I remember the good ol’ days. Those days filled with innocence and ideology. Those days when marriage was sacred and I could never envision myself ever forgiving infidelity or giving a Sex Addict a second chance. I remember wondering what Hillary was thinking when she didn’t divorce Bill. I criticized her for not respecting Chelsea enough to leave that lying, cheating bastard. How easy it was back then to be judgmental before I had walked in her shoes.

How quickly things change when cheating hits us square in the gut and we have to make those tough decisions ourselves. Life just isn’t that simple any more. But, at least now I understand my friends and family who can’t fathom why I am still with Larry and sometimes are just as judgmental as I used to be.

Just as there are stages of grief, research has revealed that there are stages that partners and spouses of Sex Addicts go through when the addiction is discovered. (I’ll do a post on that later) Along with the intense feelings of anger, shock, devastation, disbelief, disappointment and fear most partners and spouses also go through stages of nurturing and premature forgiveness. This forgiveness is usually eroded as more details come to light and the reality of the situation sinks in.

But, as we go through the crisis there comes a time when we have to decide to either leave the relationship or give the Sex Addict a second chance.

I ran across an interesting article in Psychology Today about giving cheating husbands a second chance. Although this particular article is geared toward celebrity marriages there is a lot of good information. Here are just a few sentences from that article:

The biggest problem with cheating on a spouse or significant other is not necessarily the sexual liaison itself, but rather the betrayal of trust it causes. This painful rupture of trust in many cases proves too much to get past. But in others, the partners, when willing and motivated, can sometimes work through this trauma together and salvage their marriage.

So, what does it take for us to try again? What does your spouse or partner have to do to deserve a second chance?

Most importantly I think they must have a real commitment to their recovery. They must have a plan, be able to share that plan with you and stick to it. I think they need to seek and attend counseling and 12 step meetings (I think 12 step programs can be beneficial for Sex Addicts). They must show you, over a length of time–usually at least a year, that they are following their plan and have remained sober.   They must be willing to really ‘hear’ your pain and concerns without minimizing, defensiveness or denial. And, they must be willing to abide by your boundaries and be accountable for their choices.

A second chance should never be given lightly, or prematurely or it will have no value.  But, to those who are deserving, a second chance can be the beginning of a new and loving relationship.

We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person. ~ William Somerset Maugham

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72 Responses

  1. More good stuff to consider. Thanks.

    At first read my thoughts said “but this isn’t a second chance–it’s a third, or fourth chance, etc”. But then I reread Joann’s post, this morning, and I think what matters is whether all those things she mentions are in place–like the commitment to recovery, 12 step thing, your own support system etc. Because its not really a second chance at all if these basics aren’t in place. The first, second or third disclosures that come with remorse and tears and promises, can’t really birth a second chance out of just that. It takes a bigger SHIFT, something that you can hear in their voice, feel in their actions, see in their eyes, and know by the evidence of their endless journaling, going to meetings, phone calls of support and check-in, and sharing what they are working through currently (just the coles notes version please). And I think that I have been witnessing that SHIFT in my partner. So I am thinking about a second chance–a real one—where we both have a real second chance to love and be loved.

    I do think it is possible. I’m not sure if I can or if he can. But I also know that, up to now, the second chance wasn’t real. We have to pay attention to everything. The lists Joann keeps posting about how to keep safe, what he needs to do, boundaries etc–that’s what births a real second chance.

  2. I have a question, and I hope I’m not out of line JoAnn for asking here. I have caught my husband repeatedly through our 10 yrs of marriage and the last time I caught him was Jan and I found out he once again had a secret sex life he was very involved in and had been very busy all of 2009. Well I was devastated once again, and I had told him before that if I caught him again it was over. Well I did not have the means to leave until now, he’s an attorney, (a broke atttorney because of his addiction)and he finally settled a case and so now 3 months later I can leave. The problem is my husband has been very sweet and I think he really wants to change, he did not get therapy after I caught him but now that I’m leaving he said he would. He is crying hysterically and doesn’t want me to go and wants me to give the money back.

    This is my question, I already rented a place but I haven’t left our home and I can probably get out of the lease. Do you think I should move out while he is getting therapy to show him that there are consequences for his actions? Or do you think moving out would make it hard for him to suceed? Do you think since he agreed and really seems sincere this time that I should stay and give him the money back that I was going to start over on? I love him dearly, but I’m scared if I stay there is a chance I will be let down and then not be able to leave because I would be broke. Any help is appreciated

  3. I definitely think you should leave. Addicts will say and do ANYTHING when they are faced with real consequences–and it seems part of his motives are financial. Just calmly say that he knew what the consequences would be and you are leaving.

    Now, you can also give positive reinforcement to his recovery efforts by saying that you will consider moving back with him after a year IF he keeps all those promises that he is making. After all, he has to earn your trust by actions, not by empty promises. He has lost your trust and now he is faced with the long and difficult task of winning it back by showing you that he can do all those things he says he will.

    My Boundaries eBook has a Relationship Contract that would be excellent in this situation.

    By doing this you are doing exactly what research has shown works for the partner or spouse to do to help a Sex Addict in their recovery. You set boundaries, enforce consequences and reinforce the adddict’s efforts toward recovery.

    Anything else has been shown 100% to enable the continuation of their addictive behaviors.

    Good luck, I know this will be extremely difficult for you. I hope you will get, or continue with personal counseling, and we are here to help if you need it.

  4. From personal experience, time spent living apart has been the best hope for the prospect of putting our relationship back together. I couldn’t cope with his craziness anymore. At time I have felt like I’m on a personal retreat or something. Hard moments, too, but restoring my spirit is what has helped me to be more positive about our future together.

    You probably need to get out from under his conflicted energy, and learn to live without fear, suspicion, and uncertainty.

    If you can talk to him about the separation in positive terms, and make it clear that what YOU need is just as important as what he needs, it could make a difference.

    You can do this, and emerge with a good life.

  5. Thank you both so much for your replies, it’s nice to get unbiased opinions. I have been in such a daze the last three days, I haven’t been able to eat anything, I haven’t slept, and I can’t answer the phone, which is very unlike me, I have always been able to eat.
    I am still at the house, although 99% of my things are at the new house, I guess I will start sleeping there tomorrow. I found a counselor that specializes in sex addiction and so we will both go see individual counselors once a week and then we will see one together every other week. They also have a couple of group therapy workshops starting in May for sex addicts, and another one for spouses of sex addicts, so I am excited to see where this journey takes us.
    This is the first time that I am following through with what I said. He keeps saying “this time is different” so we’ll see. 🙂

  6. My husband is a SA and has been very proactive about kicking the habit. I have forgiven him. The only problem is the whole event has forever nipped the root at which I feel like I need anyone if ever again. I question what is the point of being together when you get to that point where I can love myself and take care of myself unconditionally forever because obviously the only person you can depend on is yourself? You have no control as I have been humbly taught as much as I could have bet my life on it that he would ever cheat on me (when I was naive and believed in happily ever after). I understand SA is an addiction and it is chemical and he didn’t ‘mean to’ do this to me, but how do you move on after knowing there is no point in having a relationship when really perhaps all I need is a an independently ‘perfect’ relationship to myself.

  7. I am relating to Kat…and my therapist said to me yesterday that some people choose to live with the spouse without that trust. She said there are levels of trust. I have to get real, as do we all…there is NO guaruntee that this won’t happen again AND even though it generally isn’t malicious behavior aimed at us-of course it eats at the “root” of the relationship. How could it not! I hope you find someone you can trust (I mean a friend or relative etc.)…I have said many times if not for my immediate “first” family (Mom, Dad etc.) I would have little faith in people. I want to really trust more people but I totally relate to that visceral feeling of anger-AND feeling like YOU can only trust YOU. Beyond that I don’t want this (18 years with my husband since college) to steal away all of the joy and peace in my life. I want to find joy in me and then joy with others too. If anyone has anything to share about how to get past this I am listening. Best wishes-

  8. JoAnn,
    I am still at the house with my husband, however it is my last night here, I will start staying at my new place tomorrow. I’m really having a difficult time right now, and I need someone to talk to. I can’t help but feel guilty for taking money out of the bank, I left enough in for the clients and they have been paid. I’m going to give him back $8000 today because he needs it to pay the referring attorney. But I do not want to give him anymore. We are in debt big time (because of his sex addiction), but we have been in debt since I met him. He has pawned everything we own, once again(including my wedding ring) because all of 2009 when he went to the office he was busy watching porn, getting prostitutes, putting ads on craigslist etc, so we were flat ass broke before this case settled, so now there are alot of people with their hand out that he has promised money to, one of which is a client, he messed up her case(they don’t know he messed up their case, he will just act like it settled and pay out of pocket, like he has done a few times) or people he’s borrowed money from. So I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, because I know he has been waiting for this money, but I have always come last with him, we have been so broke on numerous occasions and he would still find a way to get a prostitute. I have sacrificed so much, but I still feel bad for being like this. We have had cases settle in the past and I would have the opportunity to leave and he would beg me to stay and swear this and that and shortly thereafter he was back at his game.
    I do not have the education my husband has and I have spent the last 7 years working long hours helping him anyway I could, whch was completely nonappreciated. He just brought in a spreadshett of all the things that need to be paid immediantly, and it is stressing me out beyond belief. He is in so much debt and he could use the money, but I am scared and I need it to start my life. Plus he could pisss away a 100K (which is the amount I took) and it wouldn’t make that big of a dent, he would still owe so much money. I am leaving with 150,000 tax lien (and never even received a paycheck)because he did not pay the taxes since we married, and he hasn’t even filed the last 7 years, so no telling what they will say we owe once that happens.
    Please I need advice, I have never been like this to him or anyone and I don’t know what to do. Do you think I should keep the money? Or should I give half back? He is getting a fee of 30k from another case in a week, and I reminded him of that and he said that is not even close to what we need.
    I just feel like after 10 years of doing without, while he spent work hours cheating, that I deserve to leave with something, and I will never have the opportunity again. I would like to buy a condo so I always have a place to live.
    I was buying a house when I met him on a 10 year mortgage, I sold my house at his request and gave the money to him six months after meeting, I didn’t have alot of equity but I sold it for more than I bought it for, and whatever mioney I did make went to him, because he was in debt at the time, but had I not sold it, it would be paid off now. Please any advice is appreciated, this is weighing heavy on me. I hate being like this.

  9. Dear rebecca,

    Yours is not the first story I have heard of an attorney destroying lives because of Sex Addiction. I have a dear friend whose husband was an attorney. Their life seemed idyllic until one of his mistresses committed suicide and implicated him. All the rest of his secret life along with many affairs and mistresses and sexual harassment claims came out and he lost his license to practice. They lost their home and had to file bankruptcy and they got divorced. 6 years later she is doing fine, living alone and has a wonderful relationship with a kind and honest man.

    I would advise you to immediately get yourself an attorney and do everything you can to separate yourself from his finances. Get your name off of all the joint credit cards and bank accounts and open your own. Check with the attorney to see if your state allows for a Legal Separation. This will allow you to stay on his health care insurance (if he has any) and remain the beneficiary of his life insurance, pensions, 401k’s etc. if anything happens to him, but your finances will be separated legally. If your state does not recognize a Legal Separation you may just have to file for divorce in order to protect yourself.

    Anything that you have jointly makes you just as libel as he is. You need to protect yourself. If you have ever filed jointly with the IRS you very well might be just as libel as he is for back taxes, interest and penalties. You need good legal advice on this one.

    I would not give him ANY MONEY BACK! That is enabling his Sexual Addiction. He got himself into financial trouble, he has raped you financially and he needs to be accountable. Yes, he may lose his license, and yes, he may have to file bankruptcy, but that is the consequences for what he has done. If you keep giving him the money to cover up these things you may be charged with conspiracy to defraud and you just might get jail time. If you give him money once he will keep after you until it is all gone. Trust me. You will be held hostage as long as you have something he desperately wants–money. And…you never know what legal events may happen in the future and you just may need every penny of that money to save yourself. If you give it to him you know it will be gone one way or the other.

    Open your own checking account and tell him that he needs to clean up his own mess. You might want to look into educating yourself so you can support yourself. In the meantime, no matter how he has to do it, he will be responsible to pay a portion of your living expenses until you are able to support yourself.

    Please, get a good attorney who will take the case against another attorney (some won’t) tell him or her the whole story and start putting safeguards in place to protect yourself.

    Good luck, my thoughts are with you, and stay connected. We all care very much about you.

  10. We don’t have credit cards anymore, and no health insurance, and he has borrowed from his 401k so not much money there. I will talk to an attorney, but that is why I decided to take matters into my own hands because I knew if I didn’t I would leave with nothing. He is going to lose his mind if I don’t give at least some of the money back, but I have to look out for me for a change.

    I do plan to go to school, which is something I have been wanting to do for a while, but I was too worried of what he would do while I was gone that I never did, I kniow ridiculous.

    It’s going to be weird living alone, and my yorkie that I have had for 9 1/2 years will miss him. Thank you for being here for me, it really is helping me so much.

  11. Stay strong rebecca. You will never have as much control over your future as you do right now. As soon as you give him any money you will lose that power and you will never get it back.

    He will not lose his mind if you don’t give him some of the money. He may get nasty and say it’s his money, but you just stand firm and say, ‘No, it’s my money, the money that you stole from me with your addiction.’

    He will just have to grow up and face the consequences of what he has done. He will need to learn to problem solve. He may have to get another, or maybe two extra jobs, even if it’s a greeter at Wal Mart, but it’s his mess and he needs to clean it up.

    Just a word of caution. When it comes to money men can get violent. If there is any chance that he may harm you you need to get a restraining order now. I know, a lot of men will not abide by a restraining order, but it will at least put him on notice that you are serious. If he does not have your new address, do not give it to him.

    If you are still struggling with the money issue, buy yourself some time. Tell him that you need a month to think about it and that you will give him your answer then. Tell him that he has to show you that he is doing his part to earn extra money and that he is working on his recovery. In the meantime get a good counselor and a good attorney.

    All my best. Remember, we are here if you need us.

  12. I have not given him my new address, and he is stil being nice in hopes of getting the money. Once he realizes I’m not giving in, I’m sure he will change. To avoid the pressure that is only going to get more intense, I am going to leave soon. I dont think he would be violent, but he may do something like try and hold our yorkie hostage or grab my laptop or keys. So I’m getting my things together and I am not telling him I’m not coming back so he won’t do anything crazy.

    He keeps saying, this is the only year that I haven’t done anything and you decide to pull this, can’t you appreciate that I’m being good now. The only year in 10 years, and I’m supposed to feel good.

    What do you think will happen after I leave? Do you think he will do the same as what he’s always done or do you think he may try and do the right thing?

    It will be hard to be at a different house and wonder what is going on, but it’s really no different than always, except it will be easier for him to get away with it. He has started disclosing things lately that he lied about for years, so I thought that was a good sign. He was always so vague before and made light of everything, and now he is saying things like, that everytime he went out of town (which was often) he would get a prostitute, and he always told me before that he never slept with them, he only masturbated, and now he’s admitted to having sex with very few and that with a couple of them, he didn’t use a condom.

  13. I’m so glad he doesn’t have your address. I would have been very worried about you if he did.

    What do I think he will do? He will do ANYTHING to convince you to come back. Just the fact that he said he didn’t do anything this year is minimizing and denial. He may quit acting out for a while just to convince you that he has changed, but if you go back I can guarantee you that the acting out will start all over again.

    How can I be so sure? Because Sex Addiction is a serious, life long issue which escalates and does not go away–ever. The only thing an addict can do is learn to manage the compulsions by learning new coping skills, facing the childhood issues that caused the addiction and continue to work on their recovery for the rest of their lives.

    Addicts are notorious for claiming that they have stopped all their activities, or that they will never do it again. These are empty words. It will take years for your husband to even begin to understand his problems, and it will take a lot of hard work on his part.

    All you have to say is that you will watch his progress over the next year and see how he does. Addicts want instant gratification, and he wants you back right NOW. While he is trying to win you back he can probably control his urges to act out, but as soon as you come back those urges will, once again, become uncontrollable because he has never addressed the root causes of his addiction.

  14. Superb article, Lynn, thank you! It was very helpful to me. It never fails to amaze me how it appears to be that we are reading about the SAME person over and over and over again.

    It makes me wonder if some sex addicts, if not all actually have a splintering in their personality–as in multiple personality disorder? (just another one to the many other frequently found co-morbid disorders?) It certainly sounds like it!

    I have heard so many times (“I didn’t recognize him anymore”… or “this was a side I had never seen before”) I too, witnessed this with my ex near the end. It was like he had turned into a completely different person. And yeah “gaslighting”…grrrr.. For those who don’t know, this is a psychologically abusive tactic used by the SA in which he will provide false information,to protect himself and even will go so far as to make HIMSELF out to be the VICTIM of YOUR “harassment” or “paranoia” or “hurtful words”; it is meant to demean and confuse so that the victim starts to doubt their own memory, perception and sanity. nasty, nasty stuff. My ex had this one down pat.

    But, since I had most of our relationship in writing, and other concrete sources of information, I had the truth on my side. They are not interested in the truth, however. Only in the preservation of their illness–whatever it takes.

    Godspeed Rebecca. You are a remarkable woman!

  15. For years, and now, that same abusive technique is used by my ex. He got very physically and was always verbally abusive when I started finding out his double life, and our young son saw one of his shoves that sent me flying across the room. When he asked his father about it a month ago (this abuse happened 3 years ago)his father said he pushed me because I was choking him. My son announced this to a room full of people.
    The lies are so off the chart, so bold, so defaming, so wrong, and to my aspergers son he says this crap. About me, the one he shoved and hit. It really is criminal, to be such a liar and abuser and feed that evil to my sweet little clueless boy, when he asks his father why he shoved me and why he hit me.
    He takes absolutely no responsibility for any of his actions, he blames.
    I have had my son in therapy since all this and it is really hard to have to be the good guy, and in as nice a way as possible, state his father is a complete liar. How do you defend yourself and your child from such an abusive and manipulative person?
    I have a third party handle any emails and any visitation exchanges. I have a GAL for my son. I give my ex no access to me at all, and have my son in therapy every two weeks to deal with the things this monster did and does.
    My son is 13 now, and I am looking forward to the day we can move far far away and never have to deal with this malignant person again. That is all that can be done.
    Now, he has lost his job because of his abusive behaviors, a job he made 150K a year at and worked there for 22 years. He is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, debt made in the two years after we split from all his addiction and egotistical demanding ways. He has hit bottom in every way, but he will not change.

  16. Rebecca, I’ve been wondering what happened with you. I remember your pained post from a couple of months ago, talking about your plan, and I was telling someone about it a few days ago. Now I am a little frightened about your situation. I agree whole-heartedly with everything Joann advises you to do, especially about retaining an attorney and keeping your new address secret. Get the yorkie and laptop out before he realizes you won’t be coming back again. You caught him in January and he hasn’t gone for counseling yet — that should tell you his true intentions. He’s being sweet to manipulate you, he’s bringing spreadsheets home to make you feel guilty. I worked in litigation for over 20 years and I can’t even picture what he means by messing up a case so badly he needs to hand the client money and tell her it was settled — what you’re describing sounds unethical. If he’s been mishandling clients’ money, that’s a very serious charge and in some states he could be disbarred. Rebecca, he’s drowning and he’s pulling you under with him. DON’T give him that money now because it may be all the money you ever see from him. Do get good legal advice, preferably from an attorney who doesn’t know him. You’ll be in my thoughts. Please keep us posted.

  17. Thanks everyone, I appreciate you all more than you will ever know, having you during this difficult time, means the world to me.

    Caroline he did have serious problems, he got two grievances, was on probation, and had to pay a big fine, but he is doing much better now as far as taking care of clients.

    Please don’t worry about my safety, I’m OK. My husband is an irresponsible sex addict; but he is not a vengeful person. He would never set out specifically to hurt me. Yes, his selfish acts hurt me, but he didn’t set out to hurt me, he thought he could hide it.

    I took some things over to my new place, and once the banks closed, I knew he wouldn’t be able bug me about money, so I came back to the house for one more night, the person I am leasing from is not leaving until April 4, and I didn’t feel comfortable being there until they leave.

    JoAnn, I read to my husband a couple of sentences you wrote, about him needing counseling so he can work on the root cause etc. and if I stayed the chances of him going back to the same was high. Well he asked if he could respond, I didn’t want him to read what I wrote earlier so I told him to type it on word and I would cut and paste it in when he is done. He has been typing away ever since.

    This is what happened when I gave my husband another chance. I’m writing to remind myself of how my life once was. This is just a glimpse.

    For starters, when I married my husband in 2000, I chose to settle in a couple of areas, one of which was that he not near as sexual as I had wished.

    I had never experienced someone that wasn’t very sexual, but he was this attractive conservative looking attorney that everyone liked, he would do things like fly me Vegas and give me pearls and I was having the most exciting time and I wasn’t about to accept that anything was a problem, and I figured that part would change over time.

    In my prior relationships, sex had always been the focus. I had always felt very secure in that area, and as long we had this intense passion, other qualities weren’t as important.

    So I wanted to look for other qualities, besides sex and I did, Jon had qualities like no one I had ever been with, and I chose to accept his shortcomings and appreciate him for who he is, and not because we had a connection in bed.

    Five years into our marriage, I find out that my husband was very sexual, just not with me, and that he had a secret sex life that he was very involved in, with many different women. I can’t explain the feeling I felt, it’s very difficult to find out so much information that is devastating in a short amount of time.

    I mean this is the man that I had yearned for so many nights, the one that I gave excuses for, the one that wasn’t interested in pleasing me. My body and soul missed passion so much that it finally forgot what it felt like, because even if he did do anything with me, it was different than any kind of sex I ever experienced, no passion, no feeling beautiful, it was cold and sterile, and about as meaningful as doing it with a rubber doll.

    It was shocking to realize that he was so different than I had thought, all this time, he had been fooling me.

    We had many emotional talks, he made promises, and I wanted to believe him because he was now showing me the attention I craved and I did. He used his real cell phone and so every call was on there (and with Sprint you could go back years to look at bill online), he would talk some nights for 5 hours on singles chat lines, and almost every single day. His would lure girls with money to be with him, and prostitutes. He liked to go back and forth, from professionals to girls that had never done anything for money and was interested in trying it out.

    He went to his office almost every night for years, he said he worked better, when no one was around, and I bought it.

    I became obsessed with these records, I *69 different numbers, so many times. I made spreadsheets to show him how many calls he made (mainly because he would make light of it and it would make me so upset, he would say things like “so I made a couple of calls, get over it”.
    It would make him so angry if I suspected anything, even if it were true. He would scream so loud and tell me how messed up I was, and that he was trying to work and to leave him the f— alone! I asked him once “how could you had been like that to me, knowing you had just made my worst nightmares true?” and he said “Rebecca I don’t know, what do you want me to say, probably because most of the time you accuse me, I wasn’t doing anything.”

    We emailed quite a bit back then, and still do, but not as much,(I would send the longest emails pouring my heart out), and he would reply with the longest one back, even if we were in the same house. So having years of emails (I never erase his emails), I started matching up time and date of calls to emails he sent, and wow he was very verbally abusive and mean, all along cheating. He could write the meanest emails telling me if I didn’t start believing in him I could —–, and pick up the phone and call a prostitute. Then when he knew he couldn’t hide using his phone, I would find these pay-as-you-go phones(4) total with these numbers to prostitutes and single chatlines, he would swear that he may have called, but he didn’t do anything. I would cry and he would hold me and tell me how much he loved me, which is what I wanted so badly.

    He called prostitutes and/or single chatlines the day after our first anniversary, and we had a great time that year and was very much in love. He also managed to call our third and fourth anniversary (which was a horrible time) late at night. He called on two of my birthdays; including the last one. He called on his birthday several years, which looking at the calls and the last secret email I was able to get into, his birthday was always a big whore time. He was with prostitutes two different years on Valentine’s day. Valentines was ruined after that. Instead of comforting me and trying to change the way I felt about Valentines the next years to come, he would leave me in a room alone sad, and take advantage of the time by watching porn. We finally did have a nice Valentines this past year, probably the best one we have had. He even called Christmas, he held my whole family up and acted like he was back at the house putting something together, which he was, but he was also on the phone to a girl he met on chatline for an hour and forty five minutes. I was very alone and I didn’t know what role I was supposed to play or where I fit into my husband’s life.

    A few years into marriage, my biological daughter was murdered at the age of 19, my mother adopted her at birth and she was raised as my sister, I had her shortly after turning 17 in 1984. It was horrible, and I felt so guilty because I hadn’t gone to Dallas to see her as much as I should have, mainly because I was upset with my mom, she did something at my wedding that was horribly embarrassing (she stole credit cards and used them). I didn’t tell Crystal what she did, and Crystal would get mad at me for not visiting my mom as often as I should. The worst calls my husband made was the day I testified in trial, he tricked me and dropped me off at the courthouse, and told me he was going to run back to the hotel and check out so we would not have to pay another day, and that he would be right back, he never came back, I had to get a ride, he never checked out, instead he had someone come to the room. The day I found out she died I flew out alone (he had to work) and he had someone come over, I really needed him both od these times.

    Then I turned to drugs. One night Jon brought meth home, he said his guitar instructor gave it to him, probably one of his whores. He started smoking it before going to the office at night; he said it helped him work. He would buy more when he ran out.

    One day I tried it, and we started doing a couple of hits together before he left at night for the office. He would give me assignments to work on while he was gone and different projects that needed to be done. I worked on these projects, played on the computer for hours editing photos, cleaned, organized, anything except be hurt or angry.

    I liked this drug because when I did it, I felt no emotion, my tears dried up and I was was a busy body in my own little world.I felt no pain, and Jon was even nice to me, he wasn’t affectionate but I was OK with it, I was more into organizing or something like that anyway. We did not fight, yell, no cross words when we were high. He would take me to Wal-Mart at night and buy all kinds of crap and that would keep me busy for a while, and then headed back to the office. He would not come home sometimes until 4 or 5 in the morning. I could call anytime and he would just say he was working.

    However, all that changed when we ran out of the drug and came down, we both saw a side of each other that I hope we never see again. Jon would lock himself in the room where the dvd player was and coming down and dealing with that would drive me crazy and I would try to bust the door down and he would open it and push me, it was awful. He would leave sometimes when we were coming down and get a room and it would kill me, I would call every hotel looking for him crying. I have never raged like that before, but I think because you don’t deal with things and it builds up that you EXPLODE. And then we would eat everything in sight and sleep for a few days, and back at it, this went on for years, luckily I didn’t ruin my looks or teeth.

    You know a few times I caught him, I had a reaction that totally surprised me, I would go to him crying and ask him to hold me, and he would keep asking me what was wrong and I would tell him, but he was already holding me at that point. That surprised me, you never really know how you will react in a situation.

    Anytime I caught him, he would claim that he had not done anything since the last time he was caught. He actually had me convinced that I had psychic abilities. I remember being proud about this and the fact that he couldn’t get away with things like he used to. I was so stupid, it was all manipulation, he was cheating nonstop, and yes once in a blue moon (compared to the level of activity) he would get caught. I can’t believe I would allow myself to be manipulated.

    He is sitting next to me on his laptop writing JoAnn, I don’t know what he is writing but I will cut and paste it once he is finished.

    More later, BTW, we are clean now
    A lot has happened since this, this was in the middle of our marriage. Sorry this is so long

  18. Your article hits home. Amazing how so much can be said in so few words. Unfortunately, my hubby sounds typical in that he wants to come home NOW (we are separated although not legally) and is angry that I won’t believe his words even though his actions shout that he is not even in recovery yet.
    I want to give him another chance. Yes, I have given him chances before, but they were given too quickly and without consequences. But I don’t want to give him a blind chance again–he needs to prove that he is serious. And so far in the 14 months time that we have been separated, he has bucked against every boundary and consequence. I am not giving up yet, but I am also not willing to be manipulated any more.
    I am not ready to throw in the towel. But it sounds like it will take time–lots of it.

  19. Deb,

    How do you know what your husband is doing? Do you put any monitoring devices in place before you left?

    My first night separate from my husband is tonight, all my things are already moved out.

    My husband went to his first sex addict therapist session yesterday, and I went today to the same therapist and then we see her together next week. The therapist told me I was a love addict I have no idea what that is (will start researching right away), but it sure caught me off guard.

    I guess I will be working on my own issues now. If that is true, from the little I know, I can see
    why we had the problems we did.

    I hope everyone is doing great, I have been pressured to stay and also to give back some money I took out of the bank without my husband’s permission.

    The thing is he really needs this money to take care of some serious client problems he created, and to finish paying off expenses from the case that just settled. I haven’t made a decision as as far as how much to give back. He just keeps showing me spreadsheets of crucial things that need to be paid. I hate the pressure because I am also worried for my future and my well being, but I hate leaving him in a bad position which is what I will be doing.

    He tells me he will take care of me, but he just can’t give me that much money at one time, but who knows. I swear I hate and I mean hate being in this position. The truth is he does have alot of things that need to be paid, but he would not have all these things if he wasn’t spending all of 2009 cheating. I don’t want him to get in trouble because some are expecting money because he told them it was on the way, so the phone just keeps ringing asking for money, I don’t know if I am going to be able to survive the pressure without giving back some, I don’t know how much, because unless I give almost all of it, he will not be happy. I asked him “Aren’t you worried about me, I am not a professional, I do not have money coming in?” and his answer is “yes I’m worried about you, so don’t leave, and if you do I will take care of you.

    I feel like I am at a crossroads, because if I don’t give him a substantial amount of money back, it will ruin any hope of us reconciling after therapy, and if I do I may miss the one opportunity I to leave with enough money to start a new life and be able to support myself while going to school.

    I’m sure if I decided to move back in, I would be taken off the account.

  20. Rebecca:
    I know because we have still have a lot of contact (we have 4 children) and because his office was still in a portion of our home until about 2 weeks ago. (It had its own entrance, but he constantly badgered me about using the bathroom and coming in for other things he “needed”.) So because the office was there, I knew what his schedule was like (and when he broke the boundaries related to that) and I was able to check his internet history when needed. No, I did not always check it, but I did when it was deemed necessary by people such as his counsellor and to check if he was following what he had agreed to in a recent test period to see if the office could stay in the house or if it needed to move for the sake of our relationship.

    The other thing that is very measurable is his attitude, and whether he follows through on what he says. How often he minimizes, rationalizes, makes excuses, acts out in anger, etc. are all measurable, as are the times he gets caught in his lies. This will also be very important with your husband. I may be skeptical, but I see all kinds of holes in his claims. And regarding the finances, I judge that you are entitled to what you brought into the marriage–what he took from you. As you said, he wasted lots of funds last year. He needs to face that fact. This is one of the areas that my husband has had to face this past year–the consequences financially of his bad choices. And bailing him out even though he has not contributed at all financially to my needs or the needs of our 4 children would not help him; it would only enable him. Right now he is in debt and I am getting ahead financially, even with him not supporting us. And he is now trying to hold out on tuition payments as well for our children, which I also am not letting him get away with. I at times feel like I am being mean, but to let him shirk his responsibilities would actually help him less in the long run.

    The other thing that is very measurable for us is the fact that my husband has stopped seeing his counsellor and has voiced anger towards him and has refused to do the homework his counsellor assigned. Basically, he stopped working at his issues. And then he started blaming me more for his problems. Meanwhile, I have kept seeing my counsellor and have worked on whatever I can that makes any sense in order to get myself healthy again. I have come to a place where I am able to better discern what is truth and what is a smoke-screen. Some distance helped me in that, first with him actually not living here, and now with him not working in the house and hearing everything anymore either.

  21. So Rebecca, your therapist has labeled you a ‘Love Addict’. What does that mean? Does that negate all your feelings of anger, hurt, fear, disillusionment, feelings of betrayal, loss of intimacy and safety? Does this Love Addict label somehow make you responsible for your husband’s behavior? Should you stuff your feelings, forget about the crisis your life is in and get to work on fixing this so called flaw? I THINK NOT! I get so angry when I hear of counselors who do that.

    Sure, you may have issues, but we all do. Your issues need support and direction, but, your trauma over the betrayal by your husband and the effect it has had on you needs to be addressed right now. Subtly blaming the partner of a Sex Addict by labeling them as addicts does nothing except injure your self esteem even more and cause you to feel somehow responsible for their actions. You do not deserve that and you should not accept it.

    If it were me I would find another counselor. If you can you should buy the book I have listed by Barbara Steffens, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, How Partners Can Cope and Heal.. You can buy it by just clicking the link and ordering it from Amazon. Barbara is a counselor who does not believe that women should be arbitrarily labeled co dependent, co addicts or love addicts. She believes that all the crazy things we do are caused by the trauma we experience from living with a Sex Addict.

    By any chance is your counselor a man?

    I understand your issues over the money, and I wish I could help you, but you will have to make that decision on your own. You have very clearly stated that you know the outcome if you give the money back. You know that you are not responsible for the mess he has made, so why do you feel responsible to clean it up? And you also know this is your only chance to have even a little financial security. That money will go very quickly once you have to start using it to live on.

    And, I can guarantee you, keeping the money will not ruin your chances of a reconciliation. Your husband is terrified of facing his demons alone. He is like an immature child who is clinging to his mommy (you). He will want you back until there is absolutely no more chances left–and probably even after that.

    All I can do is give you my love and support and hug you from afar. Be strong, do what you know is right for you and you will be just fine.

  22. Thank you Deb!


    Thanks for coming to my rescue, I feel so alone and like I have a bunch of bullies ganging up on me.

    He is meeting with a couple of attorney’s tomorrrow, he told them to give him tonight, I guess to work on me.

    The whole love addict thing threw me for a loop, I guess she labeled me that because of my answers to the questions. : 1. What do you want most from Jon? Answer” to be loved and to feel that I can trust him.
    2. What do you enjoy doing with Jon? Answer: Going out dancing and him being into me. 3. How do you feel when Jon wants to have sex with you? Answer: loved

    I didn’t know it made someone a love addict because they want to feel wanted, loved and romanced by their husband.

    The therapist is asain and female.
    She told me “OK, so you told me that your husband has to face consequences for his actions, but you have not told me one thing. What are the consequences of you taking the money?”

    I think because Jon had her first, he was able to work on her before my session. You are right I will find a different therapist.

  23. Hi Rebecca,


    I wrote this part below earlier before I read what Joann and Deb said and I agree with them totally!

    HE’S WORRIED ABOUT YOU???????????

    And he wants to take “care of you.” ???????


    The writer Tom Clancey wrote:

    “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”

    If I were in your shoes, I’d take the money and RUN hun… IF IF IF he gets his massively warped head back on straight… IF… maybe, just maybe you’ll take HIM back and the money will be the very, very, VERY LEAST of it!!! I am not saying that the its “right” to take the money, but it certainly is FAIR! Again, there is NO “right”! All the rules of “correctness” have been thrown out the window… by HIM! You are in self-preservation mode now. This is ALL about you and your survival. He certainly frittered plenty of your finances away without including you and much worse! grrrrr…

    He’s the one who needs to worry. Not you. Do not let him bully you. Ignore him. Let him stew and worry. Let him try to figure out how he’s ever going to win back your genuine love AND forgiveness for not protecting you and taking care of you.

    There is such a thing as a “love addict” and that would be someone who goes from relationship to relationship looking (in vain) for that immediate high (limmerance) that one gets from “falling in lust”. Clearly, this isn’t you.

    Geeeeeeeeezzz where do these people come from?

    This is the thing with counselors. Some are great and some aren’t. A bad one can do a lot of damage. This one sucks, apparently.

    Hang tough, I admire you hugely!


  24. Thanks Lorraine! I was hoping I would hear from you.
    I think the only thing he’s worried about now is getting the money. He will work on the love thing later. I just hate this feeling.
    The day I took the money was kind of funny, he was upstairs zoned out on the computer for so long, that I was able to move two big loads out of here and my two dogs. We (me and the dogs) went to a hotel and dissapeared. Well he didn’t even know I was missing for several hours. I finally sent him an email and told him that I left, and he looked at the bank account online and freaked out. He was wailing (I’m not saying that’s funny) and begging, I didn’t answer my phone, buy he was calling, leaving messages, emailing, I finally answered and he talked me into coming back and spending the night. So I hid the money in my trunk and headed home. It’s now in a safe deposit box.

    The thing is I found out about the latest year-long stretch of cheating 3 months ago, since then he has really tried hard to be sweet and show me attention. I enjoyed the attention but my plan all along was to wait for the case to settle and leave with money.

    So it has been hard because I didn’t just catch him cheating and I wasn’t angry when I did it, in fact we were getting along fine.
    That’s why it completly caught him off guard.

    He told me that he would have never in a million years imagined I would do this, and I just looked at him and said “How does it feel to be deceived?”

    He’s about to bust a gasket! I do feel bad. He has screwed up so much that anytime a big case settles, there is so much pending, that has been outstanding for so long, and at the point where it is almost too late. He always catches things just when time is about to run out. I’m still not 100% sure what I am going to do. I appreciate everyones support!

  25. Rebecca,
    it sure sounds like this guy is no where near ready to deal with his addiction, or his marriage. I mean the scene where you move two big loads out and two dogs and yourself–and disappear and he doesn’t even notice???? If it weren’t so heartbreaking it would be laughable. This guy has not hit bottom. And it sounds like he needs to before he will face reality on all levels.

    Right now, the only time you are on his radar screen is about money. What do you think will happen to you on that screen if you give it to him? It feels like you are only a player in this financial drama that is his top priority.

    Stay strong and clear-headed. Don’t get fuzzy with his hysterics and sob story. Make decisions that are FAIR FOR YOU, first. Remember you came into this relationship with some capital. don’t leave home without it.

    Spring in coming where I live. New life coming out of the ground and on the trees. It’s different from last year, but familiar. It can be the same for you.

  26. Great advice from everyone. Rebecca, I know this is so difficult for you, but I hope you at least consider the voices of experience that are speaking here. I do agree that your husband is no where near the point of understanding his illness, nor is he ready for recovery. I, as well as everyone else who has gone through this, have heard those same gut wrenching pleadings and protests. Larry has said all those things and then some, swearing that he had changed his life. Those promises just do not hold out against the grip of addiction. Your husband has so much work to do and he has done so little so far. He has not given you anything to hold on to that should make you trust him. Keep your heart and your money safe from him until he gives you at least a year of sobriety and significant changes.

    Stay strong Rebecca. You may need to cut off all communication with him for a while to give yourself a break. Take a trip out of town, or at least fake one, and tell him you will not be available for any communication, not even e-mail. I think that would clear your head a little.

  27. This is Jon, Rebecca’s husband. I have a serious problem that has had an adverse impact on every phase of my life. By far, the cruelest weight has been borne by my beautiful (inside and out) wife. I am at the point that I have surrendered to the fact that I am powerless on my own and that I need help. Now have I appropriately immersed myself into the cocoon of a recovery program, no. I do not know everything I am supposed to do. I have agreed to take monthly lie detector tests and I started therapy once a week. If daily attendance at meetings is what is necessary, I’ll be there. I have made dramatic changes this year. The day Rebecca left, I was upstairs on the computer working on an important project, She can verify this. I did not act out. She did not move furniture, etc., just her personal things, like clothes, toiletries, shoes, dog stuff. When I realized she was gone for an inordinate time, I started leaving her increasingly alarmed messages. I did not check the bank account until about 5 hours, I was worried she had been kidnapped. At that point I had no idea she moved her personal things out and left, we were getting along fine, and I had not walked into closet and see her clothes gone.

    As far as the money, she withdrew from an account that is client funds. I have told her to keep every dime of the funds that were ours, but surely you guys must understand that she cannot take money that is owed to expert witnesses, court reporters etc. on the clients behalf, She cannot take this portion. Please do not advise her to commit theft.
    As i said, a sizeable portion was ours, she can keep that, and I will deal with my problems. Stealing money intended to pay expenses on a client’s case will not help either one of us. Look, I appreciate you guys concern for Rebecca and you are wise to caution her seriously. However, you do not know how loving we have been this year and you cannot assess my committment with misunderstandings about what happened on the day she left. Please allow me a chnace to develop a program with my therapist, my God, my wife and myself and give me a chance before condemning me. Caution her YES, Doom me NO. I admit, submit. I know it will be the toughest thing I have ever done. I am sorry, I do not inherently know everything to do, but I am headed in the right direction. I don’t care two flips about the money, Rebecca can have everything that is mine, and more when it comes in. I want for us both to be healthy and happy. Rebecca may have to leave me, and she will if I don’t begin real recvovery. I want her to be happy more than anything in the world.

    I was under the impression that if I didn’t act out, that was enough. I understand now that I need help or will end up with the same result I had before.

    I am not putting pressure on Rebecca to not move out any longer, I understand why she has to take this step. Rebecca reads me bits and pieces of replies you all write, and while I rarely agree with your advice, it has helped me understand the seriousness of this disease.

  28. Hi Jon… Wow. What on earth are you doing? The only thing you have accomplished here is to further corroborate the words of your beautiful wife. Just about every word outta your sorry mouth is false and your lame attempt at manipulating US now, is nauseating beyond belief. quite extraordinary. Please keep reading. My responses are in parentheses, until the end.


    This is Jon, Rebecca’s husband. I have a serious problem that has had an adverse impact on every phase of my life. By far, the cruelest weight has been borne by my beautiful (inside and out) wife. I am at the point that I have surrendered to the fact that I am powerless on my own and that I need help. Now have I appropriately immersed myself into the cocoon of a recovery program, no. I do not know everything I am supposed to do.

    (LIE # 1–You DO know everything that you’re supposed to do. You just don’t want to do it or take responsibility for it. But you are going to have to if you want things to get better.)

    I have agreed to take monthly lie detector tests and I started therapy once a week. If daily attendance at meetings is what is necessary, I’ll be there. I have made dramatic changes this year.

    (LIE #2–Rebecca wrote on 4.8.2010: “The thing is I found out about the latest year-long stretch of cheating 3 months ago, since then he has really tried hard to be sweet and show me attention.” Where are the dramatic changes???)

    The day Rebecca left, I was upstairs on the computer working on an important project, She can verify this. I did not act out. She did not move furniture, etc., just her personal things, like clothes, toiletries, shoes, dog stuff. When I realized she was gone for an inordinate time, I started leaving her increasingly alarmed messages. I did not check the bank account until about 5 hours, I was worried she had been kidnapped.

    (LIE #3–She called you and THEN you checked the bank account. Her only mistake was coming back home that night.)

    At that point I had no idea she moved her personal things out and left, we were getting along fine, and I had not walked into closet and see her clothes gone.

    As far as the money, she withdrew from an account that is client funds.

    (LIE #4–No way. What?????????? That is just total BS, especially after below, that she could keep some of the money that is “OURS”.)

    I have told her to keep every dime of the funds that were ours, but surely you guys must understand that she cannot take money that is owed to expert witnesses, court reporters etc. on the clients behalf, She cannot take this portion. Please do not advise her to commit theft.

    (LIE #5–You are not showing any real concern for your wife.THEFT??? hahahaha… what a crock of shit!!!!!!!! YOU should be in prison for what you took from her! You stole her trust, her love, her time, her commitment to you and you exposed to her to life-threatening illnesses!!!)

    As i said, a sizeable portion was ours, she can keep that, and I will deal with my problems. Stealing money intended to pay expenses on a client’s case will not help either one of us.

    (LIE #6–Yes, it will help Rebecca. She NEEDS the money. YOU can borrow what you need to pay back your clients and you also need to get your bank accounts in professional order.)

    Look, I appreciate you guys concern for Rebecca and you are wise to caution her seriously.

    (LIE #7– ugh… Just stop it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    However, you do not know how loving we have been this year

    (Please stop… I’m gonna puke.)

    and you cannot assess my committment with misunderstandings about what happened on the day she left.

    (LIE #8–YES! We CAN assess!!! It is crystal clear where you stand. YOU think everything is “fine” UNTIL you get caught.)

    Please allow me a chnace to develop a program with my therapist, my God, my wife and myself and give me a chance before condemning me.

    (LIE #9–MY, MY, MY… Its all about YOU, isn’t it? yep. You did it all on your own sweetie. Please leave us out of it. Simply clearing out the dense fog of YOUR lies, manipulation and gaslighting, so that Rebecca can clearly see the REALITY of her situation.)

    Caution her YES, Doom me NO. I admit, submit.

    (WTF is that supposed to mean??? Admit, submit??? BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!)

    I know it will be the toughest thing I have ever done. I am sorry, I do not inherently know everything to do, but I am headed in the right direction.

    (LIE #10 Really??? What makes THIS time any different? Are you sure you’re a lawyer? You don’t make a very convincing argument— not buyin it)

    I don’t care two flips about the money,

    (LIE #11–Right. Then why even bring it up???)

    Rebecca can have everything that is mine, and more when it comes in. I want for us both to be healthy and happy.
    (LIE #12– Alright, I just puked.)

    Rebecca may have to leave me, and she will if I don’t begin real recvovery. I want her to be happy more than anything in the world.

    (LIE #13–Why are we having trouble believing you and what exactly is the meaning of your word “recvovery”– Havin’ trouble gettin the word out?)

    I was under the impression that if I didn’t act out, that was enough.

    (LIE # 14 — OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU DID ACT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And she told you BEFORE last January that IF you ever did it AGAIN, she was leaving you. What part of leaving you, if you ever do it again, do you not understand?)

    I understand now that I need help or will end up with the same result I had before.

    (LIE #15–You do NOT understand… not yet. just more lame words… just stop talking and start DOING! You are ONLY doing this NOW because you Finally realize that you are losing your wife and for no other reason! BIG problem and unfortunately, your beautiful wife has had to endure years of intense distress, shock, trauma and PAIN that you cannot even begin to fathom and STILL, she has the strength to get out from underneath this sickness that YOU and only YOU have created.)

    I am not putting pressure on Rebecca to not move out any longer, I understand why she has to take this step. Rebecca reads me bits and pieces of replies you all write, and while I rarely agree with your advice, it has helped me understand the seriousness of this disease.

    (LIE #16— You are totally full of it… on and on you go. Not only do you LIE to US, but you LIE to yourself too.)



    Learn from Larry. Learn from Joann. Learn from the many experts.

    You are out of control.

    You have no control.

    You do not understand what love really is.

    You cannot possibly love your wife, for if you did, you could never have done the things that you have done to her. That ain’t love hun. I think that you could learn to love her. First you must learn to love yourself and respect yourself and your body. Somewhere along the way, you learned that it was a better choice to tell a lie than admit to the truth. You learned that no one was to be trusted. And you were not given appropriate boundaries and consequences when you made poor choices. But, you have the power to change and learn and grow. Your wife genuinely loves you, but you think that love is something that will be there, no matter what you do. wrong. There are consequences for your actions. You will need to learn all of this that you did not learn in childhood.

    The resources are out there. There are programs. There is help. And you cannot begin a moment too soon–that is… if you have any desire at all to keep your marriage in tact. Hopefully, you will get to the bottom of it all. We do not condemn you. The only thing we condemn is your heinous behavior. It is not personal. Behavior is not a person. Conversely, we very much want and hope for you to recover and to grow and to learn, to be the kind of man who is genuinely deserving of love and respect. You see your recovery, allows the rest of us to have — HOPE. It helps to raise those awful statistics. We admire your courage to try to turn your life around; none of us are perfect.

    In the meantime, we are here for you wife to offer her the support and help that SHE needs. Why?

    She tells the truth.

    When you learn to tell the truth, we will support you too.


  29. I’m a little concerned that we haven’t heard from Rebecca since her sex addict husband posted under her registration to this site.

    His post disturbed me–for her sake and also for his. But as tragic and pathetic as life is for a human being controlled by this addiction, I am more concerned about Rebecca.

    JoAnn, do you have wisdom to share?

  30. Thanks for being so concerned, as we all are. I have been corresponding via private e-mail on the contact page with Rebecca. She wrote a little after midnight last night that she is fine and is staying somewhere safe. Jon is still badgering her for the money and they are working on that.

    I have let her know that we all care about her very much and are sending her all our good thoughts and energy.

  31. My thoughts: Even though it seems a bit odd that Rebecca’s hubby would post here in his defense, and even though some of what he wrote is subject to question, it seems as if he wants to be given another chance. And isn’t that what this forum question started out to be? I think it is fair to give him that chance to prove himself–with time, boundaries and consequences for acting out. In the words he wrote, it sounds like he is willing to try. Does that mean to give him a blind chance? No. The time apart for Jon & Rebecca is time to see the fruit of his words. That will tell the truth, not anyone’s words. From there, decisions can be made. And Rebecca will see with time if his words now about the money are genuine, as well as his words on everything else.
    I too am looking for the fruit to match my hubby’s words. Time and his actions will tell. 🙂

  32. I just want to thank each and everyone of you for your concern, and for being here for me during this difficult time. I feel like you are all my friends and I’m not alone. I am at my moms and I’m doing fine.

    Loraine I have never in my life had anyone stand up for me like you did! WOW! I was blown away! Jon did reply, specifically to you, and I sent it to JoAnn because it was too long for a reply. JoAnn may decide to post part of it, I’m not sure, I just sent it to her.

    Deb, I do think he is sincere this time and I truly believe he wants to do the right thing, but I have felt this way before and I was fooled, so I agree this time I want to see action, so I will know for sure. He has a history of saying what needs to be said to smooth things over, and then once he is given another chance, not following through with the promises he made.

    I’m still struggling with a few issues and it is not easy being away from my husband because I do love him, but under the circumstances I think I’m doing pretty good. Thanks for caring!

  33. Rebecca – glad to hear that you are doing ok. Jon – no comment except I do hope you start to take responsibility very soon. Lorraine – I think you should start your own blog. I know this is a serious issue but I did chuckle when reading your comments – I wish I could post a letter I had from my ex to see what comments you had to make but best not as it would feel wrong and also he might happen upon it one day!! I will say this though. It’s much easier to be objective outside of your own situation. Which is why it’s great that others are around to offer some insight and to defend us on our behalf when we can’t see what’s right in front of us. A big emotional, sorry arsed, soul destroying mess! Everyone deserves a 2nd chance, just maybe not a 3rd and a 4th and a 5th. x

  34. Joanne-
    I’m so happy I found your web page. I have spent the last few days reading the stories of all these women going through the same hell I have been living for the past 9 months. It’s nice to know I am not alone.

    I read the article above regarding second chances for SA and have some questions/concerns. I have been contemplating whether or not to give my boyfriend another chance for the past month, and still cannot stick with a decision long enough to act on anything.

    The man who I fell completely in love with, who I felt more connected to than any other human being, broke my heart. After 5 months of being in what I thought was the best and most “real” relationship I had ever been in, I found a text message from my boyfriends wife (they’re going through a divorce) thanking him for the wonderful dinner the night before. Yes, it was wrong of me to look in his phone, but deep down, I knew that until his divorce was finalized, I had to be very cautious and not completely trusting. He admitted that he had been lying about seeing her and that they had actually met up on several occasions for dinners and movies. He said they never had sex during these times (and in a phone convo with his wife, where I was listening in, she confirmed that they had not had sex for several years, even during their marriage). He told me that he didn’t love her, and hadn’t for years before the separation, but that he was feeling insecure about us and that he was using her as a safety blanket. Additionally, he admitted to being married once before and that he had left her for his second wife. He promised that he would not hurt me again and even called his wife (on speaker phone so I could hear) and told her that he had met someone else and was in love with me, and that he’d been using her. He said he wanted to finalize the divorce quickly so that they could both move on.

    His excuse for his betrayl was that he was insecure, had two failed marriages, and was now dating me, someone who he thought was completely out of his league and wouldn’t stay interested in him for long. After three days of getting the full story on every detail of every lie, I made the decision to give him another chance. He promised to give me full disclosure on everything that he was doing. He said he would be an open book for here on out. He gave me passwords to emails, bank accounts, phone bills, everything! I thought he was really sincere about change.

    The next two months were difficult for me. Not only was I dealing with the fact that he had cheated, but I had an abortion that I felt incredibly guilty about, and I had resigned from a very high profile job. I was definitely going through depression, but was feeling happy that at least he was being supportive and helping me get through this very difficult time.

    At the end of those two months, I went to visit family in another state. I left feeling insecure about the possibility that he would do something to betray me while I was away, but thought I was being paranoid. On my way to visit family, he and I got into a fight which I admittedly started on purpose. Looking back, I think I was just really trying to test him to see if he would do something stupid while I wasn’t there.

    When I came back from my trip, he had completely moved out of my apartment, with only a note saying that he was sorry he couldn’t be the man I needed him to be and that he would always love me. As if things couldn’t get any worse, he changed his phone number so I couldn’t contact him.

    What makes things so much more complicated is that he not only abandoned me, but my 7 yr-old son who had become so attached to him. He had also become very close to my family, and they also felt a tremendous amount of sadness and anger for what he did.

    After two weeks of him leaving, he contacted me. He told me had made a huge mistake and that he had moved back with his wife. He said he was feeling overwhelmed, insecure, and confused. He told me that he had been seeing a therapist who told him that he had SA and that he was getting help.

    He explained that he was going to leave his wife because he did not love her and wanted to move back with me. He said he was tired of living a lie and not having friends or close relationships because he pushed everyone away, and that he was now in a 12-step program for Sex and Love Addicts, and seeing a SA therapist. He sent me all the names of the books he was reading about his diseases and how he was committed to making the change not only for us but himself.

    I told him that I would consider giving him another chance as long as he stuck with therapy and left his wife. I told him that he could not move back in with me nor have contact with my son or family until I was certain that he had made changes.

    Since then, he has moved into an apt close by, has seen his therapist, gone to 12-step program, and has admitted to me things that I never thought he was capable of. I have learned that he is:

    1. Addicted to porn
    2. A chronic masturbator
    3. Has sought other women through dating sites while married although he never went beyond kissing any of them (only b/c they weren’t interested)
    4. And has a wandering eye, and becomes easily fixated on attractive women
    5. And even admitted that the reason he hasn’t met up with a prostitute is because he doesn’t want to have to pay for sex! (Forgetting to add that its also disgusting and morally wrong!)

    However, he has gotten to the root of his insecurities which cause him to act this way. As a young kid, he was teased and bullied continuously. He says he didn’t have coping skills and went into isolation from all kids fearing that no one would ever like and that people wanted to hurt him. He went through grade school, high school, and college with no friends or real connections. He finally saw a therapist in college who taught him to act the way he wanted to feel. He learned this skill very quickly and stopped counseling. On the outside he appears to be confident and in control, but on the inside is an insecure coward.

    I understand the psychology behind what compels him to do so much hurtful and self-destructing things. But I don’t understand how he is going to fully take control of his life permanently and not hurt me again. Therapist say that relapse is normal and co-addicts and families should be supportive, but when a relapse involves me, my son, and my family getting hurt, it is not something I can be supportive of. The worst part is that while I try to emotionally support him through everything, I am falling apart. Even though I am not a smoker, I smoke all the time now, I don’t sleep, and I have a hard time getting anything in my life done because I am so fixated on this situation. I feel like am addicted to pain and maybe just staying because I feel so worthless that I deserve this punishment. On the other hand, I really do love him.

    I know that right now he is committed to changing. But what if he cant? Should I stay away completely until he is better? How can I love someone who has been a monster? I question whether or not he deserves another chance, and whether or not he can stick to his word any stay sober. I also question whether or not he uses the term SA to excuse what he’s done. If it’s a disease, I can’t blame him. He can be so manipulative, its hard to know when he’s telling the truth. Is there any hope for us to have a normal relationship, or is it only a matter of time before he does something else to hurt me? I know everyone is different… but if there are any patterns of recovering addicts, I would like to know.

  35. First of all, Lori— and Jane— Welcome to “Joann and her crew” as we have been lovingly referred to by one sex addict husband who has written on here.

    I will address your closing paragraph. Have to say, that with everything you wrote, my eyes only kept widening more and more and more…(my response in parentheses)

    I know that right now he is committed to changing. But what if he cant?

    (Sweetie, he has not even come close to demonstrating that he is committed to changing.)

    Should I stay away completely until he is better?


    How can I love someone who has been a monster?

    (Because they are cunning psychopaths, and extremely manipulative at extracting what it is that they need!)

    I question whether or not he deserves another chance, and whether or not he can stick to his word any stay sober.

    (He has had two failed marriages. He’s lied to you and even told you that he’s a loser and that you will be better off without him. Believe this!!!)

    I also question whether or not he uses the term SA to excuse what he’s done. If it’s a disease, I can’t blame him. He can be so manipulative, its hard to know when he’s telling the truth. Is there any hope for us to have a normal relationship, or is it only a matter of time before he does something else to hurt me?

    (He does have a disability but that doesn’t excuse his heinous behavior. He has to RELEARN new ways of coping and acting that are not hurtful to the ones he loves. UNLESS he is prepared to move heaven and earth and commit himself to a recovery plan that will take every fiber of his being to overcome, then yes, it is hopeless.)

    I know everyone is different… but if there are any patterns of recovering addicts, I would like to know.

    Only 95% recover, Lori. And even then… it is a life long situation. Just two days ago, I have found my ex lover, for the 2nd time on Craigs list with two very clear photos of his very erect member looking for couples to play with. This is after 3 weeks of rehab last fall and God knows what else. His partner is in tremendous denial, but this is now her problem. I imagine that he tells her he’s going to a meeting… Now, he just has a new “excuse” for where he really is!!!

    I’m sorry to have to be so blunt. Please be kind to yourself and try not blame yourself either. You have every right to be hurt, devastated and depressed. His behavior has been despicable and unfortunately, these habits are almost impossible to break. Do you have a therapist for yourself? It would be very helpful, if you did. Sex addicts can be very lovable people, but they are also extremely damaged souls and most will not be able to be helped.

  36. Hi Lori,

    There are so many troubling aspects of your letter, I really don’t know where to start. First, I am so sorry that you have to go through this. It’s so devastating to have been betrayed and it takes so long to recover from it. That’s why you have to protect yourself from future trauma of this type.

    Your lover seems like a very immature soul who really doesn’t know what he wants. He’s still a married man, which puts you in a no win situation. Even after he gets his divorce, he needs to mourn and grieve and work through those issues.

    This following statement really troubles me:

    He finally saw a therapist in college who taught him to act the way he wanted to feel. He learned this skill very quickly and stopped counseling.

    Psychotherapy is not a skill one learns, and no one ‘gets it’ quickly. The fact that he stopped counseling says he did not learn anything. And…how long ago was that?

    And then, there’s this statement:

    His excuse for his betrayal was that he was insecure.

    That’s no excuse at all. He did what he did because he is a very emotionally immature and disturbed man who needs a lot of help.

    If you do decide to give him a ‘second chance’ you need to sit back and watch his progression for at least a year after his divorce. Do not get involved with him during this time, do not be his friend (which is only a form of enabling at this point) tell him you need so much more than he is able to give you right now and if he has done all of his work on recovery he can contact you a year after his divorce has been final.

    Anything else is a slow death for your emotional health. This man has so much baggage he needs a freight train to haul it around. Don’t be his pack mule.

    I agree with what Lorraine has written. And, you definitely need a counselor to help you get over the trauma you have been subjected to over the betrayal. Work on getting back the self esteem that he has destroyed and talk with the counselor about setting healthy boundaries for yourself.

    Keep in touch. We wonder about everyone who posts here. We are here for you whenever you need us.

    Take care and stay safe.

  37. Lorraine and JoAnne-
    Thank you so much for your advice. I completely see the logic in what you say and it makes sense, but leaving this man is so difficult. I have never had this problem before. In all other relationships I have always found an excuse to get out when I thought something was even a little off. I’ve been married once and have learned to be very cautious about who I let into my life. Getting out of my marriage wasn’t even as emotionally difficult as this. I was so much stronger then. It doesn’t make any sense. Somehow, this one slipped that cracks and I let him get close enough to hurt me and my son. I keep trying to justify my staying with him by telling myself that he’s my soul mate who has a problem, but he is going to fix it. What makes me so angry with myself is that when I used to hear stories about people in my shoes, I would nod my head and wonder how these women could be so stupid and stay with men who do so much to hurt them…. but here I am. Maybe it’s Karma.

    I guess the main reason its so hard to leave is because the man I fell in love with, is nothing like the monster I’m learning about now. He has shown so much compassion, love, and selflessness during our relationship that I still have such a hard time being able to get past the fact that he actually did these horrible things. I could never hurt anyone the way he hurt me, so it’s so difficult for me to wrap my head around everything that’s happened.

    Despite all the emotions I am feeling right now, I know that my perception of him is skewed right now and that I have to take care of myself and my family. Thank you for your support. I plan on telling him tonight that I will consider giving him another chance once his divorce has been finalized and he’s had a year to process through everything. And as long as he is continuing to go through rehab and therapy. Hopefully I will have the strength to not go back on my decision, like I have in the past when he’s cried about how much he loves me and how he’s getting the help he needs.

  38. Hi Lori,

    I do understand the dilemma you are going through, I think most of us here have wondered what the tremendously strong bond is that we have for our Sex Addicts, even when our heads know that the relationship is harmful to us. Sometimes it makes us feel as if we are crazy.

    If you read my post Do Partners of Sex Addicts Experience Trauma Bonds, I think you will understand the psychology of the process.

    It has nothing to do with karma, soul mates or that they are the perfect person for you. It all has to do with the trauma that you have endured over the betrayal and what it does to your personality. Once you understand it you can seek a counselor who deals with Post Traumatic Stress.

    This phenomenon is clearly described in Barbara Steffen’s book Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, How Partners Can Cope and Heal, which you can order through Amazon by clicking the link near the upper right corner of this site. I would strongly encourage you to read this book, as it will really help you to understand all those mixed feelings that you have that just don’t seem rational.

  39. Good Advice on here. I too am a victim of a sex addict partner. The only thing really different is we are 2 guys. A gay couple goes through the same ups and downs, but being cheated on no matter what sucks all around.
    My partner and I have been together almost 17 years this December. He was loving, caring, compassionate, respectful, and I felt safe and secure. We had a great sex/love life. No complaints from either of us. Then the internet came around, which didn’t bother me or my partner much. I knew of porn and videos, but we were not into that. We only needed each other.
    Then 2 years ago I stumbled across an ad or two on craigslist. The photos looked like I had seen them before, but I couldn’t remember where. I thought I saw them on my partners computer for some reason. I never mentioned it as I trusted him and thought it was just something he clicked on and saved to his desktop by mistake.
    Well, I thought about it a day or two and decided I was going to create a fake email account and respond just to see if it was him. The description and what he likes is very unique, so I thought it was him. So I get responses back from him. He was out of town on business and I ended up sending him to a hotel to meet this fake person I created and he told me what vehicle he was driving, so I had him. I had the ad, the responses, etc. He initially said it wasn’t him, etc. I screamed, yelled, got angry, etc. and eventually he came clean with some of the truth. I ask if he ever met anyone and he said one guy and nothing really happened major. I ask him for the password and logged into his email accounts and found several hundred response to and from people on craigslist. This craigslist website is good, but for the personals portion they really need to either remove it or require people to pay or something. It’s like instant gratification. I’m amazed at how many people with partners, husbands, wifes, etc are out there cheating using craigslist personals. I was so angry that I emailed the guys my partner corresponded with and finally got the truth. I wasn’t mad at them. I was upset with my partner for cheating and possibly allowing me to catch a disease. I told him I was no longer having sex with him until he got fully tested for every disease sexually. He did and was ok, but we didn’t do anything until that was over. I was able to move on, but never able to fully trust him again.
    Ok, he told me 2 years ago he would never get on craigslist and do this again. Well, he did it 6 months later. He told me he was at the library doing research and got bored. Then he told me he didn’t know why he did it. Then he said it was just to post fake ads on craigslist with fake photos just to screw around with the minds of these guys. He wanted to see what they say. Like he got off on the one liners they would leave, like..let’s meet. when, where. time, can i text you, any more pics, etc.
    I forgive him again and moved on. Everything seemed fine for over a year and a half and I still didn’t fully trust him. Well, I found other ads he has posted on craigslist this past weekend. I was upset and I cried and got all my facts together again and confronted him. He had purchased a pre-paid cell phone and was using it to either call and/or text these guys over the last 3 weeks. His email account I again forced him for the password and over 120 messages in 3 weeks.
    I am so hurt by him. He has begged me to stay with him as I said I was leaving him. I do love him, but I also love myself. He has ask for one more chance and he would never do it again. I told him I was tired of giving chances. I was tired of dancing around this same issue every so often. I told him it was starting to make me question myself as in “why am I not good enough”, or “what’s wrong with me”. I’m a good looking guy and he knows that. He is older. He’s 42 and I’m 36. He places the ads saying he’s 26-29 and some even younger. I know these guys that meet him have to be meeting in the dark or they would know that’s not him in the pics on craigslist.
    Anyways, it still hurts. I told him he needs help. Help that I can’t give him. He said he would go talk to someone about the addiction, but only if it meant our relationship would continue. I told him “no”. I said you need to do this for you. Your the one with the problem, but you’ve dragged me into it because of my love for you. He seems to think that after we get through this everything will be fine, but I am so hurt and been through this so much that I can’t trust him, so I know I can’t go around checking behind him every time I turn around. Trust is so important in a relationship and once it’s gone, it’s almost impossible to get back. I know I’ve tried it now time and time again.
    Heartbroken again over my partners sexual addiction to craigslist.

  40. HI and welcome Rich,
    Thanks for the courage to post your pain, and reach out. Your story is our story too. You loved. You trusted. You wondered. You confronted. The ground opened underneath you. You hung on. You forgave. You were betrayed again. And you had the courage to look how far down the hole went. Too far.

    I think your partner is an SA. If he doesn’t get into a program, nothing will change. And even when he gets into the program–the changes will take time. But you need a therapist now to help you think through options and feelings, and stop that insidious “there’s something wrong with me that i’m not enough for him”. And don’t stop looking until you find a good fit.

    A word on SA 12-step and gay members. In one of my husband’s groups, he is beginning to get more sensitive to dynamics that affect the non-declared gay members. He’s been going for 11 months, and in that time has come to know a few more personal details of participants as friendships developed. For example, he’s going to ask that there be no hugging after meetings because one of the gay SA guys told him it’s really hard on him. And the open emotions can be compelling for some gay men, and translate sexually for them as triggers. So it’s not perfect, but it’s a beginning.

    Your post is timely as elsewhere on JoAnn’s site we’ve been wrestling with male presence here and how to manage the occasional invasion from male SA’s who want to post. And no one is anxious to leave male partners/spouses of SA’s out of the loop.

    May you make good choices for your well-being. May you accept the responsibility of honouring in yourself what your partner has not. And may you be sure that there is no one who takes your place in this world.


  41. Hi Rich,

    Welcome! I admire your courage in reaching out for help. Sexual Addiction conjures up so many feelings of embarrassment that are difficult to overcome just to ask for support or comfort. I do hope you feel safe here.

    The pain of Sexual Addiction has no gender, age or relationship label. We all hurt. I hope you will find comfort and support here. As with the women whose partners have tested the same sex waters, I would advise you to be particularly careful about your risks for serious STD’s.

    Sexual Addiction is progressive and the need for heightened stimulus leads to increasingly risky behaviors. Please take care of yourself.

    I think your partner’s statement that he would get help only if you continued the relationship shows that he is not ready for recovery. He is only paying it lip service in order to make you stay. The story is always the same. Sex Addicts cling to their partners because they cannot deal with the emotions involved in breaking up. It’s not love, it’s a sick need to have that false sense of ‘normalcy’ and avoid the loneliness and feelings of abandonment that haunt them.

    Sex Addicts will not recover until and unless they want to do it for themselves and truly want to leave that dark world behind.

    I hope that you will consider counseling for the trauma you have endured. You can’t make him better but you can certainly help yourself.

    All my best. Please keep in touch. We are here for you.


  42. This is my first time posting. Discovery date: 5/23. Time married: 10.5 years. Together: 12 years. My story is far too similar to every one else’s to go in to all the gory details here. Suffice to say it is a minimum of 5 years of porn, strippers, and prostitutes. I strongly suspect the strippers and porn have been throughout the entire relationship, maybe prostitutes but I haven’t found a money trail yet to support that. He has admitted to seeing strippers and prositutes right after his first marriage dissolved, although I now suspect that his porn and otherwise usage may be the direct cause of that divorce as opposed to his rosey, he-the-victim version.

    My primary concern at this point is realistic chances of his actual recovery, and how the heck will I ever really know. At 3.5 months into the discovery process, I know that I am at an emotionally vulnerable time, ripe to be manipulated again. As seems to be the usual pattern, he has already minimized his actions repeatedly, provided three absolutely incomplete ‘coming clean’, has lied over issues large and small, and now that I have a clue what is going on, I am certain that he has concealed and lied even very recently. Given the people who have shared on this site, he is following the classic pattern.

    I no longer look him in the eye when he tries to convince me of anything because I refuse to give him the satisfaction of thinking he has me pulled another one over on me, and I refuse to provide him any more validation for his lies by allowing him to think that I believe them when my gut tells me he is still lying. He says the usual reassurances about ‘getting better’ and ‘not acted out since he was discovered!’.

    There are some positives, if they can be called that given the hellish nightmare I am living. He has started SA group once a week, SA meetings, we are going to couple’s counseling with a certified SA therapist at least once a week, and he is seeing therapist on his own every other week now. Do I know this for certain? No. I don’t. Theoretically he is starting meditations at the Buddhist center as well, but I have no verification that is where he went. He has just about every book under the sun and I see the paperclip moving through the book, but all our prior years, he was one of those with a great ‘spiritual and thoughtful’ persona that was all a facade to make himself convince other people he was something which he knew inside he was nothing like.

    I have seen some changes. His face looks very different at times, much younger and more scared. He does try to talk more to me about his fear moments, his twisted perceptions of me and other people, and how his knee jerk reaction is to think I am attacking him and how lying comes so easily while truth is painful and terrifying. He seems to be able to listen better to my moods and knows when I have shifted into a depression or panic and tries to comfort me. His obsessive compulsive nature has come more obvious, perhaps because I recognize it, perhaps because it is harder to hide now. I am keeping an eye out for passive aggressive attacks from behind, but those will be hard to catch at this point. I know how well he can spin a good line, tell me 1/10th of the truth, tell the exact truth but miss the spirit of truth, and use a ‘what if’ to mean he already did something.

    For my part, I use the SET method to try and communicate due to the passive aggressive mind set, which seems to help for the most part, and I provide him much more time to struggle with his thoughts when we are discussing emotional issues. Sure, he could be thinking up the proper lie during that time, but I’m doing this by ‘the book’.

    We have agreed that anything he hasn’t been able to tell me up to now will no longer be considered ‘concealed’, but that we have agreed not to try and force him into more lies. We’ll wait for him to tell ‘everything’ at that point in his 12 steps. This decision takes pressure off of him to keep lying about the worst of it, but it also allows me mental breathing room so I can think again.

    He has offered a few things which I haven’t read in any of these posts. It is likely that I am grasping at hopeless straws, so I thought I would ask others opinions.

    Has anyone experienced their SA acknowledging that they can make no promises to their spouse (this came after a productive discussion about 1.5 months after D.day)? Saying how they they don’t want to be that person anymore, even if are relationship fall apart, that he wants to continue this to ‘get better’? Is the fact I see his dysfunctional internal behaviors a good sign that he is blocking less? The definite changes in his face show at least four distinct personas with faces and voices I have encountered over the years, then I have recently seen two more faces which are completely new to me. Is this a positive sign? Is his ability to read my moods a positive, or just a piece of manipulative skill?

    I guess I am trying to determine if I am noticing real change, or just more smoke and mirrors. My gut I trust if he is lying, although I can not know about what, but that is as far as I trust it anymore. Even if these words/acts appear to be sincere change attempts, I realize he could feel overwhelmed and give up trying at any moment and find a wealth of justification for reverting, but I am hoping to help myself to stabilize, and him to have emotional support, to focus on any positive change rather than dwell on negatives. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Now, if I could just get a handle on that cycling, I might actually achieve it.

    Thanks in advance,


  43. 🙂 :-* :(( :-SS :o) 😉 8-| ~x(

    How many faces and voices do you need to see and hear before you realize what he’s doing to you? He’s totally full of shit.

    Sorry to be so blunt. I’m just angry. (not at you) Fuck him and fuck his “cycling” bullshit and please just be good to yourself. Save yourself, honey. He’s hopeless, in my opinion… I wouldn’t waste my precious time or my precious life on this psychopath.

  44. Dear Lorraine,

    Your initial response to Rebecca’s husband Jon: BEST THING I EVER READ!!!!! You busted right through his crap like it were butter. I think of my own husbands BS responses and lies and not wanting to lose me, blah blah. What a bunch of horseshit. They learn when they lose something. Stay strong Rebecca—you are doing the right thing. I hope to follow suit.

  45. Hi AM,
    Thank you for reaching out with your hard story to tell. Don’t we all wish we didn’t recognize anything in it? But we do. Sometimes that means we sound really sure about things—and we are sure—but we weren’t sure when we were wrestling in the middle of the decisions.

    With time, things to become clearer–especially if you can live apart from the SA. Never under-estimate the “normalizing” of completely intolerable situations because secrets are kept, the fridge keeps running, there are appts on the calendar for therapist and support groups. you still go to the dentist, etc.

    What you have described is an insane waste of your precious life, your priceless love. If you can find yourself with your own therapist (not his, and not an addiction specialist) you may be able to recover enough of yourself to start saying what you actually want, as opposed what his addiction and so-called recovery is requiring from you. YOu are allowed to want something more than that out of life.

    The SA is a deeply damaged human being. He came that way into your life, but he was well-disguised. Depending on the damage and how long he has lived his life this way, sobriety may come, but the underlying damage is still there. It will still express itself.

    Lately I have asking “what am I risking in my relationship with the SA?” Then, “What is the SA risking?” In almost every instance, I’m taking all the real risks. Why should I take all the risks, when I’m the only one the whole scenario who has been honest, trustworthy, and faithful? I’d like to see my SA risk something for me. But the whole 12-step model is about minimizing their risks and maximizing ours. So I’m done now.

    I hope you will have wisdom and courage to love yourself enough to find the way.
    lots of love,

  46. Thank you for your answers.

    I must say, though, that I was rather disappointed. For a site which sounds like it is about being married to an SA, the majority of advice has been about running. I do not expect miraculous changes in someone’s behavior who has spent decades training their brain to dysfunctional behavior to rewire everything so neatly and completely. I do not minimize the damage done to myself and my marriage. I am trying to be realistic, although I have to accept the likelihood that I am just rationalizing a nightmare. I have made a concious choice to remain in this marriage for my own reasons. I am doing things to protect myself and help my self grow stronger. I am attempting to make positive changes in my life during a crisis situation. The reality is I CAN NEVER be sure. I know this.

    I mentioned faces because someone else was speaking about ‘when their face changes’, so I thought it was useful terminology. I have many faces of my own. If I am in denial, then I will have to deal with those consequences. Sooner or later I will find the money trail if he relapses. I do not expect you to enable my rationalizations, but some real advice as how to survive married to a sex addict would be helpful. I will ask then, what changes would someone expect to see? What do you consider making progress? How do you judge transparency in a world with private filtering and simple ways of disabling monitoring software and https accounts? Besides bank accounts in my name, him with limited funds, doing all the bills and going over bank accounts, working with therapy and medication, lie detectors at a future date, what else would you suggest?

  47. AM,

    I’m sorry that you are having such a difficult time; I’m not sure what you were hoping to hear, because we are not here to give you lip service and false hope. We’ll leave that to your very sick husband who’s hood-winked you so badly, it appears that you don’t even know which way is up. I, for one, simply cannot keep my mouth shut when I see a woman being subjected to such abject humiliation and degradation of body mind and spirit. What you are proposing is not “helping” him. You cannot help him. Only HE can help himself. Either he gets it or you look the other way, have an open marriage, join the party, but you are attempting to hold back Niagra Falls here. Why???????? Are you his mother or his wife? I could never live under such conditions, no matter what, but if you must, then God Bless you. If you want some advice on how to survive being married to a sex addict that is obviously in the throes of active addiction…

    Here’s mine.

    Keep your gynecologist on speed dial.

  48. I’m really sorry, AM,
    that we were not able to give you what you were looking for. I hope you are able to work out your life in a way that gives you the kind of resolution that is life-giving.

    It is hard to talk about surviving marriage to a sex addict if the SA is not 100% committed to sobriety, and 100% committed to the therapeutic journey that addresses the trauma underneath the addiction. The story you shared about your husband did not reveal these most basic elements. This may be difficult for you to accept, and I urge you again to find your own therapist to help you do more than “survive” a marriage to someone who has not demonstrated the kind of effort or commitment that sobriety and wholeness will require.

    JoAnn (whose site this is) remains married to her SA husband. She has boundaries and accountability tools that help them to stay together in his sobriety. You can order her ebook on boundaries for more practical help on how to set up the framework for remaining married to a recovering SA.

    In my case, I supported my husband through several therapeutic interventions before the truth came out that he was an SA. I also chose a healing separation agreement instead of Lawyers etc. This agreement was geared toward the hope of coming back together after certain sobriety, therapeutic and relational goals were achieved. I maintained a caring and supportive relationship with my SA husband while living apart, and help onto hope that we might begin again. After discovering that the underlying mental illness of my husbands addiction was more severe than I imagined, I had to realize my expectations were completely unrealistic. My husband sabotaged our steps to reconciliation and set me up for more emotional abuse. This is after he went to 5-7 meetings a week, plus a therapist appt, and working the program like a second job. You can not imagine the sorrow of discovering that even this level of determination would ultimately not change the way he treated me at all.

    It distresses me to think of you in such a horrible circumstance. And i find some of your mental gymnastic (like the part about agreeing that what he as continued to conceal from you after claiming full disclosure will not be considered lies) very disturbing. So now he’s got you lying too. I don’t quite get how that is a good thing on which to build your future. You seem like a person with real values and significant commitments. Yet, in just this one example, you have abandoned those things to enter a make-believe world in which he can continue to lie and you will pretend they aren’t.

    Please get some support. But if you want a site to tell you how to survive being abused, diminished, and wasted by someone who shows no commitment to changing, I think we will continue to disappoint you. Perhaps reading some other posts under different headings may provide help. YOu may also appreciate the 4 audio interviews JoAnn did with Dr. Barbara Steffens about her book. That’s a great book as well, if you don’t have it already.

    Good luck and please stay safe,

  49. Hi all. It’s been a while. And over the summer it was almost impossible for me to read anything online about SA, since I have 4 school-age kids.
    In thinking on the topic again of giving second chances, I think I have changed in my mind over the last couple of years what that really means. I used to think it meant giving a fresh start–a clean slate. Forgiven (not necessarily forgotten)and no past examples to be brought up. I now realize that yes, there is definitely forgiveness and a clean slate involved, but the clean slate is one that includes boundaries and consequences set in place permanently.
    My husband still is unchanged. He is acting out in other ways as well now. So for the safety of myself and our children, there are more legal boundaries being set up. I still hope for eventual reconciliation, so I want to leave a door for him to return when he decides to get his life in order. Until then, I am taking care of myself and our children. And thankfully more people are seeing through all his deception and are seeing the truth–and supporting me in the process in ways that I have needed all along. And I continually learn more and more to discern truth in my husband and in our situation.
    This is a really tough road that few people seem to be able to understand. I thank God for you all, because just in reading your comments, I recognize myself. Thank you, JoAnn for putting yourself out there. You bless us all.

  50. My dear AM,

    As I read the stories that women write I form an impression in my mind of their situation. That impression just comes to me naturally and helps me understand where they are coming from. As I read your story my impression of you and your struggle was so strong I thought I would share it with you.

    As I read through your story I saw an image of a shell-shocked woman wandering aimlessly through a vast landscape of rubble, vacant eyed, picking up broken pieces of what used to be her life. I saw this beautiful woman as a mere shell of herself, hopelessly trying to put her life back together.

    So many things about your story point to your trauma. So many things about your situation show how you are functioning in a state of shock. You truly are only going through the motions that you desperately feel will rebuild your life, but, what you are really doing is simply moving the broken pieces around–there is no way for you to put them back together again.

    I was troubled by your use of the SET method of communicating with your husband because of his Borderline Personality. For our readers, SET stands for Support, Empathy and Truth. It is a rarely used tool that therapists may suggest that family members use to communicate with Borderline Personalities. It is extremely difficult for lay people to use this technique as it easily becomes enabling. Non professionals are easily manipulated and the BP will readily take advantage of their non expertise. I definitely see that this has happened in your situation.

    In order to use this technique you must be able to step back, be objective about the BP and be able to set and enforce very rigid boundaries. What I see in your situation is a complete denial of your personal rights and boundaries and a total submission to your husband’s. He is calling all the shots.

    He ‘acknowledges’ that he can make no promises? That’s not an acknowledgment–that’s not some great insight–that’s manipulation. If your relationship has any chance he damn well better be making promises. It’s a Sex Addict weasel clause. How can you even think that that was a ‘productive’ conversation? It was only productive for him, not for your relationship.

    You asked, Is the fact I see his dysfunctional internal behaviors a good sign that he is blocking less? WHAT? I have no idea what you mean by dysfunctional internal behaviors, but anything dysfunctional is never a good sign.

    It sounds as if you are unsure of your position. What I see is that you are replacing ‘intellectualizing’ the situation for common sense, and admission and expression of your anger. I sense that you are avoiding the cleansing conflict that is necessary to move forward.

    I understand your deep sense of compassion and empathy for your husband, but denying your own rights, needs and emotions will stall any hope of recovery and reconciliation. Sex Addicts, no matter what their other personality disorders are, require firm boundaries and a structure of consequences in order to kick-start their path toward recovery.

    Research papers and studies have shown that ‘nurturing’ an addict NEVER (as in 100%) never works. It enables the addictive behaviors. Nurturing is a totally inappropriate and ineffective method for dealing with an addict. Unfortunately, women are nurturers. But, in the case of trying to put your life back together after it has been shattered by Sexual Addiction, we need to step back, acknowledge our pain, find professional help to regain our strength, sense of self esteem and confidence and then face the tough job of dealing with the relationship.

    During that time it is your husband’s job to work on his disease, become totally transparent and honest, make a complete disclosure to himself, his counselors and to you in order to make a solid foundation to rebuild your relationship upon and work to regain your trust.

    Denying the past, no matter how pretty you make it sound (We have agreed that anything he hasn’t been able to tell me up to now will no longer be considered ‘concealed’, but that we have agreed not to try and force him into more lies.) is a recipe for failure. I guess that statement strikes me as the pinnacle of ‘con’. If there were academy awards for con artists, he would definitely win for that one. ‘Force’ him into more lies? I’m sorry, but that is unbelievable! He has twisted his inability to be honest into it being your fault that he lies.

    I understand how you have become so confused by his illness. When we are drawn into the vortex of someone’s mental illness we cannot easily defend ourselves. You are in a very dangerous situation. My advice would be to STOP!

    STOP trying to analyse him.
    STOP listening to his con artist language.
    STOP trying to fix your marriage (for the time being).
    STOP all the confusion in your brain.
    STOP worrying about his feelings.

    GO to the nearest counselor and get help. You are drowning and he’s throwing you anchors. You are becoming a tragic casualty of his illness.

    Please, get some help for yourself so you can think clearly again. And please, stay with us. We do care and we worry. We are here for you and will support any decisions you make. We only want what is best for you.

    All my best,


  51. JoAnn

    I greatly appreciate your words. I understand what you are saying. My greatest problem in all this is that I am financially tied to this situation for now. I am trying to survive as best I can, and am happy to focus on my own issues instead of his. I was seeing a counselor but I need someone more versed in this kind of trauma, so I am looking again. But I can not run, at least not physically. I must deal on a day to day basis with a mentally damaged and disturbed human being who at least still manages to bring in a paycheck. If his job situation changes, all bets are off since I will lose my home, my life, everything that I built over the years anyway. This is MY life, too, and my existence is filled with much more than just his all consuming addiction.

    I don’t believe in miracles. I believe in hard work, failure which (can) lead to lessons, and more hard work. This takes time, but I do not feel that providing time for recovery has been offered as part of the viable options for my situation. Am I supposed to provide time for the full disclosure, as part of the 12 steps, or should I be expecting instant turn around on his behavior so that it is all or nothing? And, since I can never, ever be certain that it is nothing, how can I enforce boundaries in these issues when I can not find out truth? Is there no support anyone is allowed to provide so that the SA gets the feedback that change is good? Do no SAs ever go on to real recovery? It that just a myth put out by therapists?

  52. I do understand your reasons for staying, many are in that exact same situation. But, I believe that anyone who stays in a situation strictly for financial reasons should be looking toward the future and educating and preparing themselves to be financially independent. Do you want to stay in a loveless, unsafe, frustrating, crazy making relationship forever? You may say ‘yes’, and that is fine as long as you have carefully considered all the implications, realize what you are giving up and what it will do to yourself. If you can do all that and still say ‘yes’, then you have made an informed decision and should feel at peace with your life. No complaining if it’s your choice.

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘I do not feel that providing time for recovery has been offered as part of the viable options for my situation‘. All we have is time. Time continues whether we like it or not. What you do with that time is what’s important. I have repeatedly written that recovery from Sexual Addiction is a lifelong task. There is no ‘quick fix’. But, there must be goals and boundaries to work with along the way.

    It is unreasonable to expect a Sex Addict to turn their life around quickly. But, it is not unreasonable to expect progress. You need to make a list of your expectations. Where do you want to start? Where does he want to be next year? Five years from now. What do each of you want your relationship to look like? These things will make up your husband’s Recovery Plan. This plan is something you work on together, and it may change as time goes on. But, it should never allow for denial, dishonesty, minimizing or burying the past.

    It sounds as if your husband is just not ready for the hard task of recovery. Any addict who wants to deny the past, as yours has stated is not really ready for recovery. So…what then? Well, he needs to continue working toward his goals rather than making new rules that are contrary to recovery, such as saying things like that anything he hasn’t been able to tell me up to now will no longer be considered ‘concealed’. That is his way of getting out of facing what he has done. He is avoiding accountability. And, until he does face it and acknowledge it he can never fix it.

    Some of your goals and expectations might be that he continues counseling X number of times a month. That he attend 12 step meetings X number of times a month. That all your questions will be answered honestly–and if he cannot answer them honestly he must say something like, ‘I cannot answer that right now, but I will talk with my counselor about it.’ That is at least an honest answer. But, eventually you will have to set a time frame for answers. He cannot put that off forever.

    It is unrealistic to think that you would trust him now. Again, you need to make a list of things he can do to start to regain your trust (but, he needs to understand that even if he does all those things you may never trust him again–but it is his responsibility to keep trying for as long as it takes). What can he do that would make you feel better about believing him? What do you need? What realistic consequences can you have if he lies? Or if he acts out again? Set backs are very common early in recovery and must be dealt with in a positive but firm manner. Addicts must realize that there are consequences for their actions.

    Unfortunately many addicts are so deeply involved in their addiction that the consequences do not matter. I have known many who have lost their medical or legal licenses, lost their very well paying jobs and pensions, lost their families, self esteem, professional respect and even their lives.

    Stop focusing on all the ephemeris, subjective mental stuff and focus on concrete, realistic facts. Don’t try to read that he is blocking less or that his ruminations of his twisted perceptions of other people really mean anything. Yes, these may or may not be important, but what is really important right now is not what he says but what he does. You must be able to see real, measurable actions.

    And that is where positive feedback can be given. You can tell him that you are pleased that he is going to his meetings. (Does he discuss them with you? Does he share what he is learning? Does he have a sponsor whom you can talk with?) You can compliment him honestly and cautiously. False compliments to make him ‘feel better’ are counter productive. You have an obligation to be honest too.

    Do SA’s ever really recover? Yes, they can. But, it takes years of hard work and determination and a willingness to face the pain that it takes to find that healing place.

    Now, most importantly, I want you to realize that YOU cannot do ANYTHING to help your husband recover. All you can do is to set your boundaries and provide the firm consequences if your boundaries are violated. Let me repeat–you cannot do ANYTHING to help him recover. It is 100% his job. He will decide if he wants to give up his secret life or not. You can do nothing to influence that decision.

    By setting your own boundaries as to what is acceptable to you, you are letting him know where you stand. Then it is up to him to decide whether he loves you enough to honor those boundaries by changing his behavior, and it is up to you to decide what to do if those boundaries are violated.

    You see, it’s not all about him. It’s really all about YOU.

  53. Hi JoAnn and AM et al…

    I love everything that JoAnn says so much because everything she says is just so spot on and filled with a wisdom that completely blows my mind and on top of it is all articulated to exquisite perfection. We are so unbelievably fortunate to have you as our mentor and guide through this devastation.

    I just want to hi-light a few points and AM, I also want to apologize for some of my sarcastic glib remarks. They aren’t meant to hurt, but sometimes I just get so angry and frustrated, by what I’m hearing. I had an abusive childhood and have gravitated towards this type of man and its a lifelong struggle to emerge from the shadow of that. That’s where I’m coming from, its not meant in any way shape or form to be a judgment at all!!!

    I believe with all of my heart that there ARE some men who can and do recover from all of this and can go on to lead normal lives, but the majority cannot. Your husband is presenting with an acute mental illness–borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc. and the accompanying pathologies which are going to make any kind of therapeutic recovery next to impossible. This has also been documented in many, many studies. The “wires” in his brain are so tangled and short-circuited, with blown fuses, non-existent circuit breakers, that all of the PHDs at MIT wouldn’t be able figure it out. (just another one of my metaphors)

    What JoAnn and Diane have said is absolutely wonderful and is the truth, and I’m not saying that there is absolutely NO chance at all, but its like what I said earlier to someone else making the “Dumb and Dumber” analogy; it is extremely remote.

    Your husband is very ill, and he has been very ill for a very long time. I don’t know how he got that way and what his history is like, but pathological liars, NPDs usually got that way, because they learned early on, that if they told the truth that some horrific fate was in store for them, thus lying became a coping mechanism that feels NORMAL to them and HEALTHY. On top of that, he is presenting as BPD and NPD I’m afraid, this makes for a lethal cocktail of pathology.

    As for setting boundaries, sure… and I don’t mean to undermine in anyway the philosophy behind this, because I get it and I do agree with it, completely–in theory, but what options are there, when financial resources are non-existent, there’s little or no family/friend support and/or we have simply run out of options? (this is mostly to JoAnn)

    I am asking this, because these “limit setting” techniques are, ironically, the exact same methods we have used to raise our two neurologically impaired sons (ADHD and autism) and YES, they do work! But these are my children. Sometimes, the only thing that I have found that works, is to EXIT.(to my room for a time) What if a woman has no place to go?

    And why oh why must we treat our husbands like children that need to be TOLD what we will accept and what we will not accept as appropriate behavior? And then if they cross OUR border, this (consequence) will happen (that is, if one can actually ever really get at the REAL truth of what he’s really doing!). How can we possibly enforce this and what possible consequences are there and when does it all just become unreasonable? From my experience, all a pathological liar has to do, is figure out how to be a better liar!

    Again, I hope this isn’t sounding confrontational, but I think that others may also have these questions.

    AM, if I were in your shoes, I would do everything that JoAnn said in her first email which was absolutely spot on the most brilliant thing I’ve ever read.

    And then, if I may, I’d like to add… Figure out how to support yourself—Even if it means having to move to a much smaller place. I am not saying that this is going to be absolutely necessary, but it is likely to be so, even if its in the short term. It is simply imperative that if you must leave, in order to be safe, that you can figure out a way to do that. Other women have also suggested, putting a little money away some place safe and secret and also setting up your own private, secret account.

    Yes, what’s good for the gander is also good for the goose! 🙁

    The point is to protect yourself. He ain’t doing it! That much is for sure!!!

    I know that all of this must be so difficult for you to hear, because it all just absolutely sucks and my heart does go out to you for your predicament. I also want you to know, that whatever you do or say may or may not work for me or someone else, but we will love you and listen to you, no matter what.

    YOU matter, my dear woman.

    YOUR voice counts.

    YOU come FIRST!!!



  54. JoAnn,
    thanks so much. I needed to read those messages myself. A refresher perhaps.

    And I just got off the phone with a friend whose suspects her husband has been engaging in sexual acting out. She also has financial concerns about leaving or asking him to leave. I told her what I know to be true from my own experience. Each first step taken as if your life was really all about YOU (as JoAnn says) is terrifying, but when you take it, the pay off is more courage for another step—no matter what the steps are.

    Blessings on all the great women struggling to find their way.

  55. Thank you Lorraine.

    Yes, I too grew up in a dysfunctional family in an average middle class neighborhood. I also have a son that was born with sensory integration disorder (similar to autism in a way) and had to learn techniques to help him improve his social skills and emotional control along with therapy and counseling as he was growing up. Yes, I consider my ‘husband’, and I use the term very loosely, to be a mentally ill delinquent addicted child. As you say, finding where boundaries can be realistically set is really difficult when there are absolutely no guarantees about anything he says or does, and the best alternative, kicking him out, would continue to destroy the things I love about my own life.

    True, my initial questions were ‘hope’ based because I am stuck in this position right now and am trying to find the silver lining in all this nightmare. In three years my son graduates high school and should be going to college, at which point I plan on reevaluating everything and may give up my good paying job and my land and move close to him to support him, a person that DESERVES the support and love I have to give. In the mean time, I am being selfish and looking after my own needs, however I would not be happy with myself if I either enabled the SA, nor would I be happy if I undermined his recovery through ignorance or spite.

    And yes, it really sucks to think that I thought I had married a man, and discovered he is really a totally screwed up preteen mentally and emotionally. On and off I have considered being a foster parent. Now I am. (Yes, I know, not really, not even close because recovery is all up to him, but it feels that way some times.)

    And JoAnn,
    Thank you for the concrete suggestions. They provided me more clarity of action and less panic!

  56. Hi All
    Am,I was much like you,I believed him,my heart and soul told me I could help him how I did believe it all.It was getting better I saw changes,I just didn’t realize it was me changing.But on july 13th I broke,I went numb it but took a second to happen I found something my SA did I wont go into details right now. I made him leave at that moment I would have killed him if he didn’t leave he did go
    That night I walled up a hill to a cell phone tower I was numb,dead I would have jumped but my fear of heights is stronger crazy right. I got home and sat trying to figure out how this happen how did it go so wrong,then it hit me my SA had taken everything inside me,this addiction not only takes their soul it took mine to.
    Since that point- I have started to to a psychologist at the women’s shelter there is nothing where I live for partners of sex addicts.The women’s shelter deals with many forms of abuse I also went online and joined recovery nation partners workshop I am learning about SA and the affect on the partner and their life
    Please listen to these women on this site they walked in our shoes,they lived our life. They have held me when I am alone,they have picked me up when I have fallen,they are always here.
    I have given everything I have to help my SA ,now its my turn I will put whatever I have to it finding myself,to mend myself I have to take back my life, Dont get me wrong I love him but not more than life. Hes on his own with his SA and his own recovery. Please love yourself AM

  57. I completely agree with Lorraine.

    I have just walked out a month back from an eight yr old relationship.My man was married,said he wanted to divorce his wife and start a life with me, knowing that i wouldnt start a relationship which had no future.

    I wont go into all the details here, but i found out that not only the divorce part was a complete fabrication but also that he was into multiple affairs,the usual, online chatrooms pickups, massage parlors, casual sex partners sites,etc.

    On confrontation,there was the usual sobbing crying promises to clean up his life and insisting i be there for him to see him thru this difficult phase since i am his “angel”.

    I couldnt bring myself to believe a word he said.Of course, at that time i wasnt aware of anything of the likes of SA or psychopathy etc.

    I just knew one thing ..that if i knew that he was not being truthful when he said he wasnt sleeping with his wife and was true to me then why should i want to believe that he is telling me the truth when he says he loves me and that he would change???

    After i told him all that i found out he was in a different city and we were trying to talk about this issue on the fone.He was sobbing and crying so much so that i couldnt understand a word of what he was saying.My life is in ruins,his dark life has been thoroughly exposed by a woman he has made huge promises to and amidst the discussions he suddenly looks at the watch and says his favorite show is on TV and could he call back in an hour???

    Tragedy? Comedy?..take your pick guys.

    As Lorraine so rightly says, how do you put boundaries on a person? And how do you trust a person such as this not to cross boundaries? I spent a lot of time and money in trying to investigate his life.I was done with it.Had i stayed back to help him thru his recovery (am sure he was never going to do it anyways )i would yet be trying to deermine if he was doing something sneakily.

    One thing i knew..i wasnt his MOTHER.

    And in my case ..i wasnt his wife either.All the stories he fed me abt a divorce were crapshit.

    I yet remember the gut wrenching pain of betrayal.
    And yes i too had a very difficult time in walking out. It took me nine months to do it coz like everyone here i too thought he was my :soulmate”.

    Just one question..did you think of your partner in these terms first or did he coin this phrase?I bet this is the illusion they created for us to ensnare us and never ever make us doubt a word of the stories they must have spun when they were out philandering.

    I thought walking out was the best option..of course since i wasnt married it was much easier.The pain was the same but i didnt have to stay back for other reasons.

    I just didnt want to spend the rest of my life being a part MOTHER and a part POLICE to a grown up man.

    I now understand that he is a full blown psychopthic SA.

    For the first ever time in 8 years am really feeling sorry for his wife and she is now in my prayers always.

  58. How do you put boundaries on a person? YOU DON’T! You can’t. No on can set boundaries for another person.

    Boundaries are what YOU will or will not accept in YOUR life. And, in order for there to be boundaries, there have to be consequences. These are not threats, they are simple statements that if X happens, and you clearly will not have that in your life, they Y will happen. If someone has betrayed your trust then clearly you cannot trust them to be honest with you. Then you have a choice, either stick with them and monitor them to be sure they are being honest, and have firm consequences if they deceive you, or put them out of your life now. Anything else is simply limbo hell.

    I hope that clarifies things. My Boundaries eBook spells it all out very clearly with worksheets for determining and setting your our personal and relationship boundaries.


  59. Thank you all for posting here. JoAnne, thank you for your clear directions. Lorraine, thank you for your advice and sardonic humor. We need to laugh at this at times…we can’t always cry. Deciding to stay or go is very complicated. I admit to envying Sandra Bullock, Elin Nordegren and Jenny Sanford: they each had the financial freedom to leave. Some of us find ourselves in need of time to build up our finances in order to have that freedom. Still, we have to maintain boundaries. This is an amazing website…or should I say lifeline.

  60. So glad I happened upon this website! I’m two weeks post DDay and very much a mess. I’ve been married for 25 years and throughout our marriage I’ve found pornographic pics that my husband has posted on gay websites along with personal ads and attempted reservations at swinger hotels. Everytime I would confront him I got every lame excuse in the world and promises it would never happen again. On our 25th wedding anniversary (two weeks ago) I my worst fear became reality. I stumbled across a yahoo email address and happened to get the password right the first time. My husband had posted a personal ad on a gay website and said he was a bi-sexual male looking to have fun while his wife was at work. He had been emailing with a guy that lives in our neighborhood of all places! A couple of the emails were date requests to meet at Starbucks for coffee and the last one I read ….my husband invited this guy to my home!!!!!! He says he did nothing wrong because the guy never came over! He later told me that it wasn’t going to b just him and this guy because he was supposed to have a threesome with this guy and his wife! Oh so that makes it all ok! At this point I’m wondering if the whole world has gone nuts and I’m sitting by watching it happen trying to figure out what to do! He says he’s neither gay nor bi-sexual but he has a sex addiction. At this point I think it’s a cop out but who knows! He told me that he has a sponsor but is receiving no therapy whatsoever. He says that he knows what his problem is (the Internet) and he knows what he has to do. I personally think if he’s inviting guys into my home then it’s much deeper than the Internet. I started seeing a counselor on my own. I’ve had one appointment and basically the only thing I’ve learned is that every man in my life has disappointed me! I guess I’m looking for support, understanding, and even an explanation that he can’t seem to give me. He’s given me absolutely nothing to try and hold onto so I’m wondering is this marriage savable? No one has been able to help me figure that out yet. He pressures me every day for a decision. Yet I have 20+ years of lies to work through. Please someone give me some direction!

  61. Hi Tina and welcome. I’m so sorry that you have struggled so with your husband’s disease for so long. I’m glad you are seeing a counselor but my impression is that they may not be the right one for you. Stating that you have been disappointed by men all your life sounds a little blaming to me.

    Read through the stories and comments here to get some ideas about what you should be looking for in a counselor. If you would like more personal feedback and the benefit of a forum for your questions and the support of a group of women who are also struggling with the issues of counseling, divorce, separation, children, finances and everything else that goes along with a spouse’s Sex Addiction you could check out my other website and listen to my podcast describing what it is. Just click here:


    My question for you is what decision is your husband pressuring you for? You certainly have months, if not years of counseling work to do to overcome the trauma you have been through–and until you do that you cannot make a decision about anything. And, if he will not get counseling, try some 12 step meetings, get a psychiatric eval and probably medication, become completely honest and transparent with you and stop all sexually compulsive behaviors then he is in no way ready to recover and change his ways. Until that happens the only decision you can make is to lay down and let him walk all over you, and I don’t think that’s what you had in mind.

    Stay with us my dear and take any support or advice you need from this site.

  62. Thank you so much for your response. My husband is an emotional mess too so one day he says I think ur done with me and our marriage and then the next day he says I’ll wait until ur finished with counseling before u make a decision regarding our future. I read the Trauma Bond posting and that’s 100% me but I will tell you that I’m taking steps to break the bond. I started by not keeping the secret any longer. I told both of our grown sons and several members of my family. The secret is no longer mine to keep and the consequences from my disclosure are his not mine. Although he tries to make me feel guilty for telling it. Your state,net about deciding to lay down and let him walk all over me really hit home and I thank you. This isn’t about what I’m going to do, it’s about what he’s going to do to save our marriage. I read your reply to him about treatment and his response was…..what do you want me to do? It’s not about what I want him yo do, it’s about if he’s willing to get help for himself and if he wants to show me that he’s dedicated to saving our marriage. You have no idea how much that frees my mind and I thank you for that as well. I’m going to see the counselor once more and decide if she’s the one for me. Others have asked me why uim seeing a sexual dysfunction and addiction counselor when I’m not the one with the addiction. Good question and I think the answer is, because I need to u derstand this because he’s not helping me understand anything at all. I’ll continue to follow this blog and I thank u so very much for reaching out to me.

  63. Updates:

    He stopped going to counseling. He dropped one of his SA meetings. He got really angry one time when I told him it he wasn’t in recovery as far as I was concerned. He got loud and yelled that ‘It’ my recovery! You cna’t tell me how to run my recovery!’ In my quietest, most calm voice I was able to reply: ‘I’m not. I’m telling you what is right for me. I told you what I expected to see for recovery. You get to choose for you. I get to choose for me.’

    Was he going to the counselor or SA in the first place? I’ll never know. I only know he still has no control over his spending addiction, or his eating addiction, and he was only able to stop smoking for about a month. His actions demonstrate that he has absolutely no control over his physical drives. So he says he hasn’t had sex in over a year, and he hopes I believe that. Sorry. Actions speaks louder.

    So, divorce is in the works. If his attempted suicide after DDay did not make rock bottom, nothing will.

    I have a number of friends now in this same situation, and I have observed a few patterns I thought to share. Feel free to add what others have noticed as well.

    1. These guys either studied from the same book or there really IS some cosmic conciousness they are all tapped in to. One of evil, perhaps. But on a more practical note:

    2. All of the women I have spoken with in this same boat had crazy mothers. The crazier the mother, the more likely we are to be with a crazier version of sex addict. Did we learn that being woman was bad, and suppress something critical in our womanhood? Is our bull-sh*t-o-meter so messed up that we don’t trust our instincts? Are we so used to being gaslighted and lied to and hated that it feels right? I don’t buy that ‘we are with someone to heal each other’ junk. We are there from childhood conditioning, pure and simple, and really really hard to recognize and break.

    3. All the men were mama’s boys, emotionally incested by their mothers (causes them to lie, pretend to be great guys on the outside, please women while inside hating them), the younger it started, the worse the lying and hiding, and if they were sexually abused AND exposed to pornography (adding to serious sex issues and seeing woman as purely for sexual outlet), they are scarred and stuck in that mode most likely for life. The earlier the emotional incest + sex abuse + pornography = no way they will ever recover. That they can appear to be totally different people, years of practice hiding their true selves while placating their mother image, and love/hate/need/reject women, the two halfs now separated by this immense, empty gulf. Dissociative, very likely. Excuse for cruel choices? NOT!

    4. We women are used to expecting so little from the men that we think we are being treated great, when in reality we are just being given barely enough to make us think we are doing OK, while the men are actually giving very little and hate us behind our back because, after all, any woman who would want to be with them can’t be worth respecting because they KNOW what they are actually doing and have no love or respect for themselves.

    Their brains are now so permanently warped into lines of communication between physical desire and doing whatever it takes to satisfy it that there is no conciousness anymore, unless they work D*mn hard to make one. And most choose not to, because it is so very difficult, so very NOT who they are, and it takes way too much work that they were never prepared to make in a relationship with anyone, let alone a woman.

    I hope next time I will know enough now to avoid any man who was too close to his mother. We mesh in all the wrong ways, reinforcing each other’s damage instead of supporting each other.

    Well, enough said. Wishing the best for all of us.

  64. AM,

    From my standpoint, you could’ve kept on going… 🙂 I think that was one of the best posts I’ve ever read on here– particularly #3.

    And a hearty brava for holding your ground!!! Please feel good, because you DID give it the ol’ college try, but if he can’t do his part, then he can’t do his part and as sad as it is, there’s nothing you or anyone can do. Quite frankly, the suicide attempt woulda scared the living crap outta me, and I would’ve bailed then. I don’t have the stomach for that kind of manipulation, but that is just me, and of course, its easy for me to say, not having ever been through anything like that; horrific doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    A very wise friend of mine told me once:

    “Lexie, if you can live with him now, just as he is… then fine, if not– get out.”

    All my best and continued strength,


    1. I related to some of the things mentioned by AM regarding commonalities, except the crazy mother; unless you consider a mom who went through depression issues during my childhood crazy. She is otherwise uncrazy. But my husband is closely and resentfully tied to his mom. I also could relate to expecting very little from him and thinking I’m doing reasonably well. He blew it big and lost his position at work. He was able to find a new one,and the 2nd chance was quickly granted from me. I saw him give up everything, not just his internet habits but his drinking, ebay addictions (yes, it was really that bad) and even coffee, although that one came right back. He faithfully and of his choice attended SA meetings. I thought he was really turning it around. Then he had to leave town for a year for a job. Upon his return visit it was found that he was back at it. We were preparing to move to join him. I told him I am not coming. Having a hard time sticking to it though. I have a child who is a daddys boy with special needs who needs him too and that’s my main concern. I told him after I forgave him last year that I would leave if he blew it again for sure, and that wasn’t the 1st time I forgave this. I am finding it difficult to follow through even though I know that if I have learned anything, it’s that my word means nothing to him because he knows I have stayed with him through the many years of catching him at this and I even stayed when the consequences were devastating in the sense that we lost our savings, our insurance, and if we joined him out of state as we were planning to, our home and stability, what little of that was left. The thing I have to decide is whether or not I can do what Lexie suggested; Live with him as he is, as Lexie’s friend suggested to her, despite the fact that it just reinforces to him that my word means nothing so I know he will continue to do whatever he wants and pretend he isnt. The sad thing is that I don’t feel the trauma for myself anymore. It wasn’t too surprising and I am tempted to say that I am indifferent, except for the fact that we have a child who may potentially end up with the pain of a divorce situation. It didn’t even evoke anger in me. Just disappointment and it was more so for my son.

      1. Jane,

        Then you need to do this for your son. What kind of environment do you think he will grow up in? Do you want him to end up like his father? Do you want your son to see that walking over women is proper. Is this what you want for both your lives?

        Do the hard thing, because it is the right thing. Bringing that child back into such an unstable envirnment will not benefit him in any way. Like yourself well enough to do this. The break for you child has already occurred, why put him through that again.

        Read the stories on this site over and over again, and think hard about what you are considering.

      2. Thanks for the suggestion and support, Jeanette. I am leaning towards staying here but it’s tough when I consider how that will effect my son. My husband is not overtly walking over women; his addiction is to porn and my son isn’t aware of it. My husband has been here all summer and we were not supposed to separate again; we were supposed to return with my husband tomorrow until I caught him on the internet again a few days ago. So if I send my husband back to another state without us, my son will miss his dad terribly and he loves that we are together so much that he insists on both of us going everywhere together; even insignificant things like shopping, etc. I already feel myself pulling away from him (my husband) though because I would have to be blind not to notice how his responses shift selfishly. When I unintentionally found him using porn, his 1st response was to beg me not to leave him but to offer his understanding if I did. (I doubt his sincerity as far as understanding) That was after ensuring me of his sobriety for the last year and explaining that this latest slip up was due to stress and lack of access to “me” if you will, and he subsequently apologized to me for saying that when I called him on it. Next he said that he shares my concerns for our child and laid out a plan for us to stay together in name only for the child’s sake, but that he will go back to the other state and we will stay here since our marriage has always been a struggle anyway. Later I told him I agreed with that plan and he seemed angry. He expressed that when he said that earlier that he was feeling depressed. He obviously didn’t expect me to take him up on it. Next he came up with a plan that he would go back alone but only for a year, then we would join him. He said it’s not what he prefers but it made sense to him. Following that he said something that I can only assume was manipulation; He said that he is concerned that if Gaven doesn’t have a father in his life that there could be adverse consequences and he might end up gay. I have an adult son who is gay from a previous relationship and his dad was absent from his life until high school, and then only around a little, so I think he was using that situation to get to me. Then he suggested is a resigned tone of voice that I have a big brother arranged for him. I knew at the time that this was not a sincere concern for our son and this was a manipulative ttactic to get me scared so that I would move with him, but I just told him that I agreed and that I would look into a big brother. He seems so sincere at times though, and I have seen him change in huge ways like giving up drinking when that is a way of life in his family, but every now and then I notice a red flag in his response and I have to think to myself…something isn’t right here.

  65. Jane,

    Almost ALL of us have kids with special needs. Its as common as cornflakes. Personality and neurological disorders are inherited traits. Your husband almost definitely has diagnosed or undiagnosed AD/HD along with a co-morbid addictive personality disorder. Has he ever been treated for ADD or AD/HD? Adults who’ve never been properly treated will often resort to substance abuse in adulthood as it helps them to feel better. But, prescription meds are better and can sometimes help, and sometimes can’t. It might be too late. Sadly, people with multiple addictions are at the bottom of the totem pole for recovery. Its not that they don’t want to recover, in a lot of cases. They can’t. They can for a while, but then… the pull is just too powerful/and/or they substitute another substance. (sex, shopping, gambling, drugs, liquor, etc), so the prognosis is very poor.

    I don’t know what to say, but if you’ve already told him that you would leave, then I would leave. I think that in that case, you’ve already made your decision. I would trust my instincts and your instincts for self-preservation are spot on. It is not going to be detrimental to your son, handled properly. My mother divorced my father and it was the most blessed thing she could’ve ever done for us. But, I also understand your situation, because raising a special needs child on one’s own is very, very difficult.

    But for whatever its worth, I agree completely with Jeanette, if you can possibly swing it, I think it’s better for the child, in the long run.

    xo ~ Lexie

  66. I am sorry, I really hate to do this, but I’m afraid I will have to close the comments for this topic.

    As you can see by reading the comments it has turned into a forum where people ask questions and answer each other. This simply uses up too much bandwidth for this website, which leaves me with only two options. First, if I exceed the amount of bandwidth that I now pay for each month, the site will not be accessible for the remaining portion of the month, or second, I will have to upgrade to a dedicated server which costs several hundred dollars per month.

    If you would like to share your story and have our visitors comment you can send it to me at [email protected]

    Please consider using the Sisterhood Of Support website if you wish to have forum discussions.

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