So many comments! So little time!
Our little community certainly has grown! As I sit at my computer trying to wrap my brain around all the new software for the redesign of the website I am constantly reminded, by a somewhat annoying little sound from my computer, that another e-mail from a commenter has arrived. I try to read each one as they come in, but sometimes the sounds become an irritating cacophony that forces me to turn my speakers off so that I can concentrate on what I am doing.
It’s all so bittersweet for me. On one hand I am so pleased that my goal, of reaching women who are struggling with their partner’s Sexual Addiction by offering them a community of support and resources, is finally emerging, but, on the other hand there is a deep sadness within me for all the pain, turmoil and frustration that comes with each one of those comments.
So many of you have posed questions or thoughts that never get answered. I only wish I had more time, but right now the website, it’s maintenance and development, my research, writing and answering private e-mails takes up about ten hours a day, every day. Hopefully the new software will lighten that burden a bit. But, those nagging unanswered questions haunt me into the wee hours.
So, I have spent the last few days reading over the most recent comments and I will summarize some of my thoughts here. Please forgive me if I miss something, but I’ll try to make my thoughts as general as possible in order to cover most topics.
So many of you have children living at home and you worry about the effects that the Sexual Addiction and/or divorce will have on them. Many have asked how or what to tell them.
I will bracket my comments with my one core belief. If you lie to children you are teaching them how to lie. They deserve the truth. Of course, any information about Sex Addiction needs to be age appropriate, and I believe that any disclosures of the addiction should be done with the help of a counselor, and, as time goes by they will need all of their ongoing questions answered honestly.
Don’t kid yourself. Children know far more than you think they do. I have received quite a few private e-mails from women who have discovered this fact in devastating ways. When they make the discovery of their partner’s Sexual Addiction and the family becomes torn apart by the turmoil, separation or divorce, these women have discovered that their children either knew about their father’s activities for years, such as internet, printed or video porn, affairs, phone sexting, online dating or, in the worst case scenario, that their child has been the victim of incest.
These are very real cases, so please, don’t think you are protecting your children by not telling them. They probably already know at least ‘something’ and their imaginations will conjure up things much worse than the reality. By keeping it a ‘secret’ you are encouraging the very same ideal of shame and secrecy that fuels Sex Addiction.
Effects of divorce on children:
So many of you feel that a divorce will have a negative impact on the children and rationalize that maybe it’s better to just stay in the marriage with a Sex Addict for the sake of the children. Sorry, but I would call that ‘stinkin thinkin’. Any child would rather come from a broken home than to live in one. Staying in a relationship with an active Sex Addict is harmful to the children. Let me say that another way. A child who grows up in a home with an active Sex Addict is quite likely going to grow up being a Sex Addict. How do you think your husband got that way?
And, on the flip side of that, how do you think children learn how to manage their emotions and problem solve? They learn by watching their parents. You, as their mother, are their beacon. You are their mentor. Teach them and show them, by example, that you and they deserve respect. Show them that working through problems is difficult, and that mistakes will be made. Show them that decisions are not always 100% right, but sometimes 60% works. Show them that no one is perfect, and that all decisions have consequences. A decision to divorce may require a different standard of living, moving away from friends or a prolonged sense of sadness and grieving, but that does not make the decision wrong. Show them how to deal honestly and with integrity to life’s challenges. Share your doubts and feelings with them in an appropriate manner, but, above all else, be honest with them.
Yes, many Sex Addicts have wonderful traits, let’s face it, even Adolf Hitler loved puppy dogs. But, you need to take a hard look at, and discuss at great length with your counselor, the serious effects that Sex Addiction has on children. That’s where the seeds are planted. Are you willing to take the risk of your child becoming a Sex Addict?
Protecting the Sex Addict’s reputation:
This is a puzzling concept for me. I have received many, many private e-mails from women who were afraid to post their stories or comments online for fear that their husbands would find out. FIND OUT WHAT? That they were seeking answers? Advice? Comfort? Resources? Good grief! Isn’t that what people in crisis are supposed to do? Many are afraid that somehow, someway, a friend, co-worker or relative will ‘figure out’ who their partner is. Well, who ran that truck into the ditch? You weren’t driving–he was.
So many have also expressed that they do not tell any of their closest friends and family members about the addiction because they don’t want to embarrass or expose their partner’s behaviors.
Wake up ladies! Who risked their own reputation? Who participated in shameful or illegal activities? Who is responsible for the consequences of those risks if they are discovered? And–what is it called when we protect someone from the consequences of their own behavior? It’s called enabling. Don’t do it. You may make a decision not to tell someone because you don’t want to risk your own reputation, but I think that train of thought should be examined very carefully. You have done nothing wrong and you have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s tough sometimes to hold your head up high in the face of criticism, but just remember, for every person out there who is critical of you there are at least a hundred more who are silently admiring your strength and integrity.
You have every right to seek whatever help you need during this crisis; you have every right to confide in anyone you choose, tell anyone anything you want or need to and scream it from the rooftops if you choose. That is your decision. Of course, you may have to face some consequences too, like the wrath of your partner or the distancing of untrustworthy friends, but you have every right to seek whatever comfort or help you need. If exposure is a result of that, your partner will just have to take responsibility for what he has done.
Recently I have read so many comments that are just filled with such indecisiveness. Yes, making life changing decisions is extremely difficult and should never be taken lightly or done when under extreme stress. But when I hear women who have had ample time to adjust to the situations they are in, make decisions and then rescind them it makes me wonder about their emotional health. A prolonged inability to make decisions is a prime example of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and, in my mind, should send up a giant red flag that you need a counselor, more counseling or a different counselor.
The inability to make and carry out decisions shows that you are ‘stuck’, both physically and emotionally. You do not trust yourself. You do not trust your decisions. This is common at the beginning of discovery, but later on in the game it’s a sign of more serious emotional trauma. This will not go away by itself and you cannot talk or think your way through it. It requires professional help.
Friends, relatives and in-laws:
Good ones are a lifeline, bad ones will make you crazy! Choose your confidants carefully. It is quite common to have a dear friend turn their back on you after a revelation like Sex Addiction. And, it hurts terribly. But, we cannot control the actions or feelings of others. Sex Addiction and all the images it conjures up in the minds of others is a volatile subject that the majority of people are uncomfortable with.
As for the in-laws, if you have even one good one count your blessings. Remember how Sex Addicts are made? Consider the source and brush them off of of your plate. You have too many other things to concern yourself about.
Separation or Divorce:
In some states a Legal Separation functions as a framework for a divorce. It can be turned into a divorce at any time, which makes that decision very simple. It outlines all the legal and financial aspects and protects you financially. For some women who may not be able to work and obtain health insurance on their own, or who want to maintain the rights to insurance policies, retirement benefits and other widow’s rights, a permanent Legal Separation is a good choice.
Some women, for various reasons, choose to stay with a Sex Addict. In that case a Legal Separation agreement or a post nuptial agreement may be a good choice to protect her financial security.
Each of us must weigh all the circumstances carefully, get all the facts we can and finally make that decision whether to stay or go. Just remember, you can still love them and still leave them if it’s in your and your children’s best interest.
Someone asked in the comments what the divorce rate was for Sex Addicts. I researched that and accurate statistics are just not available. So, I’ll give you my best shot. In the US 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.
I cannot imagine a relationship or marriage not being affected by a partner’s Sexual Addiction. So let’s say that 100% of all marriages are negatively affected if Sex Addiction exists. From what I have seen and read almost all women are willing to try to save the marriage after they discover the addiction (hooray for us–how many men do you think would do the same?). So, in the beginning most relationships have at least a chance of surviving.
But, from personal experience, research, talking with other wives and their partners and facts gleaned from Larry’s 12 step groups I would guess that the divorce rate among Sex Addicts is much higher than in the general population. It only makes sense. Sex Addiction is a major burden on the relationship. It affects the intimacy, the trust, the safety, the communication and the finances of the marriage. How could it not affect the divorce rate?
Anyone who has studied statistics knows that you can make numbers mean whatever you want them to mean. I have read of addiction recovery rates as high as 90% for some organizations. But, they never tell you what the criteria is. Is that for one year? Ten years? A lifetime? And, is that figure for (a.) those that actually attend meetings or treatment? (b.) those who have dropped out? (c.) those who are addicts but never attended meetings? (d.) those who relapse but come to meetings or participate in treatment anyway?
In the end it really doesn’t matter, does it? If your partner has no relapses for the rest of your marriage, then he has a 100% recovery rate with 0% relapses. If he fails, those numbers are reversed.
What studies have shown is that the relapse rate for Sex Addicts is extremely high, approaching nearly 100%. The longer a Sex Addict is sober the better chance they have of avoiding relapses. Just about every illness has at least a 5% rate of spontaneous remission (this goes for everything from the plague to cancer). Professionals state that all addictions have an approximate rate of 5% recovery with or without treatment, which equals the spontaneous remission rate.
Someone also asked about Sex Addiction and aging. Apparently it doesn’t make any difference. 12 step groups are populated by all ages of Sex Addicts. 70 and 80 something year old men are still out there surfing for porn, using Viagra to masturbate or perform with a hooker or, tragically, still pursuing underage children as sex objects.
It all comes down to the fact that they will stop when they want to stop and not before and no matter how many meetings, counselors, lost jobs, jail time or failed relationships they encounter.
Out of control emotions:
I read, with deep concern, a few comments that included some troubling descriptions of physical violence toward the Sex Addict. I understand the volatility of feelings and emotions that occurs when dealing with Sex Addiction. It hits us where it really hurts the most and cuts more deeply than any other type of betrayal.
What concerns me is when stable, caring women somehow lose control of their core beliefs about themselves and allow their emotions to overcome their better judgment. Again, I feel that any time we act or react in a manner outside of our personal norm that this is a red flag and we should recognize it as a cry for help from ourselves.
I remember a time when I was very seriously plotting a way to kill Larry. I indulged myself in that thought for hours. It was not just fantasy, I was serious.
The next day I called my therapist. I was actually sick to my stomach over the fact that I could actually have those thoughts. Now, my therapist reassured me that this was a very normal reaction to the extreme betrayal I had experienced, but acting on that thought would be another matter. Strangely enough, at the two COSA meetings I went to several women shared stories of hitting, punching and kicking their husbands along with pouring liquids over them and spitting at them.
Acting out on these urges is not only ineffectual, it is demeaning to our sense of self respect and can only complicate the already tormented situation of dealing with Sexual Addiction. It is normal to want to hurt your Sexually Addicted husband, but it is not normal to actually do it. Physical violence is always wrong. We would never accept it from our partners so let’s not accept it in ourselves.
I think I addressed this pretty will in a few comments and in my post Is Your Sexually Addicted Spouse Maintaining His Sobriety? Don’t Bet Your Life On It.
Why not just have an affair?:
A couple of comments broached the subject of having an affair. I can understand that train of thought, I’ve been there myself. We are lonely, deeply in need of recognition that we are attractive, desirable and worthy. We long to be touched. To be held. We want to feel needed and wanted. Hell, we just want some sex!
But, trust me, if you really want to muck up your life, just try to solve your problems by having an affair. I cannot think of a worse solution to the problem. You will feel guilty. You will feel remorse. You will feel ashamed at violating your marriage vows. You will be either (a.) unhappy because you cannot find a lover (b.) unhappy because you cannot be with your new lover (c.) unhappy because your new lover is pressuring you to leave your husband before you are ready (d.) unhappy because your new lover dumped you (e.) unhappy because it wasn’t what you expected (f.) unhappy because your husband/friend/relative/child/co-worker found out about the affair or (g.) unhappy because you now have a new STD.
It’s an immature decision and we have to remain the mature ones during the crisis.
That’s a huge subject and will be discussed in my new eBook.
Well, I hope that addresses at least some of the questions out there. We all know that Sex Addiction is a highly complex issue and that’s what this site is for. We all have different, yet similar experiences and our sharing and commenting will hopefully help light our way through the dark times.
Love to all.
What a great piece! So chock full of wisdom and challenge and solidarity for us all.
It is important that we not judge each other by our own strengths, but just as important to put the things in front of us that we need to face in order to find our way to an abundant life. Thank you for a firm, wise, and gentle hand with our community.
In my day job I work with people who are in crisis. I particularly appreciate your words about getting stuck and spinning our wheels in the same story over and over again—sometimes I call it emotional masturbation–an activity which becomes mechanical and unproductive. Sometimes people like to create the drama of crisis repeatedly—signaling for more attention, telegraphing needs unmet, or simply demonstrating the PTSD symptom that has us going over the story again and again. If it’s the latter, there are ways to address this, as Barb Steffens book revealed. I used her suggestions myself in the worst of that time for me, and I still grab them when it sneaks up on me again. There’s a fine line between compassionate listening and sharing, and creating a climate that enables (yes it’s that word) people to sit in their poop and their SA’s poop as if that’s just fine. Eventually, you don’t smell yourself. But others do.
I still don’t know what to do with my SA. But this post in particular JoAnn has given me greater focus to my thinking and greater understanding of my hopes and fears.
thank you for your strong love,
Thank you for answering our questions and for all your time and energy. Much appreciated!
I’d like to add a little to the part on protecting an addicts (or your) reputation. As my addict is also a registered sex offender this takes on a whole new life. Not only is our home address and his info out there for the world to see… but he is also required to let people around him know about it as well. By law I have to inform friends with children about him so that they are aware of the fact if their kids are at my house, or if my husband is helping out at one of our kids parties at a park, or on a school committee. So people around us have to know. Most have been pretty accepting, especially those that have taken the time to get to know him.
The reverse of that is that we also live a life protecting him. If a kid gets kidnapped within a 10 mile radius of our home, we’d have police at our door within hours of the event. He watches everything he says and does around people in our neighborhood, work and church. We don’t have my kids friends or youth groups come to our home often and never without me here. Usually I kick him out for a while too. Finding a babysitter is a nightmare. I have no choice but to teach my children early about the perils of molestation, kidnapping, sex abuse, etc. and I’ll do it willingly to make sure they have the knowledge they need to survive and thrive. Don’t get me wrong. I see a great benefit in the laws set up to regulate known sex addicts. But you have a much greater chance of being molested by an unknown offender than a known one. To all the women out there who choose not to talk about their husbands addiction out of shame, or protecting him and his reputation… you open the door to a much greater danger for the others around you. If you have an active addict, tell as many people as you can. They deserve to know… and honestly there are more of us out there dealing with this crap than you might guess. You may just bump in to a few and find support along the way.
I am quite concerned about our only child. He is 22 years old and has known about his father’s deception for 2 years now. He refuses to speak to me about it and wants to distance himself from the truth. He loves his Dad and on some level I think he thinks “its a man’s world, welcome to it.” I wonder how and how much he has been aware of all these years. My therapist suggested to let him alone and at some point he may want to know more. This doesn’t sit well with me. Any suggestions?
On another note, I recently purchased Dr. Douglas Weiss’s CD’s entitled “Helping Her Heal” for SA. I watched it recently with my husband
and it got the point home loud and clear. He saaid he has never had a “trigger” and the end result is he thought he needed to attend SA meeting, which he stopped attending last year stating “I’m not going there the rest of my life, in fact I am not going back there ever again. They aren’t like me and I got enough out of it already.” He never had a sponsor, so I wonder if he even attended the meetings. Point being – 2 weeks have gone by and no mention of attending any meetings.
Your site gives me courage and hope to believe in myself and be clear about the risks I am taking to save our marriage.
JMB, Glad you found us. The short of the story for you seems he is not a recovering addict, but probably still an addict. By your comments he seems resistent to help, and in no way can do this on his own.
So what is this man’s world you speak of? Are we talking porn, postitutes, multiple girlfriends, craiglist, gay sex???
Now for the 22 yo it is very likely that he may have known for some time much longer than two years. (The following relates to if it is porn) It is possible yuor husband had brought him into this world and your son perceives this as a bonding experiance and something that they share. I have read many books that speak about how sex addiction is usually started at a young age by family members. In addition some were intorduced to it by their fathers. And in doing so your son feels he is getting attention that he needed through the porn actitivites with his dad and he got the attention a void that he felt, by lack of a caring and loving father by this act.
He has probably learned his viewpoint of women from his dad and that is what you are seeing. Unfortunately if he does not want help, you can not make him go to a therapist or make him change his mind.
This should be an example for those who don’t think of what the effects are of children growing up in a household with a sex addict (just a JoAnn described above). This is exactly what can happen. So there is no “he is such a good father” or “I want my kids to grow up with both parents”. This is the end result.
How you fix it??? I don’t know. It is very possible he is already an addict himslef. And the resistence in him is the same as the resistence in the father.
JoAnn, Thank your for your insightful post and all the time you put into this site. like Diane after I read your post I realized I gotta do what I gotta do, and many choices and answers became clear. So after new years there are gonna be some great changes and an btw the x-mas cards are not gonna have his name on them.
Forgot my evil laugh: Wahhaaaahaaahaaa Whahaaaa! Just kidding its not evil to tell the truth. Like JoAnn said we did not do this, and we should not prevent the consequences.
JoAnn – Thank you so much for your usual words of wisdom. They always say, “If the shoe fits, wear it,” and you really hit the nail on the head with me. I am sure I am damaged from childhood trauma – aren’t most of us! The fact Steve shows a physical resemblence to my dad certainly rings true for me.
I am not sure his therapist is really helping Steve or me, in that some of the things she has said to me in therapy certainly has not been therapeutic in assisting me to come to resolution. Especially, when she told Steve she did validate I should file for divorce, but stated it was based on the things I told her in session. I really have a problem with that because of her shaking her head yes to almost every statement I made – To me, that indicated she was in total agreement with me.The one thing that really got me was when I made the comment he will probably continue to lie and manipulate if I waited until February to file for divorce, and she shook her head yes. That was only one of many things she validated, and then for her to say shaking her head was just hearing what I was saying. To me, she did not assume her accountability in guiding me in the right direction when talking to Steve in his session. I think that really set me back!!
I still am curious about whether most of SA’s are capable of showing intimacy in a relationship, because mine certainly can be very loving and intimate. If anyone can answer that, I would really appreciate it.
Thanks again – you do so well in guiding us toward living or living without an SA.
I have no idea bout the sex addict. I beleive in one of JoAnn’s e books she talks about that they will never be able to acheive the level which you deserve. Also everyone may have different levels at which the function for what is or is not enough.
I think I am going get a book from the library about intimacy. I think this will answer some questions. Look at it from a normal perspetive as to what healthy intimacy should be…
May I suggest what I think might be going on with your therapist? It’s called triangulating. I’ll bet you already know about it, but sometimes we can’t see things as clearly in our own lives as we can in someone else’s. (MEA CULPA here). Basically the person in the middle functions to maintain dysfunction. Google it if you don’t know it, but with your prof. backgrd, I’m sure you do.
Short version—Get yourself your own therapist. You deserve that. You need that. It will allow you to untangle some of the dysfunction. Your story will take centre stage, which it needs to in order for you to address what you mention above. But with the same therapist, the agenda always defaults to the SA. It’s a terrible tyranny that keeps you enslaved to its crazy. That’s my opinion only.
My SA (recovering, working his program, but living apart from me for about a year now) makes some intentional effort now. But it’s not natural. He has to make himself ask me how I am feeling, how work is going, what’s on my mind etc. I appreciate that he is doing it, but I have no illusion that it will ever be more than it is—a checklist he runs down. I also know that he can only manage this because he does not have the stress of doing it every day in a marriage relationship with me. Unfortunately, he thinks this means he’s better, but when we have any spontaneous or longer interaction, he can’t do it. It’s the same old same old. I feel sad about this, because I think he really wants to connect with me, but is only able to do it in a planned way. And I get sad about the possibility of intimacy that can’t really last. It’s just hard all round, isn’t it?
I’ll try to answer your question as best I can, but I am puzzled by it. If you believe that your husband can be intimate and has been intimate, then you have answered your own question about him. My question would be, how do you know?
Sex Addiction is an intimacy disorder–that answers your question about ‘most’ of them. Yes, at times they can appear to show intimacy (and remember, we are judging, and possibly projecting that through our own, non-addict eyes). But how would we know unless it was sustained and had been a pattern throughout the entire relationship as opposed to a rush based on manipulation or fear of losing the partner?
A few good times in bed do not make intimacy.
I do agree that Steve’s counselor is not good for you. Have you considered finding someone just for you who will be your champion?
Hang in there, I know this is a very difficult time for you, but you are strong and smart. I know you will work through this.
I just did a quick google, because i am interested in this topic as well. I found an article that was good at family resource.com, topic is impact of intimacy.
Talks alot about how the intimacy must be reciprocated, and sex is not intimacy. Sex can feel like intimacy, but after the fun and newness wears off, all you are left with is a dead relationship. A relationship with intimacy and lack of sex can survive, but a relationship based on false intimacy with great sex will die. I would think for most of us the intimacy has not been reciprocated (after reading this article, i do not see how it could be) as one of the components is telling the truth even when it hurts. In my relationship the intimacy was not reciporacated and I would imagine that is the case for most.
My SA has been acting out since in his early 20’s. We both are in our 2nd marriage, he divorced and I am a widow, We have been together since I was 29, I am now 60. We had a child and married when I was 38. We ALMOST divorced when my son was 4 – as my husband was caught with my next door neighbor by HER DAUGHTER. We went to couples therapy and he lied his way through and I bought it hook, line, and sinker. I thought we have healed and moved forward all this time. We brought up our son with a houseful of kids, great food, and lots of laughter. What I have neglected to mention is my husband stopped having sex with me when I was only a month pregnant. Eventually,
he told me he had no libido and desire for sex any longer. I accepted that because I loved him and thought I guess this is the way it was going to be. We had many other good ingredients to enjoy – friends, family, and our deep love for our son.
His secret was exposed 2 years ago. And it took almost another 1 1/2 years to unravel his deceit. I uncovered the truths myself, searching phones numbers, etc. He has been in love with another woman for 1/2 of my marriage, pornography, prostitutes, one-night stands, cyber and phone sex for at least 15 years. I guess you can say he did it all. I never knew and needless to say it was like being shot when I figured it all out. We have been in couples therapy, individual therapy and according to him he attend Sex and Love addiction meetings..
I appreciate your comments about the possibilty of father and son sharing porn. I am unsure, probably will never know. But thank you for making me aware of it.
Thanks all for the feedback on intimacy. JoAnn, the reason why I was asking is because Steve really does have the capacity for intimacy, and when he is on he is on! When we were living together, he would very rarely be totally intimate. I equated it to a turtle who sticks his head out and opens himself up totally-It then became too threatening for him, and he sticks his head right back in the shell and doesn’t come back out for weeks. Now, he seems to be able to open up on a more consistent basis. So, I was just wondering if the women on here have ever experienced intimacy with they’re SA? Have they been capable at times, or not at all. I always had the impression an SA was never able to show intimacy, so thought that was a positive in Steve’s direction. And, of course, I am certainly keeping in the back of my mind this may be manipulation to get me back, but in that case he won’t be able to maintain it for any length of time.
Diane and Flora-thanks for the info. I am not equating intimacy with sex. Steve and I will kiss and “make out” as we said in my time,” for a couple of hours at a time. It is not sexual, and I feel that total connection with him, We do not get into the sex act until we have gotten close intimately, and then when we do, it is not like a rabbit- “hop on and hop off.” The intimacy remains throughout the act, in otherwords he does not make that shift to total sexual-slow and easy, if you know what I mean. No pounding. Looking into my eyes. Boy, did I get descriptive!! Hope I don’t get censored. I am familiar with triangulating, but I felt up until this time, the therapist was really focused on looking out for me. Now, I am seeing she will not stick her neck out and tell Steve exactly what she portrays to me. The problem with finding another therapist is Steve is paying for the therapy sessions out of pocket. She does not take Medicare/tie-in plans. Her sessions are realatively cheap ($125./hr.) comparatively, so don’t know if Steve would be willing to pay more. I will talk to him about it.
JoAnn- when I said I am “Certifiable” a couple of days ago, I was kidding on the square. I have a lot of insight into my behavior, but when it comes to Steve I have not been able to make rational decisions. And, I was telling the truth when I said I have never had relationship issues in the past – always able to make the break quickly if I found out the red flags were there. So, obviously, it really is trauma bonding for me!! I will work through this – just taking more time than I anticipated.
I’d like to chip in with my viewpoint on the lack of intimacy. Now, my SA never promised me anything, only that he loved me … which I knew wasn’t true and which he admitted at the end. But the lack of intimacy: I couldn’t FIND the man. He wasn’t ‘at home’. It was like he was locked up somewhere deep inside and he wasn’t coming out for me. He talked a lot without saying anything. It was like being with a machine, no matter how deep and meaningful the words were. Hard to explain and very, very disconcerting. I believe he has a cluster B personality disorder, and I know he didn’t like me. I was there for one thing only and that was supply.
By saying he loved me, although there was no written agreement I kind of assumed that meant we were dating. Apparently not.
Intimacy? Its been so long, I don’t know what is real or what is a front to keep me. And, someone please tell me why these guys want to keep the women they so injured.
Sexual Addiction is extremely complex, so any generalities are simply that and may not apply to all Sex Addicts. But in general, Sex Addicts are seeking an intimacy and sense of worth that is missing from their lives. It is like a black hole that can never be filled no matter how many hookers, massages, virtual affairs or fantasy sex they have. Most have an enormous fear of abandonment and cannot manage their lives if they live alone.
We are their lifelines. We are that fragile thread that helps them to maintain a persona of normalcy.
They will fight to the death, with everything they have to keep us.
We mistake that for love, when in reality, it is nothing more than desperation.
Because we are about the only thing that keeps them feeling like a normal person. They attach themselves to someone who would be classified as normal and try to get some sense on normalcy from them. I think most would truely like to be that normal guy, but many are not willing to make the effort, but rather try to fake it and hide the addiction. You can only fake it for so long.
I am with you on the intimacy. Have not had it in forever, but that is a major factor of what is missing in my relationship, which i wish I had. And its just not there. I have waited almost a year to just make sure. But it just is not and he is making little to no effort. Like Diane said for some even if they try it will be forced like they are reading off a list of words on a page. That is how it is with my SA as well.
I think there is a difference between showing intimacy (as in acting it out) and experiencing it (as in having the capacity to truly feel as one with another person–including the release of all those great hormones that nature includes that bond us to each other).
It is not really something we can turn on and off. We either have the capacity or we don’t. In a normal relationship we may pull back from our partner for some reason, which may look like we are not capable of intimacy at that time, but our moods really have nothing to do with our capacity to experience intimacy.
As I have posted before, Sex Addicts are addicted to the dopamine rush. And, as they become more and more tolerant of that chemical spurt, they need bigger and better stimuli to achieve the same emotional and physical ‘pleasure kick’.
When they are threatened by abandonment they experience all sorts of emotions that they don’t understand and cannot verbalize. So, quite often they are able to ‘get in the zone’ and experience some emotional or physical ‘highs’ during a relationship crisis that we may interpret as intimacy.
You might want to look back at the times when you felt that Steve was truly intimate with you. Did this happen on a regular basis or just occasionally? Were those times of intimacy during or after times of stress or turmoil? You might see a pattern.
Your husband, just like all Sex Addicts, has a complex vegetable soup of disorders. Spinning our wheels trying to understand it all may make us feel better, and is important in helping us realize that we are not the crazy ones; but, in the end, it really won’t make any difference–we cannot change them.
What really matters is what YOU can live with and what YOU can live without.
Life is much too long to live in a vacuum without having OUR NEEDS met.
Such a useful discussion—thank you all very much for contributing.
re: understanding it all
I remember posting last year sometime about the desperate need for intimacy that we have as spouses/partners of SA’s—and how we try to educate ourselves about all the things going on the our SA’s psyche, because for us it is a kind of intimacy. Some also become “therapists” or “researchers” with their SA’s for the same reason. We’ll grab intimacy any way it comes, without stopping to assess whether it expresses mutuality at all.
These may be the choices we make along the way, but as JoAnn says, none of it will change the SA. It is very important that we ask ourselves what we need and what we want. And for some women (like me) this was a radical shift in my life as a wife, mother, and worker in a caring role.
Lots of LIght to everyone as we move toward winter solstice, and the longest night.
Ya, JoAnn – I understand all that, and Steve is well aware if he is unable to maintain the intimacy and the acting out continues, I am not able to live like that. We just talked about it today- that right now he is probably experiencing a “high” from being back in the relationship after 6 mo. of no sex or intimacy, and that high is me!
I have just seen a shift in attitude, insight, and his ability to be demonstrative with me. I figure sticking to that original February date before filing for divorce is only putting my life on hold for a couple more months. I have not disclosed that to him, however. I know this is probably not a healthy decision for me to make, but knowing him as I do, I will definitely see him totally revert back to old behavior by February if he is going to do it. He has never been able to sustain any kind of change for more than a couple weeks at a time.
As I look back on the time we were living together, I do not see a pattern. When he was intimate, which was infrequently,he was totally into me and there was no turmoil or stress involved. I will say, however, that the first time I left him he made a stab at sex and intimacy but was not able to
perform sexually or intimately. As he put it, he never felt any “whistles or bells.”
I am a very non-trusting person when it comes to Steve, (gee, I wonder why) and have never cut him any slack – nor do intend to now, but with the shift I am witnessing from him this time I just feel he needs a chance. I have never seen so much as an inkling of improvement in the past. He is disclosing, doing everything he is supposed to to to assure me he is being honest, and shows a high degree of insight. Is he fooling me? Maybe, but he can only do it so long.
JoAnn, I know you are really looking out for me, and everyone else on this site. The web of knowledge that you have on addiction is wonderful – the problem is I know all that too, just haven’t been able to make informed decisions with the knowledge I have, as well as from those like yourself, who are probably even more informed than I. Hopefully, I can work through the “why’s, and by February will be able to come to resolution one way or the other. If not, I am as sick as he is!
You aren’t as sick as he is.
You aren’t sick at all. You are wounded. That’s different. And the woman on this site might not have the exact same wounds, but they are similar.
You’ve been incredibly open and vulnerable with this online community of women, and we are richer for your presence. I may be wrong, but I sense something in you that is also in me–the tendency to overthink and to obsessively think about things. Sometimes I wish I had a switch so I could turn it off.
May I suggest something that has helping me lately when I feel I’m stuck, or can’t overcome what is in front of me, but can’t stop thinking about it?
I just sit with it. I don’t try to do anything. I don’t try to engage it at all. I stay still. No flailing around, no beating myself up, no despairing, no thinking. I just let it be what it is. And then I get up and walk away from it.
This SA stuff is terribly hard on us. And the worst casualty is not a marriage, its when the “sharrons” disappear into its big black hole. Please stay with us, and trust we’ve all met for good purpose. You are worth every minute.
with you on this hard journey,
I really liked your piece on the children, how damaging being with an active SA is to a child/i.e our “stinkin thinkin” to remain for sake of children isn’t necessarily a good one, I certainly agree. But here is the clincher, could I have your advice?
for someone like myself who will be doing some form of joint custody–my child wb alone with an active SA a few days per week. Is that really better for her? I agonize over what is better, staying in the home no matter how bad situation is, (active SA or smoke and mirror recovery SA) because I feel I can ensure her safetly better because I am there every night. my hair stands on end when I think about moving out and my daughter being alone with him for a couple days-FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE UNTIL 18. I question whether I am putting her future more at risk by being alone with his values not to mention addiction. be intervened by my good ones to counteract. Unless I have a ton a money to throw at this divorce/seperation, which I don’t, custody will be shared. period. that is that. At least being in the home (even if legally seperated, seperate bedrooms, lives etc) maybe a better choice for me in this. I have never seen him be inappropriate with her, and his “intersts” are adults – no minors. But who is to say when she is a teenager? or has teenage friends over? I guess the argument could be that even if I am living there, I can’t control everything and something could happen even then. By leaving, at least I make a stand for myself and my daughter. I just question if I am subjecting her to more risk. Your thoughts please? thanks again for all. and guiding all of us floundering out here to make sense of our emotions and make good decisions.
Pam, I struggle with the same thing. I do have to say I do not think the cost of the attorney will make the sex addiction better or worse in the eyes of the courts. I would be really curious to know if anyone has gone through the the divorce and what the thoughts of the courts actually were and how it worked out.
The only idea i have is that you could specify visitation at your house only, and in the middle period they may work well, unitl you find out more info. If my husband was not staying at his parents house, that is what I would be doing. I know it is tricky and you will not have any freedom, but i would assume that is how it is now already. Having to watch over them, as I do the same thing. I think the same as you and worry for my older daughters who are teens now.
I plan to speak to my attorney after the frist of the year. And will share anything I find out with the community.
I thought about that after I wrote this article yesterday, and it really sent my stomach into knots. What do we do if the SA has overnight visitation rights with the children? Even writing this makes the hairs on my arms stand on end.
I guess that’s because I know deep in my soul that it is a huge risk that you may not have any control over. The courts are much too busy to be ‘bothered’ with cases that will claim a disease that has no official diagnosis, and, short of serious and verifiable legal accusations, there really is not much you can do.
I guess my gut goes back to the honesty thing with the children. Make them very aware of what is appropriate and what is not. Make sure the lines of communication stay wide open and let her know that she can talk to you at any time about anything. I think it’s important to let children know that you are comfortable talking about sex–that lets them know that they do not need to feel ashamed to discuss it with you.
Talk with your husband and let him know that if there is ever any exposure of your daughter to any type of porn that you will leave no legal stone unturned to deny him any further unsupervised visitation.
I’m sure that the laws vary from state to state and from county to county, but, if I were you I would contact a good family attorney and find out just what your rights are.
If anyone else has had any experience in this area I would love to hear about it.
Dear Joanne, Flora
Thanks for addressing that topic. I think just as we continue to set healthy living boundaries for ourselves and/or SA, we need to instill those boundaries in our kids too. — great point Joanne. what is ok, what is not ok. And if not ok happens, then x y z will ensue. glad you addressed
Like Diane, I see so much of myself in you and many of the other women here. One thing I think we all need to remember is to give ourselves permission to just be ourselves. We also need to allow ourselves to be confused at times, to change our minds as often as we need to and to take whatever time we need to make our decisions. We will know when it feels right.
I sense that you are putting pressure on yourself to make this decision by February, and, since you have said it, now it feels as if it is written in stone. I would bet that you even feel that you will be letting US down if you change your mind about that time frame. (it’s a nurse thing–too much empathy)
Sharron–trust yourself. You have no real pressing need to either stay or leave except for what you feel in your heart. There are no children in the home and you have earned this precious time to make decisions just for yourself. If you need more time–take it. If you change your mind tomorrow–so what? Allow yourself that same leeway and compassion that you have given Steve.
But, most of all, just remember, we are all here for you.
I am there, and have been for about three years now, or is it two….I don’t know. Tomorrow is the hearing for sole custody, because I just don’t know what else to do to stop it all. I am not delusional, I know it is rare, but with medical records of abuse, continual emails that are abusive, non-stop sexual addiction….I just hope some one will hear, and someone will care….
They don’t want to look, they don’t want to hear, they are not really doing what they are supposed to, and I sometimes feel so lost and helpless to the abuse and continual wrong…but no one wants to even believe to help the children, to help the women…until something “tangible” is done to the children…that is just too late and it is all too wrong.
Pray for my son and me, please that someone in authority will help us.
My SA can be very intimate – and not just want sex. He and I have talked a lot about this issue… how he can do the things he does and love me, or lead a normal life on the outside, and/or the list goes on. Men think differently. They compartmentalize. Each aspect of their lives is a box if you will. They open one, work with the contents, and when they’re done they close up the box, put it away and move on to the next one. My addict is good at this. More so when his addiction and acting out are involved. He lives in many worlds and his addiction and his family life and his relationship with me never overlap, and he never crosses back and forth between them. Part of this is his need for justification, preservation and denial. Not saying it’s right… but this is how he thinks. For instance. He acted out by looking for massages with benefits. When I found out and called him on it he got defensive and withdrew. There was no apology. Over a week later he came to me in tears and apologized. It literally took him a week to realize that I saw what he was doing as cheating. To him in his little box he thought he was only getting his addict needs met. It took a moment of reflection and clarity for him to ‘clue in’. It makes him sound like a real idiot… but that is not only the addiction talking but the normal way men think. Box by box. I believe my addict really does love me and our family. He also loves his addiction. They just don’t live in the same place in his brain. He can give me all of his love honestly and sincerely one minute and then go and act out the next. The problem comes in that he can’t love me and his porn at the same time. That’s where he’s robbing you of that part of himself and contradicting the love he does give you. Catch 22.
Hi Ann and all,
The problem for me is that I dont compartmentalize my life. My husband has been in out-patient treatment for 2 months and is also acting out. I can spend my time (which I have) trying to figure him out ect., or I can focus on myself and meeting my own needs. As my therapist told me, Ive been living on “crumbs” for a long time and Im just now realizing it. No matter why hes doing what hes doing doesnt matter to me anymore-all I know is how its very negatively affecting me, my family, and my health and well being. He can keep his “crumbs”. I dont want them anymore.
Wow! Very well said. That really hit home with me.
Normal men do not think like that.
I think what Ann is actually describing are dissociative behaviours which have different degrees of presentation and belong in certain personality disorder groups. Dissociative disorder is also something that exists on its own. But most of these behaviours in SA’s are part of the managing strategies for living with the addiction, or an underlying disorder supporting the addiction.
As JoAnn indicates, this is not normal for normal men.
Hi JoAnn-Again,again,again – thank you for your support and letting me know it is okay to be indecisive. I have certainly been on again-off again. I have not set February in stone, but I do believe if he is fooling, manipulating, lieing, etc. I will see it by then. Steve is being very open with me – something he has never been able to do before, so I am just going to ride with it right now and see what happens.
One thing he disclosed, and I think you will find it very interesting, is his lusting of women is connected to the fantasies starting in his mind and the desire to go to the computer. I had never een able to connect the two of them – obese women domination/submission and the lusting after thin young women, as they appeared to be two separate addictions. He says the lusting after thin women probably serves as a protection for him – keeping him safe and in control, but the lusting after heavy women serves to foster the porn addiction. He admits to having a warm feeling in his body, (not an erection) with the heavy set women which in turn starts the fantasy network, but he does not experience the same sexual high with the thin women – just that it makes him feel safe, and has served as distancing himself from getting close and intimate with me. So, two different reactions. Of course, the porn addiction does the same thing, but I think is rooted from his childhood trauma of sexual abuse with a heavy set blond woman, who at times was very dominate and abusive to him. The other interesting thing is he says he is able to control the porn -Only does it on rare occasions when he is stressed, feeling guilty and has the need to feel punished. He maintains he has a much more difficult time with “not looking around,” and the lusting on a day to day basis with the thin ones.
Thank you Diane for your reply. You are right about the obsessiveness. I am like a dog with a bone, and until I figure it out it tends to encompass my thoughts and actions. There are some positive things about it, and that being ever vigilent has helped me see through so much of his deception and lieing. If I had not been obsessive, I would not have caught him in the act many times!! I will probably continue with the “dog with a bone” mentality until I have my answer of whether or not he is totally sincere about recovering.
Lynn – my prayrers are with you in your struggle and stress related anxiety you are going through right now with the custody hearing.
Ann – my SA reacted, in the past, the same way yours does – the ability to be intimate on rare occasions and then go right back to the acting out. I do agree with JoAnn – this is not how normal men think, and they have the delusion that “all men are like this.” It justifies they’re behavior. My SA said he felt that way early on when he was in total denial that he even had an addiction. I do think our SA’s love us in their own way, but incapable of it on a deeper level. I do think that once the motivation is there and they move out of the denial stage it is possible for us to see a paradigm shift in them. That is what I am waiting to see – if mine can maintain it.
Good for you NAP, but I do want to share my experience with you on how steve reacted after his returned from intensive out-patient therapy. He acted out while in therapy – the entire two weeks, and continued it upon his return. It was only after he was back for a few weeks, was he able to connect the dots and really started showing insight into his behavior. Will it last??? Who knows, but if the motivation for change is not there – hang it up. As you know, I can really relate to where you are at right now. You are doing the right thing in working on yourself, and sounds like you are in a good place right now. Good for you!!!
The topic of intimacy….
Okay so it has been established that the SA is incapable of intimacy, which is key to a healthy and strong long lasting marriage. But with the SA when they say they “love us” do they in fact love us as much as their favorite porn site, dog, shirt or shoes?? Because in reality the two are not different, as you can not be intimate with porn, your dog or your shirt, just as they cannot be intimate with us. But yet they “love” us, the dog and the shirt. We have no more of a close relationship with them that they have with the dog, shirt or shoes.
I told my therapist last week that it has felt like my marriage is one big long date that lasted for years and is ending. This is before I read about the intimacy issues that we discussed yesterday. And she said that is because the lack of or no intimacy . There in lies the MAJOR problem.
Food for thought….
Diane – You are right on levels of dissociation. I just wanted to add a note regarding dissociate disorders from my perspective. Most SA’s do dissociate to a certain degree when they are acting out and getting they’re high. You can definitely see a change in their persona – that was one of the dead give-aways for me in knowing when Steve would act out. It was like he was another person. Body language changed, he would seem anxious and fidgity in lure of the high he was seeking, and just appeared zoned out.
Of course there are different levels of dissociation, especially with the borderlines and trauma based patients. It can range from the “zoned out” look to multiple personalities, but in my experience in dealing with patients, my opinion is that a true “multiple” is rare. A lot of them put it on for the attention or secondary gain they get from it.
I did see Steve totally dissociate when he was re-living some of his past memories. He was just simply not there. Was in a trance-like state and looked to be hypnotized. I still am not sure if it was part of his fantasy network, or he actually did re-live the memories. A lot of them seemed to be beyond the realm of possibility, such as his mother standing in the doorway and watching the sexual abuse take place – but worse things have happened. But, I am a little leary regarding some of repressed memories, and there is a lot of literature out to support both theories. One, is the body-mind theory. If both experiences are present during the dissociative episode, there tends to be more credence the memories are real.
Again, this is getting quite graphic, but a couple of years ago when I was working on regression therapy with Steve he experienced the memory itself and also the physical sensations along with it. He would fondle himself as if he was experiencing the molestation. Thus, body-mind recall. Who knows. It is a very fascinating subject.
Any input from you JoAnn? What are your’e feelings regarding true repressed memories?
When I was with the SA I dissociated during sex. I experienced my father and fought him off and cried. I wanted to kill him or hurt him. I had repressed the child abuse memories for 40 years. Absolutely and completely forgotten them, but my body remembered when I knew the SA was just using me and didn’t love me. With therapy I realised that I had always known, but only known underneath consciousness. Like they were in the back cupboard and I’d locked the door. It was no surprise once it came out. Anyway, my point is that I didn’t remember but my body did.
Also what does love really really mean to them? They say it all the time….but is it really just a word they have learned to use…and means nothing more? Or maybe their word should be care, i really care for you.
To me love means: respect, admiration, caring, helping, sharing, honesty a togetherness. (I am sure there is more).
What love means with an SA is:
no respect, admiration only when it suits them (used as manipluation), caring only when it suits them (also used as manipulation), lack of sharing, no honesty and no togetherness.
So what or where does that leave me or anyone else who volunteers to stay in a relationship with an SA?
Hi T – A colleague of mine swears body/mind connection is really the only way to validate if memories are true. Sounds like you definitely dissociated. I am sorry for what you went through as a child. Do you feel remembering the memories helped in resolving those childhood issued. I know there is a lot of literature out there to support that. Some therapists are strictly Behaviorial, in that they believe if you change the behavior you cure the problem. I lean more torwards the psychoanalytical approach, and delving into and dealing with past trauma assists in resolution and recovery much quicker.
My SA was asking me that very question yesterday, so am interested in knowing how re-living the memory helped you in the recovery process and working toward resolution.Were you able to resolve the anger from that experience?
Then from the other perspective – I blocked out my entire childhood up until around 13. My parents divorced at that time. I really never cared if I remembered, and have been well grounded and stable in my life – except for picking the wrong kind of men!!! So, there is the other side of the coin.
It leaves us with “crumbs”.
Just like you said. (Duh?!) Did not put the post together. Thanks for that.
We will starve crumbs, unless we are a mouse.
Hi Sharron, being with the addict and having this come to light through the things he put me through has caused me to improve my life 1000%. He healed me, by treating me as though I didn’t matter at all. He pretended to love me so he could get his fix and then proceeded to gaslight me and blameshift until I became suicidal. He’s so sick, and I can see that now I am healthy. I let him make it my fault, like my dad did.
The therapist isn’t forcing me to look closer at the past than I want to, she lets me lead it, but she’s helping me to accept what happened now that it’s out in the open in conscious memory (not all of it, but glimpses and flashes, strategies, sense memories) and to stop hating myself. I have lived with a lot of shame and I didn’t know why. Now I do, and I can heal that because I understand it wasn’t my fault. I had to get to the bottom of what was going on and why I was reacting so badly to a man who wasn’t emotionally available to me even though he was pretending to be. I’ve been told I was mad by my father all my life as he was giving me his shame. I never knew why he hated me so much. We have no relationship now, although I’d been trying to have one, and failing, until all this came to light. He’s narcissistic and pigheaded and a bully. Great stuff. 🙂
The anger was mindblowing when it surfaced. I’d never known anger before. I wanted to kill the addict and my father. I had to work through that and it’s all just become very much resolved. I feel very lucky and happy now. My dad’s just gone into hospital with a suspected tumour, and I don’t feel much of anything at all. I don’t love him, but I don’t have to hate him. It’s all just sickness and dysfunction. My dad and the addict just don’t function well, and their behaviour is very bad. I am letting go and it’s very freeing. I had a shift today, in fact. 🙂
It’s interesting that you’ve blocked out childhood memories too, and picked the wrong type of man. To me, if you’re picking the wrong type of man it’s revealing something that needs healing in you even though you’ve felt stable and grounded. Narcissists were the only ones that really attracted me, but never again.
Please keep your courage up, you are fighting a righteous fight- remember you are the one with nothing to hide and telling the truth, and the one who is sane. And I will pray that the authorities hear– that it will not fall on deaf ears. We can never lose sight of this battle, the battle for our children’s welfare vs. living with an addict. I am still making my way through a sticky mess…legally and emotionally…I must watch my step. Please Lynn, charge ahead. without fear, roar like a mama lion protecting her cub. I know from my end, I am tired of being afraid, and get paralyzed with fear and then end up doing nothing. I smell the trap, I refuse to fall in. Once these blasted holidays are over, I can charge ahead. Like a Bull out of the gates of hell. Please, don’t give up. Also, please post your outcome and update. much love, God Speed and strength
Its a good thing to know that we can refuse the “crumbs”. We can get the piece of cake for ourselves-if we choose to.
WOW T – You have really been through a lot. Sounds like you have done a lot of introspection and surfaced all the better for it. After your testimony, I feel Steve really needs to get some more of his memories out before he can heal. You mentioned the intense anger you felt, but you also talk of resolution in that you are able to “not love your’e Dad-but not hate him either.” That is so healthy, because if we can’t learn to accept them for what they are, and continue to carry hatred, it just destroys us. I was able to do that at age 13, when I made up my mind I didn’t want to be anything like my Dad and dedicated my life to doing just that. I also did not feel love or hate for him.
I was told by my ex-husband’s therapist that I recovered from my childhood relatively unscathed. Very well adjusted to life – A good mother who raised 3 boys to be well-adjusted adults in the home of a father who was a Schizotypal personality disorder, and psychotic at times. He said I do well in career, loving, kind, Good decision making, etc. Then he adds, “but when it comes to picking the right kinds of men, you blow it all to hell.” Well, DUH! – that is certainly not being unscathed.
Seriously, though, I have been attracted to men who are emotionally unavailable to me, and have the glimmer and glammer personality – just like dear old Daddy! Surprise! Surprise! Steve is the first dysfunctional man I have not been able distance myself from – Probably too much like my Dad!
Lots of work on myself Sharron, and it was all worth it. Yes, the anger and hatred was destructive and I’m glad I’ve worked through it. Glad you didn’t carry hatred either. Yes, it sounds like Steve is pressing all the right Daddy buttons. I’ve done so much work I’m actively turned off by daddy type men now. I’m off all men actually, but you never know further down the line.
Lynn, hope everything went okay at the hearing.
I can really relate to your story, except that my perp was my mother. Folks don’t like to talk about mother daughter incest because mothers aren’t supposed to do that. Anyway, the longer my husband is out of the house, the more I think I don’t want him back on any terms.
I have always despised his dad. While I have been civil to my husband’s dad, I have not been quiet about how I really feel about him. Upon my first meeting of my husband’s dad, he said, “Well you didn’t tell me she was so beautiful!” and then he let his hand fall and rest ever so slighty too long on my rear. He didn’t even speak to ME. I was a thing. I told my husband about it after we left his father’s so not to embarrass his step-mother. Then my husband went on to tell me numerous stories of how he “groomed” women at church, in the office, etc. and how his father often stayed out at strip clubs and his mother would pack up the four kids to go looking for daddy.
HOW SICK!!!!! Why didn’t a big flashing red light and siren go off in my head? Gross!
Now, my sister-n-law divorced my husband’s brother after 25 years when she discovered he had a girlfriend, but it got worse when she came home unexpectedly and he had TWO prostitutes in their home. GAG! My sister-in-law tried to warn me, but my husband said she was stirring up trouble we don’t have. UH-APPARENTLY NOT.
So I went to get tested for STDs today and the results should be in next week. After my appointment, in which I was understandably unnerved, I had to return to court and represent a client in an afternoon hearing. Thank God, I had something to do to take me out of my own head for a few hours!
I am eternally grateful for this website. Geeze, I just don’t think I can ever trust him again. I cannot imagine anything he could do to reverse the PTSD he caused me except to get out of my life. But we have two children together.
I am taking my four-year-old to play therapy next week to see how much exposure she’s had to her father’s insanity. INSANITY-THAT”S WHAT IT IS.
OMG Ladies!!!! Please check out yesterday’s Oprah. Can read/ view on following link:
A show about husbands who live secret “down low” gay sex life. While nothing of addiction is mentioned, this is certainly relevant to us-secret life, lies deception, health risks. One husband gave wife HIV on honeymoon. She sued him for 12 million, but who cares because he declared bankruptcy and she is now on public assistance from being an executive and has HIV. He has full blown AIDS. The other husban got caught after 8 yrs of marriage. Denied being gay. That was 2004. Six years later, after wife left, he is now proud to be Gay.
Ok. Here is the epiphany. IF WE KNOW ABOUT THEIR ADDICTION, WE HAVE NO EXCUSES, WE ARE NO LONGER IN THE DARK. THERFORE WE MUST CARE FOR OUR HEALTH AND NOT MINIMIZE RISKS-WE NEED TO CHOOSE SEXUAL HEALTH. NOT LET HIV STD RISKS HAPPEN TO US. Their manipulations and our childhood traumas are no excuse for us having unprotected sex with them, at any given time. Until long periods of sobriety and transparancy can be had. And even then, I would recommend condoms for any of us that make it that long with them. I know many of us waiver and struggle with indecision. As soon as I heard this story, it validated my bub bye’s. HIV is real. Especially for me, my SA acts out same sex (w condoms) but that is just not enough. Think about it
Now my lovely SA actually thinks he is a step above most addicts, because he always used a condom. Ok, I did not get anything. But how grateful should I be that he used them? the whole thinking is sooooo warped I cannot even comment.
I just want to lovingly, urgently remind us, that this addiction is a killer. And they the SA cannot be trusted with our health. We are no longer being tricked, we know they have a problem. We must choose our health. And perhaps, lovingly get out, and get a safer sexual partner or husband. that simple. the minimizing is a death sentence. this is a dangerous disease. we need to sit with that in our decision making, self, included.
Forgot one thing – comment on D Day. I will never be angry at D Day again! I could have been that wife on her honeymoon getting HIV very easily. so scary. I am so thankful for the painful truth about my SA husband. Because I now have a choice. 🙂
Hi fatchance. I’m very sorry for what you went through with your mum. I’m not positive my mum wasn’t more than just complicit. Have some dodgy memories there. She was completely controlled by my scary dad and coming from an abusive dad herself couldn’t do better. She’s a very pathetic woman. Your father in law too, huh? I think we don’t have huge red flashing lights going off because we were frozen in some place that told us it was all right, because it was what we knew. This thing goes down through generations it seems. Good luck with your std results. Pam, great message. I don’t know that I’m not HIV+. I was in my own addicted state, to him, but now I know why. I took risks and I knew he’d had sexual contact with at least one man and I’m sure it was more than he admitted.
JoAnn: “Personality Disorders:
That’s a huge subject and will be discussed in my new eBook.”
It certainly is huge. I believe that the addiction is absolutely secondary to the Cluster B PD, and he had aspects of several of them, in the addict I knew. I’ve stopped even trying to understand now.
OMG you guys. All this is so hard to relate to – makes my problems seem very small compared to what you have all been through! My heart goes out to you. If Steve had frequented prostitutes,gay encounters, multiple affairs, etc., I don’t know what I would have done. These guys are so sick – not that mine is not, he just didn’t push the boundaries. I really think I would of had murder in my heart. I can’t began to imagine how you have all coped with this.
Ya, I agree with JoAnn – those Cluster B PD’s are definitely primary to the addiction. Steve has BPD traits, which I think is his primary diagnosis but his therapist has put a schizoid PD as his primary diagnosis. Not that it really matters, the bottom line is the same – they are all sick.
I am already seeing some slipping back on his behavior. Doing much better with the looking around/lusting, but still falling short of being able to tell a story and not minimize or omit.
He says he does it because I won’t except his answer, so just tells me what I want to hear to get me off his back. Sound familiar? He will not be able to get overthis, and I feel it in my gut. Will just sit back and watch – a couple more months won’t hurt.
Love and compassion to you all.
I forgot to add -It is much easier for a female to contract HIV than a male, so be careful, you guys.
Hi T and everyone,
Thanks, T, for your remarks there. I also have many questions about how the addiction fits into the rest of the SA. This is why I “sit loose” to the 12 step programs that focus on the problem of sobriety (which is a real problem—no intention to diminish this challenge) without any focus on the other symptoms the SA displays, and their destructive impact on the women who try to love them. This contributes to the SA’s confusion when they achieve sobriety and we still don’t want them back in our lives. The singular focus on achieving sobriety acts as yet another screen for them to hide behind–and NOT FACE the other personality traits which destroy the relationship.
After speaking last night on the phone with my SA, who could not be working any harder on this steps and his therapy, he still has NO IDEA that what has created the gulf between us is way more that sexual acting out. He just doesn’t get it. It’s like he has checklist of things to ask me, like : how are your feeling?, what is difficult right now? what’s ahead for you? —all good questions that suggest someone who is able to consider me as a real person and all that means—but he can’t do it if he lives with me 24/7. It’s too much pressure. He caves and returns to his old self-centred, hidden life. He tells me the work with his therapist is excruciating–and I can’t even feel sympathy anymore. It’s excruciating because he spend his adult life living as a con man, in spite of several interventions when he might have pursued healing, if he had been honest. So I’m sure it is excruciating, but not more excruciating that the damage he visited upon me and our family.
So, I’m very interested in the personality disorder e-book that JoAnn is producing very much. And I think, like you suggest T, that the addiction is one piece of a bigger problem.
stay warm and cozy, everyone,
Diane, “He just doesn’t get it.” Trying to make somebody who has an addiction and/or a PD understand is soul-destroying. Helping and being sympathetic to someone who’s treating you like c**p is a lot to ask.
My attitude to sex was messed up and I’d have done anything to keep him happy. I offered. I lost my mind, dignity, almost my life, but he didn’t even feel attracted to me or like me so I couldn’t have made him happy anyway. When he started deceiving and manipulating to try to keep his own reputation unstained I realised that my dysfunction was not on the same scale.
Sharron, pain is pain and you’re going through it too. Although, yes, it was hard not to commit murder for a while there. 🙂 Love to you all. It’s snowing big time here!
Diane – you can get a head start on researching personality disorders before JoAnn comes out with her E-book. I would look up Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic PD, Obsessive Compulsive PD, Avoidantg PD, Dependent pd, PD, Histrionic PD and Obsessive-Compulsive PD, and Schizoid PD, and Narcissistic PD. Most SA’s fall into at least one of these, and usually more.
My SA is BPD, Passive-Aggressive, Narcissistic, Dependent PD, and OCD, and what his therapist thinks is schizoid pd.
He has a little of it all, but mostly BPD. These guys all manifest at least one of these, and usually overlap with more than one.
I know what you mean by they’re inability to maintain the intimacy 24/7. The jury is still out on mine, but since sexual addiction is an intimacy problem and a lifetime process don’t expect too much progress in that department. When you factor in the personality disorder, sexual addiction and big time intimacy issues adds up to very long time therapy to make a dent in it. Why are we even putting ourselves through this??
I wish Steve would say therapy is excruciating – I just don’t think his therapist rocks the boat with him too much.
Always discussing the marriage, or not really delving into childhood trauma issues. She told him last session she will not grade him A,B,C,D for me – in otherwords sounds like she is not going to talk about his progress with me. I say BS – he signed a release for her to do so, and my expectation is she do so. When I asked her for progress on how he was doing in an E-mail, right after I sent him the notice for divorce, she woud not answer me. And then, when she said she told me to divorce based on what I said in the session is a bunch of crap! Not even close to what happened, so I am not going back to her.
Hoping for some resolution with all of us in the New Year. Hugs.
Where do you live, T? I live in Kansas, and we have been very lucky so far – only an inch and a half.
I can totally relate to the feelings ofr never feeling like we measure up in they’re eyes, AND WE DON’T! It is really a blow to the ego, but I have pretty much resolved that now. I say if that is what he wants “knock himself out.”
I get plenty of attention from other men, so if that is how he wants to play it – his loss. I am no longer trying to get my “perks” from him – just won’t let him drag down my self esteem. That doesn’t mean I am seeking out attention from other guys, but certainly do appreciate it when I get it. I think the anger comes in when another man comes on to us, and we think why can’t it be from our SA?
Have a great day – perk up!
It seems that some men (a few) are very motivated and are working hard at recovery, some are attending therapy/groups and still acting out (mine), and the remainder are not doing anything.
If my husband, on his own accord, doesnt move into the first group I listed, Im done. I cant live with a steady diet of B.S. from him. Yes, hes a SA, hes likely has a personality disorder or two, maybe three. Hes a mess but hes got to clean himself up.
I hope he can get there-that would be my choice. If he does not, Im not staying married to him. I cant imagine this torture for the rest of my life.
NAP, it’s good that you know you deserve a better life. As Diane said, even without addiction there might still be personality disorders to overcome and that seems a larger task than breaking addiction. I think we all have personality traits which can fit into the disorders (I have the traits of a dependent and I’m certainly avoidant but the psychiatrist has not labelled me as having a disorder) and who’s to know whether the addicts have only traits or are full-blown disordered? I’m also passive-aggressive at times, like my addict ex-friend. He’s *possibly* OCD, NPD, HPD, maybe BPD. I accused him of being a sociopath and he returned the favour. What. A. Mess. I can’t believe it now I feel better. Turned me into a more horrible person than I ever want to be again, all because I was thrown into a shadow side I was unaware of. Take care of *yourself* NAP.
Sharron, about 50 miles from London. We’re not used to much snow, especially before January. It has been a lot (4 inches?) in a very short space of time today. I didn’t know Kansas got snow!
Yeah, he knocked my rock bottom self esteem into the minus numbers and I guess that’s why I had to hate him. That and I hate deception. Oh, and about a million other things he did. It’s a great relief that other men are interested because it hit me very hard. We want the SA to think we’re gorgeous because that’s how we win dad’s approval. We want approval specifically from the rejector. Got to win that one over. Not likely with an SA. Even if he gets his dream woman there’s a lot more to be overcome. On a good day I can feel sorry for him. 🙂
Thank you for your comments. Are you still with your SA? Im sorry if I should know that, its hard for me to remember everyones stories.
Hi T – yes, we can see some of these personality traits in all of us, but not necessarily diagnostic. The therapist, initially, diagnosed Steve with an impulse control disorder rather than label it sexual addiction. YA! I would say impulse control is one of they’re many problems!
Last year, in Kansas, we had 18″ of snow -much better this year.
Just one comment. You made the comment “Even if the SA finds his dream woman, there is a lot more to overcome.” But, the SA will never find his dream woman- they look for every imperfection in us, and keep right on looking for the “perfect woman”, but no-one else ever meets up to they’re expectations, either. Every “high” for them is a step toward getting there, but nothing is every enough. Must be really frustrating to live a life of fantasy.
I think mine is in the doing nothing catagory. Just kind of frozen, not acting out, not seeking help or wanting to. The funny thing is that in the beginning he was all for marriage counseling and now he has backed up saying that my mind is made up and he doesn’t think it will do any good. I think the real reason is that he doesn’t want to face the truth and open up. And truth be told, I really don’t want to work on it. I agree with Diane, his other personality traits are not really something I want to live with anymore either. So many women on here have partners who would not quit groping them and such. I would loved it if he would have just noticed me and wanted me even a little… I think that is what still hurts so- how can he love me but be so incapable of showing affection and having sex and complenting me. I would rather be alone than rejected everyday.
Hi NAP. I don’t think I’ve told my story. I don’t like doing it now because the emotion’s going out of it and I want to leave it in the past because I am a different person now. We spent about 5 months seeing each other in 2008, until I became suicidal, and a month in 2009 when I was still sick enough to go back for some more. I last spoke to him to tell him about the stds this Summer and it was then he admitted he was just using me. I thought we were in a relationship, but he thought it was just sex, despite telling me how very much he loved me. I’ve actually just written it all out ready to post and I’m not sure I *can*. It feels like betrayal. He followed me onto another healing forum with a false identity and posted on there. I think he might read here too and it might be best if I didn’t write about him. I’m conflicted, as posting here helps me, but if he’s reading it too it might not be good for either of us.
Sharron,thanks, that’s a good point about the dream woman. She’d only be a dream until he got her and then he’d see her ‘imperfection’ and need something more.
I use humor for myself to help cope with all the cr*p hes brought into my life. In my head, Ive changed his name to: “Captain Underpants”.
Love it! Captain Underpants!!! Hilarious.
I am so appreciative of this website, i get so much insight into so many questions that I have roaming through my head from you all. I so appreciate JoAnne for this site and for all of you for sharing your stories.
I am on seperation number 2 with my husband. I moved out this time last year, I stayed in the house for 5 mths after I discoverd it all, trying to work it out, but it went nowhere. I gave him a second chance over the summer, He so seemed to be on the right track and I was thrilled. But didn’t take long, 2 months into it all the same old behavoirs and patterns started all over again with him. I am done, i can’t live like that in the constant state of paranoia and stress.
He claims that he is back on medication, and not doing anything. I don’t believe him though. He doesn’t have the same gusto to trying to figure himself out, doesn’t want to hear anything from me and doesn’t want to talk about “him” period. I am trying to dissociate myself from him and would have a much easier time with it, but like some of the other posters on here, we have a 4 yr son together and he refuses to give me full custody. I spoke to a lawyer last year before i moved out and even with proof of multiple affairs, memberships to fetish websites, ect clearly showing he was not what I would consider a good role model for a child, I was told i had NO case. Our state is moving more towards fathers rights and unless i could prove that he was directly harming our son, i had no grounds to fight him and the courts would tell me what he does on his own time is none of my business. And how am i going to get proof to do that before it’s too late, without doing something that would cause me to break the law?? So basically, i have to sit around and pray that my son does not grow up to like him.
I go back and forth with my soon to be ex. One day I want to figure out how I can be there for support for him, cause his family is in total denial, he really has noone in his life. And then the next day i want to pummel his a@@, i have prayers that he gets in a car accident and just goes away. It all makes me sick when i have these thoughts but I will go balistic on my son and this man if I EVER find him doing anything disrepectal to woman in anyway shape or form. I am frustrated beyond repair, maybe if children had more rights when proof was provided to the courts, the bastards would be given an even larger dose of the reality of what they are doing and losing in their lives and work harder to get a grip of themselves.
I guess my question is, how do i let go??? I need to give up this need for me to set him straight. I know exactly what he needs to do, i know more about him then he does. In my heart I KNOW that only he can change it, and I am probably making things worse by harrasing him. But I just want to shake him until something clicks. I am so AFRAID he is going to only get worse if he does not start doing something now.
Finally waking up – I think these SA’s love us like they’re mother – they are still little boys and want someone to coddle them. Definitely sounds like yours doesn’t want to work on his problems – just an excuse that you have made up your mind anyway. Tell him he needs to work on it for himself, not you. It took mind forever to start working on it for himself and the motivation was just to pacify me. They aren’t even close if they keep making these pitly ass excuses!
NAP- I think you need to tell your story if you feel comfortable in doing so, and it is therapeutic for you. Who gives a rats ass if he reads it. I have read many of my posts to my SA so he can understand what his addiction has done to me and others. I think it has helped him gain a lot of insight into the damage he has done. I love “Captain Underpants!” Can’t say it any better than that. As I read these stories, it makes me so sad what we have allowed these guys to do to us. If they bring us to the point to being suicidal – definitely time to get rid of them. I have never been suicidal, but certainly have suffered a lot of PTSD, and that is when I had to separate and remove myself from the destructiveness he had imposed on me.
Steve is much different now. Although there is still some partial truths and minimizing, he told me in his childhood when he would tell the truth, he would get beaten for it. He will get tears in his eyes, and I can tell how traumatic it was for him, however I told him he is not a child anymore and “Let it Go.” I suffered some abuse in my childhood – would get beaten with the belt in the basement if I didn’t do what I was told, but I told Steve I am an adult now and you can’t hold on to
it – have to pick yourself up and go on.
Bottom line is I think it is easier for some of these SA’s to hold on to the trauma and addiction as it is much easier for them tocontinue acting out and holding on to the addiction,because it is they’comfort zone,and takes to much effort on they’re part to let go of the pain and work on recovery.
Sorry for the typos – wrote this in a hurry and am on the way to church.
Yes, I have wondered whether my husband has a personality disorder. This is the garbage he pulled today: He is under a Restraining Order and is supposed to come over to a 3rd party’s house to pick up the children AFTER I leave. Yesterday, he was sitting there when I got there. Then today, he said he had made arrangements with these people and they weren’t even home when I got there with the kids. Then, SA ignores my first three texts asking him what is going on. The kids are crying because they want to see daddy. For the sake of the kids, I meet SA at a convenience store. SA has the audacity (when he sees the look of utter repulsion on my face) to say that I am making too big a deal out of this. WTF!! I say absolutely nothing and exchange the children.
He DOES have something very wrong with him. There is a court order he has violeated about 35 times with his bizarre texts and now I see him at the convenience store to exchange the children. I’m not violating anything. He’s violated the order by being there-REGARDLESS. He has NO RESPECT for any boundaries whatsoever. SA says. “Why are you so mad?”
OMG- I said absolutely nothing. In my mind, I’m thinking, “I’m not really so mad as I am COMPLETELY REPULSED by the sight of your face, Dude, and I would stick a sharpened screw driver in my frontal lobe if it would change the fact that you are my children’s father.” (Just my thoughts, I didn’t share them with him, only you guys.)
After I left there, I realized I had triggered for PTSD and I started shaking, got numb, and then cried uncontrollably. Thankfully, one of my supportive friends rang me up right around then.
This situation today makes me see that whether I want a divorce or not is immaterial- I need a divorce. I have no interest in feeling so bad. Really, if my husband has a personality disorder, and I don’t like his personality, then why, Why, WHY, would I want to be married to him?
I understand so much the worry and have done everything possible to keep his world from my child and from me too.
I had my court date. The judge was not happy with my ex and ruled to give him 6 months “probation” and if he did not stop harassing me, follow court orders, let me give my son the medical care he needs (he argues and refuses everything), and go to therapy as court ordered, I will get sole custody.
He has 6 months, they gave him another chance. Can he do it for 6 months? I don’t know, he never has, but the judge was serious and really cared for my son, and the GAL too. They don’t play around with neglect and harassment. They do care.
He will never heal himself, but he knows I am serious. Maybe there will be six months of peace……but what about after? When he thinks he is all clear. Maybe he will not do as the judge has ordered again and then it will all be over, he cannot try to dominate our lives with harassment.
My ex has many personality disorders and is very arrogant, very caustic to people. But he can be the most charming person ever, until confronted…he has to have control even though he makes the most horrible decisions. I said no, that he was not deciding for me and my son, and all hell broke loose.
I really bring out the worse in him, he has attacked me on every level. My husband (now) tells me it is because I found out about him and said heal yourself or no more. But the attacks make no sense, because I never did anything to him. He has our house, he has not paid me the money he owes me although he makes 4x what I do, he has his freedom and is with women constantly, he visits our son, there is just no reason for him to keep attacking us. My husband reads him well and says he is what men refer to as a punk.
He just scares me to death is all, I am counting down the years until my son is 18 and we can be free from it all. In the meantime, I lay low and scared and avoid, but always watch and always watch out for my son. The constant alert state is draining, and there is the deepest sadness that he could not be normal and just knowing him as caused danger and turmoil in our lives. Our son is the last connection, and he now uses him to hurt me.
There really are people who get off on controlling other people by hurting them.
Four more years, and then he is gone forever, and me and my son will then be FREE!!!!!!
I’m glad you got sole custody of your son! I hate that you have been living in so much discomfort: It seems intolerable at times here.
I am waiting to see what the play therapist has to say before I decide whether to file in Juvenile Court on abuse charges. I hope the play therapist finds nothing amiss with my dear girl.
I am going to lie down and pray for that S.O.B. because he’s beyond human aid. I really mean it. Plus, it helps me calm down. Then I am going to a Christmas party with my peers where I get treated like a human being. Being treated like a human feels nice, doesn’t it?
Well, Lynn, may peace be with us and also with them.
I have many of the same feelings that you are having. I would like to share with you some things that have helped me: I have a really good therapist that I talk to twice a week. She has help me get to the point of spending all the time and energy I used to put into my husband on myself. I now see that the energy I was spending on him wasnt helping him, creating chaos which would take days to recover from, and it was neglecting myself in the process. She also advised me (which Im doing) to try to be neutral when Im around him-be pleasant but not get sucked into any kindness or anger he may present. By staying neutral in these situations, they cant start the dance with us. They use the dance to mask their feelings and then will eventually use it to have an excuse to act out. So, I dont dance with him anymore-he is left to feel his own feelings and if he acts out-its becaus he chose to not that he had an excuse to. This actually really helps me and it also is helping him by facing his own feelings. Avoid the dance if you can. Its a struggle but I keep working on it and I feel much better and happier. I hope this will help you.
WOW, I totally get what you are saying, that makes so much sense and I never thought to think of it that way, but you gave me a “Duh” moment. he admitted to me this summer that he intentionally would try to find fault with me (whether made up in his own head or not) to cause a fight. Then me fighting back gave him justification to call me a bitch, and therefore give him ample excuse to justify his acting out. So in his head he was never to blame, it was always my fault. It makes sense that regardless if we are living with them or not, they need someone to blame, i understood that. But never understood that without having someone to blame they can only blame themselves when they act out and then would have to feel their own feelings, instead of only using us as the reason for being such a mindless jerk.
My problem is.. Its impossible for me to keep my mouth shut when he starts with his so obvious bullsh!t lies right to my face.. Its such an insult to my intelligence, i go ballistic. I am in the process of trying to find a new counselor, having a real hard time finding someone that really understands this addiction and what i am going through. Even the ones i have been too that claim to specialize in it haven’t been helpful for me at all. Is there anything in particular that helped you so far not get sucked into the kindness and anger and stay neutral?? I so really want to get there, i just don’t how to do it.
You mean the manipulation? They want a reaction, that is why they do it. Don’t give it to him, he will just twist it.
It took me a very long time to understand what was going on. I applied logic to the illogical and it will mess your head up trying to figure it out. In my situation, I had to simply stop all contact because it is what it is and it was killing me trying to reason or make sense of all the manipulation.
I did not get sole custody, that is determined in 6 months based on his actions. Which, is really awesome of the courts to see there is a problem, to even consider it, because the judge we had (very kind and nice man) does not do sole custody, it is very very rare.
But it is being considered based on the history of my case.
They see, I feel like there is some light now and some help.
I hear what you are saying and asking. Its really important that we realize and identify that we have “triggers” too that suck us back into spending all our time and energy on them and not us. I literally will say in my head: “be neutral and avoid the dance”. Also, if I find myself spending a great deal of time and energy thinking about him and not spending that time on myself, I try to identify what put me back there and avoid it in the future or a least be aware of it. I spend my time doing what I want and enjoy. The more you do it the more youll want to do it. Some of the ways I spend my time: call a good friend and talk about fun things, go to the bookstore, meet someone you enjoy for lunch or dinner, I did my holiday cards,I feel good and like my old fun self. I want to “live” my life not survive it. I have a really good therapist and I hope you find one too.
I like your advice to just stay neutral. Usually, I do not repspond all. Then he acts crazier-by all the nasty texts he sends and I just ignore. Whenever I ask him for some small favor, he goes off on me. He uses the fact that we need his financial support to manipulate and keep violating the court order.
Seeing him and receiving the large numbers of abusive texts he sends is really bad for my emotional health.
Now that I have started practicing again, it will be awhile before I actually turn a profit. However, I am seriously considering taking out a large loan and filing a Motion for an Order To Show Cause.
The judge has been very hard on violators and if he does the same with my husband, then my husband will likely spend about 300 days in jail. That would be 300 days of no manipulation, no verbal abuse, no concern that he’s exposing my children to inappropriate material or behavior, 300 days of peace.
The price I have to pay will be the interest on the loan I take out.
What do you all think? I am pretty emotional today because my 85 year old dad isn’t doing too well and he’s far away and refuses to let me come get him. So, I just want some feedback from you all about your thoughts. Should I just take out the loan and bring down the hammer?
My husband’s sex addixtion is an albatross around my neck.
Thank you everyone. It is good to not be all alone with the SA in the Twilight Zone.
Hi Fatchance -I think you should let your’e husband do some time – not because you need to get him off your back, because you will have to deal with him sooner or later and he may be even worse when he gets out of jail. His anger may turn to rage, but he has violated court orders over and over again and he needs to be accountable for his behavior. I also suggest you turn of your text messaging so he cannot continue to harass you – he gets off on it. I forgot how old your’e children are. If they are in they’e teens, then perhaps you can start educating them on the problems and issues they’re dad is dealing with. You can do this in a positive way without putting him down. (stressing how ill he is). My kids were in highschool when my 1st husband (schizotypal personality disorder with psychotic features) was exhibiting psychotic behavior, and there was a possibility he could have been dangerous. My kids were much more aware of his illness than I realized, and there comes a time when they need to have awareness of what they are really capable of and the danger they pose to the family. S-o-o-o, let him go to jail, and in the meantime work on yourself and get the kids counseling also.
Take out that loan and lower the hammer!!
Do It FC…..do it! Think of you and your kids, have no concern for him, he had none for you or the kids. Consider everything a business deal, that is how I was able to turn my emotion off….emotions ranged from hope, to feeling sorry for him, to anger, to fear (most of all), but if it is all just business, it is really easy to be practoical and do what is in you and your kids best interest. As it should be!
Good luck, I can’t wait to hear how successful you are!
That helps me to. Make decisions like it were a business decision or best friend. If you take out the emotion the decisions are much easier to make. Just lay down the facts, it is what it is, and do what you need to survive. Number one is taking care of your work situation so you can support you and your kids. I don’t know if this requires the loan, but if the loan is a good option and a good deal, take it. Don’t make any of you decisions based on what he wants or feels, he may not be there or in your life tomorrow. Let him suffer the consequences…all of them.
Fatchance i would ask myself, if I do this, how will it affect me and my kids. It may sound good in theory, but if it causes you alot of stress, time and emotion, it may not be worth it. The emotional cost of doing it may be too high. I dont know what all is involved, so only you would know if it would cause added stress or not. Just some food for thought.
Lynn, I can see why you dont try to talk to your ex anymore-he sounds totally irrational and scary. I would be feeling the same way. Like you said, alot of it is manipulation and intimidation.
Sharron, I agree, SA is so complex-its sad there is such a thing. It really hurts alot of people.
Thanks for the valuable feedback! NAP, I hear what you are saying about the emotional effects. In this case, SA has already gotten violent with me. This has frightened the children. Though they love their father, he also seems to be a bad influence because he leaves out his porno and my little ones are well, young! He has a criminal charge still pending as well as the civil restraining order. One of the conditions of his bond release is that he not come about me. So, I could just call up the D.A. and see if she wants to rescind her offer to him.
The intimidation, verbal threats, emotional abuse have been rampant. And of course, he can be incredibly charming, otherwise, I would have called the police 18 months ago. I developed prolonged PTSD and became non-functional for a while and had to be hospitalized. I never had to go to a nervous home before SA. I lost almost 50 pounds in 8 months and was told by the doctor I am underweight.(And to get away from this man.)
In short, I have come along way up since SA got arrested a bit over 2 months ago: back to work, functioning, socializing a little and so on and NO FLASHBACKS until I saw SA this weekend and I had one. I am better tonight.
I am going to take the middle of the road since my children need health insurance which I cannot afford now, I have blocked his phone from mine. Now, if SA gets his underpants in a wad because he cannot communicate about the children and takes it to court, then I will be more than happy to then show the court all of his violations and Motion for Show Cause. No doubt his attorney will see that his SA client is an a**hole who dug his own latrine.
You ladies have been MOST helpful. Thank you! Peace be with us and also with them. Here’s to a full night of sleep without any ugly text messages:) Ahhhh . . .zzzzz
Lynn, I’m glad you got the court to take you seriously, and at least consider the possibility of sole custody in time.
Fatchance, I’m sure the children love their father, but they love their mother too and you shouldn’t have to put up with violence or emotional abuse ever. Yes, let him take it to court and show them who he is. The children are so young, and in time they’ll see that you were protecting them by keeping him away until he changes, if he can. I hope your dad isn’t too bad.
By rights, I shouldn’t be on ‘marriedtoasexaddict’, as the SA I knew was only in my life a short time and your experiences are so much worse than mine because you have children with them, although the emotional effect was the same (I became suicidal) because of the ptsd and being the daughter of a narcissistic addict. I’ve sent my story to JoAnn though, as I think it was an example of what can happen even in a short encounter with an addict, and there might be others reading who’ve had the same thing happen and who would be glad to read it. I just can’t imagine how painful and stressful it must be to have children with men who behave in this way and I feel for you so much.
Hi sharron , T ,
we would like to believe that what the SAs are doing is searching for that one “perfect woman”.
I dont think one searches for a perfect mate in a prostitute or a strip club or by posting ads on adult friend finder/craig list.
Inspite of everything we yet fall into the trap of ascribing honorable motives to the vile stuff they are doing.
Hi sanity, Ah, but the thing about the man I knew was that he was looking for a perfect woman to be with publicly, and the other women (like me, and prostitutes, and online sex) were just for sex … which he prefers with someone he DOESN’T love. I believe he had the madonna/whore complex. Good women/mum = no sex. ‘Bad’ woman (anonymous or of no value to him) = sex.
Sanity Regained et al,
I think that when they are acting out, searching porn etc. they are searching for the perfect woman or image that satisfies them at that time. It changes day to day what is perfect. In a mate or GF they are trying to find that one women who completes them and makes them whole (and will take the crap), but she is not enough. And they continue longing and looking. She is not enough because it is not possible, no one will be enough. They are trying to fill a void or a sadness which no one women (man) can fill, neither can the addiction. I think what they are trying to feel is closeness to someone the intimacy, however they are incapable. As JoAnn said this is an intimacy disorder.
These are my thoughts.
Flora, I think your thoughts are spot on. They’re on a constant search for something which doesn’t exist, because it’s them who’s blocking it. Goodness knows I tried to get intimacy from the man I knew, but there was just no way in. Maybe because I wasn’t good enough for him to even think about letting me. I was struggling with the rejection too much to cope with his problems as well as my own! That’s the trouble isn’t it? How can you help someone who’s hurting you so much? Such a lot to ask. Well, I’ve signed up for the counselling and psychotherapy course already. Strike while the iron’s hot!
Sounds like you were in a similar situation as Lorraine. She has since left us last week I think. She was a longtime contributor. Check her posts, they may be very helpful to you. Also she has a blog, which I think there is a link for on here, and she posted a link in one of her posts as well. We will miss her, but her words are still here.
Glad you found us, the sisterhood is here to help and offer whatever we can.
Hi Sanity Regained – I was referring to the “perfect woman” as the one in the SA’s fantasy world-purely sexual. The SA does want intimacy, but is unable to obtain it because the addiction is getting in the way. When they have sex with us, it is purely a sexual release.
T – Do not think in any way the reason your SA could not give intimacy was because you were not good enough – it has nothing to do with us in any way, shape, or form. We could be the most beautiful, sexy, woman in the world and it wouldn’t matter. The continual journey for them is about getting they’re “high” and it is never good enough. We are only a means to an end for them – a sexual release.
T is so right when she identifies the Madonna/whore complex – I think most of them want a mother to take care of them, feel secure with, and represent a family life for them so they can feel “normal.” they are not able to view “mommy” sexually.
As JoAnn and Flora put it – it is strictly an intimacy disorder.
Flora thank you, yes I loved Lorraine’s posts because they did remind me of my experience. She makes me laugh out loud. I don’t know how to locate posts on here so if anyone has her blog addy I’d be grateful.
Sharron thanks, to him I was not good enough and he made it very obvious. He said more unkind things to me than anyone I’ve met. I understand though that addicts always need something different and even if he had Miss World he’d not be happy for long.The good news is that I don’t care what he thinks of me now. The hard thing for someone with no self esteem, at that time, was laying underneath someone who seemed pretty repulsed. The feeling of being raped was huge. I’m over it though.
Hi T – I am so glad you are doing better-nothing worse than never getting compliments, never having him tell you you look pretty or sexy, never having him look at my body when making love, never initiating sex on his own and when he did, was unable to perform, and it goes on an on. Steve would find fault with the most minute things on my body-said he found my stretch marks distasteful. My stomach is very flat, but he found fault with everything! He even felt the same way about his first wife who who bore him 5 children. Imagine that-she had stretch marks! I HAVE BEEN THERE. You cannot help but personalize it and the self esteem is in the toilet. After I figured out what was going on and how sick he really was, I never took it personally again!!
I’m glad you are there.
Ouch, Sharron, you *have* been there. Glad you’ve stopped taking it personally too. The objectification is astounding. I wouldn’t have minded him not being attracted to me, but to keep on having sex when he thought I was unattractive? I even gave him the OPTION of stopping if he didn’t fancy or like me, but he carried on anyway. It must be a big ego trip to have a woman so addicted to you she puts up with that, and I certainly was addicted. You’ll see when my story goes up how dysfunctional I was too. Can’t pretend otherwise.
Sharron/T, I am so sorry in addition to having to deal with the trauma of dealing with the SA, you have also have to listen to a man verbally abuse you in that manner. Its appalling. I have to believe he is projecting his feelings of himself onto you. That’s 7th grade behavoir and even for 7th graders its uncalled for. I am fortunate in the manner that my husband was never derogatory to me in regards to my looks, he was very complimentary in that one aspect, but he did have this very annoying expectation of me always looking like some trophy wife, which in its own way was very damaging to my self esteem. And it certainly didn’t help me believe his compliments on those times when he would turn me down for sex and would later catch him looking at porn. Maybe that’s just part of their mind game to try to keep you working harder to try to please them and keep you addicted to them.
I don’t believe mine was looking for the perfect woman, or wanted the “good wife” at home and needing the whore for the sex. My husband was told in counseling,(and all the pieces fit to back it up, in our situation at least). Is that he has no self esteem, unconsciously he didn’t feel he deserved me and did/said things to detroy the relationship. Possibly this is the part of the same reason your husbands were so demeaning that way.
The other thing is control. He is also a victim of sexual abuse starting when he was 10. He has a lot of animosity and need for control towards women. I’ve read the disgusting emails he sent to these whores, they made stomach crawl. They were very derogatory in nature, it made him feel in control of what was being said, what was being done, where it was being done, ect. they were woman he had no respect for and they were more than willing to participate in this disgusting game. Exactly what he was looking for, total control. I was fairly tame and willing to please early in the relationship but as the years went on i got sick of his constant demands on me. And the more I fought back on his attempts to control me, the more out of control he got with his acting out. Its a twisted game you can not win, especially when you aren’t even aware your playing one.
After some investigation, I now know where the woman who abused him lives and when the time is right her husband will get a letter from me letting him in on her nasty little secret. As far as I am concerned, she not only abused him, but she has abused every single woman that has ever gotten involved with this man.
littleb- Ya, it is all about control with these SA’s. I am sure he wanted you to look like a “trophy wife because that and porn are his fantasy. The problem is we never measure up to that fantasy. They all have self-esteem issues. My SA told me he felt he didn’t deserve me, and he continually did things to sabatoge the relationship. Whenever he would show some intimacy, (on rare occasions) he
would then back off and go back to his “happy place” – his porn and lusting.
My SA was also sexually molested from age 10-13 by a neighbor. The control issue is really there with women- they have to be in control because they are so out of control. His counselor told me if he would give into intimacy with me, I would “have him by the balls” so to speak. You are so right, in that the more you try to please the further it drives them away. Absolutely, a game we cannot win!
They have no trust in women, so we scare them to death.
Unfortunately, the woman who sexually abused my husband is probably dead, but if she was alive it would be good therapy for the him to confront her himself and resolve the anger. Would your’e husband be able to write a letter to his perpetrator? My husband’s mother and father are also dead, and they contributed to the abuse. He can’t even approach them, so I have been working with him on regression therapy. Some of the memories have surfaced, but I am sure there is much more down there. I think it really helps them with resolution if they can understand what really happened to them.
Sorry you have had so much sadness in your life. SA’s certainly can destroy wife and family.
Yes, lots of control littleb. Not allowed to leave until he said so (he said those words), but kept in my place. I felt I was being punished for something. Whether or not he was abused I have no idea, but it felt like anything nurturing I did was scorned. Like loving acts were kind of weak, or something. He wasn’t my husband though, so I didn’t have that role in his mind. It certainly escalates. They’re doing something unkind, we react, they project some more and distance themselves further. I read your original post and see you’re finding it hard to let go of wanting him to change. I hope you can find some peace of mind.
My therapist and my ex-husband, who is still my good friend, think I should stop writing about him.
I am just starting to really get into trying to understand this whole SA thing, this is the first forum i stumbled across a few weeks ago. I have scoured through almost every post on this site and it continues to blow me away how although the stories are all different, the SA themselves are like the same person. So many of these posts, i feel i could have written myself and there have been a few i had to second guess if the person writing them has actually been involved with my husband.
T, i am having an incredibly hard time letting go of wanting him to change. Just writing that makes me cry. Like all of us, i see the person he could of been if he didn’t have this sick disease and i know he wants to be normal, he just can’t do it and inevitably i am always the one that gets burned waiting for him to figure it out, i am done waiting and trying to move on its very hard, especially when there is a child involved.
Sharron, when we were trying to work on things this summer we did go to his home state so he could confront his rapist as i like to call her. She wouldn’t return his calls, go figure. He keeps saying he is going to write her a letter, but he never does. i am giving him time to do it, if he can’t i will. When we were on this trip we stayed at his parents house, they never knew about the abuse either. His mother showed some concern (not as much as i expected she would, but at least some concern). The father though basically laughed. He was abused by his babysitter who was 17 at the time it started, he was 10.. the father shrugged his shoulders let out a chuckle and said he didn’t think it was a big deal and walked out of the room. Needless to say this trip was the end of his recovery, when we got home is when i started seeing his old behavoir little by little return and since he’s seemed to have no desire to work hard on himself again.
All of it pisses me off, the father, his rapist, his lies and cheating. I called therapist number 4 yesterday and waiting for a call back today to get an appt in with him. I need something/someone to help me make sense of all this before i lose my mind!!!
Like you, I see the man I love and all the things I love about him. Then, sadly, I see the SA, and the man who has sex with prostitutes behind my back-while he is in out patient treatment. Unfortunately, its a package deal. Ive tried everything I can to try to help him. After much pain, I realized there is nothing I can do for him-he has to want it for himself. In the meantime, Im taking really good care of myself because I got so lost in trying to rescue him. I hope you like your new therapist and find them helpful for you. You are not alone, we all know how you feel because were there or have been there.
Doesn’t it just blow your mind that your’e husband’s father would have the mindset he does! Kinda tells you where the problems began. It is really not surprising, however, because the statistics are high that the SA may come from a family with some sort of addiction themselves.(Sex, alcohol, drugs, etc.) Sounds like your’e father-in-law is either totally amoral, or has a sexual addiction himself.
I was also amazed at the common thread all SA’s share, and even more amazing the similarites we all share on how we react to them. This site has been a god send for me!
I think we all get hooked on the hope for change, and the sad thing is the majority are not able to do it. I know therapy will help you make sense of it all, but does it really matter? Sometimes I think we spend too much time on trying to figure it out, getting stuck in seeing the “good” side
of them – they all have it. Your’e is like mine in that he really wants to change, and probably can’t do it.
I know it must be very difficult for you, especially with a child involved. But,my advice to you is let go of the fixation you want him to change. We have all been there, and I am still having a difficult time with it myself, however my husband has made quite a turn around and has really made a committment to work towards recovery. Will he change – I doubt it!
Spend all your energy on working on yourself. Develop some positive life changes that will involve you in activities and friendships that are healthy. I am doing that, and my life does not revolve around him anymore, and I do not spend my day obsessed with the addiction and dwell on why he got that way. If your’e SA changes – wonderful, but build a life of your own and your’e child.
NAP – you are definitely where you should be. What a struggle it is for us all.
Hugs to you both.
Hi Sharron, T, littleb and All:
In less than two days of having my husband’s cell blocked, I have regained a bit of peace. I also find that texting annoys me since it makes me think of him. Today is his birthday. Of course, I thought of him and my mind wandered to, “Poor guy, all alone in his apartment without his kids on his birthday.” Then reality whipsawed my consciousness: “This is what he chose. Anyway, he probably prefers it because he can do whatever he does.”
Such thoughts would usually bring up feelings of resentment and jealousy. But today, I felt more gratitude for the peace in my home with my children, freedom from trying to please an unpleasable person, and a bit of acceptance that his actions are not about me. Sure, such feelings will pass, but I am hopeful they will become more regular overtime and the negative feelings fewer and farther between.
It seems I really have no clear goal in my life now as I have usually had in the past. I feel a bit like I am treading water, but not as frantically as several weeks ago. I don’t know what is going to happen. I am just trying to do the next thing in front of me. And just BE for fleeting moments.
I continue to pray for my husband to have all that I want for myself as well. I only noticed this evening that I had prayed for him this morning, thought about him briefly this afternoon as it is his birthday, but beyond that my mind has been elsewhere. What a blessing indeed!
Peace be with us and also with them.
congratulations fat chance- What a blessing indeed!
Fat chance, I am so glad that you are finding some well deserved peace. You are all an inspiration for me.
I am sorry for hijacking this thread, i haven’t been able to figure out yet how to start a new one? I am not sure if i need advice, support, or just need to write. I have no one to talk to and I can’t stop crying. I am totally regressing.. not sure if it’s the pending divorce, the holidays or what is going on, but i have this week and next week off and this was suppose to be time for me even if that just meant organizing my closests, but all i have done since Friday night is obsess more and more of this whole thing. I slowly lost all my friends while married to him, i don’t even know what I like to do anymore, and I am too broke to do anything, i am completely lost with so much time on my hands
I had a big set back last night and I am not even sure what triggered it.. but there was only one woman that I was aware of that he met multiple times in summer of 09 prior to my D day, and she was the one person i was never able to figure out who she was. I saved her cell phone number figuring one of these days i would be able to find something online and sure enough last night i did. It set me off like there was no tomorrow, i was even able to find a picture of her.
In my mind I had visions of this hot little tamale, why else would he be so inclined to dump his child off at 9pm at night to an hourly babysitting service while i was out of town, if she wasn’t?? But the fact is she is nothing.. dowdy, not even cute. Maybe she is super nice, who knows, but so am i. While i was doing everything possible to be the perfect wife, working full time, taking care of the house, taking care of our child with no complaints cause i needed to support him while he was “working” 24/7. Fighting with me over the clothes I chose to wear to a freaking hockey game cause i didn’t look “hot” enough for his friends.. or making fun of heels i purchased calling them “old lady”, THIS is the one he chose to try to have more of an emotional connection with and met over and over again with behind my back?
I know there is no logic to this disease and to what they do, but I don’t know how i can move on and let go unless i can make sense of something. I know i am not suppose to take it personally, it has nothing to do with me, but how can I not? I could not sleep last night and cried for hours before i finally did. I have learned that I don’t even need him per se to trigger me, I keep falling back into this pattern of my own self defeating behavoirs and i don’t know how to pull myself out. Its been a year since i moved out, shouldn’t i be further along in this?
This man made my life miserable, we fought all the time, he always critized my hard work, never wanted to support me when i had a bad day.. when i needed his help he would always scoff and find some way to tell me “I told you so”, and his way out of helping me was to tell me to take this as a “lesson” for future and figure out how to fix it myself, yet go figure i always had to be there to help him in a bind. I was exhausted all the time and essentially I never had a husband, i’ve been living on my own since the day we married. So WHY does he have such a hold on me? I should be thrilled to be away from the craziness he brought into my life, why can’t i stop thinking about what I have lost? I consider this a defect in myself that I need to start figuring out, maybe this is my clue to be able to move on? How do i get to that feeling of peace?? I have very little patience and seems the harder i try, the worse off i become.
Hi no worries, we all have to hijack a link from time to time.
I feel your pain in your post and how much you are hurting. It is easy as a wife of a sex addict to become enmeshed in their lives. But never forget the two are seperate. He has the sex addiction and you are the spouse who got hit by a train.
I have found it takes a conscious concerted effort to get out of the whirlwind of emotions. We do need to take time to feel our pain, go over our thoughts, etc. But it comes a time when it no longer serves a purpose, and instead you are causing yourself more pain than necessary, and dragging up old thoughts an feelings. over and over, viscous cyle. But when it stops serving a purpose, when its doing more harm than good, its time to move on.
So instead of thinking about how you have no friends and no idea what you like to do anymore…think about how you can get friends and what you would like to do. Whallowing around in desperation and pain will get you no where. But making a plan will. So make a hit list of things you have always wanted to do. Does not matter the money. Make it anyway. Then figure out which ones you can do, on a low to no budget. Another good think is to get out of the house…go to the park, go for a walk, excercise will lift your spirits and will lift your mood. Make cookies, decorate the house, make crafts out of found objects you already had. Clean the house, organize the basement, paint using paint you already have. Plan for the future things you would like to do in the future when you do have money. Nothing is a lost cause, we need to learn to be happy with what we got and plan for better in the future if we choose.
I know what you are doing in your mind and it is self defeating behavior, and no good will come of it. this will take a shift in your mindset. Make an effort to focus on the postive in your life. One postive I think we always forget is that this disease was made apparant to us through disclosure or uncovvering the secret. I am thankful that I found out, and can now remove this from my life. There is a post I beleive by Pam where it had talked an oprah episode where the wife had become infected with aids. I know crumbs, but thank god we don;t have aids. So start small, build, and find the good things in your life at present. Make a plan, and expand.
Find things through your town, excericse groups, book clubs, library activities are usually always free. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, go to church, volunteer anywhere, drive around and look at christmas lights. Get out into the real world again, because living with a sex addict is not the real world, its a warped distrubed world, that we got sucked into.
Make that consciuos effort for yourself. Hope something I wrote helps, less the typos. Thankfully this is not english class. Hugs.
littleb- Dont feel sorry for frequenting this site on a regular basis,and whenever you need the support. We all do it, and that is why we have developed such closeness and friendships with those who can identify with us. We all feel your’e pain and are here for you whenever you need us.
I am so sorry you are having a difficult time, and the holidays do not make it any easier for you.
Your’e husband has violated your wedding vows, you as his wife, and your’e child. Why wouldn’t you be having all kids of emotions going through your head right now – the terrible devestation for what he has done to you, the hurt, the anger and rage, and the feelings of loss and sadness for what you have lost and all the feelings of what you wish your marriage could have been.
It does hurt when we find the woman they have been sleeping with is absolutely nothing to look at. I doubt very seriously she is a nice person, or she wouldn’t be sleeping with a married man. Remember, it is not about beauty or sexuality in the partners they pick – it is about fulfilling they’re
feelings of abandonment, trauma, and inability to be intimate in a “normal” relationshi and using they’re addiction to fulfill those needs.
He is an asshole, an abuser in every sense of the word – a very sick man! You don’t need him or his sick twisted mind!! I know it sounds easier said than done.
Do not think of yourself as defective! There may be some reasons why you have such a hard time letting go, and it may go back to playing old childhood tapes. I would have to know more about it.
I know I have issues with childhood trauma in that I had a father who was emotionally unavailable to me, so ,therefore, have picked men of the same. I am wondering, since your SA is such a control freak, maybe that feels comfortable to you in some way. I don’t mean consciously, but on a sub-conscious level. Did you grow up in a controlling atmosphere? Just a thought.
You gave your’e heart to this man – you have history with him, and you are not going to resolve this over night. I think you mentioned you are in counseling – if not, you need to find a therapist ASAP for you and your’e child.
In the meantime, we are here for you whenever you have the need to write, vent, or need support.
Love to you in this difficult time.
Great post, Flora. Great ideas to help littleb find healthy ways to work on her pathway to recovery.
Your comments to littleb are so helpful-thought they were so great. I just wanted to add from my own experience that the grieving process is so important and maybe littleb you are also grieving too mixed in with obsessing about your SA.
I hate grieving, but it cleans us out and opens us up to grow again. The openness will help with meeting people and new experiences.
Flora/Sharron, thank you so much for your comments and for the suggestions of things for me to plan for my future and keep my mind busy. possibly first thing i need to do is get myself out of bed.. i have my son tonight and he will help get me through the night. I used to be such a happy person, full of energy and optimistic about life, i want to be that person again. I just have no clue how to pick a man.
Sharron, I probably am hanging on due to childhood issues. My father was a prescription drug addict/alchoholic who was never there for me. He occasionally spent time with my brother, but I have no memories of him ever doing anything with me. After my Mom kicked him out when i was 10, my fathers family would call and “slap my hand” for not keeping in touch with my him. It used to make me so mad.. they did this to me up until the day he died 9 yrs ago from liver cancer. Why is a child responsible for keeping contact with a drunk that can’t be bothered to give me the time of day. I always felt like that side of the family was talking about me behind my back.. coming from an Italian family where the men are god, they were always all over how great my brother was, but felt they were always judgemental towards me. On visits it was all about my brother, on some visits i might as well not even existed, no one hardly ever asked me anything about my life.
I love my mother to pieces, although she worked a lot after they divorced and I basically raised myself(my father never paid a dime of child support)she is an inspiration to me as she did the very best that she could do to give my brother and i a good home. But she too i always felt preferred my brother. Not because she didn’t love me, but because as a girl, we are just noisier and dramatic.
I have very few memories of my childhood. I don’t recall a lot of controlling behavoirs, but there is that blame that my lack of relationship with my father was somehow my fault. And i do know that I always felt i had to “look” a certain way to get what i wanted. I discovered early on, if i primped myself and made myself cute & pretty, i was more apt to get what i asked for. With that i developed bulimia in the 8th grade, with some miracle when i got pregnant at 24 with my daughter (first marriage) i stopped completely on my own and never looked back. I know now that is a form of trying to have some sort of control over one’s life.. so there must be something to what you say, being controlled as a child, i just dont know for certain exactly why.
I so love you guys, i have never told any of this to anyone. I did get through to a new counselor yesterday and the earliest he could get me in was next tuesday. i can not wait, and getting all this out has been so helpful for knowing where i need to start with him. I just pray he is not just a bitch session for me like all the other counselors have been so far. Thank you all so much.
Thank you NAP. Sharron, i also wanted to say i read where you are having great strides with your husband. I am so happy for you and i pray that he is in the midst of a full recovery and you guys work through this.
Hi littleb – Thank you for wishing me well. He is working very hard at recovery, but very few make it. The most I can hope for is he learns to control his addiction and re-trains his brain with healthy activities. Hopefully, the porn addiction and lusting will be replaced by him being able to perform sexually and show intimacy to me. Percentages?? Very low.
Do you see the similarity between your’e father who emotionally abondoned you and a husband who is abandoning you in much the same way? Also, your’e mother favoring your’e brother probably goes deeper than just “because you are a girl -noisy and dramatic.” She probably has some issues of her own. I am not doubting she loved you, but I am sure you suffered severe abandonment issues from you father, father’s family, and your’e mother. Steve’s therapist told me I have had a difficult time distancing myself from Steve because I couldn’t fix my father, so carried it over to trying to fix the man I fell in love with, who looks very much like my dad, and lied and deceived me the way my father did. Can you see any of that from your background? It all gets so psychological and we tend to continue playing the tapes from our dysfunctional childhood. My mother also favored my sister because she was very passive and would do whatever my mother and grandmother told her to do – quite the opposite from me who was very assertive and told my grandmother to “stick it” when she threatened to cut me out of her will if I saw my father. See how it all plays out??
The important thing is we gain insight and learn from it. You were so right when you said you were bulemic and it was an attempt to gain control of your’e life. You were very strong to have beaten it on your own, and you can beat this!!
I also see similarities in you then and now. You primped and looked pretty so you could get what you asked for. Isn’t that the same thing your’e husband demanded of you, and you did so to gain his love?
I, too, have very few memories of my childhood and cannot visualize my mother and father together, even though I lived with both of them for the first 13 years of my life. Probably a very good defense mechanism for both of us. Most of my memories are about my father who was emotionally unavailable and used to beat me with a belt when I showed any kind of assertiveness and went against his wishes.
I know you can overcome all of this! Don’t let this man beat you down the way your’e family did.
Love and hugs.
Your story touched me and please don’t feel badly that you are feeling badly. We all do and sometimes its two steps forward, three steps backward, but then we go on… little by little. It is normal to grieve and to FEEL the loss. The loss of what you thought you had; your hopes and dreams… gone. But, it will get better. I promise you, it will. But it takes a long time.
One thing I noticed is this and I wanted to mention it based on my experience.
“After some investigation, I now know where the woman who abused him lives and when the time is right her husband will get a letter from me letting him in on her nasty little secret.”
This is the kind of thing that I believe will not help you to heal faster, although no one can fault you for the motivation. We all want so desperately to even the playing field, but it is impossible, honey.
I understand your anger and your wanting to retaliate, etc. I DID do that and it was a mistake and I will tell you why. They went to the police (even though I told her that I was never writing her again) which then made me feel like an even bigger loser than I felt before. Your husband sought this woman out and they are two consenting whatevers. You don’t know what her situation is. Maybe she and her husband have an understanding.(open marriage of some sort) Maybe they are swingers. Maybe her husband is gay.(yes! this happens and they remain together for other reasons) I just wouldn’t send it. (I might’ve if I was in your shoes, before I got involved with my own predator, but not now.)
As you said. “Its a twisted game you can not win.”
I’m so sorry for all of your pain and thank you for your sharing. Please remember that you aren’t alone and that it will get better. You WILL get your life back.
(((hugs))) and love,
Sharon, I do now see the similarity between childhood and now and thank you for the encouragement.. you are right. If i can beat that, I will beat this!!
Lorraine, OMG.. did she really call the police. The excerpt you pulled from my post was a letter I wanted to write to the woman who sexually abused my husband when he was a boy. BUT, i can not say that i did not spend half of last night trying to figure out what my best revenge to her could be! And it did cross my mind, that I could violate a lot of laws and decided she just wasn’t worth it. I hope that you did not have to endure much when the cops were called. She had some nerve to do that!
Lorraine – I thought you were gone. Glad to see a post from you. Will you let me know your’e web site once again, as I can’t find it anywhere. I never did get a chance to visit it.
Very good advice for littleb. The longer we hold onto negatives the more damaging it is for us.
I look at it this way, what goes around comes around, and I think living that kind of life eventually catches up with them. (The perp). How can they hurt so many people and walk away smellin like a rose?? At least I like to believe that.
Don’t know if you have kept up, but I am in the process of giving Steve a chance – will probably come back to bite me, but he has gained a lot of insight into his behavior and working digilently to change it. But, guess what – he is still lieing, or I should say omitting when he is caught. Yesterday, triggered on a large black woman with huge boobs. I called his attention to it, and he admitted he triggered, but when I asked him about it he told me he did not notice her boobs. How stupid do they think we are?? Tonight, when talking about his session with the therapist, he slipped and admitted journaling what he had seen. Some things never change, do they?
Anyway, doesn’t matter much to me anymore. I just tell him when he lies it is on his shoulders, and we will never go back to living together again until it stops, and that may be NEVER! He gets all teary eyed – like a little kid who gets caught with his hands in the cookie jar.
I am re-building my life with healthy activities, and at this point in time, don’t really give a rat’s ass if he recovers or not. I am definitely taking care of #1.
Good to see your’e post, and hope you are doing well.
Hi littleb and Everyone,
littleb, I can relate to your setback! But really it wasn’t so much a setback as part of the grieving process. For me, when my mind becomes disturbed with my husband’s behavior I do something to put a stop to it or at least not “feed and water” the resentment.
Sometimes, I’ll stop and take a really hot bath and get in touch with feeling of the hot water on my body and the sensation of the steam. I think it really helps me to try to get centered back inside my body and not so centered in my head and all whirling thoughts; I can really work myself into a vexation like you described.
Another way I get in touch with my body sensations is to take a brisk walk on a cold day. I will concentrate on the way the air feels and smells, the sensation of the ground under my feet, the sounds I can hear etc. When I am truly vexed, I will begin to pray that my husband will have the things (experiences, feelings) that I want for myself. My God has a sense of humor, so I don’t think He minded when I started praying for my husband and referred to him as that, S.O.B. Lol! As time has passed, I have become more sincere with that prayer and I feel less angry and think of him somewhat less.
I too became isolated from friends for a number of reasons while married. But, recently, I have tried calling up old friends to ask how they are doing (trying to avoid talking about my drama). Many of these old friends and I have met up or at least begun more regular telephone chats. It’s a nice distraction to hear about other’s lives and to remember I too will be back in the swing of things.
In fact, I believe just making these types of efforts makes us living our own lives everytime we do them.
Finally, I call a close friend, talk to my therapist, and pray when I am particularly obsessed and vexed. While the resentment toward my spouse is justified, the only one suffering from it it myself. Therefore little b, I emplore you to be gentle and forgiving of yourself for your vexation. We own our resentments and the good news about that is: Anything we own, we are absolutely free to give away(to God) or whatever.
Everything (resentment) I ever let go of didn’t go away without a whole bunch of claw marks on it. Lol!
And really, truly, it’s not about us. A man with a good heart and mind will be able to see our true value, BUT ONLY AFTER, we recognize it for ourselves. And I for one and working on that a little each day.
Peace be with us and also with them.
The Risk to Bloom
And then the day came
when the risk to remain
tight in a bud was
more painful than the
risk to bloom
by Anais Nin
Hi Sharron, littleb and everyone,
First of all, I did say I was going because one day I woke up and there were like 20 notices in my email (which in one way is really great!), but at that time…I was literally losing my mind getting my son (with autism) into this school (in a different state) which is next to impossible, but I did it!!! yippeee!!! Today, it was all signed, sealed and rubber stamped and it is a miracle! now comes the hard part.
I didn’t realize this, but JoAnn prefers us not to post any links simply because she gets literally 100s every day and its a full time job weeding them all out, so I can’t post it again. But the title is domestic blissters, and that should be enough to get you there. 🙂 (hope that’s okay to say that) And just to let others know. This is not a blog like this one and some women who’ve been involved with SAs have found it upsetting to read in places. And upsetting anyone is the last thing I want to do. I do talk about my affair with predator and his partner who is living the CON (God only knows why) and yes, last January, after I saw predator on multiple sites,(after his stint in rehab) and had found her BLOG… (oh the drama), I was going nutso (nuttier than usual) and my shrink told me to drop it and I knew she was right, but before I left, I thought I would go out with a BANG and I pulled out all the stops and told her MUCH. big mistake. she wasn’t ready to hear the truth. But, yeah… they went to the police who called me up (on my son’s birthday, no less) who then verbally billy clubbed me on the phone for five minutes. My husband sat there… listening to the whole thing— like I had three heads. I have subsequently read that snarky predators, to preserve the mirage, will go to the police to do their bidding against their old targets (like me) after we’ve been dumped if we “get out of line.” This only ads to the hurt and pain. it really sucks, but I was glad to read that I’m not alone on that front either. i really liked the guy. and i feel very badly for his partner too. but that’s life. (sometimes)
I didn’t realize that this woman violated your h when he was a child! ugh… and she’s married…eewww… well… look… is murder still against the law?
I dunno… i know you feel like a victim irregardless, which is perfectly understandable, but she actually did do nothing to you– directly, and you have no proof, whatsoever, so in the eyes of the law, it could be viewed as harassment. She was probably abused too.
Now… this is interesting… because it is POSSIBLE that while what she did was horrific, it does not necessarily even mean that this is WHY he is a sex addict and all the rest. Lots of dudes become addicts and they came from great families and had no trauma and lots of people suffer immense childhood trauma and are not addicts. It probably didn’t help, but my therapist and my mom who’s a therapist both say that oftentimes, they are just plain old born that way.
brain damaged soulless psychopaths. very sad.
love to all,
While reading your comments here I sensed that something in me was being triggered. When you speak about how hard it is to let go, I understand the struggle. The SA I was married to was passive aggressive to the hilt. For me, living with a passive aggressive, it was as if I was always in a fog. The longer I have been away from him and the more the fog has lifted you are able to see what manipulations and deceit took place.
Passive aggressive behavior is actually silent bullying and malicious covert abuse. I was not raised in a family that where the truth was so manipulated and have been blindsided by the ruthlessness of people who use those behaviors in their daily existence. One of the most valuable resources to me was to learn about this behavior. To understand how devoid these individuals are of any human kindness and sense of fair play has helped me maintain some sort of sanity, if that is what you can call it. The cruelty is very hard to deal with and has haunted me because it is so difficult to understand the barbaric assaults that have been dealt to your person.
La Vita Consicia and Heartless-bitches are a couple of sites that helped explain this behavior
I can tell you that every point listed in La Vita’s blog, I have experience in the 20 years I knew him. This behavior is not done aggressively, it is done passively and each minor infraction is part of the grand design, to slowly and systematically destroy a person’s sense of safety, worth and understanding of what is taking place. The aggressive part takes place under cover, that is the silent bullying.
For months I had been telling my husband that I wanted to go to this particular restaurant for my birthday. When my birthday came, we all of a sudden became very busy and involved in the repair of the house. It was mid afternoon and we had to go out to buy some tools for the repairs. So I told him that we needed to clean up so we could go to dinner while we were out. We were able to find the items quickly and had about an hour or so to burn before this restaurant opened. Instead of kicking around the town, he has this urgency to get back so he would have time to finish one of the repairs before dark. So he said let’s go to dinner in the town where we lived, I was very disappointed but in the interest of getting the repair done, I agreed. Well we went to this place where the food was terrible. He said to me while were eating that the food was better when a vendor paid for it. Instead of saying, what a disappointing birthday dinner this was and that he was sorry, anyone that has lived with a passive aggressive will recognize this, subtle backhanded demeaning explanation. I had been travelling back and forth between Lafayette, IN and Canton, NC for the last year between the house we were trying to sell and repairing the house we purchased so getting back to this restaurant would be delayed for a time.
I often look at this and as an isolated incident, it would be a disappointment. In the scheme of the passive aggressive’s need to dismantle and demean another person’s life, it is another notch on the belt. Believe me, a myriad of these incidences can cause an unsuspecting person internal conflict that you don’t understand. That is the covert abuse; it is filled with ugly intent on their part.
To bad they cannot deal with the people where the unresolved issues lie.
Instead these individuals find good kind people to focus their hatred on. Does this sound like your SA? Some of the things that have taken place over the 20 years just don’t peel away so easy. The intent was to mortally wound, that does have a penetrating affect and does not easily leave you.
Littleb, this may or may not be your situation, something in me just got triggered. Each time this happens I try to get to root of why it bothers me.
One day at a time.
– J –
Hi littleb, I’m not going to be posting much, because my experience has now been processed enough (waaaaaay more than enough) to be able to leave it behind, and I think he reads. They will go to extreme lengths to hide their addiction, and the one I knew threatened to call the police on his ex. I suppose if I think about the shame I felt about what happened to me with him, because I had my own issues, then I can only imagine that they can’t allow themselves to feel it because it is very hard. If they could, they’d heal. Shame is something that lets you know you’re going against your own values and that you’re missing integrity, which we all need to feel self-respect.
I did want to echo what Lorraine said though: it will get better. I wanted to die, I wanted him to love me, I wanted to kill him, I wanted to talk to his friends … yuck, horrible stuff. We’re not functioning from adult when we feel this way. The betrayal is so destructive and we’re just children screaming out for their parents to please, please love them and make everything okay, or bring ‘justice’, etc., etc. Ain’t gonna happen. It’s all done. Forgiveness is accepting that we cannot change the past. We have to feel all the pain, get right down into the abandonment and grief and terror and all the vile feelings we’ve possibly hidden since we were children (maybe not all of us)and allow them to be there until they’re processed, kind of integrated instead of fought against, and then move on. This is what has happened, now what are we going to do WITH it? Not about it, with it. Nothing you can do about the fact that you’ve been with an addict now, but plenty you can do with your life. Every bad feeling you continue to carry about him is yours, living inside your body. Eventually you won’t want that inside you any more. Has to be worked through though, at the same time as lots of self-care, self-nurturing, being with healthy loving people and doing healthy things. Be your own *good* mother. Love yourself better.
It’s taken me two years, with another half-hearted attempt a year ago to try again. It hurt, but I made it. You will make it too. I’ve discovered that it was, in fact, the best thing that has happened to me – apart from my lovely daughter – as it’s forced me to heal what has been wrong all my life, and that’s a lack of self-love and self-belief. I would never have wished this pain on myself or anybody, but for me it was the only way I was going to learn to love myself. Let it be and don’t go looking for pain by looking at websites. It’s self-harming, and you’ve got to love yourself enough not to do that any more. I love everybody’s posts to you. It just takes time and not being afraid to sit and grieve littleb. Cry until you’re sick, it will help. Then go and treat yourself to something lovely, because you deserve it. I’m 100% sure that in a while this will only be a memory, and the emotion attached will have disappeared. I am proof of that, and if I could heal, anybody could. I stayed in bed, didn’t eat, didn’t wash, became insane. It’s all gone. I wish you luck and lots of love.
Hi all, thank you so much for the advice and encouragement. I am trying to work with the new mindset from reading all your posts that the best revenge is for me to move on with my life and become all the better for this. For my son’s sake, i’ll continue to pray for him, but other than that i need to let him be. Of course today i am having a good day, who knows what I will be thinking tomorrow!! lol.
Jeannette, you are so right on. Such similiar stories i have that you shared. He always had something at the house that he had to do, mow the lawn, wash his car, clean the garage.. whatever he could find as an excuse to do nothing with me or for me. And then blame it on me when i brought up the fact we never did anything together anymore, i finally just gave up. Then he constantly picked fights with me over things that were so STUPID i could only look at him with a dumbfounded face, then his excuse for meeting up with some of these women was not for sex, but he wanted to spend time with someone who appreciated him & have conversation with that didn’t include fighting. WTF! Yea, well so didn’t I!!! Sure wish i knew that was an option to go outside our marriage to get our needs met from someone else!!! They all really did go to the same school.
I am so sorry to hear that your husband screwed up. Seriously, I don’t get the lying, how many times do they need to feel the consequences for lying before they finally realize what they are doing, and the problems lying is creating? I hope that this was his last wake up call and he continues to get better going forward. I still have hopes for you two.
Lots of Love and Happy Holidays!
You are that which you are seeking
Hi littleb- thanks for the perks! I know you were talking about the gal your’e SA was involved with, and how she was nothing to look at. That is so true with mine – His slip up was with a 6′ tall black woman who probably weighed 220# and ugly as a mud fence, but hugh boobs. I guess that is all it takes!! Apparently not about looks or body – jus plain unadulterated SEX for that high. I have pretty good sized boobs myself and a pretty decent bod. Again, it just blows my mind they will pick someone much less attractive than they’re wives.Guess that is understanding sex addiction. It used to bother me, but now I just think, “knock yourself out, your loss.” He is triggering less, at least when he is with me, but who knows what he is doing when we are apart. If he lies just once to me, I am back to ground zero with trust. I still know, deep in my heart, he isn’t going to change!!
NAP – “The Risk to Bloom says it all!!!
Jeanette- My SA reaked with passive aggressive behavior. I think they all have that trait, along with the ability to go in circles when answering a questions we pose to them, and twisting it so we think we are the ones who are crazy. My SA has stopped the passive-aggressiveness, (one point for him)
but still dancing around the questions and justifying why he does it. NOT A GOOD SIGN. I am not sure the passive-aggressiveness or lieing is done on a conscious level – it it is a learned behavior from childhood, and that is the only way they know how to function to survive. Nevertheless, the bottom line is it destroys us in the process.
Lorraine, as usual, hits the nail on the head – “Brain damaged souless psychopaths.”
Jeanette – I am going to go on the sites you suggested and see what they have to say.
T- A very good testimony as to what these sick men put us through and what it takes to move forward. I know every time Steve tells another lie, it just puts another nail in his coffin.
Have a wonderful christmas everyone, and keep the faith.
Can pathological liars stop lying?
There is no specific definition of pathological lying as a disease. It can be symptomatic of other conditions, like antisocial personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is not always present in these conditions, so a clear treatment set for pathological lying has not been defined.
Simple answer, probably not
NAP – Pathological lieing is actually more difficult to get over than the addiction.
They have developed this as a way to survive, usually as a very young child, and recovery does not come easy. My SA says it is more difficult to stop the lieing than acting out.
Bottom line for me is if you cannot have trust you have nothing to work with. I would never consider going back unless the lieing stops. That probably will never happen, and how would we really know for sure they are telling the truth?? Really no way to know unless you catch them in a blatent lie, which I am pretty good a doing.
Who wants to worry about it or live like that.
Ya, JoAnn is right, and there is also a big difference between a pathological lier and a compulsive lier – mine is a compulsive lier. I think pathological lier is more identified with the antisocial personality, OCD, etc. Actually, for me, it doesn’t really matter what label I put on it – they are still liers, however the two types often lie for different reasons.
JoAnn and Sharron,
Thank you for your responses. What type of liars are addicts-do you think?
Who could ever know?
Does it matter?
I stumbled on to this web site and I am so happy to have found it. I found out about my husband of 7 years almost 3 months ago. Obviously, there were signs along the way, but I did not know to the extent (hookers, phone sex, etc.). I immediately kicked him out and packed up my then 9 month old and 4 year old and went to my parents house 3 hours away. I am now back in our house and living alone with the 2 kids. I do believe we were in love once (12 years ago … just after graduating from our respective colleges), but I am slowly realizing that nothing good can come out of this. It hurts and I am scared out of my mind, but I have a strong family behind me. My main focus at the moment is my children. My son is 4 and he idolizes his dad. My husband travels all the time, but when he is home my son is all over him. He is aware of something, but I can tell he is not sure exactly what is going on. After Christmas we plan to sit him down and talk about the living situation, etc. What do we say and what kinds of questions should I be prepared for? He is an extremely verbal and intelligent child and I know he is immediately going to hammer out questions.
I do plan on getting a divorce eventually because I just can’t see us having a healthy marriage and I know I deserve more. I do believe that is the one thing I can do to help my children survive this. You say that this can be passed down to the children … he did learn this in his therapy (he went to Arizona and is really into his therapy). Can this happen even if he has the children every other weekend and sometimes during the week? He wants to be an involved dad (not the he really has been) and I don’t want to take him away from the kids, but should I? I have been a stay at home mom for 4 years and these kids are so dear to me. I should note that his issues are not with children … if anything it is with older woman …
Also, I have only told a handful of people the truth and he really doesn’t want to “spread the news”. You say I should be honest with people, but won’t that effect the kids? I would hate for someone to say something to my son in school as he gets older.
Thanks so much for your time.
Hi Anne, and welcome. Thanks so much for commenting and joining our little community.
Honesty with children brings with it the responsibility of sharing only what they can appropriately understand for their age, and answering only what they ask. Remember the joke about the little girl who asked her mother where she came from? The mother went into an hour long discussion about the birds and the bees, after which the girl says, ‘Well, Mary said she’s from New York, where did I come from?’
At four your son needs to be reassured that he is safe. He will have questions about where each of you will live, what changes are going to happen, etc. These questions will be ongoing–probably forever. And, as he grows you can share more with him. But right now he needs to know that mommy and daddy love him very much and that that will never change. You can tell him that there will be changes (like daddy moving out or possibly a move for you and him) but that you will always be there for him. Do not criticize your husband or say anything derogatory. Your son will be much older before he is ready for factual details about your husband’s illness. As for the ‘why’ questions, be general but truthful–such as, Daddy and I have adult problems, like many parents do, and we will both be much happier living apart.
You may have to repeat that statement over and over in many different ways. Just because a child keeps asking the same question over and over does not mean that you have to search for a different or more complex answer. It only means that the child needs constant reassurance that you love them. So, find the perfect words or phrases and just keep repeating them in different ways. This shows a consistency that will be reassuring to them.
As for honesty with other people, this is really an issue of boundaries, which I address in my eBook. Being honest does not mean that you have to share personal information that is nobody else’s business. And, any questions that are much too personal can be quickly diverted with a simple, ‘That’s much too personal for me to share.’ Never share information with anyone who you feel would use it to taunt or harm you or your children. That type of personal information is not for the public.
As for your question about passing the disease on, you will have to set very firm boundaries with your husband about what the children will be exposed to. If he is a reasonable man you can talk to him about how the seeds of Sexual Addiction are planted early in childhood and how exposure to inappropriate sexual material or situations can damage children. You must be very clear that if your children are ever exposed to anything inappropriate while in his care that you will do everything within your power to prevent him from ever having the children in unsupervised visits. You must also be very honest with your children as they are growing up about what is inappropriate as far as touching, talking about or viewing anything sexual. Keep the lines of communication open and let them know that they can talk with you about anything.
I hope this helps. Please have a wonderful holiday season with your children and remember that we are here for you.
Good point-doesnt matter.
I really enjoyed your last post. question for you on “taken me 2 years, with another half hearted attempt”. Do you mean its taken you 2 years to finally leave your SA and heal with one attempt at giving him a chance that did not work out? Asking because you seem to be in a very good place – past it- which is where we all need to head. What has helped you the most to get past the pain and into a good place? Are you divorced now? thanks
Anne, this website is a godsend, so glad you stumbled across it. You are going to get some incredible support and advice from all the women on here.
I can so sympathize with your situation as my son was the same age as yours when i moved out, very inquisitive and loves time with his daddy. Its heart wrenching to think about, they are still so little. In reality though, children are very resiliant and he so far has adapted well to the seperation. My soon to be ex and I live very close to each other, so he is able to see either one of us at anytime if he really has a need for it. I wouldn’t go into more of an explanation than what is appropriate for his age, my guess i he no doubt already knows things aren’t right at home, maybe there is lots of yelling or no talking/togetherness at all? I would keep it very straight forward and simple, let him know it has nothing to do with him, you both love him very much and will always be there for him.
As with all divorces, I believe if you can keep your anger and hurt away from your children and remain cordial for their sake, they can continue to grow up healthy and happy kids and know that although mom and dad don’t live together they are very much loved.
The concern of what can happen when they are alone at the addicts house seems to be a big concern amoung many. I would talk to a lawyer to see what your rights are in your state. My husband does not display signs of physical abuse, has never threatened or harmed any of us in any way, so therefore according to my lawyer if I try to get full custody, even with all the proof i have of his sex addict addiction.. the response I’ll get is “what he does on his own time is none of my business”. Basically I would have to wait for him to expose him in some manner, PLUS be able to provide concrete proof that he is damaging him before i would have a case. Not sure on your situation.. but worth talking to a lawyer about.
As far as who you tell. I guess that’s a personal thing for everyone.. me, i usually let lose when i am having a really bad day, but am discrimate with who i let lose with and i have kept his secret from those where it might cause damage in some way shape form where my son is concerned. To include any friendships i have with ppl met through my childs daycare, ect.
I am so sorry you are having to go through this.
As regards lying, have you heard the question about addicts and lies…..”How do you know when an addict is lying?…. His mouth is open and his lips are moving.”
All addicts are liars unless they are really in recovery. ( and some may continue to lie for other reasons after recovery). My husband’s lies were as stupid as anyone else’s when he was acting out. And like other addicts, he had no idea how ridiculous the lies sounded to someone with a “normal” brain. He has been in recovery for a year, and I could tell he was getting better by the fact that the lies stopped and truth has made a comeback, not overnight by amy means, but I can’t remember the last lie. And his head has cleared enough that he understands now that lies of omission are still lies. I tell him that I would know if he is acting out again, maybe not right away, but by the time the lies get stupid enough to recognize again, I would know.
Some thoughts today on trust. When did we stop trusting ourselves to make good decisions? When oh when, did our SA’s mantras of denial and BS become key deciding factors? We are capable women, able to do much with our lives. Why do I doubt so much that I am making the “right” decisions? Hell any decision is better than indecision.
As I wait out my indentured slave servitude living in the same house, until I can get my financial freedom to fly and legal decisions, my SA would like the guise of family through the holidays (and probably well after). I am going along, because it is less stressful and good for my daughter. We sleep in seperate rooms, that will remain, as he is not in recovery. However, I fall back into old patterns of “feeling” married again. We Christmas shopped together, had a drink together after and put up tree together. I would not be human if I did not digress a bit. And think “Can this work?” He desperately, so desperately does not want to lose his marriage- yes because it will make him look at his addiction, also because he does love and care for me as much as a narcissist can- so it makes him sad, also financial losses. I mean divorce is not some day at the beach for me neither, and I vascillate on whether I am choosing the right path at times.
My prayer of late, please God, no more deception. I do not want to make anymore decisions on false pretenses or hopes. I want to validate my decision to leave with the truth. Be final about it and not look back. I look forward to living in the truth this year. It is the only way to get past the pain and on with it.
btw — just 1 day ago, looking at Chistmas pics of daughter he took on his blackberry. He left room. I looked at what I now know as his “porn” email address— he’s still emailing prospective partners for hookups and cruising web. How is that for the truth. It’s like climbing stairs to an exit. Every solid piece of fact where they are really at in this addicition is one more solid step toward a concrete solid decision. thanks all.
p.s. Santa is bringing me Botox this year. Seriously, I am having it. Getting rid of every worry wart line on my face from his ahole behavior. can’t wait.
I got chills when i read your post. It was like seeing this time for me 1yr ago all over again, right down to the final proof the day before I moved out, all his promises to me that he wasn’t doing anything anymore were all lies when i found his “porn” email address on his cell phone. I am guessing even with god answering your prayers by validating your decision to leave, it’s not making it any easier for you cause its still not the validation you were hoping for. It sucks.
None of them want to lose the marriage, your probably his last thread and he’s hanging on for dear life. Do what i didn’t do and really don’t look back, get the botox, color your hair, go to counseling, and do what makes you happy. Let his ass be sad, let him hit rock bottom, let him lose everything. Protect your kids, but do nothing to protect him from facing the consequences of his actions. I’m really seeing now that is the only way any of them may get better. They are very good at tugging on our heartstrings and pushing all the right buttons to make us second guess ourselves.. but unless you see significant changes for an extended period of time, don’t ever look back. I love how Sharron is handling her SA, she has set very clear boundries, break them and he is gone! And in the interim, she continues to do things for her and not obsess with his psychotic world. I wish i had of stumbled across this website a year ago, i would of done so many things differently in the way i handled him and me.
I hope with every lost worry wart line you find peace and happiness in your life!!!
He wasn’t my husband. I was newly separated and he had never been married, so in a way it wasn’t as hard for me to cope with, but I had as much emotional damage (suicidal is about as bad as it gets, I guess) and long-lasting ptsd symptoms. I went into it believing it was just going to be something casual, a bit of a fling but nothing serious, but then when he said he loved me and I tried to believe it everything changed. I was trying to make something really wrong into something right because I wanted to believe all the loving things he said and was trying to explain away the things that hurt me. I won’t talk about those things as I don’t want to make anything worse if he is reading. He wouldn’t be sad, but he would be angry.
It wasn’t a sudden shock to me, like it was for most of the women here. I was living with trauma every day because my addiction to him was keeping me there against my better judgement, stuck in repetition of my childhood. Every day I had to fight *myself* to keep the lie going: “He swears he loves me so very much and won’t leave me but he’s acting in a very, very unloving way.” He talked about living closer, that we were soulmates, he loved my daughter … it was all to get me to love him even though he didn’t want me.
In November 2008 I left him ‘properly’ for the first time and was in a really bad way. I was suicidal and started therapy. I was just trying to stay alive, reading and reading everything I could to find out what had happened to me. There was progress and a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel but I still hated opening my eyes every day, didn’t eat, lost loads of weight, etc.
When he came back to try to be friends the following June (he’d contacted me several times between Nov and June) I was still suffering from ptsd symptoms. I told him what I thought of him but I believed at that time I still loved him and I told him so and he said he wanted to try again. He was only trying to make it right. He didn’t seem able to leave me despite not liking me. He possibly felt guilty, maybe just didn’t want me to know he was an addict, probably it’s a personality disorder. This time I lasted about a month but was better able to see the manipulation and get myself out. I knew I wasn’t loved, despite what he said. He seemed to be trying to manage me down to ‘friend’. I was a problem he was dealing with and it was obvious.
I carried on with therapy, kept reading about personality disorders and sex addiction, started to take better care of myself, do all the self-esteem work, see friends more, do everything I could think of to stop taking it personally and see myself as worthwhile. I had to get to the rage to get better. I’d been sad for so long and it wasn’t until I could feel anger about what he’d done that I started to heal properly. It took talking to him about the stds this June, a year after I’d last seen him, and him saying he said he didn’t care what I thought and that he hadn’t got stds. He admitted he’d been using me and manipulating me and then I lost it. I was feeling the rage of a lifetime and some of it belonged to dad. He was very angry with me because I’d really let rip and accused him of all sorts of things on another website, which may have been true but may not. The things I did know were enough to be upset about.
It must be harder for wives who know a different man to ‘the addict’ and who really don’t have any suspicions. All I could see was someone who was hurting me, right from the start, so there was no sudden realisation that the man I thought I knew was something else, because apart from the trauma bond I wouldn’t have stayed. I just got the words of love, *constant* reassuring words and denial of my reality and being told I couldn’t feel his love because of my own problems. I stayed, because I was too ready to accept the fault as my own. Although he was right in saying that my view of love was unhealthy, it was and I know that now, I knew that being used for sex and having my reality denied wasn’t love either. I was just a puppet he was playing with.
I stopped identifying with it over time,which has helped a lot because really neither of us was there. Just disorder and dysfunction, if you see what I mean. Two unwell people. He manipulated, lied, blameshifted, gaslighted, and I had a deep wound which made me vulnerable to that. I have no idea who he is still. All I got was lies and pretence and contempt. All he got from me was a walking wound. He revealed that to me. I had no idea of it until I met someone who pretended to love me because of his own dysfunction. The book ‘The Betrayal Bond’ was very useful for me, in showing me why I was so vulnerable.
The practical stuff was simply time, learning about what might have happened (personality disorders/sex addiction/trauma from my own child abuse and why it made me so easy to manipulate), growing independence (learning I am perfectly capable alone), therapy, being with people who don’t think I’m … the word he called me…
It’s been a very spiritual experience that’s finally healed me. I won’t go into details as it won’t be for everybody but there was a major shift. It doesn’t seem much of a formula does it, but self-love has grown with self-nurture, along with TOTAL acceptance of what happened, SURRENDER to the pain and no denial whatsoever, allowing him to be exactly who he is and not having contact with him, understanding that the perceived need in me for a man to make things right is ONLY about the past, my childhod, and not now, and the spiritual thing, which I suppose will be different for all of us.
My story is very different to everybody else’s here, as I wasn’t chosen for a wife: I was only ever supply. But that hurt too, almost enough to make me kill myself. I won’t ever be in a position to let a man make me feel like that again, because I won’t lose myself in ‘love’. Love’s not what I thought it was, that’s for sure. I see love entirely differently now and I’m happy to live the rest of my life without a man, because I have only ever looked to someone else to make me complete and happy. Never again. I am whole and happy already. If I love again I will have boundaries and take care of myself and have self-respect and there will be a level of detachment there because I won’t give any man a ‘parental’ role of taking care of my emotional needs. I won’t look to him to be anything other than what he is, and if what he is doesn’t suit me out he goes and he won’t take any of me with him.
I am so sorry for all that you had to go through. It really doesn’t matter, I don’t think if you are married to the SOB or not, the feelings and torment are still the same. I think there are a lot of women that saw some kind of signs early on, the red flags or that feeling that something just was not right but couldn’t put your finger on it. I know I did, and it intesifies the wanting to beat yourself up even more for not following through on your own instincts. You’ve lost trust in not only them, but yourself. I am so glad you have been able to find your way to a much happier healthier you, it gives the rest of still trying to get to where you are now some much needed hope. Thank you for sharing!
Hi T – Don’t beat yourself up for not following through on your initial instinct. Look at it as a positive trait you have – the ability to love and be the trusting woman you are.
Your’e SA does not have those qualities. He was highly manipulative and deceptive in his ability to make you doubt your true feelings.The important thing is you look at it as a learning process in some of the nasty cards you were dealt in this life. This, too, will pass, and even though you are not feeling it right now, you will come out a stronger and happier woman with healthier goals in achieving the life you are entitled to.
Try to have a happy Christmas and remain strong in your’e faith to overcome!!
Littleb, thank you for those kind words. I felt a bit guilty posting without being any kind of partner, but I did send JoAnn my whole story with all the details and she made me feel I belonged here as much as anybody. It’s reassuring to hear that someone else stayed when they knew things were not as they were being told. I don’t want to tell the whole story now because I don’t want any more damage done. My keystrokes are being logged and if that’s him then things are worse than I thought. Who knows? Life goes on, and it’s a much better life than I imagined I could have. You’ll get there littleb. Merry Christmas to you and lots of love, and to everyone here.
Sharron, thanks for your kindness too. I’m having a lovely Christmas 🙂 I am so much stronger and happier and it doesn’t hurt any more. Life is good.
Yippie-NO STDs! Great Christmas gift!
I know what you mean. Even though I had lived most of my life independently, I fell for a straight up narcissist whom I’d met online. That relationship was only 5 months, but I realized there was something really wrong with him and something wrong with me that I had such a hard time letting go emotionally of a jerk, loser, creep, irresponsible person.
About a year later, I met my current husband. He was so kind, generous, and full of compliments and romance that lasted over 3 years, until shortly after the birth of our second child and then I began to see the cracks.
We are separated. I have dim hope we will work it out satisfactorily together. I too experienced prolonged ptsd and weight loss-extreme. I am feeling better now. Even if he were to say he wanted to try to reconcile, I still need more time to reassemble my identity.
I wish all of you a peaceful and serene holiday. May 2011 bring us much happiness, in whatever direction we go.
Peace be with us and also with them.
Thanks for your post fatchance. That’s really great news that you’re std-free! 🙂 I saw on your other post (The Quick Fix Trap) that you’ve got even more resolve to move on now. Sometimes letting go completely is the most loving thing you can do … for everybody concerned.
I am grateful for this website. My husband of 20+ years is a minister and I am new to sex addiction. I am lost. My adult children are also lost. The man we loved and admired is gone. We have also lost some of our faith in God…his boss! How could God have let this happen? I would ask for your prayers, but can’t now. Also, we are keeping his secret so he doesn’t hurt the church. He swears he is now in recovery, but I don’t think he is. He also doesn’t know if he loves me. I am truly lost in despair.
I am so sorry that you are having such a difficult time… (((hugs)))
Please know… you will find your way.
Lou, I have tears in my eyes as I read your pain. I am so sorry this man has destroyed your life and your children. But please just remember that they have as much power over us as we let them. (((hugs)))
I want to throw out something about keeping the secret, this has been rattling around in my thoughts for a couple of months and I get irritated about it. It is his secrets that have caused me so much pain. When secrets are kept, I believe they bound us to the lies and behaviors and in that, we deny ourselves access to help and the abuse continues. Actually the SA’s again are dictating the rules, aren’t they, by having us now participate in the secret. I kept the secret to give him time to process his issues and it got worse. As most everyone here has experienced, the behaviors became more devious, manipulating and lies are done at a deeper level. If I had known of his homosexuality (secrets), I never would have married him. 20 years of my life, wasted with this nothing. His interest in me was to provide cover for him.
For me, all of this started with a secret (his). Evil grows in the dark, it has to be dragged out into the open – I do not know where I read this, but it has stayed with me.
He is currently seeing a woman who he says writes children’s books. Unless she is writing pornography for children, I think she might be a little traumatized if she knew the real truth.
What I don’t understand is why these SA’s go after people who have values, who are kind and faithful. Why don’t they find liars to mate with, then everyone is on the same page and there is no illusion, everyone can continue in their lies. Instead they feel this need to destroy good people’s lives. My SA chased after me, I did not go after him in any way shape or form, he asked me out for months before I went out with him. I am still speechless about that and the cruelty that has followed. 20 years of deceitfully destroying passive aggressive manipulation. These people are cruel beyond belief. and the worst thing is, is that it has absolutely nothing to to with me.
Just a thought.
We are good people who are dealing with scoundrels.
Your comment resonated with me.I feel the same as you– I am a good person and my husband pursued me. He actively pursued and courted me, even when I was unsure about our relationship. He was always my steady rock providing love and support. He always tells me how good I am and how lucky he is to be with me, how I influence his life for good. And then he dropped the bomb on me. We’ve only been married one year (been together 3 years) and I just found out about my husband’s many one night stands, internet and phone app affairs, and an affair with a co-worker (plus many more stories that have yet to be shared). I keep wondering why he would choose to be with me, why wouldn’t he go be with someone who wouldn’t care, or someone who is more like him and would be okay with his promiscuity. I don’t think there is any answer. Maybe they felt like our “goodness” would rub off on them and save them. Maybe they thought that we were so good that if they loved us enough, their demons wouldn’t come knocking. I don’t know, but I do know that the only choice we, as betrayed partners, have is to choose to love ourselves and be good to ourselves. That’s all I have right now.
My husband is extremely remorseful–he curled into the fetal position, bawling when he told me of his affairs. He wept with me, apologized over and over, and promised to do whatever it takes to work for a better life. I have been wavering on whether or not to stay with my husband and be hopeful for his recovery, but reading these posts and comments I see very little hope for a long-term recovery. I see a long, dark road that only few travel with any success. I do believe he wants to be better and I do believe he can do it, but I believe in my self-worth more. I owe it to myself to take care of me for once, and I think this is my chance. If I stay now, I continue to hope for a recovery that is unlikely, living my life for someone else.
dear you have walked all over my door steps i have been married to a man for seventeen years that has been unfaithful to me and put me threw hell and our children. This man adopted my oldest child when she was small and we have two children of our own. He was a cop now is working with troubled boys and he has been so unfaithful so many times that i have caught him from letters, chatting, calling, meeting, women telling me they’ve had sex with my husband, husband’s coming to my house door drunk with gun going to kill my husband and he would leave town before they would find him(my kids saw all this) to now i have found porn pictures of himself that are very sicking he has been sending over seas to a woman but worse than that my children found them before i did and did not tell me cause they didn’t want to hurt me anymore than he has already. After i found the cell phone pictures and the laptop pictures and messaging my children came to me and told me mama we are sorry we didn’t tell you when we found out and i told them it was o.k. that they had done nothing wrong. I am trying to do the right thing for my kids, me, and my husband but what is that i do not know. My husband was sexually abused as a child from a foster mother so i hate to divorce him and not help him if he can be but then i have got to be careful cause i have kids at home that are being hurt and i am afraid my son might grow up thinking this is the way you treat your family and lord knows i do not want that for him at this time we are separated
could’a sworn I added a comment here yesterday …?! O well, I keep coming back to read JoAnn’s Musings — so many valuable statements here.
I especially like where JoAnn says *** “If you lie to children, you are teaching them how to lie.” ***
JoAnn, I don’t have children but I believe we all need reminding how crucial the TRUTH is. Everyone, please, consider what we are truly teaching the children with the secrets & darkness!
Jeannette, I’ve been saying the same thing since discovery day: “It is his secrets that have caused me so much pain.” (I think it’s an AA slogan-borrowed-by-COSA that goes “We are only as sick as our secrets.”)
With my H, I’ve said since discovery day that it is his LIES that hurt me. I have empathy for the acting-out — maybe because of my own issues/self-esteem, I “get” the pain and pain-relief.
~thanks yall for being here~
Can you share if your readers have been informed of any statistics or research on the commonalities of wives who marry sex addicts and their family of origins vs wives who are not married to sex addicts and their family of origins?
And do you think it is helpful to those wives who are married to sex addicts to see why they may have ended up with a man who is a sex addict?
Not that they could have controlled their up bringing but perhaps shed some light as to how to receive help on overcoming the issues they could be dealing with that may have lead to their circumstances?
It would be refreshing and give hope to hear how women have over come these issues and how they took responsibility in overcoming the dysfunctional thinking and behaviors that come along with being married to a sex addict. No one can control a sex addict in a marriage, but a wife can learn how to make healthy decisions independent of her husband perhaps if she knows how or why she may have married one and study what “healthy” marriages are like and what their family of origins were like to re-frame their thinking.
And while you’re at it, JoAnn, can you publish some stats on the women who marry men who get cancer or get caught embezzling from their employers or buy convertibles when they turn 40?
Amy, It appears as though your question comes from the point of view that we somehow choose these men to fill some unmet need within ourselves that was caused by our family of origin. This is the basis for the co-dependent model.
I do not accept that philosophy and I can tell you that of the thousands of women who have visited my websites, both here and the Sisterhood, almost 100% had NO IDEA what these men were doing.
These men are masters of manipulation and deceit. They are not normal, they present a perfectly practiced and polished facade and are able to continue their deception for decades. We are not responsible for it, we did not choose it and yet we are criticized when we ‘abandon’ these ‘poor souls’.
But, back to your question, statistics as you have requested would be impossible to obtain. ~ JoAnn
Been a victim for about a month now..its bot easy but im so hopeful and pray everyday that things could change. I started with asking myself y me what did I do ..y us …am I being punished for something how could I be so nieve to the situation…im still not understanding y but trying to one day at a time but don’t know why I’m not getting more help besides the internet I feel so alone until I read these comments its comforting but also sad cuz I never thought I’d be here. I know I deserve easy better than this and the sad thing is I have only been married almost three years but been together six almost seven n I can’t even begin to imagine how long he really had been doing this n if I didn’t catch him the third time how many more or how long.ugghh its exhausting I hate to think I have to bbsit my husband butt I don’t know how else to trust again or know how to believe him when he says he’s behaving puffy of town when he hasn’t seen or tarmac to his therapist for almost three weeks n only went to one daa meeting I’m scared he knows if he does this again I’m gone n he looses his family but at the same time he knew this before too am I enabling him instead of helping him by staying with him what do I do…I luv him and hate him but sometimes I feel like I’m the only one trying not because of him not doing or healing or trying the way I want but I just don’t understand if it was me I would try everyday to make that person feel loved n not feel an ounce of hurt n if she did masks it better emotionally n mentally. I dk I know men ate not weird like us but really I’m just feeling lost tonight n wish sometimes I could wake up from this bad dream
Love the advice and musings share really opened up my eyes thanks
JoAnn, I can’t thank you enough for your website, time and money poured into helping others survive this nightmare. Wow, 153 comments on this article alone. I shudder to think how many hurting, traumatized women are out there who have not found this site yet? May I share my story?
I am going this afternoon at 3 PM to meet with an attorney. I love the man I married 19 years ago, but sadly, he never actually existed. There was just a shell of a man, over a black mess of shame and darkness inside. Like other commenters, I believe marrying a sweet little moral woman was just part of his cover-up to the world. He was a children’s Sunday School teacher, and taught children at church on Wednesday nights as well.
Such a good guy, great son, husband, loving father, everybody thinks SO highly of him. Just a good sweet country boy, hard working, and a wonderful provider.
April 10th, at 7:15 AM, I picked up his (always locked) phone to turn off the alarm, and for a split-second glimpsed a chat with ‘Sheila’. He told the first of SO MANY lies, swearing innocence, etcetera. “You know my password for everything, I am innocent! You can check!” Oh, thank you kindly… I think I will!
He did not know that Google can recover emails that have been deleted, or that you can recover many of them yourself, by searching your trash folder, without putting any search terms in. He didn’t know that Google and Facebook had conveniently been storing his location history since 2012. There were accounts with WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, USASexGuide.com, Yahoo, Skype, Skout, Kik, Mocospace, Arrangement Finders, Waplog, Freehookups, NoStringsattached, Hornyaffairs.com, Flirtlocal.com, Badoo, Tango, FBHookups.com, MarriedDatelink, iHookup, SweetDiscreet, and on and on. His Google search history went something like this: ‘How to teach children the story of Jonah’, followed by ‘Backpage Escorts Knoxville (Birmingham, Chattanooga, etcetera)’, Asian X-rated pics, and so on.
(By the way, ladies, USASexGuide is ‘da bomb’ for the Sex Addict! Men discuss hookers, massage parlors and prostitutes like they are leaving a TripAdvisor rating or rating a good restaurant on Google or Yelp! They graciously report to each other whether the prostitute is clean, pretty, how good of a ‘job’ they did, how many ‘roses’ you will need (what they charge), whether the meetup location seemed safe, and which ones might be working for the ‘Uncles’ (Law Enforcement). They discuss these women in a breezy, offhand manner. There is a whole ‘code’ they have developed, like having a ‘good dream’ means they had full intercourse with that person. My husband had actually asked for advice from the ‘old timers’ on the best massage parlors, stated that he was ‘loving his new hobby’ of frequenting massage parlors, and even bragged about ‘good dreams’ with 3 prostitutes, while asking for more recommendations. It was surreal.)
I stayed up 3 nights in a row at the beginning, digging and digging, and went to work every day with my head ringing. So many times I have lost count, I have pulled all-nighters. Classic trauma and ptsd symptoms. Have had 2 hospital visits, thinking it was a heart attack, but it was merely panic attacks coupled with stress that was causing my chest pain, dizziness, and my heart to pound like a sledgehammer.
I went on to discover about 15 Phillippinne women, all who thought they were his ‘girlfriend, sexting and ‘I love you’s’ back and forth, as soon as he walked out the front door of our home every day. One woman had 350 videos on Youtube, all dedicated to him, and they had been ‘dating’ for 3 years. He told ALL of them about his son, and shared pictures of the two of them together, but claimed his son’s mother had left them. Walked out on them. He purchased and mailed 2 smartphones to two different women, that I know of. Yet he often had to ask me for extra money to pay our bills. He makes 3.5 times what I make.
EVERY SINGLE new discovery, I made on my own. He has never ONE TIME confessed to anything, until I found proof. How many times have I heard “I swear to God! You gotta believe me, honey! I would never do that to you and our son!”, accompanied by tears and sobbing. Or “OK, I did that. But I never did anything else! That was all, so stop digging!” You come to realize there is so much more you will never know, and that if his lips are moving, he is lying. That joke isn’t even funny anymore.
He has threatened to kill himself because I found things, and he has threatened to kill himself if leave him. He tore the house apart one day while I was at work, looking for our guns, and left cabinets and closets open, for our 12 year old son to find when he got home from school.
Still, I have see-sawed back and forth 7 months over what path to choose: Stay or go?
I have cried so much, screaming out my agony, begging God to help us, to help me make a decision, to help me help my son through this nightmare, etcetera.
I have read books, seen 2 different therapists, and pored over countless online articles and sites, both for and against staying with the sex addict. I began realizing all the signs I now recognize as classic S.A., and STILL I have struggled with this decision!
I was moved out of our bedroom 5 years ago with various excuses.
He had sex with me only twice in the past 5 years, but it was OKAY, as i thought the sexual anorexia and erectile dysfunction was age-related. I didn’t press for sex or affection, thinking that was the ‘right’ thing to do, so that he wouldn’t be sad or ashamed (and ladies, is that not enough to make you just scream with laughter?).
How he ignored us when he was home because he was always ‘tired’, shutting himself in the bedroom with his TV and phone.
All the times he turned the phone away from our eyes.
How he always maneuvered himself away from people during family functions, to be alone in a back room with his phone.
Even after all that, this past Friday was my epiphany day.
I had composed the following email to a local fidelity lie-detector test administrator, then sat back to proofread it before clicking ‘Send’:
‘Good morning. I discovered in April that my husband has been unfaithful.
On further investigation, it became clear that he has a sex addiction. He willingly began therapy and wants us to stay together.
I uncovered proof of at least 3 liasons with prostitutes that involved intercourse. There was also sexting and massage parlors.
How much does it cost to have a polygraph administered? I suspect there are many more incidents that he will never be truthful
about, and though one is enough to end a marriage, we have been married 19 years, and we have a 12 year old son.
I just have a need to know, because unfortunately I love the man I thought I knew.
Thank you. Please email instead of calling.’
As I read my own ridiculous words, something finally clicked.
I never hit ‘Send’. Instead, I called the best divorce attorney in our county, and put her $5,000, non-refundable retainer on his credit card. Which is perfectly legal, as long as my name is also on the account.
Yes, I still love the man I thought he was. We went through 3 miscarriages and a stillborn son, he helped raise my two daughters; we cried, laughed, and have shared the good and bad of nearly 20 years. This feels like tearing off my own arm and throwing it away. Yes, I will be poorer, and my son and I will grieve even more, but we only have one life to live! If I stay knowing what he did, what is that teaching my 12 year old son? That I am a good, understanding wife with a heart full of love and forgiveness? Or that a husband and father can perform illegal, disgusting acts, commit adultery, and destroy an entire family… and not have to answer to anyone?
I choose to go forward alone, full of pain and regret and misgivings, but with a little self-respect. Rather than laying my head down every night forever wondering what else he has done, what new hurt he will pile on our family tomorrow or next year, I can stop destroying my own mental and physical health, worrying, stressing, losing sleep and being unable to eat.
He is in therapy by his own choice, with an intelligent, no-nonsense woman, CSAT certified. They have discovered the beginnings of his problem, and it makes sense even to me. But, he has yet to comprehend ’empathy’ or even admit that he is the cause of the divorce. He has yet to believe he is an addict, or that he will ever relapse. As he sees it, it is ‘my choice to destroy our family’, not his. He has tried so hard all these months to be good, and he will never mess up or ‘go there’ again! (Sound familiar?) He is such a classic Sex Addict, they could put his picture in the dictionary beside the definition. Narcissistic, but Ashamed. Selfish, yet Insecure. Secretive. Self-Serving. Liar. Professional Gas-Lighter. Giver of the ‘Crazies’ whenever I get too close to a truth or proof.
I hope he remains in therapy. I hope he gets better. I just choose not to be there for the relapses, to share in the pain.
His therapist also does ‘distance counseling, via Skype, if anyone is having trouble finding a local therapist for themselves or their spouse. That might be a good thing to include here on the website, if you haven’t already, JoAnn… a directory of suggested (or warned-against) therapists.. There seems to be an alarming scarcity of therapists who believe in the ‘trauma’ model of treatment for partners. I can’t even find one myself, and can’t see her, because she is treating my husband. This could be a new verse in the ‘Isn’t It Ironic’ song.
Speaking of irony… At 2:17 PM, the attorney’s office called to say the attorney had fallen ill, and must reschedule. My husband texted that it is an Act of God (cue thunder and lightning). I think it might be a trick of Satan, instead, to make me THINK it was an Act of God (cue thunder and lightning), so he can torment us all a little while longer.
I hope my story will help someone else, and I commend you all for sharing your pain ‘so hat others may see the light’.