Wow! A lot to respond to here. Love to you Black Raven! I appreciate all of your support!
1. If it was a boundary for you, what was your stated consequence? Have you followed through on it? Dishonesty IS a boundary for me. As is suggested on this site, I am not making big decisions right now. I am watching actions. I AM asking for a poly and a post-nup. I have also asked him to schedule extra counseling sessions with his CSAT that I can attend. I am waiting to see what his actions tell me before I disrupt my life and that of my child, but I am fully prepared for a separation if necessary. It is summer and I have a fucking tent that he can use until he finds a place to live. He has (as far as I can tell) been honest in all other areas, including intentional interaction with other females. He has set some boundaries here and he seems to be able to maintain them. I monitor tech use closely, as well as his behavior, which is why I noticed that he was acting a bit “off”. I understand that I may not know it all, but to be honest, I spend more time focused on me and my daughter. I do not have time to continually chase his stupid bullshit. If something further comes up at the poly, he is out. Lawyer is working on the post-nup.
2. In my book, that's inappropriate contact with women, just as much as if he'd flirted with a waitress. I respectfully disagree with some of this. I DO agree that he is objectifying women. I do not agree that this is necessarily my definition of inappropriate contact with women in terms of my own situation. The dealbreaker for me is the action of reaching out for inappropriate contact with women (friendships, fishing, etc). He is working on re-creating his circles and will share them with me and his CSAT (see previous paragraph). My husband has been sober from drugs and alcohol for 25 years. Never had a relapse. He does have some successful understanding about triggers and the use of tools to maintain sobriety.
3. Next, I would want my husband and his CSAT to figure out what he was trying to escape from through the masturbation, and ask him to identify healthier coping mechanisms he could have used in each case. He is in process of doing this….working on FOO issues with his CSAT. Abandonment by his father (death) and mother is a biggie. My dad, who he has known for 30 years, is dying. This has been more of an issue for him than I realized. It is really hard, because not only do I have to deal with my father’s decline, I have to deal with my husband’s sick crap.
4. Are you seeing a betrayal trauma therapist? Did you have full therapeutic disclosure with polygraph previously? I have not been in IC recently, but I was for a while after DDay. I feel like I am ok, but am seriously thinking about returning to therapy, especially considering my dad’s situation. I did have therapeutic disclosure, but not a poly. I am a very good investigator and my husband is not tech savvy. He was compulsive masturbation, objectification of women paired with “fishing” and inappropriate flirting, and then one affair (that I know of). TBH, through therapy, (we had a kick-ass therapist (CSAT, well versed in betrayal trauma) who worked with both of us), I came to the conclusion that any further knowledge of cheating became less important than the journey forward. I have 23 years sober (alcoholic). I know that for any addict, living in shame is very dangerous. Guilt is ok, because it is about what you did rather than who you are. I felt like it was important that we leave the shame behind. Did not need to add a relapse of drugs and alcohol on top of the SA issues.
5. I'm not sure what your sponsor means by trust the intent. I knew I was going to get some interesting responses to that statement. This was not only from my sponsor, but from a podcast I am listening to about Infidelity. It made sense to me when I heard it. My thinking: Sex addiction is different from other addictions (except maybe for food addiction) as it is a necessary human behavior. A healthy sex life is important to us as humans. It is a necessary part of human relationships, IMO. Complete abstinence, (which is a non-negotiable for chemically dependent people or gambling addicts), is not possible for most SAs and it is why most SAs have slips unless they abstain from sex altogether. Each SA has to determine what sexual behaviors are healthy and which are not for them on an individual basis. In AA, we say that our disease is cunning, baffling and powerful. The inherent inconsistencies of trying to negotiate sexual sobriety while still engaging in sex is confusing and allows the disease to manipulate an addict’s thinking. For example, if you put me (an alcoholic) in a situation where I had to take a drink in order to maintain a healthy relationship, I would almost certainly relapse because every time I took a drink, the obsession and compulsion would take over my thinking. I know this is not a perfect analogy, but you get my drift. I do have some sympathy for SAs because of this immense challenge. Anyway, because of the high likelihood of relapse based on an SA's inability to abstain from their “drug of choice” completely, the thought is that the spouses of SAs should consider the intent of the SA. The intent MUST include the ACTIONS that they are taking consistently and over time to intervene in their addiction. If my husband was doing nothing to get better, or had stopped meetings or therapy, for example, his intention would be to continue to “use”. My husband has increased his meetings, gotten an SA sponsor in addition to his AA sponsor, is working the steps, is reading suggested literature, has agreed to all of my consequences, accepts full responsibility, increased his sessions with his CSAT in order to figure out his “whys”. This, to me, speaks to his intent. Therefore, it is worth it to me to wait and see…..
6.It's progress not perfection, but only you can decide if it's enough progress for you to feel safe, and/or what you need to do to feel safe for now while he sorts it out. Agreed.
7.I would think it was not all, and that he hasn’t admitted everything. Do they ever??? If you didn’t have masturbation as a deal breaker, then why did he hide it at all? Shame.
8.He needs to start doing the steps so that he can find what his triggers are and then he can watch for them. There are two workbooks that my SAWH uses with his CSAT that I think would be great for your SAWH. They are both by Patrick Carnes, so he may have them already. We have read Patrick Carnes and I have watched many interviews featuring him. Our first counselor was a student of his. As I said, my husband has 25 years sober in another 12-step program. He is busily re-working the steps :).
9.My SAWH has to call his sponsor every day, and if he can’t call, then he has to text him. My husband is doing this as well. In addition, he meets with him each week. His sponsor is someone I know and love. I know he will work him hard.
10.Slips are very common in sex addiction which totally sucks. And the worst part is that if they have a slip and they aren’t honest about it, then it just continues to get worse and could lead to a full relapse. YUP. Marriage to an SA is not something I would EVER recommend. Sadly, like many of you, I find myself married to one. I am immensely grateful that I have experience with sobriety and with addiction.
I am not sure what I will end up doing, but for now I am watching and waiting. The bottom line is that I will not let my husband’s crap impact my daughter (who is disabled) unless I feel that it is absolutely necessary. Right now, he seems to be doing all of the things I would tell any one of my own sponsees to do who relapsed. Only time will tell.