Is Your Sexually Addicted Spouse Maintaining His Sobriety? Don’t Bet Your Life On I

I have received some interesting comments over my previous post from women who declare that it is not their place, nor do they have the desire to ‘police’ their Sexually Addicted spouses and partners. Even COSA and the other Co-groups expound on the philosophy that those of us who monitor the behavior of the addict are somehow co-dependent or even co-addicts.

I find that idea curiously counter productive. It’s like telling us that we don’t have the right to protect ourselves. That we shouldn’t ensure that our lives are safe. That we shouldn’t do what we must to make certain that we are not blindsided once again with the horrors of infidelity and risky behaviors.

Sex Addiction is an escalating disorder. Sex Addicts require increasing amounts of new and different stimuli in order to get the same result. It is NOT UNUSUAL for male Sex Addicts to escalate from internet porn to actual sexual encounters, often with unprotected sex and then to homosexual encounters and pedophilia.

Monitoring is only necessary if you choose to stay in a relationship with a Sex Addict, and if the addict is committed to a recovery program. Let’s face it, if they are not committed to a recovery program they will continue to act out–so why bother monitoring?

If you have decided to stay in the relationship and have decided that monitoring is not for you, then you must at least be aware of the risks. If you choose to stay in a relationship with a Sex Addict, continue to have unprotected sex and are not monitoring  their behavior you are betting your life that your Sex Addict partner or spouse will never stray again.

I don’t know any Sex Addict who has earned that much trust.

I just read this frightening article about the increase in HIV infections in women over 40. Other viral STDs like Genital Warts and Genital Herpes are incurable–you carry the virus for the rest of your life, and condoms do not offer complete protection from either of these two STDs. One in every five adults is infected with Genital Herpes and Genital Warts are responsible for over 90% of all cervical cancers.

Now, back to the monitoring. Let me explain exactly what I mean by ‘monitoring’. It’s nothing more than having access to all the information you need to make sure that you are not being deceived. That’s all–just access. Do you need to scrutinize all those credit card bills, phone logs and checking account statements every month? Of course not. But if you have a doubt, that access will certainly put your mind at ease–or validate your gut feeling.  My counselor recommended a yearly lie detector test for the recovering Sex Addict husband of one of her clients. This couple has done this for three years now and their relationship is much stronger without those doubts about whether he is lying or not.

If your spouse or partner will not give you access to what you need and is not regularly attending counseling and/or 12 step meetings then I would truly doubt that they are sincere about their recovery. When a Sex Addict is committed to recovery and to rebuilding the relationship they are finally able to put aside their defensiveness about being watched and mistrusted. They take full accountability for what they have done and realize that they have a lot of work to do to rebuild the trust that they destroyed. Until they have that paradigm shift they are just not ready to tackle the hard work of recovery–and you are at risk.

Love and doubt have never been on speaking terms. ~ Kahill Gibran

Related Articles

Responses

  1. I see your point, totally. I am more on that side of the theory, as well. There are two warring points to treating the spouses of sex addict’s, at the moment: the trauma model, and the older 12-step version. I write about the trauma model fairly regularly on my blog– and that version is much more “protect yourself/get help” based.

    For what it’s worth though, a lot of what S-Anon teaches is probably what your other comments were about– basically, to try not to obsess about what the addict is doing– is probably to keep our own sanity, first. My therapist, who is more a trauma perspective, believes that with plenty of boundaries and accountability (lie detector tests, etc), trust CAN eventually be re-built– and the desire, and need, to check-up on the addict goes away. I think this is probably true as well, based on some fabulous recovery that I’ve been lucky to witness in other relationships. My relationship though, is ending– my addict is not recovering. I’m getting a divorce. And when I’m not sad, I’m counting my lucky stars! 🙂

  2. I discovered my husband is a “Compulsive Liar” which is another addiction-he pasted a polygraph-he shouldn’t have! based on his own counseling with two other people.
    He flat-lined on LVA-Layered Voice Analyst-in the area of Emotions-he was at 0%/100% (LiarCard.com).
    He beleives what his thinks and says-it can change from one sentence to another.
    I am handling everything better since I know-I don’t feel so Crazy.
    The latest genuine lie tech is eye movement, U of UT Research article.
    Our Clergy and Counselor both support not even talking about it anymore.
    He has rewritten our history, minimizes the damage to me-he isn’t able to-he is stuck-he is in Abstinence, not Recovery-switching addictions-and everything is my fault-Again. There is healthy Codependency-I know the difference-working on Masters-taking Cert. Addictionology-faith based 12-Steps-do a couple different ones, etc.
    I think we have lost what could have been-I cannot do this anymore.
    SoulInTheSun

  3. Evelyn,

    I am so sorry that you are going through this hell. It is the loss of a dream– but as you can see over and over it was an illusion that never really existed and I am so very sorry for your loss and pain.

    My ex friend was also a compulsive liar and he did not even realize it (most of the time). One thing I did after catching him in some of the lies was to make up phony profiles and chat with him as “other” women. (I realize that this in and of itself is pretty crazy behavior on my part, but I just wanted to see how far he would go thinking he was chatting with “someone else”.)and yes, he went ALL OUT trying to seduce this “new” conquest. ugh. Talk about self-flagellation.(metaphorically, speaking, of course) Then, he would get back to the real me and brag about this “new” woman (which of course, was hurtful in and of itself, even if she didn’t exist!) who was showing interest in him… but my main point is that at least half of what he told me was a complete and utter fabrication of what “we” really had chatted about! Lies and fabrication just came spewing out of his mouth like hot molten lava out of an active volcano. Sometimes, he would lie to me, in person and I would pay attention to what his face and body did during his story. It was quite fascinating how his language took on an almost impressionistic quality, as he would interject small phrases that had no basis in any reality whatsoever.

    It is a year now, since I last saw him and he is still sick (despite a “I’ll do whatever you need me to do” stint in rehab, etc.) and his partner is still refusing to accept it,(as least as far as I know, but thankfully can no longer verify, but based on his frequent ads on Craig’s List) Recently, I have done a visualization whereby I “see them” as being genuinely and healthfully loving towards the other and healed. I know that may sound strange, but it feels good to me. Even if they aren’t, it helps me to see them as being well and happy and truly recovered from this horrible disease. Then, at least, all will have not been for naught.

    As for me— I don’t know. I really don’t. But, I’m not feeling as hurt or as angry and that’s a step in the right direction. 🙂

    xo,

    Lorraine

  4. HI everyone,
    I had a long talk with my husband last night about my post on the “shallow end of recovery”, and also about the two men who posted on this site and who had “recovery blogs” with sexually explicit posts and ads for sex books and erotic material and available women etc.

    The gist of our conversation was around the question of what sobriety really is, and what recovery means to some SA’s. He has been going to 5-6 meetings a week for 11 months now. Each meeting is a different group, with some people overlap (like him). He shared some of how the group operates without breaking any confidentialities.

    On sobriety—it means pursuing no activity with arousal triggers in it, and avoiding all arousal templates. If that sounds difficult, in our culture, it is. My husband does not look at TV wihtout me, and we only have “basic”, he avoids shopping malls with posters of sexed-up women, and would never go near the internet unless he is at work (to decrease this need, he also assigned someone else the job of the website he managed for his learning centre), or in public library where stringent controls prevent addicts following their muse. If people are in real relationships that include sexual intimacy–that is okay, as long as they are not using their partner as a fantasy tool. Clearly, that last one is hard to police, but it’s there.

    On Recovery—My husband is in a 12 step SA program, and his therapist also works out of that model. After 11 months, he knows it like the back of his hand. He also knows how the meetings are supposed to run, what’s okay and what’s not okay, etc. He has watched lots of people come and go, heard all the lies, as well as the hard truths. He knows, for example, that some guys use “recovery” as a balancing tool to even out their addictive behaviours. Fewer extreme activities, but engagement still in certain ones. He knows that blaming and attacking the wife or partner is very common–although the rules say the addict is to only talk about himself/herself. They will persist with this blaming/attacking track anytime they think they might get away with it. And sometimes the group is too worn down to call them on it, and they get away with it. As for the “pride and ego” associated with recovery, apparently it’s well known. In his SA groups, they name it “he wants a parade”–meaning the SA in recovery thinks he deserves public admiration for entering recovery, and also believes he is now above any criticism whatsoever, and owes no woman (in particular) an explanation of any suspicious or inappropriate activities. For these guys, “being in recovery” is the get out of jail free card, or the get of my back card. I think that’s enough for now on recovery.

    Then I described to my husband the activities of these two men who invaded JoAnn’s site, and read some of what they wrote to us, and what was on their sites. His eyes nearly bugged out of his head, and he was, for a moment, speechless. He wanted us all to know that NO ONE in his groups would be allowed to stay if they had websites like that. He said it was obvious that these men were protecting arousal triggers under the cover of a recovery blog, and the some recovering SA’s would lose their sobriety on those sites. He was appalled by the one guy who wrote about having sex with his wife, but also the other sexually explicit entries about acting out activities.

    Here’s what he said about the excuses:
    In 12 step SA, no sexually explicit language of any kind is permitted. EVER. These are triggers for men. So they can’t be used.
    The moral inventory excuse used by one guy, is absolute crap. That step is always done confidentially with therapist, sponsor and finally one’s chosen confessor. There is no “show and tell” aspect to that step. EVER.
    Also, he has found the evangelical religious person has the most trouble staying sober, because they pad their hard truth with so much de-focussing language about God that everytime they get close to their own sacred wound, they launch into these declarations about their faith and the sacred wounds of Jesus, and move away again. My husband is a very religious person in the same faith tradition, and he hates to see aspects of this faith impeding recovery.

    He also says, however, that overall, SA saved his life. And the slow coming to awareness of how his addiction affected every aspect of his life is still ongoing. He hates looking back at the “shallow end of his recovery” and how he continued to abuse me. He told me about how the desire to preserve chunks of his life from the implication of “recovery” is a hard one to crack. The desire to compartmentalize the addiction is very strong.

    So, that’s not the only truth to be told about how these guys work it out, what they throw at us along the way, and what itmeans to actually be sober. But I think it’s helpful when considering the whiny protests and personal attacks thrown at women who dare to question an SA about inappropriate behaviour. Dont’ expect them to like it when you do.

    And don’t think I’m married to a saint. I’m not. He’s been a huge asshole and broken my heart. I have found forgiveness not that hard in the end, but reconciliation sticks in my throat still. The conversation we had last night was a real breakthrough because he learned more of what it’s like for women trying to support each other on JoAnn’s site, and even there, to still be expected to coddle SA’s splashing around in the shallow end. Some of you may think I’m a hard ass about this—you should have heard him.

    It’s really important for women to trust the questions or hesitations about what’s going on. SA’s are counting on us doing the opposite.

    on the journey still,
    D.

    1. To Diane,
      I am 21 days into this journey with my sex adddicted husband. I have had more than my share of information that makes me want to throw up. In the beginning I was so mad I wanted to kill him, that would be the rage part, but he still lives. I was shocked after 27 years of marriage to find out he was with escorts and viewing porn and God knows what. He has started therapy with a sex addiction specialist and he is attending the 12 step meetings twice a week. I have met with a therapist once and I will be attending my first S-Anon meeting this Thursday. I should have started earlier but I just wasn’t ready. I knew he wanted me to go get help and I told him he didn’t have the right to suggest I do anything. This time he was right, I need to talk to someone. My reason for writing to you is that we are still together and we both want to make this work. He has done everything “right” so far. He has followed his therapists advice and he is accountable. There haven’t been anymore secrets that I know of, but I am cautious of everything he says. His behavior and his work towards sobriety are sincere. You said you are still with your husband and I wondered what this journey has in store for me. How did you cope with all the information? The hurt and betrayal? We have an appointment with his doctor in 21 days to disclose things I need to know. I am scared and nervous about what I will find out. How did you do it?

      1. Dear mkw,
        I apologize for the slow response, as I was out of town on business and usually post now on JoAnn’s other site “Sisterhood of Support”. JoAnn let me know about your questions.

        I guess I have many things to share with you.

        My SA and I were not living under the same roof when I posted this, but we were still working for reconciliation. That hope was dashed when we approached disclosure. As a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (most SA spouses have this), the disclosure event was carefully planned around my needs in consultation with my therapist. The possibility of more trauma was impossible for me to face. As we got closer to the date, my SA started to change our plan (that he agreed to) and create an unsafe environment for me, including his 12 step therapist attending so she could “look for” my co-dependent tendencies. This was NOT the purpose of the event, and tried to put me on the on the blame train. I cancelled the whole thing, realizing my SA and his therapist were not safe people for me to be around. We are not reconciled. Later, when we told our adult sons about his addiction, and had agreed to the limits of detail etc, he sabotaged me then and got away with it. 80% of what he told the boys I did not know, and it was horrible. It was devastating. So he got his ambush disclosure event, and it took me months to recover.

        That’s my story in brief. Now here’s what’s really important…what I’m worried about in your story!

        This is FAR TOO SOON for you to experience a disclosure event. YOu have not been properly assessed or cared for BY YOUR OWN TRAUMA THERAPIST (not a 12 step person). You will, without a doubt, have many of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms, and like most of us, you may have most of them.
        What his therapist is condoning is abusive and very very wrong here. You need someone caring for you with your best interests, not the SA’s best interest’s in mind. The whole 12 step, and S-Anon program is designed for them to be the centre of the world. So, although it has helped my SA become sober, it does not address the narcissism of the addiction, and perpetuates it by casting the wife in a role where she must declare herself co-addict or co-dependent too, JUST BECAUSE HE IS!!!

        Please get your own therapist. Please tell your SA and his therapist that you are not ready to bear more trauma right now. If they argue with you, run as fast as you can the other way. Follow your gut. If you know it’s too much, do not let yourself be bullied.

        After I experience the ambush disclosure event, it was months of new recovery for me, and I still shake when I recall what I learned. He robbed me of every single moment of my married life.

        I am sorry that I don’t have better news. YOu have experienced such terrible thing that none of us should go through. But it is crucial that you stand up for what you know you need. Because even if you can reconcile and begin again, he will need to know your boundaries and that you will stick to them.

        Elsewhere on the site, JoAnn has three excellent audio interviews with Dr. Barbara Steffens—talking about the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for partners of SA’s. Her book is really excellent and I think you can order it from this site too. Listen to the audio files. It will help you understand and frame your feelings in a way that does not diminish your SA’s struggle, but puts yours on the table as well.

        lots of light for you.
        Diane.

  5. I think there should be laws that persecute sex addicted husbands. It is attempted murder in my eyes. Nevermind the polls that say how the wives of SA’s endure more pain mentally than gangrape or losing a child. It is certainly the worst pain I have ever felt. There are no words to describe the agony and suffering.

  6. i agree completely on the grounds that my husband had unprotected sex with a mulitude of partners and not only did he come home and have unprotected sex with me, but he did so when I was pregnant with his child. He put both of our lives at risk for any of the std’s out there. It should be considered attempted murder. If not attempted murder,reckless endangerment, child abuse??

  7. He passed a lie detector test he should not have passed-by his own admissions to our counselor of 6 years and bishop. I feel I wasn’t considered for the hurt and trauma I waded through until we learned what was wrong. All I know is a history of porn-but it is mostly still in his head-I do not know his triggers, how bad it has been/is?! Does he have a double life.
    I am to leave the subject and him alone about it. That isn’t going to change.
    I cannot do this without being able to have trust.
    Don’t think I can live with the not knowing-AND-do not have the faith or security of what he will or will not do.
    He is the love of my life-loved him wide open like a child-he has compared me to past women, fixates on young thin girls/women. I look great for my age-he has learned to be “present” during sex-when there is any sex.
    It is lonelier-to be with him-that to be alone-by myself.
    Lived apart two years-don’t think we are going to make it.
    Currently-I attend 3 faith based 12-steps a week-Helps me to let go of outcome of relationship-have no expectations of him-happier this way1

  8. OMG, I am so angry I want to VOMIT. I really hate my husband right now. Everytime I think about what I know he’s done and what I don’t know if I’ve got and what he may have done that I don’t know he’s done, IT IS TRAUMATIC. That’s why I am suffering from PTSD.

    I am glad he’s out of the house, because he was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. So I got a restraining order. I am so angry now, he’s lucky he’s not here.

  9. lucylu – I wonder if there could be, no, should be, women who prosecute their SA. Reckless endangerment and fraud are a few that come to mind, let alone in states which still have adultery laws on the books. Civil cases would be great to get back the money they squandered.

    Yes, I have PTSD. I trigger horribly and have panic attacks now, and I can barely go through a day without something beating up when I least expect it.

    I have been cheated on before, I was married to a narcissist, but at least these people were cads on the surface and I have only myself to blame for being involved with them.

    This man was a consumate, compulsive liar, passive aggressive, multiple addict who loves his self hate and misery most of all. Yet, I believed him, completely, and was totally blind sided that he could be so cruel.

    Part of me wishes I could care and stay in my kindness and be strong and all adult. The other is furious that I have to live through this and he gets to claim ‘recovery’.

    My mind ‘gets’ his internal turmoil and self hate. My heart will never understand how he could choose me to take it out on, and worse, that I would buy his total bullshit. I do not believe he was here to heal my pain of my childhood, only that my pain left me open for his manipulation to take advantage of me.

    Blessings on us all.

  10. I don’t buy into the co dependant model but rather the trauma model. At one time or other we all display some co dependant traits but that doesn’t make us co dependant or a co addict. I agree with having access to everything and I also believe in a full disclosure (written) followed by a polygraph to verify. For the first few years at least follow up polygraphs should be done every 3-6 months.

  11. I keep posting and get no responses, I need help with a few questions, it has been one year since I discovered my husband had a porn addiction. So far, he only has admitted to what I have printed proof of,and I feel is still in total denial, very defensive and angry, if it is mentioned. We have been to therapy and the therapist said he needs in house treatment, my husband was not impressed. We truly cannot afford this type of treatment. What do you think the chances are that porn was his only acting out, shall we call it.? He was working 3000 miles away, and only home for a week, every few months.I must say, he has never shown me oe bit of remorse or an apology.

    1. Linda, this site isn’t a forum for personal questions. We’re only supposed to comment on the main post. Try JoAnn’s SOS site. There you will get all the answers you ask for and more. I know you’re in pain. SOS can help

  12. Hi Linda,

    A SA WILL only admit to what you have proof of, nearly 100% of the time.

    As for your husband:

    1)He shows no remorse?
    2)He’s defensive and angry and
    3)he’s never given you an apology.

    This I’m afraid is a classic case of a man in active sex addiction. And until he no longer WANTS to be a sex addict with every fiber of his being, then all of the “in house” therapy in the world is not going to make an inkling of difference.

    As for the chances that he’s actually escalated beyond porn into real live affairs? Statistically, I have read that a man who does porn is far MORE LIKELY to act out in person, than one who does not. My husband also said that it was “just porn.” nope. Your husband travels 3,000 miles away? Frequently, these guys place ads in Craig’s List (at the location he will be) as a “hotel visitor” looking for a woman, or women or a couple or a… whatever. He’s an addict and he has easy means to act out. Its like pouring gasoline on an already roaring bon fire.

    I’m so sorry, Linda. Please, please, we have all been through this; the lies upon lies upon lies and even for some of us whose husbands appear to be trying, they STILL lie. At least yours is being honest in that he is basically saying, “this is the deal, and I don’t want to hear another word about it.” You asked the tough questions and I’m afraid the prognosis is not very good in terms of your husband coming out of this. Not unless he’s really willing to face who he is and what he’s done and why he’s doing it. And I do not see any evidence of that whatsoever. I’m wishing you peace and its not always an easy thing to find.

  13. I’ve been in recovery with my sex addict husband for almost 2 years. It is very difficult because my husband I feel still lies about looking at women in public. I’m afraid that this is going to trigger him back into his porn addiction. He has actively been attending theraphy with a licenses SA addiction counselor. However, I feel like he probably manipulates his counselor in believing he is the perfect SA recovered addict. I feel myself giving up on this whole process because if I can’t trust him this will never work. There’s been some other red flags that also indicate he may have relapsed. He tells me I’m wrong about fearing he could escualate from porn addiction into a physical affair, but your blog has validated that I’m not crazy for feeling and fearing that this could occur. I’m tired of him looking at women in public and then becoming defensive towards me.

  14. Debbie,

    You are definitely not crazy at all! However, when you say that you are “in recovery” WITH your sex addict husband, it makes me a bit nuts. Are you a sex addict too? If not, then why on earth are YOU IN RECOVERY? What the hell for? Unless you mean that you are trying to recover from being duped, cheated on and lied to by the most special important person in your life. There is absolutely NOTHING THAT YOU DID THAT LEAD TO HIM BEHAVING IN THIS MATTER. I want to take out a huge billboard in Times Sq that says this. He was in a committed monogamous relationship and HE is the one who broke his promise to you!

    News flash. He’s not even close to being recovered or even IN a REAL RECOVERY. You know it and the fact that he won’t concede that lusting after women leads to escalating disease is like an alcoholic in recovery saying that an occasional beer won’t matter. It DOES matter and a man in recovery KNOWS AND ADMITS that his life is going to have to change and drastically; he understands the traps and pitfalls and KNOWS what his triggers are. He is learning to accept that he is never going to have a “normal” life ever again because HE CANNOT HANDLE IT because he is someone who will do anything, even decimate the woman he loves with his heinous, soul-crushing behavior. so, tell me please… how are you ever going to trust him? You can’t. He lies to you, his therapist and even himself and that doesn’t make for a very good prognosis. In addition, how is he to stop looking when at every turning some busty young beauty is walking around falling out of her overly tight, overly skimpy-what’s-passing-for-a-top. and if his therapist can’t see through his crap then she’s in the wrong business. Or else, she’s just taking you for a ride which I believe that most SA therapists are because the reality is that its very unlikely that there is going to be any significant change.

    ITS VERY UNLIKELY THAT THERE’S GOING TO BE ANY SIGNIFICANT CHANGE.

    So, what I always say is this:

    Can you live with him as he is now? Its okay to stay with a sex addict and just let him be, but that’s the rub. you have to let him be and not try to change him into being something he’s not and not feel badly when he’s out screwing other women, mentally undressing him and then fantasizing about them until the cows come home. If that’s going to eat out your heart and soul, then you will have some hard choices to make.

  15. I remember 12 years ago reading posts like this (because my gut was telling me something was wrong so I went looking for answers) and thinking, no way, not my husband, he just looks at porn a little too much. He would never really have an affair, go to strip clubs and spend $10,000 in one night, or sleep with call girls. As his addiction escalated and I started thinking, “maybe we do have a bigger problem” I read websites and books that tell the spouse, “Oh you should never police” blah, blah, blah. That was a great justification for him to withhold and “maintain his privacy.” Well what do I do so I have a glimpse into the reality of my marriage, I spend inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out how to spy. So here I am 12 years later, (one affair with a stripper later, multiple call girls later, and thousand of dollars later) in the middle of a horrid divorce, while he lives in our basement and openly signs up for dating sites like Tinder, spends thousands upon thousands of dollars on strippers and hookers and lies to anyone who will listen about what a controlling woman I am and all the problems “I” have failing to mention how this situation was created. I remember posting on support boards years and years ago and the women telling me to run as fast as I could. Of course I told myself my spouse would never be like their spouses, they must just be bitter old ladies. So here I am, over 40, having spent my 17 years of marriage as a stay at home mom trusting my marriage would work out. If I could only go back to the very first sexy email, or to the first hook-up site profile, I would have left then. In my personal experience, once they’ve escalated to in person sex, it’s too late, they are unlikely to turn back. We did the intensive weekend with Dr. Weiss after the first affair, but inevitably, he always convinced himself that he was a normal red blooded american male. I am sure he his dating a fairly young girl right now who has 3 younger children and I feel awful for her… she has no idea what she is getting herself into. Alas, as I have learned myself, no one can be convinced that what you see isn’t always what you get. It is something you have to go through to learn the painful, life altering lessons that leave you forever changed and suspicious.
    I clearly see who he is now, and it sickens me that his view of himself is so distorted that he likely will not ever face who he is. I suspect he will end up arrested, with an incurable disease or playing sugar daddy to a sex worker who is willing to put on a conservative front for the people in his life and community. While I have to nurture his relationship with our 3 children all the while knowing who he is when no one is watching. That’s the sickest part of all of this… I have to stand by and watch him lie to our children about who he is ( now I’m forced to lie by omission) so I don’t influence their relationship with him in a negative way. How’s that for F***ed up! If I knew then what I know now, I would have heeded the advice of those “old bitter women” and run as fast as I could away from this marriage. Love does not concur all and loving someone will not make them change.

  16. Wow. This just really hit home for me. Even if we can figure out our marriage, I can never have unprotected sex with my husband again.
    I’m about a month in from the BIG MOMENT when I found out via his new iPhone synching messages to my iPad. He denied, then admitted some (and of course laid blame on me. Several days later I went through cell phone bills and had much more to discover.
    Most of my STD tests are negative. Waiting for my pap to investigate warts/genital herpes/cervical cancer. He did not think he could pass things along as he always wore a condom with his hookers. But then again, I guess we can consider him a liar.
    We have been married 17 years with 5 young kids. Together for over 20. In retrospect, he always preferred porn over me, and apparently escorts too.
    He is very contrite, and has moved out. He is seeing a therapist, and states he is very committed to being healthy. It makes me wish for him home.
    However, the threat of STDs as a permanent fixture in my life did not even occur to me. I considered the option that he may get a secret cell phone, and the high relapse rate. But I will never be clear of this disease, from a sexual point of view, ever. EVER after reading this article.
    Thank you. This makes sense to me. I think I would rather co-parent our children as a separated couple, as he is a great father, and a good person, but I don’t think I will ever feel safe again.

  17. Hear, Hear!

    I totally agree with your observation that telling a traumatized partner not to check or keep tabs is taking trauma to a whole new level.
    As far as protecting ourselves, I believe we should go to Washington! Let’s demand that a law be passed that when a spouse has been diagnosed
    with sex addiction, or even caught committing adultery ONE time, that federal and state privacy laws shall no longer apply to their partner,
    for mental & physical health and safety!! 😉
    I have so many times wanted to purchase spy apps for his phone, a ‘real-time’ gps for his vehicle, a recorder, a spy cam, etcetera… Not to catch him cheating, because
    I know he’s doing that… but to just say “Hi” as he leaves an appointment, to throw months of lying and gas-lighting in his face. How ironic & maddening to suffer so much pain because of him,
    but I can’t gain safety without risking MY freedom!

    I am a year and 6 months out from discovery day. I am leaving a 20 year marriage, not because of the addiction, but solely because of the pathological lying, cruelty, and lack of empathy. He knows I have proof that he is still acting out, not ‘totally innocent and trying so hard to be good’, as he claims. Now that I am calmer and don’t tell him what I know, it makes him crazy. He
    mocks me and calls me insane in front of our 13 yr old son, and has told my 2 adult daughters in ‘secret’, that he is “really worried about Mom… I am afraid she might be losing her mind.”

    Meanwhile, a mobile phone magically appeared in his truck, he logs into secret Yahoo and Outlook email accounts, Verizon shows up as his Google Play Store Payment option, when we only use Sprint, he does internet searches for ‘how to make international calls on an HTC phone’, and Google Maps has him at homes and apartments less than 1 – 3 miles from our home!! I have heard “I don’t know how that got on my account!” and “You did it yourself, or just imagined it”, a thousand times.

    I now accept that it is not possible to keep track of a determined cheater, thanks to technology, sim cards, free email accounts and cloud storage, and $20 dollar pre-paid smart phones in every store.

    Watching the bank accounts for ATM withdrawals? He can get cash back every time he pays for groceries, a pack of Lifesavers, or gas with his debit card, then purchase a Vanilla Visa or Master card.

    Ladies, did you know Ashley Madison accepts the Home Depot card as payment for their membership fee?! So brilliant… what suspicious wife would check the Home Depot account for ‘cheating’ charges?

    Did you know there is a site called http://www.USAsexguide.com? Men log in and review sex workers, massage parlors and prostitutes EXACTLY like they are leaving a review for a good meal or a lousy haircut. They inform each other about who is an addict, a thief, cost, cleanliness, safety, who performs what services, and who was recently arrested, and might be working for the ‘Uncles’ (police). They feel they are doing a great service for one another. If JoAnn gives permission, I’d like to share my husband’s forum requests for help finding a good ‘safe’ prostitute, mentioning that he ‘loves this new hobby’, and how sad he is that his favorite massage parlors have been shut down. They revel in it, like little boys at Christmas. I was stunned at how blase’ and matter of fact they are.

    Could we help each other with a forum on this site for ways to find evidence legally, or apps and tricks our spouses used? I lucked out: on Discovery Day my husband yelled “Go ahead, check my email, because I am INNOCENT! You know my password for everything, go ahead!”, loud enough that my son heard. I changed his password, created him a new ‘nice guy’ email address, and began checking the old one, and boy, did I learn a lot. Google will ‘recover’ deleted email messages, if you ask nicely.. It was a goldmine, with links to about 6 other secret emails, 30 to 40 usernames for hookup sites, emails literally making appointments with prostitutes, etcetera. Since he was ‘innocent and being good now’, I asked him to switch phones with me, but I wish I had known to do that right away!!. Without his phone number and main ‘cheating email’, he can’t go on sites and change his password, or delete the account. Since I had his PERMISSION, I can print all of this for the judge, if it comes to that.

    I have come to accept that he didn’t choose to be a sex addict (but he is}. If he were actively seeking recovery and seemed sorry about hurting us, instead of sad he got caught and sorry for himself, I would stay. But he shows no signs of stopping, he went to one 12-step meeting, and he stopped therapy. I am not one of ‘those’ women, who stand by their husband ‘because he is only sick’. I am not strong enough to live knowing what my life will continue to be. Though I am scared to death to be on my own, starting over at 53, it is far preferable to continuing a life of loneliness, married to a stranger..

    1. Thanks for the helpful post Lisa. As for a forum, the bandwidth to support a forum is quite expensive, that’s why the private Sisterhood forums are paid subscriptions. In addition, a public forum requires constant monitoring to avoid trolls and spammers. ~ JoAnn