Forgiving A Sex Addict

When I found out about my husband’s Sex Addiction and eventually found out that he had slept with over three hundred prostitutes in less than three years, forgiveness was the farthest thing from my mind. I didn’t think he deserved forgiveness from me or anyone else. All I could think was that he deserved to rot in hell for all of eternity.

I had years of anger, which I spewed quite furiously and quite frequently.

But, eventually the anger, which is a legitimate emotion that needs to be voiced, became toxic to both myself and my husband. I needed to move on and work on the future rather than rehashing the past. It was time to forgive–not for his sake but for mine.

The dictionary says to ‘forgive’ is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. Forgiving your Sex Addict spouse or partner does not mean that they are no longer responsible for their actions, nor does forgiveness mean that you accept their behavior. Forgiveness is not the same as a ‘pardon’, which means to release from punishment.

Forgiveness means you let go of the anger and resentment that drains your soul of any sense of peace. Forgiveness allows you to let go and face your future, a future that may or may not include the Sex Addict. Forgiveness means getting unstuck, leaving the abyss and setting yourself free.

Well, that’s all fine and good, but how can you find forgiveness when the elephant of Sex Addiction follows you everywhere, including your bedroom?

I believe you cannot forgive until several things happen. If these things don’t happen then you must leave the relationship in order to find forgiveness and regain your stability and health because if these things are not present the relationship really has no future.

  • Your spouse or partner must stop all Sexual Addiction activities. This is non negotiable.
  • Your spouse or partner must become involved in an ongoing recovery program such as counseling, sex rehab and/or 12 steps.
  • You must feel ‘heard’. There is no room here for the Sex Addict’s denial, minimizing, double talk or drama.
  • The Sex Addict must make a commitment to be completely honest with you.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. We can never forget, nor should we. It is important to remember what has happened to us. It has been a lesson and if we don’t learn from it all of our pain has been wasted.

By forgiving and choosing to move on, one takes the power back to morph it into positive energy. ~ Eugenia Tripp

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Responses

  1. Very good post dear. The four things that must be present for the relationship to survive are needed if the sex addict has any hope of true recovery. This is what I talk about often in the meetings. It generally gets the conversation moving, especially if I speak first. Sometimes I get the “look” from some of the people.

  2. Yes, superb post, Joann and you have this knack for writing the very thing that I NEED to hear at the TIME I need to hear it! So cool!

    I was writing something along this line, this morning in my own journal as I seek to continue to move on from the pain not only caused to me, but also that I caused in turn, and it is that part that in many ways, has been the most difficult for me, to deal with. So many times, I have found myself, second guessing and going back (a masochistic exercise, if there ever was one) thinking “if only” or IF I could have done anything any differently, but in the end, it always settles back to the same place of surrender. But, yes… forgiveness is all-important and the ultimate healer, no matter what your position is.

    And Larry, I can only imagine the looks that you get in meetings, for I can picture my ex lover who’s entire life revolved upon layer upon layer upon layer of denial and lies– and so adept and agile even at coming up with the quick “come back” to “explain” how and why something crazy or hurtful thing had just happened, no matter how absurd or illogical the reason.

    After hearing about the Night Line segment which underplayed the existence of sex addiction as a diagnosis, at all– grrrrrr… and chocking it up as being merely OCD—like WTF??? This doesn’t even begin to address the myriad of issues that plague the sex addict and their loved ones. Where DO they get these idiots from? Or perhaps they also sex addicts in denial? hmmmm…

    I admire, greatly, anyone who can admit they have a problem and seek to gain greater control over their lives and also truly begin to understand that their actions can and DO have the capability to be devastatingly hurtful to their loved ones and friend.

    Its just “baby steps” all the way…First to educate the world that this thing is real and not only that but that it is pervasive and its spreading like wildfire–it is, thanks to technology! and then to get it all out on the table– and then a continuous cycle of talking, feeling, learning, trusting, acceptance, learning some more, honesty, forgiveness, healing, more learning and ultimately–love.

  3. I wish I had happened onto this information months ago. I made the mistake of trying to “understand” her behavior and to “make allowances” for it. I even participated in some activities to try and bring us closer together but could never really get into it.
    As of right now, she’s pissed at me for “outing” her to her family. She’s chosen an affair that she convinced herself was a poly relationship over her family and is now wanting to divorce me because I would not let her get away with it. (I am disabled and can’t perform as I once could so I felt guilty about that and tried to be ok with her behavior, thinking I was making allowances for her urges.)
    Thank you for letting me see that I’m not the only one out there who’s dealt with someone with this problem. Thank you for showing me that if she doesn’t want help all I CAN to is move on.

  4. Russ, thanks so much for having the courage to share your pain as the minority male in a group of mostly women. Spouses and partners of Sex Addicts are almost invisible, and if you happen to be a man who is involved with a Sex Addict you certainly must feel as if you have no voice at all.

    Gender, race, social or personal ideology, age or any other category we may place ourselves in means nothing here. Everyone is welcome and we all have no agenda other than to help and support each other in a common experience.

    I hope you will continue to visit, share, discuss and take what you need to get through this crisis. My thoughts are with you.

    JoAnn

  5. Thank you, everyone, for the courage to share these stories.
    On the topic of forgiveness, I know that forgiving preserves my freedom, and that it takes time to get there. But I just can’t get my heart, soul and mind around the thought of being sexually active with my partner again. I don’t know how I will every be able to let him touch me. I know now he had little or no desire for me, and was never satisfied by me. Looking back, things are clearer now, but as a young woman with no sexual experience–I didn’t know what to expect as “normal”. So I got stuck with a “normal” that was pretty crummy. I just don’t have the fortitude to let him “screw” me again. So, how can the spouse of a sex addict ever have a healthy sexual relationship with him or her again? What does forgiveness mean in the bedroom?

  6. I have forgiven my ex SA partner and had to voice this in a way that I knew he would understand in a short note. Even whilst I wrote the note, I felt that I wasn’t quite being honest re wishing him happiness but I did this for me and to allow me to move on because I found it so difficult to corrolate what I thought we were, with what happened and what it is now when I pass him and have to avoid looking at him beause I’ve been so scared of how painful it might be. I couldn’t bear it. In return I received a 6 page letter which I didn’t expect. The letter didn’t explain and perhaps lied but was also full of love and regret. This letter allowed me to open my heart up to him again and has allowed me to see that he gave me so many things that I can take with me as I move on and look forward to a life without him. I can’t change what happened or what was but I can change how I feel now about it all and accept now how I need to forgive in order to love completely again. I slept with his letter against my heart – it was sort of a goodbye to myself in a way. He does hurt and perhaps he will take something of this relationship with him and learn for the future. I really do hope he does. This was my closure. Love to you all. xxx

  7. Ps What I’m trying to emphasise I suppose is that we sometimes can’t change or heal someone and sometimes we might not feel that this is our responsibility BUT we can accept and forgive and then move on with untroubled, lighter hearts.

  8. Dear Connie,
    When you said “I feel cheated out of good marital relationship”, I think you spoke for all of us!! That’s exactly how it feels, especially when many years have passed that we will never get back.

    I wish I had the wisdom of the ages so I could offer it you. You deserve it. I too, get so sick of the sex addict’s “story”. It’s like as long as they can tell a story out of their behaviour, it’s okay. And we become characters to use in the “story”. Make me puke.

    Maybe you could ask yourself what you want at this stage of your life. How can you achieve it? Also, Do you want to be in this spot five years from now, ten years from now, etc? At some point we have to realize we are not meant to take this kind of torture. Each of us is responsible to know when that point comes.

    So if this is a really bad patch, but you think you can push through, then I guess you need to decide if you want to do that. But if you are done, no one here is going to say you didn’t give it all you could. Just remember that what you say to yourself will matter most.

    Could some of the more exerienced folks here share some wisdom about handling relapses and how to know when enough is enough?

    Meanwhile Connie, I pray you have strength to honour your own life, and trust the best of who you are.
    lots of light for you,
    J.

  9. Hi Connie,

    Thanks so much for writing and my heart does go out to you.

    The reason I am writing is that I see your last name is included in your comments. If you intended that, then I do commend you, as I feel that this illness is shrouded in way too much shame. But, if it was an oversight I can easily remove your last name from the comments.

    Just let me know.

    Hugs and all my best,

    JoAnn

  10. Wow Connie,
    You describe my husband! He’s so into doing all the program, talking the program, but he still treats me like I’m an annoying assistant. Barb Steffens (in the Part 2 interview) said we don’t listen to what they say, we listen to what they do.

    Sounds like pride is an issue here, for him. And while he’ll eat the humility for his program partners, he won’t with you. I guess it depends on how much of that you can take.

    I always have my antenna up about whether the addict eventually learns how to “work the program” instead of “work the steps”. If your husband has moved from group to group more than you might have expected—this reduces group accountability and the likelihood of being called out. He’s emotionally manipulating them, too. Does that sound like a possibility?

    It’s just so frustrating when the addict pursue his recovery as if we aren’t really in the room, as if we don’t really rate their attention because they have more important things to deal wtih.

    I hope someone posts with more experience on dealing with sexually acting out relapses. I only know about relapses in how he treats me, so that’s what I’m responding to.

    Hang in there.
    j.

  11. Dear Jane, I agree and he usually stops a group becasue we are pretty limited in our town with properly led groups. He has actually led a few groups (He is a business CEO ) he usually takes charge of the groups, loses interest and thinks he is doing great so he quits all connections. You described exactly what I am experiencing. H ewouldnt talk to me yesterday and sat in the room with me doing his new recovery work with such intensity and then left and went to bed. Once again I ma nothing as he does hi srecovery work. It is a nightmare and I just responded to one of his emails and he responded back very rudely so I just told him I was moving out tonight. I have to keep my word but I am so sad.
    He is bipolar on top of the sex addiction so it is so complex. I would appreciate your prayers greatly as I realize I do things that aren’t always right and honorable so pray I can get healthy again and bring honor to this situation if possible.
    blessings Connie

  12. Hi Connie,

    I’m so sorry for your sadness. It is more than justified.

    What exactly is “HIS recovery work?” You both went to a COUPLE’S clinic; call me crazy, but doesn’t that imply working WITH one’s partner to move towards healing and recovery?

    He’s hopeless– until by some random act of God, he can begin to think of YOU first and not just lip service, but really put your needs ahead of his own. I know…

    I think most of us can probably say that we’ve had moments in our own personal hells when we regret some things we’ve said or done. Again, OUR actions and words are usually REACTIVE to the heinous situation we’ve been presented with, which is much different than causative. Try to be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself first and know that in a normal circumstance, you would not be tested in these ways.

    big hugs and much strength,

    L

  13. hey connie

    Thank you for sharing your story, I can relate so much!! I wanted to recommend a book I am reading called Facing Love addiction by Pia Mellody. It is very enlightening on why I seem to put myself back into this relationship and others in the past. It is about your recovery first and if he won’t get serious about help you can’t get better while living with his sickness.

    best of luck to you

  14. I’ve appreciated all of your comments. I have been addicted to pornography for four years. It all started with me turning towards masturbation and sexual compulsions to deal with undesired emotions. I cleaned up for two three years (more or less) got married and thought that things would take care of themselves. I eventually felt like my life was being consumed, and I came clean to my tender-hearted wife. I felt horrible that I had hurt her so much that I just promised over and over that it wouldn’t happen again. For four years, we continued this process. I now come for help, advice, or thoughts and opinions. Three months ago my wife came to me and told me she was unhappy, and was considering leaving me (with our two young kids). Suddenly I realized that I had to choose between my family and pornography. I was foolish in thinking that my addiction was hurting only myself, but my wife has been deeply hurt. She now says she is no longer in love with me, and is considering divorce. She will not be intimate, nor will she spend any alone time with me (dates, etc.) She is sad and tired, perhaps still angry – and unforgiving. I desire to know if, from the many female perspectives out there, there is hope yet for my family to stay together. Is there hope for my marriage to have love and trust again? I am trying to put my trust in God for help. I have stopped acting on all sexual compulsions. I have been attending a 12 step recovery program for the last 3 months weekly/biweekly and am also seeing a counselor weekly/biweekly to help me. I also have a support network of friends and family to give me accountability. I am trying to respect my wife and give her the space she has asked for and have accepted complete responsibility for my actions. I realize it was my choice to participate in this addiction, and it is my choice to leave it. I have also committed to being honest with her about every aspect of my addiction. In fact I failed last week and masturbated. I immediately told her, but this only made her madder. I haven’t looked at porn, and now feel better prepared to deal with choosing not to masturbate. I love my wife so much, and I want us to be happy and in love again. Ladies, is there hope for us?

  15. P.S. I am prepared and willing to do anything…anything and everything…to end my pornography addiction. Will she ever want anything to do with me again?!?

  16. Hi DM,

    I am sorry for your pain. My mom who’s a marriage and family counselor has told me that it is a common assumption that marriage will heal everything. As you have discovered, it doesn’t. Sometimes, as lovers, partners and spouses, we get so involved with our own pain, that we fail to see that an addict is in their own pain too. Actually, isn’t that WHY the addict became one in the first place?

    Now, this is not condoning the addiction, but until help is received, I disagree with the assertion that a person has chosen to be a sex addict.(or any kind of addict) Who would willingly CHOOSE to lose control of their lives to something so devastating and life-threatening, that they have absolutely no control over?

    Please be patient with your wife. This is going to take time and that may mean years. There is no quick fix for the injury is severe and deep. Right now, she is depressed beyond all measure and you have two little kids on top of it. That is not easy under the best of circumstances. Think of it this way…She’s in intensive care, right now. Its touch and go and there’s really not all that much you can do, but hold her hand and show her that you love her, need her and care for her well-being very very much.

    Of course, there may be other things going on in your marriage aside from the sex addiction. The two of you need to see a counselor jointly. This is crucial.

    Encourage her gently to spend time with you, alone, even if its just a movie. Get a sitter at least once a week. I know it can be tough, but you need to try and do this. Do something small for her each day that tells her that you were thinking of her. Pick up something she might need from the store or offer to do ALL the shopping. Take the kids off of her hands for an afternoon, or offer to take a day off, to take them to their doctor’s appointments when they are sick. In short, pamper her. If you’re already doing all of this, great and if not, please start And don’t ever, ever let up. Guys out there… Are you reading this? The romance does not end with “I do”!

    Actions speak louder than words. Old, axiom… but so very true.

    Quite frankly, I think there’s a tremendous amount of hope to be had, because what I hear is that you genuinely love your wife and family and have a keen awareness and understanding of your condition. It is the person who will not even acknowledge that their actions are immensely hurtful and destructive to not only themselves, but their loved ones as well that is in deep trouble. In this case, there is no hope.

    Thank you for your courageous post. It is so wonderful to hear from the other side, from someone who is truly trying to overcome something very difficult. There is no shame in trying and failing. The shame comes in not trying at all.

    BTW, you ARE dealing with pain and undesired emotions. Right here, right now! This is a healthy way to cope. Sharing, talking, support, learning about it, instead of stuffing it all down and using unhealthy coping mechanisms to dull the pain. Yes, I think there’s a lot of hope for you.

    Warm wishes,

    Lorraine

  17. Hi DM,
    I’ve been trying to think what I would most like you to consider about your wife as you pursue your recovery. And I want it to be really helpful, not just cross—which does bubble up when I read your post. So here goes:

    Try to imagine if your wife acted like one of your two small children. That’s what she’s been dealing with in you. Three children instead of two. And one pretending they are an adult with all the rights and privileges, but little responsibility or mutuality in the primary relationship. I think she’s exhausted–emotionally, physically and mentally. So, maybe leaving you is just one way to reduce the emotional, physical and mental workload. Yet you seem surprised at her decision, her non-interest in pursing a sexual relationship with you, at her fatigue and sadness, and yes, what you call her unforgiveness.

    Questions
    Do you have the capacity to imagine and empathize with any aspect of what it’s been like for her and the cost to her personal well-being? I mean without jumping into your pressing need to be forgiven. Do you have the capacity to let her feelings be about her story–an also-devastating story of love, betrayal, dashed hopes, humiliation and deceit, isolation—or do you see her feelings as uncooperative pieces of your story?

    If you don’t have the capacity for true empathy, please get out of her way.

    If you do, please realize she probably needs a vacation from you. That’s the message I see in her decision. And you can use that time to sober up and move more deeply into your therapeutic journey to get at the root of your own pain. Because your pain really does matter, and you deserve to be whole. Loving her may mean giving her what she needs instead of focussing on what you want from her.

    Lorraine is right when she says there is hope. There is definitely hope. But your wife is not there to take all the risks in this relationship so you won’t have to face the cost of your addiction. You may have to take the risk of giving her what she needs–even if its time away from you.

    My husband is pursuing his recovery and working on his pain like nothing else—but as part of that he recognized my need for security and safety and no more crazy-making acting out. He co-operated with our house sale and the distribution of funds so that I could get my own place–much smaller and less grand but all mine. The fact that he did this in the middle of his own mess spoke volumes to me about not just guilt–but love and care for me–he actually did something unselfish for my well-being! How husband-like was that! And so I have not shut the door on our future. I’m waiting. Maybe your wife will wait too, if you can bring yourself to do or support something that she needs.

    I really really hope you make it, DM. But you really need to take your head out of your ass on this one.

  18. DM,

    From my perspective, you need to get into therapy and find out what is at the root of this. Get honest with yourself and do not stop until you get it. If in any way you tie this pursuit to what your wife’s decisions are you will imprison her which is not good for her or your children.

    Do this for yourself 1st. You have caused excruciating pain, sorrow and grief. If you thoroughly go through this site you will see how much destruction has been caused by the SA’s.

    Give you wife space, her dreams, trust, tender emotions toward you have all been betrayed. Make sure your family is provided for and then concentrate on you getting well. At this point when you come out saying “I love you and the kids, you mean everything to me” only sounds empty and shallow to your wife. Actions speak louder than words – don’t speak, just do.

    I do hope that you make it, it’s going to be a long hard road if you really face the truth and get to the root of this. Where or what your wife chooses to do really has nothing to do with your recovery. The chips are going to fall where they fall on this situation. No guarantees, but you surely will have more of a chance if you work hard at facing the truth.

  19. I appreciate your advice, and your honesty, although I don’t understand the need for the derogatory comment, nor why you (Diane) are upset about my post. As a recovering addict of only a few months, my perceptions are still changing, and as you pointed out, I wasn’t seeing things as I should be. This I acknowledge, and it is a large part of my wanting to ask for your input.

    As I said before, I am willing to do anything to end my addiction, but I am also willing to do anything to help her with her healing process. I am not surprised by her reactions. I was not acting responsible for the consequences of my choices if I came across in that manner. While I am willing to accept the consequences, it is still difficult to deal with them.

    For your information, I have been trying to “pamper” her. At first it was only for show – trying to get her to stay. But my reasons have changed. Having not viewed pornography for four months now, my perspectives have already changed about many things (and I know I have a long ways to go). What I mean is, I have been able to focus more on showing my wife how much I love her, and I have felt that love deeply for her, instead of allowing it to be crowded out by pornography. My actions are demonstrative of my true feelings for her. Every day I love her more.

    I was very against me moving out before today. I didn’t feel like my wife would be able to see my progress, feel my love, nor begin to like me again if I didn’t live in the same house. I realize now that these are all selfish reasons for not leaving. You are right, what about her feelings, dreams, hopes, and desires – all of which have been betrayed. Words cannot express my remorse, regret, and pain for having hurt my sweetheart. I do want her to have what she needs to heal, even if she chooses not to stay with me. I told her this, and she is considering her options. I think that if I do end up being asked to give her a vacation (and honestly I really hope it is only a vacation and that she will let me come back) I will try to still help her with the kids – if she desires. I am going to let her set the terms.

    I am worried however. I fear she is getting advice from a friend who is divorced and bitter. She is considering counseling with me, but isn’t too keen on the idea. I don’t feel like I can talk to her about who she gets advice from because I have little influence with what I say…as noted by Jeannette and Lorraine. Actions do speak louder than words.

    Is there anything else I should consider? Anything else I can do? Any other perspectives that I have provided that are incorrect? I appreciate your help.

    DM

  20. P.S. What do you mean by I need to face the truth? How am I not facing the truth? I know I have an addiction, I know why I have the addiction, I know what I stand to lose and the destruction it has caused, and I am becoming more knowledgeable every day about what I can do to eradicate it from my life. I don’t mean to come across as cocky or arrogant – please don’t misunderstand. I really want to know what I am missing.

    I hope this is okay, but there is another blog that has been extremely helpful for me in this process – I hope I can mention it. The very first 12 entries are modifications of the 12 step AA program. The website is:

    http://www.12stepsnewlife.blogspot.com

    Thanks again.

    DM

  21. I’m still here, and of course, I can’t speak for Diane, but I loved what she wrote. Her writing epitomizes the very essence of what each of us feels. You see… your wife’s pain is “everyone’s” pain. We are empathizing with your wife, and this is upsetting for us, because it reminds us of our own pain. It is not meant in a personal way, and she also said many kind and encouraging things as well.

    Yes, its true that you cannot control your wife talks to or is receiving advice from and you have to understand that a cheating hubbie is not going to be looked on too kindly by friends who are supporting her. But, I will tell you this… A woman in love, is not going to be thwarted by her friends, no matter what they say. If she has fallen out of love, then you are going to have to move a mountain to get her back. Its as simple as that— but…….

    Like I said, you have got to understand that there is no quick fix here. Four months is nothing! Remember, your wife is still in a state of shock! And the trust is shattered into a million pieces. It is going to take a long time to put it all back together and for her to trust you again. And, in the end, she might never get there or she might. So, if patience isn’t your strong suit, it will be a test for you to learn this.

    Sorry, no crystal balls in life… but if I had one 10 years ago, when I so desperately wanted to see my autistic son as he is now 10 years later, it sure would’ve been nice.

    We all have our crosses to bear, and this one is yours.

    Keep in faith and heal yourself. There is no greater way that you can show love for your wife than in doing just that. For now, this is the best you can do and try to get her to go to couple’s counseling.

  22. Just for the record DM,
    this is a website dedicated to support partners and spouses of SA’s—not SA’s.

    If you want to play in this sandbox, you can expect that my primary concern will be for your spouse, not you. So don’t play the “but I’m so sincere, you should be nice to me game”. And what a surprise, it’s the same game you’re playing with your wife. She’s not biting either.

    I actually gave you the best advice for you to have any chance with your wife. Stop making your recovery all about you and what you want and what how you think she should respond. That’s what “getting your head out of your ass” means. But maybe if I’d posted a picture of that you’d have done better. That’s right DM, your posts have convinced me that you just want control again. And pushing the purpose of this site over to your recovery agenda that includes controlling your wife’s decisions is probably a part of that. Notice how you dismiss your wife’s friend who is clearly acting in your wife’s interests first (unlike you) by labelling her as “bitter” and someone whose influence you “fear”.

    Not in this sandbox.

  23. Well said Diane. I can stop biting my tongue now.

    Sorry DM, but your dialogue is so common, so trite, so self serving, shallow and oh so predictable. We have all heard it so many times before and most of us have gone through the process of watching our spouses and partners take those first steps of declaring their new found self-awareness, understanding of their addiction and declarations of sobriety. Then we watch in horror as they fall into the abyss of self pity, anger, denial and immature tantrums and as soon as we don’t quickly ‘understand’ their dilemma and forgive and forget.

    The damage that is done to a relationship by Sexual Addiction may take years to repair, and, more often than not, the damage is irreparable. That’s just the cold, hard facts. Think about it. A single infidelity can destroy a marriage or relationship. Sexual Addiction encompasses so much more than a single indiscretion. It destroys any sense of trust and safety that the partner has and requires them to review and completely rewrite the past.

    The only thing you can do now is be consistently honest and transparent, work on your recovery and allow your wife some space to process what has happened to her. She needs friends and family to support her right now, and yes, they may advise her to leave you. What would you advise a friend or loved one to do if they had been betrayed as you have betrayed her? Do you think your situation is different? Special?

    It’s not.

    DM, why not check out the Recovery Nation link on the right? It has a lot of free resources for both you and your wife. 12 steps are fine, but that is just a start. I believe that intensive counseling for the Sex Addiction, for any childhood trauma (remembered or buried) and personality disorders that are so common in addicts is necessary for the Sex Addict to start the process of understanding all the issues and to begin the lifelong rebuilding process.

    1. i was moved by what you said here i agree on every level I am leaving my husband finally after all this i will never go back our story is horrible and shameful i am done being so alone and so broken over his crap.

      1. Hi Lee,

        I have been reading here since my D-Day in May 2010. I moved out in November after being an housewife for 11 years. I have a 16 year old and I recently found employment and I am hanging in there. I just want you to know that I know how you feel and it sucks so bad. I am still in love with my false life and it is hard to know what a lie I lived but there is some of a silver lining. Being away from my SA husband has brought me some joy which was unexpected. I feel less lonely now believe it or not and I really love my new job and I have made friends. I have not filed for divorce and I am afraid of enduring that hell on earth but when I am ready I will. I have been out on my own now for six months and I want you to know that it is possible to move on.

        There is no easy way out though. We have to feel the complete devestation of our soul and go through all the emotions that there are no words for. And hey remember this, our husbands are UNABLE TO LOVE. So what the hell else is there? I feel sorry for mine now and I think that maybe good things are still possible for me and maybe even wonderful and happy feelings that I have never yet felt in my life because I was married to a sex addict. I am kind of looking forward to the future in a strange way. Six months ago I was hoping that I would die peaceful in the night…truly hoping no lie. I am glad now that I didn’t.

        Hugs =) Haley

  24. Diane and JoAnn,

    I cannot thank you enough for putting to words what I have been chewing on all morning. I knew I didn’t want to be drug into a therapist role here, been there, done that. Didn’t even want to then, but was manipulated by my husbands, claim, ‘he would change it if he could’, so I was willing to listen and that cost me dearly. I now know more about homosexual sex than I ever could have imagined. I was struggling with how to explain “face your truth”, only to feel that most SA’s don’t even know what truth is. So thanks for reeling this back in.

  25. Thanks sisters,
    I was so furious last night with this guy’s “victim” posture, but I waited til this morning to get clear on it. Finding our voice is crucial and this site is about that for me, especially when I post.

    At first I thought I would let it pass, but then I thought about everything we know about the SA tactics–and I had this horrible picture of this guy telling his wife how he was working with the women on this site to win her back—and how they said this and that about what she should be doing—all out of context and directed towards controlling her again. And I just couldn’t stand the possibility of our online community being used for his agenda.

    He is not a victim. And I will not allow him to present that way unchallenged.

    I do hope he is able to get past his honeymoon with his recovery commitment into the real work of being a human being free to love another human being in a way not driven by egoic need. I believe DM can do it, but it’s all about surrender, not control–surrender to values, behaviour and purpose not designed to medicate his pain, but liberate him from it.

    Meanwhile his wife needs protection, support and advocacy. And that has our name all over it.

    love,
    D.

  26. Bravo Ladies! And yes, I’m afraid my “moving a mountain” comment may have been misconstrued. The mountain, in this case is DM’s changes within himself— and personal growth, not into further manipulation and control of his devastated wife.

    Being an addict is not a faucet that one turns off and on at will, but that is what you have inferred that you have accomplished. Its just not possible. Again, you said it was your choice to start and your choice to stop, but you didn’t until your life was about to drop out from underneath you.

    Sorry, DM, but on further reflection of all of your comments, I see a man who starts out talking a pretty good talk, but not with a whole lot of sincerity. Why would you let your wife call ALL the shots? Aren’t you in a partnership with your her? Don’t you make important decisions, jointly? If you’re not, then I fear you will find yourself on that proverbial slippery slope, yet again. What if you absolutely abhor something she is doing, but now since she calls all the shots, its her decision and her decision alone? She doesn’t want a resentful passive-aggressive “yes man”. She wants a husband and a partner. Of course, she may decide to leave you, but on that front, there isn’t a whole lot you can do.

    There is still so much work to be done, but I do hope that you will get to that place of peace.

  27. I find it amusing when my husband, like DM toots his own horn,”But I have been porn and masterbation free for X weeks.”

    Wow, I quit shitting my pants when I was two. Where’s my medal?

  28. fatchance,
    I sure will miss you. You are not really going to go are you. This is exactly how I feel. Gold medal to stop doing the things you should not be doing anyway as a faithfull and considerate husband!!!! No, not gonna happen. Plus big whoop d do. This comes from the horses mouth and has to be taken with a grain of salt, unitl it actually means something to us.

  29. 1. Your spouse or partner must stop all Sexual Addiction activities. This is non negotiable. RE: I can never really know, can I? He was so skilled at secrecy and lies, even when my gut tells me something is wrong, I have no way of verifying what is ACTUALLY wrong.
    2. Your spouse or partner must become involved in an ongoing recovery program such as counseling, sex rehab and/or 12 steps. RE: As far as I know, yes. See number 1.
    3. You must feel ‘heard’. There is no room here for the Sex Addict’s denial, minimizing, double talk or drama. RE: Nope. Still getting ‘but you said this and now you are saying this, you are looking for things wrong, you you you etc.’, defensiveness, denial about doing hurtful things, etc etc.
    4. The Sex Addict must make a commitment to be completely honest with you. RE: How the hell do I know? I can FEEL if something is off or lying, but I can’t PROVE anything 90% of the time.

    1. Hi AM,

      Yes, you can now see the terrible pain that we all must go through when living with a Sex Addict. They will never be cured, but some can learn to manage their compulsions, but not without a lot of personal counseling, usually psychiatric care and medication and a determination to overcome the disease.

      How will you ever know? Men in true recovery have a completely different attitude. There is no more defensiveness when questioned, they have learned, through intensive counseling and psychotherapy to overcome their shame and take responsibility for their bad behaviors. They will be dedicated to do whatever it takes to regain your trust.

      If you feel that you can’t trust your partner, then you probably can’t And,that’s just not a healthy way to live. In cases like this, sadly, the only sane thing to do is to end the relationship.

  30. I left this website in 2010. Our divorce was final last December. It was a very long year and a half and yet it was like time flew. I had a meltdown in January. I lost everything and he seems to have gained it all. I became isolated and extremely depressed.
    I am working on myself now. It feels like I had open heart surgery without pain medication and it feels like it just happened yesterday.
    The fight is on now for the kids. I hope the bottom has passed. He says I am crazy and made it all up. He is abusive and controlling.
    Why would I have made it up??? I loved him; I absolutely ADORED him. Yet, now, he is satisfied with nothing less than to see me dead and I am sure it would please him for it to be at my own hand. That is not going to happen. He is only holding on (to control) to watch me go down.
    He made me the enemy. I am no longer silent. He is charming to others and yet works to secure my demise financially, spiritually, physically.
    What is needed here is an act of Providence.

    1. Hello,

      I have a feeling that I have posted here and if I have please bear with me. I can honestly say, with no hesitation, I have never felt more alone or insane than I did, and in a lot of ways still do, after my spouse vomited his confession all over me. At the point of his delivery, we had been married for 37 years, he basically told me he had cheated for 30 years. He was confessing to an ongoing affair with a woman who had worked very hard building a friendship with me for 14 years, 13 of which she was screwing my husband. So, I was her friend from my heart, she was never mine. Added to the list was one of my high school friends who I worked with, four of his coworkers, one of which was a good friend of mine, another that I knew of after he started the affair and swore it ended but they continued it on and off for 15 years, the other two coworkers of his I did not know and he screwed a pick up at a bar the first year we were married. He worked on several other of my “friends” who led him on but did not deliver the goods. There are some of our friends who let him use their home for his fun times and many who knew what was up.

      Can I ever in a million years tell you what if felt like to lose everything in one fell swoop? I loved all these ppl. To hear “these were never your friends, you are better off without them”. Are you kidding me? This is my entire past, my entire life. I cannot look at a picture, have a memory without these ppl in them. It is a form of PTSD, it falls into your brain like a dripping fountain of poison. Drifting off to sleep, and there it is. And the pain is like a knife in my heart. I have confronted all but one of his coworkers, he cannot remember her name, and the stranger from the bar, who the hell was that?

      fatchance, I hear you. At the point that he climbed out of this pool of shit, me offering him my hand, unaware of what I was in for, he pulled me in. He is standing on the side now, hosing off while I am drowning, saying “why can’t you get well?” But, he finally gets it. When he told me, I had recently lost both breasts to cancer, been diagnosed with a brain tumor in my brain stem, non-op but stable, and with MS. Things have only gotten worse. I do not have MS but rather another auto immune disease called CIDP which is rare and difficult, crippling and sucks. I am stable with it right now but chemo and plasmapharesis is next (taking all my blood out, removing certain anti-bodies to disable my immune system, and putting my blood back in, three times a week). He is a model SA patient. He embraced the diagnosis, he has done any and everything he can to make this right, or help me. I have ranted, I have been physically violent, cussed, raged, and I am spent. I was told May, 2008. We went to regular therapists until we found SA counselors in January of 2010, and that is when it all began to heal. He saw me get better in 83, 89 and almost totally in 98, so I think until last December, he really thought that I would end up as “me” again. I will never be me again. Ever. He killed me. He fell apart when he realized the true brevity of what he has done to me as a human being. Why he did not get that in 98 when I was giving myself black eyes is beyond me. I would not survive another hit, but he will not either.

      He is full on with therapy, although it is in a lull right now because of his job demands, but that will change back soon. I have been in the hospital at least ten times, two for psychiatric reasons. This took me down. The latest thing is that my heart has finally taken a hit. I had to have an ICD implanted. I have no heart disease but rather an electrical problem. My heart is going into fatal ventricular tachacardia. I am lucky to be alive. This had been going on for the past two years, and when they put a holter monitor on me, they immediately put me into ccu when they saw the results. Truthfully, if something does not give, if I cannot heal, I am going to die. Literally, and I feel comfortable to say it will be from a broken heart.

      He is and was the love of my life. He talked crap about me to this last woman and she delighted in telling me what he said. She fell in love with him, he not with her. He is an addict. I do not know what her problem is, perhaps she is as well but do know that she is a cold hearted, evil bitch. Getting over him even mentioning my name to her has been hard. That is another form of betrayal. I want that corrected. He just told lies. He has destroyed so many ppls lives, so many innocent ppl. Children, families, not to mention our own. We have five daughters and it has taken these four years to get any healing for us. My children were devastated by his behavior, what he did to me and our family. It was like an atom bomb was dropped in the middle of our family.

      I have a blog called “Eating Cake and Shitting Briars”, meaning, wedding cake. He has done so much to me and I know that I will not heal. I forgave him totally, believed him and worked very hard to rebuild trust and took on the mantle of fault for his unhappiness, thinking in the years following his first known affair to me, maybe he would have been happier, I should not have fought for my marriage, but rather have let him go. I loved him and I told him this over those years, but yet when I caught him just “talking”, right, to her in 89 and in 98, and kicked him out, he cried, begged to stay. He had his chances to be with her. The love that he thought that he had for her, he figured out that was not love at all. He did see her for what she was.

      How do I stop all the imagery, the pain, the heartache? How do I combat the anger, the betrayal? How do I recapture the memories, all the trips and outtings that I planned and took even this last affair on, she and her spouse, camping, to haunted houses, etc, all the while she was meeting my husband behind my back. When I caught him talking to the only woman I knew of in 1998 and kicked him out, who did I call for consolation? The last affair. She is the person that I turned to for comfort, the only person that I had ever really confided in. She talked to me, expressed her disbelief in his behavior, etc., all the while she had already been having an affair with him herself for three years. She is completely with no character. Who did I call in 2004 when I had breast cancer, from the hospital and asked to please come and see me, that I needed her? That bitch. She came, but she never told my husband. She did not tell him she talked to me on the phone all the time either. The whole thing is so revolting, how the affair was conducted, and to top it all off, she is dog faced ugly. I am ten times the human being and she cannot hold a candle to me in any way. It is all about the “dirty girl” syndrome. The whore, the hooker, the slut. She represented that, I could never do that, I was the mother of his children. Now he sees the value, now he realizes what he did, but then, he squandered our life.

      Valentines day, 2008, I was preparing a meal with a song in my heart and found viagra accidentally. That was the tell. That is how he was found out. He had not had sex with me in several years. His conscience was bothering him, he was not able to with her like he used to. I knew he had the viagra, I saw it on our medication list, but he said it was for a friend, and the man told me yes, it was for him. So, when I found it in his stuff accidentally, I knew.

      I have lied for him. He has beaten me, hurt me, been a horrible father. He has treated me with disregard, disrespect and now here we are, me 60, him 64, and I am sick. If I could go back I would still marry him. I love my girls, but I would kick him out and never have allowed him back in in 1986. That was my big mistake. I wish so many times that he had that woman crammed up his ass. Sideways.

      1. J Smith,
        I can relate to much of your story and your pain. My husband of 37 years disclosed to me on 1/20/2012 that he has a sex addiction primarily involving prostitution. I am still in a state of disbelief.

        My husband has a short affair in 1983. It nearly killed me. We did work through it and I forgave him completely. He became a born-again christian and he changed. Or so I thought. He says now that he was sober for many years after that. He made himself out to be the moral compass for our circle of friends and often our friends would send their sons to him for counseling. He also counseled many men in his workplace about how to treat your family and be a Godly man. He was a man who was home every night, and wanted me with him all weekend long. I felt like I couldn’t get away from him even to have time with my daughters or girlfriends. His acting out was during the day, when I was at work. His occupation provided him with days off during the week. I never could have known.

        This is why this is so hard for me to believe.

        His addiction involved picking up prostitutes off the street. Completely disgusting to me. We have been separated since his disclosure in January. I also endured what I considered emotional abuse and watched him emotionally abuse my three now grown daughters. Our entire home life circled around keeping him comfortable, his choice of food, perfect temperature in the house, and perfect sound level, anything but that he viewed as disrespectful of him. I spent 37 years keeping him perfectly comfortable. And, of course, I have a lot of resentments about that and the deceit, lies and betrayal of his sex addiction. He also admitted that he has been unfaithful to me all but the first two years of marriage.

        He is completely immersed in recovery. I am 58 and he is 61. I feel like the years that I have left I do not want to be recovering “with” him. Of course, I will recover and move on. I also feel like I will be breaking his heart when I ask for a divorce. I feel more like I’m asking for a divorce from my child, than my husband.

      2. Dear Lori,
        You will be breaking his heart because he’s had 37 years of you serving his every whim, creating a perfect cover for his duplicitous and depraved life, and keeping him company on weekends. Don’t mistake this for love. It’s just usury.

        Of course you don’t want to waste the time you have left watching the selfish pig “recover’ and then go back to his ways, and then “recover” again, and then god back to his ways etc. It’s not easy to leave, I know. Trust me, I know. Even when they’ve done nothing but con you for nearly four decades, it’s hard to settle into that truth and believe you can build a future. But you can. Because you don’t build on his deceit. You build it on who YOU are.

        You can have a good life without the control freak who is also a lying low life. Go out and get it.

  31. Hello, I feel all your pain!! My husband is a sex addict, his condition has been advancing from porn right after sex to sending pics of his privates to wanting sex with a guy to allowing a prostitute to give him oral sex..no more!! It has been 7 years,I didnt know about the prostitute until I felt sick, he gave me an STD..I have little ones, I kicked him out but he doesnt want to leave..He is defensive, he doesnt deny anything anymore, but how can I be sure he hasnt done anything else??? worse part is that I dont even know what else he has given me, how severe is the damage in my uterus ( due to the std I got Pelvic inflamatory disease) I feel betrayed, alone, sad tired, angry, depressed and exhausted..I want to cry but I cant since kids are out of school, he doesnt realize how he is been hurting me..I think he feels he is ok that I will forgive him -as I have always done-..this time is different I cant not take it anymore. I contacted a group for him to go 4 years ago, he went to a couple of session and then he said he was ok he was busy working.. I feel awful, my first tongue is not english but It seems that spanish speaking people dont talk about it I am trying here..feel so hurt

  32. After nearly 30 years, I am just beginning to understand the depth of my husband’s sex addiction with bipolar disorder to top it off. It has been a very rocky journey.

    Through his latest affair, so much of what has been hidden for so long came to light. He chooses not to do the recovery work and continue acting out. It becomes sad, because I have witnessed that the latest woman is his drug of choice. She convinces him not to go to his 12-step meetings. Sort of like when an alcoholic says they are trying to remain sober and their drinking buddy says, “Come have one last drink with me, what harm can one more do?” In reality, it perpetuates the illness. Sex Addicts are not bad people, unfortunately they are sick people. As the partner of one, I have learned that you cannot control the behavior, they will find the sneakiest ways to continue. You have to focus on yourself and your recovery from the pain and behaviors that have become part of your life.

    I am working the Sanon program for my own recovery. It has been a breath of fresh air for me. While both men and women can join Sanon, the groups I have not seen any men in the meetings I have been to. What is amazing to me is how the experience of so many truly wonderful and amazing women is so similar to mine. Through Sanon, I am learning that I am not alone. I have new friends that truly understand how deeply sex addiction hurts. And I am grateful for the relief and sanity I get through each meeting and through each phone call I make as we share our experience, strength, and hope.

    As I accept that for myself and my children that the behavior has made my life painful and unmanageable, I have to let go of the hurt and anger. They only harm me. I also know that my husband can and will be very charming and trying to hold on to me in his life. (I can’t be his anchor to reality.) At this point, I am willing to accept, but I don’t need to forgive. He is doing nothing that shows any willingness to try to change the addict behavior. It is sad, but I have accepted that he has chosen his drug. I gratefully take that knowledge to take back control of my own life.

  33. Hi, after two years with my partner I found him on porn sites. He said it was a one off! Then I found on his computer, horrible rape and humiliation sites. He keeps making excuses but he was on for 7 hours a day! Even when he used Viagra he couldn’t have sex with me but could if I gave him oral. Can he ever stop? Is he still telling lies?

  34. Hi and thank you for all the sensitive and honest comments above. In the last 2 months I have discovered my husband had an affair with a work colleague which included a considerable cyber affair of explicit Facebook messages and texts. Things like ‘thanks for the fu*k at lunchtime’. My next discovery was the extent on my husbands use of porn which had led him into numerous and regular visits to prostitutes and brothels masquerading as massage parlours via pop up ads. He denied there being anything else, however I then discovered his profile on various dating and affair websites and detailed correspondence which went into our relationship, his previous sexual history of premature ejaculation which improved it anti depressants. He named our children in this correspondence. He cites a stressful work experience as the reason for his behaviour….The situation was indeed extremely stressful as we had to liquidate the family business, we also had a co-director who was a corporate psychopath who we could not afford to get rid of. I have great difficulty in providing any room for support of my husband, I can barely keep my own head above water, will I be able to forgive him and will I ever be able to bear a sexual relationship with him again…..?

  35. I enjoyed reading everyone’s posts here. I’m going through a lot right now and have a main question that I really need answered, has anyone’s husbands actually made a complete turn around for good after counseling? Or is this just an endless cycle that I need to get out of? We have a new born baby, and he’s very committed to be honest so far. Not right at first but finally let it all out. But I’d rather leave when my baby’s still young than have to have her endure this later when she’s more aware.

  36. I am married to a sex addict who is also bipolar. It has been going on a long time and I have know but I just learned some new revelations that involve cheating. Can any of you offer any advice as far as is there a light at the end of the tunnel? We have kids, we don’t want a split home. He doesn’t love these others, and doesn’t want to leave me he says. I have been a big support for him with his bipolar diagnosis. I do love him, I just need to know if this will ever end or should I just walk now?