From my journal:

journalIt always comes down to this when dealing with a Sex Addict.

It’s not about what they do, although that is vitally important, it’s more about what they say. It’s always about the lies. The lies will get you every time. The lies will cause the doubts. The lies will crumble the foundation of your relationship and it’s the lies that will destroy the trust.

Picture this scenario:
He casually mentions having lunch with a colleague, a consultant he says that he is working with on a case. Nothing more is said. You have no reason to doubt or wonder about anything. You assume the consultant is a male or he would have stated otherwise, right?

Well, that’s what I expected considering we have had seven years (yes—years) of conversations about honesty and transparency. But, I assumed wrongly. Yes, he had lunch with a consultant, yes they went to a fancy Pub, yes he paid for the lunch, and yes he just conveniently failed to mention that this consultant was a woman. Worse than that, he failed to mention that he had been having lunches and coffee with her over the last two years.

His reason for not telling me that this consultant was a woman? He said wanted to avoid a conversation like ‘this’—meaning enduring my anger over his lies and deception. He said that he had made a conscious decision not to tell me that she was a woman because he did not want to get into a ‘discussion’ like this.

I have no doubt (well okay, maybe just a few) that the luncheons have been professional, but our discussion quickly deteriorated, and he fell into his old pattern of denying what he had just said ten minutes earlier about making a conscious decision not to tell me that he was lunching with a woman. He first denied that he had said that, and then fell into that old familiar ‘I don’t remember saying that, but if you say that I said that, then I must have said it’.

How dismissive. This is just one example of the crazies of dealing with a Sex Addict.

That’s where the doubts begin. That’s where we can fall into that dangerous pattern of doubting ourselves. I could have easily chastised myself for doubting him. I could have thought to myself that I should not have pushed the questioning over a simple luncheon because that might make him feel shame–shame that could lead to him to wanting to act out. I could have decided to just ignore my doubts and keep the peace. I could have done many things. But, I didn’t.

I challenged him about his decision to not tell me an important fact. I asked him why he made that decision. Unfortunately all he could say was his old standard, ‘I guess that’s just the addict in me’.

Yes, I remember my counselor’s advice–never ask an addict ‘Why?’

Maybe we do need to ask why. Maybe we need to ask it over and over. And, if we don’t get an answer, maybe we need to decide to just quit asking and to move on.

The supply of good women far exceeds that of the men who deserve them. Robert Graves


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8 Responses

  1. I just went through a similar scenario with my husband. He also lied to me about meeting another woman and then tried to blame me (I knew you’d be jealous/wouldn’t understand/get mad) rather than take responsibility for lying.

    He also blames me for his not frequenting environments in which he has previously acted out. He cheated on me at work conferences, so I asked him to only attend local conferences until his addiction was better under control. So now it is my “fault” that he “can’t go to out-of-town conferences”. He claims he has no doubt that he can control himself and that I am the problem, even though he acted out only a few weeks ago. I don’t have a problem with saying ok, yeah, it’s my problem except then he resents me for it. But I guess the maybe the answer is, I set my boundary (no out of town conferences), he chose to observe it, and if he resents me then that is his problem, not mine.

    My husband also says one thing and then a few minutes later he says the opposite or denies it. Sometimes when I point out what he is doing, he’ll say, “Now you are just trying to put me in a logic trap. You are setting it up so that I can’t win.” OK, I’m the problem.

    It’s very hard to resist being put on the defensive. He is very good at twisting things around. It is also difficult to know how to set a boundary and how to detach because he tries to provoke and twist these into arguments and accusations as well.

  2. WOW! That is such classic addict behavior. Maybe they all went to the same school?

    Sorry, that was a sarcastic comment, but the truth is, almost all sex addicts have extremely similar childhood experiences that seem to shape their personalities in negative ways during critical learning periods.

    The behavior you describe is a part of that lack of accountability and immaturity that seems common to all sex addicts. I have found that once YOU feel secure within yourself (through counseling, reading, sharing your experiences with other wives, etc.) you are more able to set healthy boundaries and be able to stick to them.

    I am so sorry that your husband is still acting out. I know that crazy feeling where you start to doubt your own sanity. Maybe all wives of sex addicts should watch ‘Gaslight’ to see how husbands can cleverly drive their wives insane ( Seriously, there were times when I felt very unstable.

    His claim that he has no doubt that he can control himself is just downright silly. Tell him that he can make that claim after he has been completely sober and free of any acting out for at least a year (and maybe not even then). My husband knows and says that he is a sex addict and will always be a sex addict and he also knows that he needs to be aware of every thought or action that could lead to acting out. He knows that even the tiniest yellow light behavior, such as focusing for more than three seconds (the 3 second rule) on an attractive woman is tempting fate and could lead to acting out. Your husband, by going to out of town conferences and placing himself in that familiar environment, is certain to act out again. It would be like my husband driving past prostitute row. If he were that strong he wouldn’t be an addict.

    You have a problem alright, and it’s him. It is not a ‘problem’ that you have set boundaries. Tell him to grow up and face the fact that your boundaries are simply a ‘consequence’ of his bad behavior. All actions have consequences. Immature sex addicts just don’t like them. If he goes forward with his recovery he will eventually realize this.

    It’s very difficult to deal with the lies and twisting of the truth. I actually threatened to record our conversations. The best thing that I found was to immediately write down what was said (let him know you are doing it–in fact, have him write down his interpretation, too) and then discuss it later when you have both calmed down. It is important that he knows that he can no longer bully you into believing his distorted truths.

  3. I think you are right about the common personality traits. My father was a sex addict/alcoholic, and I see many traits and behaviors that my husband and father have in common. I was actually trying to avoid marrying someone like my dad. I think the problem was that I knew my dad much later in his addiction while my husband was still very early on and was better able to hide it. Now that my husband is further into his addiction and more out of control, the parallels are obvious.

    Writing conversations down does help. I have used it successfully a number of times to point out to him the inconsistencies or damaging or defensive things he says. The problem with it, though, is that I am so stinking tired of being so vigilant- having to watch everything I say (or have it twisted) and remember everything he says (to write it down or watch for his manipulations). I feel like I am about done with the whole dance. When he starts to get manipulative or tries to twist my words, I just say, “I’m done with this conversation”. I feel I need to protect myself, and right now I am too emotionally exhausted to engage.

  4. Just recently ended it with what I feel is a “sex addict”. I was only dating him and he had to take me to places to get sexy garments. He was involved with a gal who used to play with his daughter at his house at the age of 10. A prostitute called his house when I was there. He said she needed a ride. It was rude of me to be so judgmental and unchristian. She came to him for money. (25 years younger than him). His marriage of 34 yrs was filled with chaos and the wife said he left the bed to masturbate in the living room. She never denied him sex. He purchased hundreds of dollars worth of sexy outfits. (Not for them, but for him). Everything was for him. His lying was pathological. He could lie and manipulate and put you in the same trance he was in. When I wasn’t with him, he resorted to phone sex. It was always something to do with his body part. He was able to be the nice guy around town, as well. Known as the guy who would do anything for you. But when he offered to help me with huge gas bill, that never happened. He was a lot of talk with no actions. It is a very sad and pathetic story. He is 57 y/o and wants and desires much younger women. These women are usually weak addicted souls as well.

  5. I’m a few years late to this conversation, but I wish I would have found sites like this in 2009. I’ve been married for 7 years to a young sex addict. (We were 19 when we started dating and 20 when we married.) I’m so relieved to know that it isn’t just me. He lies and lies and then twists reality to try to make me feel like I’m the one who has a break with reality. I have my own problem, but knowing what someone is saying when they’re saying it isn’t one of them. If you’re still keeping up with this site, answer this: why do we stay? Why? Seriously. I love this man who hurts me, lies to me, and makes me feel like I’m the one who is losing my mind. It doesn’t make sense.

    1. Hi Katie,

      Yes, this site is still alive and well, and I’m glad you found us. There are many, many articles and stories here that may help you, one in particular that I wrote might help you understand why some women stay even though the relationship is abusive and non mutual.

      If you need support and interaction with other women who have experienced the trauma of loving a Sex Addict the Sisterhood site can offer that. For more information click here:

      Good luck to you. ~ JoAnn

  6. I have found myself using two powerful statements when dealing with the stellar lying and deception techniques commonly used by SA. My sex addict husband has used gas lighting and lying for years to confuse me so he could deny the reality of his addiction. With the gas lighting and covert manipulation I have found myself saying “IT IS NOT A QUESTION ___” making it clear to him that I am not confused, and I am not asking him for his input regarding the reality of the situation. The reality that he is trying to manipulate, distort or deny. I.E. I am not confused about the conversation that I know we had three days ago and I am not confused about this or that event that did happened and that he was denying. I am not confused about the fact that something is not right. Something is going on and “IT IS NOT A QUESTION”. The other statement I found myself saying is “I AM NOT PARTICIPATING WITH YOUR LIES ANY LONGER” I found that I said this when I knew intuitively that something was not right, when I knew he was lying yet I had no way of knowing all the specific details of what his lie was. I still knew intuitively that he was lying. When I knew that he was lying yet had no concrete prof he would often use his stellar deceptive techniques to confuse me with more lies. By this time I had done my own work and knew to NEVER doubt myself or my intuition. So I looked him in the eyes and made the declaration that I would not participate in this lie with him. He could still lie and I may not know the details of his lies however in my gut I knew he was lying, I knew the truth at a gut level, and I really was not participating with his lies. This has been profoundly empowering. I will never forget the first time I found myself saying this directly to my husband, It was powerful, As he tried to manipulate me with his lies I looked him directly in the eyes and I said “I AM NOT PARTICIPATING WITH YOUR LIES ANY LONGER” This instantly dis-empowered his lies and his aim of gaining power over me. He looked like this pathetic infantile man standing before me. It was just him and his lies standing there before me and his lies had no power because no one was giving them any. Lies have no power if no one buys them.

  7. Although I am not married to an addict, I am married to a form of an addict. The hardest thing I have had to cope with is all of the lies. They hurt the worst- even though he wasn’t in his “normal” state of mind, it still hurts.
    Also, a close friend of mine made a statement that left me in shock. She said, “At least he wasn’t cheating on you”. I didn’t know what to say then and I still don’t know what to say.
    Great post!

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