How to Start an Ex-POSA Group
An Ex-POSA Meeting is appropriate for partners of sexually deceptive mates who have:
- Decided they can no longer safely stay in their relationship and are intent to leave.
- Have already left their relationship
- Have been left and find themselves facing life as a newly single person
If any of the above categories describes you or a friend or relative who is struggling, Welcome. None of us wanted to find ourselves here, but if we have to be here, we might as well make new friends to journey with.
There are challenges unique to partners in this transition. We may find ourselves frightened about the future, worried for our children, nervous about divorcing a character-disturbed man, sad to lose our old partner support group, still traumatized by his behaviors and devastated that all our support of his “recovery” yielded what only feels like loss, failure. We may be the victim of a smear campaign, vicious lies told about us so he can deflect responsibility for the damages his behaviors caused.
We are probably feeling uncertain about anything and everything going forward, understandably. Perhaps the only thing we have any reasonable certainty about is that we can no longer stay in our relationship.
At this point, some of us may feel the beginnings of relief for an end to the constant anticipatory anxiety, depression and triggers that come from years with a sexually deceptive mate. We may feel we're in the deepest part of the darkness, but we might also have a sense that the first glimmers of daylight aren't that far away. They're not, we assure you.
No matter what our circumstances are, we become aware that the support of others in similar circumstances would be a great help to us. We might become eager to walk hand-in-hand with others who can understand the full range of our feelings as no one else can.
If you would wish to start your own Ex-POSA support group meeting, we offer free downloadable materials for you to get started. Please read through them to make sure you are familiar with the purpose and intention of these meetings as well as what the Guidelines entail.
Since we partners need a safe space to share in, you are free to stipulate whether your meeting be sex-specific and/or open only to partners with no dual-attendance at S-Group Meetings, for example: no dual attendance at love/sex addiction groups might be reasonable guidelines for your group.
Here are some guidelines we suggest using to get started:
- Ask area churches, addiction treatment facilities, hospitals, counseling centers, etc. if they'd be willing to allow you to use a meeting room once a week for a couple of hours. Explain to them that it's to be a divorce support group; more information than that should not be necessary. If none of these venues is available, or for whatever reasons, you do not feel up to the task of approaching them to ask, you may find you are able to congregate in a quiet corner of a cafe or public common space like a large atrium with chairs you can move into a small circle, or some other public space, providing your group will have enough privacy to keep members' shares from being overheard. In warm weather, parks or beach areas might be other options. Be creative!
- If a venue gives permission for you to use their space, you may be able to use their bulletin board to announce the formation of your meeting. The various 12-Step S-Group meeting rooms or a counseling center may allow use of their bulletin boards for your announcement. Then, you can begin by informing those partners you already know and letting others know by either asking your therapist to send other partners who may be facing divorce/separation, and/or calling therapists, counseling centers or addiction treatment facilities to apprise them of your new meeting.
- Once you have established your location, we suggest that you create an anonymous email account specifically for this meeting (for example: ex-posa-city@...) which may be safely posted publicly.
- If you agree to strictly abide by the Ex-POSA Meeting Guidelines, send your meeting's contact email address to: email@example.com and we will post this meeting on our website and also put the word out on social media (blog, twitter, FB, etc.) to help publicize the meeting. Interested PoSAs and/or Ex-POSAs in your area may then contact you directly for specific time and location information, which you may share at your discretion. Please be willing to check your e-mail at least once a day so new partners know they have made contact with you.
- Ex-POSA Meeting facilitators sometimes prefer to “gently interview” any unknown people prior to offering these meeting details in order to ensure the safety of the Meeting. This can be done by speaking on the phone and/or meeting the interested parties first at a coffee shop, if possible.
*Please know that although we at Posarc share our recommendations with you, Posarc assumes no responsibility for any Meeting's safety.
- Show up and be the Chairperson for the first few meetings. You do not need all the answers or any answers at all to lead a meeting; Ex-POSA Meeting Guidelines specifically state that we not give advice or feedback. Your honesty about the pain and confusion you feel may be exactly what someone needs to hear if that is what you are currently feeling. The Ex-POSA Meeting Guidelines we have provided will provide you with the structure and group guidelines to easily facilitate a support group of others.
- Circulate a sheet of paper for members who care to exchange contact info with others in the group for help/encouragement/support during the times between meetings. Respect that some members may prefer not to.
- Service Agreements: Many PoSAs who have stepped forward to create and form a new PoSA or Ex-POSA Meeting often find themselves becoming overburdened with trying to carry all of the responsibility of maintaining and running the meetings. It is important for all that we allow others to help in keeping these meetings strong by forming a period of commitment for Service Agreements. We would suggest these periods to be (3) month intervals, or you are free to democratically agree to your own time periods.
These positions would be: Chairperson; Back-up Chairperson (in case the primary is sick or unable to lead); Communications Director (to manage the Meeting's email correspondence).
Many of your questions will be answered by watching the short, informational video we created for How To Start A PoSA Meeting and just import the suggestions to start an Ex-POSA Meeting. While the content and intent of the meetings will be different, the how-to for setting them up and the structure for either type of meeting is identical.
If you have additional concerns or questions about facilitating your own PoSA meeting, Contact Us and we'll do our best to assist you.
Please download and use these .pdf files for use at the Ex- PoSA Meetings:
- Ex-POSA Meeting Guidelines & Suggested Topics for Discussion
- Vocabulary of Emotions
Enjoy the strength, hope and support that grows through sharing in these groups. What a blessing to be able to give and receive the care and support we have suffered without having for far too long!
- Ex-POSA Meetings Disclaimer
- PoSARC Disclaimer