This story includes a brutally honest reflection of Kari’s experimentation and participation in her husband’s sexual requests. I thought long and hard about whether or not to publish it. The reason I chose to share it with all of you is that I think it very clearly points out the difference between testing the sexual waters or having a Sexual Addiction. Thank you Kari for being so honest.

Experimentation may be necessary for some, but the end result is finally reaching a place of peace about who you are, what you like or dislike and what your sexual boundaries are. Conversely, Sexual Addiction has nothing to do with a path toward enlightenment. The escalating behaviors are only a salve for the inner pain.

Sexual Addiction is not about finding oneself, but about losing oneself.

I am really surprised to find myself doing this. I am officially divorced from this man and have been since May 2010, however, I continue to question myself, my reality, my experience. I question if I am crazy or overreacting to this day!

I guess most of that stems from the fact that I was married to this man for 20 years and we have 3 sons together. I choose to share for two reasons, for my own reality check, and to help others with theirs. I know how much it helps me to read others stories, to know that I am not alone in this struggle.

It’s hard to pinpoint when all of this started but it was about 6 years ago this winter when I was struggling with the sudden passing of my father and subsequent anger at God for taking him, that I expressed to my husband a need to “get away” from the religious way of life that we led. In other words was going through a “rebellious” stage in my grief process.

I knew all along that this was a phase and that soon it would run its course and I would be back on track to the way I was used to living my life, the way “we” were used to living “our” lives. I guess the first steps were drinking, and hanging out in bars, but quickly, TOO quickly it turned to a sexual nature. He told his buddies he wanted me to go to strip clubs with him. They told me, and being in the place I was, I was open to it.

We went to strip clubs, he loved watching me get lap dances, he thought I was so cool for being open to it, I obliged. His buddies came with us to the strip clubs; he liked to parade me in front of them, to show them how cool I was. One of them hit on me and began flirting with me. I ended up having a one night stand with him that now I suspect my husband knew about all along.

The requests increased in nature, frequency and intensity. He wanted to go out of town to a place like Hedo, Jamaica (we chose Desire in Mexico). Once we decided to do that he decided we better be open to the idea of other couples. He put us on swinging social sites. We went on the trip.

After that everything grew in intensity. We went out of town often and the entire getaway was sex-based activity. Strip clubs, swinging activities, even once a sex house where people just walked around and watched each other have sex. We started taking ecstasy, going to raves, partying harder and harder. Then there started to be a trend. We would go to a bar; he would want me to drink, a lot. Then he would want me to pick up on a girl and get her to come back to the room. I was never successful; I remember one time telling him to just hire a prostitute so that I didn’t have to try to pick someone up for him.

When I would play and was a willing participant, I was the best wife in the world. He treated me like a queen. When I didn’t come through, it was the opposite. I wasn’t talked to, or touched. I would apologize for letting him down.

Eventually I got sick of this, and tired of living a double life. I told him I was done with the wild life. You would have thought I robbed him of his soul. He moped around the house and acted depressed. He kept trying. When I asked what he wanted for his 40th birthday, he told me a double blow job. Once, when we went out overnight for what I thought was just a night for us to reconnect and get our marriage back on track, he was texting one of the swinging couples and telling the man how bad he wanted them to come to the room with us but that I was a “chicken shit”. The more he pushed me the more I backed up until I finally told him that all of this had to stop. PERIOD.

Our marriage and family were in grave danger. At that point he totally withdrew from me in every way. Emotionally, physically etc. I was dedicated to the cause and signed up for all kinds of help. Online programs, marriage fitness, self-help books etc. I went to counseling alone (I got him to go a few times after I caught him lying about being in his room at a hotel when he was out of town. He also called me from a bar). He never wanted to work on it.

I also caught him texting and talking with other women, most met out of town. He said nothing happened. Finally I demanded some communication. At that point he took me to lunch, sat me down and gave me a letter. The letter told me how miserable he was in our marriage because I made him feel confined. He told me he wasn’t free to be himself. He told me he was considering some options; staying and conforming, staying and doing whatever he wanted, separating and deciding what he wanted, or abandoning his marriage. This of course was devastating to me. I felt like he had me around the throat and I was so afraid of him leaving me that I lost all boundaries and sense of self. I was too worried about upsetting him. For a year he treated me like the plague. He wouldn’t take me out, talk with me or be intimate with me (he did want sex…without intimacy).

Then it was D-day. Thanksgiving 2007. I was using his laptop to book a trip for our family. I noticed he used Google as a homepage. Later I guessed his password and checked his history. He visited porn sites almost daily, usually morning and afternoon before he left the office. He travels occasionally, and I found that when he was gone he always looked up strip clubs, once an escort service. Then I uncovered the real humdinger. Craiglists personals. From each time he was out of town. He would actually shop before he left. Often while he was right here in the house, or while I had the kids at church. He would search for them in our area, several times. He had a secret yahoo email account.

I confronted him. He denied. Said he never went to the strip clubs, even though the history shows he mapquested the place. He said he was only curious and never contacted the Craigslist ads. He told me the email account was work related, even though he has a work specific email account. He said the porn was no big deal. The worst part? I believed him! He never even had to sleep in another bed. He said he was sorry. I just wanted him to love me! Be in to ME! He promised it would be different.

For another year we existed together. He was absent from our relationship. He was going to counseling on his own. He never shared with me what he was learning; he never asked how I was. We never worked on US. On our 20 year anniversary I hinted around that we should celebrate. He said he wished he felt like it. I planned and carried out the whole thing and said “see that wasn’t so bad was it??”

In the meantime I found myself envying other couples, wishing things were different, wondering what else was out there. I met someone who treated me like a queen; I fought the attraction because I knew it was wrong. We became emotionally connected. This man begged and pleaded with me to get out of this marriage, not for him, but for myself and for my kids. I wanted to, but then again, I didn’t. I was stuck. Eventually my husband found an email from this man on my phone and that was it. He claimed I cheated and he was out the door. Had another girlfriend within a few weeks.

Later he would approach me and ask to go to counseling. But of course he didn’t tell her that, or the other girl I knew he was hooking up with on a social networking sight (she worked with me!) He continues to trick me and play on my sanity and self-esteem. Example, two weeks ago he came to my sons football game, I could smell alcohol. He wanted to drive my son home. I told him no because he had been drinking. I even grabbed his fountain drink that had it in it and tasted it so I would have proof. He looked right at me and told me to stop making up stories.
Being married to a sex addict or any kind of addict it debilitating. I hope for recovery for him someday for my son’s sake. But I doubt it will even happen. I work on recovery for myself every day. I AM NOT CRAZY!
Kari