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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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