Hi JoAnn,
I’ve been touched by the many stories so generously written in and I felt that I wanted to share mine. It’s really tough to have things hanging over my head as they are but I’ve learned to take it as I can, even if it means that minute to minute, I have to remember to breathe. Relax and get through this. An end will come.

Thanks for creating such an excellent website. Much appreciated!

More than anything else, I am angry. Very angry. No, enraged is a far better word. Why am I so livid, you ask? Let me share my story and you’ll have a pretty good idea. Underneath that rage lies a world of hurt and betrayal; one that began long before I considered marrying my second sex addict. Yeah, I did it twice. Duh! Some people just take longer to learn, I guess. It didn’t help that I was in a particularly vulnerable position when the second one came along. Single parent to a child with psychiatric and developmental difficulties and 8 years on my own. Working full-time with very little to no support until I just couldn’t do it anymore. Burn-out. Extreme exhaustion. The warning bells were still working but mental numbness distracted me. I didn’t listen to that small voice inside of me. Instead, I stepped inside the trap.

Kindness, charm, caring and meekness would characterize my current husband when he’s playing Mr Hyde. Oh so helpful to others, he’ll go out of his way to please. Quite popular on Facebook and handsome to boot. He is all of these things and I suppose the extreme contrast to my first husband/sex addict, made it seem very appealing. I admit to wanting to rest, to be cared for, to not have to struggle quite so hard, to not be alone. I do have most of those things so in that sense I can’t complain BUT it’s like the girl in the story of the Red Shoes (You really must run out right now and purchase this book: Women Who Run With the Wolves), she wanted things a little easier and she got that to a point. She entered the guilded cage of someone who promised the world and while her outward trappings improved, she gave up the most important thing of all. She gave up herself. In the form of the red shoes.

The red shoes were kind of dingy and bedraggled. They’d been patched up and dried in the sun after a rain but they defined her. She’d made them herself out of the scraps and garbage left by others. Her efforts came from hard work on her own, when she struggled to make a life for herself.

Those red shoes weren’t pretty but they were hers and when the old woman took them, it started a reaction in the little girl. I won’t tell the rest of the story but suffice it to say that I know exactly how that little girl felt. And what she does at the end is what I will have to do but part of the job will be done for me.

Let’s get back to sex addiction and my current husband. When I met him, over the internet, he was married. Soon to be divorced. He laid the blame for everything that went wrong in the marriage at his wife’s feet. Sure, she had issues but who doesn’t? I believed him when he said they’d gone to counselling and had decided things just weren’t working. I did tell him at the time that whatever issues he hadn’t dealt with then would only come back to haunt him. Oh, the irony of it all.

When I helped him move, after he’d assured me there were no other issues to work on with her, I noticed that he had some pornography on his computer. I was quite candid. I told him I wouldn’t have any of that kind of stuff at my home, especially with my son being curious and all. He balked at this but only momentarily. He threw all the magazines away and he removed the pictures off his desktop. Victory, I thought, was mine. My ex would never have done that. He would have screamed and threatened before he ever threw any of it out.

I didn’t think anything of the porn until about a year later. We’d been living together in a small apartment with my son. All seemed pretty well except that he’d suddenly become obsessed with the computer. Prior to that, he was outside with us, playing with my son and creating what seemed like a lovely relationship. Alas, it was mere illusion. I caught him looking at porn late one night. He said he couldn’t sleep so he’d gone to the living room so as not to disturb me. How thoughtful…not! He claimed this was a one-off occasion. He said he was sorry and that he knew I didn’t like it. He’d stop.

Fool that I was, I believed him. Even though every night he’d leave me to go to sleep alone saying that we had different body clocks. I objected but certainly not very strongly. He said he loved staying up late and watching TV or the computer. Ha! I bet he did.

Fast forward another year. Nothing has changed with one huge exception. My only son is diagnosed with a life-threatening progressive illness. There is no cure. With that one piece of news, my life is irrevocably shattered and changed forever. We struggle and manage to fashion a life of sorts after this news but it’s not anything close to easy. Especially with the illness added on to the psychiatric/developmental issues. I assume that my husband has also been changed by this event. I am too tired now to really pay attention except that the computer is still his favourite hang-out.

Several years go past, my son steadily worsens, and I manage but as Christopher Reeve once said when he was asked how he held it together, he answered, ‘With a lot of duct tape’. I know the feeling. One night I am awakened by the sound of something dropping upstairs; must be the neighbour’s kids up late. I wander out to the living room only to find my spouse, pants around the ankles with pornography plastered all over the computers. His first words to me are: “Can’t we pretend this didn’t happen?”

In spite of my outrage, I laugh, in a kind of ‘consider yourself lucky, I don’t kill you right now’ sort of way and answer, “No, we can’t.”

My voice is tight with rage but I keep it low. I don’t want to wake my son. I feel used, objectified and disrespected. I tell him I am sickened by his behaviour but more than that, I am completely outraged that he lied about stopping and that he’s been lying ever since and not just about the porn. Lying is his way to get out of any problem but now if he tries that crap, I confront him. I just won’t drop it and I’ve told him that if he doesn’t like my confrontational tactics, he’s free to go. I’ve had enough.

It’s been about 3 months since he was ‘discovered’. He’s seeing a sex addiction counsellor, attending SLAA meetings, has a sponsor and is, apparently, working on a plan of action. I’ve yet to see this plan so as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t exist. He’s taking anti-depressants and says they are helping.

Meanwhile, we’re still attending couples counselling. I consider it a good day when I’m just merely irritated and not downright angry. Financially and psychologically, I can’t deal with the stress of leaving just now. Having my son ill along with my husband’s addiction hanging over my head, I am sorely tempted to take those handmade red shoes and run!

But I won’t.

Not until my son no longer needs me…

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7 Responses

  1. Hi Marian,
    Thank you for telling us how it’s been for you. I’m sorry that this is now part of your truth. But it’s not the whole truth–and from you posts to others, I know you know that too.

    Yes, indeed, there is that.
    But a few days ago, I found that rage was a useful thing. In conversation with my SA spouse and my need to step further away from the madness that runs our relationship, I was nearly overwelmed by his pain and sadness. He is sober now, but the underlying childhood trauma is fully exposed, very ugly, and generates the same impact on my life as it ever did. This is sad to the bone, because he is trying survive the effects of having been raised by a monster. And the sadness comes into the conversation in which I am giving him more “bad news”.

    But what I’ve learned is that these conversations also always contain more wounding for me in what he chooses to say, the way he says, what it means. So now I make myself listen to for the insensitive remarks, the mean and cruel undercurrents, the hurtful declarations. I listen for them because they make me angry, and then I remember why I can not go down the sad “pity me” hole he opens up every time we talk. This last time I only wallowed in sorrow for about six hours after we talked, because the crummy hurtful things had also marked to memory, and they were there as well for six hours. Then I chose again to be free.
    Hard choice. But for me, the only life choice available.

    Sometimes it is the only way out of the cycle.

    peace, Marian, and may you have strength to love your son each day, and receive his love, knowing that nothing is certain but that love.


  2. Thank you for sharing, Marian. I understand the though of not being able to muster the energy to leave now. TYou sound like you have a very full plate otherwise too.

    I have days when my anger consumes me and I know I am trying to punish him. I know on some level if I am not angry he thinks he is off the hook….how crazy is that??? The weekend was almost normal and I enjoyed the kids and our family time.
    But I know the rage will return when it sinks in a again what he’s done. I also feel when I am not angry it means I am in denial.
    Diane, your insight is appreciated too. I sometimes feel bad because my husband still hasn’t dealt with his mothers death (of just a month ago) or his wacky childhood and probably can’t because I am too busy punishing him for his recent acting out. I do feel bad about those things. Because other than me, he would be very alone.

    Good luck to you 🙂

  3. Marian,
    My situation is similar to yours with the porn addiction anyway. I do not have a child with a terminal illness, but there are three of them, but I realize that would be very tough to deal with. You have every reason to be angry. I feel like you do in that you kick yourself now for signs you saw then. I am angry due to the lies, deceipt, and potential exposure to the children. Life is hard we all have our ups and downs. But somehow we are able to manage without addictions. Diane is right we can use the anger to bring about change. I was so angry after a session with my spouse on saturday that we came home and I told him I hated him and I wished I never married him. Now I felt bad, but it is true, i did not say it to punish him in anyway. Its the 100% truth. I think we have to watch out for that. Sometimes I feel if I say something to him it may be mean, but to bad. Time to face the real world. Not sure what purpose that had yet, or if he really even heard me, but I feel better.

    I am glad your husband is doing the preliminary work. But hope you get a plan soon. Mine has been going for four months and does not have a plan.

    Who knew anything like this esixted. Not me. Here we can try to figure it out together, rather than alone.

  4. Wow, What a story Marian, thanks for sharing. I am at a loss today for words. My sex addict husband says he is not addicted to porn. However, he looks at it. Well right now since he got caught, he is not. He says he wants to be able to stay on FB, like “normal earth people” his words not mine. Sadly, he is not a normal earthling. He is a freaking creature from outer-space. My husband really does not want to admit he cannot be on any of these “social networking” sites. He thinks he is different from the rest of the SA’s in his group. Mine says he has a plan for recovery, but all I can tell is that he just cut and pasted crap from the white book. I have been so angry lately and hostile it’s crazy.
    He wants me to give him one more chance – again – and to tell the truth, I feel like Charlie Brown. “Oh sure Lucy, this time you won’t pull the football away” Really?????

  5. Thank you for sharing this story, Marian. I can’t imagine your pain to be dealing with this and an ill child. My heart is with you. Regardless of whether your husband is actually committed to his program, I hope you can find some measure of peace in your life.

  6. Rage is the word isn’t it? I have never been a peson to rage, to fly off the handle or say mean things like, “I hate you” or “You’re a scumbag,” but with my sa, who’s been deceiving me for years, I’ve been atomically angry.

    You’re focus is where it should be with your son – not with your sa spouse.

    BTW – I am also involved with my second sex addict now. And I liked my current partner because I thought, I really believed, he had no interest in porn or anything like that. In fact, I told him many times that my ex was a sa and that I didn’t want to have anything to do with that ever again and he assured me over and over that he hated porn, did nothing for him, etc. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that he was watching porn 20 hrs a week, amongst other behaviors.

  7. Thank you all for your wonderful words of support. I feel like I’ve got you all in my corner and that’s how I can continue on with added strength.
    Being angry is useful for keeping my boundaries. I totally understand when you write about punishing your spouse and making sure he understands that he’s nowhere near being in our favor. It does seem to keep them more on the straight and narrow even though sometimes it makes me feel more like a parent than a spouse. Still, I’d rather be angry than sad, if I’m given the choice. Anger feels like I’ve still got power and that I’m standing up for myself.
    I think we all have a lot to be angry about but I’d like to get to a point where I’m not feeling so much like I’m in the middle of a windstorm.
    Thanks for being there for me. Hugs!

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