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#66175 - 05/13/03 08:34 PM What's more supportive?
SandyW Offline

Registered: 02/25/03
Posts: 86
Loc: NJ
Those of you who have read my other posts know that my husband has just begun recovery of so many issues. I can't help but wonder, am I being more supportive by staying with him or would it help him more to leave? The subsequent substance abuse, withdrawl, avoidance of itimacy, internet porn, etc. has left our marriage a mess. He seems to be under some misconception that once he fixes these areas of his life, our marriage will just fall into place. He doesn't realize that it will be just another thing for him to have to work at. Obviously, he needs to just focus on himself now and cannot be bothered with our crumbling marriage. Has anyone been to this point and did you separate? In retrospect, was it for the better of the husband? Was anyone to this point and stayed? Was that the better choice? Part of me selfishly wants to hold on to this and the plans we made for our future and our kids. The other part of me thinks I should just let him go so he's free to concentrate on himself without worrying about us and fixing this too.


#66176 - 05/14/03 02:33 AM Re: What's more supportive?
stpbb Offline

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103

I am not where you are with my bf but I am pondering the same issues about whether to stay or go, where to draw the line between understanding & support and caretaking vs. codependent behavior or over-involvment.

The only possibly helpful thing I can tell you from my own experience is that I think that having taken the role of caretaker when my bf suffered a terrible suicidal depression was more damaging to the relationship than almost anything else we've gone through.

Having said that, I do believe that it was the right thing to do & definitely what was best for him at the time.

He has had to take control of his recovery and steer himself in the right direction with the help of his therapist. In watching from the sidelines I have been frustrated and discouraged more than once by the what he has chosen to focus on or decisions he has made, but by distancing myself I could see that they were right for him & for his process.

I have been glad of the fact that we are not married or living together because it has given us both the space to care for ourselves -- and has given me the room to have a life that is less affected by the ups and downs of his recovery.

But would I leave if we were married -- that is a very tough question & I don't envy your position at all. Are you in therapy for yourself? That has been helpful to me in finding my way.

I really feel for you.


#66177 - 05/14/03 03:48 PM Re: What's more supportive?
Wifey1 Offline

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380
I hope I make some sense in my response to you. I am married but currently seperated from hubby2. I am a survivor myself but was/is the one active in therapy for yrs. I continue that individual therapy with a vengance now. I knew hubby2 is a SA survivor even b4 we married. What I didnt know was the difference in impact on men vs women with SA. Maybe my skew is different after so many yrs of Therapy, but my opinion only is that the men have worse ramifications then women re: social impact & lack of support for them.
There is truly a very fine line between codependance & support for our significant others. There are days I am so mad at him for his behavior & acting out I could strangle his CPAP hose, then days that if he gets more than 5 ft from me I panic ...
How will it turn out for us? I dont know, this much I do know. Since his disclosure & break down & rape charges etc... our relationship is actually catching up to being adults with each other. HOW? Well, we talk not just every day blah blah, but we have learned more to trust each others answers. Hubby2 has stayed very active in his sex addicts group, but is in a hit & miss stage with his individual therapy.
I know that some of the work we are doing as a couple is learning to not concentrate soley on the recovery issues -- we have to live life in between. Jobs, kids, family etc....
I dont have any real key points as to HOW we do it, but we TRY. I try very hard to be sensitive to his mood/s & body language. We do some research together & he shares topics discussed in his addicts group -- we do this stuff in a safe enviroment -- alone, just the two of us. I dont push him -- if he is not responding I recognize he is still trying to formulate in his own mind what is going on. He is in a deep depression right now with many triggers happening for him. So I try to do little things to show him he is valuable, cards, take him to dinner, cook & bring his plate to him - put his feet in a foot massager thingy , call him just to say hi -- little things he has done for me in the past.
I know I work to take most of my issues to my T, even ones that hubby2 pisses me off about. And when hubby2 does start to talk, I listen to the best of my ability & validate as much as I can for him.
Yet I know I am blessed in many ways also -- we have physical space apart so we are not triggering each other during harder times, We have a general physican who sees our whole family & she is very active in asking how things are going & taking care of our needs. We have Great therapists (no we havent made the step for marriage counseling yet)-- and we have several close friends who we have disclosed to who are supportive in small ways also. Our daughters are superb in calling home often just to "talk to daddy".
Sandy - I can only share that it has been just over a yr. since hubby2 was charged with a sex crime , it has & continues to be a rough road, I dont think there are any sure fire yes or no answers to any questions. But from my perspective & experience so far -- there are good days & bad days ... I think the saving grace in all of this has been my own personal therapist and the passage of time. For me the bad days feel never ending and the good days didnt seem enough in row at times to balance this journey out -- but it is happening.
From the beginning when I left hubby2 I said to him -- time & God will show us the way as it happens. We arent church going folks but we are spiritual in our own ways...
Your life is yours, you are important for you and your children. Your hubby is responsible for his, we all make mistakes as we TRY, and that makes us human.
Keep coming back, there are many of us here to listen when you need to vent etc...
I geuss the last thing I can add is that he is responsible for his own healing process -- you cant fix him, but you CAN take care of YOU along the way.
Peace be with you ~ Sammy

#66178 - 05/14/03 11:00 PM Re: What's more supportive?
Cement Offline

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
I am sorry to butt in, I have no real advice except to say that we (Male SA survivors) need support but if it becomes co-depoendent for you, then it is time to rethink.

That, and I laughed out aloud, Sammy, at your statement that you get mad enough that you "...could strangle his CPAP hose..."

Just wanted to say, the survivor sense of humor is black, rich and flavorful.

Best of luck,

And let the darkness fear our light.

#66179 - 05/15/03 08:51 PM Re: What's more supportive?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
My wife has often said that despite all the crap I gave her ( and I know I still do a bit ), and even with the knowledge of my acting out, she never stopped loving the young man I was when we met and married.
What was happening was a mystery to her until I told her, and then it became a minefield.

We do some research together & he shares topics discussed in his addicts group -- we do this stuff in a safe enviroment -- alone, just the two of us. I dont push him -- if he is not responding I recognize he is still trying to formulate in his own mind what is going on.
What Sammy says here is I believe the key to staying together through this hard time.
We closed ranks, worked together and got through it. Doing it together has been a remarkable experience, and given us an understanding of each other 'normal' couples might never find.

We've both suffered doubts and fears, but we've found the courage to share those as well.

If our recovery, and the relationship with our partner, is a two way trade on as equal terms as we can get, then everyone gains.
If it's one sided, and at times we both thought the trade was heading that way and becoming co-dependant then it's time to re-think what's going on. Time to negotiate a new deal.

As Sammy points out, we do need time to think occasionally, and we often don't know what the hell is going through our minds. Confusion and new experiences flood in and we get scared.
I used to clam up and retreat until I figured it out. I was very guilty of that, but once I had it sorted I would share it.

One other confusing thing I did was deal with different things just as they arose, no order or logic to it at all - well there isn't any I guess.
But to someone who is ordered and likes things set out and logical it makes no sense.

Being a wife of a survivor can't be easy, I for one will never know the hurt and anguish my life has caused Sugar.
But I know how much support means.

It means I have our life back.


Does anybody know where I can get reinforced Cpap hose ? ;\)

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#66181 - 05/19/03 02:59 PM Re: What's more supportive?
ernie Offline

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 121
Loc: Portland, Maine
Sandy, I don't know that there are any right or wrong answers to your question to stay or not. My wife and I have been seperated for 3 years now, (after 34 years of marriage) it has been incredibly hard on both of us and especially our children (3). All the anger, hurt, pain, anticipation, worry that has gone with this I don't know if any marriage could survive. I know that I had some very serious issues to work through. First to identify all of the abuse and to finally get it all out in the open. To finally not hide my acting out psycially and by checking out gay porn on the computer. It is all things that are gutt aching to admit to. I know my wife had some issues to work out as well and I hope the seperation will allowed her to work on them. I had a dream of the ideal marriage, I know she did too. I blew all that away by not coming forward and admitting my guilt and fully disclosing the extent of my abuse and acting out.
My wife has been supportive to me in her own way, she has encouraged me to read various articles, in fact she is the one that clued me into NOMSV and encouraged me to go to the retreat last fall. I am really grateful for that, I might have lumbered in la-la land for ever had I not gotten involved and listened to other survivors. Again Sandy, there is no easy answer. You have to go with your heart, I know that I miss my wife terribly, I miss her support and companionship but, I need to give her space to figure out if our marriage can survive after all the damage that has been done. We have been in couples sessions for 1 1/2 years, some days it seems like we make progress then others we go backwards. Take care of yourself. My best to you

The roads of life are full of stones but, they can be moved take my hand we will help each other.


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