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Boundary Setting/Rules


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Hello All,

I'm new to this site and am just discovering SA as a concept after a few years of my husband surreptitiously ogling other women in my presence became too much for me to take. A few months ago he admitted the ogling was an issue, but attempted to minimise by saying such things as he was a people watcher, couldn't remember doing it etc. He didn't reach out for support because of Covid, my concern for him finding the correct counselling etc. etc, excuse,  excuse. A few days ago I lost it after another episode of feeling uncomfortable while out with him and something finally clicked where he realised he was at risk of me leaving. Disclosure came in a minimalist form again, then after deep discussion/argument he admitted he has a major issue and basically is compelled to look at literally every woman (although he denies sexual gratification from this) he sees.

This disclosure made me actually feel closer to him and he opened up further a few days later. So far I have: he thinks he may be bisexual as he ogles men as well as women, has had multiple one night stands with previous relationships (totally denies being unfaithful to me even online). He's also previously slept with his estranged brother's wife in the past, had sex with women he found repulsive from dating websites and very much fantasises about me with other men. He insists there isn't any other disclosure to make, but I think there may be more to come. His porn use has diminished now apparently, which I kind of believe. If there is more I desperately want him to just say it all, the idea of a drip feed of information terrifies me.

We have decided to try to work through this together and he is waiting for an invitation to attend SAA. We also require couple and personal counselling, but I want to see whether he takes the initiative for this. He's always been a loving man, but has ramped up the attention he shows me. 

I feel as though we need a list of boundaries and rules, but don't know how to broach it or what they should be. We've already decided on code words for the ogling so I can escape humiliating situations by him changing what he is doing or responding with another code word if I was honestly mistaken that time (trying to build an honest picture of what triggers, him, me and reality). 

I hate feeling like his mum by giving him rules, but I need peace of mind. I was thinking:

1. Code words as discussed 

2. Beginning to draft a letter of disclosure from start to finish including anything he's missed out (no matter how awful). So I'm not facing a drip effect. I would want this by the time we go away in three weeks (too soon)?

3. Complete honesty on both sides.

4. Him keeping a private diary and separate list of triggers for that day and an honest account of how he dealt with them for me to read alone each evening (would this re-trigger him)? Knowledge is everything to me and this would help me build a picture of what we're facing.

5. A weekly debrief about what is working, what isn't, feelings, any other business etc.

6. An understanding of my feelings throughout the process.

7. A vital commitment to the exploration of sex/lust in all forms as a couple only. 

In return I commit to:

1. Doing all I can to commit to the relationship, regardless of any harsh truths, as long as responsibility for truth and recovery is taken seriously and committed to wholeheartedly and positively. 

2. To offer as much love and support as I can.

3. To respect any possible discovery of sexuality with kindness and compassion.

4. To be honest and open and respond to any questions with complete honesty (no matter how difficult this may be for me). 

I'm confused why I feel so much calmer and closer to my husband after disclosure, but it feels natural and right so I'm going with it. I was thinking of simply showing him this email and talking through it together. Any and all comments would be appreciated.

One last thing. We have a very exciting and adventurous sex life normally and this has been even better the last few days. Is there anything that we should refrain from as he enters this journey? I'm terrified of making the situation worse. I  sincerely hope that comment isn't inconsiderate to anybody. 

Thank you for reading.


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Dear Maeday, following on from my response to your earlier post.  I see from what you have written above that things have moved on quite quickly since your last post on Friday.   With regards to your sex life, I would probably refrain from any fantasy talk e.g. him imagining you with other men etc.   Try and keep it to being in the moment with you in whatever positions you both feel happy with!   

I can understand your reason to wanting to know everything but I am not too sure you reading a list of his triggers each day will be helpful to you.   It is very common for partners to want to know every piece of acting out and every thought.  One of the problems with having all this knowledge is that you can't delete the information from your mind, once you do know it.     I think a private diary for him is a good idea.  He can work out what his triggers are and he can then work out how to avoid or manage those triggers.   He can also explain the triggers to you, so you can plan together how he can manage these.   I think him taking the diary to his own individual therapy would be more beneficial to him and your relationship, than you reading it every night.   

I think the rest of the list sounds very useful to you both.



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