Question for the spouses of an addict...
By urbnoutdrzmn
8/22/2011 1:19:30 PM
How do I act around my wife..I know I have hurt and my trust level is in the toilet and I am really working hard this time not to let her down. I have started working on my 12 steps solo each day as well as going to the meetings. I do not want to let her down again. I know she loves me, However she has told me she wont really start forgiving me until she see a change in me. So I have 12 weeks to prove to her I am changing.....

That said, how am I supposed to talk to her, how do I let her know I care and love her, without it feeling like it wont last. I am so confused and talking to her about gets me no where....Except her telling me to prove it. I have gone 72 hrs now...and Im proud of myself, however she says "OH WOW a big 72 hrs...Yadda yadda yadda....."

What should I do?


Back to basics    
"Im not a spouse, but i might have some advice :) I have found that in the midst of battling something like this, the most important thing is to show much you care in areas other than your addiction. My wife told me, "Honey, you need to realize I need time." Eventually, we started dating again. We literally had about three weeks of strictly dating each other, with a nice kiss at the end of the date and that was it. We reminded ourselves what it meant to love each other. Maybe suggest to her that the two of you go to the movies or dinner. Decide you aren't going to talk about your addiction, and just talk about life and have fun. Do the dishes or the laundry or something without being asked. This will also help you keep strong during your temptations. If you show initiative to heal your relationship in other areas it will carry over. Good luck, and make your wife smile. :)"
posted at 14:29:11 on August 22, 2011 by BrainGeek
Great tip...    
"We have a book called 101 ways to say I love I will be looking through that as well.."
posted at 14:37:31 on August 22, 2011 by urbnoutdrzmn
really good post    
"I found a really good post on another site. It is worth it, even though long.

OK, Guys -

After countless hours of talking with my husband, who is the love of my life, and also happens to be a PA, and after tons of reading and many, many, conversations with SOs in every different stage of grief and recovery, I am pleased to offer you

The Definitive Guide to How to Deal with your SO and
Have The Best Chance At Saving That Relationship!

Its all here, all the answers you have been looking for. And the best part is that it is simple, very, very simple. Read on, men.

Heres the truth. If you are in recovery you already realize this. You wronged this woman. Big time. Now, I am not saying that you are a terrible person or even that you intentionally set out to hurt her. Chances are that when you were in porn mode you weren't even thinking of her enough to consider what would or would not hurt her. I understand the function of the addiction and all that jazz. I understand that you may love her, very, very much. I understand that you may be upset and confused, too. But your selfish time is over now. You had your cake and ate it too, so to speak. All of those times when you snuck around behind her back doing all of those things that now shame you - they were your time. This, men, is HER time. It is time for you to step up and prove to her that you love her like you say you do."
posted at 17:32:44 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
Concept #1    
"Make sure that you have forsaken all porn and thoughts of other women. This sounds simple enough, and obvious enough, doesn't it? As the old Nike commercial says - Just Do It. Or see my quote from Yoda below. As I tell my husband - You are way better than that cr*p. So stop concentrating on temptations and slips, start concentrating on the positive man that you are inside - and stop those behaviors. It is possible. Look around, guys on the boards do it all the time. Love that wife of yours? Then stop looking around. Look at the ground, look at the sky, tatoo a picture of Jesus on your palm and stare at that all day as you walk down the street if you have to. Make the decision and STOP. You can tell your wife/gf that you love her until your tongue falls out, but if you are still looking, she will not believe you. She is not stupid - why in the world would she believe that? If you are still looking you are still giving into selfishness and not considering any other person. Which brings me to -"
posted at 17:32:56 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
Concept # 2    
"Stop being selfish and step outside of yourself. Porning is a very, very selfish act. Whether you realize it or not, that selfishness has infused your relationship. It is time to change things in your life, and stop looking out for number one. Or rather, change who number one is. It is not you anymore. It is her. So make it about her. All about her. Fill your mind with thoughts of what you can do to make it up to her. You never really can make it up to her, but you should die trying. Think of the qualities that you love about her and focus on those. And if you are in recovery (and I suspect you are if you have read this far) you know that I am not referring to her rear end or any other body part. Is she smart? Is she sweet? Does she listen to you? Does she play a mean game of chess or crack you up when she dances? Make a list of all of the wonderful and crazy things that you have ever loved about her and focus on it. Think about what this woman, who you profess to love, deserves. And then be that . Again, simple, right?
And while you are thinking of what to do and filling your mind with thoughts of her, you can begin to think about what you are going to do about the absolute most important concept of all -"
posted at 17:33:07 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
Concept #3    
"PROVE IT. This is the biggie. This is how you really and truly win her back. You prove that you have stopped porning. You prove that you have grown beyond selfishness and that she is first. You prove that you love her. You prove that you will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to save your relationship. This brings us to a lovely little musical interlude, and a story.

One day, after about 6 months of sobriety, my husband brought me the lyrics to a song that he had heard on the radio. He had printed them out at work and he handed them to me. I read them , started to cry, and said - This is really how you feel? And he said Yes. And it made sense because he had been acting like thats how he felt (proving it) and he continues to act like that (still proving it). This is the song. I guarantee you, men, that if you really and truly find it in yourself to feel like this AND that if you act in a way to prove it, you will give your relationship the absolute best chance that there is.

The song is Whatever It Takes by Lifehouse. This is a safe video - it is just the lyrics and the music in the background, no imagery at all. Take a look at these lyrics:"
posted at 17:33:26 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
OK -    
"Now this last concept is obvious to the most casual of SOs, but it is a toughie for PAs, I know. It is simple, but difficult. But you HAVE TO DO IT! Here goes

Concept #4 Tell her the truth. All of it. Everything she needs to know. Be absolutely transparent. You can apologize while you are doing it. You don't have to be mean about it for it to be the truth. But do not hedge, do not fudge. Do not make decisions about what is best for her to know. Do not candy-coat. Do not make excuses.

If she asks if you went to strip clubs and you did - Don't say- Well, I was never really into that, but Dave persuaded me last March and you know, with the addiction and all I went but it wasn't all that interesting to me .

Try this instead - Yes, I did. I am realizing more each day how cr*ppy and unfair it was for me to do that, and I am really, really sorry. I swear to you that I will never step foot in one again.

Transparency is unavoidable if you desire a real relationship.

OK - You are doing fine, guys. If you are still with me then you must really want to save this marriage or relationship. Congratulations. I am glad you are here.

So you have quit porn, you are putting her first, and doing anything and everything to prove it to her, you are being completely honest with her. Whats left?"
posted at 17:33:59 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
two things    
"Just two things - not even concepts, really, just details. First TAKE IT, and second GIVE IT TIME. Now guys, if you have been dealing with your SO you know how upset and volatile she can be about this. I know that it is hard to understand, sometimes, why she is so upset. Maybe you kept the porn separate from her, maybe you were always nice to her, maybe you saw the porn as a problem, but now you have stopped, so why can't she move on? I speak from experience when I tell you that finding out that your husband is using porn is an absolutely soul-wrenching, heartbreaking thing to happen in a woman's life. If you want more details just read over at the Partner's Board. This is most likely the deepest hurt your SO has ever felt . And it was put upon her by the one person who she believed would protect her and never, ever , hurt her. It is absolutely devastating to her heart, mind, and soul. Please realize that you did this to her, and it is your job to make it right. So if she yells, rants, cries, screams, it is your job to simply take it. Like a man. And I don't mean a John Wayne I'm-so-strong-and I-don't have -to-listen-to-this-man. Take it like a real man - a man with feelings. A man who realizes that this woman trusted him to the core and he ruined that trust. A remorseful, purposeful man who is finally going to be the guy that this woman deserves. What does TAKE IT mean? Listen to her. Let her get those feelings out. Put yourself in her shoes and see how this feels to her. If you can do that you will agree that her feelings are valid. You will feel her pain, and you will see your way to helping her through. And if you can't do that, please revisit Concept #2."
posted at 17:34:13 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
"And as for time - PLEASE don't expect her to "get over this" in a few weeks or a few months. It is not possible. Her whole reality has shifted, and it will take quite some time for her to get her footing. Give her that time. You took all the time you needed to porn. Now give her the time that she needs to grieve and scream, and understand and trust. Its the only way.

So - are you still with me ? Do you REALLY love her? Do you REALLY want this to works? Its easy! Do this:

Stop all porn activity. Stop being selfish and put her first. Prove it. Tell the Truth. Take It . Give Her Time.

The reality is that if you are spending this much time and energy on your wife/SO and doing your recovery work, you will not have time for porn. And soon miraculous things might happen. You might get a relationship with your wife. And I promise you that if that happens it will be a million times better than the life you were leading before. True intimacy is a beautiful thing. It can make you very, very happy."
posted at 17:34:33 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
What Should I Do If    
"And Now -
Some Practical Considerations - Or - What Should I Do If...

What should I do if she screams at me all night ? Take It. Tell her that you love her and that she has a right to be upset. Tell her that you will never again do anything else that will make her feel this way. Then prove it.

What should I do if I have told her everything and she still doesn't believe me? Understand that she is basing her disbelief on your past lies. This is really quite logical. Answer all of her questions. Chances are that if you have really told her everything she will come to believe you, over time. Your actions will show her that you are no longer a liar. Your stories will begin to make sense to her. This may take a really long time. Remember, you owe her. Give her that time. Tell her that you see why it is hard to believe you, but that you have told her everything (and NEVER, EVER tell her this if you have not actually come completely clean).

What should I do if I've been "taking it" but its been a week/a month/ three months/six months since d-day? Take it some more. And please see concept #2 above. Note: If the intensity/frequency of her emotions does not change at all over time, seek some professional help. This is not to say that she won't still be ranting in six months or a year, but of you are in recovery and proving it to her the volatility will generally lessen over time.

What should I do if she wants me to sleep on the couch? Do it. Be agreeable and pleasant about it. Do not complain. Let her know that you know that she may need some privacy right now and that you are willing to give it to her. If she tries to sleep on the couch - DO NOT LET HER - why should she have to leave her bed when you are the one who messed up? You go - and you tell her that there is no way that you will let her because you love her and know that you were wrong.

What can I do to prove my love for her? The first thing is to do what I mentioned above. All of it. Stop Porn. Be honest. Prove It. That is the best proof.

But if you are looking for other little things to show that you are thinking of her do try these: Write her a letter, bring her a card, tell her that you will take the kids out for a few hours so that she can have some time to herself, bring her flowers, fix something around the house that needs fixing, cook her a meal, bringher a snack or a glass of water, bring her a small gift, plant some flowers in the yard, rub her back or feet (if she is interested - and make sure that she knows that you are not trying to influence her to have sex), find something beautiful about her and compliment her, take her for a ride, bring home a pint ofher favorite ice cream, offer to spend a Saturday doing what she wants to do."
posted at 17:34:51 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
"If you do any of these things - and really, you should be doing many of them, especially under the circumstances, make sure that she knows that you do not think that they will make up for the porn. Make sure that she knows that you are doing these things because you are thinking of her, you love her, and you are putting her first now. Do not expect anything in return.

What should I do if I bring her flowers and a card and she throws them back in my face? Clean up the mess. Ask her if there is anything that you can do to help her feel better. Tell her that you will be doing whatever you can to prove your sincerity. Back off and give her some space.

What if she swears at me or says she hates me? Take it. Try to understand why she feels that way. Tell her that you will not, from this moment on, be doing another thing that will ever make her feel this way. Then prove it.

What should I do if she refuses to have sex with me? Stop asking. Do not make her feel guilty. Assure her that you will remain in recovery whether or not the two of you are intimate. Tell her that you will be waiting to make love to her if she is ever ready again. Tell her that you will wait your whole life if you have to. Then prove it.

What should I do if she wants to have sex with me? If you also want to be intimate, then go ahead. But make it your goal to make it as emotionally intimate as possible, even if that means you might not get exactly what you are used to getting. Remember, this is no longer about you. Romance her, look in her eyes ,talk to her. She very well may be seeking comfort and proof of your love for her. Stick to the basics. I told my husband at one point that we needed to be "face to face and heart to heart" for me to feel safe. DO NOT do anything that she may consider pornish. If she begins to venture into other acts, ask her if she is sure. Make sure that she knows that you will be happy just being with her. Control yourself. Be a gentleman. Show your gratitude that she is consenting to be with you.

What should I do if she wants to talk about my recovery? Talk to her about it. She is your wife, for heavens sake. Get used to talking to her about everything. She will most likely understand you more than you think. Be honest. Be grateful that she is interested."
posted at 17:35:07 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
"What should I do ifthings were better between us, but now are worse again? The women on the Partners board have discussed how the sadness can come in waves. Accept that this may go on for awhile. Keep proving your sincerity. Offer to take her out, offer to take care ofthe kids and let her take a nap. Tell that you are grateful that there have been good times, and that you understand that she has a lot to work through. Give her time.

What should I do if I have something so bad to tell her that I am afraid she might hurt herself or me?

If you are fearful that her reaction will be extreme make an appointment with a counselor, who may recommend a disclosure with a third person present. But do it NOW. Don't delay. Putting it off is not helping either of you."
posted at 17:35:22 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
So, men    
"So, men - anyone still with me? I'm no expert, but I will say this. Someone on the old board read my post d-day story, then responded that if they were me they would tell my husband - you broke this, now you fix it. I showed him that post, and he has worked for nearly 10 months to do just that. Many of my suggestions above are based on the way that my own husband has handled this.

And you know what? We are making it. I believe that he is serious about recovery and about me. I am gaining respect for him as time goes on. Am I still mad? Oh, yes. Do I completely trust him? Not yet. But he shows proof and sincerity to me EVERY SINGLE DAY. And where shortly after d-day I felt like I had been replaced by porn, I now feel that I hold a very high place in his heart and life - a place even higher than his own needs and desires. And I appreciate his efforts. I am seeing that he was always the man that I thought he was - he had a problem, but when push came to shove he stepped up. I love him dearly for this. We have more good days than bad now. We are making it.

So there you go - easy plan, huh? Now go - get to work. You've got a lot of proving to do.

this all from"
posted at 17:35:48 on August 22, 2011 by lawrence
Everyone is different…    
"My husband read the book 5 love languages. Might be a good idea to read…helps give some ideas on how to love a person their way, not yours.
She tells you to prove it…well prove it. Actions speak much louder than words. Show her you are serious about recovery, show her you’re serious about not hurting her again. You were suppose to protect her, you didn’t…she probably doesn’t feel safe. How can you feel safe with someone you don’t trust? Trust comes from safety…safety comes from consistency and predictability. This is going to take time. Trust is not going to come over night, don’t get annoyed with her pace of healing. For me this makes me close off, I feel like I’m weird for being hurt…Thus no real connection is made between me and my husband. Don’t minimize her feelings. If you love her show her feelings matter. Again this is going to take time, don’t get discouraged…it could discourage her. Showing interest in her healing maybe helpful.
It’s really sweet you came here asking how to show her you love her…I hope you find some positive ideas to help your situation."
posted at 17:44:25 on August 22, 2011 by summer
"Thank you so much for this...I have a total understanding now...And I will work really hard to make this work.."
posted at 18:02:59 on August 22, 2011 by urbnoutdrzmn

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"If it were possible to make your road very easy, you wouldn’t grow in strength. If you were always forgiven for every mistake without effort on your part, you would never receive the blessings of repentance. If everything were done for you, you wouldn’t learn how to work, or gain self-confidence, or acquire the power to change. "

— Richard G. Scott

General Conference May 1990