I bet you’ve never read a news story about a celebrity confessing to their infidelities out of the blue. Most celebrity cheaters just don’t seem to have a conscience that causes them to ‘come clean’ in an effort to fix their relationship. No guilt. No remorse. Just a lot of denial and tears when they get caught. They don’t feel bad that they cheated. They feel bad that they got caught–so they claim that they are Sex Addicts in an effort to gain sympathy.

So, what about the real Sex Addicts–the royalty of cheaters? My husband has never confessed to anything that I haven’t found out. I have an uneasiness about that. I have told him many times that if he would just come to me and say, ‘I forgot to tell you this.’ or ‘I lied about this because I was too embarrassed to tell the truth’ it would make me feel a whole lot better about trusting him. But, it hasn’t happened yet.

So, I guess what it boils down to is that if you don’t know the right questions to ask you won’t get answers.

Did the Sex Addict you are involved with come clean on their own or did you find out? Have they revealed anything about their addiction without you dragging it out of them?

Is it just part of those personality flaws that Sex Addicts have, all bundled up with their shame and low self esteem that prevents them from admitting their mistakes? Is this something that can be fixed?

Today is just one of those days filled with doubts.

Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise. ~ William Shakespeare

Visits: 13

66 Responses

  1. I’ve found that this best way to get anything out og a sex addict is to act like you know more thn you do. I found a phone number on a napkin in the hotel my husband had been in on business, I acted like I called the women and knew exactly what happened, and everytime he would say something about there time together and what happened, I would tell him “thats not what she said” and ended up getting more info.

    Anytime there is a confession from a SA, you can bet your life there is so much more, whatever they are confessing to is not near as bad as what they are really doing, it’s manipulation so you will think they are coming clean.

  2. Did anyone see the report on the Sunday CBS morning show about sex addiction? I turned it on in the middle. How timely!

    As some of you already know, I am a woman in an open marriage (this is another story!) who got involved with a sex addict, for an entire year, that I cared very much for.

    I have done so much thinking and reading about this and also have had many deep discussions with my wonderful therapist and learned so much about this devastating disorder which shatters lives irrevocably.

    For all of the women (and men) on here who’s partners are sex addicts, my heart goes out to you, because I do understand the pain and devastation. It is a betrayal that stabs us to our very core, as a woman.

    When we are talking about these damaged individuals, however, we are forgetting an important point. Most SAs have a heavy degree of narcissistic personality disorder.

    Their REALITY is NOT the same as ours; and it is completely dysfunctional, at best. They are superb at disassociating, rationalizing, not to mention LYING, covering up, conning and more. They do not feel remorse, as we do, nor are they even able to empathize in a normal way. Clinically, they are sociopaths but to put it in more “nice” terms,the playing field is just not even.

    And sadly too, what I’ve also come to realize is that while it is understood that for the most part SA is NOT about sex, it is also not about love either. As a matter of fact, I believe that the narcissistic SA actually despises women. He feels threatened by them and this could be for a variety of reasons. And truly sadly, the common MO is to bate, pursue, catch and then torment, and in the case of a lover such as me, eventually dump and ignore which is very painful to live with– I do have many wonderful friends, and family and my husband has been unbelievably supportive. Yes, we have talked about the affair.

    As for not disclosing the whole truth. Well… yes, LYING is so part of their daily lives that telling the truth feels immensely stressful to them. Somewhere along the way, they learned that the truth was a HARMFUL thing and that better results were achieved by lying to protect themselves and their immensely fragile egos.

    Also, there is a huge component of shame and FEAR that their partner will LEAVE THEM, if they knew the whole truth. I can say that if my lover ever told his partner everything he had done, she would spit in his face and bolt like a frightened deer in the woods… well, maybe. There is that co-dependency thing, usually, as well.

    But, the fragile ego of the sex addict (and yes, they have immensely fragile egos) will not allow himself any more damage than necessary and will minimize it in any way possible and place blame anywhere but on himself—even his other lovers. He will even try to make himself the victim! (alloplastic defenses)That one really takes the cake!

    In truth, and this has been touched on, the SA must receive intensive and ongoing therapy to get at some of the root causes and to retrain his brain into learning to behave in a manner that is honest and open. very tough stuff. He needs to learn better ways of dealing with stressors that lead to acting out. also tough.

    But, he has to really really really want to get well! And that is the toughest part of all. If he is not 1000% devoted to his own recover, I would say that it ain’t gonna happen and the best thing to do, to avoid further pain, is to make a plan and leave.

    Heres’ a good one. Last year, my lover discovered that a friend of his partners saw him on a web site for intimate encounters. Two hours later and knowing that his partner might be told, by her friend, was very stressful for him, of course. So, what does he do? He contacts me to see if I can come over right away to have some fun with him! (no, I did not!)

    But, the point is… This is not about sex. It is about self-medicating and coping with trauma, self-doubt and even self-hatred and using sex as a means to feel better- period.

    It is a devastating epidemic which has of course, been fueled by the internet which has been like pouring gasoline onto an already raging bon fire.

    As always, I wish all who read this much peace and love.


    1. Reading these blogs has really given me an insight
      To my husbands behaviour. Definitely a SA and I need help
      He is so manipulating and tells people I’m crazy. A dangerous

      1. Why stay? Why do women stay in relationships that are dangerous, physically or emotionally? I’m not judging but it tears me apart to see women do this. I was an emotionally battered wife and left with 2 young children. My husband didn’t cheat on me or hit me but he knew how to mess with my head. I gave him one warning and followed through. I’ve never looked back, no regrets. It wasn’t easy. I was lonely and scared but never considered going back. Why stay with heartbreak?

  3. Thank you Jennifer… I wanted to add a few things as someone with an “inside track” here.

    I spent a lot of time with my sex addict lover while he was acting out. (BTW, in this case, he was an incredible lover, in the beginning, that is–part of the “hook” but yes… that too, diminished over time because they cannot truly attach to anyone and will unconsciously do things to push their lovers away) And I spent a LOT of time chatting with him on Instant message because he contacted me nearly every day. So, I learned a lot about what made him tick and it is fascinating and scary to see, at the same time.

    The depths of his betrayal and abuse ran deep to his partner surely, but to me, as well and I’m sure ALL women…but it is a something that happens gradually over time and the realization is very painful, of course. It is completely on a subconscious level, on their part. I do believe that most do not mean to be abusive and can’t understand WHAT they are doing that IS so hurtful and wrong??? Actually, he considered himself to be very “respectful” of women, but ultimately, he was anything but. It is ALL about them and if you work into their scheme, great and if not… you are dumped. If they tire of you,(and they do, easily) you are dumped. If you are in any way perceived as being threatening, you are dumped. Their other women are merely objects or masturbatory toys and nothing else and totally dispensable. It is their way or the hi way.

    So if they really want all of these encounters, (my lover is actually quite a swinger) then why do they choose this ONE woman to LIVE with who doesn’t even have a clue what’s going on??? Why not stay single and just have their “fun”??? BTW, they always call it “FUN”, but the reality is that it isn’t all that much fun for them. My ex lover was always very anxious before an encounter,very tense, and short-tempered especially if there were other people involved. But that is part of their ever-escalating high they need to achieve the same effect, over time. Eventually, it becomes ever more dangerous and risky, in order for them to achieve the same effect.

    But why then did they choose YOU to be in a so-called committed monogamous relationship with them?

    Isn’t this the question, we all have?

    Here’s my take.

    In some cases, the partner is a cover of sorts, because on some level they do want a normal life and also they are terrified of being alone, from what I understand. And there was something in your make up that made you the perfect partner. You elevated their stature, had friends, a good job – possibly, and in some cases – essential for their survival and you didn’t ask a lot of questions.

    In other words, you were a kind lovely, TRUSTING woman.

    This is what they seek out for partners. Ironic, isn’t it?

    Do they love you? Isn’t this at the bottom of our immense hurt??? We feel so intensely deeply deeply hurt and very unloved. How could anyone who claims to love us hurt us in this way???

    I think that within the parameter of the world that they live in… the answer is YES, they DO love their chosen primary partners and they love deeply as is their perception of love.. but it is a twisted, sick world, so the love is by definition, malignant to some degree or other. It is not the healthy, intimate, deeply caring kind of love that the majority of us want need and deserve.

    They are however, magnificent actors and great at pretending to “understand”, care for and love, for they know that this is what they are supposed to do, but it is just not real to them. It is a carefully manufactured facsimile of the real thing. Many have studied “psychology” very carefully and can parrot back the most “insightful” and “sensitive” ideas, so unusual for a man, too! You think “how evolved” they are! gag. Through their lives, they have learned the carefully worded “scripts”… the phrases they know will give them positive results. They avoid conflict by lying, relentlessly and yes, are ONLY contrite WHEN they get caught.

    I think the tough part is trying to get them to understand that what they are doing is completely dysfunctional, hurtful and harmful–to YOU and THEMSELVES! My ex lover’s partner got him into rehab and 6 weeks after he came home, I found him right back on the same site that I met him on. Nice, huh? But, it was exactly like Joann’s post on the “quick fix trap”.

    For many, SAs the whole “recovery thing” is a big running joke, because they think that they don’t have a problem to begin with!!!

    I do believe, however, that some can be helped, with the proper supports, and enough time. Apparently, its a very long and tough road though.

    Obviously, I always have a lot to say…lol

    God bless.

  4. And Seren too! Thank you. Yes, we are all coming from different situations and different degrees of dysfunctionality and symptoms, so our experiences will all have some differences.

    I was just having dinner with my family and the thought came to my mind that most of you whose husbands or committed partners are acting out with other women, most likely don’t give a rat’s ass about your partners’ lovers and our feelings or even our opinions. Yes, in some cases and probably most, your partners are acting out with women who are ALSO sex addicts, or at least for whatever reason, don’t want anything “real” with a man. Some were deceived as well into thinking that the man is unattached. Some women are recently divorced, and hurting, or married like me, cheating or not. I am in a sexless (but very loving) marriage and luckily for me, one in which my husband and I have a mutual understanding that we are free to each have outside friends. We don’t rub it in each others faces, but we are genuinely respectful and have clear boundaries and will talk to the other freely and openly when asked.

    For this reason, my MO is to not date married/attached men unless I can speak to their wife. not joking!! And when I met my lover, I thought he was single and by the time, I found out, several weeks later, that he was indeed living with a woman, I was already “hooked” and just rationalized it as “well, if he’s not with me, he’ll be with some other bimbo.”

    In retrospect, yes, that was my cue to say, “its been nice, so long.” but I just couldn’t see at that time, what I can now. Isn’t this often the case?

    In my case, the entire time I was with him, I had no other lovers(even though I did date some other men) and I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with him. Its something that crept up on me, over time and because we shared so much… and he just has this incredible charm that IS so loveable— until.. so when I was cavalierly dumped,suddenly without even a chance to try to work things out, (this is completely foreign to me in my 23 year marriage with my husband) it hurt very badly, because I had thought that if nothing else, we were very close friends.

    Again, narcissistic sex addicts don’t form legitimate friendships with women either.

    Just needed to get that out.

  5. Lorraine,

    I love reading your comments, you are very insightful. I read all of them to my SA husband, he was a big fan of yours when you were talking about the genectic makeup of men (comment on a different post).

    I’m a little confused about something, is your husband a SA or just you’re ex-lover or both?

    I am considering trying the “open marriage” idea because I know I can never conquer my husbands problem and I don’t think he is committed to quitting, (he still believes he can stop and doesn’t need help, he told me to take the money he would use for therapy and go shopping).

    I also considered another idea, which is finding the women myself and letting them come over and do his thing while I take the dog for a walk or work in the office on the opposite side of the house (“his thing” is paying a women to be nude and watching him please himself, while he touches a little) at least their won’t be secrets. He is OK with this idea. He also wants to pay someone to come over and be with me while he watches, which I did that with him when we got together, but it wasn’t long before I was excluded so I’m really not into doing this, I guess I would if I knew it would make me be enough for him, but I feel like it wouldn’t take long before I would be excluded again so whats the point, or I could leave.

    The thing is I love my husband, we get along great except the fact that he has his secret life, he’s not affectionate enough, doesn’t kiss me enough or have sex with me enough and when he does do anything sexual with me it is distant and anything but special, I basically feel like I’m one of his prostitutes.

    When I found out recently that my husband had carried on this double life, and had 6 personal ads out and a member to all these sites and had met with women at least once a month, sometimes twice, for years and corresponded with different women who answered his ad almost daily, I was so upset and he was about 300 miles away driving home, (I had found his secret email) so I called him and told him that I was going to have someone come over and give me a massage (I was faithful for 10 yrs), which I did. I was crying so hard after finding out all of this, and almost chickened out, but a part of me wanted to go through with it, so I put an ad on Craigslist with my pic for no more than 10 min (and then quickly removed it) and was flooded with messages. I picked this cute young college student that even looked better in person and after exchanging a few emails I felt comfortable enough to invite him over. And let me tell you when he showed up, my tears dried up and he made me feel like I haven;t felt in years. It was just what the doctor ordered. I was very nervous at forst and so was he, and he gave me a massage and then when I was on my tummy started kissing etc between my legs and kissing me so passionatly, it felt soooo good to be with someone that had passion, I felt so sexy and beautiful! (We did not have sex and he never took off his clothes), it was all about me! And I Loved It! When my husband made it home I told him what happened and made sure to not miss any details and he was shocked that I did that, it felt good for him to be jealous and for me to be the one having fun. Since then my cute boytoy has sent a few messages (he doesn’t have my phone number) telling me what an amazing time he had and how beautiful I am and it feels good to have someone be into me. I will probably never see him again, but I feel like he gave me something I really needed.

  6. WOW! Rebecca, you have made my day!!! I have been feeling like such a loser, recently and I can’t wait to answer you more fully. (uh oh — WARNING!!! its gonna be long… many a man has encouraged me to write a book! hahahaha)

    but I am off to a ballet class (my salvation) and then my wonderful shrink who has a way of telling me when I’m full of shit in such a way that doesn’t make me feel even more badly and usually much better. She’s a genius and I’ve learned so much from her!

    Stay tuned!


  7. Alright, back! and this is certainly for everyone who is interested, but I’m responding to what Rebecca said.

    First of all, my husband is not a sex addict, although a few years ago, he did leave some cyber sex chats OPEN on my lap top, by “accident”.


    Of course, I was horribly hurt and angry, at the time… and yes, I thought too, that my hubby was the LAST man in the world to have an affair or cheat on me or anything like that. He’s the guy that people in Manhattan always ask for directions (its a running joke with us) and the guy that our elderly neighbor calls when he needs ANYTHING! I married him, because he has more integrity than anyone I have ever met and that was very important to me. I’ve come to accept that at the time, with severe career losses (that weren’t his fault), and subsequent financial reversals, two very difficult kids and his own severe and downward spiraling depression (which is so much better now that he’s been on Wellbutrin for a year) and the fact, that we had lost our physical closeness over many years, that it was understandable how it happened. I have accepted this and he has said that a marriage can be whatever two people decide it can be. In the end, I realize that he loves me very much.

    And yes, for many, the idea of a non-monogamous marriage is very progressive thinking and certainly not for everyone, for a variety of reasons. The slippery slope for most of the couples on here, is that in the case of a true sex addict, there is an abundance of dysfunctional behaviors and disorders associated with those individuals and they their lives are spinning hopelessly out of control. So, yes, they are living a very dangerous, harmful and hurtful game to themselves and everyone they are involved with in the course of their addiction.

    This is why it is tough to say where the line is drawn. Perhaps some men can function fairly well, with their “addiction” and others cannot. I think a good analogy is with alcohol. Some can handle it and some can’t. And again, Joann’s entry today about finances is prescient. Is his job or business suffering as a result of his addiction? Many addicts get fired or lose business because constantly looking for sex is already a full time job, so something’s gotta give! Is he endangering his health and by association yours? Many SAs take tremendous risks such as playing without protection or even having any idea if their sex partners are healthy. In other words, is it significantly impacting your lives in a negative way? If so, then an open marriage will not solve anything because the core issues are not being addressed and his addiction will only get worse over time and he will just find new ways to f–k you over.

    Most male sex addicts also have narcissistic personality disorder and may also have misogynistic tendencies, to some extent or other. While they want to love women, and many actually believe that they do; in reality they are resentful of the power that women have over them. They use sex as a means to control and demean.

    Again, these issues are core with the men that have the most pervasive form of SA. But, this is for the professionals to figure out.


    now, about your situation if I may provide some insights.

    I have been on a few dating sites…Actually, it was my therapist who encouraged me to “date” as my husband was open to that and wanted me to be happy. But what a world it is…OMG!!! Most of these guys must go to the same “college” for how to be an asshole– and they have the same trite lines and so forth. Alright, I am not on eharmony, lol, if you get my drift, but still… However, I have also met a few very nice, very sincere and very sexy men, that I’ve met once or twice and have become friends with them. They haven’t become lovers, because I didn’t feel the requisite (for me) chemistry, but they have provided tremendous insight as well as support, which is really very cool.

    As for open marriage. I have a couple of friends who have done this successfully, but the issue here, is that you both have to be OPEN and honest. Or at least have an understanding that is mutually beneficial. Otherwise, the hurt is going to continue.

    I have also come across some women who’ve tried to manage their husband’s “affairs”… hmmmm… I doubt this works, because a big part of their thing is the secrecy and subterfuge. That is what excites them. Believe me, if they wanna have a piece on the side without your knowledge, they will.

    You say that your husband pays people and wants you to do the same??? hmmmm… I don’t know where you live, but I live in the NYC metro area and you shouldn’t ever have to pay for sex. Plenty of people just want to have it for free… and I would worry about picking up something from a prostitute. Then, having saved that money, you can go shopping, get a massage AND a facial! (good to keep our sense of humor, right?)

    There’s a lot written about open marriages and while it certainly isn’t for everyone. It sounds like it could work for you, as long as there is open and hopefully honest communication about it.

    Sometimes, I talk to men about their marriages and sex and almost all of them really love their wives and want to stay in the marriage, but sex has gotten stale or non-existent, or the wife is too “vanilla”…blah.. you cannot believe (or maybe you can) what some have said. I think my very favorite is. “I am just trying to protect her.” Good God!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Many men, really would rather not have the indiscretions, but again, its the fear of intimacy thing and the avoidance issues…That is why they often shun therapy. They really don’t want to delve into all that deep, inner psychological “stuff” and besides, “you won’t find out.”


    This is what I’ve said: Have an affair with your wife and then I expound on that.

    This is the thing…For men, especially, sex needs to be exciting… and they need and want variety and FANTASY, (which you can certainly have without breaking your marital vows.) And maybe some other things, too. You can figure it out. ;)You can also explore swinging if that suits you, but again, your husband should never ignore you; you need to have clear, “ground rules”. Good, you made him jealous!:) I have asked guys if their wives are also free to screw around??? Usually, all I get are the written equivalent of blank stares.

    I would say he’s a very lucky man! Most men say that their wives wouldn’t even consider such a thing, but of course, they haven’t even asked!!! At least, you have experimented for yourself and are sharing this blog with him and I think all of that is fantastic!

    Let’s face it. Most men are pigs. So, if everything else is good in your relationship, and their addiction isn’t too far gone, and they are not otherwise, abusive, then why not just stay with the pig you have and try to make it work, so that everyone is happy?

    Of course, this won’t work for everyone, especially, if the problems run so deeply/ or it is just simply something you cannot and will not tolerate. (a partner having sex with someone other than you) However, it is something to consider and for some, something worth trying.

    Again, as I always say… Its the betrayal of trust that’s the most hurtful. If a couple can work things out and do whatever it takes to live a happily functioning life for both people, then, that’s the goal. I think the basic problem in a lot of marriages is that men totally such at communicating. Remember, our cavemen ancestor men? Well..communication? Pretty much all they had to do, was “point and shoot”–lol Maybe we’re not all that evolved, after all.

    But in all seriousness, the true sex addict is NOT a happy person at all– Far from it. My ex lover once used the famous Thoreau quote, to describe himself. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” But Thoreau said that way back in 1854.

    I just don’t think it has to be that way.

  8. Recovery must be such a double-edged sword for some addicts. For my partner, he is motivated by the need to seek approval – an attempt to prove his self-worth and the need for escapism. Whenever he meets someone new, he can show them only the good in him, and they can oooh and ahh over his adorable smile, his kind and gentle ways, his zest for life. But to address his problem and to seek recovery, he must instead acknowledge that he is anything but perfect and that his actions make him very UNloveable. He is forced to be very much rooted in the reality of who he is and what his life has become. The fantasy must end. No wonder why it’s such an arduous road for the addict!

  9. Lorraine
    Who is your shrink? And if she’s not in the area, does she offer phone or online consults?!?!?! LOL

    No, seriously! Will you share or is she so good that you wanna keep her to yourself?! 🙂

  10. I think it would be helpful to have a little optional profile on all the women who are posting here. How long have they been involved with their partner? What stages of the discovery and recovery process have then been through….and when? I think posts can be more meaningful if you can understand where there are on the “journey.” How did they meet their partner? How did they discover the addiction?

  11. What a great idea Jennifer! I’ll set up a page just for that and we’ll see what we get. Let me think on it. Do you think I need a format so everyone puts in the same information, or should it just be their own words in their own way?

  12. Oh Jennifer,

    This is most ironic, because of all the women on here, from everything you wrote, you sound the most like someone who could very well be my ex lovers partner!!!

    Imagine that!!!!!!!!!

    As a matter of fact, I was writing something this morning to you, and then…I had to ask myself…

    WTF are you doing L??? It is OVER and you have much better things to do with your precious time!!!(not that writing to you is a waste of time, just my obviously STILL obsessive preoccupation with this situation is) So, I will say to myself–just STOP IT!!!!!!! This man IS A SOCIOPATH–THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS THAT YOU DIDN’T GET SICK AND JUST MOVE ON, ALREADY!!!

    Anyway, I have managed to do some constructive things today as well.

    And obviously, LOL… I’m the sort that LUVS to help… no kidding!!! hahahahaha!!!!

    As for my shrink..She isn’t shy about telling it to me straight. And basically her advice to me, for months, has been.


    And she was the one who encouraged me to date, in the first place on account of my particular situation and at first, she said, “he seems perfect for you”.


    Oh, I would love to give out her name; she’s fantastic! She’s in the middle of Westchester County, near NYC, however, I really don’t feel comfortable giving out her name on account of privacy issues.

    Its a very personal thing too. I have been to some therapists who were useless. But, she really listens and took me seriously and very much knows her stuff.

    I also want to just about the COSA thing. And that’s that I agree whole heartedly with what has been said and then some. A woman who lives with a man who has NO awareness of her husband’s out of control behavior and “hidden life” as a sex addict is a what???

    How does this make her a CO anything?????

    She is a VICTIM – period. She is NOT part of the problem at all!!!!!! If she decides to make a go of it and help him through it, that is commendable, but it doesn’t make her part of the problem!

    Grrrrrr… I can’t stand it!!! Because this is only going to add to the woman’s devastation that she is somehow responsible for his disgusting behavior???

    ugh… if ya really want to get your mind off of sex–, lol, Read Pamela Weintraub’s expose on Lyme Disease called “Cure Unknown”

    There are some people posing as “great men of science” (talk about narcissists) who should be shot at dawn by a firing squad of children who were deathly ill with Lyme disease and told by these “experts” to their devastated and emotionally trashed parents that it couldn’t possibly be Lyme disease — when it most definitely was!!! Oh the arrogance!!!


  13. Loraine, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, you have helped my husband and I more than you know, I think you should move forward with writing your book. Your insight is very helpful.

  14. Yes. But as far as co-dependancy is concerned, I think it is so much more than how we react/don’t react when we are confronted with the bare, horrible truth of our situations. What I mean is, to live with someone with SA and/or NPD issues for years, months, weeks prior to actually knowing, cannot be happy or fulfilling for the very reasons that we all highlight in our comments re intimacy, emotional connection, secretiveness etc etc. What I mean to say is that my perception of co-dependancy is so much more than what happens after disclosure or “finding out”. It’s about the period prior to that too, in the sense that, what did we consciously or subconsciously decide to settle for, ignore, , justify, put at the back of our minds. What did we crave? This is not the premise for a happy, content relationship – how could it ever be with an SA/NP partner? My perception of the co-dependancy thing to me is that we have subconsciously or consciously imposed upon ourselves a set of conditions and accepted a whole lot of other things for our own reasons (we are all different) which do not leave us happy. But we are responsible for our own happiness. I would say strongly, do not dismiss, or scorn or deny our own or others’ co-dependancy issues because they do not make us weak or vulnerable. I can see what my co-dependancy issues were in my relationship and I left my SA immediately following D Day, knowing that I would never be happy with him. That is not to say I wasn’t distraught and devastated. But my happiness is my responsibility. No-one else’s. Looking back I know that no matter how much I loved him and no matter what my perception of our relationship was, I was not ever really happy or content. Because I ignored, I justified, I settled for, I accepted certain things that I wasn’t happy about. With me I think that it was like a set of scales, ie I wasn’t happy about some things but I was more than happy and content about others so it all balanced itself out. In my mind. I just didn’t question myself about it at the time. Perhaps the co-dependency thing should just be addressed differently in these groups you speak of in order that strong women feel more comfortable and have a better understanding of what it actually means to be co-dependant. I don’t know if anyone agrees but that’s my take on it. x

  15. Ps sorry one more thing. The very fact that we are discussing, analysing, giving so much time and energy to talking about something which we are not responsible for, makes us all very compassionate, strong, empowered, loving, open, beautiful people but let’s not forget that a good majority of others some very dear, open, human and loving people would not give this/these situations the time of day in the sense that they would know that they could find happiness elsewhere and do not need to settle for anything less. I wonder if this in itself makes us the very people that are labelled “co-dependant” and perhaps this is the reason we were drawn to and stayed with our partners so long, and continue to stay and support (and in some cases continue to stay and accept) and learn. etc etc. I don’t call myself a victim at all. The relationship was also my responsibility and like I said before, my happiness is my responsibility. So I cry, I grieve, I cry. I cry for what was lost to me and then I move on (but it’s taking a while). I think that he was crying out for help possibly but I can’t be the one that will help him. I am not responsible for his happiness, his well being or his future.

  16. We are not co-anything. And…we are not victims!

    We are casualties. Collateral damage from their war. But, we can and we will dust ourselves off, lick our wounds and go on–stronger and wiser.

    Thank all of you for your wonderful comments. Often I get tears in my eyes or a lump in my throat when I read your stories. My heart goes out to all of you.

  17. First I was a heroine addict and now I’m a methadone addict. LOL… You guys are so great!

    Rebecca, that is just the coolest thing ever!!! Wow!!!Thank you, so much. Don’t know what I said, but if it was helpful to you and your husband, then that is just wonderful!!!!!!! I think I’ve neglected to give credit to my fantastic 87 yr old mom who’s a marriage and family therapist for REAL (and still sees some clients!) and has taught me a lot over the years and also, she’s written two self-help books, but sorry, can’t divulge the info on that because unfortunately, she decided to thank me and my husband and two kids (by first AND last names!!!) and also talked about my sicko, insane, extremely ABUSIVE, narcissistic long deceased, father who she dumped (thank God!) when I was in my early teens. She stood by in her own state of denial and paralysis when a lot of shit happened that shouldn’t have, but she also had the courage to get out at a time and place when there was severe stigma and shame associated with divorce. So, for that alone, she is my heroine! But, again, don’t feel comfortable sharing her book info with y’all, for reasons I’m sure you can understand.

    Yeah, I know.. What percentage of us have repeated history with our husbands ugh… God help us!!! In my case, I married someone who was the diametric opposite of my father.

    As for Seren’s comments. I agree with you 100% and I admire you immensely for getting out of an untenable situation.

    Look, a relationship IS a whole entity and not just one or two aspects and there is just SO much and YES, it is all interconnected.

    Its just that even IF you had a headache 365 days a year,(get a Lyme titer) or you were stressed, exhausted, short tempered– or you were mad at him for something,(forgot to pick up the dry cleaning, for instance);) whatever it is… (omg! i’ve actually had men tell me that their wives are sick and they can’t have sex with them and their “needs” aren’t being met!!! — nauseating, isn’t it?)

    Does this mean that you’ve somehow contributed to and given him the right to violate your sacred trust, betray your marriage vows, annihilate your very soul AND lets not forget, expose you to potentially FATAL illnesses over and over and over and OVER again??? Is that WHY he married you??? I think not.(or maybe on some level it is) Its just that certain personality types with the combo of horrendously poor self esteem, severely damaged egos, and their own child hood abuse (in most cases) have created an individual who cares not about everyone EXCEPT himself.

    Not exactly the kind of “love and cherish” one had in mind when they said “I do.”

    And Does this make a woman who may or may not have her own issues an “accomplice” to whatever it is that he’s doing that is COMPLETELY OUT OF HER (and his) CONTROL??? For that is what it sounds like with the COSA model. And I just think that’s a pitiful cop out.(child of the 70s) 🙂

    Sure, the wife has her own faults, insecurities (hell who doesn’t?) weaknesses, issues as well.

    And yes, oftentimes, I hate to say this, but the wife may be enabling her partner unwittingly as is the case with a wife who works. Yep. See it all the time. He works(a little bit, maybe) and She works,(a lot!) and he’s out using her pay check to get hotel rooms for his lovers. nice.

    And of course, yes, it is possible that he doesn’t get “enough” from her emotionally. Fine. And she isn’t getting enough from him either. Fine. How about trying to TALK about it??? hmmmm…interesting concept– talking. Or better yet go get some help, before you destroy the one person you vowed to cherish and love more than any other soul on the planet.

    One of my lovely openly polyamorous friends has told me about a book which I haven’t read yet, but the title says it all.

    “The Ethical Slut”

    love it!

    This is all very tough stuff. And then, it all becomes ever more agonizingly difficult where there are children concerned and/or severe financial difficulties, aging parents and so many more things too!

    I think that if the circumstances are such, then its wise to do everything in ones power to make it work out and sometimes, leaving is the best and most loving thing one can do, but I don’t think that staying necessarily means that the woman is “co-dependent” or “co-addicted”. Perhaps she genuinely loves her partner and is just sticking out through “sickness and in health”. But, I guess it just depends HOW sick.

    Alright, time to do the dishes before my husband comes home and yells at me. 😉

  18. Seren,
    I wholeheartedly agree with your view. We didn’t create the problem but we can learn from it. Just the other day, I almost wanted to THANK him for this because it gave me clarity on other issues. Can you imagine?!
    We are awestruck by the similarities in the behaviors of our SA partners/ex-partners. But, have you noticed that many of “us” seem to fit a profile as well?
    A more highly developed morality
    Open-minded, forward-thinking
    A better-than-average ability to express our feelings
    I dunno! Maybe it’s just my impression?

    Well, since I’m not from NY, I guess you get to keep that wonderful therapist all to yourself! Truly a find!
    And nope, have only been with one SA (I hope, anyway!) and he’s from PA, not NY! You NYers might have the World Series winners, but both states have their share of SAs! LOL Lucky us!!!

    Glad you like the idea. Maybe offer a few baseline questions and then give space for some elaboration?

  19. About six years ago my husband (we were married almost four years at the time) told me he was bisexual. We dealt with that thinking it was the “problem.” We thought that affirming his attraction to men, allowing him to “be himself,” watching gay porn, and talking would help him. Blah blah blah…bullshit affirmation stuff. It was just another way of enabling. Now we both know he is a sex addict.

    He has only acted out with men while we’ve been together (16 years total), but he also had compulsive sex with women before me. We are both in therapy with a sex addiction specialist and he is diligently attending SAA meetings. He seems genuinely dedicated to getting better, healing himself, and our marriage.

    He didn’t actually get caught. Both the first time when he “came out” to me (thinking that telling me would make his need for sex with strangers go away) and this time. However, this time he had contracted syphilis and felt obligated to tell me about it out of fear that I would get sick. I think of that as getting caught, but I also know that he did have a choice to just keep his mouth shut and pray I wouldn’t catch it.

    This is really a difficult time for me. I have hope, but reading the posts on this site make me feel a bit hopeless.

    I don’t have any kids. It took me a long time to really trust him from the first disclosure– to think about having a baby with him–but we decided to start trying a few months ago. The day he told me he had syphilis was the first day I missed my period, I found out for sure I was pregnant a week later. I miscarried three weeks after that. My OB says it’s nobody’s fault, but I know that the incredible fear and stress killed my baby.

    I’m trying to get through. I’m strong, attractive, young(ish,34), we are financially comfortable (even though I don’t have a steady job), and if I wanted to leave I know I could. I would be emotionally devastated, but I could rebuild…he’s stolen a lot, but I’m still me. But I love this douchebag and I hate myself a little for that.

    His therapist has complimented him on his progress (he’s got 46 days starting from when he decided he was a sex addict, longer since he last acted out–but he decided that time didn’t count). He does seem dedicated, he appears genuinely contrite, takes responsibility, seems to have stopped lying, empathizes with my pain and tries to find ways of caring for me…but can I trust any of this???? Can I even trust my own perceptions???

    My therapist thinks I can, says that I am the expert on myself…whatever that fucking means. Anyway, I love him and I have loved my life with him. I’m not ready to give it up, but it’s a real rock-and-hard-place scenario. How much more of my young life do I spend on a man who very well may be incapable of loving me or ANYone??

    Anyway, I’m sorry to say that at this point I find this site a little depressing. However, I’m hoping to find some help and insight and I’m glad the site exists.

  20. C,

    I see no one has responded to any of your posts yet and I hope you’re getting answers or at least some support on the chatroll. I’m not really qualified to say much as I’m not actually married to an SA but have two in my family — my brother and my brother-in-law. The damage SA’s are capable of doing can reach well beyond the marriage. You have my sympathy and I can imagine the difficult decisions you must be facing. In your case, it sounds like your husband is at least making an attempt to change and perhaps you shouldn’t make any rash decisions until you’re sure of what direction is best for *you*.

    I do want to tell you how sorry I am about your baby. No matter what caused the miscarriage, it still compounds the grief you’re already suffering and my heart goes out to you. Be well and know that you have friends here.

  21. omg – glad to have found you guys! I have been feeling alone and CRAZY! I am in my second marriage – first hubby was an alcoholic….stayed because of the kids (not really – probably stayed because i am terrified of being alone / abandonment). I became involved with a co-worker (while still married) and was smitten – he was so sexual and seemed so open and worldly. I was impressed beyond measure. Fell completely in ‘love’ – we started a business together – and had a baby. We do get along well – usually. But if i am honest – it is good when i do what he wants and be my usual pleaser self.
    We started to experiment more and more – and to be honest – i found it very exciting. Watching him with other women seems incredibly hot and i get off on it LOTS! But – deep down – what is that really all about???? Me controlling him (or thinking i have some control)? OR – is it me getting off on the pain of seeing my biggest fear? Maybe sounds weird – i am just confused….btw – he loves to watch me with other men – i do it and fake that i like it. sick and needy, hey?
    also – he has stopped sweeping me off my feet – no more passion, kissing, cuddling like at first – just sex – either with others or fantasizing about others – it’s all he wants – so i give it like a ‘good little wife’. wouldn’t want to be abandoned…

  22. Oh Carrie,

    Do not despair, just yet.

    I was involved with a swinger/sex addict which is how I ended up here. And your description of your husband is exactly like my ex friend.

    I totally understand everything you are going through. At first, it just feels like a lark and why the hell not.. He made it all sound like “so much fun”— and for me, the fun was in the planning, but not so much, the execution. After a while, I felt like nothing more than a prop, and if I fit into HIS scheme, fine and if not, then I could just run along which was very painful and things didn’t turn out so well. I wasn’t in a real relationship with this man. He had a partner who wasn’t ANY part of all of this and that is just plain WRONG.

    Messy doesn’t even begin to cover it. And WHY I would do this in the first place, is another story, but normally, its not like me, at all, but I just really liked him and enjoyed pleasing him and I don’t see anything wrong with that as long as its reciprocal.

    You’re in a bit of a tough situation, but I think you have a lot more power than you realize.

    The reason I think that the passion is gone for him, is because he “has you.” The newness and element of surprise is gone. And I think a lot of this applies to most marriages after a while. After all, after you’ve been with someone a thousand times…it can get stale. So, at the risk of sounding like I’m objectifying women (which I’m not, why not “reinvent” yourself or him! Get a wig, a costume, a mask, a toy– role play. This hasn’t been talked about on here, but I see no reason why sex can’t be interesting and innovative, as long as both parties are interested and why not? There are books out there on different ideas for this, but since a lot of it is fantasy, why not just act it out within the confines of your marriage?

    I think it would be hot to have an “affair” with your spouse. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to a man. Take HER to a motel!!!

    I also think that the ONLY way swinging can possibly work is for a couple who’s in a REAL relationship and then it would be a lark and the experience could actually serve to bond the couple in a certainly unorthodox way, but I have seen it happen. I realize that this is waaaaaaaaaaay out there and most will go, what on earth is she talking about? I think that’s crazy, sick, perverted and so forth… and yes, it is not a lifestyle choice that will appeal or work for the majority of people who favor a strictly monogamous union as the best approach.

    What *I* think is sick and perverted, is deception– However, if two people wanna be swingers and are open and honest about it, and enjoy it, then so be it.

    Now, if your husband is merely using you, and you aren’t really enjoying it and he’s also still going behind your back and so forth, then we are back to square one.

    In any case, try not to beat yourself up about it. And try to calmly talk to him about it too some time when you aren’t in bed. Whatever you do, do not let it all build up and then let it all explode, like I did when it all became waaaaaaaay too much! You do need to communicate– always. Again, it is about setting clear boundaries and rules. This is the only way it’ll work in any situation.

    He’s a VERY lucky man and I hope he knows it! Also, if you do engage in this type of relationship, you call the shots! You decide who you will be with and when! I think that’s very important! If its not enjoyable, then it will never work, so no more faking. He will not respect you, if you are only pretending to enjoy it for him. Its also not a substitute for a healthy, honest and open relationship between the two of you, so perhaps some counseling is in order. This would be helpful for your abandonment fears, as well. I think it is important for everyone to feel strong enough in their relationships to be able to function without an unrealistic fear of loss. It is not an uncommon fear, however. And no one wants to be ditched by someone they love and it is always a possibility, but we have no control over what another will do, anyway. If we let it take over our lives however, we become a slave to the fear realistic or not and sometimes that fear becomes so intense that unwittingly, we create situations that actually create or test that fear. (self-fulfilling prophecy)

    Don’t worry, a good counselor can help you get to the bottom of this.

    You’re a treasure and your husband needs to understand that in order to keep his treasure happy, that she needs to be treated very, very well.

    Sorry, a bit rambling… Hope it helps!

  23. I caught my husband of 10 years chatting to another woman on the internet and that was a year ago. Since then I have made the discovery that he has been on many internet dating sites and other social networking sites behind my back for almost 6 years.

    He claims he was doing it for social reasons as I was unsocial (which I know I can be). I was lied to about it when I found it and it has since been revealed that he has had sex with 2 women that he met on these sites. However he has chatted to dozens more and he has only said he has had sex with 2 because it wasnt what he was looking for, although upon my investigations, his profiles on these sites clearly indicate he was after sex.

    I dont know the full truth or the true number of women he has had sex with even though I have asked many times and given the timeframe of 6 years, it is hard for me to believe it is only 2. It appears he will only admit to the two that I found out about, and wont reveal any more.

    I have been very hurt and humiliated and in a lot of pain upon making this discovery. I dont know if this is sexual addiction. He says he has now stopped it and cancelled his hotmail, yahoo etc email accounts.

    I recently found 7 women listed on a swingers site that he had listed as “friends”. When I asked him about this he says he never paid to be on that site and didnt like it. I asked him if he has had sex with any of them and he denies it, but it is a site dedicated to sex hook-ups.

    I still catch him looking at other women more than is necessary in my presence. I am very confused as to whether this is sex addiction or just someone who got caught up in internet addiction and chatting because he had no male friends to spend time with.

    I have not been given full disclosure and only get smokescreens and diversions and defensiveness when I try to ask him about it.

    I will admit that maybe I didnt show him as much affection as I should have and sex life was bad as he seemed to have a low sex drive and I thought that was OK because it meant I wasnt being demanded for sex all the time, however I guess it means that over time it lost its appeal with me.

    I dont know and am so confused, any advice, thanks.

  24. Hi RT,
    I’m really sorry to hear what you’ve been dealing with, but I think you have found the right site to get some good information and support. Understanding sex addiction is quite a learning curve on its own, but when its your spouse it can be a harder journey.

    It sure sounds like your husband has this problem. Maybe one of the first learnings to offer is that internet addiction to porn/hook-up/swinger sites etc. is one way sex addicts act out. Your post seems to suggest that sex addiction and internet addiction were maybe not the same thing. Internet sex stuff is just the drug of choice for some sex addicts–or one of several for other sex addicts. Your spouse’s activities online really seem pretty clearly to be the activities of a sex addict. That’s my assessment for what it’s worth. But read more of the topics/discussions here and you will be able to make your own assessment. I’m really sorry to tell you that hard news, but I also believe you can climb out of this nightmare if you know what’s really going on.

    Also, sex addicts are notoriously sluggish, boring or unavailable sex partners with their spouses. So I think you have another big red flag. As you learn more, you will discover they are usually emotionally unavailable as well.

    One of the most hurtful aspects on this addiction is the lying. This leads to multiple disclosures over time. This experience can be very damaging to us, as the trauma just keeps rolling in. We put ourselves back together after the first disclosure and figure out how we’ll move through this crisis, when we find out more hideous truths about him and the blatant lies he’s told to cover it up. Lying is probably the most basic aspect of the sex addict’s life, and the most devastating piece to the spouse.

    In most cases, sex addiction has a direct link to an awful childhood experience that is most often abusive on various levels. Here is where genuine compassion for the addict is possible. But only with a serious recovery program and committed therapeutic journey does the addict get past the acting out and begin to uncover the sources of their own terrible pain and find healing.

    Meanwhile, dear sister, you are also in pain and need support and care as you explore what your real options are. Find a therapist. Listen to all for of the audio interview JoAnn has posted with Barbara Steffens. She is great at giving basic information for all of us to better understand what’s going on. Her book is great, as well, and I think you can order it from this site, although I got mine locally.

    This is a very difficult time for you and everyone posting on this site knows that and understands it. We all hope your story will end in recovery and reconciliation, but the journey will be rocky. So stay in touch and gain strength from this strange but strong fellowship of women. Keep reading. Trust yourself. Choose life.

    in peace

  25. RT,

    Welcome, I am so glad you found this site. It will serve you well. Please do not take any responsiblity for your husband’s behavior. It was nothing you did or said that caused this to happen. The responsibility belongs solely to the SA. There are many stories and a great deal of wisdom from those that have walked this path. Your feelings are normal, not necessarily good ones, but they are normal. This is a betrayal at a gut wrenching level, the grief, pain, hurt, lies, demeaning acts, passive aggressiveness (if it applies) tend to ebb away at your soul. This is not a reflection of you – and don’t ever believe it is.

    My heart goes out to you.

  26. Thank you so much for your informative replies to my post.

    I do know that his mother had cheated on his father and she was made to stand up in front of her children by her husband to say what she had done. Whether this is the childhood trauma that started all of this I dont know but I suspect it has something to do with it in that the image of your mother is shattered.

    I have also read that cheating can run in families and this could explain it and the lack of respect towards women.

    Also correct about the boring sluggish sex life. I used to speak to a friend at the beginning of my relationship with my husband and asked them why he shows little interest in sex with me. This should have been a red flag, along with the fact that in my diary I had noted that one time we went out for dinner (during courtship) and I felt unhappy because he was staring at other women.

    He has promised to never cheat again and seems very embarrassed that I caught out his secret double life. He has never cried or even suggested that he is a sex addict.

    I doubt that he thinks he is a sex addict and I dont know if he can commit to changing just by telling himself and me that he wont cheat again or join internet dating sites again.

    I also wonder if being married and having a child triggered this activity.

    Is it likely that cheating could have been a part of his previous relationships, although he says that he has been faithful in every relationship? If so, that means it is just me that he has cheated on, so something about me triggered it in him to do it.

    Once again, thank you and I’m so glad I found this site as there is a lot of information that so fits the profile of my husband and advice to the spouse.

  27. Dear RT,
    It’s really great that you are using this site to educate yourself, find support and stay sane! God knows some weeks I’m hanging on to sanity with my fingernails.

    It’s hard to stop your mind from racing through all the scenarios you can imagine as “reasons” for why this is happening. It’s as if we can finally catch our breath when we think we may have landed on some scrap of a reason for our partner’s behaviour. But, RT, you are really not powerful enough to have started any of this. And even what you know about your partner’s story is just the tip of the iceberg. So let that hunt for reasons go. Thats his therapist’s job. That’s why she/he gets the big bucks.

    It is very important that your partner get into a recovery program for sex addiction. “Telling himself” will not be enough. He needs the support and honesty of a group, as well as the therapeutic work with a professional addictions counsellor. That’s the way past the presenting symptoms of the sexual acting out, to the source of the problem. But the acting out has to stop. In the 12 step program I think they call it Sept Zero–STOP.

    Very few men will suggest they are sex addicts. They have to be convinced by men with the same problem. It’s really important that you examine your situation with him and ensure that you and any children are safe from the consequences of his behaviours. No STD’s, no porn in the house, no physical or verbal abuse.

    I really want to congratulate your for beginning this learning curve. It also took courage to reach out, and to keep reading the posts. Because we all know that it hurts like hell when you first find out and then it hurts even more when you begin to understand what’s been going on between the two of you. Please seek help and support from someone you can trust–a friend or family member, a counsellor, a support group for partners of sex addicts. You deserve some real caring.

    Hang in there RT. There is a future for women like us.

    lots of love,

  28. RT,

    Welcome to JoAnn’s blog and an ever growing group of “casualties” of this horrible disease.

    Soooo…let me get this straight. After your husband’s father MADE his wife TELL his YOUNG children that she was having sex with a man who wasn’t their father, they all went to family counseling together and worked out their intense, agonizing emotional pain in a safe, healthy way?

    Or did he just continue his sick f**ked up abuse and make her walk around town with a Scarlet Letter A embroidered on all of her clothing so that the whole world could see what a disgusting, cheating horrible horrible woman their mother was?

    I wonder what else that monster of a Husband/Daddy Dearest Did?… What a guy.

    This is a grotesquely dysfunctional family and what is the message? Daddy told his wife to tell THEIR children the TRUTH in all of its gory, highly, HIGHLY inappropriate (for their ears) ugliness for children who cannot even possibly begin to deal with this kind of information— under any circumstances whatsoever!!!!!!!

    This is just plain wrong, wrong wrong!!!!!!!!!

    (pls forgive me, but as an adult survivor of intense childhood emotional/physical trauma and abuse, it really gets my hackles up!)

    Your husband is the victim of extremely traumatic emotional abusive childhood and the devastation felt by him and his sibling(s) and the eventual repercussions is most likely at the root of his problems. It may not be the whole story, but its a big, big clue.

    Yep, its the tip of the ice berg. You can be certain of that.

    For your husband, the message was that the TRUTH = EXCRUCIATING PAIN. And no doubt, this message was hammered into his young, developing brain over and over again.

    He is a sex addict and I concur wholeheartedly with everything that Jane, Jeannette and Diane said.

    His acting out has nothing whatsoever to do with you, however, and I do not believe him for one second that you are the first woman that he has cheated on. Sex addicts LIE to protect themselves and their exceedingly fragile egos. But even IF this is the one rare instance where he is being truthful and you were the first woman that he cheated on, why on earth would you need to know that? How could that information possibly be helpful to your situation? That is abuse, sweetie. A normal, healthy man (who can empathize) would understand that this would be devastatingly hurtful information to share with his wife and not relevant to the situation, in any case.

    You are not responsible and you didn’t trigger anything.

    Even IF he says that you did.

    This is what sex addicts do. They blame and transfer and don’t accept responsibility. They will say that ALL men do this and that ALL men are “genetically programmed” to desire sex with as many women as they can get their hands on. They can’t help it!!!!!!!!!! You know… that “perpetuation of the species” bull shit? Don’t you just love it? Guess what? We have it too!!! Uh, huh… In fact we are programed to seek out multiple partners,(in the wings) lest the primary provider die and we are left without a provider, thus we would all starve. (google Helen Fisher, the amazing anthropologist on youtube. I LOVE her!)

    But, we are not ruled solely by our primitive brains, unless one is a blaming, minimizing, justifying sex addict!

    Actually, your husband sounds a lot like mine. Boring in bed— always waiting for ME, to make the move,(that is just so not sexy, I can’t tell you) no male friends (at least locally), no drive, no ambition. It’s called depression, honey. And they use porn, chat rooms and affairs to ameliorate these intense feelings of despair that they often don’t even realize that they have! This is just one reason why they simply can’t go it alone. Look where “going it alone” got them? In the bottom of a snake pit. They need help, support, and a LOT of it and so do you.

    A healthy man goes after his wife– always and forever. A man should always be chasing his woman. I’m sorry, if that sounds sexist, but I do believe that some stereotypes do stand up to some extent. Chasing is courting. And this is something that I think is common in a lot of marriages whether or not there is out and out pathology happening. This is what I see happening, all the time… Attraction, Dates, Courting, flowers, dinners out, love, bliss, proposal, ring, dress, flowers, cake, honeymoon— “honey can you pick up my shirts from the cleaners?………..” And the romance, courting, chasing is over, and THEN come the children and whatever inkling of romance there once was is gonzo– dead, buried GONE! Big mistake. He ain’t doing his job as a man, so do not blame yourself. Yes, it takes two, but he needs to keep that romance alive. That’s what the chats are about. He’s longing for that intimacy that he doesn’t have and yet… its all f–ked up. He should be having those “affairs” with his wife!

    Therapy will help.

    I am not saying that you and all of us don’t have our own crap that we are also bringing to the marriage and that we don’t contribute at all to the myriad of issues which can plague our marriages, and dissolution of romance, but no matter what, we cannot possibly turn a man into a sex addict.


    Full disclosure. This is very tough. I think you do have a right to understand the extent of his activities and how and when he did them and how often. Knowledge is power, if he’s truly committed to stopping. (which I’m not hearing that he is) It is something that I think should be done in a supportive setting, with a therapist to mediate, however. This is going to be the most painful stuff ever and it requires a highly skilled professional to help both parties deal with this in the most effective and healthy way. Again, there may be some details that really are not relevant to healing and recovery as in the case that you are the FIRST woman that he has cheated on. Unfortunately, sex addicts who have no healthy inner controls or boundaries in the first place, will tell you the things you don’t need to know and withhold the things you DO need to know!

    I do believe that in many cases, recovery is possible. It just takes a lot of time and the right help, for both of you, and support and a lot of loving kindness– and that begins with love for yourself.



  29. Hi RT,
    I too am new to the sight. I enjoy reading the stories. These ladies are right. My husband is also a liar. It takes alot of time to realize that you can no longer trust this man and the elaborate lies that they have told you in the past to cover tracks, etc. Not sure at this point how I will ever know that he is telling the truth. The pain of it is life altering in that this person you thought was your partner has deceived you! In my case my entire relationship. They are also right that you did not cause the sex addiction and that I would bet that it did not just start with you. Odds are that that he is not telling the truth. Like someone else said they like us to feel it is our fault, which they do blame us is some ways use that logic to rationalize the behavior so that the can continue their acting out and not feel guilty about it. As they appear to have no conscience.

    The other thing I felt was interesting was what the father did to the mother. Curious though as this may not be the whole story. Why did she have the affair, is it possble he also had affairs. It would not be in his nature to admit his wrong doings, but to just make her admit hers in front of the whole family. Who knows what else the father could have been up to. Sounds like a real piece of work.

    Hang in there RT.


  30. I have quite the story to reveal about the sex addiction of an old college lover. I was looked up after 20 years and agreed to a exciting reunion only to find a shell of the person I once was so fond of. This man’s conduct was not
    of a professional, married, father of three. After five minutes I knew something was terribly strange in his behavior at dinner. I was in utter disbelief and returned
    the second time to confront him. I correspondended for two years and followed the cycles of addiction in horror as he is self-destructing. I did everything possible to talk — yet he was like teflon, in denial, proud of his prowess and become increasing narcissistic. No one could touch him.
    I could no longer watch and had to turn my head and walk away. God help his poor wife of 27 years and his children.
    What has become of this man? Moral of story: Be careful of who you sleep with…someday it could come back to HAUNT YOU!

  31. new to the site I need support and am finally seeking it after a year and a half of what I call Journey unknown I have a great counselor a good 12 step program and a husband who has lied to me for 20 years that I want to believe. Some days are better than others but deep down the pain of the reality of all the bullshit is overwhelming We have been in counseling for a year twice a week we go once together and then alternate solo each week It has been great in a lot of ways because i could never even begin to heal with out the insight our dr. has provided trying to heal our childhood wounds. We r both from alcoholic families we were both seriously abused however i didn’t know about his abuse until counseling, talk about intimacy. thats it in a nutshell, the lack of intimacy and trust. He comes close moves away comes super close moves away He is like a child He is 50 years old and I feel like I am with a kid I crave to be with a confident man a man who knows who he is, who says what he means and means what he says I love my husband and respect the fact that against all odds he has been clean and sober from alcohol for 2 1/2 years but then a year into recovery I discover I’m married to a serious sex addict The denial was through the roof and now we finally have gotten out of denial and into honesty. He finally has stopped blaming me and is getting accountable for his actions but this is the deal in my journey you know when u want something so bad and you fight for it with every ounce of your soul only to get more healthy and ask your self is it really worth it? The trust is out the window and no matter how much closer we are now knowing what he is capable of is something that scares the shit out of me. He is an incredible father he is home every night his whole life is for our family and he proves it all the time. before i would say his whole life was motivated by the approval of his buddies, but how does one really know? I would say an addict has to feel a lot of pain to be motivated to change, and I have enabled him to not hit rock bottem. The only thing I did was set boudaries and keep him in counseling but inside I always feel like I am dying not living because of the tremendous shame. I know he is a very sick man but what scares me more is how sick I became because of all of it. He is a narccissit to the core and I know he is trying but deep down will it ever be enough?

  32. HI Roxanne, and welcome,

    Your story is so full of stress and pain that it’s hard to know how to respond. I guess I start by saying it stinks—all of it, from the wounds you both acquired as children, through the trauma of your adult life. I’m just so sorry that so much hard stuff has come you way.

    So now the question is how do you stop it???

    Sometimes we get very confused about what we want in life. It sounds like you are sick of dealing with some things. But only you can decide what you leave behind for good, what you will set aside until things improve, and what you want to keep in your life. Make sure you are spending your energy on the things that you want to keep. REmember that you can’t control him in his addiction or his recovery. You can only be responsible for your own healing.

    I hope you will find some clarity by reading some of the other stories on this site. We have so much in common even though we are all unique. And my you have courage to make the choices that will lead you and your children to a safer and happier life.


  33. I have some questions and this web site has given me great insite as to what im up against. We were married this summer and two weeks later I discovered husband is SA. I knew he lied all the time and viewed too much porn, called x too much for me and was unable to stop, so his calls have been forwarded to my phone. she returned his call and I happened to answer the phone. Like all the other spouses of SAs I have been devastated. Betrayed and stabbed in my heart. I laid it on the line as long as he was seekin improvement I would stay and offer my support. He started counseling and zoloft. both are helping but he has acted out since then and was caught again the same was as before. So, does anyone know why he is giving out his phone number knowing I will find out? I decided the second time not to let him know when I get these phone calls. I was getting the feeling he was enjoying my pain. Does anyone know?

  34. Hi Stephanie,
    Glad that you have found this site, it has been helpful to me as well.

    I am not sure about the SA causing you pain on purpose. I think some have posted here with the same question or feeling and i am Not sure if the got to the bottom of that.

    But it would appear that this is on purpose. The reason I don’t know. But if this is what he is doing while he is supposed to be spending time and starting recovery, this is not a good place for you.

    I have often wondered..some are very passive. Passive agressive would be doing just this, malicious intent, giving out the number so you know and this hurts you (find out). Some are so passive they would rather you be the one that end the relationship than end it themself. If this is the case its not person specific. He actually hates women as well as his mother. Passive Aggressive typically has to do with an overbearing mother, that they secretly hate, and do hurtfull things to get back at her. They then turn their wife into the new mother figure, that they then also hate, and the cycle continues. The books I have read say that passive agressive behavior is almost impossible to cure, unless the patient really wants to get better. It has to come from them. Its really not something that can be cured, but rather you learn to live with it and call them on it. If curios read the book on living with the passive aggressive man, by Scott Wetzler.

    I personally don;t know…but these are my two scents based on what you posted.

  35. thank you Flora. He does have passive aggressive behavior. he is more the gentle narcisist either way it hurts the same. you opened my eyes about his effort at recovery. and in keeping with the true sa he said he only called the girls didnt meet them. BTW I got diamond earrings that night for late 2 month anniversary except it was 3 months and one day. He has started zoloft do you have any knowledge on the benefit?> thank you for your post and the book reference.

  36. i have another concern – i have noticed my sa husband views teenage porn and prefers the young ones, i have 3 girls at home should I be concerned bout this preference. Please help i dont trust my judgement any longer. Thanks


    This is an extremely dangerous situation for your girls. The addiction is always escalating. The possibility for damage to your daughters with an active Sex Addict in the home is 100%. Children know so much more than we think they do. A young girl, knowing, or even suspecting any abnormal sexual behavior in her father is extremely damaging emotionally. Add to the fact that your husband as already exhibited a tendency toward young girls and you have the makings of a terrible tragedy.

    As a mother your job is to protect your children and keep them safe. You CANNOT believe what your husband says about his addiction or activities, pedophilia and incest are surrounded with so much shame and guilt that he will definitely lie about it.

    For me, this is a deal breaker. Any man who is sexually stimulated by young girls does not belong anywhere near girls or young women.

    I would also be concerned as to whether or not something may have already occurred. I would seek counseling for yourself and your girls, a polygraph test for your husband and separate housing.

    There is no gray area when it comes to this topic.

  38. I agree. With sex addicts this crosses the line. As we all know child pornography is illegal, if under 18. It is never appropriate. I would also be concerned that he has or may in the future cross that line with the daughters if he has not already.

    Please also realize that you can question them and they may not or will not tell you. There is something that happens with shame as well as if they tell you and you and the husband split they will think it is there fault. Not the husband who was sexually abusing them. Atleast this is what I have read. You need to find a therapist or someone that they can talk to. They are even really good at picking up body language if the group of you go to a session together. That they the thrapist can see the interaction with them. Also pick up some books on sexual abuse, to see the symptoms.

    I would ever be cautious even if he passes the lie detector test. This does not mean he did not do anything. There are instances where these guys truely beleive the lies they are telling. So gather all data you can.

    But for me this is a no brainer. He has viewed teenage porn you have three girls, they are in danger. Even if he is looking at them inappropriately. He does not have to touch them to abuse them.

  39. Dear Stephanie,

    So sorry for what you are going through. I wish I could tell you there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but the only light that can shine here is yours. They (sa)live in a dark twisted world where boundaries do not exist. And lie, lie, lie. Please protect your girls. If he’s viewing teenage porn, I would have to agree that they are in danger. And you cannot believe what he says. My sa says he’s not gay even though he sleeps with male prostitutes! However, after digging through computer I also found that he took pics of his butt, in our living room and responded to gay sex ads on craigs list. Perhaps he is not gay, don’t care, but you get the picture. they lie to themselves, believe their own bs, and then sell it to us. They are too ashamed. and should be! However If he’s viewing, he will eventually act on it unless in recovery and off the smutt. They just do. Please protect your girls.

  40. Stephanie, may I suggest that you think of your SA in this light., treat your daughters’ interaction with your SA as if he were an unrelated man whom you knew to have the same exact problem as your SA.

  41. that is the problem I dont know enough bout behavior but i’m learning, my sa drives long haul for living and is only here couple days a month and is only here with me.I removed internet from his phone and he is no longer allowed on the computer. he in recovery and on zoloft. This is so foreign to me like everyone else i feel so betrayed. ty

  42. Stephanie,
    This is a good thing, so less stress for you and kids.

    I really don;t know much about the meds.Zoloft I know it is an antidepressent. I have read some instances where being on an anti-depressent can be helpful, but this is still just a pill. The pill will help with the symptoms, but not the problem. It is beneficial to him to take them he should continue. But this by no means is an excuse for the porn, teenage porn or whatever the case. They are eager for the supposed quick fix (or what would appear to us to be a fix) and continue doing things behind our back. Don’t fall for it.

    Even if he is doing well on the pills he still must start therapy and attend 12 step meetings. I know this will be hard if he is one the road, but he must figure it out. If he does not, you do not need to continue to co-habitate with a man who is a risk for you and the kids.

    Good Luck to you Stephanie! ((((Hugs)))). I know this is tough but you will get through this. The sisters on here will help you the best we can.

  43. Yes, and even with therapy and 12-step programs and rehab facilities, they can and usually STILL act out. In fact, the “meetings” are a good cover for their acting out. They can also have secret PDAs and cell phones and bank accounts that you are not aware of.

    And yes, I agree— meds can help with certain bio-chemical issues such as depression, but they don’t do much for personality disorders and preventing a man from being a perv and an ass-hole. That is LEARNED behavior and unlearning it is very difficult if not impossible for most.

  44. Stephanie,
    I learned an aweful truth very early this morning.
    The ONLY true thing about an addict is this:


    DO NOT let your girls be in the same town as him.

  45. Starry, I am so sorry for your pain. I know exactly how it feels, in fact, my heart is racing right now. I just wish I could get through to every woman out there who believes that first flush of lies and gives their heart, soul and trust back to these guys. Maybe it just has to happen this way, I know I went through it. I guess we just want things back the way they were and we can’t possibly conceive of them doing anything worse than what we know.

    But, the truth is, they will always, always lie. And, the worse the truth, the harder they will lie to keep that awful secret.

    I wish I had the words to make you calm down and feel better, but I know that when you are in the panic mode only time will give you relief.

    Just know we are all here for you, thinking of you, loving you and sending lots of good energy for strength and courage.

    Let our hugs and love give you a little comfort. You are not alone.

  46. Thanks Flora and JoAnn. I posted in my “Starry’s Story” thread, nothing as dramatic a anything to do with children.. I just wanted to let Steffanie know that they simply cannot at any cost, be trusted.

    Simply trying to tread water in this cesspool I call my life right now..

  47. All along I knew something wasn’t right. Porn on his work computer and phone and the I tracked him using google latitude to his favorite places to pick up prostitutes. I kept quiet knowing he was lying. I felt sick enraged and humiliated. I didn’t get a choice about his lying or cheating. I didn’t get a choice about his blaming me for it when I confronted him. But I am choosing to move on. I mourn the life I thought I had with my minister husband. Some days I still hate him. I know he will never apologize and what good would it do. I want to be free of the resentment.

    1. I think this whole thing has aged me. I hadnt gone out very often since my last post afraid that there are more people like him out there just waiting to prey on me. I don’t wonder how or why it happened anymore but everything just weighs on my heart and soul.

    2. The days are easier. I see how you have manipulated some people to believe your lies about what you did to us. But we know the truth don’t we you and I? I wonder if you confessed to God? I know you do not miss me. I know you did not love me but I think you thought you tried. You tried in between the insults and deliberate attempts to degrade me. I’m proud of myself for figuring you out. You caused me so much pain and you were not worth it.

    3. I learned I don’t need you or want you. I learned not everyone is like you. You are empty and have nothing to offer. Every evil you planned for me is now on your head.

  48. My husband is sorta kinda all together, a different SA. Before we were married, we both found ways to hurt each other, but eventually came clean after we both were caught. Time went by, trust came back, we married. Almost 5 years later, things have gotten shady once again. I used his boss as prey to get just a very small piece of proof. Then came the texts. Once confronted, it was admitted. It was purely sexting, with the intentions, should he have NOT been caught, the obvious. I wasn’t feeling good about my “confession” he gave. He began crying one day, due to my continued questioning. I got a blow to the head. He asked if I would just wait, because he needed to do this and tell this to me in person. We got home and I was informed that not only my marriage, but my entire 10 year relationship was a mockery!! He has been to massage parlors, prostitutes, some all nighters, random women, and from the confession, also male encounters for oral. My husband is by no means, a gay man, it would be unheard of with his passion for women’s anatomy. Before the confession of all this, I kept hearing some phrases that have stuck…”if only you knew”, “I wish you could know everything that I hold in”, “I have soo much that no one knows of”, etc. I love him. I love us. But can I be sure that he is and wants to get help. He has started therapy, I start myself tomorrow, and we both go again on Saturday. Its a start, I don’t expect miracles after a few sessions, I expect the sessions to absolutely continue for as long as I need. I expect my other rules to also continue. One was that I needed him to confess this to his mother, regardless of his hurt, or hers, I wanted to make sure someone else knew of these secrets, so I wasn’t a guilty party for having this shame should something else more harmful occur. I also wanted his confessional to be made to his mother, because I believe thats a huge revelation for any son to a mother. He has had childhood memories that are coming out more as the days go by, and his biological father literally lives 5 blocks from us, but they haven’t spoken in over 10 years. Before that 10 years, he spoke to his father for a total of maybe 6 months for another 10 years. He lost his sister 3 days before she was to graduate in a horrific car accident, and 6 months before his sisters death, his parents were separating. So he lost his family (to divorce – not that his father was any type of good father, but it was his father) lost his sister and began a 20 year addiction to sex and 20 year estrangement from his father. So thats the small of the story. Can I and he remain as we are, or which we portrayed, which is a very good loving, and sexual (for the most part) couple. Yes, we did still have as much sex, as i would give him, through all of this. Which is more than some or most couples. So as you can see, this is all new to me, and I’m scared for him, and I’m scared for me, and I’m mostly scared for us!!

  49. I just caught my husband on porn chat sites. he was on my lap top and forgot to close it. He was making a date. I went nuts. He said he was just playing with them. I then checked his trash and found that he was on a gay site four years ago. I then found emails from a guy that he met a guy that gave him a bj. Again, he denied it. Finally, he admitted it and said he didn’t like it and never saw the guy again. I asked if he is gay and he said no and that he loves me. I am sick about the whole thing. We are going to a marriage counselor, but it takes my husband weeks to admit anything. He said that if I can’t forgive him or want to fix this that he would leave and I can have everything. Terrific, I don’t have a job. I’m a substitute teacher. I can’t even do that because I can’t sleep and I cry all day.
    It’s the holidays and I don’t know how to get through this. Thanksgiving was terrible, trying to not let the kids know what is happening. We have 3 sons. (the youngest has moved back home and knows that we are having problems, but doesn’t know to what extent)

    We just had our 42 anniversary before Thanksgiving. He tossed a card on the table with a lottery ticket inside. He signed his name with love. He told me to read the card because he meant every word. He spent more time emailing strangers and I am suppose to be impressed? I bought myself flowers and announced one night that I was not cooking and that we were going out. That was fine with him. He is so clueless.

    I don’t believe anything he says. I feel like my heart is crushed. I feel like my life is a sham.
    I have no place to go. I don’t want my sons to take me in. This is ridiculous. He was the one person I always trusted and that is gone.

    We don’t see the counselor for another week and a half. I don’t want to be on antidepressants or start drinking. I feel like I am in a nightmare.

  50. Karah: As someone who is traveling the same road as you (I am married 33 yrs.), I know that you are hurting deeply. A therapist is a good idea but then what to do in between times when you are as raw and torn up and feel like you are spinning out of control. Well, this may sound simple but it has helped me a lot. I have bought meditation CD music (like music at a spa) and play it next to my bed all night long. I have asked my dr. for a sleep aid so I can have 8-10 hrs. of solid sleep each night.

    Next, I make a special point of meeting my close friends a lot for an inexpensive coffee and lunch. They patiently listen and offer advice and generally give me strength to keep going. We don’t spend any time bashing my SA husband, just talking about the reality and pain I am experiencing.

    Your trust is shattered and you are feeling vulnerable. Please keep things “small” through the holidays and remember to love and honor yourself. Whatever it is that you love to do, try to find the strength to pursue that and keep busy. Quiet time is often the times I find that my mind starts looping around and around and I feel craziness and despair taking over. Fight that dark place by staying busy, even if that means just taking a walk.

    I don’t know how successful 12 step programs can be, after all, their focus is on the sexual addict and not on the spouse and family. I know that my husband sits through these meetings just to be able to say he was there – he is NOT working the program (we are separated) but instead of prostitutes is now going to Asian massage parlors for the “rub and tug” treatment.

    It sickens me to know that all of us are suffering the same same same pain and loss and confusion and anger and sadness. I experience levels of these emotions every single day. Music helps at all times. Cup of tea. Friends. Walks.

    My initiation into this world happened this past August, so I am relatively new to the entire shock and humiliation that is now my norm. I stand in my Truth – I did not cause or contribute to this man’s perversion and sickness – this is all his CHOICE and I am the one who happens to be collateral damage. Since I have always known that his addiction/compulsion/perversions were all his own choice and doing, AT LEAST I DON’T HAVE THAT GUILT, TOO.

    I stand with you and encourage you to be strong, follow your heart/spirit on this and a door will open to show you the way. Believe that.

  51. Well Ladies, I am so glad to have found a sisterhood that shares my nightmare. My husband was just recently diagnosed with SA, as well as sex/intimacy anorexia and is narcissistic as well. I recently found that he had been taking nude photos and videos of himself in various states of arousal and had been sending some to a female coworker. She obliged as well. This after 2 affairs, several “inappropriatel”, and leading email conversations with female coworkers, years and years of an obscene amount of porn, and years and years of getting little to no affection, sex or physical intimacy. I finally had the strength to give him the ultimatum to leave the house or I would take our youngest daughter and go for good. Only a separation, and the humiliation of having to tell friend & family that he is the one with the “problem” did he take therapy seriously. I am so devisated / confused / ashamed … You name it and I feel it at one point or another. What a roller coaster. All I’ve ever needed was affection. But because I wasnt “supportive” aka fawning over him and constantly stroking his ego he pulled away from me. Even when things were really good between us he would pull away- petrified of being intimate with me. But no amount of compliments and praise would ever satisfy him or his fragile little ego. I hate myself for not putting my foot down years ago. I hate myself for “allowing” this to happen. I hate myself for not seeing the signs sooner, and then burying my head in the sand “hoping” things would change. I hate myself for feeling so ashamed that I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone how hurt and empty I was all those years. I hate myself for being confused as to whether to leave for good of give it one more chance. I hate myself for letting him make me feel this way. I hate him for making me feel this way. 25 years of marriage. It like starting over again. He admitted to me (or one of his excuses) was that he just didn’t feel any attraction to me (Oh that hurts) but now he says that sexually he feels more attracted to me than ever. What a bunch of bull. One month of therapy and 12 steps and he’s suddenly so “clear” about everything and finds me sexually attractive. Asshole. Ironically after yeas of longing to be close to him, I can’t stand the sight of him. (At least for now- my emotions are a roller coaster). My heart says I should give it another shot, especially now that he is in serious therapy. But my head tells me I’m crazy to even consider it Isnt he bound to have a relapse? I’ve spent the last ten years constantly looking over my shoulder for the next office slut to rear her ugly head- will I spend he rest of my life looking over my shoulder, snooping, waiting to be blindsided again? I can’t live like that. Does anyone have any experience that has a happy ending? I love him, but I’m not even sure I could look myself in he mirror if I stay with him. We had such beautiful plans for our future. Can I give up everything? Could we actually come out of this stronger? Can I ever forgive him for the hurt, devastation, loss etc I feel all the time. I’m being very strong and doing what I have to do as a “single” mom. Sometimes I wonder if I’m really strong or just faking it well. Sooner or later I’m bound to have a meltdown- I sometimes feel it coming but repress it because it always comes at the wrong time -like my office, on the train, in a yoga class, at the dinner table with my kids. He really want to “heal” our relationship. But I feel it’s a bunch of narcissistic bullshit and his head is in the clouds as usual. He is a fantastic dad. His answer to our martial problems was always “let’s focus on the kids and family”. Which we did. We have a fabulous family and great plans for the future. We’ve really gotten along amazingly well these past few years, in some ways better than ever. Yet it wasn’t enough for him to see me or want me. Will that ever really change? Oh I could go on and on. I’m sure you all understand. Again, any advise on whether I should try again, or move on? I fear I lose either way.

  52. You already know the answer! In all your words and thoughts is the same theme: should I continue this charade? Should I try again? Should I believe him and hope for the best? Should we stay together “for the children and family”?

    If you were happy with the last years of betrayal and lies and secrets, why do you think that will ever change? If you separate – get help – and get strong. then you can think more clearly and more to the point, will be able to close the door on his face if you want to. This period of getting well and strong can’t happen if you are under the same roof with the same situation you have tried to cope with for so many years. How has that worked for you?

    Get a guardian angel friend or family member and talk about everything you have mentioned in your letter to all of us. Get an opinion and then get another. Listen to your spirit most of all.

    If hubby gets cured (this process is supposed to take 3-5 years), you can always reconcile. Remain friends – separately. Let him prove EVERYTHING to you until you are convinced and even then be wary!

    Many thoughts and prayers for your journey to start.

  53. My story is similar to so many here; Suspicion. Discovery. Betrayal. Disgust. Agony. Promises. Rinse, repeat. I discovered Dr. Omar Minwalla’s brilliant and compassionate work, and literally broke down in tears of profound relief and gratitude.To be heard, to be validated, to be cared about in all of this was amazing. Life changing. I went down a rabbit hole of research, joined a couple of support groups (including this one), and followed a program of trauma counselling specifically for CTPSD. I’d like to say I am working it on my own, but I could not do it without you, the sisterhood. The anger, the rage, the hurt, the grief, the regret, the retaliative behaviours and remorse are no longer mine to bear alone. Spread amongst many shoulders and understanding ears, those emotions are much easier to manage.

    Oddly enough, it led me to stay and not to leave. Not due to financial necessity; I have a very good job and adult daughters that will take me in and let me have a fresh start at any point. Certainly not due to a genuine recovery effort on the part of my SA (although kudos to him for his efforts to look good). In fact, we recently had a discovery event. But it went much differently than usual. I was disappointed, not devastated. Somehow, the tales of how all of these partners are the same made me see my husband differently; he is okay as a friend, but I don’t find him sexually attractive anymore, and he is not someone with whom I have an interest in a deep, intimate, loving relationship. He has always been a good provider, a good step-father, and honestly, a very good husband (if not lover) as long as he thinks that I am oblivious to his behaviour. I’m not oblivious; I just don’t care. If he’s willing to provide a nice lifestyle (including a pretty luxurious retirement) and treat me well, I’m happy to take it from him. Graciously, even. I’m happy to be an enthusiastic and playful lover to him on the rare occasions when he is of a mind. But he can have his porn, and it can have him. I have my own sexual interests, I have friends and family. My mental health is recovering. I have satisfying work. Most importantly of all, I am through the worst of the trauma that loving this man caused me, and “friend-zoning” him means he can never hurt me that way again. A detached, friendly, nearly sexless marriage is definitely not what I dreamed of, but I feel that my needs are met and my life is happy.

    Should we stay or should we go? That is a personal choice, and there are no wrong ones. Either way, the happiness in our lives is ours to seek and find, and while our SA’s can never truly give it to us, they can’t take it away if we don’t rely on getting it from them. Their illness makes them all very similar if not quite the same. We are the special ones because we can have real happiness, and we deserve it.

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