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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:11 pm 
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Posts: 33
Lesson 1

This is my third marriage, my husband's second. Both of us are in our sixties. My husband's first marriage was a disaster – he got a previous co-worker pregnant (they both worked for my alcoholic father). Shortly after he broke up with her, she came up pregnant and he married her. They divorced in the 1990's. They had only that one child (but many miscarriages) and that child was “challenged”.

My first marriage was a short one; it basically died of neglect as I worked to put my husband through graduate school and he never had time for me. I became a professional and worked as a professional for five years before marrying my second husband. We had two children, now in their late twenties. After reversals at work my husband became very verbally abusive. There was one book written on the subject at the time (“The Verbally Abusive Relationship”). It read like my life! I had been out of the work force for years, I was no longer current in my field, and I had a child who required a great deal of attention. I had to claw my way back into work (in the face of my second husband's demands that I stay at home) in order to earn enough money to provide for my children. The verbal abuse got worse and worse and, once I had secured a low level, low paying, but steady job with regular, limited hours, I got a divorce. I was earning just enough money to keep the kids in the family home; but, my son had problems with alcohol and drugs.

My third husband and I have known each other since we were 10 years old. We dated just after high school for a year and a half, and were “first loves” (but not lovers). I believe I broke up with him because he began working for my father in my father's professional business and I wanted to get as far away as possible from my alcoholic father. I married my first husband and moved 1500 miles away as he attended grad school. I never returned to live in the place I was raised. After my first husband and I divorced, I visited my home and spent two days with my current husband and we finally consummated our love. But because he continued to work for my alcoholic father, I returned to my profession 1500 miles away. We always exchanged Christmas cards and my current husband continued to visit my mother and grandmother. When my father died from his alcoholism under bizarre circumstances, my current husband helped me with memorial services (he no longer worked for him). I had hoped that now that my father was dead, there might be some future for my current husband and myself. That was when I learned he had just gotten married after getting his prior co-worker pregnant. I returned to my profession 1500 miles away and spent a rough 6 months sorting out my relationship with my deceased father.

After my divorce from my verbally abusive second husband and after my children were out of the house, I bought myself a very modest home and continued on as a single person. I was happy with my own place, my friends, and my pursuits. I then made contact with my current husband by email. A rekindled romance with the only man I thought I could trust (and the only man I felt I could marry) developed over a vast distance and we married a little over a year later. I sold my home and moved 1500 miles away from my adult children to join him. We've been very happy together, share most values, and have had lots of fun together. Two and a half years after we married I found I had Stage III Breast Cancer (undetectable by mammogram, sonogram or even a PET scan!) and for 9 months underwent very aggressive treatment: dense dose chemo, double mastectomy and radiation. My husband was there for me all the time, taking me to every chemo appointment, etc. Two months after my diagnosis, my husband was “retired” from his CEO position (of a subsidiary company) by the new chiefs of the parent company. They were aware of my cancer and used my inability to get any health insurance to force my husband to retire on their terms rather than be fired (there was no question of his great skills in heading his company; it was just a change in “philosophy” with the new heads, and they didn't see eye to eye on things.)

Before we married, my husband told me about a same-sex encounter he had after his divorce from his first wife. Because his first wife had accused him of being gay, I figured he decided to try it out. He said he didn't like it and it was painful. I really wasn't concerned about this, as I could understand his experimenting with this aspect of himself, especially after his devastating divorce (and he is more feminine than I in many respects, but I'm a tomboy!) He said he had only done that once and I believed him (and it turns out I was right to believe him.) What he did not tell me until after Discovery was that he had paid for male masseurs who provided “happy endings” and he also occasionally downloaded porn (pictures of men) he found through an AOL chat room. I learned that he had a number of persons in his life – personal trainers, mostly – who were obviously gay. Shortly after my breast cancer surgery, I once came downstairs and saw porn on his computer. I didn't have my glasses on, but I though they were pictures of men. He quickly closed the computer screen. Later he said they were pictures of women with breasts as he buried his head in his pillow. (I guess I sort of understood, but didn't feel too good about it as I clearly no longer had any breasts.) I found a business card on his bureau and a phone number in his phone for male masseurs, but really didn't think too much about that. He likes a massage now and then and since he never picks up after himself, these could have related to activities before me.

In the past six months I noticed a decline in his performance abilities during sex. He attributed it to his diabetes, medications for diabetes, and depression medication. But he became increasingly unable to achieve orgasm with me. With medication, he could gain modest erections (not enough for penetration), but began to “choke” at the point of orgasm. I accepted his explanations and told him not to worry about it, it was no big deal to me. Now I know it probably related to his performance anxiety in our relationship as well as to his encounters with these male masseurs with whom he could sometimes achieve orgasms.

In February of this year I found out much more. We have separate email accounts, but know each others' user id's and passwords. While he was out of town, I checked his email and discovered he was using a gay masseur website and had emailed a male masseur who gives erotic massages. I also found he had an account at this male masseur website and had paid about $300 to download porn depicting men. I was devastated. I talked with my son about it and he thought my husband might be “bi-curious”. We agreed I should monitor the situation. I didn't find anything else until my husband took an out of town trip 2000 miles away at the end of June. I found another email trying to hook up with a male masseur and I immediately called him on the phone about it. I just couldn't handle any more of this. I was shaking. He changed his plans for the return trip and came directly home. He was clearly upset. He contacted his counselor whom he had quit 6 months before (at my suggestion as I didn't think it was helping any more with his firing and had just gotten to be a habit) and set himself up to talk with the counselor “to save his marriage”. I was very angry and in a lot of pain. I had trusted this man and he betrayed me, even knowing what this would do to me. I had never been betrayed before in my entire life. I tend to be visual, and images of my husband in these encounters with male masseurs with his “happy endings” kept racing through my mind. I lost weight and couldn't sleep. I was unable to experience joy and pleasure in my hobbies/pursuits.

Two months have now passed and while I am less angry and in less pain, the images will occasionally recur and I will be angry and in pain all over again. He told me about one encounter on business travel (he's a consultant now) in a major city where the guy arrived and ejaculated all over his back because he “just couldn't control” himself. I'm guessing the guy was a drug addict. My husband was scared; this was clearly a dangerous encounter. That's an image I had a real hard time with. (But it didn't stop him from trying to hook up with another male masseur on his out of town trip in June!) Turns out he has been seeing these male masseurs for about 2 years during our marriage and for a number of years leading up to our marriage after his divorce from his first wife.

During these past two months I had more medical issues related to my cancer treatment. I developed lymphadema after a long airplane flight and had to go through 23 hour/day bandaging until the swelling came down enough that I could be fitted for compression garments which I now wear round the clock. I also had a stress related abscess from a skin condition I have which will eventually require minor surgery. We've both been tested for STD's and HIV and are fine.

My husband sees his counselor twice a week and seems to be making progress concerning how he came to do these things. But he came back after last Monday's session proclaiming that it was “worthless” because his counselor did “not make him feel better”. That really had me question just what he thought therapy was supposed to be about, certainly not to make one “feel better”. He's had this counselor for over 20 years and while I imagine he helped him greatly with his divorce and “challenged” child, I somehow got the feeling that he is, at least in part, a paid listener for the wealthy. My husband never gave it up, even when it appeared there were diminishing returns. We also see a couples therapist once a week. But there we only talk about things my husband is comfortable talking about that comes up with his own personal therapist. Both therapists seem to minimize my husband's acting out behaviors, but I am feeling the damage of it very intensely. Our couples therapist suggested I get my own personal therapist (good grief!) and my husband's counselor thought that because I am not really a “therapist kind of person” that I should do Recovery Nation (which he learned about from my husband who in turn learned about it from me!), using the more personalized tract. Turns out I had already signed up the day before at the self-help level.

I have read Carnes' book “Don't Call It Love” ( I'm not co-dependent), Steffens' book (I clearly find myself traumatized ) and a book about forgiveness by Spring (not yet ready for that).

Sorry this is so long, but we are in our sixties and have been friends/lovers for over fifty years, so there's lots of history that is quite relevant to our situation. But we've only been married for five years. Since our teens, I thought we were soul mates. Everyone thought we were so lucky to be back together with our true loves, but I'm not so sure...

Lesson 2

Since I only married 5 ½ years ago and was basically whole and happy before that (except I did not have, but wanted, a loving, mutually supportive romantic relationship in my life), I will rely on the vision and values I had prior to marrying along with those that have been visited upon me because of my cancer and lymphadema and also with those which I was able to embrace with the additional time that retirement affords. I will address the romantic relationship aspect at the end.

Family
Though my remaining family – a sister and two children – are physically distant from me, they are important relationships for me to maintain and enhance going forward. My children are best touched on a day to day basis through Facebook. I plan to speak with them on the phone every two weeks, even if there's not a whole lot to talk about. Just talking with them is good for us all. My sister and I will be talking at least every two weeks on the phone. We have worked together through many difficult situations (both having breast cancer, difficulties with children, our mother's recent death etc.) and she agreed to be a support to me through this latest challenge with my husband, to my great relief and happiness. Though I currently am not able to fly, I will make sure that I see my children and sister in person at least once a year.

Friends
I will re-engage with my friends on a more consistent basis than I've felt like doing over the past two months since Discovery. Most of my more casual friends live nearby and I am active with them in charity knitting work, spinning, and Guild meetings and Guild related activities. I will do what I did with them before Discovery. I have two close distant friends. One has had an on-going affair with a married man for over 25 years. This has been a mystery to me. Under the current circumstances, I will not do anything to encourage more interaction with this person, but of course will see her when she comes to town to see her daughter. As for my other friend, who was a childhood friend who I reconnected with only a few years ago, I will continue to seek out her company when I am in her part of the country.

Health/Body
Now that I have breast cancer and lymphadema, I am not at liberty to just jump back into the walking program I had become used to 3 years ago, going back many years. I will continue to make all my medical appointments and have the tests done requested by my oncologist and family doctor. I will continue to take my cancer meds, wear my compression garments for lymphadema, and perform the exercises prescribed to ease the pressure caused by scarring across my chest. I will seek out and implement aerobic and strengthening programs, starting small and within the limits of my lymphadema, to improve my stamina and feelings of well-being. I will maintain my weight and continue to eat healthily, with the occasional “treat” (ice cream and fried clams or potatoes!)

Hobbies/Pursuits
I will pursue my fiber hobbies/pursuits on a daily basis, whether it be weaving, spinning or knitting.
I will get back on track so that I have items for sale at the Guild's Christmas sale and make sure that I attend at least one workshop each year and that I self-study at least one new topic each year.

Community
I will continue to give back through my charitable knitting activities and by my volunteering for demonstrations at public events where my “fiber related” skills educate and delight folks who live near me.

Intellectual
Knowing that I become intellectually stagnant if not engaged with my mind, I will continue to read interesting books (all topics, really) and award winning fiction so that my mind has grist for the mill. I will continue conversations with my knitting group and husband on topics of current interest so I can be exposed to differing points of view and thus come to my own conclusions on matters of importance. I will continue to listen to NPR and watch PBS to expand my knowledge and challenge my assumptions. I will continue to do web sudoku and pic-a-pics to keep me sharp on a daily basis.

“Spirituality”
Since I don't believe in God, but appreciate all that is and was in nature, I will go outside daily to observe and reflect upon the wonders of the natural world using my “bare eyes” and camera.

Going Forward
I will continue to prepare my yearly “Goals and Activities” plan, as I have for decades, after the New Year, keep it posted beside my computer, and look it over periodically to gauge how I am doing. I will keep a pulse on how genuine my husband's recovery is coming along (I will need help in figuring that out!) I will work through the lessons of Recovery Nation for Partners. Whether my husband achieves a genuine recovery or not is critical to my having a loving, trusting, mutually supportive and intimate relationship with him in the future. If that does not occur, I choose to live by myself without that component in my life. Since my diagnosis, I feel his recovery probably needs to be achieved sooner rather than later. If it goes on too long, I will opt to move back and be closer to my adult children (and perhaps, in the near future, some grandchildren!)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:24 pm 
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Lesson Three
I really don't trust my “gut”, my “ head” or my “heart” on any of this.
I only stumbled into finding out about my husband's downloading porn and soliciting and paying male masseurs who provided “happy endings”. I did catch him in a lie about what he was downloading (women with breasts vs. men with erections) in October '09, but I was so sick from radiation treatments that I trusted his “hide my head in the pillow” and “I'm sorrys” and let it go. Maybe I shouldn't have, but I didn't have the strength or inclination to deal with it then and I had no idea through 2010 that anything was the matter. As far as I knew, it was an isolated incident.
It was only in February of this year that I found he was visiting a male masseur website and had sent an email soliciting erotic massages. I monitored his email account closely. He never downloaded more porn pics from that site, and I only caught him once more soliciting massages in June. That's when I called him on it (late June).
He's obviously been very clever about hiding his activities over the past two years. Even now, in counseling (both his personal and our couples therapy) he can't seem to remember much of anything (dates, circumstances, what he was feeling at the time). A lot else has come out in his personal therapy that he didn't or couldn't or wouldn't remember. I actually think he's done a masterful job of self-deception, supressing unpleasant memories (of when he was put down as a child, etc.) and mentally and emotionally distancing himself from his “secret self”. Yesterday our couples therapist more assertively probed what my husband thinks are the reasons he did these things, noting that I am basically “stuck” until we get some answers and get a handle on what needs to be done from here.
My husband seems to let the therapists do the work of drawing stuff out of him, rather than taking the initiative to explore on his own what was going on with him. This is making for a very long, drawn out process for me.
Clearly, I need to be concerned with his “out of town” behavior. But I don't really trust myself to be able to successfully pierce his veil of illusion and self-deception, whether by my gut, my head, or my heart.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:30 am 
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Lesson 4

Positive values/traits of my husband:

Intelligent
Hard working
Funny and Playful
Serious minded
Generous
Quick to calm down after an emotional outburst; doesn't harbor grudges
Romantic
Loyal
Caring
Dependable
Sensitive



Qualities that may pose obstacles to the relationship:

Procrastinates, tends to leave things to the last minute, then blames others/circumstances when things don't come out right.
Tends to avoid conflict – eats his negative emotions, then may blow up.
Seems to leave the work of self-growth and development to others (therapists) rather than engaging in introspection.
Avoidance: buries memories of his own negative actions and “can't remember” dates, times events surrounding his negative behavior (even while he has an incredible memory for detail in other matters.)
Lies (would rather hurt another person's feelings with his lies than divulge his own failings).
Prefers old routines rather than trying out new things.
Tends to hoard stuff and keeps his environs rather messy (and it flows into my spaces).
Places too much value on money and things.
Self-indulgent.
Low self image.
Somewhat narcissistic.
Impulsive.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Exercise 5

A. I generally manage stress by talking to myself, usually over a glass of wine. I've read that that is sometimes a recommended approach (maybe without the wine!)for stress relief, especially if there is no one available to talk to or if it's something you want to work out on your own. I find “self-talk” to be enormously therapeutic and helpful in ordering my feelings, my thoughts, and my options. I have other stress relief strategies, centered around repetitive fiber activities or listening to classical music, which have also helped. When in my early twenties in a marriage of neglect, I did turn to a two event “affair” which was totally irrational. I still carry the guilt of that encounter with me today (40 years later!) and, as my current husband has stated, I am probably LESS likely than most folks to ever do something like that again because it was so utterly painful and debasing.

B. I still have an addiction to cigarettes which I loathe! When I crave one, I tense up and imagine how relaxed I'd be if I had one. But if I ride it out, after only a couple of minutes, my mind has raced on to something else and I can even recognize that the anxiety and craving has virtually disappeared. I know this scenario pretty well because, like Mark Twain, I've kicked the habit a thousand times!

C. My husband uses exercise and solitaire to relieve stress, but it's clear to me that he needs much more (like a few close friends and enjoyable activities with them) to help him stabilize his emotions. Unfortunately, he lost his close friends when he lost his executive position. Those factors, along with my cancer and extensive treatments, left him without many resources.

Note: My husband and I found the “teeter totter” discussion of stress/values VERY helpful in this lesson for helping us to understand just went on during this time after we married and he took up again with the masseurs. However, the behaviors continued on well after my treatment ended (although I've had some minor, continuing medical issues), perhaps in part because he ingrained these activities as “stress relievers”, but I believe he also failed to address what was missing in his life. He has a personal therapist and those issues are beginning to be explored there.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:15 pm 
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Lesson 7

AI: Effective Communication
I believe my husband and I need to really work on this and it is especially apt as our couples counselor mentioned to us in session on Tuesday that we need to establish “safe communication” and that he views this as his major job and a prerequisite to “graduation” from couples therapy. This is needed because my husband tends to clam up or bury things and I tend to overreact. Actually had a “time out” moment last night when I wanted my husband to look over a Journal entry of mine, but reacted quite negatively when he wanted to take it to his personal therapist. He's done that before when it was OK for me (with my response to the first lesson here, as I thought it would give his therapist a head's up on where I am coming from emotionally and my own personal relationship history), but I am feeling that subsequent sessions with his personal therapist should focus around rebuilding my husband's value foundations rather than reacting to my thoughts and concerns which can be addressed here in RN or in couples therapy. I called the time out and we never returned to the substance of what I wanted to talk about, but at least I didn't get angry and the rest of the evening was modestly enjoyable. So, I asked my husband to read the communication section of this lesson and I plan to work with him, if he is willing, on improving our communication skills on the very emotional topic of his sexual compulsivity. (We communicate well on other matters.)

AII: Managing Your Partner's Recovery
I am really having a hard time with this. I know from readings here and elsewhere that I am supposed to stay out of his recovery and only try to monitor it for changes, good or bad. I guess part of my difficulty in doing this is, as I shared with our couples counselor, that I really felt my husband's therapist, who he has been seeing for over two decades, let me down. Just to expand the story, my husband's therapist knew of my husband's serial encounters with male masseurs who provide “happy endings” before my husband and I married. My husband told his therapist that he was giving this up because he was marrying me. Even though my husband continued to see this therapist after we married, the therapist made no effort to address these unhealthy sexual behaviors and the serious reasons that they had occurred initially. I can't believe that a competent psychologist would think these kinds of behaviors would simply go away forever just because my husband married. He told my husband: “Just don't hurt her.” Well, that rings pretty hollow now, don't you suppose? Did the therapist also countenance lying or deceiving me prior to our marriage about these behaviors? I sold the only house I ever owned myself (and probably couldn't even buy one now) and moved 1500 miles from my children to marry him. Had I known of these behaviors, I wouldn't have done that. My husband took up these behaviors again about 3 years after we married, while he was still seeing his psychologist. My husband says he hinted at it in session, but apparently his therapist, working with my husband on his abrupt loss of a CEO position, never even probed whether my husband might have returned to or contemplated returning to these prior “quick fixes” for emotional succor. Also, while I'm obviously not there in session with my husband and his therapist, much work has been done on working on the reasons for his unacceptable behavior, but I'm not hearing from my husband about steps to address these problems in a way that will make it less likely for him to return to them in the future (especially if my cancer returns and I get really sick – if that happens, I don't want to be devoting much energy to worrying about his addiction.) While I can't know for sure, given my husband's introversion and tendency to “bury” things and his ongoing embarrassment/shame about all this, I am concerned that the therapist is having to work pretty hard to draw my husband out. I'd like to have a sense that my husband is taking an active role in his recovery, something RN requires, given the format. He is reluctant to do RN because he feels he is not a sex addict, perhaps sexually compulsive, but feels this site slips into addict language and that makes him uncomfortable. I wonder if he just doesn't want to do the hard work this sort of approach requires. I keep telling him that there is no “perfect fit” for every situation, that you take what works for you and not worry about the rest, but he seems reluctant to pursue this kind of recovery. Our personal histories reinforce our perspectives here. For lack of funds and due to my personal way of doing things, I am comfortable with self-talk, self-help modalities, and relying on family and friends; he, with access to considerably more financial resources over the years, is unfamiliar with these approaches and gravitates to therapists and counselors. But I am singularly unimpressed with how far his psychologist helped my husband to become more mature and establish a foundation of values over the twenty plus years he that he counseled him.
So, my question here: is it managing the recovery to continue to suggest RN or some other health based recovery in addition to whatever he is accomplishing with his psychologist?

AIII: Empowering/disempowering A Pursuit of Health
I am clueless about what this means, other than I need to focus on my efforts to foster better communication about all this with my husband so it will make a pursuit of health more possible.

B. Resources to Heal My Wounds
I have thought at some points over the last few months that I would need more support. My husband's answer is always more therapy! I wanted to tell my sister what is going on, and when I did, it was a great relief just not to be bearing this alone (my adult children already knew, but they are in their twenties). But my husband viewed this is a betrayal resulting in his loss of trust with me (good grief!)because he previously told me he didn't want me to tell my sister. I've explained that this was to help me, not to hurt him. He said he'd rather have me tell my friends in our environs, but I explained that I've only had these friends for a few years since I moved across the country to be with him, that two I wasn't sure would take it the right way (paid sex with men) and the third was so wrapped up in her own children's serious mental problems that I felt it would be unfair to add to her plate. And these were friends I wanted to keep.
So, I have my sister, my children, RN and couples counseling. Is it enough? Some days it is, some days it's not.

Changes proposed for relationship to improve chances for success: COMMUNICATION SKILLS! (To curb my reactivity and help him to share his feelings, thoughts and beliefs with me.)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:54 pm 
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Lesson 8

A. Considering only objective signs of a healthy recovery/unhealthy recovery, what path do you think your partner is on? If on an unhealthy path, do you think this is due more to lack of insight about how to change, a lack of energy/motivation to change or a lack of desire to want to change?

I believe my husband is on a path to a healthy recovery. My only caveat here is that he tends to view abstinence as a sufficient criterion for success rather than gaining emotional stability and transforming his life.


B. If you were to identify three issues relating to your partner's recovery that you would like to see changed, what would they be?

1.Continuing with abstinence, work harder towards achieving emotional stability and a solid values-based foundation for his life. Right now, in his words, he “feels lost”. Move from the “analyze this” mode into the “building a solid foundation” mode.
2.He needs to become more transparent and communicative with me, volunteering his thoughts, feelings and plans rather than waiting for me to ask.
3.He needs to become proactive with his time. Boredom and inactivity (or only few activities) are an issue and he needs to find valuable and satisfying outlets for his time and energies.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:45 am 
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Exercise Nine
A. What are the key signs that you have observed in your partner that lead you to believe that he/she is engaged in a healthy recovery?

My husband has recognized that a fundamental coping strategy since his childhood -- burying his feelings – has been unhealthy and has led to ineffective and damaging emotional management tools throughout his adolescence and into adulthood. This he has come to learn in therapy, both with his personal therapist and our couples counselor. He also has now internalized the damage his sexual acting out has done to me and our relationship in a way he seemed to only superficially appreciate before. Two days ago, he handled two relationship difficulties (one with his brother, and another with his “challenged” son) in a much more “responsible adult” fashion. Rather than approach these persons with emotional reactions (anger, pain) or a “bury it” response, he engaged both persons in a more even keeled manner which our couples counselor called “self-assertive”. In other words, he was true to himself and his beliefs without falling into an emotionally immature coping mechanism (anger, pain, “burying it”). I told him at the time that I thought he handled these situations well, and his counselor agreed yesterday when my husband and I related the details.

My husband says he has not even had thoughts of viewing porn or engaging a masseur. I'm finding it hard to believe that; but it might be true, as he is coming to see, through therapy, that these are dysfunctional, defeating, and damaging ways to relieve stress and feelings of powerlessness. I still don't trust my own “gut” or intellect about this, however.
 
B. What are the key signs that you have observed in your partner that lead you to believe that he/she is NOT engaged in a healthy recovery?

My husband has taken very few steps to acquire some meaningful friends (through interests). We discussed this in counseling yesterday. He's done some inquiring over the internet (local choral group requirements, etc.) but is not proactive in trying to figure out how to expand his life in retirement. This, I believe, is important as boredom was a precursor to his acting out behavior at times, and having a few friends to do things with would help him strengthen his emotional coping skills and relationship skills. He takes a “well, I can't qualify for that!” approach rather than brainstorming about what he might do in the way of interim steps to reach a goal. At the end of the month he will find out if he will have a busy next two years going back to work for a company he has been consulting with. If that happens, I worry that he will be so busy with work that he will just “drop the ball” on trying to develop his outside interests and contacts. Communication with me about his innermost thoughts, concerns, etc. remains difficult for him. He continues to feel very vulnerable and his ego remains, in his words, “fragile”.
 
C. How have you communicated your observations to your partner? Have you communicated the healthy observations as well as the unhealthy? How has your partner responded?

I've communicated my observations about how he handled the matters with his brother and son, but I've tried not to press much about the “unhealthy” observations because he doesn't take any criticism well (no matter how nicely stated) and he takes any “unhealthy observations” in a negative way. At our couples session yesterday I jokingly suggested that the counselor give my husband a homework assignment of brainstorming ways to get more involved in activities, to which my husband reacted (in a lighter manner, but clear) that he didn't want that assignment. This was another example of his “self-assertiveness” at play, according to the counselor. But my husband seemed to recognize that both the counselor and I feel he needs to work on this.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:04 am 
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Exercise Ten
Return to your vision created in Stage One; Lesson Two. Select the three most important values that you need right now to help you stabilize your life.

I would place “Family” in the top three, but because of the distances involved and constraints on time with my family members, I am choosing not to include this value, but will focus on the three most important values I need right now to stabilize my life. I'm also having a hard time returning to my charity knitting work with the weekly group I am in. These folks know me pretty well, and I'm not good at hiding things – much shows on my face. I know I can say I'm having “personal issues”, but I know they will press me and I worry I'll just break down and cry. I don't want to do that, so for now I am avoiding the group. My husband thinks I should just tell half truths to them (I didn't come in the summer because of my lymphadema, etc.), but he obviously has a much easier time lying when I just can't.
So, the three values that I can focus on right now are:
Health/Body
Hobbies/Pursuits
Intellectual


B) For each, think about the meaning and fulfillment you are getting compared to the potential meaning and fulfillment available.

All three have taken a distant back seat to my feelings of anger, pain, despair and hopelessness over these past three months. Before D, I was engaged all day long with these activities and I am having trouble taking joy and pride in them now, even though I know I must start doing things if I am to heal.
I always feel better when I am doing things!
 
C)Develop a specific plan that will allow you to maximize the potential in each of those three values.

I need to have a checklist for each day (made in the AM or night before) stating what I will be doing that day, e.g. take a walk, spin up that recently purchased fiber, begin knitting the hat, read for an hour in that new book I ordered.
 
D)List the steps you will take in the next 24 hours to begin strengthening each value.

Health/Body: I will take a walk today to a beautiful place near my house and just take in the sunshine and what is going on around me. I will do all my lymphadema exercises (I do this anyway!).

Hobbies/Pursuits: I will wind off my plied yarn downstairs. I will ply the yarn on the wheel upstairs and wind off, if time permits. I will begin the patterning on the hat I am knitting. I will make my fabulous chile relleno casserole and have that for supper.

Intellectual: I will either watch one of the movies I rented or read another short story from the award winning author in a book I recently purchased.

What I won't do:
Spend too much time on RN or addictions. I think this is getting me down.

Try not to worry even though my husband is out of town, sailing with his childhood (female) friend. (So far his addictions have involved men.)

Go hunting for hidden email accounts. I found one last night and it's full of “social networking” sites he has signed up for. In one, an adult “friend” site, he presented himself as a man looking for a man for “a discreet relationship” for “1 on 1 sex”. “Looking for friend to play around with. 30 to 65 years” Made me sick to my stomach. Then I thought how pitiful it is as he signed up while babysitting his mom with dementia back in March. No coping skills.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:25 pm 
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Hello Farsighted,

Welcome to Recovery Nation.

It is good to see you moving along in your workshop. I am sorry you have to be here but given the circumstances, here is a very good place to be. I am even more sorry to hear about your breast cancer. So good that you got yourselves HIV and STD tested. Very important.

Quote:
Both therapists seem to minimize my husband's acting out behaviors, but I am feeling the damage of it very intensely.


I suspect a form of denial on their part....

Great vision work!

Quote:
Yesterday our couples therapist more assertively probed what my husband thinks are the reasons he did these things, noting that I am basically “stuck” until we get some answers and get a handle on what needs to be done from here.


Does this therapist not have any clue as to why he has these behaviours? And, recovery is not so much about getting to the why he does this--the why is the same for all addicts in general. It's an escape, a way of regulating their emotions, it's a means of self-soothing, and it is an ingrained behaviour. What he needs to work on is creating a healthy foundation upon which he will live out the rest of his heatlhy life. One that he will use as a life management system, instead of using addiction. The counsellor may be trying to dig into his past, and dealing with and facing his past will be a necessary part of his healing, but no one is stuck here except your husband and his therapist! You may be stuck in terms of not knowing if you want to stand by him, or if you are better off to leave him, or you may be stuck in terms of you knowing what to do... this will all get handled as you progress through your workshop.

You have identified some very good qualities about your husband. It is clear that you are able to separate the man from his addiction. He does have quite a few qualities that you feel may pose as obstacles in your relationship, but the good news is that each of these are related to his addiction, so, as he tranisions away from addiction toward a health based life, then these obstacles will be removed. Should your husband choose to simply abstain and faking his way through recovery, it will be appareant because these qualities will continue to be problematic.

Quote:
I am probably LESS likely than most folks to ever do something like that again because it was so utterly painful and debasing.

Yes, becuase you recognize the damage it did to your value system (and you) and you value yourself enough to not treat yourself (or others) that way!

Quote:
I know from readings here and elsewhere that I am supposed to stay out of his recovery and only try to monitor it for changes, good or bad.

There is nothing wrong with monitoring per say, if it is not done as a means to control, or coerce, or make wrong etc. Sometimes, it is helpful to monitor ie. if you need to guage where he is at to make life choices for yourself. But, the flipside is that you can use this as an excuse to continue to engage in unhealthy monitoring. Staying out of his recovery (ie. not telling him what to do, not leading or pushing his recovery) is the best plan. First, monitoring him can distract you from what you need to do for you, to promote your own healing. Second, it can put him on a constant defensive (although, likewise, he needs to learn to take responsibility for his behaviours and allow you to be responsible for yours).

Regarding your husband's therapist hurting you... Your husband's therapist really doesn't have any moral obligation to you, even though you believe otherwise and moreover, he is bound professionally to confidentialilty. And, it is quite possible that your husband is not telling you the full story. My husband failed to tell me that his therapist (whom we both saw together at first and I stopped going as I felt she didn't address the problem which was his porn use) in fact had suggested he seek specific addiciton help, or to attend SAA mettings... this was years before finding RN, and was only disclosed casually when I was expressing disappointment with this counsellor for not identifying his "habit" as an addiction. On the other hand, maybe your husband is sharing with his therapist and the therapist really isn't addressing it. The thing is--only your husband knows the truth.

Re: empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health

Examples of disempowering are to follow him up constantly and telling all that he is doing wrong, not listening to him when he is being open, making him wrong, telling him what he should be doing, putting down his efforts, being punitive, etc.

Empowering is listening objectively, accepting what he says but knowing it might not be quite right, encouraging his healthy efforts, setting healthy boundaries to protect your values and communicate those in a non punitive manner etc.

Quote:
My husband's answer is always more therapy!


This is likely because he feels safe. And, it's easy. He goes to therapy once a week, has a conversation (which he can control with what he chooses to share) with someone who does not judge him. His therapists listens and takes him at face value and doens't necessarily push him out of his comfort level. Also, attending therapy weekly, or bi weekly he can tell himself that he is working on himself (by mere fact that he is going to a therapist). I am not diminishing anyone for going to a therapist, but what I am saying is that just because he is seeing a therapist doesn't mean he is doing anything to promote recovery.

Quote:
My only caveat here is that he tends to view abstinence as a sufficient criterion for success rather than gaining emotional stability and transforming his life.


A big one at that!

Quote:
but is not proactive in trying to figure out how to expand his life in retirement. This, I believe, is important as boredom was a precursor to his acting out behavior at times,


Indeed. There are lessons in the Recovery Workshop about creating proactive and reactive action plans. An absolute necessity and can be the difference between creating a positive history with oneself (successfully, healthfully, managing a trigger) and having a slip or relapse.

Good work overall!

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:16 pm 
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Thank you, Coach Mel, for your very helpful comments. It means a lot. :g: I think I need to press the couples counselor more about just what he sees his role to be. It keeps shifting.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:14 pm 
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Exercise Thirteen
 
A. One of the first steps on the road to healing is to take inventory of all the ways that your partner's compulsive behavior has affected you. Begin listing these consequences and post them in your Healing Thread..
 
Given the complex nature of addiction, especially as it relates to family and relationships, this process should take several hours, rather than several minutes. It will be important for you to consider the affects to your physical, emotional, social, spiritual, economic, interpersonal, potential selves--as well as any other area that you feel is relevant. There are no right



Physical:
I have ongoing problems relating to my lymphadema, had sonograms to rule out blood clots (an old one was found, but will not be treated, which I am thankful for because I definitely don't want to be on a blood thinner) and no tumor (also ruled out). I think I would have had these lymphadema problems anyway, but I worry about a recurrence of my cancer because I know stress is a negative factor and, as I learned in couples counseling two weeks ago, I was basically “clinically depressed” for the first four months after I discovered his behavior. I still don't sleep well and tend to ruminate when I wake up in the middle of the night (due to hot flashes from the cancer med I am taking), so I plug in my radio to help me get back to sleep. Sometimes I am successful with this and sometimes not.

Emotional:
I am on a more even keel emotionally now, but it was a serious roller coaster ride for the first six months. I am beginning to feel more grounded in myself, but my H's lack of showing any progress in changing his life has begun to make me upset with how things are (not) going. Basically, (as my therapist has said) I am stuck in my healing and with moving forward in this relationship until he gets off the dime. Let me say that as little as 2-3 weeks ago my H was saying this was “not sex” he was having and these erotic masseurs were “not prostitutes” and that I was the sick one and he had “no problems” (to which I queried, as coached by my therapist, with: I am really perplexed and don't understand why someone who “has no problems” would be seeing a therapist twice a week.) These recent statements, along with not initiating any intimate conversations and not demonstrating any movement toward dealing with the “lack of resources” which supposedly led him back to erotic massages with men (friends, hobbies, lonliness, boredom, etc.) make me feel very dejected and sad. In addition, he keeps saying that I say things (usually in our couples sessions) which I have no recollection saying. Just last night he said we could talk about “his masseurs” as I said I wanted to (we postponed this as we are both sick and thought there would be a better time for this.) But I told him I never said I wanted to talk with him about his masseurs and I knew I hadn't since I had decided at our last session with the couples counselor that I was going to let him initiate the next “intimate conversation”. So he's messing with my head. All this is very crazy making (my therapist's term) and it puts me back on the emotional roller coaster ride. I am working my best to just say to myself that he's out of touch with reality and that that's his problem to deal with, not mine.

Economic
This has not adversely (to my knowledge) affected us too much financially (although paying for 4 therapy sessions a week is definitely costing him – not my nickel, since we married only 5 ½ years ago and I said he would have to pay for my therapy, and he has), but I do worry about my financial situation should we split. I sold the only home I ever owned myself and left my children. Retired with cancer with a very modest social security check and some small amount from some trusts, I would be on a shoestring.

Social
I was unable to even see my friends for the first 4-5 months after I discovered these behaviors. I have now gotten back into my usual routines with my friends, but, since they have no knowledge of what is going on with my H, I'm not able to be the transparent, honest and open kind of person I have always been with those close to me This is a real loss to me as I've always enjoyed that kind of honest interchange with my friends.

Interpersonal
Here I am going to speak of my family. My sister, after I told her, has treated me no differently than before other than making an effort to contact me a bit more often. We've not talked much about what is going on with my H. My children (who also know) are a different story altogether. I feel we are much closer and much more caring of each other since this has happened (to the point where they have offered to “take care of me” – I don't need that! – should I decide I've had enough.) We have much more contact, and more loving contact, than before I discovered my husband's behaviors.

Potential Self
I feel I am less willing (as compared with before Discovery) to do things I really don't enthusiastically feel like doing. I would go along with some things (like endless weeks cruising on his boat) because he enjoyed (and needed?) them. I don't feel that I have to do that anymore. This is a good thing as it leaves more time for me to do the things I want to do which don't require his involvement.
 

B. Rate the affect of each consequence from a 1-10. "1" will represent the most significant consequence that your partner's addiction has had on your life. Do not worry bout which consequence might be a "6" and which might be a "7"; or which is "1" and which is "2"--what is important is to gain a general idea of the impact (or potential impact) they have had on your life.

Physical: not sure yet
Emotional: 1
Economic: 5 (if we split)
Social: 5, trending higher as I regain myself
Interpersonal (family): 3 (but in a positive way)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:37 am 
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Quote:
Basically, (as my therapist has said) I am stuck in my healing and with moving forward in this relationship until he gets off the dime.


I understand that you feel stuck in your relationship, but that is assuming that you have no say in said relationship. I think your stuckness has more to do with value conflicts, such as, you may wish to continue to be in the relationship, but being in the relationship causes conflicts with some of your other values. Part of this exercise is getting clear on what those conflicts/consequences are. What values are you violating while continuing to be in relationship with him? What values are you supporting by staying with him? Both are important to consider, and prioritize. When you do so, your choice to stay (or not) will be a more empowered one, as you will be more connected to (or at least aware of) the values that support your decision, as prioritized by you. This will be part of the work of healing. You don’t have to wait on him to heal, as healing will provide protection against whatever emotionally taxing events could be in your future (such as anything left undisclosed). This work of healing will provide you a with solid foundation, one upon which you will base your life, instead of allowing it to rest in the fate of his recovery (or non-recovery, whichever the case will be). Think about it this way: What if your husband never "gets off the dime"? What will you do then? Why wait to see how he turns out before deciding how you will turn out?

Quote:
I have now gotten back into my usual routines with my friends, but, since they have no knowledge of what is going on with my H, I'm not able to be the transparent, honest and open kind of person I have always been with those close to me This is a real loss to me as I've always enjoyed that kind of honest interchange with my friends.

This is also a conflict in your values. How do you think you could resolve this? Why are you not able to be transparent, honest and open with your closest friends? What is the obstacle that stands in your way?

Just some food for thought as you continue in your healing workshop.

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:22 am 
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Thanks to you, Coach Mel. I believe you are helping me see that getting unstuck is up to me. I am going to think long and hard and plan to discuss this with my counselor this week.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:10 am 
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I want to start out by saying that I am returning to these lessons after a bit of a hiatus occasioned by my husband's relapse wherein I found out that he's been looking at naked men on the internet starting last December (which I don't think he yet adequately acknowledges is part of his SA) and, after a spat where he went to a hotel to sleep (one of his escape MO's), the next day he paid for an erotic male masseur. In couples session, instead of dealing with what he was going to put in place when he was spending an upcoming week with his dementia afflicted 91 year old mom to give his sister a much needed and deserved vacation (this is stressful, boring and lonely to him and something I had mentioned as a topic for three weeks), he basically hijacked the couples session right before he left, trotting out from his notebook all the times since December that he feels I berated/belittled him. I view that as blame shifting. He also brought up a conversation we had over a week previously where he seemed to be obsessing about a book about his family that described the many suicides among family members and said I had said that he might want to focus on the future (this was after we had discussed the suicides a couple of times, which he also talked with his sister about, and his concerns that his son might be suicidal, which he apparently is not.) I told him that since the conversation was over a week ago, I didn't recall exactly what I said or how I might have said it that upset him (I am clueless about how my comment could have upset him), but that if I was to understand what upsets him with my words, he needs to tell me at the time it occurs or shortly thereafter or I won't be able to remember it fully and thereby understand what he is upset about. In the couples session (both our personal therapists work together with us) his counselor basically got my husband to admit that he was “retaliating” against me by acting out with the erotic masseur. I've discussed this with my therapist who is not sure about this, but my feeling was that this was a quantum leap from using SA behavior to self-soothe and that the intention to hurt me and cause me pain was a signal to me that he could be very dangerous to my well-being. It makes me quite reluctant to spend any time on his cruising boat as there are many opportunities for really hurting someone in that environment, without avenues for escape.
While my husband was “babysitting” his mom he says he didn't look at internet pictures of naked men, but I don't believe him. He said he remembered that I was aghast that he was doing this last year while he was sitting only 6 feet from his mom, so he didn't do it. I pointed out to him he had his own rented room at the assisted living facility to do it in (in another part of the building) and he went silent... This sort of sneaky, diverting talk from him is common, I have found. My therapist is still not sure what he gets out of this behavior and whether he would be resentful to me if he had to give it up. I am planning to bring this this behavior in our couples session tomorrow.
Meanwhile, after getting an OK from my oncologist, I flew for a week's visit to see my children (ages 27 and 28) fifteen hundred miles away. I felt about 90% normal (haven't felt that good in 9 months). I had fun, laughed, was respected loved, and appreciated. It gave me some distance on this horrendous situation I am living with at home.
I am currently focusing on distancing myself from his addiction and have found “Your Sexually Addicted Spouse” pp. 221-224 discussing “detachment” to be extremely helpful and I am re-reading these pages every few days.
So, I finally feel I am ready to work on Lesson Fourteen.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:32 am 
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Exercise Fourteen
 
*Over the next month, how much time do you intend to spend focused on managing, tracking and/or assessing your partner's addiction/recovery? List the role(s) you intend to play in his recovery. If none, say so. If some (and there are potential healthy roles for you to play), list them.

Managing my husband's addiction and recovery (and I don't believe he is in any real recovery) is a total waste of my time and energies and negatively affects my well-being and healing. It only causes me angst and further pain. Whenever I think about doing it I remind myself of its futility. I do intend to pay attention to his behaviors and interactions with me and others in order to have some idea of any progression (better or worse) with his addiction. I intend to continue with our couples therapy (both of our personal therapists are involved) as difficult issues are being discussed only in this context at present. Because of his recent relapse and my growing realization that he is pursuing no real recovery (trying again for abstinence only with the masseurs, and not trying for abstinence on the viewing of male porno), I am distancing myself from him (in line with Steffens' suggestions) and we are in separate bedrooms and having almost no touch so I can regain my balance, now needed on a daily basis.
 
*How much time do you intend to spend secretly investigating his actions? If none, how will you manage those times of mistrust and/or doubt?

None. If I have doubts, I will tell him I'm sensing “something's up” and ask if he needs to tell me something. He's never volunteered any info regarding his acting out; I have always had to ask the questions.
 
*What personal values are you willing to allow your partner to continue damaging over the next month?If none, how will you protect these values?

I am continuing to remain calm around him by distancing myself from him. With techniques listed below, anger/pain issues that arise, I am dealing with outside his presence or asking him to “turn off” the TV if it triggers me (I found out last night that Tiger Woods is a trigger; I worked through it to defuse it and was able to have the TV, Tiger Woods and all, on briefly). As Coach Mel pointed out, there appears to be a conflict posed by my husband in his wanting me to not tell anyone about his behaviors (he considered my seeking support from my sister, telling her what was going on in a general way, as a “betrayal” of him, but it was my need for support that prompted my reaching out to her.) In our last couples session he said before telling me about what the looking at pictures is all about, I would have to make certain promises about not telling others. I'm not sure how broad a promise he is asking for, but I made it clear I would have to tell my oncologist what is going on in my life when I see her tomorrow. His counselor suggested an exception for “professionals”. But down the road, should we divorce, while few if any will ever know the real reason, I would want the freedom to divulge some of the dynamics about what happened between us with a select group of closest friends because I am an open, transparent person with my dearest friends and do not want that to change to protect HIS secrets. Furthermore, I fear should we divorce he will tell a story about the “whys” to his siblings and others which is untruthful, shifting the blame to me. This would affect my relationships with others as we hail from the same town and I still have friends in the area. I would want to feel free to tell my side of the story (I doubt I'd share much in the way of details) because I DO care what others think of me. I have worked very hard for my 64 years to be a person of integrity and high values (I'm quite hard on myself about that) and I do not want my reputation for integrity besmirched by someone who is selfishly hiding his secrets. I am still debating in my mind whether things I have already found out should be included in such a promise.
 
*Over the next two months, what mistakes are you prepared to tolerate from your partner and why? What mistakes (if any) are intolerable and will serve as the catalyst to end the relationship? Note: think with your head here, not your heart. You are no longer ignorant as to what to expect in recovery and so, define those true 'bottom lines' for you and your relationship.

Since my husband does not yet see that his viewing of male naked bodies is part of “his problem”, I will tolerate that for now, even though I will make it clear (in couples therapy sessions) how I view it as part of his problem and a precursor to his obtaining erotic massages from men. This includes looking at pics online as well as “time in the men's locker room at the gym”. I find his getting an erotic massage about a month ago intolerable. In a previous marriage counseling session (with a different therapist, now dismissed) I told him having another erotic massage was a deal-breaker for me. Since I had not yet put a consequence in place, I didn't just walk out the door or ask him to leave and live elsewhere, but insisted on separate bedrooms (and, by inference, no sex). He'll have to get tested for STD's again should I decide I ever want him as a sexual partner in the future (he had sex with me AFTER seeing the relapse masseur, putting me at risk yet again). He admitted in couples counseling that his acting out a month ago was in part “retaliation” against me, which, for me, takes this to a whole new level: purposely trying to hurt me, so I am seriously considering not going on the boat (personal safety issues) with him at all this coming summer. If he continues to see masseurs (not sure how I would know, necessarily, as he is very sneaky and adept at hiding his behavior), I will insist on our living apart, at his expense. I will do the same if it becomes clear that he is not interested in recovery, but only abstinence, because he would be doing that “to save his marriage” or placate me. If this is his reason for abstinence, I believe it will only be a question of time before he gets a masseur again and, as my therapist has suggested, likely feel resentment towards me because I would be interfering with “his fix”. If this ensues, I would see no point in continuing to live with him. I may have to be legally married to him, for at least a period of time, for financial and health insurance reasons (I have Stage 3 breast cancer, Stage 1 melanoma and lymphaedema.)
 
*How much responsibility do you intend to invest in changing your partner? Versus placing the responsibility for change on them? How do you envision communicating your observations about their motivation/responsibility--both positive and/or negative? For those positive observations, how will you make them seem genuine? For those negative observations, how will you make them seem non-punitive?

It is not my responsibility to change my partner (it's his) and not my responsibility to convince him he needs to change for the right reasons (that he finds living this way intolerable to him). When I see positive steps being taken, I intend to simply and straightforwardly let him know that “I think that's good”. I will be neutral in affect and in words. I won't try to “seem” genuine; I will be genuine. As for negative observations, I will bring them up, if important or relevant, in couples counseling where he feels “safe”, stating my concerns straightforwardly and in a calm manner.
 
*Do you intend to motivate change in your partner by threats and/or rewards? Or by simply sharing your needs and allowing your partner to find the motivation to meet those needs? If the latter, how much clarity do you have in determining and communicating your personal needs?

Again, using threats/rewards is pointless in my view. But there need to be clear consequences for bottom line behaviors. These would not be threats in my view, although they would probably be taken as such by my husband.
 
*How do you envision moving beyond two individuals in recovery/healing to becoming a team in overcoming those areas of your relationship that have been damaged? What changes will YOU need to make in your own perspective to regain a sense of teamwork? What changes do you need to see from your partner for this to happen?

Since I do not believe my husband is in any recovery and I further believe he wants to keep his “fix” at this point, becoming a “team” is not relevant at this time.
 
*Apart from your partner's addiction, identify the current major obstacles that your relationship faces. For each obstacle, seek out any patterns that will eventually need to be worked through as a team. For instance, communication. We have fallen into a pattern of dysfunctional communication that must change. Here is what I can envision doing to bring about change to these dysfunctional communication rituals:
 
Communication is a big problem. For now, we are working on that by keeping “heavy” discussions in couples counseling. If minor communications start to get heated (and I'm amazed how much minor discussions where my views conflict with his “getting his way” upset him – part of the addiction, I suppose) we are using the timeout/come back/mirroring techniques our counselors in joint session have prescribed.

*Should you find yourself struggling to manage your own life (intense emotions, undefended boundaries, deteriorating values, neglected values, etc.) how do you envision getting yourself refocused and back in balance? List this general plan.

I'm in the plan now! I need separate space if I am struggling. I need to vent with my therapist (she invites this, what a lousy job!!). I need to self-soothe with my favorite things (music, movies, fiber pursuits, contact with friends, time by myself and not around others, journaling, etc.) and not so favorite things (walking at the gym and eating ONLY healthy foods) until I regain balance. I am working on my balance on a daily basis now so as to keep myself in check, but I realize that his acting out behavior could broadside me again. If that happens, I will have to intensify the above and separate more from him.
 
*What signs will you look for in your partner to generate confidence in the sincerity and stability of his/her recovery?

Not getting defensive and trying to leave couples counseling sessions; not running off to get a hotel room when he feels “out of sorts”; opening up to me (in joint sessions) about what goes on with him when he looks at the pictures of naked men and takes steps to hire an erotic masseur; cleaning up the god-awful mess of an office he “keeps” (messy piles all over); keeping his appointments; getting out of bed at a reasonable time; pursuing some real kind of hobby or interest in a passionate way rather than playing games on his phone throughout the day; coping better with feelings of loneliness and boredom; better managing his emotions and not flying off the handle when he doesn't get his way, especially (for now) over the slightest, most inconsequential things; whining over his minor aches and boo-boos (I've got cancer, for goodness sakes!). Also, not going into a trance in front of me when a half-clad male comes on the TV (his behavior when David Beckham's Super Bowl ad came on was astounding and so revealing to me). Saying things to me which show he has my best interests at heart, even when it conflicts with his own.
 
*What unique signs will you look for in your partner over the next few months to generate warning of imbalance and/or insincerity?

I think my answers to the last question covers this.


 
These are just some of the questions that you will want to consider and prepare yourself for. There are potentially many others. List anything additional that you feel is important in preparing yourself to face this transition in your life/relationship over the next few months.
 


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