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#303017 - 09/16/09 08:06 PM How to know when to trust
wifetryingtoheal Offline


Registered: 12/30/08
Posts: 12
Two years ago I found out my husband had had an affair, which led to finding out about multiple affairs. He lost his job over the scandal as he was a public official. I'm amazed our family survived that first year with the stress of our family pain being so public, my husband having his first memories of being raped and later molested along with other traumas he had long since buried and none of us knew of, he and I dealing with all of the acting out that had taken place, not knowing where to turn or find appropriate help in our rural area among so much else. Prior to that date a couple years ago I looked at my husband as the best husband. I always had such admiration for him as a person and I felt so loved and safe with him as a committed husband. We always described our relationship as one in which we not only loved each other but we really wanted to spend most of our time together either as a family with our kids or just the two of us as we enjoyed being together that much...in addition to family and friends. Our sex life was great, I never felt a lack of attraction from him. I felt very blessed. Then on a fluke I find a text message and realize devastatingly that he is having an affair...and the lies began. Over the course of the next couple years or a little less he little by little after telling lies to cover lies he has shared much more. Much of the truths came about by my inquiring and figuring out much and another portion he offered up in spurts of his own accord, but often due to what felt to me to be to appease me as he knew things didn't feel right to me. He has told me that he has had multiple affairs with women locally, further away, and even met women online from other states and countries and met in other towns as well as strongly contemplated trying to meet men even meeting a man in a bar and going outside with him and kissing him to which he said he was very frustrated with as he was aroused but it didn't feel right he states and he stopped and ended up meeting a woman in a bar and had the usual degrading sex with her. He also had repressed memories become known of having been raped by an older teenager boy when he was 11 and then molested by a woman a few years later who he describes as a promiscuous heavy drinking woman from a local bar. His brother was killed in a car accident two months after being raped and prior to all this family abuse such as when he was 5 his dad killed puppies in front of him and other abuse within his family. None of this abuse he remembered either and one would never have suspected from his family. A cousin of his clued me in to the abuse and when I asked him about it it was like floodgates swinging wide open and memories little by little coming forward. To this day he feels fear around many large chunks of his childhood which he doesn't remember and what that might mean. He has declared his love for me still and that it never waivered and to this day I am absolutely torn on whether to believe him or not. He is very convincing. He has openly shared with me how he had several women at any given time believing that he liked them enough that they would meet him over and over for what sounds like very demeaning and degrading sex but somehow he said and did little things just enough that each of them described to me (I have spoken with most of them to try to understand this)that they either knew it wasn't anythign serious or some thought they were really liked. Every single one expresses sometimes very reluctantly that there was "glimpses" of affection (held them for a few minutes after sex, or touched their hand in the bar, he called them regularly, etc) in amongst what appeared to be rough, degrading, demeaning sex with frequent role plays of them being raped or passed out mainly to which they all described going along with as they thought this was a first for him and they particularly liked rough sex and they felt he was pretty nice to them. There were many fights and months of lies before he has admitted the extent of how he manipulated them as he describes he is very shameful for doing this. He describes this as his need to act out with willing women that reminded him of the promiscuous bar woman that molested him and the degrading way in which she treated him as he was scared to death of ever actually acting out on a boy as boys who looked like his rapist or maybe him at that age triggered him to feel a compulsion to act out or women like her triggered him also with an anger and a need to act out. But he describes feeling he was heterosexual all along but also feeling he must be gay or bisexual due to having the thoughts of men and boys, but feeling acting out with promiscuous women that drank heavily and he also numbing somewhat with alcohol at the time of acting out was the safest way for him to numb himself, possibly avoid painful memories, deal with his sexual identity confusion, and feel that he wasn't gay. He said it was an awful cycle of feeling he may act out on someone, fantasizing to the point that he felt the need to act out, keeping a few women available to act out with at any given time, but once he did act out he felt relief leading up to it and then shame. He felt suicidal especially a few months before I found out and I had no idea of that either. I am disturbed by how easily he was able to lie to and manipulate so many people at so many different levels to which he describes he would somehow block things out that one would assume would be painful or difficult such as being home with me and the kids and walking in another room to text message something sexual to one or more women and then slide right back into family life. I don't know what to make of that no matter how well I can intellectualize why it could possibly happen. I look back over the years and think of what a wonderful husband he was but also have to wonder was I just another person he manipulated to gain something...a good cover for how he felt about himself...the good little wife at home that wasn't as sexually appealing as the wild women from the bar (I flipflop on everything because then I can also rationalize that from speaking with him and the women I know that he never so much as bought them a meal, gave them a card, did anything nice for them...he only bought them drinks so they were both drunk or numbed for a couple hours at the most and then either just being with them long enough to act out or leaving as early as he could...never spending "time" with them outside of acting out, and spent time text messaging mostly and phone calls most of which were based around role playing they were going to do or of a sexual nature), but it is very difficult for a wife to even think that at the same time he had me convinced I was his soulmate, love of his life, and completely sexually attracted to me that he was also driven to meet with woman after woman that he couldn't stop meeting to have a type of sex that we never had and what that means. He also told me of things that he said about me to the women that were local and those that found out he was married so that they thought we had a bad marriage such as "we don't have sex" or "we never have done this" or "we fight alot" "she doesn't understand my job" "our schedules are very different"...many many things that weren't god awful but really hurt to think that he said anything derogative about me as I was so loving and loyal to him in our marriage and how he could even stomach talking about me like that and some of these women he knew I bumped into around our town and it kills me that they walked around knowing what they were doing and I had no clue. One of which he told me he even brought into our own home while I was out of town and our one daughter was in bed asleep. I was crushed. But I have told him that even though those things crush me I have a right to know and that I have a right to work through my own feelings. On the flip side, each of the women admit that he would never talk about me much and only briefly stated those things about me. Not much of a consolation. I also know things like when all this came out and we had actually separated for a few months that he had bad mouthed and lied about me somewhat to our neighbors and to our pastor even slightly. He says he did this as he felt alone and needed someone on his side. I have a hard time understanding how this is part of being abused and having sexual compulsions. During the years that he was acting out he had tried to befriend a guy he worked with and felt he wanted to be like as he was a "real man" in his eyes and had so much power but this guy also cheated on his wife all the time and he and my husband actually discussed the fact that they would have affairs on their wives and even covered for each other in some ways. For the most part they seemed to even keep their sexual activities private from each other but I also don't know what ot make of his ability to act like such a loving husband at home and yet do that behind my back also. I think of myself as fairly intuitive and yet all this was going on and I didn't see it. He describes worrying that if he didn't act like "one of the guys" that everyone would see right through him and put two and two together and think he was a monster for his thoughts about men, boys, and women. He almost acted out with a woman in the first few weeks after I found out and he was out of the home, but he states although the thoughts and compulsions had not disappeared yet at that time that with the trauma of me finding out, losing his job, being out of the home, his repressed memories coming out that, and being in some sort of counseling and all the reading and talking we did that he has slowly gotten to where he is at today with having no desire to act out but still struggling with anger in a general sense and not knowing how to deal with that. About six months ago he admits after me sensing something wasn't right and asking that there was a promiscuous (yet attractive) type woman at work that triggered him and he had anger with her and fantasized raping her but stopped himself before he let himself dwell on it. But even that I don't know what to believe as we had agreed prior to that that tough thoughts would possibly be expected and that they didn't need to be viewed as a slip but rather part of what he will learn to curb and that he would need to talk to me about them so I learned to trust where he was at with things. He didn't share that with me of his own accord until something came to my attention and we fought and he admitted to it. What else do I not know?? Another thing that is hard for me to understand is that most of the women were fairly attractive although from what I now know of them they were all the type of woman that drank heavily, spoke freely about and enjoyed rough degrading type of sex etc. But I am stuck on why if it was about reenacting and degrading sexual scenarios did he often choose women that were attractive. He describes that in his eyes it didn't matter as he saw them all the same, but it feels to me that those that were more attractive he actually spent more time with in the bar, showed those slight forms of affection on occasion, or tried a little harder to either get them to act out with him or not to walk. He describes that certain women made his fantasies in his head while acting out work a little better. I am just crushed and confused by it all. I used to be able to trust following my gut, but with all of this I am completely torn...do I believe him and what he often has portrayed to me in so many ways or do I see him as a huge con artist that compulsively lies and still has many secrets he will never share...I don't know how to tell. I was completely blind once before, not sure how to trust what he says after all this now. Has anyone any insight to shed on this? Has anyone seen this type of lying by someone that is sincere and struggling with their male survivor issues? He insists he has told me about every women and every nuance of what happened with the acting out. I don't know that I can trust that. He earnestly seems to go to counseling, sometimes I ahve felt he tries to manipulate counselors, but overall he seems sincere. Often times he seems sincere in what he says when we talk, but there are many discrepancies and things that don't make sense to me. Then I wonder if there is just too much pain and mistrust to ever work through this even if he is genuine and sincerely trying to heal without lies. I want to love him and trust him I just don't know if I should or how.


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#303192 - 09/18/09 11:10 AM Re: How to know when to trust [Re: wifetryingtoheal]
JohnF Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 26
Loc: TX
It takes a long time to rebuild trust. I put my wife through nearly the exact same thing your husband put you through. For years I denied my sex addiction.

We tried counseling. The first counselor never saw any of the signs that I was a CSA and rape survivor, or that I was an addict. We wasted a year with her, and I continued to act out...I just hid it better. Until I got caught again. Another counselor. Who told me that sex addiction didn't exist. I just had boundary issues. Another year wasted.

I countinued to act out for seven years total. (Well seven years of marriage...in reality I've been acting out since I was 13...it took me 27 years to admit my addiction.) Finally my wife told me she was leaving. She actually meant it this time. We found a counselor who only does therapy for those addicted to compulsive sexual behavior. In the first ten minutes of a very intensive 4 day in patient program he showed me the addictive cycle and it clicked...that was how I had been living my life for 27 years. I made a full disclosure to my wife of every sexual partner I've had from the time I was 18. Unfortunately my wife knew only the tip of the iceberg. The disclosure was followed by a polygraph, proving I was hiding nothing from her.

Our therapist explained to us both why I acted out...and why there was nothing my wife could do to stop it. My acting out (which is a more pleasant way of saying cheating) had nothing to do with her...there was nothing she could do or give me to stop it. I had to do that...but most important she saw that she wasn't to blame.

I entered a 12 step program (SAA- Sex Addicts Anonymous)and began to work on my addiction. I have been sober for 435 days (no sex outside of my marriage, no pornography). I had one slip with pornography after six months of sobriety, but it has been two years since I've cheated.

To rebuild trust we practice rigorous honesty. It isn't easy for me. I've always been afraid that if people, especially my wife, really knew me they wouldn't like me, much less love me. All to often my initial reaction...almost a reflex...was to lie...even if there was no need to. Every Sunday I "check in" with my wife. I tell here where I am in my recovery program, verify to her that I am still "sober", account for the money I've spent during the week (prostitutes were a big part of my acting out), and my time. Every six months I take a polygraph...I answer three questions "Have I had sex outside of our marriage", "Have I lied to my wife", "Have I been sexual outside of my marriage (phone calls, texting, chatting, flirting, etc)", plus two additional questions that my wife chooses.

Having passed three polygraphs now, plus being much more open with my wife has helped rebuild her trust in me. We never finish a check in, or even a casual conversation until things make sense to my wife. (I refer to it as the Reagan Doctrine "Trust but verify".)

It hasn't been easy. During the first six months I was triggered often...I had to call my sponsor three and four times a day because I wanted to act out. Those feelings come less often now. I had to change the way I go to work to avoid certain neighborhoods. I've lost some of my "friends" because I no longer share their values.

There is hope for you and your husband. As long as he is willing to do the hard work it requires. You can't make him do it...he has to want to. I hope he makes the right choice.

I guess if I could leave you with one thought...no matter what happens...you have to protect yourself. You have to heal yourself...even if that means ending your marriage.

An addict is the center of his own universe. I never wanted to hurt my wife...but when it came to it I cared more about my next "fix" than I did about her or our marriage. It wasn't until I began recovery that I started to realize the damage my addiction caused her.

I hope that wasn't too long winded...I can get on a roll. If I can help in any way or answer any questions, please feel free to ask..here on the forum or via PM.

Good luck...and take care of yourself first.

John


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#303220 - 09/18/09 04:54 PM Re: How to know when to trust [Re: JohnF]
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
I don't know when you will know.

But please trust the little voice within. It serves you, it is meant to protect you.

I appreciate John F's candor in his post about how deceptive he was, for so long.

I thought my fiance was actually committed to his recovery and to sexual sobriety, since I discovered the extent of his acting out on May 31st this year. We made plans for a more serious future together, including marriage (next summer).

Today I discovered more--after several weeks of denying my own still, small voice.

He has not broken off all ties with his liaisons by any means. He is still covering up, still lying, still using porn, still looking for new prospects. And, as those in SA or SAA acknowledge, it is a degenerative disease: if it is not interrupted and treated, it will worsen.

One of his SA colleagues was convicted of a serious pornography violation this summer. From what I am seeing now, I am pretty sure that my fiance is inching toward the same kind of self-destructive behavior.

John F. is right. Only the addict can choose recovery. Unless and until he does, your life will be much as it is now.

What do YOU want your life to be like?

He is an addict. His substance is sex.

Here is what John wrote (sorry, I have never taught myself block quoting):

"An addict is the center of his own universe. I never wanted to hurt my wife...but when it came to it I cared more about my next "fix" than I did about her or our marriage. It wasn't until I began recovery that I started to realize the damage my addiction caused her."

That is the hard and bitter truth.

May you find support and compassion as you decide what you are willing to tolerate. May you also find healing as you need it.

Peace,
HG

_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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#303375 - 09/20/09 10:08 AM Re: How to know when to trust [Re: JohnF]
wifetryingtoheal Offline


Registered: 12/30/08
Posts: 12
JohnF,

Thank you very much for your straightforward response. If there is anything I wish I and my husband had right now it is a support group for each of us. I know for myself I really need to talk to and hear from others who have been through anything similar. It is a very isolating experience to know even your closest friends won't really understand it or people might want to compare it to a spouse having an affair or worse folks think you probably are just crazy to even think about working through it.
As I have told my counselor, I know I will be fine whether our marriage makes it or not. I hate the limbo we are in right now. He was never able to give me a full disclosure. I have repeatedly told him it is not even the acting out and lies throughout our marriage that are killing me...it is how he has lied and lied about lies and drug out lies that has killed me. To give you an example...there is a woman from town that the city council had to put an ordinance in place to prevent her from opening a strip club in her bar that she leased. She is widely known for her promiscuity. My husband acted out with her and I strongly suspected it after this all came out. He lied for almost a year and then finally admitted to it. HE lied for another several months until he decided to tell me that he had actually acted out with her several more times than he had told me. Then months later he admitted that he had actually had her come to our house when I was out of town. More recently he tells me that there are no more women, no other close calls with men, there are no significant details with any of the women that he has lied, denied or downplayed, etc. I am finding it very hard to believe given the way things have gone, how he has been so easily capable of lying out of shame. I don't know what to believe. We even wrote letters from both of us to each of the women and handed them to the women in person and Jerry and I both spoke to them...the problem is the women are as big of liars as I have always read between the lines how everyone involved has had their agendas. Granted, he was there, confronted them himself, told them he's told me everything and we were there to confirm lies he'd told me. That still didn't do much as just with this woman when I asked her to confirm how many times she'd acted out with him, she tried to look at my husband and say once or twice...to which he said don't look at me I've told her everything...to which she then says three...which is still a lie. I am feeling like our marriage is doomed because I don't feel that even though he has done many things to say he is being honest he has also been VERY manipulative about how he tries to lie and get you to beleive he is telling the truth. He also admits to those ways of manipulating and says he is shameful abotu that too. He even worked with the local SA resource center and was speaking to groups about his experience and the paper asked him to put out a full front page article in a large local paper which he did. This was all very hard for him but in many ways healing but may have been too soon. Hard to tell. But again he was trying.
It is very difficult to know if he is now, is still lying, where to draw the line with lies. As far as I know he has not acted out, but I ahve no certainty of that and yet I have no signs that he has. He has shown me just as many reasons to believe he is trying very valiently to heal and be the man he states he wants to be as he has given me reasons to not believe him.
How did you come to being able ot give your wife a full disclosure? How did she handle those details and facts?
How did you view each of the people that you acted out with? Did you ever contemplate a relationship of any sort with them?
Were your memories repressed or did you have knowledge of why you were acting out?
My husband relied on alcohol heavily for acting out. This was not something I had any knowledge of he hid that well. He used it to numb himself such as drinking heavily in a motel room before he met the women or sitting in a bar prior to doing so and then meeting them in a bar usually and drinking for several more hours so that they were both drunk. He quit drinking within the first month of all of this coming out as we figured out finally the role alcohol played in it and he hasn't drank for almost two years as well as bars are triggers and he wants nothing to do with them. In the beginning he describes certain types of women and men being triggers but through the couple years he describes that he is now able to mentally process through the meaning and he doesn't have the same emotional reaction and doesn't dwell on it.
Do I think he is telling me everything? I don't know. He might be and it may be that I have no clue how to trust him now. My gut though my instincts are very impaired and injured right now, tell me that he would not tell me certain things out of shame still.
I am feeling depressed because I feel there is no way to really know if he is telling the truth or not and due to not feeling he has given me a full disclosure or ever will at this point I feel there is little hope for our marriage to sustain long term. Where would we find a polygraph for this? Next Friday we are finally seeing a therapist who we found through this website who seems to finally be one who has an expertise in male survivor and acting out issues. We can ask him also about that.
I was never a person who felt really insecure, jealous, nor wanted to be that way. I steered clear of any man who appeared the type who you couldn't trust or definitely abusive in any way. My husband describes that he felt such shame over everything he did and wanted to be "good at recovery" also and so when he felt slips of any kind he couldn't tell me as he felt it meant he was failing. So on the one hand I have compassion for how he must be trying but on the other hand I have to temper that with taking care of myself and our kids. I feel like I am willing to muddle through this for a little longer but I am really feeling that something has to give someday soon as I don't want to live in doubt and fear my whole life. And I have told him this...that I either get to a place where I feel he is an honest man and committed to an honest life or even if he is being honest I will need to move on without him as this has already taken a toll on me and the kids. If my honesty drives him into being more secretive than that is the price. I've explained that I have the right to decide how I need to feel about anything he tells me and then we go from there but choosing to hide anything from me whether out of shame or other is very manipulative and disrespectful.
I am asking many questions of you and if any are too personal I respect your not responding, but did you find in your acting out that you found ways to rationalize why you were doing so by blaming your wife or how did you rationalize it to the women that you were acting out with that you were married and doing so? My husband made comments/lies to the women that were so belitting of me such as "we don't have sex much" or "we fight all the time" or "we have opposite schedules" or "she doesn't understand my work". He admits to being highly manipulative of them and me. This is another concern in addition to the lying is how ingrained the manipulative behavior is.
Thank you for your honesty. What you have described as a full disclosure to your wife, and your willingness to openly discuss and provide some sort of concrete verification for your wife is realistically what I wish for from my husband. I just don't know after two years of this trauma if we are there yet or ever will be. I'm feeling like life is too short for this to keep dragging out the way it has and yet because I'm wracked with uncertainty about my own healing I don't feel I'm in a place yet to make a decision one way or another. Thank you for your frankness about what it is like to be a male survivor and sharing your similar story with you and your wife. I really needed to hear how others are dealing with similar situations.

Wifetryingtoheal


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#303377 - 09/20/09 10:51 AM Re: How to know when to trust [Re: honey girl]
wifetryingtoheal Offline


Registered: 12/30/08
Posts: 12
honey girl,

Thank you for your heartfelt response and sharing. I am sorry to hear about the place you are both in. I remember where I was at emotionally in the first few months such as you. I am very sorry it has continued and you have to relive that pain. You speak words of wisdom, that I can say I did not have as clearly as you in those first few months. It has been two years but two years of so much going on. First we had a whole political situation with our city who my husband worked for at the time as Sergeant. Politics and a corrupt chief at the time caused my husbands acting out with women to go public (local newsstations and papers). It was very painful. Several months of dealing with that in addition to trying to wrap my brain around his repressed memories, childhood abuse I had no idea of, and the traumatic acting out. The chief has since been terminated and the city paid our family a settlement for what they did to our family and how what should have been our families private pain was slandered all over the news. Then dealing with my husbands lies became the center of my pain and going to counselors who we could tell did not have the expertise to effectively deal with this all created a lot of frustration in us. My husband declares a love for me and our family that seems earnest and I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until we have met with the counselor that we are meeting this coming Friday who will be the first with the expertise in the area of male survivors. We do need to drive two hours or so to see him but it is worth it.
In my individual counseling I feel I have a good counselor who helps me focus on taking care of me and paying attention to what I need. I feel stronger each time we meet also. Another godsend or curse ...could be both is that right before all of this came out a couple years ago I had just started working on my masters in mental health counseling (I am 45). Then all of this happened. Sometimes it was a great diversion and in the beginning I feel at the same time that I was trying to educate myself on male survivor issues which was all new to me, I also was hiding from my painful feelings which were very difficult to allow myself to feel. I have slowly but surely allowed myself to feel them and I still deal with great pain and intense anger over how this has all gone over the past couple years. I have two quarters of coursework to go and then begin my practicum and internships. I have a passion for continueing to work in the field of sexual abuse and trauma especially with male survivors. I have put so much passion into my papers and assignments and research around male survivor issues. Sometimes as I've said it was a great diversion and other times it was very healing to gain understanding. But then I need to apply it to my situation and then it gets muddy for me at times as my emotions and children are what I try to factor into that equation.
It is all very painful and hard to keep it all clear and straight in ones head. I try to understand where my husband is coming from, but have intense feelings good and bad towards him, I ahve so much anger towards the women even though I know in my head they are every bit as injured as him, they still acted upon very harmful behavior that affected me and my family directly, I usually don't feel certain I know where my husband is at in his healing, triggers, etc. although there is much communication between us I don't know what to trust, I am trying to make sure I heal in a way that I can effectively go on to help and support others as a counselor. When I think of male survivors in general and their unique issues I am frustrated that society and myself overlooked this very emotional and real need that men have for awareness, education, and resources. I see first hand how this impacts the men so painfully but it also affects a huge segment of our society and we are seriously overlooking that in so many ways. I can attest that as a wife and family member there is a wave of repercussions that really needs attention.
I wish you well also in your journey. I can't say enough for counseling...and that is not just because it is my profession. This is tough stuff with many deap seated emotions. I really do believe a counselor along with good family and friends support and good educational info is really a lifeline in healing from all of this. Thank you again for your words of encouragement. If there is one thing right now I would really wish I had it is a support group with others who are experiencing the same, so thank you for your feedback!

wifetryingtoheal


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#303413 - 09/20/09 03:55 PM Re: How to know when to trust [Re: wifetryingtoheal]
JohnF Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 26
Loc: TX
Wifetryingtoheal,
You're welcome...and I hope that my response helped in some small way. I am sorry that you're going through this, I cringe every time I come into the F&F forum because it reminds me of the pain I've caused my wife over the years. I'll try to answer your questions in order...remind me if I skip any. Keep in mind that this is one addict's view.

"I have repeatedly told him it is not even the acting out and lies throughout our marriage that are killing me...it is how he has lied and lied about lies and drug out lies that has killed me."

Until I finally realized my wife was leaving, and the only hope I had to save our marriage was full disclosure I did the exact same thing. I would admit to what she had proof of...and deny everything else until she had proof. In my case I didn't feel there was any way she could possibly love me if she knew just how bad I was.

How did you come to being able ot give your wife a full disclosure? How did she handle those details and facts?

Full disclosure was part of my inpatient therapy. I'm still embarassed to admit this...when I was finished with my disclosure I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. There were no more secrets, no more worries about what she would find out about next. There was a long period of time where if I came home from work and my wife wasn't home I would panic. I was afraid she had found out about something else and left. I would search the house top to bottom for my daughter's favorite stuffed animal...if it was there no way did my wife leave for good without it. That's no way to live. When I finally told her everything, I never had to worry about her finding out about acting out again.

Please, please, don't try to do a disclosure on your own. Have a good therapist with you. My wife thought she knew everything. She new about a quarter of my cheating. She was hurt, she was angry, she was disgusted. It took a therapist help her understand that none of it was her fault. There was nothing she could have done to stop me. It took two months before we could sleep in the same bed again. Three months before we were intimate again. For six months sometimes she would just get up and walk out the room to cry. It was a year before we were back to normal...normal for real people, good normal...not the "normal" for an addict and his wife that we had before. Disclosure will be hard for both of you. Please don't take it lightly, and please have someone who can support you emotionally for as long as it takes.

Where would we find a polygraph for this?
That I can't help you with. My therapist schedules the polygrapher. I do know its expensive ($300), but don't scrimp. The guy who does my polygraphs is a retired CIA polygrapher, I don't worry a bit about false results and neither does my wife.
How did you view each of the people that you acted out with? Did you ever contemplate a relationship of any sort with them?
I never had an affair. There was no emotional commitment to anyone I acted out with. Other than prostitutes or escorts, I never saw most of them more than once. A lot I don't even know their names. It was about sex, nothing more. I didn't like them...I didn't dislike them...it was a matter of complete emotional detatchment.

Were your memories repressed or did you have knowledge of why you were acting out?
I remembered the things from my childhood. Of course until I acknowledged my addiction I kind of looked back at it fondly. I was sexual with two sisters, who were 14 and 12 when I was 9, and it lasted until they were 17 and 15. 99% of what happened felt good. Of course I didn't realize that it was that abuse that seperated love from sex in my 9 year old mind.

did you find in your acting out that you found ways to rationalize why you were doing so by blaming your wife or how did you rationalize it to the women that you were acting out with that you were married and doing so?
I'm an addict...I can rationalize anything. Again, from my abuse I looked at sex and love as two very different things. In fact there were things I did in my addiction that I wouldn't dream of doing with someone I loved. I honestly planned to quit acting out when I got married. I tried. But...well I failed miserably. But I could rationalize. If I'm paying for it, it isn't cheating. If I don't have a relationship, its just sex, not cheating. I never lied to the women I acted out with. The escorts and prostitutes didn't care. The "civilians" I acted out with, if they asked I would tell them I was married. If they didn't ask I didn't volunteer. It was always clear that it was a one time thing, just sex, no friendship, no relationship. A lot of them were married too.

Please don't get me wrong. Yes I have an addiction, and yes I was abused when I was young. But I am responsible for my own actions. I hurt my wife horribly...not my addiction, not my abuse. It hasn't been easy for me to live the right way, and I don't know that I can ever fully make up for the harm I've caused her. I do know that my wife says that the last two years, since I disclosed, since I started in SAA, since I've been willing to tell her where I am in my recovery, she's been happy.

I hope that things work out for you. I hope that my answers have helped you realize that this is complicated, and frustrating, but not your fault.

I'm here if you want to ask anything else, if it's too personal I'll let you know.

JohnF


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