Jenn’s Story of Loving a Sex Addict

Jenn shared her story with me and has graciously allowed me to share it with all of you. I’m sure she could use some comfort and support. Here is her e-mail giving me permission to share her story. I have used only her first name.

Hey there. Please feel free to use my story and name. Thank you for asking how I am. Truthfully I am in a lot of pain. I am frustrated with my mind and heart…it’s really hard for me to deal with the different versions of the Marc i was so close to and the “real” Marc…to accept that this version of him is the more accurate one. I loved him so much, trusted him so much, i brought him to all my sacred places, my family in san diego, my home in NYC, my church. I let him do things to my body that have only been done in violence. Because he swore I was safe and wouldn’t hurt me. For the whole relationship he swore i was safe, all the time.

I’m not dealing so well. It has been a month and people have started saying “Just get over it.” But I am thinking all the time about all the pictures of our bodies together and the things he was doing and saying and thinking about and communicating to other people, in our bed and on the internet.

I am also sad. I have never had that feeling of concrete certainty about someone. It was the best relationship i’d ever had, ever even dreamed of. I guess bc he left all his bad parts out. And it all crashed down overnight.

it’s not rational, i’ll never understand why he did what he did and why he had to blame me with that awful email. That was another betrayal–how he decided it was because we moved too fast and i loved him too much and pressured him and I like to be a victim and I am doing this to get attention.
I’m not really holding myself together very well.

Here’s Jenn’s Story:

Dear JoAnn,

It started when I lost my apartment of 5 years due to a conniving and destructive roommate. I chose to leave. It was not worth the property damage. My boyfriend had helped me move. We had been dating eight months and I felt it was the healthiest, most joyful and mature relationship I had ever been in. I experienced a profound love for him. I didn’t think it was perfect; I knew he was immature, lacked some discipline and self-awareness, was maybe alcohol-dependent. I thought he’d grow up; I hoped he would. Nobody’s perfect. I also thought he was intelligent, funny, boyish, hot, devoted, honest, and committed. He is finishing a PhD and teaches undergraduates about the common good. I thought, a love like this can’t be taken for granted. We had started talking about engagement and making a family, perhaps prematurely, but we both felt strongly that this connection was
turning into an eventuality for us. He had gotten divorced last year, but insisted he was moving on and that we were a much better match, and seemed to be processing this all healthfully.

In order to not dwell or make this too long, I will say this: a series of discoveries that started on February 17th revealed the following facts:

* He cheated on me with at least five other people, at least two unprotected, and lied point-blank about three of them (after I’d found out about the first two). He sought these people out on Craigslist by posting ads.

* He posted at least 50 other Craigslist ads for dating and sex, with men and women, and responded to others’ ads, using pornographic and manipulative language, language copied-and-pasted from amorous emails he had sent to me, repeatedly misrepresenting his age and personal details

* In January 2009 (when he was still married) he exchanged enthusiastic emails with a group of men who were planning to “gangbang” a sex worker. He pulled out at the last minute because the $150 fee would be too conspicuously absent from his joint bank account with his wife

* He went on a date this January because he was “bored and lonely” but said “nothing happened because she wasn’t as great” as I am

* He lied or minimized these details in ways large or small throughout our relationship and especially at the end

* I reached out to his ex-wife to see if she was struggling with these revelations and she said this behavior had occurred throughout the relationship, until she realized he would never change, and she left to salvage her life. All year he has been telling me she was loveless, withdrawn, self-absorbed and careless with their marriage.

* He recently emailed to tell me that it was all my fault because I loved him too much–because I overwhelmed him with idealism and forced him into compulsive destructiveness after I threw him a surprise birthday party. That I was co-dependent. That he did not want to disrupt by happiness by slowing things down. He felt pressured by our marriage and family talk (which was mutually participated in; perhaps initiated more often by him). Things were moving too fast for him. He says that now I have made him into a monster in my own mind and I love to be a victim, and am talking about this just to get attention. He says he “wishes he had ended it sooner.” That “when my anger burns off he has a heart full of love just waiting for me.” The letter…it went for every soft spot he knows I have, that I am too loving and too giving and move too fast and want attention all the time. I’ve made GREAT personal strides in this area since my twenties but I am still quite susceptible to the criticism. His voice is in my ear. My love is worth nothing.

Anyway, it’s all been quite a trip. I must stress I had no clue about his secret life. I do remember that inasmuch as it did seem like our love affair was quite delightful and euphoric, he was fully complicit, and would often initiate the marriage-and-family talk, and he often appeared quite clingy and self-deprecating to me. I…well let’s just say it was this last email that showed me he is truly a pathological narcissist who will not be able to take responsibility for anything here. I mean…at times I was overwhelmed too…it is a very profound thing to think you have met someone you may spend your life and make humans with…but you know what did? I wrote in my journal. I did yoga. I prayed and talked to my therapist. I talked to him.

He has lots of excuses for why he did all that he did, and I think this: the reasons why just don’t matter. He still did it. He did all these terrible things. He did them because he wanted to. He was selfish, and impulsive, then compulsive, and weak, and indulgent. He spoke sacred words to me, over and over and over again, to me and to my friends and to my family. He knew how much I struggled to trust and give myself to him, and how I had given myself to him fully in a way I did not know I could do. His accusations of my codependence are moot; sure, I was very much in love, and I was indulgent about future dreams, but he was not the only thing I had going on, he was not my only source of happiness, and I did not outsource my identity to him.

there are a lot of things about his email that hit my soft spots in just the right way, but i know that is part of him being an artful, masterful manipulator and self-justifier. sure, there are some things to consider in that email but i know I had the best, most joyful of intentions and wanted to share the great people and aspects of my life with who I thought he was, and he was so messed up when I met him and I had this impulse to make him feel healed. yes, he did inflame my savior complex and perhaps I overgave or over-cared. I will take responsibility for that.

i now have to maintain good perspective on the relationship and its end–he had a lot of bingeing, high-energy consumptive intensity and I was able to match it, partially because yeah, I loved the feeling of affinity and mutuality that we had. to remember his pathology and my energy matching and my own idealism around saving him with my love and tenderness. i remember all his speeches about how in love he was, all his proposals, all his xpressions of helpless infatuation with me and…i did enjoy being the “rock” for once, the one who was centered and not so self-absorbed. i liked being that person, and he liked being the person i thought he was.

now I feel very cynical about how relationships and merging can be anything but messed up…are there any self-aware men out there who are truly aware of their own desperateness and pathologies? Because don’t we all merge complementarily with the person we are intimate with? How can I know someone is whole? How can I trust again? How can I have human contact again? How can I not be suspicious; how can I believe such words as “I want to spend my life with you,” “I think you and I have an amazing love,” “I am committed to an open, honest, and authentic relationship with you,” and “I’m ready to start a family,” which are all things he said…? He’s managed to provoke self-doubt for me. Like…am I co-dependent? Did I put on a show for the world about our “perfect” love? Should he have had the courage to “end it sooner” or should he have taken some freakin’ adult responsibility to
say something like “we are going fast. I feel overwhelmed. let’s scale back a bit”? I mean…I like to think I would have appreciated that and heard it and accommodated it.

i think that the pain and panic and self-doubt that his email to me generated when I have made some strides toward re-stabilizing have given me a good idea of why to not have contact, and to yank my hand from the stove. he said it was all my fault because i loved him too much and he was overwhelmed and didn’t think he could “disrupt my happiness” by saying something and slowing down, so instead he kept talking about timing for a baby and engagement. I mean…how egotistical and narcissistic is it of him to think he was my sole source of happiness? How immature did he think I
was that I could not have a discussion about this? How dare HE invalidate MY experience of the relationship?

Here I am doing it again…trying to rationally understand the irrational. The problem with merging with a personality disorder is that you merge disordered too. He was not a whole person. I did not know that. We were imbalanced; I knew that. I thought I was being the strong one. For the first time ever.

Today is day #7 with no contact.

I am angry, miss him, blaming myself, hate that email he sent, indignant, miss him, can’t believe his lack of integrity and responsibility-taking, etc. Miss the person I had committed to–a person that apparently did not exist. But damn, it was a sweet 8 months. Shock. Simply, viscerally, the animal of me wants him. Misses his body, arms, tenderness; what I thought was tenderness.

Prayers of gratitude for what is given, and what is taken away. Prayers that I be not deceived, by myself or another. Prayers for resilience. Prayers that I be not bitter or cynical. Prayers that I give myself time to heal.

Compassion is hardest to feel for myself.

Oh, the tears I’ve cried for this cretin. All the cigarettes smoked, as I try to slow my breathing. (I’m not a smoker.) I realize that he was in a nest of remorse of contrition, and that when I contacted his ex-wife and discovered that she had a similar experience of him, I pushed him out of that nest and back into his own self-loathing, denial, and narcissistic hatred of people who see the truth about him. We can only see what we can tolerate about ourselves. He is saddled by his own denial and self-justification and self-victimization and and egotism.

I’m so…so deeply sad. Know I need to get him out of the scene but…don’t want to…and feel so enraged that he had to have control and push ME away because I’m “unhealthy” for him. I really want to write him back with facts and point out where he is wrong so I can get my dignity
back…

The stinging–the shock–the grief–the ego blow–the “at least he never hit me”–the feeling of being soul-raped–still the wanting him back, where did my guy go, who IS this person–what can I do??

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Responses

  1. I am so sorry that you are going through all of this. You are obviously an extremely intelligent, insightful, sensitive and nurturing person. As I do, you love hard and deep. And when we are hurt it cuts to our very core. I know how those accusations hurt even though we know they are not true, my husband said some of those very same things. Sex Addicts project a lot, accusing us of the very same traits that they possess, showing us how much they despise themselves.

    I spent way too much energy trying to get Larry to ‘get it’. When he was deeply embedded in his addiction he had to rationalize his actions with lies to himself. Common sense was his enemy and was always met with defensiveness and anger.

    It is much too soon for you to ‘get over’ it. Have you seen a counselor? I found what I thought was the perfect counselor, but she turned out to be not so perfect; so I searched again and my second counselor, also a woman, was my lifeline when I was in the abyss of despair.

    You will go through so many phases of emotions as you recover from your trauma. Try to resist those feelings of hunger and need that embrace you at times, making you see only the good things and overlooking reality. Everyone, even a serial killer, has endearing qualities. No one is 100% evil. But, try to stay grounded and consider your emotional health and don’t give in to the loneliness. Learning to be comfortable with being alone is part of the healing process and makes you less vulnerable.

    I hope the articles on this site will help you through your crisis and if there is anything I can do please, just ask.

    Take care of yourself and stay safe.

  2. God! Oh, I want to write to everyone and I don’t have time right now, but I’m making a bit of time, because I admire all of you so much. Jenn and J — My heart goes out to each of you as you are coming to terms with the devastating behavior of the people you loved so dearly.

    To J, a lot of us suffered from abuse as children. I did. Plenty. Not sexual, but everything else you can think of– I’ve been In and out of shrink’s offices for at least a third of my life, and consider myself blessed to have come as far as I have.

    There is NO such thing as loving someone too much. And you did not, and I will repeat MAKE someone engage in compulsive, wreckless, dangerous, and yes SOUL MURDERING behavior!!!!!

    Grrrr… It is so enraging and that is a collective grrrr… from everyone who is reading this. But yes, everything that you believe to be true and real is so distorted and out of whack that you start to doubt your own sanity.

    I am back from my shrink. And yes, this is the third one!(in recent years) She’s a gem. I’ve learned so much from her!

    A counselor is essential. You must feel exceedingly comfortable though. A good one will take you seriously, but won’t be afraid to tell you that you are full of shit. But will also make you feel that even if you are, you are still an amazing person!

    This is something that has helped me that I just started doing automatically after my traumatic experience. Every night, I hear a voice in my head… To me, it is the voice of God. Even if you don’t believe in God… It is your guardian Angel, higher power, whatever. And the voice says… “I love you… I love you, so much…I love you L”. I turn on my fan and crawl into bed and hug my pillow and let the voice fill me, if need be. (I haven’t been needing it as much recently, but whenever I do… it is there!) If you can find this voice inside yourself, then you will never ever be alone again, either. Knowing that you are never alone may help you to feel less victimized and stronger. You will always HAVE someone, forever more who is going to be there for you whenever you need and want, until the day you take your last breath.

    How does that feel?

    Of course, I do still feel loneliness and sadness sometimes, but the “voice” does help. And you don’t have to share this with anyone either and it doesn’t mean you are crazy.

    Crazy is what your lovers did to you. That, is crazy. You are not crazy, because if you were, you would not be here! Crazy people blame others for all of their ills and take no responsibility for their heinous actions. All of you are so immensely lovable and there ARE many people out there who can love and they can be passionate and sexy and hot too!

    Allow yourself the time to heal (which I know is so tough, but here it really is ONE day at a time)… Spend time with your family, friends or if you neglected them.. reconnect. Start something new you always wanted to do. Get involved with your community. Volunteer. Keep a journal and for God’s sake do not publish it on the internet unless you keep it private!

    Exercise.

    Sleep.

    Eat well and take vitamins.

    Don’t drink too much alcohol.

    Laugh.

    Thank God you didn’t attack two police officers with a machete and then ram your Mercedes SUV through a closed garage door into the parked police vehicle like a wealthy doctor did in our “sleepy” community recently.

    Please know this too.

    It WILL get better.

    much better!

  3. Dear Jenn

    “I don’t know what to say”. Is what my ex-partner said to me when he phoned me a month after I had left him. I left him because of a series of revelations (which I won’t go into now) led me to confront him. I was with him for nearly 4 years and loved him deeply. We were making a future together. Like you, I found it so difficult to corrolate what I thought we were with what actually happened and who I thought he was with who he actually was. So, so hard. It’s now 8 months later. I think the shock of finding out that everything I knew to be true during our relationship and everything that I valued was actually not so, made it really difficult for me to find a way to just grieve for what was lost. I’m still grieving now but the shock has lessened. I feel a profound sadness and at times still feel numb. The shock has lessened but then I get flashbacks of times and moments with him and it feels like yesterday that I was happy and content and in love in my relationship with this man. I want to say to you that things will get better but I feel that this has been the hardest thing that I have ever had to come to terms with. I think it’s like a deep trauma that only time will heal. A lot has happened since the separation and I don’t want to bore everyone with all the details but I am more than happy for Joanne to give you my e-mail address if you would like to e-mail me to chat. God, I wish there were therapists over here in the uk to help with this sort of thing but unfortunately not. If you have access to this kind of help then I would grab it. Nothing that has happened is your fault, my fault but we need to deal with the consequences and the trauma to ourselves. Anything that makes it easier has got to be worth reaching out for. I’m sending you a warm embrace and hoping that you’ll find your way and feel better soon. Seren xx

  4. Wow, I was stunned when I read Jen’s post. This is my first post, and I cannot find the initial one JoAnn invited me to share on. But, after reading this I wanted to get some feedback, because my relationship with my sex addict involves a twist.

    I have always had a high sex drive ever since I first lost my virginity as a teenager. However, I never cheated on my boyfriend, even when it was suspected that he had cheated on me. And, he had cheated on me. So, from there I tried to be abstinent from sex. I easily went without any sexual intercourse with a man, as long as alcohol was not involved. But, I was a binge drinker. If I got drunk, it often landed me in bed with a man. Often would be as little as 1 time in a year, and perhaps up to 5 or 6. I cannot really recall.

    So, then when I was married to my ex-husband I found out the hard way about all kinds of internet activities, and that he was trying to hook up for sex to meet women he would email off of the websites. When confronted, he was angry, and he was defensive of his privacy. He said he would go to sex addicts anonymous, and I was floored. I thought that sex addicts did certain things, but now I realized it is an inside job. It is their thought life, and their fantasies.

    So, after the divorce, my goal was to again abstain from sex outside of marriage. I dated a couple of men who respected those boundaries. I had a 9 month, and a briefer 4 month relationship that involved no sex of any kind.

    Something started to shift for me when I was again single, and angry that I did not have the family I had wanted. I was upset that we planned our child together, as I already had two, because he said our relationship was good. I was very happy at the time. So, I started to feel like maybe I could have my cake and eat it, too. I thought maybe I could do what it seemed “everybody else” was doing with having casual sex. I was triggered by my new phone that browsed the internet. I got on craigslist for an innocent venture, and I found myself in “casual encounters”. The man said he would perform oral sex, and no reciprocation would be necessary. I thought it sounded perfect. He lived kind of far, but we went in the back of my van. He did just as he said, and I was both shocked I actually did it, but I had also been really satisfied. I went on over the summer to meet about 8-10 men. I had wanted to keep it to oral sex, but several of them “advanced”. I felt guilty about it, and I realized I felt “out of alignment”, and that this was not particularly a fit for me. I wondered how I had gotten myself into the situation.

    Well, I met “R”, and he was an admitted sex addict. He was divorced, raised and professing Christian like me, and he was just months within my age. He lived close by, and so I thought I could have the intimate partner/boyfriend that suited me so well. When we met he initially told me he was in recovery from a meth problem he had had “early in his marriage”. So, he had the supposed 12 month period of clean time. After we were already having intercourse, and becoming fast lovers and friends he relapses. He told me, and he made it to where at the time I had an invitation to walk away. However, I did not want to break up with him if he had one lapse.

    Well flash forward to today, and he had a pattern of using every 2 to 4 weeks. I suspected he never had a year clean, and finally when I absolutely pressed and pressed he admitted it. He said that he knew I would not date him if I did not have a year. I related to a term I saw for the first time about how sex addicts (and, really all people to an extent), slowly reveal the more shocking events from their lives. So, I was under the assumption that “R” was in quit mode, and he did try ever so hard. He said that he discovered meth in his 30’s, and he had never been drunk. It allowed him to “play” with men, which he could not get into when not high. So, he did not see himself as a meth addict (he was fairly controlled throughout his use, and used on monthly occasions), but rather a sex addict who used meth as a tool. So, he would find drugs through the men seeking men on craigslist. I was surprised because he said that he did not like men, but with the right drug he forced himself to get into sometimes even dangerous sexual orgies and parties. He lost his marriage, although initially his wife encouraged him to play, and was turned onto it until he had contracted an STD.

    So, he started referring to me as a sex addict as well. I could see that I had had the behaviors of one for some months, but I lacked so much of the drive, need, and lack of control. Or, at least I felt I did. I ended up relapsing on alcohol one time with “R”, and he had a guy come over. This happened again a couple of months later, even though we both decided we had not liked it. He was not high, and so he was not into it. Nevertheless, I drank again, and another guy came over. The two men ended up having sex with me while he watched, and it was not really a threesome – which, I had never had, and was not really interested in. Well, “R” continued with his cyclical relapses. I was getting dismayed that I stayed with him while he chased his sexual addiction using meth. So, I got the brilliant idea to start cheating on him behind his back. I thought it would help me detach. So, I did cheat on him 5 times with 3 men. Two of the times alcohol was involved. I was careful except with one man who I was not planning on having sex with, and he did not have any protection.

    I felt very guilty, and I cut contact off with the men, and the next time “R” relapsed it did not make it any easier like I had stupidly thought. So, I worked up the nerve to tell him. He took it very hard, and withdrew for a day from me. But, he still wanted to be with me. I was astounded, and what I saw next was something I never would have thought of. He started to fantasize about the experiences that I had had. He would ask me about some of the details. He actually got turned on by it, but then sometimes it would hurt him again, or he would express his distrust in me. Which, granted, I had earned.

    So, I guess we are two sex addicts, although he is further in the progression. I have managed to stop all of the cheating for a couple of months now. And, I am very happy to find that I am not really even struggling with it. That was an unexpected, pleasant surprise. So, “R” and I got engaged, and I decided to accept his relapse cycle until the day came when he fully recovers, and never goes back. There were more men that came over when we would be playing around. We would say how we did not want to do it again, and that it had not been the fantasy of his mind. All in all, there have been another man over almost every 2-3 weeks. And, I was not really 100% into it, it was just when partying occurred.

    Then, I did something I never thought I would do: meth. “R” never had it at his house, but he was given some. He had apparently been very nervous driving by cops when he was transporting it. Anyhow, it was being offered to me right then, and I had all night. So, I tried it. “R” told me to start masturbating. I am not big on masturbating, but there is a sex toy vibrator thing that caused me to have probably close to 100 orgasms. My legs were shaking, and I was almost unable to walk when it was over. It shed light on the whole use meth and jerk off culture. I mean, it was unbelievable. I went on to do it a handful more times, and have now quit. I am going to stay that way since I find that I currently can take it or leave it, and I feel that is a good way to be. I do not want to wait for major medical problems, skin problems, tooth decay – you name it.

    So, I told “R” that I was done, and he supported me. He has the mind to quit, although he had realized he was now no longer turned on by men. He tried to stimulate himself with craigslist pictures, but they did nothing for him. Then, he told me that it seemed even when he was high men were no longer arousing him. Then, he told me for the first time that in the past he had been unable to shake the attraction. It was to blame for his marriage failing. He had desperately wanted to remain with his wife. Now, almost on accident men no longer did the trick.

    So, about 2-3 days later, he was a little high, and he started asking about having a guy over again. I am now adamantly against it. He then asked if when we were married if I would mind if he played with a guy on a monthly basis. I was baffled! Talk about a discrepancy – he no longer gets aroused by men, but wants me to endorse playing with men should he want to. I told him that I liked the fact he seemed to be resolving that attraction, and I knew he did not want to be attracted to them. So, I said I was not okay with it. His reaction was pretty severe, and he told me that since I did not want him to do it, it caused him to want to all the more?! He said that it was more about knowing he had the freedom. I told him that the bottom line is that it would hurt me. He sometimes brings up my cheating on him, but he does a pretty good job of not totally using it against me.

    I would love any feedback, and I am thinking of pushing the wedding date up. He is still “quitting”, and his binge pattern is better than daily use or than those who use several times a week, or even weekly. Basically, I believe he is eventually going to succeed. I know he wants to. However, he stopped getting the free drugs playing with guys he found on craigslist. He still used craigslist, but we had used a handful of times with me. He now liked it with me, but I ended up hating it. When he was high, his fantasies were so outrageous, and he would ask me a ton of yes or no questions. I guess I am almost hating to think I might be right, that since I have cleaned up my act, that he will probably go back to getting free meth from men who will expect him to do things sexually with him.

    Another thing that does not fit quite right, is he said he never would cheat on me with a woman. He said he knows how much that would hurt me. I was amazed, and comforted. But, it made sense that for the sex the men were more readily available, and they did it even if they did not identify it as homosexual. So, I am going to need to see him succeed in quitting this before I reset the date, I think. I also have children to think of, and I have asked him about potential safeguards and risks as a step parent. He is quite confident in this area, in fact more so than in the other areas. He is really patient, and he has an amazing way of teaching that kids do well with. He does not interfere with discipline, and he has been very gentle with what little he has been around the kids.

    So, I told him that if the feelings changed about guys again, that I would want to know of course. He said that my not “allowing” it made it more tempting. I feel like I should have lied! He will not be with a woman because it hurts me………I don’t know.

    I was wondering what I should require before a ceremony? I am going to a weekly recovery group, but I don’t have anybody that I have been able to disclose all of this to. I know I wrote quite a bit. I feel like Jenny and I just had sooooo much in common!

  5. Thora,

    You are such a brave, courageous woman! I think it is not easy to come out with all of this, but perhaps it is easier, because it is anonymous.

    Look, this is tough to say and I think you already know this, which is why you are writing to us, but this man is no where near ready to get married, and I don’t think that you are either; just based on the statement “I should’ve lied to him”…about NOT wanting him to have sex with other men, made it more tempting for him!?! And in order to have sex with men, he needs to take a dangerous drug???

    That’s just no good— very, dysfunctional.

    But there’s something else that truly concerns me as well… He has told you many a bold faced lie during your relationship and I am sorry, but until he learns to be completely honest and open with you, you are playing with fire here. A man who lies is ALWAYS going to lie. Unless he does an awful lot of work to change that kind of behavior.

    Marriage is tough enough when the couple is more or less “healthy” and perhaps you are two people who’ve found each other… but with so much addictive behavior going on, at times uncontrollably so… Even with an open marriage, I am fearful for the outcome. I am sure he has many wonderful qualities. Of course, almost no one is all bad!

    I think that for the two of you to be successful, in a marriage, it would be wise to give it a lot more time, before making a permanent bond. Each of you needs individual and couple counseling, and perhaps — couple counseling, forever (like at least once every month or two), as well as sponsors and support groups. This must be ongoing, for you will be forever, “recovering addicts.”

    You just need a lot more time.

    I hope that I haven’t made you feel badly either. I do see that both of you have attempted to remain sober, but have also seen that each of you has had relapses and bouts of poor communication with the other. With all of the endless stressors that marriage and life can bring, it just seems from a purely unattached vantage point, that neither of you are healthy enough to make a legal commitment to the other.

  6. I’m afraid I had to go against my policy of not editing comments from readers and take Thora1’s story down. The purpose of this site is to give support and comfort to spouses and partners of Sex Addicts. Although Thora1 is involved with a Sex Addict, and she expressed some concerns about getting married at this point, her story included explicit and quite graphic details of her own sexual exploits and a lack of recognition on her part that these activities indicated that both she and her partner were deeply involved in both Sex Addiction and Drug Addiction.

    I don’t mean to judge, but it just seemed inappropriate for this site.

    I would welcome comments from Thora1 if they were based seeking help or advice on overcoming Sexual Addiction and embracing recovery.

  7. Wow JoAnn,

    I am surprised – I don’t know if sexual addiction is like other addictions where it has to be present for a long time? I have been struggling with sexual acting out for less than a year, and I don’t like it; and I am more comfortable being in a monogamous relationship. I just broke off the wedding because, in large, in finding this site. I have read lots of posts – ones where women talk about giving oral sex for a long time trying to sexually please their partner. I don’t think that I was any more explicit than that, so sorry if I was. I also saw a post where the woman said mutual drug use happened, but I don’t want to offend anybody. Plus, with the way he can check my email and stuff, maybe just delete it anyways. I feel very hurt that because I have had risky sexual behavior, that I cannot get help from this site because i am in relationship with somebody who is an addict, too.

    How could I get help for myself, and omit (which is a form of lying), that this whole devastating episode has taken me to dark places I never knew before. I went into the detail I did to explain my sexual history because I thought maybe some members could help me decipher if I need help for sexual addiction. I think my primary addiction is alcohol, and I am dealing with that. I am ceasing the sexual inappropriateness, as well. So, I don’t know how it didn’t seem that I wanted help. You guys were a God send. Reading Jenn’s story made me not feel alone. Somebody else had the same thing happen, although different in the details, with craigslist! I know that world, and for as long as i have been secretly trying to get help, this site was the first place I saw it.

    The thing I need help with the most is dealing with my significant other. Then, secondly, I need to be in recovery from alcohol and drugs. I am doing that today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Then, I don’t know if it going to be hard for me to not want casual encounters anymore. I sure don’t think so…….the encounters were largely under the influence. I don’t do what I normally would do, so getting sober is the answer for me.

    It took me two hours to write all of that, but I respect your decision. I just felt that I could not talk about what some of the things that I was going through without explaining that he had some leverage over me, and actually didn’t trust ME; I wanted to get the most accurate advice that I can. Maybe what I was doing was suicide on the installment plan? I don’t even know why I did what I did. It made it very difficult to share, as I am ashamed of my own behavior. How can I insist he get help for things, without him making me out to be the same? I find the answer in sobriety. All of my initial sexual experiences were under the influence as a teen, and as a young adult.

    Lorraine already opened my eyes so much. Because I can’t talk to others because of the shame of it, I have started to not know what is normal. So, with her pointing out the shocking reality of what he did to obtain sex that he saw as available, but wrong was really helpful for me.

    So, I don’t know if there can be a thread for sex addicts who are both in the relationship? I cannot possibly be the only one. My significant other and I met on craigslist – go figure. I have done a lot of things since telling him I cheated. I canceled my phone number that I had for years, I canceled email accounts, and I gave him the login and password to my cell phone on the carrier’s website. Those are things I see people requiring of their addict, so I think that is recovery seeking behavior.

    Because of this site, I had the courage to make changes, and we are no longer getting married in the near future. I don’t know if we even will. Because I did an about face, he is feeling really uncomfortable around me because he feels bad. He should feel bad, and he wants recovery, too. I think it is great that he has empathy! But, he desires more clean time, etc. before he feels like he can do certain things. Maybe it is because he has tried, and has failed, and this struggle has been a decade long for him. For me, it was a couple of seasons. I don’t know if that is impacting things – the time spent in the behavior.

    I thought confusion was okay to confess, and I didn’t know that to get help, I had to recognize everything.

  8. I think I can speak for everyone here on this site that we are here to help anyone who is in pain who needs support, comfort and advice. I’m not sure that you realize how serious your problems are, but I am glad that you are seeking help.

    I hope that everyone who visits here will take the time to offer their thoughts on how you should proceed. I will take some time to put together my thoughts too, and post them as soon as I digest all the issues.

    Multiple addictions are very common, and addicts often do find themselves in relationships with another addict. Unfortunately most of these relationships end in disaster.

    Please share any other thoughts that you have and take care to be safe.

  9. Thanks JoAnn,

    I have been able to check in a lot the last 2 days, and then through the rest of the week I hope to log in at least once. I have been devouring the information.

    Thanks for clarifying that anybody in pain can get help, even if they are also struggling with the addiction alsol. I am confused, and I hope that I can get help by seeing what others write about sex addicts. It might be a two edged sword. I just read the awesome excerpt about the black and white thinking: “Sex Addicts Live in a World of Extremes”. I can definitely have that! Finally, something I can relate to. I don’t relate to a lot of the “traits’, so it makes it hard to self-evaluate.

    I am actually going to attend a group that deals with multiple issues, so I am excited. I have gone to one before, but it was nearly a half-hour away. So, this one is only about 5 minutes.

    I guess I would want to ask what to do now that I stopped the behavior? Besides having the accountability of changing all of my emails, phone number, not going on craigslist, etc. Is there something that partners recommend for their significant other.

    Oh yeah, and “R” wants to talk tonight. At first, when I relayed to him that I absolutely was not going to do any of the destructive behaviors, condone it, participate in it, etc. he felt very rejected. His knee jerk reaction was to totally break things off, but we both are open to working on ourselves. I know he has been in and out of counseling, groups, treatment, etc. He just has not maintained recovery. So, I am gathering that since I am quite a few paces in front of him that he feels like chopped liver. But, then he caught himself. He also recognizes the 180 degree turns. But, what do you do about them?

    Does anybody know what it is like to go to an SA meeintg? I saw in one of the posts that somebody attended, and made sure the cash was given to the meeting secretary. So, I guess sometimes partners go to the same meetings? Is it like 12 step support? I just cannot imagine feeling comfortable in a co-ed meeting! I would feel like driving several counties away!

    Lorraine and JoAnn, your attention to detail, and absorbing what everybody writes is really touching. Thanks for your dedication and empathy. I feel like a sponge at the moment.

    Anyhow, the meeting tonight – I am not sure what to do. But, I think I will talk about my own recovery. And see what, if anything he is going to do about his.

    Thanks ladies!

  10. Thora hi. I don’t think I would feel able to comment or empathise or give you any advice, given that you are involve with alcohol, drugs and sex exploits/addictions that you feel are out of your control. I think it is difficult enough to deal with the feelings that happen as a result of being involved with a sex addict without those feelings being compounded by the influence of drugs and alcohol. I think that it would be very hard for anyone who is not under those influences to relate to where you are coming from. I hope you get the help you need. xx

  11. I am reading your post Thora, and I think you would benefit from reading Patrick Carnes “Don’t Call it Love”….this book lays all sorts of situations down very honestly, including those where both partners are sex addicts. Lots of honesty and lots of hope. Give it a read. It will encourage you as it did me.

  12. Hi Berkshiregal,

    You have made some pretty powerful posts about your experience and how you feel. Thanks for being honest, and for joining a sometimes difficult conversation. But as always, also sorry, that your story brings you here at all.

    I think it’s hard to find a safe place for our rage and our pain, both. This is particularly true for those of us not wired for the emotional “cut-off’ as Edwin Friedman would describe it. It’s not like we can change that wiring overnight. If we are people who take time to process what has happened to us, or people who need to pursue every avenue of reconciliation before giving up, our timelines for reaching conclusions or decision might not be the same as yours.

    It is also true that quick decisions (even when made with clarity) don’t necessarily insulate us from experiencing the pain. We may make rational decisions about moving on, but emotionally our rage trails behind just as long as the person who makes a different decision at a different time. Sometimes I get frustrated that others don’t see what I see, but I also have learned that others see what I don’t.

    Disposing of human beings isn’t all that helpful in the long run. They are not going to disappear just because we flush them down our personal toilet. They just because the problem of the wider community, That being said, I certainly have had a few days, Berkshiregal, when I imagined kicking my husband down the stairs with his mother right behind!!! So hey, I get the impulse.

    Maybe you could hang around some more, and check out some topics that could speak to the stuff behind the rage and the clarity you have about what to do with the SA, into what you can do for yourself. It’s really important to know how to cherish yourself and rebuild your life, heart soul and mind.

    No one will argue about the SA asshole, but I am also concerned about you and how you can recover yourself with joy, compassion, and tenderness. thanks again, for letting us know you a little bit.

    finding our way,
    D.