. Now, I know I have control issues with this recovery, but sitting away from that meeting nearly caused cardiac arrest by curiosity. The longer he didn't come in and say "nah it was rubbish, I left the meeting", the more hopeful I felt. But you can bet your absolute last dollar that I watched the clock for the ENTIRE hour waiting to find out what was happening.

    So finally the door opens and my husband walks in the bedroom, and he was just a different person. He was smiling, but teary and emotional, his walls had come down, he was PROUD of himself, and he told me that seeing other real life men tell their stories and having them tell him that they knew what he was going through was just the most positive experience.

    I think, up until this point, he has had a good model of what sobriety looks like, but no idea what recovery actually means. I've been asking him to start his recovery, but without a practical first step I think it's always felt to him out of his reach. He had no idea where to start except to jump straight into finding a therapist, and for both of us (especially being from the UK where therapy is much more of a taboo subject) that has always felt like an overwhelming step.

    But this turned out to be the step we were missing. Getting him to connect to other men with the same addiction so he doesn't feel alone, to have a safe place to share his emotions and have good male role models to help him learn to be emotional and vulnerable and to have that accountability of a weekly group.

    I know this is a rollercoaster ride, and recovery is going to sometimes completely suck, but 'cautiously optimistic' has turned into 'tentatively hopeful' that we are now further than we've ever been in this journey.
     
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  12. This is exciting news!! I'm proud of him too for attending that and not just shutting down that idea all together! As for the gift you bought, in my opinion that's a much better way to show you care than our tendency to try to control. It may even be things like that which are the bridge that lets him know you still care while you are letting him be the person in control of his own life.

    I'm glad things are looking up!
     
  13. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    Lots of positive things today! Actually talking with another SO today felt like such a good step in reaching out and not being alone. So many “oh my gosh ME TOO” moments help so much to break the isolation. My husband seems to be feeling so better about himself after taking to the support group and I think, as of right now, we don’t have any urgent tasks to do which means - hopefully - we can find some time to connect together when he’s home from work.

    We also had some friends over today from our gaming group, and although it’s nice to see them it’s still probably more exhausting and anxiety inducing than I would like it to be.

    I’ve also been taking advice on this forum to heart, and have found a social meet-up to attend one evening this month when I know my husband will be busy. They are more tabletop gamers and, I believe, all speak English at the meetup. Honestly, I’m not necessarily hoping to find awesome new friends at this social, and it might be three people or thirty people, I have no idea, but what I am hoping I will get is some confidence to go out on my own and find people while we’re in this country.

    If I go, say hello to one person and immediately leave, that will be a huge win for me at this stage.

    Tomorrow is going to be a long day and my husband has his gaming group in the office after work, so hopefully I can find productive things to do, get some reading in, maybe watch a movie. It’s funny...sometimes I look at my life and from the outside it looks ideal. Don’t have to work, get to watch tv or do whatever I want all day every day. But it’s also very lonely, and you really have to give yourself structure each day because no-one will do it for you.

    Hard to relax too when you feel so distant from your partner, and sometimes feel alone even when they are home. But we’re making positive progress, slow and steady, and I’m still very happy that my husband took a big step forward this week.

    No rushing, take it slow. Baby steps. We’ll get there.
     
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  14. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    I’m not really a fan of TGIF, but at the moment I definitely feel that way. My husband does struggle managing his time, so the weekend is the time we get to talk, interact, work on something to help his addiction, get shopping done, go out somewhere, sort big jobs out and just generally have more than a couple of hours together in the evenings.

    It still feels like a lottery though, that there is a chance I’ll get him for the weekend but also a chance I’ll get the addict, and that makes me sad. Maybe I’ll be able to share my emotions but maybe I’ll have another lonely weekend in the same house.

    I guess I’m trying to realise that this probability is not really something that I have caused or that I can control, and the only way it’s going to get better is through recovery. That helps to take away the feeling of guilt when it does happen, but right now I still get frustrated and upset.

    I’m getting more nervous about my therapy appointment coming next week. Her website mentioned that she does deal with pornography addiction, but I have no idea if that’s just something she only deals with in a very shallow capacity or something she can really give me as a partner some insight into. The more I watch videos and read books from Dr Rob, the more aware I am that it’s easy for a partner to go to a therapist and be labelled as codependent, and I feel like that would be very unhelpful to be told to distance myself from my husband.

    I’m not sure I know what I want out of the therapy session. Someone to talk to maybe? I honestly don’t know what she could tell me that would help, but that’s probably the reason I’m not a therapist. I’m going to trust in the system and try it, and see what happens.

    Each day I’m trying to keep on top of housework, engage in some hobbies, do some self-care and things that make me happy, but it does still feel a little like going through the motions. Fake it ‘til you make it. I’m just holding on and waiting while he starts his recovery.

    I’m grateful that he joined an accountability group, and it did have a hugely positive affect on him, but it’s still important for me to remember that he hasn’t properly started recovery and that even when he does, it’s going to take a long time and be a slow process.

    This week, for example, part of me stepping back is not reminding him to go to bed at a good time, which has meant that he’s just burned himself out and last night was too tired to help make dinner or even to hold a proper conversation. I’m not blaming him for this, it’s just another one of a very long list of skills that he has to learn, so for now I’m trying to be patient. But yeah, it does suck. There’s a long way to go yet.

    Time to get on with jobs that need doing...I feel so unmotivated. Another autopilot day for me today.
     
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  15. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    This weekend has been so stressful. Jobs just got left to the weekend, we met with friends but couldn’t relax and enjoy it because of aforementioned job lists, and I feel like I just knew what would happen.

    I’m just so heartbroken to watch my husband go through this. He still has problems with retreating back into rage and anger when he feels too vulnerable. When he feels negative emotions that he would previously sooth with his addiction but now no longer can, he is left with no way to cope and the self-destruction is huge.

    He looked at me today and told me that he knows he should love me, and that under all the anger he probably does, but that right at that moment when he looked at me he felt nothing, just rage and hate blocking out everything else. At least he talked today. And after a while, his rage burned itself out and he could start to get back in control of himself again.

    I know this is what addiction does. It wants to be alone. He’s asked me so many times to stay with him and help him because he’s going to beat this thing, but when he goes to this other headspace it’s like my husband is replaced with a stranger. He tells me he feels nothing for me, that he doesn’t think this marriage will work, and that he wants to give up on recovery.

    But this is just another cycle. I’ve heard it all before. And it’s convincing as fuck. An addict is a practised liar, and it’s like he knows every button to push to make me want to leave him. Last month it worked; I went back to my parents for three weeks and the addiction took over him like wildfire. When he relapsed, he said it felt worse than anything he’d ever felt, and was glad to have me home.

    So when he looked me in the eye today and said he doesn’t think he wants to do this marriage, I should leave, he wants to give up, I’m this close to punching him in the face in frustration. It’s so hurtful to say those things to me, it’s not going to work, and I know this is the addiction talking because you’ve done the same damn thing to me every couple of months since you first disclosed everything last year.

    He’s struggling to know what feelings are real, and what is just addiction brain. I really hope that he keeps reaching out to other recovering addicts, and they can help identify patterns of negative or destructive behaviour.

    Another week ahead of focusing on myself. I’m starting to get sick of the sight of myself at this point. This is my journal, so I’m allowed to write what I think, and it is this:

    Dealing with issues HAS to stop being left until the weekend. I’m sick of the only potential quality time with my husband just turning into sitting and waiting like a faithful dog until he finishes his own much more important tasks, which then makes things tense and upsetting and leads to just killing time until he goes to work Monday so I can start waiting for the next weekend to get here. I am not actually dead from Monday to Friday, I’m still here.

    That all might be harsh to say, but I wanted to write it so I can read it again tomorrow and see how it feels. Right now I feel numb and empty, already dreading the lonely week ahead. I’m going to try and make use of the support and advice I have, and try to keep being patient.
     
  16. alphazingersalsa

    alphazingersalsa Fapstronaut

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    Exactly what I feel about my husband. Like if he got a call about me being in critical condition he’d be very happy.
     
  17. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    I’m so sorry to hear that, that’s an awful feeling.
     
  18. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    Halfway through the week, and so far seems to be going on. I've tried to indulge myself a little more with my crafting hobbies, and trying to keep pushing myself to reach out to more people.

    I do feel conflicted on that though. I went to see a therapist this week. Not to talk about the sex addiction - I think for now that's all going as well as it's going to go, and I don't feel like I need advice right now. My husband knows what he needs to do, and at the moment I'm seeing steady progress and commitment. So I went more for myself. For the grief I feel that part of my husband's lying involved telling me he wanted children, when in fact he doesn't and he never did, he just could never take back the lie once he said it. And lies just you in deeper and deeper the longer you keep them going, so I understand how hard it must have been to bring himself to tell me the truth.

    I may change my mind, and of course his view on parenthood might change after his recovery, but at the moment I want to be happy, content, and fulfilled in a life without having children, so this was my main reason for going to see the therapist. I told her about it, cried about it, she reassured me that this is a hard time and I'm doing everything right at the moment. That I do understand addiction well, that I'm giving him the space he needs and recognise that I need to do lots of self-care in the meantime.

    But no actual advice. She validated my feelings, which was nice, and she said that she was a person to which I would always be able to tell anything without worrying. But I left after an hour feeling...confused? I don't know how I was expecting to feel, and so I'm trying to factor in that there was no way I could expect anything good from a first session and shouldn't hold my standards too high. But still, I guess either I just didn't connect with her on an individual level or maybe she just wasn't the right person to deal with my particular problems?

    If I want somewhere to speak openly, that's what this journal does for me. A therapist listens without judgement, but so does a journal. I can reach out here and find people to connect to and it seems like, even though they're not experts, partners of addicts are possibly the best people on the planet if you need to validate your feelings of grief or anger because they've been there before.

    I was disappointed. If I am already doing everything I can do for my husband's addiction, and what I need now is to find some kind of support so I have somewhere to talk and be heard when my husband can't be there for me, then it seems like a community or online support groups are just as helpful, if not more helpful, than a therapist. Especially a therapist who doesn't specialise in sex addiction.

    Shared experience seems the most powerful tool at the moment. I think I'll get back to journalling a little more and keep trying to find people to connect with and see how it goes.
     
    kropo82 likes this.
  19. Staying Positive

    Staying Positive Fapstronaut

    Wednesday was another day where my husband felt distant. We had our gaming group, which was good (I think everyone had fun) but I was physically and emotionally exhausted afterwards. Then I said I’d check out a webinar for partners, and asked him to do a quick job for me in the hour I was gone and that I’d see him when the webinar finished.

    When I came out, he was on the phone, had been for some time and didn’t get off the phone when he saw me.

    I know this sounds demanding, but it’s just so frustrating. I write over and over in this journal that during the week we end up not having time together. We have the gaming nights, and the rest of the time he just seems too busy or burnt out or....I don’t know. So when he got off the phone I just felt abandoned again. I’m just waiting, again, for him to be free to talk to me when he gets around to it.

    And of course he didn’t do the task he said he would. We’ve talked about how important follow through is, he knows that every time he says he’ll do something and then doesn’t, it’s endlessly frustrating and trust-breaking to me. He’s just abusing my trust if he keeps doing that.

    We ended up staying up until midnight, both frustrated, me trying to tell him how I felt and him trying to understand but being too distracted that he needed to get to sleep to really be present. Ok, that’s fine, he needs sleep. He said that we could talk tomorrow.

    So then it’s Thursday, the next day, and at work everyone has a presentation from the boss followed by after-work food and drinks. The presentation is at 3pm, and at 5pm he texts me to say the talk was cancelled, but he’s finishing work now. He feels very tired, sad, stressed and like he’s not handling his emotions very well today.

    But, of course, he’s going to the party. When will he be home? He can’t promise a time, because he’s struggling to make decisions. Except that he’s clearly decided that despite not getting any time to talk Wednesday night, he’d rather not come home this evening until he feels like it.

    It’s just avoidance. Avoidance of feelings, because a loud party is much more fun than facing uncomfortable emotions.

    I’m not writing this to shame him. I’m writing this because I need it here in my journal to stop me feeling like I’m going crazy when he does it again and again, but when I confront him he tells me that I’m making it up in my head.

    I’m just so low on his list of priorities right now, but that’s how it’s just going to be until he learns emotional maturity as party of his addiction recovery. Addicts can’t put other people first when they’re hurting, so I have to accept that for now.

    So I’m going to try and make new friends. It’s fucking horrible, planning a night out by myself like I’m single when I’m married. Makes me feel worthless, like a dog left outside to entertain itself with no idea when normal life will return. I’m going to keep running my Etsy store. I’m going to listen to podcasts and read.

    But sometimes I don’t know how to want to get out of bed.

    I hope writing these feelings out will help. Or that at least they might be useful to look back on in the future.

    When he did get home after the party he felt terrible. And honestly, I just want to punch one of us in the face, and I wasn’t too fussed who. From the outside, it’s so obvious that he’s just constantly finding new ways to numb his feelings. I could have asked him to come home, but there would have been no point. It was his decision, and his decision was to give up yesterday.

    I hope today goes better for him. I hope he realises that he’s still trying to get by on sobriety alone, and he needs to start learning how to deal with his emotions. And maybe that choosing between your hurting wife who feels abandoned and who you promised to make time for and an after-work party, that shouldn’t be a gut-wrenchingly difficult choice in which the party wins.

    When I see commitment and positive changes, I can help. When he wants to give up...there is nothing I can do. It’s not my recovery. I can’t help him. He has to decide what’s important to him, and right now I just need to find other human beings because sadly, I’m just not near the top of his list at the moment.
     
    EyesWideOpen likes this.
  20. LuxPerpetua

    LuxPerpetua Fapstronaut

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    I'm so, so sorry @Staying Positive I've been through this not being a priority a lot with my husband, it has gradually been getting better as he's progressed in recovery, but it's still a problem sometimes, and I know it's just utterly heartbreaking. You explain the feelings so well, like a dog being left outside as you say :( Sending you sympathy and a hug
     
    D Jane and Staying Positive like this.

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