Beth’s Story–Another Twist To Sexual Addiction

I met my current husband 15 years ago. I was, at the time, a single mom of two, a graduate student, and had not dated anyone since before my second child’s birth. He was also a graduate student, younger than me, and the kind of man you can not only bring home to your parents, but trust your children with. We dated, including 9 months of long distance dating while I was overseas doing research and he was in his first teaching job, and married after I returned.

One of the key things I felt good about with him was that he was not at all attracted to pornography or the pornographic images around us 24/7. I, like many women, had been so hurt by the ongoing objectification of women, it was truly only with Dave that I felt I could just be me and not an object in competition with fantasy. Dave wanted a child of his own in addition to the two I brought to the marriage, and we got pregnant rather quickly after our marriage. We were both smokers and casual drinkers, but I was determined to give up both in my pregnancy as I had with my other two. It was difficult, though, because he said he would join me in quitting, but kept sneaking them.

When I was about 8 months pregnant we all went to a beach, and there I got my first glimpse of the secrets that Dave held. I was stunned to notice him openly gawking at a woman as she lit and smoked a cigarette. I was completely floored and not a little angry. In my understanding at the time the primary deceit was that he wanted me to quit smoking because of the pregnancy, but for some reason was attracted to this woman having a cigarette. I wasn’t able to wrap my head around what that attraction was or what it meant.

I think at the time the hardest thing I was dealing with was wanting to smoke and feeling betrayed about that. After the baby was born and he was still smoking I didn’t make it very long before I started again (and had to wean my daughter early as a result). I blamed him for that, feeling like it was impossible to stay strong on not smoking with him smoking, as well as the image of him looking at that woman in my head. We had never smoked in the house, but we started playing with smoking in the bedroom. He bought me cigarette holders, and wanted to watch. Around the same time I found that he was sometimes going on line to sites that had pictures and chat about watching smoking women and I vacillated between incredulous curiosity and intense anger and pain. When I tried to approach him about it he minimized and denied, and deflected all the attention back onto me.

At the time I didn’t understand what he was doing, and just felt crazy. I found myself drinking more and more when I thought about it and simply did not understand. The women were not naked, but it was clearly a sexual fetish that not only he had, but others as well. We stopped completely incorporating any of this in our sex life at his insistence. I had felt pretty confused, upset, and objectified when it was occurring even though I got into some of the role play aspects, and he said that it should just stop.

Over the next five or six years I would occasionally find traces of his visits to smoke fetish sites and stew with it, not sure if I should say anything or not. My drinking also increased until my alcoholism was full blown and I was clearly the problem of all things, even if he continued to deflect and deny and the rest of it. Finally, after just about destroying the family I was able to quit drinking with the help of God, and have been sober for the past five and a half years. During that time I completely stopped looking for any sign of Dave’s internet activities. In fact I believe I had blocked it all from my memory. My focus was on me. Get sober. Stay sober. Take care of my kids. Do my work.

I saw a counselor at various times, and the few times I brought up Dave’s issues they were pretty clear that it was innocent and nothing to be concerned with. Dave and I started sleeping separately because, he claimed, he had too much trouble getting to sleep. We still were intimate occasionally, but it was more of a housemate marriage for several years. At the time I mourned the intimacy that was lost, but thought that was just the way our marriage was going to be. All the fighting and insanity had come to an end. I was controlling depression with antidepressants, and things were calm.

Then, a year and a half ago, I found by chance that he had a yahoo email account, and was engaging in intimate chat with a young woman about her smoking for him. I kicked into high intensity investigative mode, found what I could, contacted a friend to verify my reaction, and went home to approach him. He crumbled and admitted that he had contacted her and she was sending him pictures, but that was all. It took several months to get the “rest of the story” out of him. That when I had been out of town for work he had traveled out of town himself to visit hired prostitutes who he had smoke for him while he masturbated. That he had graduated from pictures of smoking women to pornographic pictures of smoking women. That he had been masturbating to the mental tapes he made of these women as well as the memories of actual women smoking almost every night. That he had been planning on continuing the arrangement with the last prostitute (the one he had been chatting with and paying for pictures) even thinking of making it a long term situation. That he sat in his office everyday looking out the window at all the smoking coeds (Kentucky – lots of smoking), and then going online.

There is a part of me that feels this is not a story that will win me any sympathy from others at your site. So what? You might say. At least he wasn’t having actual sex with them. Not only that, but he found a counselor that deals with sex addiction, and then found SA meetings and a sponsor. He has been working his steps, has written repeatedly to me, wants to move past this.

But I am still so hurt and confused I don’t know what to do. I have had some counseling, I do have a few people I can talk to about this. I think it would be so much easier if I just left him, but that doesn’t seem to be the right thing to do.

Probably the last thing that anyone who is new in discovering their husband’s addiction wants to hear that I still feel crazy a year and a half later, but I do. The unstoppable crying ended long ago, but still comes back sometimes. We have had more good moments than I think we had in the 13 years prior, but they are all tinged with my sadness.

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Responses

  1. Oh Beth,

    I already was feeling weepy when I got to this part:

    “There is a part of me that feels this is not a story that will win me any sympathy from others at your site. So what? You might say. At least he wasn’t having actual sex with them.”

    And then the tears just poured out–

    How could anyone not feel sorry for you? So, he didn’t sleep with them– So??? and I’m sorry, but he claims that he paid hookers while all he did was masturbate while they smoked?– If you believe that, I have a bridge for sale… But even if per chance it snowed in hell last July and that one is actually true, I think those kinds of chats are just as bad in a lot of ways. I am talking about in a traditional monogamous relationship. Its just not right and erodes the intimate nature of your union. That’s what my husband did. That’s what started all of this for me. I felt so unworthy and unloved. (a vestige from my old script) He left his cyber sex chats OPEN on my laptop, by “accident”. (and he is a major geek) I am not saying that I didn’t play a part in the demise of our intimacy, and there have been other factors that have affected us both that are not within our control, however, that was the final nail on that coffin.

    Thank you for sharing your story so courageously. Please try to see your life as a major success. Look what you’ve overcome, already! That is HUGE!

    As for your husband, it sounds like he has accepted the fact that he has a problem. He has sought out help and so have you. The next step might be to seek out help together. And eventually, it might be best to part ways or perhaps you will somehow both find a way to overcome the past and stay together.

    I have heard that even when one has left the relationship, however, the crazy devastation does not always abate, which makes a lot of sense. I think the only way around that is to truly build an entirely new life– To truly rise from the ashes–unfortunate pun, but perhaps very relevant here.

    big hugs,

    L

  2. You thought you had married a person who cared for you, who you were proud to share with your family. You had dreams and you thought shared values.

    He wanted a child and decided that you should quite smoking under the guise that he was going to do that too. Soon he had you jumping through hoops and did not hold himself to the same rules. You start seeing the betrayals and feel (rightfully so) the sting of deception, lies and manipulations. When you confront it, he uses minimization, denial and deflections to further confuse you and blame you. This is usually a passive aggressive ploy to put the responsibility for their short comings on the other person (you). Checkout this website; . It is one of the best that I have read on passive aggressive behaviors. I could see my husband in all the areas described.

    Unfortunately the counselor you saw, did the same thing (almost making you responsible for your feelings and then reduces it to nothing to be concerned about) and then you started 2nd guessing how and what you were feeling. Ruth, more than sympathy, I feel your pain!!! Betrayal, lies, manipulation and deception can undermine a person’s “core values” and will leave you with intense pain.

    The twinge of sadness you feel, I don’t think will ever fully go away. Error on the side of you, don’t be concerned about offending him if you have to ask about something. It is because of his behaviors, not yours. If you are having to ask more and more, then maybe you need to take a step back and see how much this is draining you of your life-energy. Do not allow him to draw you into his sick world with details. He has a sponsor for that. My husband put me through 4-months daily of the details of his homosexual activities. I was in way over my head, had no idea how many (hundreds) activities that went beyond the initial sexual abuse and it was only when I was suffering post-traumatic-stress and my counselor said to me that what he was doing to me was nothing short of cruel and abusive, that I realized the toll it was taking on me. I had to tell him several times when he said to me that “he was getting hard” that if he was telling me that to get off on it, not to do that, it was tearing me apart, making me physically ill and was very hard to hear.

    I have been very grateful for this website, it allows you a place where you can talk about, and relate to people who you know have felt the level of pain you have. With sexual addiction, I find most people don’t understand or want to identify with the raw emotions that are brought upon by the deception and betrayal. It does hurt, to the very core of a person and many people do not want to associate with that primal level of your humanity.

    You are not crazy and the tears, honor you. If you were tearless, then what would that say about your humanity.

  3. Greetings,

    Beth my heart goes out to you. I am praying for your strength. I have read this blog for quite some time and I haven’t had the courage to share until now. I have been married to my husband for fifteen years. God, I am crying as I write this. It started out as pornography. I would find the magazines, cry and scream. He would throw them out and promise that it would never happen again. But of course it did, over and over again. It would be dvds found in the dvd player, coins found in his pocket for going to those shows. More crying, more screaming, more promising. I blocked it out for the most part and we moved on.

    Then when my father was dying of cancer, he had an affair with my best friend. I loved her like a sister. It was horrible. He wasn’t there for me at all. He let me suffer and just looked at me with cold eyes and had his affair. When I finallly found out what was going on, more crying, screaming, promising. I would not wish that kind of pain on anyone…anyone.

    He seems to be addicted to making connections with people. After this he joined a site and connected with people in an inappropriate way. I found out, same thing…same cycle. After that last bout I thought we were on the right track. I recently found out that he was regularly visiting sex shops and getting lap dances. He admitted to touching the women as they sat on his lap. He had also joined another site and was having regular phone sex with another woman. I am devestated, devestated, devestated. I have taken off my wedding rings.

    We have two wonderful children and I am a pastor of a church. We are well known in our circle and a divorce would bring great shame to the church, to our ministry and great pain to our children. I had such a MBD today. That stands for Major Break Down. Not to be confused with a SBD (Slight Break Down). I wend to a service with my mother and sister to a church where I will be speaking at soon but I was so emotional I had to leave. I literally coudln’t think. I am so tired of being emotinally raped, brutalized and disrespected.

    He has started going to meetings. Yipeeee for him. Meanwhile back at the ranch I am devestated, unsure and holding on to my faith with both hands.

    Preacher

  4. Hey Preacher,
    I’m a preacher too!! I get it. I know it. I understand.

    YOu are in a very tricky situation. But you have got to create a safe environment for yourself and your children. Ask him to leave and change the locks, or move yourself and your children. He is going to ruin your life and your means of income. YOu can’t stop his behaviour–but you can create distance between you and it. Creating a stable and safe place for your and your children is easily defended.

    But I also know the terrible rage and utter collapse that comes up like an ambush sometimes.Have you listened to the audio post of JoAnn interviewing Barb Steffens? Get on it and think about the trauma model for understanding and establishing priorities. Just imagine how much less stressed your ministry will be without one eye looking over your shoulder.

    Since I started living apart from my husband (he’s doing the work) every single person (even the ones who know almost nothing about my situation) tells me I seem more relaxed and easy about my ministry.

    I have to say that your husband’s behaviour is unacceptable. It’s profoundly destructive and you have not control over him. Your marriage covenant takes two people. I’m not sure he ever showed up. There are ways to separate without telling the whole story to everyone. Does your family know? If so, use their support.

    Your church will recover and if they don’t shake the dust off your feet. They don’t deserve you anymore than he does. And your children will do worse in a family that models chaos, disrespect from the man to the woman, and the choice to stay in an emotionally abusive situation. Far more dangerous than single parenting.

    YOu can do it. You will surprised who (from your church) stands beside you at the critical moment. If you never ask for support from them, you will never get it. If you ask and don’t get it, why would you want to stay? If they can’t even give you the crumbs under the table, stop serving them the meal and move on.

    YOu aren’t crazy. YOu deserve an abundant life from the one who came to give it you. So do your children.

    love to my sister preacher,
    Jane.

  5. Dear Preacher…

    We are here holding your lovely hands. This is what faith is for me. You ask and somehow the Universe sends it back to you. That’s how it works. Quite an extraordinary thing, I have found.

    I want to tell you something that you seem to have lost sight of– You are so thick into the forest of muck that is your life, that you cannot see God in that one little lovely tree right in front of you. Or actually, I do think that you can, you just can’t believe that it really could be that simple. But it is.

    Its not your fault, however. You have been blind-sided by this devastating situation with a very sick man and convinced yourself that this is your cross to bear, but it is definitely not! He’s hopeless and I rarely say that about anyone, but this man is.

    Divorcing your husband would not a shameful thing. Conversely, I think staying with him is shameful! Infinitely more so!!! I know that you married him for life and yes, that would be nice, but you married him in good faith that he was an honorable, upstanding man— with a SOUL, but tragically, he was born without one. What if the truth of his activities got out to your congregation? What if they already know? Pain to your children, if you divorce? They’re not blind and deaf. Do you not think that you are actually bringing even MORE misery to them right now? I can tell the answer and it is YES! My 20-yr-old son has tons of friends from divorced homes. Those are the most well-adjusted of the lot. 🙂

    Divorce is not shameful. Please make that your new mantra. Its taking care of yourself and your children. And you know what else? Its taking care of your husband too.(in the long run) And it would be taking care of your ministry, for you would be showing great courage in the face of something so very devastating, that is not your fault and beyond your control. If you had a congregant who was living in such an abusive situation, would you encourage her to just “stick it out and pray?” I think not. Right now, he’s hiding behind your robes of faith. You do know this, but somehow you’ve convinced yourself that leaving him would be worse. How could it be? This is why you are having a MBD. In your heart, you know… You’ve even removed your rings, already.

    You are on your way. Now, give those rings away to charity and call a lawyer and a counselor. Please keep yourself and your children safe, at all costs.

    You cannot do it alone. Even pastors need counselors. Please find a professional counselor.

    God wants you to be happy. That’s why he sent you here.

    Big hugs and much strength and love.

    L

  6. wow! I hadn’t read Jane’s response as I was busy writing my own. Amazing how similar are messages are.

    Very cool.

  7. Jane,

    Thank you so much for your response. It means so much to hear from someone who understands. You counsel people on marriage and then when yours begins to fall apart you cry out to God why? I know that this does not just pertain to preachers. That is for all of us that cry out to our creator, why did you let this happen? You said that your husband is apart from you but doing the work. I have read other posts about that. Can you tell me how that works. I mean how do you know if he is still cheating? Do you still meet/call/make love with him? Or is it a total cut off? And he agreed to this? To be apart and still doing the work, that sounds unbelievable. How do you two make it work?

  8. Greetings,

    Lorraine, I have been reading your responses to others for a long time. As I said, I have only had the courage to share tonight. I did not expect such a strong response to my situation. It leaves me…I’m not sure where. I have read so many terrible atrocities committed to spouses (I don’t want to say Women because I have read the posts of J and H, I believe that is their names so I know this is not just a pain that women suffer). And I don’t usually see people telling someone to divorce their spouse right away. His father is the same way and is just now divorcing his stepmother. He has stopped speaking to his father and realizes that he has to heal his childhood wounds as there are many. I am not ready to sign divorce papers. But I have stood up for myself. I have read JoAnn’s book and I am creating boundries. JoAnn didn’t divorce Larry and look at where they are today. I have even read Larry’s post at this site. I have stopped sharing my bed in the intimate way and we are having real conversations. Our children are well. We have worked so hard to keep this from them. They were smiling and running around today after church(they are 12 and 14). We did not have a good night, but we kept that in our bedroom. They ended the night laughing and content. No Lorraine, I am not ready to take a knife and slam it into the heart of our family. I am ready however to continue to stand up for myself and to consider all options as I watch him progress and do the work. I can see God, but so much more importantly, I know he can see me.

  9. Preacher

    I grew up with an extremely abusive father. My mother left him when I was 14 and it was 1970 in southern Indiana and she lost nearly every friend she had because of the stygma. Still, it was the most courageous thing she ever did. She saved us and for that I admire her immensely! Thankfully, its not 1970 and in reality, she should’ve left him years before she did. The first time he beat me, I was 3 years old. I thought I was going to die.

    I am sorry to have been so blunt and I know it is difficult to hear, but your husband is not Larry. Any man who would have an affair with your best friend while your father was dying from cancer is the lowest of life forms, imaginable. I don’t care what he has gone through. We’ve all been through a lot of shit. Sooooo??? I’ve been seeing therapists on and off since I was 16 years old. I don’t see him doing anything about it until you’re on the verge of being admitted into a mental hospital!

    I don’t know why… but I am just feeling something here… I know that sounds a bit crazy… but I was feeling sick to my stomach while reading your post. Sometimes, I just get very very sad, but with your post, I had a visceral reaction.

    Anyway, you don’t have to worry about slamming a knife into the heart of your family. Your husband has already done a nice job of it, all by himself.

    I do admire your courage. And I apologize for making you uncomfortable. I understand. Its okay. This is really really tough and you need some professional counseling. Doctors who need medical help go to other doctors.

    I wish you nothing but the best and continued strength and love.

    L

  10. I just want to add. Your husband’s father is the same way? OMG! Can’t you see? I remember when I was pregnant with my first son, i looked down one sleepless night at my swollen tummy, absolutely terror stricken that I would turn out to be the monster my father had been to me.

    “The sins of the fathers”… There’s some truth to this. Its not inherited. It is learned behavior. Your kids may not hear, but they do see. They see your sadness and they just know.

    My sons are 20 and 15 now… and very difficult kids, both with neurological differences. More tests. Don’t I get a break?

    Apparently, none of us do. We can’t choose our cross to bear, but I will tell you this. In time, you will see something that you can’t just yet… and something good will come from this.

    You’ll see…

  11. Hi preacher,
    Someone else on this site (I think) posted about “healing separation”. Do a search on it. We are using that framework for our time apart. It includes goals for each person, no lawyers, financial plan, time frame, and how much contact we have.

    For us its no sex at all, because the thought of him touching me like a blow up doll makes me puke. Like Lorraine, nausea and puking figures largely in my reactions to the whole thing. We talk each day though, and see each once for a meal or coffee one or two times a week.

    The hardest part was finding a place for him to stay because we don’t make much money and have one son in university still, and the other still getting on his feet. Finally he found some rooms in someone’s basement.

    He is doing a 12 step program, almost every night of the week, also a counsellor every two weeks, and morning phone calls with other addicts to go other their days, mid-day ones if necessary, weekly meetings with sponsor, Saturday workshops. Basically he does nothing outside of his job but this. That’s what working the steps means when they are serious.

    I never had any moments of wondering why God let this happen–anymore than i spend them thinking why God let BP oil spills happen, terrorists happen, earthquakes happen etc. What I know is that God expects me to be a good steward of my life and my children’s lives who depend on me. Right now, I consider that my husband is unable to do that so it’s my main job. God asks me to trust the central theme of our faith, which is that life comes from death. Every death holds the potential for life to be born out of it, when we surrender the dying and the death to God. That’s how it works for my in my faith. I realize not everyone who reads this has that perspective, but I appreciate the mutual respect here that alllows me to share that.

    Please don’t allow yourself to be seduced back into the cycle of emotional abuse and sexual addiction. Please believe me that you can not bandaid this one. And if your faith is trembling, I will have faith for you. I will. I have doubts about many thing, but I have no doubt about how much you are worth, the gift of your vocation, the call of your children, and the truth that you deserve to be loved and cherished and protected and enjoyed by the man you choose. There is no redemptive value in accepting this suffering. It saves no one and damages you and your children, and cheapens the redemptive suffering of the One we follow. Choose life. Forgiveness does not have to be quick. And in this situation don’t rush at it. Forgiveness shouldn’t become the way we don’t deal with something this important, so avoid that corruption of our spiritual path, as well.

    But now I guess I’m preaching. (vocational hazard). The trouble with trouble is that our theology goes on the table and gets refined by the fire.

    But theology aside, If I could put my arms around you I would and you could cry cry cry on my shoulders. And give you a great big long prayer about God’s presence in your life and the power of the Spirit to lead you and strengthen you. May the love of God overwhelm the many fears you carry right now. so that you can see clearly.

  12. Hi preacher,
    Someone else on this site (I think) posted about “healing separation”. Do a search on it. We are using that framework for our time apart. It includes goals for each person, no lawyers, financial plan, time frame, and how much contact we have.

    For us its no sex at all, because the thought of him touching me like a blow up doll makes me puke. Like Lorraine, nausea and puking figures largely in my reactions to the whole thing. We talk each day though, and see each once for a meal or coffee one or two times a week.

    The hardest part was finding a place for him to stay because we don’t make much money and have one son in university still, and the other still getting on his feet. Finally he found some rooms in someone’s basement.

    He is doing a 12 step program, almost every night of the week, also a counsellor every two weeks, and morning phone calls with other addicts to go other their days, mid-day ones if necessary, weekly meetings with sponsor, Saturday workshops. Basically he does nothing outside of his job but this. That’s what working the steps means when they are serious.

    I never had any moments of wondering why God let this happen–anymore than i spend them thinking why God let BP oil spills happen, terrorists happen, earthquakes happen etc. What I know is that God expects me to be a good steward of my life and my children’s lives who depend on me. Right now, I consider that my husband is unable to do that so it’s my main job. God asks me to trust the central theme of our faith, which is that life comes from death. Every death holds the potential for life to be born out of it, when we surrender the dying and the death to God. That’s how it works for my in my faith. I realize not everyone who reads this has that perspective, but I appreciate the mutual respect here that alllows me to share that.

    Please don’t allow yourself to be seduced back into the cycle of emotional abuse and sexual addiction. Please believe me that you can not bandaid this one. And if your faith is trembling, I will have faith for you. I will. I have doubts about many thing, but I have no doubt about how much you are worth, the gift of your vocation, the call of your children, and the truth that you deserve to be loved and cherished and protected and enjoyed by the man you choose. There is no redemptive value in accepting this suffering. It saves no one and damages you and your children, and cheapens the redemptive suffering of the One we follow. Choose life. Forgiveness does not have to be quick. And in this situation don’t rush at it. Forgiveness shouldn’t become the way we don’t deal with something this important, so avoid that corruption of our spiritual path, as well.

    But now I guess I’m preaching. (vocational hazard). The trouble with trouble is that our theology goes on the table and gets refined by the fire.

    But theology aside, If I could put my arms around you I would and you could cry cry cry on my shoulders. And give you a great big long prayer about God’s presence in your life and the power of the Spirit to lead you and strengthen you. May the love of God overwhelm the many fears you carry right now. so that you can see clearly.

    I have faith for you. I have faith in you. I have in the One we serve.
    You go, girl.
    love, J.

  13. Greetings,

    Let me just say that I thank you all for caring. This site is so important so that people know that they are not alone. However, I think that I am going to gracefully bow out now and do what I have been doing for a long time…continue to read what is written and receive strength. Right now I don’t feel like there is any more space for me to share. I had so much more I wanted to share but since the reaction to my very first post was divorce him, anything else I share will just get more of the same and leave me feeling rather foolish. I have asked my husband to take me (I don’t drive I know, I know, please no comments on the non driving thing 🙂 to my first meeting tonight. I have a feeling that there will be more women like me there. More women who are deciding what to do and just need support as they walk this journey. That is what I need right now. My faith is not shaken but all prayers are indeed welcome and appreciated. So, this did not turn out as I expected. Life often doesn’t. Goodbye for now. But know as always I will be reading what you all write and loving you all.

    God Bless.
    Preacher

  14. Preacher,

    When I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought of was you. I realize that what I had to say was difficult to hear and I also know that you are in an immense amount of pain.

    Sometimes I just get so enraged that people who claim to love someone can behave as they do towards them. That’s all. I’m sorry if I went too far; the last thing I want is to be the cause of any additional pain.

    I thought that Jane’s words were so beautiful; so eloquent and meaningful. I am Jewish and sing in a choir and our choir director (who’s a genius) writes the most exquisite songs– and my favorite is one entitled “Therefore Choose Life” which gives me the most incredible goose bumps.

    Please stay safe and do what feels best for you and your family.

    Love,

    L

  15. Well, preacher,

    We can understand the filters of shock and fear that may have meant you were experiencing our posts as more trauma. And I certainly am very sorry that answering your question about living apart and doing the work came at you as something destructive to your life. I don’t want you to be afraid of me!

    I do understand how overwhelming it can be to receive the lived experiences of others on the same journey, and to hear what they hear in your story, especially if the shock of it all is still protecting you from things you can face later, but not now. I know how none of us can believe we are in this place even talking about these things. We had dreams too. I’m glad you are going to a group that may hold more of what you want at this time.

    I am anxious, however, that you not carry forward an incorrect understanding of ‘healing separation” because you might need it later. The whole purpose of the “healing separation” option is to come back together. That is what distinguishes it from “separations” that most people undertake with lawyers–and that lead to divorce. But I understand that your traumatized life is not ready yet for this information, but one day it may well be what you need to have filed away–a framework for living apart based on healing goals, and a vision of reconciliation. I proposed it to you because I thought it was consistent with gospel goals, and the horrific picture of your life required some response dedicated to your well-being and your children’s well-being. Lawyers are not involved. Google it when you feel stronger.

    Shock is definitely a part of this, and I’m sure we all respect your decision to step away from posting. But on one point I must take issue. I have reread all the posts, and no one here suggested you divorce your husband. No one. Creating a safe buffer from our responses to your horrific story may be what you need right now, but there is no need to misrepresent them. Just tell us its too much, too soon. That’s more than fair. And I know it’s hard to think about anyone else’s pain right now, but we are all still in the pit too.

    Also, there is nothing for you to feel foolish about, if that is still a concern, but at the beginning of being honest, I also felt foolish. Now, not so much. I do have appropriate anger that I can regulate better than I used to, because I am honest about it, the way the psalmist was so honest before God about his anger. So I don’t get so angry as much at other people, or blame others for unrelated things or things that I interpreted in the worst way possible. But it’s definitely a journey of self-awareness all the way.

    God speed on your journey and we really do want your group meeting tonight to be all that you need.
    J.

  16. I just want to say that I found it disturbing that an image of a smoking woman was used with my story. As that sort of image is particularly what was porn for my husband it was almost like a slap in my face when I found it here. I appreciate the discussion folks have here, and the comments that have been posted.
    Beth

  17. Hi Beth,
    I was actually wondering the same thing.

    Let me just say I’m sure it was an oversight, but regretfully one that caused you more pain. I once contacted JoAnn about someone’s posting that read like soft porn to me, and she immediately took action on it. Please know that I’m really sorry you were hurt, and I understand and believe your point. JoAnn is a really remarkable woman, and so are you.

    One thing this site and the participants have taught me is how fragile we are, and sometimes even our support comes out wrong. I hope you will still be among us. Even when we’ve done our best to be there for each other, we are still human and can miss the mark from time to time.

    thanks for letting us know so we could reach out again.
    Jane.

  18. Thank you Jane and JoAnn. I didn’t think that it was an intentional mistake, and perhaps it is good to remember that for most people that image isn’t appealing at all. I have become so hyper sensitive to these things, I guess that is natural. Sometimes I think that with my husband in recovery I have taken over all the noticing of smoking women for him. Sometimes riding in the car — I should say virtually always riding in the car, feels like going through a mine field. Sometimes I just crumble and have to pull over. I hope I can move past that without forgetting to keep my eyes open. This is my biggest struggle. How do I move past without forgetting or suppressing the reality of the past?
    Anyway, thanks for the understanding on my reaction.
    Beth

  19. Hi Beth,

    I am pleased that you are still here. Your reaction is perfectly understandable to all of us. We have all felt the rawness of the constant pain of new discovery and we know that the tiniest of triggers can cause unmentionable hurts. My intention is to never do any more harm than all of us have already suffered. Unfortunately, sometimes we make mistakes. But, as mature, caring people, we usually do what we can to correct our errors and move on. This shows that those of us here on this site do not have those negative coping mechanisms that Sex Addicts fall back on when they are distressed.

    I won’t say that our reactions are normal, as there is nothing normal about our situations, but I think everyone here should give themselves a pat on the back for being nurturing, kind and for expressing healthy methods of communication and problem solving.

    Love to all,

    JoAnn

  20. Greetings,

    Jane and Lorraine, thank you for your good thoughts. I’ve been through hell and back but I found a group!!!!!!!!!! It was wonderful. I now have an SANON book. And I found out that I too can have a sponsor. I didn’t know that there were sponsors for the ones who suffer along with the addict. Jane, Your last post said that you hoped the meeting would be everything I needed it to be. It was more.

    Yours in Fellowship and Recovery
    Preacher

  21. Bravo, Preacher!
    It takes courage to begin and courage to stick with it. You are a brave woman who deserves an opportunity to be cared for by others. May God’s love overwhelm you, and God’s Wisdom be in you for the many responsibilities of each day.
    And thanks so much for letting us know. It wasn’t a great start to your posting adventure, I know, but things could still work out here after all.
    love,
    Jane.

  22. Beth,

    I think about you daily. I quit smoking (for the 900th time) on June 1. For all the reasons over all the years I’ve quit smoking and started again, I never in my wildest dreams would have guessed my smoking could have hurt someone in the way it is hurting you. While it is unlikely our paths will ever cross, you will be on my mind when I am tempted to light up again.

    Your story just blew me away and I am broken-hearted for you. You are no less deserving of sympathy than anyone else who lost the affection and companionship of their partner to an addiction. After all, he led you to believe he was clean when in reality he had closed the bedroom door on you (literally) leaving you on the outside while he shared the bedroom with his addiction. It appears he wants to make amends and move past this, but is he showing this by his actions? It takes a long time to recover from years of betrayal and he has to accept this. He is the one who is (or was) broken and he needs to be patient with you, he needs to help you heal. Is he doing that for you? If he truly wants you to move forward, he has to make you feel safe and secure and give you all the time you need.

    You have stood by him so far. If you stay, he should show enough respect for you to let you heal properly.

    Hugs to you, Beth.

    Caroline

  23. I would like to be in contact with you, JoAnn, as I have my own story with a partner with smoking fetish that has turned my world upside down. If you are able to email me, I would appreciate it!