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Living a Nightmare. In so much pain. Need to Divorce


BellaDonna
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I am still living separately in the house.

 

I think he is taking the right steps to help himself. Aside from the weekly therapy he has stepped up with helping around the house. He has started a diet and exercise plan. I can see he is trying to better himself and he needs to do this, regardless of what I do.

 

While I care about him and do love him, I cannot say I am in love with him right now. I've been too hurt. Too disgusted. Too betrayed. Too angry. Too shocked. Too violated.

 

I try to separate what is going on in my mind, my ego, and my heart. It's not easy.

 

Even if I can forgive him I cannot forget. Even if I can grow to trust him in the future, the CORE problem I am having right now is with intimacy. I find I prefer to be alone and I'm not sure I can ever feel anything sexual about him. That will be the biggest hurdle to overcome if this marriage ever has a chance.

 

There are times that I crave the physical closeness, but not enough to seek him out. I feel that is all completely dead right now. I have too many counter-images in my mind of things that I saw that turn me off to the core. I knew that long before this ever cursed my own life. Check out my response here:

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I agree with all of this. I want him to have individual therapy for a while and then I might pursue marriage counseling with him. His therapist is part of a practice that has individual, marriage, and family counseling so it is available if we go that route.

 

But I'm not sure therapy would solve the hurdle of me being turned off and disgusted. The only thing that might is a lot of time and hard evidence of a reform. I need something to replace the awful images I have in my mind. As long as those are present, any physical intimacy is not possible.

 

And I won't be having sex to appease him or fake it, that's for sure. I would only do so if I desired it. Right now I'm completely dead inside in that regard.

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Bella,

 

You are one incredibly strong woman. I commend you on the way you are handling all this.

 

It is a relief to hear you are and your son and husband are safe. Yes even your husband. Times like this can push people to hurt themselves and that would be tragic.

 

 

One of the things I forgot to mention is that when I first told him, he said he wanted to "go blow his head off" when I said I wanted to leave. Well, I'm not sure if he would ever hurt himself, and I saw such a statement as manipulative more than anything else, but it is one of the many reasons I think he needs therapy.

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I'm sure you are doing what is right for you and your son at this point. I have to say that you are a very levelheaded and stable. This is a great asset .

 

It is great he's taking some accountability for his actions. I still don't think he's telling you the whole story though. I think more happened to him than what he's willing to tell you or maybe he doesn't remember.

 

Either way all you can do is your best and that's the only thing anyone can do.

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>>But I'm not sure therapy would solve the hurdle of me being turned off and disgusted.

 

Oh, I'm not suggesting you go with the goal of 'fixing' the marriage... more that you might want to go to talk thru this so that you can have a peaceful co-parenting relationship and divorce. Counselors can serve as great mediators when trying to detangle something emotionally complex like this.

 

btw, if he threatens to kill himself, the appropriate response is to tell his therapist... make a phone call to him. If it is serious, he needs intervention by a professional. If it is manipulative, then he needs to realize the manipulation won't work. my ex-husband once told me if i ever left him or anything happened to me he'd kill himself. when push came to shove, he instead moved on to another woman about a nanosecond after the separation when he realized i wasn't going to allow him to manipulate me and he had to be responsible for his own behavior and thoughts.

 

so turn all those kinds of things over to his therapist (including the long discussions about his 'bad mommy') and don't let that suck you in. If he's truly going to think about injuring himself or had a wretched childhood that needs to be processed, let the professionals handle it. And if it's an idle threat to manipulate you, he needs to realize that you are not going to let him make you responsible for his behavior or life, and he needs to knock it off.

Edited by chickadeedee
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If it is manipulative, then he needs to realize the manipulation won't work.

 

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was manipulative. He said it within moments of when I first told him and said I was leaving. He started crying and said it impulsively. I think he was shocked more than anything else and was grasping for straws. I have not heard anything like that since though and he's toned it down. He has not tried to create pressure or beg since, which is good because that would automatically send me in the opposite direction. I do not deal well with emotional manipulation and see it as condescending.

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God, my heart just aches reading this. I cannot even begin to imagine the hell in your life right now. I have so much respect for you and what you've done in the past few months. this would break me as a person and a woman, and I think you're doing such a fantastic job with everything. The only thing I can reiterate is that I really believe you should reconsider therapy for yourself - I don't think the time is right for it to be marriage counseling, though. You and he need separate therapy right now.

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Bella,

 

It is good that you are not trying to be his therapist and keep your distance.

 

Getting back to work will be good for you. The structure really helped me when my mind was spinning and I couldn't stop thinking about everything. It was kind of an escape to reality when everything else was out of whack in my life.

 

Best wishes

Lost

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Good Lost ^, but nowhere near enough.

 

Once past her knee-jerk reactions she's going to be abandoned into a maddening world of self-recrimination and ignorance.

She must get into therapy for herself/families of the pron addicted. She needs to be able to talk to someone who has/is living it.

 

Unfortunately, this will be no small feat.

 

While Bella could easily find "Friends of Bill", Al-Non meetings within a quick drive she's going to be hard pressed to find help for herself. (AA is 80 years old..., porn is just starting.)

 

She begin her search today!

 

Bella,

- His addiction wasn't caused by you.

- No different than what alcoholics suffered for ages; it's not your fault, he wasn't born with it or being punished by God.

- Your mental health is going to need it's own help!

- You need current, up to date information on porn addiction.

- Your husband is most likely a good man.

 

 

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Bella, I just wanted to put in that the core of addiction is about escape from pain. It's not about pleasure. It only is in the sense that you've got a momentary, temporary reprieve (from the dopamine high that whatever your addiction of choice provides), but THE driving force behind addiction isn't pleasure, it's pain. Pain so bad that it's not tolerable.

 

I think it's a very good sign that he has shown such contrition, and has been open about what started this and when (which suggests a somewhat recent development). It seems clear that he probably doesn't have some lifelong obsession with the materials he's been watching, and is capable (both with you and in his fantasy world) of being sexually turned on by grown, fully-developed women (with big breasts, etc.)

 

I'm in a class/training right now about parent and child advocacy, and sometimes this thread comes to mind. Like last night, we were in groups brainstorming and discussing what our top concerns are about current issues and child development. So many of us independently (including myself) cited one or more aspects of the way technology is infusing our lives and harming our youth. I chose to speak about how children at younger and younger ages are getting access to porn. And my friend chose to speak about her concern (she's a middle school teacher) about the extreme over-sexualization of pubescent and prepubescent girls. She wasn't talking about jailbait sites, but mentioned some of the things I've brought up on this thread. She spoke about her students -- and sees students of 8 and 9 on the bus -- who are wearing provocative clothing, fully made up, trying to emulate pop divas (who ooze sexuality), have already been dying their hair and plucking their eyebrows, etc. And how very young girls are being groomed by media messages to be sexually appealing, rather that being allowed to shine for their talents, their intellect, etc. We have a culture that is celebrating and encouraging (passively or actively) this phenomenon. In talking about all these concerns our class had about development of youth, I suggested that it's my feeling that whether we are talking about the inactivity/obesity epidemic, the increased access to inappropriate materials, the access of predators, the emerging narcissistic culture of "me" and keeping up with the Jones (selfies, Facebook boasting, etc.), depression/anxiety from unhealthy competition, cyberbullying, the lack of parental oversight and toddlers not getting the proper cognitive skills and development because all they play with is gizmos -- ALL of these problems have one common denominator, and that is the increasingly pervasive detrimental effects of technology. Technology has enabled and spawned a kind of rampant sensationalizing and also the desensitization of the brain to shocking things. Personally, as much as technology has helped us and connected us in marvelously ingenious ways, I'd be inclined to say that I consider the rapid growth of technology and its seductive power a bit like we've sold our souls to the Devil, incarnate. And that it preys unscrupulously upon the "weakest" among us.

 

So I think your husband was a victim twice -- first, to his childhood emotional (and perhaps other) abuse. Second, to the lure of the trends that are enabling -- and capitalize on -- the weaknesses and vulnerabilities he had.

 

I am not an apologist for people who have wound up in his position (as we are creatures that possess the power of choice), but I do feel a strong sense of compassion and understanding for WHY it happens. I don't feel that culpability and self-accountability negate these points.

 

I also feel that the "shock value" issue, while very disturbing and disgusting, is one of those "taboo" issues I've spoken of before that more people probably inwardly deal with that we really know. These things are kept secret because look at the condemnation they bring. The most important thing is that a person understand what is wrong and to act on that. But we all do have -- to one extent or another -- a "morbid curiosity" and are darkly attracted to shocking things. Otherwise, the media would go bankrupt. Shock sells, disgusting things sell. And interestingly, when it's on a major news channel and we can all hurl stones and vilify someone, it feels good and righteous, when the fact remains that we are CONSUMERS OF THIS MATERIAL AND ENABLING IT BY WATCHING IT, COMMENTING ON IT, AND TUNING IN. It's subtle, but to me, it's us being part of the problem. These things would not gain traction if it weren't so much a part of the human psyche -- not just "perverts" -- to play some collective role in these fascinations. Some people are more vulnerable than others, and I can see how a traumatized brain would be the difference between, "Ugh, I saw these things and I can't watch any more" and "Show me more, so that I can keep indulging in this feeling of WOW, that's sick."

 

I do want to tell you that I have very close friends who have confided in me that they have viewed such things out of what they felt to be a sick curiosity, and they are mentally healthy and stable folks.

 

Again, this is for his therapist to keep working through, but I do not think that based on what you've said, your husband is generally more sexually deviant and perverse than most people, despite what they allow themselves to think. Freud (who got some things right, some things wrong) and other psychoanalysts were big on the role of unconscious drives, taboos, etc. in the universal sense.

 

Your reactions though are perfectly natural and I give you so much credit for hanging in there and exploring all of your feelings, giving this a chance to percolate without rushing into any decisions one way or the other. I do think that it's still early, and the shock and disgust are too fresh to be moving past in any way; so time will tell more. I think what you said is right on -- that the intimacy could not return until and unless you see active and sustained reform, and you could feel a TRUST in him again. He smashed your trust. This is not an infidelity in the common sense, but I do feel that it shares the same feeling of breech in trust, and sense of betrayal. I think it may be early yet to know whether it can ever be repaired. But I believe you're being wise to take a wait-and-see approach, provided he is, as they say in the 12-step programs, "making amends", and rigorously working with his therapist on his demons (and I also don't think the human mind is so simplistic that just because he was angry at his mother, it would follow that he wants to see old women beaten/raped. It's not an A--->B like that, we're more complex than that. It's not rational.)

 

As for the manipulation issue...you know your husband and I don't, and how he said "I want to blow my head off", but frankly, I have said things like that when I was desperate, and it was simply a function of feeling hopeless and terrified. Hopeless + terrified of losing everything + desperate + crying in shame = wanting to off yourself in that moment, and if that was an impulsive thing to say, I am not sure why it would be classified as manipulative, as opposed to just having a melt-down. The man had just been found out about his most shameful inner world, and feeling his life was now ruined by his own hand. I can see wanting to off myself over that. One has to remember that for all the ways he's been living a lie and hiding this from you, there is likely as big a piece of him that wanted to run from his past and think he could live a completely normal life. He's probably gone on all along wanting to forget his past, put it behind him. And having to face his past for the first time is a monumental life event, that for him would create a catastrophic feeling of regression, helplessness, and panic (so I think his reactivity could have been genuine). But I don't know him to judge his manipulativeness. Just some other perspectives to think about.

 

I don't want to present some notion of false hope, but I do want to say that given all you've said, I think there are glimmers of hope here, for the marriage, with a lot of IF's. I've seen marriages reborn after addictions nearly destroyed them, marriages you would have taken for fully dead. So it IS possible. I know that you'll do the right thing for yourself either way, I have great faith in you.

Edited by tiredofvampires
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One of the things I forgot to mention is that when I first told him, he said he wanted to "go blow his head off" when I said I wanted to leave. Well, I'm not sure if he would ever hurt himself, and I saw such a statement as manipulative more than anything else, but it is one of the many reasons I think he needs therapy.

 

I bet he really did want to blow his head off. He probably felt this way even before he was caught. Sounds like he is a pretty decent guy, only went through some middle-age crazies and the Internet became something to make him feel alive again. He has to get a grip on himself. My husband had a work mate that was caught by police and convicted of sex crimes. He was parking where girls could see him and masturbating. My husband was so shocked. When they would travel, the guy would always get up real early in the morning before they had a meeting, probably doing his thing out of state.

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How are you getting on? Been thinking of you

 

I am doing ok. I'm back to work so that has helped me overall. Things are much the same at home. I'm still very indecisive about what I am going to do.

 

He is doing everything he needs to do. The biggest barrier for me is physical intimacy. I have not been able to feel it. We live as roommates who are parenting. I am now sleeping back in our room but there is not physical contact. I'm at the point now that I may seek counseling just to sort things out.

 

I flip flop back and forth about wanting to leave and then wanting to stay. He is supportive of either route and not pressuring at least.

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I am doing ok. I'm back to work so that has helped me overall. Things are much the same at home. I'm still very indecisive about what I am going to do.

 

He is doing everything he needs to do. The biggest barrier for me is physical intimacy. I have not been able to feel it. We live as roommates who are parenting. I am now sleeping back in our room but there is not physical contact. I'm at the point now that I may seek counseling just to sort things out.

 

I flip flop back and forth about wanting to leave and then wanting to stay. He is supportive of either route and not pressuring at least.

 

I truly believe you have handled everything very well and have shown him more compassion and support than I would have been able too in your situation.

 

My honest opinion is he is or was on a slippery slope of questionable desires/pornography. I know that I could not be with my husband if I found out what you have, but then again I forgave my husband for something I never though I could (I'm sure you remember)

 

I know how hard it is to think of splitting up with someone you share a child with and who you've shared your entire adult life with.

 

Whatever you decide there is no right or wrong in the eyes of us here at ENA. Only what is right for you and your family.

 

Also I totally understand not wanting to be intimate. I'd feel exactly the same.

 

I think it's wise that you are taking time to make this decision and that you have helped him as well.

 

Does he seem like he truly wants to make it work?

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Does he seem like he truly wants to make it work?

 

 

He does. But he is being careful not to pressure me and I appreciate that. He's been going to therapy twice a week, stopped drinking, he's eating better, he's doing more around the house, he's trying to be there more for the day-to-day things. He has not been on sites.

 

At this point, it's me who is not sure it can work. I knew I'd have the problem with the intimacy factor from the get-go, due to the nature of this situation. He keeps saying he'll wait and give me as much time as I need to figure out what I want to do.

 

There have been times I've been with him such as out to dinner, etc. and I've enjoyed his company in a friend-type way. I don't feel a connection of being in love anymore and wanting to be physically near him. It's tough to know if it will ever heal with time.

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Take as much time as you need. It's positive that he is willing to do what it takes and that he is genuinley remorseful and being supportive of your decision either way.

 

Pretty sure everything your feeling is completely normal for someone in this situation.

 

I hope whatever happens you can find happiness again with or without him.

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It's important to remember that this all only broke around Christmastime. It's only the beginning of February now. So this is very soon to be hoping to want intimacy again, or knowing what direction you want to go. It's going to take longer than that...your feelings are completely natural, as a timeframe goes.

 

I think your going to therapy to sort through this sounds like a really good idea.

 

How certain do you feel that he physically sincerely has desired you in the past, and is fully capable of desiring you again?

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Big hugs Bella. I'm only catching up with this thread now and am really sad to hear this news. I don't live too far away, I could come to your town and stay in a hotel maybe and then we can get dinner and manis? let me know.

 

Take your time, no need to make a decision right away, and I am sure that you will make the right decision for your family. You've been such a good wife and mother, and provided your son all the stability that your husband's childhood never had.

 

hang in there, thinking of you.

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PS - Not so much an issue now, but I'm concerned in a few years when your son is a teen and he brings friends over or has his first girlfriend. I hope your husband continues with the therapy, but I would certainly not want him around my son's friends, or being a "parent helper" on school field trips or a classroom parent volunteer.

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While it's true time cures all it still doesn't mean you'll be in a happy union.

Action on his part is good if it is the right kind of action.

 

Unless he's voluntarily going to AA and/or Porn-A each week, the following will most likely be short lived band-aids. (I wouldn't expect him/anyone to even know there's Porn-A. You'll probably have to tell him about it.)

 

"But he is being careful not to pressure me and I appreciate that."

"He's been going to therapy twice a week,..." (If not AA, Porn-A... little value and/or worse; smokescreen)

"...stopped drinking,...,"

"...he's eating better...,"

" he's doing more around the house,...,"

"he's trying to be there more for the day-to-day things."

"He has not been on sites."

^ Easy, knee-jerk reactions to appease you.

 

Publicly admitting he's a porn/alcohol addict. (At meetings, to you and in time... the world.)

^ The hard stuff... but the only road I know of to recovery and respect.

 

PS, For intimacy, (only a symptom of a healthy marriage), to return there must be respect.

Edited by Lester
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I think it's very possible that intimacy will not return and that's understandable. It goes beyond respect. I have lost intimacy in past partners due to lack of respect in them. However, I was not viscerally turned off, which sounds like you may be, Bella. Again, it goes beyond respect. When someone does something that is so offensive to your core and you know his sexual fantasies literally make you sick, yes, intimacy can become impossible because you can't get that out of you head. You may forever be wondering if he still has the urges. I've heard of marriages overcoming infidelity because while that's a disgusting betrayal, it doesn't involve pedophilia. He's still attracted to women, he just did a bad thing in sleeping with another one. This is different because you may always wonder.

 

I do think it's good that you are taking time to think things over. No matter what you choose, we're here for you.

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Hi Bella,

 

Good to see you posting and good to hear that a small portion of your life is back (work wise).

 

I think the best way to describe what has happened in your life it trauma. Any time there is a major trauma, and I would say this is major emotional trauma it takes time to first get over the shock or what has happened, then truly accept that this is really real and not a nightmare and then the how to move towards healing. That sometimes starts out as one path that looks straight and narrow and ends up turning into a meandering path with wide spots that give you time and space to find your way and then it can suddenly narrow forcing you to make a choice right then and there. I have always thought putting a time frame on healing is a mistake with built in failure if you do not reach that certain spot on that certain day. In my mind if you are moving forward with your healing the answers to the questions in the back of your head start to show themselves and the path ahead becomes clearer with each step.

 

The trust has been shattered in your marriage and it will take a lot of time and work to rebuild that trust to even half of what it once was.

 

Seeking out a therapist for yourself is an excellent idea!!! I hope you find a good one that can help you through this maze of emotions.

 

((HUGS))

 

Lost

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