I still have a dozen or so stories that I am sorting through. I do thank all of you for your patience as I have been a little tardy in getting all of them posted. Here is a story I received last December. I do hope that Aileen is still with us, but, if not, we are with her in spirit and I hope she is well. (Update–After I contacted Aileen to let her know I had posted her story, she sent me an update. I have copied it at the end of this post.) Here is her story:

Hi JoAnn,
Thank God for your website. For the first time in days I feel like I am not alone. As you know this is a shameful problem and thinking about possibly staying with my husband has made me feel even more shameful. Now I see there may be hope. We are at the beginning of our struggle but I want people to know that sometimes the signs are not huge and this can surprise even the most savvy wife.

My Story:

“He’s Catholic!” Those were the words that got me to go out on the first date with my to be husband. My mother set me up with him and to all he seemed perfect. Handsome, athletic, driven, smart and soon became my love and my best friend. After three years of dating we became married in a beautiful Church ceremony with all of our friends and family present. We promised to love through good times and bad, forsaking all others, as long as we both shall live.

After leaving my career to follow him to graduate school, we relocated once again to another new city for his new job and bought the American Dream. Beautiful home on half an acre, near a lake and enough bedrooms to have a litter of children. We sank all of our savings and retirement into this home but it seemed like a small sacrifice for our happily ever after.

Then the nightmare started. I work a lot from home and went to log into our mutual computer and when I checked my email it opened up an email I had never seen. This email had over 500 messages in it about porn, discrete affairs, and some website called BeNaughty.com. For a second I thought my email had been hacked. It took me a couple of minutes to realize this was not my account, this was my husbands account. Over the next couple of hours I saw explicit photos both to and from his account to many different women, some not looking a day over 18. Most of the emails discussed chat rooms and texting. Being a trusting wife I had never analyzed our phone bill. As long as the price was what it was supposed to be who cared how many minutes or text messages we used. We were on an almost unlimited plan. After some work with the phone company I began to pour over our phone records of the last 16 months. Some months there were only 1500 text messages from him but some months hit over 3000. Times were usually when I was at work away from the home (I am a Realtor) or late at night. It seemed to happen whenever he had a free second-on New Years Day, Thanksgiving, my birthday. Then I noticed text messaging led to phone calls. I was physically sick. All the lies, all the time he spent with these women and not me, all this wasted energy.

After confronting him he didn’t have much to say. He told me he was happy with our marriage and me but just wanted sex more than I did and this was his release. It was something to fill that void since he felt guilty begging me for sex. I thought our sex life was fine. We had sex twice a week. When I asked how long it has been going on I was shocked to hear over two years. We have only been married four years. He even admitted to once spending over 14 hours online with different types of porn and chat rooms.

I always thought that sex addicts were addicted to just true sex. I have learned quickly that it can be anything sexual. Porn, texting (or sexting as it is currently known), phone sex.

We are working hard to try to save our marriage. He states that he was glad everything is out in the open and he had tried to stop repeatedly and had even tried to tell me. It explains why he always wanted to study or work on the computer while I was home. I was his guardian even though I was unaware of it. Other signs that I never noticed (I shouldn’t have been looking) was his distance, anger, computer crashing, him wanting his phone taken away. Once I had gotten an old 80’s porn tape as kinda a gag gift and noticed he was watching it more than I expected. One day I noticed it in the trash. He said he couldn’t stop watching it and had to get rid of it. The problem with this addiction is that temptation is everywhere…tv, phone, computers.

My trust is destroyed but I still love him and want to help. He has risked our marriage, our home, our future, his education and even his job for this addiction. Seeing what he was willing to risk helped me realize it was something that he had lost control with. The other hard part is now he is getting help with something that he has struggled with for two years and starting to feel human again. On the other hand, I am just finding everything out and am having to deal with and feel worse while he feels better. That is leading to guilt all around.

Hopefully through SAA, counseling (both apart and together) and possibly medication we hope to get him sober and save our marriage. Other things that have helped is locking the personal computer and removing his non work phone. This was all at his suggestion. Including the counseling. After reading about so many husbands that are resistant to help encourages me that we may work through this. Like many have said, we are taking it one day at a time and some days are better than others. Glad that I have found your website. There are not many support forums for spouses of sex addicts.

Thank you,

Hi Joann,
As you can imagine I no longer say “It can’t get any worse”!
Like many people dealing with someone who is a sex addict I think we tried to fix the problem and make it go away as soon as possible.  We did try therapy for a while, support groups like SAA and COSA, medication and I even tried confiding in some very close friends.
We tried to be closer to each other, tried to go to church and even tried to do more things with each others family.  What I didn’t realize is that I was just trying to manage his addiction and control it and minimize the problem.  I organized his meeting (yes I even drove him to SAA), I found the doctors, scheduled and rescheduled the doctors and therapists appointments, researched the addictions, bought the books.  I sold his phone, shut down his texting and long distance, locked the computer, monitored his personal emails on my smartphone and through out any thing in the house that could be a trigger.
It was hard for me to talk about it even though everything I read told me that it had nothing to do with me or our sex life.  I would only ask if he had a “good” day.  In my mind no news was good news.
We hit 1 month.  3 months.  6 months and I never told my husband good job on refraining from acting out.  We were both just a little in denial.
A little after 6 months, and just shy of our 5th wedding anniversary, I noticed a new feature on his yahoo email I was monitoring on my smart phone.  It said “chats”.  I prayed silently and clicked on it.  Up came 3 months of chat room logs from my husband to random women.  I called my husband at his work cubicle and told him to call me from a private place immediately.  In shock I waited to confront him with my findings and then something in me erupted.  By my tone on the phone I am sure he realized his secret double life had been exposed again.  He was waiting to call me back and deal with the ramifications of his actions.  While he waited I took all of his personal belongings and tossed them in the driveway.  I locked every door and disabled the garage doors.  When he finally called me back he was told to come and get his things and move out.  That we are over and to find a new place to live while waiting for the divorce to happen.  In our state there is a period of separation you have to have before you can file for divorce.
During the first six months of dealing with his sex addiction I blamed myself a lot of the time.  I felt bad about myself and had awful depression.  I lost 20 pounds and was sure that if I looked better, worked out more or had sex with him more this problem would never had happened.
Once the relapse happened it snapped me into realizing that we were dealing with a true addiction.  It had little to do with me and we were both making to light of it if we really wanted to get through this as a couple.
COSA tells you that you are a co-addict and co-dependant to the addict.  Not until I was able to take a step away and look at the situation did I understand what they meant.  I was trying to control the situation and make it better and not letting my husband really take responsibility for his recovery.  Not very shocking that he relapsed.
We separated for a month and finally we are both treating this problem like the true addiction it is.  It is such an addiction that my husband was using his WORK computer to chat online even though he works for a major bank and can not erase any of his web history.  When we both realized that he would risk his job and marriage to feed his problem we realized this is a problem that can not be swept under the rug.
Things are going ok.  Managing my anger towards my husband is hard.  The good news is now I understand that this addiction is not my fault.  To say that if I had more sex with my husband he wouldn’t be a sex addict is like saying if I gave my husband more bourbon he wouldn’t be an alcoholic.  It makes no sense.
The focus now on our recovery is honesty.  To believe that he will never act out again is unrealistic.  But to expect him to always be honest about it is something I can ask for and expect to get.  I don’t monitor the computers.  I deleted my links to his emails from my phone.  Instead we have weekly check ins with each other (thanks COSA).  He has told most things to his father and has even confided in some friends about his addiction.  His recover is HIS recovery and I am just there to support him, not manage him.
Long story short…it is a lot more work than either of us thought.  We are still both willing to work on it and work on ourselves.
Thank you for your websites.  It is good to not feel alone.

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