JoAnn’s Update: Sex Addiction’s Struggles

This time it’s my turn to share my story. The odd thing about our stories is that there really never is an ending. The stories of Sex Addiction, and life, are ongoing; a continuance of the peaks and valleys, the happiness and pain and, of course, the struggles.

This story is about the struggles.

If any of you have read my previous post, Sexual Addiction’s Subtle Siren Song you will remember that last September Larry was lured down a path of escalating viewing of sexually oriented movies on TV. We talked about it, he had a plan for reviewing his recovery plan and discussing the issue with his counselor. Although my trust was shaken and I was thrown into that unease of doubt, I thought we had weathered the slip quite nicely.

Well, last week I walked into Larry’s office (downstairs on a different floor from my office, he always keeps the doors closed). On his computer screen was a sexual movie scene.

He admitted that he had been spending the last few weeks googling ‘top 25 movie sex scenes’ and watching them for anywhere from 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours at a time. These were specific scenes where you watch only the sex scenes, not the rest of the movie.

I have been struggling with this for the past week and a half, and I can’t tell you how difficult it has been. Even though I feel that my previous counseling has done wonders to restore my self esteem and self confidence, when I discovered that Larry had purposely betrayed my trust I was thrown back into that old world of self doubt. No, I never wondered what I had done or hadn’t done to cause it, but I just got an overall sense of doubt about my whole life and decisions that I had made.

The worst part of it, as it is with all of us, is the betrayal.

Larry and I have had some lengthy discussions over this. I have to say that the conversations are similar to those we used to have years ago, and yet they are somehow very different. Right after my discovery he fell back into that old ‘addict’ talk where he minimized, denied and totally refused any accountability, but, at times, just for a brief moment, he seemed to be able to recognize and express his inner pain and share his doubts and fears honestly. It has been very frustrating.

This week he has found a new counselor who specializes in Sex Addiction. He has been attending eight 12 step meetings a week. And he asked me to put monitoring software on his computer. At first I refused, angrily stating that if he wanted to find a way to engage in yellow light behaviors all the monitors and blocks in the world would not stop him. I finally agreed when he asked if I would just do it so that he would have a reminder that his computer was monitored. He said he cannot trust himself at this point. I don’t bother even looking at the reports because I know that he won’t do anything on the computer if he knows I am watching, so it means nothing to me.

Larry says he does not know why he was watching those scenes, he says that he didn’t realize that he was engaging in yellow light behavior, he says he does not know if it would have led to him acting out if I had not caught him, he says he does not know why he didn’t tell me or his counselor that he was searching for and watching explicit sex scenes on the computer and he feels that he did not ‘choose’ to seek and watch those scenes because, as he says, ‘I’m an addict’.

Now, we all know that all of those statements are bullshit!

What those statements mean is that Larry, who is a pretty typical Sex Addict, will always revert to denial, minimizing, lying and withdrawing into his secret world whenever some vague event, thought or trigger entices him or when he is confronted with something he is trying to hide.

I do not know if that will ever change.

Now, about me. Larry and I have had such an wonderful 3 1/2 years since his last episode of acting out, and I had become comfortable in our relationship, but have still maintained an emotional detachment. I have learned to love him again, but I have never fooled myself into thinking that we would never have issues with his addiction–when I made the decision to reconcile with him I was clearly aware that there would be times when the Sex Addiction would rear it’s ugly head.

What I did believe was that we would work through his struggles together. He had promised me, over and over, that he would share any urges to engage in yellow light behavior. I was foolish to believe that a Sex Addict would be able to keep that sort of promise.

The TV movie thing upset me, but it was manageable. I thought we had and were continuing to work through it. But, his viewing of sex scenes on the computer has hurt me quite deeply. It was a double betrayal because he not only promised me total transparency when we got back together, he also continued the lies and deception during our recent weeks of discussions over the TV issue. And, he did not share the computer viewing with his 12 step groups or his counselor, even though he had two sessions with that counselor in which they discussed the TV issue.

Last week I went through all of those horrible emotions that I thought I would never have to endure again. My stomach was in turmoil for days, i couldn’t sleep, I had this constant urge to just ‘get away’, I cried, I didn’t yell too much–just a bit, and then I calmed down. It seemed as if I went through the whole gamut of emotions at warp speed. I read my own website for comfort (thank you all), finished the new eBook and sought comfort from a dear friend who is also married to a Sex Addict.

So, what now? Well, I resisted the urge to make a black and white decision. Actually my research for my new eBook helped me with that, so I will explain a bit of it here because it can really help clarify things when we are in that crisis mode that just screams for action.

Black and white thinking is a result of our primal fight or flight response to danger (actually, there is a third response, which is ‘freeze’, but that is primarily useful to tiny animals who would not survive if they fought or ran). Sex Addicts engage in black and white thinking most of the time, because, not only is it a primal response, it is also an immature response which children engage in all the time. Most Sex Addicts are very immature and have not learned to temper their responses with mature reasoning.

Anyway, the reason that partners of Sex Addicts feel that urgent need to make a decision about the relationship is because the ‘fight or flight’ response is alive and kicking within our bodies. We can’t just sit there, we can’t just let is rest for a while, we have to make a decision ‘NOW’. Our adrenalin is high and our bodies feel that our very existence is threatened. We need to ‘do something’. Add to that turmoil the desperate pleadings of the Sex Addict that they have ‘seen the light’ and that you should forgive, forget and move on, and you have the makings of the crazies.

So, as I said, I resisted the urge to make a black and white decision. As difficult as it was, I let it rest. Oh, we continued to talk, and I still had my emotional roller coaster running on hyper warp speed, but I refused to seriously consider any decisions about the future of our relationship. Those types of decisions are much too important to be made under emotional duress, and usually will not stick anyway.

As time passed Larry has also seemed to calm emotionally and he is now talking more sensibly, without that sense of shame that bubbled up with my discovery. As the shame retreats he becomes more aware of what he did and is able to talk about it without the defensiveness.

So, that’s where we are at right now. Talking, seeking answers, using resources such as counseling for both of us and Larry with his 12 steps. I don’t know what the next chapter of this story will be, but I will definitely share it with all of you, who have opened your hearts so generously on this site.

This site is here to offer support, resources and comfort for partners of Sex Addicts, including myself. Just sharing my story with you has lightened my heart. I am sharing all of this with the hope that everyone out there will understand what it is really like to live with a recovering Sex Addict. It is not easy and there will be issues. You cannot have false hopes or feel unearned or foolish trust. You must be strong and able to work through the problems, often without the Sex Addict’s help. If the relationship is strong in other areas it might work, but only if you are fully aware of the pitfalls.

And remember, a happy ending simply depends on where you stop your story.

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Responses

  1. Oh JoAnn,

    (((((((hugs)))))))

    Something told me to jump on and see if there’s something new—I’m so sorry that you are having this difficulty.

    Love,

    L

  2. Thank you, our dear JoAnn,
    For sharing the hard part of your life.

    Sometimes we make people into heros and heroines, and want to imagine that they have it all figured out. It takes courage to invite us into a deeper relationship with you, where you struggle with the same things that we do, and your victories are no greater than our own.

    But neither are your defeats and setbacks greater than ours. You will do the work that is yours. And you will wake up to tomorrow treasuring yourself. I know we are all sorry that you’ve had to endure this pain. I hope you will find even ground soon.

    love,
    D.

  3. Dear JoAnn,

    Thank you so much for sharing your very real and ongoing relationship with an SA. It is true, we hope for heroes and the exception to the rule, often to be so disappointed. thank you for inviting us all in your world too. Perhaps progress is not a straight line, the roller coaster of recovery continues, with perhaps, long lulls and smooth rides, almost cruise control. Then you drop a few feet, stomach whirling emotions wild. I am sorry for your setback and your battle. I hope that in your counseling, that your confidence gets restored, by Larry’s return to accountability and responsibility and boundaries being respected. That is the only hope we have.

  4. I cried when I read your poignant story and Diane summarized my feelings exactly. You are a corageous pioneer to have created this site that we all have come to treasure and from the posts it is abundantly clear that so many have found such freedom and comfort here. Stay strong but hold yourself gently at the same time and know that we are all supporting you. Blessings to you, JoAnn

  5. Dear JoAnn, bless you for sharing your relationship struggles with us. (((hugs))) I’m so sorry for your pain.
    I cannot imagine being able to resist that fight-or-flight adrenalin … so I find comfort in reading that you can do that.

  6. JoAnn,
    Your post brought me back to the reality of choosing to stay and support someone addicted to sex. I have held you and Larry up as the great hope, the one’s who made it. It brings me back down to Earth to know that in all the strength and love the two of you have, the addiction is really always there. But with everything you have triumphed over, I have the greatest hope that this will also be another triumph. It physically hurt my insides to hear that he had betrayed you, of all people, again.
    I also discovered for myself, my own history, as I read your post, that I myself could not stomach another lie and am glad I do not ever have to live in what I lived in before. I couldn’t do it again. The sick feeling is too much. You are right, it is not the sex, it is the betrayal and lying.
    I am praying, hoping, feeling for you and Larry. I hope so much that I can believe that there is a man, especially Larry, that does not let such bad destroy such good.
    He is so lucky to have you, and we are even more so.

  7. First, let me tell you that I have looked for help for 10 years on the web. Thank you for sharing your story and allowing others to do the same. We all are living with sexual addicts, however they are not recovering. At any moment, some trigger can send them into a downward spiral. Any part of the female anatomy gets him huffing and puffing and playing with himself. It’s a disease that will always rear its ugly head. I wish I could leave. There is no more emotional attachment for me. Sexual addicts are selfish, self centered bastards. I have been married for 32 years to a pervert who has lied to me at the expense of his kids and marriage. If I wasn’t wrapped up financially with this less than human being, I would leave.

  8. I feel your pain. I’m still coming off of my addicts latest binge/escalation. If you haven’t seen my blog yet I’d recommend the “Boxes” post. After my confrontation with him when I found out that he was now getting massages with benefits… he did exhibit all of the “deer in the headlights” behaviors. He’d been hiding his actions for months – but I knew. After about a week of denial and he had figured a few more things out in his head we had a breakthrough. He saw his actions as being just another way to get his needs met. Nothing more different than finding a magazine or making a phone call… turns out it literally took him a week to clue in that I saw his actions as infidelity and adultry. Now why he couldn’t see that before is anyones guess… it was a duh moment for me… but that’s how it goes. Also on your comment on the filter. I have waffeled back and forth between demanding it be in place and just plain pissed I have to be put out by managing it. In a moment of clarity though my addict commented that he hated the fact that he NEEDED to be blocked from the internet so that his evil side couldn’t hurt him any more than it had. But he realized that for now he needs it. In that light I feel better about managing the filter. They really are Jeykll and Hyde.

  9. JoAnn,
    I am so sorry for your pain and wishing you a return to peace soon. I read your post today almost holding my breath and thought “anyone would think this was my story” and immediately realized that it IS my story….it just hasn’t happened yet. My husband has been in recovery for a year and I actually really like him now ( they are easy to love, try liking them sometimes)….and yet I know that it’s just a question of time. Everyday I think about what you have said about what it takes to live with an addict, and everyday, even when things are going well, I don’t know if I can or want to. Sharing your struggles so honestly gives all of us strength and I hope that you are feeling the strength and love of this sisterhood that you have created.

  10. Dear JoAnn,

    Many hugs to you during this difficult time. You demonstrate such strength and knowledge…..For those of us who have not traveled this road as far as you, your story reminds us that this is a life long process and our SA’s will never be 100% cured, no matter how much we hope and pray. It tells us again that we should never get too comfortable because that comfort can be swept out from under us in the blink of an eye. You said so many things that are so true to my story and many others here. My SA keeps talking of more frequent urges to act out..I just got an email tonight that talked heavily of that….I feel any moment now I’ll be getting one that tells me he did this time rather than ones simply talking of temptation. You are so right that many never grow up and child like behaviors is all they know…furthermore you are dead on that often, the problems, these problems we have to solve for ourselves without any help from them. They are not capable of doing so. I can only hope that when my time comes (and my intuition says it’s just around the corner), I can exercise the patience, dignity and integrity in dealing with my SA that you have talked of here with Larry. I realize all too well that my ability to deal with this will sadly get better with time and experience should I continue this journey with him.

    I’m so sad you’ve had to relive so much of the past pain these weeks, but you are a woman of great strength, perseverance and grace. I pray that someday I can be even close to the woman you are.

    May God continue to walk with you each and every day.
    Thank you so much for sharing, your story gives me much to think about.

    Mary

  11. JoAnn – I am so sorry for what is going on in your life right now. I guess the question is why you are able to tolerate these relapses in your’e life. Is there something in your’e childhood that keeps you hooked in living with a sex addict.
    My SA’s therapist wrote me an e-mail after Steve went to L.a. asking me to hold off on a decision to file for divorce. Her reason was that my father was never able to change, (He was a sociopath) and I am hooked into the fact that maybe Steve will change, unlike my father. I guess it is sort of living out those unresolved issues. I hope there aren’t issues with you in trying to resolve childhood issues.
    Steve and I met with his therapist today, and he lied, or minimized 3 times in the session. Obviously, he still can’t tell the truth. So, I enforced my boundaries-I am separated from him until which time his therapist can tell me he is able to be truthful and his triggers are under control.
    I forgot to mention that after returning from L.A., he disso iated in our pre-nump meeting with the lawyer – totally checked out. Triggered on a gal who was doing the witnessing for it. Did it twice. Also, after returning, told me he fantasized about going to porn site involving “fat lady”domination and submission. Said he had sexual fantasies about the web site he went to, but did not go to the site. Ya. Right! Said he masturbated later, but not during the fantasy. Right again!
    Anyway, my point is that it just goes on and on. Lies/deception-partial truths.
    I know you have a lot of time invested, but how much is enough?? Do you really want to go through the rest of your’e life like this? I want you to be happy and not have to worry the rest of your’e life. Be Happy!! Do you not think you have a chance for happiness in a functional relationship. You deserve more than having to worry year after year.
    I will probably be criticized for being so blunt,but that is what this web site is for. Again, I want you to be happy, and if this marriage makes you happy (the goods outweigh the bads) then so be it. We all have to do what makes us happy. I couldn’t do it!
    Anyway, my prayers go out to you in giving you strength in whatevever it takes for you to be happy.

  12. JoAnn,

    I am so sorry to hear this update. Like Lynn said, I hold you and Larry close to my heart, as proof a marriage can survive. You have given me so much hope and I felt ill as I read your update. If only these men could truley learn what empathy is, like us partners know. Could they ever understand that a stranger online, with an ocean separating them, could feel real physical pain and sickness at what another partner is going through?

    After all you have both been through, all the work thats been done, to so easily slip back into acting out. (in my mind, viewing sex scenes IS acting out) Its horrifying 🙁

    Please look after yourself JoAnn.
    ((((hugs)))
    Starry

  13. Jo Ann,

    Isn’t it wonderful to know that something you created (this site), can help you out so much when you need it? Out of so much negativity came something positive.

    Sharron, I think you raise excellent points about how much is enough? It’s not easy to say how you see things as you did but it is oh-so-necessary sometimes. Caring about people means asking the tough questions, imo.

    I’m glad you spoke your mind because I have been dealing with a similar situation at home just now. Minor relapse with some Jekyll and Hyde behaviour. My reaction was very similar to yours, Jo Ann. Fairly calm, but very hurt. Mostly because we had gone to therapy where he said that my hostility was hurting him a lot. I put effort into curbing that behaviour because it was abusive. What was my reward: I discovered that he had been acting out in the previous week.

    Anyway,I understand your first reaction about wanting to leave. I know that I am reaching a point of no return. It will require a lot of adjustments, including finding wheelchair accessible housing but I just don’t think I can go on and on like this with trust built and then destroyed in an endless cycle. We deserve better than this, imho.

  14. Marian – thank you for your reply, and JoAnn I continue to have a feeling of sadness overcome me when I think of what you are going through. As others have expressed it so well – you have been such a source of strength for everyone on this site, and we all feel your pain in having to endure betrayal once again. I do agree with you when you say a decision should not be made while in an emotional state, and we all experience that “fight or flight” response, but I hear from everyone here, over and over, how they struggle to go or stay. When is enough enough. Years of lieing, deception, feelings of betrayal,that sick feelig in your stomach, as you described it,and living every day with it in the back of our heads – when is my world going come crashing down again. The days turn into weeks – weeks into months – months into years, and all of a sudden a lifetime has gone by and we have wasted so much time on someone, who we knew deep in our hearts, would never change. I guess I am lucky, in the sense, that I only have two and a half years invested in my relationship/marriage. Although it has been a struggle, maybe I am able to disconnect and take myself out of the marriage easier than those of you who have many years invested. I still feel if we waste too much time, our lives are over, and we will never have the chance to love and experience A relationship with a healthy man. How sad! Anyway, my prayers are with you-God speed.
    Marian – sounds like you are dealing with more demons yourself. It really struck me when you said your’e SA has resentment because of you exhibiting hostility, and it hurts him a lot. Poor him!! Then you worked on your end, and look what happened! You were betrayed once again! You have every right to feel angry – sometimes it takes a long time to get over it. He should feel priviledged to have you and the time you have dedicated to put up with his bull shit! Sounds like you have reached your limit – we all do- and come to terms with going or staying.but you have some difficult things to work out first. My prayers are also with you in the difficult times ahead.

  15. Hi Sharron,
    Yes, I agree, he should feel privileged. ATST, it’s ok for me to be angry with what he’s done but I don’t feel comfortable with letting that anger become abuse and I am totally admitting that it was out of hand. I wasn’t physical but verbally, I can tear a strip off. I don’t want to become someone I don’t like and I can see it heading in that direction.

    My thing is that if I don’t want to be in this marriage, then I need to make the choices and live with the consequences not be so abusive he leaves; I think that’s a cheap way to do things and just because he is that way (cheap, I mean) doesn’t mean I want to live down to his level.

    I have to agree with your statement about wasting time and not being with a healthy man. Trouble is that many people, both men and women, don’t want to deal with either physical or mental health disabilities so one really has to be comfortable with being alone. I did that for 8 years. It has many benefits and I could do it again but it’s the housing issue and the money issue that are interfering. These are not insurmountable when I am feeling like I can handle taking it on and right now, I don’t. One battle at a time.

    My plan, which I have developed in spite of the deep depression, is to fill out the application form for housing and see if I can get any further help since my son has a life-threatening illness and maybe get in specialized housing. I don’t know but it will feel as if I am doing something for myself.

  16. Hi Marion -Don’t be too hard on yourself for the verbal abuse. After two years of lies and deception, I, too, resorted to the same
    behavior – even called him a sick f—! Am not proud of it, but it
    was definitely a wake-up call for me that for me to resort to that behavior, (Have never been that way before) his illness was having a very traumatic impact on me- we all reach our limits. That is when I decided to separate from him. I really think living with an SA is probably one of the most frustrating things life can hand us. I felt like I was regressing emotionally in the marriage and it was dragging me down. I do think many people are afraid of being alone, and have financial reasons for staying in the relationship. I have to tell you, though,I was single for 10 years prior to meeting my SA, and after almost 3 years, am doing it again. I would much rather be alone and happy than be in a marriage where there is constant turmoil and trauma. I, too, am having to make a big financial sacrifice. My SA was providing a very comfortable life-style for me financially. Now, I am living in a very small Condo and managing on Social Security-$1750.00/mo. So am trying to manage. Sounds like your’e financial problems and having a very ill child are much more complicated than mine. I commend you for your efforts. You really have a lot on your’e plate!
    Just know that all of us on the site are here for you when you just need to talk or vent. It has been a God-Send for me.
    Much love and prayer your way! Keep us posted.

  17. JoAnn,
    Thank you for your post and continuance of your story. I was wondering the other day how that was going. So it is still going. Sorry to hear that he is not hearing you. Seems like he is at a point where he is completely unaware or is aware and 100% deceptive (or a combo). I think with the SA it has to stay black and white. The sex scenes are just the start and hope it has not gone further. While his thing was prostitutes maybe even the yellow light behaviors which are warning signs need to be avoided as well. It must be scarry that he has started to lie, minimize and rationalize. (my SA is still there and it drives me nuts, he has never not been)

    I think you are fortunate to be at home to be able to monitor (not necessarily monitor but around so you know what is going on), while many of us are at work all day, etc. I think there is alot of comfort in that.

    I have been thinking alot about how the story may be diferent for me if kids were not involved. But with kids involved even slip ups cannot be tolerated.

    Sorry to hear where you are at and know your pain as we all do. Please keep up your research which is ever so fascinating. You will be in my thoughts and thank you for all of your hard work!
    Hugs to you.

  18. Thank you–all of you. Your love has comforted me. I feel blessed to be a part of this community.

    Just an FYI. My childhood was cookie cutter normal with 50’s ideals, parents who never divorced and all those moderate, suburban Catholic ideals. Being the oldest, with two younger brothers, I was the nurturer. If you are familiar with the Myers Briggs personality test, I have consistently tested as an INFJ. My nursing background does define me as a helper, but, I spent the last 15 years of my career in upper management as a leader. So–go figure?!?!?!?!?

  19. Hi JoAnn-Hope I didn’t offend you by asking about your childhood. I guess we nurses are always looking for reasons. I am familiar with the Myers Briggs personality test, and interestingly enough I also scored INFJ.I spent the last 26 years of my nursing career in Nursing Administration. We certainly share a lot of similarities.
    When looking for reasons with myself, am not sure my dysfunctional childhood impacted any difficulty in getting away from my SA. As I said, never had a problem getting out of a dysfunctional relationship in the past, and was always quick to pick up on red flags. I think the real truth lies in the fact I had been single for 10 yrs. prior to meeting Steve, and really fell head over heals for him. Then, of course, the “Master Manipulator” totally
    fooled me – could be as simple as that. Anyway, at this point in time, doesn’t really matter – I was finally able to make the break.
    Hope things get better for you. We can all totally identify with what you are going through. That is what is so great about your’e site – we have all been there.
    God Speed.

  20. Hi Sharron,

    I absolutely was NOT offended by your questions. That’s what this site is all about–seeking answers. I already knew that those questions would come, and I am happy that they did. It shows the trust and comfort that we all feel with each other.

    Thanks for all your kindness and sharing.

    Hugs to all.

  21. Well I was engaged to a sex addict and only found out about his addiction last weekend. I had to put my anger and hurt aside to do an intervention with him and be the first person in his life that actually talked to him about it. We both cried and he admitted it and also said that it started way before our 4 year relationship but has been going on for 20 years. All of the lights suddenly came on.. the constant roller coaster in our relationship.. everything! He had left the house and moved in with his brother but I tried to stand by him as a friend. Emailed him therapists as well as SA group meetings. He seemed eager to get some help. He even went to a SA group on Thurs night.

    Well I had already gotten ready to go see a movie with him tonight and was waiting on him, he “butt” called me. I could actually hear him on the phone with a prostitute while I am sitting there waiting for him to pick me up!!!

    This is it for me. I went to his brother and passed my burden(his brother) off onto him. I cannot stick around and watch him do this destructive behavior any longer. If my ex-fiance decides to get help or not, it is no longer my problem as I am done and not going to allow myself to be dragged further into this hell that I never agreed to be in the first place.

    My only question is if S-ANON helps those of us who are no longer in a relationship with a SA but have gotten out. I have to believe that there are decent men out there and I do not want to have ALL of my insecurities and mistrust that I have now carry into any other relationship I ever enter in again.

    If I came off a bit harsh I’m sorry. I have researched this horrible disease and have found out more than I ever wanted to know… I just have to cut my losses as THIS CANNOT BE MY LIFE!! And reading the stories from all of you really helped me see that either I accept that he will have this problem the rest of his life, which I cannot do. Not to mention that hearing the interchange tonight between him and the prostitute did it for me for good!

    Cjayne

  22. cjayne-I am sorry you had to be put in this situation, but I am so glad you decided to get out of the relationship – so many of us get hooked on “change,” and sometimes waste years waiting for it to happen. It is definitely the exception rather than the rule. I really commend you for realizing immediately “this cannot be my life.” I can’t answer your question about S-ANON- have never been involved with them. Hopefully, someone else can give you some information on them. Good Luck!

  23. Hi Everyone. I posted a comment on here yesterday, and apparently it did not go through. I was “seething” yesterday and haven’t calmed down yet! Guess I just have to put it in words.
    Thursday, I accompanied Steve to his therapy session per therapist request.
    Just to catch you up- Within one week after Steve’s return from L.A., Steve relapsed. He had a dissociative episode with a full blown trigger – the lusting thing. Then, I think it was the next day, was sitting at the computer, started having sexual feelings, and was deep in fantasy about the 650# woman on one of the web sites he goes to. Said it was about “what she could do to him. (Domination/submission crushing and stomping. Admitted to masturbation, however said he did it later in the day. Ya, right! The first week, after he returned,It appeared he was being totally honest with me, however, I swear, sometimes I don’t know how he can still fool me!
    While in the therapist’s office, I caught him in three lies. Did the same deflecting – turning things around, minimizing, or omitting facts altogether. If I had not of written down the facts, would of thought, once again, that I was the crazy one. They are “masters of the game” when it comes to that. It was obvious to me his therapist also picked up on them.
    I told her I was surprised to see such regression immediately, and she shook her head yes.
    It gets better. That night, was talking to him on the phone and confronting his lieing behavior. He did not like the confrontation, got very angry with me, and then hung up on me. I was livid! Called him back and said “don’t you ever f—— hang up on me again.
    His response was “maybe we just need to step away from the relationship for a while.” I told him “fine-sounded like a great idea to me.” I was just getting ready to tell him the same thing because of the regression and lieing. I was “floored” Steve had the audacity to be the one to say he wanted to step aside. How do these guys think the way they do? Here he is the one who is still obviously very sick, has expressed feelings of doing whatever it takes to build trust with me again, and then he pulled that shit!
    I have finally given up totally on this guy. A day late and a dollar short-don’t know what took me so long!I can’t even begin to imagine what it would take for him to rectify the situation. I sense strongly that his therapist doesn’t hold out much hope-at least we are on the same page.
    Thanks for listening – again!!

  24. Hi Sharron,
    He is making it easy for you and doing you a favor. Let him go, and don’t chase him down. (Maybe that is what he is looking for). I know you wanted to be the one to drop the axe, but it really does not matter.

    I have been away from mine for a week and a half. (he is back at mommmy and daddies house, they can clean up the mess they started meaning him)

    It has been great! I am finally getting the space I needed. And now that has happened I am able to see much clearer and from a realistic perspective. My house is clean, starting to go through his crap, things are getting organized, looking over the finances and planning for the future. Yes it sucks, but I think there are no choices. I think for a good amount of us, it may not be possible to stay married to these guys, in some ways they will never see the light because of this. (as there are no real consequences, i think the only one they see is when they get kicked out).

    I felt that I owed him chances and because I made those vows. But I am the only one which has taken them seriously and was the only one 100% committed physically, financially, emotionally, etc. I would imagine many of you feel the same.

    I know it makes you mad, but so what. Let the creep run. He is not ready, you can;t make him. If he is not ready you are wasting you, your heart and your time.

  25. Hi Flora-It doesn’t make me mad. I have felt so blessed to have support from this web site, and sometimes we need to to have you all tell it like it is!!

    I have finally seen the light! It suddenly becomes crystal clear how many chances I have given him. Isn’t it funny how we take our vows so seriously, have visions of how they “will finally get it right,” and hang in there loving them like fools.

    Glad to hear you are away from your SA. No-one said it will be easy, but it sure beats being miserable 24/7. Keep us posted on how you are doing. I think we all need support (thanks for yours) after making that final decision, because there will be ups and downs. Hang in there kiddo, and keep in touch.

  26. Sharon,
    With mine, the more he was caught and the more he could no longer trick me (he even went as far as to send equipment crash pictures to prove he was at work all night once for a crash…I right clicked and the pictures had been taken 5 years earlier)…he was not at work….he could not handle NOT being able to lie, he hated being confronted and did not want to stop the other life he had. He was down right abusive when questioned (and with proof) because how dare I confront him. I think the sleeze is his real life as he has proven, and me and our son were his other life.
    If they don’t want to give up the sleeze life, we become an annoyance and mine even said he resented me because I stopped him from having every woman (any) he wanted. Yes, a “husband”, my husband told me this.
    That is not marriage or love in any shape or form.
    It was all fine and good as long as he could lie to me and everyone, but when you are on to them and smart enough to figure stuff out, they take off if they don’t want to give it up. The only way they can play the games they do is by fooling us (lying) because no woman in her right mind would agree to her husband sleeping around with everyone. When they run, this just means they don’t want to change.

  27. Lynn-point well taken. You are so right – whenever they have to deal with confrontation and know we have figured them out, they just don’t want the hassle! I can’t believe your’e husband said such a thing to you. Didn’t you just want to beat him to a pulp? I have wanted to knock his head off his shoulders so many times, but they just aren’t worth the energy. They say God puts us here for a learning process – I think we have had enough school, don’t you?
    I always here stories, such as yours, that seem so much worse than what I have had to deal with, but the bottom line is the same with every sexual addiction – they just can’t commit.
    Thanks for the support!!
    Is anyone having trouble posting a reply? I can’t get mine to go through – always says there is trouble on the web site. Then, a couple of days later I see where it is posted and I had typed one again and sent it twice. So, don’t think I’m flaky. This is my second time sending one to you, Lynn. We will see if there are two posts.

  28. Got the post. No, I never wanted, well that is not true, I did want to nail him, but mostly I was so shocked and utterly hurt and could not believe the things he said to me. Horrible things….and he meant them. Mine was a worse case senario, he was truly abusive….I wish it had just been sex addiction, or was it sex addiction so intense it caused him to abuse me if it meant he had to give it up or come to consequences and be expose? I don’t know. but I do know that I was disrespected, put in the hospital twice and hurt emotionally and physically…….I do know he cheated and lied, I know so many things now, and have never been bale to figure out why the shallowness and disgusting world is what he wanted. But it was and is.
    Really, my ex is a sociopath and a narc, there is no doubt, and he is still doing the same stuff, just to someone else now.
    I have just lived my life so well and have been so honest, I wish the SA world had never been placed in my world, I wish I did not know such a thing existed. But it does.
    I have to admit, I do laugh when I see him getting nailed by everyone else now. Does not seem very human of me, but I just cannot have compassion, and even enjoy, the downfall of someone so false and hurtful, and all by their own actions. I have not had to do anything and he has plummeted the last three years. And I have soared except for this fear that I cannot seem to shake.
    I guess the weaker he is, the less he can hurt me anymore. He was very powerful and had such charisma and good looks, and he has lost so much because he was fired after 23 years from his exec job and he is aging and more so with his lifestyle and making a fool of himself for all to see.
    Be careful of the executives..he and his exec buddies feel they disearve some fun at the expense of women. I was shocked to discover these friends of his that he buddied around with degrading women, like it is some man sport…..but they always have to pay the women too.
    Mine was very different from a lot of the SAs described here, and very much the same too. Mine just happened to abuse when discovered….he is a very angry and manipulative person.
    And, I gave him every opportunity to get help, but he did not want it, and he still to this day tries to hurt me anyway he can.
    The first time they hit you or push you, please please please call the police. There are lines that are crossed, and once they cross them, they don’t stop.

  29. Lynn-just reading your story brings tears to my eyes. You certainly have had a cross to bear, but I truly believe what goes around comes around, and your ex will die a very lonely and miserable man. Sounds like he is starting to suffer the consequences already.
    They say God never gives us more than we can handle, so we have to just pick up, go on, and be all the stronger for it. You sound like a very good person, and I am so sorry for everything you have gone through.
    I can honestly say the past 3 years have been some of the most miserable times in my life. I think the most difficult thing about it all, is just what you said. They present very charismatic, charming, great personalities, and in the beginning put you on a pedestal and adore you.Then it is knocked right out from under you.
    Addiction, in my opinion, is the most difficult thing a marriage can endure. And coupled with physical abuse, well, I just can’t imagine. There is really no hope of change-only some modifications in behavior if they are motivated to do so. And there are so many highs and lows. We just need to thank God he gave us the strength to survive and get out of it. I would just sit back and enjoy his “fall.”God bless you.

  30. JoAnn and all- Thanks so much for sharing your stories. It helps so much to always have somewhere turn where others truly understand. My husband just slipped up last night after what I think was a year sober. The story is he picked up some girl at a bar last night and took her out dancing and back to her hotel. The only reason I found out was that my sisters friend saw him. He says he didn’t have sex with her, just kissed her, but I’m not sure I belive him. The worst part is having my family know. They are furious, never want to see him again, want me to divorce him etc. I’m surprisingly not that angry. I feel a little stupid that I don’t feel angry, like I’m missing something. I feel hurt and really unsure of my future, but I don’t feel as devastated as I did the first time. I’m hoping it’s personal progress, but I’m just so unsure of myself. I do really believe that he can overcome this addiction, and I do really love him. I’m just not sure I can keep going without the trust. But, I’m comforted by what JoAnn said, now is not the time to make a decision, it’s a time to freeze and let things play out.

  31. Hi Carrie,
    I may be the only one to say this, but I am not sure I would beleive him. If a Cocaine addict had cocaine in their possession, and some is missing, and they said that they did not use any of it…would you beleive them? My thoughts are if he just kissed her, he could have done that at the bar. Going back to her hotel room, implies something comletely different. Maybe beleivable with someone who is not a sex addict at the one year mark.

    This period of time is the worst for them. 6months to 1 year, it gets harder and from what my SA saids it never stops. The first six months are “easy” maybe easier is the correct word.

    I am sorry that this has happened to you. But sounds like the classic minimize and deny. He did not tell you of the circumstances and when confronted he minimized. You found out through a friend, and most likely this is not the only time in the past year.

    Your not that angry because you are accpeting that this is your life, take it or leave it. You have to accept the slip ups, but I am not so certain this is a slip up, but rather you caught him and he has not truely been sober.

    If he is truely your husband and faithfull he should not be out with any other women. Simple as that. I think sometimes because we live in this twisted world we have come to accept the unacceptable.
    As if being out with another women is okay if he did not have sex with her. He should not be out picking up other women anyway, he is a married man! I am just assuming that this is a closed relationship.

    Sorry for what is happening to you. But this is marrinage with a sex addict. Take care of yourself. Take a step back and really look at the big picture of what you are getting out of the relationship with him. JoAnn has her reasons they are her choices and hers alone. This does not work for everyone and all SA’s are different.

    Take care of yourself! Hugs.

  32. Diane and Starry (or anyone else),

    Hope you find this post. I know that you are both seperated from your SA’s, how do you handle the holidays?

    Typically my SA’s family has taken over every holiday since the day I met them. They have already invited us for thanksgiving, but I don’t really want to go. Quite frankly I don’t feel welcome anymore given the situation that he is living at home, and I know that none of the other family members are aware of the situation. It has been almost a year and he has not told his brothers, and has barely told his parents.

    So I was wondering if you still spend the holidays together as a couple? My family is ten hour away, his ten minutes. I am contemplating on making the ten hour drive to see my fam for the 4 day weekend, three kids and a dog in tow or just have it at home with the kids. I have not made a thanksgiving dinner in 7 years+. i enjoy cooking.

    Thanks guys!

  33. Carrie,

    I am so sorry you are having to go through this. But it will be a part of living with an SA if choosing to stay in the marriage. Go with your gut, your intuition regarding his hotel ronde de’ vieux. I have found that the only time my intuition was wrong, it was when I didn’t listen to it. You know your SA and please take care of yourself during this time.

    Flora, I too am concerned over the holidays. My SA is here knowing hardly anyone and for the first time in 8 years I have my one son, and 15 years, my whole family has decided to come from afar to my house. My SA engaged in some pretty heavy sneaking around and lying to my family all summer after I moved out. My mother now doesn’t want to see him much less talk to him. I told him last May after I caught him talking to my Mother behind my back to stay away from my family. He switched to his work phone so I wouldn’t know, called my mother all summer and even went to her house to see her while visiting in the State last summer. All the while professing his innocence to doing anything with any women. He in essence made his own bed when all hell broke loose in August and the truth finally came out. But, My SA also ruined my Father’s funeral 6 years ago by his narcissistic ways over an issue between he and my brother which should have been tabled at the time out of respect for my Father’s death… and I fear that if I let my SA come for the holidays, the same will happen. My family has not confronted him since the truth came out. Yet, I don’t like for anyone to have to spend the holidays alone and I am also torn because he provides an income/support for me and two kids now and I fee obligated.

    I would be curious as to others situations here and suggestions for how to get through what will be “difficult” holidays because of life with our SAs. I suspect there are varying situations with all of us.

    Also, another question…. I seem to catch here and there that others are experiencing that their SAs have not “come clean” to many close family members as well. What is the norm with that? My SA hasn’t told his nosy controlling exwife who helped ruin our relationship outside the unknown addiction. His young adult kids have not been told either. I feel that no reconciliation is possible until that is done. I’m not stepping back into a relationship with he and his exwife! If I can’t be first than I’m not interested!!! Plus, His kids are terrible kids (hate to say that, but is true) and I’ve felt for a decade that he was still married to his ex-wife! He is still leading a double life as far as I’m concerned. My entire family is totally aware and his think he walks on water, I’m out of the picture entirely and I was the “rotton” egg in the picture to begin with!!! When are these guys supposed to come clean with all their immediate families? What happened to that as part of the 12 step creed? Anybody?

  34. Thanks, Flora, for the question
    We do plan to be together on the holidays. We have Thanksgiving dinner together, and christmas dinner etc, all in my new place. Last week our youngest came home from university for the weekend and since it was his father’s birthday I had them all at my house for a birthday supper. My SA brougth steaks and bBq’s. I did the veggies and had a cake. My SA has no other family and hasn’t spoken to his monster mother in about a year, so if the boys and I hadn’t done that meal, he would have been pretty alone.

    But we (especially me) have worked really hard to make this relationship non-argumentative and non-volatile. That only works because we don’t live together, and had a gradual moving away from each other, and because he does have a conscious somewhere that I just wait to show up. I have not had to use a lawyer so far. He has accepted my decision to live apart and to plan my future as a single person. I think he wants a good rapport in our family life with our young adult sons as much as I do. I’m lucky there.

    I guess because of his family being so small, it’s not so hard to make it work. My mother comes as well and she has reached a place of acceptance of things. I only have one brother and family, and they never had the holidays with us anyway. I think the next hurdle would be if he decided to bring a “date” or I decided to. That would change it up again, but I think we could make it work. God help the poor dates, though.

    love,
    D.

  35. Flora,

    If you don’t have any obligations or ties, I’d do what I wanted and what I felt best for my kids. If my situation were different, in that he knew more people here, I’d not even be considering his inclusion in my plans. But I also need to point out I think much has to do with where you are at in the process. Things are still very raw with my SA…and I’m in a “rebelious” state as well, feeling that because I am dependent on him, I have to include him.

    If I could do it without conscience, I’d have a peaceful quite holiday with my wonderful children home and remove myself, even if for a short time…OUT of this crazy mess I have to weed through day after day….After all…HE made his choices for the last decade, so why should I feel sorry for his cheating ass in the first place…..

    If you can, go and enjoy the holiday as YOU want it!

    Peace,

    Mary

  36. Carrie – I have to agree with Flora. Firstly, he shouldn’t even be out with another woman, and secondly if he went to a motel with her they most certainly had sex. Don’t be niave! He could have kissed her at the bar, and just being there was a violation of your marriage vows. And, I would guess this isn’t the first time in the past year he has violated your marriage vows – you just haven’t caught him!! I also agree with her that we are living in a society where women are programed that “That is just how men are,” and we should forgive an indiscretion or two. Wrong!! We should expect total fidelity – that is certainly what we give them in honoring our marriage vows. Mary is right – go with your’e gut – it hasn’t failed me yet.
    Flora – if your’e SA has not shared any of his addiction with his family, he is probably not totally in the recovery phase. My SA has not done so either, and, I feel, until they are ready to disclose, they are not being totally honest with themselves. My SA spent the week-end with family, and he told them we are separated because he has “some issues” to work on. They need to disclose so they can rid themselves of the guilt and shame, as well as moving forward out of the denial stage. Of course it does depend on where they are in the recovery process.

    I often tell my patients to sit down and make a list with the positives of the marriage on one side and negatives on the other. It is so revealing as to what we are getting out of the marriage and what we are not. Is very helpful in helping us to determine whether to stay or go.
    Mary, if it was me, I would not include your SA in the holidays. Sounds like too much drama. Holidays are supposed to be happy and full “cheer” and close times with family – don’t inject him into a situation where there will chaos.
    Because Steve and I are separated until he has 3 months of sobriety, we will be spending the holidays apart. Spoke with him yesterday, because of some financial matters, and he is already breaking some of the boundaries we established for our marriage. Those being, he is starting to watch some TV – says he can close his eyes when commercials come on, and is only watching history and science channel. Said previously, he was going to stick with gender specific SA meetings, and thirdly, told me he would not go to see his son in St.Louis this week-end without me. These were all set because he is so early in the recovery process and would not be able to resist any kind of stimulation in social situation, or with TV or movies. He always gets a false sense of security, so he is setting himeself up for failure before he even gets started. Oh well – not my worry anymore. No sobriety in 3 months – no marriage.

  37. Hi Carrie,

    I’m so sorry that this has happened, especially after what you think is a year of sobriety. What has be been doing over the last year to recover? What has he done that makes you believe that he can overcome this? Obviously something wasn’t working and needs to be revised.

    But, I’m not exactly sure what you are waiting to ‘play out’. Something needs to be done at this point. Does your husband have a recovery plan? If he does it certainly must include behaviors that he should never engage in. If he doesn’t have a recovery plan, why not?

    Do you have boundaries for his behaviors–things you will accept and things you will not?

    Why is it okay for a recovering Sex Addict to go to bars and pick up women? How many boundaries have been crossed there?

    Even if he didn’t have sex with her (and my guess is that he did) he was not acting like a committed, married man, let alone a recovering Sex Addict.

    It looks pretty clear to me. I’m not sure what you are waiting for or what you plan to do about his ‘slip’. Waiting for the emotions to settle down before making life changing decisions is wise. But, accepting bad behavior is not. You may not be ready to make the decision to stay or go, but you damn well should put some boundaries on that boy and back them up with escalating consequences. And, you both should sit down and talk about why this happened and what needs to be done now so that it never happens again.

    Stay with us Carrie and stay strong. You are in control of your life and your choices.

  38. thanks JoAnn,
    for grabbing the two things I was thinking—
    what do we think is going to “play out”
    and why is it okay for husbands to pick up women in bars, kiss them and take them to motels (where, bytheway, she could give him a blow job and it would still be true for him to say he only kissed her)

    re: holidays
    This all really depends on our individual stories
    How many people are involved and who knows what?
    Do you know certain people get drunk or “drink too much”?
    Are the children young or old and what do they know?
    Have you worked out living arrangements without acrimony?
    Can you both behave yourselves?—both my SA and I never fight in public
    What is your own emotional state? Are you feeling good or are you in a state? This changes for me, and I find some things I thought I could do, I can’t do
    Can you arrange for a clean beginning and end time slot for the SA presence–so you know when he will be there and when he won’t?
    Why would you do it all?

    I thought that might help folks looking at their own situations.
    xo
    Diane

  39. Thanks JoAnn for the excellent perception on a very difficult situation for Carrie.
    I started setting boundaries for Steve in April 2010, right before we got married. He broke every one of them. Then, this last week – total separation until which time he will have a 3 month period of sobriety and no lieing. Sometimes, I wish I could be more positive when sharing, but I just don’t see very many success stories. I really hate to see all these women going through so much pain, but at the same time it breaks my heart when I read over and over how much sorrow we have all put ourselves through. It really appears that most of us have given them chance after chance only to come to the final realization an SA is what he is. Maybe he can learn to control it, but eventually most of them relapse. You may see changes, but most of them will only be cosmetic-they will relapse again! And, you are right – it all comes down to what we can or cannot tolerate. I just feel there has to be something better in life than to “tolerate.”
    We all deserve someone who can give himself to us totally. I have wasted two and a half years on someone who is most likely not going to change. That is unless he is in that 5-10% who do. I am 68 y/o and don’t have that much time left on this earth to find happiness. I have a feeling happiness for me will be living by myself – just like I did for 10 yrs. prior to meeting Steve. At least I won’t have to be with someone who brings me down and makes my life miserable.
    Sorry to be so negative today, but my heart aches for all of us on this site. Love is for better or for worse, but how worse does it have to get, and why put ourselves through the pain year in and year out – especially when almost none of their love or energy is directed towards us. They are incapable of true intimacy and we are wanting it and craving. To me, the answer is a given. Run as fast as you can.
    As JoAnn has reminded us so many times we will know if he is changing by how motivated he is for recovery, and his attitude towards us takes a big shift. All I am saying, everyone, don’t wait your entire life waiting for a miracle. Set a goal for a decision one way or the other. I have.
    Love you all.

  40. Dear Carrie,

    so sorry to hear what you are going through. Like others mentioned, I would have to agree that there was more than kissing going on. No one just kisses in a hotel room, especially a sex addict. and while you say don’t feel that mad about it, I would have to ask, is that because you really believe that there was no sex, and he is telling the truth? Beleiving an addict only enables them to do it again. Learnt this the hard way!!! not trying to cause you pain, but as of late I realize that Denial (beleiveing the addict when there are Huge red flags) to protect our feelings from being hurt, doesn’t help. We just can’t beleive them, trust needs to be earned with reformed, improved behavior. Otherwise we throw ourselves under the bus with them, yes, even enable them to continue their addiction and lie again. Why? no consequences. “She’s not that mad, no biggie.” However, if it is no biggie to you, that he took another woman to hotel room and had sex with her, that is another story. But I don’t think that you would be on this site if it weren’t. But I agree, not making rash decisions after an emotional blow is a good thing. Please take care of you, and do what is going to protect yourself further hurt, you are in my thoughts.

  41. Mary and I think Sharron commented as well,

    I think if the SA has not told family members, my gut tells me that he is not coming to grips with it all nor taking responsibility. He is still minimizing, “its not that bad” they must say to themselves. But where is the family support, treating the family etc. The cosa greeting says something to the effect that this disease thrives in darkness, which is 100% true. We allow it to continue in darkness sometimes to deny the horrifying truth. But for all of us here on this site, this has brought it to light. We can now see clearly. I have told all of my friends, family, and blab for an hour”+ a week at my therapist. And I can post here.

    Now the SA on the other hand, has barely told his parents, has not told family outside of the parents. I think coming clean is SA meetings is a start, but really no biggie as they all have same issue, where it is common place. He is still in darkness.

    12 Steps – Steps 8 and 9 of SA
    8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9.Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    Right here is there out!!!!! STEP 9. So if my SA did have an affair, he does not have to tell me, as it would harm me and him. Does not have to tell family of the addiction as this would be harmfull to their character. Does not have to admit to child porn, pedophilia etc. because this would be harmful to him, as he would be in jail so fast his head would spin.

    So I think when we are the only ones that know, we carry the soul burden. It takes village to raise a family, i feel it takes a village to support the addict. At home there is a village of one, and she (he) is exhausted and cannot take anymore. That is where the family is supposed to come in. For me I feel it does not have to be this way, they are so ashamed about there addiction, and hence the family is. It is there resposibility to make the family understand what is going on, what they have done. Things could be so much easier if the SA would just pull his head out of his ass, and see…

    Same for full disclosure. I also think if you are hearing or being told only a fraction of the story, you will not see recovery in your addict or spouse. You can not recover from what you cannot admit. I had posed this question to my therapist and she confirmed. We also found that clause in the 12 step process of SA. To me this is a big cop out… a get out of jail free card!

  42. Thanks for all the advice, even if it was pretty harsh. As hard as it is to hear, I know I need to consider all sides. I don’t believe him at all that he didn’t have sex with her. He may not have, but I agree, the fact that he even took off his wedding ring and talked to her was enough for me to cross the line. Cheating is cheating with our without sex. He has been in recovery for awhile, and I truly thought he was doing really well. He made a hugely bad decision to go out to a bar for dinner, while I was out of town with the kids. Right there was the bad decision that kicked off his addictive behavior. He had too much to drink, and just spiraled downward. He does have a recovery plan, but going out to a bar alone and drinking were not on there. We don’t have explicit boundaries that are written down. However, he 100% knows that this in not acceptable. He’s had an excalating addiction for years, it started off with pornography and got much worse. About a year ago I found out he’d been having an affair while I was pregnant and had a 2 year old at home. I was not in any kind of program or recovery myself, and wanted to fix myself, and have him get fully into a recovery program before I gave up on the marriage. He moved out for 3 months until we was strong enough in his recovery program, and until my 2nd child was born. My big decision is if I give him another shot and officially set the boundaries and consequences for breaking them, or just end it now. As a mother of 2 young ones it’s terrifying to think of how hard it will be to get divorced. However, if that’s what I need to be happy, then I know it will be better in the long run.

  43. Hi, this is my first time posting. I just found this site after dealing with my husbands revelation a year ago. How did I miss you? I’m here now and have spent the last few days reading all of your posts. Thank you! There are lots of opinions and views and more importantly, the freedom to speak without criticism!

    Reading about the struggles scares me. My husbands revelation devastates me now as much as it did a year ago. There are days I don’t know how I will cope and survive. My husband has been an addict for our entire 23 year marriage and for a good 15 years before then. I never knew, believe it or not. Therapists have been honest that his recovery will take years. He was sexually abused as a child and his addiction has been his way of coping ever since. Changing his “40 year” behavior is a daunting task. I know he is in pain which bothers me almost as much as my own pain.

    I continue to cry often, sometimes daily. I mourn and grieve for the relationship I never had, the relationship I want and the reality that I may never have it with this man. At times, the saddness is paralyzing.

    I am an educated woman, I have a good sense of my own self worth, and, while it may be difficult, I know I can financially support myself if need be. So tell me, why would I stay in this marriage? Relapses are common if not certain for the sex addict. If I know that, why would I subject myself to having my heart ripped from my chest? I am so torn between what my heart says and what my head is telling me.

    He attends 12 step meetings, has contact with a sponsor and meets with a therapist weekly. He completed an intensive outpatient therapy program a few months back. But does all this really matter? If the relapse is inevitable, and I’m sure to be hurt/devastated am I denying my own self worth by staying? How can there be boundaries when you know they are going to be crossed?

    My therapist is trying to have me focus on today, live in the moment. That does make sense to me since none of us knows what the future will bring. And after all, if we don’t deal with or appreciate today, aren’t we missing out on life?

    Can you see my confusion? Sorry for such a long post but I would appreciate some feedback.

  44. Dear Christine,
    welcome and sorry you need to belong here.

    Do you know about Barbara Steffens book “Your Sexually addicted Spouse: how partners can cope and heal”? You can order it from upper right hand corner of the site. This book is based on her research revealing that over 70% of spouses of SA have Post-traumatic Stress disorder. This book saved my life!!! And JoAnn did four audio interviews with her on this site. YOu can search them on site and listen before ordering the book if you want.

    I think you might be struggling with some of the symptoms of PTSD, and this might help you to know that. It sure helped me to discover I wasn’t crazy—there actually was a name for all my symptoms. She provides ways of “self-soothing” that returned some sense of normalcy to my own life. But I also got the SA out of the house. I couldn’t function with him in it. It was likely having a live grenade in my face all the time.

    lots of light to you,
    Diane.

  45. Thanks for the response. I did read her book and so far, it’s my all time favorite out of all the many books I’ve read this past year. What an eye opener to see that the symptoms of PTSD are so similar to that of co-dependency that we often get mis-labeled! It was so reassuring to hear how “normal” I was. I’ll have to pull it out again and re-read the section about self soothing. It’s just unbelievable how painful this whole process is. I do recognize it as a process, I just don’t like how long it’s taking. Someone once said to me “bad things happen to good people” and compared my situation to someone who has been diagnosed with a life altering illness, such as cancer. Her comment was “you have to make the best of the situation, it’s out of your control”. Yes, but with a life altering illness, there’s very little you can do about it’s progression. Your choices are limited. Are my choices limited? Is this my “cancer”?

    I am so confused!!! (and conflicted!) While I’ve read over and over again that a truly fulfilled life is one that lives in the moment…it’s hard not to think of the future! Especially when you’re a very type A personality like mine.

    My SA was out of the house for about 4 months but then had to return for financial reasons. Keeping 2 households is not as easy as one. I’m having a hard time in dealing with the lonliness. It’s one thing to walk into an empty house knowing you’ll be alone as compared to walking into a house with your “husband” there and still being alone. Definately like the live grenade…only the pin has been pulled and it’s airborne headed straight for you!

    (Before I end this post, I hope I haven’t offended anyone who is struggling with an illness. I was using “cancer” as a comparison example and had no intension of minimizing all that you are dealing with)

  46. Dear Christine,

    Welcome and I am glad you have posted. Like so many of us here, this is a safe place for us to come to. It has been a life saver for me as well, I am in my first year since D Day as well. I am glad you are getting help and that your husband is seeking treatment. But more importantly I am glad that you are finding help for you. Sorry for your pain, it is a horrible thing. I can certainly relate to living with a grenade. I too cannot afford 2 households at this moment. I am still sorting through wreckage – emotionally, financially, legally, etc. One thing that is helping me is therapy, this website, and seperate bedrooms/space in our home. I don’t need my SA (who is not in any recovery program) around me ruining my evenings at home. Some solitude away from him even if he is in the next room is a healthy place to be for me. I feel better than I have in a long time! If he is now in your home perhpas some thought about how you want to live in the home w/him can be addressed. Just wanted to share something that’s helping me. Much love to you, — post often.

  47. Christine,
    I am about two months short of a year from d-day. The toughest thing I had with all of this was the stay or go question. This tormented me as i was deceived into this marriage with my SA, but for better or worse right? I felt like I had to stand by my man, was so hopefull that he could do this, and the best outcome would happen. Only what happened has been let down after let down. There is not intimacy, not closeness and many many parts are the relationship are just broken, and I don;t think that they can be fixed. They are broken and possible were never there as the SA is not capable of many things, and i was let down on all levels of our relationship. Also aside from the book from barbara many books say that you are flawed and are co-dependent…therefore that is the reason you are in a relationship with a sex addict. This was maddening as well, in addition they so no major changes for one year. I felt they were telling me I had to stay, and this was my fault.

    So I started thinking about it from this perspective. I have a choice to stay or go. For you you choose to stay, but you have the power to change that if needed. In this thought you have taken your power back. I have used the cancer analogy as well. It is a cancer that has grown throughout your body and brain, and cannot be removed per say. It will be there forever. But you can remove the source of it (the SA) if he continues to kill you as we all know how this is emotionally and physically draining. But if you were afflicted with cancer, you would have a prognosis, course off treatment and a guestimate as your sruvival rate. But you don;t with sex addiction. Cancer is not voluntary, but living/marriage to a sex addict is. While we are married, this is not something we have to do. It is a choice. Cancer is a battle harder than any other, which is not a choice.

    Also in regards to the boundaries and relationship with the SA. I changed the thoughts about that as well. Instead of waiting for him to cross a boundary and he is out, i changed it to he has to earn his way back in. So I am no longer waiting for the next screw up…I am waiting for good enough effort and reason to entertain a relationship with this man. So far for me, I do not see it. Some on here do. So it has worked for me to change this thought process. This gave my my power back, no longer playing the wait and see and hold your breath game. While he still gets the benefits of being married, with no change or effort.

    I understand completely how you feel and what you are saying.

    these are a couple ways of thinking and thoughts that work for me, maybe they will work for someone else.