CB’s Story: Am I Strong Enough To Handle My Husband’s Sexual Addiction?

I hate that I’ve had to find this site but I’m so very happy that it exists.  This is so very new to me that I still can’t believe it has happened.  I keep hoping to wake up from this nightmare.  I exposed the disgusting secret that my husband was trying to keep from me just a few weeks ago.

As with many others it was through his computer that I came across the emails, websites, chat rooms, and some of the most horrific pictures I never ever wanted to see.  Not to mention the pictures of my very own loved one posing for his camera phone on a motel bed completely naked and fully erect.  Not just one picture but three.  Those pictures are now out there in cyberspace for all the world to see forever and ever.  I’m beside myself in shock and anger, sadness and mourning.  What I once had is now shot to hell, never to be seen again.  And if we ever reconcile and I rebuild trust, then what will my life be like then?

He has agreed to the 12 day therapy program.  He has agreed to go to SA meetings.  He has agreed to get a sex therapist locally and see that therapist for as long as it takes.  It’s a good thing that he has admitted his addiction, it’s a good thing that he’s willing to work a program, but still I find little comfort in that.

I am a recovering alcoholic.  I celebrated 13 years of sobriety on Aug. 4th.  I know the likes of which he will undertake in this endeavor.  I am a big believer of the 12-Step program because it worked for me.  It worked for me because I was ready to accept my powerlessness and to work the program as it applied to me.  Understand that the rate of success in recovery is very low.  I consider myself one of the lucky ones to have wanted sobriety bad enough to work for it.  So many fail and relapse several times before it works for them and some don’t recover at all.  I had a very good close loving friend who had over 15 years of sobriety and killed herself because her live in boyfriend went back to his ex-wife.  I was there when her 19 year old son found her.

I’ve wandered off my topic, I apologize.  I know I’m in for the ride of my life with my husband’s recovery and I don’t want to handle it.  But I have to handle it.  I have to be there to support him in his efforts if he has any chance to succeed at all.  I had no one to help me, to give me support, when I was going through the worst time of my life and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  I’ll be strong but I will recognize that I will have times of weakness and allow myself to feel my emotions.

I mourn the death of the husband I thought I once had.  And it’s going to be tough.  I’m hoping that I can find some support in this group of strong and intelligent women to help me through this journey.

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Responses

  1. Welcome here,
    and how hard it is to read your words and feel the familiarity of your emotions. It is so hard to even know what to hope, and how to hope. Please treasure your own sobriety and make it more precious than his quest for his sobriety. That is his own journey. Don’t allow it to overshadow your own.

    Also, don’t think you have to make every decision about this relationship all at once. That’s how we forget to do appropriate self-care. And get yourself some counselling support.

    I am rushing off to another meeting so don’t have time to post more—just that I wish this wasn’t happening to you. But there is wisdom and friendship here. Stick around. It will come. Thank you for letting us know you are here.

    sending your lots of love,
    D.

  2. Dear CB:

    Just wanted you to know that you are not alone. Found this website 3 mos ago after finding out about my husband’s sex addiction. This is a great place to get advice, support and just get it off your chest. While I am too new to this, and cannot to offer any real advice yet, all I can say is that 3 mos later, I am still making up my mind. Totally overwhelmed, post traumtic stress dysfunctional for first 8 weeks for sure. Lowest point in life, ever. I am now, lovingly, allowing myself time to make major decisions, (staying, leaving, recovery possible? etc.) and I feel pretty good. Ultimately, I have decided that I need to be healthy and happy, and no matter what that means living wise, separation may be well needed, I am in limbo there, that as long as I make decisions that are healthy ones, and put my needs in the correct space of respect they deserve, it will be ok. I am getting similar promises from my SA, committtment to SA, therapy, no acting out etc. But I am doubtful. I have a young daughter. He is a good father and I am unsure if separating our family is the best way to heal and seek recovery or not. At least while I am in the home, overseeing that boundaries are respected and being a first hand witness to his commitment to recovery (or not) can be had because I will see it. By moving out, what? take his word for it he is better and go back? hell no. I am in wait and see mode. But in the meantime, I am enjoying my daughter, getting my head back on and enjoying my job and friends. I hope this helps. I think clarity can be had if we give ourselves the proper space love and time we need to make such important calls about our lives.

    As for your grieving, I empathize with your loss. It is true, it is death to the spouse and marriage we thought we had. Horrible. I cried uncontrollably for weeks. Still do, but less. But now that the truth be known, something new can be begin. Together or seperate. I can’t really say that I am up for the ride while he works on his stuff. But I am willing to try for a bit. I am in “clint eastwood mode”, if a boundary is crossed, if acting out is found out and he is not serious—“Go ahead, MAKE MY DAY”. I will go. difficult or not. This has been communicated to him and it feels healthy for me, Up to him on whether he is really committed or not, time will tell. Kind of liberating. Kind of feels empowering. Whether I stay or go, I got a picture of where I am headed. You will too! The traumtic fog must clear. Therapy is helping me. This website is helping. I hope you find help too.

  3. To Diane – Thank you for your kind words. It’s wonderful to feel like someone cares for my wellbeing. I have started seeing a therapist; I had to for my own sanity. Your concern is overwhelming and I appreciate your words.

    To Pam – You sound so strong for only being 3 months into this crazy time. I can only hope that I will be as strong as you. I’ve always considered myself to be a very strong woman, I’ve been through alot; but this has me floored. Thank you for taking the time to support me.

    To everyone on this site, it’s a special place and I hope to be able to have words of wisdom for you someday. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your world.

  4. How many times of late have I thought “Go ahead, make my day!”. I am over 7 months into discovering my husband is a sex addict, and I too am a recovering alcoholic, now 20 years sober. I can tell you that I came very close to drinking again on several occasions, but I know that nothing is so bad that drinking does not make worse. I didn’t pick up, thank God. I have had serious ups and downs over these months, have been in the depths of despair and in murderous rages. I have had suicide ideation. I had a brief affair. I am better now, but still overwhelmed at the enormity and audacity of what he did to me. He is in recovery and he seems to be working a good program, “seems” being the operative word. He had 2 slips several months ago which I discovered because of a monitoring program that I installed on his computer at his office without his knowledge. I have observed him looking at not-quite-porn on several occasions since but have no evidence that he is seeing other women again. But he is the consummate liar (being a lawyer) and although I had suspicions from time to time over our 24 years of marriage, he lovingly quelled any doubts, and still does. If I was younger, I would be gone already. Now, I can’t easily go because of finances, but I will if I have to. I doubt that I will ever trust him again. I don’t think I love him anymore, and I know that I will never have sex with him again! I am trying to take care of myself with therapy, but this will take a long time for me. What he did was crack me open and all these other issues tumbled out…multiple traumas from childhood on, issues of loss and abandonment, all mixed in now with what he did, and it has been very, very hard. Good luck to you and take care of yourself, you deserve better than you got.

  5. Sally Sorry to hear your story.I’m very new at this my breaking day was July 13th.I found pictures of my 21 yr old daughter in my SAs lunch box. Hes been like a father to her for 9 yrs. He stole her mem card and printed them out.She has no idea,and I pray she never knows. I have all the same feeling and thoughts just as many of us do.I am also seeing to different therapists. I go to a abused women’s shelter to see one your history like mine is not perfect I believe. I was so confused as to how I could not have seen this long before I did she said that for me until that day he has never done anything as bad or worse than that has already happened to me. I have been thinking about this allot and in away he hasn’t until, now as I look back I can see and feel it as the true victim I was. I also have joined recovery nation I’m not saying to join but its a very good site for information for both partners and addicts. It really helps to know you are not alone or crazy I wish for the best for everyone

  6. I learned about my husbands addition nearly 10 years ago. Sadly, he has been a sex addict since he was about 12 years ago. I am at a crossroads right now myself. After years of therapy, together and individually, SA meetings for him and s-anon meetings for me, sex therapists, spiritual retreats, he is still having sex with women other than me. I am fully aware that he is a sick person and not a bad person. However, I am at a breaking point in our marriage. He recently relapsed, and has hid it from me for 9 months, and probably would have continued to do so, but I found emails on his computer on August 15. He wants to get better, but I am no longer an active participant in this. I still attend and will continue to attend s-anon meetings.
    I am giving myself 90 days to figure out what I need to do and how to do it. I am scared and at an emotional freeze.
    I have to get out of this marriage and move on. Will I have the courage? No telling.

  7. Katt,
    I’m on Recovery Nation also and stalled out on exercise 16 because I’m not clear on what my values are right now. I will get back to it soon I hope. I have found it helpful. The most affirming and validating thing I have done for myself is to read Barbara Steffans book, “You Sexually Addicted Spouse”. I highly recommend it to anyone who is going through this. Personally, I did not feel comfortable in CODA meetings, we do not have COSA here. I did not believe that I was a co-addict or co-dependent. I did not bring this on myself and, yes, I was victimized. But I don’t have to continue to be a victim. I have a zero tolerance for this now. One slip now (and I define a slip as even going to a porn site or a dating site. If he gets with another woman I may just shoot him and put us both out of our misery! lol), this is all it will take, and one of us is moving out.

  8. You have my support and my prayers. I am about 1 month in to the shock of my lifetime. If we didn’t have a 4 month old daughter…I would probably already be out the door.
    Something that I feel like I have realized is that everything happens for a reason. I had an eating disorder up until I turned 20. I still fight the urges and will never forget the pain of recovery and the embarrassment of failure. I feel like I can be graceful to my husband as he tries to recover and still slips (looking at porn) because I remember my road to getting better. We have taken every measure to take the “triggers” out of our home so that he can get better without temptation everywhere.
    It doesn’t sound fair, but maybe God put you in his life bc only you could understand the grace he so undeservingly (I believe I made that word up) needs to get himself better. At least that is what I tell myself…
    All that to say, you have my support and encouragement for whatever you choose. I totally understand the feeling of loss but take hope that he admits his addiction and at least is making some sort of effort to get better.
    Just today my husband looked in my eyes and said, “That life you had in your eyes is gone. That raw love and excitement inside you when you looked at me is missing. I promise I will work for the rest of my life to give back to you what I have stolen.” I pray he is being honest. I guess I’ll just stand in the “time will tell” line with you ’till they call my number.

  9. Hi Sally. My husband (<—if you would call him that) used prostitutes all 12 years of my marriage. Found out the very beginning of June. At first I decided to work it out. He went all out saying he wanted to change and blah blah blah. The usual lies a SA tells his wife. I would break into his blackberry at night and he knew I would look at it. He just didnt know how sly I was to see his erased messages which I can give you ladies the code to do if you want. You can see erased calls, websites, etc. Than just recently, and I mean maybe two weeks ago something clicked inside me. I just decided I didnt want to live the rest of my life making prostitute checks and monitoring every penny of my spouses income. I just cant do it. Somehow the fear went away and I feel very, very, brave and ready to leave. I got a storage unit and started moving. Oh boy did he break down in tears then. These men will never stop lusting and it is very hard for them to not act out with accountability. I am not going to be accountable for his dark abyss as he will drag my self-esteem and spirit with him. We all know how hard it is on the way we see ourselves and I just cant live like that. My purpose for writing this to you is to say to just be patient with yourself which you are doing and you will have the epiphany of what to do. Some women are stronger than me and can stay with a SA but I just cant. The good news is that I am normally a pretty anxious person but I actually feel excited about love that I have never experienced. My husband was cold as ice most of our marriage and sex was horrible. No loving or kissing or cuddling. I cant wait to see if someday I can experience something more than I lived with for 12 years. Give yourself time and dont worry is the best advice I have. When it first happaned I wanted to die. Now I am very excited to live a new life without thinking about prostitutes. =}

  10. It is a death to me as well. My husband stopped having sexual relations since I was in my first month of pregnancy. Our son is 22 years old now. He told me he loved me but lost his libido and did not understand why. We went to therapy and he lied his way through. I discovered his addiction 2 years ago. He was in love with another women for half our marriage and picked up women in bars, planes, and in the workplace, our vacations, cybersex and he also sent his erect penis across the internet.
    He stopped SA meetings several months ago and continues to see a therapist weekly. He does not follow the 12 step program, but got involved in meditation to relieve his stress and to focus on the NOW. He swears that the minute he got caught he has not thought or had any desire to return to his secret life….
    I do not believe his recovery is honest. I am aware not to mistake motion for action.
    I am trying to focus on myself and my own needs, but being a typical enabler it is hard to make the switch.

  11. JMB,
    You can find directions and/or programs for the i-phone on google. Search “retrieve deleted messages and texts from i-phone”, or something like that, and you will find what you need.

  12. JMB – Thanks for sharing. I feel your pain. My husband is now, as we speak, gone for 12 days to an out patient program for sex addicts. It’s a very expensive program but I wanted him out of here and to get some serious help if he is at all concerned with saving his life and mine. Since he’s been gone I’ve discovered more things than I care to know. I don’t want to know anymore. I have no clue what to expect when he gets back. Honestly, I don’t really want him to come back. I’m sure as time goes by I probably will but right now I’m enjoying the lack of tension in the home. My dilema is if he doesn’t improve what do I do? I have no job. We just purchased a 5 acre ranch last year and we have several animals that I care for. How would I ever afford to stay, which I want to desperately. I’m not a youngster either, i will be turning 52 later this month, I don’t want to date or even have another man in my life unless it’s a ranch hand! I don’t know what to do and I guess now is not the time to make hasty decisions anyway. But I do need friendship and i thank you all for participating on this website.

  13. CB,
    Friends you’ve got, right here, dear girl. But let me say that at 52 you’re still a puppy! You will be able to do what you have to do, just give yourself time to figure it out.

  14. UPDATED: My husband is still gone to his SA program. In fact, it was suggested that he stay an additional 3 days. I’ve been in constant contact with his Therapist since he’s been gone. He tells me that there’s been alot of progress in uncovering some things he’s been supressing for years. Which include the fact that he was molested as a child and that he never had a father figure in his life and has always questioned his own masculinity. He’s changed alot and has learned to use the tools they have taught him to help him handle future thoughts of acting out and dealing with anxiety. This is what i’ve been told. I’ve only began speaking to my husband over the phone the last couple evenings. He’s been very emotional and he does sound different, but I’m very leary. Understandably so. He comes home on Weds., which is (ironically) my birthday. I know it’s going to be difficult and there will be ups and downs yet to come, but we’re going to try to make it work. There will be boundaries that I have set and they are pretty strict. There will be anti-porn software on the computers in the house. But I can’t be a constant mother hen. He’s going to have to step up. I’d love to hear from some of you that may have gone this route and had successs or not.

  15. CB,

    Thanks for the update, I do appreciate it.

    I will be sending you good energy on Wednesday–along with a birthday hug. It’s my son’s birthday too.

    Facing those awful childhood traumas is a very good start toward recovery. It is a long and difficult road and I hope he stays in therapy for as long as it takes. It will be very painful for him, but he will finally find himself if he is able to stick with it.

    Good luck to both of you and keep in touch and let us know how things are going.

    All my best,

    JoAnn