Monday, January 14, 2013

Flipping the Bird

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Follow the story. 
Read the previous entry here.
Just to recap: 

In the wake of canceled yoga and Divine intervention, I had caught Mr. Scabs red-handed.  I make an appointment with our shrink, Bill, for advice.  With a sad heart, Bill agrees that divorce is the only choice for a woman who loves herself.  And, I do, I do love myself.  It's the most impossible decision, but I draw the divorce papers.  I separate our lives and quantify our contributions.  More than all the infidelity wrapped up into one terrible gut punch, I hate the fact that our divorce will be the crux, the turning point, the stinking needle.  That this moment, this decision will play out heavily in our children's lives.  I understand that they will pay the greatest price for our decisions.  That guilt burns the tears out of me each night as I lie awake instead of sleeping.

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November 2011

His incredible selfishness, apathy, addictive nature and attitude of immunity has changed everything.  everything.

I like the way my middle finger can stick straight up, so when I flip the bird it feels like an exclamation point!  A big old "F" you exclamation point.  I'm not usually an F-word kind of girl, but like my therapist says, there's no other word to describe what's happened.

Anxiety seems to be knotting off the opening to my stomach.  I can't eat, sleep or breath.  Before submitting the Dissolution papers to the court, I need to get away.  I need to be alone.  Clear my mind and unknot all my anxiety.   I need to eat again, and sleep, and breath and welcome my new life as single mother, divorcee. 

Before I walk toward airport security and TSA, Mr. Scabs accuses me of leaving town for a sultry affair.

Raising my middle finger, I flip a perfectly straight bird.  An exclamation point!

I'm healthy.  I exercise.   I eat broccoli.   I floss my teeth.
I boarded that plane in compete health.
The flight home was terribly different.

That first morning, while the hot water showered my skin I felt a deep heavy cramping in my right thigh.  Had I pulled a muscle?  I couldn't massage it away.  Stumbling from the steamy shower, I reached for Ibuprofen, then the Icy Hot, nothing worked.  The cramping crescendoed like a million wild mustangs running across my thigh.  Their hooves denting my damp skin and crushing the muscle beneath.  I cried out loud as the unrelenting pain brought me to my knees.  Forcing myself to stand, I clench the edge of the dresser.  Walk it off, I tell myself, walk it off.  bewildered at why the pain wouldn't subside i fling myself to the bed and manage to climb under the covers soaking wet and naked.  Shampoo still in my hair from the shower.

The pain was almost intolerable, my thigh and calf crushing into charlie horse spasms that suck the breath from my lungs.  Just like I wanted, my mind was clear and the anxiety unknotted.  NOTHING could co-exist with this pain.

By the third morning, a sheer outburst of adrenalin pushed me to throw my bags together and get to the airport and back on the plane to Arizona.  Tears in my eyes as I ferociously hobble myself through the front door.  Like a maimed wild animal, I howl down the hallway and with one muscular contraction my good leg flings my entire body across the room and onto my bed where I curl up in agony.  Whimpering through my pain.  My plans to submit the divorce papers, forgotten.

Doctors poked me, prodded me asked me every question under the sun.  All tests came back inconclusive.  My right leg was crippled.  Besides the intense pain, I couldn't walk and it was getting worse with each day.   They issued me enormous amounts of narcotics and sent me to specialists and physical therapists.  I needed full time care.

I am blessed with the most beautiful, loving, gracious, kind friends who fed me, cleaned my house, brought me books, car-pooled my children and even helped wash my hair.  I am forever taken by the sweetness of their generosity.

But, there was the hopeful Mr. Scabs waiting silently in the wings.  And, it was his beautiful, loving, gracious kindness that changed everything.  everything.

Next

55 comments:

  1. You are awrsome at telling your story! Now I'm a Scabs story junkie.

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  2. Whoa.... it almost seems like divine intervention that RIGHT as you were about to leave, you physically could not. It's like God knew that someday, a Big Thaw would occur and you needed to stay. Definitely have the chills right now.

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  3. holy... goodness. i can't imagine going through that. i hope you're doing better these days. i don't always say God works in mysterious ways because i really dislike that saying. but this is definitely an interesting intervention. you're so strong.

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  4. Wow...*jaw drop*...great story:) Sorry you had to endure so much physical pain, but happy for the outcome. Hope you are doing well! Love you girl:)

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  5. You guys are right, this was such an intense course correction. at the time it was happening I couldn't see it. But now a year in retrospect, i can see more clearly.

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  6. A friend randomly read your blog, told my sister about it. She sent me a link. They are not married. No reason to connect with it on a level of shared experiences. I am married 7 years and this issue is not a part of my marriage. It is not a perfect marriage, but there are no moral issues, no abuse, no ugly. No complaints. But not a whole lot of passion either. I am a tired new mother. I admit i give most of myself to my kids and less to him right now. He is a tired overworked grad student. We are young and poor. We are looking forward to a happy less tired future. Why did they forward it? Why did I read it for two days straight? Not once in 7 years did the fear/thought/hint of pornography or betrayal even enter my mind. Complete trust. Complete feeling of safety and security and honesty. When we were dating he confessed that he viewed for a brief period of time as a teenager and felt so terrible he confessed to his bishop...who is also his father. It wasn't a red flag to me. I thought it was courageous and honorable. It showed me he had self control. I married him knowing I knew all of him, his worst parts. I know that this is true. Why did I read your blog for two days straight? I promise I am not being naive, no friend no family member nobody would think he has a problem. I felt certain he did not because if I did not "meet his needs" regularly enough he had nocturnal ejaculations. Like in his sleep, with out masturbation. I am certain of his loyalty and lack of problem. I was right there next to him in bed to witness. I knew that it was true. While reading your blog I felt surges of love for him knowing that he would never put me through this problem. I even sent him a text message while he was at work expressing my thanks to him for being such a good man and explained what i was reading on your blog.

    then the oddest thing happened. When he got home from work that night I just randomly asked if since his teenage episode had he ever viewed any porn. We weren't even talking about it. I didn't plan to ask him. I wasn't worried. I don't even k ow why I did. I didn't even choose to do it. It's like the words came out of my mouth by someone else's power. He gave me a weird look and asked why would I ask him that? And I just smiled (still with absolute confidence in him) Then I asked him the question again. And then he dodged the question again. He said i am so impressionable and am just obsessed with your blog. And in an instant I knew. In one single facial expression I knew that everything I thought was wrong. I just looked at him and said oh my gosh you do. I knew, he knew I knew and he told me everything

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  7. And truthfully it wasn't much to tell. It started almost exactly one year ago when I was out of town for the weekend. I asked why after so many years? He said he didn't know. He felt stressed out with life. He had a moment of weakness. And in that one weekend I was away he mb 7 times. That's more times than he even requests sex from me in an entire month. We're pretty consistently a once a week couple. Our entire conversation was civil. No anger. No yelling. no insults. A little shock and a lot of embarrassment but no ugly. He told me how often. Where, when, how. Every detail I wanted to know. I wanted to know what website he viewed. He said you can just go look at my folder on the computer. His habit is to save YouTube videos and still picture files into a folder. Then delete them after a few days. Take a month or two off then make a new little collection. So in one year he said he's done the cycle maybe 5-8 times always with large breaks in between. But pretty heavy during the few days on. I asked when the last time had been. It was the Night before when i was at a girl's night and after he put the kids to bed. He showed me the folder. I could see every day that week that he had created a new file. I looked briefly at every single picture. Watched in fast forward every single video. There was not one naked woman. No boobs, no vaginas. You would see more body parts in a pg-13 movie. The videos were girls in bathing suits or panties and bras dancing. Maybe like a lap dance style, but no stripping or mb. He said he doesn't go to websites. Just does google image searches and YouTube searches. I don't want to defend him but the pictures were about as bad as a Victoria secret catalogue...of which I am a subscriber. He said he didn't want to hurt me that it wasn't about our sex life or his feelings for me...I believe him. He is mortified. He is sorry. I asked him if I need to worry about this being a problem in the future, if he believes he will have a problem controlling himself. He said he will not look at pornopgraphy again. I told him that there was not to be any sort of sexual activity of any kind that I was not a part of. He promised he would not masturbate again and that he doesn't even mb every time he views porn. i asked him if he is worried about being tempted by his smart phone (of which is required for his profession) he said he does not worry about his phone. I feel like for a bad discovery and situation this went about as perfectly as can go. We discussed our relationship. What we need to work on unrelated to this. Our hopes for our marriage, our immediate goals and desires. I do feel embarrassed about being so confident in him and that trust has been lost but I do not feel anger. He promised me that in all the rest of the years of our marriage he has not looked at porn or mb. He expressed love for me and remorse. We deleted the files together. I expressed very clear boundaries about what I expect. That I would not put up with even a little dishonesty. That if he feels tempted or even if he messes up I expect him to communicate with me. He agreed. We went to bed together but did not engage in sexual activity or snuggling which we would normally do every night before going to sleep. He tried to snuggle a little but I wasn't interested. And I suppose that is my whole story.

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  8. I write this here now for two reasons. To thank you for your blog. I believe that it just literally saved my marriage. Without it I would never have asked my husband a simple question. If i had just found the files this would have gone a ridicylously different way. And my hope is that it stopped a small problem from becoming a big problem. I thank you with all of my heart for sharing your story. For informing me. I feel so much love for you and hope for your future.

    The second reason is to get someone else's take. I promised my husband that I would tell no one of what happened. I really do feel confident that he has told me the truth. We are members of the same church as you and not that that makes him perfect but in all other regards he lives up to the standards we were raised with. I just want to know what an outsider thinks of my story. Is he full of crap? Should I be worried? Should I bring this up ever again with him? Or just trust him? I have never worried about our relationship. He is never mean to me. He is never detached from me. He has always communicated all of his feelings with me on a daily/weekly basis. He has always wanted sexual activity from me. He has never turned me down for it. There are no red flags. Could he just be that good at pretending? Or should I trust my gut to believe him? Let me know what you think, or any of your readers. Maybe even what your husband thinks as someone who has been through it. Should I lose my shit and make this a big deal? How do i proceed now?

    Ok I'm done.

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    1. Dear Anon, I am mulling your situation over in my mind, putting myself in your shoes. Funny, cause as Mr. Scabs and I discussed your comment I realized we had the same exact thought. I will share everything with you...give me a day or two.

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    2. Anonymous- I too have been mulling over your situation. But I feel compelled to share because it was MY situation a few years ago, the difference being every time my husband did his "google images" searches he would confess. Each time he would promise "never again."

      I don't want to freak you out, and I don't think you need to lose your shit. But I do think that this is probably not over.

      My huband was/is addicted to lust. In the beginning his cravings were satisfied with images of celebrities he was fond of in bikinis. He didn't even masturbate the first couple of years. Then one night while on a business trip he ordered a full-on pornographic movie and then he was hooked. Once he took that plunge he couldn't be satisified with just Victoria Secret(a company I have grown to hate) models. It was always more more more.

      It is entirely possible that your husband isn't addicted to this, but I think it unlikely. A good deal of soul-searching, communicating and prayer can probably help you figure it out. Here is a blog post I wrote about this topic a few months ago, thinking of a friend whose husband had "a little YouTube problem."

      http://hisstrugglemystruggle.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-arbitrary-line.html

      I'm so glad you DID find Scabs's blog because she is amazing. And if it turns out you are on a new journey, you will find wonderful friends here. Should your husband disagree that this issue needs more consideration, here is one more blog post for you.

      http://hisstrugglemystruggle.blogspot.com/2012/09/d-nile-aint-just-river-in-egypt.html

      And my favorite advice of all- "Take what you want and leave the rest." Obviously not everything I say will relate to you, so don't be afraid to think "Wow, I totally don't agree with that." I really don't want to offend, I just want to share MY experience with the hope that it will help somehow.

      Lots of love-
      Jane

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    3. In regards to your specific questions, I cannot say. I don't know if your husband is full of crap. I don't know if you should trust him. I don't know.

      MY gut tells me, based on what you shared, that he is being honest and open with you, in the moment. The fact that you saw all of the files he had saved and they contained what they did. He didn't know you would find out or ask him. It doesn't sound like he had time to rig those files to show you as a lie. He probably THINKS he will never look again. Maybe. And maybe he won't. I cannot say.

      My situation is different from yours, but not so different in some ways. My husband is a good man. A man I always thought would NEVER lie or betray me. He still IS a good man and husband (in many ways), which is all the more confusing. The biggest difference is that my husband is much farther into it than your husband and as such has never been honest with me and even before we were married was heavily involved in hardcore porn and thus, always lied when we talked about it. So I think it is great that when you brought it up, it came out. But like your husband, my husband is still saying, "Never again." He said "Never again" 5 1/2 years ago when I first caught him. I actually think he has always believed "never again." I believe he thinks he is being honest when he says that.

      It's interesting to hear the part about how you came across Scab's blog. I actually found out that my husband was still into porn after I accidentally stumbled upon Jane's blog. I thought it was over and done with and "in the past." And then I found Jane's blogs and others. And then I asked my husband and didn't let it drop until the tiniest bit of truth came out. Once he finally admitted that in the past 5 1/2 years he had viewed porn again (after QUESTION UPON QUESTION and even then, he said it was only ONCE at the time), the dam had burst and I knew. Just like you had. In an instant, I knew. For me, my gut told me there was more. And there was. To you, your gut tells you to believe. I think there is a lot into what our "gut" and especially into what the Spirit tells us.

      I agree with Jane - I don't think you need to necessarily lose your shit about this. I don't think you need to read all of the scary stories and assume he is lying and hiding things. Unless that is what your gut tells you. However, your problem may not be over. I don't say that to scare you or make you mad at your husband. All I know is that pornography/masturbation mix is strong and progressive. Especially when an addiction is involved. And based on the cycles that your husband describes, it could be an addiction. If I were you, I would educate myself.

      Much love, MM

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    4. Dear Anonymous,

      When I started reading your post I felt an incredible weight come down on me. Way back when I was first married a male co-worker told me that I needed to regularly check my computer for porn. I looked at him and said my husband would NEVER do that, We are so close and I know him too well. 6 months after the birth of our twins I found porn on our computer. He went to see the bishop and the problem seemed to be resolved. Somewhere during that time I heard a whisper in my heart that told me this wouldn't be the last of it. I went on to have the life of my dreams for 11+ years - happy and optimistic. Before my twins turned 12 (and 4 months pregnant with my 5th child) I was shaken out of a sleep by the spirit that told me there was porn in our marriage. I had no evidence, just a literal awakening with the knowledge etched into my brain. In a long drawn out process a 6 year continuous porn addiction was revealed. That was almost 11 months ago and during this time I have come to know that the spirit is the only thing I have to know what is real. I have come to know that an addict lies first to himself so when they tell you something they do believe it themselves but that doesn't make it true. I can't answer for your husband because everyone is different but what I can say is that you can pray and ask to know if he is telling you the truth. Sometimes it is hard to know what is coming from the spirit and what is in your own head but for me when I feel peace or calmness at the core of the feeling (vs. panic and fear) I know its coming from a good place. The answers aren't alway what I want to hear either. If you want to email me please do.
      -Snowy

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    5. Anonymous,
      The thing I'd watch for is the downward spiral. Husband is a confessor so I've watched him get progressively worse and worse. What started exactly as you're describing just gets worse and worse with every viewing. Husband has never stopped the sex with me, has never lost interest in me, to my knowledge he doesn't lie to me, and his viewing is relatively mild; but he is definitely an addict.
      You get to pick how you react and only you will know what is going to be best, I think the biggest take away here should be that there are resources. If you find yourself fighting this battle come back, read more, learn more, grow more. If you find that you dodged a bullet and this was exactly what the two of you needed, hooray!

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    6. the downward spiral is something to watch for. thanks Buffalo Gal

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  9. I have my own thoughts to share with Anonymous, but I am jaded and a debbie-downer, so I will refain (unless requested), but I do have another question to pose to you, Scabs. I have no forum or means of asking this and hoped maybe you could open it up to your readers for feedback. How do you handle the smartphone? My husband has to have it for work. He previously told me there was a filter. Tonight I asked to see the filter, so I could feel more comfortable. And "somehow" the filter doesn't work anymore. He is an addict walking around with his drug in his pocket. What do ohers do with the curse of the smartphone?

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    1. smart phones suck. like whiskey in a drunks pocket. email me. I can't publish the answer to this question.

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    2. My husband is required to have a smartphone for work too. He has an iPhone and we figured out how to remove all apps that linked back to the internet. Does this practically defeat the purpose of the smartphone? Yes. He can still access his email and text, but there is no Safari app, no YouTube app, and using the Restrictions I've put in a passcode that prevents him from downloading any new apps. There have been relapses when he has found loopholes, so it's a work in progress. But it has significantly decreased his acting out via his phone. Now of course we know that an addict will find it wherever he can, so he manages to find it elsewhere. But at least he isn't sitting in restrooms for extensive periods of time indulging. Is it annoying and embarrassing to him? Yes. But it was one of those things where he finally admitted he was willing to do whatever it took. Anyway, good luck.

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    4. April... will you send meyour thoughts on the smartphone.... i've been thinkin about this lately.. and reluctantly just accepted that its something I have no control over.. email me! botkin.michelle@gmail.com:)

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    5. Copy me on the smart phone thing too? Husband (for some INSANE reason) thinks he wants one. But He's scared of it (yay Husband...baby steps) and I'm not going to make the call for him. His problem his solution.

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    6. I want to hear April's smart phone opinion, but in my world I think they are idiotic. It's bad enough Husband walks around with his penis in his pants, he doesn't need porn there too. (that wasn't nice...feel free to delete my crass language.)

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    7. I would break it. But I suppose I too have impulse control problems...

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    8. lindsay and buffalo...you guys are funny, I had a good laugh :)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. sparrow, you are perfect the way you are. your novel is perfect too.

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  11. I want to address the smartphone question...I know it's tough for the wives not to try and have all environment completely on lock-down. This is smart. This is wise. That is the first thing to do...control the environment. But this is not recovery. I think Sparrow's last comment hits it right on. Addiction is fueled by negative emotion/pains which in turn fuel lust which in turn fuels porn/mb/seeking it out/smartphone issues.

    I am speaking from an addict's viewpoint. I don't own a smartphone or a TV. I can't handle it. But I only stay sober when I work the 12 steps, connect with other recovering addicts, get out of my head, and surrender the cravings 10 times a day. You could put me in a 4-walled white room and I can be acting out all day long....but when I work a program of sincere, honest recovery, I don't WANT to pursue that garbage. I can't say anything on the smartphones bc I don't own one. But a good filter/accountability/passcode restrictions all sound like good ideas...at least to prevent the triggers.

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    1. thanks for your insight. it's so valuable.

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  12. For months I have been hearing women In my support meetings say things like " I'm so proud of my self. I don't even check his phone anymore" Apparently they think this is co-dependent behavior.. I want to scream... " It is our DUTY to monitor and provide a safe haven from this horrible plague" In my opinion, It is not Co-dependent to monitor and do everything we can to keep this filth out of our homes. Codependency isn't so much our actions, as it is our motives behind it. Am i right? Can You wonderful ladies with this plat form address this issue with your beautiful words and countless experiences? ( this is my co-dependent rant. sorry)

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    1. I'm curious if to you keeping it out of our homes is the same as keeping our husbands out of it. I will do everything I can to keep it out of my home and away from my children and teach them about it. But I can't control what my husband does away from home. I can't constantly police and monitor that or I will go crazy. If he goes back to it, I will eventually find out and we'll go from there. It may get to the point where I decide I would rather not have my husband in my life than to risk having porn in my life through him. I can't really say.

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    2. For me, checking and monitering would be codependent behaviors, and I say that because my emotional well-being would be dependent on what I found. If there was porn,I would be devastated/angry/frustrated. If there wasn't, I still wouldn't be satisfied because I know I could never find EVERYTHING. I say this all hypothetically because my husbnd has no access to our home computers (secured by password) and I have no access to his work computer (his primary source of porn.) Regardless, I consider myself in a healthy place in that I have no desire to moniter. I believe in accountability and transparency, but I feel like I'm leaving that up to him to take responsibility. I also feel like monitering is fear-based, and I do not want to live in fear. But I think that goes back to what you said about motives, and that is a good point.

      I do wonder though, what are the benefits of spending time and energy reviewing search histories and exposing myself to images or websites I'd rather not see?

      I usually roll my eyes when it comes to filters, because like Warrior said, filters are not recovery. I put restrictions on my husband's smart phone because he asked me to, but that is the extent of my involvement. There is nothing about my husband's cell phone or work computer that is my duty. Protecting my children is my duty and that's why husband doesn't use our family computer. But mostly, when it comes to my husband's addiction, my duty is to take care of myself, and not be haunted by the demons that haunt him.

      I think there is one exception, and that is if you are are trying to make important decisions, perhaps you are considering divorce and you are trying to get all the facts and your husband is completely untrustworthy, then I think some spywork might be justified. But not long-term, and not if you aren't emotionally capable of dealing with your discoveries.

      Wow I've said way too much as if I were some expert. Sorry.

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    3. I like to just copy what Jane says. :D She's sortof a WoPA genius.

      Checking on him (for me) is codependent. I am looking for specific information to determine how I will feel. "were you on the computer today? did you look at porn? how bad? how long?" And because I am putting so much effort into it, I am feeling like a failure when it doesn't work. If I work that hard I am too invested in something I can't control at all.

      Yes. Keep your family safe. Yes. keep your home safe. Yes. you decided how to do that.

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    4. For me if I start looking I am not trusting God. God will let me know if I need to do something, if you are feeling like you need to check - by all means check!!! But as you find your codependent behaviors and what if feels like when you are being codependent in your actions it becomes easier to know whether or not you should be checking. For now I am trying desperately to trust The Lord instead of myself and what I can find because "you can never find everything". :)

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    5. Anon, You're right. I think there is certainly a balance to find between monitoring and keeping ourselves and kids safe. I fought this too until I felt like i found a happy medium. And it's probably a fine line between controlling and keeping our homes safe. motives are key.

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  13. Anonymous.

    My only two cents would be that your husband is certainly at a crossroads. None of our husbands got to where there are now by accident or all at once. It happens little by little. Pornography is a cancer. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that seeks to trap people and exploit their phyiscal response to stimulus. For much of the world this is not a bid deal, but each of us painfully knows what it ends up leading to. A whole shit-load of heartache. (excuse my french)

    I agree that it was probably the spirit prompting you and your husband's conversation. I commend you for staying so calm. I think that that makes it a safe place for him to come back to you if he screws up. Knowing that you aren't going to freak out on him. That being said...He needs to recognize it for what it is. He used porn (even if it was soft porn) he used it as porn...as a release...as an escape from his reality. He did so repeatedly. He took steps to conceal it. Compare this to drinking, smoking, drugs or over-eating. It isn't as big of a problem now as it could eventually become. It sounds like he is genuine in his remorse and determination. I'd certainly hope that he talks to the bishop and comes up with a plan for when he is tempted in the future. Trust me when I say that you are not alone. Don't let this destroy you. That is satan's whole purpose....

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  14. Im not even sure what to say myself. Just tonight, after letting my husband back in, he's stopped counseling, due to work schedule and cost. Started the 12 steps at church, which hes been to 3 times and we are back to knock down drag out fights. Just had our computer fixed, had a new hard drive installed. The computer repair man told me I could not ever install a tracking device as it fried our hard drive. So, now there is no protection. Im tired of feeling at every moment, the integrity of my home is exposed to his neuotic, self indulgent junk. He sits down for the first time in a long time at the computer. I feel anxious. I ask him to not disrepect me. I ask him how he feels. His answer "confused" but "strong"
    Last weekend I came home unexpectedly to see him watching the Spanish channel(dancing Latin women) This will fry anyones brain. Thought I was doing very well...til tonight. He isnt the only one "confused"

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  15. And Scabs, im sorry I went away for a while. Been fiiling myself with major positive material and working on myself. Ive missed you. Just the other day I said to myself, why cant I just call "April" ?? Insanity is back, I was doing so much better til I saw his face and screen together with his sigh and "confused" answer.

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    1. kick Insanity to the curb, darling! The thing about insanity is that you have more power over her than she has over you. i believe it.

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  16. scabs did u delete my post?

    I just said all of our lives suck if we have to tear our hair out at every technology advance made just because that would make it easier for our husbands to carry on with their addiction and more and more difficult for us to "police" them.

    Sisters, the world is going to advance, it will always be a step ahead of what we can police , and our addicts will always be a step ahead of us as well.

    We cant go back and live in the caves .

    i speak from experience because every new advance used to give me the jitters ..how do i ensure my addict doesnt use this or even if he does how do i track him?

    It drove me crazy..so i just gave up the addict.

    Now i enjoy my smartphones and my ipads without worrying what he does with them.

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    1. your comment is perfect. and that is one way to do it. we certainly don't need to stay with a spouse or boyfriend or whoever is causing such pain in our lives. It goes back to what we always hear, "All we can control is ourselves and the decisions we make."

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  17. The relationship between porn and addiction and infidelity is very interesting and this dialogue is eye-opening to me. Do you uber-smart ladies out there think of porn as infidelity? And/or porn as a drug of choice for sex addicts but okay (well, not okay exactly but not devastating) for men who don't have sex addict issues? Sorry if this is so basic, I'm trying to get my head around it all.

    (Bit about my story, for context -- my husband doesn't have an addiction problem but he did commit infidelity... cheated on me for 5 months (while I was pregnant - extra grr) with a woman he didn't really like very much but she made him feel wanted, and he wanted to feel wanted. This infidelity deeply devastated me.)

    I know that my husband has looked at porn at various times in his life and it never bothered me much, not even now. Yes, I find it disrespectful to women and I don't really 'get' it, but many, many smart & good men I know look at porn occasionally, even ones who have sisters and truly champion the rights of women. It's a horrific industry, I know, and I wish it would disappear but I guess I don't think of the here-&-there viewing as cheating or as sex addiction. Enlighten me, though! :-)

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    1. I personally DO think of porn as infidelity and I'll tell you why.

      Dictionary.com defines "infidelity" as "marital disloyalty" and also as "a breach of trust."

      Before we were married, my husband and I discussed porn. He knew it was something I refused to accept in our relationship and he told me he had never had a problem with it. (He lied as he was already years into an active and regular addiction with hardcore pornography). I was naive and trusted him. He lied to me repeatedly and he lied to the leaders of our church repeatedly. A year and a half into our marriage, I caught him viewing pornography and masturbating. Even then he denied and lied. Eventually I managed to listen to my gut and pry more of the truth out. We went to our religious leaders and "worked through" our problems. My husband said he wanted to stop. He said he would be honest. He said he had stopped. I was naive and thought that was possible.

      5 years later (a few months ago), I caught him again and have slowly pried more and more out of him. Again, he was lying about it and had been lying about it. He was using it regularly and heavily and had never REALLY stopped. When he is heavily involved in his addiction, he stops having a desire to have sex with me even when I try to initiate it and I have never turned him down (we are taking at most 5 times in a year). I feel rejected, ugly, unfulfilled myself, not close to him, etc. He always has excuses and I used to believe him.

      Because there is an understanding in our marriage that I won't accept it and he lies and tells me he isn't doing it, I feel like there is a HUGE breach of trust and disloyalty, thus infidelity. Especially as it takes a great deal of energy out of our marriage and has completely destroyed our sex life. He also uses regularly at work and masturbates in an office he shares with others, greatly putting his job (and our livelihood) at risk.

      I do see how your story would feel different on the porn front - since it doesn't really bother you and you know about it - and the physical adultery has hurt you far more than the pornography ever would. I am so sorry that you have had to go through that.

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    2. MM - I'm really sorry to hear of your struggles, and in your situation pornography does indeed count as infidelity, I see. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that infidelity is whatever feels disloyal, that "breach of trust" that you referenced. For some it's porn, for others not. For some it's deep emotional connection with other women, for some it's not. For some it's intercourse, but there might be other people out there for whom that's okay.

      On my DDay 2 years ago (January 18th... today!) I felt deep devastation and a panicked heart racing feeling over & over & over again of: I wish he had fallen in love with someone but never had sex... at least he could say 'I *thought* I loved her but I was mistaken'... one can never say 'I *thought* we had sex but I was mistaken' - it's just not possible. I wished & wished that he had had an emotional affair rather than the purely-physical-I'm-not-even-attracted-to-her affair that he had. I wished for something else, someone else, some other life than what was staring me in my swollen-with-pregnancy face. And last night when I read this thread I caught myself wishing again for something different, that my husband had a porn addiction instead of what he did. But I stopped myself, and MM your post now reminded me to stop myself again so thank you, and put the energy into making things better rather than wishing for something, anything, different. We have what we have, and there are really bad and really good things in everyone's tale. MM - I'm sorry you're going through what you're going through.

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    3. This is such an interesting question and it's a question tons of people have. Thanks for being respectful, you are very kind. I read something recently that cleared the haze in my own mind about pornography and cheating. I'll share it via a post this week.

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  18. True change is real, maybe rare, but real. When an addict becomes "a new creature in Christ," you can feel it. As Scabs indicates in this post about the "new" Mr. Scabs, they see the world differently. They are happy. They choose to live in a state that no longer puts them in a state contrary to God. The natural consequence is happiness.

    Having lived through fake change and real change by my husband, I can tell you that the less responsibility you take for your husbabd's

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  19. Oops. I'm struggling with this reply, continuing on...
    The less responsibility you take for your husband's smartphone, tablet, computer; the better.

    Until an addict addresses why he craves porn and fills those emotional needs, it won't matter how locked up his device is, he will find a way.

    True change can happen. True change is beautiful.

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  20. I'm going to stick my neck out (again). Anonymous, it sounds like you have a good husband with a BIG problem in the early stages. It would be wonderful if he could be enticed into reading every single article on the "rowboat and marbles" blog. Following that, he may be inspired to participate in Sexaholics Anonymous or the Church's PASG 12 step programs. A great additional resource would be these blogs. Reading about the pain has been like taking Antabuse (a medicine that causes alcohol to make you feel sick)for me. I don't want to go anywhere near it anymore. Ironically, my smart phone has become a huge part of my recovery. That's because I have access to these blogs all day. They are NEVER boring, that's for sure! Computer controls have done zero for me. I see them as helpful to prevent some inadvertant exposure for the pre-addicted, and for possibly helping make an early intervention. There is just so much that could be said. Just stick around. There is a ton of collective wisdom here. Oh, by the way, I' m Dan, sexaholic, 58 days into recovery. God bless you and your husband!

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  21. Mrs Anon, I hope you are right. Most of my (5) D-days (over the past 10 yrs) have been a bonding experience...and have left us with that same feeling of relief....as if we some how averted a train wreck. But I am now FINALLY realizing that in my situation... I have been in denial....I hope that is not the case for you. The door of communication has been opened....keep it open! Sending you prayers of strength!!

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    1. i agree, open, real communication about this problem with help so much. Take care Anonymous, I know your dealing with your own hurts.

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  22. Here's something I wrote to my husband about 7 years ago,

    "I found a forum just for spouses and read quite a bit. It helped me feel not so alone and very hopeful for our situation. One because I can see that first, we are so lucky to be catching this disease early on instead of 30 years into our marriage, and second because I see there more ways for help than what we are already doing."

    At that time his problem was just coming to light and I honestly thought it would be over soon. We were lucky to be catching it so early! We were lucky that it would never get as bad as so many others. We were going to conquer! Sadly, the beast was bigger than either of us thought. I only add my story to let you know that if the porn continues, you are not alone. If he never looks again, count your blessings every day, because he would be the exception, not the norm.

    All that said, all of us WOPAs have lots of happy days intertwined with the grief of this heavy problem that resurfaces more often than we would like. This our drama zone and we bear all here. It makes it seem like a dark and sad world, but there is light and hope even in marriages with pornography. Best wishes to you and your family.
    Marlee

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  23. Have I missed the continuation of this post? I'm on the verge of leaving my DH of 21 years after 12+ years on this merry go round. (For him more like 34 years.) I really want to hear what ultimately kept you in the marriage and the journey you went through coming back to him. Thanks, Scabs. -- A.

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hi

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