The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Husband's responses to my (crazy?) questions

This is what Husband said over the course of our email exchange in response to my questions:

I plan to stick to my food plan. I will not act out. I will work out at the gym and swim in the pool. I will call you all the time.

I will have two beers or fewer when I am gone. Total.

Hmmm. I don’t know. Doesn’t feel like your trying to control me. Feels like you’re concerned about me. I like it. Maybe not completely healthy but I wouldn’t worry about it.

My Inner Circle
(this is an SAA thing, and is behavior from which the addict declares he is completely abstinent):
Having Sexual Contact with anyone other than my wife – this includes lap dances. Sexual Contact includes any and all sexual contact including massage, sexual touching, orgasm, anything.
Visiting Strip Clubs
Going to (he specified a site, but I refuse to publicize it here)
Masturbating to pornography
Spending money on pornography (magazines, internet etc)

I have not put all online porn in my inner circle because I don’t want to lose my time (meaning break my abstinence) if I stumble across an ad or something or something pops up (which has happened).

Since masturbating to porn is proscribed and porn is in my middle circle, however, I don’t spend time with it.

Please remember that for my recovery I am specifically accountable to my sponsor and I worked this out with him. It is a fluid document, however, and we can certainly talk about it.

This last comment is his response to my resistance to making requests, and my aversion to doing anything that feels like setting "rules" for him.

My approach has always been to see what he decides/chooses and then decide if it works for me (based on my own wants and needs)and what my response will be. So this put the whole responsibility for decision making in our relationship on him. He would have to be the one to decide, then I would accept or reject and act accordingly.

What we found out recently in couples therapy is that while I felt I was protecting myself from assuming the role of parent in our relationship, he felt (unbeknownst to me) like I was testing him.

One part of my growth is that I'm learning to make direct requests and take responsibility for what I want in a healthier way. I'm giving him a chance to hear my needs and wants BEFORE he makes his decisions/choices, which he never had the opportunity to do before.

I've had to develop a script for making direct requests. It goes something like, "Knowing that you are an adult, and free to make your own choices, what I would like is..." I have to remind myself that I'm simply stating what would work for me, and not issuing an order or setting a limit on his behavior before I can make a request.

I feel good about learning to set boundaries for myself and to express what will and will not work for me. But I never want to be in an intimate relationship where I'm setting boundaries or creating rules for someone else. That feels like a parent/child relationship to me, not an adult partner relationship.

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