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Can security & trust EVER be re-established?

Old 01-08-2011, 09:52 PM
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Can security & trust EVER be re-established?

First: this site is amazing and has been such a great resource for me. Thank you.

My AH went through treatment about 19 months ago and relapsed September 2010 and then between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2010. Weve been married for 21 years and A has been a negative part of our life starting about 13 years ago. Started with a lye and didnt become a relationship issue until about 8 years ago.

We just went to a marriage counselor last week. Lack of intimacy is a huge obstacle in our marriage and has been for 12+ years. His alcoholism is a big obstacle for me. (crazy how I just looked up on webMD and 10 of the 13 apply to me/us: stress, relationship issues, alcohol, too little sleep, medications, body issues, low testosterone (maybe, not sure), menopause (perio maybe, on early 40s), and too little intimacy) Apparently use it or lose it applies

Weve both done a lot about or emotional health and affects of A through AA and Alanon over the last 18 months. My huge obstacle was his most recent relapse was so easy for him to lie to me and abandon responsibilities, ignore priorities, etc. This last betrayal of trust seems to be my breaking point. Hes never cheated on me just lied about situations and drinking.

Weve recently talked about the fact that we are both unhappy enough to separate - over our own issues (him/sex and me/trust). His comment is "when he stops drinking ... nothing else changes". I'm not sure that I want to attempt to change myself so much for someone else and not for me. I'm not bothered by low sex right now ... doesn't even register on my list of concerns - except for the fact it hurts him and I don't "want" to hurt him. I love him but I don't seem to have the fire for intimacy ... the more I learn, the more I think I've blocked it on many levels.

I think hes relapsed again but have learned enough to not obsess on it.

Im just not sure that I could ever trust my future, heart, security and happiness with him again. Anyone experienced this?
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:11 PM
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Hi!!!

I know this is not helpful at all, but I don't think it matters what Mel Gibson's wife or Betty Ford's husband or me or anyone else thinks about whether it's possible to rebuild trust and security in our/their relationships -- the question is, do you think it's possible in yours, and are you willing to take the risk to be disappointed again?

As similar as our relationships with As can be, I don't think anyone else can answer that question for you. Maybe you want hope that you don't have to separate (you don't), maybe you want permission to leave? I know I wanted both, on different days.

Living with an A is stressful. It just is. I know people who are able to distance themselves enough to not be as affected by the stress, but I wasn't one of them. A year ago, I was being evaluated for hormone problems/perimenopause and thyroid issues and adrenal issues... I was a wreck. I feel ten years younger today than I did a year ago, because the daily stress of walking on eggshells and wondering when the other shoe is going to drop is gone.

But I was living with an active, in-denial A. I think you guys have better odds because he's had long periods of sobriety (or just not-drinking?) and because you have AA and Al-Anon as support.

Big hugs to you.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:58 PM
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Oh, I misread -- I thought he had been sober for 19 YEARS, not months.

So I have another question: When he says "when I stopped drinking, nothing changed" -- do you agree with that? I'm wondering -- did he expect you to reward him for not drinking excessively? Did he expect a pat on the back (or sex) for doing what the majority of mankind does as a matter of course? Did he go into rehab for the wrong reasons? Or is he just blaming you because he doesn't want to take responsibility for choosing to drink again?

He sounds a bit like my RAXH -- who quit drinking but is still as manipulative, violent-tempered, and refusing to take responsibility for his own choices as always.

I think you're handling things well, focusing on what you need to do, and how you are going to handle this.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:21 AM
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You dont need our permission to feel a certain way or take action but you should do and feel what is best for you. Only you can decide whether trust can be rebuilt or not. For me the answer was no when my AEXBF relapsed but denied. But thats based on the type of person i am - once trust has gone no matter how much someone tries i never fully trust that person again. Therapy helped so me that i dont have to stay in a relationship for any other reason than i want to & im happy so that allowed me to end mine before things got too bad, still heartbroken but getting better everyday.

Good luck but please remember you are important too & so is your happiness.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:54 AM
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Yup. That's why I left. I didn't trust him anymore, and didn't feel I ever could. The deception was flagrant and I couldn't believe anything he said.

I'm on the other side now, and my life is so phenomenally better, that I am very glad I took that leap. To each her own, but yes, I've been there. Many of us have. Some left, some stayed. Good luck.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:29 AM
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My A relationship is over, so I have no comment about your question. However, one line you wrote stuck out to me, and I think is important to highlight.

"I'm not sure that I want to attempt to change myself so much for someone else and not for me."

Girl, I feel this way too, now. I do not try to figure out what's going on in an A's head, but they might feel that way too about not drinking.

Relationships are so complicated and alcoholism only increases problems that might exist even without booze.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:54 AM
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I say it takes about three years of constant reassurance, complete access to each others emails, accts..trust building, and cutting temptation (including certainly people) our of your life in order to patch a marriage. Seems like a long time but if you have had more happy years together than that, you can work through three years. Too many people bail on a marriage once it gets to be too hard..marriages can be fixed. That is not to say that if you are in fear for your life or are being abused that you should ever stay in a marriage like that. Just be really kind to each other. Remove all profanity from your vocabulary and take every opportunity to be gentle and do nice things for your spouse. Post it notes of thanks, make their coffee in the morning, tuck them in bed at night, read to them, compliment them and praise them alot if they do something nice for you. Don't worry about a lack of sex. Lots of marriages have little to no sex and are quite happy. As long as you are intimate (hugging, petting, nuzzling) you are just fine. I know some folks will disagree with me on the sex thing, but I have known lots of happy couples that do not share a bed. Life happens and we all just roll with it.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC View Post
Yup. That's why I left. I didn't trust him anymore, and didn't feel I ever could. The deception was flagrant and I couldn't believe anything he said.

I'm on the other side now, and my life is so phenomenally better, that I am very glad I took that leap. To each her own, but yes, I've been there. Many of us have. Some left, some stayed. Good luck.
Flagrant deception - what a very apt description - I know that too well, as do so many people on here! I used to see straight through the attempts at deception, even the die hard denials didnt work just found them pathetic!!
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:08 AM
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Thank you - on so many levels. I find it interesting that I slip back to the bad habit of considering someone elses happiness first at the expense of mine. I know better than that and it's amazing to re-read something the following day and "sheesh" I did it again! At least I know the difference right now -

Lillamy - I've told him that when he stops drinking it's not like a switch and everything is good. I've explained that it takes time to regain trust and comfort again. He seems to think that his A is only the last few years and why were things (sex) a struggle before? He doesn't think his drinking affected us adversely before. I think treatment awoke him but he became complacent with his recovery. It's easy to evaluate people around you (in AA) and conclude you're not nearly "that bad" and I think he's minimized his need for AA support and continued attendance ...

I'm sure that he drank last night and it's my fault for trying to talk to him - I know better. It's not even worth repeating what he said and argued here ... as it's senseless. I think you have a point that he's not willing to take responsibility for drinking again ... he's internally blaming it on everything else.

Mutya & DMC - you are right and thanks for reminding me ... I need to look inside myself and answer this question on my own. I know the journey builds us stronger but somedays .... hmmm

MissFixIt (great name! could be mine) Change is tough to evaluate ... how much is healthy, appropriate and positive and when does it become enabling and jeopordize who I am. I'm struggling with that and hope to define it soon. My counselor has been helpful and I hope to meet with my new sponsor soon (never have had a alanon sponsor).

Thanks to all for your support and input - very helpful.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:15 AM
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I wish you all the best.
I believe that trust can be re-established in couples, but you should not question yourself at this point.

I sounds like your AH has not worked a strong program of recovery. Putting down the drink is just the beginning of a life long journey to a healthier, better life. Without the rest, in my experience, things can even get worse.

You are doing so well in taking care of yourself, regardless of what your AH
is doing. That's all any of us can do.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:25 AM
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Kilt - thanks for that. I'm in a place that I am ok with little sex but I'm now realizing that alot of other things play into it but I'm still ok with that. Maybe it will get better as the chaos (money, work, school) level out in our lives. He's the one that says it's not "normal" and he can't live this way ...

I see sex as a part of a relationship. We are close, were best friends but between A and sex things are disintegrating quickly. At least through alanon I've learned to take care of my self (no physical violence in our relationship) and to not obsess about fixing/changing someone else or trying to comfort them or soften their fall.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:14 AM
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I used to have severe confidence issues to in part to an abusive relationship, i had therapy which helped me no end. I stayed single for 5 years, before meeting AEXBF who managed to very quickly strip away my self confidence once again (especially after ending it to find out that he targets women with good jobs - basically meal tickets - that cut me)!, after I ended the relationship and sat down and looked at things logically - I realised that it was he who had no self confidence I acutally had more than I thought - hence why I was able to walk away relatively quickly and I am determined to stay away - 5 years ago I would have hung in there for years and years but I realise that whilst I desparately still want him to regain sobriety and be happy (on some level I still love him) - my happiness is more important to me and to my family friends and loved ones, and really thats the way it should be.

You are important, and what you want is important, put yourself first if only for a while.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:46 AM
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it is hard to be intimate when there is a gigantic bottle of alcohol in between. when his relationship with alcohol is over then maybe he can re-establish intimacy-which means sex to him.
forgiveness is totally up to you on your part whether you want to give it or not.

Me, once i lost the trust i was so totally done the rest was like a blur. AlAnon helped me go through it, and the anger was finally laid to rest this past summer. I finally realized that he is who he is and just because my expectations are not met by him did not mean i had to be angry at him. i apparently was wanting more than he could give, and my anger was only hurting me and probably my kids. they were the ones who actually let me "see" my anger for what it was, and right then and there I said, i will not be angry anymore for what he does, because this who he is and what he does. (we are divorced). And I have been anger free of him ever since.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:54 AM
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I just had a conversation with my XAH about this the other day (he is still clamoring for that "one more chance"). Whereas I have forgiven him for all the lies and indiscretions (he did end up cheating on me), I explained to him that I will never be able to forget the things that happened so therefore I will never trust him again.

I think it is definitely on a case by case basis. But I think we also know down in our hearts if it is gone.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:42 PM
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ToBeSerene and fellow Texan, I've learned the word "intimacy" means different things to different people, especially between myself and my dry drunk husband. "Intimacy" to me means sharing my emotions; to my DDH "intimacy" means sharing physically.

Each of us has five significant parts in our lives. We have the physical, the emotional, the mental, the social, and the spiritual. All five of these parts are designed to work together in harmony. True "intimacy" includes all the different dimensions of our lives -- yes, the physical, but also the social, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects as well. "Intimacy" really means total life sharing.

Marshall Hodge wrote a book called Your Fear of Love. In it he says, "We long for moments of expressions of love, closeness and tenderness, but frequently, at the critical point, we often draw back. We are afraid of closeness. We are afraid of love." Later in the same book Hodge states, "The closer you come to somebody, the greater potential there is for pain." It is the fear of pain that often drives us away from finding true intimacy.

Love is more than emotions, and it is much more than a good feeling. But our society has taken what God has said about love, sex and intimacy and changed it into simply emotions and feelings. God describes love in great detail in the Bible, especially in the Book of First Corinthians, chapter 13. So that you catch the full weight of God's definition of love, let me present verses four through seven (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 - Passage*Lookup - New International Version, 2010 - BibleGateway.com ) to you this way. How much would it meet your needs
if a person loved you as God says we should be loved:

•if this person responded to you with patience, kindness, and was not envious of you?
•if this person was not boastful or prideful?
•how about if this person wasn't rude toward you or self-seeking or easily angered?
•what if this person didn't keep a record of your wrongs?
•how about if they refused to be deceitful, but always were truthful with you?
•what if this person protected you, trusted you, always hoped for your good, and persevered through conflicts with you?

This is how God defines the love He wants us to experience in relationships. This is the way to feel true "intimacy"!

Just my personal opinion, and the Scriptures. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Love and Peace,

Phoenix
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:05 PM
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There's one thing living with an AH has taught me, you can't count on them.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:06 PM
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Phoenix - what a great description of intimacy. I also appreciate your explanation of the 5 parts of our lives, its a strong reminder of our complexity and how balance is so critical:
"Each of us has five significant parts in our lives. We have the physical, the emotional, the mental, the social, and the spiritual. All five of these parts are designed to work together in harmony. True "intimacy" includes all the different dimensions of our lives -- yes, the physical, but also the social, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects as well. "Intimacy" really means total life sharing."
Thank you for your insight!

And Verbena (love your name too!) awesome statement: "There's one thing living with an AH has taught me, you can't count on them." short, sweet and true!!
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