Reboot Nation Forum > Partners of Rebooters and Addicts

Looking for some insights

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Sliced:
Mousemat1 thank you. A lot of what you said has come up for us in the last week.

I thought I would update, just as I have frantically found myself searching through this forum for signs that I am not going crazy. This might help others in the same situation.

I had a really bad night earlier in the week. It scared me. (I have a bad relationship history with issues that this is feeding into) I felt very out of control and only have very limited memory of the evening. My partner reflects that it appeared I ‘wasn’t really there’ at times and I imagine this was quite accurate.

This came after discovering my partner had kept a really close friendship hidden from me with someone he has slept with in the past. These weren’t the robotic, compulsive addiction driven messages of the girls on Facebook, but still hidden. It makes me wonder whether this is innocent, or a more emotional betrayal. We’ve put a pin in this while he thinks on it and might take it to counselling. This isn’t the only friendship my partner has hidden with girls he has a history with and it is hard to believe it isn’t connected.

Since then, I realised that I needed to do better at looking after myself. Initially I found suggestions such as limiting the amount of time we spent talking about the issues as repressive. I felt resentful as I felt I had the right to talk when I needed, why should he get the privilege of being able to limit my process. But then I realised that the limiting of the discussions is actually helpful for me. (Of course I care about his process as well, like I say they were resentments and not my full feelings)

- We have agreed not to have discussions about things by text, as we cant tell tone and it was fuelling anger. (It is also nice because I want to message him sometimes so we are having normal-ish messages)
- We are having a check in phone call during the day. Might seem intense, but works for us.
- We are having a talk during the evening - not on the evenings that either of us has counselling as emotions are already heightened, unless the person who has had the counselling needs to talk.
- At the suggestion of someone on the forum to my partner we are going to start reading love you, hate porn together chapter by chapter to structure our discussions. (Have done chapter 1).
- If I get hit with worries or paranoia during the day I’m trying to write those things down to speak to him about in the evening instead of just messaging him it. Sometimes I’m getting to the evening and deciding my questions are actually not things I want to know so I don’t end up asking them.

I feel a bit like I’m in an odd place. My partner is working hard, he is being vigilant and I am proud of the steps he is taking to get better.
We have spoken loads, have had some great calm and honest discussions. I am angry but I am saying what I need and I feel that I have been heard and listened to by him. It almost feels weirdly calm, worrying. But maybe it is ok that things are sort of ok?

I mean they really aren’t ok, but they are calmly not ok....

It’s making me wonder if I am in a little bit of denial.

I am struggling a lot with my self esteem, as much as I logically understand his P addiction isn’t about me, it’s set off some sort of thing in my head about not wanting to loose him. I think it had already been knocked during our relationship because of his seemingly low sexual interest in me. I have been feeling very sexual towards him. I spoke to a friend whose partner had an affair and she told me she remembered feeling the same, very overly sexual which felt surprising.

I am also getting angry quickly at things around me.

I have been doing research into betrayal trauma and have noticed some symptoms in myself.

My partner has opened up to me about some more P related issues in his past. Increasingly I am feeling more and more sad about the pain he has been through and the fact he has been alone throughout it. It makes me even more hopeful that he will continue to work hard to work through this addiction so that I can stay in his life and give him the genuine connection and love that he deserves.

It is still on him, but I am invested in it working.

Sliced:
I'm finding myself getting quite frustrated with the amount of advice my partner receives on this forum to be dishonest with me.

I understand that specific details aren't always helpful, eg - I can know that he bought lingerie for other women, but knowing the type of lingerie is likely to only hurt me. (I learned this the hard way early on)

But my partner is an addict. Addicts develop certain behaviours to keep their addiction hidden. So that it stays safe. My partners 'addict brain' has used gaslighting techniques, dishonesty, aggression and playing the victim to try to keep itself safe.

Dishonesty is a massive one. My partners addiction will make him look me straight in the eye, well up with tears, hold my hand and give me the most sincere look. And lie.

Addiction is more than the 'drug' it is behaviours that surround it. Dishonesty feeds addiction. If you are being dishonest you are feeding it. You are protecting it. I have spent years working with people who are addicted. I dont say this cause I read it in a book, I've seen dishonesty lead people to relapse time and time again.
 
I require 100% honesty of my partner. I dont enjoy it. I'm not getting off on the thought of him fantasizing about sex with other people. Or his attempts to meet with other people for sex. But I know that he wont be able to build an honest recovery based on lies, and I dont see that I can build a relationship based on lies either.

It doesn't matter what the lie is, hell, if I ask you what you had for lunch and you said you had a chicken sandwich when you know you had ham it's still a lie. Sound harsh? It isnt. If you can look me in the eye and lie you are acting out of your addiction. You are gaslighting me by skewing my sense of reality. You are manipulating me to think you are trustworthy.

My partner wants me to be with him, support him through this and build our relationship. For me to do that I need to know what happened in my relationship. I need to understand the gravity of the problem, potential triggers, things I've overlooked in the past, behaviours used - so that I can help. So that I can stand next to him in this. Not underneath a rock 5 feet away. I cant support him from there. I need to be with him.

If I just wanted the facts and to run, I probably would have run when my partner told me about him relaying our sex to a Taiwanese man on Kik who got off on thinking about me and my partner having sex.

If I ask a question, and my partner says 'the answer to this is going to hurt you, are you sure you want to know?' or something along those lines. I have respect. Do I need to know? I can make an informed choice. But if I decide I need to know, I have a right to know. If he disagrees that I have the right to know what has happened within our relationship, he can leave the relationship. He tells me he wants to choose me, not the addiction. If he lies, he is choosing the addiction.

He has the right to ask me to support him with this. I have the right to know what I am supporting him with. I have the right to give him an offer of support with my own conditions (100% honesty). He has the right to decide to take that offer with those conditions, or whether he would rather keep his dishonest addictive behaviour. We are adults, we have choices, we make them. It is actually very simple.

Triggers are another huge element of this. I understand that my partner can no longer use P. I wont suggest using it. I wont send him explicit pictures of myself, or sex message him. I wont humiliate and shame him for his addictive behaviours. I wont manipulate him, in the style of the hypno porn or Findom people who have told him for years that he is worth nothing more than providing for them.

In response, I expect my partner to learn about and respect my triggers. I am experiencing betrayal trauma, which is a hard, horrible experience. His addiction caused this. In the same way that he would likely feel sick should I show him a sex chatting site, and might experience flashbacks, I feel sick when anyone shows me their phone and I experience flashbacks of the things I've seen him say to other people and the images I've seen. When I ask my partner a question and he says no, and I ask it again 5 minutes later and he says, actually yes - that is a trigger for me. I experience flashbacks of the times he has lied, manipulated and gaslighted me in our relationship previously to keep his addiction a secret.

My partner was the most kind, caring, loving man. He made me feel that I was seen, heard, respected. He made it ok for me to feel sad, he supported me. He was the furthest thing from abusive.
Still, I ended up with a belief that I was really damaged, because I couldn't quite trust him, because I couldnt let go of small inconsistencies in his behaviour, or couldn't quite understand little odd things that happened. Even my kind loving man's addiction gaslighted me. Addiction will make you believe that your lies aren't hurting anyone, if you are kind and nice with it. That you are lying to protect them. That lying is really the responsible, kind thing to do. It isn't.

People have the right to choose who they are in a relationship with. They have the right to know who those people are. A partners dishonesty, manipulation, betrayal, gaslighting, lack of sexual interest WILL be having an effect on them. It is selfish to put your needs above your partners. Addiction leads people to selfishness, and it doesn't go away on it's own.

Millions of people have found recovery in the world from various substances and behaviours, and they all did it from taking responsibility and control back.

If my partner want to get better he will. He is strong and capable and he deserves better than she shame and guilt he has led under for years. I will be with him as he works through this and will try to heal with him.
If he chooses his addiction, that is his choice to make. But I love him too much to stand by and watch him continue living that way, because I now know how much pain that way of life holds for him.



aquarius25:
Wow, yes Sliced, this forum can be a most frustrating place at times. It can also be encouraging. Just don't pay mind to the people who are less than helpful. All you can do is focus on yourself and your partner. My husband used to get told all the time that he didn't need to tell me things that I had requested he communicate. Addicts love to excuse behavior when they are doing it themselves. I honestly think it is hard for them to hear that their actions cause hurt in others so they excuse it not just to make your partner feel better but also to make themselves feel better. Focus on the integrity in your relationship. It sounds like you are both really hurting but both trying as well. The hurt can be overwhelming, for both the partner and the addict. It is such a complex situation. I know for myself I felt like I was on this roller coaster of emotions and I couldn't get off. It took months before I felt ok. Know that it does get better.

As far as honesty, my advice which you can totally take or leave because everyone is different is this. Give him time. There were a lot of things I would uncover that my husband wasn't intentionally hiding but that he just didn't think about. Then I would ask him and even though he said he had told me everything one more thing would come out. I would get sooooo angry. My anger was really because I was scared and didn't feel secure. Know that sometimes it isn't that he is hiding but that he has forgotten. Grace is hard to muster when the hurt is so deep but it is imperative if you are going to make a relationship work, any relationship.

Also with disclosure have an agreed upon amount of time for him to disclose new things that come up. Like if he has a relapse or and urge. For us we have a 24 hr rule. I know that he will be super stressed and nervous to tell me anything. Plus we are both so busy with kids it is hard to find the right time. So the rule is that he needs to tell me we need to make time to talk about "something important" within 24 hrs. That give him time to mentally prepare. Honestly it also is time for him to torture himself, because that is pretty much what he does. If he waits longer than that to initiate a conversation than he has cross a boundary and that has consequences because I need to be able to feel safe and secure in my relationship, as does he. All of our boundaries go both ways. If I ask him if I can look at his phone than I need to be willing to allow him to see mine. Transparency on both sides build trust.

It sounds like a lot of rules and you are probably thinking " I don't want to be his parent". Yes I have felt that for sure! BUt now that we are years into recovery it doesn't feel like that at all. It feels like respect rather than rules and boundaries. I know you are hurting so much right now but I do want to assure you it does get better....for both of you! If you ever want to message me direct feel free. I don't post in forums as much but I do respond to messages pretty good. My heart goes out to you, this is not easy and frankly it just sucks sometimes. Know I am thinking of you and sending you peace and love!

Gracie:
Like Aquarius I have been here a long time.  In fact I became a member from day one.  This is a hard walk for partners.  I thought I had married the one man that would walk beside me for life and that we both had the other topmost in our lives.  Then I discovered his porn use.  Oh my God did I feel gutted.  I do not know how I carried a conscious stream of thought.  That was several years ago.  So he was a little at a time revealer.  Kind of like water torture.  But once it was out, we began to heal and work on it as a team.  It was rough some days. But we were telling each other how we felt, what triggers there were.  We had been married 20+ years when I found out.  In some ways, I wondered if it was all a sham.  But we are on the other side.  There are some on here that say Don’t tell your partner about your use it will hurt, you can do it without them.  My husband and I are half of a whole unit.  Both halves have to work together.  They each need honest and open feedback.  No secrets.  I agree with you, we do not need to know explicit detail, but we do need to know.  Like Aquarius, you can PM me here and I will answer questions. 

westie:
What if my husband keeps secrets other than porn like emailing other women and chatting on Whatsapp?

2 weeks ago he said he was leaving to pickup a Urkaine woman at the airport. I knew it to be a scam ...how do I get him to reconnect to me?

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