Even After Recovery The Wounds Remain

I’m so glad to have found this website. My story is about how my husband has successfully managed his recovery from Sex Addiction, but the deep wounds that his addiction caused still remain.

I have been married 8 years. Four years ago, my husband admitted to sleeping with prostitutes and strippers, as well as an enormous porn and sex chat addiction, during the first four years of our marriage, including during both of my pregnancies.

It has been an incredible rollercoaster. At the time, we were living in North Carolina so that he could go to graduate school; we had no friends or family or community, and we had a toddler and a newborn.

He confessed “everything” after I caught him trying to send a photo of his penis to some stranger via email. I look back and realize that my calm, fairly together response was, in reality, shock and trauma. It did not compute.

I felt that way for a long time. At worst, I concluded that my initial reaction of calm and of, say, not throwing him out of the house and immediately filing for divorce was a sign of hope, of being able to overcome this, of my love for him, of commitment, etc. I think really, it was just absolutely shock.

My husband did take responsibility and showed great willingness to recover. While, in the past 4 years, there have been some porn-related slips, there has been no more cheating, so far as I can tell.

My reason for believing him is the difference in reaction he has had over the years – he’s not defensive, doesn’t fight my accusations, is calmly open to my questions, feels I have the right to my feelings, etc. He acts like someone with nothing to hide.

We have been in counseling for 4 years. We’ve had ups and downs, but have been generally successful in recovering this marriage. Still, we recently separated for a few months because I had to face the fact that, while things are better, stable, peaceful, even good… to say the magic is gone is an understatement, at least for me.

I had to face the fact that while we both shared a pain about all of this, he has the privilege of still being madly in love with me, of seeing me intact and good and worthy, and I remain…broken.

I needed space to just focus on me, think about alternatives, etc. He moved out for a few months, we co-parented our boys (now ages 4 and 6), we drafted a legal separation agreement. We were able to experience, and imagine, what divorce and a two-home family would be like.

Separation was painful, but overall okay. Everyone would be okay no matter what direction we ultimately took. I saw that I didn’t have to stay for any fear, but I did see what life would be like if we really did divorce. I saw the big picture, and it was complicated, sobering.

We reconciled in June 2011. At first, the relief of reconciling was wonderful and I thought that the separation was really the last ingredient of moving past all this, and being happy again. Its been two months and I’m back to trying to wrap my head around this marriage.

On the one hand, things are good. They really are. And he’s a better man, father, and spouse for all that we have struggled together. The man he is today is a kind, loving, generous, sweet, intelligent, successful man. Our home is peaceful. And he is the father of my children, and a good father. Our boys are happy. We don’t have to sell the house, our home remains intact. These are all good things.

On the other hand, I see the marriages of my friends and family members and, while they are not perfect and while I know that I can never really know what goes on in other marriages, there is a sort of… lack of utter brokenness that I miss, that I know I can never regain with my husband, and that makes me so sad.

I do love my husband. I have gained a new respect for him because of these years of hard work. But I am sad. I am just sad at the whole thing. You know that feeling like, if you could do it all over again, of course you’d marry him? That, despite his flaws, he’s “The One”? That you just accept him for all he is, and he accepts you, and that is what love is? I feel like I will never quite have that.

Would I marry him all over again? Ummm, no. No I would not. I would have married my ex-boyfriend if I knew then what I know now. Is he the love of my life, the One? Well, my “the One” certainly wouldn’t have spent 4 years screwing hookers. Is my life better because of him?

Well, I’d have to qualify that. Given reality, given our children and our family and our professional dreams and so on, my life, as it is today, is better/easier/more supported with him than without him. And, in truth, I see him for who he is TODAY and I don’t want to lose that man. I don’t want someone else to enjoy a life with this recovered/recovering, stable, matured version of him.

Isn’t this all so sad? But its like being between a rock and a hard place. Its either accepting this sadness and moving forward with what is otherwise good, or going through the pain, complication, and destruction of a divorce, a two-home co-parenting relationship, of introducing (eventually) new people, new family systems, into this increasingly complicated situation, a greater financial burden… and no less sadness.

I don’t want that either. I don’t even want to lose him.

Anyway, that is where I am at. And I don’t know what more to expect, or how to think about all of this. I think I am at a place where I do believe a marriage can survive. I do believe a sex addict can recover. I do believe there is life, together, beyond D-day and that the two people can even grow stronger, more real, than before.

But that the sadness never goes away. That you accept a life of peace and contentment, but not happiness. Am I just not out of the process yet? Is happiness still possible? I thought we were out of the woods.

I am fairly crushed to realize that, after all of this, even after risking separation and reconciling, the brokenness remains, perhaps for always.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this. It’s all good to know. Maybe, in time, it will prove to be a different kind of happiness that’s just as happy.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I, too, have the same feelings. I am so glad things are working out for you. My situation is not as fortunate. After 3 yrs with my SA, (We will be married 2 in April) I am still experiencing lieing, deception, and failure to disclose. My husband is 68 and I will be 70 in March. I think the older an SA is the more difficult it is to see change. He was never in heavy duty stuff like prostitution, but had a porn issue with obese women and domination/submission. To the best of my knowledge, he has not been engaged in that since a year ago August. He does still have an active fantasy network regarding this fetish, and just more recently disclosed that to me. His other issue is objectifying women, and that has improved, as well. Unfortunately, the underlying personality disorder (Borderline Personality Disorder) has reared it’s ugly head and he is very angry, feels controlled and displaces that anger onto me.
    We are both in counseling, and my SA has just begun to “get it” in terms of wanting recovery for his life. It is probably too late for him. We are living in separate bedrooms, and I am thinking of divorce because of the intolerable temper issues, his inability to connect with me intimately, and the lieing.
    I think it would be difficult to ever “forget” as you put it, but I really think if my husband had initially disclosed everything, adopted a truth and integrity rather than revealing bits and pieces, things might be different.
    Be thankful your husband took such a pro-active approach to recovery. I know my therapist told me it is possible to forgive, but a spouse can probably never forget the atrocites that happened to her. I think yours is one of the few success stories, so hopefully, even though you will never forget, you can get over the saddness and get back that true love you once had. I feel if my husband had done as well as yours, I could do it.
    Hugs,
    Sharron

    1. Courageous woman. I am a mental health professional I wouldn’t even want to live near a borderline personality let alone marry her. I see how one can find out later but is a real tough proposition. Good luck.

    2. I am so happy to finally see some older women on these sites. Most of the time it’s much younger women who haven’t been married very long. They have nothing in common with me & therefore they rarely even respond to me. My husband & I are both in our early 60s. We have been married 30 yrs. I discovered him viewing pornography which led to him constantly objectifying women out in public, about 8 yrs ago. He was watching porn in our house, with kids still living at home & I was livid & very hurt. We had a great sex life before porn, but it wasn’t great anymore. He refused me most of the time but when he did agree, he would treat me like a porn star, but not even be able to get an erection. Porn made him completely impotent. I gave him an ultimatum, porn or me. He said he would give up the porn. I asked him if he was addicted & he told me that he might have been heading down that road, but felt he caught it just in time. I believed him because 4-5 yrs later, I had not caught him watching porn anymore. However, he was still impotent, but told me he thought it was his age. I thought maybe he’s right. I didn’t know. One day, I began feeling creeped out. My husband is upper management at work. I always felt he was safe from porn at work, until I read an article about a guy who was humiliated in his town, when he was fired from his job from viewing porn at work. When my husband came home I asked him if he was viewing porn at work. At first he said no, but finally he spilled the beans & I almost died. He never quit porn. He quit porn at home to hide it from me, & began viewing at work instead. The reason he came clean with me is he told me he hadn’t viewed it in 3 months & wanted help to get out of it. To make a long story short, he has been in recovery 2 yrs now. He is proud as a peacock at his recovery. He tells me how happy he is now & how much he loves me. But, even though everything is calm & peaceful, I too feel like something is missing. Something is preventing me from being happy too. I feel as though our 30 yr marriage was a lie, & that we lost something long ago that will never come back. One woman told me that I have to consider my old marriage dead, & start a new one in order to be happy. She said I will never be happy by pining for things in the old relationship that will never be what I wanted in marriage. To start a new relationship is to begin again from scratch. She told me to renew my wedding vows if I have to & consider that day as the beginning of our new relationship, our new marriage. I’m not sure it’s that simple with a 30 yr marriage behind me. He turned out to be a man that I never would have married if I knew what the future with him would bring. Some people say to me “It’s only porn; it could have been worse”. But you know what? Betrayal is betrayal whether it’s prostitutes, strippers, pornography or other sexual betrayals. When your husband makes other women the object of his sexual pleasure, instead of you, it’s as bad as getting slammed in the face with a bag of bricks. Extreme, unrelenting sadness & pain is all you feel & I don’t know if it will ever end.

      1. I’m glad you wrote Jeanie. I am in the middle of a divorce after a 34 year marriage. Sad beyond belief. For the last 10 years after discovery, I believed my H who gave a great ‘fake’ attempt at recovery- leading me to believe that compulsive masterbation was his only issue. Not so. He went down the road of many deviant behaviors- porn, prostitution, adult bookstores where men exchange sexual activity with one another. He was a master of deceit, massive amounts of lying- and blaming . But you would never suspect as he presents so well- witty, humorous, had a successful career… There are lots other women like us that have been in long term marriages- if you join the web site you see mentioned on this homepage called ‘Sisterhood of Support”. I can promise you it is well worth every penny.. You will gain lots of true information, wisdom and support- regardless if you choose to stay with your H or not. It has saved my sanity- I’ve been on it since March. Hope to see you there Jeanie.

      2. To say I understand and feel so many of the feelings I see here is so much more than an understatement. I married my very best friend 15 years ago. I could never have asked for more, I thought. I am now 60 and he is 9 years younger than myself.I had been married before to someone exactly like my dad. I was brought up in an extremely abusive, neglectful, alcoholic home so I had a lot of scars from past that I worked on healing for 2 decades. My husband came with numerous bills attached to him, I didnt know why. Id always worked hard, saved, raising my 3 children on my own. He had said it was this and that. For about 8 years he was just the most caring person. Little by little, he got grouchier, distant, never really there, then he became very passive aggressive and just angry. Several times during about a 2 and a half year period that he did this, and then of course he would “come back” for awhile and be the person he used to be, I’d say to my mom, I can’t stay married like this ma, I don’t know who he is anymore. He kept telling me it was all in my head, it was me, if only I did this or didn’t do this, I really could’t do anything right. I kept having these “feelings” in my gut that he was cheating and I’d dream it too. I’d wake up and I would tell him and he’d be like Annie , of course not, I’d never ever do that, I love you.One of my best friends, my sons too, had always come over to my house, 2 or 3 times a week. Stuff was just getting weird. One night, it was the way he was looking at her, I staight up asked him if he was messing with her. No NO NO Annie, NEVER would I do that. Three days later she came to my house and pretended to be upset and started to cry. She told me how him and her never planned for it to go that far. They didn’t have sexual intercourse but kissing and touching in my home while I was in the hospital. I found out later she was a sex addict too. So was my husband, hed been oggling women, using porn, masturbating, and it turned into more and more. and then sex texting with my girlfriend Then it turned into they were talking, flirting, and suggesting everything all day long. That was app 5 and a half years ago, she’s now 30. My whole world crashed, I went through something I will never be fully able to explain. My entire lousy childhood of no one caring, not feeling love or being wanted and everyone was better than me flooding me beyond anyone’s imagination. I tethered many times on the edge. We found a sex addicts group , one for men, and one for women who were shattered by it. As I realized the enormity of his problem and that I didn’t even know this man at all, I was again shattered. Over and over again. This group of women became my lifeline. 2 and a half years we went to weekly meetings and I watched my husband grow into an incredible man. He knows how to use the tools he learned to keep his head and heart “clean.” I learned things I would not accept initially. Every once in awhile though I feel him kind of move away again. We have a long talk and are very open about everything and he doesn’t get angry. The problem is that 2 years ago we renewed our vows because I needed a new beginning, our first marriage was not real. Sad to say, we sometimes have communication and then it goes away but even with the renewal, he hasn’t wanted to sleep with me now for almost 3 years. I’ve heard it called sexual anorexia common in sex addicts. Even though he has been genuinely “open and honest” about things, lately I find myself checking on him. I hate it. I will never ever be the same , we will never be the same and no I wouldn’t want to be where we were BUT it can ever be better, it can never be innocent again, I will never believe in a lot of things again. This was my prince, my everything. I love him but what a trade-off.What a farce. Trust me I understand just about all there is to understand about a sex addict now. But its bouncy bouncy, back and forth. Your feelings after the flesh has been torn off of your body, the scars, the bruises. Yes I have forgiven him, yes Ive claimed any of my own stuff, but dear God I never ever deserved this. No one does. I know hes a better man now and I see it and I love him for it, I love the person but I don’t even know whats left anymore. So sad.

  3. Your letter could not have come at a better time for me! I have been married to my husband for 5 years now. This is my second marriage and his third. He has been in recovery for his sex addiction now for 3 years. I thought that I could handle all of the issues that have come our way while he’s been in recovery. The reality is that I am just tired of having to deal with his excuses and ‘reasons’ for being a SA. I feel like I have been ‘collateral damage’ in all of this! It is so easy for him to defer to his addiction to explain his actions. I guess the bottom line is that my own happiness truly does depend on me. We are both in our fifties, each has grown children and we have secure, stable jobs. In other words, I have nothing keeping me from leaving. I do love him and I do admire what he has accomplished for himself in his recovery. I just DO NOT trust him completely. He had lied to me in the past and I had always caught him in his lies. He never came clean on his own….I always ended up confronting him. As for now, well, he pulled a stunt on me today that was upsetting. He apologized almost immediately but I can’t help feeling that he apologized to protect himself because it was what he thinks I wanted. I really am tired of dealing with this! He knows that I am considering separation and says that he supports anything that will make me healthy. I agree with the statement by you that says that HE gets to be madly in love with me yet I feel like the broken one. I know that my tolerances for him and forgiveness have been stretched to the limit. I have always been the reasonable one that would be understanding and would put my feelings aside to support him. I can see now how destructive that has been to me. I am getting to a place where feeling numb is better than feeling sad. I do not want that in my life! I have been a happy and passionate person before and I plan on being that same person again! I refuse to let my husband’s addiction, recovery or not, play a part in MY health and well-being. I will not sit on the sidelines and let life unfold around me because I am too afraid to do something for myself. I care for my husband but I need to care for myself first! I will go forward with the separation and spend some quality time with ME. I have no expectations and will see what life offers without all the drama, tension and sadness.

    1. Sandra, just want you to know that there is a life waiting for you.

      I got out from under my SA’s oppressive, depressive, suppressive energy after 30 years of loving him completely and in an instant having it blown up in my face. It was hard and I tried to support recovery, but it was just life sentence. I looked into the future and saw him at age 75 sneaking away to look at porn and jerk off, and calling it a relapse and saying he was sorry and telling me loved me, blah blah blah. And I decided I didn’t want to live on pins and needles, waiting for his next “lapse” as the treatment folks like to call it. It’ not a lapse to me. It’s finding him in the middle of the night in darkened room, nose against the computer screen, trance-like face, right arm going at it with his penis, pants open. And me enduring bad sex,if I get any at all, and being told I”m sick and a co-addition. That’s what it is. And I’m not interested. The SA’s and their therapists can all go off and have a “lapse” for all I care.

      So I have a good life now. Less money for sure. Much better life, though. I’m safe. I’m happy again. I enjoy life. I do thing I was depressed to do before. I even found love, unexpectedly. I can plan my life, count on my life, and his ugliness is not abusing me anymore.

      Get out and go get your life.

      1. Hi,
        Thank you for posting the words that you said and they way you said them. It made me laugh a bit! (which I haven’t for years now). I have been married for 33 years now and 2 1/2 years ago, in May of 2012, found my husband with his faithful Samsung tablet under the covers. Eeek!
        It was quite sobering. I thought I would be angry and go crazy at the time but I know now I was in shock. Since 2008 he started secretly drinking, taking prescription medicine, sleeping pills because of his anxiety. Now I know that he was so anxious because he was constantly doing porn and all the crud that goes with it.
        The other big thing is we are Christians and have been going to the same church since 1988. We loved going to church and knowing the Lord. I was finally happy and it seemed like we were so very blessed. In 2002 he got a job working as one of the Pastors at our church and it went downhill ever since.
        Needless to say they let him go from the church in April of this year. I am having such a hard time finding help and anyone to talk to. I let him break me down and affect my relationship with God.
        Well too much to say at this time but thanks again for sharing and I pray you find love, happiness, and your heart completely healed.

      2. Diane,
        I was commenting on your response as making me laugh a bit. I have never actually wrote on one of these sites before.

        For the person who wrote the response my heart goes out to you and hope you will find true happiness. I know God has put men and woman together but I don’t understand WHY all these men are so fake and unfaithful? There has always been people cheating on each other but it seems like the INTERNET has made it RAMP UP a millions times more. The TV is a great influence too. Men are dumb and think that is how life is suppose to be and how women are suppose to look.
        My prayer is that there will be a GREAT STAND AGAINST INTERNET PORNAGRAPHY and this SEXUAL ADDICTION that is hitting our world like a Tsunami! Something has to be done because it is rampant even in the churches.. May God send us help in Jesus Mighty Name. Save our husbands, sons, and daughters.

      3. thank you for this site and your openness and honesty. !7 years of nightmare “trying to make things work” Finally the third time i filed for divorce, i followed through. Thank God it’s over. My ex did the same prostitutes, sex chat, heavy demented porn use. etc etc. … I honestly don’t know, and never will the whole extent. No remorse, no shame. They can say there is… but prove it. That was the one phrase the made me stand my ground finally, “Believe what they do, not what they say”. Two kids, and i stayed thinking it was best, knowing now it only did more damage, because i only got more damaged as time went on. Now its time to live, embrace life, give back and be thankful for every moment. Thank you so much for sharing. It can feel so lonely on this journey.

    2. Hi everyone, me and my husband have been together from last 10 years. I knew he had a bad character but believed that I could fix him. I’m being punished for the silly decision to be with him even after catching him so many times. I feel pissed off from myself most of the time. I don’t know in which Layla land I was. I think this was the effect of rubbish love stories of true love. Whatever it is, I had observed red flag so many times but couldn’t set the boundaries. He kept on violating boundaries. I love laughing a lot but resigned to the tears after being in relation because I didn’t have healthy role model while I was growing up and thought he had the right to treat me like a shit. He would verbally abuse me even in small things. I lost my self respect and dignity. I’m an independent women but developed unhealthy relational habit due to abnormal relationships. He is very controlling and emotionally abusive. I always suspected but never had proof. 3 years back I found him cheating on me. I took him back without any valid reason. 2years back he slept with stranger I again forgave him because after doing lot of research I found out he was indeed a sex addict. I had hope that he will be improved but now I feel he is never serious about it. I always took him back for nothing. This made me doormat for him. I tried to leave him so many times since last year but he managed to stop me somehow. He is a very skilled manipulator as well. He never kept the vows of our marriage. He is very opportunistic kind of person. Few months ago I went to see the counsellor, she was very good and asked me to better leave because if he wants to change then he will change I don’t have to worry. I started feeling better and planned to leave but he was again successful to lure me back. I’m very emotional kind of person and I think he had taken a very good advantage of me. I wonder if he ever loved me even for 1sec during all these years of being together. Worst part he knows how to push my buttons :(. Anyways finally I have decided to leave but I keep on thinking about future ridiculously. This makes me weak from inside. One thing I realised he doesn’t even give shit about me when he is on his own. How did I let him do what he wants with my emotions all these years? I feel so bad. I often feel lonely so that I would love to hear some kind words from you ladies. I also would like keep on sharing my good and bad times with you ladies for some moral support. I can’t explain to any near and dear ones on how hard time I’m having at the moment which makes me feel more depressed.

  4. Sandra – I think you have made a very wise decision to separate yourself from the situation. I am just now filing for divorce 3 yrs. after discovery. We want so much to believe what our husband’s tell us, but sometimes even that is not enough. It is difficult to forgive and forget.
    If your husband is in a 12-step program, I am afraid that is what the program is about. I am not a 12-step advocate because they seem to use their addiction as an excuse, and they can’t quite help themselves. “I have an addiction.” They also promote co-dependency in spouses, and we are not co-dependent-just love our h’s and work with and have high hopes for recovery. Many times to our demise.
    My h was the same. Never disclosed and kept lieing until I had him cold turkey, then he would finally admit it. I know it is hard to trust when you have been betrayed. Step away from it all and see what happens. Your gut will tell you the truth, so rely on it.
    Sounds like you are in a good place. It takes years for an SA to get to the point where they can even manage their addiction. You need time to get away and see if that is really what you want to deal with.
    Hugs,
    Sharron

  5. I know where you’re coming from. I married a man 8 years ago knowing he had a problem with sex addiction. I thought I was prepared. I couldn’t see what was at the bottom of the cliff I was jumping off of. My husband still struggles with his addiction 8 years later. I’m not sure I know what it is to have a marriage of trust, because I’ve never had it. Only the hope of something better out there in the future somewhere and mostly dependent on his actions and choices. That your husband has made a choice to stay clean and choose you over the addiction is so wonderful! Don’t forget that. You are loved.

    As for your concerns and sadness, I really understand that part too. It really isn’t fair for them to have a “soft place to land” when they are with us while all we see is filth and pain when we look at them. Men forget emotions so easily and we remember every slight detail good or bad. I have had to remake my reality and my expectations of the perfect marriage so many times over the last few years, I some days question what I want any more. But this I do know. I can’t rely on my husband for my happiness in life. He is too wrapped up in his own problems to give that to me. So I make my life what I want it to be and if he chooses to walk with me in that direction he’s welcome. I stopped waiting for him to make a decision to catch up a long time ago.

    Second, I had to accept that life isn’t fair. I will always do more housework, more child care, more worrying about the future, more everything literally than him. I figure if I was on my own I’d have to do all of that anyway. It pisses me off but once you accept that life isn’t fair you can move forward.

    Third, on the trust issue, I haven’t quite reached the point in my relationship where I’d even remotely think about trusting my husband with anything – but it sounds like you’ve reached the point in your relationship where starting to give back some of that trust has come to the table. I just read a book called Love you hate the porn that had some things in it that make some sense. It’s about healing a marriage after infidelity like this. One of the tools is for you to try to stay physically close to each other… like reading or watching tv in the same room together, holding hands, connecting when you come and go. I can’t remember the specifics but there is something in our female self that even when we hate someone we still need support… and if we hate the main person that is our best option for support then there is a problem… but strangely enough science has found that staying physically close (not sleeping together close) even with a partner we’re not happy with helps. It’s just another tool in the toolbox, but maybe it will be of some use to you. You’re not alone in this there are others feeling the same way.

  6. Dear Even After Recovery,

    Perhaps assuming a different position in time will help you to make the decision. I will be 50 in a month. I found my husband’s stash 2.5 years ago, after 23 years of marriage. I invite you to step into the shoes of a 50 year old woman for just a second…..

    Look back over your life…..the 20 plus years you wasted trying to make the lies work. The opportunities lost because despite the problems, I decided to stay in a terrible marriage. The kids who never had a father.

    You think your “husband” is in recovery. They are phenomenal liars. Please be careful. Don’t waste your life chasing a fantasy that doesn’t exist. Sex addicts are self-centered 12 year olds in mens bodies. That doesn’t change overnight. I’m afraid you’ve fallen for a carefully re-crafted facade.

    My best, Betty

  7. Thanks to all for the support! It is a great feeling to know that I am not alone in this challenge. For the record, I am 53 years old and consider myself a strong woman with a pretty happy life when I’m not dealing with my sex addict husband. The issue has been the very fact that I have been dealing with this. Yes, we all bring baggage and issues to relationships. The only problem in my situation is that I fell in love with a man who chose deception and secrecy to cover his addiction. I have always thought of myself as an open and forgiving person. I try to look at all the angles. I have tried to be generous and understanding. What I got in return was a husband that must have thought all of my traits were weaknesses. Being kind does NOT translate into weakness. In fact, when I really stopped to consider everything that has been happening, it is my husband that is weak. I still stand strong and feel good about who I am! I will not judge my husband anymore. He is in a recovery program and feels that it is working for him. I told him that I will never really know if the program is working because SA’s are so good at hiding and deceiving. He often looks hurt when I say these things but, as I have told him, he’s NEVER been on the receiving end of the hurt and humiliation. He’s never had to wonder if he was enough for me. He never had to feel that he was being objectified. He never had to wonder why the hell he should put up with this crap! It is basically very simple now. I am chosing my health and happiness without him rather than the constant worry of WHEN he makes another decision to ‘fall off the wagon’. I have a daughter that is almost 30 and I have thought to myself…what would I tell her if she was in the same predicament as me? The answer is easy. Leave the bastard and concentrate on YOUR life!

    1. AMEN, SISTER! I have often asked myself what I would tell my 23 year old daughter if she came to me and related the story/situation I find myself in….and inevitably, the answer is LEAVE THE BASTARD and get on with your life.

      Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to see clearly when you step out of the equation and substitute someone you love more than life itself?

      My best to you, Betty

    2. Dear Sandra no they arent ever on the recieving end. You are! And u r the one who has to live your life according ton his addiction, mood swing, and name another 2 dozen things. What a mess they create!

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. I still have occasional ambivalence and sadness about my recovering sex addict husband. It’s been ten years of recovery, and with the exception of couple of slips at the beginning, he’s been sober. I believe him about that. My discovery was complicated because he was in the midst of a life threatening illness when he told me about the addiction. In addition, he said it was “only” compulsive masturbation and some porn. Because he wasn’t “acting out” with third parties, in his mind the “only compulsive masturbation” didn’t make it something I had a right to know about before we were married. Getting into recovery was more concerned with being right with God in the face of death than anything to do with me. I had often felt peripheral in his vision, at times completely invisible, and the addiction explained a lot after I allowed myself time to think about it. I was very calm at first too, partly because his illness was front and center, but also because of an unconscious dissociation from the painful reality of what it would mean to me. I think that allowed me to be available to tend to him without anger or bitterness in his recovery from the sudden illness which led to the disclosure. It wasn’t until later I began to see what had been lost: the heart to heart intimacy that most of us hope to have in a marriage but that sex addiction precludes, many of my dreams that I subordinated to “us” thinking we were in it together, my trust in him and belief that he actually loved the real me. We had been married almost fifteen years when he told me. Like you, I eventually had to realize that had he been honest with me, I wouldn’t have married him with an active sex addiction. The deception at the very beginning of our life together has really been the most difficult for me to accept, a deception he continues to justify to a degree. The “only compulsive masturbation” blinded him then, and still does to an extent. He doesn’t fully comprehend the distortion that living in an auto-erotic fantasy world does to the ability to give to another or see someone else as a person in her own right and the total block to real intimacy it creates. He could never honestly connect with me or be fully present or vulnerable; it was always a performance to some degree, and I was more or less an object to be possessed and manipulated to his will and desires. I admire his recovery and in many other ways also. I like him a lot, love him too, and want to stay married. But I have lost the desire for deeper intimacy with him. I don’t exactly keep my heart guarded and protected, but I’m not really looking for that deep connection with him anymore. The “crazy-making” is gone that goes along with the dishonesty of a double-life. I’m not second-guessing my own sense of things and I don’t have the “something doesn’t seem quite right” feeling I so often had but couldn’t explain or the feeling that he didn’t really “have my back”. I’m lonely in the marriage at times though we have peace, harmony and good times of great fun and enjoyment. I accept that as good enough and no longer have the expectation of a “soul mate.” So, the sadness is there for me too, but not all the time. It springs from a recurring “what I wish had been, but will never be” acknowledgement of a dashed hope. But having said that, on most days I can accept the less than ideal, and I have to say my life is very good and I feel blessed most of the time. Our marriage is more side by side than heart to heart, but that is still good; it works well and I suspect that many, perhaps even most, marriages are more that way than the “soul-mate, love story” of our dreams. The sadness is only one current, like the cold that can come rippling out of nowhere while swimming in an otherwise warm sea. It just is; it doesn’t make me want to get out of the water and quit swimming. I feel the cold, no doubt about it, and sometimes it’s really dominant, but being in the buoyant ocean, with so much beauty all around me, able to splash and float and jump the waves with him at my side keeps me in the swim, even when the cold current hits. I’ve arrived at a new “normal” and I’m happy there. His sobriety is important to him, regardless of me, and I’m supportive of that and trust that he’s telling me the truth about his recovery. I don’t consider myself co-addicted and don’t do groups, though I sampled that pathway in the beginning, and found it somewhat helpful, but haven’t felt the need for it long term. I have no desire to look for someone else. He’s my guy—if not the man of my dreams, the man of my life, and I’m happy I’ve stayed with him.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Margaret–a dose of the reality of life with a recovering addict and something we all need to consider.

    2. Thank you for this. I can relate to everything you said from the second guessing of my own sense of things (not worried about him acting out – just trying to figure out how I feel) to the groups (they did help in the beginning when there was drama and fear but now don’t feel the need to micro or manage his life). Your analogy about the current of cold water in an otherwise warm sea is beautiful. I don’t want to quit swimming – it is just a gentle reminder that my life is not quite what I expected. I am not yet at the place where I can def. say “He’s my guy” but I am going to keep on swimming with an open mind and see where it leads me. We are only into year 1 of recovery. At the beginning, I wanted an award or diploma to say that is all over, we had finished our therapy/classes and now we can get back to normal. But, you are right, this is my new normal.

    3. Margaret, thank you for your story. It could easily be mine. My husband is fully embracing recovery in a very expensive rehab facility. It’s been a very difficult and costly road to bring him to want sobriety. I’m no longer angry with him, only saddened by the losses incurred by his out of control behavior. I’m a strong woman who is NOT co-dependent, capable of setting boundaries and knowing what’s in my heart. I feel confident that, if he maintains sobriety, I should be able to happily arrive at the same place as you.

      God bless you for speaking your own truth.

    4. Margaret, your experience is somewhat ike mine. After more than 30 years of marriage I found out about my husbands addiction to sex with other men in high risk porn stores and other similar venues. Throughout our marriage he was often emotionally unavailable and abusive. All the while he held himself out to be a man of high moral character and most people admired him. Any criticism by me, even when delivered gently was met with denial, anger and the cold shoulder for days on end. However, there were good things with the bad and even care and generosity on his part. After over $30,000 in counseling for us both, lie detector tests and many tears, I do believe he is on the road to recovery. Continuing lie detector tests are a condition of our remaining together. He has changed dramatically and our life is often happy and satisfying. But, I am now on anti- depressants and still experience emotional devastatation for a while when something happens that causes me to re-experiencing certain emotions of the bad years. PTSD is the only way to describe it. I can forgive the sex part, the emotional abuse is more difficult to overcome. And, as you say, I do not love him the way that would have been possible if the marriage had been healthy., On the other hand, I am free from fear of his anger and no longer feel that I have to walk on eggshells. I am honest when I am hurt or angry and he seems to get it and accept it. On paper life is better than it was before I discovered his betrayal, but the marriage is forever damaged. We are about 15 months post discovery and I hope things will continue to improve. Because of children and grandchildren and his Herculean effort at recovery, I’ve decided that life together is better than life apart, but, while they are fewer and fewer, there are days during which anger, sadness or both are still overwhelming.

      1. Thank you for sharing your story….glad to see I am not alone……My journey has just begun.

  9. I am new to this and feel so supported and affirmed by reading y’alls stories. I found out 3 months ago that my husband was having an affair, then the rest poured out. prostitute in first 6 months of our now 15 year marriage. hand jobs, lap dances, other hook ups. i knew he struggled with porn. i had walked in on him jerking off a couple of times and kicked him to the curb, but only for a day until he came begging back. He was in an accountability group weekly and was a leader in our church. I believed the lie that porn was normal and I should try spicing things up by “going with it”. But this Southern Belle was disgusted by what she saw, the filth and degradation of women. Sex trade victims was all I could think of, and oh my that poor girl, her past must have been so horrible that she’s now spread eagled on some website. After his “full” confession I kicked him out, hotel for 2 weeks, home for holidays, then as I learned more details (was it wise to ask, I was obsessed with knowing it all) I threatened to burn all his things, threw a glass in his vicinity, cursed him up one side and down the other, my rageknew no limits. I did not physically hurt him but probably would have put “it” in a blender had it not been for my love for my 3 young children and sorority sense of decorum. He abandoned his family,spent $$$ on his bachelor pad, filed for separation, and is now insisting he have 50-50 custody before he’ll even consider reconciliation. I pitifully pursued that dream that we could work through this with counseling and faith. But really, why was I the pursuer? The man cheated and lied for years, why cannot I just walk away and cut my losses? because, I am embarassed to admit, I built my life around him, I love him, I believe in hope and God’s ability to restore brokeness. Does that make me a fool? I have ordered every book on amazon regarding SA and am so bewildered by it all. My sense of the world has changed, my naive spirit of innocence has been shattered. I am stuck in the cycle of grief, struggling to regain myself after having the rug pulled out from under me. I went down the self blame road and decided my extra baby weight and laugh lines were not the reason for his addiction, it is his issue. But as his wife, how much is too much in putting up wtih his blaming me and verbal cruelty, when will I know when it’s time to walk away?

  10. Hi FarminMama- Sounds like you have a mess on your hands. You ask when is enough blaming things on you need to stop? RIGHT NOW! As you probably have read by now, all SA’s are great at projecting their problems onto the spouse. They have no sense of cause and effect, and from reading your story your h fits the mold of all the others.
    HE WANTS 50-50 custody before HE will consider reconcilliation??? HE is not in any position to bargain.
    Tell him to grow up and be a big boy, get some sex addiction counseling, kick his ass to the curb, and tell him IF and WHEN he is able to meet those boundaries and show you he is sincerely working on recovery, maybe-just-maybe YOU might consider a reconciliation.
    Those are just my words-I wouldn’t give your h a 1st chance, let alone a 2nd. He not only is a confirmed sex addict, he is an arrested state of development. You don’t need it!! Get rid of him.
    I am so sorry you have to go through this – the deception, and constant lies. Do you really think you could ever trust him? They always say, “Look at their behavior, not their words – you h doesn’t even profess the words.
    I am so sorry. Please get some counseling for yourself to deal with the trauma bestowed upon you by a non caring egotistical maniac-I believe Narcissistic is the word.
    Sorry to be so harsh, but it doesn’t sound like you have anything to work with.
    We are all here for you to vent and learn. Also, a great site is S.O.S. if you care to join. I have been on both sites for over a year, and I cannot began to tell you the love and support I have received.
    You can too.
    Love and prayers coming your way.

    Sharron

  11. Farminmama,

    You will know its time to leave, when you begin to love yourself more than him. Many of us have built our lives around a man who behaves in this reckless manner– long, long marriages. There’s no quick fix. Take it in small stages. You can! Yes! hugs and love, Holly

  12. I’m sat here at my computer sobbing and in tears – I’m so lost and desperate. I can’t believe for the first time in 10 years I’ve found people who know how I feel. I can’t be bothered to go into the details of my husbands antics, the promises, the secrets and bullcrap that I’ve fed over the years. I’ve supported him, stood by him, been there when HE was sobbing about how he wanted to end it all, sat there and comforted him when he told me that porn and prostitutes/escorts were his ‘escapism’ from real life.
    I hate feeling weak – I hate feeling lost but why am I still here? Because I’m 33 next week, no children and I’m scared I’ll miss the boat if I leave him. He’s a kind, caring, thoughtful man and I care for him so deeply, but it’s too much now. I can’t cope. I’m in tears most days trying to come to terms with the brokenness I feel.
    I can totally relate to the article at the top – that sense of loneliness and hurt – I just feel so isolated. This year he admitted he had a real problem after years of denial and me finding evidence – and this year it was supposed to have been a turning point for him.
    He says I need to move forward, that everything will be ok if we both work on our relationship and try to move on. He gets angry that I can’t forgive him and that I can’t move on – I understand dragging it up all the time isn’t helpful but how can I when I know he is using an electronic stimulation device to masturbate most days while I’m out (sex is now officially a non-event!). He’s on anti-depressants and says he feels happier and ‘fixed’ – well what about me?!! I am really starting to think this is the end – but I’m such a weakling that I can’t even bear to think about ending it! Where will I go, what will I do?
    Can anyone help? I’m so sorry for going on, but I just need to work out what to do for the best. Stay and help save our marriage or cut my losses?

  13. Hi Louise-I am so sorry for you. Dealing with an SA is very traumatic. You say your h is a loving and caring person, but that is pretty typical for an SA. They learn early on to put forth a false persona to the world and hide their dark side. This man is not the man you thought you married-That is the sad part.

    You have been hit with total devestation, deception and trauma-I totally feel your pain. You are NOT weak.
    He is telling you the two of you have to work on the relationship, move forward and everything will work out?? I don’t think so!! Your h is still in denial and active addiction-he needs help, and he cannot do it by himself or with you helping him. Says you need to get over your anger and forgive and he is still doin his thing?? He is fixed?? No way-no how. It takes a lot more than anti-depressants and “feeling good” to get an addict on the road to recovery.

    Is your husband willing to see a Sex Addiction Therapist? He did not get this way overnight, and he will not get over it overnight. Should your h decide to get out of denial and be motivated for recovery, He will have years and years of psychotherapy ahead of him to deal with his issues. He probably has an underlying personality disorder, as well, which will have to be dealt with.

    Unfortunately, once an addict always an addict. Your h has an addicted brain. The best you can hope for is that he can learn to manage his addiction, and that will only be with motivation and the desire to do the work it takes. Most SA’s do not hsve that drive and motivation. Do you really want to go through all this with him? He will endure many slips and relapses while working on years of recovery, should he decide to do so, and you will also be dealing with more lieing and deception. The lieing is the last to go – if ever.

    You are young and have your entire life ahead of you. You deserve much more than he can ever give you. Why put yourself through this. There are many “Normal” men out there who can provide you with the love you need and deserve. Your h is not normal! SA’s do not have the ability to show love or intimacy-They have spent years using addiction as their coping mechanism to avoid intimacy-Sex Addiction is an Intimacy Disorder- Love is not in their vocabulary.

    My advice is get some counseling for yourself with someone who deals with SA. Do you have a support system through family and friends? You might want to think about joining S.O.S.-Sisterhoodofsupport.com. JoAnn is also the Administrator of that site. She is the most caring person I have ever met, and will also hop in and answer your posts. That site is strictly confidential, so you can feel safe in saying anything you need to say. The Sister’s on the site are also very knowledgeable, loving and supportive. It was a God send for me.

    If I were you honey, I would cut your losses and RUN RUN RUN! In the meantime get that counseling to help you deal with the trauma and also so you can make an informed decision on whether to stay or leave.

    In the meantime, we are here for you day and night if you just need to vent.

    Love and hugs coming your way,

    Sharron

  14. It’s incredibly heartbreaking to see how many great women end up with selfish SAs. I too have a similar story… been married 6 years and I found out last year that the love of my life had a secret life. My husband was obsessed with chatting, pornography, and had about 40 affairs, one that became an emotional affair for over 3 months… the hardest thing for me to overcome is that he even brought women into my home. His addiction had no boundaries. As many of us know the feelings are completely overwhelming. My husband immediately went into counseling and immersed himself into our church. I see slight changes that he is making, but I don’t know if I will ever feel even close to the way I felt about him. In one word I still feel completely broken. I would have walked away from the marriage, but we just had our first baby earlier this year which makes things a little more complicated. My husband I’m sure like many others swears that he is done with that life and that he more than anything wants to be a family. Some days I feel like I’m going bipolar…. sometimes I can stay in the moment and be civil with him and others I wish he never came into my life and I feel very angry. My husband had this addiction before we married but of course that isn’t something you disclose to your future wife. I know the bible says to forgive, but I often feel like how fair is it that he had his fun and games for the last 4 years while I have been monogamous our whole marriage and now he’s ready to play husband and dad? Financially I’m ok, I’m a young professional, and I have a wonderful support system with friends and family.. so I wonder why I should stay with him? My therapist says that most couples that go through something like this get stronger, but I’m having a really hard time seeing the future. I know I still love him, but the love is very different. I feel like I’m standing at the fork in the road and I’m very confused about which path I should take like most women. A speck inside of me wants to believe in him still, but I don’t want to be blinded by a skilled manipulator again. What a mess, are there any normal guys left?

    1. Hi Jane,
      As I am reading through all the posts on this site, I was wondering how things have turned out for you. I saw that you were waiting to think on things through last summer. How did that go? And what is your status now?
      Blessings,
      Mary Beth

  15. Jane-You say your husband has had 40 affairs, chat rooms, porn, and has even brought women into your house. Your Counselor tells you a marriage can even become stronger after going through something like that??? That would pre-suppose your husband can change-most can’t. As far as the Bible goes, it does say to forgive, but can you ever forget? You can look at your husband as a man with a mental illness, feel empathy towards him for that, but who would want to go through the years it will take for him to learn to manage his addiction? Who would want to go through the constant slips and relapses he will have? Who would want to go through more lieing and deception, because until your husband is totally out of denial it will continue. It takes years for the lieing to go away, as well.
    Most of the time, an SA seeks out therapy because they are caught-not because they want to change their behavior. Your husband probably wants to save his marriage, but is he truly sincere about changing. That is something you really need to look at. I think if he is compulsive enough to have 40 affairs and cold enough to bring women into your home, the man is very sick.
    It is just my opinion, but why put yourself through more trauma. How can you ever trust him again? Most likely,he will do it again. I say RUN RUN RUN!!!

    1. Sharron- Yes, you are right my husband does have a serious mental illness. The severity of his addiction blows my mind. I can’t even fathom 99% of the stuff that he did and yes he decided to work on changing his behavior because he got caught. Along with the addictive behavior my husband had other characteristics against him like pride and arrogance. Looking at my husband now, he looks like a broken man. I feel that he truly in his heart wants to change, but the reality is that the addiction had such a strong hold on him that I fear the worse.. and who wouldn’t? I know so much information about what he did the past 4 years because he said in order for us to try and move forward he wanted to be completely honest with me. When I caught him he was chatting with women and to be completely honest I would have never thought that he had had physical affairs. To a certain degree I want to give him credit for opening up to me, but at the same time it’s hard to know all of the stuff he did behind my back. At this point I’m taking it a day at a time and staying strong in my faith to get through this. Thank you for your comment.

  16. Jane,

    Divorcing someone doesn’t mean that you can’t forgive them. Of course you can! And you can even be friends, co-parents, whatever you want. But you sound young and don’t you want a man who is healthy? He married you under false pretenses. The Bible says to forgive, but what does it say about betrayal, telling lies, adultery, and deception? Oh, and as for “immersing himself in the Church.” Sure, that’s fine. But it means absolutely nothing in terms of real recovery. Lots of sex addicts go to Church. In fact, many become addicted to religion; just substituting one addiction for another. Is he not sincere, you may ask? Well, there’s the rub, because we are assuming that he understands the meaning of sincerity, honesty, integrity, and 1000 other things that his brain processes differently. Yes, he puts on a good show. (when he wants to)

    If he had, had cancer before you married and he knew it, don’t you think he would’ve told you? Well, he is mentally ill, and has a virulent sexual addiction, but he forgot to mention that one, didn’t he? It seems that the two of you are operating under different value systems? But, he is not a well man and I’m afraid that Sharron knows what she’s talking about. Its not good news, I understand; its not what you want to hear, but its reality. Oh, and yes, being a single mother would be tough, but think of how you are going to feel with a wasted life with someone who can never be the man you thought he was, but can never be. The therapist is in lala land and you have a wonderful support system and means to support yourself.

    You came here for a reason. Your anger is NORMAL. Your feelings of being nutso, bi-polar, losing your mind are also normal. This is the new now. This is your reality. I believe that you know in your heart what the right thing to do is. Its okay. Its okay to leave. To start over. To protect your young child and your heart. Love yourself as much or more. If this were 30 years from now, and it was your own daughter going through this, what would you tell her?

    stick it out honey… its not that bad. or as wise Sharron said: run, run, run?

    1. Holly- Thank you for your comment. My pastor told me the same thing about church being a safe haven for addicts. Also, I had the same thoughts as you did about how people with an addictive personality turn form one addiction to another. Like I said he has immersed himself in our church when before I was lucky to get him to church with me on Sundays. Like I told Sharron my husband is a broken man, well actually a 12 year old boy. Unlike my amazing support system my husband has nothing if I decide to leave. His mom is in her own world with her own psychological problems, his family never contacts him, and he hardly has any friends because all of his friends were online. Sitting back and looking at the situation, I have come to realize that I pretty much became a mother figure to him. At this point I’m taking it a day at a time. I’m giving it from here to the summer to see how I feel. I definitely know that I don’t want to have a lifetime of this baggage.. it’s ridiculous. After reading many forums it seems that if I don’t get out now I will eventually get out of the relationship because they truly don’t change.

  17. Hi Jane-Thanks for the reply. Sounds like you are taking the time to think things through, and it is good to give it some time and not make a decision based on emotions. You seem to have done your homework on sex addiction and are processing it logically.
    I know it is difficult to not feel sorry for your h -he has no friends or support system, But In the end, you need to take care of yourself and your child. If you take this time to work on healing for yourself, by the summer you should be able to make an informed decision on what you want to do.

    It is a very sad story when a man ends up in such a deviant life-style. But, remember, he chose to lie and deceive you without blinking an eye. Although many might not agree with me, I feel lieing is a conscious choice.If he had come to you before marrying and told you he had a serious problem with addiction, he gave you the choice to make the decision on whether you wanted to marry him or not, and he sought out counseling and was working on active recovery, then I might have some respect for him.

    Just keep your eyes open in the next few months and pay attention to his behavior-not what he tells you. I have a feeling it will become very clear to you that you are dealing with a life-long process, and probably life-long therapy. That is a lot of time at your age to be entangled in this mesh of insanity the SA hands to us. Also, I would not want my child growing up in the atmosphere of sex addiction. As a child gets older, they are very intuitive and have great perceptions as to what is going on in a home. They don’t miss much.
    Good luck with your time of reflexion, and my thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Love,
    Sharron

  18. For the first time I feel like there is really someone who understands how I feel. Your story could be my own. I feel like I am in a lose/lose situation. If I stay (been married 16 years/2 kids) then I will never be able to trust him and always carry a sadness in my heart that my marriage is not everything I would like it to be. If I leave I will be responsible for putting my children and myself through the pain and destruction of divorce. It’s been close to 2 years since my husband’s arrest (solicitation). He is doing everything he can to stay on the right path, but he’s lived a life of lies for SO long that I just don’t know if he is capable of changing. I don’t know what to do. I feel like my desire to reconcile should be back after almost 2 years but it’s just not. I’m just so grateful that there are other women who understand how I feel. My few friends how know, and my counselor, just don’t understand how it feels to live with what I live with every day. I can’t get the images of my husband and the 14 prostitutes he had sex with out of my mind. I’m so sad.

    1. This is a post I also relate so much too. My husband is also 2 years into recovery and whilst there are occasional stories of how men recover and marriages become better than they’ve ever been, I’m so aware that the opposite is FAR more often true. I guess I also take the “one day at a time” philosophy and have stopped wondering/worrying about tomorrow. Whilst I get pangs of sadness when I see long married couples who are clearly still in love I know that’s pretty rare too. My husband is not acting out, hasn’t missed a 12 step meeting since coming clean 2 years ago and now sponsors 2 people himself. He has continued to work at his recovery and has changed in many ways outside the addictive behaviour though I still find it hard to give him any affirmation/praise for this because of the previous deep betrayal/lies. Sometimes it feels like it just takes the smallest thing (ie pretty girl in a short skirt) to make me realise how far I still have to go to heal. I am starting EMDR therapy next week and am hopeful that will help.

      1. Elise,
        I am so happy for you that your husband has been staying sober for 2 years. We have been married for 42 years and I just found out a few months ago that my husband is a SA. For him it started when he was 8 and got worse over time. He was just looking at magazines and porn but he took a high stress job about 8 years ago. The stress kicked his SA into full gear. I found out he was a SA when I was on the phone with a friend when an email popped up on his laptop. It was from a man about what the 2 of them were planning on doing to each other when they hooked up. I couldn’t believe it! I was in shock and yelled at him when he came back into the room. Since he lied to me about everything I looked into his computers more since I knew he wasn’t giving me the truth. I then found out that he had an affair for 3 – 4 years with his best friend’s girlfriend. I could not believe what I was reading or that someone that was so supportive would ever do such a thing. He went from telling me they never having sex, to one time, to a few times to finally 3 – 4 years. I felt I was in the Twilight Zone and Rod Sterling was going to come into the room at any time. I told him if he wanted her that much he could go live with her. He claimed he was supportive to her since she was having issues with her boyfriend in that he was accusing her of cheating on him. I said I have never had any of my friends have sex with me when I needed support and that he helped break up their relationship because of the 2 of then having sex and yes, she was cheating on him. Turned out she had other men she was seeing so I feel she was a SA as well.

        Until I said that he never viewed their sexual encounters as cheating on either one of us just to show how bad his SA was. I did make him get tested and we haven’t had sex since my finding out. He did send an email to his best friend who stopped talking to him even though he stopped seeing the girl and we are in counceling for SA as well as individual and he goes to weekly meetings. He is now 3 months sober and I told him that even though still love him I don’t know if I can live with him due to what he has done.I did tell him if I ever find that he has cheated in any way shape or form I will leave him regardless of our ages. I think too much of myself to keep putting myself in a position of him cheating on me. Right now I have too much anger to see myself staying with him but our councelor said it will take a good 6 months of strong therapy to see a big change. I think it will take longer and it may not help either for me. I did tell my husband that I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place where if I stay with him I have lack of trust and betrayal that will always be there and if I leave I need to release all of his stuff so it doesn’t affect any future relationship I might have otherwise I may be alone the rest of my life so I don;t bring my crap into a relationship and make them pay for the sins of my husband. I don;t know how this will turn out but as far as I am concerned he needs to be sober for at least a year before I even want to think about him touching me again. He is also required to get another HIV, etc test before we even think about having sex since I don’t want to catch anything. We will probably use condoms for safety but I am not going to have issues due to his illness.

  19. I’m only a few weeks into my own discovery, but I knew about my husband’s problem with porn and chatting about 6 years ago. He and I went to couple’s therapy (HUGE mistake – we needed a counselor who had experience in sex addiction). I always thought we were ‘special’ and that he’d NEVER cross over into going to real people. Well, we’ve been married 16 years now, and I just got my full disclosure after I busted him chatting intimately with one of his employees while they played Words with Friends. I refused to back down this time, and told him we’d be getting tested for STDs and signing up for a full disclosure lie detector test. This was the kick in the pants he needed to come clean. This blog saddens me because, well, it’s a sad topic, but mostly because you all sound so hopeless. I urge all of you to become educated on addiction, and use what your head tells you (for example, addicts do NOT choose this lifestyle as one of the commentators above stated), and not what your heart tells you (that you will always feel broken and will never be able to stop picturing him with other women).

    In other words, these men are, believe it or not, good people who are sick. My own husband, for example, was raised by a mother who treated him like a husband (emotional incest), a father who was himself a sex addict, and was sexually abused by a cousin. Simply put, the guy didn’t have a chance of making it through this life without a sex addiction, and all of my love and support weren’t going to be enough. Does that hurt? Yes, but (and please remember this and use it as a mantra): THAT’S HOW ADDICTION WORKS. Does it suck? Oh my goodness, yes. Does it hurt? Um, yes, so deeply I have been curling up on the floor and keening like a baby when the intrusive thoughts get in. But do I believe he can change? Yes, I do! You need to grieve the loss of the marriage you thought you had, and then you need to move on – with or without him. If he’s trying his hardest to get better, and is a different man, you are one of the lucky ones, and I would urge you not to throw him away. I’m one of the lucky ones too, and at this early stage, I can’t tell you if I’ll be able to forgive him, but by God I’m going to try. I only had 4 months of my 16 year marriage before he succumbed to his porn addiction, and that pisses me off. And if he doesn’t do his utmost to get better, he’s out of here, and I know I’ll be fine. But if he goes through the process and beats this thing, I’m going to be the one there to enjoy the fruits, not somebody else.

  20. Hi Ami-All of us on this site and the sister site s.o.s. are very well informed, and I really take it negatively when someone makes a comment like that. We know addiction in and out. I understand that an SA does not choose his addiction, and most have come from dysfunctional families, but who would want to walk by their side for the many years of counseling it takes for recovery. There are too many healthy men out there who can give us the love we deserve. Unless the SA is highly motivated to recover it just does not happen. Even if they are, the recovery rate (Ability to manage their addiction-not cured) is only 5%. The percentages are very low and the statistics for relapse in future years is high. It is a crap shoot.

    My husband was raised in a family absent from love. He was sexually molested by a neighbor, and possibly his mother. He was beaten by his father. He has grown up with abandonment issues. My husband is a good person, but the scars from his childhood cannot be mended. A lot of these men may be good people, but if they cannot overcome their addiction, whether they can help it or not, who would want to put themselves through the years of psychotherapy, the repeated slips/relapses, and the inability of the husband to form intimate relationships/attachments. It is a life long process.

    I have been married for 2 yrs. tomorrow. Last week, I left my husand for the 3rd time. He wants to change, but has not been able to give up his addiction for his marriage. He has been to 12-step programs, 2 yrs. of psychotherapy, and has read all the literature available on SA and his underlying personality disorder.
    I would have liked nothing more than to have a success story with my h. I could not live with the lies/deception, the continuation of trigger’s, and his inability to form a close relationship with me.
    If you go to S.O.S.-Sisterhood of Support, you will read many sad stories (Actually the majority) that have resulted in failure.and post traumatic stress disorder for many of us.

    My opinion is that if we want to remain emotionally and psychologically healthy the only answer is to get out.

    I truly hope your h is one of the few who can beat this dreaded disease, and I commend you in your ability to give up a part of yourself in staying with him. If you want to continue “curling up on the floor and keening like a baby with intrusive thoughts” all the power to you. I choose to stay emotionally healthy and make a life absent from the pain and trauma I have endured by living with my S.A. I’m sorry you feel we sound so hopeless, but those of us who do feel this way have been through hell and back, and yes, it has been hopeless.

    Good luck to you.

    1. Thank you Sharon. I just had my sex addict boyfriend move out of the house and we are breaking up. It is so hard wondering “Am I doing the right thing?”. But I have made the opposite choice (i.e. staying with him) many times and that has not ended up being the right choice so leaving him must be the way to go. Although I wish my boyfriend luck in his recovery, this is MY LIFE and I choose not to live in this insanity any longer!

  21. Good for you Michelle. Living with an SA is like Hell on earth. I wish the best for you, I know you will find a sense of relief when you are away from his maddness.
    Keep posting, as this is a great place for support after we make the decision to leave. Even though it is the right thing for us to do, it will take time to heal. I hope you have a good support system and family who can be there for you as well. If you have not found a Counselor to help you in your journey of healing, I suggest you do so.Sometimes the pain and post trauma is just too diffiult to work throughand process by ourselves.
    God speed

  22. I’m not sure where to start. I think I need a lobotomy. I’ve been with my husband 17 years. He has lied to me repeatedly about his addiction. Pretty much had me convinced I’m crazy. He says he just likes to look at porn (as do all men) and only places personal ads to access sites. I found the first sex site profile for him more than 13 years ago. He always clears his computer history because it makes the computer run better. Right. Today, I actually found the first black and white proof he’s not just looking. In using his computer (which he hates for me to do but mine is broken), I saw an email where he canceled a sex website account with the complaint that all of the users were hundreds miles away. Too far for a quick lay, I guess. Also saw two emails where he responded to xx personal ads looking to have sex. I feel numb.

  23. I would have thought that I wrote this myself. I too now have a much better husband than ever and my children have a much better father than ever, and I sometimes wonder if that is enough. I think we are two years into sobriety but, as others have mentioned, with these guys you never know. And even if we have two years of sobriety, there is no guarantee of another two days, two months or two years. For those of us who have decided not to divorce at this moment, the process of going forward cannot be contingent on a belief that the acting out will never occur again. Instead, it is based on our own personal acceptance that we are married to sick men. Unfortunately we chose as husbands and fathers of our children, men who were broken very early in life, men who were badly hurt as boys and who have never recovered. Our guys might have never experienced the joy of sheer happiness, a warm hug when they came in from school or a proud look in a parent’s eye. So we choose how we will view these guys. we can choose to define them by their behavior–deviant and repulsive. Or, we can choose to define them by their experience, abused and trapped.

    Those of us who choose to go forward with our marriages deliberately choose a third definition. We choose to define these men by who they are working to become, kind, loved and faithful. We have no guarantees, but we are willing to give them a chance. My husband’s behavior was nothing short of disgusting, but sometimes I consider how he let his life spiral downward. I consider all that he lost. The healthy relationships he never developed. The humiliation he suffered at his own hands, the destruction he nurtured in his own life and I know only a mentally ill person would bring that type of destruction upon himself. It is as if he were consuming his own flesh. I know that no one does that to himself, unless he is ill. I introduce those thoughts to suggest that when these men recognize that they are sick and earnestly try to get well, they offer us the opportunity to define them in the third option.

    I encourage the writer to honestly assess whether she feels safe with her husband and feels that being with him contributes to her being her best self. If the answer to either is no, it might be wise to consider other options. I read comments that there are other men out there and wonder why the presence or absence of other men is even mentioned. Our lives are not about moving on to another man, our lives are about being the best woman we can be and making decisions that support that goal. It’s not about whether we can get a better man. It’s about whether we are doing what is necessary to be the best “me” we can be.

  24. Hi Honest Wife-I am so happy your h has two years of sobriety under his belt, and is sincere about his recovery. My story has been different from day one of meeting my h. It took him almost 2 years before he was out of the denial phase and acknowledged his addiction. The problem with that is he has not been motivated to put in the hard work it takes to move towards recovery.(He feels much more comfortable holding onto his addiction). He has continued the lieing, deception,and triggering up until I moved out for the last time one month ago. I separated from him X2 in the past and kept hanging in there in hopes of change.Unfortunately, all I saw was a few cosmetic changes-just enough to try and convince me he was actually in recovery. It was taking a toll on my physical and mental health, so it was time to get out. I gave it everything I had to give, and at least I can say I did my best to make it work.
    My h had a very traumatic childhood, as well, and I truly empathize with that, but there also comes a times, as an adult, when an SA has to take accountability for his own behavior. A lot of us have had less than perfrect childhoods, including myself, it takes a strong person to let it go and move on. My h
    was not able to do that.
    It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, and I applaud you for your decision to hang in there. I hope it will pay off for you. 2 years of sobriety is a good start, and it is also good you are realistic about possible slips/relapses in the future. We all have to do what is best for us.
    Be happy.
    Sharron

    1. Sharron in some ways I envy you that while you were with him, your husband’s sickness did not hit that bottom level, where there can be no denial of addiction. If he is still at a level where he can convince himself that his behavior might be a little different but the behavior is not a sign of mental illness, you are in a better spot than I was.

      My counselor showed me a curve of the ascendancy and desendancy of sex addiction, when addicts reach the descending side, they are on the side where death is the only outcome, if there is no intervention. That is the area of addiction that I was dealing with. In one of our 2 a.m. ” God, please keep me from stabbing him in the throat with an ice pick” conversations, he cried over and over “I’m sick. I’m sick. I’m sick. Please let me get some help. Please let me get some help.” He realized he had two choices, change or emotional, spiritual and physical death.

      I think many men cannot be helped in the middle passage of their addiction, because they intuitively understand there is more room for them to travel on that addiction curve and avoid having to do the hard emotional work to slow down the addiction. In some way, they believe they are buying themselves more time. They don’t have to face up to the wreckage of their life. I don’t know that I would have stuck around with my husband had I discovered his sickness during his middle passage. I was presented with the death side of addiction.

      If I had the opportunity to avoid the advanced level of addiction, I might have jumped at the opportunity. so I completely understand how it is impossible for you to stay with him. I get it.

  25. After almost a year of discovering an affair between my husband and a girl he met at a bar, admission, therapy, finding out about his massage parlor addiction, more admissions, saa meetings, codependent meetings, continued thereapy, finding out about his (previous) swinger club memberships, various hook ups, prostitiutes, one night stands, my husband continues to go to SAA meetings, belong to a weekly recovery group, go to therapy with me and by himself. Amazingly, I see him experiencing an amazing new way of open honest thinking. I could say it was a blessing that we found out and now are able to speak to each other, understand, communicate, live healthier lives, more honest lives. But now that the initial drama and fear has abated, I am left feeling much like the writer. I am just sad that the marriage that seemed so good (and honest and open) and the man I married who I really believed was the most honest, open, good, fair, too good for me, person was a lie. Everyone thought he was the most amazing, lovable goof ball – Never had they met a more honest, down to earth guy. I felt unworthy of him. So, now that he is on the path and working so hard on his recovery, I am surprised at my hidden feelings. It is something that I feel bitter and sad about. He is working hard on his recovery, we have a son, I want to let go of the past. In fact, he thinks I have (because I have not told him – I feel this is more about a me problem than something that would benefit either of us by discussing it in therapy). It is wierd, I am not so much holding on to the past because I am angry at him. It is because I feel strangely disgusted by him (usually when we are doing things I know he paid for before at the massage parlors). I am just now realizing it. Maybe it is anger popping up in a strange manner. I guess I just have to allow myself to feel this thing and observe and see what it is about. If we broke up now, I would be sad but I know we would each be okay. I have come to that conclusion after much therapy myself – not hanging on to something that is unhealthy. So I am okay with letting go. But we are both just trying to work things out because we do love each other and because of our son. Is this disgust I feel a protection mechanism? Is it okay? It is okay because I feel it. I don’t like it. But I don’t know how to stop it or fix it or if needs fixing.

  26. Hi honest wife-My husband is every bit as sick as yours. Although he has not pushed the boundaries beyond
    mb/porn and objectifying women, that is his part of the addiction and he cannot control it. The reason I say he is a sick as yours is because he also has an underlying personality disorder which is borderline pd.
    The addiction is simply a symptom of a much deeper problem. He would have years and years ahead of him to overcome that, and most SA’s do have years of therapy before they can learn to manage it.Borderlines are very difficult to cure-especially since it is a life long process. So, in essence, he does have a mental illness. I also consder SA a mental illness because the neuro transmitters in the brain are re-programmed for addiction. They do not think like we do. It not only takes a devestating toll on the life of the SA, but also the spouse who is unlucky enough to have been a part of their maddness.
    I really hope your h has reached the point to be able to say he is a recovering sex addict. I also hope he will not have triggers and relapses in the future. You have been through so much already, and I would really hate to have you in the position of having to deal with it again.
    My therapist told me that if I stayed with him, I might be able to forgive, but not forget. I think that is the most difficult for us to deal with. There were many times I wanted to knock his head off his shoulders, and he well deserved it. He also had anger control issues which made it very difficult to deal with. I was able to forgive, but I doubt I will ever forget. I still wake up with nightmares, but they are getting fewer and fewer.
    I am happy you are able to take a chance on him. Most SA’s are not worth that chance, and I have seen very few who have ever reached 2 yrs. of sobriety. You are very fortunate in that respect.
    Hugs to you.
    Sharron

  27. 080111- No, I don’t think your anger is a protection defense. I feel it is a natural result of being lied to, deceived, and suffering all the devestation of knowing what your husband did to you and himself. If you were not angry about it, you would not be normal and repressing that anger is not healthy either.
    If you are planning on staying with him, though, then you will have to learn to put aside your anger and accept him for what he is. As I told honest wife, you can forgive him, but I doubt you will ever forget.
    Hopefully, your therapist can help you process your anger so you can get to the point of resolution and acceptance. It is not easy, but you can do it.
    I went through the anger phase, but my situation is a little different than yours.-I have left my h.
    I believe, though, that no matter what the circumstances are we have to let it go. I was finding my anger was taking over my day and definitely not healthy! I was thinking of ways to do him in! HA. You will do fine, it will just take some time.
    Hugs,
    Sharron

  28. BROKEN – Will I ever smile again?

    I completely relate to “the sadness that will never go away”.

    I’ve read all of the posts in this blogs and just want to say how thankful I am to have this forum to share (vent?) my experience.

    I have now split with my boyfriend of several years. I am in my forties, he in his early fifties. An “upstanding” member of the community, great father, and someone I considered the love of my life (no longer). He is someone who has always treated me with the utmost amount respect—the perfect boyfriend. Loving, generous, caring.

    I discovered, by following a gut feeling, that my now ex boyfriend has prostitution habit. A very bad one. He also has a Craigslist habit. His tastes range from female prostitutes, to sex with men, as well as transsexuals. I found all this out about a week after Valentines Day of this year. I never would have thought, not in a million years, that he would do something like this. It took me weeks to even get him to admit prostitutes to me. He still hasn’t given me the number of times, but I know it was probably several times a week he visited them. He still denies having gay sex, but I have evidence. Either way, none of it matters. I’m beyond feeling angry anymore. I’m beyond feeling. I’m numb. And broken. A least I’ve stopped sleeping all day and have finally started going out with friends and trying to rebuild my life. To make sure I would not risk my own self by going back to him, I told my parents and my friends what he did. What I thought was our magical relationship was a farce. Fake. A lie. A joke. And the joke is on me. As much as he wants me back, I can never feel the same about him again. Nor will I look at him in the adoring way I used to. After 2 months of keeping away from him and feeling so devastated during that time because of 1) missing him terribly 2) missing what we had together and 3) missing the companionship, I accepted his offer to go out to dinner. I’d been lamenting the loss of what I thought was our “fairy tale romance”. I missed him so much. So, I went to dinner with him, and we went dancing after that. I was home by 11pm and relieved to be away from him. I felt nothing for him. The magic is gone. I felt only cold. I don’t know this person. He’s creepy beyond words. I guess I never did know him. I am no longer lamenting the loss as I was just a week ago. Somehow, being together with him, one last time, knowing we could never go back to what we had, was very sobering. How long will I remain broken? How long will it take to get over the complete and utter shock of what he’s done? Will I ever smile again? That deep love that I once felt inside, that used to make heart sing, and make me feel complete and alive, will I ever feel that way again. Right now I just feel cold. What I thought was a pure and good love was naïve, and false. I told him that he doesn’t need my forgiveness, but he needs to forgive himself. I hope all the ladies of this forum are finding peace regardless of weather they decide to stay in the relationship with a SA or not. Bless all, AM

  29. I have been with my husband for almost two years. We live together for most of that time and have been married to each other for 4 months. I am 27 and he is 31. He has been a sex addict for most of his life; watching porn, using prostitutes, massage paroles, and objectifying women. He has a 4yo child whose mom moved away with and he doesn’t have contact with anymore. She didn’t make it easy so he stopped trying. Fortunately she got married to someone who loves the boy like his own and wants to adopt him. When they left, he hit a really low bottom. He was using prostitutes and porn very heavily until he realized he has a serious problem. When he met me, he wanted to start everything fresh and get help for his addiction. He told me about it about 4 months after I met him. He didn’t use prostitutes since he met me (as far as I know but I trust him about that). He was still using porn and masturbate daily. I didn’t know anything about the addiction back then but I believed he would change. He is changing, but it just takes a very long time. I developed a lot of problems with myself during that process. I became depressed, stopped eating, lost friends. But I want to believe we have a chance. I love him dearly, he is very caring, loving, warm, he is really trying. He really wants to change. He read a book for sex addicts, started getting counseling once he realized he couldn’t do it on his own. He asked me to put parental control on his phone and a password on all the computers, so he can use it only in my presence. Before we did the passwords, he relapsed few times. Everytime he called me right away, crying, asking me to make stronger and stronger parental control settings until he asked to block the computer completely from him. He has relapsed once during past 6 months. He watched porn for few minutes when I was in a shower. I stopped leaving the computer on when leaving the room. Now, i have the system allowing me to see every page open or searched in the computer as well as every text message or phone call in his phone-even if its in private browsing and / or deleted. I can never be sure, but it helps me to feel more confident. He says his goal is to stop the urges completely and never need parental control anymore. I will give him a chance, but I won’t have children with him for at least 5 years of sobriety, to make it easy to leave if I have to. I am slowly recovering from my problems. I started eating more, being happy again, talk to friends, tell them about this problem. He is supporting me in that. He told his mom and his sister about his addiction too. I believe we have a chance. It maybe a small chance, but if it doesn’t change I will have to let him go… I hope it will never happen but I will be prepared. I will keep you posted!

  30. It’s me again.

    I just wanted to add 2 things: We were waiting with haveing sex with each other until we got married. He wanted it. We had sex with other people about 2 months before we met each other. The second one is that his huge problem now is objectifying women and imagining having sex with them. This was truly destroying me and still is. He is working on it now. Let’s see how it goes. I found a way to deal with it for now that I think really works for me. I started checking out guys and telling him about it. It really got deep into his heart and he now understands how it feels. It hurts him but he knows he does the same to me. This is how it helps me: I stopped obsessing with seeing women around everywhere and try to imagine what my husband would imagine or noticing that he looks at them when we are together. This was killing me! Instead, I spot nice looking guys and this way I don’t notice women anymore. It also helps me to realize that there are plenty of men in the world. If my husband will keep disrespecting me, I will not stay and let him do that to me and ruin my life. If he gives up the fight and goes back to his addiction, I will leave and find a new man. I know that I will never make the same mistake again. However, if he truly changes, we have a chance for a beautiful life together. The pain is not as deep yet and I am still able to forgive him. But I have my eyes wide open too.

  31. Hi there,

    I am responding to “Even after recovery the wounds remain”. Your story describes exactly how I feel. We were married 20 years when I found out. There had been incidents I discovered, eg a strip show, porn tapes hidden and eventually porn on the computer, but each incident had been explained and apologized and appeared to have stopped. I never knew that sex addiction existed, and I thought he was just being “naughty” like all men if they can get the opportunity. Contacting our Church was the best decision, as he has been in recovery with Counseling and a support group for a year. I even went as far as renewing our vows in an attempt to move forward. However, the one thing that has never changed is that deep sadness, that I don’t believe will ever go away, even if I had to divorce him. All that divorce will do is to give me more pain and losses – also damaging the children in the process. I can only wish and do all that I can, to educate others, especially the youth so that others can avoid destroying their lives too.
    Hugs from me too.

  32. I sympathize with the story oh so well. I am waiting on my final decree of divorce as I write this post. This last year has been the most traumatic of my life. I felt very disconnected from my seemingly perfect husband. I could not emotionally connect with him despite the fact we had sex constantly. Any conversation would be very surface and the strong man I married had become a very dependent man, relying on me for everything. I questioned him continually on the state of our relationship but was told it was merely stress from his returning to school, etc. I made a poor decision to have an affair. I told him about it after 2 months because I felt I owed this nice guy the truth about his wife of 10 years. We went to counselling for 3 months, really without improvement. I sat there and took all of his anger toward my infidelity, etc. Then one day after he got his new computer, I discovered what I considered to be a 14 year old being forced to give a much older man oral sex. I questioned him about this immediately. He had forced me to do some very degrading things earlier on in our relationship and acted oblivious when I asked about it then. He then after a few minutes informed me he had looked at porn our entire relationship and lied to me about it because he knew I would over react. He stated it had become very bad the past couple years with his returning to school and I just sat there while he recounted strip clubs and lap dances and porn fetishes and I felt like I was havIng an out of body experience. This superiorly moral man who was judgemental when I would curse was into the most debasing things I could imagine. I think after the shock wore off I felt a rage I have never experienced. His disclosure is choppy at best, he admits nothing I have no proof of and still doesn’t take accountability for the effect that his perpetual lying and hiding of his true self has had on our relationship. I am devastated. I do not excuse my affair and regret that I feel if weakened my resolve to deal with this mess. He refuses to go to a 12 step, and I think it feels like someone stole 10 years of my life and I HATE HIM FOR IT. I find most of these posts to sound like we are being used as doormats and hate that. I unknowingly did the same thing. I need resolution but the divorce isn’t even giving it.

    1. Just trying to figure out where to place my own reply as I relate to so many of you women! We were 16 yrs. into the marriage and already had two children before I discovered the addiction by reading something my ex-husband had written for his men’s recovery group. I did put an effort into my own individual recovery, attended a 12 step group of women for 4 yrs (and made a lifetime friend from that), attended couples counseling, my ex attended individual counseling, and we attended recovering couples together. Four nights a week of ‘hard work.’ But for my ex-husband, it was just a facade, a repeat of past behavior about ‘what looks good’. I remember calling a crisis line once and the man on the other end told me flat out that if “you stay with your husband, you will only be enabling his addiction.” Today, over 10 yrs later (2003 was discovery and I left my husband permanently in 2007) I had an epiphany while searching around on the website where I read that Sex Addiction is Domestic Abuse. It makes sense to me! What I do not understand is, why didn’t a ‘professional’ or ‘counselor’ tell me this back in 2003??? It would not have made the pain and devastation any less, but it would have been something to go on from rather than getting lost in the sex addiction symptoms. Twenty years of abuse takes its toll on a person. The retraumatization sent me into PTSD symptoms. I am seeing a trauma therapist on a regular basis and manage my depression and anxiety symptoms. I only wish this website would have been available back in 2003!

      Still recovering…

  33. I found out in Sept , my husband was fired for having prostitutes in his office , we have been together 9 years and I am devastated by his full disclosure .. Men like him never change so we are divorcing .. I think he is disgusting and I can’t get out soon enough .. I don’t believe it’s an addiction , just utter selfishness ..His standards are the lowest and mine are high so I will not lower them and I am not the porn police , Internet patrol or keeper of his morals because he has none ..
    I detest him for such Hugh betrayal , had he not been caught it never would have confessed , There is a better life for me without him ..

    1. I agree with you that “sexual addiction” has become a convenient excuse for utter selfishness. The use of prostitutes and strippers is such a blatant abuse and disrespect of women. I was crushed not only for myself and my kids, but also for the broken 20 year old girls that felt they had to have sex with my 60 year old husband who could be their grandfather. I wish you all of the best. Thanks for sharing your story.

  34. So much of what you wrote resonated. Weighing it all out…leaving this man who has worked so hard to face his demons, and demonstrate that he “loves me to my core” would not give me peace considering everything that would be sacrificed in the process (including watching someone else ride off into the sunset with that revamped version of him). But, Ive been married for 29 years and I thought that I earned that peace and security that comes from years of mutual devotion to each others well-being and sharing emotional and physical exclusivity. Accepting that that never really existed creates a sadness that clouds everything. I have so much love for the broken man and his and his determination to make it as good as he has the power to but it is still all tinged with a profound sense of loss and sadness.

  35. I was shocked at how precisely my feelings were mirrored here. I will be “married” for 9 years in July to my second husband. I truly believed that he was the love of my life, soul mate, etc. After all that was what we said to each other. One year ago when the bills weren’t being paid and there had been serious anger issues on his part for some time I called him out and told him something was up and he a coward if he didn’t tell me. At that time he confessed to, in his words, being “a strip club guy”. I was blown away. He is sixteen years older than I and a former Mormon to boot. Outside of what we shared I thought I was the younger woman and his moral compass was strong. I was literally on the floor. I packed up my two boys and left for a family summer home to digest everything and when I returned three days later he was gone. I felt devastated for my boys who see their stepfather as Dad. I was sick to my stomach and couldn’t stop crying. He called a few days later begging me to forgive him. He said that his professional failures he had endured drove him over the edge and he broke down in ways he couldn’t explain. He came back and seemed to have a desire to be honest and humble. I saw all of the strip club charges he had put on a company credit card. Pure nausea. Thousands of dollars. Multiple tjmes a week usually for no less than $350 and up to $1,000 per visit. I asked him to swear he never had sex with anyone. He got out a bible. Got on his knees and swore he did not. I dug deeper and found one night charges for hotels in the area when I knew he was home and not away
    on business. I confronted him yet again and he admitted that he had been with 9 prostitutes. I literally got sick, threw things and gave him a left hook that blackened his eye. It has been a year and I stayed for the kids. He has indeed become this humble, loving man that I thought he was to start with when our lives began. That being said…I’m never alone with him in bed and it is far too crowded for me to imagine a lifetime of this pain.

    1. Hi Laura,
      Wow a chill goes through my body as I read your and everyone’s blog. On January 28th when you wrote this email I had just found out that morning that my fiancée of a year had cheated or paid prostitutes for bj’s or sex. 9 women to be exact. I found out because my profession is investigation. Pretty surreal right. The last girl (23 years old) the age if his daughter, met with me at her house where she prostitutes and showed me the fake name and email he was using to send photos, emails, and texts.. I was shaking so bad and simply wanting to vomit. The girl for whatever reason told all. I think god intervened and saved all if us that day. She was wearing a house arrest braclet on her leg and there were needles all over the lawn and house. My fiancée went into the house on January 8 and received a bj from this little girl for $40. What I still haven’t told you is that we had just bought a new home in December and moved our blended family of 5 boys in. I cannot tell you the feeling of immense devastation felt from living a lie since the day I met him. I am an attractive woman and the girl I met with who he had oral sex with on January 8 couldn’t believe her eyes. She didn’t understand how he could want to pay for sex when he was with someone like me. I understand the whole addiction thing and we have both acquired counselors and groups. He has went the extra mile to get on antidepressants, read books, blogs, attend celebrate recovery and even search for a new job and location. He truly does not want to go back if you will. He understands that he let everyone down and is not a role model for the children who probably could use some counseling too.
      When I confronted him 2 miles away from the last girls (prostitute) house he tried to get me to go back home to talk. I took off his promise or engagement ring and told him to get out of the car. He did effortlessly. He new I was threw with him. (Or was I?) I took both of our rings and drive over to the girls house and threw them in her yard. I then stayed with a friend till the end of the week, asked my ex husband to watch the boys ( 2 from me). I found a good hotel where I am staying now and I will move back into my townhouse on march 1st.
      I found out he was with 9 prostitutes from January 30 2012-January 8 2013. He literally has just started a new job January 20 2012 when he started to set up his first sex encounter after obsessing with porn since childhood. We both have been married twice. I feel like once he met me he took an all time low to justify his life long desire to jump off the edge and experience his selfish desire to have sex with other women. It’s an awful feeling cause he never jumped off the edge with his ex wife of 20 years. Ugh
      I have seen my finance since January 28th and been trying to get through he grief and consider a second chance but as in reading every single blog, book, listening at group about the whole codependent thing I find myself sad for the life with this man I will never have. I can pretend that the relationship is over and that only a new one can begin but the truth is he is now learning how to be a responsible 18 year old and I learned that 22 years ago or even when I became a parent. He may never cheat again but am I settling by even trying from the security of my own home now to give him a second chance or is everyone messed up in some way and we need to stand by each others side without enabling and losing ones own self (codependent) in the process of living life?
      Tandy

      1. I’m so sorry for your pain. Everyone on this site knows it all too well. I can’t imagine actually seeing one of the girls your fiance’ had sex with as I have tortured my self repeatedly by going onto “back pages” (his source for prostitutes, as well as Craigslist) to see who he might have had sex with and it makes me sick to think he took advantage of young girls 40 years younger than he is. I can tell you that we just moved into a new house last week. His strip club/prostitute binge of 2 years put us into a financial hole that resulted in us short selling our home. I am looking at this as a fresh start or an attempt to have one at least. He is a completely different person in all his behaviors. Humble, loving, apologetic and patient with my anger and hurt in its various manifestations. Friends who know everything and wanted me to leave are now in cautious support of our staying together. I took my rings off when I found out and haven’t worn them since. I don’t feel “married” and I’m not even sure I believe in it anymore. He said that he wants to get me a new ring and get married again. It is a romantic thought that in truth makes me nervous. I’m not sure I will ever believe in commitment. As to your question…I think the only way you or any of us can decide what to do is to do what is best for YOU. Yes on some level everyone is messed up. There are levels, however, and it is about your ability to live a whole and positive life with this messed up person. I take every day as it comes. I am a 47 year old, attractive, fit, intelligent and vibrant woman. In the end I may choose to forgive him, love him and still leave. My story isn’t over yet. Maybe like everyone else here the story never ends because the pain and the memory never goes away. Positive vibes being sent your way…

  36. Del, Sorry, but no one on here is interested in the views of the “addict.” If they are, then there are other blogs that deal with that. This blog exists to support the PARTNERS of addicts. JoAnn has made that crystal clear. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Kimberly, that comment slipped by me today.

      I have deleted Del’s comment. We have heard too many of their excuses and protests about how much they love us and how they just need a chance to show us, and how they need our support from our own partners, we don’t need to hear it on this site. ~ JoAnn

  37. Laura, your letter feels so familiar…it still amazes me to see how similar all our stories are. There are different types of sex addicts, but us partners all feel the same. The sadness, the dissappointment, the brokennes…I agree, that will never go away. Also, you made me think….Would I do it all over again? If I knew that he would start cheating sporadically after just 10 years of marriage, and get into an addiction after 16 years of marriage? NO I would not. I would run away as fast as I could. This pain, this brokennes, this sadness…knowing that I will always have this in my heart, is not worth it, is not fair. He is “recovered”, he is trying hard to make sure I feel safe and secure, and reassured, in the fact that he will not cheat ever again…but what about my heart? He had an illnes and is cured, and now I must live with this reality forever…for better or worse is, in this case, a sentence for somethig I didn’t do. NO I would not marry him again. I love him and I hope I can learn to live with this, but I still don’t know if I can.Thank you for your letter. I hope you too, can learn to live with the sadness, for your children, your yourself, for the lost, damaged man that you -without knowing he was-came into your life. There is a reason for everything that happens to us, maybe these men crossed our paths, because we could help them find their way, we could bear this pain and sadness, as we are the better person, the one that puts others first, the ones with compassion and a heart that does what is supposed to do: LOVE others like you’d like to be loved.

    1. Your last sentence struck home with me. He himself has said that I am “his angel” to stay with him through the brutal reality of his brokeness and help him repair and rebuild. It is both empowering to feel stronger and “better” if that is even the right word as well as devastating. I never wanted to be someones savior. I just wanted to have a relationship with an equal exchange of giving and receiving love. No matter how much he rebuilds and reinvents himself there will never be an “equal” here will there? I would certainly if I had a crystal ball 10 years ago have run for my life just as you said. My husband just wants to leave the tragedy behind and live his life as new healed and whole person. I almost resent his sense of celebration in being cured and new. My scar will never go away. I mourn the loss of what could have been. Thanks for sharing and good luck to you.

  38. I’m so glad I found this. I just recently left my fiancé after finding out he has a sex addiction and had been with other women for most of our 6 year relationship. i knew for about 7 months before I realized I couldn’t handle it anymore and I couldn’t even explain the feelings that I had towards it. It’s like, I had a deep distrust and lack of faith in him but I was also completely unaffected by it? I don’t know if anyone else has gone through that as well. He begged and begged for me not to leave because he was going to change and be better for me but I know in my heart that it won’t ever be better because even in the 7 months since I found out, he didn’t try at all to help himself. Thank you for sharing this and I really hope things work out for you.

  39. My friend who is almost finished with her BA in psychology sent me the link to this site and I have to say I’m glad she did. I have felt so alone. I do have to say that right now I am considering myself lucky, (at least I think I am), because at this point I think we’ve discovered this before it has gotten to the point of him actually having sex with someone else. He says no and I’m trying to trust in the fact that he’s telling me the truth. We first became a couple 6 years ago and things seemed great for a while. And then I received an email from a girl that he knew from his hometown and it was a conversation they had just a couple days before. It was some harmless flirting and then it turned into sex talk and talk of being naked. I confronted him with it, he apologized, and we moved on. He then went off to boot camp. He was gone for 15 weeks, home for 10 days, then gone for another 9 weeks before he was finally home. We got married a month after that and things were great. Really great, like nothing had ever happened. I got pregnant with my first child, was put on bed rest because it was a high risk pregnancy and that’s when things really started to surface. I would find porn sites in his browser history and just dismissed that. Then he had left one open and it was a live chat..to me that felt like it was just as bad as cheating. Even though they weren’t physically in the same room I felt as though they might as well have been. Things blew up and then were quiet for a while. After I had my daughter of course things were a little distant. I was tired, etc. She was 5 months old when he started flirting with and meeting a woman from his work. He worked until midnight and would go over to her house afterward instead of coming home to me. He had left his phone at home and I saw the text messages between the two of them. We then separated. I was heart-broken, confused, angry. He still swears to this day that nothing physical happened other than a “friendly hug.” I still haven’t gotten over that one and I still don’t believe him 100%.
    It has since been 2 1/2 years and have been through counseling, etc. I thought things were better. I’ve heard “I’ll never do it again” so many times I can’t even keep track. He had some wisdom teeth surgically removed about a week ago now and that morning he sent a picture to a number I didn’t recognize. Just a picture of his swollen face. I read back through the text feed and it was more of the same..flirting..calling her beautiful, etc..my heart dropped. I was so mad I was shaking. He was too out of it to even try to explain it away. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. It has happened too many times to even be emotional about it anymore. Since then we’ve been doing a lot of research and I know realize that he fits the pattern of a sex addict. Every description fits him perfectly. We don’t have a lot of money for counseling, or any kind of professional help so I feel stuck trying to seek out free help on the internet. He says he loves me and wants to make our marriage work. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to full trust him, or fully trust that he hasn’t slept with another woman. I’ve even made him an appointment to get tested for std’s. Reading some of your stories gives me hope that we can overcome this. I just hope I can be as strong as some of you ladies.

    1. Let me offer something that is perhaps a little more even handed. My gut reaction to whether or not your husband has cheated was the same as the other ladies. No doubt about it. None. After that, however, I think that you need to set some very clear boundaries. First off YOU need to go get checked for STD’s and demand that he do the same. Do not have sex with him as at this point it puts you in both physical and emotional danger. If you are both going to counseling and he is willing to be be truly honest you may have a shot. Without that you have nothing. At this point neither one of you is being honest and that is no base for any kind of relationship. Baby steps. Right now you may be mourning the loss of a relationship that you only thought you had. Maybe you can have it. Maybe not. Everyone has to walk their own road, but do it intelligently and taking care of YOU and your children first. Best of luck.

  40. Kristen,
    Please. This is very difficult and heart breaking, but from the beginning of your story when he said that it was just chat, I just sat here shaking my head, like… here we go again… same old boring, LYING THROUGH HIS TEETH STORY. Hun, please, you have just got to understand that he HAS been with other women. Many other women. I don’t see any hope here. I’m very very sorry that this happened to you, but this is reality. How many chances does he get? He’s made it crystal clear that he can’t stop himself from continuously lying and traumatizing you over and over and that is abuse and nothing short of it. Let’s not even call it an addiction. He’s just a mighty fucked up pig, that’s all. That is the reality here and all the kings intensives and all the kings shrinks can’t make humpty sex addict a faithful truly loving husband. Its just impossible. And its not you. This is entirely HIS problem. Please get some professional help for yourself. save yourself. best, Kim

  41. Wow. I commented in hopes of getting support from some like-minded people that have been through this and made it out ok. My goal is to save my marriage because underneath it all we still love each other and want to be together. We are currently seeking professional help for BOTH of us. I appreciate your passion, but that’s just not my husband and without knowing an individual we can’t just what they think or feel. I believe there still is hope for some, not all, but some.

    1. Kristin,

      A person IS NOT THEIR BEHAVIOUR.

      It is possible to be a good person, loving and kind, and still struggle with addiction, and/or do something stupid.

      My husband is a good and decent man. He loves me, and has loved me better than any person ever has. He also slept with a hooker. He lied to me, hid is alcohol and sex addiction from me, and only came clean when I caught him.

      This just happened a month ago.

      He has started what is called SMART RECOVERY. He goes twice a week. And he has stopped drinking. He is learning about his addictive behaviour, and so am I. Neural pathways laid down in the brain over many years as a young man…self soothing to make up for his screwed up past (psycho mom, dad with MS. He is going to have to learn to cope with discomfort – without the “erotic haze” or booze. He is going to have to dig deep, and find healing through a lot of therapy. It won’t be easy – buyt he is gonna try. And I am going to try to support him.

      Having said that, Kristin I can relate to everything you have written and I feel terrified that I will maybe feel the way you do in FOUR YEARS! OMG. I can barely take the pain now – and it has only been a month.

      What gets me through is reminding myself that HE IS NOT WHAT HE DID. I am broken too…screwed up from a shitty past. I did not break my vows…but I have hurt him in other ways…made my own bad choices. I am going to try to get through this too.

      Hang in there.

      1. Corrie,

        I am so sorry for your pain, I understand it because I have felt it.

        But you are misguided and I’m not sure why.

        A PERSON IS THEIR BEHAVIOR. We all ARE what we do, we ARE our behaviors.

        How else do we determine who someone is?

        How else except by our behaviors?

        Mother Teresa–we know her by what she did. Hitler…he loved puppies–but he was a monster. Ted Bundy…likable guy, but he tortured and killed young women. My husband Larry…a disordered soul but he fucked hookers while professing to love me.

        Corrie, how else can we, as humans, know who each of us are except by our behaviors?

        All of our husbands or partners have good traits. No one is all good or all bad. But we are what we do.

        Someone who lies, cheats, manipulates, leads a double life and only comes clean (somewhat) when caught…these are not good people.

        He, and they, may want desperately to change but let their actions (what they do) speak for them. Their actions speak louder–and more truthfully than their words. ~ JoAnn

  42. Kristen – I just have to reply to your post. The 2nd post reeks with denial. You pretty much laid it out there the first time, so wake up and smell the coffee. Kimberly is right! What do you think your h has been doing-playing patty cake with these women.
    You tell of porn sites, live chat, texts, sex talk, your h going to another woman’s house after work?? Yes, your h has a sex addiction and a serious one.His life is built around “getting it off” one way or another, and there is nothing left for you. Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder. You say you love eachother?? What kind of man loves his wife and cheats on her? SA’s are not capable of loving, and I would guess it is you who is feeling the love – not your h.
    I know how difficult it is to accept what is happening to you and hold onto false hope. Your h has lied to you over and over. Can you live with someone with no integrity and with whom you can’t trust?
    Please count up the times you have been lied to, told he will never hurt you or do it again. This is the MO of an SA. They will to do anything to save their marriage so they can tell themselves they are “Normal.” Can you continue living with someone who has no integrity and with whom you can not trust?
    I think you can see his pattern of lies and addiction cycle over and over.
    We spouses of SA’s have felt your pain and walked in your shoes. I would suggest you join Sisterhood of Support (s.o.s) There you will find education, realities of the addiction, and women who will give you love and support, and very few success stories. I just want to add that when we are blunt and tell it like it is, it is because we care about you.
    I would suggest removing yourself from the situation for awhile so you can think objectively and not emotionally. It is very difficult to think when we have an SA tugging at our heart. Get some counseling for yourself so you can deal with the situation. If your h is willing, have him see a sex addiction Therapist. Marital counseling is counterproductive until your h shows honesty and true motivation to change.
    The road is long and hard. Many years of Therapy for your h and many slips and relapses along the way. Sex addiction is only a symptom of a much deeper problem – usually a personality disorder. Getting at the root of the problem is essential for a healthy recovery to even began.
    So, I am saying this out of love – Get your head out of the sand, take care of yourself first, and let the cards fall where they may. Most of us have found the pain is not worth the gain, but you have lots of time to make decisions. Quite frankly, I found I could not stay married to a man who cheats, lies, and has no integrity. Listen to your heart, not your head. You deserve so much better, and don’t have to settle for a damaged man. There are plenty of good ones out there to put YOU on a pedestal and meet your heeds in a healthy way. The marriage with your h is dysfunctional and will destroy your physical and mental health. I know – I have been there.
    Good luck and much love to you.
    Sharron

  43. Kristen,
    If you’re looking for sugar coating on a frozen turd, then you have come to the wrong place. Sorry. Almost NO ONE makes it out okay unless they LEAVE. You h is particularly ill and is clearly lying through his not very sorry teeth. I’m sure he has many wonderful qualities. Hell, they ALL do. But he’s also one very sick cookie and I am basing that entirely on what you said. You provided more than enough information to give a crystal clear picture of the situation. Again, I am so sorry that this has happened to you. We ALL loved our husbands and we all hoped for a different result, but these guys do not change. not really. And the scary thing is that many put on a really good show. but just wait until the heat is off…
    Besides, do you really want to play detective and live with the anxiety of waiting for the other shoe to drop? We’re just trying to save you some grief, but you’ll have to go through the process on your own and then one fine day, you’ll get it. SOS is terrific and here’s another great site. chump lady . com. with no spaces, of course. I wish nothing but the best and peace. Kim

  44. Great post JoAnn-I was going to reply to this one, but I couldn’t have said it better. I was going to tell this lady how many good characteristics my h had, but his dark side revealed his true self. (His behavior). A husband who only comes clean, as you said, when caught truly has a dark side. This was the case of my husband 3 yrs. ago, and he still lies to this day. His brain is programmed that way, and he will never change.
    I get so frustrated with the excuses we, as spouses of SA’s, use to make everything come out okay. As you know, I did it myself – I was the world’s worst. Unfortunately, it is never okay, and I wish for every woman married to a sex addict that they don’t waste time and energy trying to make it so.

  45. Dear Kristen,
    What I’d like to know is… WHO is going to support you? The “good husband” who lies when it suits him and puts your life at risk having sex with hookers? Yes, plural. Joann and Sharron are right. They have been through a lot and so have I. Our husbands are ALL “good men”, otherwise, we wouldn’t have MARRIED THEM! but, they are also personality disordered wing-nuts.

    He only wanted to “change” when his patsy… sorry, I meant wife was onto him. Oh, dear… gotta get her back in my orbit… I’ll just go along with what she’s telling me to do and in the meantime, I better get better at hiding my dirty little secrets…hehehe…

    The good men we married, all have this “other side” Sometimes it was there all along and sometimes it only emerged later on. Or there were glimpses of it, but we dismissed it because well, nobody’s perfect!

    The bottom line is that it is extremely unlikely that he CAN change, and your support is actually the problem. The more you “support” him, the more he wants to defy you because he cannot stand to be controlled. But since you are of use to him, for some reason, he needs you to stick around.

    I know this sounds harsh and I know that you will say… “but you don’t KNOW him…How dare you talk about my wonderful husband who I know loves me that way? how can you assume such things?” Those are very good questions Kristen. And here’s the answer. People who conduct their lives like this share a certain number of like traits. just like snakes are similar to other reptiles… Its just like that. Keep reading the stories and you will find your husband in every one of them.

    What he is doing to you has absolutely NOTHING to do with his crappy childhood, his neural pathways, his addictive personality, his sex drive (gag), his blah. He doesn’t give a shit about you, or ANY woman for that matter. How could he? How could a man who loved you so, put your life in danger and hurt you this deeply? Oh, he knew exactly what he was doing, but the point is… he did NOT care and that fact scares the livin’ bejeebies outta me. A man that cold-hearted and cruel is capable of anything.

    So, no, Kristen. He is NOT a good man.

    Please think about it and think about what you are going to do for YOU, because my dear, it is so, so easy to get sucked into the vortex of this disease until you lose all that is YOU, for the sake of HIM, who most likely will never change. You see, the man that you think he is… does not exist. Maybe he did and maybe he never did, but now, definitely not and please beware of the “fake recovery.”

    Damn it! He needs to be supporting you! That fucker decimated you! Why do so many women have it bass ackwards? And I also don’t care what you did that was horrible. That’s fine. Let him deal with his shit and you go and deal with yours. Your shit has absolutely nothing to do with his shit! grrrrr… but he chose you, because he knew that you would submit to his depravity.

    Bottom line. Please don’t expect him to change and be this amazing husband you always KNEW HE COULD BE. That’s fantasy hun and this is why we are here. Its one woman at a time. I would be delighted to be proven wrong, but so far, its never happened. so, if you can live with your disordered honey, just the way he is… GREAT and if his gross habits are not something you can live with, then your only option (and the one I recommend) is to make your exit plan. I know… I know… you have hope and you married him for better or worse. Yes, I know… of course you did. So did and so did JoAnn and so did Sharron… I wonder if your h was thinking for better or worse when he was out there fucking hookers. What do you think? Me thinks, not.

    Again, I am so sorry about all of this. I know that its the stuff of nightmares, because its been my nightmare too and I have children of age now and 26 years down the drain… but you know what? I don’t need him. I don’t need a man who would treat me like I’m invisible and like I don’t matter. And for the first time, I have REAL hope.

    YOU MATTER TOO!!!

    and its okay to love the idiot, just don’t expect anything from him and you’ll be fine. The problem is… you most likely will still try to change him. And the scariest part is that he may try to make it look like he’s changing to appease you. Honey, if he had wanted to change, he would’ve come to you first. But he did not do that, did he?

    best, Kim

    PS: please be kind to yourself… try not to think about the why and how. Oh you will anyway. We all do. But eventually, you’ll get it and then you’ll be me… sitting at your computer writing some poor woman explaining that its all folly.

    1. I am 5 months since D day. I am married 29 yrs. and have grown children. Sex has been an issue throughout our marriage, always “had a feeling something wasn’t right” in that he viewed sex as the be all and end all, pouted when he didn’t get it, withheld affection and generally acted like an obsessive ass-hole over the whole topic. I appeased, coddled, etc. and dealt with it all behind closed doors, so to speak. Everything was always my fault, etc. pretty text book stuff. After 4 years of marriage therapy, working on the relationship, etc. I still had that little voice saying “there is still something not right”. Come to find out he’s been having hookup sex with strangers for the past several years, ever since I called bullshit and we began therapy. He has been in an intensive rehab program, returned home and I’ve discovered he was on a dating website at rehab!!! Also, cruising the craigslist ads, etc. He’s getting lots of help but just seems to be paying lip service to everything he’s supposed to be doing at this point. I have gotten myself a therapist, support group, etc. and am doing my best to heal and take care of myself. There have been so many “slips” that I am afraid to hope again. Trying to be realistic, take care of myself and plan for my future. His recovery, or lack thereof, is his business.

  46. Kimberly- You said it all. Saved me a lot of writing. Kristen-listen to her. We have all been there done that, and it isn’t worth it.

  47. Kristin, equip yourself with knowledge of the condition it will help, but not all is doom and gloom 5% do recover and with gods grace you could be in that 5%.
    My sa is working so hard and I hope if the boot was on the other foot he would give me a chance.

    1. Would you bet everything you own in the world if your odds of winning were five percent? We’re talking about your life here–your health, your sanity, your relationships with people who really love you and deserve your attention. Things more valuable than houses and cars and money.

    2. The statistics are not 5%. That information was based on old information. Before CSATS and SAA. It is the rate used for prisoners and considered the spontaneous recovery rate of all addictions.

      1. There are no new stats, so we default to that five percent. I haven’t read about any legitimate studies on recovery rates, and surveys rely on self reports made by men with long histories of lying and minimizing.

      2. This 5% stat sort of reminds me of the book/movie He’s Just Not That Into You. Now it’s for dating but I feel it has some relevance here. If you haven’t read the book it is so much better than the movie. It is based off of the fact that if a person is doing “X”, for example, not calling you back, then they are showing you they aren’t interested. The purpose of the book though points out that often we tell stories about the “exception”, for example, well I had a friend and the guy actually lost her number but they eventually met again and then they got married! Well yea so maybe that happened, what? maybe once, it’s probably not your situation, so move on. Stop thinking you are the exception, you are the rule. The good news though? It’s better to move on because one day you will find someone who is interested, someone who will call you back, someone who will love you but first you have to stop wasting your time on people who don’t, stop thinking you are the exception, stop thinking you are the 5%.

        This keeps me going, even though at the moment i’m not looking for anyone, i’m only 7 months out of my 4 year relationship and still on an emotional roller coaster. My SA was not caught, he came out willingly and before marriage. If anything I could probably claim to be closer to the 5% than others but I left because this website challenged me, everything on here said he had probably used prostitutes even though he claimed to never have physically cheated and what I realized was that I couldn’t refute it. I couldn’t look at someone and tell them with a 100% that my boyfriend was telling me the truth, that I knew everything and I didn’t want live like that. Like March said it didn’t make sense to gamble my entire future on the fact that I might be the exception, the 5%.

  48. Sighhhh..to all of us who believe in the statistics and think she, he and their relationship are different from the rest of us here, its more time down the sewer.

    Please pay heed to the other women who are ahead of you in this hellish journey and just get out.

    All of these men are cut from the same cloth.

    No one , and i mean nobody, without exception can give up hookers etc etc.When you can have sex without the enmeshment of a full fledged relationship no man , who has already been down that road,would give up the instant sex.

  49. I have been married 15 years and I initially found out about the massage parlors in 2006 and then after counseling turned a blind eye until the next incident in 2011. At that time, I realized he moved on to prostitutes. We fought and he blamed it on me and lack of intimacy. I put in the back of my head why he went through SA and supposedly clean til Nov when I found out he went to the next level and found a girl who thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. See, he is an executive who has power and is manipulative.
    Since then, he was out of the house for 3 months and then came back which was the worst thing for me. He has had minor slip ups including, responding to her emails, or looking at porno. But, the biggest problem is who he is. He lacks integrity, honesty and I belive a broken man. He is trying to remain clean and go to meetings and see another broken sponsor who is giving him marriage advice. Yesterday, he came home and said he wasnt sure if he could wait the 2 years to build our relationship again as there lacked intimacy before. I lost my brain and told him to get out and I was filing for divorce on Monday. The amount of trauma he has caused our family, including 3 kids is unbearable. He is a narcissit at best. Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder. He obsessed about my lack of orgasming through sex itself vs. other ways and how I wouldnt do it analy. That revelation was told to me at dinner. Over the last 4 months, I feel broken, lost and depressed. I have sat and been the mother and wife while I am dying inside. The idea of him makes me sick. He travels most the time and comes in which is now fear. I told him today to find a long term living arrangement. I feel like it is the right move for me but kills me as I feel like a failure. I dont have family and he was it. My kids now have to deal with the fall out. I feel like I am nothing and have nothing left, but them.
    Help

  50. Lauren – I am so sorry for what you are going through. Unfortunately, none of these men have an ounce of honesty or integrity! You are doing the right thing. It is difficult right now, but in a few months you will feel such a sense of relief and there will be a whole new world out there for you.
    I was married for 2 1/2 yrs. to whom I thought was the love of my life. He presented as someone with no flaws. I would have never picked up on his secret life, but shortly after we met I began to see signs that something was just not right. Once I figured it out, I confronted him and he confessed to on-line pornography and objectification of women. The porn was not even the main stream, but 650# women crushing and stomping. He was also into Elephant stomping and crushing – real sick stuff. Objectification of his own sister and daughter put the frosting on the cake for me.
    This man of mine was slicker than snot,(forgive my analogy)and I had continual promises that he was serious about recovery, would never hurt me again, and was going to get over the addiction. After 3 years and 3 separations, my divorce was final. (Halloween of 2012-How appropriate)
    To this day, my ex has been through two Counselor’s,an Intensive for SA’s in California,and many self-help books and workbooks. He is still in active addiction and continues to lie. The 1st Counselor told me to get out, but I continually held out for false hope. I should have listened. The 2nd Counselor asked me if I was in a burning house would I get out -can’t get much plainer than that. I was a member of JoAnn’s other site, s.o.s., and if it had not been for them I would have never made it. It is truly a wonderful site giving lots of love and support.
    My ex also had a personality disorder (Borderline)and the sex addiction a symptom of the latter. These men either will not or cannot change. Their brain is addicted.
    My point in telling you all this is you are going to hurt for a while, and the pain may be more than you think tolerable. But, please trust me when I tell you things will get better, but your SA will always remain the scum bag that he is. Once a skunk always a skunk!
    Since divorcing, I have begun a new life for myself and have never been happier. I could kick myself in the butt for putting up with it for so long.
    I hope you are getting yourself some Therapy to work through the anger, as I am sure there is plenty of it. It is difficult not to feel the intensity of betrayal and it takes a while to work through it.
    Good luck. Stick to your guns. Kick his ass to the curb, and do not look back.
    My prayers are with you.
    Sharron

  51. Lauran – I forgot to say please don’t let your h put the blame on you. These guys are masters at projecting their issues onto their wives. It isn’t your fault!!
    I also forgot to suggest to you that you might want to join S.O.S. I know you are alone and do not have a support system. All of the gals on the site have had similar situations and they will really be a big help to you while going through all of this. JoAnn is very knowledgeable about sex addiction-she is a wealth of knowledge in case you have questions. Actually, the gals on s.o.s. are pretty darn knowledgeable as well.

    1. thanks so much for your responses. I am sitting in bed with my little girl and feel a sense of “I can” and just waiting til Monday to get it started.
      He is sick that I am moving forward with the process as he hates to be alone. I guarantee you he will be settled within a year.
      Like I said, I have NO family. We have been estranged since having kids and tried to reach out, but it is done.
      So, my biggest fear is being alone in every way and being able to financially make it on my own. But if that is it, it can be worse. Right?
      How do I join SOS? I will look it up. Is there a Southern CA group?

  52. Lauren,

    so much of what you wrote is exactly the same as my story (including the D-days in ’06 and ’11) except my wasband is not some high powered exec. I wish! He’s had a sketchy employment history and makes a paltry salary for where we live. (although I have left him).

    Look. Listen to Sharron. You are not a failure at all! He is! He’s supposedly in “recovery” and he says casually, (during dinner, mind you. what a dickwad) that NOW, he’s not sure if he can even commit to the relationship because it lacked “intimacy” before and what he really wants is to stick his wick up your ass?

    and then………………… everything will be fine???

    ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???

    (when I say “you”, I mean “him” of course.)

    mindfuck, honey. That’s what that is… What I also love is the advice from the “recovering” “shaky” (ya think?) sponser. Hell, I swear, its all one big sick joke and that they cover for each other. I have heard of many a so-called sponsor who was still totally active in this sickness.

    As for your children… by leaving an abusive man… (what he really is). You are showing them that when someone fucks someone over (that they are claiming to love) there are consequences and that Mom loves herself and THEM enough to keep herself out of harm’s way. Please don’t buy into that crock o’ shit, that its better to stay for “the sake of the children.” not with a sex addict it isn’t!

    Its better to LEAVE– for the sake of the children. You want them finding his pornos and emails with his fuck buddies? Want them to see him exposing himself when you aren’t looking? Want him making inappropriate remarks, molesting and having sex with your children? Think he’s not capable of this? He absolutely is. Your children are at HIGH, HIGH risk to be sexually abused by this pervy freak! Its pervy freaks who molest their children! Of course, you don’t need to explain this to them as I gather that they are still too young. But in time, they’ll figure it out.

    So, walk tall. Hold you head up high my dear. You are a winner! You deserve the congressional medal of honor for listening to your heart and doing the right thing! (even if it wasn’t what your heart thought it wanted). You are to be admired— greatly so!

    BRAVA!

    K

    PS: BTW, those things you refer to as “minor slip-ups?”

    no. not minor. That’s like saying that he’s a bit dead or that a woman is a little bit pregnant. This is CLEARLY a man deeply in the throes of ACTIVE ADDICTION! He’s hopeless and he cannot stop. The entire “recovery” thing is a total con.

    I also understand about not having family or even a lot of friends. Its not easy. I’m 57, but slowly, I’m taking steps into building that new life. My older son was in town today and we had chinese food. my fortune cookie said

    “Fate will find a way.”

    I truly believe that. Even in my darkest hours… I know that God didn’t bring me to this place to see that I am miserable for the rest of my days. He brought me here because it was necessary to get me to that next great place. Its true for you too! So, stay in faith. (whatever that means for you!)

  53. Kimberly – I love your bluntness!!
    Lauren- just type in s.o.s. sisterhood of support on your computer and it will guide you as how to become a member. I feel so bad that you are alone, but I promise you that you will not be alone anymore! All of us on s.o.s. have walked in your shoes, and as I said you will find love and support.
    I hope what Kimberly and myself have told you has been helpful.
    SA’s lie and manipulate. You cannot believe one word that comes out of their mouths. I pray you will have the strength to move on. Sounds like you are moving in that direction.
    I know finances are a concern, but see an attorney, as well, and cover your bases. Your husband will have to pay you alimony (If you are not working) and child support. Also, depending on the state, if you are not making what your husband makes, they will even it out. The courts favor the mother, so not to worry. Your husband has made his bed, so let him lie in it.

  54. This post makes me feel like I’m not completely alone, although my situation is different. I just got married 6 months ago. I have been with him for 3.5 years. My husband is in the Airforce and has been stationed over seas for a little over a year now. I was only just able to join him in February of 2013.
    Before we were married we had an active sex life (when he was home on leave), I trusted him, we were happy. There had been occasional strange instances. Him lying often about silly things, like breaking one of my lamps on accident, etc. A porn picture on his laptop that he claimed was from “a long time ago”. I was not worried because whenever we talked about porn he seemed to really not approve of it.
    But when he took leave to come home and marry me in October 2012, things changed. He hadn’t seen me in 7 months but he did not seem at all interested in sex. On our honeymoon I caught him watching porn. He had turned the volume on the TV all the way down so I wouldn’t hear, and did not realize I had seen him. When I walked into the room to confront him he acted as though he was only surfing through the channels and was very defensive. I was really bothered by it but he had always acted as if porn didn’t interest him much so I brushed it off. I realize now that all of these things should have warned me, but at the time it didn’t even occur to me that he was addicted to porn. I thought he was stressed out because of his job in the military, and about having to pay for the wedding and the honeymoon.
    Fast forward 4 months to February 2013, I finally get to move in with my husband. We haven’t seen each other in four months, and I’ve already forgotten how weird he was on our honeymoon, and I’m thinking everything will be normal. I was wrong. He is somehow even less interested in sex than he was the last time I saw him. At this point my self-esteem was pretty low, and I confronted him about it. He claimed he had no sex drive and was stressed out from his job. So I believed him, and have been patiently waiting (without pressuring him) for things to return to normal. But then I started noticing how protective he was of his laptop and cellphone, and I became suspicious.
    So two nights ago I asked to use him laptop to Skype a friend at home. He very obviously did not want me using his laptop, but the microphone is broken on mine so he grudgingly allowed it. Then I found it. He had been looking at porn at least 3 times a week for 20 minute periods. Mostly regular porn, but there was a lot of freecamgirlslive on his history too, which to me is even worse. I felt guilty for snooping, but the guilt was nothing compared to the hurt.
    I confronted him again, this time with knowledge of his wrongdoings. He immediately tried to lie, until he realized the porn I found was not in a random file from “years ago”, it was in his internet history from hours ago. I saw the wheels of his mind turning, and watched in his eyes the subsequent acknowledgement that he could not lie his way out of this. So then he began to apologize. He said he was ashamed of himself and his porn habit. He said his porn problem developed many years ago, that he had quit, but it had redeveloped when he was stationed overseas. He acknowledged that he had been struggling with it, and that he has a weakness for it. Although, he denies that porn is the reason for his lack of sex drive.
    Wonderful. Maybe I should consider myself lucky that he hasn’t cheated (that I know of). But what now?? I feel like I’ve been duped into a marriage with a liar and a porn fiend. I feel lost, and hopeless, and completely unloved. Assuming (which I am not) that he can successfully kick his addiction, how do I move on from this? Yes, I love him and of course I want our marriage to work. But the trust is gone. So many people say porn isn’t a big deal, that it’s natural. It makes me feel like a crazy person who is overreacting. Really it isn’t the porn itself that upsets me, it’s the fact that he has a loving wife who is completely willing to have sex with him at any given time and he chooses to watch porn behind my back and tell me he has no sex drive to my face. He is a wonderful person outside of this, but I am so lost in this situation.

  55. Leah – I am so sorry you are faced with a husband who obviously has a sex addiction. I don’t know how much you know about addiction, but please don’t play it down. This is very serious, is an intimacy disorder, and yes he is being unfaithful to you. A man does not have to be having sex with someone to qualify as unfaithful. Obviously, his addiction is keeping him from being loving and intimate with you.

    You mention that he is wonderful, except for this problem. Most men with addictions are charming,”Mr. nice guy”, intelligent, but lie and manipulate to hide their secret lives.
    I was married to a man with a sex addiction to porn and masturbation, as well as objectification of women. I can tell you it doesn’t get any better.

    Usually, there is a personality disorder with these guys and the addiction is only a symptom of a deeper problem. You need to be very firm with your husband and insist that he see a sex addiction therapist. If he is not willing to do that, then you have nothing to work with. Also, you need to find a therapist of your own to help you deal with this.

    My experience, and that of many others, is that it is very difficult to get over. Usually the best you can hope for is that your husband can learn to manage the addiction with possibilities of slips and relapses along the way. It is a long road to recovery, and you have to decide if you can tolerate it.Often a porn addiction can and does escalate. I think you said you also found your husband on a web cam with these women. If he is not interested in having sex with you, he may be getting it somewhere else other than just getting that high from porn and masturbation. Do not trust a word he he says, and an SA will lie to the endth degree to protect their secret lives.
    It sounds as though you and your husband may be younger than many men who are caught with a porn addiction. This can be positive, in that the longer the man has the addiction, the more difficult it is to deal with.
    Your husband stated that he has had a problem with porn for many years, so if it were me I would not want to compete with other women satisfying his needs. You are secondary to his addiction and most men will give up their wives and family rather than their addiction.
    My experience was that my husband saw two therapist’s in three years, went to an Intensive group for two weeks in California, and to this day continues to lie. I divorced him in October, 2012. If you are young, please consider you may always be second to your husband whacking of to porn. These men also have a strong fantasy network, and even if they do have sex with you once in a while they may be fantasizing about other women while having sex with you.
    Please think about whether you want to live this way for many years to come. It is heartbreaking and traumatic. You deserve a man who can give you love and intimacy.
    So,once again, insist your husband get therapy. He may do so just to save his marriage. Once they are caught, sometimes they just get better at covering it up. You represent stability to him. He has a marriage he can hide behind and pretend he is normal.
    Sorry this is so long, but I am so invested in this, because I have been there and done that – it is not a pretty story. S.O.S. – Sisterhood of support is a wonderful site to join. It is reasonably priced, and you can learn so much about addiction and at the same time get love and support from women who have walked in your shoes.
    Good Luck,
    Sharron

  56. “I feel like I’ve been duped into marriage by a liar and a porn fiend,” but he’s a wonderful person otherwise…

    really?

    I’m so sorry for your predicament, Leah, but those are very large issues your husband has and wonderful men do not lie about breaking your lamp and about their sex drive. What else is he lying about? Well, of course, you have absolutely no idea about that.

    And if the porn isn’t responsible for his “lack of sex drive,” then what is? Of course, its utter bull shit! You and he had an active sex life– in the beginning, so there’s something else he’s not telling you and I am not saying that he has cheated… but common now… the circumstantial evidence is over-whelming. He had motive (sex/porn addict) and opportunity (away from his wife for 7 months). Furthermore, statistics say that a man who looks at porn is far likelier to act out IN PERSON, then men who don’t.

    Is this someone that you want to make a life with? Have a family? (that is… if you CAN have a family) 🙁 I don’t see any evidence that he wants to get any help for his not-so-little problem. Its not going to just go away. Even WITH help, its unlikely to go away. So, if you don’t mind being married to a liar and cheater, then by all means, stay and if not, I would take steps to leave before he takes what’s left of your heart and totally decimates it.

    When a woman says that she’s “lost” (which I hear all the time) it means that she’s having trouble facing the truth. You do know the truth, but its too difficult to accept it. I totally get it. It took me six years and I made do and “spackled” and tried to make it work, not even knowing the half of it. You don’t need to know the entire story. I promise you that there’s more. There always is– a lot more and I’m afraid that its not very pretty. I wish the news were better. Again, I’m so sorry that you are finding yourself in this ugly situation. hugs, Kim

    1. I’m shocked to see that no one knows the validity of 12 step recovery from addiction . The sex addiction isn’t even about sex: sex addiction is just the tip of the iceberg .
      Recovery is important for partners too : SAnon programs are about YOU and doing the deep work necessary to. find out why you chose someone who is addicted to lust.
      If you do your own deep work with a qualified therapist, you stand a much better chance of healing your own mental emotional and spiritual sickness, because it’s there .

      Two books;

      Don’t Call It Love. By Patrick Carnes
      Mending A Shattered Heart can’t recall authors name but this one is for partners of sex addicts .

      Seriously : find help to get the focus on YOU in order to begin your own healing and decide your own fate when you really have “the big picture ”
      C. in recovery with husband of 35 years and his lust addiction has been the least of his problems …
      Just remember: you didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it , and you can’t control it .. But you can cope with it if you get help.

  57. Leah – Kim was much more blunt than I, and I agree with everything she said. My youngest son told me,when I found out about my husband – “Mom, you probably only know 1/4 of what he revealed to you when you caught him”. After 3 years and 3 separations with many promises that my husband would never lie again and would work on his addiction until he recovered – wrong, he never quit the lying and continued with his addiction in full force, so I divorced his ass.I have never questioned my decision. I found out my youngest son (age 40) had a lot of wisdom. He was totally right!!
    I guarantee you that very little of what your husband has done has been disclosed to you. Kim is right – you don’t have to know everything. Hearing what you have found out about your husband, thus far, would be enough for me to kick his ass to the curb and never look back. But, that is just me. Don’t take the advise of just two of us. Join Sisterhood of Support and get the story from many women in your same situation. I can tell you, without a doubt, that you will be surprised at what you hear from women who have walked in your shoes – including myself.
    Sharron

  58. Leah, He is not a wonderful person, wonderful people do not lie, cheat and decieve their loved ones!Period!
    He is an addict, and addicts are liars and master munipulatores, to say the least. He will never get over this addiction, firstly because he does not want to, and to fix something, he has to admit there are things to fix. The person coming between an addict, and his addiction, is you, Leah, and I assure you, this addiction is progressive, if he even tries to stay away from it, for you, you will encounter the worse anger possible, from him. Do not be so sure he has not cheated physically, even knowing he cannot perform with you, prostitutes, and other sex addicts will try all these sick situations they are watching on the porn. I believe these guys are mentally ill, I know for sure, mine was… he will never get better, so I left him.They are usually narcistic as well, and there is no known treatment for that! GOOD LUCK LEAH, BUT, I WOULD GET MY RUNNING SHOES ON, AND DO NOT LOOK BACK GIRL!

  59. Thank you all for your feedback and advice. Making him see a therapist or even seeing one of my own is very difficult because we are living in Italy and his base does not appear to offer couples counseling for anything other than deployment. The lies from him keep coming, and it’s so frustrating. The more lies he tells the more positive I am that he does in fact have a big problem, and he is willing to lie through his teeth for all of eternity in order to keep his secrets. I am currently looking into any kind of therapy the base offers, and if they are willing to help us at all. I’m not sure it will help, but I’m afraid to quit our marriage immediately and then wonder what would have happened if we had tried to work it out. I’m also looking to see if I can get an annulment based on fraud. I guess what I do will depend on what else comes out because things are still unraveling. I’m very cutoff from everyone over here. My family and friends are all back in the states, so it’s been incredibly lonely and confusing and I feel like I don’t have anyone to talk to about it so I greatly appreciate the feedback.

  60. Leah – I hate to see you waste time on this guy. You wonder what it would be like if you try and work it out.
    Just be aware that once an addict always an addict. Even if he can learn to manage his addiction, it will take years of therapy to achieve that goal. That would determine on his motivation to seek recovery and not do it just because his marriage is in jeopardy.
    That will be a difficult thing for you to determine, because lying is the last hurdle to overcome, so that will continue until the underlying personality disorder is dealt with. (most SA’s have one) But, I want to be right up front with you and tell you personality disorder’s are difficult to deal with, because they are a life-long process, so very seldom will you see a cure. The addiction is simply a symptom of a deeper issue.
    The best scenario you can expect is many years of the same behavior. I don’t think you will be able to continue to live with an SA where you are always second to the addiction. You will feel lonely, deceived, anger,experience extreme trauma which will affect your mental and physical health, and most importantly you will never have a man who will put you on a pedestal. These men do not have the capacity to love- everything is superficial, including their strong fantasy networks. You will never know true love and intimacy,
    I am sorry you do not have a support system in Italy. What your husband needs is a therapist specializing in sex addiction. I doubt you will be able to get that on base. Probably some family marriage counseling which will do your husband absolutely no good.
    So, please join Sisterhood of support to you can meet friends that can support you. Also, a wealth of information on sex addiction. PLEASE do so. You need someone to be there for you day and night, and these gals are always available. You will immediately form a bond with them. I did. Just type in Sisterhood of Support on you computer, and the site will guide you on obtaining a membership.
    My real advice, as I said before, is get out-RUN RUN RUN. and don’t look back! If you can get an annulment based on a marriage that is a true farce – Do it. I got an annulment from my 2nd husband, and it is much easier to obtain. If that is not an option, divorce his happy little ass. He is a man who can never give you what you need.
    There are plenty of healthy men out there.
    Love to you during this difficult time.
    Sharron

  61. Leigh, Elise, annmarie, 080111, OP — this is my story as well.

    My partner (not husband, no kids) of 4 years has been in recovery for a year and is a completely different, and amazing, person. But I just cannot forgive him. I am 5 days short of the D-Day anniversary, and it’s made me realize that I still harbor this anger and resentment, despite all of his changes, and that I don’t want to feel this way anymore. And certainly not for years to come, as the Original Poster has said. My partner has become the person that I always wanted him to be, but I am so betrayed by what he did through the first 3 years of our relationship, until I caught him. I don’t understand how a person can act out and continue to deceive their partner, and then say that he loved me the entire time. I don’t believe that he could possibly know what it means to love someone if he can make such an obtuse statement. He certainly knew what he was doing was wrong, yet continued to do it and continue a relationship with me. He a 4-month long physical affair, several ongoing emotional affairs, hundreds of online chats including photos, watched porn almost every day, and paid to watch cams.

    He has been in SAA since mid-July of last year, we’ve both been in couples counseling together, and we are both in solo counseling. I am tired of feeling betrayed and hurt and angry. He’s on Step 9 now, and I think that there are some things that you just can’t make amends for. His version of amends is that he is now a better person, and that he will continue to be better and wants to be better for me. It is absolutely true that he is a better person. I see changes in him everyday, but I just don’t feel like it is enough. The changes that he is making — to communicate, be open and honest, take an interest in other people, and to be a kinder, clearer, more genuine person — are simply the things that make us human.

    But is that really enough? Because while he is certainly a much different person, he is really only at the place that I expect a decent human being to be, so I don’t see why I should be overjoyed and grateful. He has learned to be a normal person on my time — to be honest, these qualities are what we should all have by this point. I resent him because I feel like I have wasted the last 4 years of my life, only to just now start a relationship with him that I myself started 4 years ago, because it has taken him 4 years to start doing what a human being should just be doing all along. I resent him so much for seemingly doing whatever he wanted behind my back, and just now getting on board and doing the things that a normal person does in a relationship.

    I am clearly still very angry and hurt.

    I resent him for telling me that he is becoming his best version of himself, that he is the clearest he has ever been in his entire adult life, since he was an adolescent (25 years ago). I am a lesser version of myself through this. I spend a lot of time focused on him, and I feel like a lesser, undesirable, human being. I don’t know on any given day if I am afraid to leave because of these feelings, or if I don’t want to leave because I am hopeful for our potential, because he has become the person that I have always wanted to be with, and honestly the person that I always thought that he was. Our relationship has been incredible this past year, and he keeps telling me to just stay in the present with him and move forward, because he wants to share this best version of himself with me. He says that he couldn’t stop himself from acting out, and that he compartmentalized things to such an extent that he couldn’t face what he was doing to me and our relationship head-on.

    I want to believe that so badly, but I don’t. I don’t believe that he didn’t know what he was doing. I don’t believe that he didn’t enjoy what he was doing. I am still so hurt that I can’t stay present with him, and I cycle back through these things. I don’t know if I can forgive him, or if I want to forgive him, or if I could ever stop feeling this way and take the good things and leave the horrible. I don’t want to feel like this forever, or even for another year — I miss my own life, which I should be enjoying right now. I am happy to read the mix of stories on here, to hear from other women whose partners are in recovery, and about their process. Too often I feel that I am the ignored collateral damage in my partner’s recovery, and that I am left behind to pick up the pieces of myself. The writing is profound here. I am happy for those of you who have found happiness, and empathize with those of you who continue to feel broken, to use the Original Poster’s words.

  62. Diana,

    oh dear… and I say oh dear, because you see… the reason you are so befuddled and can’t get past the past and feel undesirable, broken and lost and like you’ve put all of your focus on HIS recovery, is because I fear its all one big elaborate dog and pony show designed to make himself INTO the man YOU want and NEED him to be. He’s doing this for YOU, not for himself. In other words… he’s using you and that is why you feel used and undesirable. As difficult as this is to comprehend and how painful must be to realize, you are his front and that is what he needs to appear to be normal. You are perfect for the part, that is why he can’t bear the thought of losing you. Its not personal. He lacks the ability to love—ANYONE. Some part of you knows that he’s a fake but wants so badly to believe that this pseudo recovery is real, except if it were real, he wouldn’t be saying stupid shit like “he couldn’t help himself.” SERIOUSLY? and NOW, he can? Did he suddenly grow a conscience or realize that fucking around on his woman is excruciatingly hurtful to her? I don thin so! Am I negative? bitter? don’t want to believe in recovery? There is no such thing. There is management– maybe. Maybe one in a hundred… the rest… no. At best, a long term relationship with this man is a tremendous risk and if it were me… I wouldn’t bet on that pony. nosirrreee… I promise you that you won’t be missing a thing. There are plenty of men out there who aren’t so high maintenance and disordered. And my very strong hunch is that he’s not really on the up and up. Don’t bother calling him on it though. He’s convinced himself that he’s recovering. Addicts lie to themselves too, ya know.

    1. Well said Diana,
      There is no complete recovery for this addiction, and what sane person, wants a husband that is battling every second of every day wanting other women! It is not sane!!!!It is insanity at it’s finest. I know when you love your husband, this is difficult to see, but step away from the madness for awhile, and look back in, as an outsider, and you will see, it is INSANE! I did just that, and believe me it was not easy, but it was necessary! I still suffer from PTSD, but I am recovering slowly, the only way I could have stayed with him, is if I stayed in denial. Remember, addicts become avid liars, they have had lots of practise. I really could write a book, but this is not the place, I will say this, I cannot imagine anyone of you ladies being in worse condition than I was when I discovered what I had been married to, for 19 years, I was devastated completely, through many therapy sessions, and mountains of self help books, and a lot of soul searching, I got through it, and am doing well! Good Luck to you all!

  63. Today I feel very positive and thankful after discovering what my partner had been up to the entire 11 years we have been together (married for 9). The realisation that he is a sex addict left me feeling confused, hurt, shocked, disgusted, angry, furious and most of all deeply sad. However, after finding out all the information that would help me recover from this I am happy to say I am on the road to finding serenity for myself. I have found that by following a rigorous ritual daily I am now able to see clearer and have peace within myself. I pray for my serenity and that I may empathise with my partner. He is going through great emotional turmoil and hurt at what he has done. I believe in honesty and part of the conditions set down for our recovery is that he attend SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous Meetings) 3 times a week, get himself a sponsor (which he now has), work the 12 steps of recovery and abstain from any of that behaviour. Well, it is coming up to his 3rd month of sexual sobriety and I can honestly say that he has cried more tears than I thought would be possible for a man to cry. He has huge guilt, shame, regret (financial and loss of trust from me to name a few), feelings of worthlessness about what he has done but I am calm. I am finding serenity and recovery for me. If he should relapse I will not be his wife any longer but I will always be his friend and love him. I have my self respect and I did not cause him to do this, I cannot cure him from this and I cannot control it either. He needs to do that for himself. I am happy that today he can talk to me about what he has done and although the pain is sometimes unbearable to hear these things, I choose to know everything and I need to process it all and understand that it is an addiction. I have forgiven him but accepting has been harder for me. I know I will accept it in time but it is painful. I find taking care of myself and doing things that are positive for me such as outer beauty pampering (getting teeth whitened, painting my nails, attending the gym etc) help me so much. I used to feel like he was more important than pampering myself. I would focus on the kids and the house and I would be last on the list. WELL, good news, I am the most important person in this house now. I have my recovery from this to focus on and when I feel down I get down on my hands and knees and thank God for showing me how to cope with life. Life is much like a rollercoaster ride or surfing on waves, up and down. I totally feel like we are progressing in the right direction in recovery. I know that as the months go by we are becoming closer again and by taking lots and lots I see this behaviour of acting out sexually was part of a greater, deeper problem that had nothing to do with our marriage. It all started long before I came on the scene and if it wasn’t for me discovering it, it would have gone on for many years to come. I hope my comment here will give someone the strength to seek recovery for themselves regardless if they choose to stay or leave the addict. After such a traumatic discovery about a partners behaviour, we need to be particularly loving to ourselves and know we are worth it. We were in the dark but now we are in the light again and all will be good again in time 🙂

  64. For me… forgiveness and love = NO CONTACT. but you are very new to all of this Nikki. Sorry to sound patronizing, but come back to us in say, three years and tell us how dear man is doing with his “recovery.”

    You see for me… it isn’t just the acting out… that is only a part of the personality disorder that lead to the acting out. My husband wasn’t thinking of me when he was fucking other women. He ONLY thinks of me and considers my feelings when it suits him. He needs to feel justified in his behavior. Otherwise, that would make him some kind of monster.

    And please don’t be so naive as to think that he isn’t STILL acting out, behind your back– Are you joined at the hip 24/7, because if you are not… then I assure you that he can find a way. Do not fall into the romantic trap that your love was all it took to finally put a stop to this kind of icky behavior. Thank God you found out… otherwise, he never would’ve stopped! Oh my. Do you really believe that? Because if you do… I have a bridge for sale.. I’m very, very sorry Nikki… I know this all sounds quite harsh, and yes… some say negative and bitter. But I’m only trying to save other women the kind of heartache I went through again, and again and again and again… I know that in your mind, the only way you can deal with it is to call it a “sickness” but it is much, much more than that. He’s not a very nice person. At best, he’s exceedingly selfish and at worst he’s an out and out sociopath.

    and all the therapy in the world isn’t going to change that.

    but great, that you are taking care of you. That’s all you can do. You can’t control him. You can’t change him. The only one you can change is you. my best, Kim

    1. Thanks Kimberly
      I appreciate your caring reply. I understand all you have said and will keep it in mind. Thank you.
      I will update my post every three months from now as I am new to this and I feel it would be only fair
      to be truthful so I look forward to popping back and giving you my feedback on my original post. x niki

      1. As my therapist has said….”and you think you aren’t going to find out? Really? The addict always gets found out!” That my friend is addiction in itself!

    2. Go Kim Go! I feel stronger reading your posts. I’m stronger now after HE LEFT ME cause I was negative and dramatic (that’s what he thinks of me thinks I am toxic) ! What a dickhead. He had met someone online or wherever and was seeing his Ex and trying to stay with me? So confusing! He called 3 months after he left to see how I was? I didn’t callback. Now I am praying he moves out of town fast. Narcissistic, porn addicted, dry drunk, lying cheating stealing unethical immature irresponsible jobless wheeler dealer cold-hearted pig! And I still love WHAT? He’s happy as a clam in “recovery” still acting drunk and womanising multiple women. I need more therapy! I’m waiting for him to see the light. Ugh! So mad at myself!

    3. Kimberly, you are so right, they never, ever, recover. At best, with a lot of work by them, and most times, they are only going through the motions, to yet once more, hook you into their web of deceit. Since I left my pervert, I can look back in on the scam of a marriage, and clearly see the sexual acting out was the least of his issues. The personality disorders that go with this are far more damaging. Any remorse my ex felt was not for the pain he caused me, but for himself, his was loosing his cover story.(me and my son)I also am suffering from PTSD, it is not as severe as it had been, but still a period of time, where I was very angry at myself struggle. We must come to realize we need to work, work, work on ourselves, as there is an energy we are putting out there that makes us a target for these monsters. I too Jennifer, went through a long period of time, where I was very angry at myself, and I still am, but it is easing up! One suggestion for all you ladies, is to google Ted Bundy, it is a chilling interview. Not all porn addicts progress to do what he did, but all addiction is PROGRESSIVE. this interview, scared me to leave. Glad I did leave!

  65. If anyone is interested in reading some great information on Psychopaths, go to the website “psychopathfree.com”. When I was trying to wrap my mind around all of the behaviors of a psychopath and the impact they have on the spouse, I found the information to be amazingly accurate and enlightening in explaining many behaviors that are also manifested in sex addiction.
    It is a known fact that most SA’s have an underlying personality disorder, and many of them overlap, but when I read the information on this site, it was as though it was written about my Ex. It goes into explicit detail about how we are primed and manipulated by the psychopath, and why the spouse reacts the way they do. It also has great information on how to heal.
    I realize not all SA’s are psychopaths, but after gaining information from that site, it really makes you wonder!!

  66. niki, I have so much in common, apart from the gym, lol.Maybe I should.
    i would just like to say that we are two years down the line in recovery and when I read ‘even after recovery’ story my heart goes out as this is us. We both feel so much love and hurt.
    I think I will always love my husband, its sad that it is someone who should have loved him caused all this.

  67. Same here. My confidence is non existent.
    I never had much anyway. Now, I cannot feel sexy or romantic with him or anyone. I am a Registered Nurse. People love me @ work, some anyway. Men tell me I’m beautiful, but I do not believe a word. No one turns me on. I love my lying porn addicted husband. He’s kind to me and I was living in La La Land , working like a Slave, very serious minded. No fun. I never take a break. I am a hermit @ home. And, I am sad. I want love, romance & passion in my life. But, I never ALLOW IT. I sometimes remember his 2.5 yrs HOT LOVE AFFAIR with a co-worker & all the air goes out of my balloon. They had FUN. I worked horrible jobs. And I never had a clue. Now, I do not trust him. He still looks @ porn. I wouldn’t put anything past him. But, at one time, I was so comfortable with him. It was just me with my head in the clouds. I think it’s me, not him. It’s my nature to be serious. Loyalty is # 1 in my book. But I feel alone. Things I used to do for him, no. Now now. I miss those things, those times but they were never real. I’m becoming bitter.

    1. I can relate to what you are saying Rebecca. I think one thing that helps me so much is to focus on MY recovery. Unfortunately no matter whether you choose to stay or leave we are all left with ourselves and our feelings and the devastation of this. I have felt up and down and now I realise that the only thing that is helping me is to pray and pray and pray. Do good things or myself and work on myself. Make myself as attractive as I can, speak to people and find either real friends online or friends through other means but make proper meaningful friendships. I also isolated myself and was a total hermit. I now have enrolled on a course because unlike you I don’t even have a proper education. I have started volunteering twice a week and do other things to help other people. In doing these things (which you are already doing because of your job), I am feeling better about myself. As for my husband, well he is sexually sober from his addiction but he is not doing too well at all. He is so remorseful and as time goes on he sees more and more the damange he has caused to both myself and our two grown kids. He sees the hurt across my face every day, the pain I feel when everything I do somehow relates back to what he has done. The nerves in my stomach that come and go. Even little things like looking for a lace bra online, I somehow relate those poor models to prostitutes. No fault of theirs but now my mind is tainted. I even look at strangers sometimes as suspectious. It will get better the more I train myself to focus on good positive things. I know it does get better and I have to have blind trust (or I would probably go crazy). When I focus on what he has done in the past I put the focus back on myself and doing good positive things for me. I will automatically think of what I could do for myself and do it. Whether it is sit down and read a book or make an appointment to get my hair done, I will do it. I do not think of anyone else at the moment (and haven’t now for almost 4 months). Kids and husband can look after themselves. I am not a doormat any longer and I am feeling prettier and more confident daily. I still have awful days but they are less frequent and they do pass. I do feel I have more hope than I did and I will get through this with or without my husband. That is ultimately the most important thing, it IS all about me, not him. It WAS all about him for far too long but not any longer and it feels good today :-))

      1. I think you doing some great things there Niki. Loving yourself is a holy thing and will help you find your way forward. PTSD is a long term thing. Even if your husband stays sober, you will continue to struggle with some things. But we can lessen the negative effects by looking after ourselves, having coping tools and routines to use when we are triggered, and using our own power to make our lives different. For some that may mean leaving, but all the women I know have first tried very hard to stay. I know you will find the way that is right for you. When I have a bad day, I tell myself that I will feel better in a few hours, and then tomorrow I have a fresh start. Every morning, I choose life.

      2. Hi Diane, thank you for mentioning PTSD. That makes me realise that I should research that topic too. That makes so much sense. I am choosing to stay for now but I am giving myself a year for me to focus solely on my recovery from this awful chapter in my life. Either way I know in a year from now I will be in a far better place and in a place where my mind will be more clear about what path I should be taking for myself.
        I sound so selfish now and realise that I am now going to have to be selfish or to put it in better words “Self Care” mode. I see how much I have done wrong over the years by neglecting myself, my feelings, my truth, my mind and my education. I am now all about what I can do for me. As a sideline I have my husband and our seperate and combined recoveries. Like you Diane I choose life and I choose my life to be so much more than just existing. I am no longer a robot, puppet, doormat or an abused wife. I am feeling so independent and free from the bondage of all that dysfunction and disgust. I hope I go from strength to strength and can contribute here in a positive way to help others, as well as myself too 🙂

  68. HelloAllison, I am very much so able to relate to your situation, and where you are personally right now. I have been living with my spouse of almost 25 years, and he is a sex addict. Although, he is in denial about that, the signs are ever so clear. I have endured so much heartache, and pain because of this; however I decided that it’s time to live for me now, and I’m in the process of filing for my Divorce. The pain never goes away, and no matter how hard you try to make the relationship work, it has to be a two party effort.I reconciled with him time and time again, only to end up heart-broken again. To learn of another affair(or should I say “fling”). Let me be the first to tell you, that even though you say that your spouse has recovered,(and I commend him for that)I heard you also say that there has been some signs of porn-related activities still going on. This will truly never stop!!! There has to come a time when you have to consider your own happiness, and I must say that you are at a crossroad in your life where that time has come. You have to make a sound decision for yourself. Why,stay in the relationship(and continue to torture yourself with the agonizing thoughts that play in your head from day to day)if you’re not truly happy? I do commend you husband, cause unlike mine; he did take the first step to recovery, and that is admitting that there is a problem. However,you now have to admit some things to him about what has transpired since the start of the matter; and in conclusion, what has resulted from the whole matter.My advice to you would be to step back, take a look at the whole situation; and then ask yourself: Is it all worth fighting for? Once you do this, and you take an inside look at what the answers were, then you can truly assess the situation and there you will see that answer lies within. Wishing you all the best, and God Bless.

  69. It seems like you may still be in shock and it is obvious you are not really happy being married to this deceitful man. My question to you is this: Is it possible that due to the serious trauma of discovering that your marriage was a fraud and your husband a creepy pervert that payed prostitutes and strippers for sex. Is it possible that you have unresolved shock and trauma as a result of this and therefore you are not able to make fully empowered clear choices regarding your marriage relationship? Have you tried EMDR along with trauma based therapy?

    1. Martha…you are very uneducated on this subject and have zero knowledge or depth to the truths around you. Continue on your “merry go round” your time will come or you will never experience true love. Of course she has PTS and depending on her life experiences is how she filters the pain of her husband!s betrayal. I understood everything you said Allison (one of my husbands affair partners name…ugh) I agree that peace is the goal now….how happy to know what that word really means. I’m going on 2 yrs therapy and spousal support with an addict in recovery. I ultimately believe your brain is a powerful tool, what you put in (prayer, thankfulness and devotionals) will produce fruit. You will start to see the real fruit…your kids get closer to God as you move towards what is most important… your relationship with Jesus and everything else will fall into place. Your marriage was not a fraud,but a true love which was tainted by a fantasy and a secret pain felt by a man that has deep wounds of not being wanted most probably by parents. If your husband continues to choose himself then your boundaries would not allow you to continue in the relationship. We all are different and I have one time of forgiveness in me … I am worth it and that is exactly what the priest said….pray for God’s strength. Breath and take it one day at a time!

  70. Pam, your insulting another blogger here is not very “Jesus-like” IMO. Some of us are Jewish as was Jesus, so I find the proselytizing to be most offensive. It is fine to have a differing point of view but it is not fine to belittle other people who because they have come to a different conclusion are deemed to be “uneducated” (in your opinion.) I am glad that you have found a way to create peace for yourself, but that is the point. The way to that end which is why we are here, in the first place is not going to be the same for everyone. Not everyone can accept that just because he had a crappy childhood, that was a reasonable excuse to do what he did. Furthermore, you have no idea what Pam has done or hasn’t done. Perhaps a few years ago, she was doing as you were and THEN, she discovered that he was STILL pulling the wool over her eyes– maintaining a semblance of recovery. Some women, simply cannot get past the initial betrayal and find it impossible to regain trust. Still other husbands do NOT want to recover; don’t want to admit that they actually have a problem and that they can’t stop. Please don’t be so naive as to not believe that there are men who marry women under false pretenses, or duress, or because they don’t want to be alone, or she has a lot of money, or she makes him look GOOD, or all his friends are married, or his mother is nagging him… People get married for a wide variety of reasons and love is not necessarily one of them. My best, Kim

    1. Hi I’m new to this
      Found out my boyfriend of two years has been sleeping with escorts !! He is depressed so low and I m his only friend. He has tryed counselling in the past but is willing to try again. I’m only 26 and why I don’t no har told none of my friends am carring on as if nothing has happened and am supporting him more than ever!?

      1. Anne, I would suggest reading all the comments here from everyone as there are lots of wise ladies here who have been and are currently in the same position as you. There are lots of suggestions that could help you to understand this is part of a bigger problem that has nothing to do with you but from his past and you are not at fault in any way. You can really only suggest to your boyfried that he finds a “Sex Addicts Anonymous” meeting in your area or online. The rest is up to him to manage his recovery. You need to take care of YOU. There are lots of support groups for partners of Sex Addicts and it would be suggested you find recovery for yourself too. Partners of sex addicts are traumatised and deeply hurt by the addicts behaviour. There is a world of knowledge about this subject in books which would be a good starting point. Particularly “Working the S-ANON program ISBN: 978-0-9676637-1-5” for yourself and Sex Addicts Anonymous books by Patrick Carnes is also a good choice for your boyfriend. Bottom line is be kind to yourself and seek whatever help is available to you in your area.

  71. Hi everyone,
    The last time I wrote into this forum was 2 years ago when I discovered that my husband was a sex addict. It saddens me to see how many women are going through the pain I’ve been through. My husband like most when discovered begged, pleaded, and cried on many occasions… I’m here to tell you all my experience the past 2 years. All of the begging will eventually come to an end. After 6 months into our recovery the ” old” guy started creeping around again. He started getting annoyed at my ” insecurities” and became extremely irritable when I questioned him. Two years later I’m still seeing a counselor and he is not. According to him, God healed him and he doesn’t need help anymore. A little background on my husband, he was a sex addict for 12 years, porn, chatting, and countless physical affairs. The most important advise that I received during my recovery was actions will speak louder than words. Sex addicts are very manipulating. Trust your instincts, as women we unconsciously know things before we consciously know them. Best of luck to the strong women out there that are able to stay in the relationship after everything is discovered. I tried for 2 years.. 2 years too long! I am now divorced and have found a peace that is indescribable. At this point all I’ve lost is time but at least I have my sanity. Best of luck to you all.

    1. Congrats to you for leaving Jane, as I believe all these women will discover is the best option! Albeit, each case will have different time frames for leaving. I feel compelled to make a comment, you mentioned instincts, we all have them, but mine were gone, went out on vacation, I was in denial for years, I could feel something was not right from day 1 with him, but on I went with the relationship, if we, us women were in a better place, we would not have allowed ourselves to be with these men. Therefore, I consider this experience as being one of the best things that could have ever happened, as, I would not have dug in my heals and done the work that was needed on “me” . Yes, ladies, we attracted these creeps, something about us, told these men we would “put up with” this behavior. We did not feel worthy of having a better mate, therefore we accepted less than , because that is where our self worth was at! I know that if your D day is recent, you will not see what I say as helpful, but, trust me, you can heal, you can leave, and you can start thriving, instead of surviving this abuse!

  72. Jane,

    Sadly, your story is more the rule than the exception. It is exceedingly rare that someone who’s been engaged in this lifestyle can sustain a permanent paradigm change. For all of those reading that claim that their partners are in “recovery” please take note of the word “permanent.”

    One point that I beg to differ, however is that I do not necessarily see it as a sign of strength to stay. No, it is much more difficult to leave and start over, especially for those of us well into our 50’s and older who’ve had decades with these idiots. However, once we have learned the truth, staying has its own special brand of hell— even with a so-called “recovering” spouse. I’ve heard many say, that “slips are to be expected.”

    Really? Says who? Those “recovered” sex addict gurus who charge hefty sums for those “intensives” designed to jump start a wayward brain. Please. please. Oh, it feels soooo good when we stop hitting our head against the wall… or giving him the power to stab us in the heart over and over!!!

    Seriously, my stand is if one stays, that the only healthy way it can work is to just look the other way and not give a flying crap what he does or does not do. Don’t try to change him. Don’t expect anything other than what you have. The change, if there is one, has to happen with you, the betrayed partner, not the sex addict. If the partner is not prepared to change her thinking, then yes, she must leave. After all… who wants to be constantly monitored and questioned? But that is precisely the point. You cannot trust this man and all the therapy in the world is not going to change that. A man cannot grow a conscious when there was never one to begin with. So, you either stay knowing that he can’t be trusted and are okay with that and all of his depraved activities… or you leave. At least this is what I think. Cajoling, monitoring, constant questioning, imploring, begging… what kind of marriage is that?

    I’ve been writing here for four years under various pseudonyms, in my efforts to help other women understand what they are actually dealing with. Why, when I got on here… it wasn’t even for my very own husband. (long icky story) That is how deeply in denial I was, myself. I get it. And I also understand that we each need to find that point for ourselves when we realize that what he is, is who he is and we cannot change that anymore than we can change the tides.

    Let’s get that ocean into therapy so that it’ll stop that crazy (going in and out– lol) behavior.

    Its really just like that.

    1. Thank you very much for this post. I have been married to my husband for almost eight years, come to find out, he has been sleeping with hookers all along. I have to leave. That is my only choice. I cannot live a life of distrust, I deserve better.

  73. I have been struggling with my marriage since finding out my husband was going to massage parlors, paying escorts to come to his hotel rooms on business trips and compulsively calling, viewing and emailing escorts 2 years into our 5 year marriage. Reading this post was like reading my own words. My husband lied to me for months before admitting what he was doing. He continued his behavior for a few months before stopping and going to AA. He got a sex therapist he is still seeing. At first I was in shock and acted pretty calm and forgiving about the entire thing. The I got angry. I went through a few therapists beg or finding a psychiatrist I could work with. Unfortunately I feel so sad about our relationship I don’t know what to do. I feel exactly like the woman who started this thread – my husband gets to feel like he always has about me but I just don’t feel the same about him. I thought he was the One and I was so crazy about him but I’m just moving further and further away from him. I don’t know what to do.

  74. David,
    Oh dear. You get on a site where you have totally missed the point and accuse US of being judgmental and then JUDGE us for that?!?!? WTF???

    This site is NOT about monogamy vs. polyamory or sex drive or moving on… It’s about DECEPTION, SECRECY AND LIES and by the one person, who is supposed to be our LIFE partner, the father of our children and the one that shares our most personal and intimate secrets. Sex addicts don’t just have sex with other people, they very often also have deeply emotional affairs with lots and lots of other people. It is THAT breach of trust that is what is so incredibly devastating.

    Please, be my guest and screw everything in site if that makes you happy,(and hopefully, if you have a partner, she’s in on the party) but please keep your unwarranted, nasty comments to yourself. If you don’t like what we’re saying or don’t get it, don’t fucking read it and certainly do not comment! We’re not interested. Little girls are NOT given the wrong message! How dare you! We get the SAME exact message that little boys get. How do I know? I was once a little girl who then went on to raise two boys into adulthood and this is what I instilled in them each and every day of their lives as my parents did me. INTEGRITY, HONESTY, HONOR and RESPECT. These are the unalienable rights of ALL people, men and women alike. Cheating, is not one of those rights, nor is selfishness to the point of HURTING other people we supposedly love, in the process. What we are referring to has absolutely nothing to do with a human being’s sex drive. I don’t expect you to understand, because clearly, you do not give a shit about anyone but yourself and what comes “naturally” to you; and you neither love nor respect women; any women. You make a mockery of the millions of men roaming this good earth who are still deeply in love and devoted to their wives after decades of marriage.

  75. I have a question if my husband looks at porn on his phone or whatever ways he can is that cheating on me? Or when he calls those hotlines to chat with ladies just to for him to do a hands job with his other hand I’d that cheating? To me I feel like it is. But what do you think? When I catch him he starts lying and trying to find something that I did wrong to argue about. Please help

  76. yes, Mariah… it’s cheating. a spouse who has secret sexual liaisons with other people (in person, or online)is a cheater. A cheater who cannot tell you the truth is a lying cheater. If he then blames you for HIS indiscretions, he’s a lying, cheating pig. I’m sorry.

  77. Hi Mariah – Kimberly is right on! Your husband has a serious addiction problem. Cheating doesn’t have to be just intercourse with another person. Cheating is when a man is using any kind of way to avoid intimacy with you. That includes just about everything. Porn, chat rooms, affairs, objectifying other women, etc. Addiction is merely a symptom of a larger problem which manifests itself many times as a personality disorder and can go way back to childhood. Your husband needs help. The fact that the only way you found out was by catching him, and he is lying about it, shows he has no insight into his problems and doesn’t give a rats ass about what he is doing to you. These guys are very self centered and the high they get from their addiction will win over you every time.
    Give him an ultimatum – either he goes to counseling or you go bye bye. I don’t know how old you are, but even with therapy these guys usually do not change. They didn’t get this way overnight, and they can not get over it overnight. You will be lucky if he is one of the few that can just learn to manage his addiction,(Learns to replace unhealthy behavior with healthy ones), because even most of them cannot do even that.
    Sorry to be so blunt, but unfortunately it is what it is. If you want to set yourself up for years of therapy along with many slips and relapses stay with him. Take it from one who knows. I wasted more time than I should have with my husband. It took a toll on my mental and physical health, and it is not worth it. You will never be able to trust your husband as the lying will continue as long as the addiction does.
    Good luck to you,
    Sharron

    1. It clearly is addiction, and the faster you leave him, the faster you will heal. He will not change, for they do not know how! And do not care to learn how! I am one that knows, it is a sickening , sad reality, they have “perfected ” their manipulation and lies for so long, for mine, 20 years, it would take double that time, with a lot of work for them to begin to recover , I did not intend to wait, for a “maybe” I can do it! I say fill your boots with these fake “pixels” you sick man!
      Good luck!

  78. Celina, We know all about 12-step programs on Married to a Sex Addict. Perhaps you chose a man addicted to lust, but I did not. That is the last thing anyone would ever think of him. He hid that part of himself from EVERYONE. He presents as the kindest, sweetest man ever. I do not wish to learn to “cope with it” either. I don’t want anything to do with his problem because he is not planning on changing anything. That is why I left. If you want to stay and “recover” with your husband, that is your business. However, I find your post quite contradictory. Your assertion that EVERYONE on here chose a man addicted to lust and that we need to do “deep work” to figure out why, is not only most presumptuous but also inappropriate on this forum.

    My question is why on earth would anyone want to hang around with a known liar, cheater and someone who didn’t care one hoot whether he was hurting me or not? My recovery is from the pain of discovering that my life partner was leading a double life (for 10 years at least) and the associated trauma and isolation associated with it. I learned at an early age that if I put my hand on a hot stove, I’d get burned. I’d have to treat it with ointment and a bandaid. After that, I learned to be more careful.

  79. Kimberly is right on Celina. In most cases the sex addict picks us. They see in us as a strong woman that emulates everything they would like to be, and they feel a stability in being married to that person, because it makes them feel “Normal”. A sex addict does not change – get out and save yourself.

  80. There are often two sides to a story. You may have heard his side already but if not, it won’t hurt to listen once carefully without mixing in your side. There is a risk of this site becoming an echo chamber where everyone feels like a victim and is unwilling to see that there may be another side.

    1. Are you implying that we have not heard or listened to his side?

      Every one of the hundreds of women on this site have listened, and heard, and considered, and compromised, and tried.

      I don’t understand what your point is.

    2. WTF,are you talking about? I think we all have heard his side, in bits and pieces, never in totality though, and I assure you, he had ample opportunity , he chose not to tell his side, he couldn’t keep all his lies straight, to finish his side of the “story”. I am not impressed with your post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. A sex addict’s story has infinite sides, and they change from moment to moment. They are first expert liars and role players, who have typically been perfecting those skills all their lives. To listen to anything they say is a waste of time and energy. Watch what they do–and move swiftly to protect yourself from physical, emotional, and financial ruin.

    4. Paula, that is an enabler comment. There is no side to the story worth listening to in these situations — even if you forgive his cheating and lying, what about his treatment of human beings like commodities that can be bought and sold. Prostitutes overwhelmingly see no other way to support themselves, either due to some psychological problem or lack of skills. Men like our significant others contribute to human misery in terrible ways – think of the trafficked women, the hopeless women, the suffering women they victimize over and over. For me, the lack of empathy was really the deal breaker – my husband didn’t know what empathy was until he started counseling. Of courses this is a terrifying revelation about a person you love a trust on its own.

  81. Actually, Paula- a lot of the women on this site, and the majority on S.0.S are very informed regarding sex addiction, because they have researched the subject as much as I have. I have yet to see an SA in true recovery. and if they are it is a matter of managing their addiction this is not a cure! If women choose to stay with someone who more than likely will have slips and relapses down the road, all the power to them. I chose not to. It was tearing me down physically, psychologically, and emotionally-. The pain is not worth the gain, and I’m not into pain. If you can produce situations where the majority of sex addicts are cured, I would love to hear about it. Actually, if you would read some of JoAnn’s E-books they might enlighten you, and she knows her stuff!

    1. Paula with addiction in general it is about managing it: no one is ever cured of an addiction. It truly is one day at a time. And that works for millions of addicts. The major problem for SA’s is that their addiction is half of the population…it’s not alcohol which can be avoided . It is the worst addiction because it is relational.
      But no , addiction is never cured, SA recovery programs do not promise that . They don’t promote that. Every addict is a recovering addict. Forever.
      Thanks

      1. I had to laugh at “half the population.” For many SAs, it progresses to the whole population–women AND men…then donkeys, then children…

  82. My husband and I have been together for. 40 years . We are both sick damaged people . He was abused horribly by an insane mother. found addict daddy’s porn stash at 12 and had been addicted to lust ever since. We are. 60 years old, the work I have chosen to do in therapy, after yes being made crazy by the growing outward indication in public that he had a big problem , has taken me to the place in ME that needs healing . When I met him I decided HE was the strong one … at. 20!!!! What a riot that is to us now. We were sick from the beginning : I am one of the people who repressed sexual abuse in childhood by an uncle:both of my parents covertly sexually abused me . I’ve been objectified my entire life as a beautiful woman : I lived my life as a victim..,I ended up with the sex addict because I was groomed for it ! My mother could have been my pimp, living vicariously thru me when she would take me out as a teenager in the skimpy tops and shorts she would buy me: I was 14. I thought it was normal I guess and learned that being objectified was GOOD . I had sex with strangers in early college : I was as messed up in the head and heart as any sex addict. And had the same hole in my soul from abuse. What I’m doing in my life right now is saving myself . We are damaged people.

    When we met , besides my coming from a sick family of origin , I had just been raped . At 10am, walking up my street to get a bus to work. I met this guy who I decided was deeply spiritual and would keep me safe. I truly had been and continued to live as a victim . I’ll skip the messiness of our life together, his snide/ my abuse issues mixing together.

    In our. 30s I’d notice how he looked at women: it irritated me but I was gorgeous so I didn’t really care . Fast forward to fifteen years later, the Internet… and then the iphone. That’s when things started to deteriorate. Portable porn: that was my first thought when he bought them. I knew by then that something was wrong . The whole usual partner of a sex addict story. I became immensely sick.. Depression that kept growing… The whole nine yards,

    I knew what was driving the depression and growing fear. But people said oh you’re just getting older and you’re jealous. Maybe but I knew there was more. But …and here’s what I mean about. “Digging deeper “, finding out what YOUR problems are : what was driving the fear around his acting out in public and the craziness that grew in me. were all my issues that had never been dealt with: all of my life trauma attaching to the trauma of his addictive behavior. I needed serious help the past two years just to begin work on ME let alone the relationship.

    Only two years in after his porn addiction of a lifetime. The porn, the sexual high. Became the regulator of his nervous system . There have been lie detector tests as part of recovery so I have solid reason to believe he has not had sex with anyone. no hookers or escorts or massage parlors or hook ups. But guess what ? The damage to the partner even when. “It was just porn ” is equal to the damage if therd were sick hookup women involved .. I believe that if he had been screwing other women all along I’d have left right away. We all have our lines in the sand right ?

    I’ve been with this man my whole life. We have been through thick and thin , raised two children(who ofcourse have problems from, now we know , growing up in an addictive family system)loved , hated , loved more than not , and it’s certainly not sad if he is sick and I’m not !! So no , I’m not bailing . Not yet anyway . And I get it that addicts are never cured and that he will need meetings and vigilance forever , but even at this point he can’t “forget. ” and look at some little hottie who is throwing it out there for all the world to see , without feeling real shitty…seriously.

    Used to be this man would run into his addiction world the minute there was pain or anger or conflict , the behavior he learned as a kid trying to survive being beaten every day. He and three brothers , all of whom are now recovering drug addicts. Now he stays : he is learning to not bail , to be here , I’m learning to hold my own hard emotions instead of lashing out at him, the kid in me searching still for someone to hold me and comfort me.

    He can do that now . He wants to .

    He didn’t pick me to hide behind, as someone on here suggested, so he could hide his secret life. When we moved in together I told him no porn. I’d seen porn damage and almost destroy my parents marriage. Ofcourse he found other ways to get it , at friends houses etc. I just set the boundary at 24 for me .

    If anybody picked anybody to “hide behind “, it was I who did it . I wanted to be strong like him….but ofcourse , as I’ve indicated. , I attributed qualities to him that didn’t exist because I had been launched into PTSD, not knowing it , after the rape with a gun to my head at 22., and I wanted desperately to feel safe. My parents never ever spoke a word to me about what happened . I told them and I went. ” home. ” for two months , but they never talked to me about it : they couldn’t do it . When you were done with college , which I just was , you were on your own. My father wanted me gone . They ” didn’t know what to do with me. ” my mother said 20 years later …

    Anyway. So many hurting women here it breaks my broken already heart . But I’ve yet to see anyone else address themselves and their own stuff , how it might have contributed to their choice of a partner . Stating. ” oh well THEY choose US to hide behind , to seem normal ” doesn’t quite do it for me. But that’s just me. And I wanted to add my experience to the dialogue here.

    And I’m in it for the 5 year plan suggested in the SA program here: that 5 years is basically the period of time for true recovery to. BEGIN.. For real change to occur . Not for a CURE to occur, but healthy change.
    And if that change doesn’t seem significant , I still don’t know what I’d do . I’m. 61 and 2 years in….At least I know and believe now, that I have choices. When you live like a victim you don’t know that .

    These are the things he and I are talking about openly now and yeah there’s a lot of yelling and fighting and tears and separate bedrooms at times . But it’s a hell of a lot better than the past ten years were. And that’s saying something

    That’s my story and I’m stickin to it as the saying goes!

    1. PS from. Celina:
      Just read my post and saw I typed. “So it’s not sad that he’s sick and I’m not “. That should read. “It’s not as if he ‘a sick and I’m not. “

  83. Hi Celena – I am so sorry for the traumatic childhood both of you suffered. It is very sad when we have parents that set out to ruin our lives. But, when you look deep inside yourself and realize you are a good person, the healing for you can begin. Of course with counseling, hopefully that can occur. Basically, you just have to make up your mind there is more to life than what you are living – that mind set change. Although intellectually understanding it is good, but putting it into practice is where the real work begins.
    I am the one that said SA’s pick their partner, and many times this is the case, but I agree with you that in your situation two damaged people picked eachother. I commend you for the insight you have gained in counseling, and it sounds like you are thinking things through rather well.
    You mention there are still many fights and separate bedrooms. As you also mentioned, it will take a long time for both of you to get better. One of you may progress quicker than the other and that may call for some new decision making. You did not mention if you, too, had developed any addictions.
    I hope your h is seeing a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist that also addresses Personality Disorders developed in early childhood to cope with the trauma, and you have learned that addiction is only a symptom of a deeper disorder that needs to be dealt with before the the coping mechanism of addiction can even start to evolve into learning to manage it.
    As for the gals on Married to a Sex Addict and S.O.S. – most of us, have received
    therapy, or are in the process of it – not just first and foremost to heal ourselves, and not only learning the dynamics of how we got into such a relationship, but to have all the information available to us in making an informed decision on whether to leave or stay.
    Good luck with your healing. Some women decide to stay and try to make it work, and I commend them if they are able to do that. I think in your case I would recommend further separation from eachother until you are both further down the line in healing. The fighting and separate bedrooms is really not a solution, as it keeps the stress levels and trauma up for both of you.
    Good luck with your journey, and I hope things get better for you.
    My prayers are with you,
    Sharron

    1. Thanks for your opinion Sharron.
      Everyone does what is best for them.
      My h is in very capable hands with a certified 12 Step recovery sex addiction therapist .
      He is doing the best he can.
      There is no more erotic haze to hide from his feelings when there is conflict.
      I really don’t know if he looks at women and goes back into lust .
      Even without addiction we ALL have lust . I can undress a hot man in 5 seconds … Big deal. Haha
      I can’t even imagine being addicted to the feeling and using it to regulate my emotions .

      When I was young and beautiful my addiction was to being lusted after. Who knew he was addicted to lusting ? Not us !
      It all seemed quite normal. Fifteen years ago it started to change , his voyeurism arrived. and I felt it was happening because of MY aging ( note : we are the same age !!)
      Ten years ago we bought iPhones. Portable porn. Smart phone ?.. Smart porn addict !
      I continued to believe it wax my fault : I’d had several surgeries and two. 10 pound babies and a hysterectomy and issues with chronic pain…. “Oh how. COULD he want me ? “thinks the partner of the SA ! Well we do at some point question ourselves .

      My addiction has been to seeking security , as a person with severe PTSD might do….
      His. ” most important need ” was sex, ( or so the active SA believes )mine was safety/ security , because I believed I couldn’t take care of myself to begin with , and then at 22 I was raped at gunpoint at. 10am while walking to get the bus to work.

      I’m a student of. Buddhism. I’m learning how to control my mind. , how to not be fearful, I’m working in therapy on childhood and sexual and rape trauma.
      This is. MY story .
      He is working on all of his burden .
      Will I leave ? Today it’s okay to be here .

    2. PS Sharron: I just re read your reply and want to point out something: you took what I said about my childhood in explanation of the fact that both my h and I are damaged people , and turned it into an assumption that I “need to see there is more to life than how I am living ”
      Whoa. Hold on.

      I only speak of childhood ax it had had to be looked upon in this important therapy
      Until my husbands lust issue started to become obvious and a problem for ME. , I was living a successful happy life I’d had issues with depression(naturally), had therapy, discovered dysfunctional family systems and was good to go … so to speak

      The growing awareness that something was wrong started to get in the way : every partner of a SA in my SAnon group speaks to this, knowing something was wrong but… ????
      That’s what erodes your life.
      I knew I was loved and that I loved.

      I just want to make it clear that I haven’t spent my entire life mired in full awareness of pain and horror !
      So ” there’s more to life than how you’re living ” has truth to it: (NOBODY would choose to do work like this!! But I have chosen to handle this does not describe my entire existence right now , just as his addiction does not describe all of who he is .

      Just like ALL of life, this journey is a crap shoot : One or both of us could decide it’s not worth it: too many triggers . Today, one day at a time, we are unraveling this lifetime puzzle and , as I’ve already said, it’s ok to be here, in mutual love and support, working on acceptance.
      Thank you .

  84. Celina – Thanks for the reply.
    I hope I didn’t sound negative to you about childhood issues. I did not realize you had resolved those them. I had a very traumatic childhood, as well. I really decided at a very young age (10) that I didn’t want to be anything like my parents. My spiritual values kicked in and I grew into adulthood very well adjusted and with few scars. The only one was picking the wrong kind of men. I was great at that. It took me until I was 50 y/o to realize I was picking men like my father in personality and/or looks. Once I figured that out I was single for 10 years when my h came in an swept me off my feet with charm, good looks, personality, and the good side of him that he only showed to me.
    We were married 2 1/2 years and I finally divorced him because he showed no signs of making an effort towards recovery, and was lying, deceiving, and triggering all over the place.
    My physical and mental well-being took it’s toll.
    We just recently re-married, but it is purely a marriage of convenience. I have detached myself emotionally, but we are able to remain friends.
    I just don’t want to see you get hurt. My h has read every self-help book on addiction, anger management, and abandonment issues. He has been to a 2 week Intensive in LA, and counseling up until this year. Although he intellectually understands his issues he can’t change. He will be 70 in June. The brain changes with addiction and is programmed for self gratification and he staying where he is most comfortable by hanging onto the thing that soothes him the most. He hates what he is, but just cannot change. The good side of him is the most wonderful man I have ever met, but the dark side is impossible to live with. He is very sick and I will not ever go through what I went through with him again.
    Again, just don’t want you to go through what I did. Just be aware that even with the most positive intentions these guys really aren’t able to change. I hope for your sake your h is one of the few that make that paradigm shift and can recover. I don’t know how old he is, but the younger he is will be in his favor to change. My h has lived a lifetime of addiction, and his personality disorder is Borderline Personality Disorder. Personality disorders don’t just go away. He lives his life by avoiding as many situations as he can to avoid any situation that might be triggering for him. It is no way to live, but he maintains he is happier avoiding than living a normal life and triggering every day. He says that would be a worse life for him because of the guilt and shame he feels when acting out. Whatever works for him, but I am happy living by myself and doubt I will ever date again.
    Anyway – hope things get better for you.
    Hugs,
    Sharron

    1. Hi Sharron and thanks for sharing your story. All I really know is that the longer my h and I try to get healthy the better place I will be in for moving forward alone should I decide I don’t want to stay with him. We have been together for forty years: we are 60 so yes indeed, a lifetime of addiction. After 2 plus years in recovery programs I think I have just now begun to be able to detach a bit and tell my ego to hush up. The disease is a lifetime disease. He is in a to gram surrounded by men with 35 and 20 years of sobriety…and with men who come back every week and again it’s their first day of sobriety. But I have no doubt that if I decide I just cannot tolerate the difficulty , the saying ” I’m doing the best I can ” ( his addiction to lust involves compulsive mast. with porn , which had ended (lie detector says so ) but still seeing and looking, it’s just hard to look away and say ” it’s his program”, but I’m told that the more I do that the healthier I get. I do believe that..

      We are not physically intimate: I chose to be again after a year but am back to needing the boundary. He says he would rather be celibate til the day he dies than to go back into the addiction. Hmmmmmmm. I think sex will STILL end us if I don’t again feel trusting enough to do it.

      Today it’s ok to be with him… Even though the air is full of his frustration over no sex. Sorry pal, direct consequence of your addiction.
      So sad…

    2. I am so deeply sadden that we devote our love, loyalty and life to such men. I’ve been with my h for all most 12yrs, since Highschool and married almost 5. We have no kids and he has a very great profession. We are both 28, but with his success and lack of control, addiction is an understatement. He’s had run-ins with flirting at his office, to bringing an ex to my home and engaging in intimate activities, he’s also took her on dates. Not to mention, he drinks profusely(only when he’s out with friends) and calls escorts. I am disgusted, hurt, sad, betrayed and all the above. I find myself not even wanting kids. The bad part is he’s a really great guy, meaning well-mannered, well-educated, and he claims through all his trouble, he can’t bare to live without me. Unfortunately, this situation is fresh and fairly ongoing. We have seeked counseling and he claims he has a sobriety issue, and I’m gone too much, due to visiting with family and friends for long periods of time, in and out of town. After he went through the emotions of all this, I went out of town to get away and he relapse yet again. I’m so torn. I too am starting to believe that I’m with him for stability reasons and I worked so hard and been through so much, why the hell would I let another woman benifit from my wounds. However, I cry myself to sleep from feeling so low as a woman and I go into a depression that slows my progress of life down. Please give me any insight on how to deal with this without losing myself bc I’ve come close to losing my mind, but I still love him though it’s hard to tell if I’m in love with him. Is there any hope for me. I can handle the honesty?!?!?

      A Woman with a broken Heart

      1. Please, please ladies, this site is only for discussion of the main post, not as an open forum for discussion about your own situations. As I have explained numerous times, this is a free website and I cannot afford to purchase the amount of bandwidth necessary to support an open forum. When the allotted bandwidth is used up on this site the site will shut down for the rest of the month.

        If you need support and 24/7 forum activity, advice and friendship of other women and the safety of a private site please consider joining the Sisterhood. Thanks. ~ JoAnn

      2. Sorry JoAnn – I forgot. I have been so busy getting my support group set up that when I received an E-mail from this site I just automatically replied. I didn’t take the time to log into s.o.s. – I will from now on.
        Hugs

  85. Celina – It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and are processing well. It would very difficult when you have spent almost a lifetime with someone to detach. It is good that you are detaching in the sense you are thinking about other options for you just in case. – now detaching emotionally is a different thing. It takes time and everyone has to do it at their own pace. I admire your strength. I am kinda funny – once someone has screwed me over and broken my heart and trust, I can never get it back. Now my h tries to be honest with me most of the time, and I know most of the time when he isn’t. I still will never be able to get that trust back – too much water over the dam. Besides, since he is still in active addiction – no way- no how. As I said, our marriage is strictly for convenience because I gain much more financially by being married to him. H will try and get me to have sex with him on those few occasions when we see each other. Ya, like right! I would really want to do that when it was only sex for him and then he would go home and mast to fantasies. He even admitted he used to fantasize while making love to me. Glad you are not having sex with your h. You have decided on the 5 yr. trial, but as a colleague and good friend of mine once told me “Always keep both eyes wide open.”
    Are you on S.O.S? I am a member there, and if you aren’t you can receive so much love and support from those walking in your shoes. I also have made a lot of friends and JoAnn was great about telling me like it is when my head was in the clouds. I was a hard learner, and it took me 3 separations to make the decision to divorce.
    Hang in there kiddo.
    Oh, I forgot to add – I found out about my h’s addiction shortly after we began dating. As the relationship moved along and we became engaged, he detached completely from me once the ring was on my finger. THAT brought up a red flag, so before marrying him I made him take a polygraph. He told me that meeting me gave him the motivation to stop the addiction. (I was so uninformed and stupid). He passed with flying colors! Later, the questions he answered no to on the test began manifesting yes’s to me as I watched his addiction flourish. H later admitted he had lied through the entire test and beat it. I later found out these guys can believe their own lies. Not to say yours does, but just be careful. It is wise to have the one administering the test to specialize in addiction, and also to have a CSAT present. I did not do that. Hope you are doing that.
    Anyway, enough rambling. You sound very intelligent, so am sure nothing will get passed you, but as was in my case I kept holding onto change because I wanted that more than anything.

    Sharron

  86. I’m happy to be able to add something to this blog and hope it can give strength and comfort to others. I found out about my husbands sex addiction 3 years ago and like the rest of you the devastation and the shock of finding out what he had been involved in was terriable. We had been married 23 years and I had no idea and thought he loved me to bits. Once it came to light I did not think we would stay together but I had to sit tight and get my head around it ,get help and decide what was best for me and the kids.
    I am a strong and independent woman but new the shock meant I could not make any sudden decisions.

    Well my SA stated he wanted to recover and was very remorseful and as some of you have stated they can be devious so in the beginning I took everything with a pinch of salt waiting for him to mess up. Well three years down the line he is sober and a different man, we still do have our problems (which would be expected) as it can take up to five years to recover, although we are both happier people.

    I think what I want to say is if they really want to recover they will and they can be better people I can tell he’s honest by his actions rather than his word and that’s what my therapist advised to observe.He no longer has addict traits such as the anger, selfishness, arrogance, perfectionist traits etc etc.

    I am very sad that all do not recover and I know every situation is different but there is hope. I know none of us should ever stay for an abusive relationship but I wanted to let you know some do recover. For in the beginning of this journey for me all I could ever read about SA and recovery was negative.

    May god bless you all

  87. please can you all give me the strength to get through this despair.
    i have just realised my partner of three years is some kind of sex addict- not a particularly successful one; which he thinks makes it less of a problem.
    Our baby was born in june 2013, and when he was 8weeks old i found out he had cheated since we got together. He told me he was damaged from his marriage, but our son had made him see the light. I stayed with him, and stupidly became pregnant again. Our child died at twenty weeks gestation, and giving birth to our dead son in march was the hardest thing imaginable.
    Last week i found out that throughout all this, he was on swingers websites.
    I am humiliated, shocked, weak- i dont know what to do. I have no support, as nobody thought i should have stayed with him. How could i have thought he would change, just because he was caught cheating 🙁 x

  88. Wow. It is great to hear that still feeling hurt is ok or normal. We have been in recovery for 8 years. I found out about his affairs and it took 6 years to get all the disclosure. A polygraph was need to learn the full extent. And yes I had many times vomited when I learned a new something or other. Talking with other women is the one thing that has helped me the most. And believe me we have done a lot: pastors- not really equipped, counselors- good and bad (interview!) ,general recovery groups, SAA & COSAA, 12 step and COSA, plus an intensive week just for couples dealing with sex addiction. Things are better now in our marriage, but no I’m not happy and there is a deep sense of loss that can never be regained. Unless you have been through this, you do NOT understand that loss. I continue to share everything that my husband and I have tried and I am free to say what worked and what did not. Like separation, 4 years, didn’t work for us. You have got to have a plan. We live together now but there is little intimacy physical or emotional. So I choose joy; in activities, in our children, with hobbies, with volunteering, in my spiritual life, and good trusting nonjudgmental girl friends! Yes the most personal relationship I have on earth causes me hurt, but that is only a part of my life. Soon we will celebrate 25 years of marriage, because I am in this for the long hall.

  89. Thank you so much for sharing your real feelings. It seems to me so few do that. I understand what you’re saying. I love my husband, in many ways, but I will never ever feel connected as a wife like I once only supposed I was. Sad? Yes. Definitely.

  90. Karrenn- This site is not shut down, but Joann, the Administrator, has changed her web page to “SOS-Sisterhood of support”. Unlike this one, SOS is a secure site requiring a UN and PW. Women can share their stories and not have to fear anyone reading their posts and knowing their personal business. It costs to join, but is very affordable and well worth the money, because anyone finding this link on line can read it.
    Joann asks that we don’t post long posts on this site, because after so much volume the site can shut down secondary to the costs required for keeping it going. This is why Joann is now charging.

  91. Thanks Sharron, I appreciate you watching out for the site.

    I opened up some of the posts for comments, but, once again, I got the notice today that my bandwidth is reaching a critical stage.

    So please ladies, just post general comments about the original article or story. Do not enter into back and forth communicating or asking questions of your own, this site just cannot handle all that activity. Thanks. ~ JoAnn

  92. I must say your description of the aftermath years later sounds so much like what has been crying out in my heart for awhile….magic being gone,you being broken….these are results of our husbands’addictions. We have had truth and light in our marriage for 4 years now this weekend. Im exausted. He contiunes to make hurtful decisions–not actual addiction offences,but triggers of the pain to me nevertheless. Thank you for sharing your honest words and I am grateful that I searched some phrase that led me to your blog!

  93. My husband is in good solid recovery and has been for three years, I write this as I would like to give others hope. No one should ever stay in a toxic or dangerous relationship but it can work out if their willing. Note I said if willing.
    I did read on a blog here that 5% is the recovery rate, I would like to read the research that supports this and there was also a statement that as the years go by the chance of relapse increases ! again this would be interesting research I would also like to cast my eyes over.This is not the information we have been given from the professionals in the field.

    The psychotherapists and sexual addiction specialists we work with feel this information (5% recovery rate) is very outdated and are not sure what evidence supports this and they also feel that due to the nature of the condition there are many factors that would effect good data collection.
    So I guess what they are saying is more research needs to be done to provide us with more up date information but due to the nature of the condition who will come forward to be part of a study ?

  94. I have disputed the 5% recovery rate many times, as there is no basis for it related to this thing we call Sex Addiction. Here is an article I wrote recently:

    http://sisterhoodofsupport.org/the-5-recovery-myth-for-sex-addicts/

    There is, however, an approximate 5% remission rate for cancers (certain cancers are higher, others are lower) that occur without any medical intervention. I assume that that is where the 5% myth comes from.

    Personality Disorders cannot be ‘cured’ and change is extremely difficult. Only slight changes can be accomplished by working with a therapist trained in Behavior Modification. Personalities are formed by our mid teens and do not change. The ability to lead a double life, to lie, engage in repeated and escalated sexual activities, to lack empathy and to act in ways that are outside of normal social mores are not simply something that is labeled ‘Sex Addiction’, it is a sign of a much deeper and more serious Personality Disorder that cannot be ‘cured’ by 12 step meetings, prayer or just a bit of self control. This issue is much more complex than that and anyone who thinks differently is is for some very sad surprises.

    Yes, I also had a husband who was in ‘solid’ recovery for over 5 years—just read my posts as this site has been up for almost ten years and I have shared my entire journey. They do not change. They either ‘white knuckle it’ acting like dry drunks, or become much better at hiding it.

    And, you are right, there are no statistics for this fake ‘Sex Addiction’, but there are mountains of statistics on disordered personalities. ~ JoAnn

  95. Hi Joann, from your reply I see you talk about ‘personality disorders’ in great depth which really is not ‘sex addiction’, they are two different conditions and yes I know sex addicts can have personality disorders but so can non sex addicts and its not a fact that they are all diagnosed with personality disorders. Just a thought.
    I am sorry that your husband did not stay with his recovery but that does not mean others wont, non of us can play god and I would never dream of making such a bold statement that ‘they do not change’ without the evidence that this is a proven fact, you can not predict others lives.
    Sorry if that sounds offensive but not one of us can know this, it is your opinion and personal experience.
    Yes I know how bad this SA is I’ve felt it first hand like all of you.The thing is those in successful long term recover eventually slot back into life and unfortunately we never get to hear their story because of society’s non acceptance/social stigma of this condition.
    Lastly I notice you use words like remission, manage and no cure, unfortunately that is a fact of life about most illness for example diabetes,heart disease,mental health, cancer, the list is endless, lets not condemn all without justification. 🙂

  96. Sex Addiction is not a diagnosis, in reality there is no such thing. It is a trait, a trait common to people with Personality Disorders. Certainly their behavior is not normal by anyone’s standards.

    I have been running this site for almost ten years, I have had the Sisterhood site for almost four years. Thousands of stories have come through here. I have yet to find one, just ONE case of one of these men truly changing. And yes, it would have to be a long term study, because most of these men really want to change but they just can’t. As much as I wish I could sprout wings and fly it will just never happen no matter how badly I want it.

    There is too much sugar coating and too much encouragement out there for the woman to stay, to give it one more year, to forgive, to own her part in it all and to put it all behind her…to just get over it. I can’t even count how many women have written me after they have professed that their relationship is different, that their husband really wants to change, that he is working the plan, going to counseling…doing all the right things. They come back months or years later, traumatized even more with the second cut. Most find out that their husbands had never given up any of their activities, that they had just gotten better at hiding them. Others really gave it a try, like mine, but in the end, when some life event sets them off, they return to their old and destructive coping mechanisms to make themselves feel better.

    What these men do traumatizes women, wrecks homes, families, finances and relationships. It shatters our lives. It is not an addiction it is a serious deviation from normal behavior.

    This is not a chronic illness like diabetes, heart disease or cancer. it is a choice. These men make very bad choices even if it costs them everything dear to them.

    They are not normal. And that equals Personality Disorder. And, there is no cure for Personality Disorders. ~ JoAnn

  97. Great post’s JoAnn-Right on as always.
    Recovery Girl- You need to do more research on personality disorders – a very high percentage of sex addicts have them. Wishful thinking, my dear, and some denial.
    Get back with us in 5 yrs, and keep your eyes open in the meantime. Over time, the SA gets better at lying, and covering his tracks, but you can learn to see the signs.
    Please keep yours eyes wide open.

  98. Sharron, what cruel and hurtful comments, terms such as ‘my dear’, denial, ‘get back in five years’,’keep your eyes open’. I would never talk to anyone here in that way, perhaps Joann should make on comment on respecting individuals.

  99. As usual Joann is 100 % spot on, I am fearful for the choices you are making recovery girl! However they are your choices to make. As for Sharrons comment, I think she spoke the truth to you, and was not at all disrespectful, in the way she spoke, she spoke the truth, and although, depending where we are at, on any given day, we may not like to hear it, but she spoke to you from the heart! Give this some thought, if you in fact believe in the diagnosis of sex addiction, as you have indicated, when does an addict ever recover, NEVER, it is a lifelong struggle to stay clean, is this what you want?, a lifetime of watching your husband struggle to refrain from immoral acts with other women?

  100. Please point me in the direction of the research that states ‘ all’ sex addicts have personality disorders and there is no such thing as ‘sex addiction’, I do like evidence to support such things. I would like to mention that the professionals we work with feel that the 5% recovery rate is too low and that if there was more research done we may find success rate to be much higher.

    As I’m sure Joann knows that the verdict on the ‘sex addict title’ is still open and I’m sure it will be for many years until further money is invested into more research.
    I don’t quite get it that positivity is rejected here and that there maybe someone in good recovery.
    As for the mocking comments,’come back in five years’ I truly hope I can with even more positivity and 8 years of recovery behind me.The only looking over my shoulder I need to be aware of is the condemenation of others.
    I’m sorry for your pain and hurt as individuals, that I have also experienced, however I do not keep myself bound in pain and hurt or mock or patronise others or hound a person out.

    Wishing you all the best in your futures

  101. Hi – I don’t know if new comments are being welcomed here; I see that some posts are fairly recent, but it sort of looks like it’s just banter between regulars?
    Anyway, I’m in a tough place right now – sort of at a cross-roads, I guess – and would love some advice, if it’s out there. I’ll just lay it all out if that’s ok.
    Found out a month ago that my spouse of 7 years has been – for lack of a more diplomatic way of putting it – screwing prostitutes during our entire marriage. The bottom has kind of fallen out of what I thought was a good relationship, and it’s been a rough 4 weeks for me. Somehow I don’t think it’s been so rough for him, though, (although he’ll play up the sad and solemn when we talk) and that infuriates me. I am having a hard time just getting through the day, look like I’ve aged about 10 years, feel so much rage …… but he goes happily off to work, talks animatedly with friends on the phone, and even has gone off on a few fishing trips with friends, calling me at night to tell me what a great day he’s had (I usually hang up as the joy in his voice is too painful, and atrocious, to hear).
    Anyhow, I caught him – he didn’t confess – and although we are seeing a counsellor together, I really have doubts that it’s a worthwhile process; seriously, what is the point? He was paying for hookers! Can you really fix deviant and despicable?
    And do I really want to? As some have pointed out on here, he may stop playing around, but he still DID it, willingly, revoltingly, selfishly … and the hurt and mistrust with always be there. He really wants me to come back and for us to work toward a better relationship, but that just bugs me when he says that because in the end it’ll be ME who has to work just to try to be there and to try to love a man who has a things for whores, and no respect or desire for me.
    Thankfully we have no kids, and I am not living at home right now – staying with a friend, bless her heart – because I honestly can’t handle being in the same room with him for more than a few minutes.
    We’ve met at therapy and have gone out a couple of times for dinner…to talk ….. which is always a joke of course. And I inevitably drink too much wine and get weepy, angry and belligerent.
    I just thought I’d know what to do by now. When I first found out, I was going to walk out and never look back. But he was so teary and ‘apologetic’ and full of supposed remorse, I’ve been clinging to…I don’t know what; the hope of something better??….for a month now. Which is sort of pathetic.
    Just so confused, and so tired.
    Any advice, or just some words of wisdom would be appreciated. Thank you.

  102. Hi Olivia- Am so sorry for your pain.
    We are not supposed to answer as in depth on this sight because of lack of band width, but on sisterhood of support. It is confidential and you can read all the posts – up to date- from all of us who have been where you are. You can join for a reasonable fee and it is well worth it. Not only posts, but an array of articles and E-books written by Joann. She is also working on web cam for face to face interaction and discussions. Also, other material by authors also with expertise on the subject. You will find everyone very loving and supportive.
    I will just tell you, quickly, that the leopard does not change his spots. Your H will do anything to keep your marriage in tact so he can feel “normal”. The chances for change are almost nil, and the lying and manipulation will continue on and on – so will the addiction rendering you years and years of physical and psychological pain and trauma. Think twice about staying!
    Said in love,
    Sharron

  103. Thank you, Sharron, for the response.
    Yes I understand that this may not be the place for in-depth responses.
    Thanks for the info on Sisterhood of Support; I’ve just checked out the site and will consider joining. Again, thank you.

  104. I just stumbled upon this website after I googled “what percentage of SA actually recover?” I am new to this world of SA. After 30 years. of what I thought was a good Christian marriage, my world has exploded into a pain that I can hardly breath through. Part of me gets angry as I look for help only to be told that I am co-dependent. I have issues. My issues is why I ended up marrying someone who would do this. How can therapists blanket all women with that label? Is it not traumatic enough to find this out? Maybe I do have some over compensating areas fo trying to “fix” my husband. I will look into those. I am at such a crossroads as to what to do. Divorce or try and work on my marriage. This article speaks the truth. Thank you to all you ladies for commenting. You have all touched my heart by your willingness to share. To Wendy, we were also involved in ministry for 30 years. How I love the Lord with all my heart. I know I have a call of God on my life. I agree with you, this is a huge issue that needs to be addressed. Is there a way to stay in touch with each other for support? I could sure use it.

  105. I am glad I found this site. I have been married 5.5 years. My husband disclosed prior to our marriage he had a active sex drive. He told me about his porn sites, sites to meet women, his multiple one night stands with women while he was married to his ex. We had a quick engagement and married with in two years. I felt since he disclosed this to me that he must have just not been with the right women. That I was his soulmate. Now that he has had two affairs that I know of – one with the nanny( we have two toddlers and a my son he adopted from a previous relationship) he tells me his has a sex addiction and that if he had loved me it wouldn’t have happened. He is in counseling “for him” and can’t say he loves me. His counselor suggested he moves out to see if he misses me. He is very moody and depressed. He works third shift. Though I love him with all my heart unless he truly wants to get help this is toxic for all of us. I get the addiction but does he truly not love me… How do I get him to seek the help he needs. He refuses to take medication.

  106. I have spent two hours reading here. Thank you all for your bravery, self-care and desire to be well. I am dating a man (12 months)and he admitted to seeing prostitutes. The last time was three months before we met. The only reason I know is because he left his cell phone at my house one night and I snooped in his texts. there were messages between he and an escort. He admitted to doing porn several times a week also. He was caught, and did not volunteer this. I will check out the sisterhood of support website, and seek information and input. This caring, loving , attentive man and I have grown to be good friends, but the dark cloud lingers and I know I have a decisions to make. I feel all men have a sex addiction, I hope I am wrong. Be well, and see you on s.o.s.

  107. I kicked my husband out last night. He was I messaging this other women again. Told her she was the love of his life. She has yet to leave her husband and the quack called me? I have no idea the reasons for her call. Guilt I guess. Do I stop answering his calls, do I get an attorney? He says he is sick and confused.

  108. shergirl, you can see from myprevious comments that we have had success in our recovery, however had I known before 23 yrs of marraiage and two children that he was a sex addict I don’t think I ever would have entertained a relationship with him.

  109. Sad, no one can tell you what to do it has to be your individual choice as we have to live with are actions and choices, however what is good is to research sex addiction to equip yourself with information and then choices become easier.Make sure you get some good books and if possible get some therapy.

  110. All these stories sound so much like mine. I married my husband in 1991 when we first moved in together in 1988 I found out he was calling 800 numbers (back in the day) I confronted him, he was so good at laughing it off, I did too. We want to believe our loves, I blocked 800 numbers thinking this was the end of it. Back then sex addiction wasn’t heard of. It was hard to understand without even the internet to go to for help. Time went on (not much) I found out he was masturbating when I wasn’t home, omg, that hit me like a ton of bricks He didn’t want to have much sex with me, why was he masturbating? I talked to my mom about it, her advice was “oh honey, all men look at porn” unsettled I continued with my relationship. He worked nights, I worked days so his addiction to chat lines was easy. He would intercept the phone bills being home during the day. I would call the phone company to get copies re mailed to our apartment. I would come home during lunch in the middle of my work day to intercept the mailman. I would find pages of chat line calls and other girls home numbers. Why did i continue this relationship? He was such a great guy, charming, outgoing, super funny, handsome, this list goes on. To hide his addiction he started using cashiers checks so there was no trace to where the money was being spent. He would control the bank account, wouldn’t keep track of his spending, he would take equity out of our home hundred of thousands of dollars, forge my name, cash out stock without my knowledge, the list goes on. Unknown women approaching us out at work events, asking if I was an escort….really? I started finding he she porn on the computer, things were getting weirder. He bought a shreader to get rid of credit card bills, all the while we are pregnant, raising our daughter, six misscarriages over the course of our marriage on top of it all I hired a private detective once to find out who he was talking to on the phone all the time. Back then, we had dial up internet. The phone was always busy when I wasn’t home. Porn was being mailed to the house, he would always laugh everything off, he never had any idea why this stuff was being mailed to the house. These porn sites, it’s like trying to break into fort knox talking to anyone there. You need codes to access just to talk to anyone, finally getting through, thinking of every possible password your husband might use, you have to write letter to get the porn stopped being mailed to your house. We went to therapy, he was diagnosed with “Split personality disorder” I guess now that would be Boarderline disorder personality? He is always acting out in public, life of the party, singer, entertainer wherever we went. Still we would have sex maybe once every three months. The final slap in the face is when he started carrying on with my mothers sister! Are you F ing kidding me? So I’m going through a divorce with him now, he is now living with his new girl friend in a high rise condo overlooking the water, brand new Mercedes E350, still living well over his budget. My 19 year old daughter now, she and I living apart from him, starting a new life. She of course doesn’t know any of this. My biggest question, after trying to ignore most of this crap throughout my 23 year marriage as a survival tactic. How do you get on in life in the way of ever being able to trust again? That’s my biggest struggle.

  111. I caught out my husband of 5 years having cybersex two days ago. He has been an amazing supportive and loving man. I didn’t suspect him, just accidently saw a site on his phone. He had sent a pic of himself with a hard on and the was organising web cam for a future session. I threw him out but he has since come back saying he’s a sex addict and needs me to help him. I’m in bits and just can’t get my head around it all. I feel so betrayed.

  112. In searching for answers, support and help I found this site and I have to say its comforting to know I’m not alone.
    I have been with my husband for 24 years since I was just 15, married for 18 yrs this year.
    3 and a half yrs ago I discovered that he was engaging in online emotional affairs with at least 8 women from all around the world. I had known something was going on but spent 6 months biding my time and waiting for him to slip up and drop himself in it, which he inevitably did. My world collapsed, I was completely devastated. He begged me to take him back and try again which I did with the support of marriage guidance. I could not understand the root of his issues as i thought we had always had a good relationship? I gave my husband an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start afresh, but only if he disclosed all his infidelities to me. He went into great detail about what happened but never admitted physically being with anyone else. My gut told me he was lying but without evidence I had to take his word for it.
    We worked hard over the next 3 and a half years and my husband retired from a 22 yr career in the military and began working offshore as many ex military men do. I can honestly say that I had never been happier, we were starting a new life, madly in love, hopelessly romantic with an amazing sex life and plans for the future.
    6 weeks ago he came home and admitted that he hadbeen in contact with 3 prostitutes whilst working offshore and was now concerned that he had caught something!!! To say my world was shattered would be an understatement! Over the next 2 wks I basically interrogated him and was astounded with the information I learned. For 23 years of our relationship I have been lied to and cheated on. He continued to lie his ass off through marriage guidance for fear of me leaving him as he knew the truth was too shocking. Over 23 yrs he has kissed groped and arranged meetings with over 50 women. 11 if these women he has slept with, one of which was a 4 month affair whilst we planned our wedding another over a 2 week period whilst away 3 weeks before we tied the knot. The military life has enabled him to facilitate his cheating and sex addicted lifestyle and moving to an offshore career has obviously re-ignited his need and given him opportunity to bed other women. Until he worked offshore he had not been away since the marriage guidance. He is obviously someone with poor self control and is a blatant opportunist.
    He now is desperate to change and try and rebuild our marriage but if I’m honest how can we rebuild what was a lie from the beginning? ? I love him with all my heart but I just don’t think I can ever trust him again. There is very little left on a physical level that only we have shared and even on an emotional level after the online affairs. Since the revelation he has had a complete mental breakdown and is now receiving psychiatric treatment, so discussing our relationship isnt a priority right now until he is better able to face the consequences of what he has done. Where do I go from here?? I love him and hate him all at the same time!
    I am a strong and independent woman and being alone isn’t something that scares me. We have 2 children and I know he will provide financially for them. I just don’t know who I am any more let alone what I want?? I just feel sad when i think about our whole relationship. I feel my whole life has been a lie!

  113. You deserve better. Your son’s deserve better. I do not understand why women continue in relationships like this. The misery you know, which is your comfort zone) is better than the fear of the unknown (divorce). Be true to yourself because Mr. Wonderful is out there. . You will find him.

  114. I feel that same way, with my boyfriend. Back when I first starting seeing him, now three years later he still is all over those porn and dating site and lies to me about it. He says he isn’t so I try and “play along” with him because he says he loves me and wants to be with me. But even when we r happy together I have this certain emptiness inside. I really loved this man and he has totally broken me down to bare decimals with his actions that he then LIES to me aboht …. Thankfully we aren’t married but I may b codependent slightly but its hard to move on. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust a man again let alone feel beautiful about myself ever again, he totally changed my sense of beauty in myself.

    1. Michelle, it sounds as if you are young, not married or invested through children. My advice even though I am living with someone I don’t trust, is get out!!!!!!!

      You have time to save your life and be a woman with good self esteem and self respect. Maybe meet another man who will be in no doubt that if he doesn’t treat you right he will have the same fate. They assume unconditional love. Once you don’t leave when you find out, they take that as carte blanche to do as they like and once you know it’s grand. And if you find out you’ll come around.

      The more of yourself you invest the harder you will make it for yourself. Already you don’t have great self esteem but summon it up and leave! The thought of it is worse than it actually turns out to be and you will feel empowered. Have a makeover of your whole self and rediscover your beautiful self, deserving of a partner who appreciates and cherishes you.

      Please, get out xxx

  115. I hate that all of you including myself had to go through this awful work of the devil. I was married for 21 years. I found out 8 months into my retirement. He lied until he had no choice and still tried to lie. I will never know the whole thing but what I did find out was bad enough. We went to a 12 step program and I gave him a clean slate, he managed to make me feel it was my fault…. stupid but I fell for that garbage. Anyway we joined a church he got baptized and talked the talk but I found out he never stopped… I gave it my all for 2 and a half years thinking he found his way out… instead he just learned to be a better liar and cheater. I thank God daily for removing me from that awful life and from what I’m reading here, sadly so many women are subjected to this awful choice that these men have made… yes it is an addiction but it is also a life choice they made. My husband was also was into “action out” his addicition. After watching porn he would become that “porn star” he had his reality and fantasy crossed. I realized that I never did know him. I became affraid of him and affraid of what he might do to get arrested before I could get out of the marriage. I truly believe they can overcome it but they have to want it bad enough and I truly have not seen that happen with anyone as of yet. God can change them but they need to seek him… not just act like they are. I can not tell you the pain and shock I went through during that time but getting away from him and staying strong with God has improved my life beyound happy. Please do yourselves a favor and look up “porn addiction acting out” it is an eye opener and if they keep it up that’s where it goes. I don’t feel sorry for them as it is a choice and if you feel sorry for them they just use that to hide behind. They will use anything to hide behind… even you! Please tread carefully. If you stay with him at least be informed… don’t be a victim.

  116. I never saw this post before. This is such an important and revealing story and terrific comments. I just want to say thanks for having the bravery to write it and thanks to JoAnn for this website.

    PS. My divorce is final after 3.5 years of torture. I have moved on to a better relationship and a happier life, but there is still and always the damage I carry from the experience.

  117. So glad to read comments on this site. I discovered that my husband of 25 years was a sex addict. I didn’t want to believe it for the sake of our son. The whole ordeal lasted about 8 years. The worst part has been the recent year of recovery, and feel that recovering is going to take much longer than expected I too feel as if I have been cheated out of all this year’s happiness of what could have been. With the search for proof of the porn, webposts, texting to prostitutes, male escort encounters, female prostitutes, pieces of paper with phone numbers, calendar entries, emails, inapproptiate social media chats, porn chats, video chats, being told ‘its nothing..i just talk and dont do’.. The lies…I simply developed such a hypervigilant state that it became confused as intuition, but this is not what I want to use my intuition for! The discovery phase took 2 years, that is, i knew about this tribe action out while he strongly denied it!!! I spent years wasting my talent on his life while working mine overtime. I look back and wonder how I could have managed all this. Not to mention the years of money wasted on therapy while my husband denied his actions stubbornly. I felt crazy. He’d quit therapy and tell me to go and get help, because he, of course was not the problem. I had so much anger and became a person I did not like. He has been free of acting out for point 4 months now, and goes to therapy separately, but the anger in me remains as I try to rebuild trust. I need help out of this, I am dealing with a daily uncertainty and just want to rebuild my self confidence again.

  118. This site – and hearing the accounts of others who have had similar experiences to me – is so helpful. However – I have a twist to report – and I really need some outside opinions. 5 years ago, I discovered that my husband had been seeing prostitutes – off and on – and only for “hand jobs” – for the first 10 years of our marriage. During this time, I had our daughter and also relocated for him 3 times (he loses his jobs pretty often due to severe ADHD – something that is also a factor in our situation). I found his condoms when I was helping him pack to move to Houston – he lived apart from our daughter and I for 3 years due to his inability to find something closer to home. As a result – we never really “dealt” with what happened. He blamed it on my and my “low libido” after having my daughter. In any case – none of this is the “twist” – that comes in a minute. I have tried every way I know how to forgive him and move on. I have blamed myself. Lost weight, tried harder – but the rage inside has been very hard to handle. A year ago – I booked a vacation for us to the place where we got married – in hopes of making a fresh start. Our first night there- we were talking about our relationship and he told me that he had discussed our situation with “15 of our friends” and that “everyone agreed he was justified in seeing prostitutes.” I don’t know how to convey the shame I felt in hearing this – and the sense that our relationship was over – because frankly – nothing else should be more private or sacred than our love lives, right? I cannot bear to see friends – because I am not sure who knows about this. He dismisses my concerns. I think I cannot make this relationship work – we have a 17-year old and I am trying to hang on until she graduates – but I am losing all of my self-respect. I don’t know what I am asking for here – other than to hear the reactions of others. I am beyond sad – and angry.

    1. Barbara, wondering how you are doing. I just saw this again and felt like commenting.

      First of all, we cannot believe a liar. My ex said stuff like this, only more generic: “All the divorced women I talk to say they wish they hadn’t gotten a divorce.” Translation: “All the pathetic women I am meeting in bars and on the internet are sad and lonely, and I am sure they wish they were still married.” Of course he paints me as the one at fault (with all our friends and family) because he cannot take responsibility for his behavior. More likely, your husband DIDN’T talk with a bunch of friends about it; he just wants you to believe he has lots of support for his position.

      Second, the likelihood of him admitting to friends that he went to prostitutes is pretty low, just as the likelihood of their thinking it was “justified” is pretty low. If he told a story, it probably left out much of the details (such as a description of his dalliances as “prostitutes.”

      Third, if you do have friends that think it’s okay for ANY married person to cheat, those people aren’t friends worth having. They’re assholes.

      Finally, if you haven’t already, call him on it. Ask him to produce the list of friends he talked to. IF he produces the list (he won’t, because he didn’t actually tell them what he says he told them), then invite them all over to dinner to have a group discussion of the Whole Thing. THAT, my dear, would be fun!

      Hope you are feeling better than you were a few months ago.

  119. I have just discovered that my husband of 23 years and partner for 26 is a sex addict and has also slept with other women, having contacted them on erotic literature and swingers sites. I am currently in shock and trauma, am devastated and have no idea where my life is going. Thank you for posting this though.

  120. I really need help…here is my story…My husband is in recovery from porn addiction for the past 8 months. He is doing everything he can to make up for what he has done but a major barrier in the recovery of both of us are triggers in our day to day life, for me. Every time we go out and I see anyone remotely looking like any of the 100’s of pictures on the web, (where I found in the history and unfortunately looked at each and everyone) I go to full blown attack. Did he see that person wearing super tight shorts? Maybe we should change our direction. Maybe we walk on the other side of street. We avoid going to the malls, watching TV, going to the beach, festivals and anything that would mean there are people that may trigger me. It is exhausting and the sad part is, this is despite his recovery. Most of the times, he doesn’t even notice what I see from miles away but my radar is on all the time. Please let me know how long it took for any of your o have this symptom of trauma to go away. I know this is hypervigilance resulting form the trauma. In retrospect, I really wish I had not looked at all the pictures/sites that he had seen. The details I remember about them, he doesn’t even remember and doesn’t want to be reminded of them either because he doesn’t want to think that way or about those things. Please help and tell me how I can reduce this anxiety and not be triggered by any person who is wearing somewhere revealing. I was never like this before. I want to be normal again. Sigh. with great sadness….

    1. I am in the same situation. Because of all that I learned of his 31 years of betrayal, I have had so many triggers I can’t count. I have been diagnosed with severe PTSD. I have been getting help for that and hoping to find a way out of this torture. My husband just can’t srop lying, so in turn I don’t trust.I tried for five years buy everytime I suspected something, he had done some kind a of acting out. He was lied detected many times, but I saw a lie that was not caught and now I don’t have faith in that either. He actually made the statement, “well you have to ask the right question in the right way, which meant to me he was lying at some point. He also constantly says, ” I should be happy with the fact he hasn’t had sex with them. “So,everything else is nothing. That includes, anything but the act of touching another woman.I have now filed because there is no hope of complete recovery with that kind of attitude.

  121. I’m so glad that there is SOMEONE out there that knows how I feel. I found out 5 months now that my christian husband had this 3 yr addiction. I didn’t want to leave in anger. We have had major problems for years in the past but this was just icing on the cake. Come to find out it’s all related. Hello! He has since found healing and joy ( he says and for the most part it appears that way). He says he feels like scales have fallen from his eyes and he loves me more now than ever. His temper has calmed and there is peace in our home. I wish I could say the same for my heart. I can honestly say that I feel nothing towards this man. My heart has checked out and I feel done. Oh the irony of it all. I used to beg him to go to counseling. Now I want nothing to do with it. But I have kids… do I stay for their security? Am I doomed to living life in a passionless marriage? There will always be some part of me that doesn’t trust him. Am I prolonging the inevitable? These questions I keep coming back to. I am sickened over the idea of sleeping with him. Right now, all I can say is I need to work on me. I never put myself first ever. Now, I can barely function.

    1. Corrie,

      My “D” day was 2 days after your post and on my wedding anniversary . I feel every ounce of pain you are going through as I am going through it too!! There are many days I cannot bring myself to get out of bed. I finally found a therapist for ME! I have been told and I believe we all go through a bad form of PTSD after we learn our entire world is not what we think it is. The ground beneath us is not solid any longer and it’s hard to walk through life! My husband seems committed to getting past this but his (as I just learned after 10 years together and 7 married) is a life long issue. He is also an alcoholic and did 28 days in rehab. He is now home but in the guest room. I want to believe the person I know but apparently I don’t know this person. I have committed to myself 6 months to a year to watch, listen and see what his true intentions are. I now have to live a life checking his computer, phone and even the awesome tracking device I installed on his phone. It sucks! We are in our 50’s and our blended family children are all in their 20s. It’s a matter of what was real and what was a lie. For now I don’t know. But I am reclaiming my space and my life while he does his. I cannot be his therapist to help him like he has just an alcohol addiction or even cancer. This is up to him. In the meantime I’m going to regain myself and wait and see. But here with other people going through what I am I feel safe.

      Ellen

    2. Don’t “settle” for a loveless marriage. Get your legal ducks in order WHILE you continue to sort through your feelings. He is more apt to negotiate with you at this time when you are both “trying” to save the marriage. But KNOW in the back of your head that a better life for you is out there, if you want it. I am VERY glad I ended my marriage when it was clear that recovery wasn’t going to happen. By unloading that baggage, I have been free to find a wonderful relationship with a man I love and respect and TRUST completely. I didn’t know what I was missing all those years, but now that I have it, I’m really really really happy. I can’t believe I’m saying this: The pain was WORTH it. I get to live the second half of my life waking up with a smile on my face.

  122. I strongly identify with you. I found out about my partners addiction 6 months ago, same story, mainly prostitutes. He is six months into his recovery in a 12-step fellowship, and as far as I can tell very serious about it. There are a lot of changes between us, his walls have come down and he is very supportive, kind and loving. He has always been very kind and loving before during our 14 year relationship – just emotionally unavailable. So, I now potentially have the relationship with him I always wanted, yet I am incredibly sad and grieving the relationship that I thought we had. The shock is gradually wearing off and I am in a place now, where like the OP, I don’t want to lose this person (I still love him), yet can’t really see myself unreservedly recommitting to the relationship. Something is holding me back, probably in part fear of being hurt again and – at this stage – I lost my trust in him and I don’t know if that will ever come back. I am hoping that in time I will gain clarity with respect to my direction, in the meantime I am allowing myself to one day at a time not having to make a decision whether to stay in this relationship.

  123. Ladies, Don’t trust “recovery” when you’re a few months or weeks post discovery. You’ve got a long haul in front of you. I’m now 5 years and 3 months post discovery. If I could go back to those initial months, I would get to an attorney and demand a post-nuptial agreement to ensure that if he slips back into his addiction, you will get alimony and child support for your children without a huge battle. Protect yourself financially and emotionally if you can! My divorce from my “loving Christian husband” cost me $51,000 and 3.5 years of emotional hell. He has no obligation to help financially with our kids in college. The law is a crock. Don’t expect it to protect you.

  124. I agree with L 100%. In fact, I did exactly what she suggests. My h and I were married in April of 2010. Re-married in November 2013 as a marriage of convenience. I drew up another pre-nump prior to 2nd marriage and it covers me well should I decide to divorce again.
    During the 2nd time around, my h continues to put forth his false persona. Still lies like a trooper, remains emotionally abusive, continues with his strong fantasy network, including masturbation, and an anger management problem that led to him putting his hands on me and restraining me. I had to ask him twice to let me go. He avoids looking around to keep from triggering (his choice) but spews anger whenever confronted with his non-compliant behavior. He is not on board with anything that resembles recovery except to avoid situations where he might trigger. He then feels angry that he does it and just like all SA’s projects everything on to me.
    I thought I could remain detached from him, and I am as far as love and feelings are concerned, however I am having second thoughts as to whether I can put up with this very sick individual – even on a limited basis. (We live separately) We have been together 7 yrs. and he is just as crazy as ever. SA’s do not change!

    Sharron

  125. Ladies, I have read so many of your contributions and really DO understand your pain. I live it everyday.

    Yes I am a man, and married now for over 10 years. I come a very conservative background and have always been isolated from normal sexual/social behaviour growing up. I could never approach girls (and later, women) for dates, never mind sex! But years later met someone and after a long friendship, then courtship, we married and all seemed ok, basically. However, I found out just over a year ago that this love of my life was truly a “well known woman” if you can get that meaning… and was literally EVERYwhere! And I also subsequently discovered sex chats on her phone and the most disgusting pictures of her to others, and from others to her, and sexual voicenotes and emails and dirty-talk language you would NOT believe! I was devastated, and still am. And I am totally insecure and will never know when She’s at “work” what she may be doing, or continuing….she assures that she has changed, but my fears, paranoia overwhelms me constantly. The thing is, I love her and don’t know if am capable of being without her. It’s the worst catch22 imaginable and living hell!

    I pray I can OVERCOME this, or I will implode for sure .

    Ross

    1. Ross, I’ll say exactly what I’d say to any woman in your position: you’re capable of being without a person who lies to you and cheats on you. You deserve better. There are plenty of people out there who would appreciate an honest man. Get out of your Catch22. Decide what YOU want and then pursue it.

  126. Hello! I found out about my SA husbands escapades over 2 years ago. We went to therapy and lived under the same roof for the next year while raising our then 7 and 2 year old. Our therapist has built his practice on “craigslist and back page customers”
    I knew I would never be able to forget what my husband chose to do at the risk of losing his family. He begged me to stay, worked hard in counseling and better at being a dad. HOWEVER, even the therapist told me that over 90% of SA will return to the previous behavior. He said that in the beginning most will play the model husband. Then they will start dipping into the waters after the dust settles. And when they get away with that, they are on their journey to full fledged activities again. Believe me, they just get better at hiding it. Pre paid phones that can’t be traced and many other ways around it. I asked him to move out of the home one year after I found out (I never touched him again after I first found out). I spent 12 months of blood tests and STD tests to be sure he didn’t bring home something that could kill me. Sadly my soul was already dead after I first found out. We sold our home and split our assets and I left. We try our best to co parent. What I can say is that I deserve far more than what I married. My girls deserve to see a marriage that is full of love and trust and mutual respect. If you don’t have enough respect for yourself, your children will grow up feeling that this type of relationship is the norm and may very well follow in your footsteps. Being a single mom is hard. I have spells of sadness where I want the “normal family life” for my girls. But certainly not at the expense of my self worth and theirs. Read carefully. Statistics don’t lie. Most SA will return to their former ways even when they desperately want to change for themselves. As my therapist said, it’s way to easy in this day and age with sex available on the internet. They can stop in for a blow job on the way to work or stop off at the in call girls homes over their lunch hour. Just because a man is home at night playing family man, doesn’t mean they aren’t doing these acts at any given moment during the day.
    I still have a lot of work to do on me to get to a place of forgiveness for myself. I have days I can’t believe that this went on for 16 years and I had NO knowledge. I have a strong tribe of friends and have met others that have been through it. Some stayed, most left and ALL of them said their SA husbands continued on with their ways. 16 years of my life was wasted (except for being blessed with 2 amazing kids). I was not about to waste one more minute. I hope you find what is best for you. And if you stay…………I pray that you may be one of the very small percentage of successful recovery for your spouse! My best advise though is that if you do stay, even if you believe he has changed…….please protect yourself. For a small fee our husbands escorts are willing to have unprotected sex. Most SA are also narcissist and truly believe that they will never pick up an STD. You see, they believe they are so special, and so entitled, they care nothing for the safety of their loved ones at home.

  127. The insecurity continues long after the discoveries and perhaps recoveries. I think my spouse should tell me every day what he is thinking and what his state is, yet it is something that is not resolved totally with me, its that sense of entitlement that an SA has. He says he’s ‘not acting out, manic, porn, prostitutes’ any more, but it is so difficult for me to move forward. He calls it “moving on” but i don’t like the term ‘moving on’. Moving forward I can deal with but it is not easy. I also cannot forgive, it is the ‘deception’ that is most toxic. Its hard to forgive when the acting out seeped into every part of our marriage. He would act in ways that would hurt my feelings but he was able to ‘compartmentalize’ it, yet I was the one to know it for what it was. He as an SA was involved in prostitution in both sexes, happy endings, listings, advertisements, online porn, online chats…. and every other activity that I had never heard about until I dug up his trail of activity over 5 or more years. I became the best hyper vigilant detective, but really this was not my plan for life. I understand what you mean by the word “entitled” . Entitlement to do anything even if it hurts me. Not having a conscious that says ‘stop’ I don’t feel comfortable because if my spouse saw this I would see how it hurts’… Its the entitlement that I can’t resolve. I do thing we have a long trauma to work through long after our spouse stops acting out. I do believe we are traumatized and there is much to heal afterwards including physical ailments from the emotional trauma. I can’t leave this marriage because of my life built around it. I feel fine for few days then feel poisoned by the thoughts of what happened. It is easy for the SA to say ‘I am not doing it anymore” but for us, the trauma goes on for long time afterwards. I’m finally feeling that I can drop the hyper vigilance and am going through a time of immobility. Its slow and painful, yet every thing I do must be directed towards getting better. If it is a walk, or just staying in bed for a day, then it is ok. If it is canceling work for a week that is ok too as my spouse owes me the time to get recovery. It has been one year since the last of my spouses slip ups…I think it take a long time for them too even though some of the major hurtful activity stops, they have a long adjustment time. Thank you all for the support and best wishes on this journey

    1. It is possible for an SA to stay successful in recovery. I found out about my husband’s history of sexual acting out 3 years go after 37 years of marriage. He cheated with both sexes during our entire marriage, although he never had an emotional affair, He was the abusive, lying, gas-lighting, entitled narcissist that typify most sex addict husbands. I went through the anger/grieving proces, threw him out of the house for four months and only conclusively decided not to divorce six months ago. We were fortunate enough to to be able to afford intensive therapy for us both. My husband was in a sex addict Intensive Outpatient Therapy (IOP) group for 6 months during which he was required to be totally celebate for 4 of those months. He didn’t think there was any possibility of stating celibate ( including masturbation or any kind of sexual contact visual or physical) but he did it. We both think that was extremely helpful because he now knows he can survive without compulsive sex. Also during the IOP therapy and aftercare he did a polygraph disclosure to me admitting to his actions. As a condition of his moving back into the house; he agreed ton be polygraphed whenever I wanted. This let me not worry too much about his cheating because I would eventually find out. He was also motivated, His biggest fear was that I would leave him. Even now, the SA recovery process prohibits him from masturbating outside of my presence and he cannot watch the most routine TV shows sex scenes. We have content control on all of our electronic devices that will not permit access to porn sites. I fast forward through sex scenes on TV. His behavior is no longer abusive and I am slowly getting over my anger and hurt. The polygraph arrangement is still in force although with much longer intervals. The polygraph arrangement probably saved our marriage because it eliminated a lot of uncertainty as to whether he would act out again. I think it was also reinforcement for him as he knew he would be caught. I worked for a while with a therapist who had studied under Carnes and worked with SA’s and their spouses. It didn’t work for me and I eventually found a wonderful psychologist who specialized in treating victims of trauma. She was of great help. I’ve painted a pretty bad picture of my husband and a legitimate question is why did I stay. At first it was family and finances. But, my husband was far from all bad. He took good care of me when I was sick, helped a lot around the house, was a good father and we have a lot in common. He helped me through college, encouraged my career and I knew he loved me despite his often abusive behavior. I’m at the point now that I’m glad I stayed. The polygraph ritual is still in place and I recommend it to all spouses if SA’s. Trust but verify.

      1. A few thoughts:
        – You found out three years ago, he’s had six months of intensive outpatient therapy, he’s been willing to do polygraphs, and you only decided six months ago not to divorce him. I suspect your story is still being written, and I wonder how long this “abusive, lying, gas-lighting, entitled narcissist” will remain cooperative and sexually sober.
        – What you’ve really signed up for is to continue monitoring and hoping that he doesn’t “slip.” In any addiction program, it is expected that there will be “slips.” How do you feel about slips?
        – Are you comfortable with all this monitoring that makes YOU responsible for controlling his behavior?
        – You say he never had an “emotional affair?” This sounds like you’re still rationalizing that it was better because he didn’t have any emotional attachment to the men and women he was banging. I wonder: is he capable of having an emotional connection to anyone? He was able to cheat on you for decades, lie to you, and you say he was abusive. Are you sure he has a real emotional attachment to you?
        – Nobody is “all bad.” I know my husband put on a great facade of being a good father and helpful around the house. But narcissism doesn’t go away, and it rarely “improves,” although the narcissist may be able to put on a great show to get what he wants.

        I’m glad if your choice to stay–with monitoring and polygraphs–is working for you. I pray for your sake that he really is dedicated to recovery! I’m personally dubious about an SA’s “recovery.” At the same time as my husband was attending SA meetings, bragging about his progress in 12-Steps, and serving as the group leader and treasurer, he was also seeking “f*ckbuddies” on AdultFriendFinders. The only way I knew was to actually find his AFF profile and have him contact me thinking I was a potential score. Otherwise, I would have been tempted to believe his version of the truth. Hell, everybody else believed him! I divorced him, and I am comfortable with that choice.

        My own experience leads me NOT to “Trust but verify.” I say, “Trust NOTHING the addict (or recovering addict) says, but watch what he does.” Words from any addict are meaningless.

  128. I don’t think you’re right, but you may be. The polygraph lets me be sure he is not cheating. Otherwise I don’t monitor him and I don’t worry. He is no longer abusive and i will leave him if he returns to abuse or sexual acting out. The polygraph ensures that I will find out. The recidivism rate is extremely high, but it is not 100% and my psychiatrist advises that the high recidivism rate is for SA’s without intense psychiatric intervention, although there is still significant risk with treatment. He did not treat my husband and has no financial incentive to provide this advice. I can understand your anger at him and your skepticism at my post, but I feel a bit abused by the anger and sarcasm in your response. I thought this was suppose to be a support forum not a forum where members lash out at others when they don’t agree with their post.

    1. Catherine, please be aware that this is NOT a forum, it is a blog with limited bandwidth. The comments should be limited to discussion about the original topic, not for personal interchanges.

      If anyone here would like the privacy of a support forum please consider my other website, The Sisterhood of Support. Just click here to find out more. ~ JoAnn

  129. Hello, I know this post was obviously written many years ago, judging by the dates of the comments. I’m just wondering if the poster is able to give us an update on what has happened in the years since then? It would be much appreciated – an insight into another woman’s journey that sounds very familiar.

    1. Just found out husband SA and am negotiating in my mind. So many red flags and gut instincts ignored. Read many post and it has provided me with very important information about the very likely possibility of relapse!

      I Have been aware of his use of porn on and off for years, but thought wasn’t uncommon for men. After suspect of an affair, with no evidence, I bluffed husband into finely telling truth or at least acknowledging a few encounters with “massage spa” postitute. I said I know you are having affair, he denied with verbal abuse, your crazy etc. I continued to say I know the truth, but go ahead a continue to lie. He finally stated he had been to “spa”, I stuck to “that’s not all of the truth” , slowly he has admitted a “few” times. Interestingly enough, I’ve always backed down and questioned myself, this time didn’t and he confessed, therefore I know it’s been ongoing probably prior to our 11year relationship.

      So now looking for support and encouragement. I totally know need to quit the marriage, but I also see him as mentally ill with bipolar . Though very successful and can maintain his image, his hidden life is beyond understanding. Though he would never recognize himself as narcissist, I remind myself he is and the biggest manipulator including charm. HELP, I’m in a panic.

    2. I am so glad I found your post JoAnn. I’ve read it over and over as it is so familiar on many levels to my world.
      I wanted to thank you for sharing this. There seems to be limited information or insight on the long term effects of sexual addiction for us.
      My husband is working on his second year of being porn free.
      I see all the positive changes in him.
      But I’m still left with that same broken feeling you described.
      Like I’m standing out on a ledge made of glass, and it has tiny cracks everywhere.

  130. 19 years of cheating. Just found out now for the first time about 3 weeks ago. He had alcohol addiction as well for last 2 years, in recovery, verified not gambling for one year. From a living in a mansion to a rental apartment now. Financial troubles ensued. Cheated with escorts, massages, strip clubs, but no excessive porn or masturbation or online chats or video sex. 4 polygraphs, one he passed and 3 miserably failed. I teen daughter. Was obsessed with creating a perfect image of himself to others. He is sad, broken down, shameful, embarrassed, guilty, remorseful, fully cooperative, we have gps in car, we have mobile phone mspyware, computer monitored, he sends pics voluntarily every time he is when out of house, this has been going on for one year. He tells me details of everything, showed pics, answers to all questions, told me of his rituals, patterns and triggers. In psychoanalysis, marital retreats, aa and attending sa now. No marital problems, had a great robust married sex life, great father, great family man, husband and lover to me.But still I believe I don’t have full disclosure. He screams from the rooftops that he has provided full disclosure. The polygraphs would not fail otherwise. Don’t know what to do. I am so confused. I am lost, in shock and totally devastated. I just need the truth then I can work with something, without that Divorce is the only option he leaves me with.

  131. I have been married for 17 years and I just found out three weeks ago that my husband has been seeing prostitutes for the past year. I actually found out while I was doing the laundry and noticed lipstick on the bottom of his T-shirt. So I took a picture of it and texted it to him saying, “This sure doesn’t look like paint!” No answer. Then I said, “I guess you’re waiting to see what lie to come up with.” Then he finally called me and actually had the nerve to lie about it saying he didn’t know what it was. But I knew and he was going to tell me the truth if it killed him! So after threatening him and telling him to stop lying, he finally told me the truth and that he’s been seeing prostitutes for the past year. I wanted to die. I had such a sick feeling in my stomach and I couldn’t eat for days. I threatened him with a lawyer, whom I did see the next day, but as soon as I sat down to talk to him, I burst into tears and the attorney told me he felt I wasn’t ready for a divorce and to try marriage counseling. So my husband agreed and we have had three sessions so far, but what has happened is that my husband has become impotent. He has no sexual attraction or feelings towards me at this time and he says it’s from feeling guilty. I feel ugly and I feel that I can’t live up to these women and deeply feel that this is what he wants. Has any woman out there had this same kind of problem with their husband becoming impotent towards their wives after being caught with prostitutes? Any feedback someone could give me would be so appreciated.