Sometimes I Feel Invisible

NoBody Series - woman sitting downSometimes I think when we are dealing with our spouses or partners Sex Addiction we forget that the addiction is not necessarily the only problem in the relationship. Sex Addicts have a myriad of emotional issues that can make the relationship rocky aside from the addiction.

My husband and I had a ‘discussion’ this morning over an incident that happened last night. It had nothing to do with his addiction, it was simply one of those ordinary misunderstandings that should have been over and done with in about two minutes.

It just seems that the smallest things around here turn into mountains and the culprit seems to be his lack of any type of honest, sincere response and empathy coupled with his lack of problem solving and communication skills. Now, I know it sounds like I am bashing him, but I’m really just trying to figure out if all of this is linked to the Sex Addiction or if he has separate emotional or psychological problems.

When I bring up something that is troubling me he immediately retreats. If I say what is bothering me he will just sit there, staring into space, saying nothing at all. Absolutely nothing. I wait and wait. Nothing. When and if he responds, and it’s usually after I get angry at his lack of response, he just says, ‘I fucked up, I’m sorry.’ No emotion, no expression of empathy or understanding of my feelings, nothing. No discussion. No talking about what he thinks or feels. Nothing.

If I push him for some sort of response all he will say is, ‘I don’t know what to say.’ We have never ever made up after a discussion or argument, it just hangs there forever. No make up sex either, he says he doesn’t even know what that is.

Is anyone else out there having the same issues? Can your Sex Addict express feelings and opinions? Am I the only spouse or partner who feels as if I am living with a robot? Sometimes I feel invisible.

Sometimes you have to get to know someone really well to realize you’re really strangers. ~ Mary Tyler Moore

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Responses

  1. I am SO right there with you! I’ve been reading a lot about Narcisstic Personality Disorder lately and that’s helping me understand a bit… but it’s HELL. Hang in there!!

  2. Thanks Trying, I appreciate your kind words.

    Yesterday I also looked up Narcissistic Personality Disorder again as my husband’s counselor had mentioned a while ago that L. had some of the symptoms. But, while searching I came across some information on Avoidant Personality Disorder, and, if you look at the symptoms I think it is more appropriate for what we see in Sex Addicts than the Narcissistic behaviors.

    The Avoidant Disorder is rarely diagnosed unless it becomes crippling, but I think this shoe fits. I found this on Wikipedia, here is the link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avoidant_personality_disorder

    The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines AvPD as a “pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

    1. Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
    2. Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
    3. Shows restraint initiating intimate relationships because of the fear of being ashamed, ridiculed, or rejected due to severe low self-worth
    4. Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations
    5. Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy
    6. Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
    7. Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

    AvPD is often confused with antisocial personality disorder; clinically, the term antisocial denotes a disregard for society’s norms and rules, not social inhibition.

  3. Hello Joann,

    Yes, I recognise that too, my lover just looked at me, as if he was wondering what I was talking about, then just stood up, turned his back on me and walked away, like nothing was wrong.

    He too thinks that problems will just “go away” when he ignores them.
    When I got angry at him because I felt that only issues he cares about, were worth discussing, and I wanted his opinion on that, he said that I pushed him in a defence, and he got angry at me because I did that.
    He said he “closes up” because of that, and pulls away to the “comfort zone” he has.

    Now I “learn more” about him I think it is their lack of empathy, they don’t care about the issue, and therefor they can’t understand why some one else does.

    I think it is just as hard for them to understand us, as it is for us to understand them, because neither of us is capable of feeling what the other one feels.
    “We,” the partners try to understand, but they are not able to respond to feelings that aren’t there, and we get angry because of that because we get no reaction.

  4. Hi Pip, I see we are both online at the same time–it makes me feel more connected to you.

    What a perfect analysis of the situation…’they don’t care about the issue, and therefor they can’t understand why some one else does’.

    I never looked at it that way.

    I’m going to do some more research on the personality disorders and post my findings.

    As much as we try to get out Sex Addicts to realize and accept our love they seem to continue to find ways to reject it. We can try to understand all we want, but it still hurts like hell!

  5. Hello Joann,

    Yes, it hurts like hell to be rejected, or as my lover puts it ” the feelings I have for you are so strong, its scares the * sh…** out of me so I run”
    He just doesnt know how to cope with those feelings. so they do the only thing they know and understand; close up, afraid to get hurt..

    I think it is not only a matter of trying to understand, but also finding a way to accept the fact they ARE different and try to find a ” users manual, ” so you can find a way to compromise and avoid situations like that.
    I know that the more I asked and wanted to understand, the more he closed up, because he feels is is being interrogated.

    WE just have to ACCEPT they dont feel the way we do, and might never be able too

  6. Hello Joann,
    In February I found a crumpled up piece of paper in the basement floor. It had phone numbers on it, so I thought it could be important. When I saw what was on the paper, I could not breathe, I thought I would pass out or vomit. It was a list of bra sizes, ethnicity, age, & fetishes of 20 women.
    When confronted, he lied, eventually admitting to having a blow job.
    6 weeks later, I confronted him again, he admitted to sleeping with several prostitutes (he’s not sure how many, over a period of about 3 years, starting with massages and blow jobs). It started when our twin boys were just over 1 years old.
    He would go to the basement and get high and compulsively call several escort agencies, it gave him a rush.
    He was even making calls using my cell phone.
    He went to MA a few times to deal with his marijuana addiction, he doesn’t get high anymore. He hasn’t been with any more women. He is seeing a therapist. But I feel a pit in my stomach every day, and it is like there is tight saran wrap around my heart. I am so angry. I want to yell and scream. Sometimes I do, but mostly I hold it inside.
    Until I saw your site, I had no information on the personality traits of sex addicts. It is immensely helpful to see some of the traits that I see in him written down here. Because, most of the time, he makes me feel crazy for saying that he is distant, not present, defensive etc.
    I have no real idea of what actually happened, how many people were involved, nothing. It eats away at me.

    I just wanted to thank you for putting this information together.

    Robin

  7. Quoting JoAnn from above:

    “My husband and I had a ‘discussion’ this morning over an incident that happened last night. It had nothing to do with his addiction, it was simply one of those ordinary misunderstandings that should have been over and done with in about two minutes.”

    I disagree with your basic premise. In fact, I propose that you consider that this behavior (as well as all of their immature communication behaviors, lack of empathy etc.) is in fact ALL about the addiction. Underlying sexual addiction, like all addictions, is an absence of emotional sobriety. From childhood on, individuals with sexual addictions learn to medicate their feelings by “looking away from them” in an attempt to change the way that they feel in any given moment…rather than to feel their authentic feelings. As a consequence, they “train” themselves to stay disconnected from reality…all the while frantically chasing some kind of “connection” to others…that they can control…through their own particular form of sexual acting out. What feels normal to them then, is what is to us…the abnormal life of a person pursuing (over time) increasingly destructive and depraved forms of acting out sexually.

  8. Hi Joann,
    I just came across your website and started reading all the comments, This was particulary made me want to reply. About six months ago, I discovered that my husband was having affairs. I gathered all the evidence and confronted him about a month later. He admitted that he had always had multiple sex partners and when we got married he had no intentions to give up his affairs. Two therapists that I have talked to said that he probably is a sex addict. He is not addicted to porn or such, but he is addicted to having multiple sex partners. Like one of your laughter jokes, he too said at first, “It was only once”, and he still says, “That blow job was only once….” And you know what, all those women he has been fucking around are all married too. Gosh! what a culture of sub-human, not-evolved people! It makes me wanna vomit on his face. Since I confronted him, he has begged me to stay etc. I am still with him, but not sure about what to do. When I try to have conversation with him, he too like your husband just lays there and listens to me, until I ask, “what do you think about it?”. And he says, “I don’t know what to say” or “I wish I knew why”. I don’t think he has narcissistic disorder or avoidant perosnality disorder, he is just a man! A self-centered man.
    Oh I hate men, more than ever!
    I hope you are out of the hospital and feeling better. Post more topics soon.

  9. As a mental health counselor I understand my husband’s sex addiction and see the pain in it all for him. He is working hard on getting the demons under control, working through the 12 steps, faithfully seeing his counselor, etc. However, I am having a very hard time with what feel like beatings. It seems I can do nothing right and every conversation ends with defensiveness and frustration. Lately, it feels as if I don’t exist and when I do try to enter the picture he gets angry. I understand this is about him and not about me. And, I can handle some of the side effects of his recovery. But it is extremely hard to feel abused for no reason and I don’t deserve it. What will it take for him to see what he is doing to me/us. Despite all the understanding I have in my head, my heart feels so empty right now – even dead, beaten down. What do I do now?

  10. Hi Vicky,

    First of all to Joann. I am so sorry to hear of your ordeal and happy to hear that you are out of the woods. I was struck most poignantly at how your husband was “at your side.” I am sure that he loves you deeply.

    I originally wrote here, not because of my husband, who is not a sex addict, but because of my ex friend, who is. It has been two months now since I’ve had any contact with my friend. I did learn that he went into rehab, but he did not contact me, and so, that is that. If I were to contact him, then *I* would be the crazy one— (hey, we’re all a bit crazy!) and so, even though, he is still often in my thoughts, I know that no good can ever come from ever having ANY involvement with him ever again. Hopefully, he and his partner will heal and he will recover, as well.

    Ironically, my husband– who while not an addict, has had some outside activities, and its a long story, but we decided to “open up” our marriage. He is not a narcissist, but he does suffer from very low self-esteem and has had severe depression as have I. We both have sought out professional help and he is on Wellbutrin which has definitely helped him a lot. We have a wonderful, warm, supportive friendship, but even so…sometimes the other changes in ways that make certain aspects very difficult.

    I would like to address Vicky’s issue now, if I may. We have been blessed with not one, but two children with neurological differences. Our older son has ADHD and our younger son, almost 15 has high-functioning autism. It is through much intensive behavior modification techniques that he has changed considerably. Of course, a developing brain, helps too!

    I’m not sure what kind of mental health counselor you are, so I apologize in advance if any of my suggestions are in any way condescending. Sometimes though, I know… while we can see clearly, someone else’s issues, it is so difficult to deal with our own.

    This is tough for you to deal with your husband… but in order for you to effect any change. You cannot fight with him when he thinks he’s “right”. In his mind, no matter what, he will always be “right.” and if you fight with him or act hurt, you are only going to create more conflict and more of what you are already feeling and it will only just keep escalating.

    First of all… I can see that you have a lot of compassion for him as you say that he is working hard on his 12-steps. Be sure to praise him for his successes, although it is difficult too, because he most likely feels that every day is like climbing a mountain and he may also just be taking out his pain on you. Also, it sounds like he may not want YOU to get too involved with his treatment. This is probably an ego thing and he may be perceiving your wanting to know more about his treatment as interference, etc. and may even be resentful of you. (if I’m understanding that part, correctly) Try to notice the things that may trigger his moods. Is it a particular time of day, or day of the week? Is there some other factor, that is contributing? Is he hungry or tired, for instance? Ask him the “proper” way to do whatever it is that he doesn’t like and tell him that you will try to do it “his way” or suggest (nicely) that he take on that task himself, so that it can be done to his liking, if its something that you find difficult. Or even make a joke out of it.

    Don’t we all forget to find the humor in things? Finding the humor will make you laugh. And laughter makes us all feel so much better, right?

    It is also okay to tell him that the arguments are making you feel badly. Do NOT place the blame on him. Say words like “our” and “we” and avoid saying “you.”

    If he continues, his temper tantrum, simply walk away. Go into another room.. watch TV.. read…meditate…take a bath, shower, a walk… anything… but get away from him. If he questions where you are going. Tell him that you have had enough, for now. That is all. He will get the message.

    Do not accept his bad, abusive behavior– ever. If there is no one to listen to his rantings. Guess what? It will stop and he will respect you, all the more as well. If he says “you can’t walk away now!!!” just say… “yes I can… I will gladly talk to you, when our heads are more calm and clear.” That right there, may be enough for him to calm down.

    It is also, alright to tell him calmly that the way he is talking to you, is making you upset and to feel badly. You understand that he is struggling, but he may not realize that he is hurting you, in the process… All men (unless they are really really sick) want to make their partners happy. Do not sound overly upset. Just tell him this in a quiet low voice, and don’t go off on a tirade of complaints of all the things that are “wrong” or are upsetting you. Stick to the subject at hand and stay in the present.

    Again, a lot of these techniques have worked with our autistic son. People with autism actually behave a lot like narcissists, however with some key differences. A narcissist is capable of behaving “normally” when he wants to. And with an autistic person, the behavioral changes are much more difficult to achieve, because they have a fundamental deficit in their brain which renders these changes to occur much more slowly. A narcissist has “learned” his behavior and an autistic has the problem as an intrinsic biological difference in his brain. Narcissists worsen with age and Autistics get better.(with appropriate therapies and education)

    Focus on one small change and it will effect all areas.

    He is lucky man. You are a strong, forgiving woman who is standing behind him and have experienced the “worse” of your marital vows.

    Now, to heal the emptiness that you are feeling and also it will help him too. This is what I recommend.

    You need to spend time together, to get back to the “better” that was lost along the way…and you also need to have fun! This does not necessarily meaning sexual fun, but just doing together, the things you enjoyed doing together, in the early days. This reduces stress and will give you both those feel good endorphins that he is craving and you are missing. And if you have kids, please get a sitter. This is just time for the two of you.

    Plan a “date” night with him. You guys need to have more fun! Tell him that you want to make plans for the weekend,(or whenever suits the two of you) and you are hoping that it will include him. If he balks, then tell him that you will be making plans for yourself, without him. and then do it! Next weekend, try it again– with him. Tell him that you long to be with him– You want to get back to the way it was. Again, do not place blame. I think he will come around, in time.

    Also, you might want to consider going to couples counseling as well, if you haven’t already.

    By the way… as you have forgiven your husband… Forgive yourself. All of the ideas that I have expressed are simply — ideals. Believe me, I have lost my rag plenty of times and so will you and so will he, for none of us are ever perfect. Just pick up again and try again.. Two steps forward and an occasional step backwards, but over-all… the primary direction is for the better good of all.

    In closing. I love reading everyone’s entries; I think you are all beautiful, strong, courageous women.

    This is a fantastic forum, Joann!

    xo,

    L

  11. It is shocking to hear the parallels in each and every story!!!! Even the very phrases that I have heard time and time again are the same!
    “I don’t know what to say.”
    “I don’t know what you want me to say.”
    “I love you so much, it scares the **it outta me!”
    The lack of empathy, defensiveness, grandiosity, self-absorption, medicating their feelings by looking to fantasy instead of reality are all . It’s so helpful to feel that my perceptions match so many others who are in the same situation as I am.
    So how about that “user manual” that Pip mentioned? Where can I pick one up??? 😉

  12. The same phrases—wow that really hit home. It’s hard to make the link between the addict saying “What do you want to me say” and the destructive sexual behaviour. Yet that fear of or incapacity for engaging the partner on an emotional level is the symptom that eventually goes to the sexual acting out. But how can we know that? We can’t even imagine the connection until the problem is so far down the road that it’s hard to find any way back.
    After my husband joined SA, we were still together for 4 months before we could separate. During that time he went faithfully to meetings, seminars, met with sponsor, met with therapist—but he treated me just the same as he always did. I was on a steep learning curve but I knew that this was critical–and I kept telling him that it was all great for him, but made no difference in my life at all. He still wouldn’t communicate, he brushed off my attempts, he ignored me, etc. I called SA his new “secret club”. And he used its secrecy and anonymity to escalate my isolation. He withdrew more and acted like he was now entitled to do that. Still he would ask me not to leave him. Too late. I’m gone. He now knows that if he treats me the same way as he has in the past, there is no future for this marriage.
    I still think he can do if he decides to. But I have no idea if he will. In the meantime, I’m taking off the cloak of invisibility, and with my therapist’s help, I’m giving voice to what I want, what I need, what I bring to the table in this world. I can make a difference in my own life, and that means I can make a difference in the world, too. Some days I’m sacred silly. But I’m not invisible.

  13. The longer I am away from the SA the clearer things become. I can see that my needs were always invisible to him, he is incapable of engaging in anything that requires an emotional connection. The sad thing is, I used to admire how he could be so calm in the mist of emotionally charged issues. This is where it gets confusing, the things that I admired and valued, honesty, integrity, loyality, kindness are the very things he wasn’t. How could I have been so mistaken?

  14. Jeanette,

    I hear you. Unlike your husband, mine is VERY emotional. He gets angry, he cries, he has a whole range of emotions. The trouble is that he cannot tolerate other people’s emotions, including mine. He has no capacity for empathy for another person’s situation. Not once has he ever said, “I’m sorry that I’m making you feel this way.” Instead, his attitude is that there is something wrong with me. Yes, I feel invisible in this situation.

    With empathy,

    KRW

  15. Hi KRW,
    I read your other posts too. I feel I have to tell you what 30 years of hindsight reveals.

    Get out now.

    You still have a chance at building a life without this shit. You have a chance at a family and someone special in it for you. Your guy is a “project”. Until he values his life enough to be honest about what a disaster it is, he won’t get into a recovery program. And then the recovery program is its own hell for spouses. Get out. It will hurt. But it will hurt less.

    Check out how many women on this site name the terrible waste of their lives, their youth, their love, their beauty, their hopes and dreams, on the SA. You never get those years back. Never.

    I’m rebuilding now after 30 years that I’ve lost. I don’t know what, if anything, was real in them. At the beginning I thought something was wrong, but there was no way to know what. He had problems with mother and missing father issues and went to a psychiatrist. Nothing changed, though. Still, who knew about anything called SA? I had no indication of infidelity or acting out. I just had a husband who was emotional unavailable and conflicted. I kept trying.

    I believe I can rebuild my life, and although I’m in my mid 50’s, I also believe there’s lots left for me yet. I just wish I hadn’t waited 30 years. If I knew then, what you know now—I would have left for sure.

    I also believe my spouse can rebuild his life. He’s trying like hell in his recovery program and because I also love him, I want him to succeed and cheer him on. But my lingering invisibility will not go away. SA recovery is as selfish as the addiction. It’s all about him.

    I’m not the first to say it on this site, especially if you are still young. Get out now.

    Sometimes you have to get off the train you are on, to change the direction of your life. It isn’t our fault. We didn’t know. I wish with all my heart he could be with me until one of us drew our last breath, but it’s just not safe for me to lose anymore of my life. Self-care, KRW. It’s where you will find your future.

    Jane.

  16. Jane,

    I adore you! For newbies on here… She is a WOMB-man of God— That’s right, a minister!!! So cool!!!

    Your congregants are so lucky to have such a wise, kind, loving, rock solid spiritual leader to guide them.

    I have now read so many blogs written by young women who’ve gone through the “process”… and pretty much, with only a few exceptions, the prognosis isn’t very good, I’m afraid— That is, if one wants to keep their sanity, and the majority do eventually capitulate into a permanent separation. Yes, JoAnn and Larry (her husband who reads all of our entries and also writes on here sometimes with the greatest insight of all!!!) is one of the exceptions, and yes, they did separate for a time and it could just as easily have become a permanent separation, but for the realization for both of them, that their union was far more precious than the addiction that was threatening to tear them apart.

    That’s what it takes— just for starters.

    The lack of empathy is a big problem. If the SA cannot understand another’s feelings and why what they are doing is so deeply hurtful then Jane is right in her succinct assessment. It takes TWO people to make a marriage.

    It would be so wonderful if someone could find a way, to help those vulnerable to this disease before it becomes a problem.

    Maybe we all are.

    Wishing everyone much strength and courage,

    Lorraine

  17. KRW,

    One other thing. Your husband is exhibiting clear signs of narcissistic personality disorder. Not ALL SAs have this, but most do and they are very damaged people. One thing they are is exceptionally charming– in the beginning, that is— and over time, there is a shift to a personality that is anything but. (that is, to the ones they “love”)

    You can find a lot of information on the internet. Google “Sam Vaknin” (a confessed narc) who has written tons of information on just about every topic in a narcissist’s life and spells it all out very clearly.

    xo,

    L

  18. Thank you Lorraine,
    I love you too.

    But just to make sure no one thinks I’m advocating willy nilly abandonment of your spouse–

    My over all rationale is that any vows or promises made in marriage or commitment ceremonies depend on the honesty and intention with which they are made. False vows produce false commitments. Yes, even the marriage service was hijacked by this addiction. But think about it, with what we know now about lies and denial, what could those vows ever really mean? Only one person actually made them, and it wasn’t the addict. That’s what that question is all about “If anyone knows of any reason why these two people should not be joined in marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace”. Making vows that you aren’t capable of keeping, or making vows you are not free to make destroys their worth.

    That being said, I get that when people have been together a long time, you can look at all your options and see that staying together with compromises is right for you. With the passing years we all understand that what makes a good life isn’t necessarily what we once thought.

    I don’t intend to divorce my husband at all. I just can’t live with the emotional abuse and neglect. So we live separately. If something wonderful happens and he becomes an emotional adult capable of a mature relationship—hey that’s great and maybe we’ll have another chance.

    At my stage of life I realize I’m just not that interested in more men in my life. This was the man for me, and I guess I think of him as being in a long term care facility. I visit, but who I visit is a diminished person–high functioning in some respects but completely non-functioning in others. It’s heartbreaking but I don’t feel I need to divorce him.

    I’m particularly concerned with the young women on this site. I just don’t want them to lose all those years like we did. I want them to grow old with someone who will love them every day, who will be there, who will desire them with passion at first new, then seasoned. I don’t want women to try and fix what they can’t fix. Now there’s a god complex if there ever was one!

    love you all, and thanks for your open hearts.
    J.

  19. Dear Jane and Lorraine,

    Thank you for your support. Yes, I do believe his narcissism is out of control (my friends would agree). And, Jane, I hear you about getting out. It’s all so difficult and complex. If we had not gotten married (if we were just living together), I would have left immediately after discovering this. If we would not have these girls at home (the one who lives with us is in high school and doesn’t have much longer to go), I would have left immediately. After discovering what was going on (my husband was on a business trip at the time), I found myself going into “mother-mode,” like some kind of ancient instinct came over me. I cooked my step-daughter a roast chicken. I can’t imagine dragging those girls through another divorce at this time. Then there’s the financial piece. My main concern for myself is to save enough money that I won’t be in trouble if and when I leave.

    Thanks for all your comments. And, Jane, that’s wonderful that you are a priest. I used to work in an Episcopal church and two of my best friends are priests (one female).

    Thanks, again. This is so helpful to have this forum.

    KRW

  20. Totally sympathetic to the issues you raise, KRW. You sound like a really good soul.

    I had to do months of prep work before I was in a financial position to begin living apart, and there were emotional pieces of work as well around our young adult children. It was four months of prep before they knew. If you don’t have a bank account of your own, you must start one. Siphon off a little each pay day and put it in. Get a credit card in your name. If you don’t have a job, get one–even if it’s not the best job. If your goal is to get this young woman through high school before you leave—as long as you are both safe and you can stand the crazy, I think that’s a good time line. Work towards it. If you have a family member who can help you, ask them to begin saving some loan money for you now, as well. Don’t tell your spouse you are leaving because it doesn’t mean anything until you do anyway. Tell him you are planning to leave if he doesn’t take steps to recovery. And all of these steps can disappear if your spouse gets into recovery and begins to make the kind of changes with which you can live. Or you can follow through and enjoy some sanity while he’s working through his crap.

    It’s important KRW that you not get into the “I’m stuck and can’t change any of this” mode. You can’t change him. But you can change your life and you can change it in a way that respects your moral code and faith values—such as your care for his daughter. In the end, when she knows what you did for her without any regrets, she will have learned what it means to be loved and valued by someone—if not her biological father. What a great gift for her, as well as you.

    lightbeams,
    Jane.

  21. KRW,

    I see from your earlier post that you have a great job that you love. This is a huge plus and where a lot of women have a tremendous hurdle to overcome in terms of getting unstuck and out from under.

    And i hear that you have a great support system with many close, loving friends who can be there for you. Also, huge and extremely important!

    What I’m actually also hearing is that your biggest obstacle to leaving (and again, this is about a separation, not an actual divorce, unless he refuses to get help and you have simply had enough), has to do with the one daughter still living at home.

    First of all, don’t these step-daughters have a biological mother? Where does she fit into all of this?

    My sense is that, the thought of leaving THEM, is the thing that is tearing you up the most and that is certainly magnanimous of you, but in the end, is anyone going to thank you for hanging in there until she goes to college? There will never be a good time. I know that you love them dearly and most likely see them as your own daughters now, however, please keep in mind that no matter what, they can STILL be your daughters. The bonds that you have formed do not have to diminish, just because their father is a ____ (you fill in the blank).

    Of course, you must feel ready and comfortable to make the change.

    I love Jane’s suggestion which is great, that IF he does not realize that what he is doing is wrong and devastatingly painful and unacceptable to you and if he does not move quickly to get help, then steps WILL be taken for a separation since it is impossible for you to live under such circumstances.

    Try to keep all of these confrontations as business-like and unemotional as possible. I know… It is very very tough, because I’m sure you feel like ripping his f**king head off, but any kind of associated “drama” can and will be used against you. Narcs just love to fling it back in your face. So, stay calm and in control– business-like, like you are trying to get out of paying a parking fine. 🙂

    And then, you must follow through accordingly with whatever he decides to do. His choice. This is not different than what parents must do to discipline their children and since he has the emotional maturity of an 8-yr-old, (maybe)…

    I’m so sorry that you are having to face this, but as you said– there are better things you could be doing with your time than placing phony ads on Craig’s List.

    I’ve done it too… I placed one ad which got over 400 replies— no joke. (including one from my ex-friend) Apparently, I have a skill I never knew I possessed!!! lol Sometimes, we just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all!

    All the best,

    Lorraine

  22. I think it’s important to remember that at the root of this addiction is an intimacy disorder. They quite literally don’t know how to be emotionally intimate. So, conversation is completely foreign. They don’t know how to empathize or engage in the give and take that occurs in a normal conversation. It’s bizzare. I doubt this can be cured. It’s like asking a blind man to describe or understand the color red. It’s just not possible.

  23. I came across this site yesterday and I am so glad !
    Last 10 years being on emotionally deserted island with no one to talk to …. with 4 kids in a mix….
    The funny part- my husband is a ” perfect” SA…. great father, amazing professional.. people like him, family loves him…. now…. in all that … I started loosing myself, my sanity and perception of who I am.
    I went from independent 20+ open minded, sex loving, adventures human being to depressed, yelling, demanding paranoid, self unconscious shadow of myself….
    I thought I was loosing my mind: from one side ” perfect husband” and from another pieces of puzzles that were not adding up
    Mood swing
    Porn
    Lack of sex
    Rejection( sex) or any fun activities
    Going ballistic after me installing car seat in his car
    Moved front seat
    Porn
    Putting me down
    Telling me that it’s all in my head
    ” disclosure “- that means lies, deny and eventually admitting to the stuff that I discovered- nothing more
    Finally- I had enough
    I told him that I’m entering therapy that he is welcome but regardless of his participation- I will start. He fought so hard…but he came… we started with small stuff( he was still in denial) last week we started the core issue:
    He fought, told some stories, then tried to prove that : dating sites, porn, hook ups, name it- was just innocent, no sex involved
    I’m sure our therapist had a hard time not to laugh in his face
    She told him different things- he was still in denial….nope, he didn’t do it…
    At the end- I was very clear…. they are two ways 1. To start with full disclosure and no lies; I hear another story and I’m walking away from the marriage
    2. He keeps being in denial, tell the story- we will switch from therapy to divorce splitting advices

    Yesterday he came and said that yes, indeed he is a porn and sex addict.

    Which seems to be a good sign.
    I understand that at this point everything he was hiding behind goes down, he looses the around of what was HIS reality for the past 10 + years so I allow him to make some ” decisions” or rather agree to what he proposes….
    We have disclosure meeting next week… I am thinking if that should be followed by a polygraph…
    I’m torn…
    That’s not what I signed for!
    I was a good partner, loyal wife, had kids with him….. all that completely sucked out joy of even thinking about sex…. I feel cheated of my years, experiences…. I had a guy friend and we sometimes talked… not about my husband but about his marriage… how he misses some spontaneity and fun from his wife… I was thinking ” role playing, toys, dates, reserving room, sexy lingerie”—– I was offering all that and my husband was rejecting it ….
    It made me feel self conscious and not sexy…does it mean that normal guys would love that? That they would love to see their wife going that route in the bedroom while being a good mother, friend, partner ? That they would actually appreciate that?!??
    It’s so confusing….would normal guy made cheer on and made me feel like I am someone special- because I show interest in him, have sex and like it?
    Instead I feel so empty and crushed… remembering pics of so many women, sweet talking during chats, going at night to remote locations, taking them for dinners….?
    I know I can’t turn back time…. I just don’t know how to do anything anymore… emotionally I’m a mess- can’t work, my head is spinning most of the time, can’t sleep….
    Long message, but it feels good to share