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Kate McCoy
Kate McCoy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5643
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I have been married for 6 years. Textbook dysfunction....he

Customer Question

I have been married for 6 years. Textbook dysfunction....he is a sex addict and I am the codependent one. We have usually been very honest with each other and are both in recover 12 step programs. I am the pursuer in the relationship - and I know it pushes him away. Trying to battle my abandonment issues. One of the things he has alwys done is to give me the silent treatment - so painful. A week ago he announced that he hated me and wanted a divorce but he wouldnt leave the house. We have a 3 year old and him living in the basement and ignoring me has been very hard on her.
I have not done my typical thing and begged him to be reasonable and tried to make peace in any way I can. I am staying away and busy. I need to have some dignity. I do love him and want our family to stay together. But I am tired of fearfully begging him to stay with me.
I am struggling with separating what is my fear of being alone - my pride and I do not know how to handle this situation at all. Do I try to talk to him? Do I keep my distance and let him make the first move?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Kate McCoy replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like since you are working on your issues and have altered your behavior to stop asking for his attention and pursuing him, he may be "stepping up" his reaction to your recovery by removing himself from the main part of the home. In a way, he may be trying to trigger you into the past behavior that he has always counted on, you begging him to come back.

When someone gets into a cycle of behavior that feeds their needs, it can be very difficult to break, as you have experienced in your marriage. You are seeing your part in the situation and are addressing it. But his needs may be more deep seated than yours and therefore harder to break. He also may not have the insight that you do, making his reaction automatic so he can get the attention he wants and craves.

In coping with this situation, it is important that you stay on track with your recovery, no matter his reaction. You are doing the right thing by not asking him to come back. It is painful and hard to do. But I think he is also in pain too. He is trying to get you to react to his behavior because it is the only way he knows how to address his needs. And until one of you breaks this cycle, like you are doing, it will keep going. Also, it is important to note that he did not leave your home. Although he is not with your and your child, he is still there. If he had meant to leave, he would have. So that shows that this is more about his pain and needs than him actually wanting to leave. It may be a small comfort with what you are going through, but it can give you some hope that he will recover from this and stay in the marriage.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5643
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
Kate McCoy and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Kate thanks for your reply. Do you think it is best to just stay away - I know he is in pain and I know is history. Do you think there is a way I can show him I care and love him? I am worried that it will prevent him from hitting his bottom if I do it wrong - and this is new territory for me. I care deeply for him, but don't want to manipulate to meet my own needs. And when (IF) he comes to me - how do I handle that?

Expert:  Kate McCoy replied 2 years ago.
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Kate McCoy
Kate McCoy
1607 Satisfied Customers
Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues