The ‘Quick Fix’ Trap

I’ve seen it happen so many times. A Sex Addiction is discovered. There are tears and screams, anger, pain, threats and lots of smoke and mirrors. After the dust settles you have conversations–lots of them, some good, most of them bad, but it helps clear the air.

Then you are both spent, emotionally drained. That’s when it happens. And it happens early, usually within the first few weeks or maybe even a few months of the time of the discovery. Both of you start to talk about the future, and there is hope. Your spouse or partner glows with new insights and understanding of their addiction. Apologies, flowers, poems and letters of undying love flow like quicksilver and date nights filled with passion bring a sense of renewed commitment. You let your guard down and start to hope again.

I like to compare this to the eye of a hurricane. It’s as if the storm has passed and good times are here to stay. We become so emotionally battered that we seek any shred of hope, no matter how unrealistic. And unrealistic is just what it is. We seize upon the Sex Addict’s proclamations that they have seen the light, that their recovery is well on it’s way and some even claim that they are cured.

Sorry. Not gonna happen that way. The back end of the storm is right around the corner.

There is no ‘Quick Fix’ for your relationship or for you or the addict. Overcoming Sex Addiction takes years of hard work for the addict and their spouse or partner, encompassing counseling, a recovery program, support, reflection, self awareness, overcoming denial and shame and trial and error in learning communication skills, relationship skills, intimacy and healthy sex. Sex Addiction and it’s compulsions can exhaust the strongest and most dedicated. It can never be overcome in a few short months.

Simply stopping the compulsive behaviors is just the beginning. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that if your spouse or partner has stopped acting out that you can live happily ever after. You, your spouse, and your relationship need a comprehensive recovery plan that examines the farthest depths of your relationship. There is no ‘Quick Fix’. But there is hope–it just takes time.

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. ~ Albert Einstein

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Responses

  1. You’re right Lorraine, JoAnn is a genius. But please go lightly on handing out the kudos, I have to live with her. Great post dear.

  2. I am married to a sex addict. Ive known for 8 of the 10 years. now I have broken. I am tired of sweeping it under the rug. We went to counseling last night for the first time. I have to make a decsion to stick it out with him or leave him. I love him but I am not sure I can get past this and trust him and how would we ever have a NORMAL sex life? I am lonely and I am scared.

  3. My partner is coming to the realization that he is a sex/love addict.
    His dad walked out on him when he was 12, never to return. His sexual abues from a trusted family friend began within months of his dad’s departure. His mother, now in her 70’s, even with full knowledge of the abuse, still holds the family friend on a pedestal – and to this day, pledges her love for her exhusband. Mind boggling!

    Everyone who should have been his protector as a child – and even as an adult, have come up short. For crying out loud, SOMEONE needs to be this “little boy’s” angel!

    His male friends are just casual (due to his deep mistrust of men) His female friends are really just casual sex partners or women with addictions of their own.

    His exwife is an anorexic codependent, who despises his very breath. (no doubt because of what he put her through!)

    Our story: We live together. He does not have the current financial capacity to live on his own due to his support and pending legal/financial issues from the recent closing of his business (yet another consequence of his problem) He pays his share of our household expenses.

    His newly revised custody agreement was approved, following interviews with me, home pictures, etc. This resolution only came after a bitter court battles with his ex-wife.

    We have always shared a deep connection and are remarkably compatible. We both felt like no one ever understood us as well as we did each other. Family and friends were always in awe of the way we went together like “peas and carrots.” I have even begun to wonder if “choosing me” was his subconscious’ way of trying to have a healthy relationship with someone who would ultimately discover the truth about him. However, with all that said, I don’t know if I ultimately want to continue a romantic relationship with him.

    But, I can’t imagine turning away from him now and sending him packing. Isnt some semblance of stability important as he starts to acknowledge his patterns and takes his first tentative steps toward recovery? If everything (his living arrangements, his custody agreement, losing his best friend) is turned upside down, will he ever be able to start to take care of himself? Wouldn’t he be more likely to be able to focus on himself if he still has SOMETHING good left in his life? Time with his kids, a safe home, a little happiness?

    Is it possible to redefine our relationship in a fair, balanced, healthy way? Perhaps even with pre-determined timelines/ checkpoints?

    He needs to be accountable for his actions. I cannot be his conscience or personal policeman. What realistic expectations should I have for him at this early stage?

    Even if we decided to at least temporarily put our romantic relationship on hold and focus on being friends, I am not so highly evolved to think that I could be at ease with him seeing others. How can that be addressed?

    How can I help him help himself, while insuring that I do not become another casaulty of his problems?

    Your guidance would be most appreciated!

    (His plans for recovery: Self-help books and workbooks and attending support groups seem to be the most likely path for him initially. His finances will not accommodate visits to a psychiatrist or therapist. He is also considering herbal supplements (in lieu of prescription Prozac) as a cheaper alternative to help curb his compulsions. )

  4. You seem remarkably calm, focussed, logical, empowered, compassionate and sad. I like your post and the questions you are asking of yourself, and your realistic outlook on your future together and the possibilities and issues that you may have to address. I like the way that you question what you are likely to be able to cope with and what you are likely to be able to tolerate. I turned into a complete nut when I found out. I left him. I loved him. I think I still do but I’m now contemplating a day in the future that I might go and speak with him, tell him I forgive him, hug him and then walk away. I really need to get to this point because although I was distraught and upset, I realised that I couldn’t live with that type of deceipt. I knew I would never feel content or happy in the relationship again (and I thought I was for so long). I’ve taken such a long time to get to a point where I’m not crying on a regular basis and even now still get upset if I pass him. I don’t want to hold on to bitterness and anguish anymore and really want to hug him one more time and tell him that we can’t be together but it’s ok and I hope he’ll be ok. I hope you post again because I read this site regularly, although I’m not posting as often. When I first posted, I received a lot of supportive comments and replies from Joanne and others which really did help (thankyou). Sometimes it’s nice to talk with people we don’t know and be completely honest. Whatever decision you make, he’s a very lucky man. x

  5. Hi, Seren.
    Thanks for the comments. It surely is a PROCESS, isn’t it?! My emotions vascillate wildly, too. I just keep coming back to this “place” I guess. It’s especially hard b/c he is so wounded from long-term feelings of distrust, unloveableness, fear of intimacy, etc. And then how does his betrayal make me feel? don’t trust. I feel unlovebale and afraid of getting close and getting hurt again. I know he feels my distance, but hopefully he feels my love, too. Sometimes, I think someone has to take a little more risk. It needs to be the one who is the stronger one at the moment, me, I guess.
    We continue to have the dialogue. He doesn’t think running away from our relationship is the best option since it just another unhealthy coping behavior – escaping his problems. Accountability is something he wants to learn/try/?. (ha) I also thinks it’s good to not be able to wallow in self-pity (see, I ruined everything. I always do) He will have a chance to show some integrity, be deserving of love, and so on – but only if he can be responsible for his actions. My unconditional love for him doesn’t mean that I can stop loving myself.

    BTW, his addiction seems to be more of love addiction, with sexual compents than strictly sexual addiction.)

    I think I will be reading the blog often too. Having others who understand exactly what I am feeling is very helpful.

  6. Ok….an update,I guess.
    He has been very upfront and in tune with what I need to hear. He has told me that he is lucky to have me in his life and doesn’t want to ruin it. I told him that I “know” alot more than he thinks I know. I thought that would give him a bit of relief and also help him to stop covering up. He might think I knew about 1,2and 3….but not 4,5,and 6 so he would be waiting for the shoe to drop. He said that he wants to have emotions and stop blocking. He found a poem called the Steps to Forgiveness and shared it with me. He thinks he needs to do alot of forgiving and letting go. He also thinks he owes alot of others an apology. He has apologized to me. He has even apologized to his ex-wife!!! Apparently,he was guilty of the same and never accepted the guilt or offered his sincere remorse to her (shocker…NOT!) He has begun the personal workshop on Recovery Nation. He has suggested that we set aside a time every week to work on things together, to do the couples workshop on RN, and just discuss our thoughts/feelings. He said he doesn’t want our relationship to become a perpetual therapy session but that he wants to insure that we don’t sweep all of this under the rug and pretend that all is ok. It won’t be an easy fix, he said. He has alot of work to do. Years of life have brought him here and his behaviors/feelings/coping mechanisms won’t magically change. He also wants to replace time spent on unhealthy behaviors with some healthy activities. He is fixing my bike (for the spring) and wants us to join a gym again,for now -or even start taking walks with the dogs and kids. During one of our discussions, we touched on the fact that his mom failed to protect him or even feel anger towards the person who abused him. I said I wanted to talk with her about the past andmaybe even how it was affecting our relationship now. He liked the idea. I stopped over for a visit with her (not exactly fruitful but it was a start, I suppose- I am really trying to be positive here!!! I love her dearly but my lord….she is the poster child for denial and has a hundred pairs of rose-colored glasses,I swear! Everything is happiness and light! ugh!) Last night, he said, “I want to get through this together. No one has every been able to understand me as you have. I think you are in my life for a reason. Betraying your trust was unwarranted, inexcusable. You are sweet, sexy, attentive, fun. You have every right to unload on me. I need to hear how all of this has made you feel, what I have done to you. And I know that I have made you feel insecure, when that is really not in your nature. But,I think it’s your strength that is making the difference for me. You always told me how you felt but you also stopped to think about how I felt, why I acted in the awful ways I did. There’s no one else in the world that I would rather spend my life with than you. I know that. Now, I need to make sure you know it. We’ll get though all of this together. If you hold my hand, I’ll hold yours. ”

    And so I think, if we come out on the other side of all of this, it could be a pretty wonderful thing. What is even more remarkable is that the issues with himhave given me an awakening in other areas of my life.I reallly do feel like this is a journey for me (us). I am thankful for it. Weird,huh?

  7. It’s lovely that he opened up with you like this. He has obviously realised what he stands to lose. I hope he doesn’t lose sight of that again. You have been hurt and deceived by him and he needs to recover and readdress issues and rebuild but never forget what you need from the relationship and never put that to one side. Perhaps for now, you just needed to hear him say how much you mean to him and how much he wants to address and change all of the things which jeopardise your relationship. He has said sorry in a way in the only way he knows how. I’m glad for you and hope everything works out. For you both. xx

  8. Yes, I am very encouraged by his words and his actions. Especially encouraged that he is starting these conversations, instead of just responding to my prompting. I have intentionally taken a very passive role, and left alot of pregant pauses during our discussions -in an effort to make him stop and think about what’s going on in my head,instead of just thinking about his next comeback or reply. He also seems to be spending less time complaining about various injustices in his life, which is important,I think. His focus seems to be on what’s good and what he has the control to change.
    Scary to see the measly 5% recovery rate and to accept that there is likely to be setbacks, relapses, etc. Not sure how I will deal with those. One step at a time, I guess. Not sure what the ultimatum should be. Difficult bc if you discuss the probability of some failures then aren’t you giving your partner a license to fail? On the other hand, lies and betrayal are the most damaging part of this whole thing. I would rather know. But it’s a tightrope. Not sure how to approach all of this.
    I am also uncertain as to how we will redefine our sexual relationship. Not on the top of my priorty list (bigger fish to fry!) but it does come into my mind.

    Any suggestions (or even musings!) on these topics would be most helpful.

  9. FOR Jennifer. I wish you all of the luck and happiness that you so deserve. Just be careful. I have gotten very good at playing game as well. And getting better.My husband is always going to turn things around when he’s been caught. All of the sudden he’s telling some secrets to me, wants to change, make me happy, he loves me, wants to be honest, blah, blah. He used to be able to easily convince me of his want to change things, want to stop. Over the years, I have heard many things fall from his lips, that make me realize other wise now. Little things that they say, or do, or in some cases don’t do. I started investigating sex addicts and their personalities…they are very manipulating, as well as cunningly clever. My husband has told me many things since finding him out with the prostitutes. He finally said that he had been sexually assaulted by his priest . The first I had(or any one else) had heard of it. I started to help him (being the mommy again) bought self help books, found information for him to get help. It mostly was a smoke screen to divert attention away from his /our other problems. He really had me going for a minute…then I started to notice little things he would say and do. Not things you would expect from someone to be sincere. He expressed that he was sorry he had told me about what had been done to him. And I felt bad for him. I thought that by sharing something similar with him about myself, would make him somehow feel better. I told him that I had experienced being raped as a young girl. I actually shared this with him. The next night, we were having (sex?) and he whispers to me that he wants to play rape with me, that he thinks about doing this to me. So, I know you want to trust him, but be VERY careful. A lot of energy is spent by them learning your weakest points, and fears. My husband at this very moment is proclaiming to want all of those things, and yet, I am seeing, and hearing much the same “old attitude” towards things that come up in conversations. Example: At 50 years old now…he still doesn’t think that it might be wrong to have little 20 year old chat girlfriends that send him cute pictures of themselves.”I’m not doing anything wrong”! So… even if they say they want all of these things..they are not capable of feeling the way we do. They just don’t want to lose a good thing.And that would be us. The ones that are always there for them. The “mommy”. Now that I am not “mommy” to him… things aren’t the way he likes them. Can’t be “wife E” and all the things he says he wants in bed. So just keep getting help, at least for yourself. I just recently took the approach of dumping his problems in his lap, and am going forward with what I should have been doing when I first found out…getting help for me. Having a “Plan B” to fall back on. Just in case. I’ve been with this man for 30 years. I would believe him every time I caught him in something, as he excels in this. But recently,no. I have gotten more in tune to what, and how he says things, and when he says things.Watch out. I wish I had more information available to me years ago on this. Do your home work, and know who YOU are. I wish you both the best of luck in your future together. LOVE YOU ALL.

  10. Hello all, I’m new to this site and sorry for all of you that have to be here. re: The ‘Quick Fix’ Trap I think that’s where my husband and I are at right now. It has been exactly two months since D-day.

    I have certainly not let my guard down but do have slight hope that we will be able to salvage our marriage for the sake of our boys. We have a 2 year old and a 7 month old and have been married for 4 years.

    My question is what do I have to do to keep us out of the quick fix trap. We are both in counseling and plan to continue going. My husband is attending a 12 step SA group twice/week and plans to continue that. He has moved out and we are not intimate yet.

    I ordered the book Your Sexually Addicted Spouse and had previously been reading co-dependent books at the suggestion of a friend.
    What kind of things are included in a comprehensive recovery plan?

    I’m on the fence about letting him move home right now. I feel it is too soon but also feel torn because my children are missing him. He is at the house almost every day and spends a lot of time with us so I think that it is working well the way it is but my two year old is still sad that daddy won’t stay with us.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  11. Hi Amy,
    I don’t have much time—but you matter so very much, as do your children.

    My two cents on your question:
    DONT let him move home. You will lose your clarity on the addiction and so will he. It’s too soon.

    12 step twice a week means (to me) he’s a “dabbler” in recovery. He’s not committed, though he probably wants it. I would say when he goes at least 5 times a week, talks every day on the phone to his sponsor, meets his sponsor three times a week, and sees an accredited sex addiction counsellor every two weeks at least, he’s serious. And that STILL does not include coming home.

    He comes home sometimes after step 4. Tell him that—he’ll know what it means.

    YOu can not, as a good mother, put your children’s emotional health at risk again for him leaving–and without the commitment listed about—he will fall back into the addiction and you will have to start from the beginning again. Your children don’t need that.

    But, hey, that’s only my take on it.

    May you have wisdom and courage, love and humour.
    J.

  12. Thanks for your reply! I am short on time too at the moment but wanted to respond to a couple points. His SA group only has meetings 3 nights/week. Two of the nights are Friday and Sunday so he’s been going to either the Friday or Sunday depending on what is going on because our weekends are so busy. I do see your point, right now 3 meetings a week is more important than our weekend activities. I will ask his therapist about encouraging him to go all three days they meet.

    He does talk to his sponsor mult times throughout the week and had been seeing his therapist weekly and now is bi-weekly.

    You are right about him not coming home too. I just hate that this addiction is stealing away the time that we can’t get back. The peak of his acting out was right before and after our son was born and it has already robbed me of a lot of enjoying our son’s first year and that just makes me so sad.

    Thanks again for your reply!

  13. HI Amy,
    thanks for the information–I’m in an urban setting and here there are between 6 and 7 SA meetings going every night of the week all over the city. (its a growth industry) In a smaller place, I guess that number would change.

    So glad to hear he’s working closely with his sponsor and a therapist. I’m really sad about the baby trigger, though. I understand that feeling of being robbed. I feel like I was robbed too of precious moments that will never happen again. It’s hard to just accept that—you have to grieve first. And then let go of what you hoped it would be.

    But life is still full of beauty and joy. You may not be seeing it that way right now. But it is. And there is some of that for you and your children. Take the meaning of your life into your own hands.

    I’m into my second night in my new place. My SA spouse helped me move and is working hard to resist the slippery slope of triggers associated with all that. I have to say it feels really great to be in a space that isn’t wrecked by his bad energy trails.

    My children are young adults–so they have greater capacity to process the reality of their dad and I living apart. I will be sending lots of light your way as you mother your young ones through this situation.

    Hang in there, Amy. There is hope. With or without him, there is hope.

    Jane.

  14. Dear Jane or anyone out there:

    I would like to know what the first few months are like after leaving a sexually addicted spouse, or having them leave the family home. Has anyone done this? What did you go through? Are you glad now? I am close to making my move,but sooooo scared. I am 41 and been married 9 years. Feel like I am giving up on my marriage and life I worked so hard to build in the first place. He is seeing a therapist (not regularly). And has given me control of money so he does not act out. He said it is harm reduction. But he has been engaging in this type of behavior 20 years! Much longer than I’ve known him. I feel I am kidding myself that he will take the necessary steps to prove he is committed to change. He confessed to his secret sexually addicted lifestyle 3 mos ago. I am so pain wracked that some days I try to forget about it, act like everything is they way it used to be so I can feel normal. But, believe me, I know it is not. I need a psycholgocal break every once in awhile.
    What is life like after you dump him?

  15. Hi Pam,
    I LOVE being in my own place. I just love it. Getting out from underneath his constant negative energy, his moodiness, his emotional unavailability. I needed to leave and sell the family home because it was poisoned for me. Others may feel able to remain.

    It was scary though, and sad to leave the dream of what I thought I had. I can still get sad when I look at picture from our family home, because I had worked hard on making it nice. But then I realize that the distance I’ve placed between that life and this life is the first step to HAVING a life.

    Sometimes I’m lonely, but not very often. I am busy at work, with homeless initiatives in our city, with friends, church and I read and write and sew. I’m interested in life again. I’ve lost weight because I’m happier. The loneliness I felt with my SA spouse was much worse than this. I took a vacation on my own this summer for a week and felt like a kid again.
    Yes, there were sacrifices, but I feel like I came out ahead.

    I still cry. I still grieve. I still miss the hope I used to have for my life with my husband. But it’s a little less than it was. I believe I will always carry a grieving place inside me because of this.

    Another thing is that I’ve noticed people around me a lot more than I used to. I take time to talk or listen—more than I used to. I notice if they seem stressed or cranky or sad, and now I can imagine where that might come from. There are ways to keep a tender heart even though the SA has broken it to bits.

    The other night I was thinking about myself, and feeling like I recognized the 21 year old happy, positive, beautiful woman I used to be over 30 years ago. She’s still inside. I didn’t lose me after all. But it was a close call.

    Pack another box, Pam. The best part of who you are is waiting for your arrival.
    love,
    Jane.

  16. Quick fix yet again hits home today. My original discovery day was last February 2010 for porn addiction. My husband did the just stop technique and saw a therapist once a week (not a sex addiction therapist). Our relationship carried on as normal and he was not kicked out of the house. So flash forward three months, caught him on the computer with porn again, and even worse while he was supposed to be watching our daughter. So then he was kicked out for a week. At my request he started attending twelve step programs, and switched to a therpaist which deals with sex addiction. We have been in this phase for about 100 days now. He says that he is holding his bottom line. He attends meetings once a week and therapy once a week, or as he can make it which is sometimes less than a week. He is preparing for nursing school this fall and has already started to slack of going to meetings and sessions due to his schedule. In addition he is now working long hours to make up for his lack of financial contribution. So my first issue is he trying to get out of sessions already. Do we really try to force them to make it work – with work, school and sessions? Is there such a thing as too much?? I don’t think once a week is an excessive request.

    Secondly since the second time the physical portion of our relationship has been removed at my request. I would have preferred him to move out, but that is not an option for our situation with young kids and financially. So we live together more as roomates, the best option I can figure with a house full of kids versus seperation. But he wants more and he want his old life back. So as of yesterday a 100 days into recovery my husband said that his therpist thinks we should start our recovery together (whatever that means). In addition he is saying this at his stage in his recovery – implying that he is doing so great! To me this seems too soon. I don’t know even at this point if he is genuine in his recovery. He does not seem remorsefull or even sorry for what he has done. So for me I am not jumping into this emtional part of the relationship until I have signs that he is trustworthy.

    My thoughts are for the first time I would have signed on, after the second deception and lies, I think this is too soon.

    I was just curious how others feel or how others handled this time. I know that i have read other posts where 3 months is too soon to know if the spouse is in recovery.

    I really wish there was more on this addiction and how to handle certain phases. Whats normal,what is not. I know everyone is different, but what is the norm?

    Any replies or stories are greatly appreciated. Thank You JoAnn for all the info you provide.

  17. Pam,
    I think a physical separation is a vital part of recovery. I don’t think the addict feels the true repercussions of his actions if he is allowed to stay in the home.

    I know it played a very important part in our situation. He was miserable when he moved out and so badly wanted to be back in the home. This was great motivation for him and allowed him lots of time to really feel the pain and consequences of his actions.

    He moved out when my children were 5 mos and 2.5 years. I was very tempted to let him come home right away just to help with the kids but I stayed strong and just learned to deal with it which was the best thing for me.

    When he first left I felt so so so so lonely which is bizarre because when he was home all he did was yell at me, at the kids and seethe anger and hate all over the house. I had never lived alone and was scared to be alone. But what I didn’t realize is I wasn’t alone, I had two fantastic children and wasn’t enjoying them like I should. I was too busy trying to keep my husband happy and keep the peace in the house I wasn’t focused on them. I believe I was a good mom, but once my husband moved out, I became a better mom. I learned to enjoy time by myself which is amazing! I learned to really enjoy time with my kids without anyone else around.

    He has very recently moved back in. He was out of the house for nearly 6 months. If not for our two very young children he would still be out, but they were missing him so much and he has really shown he is committed to recovery. He attends weekly SA meetings (used to go 3x week has cut it back lately), sees his counselor every other week, and meets with his sponsor on a regular basis. He has also given me full access to all his phone records, bank statements and email accounts. I think he is on a good path only time will tell for sure.

    I understand being afraid of the future, but I don’t think you would ever regret the decision to separate. If he shows a true commitment to recovery you don’t have to think of it as dumping him. Rather, detaching and letting him feel the consequences of his actions and giving him time to focus on his recovery. Additionally, be sure you set very clear boundaries with consequences and don’t ever make a threat that you aren’t willing to follow through on. I have set a zero tolerance boundary with my husband and he knows I mean it.

    If you haven’t already, get yourself to see a counselor with a certification in sexual addiction. I waited far too long to go and have really benefited from going.

    1. Hi Amy,

      I am new to the blog. I just found out about my husbands SA 3 months ago. I see similarities in out situations. I was just wondering what things are like in your life 5 years later. My husband and I have been together 5 years, married 2 and have an almost 1 year old. The discovery is so heartbreaking, but I find myself hanging on to the hope that he will change and that we can get through this together. Would love to hear from you!

  18. Flora,
    Yes, three months is WAY too soon. You said “He does not seem remorsefull or even sorry for what he has done.” this is a huge red flag to me. Leads me to think he is going through the motions only to satisfy you.

    “Do we really try to force them to make it work â??” NO we don’t force them to do anything. What you CAN do is set a boundary. If he is watching porn then he needs to get out of your home. He cannot return until he is attending regular meetings for x months. Then leave it up to him.

    I read two great books that my friend sent me when we learned of my husband’s addiction. One is “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie. The other is “The Language of Letting Go” also by Beattie. These two books really helped me to take on a healthy mindset and not engage in any behaviors that were part of “MAKING” him recover. His recovery is his you cannot control it. You can however hurt his recovery by trying to force him to do things or doing them for him.

    He has to do these things for himself and really WANT to get better. If he doesn’t want to get better he won’t. You telling him he HAS TO do anything isn’t goign to make him get better. What can help him get better is knowing what he has to lose if he doesn’t get better.

  19. I just wanted to add, I do NOT advocate the codepency “cure” for spouses of addicts I do however feel that the codepency books I mentioned are helpful for anyone dealing with an addict. Because women are by nature caregivers especially those of us that are mothers.

    For me the codepency books helped me learn what behaviors truly are helpful in dealing with an addict and which are hurtful even though they are well intentioned.

    But before someone jumped all over me thinking I am suggesting all spouses are codependent becaue they are not, I wanted to clarify my point which is that I think the books from Beattie are inspirational mostly from the stand point of learning to take care of yourself. Because taking care of yourself right now is THE most important thing. Even before taking care of your children because if you are not taking care of yourself, you are not properly caring for them either.

    HUGS!

  20. Flora,
    On the website, Recovery Nation, which I’m not advocating one way or the other as I’ve just begun checking it out – there’s some info for partners and it details the addicts recovery process very specifically – from their initially enthusiastic motivation to the various set backs – and pitfalls – it’s like 8 or so stages of recovery – maybe this is something that you could read to glean more info on where things are.

    Good luck!

  21. Thank you Amy and Mayam,

    I like to double check sometimes, because my spouse has always had a way of making me second guess myself. In addition he puts his therapist in the boat. And I’m in the water.

    So if the SA is not moved out of the house, how do you incorporate the amount of times to see the counselar or meetings? Or is there none. I do not think it is acceptable for him to skip at this point and once a week is not unreasonable. Maybe it should be a boundary as in “i will not accept you attending less than one meeting or session once a week”????? The logistics is confusing.

    I have read co-dependent no more. As well as a couple others by Beattie. They are very helpfull. I think in my request its not an effort to control, but an effort to protect myself. Another reason why I feel some time away, him out, would be beneficial. While he is in our house, it is always under my nose, never a break. I will check out the recovery nation site.
    I do have a therapist I have been going to since the beginning, but she is not a CSAT. There is only one in our state and he is full. Wish there were more.

    Thank you.

  22. I think it would be fine to make it a boundary that he attend x meetings and counseling sessions per week or month and I do see it as a safety issue as well. What will be your consequence if he breaks that boundary?

  23. Flora,
    When you say “he makes you second guess yourself” Does he try to make you think you are crazy or way off base in your thoughts? Do you think he manipulates things you say and tries to manipulate your thoughts?

  24. Hi Amy,

    No he never outrightly says anything, doesn’t speak much at all in regards to this. Its typically implied (maybe more manipulative), or maybe its in my head. He was famous for saying “Why don’t you trust me” all the while lying through our whole marriage about his secret life or ” I love you” so you would think why does he do this? I must be imagining these things?? Now I know it was all smoke and screens.

    But yesterdays conversation was about how his therapist said that he is at the point in his recovery where couples do better if they participate in their recovery together (after three months of sobriety????). In that I read that he is stating that they think i should be participating in some way? Not sure what he means (did not get clarity when I asked him what it means). Marriage counseling is what the therapist had suggested last time I was in to speak with him as part of my sa’s therapy (again only after three months!!!). AND the therpaist said that this is when the spouse should start counseling together. I have read in some cases that it could be two years. So for me I feel that they think I should participate, and that is what is normal, and I don’t want to at this point. I am focusing on my recovery. Another confusing day. I wish there was a manual for this. It would save alot of time and anguish. 🙂 But I am trying to stay positive.

    Thank you Amy

  25. Just writing these things you start to see through your own confusion. I am not going till I want to. Just continue to focus on myself and the kids. That is what I told my sa and will go with my initial instinct. It took 7 years to get here, its gonna take more than 3 months to get better. Like wieght loss, it takes longer to lose the weight than to gain it. May apply is some way in forgiveness and recovery?? Would make sense to me.

  26. I was the exact same way initially. I did not want to go meet his therapist, I did not want to call or email the wives of his SA group, I didn’t want to see a counselor I didn’t want couples counseling.

    I think I was hoping it would all just go away. I got very angry and was having horrible anxiety that got progressively worse. At one of my tirade yellings at my husband he said look you can’t keep doing this.

    I said I can and I will. You did this to me and I’ll do and say whatever I want. He acknowledged it was his fault and that I was within my right to say anything I wanted to him. But then he said if I want things to get better I also have to work on us and on me and he was right.

    It wasn’t fair to anyone involved for him to be the only one working on things if we inteded to stay together as a couple. I read repeated studies that in order for a marriage to recover it was vital that both the husband and wife work together on the recovery process.

    Don’t even get me started on the “you don’t trust me”. He said that all the time and the crazy part is that I DID. 100% I trusted him and never ever in a million bajillion years did I or anyone who knew my husband think he would ever cheat on me.

    There is an article on emotional abuse and manipulation that really helped me. It may or may not apply to you but it sure did to me. There were so many subtle things he did that individually amounted to nothing, cumulative formed a mountain of abuse.

    http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/emotional_abuse.shtml

    I’m not sure if it applies to you but I’d be willing to bet a lot of SA’s engage in this type of behavior.

  27. Hi everyone,
    What a great exhange of care and experience. Thank you. I think I’m a little older that you women are, but I have piece that might be value-added about the therapist suggestion that after three months, The SA could do better if you let him back and work together on his recovery.

    Big red flags for me here:
    First, confirm this with his therapist. I have recently discovered that things can be rephrased by the SA to his preference when it comes to recommendations from the therapist.

    Second, Since when does his healing take precedence over yours? You are dealing with the trauma and devastation to your life, at the same time as being primary caregiver to children. It seems to me that he should accommodating your schedule for recovery.

    Third, (related to #2) You need to state your priority concerns for yourself and your children. If you haven’t done this piece of your own work, please do it. Otherwise it will ALWAYS default to his agenda. The 12 steps are designed for one star only, and that is the SA. The rest of us are props for the program. And if the therapist really did say that, then they are running off that platform. Not good for you.

    Fourth, my personal reaction. Three months isn’t long enough to even catch your breath. After 8 months living apart I am only now beginning to see clearly—what happened to me, what I can do about it, what I want, what I need, what I will accept. And I’m no slouch in the “do the personal work area” and have been working with my therapist.

    Anyway, that’s what came to mind about your situations. I wish you only good things.
    D.

  28. Thank you D. As you hope for only good things so do I. Someday I hope to be able to share wisdom with others as you all do.

  29. Hi First I want to thank everyone for making this so much easier for me I have been reading every word you have written I have been tring to write my story but i have no idea where to start I did write in about what broke me about my daughters mem card and my SA. anyway I have joined recovery nation and i do have an appt to see someone on mon.and wed. my SA is seeing a addiction social worker who deals with addiction not SA hes had 3 clients in his 40+years and he went to a SA meeting Fri brought home a white chip I was not impressed From everything I have read I really believe that many sources should be used in the treatment of this type of addiction I maybe totally off here but I have found in the short time I have been trying to help myself the more I put in the more I feel a little more normal please give me your insite on this also is recovery nation as good as I believeit is
    I will write my story as soon as I can put the pieces together

    kat

  30. Hi Kat,
    I have been doing recovery nation as well and I’m really getting a lot out of it as I am from all the wonderful women here. The lessons are terrific – helping me to understand my own values and goals as well as grasp this sa thing. I’m feeling more normal as well! That’s huge isn’t it?

    My partner is going to see a therapist and I have no idea if this person knows word one about addiction. Wouldn’t matter I guess as my partner (and he says his therapist) have declared that he does NOT have sex addiction. Although from tidbits that he’s mentioned, I’m wondering if the therapist isn’t rethinking that.

    The support has been life saving for me. I can believe how generous everyone is with their feedback and compassion. I feel hope – just in the last two days really. I know I’ll be okay with or without my partner and I’m certain that I will never again accept a relationship with him that includes his active addiction and all the lying and abuse that comes with it.

  31. I’d like to know how it is even possible to consider living apart. I feel like the only thing that keeps him from acting out is the system of accountability we have in place, and the fact that he is where he says he will be. I realize this is not a permanent situation, but I feel like we can only work on things if I now he is not acting out or, if he does act out, that he knows he will get caught.

    It seems like it is accepted to many that he will continue acting out and that it shouldn’t be my problem. Zero tolerance, for me, includes no acting out while living in the home, contributing to our finances, and participating in family life.

    If he leaves, in my eyes, it is over. I know what he will do the minute he is living elsewhere, and I can’t handle that. Why do so many people advocate giving this space to make more mistakes?

  32. Dear Jessie,
    I can feel the terrible stress you are under. Please know that we believe you have to do what you know is right for you. Our priority here is you and any children at risk in your home. So take some deep breaths and trust that in the mix of many voices, you will hear and know what seems the best options for you.

    My thoughts about your question and my experience with an SA are just mine—if they make sense, work with them, tweak them, try them, until you find your own.

    First thoughts: If your partner is so unable to self-regulate during a period of living apart—what exactly does that make you? The warden? Think very carefully about a life lived this way and whether it’s what you really want. And think carefully about a life partner who is using you for a very comfortable home base–which is likely also his safe place to which he returns after his acting so he looks “normal”. Now you get to be his cover, too? What has your life become about? is the best your life can be?

    Second thoughts: You, too are in crisis and have experience trauma. How will you deal with yourself and your own therapeutic needs while you are fully engaged in being warden/cover for your husband. You have experienced great loss in the discovery of your partner’s secret life. When do you start looking after yourself? That’s very hard to do with an SA—because the world is all about them—in their addiction and in their recovery programs. And the standard procedure for them to blame their “slips” on what you are or aren’t doing. As long as there is someone else to blame—that’s where the blame goes. SA recovery programs are not a nice experience for the spouse—strange as that may sound, and especially at the beginning when it’s pretty shallow going. You see, for these completely self-absorbed people, any momentary and fleeting thought of someone else’s feelings is such a huge concession that they really think they have achieved something outstanding. Living apart spares you that insane-making arrogance, and therefore stops some of the ongoing abuse. This actually works in favour of keeping reconciliation possible!!! They just aren’t able to do as much damage to the relationship while they are coming out their narcissistic posture in life. They gradually learn that one thought for someone else’s well-being a day isn’t quite enough.

    Third thought:
    Almost all SA’s have a truly hideous childhood trauma underneath their addiction. It is something that deserves our compassion and support in addressing it. Unfortunately, the goal of sobriety, once reached, even for a short period, often leaves SA’s feeling they’ve work so hard already, they don’t need to go deeper in therapy to address the gaping wound underneath it all. Living apart can keep them on the healing journey, not just the getting sober one. From my experience with this truth, it is not the SA acting out that ultimately ruins a relationship, it is the original wound that, when left untreated, will end the relationship permanently. Because the SA acting out was the release of that energy in one direction. Turn off that tap, and it come out another way—often more directly targeting the spouse.

    That’s enough for now, dear Jessie. It’s so much information and not all applies and no one can sort it out but you. We can’t help but make you and your children our priority here, but we do hope for healing for SA’s. We just aren’t fooled by much of their “oh, I’m so hurt” schtick anymore. There’s just doesn’t seem to be a lot of new material. When an SA does the work, no one cheers louder that the women on this site. But when they blame and whine and accuse and sulk–they get what they get.

    I hope you will find the light you need. Trust yourself. Listen to yourself. You are a good person and want good things for the people you love. That just sometimes takes us in an unexpected direction.

    love,
    D.

  33. Jessie and Diane,

    While I am still living with my SA I am currently considering the seperation for this very reason. I am tired of being the warden and also had the faint impression that it would get him out from under our roof and his issues are his and mine are mine. I am 7 months into this and I feel that this may be the next step for me. I do not see enough progress in him and no paradigm shift, I from what I gather I could be waiting forever for this. But there are differing schools of thought: some stay and some go. Everyones situation is different.

    For myself I find that in general when he is not around that I feel better and calmer and there is alot less stress. He works second shift and I work a day job, if he did not I am certain he would already be out.

    Diane has some very great wisdom for you Jessie. Maybe think of these decisions from the perspective of an outside third party point of view. Analyze how it is from that prospective. Also gauge yourself. How are doing? Because as Diane said the SA is the only star in their recovery. You have to take care of you, no one else will and certainly not the SA.

    This is a topic I have been thinking and toiling with for a few weeks. But the inlaws will be involved because the SA just wants to run home to mommy and daddy even though he is over 30. So once this happens the inlaws will be involved with the children etc. Not ready for that quite yet until I am sure. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. And as time goes by your ideas of what you need change. I personally never thought of this as an option, but there is actually and entire book devoted to the topic entitled “should I stay or go”. It describes the process and she promotes it because it takes out the emotion and gives space when space is needed under controlled terms. There is also something else called a healing seperation agreement which I thought also sounded good, of course my SA bulked at that one.

    Living the life of a warden is not fun, where is the joy in life for you. Plus as we say with teenagers “if they want to do it, they will find a way”. I think this is also true of an SA. And he will lie to your face about it wether you live together or not.

    Good luck to you Jessie. 🙂 We are in these uncharted waters together. There is not a set plan that works unfortunately. Maybe with the help of JoAnn and some wise others some day there will be.

  34. Hi,

    I loved your post, too, Diane. Always, so brilliant!

    Oh my— I know this is hard to believe, but the book you mentioned, Flora, “Should I stay or Go” was written by my mommy– Lee Raffel. Small world, huh??? 🙂 She incorporates, into the book, a method which she devised called “Controlled Separation.” Its different from a trial separation as there are clear guidelines to follow.

    BTW, I think I’ve said this before, but she went back to college in her late 40s and got her MSA at 50 and started her private practice at 55 after completing her obligation to work for the state of Wisconsin for a few years. She’s quite a woman! She’s going to be 88 later this month and still sees clients and travels to conferences!

  35. I meant MSW– and whoa… but the other therapist who wrote in is from Wisconsin too! small, small, SMALL WORLD!

  36. I just wanted to say that reading this thread is beautifully spirited with a familiarity and trust existing between all of you. I am over the moon to find some commonalities and wisdom. This site is remarkable. “D” day was only 6 weeks ago. I too am still living with my SA. He has been away working now for 7 days with 7 more to go and I am not looking forward to him distracting me from my reflection of recovery. We cant afford for him to move out at present but am thinking he should sleep in the basement. It is just for 7 days, which in that time he is with us all day and night, until his next work hitch. I need to find a job. 3 more months and my youngest baby is 1 year old. I really dont want to impair my recovery progress. Any suggestions?

  37. Lorraine,
    Wow that is your mom? Great book, I read it from cover to cover. I actually bought this one, could not find it in the library. She is a real go getter. Not your run of the mill book either. I like the ones that tend to rock the boat. I also like the stuff that Joanne and Barbara put together because they have a new refreshing prespective. Not the same mish mash with a different title. Like so many of the SA book and books on spouses of SA. It’s always the same stuff, just a different cover.

    Good for her! Great smart lady!

  38. Diane & Flora,

    Thank you so much for your words of kindness and experience. I guess to some extent I know I am banging my head against a wall, but I keep thinking that if he is in this safe and monitored situation, that it will keep him honest and save him from himself as he *hopefully* moves forward and starts his recovery. I guess my boundaries and consequences for those boundaries have either not been clear or not stuck to, and frankly our situation is such that both financially and for other reasons (for now), neither of us can move out anyway.

    It is sad, and I am devastated as I continue to grasp how serious the situation is. Not in terms of escalation, but in terms of both his inability to control it and lack of understanding for what this means to me. For a while I have thought things were great (quick fix trap?) and sort of buried my head in the sand, not letting myself think about it or feel anything, content with the knowledge that he was being monitored and knew it.

    But this weekend I discovered he has been using my work computer (KNOWING I can check the records – I monitor it as well, just in case – but I don’t get an alert for suspicious behavior on my own pc) for weeks and weeks to look at porn, almost daily, sometimes several times a day – after I went to sleep, before I woke up, in the garage while I was upstairs with the kids getting ready for work.

    And surprise – he’s been more helpful around the house, been thankful for all I do, etc, and I have responded to that behavior by being kinder, letting down my guard, and allowing myself to be more intimate with him – not just in the form of more frequent sex, but in more intimacy in general. I feel like alot of what I responded to was false.

    That said, ladies, he started scrambling for things that would help him – maybe because he wants help, maybe because he wants me to think he wants help, I don’t know. I am against meetings because I think they are a perfect place for SA’s to find other SA’s to hook up with, especially when they are monitored so closely everywhere else. I sent him a link to JoAnn’s Fury, and naturally he knew that I was posting here and has done a good job of making me feel humiliated about it.

    However, since what is here is honest and necessary, I don’t see any reason to stop reading or posting. JoAnn has helped me feel tremendously better about being here regardless, and since I am still without an outlet, I need this place. So, thanks.

  39. Dear Flora & Diane,

    I too am in a similar situation to yours. I for now, have chosen to live in the home with my SA as he begins recovery. says he’s committed-we’ll see. Can’t help but ask the question, is he giving me just the right amount to keep me there? Am I being too soft, and not giving hard consequences by leaving? I don’t know yet. I do feel he will be off and running if I go at this point. And I don’t want 6 mos later- “babe I’ve made great progress, and I want you to move back” only to find it is another shallow, denial, move. The one pro of being warden and staying in the home for me, is that I get to look at actions. That gives me some degree of comfort. but still….what Diane says makes a hell of a lot of sense.

    For me SA says this morning, “I know my addiction makes me want to act outside the relationship, and I think I will always want that. But I don’t want my addiction in place of my wife, child, life we have built. I guess I wanted my cake and eat it too. but I know logically that I can’t have it. I am committed to reconcile those desires and want to become healthier and happy person, and be happy together.”
    Is this BS? Is this progress? Is this some kind of sick compliment from a twisted soul? don’t know what to think. thoughts?
    i feel like this. I am a healthy female with a healthy libido. I am 41. Apparantly, older woman, younger men (age 29 30 or so) are a great sexual match. I am often hit on and approached. I could of had my cake and ate it too, many a time. I don’t use addiction as an excuse for my sexual desires. I choose to stay committed to our marriage. Perhaps its time I am not the only one. And Like him: I don’t want to lose our home, our life etc, for a quick rendevouz with a hot young guy. Who can probably give it to me better than you ever did, and then some.
    Why do SA’s think they are the only sexual one’s? oh, because they are the only ones that matter.

  40. Pam,

    Wow – you really hit the nail on the head with that last paragraph. I think we’d all agree that we’ve had alot of opportunities but no desire – out of love, loyalty, faith. When (the first and second) D-Day happened, my husband was so afraid I was going to use it for a get-out-of-jail-free card to have my own illicit encounter. As a formerly promiscuous teenager/young adult, this 30 yr old version of me couldn’t imagine why I would want to do that, the idea sickened me.

    The difference is that when we hold out our two hands and put the weight of a combined home, life, history, and family with this person in one hand and put a sexual encounter or affair in the other, we can clearly see which one carries more weight. They can’t, or don’t want to.

  41. btw- hope the above didn’t sound too obnoxious. I just get so sick of the arrogance/self centeredness SA. Not serious about meeting younger guy. Just giving example of how ridiculous I think some of the things being said from SA are. This disease de-sexualizes the partner/wife on many levels. While it is possible to correct, I don’t know if I need to hear every thought process associated with his “state of being.”

  42. Pam,

    I don’t think it was in the least bit obnoxious. It was very real– and yeah, I think what he said was a load of crap.

    This was the giveaway for me.

    “I think I will always want that…I guess I wanted my cake and eat it too. but I know logically that I can’t have it”

    WHAT??????????

    LOGICALLY???

    He knows LOGICALLY?????????????????

    What an immature selfish prick.

    Sorry— grrrrrr…(actually reigning in my anger, because this is just so enraging) I’m so so sorry, but that is NOT a marriage.

    Honey, I have to tell you… I’ve made a friend with a guy who has an online blog about his sex addiction. His wife THINKS he’s all better… not. And this guy KNOWS he’s fucked up. Your husband isn’t even in the ball park. Sorry, but he just isn’t.

    No one can make the decision for you to hang in there, or not; just know that he appears to not be committed to REAL recovery at this time. He just got caught and therefore, “logically” he knows that he has to put on a good show for his wife. 🙁

    I’m so sorry for your ordeal.

    ((((hugs))))

    Lorraine

  43. Dear Lorraine

    Thank you for keeping it real. Needed to hear that. yeah, the “logically” thing. How’s this for logical – gee honey, logically I know what a dirty lying scum of a man you are, yet illogically I am here with you still. It’s called eat my pain and live with yours too. what a bargain.
    Lorraine- I WANT CAKE.

  44. I hear you honey and you deserve it with lots of icing, and whipped cream too. (hmmmm… that was NOT meant as a double entendre!!!) LOL

  45. Dear Lorraine,

    Would like your no BS approach to a situation this evening. If you wouldn’t mind — would love your take on something. A little background–had legal seperation worked out, and plans to move out as of 2 weeks ago. Bailed wasn’t ready, I cracked, he cracked, we wanted to work it out etc, did not want split family lose marriage. Found out about SA’s addiction because he confessed. Porn, prostitutes, she males. All of it. He said he confessed because he wants to change his life, get help. whatever.
    he started therapy, changed all bank accounts to my name only no access to money. beginning 12 step. saw some light and hope, he honestly seemed better more present, thought we had a chance.

    This evening. SA out at client meeting, called and asked why my voicemail is full. I pretty much am really bad about that, it is thing that bugs him about me. He started to grill me about why I don’t check, we have staff calling about checks. I cut payroll checks for biz. I copped an attitude, I know he doesn’t like, but he was bugging the crap out of me (withdrawels on this crap make him OCD on ridic minutia) we got into it. This attitue of mine he says has been there since beginning of relationship, and he has asked me to work on it. He said if I am not going to work on it, give him run around in conversations, answering him in a better manner, he will change banks back to him and stop his “get well program.”
    I said they are unrelated, and everytime you get upset threatining to stop recovery is way out of bounds. you need to commit regardless of the things you are asking from me, they are seperate.
    Do I play this game? the game–, not give him any reason to go off program? Is that even possible? i am human, i lose my patience. such BS, it is cruel. I told him if he bails and bases it off what he is getting, not getting from me, he does not love his daughter or himself becasue he is wrecking the family, it will end. He says, i need to show him i am willing to change then I get what I want from him, i.e. recovery. how can he even threaten with that? recovery is not conditional or linked! this is so sick. It’s like, one attitude from me, and he has reason to stop. so disappointed. Please, rip away. thanks for love and realness. how is it possible a person can even behave like this?

  46. Okay, I’m not Lorraine,
    But I know an jerk when I hear him described.

    This is all about ego, pride, arrogance. He doesn’t like being the one who “owes” you, so he’s trying to make you “owe” him. He can’t stand you being in the power position so he’s trying to change that around. This has to do with his addiction not just to sexual acting out, but to the power of his secret life, the control it makes him feel he has in life. The arrogance of these SA men is so huge it’s like Mr. Staypuff in Ghostbusters. If he can’t build himself up by acting out, he will do it by criticizing you and threatening you.

    Geez Pam, he’s being a real asshole. Of course your voicemail box is not related to his sexual addiction. As soon as he brings that into play—he’s just using that incident as an excuse to abuse.

    D.

  47. Pam,
    Haven’t followed the whole story but sounds like a classic tyring to blame it one you. Deflecting the issue of him and throwing blame to you. He is just looking for excuses. What you do and what your attitude is has nothing to do with his recovery, that is his own. It’s just a copout… plain and simple. Don’t let him get to you either. I also think he is trying to ruffle your feathers and thats not nice in such a tough situation.

  48. Pam,

    I’m flattered that you would like my opinion; you ARE a glutton for punishment– LOL, but you already know the answer and so does everyone else.

    Of course! He’s an abusive pig. First he makes a lame attempt at so-called recovery which we can plainly see is merely lip service and now he’s making hideous threats to you. Its unconscionable behavior coming from a grown man who’s acting like he’s about 5.

    He is using a manipulative tactic that abusers and people who have brain damage, like my autistic son use.(and for that matter, your h might have that too!) He turns it all around on you; makes it YOUR fault; YOUR problem; and if YOU don’t change (that horrible “attitude” of yours that has been there since before the flood) he will go back to having sex with diseased whores and “she-males” and of course, you know that a she-male is a MAN who’s taken a lot of hormones to get boobs, but is still a MALE with MALE parts and male parts that carry lots of hideous diseases and they put those hideous diseases inside the man that you have sex with.

    Quite frankly, if it was me, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I would’ve been outta there, no matter what personal sacrifice, faster than you can say– here, sign this please.

    “Client meeting”??? Is that so? Predator used that line on me too. What fucking client meeting begins at 8:00 at night??? Oh yeah, I forgot… predatory animals usually sleep during the day and do their prowling at night.

    Pam– What on earth are you doing? You have a daughter and for God’s sake, you want her around this lunatic??? My mom,(the book writing counselor) has told me that one out of five walking around on this planet are victims of INCEST. Of course, I’m not accusing your hubbie of anything. But, he has already proven that he is capable of anything. Do you even want to take a chance that he is behaving in inappropriate ways with and around your daughter? Maybe THAT is why he is hell bent on keeping the family “intact.” I’ve never said this before– to anyone, but my father used to walk past my bedroom with the flap on his boxers completely wide open so as to expose himself. That’s what sickos do.

    Have you been checked for ALL STDs including HPV? If you don’t already have it, you WILL be getting it if you are having sex with him, with or without a condom.

    Quite frankly, if I were in your tired shoes, I’d go straight to my lawyer and sue the fucker for DIVORCE— and pronto. Separation??? How much more abuse do you want to have to take and have your daughter exposed to?

    Your husband has ALREADY, single-handedly RIPPED YOUR FAMILY APART. You played no part in that whatsoever, unless you want to count the full mail box. Sorry, I forgot about that… You horrible horrible woman you! How could you do such a thing????????????????????????????????????????????

    I know what you’re thinking.

    “What if I’m making a terrible mistake and he really IS trying?”

    That’s a very good question Pam. And I’m glad you asked me that. 😉

    I will tell you this. Even IF he wasn’t a sex addict, and if somehow by some Divine miracle he “recovers” from that.(which he has about a one in a billion chance of doing) he’s STILL an abusive asshole. If you’re okay with that and a surprising number of women are, then yes— stay married, but don’t complain.

    Was that what you wanted to hear? I only write from my heart, Pam. Its all I know how to do. I really am sorry that I have the need to write such awful things about anyone. I’m so sorry that evil exists. But, it does. I’m sure that your h was the victim of abuse, himself. Its very very sad, yes–but there is nothing that you can do about that. It is up to him.

    Love,

    Lorraine

  49. Do you hear that? That is my loud thunderous applause to Lorraine! Bravo! Perfectly said.

    Pam, kick him to the curb, get away from the insanity of his control and manipulation and you will have a moment of clarity and sense of peace that has been missing in your life for so long.

    Once you step away from all the maddness and complete illogical bs they are so good at you will suddenly see it from a whole new perspective. You will also find a new strength inside you to deal with all his bs.

    Once I got out from under the maddness these assholes impose on us, I could finally breath. I hadn’t breathed in years. I lived with the pent up anxiety, frustration, and fear for so long I didn’t even realized how bad it was.

    You may even find him take a whole new approach to his recovery if he realizes he really is going to lose you. I think so many SAs think they can get away with anything and that there are truly no real repercussions because we will always take them back. They have to know that is not the case.

    I so wish we were all together drinking coffee or better yet margaritas and could really say so much more than typing allows. Thank God we at least have e-support.

  50. Lorraine,
    I feel like you should have a show. “This has been straight talk with Lorraine.” We are all greatfull for your posts.

    Pam,
    I had one more thought for you, and this is from another book I read. We as women tend to project our values onto other people. So in the case of my SA… I don’t feel that it is okay to lie to your spouse. So assumed that he did not as well. I also assumed that it was a major boundary violation to look at porn while watching our daughter. I also thought he would not cross that line. These are MY values. I projected them onto him. But in all reality they are not his. His are DIFFERENT, and he did lie and look at porn in front of our daughter.

    We as women make this mistake. I want to beleive the best of people, but with an SA that is a major mistake. The book is called “When your lover is a liar”. It was a really good book. Definately recommend. Got it from the library, bought a copy to keep. Whether you stay or go, live with or without, it helped me see through the crap. Tells you about listening to yourself and your inner voice.

    Sorry for typos.

  51. Pam,

    my husband calls this my “get-out-of-jail-free card” or my “arguement ender”. We fight, I get angry, but my anger or what I am responsible for is in no way even remotely close to what he has done, so he claims I pull out my card and end the arguement, because it trumps all else.

    Here’s the thing – his recovery does not and should not depend on your attitude. Granted your attitude about his recovery mught help or hinder him, but your attitude about other things HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. He is trying to take something you obviously want – his recovery, your intact family – and hold it over your head to modify behaviors of yours that he doesn’t care for.

    The fact of the matter is that FIRST he must show progress on his recovery. THEN you must work through the issues of the damages of his SA with a therapist together. THEN if there are other issues in your marriage – communication, personality conflicts, etc., you can work on those.

    It is selfish (and typical) that he would think of his recovery as something he is doing for you, and thus that you should be working on yourself as well. The only working you should be doing is on your own healing and keeping your daughter the focus of your life – protecting her and giving her the memories she will grow up to cherish.

    As Lorraine said, as much as we want to think that this disease does not also contain pedophilia, sometimes it does, or just exhibitionism that knows no age boundaries, or a porn habit so ill-concealed that children can easily be exposed to it. She’s right that we should all be watchful – but that extends to non SA spouses, family members and other adults in your children’s lives, no matter how normal they seem or how much you love them.

  52. thank you all. sometimes in this insanity, unless someone has actually lived through this madness, it is hard to get advice. All of you are so helpful in this dark pit. t is true never mind the sa, what about good ol manipulation, control and abuse and just being an ahole? love how it is turned around. And it is true, if we choose to stay, I guess we get what we bargain for. As for daughter, Lorraine I would agree with your concern. But unless I have hard evidience in court, he will fight for joint custody. Then she is alone with him. I don’t know if I am putting her at more risk in a decision to leave. I think it about it quite a bit. Heavily.

    The brain damaged one as of this morning is “sorry” – who gives a %&^%(^! says he will no longer make threats to block recovery. gee how nice. That he was beyond wrong in using it as a weapon and promises (does he know the meaning of that word?) not to ever use it again as weapon. Said he was having an emotional, wanting to act out episode. Took his crap out on me. Said he needs to own his problem not blame me or use me as an excuse. He called sponsor got some advice. well, at least there’s that much. even if after the fact. Do I take his call to his sponsor seriously?
    I told him his recovery was BS and has been giving me lip service only. No real committment. I told him that he is solely responsible for it, and ruining his family, his wife and his daughter. He is asking for chance to prove his committment to recovery and to his family, even after last nights nasty episode.

    Made appt with divorce mediator. let him sit down and count his pennies, and what he stands to lose in this. If i don’t matter, his wallet will. I have been more than fair and patient!

    phone is ringing — it’s SA. I am letting it go to voicemail. hee
    cant thank you enough for support

  53. Pam,

    Let me tell you what I did. And my SA is reading this site now, but we talked about what I am going to share with you, and I feel like we’ve come to a resolution that will work for both of us as far as any future separation.

    When I first made discoveries, there was evidence. Emails, secret email addresses, profiles, etc., and then there were emails and chats between us discussing what happened, admissions of guilt etc. I took that evidence and emailed it to myself in an email address he cannot access. The only reason I would pull that evidence out is if, in a divorce, he would try to sue me for palimony (I am the breadwinner, he has threatened me with this) or take my kids and get support from me etc (also threatened). Although this would help me in court, more than that it wouldn’t GO to court. He does not want this information to be made public, he does not want his family to know. We could agree on a settlement based on that alone.

    We talked last night, and he wants to get a post-nuptual agreement – stipulating custody, money situations etc – to give me the protection I would need in the event of a divorce. In return, I will destroy my evidence, since I don’t have any desire to ruin him or out him to his family, I just want to protect myself and my children. Destroying that evidence has another element of good to it as well. Should he recover and we heal as a couple, he doesn’t have to feel that I will ruin him in the public eye at any moment. I think this could be, for us, an important part of building intimacy and trust, but without leaving me unprotected if it all goes to shit.

    I don’t know what, if any, evidence you have or can get. But a good computer forensic expert – not that expensive compared with what you could lose in a divorce – could get some for you if you are not computer savvy. Divorce lawyers these days can hook you up with someone who does that.

  54. Jessie,

    Interesting, that your husband is reading this.

    It is not advisable for you to get rid of ANY evidence that you might need in the future. He f**ked up and this is the consequence. TS. Please, stand up for YOURSELF and YOUR rights.

    You cannot trust him and HE is the one who violated YOUR trust, not the other way around and on top of it, he’s already making threats to you??? What a guy.

    His request is total crap. Don’t fall for it!!! You need to protect yourself and your children at ALL costs. Please!!!

    xo,

    L

    To husband,

    Sorry, husband. I truly am… Time to GROW UP and be a MAN and take some responsibility for your actions. Leave your wife be… you’ve already put her through more than enough HELL.

    If you’re not prepared to do the time, don’t do the crime!!! and don’t you dare put your children in the middle of this mess. YOU are the one who created it and will have to deal with the consequences!

  55. Personally, I will never destroy the “evidence” I have gathered. You just never know when you will really need it. Don’t make deals with the devil!

  56. Jessie, I agree, I could not type this fast enough after I read your comment. That evidence is extremely valuable. Any agreement, especially a post nuptial, which each state interprets differently, can easily be broken.

    What’s to stop him from seeking custody after all evidence of who he really is is destroyed? I speak from the experience of my first divorce. My husband (I married the boy next door), who was a real sweetie, turned on me like a vampire when I sought a divorce.

    Our agreement was that if I let him have almost everything he would not file for custody (at that time we lived in a state that was very ‘father’ friendly–kind of a backlash to women’s rights).

    So, I gave up most of my life for my freedom and to keep my children and two months later he filed for custody. He did eventually get ‘joint’ custody which lowered my support payments significantly even though I had a very good lawyer!

    This is manipulation at it’s finest. He is not in ANY position to be bargaining right now.

    I would have an attorney hold on to a copy of that evidence, and keep yours in at least two safe places.

  57. Dear Jessie and Amy

    I like this post nuptiual. My only concern is, once evidence is gone, its gone. That stuff is better than gold. I don’t know if a post nuptual can be challanged or not. I know even pre-nups can. Otherwise, what a great idea. Sa doesn’t know I have any hard evidence. Saving for rainy day. I have a couple emails most incriminating from Craigslist,(his response to sex ads) plus I have copy of medical record from Health application. Shows std was contracted just 1 year ago-gonorreah. I would think that would help me. Today I am angry. the thought of him being exposed makes me smile. A nice public humiliation fantasy of his mother and friends knowing what ails him, would be enjoyed. I could enlcose his health history and anonymous sex emails in Christmas cards. But I am venting. 🙂

    Still, I want meeting with an attorney on my own. See what my options are. I will bring up Post nuptual as well.
    Thanks for great advice. I like the idea. I am glad that you have found a tool that is working for both of you and your children.

  58. Btw–posted before I read from Joann and Lorraine. Ignore last paragraph from me. I am still Jello. They are right on. keep your evidence. I am holding on to mine.

  59. Well after some investigation, even with good attorneys involved, a post-nup cannot dictate child custody, only property division (of which we have none) and money/support etc. So that won’t work anyway. Its unfortunate, because I feel that the evidence is necessary, but I also feel like it creates a fear/control dynamic that I don’t want.

    Although I understand everyone’s concern, I have made some powerful decisions and statements over the last few days and I feel like I am in a place of strength, regardless of evidence. There are other things in his life and history besides this that will give me what I need should we face a nasty court fight. I just wish the post-nup would have covered everything.

    But since, it doesn’t you don’t have to worry, I can’t get rid of it. What a seriously awesome outpouring of support, though! Thanks ladies.

  60. As one who is in the middle of court cases even after divorce, DESTROY NOTHING and KEEP RESEARCHING. For your children.
    He’ll get worse, they don’t stop and they lie lie lie lie. They lie about themselves and worse, they lie about you….flat out bold faced, and they will try and fool anyone they can. They will go against court orders and they will hurt you, even through your children, even hurt the children, all in attempts to glorify themselves, keep their lifestyle (sex and self), and nothing is important to them except that.
    If he is pulling that blame you trick now, even when he has absolutely nothing to complain about at all, you are being perfect in everyway, he will make something up and believe it just so he can continue. And he will make sure everyone else will believe it to the best of his lying ability.
    It will all be at yours and your children’s expense, just like his lifestyle has been. The red flag is waving high, and it wants your white flag.
    Abuse in every way over and over.

  61. Dear Lynn

    How do we battle our reputations and their lying SA tongues? Even if we leave them? They are amazing liars. Honestly, the only one my SA can damage is my child-the most important. He has no friends. Only his mother. Who is friendless as well. His siblings know about “him” and are supportive of me, especially my sister in law. But How do we stop the abuse, even after we leave if children are involved? Honestly, it is one of the reasons that keeps me in the home, I feel at least I can damage control, make sure my child is not being poisoned by him. but perhaps making a move for myself, will prove to my daughter, what a heel he really is. It is such a major gamble. I have no reason that he will not want joint custody and get it. Any suggestions on how to protect ourselves from their venom?

  62. I left my first child’s father and fortunately he was stupid enough to put his hands on me. So I got a lifetime restraining order. Child custody, based on his behavior, was through the injunction and in my favor. Support was agreed upon – but I don’t get it, although I have the satisfaction of knowing he can’t finance anything or even get a passport. (He also was a serial cheater although not, I don’t think, an SA. Just abusive as hell.)

    What I thought would be a huge battle, turned out not to be. He may fight for his rights, just to have them, but let him think you will have plans and I can guarantee he will stop showing up for his visits. Also, he will be eager to continue pursuing his sexual deviance, and having his kid around will cramp his style.

    No matter what a total asshole he is, for a long time it is important that your kid not know that. When the ex would flake on a visit, I would use the word irresponsible. Also, inform your child what is and whats not ok. That she should never have secrets from mommy about anything. Hell, you can put a spycam in her bag to get evidence. HE CAN ALWAYS LOSE THE CUSTODY HE GETS.

    While it is ideal that she would have both parents be normal, thats not always possible. She can see you taking the high road and being a good example. It it glory? No, not now and not for a while. But when they get older, they KNOW. I promise you this.

  63. WHen I first found out some of the things my SA was up to, I did not save the evidence. I was angry hurt ect and deleted it all.
    Well, when I found the BIG eveidence a few months back, I knew to be calm and rational. I copied and screen shoted everything I could. I saved the photos he had posted of himself. I have these saved in 3 seperate online email accounts, and I have a copy on my own pc which is encrypted with a password.
    I feel secure that no matter what happens, I will have that evidence should I ever need it.
    I don’t see it as something I can hold over him. In fact, he doesn’t know I have it. I see it as an insurance policy for myself. While I believe he would never fight me in a divorce, you never know how these things will turn out.
    After all I have been through, if worse comes to worse, and he gets nasty, I have no problem using my evidence against him.
    Its not a game of tit for tat, and I hope I will never ever have to use it, but if I need to , I will.
    The humiliation I have felt for years will come back to him 10 fold if those photos are ever released to the world.

  64. My first husband did the same thing… all smoke and mirrors to scare me. Threatened soul custody etc. After the divorce he watched them once a week when i was taking a college class. this was only because I made him as the kids were always asking where is daddy? After much yelling on my part as to how I was tired on explaining to the kids ..this reason or that reason as to why he could not come to see them. Now he sees them about once a month. And when he has a girlfirend he is actually more reliable, but when he is single they don’t see him much. Puts a cramp in his dating I guess.

  65. Pam,
    The only protection against their manipulation is to call it, and the only way to do that is with proof. Even then, courts, therapist, everyone will keep giving chances to him. I am after 3 years finally sick of it all and flat out telling everyone, no more chances. He had his chances and nothing ever changed him, he will never change and only gets worse.
    Nothing can be done about the people he lies to except to show the proof. Even then it is AMAZING to watch people look directly at court evidence (hospital stays when he did one of his physical abuses, witness accounts, bank statements, emails) and STILL somehow make an excuse or even flat out say they don’t believe it.
    You have to be tough, and as I have discovered, there is no nice and no second, third, fourth chances. Because it never ends. I was nice, I had hope, I asked for help for him through the courts, I gave chance after chance….he never followed through, even when court ordered to attend therapy…….he just harassed me more and lied even worse. Horrible lies, to my son, to everyone, horrifying emails and actions to me.
    The most disheartening thing about it all is to realize that other people will lie to themselves in order to not have their comfy worlds and views imposed on….even at the expense of children.
    Proof, and determination is the only way to stop the abuse, and these liars will use more and more lies to try and manipulate. Be ready, have your proof, and put it all out there and stop the abuse anyway you can. I had to block any and all contact, he was killing me (and trying to bait) with lies and threats and every bad there is..there is NO reasoning with them..then he focused it on my son, lied to my son, the most horrific lies, to defame me, to hurt. He even contacted my then boyfriend’s (now husband)ex-wife trying to start stuff from that end….did not even know her! Had to research God knows how to figure out her name and who she is and she lives in another state! She is a piece of work herself, and from every end I was getting attacked. More harassment, more lies, more defaming, more court…..and the kicker is, I never did a thing to him except catch him (he actually told on himself by mistakenly calling me instead of another woman when we were married) and then divorce him, AFTER he left us……I had loved him with everything and he completely devastated my son and my life, and he did not leave it at just that, he kept devastating us even as we tried to make a new life………yet he accuses me of the very things he did and worse! It is utterly the most unimaginable abuse there is……and I never did one thing to him except say no more.
    The manipulation is how they live, and the only way to fight it is to cut them out of your life and limit with court anymore damage they can do. In order to do that you have to have proof.
    I am so sorry I cannot tell you it is easy, or that courts will completely protect you and your children. The only protection that is sure is being strong and wise yourself, and fighting to make it stop. It is a continual battle. No contact will drive them nuts, but it is the only way to get a partial escape from their abuse. The abuse never ends, the lying never stops, as long as they have access to you.
    Get restraining orders, call police if they hit, do not, do not let it slide with promises of therapy……..don’t let sympathy for them make your decisions……I did that and the therapy did not happen and then all of a sudden it was okay to hit me and belittle and lie more….and “let him be him”. Protect yourself and your children, honor is something the abusive really sick SA does not have, and if he is like mine, he will mutilate you if given the chance.

  66. To anyone who has posted:

    Anyone live in southern california area? If so, please let me know. I prefer not to publish my personal email on this website, but perhaps we can both email Joanne, and she can put us in touch. Would love to meet if anyone in my area. 🙂

  67. btw – Lynn, thank you. Well noted advice. It’s just plain scary no matter what way we turn. I admire your strength.

  68. I am new to this site and I am looking for some answers….I have know for a while about my husbands SA. I found the “proof” I was looking for a few weeks ago. He had sex with several women he met on-line. He confessed after I confronted home with the evidence. I talked to a few friends and sought out a counselor, he has also talked to our pastor and we went to counseling together. He has also written a letter to his parents outlining everything he has done in our 13 year marriage asking for their support in his recovery process. I want to believe him that he wants help only time will tell.
    My question is why do I want to have sex with him all the time, more than ever before??? I am “newly” attracted to him. Am I crazy for letting him back in our bed? Why do I want to even be close to him? I am so confused about my emotions, I want him to get better & I want to continue to work on our marriage, am I hurting his beginning recovery process by having sex with him??

  69. g,
    I have been with my SA husband for 16 years and have known about it for that long (though not realizing the extent or how horrible this addiction is) I have been through the worst with him from arrests to everything in between. Early on, I felt the same way as you describe but trust me, it fades with the years. Looking back, I really belive it was a desperate grabbing at any security (although false) and needing to feel wanted and desired by him and I look back and feel like I was just scratching and clawing to find love and desire from this man, even attention. I have finally had enough and am waiting to seperate after Christmas but I just wanted to let you know that I felt the same way but could have never have admitted that to anyone but my sisters here.

  70. Finallywakingup,
    thank you for your response. I am still discovering how this has affected me. At this point he is trying to get help and figuring out why he has done this. I only hope it continues. I do believe that deep down he is a good man with an incredible terrible addiction. I am grateful that he has not spent any money on his addiction (i.e.) prostitutes, clubs etc…)nor has he had any run-ins with the law. I am grateful that I am good with computers and caught on before it escalated to that. Not that what he has done is not bad enough sleeping with multiple women, meeting them & sometimes their husbands (which to me is totally bazaar!) Anyway I have much reflecting to do on why I am still wanting him…

  71. Hi g,

    Your renewed desire for your husband is a very typical reaction when someone finds out that their spouse has been intimate with others. You are taking back what is yours and re-establishing your territory. Think of it like when a new male lion takes over a pride of lionesses. He ‘marks’ his territory with his urine, kills all the cubs and mates with all the females. It’s a basic instinct to reestablish your desirability and attractiveness and ‘take’ your husband back.

    Unfortunately it gives your husband a very bad message. You are telling him that whatever he does is alright, that there are no consequences. And, that need to feel desirable will quickly fade and turn to anger and despair. It is not intimacy, and will not do anything positive for your relationship.

    I would head straight for the counselor as fast as I could if I were you.

  72. Hi g and all,

    My husband has an affair 12 yrs ago with a coworker. I reacted the same way and agree with JoAnn its a territorial response. Had some of the best sex of my life. At the time, I didnt know he was a SA. Now 10 years later (2 months ago) I find out hes been a porn addict since adolence and at some point in time he went on to prostitutes. Hes been in outpatient treatment for two months AND is still having sex with prostitutes! The thought of having sex with him makes me want to PUKE!!! Do not walk to the counslor, RUN!!!!!!!!!!

  73. Hmmm….I wondered what that was all about. Every time my ex SA would come back into my life I couldn’t get enough of him and is weirded me out. I was in my late fifties and felt like a teenage boy. Thanks for shedding some light on that – as with many things it is nice to know that others have felt that way, too, especially because we tend to keep these kinds of things hidden but wonder about them at the same time.

  74. Yes Ladies- Keep the evidence!! I have it and I have multiple copies and stuff he doesn’t have a clue that I know about.

    Also, I had an incredicle flash of anger and jealousy that suprised me when he’d texed me something today. Additionally, I realized how completely important it is to my husband to be in control and to manipulate.

    I had unblocked the phone so he could set up visits the kids today and tomorrow. Phone is gonna get blocked again. I need my peace and space from that whiny, self-centered, immature, irresponsible, unempathetic, shell of of a human being. His pathos runs deep.

    I am back to praying for him tonight-because I need the serenity.

    The more I read from ya’ll, the more self-centered, arrogant texts I get from him, the more I am convinced that I cannot love my husband enough to continue going through his problem with him. My husband is beyond human aid and that’s why I know there’s a God and I ain’t Him.

  75. Can I ask you Fatchance, how do you handle issues with the kids when he is blocked from your phone? If there is an emergency, is there another means for him to call you? I only ask because I too would like to cut off all connection with mine. I am so sick of his bullshit and so sick of being the one he gets off on trying to control and manipulate. But our cells are the only phones we have, so if I block him I would have no outside connection to my son when he isn’t with me.

    I have a another question for anyone who’s husband has started recover. What was the breaking point for them? We got into it big yesterday after all presents were open as I found blantant proof yesterday that he is back to his sick practices (which i really knew inside anyway, but now just confirmed). I was actually proud of how I was able to keep my composure, but made a comment to him that until he gets himself out of denial and starts doing something to change himself he will forever be in endless meanliness relationships for the rest of his life. And I also made it very clear that if he ever does decide to find a woman who is NORMAL again to have an ongoing relationship with, that he needs to be aware right from the begining that it WILL NOT LAST. He will be pulling one more innocent victim in his life and will screw her up emotionally and mentally in the exact same way he has to me and every other woman before. I only said that cause that is one thing that really gets me still.. he had to know we weren’t going to last so WHY would he drag me into his hellish life, its nothing but a slow mental torture which he of course claims “I didn’t know”. Well now you know asshole.

    I also FINALLY put my foot down and drew some very clear boundries for myself. And told him he needed to make a decsion what kind of life he wanted to lead, and if his choice was to do NOTHING but go on the way he is, then have at it, accept this is the way it is and don’t look back, but I wanted nothing to do with it and he needed out of my life. Don’t fake hug me like you care, don’t try to keep me around by begging me not to give up on you and telling me I am the only one you ever loved, don’t slip and call me sweetie or honey, don’t call me to chat, i want NOTHING to do with him.

    Anyway, to my point.. a few hours after i left he sent me a text how what i said hurt, he doesn’t want nothing but meanliness relationships, how he knows he did horrible things to me that he will never be able to make up to me for and will regret them for the rest of his life, I am everything he has always wanted and does not understand why he can’t stop, blah blah blah. It in some way makes me at least feel better to hear that, but really is it just another way to control me? Its not like i haven’t heard that same panic and desperation in his voice before, so realistically i know that he woke up this morning the conversation was gone from his memory. So what is the point of no return for these men? What was it for them to at least TRY to get help, not because the partner is threatening to leave, not because they are being made to do something, but those that really want to make a change for themself?

  76. Hi littleb,

    I think each one has a bottom and it varies SA to SA. Some people will lose everything they have in the face of their addiction ( wife, family, home, money, job, arrest, etc) and they still wont stop.

    I think its important to look at my husbands actions and not listen to what hes saying. They will tell you whatever they want you to hear if it benefits them.

    I told my husband if he didnt get into a treatment program that I wouldnt be able to stay with him-our marriage would be over. Well, now hes been in a treatment program for 2 months and I have evidence of extramarital sexual activity-that he doesnt know I have. Now what? Im still trying to figure out what to do next. Its all very hard and really is tough.

  77. Thanks NAP, I am sorry your husband is still acting out. How is he able to act out still in a treatment program? Is it an outpatient treatment or inpatient? I hate to say it but it sounds like you may have no choice but to walk and move on right now until or IF he figures it all out. I am impressed you are able to keep your mouth quiet about what you have found all the while he is lying to about it, how do you do that? So frustrating this whole thing is. After I wrote the above, i had to talk to him this about the exchange of our son today and he started battering me about not buying him new shoes yet. As i anticipated, his feeling badly yesterday is already long forgotten. Needless to say my lack of impulse control got the best of me and I went OFF.

    He started his own in-house porn shop by inviting any whore willing to come over to his home so he could photograph them. When at his house yesterday he left the door to the spare bedroom open and a slew of very expensive lighting used for photography was set up all around the bed. Like the dumbass he is, he tried to tell me he was going to start photographing families and children.. seriously?? Your going to photograph kids on a bed in your home with no credentials or experience and you really think i am going to believe that?? He makes me sick to my stomach. In addition to the 1000.00 camera he purchased, now he has spent thousands on lighting and he is harrasing me about not buying our son a new pair of shoes. Excuse my language but FUCK OFF. I am trying desperatly to stay afloat and he is spending this money on totally unnessary shit and then has the gall to cry broke to me all the time, and constantly late paying me what he owes me. I am really seriously going to lose my freaking mind. I have to go on medication, i seriously feel like I could beat him sensly with a baseball bat. i can’t take this anymore.

  78. Dear Littleb,

    To answer your question:

    “It in some way makes me at least feel better to hear that, but really is it just another way to control me?”

    Yes, I believe so. Unfortunately, you really cannot believe one word that comes foaming out of his sick mouth.

    First of all, it took me quite a while to fully comprehend a few key points that were true about my SA and I believe most of them. We (the non-addict) operate as if the sex addict is normal— just like us. Your husband is not normal. Not even close. He has a DIFFERENT brain and a brain that NEEDS different things. Not just different in a man/woman way, but pathologically different. When he says he doesn’t know why he does what he does, he really means it. This is akin to him saying. “I don’t know why I need to eat every day, I just do, but honey… I’ll do ANYTHING, I’ll stop eating. I PROMISE! PLEASE, please, just don’t leave me!!!”

    But, of course, he CAN’T stop eating… So, he will start hiding when he eats and start hiding all of the food, too, because he knows if you catch him eating, you are going to be hopping mad and may even leave him.

    So, husband finds clever ways (he thinks) to keep EATING (so you won’t find out) and all’s great! He gets to eat and keep his comfy lifestyle, pretty wife, the kid, and his date for New Year’s eve…

    But…… when he SEES you slipping away, he suddenly starts grabbing onto you like he is in the middle of the pacific ocean and you are the only thing within hundreds of miles that he can grab onto. (you are)

    He is ONLY capable of meaningless shallow relationships. He is not capable of sustaining a long term, truly loving, intimate relationship with ANYONE. But, he does not know this about himself. He truly doesn’t and he doesn’t want to know, either. He thinks there’s nothing wrong with himself and that what you have together is the real thing; however, if a man is blind, how can he know the difference between green and red? He simply is incapable of understanding what “you are everything I need” means and he can’t stand all of the “senseless”, “hurtful”, “nonsense”, he’s being subjected to, so he will say ANYTHING, just to make it all stop. He cannot understand the truth of who he is, and what he does to women, because he thinks of himself as a “good guy” and your description sounds like a person he does not want to be. (but he is, of course) He says something to “calm you down.” “make you see REASON.” (his kind of fekked up reason) Goes to bed and all is “forgotten.”

    How painful–enraging. His behavior is disgusting, but we have to remember that he is a freight train— and for a freight train, he’s perfectly fine. The problem is… he’s a freight train masquerading as a devoted loving husband, but he is still a freight train.

    Point of no return? hmmm…A woman? NEVER! (dames are a dime a dozen) A heart attack? doubtful. Cancer? not until the later stages. Death is pretty much it, I’m afraid. (this is just my cynical, sarcastic view, of course. A few do reach a healthier state– maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it and if they do, it takes a VERY long time!)

    Is your son too young for his own phone? You can probably do an add-on cell for him for about $15 a month.

    I’m really sorry that you are dealing with all of this. I know the temptation is to do SOMETHING to try and make it all stop, even if you are only protecting the rest of the female population. But, you can’t. All you can do is take your son and RUN……….

    After all, he’s a freight train.

    Warm wishes,

    Lorraine

  79. Hi littleb,

    I can tell by your writings: your are smart, strong, loving, and caring. PLEASE dont get sucked into his world-dont go there with him. My therapist told me to pretend I have a circle around me and also pretend that my husband does too. Thats our personal boundries-KEEP your space and dont go in his-it will only make things worse plus we dont belong there.

    I think sometimes we think if we tell people off that it will matter in some way. Its so much better to say nothing and observe-it helps us keep perspective which is healthy and not to become part of the chaos.

    Youre smart and strong littleb. You can keep your circle nice and clean-you deserve it.

  80. Hi littleb,
    My phone is never blocked when my husband has the children. Also we have a 3rd party exchange person who can always be contacted. Incidently, my husband cannot be reached when there is a problem. If our children were on fire, he couln’t be summoned to urinate on them.

    Today, the children were going to be with their dad at 9 am. Our 3rd party is out of town, so my adult daughter from a previous marriage picked up the children at which time he told her that he was going to get the chilren at another time than what we had agreed on. When I texted to tell him we had plans at that time, he said he was tired in the morning because of the Soma he has to take.

    Poor baby, he’s tired. Well, then I told him that he had no empathy for what he had put the entire family through ith his rages over nothing so he could disappear for days and do his sex play. Further, I told him that I am tired too and I get up early 7 days and tend to sick children at night and work. So, I just let him know where I stood with his trying to “triangulate” and send messages through my daughter. Also, I told him this: “It’s fascinating how you carry on an imaginary relationship with me without my input. You already told me you don’t care what I think. Have fun with that.”

    He never responded to my suggestion of a time later today when my daughter would be available to transport the kids. So, I am blocking him since his modus operandi is to text me in the middle of the night when I am sleeping. No wonder he’s so tired!

    Littleb, I don’t know your man, but if he’s like the rest of these morons, then he’s just manipulating you with all the “I love you and you are the only one for me,” crap. Of course they think we’re the only ones for them: we don’t exist as REAL people with real opinions and experiences of our own. We are mere fantasies, like the rest of their lives. We’re just not that special, it’s true.

    But we are REAL people and we deserve REAL relationships, not this one-sided b.s.

    I am angry, but I don’t feel defeated today largely because he’s been away and I feel that I am becoming myself again and can see more objectively the fantasy haze in which he lives. It’s like going to a party where everyone is drinking and you’re not. You can see how silly the behavior can get.

    Love ya’ll on this website!

  81. Thank you all for your support, I am still in a state of shock and a little denial. On some days I just want it all to go away like it never happened…but I know that will never ever happen. It did happen and it DID and DOES affect me. I will see my counselor this week and discuss this all with him.

    Does anybody have experience with their husbands going to a “treatment” center for the weekend or week. Where did he go and was it worth it?? I am considering asking my husband if he would be willing to go to a local treatment center for a few days of intensive treatment. I was just wondering if something like this worked? Thanks!

  82. G,

    I don’t have any experience with “weekend treatments”, but I’ve heard from other women on here and know about my own sexual predator, who went to rehab for 3 weeks, (because his partner wanted him to), and this is the deal. It did absolutely nothing for him.

    What are your motives? From what I know, this is not like weight watchers where you jump start your diet for a few days and then you’re on your way.

    Sex addiction recovery takes YEARS and YEARS. I believe that JoAnn and Larry were separated for 3.5 years and Larry was working as hard as he could, of his OWN volition.

    Of course, others can give better advice, but if it were me, I’d take that money and go somewhere warm and sunny and pamper YOU, for a few days. 🙂

    warm regards,

    L

  83. Lorraine,

    I have been engrossed on this site reading from the top down other comments on this blog and your posts are the BEST. Thank you for giving me a much needed chuckle and slap in the face that i seem to need over and over again that these men are nothing but narcisstic pigs that care only about one thing and that being THEM. The more I read the more my “imagined sense of hope” diminishes and know that in reality, odd are no matter what, he is never going to change. My son is only 4, so getting him his own phone is out of the question for now. I would love nothing more than to take my son and run like hell, but his extreme anger shows up only during the times that I bring up my concerns that our son will be exposed, we are doing a 50/50 split, when i have brought up him dropping time with him, he goes ballistic. I have spoken to a lawyer and was told until i can prove he is harming him in some way, i will not win. So seeing that photography equipment set up around the bed seriously in plain view for all to see, set me in a tail spin and made my stomach crawl. I do not believe he in anyway would do any harm physically to him, but I do believe little by little he will get sloppier and sloppier and fear he will see something his little mind should not see.

    NAP,

    Mental imagery is a powerful thing i have yet to master! I have tried just as of yesterday with my own mantra I repeat over and over again to calm me down, but I like the circle idea! Probably if he could keep his lying ass in his circle and out of mine I could do a better a job trying to stay out of his. Everytime I think i got him pissed off to the point I am positive he will never want anything to do with me again, low and behold a week later, he is back trying to weasle in my life so he can get off lying to me some more.

    Fatchance, What a nightmare! How are your kids fairing with all this? Are they old enough to understand what their dad has done? I am curious to hear how children who have been involved in this for more than a couple years, how they are doing? What are the statistics of kids who were raised with a parent who was a sex addict, becoming one themselves? Being my son is with him 50 percent of the time, how best can i shield him from this when i do not live there and to know for sure what is going on during the times he is there? This world has become so sexualized, throw in a sex addict father and I feel i have no hope to sheild him.

    I am sorry for all the questions. Thank you!

  84. An addict who truly wants help and wants to change can do so with a lot of hard work. My husband and I are approaching the one year mark and I can tell you that he has made HUGE strides. He went to a week long workshop at the Meadows about a month ago and it was honestly life changing for him. He highly recommends it for all addicts who want help. He went there because he wanted to not because anyone made him. He said all 6 of them in the workshop felt it was life changing and eye opening. It is 5 days of intense therapy and education about sexual addiction. He also has been going to a 12 step program regularly and has been seeing his counselor regularly since our D-day in February 2010. I believe he has been “sober” since.

    Most experts will advise a 60-90 period of abstinence which is a very important part of the recovery process. I also strongly advocate a physical separation for a period to let the addict really feel the repercussions of his actions and to give you some breathing room so you can begin to think more clearly.

    The advice I was given by several counselors is to wait at least one full year before deciding whether or not to divorce and I think it is excellent advice. The first few months are such a roller coaster that I don’t think it’s the best time to make such a huge life decision. I think this is especially true if you have children with the SA. Time will give you better perspective and show you what your SA is or is not capable of.

    I recently read a book that finally explained Sexual Addiction in a way that made sense to me and I highly recommend it. I had read tons of books and articles and I felt like I got the gist of SA but never did it make sense to me they way Maureen Canning explained it in her book Love Anger Lust. My husband brought the book home from his workshop at the Meadows. I couldn’t put it down it really helped me connect the dots and fill in the missing pieces that I had searched and search for.

    While this site is full of very helpful information and resources and support, keep in mind many of the visitors come here when they are in turmoil so much of what you read here is negative. There are some stories of hope. Certainly not every addict will change, many even most do not but some do. The ones who truly commit to recovery seem to have decent success. I do not yet consider my situation a success by any means but I do feel we are on the right path and am hopeful that for my children’s sake that their father will continue his recovery. I also know several couples who are many years into recovery and doing well. I offer hugs to all of you and sincerely hope we all find the happiness we so deserve.

  85. Hi littleb,

    Yes, it is a nightmare sometimes. There is a restraining order against him because like your husband, he becomes enraged and it’s frightening to me and the kids. When a parent is abused physically, verbally, or emotionally by a spouse in front of the children, IT IS CHILD ABUSE. Further, I realized that I had to call the police and get him out, regardless of how much I loved him and how he was obviously ill because to do nothing is to be complict in the abuse.

    As you may have guessed, my husband insists that he has done nothing wrong and that I am crazy. He points to the fact that I was hospitalized overnight for PTSD twice (in my whole life) since he started the abuse and acting out. (I didn’t put the two together for the longest)

    Anyway, so we separated because he was arrested and charged with domestic assault. I hung up on him when he called me from jail. Then I got a restraining order and filed for divorce so I could get some financial support going. (I had been stay at home mom) first time in my life I had ever relied on a man financially.

    Next, after some dad visits with our preschool children, my daughter came home with some unusual and disturbing behavior I’ll not describe here. So, I talked to my attorney about it and she filed an Emergency Motion to Suspend Overnight Visits. I really think he has NOT touched her, but that he’s an idiot and has allowed her to be exposed to inappropriate stuff. I have started taking her to play therapy.

    Strangely, the Emergency Motion was filed almost a month ago and he has yet to ask for a court hearing. Also, I could have defaulted him on the divorce a month ago, but did not, largely because I cannot provide health insurance for myself and older child from previous marriage yet.

    All this is so hard littleb. If you are like me, you have put up with unspeakable degradation; things that if your best girfriend told your her spouse had done to her, you’d be over at her house asking if you could hold him down while she beats her spouse. lol!!

    I don’t want a divorce, I want my husband to be the man he seemed to be for 3 1/2 years, I don’t want to be angry, I don’t want to have to put up my boundaries like the Great Wall of China, I don’t want to have to take my children to play therapy or think about whether I should ask the Court to throw my husband in jail for contempt, I don’t want to have to get tested for stds (that went well-thank God!), I don’t want to analyze all he says to see if he’s setting me up for a gaslight-but this is my world for now. This is the reality.

    I just need to care for me. It’s what we have to do littleb. We have to put the oxygen mask on our own face before we can absolutely be there for our children. The reality is, the SA is not interested in being there for his children; he is interested in his children as a prop and reassurance of his existence. That is too bizarre, heavy and repulsive for our children to have to bear.

    And yes, I absolutely believe that my husband’s father was a sex-addict and his mother took the children to look for daddy at the nude clubs, etc. etc. and that has contributed to my husband’s sex addiction. Plus his mom was a hell, fire and damnation protestant from the South. (Please, I mean no offense to anyone reading.)

    I am having a hard day. Anger feels nasty and when it turns to resentment, it’s like a terrible infection. My ability to deal with this situation on my own is insufficient. I need God and I need the support of you all on here, my therapist and a close friend.

    Thank You ladies.

    Peace be with us and also with them.

  86. Dear sister in this struggle,

    The quick-fix trap is something that plays into our deepest longings and greatest wound by inviting us to pretend things are not as difficult, complicated or daunting as they really are. It is not, however, the same as the early years of people trying earnestly to get help, commit to recovery, and stay positive.

    In the latter case, spouses remain dedicated in spite of the statistics which tell us plainly that the success rate for recovery from SA is very very low. They can speak realistically about a life lived in a pattern of relapse and recovery. They knowingly choose a relationship with their SA which is limited in emotional intimacy, and usually sexual intimacy as well. They accept the life of boundary making, boundary underlining, boundary enforcement etc. This is what some intelligent and courageous women choose for themselves and their children. And in many cases, the addiction is discovered in its early years and its underlying trauma not as devastating as it is for others. Recovery may be possible on every level, and so they try.

    Others look at the same statistics, the same lifestyle and decide, that this kind of life is really not any kind of life they want to live. They look for real mutuality in their most intimate relationship, and not a life of living between relapses. Perhaps their SA has been acting about for decades, and the entrenchment of aberrant behaviour as “normal” is impossible to overcome. The emotionally abusive behaviours that accompany the SA may be left untouched by sobriety, or be years and year in therapeutic intervention before easing. Women who see this clearly and know that no pretense of a marriage can be maintained are not “negative”—-they are positively choosing life without betrayal, personality disorder, abuse etc.

    My SA spouse has been to the Meadows, where he learned basically what I had determined in my own research and with the help of JoAnn, this site and Barbara Steffens. Sobriety is the tip of the iceberg. The real “insanity” is the disorder of which the SA is symptom. Women who persist in pretending that achieving sobriety will make their marriage “safe” again are in the quick-fix trap. Everyone wants to believe that for a while. But when we grow up about our lives, our SA lives, and our children’s lives, we have to do better than the quick fix trap. This is real life, the same way it’s real life when the people I work with get a brutal cancer diagnosis, or devastating disease diagnosis. Facing what is true is not being negative. Choosing to live with hope through that truth is something that can change the whole dynamics of everything. But living with hope is about being honest about everything.

    Living with hope in the context of SA includes appropriate anger, courageous fact-facing (even the negative ones), making realistic decisions that consider everyone impacted—especially children and their particular needs. And often devastated parents make decisions for those children that are not the ones they might take on if it was just them (adults). And hope is present in ways much broader that the specific needs of the diagnosis. In my own case, I am extremely hopeful for my adult sons, who will be learning about their father’s addiction next week. I have great hope that although they will suffer with the news, they will also learn and cope and love and support and be angry and forgive and adjust expectation and rebuild a reality that includes this truth. I have great hope that as they hear my decision to choose a life lived without my SA’s addiction running my life and without his emotional abuse as my daily companion, they will hear my appropriate anger, but also my taking responsibility for my own happiness, my courage in being honest, my refusal to allow someone else to treat me badly, my ability to hold a place for him in our family with respect and care, my resilience in building a life that even though it’s not my first choice, will be a life in which they will recognize the best of who I am lived with joy, love, and hope. I have hope that my SA, if he is as honest as I have been, can work on his sobriety but more importantly examine the personality disorder that actually destroyed our marriage and his life, and perhaps, in time, achieve some healing that will allow him to live with some emotional intimacy and mutuality with others. I have a great deal of hope, as do other women who do not choose to remain in an SA relationship.

    I have also learned that one year into recovery is really just early days, especially set against how long the addiction has been playing out in the SA’s life. The quick-fix trap goes on at least that long and sometimes longer. But this is not about women being shot down for wanting their marriages to work and their families intact. It is all I wanted, too. Talking about the quick-fix trap means venturing into a level of maturity in this issue as it touches your life that holds another cruelty. No one wants to be cruel to another woman dealing with this. But sometimes, women hear truth and facts as cruelty, or as voices without hope, or as “angry women”. Going through the after years of SA discovery is just a really really horrible experience, and there are very few success stories that actually reveal a life most of us want. But no one says you shouldn’t try, or you should play out your options to hold the marriage together. We do, however, caution women to take very seriously the impact of SA behaviours on children, and to put the protection of children before trying to address their own disappointments.

    If there were a lot of women with SA husband who were having “success”, we would have those stats. There aren’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it happen, but it does mean pretending there are “lots” of people doing it successfully indicates you are still in the quick fix trap.

    But there is hope. It’s just a different kind of hope. And hope requires that we allow it be what it truly is, not what we want it to be. But hope is there and it will lead us all to an abundant life– a life filled with ups and downs, but no abuse.

    May was all find the courage we need for the truth we face, and may hope overwhelm us in the end.
    love,
    Diane.

    1. I agree that one year into recovery is still early days. How I wish it went faster than that! I am almost three year in, and I’m better, but I think it will take another year (and a finalized divorce) to really feel like I’m recovered.

  87. Diane,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It takes alot of courage living with truth and honesty-I admire your courage and grace. I hope I will always have the courage to do the right thing. Sometimes the best thing to do is not the easiest.

  88. Diane,

    I always love your posts because you write with so much clarity and insight. I second everything you said. Brilliant post.

    L

  89. A,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your husband sounds very responsible and Im happy you are on a good path right now. Also, thanks for sharing the name of the book you found so helpful. I plan on getting it and reading it.

  90. I’m so thankful for this site and the wisdom posted here.

    I send strength beyond measure to all who are dealing with this addiction!

  91. Although I have not read the book Lust, Anger, Love by Maureen Canning, I thought some of you might like to read it, so I have added a link to it here on this website in the upper right hand corner. If anyone would like to post a review of this book here, please feel free to do so.

    JoAnn

  92. The real truth…the very real, real, real truth can be summed up in a few sentences. Once an addict ALWAYS an addict. Addiction and LIES go hand in hand. Knowing the TRUTH if the addict is maintaining sobriety is an unknown. That is the real painful truth and that is why I moved out even though I am broke and scared and still love my husband of 12 years. The truth is you will never know if they are acting out. I just can’t live like that and I really can’t understand how any woman could. Hugs to all my sisters =}

  93. Hi Sisters,
    A week or so ago, my attorney said my husband’s attorney indicated that he did not want a divorce and that we should exchange proposals for treatment and reconciliation. Well, I did that. I don’t think my husband got it yet since his attorney has not been all that communicative.

    Anyway, the holiday was another emotionally hellish exercise in trying to do visitation. He always changes things-another story-gaslighting. Then, today I had to get my adult daughter to pick up medicine where he works since it is the only place where we have rx insurance. My adult daughter brought in our two year old to see daddy. The cashier and tech were rude to my daughter. One tech kept inerupting the conversation between my daughter and my husband. I went in to get the rest of the stuff because they wouldn’t give it to my daughter who is the most easy going person-she was really pissed. The tech lady was smarmy then rude to me and threatened to call the police although I was completely calm and merely came into get the rest of the supplies.

    I told her I didn’t appreciate her attitude with me and that I was a customer there as anyone else and it was the ONLY place my insurance could be used. Well, the tech said, “I’m sorry then” in a nasty, nasty tone. I pointed out to her that that insincerity was an example of the rudeness I was speaking about.

    Two points, I have never been anything but polite at my husband’s work. Also, the sudden change from a welcome customer to a pariah, particularlly with the female tech and cashier, make it clear that to me that my husband is involved with these two. Who else would interject into a coemployees business when there was no cause? It was so WEIRD.

    I returned inside with a sheet of legal paper folded up which read,”My proposal to the attorney is withdrawn.” I asked the rude tech, who bounded up to grab the note, to please give it to my husband. I was silently inredulous that she had the audacity to unfold it and read it there in front of me.

    What do you all make of this? Am I reading the situation correctly? Should I have withdrawn my proposal? I was so disgusted and angry when I left, though I was careful to be polite and pointed in my words to them without a show of anger.

    On Christmas, my husband was texting lots of friendly messages to which I did not respond since I do not trust him. Then I go to pick up medicine at his work and my daughter and I were verbally abused in there by the staff.

    What do you all think? I am so disgusted and do not feel like praying for him. I even have mean thoughts that I never get. EEgads!

    JoAnn, were you and your husband ever at this point? Should I just hang it up?

  94. Hi Fatchance,
    Don’t be distracted by these women or the mini dramas that emerge. They are all his buffer zone. Other people have the “negative” experiences with you or your daughter so that they will trash you and support him. It’s all crap. don’t be distracted and don’t make decisions based on anything but what is best for you and your children.

    Back to the Quick-fix Trap:
    Not specific to your situation, fatchance, but generally applicable to many of the people posting, I want to emphasize the crucial nature of considering children still in the home before jumping on the “quick-fix” band wagon. So often women are so anxious to recover their “family” picture by re-installing recovering SA daddy in the home, that the actual well-being of children is not considered. Please, everyone, read everything you can find on the effects of pornography and exposure to sexual acting out on the formation of children. If you are welcoming an SA back into a home with children, you need a safety plan so that they can mature undamaged by sexual visual images/behaviours that will result from your SA’s “lapses” in recovery.

    I realize some women don’t want to think about this at all. And some will be angry that I brought it up because it’s “negative”, but the healthy formation of human beings is a stake here, and those children can not speak for themselves, and are not equipped to understand what they might looking at. Please, please, consider the impact of addiction behaviours on them before falling into the quick fix trap.

    good luck everyone,
    Diane.

  95. Hi All.
    FC- I think he has been talking some dirty to his co-workers and for some reason, they feel obliged to “protect” him. The bad mouthing (lying) about their wife is a manipulation tactic. They are being played at your expense.
    I am so sorry for your daughter and you…..but he never did protect any of you, did he? Why would he now.
    The hardest thing for me was finding all the letters and lies about me to others, I just could not understand how my ex could so defile me with that (affairs were awful, but the complete defaming of me for no reason was the big spike).
    I just don’t know what to say as for their reasons. I had to just stop trying to make sense of it and live with the hurt and prevent anymore hurt by blocking him.

  96. As I read Haley’s post, I thought to myself, “Why is that such a difficult concept to accept for all of us?” Although my husband has been committed to working on recovery, I constantly see things that guarantee he is not going to recover.
    A couple of days ago, I did some regression therapy with him, as I have in the past, and it resulted in memories emerging that are even more devastating and disturbing than previous ones. Although, we knew he had been molested by a neighbor at age 13, and suspected his mother had some involvement, we did not know for sure until this memory revealed some molestation on her part. As the memory was coming forward, he displayed extreme anger, crying, and pounded on my chair until his hand was injured. I expected this, and had to really work on talking him through it, and bringing him down. A few days have gone by, and today I saw him the way he used to be – He was anxious, hostile, and lied about a very simple question I posed to him. He changed his story three times, and It played the same old tapes of around and around we go, and where we stop nobody knows – I just want to say “stop and let me get off.” It was that feeling it was me who was crazy. Since I have been through this same saga a million times, of course I had the insight to know what was going on with him. Anyway, my point is that everytime there are 50 steps forward, there are 75 steps back and it re-inforced what Haley said, that addiction and lies go hand in hand and there really is no way to determine if they are lieing or acting out.
    How this will all play out for me I still don’t know, but I do know I felt like I was on the roller-coaster again, and I feel frustrated to the endth degree. I know enough to realize the anger was to be expected after a recall of memories, but the lieing, which I have heard a couple of times since the incident, is something that just totally breaks me.
    JoAnn- I should have just filed for divorce and let it be done. I am truly hopeless! I do have a question that maybe you can answer for me. I know there is conflicting literature as to whether memories are real or imagined. (fantasy). The next day, I made the comment to Steve it was very traumatic for me to see him goes through his pain. His reply was, “I noticed you were tearful.” That makes me a little suspicious, because, to me, I wouldn’t think after such a traumatic event it would even crossed his mind to notice I was tearful. What do you think?
    If any of you are questioning why I am doing the regression therapy, it is because all his therapist does in session is talk about our relationship, and does nothing to delve into childhood trauma. We have thought about finding another therapist, and I have many names at my disposal, but I am not sure if starting at ground zero with someone new would be productive for him. Steve will make it plain to her in next session that he wants to get into childhood trauma.
    So, as my usual sympathy for him kicks in, I am not negating my feelings in any way, but do feel he is going through a tough time I have to expect relapses, lieing and acting out. Am I strong enough to go through this again, I don’t know.
    Thanks for listening. You all have heard my story so many times, I am sure it rubs off like water off a ducks back. Thanks for listening.

  97. sharron,

    I have to say something here, my ex put me through 4 months daily of the details of his story starting in his childhood. I had no idea that his story contained over 40 years of homosexual activity. He did nothing to protect my emotional well being. In fact, he would often say he was getting hard. I can tell you nothing has changed for him, he does what he has always done and he had no intention of changing to begin with. I was traumatized.

    I never would have listened to this story if I had known that it contained that much activity. My therapist said that he should not have done that to me, that was something he should have been telling a therapist, not a wife. I thought it was his childhood and maybe 1 -2 experiences and now some re-emerging desires. What he did to me was outright abuse.

    Do not allow him to traumatize you with these details, do not become more invested in his recovery than he is. I never intended to be his therapist, I was just trying to be there. I have been through pstd more times than I can count, the details have just about destroyed my sense of sexual safety. When I have sexual thoughts, there is such intense sadness and I feel my body tremble inside. I see a movie with tender emotional and sexual connection and I cut off any further thoughts because thoughts of betrayal and the despicable images that he so joyfully shared with me surface. I don’t know if I will ever be able to feel safe again in terms of sexuality. The intimacy that one should feel with a partner has been so damaged by his perversion. He doesn’t care about your tearfulness and he has you fully involved, which they like because they are back in control.

    Find a therapist who you have confidence in and is capable to address the sexual issues for your husband and let the therapist deal with the details. Knowing what I know now, I would never allow let be so destructive to my being, it hasn’t bothered him – he sucking dick and getting it up his ass today, tomorrow and forever – it is my safety in intimacy and sexuality that has been severely affected. I can’t even control it because it is only in the middle of the night waking from a deep sleep that I know something was trigged by someone saying something, or a TV show, or whatever. It doesn’t seem to end and I am always on guard, I cannot dictate waking up from a deep sleep, believe me I would – it just happens. I can tell you he hasn’t lost a bit of sleep over of all the destruction he has done to a innocent person.

    Keep yourself safe and protect yourself, from this garbage – it will only destroy you as a decent person.

  98. Hi Ladies,

    Thanks for the responses. I woke up this morning and was aware that yesterday was a “Twilight Zone” experience. I am so glad I didn’t say what I felt like saying to the people at my husband’s work. The whole situation is so stupid.

    I also realized that I have always been what he SAYS I AM, not what I am. He used to talk so fondly of me to people and put me on a pedastal. Now, he talks about me as if I am scum. These people at his work don’t even know the complex, thoughtful, strong, and patient person I am.

    And Diane, about the children and the quick-fix trap, thank you for reiterating that! I absolutely agree the children’s welfare has to come first. Children love their parents no matter what. They cannot discerne what is appropriate from a parent in so far as they just want the parent’s love and parents can be so destructive with that power. My husband doesn’t seem to care or realize that the power of love our children have is a sharp sword and should be wielded carefully. My husband has even told our four-year-old in fron of me that, “Mommy is just crazy and sick, don’t pay attention to what she says.” It makes me wonder what he’d say or do when I am not around.

    My proposal to the attorney basically was to have me be part of the sex addiction assessment with him and then have therapy separately until the therpist thought it was time for us to work together. I also proposed that we not have any in-person contact unless through therapy at first.

    Jeannette, I can relate to your trauma! I am so sorry he has done this to your sexual identity. I remember the last time my husband and I made love that it felt so gross and his hands on me felt creepy, even though he seemed to be warm and taking his time, I somehow felt he wasn’t touching me in his mind.

    There were several bouts before separation where my husband would attend a few SA meetings and go to the counselor (which seemed to help the most) and we would get along well. Then it always fell apart into one of his rages in front of the childen. So, I just do not want to put my kids through that anymore.

    I don’t know whether I should even bother my mind with dim hope on this man. But I do know he is very twisted and there is no quick-fix for whatever the heck is going on in that head of his.

    I am going to pray for him today-really quick and just let him go to God as well as I can today. This situation is beyond my capacities.

    Thank you so much, all of you. My gosh, this is so overwhelming and not really a subject anyone else could ‘get’ let alone want to hear about.

    Peace be with us and also with them.

  99. Diane, if you are talking to me here “I realize some women don’t want to think about this at all. And some will be angry that I brought it up because it’s “negative”,“ you are way off base on how I feel. I don’t even feel that is a negative comment and I did not mean negativity shouldn’t be here. I don’t think my post indicates that at all. Regarding children and exposure I advocate the SA move out of the house completely and not return if he’s still acting out and couldn’t agree more that children need shielded from pornography. Our boundaries state if I find it in my house or find he viewed it on the computer he moves out and I’m very serious about that. They also state that if he goes back into his bad attitude and yelling again he moves out because I will not subject my children to that.

    My comment about the negativity is from my own experience that I used to come here frequently I still came here when things were going well for us but all it did was bring me down. I get that it is the reality for many but if I came here every day and all I did was read about the horrors in everyone’s life I know we wouldn’t be doing as well as we are now. I simply wanted to point out that not EVERY SA is the same. The levels of abuse they endured and the level and length of activities varies and the ability and desire to change for each of them can be different. I don’t want all women to think that every single SA is a hopeless piece of shit. Yet, I readily admit a lot of them are and it remains to be seen if my husband will stay in recovery. I want the newly wounded to know there may be hope for them but I also want them to stay smart. Create boundaries, protect themselves, educate themselves on the addiction, seek therapy and make sure they find a great therapist with experience with SA. Most importantly above all is to protect their children. As they are the ONLY reason I am trying to make this relationship work.

    I send strenth to all of you who are struggling!

  100. Fatchance,
    Seems you have already worked your way through it but wanted to comment. I believe there was a post a while back about a husband who was a jerk and a sex addict, not sure if that was you or who it was. But anyway, the guy can be both a jerk and a sex addict. And just because he may or may not be able to curb his addiction, he will still be a jerk. and that is what you are dealing with. He is back stabbing you by using his staff, he could be dating one of them or having relations. God only knows. They are protecting him for some reason, and by doing so are being rude to you.

    So short of the story seems to be, finish the divorce. Let the axe drop. the courts will stipulate the guidelines. (this is my guess anyway). This limbo world seems to be causing more trouble than good, it would appear. Get all the details straigthened out.

    Good Luck and what a creep he is!

  101. Diane,
    What a GREAT post. Seems like we got the same idea when we read JoAnn’s post a while back. Similar changes are happening here as well around the first. Time to make some decisions and move on. No more hiding the addiction from everyone, time to make some major changes. But like you wanted to wait till after the holidays.

    I feel you post was a great response to A. We all have different ways of handling things, and I felt you put it very carefully and tactfully.

    All,
    this is all such a hard and hot button topic. But this site is not just for angry wives and GF it is for everyone who needs help. Now that I have reached a point I am comfortable with I now try to help others get out of that hole. The help is in what ever form they need, not everyone wants to hear about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, because lets face it for most of us there is not a pot of gold, but quick sand. And for those who do make it, there may only be one coin left in the pot of gold. If we wanted to read positive stories, and I have read many in any book by carnes etc, you read that this addiction is “curable” and that if you work through this together it will lead to a more enriching and strong relationship that you ever dreamed of. The closeness and intimacy you deserve. There will be ponies, kittens, candy for everyone…blah blah blah… These books have plenty of these messages and they make my skin crawl and want to puke. This is the one site that tells it like it is, i don;t want to here the nicey nicey, because its just not me and my relationship. I want to deal with the trauma the damage and do better for myself. Who do I beleive the pain the wives and GF are actually going through, the real pain and the real reality, or the book written by a shrink who sits in an office analyzing our heads??

    I have seen many looking for the positive statistics, how many make it, soon after disclosure. This is an effort to put a bandaid over the pain and what the real situation is. We don’t want to deal with this, no human would, but the fact is this is our life. It often does not end happily ever after, I don;t see how it can with a sex addict. (I am not saying they all end in divorce, but one spouse settles). But if the statistics where that positive, then there would not be so many stories of failure and none of us would need this site, our therapist, there would be no books, no workshops etc. The books even talk about how this is the hardest addiction to face, but i feel it is also the toughest addiction to see from the perspective of the spouse. They were all so very very good at hiding it from us. I feel the only way for us to get better is to work through the pain and trauma, rather than look for the silver lining. Not to mention the relationship betrayal….

    So this site is not all negative, it is about helping people where they are at. It has been a lifeline for many (myself included), and while I have chose to not stay with my SA (at least that is the current decision), this site opened my eyes to the reality of it all. Starry thought she had the most well behaved SA going to recovery, just porn etc, come to find out he had frequented prostitutes (This was disclosed many months after her d-day). E-book by JoAnn a good bit into larry;s recovery and he had a high charge on the CC. When questioned he denied it, said it was work dinner. Truth was he hired a hooker and lied to JoAnn and wrote the lie in his journal, lied to his therapist and lied to the SA group.

    So where does that leave us?? Always keep your eyes wide open. These are not stories meant to scare us, but is life with an SA. As a spouse who entertains staying with an SA, you have to accept that this will be your way of life forever. There will be slip up’s, your eyes will constantly have to be wide open, and always looking out for number one (yourself), because he ain’t gonna do it. He can try the best he can, but I can guarantee if he slips up, you will not be the first to know, and the cycle will start all over again. This life is not for me. I am better off alone with my kids and family. (And I am currently living that and I can say this is 100% true).

    As for the comment about 1 year in recovery. That is great, but at about the 6 month to 1 year mark, it gets harder to maintain the sobriety and never gets easier. So the first 6+/- months to a year is “easy” and the 6 month to 1 year to the rest of their life is hard and a daily struggle.

    My SA has been at this since he was about 10…so were talking 20+ years. Tough to break something that is so engrained. I think ones who pick it up casually later in life for a short time, it is much easier to cure. Also the code or trauma of child hood must be uncovered. This is supposedly the key to being able to maintain sobreity.

    So A I truley hope you have the real deal, for you and your family. He seems to be working hard, and maybe he’s got it. It is true some do make it. But I think many of us who do try, do want so desperatley to make it for the kids and family, that the recovery is never truely there. We see, and he does, exactly what we want. But there may be no reality under this facade. That is the thin ice we walk on with the SA.

    Good Luck to everyone and Happy Holidays!!!

  102. Good morning everyone,

    The quick-fix trap topic has many many ways in, doesn’t it?

    My post about children and living with an SA is a post that I have made many times on this site. I do that regularly when we have a new group of people posting and children are in the families being discussed. This is because some women have a priority about keeping the family together that endangers children. Some do it because they just don’t know about the effects of inappropriate sexual images on developing human beings, and some know but don’t want to think about it. We know very little about each other from one or two posts, and it is true that if I read something that smacks of the early naivete of a hurt but hoping wife that the children will get daddy back—yes, I post.

    This is because I no longer care whether someone on this site likes me or not—I’ve immersed myself in the research and information about the effects on children from the sexual images, the modelling of mother as “warden” to daddy, the destructive power on children of living with an adult secret (you can hide it for a while, but the children will know about the SA years before you decide to disclose, and will have to keep the secret with you), and the emotional damage to children living with parents who are emotionally unhealthy (depression is extremely common for both SA and spouse, the roller coaster of relapse discovery on the wife and the tension of every “close call” etc etc).

    In my day job, I have learned how mothers in marriage crisis DO NOT necessarily have any priority for the true well-being of children—children who are powerless to know how to protect themselves emotionally, psychologically, or physically from living with an SA, and a spouse of an SA. Even though my children are adults, I still think I was careless about these things. It can happen to any of us! The shock is just too great. The coping is all we can handle. And we want to stay positive about the potential of the relationship to be healed and saved, and the family re-united.

    What is most distressing to me is the absolute neglect of this issue in the recovery programs and therapeutic tracks available. You might get something about pornography effects, but nothing but the other insidious damaging aspects of the SA in the home. And with the garbage about the spouse that comes out of the Carnes model, the wives are already accepting responsibility for stuff that isn’t theirs at all!! How do you introduce something more for those women to take responsibility for, that they actually need to! Also, many religious traditions work this angle of preserving marriages and “family ideals” at any cost. As a person anchored deeply in and working from a religious tradition, I recognize the terrible damage that is in this wrong-headed approach, but is often also underneath a spouse’s commitment to get the family back together ASAP. If she doesn’t, she will have failed in her religious duty as well.

    So that’s what’s underneath the hard things I choose to name and frame. Children have no voice, and are often hidden by therapeutic models, religious beliefs, personal limits for coping, and more. But children have eyes, ears, minds, hearts . bodies and spirits. And they are affected by this as well.

    Finally, my own theory about SA is not the theory that is mainstream. I don’t believe it is something “on its own”. I believe it is a symptom of a deeper disorder within the SA, which sexual sobriety does not impact at all. In other words, I don’t believe when we get back a sober SA, that the problem is contained at all. I believe the disorder is still operating within the family relationships. Although this is not mainstream, it is “out there” and gaining ground as the first generation of therapeutic tracks for SA’s are revealed to lead–well–pretty much nowhere past sexual sobriety (which is tenuous when it happens, and rare in every case). I guess in some respects, i think most of the “treatment” is just more quick-fix trap. And as I said before, there are not stats to support these models as effective, or to validate their underlying assumptions. The emperor has no clothes and I’m not going to pretend he does. Just because we paid the emperor an awful lot of money to use the treatment centre, doesn’t mean it works.

    If none of what I post applies to you or your situation, then ignore it. But don’t just because I’m irritating. Think really carefully about these things. We need better resources from the ground up. And we aren’t going to get them from playing along.
    Once again, this is about the quick-fix trap from every angle.

    And if you—any of you—are doing as much as you can right now, I get that. It’s a horrible thing to have to navigate. And I am calling for the best part of you to step up and choose hope—hope for a future of real mutuality in marriages, of therapy that gets past sexualized disorders, of children who matter more than anything else, of faith and belief in our own futures as futures of abundance in every aspect of our humanity.

    In my faith tradition we just celebrated the story of the one Undivided Life at Christmas. Let us not accept a divided life ever again.

    with every hope for every life–whole, free and deeply lived.
    Diane.

  103. Hi Diane and Flora – Great posts. I believe it is our duty to post the good and the bads, unfortunately, most of us have experienced the negatives. My opinion is if someone takes our post negatively, they probably do not have the insight at that particular time to process the information. Unfortunately, most of us have more sad stories to tell than happy ones. I am sure if someone had a success story to tell, they would shout it from the rooftops, because we all want so much for our SA’s to recover. We all also know the statistics on recovery, and are all very well versed on addiction. JoAnn posted her success story, and was also quite open when she suffered the trauma of her husband’s relapse. So, yes, if there are success stories, I am sure we would hear them.
    Thank you Jeannette for your comment. I appreciate what you are saying and totally agree with you, but, fortunately or unfortunately, having some expertise in the field, I have become involved in attempting to assist Steve in retrieving some of his repressed memories. His therapist at his Intensive Care Work Shop attempted to bring some of them out, and was successful in doing so on one occasion, but his therapist here in town seems to work more on resolving marital issues than his trauma based issues. Steve intends to tell her this week – no more marital issues. I want to work on my childhood. If not, he plans to get another therapist. I also might add that assisting him in retrieving repressed memories has not impacted me in any way. I have done it three or four times, and nothing that is revealed in those sessions seem to bother me. Nothing would surprise me! I just tend to feel his pain when they are being disclosed.
    Thanks again for your comments.
    Now, would someone please comment and give me your opinion on whether or not Steve would have it on his mind, during one of the sessions, to notice I was tearful. Seemed kind of funny to me if he was wrapped up in his own trauma, he would even notice any response I might have. What do you all think? JoAnn?

  104. Dear Diane

    Thank you for your beautiful and insightful post. So many good points, I am really glad you mentioned the religious view of keeping family together at any cost–as a woman I could just scream. Some of the advice of spiritual leaders out there can lead many a wife to STD’s, HIV, Abuse, death, and even sexual abuse of their own children by staying at any cost. When our sexual health is being risked or our children are at risk, we must flee for safety at any cost, not stay with the abuser.

    However, I think you are very fortunate that your children are grown and don’t have to worry about them being raised by an SA in your absence- they have custody rights, period if they want them – mine does 50/50 and my daughter is 5. I know for myself, that quite frankly as of late, I don’t think moving out is putting my child’s safety first and I will tell you why. While there is a court system does not care that porn is allover a father’s computer and that he sleeps with prostitutes and lives an unhealthy lifestyle, if it means leaving my daughter alone with that lifestyle a few days a week and “hope” my SA keeps his junk on his own time on lockdown, the anxiety is enough to make me jump off a bridge. Love her too much, not him. I am thinking about keeping a legal seperation instead of divorce, living in the home, seperately and staying there until she is in college. No sex, (we sleep in sep rooms now) etc unless he commits to his recovery (sexual and behavioral) at some point down the road for a long period of time, and can prove it. I am putting my own needs for love and sex on a shelf, for safety of child. Perhaps I am in a minority on this decision. If abusive crazy behavior returns, I will indeed have to move for my own safety. And then also live with her being with an unhealthy person 2-3 days per week custody wise and deal with the anxiety and seperation from her. Unless I gather enough evidence to prove otherwise. My point of view is this– would any of us in our right minds leave our young in the care of an addict of any kind? drug, sex, whatever? no. What if we have no choice because the addict is the father? If the home situation can be managed, or tolerable to some degree of health, then I will monitor, ensure, play warden, police officer, whatever I can, until she is out of my home and in college. even then no guarantees. but i think much greater harm will come to her if she is alone with him, and there is no warden in his life. he will be off the deep end. i mean who cares about him, go off the deep end and don’t come back. I could give a crap. but he is not taking my child with him when he jumps. it sucks. it is humbling. it is half a life. but it is what it is-at least it is an honest decision based on fact, not delusions. any thoughts on this? I am open. wide open to better suggestions if there are any.

  105. My only idea is to maintain seperate homes, but to require him visit at your house with you home. I don;t think a child that age needs to stay away from home for overnights. They are too young.

    In my first divorce i was and still am primary custodian. So they live and reside with me and visit him during the day when he wants. When they were a little older around your daguhters age they started spending the night (keep in mind ex-husband was not an SA as far as I know), but they were always exhausted, did not sleep well, and we went back to daytime only. I think young children need a sense of continuity and dragging them back and forth from household to household is not right or fair to them. In addition what goes on at night anyway…we all kniw its bahting, feeding adn motherly (or fatherly if they do these things, in my case not) duties. So its not like just because you are primary costodian you get the spend more time with them, in reality you spend more time working and maintaining the child, and daddy get to pick them up and play. So I like it my way….this way I know they are safe. I don;t mind I will do all the work, to be sure she is safe.

    I have two teens and a three year old. So far the teens do not want to spend time with him and he has not asked. The 3 yo visits. He is living at his parents, and they are supposed to be home when she visits, and if not he is to visit at our house. This is just our terms, or should I say my terms, and he so far abides by them. If this goes to court, not sure I would get such cooperation and I would be in the pit of anxiety with you.

  106. Dear A,

    I totally agree that every SA is not a worthless piece of shit. My SA certainly isn’t, even though some of the SA’s we meet on this site are profoundly unattractive! I want my SA to have a whole life one day–free from the terrible pain that has damaged him. I have released him to God’s care, and am careful not to quench the work of the Spirit in his life as much as possible.

    And I also totally agree with NAP that we need to be true to ourselves at every step of this terrible trauma. And it is incredibly hard to keep our spirits up because the stats just put us at the crummy end every time, and no one wants to be there. We all work very very hard at becoming the statistical exception. We are all good people. And some days I don’t look at this site either. It’ just too hard. But what I also know is that as we make this journey in our individual ways, almost everyone of us discovers how much we don’t know now. It’s never-ending. If you read my earliest posts until now, you can see the trail of naivete, hurting, trying, re-learning, confronting, struggling, failing, accepting, but always sharing it with this community. Because someone like me is coming after me in this nightmare, and I want them to have a trail to follow, even when it’s ugly. Along the way, I was challenged by many on this site with hard truths and deep questions. In some cases, that’s what saved me from giving up. And this is a very very ugly path and those who stay with SA husbands have a very very difficult life. They are entitled to choose that life because as NAP says, we are all different and must hold onto ourselves through this battle.

    Unfortunately we are also in a story with some dangerous and destructive therapeutic options. Elsewhere I described it like a first generation MRI compared to the generation we have now. Or, how people (mostly women–no coincidence here) were subjected to shock treatments in psychiatric facilities run by male doctors operating out of default setting for “normal” that was—what a surprise–also based on male experiences of life. I believe in even five years, we will look back at what we bought into now in this field of sex addiction and cringe mightily.

    I have found it demoralizing to find the most important thing I ever built—my whole family life—completely compromised by something I didn’t see coming, and can’t fix myself. My SA still works like crazy at his 12 step and his therapy. He could not do more than he is doing, and he couldn’t be more committed. The problem is that sobriety is the tip of the iceberg. And it’s being sold as the goal.

    I can see, A, that you are not stupid or frivolous at all in your commitments to husband and children. You are a strong and brave woman on the front lines of this war. I am asking you to question the goal—the one your husband has, his treatment model has, your family and friends have, your spiritual tradition has, you have. Because i suspect you are actually one of the women who is a leader by nature and will choose not by convenience, but by the truth you know in your heart soul and mind.

    Godspeed
    D.

  107. Dear Pam,

    You raise a very good point around custodial risks. And yes, I’m very lucky that my boys are young adults now and live away at school most of the time. But I also don’t know how much they actually knew when we were all together. We are going to talk to them next week and I wouldn’t be surprised if they knew about the internet stuff, because if I found it, they must have.

    One of my first emails to JoAnn was about this. She wisely suggested that I needed to consider what they already knew as well as what we would tell them. I will let everyone know how this disclosure goes next week.

    It seems that Flora’s suggestion about in home visits will get you through the early years safely, but eventually you will end up in the scenario you suggest—the kids with their father without any supervision. Perhaps he will have learned SOMETHING by then, and regulate himself. Faint hope, I know, but some dads do try for the sake of children. Otherwise, children may refuse to go, and counsellors may be court appointed. I know of one case where once the counsellor knew about the SA, she recommended to the court that the child not be forced to go. Awful if it comes to this, but it may be the only way.

    D.

  108. Sharron,

    You ask about whether or not it is typical that your husband would notice your tearfulness during your regression therapy sessions.

    I suspect not.

    As a Masters Prepared Registered Nurse I am also a Certified Hypnotherapist. I have run ‘stop smoking’ and ‘weight loss’ clinics using imagery and self hypnosis. So, I do understand the mental state that one would be in during regression therapy (which is, by the way, quite controversial). In his state of decreased peripheral awareness, I would venture to guess that he would not have any conception of your emotions.

    Think–faking it!

    But, beside that issue, what is really troubling to me, (and this is just one nurse to another), you say that nothing that has been revealed has bothered you. Yet you were tearful. Why?

    I cannot imagine how anyone could be objective while conducting this type of therapy with someone they love, someone who is in crisis, someone whom they are hoping will change into whom and what they thought they once were, yet someone who is battling a lifelong addiction caused by childhood trauma and abuse.

    You are not objective Sharron. You cannot be. You have your own hopes and dreams of what the outcome should be. You will, whether you realize it or not, direct his ‘memories’ and taint the session.

    You must realize that any type of regression therapy can be extremely dangerous–especially if the subject is at all unstable. And, if the facilitator is emotionally involved, the outcome could be catastrophic.

    It is not healthy to become so involved in your husband’s recovery. You have been on this site long enough to understand that the only thing that we can control is ourselves. Think about it Sharron. You know that as nurses we need to both understand and heal. That works well for our patients.

    But, we cannot–and should not, interfere with the difficult journey that our Sexually Addicted spouses must walk all by themselves. Because I care very deeply for you, and care about your healing, I urge you to distance yourself from your husband’s therapy and work on rediscovering the absolutely beautiful, caring and loving person that you are.

    Written with love,

    JoAnn

  109. Do we have a survey of the law in all 50 states regarding custody? Regarding fault bases of divorce? I’m a lawyer and I did a little research yesterday on my jurisdiction. The prevailing “wisdom” seems to be that porn is a legal product. If he uses it to excess, there is no recourse for the spouse. Porn addiction in PA does not provide a fault basis for divorce. I am shocked by that. And I’m not finding any support for the notion that sexual addiction serves as a prima facie basis for denying custody. This may be due to lack of awareness about the problem. I think we are on the bleeding edge of this epidemic.

    Perhaps we should meet with our legislators to plead our case.

  110. JoAnn – I’m sorry, I did not scroll down far enough to read the rest of your message.
    I certainly agree with you I am probably not objectve, but I have been very careful not to put any pre-conceived ideas in Steve’s head. All of this has come strictly from him. The only thing I said to him, at all, was “can you remember the most unhappy portion ofo your’e childhood at age 10?” Then he cut loose with all of this.
    His therapist did suggest to him, at one time, that his mother was probably involved in the abuse. I think that is very poor therapy!!!
    I know I have been much too involved in his therapy, but I am like a dog with a bone, and if someone else didn’t deal with trauma based issues (His therapist) I guess the nurse in me just came out. I think the best thing, at this point in time, is to have Steve find a new therapist – one with much more expertise in dealing with childhood trauma than his present therapist. And thank you – you are not telling me anything I donb’t already know. I definitely have been too involved in his therapy. I really appreciate all the help and support you have given me.
    I will definitely work on changing my involvement.

  111. Pam – I stayed with my very sick husband #1 until the kids were out of the house. At that time, I did not have a career to fall back on and felt taking on three teenage boys
    would be too much for me to handle. When the last one was a Junior in highschool, I made the decision to leave. I told him I wanted him to come with me, but if he preferred to stay with his dad I would be supportive of him. He was packed and ready to go in 30″. I had a psychologist tell me if the kids had not had my stability they would not have made it. At least they had love from one parent.
    I think you should do whatever is right for you and the kids, as long as there is no abuse in the home. There was no abuse in our home – just a nutty husband and father.

  112. JoAnn – the first message I sent you did not go through, so I have sent it again. Please let me know if you do not receive it.

  113. Thanks Sharron for accepting all of my information with the intent that it was given–with love. Your question for your spouse during your attempts at this regression therapy, “can you remember the most unhappy portion of your childhood at age 10?” is not really specific or focused enough. Regression usually requires hours or weeks of ‘background’ work, such as having them recall certain specific incidents (usually happy), placing themselves back in time and them being able to describe, with great detail, where they are and what it looks like, etc.

    For someone to be able to regress or to allow themselves to enter a suggestive state of mind requires a specific type of personality, complete trust and a whole lot of luck and expertise.

    At the end of each of my group therapy sessions I would ask for volunteers who would like to engage in either 1. a fun exercise involving post hypnotic suggestion or 2. a ‘blast from the past’ where they would re-live something from their childhood.

    Several things were necessary for this exercise to be successful. 1. They had to trust me completely (this is NEVER the case with a Sex Addict) 2. They had to have a very suggestive personality (Again, not the case considering the problematic issues that a Sex Addict has) 3. They had to be open emotionally and be able to allow themselves to be directed toward a goal (again, Sex Addicts are very closed and distrustful). 4. The were recalling happy events (as opposed to encouraging a Sex Addict to recall painful, traumatic events that they have buried all of their lives).

    I think trying to direct or engage a Sex Addict into a suggestive state of mind is an exercise in futility. Their mindset is totally contrary to the conditions necessary for it to be successful.

    And, as I said, it’s not good for you.

  114. Dear All,
    re: custody / seperate living

    Thanks for words of wisdom, Diane and Flora. There are no easy answers in this re: young children in the home and custody. In the meantime I am trying to appreciate who I am, and wanted to share something that has worked for me as of late. For anyone stuck under the same roof for whatever the reason with an SA: SEPERATE BEDROOMS. Even if you sleep on the sofa. I am appreciative of my distance from SA right now, seperate rooms have been so helpful to me psychologically, spiritually. My stress level has been brought very very low because of this- Thank God! And I do not obsessively check or care or worry about him- at all. It is allowing me to heal. This is month 7 since D Day. My PTSD reactions are fewer. Living in seperate rooms has helped me define boundary, that healthy living argmts for me are a must. My Sa is aware as well. Life is not continuing on the norm since his return from Brazil early Nov. Even if I can’t afford to move out, or don’t think it best for custody issues right now- wifey is sleepin solo, and lovin it that way. Funny, Joanne’s words almost always ring true. We can only set boundaries for ourselves. When I put my healthy self first, things fall into place. Including his attitude, eventually. He may rant and rave at first. so what. sticking to it is the best medicine ever. If our SA’s act out and are not on the program (mine clearly was not, still isn’t) a safe haven within our homes can perhaps be created on a temporary basis. While not ideal, if anyone is like me without family in immediate area, not enough money to support 2 places, young children whom you don’t want SA being alone with for whatever reason, then perhaps creating a safe and seperate place within ourselves and roof’s is a good temporary solution. Honestly I think I could live seperate under same roof for the next 6mos to a year. That’s more than enough time for me to decompress and make a solid plan. It also more than enough time for SA to make better choices for himself without me being involved in any so-called recovery. and I do mean so called. he’s on his own. 🙂 he’s a big kid now, pull ups and all.

  115. I envy so much the passion that so many women have for their partners even if the partner is very sick.

    I know this is going to sound very strange, coming from me…(in a kind of a cart before the horse way) but just last night, I point blank asked my husband if he had been with any other women and when? You see, believe or not… I had NEVER asked, and he had told me 4.5 years ago… that it was ONLY chat. (Quite frankly, I think its just as bad. Is he an addict? I have no idea. I really don’t. And his computer is locked up tighter than the Kremlin.)

    Anyway, in answer to my question, he said, “one” and only one time. And it was some time in 2002. (he thinks), but I found his cyber sex chats with this woman four years LATER, that he (who is a massive geek) left open on MY lap top by accident. fake sex with a fake man. now a dead horse lying in the road. that’s my husband. He’s my prince who turned into a frog.

    I wish I even cared. Oh, I’m hurt alright… but, I’m like a zombie just going through the motions of my life. (except for my kids). I’ve really been like this for years, I realize. I’m totally burnt out from my business and have lost my zest for life. And my children have sucked the very soul out of me. I’m tired. I can’t focus.(at least not on what I’m SUPPOSED to be focusing on) I don’t know the answer.

    And yes, I know… I veered off too, but that is because it was clear that I would never get my needs met by him and he had told me to go out and date if I felt like it, so I did. It really wasn’t the answer either. In fact, it just made everything worse.

    This is total subject change, but more related to this thread about the sex addict’s so-called “childhood trauma”. When we speak of childhood trauma, I think it is clear that most of us think of something truly heinous happening, however trauma for a SA could mean anything from abject violent abuse, to being sent to one’s room for talking back, or being chastised for not making straight A’s, or failing a test, or not getting a spot on the varsity football team. I think its important to make this distinction because there are many, many sex addicts who were NOT the recipients of overt childhood abuse. However, because of some make up in their brain, it was PERCEIVED by the SA to be devastating, but repressed, perhaps. Some people are just born that way. They are brain damaged. Some people had horrific things happen to them and are not addicts. And yes, some addicts did suffer from horrific abuse,(its actually pretty common) but they would’ve been addicts regardless. So, all the therapy in the world isn’t going to change a thing that’s inherent in this person’s brain.

    This is what is bizarre. Most of you know that I have a high functioning autistic teen-aged son. He PRESENTS with the identical traits that a sex addict does. Gaslighting, minimizing, justifying, BLAMING, BLAMING, and then more BLAMING. NOTHING is EVER his fault. His thoughts are rambling and nonsensical. It is rabbit hole thinking. he is perfect. we are clueless, retarded idiots, out to destroy him. (alright, the last part is pretty typical behavior for ANY 15-yr-old– lol, but his is just very extreme.)

    Reality. Living with him, is hell on earth. Great news! He is going to a fantastic therapeutic boarding school on Monday. I call it the “ourlastchanceinhell” school. it really is and we are going to give it everything we have, no matter how painful. we have to.

    My point is that my son with autism has a damaged brain and so, I feel is the case with many, many SAs. I think that this may just be coming to light. And it is damaged beyond repair in some cases.

    I may poke fun of “psycho dude”, but what I’m trying to say, is that he has a DIFFERENT BRAIN and unfortunately, he is not 15– Steve is 66.

    I still envy the passion you feel for him, however. That’s beautiful, Sharron. I long for that, myself. That is the hope that I have, in my heart and I have it for all of the beautiful women on here… because it is your right to have this. But for me, I want it to be reciprocated and not fake reciprocated. There is nothing worse than faked or one-dimensional passion. It makes a mockery out of our entire being as women who love with all of our hearts and souls.

    love,

    Lorraine

  116. Hi Ladies,
    There has been alot of varied and useful posts since I logged on this morning!

    As for child custody, I can only speak for the understanding in my state. I happen to be an attorney and work in the areas of juvenile and family law. Here, statutes are written broadly enough to interpret nearly any type of bad influence over children.

    Betty, I would think that even though pornography is legal it is still detrimental to children’s development and morality. Pornography is legal only for adults, the way cigarettes and alcohol are legal only for adults. Therefore, supplying cigarettes, alcohol, or exposing children to pornography (because pornography is by definition used by “exposure” of lewd and lasvicious acts)would be contributing to the deliquency of a minor and detrimental to their moral, physical and emotional welfare. Fortunately, the judge in my children’s case has thus far agreed with my view.

    I was able to talk to my attorney today as well as some mutual friends of my husband and mine. It seems to them that while my husband is acting like a complete sphincter muscle, that this is not the “real” him. One of my friends has known my husband longer than I and was aware of his SA and was suprised I recently learned about it! He said my husband had really done alot of work. It seems he had at one time because even in pictures of him, nearly everyone who knows him sees the difference in the way he carries himself now as compared to the years after treatment before I met him.

    I knew he was an alcoholic in recovery, but he neglected to tell me of his SA until I busted him after a period of strange behavior that seemed to come on rather suddenly.

    For now, we need the support finacially, especially health insurance for my son who has an AWOL father. I just started back to work and do almost exclusively indigent representaion which doesn’t make you rich or provide health insurance.

    Anyway, I have this little glimmer of hope. I saw him and he looks like a mad man. I wonder that he cannot go on much longer like this. He’s not that strong. And he has a conscious he has blocked off. Eventually, the conscious will bleed through. I just don’t know if I will still be around and willing when it happens.

    A word about 12 step programs: First, the primary purpose is to maintain sobriety and help others achieve it. But as any person earnestly working a 12 step program will learn shortly, is that the main objective is to help the addict alcoholic find a Power greater than himself to fuel his/her life rather than the addiction. The purpose of the 12 steps is an exercise to help the recovering person discover that Higher Power and maintain a conscious contact in order to have a spiritual awakening sufficient to remove the obsession.

    As far as all the co-addict stuff for the parters of sex-addicts, I find it a really hard sell too. I am finding personally that working my 12 steps for another problem helps me very much in this situation with my husband. Why? I believe it’s because some Sh%* is just too much for me and I need to remember not to play God. It never works for me and I try it all the time. LOL!

    I did alot of crying today and went over to talk to my sweet and kind neighbor with a non-judgemental heart. I just cried and cried. This is grief. My husband has been taken over by some madness and I am powerless.

    Peace be with us and also with them.

  117. JoAnn-You are so helpful to me, not only in sharing the expertise you have in so many areas, but also the support you give, and with such love.
    Just a couple of comments in response to your last post. I definitely agree with you that I do not have the expertise to engage in regression therapy. I will say, however, the first two times I tried this with Steve I had him recall the good memories first. Happy times with family, friends, activities, etc. He could recall a few happy times, but that soon came to an end when we tried it the third time. He then began to have memories come forth regarding sexual abuse by the neighbor. This last time, it involved his mother fondling him, but could not recall where it happened, and the anger came forth very quickly so I did not push him any further. The points you brought up regarding trust with the SA was very interesting – things I hadn’t thought of. Also, the fact he probably would not be able to focus on my emotions immediately following the session certainly re-inforces the fact he very well may be “faking it.” I am just trying to figure out what kind of secondary gain he is getting out of making it all up – just to gain my sympathy?? Or, could it be a fantasy network of his that is somehow entangled with abandonment issues with good ole ma ma, and does he truly believe them.
    I know there is a lot of controversy regarding real or imagined memories. I am going to rely on your expertise regarding these SA’s, and it certainly does build a strong case for “faking it.” I really feel he is crazier if he is making them up than if the memories are real!! I have had many talks with his sister, who has also blocked out much of her childhood, but she is able to recall her Dad standing at a window and watching her undress. She also stated her room was the only one in the house that did not have curtains on them. She is also able to verify the physical abuse that took place, but beyond that does not have any more memories of sexual abuse to herself or Steve. I do think something went on in that home, but will it ever be accurately revealed – I doubt it. Since, I am 68 y/o and have been like a dog with a bone all my life in trying to get to the bottom of things, it will be hard to teach an old dog new tricks. But, I will certainly try to stop doing the regressions, although I guess I find them very fascinating. Thank you for all the info – you have helped me a lot. Love to You!
    Lorraine, as always you send very prophetic messages. These SA’s obviously do have a “different brain” than we do, but the jury is still out on whether the brain changes as a result of the addiction or have they always had the addicted brain? – in otherwords, what comes first, the cart or the horse. Actually, it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference – bottom line is they are very sick, right? Don’t envy the passion I have for him – it is obviously very mis-directed. I do love him, and he does display many more good qualities than most of the men I read about on this site. I guess we all have to decide whether the good qualities outweight the the bad, and can we live with them under these circumstances. For me, the jury is still out. He has made progress with the addiction, but not the lieing.
    Thank you for your input, as well. Hugs!

  118. Hi, I got an email notice on this thread: first time in maybe two years. I divorced my sex addict. As it turns out after a psychological evaluation regarding custody, he is actually a psychopath.
    Think it over long and hard if you want to save your marriage. You may be married to a psychopath. Anyway, sexual affairs while committed in a relationship IS ABUSE. It is not an illness, it is ABUSE OF THE SPOUSE.
    Peace