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We’re 10 months in, no sexual relapses but my partner has such huge behavioural issues. He’s used various methods to self sooth since he was a teen so this is a long road he’s lived with this addiction and others. I just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel as apart from being clean of his addiction all of his other traits that are around the addiction are still there. He doesn’t work on them but says he will, we’ve had counselling individual and partner - and he never works on the stuff we’re set. 
I feel like I’m living Groundhog Day and I work so hard at this and he doesn’t. Am I being unreasonable to ask so much of him? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? I’m so stressed and panicky and I’ve lived my whole life being happy and strong - this is ruining me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Hec, being sober is not the same as recovery at all.  The acting out behaviour is a symptom of much deeper issues and, in my experience, if those aren't addressed, they will come out sideways elsewhere.  I agree with Kaykay, it isn't unreasonable to expect your partner to work at your relationship, if he wants to be with you.  

Last week, I read a letter that I had sent my partner a month after I discovered all the things he was doing in secret.  I was soooooo encouraging and reassuring and I could practically see myself jumping up and down with pom-poms like some over-enthusiastic cheerleader.  Reading this letter a year later, I was struck by how little energy he had put into meeting me in the relationship.  I felt ridiculous putting so much energy in, whilst he went through the motions but has yet to make the commitment to really working his programme, and to really working our relationship.  So, I've stepped back.  I'm still there to support him, if he will step up and support me too.  Much to my surprise, he noticed that I had put the pom-poms down and was quietly getting on with my life.  For the first time ever, he initiated a conversation about my feelings and about our relationship.  He said,  "I hate to see you so sad.  What can I do to help?"  This is completely new for him, and I know it wasn't easy.  

My partner too has to work on himself, but our relationship can't sit on ice while he does this. I have been the mad cheerleader for over a year now; I'm not doing it any more. I know his initiating a conversation is a tiny baby step.  I don't know that he will continue to put the effort in, but I know that if I keep repeating my groundhog day, there is no space, nor need, for him to put effort in too.   Every couple is different, but I think what this forum shows me is the similarities in the pain we feel when our need for emotional and physical intimacy isn't met, and when our love and support is betrayed.  It also shows me how devastatingly damaging shame is and makes me sorry for the addicts that flail about stuck in their shame and doing so much damage in the process.  I don't know if your partner can step up into your relationship (hell, I don't even know if mine can!), but I do know that whether our men can be there with us or not, we need to look after ourselves.  We are no good to them or ourselves if we get sucked into their shame and pain too.  Ann x

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