For all the spouses/SO of us addicts

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by Joe1023, May 20, 2023.

  1. Joe1023

    Joe1023 Fapstronaut

    I wanted to create a thread (apologies if its already been done, but I couldn't find out if it was) where the spouses/SO's could come and just give any comments, advice, comment, complaint, threat, question, or anything else they wanted to us addicts for a response or answer to anything. I talk to my wife about my addiction and am often surprised at thigns she has to say. She says things about how she felt about me acting out over the years that I never would've realized or thought of otherwise.

    So hit me with it! Anything you have to throw at us, this is your moment! You're being asked, so you don't hav to worry about anyone saying that no one asked for your thoughts on us acting out, or your spouse/SO acting out. This goes for men and women, anyone who isn't an addict, but is or was in a relationship with one!

    And GO!!
    hope4healing likes this.
  2. This is very brave of you. Lol. Although I'm sure there are many things that SO's would be relieved to say (and be heard) pertaining to their betrayal trauma, I have a feeling that no one wants to be the one to get it started. Ironically, this apprehension to speak up is, in itself, a symptom of BT for many of us. I know that, for me, I tried for a very long time to voice my pain, my fears, my desperate need for understanding...but it all seemed to fall on deaf ears as there was very little acknowledgement of anything I expressed.

    Eventually, as my pain grew deeper and my desperation intensified, I felt even more compelled to express myself, but the more I did, the more uncomfortable it got for my husband to tolerate hearing about it. Listening to me talk about all the pain I felt due to his P addiction brought up all the shame that he was trying so hard to suppress.

    When he could no longer stand to peacefully hear me out, he began resisting in various ways to avoid hearing any of it at all. Sometimes he just shut down...stonewalling and quite obviously tuning me out completely, oftentimes only paying attention to the TV or his phone. Other times, he would shut me down by lashing out with a loud, overpowering verbal assault where I was unable to say anything. There were also times when he would just want to leave.

    During these times, I was not screaming at him or calling him names. In no way was I just trying to shame him or make him feel guilty by telling him he was a p.o.s. for what he'd done. I was explaining how I felt and the way I saw his addiction affecting him, me, and our marriage. But, something I've learned is there is no way to present this kind of information to an addict who's stuck in their shame without them taking it as you trying to "shame them." It's impossible. When they are stuck in the shame cycle, anything you say that's even slightly related to their addiction will bring out their shame, and that always means (to the addict) that you're trying to shame them.

    When an addict (who's stuck in their shame) does not want to face their emotions or shame, like my husband, they'll resort to just about anything to accomplish that. As for my husband, his tactics were very successful because, regardless of which way he responded to my attempts to share my feelings, it effectively shut me down so he avoided hearing it.

    When he stonewalled me, I would stop talking because it was more painful to keep talking to someone who's acting like I'm not even in the room, and his lack of interest in what I was saying hurt as much as some of the addictive behaviors. When he would lash out at me enraged that I wanted him to hear about my feelings, I obviously stopped talking because what's the point in trying to talk over his yelling? And, when he would leave, that clearly ended the conversation.

    When I say "conversation," that would imply at least 2 people verbally exchanging thoughts or ideas. However, that's never how it actually happened, including the times before he began resisting. During those times, he would quietly listen to everything I said while not offering much in the way of a response. I could even ask him a question and then silently wait for his answer, and minutes would go by without a peep.

    I drove myself crazy inside my head while sitting there...waiting. I'd begin trying to figure out what was happening without saying anything out loud because I didn't want him to think I was interrupting. "Did he not hear my question?" "Is he just thinking about how to answer?" "Was it unclear what I was asking?" "Did I ask the question in Portuguese?" A hundred questions went through my head, and if after 20 or 30 minutes he still hadn't spoken a word, I'd ask if he was going to answer me. Most of the time, he say something like, "Oh, I didn't know you asked me anything." Or, "I don't remember the question." Or, my least favorite response of all, "I don't know." Of the few times I did get any verbal acknowledgement, it was usually that, and of course, that isn't really an answer. It's typically just a way of not answering without using the silent treatment.

    Nearly all SO's can relate to feeling unheard at some time. So, thank you, @Joe1023 for creating this space for my little rant . I didn't intend for it to be quite so long, but it feels good to get that all out there.
  3. Joe1023

    Joe1023 Fapstronaut

    I'm so sorry for everything you've had to endure because of your husband's addiction, just as I'm horrified and regretful for everything I put my wife through. Having said that, I'm very thankful you decided to comment here. I just figured that if there are any spouses out there who were never asked directly if they had anything they wanted to say or ask, or just asked about their feelings about their spouse's addiction in general, I wanted to at least ask, if that makes sense.

    Thank you again for your comment. God bless you!
  4. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    I hated that my husband literally could not see or refused to see how it not only changed him but me.
    I hated that he minimized how much he had hurt me.
    I hated feeling crazy. I knew something was off from the minute we had sex. I knew nothing about how it “ should be” since he’s the only one I had ever even French kissed.
    I hated that I felt so unseen, unheard, unloved, in spite of trying so hard to make my marriage better. It never got better.
    I hated every movie, ever sermon in church, every book that showed or insinuated that men needed sex and if the woman doesn’t give it they would cheat or look at porn. But my husband never said yes to sex and avoided me in bed.
    I hate that every meme, commercial, etc. says a woman just has to look pretty to get a husband and once we are past 30 yrs old our value is nothing because we are no longer a sexually attractive mate.
    I hate that I never believe when he says he loves me, or he thinks I’m beautiful.
    I hate that I cannot completely trust him and I’m always on guard..
    I hate that I feel like he wasted our life together.
    I hate that he lied, more than anything else he’s ever done.
    I hate that after 36 years together he is the one I’m most afraid of and the one I love the most.
  5. Joe1023

    Joe1023 Fapstronaut

    My heart goes out to you. My wife has done a lot of research on the whole sermon/church message and we both hate that he church has basically told women with this problem that they just need to love their husbands more and if they're genuine enough about it, pray hard enough about it, and do enough for their husbands, then their husbands will improve. Just so you know, if there's no other man or addict on Earth who thinks so, I think that this is absolute CRAP. There has NEVER been a time, nor will there ever come a time when men have a NEED for sex. So to say that men go elsewhere for sexual needs because their wives just don't look good enough, or because they had a fight, or whatever, NO MAN is given an excuse by God to go outside the marriage for ANYTHING intimate, whether its sexual or not, period, NO EXCEPTIONS.
  6. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    This made me cry, and I rarely sad cry. Just for the record my husband has never blamed me, but every message I ever received said if I just did “ this” he wouldn’t do “ that”. I think reading on here how much the men blame their wives( too fat, too unavailable , too argumentative, ) has made me believe my husband did also and he’s just lying to me. The distrust runs deep.
  7. Anything? Lol. From the depths of my soul:

    Every single one of you knew exactly what you were doing and how much it would hurt your SO and you just didn't care. Not a single addict is deserving of their spouse and your spouse's life would have been better if you'd just stopped dating them and gone back into your bathroom instead.

    Not a single one of you actually loves your spouse and any of you who think you do simply have no idea what love actually is and are instead valuing how your spouse makes *your* life better or makes you feel better about yourselves. And not a single one of you who did this while you were with a partner deserve happiness or your family. All of you deserve to have this happen right back to you and to live alone in that misery just like your partner.

    No amount of sobriety or recovery will ever heal what you did to the person you promised to take care of. Someone else's picture was worth taking every part of your spouse and putting it through a shredder and if you had had to pick between looking at some rando's naked picture or saving your spouse from falling off a cliff, you'd have let your spouse fall. I know that, because you already did. So if someone else's tits are worth more to you than the whole human you married (and if you're here, you already decided that it was), just.....leave. Stop burdening them with the choice or having to wonder if it's the right decision, man up, and leave. I will never understand why any of you stay for any length of time or why you bother to start a family. I don't know why my husband is still here. Just....go.
  8. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    I have felt this way;(
    hope4healing likes this.
  9. This one is big for me, too. I have tried to accept that I'll never be my true self again...the old me who was such a better person in general. It hurts so much to think about how the person I love most, the person who is supposed to make me better through love and sharing our life together, that is the person who has destroyed me instead.

    He used to tell me every single day that I was beautiful, but even more than that, he used to treat me in a way that made me feel beautiful. I loved it. Then, when his addiction worsened, he stopped telling me that, and obviously I didn't feel that way anymore. Now, anytime he says anything about me being beautiful or looking good or any compliment at all, I just feel angry. I don't believe him. I can't believe him, and I can't help but question whether he even meant it in the beginning.

    I've told my husband, one of the most painful times for me was the moment I realized that he had no problem lying to me about anything...the words could easily spill right out of his mouth, but sometimes it's a nearly impossible challenge for him to tell me the truth. That really hurts.
  10. DefendMyHeart

    DefendMyHeart Fapstronaut

    I felt this one. I hate that my value is based solely on how useful I am to him. It is very clear and is something I've known for a long time. He has made it so clear that he cares more about what some random cashier at the store thinks of him than I do.

    I hate that I had to forgo so many of my dreams because of how selfish he is. That I had to sacrifice potential jobs that required travel, or going to another state to present research at a conference because he told me he didn't think he could resist temptation if I wasn't around.
    I hate that I spent nearly a decade of my life living for someone who wouldn't hesitate to set me on fire if it meant keeping himself warm.
    I have been the only one trying to make an effort in this marriage and he has told me that he doesn't want to match my efforts because it would require "working" on his part. If the possibility of us splitting up enters his mind, he gets excited about the "potentials" out there waiting for him and only after that does he consider what it would mean to lose me.
  11. This rings true for me, too. Job opportunities, special family events, even my nephew's funeral...
  12. used19

    used19 Fapstronaut

    I struggle with this every day. He keeps insisting that he loved me ....but how? How are you addicts confident that you loved us when it is obvious to us that you did not?

    I don't want to be married to someone who didn't love me .... but I also don't want to start over. I feel at war with myself. I feel like beyond my own choices, I have to decide if I stop being a person of integrity and stay with him, or do I stay, feel broken forever, know that when he says I'm his everything I'm not. Now I feel like I have to live a life where I can only survive if I lie to myself.

    How do we get the marriages we wanted from you now that you guys broke it all?
  13. Every day I get a little more sure to leave once the kids are all grown. I won't have the marriage and family that I once thought I could have, but there's going to be so much of my life left in 18 years.
    And every day I get a little more determination to make sure I can make the best of it once I get there. Take good care of myself and make sure I'm still physically independent in 40 years. I go to the gym and try to lift heavier every week. My squat is up to 225 and my upper body will never be super strong after my surgery, but I can blow through 25 push ups and that's good for now.
    Keep my employment options fluid by taking research lab jobs every summer so that once I'm not trying to be home as.much as possible for the kids, I can switch to a career that pays better than teaching.
    You and I are going to be happy one day. If that can't be with them, it will absolutely be without them.
    Thor God of Thunder and Joe1023 like this.
  14. And we might never have the relationships that we wanted to have, but we are going to have something better than to look back at our lives and see that we stayed with dogshit men who cheated on us and decided we weren't good enough for them while they were skulking in the bathroom diddling themselves not realizing how pathetic they were.

    That might be because they worked and became not-dogshit, it might be because we left, but either way, it will be true.
    Thor God of Thunder likes this.
  15. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    I will never have the marital relationship that I wanted. I will never get back the years my husband stole, I’m 55 this year, menopause has finally started, sex is now painful and my roaring libido is non existent. I will never be the person I was before I married. I will never trust any person, not just men, the way I trusted when I married.I will never experience what it’s like to have a man who is in love with me look at me with love and desire and not have 1,000 other women that he wanted more in my mind. I will never have a chance at a truly intimate relationship with a man who isn’t my father or son. I have been scarred and changed and the hurt I’ve felt I feel will always trigger a fear response. However, my husband is not a dogshit man. He is worthy of love, I have always believed in him. He is actually an amazing person. He is unique, and funny, brave, strong and a million other things and he is a deeply damaged, wounded, scared man who did not know how to love or what love was. He was incredibly self absorbed and treated me in such selfish ways that it boggled my mind. He was not a good husband or father. He was absent most of our marriage. But. He was the one who really paid the price. He had a wife who was devoted, loving, faithful, trusting. A wife who loved sex, was attractive and adventurous. He had two young babies that adored their father. He spent his life working and hiding. He spent his life unhappy and discontent. He lost it all. My family is devoted to me. They would follow me wherever I go. I have fabulous memories with my kids. I have friends who would help me at the drop of a hat. He lost his life to his addiction. I just lost a husband. Everything good slipped through his hands. Now, he’s trying to “ fix” everything that’s wrong. But even he knows he cannot make it up. He knows those years are gone. He knows that sex will never be what it could have, that our relationship will never be as close as it should be after 36 years. He also knows that the kids will never be as close to him as they could be. He can see the difference in everything. He can see his loss as well as mine. I definitely should have followed through on my divorce after first dday. But, I wouldn’t have my kids, I wouldn’t have my relationship with God, I wouldn’t be as close to my sister and my parents( lord knows I needed them) I wouldn’t have the friendships I have and I wouldn’t have had the ability to start my ranch. I thank God every day for the life he has given me. I did not get the husband I wanted, but God gave me more. For that, I am blessed. Do not let one man take your joy, whatever you choose, find the good. It’s hard. It’s a daily battle. Some days I lose, but they are few and far between.
  16. KevinesKay

    KevinesKay Fapstronaut

    I don't abdicate anyone staying in a relationship for years that he or she is miserable in. That is a recipe for bitterness and unhappiness. If you're not happy, don't wait for him to leave. He probably thinks you're bluffing. Maybe he's right.
    You deserve a happy life. You're a person of value. If you're sure you can't stay, take action sooner to break free from him. You'll be much happier that way.
    ANewFocus, SanctuaryWife and Warfman like this.
  17. He is a stay at home dad and I'm not going to kick him out with no job, etc, when he had theoretically made a sacrifice to quit his job to stay home with the baby. I have asked him to organize himself and leave. I've asked him to apply for jobs that will support him. I've hired childcare twice a week to give him time to do these things so that he's not trying to do it with a fussy baby on him. He is very comfortable and there's a lot of inertia there and honestly, I had to drag my ex husband out kicking and screaming and thrashing once I finally had had enough and told him to pony up on saying he was going to go marry his affair partners one after another. I just don't have it in me again to go figure out someone's housing and utilities and childcare for them again. Maybe over summer when my teaching job takes a break and I only have my supplemental jobs to do i will feel like I have the energy to.
    I appreciate your comment though.
  18. I am also not in a position to leave myself. He was very caught up in acting out to the point that he was distracted and not "with it" while we were moving into our home. All the down payment and bills ended up in my name, etc. So all of my possible capital is wrapped up in our home. Our plan was for his savings to stay put aside and we'd practice living off just my bank account/income the year before we tried to conceive. So every payment has come from me and a single earner household where the main job is a public school teacher just doesn't leave a lot of extra after I've been putting as much into retirement as I can. We decided that we'd just live simply and it would be fine and we'd have a beautiful life together raising kids, but it just didn't work out that way. And divorce/finding another place to live with three kids is an expensive thing to try and take on. I don't have the free capital to do it myself unless he buys me out of our house, which he won't do.
  19. A small terrible part of me just wants to get out and take up any of the men who have heard through the church or gym grapevine what is going on on their offers of a place to stay, but I can't turn into that person dragging my kids from one situation to another.
    I already made my first two kids deal with a divorce, a remarriage, and a move, thinking it would be worth it long term and that he was going to be my lifelong partner and that if I just treated him well, he would reciprocate and also treat us well. I literally can't make them go through a second mom-has-a-relationship time in their lives, so my romantic life is over for the next 18 years regardless. They don't deserve to keep getting dragged around and having to adjust to living with new people.
    I get sad that I won't have the happiness of "doing" life and family with a partner, but it would not be happy or a good example for them, so I just really have to cement myself firmly in a foundation that knows I'm about to do this alone and adjust to that.

    Wow,.I didn't mean to write all that. It was a tough week. Our home came with a pool that has broken every year since we moved in and I moved about 4000 lbs of sand the past few days trying to get the base in good shape because I sold some family items last year to afford a new pool liner thinking I was going to make sure the kids got the pool this year. Liners are heavy AF and it's definitely a multi person job and trying to finish it feels like a total uphill battle I'm losing, so hopelessness abounds.
    Starling, Warfman, KevinesKay and 2 others like this.
  20. Warfman

    Warfman Fapstronaut

    EDIT: Oops! I didn't notice you responded 3 times! I probably wrote this not considering everything you said. Sorry.

    So this is just my thoughts on this. What would it look like being separated from your now husband right now and you just not date for the next 18 years? In some ways I think you would be much happier than loving with someone you seem to despise.

    From what I think you have said before the biggest change would be that your husband stays at home so that might require more paid childcare? And that does make it tough. But it's not impossible most of the time.

    I'm sorry you are in this situation. I know a lot of people "stay for the kids". I am of the mindset though that it can sometimes actually be worse for the kids if the marriage is particularly over and there is lots of anger and resentment.

    My mothers parents divorced when she was about 13. She said this to many people who have gone though divorce with kids and I think it's good advice.

    *Don't ever say anything bad about the other parent in front of the kids. Just keep it to yourself.*

    I think it was particularly difficult for her because this happened and she said it wasn't fair to her to have parents demanding she choose sides. She said for her she knew way too much of her parents issues. As she grew older she formed her own opinions.

    That might not be helpful but I have had many people tell me my moms advice was the best advice they had ever gotten.

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