Changes

Sometimes it’s important to pause and notice changes.  Changes can be positive or not so positive.  For me, I’ve noticed that since I have dealt with so much in the past with Jersey Boy’s acting out, I don’t have the “bandwidth” that I used to in dealing with stressful situations.  I used to be able to keep myself calm but now my stress is easily off the charts at times and my head goes haywire.  I think of the worse case scenarios in those situations.  This is all while my husband is working his recovery.  I am not dealing with any acting out on his part.  In fact, he celebrated his 1 year of sobriety in the last couple of months.

My reaction is a result of all the trauma.  I really need to continue working on this.  This is one of those changes that is not so positive.  I want my old resiliency back.

Our daughter got engaged in Nov. and as much as I am excited about it, planning a wedding is stressful.  Trying to help our daughter’s dreams come true and keeping on track with a budget is very stressful.  My husband was in a time warp on what weddings cost.  He wasn’t too pleased when I gave him the facts.  It caused us stress for a few weeks but he knows I will do my best to give her a great wedding and cut costs where I can.   Dealing with the vendors is stressful too.  When I let one photographer know we decided to go with another one, that caused me stress as he and his wife were very nice.

I had a work issue recently that I shared with Jersey Boy as it was causing me a lot of stress.  He immediately went to resolution mode.  I didn’t want him to resolve it.  I wanted him to just listen and be there for me.  Then he tried telling me that I should have told him that I didn’t want any feedback.  To me that was asking too much from me in my time of stress.  I felt like he was throwing it back on me and I told him so.  He was surprised.  Today when he went to therapy, his therapist told him that since I was the stressed out one, it was up to him to determine what I needed and ask me if I wanted feedback or his suggestions to resolve the problem.    The fact that he thought about it shows me he is changing.

I mentioned to Jersey Boy that our brother-in-law said a few comments that I thought were inappropriate to our future son-in-law.  I just wanted to share those comments but didn’t expect that he was going to give it another second of thought.  Well, I was wrong.  He did think about that and sought advice from his therapist as to how best to address those comments being made to our future son-in-law.  Again, change is happening.

We are continuing to make progress with our Gottman trained therapist.  I love the blog and highly encourage reading it.

Wishing you a great day….

 

It’s Been a While…

Hi there,

It seems unfair to try to get out everything in one blog post when it has been months since I have posted.  I wont’ try but instead will just touch on some of my struggles.

Jersey Boy moved back in sometime in Aug.  We have been continuing our couples therapy with our Gottman trained therapist.  She is very good but she doesn’t quite get all of the  sex addiction related issues.  We have been making pretty good progress….yes, it is hard.

I find myself struggling today because of so many changes in my life.  Our daughter, Ms. Keeps Me Smiling, recently got engaged.  I really like her fiance and think he is a good match for her, but, I cannot deny that I feel a sense of loss that probably started when she moved in with him earlier this year.  She is about to be 24 and I wish she was waiting a few years to get married but then I also wished a few months back that she hadn’t moved in with him.  I just miss her and miss seeing her at the end of the day, laughing and just being together, walking the dog, etc.  However, the truth is, we raise our children to become independent and move out.  I just didn’t see that accomplishing that goal would also be painful.

I have been spending much of my free time getting information about possible venues for the wedding, listening to possible music talent, getting photographer information, etc and trying to set a realistic budget.  Boy, weddings are expensive!  Jersey Boy is generally very good with me and money but for some reason he was in a time warp as to what a wedding will cost.  My goal is to get the costs on paper (after determining the venue, etc) and then approach him again with the real figures.  I want us to pay for the complete wedding.  She is our only girl and we will do this once.  Jersey Boy is sensitive to treating our son differently so he wants to be sure to give our son money in about the same amount when he decides one day to marry.  I am fine with that.  Here I am planning a wedding and yet the wedding hurts me.  Please don’t chastise me for feeling this way.  I am doing my best to be a good mom and be happy for her.  I am just sad that a stage of life for me has ended.  On the positive side, I have gained a new son.

Our son, Old Soul, is going to graduate college in a few months and has a good job waiting for him.  He has a girlfriend that didn’t make a good first impression with us the one time we met because she was too quiet and didn’t look us in the eye when she spoke and doesn’t seem to have an idea of what she wants to do.  My fear is that she will try to “hitch her wagon” to our son after graduation.  When he would say what he was looking for, this girl is so not “it” on any category.  She is so blah.  However, she will be coming with us for a week family trip soon, along with our daughter and her fiance.  We are so used to being a foursome on vacations (although our daughter has brought another boyfriend on a trip or two) but we will no longer be the same.  Our son is back on good terms with Jersey Boy and I am grateful on the one hand for that but on the other, they are bonding on things that I just don’t care for.  To me, it’s that fake male stuff.  Both of them are capable of depth and really talking but they don’t share that with each other.  It’s like I don’t like them when they are together.  I continue to encourage them to show each other what they show me as that would be way more meaningful in my opinion.

Old Soul has not mastered yet how to have a girlfriend and still be close to me.  It seems like  ever since he started seeing this girlfriend, he doesn’t open up much to me.  Our conversations lack depth and then when I ask him questions to fill in the gaps, he gets annoyed with me.  I don’t want to make him upset; I just want to connect.

As the kids are moving on, I am not sure exactly where I want my life to go.  For so long I was like the hub and everyone was a spoke.  We are definitely healthier these days in many respects.  I’m just feeling some loss here.  I feel terrible about expressing it but I just need to get it out.

Our son is coming home today.  I hope we will, over the next month, share some life conversations and just be able to share.  I hope my initial impression of the girlfriend was incorrect.  Being together 7 straight days, I expect I will find out.  May it go well.

I asked my therapist how to get over these feelings.  He said I just have to walk through them and feel them and over time, it will get easier.  I’m putting my faith in that.

 

 

 

Urges?

As part of the conversations Jersey Boy and I have had, there has been what I believe is a lot of honesty.  I was very clear that as great of a time as we have together and as much as he wants to plan to spend the rest of our lives together, I won’t entertain him coming back until he can, with certainty, tell me that he will not text, email, communicate in any way, groom or be with any other woman ever again.  When he is with me, he is respectful, lovely and present.  However, when he is not with me, that is still potentially a different story.  I believe he still has those “urges” to act out or do something that he wouldn’t want to do in front of me.  To me, the urges to destroy ones own life is just flipping unbelievable.  He doesn’t deny he has those urges which is definitely being honest.  I do not believe he is currently acting out but this addiction is really a bitch when someone gets in its clutches.  I believe  that the rational side of him doesn’t want anything but to live our lives together peacefully and married to each other.  It’s the addict side that is the dangerous zone.  I wish it would just leave his body for good.

I have urges to not do a particular project at work.  I have urges to tell an unreasonable client to “f-off”.  However, the rational side of me wins out; I don’t do that.   I don’t intentionally go blowing up my life.  I have urges sometimes to start flirting but I don’t because that will just create a mess that I don’t want.  I also don’t want to disrespect my values or my husband.

I can intellectually understand urges but I cannot understand that they can cause you to ruin your life and all that you hold dear.  I cannot understand that they would hold you hostage.  I wonder if all sex addicts have these urges and really have to fight them off.  When does it get better?  How does it get better?

If anyone has experience with this, please let me know.  Thank you!

 

 

 

 

An update

It has been a while since I have written a post.  My thoughts and feelings have been all over the place.  There are days when I am pretty sure things are going to work out and then there are others when I feel like I am banging my head against the wall.  For example, last week, Jersey Boy and I went to our relatively new couples therapist (the Gottman trained one) and spent two hours there.  It was a gut wrenching session on how I want him to talk to my parents before he can attend any extended family events.  He continued to say that that would be a 9th step amends according to his therapist and his sponsor and he can’t do that until he is at the 9th step.  Nothing short of a 9th step amends would be satisfactory  according to his sponsor and his therapist.  I have continuously said that I am not looking for a full 9th step amends but instead a conversation in which he addresses his addiction, he acknowledges the hurt he has caused me and all of our family and how he is working to overcome this and will come back to make a 9th step amends.   The couples therapist made us do all this work and get down to why it is so important to me, etc.  In the end she said to Jersey Boy that there has to be a compromise position here.  We agreed to an outline of what he would say but Jersey Boy wanted the couples therapist to speak to his therapist.  After the 2 hour couples session, I had a 1 hour break and then had an individual session with my therapist.  I was completely spent after all that therapy.  I made a mental note to not do that again!  That was completely crazy!

Well the couples therapist spoke to Jersey Boy’s individual therapist (yes, the one I do not care for) and can you believe his therapist advised the couples therapist that what we agreed on was reasonable?  It was about time!  In my way of thinking, the rest of the world does not live in the 12 step world and there has to be a middle ground between a full 9th step amends and a conversation to address a family member and show some remorse.  All that time spent on something that should never have taken so long in my opinion.  It zapped my energy and this has to get better.  Tomorrow is another couples session.

Jersey Boy and I have been having some intense conversations and have been spending more time together.  We talk daily and see each other a few times a week.  Tonight is one of those nights.  He wants to go away together on vacation and wants to come home but wants me to feel safe.  It’s like he wants me to invite him home but that isn’t something I am prepared to do right now because I don’t think he can assure me yet that he won’t ever be texting, chasing or having a relationship outside of our marriage with someone else yet or stop doing all things that he would want to hide from me.  Until he can do that, we can’t live together or vacation together.  I am not prepared to go on vacation together and then come back to separate living arrangements.  I am unwilling to get hurt again from his addiction behavior.  We decided that we will need a bright line between the past relationship and the future.  To do this, we have agreed that we will have a new commitment ceremony.  It’s a good goal, just not the right time yet.  I believe his extension of his lease is imminent.

Another thing I need is for him to fully educate himself on what a partner of a sex addict goes through.  He is working his program but for me, that is not enough.  That is only part of what needs to be done here.  He can’t understand me and the trauma I have endured from his addiction without educating himself on it.  He took a bunch of books on topic when he moved out in November.  When we opened his trunk to put something in there, the books from Nov. were still there.  That caused me pain because he is still so self focused.  He has read one book in 5 months.  With all the time he has had away from me (yes I acknowledge he does work long hours and has his own recovery, but there is still time as I have been able to do it).  There are many great books on the trauma and how a partner can heal as well as blogs out there and articles.  I admit I am overread on the subject but I don’t want to not know something about his disease or my recovery.  It’s how I feel safer.

 

 

 

The first day is behind me. As sat in the room with each of us telling our stories, it struck me once again how horrible this sex addiction disease is. The losses of all of us are always shocking. The selfishness of these addicts is astounding. The lies they tell and their promises to change are all so similar. What makes the difference between those who truly change and those who don’t?

In my experience it isn’t about how many meetings a week the SA attends. Adding therapy to the equation doesn’t equate to successfully recovering either. They say it isn’t willpower so what exactly is it? Maybe it’s the quality of the step work, the true inner desire to get better and a great therapist who can get to the root of the problem?

i know I am absolutely done with being lied to. I am done with being hopeful without real recovery. No more of this “it looks like recovery but it is not.”

Jersey Boy met with the couples therapist yesterday. I am unable to speak to him about it since I am unable to speak to or text him while I am at this workshop.  It’s all fine. I doubt the necessary ” Aha moment” occurred for him. I’m exhausted from his addiction and the trauma.

Reflections 

I’ve had a ton of thoughts and emotions lately. Let’s catch up to where Jersey Boy and I are right now. He has in no uncertain terms told me he is 200% into repairing our marriage.  We have a new marriage therapist who is trained in the Gottman method.  After all I have read, I think that training really makes a lot of sense so that’s the only hope we have. The concern is that  I don’t believe he understands what he would need to do to do that.  I don’t want to expend more energy if he isn’t there yet.  

He has said on a few occasions that I am negative. I do not believe I am but let’s just assume I am.  Who wouldn’t be extremely cautious in my shoes? I can’t trust him at this point. I don’t think it is fair to say that.  He also says that I live in the past. His past actions are my present since I have to deal with the pain that they cause me. That is a lot of healing to do. 

Here is a pattern that only recently have I been aware of…. If I ask for something emotional, he typically answers with one of a few possibilities:

1. No

2. Saying he can’t hear it that way and then says I need to ask in a different way (and I get frustrated and I do it and it still isn’t the”right way”) so I don’t get heard or my need met,

3. He accuses me of “testing him”.  He does not want to be tested he says because he is afraid of failing. He refuses to do it because it is a test.

4. Says he will try and nothing gets done most of the time. This is his peaceful way of dealing with my requests.

Then he says he can never do whatever it is that I am asking on MY time schedule.  He likes to paint me as unreasonable.  I don’t believe myself to be unreasonable. I do expect to be heard and then a change to be enacted. For example if I send him an article about partners of sex addicts  or sex addiction recovery or marriage recovery, I don’t think it is too much to expect that it will be read that day or the next or told “I will read it today or tomorrow and will be able to give you feedback on ——” . He knows that is what I want and yet gets into a “test of wills” with me. It is rare he does what seems such a simple respectful thing to do.

It isn’t a test when a spouse asks the other to do something for her like “be fully transparent and share all passwords”or “read an article and have a discussion about it”  or “be consistent with the rituals we have been trying to put in place  between us like text me when you wake up.”

Absolutely none of the above ways of handling my requests  is what I want. I am not a kid in a store stomping my feet asking mommy for more candy. 

Jersey Boy tries hard to get us back to where we used to be before Nov. 12th but the truth is that that won’t work for me. I don’t want to just go out to a nice dinner whenever I want with him. I want a healthy way of addressing my needs with a partner that cares enough to want to fulfill most of my needs. I don’t want to be exhausted each time I express a need nor do I want it to be a test of wills. What am I looking for here?  To be safe. To be first in his life and for my happiness to matter. 

Last night one of the things Jersey Boy said to me that stuck with me was that he “didn’t do these things TO me”. By “things”, I am referring to his cheating and chasing of women. The  best I can give him on this point is that he didn’t do it with the intention of hurting me BUT he did know it would and didn’t take me into account at all. It was just all about him and his entitlement and his needs. Not acceptable and a blatant disregard for me. To me, he isn’t honest yet with himself or me if he says things like that.

The POSARC website says that we as partners should believe that an addict’s primary relationship is with his addiction.  Until Jersey Boy is ready to take off the defensive jacket and start to really show me he is interested in meeting my needs and respecting me and do what I need to recover, why go to couples counseling?  Should I go because I think she might be able to help him see what he does that sabotages the marriage? 

I think this week at the workshop will help me to really determine what I want and what I think is best for me.

I miss the good parts of our friendship but without him fully getting that he needs to atone for what he has done and get completely honest and be willing to address my emotional needs on a timely basis instead of trying to always make me wait, it isn’t going to work for me. 

I still believe he thinks that at marriage counseling it would be a 50-50 thing for us to work on.  For me, he has a lot of repairing to do before  I can be “fully in.”  Betrayal,  followed by getting caught, and then turning to the next woman because he can’t handle my pain or his shame on a repeated basis deserves a lot of atonement, validation, accountability and time devoted to working on the marriage.  This is a long standing pattern that I need to stop. 

I realized this week that I was not seeing his actions as the sum total of 23 years of betrayal. I would just deal with each issue as it arose and fight that issue.  In case you are wondering, that is how I dealt with it. Now I see it as a pattern that I need to break free of either together with new boundaries and new rules or without him. 

Boundaries

As I am thinking about attending the spouse recovery workshop, I fully expect I will be asked to write down my boundaries, especially my non-negotiable ones.   I will then present them to Jersey Boy.  I have a good idea of what they need to be.

I am truly at the defining moment of my life as I have known it.  Yesterday I spoke to his friend who lives on the other coast.  Remember the one that he goes to when he needs to confess, instead of his sponsor or his therapist? (yes, that one).  It seems that either Jersey Boy didn’t tell him all of the facts of the situations that have gone down recently and in the past (entirely possible) or the friend was less than candid with me (also entirely possible) about what he has been privy to.  Nevertheless, the friend is warm and caring.  We both agreed on one salient fact.  Either Jersey Boy commits absolutely 100% to the marriage and stops all of this crap and commits 100% to absolutely everything to ensure that there are no slips, no relapses, no nothing and full accountability or we need to get divorced.  This situation is completely unhealthy for me and can’t be good for him either.

Maybe Jersey Boy will decide that he wants to live the rest of his life playing with different women.  If so, I am clear that that will never be something I choose to live with.  He said he is clear that all he wants is to be home and back with me but as we all know, his words and his actions definitely don’t match.  The gig is up.  As my therapist says, “it is time to build the wall.”  I’m sending a shout out to my blogger friend, “My World Shattered” for her great post not so long ago describing her “wall”.

I fully intend to develop very clear written boundaries and when I return from the workshop, I will present them and I will not back down.  It is my life and I want to be safe, living in complete monogamy or alone and at peace.  Hiding, lying and pretending aren’t anything I want in my life.