I recently discovered that my husband of 22 years is a sex addict. It started with his “out of the blue” request for a divorce in Feb. of this year (unbenownst to me, he was in the middle of an acting out binge at the time). After picking myself off the floor, I literarily flipped cartwheels to save our marriage as he is/was the love of my life. I lost 35 pounds (not difficult to do because I couldn’t eat), became a doting, attentive wife – and turned into a sex kitten. For two months, he vacillated between wanting to work on the marriage and not (while I held onto my seat on the roller coaster)- but then a month in, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which seemed to wake him up.
We both worked hard on our marriage with a marriage therapist and we reconnected like never before (in spite of the sex addiction lurking in the background). We have four children (within 20 months of each other) so intimacy took a back seat over the years. During the course of our reconnecting, however, unbeknowst to me, there was a rotten onion, whose layers were slowly being peeled off.
First, the day of the divorce request, he revealed that he had an “older woman friend” who was like a free therapist to him and helped him with his decision that he needed to “find his light”. After my breast cancer diagnosis, he told me that he was cutting things off with her, especially since she started to stalk me at the local coffee shop and listening to my conversations. Then – the next onion layer: my husband revealed the fact that he visited prostitutes for many years but had stopped that a year ago because he wasn’t get a lot out of it. Then, another onion layer….(sigh), I discovered a old Craigslist ad on his computer where he was looking for an “inquisitive older woman for adventure”, and then….(another sigh), a late night text on his phone revealed yet another active affair that was in the works (again – framed as “just a friend”). Shockingly, during the course of this, our marriage therapist didn’t “connect the dots” and when I inquired what this all meant, our marriage therapist actually said that it’s common for men to go to prostitutes (sigh). It was only when I read a book about the high incidence of sex addiction among covert incest survivors (my husband is a survivor) and sex addiction (“Silently Seduced”) – that the last puzzle piece fell into place. Thank you Dr. Adams.
Besides the pain of the staggered disclosures and discoveries over the past year, I think the worst part has been the past 2 months of his denial, rationalization (“I was lonely”), minimization (“it was only 1 year of prostitutes vs. his originally disclosed 5 years), blaming (“if you had been a better wife it wouldn’t have happened”) and “gaslighting” (“you are crazy and making a mountain out of a molehill”) – all while our marriage therapist watched and facilitated. It was unbearable and despite my best efforts at detaching, it took a huge toll on me. I finally decided to leave the marriage (or take a well deserved break) a few weeks ago – and lo and behold, by my detaching and being prepared to exit, he started going to 12 step meetings for sex addicts once a week. I’m still a bit skeptical because I know how addicts’ brains work….but somewhat encouraged.
Here’s how I got through the traumatic time right after the puzzle piece fell into place: I went to COSA and S-Anon meetings – got support from others in the same boat and my mantras became: “Trust yourself and your reality”, “Your feelings identify your needs” and “Love Yourself”. I read lots of books on the topic, including Carnes. (my favorite for the partner is Barbara Steffens, “Your Sexually Addicted Spouse”) and I made taking care of myself a priority (rather than focusing on the hurricane that swept through our house).
I realize that I experienced much trauma over the past year (in addition to the sex addiction storm, I also went through breast cancer surgery and radiation – yup – it’s a miracle I’m still standing)…. I’m living the motto: that which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
So – here’s what I’m doing to help myself get out of the haze going forward and get on with my life: I’m planning to go to a Trauma 6 day intensive workshop at the Institute of Sexual Health in LA – and require that my husband go to an intensive in or outpatient sex addiction treatment, including a full disclosure to me with polygraph. I’ve come to realize that this is what will make me feel safe given the established and escalation nature of his disease over the years (his addiction began in childhood with masturbation and escalated to prostitutes and serial affairs with older women, representing his mother). Both of us need individual therapy and then once the addiction therapy and my trauma work is underway, then marriage therapy to rebuild trust and intimacy, along with 12 step programs and groups.
I’m hoping that our marriage can be saved – but I know that addiction can be a difficult road, and lots of hard work will be necessary from both of us to fight this insidious disease and the after shocks. Thank you for letting me share my story. I hope that we all can heal and help our “sisters” (and “brothers”) get through this.
Thanks for posting my story….quick update: my husband went to a few 12 step groups, got a sponsor and met with him last week. My husband told me that his sponsor spent several hours with him and told him that since he doesn’t think about sex every day that he isn’t a sex addict. Oh my!! We went to a CSAT – and he told him that he is either a sex addict or has a personality disorder where he can’t understand the consequences of his actions – but he claims that he didn’t get the email that told him this. He also said that he lied on the first SDI (sexual inventory test) and wanted to take it again – but then when he saw another CSAT – he told her that he actually didn’t lie. Pretty crazy, huh? I want to get off the roller coaster and get away from the gaslighting. This is hard stuff – with four kids, it’s difficult to know how to manage this. I’m full of despair.
Thanks for sharing your story. I felt so bad for you – you sound like a caring woman who is dedicated to salvaging her marriage and protecting her children.
Like you I have recently discovered my husband’s sex addiction. Over the course of a few months I learned that, during our 10 years together, he has engaged in inappropriate emailing, intimate discussions, and physical intimacy/sex with no less than 9 women – these are only the ones I know about! The shock, betrayal and grief are almost insurmountable.
D, I am not a therapist, and no one knows your true situation and what is best for you better than you do. But one thing I’ve learned is that this is your husband’s issue, and he needs to take primary responsibility for dealing with it – if he is continuing to lie, downplay/minimize/rationalise his actions, he is not truly doing so – and possibly the best thing for you right now might be some time apart. You need a safe place and time to focus on yourself, your children, and determining what is truly the right course of action for you. I wish you all the very best.
You are so right – I need time apart so that I can focus on myself (and the kids) without the distraction. I’m hoping that I get more clarity when I go away next week for the 6 day trauma workshop. I’m planning to solidify my list of what I need to feel safe going forward. Seems like I need the time to process the past – like you, I have a big hairball (long history), plus possibly more, to deal with. I’m hoping that a narrative and an understanding of the cause will be revealed. And then there’s the future – and some level of safety that the chances of it happening again are minimized with specific safety valves in place (e.g. accountability, feelings of shame, and a commitment to honesty).
Tonight I cried when I thought about the time when he told me that he hoped that I could someday be more like his last affair partner (when he was in the midst of acting out)….how sad is it that I listened and stayed with someone who could say something so cruel.
Hugs! After 22 years, the whole situation must have been a traumatic shock. I’m sorry you and your children have to go through this. It isn’t fair and his behavior just makes things all the more painful. I do have certain words for people like your husband but I’ll just say them to myself.
I can tell you from experience that you’re right, you need the time for yourself apart from the lies and the gaslighting. It won’t be easy with 4 kids but you can do it!! Not sure how old your kids are but maybe they can help out more instead of you doing everything.
What I have found the most frustrating of all is my spouse’s complete and utter refusal to really deal with anything. I tossed him out when he started getting nasty with my son who is in a wheelchair and utterly dependent. The spouse denies everything. He blamed me so much that I started to believe him and other people certainly did. I’m the only one who knows what really happened except for the marriage counselor. Tough to stand up to that but I’m doing it.
I am getting divorced. I am much happier on my own no matter how much work it entails. If you really focus on you, you’ll figure out that much quicker what you really need to do, whatever that looks like. With 4 kids you’re already awesome. Don’t lose sight of that.
Thanks so much – you are so right – when I focus on myself, I find serenity and my path becomes clearer. I’m trying to get back to that place now that my husband has decided not to continue his 12 step program and not to go to a CSAT. Thanks for the compliment about the kids – they are 10 year old triplets and a 12 year old. They can be hard work, but at least I have four beautiful children to focus on (after myself, of course).
I’m so sorry that your spouse was nasty to your son – that’s very sad. You know that someone is narcissistic when that happens.
First, I am so sorry you have had to endure what you’ve been through with the betrayal of your husband and your cancer diagnosis/treatment! I can’t even imagine the strength you must have to be still standing! As I read your post, I did see you standing though, strong and determined to take care of yourself. So I just wanted to jump in and encourage you! I hope you have found some face to face support for yourself! You deserve it.
Thanks so much for your reply. I can’t tell you how much your book helped me – to realize that everything I was feeling was valid and that it was a normal reaction to “snoopervise” to see if another tsunami was heading my direction. As a result of your book, in my COSA meetings during introductions, I now introduce myself as “Hello, I’m D – I’m a wife of a sex addict, trauma survivor and a co-dependent. I see trauma as my primary issue – and then co-dependency (because I didn’t move out of the way once the wave hit). Thankfully I do have a good therapist trained in EMDR, go to 12 step groups, and I’m going to Dr. Minwalla’s Intensive Trauma workshop next week. I’m so looking forward to that as he seems to also “get it”. I know that you two know each other. He promises that I will be very clear on what I need going to feel safe going forward after my week. My husband said to me tonight – “I’ve gone to 12 step meetings, and two CSAT’s (which he says he doesn’t need to go back to) – I’ve done everything you asked….what else can I do?” I answered – all I ask is that you tell the truth….”, which but I know that’s elusive as he doesn’t seem to be able to do that very consistently as his defense system is so strong.
The good thing through all of this is that I’ve learned to love and value myself – which is the greatest gift of all, and despite the pain, I am grateful for that.
Thanks for writing such a insightful and truly healing book. I remember the night of despair when I picked it up and I cried with relief that someone finally understood what it all felt like and gave me some concrete ideas on how to start healing. Thank you so much.
I know this is a long shot, but did you end up attending Dr. Minwalla’s workshop for partners of SA? I’ve searched his current website and it looks like he no longer offers it for the partners, only for the sex addict… I’ve been going through cycles and disclosures for a few years now and I’m seeking some source of help that’s not “co-addict” based (I’ve already been down that road, with little help).
Funny you should bring this up – a friend of mine from COSA also told me that it sounds like my hubby has NPD. He also said that he never felt any shame or guilt after his acting out episodes – he was very good at compartmentalizing.
He is giving up his 12 step program, and refuses to go back to a CSAT as he doesn’t think he has an addiction. He seems to be glued at the hip, though, to his therapist who is a trauma specialist – so maybe she will break something loose. Hope springs eternal.
What I need to do is figure out how long I can be in the “wait and see” mode.
Here’s what one of the CSAT’s had to say last week after his one and only visit (I think he got it “spot on”);
Given the brief history you gave me of prostitution use, multiple affairs (sexual and emotional), and doing this with an understanding of the consequences of the behavior, there are basically two possibilities. Either you are a sex addict or you have a personality disorder that pushes you into a self-centered focus of the world and a dismissal of the experiences of others. (Your behavior does not fit the model of someone looking for an emotional connection that feels like it has been lost from their primary relationship.)
It is not unheard of for individuals to have periods of time where their behavior and even the urges goes dormant for a while. I would not use this – nor the lack of daily struggles – to rule out the possibility of addiction.
If you are unsure – an intensive outpatient program –such as the ones I mentioned in LA – would be a good place to go and explore this.
I so relate to your story, with m h’s use of prostitutes, the clueless therapist, so much of it. I feel your despair, and I am so very sorry. I have felt every emotion in the book, usually many times in one given day. Right now, for me, I’m at the point where I feel my h has a personality disorder. I just feel like I can’t do this anymore. I have 2 kids, both in their teenage years. I’m trying to figure out if I should “hang in there” until they both graduate or not. I’ve been through over two years (thanks to 2 enormous d-days) of roller-coaster emotions, and recovery worries. As another partner pointed out to me, WE put so much mroe work into it than the SA’s do. Anyway, I hope your story has a happier ending. Whatever happens, your timeline is your own. I admire your strength. I know you’ll be ok whatever comes your way.
I am currently in the midst of a divorce from my husband of 14 years. I received a phone call 8 weeks ago from the woman he had been having an affair with. She was angry because he broke it off with her and was seeing someone new. She told me many stories and eventually gave me all of the ammunition (nude photos of himself sent to a dating site, cards letters, and pictures of him with my daughter) I needed to tell him to find a new place to live. He is a complete narccicist and I believe this all started when we adopted our daughter 5 years ago. He no longer had my complete attention and he couldn’t handle knowing that he was an inadequate father and husband.
I have had suspisions over the years because he travels for his job. This was the final blow for me. I could no longer be blind to his other life. I now had proof and I was finished. I filed a protective order the next day and he filed for divorce 4 days later. It has been hell realizing that he was not the man I thought he was.
I have recently been able to be very honest with myself and admit that I have always been distrustful of him but having been divorced before I didn’t want to go through that again. I now realize that I am so much better off without a man who always puts his desires before anyone elses. I would rather be alone than be lonely in a marriage with a man lacking the emotional connection needed for a healthy marriage.
He now has a different girlfriend that he is involved with who is getting divorced. This situation has led to 3 divorces and 5 children’s lives being shattered. I think he gets a high from breaking up marriages.
He finally did admit that he had been a bad husband and said that he was so sorry for all of this. I was actually very shocked by this admittion of guilt. This of course was all through texting.
I appreciate this forum to be able to read others journeys. Thanks for listening.
I just wanted you to know that I read your story and my heart breaks for you. It’s a terrible and unimaginable betrayal you have experienced, and hard work you have undertaken to be safe, whole and free.
Please know that it is going to get better. You made good decisions and you seemed to understand the depth of narcissism requires a strong response for your own wellbeing as well as your daughters.
I know you will make it. May you find what you need to keep going each day. You are a true heroine in this hideous battle. Well done. One day at a time. One step at a time. You and your daughter are worth it.
I’m 2 and a half years from d-day. Long journey. Getting divorced. Living apart for two years. Tried for a year to work to reconcile. To no avail. A narcissist is a narcissist, and unmedicated by acting out, he is more cruel than before.
lots of light,
I am divorced from my sex and porn addict husband. I read the posts here and can relate to all of them. There are a lot of strong women here and that’s what will get you through it all. I had to leave a very bad situation and, secretly,moved out while he was at work, not telling him where I was going. I have never looked back. I have 3 wonderful children and we are all at peace now. It is such a difficult thing to deal with, but take the first step and the next ones will come more easily. Good luck to all of us!
Your children are very blessed to have a strong mother like you. I can’t imagine what you and your kids experienced having to leave in secret. These situations are so tough because you can’t reveal the reasons behind the chaos. Children don’t deserve to have fathers like this and as mothers we want to protect them from all of it. I am glad that you are at peace now. That alone is worth the journey!
I am starting to have days where I feel normal or at least what feels like my new normal. The divorce is progressing. I am still not sure that I will ever be able to trust another man. I do want to date again because I refuse to let this man win. He will not sentence me to a life of lonliness. These men will never understand the damage they do to their families.
I just got back from my 6 day partner of SA intensive at the Institute for Sexual Health – it was amazing! Dr. Minwalla really understands the various types of trauma that we’ve gone through, in every sordid detail. It was very validating and healing (using somatic, talk and art therapy). I highly recommend it for any partner interested in healing. As a result of the workshop, I came to the conclusion that my husband is emotionally abusing me with his gaslighting, staggered disclosures, minimization and general lack of recognition of his problem. I need space from him and unless he gets into serious recovery, then I do not want to remain in the marriage. Of course the big question of the hour is how long to “wait and see”. Life is short and I certainly desire and deserve a connected and intimate relationship with a healthy partner. It remains to be seen if my husband can fill those shoes. Time will tell – and in the meantime, I’m going to trust, honor and love myself (and my kids). Thanks to everyone for your comments. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
New update…..this weekend, hubby admitted that he has a serious problem and realizes that he needs more than just once a week therapy. Last week I had given him a list of things that I needed to feel safe (e.g. 12 step or groups with an accountability partner or sponsor, a full disclosure, etc.) which he scoffed at. He does admit that he can’t say “no” to weak women who “need” him and then that leads to sex. He seems to be working on all of this in therapy and is making some progress, although the “powerlessness” thing is an obstacle for him – he thinks that he can stop it all with no problem. I’m trying to be patient and work on my own trauma and co-dependency and not focus on him, and not to focus on the sadness of the past, the fear of the future and try to live in the moment. I realize that when I do focus on him and his recovery out of fear (and also because I so want a healthy relationship), then he freaks out because of his “mother” rebellion thing that he’s working on from his past.
It’s hard to put the fear of the future to one side and admit powerlessness, but it seems to give me the peace and serenity that working a 12 step program provides.
I realize that his “I’m going to work on my recovery” mood might not last (last time, it only lasted a few weeks) – but I’m taking my seat belt off and getting off the roller coaster. I have no expectations for what might happen tomorrow. I find the best antidotes for getting sucked onto to the roller coaster ride are: yoga, meditation, prayer, gratitude, massages, helping others and nurturing and working on improving myself.
If you are reading this and are on the roller coaster…..try and get off before you lose your mind or your health. I wish I would have months ago. I think I aged about 10 years and our kids could really see that I was spiraling with the grief and stress of it all.
You might point out to him the contradiction of ‘I can’t say no to weak women’ and ‘I can stop it all with no problem.’ I mean, after you get back from yoga and a massage…
I gave my sex addict husband many chances, heard many excuses and even more promises. He would vacillate between admitting there was a serious problem and blaming me profusely – there would be months or years between his swings. In the interim he acted like a good family man and father. At times being exceptional in those roles – but only to roll back and start blaming me as if I was the enemy. In all it was extremely confusing. Professionals and 12 Step groups encouraged me to work on myself and not focus on him. Felt financially trapped, especially with the recession. Really did not get the support I needed, and paid good money for, for all the betrayal, disappointments, exposing me to STDs, lies, etc, etc, that led to such terrible emotional and ultimately physical pain.
After 20 years of this,and polygraph testing for several years, that were quite promising, he finally completely fell apart and abruptly attacked me emotionally, verbally and financially. He swung again and said that I was the problem, after saying I was the nicest women he ever met. This attacking went on for 6 months while he slept in another room saying he couldn’t afford to move out. I went away a lot during that period. He threatened to sell the home I loved and worked on for 20 years – overnight. It was absusive and he wanted to throw me out of his life and take as much money as he could.
I was so shocked and scared. No one could believe that he was doing this to me. Except they saw how devastated I was. I got support from COSA, gradually told my kids that I needed help – I was living with a crazy person. Finally I completely broke down and couldn’t stop crying. His verbal attacks were cruel and relentless. Called my son for help and we worked with a crisis line to get him out of the house. That was 3 years ago. I was so sick physically and emotionally, I couldn’t work and ended up having surgery with complications – extreme pain they could find a reason for and could hardly walk or stand for long for 11 weeks. Couldn’t take enough narcotics hardly. Drs. were concerned that I would stop breathing by taking the high doses I needed. Kept evaluating me as an addict.
Things are much better but then I just wanted to die and kept wishing……. I went to therapy for months to manage my acute stress symptoms. Am just now making sense of what happened. Am in a safe place, have enough $ for food and basics but nothing else. Have my self respect, the love of my grown children and friends. Have a loving boyfriend.
No one could understand what I went through, not even my 12 COSA Step Group. They insisted I not focus on my feelings or about what he did or the past. Like I was a whimp to keep bringing up how I felt about the past.
It wasn’t until I accidentally landed on this website and others, that I realized for certain, that I didn’t get the help I needed. Guess what, I will now! I am on my way! I would not have been the one to leave if he had stayed in treatment and was kind. But my God, I did not expect to be attacked and abused. Ladies, please be very careful. Make a safety plan, get your own financial resources? I am working on my financial independence for life.
Hi I would like to comment on the gaslighting, I have been married 32 years found out pretty quickly that my husband was a sa, he spent his life telling me that I was imaging things,last week I got up in the middle of the night and noticed he was not in bed, he was in the other room apparantly sleeping, in the morning he was back in my bed and when I checked the other room the bed was made and the 2 tv remotes were out, now these tv remotes had been put in the bottom drawer by me,as there is only the 2 of us left I knew he had the tv on then made the bed and came back to bed to make it look like he hadn’t been up,when cofronted he couldn’t remeber going ito the room but could remeber there was no tv on and that the remotes were always on the bed side cabnets, I did not accept this as I know he always tries to create doubt in my mind then he gets the benfit of the doubt, krafty,eh,anyhow after giving him chance after chance, I throw him out third time,I only told my daugther and sons about a year ago about their father so they don’t know how much a liar he is, he is now creating doubt in my daugthers mind and shes telling me to give him a chance as the remotes might have always on the bed side cabinet, they wern’t, he’s still gone he came back once and tried to tell me I was mistaken about remotes but I am not getting tricked again I have been to counsilling with this man and he promised yet again to tell me if he was stuggling or acted out, he never,I dont know how I am going to live I only have a part time job, 7 hours, can,t get any help because we are married, I hate what he has done to both off us, i have no one to talk to as sister thinks all men look at porn, and my son thinks its no big deal. they should try living with a sneaky lying maniplative sleaze and see if they think its no problem then.
Dear Alice, i have to tell you that I was the other person, giving my SA victim friend bad advice. What happened is that for the last 10 years she blamed herself. She was rupulsed, “she” was depressed, etc. I now believe this was because of his gaslighting. Until she mentioned the extent of the porno (which she always sugarcoated), and a neighbor accused him of making vulgar remarks, i wasn’t able to see he was a sex addict. The truth is your friend. This has nothing to do with you, and sexual deviance is dangerous. It is progressive, and it is a matter of time before children are also manipulated, and eventually harmed. Just give people the cold hard facts, pray, and eventually, the truth shall set you free. Victims of sexual addicts should fear for their safety, not just be entitled to vent their frustrations.
Dear Alice, i have to tell you that I was the other person, giving my SA victim friend bad advice. What happened is that for the last 10 years she blamed herself. She was rupulsed by him sexually,, “she” was depressed, she told him xxx, and he doesn’t listen. etc. I now believe this was because of his gaslighting. Until she mentioned the extent of the porno (which she always sugarcoated), and a neighbor accused him of making vulgar remarks, i wasn’t able to see he was a sex addict. she NEVER gave any indications of that. It was too embarrassing for her to talk that way about the father of her children. The truth is your friend. This has nothing to do with you, and sexual deviance is dangerous. It is progressive, and it is a matter of time before children are also manipulated, and eventually harmed. Just give people the cold hard facts, pray, and eventually, the truth shall set you free. Victims of sexual addicts should fear for their safety, not just be entitled to vent their frustrations.
So you have it all figured out, huh? Listen up! I know you who you really are and you have no right to comment! You’re not a good friend! You know nothing! You are a prime example why so many of us (not you) suffer in silence! I’ve known “friends” like you who are so arrogant in their ignorance thinking they know everything, even though they are completely incapable of sympathizing or empathizing in any way and have no real experience to relate to on any level! “Friends” like you are too prideful to admit to the hurt and damage they cause and lack accountability for their contributions! Some friend you are! You actually blamed her for enabling her husband and pretended to defend her by saying friends and family turned against her! No! You enabled him!! You also encouraged her to enable him!! You turned against her! You fell for the crocodile tears! Not your friend! She reached out and you rejected her, but offered a helping hand to her husband’s agenda to make her distrust her own judgement and distort reality!You helped manipulate her! She was beaten and broken down mentally, emotionally, and spiritually! She was told to be a better wife and blamed for becoming as you say, “bitter”! Your friend was made to believe she was a “crazy tyrant” and you helped! Your “friend” that your obviously not very good to, was purposefully isolated so her husband could keep her under his control! She was traumatized and alone! Of course she became angry and bitter! You speak as if it’s so easy not to. As if the root of her problem was as simple as an attitude change! If you saw so much first hand and knew so much, then you shouldn’t have fell for the act either! You cant even admit you have your friend bad advice without somehow blaming her for “sugarcoating” the truth or vilifying her in some way! Hellllooooo!!!! Why would she tell you everything?? You weren’t listening! You were a know it all!!! You had and still have bad advice!!! You didn’t make her feel she could trust you with the truth!!! And most importantly, besides the fact of how difficult something like this is to discuss, it’s none of your business and she didn’t have to tell you anything!!! If you were there for her, then you should’ve listened to her, trusted her, and have been loyal enough to do so! I’m also blown away with your childish opinions on avoiding confrontation! The whole situation itself is confrontational! If you had any real understanding, then you’d know that confrontation is the only way a lot of addicts get help! Anything else would be enabling! Not to mention addicts only know how create confrontation! These aren’t people that rationalize at all in a healthy way or capable of making wise decisions to avoid conflict. Good luck avoiding confrontation being married to someone ruining their lives and the lives of their children! Completely unrealistic when your dealing with someone so will do anything to be in control, can easily deceive everyone around them including themselves, can betray you without a second thought, and convince you and everyone else that it’s all your fault! You probably started a few confrontations yourself because clearly you were insistent that your intellect was far superior and she was always wrong. I don’t even know what value you really think you have to offer anyone by coming here! No-one needs more of your bad advice! You’ve already hurt one person with all your ignorant insights! And who are you to violate your friend’s right to privacy! A real friend wouldn’t blast the personal life of someone they cared about online like you did! Who are you to gossip about her situation to the world and put her down with your criticisms, while hold such sanctimonious yet hypocritical opinions on avoiding confrontation! Maybe you should stop giving advice on topics you know absolutely nothing about and try taking your own advice by not making excuses for actions that have a high potential for confrontation! Clearly the only reason you commented on this site is because of your own narcissistic selfish need to indulge in your over exaggerated sense of self-importance and delusional perception of superior intellect. I am genuinely disturbed by your lack of genuine compassion and feigned empathy used to exploit her circumstances in order to somehow make it all about you so you could massage your insecure and fractured ego. I hope your “friend” can find real support with people who don’t need to fabricate empathy who also know how to respect boundaries and value reciprocal trust. I.e. Not you! Oh! And FYI, dont ever tell the spouse of a sex addict who is clearly reaching out in their suffering that they aren’t entitled to vent! That’s just stupid! It’s so much more than just venting! It’s trying to find understanding of their situation and compassion from others who are capable of it because the real cold hard fact is that people like you only know how to judge and isolate!
Your story is so similar to mine. I have five kids. I’m submitting my story for this website. I feel your fears. I hope you have been able to get off the roller coaster.
My husband always tells me, “I never meant to hurt you” and “you were never suppose to find out”
I was also the friend that didn’t understand the situation.
I didn’t realize my friend really didn’t tell me all the facts. She also blamed herself perhaps without realizing it. So I felt sorry and believed her husband who called me constantly to say he would do anything to save their marriage.
He played the martyr and the hero, and she fell into the role of crazy tyrant. When he called me to tell me about her crazy behavior I had no reason to think he was lying. I thought my friend, who I have known all her life was suffering about work or something else. Her husband pretended to dote on her, and she couldn’t stand him. He was years older than my beautiful friend and his tears seemed real, except I refused to believe my friend had changed so much.
My point is my friend enabled his behavior by not admitting the truth even to herself for many years. She was confused by it all, but she just took it all in and turned into a bitter wife. Perhaps that was better than realizing or accepting that the man she married, the father of her children, was a monster.
Some of her family and friends turned against her. Although I did not realize the problem at first, I was always there for her and saw everything first hand. Thank God. I really feel I can give sound advice and hope you don’t mind.
This is what I learned:
Keep that crap away from your children especially your sons. Hubby’s father apparently had a problem too.
If you feel like you are being abused, violated, or dirty during sex, or even repulsed by his touch, it is likely that pornography is the problem. You have a right to demand that your husband eliminate pornography from the house for the sake of the children or your feelings of being used.
Have faith, seek spiritual guidance, and support. Don’t get caught up in your spouses addiction, or you will start to go crazy. Do not think you can help him, or he will use this to manipulate you. You need a healthy detachment, and God is your rock.
You can’t change him, but you can certainly change yourself. My friend was beautiful and younger, this has nothing to do with looks, or your actions. This is his problem, acquired in childhood.
Document his sneaky actions, abuse, and watch his phone bill. I see too many women accept infidelity because of the sex addiction. Know what is going on, before confronting them.
Avoid confrontations, they won’t help anything. I can’t emphasize enough the need for a healthy mental detachment is very necessary otherwise they will entangle even the smartest people in an exhausting web of deception, where the only result is being drained and depressed.
Take care of yourself. Being depressed, or throwing your life into someone else’s bottomless pit of neediness from addiction, will do major damage to your self esteem, no matter how strong you are.
I am not a specialist, but my sense with addictions is that the younger the person attempting recovery, the easier it will be to overcome. Older men, second, third marriages, not likely to recover. Unlike drugs, you can’t detox all those toxic images unless you get a lobotomy. (Don’t get any ideas 🙂
The only catch with the age factor is, that I have read too many women who wished they divorced when they were much younger. It would have been easier to find an “ideal partner, and they would have saved themselves so much suffering”.
So be honest and realistic about your situation. Either way, partners will likely need to hit bottom before really wanting to recover. Have a plan B, plan C, put your mind and time into thinking what you will need to do worst case scenario, which is divorce. The divorce process can be as bad, or worse, than the addiction, but it has an end date.
If it were me, and with the case of my adored friend, she gave her marriage all she had. She tried for years, and I am her witness. Her conscience is clean knowing that she tried to keep her marriage, and she is a happy woman today.
My friend’s husband tortured her economically and psychologically during the divorce, in his passive aggressive way of course. He told her that as a “christian” she had to forgive him. After the divorce she told him that she forgave him, but “she didn’t have to live with him.” All true.
As a general rule of thumb, I would suggest the following:
First infidelity is strike one: zero tolerance. Lay down the law, confront him, and tell him what you expect. If he doesn’t care, denies, or gets abusive, consider that strike two. Regardless, warn him. Really I think everyone should attempt to work on their marriage before a divorce or separation even if it is for your own clear conscience, that you did all you could. Guilt is something too many divorcees live with.
Strike Two: Second indication of any relapse/porno, start planning your escape. Document behavior, talk to friends, a lawyer, look at budget, save money and plan accordingly. Start preparing your children, family, and friends. We need to share the realities of life with our children, in the kindest and safest way possible. That means honesty without hysteria and hate. This is where you will need your spiritual strength more than ever. It will seem impossible, it isn’t.
Strike Three: the third however seemingly minor act of infidelity emotional or physical, is your signal you need to get out while you can.
This may seem crazy too, but as conservative as I am, I don’t think there is anything wrong with having distractions, (dating, etc.) while separated from an unfaithful husband. As long as God comes first, and you don’t loose your head, you are entitled to have fun and live positive, happy, lives. Keep things private and always respect children’s needs first.
God wants you to be the loving, nurturing, and fun woman, he made you to be. Now that my friend escaped the dessert, she is happy again. I am so happy for her.
I have been dealing with my husband’s addiction for at least 10 years. For our entire marriage he accused me of not being fun or having any hobbies. He, on the other hand, always indulged in lots of extracurricular activities. I think I was unable to really have fun in my marriage because I was under constant stress due to his addiction and his narcissistic personality disorder. I was bogged down with responsibility because he was always irresponsible. Has anyone had an experience like this?
You just described my life. The final punch was when he went off for a long weekend by himself and hired prostitutes for the entire 3 days. I threw him out and filed for divorce. Two weeks later he had already found another woman who lives in a different county and is married and has a child. In the past 4 months they have meet up for vacations several times and she still lives with her husband and our divorce is not even final. He has already told her he is going to move her to the states and marry her once the divorce is final. Good reddens. I feel sorry for her she has no clue what she is getting into and I am tempted to email her and tell her the truth about my husband.