I have a story to tell that points out the fact that Sex Addiction in only managed, never cured.

Larry and I have been dealing with an incident that happened two nights ago. I found him in our theater room watching a very sexually explicit movie.

Here’s the background and the resolution.

Both Larry and I retired early. I keep myself quite busy, I have many hobbies, including watercolor painting, sewing, and reading as well as my part time writing career and I also do website development for small companies. Larry, on the other hand, has not taken very well to retirement. He has no hobbies so he started a consulting company, which has done quite well.

One of his clients recommended him for a very high profile job, which he decided he would apply for. We talked about it and felt that it would allow him to reach a pinnacle in his career that he had always aspired toward. Well, large companies move at a snail’s pace when hiring upper positions, and Larry has been through many, many interviews since June.

So during the last three months Larry has put his consulting business and it’s marketing on hold. This has resulted in lots of time on his hands, plus a little stress. He has no hobbies, and seemed to resist my directions to do various things around the house. He has been spending increasing amounts of time just sitting and watching TV.

I got a bit of a red flag last week when he mentioned some of the titles of movies he had been watching–which sounded quite racy. We have Satellite TV but no premium channels, so outright porn movies are not available, but some of the movies shown are quite provocative. So, my radar was up.

Well, two nights ago I was in my office, doing my computer work and Larry was downstairs in the theater room watching TV. My office is right above the theater room, and even though it is soundproofed I can hear certain types of music if it is loud and has a lot of bass.

I heard this music, that could only be the type played during a sex scene–it is so corny and obvious. I listened, and it went on and on and on. So, I walked downstairs and opened the theater room door to see this young, attractive, naked couple writhing on the big screen in all their glory. ‘What are you watching?’ I asked in a controlled but angry voice.

‘Oh, this just started.’ he said. Yeah, right.

Well, what followed was that I said he seemed to be targeting a lot of sexual content movies lately (his recovery plan clearly stated that he would avoid these). He said he didn’t think that he was. But, he apologized, said he would stop, said he would do a recovery questionnaire/ worksheet the next day and we would talk about it. This was a positive sign that he did not get defensive, angry or clam up as he always did in the past when confronted.

So, yesterday we talked (he brought it up). He had made a list of all the movies he has watched in the last few weeks (there were over 40) and about 1/3 were rated for sexual content. Two issues here–one, I saw an escalating amount of sexually explicit movies and two–he was watching a hell of a lot of TV! Not only was he watching several movies a day, add in all the news he watches, plus the 2 or 3 movies a week that we watch together.

So we talked about it. There were no particularly big stresses in his life except for the new job. He had no explanation except that he said he was telling himself that he was ‘normal’ now and he could watch these movies without any negative effects, and he said he was also telling himself that by watching these movies it might help his low libido and enhance our sex life. (WOW–I could write a whole book on that one!).

He did realize, on his own, that this was all bullshit rationalization; that he was only fooling himself and that he had violated his recovery plan and hurt me and our relationship deeply. He said that he would stop watching any movies with sexual content, that he would talk about this with a fellow 12 step member at his next meeting, that he would talk with his counselor about it and that he would not take the new job if it was offered (which requires a lot of travel).

He agreed that it was a good idea when I said I was going to put parental locks on all of the TV programming (as if I needed his agreement!) and said that he would review his recovery plan to see if it needed any changes. We also decided that he needed to be doing a lot more activities, such as walking the dog more, doing outside work around the house (he does help me inside) and that he needed to get a hobby.

So, the point of all of this is: that little voice inside of the Sex Addict’s head, that voice that subtly whispers to them, calling them, telling them that whatever they are doing is ‘normal’, is never silenced. The rationalization of their slowly escalating behaviors totally overcomes any recognition or realization of what is happening. Larry said that he never thought about the fact that he was violating the recovery plan that HE wrote. It just never occurred to him that he was engaging in the very same ‘yellow light’ behaviors that he had recognized that could lead to him acting out. He thought he was just being ‘normal’.

He has, once again, realized and recognized that he will never be normal and that he must always be on the alert for that subtle siren song beckoning him toward his rocky death.

So, here we are. My sense of safety has been shaken. I will remain on high alert for who knows how long. Little things will bother me that I have learned to be comfortable with and he has to regain my trust again.

What’s the most troubling to me is the fact that they can so subtly slip into these behaviors without recognizing it.

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50 Responses

  1. The other thing that is troubling is that you had to catch him. He did not fess up on his own. What if you were working and were not aware? It would appear that in a relationship with a sex addict you have to be in the role of constant watch dog, looking for clues. It’s a scarry world. Thank You for the post.

  2. What was he supposed to confess? He did not try to hide anything from me and he told me about the movies he had been watching. He just didn’t recognize that this could lead to a very bad place. That’s my whole point. It works on them in subtle ways. I was the one who recognized it and we worked through it together.

    I have no doubt that if it had gone farther I would have recognized the clues of deception long before anything happened (his thing is prostitutes). That’s just a part of what I live with. I do not kid myself. All we can do is face this thing together and work hard every day to make our relationship better.

    Yes, anyone who makes the decision to stay with a Sex Addict needs to recognize that the addiction never really goes away, it is only managed and it requires constant vigilance on both parties to make it work.

    Anyone who is not willing to do that and if they are not willing to work through the slips together then they should not even be thinking of staying in a relationship with a Sex Addict.

  3. I’m glad you did this post.

    It’s always the small things that get to me. He’ll linger a little too long on a certain TV show, or I’ll find him flipping through a mainstream magazine past a questionable ad. We have parental controls on all of our computers, but they don’t always catch everything. I run across questionable things in my own web surfing, so I know he must, too.

    As a rule, I have to ask him about these things. We have to talk about it together. Because today’s yellow light behavior can be tomorrow’s acting out, and, you’re right, this condition/disease/problem/whatever is managed, not cured.

  4. These types of post are so tough because you don’t get the chance to correct yourself or edit your post if you used a word that was incorrect. Just like emails. Once its gone its gone.

    Maybe the more appropriate term here is that he is not able to “police himself”?? Meaning it was not Larry who said a couple days ago “Hey JoAnn I have been watching alot of TV and movies lately many of which had racey explicit sex scenes. We need to talk about this.” Rather it was you noticing the amount of TV and heard the music etc. and brought it to his attention. So confess is not the right term because there was not a confession required per say. But he did not notice the pattern that was emerging, you noticed it. After it was called to his attention… he then took quick action to stop it. But if you had not called him on it, the situation may very well have been different. But in this situation you together have come up with a solution.

    So I guess what this story may say is that we or you as the spouse or partner must always act as the barometer. You or we must monitor as they themselves will not. They will rationalize and minimize for the rest of their lives?? That they may never learn to to do this or truley beable to recover on their own.

    Thats all I meant.

  5. Thanks flora, I certainly did not take your comments wrong, I am only trying to impress upon everyone that anyone who chooses to stay in a relationship with a Sex Addict should think long and hard before making that choice. The Sex Addict will never be who you thought he was or be completely free of his personality and sexual weaknesses.

    I think that expecting a Sex Addict to police themselves is probably a stretch. Remember all those crazy personality traits and his immaturity? That doesn’t go away just because they have stopped acting out and have committed themselves to recovery.

    But, on another note, you just gave me a great idea! I’ll work on writing a program that will allow anyone commenting to have a certain amount of time to read their comment over and make corrections. Thanks for that idea.

  6. Just because you ‘know’ why it is the way it is, doesn’t really make it hurt any less.

    The women on this site are underneath right now, JoAnn. We are gathering. Our energy is collecting and is yours for the asking. This is your safety net of courage and love and support. You put the threads in our hands and taught us that we could do it.

    Please receive this gift from all of us—your motley crew. With one voice we give you back some of the truth you have given us—you are precious and great and resilient.

    daring to speak for all of us,

  7. Very frightening reading for me.
    I’m still trying to get to grips with everything thats going on in my life. I find myself caught between info and advice from counsellors, CODA, SANON.. Some of which I can relate to and agree with, some of which does not sound right to me and I am making a stand against it.
    In regards to having to be the watchdog, it seems against most advice out there, that this is something we must do.
    Your post has given me the courage to speak to my SA tonight. He had a bad day yesterday at work, very very busy, didn’t have lunch or lunch break, and was quite edgy last night. I said soemting about making sure he was taking care of himself properly and he just said “well, sometimes work just gets on top of you”. Fair enough, but it raised so many flags to me. That he is allowing himself to become stressed, allowing himself to be hungry, angry, tired. If he cannot “self care” and look after his own needs, how long before it all gets too much and he slips??
    He is only a few months into recovery and I am more frightened than I was a few months ago.


  8. I just wanted to say that I think there’s a difference between policing and being willing to work through slips. Slips will happen, fair enough, but I am not willing to be class monitor or police him.

    Here’s how I see it. I am not his mother and I won’t baby him; he’s clearly had way too much of that from childhood. (In fact, I think it’s a sickness of many cultures to over-indulge boys but that’s a whole other topic) It’s time for him to grow up. I don’t expect it to happen overnight but effort needs to be forth-coming on an on-going basis. High expectations? Sure. Will he fail? Maybe. But I have to say that I’m sick of lowering my expectations for men and I think women do it far too often.

    I don’t mind communicating openly about how things are going but the responsibility lies clearly on his shoulders to manage and monitor his feelings, thoughts and actions. Maybe what’s scary to us about that is the idea that left to his own devices, our ‘partners’ might choose to return to old behaviours.
    I say that if he wants that, he can have it but not in my space. If that means I have to choose being alone, so be it. I’m not afraid to be alone…in fact, I often quite prefer it.

    Just on a last note, I know that I often can come across as to-the-point, please understand that I am not angry as I write this (well, not more than usual :)). Just sharing my perspective.

  9. Good points Marian.
    My struggle is such:
    I am not one for policing, but surely if something is noticed, it should be addressed? If we see worrying signs, by ignoring them are we going into the “co-dependance” cycle?? Do we over-react to them to prove to ourselves that we are not being co-dependant?

    While I do appreciate only he can do this and only he can look after himself, I feel that sometimes a word here or there is not so bad. I myself from time to time get caught up in work, life ect and let “myself” get down. It is helpful when he makes a note of it, as sometimes I don’t see it. I’m having a lot of trouble with knowing what is crossing a line 🙁

    Ugghhh, I hate this. I hate so many things right now.
    I started to write my story the other day, so I could share it with others on the site and 4 hours later I realised I had 6 pages 🙂 Every thing poured out of me at once.

  10. Starry-I can relate to your worry about your SA dealing with extra stress while trying to go through recovery. My husband is only a week or two into his therapy and he has to pick up a second job again. I know that adds stress and he is exhausted a lot of the time. A part of me is afraid and the other part says too bad because I can’t deal with the stress of foreclosure or any other big changes right now. I know I could pick up work ( I am a stay at home mom now) but I feel he got us in this mess-financial and otherwise- and he also makes more money than I would right now. Maybe that is a cop out on my part.
    I really don’t want to police him. You are right JoAnn that you have to make some commitment to being “on guard”. Maybe its still too fresh. So I worry we won’t make the next 20 yrs together. I am so tired of crying. I love him but don’t have the energy for this anymore.
    Thank all of you so much.

  11. So many things to worry about isn’t there Annie?
    I’m several months into this, my SA started his recovery 4 months ago. Some days are OK, and others my mind spins with the questions and hope/doubts.
    I’ve just started going to Sanon, in fact the group has only just started and so far there are just 2 of us. I am greatful of the support, however, I already know that some of the things in the literature does not sit well with me. I am going to take the “take what I like and leave the rest” approach and see how it goes.

    While I refuse to police him, I will not live in a fantasy world where I trust him to do whats right, and do everything perfectly.

  12. Hi Everyone.
    As I listen to you all and do some introspection with myself, I have to wonder why we would all want to dedicate a lifetime to someone who is damaged – we need to think more of ourselves and realize we deserve a better life than having to worry constantly if our SA is going to relapse again? We all know the statistics of recovery are very low (5%) on those who do recover, and that probably only means they can commit to a lifetime of “controling” their impulses.

    I can’t remember who wrote their list of needs, but they all sure hit home with me. I don’t want to go through my life with one eye always on the lookout for movies, tv, porn magazines, and just lusting after women in public. That is no way to live for any of us.

    I am separated from my husband, at this time, and I once told him if he could quit the “lieing” and be totally honest with me I could be supportive and work through his addiction with him. Last week, he tested the waters with me and said he went out to a domination/submission web site for 2 hrs. and “did his thing” to it. He also revealed he triggered (and by triggering, I mean lusting) after three women while he was out in public. He is getting ready to attend a sexual recovery IOP in a couple of weeks, of which I might add that, according to his therapist, 85% of all men return from these workshops and start their addiction cycle all over again. This is a life-long process guys, it “ain’t gonna change.” I fooled myself into thinking I could work through it with him, if only the lieing stops, but honestly I don’t have the energy anymore. This has gone on for two and a half years, and things never change – he always reverts back to the old behavior.

    Have any of you heard of “Trauma Bonding?” In essence, this is where the SA has actually attached themself to a trauma of the past, (Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse) and re-enacts the experience in thoughts, sexually acting out, and fantasies in additional sexually destructive behavior that has harmed them. The negative behavior becomes a coping mechanism created to keep the victim safe from further harm. ie: from hurting themselves or from hating the person (s) that have caused the the pain. The brain is programed this way, and becomes a coping mechanism created to keep the victim safe from further harm and create sexual addictions that are hidden. “Their secret life”. In my opinion, it would take years of therapy to work on these coping mechanisms.
    I know this is long and drawn out, but reality is reality, and we deserve a better life!!! I am not trying to be negative, but we all have to realize what we are dealing with and then make a rational decision as to what is right for each one of us.
    I know that every time I have a weak moment and get sucked into my husband’s manipulation, I play the old tapes of the past two and a half years -all the lies and hurt it has caused me, and I quickly back bounce to reality!!
    Good Luck to everyone with whatever decision you make.

  13. Marian –

    Interesting perspective on the difference between “policing” and working with our husbands through their slips. It’s important to understand what we can and cannot do for our husbands over the long term. When do you cross the line from self-protection into interference? I think that’s a lifelong question for the partner of a sex addict.

    I think it’s important in the early months to be kind to ourselves as we try to figure out the appropriate level of involvement in our husband’s recovery. I had a bad experience with a counselor who told me to “stop trying to run my husband’s recovery” (I blogged about the experience here). I don’t think any spouse should have to go through what I went through. If you need to check your husband’s e-mail and obsess over phone records for a time — especially in the first few months — he should graciously allow it.

    Bottom line is that healing takes time. We need to treat ourselves well, and our husbands need to be willing to work with us as much as we are willing to work with them.

  14. JoAnn,
    The other thing i was thinking about this morning was how your husband understood the situation. That he took a take charge approach, said that he would take care of it, raalized what had happened, realized he hurt you, all on his own once the topic came to surface… that this could progress or are “yellow light” behaviors. With a reaction like this I would feel confident in him.
    I can see just from your post that Larry gets it, this must be the “paradigm shift”??

    My SA on the other hand does not share in his recovery. Its all secret to me. I don’t hear about the meetings he does not discuss about the therapist etc. Its not like I don’t ask. It seems he feels my part in his recovery is to forgive him and get the relationship back to normal. Reading this post made me realize the missing peice, one so far my SA has not been willing to share or take charge of. The last time I asked him how is session went at the therapist he said “I don’t know…it takes me a long time to figure out what we talked about”???? What? I never got an answer.

    I do not have any confidence in my SA that he has ours, our family or my best interest at heart.

    Does anyone else out there have this type of SA? Or are they all like this for a while?

  15. Well said flora. That shift happens when they begin working with you toward a better future instead of working against you to preserve their secret life. When that happens you know it. Everything about them is different. No more lying, no more secrets, no more defensiveness. They have a calmness about them that is totally new.

    Yes flora, all Sex Addicts are like yours, Larry certainly was–for almost 3 years after I left he was a total jerk–holding on to his secrets and lying whenever he could, even two years after he had been totally sober.

    All Sex Addicts are so eerily alike. As long as they keep holding on to their secrets and their secret life they will continue to be against you rather than with you.

    I wish I had the magic formula that I could give everyone to help make that change occur, but, sadly, I don’t. I just know that it’s almost like asking all the planets to line up at the same time.

    For us it just happened that I was totally ‘done’ with Larry’s bullshit–ready to walk away forever, and he was finally at a place where he was ready to give it all up and face the pain of change rather than avoiding it. If either one of us had been in just a slightly different place our reconciliation would never have happened.

    I want to thank all of you for your input. All of you give me so much more than I could ever give you.

    Love to all.

  16. SamW- I think we cross the line from self-protection and interference when our checking becomes obsessive, our SA is still acting out and we begin to compromise our own sanity. In my case,I became very depressed, was not sleeping, and my stomach was in turmoil at all times. That is when the light went on and I realized the change has to come from him. I really think my checking served the purpose of making me feel better and more secure. It did not change his behavior in any way – he just became better at hiding it.

    I agree with you regarding checking in the first few months, as long as your’e husband is committing to recovery, and honesty is the first step. Mine never got to that point.
    I think the biggest problem I had was feeding into his behavior by constant questioning. And as his counselor reminded me, “He is only going to tell you what he wants you to know. My spouse allowed me to put a tracking device on his computer,etc. It served as a deterrent while I was living with him, however after we separated he went back to the porn. He volnteered the infomration to me, so if you are committed to working and supporting him throughout therapy honesty is the first step. I do not ask him any questions anymore, as he needs to take responsibility for disclosing when he is triggering. If your’e husband is able to do that, I would say he is motivated for change.

  17. Dear Joanne, Sharron

    How true it is that they only are going to tell us what they want us to know. Show us, don’t tell us, you know? Can it even be possible with them? dunno. SA just started recovery program. While I do sense a “shift” I can’t really explain, only that he seems calmer, more family oriented, more present, etc.. this is soooooo new, far too new to trust, I am looking at actions and attitude shift more than anything. For me, I have agreed to stay in the home as long as he shows he is committed to program. However, He mentioned he is going through some strong withdrawals, strong mood swings etc. Joanne, any advice from Larry’s early days? SA said desire to act out has been really really strong, but so far resisted found other activities to fill time and brain, (ie sponser) and he said, the desire passed and went away. He has been really irritable at moments and OCD / control freak on stuff around the house making me nutz. While I think it is building confidence in him that he can overcome, it is just so fragile still . . . and quite a ride. I feel like I have a newborn in the house, i must watch at all times, with great care. Seeking advice on early recovery stages, SA withdrawals symptoms and what to expect- input? Thanks all — for your love, amazing input .

  18. Hi Pam – As you probably know many sex addicts are OCD, or at least have the tendancies.
    As far as withdrawal symptoms, I have seen an increase in the OCD, anxiety, nervousness, (And even pacing) complaining of boredom, an exacerbation of the depression, increased or decreased sleeping habits, irritability, changes in appetite, and even tearfulness. my spouse describes these symptoms as a “having a melt down.” I describe them as withdrawal.”

    And, you are so right, look at the behavior not the words.

    Sounds like you are seeing some positive behaviors such as honesty in regard to disclosing he is having a strong urge to act out. I also think the fact he is “more present” is also a big positive!

    Hope this helps.

    Any others, JoAnn?

  19. Pam,

    My husband had all the same stuff you describe in the early days. BIG mood swings. When he was present, he seemed happier and more engaged than ever before. But then he could be a real asshole. The only thing that made it tolerable was that he was finally starting to talk instead of hiding from himself and me.

    It’s funny that you mention him being OCD around the house. My husband obsessively cleans when he’s going through something. You can see the wheels turning in his head while he does it. I always thought I was lucky to find someone who liked to clean and keep things in order, but I guess there are trade-offs for everything!

  20. Dear Sam,

    LOL on the trade-offs. When I first met him I used to appreciate how “punctual” he was. How obsessed he was with making plans — I thought here’s a real organized guy. HA! Anyhow, if I may ask, how long has your SA been clean and sober? Have had to deal with any relapses, how did you deal?

  21. Mine has been in recovery for 2 1/2 years. A few minor relapses early on (questionable web browsing) and one relatively significant relapse after about 1 year (he made plans to meet someone via Craigslist, but called both me and his sponsor before acting out). Things have been much better since I created the world’s longest and most complicated NetNanny password.

    I dealt with the relapses as anyone would. I cried and screamed and yelled, and then I kicked him out of our bedroom for about 4 months. Eventually, we got back into therapy and worked things out.

    These days, he’s a much better person to be around. Even when he’s cleaning.

  22. Sam and Starry,

    Sorry, I haven’t been on the site for a few days and was unable to get back to you.

    Starry, yes, I think it’s important to address issues as they occur but only because that’s what makes a healthy relationship, among other things. I think my issue with the policing is that I don’t want to feel responsible for making sure he’s ‘on track’ so to speak. I think if he slips up, he ought to be bringing that to my attention. Do I think this is going to work all the time? No, but at least it’s not my responsibility. I’ve got enough of that.

    SamW, great blog! Yeah, I know about getting a dog but I didn’t stop there. I now have 2 birds, 2 cats, a dog and teenager. I checked for the word ‘martyr’ on my forehead but ‘fool’ was the only thing there. 🙂
    I am dying to know what your netnanny password is but I know you can’t tell me. Still, I got a laugh out of picturing you entering the password in to the program. How do you remember it? 🙂

  23. Hi All- As I listen to you all talk about having to constantly monitor, or at the very least, always having to keep one eye open, I have to wonder what it is that keeps us all hooked – usually that charming personality they all so effetively project.

    JoAnn – I have a question for you. What was able to keep you hanging in there for three years, and even though your’e SA has not had any relapses, what is it like to always have it in the back of your mind he could bring your’e world crashing down again.

    I made the mistake of telling my SA I will stick by him after he returns from his IOP, as long as the lieing stops. He is so sweet, aside from his addiction, (Aren’t they all) and I really struggle with hurting him.

    Now for an update. Three week ago, when I found out he was lieing about sites he was going to on the computer, he went to a site called “My Life.Com.” This is a site where you can do a search to find someone, or also use it for a dating site. He told me he went there to look up how to spell the name of a Dr. he was going to so he could tell his his therapist. That site does not give that kind of informaton unless you pay for it. All he had to do was google the Dr.’s name, and it would pop right up. Second lie – He disclosed to me last week that he fantasizes 1X a week about domination and submission. (Had never admitted to fantasizing before) This week, he told me he didn’t have any problem with it last week, and went on to say his fantasizing occurred, most of the time, before we ever moved in together. (partial truth, lieing, miniimizing) And finely, told me had only gone out to eat 1X since we separated, and he took it home to eat it. Prior to that statment, he described how the restaurant had stools to eat on, and they were facing out the window. Suspicious???
    Does this sound like the same stories you guys get – the kind that make you feel like you are the one that is crazy?

    Oh well, just had to vent. It makesme feel like a fool for waiting until his IOP theapy is over. any opinions on how to get out of this mess? I need to quit feeling sorry for him!

  24. Sharron, I’m so sorry that this “sweet” man is doing this to you.

    It sounds EXACTLY like my predator. In the latter months, I baited him with phony profiles (to see what he would say or do) and then he would take the bait because he’s an addict and subsequently instant message me, thinking he had some gorgeous NEW babe on the end of his predatory fishing pole. :((( THEN, he would tell the real “me” about this woman and change half of it around— completely FALSE. If it wasn’t so sad, it’d be funny. A pathological liar often doesn’t even REALIZE THAT they are lying.

    And yes, he was achingly sweet.



  25. Hi Lorraine-Thanks for the reply. I was thinking about doing the same thing – joining MyLife.com, but am not sure it would tell me anything. Do yo know anything about Mylife.com? One year ago, after I left him for the FIRST
    time I found out he had been going out to dating sights.
    Any ideas would be appreciated.

  26. Hi Sharron,

    I did take a look at MyLife and it does have a personals section, however, you would have to know what to look for unless he’s so brazen that he actually posts his FACE on there. (predator did until a “friend” of his partner’s saw him–indeed!) For me, this type of monitoring (aka: stalking) was easy, because predator has a unique, slightly impressionistic writing style that apparently, he has no awareness of and/or is incapable of changing. I see some ads which almost sound like him, and then when I see one of HIS ads, it hits me like a ton of bricks–because its unmistakably HIM. (and the pics too) 🙁 The real problem is this:

    WHY THE HELL AM I STILL LOOKING?????????????????

    Back to you who’s in a REAL relationship and understandably incredibly devastated and confused as what to do. The only thing I really have to say, from my experience is, if you choose to play detective, try to understand EXACTLY why you are doing it and what you hope to gain. If you simply want evidence so that you can make your final exit, then by all means, do so, but otherwise, it is so painful and humiliating—and as I’ve said before, if you try and confront the SA with this info, it’s only going to backfire. Its all so painful and just because you find it and confront him, doesn’t mean that he’ll change; no, he’ll just find craftier ways to hide his disease.

    Look, you already know this, but your h is not on “my life” to look people up. There are much better ways of doing that, as you most astutely pointed out. Most people are not registered on that site,(its not free!!!) so trying to find someone there, is extremely remote. That is ONE of the reasons WHY he chose that site, so that he would have an alibi if it was discovered that he was on there. His excuses, minimizing, 1/8th truths are total bullshit. ALL of them. Pathological liars often don’t even REALIZE that they are lying. Its all just so sick.

    I don’t remember your exact circumstances, but my heart goes out to you for your pain and suffering. It really sucks.

  27. Hi again Lorraine. I agree with you about the checking 100%!!!
    I am only trying to find evidence to make my final exit, because I was a total idiot and told him I would stick with him through his two week IOP, and if the lieing stops will support him through his recovery. Obviously, that is not going to happen. Now I don’t know how to get out of it. Also. as I said, am still hooked into not hurting him.
    As always, it is so helpful to get feedback from others.

  28. Just like he’s hooked into not hurting you?

    Sharron, do you hear how this sounds? We all feel like ripping his fucking head off for what he did to you and your primary concern is not hurting him?

    Why is that so?

    Love yourself more. Do what YOU need. Let him take care of himself or find some other patsy for him to fool. If he can figure out how to pull the wool over your head, then he can figure out HIS own “recovery.”

    Just do what is a woman’s prerogative.

    Simply tell him, “I’m sorry, but I’ve changed my mind–I can’t do this. I thought I could, but I can’t. I wish you all the best in your recovery. good-bye.”

    What’s wrong with that? He messed up big time and this is the consequence. Tough lesson. Maybe that’s what he needs the most.

    All best wishes and love,


  29. Lorraine – I know you are right. my weakness is “having a hard time hurting someone. I definitely am working on that one! At this point in time, am planning to do just that- when he returns from his so-called attempt at recovery. I kind of thought since I got myself into this situation, would wait until he fucks up again after he gets back. (That won’t take long) Also, have an appointment with his therapist the week he leaves for L.A. She is very good at calling a spade a spade, so was hoping for some input from her. My problem isn’t in leaving him, it is how to do it.
    I guess, to be perfectly honest with myself, I feel guilty about hurting him because I have put it off until he signs the post-nup, so have, in a sense, been giving him false hope. We do that this week. I am not typically, a game player, so thus the guilt. I cannot make it on my own financially, really need some assistance from him.
    I had to laugh when we were talking about the checking – we have all learned to be “real street smart,” haven’t we.

  30. Forgive me.

    False hope? For what? So that he can continue his sick lifestyle at your expense?

    Your darned tootin’ he owes you. Milk him for all he’s worth, honey and don’t you dare feel one iota guilty!!! You married him in good faith and he didn’t keep up his end of the bargain. This is HIS consequence and don’t you dare for one second feel one ounce of guilt. Do you hear me??? He’s lucky you didn’t bash him over the head!

    You can simply do as I recommended. Its ladylike and incredibly kind. You simply changed your mind. Thank you very much—but its over. I have to go now. Good luck. 🙂

    Please, just lose the guilt. Its totally and thoroughly inappropriate and unwarranted.



  31. JoAnn,
    Do you mind clarifying this statement for me: “Anyone who is not willing to do that and if they are not willing to work through the slips together then they should not even be thinking of staying in a relationship with a Sex Addict.”

    I have a strict zero tolerance policy in which almost every bondary breakage results in divorce. If he watches p orn or surfs craigslist he moves out, but anything that would be an actual sexual act with anyone and I am filing for divorce. What is your opinion the consequences I have set forth on those boundaries?

  32. Amy,

    I think your boundaries are fantastic. My living situation does not allow for “moving out” (which I have mentioned that I believe is tantamount to acting out sexually with another person, with his proclivities what they are) but I guess I have a zero tolerance policy for ANY slippage.

    Although I think I understand what JoAnn is saying here – that the slippery slope signs are where you, as a partner, can “help”. If your husband’s reaction is negative in any of the many ways it could be, well then that isn’t sticking to a recovery plan.

    I think we all have to decide what defines behavior that is on the slope and actual slippage – for us and our own relationships.

  33. Thank you Jesse.

    In response to “I have to wonder why we would all want to dedicate a lifetime to someone who is damaged”…. For me, I don’t want to at all. Hell none of us WANT to. BUT I do want to give my two beautiful boys the best family life that I can. If that means working through the hell of recovery then that is what I will do. I have committed to giving my husband a full year to prove what he can do and what he can be for our family. If after one year I don’t see happiness in my future I will not stay.

    My boys are 1 and 3 now and are so so so much happier when we are together as a family. IF we can make this marriage work, and not just work but thrive then they will be better off for it. Everyone has a different set of cicumstances and hurdles they are dealing with.

    Also, I have read tons of SA literature from many different sources. The only place I have read the 5% recovery rate is here on this site. Can somebody point me to the source of this statistic.

  34. Hi Amy – You certainly have a lot more at stake in your’e marriage than I do – I can see why you are trying to make it work. It is different for everybody.
    Steve and I are in a 2nd and 3rd marriage and we have only been married since April, so the tolerence rate goes way down for me!
    As to the recovery rate – I am a Psych Nurse and have dealt with a lot of sexual addictions – I have not seen a lot of success rate in my practice. I do not remember where the 5% came from, but I do know that Seve’s therapist told me that 85% of all men attending Intensive out-patient treatment come back and get right back in to their old behaviors.
    Again, I think it really comes down to motivation and how much the SA wants to put into his recovery process. Also, my SA is older, and usually the prognosis is not good unless therapy is started at a much younger age, and we all know it is a life-long process. I think you have set a very realistic goal in giving him a year to show what he can do. You will know by that time how invested he is in change.
    I wish you good luck, and hope your’e SA will beat the odds.

  35. Amy,
    My boundaries are very similar. For me with my SA I found so few clues, in relation to the amount of time he actullay spent looking and masturbating to porn, that by the time I find something I am sure he will already be well into it. If they go behind our backs, again, and begin deceptive behaviors again, I am sure they will not say “hey honey I have been looking at porn or frequenting prostitutes again” becuase they know what it means. They already know what the consequence is. That they are out or getting divorced etc. I am certain that if he starts up with it again at this point, he would not tell me, and the secrets would continue. Thats why I have a zero tolerance policy. It’s also due to the amount of time that he has lied, I really don’t want to waste much more time on this. If he does fowl up I start my new life, if he comes around the he does… if not, I am already on my way to bigger and better things for me and my family.

    On the flip side I think if you give them chances (like three stikes your out) its a freebie. I feel he would start counting how long he can get away with it before I find evidence three times. It could take three years to find evidence three times. No Way. Thats why I am zero tolerance.

  36. Flora – You are so right. The SA will only tell partial truths, if that, and when they know the consequences they tend to get better at hiding it!
    I also have a zero tolerance policy, and his is up!! Today, we were talking regarding a couple of lies he told me last week. He is getting ready to attend out-pt. therapy, and is still at it. I told him today,for the umpteenth time, that there has to be full disclosure, and asked if there was anything in his past I do not know about. The only time I can get him to tell the truth is when he knows I know 100% he is lieing, or if he has a motive for telling. (Like trying to keep me).
    He told me “his domination/subission thing has been going on since high school. He would sit in class and put his foot under the chair of a female student, and would endure the pain the entire class period. Previously, he told me this happened 1 time during his second marriage. Also, he admitted to lusting after women his entire life. Last week,
    he told me he fantasizes one time a week about domination/submission porn with very heavy women. Today, he admitted to 2-3 times a week. How does one know where the truth is!!
    In a way, though, my heart does go out to him, though, because when he does disclose he cries like a baby. I think the SA is in a lot of pain also, because they want to be “normal,”and just can’t get there.
    He tells me he really loves me. And I am sure he does – the best way he knows how.
    Bottom line for me, and I told him, Just one lie upon his return from out-pt. treatment and I will file for divorce.
    And I’m with you, I don’t want to waste much more time on this. The lieing has been going on for two and 1/2 years.
    Thanks for sharing. Once again, it really helps to talk with those who are going through the same thing.

  37. Just a trick of the trade everyone. There are around 21 different criteria to tell if someone is lieing. One of them is looking at the right pupil (left facing him/her) of your’e subject. If he/she is lieing, the right pupil will dilate. Try it! It has about a 97% accuracy rate with my SA. He beat the lie detector test, but this has been very reliable. If any of you decide to try it, let me know if it works for you.

  38. Well, fuck!

    Larry lost his right eye in the Air Force. Guess that won’t work for me. 🙁

    Seriously though, he is such a terrible liar he just gives himself away without even thinking.

    Thanks for the tip Sharron.

  39. I love your response! Wish my SA was a terrible lier. Just a tip-will be anxious to see if it works for anyone else. Isn’t it interesting how we all learn to be “very clever”. It is called survival!!!

  40. Thankfully my SA is a very bad liar. There are several little “ticks” he has when lieing, and also, the stance he holds himself in is a dead giveaway.

    Sharron – “survival”. Thank you!!!! I am so sick of being called sick and co-dependant, when I am simply trying to survive!

  41. I didn’t realize this has been a known issue all along, until I found sooo many forums and health news talking about SA’s just last night. I didn’t even realize men addicted to porn are considered SA’s. I am so thankful for this site, coz although there isn’t really much help and it really doesn’t take away all the hurt, but it’s nice to know we are not alone. It’s been my problem for over a year now, and I really don’t know what to do with it. One thing is for certain, I am totally hurt, this issue made me feel very insecure about myself, I’ve lost all the confidence and sense of self worth. IT IS NOT EASY! I don’t plan to confess my problem to anyone, but it’s killing me! An opinion though, I think my husband is totally aware that this is a problem, but he doesn’t really care about it at the moment until the time I’d attempt to leave him for good (which I’ve done quite a number of times!) I feel so helpless coz I want to get over with this stupid thing. What do we (women) really need to do to end this sick doing without having to end your relationship?

    Let me just thank all the wonderful women out here… sharing your own stories really means a lot. I wouldn’t say I’m relieved, but it’s nice to know we’re not alone in this battle. So, thank you! 😉

  42. Lv,

    I am so sorry that you are in this predicament, however, your question, “what do you have to do in order to stay in the relationship?” is like asking… “what do I need to do to lose weight— short of reducing calorie intake and exercising more?

    and WHY would you even consider staying in a relationship with someone who has stripped you of every last ounce of self-worth and confidence, etc.? Why is that a relationship you would even consider trying to save? Especially, when he’s made it clear that the ONLY reason he would ever stop (not really, just make you think he’s stopping) is IF you are going to leave him?

    Now, you don’t have to go. No. you don’t. But please don’t expect him to change. He cannot change, despite what he says. If you can live with him just the way he is—NOW, then fine. Stay. and if not, then please save yourself. Its not going to just go away. Its not.

    Oh, and this is not your shame to keep inside. Its HIS shame! Please share it with whomever you wish… and short of that, please find a counselor to help guide you through all of this. best, Kim

  43. Kimberly,

    Thank you so much for the advice. Fact is, I battle with myself whenever I attempt to just go ahead and leave. What we’ve been through is such a bunch of sacrifices and hardships to just give em away like that. On the other hand, I am also NOT the kind who’ll just sit here all day and watch him get “busy”. I am a career woman, and I gave everything up just for him. The one thing that hurts the most is, there are lots and lots of other underlying issues caused by this act – and it all boils down to WOMEN and what he thinks about them. There’s always a scenario of staring at beautiful, sexy, porn-material girls around, or just simply checking them out. Whether in facebook, sites, TV, movies, and even when we go out. YES! When we’re together, like in the car, walking at the mall, there’s always this “glance” he does whenever an attractive lady passes by. And it hurts like hell…. to see your man do all these crazy things! I can’t help but cry each time, and nobody knows it but me. I have nothing against women, in fact I myself admire some women who are attractive in their own unique way, but how he looks at it is different. He never fails to comment on attractive women, or gives a second look whenever he sees one! Do they really know we get hurt when they do these or do they even care at all??? He locks himself in the bathroom, with his cellphone, and spends less than an hour. So one time, out of my curiousity, I peeked at the bathroom window just to see what he’s been doing locking himself up. and guess what! watching porn and God knows what!!! What kind of a jerk is that?!? With all of this, I’ve figured out why he’s so overprotective. I can’t go out without him, not even see my friends. He gets jealous easily and is out of control, calls me names when he gets mad. He checks my phone once in a while, my email, facebook, and accuses me of flirting whenever I’d tell him I want to go back to working again. He just wants me at home. period.

    Kimberly, whatever hell you also went thru, I admire your attitude and firmness. I really wish I could get out of this misery, same goes to all the women battling this crap. I hate this feeling, really. sucks! The only question I have now is, (which by the way I’ve no idea where to get the answer to), how can I ever be able to REALLY LEAVE and not just attempt to. breaks my heart everytime. What is this??? Pls help me.

    With much thanks and love,

  44. Lv,
    It feels so good when you stop banging your head against the wall. It really does. The thing that’s keeping you stuck is fear. But, its a groundless fear that’s been driven into you from being under the thumb for years and yeas of a CLASS-A-ABUSIVE PRICK. You need to find a really great therapist to help you through this. What he is doing to you, IS domestic violence of the emotional kind. You’ve become so inured to it, that it feels *normal* but it is anything but.

    How did I do it? I do have a business but because of our financial situation, would’ve never been able to get a mortgage and I really wanted to buy my own little place as prices were near rock bottom. I borrowed the $ from my mother. I found a charming place, made an offer, closed and moved. That’s how I did it. And yes… the day my furniture got moved— I wanted to throw up.

    I remember after the first week, sitting in my living room asking myself when was I going to go back “home?” (the same one I had lived in for the past 22 years). it hurt. I cried. I cried some more… Honey, its not easy, but in time, it will be better. I’ve recently started dating. Its scary but not nearly as scary as living with a half dead horse in the road who is very, very much like her husband.(except mine doesn’t call me names and monitor my every move. Conversely, he didn’t give a shit what I did.) He would tell me that I don’t understand “men and their need to ***read*** in the bathroom.” right. He also kindly told me that he imagined having sex with just about every woman he saw. (except for me. me, he wouldn’t touch and I’m considered to be an attractive woman– tall, leggy, long auburn hair and a size 4)

    Get a therapist. Make a plan. Make a list of all of his hideous traits and the cruel way he’s treated you. Stop focusing on the few crumbs of goodness he throws your way. You do not need him. He’s pond scum. Soon, the water will be clear and free of the muck that he has made of your life. And when that happens the it will be safe to drink. best, Kim

  45. Kimberly,

    I’ve a confession to make and I’m sorry. I fell asleep last night after reading your reply and left my tablet open. he saw this page. I was expecting something more like a realization of the issue after he read the contents, but it was the opposite. He told me I should’ve known better and shouldn’t even be checking out sites like these. If he won’t admit that this devilish act is wrong and still continue, there’s no reason for me to stay. He can do everything he wants now. Thanks a lot for your help, Kim.Appreciate it. 😉

    As for you, my dear husband (Since he’s already learned about this site, and if reading this right now) I got a few words for you…

    Go ahead and live a fantasy world full of porn stars and prostitutes for all I care. I gotta start rebuilding my life again in a normal world with real people. I hope you find someone who can understand your lifestyle. Just remember, pleasure and happiness are two different things but shouldn’t be in two different places. If you want someone to stick with you til the end, you’re gonna have to learn to find both in ONE woman. Thanks for everything and it was nice meeting you. Bye. 😉

    PS: Telling me that you’re doing it for us and that you never failed to satisfy me in bed despite “that” is probably the greatest bullshit of all time! Sorry, I don’t buy that crap!

  46. …and the truth shall set you free! No need to apologize for anything Lv. He can read all he wants and he should. Of course, he won’t think that any of it applies to him. As you can see… he’s not really sorry and he cares not how he has decimated you. His lame I’ve never failed to satisfy you. (eewww– careeeepy) is irrelevant. Its what we call “mindfuck.” A truly sincere, recovering addict would encourage you to read everything you can get your hands on. He’s not interested in changing. Not really. Not at all. Its for “US?” There is NO “us.” Its just him, him, him, with you on a short leash. very sad.

    Hang tough and perhaps consider joining SOS if you need more online support. But, right now, you’re doing great! best, Kim

  47. This site has been a great find for me. Thank you all for sharing and helping me through yet another tough time. This is my second big discovery with my SA. I thought he was in recovery. Boy was I wrong! The first discovery included an affair at his work, one time hook ups, and his getting fired. When I look back I should have seen the signs before, the porn, masturbation, fighting about sex and his being angry about why I was not willing to do. After that first discovery I stayed and thought we were getting through it together. Went on to have 2 kids. Now am in the midst of the second big discovery of my SA. He has been videoing women and up skirting. He could be arrested for this and lose his job. It has been going on for at least 2 years. He swears there is nothing else, but I know better. I am not staying and I will have our children. My question for you all is how have you dealt with leaving, children, and parenting? My only goal now is to protect my family from this ugliness until they are old enough to understand dad is sick. I want home to be healthy but cannot walk the path as his wife as he travels it.

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