J Shares Her Story of Marriage with a Sex Addict

For you to share with my blessing, hoping it will do some good for someone as well as allow me to release a little bit of pain.  Please just call me J.

Thanks!

Here is my story. It is exhausting to tell. I feel like I need to tell it though, because for the first time in my life my silence and shame about being married to a sex addict is ending and I am opening up to sharing and hence, erasing the fear. Forgive me if my details are confusing at any point. I have large portions of memory/time that are lost to me. I guess we can experience something like PTSD when we have internalized being married to an addict for so long. What do you think? I am intelligent, capable and loving, from a loving childhood home, yet I have not escaped the pain of sex addiction in my marriage.

I met my husband when we were both 18 at a private college. We immediately liked one another. He was and is incredibly intelligent, attractive and capable, yet from a down-to-earth background. We were fast friends and then dated, eventually exclusively. We married in our last year of college; both finished early and moved out of state at that point so he could attend graduate school to earn his Masters Degree. I worked, and he worked and his education was always paid for through scholarships. A few years into school came an admission from him that he had used pay-for-sex phone-lines a few times. The bill was (I still remember) for $400.00-a huge amount for us at that time. He apologized and tried to explain, and my 23-year-old self honestly believed at time, he wouldn’t do anything like this again. Interesting to share is that outside of counseling costs, this really was the only financial burden that his addiction has ever put on us in 15 years of marriage. The rest of the burden has been psychological. A few years and internship later came confessions of chatting on the Internet (netsex). This confession also was unprompted so I chose to see the good, forgive and let go. My initial reaction of anger prompted him to begin withdrawing from me (according to him, because I did not remain “calm” he didn’t want to trust me with any further disclosure. We would fight often as I attempted to “understand” him and his actions. I would pursue conversations that would only end in frustration. Eventually things calmed down and we would move to new place and he would work on his next degree, him still working as was I and we would struggle as he fell into late-night chatting (likely porn as well) and would often be gone from bed if I woke during the night. When I would call from work (in the dial-up days) the phone would always be busy. There were continued fights, attempts to hide behavior, my own pursuit of “understanding” like a naive “good wife” etc. One of my most painful moments, was a lie, when he had been on the Internet, that he was planning a surprise for me. I hoped with all my heart that he was being honest, but this was the really ridiculously first bold-faced lie and one that is most burned into my memory. Things eventually improved enough again that I saw hope…we bought a home and had a baby. There was the downloading of porn at one point after moving to the new home, which I caught once (I’m sure there was more) and the explicit chatting I am sure continued. These lead to my insisting that he find counseling. He would journal as a matter of habit and a part of therapy and in my desperation to understand something about him, I would look for them when he was gone and read them. In them I see/saw a very compartmentalized and divided individual. One who would do what was “right” and had a great desire to do so and one who would fail miserably and then cry out to God to help him stop. I chose to have faith that the good would prevail. We tried some therapy together and had a terrible experience. The counselor was inexperienced and, as I was too, I was too angry at the situation with her when it went bad, to look for another one. My spouse had his own therapist too, and would share with me some of his experience. Eventually, the counselor, after over a year of work, thought they could move toward stopping therapy and eventually did. This seemed to disappoint even my husband.  Things were going pretty smoothly again.

After finishing an additional degree my husband and I moved again into a new home he began work while I stayed at home with the first child.  I stumbled upon chat with a girl that at one point admitted in their correspondence that she was under-aged. He ended the correspondence (I know this because I read it all before he knew I had discovered it). I confronted him, time passed again and things leveled out.  A new counselor was seen and we had another child. Nothing stopped him from chatting and viewing/using porn (I now see this as I have come to recognize that my fear at this time was denial). I should have paid heed to my instincts much earlier.  He even found ways around the filters installed on computers at home and at work. I am not so naive now, and I understand I likely still don’t know all of what has gone on with him and his addiction.

Now (present time), we are seeing sex therapists (separately and together) with addiction treatment specialties. I see more hope now than ever….some honest disclosure of emotion for the first time and he is seeking me out to talk with etc. write to….yet, so much damage has been done that I don’t know how we can survive. He is still deluding himself, I am fairly sure, that the counseling means we will survive, but only into it a few months I can’t really speak for anyone but myself.

It is interesting to me that my husband can be so kind and gentle, and (except for a short-lived period about 10 years ago) or so, has not been directly cruel or tried to blame me for any of his addictive behavior. He seems genuinely sorry (even expressing a desire to apologize but a recognition that it might mean nothing to me) but has never been able to actually stop his compulsivity. He is a divided individual and has admitted as much. In the comments posted on your site about sex with an addict, it appears that many addicts are especially selfish where sex is concerned, which my husband is not in any obvious way. Never would I have suspected, just because of his behavior with me “in the bedroom” that he was an addict. Clearly, however he is. It is hard, when one sees so much good and potential in their spouse, and sees a good father, a man with potential, to think that because of the addict in him, so much will be and has been lost. I can never get the things I read or pictures of girls posing topless in their homes etc. out of my mind. I cannot forget a MySpace page (a short-lived thing strangely enough) where he marked himself as single. I get that the addict is not trying to be malicious to his or her spouse but there is still great pain, which precludes real intimacy for me! So, for anyone who has read Patrick Carnes, I am giving this situation one year. This takes the pressure to react quickly off of me and hopefully helps me to make fewer errors if we divorce, which seems likely as I have explained, due to the compounding of pain and feelings of betrayal that I think will make any real future a near impossibility. In my case, I believe that this is best…. getting myself together, taking the “small gift” of counseling (some self-recovery) and figuring out what to do for a living on my own. I have a degree, but have been a stay-at-home mom for several years now….time for an additional degree I suspect. Isn’t it like looking up at a mountain when we must readjust the lives of the rest of the family in response to effects of SA? I will likely have to move in with my parents, who bless me by being understanding and non-judgmental to both of us. I am grieving my younger years, lost to addiction and what should-have-been but wasn’t. I get that my husband is hurting too (and soothing it with compulsive sexual behavior) but that doesn’t take away my pain or shame right now and it won’t put our family back together or give my little children 1 & 6, their dad back if/when we part ways. I am so angry that he “lives” this addiction over our family and even over his own authentic self. Ironically, he has indicated his serious lack of trust in others and NOW his own behavior has now caused me to have the exact same problem (typical I realize). I don’t want to pass this legacy down to my kids, so I am navigate some rough waters as I figure out just how to take care of ME now….I have come so far and yet the hardest may be yet to come. I alternate between feelings of personal power and hope, and grief mixed with lack of self-worth. I fear a life without knowing true intimacy and I admit to fear of being a single parent. When this comes out (if a divorce occurs) it will be a total shock to most who know us (also not a surprise with SA, I know!) and I want to handle that with strength and dignity. I am sure this story is missing much of what I could share, but I feel good about what I put down, and much of the remainder is lost to my bad memory.

Health and Peace to all!

-J

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Responses

  1. I too was married to a sex addict, and worse, that nearly destroyed my life. Here’s the thing, move on. Stop being a victim and at the first betrayal look at it for what it is and lay down the law. Hey, its the 21st century, we have earned our right to live our lives with happiness. If you feel in your heart that something is not right in your relationship then it probably isn’t. Please do not waste time with these men, they do not get better, you never change them, it has nothing to do with your shortcomings and more important, never let anyone tell you who you are.
    Look, life is short. Instead of spending time making excuses, forgiving them, keeping things quiet because it is embarrassing, look in the mirror. Who cares what other people say or think and of course his family will probably blame you. Stand up and understand that your relationship is not appropriate for your personal growth. These cowards get a kick out of taking away your self-respect. Every day I tell myself how lucky I am to have gotten away. Every day I see another strong part of myself emerging and you know what, I take the time to surround myself with positive, interesting people that make my life an everyday gift.
    As for children, by staying in a sick relationship, you are setting your children up to be burdened with garbage. Show them strength in adversity, show them pride in themselves, and let them understand, by your actions, that whatever life throws at them, they are loved and will survive.
    You know, you cannot stop your spouse or anyone for that matter from bad mouthing you to any and all strangers and family members. It is easy to destroy someone’s integrity when they are not there to defend themselves. So let it go. Let him go, keep yourself. All the best.

  2. Hi adf,
    Thanks for giving us a snapshot of your experience. I really found the clarity of your courage and thinking refreshing. And i began to wonder why it gets so clouded for me sometimes and others all the time.

    For me, I look back on the time since September,( when things blew up), and I’m amazed i’ve managed to get our house sold, find a new lender, get a new smaller condo purchased for me, Talk to our college age kids about us living apart, arrange for move and then do it, get therapist, talk to my Board at work about it (I don’t have a “normal” impersonal job—please don’t ask for details), separate the money, get my own bank account, get one vehicle into my name (I thought this was all done), get a credit car (at some point over 30 years, it was put in his name—don’t get me started on this one), tell my aging mother and a best friend, and keep doing my very public 50-60 hour a week non-profit job that pays less than the corporate setting for the same work, and deal with the multiple screw-ups that accompany every single one of those tasks.

    It was like I had another full-time job just getting away from my sex addict spouse who also now had another full-time job that was his recovery program. If our children had been younger, or I hadn’t had a job, or I didn’t qualify for the little mortgage (as it was) that I could get, if I hadn’t had some equity in the house to carry over, if I hadn’t had a spouse who was cooperative about selling the house, reasonable about dispersing the funds fairly between us (so we didn’t have to add getting lawyers and all that entail to the paragraph above), if I didn’t have a community of people who helped me pack and move,
    Well—I don’t know if I would have believed I could do it. And practically speaking–I probably couldn’t.

    Maybe some will see these as possible excuses to be used for being stuck—but I’m a pretty strong person, and doing all this nearly killed me. I’m so emotional and physically exhausted I can hardly see straight. Maybe I’m getting too old, but I can see how “leaving” could seem out of reach for some.

    Which brings me to another question—is time we started to have shelters for women and children from sex addict occupied homes?

    The emotional abuse and the exposure to porn and dangerous behaviours would seem to be reasonable cause. It might also create the breathing space for women to talk to counsellors about their trauma, and consider their reasonalbe options for securing a safe home environment.

    So—what about temporary shelters for women and the children of sex addicts?

    Thanks again for your clarity, adf—it really spurred me to look at the big blurr.

    D.

  3. Diane, it is interesting that you talk about helping spouses and children start again.
    We were discussing something very similar at my parents house at Father’s Day brunch.
    My step father mentioned how his mother had told him his father was dead back when he was a child in the 1940’s. He did not find out he was not until recently. He said all the early family photos had burn marks on them from a fire he does not even remember.
    So……he found out about his father really being alive after his both parents had passed. But, he said all his life he remembered his mother taking in and caring for women from abusive homes before anything like shelters ever existed. My grandmother was very strong, thrifty, and loving. My step father realizes now she had been in an abusive marriage, that his father had been an alcoholic and had nearly burned the house down when he went into a rage, and his mother took her two children away to safety. Maybe some woman helped her too.
    Maybe we need to help women the same way. I think this site (thank you JoAnn) has been a huge help for me. Just having a place to go where others understand and we can support each other as been a huge help.

  4. Diane,

    The heroes of this world are not the ones on the screen. They are the people out there that “get” what life is about. I guarantee, that as time goes by, as the you that should have been before Mr. Wonderful came into your life blossoms, you will find your own peace. Please count yourself lucky to be able to move forward. Many can’t.
    For me the journey was heart breaking at first, but, I started stepping out of my comfort zone and found my place. It certainly is not what I thought my life was going to be, but I am not the same person I was and perhaps maturity made me see there are many paths to strength and happiness.
    You are a hero Diane, to yourself, to the people who truly care for you and to people you don’t even know who are smiling at your evolution. Move forward on your interesting idea about shelters for women and children of sex addicts. Some souls can rise up and stand straight, some need a shoulder to lean on. Be that shoulder.
    Everyday, somehow, we get closer to what is best in being a human being.

  5. Hi Joe,
    I think you’ll find most of the activity on this site is about male SA’s, although occasionally men do post. If you are, in fact, a partner or spouse of an SA, then this is a site that offers resources and support.

    So, Joe, I clicked on your name which took me to a site that said it was the story of of a sex addict’s quest for sobriety. Since it was your name that took me there, is it right to assume that this is your site? Are you a recovering sex addict?

    If so, I think we all wish you light and strength for that hard journey. The little trouble spot for me is that your site has ads for “sex and erotix” books, where to meet exotic women, singles etc. and basically all the trolling sites where sex addicts go to find porn and hook-up partners.
    Maybe you could tell us why that’s on your site that has a blog about recovery and news items about sex addiction.

    We’re kind of suspicious, Joe, of things that just don’t look right and we have learned to ask about it. Particularly since if we don’t ask and demand accountability at every hint of something that might be related to sexual acting out, we have been labelled co-dependent.

    So while you are entitled to all the support a partner or spouse of sex addicts gets from this site, I’m asking about what doesn’t seem to add up here.

    Who are you? What is the site? Why the sexual trolling ads?

    thank you,
    D.

  6. Yes, Joe. I do think we deserve an explanation. Until we hear from you again I am taking your post down as I will not promote links to anyone’s site that I have not approved.

    When Joe first posted a comment about his sexually addicted girlfriend I did notice the link, but it seemed somewhat related to the issues on this site, so I let it ride. But, another post that just didn’t seem to be connected to what his site said prompted me to remove his comments.

    I try very hard to allow everyone a voice here, but I will step in and remove comments if I think they are inappropriate or if someone is just trying to get free links to their site. It’s a fine line and I may make mistakes, but I hope that everyone will understand that this site is all about trust and support.

    JoAnn

  7. J, I have a 6 year old and a 1 year old too. It is a terrible combination – one child who understands that life is suddenly changed and the other unaware but still so needy of your time and energy. I left my SA husband after I discovered the extent of his addiction on June 12th.
    We moved cities and I m now building a life for us 4 hours by plane away from him. He comes to visit and has supported my move. I believe he knows how ill he is and is trying to help us become whole again for when he recovers.
    I do not know if they ever recover, all I know is I have been vaguely aware that he had this problem for years. What I thought was so port and internet chatting had actually grown into seeing hookers and having sex with countless people outside our marriage. He is a great guy, no one would believe this of him. I am so ashamed and sad that I have been forced into a situation where my only salvation was to take our kids and run.
    I am yet to feel like I am whole again.
    I hope you have an easier journey.
    Aviva

  8. I think it is sad that a man who turned to your site for help is met with such degrading accusations. It is doubly painful, as I am struggling to help my GF and myself face sexual addiction, but apparently this site cannot accept that a man can take responsibility for his addictions while a woman does not.

    There are no sex ads on my web site, and it is not a “trolling” site. It is a very personal site I am exploring to help men and myself but I am not listing it here because obviously you people can’t handle a man being honest and trying to work through his addiction. Apparently, only women are the victims and men the problem. No wonder I need to be censored and villified, and accused of suppporting sexual addiction.

    It is also ironic that you would attack me because I am the one in my relationship who has been pushing so hard for sexual sobriety. I have been paying for sexual addiction therapy (which I can’t afford) and pushing for 12 step program involvement. Without my efforts, my GF would still be involved in frequent high-risk sex with strangers. I don’t know if she will stay “sober” but I had hoped to find allies in my deeply painful and personal struggle on this site. Apparently, I was mistaken, and you have only succeeded in making a very difficult situation even more difficult. I feel humiliated and angry and disgusted and sorry I reached out for some support. Shame on you all.

  9. Joe,

    Exactly what kind of help are you looking for on a site that exists for solely for the support of devastated partners/friends/family of sex addicts?

    Also please show me where, “us people” attacked and vilified you? I do not see any such thing; only Diane’s pointing out the fact that you had a site linked to yours which was not appropriate to this forum– hardly an attack. As a matter of fact, she wished you “light and strength for that hard journey.” If I had noticed that heinous link, I wouldn’t have been nearly that nice.

    Please find somewhere else to “work through” your so-called recovery/addiction. Your assertions are not only inappropriate in this forum and wholly misguided, but completely unwarranted and not wanted. We ARE here for support of anyone truly needing it and you are the one who is attacking US—so SCRAM!!!

    Thank you.

    Lorraine

  10. Been there got the T-shirt.

    I saw the Google ads–exotic island women, single mormon women, singles clubs, sex books. Those are trolling and porn sites. YOu also carried some sexually explicit blog entries. Hmmm. how does that help you or other men who are “working through their addiction”?

    Even in the face of such glaring red flags, I asked you fair questions respectfully and honestly (see above, Aug 7 post for proof) because I remained open to hear your side of the story. Your need to blame and attack me or this site for asking fair and appropriate questions about why a recovering SA has has that stuff on his site, isn’t convincing. It’s very familiar.

    I think we all hope you will deal with your addiction and your girlfriend will deal with hers. Good luck with that. If you have now removed those ads and those sexually explicit blog entries, you’ve made a good start.

    Maybe we’ll meet again under more honest circumstances. I really hope so, Joe. And when you reach that step of repenting and offering apology–I’m ready to accept it.

  11. I came to this site to find support. I have been going through an incredible amount of pain dealing with my GF’s sexual addiction, which was out of control. I thought we had a committed relationship but she was deceiving me, as addicts do. I have had to worry about many things, include HIV infection. I related to the experiences the women are going through here, and tried to point out that women also can be sex addicts. I found this site as part of my effort to learn more about helping her.

    However, instead of support I found suspician and accusation. I don’t see how you can claim it was otherwise.

    I am not a perfect human being. As to the ads on my site, I am not very sophisticated in terms of the Internet. I just started the site as an attempt to deal with my addiction and my sense of isolation. I allowed ads on my site but I don’t control the content. Apparently, from what you are saying, they pick up on words on the site to place ads. It is a new site and every time I accessed it, the ads seems appropriate, so I don’t know why it listed Single Mormon women. In any case, there are no more ads on my site.

    As to having “sexually explicit blog entries,” I did include some of my experiences. I was inspired to do so by a pamphlet from Sexaholics Anonymous called, “The First Step is Inventory.” The pamphlet says “See…confess…send away.” I tried to keep my content factual without being erotic. Perhaps I failed; I will review this. As I said, I am a flawed human being stuggling with an addiction. That is not the same as being a fraud, which is what you claimed about me.

    However, instead of assuming the worse and accusing me of running a pornographic website – because of some ads – someone from this site could have let me know that my ads might not appropriate. This could have been done in private rather than exposing me to public humiliation and abuse.

    If you don’t understand how hurtful it is to be treated this way, then you aren’t going through what I am going through. I feel very alone on two levels – first, dealing with my own sex addiction, then trying to get my GF to deal with hers. I have no support from anyone. But I guess this site is not about helping people like me who are in great pain. I will stick with organizations like SA that know what they are doing.

    My efforts to find sexual sobriety are not perfect, as I am not perfect. I’m sure you can find fault with me and my blog. Why this is important, I don’t understand. It goes against the whole support and acceptance thing.

    I will continue to seek sobriety without your support. As you said, this is not the site for me.

  12. By the way, here is my original entry, which was censored:

    “I am involved with a female sex addict. Are all these stories about men? I’m sorry if that is the theme of this web site. All I can say is the themes are the same – the lies, the naive trust, the increasing problem. When I confronted my GF about this, she said she had never even told her therapist about her sexual adventures. I finally found them on her computer (email). She says they are over but how can I know for sure? Of course she is going to say this. I think the best thing is to just get out.”

    Pretty terrible stuff, isn’t it? Asking for help – what a creepy thing to do! I’m sure you are proud of protecting others from such evil. You must be very proud of yourselves.

  13. Finally, I’m not sure who Lorraine is, but let me quote her comments:

    “Please find somewhere else to “work through” your so-called recovery/addiction. Your assertions are not only inappropriate in this forum and wholly misguided, but completely unwarranted and not wanted. We ARE here for support of anyone truly needing it and you are the one who is attacking US—so SCRAM!!!”

    This is truely a cruel thing to say to anyone. How dare you accuse anyone of “so-called recovery” when you don’t know me, especially on a site dedicated to helping people? This is unbelievably cruel and abusive. Who are you to decide if someone needs support or not? Why the hostility? This is my last message; I am only writing this so you know that there are people like me out there who are in very bad shape, and you should consider showing a little humanity sometimes. To be cruel like this shows an amazing lack of basic human decency. Many addicts, like myself, face a despair that puts us on the verge of suicide. If you understood that, you wouldn’t be so harsh without at least finding out if I am real or not. The sad truth is that I am real, and I am facing my addiction, and I am struggling ever day with this. As for “scramming,” please rest assure that I will never waste my time with this web site again. As I noted, I will deal with people who have a shred of human decency.

  14. Okay, Joe. Just what is your point? Just stop your ‘oh so familiar to us’ juvenile ‘pity party’ and act like an adult.

    I developed this site because when I faced the discovery of my husband’s Sex Addiction I had nowhere to go for support, information or resources.

    On the other hand, my Sex Addict husband was showered with specialized counseling, weekly support group meetings with his counselor, a wide variety of 12 step meetings, books and, of course, Patrick Carnes to hold his hand.

    So, this site is for those of us whose lives have been shattered. This is our safe place. This is our means of sharing and support.

    So, why are you here?

    Why here?

    Okay, so Joe The Sex Addict just happened to hook up with another Sex Addict. Now, just how did that happen? I can only guess. But, my point is you are still a Sex Addict, and you need to seek resources for your own recovery.

    I can only speak for myself, but your insensitivity to the big picture and the traumas that the people on this site have suffered is like a slap in the face to all of us. And, we don’t like it.

    I do hope you can find recovery for yourself and resolve the issues with your gf. It’s a pretty big task, and beyond the scope of this site.

    Good luck,

    JoAnn

  15. I wrote my story (above) months ago and then just had to retract from the internet and almost everything else. I do go to COSA (It is one other woman and myself) even though we do not really do the steps, we just share…it helps me. I have been in therapy with my husband and alone since February. He was also in a therapy group. Last week after what I perceived as a period of hope for us, he backed off when the therapist told him it was insulting that he sit in our therapy sessions hoping to be “sparked” by what somebody says in it so he can begin to talk. Now he is quitting these therapists (saying if they are so easily insulted he can’t trust them) and finding a new one. If he does, good for him. My mom told me she thinks that the therapist got too close for his comfort. He is not ready to recover. He also has ADD, OCD and some depression. It is a deep pit.
    Ladies, I had to try, to do everything I could to show myself I had exhausted all possibilities for ME…I didn’t want to leave and wonder “what if”. I believe I am at that point. BTW thanks to AVIVA above for showing me my situation and offering me a little hope. NOW, the practical questions. I am a stay at home mom. My husband, a minister is quitting his ministry, as he should, and will have to come up with an apartment etc. and a job. There is no income! This is a bad time to sell a home so we will have to rent it out. I will have to move in with my folks. I have already prepared to enroll in a Masters program. IT will take me 2 plus years to get back into a job that will support my children appropriately. BUT what kind of support is out there in the meantime? Insurance, food etc. I have one child in school and one who turned 2 last week. How do we get over the hump of getting apart, separating, divorce, debt? I can use anyone’s advice. I even fear his depression, anger etc. will result in suicide sometimes though he never says it. It worries me even though my brain tells me it’s not my responsibility. What do you do with these thoughts?
    My husband is so angry, and it comes out and makes everyone so uncomfortable. The two weeks or month it takes to close up shop here are looking me in the eye and I can’t navigate them without guidance. I know now in my heart and mind that we cannot be together any longer. This is not a temptation for me. Still, I am so worried about my children. I am worried about being lonely and having to start all over, finding friends and support group in a new community after all of the trauma of living dysfunctionally for 15 years. YIKES! I have begun to use some anti-anxiety meds which help me to manage…but…. WILL I EVEN BE ABLE TO THINK STRAIGHT AGAIN?
    I do have the pleasure of imagining peace, finding out who I am again (that girl that I left behind at 18 for this man I have to leave at 36)….finding my confidence and beauty again. They are gone for now.
    Thanks for listening.
    J

  16. J.
    I know that it has been a long time since you posted. Hopefully you are still out there and have found resources.
    I would first check with what state aid may be availalbe which also may provide insurance. In CT the kids are covered as well as a single parent if the income qualifies and if there is not income you obviously do. Your husband needs to get a job to provide for his kids, and look to see what resources there are for you to start work. Is there a friend who can watch the kids etc. when i got my first divorce I had not job experiance, I was a stay at home mom with a 2 and 4 year old, and all was new. I managed, started out with my initial strenght. Got a job teaching riding lessons on the weekends, moved on from that slowy working towards office work, then business. Worked on my degree on the side, finished with a Bachelor’s degree last year. It took along time. But my ex-husband barely took the kids, did it all on my own. He did provide child support, but when you are paying for daycare for two littel kids it was not enough. But I figured it out. I sold many household items to put toghter money for a downpayment on a house. Turn items into cash. If you put your mind to it you can be very creative.

    Its a tough road, but if you really search you will be able to find a way. Don’t forget financial aid for your degree. Also check in to fast track programs, depending on your major. As well as online probgrams. Some schools offer a masters in business in under 18 months. But maybe you don’t need the masters depending on what your bachelors is in. Good luck to you!

  17. This also brings up another interesting idea I had this morning.

    Now the SA’s have their group. We could go to a 12 step group, but then we are a co-dependent, not trauma model. Where I live there are few meetings for the spouses even if I wanted to go. Online everything is focused on the shared learning and you are not supposed to talk about your SA. Which brings up an interesting point. This site is so helpful to everyone because it is real, we share our experiance and our knowledge. Has anyone tried to start a group in their area for just this. Just as we do on this site. In addition it would provide a way to start getting out and being to meet with other people just like us and share our story. No longer are we in a dark room. Just curious to know in advance if my idea may sink or swim. I know there are other addicts at his meetings that means there are that many wives or partners, etc. at home like me. Just wondered??

  18. Hi Flora,

    Great minds think alike! I have been pondering that very question of how to start and manage support groups for spouses and partners of Sex Addicts.

    Problem is there is only one of me. So, I actually have been working on a very detailed support group program guideline, which I thought might work to help others start groups in their area based on sharing, lots of cross talk, etc. I wrote a post about it a while ago called ‘I Have A Dream’. I would offer support, guidance and pop in to see you once in a while.

    What does everyone else think? Should we take the country by storm with our own support groups?

  19. JoAnn,
    I would start one tomorrow if there was framework. I am a definate yes. I can be your test. If you want I can send you my contact info. The hard thing i was contemplating about is how to reach them. Obviously the SA could take a flyer to meetings, but how do you reach the others who have given up? Their are wives/partners are still hurting, just don’t know how or where to get help. Just brainstorming. The Meetup seems interesting, not sure if I want to post it out there, but there are people looking for this type of group. This is a place to post new groups or groups in your area or by state. Seeing the troubles everyone is having finding support, therapists etc… I think this is a great idea!! We are just a small handfull of everyone out there who is affected.

  20. Let me think on this. I have your e-mail in my data base, so I can send you some ideas and we can brainstorm. If anyone else out there has any ideas, please jump in.

    Some of the major problems that I see are, first, as you mentioned, reaching those who need support–which can be accomplished through local counselors, churches, public service announcements etc, and second, is the shame connected with anything sexual. I toiled over this when I was considering doing live seminars. Not many people are going to want to be seen walking into a meeting with a sign out front that says, “Married To A Sex Addict Meeting Here’.

  21. Joanne,
    I see a psychologist a the women’s shelter I get from her that quite a few clients within the the shelter are or have been married to sex addicts this maybe a place to start in some towns due to lack of any other resources for woman like us, I know this state I live in only has 4 saa meeting for the whole area and no counseling services at all. This is the only place I found that deals with any type of trauma or abuse.

  22. Hi JoAnn et al,

    What about some sort of acronym such as POSAS ?

    Partners of Sex Addict Support. Or some other apt term?

    I read so many blogs of women working the “steps” and struggling and for a very good reason. And while I do understand the value, actually for almost anyone in terms of living an emotionally healthier life, I also see how that in the case of traumatized partners, the traditional 12-step programs can actually do just as much harm to the woman’s psyche, as good. Of course, some women ARE co-addicted, but even if they are in denial or even if they ignored the “red flags” (if there were even any truly obvious ones, to begin with) sooooooooo???

    At no point did their partner come out and say something to this effect.

    “Hey hun, before we say our VOWS next week, I feel its only fair to tell you that I have this hobby on the side where I view pornography some 20-30 hours a week and when I’m not doing that, I pick up vulnerable sex starved women and/or hookers on Craig’s List and about a dozen other sites and have sex with them. I spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-20k a year on all of that and oh… I have two women that I have known for 5 years and 3 years respectively, who just use me for sex about once a month or so and since I know them really well, we don’t use any protection, cause as you know, I just hate wearing a rubber. Sometimes, we even play with other couples and I have recently started exploring having sex with men, which I found really turns me on. I just thought that I should make you aware of all of this, because I cherish you and love you so much and because of that, I don’t think that there should be any secrets between us. I hope that you will understand that need that I have to have some hot action on the side and please know that no matter what, YOU WILL come first and when we have children, they will also become my main priority. I am so excited about starting our new life together. You are so special to me!

    Is there anything you’d like to share with me?”

    But, he didn’t EVER say anything even remotely like that, did he?

    No, of course not.

    And then, after a month, a year, 10 years, 30 years, he slipped. He starts becoming complacent and makes mistakes and oops.

    The truth begins to emerge.

    Now what? What happened Doesn’t he doesn’t love me? Doesn’t he want me. Doesn’t he think I’m attractive. Was it me? Was I not woman enough for him??? Oh, you had a funny feeling sometimes in the pit of your stomach, that something wasn’t right but it was so easy to shake off as unfounded “paranoia”… and you could never have even begun to imagine that THIS is what it was. He was so doting, so loyal, so attentive, nurturing… blah… gag.

    I don’t need to go on.

    This new model for supportive groups of traumatized women is ripe to happen. It will happen, because the need is so prevalent.

    You are all such wonderful, strong, powerful women!

    Best wishes to all,

    Lorraine

  23. HI everyone,
    I would pitch in and work on starting one where I live too.
    So I’m interested in guidelines, purpose, format etc.
    And Lorraine is right, we need a good name.
    I would want some theoretical framework as a base–like the B. Steffens trauma model.
    Maybe we should work through THAT book, the way the SA’s work through their book!
    love all,
    D.

  24. I think having a framework would be good, but not necessary, especially if it is not ready. No need to rush. I was thinking it could even be a club or support group. Like the first wives club, book club or something to that effect. It could also function as a resource for newcomers such as books to read, providing ideas for daycare, education, a place to branstorm, state aid, someone to talk to which is most important, to help with whatever the crises may be. Share our knowledge, we all have great ideas. It could provide an outlet for people like us where you can be “normal” for an hour or so a week. I don’t know about anyone else, but there is this dark cloud I feel that follows me. That no one else will know, nor would I tell them, due to reactions. Heaven forbid you would never tell a new friend, Hey my husbands a sex addict (awkward)… pretty sure they would not be your friend for long. The group would provide a place for that, where there would be no judging. I like the idea of using the book, but it is just a starting point. There could also be readings from any one of Medody Beatties books of daily entries, which provide an uplifting statement each day. There are just so many options. I am sure there would be much trial an error, but I think just having a place where someone can come an unload is the best idea of it.

    It needs something catchy like lorraine said. An acronym or it could really be anything! It does not have to say what it is in the title. The name could be anything you want, but the mission statement or group premise could be something else. You could call it Blue Diamonds or Shadow of Hope, POSAS Night Out… (partners of sex addict support from lorraine). This would take the negative connotation out of it. Like Joann said not everyone will want to walk into a meeting with a sign that says partner of sex addicts meeting.

    You could reach them through the website. Most anyone googles these days. Our Partner support groups, therapist offices, churches, shelters etc.

    I am just branstorming in writing.