I Am Married To A Recovering Sex Addict

Recovery?I have read a lot of stories that have similar elements to mine, so I will try to be brief. In May we will be married for 15 years. We have not had sex in 14. I knew, from long, honest conversations during the year before we married, that he was a recovering sex addict. I didn’t know then what that really meant.

He was all the wonderful things I thought I needed and I was recently divorced and had a 4 year old son. When the sex waned, 6-7 months after our nuptials, I blamed myself. Through the next ten years, I found him caught up in pornography. Each time it came to light, earnest apologies and requests for support in his recovery ensued. We went to counseling, I went to counseling, he attended recovery groups for a period of time. We did all the things that every expert tells you to do.

In the meantime, I lost my self-esteem, confidence, bravado, sexiness, feminine side..my mind. I would argue, yell, research, snoop, accuse, anything to elicit a reaction or to punish him for what I felt he was doing to me. This only caused me to feel guilty for being selfish, unkind, and un supportive. I roller coasted through emotions.

During our marriage, he was a rock for me at times. I battled breast cancer, went through 4 years and more than 20 surgeries to get where I am today, healthy and cancer free, but emotionally and physically scarred. He supported me emotionally and financially when my ex-husband took me to court over and over again regarding our shared custody of our son. The court battles lasted six years, with at time monthly court appointments, until my ex gave up custody all together. My husband never complained about the thousands of dollars spent to deal with these battles.

He has and still supports my son and I in every way. He financed a pre-paid college program for my son, and now still pays all expenses regarding his college education. I have worked little since 2007 due to my health and he is relentless in trying to build our relationship through activities and shared experiences.

Regarding our current lack of a sexual relationship, for the past 18 months or so, he states he is now impotent. I should inform you he is 11 years older than me and in his early 60”s. He has “no sex drive and cannot maintain an erection if he wanted to”.  But he loves me with his whole heart. He was willing to try medication to help with impotence and our sex life, but I said no. I am no longer interested in an emotional/sexual relationship. I feel our life is now one similar to a roommate situation. We share everything. But have no emotional connection, or I should say I have no emotional connection. He still tries to kiss me and hold me and speaks his love of me, but I am indifferent.

I am dependent financially on him and he now is planning his retirement. He has saved well for it and is going to be financially ok. “We are going to be financially ok, not rich, but ok”. My son has at least two more years of college and lives with us. My husband financially supports almost everything for him at this time as well. (sidebar: My husband has been a good role model for my son and he has held a full-time job for 3 years now as well as going to college full-time. He purchased his own car and is responsible for his auto payments and his entertainment himself, so he is not too spoiled)

I wonder if there is anyone out there who has stood by and through all the turmoil this kind of relationship brings and is now on the other side so to speak but feels as I do? I stuck with the “Jeckle and Hyde” relationship and am now left with the remains of what I knew were his good traits, but I am no longer feeling invested. I sometimes feel guilty for not trying harder or being more responsive of his attempts at a stronger relationship. But I sometimes dream of another life. I sometimes think of divorce and a life on my own. And then feel guilty that I will destroy all his hard work to be able to retire, which he has earned through hard work with the same company for 38 years and good financial planning, by divorcing him.

I feel like my life is on hold until I resolve myself to again work on the relationship or leave.

Anyone?

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Responses

  1. Dear ?, It’s “Anyone.” :] That was a most interesting post. Your husband is a sex addict with a less common trait. Honesty. He came clean from the get go. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t realize what that really meant. The effects of his betrayals were the same as they are for all of us. I think that after a time, we all lose ourselves, exactly as you did.

    I’m going to tell you what a therapist once told me… Work on your relationship. Spend time with him. Go on dates. Go away. Have fun. Take a class together. Just spend TIME with him. It is okay if you don’t feel like kissing and hugging or having sex. Maybe that will come and maybe it won’t. However, what I also hear is that this man has a lot of wonderful qualities and I do believe that he genuinely loves you. Sex addicts can and do love their wives. It’s on a continuum. Some have more capacity for this than others and I would say that your husband seems to be on the higher functioning end of that continuum.

    The reason the therapist told me to work on the relationship was that if I didn’t and I left I would later regret the fact that I just gave up. She was right. I spent a couple of years trying my best and then I discovered that he never stopped and never stopped lying to me and that was the beginning of the end. You see… I was trying, but he had given up years earlier. He is a coward and I need a man, or none at all. It takes two people trying to make things work. I think that you have already reconciled that he is a porn addict. That is unlikely to change.

    The last thing I’m going to say is that you can have your independence AND be married to. It is alright to pursue your own interests too. But I would make more of a concerted effort too, to have a better relationship with him. Intimacy can be had even without sex. In fact, I believe that you DO already have an intimate relationship with him, based on what you said. He’s stood by you through some devastating trials… and that is nothing to sneeze at. I am not saying that he doesn’t have a massive problem. He does. But he knows it and admits it freely. He’s not blaming you or pretending that it doesn’t exist. In the world of sex addiction, that is HUGE! And if you can live with that side of him and not let it bother you, then I think that you really have a chance at a happier life!

    You see for me… it was the secrets and lies that destroyed our marriage. I wished that my husband had had the balls to tell me that he loved me and wanted me. He didn’t. And in the end, that is why I left. He claimed to have loved me, but his actions told me something very different. My best, Kim

  2. Agree with everything Kimberly says. In addition to Kim’s suggestions for working on your relationship, if I were in your shoes, I would go back to counseling, both joint and individual. I’d take him up on his offer to try medication.

    I know a man who found dramatic improvements in health, energy and libido after a full medical screening showed low thyroid and some vitamin deficiencies, both of which responded to medication. According to his wife, the little blue pill also helped. He’s NOT a sex addict, but these measures did help him.

    I’ve also read about how antidepressants can be very helpful for sex addicts.

    None of these suggestions are guaranteed to result in an improvement, but it’s at least worth a try. It sounds like you have a lot to lose financially, and much to gain if you can recover your self-confidence and feelings of trust and intimacy towards him.

  3. I married a sex addict who was very dishonest and I am still in the process of trying to understand what sex addiction is. I have been with my husband for 20 years and my feeling change between hate and love. I can only recommend couseling. It sounds like you have not forgiven him and trust me I understand how you feel. Maybe after forgiving him you can determine if you want to continue the relationship with him or leave.

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