Discovery

Our path to recovery starts with discovery. The ways that each of us find out about our spouse’s Sexual Addiction are as varied as the types of addiction. Some of us are jolted into painful reality with a phone call from the local jail, the other woman or man, or just by having to face the overwhelming evidence that we have been trying to ignore. Rarely, our spouse may have become so distressed with their way of life that they will shock us with a confession.

But, however it happens, the initial discovery is only the beginning. It took over four years for my husband to reveal the full spectrum of his addictive activities. This partial disclosure is quite common among Sex Addicts. Often those who are confronted will vehemently deny any wrongdoing and only fess up to what absolutely cannot be denied. This kind of behavior can make you crazy. Not only is the frustration enough to make you want to scream, but over time a more insidious pattern emerges where we begin to doubt ourselves.

This happened to me just before and then after I discovered my husband’s addiction. He would so convincingly deny what I knew in my heart was going on, that to somehow rationalize my suspicions and return to a sense of normalcy that I so desperately wanted, I began to doubt myself. I’m sure you have all done the same. It’s a protective measure, it justifies our continuance of the relationship; but it is also a very dangerous pattern.

I would like to hear about your experiences with discovery and denial. How did you discover your partner’s secret life? Did you suspect what was going on? Did you confront him? What was his reaction?

I’ll be looking forward to your comments. Take care.

This is a re-post from May of last year. I thought some of my new visitors would enjoy not having to search for older posts.

“A woman is like a tea bag, you can not tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
Nancy Reagan

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Responses

  1. Hi JoAnn,

    I discovered your website today while at work and I love the format. Of course, I should be working but with the discovery of my husband’s sex addiction so recent, I, like others, have a hard time not obsessing over this life I can’t believe I’m living and letting it consume my every waking minute. So here is my story…

    I have been with my husband for 25 years. We met in when I was 16 and got married after college when we were 22. After 18 years of thinking I was married to the most wonderful, loyal, and faithful guy on the planet, I stumbled upon porn on his computer. I was immediately distressed. After all, he had always told me how wonderful and beautiful I was and that all of his friends couldn’t believe he’d landed such a great catch. He told me he was not like other guys and didn’t need to look at or be with other women. He was perfectly content with what he had and our sex life was okay. So when I confronted him about the porn he said ” I thought you knew”, “every guy does it” and (this is the good one) ” at least I’ve never paid for it or have ever been with anyone else”. After yelling and crying we both agreed to see a therapist who immediately dissected every aspect of our childhood and came to the conclusion that the porn was a symptom of a bigger problem. Hummm. What could that bigger problem be? It was apparent to the therapist that my husband had an issue with identifying with his emotions. She would ask him a simple question like “How do you feel about yourself” and he would never be able to directly answer her. Over the 8 months of therapy, alone and together, I monitored the computer. He swore he didn’t need the porn so I put him to the test. Time after time he failed my test. I’d confront him and he’d look me straight in the eye and lie. That was the beginning of the end for us. I remember vividly how convincing he was with the lie, so much so, that if I didn’t have the evidence I would have believed him. Finally I couldn’t stand the lying and deception so I asked him to leave our house. He was away for a week and finally we began talking. The talks we had were the beginning of the most honest and productive conversations of our 25 year relationship. He gradually came clean about visiting strip clubs and looking at women in public. I was hurt but quickly learned that the way to get more information from him was to remain calm and emotionless. Then, on July 3rd, 2009, during one of our conversations, I found the courage to ask him if he had ever been with anyone else sexually. What happened next still blows my mind. He hung his head and said ” I have been a bad husband our entire marriage.” He proceeded to tell me that through our entire relationship he had been sexual with the women he worked with (he is a restaurant manager) and used his power and control to get them to perform oral sex on him, send pictures of themselves naked, and flash him. At one point he’d had a 2 year relationship with an employee who he convinced to flash him and perform oral sex on him her first night on the job. She became his “booty on demand” and he would regularly meet up with her after work to be “serviced”. Finally one day she asked when he was going to return the favor, and he agreed to have sex with her. It was a running joke at the restaurant he worked for 10 years that every girl he hired had to have certain “credentials” to pass his test. The only reason he gave up this girl was because she told him she was falling in love with him and he never intended for this to get emotional. So there I was, in our living room, hearing about this stranger I had been with for most of my life. My only thought was “this marriage is over”. How could he be this person? Why wasn’t I enough? How could he lead this double life for so long? How could he jeopardize my health and our financial stability? How could he do this to his son, who he loved more than life itself? What the f*** was he thinking? Within a week, the separation papers were drafted and I was beginning my new life as a single mother scared, sad, and devastated. During this time my husband hit the proverbial “rock bottom”. He had to find permanent housing in a dump in the bad part of town and was relegated to seeing his son on an occasion. It was then, when he was faced with the belief that he had lost everything that mattered to him, that he sought the help of SAA. Twelve step groups were something he said he would never do because he declares himself an atheist.

    So fast forward to today, 3 months after the major disclosure. He is actively working his twelve steps, attending SAA meetings 3 times a week, in therapy with a doctor who specializes in addiction (who supposedly has studied under Patrick Carnes), begging for forgiveness every day, and identifying himself as a sex addict. His last day at his job is tomorrow. He quit after realizing the atmosphere was threatening his sobriety. He does not have another job lined up. I have accepted him back into our home, attend COSA meetings once a week, and have learned to take life a day at a time. I have not yet torn up the separation papers or put on my wedding ring. I don’t know if or when I can ever trust or forgive him. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I am learning to accept the reality of my life and trying to understand his addiction and my codependency. I still can’t believe this is my life. It is so far from the fairy tale I had been living, but much closer to the truth.

    I have read so many books and websites. This one is the first that has compelled me to interact and respond. You are right, it does feel a whole lot better to spill my guts and pour out my heart here. I hope this is the start of the next phase of my recovery. Thanks for being here. I look forward to following your work.

  2. I RAN ACROSS YOUR WEBSITE TODAY WHILE AT WORK.. MY STORY IS I NEW MY HUSBAND WAS VERY SEXUAL PERSON BUT I RELIZED THAT HE WAS LOOKING AT ALOT OF PORN I WOULD COME HOME AND HE WOULD BE GLUED TO THE TELEVISION WATCHING IT AND ON THE COMPUTER SIGNING ON TO SITES BUT HE DID NOT HIDE IT HE DID IT AS IF IT WERE A NORMAL THING TO DO! HE TOLD ME HE HAD TO SEE IT & IT RELAXES HIM. HE SAID HE WOULD NEVER CHEAT ON ME I JUST LIKE WATCHING IT AND HE DID IT FOR YEARS BUT EX WIFE HATED IT. SO I LET IT GO FOR A WHILE BUT IT STARTED TO GET OUT OF HAND I WOULD CALL HIM AND PORN WOULD BE IN THE BACK GROUND I WOULD GET ON HIS iPHONE AND PORN WOULD BE ON THE SCREEN THAT WHEN I SAID THIS IS A PROBLEM HE NO I CAN STOP ANYTIME I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM
    I’M SORRY I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN I PROMISE SO I TRUST HE WOULDN’T BUT I HAD A FEELING HE WAS JUST ERASING HIS HISTORY ON THE COMPUTER AND HIS PHONE HE BECAME DEFINSIVE LIKE WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS LOOKING AT MY PHONE I TOLD YOU I WOULD DO IT MY WIFE DOES NOT TRUST ME MAKING IT SEEM LIKE I WAS THE PROBLEM! SO A WEEK AGO HE SAID HE LOOKED AT SOMETHING AND HE WAS SORRY HE SLIPPED UP BUT I KNEW HE NEVER STOPPED.. SO OVER THIS WEEKEND HE WAS ON THE COMPUTER ALOT NOT SPENDING ANYTIME WITH ME I NOTICED THAT. SO WHEN IT WAS MY TURN TO USE IT I SEE ALL THESE PORN WEBSITES DATING SITES AND ETC.. I TRIED TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT IT AND HE BECAME DEFENSIVE SAYING WHY I’M I ACTING LIKE I’M PERFECT YOU USE TO LIKE THESE SITES TOO LIKE IT WAS NO BIG DEAL SO I BECAME ANGRY AND LEFT TO THE NEXT MORNING! HE WAS CALLING ME I DIDN’T ANSWER I JUST NEEDED TO LEAVE I COULDN’T STAND TO LOOK AT HIM ANOTHER MINTUE! THE NEXT DAY WE TALKED AND HE ADMITTED HE HAD A PROBLEM HE SAID HE HAD BEEN LOOKING AT THESE MOVIES FOR YEARS AND HOW HE WOULD COME HOME FROM WORK AND START WATCHING THEM FOR YEARS HE DID THIS AND HIS EX WIFE HATED THAT ALSO BUT HE SAID BACK THEN NO ONE COULD STOP HIM.. NOW HE SAID HE SEES THAT IT HURT ME AND HE DOES NOT WANT TO LOOSE ME SO HE WANTS TO SEEK HELP, I WAS GOING BACK AND FOURTH WITH SHOULD I LEAVE HIM SHOULD I STAY AND TRY TO GET HIM SOME HELP CAN HE BE HELPED? I REALLY THINK THIS STEMS FROM HIS CHILDHOOD..

  3. I just divorced my husband. An accidental phone call to me (he thought he was dialing one of his hers) was the beginning. I learned how to check cell phones and computers. He lied about everything, until confronted with an email or porn receipt. Even then lied, and worse, pushed and hit when I would hold up an email. There were so many women. He played family man, we were involved in church, we have a son, I thought he loved me, I for sure loved him, with everything. He put me in the hospital, and even after that continued to cheat and abuse in every way.
    He started baiting, trying to get me to do something bad to him, belittled, pushed, even forced a knife in my hand and tried to force my hand to stab him…..crazy stuff, all while I am discovering woman after woman, strip bars constantly….just a complete other life, and with that horrible emails about me. I am very attractive, used to model, have a masters degree, but none of it, nothing matters.
    He video taped me crying and said ugly things to make me cry harder and would put the camera in my face, all while i am finding other women.
    He can lie and look someone in the eye while doing it. He does it at the drop of a hat.
    He still insults me, I blocked his email. He had supervised visitation with our son and now has to go to a our son’s therapist, court ordered. I got a GAL to protect my son legally.
    I am broke and I am scared. Cheating and lying for eternity is so bad, but to continue to try and abuse the person who did you no wrong is what leaves me baffled.
    When I found out, it took months to uncover things, so many, none he confessed, none did he stop (of course he said he did). I asked him to get help, he states nothing is wrong with him, then I filed for divorce.
    The shock is still with me, but I do not love him, i just fear him. The person I loved never existed.

  4. Thank God you got away from him! I know what you mean, my marriage of 10 yrs was built on nothing but lies. I married my husband because I thought he was the most honest man I ever met, based on the stories he told me during courtship. It’s fraud! I didn’t even know him! I knew who he portrayed himself to be, and I was very impressed.

    I don’t understand this kind of love because if a SA truly love’s her and he knows that she needs someone that will be good to her and someone she casn trust, than why would you snake your way into her life knowing what a pig you are through false promise and lies? Surely you think she deserved better! It’s not right to mess with someones life like that.

    I caught my husband recently through a suspicious email address, luckily I was able to answer both test questions and found out that he has been doing this for years and has all these ads out, protitutes etc, I found out 5 years after marrying him that he had been doing this the whole time, but I thought he stopped, 5 years later I find he never stopped. boy do I feel like a fool, no wonder our sex life never changed.

    And when I caught him he asked if he could do it in our home, so he would not have to hide it, AND I could find the girls, he even asked if I would participate and pay these prostitutes to come over and be sexual with them and let him watch.

  5. Lynn & Rebecca,
    My story of discovery is very similar to yours. His reactions were the same as well. I totally identify with the idea of questioning “Who is this person that I love(d?)? If so many of his words and actions were lies, what part of him is real? Upon what foundation was our relationship built?”
    Deception undermines every aspect of your relationship. When I thought about how he was always so caring and attentive to me whenever life through me a curveball, I was reminded that he was really setting me up for the biggest hurt of my life. When I thought about how he protected me and always provided me a feeling of being safe, I realized that he was putting my heart and my health in jeopardy every day.
    But, why how can I choose to see only the negative reality? Is he only defined by his lies and by nothing else he has done or is? Isn’t he just as much the person who did really care for me when I was sick? Stayed up with me all night listening when I needed to unload about a rough day at work? The father who spent hours helping his son write a research paper? The person who always “got” my corny jokes? My capable and energetic partner on home improvement projects? The man who was proud of my intelligence and strength, instead of being threatened by it?
    He has a nearly fatal and very PERVASIVE flaw that can color every moment you shared – unless you can see it as a part of who he is, not his only defining quality.
    I will not be true to myself if I decide to accept his betrayals as a trade-off for all the good that I get from sharing my life with him. I will also not be true to myself if I react only as an angry victim. For me, trying to understand the whys of his behaviors helps to turn some of my rage into compassion. Now, he must look inside himself and discover the source of his pain. Equally important, he must recognize how he is hurting others because he cannot simply blame his past for his present. For now, I choose to be supportive as he turns the light on inside his head and heart. If he can take ownership of his destructive patterns and make a committment to change and be accountable and responsible, one step at a time, I will remain by his side. My deepest wish is that he learns that he deserves to be loved, that he acts towards others and himself in genuine ways that reinforce that worth, and finally comes to feel real love and is able to give it back to others.

  6. I found out this year that my husband of 25 years is a sex addict. It makes me sick. The lies are the worst, he professed to be a Christian and was/is a successful businessman. He and his parents have stolen millions from me and have Swiss bank accounts. I’m divorcing him and will be left with very little. My kids are hooked and spend equal time with him and I. I stayed with him in a bad marriage, one that was emotionally abusive for so long just for the sake of the kids and now I wonder if I did the right thing. My self esteem is shattered and I’m afraid. I never worked outside the home and now need to find a job.

    Right now I’m on 3 months of no contact with him because I didn’t like the way I was constantly thinking about him. My life is better now. I need to keep telling myself that, and when I come into contact with any of his twisted family i feel like screaming. I’m afraid for my kids, I think he may have sexually abused two of them. I didn’t know it then, I’ve just been doing a lot of reading and research and I see the signs now. I feel sick. I’m lost.

  7. Anne, I know. The disgust is just overwhelming, your mind is numb, it is shock. You are and were real. Of course it will devastate you, but he knew that when he did it all. He didn’t care.
    You are so valuable and complete. He is not. You are not responsible for him.
    And…funny you mention his family…..my ex’s family treated me and my sons terribly, and I could not figure out why….until I found emails of lies about me for years- from him to so many. It really happens, and the catalyst is your husband.
    You give them you, everything, and they stab you in the back, and for what? There is no logic in the irrational, I learned after so much heartache that there is no “why”, because we are dealing with very sick people. So don’t deal with them, keep only good people in your life. Smart of you to move on with the no contact. Keep it that way, you will heal really fast if you do. Otherwise you will never have peace or a chance to really love with another. Real love, real people, serenity.
    I vomited so often at all I found. I prayed and wanted nothing more than to stop loving mine because what he was what not at all who I thought he was. The pain, unbelievable. And I did, especially when I did not allow him to have a piece of me in any way shape or form. Not see me, not hear me, nothing. Don’t let him have anymore of you.
    We were fooled. A con. Used.
    How I survived it, and there are still after shocks, is by some very wise words from someone. No more excuses for him, what I discovered is who he is, what I thought he was was all an act. What he did behind your back IS who he is. What a person does when no one is looking defines them.
    25 years is so hard. And you did everything possible. Nothing can be done for him, he WILL not change. Know you did it right, and proceed from there. Get a Guardian Ad Litem and a therapist for your children, have your proof and facts together and let you be the one to stop it all. Best wishes to you and prayers.

  8. Jennifer,

    I can relate as far as being supportive sometimes, other times I can’t wait to leave.

    That is the question my husband keeps asking me, “What about the good qualities that I have?” “Don’t they count for anything?”, and I go back and forth. Sometimes I get so angry inside because something so apparent by so many emails, he will deny and it drives me crazy. Tonight I talked to him about getting my son (17 yrs old) a car, and he started griping about it, which anytime for the last 10 yrs money is spent on my son he gripes. I was upset when he was refusing and told him that he has never been a good role model for my son and my son has seen me very upset through the years from his betrayal and I wanted to do something nice for him and he told me “if you felt I was affecting how your son was raised than you shouldn’t have been such a weak bitch and stayed”, so tonight all I can think about is leaving. He apologized but I still think its best for me to leave. How dare him call me a weak bitch!

  9. The thing is the SA needs to understand how many lives they have hurt, my attorney husband has borrowed large amounts of money from family because when he was at work he was busy watching porn, visiting prostitutes, having women come to the office for money to be sexual with him, on his secret email, spending countless hours trying to find the perfect girl.

    I let friends and family down that wanted me to go somewhere overnight because I was scared of what he might do while I was gone. When my aunt was dying of cancer I stayed in the hospital with her a few nights and begged my husband not to do anything and after checking his email I find he did.

    My daughter was murdered in 2003, my husband was to join me the next day (we had to fly to Dallas to identify the body), he was getting a prostitute the same day I identified my daughters body, whch is why he didnt go with me, a time when I needed him by my side.

    The man got life in prison that murdered my daughter and the last day of her murder trial I was to testify. My sa husband tricked me, when we got to the court house he told me that he was going to check us out of the hotel since we wouldnt need thre room for another day and that he would be right back, so I said “OK, but hurry”. Well I call at 12:00 pm and asked him “Where Are You?” and he said that an emergency deadline came up at the offfice and he needed to get a brief out or a man could lose his case, so I had to testify and go back to sit without my husband next to me, which was awful because I neededd him. I later found out that he was on single chat lines before getting out of the driveway and calling prostitutes once he was in the room from phone records. He was not even their during the punishment phase when they escorted the man out and sentenced him to Life behind bars. If thats not low life than what is??????????????

    Their is so much more if I were to write every deceitful thing he’s done it would be a thick book. Maybe I am weak, I feel like I was in too much of a depressed state to leave, hell I couldn’t even get out of bed, how was I to face people and actually work.

    On top of it his family treated me as though I was the reason for his failing business etc.

    I saw an email he sent his sister telling her that he has “marriage problems galore and no one to talk to and no time even if he had someone to talk to”, that email really ticked me off because he left out the part that the reason he is having marriage problems is because he is a serial cheater and a liar. If they only knew, which he has let me know loud and clear that I better not ever tell them, but isn’t that part of the 12 steps is being honest about your past?

  10. I just fell onto your web site a few days ago, and have been thinking about it ever since. I will be 52 years this May, and married for 30. On my 50th birthday, my husband was out of the state, visiting his dying brother, and being the perfect “every man” to his sister in law in need….Any way I got a call from our bank. The girl on the other end of the line asked if my card had been stolen, as there were some suspicious charges that were made. Prostitutes to be exact. I was shaking so badly, I remember having trouble placing the phone down. Of course when he did get home, he was anrgy, laughed at me, added more lies to the lies he had alredy told. After looking through bank statements, I discovered he had been making regular visits to prostitutes. I’ve had problems all through out the marriage. Starting shortly after moving in with me. It was porn. I was 22 at the time, and thought after expressing my unhappiness to him about it, that he would simply stop. So…here I am today, a trail of deciept and lies. Porn, phone sex. hotel room receipts, chat, massages spas, and prostitutes. These are only the things that I know about! I thought my husband was the greatest! Home on time, pays the bills on time, seemed caring, was always there for me, telling me he loved me. He actually called me from his hotel room that night to let me know how much he was thinking about me, and loved me. Then called some young prostitute to his room. I can’t begin to tell you all of the lies, and blame that have been placed in my lap over our 30 years together. These guys are very good at lying through any thing. I think the lying goes hand in hand with the addiction. Since I found out about the prostitutes, there have been many arguements, as you well know. For almost two years now, I have heard every excuse under the sun. His excuses vary from day to day. I am almost 52, and my health isn’t the greatest. Five years ago I was on Interphereon Alpha 2B for Hepatits C virus. Very unpleasant stuff…I might also add that I am not suppose to be stressed out! am in remission now. And yes…he was visiting his girls then as well. I’ve not much worked out side of our home. Some little jobs. It was planned that I stay at home and work on, and enjoy our beautiful home. And I did, until now. I don’t really care much about anything that I thought I cared about these days. Our arguements have hit all time lows. I seem to be in that “don’t want to be with him” loop, and then the part where you have to have him close to you. Yeah…I know…the trap!!!I thought I could do it. I thought I could stay married to this man, as leaving the marriage for me would be financially devestating. I don’t really want to leave..but am realizing, after reading a great deal on personalities of sex addicts, and other related prints, that this just doesn’t sound like something I really want a part of. My husband was never interested in my feelings when I would confront him about these things over our 30 years of being together. After going to jail a few weeks ago, on a domestic call. We were doing the “dance”. You know, the one where you get sad thinking about all of the crap he has brought to your front door, and how to get around it. While you are feeling sad…he gets mad at you because YOU are the one killing the marriage now. You argue and he says mean things to defend his past actions, then eventually, the make up sex. Only this time it didn’t make it to that point. I told him that I had every right to feel sad, and that I didn’t care for his attitude, as it was the same attitude I had seen in our 30 years of argueing the same problem. He got nasty and went to take my/our bank card.I told him that I wasn’t going to allow him to do this to me any more & that I was going to call 911. He said “go ahead” so I did!!! The officcer didn’t much care for his attitude either, because he ended up placing him under arrest, and my husbands new concern was now how not to end up being some guy named Bubba’s “special friend”! The Judge ordered a restraining order, until court, so my husband had to go to a hotel. Inspite the order…I got a text when he got out of jail. All of the sudden he has a problem & needs my help. Now he wants to get help (again) we’ve been there before as well. It’s been a few weeks since the court ordered he go to counseling… Now his big thing is “how unfairly” he was treated by the arresting officer, and how he will be voicing a complaint,blah, blah. Not a lot of time on looking for a Dr. or therapist. I have started counsel again, trying to make it to Alanon meetings, and tomorrow I am going to see what my options are for going back to shool, and seeking employment. So happy I found this web site. It is very difficult to talk with/to someone about this particular problem, unless they have been there as well. Love you all. Lets keep in touch.

  11. You ladies are killing me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No words times two…

    Cause if I started, I fear I would never stop.

    Is that what they mean by a silver lining? 🙂

  12. It’s all pretty crap really isn’t it. We’re only here for a short spell – Jesus! We’re all real women and what we could do with are some real men. Nice ones who can relate, who can talk, empathise, love us, have great meaningful sex and quicky sex if the mood fits. No frills, no gimmicks, no lies, no pain. Just a plain old run of the mill normal, hot blooded man. That’s what the doctor orders I think! I’ll be dead in about 60 years and I hope that during that time I will have at least had one sustainable relationship that I can say was meaningful to both of us and wasn’t so much bloody hard work. xx

  13. Bambi I’m so sorry, it hurts so much when the very person you love more than anyone in the world is also the person that chose (and I say chose, because I really don’t know if I fully buy into the fact that these men can’t control themselves) to deceive you. Especially when you seek to be comforted but the person that is supposed to comfort you is also the person that has been anything but a true friend. Goodluck to you and I hope to hear about your journey on this site, I will be thinking about you!

    Lorraine, If you get a wild hair, please write, we all could use your words of wisdom.

    And Seren, You are sooo right, one thing about it, I have not given up on love, and I hope we all find someone that is true, a REAL MAN! Anyone can be like our husbands with all the temptation in the world, but it takes a real man, to want to do the right thing when no ones looking. That’s character baby!!!!

  14. Words of wisdom, huh??? I recommend the Tao Te Ching. LOL.

    Well… ladies..I love you so much, but I am absolutely shaking… because what I want to say is maybe not what you want to hear, but it is what you all already know, in your hearts, anyway. You already have the wisdom and the answers, inside yourselves, but you just don’t want to face it (and who can blame you) and who am I to sit here and tell you what’s in your best interests? I’m not really a professional counselor and don’t know the exact specifics of each woman’s situation, but some of what I’ve heard recently, is just beyond the beyond.

    Rebecca when you told us about your court case, I almost expired. I cannot even begin to imagine–and the loss of your beloved child- murdered? Hollywood couldn’t come up with a story like this because no one would believe it could be true. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

    Look, I have nothing at all nice to say with regard to some of your husbands (except for Jennifer, pls see below) and their atrocious behavior because I cannot even begin to fathom what the question is in some cases???

    Ya wanna know if you should stay with these invertebrate, sadistic pieces of slime???

    uhhh… what I think you should do is do what they do to their lovers when they get bored with them.

    DUMP AND IGNORE.

    ignore, ignore, ignore… and if they won’t let you be, call the police. Get a court order…whatever you have to do, but IGNORE. That is really the only way to get back at them.

    IGNORE.

    If you tell them that you love them, they will HURT you. If you tell them that you HATE them, they will HURT you. If you ignore them, it will drive them insane.

    Fine… They already are.

    And to truly ignore, you have to be living separately. If you don’t want to divorce, you can look into a legal separation. That way, you are still legally married, with all of its associated “benefits” (financially and legally) but you can be apart.

    Jennifer, it sounds like, has a good chance for a good result with her husband for he seems to be towing the line here. I have read over and over that the recovery rate for sex addiction is 5%… that means that out of 100 sex addicts ONLY 5 will recover and 95 will NOT.

    hmmmmm… Honestly, which group do you think your husband will fall into? the 5 or the 95? Now, that you can make an educated guess, then what is the better plan for you? It is possible that leaving sucks too, but I refuse to believe that staying in a marriage with such a sick, unrecoverable man is the less sucky choice.

    The problem is that I think we so want to believe that there is some hope when there truly is none. So, first, it has to be determined IF there is some hope. And Joann’s method of separation makes a lot of sense. In fact, I think that its probably the ONLY way. Like it or not, the fact that you are together has enabled him in someway. Break that cycle, and maybe you’ve upped your chances. maybe. But some of you. I think its pretty clear what the situation really is.

    Look, I have been involved now, with two narcissists as lovers and I can tell you, that YES, they are people… well kinda sorta…ick. I mean, they do a really good job at pretending to be something they are not.

    And on top of this… I am on a couple of dating sites and believe me, I have chatted with “your” husbands… Yes, indeed. Well, not YOUR husbands,(in all probability) but they could be.

    Yes, married men all over the f–king place, looking to get laid… So entitled, so deserving, so NEEDY and soooooooooo DECEPTIVE. I will not even consider going near them, unless I can chat with their wives. And even then…

    But their stories… OMG!!! And some of these dudes are very young too and newly married!

    As Joann said. “This is War”… I saw an ad on Craigs List recently who — hold on… wanna throw up?… I’ll cut and paste.

    ***

    YES I AM A SEX ADDICT AND PROUD OF IT..HOW ABOUT YOU ? – m4w – 44 (Upper West Side)
    Date: 2010-01-25, 11:20PM EST
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    I am so tired of all this sex addiction crap and help me I have a sex addiction, it’s not me..it’s my sex addiction….right Tiger? What a brunch of bullshit, stand up people….take responsiblity for you actions, it sex, you like it and there’s nothing wrong with it. Who is to say how much sex is an addiction for crying out loud…..it’s only sex people we are not going around running people over with our Jeeps. I embrace my sexuality, I love sex, I love woman, I feel great when having sex…I think it’s the fountain of youth. So, if you are like me love sex, think about it all the time, need it everyday, embrace your sexuality, love sex…..then we should chat. I am a handsome tall professional man, successful, sane, very funnny, classy, a gentleman and all around all American guy….

    ***

    I actually wrote this idiot… (yes, a total waste of my time…I know) And he was so kind to tell me so too! lol “you have too much time on your hands and are thinking too much” That’s what he said. I wonder if he thinks that Stephen Hawking also “thinks too much”.

    grrrrrrrrrrrrr…

    Its a good thing that some of us are “thinking”… Cause if we women weren’t thinking… guess what? We’d all be extinct by now.

  15. Okay… This is weird… I AM going to tell you about my mom’s first book, because I think that for some of you, it might be very helpful. The book is entitled “Should I Stay or Go?” by Lee Raffel. I know… Pretty wild huh? I’m sure you can get it at Amazon if your local library doesn’t have a copy. I think the book has helped a lot of people, because she has devised a plan called “Controlled Separation”. Honestly, it is best facilitated by a counselor (even though it is a “self help” book) and I hope all of you in crisis have one,(a counselor) because I think its invaluable.

    The point is… That a couple doesn’t just SEPARATE and its a big free for all. ugh… There are separation agreements, to uphold etc. (how refreshing) Anyway, if you think it might help, read about it online, or pick up the book. Can’t hurt. My mom says that many of the couples do end up getting a divorce (but not all) but that it makes the whole process much better and much more civil.

    God Bless.

  16. offense Lorraine but goodluck with any of our husbands actually sticking to any type of “seperation agreement”. They don’t even stick to any agreement when married.

    And just to clarify regarding my daughter that was murdered at 19 yrs old. I gave birth to her when I was 17 yrs old and my mom adopted her at birth so she was brought up as my sister, but in my heart she was always my daughter. The reason I had to fly to Dallas from Brownsville to identify her body is because my mom could not bear to go.

    I actually have a plan, so I now enjoy when my husband is horrible to me because it empowers me to move forward. I don’t want to say exactly what my plan is, but just know I am leaving soon.

    I tried to be cool, and be openminded and it bit me in the ass (excuse my language). I am tired of the disrespect and I now fantisize about my new life, I think next time I will go for someone taller so I can wear heels and of course someone loyal, I will be on “Red Flag Alert” while looking. I watch shows and see how other couples are and thats what I want.

  17. Hi girls… Thanks for the words of encouragement,Rebecca. Makes me sad to know you all feel as bad as I do…maybe even worse. These guys excell at making people feel bad. My husband does. They don’t feel bad about a lot of things! Only when caught. My husband is unhappy now because his marriage SUCKS!!! He recently commented that he didn’t realize when I told him that he had forever changed our marriage, what kind of impact that would have. He actually said to me two months after discovering his adventures with prostitutes, to “get over it, you act like I beat you”! These guys are avery clever, until they get gaught. Mine slipped a few months back. We were having a “PRETEND NORMAL DAY” when he came home from work. He was talking about his day at work. Some of his co workers were talking about 17 year old girls, and porn, that it was wrong. My husband thought he was making a “funny” and said he had replied to the conversation with…”if lovin 17 year old girls & porn is wrong, I don’t wanna be right”! And this is some how suppose to make me feel better, how??? Things have been “civil” since his night at the local jail, until I left the house for my first Alanon meet Friday evening. I had told him about my going back to counseling, and the Alanon meetings. I left the house, the meeting haad been changed, so I came haome. He was on his computer (which also has been a problem) and stayed on until we went to bed.He is trying all of his old, tired, manipulating ways, to try to get me to argue ,so that he can again blame the marriage not working now on me. I won’t “let it go”. Ihave always “let it go” and that is why I am in this Vortex o’ Shit right now! So… I am on my way today to start something worth getting up in the a:m for. My husband has told me recently that he would let me go to save what little dignity we both have left, and help me to stand on my own two feet. Said that it is the very least that he can do for me. Even though he claims it is not what he wants. I am trying to keep things civil, so that I can remain in my home. At least for a while. So… I am on my way out today, to venture into basically unknown territory for me…without his “help”, that I have ALWAYS had. Don’t think his out look on “helping” me will be the same once i

  18. Don’t think his out look on helping me will be the same once I do get my plan off the ground, and into action. He already isn’t happy. Thought the man I married was strong, but he is not. Don’t believe any of these guys are. They only want to serve themselves, or be serviced! It is so not about love. I am on my way out to see what is going on out there in the real world. LOVE YOU ALL XXX

  19. I am now three years “free” from my now ex-husband. Maybe I can give some of you a glimpse of what is possible.
    I met a wonderful man a year ago, he is taller, kinder, more loving, and HONEST. He is better to my son than my son’s father ever was. Before we became serious, I told him I wanted all email passwords and a credit report. He gave it all to me and said no problem because he had nothing to hide and totally understood where I came from. He even smiled and laughed when I asked, he gets it, he loves me, and wants to let me know I am safe with him. He wants me happy because it makes him happy.
    I still pinch myself.
    My ex has not followed court orders and still continues to try to hurt me. There was never any remorse from him and there never will be. Do not do the lawyer agreements, they will not follow them, they do not even follow court orders, but at least there is recourse with court orders.
    He never, never, not one time, in anyway, cared about my son or me. Everything went to strippers and other women and making himself look like this big shot Romeo. And the lying continues, gets worse actually, and they will use you as their scapegoat while they hurt you. If he ever had me alone again, he would abuse me again. He is livid that I know about him now and that I exposed him and said no more. He never thought I was smart enough to figure it out (he is so elite you know) and never thought I was strong enough to do something about it. They use your love against you.
    The court investigation papers say he has sociopathic sexual issues and is narcissistic.
    I quit making excuses for him….step one.
    It all changed me, it does rob you of the free and trusting you. All of their deceit and hurts never changes them, they stay the same. It is you who changes from it all, and the fastest way to get your joy back is to cut off the one who steals it.
    There is hope, there is life, there is joy again, and there are “hot real men” who want exactly who we are. Women who can love.

  20. One day after trying to trust him “blindly” again, I checked out Craig’s List in the area he was staying at for business and found him immediately. I have answered Craig’s list posts often in an attempt to find him. I used a fake name and email address and talked with him through chat till 3 in the morning. He had to get up at 5 for work. He called me the next day and said he couldn’t drive home that night because he wasn’t able to get much sleep due to working late.

    Why do I do this? Why can’t I just separate? It’s driving me nuts, but in a twisted sort of way, I just want to be close to him.

    Two years since I found out about his secret life, the more I snoop, the more I find. I confront, he only admits to what I can prove.

    He tells me to divorce him if that’s what I really want and then I panic because I’m afraid that’s what he wants and I can’t handle it.

    I can’t believe I am this type of person. I always thought of myself as independent and actually thought I could live alone for the rest of my life if I had to. The thought of it scares me to death. People in my life view me as very strong. I am a counselor, I am a pastor, and my life is falling apart.

    I always took pride in my “dream” marriage. Others envy us and wish they had what we had…..all LIES!!!

    I have been with this man since I was 13 years old.

    I’m mad at everyone but him.

  21. Doubleminded…

    OMG!!! You are Pastor # THREE, at least, on here! Hmmm… Is there something to this, I wonder?

    “I’ll marry a minister, 😉 no one will ever suspect a thing, hehe…”

    ick.

    But don’t feel like you are alone!!! I did the same thing to my ex-lover when I was onto his nonsense. I would place phony ads and then chat with him on IM… THEN, and this is the really great part. He would tell ME that some “hot widow” (or whatever) wrote to him and then he would make up a whole story about what she actually said that she DID NOT SAY!!!

    on and on… Sometimes he would tell me these completely fictitious stories in person and I watched carefully what it looks like when he’s lying.

    And what I saw while trying very hard to keep my own straight face was the soulless unflinching face of a sociopath.

    One time, I made up someone who actually was a “friend” of his partner’s. That one was great fun! But, THIS is what they get off on! The danger, the drama… Its all so unbelievably disgusting.

    Now before I go on… I realize full well, that this is very bizarre, Kaaaaarazy, f–ked up, nasty, and highly unloving behavior on my part. Of course it is! And like you, it is so not me at all!!! But this is the bottom line. They bring out the worst in us; the primal, ingrained, instinctive behavior to protect ourselves– at all costs, especially if any of us have a history of abuse in our childhoods! We are survivors and into “survivor-mode” we go! Again, not saying that it is condonable, but in their world, “anything goes”. That’s what happens when the boundaries have no limits.

    What is the option? Don’t know the truth? Eat yourself up wondering what the hell is really going on? Hang on hopeless depressing despair?

    Leave?

    Why don’t we just first spit in their face, walk out the door and then never look back?

    We should, but we hang on as long as we possibly can.

    Thanks for sharing. You are not alone.

    xo,

    L

  22. Doubleminded,
    I was there. You want his love, that is why you hang on. I remember saying to my ex once as I discovered woman after woman, “have you ever loved anyone?”, and I got total silence.
    I tried with everything to “fix” him, make all the lying stop, but it never did and he is doing the same thing to many other women now that he did to me. A liar is a liar, and a SA can only stop if he wants to.
    I did not want to give up my dreams and have a broken family, but I had to. It was that or accept never being loved, always being lied too, and having no voice or worth as long as he was the one I hung my hopes on.
    After awhile I realized, as I am sure many of us have, that nothing would ever get better, he would never change, unless HE wanted to change. If being busted hasn’t curbed him, what will? If hurting you and lying to you doesn’t bother him, what would? He has known you since you were a child, and you still don’t matter enough?
    And by the way, the perfect marriage picture, I had that too…..except that was not true, it was another joke on me.
    The SA’s actions just cause too much damage, and you can’t turn a blind eye to it. I used to say, one more lie, and that is it, and I went through 20 lies, until he knew my words meant nothing (never did). I finally had to file for divorce when I realized it would never end, but I even hoped then that he would turn his ways, get help. He instead plunged into his addictions and ruined himself to the point of no return. I did not matter, our son did not matter, our life we had built with hard hard work (mostly me) did not matter….nothing mattered but himself and collecting as many women as he could.
    I hope you draw a line and say that is it, it is this or no more me. Because the bottom line is he has to care about you and love you enough to keep you by getting help and changing. What you want is his real love. Be prepared, it may be that he can’t love, but that is his problem, not yours.

  23. Dear Doubleminded, Lorraine and Lynn,

    I am new to this site, and new to this discovery (under a year). I have been married for a very short time — not quite four years. I felt as if something was wrong, and the way the rest of you did, discovered my husband’s internet obsession — porn, chat rooms, personal ads, prostitutes, the whole deal. I was shocked. He’s a college professor and has two children (they are my step-children — one lives with us). More than anything, I can’t believe that he would risk another divorce for his children — they have been through so much pain with the first divorce 10 years ago.

    I saw a counselor about this. He was wonderful — his expertise is in sex addictions. I learned so much about this problem, learned how to not blame myself, learned that it’s HIS problem, not mine. He helped me gain perspective on the entire situation and gave me hope that we could work through this problem. He said, though, that this will be a long ordeal and nothing at all will change (regardless of threats, confrontations, etc) until my husband seeks help on his own and admits that he has a problem.

    My husband is still in total denial. “Every guy does porn. I’ve never actually met up with anyone or followed through with the prostitutes.” He has completely compartmentalized this — he says that I’m asking him to take away his only private life that he has left. He doesn’t even possibly understand how it could affect me (or how it is setting an incredibly bad example for his daughters and their future relationships with men).

    More than anything, I feel deflated. THis is not what I had in mind for a marriage. We’re only year 4. Can you imagine what year 10 will be like? And, as I continue with an equal measure of obsession in checking up on him, I find myself wondering why I am wasting so much time and energy on this? I have done exactly what you all have done — made fake Craigslist posts, up in the middle of the night trying to “catch him.” I have a job that I love and a full life. I’m taking away so much of my energy that I could be putting into other things.

    This feels good to write all of this — to know that other people are going through EXACTLY the same thing. I can’t help but wonder: What is this all about? Has our culture bred such emptiness that people (men, in particular), can’t ever seem to find contentment? And I don’t believe that it’s about monogamy. It’s about escapism — as long as he can continue with these actions, he’s not settling for his “self.”

    Thanks for listening.
    KRW

  24. Welcome KRW!

    And sorry that you have to be here, at the same time. My heart goes out to you, for all that you are going through.

    First of all, it is wonderful to hear that you’ve found such a terrific and knowledgeable therapist. Sometimes the partner is so over-wrought that ALL she can think about is getting help for the addict! I commend you on looking out for yourself FIRST!!!

    Compartmentalization… yes. For many men, sex simply does not have the meaning that it has for us. Its just “recreation.” ugh. (Can’t they take up another sport, like say tennis or golf?) They have convinced themselves that it has absolutely nothing to do with you and furthermore it is none of your business… I know.

    Or as 12-step programs call it… “stinkin thinkin”.

    Your therapist is 100% correct that until they realize that this is a devastatingly hurtful and harmful activity to their partner…not just emotionally but also physically, (and YES, they are putting their own lives and YOURS, in danger!) they are unlikely to even have a glimmer of a desire to change. And even IF they have a desire to change, it is still extremely difficult to recover from.

    But, yes, it has to come from them. I think in some ways, if they refuse to get help, it makes it easier to know where you stand. If a SA just “goes along” with his partner to appease her and then still doesn’t change (as is the case with my ex-friend and his partner), then the partner is likely to just keep up false hope getting hurt over and over again.

    Of course, sometimes it just takes some people longer to understand all of the ramifications (the SA) and they will get there, in their own time. (possibly) So, since this is so early in your process, its impossible to say how it will go.

    As for why this disease is spreading in epidemic proportions.

    I think the internet has a lot to do with it. It makes it easy to hook-up and feed the addiction. But, of course, the internet in and of itself does not make someone INTO a sex addict. I think that society is full of tremendous stress as we are constantly moving at lightening speed. Our economy is quite fragile and many people have considerable stress (particularly men) regarding their ability to compete. I think its a lot of things, but its a good question for JoAnn as a blog post, perhaps.

    xo,

    Lorraine

  25. Thanks, Lorraine.

    It’s so helpful to have this kind of support. I think that your comment about men needing to compete is right on the mark. There is such a need for them to prove themselves (or something) and so much of this, I think, is grounded in low self-esteem.

    Thanks for your comments.
    KRW

  26. Bingo.

    Intense Stress, Low self-esteem leading to a deeply depressed state and in many cases a whole host of other variable issues that they have no awareness of.

    Easy access and they’re in over their heads before they know it.

  27. Hi,

    I discovered this site yesterday when I was very sad and reflecting on the last twenty months and all that has happened. I had a particularly low day yesterday and your website really helped lift my spirits. I feel I am in a no-win situation at the moment. I love my husband of 5 years very much and he is a great man in all ways other than what he calls, “his lttle skeleton in the closet”. I have assured him it is NOT a little skeleton but rather a huge graveyard!

    Twenty months ago I discovered graphic pictures on the family computer of HIM with various women at hotel rooms. These pictures indicated small sex parties as I could see men in them as well. I discovered them while trying to upload a family picture for our holiday card! Needless to say, the task of looking at pictures online of anyone these days leaves me with an automatic sick feeling in my stomach. I confronted him immediately via texting (seems to be the easiest way for me to get my feelings out). He apologized profusely, felt such sorrow, blame, self-loathing, etc. He admitted to being a sex addict and said he would seek help right away. He has never blamed me in any way and has been nothing but what seemed to me as willing to get better and stay in our marriage.

    I remember those first few days so vividly. I was so numb. I felt so removed from my body and my self. I remember walking into work (after mising several days) and feeling so removed from everything. I felt as if I was floating above myself. It was such an odd phenomenon.

    It was so close to the holidays and we had family coming in so we kind of shelved recovery until after the new year. On Christmas day, my husband suffered a fall that shattered his heal and left him on bed rest for 4 months!! The anger I felt!! In the midst of this major family crisis he had to fall and get hurt! Everyone was so sympathetic but i only felt anger towards him. Anyway, this delayed his recovery or joining any meeting groups. I tried not to push but I was so anxious. I started therapy which was helpful to me. He did nothing for a few more months until the first of March or so when I discovered something on his phone or online. Again, deception. I confronted him and he finally called the local SA chapter. By this time, he could drive again for short periods. He saw my anger and hurt and went to a meeting that night. This was finally his first day of recovery.

    It has been 17 motnhs since then. He has fallen off the wagon a few times, most recently last week. He assures me he has not been physcial with anyone since the original discovery but it was just internet stuff. He agrees that internet is part of his bottom line behavior and he can not go there. I have to say that I feel intense anger now. I am beyond hurt. I feel despair that he will not ever truly get better, that this is the life for me. I did not ask for this. He never told me when we were dating, although I should have seen some signs. There were some odd behaviors that I should have questioned further. I am so resentful now. I have lost so much respect for the man I love and my heart closes up a little with each fall from grace. I told him it is almost to the point of being irrepairable. He is completely remorseful.

    This all being said, he only attends 1 or 2 meetings a week. Things like lawn work, or children’s activities get in the way. He has not gone to counseling although I have incouraged him to do so. He doesn’t refuse but just hasn’t taken the initiative to go. Says he doesn’t want to be away from the family so much each week. I’ve laid it our for him that he will be permanently away from the family if he doesn’t stop. Last week I told him that this will be the final time. If he falls again, he is on his own. I know this will devastate him but I can’t live this life. We have a daughter together who crazily adores him. He would be crushed. She would be crushed!

    Our sex life is interesting in that he has me on some sort of pedestal. He will only have “clean” “wholesome” relations with me. Not at all what was depicted in the pictures I discovered. Interesting thing is, before seeing these picturese and knowing of his problem, I all but begged to take it up a notch. I knew something was wrong. I thought he was distant at times and at times, disinterested in our sex life. I was sad about that and was about tp suggest therapy for the both of us for that issue when I discovered the true issue at hand! We are still intimate. It has improved a small bit but has much room for improvement. I’m tired of brining it up at this point. Tired of everything to be honest.

    I am so happy to have found your site. I, too, am very hesitant about attending CoSA meetings as I feel I should not have to. I hate thining I am a co-addict! I am hopeful that this site will give me some hope, clarity and much needed support. I have told a few of my friends of my problem but it is so hard for people to relate to this. My husband by all appearances is a great husband, father and man. No one would ever guess. Thank you for giving me a venue to tell my story.

    Maria

  28. Dear Maria,

    I am so sorry about your situation. I can relate to so many things you are saying — in fact, I could write many of your sentences verbatim about my own situation (including the wholesome sex vs. the dirty sex discrepancy). Interesting, eh? I certainly have found this site very helpful. It feels relieving to tell your story and to hear similar stories — you feel less alone.

    In terms of advice, it sounds like you’re doing the right thing. The complication here is that you love him dearly, and it sounds like you have a lovely life together aside from this major problem. The decisions you have to make are hard and painful. Just remember that, in essence, HE is making the decision. If you decide to leave, it’s because HE has decided to continue destroying the marriage. You are sensing that you cannot stay with the status quo, and that is a very healthy thing to feel. It’s astounding to me how people can go on with their situations indefinitely and live in such great denial (I’m speaking for myself here, as well); in the end, this is extremely destructive behavior. This does not mean, however, that you should be beating yourself up for “enabling” his behavior. Your situation is complex. We are not all built the same way. Some women would have just left — you have decided to try to work this out and you’ve given him ultimatums. That is what you’re doing right now and you should be very proud of yourself for taking these actions.

    The key, though, is that he gets help. And you need to keep insisting on it. Be compassionate, but be firm. In a way, he is like an adolescent and he’s actually looking for your to set limits (it sounds like he is unable to).

    Thanks for sharing, Maria.
    KRW

  29. Maria,

    cyber ((((((hug)))))))

    I am so sorry for you pain you are going through but so glad that you have found the courage to tell your story and that you have found us. Every time we read a new story, its like we are hearing our own– especially the numb, out of body part. You expressed that feeling perfectly. It is indeed, quite draining to body, mind and soul. Please try to look out for yourself.

    Now, I’d like to point out a few things, if I may. Your husband is doing “just doing internet stuff?” Look, there is no “just” anything for a SA. “just” = justifying, denial and a sex addict still actively engaged in their addiction– period.

    Is he really attending those one or two “meetings”? Do you have proof that this is where he really is? He’s lied before, and he’s an expert at it. I’m sorry, but I’m not at all convinced– NOT hearing any kind of real commitment whatsoever to REAL RECOVERY here, on his part. Its like he is trying to clean up a flooded basement with a box of Kleenex.

    I’ll let others jump in here. But again, counseling is imperative as is his realization that he stands to lose everything if he doesn’t walk the talk. Great that you have laid down the reality for him. A therapeutic separation may also be in order.

    There is still hope, but there’s also a lot of work for HIM that he must seriously embark on and truly if he’s not willing to do it,(NO EXCUSES WHATSOEVER!!!) then he will have to live with the bed that he has made for himself. You have been more than understanding and patient.

    xo,

    Lorraine

  30. Hi everyone,
    I’m sad because Maria is has been carrying the horror of discovery and fall-out without knowing about this site until now. But I’m glad because she found us. KRW, you are terrific! and Lorraine, as usual, you are right there.

    Maria,
    We understand the tension of who to tell and what to tell. From my experience, I’ve kept a very small people inside the “know circle” for a variety of reasons. Some people really can’t handle it, and you lose the “normal” friendly contact when you really need it. Some can’t be trusted to let you control the “know circle”. Some are so devastated they become another person for you to worry about. Also, knowing how much to tell is important. Some People are freaked out by hearing anything more than “addicted to internet porn”. That can make them say hurtful and accusing things–like “you must have known” “you’re kidding yourself if you didn’t know at some level” “it’s too bad you didn’t act sooner” etc. So my input is to choose carefully and sparingly who you will tell and what you will tell. For example, my aged mother doesn’t know anything, but I told my brother about internet porn addiction. Any more would have been too much, but I needed him to know something so that he could support my decisions to my mother.

    I haven’t been to Sanon meetings because I refuse to play co-dependent for them. But I have met (through my therpist) a wonderful woman who does go. That’s been another way to widen the circle with people I can trust and who know what it’s like. She has indicated her group doesn’t do the codependent game at all–which was great news, so I may attend a meeting in the fall with her.

    Maria, I’ve needed to be really careful, because I just couldn’t take any more abuse or losses from any source whatsoever. Each of us comes to the question of the “know circle” with our own needs. What are yours?

    As to you own situation, I just have to say build your exit plan starting now. You need a safe environment for you and your daughter. Porn in the house is very very bad. What will it teach your daughter about who she is meant to be in this world? Because if you found it, she will find it too. It’s just a matter of time.

    SA’s are always surprised to find they’ve lost their family, and also surprised why we don’t all just come running back into their arms with praise and rewards for admitting they are sex addicts promising “I’m different now”. It really is like having another pre-schooler to deal with–but their capacity to wreak harm and havoc is adult sized. Most SA’s just don’t understand that their love for the woman has to be directed toward providing what she needs instead of getting her to do what they want. One SA in Barbara Steffens book talks about realizing his recovery was just as selfish as his addiction.

    BUT here’s the good news–this site is about our stories. It’s about supporting partners and spouses of SA’s. So let your story have the power it should have to tell you what your and your daughter need right now. You decisions don’t have to mean you will be forever separated or move to divorce, unless that’s what you need to do.

    SA’s use their addiction to control your life so that you forget you have one that should be a whole lot better than it is. It’s abuse. Don’t let your SA use his so-called recovery to control your life either. And in your case, his recovery seems a little under-whelming at this point. Are you satisfied with his investment in recovery? Mine goes to meeting 5 evenings a week now, and one on Sat. morning. Daily phone check-ins. Once a week with sponsor. Once every two weeks with therapist. We have a healing separation (google this term) agreement with healing goals and terms of contact, finances etc. Our doctor is also treating him with some anti-depressants, which has made him much less of an emotional drain to be around when we are together. That’s what it looks like when they are serious not just about themselves, but about their spouses and their children. And yours may be able to dial it up, too, once he understands what he can’t control anymore.

    Maria, I lost thirty years. Don’t make that mistake. Set the boundaries that are best for you and your daughter. Lay out the terms. If he has the capacity to love you the way you both deserve, he will “man-up”. If he doesn’t have that capacity, get out now.

    Sending you lots of light.
    Diane.

  31. Thank you ladies for your insightfulness. It is greatly appreciated. It is such a relief to have somewhere to “go” and “talk”. I am taking everything into advisement.

    I hate the idea of parenting and policing my husband. Something I have resisted for a long time. We are both in our second marriages and I always felt it was up to the individual to behave the right way. Another person should not have to impose restrictions on them. This is in contrast to what needs to be done with a spouse addicted to sex. It is such a weird addiction, too. It’s everywhere, at all times. I hate the idea of checking credit statements or taking away his phone because I so want to trust that he is doing the right thing. he admitted a lot to me, but I am sure there is more. He has always answered all questions and has never blamed me for anything. He is very good that way. He feels great sorrow for the pain he has caused me and has been consistent in taking all blame. In addition, he has never forced me to do anything I am uncomfortable with. I am stating this as fact: he is a very respectful, mature partner in almost all ways. That is why this addiction is so bizarre for me to wrap myself around. It goes against EVERYTHING I believed about him (and still believe for the most part).

    So I have to set boundaries. I plan to do it this week. We talked last night about his not wanting to go to more than 2 meetings a week because it takes him away from the family. I clearly said to him, “if you don’t go, you will be away from us forever”. I felt good saying that. I believe he heard me clearly. We will see.

    Diane, I am not willing to lose thirty years. I will not do that. My father died when I was six and my mother remarried a man I didn’t particularly like. He died nine years later. I always felt men were not necessary for women to move forward. I know, jaded. I am very self-sufficient, great job and house and 2 other children from a previous marriage that I can support on my own. I am married now because I believe my husband is a true partner and I love him very much. However, if he can not prove to me that he is moving forward, he will be moving out, and I will be moving forward. I am ready to stand behind that statement.

    I am definitely feeling better this morning as I’m sure you can tell with this post. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you all know as well, the feelings oscillate. Good days, bad days, good weeks, bad weeks. Any little thing might be a trigger for me or a reminder of his problem. I hope for the time when there are many more good weeks than bad.

    Thank you again,
    Maria

  32. Maria,

    You do not sound in the least bit jaded– to me; in fact, quite the opposite. My ex was also very respectful and gentlemanly in his demeanor and while SAs seem to have a lot of similarities, there are of course, many differences too, as there are with all people.

    Now ladies and any gentleman reading this– a subject change, but also relevant, I think. I am always telling people to take “good care of themselves” and I want to caution everyone, because we are all under a lot of stress (and some of us unbearable stress) to begin with and if you are living in the contiguous states and some other places it is VERY hot out, right now.

    Last night, after I finished my post here, I put myself together and met my best girlfriend at a lovely outdoor cafe on long island sound. There was a beautiful tropical-like breeze and so we sat outside and each had a frozen margarita and a salad and of course much lively convo… There is no better therapy and I felt terrific, mind you a bit tipsy from the drink which I had been sipping slowly over the 2 hours that we were sitting there and diluted it with more ice. And I ate my salad and had a roll. I was totally fine.

    Then we paid the bill and all of a sudden– without any warning whatsoever–I stood up and immediately felt like I was going to simultaneously throw up and pass out– I sat back down, head down, and the manager came over and I was trying to drink water and then I REALLY got nauseous and so I tried to make it to the bathroom which is when I collapsed– and then came the paramedics, ambulance and Emergency room– very surreal, but I was unbelievably weak.

    Heat exhaustion my friends. Although I was not in the least bit thirsty, and had been drinking, (not alcohol) what I thought was enough, it was not. They pumped a big bag of IV fluids into me and sent me home a few hours later and today I’m feeling much better after some breakfast and a lot of fluids.

    My point is to warn everyone to truly take good care of yourselves– especially now that we are having record breaking heatwaves. Dehydration can be a cumulative thing which is what happened to me and then one drink was all it took to push me right over the edge.

    Stay cool, and don’t forget to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids throughout the day!

    xo,

    Lorraine

  33. Hi everyone! I just wanted to give you an update and tell you how I’m doing. For those who don’t know me, I was married to a sex addict for over nine years and went through hell. My husband is an attorney and addicted to prostitutes so bad that our electricity was cut off three times in one year, and we were always broke. I bought my clothes from Wal-Mart and I was in such a deep depression that I could hardly leave the house much less work.

    I finally found the courage to leave him after finding out once again that he had cheated for a whole year. I found out by stumbling across a private email address and guessing the test questions. I had to wait around for 3 months because we were waiting for money from a case to come in and I didn’t or couldn’t leave broke. The day the money cleared, I took a considerable amount and left. I was bullied and threatened to give the money back, but I was able to stay strong thanks to JoAnn , Lorraine and a few others.

    I was very depressed for a while but I feel sooooo much better now, infact I feel better than I have felt in years. My son lives with me now and I am actually enjoying his company, he grew up seeing in bed for days just wanting to be alone, or crying my eyes out calling hotels trying to find my husband or calling *69 numbers that were called at odd hours on our phone bill. It’s horrible and I’m ashamed I wasn’t stronger for my son, but I told him I will do everything I can to make it up, and he’s just happy about our relationship now.

    I almost went back to Jon once since leaving because he was adamant that he had changed and he had not missed one weekly session with the therapist, blah blah blah, so anyway he went to Austin to visit his sister and I had a weird feeling so out of the blue I checked recent calls on t-mobile and he had called two 1-800 numbers so I called it to see who he was calling and the phone answered Ashley Madison customer service, so I googled Ashley Madison and it’s a place that married people go to for affairs. I couldn’t believe it, once again I was falling for his lies, I just wanted to kick myself and thank God at the same time!

    I am so thankful for “JoAnn and the crew” because I would not be happy and looking forward to the future if it was for you!! Thank you sooooo much!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

    It’s hard to make the move, and I was very depressed at first, but I’m telling you, it is a sense of relief not to worry about what the hell he’s doing.

    I can’t wait to meet JoAnn and Lorraine and whoever else comes at JoAnn’s book signing.

    I changed my whole look since I left I used to have brown hair and now I have copper and fire red and I love it! I also have gone on three dates, and the first two I didn’t care for but the third one is super nice and I have a second date on Wednesday with him, he’s a true gentleman. But I plan to take things slow and get to know each other as friends before anything further.

    Take the steps to leave I was so weak and miserable but I feel stronger and happier everyday! If I can do it anyone can!!

    Good luck to everyone and thank you for being there for me and helping me through a very difficult time! XOXOXO

  34. Hey Rebecca,

    I was thinking about you the other day for some reason and wondering how you were doing; it is so wonderful to hear such a positive and heartwarming post.

    That is so cool that you are dating and it sounds like you are being healthfully cautious.

    Thank you so much for updating us and being such a wonderful inspiration!!!

    Love,

    Lorraine

    PS: The copper and fire red hair sounds HOT!!! gggrrraaaggghhh lol

  35. Hi Rebecca!

    How great to hear from you! I think of you often and send you lots of good energy. Thanks for updating us on your situation, it’s good to hear the success stories. Your strength in leaving Jon is an inspiration as I remember how difficult he made it for you.

    Do keep in touch and let us know how your new life is going.

    All my love,

    JoAnn

  36. Awesome Rebecca! The crying, the checking because you are never sure, the disappointment and despair as each time you hoped and tried to trust you were just lied to again…..it is all over! It is all gone, because he cannot do that to you anymore. The hope and love kept you hanging on, but your hope and love also moved you forward because now your hope is for yourself and not wasted on him.
    There is nothing we can do to help them, they have to help themselves. He has already robbed you of so much….because as I told mine, “You knew what you were doing”. He knew, he also knew what it meant and how much, how devastating, it was to you, and he did not care. He felt lying to you again and again was just fine.
    I have a really big problem with that.
    We all wish they would learn, would care, would really want to fix the messed up parts of themselves, but I think more often than not, they choose to continue with their self destruction. In those situations we have no choice but to take our hopes away from them and turn them to ourselves and our future, and a partner who will love us and care for us.
    I was lucky, I met a fabulous man 2 years ago, and everyday I have such joy now because everything is open, real, true, no lies, love, hope, and planning for a strong and stable future…..all the things I longed for for so long, worked so hard for, and they were destroyed because of sexual addiction (which led to abuse on discovery), but now, with the right person, that part of my life is a bad dream.
    He is still abusive in emails, but I just save them all up for each court date.
    Now I wait for the day I do not have to worry about my teenage son visiting his sex addicted abusive father. I use the courts because he never changed. He has actually become worse and is doing the same things, although now fooling another woman. What a complete mess he has made of his life.
    But I think addressing the children of sex addicts is a huge issue, if not the most important. We can walk away from them, but how do we protect the children?

    1. Lynn: How do you know? How do you know the new man is so much better and open? I thought about my SA. I had obviously poor relationships before, worked on myself for years, and thought this one was so much better. He was just a better liar. And now I cannot prove but my gut tells me he is still lying, maybe making his Jekyl and Hyde even farther apart as he does some things to improve but still acts out. I don’t have hard evidence for this, but if it is true, he is merely reinforcing more ingrained ways of hiding and deceiving. How do you know if someone is being truly honest and open?

  37. I’m new here. Getting a lot out of reading everyone’s stories. I have discovered my bf of three years has a porn addiction and has at the very least emailed escorts and participated in live webcam chats with porn models.

    I’ve always had the nagging feeling that he’s a chronic liar since practically the beginning of our relationship. I dismissed the feeling because he was whisking me off on exotic vacations and buying me jewelry and being prince charming in every way possible. I discovered about 10mths in that he had emailed a few escorts attempting to make appts. I probably should have waited for him to schedule one and confront him there but instead I blew up and confronted him immediately. he said he wasn’t going to see the escorts and that he didn’t know why he’d emailed them. I was blindsided. I never in a million years thought he would have any interest in another woman. We were, I thought, deliriously in love at that point – full of romance and passion and planning a future. It may sound stupid but I felt like i had to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was utterly distraught, sobbing, begging me not to leave him.

    I stayed with him and he promised he would never do that again. Over the next year I would occasionally bring it up – I could never come to peace with what had happened because it made no sense to me. Who emails and escort several times asking to arrange a meeting if they don’t intend on doing it? We were in love and house hunting at the time. And if there was a rational explanation – why couldn’t he offer more than, “i don’t know why I did it.”?

    Meanwhile we had an incredible sex life – he’s in his early fifties and has the sex drive of a teenager – we typically had sex every day, often twice a day (i guess that should have been a red flag), so I never imagined he would have the interest in any more sex than that. He’d also been married for over twenty years, so I assumed he was essentially monogamous. But then he would contradict himself. For instance he might tell me he’d gone to town x for business and then a week later say he was going to town x to accomplish the exact business he’d already told me he’d done there. When I’d ask for clarification – he’d either insist he’d never told me what he told me about town x the first time or claim he’d mispoke. Other things were odd – he’d always be vague about when we’d meet up on a given evening – and he might say he’d be over in twenty minutes and not arrive for two hours and always give some excuse that didn’t add up like he had to stop for gas or something and get angry when I pushed for the real reason.

    Perhaps a year or so after the first incident, I once again caught him emailing escorts. Again, as far as I could ascertain, he’d not seen one but I didn’t and don’t have access to his phone records, so any arrangements could have been made by phone. I broke up with him for a week or two and then allowed him back into my life. He’s the most caring, considerate, generous, fun and affectionate man I’ve ever been with – it has been impossibly hard to give away his numerous good qualities because of this fatal flaw. If he were less kind, less patient, not fun or affectionate – I don’t know just a b- kind of guy, I feel I could dump him but he’s amazing in so many ways.

    Well here i am three years into this thing – we still don’t live together despite his promise that we would for the last two years. I recently installed a key logging software on his laptop because I’d decided that I needed to know what was really going on in his life so that I could make an informed decision as to whether I would stay or go from the relationship. I learned he’s on internet porn constantly (another huge shock – he always claimed he hated porn, that it did nothing for him) – all those incidents where he’s late meeting me or slips out of my bed early in the morning to “exercise” or make an early meeting – nearly all of those times can be explained by porn surfing. He spends 1-2 hours on work days watching porn and up to 5-8hrs/day on weekends. At least once per week, he visits sites with ads for local escorts, I can see which ads he peruses and these women use phones for scheduling. Since I can’t access his phone records – who knows if he’s seen one? I doubt he’ll ever email an escort again since he knows I have caught him that way more than once.

    He’s recently disclosed to me, and I have no idea why, that he had a few sexual encounters with men when he was in college supposedly. I wonder if it was really then or not. I’ve always wondered about this as he’s one of those guys who’s way to vocal in his homophobia and yet he has sexual preferences that aren’t unlike what gay men practice.

    I don’t know if he’s toying with revealing a little more of himself with me to test the waters or what. I just don’t know. I think I may have enabled his sexual escalation by being very open and accepting to whatever he wants to try with the exception of cheating.

    I guess, I’m trying to sort out what to do. I’m in a bind. I honestly don’t want to spend my life with a sex addict or a liar – I hate the time I waste snooping and feeling emotionally zapped by him. But I also don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone. I’m fairly isolated and I’m nearly 50. I was single for five years before I met my bf and I was terribly lonely, not to mention completely demoralized by the lack of decent single male prospects. I don’t want go back to feeling so alone and having a life without affection. And yet, I can’t accept a life of anxiety and paranoia and cheating.

    Thank you for listening.

  38. Mayam,

    I am so so sorry that this creature came into your life and took such advantage of you and your sweet vulnerability.

    You have NOT enabled anything he is doing. Please never ever blame yourself for anything that he is doing. It has absolutely nothing to do with you or anything that you are doing in or out of bed.

    That tactic of changing a story to suit his needs is a trick abusers use against their targets called “gaslighting”. Its crazy-making, because you start to begin your own sanity.

    I understand your feelings of loneliness and isolation, and fear that this could be your “last chance” but I assure you it is not. Please read your story back to yourself and take yourself and him out of equation. Pretend that these are two people that you are reading about that you do not know. You have no emotional connection. What would you tell this woman?

    I can assure you that whatever you’ve dug up is just the tip of the ice berg. I was involved with an addict for a year and yes, those little “stories” are precursors to the immense evil that is awaiting you down the line. Yes, indeed…here, we go…. down, down the rabbit hole! If you dare to hang in there. Your instincts are spot on. Trust them. Whatever you even think might be going on—is, and MORE.

    Yet again, we have the real deal and in spades.

    I don’t care how doting, “kind” (puke)… etc. he is to you.

    IT’S A CON.

    Sorry to yell… but bottom line he’s a very sick, toxic, twisted man and fortunately, there are at least a billion OTHER men on the planet from which to choose from. Thank God… and most of them aren’t predatory narcissistic sex addicts!!!

    About your age. I’m 54 and it means nothing. Be young and you are. Be old and you are. Be whatever and whoever you want to be. Be charming, adorable and fun…

    I can assure you, the men will come flocking… and good ones too.

    Do you have a counselor– a therapist who can help you sort all of this out? Most of us do and it is immensely helpful. You can’t do it all on your own. No one can.

    Thanks for sharing your story… and again wishing you much strength and love.

    L

  39. Thank you Lorraine for your support and insights.
    I have wondered if this isn’t the tip of the iceberg. I used to think, when I first met him, before I’d caught him at anything, that he had some huge secret -that nothing would surprise me – and I never really knew why I thought that. Just a gut feeling. He leads a really normal life on the surface – he works a high profile, white collar job, lives in an affluent neighborhood, sends his kids to Catholic school, clean cut, etc.

    I feel like I need to know the gory truth – is he meeting men in public parks for anonymous sex or whatever – it seems like while finding that out would be incredibly painful, it would also free me from doubting my decision. If I know for certain he is having any kind of physical contact with other people – it’s over for me. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life checking up on him and worrying. But I never quite catch him you know?

    In the meantime, I’m going to therapy and looking for support on boards like this one and trying to get more engaged in my life, my goals, my friends, etc, so that I am stronger and less dependent on him.

    If you wouldn’t mind sharing it, I would like to hear your story.

  40. I am trying to cope with my SA boyfriends recent relapse. I know that it will take time and strength and courage. I just wanted to share with you a song that is helping me believe in myself. I know this might not be everybody’s chosen genre of music, but I would suggest giving it a listen and read the lyrics. It is called “Scars” by Papa Roach. I hope this helps somebody else.

  41. Hi AM,

    I just love all of your posts because first of all, you articulate so well, the realities of this dysfunction and are also very well-grounded in its realities.

    I don’t know if Lynn is still reading and writing on here. Believe it or not, I have for about 21 months now, and Lynn was on at that time and going through hell divorcing one of the most pathetic creatures, I’ve ever read about.

    My answer to your question, is:

    You don’t know.

    One never knows if someone is lying or deceiving them. No matter what boundaries they have placed or monitors, lie detectors…on and on.

    If a man wants to cheat… act out, do whatever the hell he wants to do… He will do it. In fact, I have seen for a fact, through my own experience and the writings of other women, that some of the sweetest “kindest” most attentive, loving, giving, honest men are as you said, simply better liars.

    As a matter of fact, I have a theory that there is no such thing as recovery for this addiction. I don’t mean a cure. I mean– actual RECOVERY.

    Yes, I do believe that there can be “breaks” in the pattern and perhaps an improvement in terms of his understanding, (well, maybe) but for the vast majority. No. Its programmed into their DNA and then reinforced through years of whatever it is that their brains are thinking or were subjected to. Deprogramming a man over the age of about 30, is impossible. (and maybe even younger)

    So, what should a woman do? I think if she is very young and there are no children, then its best to go. cut your losses.

    If a woman is older and there are children involved, and the relationship is basically okay in most other respects, then its an individual choice. But if one is absolutely driving themselves crazy with whether or not he’s acting out. What is the point?

    I think those are the two choices.

    I’ve said this before but one of the wisest women I’ve ever met who happens to be a Rabbi, said to me once.

    “Lexie, if you can live with him, just as he is now… fine. If not, find a way to get out. He is not going to change.”

    The only person who we can change is ourselves. In fact, she and my therapist and even my husband suggested that I date. So, I did… and THAT is when I met my predatory sex addict.

    I’ll take my sexual anorexia any day, over that kind of destructive hell that left me with a nasty case of HPV.

    So, we have to decide if we can live with a cheater/sex addict or whatever he is. I am still not sure if my husband qualifies for a SA label, and despite my imploring, he has not gone into therapy. (he had about 10 years of therapy when he was young)

    If I had the money, I would go. (I do have a business but its up and down and he makes a pittance of what is needed to provide for our family) I hate wondering what he is up to. Who he’s “chatting with” in the middle of the night when he can’t sleep.

    I hate that he left his shit on my lap top for me to find. (five years ago)

    I hate what happened to me afterward as a result of his philandering. I lost myself. Perhaps I was already lost… but that was it.

    He was the LAST man I ever would’ve thought would’ve done something like that.
    But, its about his lack of self-esteem and depression. He just wanted to feel like “more of a man” and of course, a “man” can be whoever he wants to be, online– no matter what.

    its so tempting for them.

    hugs and love,

    Lexie

  42. Follow-up to my story that was sent to JoAnn. (This is written as more of a journal entry, which is about the only way I can get everything out these days, sorry for missed punctuation, spelling errors, etc..)

    Well, after having a discussion today with my SA BF, I found out he never ever kept his promise to me. I know he doesn’t see that this THING is hurting me. I decided to trust him, and he continued to lie to me. Sure we had sex, but if this whole thing were only about sex it would be a passing memory. Sure I get mad when he lies to me, who wouldn’t? But to find out that he was using porn to get turned on before having sex with me? That is the ultimate betrayal to my heart. Obviously I will never be good enough, as is, for him. I don’t look at porn or fantasize about other men or women to get turned on enough to have sex with him. I don’t even think about other men or women while having sex with him. And if I were to blame for all of his problems, why in the fuck would he still want me around? If I cause him to do these things, and I force him to masturbate and look at porn, why am I still here? All I am is a security blanket, something to cushion him from his falls. Not something to be appreciated and valued as a woman who loves him. Reading through these e-books I downloaded, suggest that he will never recover. I will have to deal with this issue for the rest of my life, and I don’t think I am up to that challenge. He has to want to change on his own, for his own reasons. No matter what I say or do, I cannot force his hand in this. But I want to make very clear to him that there are consequences for his actions, and that he cannot continue to lie, hide. blame, or deceive me in any manner moving forward. This is so hard, it hurts, my chest hurts, I can’t help but cry. My whole way of life has been based on these lies. He turned my world upside down in a heartbeat, and never once thought of the consequences, to me. I can’t maintain the lie and say that I will be able to handle this for the rest of my life. Like I said before, I don’t think I am strong enough to stand by him while he attempts to recover, if he ever does make the attempt. I don’t think he realizes that it will be work, and he has to be committed to doing it, without half-assed attempts at rationalization or minimizing what he has done. He will never be cured, and it looks unlikely that he will be able to get himself unstuck from this rut without seeing a counselor. I can’t live the rest of my life in a relationship that isn’t based on true feelings of love and compassion. I never thought he was so deep into this whole sexual addiction until I read these books and read a lot of the posts in the forum. If I stay with him, we will never have that ideal level of commitment or intimacy which is what I have longed for my entire life. The sex will be ok, but emotionally I don’t think it will work out, I will still be starved for affection. He cannot cope with his emotions let alone mine, that is why I think it best that I don’t give him another chance to hurt me. I should leave as I threatened to do. But I love him so much! But is it really worth staying in a shattered reality that promises to cut my heart open every single time he opens his mouth to me? He has already bled me dry emotionally, I can attribute the life and soul sucking lie of a relationship to my depression, heck I was even feeling pretty good until the stress of this stupid ass drama caught up again. It will haunt me for the rest of my life, maybe I am better off swearing off men for the rest of my life as well. I can’t make him happy, I can’t fix him, I can’t help him, I can never be enough, or his ideal woman, so why am I even here? Why am I letting him lie and coerce his way back into my life, why am I so damn gullible to fall for his stupid ass lies again, and again, and again? When will it end?

  43. I knew I wasn’t alone, but I had no idea what it would be like to read so many stories from others who have gone through or are going through what I’m going through… It’s not the cheating (I mean, don’t get me wrong, the cheating sucks too), it’s the lying. It’s the trust. What is there without trust? Trust can be rebuilt, but with an addict it’s an uphill climb both ways, and then there may or may not be water at the top. :-\