I received this story today from a woman whose husband is a Sex Addict and she also has two special needs children. L. would like your support and advice on dealing with this double burden.
After 24 years of marriage and five children – including one with autism and one with Down syndrome – I discovered that my husband was frequenting prostitutes on his monthly business trips. At that time, it had been going on for nearly 10 years. (Verified by a family member who was aware of the problem, and by my husband himself.) I don’t know when he started with skin shows and porn.
It is now nearly 3 years since that horrible moment of discovery. I tried to save the marriage with couples therapy. He requested deployment to Afghanistan, hoping he would die and become a hero. While he was gone, I discovered more of his secrets, including AdultFriendFinder, Craig’s List and plentiful porn videos. At some point, I realized he wasn’t going to get the help he needed. It was so much easier to blame me.
I went through denial. I cried. I got lots of therapy. I created a support group. I accepted that without trust, I didn’t have a marriage. I walked through the stages of grief. I ran a marathon.
I looked at my past and made a thorough analysis of my relationship with my father and past boyfriends. I decided what I wanted in my future. I also looked at my husband’s past: his angry father, his mother’s death, his large family’s history of mental illness, and his sexual abuse by a priest as a college freshman. It helped me to have some empathy so that I would not hate him. I don’t want to hate the father of my children.
He is an attorney and a high ranking military officer. Three separate therapists indicated he has borderline or narcissistic personality disorder.
I was unable to file for divorce while he was deployed, but I did so immediately upon his return. Concerned with his angry and impulsive outbursts, I did not allow him back in the house. I am glad I stuck to that, because I believe if he’d gotten his foot back in the door, I never would have gotten him out.
Despite my returning my rings to him and endlessly repeating that the marriage is over, despite having therapists reiterate that trust has been destroyed, HE wants to reconcile. He won’t move forward with the divorce. Instead of doing the right thing for the kids, he is trying to ensure that I get as little support as possible. (I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years, and now with the two special kids, I have to be available for whatever crisis at a moment’s notice.) I have to go to court to force a financial settlement and custody agreement because he won’t negotiate.
I realize my first therapist was accurate when she told me it was too much to expect that he would have no more relapses. He did attend 12-step SA meetings for about a year, in hopes that I would take him back. He was supposedly a leader of not just his local group but also the regional group! He recently fell right back into his online porn addiction, trolling for “DDF NSA” sex.
Another therapist warned me (after counseling the two of us together) that my husband would never forgive me because I abandoned him. THINK OF THE IRONY IN THIS! He destroyed our marriage through his sexual addiction, but HE won’t forgive ME! As time as gone on, I’ve seen how this therapist’s prediction has played out. Indeed, my husband does everything he can to punish me.
BUT… I am a survivor. I love my children. I have tried to remain calm and stable, and my date with the Divorce Master is approaching (finally). I hope that the courts will protect me financially. I can take care of the emotional part.
I never bought the idea that I was a co-addict or co-dependent. I am a resilient woman. I didn’t deserve any of this and I have every reason to expect a happier life without him.
If anyone has had experience with divorce involving special needs kids and/or military benefits, I would love to hear about it.