Thanks for your site… It feels good not to be alone.
Even as I write this my story is still unfolding. Unlike many women who visit your site I knew about my husbands sex addiction when I married him. He is not only a sex addict but a convicted felon and registered sex offender who spent 10 years in the penal system serving a 0-5 sentence because of his obsession with sex. Yes, that’s right, if you do the math it took him a decade to get through a maximum 5 year sentence. That is what this kind of addiction does to you.
Why in the world, you say, would I choose to marry a man like this? There are many reasons… most of them complicated. Just know that I entered this relationship with my eyes open and with an accepting heart. That’s not to say that every day isn’t a struggle… but as long as my addict is working on recovery I choose to be with him.
My addict like many out there began his addiction at age 8 with magazines he found stashed in a field by older boys. His father was a truck driver and rarely home, and his mother worked hard to support 6 kids. He was unpopular in school and bullied by neighbor kids. His views of intimacy and normal human bonding were skewed from an early age. By 14 he was acting out. By 16 he was in juvenile detention and was removed from his home for a time.
At age 19 he went too far with his 14 year old girlfriend and was sentenced to an addiction recovery program. When that failed because of his inability to control his desires and follow the program he ended up in and out of prison and halfway houses as he repeatedly violated his probation rules over the next few years. He spent all of his 20’s in the system.
As a consequence he didn’t have the opportunity to “grow up” or learn the life skills that most of us take for granted. He didn’t get to go to college, run a house, pay bills, go to parties or travel. He didn’t develop friendships or trust. The therapy he was in twisted his mind to the point where he second guesses every decision he makes, and the environment he was in only reinforced his selfish actions and the cycle of addiction. Exposure to other convicts also taught him things he never would have dreamed of otherwise. He still had a good heart, but it was getting buried by the consequences of his actions. He has paid dearly for his stupid choices.
About two years after he was released he met me. He had a girlfriend at the time and I was trying to put my life back together after a divorce. We dated for over 3 years before I accepted his proposal of marriage. During that time I learned a ton about addiction – mostly by talking with and watching him. 7 years ago when we met there was literally one book out there on the subject of pornography addiction – and it was out of print. I know because I searched for a long time.
There were a few marriage counselors that dedicated a few pages of their websites or books to articles dealing with sex addictions, a few community programs that didn’t really advertise their presence well. Nobody was talking about it. Nothing. I did read a couple of my addicts textbooks from the 3 different programs he had attended over the years and his journals… but there was no support in them for me. Only clinical analysis of the behaviors and things the addict could “try” to find recovery. It is amazing with all of the celebrity cheaters that make the news these days how the information available about sex addictions, the evil porn industry, and support for the addict and those around the addict has exploded – in a good way.
As I watch my addict struggle on a daily basis to overcome this obsession, that he readily admits has ruined so much of his life, it is painful for me too. I know how much he wants to be rid of it… but that is the addiction. He always has the tools available to act out. The lure is literally everywhere. Computer, phone, tv, stores, ads, billboards, movies, even the people walking down the street. He has tried program after program to no avail. It’s like watching a crash dieter go through diet after diet and never loose any weight, or worse gain more. I’ve sat and watched him both lost in the obsession of his addiction and then so contrite over his actions that he cries. Most of the time it feels like I’m married to two different men.
There are ways we’ve found to stay sane in this madhouse. Every computer in our home has either a content filter or a password that he doesn’t know. The filter sends me emails and reports detailing what he’s doing online. We combined phone accounts into a family plan so that I have full access to his records and texts. We also pay a fee every month to block web access and phone numbers. We’ve recently decided to have a joint bank account so that there is full financial transparency for his budget. We are working toward total honesty in our marriage which includes him confessing slip ups and me not over reacting, and me not snooping but having full access to his phone and computer with permission.
And the most important part… I have had to learn to distance myself from his addiction while still loving him for the good person he is. “It’s not about me” has become my permanent mantra. When I find out something that he’s done I confront him with it so that the secrecy and allure of the thing is diminished. I’ve set consequences for his actions and enforce the boundaries as best as I can. I let him know that his actions are not acceptable to me and don’t belong in our relationship.
I try to find times when he is sober and reasonable to talk through issues rather than attacking him when he’s in his cycle and impossible to reach. We are trying to work together as a team to get him “sober”. Some days I still want to kill the man, but there are a lot of good times too. I hope that someday my husband will become a success story. I hope that he will eventually be able to become an advocate for the young boys in our area to try to knock it into their heads how bad porn and addiction can be. How it’s so important to respect women and their own bodies.
I would like to be able to share my story more openly with others as well. As I attend local support groups for women with addicted husbands my heart breaks every time I hear yet another woman who has just discovered her husbands addiction and was just thrown down the “rabbit hole”. I’d like to hug them and tell them that it’s going to be ok and that they will work through this—but it’s true that for some men there is no hope of recovery. They are going to continue to get farther and farther down a path of filth that their loved ones just can’t follow. Yet there are others who really have a desire to be free from addiction. There is some hope for them. As long as they are moving forward and upward, it is possible to work things out.
Thanks for posting my story JoAnn. I’d like to present a question to the group… what are some of the boundaries you and others have found that have been effective. I’ve read a lot about setting boundaries, and I have some in place, but I have found that some boundaries I’ve set are difficult not only for my husband but for me to follow through with. My husband says that he works better on a “reward” system… but I’m not about to reward a 39yr old for doing what he should be doing in the first place. The punishments inflicted by the boundaries when he breaks them are getting us nowhere. Any thoughts? Really anything would be appreciated!
Wow. What an incredible story. Unbelievable that you would willingly enter into a situation like this and seem quite ok with the whole thing. I am very curious if you are supporting him financially as well as emotionally.
You asked about boundaries. The most important thing I can tell you about them is to NEVER put a boundary in place that you aren’t willing to enforce. If you fail to enforce the boundary even once, your credibility has been shot and he will know you can be manipulated. I hear you say that you don’t want to use rewards for what he should be doing and then I ask: why not use rewards? There is evidence to suggest that people who are rewarded will often repeat that behaviour. You can always extinquish the rewards down the road. Besides, he’s said it might work. You’ve got nothing to lose.
I am concerned though about your seeming selflessness when it comes to this man.
My only thought about the rewards versus discipline. IF you and he are having trouble deciding when a boundary has been broken, it may as well be just as hard to tell when he has been succusfull and deserving of a reward? Thats just my thought.
From a raising children perspective. I much prefer the consequence if you do not clean your room. So for my kids they are supposed to clean their room once a week by the end of sunday. If they do not they lose TV (but there is a two day grace period), if they do complete by sunday they get a reward (candy bar or their allowance they are 13 and 15 so similar to and SA).
I don;t beleive in the philopsohy of this example. If you behave at the store i will buy you a toy. This always backfires. But what works better is if you do not behave at the store i will not take you next time or you will go in time out when we get home. Or the immediate consequence in that you leave the store. This works much better. (this is for the three year old)
Now I am housebreaking a puppy he gets an immediate reward for peeing outside. Some people use rewards for paying off bills, say they pay off all of their debt they get a new car. These are long term goals. How about the reward that if he can stay sober he can stay married?!?! Now thinking about it…. his reward on a daily basis is having you and a family. What type of rewards is he expecting?
This is from your post “As a consequence he didn’t have the opportunity to “grow up” or learn the life skills that most of us take for granted. He didn’t get to go to college, run a house, pay bills, go to parties or travel. He didn’t develop friendships or trust. The therapy he was in twisted his mind to the point where he second guesses every decision he makes, and the environment he was in only reinforced his selfish actions and the cycle of addiction. Exposure to other convicts also taught him things he never would have dreamed of otherwise. He still had a good heart, but it was getting buried by the consequences of his actions. He has paid dearly for his stupid choices.”
Consistently stupid choices…I would say.
My SA did grow up in a family, went to college was provided for. But the sad thing is his story is the same (less the jail time). He also has not learned to take care of himself and depends on me for everything. He was into porn and pot starting in middle school and in college was onto all other drugs. I understand that your SA had a tough upbringing, but many people do. IT is not the system or curcumstances that made him the way he is. He already was, or predisposed. He took this in a direction that is less desirable. My SA would appear to have had everythings, but yet he is the same as your SA. He has not spent time in jail or juvie, but the addiction causes the same havoc in our lives. Many spouses on here have had a tough and maybe equally hard upbringing as your spouse. They chose to live a life of honesty and credibility and not allow their curcumstances of upbringing to change who they are. Instead they learned, as well as myself, from the hardship to be greatfull for what I have. I work hard to have everything that i do have, nothing was handed to me. I have never turned to drugs or any other hurtfull activities to survive and maintain. We are just different than them. IF we were not, the stress of this addiction in our lives would be a catalyst to drugs or drinking and addiction. But I have made the choice to not go down that road, and stay present in life. It is a choice everyone has to make, our SA’s have chosen wrong. The addiction is a choice.
Thanks so much for sharing your story.
I have a question. What do you mean when you say he is ‘in his cycle’? If he is continuing to act out on a regular basis, then he is not in recovery. And, if there are no consequences for his bad behavior, then you are indulging him like a spoiled child and actually preventing him from learning from his mistakes and becoming a mature adult.
I realize that we all cope in different ways, and all of us here are to support each other. But, because we do love and respect each other, we will call you on any behaviors that we see as harmful to you. You are not doing yourself or your husband any favors, AND, it is NOT a sign of your love if you refuse to allow him to suffer the consequences of his actions. Shielding him from those consequences, indulging him in his bad behaviors and offering ‘unconditional love’ no matter how badly he acts is not a healthy relationship.
He can never become a ‘success story’ if you continue to prevent his growth. A better choice would be to explore what your own boundaries are for behaviors in the relationship and talk with him about them and establish some escalating consequences. These are not punishments or ultimatums, but realistic consequences that every adult must face if they harm someone else (you). My eBook on Boundaries explains how to set boundaries for yourself and for your relationship.
Remember, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Love him enough to make a change for the better.
All my best,
I also knew my husband was a sex addict when I married him. I first caught him when we had been living together for 6 mo (4 years ago) and he knew the only way for our relationship to continue was to go to councelling. 6 mo before we married (6 mo ago) I caught him again and we were not going to marry because of his acting out. I did not take the addition seriously and do love him very much so I believed him when he said he had stopped. A month ago I caught him again and now I am taking this addition seriously and he is fully aware that he needs outside help and my support. The concequence is the only thing that is making him take this seriously…wanting to stay married to me.
Through reserch and this site in particular I have learned so much and so has he. Imediate boundries were set up right away and we are adding as needed, looking for a SA group for him, and SA group for me and he is back in councelling as I am looking for a counceller. A marrige contract is in place that protects me legally and he is on board with that knowing he has to work towards his goals and if he doesn’t I should not suffer anymore because of it. The concequences are extreamly important. I really do not want to live my life without him but he knows that should he slip it will make me once again concider him leaving. I do not know if it is the next slip or the 4th/5th slip and neither does he so this is an unknown concequence but a serious concequence just the same. I know in my heart that if we stay together after the 4th slip that I am only enabling him…and there will be a 5th.
I believe consequences are very important and must be followed through for them to mean anything. Make it a concequence you can live with and will not make you suffer more than you have to. When my children were growing up I never “grounded” them because that punished me by having them in the house vs out playing so I gave different concequences that punished them and not me…friends laugh at my idea on grounding but it worked for me at the time.
Last thought, I do not want to step over the line or say the wrong thing but you refering to your husband as your sex addict I find uncomfortable in a few ways. M is my husband with a sexual addition. It could be I’m sensitive to refering to someone with a addiction or disorder by the label first vs their status in our lives. I have a son with a form of autisum, he is my son with autisum not my autistic son…maybe just a pet peave of mine.
Note on my pet peave…I do notice many women on the posts refer to their husbands or ex’s as their SA…maybe it is a lingo I have not caught on to or just an easier reference on this site so I do not mean to offend anyone who uses this term. Laura
I guess I never summarized my boundary thoughts. So i do not agree with a reward system for him acheiving boundaries. The written boundaries we have put together are specific to a relationship with an SA or addict. These boundaries are written because we have been put in a relationship where this is necessary for survival. In many or most relationships one would not need to have written boundaries that say: i will not accept lying, cheating, patroning prostitutes, posting craisglist ads for sex, etc. etc. These boundaries are basic guidelines to living and living with an SA. I would equate this to paying the bills, feeding the children, caring for your family, taking care of the house etc. There is not a reward for basic requirements in life and marriage, except what life and your marriage rewards you.
Saying that I think it is okay to have a long term goal or if he is going above and beyond reward(only you know what that is). This would be similar as how they recive a coin at the meetings. You can do something special for one month, 1 year etc, milestones. Dinner out with the fam, movie nights, maybe three years is a cruise togehter? I don’t know.
These are just my thoughts.
Thanks for your replies. It is nice to converse with women who are on the same path as me. It sounds like most of you haven’t yet given up on your spouses and are willing to work at happy healthy marriages.
Marian… actually yes. I have been supporting my family emotionally and financially. One because I have a college degree and a great job that I love, and two because my husband only recently completed his associates degree and has training in a field that pays less. He does work and as he grows mentally he sees the need to be the provider. Also, if you think the economy is bad now… try finding a job with a 10% unemployment rate and a felony record to boot. He takes in contract work as he can get it these days, but after over a year of trying he hasn’t had much luck with a permanent position. Early in our relationship he displayed many qualities of selfishness, self importance, and just plain laziness. He is growing out of those as he heals.
Flora – my husband and I have had many long discussions about how if he screws up with another woman the marriage is over. Luckily for me his biggest vices right now are xxx stories and foreign movies. There has been no actual adultry. He had a problem with massages during the last round of acting out and after a few suspicious actions on his part I called him on it. It was interesting. When we discussed it a week after the initial confrontation and he was “clear headed” he told me that he had only just realized that I saw that act as cheating on me. To him he was only getting his needs met at the moment. He has objectified things so much that he had put himself in a padded box and was unable to see the consequences of his actions until literally a week later. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he never stopped to see it my way. I agree that acting out on sexual desires is a choice… but for an addict it is almost impossible to make the right choice without a herculean effort when they begin to heal because the desires are so strong and the patterns of acting out are so cemented into their brain. They are masters of manipulation – not just of others but of their own consciouses.
JoAnn, thanks for your insite. Trust me my husband suffers the full consequences of his actions. Not only in the community (no job, regular checks by police), his family (his entire family is divided over his actions to the point where holidays and reunions are run in shifts), denial of religious activities, his personal life and goals have been hampered, and I don’t let him get away with anything. If I find something he gets called on it. When the filter starts sending emails I call and we talk, he knows exactly where his financial standing is because of his poor choices. I left once, and kicked him out for a week early last year for breaking a boundary. I don’t let his addiction run my life, but I am aware of where he’s at mentally pretty much 24/7. He is only in the beginning stages of being healthy and confident enough in his life that I finally think he may be on the right track. He desires sobriety, but getting there has been two steps forward and one back for a long time. As I said, he has a good heart and many excellent qualities aside from the addiction. He’s my equal in many ways, even if some of his choices are repulsive.
Laura… thanks for you note. I studied my husband and his addiction for a long time before making the jump into marriage. The water was a little deeper than I thought it would end up being, but my head is still above water. When we talk though sometimes the depth of his ugliness shocks me beyond comprehension. It really is like living with two men. My biggest issues with him have nothing to do with the sex addiction… it’s the side effects of the addiction. Selfishness, self entitlement, denial, laziness, depression, the need for immediate gratification with things besides sex. His obsession with sex from an early age didn’t allow him to develop in many ways that we all take for granted. It’s crazy.
I’d be interested in knowing more about the marriage contract you signed with your husband to protect you legally. I have never doubted that with him being a sex offender that I couldn’t get full custody of our kids in a snap, but what other things does your contract include?
Also… I call my husband my husband when he’s acting appropriately and is sober, and my addict when he’s once again made some bad choices and we’ve had to talk. I really do live with two different men. Maybe it’s just my way of coping with the craziness.
Flora, I wholeheartedly agree with the “minimum requirements” idea. Why should he get kudos for doing the dishes when I do them 90% of the time, and he is home to do them… and they’re his dishes too. Same thing I was thinking about the other day too. We both promised to stay faithful to each other in our marriage vows – that’s the basics. There shouldn’t be rewards for the basics between two adults. It’s an interesting thought offering him time with me or a trip or something for staying sober for a period of time. Since I’ve disassociated myself from his addiction and hence his choice to recover or not I didn’t think of that kind of reward. I’ll have to bring that up with him and see if it would work. Still he’s had other big milestones and rewards offered in the past and he hasn’t been able to make the right choices even then.
I don’t doubt that my husband wants to recover – badly infact – but because all of the other learned personality traits he’s picked up over the years because of the addiction and its consequences he’s struggling to make the full committment. His manic depressive cycles tie in well with the addiction. I’ve seen this man sobbing because of his actions and then be right back into things hours later. It’s a fascinating study for me. It makes me sad too.
Ann, I don’t know what time zone you are in but the time of the posting looks like you were up very late last night. We went to a lawyer when we started living common law and the contract stated that should we marry it would become a marriage contract. Where we live if you live together for over a year or marry it is a no fault province and everything is 50/50. Our contract states that he can not claim any equity in our home including the equity built in the time he lived here (I purchased the house before we met). Also, should he do any work in the home he cannot back charge/bill or claim any compensation…basically he gets nothing. With the kids mine are young adults and he has an 11 year old son that lives with us 50% and the contract states that I will not be responsible in any way for him and he cannot come after me for child support.
When we got married we discussed putting him on the deed and changing the contract until I made my last discovery. I phone my lawyer and he told me that everything was still in place, so I told him it was and we are back to square one on the fact that if he leaves or I ask him to leave (I must give 60 days notice in writing) that he gets nothing but his personal belongings and he is responsible for his son.
Harsh but it protects me. If worse came to worse I’m sure he could challenge this but contracts that a signed very rarely get thrown out. I had to giggle, normally my husband is my husband but when we have had issues with his addition I’ve referred him as the f…ing as…le vs my SA 😉 I guess we all have our names for them 😉
Check with a lawyer and make sure he has a independent lawyer when he signs or they will throw it out if challenged. I like the cruise reward idea, a bonus for both. Good luck and I hope you slept in this morning. Laura
I do agree to a certain point that they may have trouble choosing between right and wrong. That their judgement has been clouded and may have trouble exectuing any type of self discipline, hence maybe they have lost their choice. But I do still beleive this is a choice. It is a choice when the SA chooses to look at porn instead of play with the children (which is also rewarding). And when in a relationship with a holic (wether true addiction or not) you will always come second, third, fourth; You will never be #1. They will choose the addiction over you time and time again. I do not beleive in the 12 step statement that they are powerless. JoAnn has some posts on this I think. So when they continue to act out they say “i am powerless and can’t control”. I beleive this is BS and again is an excuse.
Currently the medical community does not view this as an addiction but as a compulsion which they have trouble controlling. Some of them i think are just selfish jerks as well, and truely no addiction going on, but its a temporary patch to continue doing what they want without regard for anyone else. As my attorney stated calling it an addiction is “an excuse to do bad things”.
So I do feel it is a choice, its just that the pull of the addiction is stronger. The question is whether ot not they have the strenght to choose to live life, or to stay in planet disturbia. Some actually come clean and really do not want to live there anymore, some get caught and are never really ready to leave. They like it there.
these are just my thoughts.
Also interesting is JoAnn’s post about the founder of AA. This man while a recovering alcholic then turned to sex addiction and had several affairs and cheated on his wife. So it is typical to hang up one addiction and move onto another.
I find your story very disturbing. I hear your commitment and desire to be a part of real solution here for another human being whose story is truly heart-breaking. I also don’t hear anything different than every other woman who posts here about their struggle, the “two men” they live with, the hard work and never-ending going back to the beginning, the periods of relief and then the periods of relapse, the emotionally abusive behaviours etc. I do hear you saying you went into this with eyes wide open and that even though it was deeper than your imagined “your head is still above water”. If you are okay living this way there isn’t much else to say is there, except perhaps to be aware of the message about love and sexuality the children in your home are absorbing everyday in an environment where the non-addict parent gives permission by allowing it to continue. Perhaps this is one of those times when co-dependency is something to be considered.
I’m pretty good with adults making their own decisions, but when children are involved and those decisions deliberately place children in an environment that is burdened with emotionally destructive behaviours, conflicted messages about what love is and isn’t, and dangerous modeling of sexual behaviours, I’m going to stand up and say “not fair”—Not Fair to them at all.
When you write ” My biggest issues with him have nothing to do with the sex addiction… it’s the side effects of the addiction. Selfishness, self entitlement, denial, laziness, depression, the need for immediate gratification with things besides sex.”, I am surprised at that considering how much research you did before you married your sex addict. These behaviours are NOT side effects of the addiction at all. They are integral pieces of your SA. They will not disappear with sobriety. They are wired for this emotional behaviour. All the sobriety in the world will not change the selfishness, self entitlement, denial, laziness, depression, the need for immediate gratification (impulsivity) etc. I have yet to read any literature that gives any indication of how much intensive therapy for how long has any impact on these things. These are emotionally destructive behaviours and your children are learning those patterns as if they are “normal”. And you are in denial in you think these are “side effects”.
Please get yourself a therapist. You are going to be in deep trouble if you aren’t already. When you describe his behaviours as “interesting” and “fascinating” you give yourself away. This isn’t a case study or an experiment. It’s your life. And its your children’s lives. Your need to distance yourself with such “intellectualizing” words is your best clue. Maybe you do need to distance yourself and your children from this.
I appreciated JoAnn’s post on your story. She wrote “I realize that we all cope in different ways, and all of us here are to support each other. But, because we do love and respect each other, we will call you on any behaviors that we see as harmful to you.” That’s what I’m trying to do here, and I realize I have made have been clumsy with it. I do really care about you Ann, and your children. I care enough to “call you on any behaviours that we see as harmful to you.” Not so warm and fuzzy I know. And some may say I’m too harsh. But there is something wrong with this story and I think you know there is, and that’s why you are here. And that tells me that there is a brave woman here who may have her head above water for now, but whose toes are starting to lose the bottom. Please get a therapist, and for once, I’m suggesting one who knows about co-dependency.
You are worth so much than this story supports. As are your children. What you describe isn’t a relationship of mutuality of love and respect, it’s a project. I get that you want to save him from himself, but I have to tell you that you can’t.
May you have self-understanding for all that lies ahead.
You are a strong, smart, incredible woman. The courage to take on that within a relationship is huge. Bravo to you for being someone commitment to a great relationship despite the challenges. You are also someone strong in your knowledge and convictions. I personally believe EVERY couple dynamic is completely different in the energies between two people. I left the person who was a SA in my marriage, he didn’t display any interest, equaling actions to allow recovery to be present. This is not always the case in other people’s relationship. Everyone’s dynamic is different in recovery or out between those personal beings. So what works for one might not always work for the other. Even so the complexities of the behaviors of SA are very similar with traits and similarities, those we can all relate to for sure. If I could be so bold to generalize on anyone’s behalf.
I wanted to make a particular note / comment with intentions to the “punishments” arena. Boundaries I believe are a constant evolvement and someone that continues to change, evolve as one gets stronger and the “self” emerges with clarity and convictions of self love and what is acceptable or not then changes occur.
It occurs to me you believe in this person and his ability, and more importantly his willingness. There must be something present within your relationship that leads you in this direction. I would say trust yourself and it looks like you are someone whom has taken care of yourself along the way.
Here is my proposal thought regarding this “consequence” discussion.
Personally my belief is when dealing with a SA whom had early trauma, sometimes stuck in the “adolescence” stages of life, it can continue this mothering role in relationships and marriage. SO I intend in the area that wife can easily slip in and out of “mother” role and then SA goes into “child” role. If we relate it to “Child Ego”, Adult ego” and “Parental Ego”. When SA is in full recovery, engaging in communication with responsibility and accountability they would be in their “Adult Ego” engaging in your “Adult Ego”. Since this disease is so complex already in the constant pull for being the helper so to speak, computer monitoring etc it is already easy to be in parental ego. So my point is this, when dealing with consequences, I like to consider out of the box. Something that either gets created by SA / partner / husband with his rules set up for him to follow, step into being accountable or not. Don’t get me wrong if boundaries are crossed that is YOUR right to say what is except able or not. Like if it is a personal boundary violation to YOU – then there are not limits to what you say is consequences. And if there are acting out boundary violations then working with a SA, creating acceptable “punishments” so to speak that HE creates with you and follows through or not and then creating others if those are not me. Something like that. I think it is important especially in that realm to do one’s best to stay out of the “mothering” role for that in particular. Hope that makes sense. Of course this is proposal, something to take into account. For me it was a huge dilemma in my marriage as the SA i was married too would typically pull only for me to assemble his “motherly” role.
Food for thought.
Be well, it sounds like there is optimism for your husband to show willingness and that is the most essential part of a marriage working whether sex addiction is present or not..
Thanks C. That was a kind and positive email for me to read tonight. My husband is working on his addiction which is why I stay with him and have chosen to raise children with him. Some days I wonder if he’s crazy. Some days I want to kill him, Some days I love him dearly and some days I just have to stand back and shake my head. I know I would never stay with an active sex addict… and yet every three months or so I find myself in just that position. I have to believe things are improving. Unfortunately we do fall into the “parent/child” roles all too often. HIs addiction has robbed him of more than just time out of society, it has robbed him of “adult” type skills and a feeling of responsibility for something – anything. I really try to avoid that scenario and work with him on a peer to peer basis where we work on consequences vs rewards as a team – but sometimes with as self absorbed as he gets with himself and getting his needs met (not just with sex) that it becomes more like me against him. I really do miss that element in my marriage. The true feeling of having an equal partner pulling his share of the weight.
ON another note I had a conversation with my addict about what I feel is morally acceptable to me. He agreed to everything. So then I asked him what consequences he felt should be put into place if he breaks those boundaries. It’s there that we struggle. He says he works on a reward system best – and yet the best reward I can offer him… a loving happy health family is what he is still denying by his actions. So really the best reward out there still isn’t good enough enticement to get him to stop and think twice before he makes his bad decision. So I take a step back. What kind of immediate gratification can we find as a reward for him, maybe the other is too obscure or far out there. Nothing he could come up with is more powerful than his desires in the addiction. Guess we go back to a ‘punishment’ system. The problem is that for me it gets exhausting playing that role in the relationship all the time. I don’t want to just ignore it all hoping it will magically go away, but I don’t want to play the heavy any more. It’s dragging me down too.
Does his therapist feel that the addiction has robbed him of “”adult” type skills and a feeling of responsibility for something – anything.” Because both thearpists my husband has had say this is a seperate issue and is/was not a result of the addiction. The addiction plays into the parent child role, but not lack of responsibility for himself and the household is his, not the addiction. The parent chold role comes into play with the addiction becuase they are acting like a child. And if you are going to behave like a child we will treat you like one, and if you are going to behave like and adult we would treat them like an adult. (I got that from someone else who posted on here, but very wise statement).
For instance as I am sure you have read. Mine does not like to work, has a minimum wage job (even though he has a bachelors degree) and when he was in the home had complete lack of responsibility for household chores etc. Everyhting in our relationship has been heavily weighted (if not solely) on me. Both therapists I posed the question “is this a result of the addiction?” both have said it is a seperate issue. I do not feel that the lack of resonsiblity is a result of the addiction, but an excuse.
So in my case, an possibly yours, there is more than one issue or problem.