My research of Sex Addiction takes me on many paths, from tawdry, much too explicit, blog sites to the rehashed sensationalism of the news media and the lengthy tomes of scientific research journals. 

In my quest for knowledge I have seen a troubling trend, especially within the scientific community. That trend is the labeling of those involved with a Sex Addict, or any addict for that matter, as a co-addict. Because counselors and Sex Addiction treatment centers look toward the scientific community for guidance  I expect to soon see the term co-addict routinely used to indicate someone who is in a relationship with a Sex Addict.

Fortunately the term has not reached the dictionary–yet, but it’s sister term, ‘co-dependent’, has a place of honor in Websters. We can thank Melody Beattie, the new guru of 12 step groups for women such as COSA and S-Anon, for the term co-dependency, which is the root of the co-addict phrase.  Beattie has written several books on co-dependency, offering us volumes of advice on how to overcome this affliction.

Now anyone who embraces the philosophy of COSA or S-Anon would say that I am just in denial about not being a co-addict, and that given enough time I will eventually see the errors of my thinking and prostrate myself before a higher power and beg for forgiveness and enlightenment. Sounds like brainwashing to me.

I attended a few COSA meetings and was both appalled and angered by the tenets of their 12 steps. You can find them listed in one of my previous posts by clicking here. I’m afraid that I do not have any compulsive sexual behaviors to admit that I am powerless over (step 1), nor do I need to turn my will over to god ( I am a humanist). I have not committed any wrongs (step 5) nor do I have any defects of character that I need god to remove (step 6). And, I certainly haven’t harmed anyone and don’t feel any need to make amends (step 8).

My only crime was falling in love with and being deceived by a Sex Addict. That does not make me a co-addict!

There is no doubt that being in a relationship with a Sex Addict causes a person to change. These changes are merely methods of coping with a difficult situation. And, over time trying to make an abnormal relationship normal will take it’s toll on our personalities. Rather than labeling us co-addicts I would like to see professionals treat us for our trauma rather than pointing the not so subtle finger of guilt toward us by calling us a ‘co’ partner in crime.

An interesting phenomenon that occurs with someone involved in an abusive relationship (I have no doubt that Sex Addicts are abusers–read my post on that here) is called the Stockholm Syndrome. Here is a great link to an article that describes how it works: Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser.

The article lists situations where this syndrome may occur, such as:

The article states, “In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation.”

I realize that treatment for Sex Addiction is in it’s infancy and help for the spouses and partners of Sex Addicts is even more obscure. But, labeling a victim of trauma with a term that implicates participation, endorsement or support of the Sex Addict’s behaviors is not conducive to anyone’s recovery.

Once you label me, you negate me. ~ Soren Kierkegaard

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235 Responses

  1. Preach it sister.

    The worst I felt in this whole awful experience was realizing that, in the “literature” I was now going to be defined by my husband’s problem. I knew it was just more horseshit and I said I’ve had enough of that in the problem—I’m not having it in the solution.

    It may well be that some partners of sex addicts are co-dependent or even co-addicts, but the “global” approach to what that number might be is wrong. I spent the first four months of my therapy trying to find my co-dependency. Finally my therapist said “give it up–you aren’t. You just loved and trusted someone the way spouses are supposed to. You didn’t know. You just didn’t know.” And that was the truth of my situation.

    I support my husband’s therapeutic journey that includes SA, because it is working for him so far. But early on I nixed any notion that I was going to wallow around in his addictive recovery program.

    That doesn’t mean I didn’t discover my own garbage to deal with. I did. And I am working diligently on MY story.

    So, why is it that COSA recovery has to interpret EVERYONE”S life according to addiction. That makes the addict and the addiction the reference for everything.

    I do believe in a higher power. But for me, that’s not a co-dependent relationship either. It’s about partnership and responsibility, freedom and respect, creativity and community, trust and renewal, commitment and–yes, forgiveness.

    But what’s the point of trying to rustle up some good old guilt to satisfy an ORGANIZATION? I’m not an idiot or a baby. My spiritual practice is always working through the mistakes and wounds of living as a human being. And what I call spiritual practice, could well be the common sense of a humanist–who knows? Just don’t call either one of us a co-dependent.

  2. Joann,

    Bingo. Total bull shit term. Look, in a marriage, we are ALL “co-dependent”. I have been married for 23 years and have built a life around my husband and family and he around me, and isn’t that as it is supposed to be? A family UNIT. In that sense, aren’t we ALL co-dependent because we depend on the other for certain things? This is normal!!!

    This doesn’t mean that we don’t or shouldn’t have some level of autonomy within that union. And it doesn’t mean that some of us don’t have an unhealthy dependence on the other. We might, but it is actually, more unlikely in the case of the partner of a sex addict.

    A sex addict, from what I can see generally chooses a particular type of person to be a mate and that would be someone who is nice, loving, generous, giving, trusting–all commendable traits. They choose this type of person, because someone clingy, needy, judgmental and not trusting is going to be difficult to deal with.

    My lover and his partner did seem to have a very autonomous relationship, or as he called themselves– “free spirits” (eyes rolling) but when she found out,the truth all of a sudden in addition to having to deal with the immense trauma, she is cast as “part of the problem as a CO-DEPENDENT and CO-ADDICTED.”

    Nonsense and totally NOT helpful and actually makes things worse, for the partner, in my opinion! Whoever decided to brand all loving partners with these derogatory terms should be shot a dawn!

    Maybe a sex addict who didn’t want to have to take full responsibility for his actions?

  3. I would like to tell you about the book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal” (New Horizon Press Sept. 2009) Co-author Barbara Steffens’ research shows that 70% of the women she studied were suffering from PTSD upon finding out their spouse is a sex addict. She does not concur with the co-dependency model you write about. I highly recommend the book based on what I am reading on your site. There is more information at Dr. Steffens site, I wish you the best.

  4. I attended my first COSA meeting last week. It was a 2 hour meeting and 20 minutes into the meeting…I wanted to throw up.

    I AM NOT THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM!!!!! My husband is!

    My only problem is that I fell in love with a man who is addicted to sex/porn/strippers.

    And I was not aware of this…until a few months ago. I had no idea that it has been going on for 5 years.

    BUT…it’s NOT MY FAULT!

    I will NOT be returning to the COSA meetings.

  5. I share your feelings. We do not need judgment and condemnation–we are not the problem; we need support and direction. COSA just does not fill that need. It’s interesting that COSA and S-Anon have the highest drop out rates of any of the 12 step groups. You would think that they would get the message.

    If you would like to hear what I have in mind for spouses and partners of Sex Addicts read my post I Have A Dream

  6. Hi JoAnn
    Thank you. I have recently found out that my husband is a sex addict and has been for the last 30 years!
    He is now in 12 step recovery. I don’t know what the future holds but i do know that amongst all of my inner turmoil, the one thing that I am sure of is I’m no “Co-Addict” like you all – I happened to fall in love with a sex addict. Here in the UK there is little or no support. JoAnn this site is my life line, just knowing i’m not alone is a great comfort thank you.

  7. Being labeled co-addict made me feel dirty, I don’t want to be a part of this disease. I guess the one thing co-addicty I did was tell my husband if he cheated again I was leaving and I ended up forgiving him.
    A few months later, I found out that he had a whole secret life going on nonstop, and after I caught him the last time and he made all those promises, he never stopped, so now I’m leaving, I took money out of the bank, rented a place and moved my things while he was upstairs on the computer and now he is begging and crying for me to change my mind. I feel so bad because if i take the money it will put him in a bad position with people he owes money to.
    I believe he is sincere this time, but I cant take a chance and stay. He is going to have to prove it this time. I haven’t slept or eaten for 2 days, I love him dearly and it is so hard to leave after 10 years. my heart is breaking to be like this

  8. I have just recently discovered that my partner is a Sex Addict. In trying to cope with this very overwhelming discovery, I attended a SAnon meeting this week. I left feeling disgusted, upset, angry, and confused. Why do I need to take responsibility for my husband’s addiction? He LIED to me. I would never have tolerated, or otherwise “looked the other way”, this behavior. I loved and trusted someone, that is what we are SUPPOSED to do to have loving, adult relationships. Our love and trust were abused and violated. I DO NOT indentify as a co-addict, I am not “helpless”, and my husband’s behavior had nothing to do with me. It has to do with the ADDICT, it always does. And, as long as these programs support co-responsibility, the correct amount of ownership for the addiction will be avoided. Unacceptable.

  9. I am a confused by some of the comments. After I found out about previous partners sex addiction (he was going to prostitutes and sleeping with several other women) I left immediately. I did start going to SANON and it has helped me a great deal.

    No I do not have an issue with sex addiction, but I am UNDOUBTLY a relationship addict and spent all of the time in relationship trying to control him, make him love me, manipulate him, snoop, etc.

    Perhaps you guys did not share these controling, manipulative behaviors and if so then I certainly understand why SANON would not resonate, but I certainly felt right at home in those rooms and continue to do so even though the relationship ended over a year ago.

  10. Suzee,
    Owning your own truth is exactly the right thing to do. If you know those traits(as you describe them) are yours, and that you have participated in creating and maintaining the non-health of your relationship, then you are probably exactly where you should be in SANON.

    Way back in this thread, I made the first post. In my second paragraph I accepted that some people in a relationship with a sex addict may well be co-dependent or co-addicted. But I was objecting to the SA approach that ALL partners were. With such singular focus, the program is not a support/therapeutic option for women like me, and is really damaging. But for those who fit that profile, it is surely a godsend. Taking responsibility for our choices is always the grown-up thing to do.

    Keep on with your journey. No one here means to demean what that is for you. Stay strong and focused. Just remember that some of us who were partners of sex addicts don’t fit that profile. It is not a global truth. Congratulations for having the strength to own yours. I hope you find other topics here to help you.

  11. Happened upon this just now.


    Jim Carrey, who announced his split from Jenny McCarthy this week on Twitter, has posted several Tweets defending Tiger Woods and criticizing Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren. On Friday, Carrey wrote, “Tiger Woods owes nothing 2 anyone but himself. 2 please his father he gave up his childhood and his freedom in the world. That’s enough!” Then the actor continued: “No wife is blind enough to miss that much infidelity. Elin had 2 b a willing participant on the ride 4 whatever reason” and “No woman just stays at home with the kids anymore. Tiger was wrong and Elin was ignoring the obvious.” Carrey also commented on what he considered to be society’s unfair treatment of Woods these past few months: “Whenever we form a consensus about some1 we envy, who’s stumbling, our collective ego LOVES to flex its unified muscle! S’ugly!” Woods is playing today in the third round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.

    PopWatchers, what do you make of Carrey’s sudden interest in another couple’s struggles? Is Carrey right in saying that Woods has suffered enough punishment? Or should the actor be minding his own business?

  12. I feel sick! I have known about my husbands sex addiction for a few years. I had always offered support and listened to his excuses. He has started going to SA meetings and feels that he’s becoming more’self-aware’ about the reasons behind this addiction. Like the good wife, I decided to start going to S-ANON. What a crock! I am so tired of hearing about how I have to ‘learn to live with a sex addict’. I already am! It is absolutely not my fault or responsibility to coddle this man that lied, cheated and took advantage of my trust. Because HE is in recovery now, I am encouraged to turn a blind eye and be a bigger person. Well, I’m not! I see changes in my husband but I still don’t trust him. He may come out of his recovery with a better understanding of his addiction but I’ve gained something too…self worth! I deserve better and do not intend to live my life with a knot in my gut when he’s late from work or on the computer. I will not go to meetings and wring my hands and feel like a martyr. I will not identify myself with my husbands’ addiction! I wish my husband well but I am leaving him. I refuse to be a victim to the title of co-dependant.

    1. Hi Sandra,
      I read your post and am in the same place as I’ve recently discovered my husband’s deceitfulness and ‘addiction’. I’m wondering if you moved on in your life? If so, can you help me know what to expect as I’m afraid to move forward but too scared to go back and need encouragement from someone who has MADE it through the letting go process, if you have/did. If not, if you regret going back and why or why not.

      Thank You,

      1. Hi Laila,

        I am so sorry that you are going through all of this, I know how scary it can be.

        Unfortunately I have had to curtail the forum type discussions on this website, as the cost of the bandwidth is prohibitive. I am limiting the discussions to replies and comments on the story or article.

        To accommodate women who want support, conversation, discussions, friendship and resources, I have provided a paid membership site called the Sisterhood Of Support. The members dues pay for the extra bandwidth required for all the discussions in the forum.

        If you would like more information you can check it out here

        All my best to you ~ JoAnn

  13. Sandra!!
    I really relate to the passion of your decision to stop the cycle of emotional abuse by stepping out of it. It was really an empowering moment for me. At first, I was clumsy making choices that were best for me. I kept trying to look after everyone else including my addict husband! But when I really began to take myself seriously, things began to fall into place. Nothing has ever fallen into place before–but now it did.

    Since that first powerful decision, many things have happened. We had to sell our house. My husband embraced his recovery program, began a deep therapeutic journey, finally dealt with his emotionally incestuous mother and his absent father, and began to speak with his adult sons about the patterns that nearly destroyed him and led to us living apart. There is now some hope.

    But it is still very hard for me, even with so much that has moved forward with great gains. I still hurt sometimes in a way I never imagined possible. The strength to make the decision doesn’t mean the hurt goes away. I get really angry when I think about 30 years of memories. I just can’t think about them at all. And that is really hard. It’s like I lost a whole junk of my life.

    That’s why it is so important for women to access the SA program’s fit with who they really are. Some may well need the co-dependent program. But other women are just going to be hurt further by the program’s need for them to accept a role that doesn’t fit at all. My husband has accepted my position, and after about three months, came to agree with me about the co-dependent spouse assumption. But those first months, I don’t think you can expect your spouse to see that very clearly. But he might get it eventually.

    I wish you only good things in these new days of new life for you. And when the hurt catches you off guard again, remember it will pass, and buy some flowers.


  14. You are very welcome to your ignorance about COSA, the 12 steps and the dynamics of relationships where one is an addict. But please have the decency to let people find out for themselves rather than masquerading with false authority on here. For many COSA is a life saver.

    If you feel you have never harmed anyone, that would make you a saint. Is that what you are saying? We all have harmed someone in our lives, even if we did so without intention.

    And incidentally the powerlessness that step one refers to in COSA, is the powerlessness to change someone else’s sexual compulsion. Please do your homework before preaching.


  15. Hi Jeff,
    The SA program has been a lifesaver for my sex addict husband. He is working it for all he’s worth and I can see some real changes in him, even though it’s too soon for us to try again.

    In my posts here I acknowledge this and also that some partners of sex addicts may well be co-dependent and fit well with the program.

    But even my husband is uncomfortable with the program’s need to define and interpret all the lives of those partnered with sex addicts by the addiction.

    To have my life interpreted by my husband’s addiction, for me, represents a need to control me and to minimize the responsibility of the addict for the devastation to my life–a devastation I suffered because I trusted and believed my husband–which is the nature of marriage covenant in my faith tradition.

    I simply didn’t know the capacity for deceit within him. I couldn’t have imagined it of anyone that I loved with my whole being. This does not make me a co-addict. It makes me a faithful wife who was deceived to the core of my being. And Jeff, I’m not going to take responsibility for that deception. I did not help my husbands addiction. I had no idea. This is why my life has shattered to pieces. I had no idea. Everything I thought was true was not true at all. And I’m not taking responsibility for anything but being a loving, faithful, trusting, supportive and loyal wife.

    The big question for spouses like me is: why does the sex addict need to require their spouse to take responsibility for any aspect of the addiction? For all the big noise about the meaning of each step—still lurking in the background is the scapegoated spouse who supposedly is an equal part of the addict’s problem, and must shoulder responsibility for it. That’s what it means to be called co-dependent, treated that way and required to take on that identity when it isn’t true.

    As I said in an earlier posting on this thread, I maintain a spiritual practice which includes the ritual and gift of repenting, forgiving and walking in newness of life. But I’m not repenting for my husband’s addiction. I’m not repenting for loving him and trusting him and supporting him. I do not need forgiveness because his acting out was so cruel and selfish that he took the goodness of my love and partnership over 30 years and used them as his cover.

    There is a disturbing aspect to the 12 step program that, by insisting all spouses of sex addicts are co-dependent, perpetuates the scapegoating of innocent victims of the emotional abuse and devastation perpetrated by the sex addict, and creates a false reality for a marriage totally defined and interpreted by addiction. It is oppressive to the partners of sex addicts who are not co-dependent and continues the abuse under the guise of “recovery”

    As long as my spouse is moving forward in recovery I support his journey in 12 step, and as long as we are able to speak openly and frankly about the limitations of this program and where it doesn’t fit us, we have hope.

    Again, I think for men, in particular, the question to ask is “why does my recovery depend on me and my spouse believing that she was also responsible for my lies, emotional abuse, sexual infidelity, financial irresponsibility, dangerous sexual acting out, offensive choices, destructive actions, elaborate deceptions, manipulative behaviours etc etc.? Why? Isn’t it time that these men stopped trying to put the blame on the person that truly loved them?

    With that in mind, I also have said on this site that my sex addict husband has told me that every person (who has shared his story) at his meetings (including him) has a hideous story of childhood trauma underneath their addiction. There is a place for real compassion that the 12 step program is able to reach and reveal in these men’s lives. He has told me that he is haunted by some of their stories of pain and neglect and abuse of every kind. These are the beginnings and root of this addiction. And I wasn’t there at all when it happened to my husband starting at age 3.

    Trying to make me pretend I am a co-dependent only clouds the roots of the addiction which are real and the true place where a spouse can offer compassion and begin to understand the path toward the addiction that has broken their marriage covenant. Hope is born when the real culprit is uncovered, and compassion for that victim flows freely and appropriately.

    It is in the best interest’s of the addict and the addict’s spouse to step away from the 12 step program’s need to define every addicts spouse as co-dependent.

    Every step towards wholeness is a gift to the addict, the spouse, and the world who needs the gifts of every human being to make this thing called life work. But if we continue to need to blame victims of our behaviours and define them by our addictions, it will be two steps forward and one step back, every time.

    I truly hope for lasting recovery, healing gifts, and the courage of honesty for everyone caught in this terrible web called sex addiction. Each and every one of us is worth more than we can ever imagine. That, I know, to be true.

    with you all,

  16. What a relief to find others who feel like if your spouse is a sex addict your are automatically categorized as a co-addict NO MATTER WHAT!! After countless meetings of coaddict of a sex addict support groups I just couldn’t get it. None of this makes sense to me yet it is the only explanation offered by these sexperts in diagnosing the illness. They portray this d behavior as if it is a symbiotic relationship that took place because some unknown force drew you together, your coaddicitive tendencies fostered your spouses propensity to “act out” and now you need to recover in order to help heal your spouses problem. Is there no educated voice of reason that could offer up anything but this sick , twisted label that only seems to relieve additional responsibility from the addict. Insinuating that if you refuse to admit your co-addictiveness you are preventing your spouses true recovery and they will act out because you failed to seek recovery.
    Yes, I believe this is a legit condition some of the time it is not rational that there is only ONE school of thought for the suffering partner. It is like saying your spouse got cancer and the only way it could have occurred is because of your cooking. No other explanations.

  17. Part one of my interview with Barbara Steffens will be up on this site tomorrow. Barbara has some very helpful insights about the labeling of partners of Sex Addicts as co-dependents and/or co-addicts.

    I think her book, and this series of interviews will help clarify the origin of these labels and why they are so destructive to the spouse or partner who is trying to deal with the trauma of Sexual Addiction in their relationship.

  18. To Jeff,

    I just want to add that “ignorant” or “false authority” are not a words I would ever use to describe JoAnn when it comes to her immense knowledge and first-hand experience of sexual addictions. She has devoted her life to studying this most destructive disease and has lived its horrors, first hand– straight from the front lines! She has attended COSA meetings as have many of the partners of sex addicts have and found them to not work so well for herself, for the aforementioned reasons stated so well by Diane and Lara and others on this blog.

    Of course, partners/spouses DO need support and their own individual therapy and perhaps also need to improve aspects of their own lives and ways of relating, but this is a completely separate issue in the majority of cases; not related to the partner’s acting out. Perhaps, however, a sex addict, will often choose a particular type of partner who is more gullible, nice and easier to manipulate. (at least in his opinion, and again, not in all cases.)

    I have chatted with dozens of men (although not really recently) who’ve claimed that their wives cannot meet their sexual needs and therefore find themselves entitled to seek that outside their union… Again, every case is different, however, for the sex addict, NO ONE can meet his needs. His needs are endless and escalating.

    What has been suggested before is that the COSA model does not accurately reflect the needs of many partners/spouses in terms of recovery from their own standpoint. In some cases it may, because of an unhealthy attachment from a partner who is truly co-addicted through their own sexual addiction and/or other co-morbid addictions.

    There are many complex and over-riding factors and one size doesn’t fit all. I think JoAnn has done a superb job of providing an excellent forum which allows everyone a point of view, even if it is different from her own or some else’s.



  19. Jeff – You should read the first step of COSA and reflect on what it is saying to the partner. I don’t think it is saying what you think it says, but then I could be wrong. You speak with such great authority and sound like a person who is exactly right all of the time.

  20. Hi everyone, Just a thought here. Most of you say that you married or got into the relationship not knowing the husband or partner was a sex addict. Is there anyone out there who’s husband or partner became a sex addict after many years of marriage and the introduction to porn on video tape and then on the internet. We went several years (I think) without any problems when we were young. Then the VHS & the internet was introduced and that was the beginning of the end. Kim

  21. Godwillhelpme

    I agree that some people can become a sex addict after the marriage, but even if it happens after, the wife or husband are the last person to know that. Also, if this problem is happening just because there are a lot of new technology, why doesn’t everybody become a sex addict? I realize that with all technology is more easy for everybody to have porno access, but I think that It isn’t the real reason for a person to become a sex addict.

  22. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! I normally hate it when people type in all-caps, but you have made my day. I just found your site.

    I still will try my first cosa group in a few days, but their “philosophy” has been eating at me. Their descriptions don’t describe me at all! So because I happen to now be loving and supportive of my husband of 8 years as he goes through recovery from sex addiction that makes me sick? Huh? So is the cure of this so-called co-addiction to divorce him?

    Anyway, I’ll be back to read all your posts and your book. After reading all the cosa bull, I was inclined to start my own support group and call it “wives of sex addicts.” plain and simple!

    Keep up the great work…I look forward to reading more.

  23. I’ve been to two COSA meetings and like many of you I just don’t get it. I don’t share the same behaviors as the other women in in there. Don’t tell me I can’t cause it or cure it but I contribute to it. My only contribution was being too trusting and loving.

    Don’t tell me to look at my own character defects becasue my husband had sex with prostitutes. I am certainly not perfect and am working on my own issues with my own counselor but my husbands counselor can’t stop telling me I need the 12 step program. I say it’s horseshit to label ALL spouses that way.

    I can see that many of the women in that group really need it and it has helped them tremendously. They feel at home there, I do not. When they read their meeting notes of why they are there and how they feel it just doesn’t apply to me. I feel insulted that so much responsibility is placed on me. My spouse’s counselor said well it takes two, I told her ya, my husband and his prostitute there’s your TWO!

  24. Nah, Amy, you weren’t in bed with him and the other women and you never condoned it. It is HIS problem.
    That takes two BS always riles me up, talk about making excuses for a sick person at your expense!
    I heard that nonsense from my ex husband’s family and I told them they were full of it, their BOY has problems….and guess what? I am not in the picture at all anymore, there is a new girlfriend, and he is still doing the same stuff!!!! Is it her fault too?
    I just sit smugly by and watch his destruction continue…..and just dare someone to throw that tired old line/lie at me again.
    Don’t ever take the blame for someone’s abuse of you.

  25. I had NO idea he was engaging in such horrible behaviors. Everyone was totally shocked. He didn’t start until three years into the marriage. There were a couple of signs over a three month period and at that point I was relentless and got to the bottom of everything and kicked him out. There was no enabling behavior on my part, no denial of his actions or looking the other way. I have not tried to control him or his actions. His recovery is on him. I have never blamed myself. I just can’t see how a 12 step program is what I need.

    I absolutely need support and some counseling but the COSA group just isn’t for me. When I asked my husband’s counselor why I needed a 12 step program she read me what an alcoholic wrote about why he needed. Yep that all made sense if I were an addict. But I’m not.

    I may choose to rebuild a life with him down the road but only because we have a three year old and a 10 month old. Time will tell if he is capable of these grand changes he is claiming. I know he is working hard at recovery and I hope for our childrens’ sake that he does get his mind straight.

    I am very fortunate in that his entire family is supportive of my decision whatever it is. They know I played no role in this mess he created. Repeatedly I have been told they will always love me no matter what.

    Like I said if I contributed to it, it was because I trusted him and you should be able to trust your spouse. And who do I need to make amends to? I’ve been a good person in life and don’t have enemies. I’m not perfect but I sure don’t need to analyze my role in his addiction nor do I need to feel that I contributed to it.

  26. Hi Amy,

    I am so sorry for your pain. I agree that there are some issues for many women with the COSA model, but I think there may also be some misunderstandings, as well.

    First of all as SAs have differences, so do their partners and the relationship most likely does have certain deficits as most do, however, we are dealing with at least one person who is not operating in a highly functional way, to say the least.

    While a partner may not act as a witting accomplice she may be acting as an unwitting accomplice, just by her very being. My therapist calls my ex-friend’s partner, a “Place Holder”; its like an anchor for the SA and without that anchor, he is going to just sink, like a rock, to the bottom of the sea. It is the relationship with the PH which enables the SA to act out, albeit unwittingly on her part. If he were to lose his PH, he would simply find another and another one if that one doesn’t “work out”. This is the case with Lynn’s unfortunate ex.

    This does not make the PH RESPONSIBLE or the cause of a SAs acting out.

    As for “taking two”… Yes, of course it “takes two” in any relationship and no one is saying that a partner is perfect and always does the right thing, but there is no way that she contributed or CAUSED her husband to become a sex addict!!!

    Now, the SA will often, come up with a myriad of excuses to explain WHY he has no other choice but to act out, whether there is even a grain of truth to them or not. And even IF they are true,(although some are beyond absurd) the SA will not consider any other alternative and will feel that he is justified in his actions. I have heard all of these, at one time or another and some of them over and over:

    “she’s has a disease, or she’s sick”
    “she takes medicine which makes her dry or numb in certain places” (wtf???)
    “she’s frigid”
    “she doesn’t like sex”
    “sex with her is boring”
    “she’s just into ‘vanilla sex'”
    “she would never ever want to do the things that turn me on.”
    “I’m too big for her and sex hurts her”
    “I have deep feelings for her, but sex isn’t very good, that’s why I contacted you.”
    “I have a very intense sex drive and she does not meet all of my needs”
    “she only wants sex once or twice a week”
    “sex is just a chore for her and who needs that?”
    “she doesn’t support me and I NEED someone (or a thousand someones) to do that”
    “I work so hard and all she does is stay at home (!!!) and she’s so tired ALL THE TIME(Yeah… taking care of HIS 3 young CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!) and therefore I am entitled to have a “little something” on the side”
    “I NEED the freshness and excitement of something new and there’s nothing wrong with it; besides its not hurting anybody (!) and she doesn’t need to know and furthermore, she’ll never find out”
    “after what I’ve been through the last 2 years, I DESERVE to have some fun– geeezzz!”
    “I don’t want to change my situation or yours, just looking for a FWB and some hot ‘intimate’ fun under the sheets”
    “I’m stressed out and I’m afraid if I don’t have this necessary release, I’ll have a heart attack” (hmmmm…kharma???)
    “I’m looking for something ‘drama-free'”
    “I need some fun and excitement, how about you?”
    “I am protecting her” (GOOD GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
    “You think you have me pegged, don’t you??? How dare you be so judgmental!!! I would never do that to you! (of course not, you’re a passive-aggressive pr**k)You couldn’t possibly understand my situation and I don’t have the time or patience to try and explain it to you.”
    (eyes rolling)
    “I love my wife, of course, she’s gorgeous!!! and pretty soon we are going to start a family–I can’t wait!” (OMG!!!!!!!!!)
    “Its like Sex and the City…lol– Tons of women in NY looking for a hot built man to have fun with and not wanting a real relationship.”
    “I am CMV negative. Cleanest blood in the population. The Red Cross loves my blood cause they think that its impossible for me to get AIDS or other STDs.”
    “Oh, I’m single… confirmed bachelor–lol, I have a bi-coastal business and stay with my bro on CPW, when I’m in town ;)”

    I could sit here all day and recall the dozens of lame, bizarre, laughable, sad excuses, lines and reasons that men have told ME, a middle-aged woman that they are trying to seduce as to WHY they, a married/attached man, has a right to bed me. In true Lorraine-fashion, I have actually attempted to counsel some of them… (I know–_ I’m nuts, but nice nuts):)

    Never once did I hear…

    “Yes, my wife/partner wants me to have as much sex outside of our relationship as possible so that she doesn’t have to worry about that part anymore.”

    Well, actually, I believe I did hear that line once, but it was from a woman married to a heterosexual man and had 3 children with him and she was a lesbian.


    (sorry, sometimes one just has no choice but to laugh)

    Now, yes, it is possible that the wife/partner because of her own issues is NOT giving her husband all of the attention and affection that would be optimal (and vice versa) and yes, it is possible that he might find himself desiring that feeling and admiration from alternative sources.

    Who the hell doesn’t???

    Of course we ALL do! Who hasn’t gone through life without a massive crush on someone or fantasizing about their neighbor or their doctor or some stranger that suddenly meets their gaze?

    The difference is acting on it.

    Show me that perfect couple who never ever does anything to make their partner feel badly.

    Does he consider TALKING to his wife about his displeasure???


    Does he consider going to counseling with or without his wife?

    hell no.

    Does he think that it will all just magically work itself out?

    I dunno. I don’t think he thinks.


    Now, I do believe that some women and I put myself in this camp DO have a tendency towards addiction and the addiction is to their partner/spouse/friend/lover… Whatever the relationship is. This could be for a myriad of reasons, but it is also not any kind of motivating factor on the part of the SA.

    If the partner finds themselves doing things they would not normally do— IN ORDER to keep their SA around and involved with them, then YES, that is not healthy or good and it usually backfires eventually.

    This is what I’m working on now and probably will be for the rest of my life.

    Wow!!! I shor can go on… 😀

    Partners need support, (and a lot of it!!!!!!!) but in most cases, I don’t think the entire 12 step approach is necessary or even appropriate, because much does not apply and I think actually impedes healing and recovery in a lot of cases.

    Warm Wishes,


  27. Hello GodWillHelpMe & Other Victims of COSA,

    Yes, I met and dated my husband as a teen… Many,many years before he began to “act out,” and 13 years before his 5 year “Dance” with prostitutes was discovered! Hmmmmm… Sure, I should have known that the high school “Hunk” who could have dated 100 girls instead of going “steady” with me would become a “Sex Addict” using whores, right?? In the COSA 12 steps, possibly I “COMMITTED A WRONG” by not insisting that my guy date others for “variety” in high school? Possibly my “DEFECT OF CHARACTER”(Unbelievable Insult!) was that I was a TRUSTING and LOYAL girlfriend and wife? Now for the HARM… Hmmmm? Well, possibly the imaginary baseball bat in my mind as the fantasy of smashing every window in my husband’s truck unfolded, while the real pain of a knife was shredding my broken heart?

    When I expressed upset to my husband’s “expert” therapist about COSA and the label Co-Sex Addict, 12 steps, etc…. She cut me short and insisted I keep going(with no eye contact)!! Eventually, she was also MANIPULATED by my husband and on one occasion smiled at him while I was frustrated and in tears!! SHE was the “Co-Dependent” as she had the absolute nerve to tell me, “Surely you have secrets too,” without holding my husband accountable to “do the work.” She made excuses for him in order to promote any resemblance of progress on his part. I PAID THOUSANDS TO BE TRAUMA IMPACTED AGAIN and AGAIN as my husband’s talent for manipulation was unleashed in therapy… Awful!!

    The insane blanket “logic” presented in COSA would send the “clean and healthy” spouses of drug and alcohol addicted individuals to rehab for treatment too! Sex addicts inflict the most horrifying, intimately painful assault upon spouses, and many seem to lack any comprehension of the profoundly painful, endless and ongoing trauma assault they launch!!By the way… What does a “Co-Pilot” do?? Fly the plane too??Nobody, especially a “support group” is going to call me a “Sex-Addict” anything!! PS… Yes, I am a VICTIM, and deeply suffering from the “abuse” and concerns for my health!

  28. Trauma Victim and all,

    I applaud you because I agree. When my practicing homosexual husband married me without informing me of his orientation, all so that he could present as hetersexual, am I supposed to take responsibility for that!!!

    Just got done reading a book, “Emotional Rape”, by Michael Fox. He states, “Emotional Rape is a violation of the human soul” and the book “is about telling victums that they didn’t do anything morally wrong”. A definition, “Emotional Rape is the use of someone’s higher emotions without that person’s concent”. A very good resource and does not suggest co-dependency behavior from the victim.

    Looking forward to Barbara Steffens book.

    Originally I wanted to find a group to connect to, but there is not one locally. Even though this experience has been very isolating, I would rather deal with it alone than in a group that feels I would have ever participated in this if I knew.

    It has been especially isolating because of the homosexuality. I find women can relate to hetersexual betrayal quicker than the added deceit of homosexual activity and the fact that it was not disclosed! In actuality – it all hurts, doesn’t it.

    I don’t think all homosexuals are going to hell, but when you marry a straight person with outdisclosure and then expect them to live up to a assignment they know nothing about (the presenting as hetersexual), – they should go to hell.

    PS The comments on this website that seem to help me feel sane, is when you can tell the person is pissed off when they are writing and they cut through the bullshit. It is so inspiring to hear someone tell the truth!!!

    It’s getting better.

  29. Just want to thank you all for having the strength to stand up to the psychological bullying that comes at us as a “recovery program”. Particularly since it comes at us right after we’ve been devastated and broken apart by our life partner’s betrayal.

    I’m sure we all have stuff to deal with–I know I do and I’m working on it diligently with my own therapist—but it is an outrage to have my life interpreted by my husband’s addiction, and to then ask me to surrender to that interpretation as the ultimate statement of who I am.

    Remember those “rules” we were all taught on the Oprah show about our personal safety?
    The first was to trust your gut—that inkling of danger—that spidey sense that’s something not quite right.
    The second was don’t let yourself be taken to a “second location”.

    As far as the co-dependent/co-addict thing goes—if your gut is saying “wait a minute”, then trust it. And don’t let yourself be taken to a “Second location” —ie don’t let your abuser have another crack at you–through his therapist or his program.

    I support my partner going to his program as it has really helped him to get past the acting out to the real abuse in his own story. But I don’t play along with the crap. I refute the assertions when they are incorrect. I challenge the theory and the practice where necessary. I name the injustice and patronizing approach to the integrity of my own life. And if he wants me, then our future will be built without the need to blame me for his shit.

    How terrifying it must be to these SA’s and their “program bodies” to see their targets step out of range. Very big change in the distribution of power in the relationship. Very big.

    Hang in there. Trust your gut. Don’t go to a second location.

    Diane. xoxo.

  30. Co-dependent I don’t think applies. How can you be addicted to something you had no idea existed. I have read varying degrees of books on co-dependence/co-addiction. But one book even stepped so far to say as you are addicted to the addict and their addiction. And then goes on to tell you you are as sick as the addict.

    No way does this make sense. I think the 12 steps are applicable if you want to use them and want to live with an active ragging addict. I think it is a good way to make it in the short term. But is a weasel way out for the addict to “focus on ourselves” and in turn not the addict. I think this method makes life easier for the addict, and hence wears on us. We no longer get to make decision for oursleves but rather the so called addictions (yours and his). So they label you a co-dependent and then tell you that you should not leave a hutfull and unhealthy situation because you are a co-addict.

    For me reading about co-dependence and that I had a part in this just brought me down. I would think to myself that I have to stay in this because I am a co-dependent to work through “my issues”?!?! Leaving feeling powerless.

    All this creates is a stable canvas for the addict to recover, kills us by making us feel like we have to stay, bending our morals and better judgement to conform to the label of co-dependent.

    I think Patrick Carnes is right on in many of his books. But to go that step further and to label us addicted to the addiction makes no sense.

  31. I am so frustrated. Thank goodness for this site. I submitted my story to Joanne earlier this week and think it will be shared at some point here. But I recently found out that my 10 year relationship was a farce….I found out my partner and fiance’ of a year was a sex addict. I have had 2 “d” days…May 8th when I caught him with the first woman and August 23rd when I got supposedly the whole truth of his life during us and before us… as much information kept trickling in between May and August as I kept catching him time after time after time. August 23rd is when I found out he was a sex addict and he’d slept with the one on May 8th he’d denied sleeping with all summer and much much more. We started therapy this past few weeks…I do not know if I want him (my partner) and I do not know that I don’t want him. All I know is I am paralyzed. I bounce into the walls day in and day out. I don’t want to leave my bedroom much less my house. I’ve not eaten for months. I am lost, confused, angry, scared…I am a train wreck. I have been studying the models of treatment – 12 step vs Trauma. i’ve spent hours (thank you Joanne) on Barbara Steffen’s web listening to her podcasts. I definitely agree with the Trauma model and find COSA offensive! This jerk therapist today keeps trying to tell me I knew all these years because he had an impotency issue from the first time we made love 10 years ago. Angered I snapped back that I DID NOT have a clue, that I simply thought it a middle age problem. From what I’ve seen on the internet since this all has come out, it is clear how easy it is to get anything one wants on line. This therapist automatically thinks I’m some sex starved woman who should have known her man was a sex addict because the bedroom wasn’t smokin. Far be it from anyone anymore to take credence in emotional intimacy. I told him sex was NOT what I starved for for 10 years, it was emotional intimacy. I’ve always believed that you can’t have sex, good healthy sex without emotional intimacy…which we had none. He was incapable of commitment and emotional intimacy. This therapist seems to think that since the world is so swallowed by sex and sex and more sex that EVERYONE must be on the same page.

    I left there today feeling anything but validated. I tried to get his opinion on which model he believed as I had already had a red flag the first time we were there when he once again told me I had to know all these years. Right now, I am lost and can’t function. I needed guidance on what to do to survive today and he kept wanting me to focus on my tomorrow and how I was going to have a plan for independence. Horse crap….I can’t leave my house without anxiety setting in and this idiot could care less….

    Sorry…just venting. Hopefully Joanne will be publishing my story soon………Getting through today is all I can focus on and I’ll be damned if I am going to be blamed for his addiction.

  32. Bravo, Mary,
    for sticking up for yourself. It’s unfortunate the therapists and counsellors have resorted to being bullies with their clients in order to prop up their theoretical models. And a further problem is that because of their insistence that the world is flat, any co-dependent traits that we do need to work out never get touched (ie, there are prairies, after all).

    It’s time to dump this therapist and find one that treats trauma–don’t look for an addiction specialist at all. And Of course you can’t think too far ahead, you are still trying to find a safe place to be today! And that is certainly not in his office.

    I believe you know you need in order to be safe, recover yourself, and learn to live again. Trust yourself. Everytime I did that, and do that now, my life opens up to joy and healing, and I start to think about the future with anticipation instead of dread. Trust that you know what you need, and let yourself be devoted to getting what you need. Fuck the therapist. YOu don’t owe him anything.

    Excuse my “f” word. I’ve been pretty careful with my language lately, but everytime I hear one of these stories I could just spit nails—-and only the “f” word seems to do.

    They ought to be ashamed of themselves for being such lazy professionals. It’s like they are first generation MRI machines or something, insisting that there is nothing more to do, nothing more to learn, nothing more to offer than themselves. They were the bees knees when they were the only game in town, but now, several MRI generations later, they are kind of sad little puppies.

    Sigh. Okay—my rant is over and the “f” has been put away until circumstances warrant.

    Mary—you are woman, hear yourself roar.


  33. Diane–you make me smile.

    I remember when I wouldn’t say ‘shit’ even if I had a mouthful (thank you Mom for that god-awful phrase).

    Working nights as a cardiac ICU nurse, and being married to a Sex Addict helped me to realize that sometimes Webster’s just doesn’t cut it.

    So, my dear crew (search through the comments to find out why you are all my ‘crew’)…

    LET ‘ER RIP!

  34. Diane,

    BIG HUGS and many thanks…..I finally today felt VALIDATED for the first time in I don’t know when. THANK YOU!!! This is such an isolating experience. Where the few close to me that know all have good intentions, it is hard, if not impossible for them to be objective. Many don’t have a clue the true meaning of SA much less what we go through as their partners. The fact that they cheated should be good enough and then finding out it went on for years and with many should be further reason to jump ship and never look back….How I wish it were that easy…. Reality is, as I have come to discover, by no means a black and white situation. Unless you are walking this path, you’ve no possible way to see that. NONE.

    After posting this afternoon I placed a call to Barbara Steffen’s office and left a message. Hopefully there are options to video conferencing if she’s even taking on new clients. At my begging 1 1/2 years ago, I found a couples therapist’s team, a husband and wife in Canada that did weekend/4 day power therapy. We were in trouble then and he had always been adamantly opposed to ANY therapy at all. He also knew we were in trouble. Little did I know just how much trouble we were in. He was at our main home in one state and I was at our vacation home in another. He had been traveling between both homes for a year by that time. I knew that things were bad enough that once a week therapy wasn’t going to cut it. We were hemorrhaging and hemorrhaging bad. It was them and one other “couples” power therapy team available in all of the US at the time that viewed 2 people living together for 10 years as much married as those with the actual piece of paper. Because that was who we were. After 4 long hard days of therapy and no success due largely to what I now know was the secret life he sat protecting fiercely the entire time , we left no better off than before. I however, took with me many things from them and it was absolutely the best having both male and female counselors together. Both sides could be recognized from both points of view. I wish I had them now. I wish they were closer. They were all about emotional intimacy. I have sent them an email telling them of what has now been discovered to see what options if any I’ve there. I’ve spent many years in and out of therapy with my first husband an active alcoholic and my second and abuser. I know the AA model all too well. I know the importance of a good connection with your therapist to boot.

    This jerk today had to question me…little ole’ me what the differences were between the 12 step model and the trauma model when I asked his take on both. He either didn’t actually know or he did and wanted to see what I did know. He actually went so far as to suggest I become a therapist (since he was so concerned about me finding a way to support myself NOW) because of my interest in psychology and desire to be “fluent” in the topic. He indirectly insulted me and suggested without direct word that I was spending too much time learning too much information and I need to keep things simple. Far be it from me to see this as some “hobby” or future job….Knowledge is power, plain and simple. I told him I simply wanted to be knowledgeable at topics I wish to discuss openly and god forbid, I could actually be one of the very few in his mind that truly didn’t/doesn’t know what sex addiction was/is. God forbid I wanted to understand how this addiction was handled and treated….God forbid I should know what I’m facing should I decide to stick around.

    This guy has seen me three times separate after the initial meeting that me and my partner attended together. He’s seeing my partner separate at this time too. It was obvious he didn’t have a clue how to handle the myriad of emotions spun by bucket loads of confusion that were being slung at him as I sat on his softly padded $2,000.00 couch. I was showing anything other than an emotionally stable woman that in my overloaded mind, have every right to be in this moment in time. All he was interested in doing was redirecting me to having a plan for my future, to stop being so financially “dependent” as he put it and poo pooed me for my denial that I had nothing to do with this.

    This man seems to think that because I married an alcoholic who wasn’t at the time we married, I married an abuser who wasn’t at the time we married, that I am the one who has the problem – a problem of poor choice in men and that is what needs to be addressed in the here and now. After telling him for the third time today that I had to stay in this current relationship for so many years because I am disabled, on Social Security and no means able to support myself in this immediate moment…. all be it I’m 50 years old as well, wasn’t good enough for him. I apparently needed to fantasize my way out, I needed to not care that if I find a job and if I make too much money will loose my SS and my health insurance with it. It shouldn’t matter that 11 years ago I lost my home, my health, my business and my credit due to the divorce from hell and a Crohn’s disease diagnosis to boot. God forbid in his mind that should happen, it’s not his ass stuck with no insurance and Crohn’s disease.

    As I further pointed out to him, I’m the first to admit I seem to make bad choices in the few men I’ve chosen in my humble 50 years. I had told him first and foremost that I took my anger problems back into therapy last winter to try to manage yet again. Far be it from me that I didn’t figure out last year, or the year before or the year before that, that my mounting anger directly correlated with the actions or lack of actions of living with a SA. I continued to state I know all too well what my baggage is and what I need to do….but RIGHT NOW, TODAY I need to cope with life…period. This fool has not but a morsel of my medical history, not a morsel of much else more than what I’ve just stated here but he is quick to tell me I’ve now an anger problem with him because I won’t cave to his thinking that I should have known. My comment there when he accused us of arguing today was “you bet” “because I’ve asked you two questions – one of which was what is your position regarding the the 12 step program and the Trauma approach and you’ve yet to give me an answer. I went in there today with two things I NEEDED….One his formal credentials that qualified him to be a sex addiction therapist and his approach because I don’t want to continue with him if he’s going to cram that 12 step blame shit down my throat and 2) How can I get my life manageable TODAY. How can I get myself to a place that’s safe today………… After all it is my $45.00 I’m paying him for his profession… it not?

    Instead, I was told I was head strong and un-coachable……….

    Love to you all, I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you.

    Best and hugs

  35. Are there any women sex addicts out there? I cannot relate to a lot of your comments because I am the addict in my marriage. However, I have never cheated on my husband. I acted out before I committed to a marriage. I did hurt people, because I was not able to control myself. I got help before/during the time I got married. In the beginning, it was very difficult to remain faithful. But I did it. My husband often turns me down for sex. I rely on my faith to get me through my times of temptation.

  36. Congratulations on turning your life around. As we all know, it is not easy.

    I would be very interested in hearing your story. It would give us a lot of insight to hear from someone who was able to recover from this disease. Even though this site is for women who are in a relationship with a Sex Addict, I’m sure we can all learn a lot from your experiences.

    My only request would be to not focus on the details of the acting out, general terms are sufficient, and tell us how you gained the insight to want to change and what you had to do to make that change. What factors do you think are necessary to make a Sex Addict want to change their lives?

  37. Mary,

    These thereapits do deserve a kick in the butt.

    I talked to mine 2 days before i decided to walk out of the relationship.The decision was already taken.All i wanted was to understand what he was all about.At that time i knew nothing about psychopathy and sex addiction.

    She refused to let me talk about him and wanted me to focus on my future and how i was going to reconstruct my life.I kept telling her again and again that i cant bring a closure till i understand him.It was an 8 year relationship and i was completely in love.

    I have yet not walked out and she wanted me to talk about the steps i should be taking to rebuild my future.!!!

    I told her all the investigation i had done to find the truth..coz for sure i was not going to get anything out of him.And i was so deeply in love that i would never have been able to leave had i not know the truth.

    And she says, that apart from everything else, SHE is not happy with my behavior and all that i did to get to the bottom of things.

    That was the last that i saw of her.

    At that point in time where i have decided to leave but yet havent i didnt need anybody picking on my faults.That could have waited.

    But i realised some therapists are so judgemental and condemnatory.

    And yes Mary each one of us here i think would make better counsellors for spouses of sex addicts.

  38. Sanity,

    I’m so sorry that your therapist was so lousy and good for you, that you didn’t go back. She doesn’t get it. I couldn’t agree with you more! Its YOUR therapy and if you want to come in and talk about WHY grass is green and not red, then fine. Maybe that is what you NEED to talk about. Yes, she can gently lead you to another subject, but to flat out REFUSE to talk about something is abominable, in my opinion.

    I STILL after a year, talk about predator and his partner and all that happened and I also talk about my husband, my children, my clients, what I had for breakfast, and yes, my future. I’m doing a lot better now. There’s no quick fix for any of us.

    We are whole beings with many facets to heal. I think it is perfectly reasonable and valid for you to want to understand how and why someone you trusted and loved so deeply could behave in such a way to you that feels ANYTHING but loving.



  39. S,

    Sounds like we were going to the same counselor? It seemed to me as though he had his own – OWN agenda. Like yours this one too was only interested in how I was going to build my future – my independence! I, like you can’t begin to think about my future until I put an end to my past and either decide to leave it my past or consider it for my future. I am one of the ones like JoAnn who wants to know ALL the facts – no matter how much it hurts. I need to know and understand what life will be like should I go back with him. To me that involves understanding my past – as much as I can and to begin to move forward our feelings and emotions need to be validated that are happening in the HERE and NOW….How in the heck can we even think about our future if our head’s are in a fog? And yes Lorraine, we all have a right to discuss what WE want to discuss while in that office. It’s OUR time and our money and OUR life.

    I dumped my guy…In fact I’m seeing a new therapist tonight….hopefully it will be better this time.
    God Bless


  40. There is a GOD! The new therapist group I went to last night – there is a God…..My SA is going to be seeing a different one within the same practice – they focus on Sex Addiction and my new therapist – well if I didn’t know any better thought I was sitting and talking with Barbara Steffens! I felt SOOOOO relieved and feel like I am finally somewhere where I am understood. As the defensive little bear I am these days, I had printed and taken with me Barbara Steffens web information/slide show etc. I was ready!…. This lady has not heard of Barbara but said all she practices is the “trauma” model. I guess there is a conference next week – SASH? I think – anyway she and several other therapists from their office are going and she expressed great interest in reading Barbara’s information and looking to see if perhaps Barbara is going to be there as well.

    Thank you Lord for leading me to these people……

    God Bless

  41. Mary,

    I am so glad that you finally found someone who understands what being with an SA is all about.

    I too believe ,understanding is healing.

    There are many women who think its better not to know.They can lead a peaceful and harmonious life that way.

    But i am not one of those.I would rather know the TRUTH matter how painful.

    I am better equipped to deal with the known rather than the unknown.

    A competent therapist has to understand that.There cant be just one common way of dealing with everyone.

    Lorraine,as usual, you are so right.

    I nearly told her that its my money and i may want to talk about him for another year so you better listen.I told her am not depressed , am working a full day and going about my life.In the nine months since i found out i was thru with moping and crying.I cant talk about him with anyone else except you so let me talk.But she just didnt get it.

    The 2nd therapist i went to heard me out for 2 sessions and wanted to put me on anti depressants and mood elevators by the end of the second session just coz i told him that i felt my SA got away easy coz i just walked without doing anything and i told him i wished i could strip him in the open.In the same breath, i told him i knew it would be futile to do so, but i am at least entitled to dream about it.

    He thought i couldnt handle my feelings..this is just 2 weeks after i have walked out of an 8 yr old relationship..of course i was upset.I told him i am putting in a full day at work,earning as much as him, if not more then how am i depressed and dysfunctional?
    I just need to talk about him and need your expertise in understanding him.Well, this one too didnt get it and that was the end of him too.

    JoAnn , i then found this site ,and its here that i realised what my Sa was all about.

    JoAnn and her “crew” ,especially , Lorraine and Diane, helped me make more sense of everything than any of these qualified money guzzling therapists could ever do.

    They let me vent and when i went overboard they gently guided me back.

    With tons of gratitude,


    1. Wow sanity! I felt some of the same feelings you felt. I finally have a therapist years later that understands that my ex of 20 yrs was abusive. Healing phase two begins after 10 yrs of being away from the addict. Phase three will probably be from religious or spiritual healing as many Christian women thought I had hardened my heart towards God by leaving the addict (abuser) and other Christian leaders thought I had no grounds for divorce because he had not ‘committed adultery’. How much more traumatizing could it be to tell me to stay with my abuser???

      Finally ‘getting it’

  42. I saw Mary’s post 🙂 and my smile hasn’t gone away yet. I’m so glad you and others have found therapists who understand and validate your experience! I wish I could meet your therapists- I’m trying to locate others who are treating partners from a trauma perspective so we can network a bit. So maybe pass my name along and they can look me up. We can work together to advocate for partners!

    Bless you all.
    Barbara Steffens

  43. This “Co-Addict” term is so misused it makes me sick. If the “symptoms” of co-addiction appeared BEFORE any betrayal or incongruence was found, THEN you could say there is a co-addiction taking place. But in most cases, the partner starts hypervigilant behaviors AFTER the deceit has been discovered or when things are not adding up regularly. The real label is more appropriately named “Post Betrayal Stress Disorder”, in which the partner struggles to make her world once again safe and understandable…and gain a sense of control again. Just my two cents:)

  44. Just a comment in regards to cosa and codependency. I was thinking alot about this over the weekend. In my story the SA had engaged in these activities starting at a young age and never stopped.

    I have read many many books. I bought into the co-dependency theory hook, line, and sinker. I read several books that told me i was co-dependent simply because i am married to an addict (never mind the fact that up until february 2010 I had no idea & never mind the fact that the first husband was not an addict). This is written by Patrick Carnes, Claudia Back and many others. They go on to say that you are addicted to the addict, have personality flaws, a poor upbgringing, dysfunctional family etc. as to the reason why you are codependent. This made me feel that it was hopeless, made me depressed and further took my voice away. That I deserved this and I brought it upon myself. In addition they say you should stay with the addict to work through your issues and no major changes for one year. (this only bought my SA 7 more months until I could not do it anymore). I think statements like this in itself send the wrong message. (when all I wanted to do was leave him).

    It came to the point where all books about sex addiction for the spouse told me the same thing…just a different cover and author. I took offense to this fact as I had no idea that my spouse was an addict.

    So I kept reading and stumbled upon the book by Barbara Steffens. This book made sense to me, more than any of the others did. Do I have full blown PTSD, no. But the body of the book still applies and makes sense more than any of the others. And who do I beleive the book which was written by an author who had to live through this traumatic event or the shrink who sits in an office and treats patients, labeleling them co-dependent. I have become to realize that the therapy is changing and there are too many unknowns. While I have been attending therapy for over 8 months, little has changed by accepting the fact I am co-dependent (as that is how I am being treated). I took the ride gave it some time, did online COSA meetings, read Pia Melody books, Melody Beatties Books. While I now focus on taking time for myself more etc etc little has changed. When I came home from therapy the other day I googled co-dependent. A co-dependent actually appears to have many many definitions. But the underlying trait is doing to much for others until you are tired and broken. As this is what you do to feel loved and approved. You also try to control others. Among many other things. (I’m sorry is it to controlling to try to prevent exposure to porn to my kids in the house, to controlling to ask that none be in the house…come on! this is common sense)

    So I pulled a book on dysfuntional families. So now even if your family is “dysfuntional” you are or could be codependent. So now we have addiction, trauma, improper care, parents with emotional issues, bipolar etc. Pretty much any family which was not perfect can create an environment for co-dependecy. So who is left that is normal?? I did not have an addict in my family, but my father cheated on my mother when I was about 16, and they divorced etc.

    I think the bigger question is who is NOT co-dependent. Everyone can benefit from reading the COSA and melody beattie books they breath a fresh and spark to life. Puts the focus back on yourself. But who doesn’t who has a busy life. I have three kids, work full time, and have a house maintain. Hard to imagine that I might get lost in this shuffle.

    Do I acknowledge that I had a part in being in a relationship with an SA. Yes. Looking back there were some red flags. I went to therapy with my SA before we were married looking for help. Only to confirm that my thoughts must be wrong and that my husband loves me and cares for me, she sided with the SA in that I had trust issues. All the while I was being lied to and the SA sabatoged the sessions with the therapis, which I did not know until this all came out. So thus began the land slide. But I have always questioned, was never afraid to stand up for myself.

    I think the most help thus far has been this site, book by barbara, and my therapy complaining session. Its the only places you can get it out.

    P.S. my SA maintains that he had a good childhood. His parents are still married, his brothers appear normal. He went to a prestigous college and earned a four year degree. On paper he should be “normal” by these books with a proper upbringing. But yet he is the seriously dysfunctional one.

    Yet again SHOW ME the normal person. I don’t think they exist!

    This is just me ranting. But these are my thoughts for today.

  45. Flora,

    Here Here!! That is exactly how I feel!! I read the books, and bought into it for a while. I gave it a shot, thinking “maybe I am like this”. But I am not. Last week was my turning point. Gave the Sananon and the counsellor the old heave-ho. Let them have thier books and oh so wonderful labels. I despair that other women will fall prey to thier brand of help though 🙁

    B Stephens book arrived at my door on friday. I felt such a burden lifted from my shoulders. Self doubt disappeared, and I am looking at things from another perspective. In fact, it mirrors my own intuitions, the ones that groups and therapists have been trying to stifle and supress.

    My SA is like yours. No huge trauma. Private schools, normal enough family …

    Rant away my dear! Goodness knows I do it enough myself 🙂

  46. Absolutely!!! I wish we could get more spouses to this site BEFORE they go to their first meeting with a therapist, who follows the Carnes tradition. Carnes might be very helpful to addicts, but he is creating untold damage to the spouses of Sex Addicts.

    Fortunately, my academic research training is as extensive as my therapist’s so I can argue toe to toe with her about the shortcomings in the Carnes model. His model WILL BE challenged as more researchers are drawn to the field. And one of the key points to note is that with all of these books, articles etc. on sex addiction, there is still not agreement among mental health experts as to whether sex addict is in itself a disease or is better explained as an expression of other personality disorders or mental illness.

    One thing is clear to me, however, and that is that sex addicts are mentally ill. I don’t know if the illness is organic (created by the SA’s biological makeup), or environmental ( created by SA’s emotional trauma). I don’t know if the root of the illnes even matters. I also believe It might be true that some spouses of SA’s are not emotionally healthy people. I won’t argue that point, but the greater point is that all SA’s are emotionally unhealthy. We need to get clear in our minds, that we are dealing with sick people. They are truly sick. Some will want to get well and some will be like your uncle Abe who refuses to take his high blood pressure medicine or your Aunt Mary who is diabetic yet continues to eat cookies and cake.

    Maybe it will make somebody feel better to look across the table and understand , ” this is one sick SOB, i married.”

  47. A certain amount of (inter)dependency is necessary for a relationship to be intimate. Our culture is so dead-against dependency that it is labeled pathological. Co-dependency may be an issue for many partners of sex addicts but that is a separate issue from the issue in my opinion. Co-dependency, it there is any, may not HELP the situation but it also did not cause it. Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder as well as often the conflict between enmeshment and freedom. I don’t like labeling either the partner or the addict as sick, but sometimes it is easier to understand and empathize with a sick person and not take their behaviors so personally. It is hard not to take such betrayal personally however, so the betrayed partner is usually acting much like the U.S.A. did after Pearl Harbor was bombed…shock, self-preservation, retaliation, defense, and trying to regain safety. The bombing was seen as heroic, but unfortunately the betrayed partner is seen as rather lunatic. Both parties only can heal with empathy and understanding. But it is a tall order to ask someone for empathy from a traumatized person…

  48. Let’s face it,
    there was a time when women just meekly did what they were told by the “experts”. The Coda and Cosa model depends on women heavily socialized into doing what is best for their husbands, and abandoning their own instincts and self-understanding.

    These therapeutic models are relics of a bankrupt system of understanding human beings in which male physiology and psychology was normative and dominant. They are rigid, representing an ideological perspective that demands surrender to the “law”.

    It is really exciting to find this discussion happening now. Even last spring there were only a few voices on this site ready to take on the therapists who posted here with a patronizing pat on our heads, assuring us we were all co-dependent–but we just didn’t know it.

    There is something really wrong in the whole field—not just for us, but for the SA. I don’t think they are very going to have hope until the next generation of therapeutic models begin to appear and are tried.

    thanks for lots to think about

  49. Interesting that I just wrote a little about this topic in my blog today. While I agree totally that the COSA 12 step program misses the mark in general in really helping the spouses of an addict – especially if they’ve just “joined the club”, and that the term co-addict or co-depenent doesn’t do our situation any justice, there is some truth to the fact that as the spouse of an addict – your behaviors do change in relation to the addiction. Sometimes those behaviors can become obsessive to the point that they can ruin your life. Some people can get to the point that their snooping or obsession over where their spouse is or what they’re doing starts to affect their work, their friendships, and their home life as well as their self worth. The cycle of addiction that the spouse is going through can hit you too with periods of happiness or depression depending on how they are acting out. It is important that you learn to distance yourself from the addiction as early as possible so that you aren’t drawn into that trap I married a sex addict… knowing what I was getting into… but then again not really knowing what I was getting into. After 7 years of watching my addict make both good and bad decisions I can truly say that my husbands sex addiction underlies our entire relationship in one form or another. Once my husband chooses to fully remove his addiction from his life… I am very much aware that I am going to have to change too… because right now as a couple we have a relationship built around his addiction. We are hobbled. I hope that once he is able to get sober that we will be able to move forward together, but I’m not so naive as to believe that there are changes that I’m going to have to make too once we move into a healthy relationship.

  50. OMG!!!! I assumed I was alone in this. When I was new to this I devoured everything that I could get my hands on about SA and, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I learned that I was a codependent. Ack! Codependent – la la la I can’t hear you. Get away from me with that word. I fell deeply in love with him and he is ALL MESSED UP. We are not together and I miss him EVERY FREAKIN DAY OF MY LIFE. And guess what else? I STILL HOPE HE CAN GET BETTER. So sue me….it just is what it is, dammit. It feels unbelieveably good to say this with neither label nor judgement. Thanks sisters

  51. Carrie,
    I know how you feel. I read everything I could, I practically begged for a 12 step meeting, my counsellor had me fully in the “co-dependant” and “co-addict” camp. It messed me up. After d-day I read a lot of good stuff, and was making progress. Then about the 3 month mark, my counsellor started in on the co-dependance, and last month i started sanon. I ended up being a bigger emotional wreck than I had been 2 months previously!! I back slid so much, and now that I have removed all that BS from my life, I am feeling a helluva lot stronger and am activly working on healing myself. I’m not content to sit around and make a list of my defaults or some other nonsense. Yes, I know I have to change some behaviours and thoughts, but there are good and bad ways to bring about those changes!

    Of course you want him to get better. I want mine to get better. I love him, simple as that.

  52. You know the hardest thing I see in this recovery is the betrayel itself, and the shattered trust. So what if we may have some co-dependent traits or are co-dependent (I think at this point most people are co-dependent and the ones who are not are the addicts, betrayers, liars, users, dysfuntional parent, uncle, aunt etc.)I think in general most people want to help others, have empathy, care, if not we would then I be a narcissist (which is worse, and the direction we are moving in as a society and is a problem). No where is the betrayel of trust addressed. And from my perspective this is what needs to be healed and addressed the most. This is not something we “made up” or are “obsessed” about for no reason. There was a whole other world that I asked about, questionned about, and in my case he lied to my face. In the beginning I trusted him, why should I not? He gave every indication that he was trustworthy and telling the truth at the time. Instead you are to say you are “powerless over your co-dependence”. Lord knows I am powerless over this addiction or compulsion whatever it may be. But what I am not powerless over is my life and my choices.

  53. Ladies, is there a way we can get Patrick Carnes to address our concerns? He seems to be the pied piper of the co-dependency approach to betrayed spouses. Maybe he would do a session with us to hear our stories and our concerns.

  54. Hmm, interesting thought AHW.
    As people with our own stories, do we have the responsibility to try and change things? Knowing something is wrong is not good enough, acting when soemthing is wrong is a way to try and make things better.

    I wonder if we all wrote a piece and submitted them to him at the same time, would he take notice, or disregard as the crazy actions of co-dependents?? (tongue in cheek!) 🙂

  55. I believe that in one of his books he wrote about how a co-dependent may not want to undress in front of her spouse. (I did not have a problem until it started getting creepy, and I never had my own space. this was slow to happen over time, did not start this way) WHAT are you kidding me. Why should she, all he wants her for is a tool for his needs in this situation. And she feels it (as I did), but he does not tell her. My SA and I even had conversations prior to any of this where I told him that I felt that I was just a tool for his use and that was all he wanted me for. I of course got the typical standby answer “that’s not true i love you”… I was thinking things like this before it was known, of course then it just seemed crazy and I thought why the heck am I thinking these crazy wacky things.

    But now makes perfect and complete sense as I WAS A TOOL. So no, actually a person who feels that she is being used, and refuses to undress in front of her husband is a person who is actually presenting a non-codependent mentality and standing up for herself. And god forbid that we may even take this one step further and not want to have sex!! Woah… Nelly!! Now we have a full blown out of control co-dependent!! When in all actuality again she is just protecting herself as I have done.

    I guess they may see it as controlling or punishment…but not following your heart and your inner gut is not healthy. Following your wants and needs is what is important. I have read that the flip side is purposely withholding for punishment and that I would imagine is not at the root of what is seen most when dealing with the interactions of a sex addict and spouse.

  56. Hopefully there are a couple of social scientists on this board that could correct me but, my readings of Carnes indicate that he has taken case studies and used them to put forth conclusions about a general population. It is my understanding that scientists are strongly cautioned NOT to do that very thing. Case studies are to be interpreted as holding true for the specifics of a particular case. but findings from case studies are not to be argued true for a population.

    It very well may be true that ALL of the spouses Carnes has worked with are codependents, but he certainly cannot put forth a well grounded academic argument that the entire population of spouses of sex addicts are co-dependent.

    If i’m wrong about that, please correct me.

  57. The very best thing you could all do is to send an e-mail to Oprah.

    Mention this site, mention our philosophy, mention that we need social support and recognition and that she has the power to help us.

    With a conservative estimate of over 20 million Sex Addicts in America, spouses and partners are a significant number of women who need support.

    Forget Patrick Carnes. He may say he cares about the partners of Sex Addicts, but it’s always the same old, same old 12 step nonsense.

  58. For the first time in a long while, I’ve actually had a really good few days. Feeling a lot stronger. Last friday I had a real bad one. Something set me off (god knows what) and I cried the entire day, and I mean, from 10 am untill I went to bed. Didn’t know the human body could actually keep it up that long.
    I had some good talks with my SA, and something feels different. Its like we are are actually communicating, and yes, there are a few bumps as we both try and articulate what we are saying, its so different to the way it used to be.
    I’ve been doing recovery nation for a few weeks, and while yes, its early days in that, it has given me a sense of the future. What I want my future to be like.
    I told my SA about RN, and I printed off a few bits and he had a look at them last week. I told him I was doing it, but not asking him to do it, as he has his fellowship and counsellor. (plus, I try and make a point of not asking him to do anything like that. if he wants to he will, and it will be of his own desire to do so). I will say though, that I was hoping he would say “oh this looks fab,I should do it too! However, I did not voice or project that.
    So this week he asks me if he can use my laptop to have a look at it. Last night he did, spent about an hour on it and made some really positive comments about it. When finished he said that he can really see the value in what they are doing, and he would benifit from the program as it offers detailed in-depth work, and some practical ways to look at yourself and identify the area you have to work on.
    I’m encouraged. This is one more thing he has actively sought out for himself. One more thing that he wants to add to his tool-kit of getting through this and becoming a healthier person.

    Its weird. A couple years ago I was saying to myself “who is this man? where did my husband go? am I living in a real life “invasion of the body snatchers?” I find I am thinking the same thing now, but in a positive way. The person he is right now is so different to what he was, and even looking back to before the problems began, he is more like he was then, but even better in a way. I “know” things now. He talks about things now. We talk now.

    I hope it continues, but I’m still on guard. I am not believeing that he is “fixed”. However, he is arming himself, volentarily, with the tools he needs to rebuild himself which I hope will carry him forward.

    Its a scary feeling in a way. For the first time in years, I can see the possibility of a strong future for us. It really accentuates the fears in me though. Fears of a future with an SA, the chance of relapse, etc. Its kinda like ” a cloud in every silver lining” 🙂

  59. Hi Starry and Flora,

    re: the example of not wanting to undress in front of your SA—punishment or not being safe?

    This represents the biggest flaw, for me, in the whole Carnes et al approach. They INSIST on interpreting our behaviour through the SA story, as if we don’t have one of our own. And to them, we don’t a story of our own. We don’t have an experience of our own that matters. We don’t count as actual people. We are bit players in the SA drama of the penis and the male ego.

    BUT, if you allow the wife/partner to be an actual person, then you have to ask her what her experience is. Then, her behaviour has a difference reference point. In the Carnes et al model, there can only be one reference point and it is the one connected to the penis and the male ego.

    It’s so obvious that it’s ridiculous. But they are still at it, because their own egos are heavily invested in it now in their livelihoods, eduction and pride.


  60. Hi Diane,
    re: the example of not wanting to undress in front of your SA—punishment or not being safe?

    I’d say there’s 100 different answers though isn’t there. That’s the crux of the matter. None of us are the same and although we do exibit similar behaviours, everyone has thier reasons/reactions.

    For me, I have not undressed in front of him for 6 months, and will be a dang sight longer untill I do. I don’t feel comfortable doing it. He butchered our intamacy and broke not an only an emotional bond, but a sexual bond. Call me niave, but for me, being husband and wife means that only we see each other naked, no others see us, we do not see others. He posted pics of his genitals online, for others to see. He took his vulnerable state of undress and allowed others to see. He looked at others naked or in a certain state of nakedness. How can I allow him to see me naked at this time??? I refuse to be objectified, and untill such a time as he understands the intamacy of being naked in someone’s presense, the vulnerability it exposes us to, then no way its going to happen.
    For me its not punishment, or safety. Its about respect and honor in a way. I certainly do not have the body of a model. I have a child and adore choclate 🙂 However, I have a love of myself, and I accept that. My body is beautiful as it is, and my nakedness is not given freely to anyone. Its an honor that must be appreciated by the recipient. I am worthy of that.
    Wonder what Carnes would say about that?! 🙂

    I have read a few Carnes books, my SA has several. While I think its good reading for an SA, he has completely missed the boat on the partners. I too get the impression we don’t count as peple. We are simply an extention of the addict. (hence the quickness to label some co-addicts)

    It validates the addicts. “Your not the only one with problems, look at your wifey here, well, she enabled you. She is co-dependant, and maybe a co-addict.” blah blah blah.

    Its like so many things in this world. Everyone wants to cover thier own @ss. Few step up to the plate to admit they are wrong. Its easier to dictate than engage. It would be far more work to actually listen to us women and and reevaluate our experiences, its so much easier to mouth the same BS.

  61. I didnt know where to post this,I told my partner a few weeks ago that I want and needed to have a meeting with his therapist. Well tomorrow is it,now I have no idea what questions to ask.I swear I had a million now I’m just blank, also very nervous.I almost feel like I’m stepping out of line someway, I do need to know if hes been honest with this guy, my SA says things hes told him but I really don’t know that he does.I would also like know how deep into my SAs childhood and growing up are part of his treatment plan.
    If anyone has any ideas as to how I should go about this please please let me know.My SA has been seeing this guy for 3 months and d-day was 4 months ago.

  62. Hi Katt,
    Typically a therapist would bring in the spouse early, to gauge what they have been told. this is not a marriage counseling sesion, but a sesion where you can come in and speak your concerns, and to also know if the stories he is hearing are the same as what you know.

    So surpirsed that has not happened yet. Also you are not out of line, typically the spouse does come in. My SA has had two therapists and both asked me to come in after about a month by myself. Although the request came through my spouse, from the therapist, maybe the therapist has made the request and he said no.

    So the purpose of this meeting is to find out what the therapist knows and to tell him what you know. Also ask if he has permission to talk about everything or has your spouse restricted him. If he has permission to speak about all, tell him to tell you what the SA told you. Ask about all you want to know. Ask how he feels how your SA is doing, although you have to take this with a grain of salt. Tell him all, spill the beans. Tell him about the lying, the cheating, (whatever he has done). this is your chance to tell the therapist the WHOLE story. also ask if they have a treatment plan, and what his diagnosis of your spouse is. They typically have to pick something for insurance purposes. Ask if he thinks if it is an addiction, this always brings about alot of balking from the therapist. They don;t want to make any labels. Good Luck. I am sure some more advise will come….

  63. Hi katt,
    I think it’s good that you are doing this. My SA’s therapist never was interested in meeting me, and once she started fishing for stories of co-dependency, I elected to not see her.

    A good question might be around the creation of the SA’s recovery plan. Does he have one? Why not, if he doesn’t? If he does, you need a copy.

    YOu can ask what the therapeutic approach is. Is it pure 12-step support counselling or is also working on original trauma?

    does the therapist know about Barbara Steffens work, proposing the trauma model as appropriate for partners and spouses of SA’s?

    do NOt ask what the therapist wants you to do!!! YOu are not taking responsibility for his recovery.
    YOu may wish to tell the therapist what it will take for you to stay married to this SA.

    Good luck,

  64. Thank you, JoAnn……

    For stating so eloquently what I feel…….what I seem to only be able to label as “BULL SHIT!” With all of your research and all of your training and all of your personal insight……..

    You would do the world a favor to create a treatment program for wives of sex addicts that is not based on the 12-steps.

  65. As a sex addiction therapist who herself has had to deal with the discovery of betrayal/sex addiction, I can only say that it has been a learning experience that I am grateful for in spite of the pain. I have had the anger towards the co-dependent point of view. I see where it has its place but I can really appreciate the trauma model much more readily. Sex addicts are AMAZING liars and no one likes to be conned, let alone by one’s own partner. And I would be more concerned if the deceived partner had NONE of the so-called co-dependent symptoms after a betrayal. That would suggest a complete departure from reality. Setting boundaries and limits are all great tools and understanding that we didn’t make the sex addict a sex addict also is important. But these intellectualizations do little to deal with the feelings of fear, helplessness, anger, and even vengeance that inevitably follow such a gross betrayal. Trauma is trauma, and for some the impact is greater and for some, less. People returning from Iraq have problems, some more and some less. We don’t call them co-anything for reacting to crisis. Thanks for this site.

    1. Jael,
      I’m sorry to hear of the deception you experienced firsthand as well. I have three older sisters, and one of them is still married to the sex addict/abuser. I remember him being arrested for window peeping and my sister thinking of divorcing her husband. The oldest of my three nephews was 13 yrs. old. The addict was mandated to attend 12 weeks of counseling. There is where he ‘discovered’ that the reason he acted out was because he had older sisters that always told him what to do and never got to stand up to them (what a crock of SHIT)! My sister decided to stay with him after reading Patrick Carnes book called Out of the Shadows. Seven years later was my discovery that MY husband is a sex addict. However, after I read that book (my ex was supposed to read it too and dismissed it) I left my husband of 16 yrs. after 4 years of trying to let him get serious about recovery (along with COSA meetings and individual counseling for myself). My sister still makes excuses for her husband/abuser and told me, “It’s a disease/addiction and they can’t help it. I told him if he ever did it again, that I would divorce him”. LOL He probably just changed to a different acting-out behavior! Today was my discovery day when I read that sex addiction IS domestic abuse! Until society starts seeing the lying, manipulation, deception and for some of us the withholding of love, affection, and sex as abuse, women will continue to be traumatized by the Codependent Theory.

  66. Thank you Barbara Steffens for your visit to this site and your incredible insight, which has spared spouses of the SA further torment, abuse and trauma.

    Three sessions prior to halting “work” with my husband’s sad excuse for a therapist, I stated that I didn’t agree with COSA (as said earlier), and that I was a “trauma victim” with PTSD. I handed her a packet I printed from Barbara Steffens website and told her I agreed with it and wanted to know her opinion. She NEVER said a word to me in the next few sessions, but did grow more irritable and abusive toward me. I became friends with one woman in COSA and stayed connected after I stopped attending the incredibly offensive meetings. My friend told me that my husband’s SA therapist began giving my copies of Barbara Steffens print out to several women that were her clients, including my friend. WOW!! The copies even had white-out in the areas that I made comments for this horrible therapist to read… MY GOSH!! Of course, she never said thank you, or that it was interesting… Nothing! She instead began to be offensive and cruel to me in sessions, and of course took my money!! Her outrageous smiles at my handsome husband were sickening, as I had tears pouring down my cheeks!! Yes, I know PTSD and this witch therapist knew all about the horror that I had endured well beyond my betrayal trauma inflicted upon me by my husband. This expensive therapy experience hurled me into the most severe PTSD symptoms imaginable.

    Just remember my tormented friends, that you can grade your therapist online now. My personal and individual therapist is wonderful, and has been graded accordingly. This other disgusting woman has also been graded appropriately. She is fortunate that I didn’t have the energy to write to her license board… Yet.

    PS~ Patrick Carnes… You have also done damage to the spouses of the sick sex addict!! Your absurd attack on the innocent spouse provided the creepy sex addict with more verbal abuse and blame assaults, as the pathetic walls of defensive denial were provided with mortar sent by YOU!!

  67. We cannot completely condemn the professionals who are not fully understanding of the trauma model as it is a fairly recent angle and the vast majority of addiction therapists ARE trained in a 12-step/codependency model. IF the therapist HEARS the patient and can empathize with the FEELINGS and reactions a spouse and partner has, and is willing to learn more about the trauma model, that might be the best we can expect. As it is, there are just a handful of books dealing with the partner in betrayal, let alone any that deal with this as a trauma-issue. School and workshops do not deal with this issue YET. It is an unfortunate situation on one hand but at least there is PROGRESS. Therapists that come from a more psychoanalytic point of view, rather than addiction model, seem to be more tuned to the role that betrayal has to trauma and past trauma, as they are trained to correlate current situations with past experiences, so that would make sense. Often the addict doesn’t have the CAPACITY to “get” that level of therapy and needs to have their behavior contained FIRST before getting into the highly emotional and traumatizing events that led THEM to their addictions. Therefore the 12-step (behavioral) model is more for THEM. So it takes perhaps a different style for the partners than it does for the addict, and one that is trained in trauma of any kind. At one time everyone thought the world was flat…try telling them different at that time. This, to me, is a similar situation. There are good mechanics and bad mechanics and it takes due diligence these days to find the good ones. I personally would not waste my time with a therapist that isn’t trained in trauma models, trauma bonding, PTSD… and would ask them first what their point of view was…before spending my money. Or, see an analyst since they are focused on past/present relationships, feelings, and so forth. My two cents…maybe worth less than two cents:)

  68. Thank you for your professional knowledge and opinion. It really helps. In your practice what percent of woman end up leaving the SA relationship?

    Thanks, NAP

  69. can’t really give an accurate percentage since people VOLUNTARILY are getting therapy…that is the sex addict at the very least. So in my practice so far I haven’t seen anyone leave a relationship except once, and it wasn’t because of the sex addiction itself, but that the couple grew out of each other as they got healthier. Twice I’ve seen the woman act out sexually much later AFTER the sex addict was abstinent for years…which I find interesting. Statistically, according to private investigators, women tend to stay on after infidelity in general and men tend to divorce or end a relationship after a woman’s infidelity more often. I encourage everyone not to be impulsive with ANY decision they make. Both parties tend to be quite reactive after infidelity. The boundary plans on this site are quite good and make the “rules of engagement” clear and what do do when. It is unfortunate those boundaries have to be even discussed and elaborated on but truly necessary for everyone’s best interest in the long run.

    I have no idea what percentage of women leave a sex addict who REFUSES treatment, or what percentage of sex addicts decide to get treatment after she leaves, etc…I’d like to know from others on this board their experience with leaving such situations, if it is a motivator for the addict to seek help or not. Thanks!!!

  70. Thank you Jael

    I agree when you said, “If the therapist HEARS the patient and can empathize with the FEELINGS and reactions a spouse and partner has, and is willing to learn more about the trauma model, that might be the best we can expect.” I don’t assume that any therapist should know everything or never make any mistakes. I do expect empathy, kindness, compassion and understanding… Especially when there is knowledge of immense pain, betrayal, loss, grief and unimaginable torment.

    The SA therapist I’ve referenced was clearly enamored with my handsome and charming husband, which resulted in unethical and damaging behavior on her part. In addition, she never required him to provide me a “full disclosure” of his infidelities as she did my friend’s husband. Instead she began digging into my history in an effort to try to get me to say I had a problem with my father. I adored my dad, who was a wonderful man and had no idea why she was wasting time in this area. I have never been unfaithful to my husband, but can only imagine what BS he fed her when I was not in session. One sad fact that I did learn through this horrific therapy experience, is that my husband has a compulsive lie problem. The therapy environment revealed that he would often say anything in order to not seem like the “morally reprehensible man” that he has revealed. I would often look at him stunned and say, “no, remember I was there too.” In my experience, the sex addiction and “Passive-Aggressive” combination makes for quite the toxic, emotionally abusive cocktail (no pun intended). By the way, when I fell in love with my husband, I was a young teen and there were no signs of any problems. I dated him for many years before we married and always thought our life was going to be the most beautiful and incredible love story. Instead it’s unfolded into one of the most sad, painful and incomprehensibly tragic life stories I’ve ever known.

  71. I am terrible sorry you had to find out that your therapist was also buffaloed by your husband’s presentation. I experienced similar situations with therapists when I (as a therapist!) went to couple’s counseling with MY acting-out boyfriend (who at the time I didn’t know was acting out). She didn’t urge him (to my knowledge) to disclose to me and to this day I have no idea how much he told her if anything of relevance.

    I will say that some of these guys make a con artist look tame in comparison. A friend of mine had a husband in therapy and completely buffaloed her…to me, I was startled that the therapist could fall for it. My own mother buffaloed HER therapist and when my father came in for a session was asked why he beat his wife! Amazing. So a liar can be a dangerous person indeed, and has the ability to pit people against each other to avoid people getting mad at HIM. Also sign of personality disorder, by the way.

    I will credit the boyfriend with one thing: he admitted that he could go to therapy or meetings just to “please me”, but it wouldn’t do any good because he isn’t interested in it. Enough said…perhaps that’s the honesty I DON’T want to hear…but have to listen to.

    A while ago, my own analyst commented on my frustration with a therapist colleague who was behaving, I thought, poorly. He said “Your problem is that you expect that just because she is a therapist, that she is rational.” Well, so true. I held therapists to higher standards than the “average” person and perhaps I had to revisit that notion. By virtue of the fact that a person’s emotional welfare is seen at the hands of the therapist, one would EXPECT fair and consistent treatment that is somewhat rational. Unfortunately, not always so.

    And I am sorry to say in your case, where you should have had support and healing from trauma, you were traumatized by the treatment as well, and the sense of trust and safety blown up all over again. I am sorry that happened to you. How painful that must be and it’s certainly painful to me to hear about it.

  72. One can easily see Jael, that your clients are fortunate to have you as their therapist. Isn’t it incredibly sad that a man would “agree” to attend therapy and SA meetings, then absolutely waste endless time and money in order to temporarily “please” their spouse? It’s pure idiocy from my perspective. My husband finally admitted that he often did not attend the SA meetings when he told me he went. Regarding the therapy, it was very clear and evident that the truth would eventually unfold, so where is the logic? Of course instead of healing, his deceptive tactics only brought more strife and harm to our relationship. Your examples were interesting/beneficial to read and provided additional understanding.

    Thankfully, before and throughout the added trauma due to the SA therapist torment, I had/have maintained a wonderful relationship with my individual therapist. I was wise enough to seek support after the horrifying death of our child. I do realize and understand that there are incredibly efficient/helpful professionals and harmful individuals in every field. I still believe that the wonderful, insightful and compassionate prevail in number over the ruinous. Thank you Jael for your kindness, comfort and support.

  73. Ah, thank you, but I had to go through it myself to fully comprehend anything besides a textbook version of what happens in this type of betrayal. I had to get to the point where I could see that the sex addict wasn’t the only person involved in fantasy and unrealistic expectations. In spite of clear signs that something was amiss, or my gut feelings telling me something was amiss…or my feelings of frustration when the sex life fizzled into nothing but mere “quickies” under 10 minutes in the dark once every 3 weeks…I tried patience, discussion, talking from a place of feelings, talking from a place of logic, detaching, etc. I tried separations. My part in it was not being willing myself…to walk away from behaviors that were either unacceptable or neglectful…I wanted to be certain myself that I wasn’t guilty for showing lack of commitment! I forgot that I needed to commit to myself first which for me meant knowing what I wanted and more importantly, what I DIDN’T want. I was convincing myself I “could handle it”, not so different than an addict’s mantra. I couldn’t handle it. I shouldn’t have handled it. I am grateful to this experience because I have empathy I didn’t have before for the partner that stays on when everyone around her/him says WTHF**K? are you DOING??? I learned when someone says “you shouldn’t forgive me” it means just that…they feel they do not deserve forgiveness for a reason.
    I also knew from my own work that the sex addict DOES suffer. They may not suffer for the same reasons we do however.A person who experienced early trauma inflicts or recreates trauma without intervention/insight/hard work more often than not. A dog that has discovered it can bite always has that potential…

  74. The posting on January 8th, 2011 at 6:30 pm does NOT remotely appear to be from “JAEL,” the kind and understanding therapist I’ve connected with in this forum!!

    Hello disgusting and dishonest “Sex Addict” portraying yourself as the kind and compassionate therapist earlier in this comment section!! You don’t have the writing skills, education or compassion of therapist “JAEL!” You know what your are, and I don’t need additional ABUSE from some creepy stranger sex addict too! Fantasy and unrealistic expectations?? BS!! You should have posted as “JAIL,” because that’s where you likely belong!!

    FYI… My sex life with my husband has been an oasis in my marriage, and I’ve been happy to provide much more than any woman I know!! I’ve DESIRED to connect with him due to the chemistry since I was a teen… It’s ALWAYS been wonderful (& he’s happy to feed his addiction). He has NEVER been neglected, unless you consider the last few weeks of pregnancy and time to heal from the birth of children, NEGLECT!? Yeah, you probably do!! Nobody has said WTF, because my husband is a much better “con artist” than you!! Please ask law enforcement to arrest you now, before you destroy another woman, wife, child or family!!

    Yes, I deserve far better from a husband and my life! You failed to mention the death of our child, you pathetic, sick sub human creep! I can assure you that my self esteem is just fine! Yours, on the other hand Mr. Sex Addict, has you crawling around online pathetically trying to justify your disgusting illness, surely in between hours of porn, abuse or assault!

  75. Okay, something is amiss here.

    Trauma Victim, first let me say that I also suspected something wrong with Jael’s posting, and was contemplating how to address it.
    Please do not let yourself be hooked into conflict with this any further. Things will become clear dear sister. Trust that the forces of Light and Truth are stronger than what we face.


  76. Yes Diane… You are powerfully insightful. Thank you for your calm, wise and comforting words.

    There is nothing that can compare to the victimization and death of a child. Not the loss of a marriage or the torment of a disgusting, dishonest sex addict spouse. The FAKE “Jael” has reached beyond the destruction in his own personal sex addiction and dysfunctional intimate life… If he ever had one. Some sex addicts are recluse, criminal child abusers and/or rapists, which is why my child has passed. A stranger child rapist pervert stole her from our lives and changed all who loved her forever.

    Thank you Diane, the forces of LIGHT and TRUTH are always stronger than Evil, and all of the problems we all face. My painful education in this area is far beyond what I had ever anticipated, as the lies of my dishonest husband have also altered my adult life for the rest of my days. Sadly, I had no idea of his issues until many years into my marriage. You are a welcomed and wise force of goodness Diane.

  77. Dear Trauma Victim and Diane,

    I am a bit confused here. First, all the comments from ‘Jael’ are definitely from the same person, which I can verify through my software. Second, she included a link to her website in her first comment. If either of you would like to check it out, here it is:

    Link deleted per request.

    Third, I do not understand what the issue is with the post she sent at 6:30pm. The way I read it is that she is describing what she went through with her Sexually Addicted partner.

    If I am missing something, please fill me in.

  78. Hello JoAnn…

    I imagine that you would more likely understand the “issues” with the 6:30pm posting from Jael, if you could NOT confirm that Jael’s comments were definitely from the same computer? The differences between the earlier post and the 6:30pm post tonight are evident and obvious. Possibly it’s just that it’s a Saturday evening and time to relax?? The comments absolutely appeared to be from one of the many hostile men that attack online, when women voice their pain and opinions regarding unfaithful spouses and sexual addiction.

    I’m sorry therapist Jael if you indeed made the comments posted at 6:30pm and were offended in any way by my comments.

  79. PS… Joanne,

    Considering the highly personal comments made by Jael (and all here), I would imagine that your recent publication of her website listing (unpublished within her first comment), may be a profound invasion of her privacy? It would be easy to forget a website listing in your open comment section, and I certainly would not imagine that you would post it for ALL to see, especially within this subject matter. If Jael or anyone else here wanted the world to know their identity, or that they have/had sex addict spouses/boyfriends, they would use their real legal/professional names in each posting, right? Now I’m defending you JAEL. The Internet has enormous potential to devastate lives, dependent upon decisions made at the keyboard in a moment in time.

  80. Therapist Jael,

    If you indeed stated, “I also knew from my own work that the sex addict DOES suffer. They may not suffer for the same reasons we do however.”

    I agree that they experience anguish and pain, BUT if they refuse to even try to help themselves, while dumping their debris/chaos all over the innocent spouse… I have limited compassion. The sex addict spouse has potentially stolen the life/family/health possible with an honest, loyal, faithful, kind and emotionally available mate. It can be a slow mental, emotional and soul death for the innocent and faithful spouse, which should be considered a CRIMINAL offense today.

    Complications of additional life tragedy, disability and serious trauma can create massive barriers to leaving the relationship, which should have never been a deception in the first place. It’s impossible to understand how any individual can destroy the lives of those they profess to love without immediate remorse, a desire for restitution, therapy and a plea for forgiveness… It’s Utterly Appalling!! Addictions and disorders seem to impair some perpetrators, and void any comprehension of the outrageous abuse they inflict upon those unfortunate enough to be entrapped within their snare.

  81. All I can say is “wow”. I am posting on this site because I have experienced what all of you people suffer with…betrayal. I don’t want to experience betrayal again on this site, for heaven’s sake.

    I also do not wish to be judged for writing about my own experiences. I have a right to feel, learn and express what my own events provoke. Trauma begins when one is told NOT to feel or express their ideas.

    Trauma Victim is correct, that posting a link to anyone without their permission can have some serious implications. Please remove any html link associated with my name that I did not post myself. The topic I have been trying to focus on here is “I am not a co-addict”. Well unfortunately I am feeling “invaded” right now and I am not even a sex addict (yet)!

    I am still amazed and perplexed as to why what I wrote at 630 caused such a reaction. Next time it would be great if anyone that had such strong feelings to what I say can post to me PRIVATELY first so we can have a good communication that is direct. Perhaps it would be resolved without so much potential damage that way. And you’d get a chance to tell me directly what you thought:)

    I don’t want to have to regret being open about my profession on this site.

    I would also encourage anyone that didn’t like my postings to reread them to see if they were really hostile or merely trying to describe my perspective based on personal experience. I certainly didn’t FEEL hostile writing it. However some of the responses definitely are hostile, and that saddens me. My intention is to support and be supported in return. If I describe something I experienced or talk about what I think, I am not in any way attempting to negate anyone ELSE’S experience.I do not want my own experiences negated either. I personally do not wish to engage in bashing of any kind…whether it be the people on this board, the addict, therapists, or anyone else. Respect doesn’t mean anyone has to agree with me but I hope we can be civil in our exchanges.

    I hope this clarifies my intentions and hopefully we can go on posting what is on our minds and hearts without fearing a repercussion that is damaging. Have a good Sunday.

  82. At Jael’s request I am deleting her website link from my comment above.

    Dear Jael,

    I am terribly sorry that this incident has caused you pain. After reading the comments over and over, I do feel that it was an unfortunate misunderstanding.


  83. Jael…

    Please understand that I assumed that a male sex addict was using your name. My comments were never intended to be directed toward you. I’m truly sorry for the misunderstanding. As I’ve stated, my trauma has been immense on multiple fronts which has resulted in serious PTSD. I’ve had numerous sexual predators make horrific comments regarding my deceased child online, etc. Again, I’m sorry that it appeared that the 6:30 posting was not from you.

  84. All is fine. I was talking of my own neglect in the relationship…and it got turned around etc. So when one person misreads it by accident, it’s easy for others to also…and maybe I didn’t write very clearly…who knows? either way it’s educational, like all relationships…:)

    Finally, I need to clarify to everyone on this board…
    when i discuss a sex addict’s feelings/process from MY point of view as BOTH a therapist AND someone who has endured the impact of sex addiction…I am trying to the best of my abilities to not devalue anyone, not even the sex addict as much as humanly possible. THAT’S JUST ME. I am NOT saying at all that we shouldn’t be really angry with how we were/are treated. But from where I sit, I have to work with these people and if I saw them as despicable creatures, none of them would be helped, would they? So you are not going to hear a point of view from me that tears them to shreds as human beings. I deplore the behavior, I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of it. I also walked away from it and refused to engage further with it. But I do not see my ex as a sinister monster that set out to harm me specifically. I see him as someone who is mentally ill. If you research the statistics, about 25% of the sex addicts test positive for ADHD, the same percentage for those with borderline personality disorder. And in my opinion (MY OPINION), most sex addicts have some kind of personality disorder which is pretty much defined when there is no ability to learn from experience. So I don’t take my ex’s behaviors as personally as maybe I would if I didn’t work with folks like him. God knows what would’ve happened to him if I wasn’t in this field…if I were still a respiratory therapist I think he may have ended up like an episode of Dexter!

    Good nite…way past my bedtime!

  85. Thank you for the clarification Jael…

    Yes, it’s so very late that’s it’s now early. Is it the “punchy” hour, or is my 9:45pm posting which assumed that your name was hijacked by an impostor male sex addict hilarious (now that we’ve discovered the misunderstanding)? I’m so thankful that I still find the funny in life… Often, humor feels like the heartbeat of survival.

  86. Jael, Wow alot went on here yesterday.

    Anwyay, i like your comment where you said that “he did not mean to hurt you specifically”. While we are the spouse and receiving the punches, it could have easily been anyone else in these shoes. I am not a therapist, but I have read that men enter into relationships and figure they can fix all the crap later. An addict hopes that the marriage or wife will help cure the addiction and it will just go away; but this does not happen (or they hope it can be hidden as they feel it does not affect anyone else unless they know about it). I think with some of us in our relationship, it was just the luck of the draw, and we got the short straw. For many of us the addiction was hidden, as they are so very good at hiding it, and we never know anything like this existed (as was for myself). I think much of what happens in our lives is by chance; do i go to the bar or the library; one decisions can lead to so many things happening; our lives are so complex and so many things happen really every day. One wrong choice can lead to a series of bad ones. The trick is to get out when you need to just as you did. Realize when the bad choice was a bad one. Like you i felt I had to give it my best effort and give it the time, to realize yes this is broken and not fixable this point. I am working on making that decision for myself, leaning toward the divorce at the moment (actually for the past year).

    I like to bash mine as it makes me feel better sometimes (more in my head really). But I really don’t so much anymore. The situation is what it is. I do discuss stuff, makes me feel better. Some probably deserve the bashing I am quit sure of it. But as a therapist i see you have to make this stand, and maybe your SA does not deserve the bashing, that should be reserved for the ones which truely deserve it. 🙂

  87. HI Everyone,
    I just got back to this site and can see there’s been some sorting out of confusion and hurt. I want to apologize for also being in the thick of it.

    As I have reread the comment that “threw me”, I think it was because it was a mix of generalized observing statements that sound like they are from the professional experience of Jael, and some personal ones to illustrate them. That’s what was raising flags for me. When Jael suggested that fantasy and unrealistic expectations weren’t only brought into the relationship by the SA, it sounded to me like a general statement from a professional. And it simply doesn’t apply to me or most women in this position. The idea that in our marriages we operated with the idea that our husbands aren’t sexually acting out as addicts doesn’t seem to be “fantasy” or “unreasonable”. So I’m still not clear what the fantasy element is that we bring in.

    I also don’t find Jael’s personal story of not jumping ship when she sensed something might be wrong as an example of correctly taking appropriate responsibility. I just don’t think Jael did anything wrong in not elevating the hunch to disaster level, and I don’t think we do either. No spouse or partner of SA would imagine what we now know as facts in our SA’s lives. In marriage sometimes you wait things out—for lots of different reasons. You wait for the other person to feel ready to share. YOu wait until the pressing work project is over before pressing for more answers because sometimes the added stress is a factor. You wait because you haven’t quite got it straight in your own head what is feeling wrong. You wait because you are waiting for a moment when the kids aren’t home or are in bed and you aren’t exhausted. I don’t think what Jael describes reveal anything that isn’t absolutely normal behaviour for a spouse in a marriage—if you don’t know your partners is an SA. Marriages have things to deal with along the way—there is no way a Spouse should have predicted that this was all about sex addiction and should be dealt with immediately.

    So I hope you can see that the mix of generalizing statements paired with personal examples that, for me, didn’t fit, created a strange message for me to read. I think also I had been quite interested In Jael’s baptism of fire with the therapeutic model questions, so this post seemed to backtrack.

    Regardless of what I thought, Jael presents a really difficult personal situation where she IS a professional in the field and yet was caught by the same trouble as the rest of us. And I am sorry to have made it harder for you, Jael, to feel safe about sharing your experiences. I hope you will at some point see that this particular thread being about professional difficulties the spouse or partner has with therapeutic models, is perhaps more sensitive to your professional status than others might be. When you appear to speak as a professional authority, we are listening differently. I think that’s just going to be an occupational hazard. And I have one of those, too—a different one, but one I have to “manage” it so that it doesn’t get in the way of what I’m trying to to say. I’m sorry about that because you need more work like a hole in the head. Also, we have had on this site SA’s posting to their spouses postings, using all manner of “covers” to attack the spouse/partners. So we aren’t actually completely paranoid! Just slightly paranoid.

    I totally agree with Jael about the suffering in the SA. My husband suffers like crazy. And after 18 months of intensive therapy he just suffers more. His original trauma is real and hideous. What I have to watch for with his suffering is that sometimes he uses the suffering as his medication now. His tears and regret and remorse becomes the cover for the addiction. Because my sons and I can “see” how much he’s hurting, he becomes a sympathetic figure, a new kind of victim, and can use that to avoid taking responsibility for what he still does to wound his family—even when it’s not sexually acting out. It’s a cover for his actual emotional UNAVAILABILITY. It looks emotional—but only because it’s about him.

    This is really really tough field. But I do think I can learn to be kinder in it. Please accept my apology, Jael. I am quite content to just not be on the same page as you are in some things.

    Light is coming over the horizon

  88. I appreciate the apologies and its all good. Perhaps it’s time to explain in slightly more detail what my experience has been so there are no more assumptions. I welcome private diaglogues with anyone wanting more detail or whatever. When I make a generalized statement without describing the background for that statement, I can understand how it comes off as being a sweeping generalization for all mankind. I apologize for that and since we’ve gotten this far, here is some more background. Again, feel free to contact me privately at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to have a dialogue with anyone here.

    The fantasy I was guilty of was the same fantasy anyone living with someone with someone with borderline personality disorder wrestles with- that I believed my partner could change IF he wanted to. I didn’t want to accept him “as is” and make a decision. I say it was a fantasy not a realistic hope because there was nothing in three years to show that he had any capacity for learning from experience, and he followed a self-destructive path. If I sat across from myself in my office I could easily have pointed this out. Living with a borderline or sex addict is very difficult because their are two sides to the same coin, but they are both part of that coin. He was loving AND he was hateful. He was helpful AND he was destructive. He was devoted AND he was unfaithful. I also had to realize that some people don’t want therapy because in a way, their coping skills have “worked” in terms of getting by without intimacy. The risk of intimacy feels greater than the loss of potential intimacy. Therapy is a form of intimacy also and therefore avoided.

    I “jumped” ship AFTER catching him the THIRD time. I had a gut feeling something was going to happen while I was away on a trip, so I used spying methods. The acting out was nonstop the moment I left. I confronted him and actually HE jumped ship…he left because “I spied on him”. Once he was out I resolved to keep it that way since he wasn’t in therapy or programs, etc.and sure enough, I got an emergency call with a “possible heart attack or stroke” that I ignored, his family didn’t even know we were broken up, and he called wanting “to date” again, full of promises but angry at my insistence on treatment. He tried to give a disclosure hoping that would help get me to reconsider. He tried designing a diamond ring himself. Tears, etc. So I know how hard it is to be tough with boundaries. But this time I made it clear I’ve been hurt, used, and neglected long enough without any lasting improvement and am not interested in words, presents, displays of emotion,

    The second time, strangely enough, was when I bought my girlfriend a massage for her birthday present, and we went to a local place (Asian in my neighborhood) that my partner and I sometimes went together. Afterwords, the woman at the front desk asked me if I knew my partner had been there without me a few months back? She said he didn’t “try anything” but thought it strange he came without me. Later she told me that he had said we had broken up (when we weren’t and asked her advice if we should get back together! I was overcome with HAPPINESS that this woman who could easily have lost two customers by talking, chose to tell me. Bought her chocolates later:) She even offered to call me if she saw his car on her closed circuit monitor in the parking lot patronizing the OTHER massage parlor next door! I said it wasn’t necessary. He finally admitted going to another one during that time only because I saw it on a credit card statement. He never admitted anything but “bad intentions” but nothing “ever happened”. I couldn’t prove a thing.

    The first time was also by seeing a strange number on his cellphone and knowing that his mood swings and neglect of me were at an all time extreme. I looked it up and it was a massage parlor. We were in couple’s counseling with his therapist at the time, a good one, by the way…and she felt I was projecting onto HIM. He steadfastly told her he never stepped foot in any massage parlor and just called “out of curiosity”. She bought this as he was so emotionally regressed, and I can see how she would totally be buffaloed. I WANTED to be buffaloed but my gut wouldn’t let me. When he went to see her alone the following week he reported that she said to him that she couldn’t work with him if he lied to her and he seemed morose and distant. I asked him point blank if there is something I should know beyond what I have found out myself and he said no. I opened his mail the next day like any trusting girlfriend, and saw he had paid for massages a number of times. After a week I threw him out. No contact for six months. Then he called because he thought he was having a heart attack and had no one else to call (I later found out he was across the street from a hospital). And so curiosity and FANTASY (MINE) got me involved again. Dating sucked, I hadn’t found anyone remotely compatible and I was lonely in spite of having a full social and professional life…perhaps he had learned from my departure I mean business. He said he was getting money together for therapy and had to pay off a debt first, etc. I told myself that I was FINE with a less intense arrangement and liked having a dinner companion and so forth. There again fantasy was at work, telling myself that I didn’t want anything more than that right now after having my own freedom for six months.

    So you see in MY case that I bought into and contributed to whatever is going on now because 1. I was not self-protective…if I don’t follow the “advice” I give my clients then I know this is happening, 2. I don’t give up trying, not because it is such a great quality but because I do not like the alternative, 3. Actions speak louder than words and I have not wanted to embrace that concept…the actions were heartbreaking for me to accept. The words gave me hope.

    And here is my own narcissism at work: I am a sex addiction therapist. I told myself on some level 1. I SHOULD be able to “handle it” 2. I know how and why they act out and IF I figure out what the “right” angle is he will “wake up” and want to improve his life. 3. He is aware that my clients improve in all areas of their lives, whether they are poor or celebrities. I assumed that he would want this for himself since it seems RATIONAL to me to want a happier life. I forgot someone who is irrational cannot be reasoned with. I was not able to empathize with him any more than he has been able to as a result of these stances and of course it is almost impossible to empathize with someone who is going to prostitutes, lying, and risking my health. I wasn’t letting him hit bottom by being there. AND some people don’t hit bottom…they stay there for life. I didn’t want him to be one of those people…OK that was long enough, I think…

  89. I completely understand what jael is saying about us believing that they can change IF they want to. I do believe that almost all Sex Addicts have diagnosable Personality Disorders. And that is a huge issue for any of us to deal with.

    IF they could feel empathy, IF they were able to learn from their mistakes, IF they could feel true remorse, IF they had any concept of our pain, IF they could understand the consequences of their actions, and IF they were able to change their destructive behaviors THEY WOULD NOT BE SEX ADDICTS. I believe that Sexual Addiction is not the core issue, but merely a symptom of their mental illness that is not being addressed by current therapies or counseling.

    I do not agree that our hopes and dreams are fantasy, although in retrospect it may seem that way. I believe that we just aren’t given enough information about what we are dealing with. We try to deal with our partners and spouses as if they had normal mental capacities and abilities–which they do not. It’s kind of like trying to put a huge 1,000 piece puzzle together with only 500 pieces.

    I have been doing a lot of research on Personality Disorders and welcome any serious dialogue on the subject.

  90. Yes I agree that in retrospect it (for me) seems like I harbored a fantasy. My fantasy is actually a realistic expectation of a non-disordered person. That is why I called it a fantasy…AFTER I “knew” my partner to be personality disordered, I continued to hope that they were not on some level.

    I absolutely concur that sex addiction, like any addiction/compulsion/problematic coping solution, is a result of much deeper conflict, trauma, personality/character disorder, and a host of other things. the underlying intimacy disorder is usually based on trauma/neglect/abuse of some kind. Healthy attachments ARE the problem with sex addiction. And they were that way BEFORE they met us. One finds commitment phobia and other addictions related to the acting out behavior.

    It is also often a case where a man hasn’t individuated from his mother, or a woman hasn’t from her father.

    Interesting subject and I’d like to hear what others think also. I am also interested in what the motivating factor most often is for the sex addict to want to change. Most of my clients claim it is the pain of repeating this behavior over and over again or the fear of a loss of an important relationship to be their motivating event/factor.

  91. Hi again,
    this whole personality disorder thing is where my thinking is now about sex addiction.

    But it can be very very depressing! What is also frustrating is that while I spent months and months educating myself about sex addiction, and read multiple sources and viewpoints to better understand what was going on in this whole field of research and treatment, there were very few discussions that linked sex addiction with personality disorder so that the connection was made in how we were thinking about it. Over and over again, we were encouraged to think discretely about sex addiction—and the goal of getting sober. This is dishonest to the spouses and partners, for whom the battle has just begun when sobriety is achieved.

    Underlying personality disorders are the iceberg under the water. I had to discover this myself. And my SA WAS working in intensive therapy—he couldn’t work any harder than he was. My SA’s motivation was certainly to save our marriage, which failed because he still lives out the symptoms of a disorder. But he continues because he was to break the cycle in our family, and ensure that our sons do not fall down the hole the way he did. His mother was emotionally incestuous, spiritually abusive and just as horrible monster. But she also has a personality disorder, and he believe his father (who he only met a few years ago) also seems to have the same characteristics. So my SA wants to break the cycle. In this motivation he is already breaking the cycle by being concerned for his children.

    I think we may not have all the personality disorders well-defined yet, because the sex addiction symptom has been hiding in the 12 step zone. And they like to keep it there, so that people think they can solve this problem if they do the program and their spouse/partners co-operate with the 12 step agenda.

    Anyway, my 2 cents. Thanks for broadening the discussion. It’s not my area at all, but I’ve made it mine to know.


  92. Thank you Diane, Jael and JoAnn…

    Everything that you’ve contributed to this site is quite helpful… Thank you. I sure could use something hilarious, funny and uplifting today. The emotional vacancy within my husband’s soul always makes me feel alone in a room. Thank God for my therapist and those that truly understand.

  93. It probably won’t surprise anyone here that I have my own opinion about the personality disorder thing…I feel that narcissism and borderline aren’t too different, there’s even a joke that goes along the lines of what happens to a borderline in successful treatment- they become narcissists. Look at the criteria for both and one can see black and white thinking, reactivity, fear of abandonment (narcissistic supply gone),impulse control issues, lack of empathy, acting out behaviors (more prevalent with borderline) that include SEXUAL acting out…lying, splitting, rationalizing, and denial. My question is how can one be a sex addict and NOT have a personality disorder? If a person had a well-developed sense of self and values that was integrated and not part of a split, they couldn’t fathom the lying. If they had impulse control it wouldn’t always be acted upon. If they didn’t have black and white thinking they would be able stop blaming everyone else (if I say you’re bad I can be good. If i admit i did something I am all bad). If they had no personality disorder they’d learn from experience, and so on.

    How many sex addicts does it take to change a light bulb? I am laughing thinking of possible answers here…none, they are all distracted by people walking by… is the first response that comes to mind…

  94. Jael,

    You mentioned “a man who hasn’t individuated from his mother”.

    Could you please elaborate a little more on this?

    SA here had a very dominating and highly critical father.SA says he used to hide under the bed when father was in one of his rages.Used to hit him.However i always felt that the real problem was his mother.He absolutely adored her,worshipped the ground she walked on,said she was the only friend he ever had and that his life changed when she passed away and he was absolutely lonely.(This was when he was 40 !!!).

    I find it all very unnerving and sort of creepy to have a grown man be so fixated with his mother who has passed away.

    Was it that he looked upon her as a savior (from his father) and is this what you mean by not being individuated from his mother?



  95. Jael,

    Yes, that is my point exactly. Sex Adddicts wouldn’t and couldn’t do the things they do if they did not have Personality Disorders. And, all of the symptoms overlap. My husband, Larry, will see a psychiatrist this week because of the harm his probable, but as of yet undiagnosed, Avoidant and Borderline Personality Disorders as well as a hefty sprinkling of Passive Aggressive behaviors are doing to our relationship.

    Somewhere in my earlier comments on this site I also made the joke: How many Narcissists does it take to change a light bulb?

    Answer: Only one, he just stands there while the whole world revolves around him.

  96. I’m still new to this, so I’m trying to gather as much info as possible. I’m curious about the whole split personality thing, as I think I see some of that in my husband. Prime example: I used to snoop a lot because I suspected my husband was doing bad things. He would get very angry. At some point, I stopped snooping, because 1. I was tired of the anger and 2. other things were going on in our relationship that made me feel more comforatble that maybe he wasn’t doing anything bad at that time. In any case, it was around the time I stopped snooping that his acting out escalated to full blown sex (timing was coincidental- he says escalation occured because of opportunity- his thing is massage parlors, every other place we lived the “extras” were limited, escalation occured when we suddenly lived in a place that had multiple “anything goes” places.) I just recently found old posts(ranging from 2 years to 3 and a half years ago- earliest post was apparently fairly soon after the escalation occured) of his on massage parlor review sites. I know they were his, because he used a nickname that he is commonly known by (which shocked me, because he’s always used crazy names on adult sites before- never something easily identifiable.) In any case, I found out a few days ago that he never realized that I had stopped snooping. The impression I got from the conversation that followed was that “Bad H” got really angry when I snooped because it was a threat to his bad behavior, but “Good H” was tired of living that way and desperately wanted to get caught. Have any of you experienced anything similar with your husbands?

  97. JoAnn said: “…IF they could feel empathy, IF they were able to learn from their mistakes, IF they could feel true remorse, IF they had any concept of our pain, IF they could understand the consequences of their actions, and IF they were able to change their destructive behaviors THEY WOULD NOT BE SEX ADDICTS. I believe that Sexual Addiction is not the core issue, but merely a symptom of their mental illness that is not being addressed by current therapies or counseling.

    I do not agree that our hopes and dreams are fantasy, although in retrospect it may seem that way. I believe that we just aren’t given enough information about what we are dealing with. We try to deal with our partners and spouses as if they had normal mental capacities and abilities–which they do not. It’s kind of like trying to put a huge 1,000 piece puzzle together with only 500 pieces….”

    This is so well stated, it bears repetition. I’ve often described their illness as a type of blindness. They are blind to our pain, blind to the harm they do, etc. Asking a sex addict to meet your reasonable needs for emotional intimacy and non-sexual physical affection is like asking a blind man to describe the color red. They just aren’t capable of it. Once I made the connection to physical blindness, it seemed to help me deal with the reality.

    Best to all my sisters…..Betty

  98. Thank you everyone! It’s good to hear your thoughts on personality disorders.

    JoAnn I agree. And Jael–your observations about borderline and narcissistic were also mine. I’m just wondering if that would become clearer if sex addiction symptom behaviour was added to both. What then would be the degree of difference? Would it shift enough to realize that these PD”S are either the same thing, or a sub group of each other.

    And it is the PD aspect that makes it impossible to live with the SA. This is where I go crazy because SA’s get sober but continue to act in abusive ways to their spouse and partner and WHO IS CALLING THEM TO ACCOUNT? not their “group” not their “sponsor” and not their “their 12 step therapist” who is still trying to get the spouse/partner to declare “I am a co-addict (or co-dependent) and my life is unmanageable.”

    I’m afraid the PD makes it all even harder for us. If its early years, it could be easier, I suppose. But my 59 year old SA and our 30 year marriage—it’s going to be years or decades of therapeutic intervention. And I would like to have some scrap of my own life, thank you very much.

    light to all

  99. NAP,
    I am not an expert. But I have done some reading. For passive aggressive it is very hard to cure; unless the patient realizes it is a problem and wants help. Problem is with most of them, my husband included, thinks he is fine as well as his relationship with his mother. (Unf. I did get pushed into the role of mommy, slowly ripping him off me, I hate it). And with PA it is so hard because it is such an engrained behavior they have been doing from such a young age that it is second nature (but so is the sex addiction). Most I gathered from the book was how to learn to live with one, and things you can do to cope if you are in a relationship with one. Narcisism (which I can never spell) is much harder if not impossible. It is quite hard to teach someone empathy. Just like someone was commenting on haveing a blind person describe the color red. They just can’t even begin to comprehend.



    Is it possible that many of these addictions (drugs, alchohal, sex, gambling) are a symptom of a personality disorder? I think they often find that there are underlying PD, depression, ADD or anxiety. They do the drug of choice to alter their mood.

    So is the same with sex addiction. Maybe sex addiction is the symptom to these underlying personality disorders which have been talked about. Rather than the sex addiction itself being the problem/disorder. Unf. many therapists, behaviorist and 12-step never get past the “behavior” that brought them in. My husband has seen two therapist, neither have seeked to address any of the PD, although this is what I have gathered from questioning the SA.

  100. to laura: exactly the catch22 I was in…didn’t want to be accountable and claimed his family was intrusive and he hated the snooping yet refused to VOLUNTEER information after a betrayal. I asked what he thought I should do in my circumstance after the 3rd time…there was no history that showed that his word and actions would be congruent, yet he hated monitoring and refused to go to meetings or therapy (right NOW…meaning never). He couldn’t answer and said something about telling me anytime he had the urge and showing receipts etc. I said this would cause the same opposition he just claimed drove him to act out. There he stood at a loss because it was clear that no matter what I did, he would automatically put me in the position of MOTHER SUPERIOR and OPPOSE anything it was that I wanted. I used to joke that it seemed he had a list to check off…if I wanted it, if it would make me happy, if there was a holiday (Oh, like Valentine’s) that showed his devotion to me, he made sure that it would be sabotaged or ignored or “forgotten”. Amazing how he could forget a holiday but remember a phone number seen driving by a massage parlor. I digress. This all comes down to the “terrible threes” where the two or three year old child doesn’t know yet how to individuate from his mother so the first thing he learns that almost works is to oppose her. He knows she wants him to do something, and even if he wants to do that something too, he has to oppose it OR HE WILL FEEL COMPLETELY DEPENDENT AND DOMINATED by her…a loss of self. This is the time kids learn to express their individuality and autonomy, yet know their mom is patiently waiting for them with boundaries.

    So if you have a grown man with a three year old’s conflicts…you have a dangerous and crazy-making situation.

    He wants YOU to set the boundaries for HIM that he doesn’t have and should have.
    He resents YOU for controlling him after he’s asked for your controlling.
    He sets up impossible situations where YOU are responsible for making difficult decisions he doesn’t want to make.
    He somehow feels that with the right woman, right job, right environment…he would be in control of his impulses.
    He needs severe consequences to learn anything.
    He needs to be in a lot of pain to understand yours.Tough love.

    Personality disorders ARE treatable, although a lot of therapists either say they are not or almost impossible to treat. When I say “treatable” I mean the personality doesn’t go away, nor should it…but “softens” enough to not be damaging to self and others. They are hard to treat in that it takes years, they are very fragile to criticism of any kind, they can sink into major depressions that render them nonfunctional (which is why the personality disorder is there to begin with…to protect against feelings that are overwhelming) and so on. ALL of my clients have a personality disorder (I almost hate to call it that and rather call it Rigid Personalities)that developed in response to neglect and abuse and trauma. On some level, a very deep one, they ALL feel self-loathing (can a person with a healthy self-esteem see prostitutes regularly? They RELATE to the prostitute and feel ACCEPTED by her on some level)Can a person be happy as an adult if all their reactions are coming from a 3 year old’s point of view? Can a person take responsibility for their actions if they are three years old? “He did it-she did it” is what you’d expect at that age…not, “I did it because I thought I’d get away with it and am angry at you not liking Alien 3 last night”. Arghhh.

    The more I am writing about this the more I can see why I didn’t have children…there was no need…

  101. Jael, your last post is my thinking exactly. I read so much about personality disorders in my search for understanding. The man I met was in no way ‘just’ a sex addict: it was a symptom, or the result, of his overall disordered thinking and behaviour, and he had traits of all of the cluster B disorders. I don’t think he was individuated from his mother either.

  102. Jael,
    Okay these make my skin crawl, you have described my life. These bullet points are pricelss. Summarizes a whole book, actually better than the book. THESE ARE SO GREAT. I am going to print out a copy.

    “He wants YOU to set the boundaries for HIM that he doesn’t have and should have.
    He resents YOU for controlling him after he’s asked for your controlling.
    He sets up impossible situations where YOU are responsible for making difficult decisions he doesn’t want to make.
    He somehow feels that with the right woman, right job, right environment…he would be in control of his impulses.
    He needs severe consequences to learn anything.
    He needs to be in a lot of pain to understand yours.Tough love.”

    I actually showed my SA a book the book on living with a passive aggressive. When he read it he pointed to the section on ADD (as this is why he is the way he is). But he never has once tried to get into treatment or take meds for ADD; even though he was diagnosed at young age. To me, he just wants to continue the insanity.

    For the past 4.5 years I have been setting boundaries and resposibilities for my SA whose parents did not ever enstill. Now I did not consciously realize this was happening, but it was a slow shift over the years, until bam….about two years ago a realized what was happening. It is maddening to live with someone like this. He is like a three year old boy and I don;t need two three year olds (have a three year old daughter as well). He is the little boy who does not want to grow up.

    a thought on Narcissim. I read that a person who grows up with a narcisistic parent (typically the mother) grows up feeling empty and unloved. So is what many SA’s feel at a young age. My SA felt unloved and unworthy starting at between 5 and 8 years old. Maybe when the Passive Aggressive started who knows. But this is such a complex topic. I know there is no hope for my SA, as he feels nothing is wrong with him or his parents. But I still find it fascinating.

  103. And so now take this spouse to therapy. You read what she acts like as she is the flip side of this list…. If the therapist does not see the other side, what does she look like??? A co-dependent. Rather than in reality she is living with a passive aggresive manchild who is driving her nuts and pushed her to act this way. She is just trying to make some sense, of something that will never make sense. He will never step up for himself. You will mostly forever be mommy.

    I also see this with the addiction. We treat them like children and check up on them why??? because we have every reason to, because they are children and they are guilty. Someone wise on here posted if you are gonna act like and adult you will be treated like an adult. If you are gonna act like a child, you will be treated like a child. So is life with an SA.

  104. Wow… I wasn’t quite prepared for all that. To be honest, the only aspect of our lives that I see this whole split personality bit in is the SA. He’s very responsible, dependable, loving and supportive in every other area of our marriage and the parenting of our children- a little forgetful at times, but never about anything really important. And I never even really saw it until our conversation about my past snooping – he essentially told me that he thinks he wanted to get caught a few years ago. I’m seeing a little of it right now, but only in little snippets. He must be learing something in therapy, because he’ll start to get snippy with me about something when we’re talking things through, then almost immediately snap out of it and apologize. In any case, I just wondered if the whole good husband / bad husband thing is part of a personality disorder. He has a therapy appointmet on Wednesday and I’m coming up with lists of things I’d like to see him address with his therapist over time. He’s on board with the fact that he has impulse control issues and that he probably has issues with his mother or something else that happened in his childhood, but I think he’s skeptical of the whole personality disorder idea… we’ll see.

  105. Oh, and regarding boundaries, my husband is at a point now where he’s taken the initiative and started working on coming up with his own set of boundaries. Of course, I’ll still come up with a set of boundaries and consequences as well, but I appreciate that he seems to realize that he is responsible for setting his own. I’m sorry if I’ve strayed too much from the original topic. I am still very curious about various personality disorders- just puzzled though, because, from what little I’ve read about various personality disorders, I don’t see enough traits of any of those disorders in him to say, “Aha! He’s probably suffering from (fill in the blank)!” I do see bad husband / good husband, but that’s about it. Over the years, not only in his words but through his actions, he has shown me that he can have empathy, he can be remorseful, he does have some concept of the pain I’m in and he does understand the consequences of his actions. What I don’t know yet is if he can learn from his mistakes or if he can change his destructive behaviors. He’s off to a good start, but I’ll clearly have to keep an eye on things.

  106. unfortunately diagnosing requires a good diagnostician that sees a person in person. We can go batty looking at all the possibilities, much like reading a medical reference book and having all the symptoms…I think the important thing is not so much “why” there is xyz behavior, but “what am I going to do about it”. Cheating and lying is cheating and lying. It doesn’t matter if it is sex addiction, ADHD, BPD, NPD, or any other mental issue. If the person is over the age of 5 and doesn’t have down’s syndrome, they need to be accountable for their actions. Good husband bad husband is ONE husband that is BOTH…just hard to wrap our heads around the two polar extremes they show us. They can be loving AND hurtful, sincere AND deceitful, and so on. They can be rich, handsome, famous AND have the self-loathing you’d expect of a homeless person. A person’s core belief about themselves, if negative, can produce a stellar exterior to MAKE UP for how they see themselves. If they had parents that saw them as an extension of themselves they have LOST who they are and become whatever the world “wants” them to be…until their soul rebels once again. So someone can be a great husband, boss, employee, etc…and if they feel like a pig underneath they are going to act like one. Finally, if a person has ADHD (25% of sex addicts) that is untreated, their “cluelessness”, lack of impulse control, and impassivity is maddening and damaging.

    How to get them into treatment is always a huge problem…”I’m not sick I don’t need help” by Amador is a great book for this problem. The way a mediator (or therapist!)works between two warring parties is to find out what they BOTH can agree on and build on that.

  107. I don’t know if anyone is familiar with the site
    If not, it is a great site/forum/educational resource for dealing with someone with borderline personality disorder. The strategies are the same for anyone with a mental disorder, acting out behavior, etc. And if your spouse/partner seems to suffer from a personality disorder of any kind, this kind of helps make sense of the whole thing and stops the crazy-making aspect of it or at least sheds light on it(the catch22 situations, damned if you do damned if you don’t), the push-pull quality of those relationships, and so on. Worth a gander if you’re curious. Peace.

  108. Jael-

    Thanks. I see what you mean, especially about becoming what the world wants them to be. His mother is all about appearances and keeping up with the Joneses. I’m sure she has issues of her own, based on her upbringing, and I’m sure that affected how she raised him. And I think he’s very open to the possibility that some of this is rooted in his childhood, although he seems to have very few conscious memories of his early childhood, or at least none that he can tie any emotions to.

    My husband is in therapy of his own choosing and knows he’s sick, but I think it might be awhile before he’s willing to explore personality disorders or other underlying mental conditions. Right now, this is what I know:

    1. He knows he has a problem.
    2. He knows he doesn’t want to continue living this way.
    3. He knows his actions are his fault (even if how he got this way is not his fault).
    4. If I start to feel like I am to blame for any of this, he is the first to tell me, “You can’t blame yourself. This was never about you.”

    He’s about 5, maybe 6 months into therapy. I know it’s a long road ahead, but for now, I’ll take what I can get.

  109. Hell yeah…5 or 6 months is just getting started for many of these guys/gals. Getting in too deep too fast is counterproductive. If they are showing accountability and taking responsibility even if it is lip service to start, it is a big step in maturing and often takes much longer to get this much going. One thing at a time…:) Rome wasn’t built in a day…

  110. Well, I think part of the reason he’s reached that point already is that, while he only started therapy 5 or 6 months ago, he apparently made the decision to change long before that (12 and a half months ago, immediately after his last “non-solo” acting out.) So I think he had already done a lot of soul searching before he started therapy…

    Thanks for the link. I’ll have to check it out. 🙂

  111. Hi, I said I wasn’t coming back, probably. Well, TIMEOUT: It might have been Flora who queried whether alcoholism, gambling, drug addiction are symptoms of personality disorders. Well no. I am a recovered alcoholic and I KNOW I do not have a personality disorder. Secondly, doesn’t the DSM-IV make an exception to the definitions in that mental illness cannot be diagnosed while the patient is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or withdrwal from intoxicating substances?

    I just vaguely remember something like that from undergrad. It makes sense because alcoholics for example can have a lot of narcissitic TRAITS while in the active disease, but with sobriety and spiritual work, many of these traits disappear.

    As we know, sex addiction has not been called a mental illness officially. Of course, anyone can have a personality disorder, regardless of addiction. Addictions are often ways that mentally ill people try to medicate. And yet addiction is a mental illness all in itself, which can be arrested as we all have seen. (Although I certainly seem to think that sex-addiction must be worse than nicotine in some ways!)

    Just my thoughts.

  112. And I think that addiction always has an element-very large element of spiritual bankruptcy. That is NOT to say that many addicts/alcoholics are not law abiding and thoughtful people. In fact, many are, but have a deep emptiness and fear from whatever cause that has left them searching for something outside themselves to fill in the God-shaped hole. Unfortunately the self-destruction is hurts those around the suffering addict.

    This is so EVIDENT by the fact that we on here are so HURT to the point of obsession about the sex-addict.


  113. Hi Jael,

    I appreciate your perspective and information on SA. Like Flora, you pretty much described my husband to a T. It really makes alot of sense to me. Have a question: you said they relate to prostitutes and feel accepted by them. Why is this? Is it because prostitutes dont have any self worth either? Would appreciate your perspective on this as my husband is a patron of prostitutes.

    Fatchance, I agree with you in that when someone is actively addicted, they can display many behaviors of mental illnesses when in fact its the addiction. Hence, the only way to tell if these are actually organic is to see if they are there when the addict is sober. Makes sense.

  114. Fatchance & others,
    As I said I am not an expert. This is just a thought I had. I also don’t think that ADD, anxiety or passive aggressive are a personality disorders either.

    But from what my therapist said is that many sex addicts have ADD ( my husband has anxiety as well), and many alchoholics suffer from depression and anxiety as well. She said that an addiction presents a way to alter the mood, as we don;t like the way we are. (My husband had also been addicted to pot and smoking for many years).

    I did not mean to say that every addict has a PD. I am just thinking outloud. But what i was thinking is that the Sex Addiction could be symptom of the disease; rather than the disease. The disease could be the underlying personality disorder. Narcissistic definatly fits in on this one with SA. Actual looks like passive aggressive is not a personality disorder either based on google health not listed as one.

    So what I think to say is that the addiction may be the sign of other issues (ADD, depression, anxiety whatever else can cause us problems in our lives; which is NOT a personality disorder).

    I think my main thought got lost. My MAIN thought is that the sex addiction is a sign of other underlying issues, which could be a personality dosorder, which is not addressed in 12 step, meetings and most of the time not even by their therapist. As no further digging is done.

    (My husbands first therapists soul purpose was to get the addict to meetings, as he could do not more.)

    Sorry if I offended anyone. As I said I am not an expert in the field by no means. I am just a common wife of a sex addict.

  115. Flora,

    I’m sorry it’s taken so long to answer your original question but I’ve not had opportunity to get back on this site.

    To answer your first question. I have been married twice my first husband was not a sex addict.

    Before I can answer your second question I need to answer why I’ve decided to stay. I decided to stay because I believe things will change. At first I focused so much on his recovery it almost destroyed me. But after years of learning and growing I am stopping the focus on him and really focusing on serving others. I want to help and I believe God can take this mess and turn it into a tool to help every person hurting. I can take this and use it to help people. No counseling, no book, no pill nothing can change someone who does not want to change. That includes you and me. We can be bitter or we can be better but we can’t be both. I choose better. I choose to live my live for good. I get up everyday and thank God for all the things I have. It took a long time but I’m on my way to a better life. I do not worry any more about what he does or does not do. I seek each day to make someones life better and thereby making my life better.

    To answer your question about my husbands recovery I really do not know… His choices are his choices. I believe he is trying, but I do not know. I do not check up on him, I do not spy on him. I do not know his heart. He hugs me and says he loves me and he shows it by the things he does. If he is lying I dont know it. I used to have to know everything but that just made my life miserable. I’ve set it in my mind what my boundries are and if they are breached I will leave. He knows so he needs to choose I can’t choose for him.

    Like I said originally I’m free I’m living life that’s the thing I’ve gained and a very deep relationship with God.

    In closing I make sure I let my husband know everyday I love him and I treat him with respect. That was hard but God is gracious he has given me the strength. I have something now no one can take. It’s hard to understand I know but I’m at peace and I would not trade this peace for all the tea in China. LOL.

  116. Hi Flora,

    I have been thinking about what you and others wrote on here. My husband may well have a personality disorder. In facet, last year when things got really bad and we went to marriage counseling, I asked the therapist when we were alone whether she thought my husband was personality disordered.

    My husband had always been so sweet and then he suddenly was so CRUEL at times. Of course, the therapsit never saw this side of my husband.

    Also, I looked at the BPD link that Jael had posted. I had looked at BPD before, but this was a site with some good articles and examples and I think I see things in a little differengt light.

    My sisters and I were abused terribly and my mother lost her parental rights. I wouldn’t want to describe what happened because it is terrible and bizarre. Suffice it to say, that upbringing really stressed our genetic make-up and experiences to the brink.

    We all suffered PTSD and I was actually unable to speak for a while after being taken from our mother. We all had diffrent fathers. My oldeset sister is not an alcoholic, but she smokes weed everyday. She keeps a perfect house and yard and otherwise isolates, though she is close to me and very sweet and very steady in her personality traits.

    My other sister was diagnosed with BPD. I personally think she is an alcoholic, but she hasn’t decided that. I love her but she’s a pain in the ass.

    My husband is a pain in the ass these last two years and talk about walking on freaking eggshells!!!

    I KNOW I have issues. However, I just cannot deal with my husband’s cruelty anymore and I know it is affecting my kids. I so much want to raise my children is a sober home without unecessary drama, guilt, and manipulation. I want my legacy to be that I have done my very best to make things better for my children than they were for me and my sisters.

    I am going to ask that my husband get sex addiction treatment and take the MMPI before he has overnight visits with the kids.

    I appreciate you all and your thoughts. This is the toughest thing I have experienced in my adult life-no doubt!

  117. I agree with Flora that not all sex addicts have a personality disorder! (AGAIN…just because I am a therapist doesn’t mean we have the last word of authority…psychology in my opinion is NOT a science but a craft…a combination of science and other things). But I feel that it is pretty damn hard to have an addiction without SOME kind of disorder or struggle, whatever one wants to call it. The behaviors themselves can cause long term problems in how a person relates to the world and themselves. Depression, anxiety, OCD, ADD, on and on…it’s like saying everyone with an eating disorder has a personality disorder…NOT! People are individuals and choose what they do as a result of many variables (in my opinion).

    I see a lot of sex addicts and a lot of them truly believe the same things say, an alcoholic believes…that if he gets married to this wonderful woman that makes him feel so happy he’ll never “have” to act out again. It is demoralizing for them to discover that is not the case, so they can either sit with the fact they will act out no matter who they are with after time, or start blaming the partner for why they acted out. Which one is less painful and depressing? Blaming of course. It also allows the behavior to continue easier without guilt. But shame is the constant here. If the guy/gal is NOT a sociopath, and there are some unfortunately who are, they ALL suffer with tons of shame. They don’t always show it and they aren’t always even AWARE of it, since the acting out helps them avoid those feelings.

    I pick the brains of the people I treat to find out what fantasy they have they are trying to fulfill, what they feel before, during,after acting out, what they tell themselves, and what caused them to seek help.

    There are some themes and the main one seems to be in a general way, that the victim becomes the perpetrator. In other words, while acting out, they feel invincible, in control, adored, they can exploit, objectify, and use another person for their own gratification. I haven’t met a sex addict that didn’t have this dynamic going on in some way in their childhood…where they were expected to adore or attend to their parents needs, their own needs being neglected, they were not allowed to have a range of feelings since they were men and were often told they were “too sensitive”, they were made to do things without concern for how it affected them…etc. The roles become reversed during acting out. It is a case of the the prisoner becoming the jailer. They aren’t AWARE this is going on generally, they just know how good that feels to “get back” at their original captors, so to speak. AND there are no demands placed on them while acting out, one guy said it was like “being in Disneyland”. And the excitement of doing risky activity beats depression hands down. NO ONE thinks much about consequences and in order to do all this and sleep at night, some are remarkably good at compartmentalizing this. The only analogy I can think of that helps understand how to compartmentalizing feels is when one has a dream about doing something terrible, and wakes up and is relieved that it was just a dream…then they go about their business of making coffee etc. If I can think of a better analogy later I will post it…right now, I can only equate it with Sybil and her personalities. That is an unfair analogy in that these people are conscious about what they are doing but some really do forget unless reminded! Traumas can cause this splitting to take place.

  118. fatchance,
    that is a good idea to make him attend sex addiction treatment. That is about the most we can do. I also like your idea about the MMPI. Can never be too safe or throrough with the kids.

    Do the courts ever require these tests?? Does anyone know?? Especially if there are child custody issues? Does it make a difference if they find a personality disorder? Does anything change in regards to custody or visitation? Or is the same crap shoot as discovering your husband is a sex addict, no one cares until they are postively sure that they have harmed the child in some way and there is evidence.

    Fatchance, Appears you had a painful childhood. Sorry this has happened to you. Take care of yourself and your little ones. (((HUGS)))

  119. Thank you Jael,

    You said, “In other words, while acting out, they feel invincible, in control, adored, they can exploit, objectify, and use another person for their own gratification. I haven’t met a sex addict that didn’t have this dynamic going on in some way in their childhood…where they were expected to adore or attend to their parents needs, their own needs being neglected, they were not allowed to have a range of feelings since they were men and were often told they were “too sensitive”, they were made to do things without concern for how it affected them…etc. The roles become reversed during acting out. It is a case of the the prisoner becoming the jailer. They aren’t AWARE this is going on generally, they just know how good that feels to “get back” at their original captors, so to speak.”

    Wow!! Yes, you are right on. My husband’s father continues to be a mean, verbally and emotionally abusive father-in-law. My husband described how he was also “picked up” by his hair and forced to give his father foot and back massages when he got home from work. This horrible, cruel man also left my husband out of favors and attention that he gave his siblings, etc. I’ve always said that my awful father-in-law was the only man I personally knew that was rude and condescending toward me. I’ve never let him get away with it, and we had many arguments early in my marriage, while my husband just sat there silently. This awful “grandfather” also tried to pick my son up by his hair when he was a little boy until I stepped in, and told me to leave him crying on the ground when he was age 2 and hurt himself. I told him to back off, that I will take care of my little guy as I please. I kissed his ouchies and loved all over him. I wish I knew then what I know now, and deeply grateful that he did not spend much time around my children. I was still in my 20’s at the time, and thank God had insight and a desire to care for my children with love and compassion.

    I believe that my husband may have had more horrendous experiences that he has not told me about. He described the thought of therapy that addressed his childhood as “ripping off a scab.” I told him that he needs to do that so he can put healing medication on that wound that’s still there after 30 years.

    Jael, your posting was quite helpful, as I have not read or heard it described that way. It’s so sad to think of my husband being abused, and that he discovered his creepy dad’s porn stash in the midst of all this pain… The dots are connecting all over the place. Little did I know that I was marrying a dump truck full of debris/brokenness that was going to be unloaded all over my shoulders and heart. The cloud that I was floating on for many years of dating evaporated, and I’ve been left crashing to the earth without a parachute… Ouch!

  120. Thanks y’all for your support. I really am grateful. My little girl had another appointment with the play therapist today. After about five sessions, the therapist doesn’t think her dad has touched her, but she is concerned about the rage to which our daughter has been exposed and the fear it seemed to have placed her in.

    Also, dad has not tried as yet to get the overnight visits back. It’s almost as if he has creeped into a dark recess and disappeared into the unknown like a cockroach-except that I he still goes to work.

    The courts will order whatever you want on a default motion unless of course the judge sees something egregious about what your asking for. Does it make a difference if the parent has a personality disorder? Probably not, but two things: specifically, I don’t think this man will get near one in order to getr overnights back if that is what is ordered and second, in general if a personality disorder is coupled with court found facts of “harmful” behavior toward the subject, then tx can be ordered etc.

    My emotions are all over the place. I am trying to keep reminding myself that this shi* is not my fault. I am doing the vest I can. I did a personal inventory and I know I got involved way too soon. But he was kind for three years. Who could know?

    I don’t want to be a “victim” anymore. My eyes are open and I keep trying to look away, but I just cannot afford to do that for me to be here for my children-to be here for me.

    I am sorry my husband has so much pain and I am aware on one level. However, it is not an excuse to me. (Not that is for anyone on here.) There is “REALITY” and in reality, people can’t just go around hurting people like he has and keep a family and a normal life. The sh*t is going to catch up, back up like an old toilet:)

    I don’t want to hurt my husband, but I want to “out” him-there is no other way to get well and escape the tyranny. I don’t care if he cannot forgive me for it. Do you all think that is bad to want to “out” him? I don’t want him to be able to hide behide his facade anymore.

    Love Y’all!

  121. Instead of seeing things intellectually like I often do, it was once said to me that:

    “You can say people are put together in a way that looks like a bell-shaped curve- in the middle you have the average person with a bit of good stuff on one side, and a bit of bad stuff on the other side. Then you have people that have have really good points on the one end… but they also have really bad stuff on the other far end too. Those people are very difficult to be in relationships with, because they have BOTH really good and really bad going on at once.”

    We can try to figure out these people all day long, but the pain comes from having to cope or make a decision about two opposite truths that are equally true.

  122. Thanks Jael,

    Yep. He’s both. But his really bad is killing me and it’s destroyed our family as it was. Anyway, I don’t have to be him. He had it all: looks, education, career, beutiful family, educated wife. And he’s trading it for hookers, booze/cough-syrup whatever-other victimized and abandoned souls.

    It’s a real tragedy.

  123. Fatchance,
    I have had a similar thought. To like post on facebook or something that my husband is a sex addict. I have told his parents, but it did or does very little. But I share your thought. You get so tired of all the secrets that lie within the family, but a post of facebook would go way around it all over.

    Who are you planning or wanting to out him to??

    We are supposed to not keep secrets anymore. When anyone asks as of the frist of the year forward …where is the SA – my new response is we are seperated and he has an addiction i did not know about. I also need to disclose at work, as I may have to make a change there (the seperation anyway, no details there). I pretty much would just like everyone to know.

  124. violence begets violence. as horrible what a sex addict does, no one wins with vengeance. if someone had bulimia would it help them or you to broadcast it? you have to live with the consequences of your actions and could you live with acting out your impulses? I hope you don’t want to get to his level of reactivity. BUT having thoughts and wishes and fantasies of revenge and exposure is different from acting on them. And a lot of anger is often covering up how hurt and devastated we feel. And that we grieve the loss of who we thought we were with…

  125. Hi Fatchance,

    From my experience, outing will most likely come back to bite you back and in a way that will only serve to make things worse. I did it and it was a mistake. Nothing changed except that now, I have given him the ammo to deem me a crazy, pathological, stalking, vengeful bitch. very painful. That’s what lead me here though because I so wanted to “help”. its impossible.

    Blogging (anonymously) has helped me, however. I have told the entire story, the TRUTH of who he really is (to whomever has the patience and interest to read– haha) and its been enormously cathartic.

    @ Jael… I have been reading all of your responses and have thoroughly enjoyed hearing your insights into this disorder. I think your take is spot on as there is no one profile that fits each and every sex addict. I have come to think that many are just born that way, as my sons one with ADD and one with autism were.



  126. I think I miscommunicated what I meant in terms of “outting” my husband on his addiction. No way in HELL would I publish his sex addiction online like on Facebook.

    By “outting” him, I mean to not quietly ignore his rage, betrayal, bizarre split-personality and medication abuse by way of calling his CONFIDENTIAL professional recovery program (which I did), getting a restraining order, (which I did), asking the court to limit his visits b/c of specific behaviors my child has come home eith after visits, (which I did), not setteling for an agreed divorc on irreconciable differences, but having a public trial on the real reasons I am seeking a divorce, etc.; Telling the DA that I want him to get A&D assessment and sex-addiction assessment before dismissing his assault charge-that kind of outting. Maybe a better term would be: “Public Accountability”.

    My kids need a dad who is not nuts or in porno-hooker trance land.

    Hey, at least I tried. Anyway, I learned early and I learn it again and again: compasssion can be really tough: like when the surgeon cuts you wide open to slice out the cancer; Compassion? Yes. Rough? Yes.

    I didn’t marry him because I wanted to divorce or hurt him. I loved him. I keep on looking over my journals that I wrote. Everything was so foggy and I thought to keep a daily calendar for the most part and spotty journals.
    the last two and half years, our famuily has been treated LIKE HE ABSOLUTELY FU*&ING HATES US (and here and there he would be really sweet like he used to be.) I am still experiencing deep grief at times.

    My husband needs to take his rage elsewhere, because I did not cause it. Sure, I am compassionate, but I can’t hang around because his addiction, rage and my PTSD ALMOST KILLED ME. It really frightens me to think of how ill emotionally and physically I was. (You can see that I am not all well yet-LOL!:) Nonetheless, I am extremely grateful to be alive!

    Jael, I really can relate to the fantasy that you alluded to; how we sort of participated in it, however, unconsciously. I am seeing more clearly seeing ways in which I did that.

    The new story by Laura reminds me of that sort of participation in the fantasy, the denial, whatever one calls it. I don’t think I had as many overt signs as Laura talks about in her story. Looking back, I know I had red flags and I know I did see them, but I refused to investigate further at that time-to my detriment I suppose:)

    Peace be with us in the turmoult.

  127. I appreciate everyone being here also, and in spite of working in this field, BEING in this situation has been so hurtful, confusing, and provocative, that I can only say it’s been humbling.

    There are times where I want to shake my clients when they impassively don’t “get” the pain they put their partners through. But that’s their denial system at work. I saw the shoe go on the other foot once where the partner later had her flings and it tore him up. Did it help? Only in the moment. They were back to their old way of relating before long and didn’t want therapy. Ironically he never felt like acting out when she did, and she never felt like acting out when he did…it was like they had to have the SECURITY of the relationship to trigger their need to distance themselves in that way. Life is complicated….

  128. Another book worth mentioning is “when he’s married to mom”…by ken adams. a bit misleading title, as it really has to do with the process of individuation. none of my clients like the title 🙂 they all like the content, however.
    My ex called and left the message he is going to(highlight the words “going to” here) start reading about sex addiction. This “going to” thing has been going on since time began. Would be nice if just once the message sounded like “I read it”. But that would expecting him to be someone else…:)

  129. Hello FatChance,

    I hear and feel your pain… I’m so sorry. My H was acting out the first 5 years of our marriage when there was no diagnosis of “sex addiction.” I didn’t know of his heinous behavior until he was arrested for solicitation of prostitution. I was terrified he was killed in an accident somewhere when he didn’t come home. I was also very pregnant with our 2nd child crying in absolute anguish with concern for him, which surely bathed my fetus in stress chemicals. A few months later, H convinced me that he had a spiritual conversion (which I had recently experienced), and I gave the marriage a another try. We did move forward and experience good times and renewal for most of 15 years. I was not aware of any acting out, with exception to a few porn videos (I was so young & stupid). He also did admit to buying magazines on occasion, which caused arguments. It was not until I entered therapy individually/couples a few years ago, that I even knew the existence of the “sex addiction diagnosis.”

    What I’ve learned through therapy has shed light on the serious nature of my H’s multiple problems. A horrific life tragedy, only amplifies all the issues that already exist. Problems that flared up on occasion in the past with “passive-aggressive” behavior and lies, now surge. I don’t have current evidence or knowledge of acting out within his “sex addiction,” but the inherent lack of trust can be overwhelming. Everything is out of balance. I need my energy to take care of myself and survive the trauma/grief over the death of my child, and never realized the degree of the unhealthy care taking I had provided.

    My personal advice to others: In looking back on the suffering, torment, betrayal, agony, health risks and insanity that I’ve endured in my marriage… Cut and RUN !! It’s not healthy to live in a marriage without trust and emotional support. PS FatChance… I agree with adding details to your divorce records. It may spare another woman from walking into his charming web of deception.

    1. I am so sorry about the loss of your child. The fact that you have physically lived through that and your husband’s bullshit is a testament to your sturdiness!

      Peace be with you.

  130. Hi fatchance,
    When I was saying facebook it was to “out” me so to speak, more than the SA. So different in what you were speaking about. I get tired of this secret world, where no one knows what I am going through, and what the marriage is going through. I get tired of not being able tell anyone because of the shame that goes along with it. I am sure I never will, and it will be forever this secret life for us as well, the one where we lived with and were married to a sex addict. Even to this day a year later, only my close family knows, and his parents. I don’t think it goes beyond that.

    I would love to beable to just get it out there. Then I don’t need to be carefull of what I say and to whom anymore; because they will all know. Atleast anyone who uses facebook anyway 🙂

  131. In other words it would go something like this…my name is flora. I was married to a sex addict for x amount of years, and we are now getting divorced.

  132. Hi Flora…

    I struggled with the request for “privacy” concerning H’s sex addiction and the complaint that I should not have said anything to my mom/sister. I told him that he should have thought about that before acting out, and that those close to me didn’t need to “wonder” why I was distressed. I said that if he can potentially expose me to AIDS or STDs, that I will tell anyone I believe will be helpful and supportive as needed. Considering that AIDS can be lethal, I personally consider dishonest, unfaithful behavior to be criminal.

  133. HI Trauma Victim,

    I agree with what you write. If we are looking for support for our distress or if it is so obvious to those close to us that something is wrong in our world, we have every right to share. I would not feel good about just sharing the information with just anybody or just for spite. But hey, I am not judging! Sometimes when we are in pain, decisions on how to get relief from that distress are made. I know that I would not feel good about who I am as a person if I was to share information about what he did just to make him look bad.

    ooooooorrrrrrrrr did I????????

    Ok, I am really kidding, I didn’t. DID I?


    But sometimes I want tooooooooo!!!!!!!

  134. Yes i have not told anyone but close family and friends. It started just as family then moved to friends. Its hard that such a thing cosumes your life and you cannot tell a soul. For instance JoAnn; I am sure not one of her friends or family are not aware of what they are going through as she has a very public site.

    But as you comment on privacy. Interesting topic. When I found the prositutes call card in his wallet, he was mad and angry when I remembered I found it (this past fall, found a couple years ago). So we were going to have a conversation with his parents that i suggested. SA throws an attitude stating “if you insist on defaming or degrading me in front of my parents”. First of all if its true, and yes its true he looked at porn while watching our daughter, then it is not defaming. Selfish jerk. We did go through with the meeting with the parents, they were only told about viewing porn in front our daughter. The intent was so they could keep there eyes open for he in their household as that is where he takes her when the visit. So no I never had an intent to bring up the prositutes call card.

    So he still denies and minimizes and lies. Because how am I to know. But my gut says there is more, way more. He is just good at hiding it and a master at manipulation and distraction.

  135. I was amazed at the amount of projected anger directed at me when I found out. I don’t get to see THAT aspect in my practice, as my clients are already past that stage of denial. On top of being lied to and betrayed, I was now being attacked for having feelings about it or wanting the truth. The addict holds fast onto the addiction like a rattle, try taking the rattle away from him and you’ll have a tantrum on your hands…becoming truthful about something one doesn’t want to give up and/or is shamed by is a tall order. Addicts get angry at the messenger…and the “mess” is “the messenger”…

    I did tell one best friend and my relative, and he was angry and humiliated about it. I simply said “actions have consequences. tell me why I should protect your feelings when mine are being torn apart. I am not keeping your secrets for you.”

    That being said, I also had to consider how I’D feel down the road with any of my actions. I knew that I wouldn’t feel good about myself tearing him to shreds to people and later perhaps reconciling. So I had to be careful to whom I spoke to. They had to be people that supported my growth and were not judgmental…people that had been there too.

  136. Projected rage is what I’ve seen. Today on the way home from dropping off our children at a friend’s for him to visit for the day (he doesn’t have overnight visits b/c of his eposing kids to porno dvds)
    our cars passed but he swerved into my lane almost hitting me.

    He has told me I am a “freeloader” because of child and spousal support.

    His girlfriend laughed at me when I went into his work with a folded note asking for childsupport because we were totally out of money (he was 11 days late-makes almost 9k a month w no car payments).

    Then the old, bag girlfriend came back smiling and giggling saying that it was a “place of business and he was working and didn’t have time for this.”

    I said, well tell him that we broke and our family has basic needs. She giggled some more. I said, “Enjoy him, but be sure to get tested since he has put your heelth in jeapardy.” (I said it in an off-handed, gentle way.)

    I didn’t get my childsupport, but it was worth it to hear a pin-drop, everyone stopped working and that shit-eating grin dropped off her face like a bag of rocks.

    That was all I did with much provocation and humiliation. Now HE wants to run ME off the road.

    All I can say is that I have married a devil.

  137. Thanks NAP. You ladies have been instrumental in getting me through this fu&*ing bullsh*&. I was a mess of tears and fear. And often still am, but not as bad for the most part.

    All the things I read on here really helped me (plus his continued Jeckyl/Hyde behavior) to decide, UNEQUIVICALLY that I DO NOT want him back under any circumstances whatsoever. Incidentally, I relabled him as “Mr. Hyde” in my cellphone. It gives me a little giggle when he texts and “Mr. Hyde” comes on the screen with an envelope picture. It reminds me not to take what a madman says personally.

    My husband could descend from a cloud with angel wings tomorrow, a bushel basket of baklava (love that dessert) and apologize to me in front of the whole world, wipe my ass, give me a 20carat diamond and whatever else and I would still NOT want him back.

    Why??? In a nutshell, I am unwilling to risk with this person coming to the brink of DEATH physically, and reexperience the emotional and spiritual devastation he has caused me.

    Am I a forgiving person? Indeed, I am. However, when we get to the 7×77 trespasses, it’s time to call in JESUS because I know He loves my husband, but I just ain’t feeling it for him. “WELCOME” doesn’t look all that attractive on my forehead anymore.

    When someone dies, when a dream dies, when an opportunity is lost, there is great disappointment and grief. But then, I have to let go. I lost three people close to me in 2009 and I miss them, but not enough to stash their ashes in my house. Get my meaning? I have to face the reality that NAP succintly pointed out- my husband is an ASSHOLE. I miss the guy I thought he was, but he is not that guy.

    Thank you ladies. This situation we had dumped on us ain’t for sissies whether we stay or go.

    Peace and Love

  138. Hi Fatchance,

    My husbands personality and behavior changes like the wind. Its hard to know what to expect day to day. It creates so much stress I can hardly stand it. Then, out of no where, he’ll throw me a few crumbs and Ill forget all his bad behavior and think maybes there’s hope…then the next day he does something really shitty, like spend $300.00 on a prostitute. After sticking my hand in the toaster for the 1,000th time, I finally realize it hurts…thank goodness! It just amazes me how they are so stupid in many ways and be so genious at being cunning.

    Thinking of you! NAP

  139. Intermittent positive reinforcement is a powerful drug…:)

    I also believe I have lost feelings of any kind of warmth towards my ex. After being hurt badly more than once, I am aversive to idea of risking that pain again needlessly. Being alone has been good for me, I am not walking around either pissed off or crying or ruminating all day long and can enjoy life. He’s only been gone a month and I really am not aware of missing him, although I am on this board:) I guess I see it this way:

    I don’t eat food that makes me ill, I don’t like being sick and miserable.
    I don’t stand in the middle of a freeway, I don’t like getting hurt or killed.
    I don’t jump off cliffs, I don’t like broken bones.
    I don’t sign up to fight in Afghanistan, I don’t like trauma and destruction.
    I don’t befriend homeless schizophrenics, I don’t like chaos and irrational behaviors.
    I don’t set myself on fire, I don’t like pain.
    I don’t hang around sex addicts avoiding recovery, I don’t like to be depressed and angry.

  140. Yes it was/is hard to end the relationship, although he helped by leaving to begin with. After the third breach of trust something did ‘snap’ inside of me where I saw him differently all of a sudden. Also, after talking to him and seeing him a few times after the split I realized I wasn’t happy around him and felt at least less traumatized when he was not making any contact. I also realized how little respect I had for him on various levels, not just the sex addiction…and that isn’t very loving on my part. All in all, I am coming to think that although I’ve cared about him my love has also ebbed with the repeated betrayals and lack of motivation to work on the relationship. If he came over tomorrow and said he’s doing 12 steps, counseling, reading, meds, inpatient/outpatient, etc…and asked me to attend couple’s counseling with him…I think I’d have a long hesitation at putting any more effort into this situation.

    So no it was very hard to end this but reality slapped me in the face hard this time.

  141. Thanks Jael,

    Thanks for sharing. Why are these relationships so hard to end? Intellectually I know my needs to end but why am I struggling with it so much-shouldnt it kinda flow-I dont know I feel so confused right now.

  142. I never knew ending a relationship was supposed to be easy! LOL shows that you had love and you were hurt! that’s why it’s hard to end. We don’t WANT to but may HAVE to…

  143. Hmmm. . . ending the relationship. Well, I don’t think my husband and I had a relationship for a long time though I thought we did. I was relating to one of his personalities depending on the day or moment. He was relating to some “ideal” blow-up doll object or ‘teddy-bear’.

    No real relating there. I am just realizing that.

    Eesh, I am a bag of nerves because he’s made it clear how much he resents paying support. My sister thinks he would burn down the house or something like that and then say that I did it because I am “crazy”. He tells anyone who will listen that he is some poor man married to a lunatic.

    Why would I make this horrible shi* up? I wouldn’t! He’s delusional.

    God help me get through the anxiety.

    Do these SA’s sometimes have psychotic behavior and paramoid delusions?

    I hope everyone else has Dr. Jeckyll on their hands tonight and not a Mr. Hyde.

    Peace be with us.

  144. Jael & NAP,

    Yes, I would assume that it’s always a profound challenge to end a relationship where there was once powerful love. There are many days that I wish I never met my husband. The only comfort is that I have an amazing son that would not be, if I married someone else. I feel deeply in love as a teen, before either one of us was an adult. My God it can be so, so breathtakingly painful. I know why people say that there’s a fine line between love and hate. He finally said he would go to the Dr. and try an antidepressant (after ignoring 2 therapists that strongly suggested 1 and 2 years ago). Oh, what a shocker… The SOB came home tonight WITHOUT a prescription!!! He said he told the Dr., that his problem only started a month ago!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! I can’t believe he told me that as if it was truth!! It’s sooooo flipping MENTAL! I’m on the hate side of the coin at this moment! Oh, Oh so incredibly annoying!! I was really excited that he said that he would FINALLY try one!! Way to lead me on and shove me off the cliff… AGAIN!! At this moment I can’t imagine ever wanting to be married ever again after a divorce. I’m so tired of being annoyed, frustrated, hurt, lied to, led on, etc.. Haaaaaaa! When my upset was clear, he says, “Does this mean we won’t be spending any time together tonight??” Wow!! Take a wild guess Einstein.

  145. I really think my SA is a sociopath and Fatchance yours sounds like one too! I know were are only guessing here but its the only way to explain such bizarre behavior. I look up the characteristics of a sociopath and hes got about 80-90% of them. Great, its bad enuf I live with a SA and now a sociopath!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Help! No wonder we feel crazy sometimes.

  146. Fatchance: Yes paranoid thoughts are common for any addict trying to hide the addiction. Mine constantly thought I had him under surveillance WAY before I actually get the idea to find out why he’d even care…:) Projection, delusion, etc…all part and parcel of the addiction and leading a double life. Also common with personality disorders. If they were abused as kids, the world is a scary place therefore paranoia makes sense…if they are in denial, delusions go with it.

    DENIAL= Don’t Even Know I Am Lying…

  147. Thanks Betty. Unfortunately most of the books out there for partners do come from that perspective or they simply tell you to pray the problem away.

    I think I’ll put a book review page on the new site.

  148. Hi sisters,
    I am truly aghast at the Carnes dynasty of misogyny and patriarchy, especially as the daughter goes forth with it now to prosper. I watched some You tube clips of Patrick Carnes talking with someone (can’t recall his name) about his work. It was unbelievable. In some you could tell he was fighting back against the criticism, and chose to do it by some very overplayed remarks and gestures about how we were often “sicker than the addict”. When I saw him actually saying this stuff, I realized this was just another stream of patriarchal bullshit, but that his egoic need to be “right” was also going to show us the misogyny lurking around it all. It’s really hard to imagine he’s still beating this drum, but clearly there’s a lot of ego and money invested in it. And I’ll bet somewhere along the way, some of his stuff did help people when nobody else was helping them. It’s too bad all his champion therapists drank the kool aid and lost their ability to be intellectually curious and inquiring anymore. We could use all the help there is.

    I think about another book that talks about how this kind of stuff keeps going—“The People of the Lie”. The author also wrote “The Road Less Travelled”. Can’t remember his name but it will come.

    have good days everyone,

  149. Oh Diane,

    I think the tide IS turning, but there’s still a long way to go. However, I actually have heard a couple of women (who have stayed with their addict partners) say quite emphatically, that they are GLAD for their husband’s addiction, because through HIS addiction, they found their OWN recovery.

    My oh my… unless the woman herself is an addict of some sort, I find this very hard to wrap my mind around. These women are on another site and I’m not allowed to mention the name because they have very strict and draconian rules and follow 12-step policies. I’m not knocking their beliefs and certainly, if they are happier more fulfilled people, then who am I to judge?

    It is like the first doctor I took our autistic son to, claimed that our son had no autism,(after one 45 minute appointment); he was just “difficult.” We lost a lot of valuable time trying to understand our “difficult” child. I was even told to get a book called “The Difficult Child”, which I took great pleasure in throwing straight into the trash a couple years later, after we figured out (with the help of a brilliant neuro-psychologist) what the real deal was with our son.

    Lots of quacks out there in all domains, I fear. I think that Patrick Carnes most likely HAS helped a lot of people and he also has hurt a lot of people who were further victimized into believing that their partner’s problem was in large part, the FAULT of them, the partner, when this clearly is not the case!!!

    I guess, its a matter of one size not fitting all situations and that is the point. If Mr. Carnes were OPEN to other possibilities for recovery, and other scenarios for WHY this has happened, especially in regards to the partner, then I would have a lot more respect for him as a clinician. I do think that SAs often do choose a particular type of woman who is more to the submissive side, but I don’t think that means that she is a co-addict or clinically ill. And I do think that there are ways he could introduce these other aspects without losing face.

    Have a great day!


  150. Hi Sweethearts,

    I have to say that this guy really creeps me out even just watching the video clip. I have pretty good “antenna” (not when it comes to my own SA I freely admit!) on when something is just “off”. And he is just “off”.

    He paints a setting in which we are all traumatized by the repeated broken promises and therefore are sicker than the addict. He explains how we have to “learn” this (yes he’s patronizing in the extreme as well as swarmy—these are technical terms, haha). But none of that applies once you have the trauma model that receives your symptoms and tells you that you are showing signs of PTSD. Also, none of his stuff applies unless you knew about the behaviours and actually have a trail of “broken promises” at the time. Most of us do not fit this profile that he presents. But he keeps presenting it as the “default” presumption underneath what he’s saying. He chooses to ignore the truth that so many of us did not know, were traumatized by finding out, and are not SICKER than the addict at all.

    Why have we been able to make the link to personality disorders—and this guy is still blaming us?


  151. This is gonna be a hot page today.
    Diane I so agree, when i saw a vidoe spot on him…well just got the creepy vibe (anyone else?). Was he a sex addict?? Does anyone know?

    Anywho. Yes i think there is a huge difference between…lets say the woman who is married to an alchoholic, he comes home wasted, yells at her yells at the kids, maybe beats her up a little…And she KNOWS he is drunk. So she thinks to herself if I was just a better wife, if I could just keep the kids queit. The next day she makes the call for him that he will be late for work because he is passed out on the couch and she runs around and cleans up the mess he made and picks up all the pieces. And this story plays over and over for ten years! We gotta problem.

    Then you have our story. Most of the acts of a sex addict go under the radar, secret world, we have no idea first of all. Second who the hell even heard of sex addiction in school (unlike alchohal and drugs you hear of such a thing and learned at a young age), personally i never knew about it until this all started about a year ago (I am 37). I do feel if you have known for a long time and picked up after them for ten years, and 100% knew what was going on..yes carnes may apply.

    But lets get real here. Most of us did or do not know. Most of us are still not presented with all of the facts so we can make a decision. So I may call it safe to say we as the spouse of a sex addict are definately at a disadvantage here. If the addict were 100% truthfull; then we could make a wise informed decision. Like if he said listen honey, i am never gonna change. Instead we get i love you and am trying so hard (barf).

    They can blame us all they want. He can marry my SA if he wants and he can call himself a co-dependent. Just simply because you are married to an addict, who you had no idea was and addict or what a sex addict is, does not mean you are a co-addict or co-dependent. Please, if i had the money, i could not get away from my sex addict husband fast enough. I would sell the house and move on as fast as I could.

  152. Hi all,

    Based on current discussions…I had a creative thought. Why dont we collectively write a book-what better than a book about being a spouse/partner of a sex addict than written by actual spouses/partners. I think it would be landmark book. I think
    I would want to read it and I bet Carnes would read it.

    What do think? I think its long overdue.

  153. Hey sure I would be in on it.

    Also important is a section on “so you found out your husband is a sex addict” crises section. I pitched that to JoAnn a while back not sure if she is going to use it. But I think a major point that should come from that section is “it is your choice of what you want to do for the first year, in no way do you HAVE to stay with the addict”. Many of these books say you should stay so you can work through your issues, staying did nothing for me but make the decision that i could not take it anymore to the point where i was miserable and had to kick him out.

    There should be permission to do what you need to do for yourself. Not …focus on yourself, while the addict runs rampant, and turn a blind eye, all the while being a happy couple and working through your relationship troubles because the wife is a co-dependent or co-addict.

  154. Dear NAP,

    That is a great idea. We know more about this subject than anyone alive, because we’ve lived it. Carnes and his croanies can just kiss my/our ass/asses. Oh mercy, that was direct, wasn’t it? Oh, wait, I’m supposed to be a submissive and co-dependent shrinking violet who just takes bull shit………..NOT! Pfft. I’m on a roll today.

    Love to all my Sisters……Betty

  155. When my children were mere toddlers I took a class instructed by “professionals” in the field of child development. I quickly noticed that they were in the bad habit (in my humble opinion) of labeling children. I am a relatively shy and quiet person (in person anyway :), but after pondering why this bothered me so, I made my thoughts known and never heard another label during that class again.

    I feel the same with regard to the term, “codependent” and dislike “co-addict” even more. In the first days following my D-Day two and a half weeks ago, I spent as much time as I could searching for info. I found those words being used over and over again. I felt annoyed and even a bit resentful, but more than that, I thought great, if this is how I will be viewed when I seek help dealing with my situation, how much help will I really get.

    Having said that, labels aside, I’m willing to read anything I can get my hands on at the moment. Last night I read a chapter dedicated to codependency in the book, Lonely All The Time. I didn’t find it helpful or enlightening in any way. If there is a hint of me in those pages, it’s in trace amounts. In the past I have read many, and differing definitions of codependency leaving me confused and/or deciding that I don’t fit the bill. After finishing the chapter, I went in search of a book mark among the small collection of books I own. I came across one I purchased several years ago seeking info for what ails me – at a time when reality hit hard and I knew I was going crazy. It’s a book authored by Melody Beattie. I never got through it, it just didn’t speak to me, but I decided to try again last night. I can see now that I simply wasn’t ready for it back then. Denial, inability for self discovery, buried too deep in my fog, I don’t know, but it speaks to me today.

    There is no denying that I find parts of myself under the vast umbrella of definitions describing codependency. Long ago I began sensing some of these things about myself, but now see them more clearly than ever before. While I will stick to my conviction regarding labels, not give permission nor except either of these tags, knowing and understanding how and why my personality and life have been changed, and they have, drastically, by SA, what is more important at the moment is that I pluck from under the umbrella those things that apply to me and use them in my quest for emotional healing. If nothing more I feel I have found a good starting point from which to begin down the long road before me. As well as a sense of direction, seeing these things more clearly also gives me some sense, to a degree, of power/control over my life (where there has been none for a looong time) in knowing the areas I need assistance in overcoming rather than giving it all to or relying too heavily on a “professional” which I probably would have done in the state of utter confusion and the haze I’ve been in for so long.

    This SA business is very new to me and I know and understand that there are many others out there in my position who have more experience, knowledge, intelligence, ability to process what info is available, etc., but I just want to tell those in the early stages of discovery, those stuck in the funk, immobilized by fear and pain that if you can muster nothing else, start reading things that can shed light on what has happened to you, what YOU are going through, taking what applies to you, your life and leave the rest. Just remember not to take everything you read at face value, even if it speaks to you. Check it out, read some more until the light goes off for you.

    On the subject of SA itself, when I began reading about it, I had questions I haven’t been able to find answers to, some things were confusing, didn’t fit, etc. I got caught up in those things giving them more time than they needed or deserved and have let them go. I know now that some of those things will come to light in time and the rest doesn’t matter, and to my surprise, I can deal with that.

    I am and have been deeply depressed for a very long time to the point of struggling each and everyday with the simplest of tasks. I have no self worth, self esteem in the toilet, don’t feel I am someone who can be loved or am worthy of it, etc. I have no illusions about the time it may take me to come out the other side of this, and I’d be lying if I said I won’t have doubts tomorrow as to whether or not I can actually succeed, that I don’t fear one step forward, five back, that my journey won’t be messy, or that I’ll jump out of bed in the morning eager to catch up on laundry, figure out what to make for dinner with ease or call a friend for lunch, but as minimal as the change in my thoughts has been this past week, it’s huge. What I mean to say is if I can take this baby step and have it mean so much, so can you! (And think of the possibilities then! Dare to let yourself go there!)

    Some of you may roll your eyes at the following, I have NO doubt I would have (along with a derogatory remark or two) had I read it a week ago, but think about it…

    (A Therapy Fable)

    Once upon a time, a woman moved to a cave in the mountains to study with a guru. She wanted, she said, to learn everything there was to know. The guru supplied her with stacks of books and left her alone so she could study. Every morning, the guru returned to the cave to monitor the woman’s progress. In his hand, he carried a heavy wooden cane, Each morning he asked her the same question: “Have you learned everything there is to know yet?” Each morning her answer was the same. “No,” she said, “I haven’t.” The guru would then strike her over the head with his cane.

    This scenario repeated itself for months. One day the guru entered the cave, asked the same question, heard the same answer, and raised his cane to hit her in the same way, but the woman grabbed the cane from the guru, stopping his assault in midair.

    Relieved to end the daily batterings but fearing reprisal, the woman looked up at the guru. To her surprise, the guru smiled. “Congratulations,” he said, “you have graduated. You now know everything you NEED to know.” “How’s that?” the woman asked. “You have learned that you will never learn everything there is to know,” he replied. “And you have learned how to stop the pain.”

    “Believe it and you will see it.”
    ~Wayne Dyer

    1. Jen, just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you. Your story has really resonated with me, and your words make me feel more hopeful for a better future for ALL of us sisters dealing with the insanity of this disease of Sex Addiction. Thank you.



  157. MOM2BOYS04… Love your shout-out to Patrick Carnes!! My thoughts were exactly the same as yours when I completed the “required reading” per my husband’s Sex Addiction therapist. I had two additional thoughts: 1)Patrick Carnes must be a recovering Sex Addict & 2) A Co-Pilot operates an aircraft just like the pilot… Sooooo, WHY would we be called “Co-Sex Addicts??” How ABSURD & OFFENSIVE! Isn’t it traumatic enough to have a thoughtless husband with no conscience do dozens of prostitutes throughout the years that I was pregnant with our two children?? The potential harm to the health and well being of my babies and me was enormous… I’m angry just thinking about it. What lying COWARD gets married if he intends to behave in such a disgusting and dangerous manner?? Answer: A SOCIOPATH Sex Addict, and YES Patrick Carnes, when my life & my children’s lives are threatened and my youth is stolen by a lying, cheating, selfish, sociopath sex addict… That makes me a profound VICTIM! Too many law makers are cheating MEN, otherwise this destructive behavior would be considered a CRIME!

  158. Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories, thoughts and feats of strength as they deal with their SA. Until I found this site I thought I was going crazy reading about co-sex addiction. Like many of you have expressed, I don’t fit any of those profiles. I too was in the dark about my husband’s addiction until I discovered some text messages just over 2 weeks ago. I have been traumatized. I don’t see how the 12 steps apply to me. That’s not to say I don’t want to reflect on my life and look inward for a change–hence the confusion. But I do not feel I have a disease or addiction of my own. I fell in love with a man who gave me 3 wonderful children and unbeknownst to me, came with a lot of baggage. I’m still trying to educate myself about the addiction, what I want from my marriage and whether I can continue in this relationship now. I thank you all again for not making me so alone in this journey.

  159. Hi all…it’s been a while…
    Well, further research has gotten me to a place where I no longer wanted to be part of the experiment. I hit the saturation point after going to couple’s counseling (where he WAS making slight progress but still dishonest, sneaky, and acting out. I made progress in diminishing how reactive I felt) and then, it hit me…

    It hit me that it will take a LONG time for this guy to get to the point where the side he showed to me initially in the relationship could be restored to any degree.
    It would take a LONG time for him to be able to view intimacy without the need to sabotage it with acting out or other unflattering methods.
    It would take a LONG time for ME to be able to see him with the respect he deserves for being a human being with problems.
    It would take a LONG time for me to feel like being the giving person I was towards him.

    In fact, I realized it would take TOO LONG for my short life to spend on the hopes that things “will get better.” And that I really didn’t love him because I no longer cared much what he did with who.

    So I ended it. Ungracefully after one of his slips. That I was HOPING he’d slip.. Otherwise he would be coming back to bother me, and if he was caught screwing up he’d be more apt to respect my wishes for ending it. Yes I followed him to prove where he went, yes he accused me of snooping, and I totally agreed with him. And I said I had an addiction too, and that was to the truth. And that I wasn’t about to give that one up any more than he seemed to want to give up his acting out. That seemed to shut him up.

    I feel good. Some brief moments of sadness but overall, I feel good because I don’t have to live in pain, boredom, irritation, chaos, drama, and worse…no sex because someone else is getting it…I joined a rock band (at age 52) and I am not at home bemoaning this loss…I learned a lot from it, and I don’t regret that at all. Most importantly, I learned that you can’t reason with the irrational…

    1. Hi Jael,
      Glad to hear the update. You sound great and I love what you wrote. You summarized the what and why of how/why i finally decided to split with my H. I came the the tough but real realization that i was miserable and had been miserable, and i continued to be miserable in that relationship. I knew that i may never feel safe with him again the lies ran so deep and fell out of his mouth so freely, i truely would never know what is true or not?!?! And given his depth of interest in recovery, was so shallow, i did not want to wait around for the next slip or even worse the day i found out all that really happened. Anyway I am glad for you. And as always we work through it the best we can, but its nice to see you so happy with the outcome. I am happy with my outcome as well. Cheers to a good/new and full life!!
      Love, Flora

      1. Thanks so much Flora…I haven’t been on the board since the new one was made and didn’t know this one still was in operation. I don’t tend to post much when I’m in school, either. AND I was really, really, trying to be able to see the good in my partner in spite of the addiction and not cast him in a negative light constantly. I remember when I battled my own alcohol addiction many years ago, and I would LIE even while ripped! It was almost funny…I’d be on the phone with my brother and he would ask “Are you drinking?” I’d say “NO!” and it was SO obvious that I was drunk. The next day I’d confess. Why? Shame. I didn’t want him to think badly of me. So I get it. I think ( I can’t swear but I am guessing) that if my brother said he was terribly hurt by my drinking and more so about the lying I’d be able to tell him “Yes.” Maybe not. So I get why they lie. I also was able to say I wanted to stop and I did want to go to meetings etc. That’s where I differed from my partner. He thinks he can control it in spite of repeated failures to do so. He got off his meds for ADHD. He wasn’t in individual counseling. There was nothing left for me to do except do the most loving thing I can muster at this point and that is to leave him in peace.

        I expected too much from him. I expected him to be an adult and tackle his issues like an adult. I expected him to go through all the pain it takes to get better. For all I know, he would have a nervous breakdown if he had done “real” therapy. Some people just can’t deal with that process. Either way it was SUCH a long road and I’ve spent four years watching the disease escalate while I got less and less out of the relationship. He had a need to sabotage his success everywhere in his life. And to be abandoned. So we both served each other the purpose of replaying our own traumas. I learned about myself from this. To me, it’s a gift and I don’t regret being in the relationship. I am sad that it’s over and that my hopes for him getting better are so dim. I’d like to be able to believe in him but it’s impossible.

  160. I am also appalled that us wives of sex addicts are labelled co-addict or co-dependent. I have never attended any meetings and I don’t plan on it ever!!! Its bad enough we have gone through hell living with all the lies, manipulation and betrayal of these a$$holes who do not have any conscience or morals for that matter. I have been married to an abusive, sick, selfish, cowardly man and with knowing that, I have the choice on how I am going to live my life!! I will love myself, care for myself, pamper myself and treat myself with all the love and respect I need. I choose to let go of the hopes and dreams I had with him and make new goals and dreams for myself. I am finally free of the mind games this man has played for many years. I have moved into my own place last month after being married for 32 years. I just turned 51 and I am now able to do what I want, when I want and I am excited about all the possibilities!!

    1. Co-dependent.. NO, I don’t even know why anyone would say that. There are few outward signs of sex addiction unlike the physical outward symptoms of drugs and alcohol. All we are guilty of is being HAD/PLAYED for long periods of time. I too spent months endlessly searching for answers to, “WTF JUST HAPPENED TO ME?” I didn’t understand, nothing ever added up or made sense . I couldn’t put my finger on it TILL I CAUGHT HIS LYING CHEATING ASS and then it was on. Here is what i have learned, These men that do this are for the most part SOCIOPATHS, they are masters at manipulating, they have no real feelings and no remorse the for the hurt and devastation they have caused to their spouses, children or family, It’s all about them and their addiction. Nothing more nothing less these predators know they need to portray normalcy to the outside world. They HAVE LEARNED they need act and be a certain way for society to accept them. SO here we are the victims of their calculating, mind bending games.. In my case when i caught my x red handed i threw him out. He then cried and begged to come home and sought help thru the church (which btw was another oscar worthy performance)of course there was no follow thru in the weeks that followed and the stupid little lies and inconsistencies started again. At the time I didn’t know he was a sex addict. I just thought he was being a selfish dumb man. But as I played the detective the world I uncovered was more then my mind could handle. Who was this man I shared and life and family with? The relationship is obviously over, but the damage and scars are very fresh. I can’t help but go back and put the puzzle pieces together in my mind of all the elaborate and finely detailed lies I was told over the last 2 years. I think all woman like us need to know we are not alone and not freaks for not being able to close that door until we understand what was done to us. For is wasn’t US it was the addiction…

  161. yeah… the shrinks love to label ALL of us as codies and some of us are and some of us aren’t. Some of us are, for a time, and then we finally WAKE UP AND REALIZE WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON. (or not going on)

    A co-dependent woman comes back again, and again, and again… for more of the same abuse. She thinks that if only… she tries this and that… she rails, she screams, and drags him to this shrink and that therapy and on and on…

    and then he “slips.” Why he “slips” so much, you would think his entire world was paved in ice.

    that’s because it is.

    Being enraged and traumatized is not co-dependent, its just being hurt very, very deeply.

    and apparently, it takes quite a long time to recover from all of this, but if a woman has conceded that she cannot live with this abusive man, (yes, abusive) any longer, then where’s the co-addiction?


      I am just happy he is not my problem anymore and I never married him. For all his lies and excuses he fed me for his inconsistencies in the beginning, were believable. If no one has given you reason not to believe them then you believe them because non sociopaths and non addicts DO NOT live to con people. These men are pros they feed off your naivety. My problem now I am struggling with is this, My SA X has a new victim, from what I have learned she is a sweet woman with small children. I have debated with giving her the heads up like I wish someone had done for me. I hate to see another innocent woman victimized and the fact he had woman as young as 19 on one of his cheating sites, which i will go on a limb and guess they prostitutes of some sort. because what 19 year old is looking to cheat on her husband? Bothers me because she has girls… We know these men have no boundaries. I can’t save the world I know this but i need to some feedback here. Part of me feels obligated and another just wants to keep walking and never look back.. Any advice or experience with this??

      1. Hi Shellyjoe,

        Kudos to you for getting out when you did. Unfortunately active SA’s will continue their path of destruction as that is just part of life that we have no control over.

        As for your question, I feel that it is NEVER appropriate to interfere in someone else’s life unless they specifically ask for your advice or help.

        This type of interference is nothing more than a control tactic veiled as ‘help’ and can really help no one. Not you, not her, not anyone. And, especially with strangers, it could be considered harassment and could get you into legal trouble at worst. At best, you will be looked upon as the bad guy interfering where you have no right and that turmoil will only make your healing more difficult.

        You have come a long way toward healing in a healthy way, please do not waste your energy on anything that your ex is doing. Do not follow what he is doing or toil over it. Move onward and forward. Help yourself and those you love and stay away from the effects of your ex’s behaviors.

      2. Getting out of that relationship was not easy, Basically broke it down to his next lie. No matter what it was in regard to.That of course didn’t take long. I noticed these guys lie like they breath air. It may have nothing to do with an encounter. I think the man I was with knew he would not be able to cover his addiction any longer from me and sought a more naive victim. THIS time when I broke up with him he didn’t pursue which was a huge blessing because walking away from these guys is not easy! The reason being is that they have that “good” side that even though insincere and dis genuine is like a drug that allows them to work their tentacles deep into every vunerable emotional groove we possess. I was saying how I found many correspondence from him towards young barely legal woman. That was my concern with giving heads up to new victim. Far from a control thing but knowing this man has no boundaries and sexualizes everything it sickens me to to think of him being involved with someone with teenage girls. I have decided at the end of the day NOT to get involved because i have my own family to worry about and my healing will be halted if I did decide to move forward with a warning. I also know these guys set woman up to already belief the x is a nutcase a proactive damage control so to speak. He convinced me of the sky being blue when it was storming on more then one occasion, i believed him because i was already too deep in and I wanted to. So I choose to let her figure it out on her own. hopefully she will. He is more “out” there now with his all around lifestyles choices so its not that much of mystery..Thank you for the support

  162. Oh honey… This is a slippery slope and most rational people would tell you to keep on movin’ ahead. Believe it or not, some women do not want to be saved. I learned that the hard way. And all it did was cause me even more pain as she did not want to know the truth and in so doing, needed to believe that I was out to get her.

    But… the little girls. That disturbs me. I’m not allowed to post my link, but if you google me under “domesticblissters” “Lexie”, you should be able to find my blog. Please write to me there,if you wish, and it will go directly to my email. Perhaps, I can help you cook up a little plan? (one, that won’t get you into any trouble). I mean its a public service! Gotta keep those little girls safe! (and their momma too!)

    Quite frankly, I believe lunch with the ex wife/girlfriend/whatever, should be mandatory!

    best ~ Lexie

  163. If Your husband sleeps with another person to fill their expectations of s&m wed sites. what is the chance they will do it again. talked about it in counseling and how hurt I was and caught him on his phone after I went to sleep looking at porn not 12 hours later. He said he was sorry and that he understood and would not do it again. Have no job, money or way to leave and feel like I am stuck in this situation.

  164. My Sex Addict husband told me if I hired a lawyer to insure alimony, I would not see a dime. The original lawyer consultation to file initial divorce papers, failed to check the alimony box and rushed the papers off to a courier. Six months later, I finally have a wonderful lawyer who filed for an alimony hearing. Technically, my soon to be EX does not have to pay alimony until August. He has had near $100K in business sales from OUR company in the last 4 months and has provided ZERO money to his wife, household, pets, student son (insurance etc)in the last month… ZERO. Co-dependent? No! Just a very valid fear of what I am currently enduring… Deliberate home foreclosure, destroyed credit, emotional distress at the pets I will need to give back to the animal rescue, no money for necessities, legal papers to constantly fill out, job search, selling anything I own of value, watching my beautiful home and yard transition into a foreclosure property, without money/time for a gardener, pool care, cleaning help, etc. Yes indeed, I married a SOCIOPATH. Only an evil man without conscience and elation at witnessing despair/distress would deliberately do such unimaginable destruction to a loyal and faithful wife. How dare I stand up and say enough lies, enough cheating, enough taking/moving/destroying my personal belongings. I’m crawling through the darkness of Hell on Earth to get away from this insanity. May God help his next victim. Co-dependent? Ha!!!!!!!!!!!!

  165. Hello,

    I respect everyone’s opinion in this blog. And I do see the point of how labeling someone as a co-dependent or co-addit could implicate participation of the addict’s behavior. I do not believe every woman who loves her husdband/partner and wishes he could stop/be better is a codependent. I do believe though, that co-dependency does exist. It is simply that some women demonstrate codependent behaviors such as ignoring their inner voice, not confronting known/suspected wrongs in order to avoid conflicts, not removing themself from the relationship even if temporaily to take care of oneself, excessive preaching and lecturing and while doing so gauging words carefully to obtain a desired effect, et, etc.

    Not all woman do this. Many woman say “No!, I’m leaving, Goodbye, this is your problem, not mine.” I think the purpose for many women who do attend codependent groups/counseling is to reach this point also, like these non-codependent women. It is in essence trauma as the author if this site stated, but not all of us react to trauma the same. And for those that grew up in addictive/abusive homes, many of us learned these behaviors from one parent or addict another. We learned to try to control the addict with our behavior…i.e. false threats of leaving, snooping, begging, crying, revenge taking, and so forth, instead of learning to say…”No, I do not deserve this, this is not love, and you are abusive, no thankyou.” Codependency is also about control for the trauma victim to protect oneself from more trauma, when leaving in most instances is probably the best for both parties. But, for the codependent, the strength to leave just is not there, great fear of the upcoming explosive conflict and lack of love/approval from the addict prevents the codependent from doing this. It is hard to understand, but it is very true for us women who feel this way. We truly are dependent/or ill on some level I have the greatest respect for women who are strong for themselves. I know codependent recovery has helped me immensely.

  166. Receiving the news that my husband is a self admitted and diagnosed SA, along with ALL of his lies and betrayals was hell enough. Then to receive counsel that I am a “co-addict” or “co- sexaddict” ??? I will never accept that diagnosis. It pleases me to know that other women understand and feel the same as I. That adds insult to our deep injuries. Perhaps that word can apply to some people, but as many of you have written, our trauma, yes real trauma, has a different meaning. Is the true rape victim to blame because she is thought to be a “co-sexaddict” ? We are taught that we did not cause his SA, we are not to blame, then comes the additional, (sarcasm here) “oh, and by the way, you are a co-addict and you helped contribute to his addiction and you need to see the error of your ways and you need to change.” Really? I worked for a physician who gave me good advice, “counselors? They need counseling”.

  167. My 85 year old mom has dementia. Does that make me a ” co-mental addict “? Is a true rape victim raped because she is a ” co- sex addict” ? When one helps a family member who has cancer, are they a ” co-cancer addict”? Really? I am where many of you are, and it hurts beyond words. We are taught we did NOT cause his SA, HE is the sick one who dumps his —- all over us. I refuse to listen to or accept all this psychobabble 101 co-addict nonsense. To the counselors who want to believe this, I say “heal thyself”

  168. But Bella, this whole co-addict idea was created by a (recovering?) MALE SEX ADDICT who then went on to write several books to “help” us poor “co-addicted” partners. need I say more?

  169. Hi Kimberly, it is Bella. I agree with your web answer. Was it Melody Beattie who originally started the “codependent” thought process? If my memory serves me correctly, is’nt she self proclaiming in her book that she is not a psych. professional of any kind? That being said, it has been exactly 4 years ago that I had my D-day. For 4 years I have been in constant counseling both alone, and with my husband, in every womans group possible, read all the books, and been to the seminars. That is when I began to here the rumblings of MY co addiction, and co dependency. Well OK, here I was having what they used to call a “nervous breakdown” (I asked my husband to drive me to the mental clinic, I thought I was losing my mind) “MY” psychiatrist was wonderful. Hearing about my life with my husband, he assured me I was not crazy or insane, but I was having PTSD BECAUSE OF my husband. Too bad I could not afford to have him counsel me. FOUR counselors later, both male and female, I guess they bought into all the CO everything, and wanted my husband and I to believe it. A funny thing though happened. I would say What? Explain that one again to me please……it never landed or resonated anywhere with me that made any sense to me, nor could I see where it applied to me, yet they kept trying. I now felt stupid AND traumatized and tried to see how I had anything to do with HIS junk. Yet somewhere way down inside I KNEW better. I was not taking the bait. I recently read a great article on the web, written by Ella Hutchinson LPC. WOW, what a breath of fresh air. So, in the four years, my husbands male counselor teaches him that I am half to blame ( not for his SA ) but for my part of “the dance”. Sadly I have not seen any recovery on my husbands part of coming to the table of our marriage or relationship, love, or intimacy (not sexually). Because of all his negative verbal abuse and emotionally abandoning me, I do think he is lying and acting out in whatever is floating his boat right now. He claims TOTAL sobriety ahuh, and preaches what his counselor says about failing to do “my ” part. WHAT PART? I never get a clear answer, but guess that aims at my “co addiction”. I agree with Ella in her article 100% it is under the subtitle of SEX ADDICTION TRAUMA MODEL. So mean while back at the ranch, my marriage is CONTINUING to fall apart because my husband is CONVINCED I am refusing to accept MY SICK diagnosis and not doin my part…….. To which I say ^[>\€]¥*+=|”,{#>”~£+=!!! YES I am hurting still but wiser. I am so happy to know there is this site that we do not have to explain our feelings…we have all been there and done that, no matter what they say and no I am not a man hater as my husband claims I am. Just to sum it up, if I listened long enough to him, I would agree that I am the biggest B in the world. I am NOT, I know it and so do the people who love me. So, co addict that !!! 🙂 Bella

    1. Bella, the article you linked to is on this website (you are making your comment in response to that article) and it was written by me, JoAnn Russell, not Ella Hutchinson. If you have given her credit for this article on any other site please correct it and let me know about it.

      If you have read this article anywhere else with credit given to Ella or anyone else please let me know.

      I would appreciate a reply about why you are giving someone else credit for my work. ~ JoAnn

  170. Hi JoAnn, I am happy to meet you 🙂 Thank you for educating me about your site or article. I am as of yesterday new to this site I stumbled upon and thankful for it. I want to assure you that NO, I have NOT written or opined that article any where else, or to any one. Only the letter from me that you read.Where did I see the name Ella? I guess I was so excited to read an article that supports so many of us, I honestly did not see your name. Please forgive me and I apologize. Sincerely, Bella

    1. If any material from this site is reprinted or posted anywhere it must give credit to me and this site. This site is copyrighted (as all websites are) and all posts here are attributed to me. It is not necessary for me to put my name on everything as I am the author of basically everything on this site unless otherwise noted.

      If Ella has this article posted on her site, please send me a link.

      Please read the website guidelines, accessed by clicking the menu tab above.

      If you saw my article on any other website, could you please send me a link so I can contact the webmaster and request credit?
      I have added a copyright notice at the bottom of the pages to help clarify these policies.

      Thanks so much ~ JoAnn

  171. Well it is 5 am and I just finished reading all the mail. I learned a lot from JoAnn and Jael regarding personality disorders. My H was tested and diagnosed 4 years ago for Avoidant/Distancing personality disorder. The Dr. Who diagnosed this asked for me to come in and see her. She asked me if I see these symptoms. I had that deer in the headlight look because someone else besides me saw this in my SA husband, and he dared not called her crazy. To this day, he refuses to accept it, says he is only “shy” AKA DENIAL. He also has Obsessive/compulsive disorder, ADHD, and also uses food as an addiction. Reading your info gave me confirmed understanding and belief that this is not uncommon, and now makes SO much more sense to me his destructive behaviors. I was told he could also have more comorbidities and I believe that. I won’t call him a sociopath cause I don’t qualify, but the symptoms can easily extend to the side of madness. The sad thing is that, the psychiatrist put him on some medicine to help control his anger/rage and irrational thinking, but no, after 3 days he arrogantly stated he was not going to take his meds, and did not consult with the Dr. His family also has Bipolar and schizophrenia in two different members. Yes, perhaps my expectations are way out of line, I agree with what JoAnn and Jael said, that a sex addict alone would not present so many other symptoms. I am having a halogen moment. Thank you for you thoughts and info.

  172. If you are attracted to an addict it is your deal and you have to own it like it or not. Historically in our culture women have “gone for the bad boys” and they pay for it by becoming a victim in the long run. The co-  in co-addict is all about why you made the choice in the first place. All the crap written here is about not owning that. The initial article is written by a woman who claims to be perfect and the 12 steps don’t apply to her that’s BS. Even if the 12 steps are nothing more than a thread for addicts to hold onto everyone can learn something from them they lessons help us grow by cleaning out our closet, patching up the past and moving forward as better people who put others first. Addiction is selfish. The addict wants his or her fix and that’s it. A lot of addiction is based in childhood pain and shame. I believe there is a cultural and genetic component also. 
    If you as a woman who wants love and happiness chooses an active addict out of all the people available on this planet what does that say about you? If you were too blind to see  does it tell you you have something to learn? Something about the environment you grew up in? Perhaps you were a victim of some sort childhood abuse.  Is anyone so perfect they have nothing to learn and no way to improve?  Programs for recovery were written by people  doing their best at a time where there was not the same help as  there is today. The reason we are where  we are is because of their efforts. Call it what you want but if you picked an addict it says something about you that you need to look at and take responsibility for. You made the choice. If you think you were lied too and taken for a ride you have to be true to yourself and be responsible for that. You need to own it. It seems most of then posters don’t want to be labeled and don’t want to own their decisions. That’s why 
    the 8th step right there you are not willing  to make amends to yourself even. You owe it to yourself to help yourself  by forgiving yourself. If you brought kids into the world you owe it to them too. Be responsible for your actions you choose an active addict to marry and raise a family with. 

    1. To me this sounds like typical Sex Addict talk.

      What do you women think? Should I trash it or would you like to comment on it?

      And B Gene, if you are a Sex Addict do not reply or engage here, we do not want your input. Your comments will be deleted. ~ joAnn

  173. Dear Mr. B Genes-
    Poor you, have you been masturbating too much, getting your thoughts and brain all whacked out? You sound like a plumber giving a brain surgeon advice on how to fix a broken leg with cancer…..along with your ASSumptions, defining and two cents of incorrect advice. No thanks. And your statement of “if I CHOOSE an active addict out of all the people available on this planet, what does it say about me” ??? Wow, amazing. How long have YOU been a sex addict? Unless you are still in denial about yourself, by now in real sex addiction counseling, you would have learned how you were two faced wearing two different masks, living two fake separate livers, hiding and living in deception and chronic lies in your active acting out state. Oh, so now you are going to tell me that YOU are the ONLY male sex addict on this earth that upon first meeting any woman you proclaimed to her that you are a sex addict with in the first 10 minutes of knowing her? THEN SHE CHOSE to stick with you ? The real truth here is what all this says about YOU. Go find a real counselor, you need to hear the truth.

  174. Dear Mr. B,

    I’m stark raving nuts! absolutely. However, I did not “pick an addict.” I chose for my husband the sweetest kindest most humble, honest, loving man I could find. I adored him. And to this day, we have a great relationship in every way but in the area of intimacy. He hid it all away from me. I TRUSTED HIM. Imagine innocently sitting down at my computer and opening up an email from one of his lovers who knew EVERYTHING about me, but I had no idea who this creepy woman was or how she got my email address or anything. Do I need to work on myself? yes, of course. We all do. Do I need to take a moral inventory and make amends to those that I hurt? Not yet. My husband is still breathing. My children who love their father insanely have advocated that I dump him. And sir, is exactly what I’m doing. Am I still traumatized and upset. uh huh… and some days my heart is so broken, it feels as if it could just stop beating right then and there. As JoAnn stated, this is a site for traumatized partners of addicts. If you want to believe that your partner is also as warped in their thinking as you are, that’s fine, but I for one, think your comments are not only inappropriate for this site, but the words of a man in active addiction. An active addict does not have to be acting out to have the same warped thinking that got him into the depths of hell in the first place. Good luck to you, sir. Kim

  175. Thank you so much for this site! I have been struggling with being called co-dependent or a co- sex addict. This just doesn’t seem right to me.
    I thought that I would share an article that I was just reading. It talks quite extensively about narcissism and sociopathy as it relates to sex addicts. Very interesting.

  176. I don’t have any where to turn to right now. I can hardly see through my tears. I am hurting sooooo bad. In the last weeks, “my gut” along with how he has been treating me so bad, and then the door finally opened, he forgot to get out of Microsoft one note so that is what I saw when trying to read my email. Fast forward… I found chats, im’s, encrypted letters, he has a “mobile” account on line, I found a page where it said you have no credit $ right now and a money file in Microsoft money manager. I asked him to explain. All I received was raging abuse, blame, his famous quote of “I don’t know, the computer did it’, told me he does not love me and I’m a bitch and a shrew and he wants me to move out. This, after being in individual sex addiction counseling, and a weekly sex addicts men’s group, and telling me he has NOT acted out in 4 whole years ( ha) while at the same time he became more distant to me, not desiring emotional intimacy or coming to the table of relationship. Finally, here is the clencher, somewhere he has been taught that I need to do my part, and that I am failing him? I know better. But he is convinced I am a co addict/ dependant. I am not. I am a woman who loves her husband, but not his verbal/emotional abuse, not his sex addiction or his mental illness/personality disorder, and am trying to survive this constant chaotic madness and insanity of chronic trauma. Sad. After 33 years, and all his pathologies and diagnosis’s, to him I am the bad guy. Intellectually I know the truth that I am not, my heart…it is hemorrhaging again. I CAN handle the truth no matter how painful. I can NOT handle the chronic lies, and then he screams at me and says I don’t trust him or respect him. Signed, in the battlefield of insanity……I can see the hand writing on the wall

    1. I’m sorry that you’re going through this Bella! Please don’t allow him to convince you that this is in any way your fault or that the computer did it. Addicts have a very good way of trying to distort our reality! Stay focused on what you know is true. My husband will try so hard to convince me that things aren’t real even when I have proof! I get so tired of arguing and his rage that I will usually give in to his face but I still know the truth. You need validation from someone. Do you have people that you can turn to? Therapist, family, anyone? And try to print out the things you find. Even if you don’t want to use it in court for divorce- at least have it to validate yourself. Many of us are called liars and told that we have a mental disorder. THEY are the ones with the disorders! My husband has narcissistic personality disorder and he can be a very frightening person. Many people don’t understand that you can’t just up and leave a man like that. It requires good timing, planning and making sure that you and your family are safe from his wrath. They are very manipulative, too and have many people convinced how great they are.
      My prayers are with you!

  177. Bella,
    Can you find a good talk therapist just for you? One who understands addiction and personality disorders? Your husband is absolutely presenting as a man with addictive behavior/narc personality disorder. So, as you already have ascertained, in his world, anything goes. He will never own up to anything nefarious (which you have the proof of) for that would be the destruction of the facade that he so desperately needs to maintain. You my dear are a “bitch” and a “shrew” because you dared to rip off his narc mask and expose him for who he really and truly is. I applaud you for that, however, he is a man who cannot even begin to face or acknowledge who he truly is, or he wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing in the first place. Its your classic cluster fuck and unfortunately, you like most of us have gotten sucked into its nasty vortex.

    Look, we all love ASPECTS of our husbands. But read what you wrote back to yourself and pretend that it is someone you don’t know. Can you see? Is this the kind of guy you’d want your daughter to fall in love with and marry? No. of course not. He is highly abusive! The ONLY possible way out of this is to find a way to leave. It will never get any better and this is something that so many of us have had to face, even though it feels like we are amputating a leg–nope… just the dead wood.

    I understand that there’s this little voice that spreads that tiny seed of doubt that maybe, just maybe he’s right or at least partially right? right? Fair enough. He’s not right, but let’s say for argument’s sake that he is. You’re a shrew and a bitch. fine. Even if you are (which you’re not) that does not give him the license to LIE, DENY, GASLIGHT and make it out that you are the reason WHY he needs to do this and you are PART OF THE PROBLEM, if not the ENTIRE PROBLEM. sure. sure. You held a gun to his head and told him you’d pull the trigger if he didn’t lie and cheat.

    Of course you as we all are, are grieving a hideous loss; an incomprehensible loss. with so many more questions than answers. There are no answers. Some days are better than others. Everyone says… “Oh, Kim, you will be just fine. You don’t need him.” Its easy for someone else to negate a lifetime of memories and the hopes and dreams that we once had that are now a dim vision of something that will never come to be. He is sick. He is very sick and sadly, the sickness spreads into every corner and crevice of his life and eventually to all who love this unfortunate creature. We have to remember that a piece of shit covered by delicious sweet cream, is underneath still a piece of shit. I would stay as far away as possible. Its fattening, AND toxic! Of course, most will not see what’s underneath the sweet cream. He’s a clever, charming, “nice”– piece of shit– (to everyone BUT you!) And Bella, that’s fine. Let them believe whatever it is that they need to believe and see whatever it is that they need to see. You know the truth and with the help of people like us who are going through the EXACT SAME THING and a good therapist can stay grounded in reality. Just take care of you and know that you are a fine woman who is married to a very sick man. best, Kim

  178. Dear Kim,
    Thank you for your heart to heart to me. I agree with all you said. Except one thing i do not understand (yes you may laugh at me ! )what is a cluster fuck? Never heard of that before, although I can picture him in one….ALL his words and behaviors are identical to how he treated me with one of his affairs when (what my attorney said at that time) after screwing a new vagina fir 1 month, he thought he was in love and was going to leave me for. I have been there and done that before. Now, again, His intense contempt, disdain and lies he freely gives to me, pure compliments from hell with 100% NO empathy. After reading much about the new concepts of SA, I agree he could have NPD and Borderline PD, along with his already diag. Avoid. PD. I went through 4 years of complete non stop counsel as a spouse of SA. We recently wound it down for me a couple months ago since I did my part, but he abruptly quit 1 year ago. He still goes to his SA counselor, so he says, but, after 4 years I have seen no growth towards me or our marriage. I actually think he wants both worlds, as we already have learned is a really screwed up brain. This IS his choice. No gun. Here is my goofy fantasy. I wish there was a beautiful large island somewhere in this world, strictly for spouses and their children to go. An opportunity that would be totally free (see this IS a fantasy) a village where we received daily uplifting counsel, where we actually work to contribute, to off set the free part, and to have the company and friendship to enjoy, with others who are in pain like us. Schools for the children. Where we can grow and become sane, strong and find our self esteem again, to repair to become whole and healthy again. A village with parks, a zoo, a pool, horses, regular stores, restaurants, Movie theater, medical facilities, etc. Honestly, IF I was extremely wealthy beyond staggering figures, my fantasy would turn to reality. Today my daughter told me to come stay at her place, of which I will do. One day at a time eh?

  179. A cluster fuck is just a situation that’s so effed up, on so many levels, that its completely and thoroughly impossible. I like your fantasy. I’m in the process of buying an apartment and this is so funny because your description of your little “utopia” sounds exactly like the place I’m going to be moving to. Of course, my quaint village (by a hospital, babbling brook, parks, quaint village, etc) will not be free of sociopaths because, unfortunately, they proliferate all around us. I think its something like one out of 15 or so? And they don’t exactly where a sign, now do they? In fact, its very much the opposite. They are often the really nice, funny, charming, sweet, kind ones–in the beginning, that is… Mine is still sweet and kind until he pulls some nasty emotionally retarded very, very hurtful shit. I can’t take it any more. Its so unhealthy and I so want to have a full, rich life with people who genuinely love and care for me, body, mind and soul. With him (who’s also APD in the extreme), that is impossible. His world is full of angst, austerity, deprivation, arrogance and selfishness. (he is a very good father, except for the way he treats their mother!). The SA is merely a SYMPTOM, not really the problem and that is the bottom line for most of us. Its not just the acting out, but the part of his psyche that lead him to do so, in the first place. And as you know, if he has NPD–especially, its next to impossible to treat as he cannot possibly see that there’s ANYTHING wrong with him! Its EVERYONE ELSE! ugh.

    Bella, to break free, one has to leave. That’s all. Leave and have as little contact as is possible, given you have children together. Its tough for me. I actually really enjoy the company of my fucktard. I really do and I am grieving the loss, but I realize that I have to let that go too, because it reminds me of everything that I’ve lost and that only sends me spiraling down into that place, I do not want to be in. xo, Kim

    1. Kim,

      I am in very similar situation. Going or trying to go through divorce.
      He opposes it as much as he can. I never heard him saying I love you in 26 years.
      . I heard it hundred times in one week already. Feeling of being crazy is so overwhelming and
      Energy draining! How are you doing with your move?

  180. Hi Kim
    Thanks for the CF description. In the area of mental illness and personality disorders that most SAs “appear” to have, I have learned so much more about this from many sites on the web including this one, than any of my 4 straight years of individual and couple SA counsel, many women’s SA recovery groups i was in, and a plethera of SA books I have read. It appears to me, that a small amount of true professionals are on top of the SA subject, and have come to view and understand that SA does not stand alone, but goes hand in hand w/ mental illness and PDs. So, for the rest of the counsel groups of SAs, they look untrained and uneducated, hence the CF of many SAs falling through the cracks and failing sobriety and recovery. JoAnn already is on top of this, and I thank her for bringing up this subject, even tho it does not prevent the hurt we receive but it does explain much of their words, thoughts and behaviors, which puts everything in a different Perspective. In this hellacious journey with my SA, my opinions have now come full circle. I knew that 4 members of my husbands family have serious mental illness, but I was told by several SA counselors that I was just being co dependant/addict, and refused to hear my experiences not even connected with his SA, and they now looked at me as nuts. SA counselors need to start listening to the traumatized spouse.

  181. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for your email encouragement. At this point of my SA journey, I do understand fully that this madness and insanity is just that, and it is owned and operated from a very sick person who wants to pull me into his distorted world. No, I do not believe his delusional or abusive words. I know the truth, yet at times I am so very tired of living with his madness that at times I feel so weak and worn out because i feel i have no reserve left. It really helps me to know we have this site, to be able to vent but more important, to know we have others who are dealing with the same issues and genuinely know what and how we feel so I do not feel alone in this destructive hell.

  182. This post is sad and disturbing. And it’s fundamentally misses many many points. And I feel sad for those who, trapped as the spouse of an addict, read this and find solace, only to realize years later that this is the exact opposite of what they likely needed.

    Addiction is a disease, but it is a family disease. Yes you do have character defects, have done wrong, and have hurt people. Unless you’re somehow the first human being in existence to be made perfect- it is fundamentally impossible to live as a human being and not have faults, make mistakes, and hurt people. no you do not have to surrender to God. Only to a higher power, which can be of any definition you make, including simply a “group conscience” of other people whom you trust, and your own personal relationship with whatever spirituality you believe in, and your own intuitive response to the guidance you receive from all of these sources.

    Beyond all of that, your language of blame is startling in it’s ignorance and destructiveness. And to compare a sex addict with someone who is physically abusive helps no one. Indeed, this post does not seem designed to help anyone, more to simply vehemently defend yourself against any “blame” for the situation and paint yourself as an innocent victim. your focus on blame is what makes this all so damaging.

    The point of identifying addiction and co addiction and treating both with twelve-step has nothing to do with blame. As humans, we all suffer some wounds and trauma in childhood. It is impossible to escape this, it is a fundamental part of the human condition that we sometimes get our feelings hurt. For some, these hurt feelings are big enough that they force us to develop coping mechanisms that work in childhood but stop working later in life. Addiction and co addiction are each examples of these coping mechanisms.

    Another common result of childhood traumas (physical or emotional) is that we seek out people who will hurt us in the same way later in life. we are actually trying to re-create the traumatic event or events, so that we can, this time, cause a different outcome and so somehow heal from those wounds. It really works, but then again neither do a lot of things we all try to use to feel better. That doesn’t stop us from trying.

    If your wounds lead you to seek out someone who will hurt you in the ways that a sex addict will hurt you, then yes, you are a co addict. you do not have to be aware of the addiction for this to be true, alcoholics are often excellent liars as well and often conceal their addiction for years. It is no coincidence that The fundamental requirement of Alcoholics Anonymous is rigorous honesty. even if you are unaware of the addiction, what is true of all active addicts are the other symptoms. Emotional absence, inconsistencies in the stories they tell, excuses, missed commitments, defensiveness, selfishness, escapism, and many others. These patterns were there when you met the addict. And you chose to stay with them anyways. That is what defines a co addict. In reality, you did not choose them “anyway”. You chose them because of these traits, because of the ways those traits hurt you, just as much because he chose them for the ways that they make you feel good. Because the love they give is probably similar to the love you got from various sources earlier in life. Not just the bad, and not just the good. But all of it, flawed and human as it was for you and is for everyone.

    The purpose of identifying someone as a co-addict is not to blame them for the addicts behaviors. It is to identify that they have wounds as well, and behavioral patterns as well that feed into the family disease of addiction. You are never responsible for the addicts behavior, only your own. But you can also break the cycle of addiction and become free by facing your own flaws and wounds honestly, and working to be a better person.

    That is the purpose of twelve-step. And another core tenet it is “take what you want and leave the rest”. if you let your resentments about being told that you are not perfect drive you away from a program of recovery, the maybe you simply haven’t hit bottom yet. Many many addicts get sober, only to see their spouses or family members spiral down over the course of years to find their own bottom in co addiction.

    Regardless of your personal journey, I wish you well. But I do wish you would remove your ignorance and language of blame and horrible horrible guidance to spare other people who read it from being led down a darker more painful path than the one they could find through recovery.

      1. One further follow-up:

        I realized I didn’t include enough about why this kind of thinking is so damaging.

        incredibly common beliefs of the co-addict are:

        -“I will be happy if only my addict stops ______ (drinking, doping, acting out sexually, overeating, gambling, etc.)
        -“I will be happy if only I find someone new who is not an addict”

        This kind of thinking is confusing the removal of suffering with the creation of joy. yes, removing an active addict will certainly remove the source of suffering and pain in a co-addicts life. but without recovery, without addressing the underlying problems that caused a Coke addict to choose that addict in the first place, you will only be changing suffering. Replacing it with a different form of suffering.

        The only way to actually replace it with joy is to face those underlying causes, both your wounds and your flaws. And work on changin/ healing them. The source of happiness for you can only come from what you do, not from what someone else does.

        Also, to be clear, I am not advocating for twelve-step as the only path to recovery. I have known people who have recovered through entirely different paths. Spirituality, meditation, religion, Service, and other sources. But none are able to do this (that I have seen) without accepting their own role in the addictive cycle, surrendering their attempts to control the outside world as a path to happiness, and turning their focus to compassion for others without blame and taking responsibility for themselves without shame.

        Take this all with a grain of salt, your mileage may vary. But from someone who has been through this and seen many others go through both sides of this, I hope that my experience strength and hope can be of service.

    1. Last thought on this and I will be done for now (I am aware that one of my character defects is preachiness 🙂   )

      The quote by Kierkegaard in there is pithy, but just as sad in it’s disturbed thinking. Here’s a Dictionary definition of negate: To deny the existence, evidence, or truth of.

      Really? To give someone a label is to threaten their very existence? What an incredible amount of power to hand to the entire outside world. How fragile we make ourselves if a single label that someone decides to throw out there is strong enough to negate us.

      my earlier  belief  about the source of happiness was that it is fundamentally impossible to come from without and must come from within. there actually several studies that are starting to show this – that are happiness is impacted almost entirely by our own actions and reactions, and not by outside events. For example, showing gratitude has a huge impact on happiness. Getting something we expect rarely does. In keeping with that belief about happiness coming from within, I would suggest the following alternative response to “labeling”.

      When you label me, that label exists in your mind only. My peaceful loving mind is undisturbed by your disturbed thinking and speech. I know and love myself. I am secure in that self-knowledge, and confident in that self-love. Your words are nothing more than a breath of foul air. They are as easily forgotten, and as quickly dispersed.

      The only power your labels have over me is the power I choose to give them. And I choose to give them none.

      1. Been there,
        It sounds very much like you’re still there. It’s sad to hear that that you are such a profound ca-addict. How fortunate that you can find a support group who will help you to confirm your co-addiction. Or wait, maybe you are the sex addict? Your codependence with this treatment model makes it hard to know who you really are. That’s what it does best, though, isn’t it? Helps people hide.

        My goodness, if you are a co-addict, I hope you don’t really believe that you can’t be happy unless your sexually compulsive partner ceases to act out that compulsivity—because the stats don’t offer much chance of him stopping.

        It is very difficult, we know, for a sexually compulsive man to accept responsibility for the abuse endured by his partner. And by denying that abuse and its impact on women, we also understand the need for the co-addict/co-dependence model and it’s practitioners to blame the woman for, as you put, “seeking” her abuser. Some of us have been around long enough to remember this approach used on women and children beaten and/or sexually abused by men. “It’s really their fault” and all that. Nothing new in what you say. Same old patriarchal garbage. As long as the woman’s actually experience is diminished before it is heard, you can get away with it. And then we get the absurd pronouncement that we are “seeking someone who will abuse us”. File this with double predestination–the actual result value from the mental gymnastics that get you there means it’s just not worth it.

        Women who get treatment in a trauma-based model of care actually do heal and find their way forward in life—seldom with the abusive male partners whose penis activities are most often just a symptom of his underlying personality disorder(s). This is surely the scariest part for people who desperately need to believe in co-addiction and codependence—the woman get out and they are free to pursue a life unfettered by the nonsense of this drivel. Unfortunately, the sorry cases of sexually compulsive men who also deserve a real chance for healing don’t get the help they need at all.

        I wish you well, Been there (still there), and wish you would remove your ignorance too. But it’s a free site. And unless you actually come clean and tell us you are a sex addict, then you get to post here.

      2. Ouch! There were some pretty personal attacks in there. And I’m sorry that my point clearly didn’t come through at all, based on this response.

        There was no sense of blame for co-addicts. “The point of identifying addiction and co-addiction has nothing to do with blame.”

        My point was – this blog post seems very focused on blame. Yes, a co-addict is going to be drawn to an addict. But that in no way justifies any harm done to them by the addict. That harm is Entirely the responsibility of the addict.

        Identifying co-addiction is not about saying “it’s your Fault for marrying an addict.” It’s about saying – if the co-addict doesn’t look at the underlying causes of Why they chose to be with an active addict, then there’s a very good chance they will fall back into a similar relationship.

        Saying “I didn’t know” doesn’t make you the exception – that’s the rule. Addiction lives in secrecy and lies. A spouse might be stunned to find a $40k credit card debt on a card they didn’t know existed – because their partner is a gambling addict. But when did they spend the time to rack up that debt? How many commitments did they miss, etc.? How bored were they when they were gambling? How checked out?

        Addicts are master deceivers. “Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely given themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” However, regardless of the level of deception, fundamentally, an addict is emotionally unavailable for intimacy. Intimacy with their spouse, with themselves, with reality in general. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a perfectly emotionally healthy person to also be a raging addict, because to be emotionally healthy we need to be honest. Likewise, it is IMPOSSIBLE for someone in active addiction to be truly emotionally healthy and available for intimacy. Addiction = dishonesty = intimacy avoidance. The spouse was with them anyways. So there was something drawing the spouse to be with that kind of person – someone who was unavailable for true intimacy.

        And without recovery, again, there’s a good chance the co-addict puts themselves in a position to be hurt again. Which will NOT be their FAULT. It’s more along the lines of, you keep walking down a one particular street. It doesn’t look that scary or threatening to you, but you frequently get mugged there. No one blames you for getting mugged – that would be crazy! But why not walk down a different street? Because the co-addict is drawn to that street, for whatever reason. And recovery is what removes that “draw”.

        Not a perfect analogy, but that’s the point – blame has nothing to do with it. The whole spirit of my message was about co-addicts finding peace and happiness, and the message of the blog seemed to be focused on blaming the addict and bashing a particular 12 step program.

        Not sure how any of that is blaming the victim, or the other things you accused me of. But that was kind of a personal attack! A bit surprised by that on a recovery forum…

      3. I think it’s clear you are not a partner of a sex addict, and you have a codependent relationship with a treatment model that cloaks its misogyny in circular reasoning which you demonstrate very well. Let’s see, we are co-addicts therefore we seek addicts therefore we are co-addicts, and even though we don’t know they are addicts, we secretly do know they are. Oh yeah, that’s convincing. And when all those therapists who treat in this model discover how their addicts have lied about their recoveries and misled them (usually in court after testifying in custody hearings about how “recovered” he is, and then having the PI and electronic surveillance evidence reveal the ongoing sexually compulsive activities), are they also co-addict therapists—seeking out patients/clients who will deceive them, but whom they will defend even under oath? Yes, there’s codependence and co-addiction here but not with the partners. So why do you NEED to believe these women couldn’t possible have been genuinely deceived by master con artists who also manage to deceive their trained therapists, family, friends, employers, parishioners, constituents, patients, clients etc.? Why do you defend a treatment model that has no statistically significant results to show for all its huffing and puffing? Why can’t we find evidence-based research over even a meagre three year period to back up any claims of being effective? Because it doesn’t work. And the vast majority of partners can tell you it doesn’t work. But you need to silence them first and tell them to sit in a circle (that suits the circular reasoning) and give them a script to learn. And some are so desperate that they do it. For years they do it and not a damn thing changes.

        You are not a woman, you are a man, and seem just astonished that your insulting posts should not have been embraced with wonder at their astonishing “rightness”. This arrogance is familiar to us, and we are not intimidated by the patronizing habit of expecting that you should get away with your insulting words, circular reasoning and facile conclusions. Quite possibly you are also a “recovered” sex addict, and have inserted yourself here as part of your need for an audience and a way to try and bully women into accepting your label for them. We don’t. So it appears that if we disagree with YOU, and call YOU on your insulting messages it is a personal affront.

        The emperor has no clothes.

      4. There weren’t any personal attacks in my remarks. Red herring. When you challenge anything these guys say, they flip quickly into a victim posture. In my last line I did quote one of the insulting things he said at the end of his first post—but not most of what he said because such a direct personal attack is not my style–it’s his. It is so predictable how when you challenge these guys, they just really can’t believe you’ve done it, and believe they are now “victims” of a personal attack. Jeff did the same thing. Same playbook.

      5. Diane,

        What I heard as a personal attack was: “It’s sad to hear that you are such a profound ca-addict. How fortunate that you can find a support group who will help you to confirm your co-addiction. Or wait, maybe you are the sex addict? Your codependence with this treatment model makes it hard to know who you really are. That’s what it does best, though, isn’t it? Helps people hide.”

        Maybe you were sincere in your empathy, but what I heard was sarcasm and condescension belittling my experience because I disagreed with the post. If you were sincere and you spoke from compassion/empathy and not sarcasm/condescension, then that’s my overreaction. I’ll try to trust that you were, based on your response; sorry for overreacting.

        And maybe you were completely deceived, and your partner was capable of full emotional intimacy while also being an active sex addict. I don’t see how that’s possible, but I don’t know your experience, and I don’t claim to know all. And if that is possible, then that is truly terrifying, and I would be afraid to trust anyone after an experience like that, anyone would. I hope that wasn’t your (or anyone’s) experience. I hope that people like that don’t exist.

        But my point was simple, and I’ll try to avoid any further inflammatory language (and yes, I can acknowledge that my first response was emotional, charged, and inflammatory. I came seeking help and found a post that belittled my experience, and it upset me).

        My point:
        – There are people in this world who are drawn to partners that are “unavailable” for honest emotional intimacy.
        – Not all of those who are “unavailable” are addicts. But (in my experience) all addicts are “unavailable” (by definition, because they are dishonest about their addiction, and emotional intimacy is not possible with dishonesty/ secrets)
        – Of those who are “unavailable”, addicts, and particularly sex addicts, are often the most seductive – because they’ve learned to be manipulative and charming in pursuit of their addiction.
        – So people who are drawn to these “unavailables” will often be drawn to addicts, particularly sex addicts
        – Yes, I fully agree that the shock, betrayal, world-turned-upside-down, feeling of being manipulated, humiliation, and just raw pain FROM being a partner of an sex addict is TRAUMA, comparable with PTSD caused by being in combat, chronic physical abuse, chronic sexual abuse, and many other horrific situations. It is Enormous trauma, and yes it needs to be treated, and cannot be dismissed as “co-addiction”
        – But the underlying “draw” to those “unavailable” for emotional intimacy ALSO needs to be treated, even if the trauma of being in a relationship with a sex addict has been treated. Otherwise we will again and again go back to “unavailable” people who will make us unhappy, even if (this time) the new person is not a sex addict.

        So while leaving the sex addict may work in the short term (and yes, this is often the best option), in the long term, we’ve also got to recover from this “draw” to “unavailables” to find true happiness.

        Call it whatever you want, and if “co-addict” is somehow offensive as a means of identifying that we are drawn to “unavailables”, then maybe we need a new term. It’s true (I believe) that the draw is not specific to addicts. There are plenty of emotionally unavailable people who are not addicts. And they won’t hurt us as badly as addicts (particularly sex addicts) do. But the won’t bring us happiness either.

        In response to your questions about me – I’m both. I’ve been in addictive relationships, and I’m recovering from addiction myself. Sober for years from addiction, while I am currently struggling with co-addiction much much more. I came here looking for help with what I call “co-addiction” – it’s one of the first hits when I searched for “recovery from co-addiction.” If the fact that I am also an addict rules me out of the forum, so be it.

        I’ll also say what I said to another poster – I did not post with harmful intent. I’m sorry if I caused harm, to you or anyone. In my experience, co-addiction, i.e. the draw that I feel towards emotionally unavailable people (including sex addicts), is very real and it’s what I seek to recover from today. This post belittled my experience, and I wanted others struggling with the same experience to know that there was another point of view.

      6. “Maybe you were completely deceived, and your partner was capable of full emotional intimacy while being while also being an active sex addict” Speaking of condescending. Your string of propositions have no basis in anything–they do not necessarily follow one to the other (except in your own head). No one proposed that little trio. Only you. You are arguing with yourself now. It’s all a defocus to avoid addressing the larger concern raised about a model which has no statistical credibility, provides no evidence-based research of real results, and as a device to personally insult me.

        As for ” I came seeking help” and “I came here looking for help with what I call ‘co-addiction'”. Your posts were a string of arrogant propositional statements about your therapeutic position and what you judged as the “ignorance” represented here. You didn’t come here for help. You are not the victim. We are not fooled.

        “This post belittled my experience” — that was your modus operandi from the beginning–belittling the experience of women. We get how sex addicts accuse us of doing what they are actually doing. No new material here.

        This is the first post you have made in which you are honest about being an addict–but you still aren’t telling us that you are a sex addict—a question I posed in my first post to you. This site clearly states that this is not a site for sex addicts. But now you want us to believe that your insults and patronizing remarks and straw dog arguments were a cry for help from a co-addict looking for a co-addict support site.

        This is all from the sex addict playbook. Gaslighting in the extreme.

        Women recovering from the trauma of discovery and the abuse that usually follows have lots of work to do. The first step is refuse a derivative pathological identity and assessment based on someone with whom we are in relationship. That’s just a lousy therapeutic practice. As I asked before why do you NEED to believe that these women couldn’t have been deceived by the same man who deceived everyone else? Why do you NEED to interpret a woman’s experience and identity through a man’s behaviour and dysfunction. Why do you NEED to ignore the published research that indicates over 70% of women partners of sex addicts are suffering from PTSD, not co-addiction. And I still don’t understand why the deceived therapists aren’t also called co-addicts—they are clearly seeking clients they will defend and believe, but are clients who deceive them.

        Sex addicts lie for a living. They are very good at it. They fool wives and partners, parents and children, colleagues and clients, parishioners and patients — BECAUSE THEY ARE LYING TO ALL OF THEM. All the time. About stuff that doesn’t even matter. That’s how they create a relationship reality propped up by lies that are unknown to the others. Just try and convince family members, work associates, congregations, patients that the person in question is guilty of inappropriate sexual conduct. Even with irrefutable evidence people refuse to believe it. Being conned to the core is the basis of our common experience. Not just the women partners and wives. Narcissists are known for their charm, for their capacity to fool people, for their false expressions of concern, for their ability to present as victims at the drop of a hat in order to gain sympathy and avoid accountability. Anybody who has had to deal with professional sexual conduct policies and ensuing complaints knows this. The need to pin a treatment model on the singular role of a woman in the scenario and misdiagnose her experience and presenting symptoms has diminishing credibility and certainly none here.

        It seems that by your own admission you were using the co-addiction model to hide, and vent your misogynist theories from behind it. You make the point for us. You can’t help but make the point. And it is very sad to see yet another example of it. I understand that it has shocked you to be called out on your circular reasoning and your pretend agenda here.

        Go to Dr. Omar Minwalla’s website for the possibility of real help for you. You can also read his article debunking the co-addiction treatment model while you are at it. And if you are a sex addict, you know this is not a place for you. You know it. It says so before any of the posts. Your hope doesn’t lie in understanding and overcoming co-addiction. It lies in the uncovering of whatever trauma launched you into this life of narcissistic pursuits, the qualified diagnosis of personality disorders in play for you, and a prescribed treatment program administered by someone qualified to do so. Check in with Dr. Oman Minwalla. And check out here.

      7. BeenThere,

        Your point is indeed simple, along the lines of “Fire trucks are red. March has red hair. March is a fire truck.”

        I might agree that all addicts are unavailable, but many of us have been with Great Pretenders. I chose someone who presented as emotionally available, communicative, empathetic, and full of integrity. I thought we were great friends and lovers. He appeared to be a wonderful father. If I were to fall gravely ill, he would STILL be the first to volunteer to take care of me.

        As I’ve said many times on the SOS site, partners may or may not be codependents. Just like they may or may not be diabetics or Presbyterians or chocoholics. Mostly, they are traumatized, and they need treatment for that trauma. They need to regain their footing in a world that suddenly has no solid ground. They must build new ground as their head spins from the shock.

        If you can look back on your relationship and know that the signs were there–that you continued to stay with someone you KNEW was unavailable, and if you blame yourself for being with an SA, then I hope you get the help you need for your co-addiction.

        Most of us were victims of fraud, though. Hence, the devastation.

      8. Kimberly and Diane … thank you. I learn so much from you.

        As I read Been There, I thought, “This sounds like my husband.”

        As a person recovering from the trauma of discovering that Mr. Wonderful Father of Five was actually Mr. Great Pretender, I sometimes don’t trust my first instinct. Or, perhaps I am so used to being gaslighted, I don’t even realize it.

        You guys do a great job of recognizing the gaslighting and shining the light on it. This is truly helpful and instructive.

      9. Sometimes I decide to leave comments up that I suspect or know are from a Sex Addict. The reason I do this is that the interactions between my readers and these SA’s, who feel entitled to ignore the boundaries I have set, will show us the dynamics of how these arrogant men interact.

        If I had written this entire exchange myself (which I did not–you can’t make this stuff up) I could not have orchestrated it as well as this played out.

        I think we all get the picture. No more comments from Been There will be allowed. ~ JoAnn

      10. no kidding JoAnn.

        You state that this site is for women and sex addicts are not welcome. So this guy disrespects those boundaries and then plays victim when he’s called out. And I have to pull teeth to get little bits of the truth out of him about who he really is. What more obvious sex addict behaviour is there than those things— he disrespects the reasonable boundaries in place, is dishonest about who he really is, and then plays victim when we hold him accountable for what he has done and dare to disagree with what he says. That’s kind of it in a nutshell, isn’t it?

  183. well, Diane, you know what they say about quacking ducks. My vomitometer went into high gagging gear after reading all of that triggering crap. If only this quacker made any sense at all? Please tell me how a woman who marries THE sweetest, kindest, most dependable, loving man she has ever met is trying to “heal childhood hurts?” Now, if she discovers 25 years later that Mr. sweetkinddendableloving is screwing just about everything that moves– and THEN she decides to continue with that relationship… yes, we could make an argument for that premise. Co-dependent is not the word that comes to mind, but masochist is. For whatever it is worth, like the day after I met my future sex addict husband, the aforementioned sweetest, kindest… I got my ass into THERAPY and stayed there for FIVE YEARS, each and every week. Through her gentle, patient guidance, I made my peace with my “childhood hurts.” That wonderful woman got me through the death of my dear brother and helped me find the courage to go back to college which I am incredibly grateful for, especially now that I must support myself. She helped me navigate my burgeoning relationship and affirmed that indeed, I had gotten myself one of the truly RARE wonderful gentlemen of this oft-sad world. Why she even helped me realize that I DID want to become a mother and that it would be alright. It was safe. I loved that man with all of my heart— until he systematically broke every pre-conceived notion that he had lead me to believe about him. In 1986 he lived in this gorgeous, beautifully furnished apartment in a very desirable part of NYC. Now, he lives north of the city in a run-down teeny tiny apartment with plastic furniture from Kmart and a busy five way intersection with loud motor cycles, ambulances, etc. whizzing past at all hours of the day and night.

    Interesting that now, he makes one third the salary today that he did in 1986, while I’m making three times as much.

    1. Ouch again! Seems like a common theme that someone who disagrees gets personally attacked.

      Hey – maybe you’re not a co-addict. However, I have the same point I made below: Active addicts are not capable of emotional intimacy. He could be sweet, kind, charming, and lots of very positive things often associated with manipulators. But he was likely also very dishonest (as you mentioned). And it’s impossible to be emotionally intimate while being that dishonest. What if he has fear about you “finding out” because of some credit card charge, or phone bill, etc.? Does he share that fear? Of course no, he can’t. So he buries it, charms his way out of it, etc. But he can’t share who he truly is, his real feelings, because a ton of them will be tied up in his addiction and his response to it (fear, shame, etc.). So he’s holding back an enormous part of himself and his feelings from you (probably from himself as well). It’s impossible for that to be perfectly segmented into the part of his life he didn’t share with you, and him for be entirely emotionally honest and intimate about everything else. Some of it spilled over. Maybe not in obvious ways, but that’s the point – the ways it spilled over were likely things that for whatever reason you forgave, “looked past”, etc.

      I’m glad though that things seem to be going better for you, but sorry that it seems like you are still carrying anger/ resentments/ negativity towards him. Not that he deserves anything in particular from you, but it’s that old quote “resentments are poison we take to hurt someone else.”

      Either way, it’s clear my post is simply causing people to be upset, and turn those into personal attacks. If that’s the case, then the moderator can certainly delete it, it was not my intent to cause harm. I know my original post had strong language; maybe that was the problem. I probably should have waited a day to post, and it might have been a bit less inflammatory. Anyhow, my apologies for any hurt feelings, and best of luck to anyone struggling with recovery from having a sex-addict in their life; it’s a tough road. I hope you all find recovery in whatever form works for you.

  184. been there… no one on here personally attacked you. So stop being a big gaslighting baby! we challenged your platitudinous ideas developed by other sex addicts that I for one, do not embrace. That is not a personal attack. But this is.


    How dare you! You are the attacker! You came on here spewing out all that garbage and Diane and I simply called you to the mat. If you can’t take the heat then get out of the fire! We are only defending our position as traumatized partners who many of us are doing pretty durn well now, no thanks to the likes of you! If you can’t accept me or others who disagree with you and are outraged at your obvious gaslighting tactics then please refrain from further comment. You DO intend to hurt or else you simply cannot understand that you are doing so and either way, you need to stop it! I sincerely hope that you have gotten the message!

    1. Well, obviously this “quacker” disagrees, but message received. As I said, sorry for any harm I’ve caused, it sounds like this deeply upset you. Sorry.

  185. Hey All;

    I am just starting on this journey and quite frankly it terrifies me, and it is NOT a journey that i choose to be on. I found out on Sunday that my fiance had been videotaping girls when they changed in the bathroom. Add to that i’ve started looking online and everything i read says that because i don’t think looking at porn is a crime that i’m contributing to this and I “allowed” it. I love this man with all of my heart and want to make my life with him—–This has not taken the form of “cheating” but of voyeurism. He is willing to seek counseling both alone and as a couple …..

    I guess my question is have any of you experienced this? Is there hope of him getting over this and never doing it again? Will I be able to trust him?

    confused…and feeling alone.

  186. Dear Jo-Anne,

    Thank you so much for writing this much needed “counter explaination”, or defense, to all the books, articles, counsellors, etc., that continue to label the partners of sexual addicts, as co-addicts, or, co-dependent.

    In my husbands eyes, he “wasn’t broken”, “didn’t need counseling”, and I was the one who “needed a shrink”, and had a “personality defect”, I was in his opinion a “reclusive bookworm”, because I didn’t run around with his other female friends who were leaving their children at home, while they ran around and did whoever, whenever they felt like it. I worked full-time, I had three children, and KNEW my place, when not at work, was with my kids, not running around town with loose women who acted like they could care less about any consequences they might suffer, down the road, or if their children might suffer any lasting affects due to their absences!

    I have NEVER felt that I was a co-anything in my husbands sexual problems, or when he did things he knew were wrong. Heck, he used to act like he was the master of the universe, and everything had to be “his way or the highway”!

    Of course after so many years of him telling me I had so many issues, I did start seeing a counselor, and then another, and another, and another…. I lost count long ago, but I finally came to understand why I thought I had to keep seeing new counsellors to talk to…. I was waiting for one of them to please tell me, what was WRONG with me, (my husband had me convinced I must have some deep seated issue since I was so unlike all his women friends) to fix me, or at least guide me, so I could try to fix myself. I desperately wanted to understand what was wrong with tell me how to fix whatever was so wrong with me, (thereby fixing my husbands problem).
    I never found one counselor who thought there was anything wrong with me, other than who I was married to. One lone female counselor, was finally able to get me to realize that my husband and all his little friends were the ones with deep-seated issues (I think she finally made me see, that I had been fighting everything that all the past counsellors were trying to get me to understand, because they were complimentary where my spouse had been nothing but critical), where he saw personality defect, they saw my determined, responsible adult views on raising happy, healthy, successful offspring.

    Through years of mental and verbal abuse, I had come to think I was the bad guy, I was the one who was wrong,?and I was the one with issues. I had learned to discount compliments, and accept mean, bitter criticism about any little thing I did, or tried to do.

    But, I digress… Jo-Anne…. I wish I had found you on my first try. I think you are marvelous, and I’m going to search right now, or any and all books, articles, etc., you have ever written!

    I sure hope anyone else who reads these comments from all of us will not hesitate to stop and get some help for their sanity.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! ??????

    1. Thank you Madge. Words like yours make it all worthwhile.

      And, you know what? I wish I had found ME a long time ago too.

      My story is scattered throughout this site. If I could offer one message to every single woman, no matter what their circumstances, who discovers their husband/partner’s deceptive, secret life, it would be:

      This is domestic abuse. It is not your fault. All the love in the world will not fix them. Find help from a domestic abuse hotline or from a trauma counselor. There is hope–hope for YOU.

      If you need a support group please consider the Sisterhood of Support. Hugs to all my ‘sisters’ on this journey. ~ JoAnn

    2. As a clinical social worker and newly-aware spouse of a long-time sex addict, I turned to S-Anon in my traumatized state for some solace and support. After a few weeks, I began to be very troubled by the tenor of other members’ comments, particularly as they referenced our need to admit that we, too, are sick, and that we must come to terms with the fact that we “picked” a sex addict for a spouse. I finally spoke up about it when it was my turn to share, and was saddened to find that several in the group responded with angry stares and pointed comments about my obvious denial. As someone who works with trauma victims, I can assure you that I have now experienced it for myself. The shock of discovering that my husband of 24 years had been acting out for nearly a decade was devastating and shook me to the core. However, once the initial shock had passed, I was able to use my clinical training in addictions to fully research and understand his disease. As such, I quickly made peace with it and we’ve been able to move forward with the help of CSAT group therapy (him) and and excellent couple’s counselor. Long story short, I will not be returning to S-Anon, as I believe it would have been more damaging to me in the long run.

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