My wife is still really depressed.  I feel a huge amount of tension.

We spoke about it briefly this morning.  She says she’s feeling horrible.  Going over the letter last week is really weighing on her.

Every codependant alarm bell is going off in my head telling to “FIX IT” and do something, anything to make the situation better.  The urge to follow along is almost overwhelming.  I am sick to my stomach.

But I can’t give in to the old way of coping with this.  I can’t make myself responsible for her happiness.  She has to address her issues and deal with them, I can’t do that for her.

I can’t overstate how upset and conflicted I feel.  I just want it all to go away.

As I might have expected, my wife was depressed most of the weekend.  She had met with her therapist on Friday to go over the letter I read to her on Thursday.

We grabbed some dinner Friday night and talked a little.  We even did a little shopping and had some fun.  For a moment all the drama was gone and it felt wonderful to be a happy couple shopping for new clothes because we’ve both lost weight.  ;)

But by Saturday morning, she was in a total funk.  She doesn’t want to talk about it and I’m not pushing.  My best guess is that she’s dealing with her shame and feeling very bad about herself.

Overall, I feel a bit of serenity.  I said what I had needed to say for almost half a year.  I still think about things and go over stuff in my head, but I don’t feel that ache of pain.

I am resisting the urge to do something, anything, to make her feel better.   The codependent scenarios run through my head, but I have not given in.  I’m here if she asks for my help, but she hasn’t asked.  It’s hard to see her in pain and not try to fix it.

She asked me to do a few things around the house and I busied myself doing those.  She went out with the kids and bought me a few things, even some candy.  I know she’s thinking about me and I appreciate it.

She’s seeing her therapist again today.  I hope she gets some relief.

This is the hard part.  I love her dearly, but I have to wait for her to reach toward me, before I can help her. This is staying on my path and not giving in to old ways of behavior on my part.

I hope you all had a good weekend and can stay on your path this week, no matter how hard the winds blow.

Yesterday was the day I read my wife the letter about what I knew and the impact on me.   To be honest, I was terrified to do this.  Scared of her reaction and scared to feel and touch the pain again.  I was worried for the last two weeks and couldn’t sleep the night before.  The morning of, I was sick to my stomach and unable to even eat.

I read the letter to her in the therapist’s office.  It was agonizing, but I got through it.  I felt horrible the entire time.  When I was done, she was asked about how she felt or her comments.  She simply said, “It’s all true, he’s not wrong.”  Part of me was relieved that I wouldn’t face denial or rationalization, but part of me was hit by the reality, that this all really happened.

Facing this was the hardest part of my recovery to date.  Accepting the reality of what happened, saying it to my wife, and saying how it impacted me, honestly was incredibly hard.  But I needed to do it.

Later in the day, I felt a little peace and realized that now I can tell her how I truly feel and ask what I need to ask.  After reading the letter and having the world not end, as I feared, I have a bit of that elusive serenity.

That night I went to my local S-Anon meeting.  I haven’t been in a while and joked with the ladies about that.  It was good to share about what happened.  The thing that stuck with me was that there was a Newcomer at the meeting.  It was her first meeting and her pain and fear was palpable.   When she shared her situation and pain, I could not help as tears came to my own eyes, remembering my first meeting.  The hopelessness, the feeling of loss and absolute despair.

What I realized in that moment is how far I have come.  How much more aware of my feelings I am now.  And especially how far my wife and I have come to be have discussions over the weekend and sitting together in a therapist’s office.  For all of today’s worries, they pale to what it felt like six months ago.

It was good to talk with the ladies and hear how they are dealing with their struggles.  Everyone in a different place, but heading toward meeting their own needs, rather than falling into old codependent patterns.  Seeing everyone make progress makes me hopefully that my own situation will continue forward.

This morning, my wife was dejected and quiet.  I understand she is facing an enormous amount of shame over what she has done and yesterday just refreshed that.  I’m trying to remember that it’s not my fault she feels bad about what she did, it is her shame and rightly so.  But I do want her to feel better.  Seeing her in pain does me no good.  She’s taking my letter to her therapist today.  Hopefully it will help her to processt it.

Befoer going to work, I told her I wanted to talk.  She agreed but I could see that she didn’t want to, but agreed anyways.   I told her two things.  First, that yesterday was hard, but that now that I’m through it, I feel that I can talk to her about my feelings without fear, and that my fear often kept me from telling her my truth.   I also mentioned the lady at the meeting for the first time and how it was for her.  I told my wife that seeing that made me realize just how much progress we have made so far.  She didn’t say much but to just say “That’s good.”  I said, “That’s it, nothing big, just to say that I think we are moving forward.”

I know she feels terrible and that the moment I walked out the door that she was going to cry.  She said she didn’t want to talk and that she was ‘fine’.  This is where I had to do the right thing and walk out the door.  I can’t make her feel better.  I can’t fix her.

I told her I loved her and that I care about her.  And then I walked out the door.

Last week was our anniversary.  We had agreed to save our real celebration for the weekend, rather than than the actual day in the middle of the week.  We had planned a get out of town weekend that we were both looking forward to having.  

Of course, in my over active codependent brain, I couldn’t simply let the actual anniversary go by that easily.  That morning I had a card and flowers for her.  She was happy but said, “I thought we agreed to wait until the weekend.”  I said I knew, but that I didn’t want to go without recognizing the actual day.  She hadn’t done anything special for that morning.

In my mind I kept trying to keep in check about not expecting too much that day.  We had agreed to wait, but some part of me wanted her to make a big deal of this.   That even went like any normal evening and I started to feel worse and worse.  By the time we put the kids to bed and I was saying good night to my wife, I was feeling miserable.  She asked me “What’s wrong?” and I said, “Let’s talk about it this weekend.” and left. 

I was feeling very sorry for myself when about 15 minutes later she walked into the room.  She NEVER gets out of bed once she goes to sleep.  I was shocked when she said, “What’s wrong?”.   This is huge for my wife.  She can lock down these uncomfortable feelings easily and ignore them.  It amazed me that she wanted to resolve the issue with me.

We talked and it became clear that while I had agreed to wait until the weekend, I was having a hard time with doing that.  I talked about how I felt and the sadness I was feeling, not just from that day, but from everything.  She kept talking about how she felt terrible for not doing something.

We talked and I cried with all kinds of emotions running through me.  To me honest, my feeling was that she didn’t care about me and that our anniversary didn’t mean much to her.   Near the end of the talk, she got up and walked to a drawer and pulled out a gift.   She said, “I wanted to wait until this weekend, but you need to know that I think about you.”  She handed me a gift and I completely lost it.  The rush of emotion and relief that she had thought about me and that she had gone the extra mile to get me a gift was almost too much to bear.

Worn out, we went to sleep.

A few days later, we were out of town and it was late in the evening after a long day together.  We had had a great time during the day.  We were outside that evening having a drink in front of a fire, when she said she wanted to talk.  She started asking about the upcoming meeting with my therapist.  It lead to another long conversation about how we really felt.  I talked about how I struggled to accept the reality of what had happened and to accept the reality of my feelings.  She talked about her shame and she felt she had “wrecked everything”.   The talk was intense and honest.  I got a view into just how deep her pain goes and how she struggles with finding a way forward.  She got a view on how hard it is for me to deal with my love of her and my anger at her for what she had done.

Filled with tears and champagne, we talked until we were simply too tired to talk anymore.   It felt good to be past the small talk and engage in some candid discussion of reality.

The next day, as we drove home, we spoke again about things.  We talked about hard things like sex.  While sex makes me feel closer to her, it makes her feel disconnected.  That she has a hard time associating sex with love at this point and how she feels horrible about that.   I said I understood and wouldn’t push her, but that I wasn’t going to deny reality and pretend it’s not an issue we have to deal with.  We agreed that going back to holding in our feelings was bad for us.  Better to state the harsh reality than to pretend things are fine.  We talked about all kinds of things.  Her fears, her urge to run away, her concerns over going back on the anti-depressant drugs.

Reality.  It’s fucking tough to drop the denial and face reality, but it’s what we need.

This week, I’m going to read her my letter on what happened and how it is has made me feel.   We discussed this and I said that I need to do it to move forward.  That I have denied saying these things, pretending I didn’t need too for so long, that it has hurt me by holding them in.  She understands this.  We agreed it will be hard on both of us, but that it needs to be done to move forward.

Moving forward into reality…   I sound like a damn self-help book.  If it wasn’t happening to me, I’d say it’s some new age crap.  But the truth is, I can’t live a lie anymore.

Last week I went to my therapist and went over the letter I’m going to read to my wife.  It describes what I know about her acting out and the pain it’s caused me.  They are things I have to say, but have been scared to, as (in codependent thought) it will cause my wife to be hurt and perhaps act out.

Writing things down helped and reading it aloud in the office felt OK, but I still am apprehensive.  I said I was worried how my wife would take it.  The therapist really pushed on me that I had to share the reality of myself with her.  He pointed out that she will feel shame, but that she has done shameful things, and that this is not about hurting her, it’s about healing me.

That night we went to bed and talked a little about the day.   The lights were out and were there together, in the dark.

My wife asked how things went at Dr. Xs (the therapist).  I told that I felt like I’d have a better weekend, but that it was still tough.   She asked what I meant.  So I told her.

I said that I needed to tell her how I really felt and what this all has done to me.  She said she was sorry.  I told her that I felt a lot of shame and that I felt like I was less of a man, and that this is what the Dr. was trying to help me with.  Again, she apologized and said it wasn’t about me at all.  I said that my mind understood that, but not my heart.  That’s the first time I told her about the shame I feel.

We talked a little more before going to sleep.  It was the open and honest conversation that needs to happen more.  I know that this is not easy for my wife and that she’s working on this.  She’d prefer to ignore everything until forced to deal with an issue, but in this case, she reached out toward me.  That’s a good sign.

The rest of the weekend was calm.  I didn’t melt into an emotional heap.  My wife was distant at times, but at other times connected.  It’s a step forward.

If only we had that honest talk everyday, it might be easier.  But forcing it won’t do.  Saying ‘ready, set, talk!’ just doesn’t work.  I did tell her that talking that night did help me out.  A little positive reinforcement doesn’t hurt.  :)

Dealing with sex addiction is hard.

I still feel a lot of shame over my wife’s behavior and can’t conceive of being public about it.  That really limits how much I actually talk about it.  I think about it a lot, but it’s the not the kind of thing I bring up in casual conversation at lunch.

I only talk about it with a few people, my therapist, a male friend whose wife is an alcoholic and acts as my sponsor, and the ladies from the S-Anon meeting.  I haven’t been going to the S-Anon meetings very much lately.  It tends to conflict with other things in my life I feel important as well.

I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that I’m stuck in the Grief stage (per the Mending a Shattered Heart book) and am not able to move forward yet.  My recent breakdowns all point to this.  I need to get past his and it’s going to require me talking in detail to my wife about what I know and how it’s affected me.   The “pain list” that others have mentioned.

I still haven’t really told her how much pain I’m in and how terrible I feel.  I’m still caught up in that co-dependent thinking that if I tell her hard things, it’s going to MAKE her more depressed and act out.  I’ve come to grips with reality that I must say these things, out loud, to her to get past this myself and move out of grief.

This week I started writing the letter and parts of it poured out easily.  Other parts I struggled with, worrying about it’s affect on my wife.  I do feel relief as I get the ideas out of my head and out on the page, but I do feel fear about actually delivering it.

To get myself some help, I reached out to one of the ladies from the S-Anon group.   Being the only guy at the S-Anon group is strange.  The ladies understand my pain is real and I hurt the same way they do, but I know my presence changes the dynamic a bit.  Men & women discussing sex together always seems a bit awkward.  Hearing women’s views on sex & pornography are quite different than those that I know from men’s point of view.  I don’t argue or rebut anything said in meetings, but there is a little disconnect in my mind between our points of view.

Anyways, I reached out to one of the ladies that is in the group to talk about delivering the letter.  I won’t link or mention her for anonymity sake, but she’s been dealing with sex addiction for just a bit longer than me.  She recently had her disclosure meeting and delivered her letter to her husband.  I had questions about this and wanted to talk about it a bit.

And you know what, the talking helps.  I’m not a big mobile phone person and I don’t have a lot of female friends, so it feels a little strange.  But talking my fears and concerns and listening to her fears and concerns helps me feel that I’m not such a pathetic loser as I sometimes imagine.

She gave me a great tip last night about using the word ‘should’.  I had said “and I should have said something at that point” in referring to my wife’s behavior.  She said that using the word ‘should’ connotes responsibility for my wife’s behaviors and helps create shame in me over her actions.  She was right on.  I am not to blame for my wife’s actions.

We even talked about dealing with having sex with our partners.  I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this to another person, man or woman, before.  But just being able to talk about it and get my worries out of my head helped me accept some of the reality of the situation.

Talking things out really helps me.  And I think it helps others.  Even if it feels a bit awkward and embarrassing, it helps to talk with others going through the same thing.  People who aren’t going through it just can’t understand the feelings the same way as us partner’s of sex addicts can.

So to sum up this verbose entry, talk to others.  It’s easy to try to deal with things solo, but it’s easier to talk to others.

If your reading this and want to talk, my email is anonyhandle@yahoo.com .  To any guy that reads this and is dealing with his wife’s sex addiction, I know the shame and humiliation you feel.  You are not alone.  If you want to chat, I’m happy to be of service.

Sunday was an emotional meltdown.

My feeling had been very near the surface since Friday and my mind kept circling into the same patterns.  Pain and fear, loneliness and anger.

All Saturday I resisted the urge to drop an emotional bomb of some sort to get my wife talking and interacting with me.  She was a bit distant since the meeting on Friday.  I think she just doesn’t know what to do, so she does nothing.  Understandable I guess, but it makes me feel worse.

It’s not like she did anything wrong, but it’s almost like I’m jealous.  She can be affectionate and engaged with others, but it doesn’t feel like she can or wants to do that with me.  It’s the simple things like holding hands or other simple things that she almost seems scared to do.   She says she feels like she’s ‘failing me’ and her only way to deal with that is to keep me at even more distance.

All these feelings whirling around my head, all day Saturday.  I tried to keep positive and keep the painful thoughts away, but they wouldn’t go back behind the wall.

Sunday morning we were just waking up and I asked if she wanted to have sex.  She said no, she wasn’t in the mood.  Not an unreasonable response, but in my head something snapped.  

“Not in the mood?”  In my head I thought:  I’m not in the mood for dealing with your depression!  I’m not in the mood for having you fuck other people!  I’m not in the mood for you to talk about wanting to stop counseling!  I’m not in the mood for you say ‘I don’t know’ to every question!  I’m not in the mood for dealing with this shit for the last six months!

But I didn’t say a word.  I couldn’t control my emotions.  I felt myself falling.

I got up and went out to exercise immediately.  I knew I had to get out and get busy or I would fall apart right then.

Halfway through, I stopped, sat down on the road and cried a bit.  I said, “Cry here, now.  But don’t do it at home, it will just make things worse.”

When I got home, I showered and sat down to eat.  My wife came in and said, “Do you want to talk?”  This is a big thing for her, normally she would have just ignored everything.  I said I was having a tough time with my feelings.  She said, “Is this about not wanting to have sex?”  At this point I could feel all my emotions filling up, like water in a hose.  I said, “It’s about everything!” And then started weeping, unable to stop for a bit.

I said I didn’t want to ‘drop a bomb’ on her and I had gone out so I would settle down away from home.  She said it was OK and I could tell her what was going on.  So I did.  I told her about how hard it was with the distance between us, how I second guess myself, how when she says she wants to stop counseling it feels like a threat, how I feel like I come in second to everything else in her life, how she can work hard for so many others, but not for me.  I said I felt lonely and scared and angry and hurt.  I even said I felt weak for not being able to control myself right then.

I’m not sure how it came out between the sobs.  She said she was sorry.  She said “There’s no way for her to win”, I think meaning how to make it better.  She said she just doesn’t know what to do to make me feel better.  I think she’s being honest, but that doesn’t make things any easier.

I went to go wash my face and cried even more.  And I felt even more pathetic while doing it.

Nothing really got settled.  I didn’t expect anything to be.  She got yet another glimpse of what’s tearing me up inside.  She’s got her counseling session today.  I wonder if she’ll talk about it.

I’ve got to find a way through.  I’m completely drained.

So today was the day when my wife met with my therapist.  I was nervous and it was awkward after the kids went to school until we went off to the session.

My wife was pretty closed up before the session and we made a little small talk.  Once we went in, the therapist launched right into things.  After talking a little bit about the happenings of the week, they talked about me.  They discussed how I was holding back a lot of my feelings and my wife said I never expressed the amount of anger she would have expected.  The therapist concurred and described how I was trying to hold it all in, but that it wasn’t working and eventually it will come out.

At this point, I pretty much lost it.  I started weeping and couldn’t stop.  Both of them were there watching not saying anything until the therapist finally said, “I know you are trying so hard to control this, but the reality is you can’t.”  He’s right.  I need to get it out.

He discussed a process to do this that is basically going over my pain list to have us both share the same reality.  My wife was open to the idea, but not enthusiastic.  I can’t imagine anyone being enthusiastic. 

She was asked how she identified herself, meaning did she consider herself a sex addict.  At first she said no, then she said, “it wasn’t an affair or love, that it was anonymous, something different” and ” so I guess, yes, you could call it addiction”. I took it as a good sign that she’s not in denial.  

He made the point that individual therapy was important, but that that it was probably time for structured couples therapy since it’s been more than 6 months since the discovery.  At this point, I lost it again.  Coming to grips with six months of pain and disappointment just hit me like a 2×4.  I felt like crumbling to the ground in a heap.

The session was over and we walked out.  My wife had to go see her therapist right afterwards.  I was having a tough time with keeping my composure still.  She was comforting, but there was nothing she was going to say or do that was going to fix things.  I sent her off to her session.  It took me about 10 minutes sitting on a bench outside to get my head together enough to get in my car and drive to work.  I’m completely wrung out.

I got home from work a little while ago and we talked a little.  She was in a good mood and open to talking.  She liked the therapist and agreed it was a good fit for me.  She’s willing to keep at things, so it looks like an overall good thing.  

She doesn’t think he’s judgemental or solely focusing on her, her fears going into this.  I think she got a good glimpse of exactly the kind of toll this is taking on me that I normally hide from her.

Of course, since my emotions are running at full tilt and I started crying yet again as we talked in the bedroom.  I feel so out of control, but I guess I need to learn to be OK with that.  If I don’t get this pain out, it will just get worse.

I feel drained and wrung out, but hopeful.  I’ll take the hope and cling to it.

Tomorrow is a big day.  At least for me.  My wife will be meeting with my therapist for the first time.  My therapist is a “Certified Sex Addiction Specialists (CSATS) through Dr. Patrick Carnes”, meaning he understands and treats both sides of the problem.

I don’t know what to expect.  Part of me what’s my wife to see how serious things are and push a little harder on her depression and recovery.  Part of me wants to move toward formal discussion, not so much disclosure, but talking about my hurt via a pain list.  Part of me simply wants an arena to have couples discussion in a structured way.  

Who knows what’s going to happen?  Perhaps my wife will feel attacked and move away.  We agree that we need to find a way forward, but aren’t sure exactly how.

Feelign good that I’m not obsessing over things.  Keeping busy is helpful, but the drive over to the office tomorrow morning will be tense.  But tense is OK, it’s a difficult thing we are doing.

This is just rambling now.  Time to go have some lunch.

Last night I told my wife that I had been feeling bad all weekend and that I was finally feeling better about things.  She says she knew.  She asked what changed.  I told her maybe it was just writing it all down or that maybe it was just being distracted by work, but that everything didn’t feel so huge.

The rest of the night she was pretty distant, and this morning especially so.  I feeling pretty hurt when I left for work.  I started to think about how I might talk to her tonight when I got home .  All the gears and wheels and possibilities got rolling.  And then I said no.  No, I’m not going to spend another day in this kind of limbo.   

I pulled over the car and texted her.  I simply said, “I’m feeling hurt, let me know if we can talk”  She called back in a couple of minutes.  

I told her that I was feeling hurt and that she was angry with me.  She said she wasn’t angry with me, but that the distance between us is tough.  We talked for about ten minutes about various things, from her depression, to her seeing me do things to get a reaction out of her, to what we can do.  She feels like she’s being judged all the time and that I’m angry with her.  I told her, that yes, I still am angry about things, but that I’m not judging her, that they are two different things.  We agreed that the problem between is hurting us both, but don’t have a fix.

The talk doesn’t solve anything.  No decisions were made.  But we did talk, openly and honestly about our feelings.  I’ll take that for now.  Talking is better than silence.