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  1. It’s been almost 2 years (the weekend of lockdown was when I first found things out) since my husband admitted to elements of his sex addiction. It took almost 6 months to coerce the truth out of him and I have felt lonely and isolated throughout. We have been together for 7 years now and when I had first found out we were only a few months married. This far down the line although I had seen progress from him due to therapy, I’m just not satisfied with the still continuation of lies and wrong doing. I feel mentally and physically exhausted and know that I love my husband but I’m struggling so much because I thought we were in a better place than it seems like we are. I can’t talk to people about it because the sex addition unravels to be a whole host of personal things that I respect my husband enough to not share with people. I feel so isolated and after having gone through CBT and therapy last year because I ended up with anxiety and depression as a result of this, I’m worried I’m just going back to where I was. I’m so angry and hurt and I still blame myself and make excuses for him. He, as far as I know, hadn’t slept with anyone else or even kissed anyone but it’s a porn addiction, sexual compulsions and a whole host of not being faithful in terms of the way you should/shouldn’t behave in a relationship. I don’t know what I even want from this but any words of support to know I’m not on my own dealing with this or how you feel would be great.
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  2. Hi Bumblebee, I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your husband with regards to his recovery. My husband and I were told restricting access on electronics would help and make this addict pause long enough to reconsider looking online for material. It depends what devices he’s using as I’m only up to date with iPhones, MacBook and iPads. We have restrictions to not allow anything adult material, no installing or deleting apps and no ability to clear history. However it’s worked for a long time for us and my husband tells me if he’s been able to access anything he’s so desperate to stay sober., but I know certain apps have a back door so they can work around the restrictions. The only one that’s truly reliable is the Accountabletoyou app. You have to have permission from your husband to do this kind of monitoring, I guess if they refused then you 100% know they are not in recovery and not wanting to be. we also use find my iPhone and find my friends apps to reassure me of the whereabouts of my husband I find that very reassuring. In the early days of attempting self recovery before we introduced therapists my husband was quite angry, short tempered and inconsiderate in bed. It only started once his secret was out. It was as though the addict was really pissed at me for trying to reign him in. He never hurt me either but I felt like a piece of meat to do with whatever he fancied and I wanted to keep him happy and recover. Silly really because it wasn’t true recovery it was just guess work and so messed up as we knew very little about sex addiction. It wasn’t until we’ll into therapy and 12 steps and after 90 day abstinence did all that change. I know it’s so hard and scary but speaking out and boundaries are the only way to go to gain some respect from him. We have a weekly catch up chat over a glass of wine to see how we’re doing and if we need to get anything off our chests. I didn’t actually realise that mens emotional brains are so inferior to womens lol everything is black or white and things are taken literally, unlike women they don’t read into the deeper meanings. I wish I could give you the perfect answers but every addict and relationship is different. Don’t put up with stuff if you’re not happy you deserve respect. Big hugs xx
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  3. Hi and thanks for the replies. Beatrice he’s in contact with his sponsor who is a psychosexual therapist and is very good. He’s helping him with his addiction and what he done to me but I don’t get involved in it as it’s his recovery. He’s also doing online meetings again with SLAA. Thank you for the hug I appreciate it x Chrissy thanks for your reply it’s very helpful to me to be reminded of who I am and keeping things real. When you ask about ‘stepping in before he slips', what I’m referring to is noticing his behaviour changes that can cause slips. For example if he becomes highly stressed with work it does trigger him so when I see the signs I encourage him to do stress relieving things like walking our dogs, cooking or spending fun time with our son. If I see him spending to much time online and he does the telltale rubbing of his head, I can see this is emotionally triggering him. He could just be reading what his colleagues/friends have been up to or even looking at cars, all of which can trigger him into feelings of worthlessness and envy. If he has to go to his estranged parents I know he can come back devastated by his parents emotional abuse. All these things I’m aware of and my encouragement and support helps support his sobriety. I wouldn’t say I’m managing his behaviour because usually when he’s feeling this way he will notice himself and do something positive about it. It’s rare that I need to guide him in self care unless it’s something he’s not experienced as a trigger before for example his boss left last year and my husband had looked at him like a father figure and him leaving was like a death. When you ask ‘Is his openness about being triggered actually helpful for you?’ I think yes it is helpful to me because he’s telling me as he’s asking for my help, support or guidance. The help that I provide can be blocking random websites for him, installing safety features he thinks will prevent triggers, or changing plans so he doesn’t have to attend certain situations he has difficulty with like my son used to attend clubs where the mothers would give him lots of attention and he didn’t feel comfortable so he asked if I could do the troublesome ones. I appreciate his trust, openness and his genuine ‘want’ to stay sober. He does similar things for me and doesn’t question me. I see it as a mutual respect. Do you think I’m wrong? The reason why I think helping my sister may have triggered his response was because he was being forced to look at his passed acting out behaviour and remember how he felt as an addict at the time when he didn’t have any emotional capacity at all, what he learned and how he could use those experiences to support my brother in law with his addictions and infidelity. My husbands acting out was quite bad weekly one night stands, prostitutes, long term affairs with vulnerable women, swinging, dogging, threesomes with his friend and random women, online cam sex, hookup sites, heavy cocaine use, alcohol abuse, gambling and spending money I didn’t know about £47k debt was the most devastating part of disclosure. So asking him to remember those times, the lies and deceit, the highs and lows etc so he could empathise with our brother in law was a stupid thing to do. I should have realised it was too much for him with already being upset about the situation to start with. I haven’t told my husband that I think this has been the trigger I always allow him to work it out himself with his recovery team if a trigger has gone on to acting out. I just needed to find some reasoning why for my own peace of mind. It’s taught me that if I want to help others I need to consider my own self care first and be careful what I expose my family to. It won’t stop me helping others I’ll just be more cautious. When you ask about my phrase ‘I’m just devastated that both him and I didn’t recognise it happening at the time we really let our guards down’. I have come to accept that any addiction affects the full family dynamics as a whole just like any mental health illness. I believe if you love or even just care about someone you will always want to keep them safe and healthy and avoid putting them in unsafe situations. Keep checking in that they are coping and help support them with their lives. I do the same for many people with mental illnesses it doesn’t mean I’m controlling them or taking ultimate responsibility for them. Sometimes I can’t offer the support and just hope they can stay well themselves. I think my care for others has always been a positive side of my personality. I can’t fix my husband he and I know he will ALWAYS be an addict he has the right professionals in place to help him with his addiction. All I can do is support his recovery whilst staying safe and true to myself. I have so many boundaries he’s never questioned and he knows exactly where he stands with regards to relapses. I just didn’t have a specific boundary that covered what he done to me exactly, but why on earth would I ever consider giving him a ‘no raping your wife boundary’. It’s disgusting and we both need to deal with it in the right way. I find it difficult finding none judgmental therapists for myself who understand sex addiction. In the Uk it’s not even an officially diagnosable illness in our healthcare system and we pay £90 per hour privately so therapy sessions have to be limited. Even 7 years out we are still learning and I’m still contemplating leaving him. How far can I be pushed may have been answered this time. Me and my children always come first. Thanks for reading love to you all xx
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  4. Hi everyone I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas & Newyear. A quick back story I discovered my husband’s cheating 14th February 2014, later diagnosed Sex & Love Addict, he had loads of psychosexual therapy with a Paula Hall therapist for a couple of years and started 12 steps with SLAA and got to step 7 then seems stuck with all manner of excuses but has an amazing sponsor who is also a therapist. He was doing weekly face to face group meetings until lockdown and online meetings too but it all stopped as he didn’t seem to need it. It’s been 7 long years and we’ve come so far with complete disclosure and honesty blah blah blah. Life has been almost normal for us and very happy. Then New Years Eve came and we traveled to out friends beach house without our kids to see the new year in with our friends. He had quite a lot to drink but I only had 3 small glasses of wine over 4 hours as I’m on anticoagulants. Around 10pm I ended up in the raised area of the garden alone looking at stars when I took a terrible fall after slipping on moss. I remember falling in slow motion trying to move my body somehow to protect myself but my head must have hit the edge of a step. The next thing I knew I was in intense pain on a bed being sexually assaulted by my husband. I can recall small bits of the assault but not everything I must have been semi-conscious. Then it was 5.30am and I woke up on the bed with a terrible headache, dried blood on the head wound and painful downstairs. I was still confused and unsure what had actually happened it was all a blur dream like state. He said they found me in bed at 11pm and thought I was drunk not realising I had a head injury and was unconscious. I must have managed to get myself there somehow. As the week has gone by I’ve started getting little glimpses of memories, sounds and physical trauma flashbacks of that night. I’m numb emotionally now struggling to comprehend questions with how, why, what, when’s and if’s. My husband was acting very guilty and upset on our way home, he called his sponsor as he was in a state. Then came to me and said he was sorry he took advantage of me, it was wrong. He’s since said it was like an out of body experience and he felt like he was locked inside himself and it was someone else doing it to me but he couldn’t stop it. I had a flashback of his face and voice on Saturday and I recall looking at him and he was wearing the addiction ‘mask’ if you know what that is, and his voice was deeper, angry and hoarse during the assault. I do truly believe him and I am worried about his state of mind right now as he teetered on suicide 7 years ago. He keeps hugging me saying he feels so bad and unwell and needs some TLC. I’ve always been his crutch in recovery and we’ve always been so open and supportive to each other but I’m really struggling with this because of the physical, emotional and personal abuse and pain the addict has inflicted on me. Every interaction makes me feel sick. I’m totally in fight or flight mode my head is saying why would I even consider fighting through this and run away fast as you can and my heart is saying the addict done this not my husband! I don’t know if I can get past this it’s worse than anything we’ve been through and we’ve been through everything sex addiction can throw at you. I’d really love someone to help me with anything that might get my head around this. I’m scared to talk to him about this and how it’s affected me incase it totally pushes him back over the edge. Thanks for reading you can call me Jo x
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  5. Hi Jo, Thank you so much for responding. There is comfort knowing other people are getting through this even with the amount of stress and pain it can cause. I really appreciate your truth on what you are going through. It always feels so personal and the more I read I know things aren’t directed at me but it’s difficult when it’s your life and you are central to all the consequences of the addiction. I am currently really struggling with trusting my husband and after being drip fed information so much information over a long period of time I find it difficult to trust him even when I think he’s in a better place and I can see improvements in his behaviour. unfortunately I know he’s been deleting his cookies/history etc so I can no longer see if he’s been acting out online. And although I don’t want him to go down that path his behaviours that hurt me the most aren’t related to online. side note to this - does anyone else find that their partner has anger issues (I hasten to add he’s never been physically violent towards me but maybe a little forceful when he shouldn’t when it comes to sex)? But when he angers it is beyond reasonable and he’s can become difficult to handle. sorry for all the waffle … when you don’t talk to many people about things all of your thoughts come out at once. Sounds like you are finding ways that are working for you and I hope you continue to reduce your anxiety. hope you are doing ok x
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  6. Thank you very much for your kind input, Jo Joy. Recently, he went so far that my friend interfered and wrote him that if he can't respect me, he should get out of my life. This made him realise, that he doesn't want to lose me. I told him that in this case he needs to go to therapy if he wants to improve. As for independence, during the few years we didn't talk I could do a law degree and master's with a full time job and now hopefully I'll gain some relevance, which could lead me to a traineeship. I'm trying to focus on that. You can make it too, we don't need an addictive partner. I wish you all the best and sending a big hug right back at you. X
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  7. Beatrice123, wow you’re a very caring woman to put up with him for so long and give him chance after chance. He sounds very like my husband manipulating, trying to get you to engage in and gaslighting the situation to make you tow the line and make you feel bad so he can carry on. It also sounds like he’s totally in denial of his problem and is more than happy to carry on as he’s not really experiencing any negative consequences. Until the pain of addiction is greater than the highs it gives they never feel a need to change. I went through this for 8 months with my husband as I think I was too soft and scared of being alone so I didn’t set or reinforce real boundaries and ultimatums. Until I realised I was worth so much more and he couldn’t give it, how long I was prepared to be treated that way. I realised his addiction and behaviour was damaging me and our children. I realised that in actual fact the addict wasnt the man I loved and couldn’t get my husband into recovery so I could get the real man back, then I was stuck in misery. It forced me to look at myself and realise I could make it alone and I started to gain inner strength. I checked my finances, his finances and looked at what I’d be left with and how I could make it work. I then give him the boundaries and consequences straight. He failed after a couple of weeks and was gone. Sounds scary and heartbreaking but it worked because as the weeks went by the pain of losing me and the children and realising his addiction couldn’t give him happiness he started looking at recovery and then asked for me to help him. I was totally prepared for divorce if it hadn’t worked as I didn’t have the strength to live or be married to an active addict. You’re worth more than this and there is a better life away from an addict. Maybe look into co-dependency if you haven’t already. I hope you’re ok, be kind to and love yourself x
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  8. Hi, I found out about my husband's infidelity 2 months ago and straight away feeling shock and anger I called my sister and my parents and told them what he had done. We're not a close or confrontational family but we do care a lot for each other. We do have very set in stone beliefs and values especially when it comes to infidelity. Not long after I found out, a day or two, my husband broke down and confessed his porn addiction and told me (what I assume at the moment) is everything. When the porn wasn't 'doing it's job' anymore he turned to talking to women online which led to a couple of hook ups for sex. His 'acting out' correlates date wise to the death of his dad and the birth of our daughter. He confessed his porn addiction was out of control, and he suspected childhood trauma had occurred. He now has a Therapist for porn addiction and a Therapist for regression to take him through the childhood trauma which as it turns out has shown he was abused aged 10. My family can't understand why I'm not angry and haven't thrown him out and started divorce proceedings. I thought they would be a shoulder to cry on and also offer some normality or babysitting to help me. It feels like they are putting their beliefs and values ahead of supporting me and asking what I need. I find myself counselling them and telling them more information about the situation than I'm really comfortable to share just to calm them or make them feel that I'm dealing with this in my way. Basically, I feel like I'm taking on their emotional needs as well as my own. I was looking to move to the village my sister lives in and she told me last week she doesn't want me there if he's moving there too. She doesn't want to bump in to him. Her husband thinks if I stay with my husband I'm setting the wrong example to their 2 sons. My brother text me to say he thinks my husband is a Narcissist. If I stay with my husband they've all said they don't want to see him again and won't come to my house. How do I cope with my family's attitude and response whilst I'm trying to figure this all out myself and look after my 3 year old daughter? I should add that I have just started therapy and am signed off work and on antidepressants and not blaming myself for this. I think I'm managing quite well day to day, but my family are adding additional problems I can't cope with and they say they're trying to make me see sense and help but they're actually pushing me away. Any advice please. I wish I hadn't told them. thank you.
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  9. My husband and I have been dealing with his sexual addiction for 3 years now. I found out about it when i was pregnant with our first daughter and it broke my heart, I thought we were moving past this and I just recently seen that he started it up again, he hasn’t actually met up with any escorts but he tries very hard and watches porn a lot. I have no one to talk to about this and it breaks my heart. I don’t know what to do anymore if I should just leave him or help him overcome his addiction.
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  10. Hi Lydsx, I too was drip feed information over about a 6 months period and it’s been almost 2 years since discovery. I also took my ring off at the start as it feels like a huge amount of betrayal. I’ll be honest - sometimes I have wobbles (going through a bit of one at the moment) but in all honestly after getting Paula’s sex addicts partner book and my husband and I both starting our own therapy that’s when it was clear to me that it wasn’t my fault. When you start to understand where it comes from you realise (as much as this hurts too) it’s virtually nothing to do with you. I too have struggled with the ongoing lies and feeling like “why don’t you get it over and done with so we can start from a clean slate?” But I do understand it’s all wrapped up in shame and that’s why it’s so damaging. I can’t say I’m out of the woods but what I can tell you is if you are choosing to stay together and progress forward these are the things that have helped me; Paula Hall’s partner book - I genuinely saw so many parallels and it made me feel like I wasn’t going mad therapy for your partner - this has dramatically helped although one thing that is clear in my experience is until the person in question is at least being honest with their therapist they won’t progress as fast (mostly due to shame they don’t even want to admit a lot of their wrong doings to themselves so this can take a whole) Therapy for yourself - you are going through so much and along with poor mental health that can go along with this I also felt like I was mourning the partner I originally chose to be with. This was a breakthrough moment for me and made me focus back on myself as I felt a loss of independence with this experience and finally, it very much depends who you trust and can speak to but i opened up to a couple of people very close to me. I respect my husbands opinions but we got to an agreement where I explained I needed someone to talk to as I felt trapped and we eventually agreed. The secrecy and shame drives the addiction - not recommending you tell lots of people as that too would not be beneficial. But once those 2 things start being addressed and dealt with things will get better. and nonetheless we also have others on the forum! Take care. B
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  11. Thanks Lenet4. Other than all the lies I have been struggling again with feeling like it’s something wrong with me. After lots of reading and trying to understand, communication etc I know deep down it isn’t my fault but I’m definitely having a bit of a wobble at the moment. I often feel like my husband doesn’t try and understand my position as he’s so wrapped up in his own struggles/shame cycle which I understand to a degree. And given the nature of the behaviour it’s not something I feel I can discuss freely with anyone else. Sending support to you too. This is a really tough thing to go through and I really sympathise with anyone who tries to deal with any amount of addiction as a partner.
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  12. Hi bumblebee, I am so sorry to read this and can feel your distress through your words. I cannot offer much advice as I am too scared to discuss with my partner but I can sympathize with your feelings (hurt, anger, despair) and I know how hard this is and what you are going through is so unfair as you are not responsible for any of this. Please remember this when times get hard "it's not your fault" . Sending you lots of support and I hope you can keep positive whatever way this works out.
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  13. I'm so sorry to read that so many of us "walk in the same shoes". I also don't know what to do and need help or advice. My story is a bit more complicated though. I was about to marry a man about 10 years ago, but his family separated us. After his failed marriage and relationships following our separation, he has been begging me since 2019 to pick up communication with him and told me that leaving me was his biggest regret. We started talking, however as he lives overseas, I couldn't visit until recently due to COVID restrictions. We chatted almost every day nonetheless. In October 2020 a shocking event happened, one of his exes got pregnant and he thought that the child was his, in spite of the fact that the court blocked his declaration of parentage as invalid. He said I was still important to him, but his behaviour changed significantly since he found out about the pregnancy. It turned out that this ex was meeting up with multiple men. As a consequence he started projecting her behaviour on me. He tried to persuade me to sign up to a webcam site. I told him no. Then he tried to persuade me to engage in deviant sexual behaviour for him, suggested an open relationship, etc. He did not want to exclude me from his addiction, but I told him that these things are not for me and he was just incapable of understanding it. Being naive, I visited him at the end of 2021 and thought that things would change. He told me, that he suggested these things because he was afraid that he would lose me if he becomes jealous and wouldn't let me do whatever I want or have "fun". Again, I had to explain him, that I'm not that kind of a woman. Besides that, I found nudes of his exes on his phone and conversations where he discussed being on different webcam, porn, adult friend websites with friends. When I confronted him, he became angry that I invaded his privacy! When I asked him why he was on cam sites, he said that it was a man thing and I had to just deal with it (but I can't). We had a quarrel and after that I thought he started to realise that I had feelings too and that he would not do it again! I noticed the other day that he started to follow a young webcam girl with explicit photos on Instagram. At the same time he is saying that I'm important to him. If I confront him again, I'm afraid that he'll accuse me again that I'm invading his privacy, but this can't go on. How can I best tell him that I don't want to offend him but what he is doing is not right and he needs help? I mentioned therapy before, but he does not really believe in it.
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  14. I am engaged and doing my fiancé has been looking at it our whole three years. I feel the rage right now too. Just know you are not alone.
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  15. Hi Lottie big big hugs to you… I know this horrible sickening shock, disbelief feeling…the man you had trusted seems like an alien! just found out my husband (husband for 15 years/bf for 15 years) has been conducting a romantic emotional affair with ex of 35 years past 9 months while my dad was dying/dead of cancer. Spent a horrible past month going through it, lots of empty promises and lies, finding out more lies along the way and then today (yes Christmas Day!!!) he has been a member on myhamster (or whatever it’s called!) and has been past 4 years and is into the whole bdsm master/slave thing and worse after all the promises and counselling past month he has contacting his “sluts” Christmas Eve and this morning….to say I am shocked is an understatement. I confronted him and all he could say was he could not help it! he has thrown away a beautiful loyal wife, gorgeous dogs and family home for this…. I was working towards a new start after the EA but now finding this 4 year secrective bdsm mating thing (the way he speaks to women is so degrading) I can’t see any return so thanks to him my future dreams are thrown away as know I will struggle to pay mortgage after removing him! It’s an awful feeling Lottie, just the pits, all you hold dear taken away due to their selfish acts. all I can hope is gets better for us all - we never asked for this and deserve so so much more. please send a message if you to chat and/or rave! jo xx
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  16. Hi Lottie, so sorry to hear of what you are going through. This is a very difficult journey. Initially, I blamed myself. Why didn’t I notice, what wasn’t I doing, why did I make him look for other excitement? Now though I can clearly see, with the help of much reading and therapy, that none of it is my fault. It is an addiction. The addiction feeds off poor mental health, provides a hit and soothes. So the addict seeks more and more risky behaviour and avoids ‘real life’’. My husband had no idea he’d ever be found out! I could never compete with an addiction as powerful as that! It is great that your husband is getting help, this addiction can get completely out of hand and destroy many lives. My story demonstrates this. I am now 2 years and 3 months from a very traumatic ‘discovery’. My story is on this forum. Whilst I am saddened by all that I have lost, I am no longer so haunted by everything. A good supportive network has helped me. I also don’t mind talking about this to friends and strangers as it may help others. More and more are getting caught up in addictive porn. It is surprising how many people of going through this in secret. it will get better! xxxx
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  17. I'm still on a rollercoaster of emotion with anger simmering underneath the surface. I'm worn out with being triggered all the time. Its so lonely being the partner of a porn addict. After initially calling the Samaritans I now have a weekly therapy session. I've also finally confided in a friend who is unshockable and I trust to keep my confidences. However, I'd really like to meet up with other partners but there just aren't any groups where I live. I'm in pieces and won't ever be the same again His betrayal has called into question everything I thought I could rely on. Thanks for reaching out. Its comforting but shocking to realise how many of us are in the same position. Sending love back to you xx
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  18. I've been there. With the rage. It did subside. I hope it has or does for you too. I wish there were groups for partners too. I'd love to meet up with others. It's so lonely. I'd been dealing with behaviour from my husband for our entire relationship. But didn't know it was addiction until last January and the full extent of it until this march. It's broken me. Ive not been on here in a while, I hope you're doing better now. Sending love
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  19. I'm so so so sorry. I wish I could give you a hug. I'm a life coach. It's hard not to feel like a fraud when you're helping people move forward when your own life is falling apart....through no fault of your own. The flashbacks can take time. I don't get them as much. But then I'll have days where they're full on. What you've seen is horrific, do it's not a shock you're struggling with these images. I'm looking I to EMDR. It's meant to be brilliant. Maybe try that. Once again, big love. Sending so much support ❤️
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  20. Hi Active B My heart really goes out to you and I know exactly what you’re talking about. I go through it daily, and it’s tortuous. I’ve gone for therapy, I’m trying, but it’s hard. So hard. Right now when I get flashbacks, I practice ‘the pause’. I pause in that moment and take deep breaths and let the image run through. Then I tell myself it’s over and he’s trying hard to work on recovery now. I tell myself that it was this disease, this soul-killing illness that has made him the way he is and acknowledge the powerlessness. Then I also silently appreciate him for putting in the hard work into recovery and tell myself that my flashback and any incoming outburst shouldn’t interfere with his recovery as it could upset the balance very badly and once his brain trips as well, the disease can quickly take over for a quick fix to make them feel better. It’s like a cycle. I do however, tell him I’ve had a flashback and ask him whether it would be okay for him to give me some reassurance and calm me down. Sometimes it’s okay and I manage to calm down, but sometimes both of us get triggered and the whole house comes tumbling down. it’s hard love. Keep breathing, and remember it’s not your fault, you are BEAUTIFUL, there is nothing wrong with you. love, Lilo
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  21. Hi Hec, being sober is not the same as recovery at all. The acting out behaviour is a symptom of much deeper issues and, in my experience, if those aren't addressed, they will come out sideways elsewhere. I agree with Kaykay, it isn't unreasonable to expect your partner to work at your relationship, if he wants to be with you. Last week, I read a letter that I had sent my partner a month after I discovered all the things he was doing in secret. I was soooooo encouraging and reassuring and I could practically see myself jumping up and down with pom-poms like some over-enthusiastic cheerleader. Reading this letter a year later, I was struck by how little energy he had put into meeting me in the relationship. I felt ridiculous putting so much energy in, whilst he went through the motions but has yet to make the commitment to really working his programme, and to really working our relationship. So, I've stepped back. I'm still there to support him, if he will step up and support me too. Much to my surprise, he noticed that I had put the pom-poms down and was quietly getting on with my life. For the first time ever, he initiated a conversation about my feelings and about our relationship. He said, "I hate to see you so sad. What can I do to help?" This is completely new for him, and I know it wasn't easy. My partner too has to work on himself, but our relationship can't sit on ice while he does this. I have been the mad cheerleader for over a year now; I'm not doing it any more. I know his initiating a conversation is a tiny baby step. I don't know that he will continue to put the effort in, but I know that if I keep repeating my groundhog day, there is no space, nor need, for him to put effort in too. Every couple is different, but I think what this forum shows me is the similarities in the pain we feel when our need for emotional and physical intimacy isn't met, and when our love and support is betrayed. It also shows me how devastatingly damaging shame is and makes me sorry for the addicts that flail about stuck in their shame and doing so much damage in the process. I don't know if your partner can step up into your relationship (hell, I don't even know if mine can!), but I do know that whether our men can be there with us or not, we need to look after ourselves. We are no good to them or ourselves if we get sucked into their shame and pain too. Ann x
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