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Old 01-24-2011, 09:09 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I hear you BHF and feel your pain. My AH is same - to him what happened to our marriage is all "water under the bridge". He is sober now but not really recovering - his recovery centers around feeding his ego and trying to reestablish his work relationships.

It's taken me over 6 months to stop looking to AH for validation. I finally realized what I was doing to myself when my 17 year old was giving me attitude for setting some boundaries and I firmly but calmly told her how I was doing what I was doing because I cared about her. I then went on to realize that I needed to validate my own self and I said I am a good person, I care about people, I am considerate of others.

Doing this released the feelings I had of waiting all this time for my AH to say this and feel remorse about his past behaviors. After I said that for myself I realized, I gave myself what I needed and I didn't have to wait for AH to do it for me.

The added bonus I could tell my daughter heard me loud and clear and she seemed to have less anxiety and more focus on minding the boundaries I put forth.

So now, every once in a while I say positive affirmations about myself. Sometimes they are directed at my kids, sometimes to my mom or sister, sometimes to folks at work, never to my AH and mostly just to myself. It always gives me a lift when I do it and it is getting easier and easier to not expect any of this to come from AH.

This is what is helping me to heal right now.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:41 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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I have and do feel those things, as well, and he is here being sober.
I know you are thinking that you lowered yourself for years and slogged around in his messy life, finally got out, and now he is going to heal and b all shiny and new...
Well, let's hope for that for him. Becoming sober allows all the crap that people Are drinking to stuff down bubble up to the surface.
IF he is getting sober, IF he can stay sober, it is still a lot of work, and I am finding my A to be rife with personality issues, of the psych nature.
I guess my point is this; try not to fantasize him into perfect oblivion and to see yourself left holding the bag, so to speak. I know it is hard, and the resentment of mine is a major issue for us. We may not make it due to that...

I was recently turned onto a book by my recovering sister. It is really helping me get out of my cycles. It requires a certain spiritual outlook, but you don't need to live wiith all this anger.
Look it up, see what you think:
Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:25 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Yep, they get to live like nothing happened and we pick up the pc's .
You will soon find anger gets boring and dull and you'll want to find out who you are and discover the awesomness in you.

I left my ex 6 months ago after catching him cheating and my world was in the dark.
It took me a few months to get on with it. I forced myself to go out, work out and be with friends and you know what happened? I started to discover a new me. A me that met new friends, developed new interests and stopped giving my power away.

The addict needs his recovery. When they drink, it's the booze, when they are sober, it's about the recovery. Addicts have ZERO sense of real self so they are always looking to establish who they are.
These are the side effects of being with an emotional cripple. You will ALWAYS get the short end of the stick.
Use your anger as long as it sustains, you, once it's starts to destroy you, you need to change your thoughts.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:38 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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I wholeheartedly agree that 'no contact + forgiveness = serenity'.

I'm nearly two years on from the ex. From the moment I left I have had no contact and I truly believe that is what has saved me from the endless recriminations I would probably have gone through post relationship. I didn't know what he was doing, how he was doing, whether what happened caused change positively and/or negatively as far as he was concerned (and I still don't). He couldn't contact me and so I was saved from any quacking or blame throwing. So, the only negativity could come from me.

And that is where forgiveness comes in. Forgive as quickly as you are able: and not just your ex but also yourself. Process, learn from it and move forward.

Baby steps.. you will come through this.

Tx
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:57 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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So many of you made such excellent points, I am thankful for them all, and will go back and respond directly to some.

First though, you need to know something about me.
I have a bad temper.
During our marriage my ex was very good to me, very generous. He took care of me and pampered me.
But there was a few problems. The biggest one was that I simply can't stand it when married men supplement their sex lives with their wives with online sexual fantasies. He wouldn't stop this behavior, he wouldn't stop lying about it, he even threw it in my face sometimes.
I felt absolutely betrayed. I think this is no different than the alcohol use. I think it serves a similar purpose; to numb, to drug up (this time on natural oxycotin and dopomine, and possibly seratonin, I'm not sure). Anyway, it drove me crazy, absolutely nuts. I wanted this situation settled, fixed, and put to rest once and for all. He didn't refuse, he simply continued on with his behavior, dismissing even disregarding my feelings, whereas I had expected this to be fixed within a few weeks of discussions. Those discussions didn't happen. It was a war, and I lost my temper often about this.

I never even looked at another man. I adored, admired, and put my exh on a pedestal so very high. I loved him deeply. Did I love him too deeply? Was this simply codependency to want him to stop this behavior? I think the debate on this subject goes on forever and a day. From my perspective, a married man does not need this if he has a willing and able partner. It's not like I was turning him down, quite the contrary.
He has a past that involves a lot of sexual things that I would never do. This may be simply a matter of different sexual boundaries and never shall the two meet.
I simply don't know how a man can feel that his online stuff is more important than his wife's feelings. The decision seems simple enough to me: stop the behavior.

I became more obsessed with this than the alcohol because I took it more personally, even though the alcohol abuse was nearly daily, and often 7 days a week. It was extreme, but I didn't take that as a personal slight.
In the end, after 7 years without progress, him digging his heels in, lying about it, sneaking, etc., and me playing disturbed detective, I went nuts. I started moving out, spent a year on the couch, and then had an exit affair filed for divorce.
I didn't want this other man. I wanted my husband. It was my temper again. I wanted revenge, I guess. I was also so tired of being ignored, because the last year my ex spent the entire year in the bottle, and there was no intimacy or even kindness.
I didn't want a divorce. But I made one happen.
See how bad my temper is? I ruined my own life.
The frustration of not being able to solve this thing which I think should have been simple to solve and could have been solved immediately, drove my temper so deep I didnt' even know I was angry. I thought I just wanted out. Now that we've been separated for six months, I realize I didn't want either. 7 years was too long to never reach a conflict resolution.

So now we talk once in awhile, but he punishes me in the worst ways. He disregards my feelings completely sometimes. I could tell him I've been depressed, and he ignores it. The battle continues on, the abuse. I have stopped any and all abuse, and he is going full force.
He has even said that in the future we could try again. I think we love each other deeply, madly, passionately, and in our past, abusively and dramatically, with all the bad drama as well as the good stuff.
We have discussed somewhat this possbility of a future. If I didn't get that message from sometimes, I would finish detaching and move on. He could be tormenting me on purpose with absolutely no plans to ever get back together, this of course being my worst fear. I don't know how deep his anger is at this point, so I don't know if he would do that or not. He has a terrible temper too, but he always drowned it in the bottle. He is just as stubborn as I am, we are both the epitome of stubbornness. In many ways, we are alike.
I will give him several months to work on his sobriety and figure out where he is going. I have had someone very nice ask me out recently, and I turned him down after a couple very friendship only type dates because of where my head is at.
So my life is on hold, and my exh abuses me by dismissing my feelings as irrelevant, and I take it. It is driving me into a deep depression.
I know I need to work on me. What I'm trying to do right now is figure out how to work on me with this rather dismal hope that I haven't let go of.
I did ask him a couple months ago if he still felt that online sex stuff was ok for a married man. He lectured and chastised me about my problems and issues, then said that no, he doesn't think it is ok. I wonder if that was a moment's thought, or if this issue could finally be put to rest between us.
I know a lot of married women simply put up with this behavior. I have refused. I came from a religious family (although I am not) however, this issue stays with me. It was never thought of as acceptable in my family growing up, in his it was, and his dad had a huge collection of magazines and books (pre-internet and dvd of course).
It is scary to have destroyed and left my marriage when that is not what I wanted. Anger can blind a person. 7 years to resolve an issue though, is rather extreme patience, I think.
When I talk to him, it feels like all the blame is on me. I'm not sure how he deals with his own anger and flaws, as he has so much pride, more than I've ever seen in any person in my lifetime, and didn't even tell me he was working on his sobriety, because he has too much pride to even say it. I had to figure it out through the vague references to working on himself.
I am very glad he is working on sobriety, even if he throws me in the trash can. I do love him independently of having a relationship with him, and I would like to hear that he is healthy one day, even if not with me.
I can't bring myself to ever think that married men are entitled to online sexual fantasies. If he simply watched it, without hiding it, on the rare occasion, that would be alright. It is the acting out while watching it and being secretive. It felt the same as if he was having affairs.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:12 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by brokenheartfool View Post
...I am very glad he is working on sobriety, even if he throws me in the trash can. I do love him independently of having a relationship with him, and I would like to hear that he is healthy one day, even if not with me.
I can't bring myself to ever think that married men are entitled to online sexual fantasies. If he simply watched it, without hiding it, on the rare occasion, that would be alright. It is the acting out while watching it and being secretive. It felt the same as if he was having affairs.

I'm sorry to hear that the details include other addictions.

Here's where I'm at. I didn't quote your entire post but rather cut out the last part. It's all about him. I know you know this already but you need to concentrate on loving yourself. It's my opinion that you've been messed with for a long time and forgot what it's like to feel good. I know it's tough to do. I'm a victim of some heavy mental abuse as well. Some days I just want to talk all about my AW and her issues and how much I want this for her, her, her, her. Even in therapy I told my person that I don't want to talk about her anymore. I want to focus on me. That's what I'm doing now and when I read stories such as yours, all I can offer is an echo of what you already know. Make this about you. It's hard but it will get better so long as you apply it.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:27 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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I know this is probably gonna sound harsh, so apologies in advance. I don't know any other way to say it than straight up.

When you speak about "resolving this issue" I get the distinct impression that what you really mean is "him stopping this behavior." That's not a resolution or a compromise, that's him changing his behavior to meet your demands. You cannot change him. You don't have that kind of power.

So, either you want to be with him--as he is--online sexual fantasies included, or you don't.

It sounds to me that this kind of behavior is unacceptable to you. Nothing wrong with that, you have every right to define what is acceptable to you and what isn't. What you don't have the right to do is change another person. You can change your mind about what is acceptable, or you can find someone whose behavior is acceptable. You can't have both.

L
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:44 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Your life is only on hold as long as you allow it to be.

He is who he is. Can he change? Possibly.

Will he change, my guess is probably not.

What do you get when you sober up a drunken horse thief, a horse thief.

You have a horse thief with an online sexual addiction problem.

Take him, or leave him...you are divorced.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:55 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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BHF - I was in so much similar situation you are describing a year ago. I sought counseling and my counselor told me if I wanted to stay with AH I would have to accept his sexual obsessions.

Well, I really couldn't believe that and I had to try working it out with AH, except at that point there was no way I was going to discuss anything with AH without a 3rd party present because he was so verbally abusive whenever I tried to discuss anything related to our relationship.

Long story short, we are in counseling together and also separate counseling - him for anxiety/depression/alcoholism. After over a year of counseling I am doing much better and have been able to find my own ways to find peace.

I too was terrible with my behavior in my reaction to AH and his issues but with help of counseling and Al-anon I am learning to let that go. I now have the clarity to see that I don't need to be verbally abused or controlled in my thinking by AH and I am not responsible for his issues.

After over a year from where I was I would say all that I've put in counseling, al-anon, SR and my AH getting sober (I think, not totally sure), counseling, anxiety meds - I am feeling better but have a long way to go and our relationship is just getting better in the last month but has a long, long way to go and may or may not get to meeting somewhere between the dream I need to throw away and where it was a year ago. Even with counseling we have not even come close to discussing the sexual issues except for AH to get angry that I have a problem with it and denying he has a problem.

I hear where you are at and I hope that you find some peace through al-anon and I also believe the "didn't cause it, can't control it and can't cure it" applies to sexual issues as well as alcohol issues.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:13 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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I had a male counselor tell me once that "all men watch porn."
I fired him.

I agree with LaTeeDa: You can't change him, you can only determine whether you want to live with this behavior or not. And I agree with you: It's just another addiction.

I also think that when someone has an addiction, be it alcohol or gambling or internet porn, it is basically the same thing. It's just that when it has to do with sex, it's harder to see it as "just another addiction" because it feels like "he's replacing me with those women on the internet." But really, whether he chooses a bottle, a needle, or an image of a woman on the internet and gives any of those priority over his real life relationships, it's the same thing.

I've said many times that my AH, who is deeply religious and (if only for fear of hellfire) did not touch porn in any form, had a mistress who lived with us in the house and who always took precedent over me and the children. That was his bottle.

I'm not trying to belittle your pain. I'm trying to say that the way I look at it, it's "just" another addiction, and it doesn't reflect any more negatively on you as a wife and a woman than his alcohol addiction.

But I also think all of us know that whether it's alcohol or porn, the fact that a loved one chooses it over us does a number on our hearts.
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