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whats next?
By anon47
3/29/2012 5:02:48 PM
HI. Just found this site and spent most of the day reading though various blogs. Very good community.

I have been a sex addict for most of my life. It started in early teens with porn and over time, led to a string of short term affairs. To my disgust, I managed to hide everything and keep a good job and fufill lots of callings in the church at the same time. I hated myself and my life. I was going to hell and couldnt stop. I didnt know about addiction and thought I was just broken.

In october 2009, I hit bottom -- the pain of repentence and disclosure seemed less than the pain of hiding and acting out more. I disclosed to my wife and bishop and blew up her world. I was quickly excommunicated.

I dont know why my wife stayed but she did. She says because of the kids. The pain I've caused her breaks my heart. When she would ask." If you really loved me, why did you do those things?" I wish I could explain the insanity. I want to puke my guts out thinking about that now.

I have had a few slips with porn but currently have just over a year of sobirety. I attend SA 12 step meetings and personal counseling. I feel stronger than ever before. I love my life for maybe the first time ever.

My relationship with my wife has not progressed. My wife is still so angry and bitter. She has told me she hurts more now than at the beginning. I keep trying but fail to appease her. She refuses to go to couples therapy or 12 step meetings. Says she doesnt need it, all the fixing needs to be done on my side. I broke it, I need to fix it. She curses at me, shames me, we havent been intimate since my disclosure. She says she's only staying for the kids and I should be grateful that she hasnt left me.

How long does it take for the anger to leave? bishop tells me to be patient. Im not as defensive as I use to be. I could always be more humble but when does it change?

Is having a sexless marriage the penalty I must pay for the pain I've caused?

I lasted 2 plus years. Can I go another 8? (I assume she will leave me then)

I guess no sex is bad but the corrosive part is the fake happy, put me down in private that is killing me.

Any help from addicts how they managed long term?

Comments:

As a wife:    
"Try and get your wife to look on this site, go to the women's side. I hate to burst her bubble, but she has responsibility in healing herself. You "broke" it, but you can't "fix" her. The Atonement is for that. The 12 step meetings for wives would do a lot to help her, IF she is open. She will continue to hurt as long as she chooses. I know it is devastating, I know it is painful, BUT it can and will get better, she can be healed, only she will have to do the work and make the choices. That doesn't mean that you don't continue to do all you can to to make amends, but she will have to make the choice to forgive. Forgiveness is a vital part of the Gospel, it will heal her far more than she could ever imagine. When everything hit the fan in my life, I didn't see light at the end of the tunnel. I was lucky that my stake started the addiction recovery meetings within a few months of everything coming to light. I didn't think the meetings for the wives would be helpful, but I went and am so glad I did. Pray for her, that she might be guided to the help she needs and that her heart might be softened."
posted at 18:21:50 on March 29, 2012 by Anonymous
From another wife    
"I agree with Anon. How long does the anger last? Well, that is up to her. It can last forever if she chooses or it could be gone in a few months, maybe even less if she was ready. But that isn't your business. I know that is hard to take because it affects you, but it is the truth of addiction or just sin in general.

She is in the same place as you actually and your addiction is completely separate from her and she needs to let it go too. But you are in recovery and she is not...and I am talking to you and not her. I think a better question than "When does it change?" is "How does it change?". It changes through Christ and the total submission of our entire heart to Him with unconditional willingness and gratitude to live the life He has called us to live. She'll find that in her own way and in her time. I will repeat Anon exactly, "You broke it, but you can't fix her." You need to submit too and give her up to Christ.

Now with all the compassion I feel for you and her, I have to tell you something destructive that I hear a lot in many of the addicts posts and maybe you didn't mean it the way it sounded, but I am going to give you some more commentary from a wife's perspective: Your comment about a sexless marriage as a form of punishment screams that sexual addiction still has a hook in your mind. Obviously if you are abstaining for extended periods of time and working your steps you are in the stages of recovery, but I would caution you very heavily to examine the place in your heart that gave rise to that comment. I hope I misinterpreted it, but self-examination cannot hurt and so I would suggest that you take some time to consider it seriously.

Sex is a good thing, a sacred thing in the proper bounds, but God doesn't always just ask for the bad things to be laid on the alter of sacrifice. Sometimes and actually quite often he asks for us to sacrifice good things as well. And not just give them up in action, but to give them up in our hearts entirely. I think my husband might have been blessed with sexual addictions so that he could overcome one of the things that caught his attention more than the Savior could. Sex calls his name by his nature and spiritual design, and though it is a good thing when disciplined as I mentioned above, he is learning to let Christ be the Master of his whole life including submitting his sexuality completely. It is like Isaac and Abraham. What are you willing to give to know God? Everything? Your sins? What about your blessings? Your very nature? It is especially hard when those three become inseparably tangled...but this is also why I personally believe that those sexual addicts that can truly allow Christ to be their Champion and overcome their weakness will someday be the greatest among us.

I've learned that our walk in life with our fellow man, spouses included, is not what I thought it was. My journey is a private journey with just me and my Savior. There is no one else there in reality. Not even my husband. As I walk with my Savior I find others along the way and we of course end up walking together too but that is a by-product of the Source and the Original Companion. Sometimes those other people leave the path and I cannot chase them without leaving my Savior. I have to stay the course and let them go and pray for them with my Savior. I have left the path many times to chase my husband by trying to drag him back with anger or the depths of my pain as motivation to make him want to return to the right ways. It was like I allowed myself to be hurt horribly in the hopes that it would convince him of his mistakes. But at some point I decided to be happy even if he left the path. And I am. I am truly happy. I may not have everything I want or can dream of in my marriage, but I have everything and more in my Savior. And without intending to, when I finally detached from my husband's path, my new joy and happiness attracted him back to the path more than my displays of pain ever did. I'll put it this way, my happiness in the Savior helped him want to repent more than my sorrow at his sins had. I believe this is the only way we can help our fellow man. I believe it is the only way you can help your wife. Let her go. Walk with the Savior. Let Him save you entirely and He will show you how to bless her....though it will still be up to her to accept or not. But regardless, don't take your eyes or emotions of your Lord.

I hope this helps. It is all I have to give."
posted at 10:26:53 on March 30, 2012 by maddy
thank you for the comments    
"Maddy, I liked your post. It seemed dead on.

I thought I had put "everything" on the altar. But I dont know I can put "no sex ever again" on the altar. Not yet. I have more work to do. In my mind, I put 2 years on the altar but I just can't push the button that says " I will give it all up" .

I think the other thing that makes it hard is all the rest of the negativity with her anger. The shaming, name calling, blaming me for anything the kids do wrong since they learned their bad behavior from their sex addict father.

There is part of me that is willing to take the bad bahavior if she will have sex with me. you are right, there is still part of my addict still inside me. I want to leave the marriage and let her deal with her anger on her own terms and hope that triggers her to want to change. I want to find someone willing to love me. I miss being loved. That choice leads me to intense feelings of guilt for abandoning her. I fear if I left her she would disclose my addiction to everyone. (she has threatened) Even more, I fear finding a healthy woman willing to date and marry a recovering sex addict. I'm still a sex addict."
posted at 15:15:53 on March 30, 2012 by anon47
Let me know when you figure it out    
"Im sure the answer has to do with surrender but it's really hard.
Im praying for you. The battle is worth it."
posted at 18:38:47 on March 30, 2012 by Hurtallover
Praying for you.    
"2 years with no end in sight! I feel for you. I can't really relate. I was celibate for 6 months, but it was self-imposed, so I don't think there is any comparison. Your situation would be much more prone to resentment and depression I would think. I can't personally relate to the long-term angry wife either. I told mine before marriage and even though the first 14 years had its rough moments she was never that angry for that long.

I have seen some very bitter situations though since I have been in recovery. One of my good friends wife was very bitter and he was always depressed. He told us once that his wife said that if he was really recovering he should be happier. I felt the same way, but since his divorce I have changed my tune. I think he really was recovering from his sexual addiction, but his co-dependance kept him wrapped up in his wife's anger to the point that his happiness depended on her being happy. He also had a son that was angry with him and wouldn't consider forgiving his father unless he could make mom happy. That didn't help the situation. After she pushed a divorce through my friend has been much happier. His son actually started seeing things more clearly when his mom would tell him how unfair his father was being in the divorce settlement and then showed it to him as proof and he could see that his father was being very generous. I guess I share that in hopes that you can avoid letting her anger get in the way of your recovery. I am sure that is harder than I can imagine. You said you really love your life now, maybe you have done that. Maybe as she sees you recovering and being truly happy she will want some. Maybe it will just tick her off; don't know.

My only advice from relationships that I have had that are beyond anything that I can do directly is to put the other person in my “God box” for Him to take care of and then sincerely pray that they might find happiness and peace. I try to pray for this strictly for their benefit, not for anything that I want to get out of an improved relationship. The one bright spot is that you probably have until the kids leave to pray her into her own recovery. Please don't give up.

Just curious, did Pres. Uchtdorf's talk from Sunday morning on forgiving others have any effect? You're the last one on earth to point it out to her, but maybe it will come up later in a lesson etc.

Prayers and luck your way,
John"
posted at 15:43:16 on April 3, 2012 by justjohn
to Just John    
"Thank you. I will go watch that talk. I did hear part of President Eyring's talk about enduring to the end by repeating "I know that my redeemer lives". I missed most of conference due to some family stuff that came up. I will continue my current path and hope for the best and endure to the end since I'm not ready to consider divorce at this time."
posted at 17:37:31 on April 3, 2012 by anon47
just a thought    
"I want to be careful in saying this because I don't want to be misunderstood as suggesting in any way that 'enduring to the end' is not the answer. And given what I've seen from all the stories I've heard about women working through recovery, it takes time. Sometimes a lot of it. (!!!) Being patient as she works through her anger may take more time than you would ever want. Maybe. Only God knows that and He'll guide you each step of the way.

But I also think that recovery has to go both ways. Addiction of ANY type -- and imo, that can include codependency or anger -- can be toxic in its own right to a marriage. It's not just sex addiction that causes pain and suffering. I think your pain is real, too, even as I respect her journey to sort through how to deal with her pain. But to persist in anger for years, without willingness to do recovery work? Her recovery is not your job.

You putting it all on the altar is is powerful thing. Reading your words was a powerful experience. And I think it's essential in your process of healing. I hope you have shared that with her so she can know and feel of your remorse. And it may take some time for her to let that sink in, still.

But I would ask if you have asked God the same questions you are asking here. What does God want you to be doing right now with where things are? Of course, if a sexless marriage is what she wants right now, you cannot force her to be anywhere different than where she is, so if that is her 'boundary' then that is where she is. But I can't help but wonder if you may need to consider drawing some boundaries, if perhaps you are slipping into some codependent behavior in your fervor to try to 'do all you can' to show your love and remorse to her.

It sounds a bit like you are feeling some fear, looking at your only options as either divorce or white-knuckling through a sexless marriage until you die. I can't help but wonder if there are some options in between, in more the spirit of "taking it 24 hours at a time" mode, that God can help you explore and try out.

What's interesting to me is that what you are experiencing feels pretty much like a mirror of how women feel when their husbands are stuck and won't do recovery work, blaming their wives for their problem, withholding love and intimacy, etc. I may be wrong there with your sitaution, but if that idea does have some possibility (only God can help you know), then get your hands on a family support book and consider what the recovery program says about if a loved one won't do recovery. The idea is that you can't change them, you can't control them, and you can't cure them. But you can work the steps with *this* pain and get God's guidance about what to do each step along the way. It can help you discern when you are responding out of fear, control, resentment, etc....all the things any of us look for when working the steps, whether addict or codependent. It can help you see where you might be trying to take responsibility when it's not yours to take. etc.

I guess I keep hearing recovery materials for wives in my head and seeing principles that could apply for you, such as the notion of choosing to support recovery behavior but not addict/abusive behavior.

I think you need the Spirit's help to discern whether her anger is part of her healing/grief process, or if it's moved into the realm of abuse where you might need to draw some boundaries. Because if it's the latter, allowing it to happen only perpetuates the problem and your pain and prolongs her healing as well.

In short, you cannot heal your wife, and you cannot heal your marriage alone. But it may not be a binary between divorce or living a sexless marriage until you die. Try to figure out what is right to do, today. Take it a day at a time, just like you have with your own recovery work from addiction. Practice the same principles, search your heart, talk to your sponsor and/or therapist if you have them, and seek God's help in knowing what to do. He'll guide you. I think enduring well to the end happens one day at a time. It's the only real way to live, right? Just do another 24, with God, with this."
posted at 02:28:00 on April 19, 2012 by Anonymous


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"I have come to know that thoughts, like water, will stay on course if we make a place for them to go. Otherwise, our thoughts follow the course of least resistance, always seeking the lower levels. Probably the greatest challenge and the most difficult thing you will face in mortal life is to learn to control your thoughts. In the Bible it says, as a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he’ (Prov. 23:7). One who can control his thoughts has conquered himself. As you learn to control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. You can gain courage, conquer fear, and have a happy life. "

— Boyd K. Packer

BYU, Speeches of the Year, 26 Sept. 1967