I just had to do an updated rant about sex addiction. I originally wrote this post in August of 2013. Reading through it I was surprised that much of what I believed back then about sex addiction still holds true today in 2019.
Back Then I Asked These Questions.
With all the pseudo research that the Sex Addiction gurus have done; and all the hundreds of millions of dollars they are making off of sex addiction, a fake term for a fake diagnosis; why can’t these so called experts put their heads together and figure out this sex addiction thing?
Why aren’t we, the partners, told what it’s really like to live with a sex addict instead of dangling all those outrageous and erroneous success statistics in front of us while encouraging us to stay for ‘at least a year’ and give it our best?
Why aren’t we told about Personality Disorders and why aren’t we told about the Dry Drunk Syndrome so we can decide whether the positives outweigh the negatives and recognize when we are being deceived?
Partners Have These Questions.
Why are we made to feel guilty for even thinking of leaving a Mr. Wonderful sex addict after he has been so courageous as to admit to his addiction? Why do the 12 steps praise the SA who opens up for 60 seconds in a share with a tiny piece of their side of the story, allowing them to go home all pumped and feeling as if they were just the greatest show on earth because they are just oh so honest, but fail to give the sex addict any direction or tools for fixing the issue they just confessed?
Why are we, the partners, told, and most importantly, why do we accept, that there will be ‘slips’? Why are we told to be patient, to give it time—often at least a year, and counseled to praise their little ‘successes’ while we die a thousand deaths each and every day with no support or comfort?
Why are we, the partners, told that we must contain our anger, our resentment and our emotions because it will cause the sex addict to feel shame and may cause (our fault of course) him to act out.
Why have I had to spend an entire decade learning to find the right words to describe what is happening in my life with a sex addict? Why did I spend tens of thousands of dollars for counseling and still not have any answers?
And Finally, These Important Questions
Why do I have to research obscure topics and follow thousands of blind leads just to catch a glimmer of real information on sex addiction? Why are ‘they’, the so called sex addiction experts, keeping all these secrets about these guys? Where is the truth? Where is the help? Where are the cold, hard, real facts about what makes these guys tick that will allow us to make a decent, educated, informed decision about our future? Why, instead, are we fed this Pablum of syrupy crap that keeps us entangled, stuck and hanging on?
Well, here it is, 2019 and all of those questions that I asked about sex addiction are still valid and are still asked by the tens of thousands of women who come to my sites looking for answers. Answers that I do not have.
Where’s The Evidence?
The sex addiction community still claims that sex addiction is a real addiction that can be successfully treated with 12 step meetings, admitting that the sex addict is powerless over their behaviors and that love, support and complete trust from the partner, even in the face of continuing deceit and lies, will miraculously repair their relationship and make it ‘better than ever’.
No real empirical evidence showing solid proof or facts has ever been presented to validate the claims of the high effectiveness of these programs. Only anecdotal reports are quoted from sex addicts, who have shown themselves to be untruthful.
A Sham and a Scam
I will continue to call ‘foul’ until the sex addiction community, a community that continues to extract huge amounts of profits from programs that are nothing more than smoke and mirrors with a bit of snake oil thrown in, shows some real proof that what they are doing is not a sham and a scam.
Scholarly Articles on Sex Addiction
Here is a link to open scholarly articles on Compulsive Sexual Behavior. Yes, that’s the real term that is now used to describe what we call sex addiction. I’m not sure how I feel about it as it seems to have implications for treatment.
If you follow some of the citations you may find even more information. Sorry, some of the articles are only open to scientific subscription holders. I’ll see if it I am allowed to quote some of those scientific research papers.
Compulsive Sexual Behavior: A Review of the Literature
You might like this article too.
That’s my ‘updated’ rant for the day. ~ JoAnn
Oh make it a GIANT RANT. Its outrageous, but you already know the answers. Its the elephant in the room… the gorilla… the butt neked emperor. But what the hey… I’ll be happy to tell you what you already know.:)
1) sex addiction was coined by sex addicts (conflict of interest, no?)
2) AA was founded by a sex addict (and an alcoholic)
3) COSA was started by a co-dependent of a sex addict who drank the kool-aid and then found other kool-aid aficionados so that they could come weekly to bitch and moan about their sex addicts and convert other partners to drink their kool-aid and come weekly to bitch and moan about their sex addicts…
4) Patrick Carnes is a sex addict (and probably most of the rest of the so-called experts, as well.) they are all in cahoots… because…
5) Sex addiction is lucrative. (you did say that)
6) Its still a “MAN’S WORLD” There is still a double standard and its not that big a deal. Its a disease and you wouldn’t leave someone who’s sick would you????? tisk tisk… I mean you DID marry him “for better or worse” didn’t you? yeeeeeesh… what is wrong with you woman!!! You need a 12-step program to deal with those non-committal issues you have!!! and your inability to empathize with someone you love who’s sick.*
7) integrity and morals have run amok and what was once considered immoral is considered an entitlement. As Ashley Madison says… “life is short; have an affair!” (wink, wink)
8) Sex addiction is lucrative
9) Lots of people prefer to live in a world of illusion (delusion?)
10 Sex addiction is lucrative.
*(mindfuck and transference… there’s a lot of money in that because it keeps the victim on a short leash and truly makes them crazy. Keeps them coming back for more and more “help.”)
Reality. Sex addicts are fucked up people. There is about a 99.999% chance that they will become unfucked up. Staying with them will make the stayer also fucked up… and the longer they stay with the sex addict the more fucked up they will become.
That is the truth.
But alas… there’s no money in that!
But there’s you, JoAnn… and Chump Lady who we all love and why? She has dared to speak a truth that few have dared to say. Its not an illness. Its ENTITLEMENT. Its fucked up. Its cruel. Its soul-crushing and its a pervasive problem in our culture. And if you think that there’s hope, I’ll show you a unicorn. okay?
Anthony Weinerdick should be our poster boy of personality disordered dickwits. He’s certainly quite visible, (and quite insane with his continued thinking that at 10% he even stands a snowball’s chance in hell of getting on the ticket) but there are Anthony Weiners in all walks of life– in all economic and educational levels. So, we should thank Mr. Weiner for being an example of all the things an entitled fucktard is… which is…
fucked up. He’s our living proof that its not an illness. Just fucked up. but alas… there’s no money in that sad truth; not the kind of money that false hope can buy.
The bottom line is that sex addiction is lucrative.
You sure put it out there, girl. As honest as JoAnn, without any restraint. The truth: Raw.
Yes, yes, yes! I couldn’t have said it better myself! I believe the sex addiction therapy model is based on out dated patriarchal concepts that do nothing but enslave women in bad marriages by selling the idea that a) these guys can really change and b) it will take years to know if your husband CAN change or not! Has everyone here seen Patrick Carnes timeline for recovery!? It literally takes 5 years! No other therapy in the world would or should take that long to see permanent change. Oh AND after you’ve been traumatized by your previous discoveries, be prepared to be lied to (because that a normal part of recovery) and don’t you dare shame him about his slip ups because this addiction is shame-based…boo friggin who for them I say.
I struggled with myself whether to stay and support my husband in “beating his addiction” and felt like a bad person/wife when I decided, very recently, this life is not for me! I don’t want to spend the rest of my life waiting for his to ‘slip’ (what a stupid term), oh or ‘act out’ (like he’s a four year old child), and then I have to be OK with it because it happens!
I’ve read every sex addiction book out there and they all enraged me, I couldn’t truly find one that really laid out the truth and the truth is that most of these men are not capable of changing because this ‘sex addiction’ is a manifestation of a personality disorder that cannot and will not be fixed There are no real recovery stats out there because the people that are selling this addiction don’t want you to know what the stats are because no one in there right, educated mind would sign up for a life like that. Most of these men have intimacy disorders so if you want to spend your life with a man that can never truly be open, loving generous and TRUTHFUL then go right ahead and stay. It takes some of us longer than others to realize, myself 10 years and two kids, but I’m not going to waste one more moment of my life to concern myself about his ‘addiction’.
I’m going to end on a hopeful note. My husband and I have been separated for seven months, I kicked him out from this last discovery and that’s when he confessed to having an addiction. The first five months were up and down emotionally and financially very difficult. I decided at some point to let go of my need to make him ‘sorry’ or be the kind of man I thought he was, that’s right, who he was in my mind never exsisted I’ve come to realize. I’m sad for the choices he continues to make with his life but it no longer effects me. Seven months later my life is drama free and I can concentrate on being the best mom I can be for my two little kids. I feel free at last.
Thank you JoAnn for your continued honesty on this subject! It needs to be heard.
Thank you Linette, and you are absolutely correct. Most, if not all of these men suffer from some sort of Personality Disorder and any Psychiatrist will tell you that there is no cure. Yes, there may be some behavior modification possible, but these men are who they are and there is no changing their basic personality.
I did write an eBook on that very subject. If you are interested it is available here:
I so agree with you JoAnn. There is no cure and these men will never change is dead on. I was given the usual baloney from counselors and my husband after the first day of discovery and the journey to find help. After the second d day my SAH moved out and moved in with his very young prostitute girlfriend. The trauma to me and any other woman in this position is life changing. We are lucky if we can survive d day and the trauma without major health effects. Thank you for this site where we can share our experiences.
I have been married for two months…and in love with this man for two years. I suspected nothing, only to come home one day to find he had left his yahoo chat and porn stash up on the computer we now share (as he had accidently dropped my laptop). He says that he has tried to stop for years. Many of the conversations that I archived, including him asking the people he was sex chatting, and videoing to meet. He says he never met any of them, it was just an entertaining fantasy…I’ve read many of the comments through-out this site, and I haven’t seen any hope that there is a such thing as genuine change. I’m terrified. I love him! I mean, he has been my best friend for the last 2 years. My family is encouraging me to help him through his addiction. As far as he has told me he has only had three sexual partners, myself, and his two exes. Is there no hope?
Sarah,It is true that your husband is likely hiding much of the truth. The truth is scary for addicts for so many reasons and the lying is often the hardest part of all for wives. He may or may not have actually met with these women. Sex addiction is a powerful thing and takes a lot to overcome. Many men do not succeed. But some do. Many marriages are healed from this. You will find that, just like anything else, most people who post online are posting negative things. When things are going well for them they often don’t have any reason to post. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try with your marriage. You are taking a risk. You should be careful. You should get tested for STD’s. But sex addicts don’t enjoy hurting people and do not do what they do with the intention of hurting anyone. I know that doesn’t make sense, but nothing about addiction makes sense. It is indeed a very real illness. An illness where treatment is available. Your husband had a secret life but that doesn’t mean he didn’t love you or that you didn’t know at least part of the real him. I wish you and your husband the very best. I hope you are one of the ones who make it! No matter what happens you will be okay, even if that is hard to feel right now.
It is probably important to continue to be on a learning curve here. Treatment for Sex addict/compulsive has been set up as if the behaviours reflect an isolated “illness” as you call. It is not an illness as every year the DSM rejects it being classified as such. But multiple research records sex addict/compulsive behaviours as symptoms of various PD’s. By attempting to treat these behaviours as if they are not connected to larger more complex diagnose and treatment, CSAT’s, 12 step groups, and other therapists are holding onto a sinking ship and selling treatment that cannot work precisely because it isn’t an accurate diagnosis. Moreover these people are not competent to make that diagnosis. Only a psychiatrist can, although a prescribed treatment regimen after such a diagnosis can be carried out by a licensed Psychologist (PhD).
Hope comes in many forms, including from those women with the courage to name the charade of professionals who are not competent and not successful. As we call for the right professional to handle the diagnosis and treatment, sex addicts and their partners will finally come face to face the hope that is truly theirs. As we pull back the curtain on current treatment protocols to find the “wizard” wildly cranking his big dials and telling us “to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” we are, however, interrupting the cash flow of many of the current proprietors of inaccurate diagnoses and treatment. Expect pushback.
And btw, accusing those working for honesty, accuracy and reliable results of denying hope to women is one of the textbook “pushback” tactics. It actually takes much deeper hope to insist on better standards, accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and measurable results. By trying to keep this problem small, these practitioners are hoping they will continue to make money off it, without actually having any of the credentials actually needed to diagnose and treat the real problems.
It is heartbreaking to see so many tragic stories of sex addicts who are complete jerks and will never change. Reading the stories in here, it sure seems that most really won’t change, and that may be true. I was not commenting on the recovery community, but only on sex addiction itself. I don’t see the relationship in this context, except, since you brought it up, outside help is what is generally missing from any addict who has tried to quit many times unsuccessfully. The failure to be able to stop on their own is a hallmark of addiction. Admitting that is a great step in the right direction! As you may know, alcoholism was regected from the DSM as well initially. Do you also think that is not a real addiction? If you go back even further mental illness in general was regected by many, if not most. Depression etc. was simply seen as neuroses or hysteria. The DSM is a constant work in progress that is a source of debate and controversy amongst professionals. But, we, as a society have come a long way. In some ways good, some ways not so good, depending on who you are talking to. I don’t see how 12 step fellowships are trying to “sell treatment”. They are free and often very helpful, although all groups are different. Yeah, treatment for any mental health disorder, including addiction, is often expensive, but there are different options. I understand CSAT’s (whom I disagree with for the most part from my limited expereince with them directly) spend many thoughsands upon thousands of dollars and tons of hard work and time to get their training. It may not be the right training, but I don’t think the vast majority of them are in it for the wrong reasons (i.e. money). Just lemmings, imo, not recognizing the real issues, especially in treating partners. Some do fall prey to the corruption of money and even fame/power. We can’t use them to determine if sex addiction is real or not. I’m looking forward to the Thanks for Sharing movie. I’ve heard it’s a pretty accurate depiction of sex addiction, but not recommended for all. Could be triggering to some, both addicts and partners. BTW, my marrige is one of those marriages. i get that we are possible an exception to the rule, but my church offers a great program for addicts and my husband was one of those who did get a lot of help. We both found good therapists, who were affordable with our insurance or sliding scale (not CSATs although we tried that too and got some help if I disregarded the labels) and that made a huge difference too. Armed with the knowledge you can find on sites like this so a partner can be prepared to watch for signs of a theraist who is not equipped to work with this issue, I think she can manage to quickly recognize someone who is not safe or won’t be helpful, maybe just with a brief phone call. He was never a jerk to me, our whole marriage. He did have an anger problem (not directed at me) and of course a lying problem, but very loving toward me. I know that is probably the exception to the rule. I really don’t want to trigger others and like I said, I validate that most women on here have not had to same experience and that is NOT their fault and it does take a huge amount of courage to get out. I can only imagine.
BTW, I never meant to accuse anyone of denying hope to women. I just want to show that not all situations are the same. Demanding results (i.e. setting boundaries) is fair and the only way anyone can possibly begin to feel safe.
I do not intend to start any kind of debate. I don’t see any benefit to that here and don’t think it’s the purpose of the site. I don’t have time to come on here enough to engage in that anyway.
Finally, Kimberly, the “negativity” comment you said I made was not meant to be a criticism. It’s just reality. We need more support when we are hurting so we are more likely to reach out. I don’t know where the leap to sociopath came from the fact that he has failed in the past and he has lied. I hope more like me will take the time to occasionally be a voice of hope for recovery when there is so little of that online, where wives are most likely to turn first. This site does show them that anger and rants can be very healthy and necessary. I came across this site and saw a lot of good, but I would be remiss if I didn’t state that we can’t fit every partner, every addict, and every marriage into a box.
Can you please help me to understand how lying to you can be ‘loving’? I am totally confused. Having been married to an sex addict/abuser for 16 yrs and discovering he lived a double life then working in individual and joint counseling for 4 yrs. I just don’t ‘get it’…
Well, Sarah, I’m sorry to say this and know that you were hoping for a different answer, but your husband is clearly LYING. He HAS been with some of these people. If he’s asking to be with them, he HAS been with them. What concerns me the most here is that your family is encouraging you to stay with a lying, cheating sociopath.
He has created a very charming, likeable “false self.” However, that is not the real him. The real him is a man who consorts with hookers, marries you under false pretenses, exposes you to life threatening illnesses, and had absolutely no intention of you ever finding out until, you just happened on his nasty habit that HE CANNOT SHAKE. Believe him here. He cannot shake this. You may call it an addiction, but that’s irrelevant. If his addiction were taking a gun and putting one bullet in it and playing Russian Roulette by pointing the gun directly to your head, would your family tell you to “support him through his addiction?”
no, they would not. So, tell me… What’s the difference?
There is absolutely no difference. They do not understand this, but you must. This is your precious life and This man is putting it in jeopardy each and every time you have sex with him. Of course, you could stay with him and never make love. That could work. And then, you’d also have to be okay with sharing him with all these other women. Otherwise, no. He’s made it clear that he cannot change. He may try to convince you that he can, but please remember first and foremost, he’s a pathololgical liar, so tell me, how are you to believe anything he says? This is the stuff of nightmares, but he is a very sick man. The man that you love does not really exist. not really.
Again, I know this is very difficult to hear, but it is your reality that you must face. You have only been married a short time and I know that this is devastating, but I would make plans to annul the marriage and then take the time to heal with a caring knowledgeable therapist. It will take some time, but you will heal from this.
It’s hard not to agree with the “rant”. What is so damaging about the phenomenon, whether or not it is an addiction, is the degree to which it is so devastating to the partner, who not only feels betrayed, scorned, deceived, abandoned – but is also blamed, by societal convention (if she were loving enough, he wouldn’t have to go elsewhere), by the “sex addict”, who thereby avoids blaming himself, by many in the sex addict therapy world, who label partners as “co-addicts” and treat them as someone who has promoted behavior that they had no clue about and abhor to the depths of their being. The damage this does is profound and devastating. I have become convinced that the only way to respond to a “sex addict” tis to immediately make it clear to him that this is absolutely unacceptable behavior and that he is to move out immediately and take responsibility for his choices and the consequences that result. This is not what I did; I spend two years reading books, trying to get him into therapy, and trying to be his mother, his therapist, and his whore. I think there would have been a better chance for a positive outcome if I had beaten him into a bloody pulp after the first revelation and thrown him out right then and there. But, of course, there are a couple of problems with that approach: 1) the extend of the issues is often only revealed over a period of months, and 2) I’m not someone who beats people into a bloody pulp.
On the other hand, I don’t really think he’s a dead loss as a person. Many parts of his life, those that don’t have to do with relationships and intimacy, are valuable to society. To be sure, some of it is a facade, but it can still be useful and positive. So, my conclusion is that he is profoundly destructive as a partner and has deeply damaged me, but I hope he finds a way of living that allows the facade to become a deeper reality. He’s going to have to do it without me, though – I plan to be taking care of my kids and myself and building us some happiness.
There’s a John Prine song that has the lines:
“There’s a hole in Daddy’s arm
Where all the money goes …”
My version is:
“There’s porn in Daddy’s computer
Where all the happiness goes…”
It’s important to get that happiness back.
Apologies for all of the typos!
Really? yuck! Things are going very well for me, despite your trying to make excuses for my so-called “negativity.” Reality is reality and I see it as a positive thing. Please reread Sarah’s post. Her husband very clearly told her that he has TRIED to overcome his addiction, but cannot do so. (that part is honest) Otherwise, he has lied to her, repeatedly; he married her under false pretenses. I am sorry, that you feel that calling me “negative” is going to help Sarah by giving her false hope. Does anyone ever actually recover from this? Not the ones who are found out by accident. He would’ve just kept on going on his not-so-merry way, but he got sloppy. She cannot help him; she is his unwitting accomplice!
Sure. so-called help is available for the sex addict. Good luck. Who effin’ cares? Prove me wrong. I would welcome that. Please show me these wonderful, happily married couples whose marriages are stronger than ever. (triggering statement in this context)
Male sex addicts do not love women. They are misogynists who seek to control women. And they DO derive sadistic pleasure from pulling one over on the little misses. Otherwise, why on earth would a man who KNOWS that he has to have lots and lots of women actually go to the trouble to deceive and then marry a woman who it was understood was expecting him to be monogamous? Yes, its a sickness and its impossible to put back something that was never there to begin with.
Does he love her? He loves what she can do for him. He is not capable of true, intimate love. It is not in him to do so. Well, doesn’t he have any redeeming qualities? I’m sure that he does… but if a man killed your child in cold blood… but was a wiz in business and did volunteer work at church, would it really matter?
I wish you well and I’m sure that you are only trying to help Sarah, but I would be remiss if I did not restate the obvious. K
I am so delighted that I found this blog tonight! You ladies have each nailed it on the head. Follow the money!
I have done so much research since I ended my 20 year marriage a few years ago. I know there is so much more to my ex-husband’s behavior than just “sex addiction”. In fact, he himself used the words “split personality” when he finally told me what was going on. But did his psychotherapist ever evaluate him for split personality or any sort of personality disorder or bipolar disorder or any of the other gazillion things that can cause compulsive sexual behavior? Of course not! She never even asked me to corroborate any of his stories, and Lord knows he is perfectly capable of lying to his psychotherapist. I listened to him lie to our marriage counselor! Other therapists I have consulted with have used the terms sociopath, bipolar, borderline, etc. I have no idea. He could be a combination of things. I may never find out.
I finally got out when he threatened to kill himself in front of me with a hunting knife while our young son was in the next room. How dare anyone call me co-dependent. I didn’t have a clue what was going on. He was a master of deception. We were together for 20 years and we had a child. It is the nature of marriage that you become INTERdependent. It’s the whole damned point of marriage. Co-dependent, my ass.
I sat in on many Open SAA meetings to hear people’s stories and try to get a better understanding of this phenomenon. It’s frightening and sad. For the most part they all seem to be very disturbed people, all continually lying to themselves and each other about their behavior. My sense is that these folks have some sort of larger disorder that is going totally undiagnosed and that the compulsive sexual behavior is just a symptom of the larger disorder. Although to be fair, some of them just seem to be assholes.
This is my first time on this website, and I am glad to hear another betrayed woman object to the label “Codependent.” As you say, marriage is about being inter-dependent, and when you are blindsided by the revelation of your husband’s double life, you do not suddenly become a “co-addict” or “Co-dependent person.” I am frustrated that there are all these 12-step meetings for the addicts and for codependents, but there are no local meetings (in Seattle) for partners of sex addicts who just want support dealing with their trauma caused by their addict’s behavior.
I have just read all the wonderful ranting! I know it’s vital to have rants, if only to release the pressure of this horrendous situation.
I have been married to my second husband for 14 years now. (My first husband and my other relationships have never included any infidelity as far as I know, so this is not a pattern for me). I totally trusted him and have loved him completely.
His ex wife is an active addict and therefore when I married him I inherited 4 step children (they were supposed to share time with their parents but it became apparent within 6 weeks that this wasn’t the case). I therefore took them on and have loved them like my own 2 children. I then went on to have a child with him – again blissfully ignorant of what was really going on.
He has always travelled a lot, is charming and everyone loves him. He has always proclaimed undying love but avoids responsibility and makes himself absent.
I found out 2 years ago about the year of sexual acting out many times which was put as though he had had a breakdown and ‘gone’ into addiction. This was at a treatment centre in USA. I was heartbroken and shattered. It was like a lamb being led to the slaughter and there was no counsellor available for me to see. I had flown from the UK and had no idea what I was in for.
I have always done a lot of self development work myself and maybe that helped me survive but nothing can prepare you for the devastation this brings.
I spent the last year and a half working with therapists, couples stuff, 12 step meetings, listening to his crap, being supportive and working on my recovery.
About 5 months ago I found evidence on the phone that he had relapsed and then he disclosed more about the earlier years of our marriage and before in his previous marriage. Again, I went to the depths , whilst bringing up children . He had denied, lied, manipulated and lied again. I told him to leave and we have been having time apart for the last few months.
He seems to be in what he now sees as ‘full recovery’ but I can’t get over the need to continually lie and withhold, to not make necessary amends and the lack of support for partners.
I feel utterly let down by his and my therapist who are trying to move us on when I don’t feel the reality is being addressed.
I could of bloody well told them he was a sex addict primarily 2 years ago but it’s strange that they don’t listen to the betrayed partner or take them seriously.
There seems to be a profound level of disrespect for women and that is not healed overnight.
I hate the term co addict. I don’t feel I am part of the problem but that the problem has now become part of me which I hate.
Will these men ever take full responsibility and be accountable or now hide behind the ‘sex addict’ label, expecting help and support. They have a hell of a lot of it as far as I can see and the betrayed have to search and search for theirs. They certainly don’t help that happen in my experience.
I am terrified about the future and finically things are not good as a result of all this. There has been thousands spent on his ‘addiction’ and then his treatment.
What pisses me off the most is that he comes across as such a decent, hard working man and if it wasn’t for the kids I would probably have blown that out of the water by now.
This is incredibly isolating for me and other wives as people don’t understand and many of us have children who will be affected.
I really don’t know what to do. I just pray and am in the process of trying to get some form of financial security.
I would like to be one of the few who gets through this, becomes a better and stronger person and is in a position to help others going through this .
But, I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t feel like it at the moment.
I hate, hate, hate the situation he has put our family in and haven’t got a clue who he really is anymore.
It feels good to rant.
Thank you all and ‘good luck’!
I do not put people in “boxes”, thereishope and I greatly resent your telling me that I do. Please reread what she wrote and what I wrote that backed up my assertions. There was no leap but a clear-cut set of behaviors which lead to my conclusions. I stand by them 100%. Also please stop mocking me by quoting my phrase, “I would be remiss.” In other words, I am asking you to refrain from further reference to me in any way, shape or form on this blog. That is my boundary. Thank you.
Kimberly, that is one of the greatest posts I have ever read.
First, I want to say, this forum saved my sanity in a world gone mad. It’s been four months since the “revelation”. Thank you Joanne. And thank you to everyone who vents. Good or bad.
There is a great essay from a sex addict on the web entitled: A MALE GRIEF: NOTES ON PORNOGRAPHY AND ADDICTION by David Mura.
It will give you great insight into the brain of a sex addict. I do not intend to go back to my SA, but ever the student, I was looking for knowledge into a subject that I was completely unaware existed. I have plenty of addicts in my family and had a better understanding on chemicals that gives euphoria to kill pain and create pleasure for whatever reason each addict used to start their abuse of booze, drugs or food.
But the sex addict reasoning evaded me. Mainly because the majority of SAs’ partners enjoyed sex. Myself included.
NPDRecovery on YOUTUBE is very helpful, too. (NPD is Narcissist Personality Disorder)
Take it for what its worth. My fear is picking another partner with the same problem. For now, I intend to go it alone to take care of all the business I put off for 16 years caring for someone who only cared about his next euphoric 2 minute ejaculation.
When we leave the cesspool of sex addiction we will find a beautiful life that has been waiting for us the whole time. Therein lies our hope.
Thanks for the heads up on the essay – it was great, insightful and actually made me think about my own upbringing.
I learned the awful truth about my 15 year marriage this past January. Like you, I have no intention or desire to reconcile but I went through every single horrible emotion and reaction that is to be expected when one is so completely and unexpectedly traumatized. I have read every single article, page and comment on this site and it truly saved me. I am working on financial independence and when I am able I will subscribe to SOS, partially to thank and support JoAnn as she keeps this site open and free for all of us who need it, and to keep my resolve strong. We have two kids together so there will be a lot of ongoing interaction and my biggest fear is that I will get sucked back into the crazy making!
Thanks to everyone on this site for helping me see the seriousness of my situation.
Your welcome. I come from a family of girls. I am pretty sure I am not alone. I promised myself in one year I would let them all know what really happened. I wanted to educate myself first and have the pain lessened so I could talk to them without bitterness and factually. In the first two months, I had hope. The more I read I realized how deep this addiction goes. All these stories from different women gave me strength to stay true to myself. By staying true to yourself it is easier to see the absolute dishonesty in their illness. He writes me every day. He is in counseling. He is going to church. He wants me back. But when I read through the lines I see it simmering. One liners he thinks go over my head. They used to. He sees everything through his sexuality. He thinks his illness is the true world. Love is a word he uses but does not live or understand. I am sure he thinks my world is just as fake as he thinks his is real. But something drives him to want to be in my world. And I think know what it is. The world of illicit sex is finite. There is no joy or love, only orgasm. My world is infinite and has joy that comes from love. He sees it, wants it, but does not believe in it.
The big question is are they capable of reversing their view of the world. We cannot do this for them as much as we would like to for the sake of our family. We cannot go into their hell and reverse it. I am a Catholic and faithful. My religion had its own set of problems as you know. I will pray for him and I know only his Maker can enter his hell and pull him out and make a conversion of his heart. Not me.
Stay strong. Forgive him and move on. Your future is bright everyday you wake. Your world is infinite.
The essay was very, very sad to read as I was thinking that my ex was probably sexually abused but did not want to face all that horrible pain. I felt angered too, that I was used as a tool. And frankly, I could not read all of it as I got very triggered…
I know how sad it is and the triggers it can cause. Sex addiction is a very sick world. I had to put it down more than once and finally realized there is nothing I could do for him, he has to do it himself.
It has now be almost a year and I feel really good about myself, because I have been working on myself and have been mostly no contact with him.
Take care of YOU and pray for him. I am so sorry you are here, Cindy. But, there is hope for you.
sex addiction is the most painful experience I’ve every had in my life but I have to say Joanne that I am glad that no one ranted at me about statistics and not believing this and that as I was already shocked,devastated and a broken woman and for someone to blast their opinion at you like that would be cruel and as you say there is not a lot of evidence based research to support information on sex addiction.
Lets face it none of us are God and none of us know how life let alone sex addiction and recovery will pan out. I have no idea if my marriage will be a success but then does anyone in any marriage.
I have to say I’m with ‘Thereishope’ and all that vengeance inside you ladies will do you no good and don’t get me wrong I truly know what you feel and always will.
Recovery Girl –
We all have different experiences and our SAs have different levels of addiction. I have more pain in myself than vengeance. If you want to educate yourself on the SA’s thought process check out BrainPhysics.com for OCD regarding sexual compulsions. Here a SA relates his experience with sexual compulsion and treatment to overcome it. Your partner may or may not fit in this category. Your Brain on Porn is also another good website if you want to get into their head regarding pornography. There is more to sexual addiction than meets the eye.
Personally, to me, it’s a hell hole for anyone who has been caught by the ‘Siren”. Love does not exist in this world. Ejaculation takes the place of love. The SA cannot put the two together.
I believe in God. I pray everyday for His direction since this revelation from my SA, APR 2014, and I although I am very sad for both of us, I have not been disappointed or discouraged when I put God first.
Anything is possible. But please work on yourself. YOU cannot cure your SA. This is what I think most of us are saying. Your SA must heal himself.
Sex Addicts are narcissists. Overly nice women put up them. I made that mistake for 2 & 1/2 years. I am just now getting out. It is desperately painful but the comments on this site have helped convince me that leaving is the best choice. It’s been so hard to leave what has been comfortable and loving at times. But when he’s living a double life there’s no comfort in that. When he complains about how unsatisfying our sex life is there is no comfort in that. When he tells me he has a hard time ejaculating there’s no comfort in that. When he sends an email to set up an appointment with a prostitute there is no comfort in that. When he says he wants “me” time so that he can hide away and jerk off to internet porn there is no comfort. How many more lonely nights would it take for me to get a reality check that this guy is self-absorbed, self-centered, and doesn’t really love me. That his actions don’t line up with his words. That the women on this site were right when they said to run like hell and not devote years of your life to a guy who will ultimately betray you for a younger body. When he throws his money around to buy women like commodities. When there are thousands of hundreds misguided young things willing to pleasure him for a quick buck. Why did I stay? He was handsome, charming, and could say the sweetest loving things all the while chatting up with other young girls behind my back. It’s no accident that he picked the prettiest young hair stylist to cut his hair, not because she was excellent at the job but merely because she was pretty. It’s no accident when he contacts the pretty young girls on facebook and searches for them on google. It’s no accident that he subscribes to Maxim and Playboy and fills his mind and energies toward new young ladies. He is not suitable for a long term relationship and I was a fool for staying so long. It is only because of what I’ve read from other women on this site to run like hell that I am only now starting to put on my running shoes. My heart is ragged and raw. I hope the pain subsides soon but I believe this short-term pain will be worth leaving a lifetime of heartache.
Yep. Janine. You are right. That is what they are. They keep us around to be part of a world that contains love. Love does not exist in the world of sex. But, sex can and does occur in the world of love.
Boot him out. He will not be able to get his love “kibbles” in the sex world. It is very, very lonely there. A complete void. A dive in the old septic tank. No one gives a sh*t about you unless money is involved. The sex world could care less about intimacy, feelings, emotions, comfort, financial security, retirement, children, family, spiritual or physical health and even life itself. It’s all about a dopamine “rush” with an ejaculation derived from illicit sex…promiscuity…or perhaps getting one over on the Mrs. or Mr. This is why they will soon find someone else to get the love “kibbles” when they are done destroying what’s left of your self worth. It’s a sickness you cannot cure. Only he can cure himself IF he wants.
The pain you feel is leaving a future that never existed. He is NOT the man you thought he was. You will heal.
Each day the pain lessens. I almost feel entirely ok and whole again. Time does indeed heal all wounds. When I was thick in it I was so obsessed with monitoring him, checking up on his internet history, emails, facebook history. Now that I’ve made the decision to leave it’s a weight gone, the heaviness and jealousy I felt when I saw he was looking at other women is completely gone. If anything women who are out there and haven’t left yet, know that you get your peace of mind back after you leave your SA. It is incredibly hard and I feel incredibly lonely but it was only after I saw for my own eyes how sick and depraved he was – sex chats, sex tours, brothels, sex hook up sites, sugar daddy sites, craigslist, backpage, mail order brides, redbook, misstravel, wealthymen, p411, the erotic review, ter, girlfriend experience, gf, the list goes on and on for the “hobbyist” and his endless search of “providers” such silly terms for the prostitution world. I am glad to be free of it now. If anything it is worth the loneliness to not have to be filled with rage and jealousy. Oh and I don’t regret the snooping one bit. Ladies, snoop but don’t let them know, look at their computers and see their true hearts, staying with them will expose you to heartache and potential STDs, they can give you AIDS with their reckless actions. They don’t care about your health, they don’t truly love you when they are setting up their next hooker appointment. Find a guy who has integrity who won’t cheat on you when your back is turned. You deserve more, I deserved more. Integrity – when someone does the right thing even when no one is looking.
This is a great site and you will also have friends at CHUMPLADY.COM.
I am so happy to hear YOUR recovery is successful.
Big hug for your mighty stand at taking your life back.
Everyone’s situation is different because we are dealing with different partners. With that being said not every SA will forever cheat, watch porn etc for the rest of his life. I believe some cases of SA stem from not having love shown to them as a child, and being abandoned as a child. This is where fear of intimacy stems from possibly resulting in acting out. And being extremely selfish. Not knowing how to be connected with their true self and not knowing how to make love to a woman and tap into her spiritual side. In life there are many lessons, it’s up to the SA to continue the road of self destruction, and the destruction of those around him, or grow the **** up. I do believe there is hope. But not for all.
Why do these SA’s obtain more than supervised custody of their children? When they leave their iPad available and open with no passwords and the iPad has X rated movies for my 9 and 11 year old to view. When I have caught his jacking off in my bed when he was suppose to be living in the basement before moving out? When you know he will jack off when my girls are around him on his weekends and/or have porn up on his computer and/or prostitutes possibly coming in and out of his new home? When he will have triggers with their preteen girlfriends who may visit?
My pessimism overwhelms me. My 74 yr. old husband is into the sex addiction world via at the internet for the last 5 yrs. Porn and prostitutes – he even fell in love with a prostitute! I only found out about his secret life because he became sloppy at hiding everything on the computer. I confronted and he confessed – over a miserable period of 10 days of crying and listening to his “story” – no one should ever have to feel this pain, betrayal and confusion and hurt. There are no easy answers but I found my backbone and asked him to leave. We live apart and expect my divorce to happen in a few months. My stunning conclusion to all of this: he admitted he would never have stopped if I hadn’t caught him. He was okay with a double life and admitted that he felt terrific every time he left our home to meet a prostitute. Our boring life as long marrieds couldn’t compare to the BJ from prostitutes. The porn continued throughout all of the years and truly became the poison that finished our marriage. So many more details and stories – not to bore – but I am starting over at age 63 – scared but defiant in the face of sexual addiction or compulsion or whatever anyone wants to label this hideous evil. My strength and my spirit will overcome. When I become low or blue, I ask my spirit to guide me. It really helps.
I just read your post and I share some of your feelings. I am 62, and found out a month ago that my husband has been using porn, getting lap dances and using prostitutes for most of the last thirty years. He has wasted $500,000.00 on his addiction, and we now have no nest egg and no equity in our home. I am shocked, betrayed, hurt, angry, and depressed. My husband has started seeing an addiction specialist and I am just in the process of adjusting to a whole new reality. I don’t have any idea where my life is going, and it is scary to be considering a divorce at this age. You were brave to make the decision that you needed to! I am glad you are strong and autonomous.
Welcome to the club you never thought you would be a member.
Your SA needed a safe place to go after visiting the sewer. That is why he stayed with you. You were his life line to reality. He was having his cake and eating it too. It’s exciting if you think you are getting away with something. It is quite a different matter when it is full time. Then it becomes boring just like everything else in the life of a narc.
Your strength and spirit will overcome. Welcome to the other side of hell.
I am so grateful that there are some members of this discussion who are not afraid to speak out forcefully and truthfully about SA and its victims. We are all a collection of terrible stories and pain that somehow binds us into a circle of hope. Hope is not all we have but on the worst days, it is something. Hope starts when we are 100% honest and open about the anger and misery we live with daily. Not to mention the fact that we have to decide ahead of time what version of the sickness we reveal to our children, parents, friends, coworkers and so on. I am an open wound on a good day. Thanks to all of you reading this for helping me to stand in my truth. Husband is out of the house but after 33 years not so easy to disconnect, in spite of my knowledge about what he has done for 5 years. My kids keep me whole and sane – they are my buoys in this sea of despair. Good friends help so much, too, so I am blessed to have that. And thanks to all of you – JoAnn, other people who post on here – even if we disagree, we are still holding each other up and validating each other’s pain and progress. THANKS TO YOU ALL.
Healing takes time. You were involved a terrible spiritual and emotional accident of which you had NO CONTROL. Hit from the side while going through a green light.
You will recover. You will look at life differently, but that is not a bad thing if you work on getting past the injury. I promise.
The good news we are all here to support you in your progress to becoming better. I revealed the truth only to my most trusted friend and my oldest child from a previous marriage. I told my family members to give me a year so I could collect my thoughts. I had no children with him. My family have all been wonderful and very supportive.
I have good days and bad days. But I have had good days and bad days with or without the bombshell.
It’s not so easy to disconnect. That is your challenge going forward and living an honest life. If you disconnect from the dishonesty and see what is left, you’ll be surprised.
Peace be with you, Sandra. Sending lots of love and hugs your way.
Finding you ladies has been a blessing for me. My husband of 21 years told me on the 17th of this month, he is addicted to porn. It explains all the behaviors I could not get my head wrapped around for all these years; however, I had no idea this is what he was doing. I feel like such a fool. We have been in therapy for a few months and the therapist says the recovery rate is good; I have my doubts. This is all so raw and new for me, I don’t want to rush to any decisions but my instinct is to be done. Get out. Try to find some way to start healing my own self. You guys know what I mean when I say, he made me feel horrible about myself, I just didn’t know why. Now I do.
Becky….i am in the same place – except my husband did not come to me….I made a discovery after 17 years of marriage in October that he has an online addiction, and possibly more. I knee-jerked him into therapy with a sex additional therapist….now after reading these posts I wonder if I should have sent him to a psychotherapist specializing in personality disorders and compulsive sexual behavior. I’m confused about what path he is on, we are on, where my life is headed, all of it. But i do know after 17 years of marriage and two kids — 11 and 13 — that i want to try and see if recovery is possible for him, understand the extent of what has happened here – before I make any decisions. Are you seeing a certified sex addiction therapist? I would appreciate hearing what type of treatment you are pursuing and what kind of specialist. thanks so much….
Becky – how sad that on Christmas morning you find yourself on this website to share your pain and feelings of misery and betrayal. No one but you as the person who is in the marriage – can help you with a decision to stay or leave your marriage – but listening to your female spirit guide is a good starting point. When my husband’s truths came out and when he stared at me with blank eyes, I knew the answer. As for me, I knew that I had to find clarity, peace and hopes of a better life. My misery “with no name” could finally be named and I could claim back my DIGNITY and move forward – yes, alone – to a future that will reveal itself to me day by day – I have faith in that much. I will take better care of my own health, mental, physical and spiritual – I will know that I did what needed to be done – for my SANITY. While I don’t hate my husband, I am glad of the separation and divorce (in a few months) and hope to reach a place of forgiveness in the future, whether that takes one year or ten. But forgiveness won’t be weakness – it will be to free myself totally from being a wounded woman to a healthy, educated and empowered woman who is never afraid of the road ahead.
CalamityJane, you have rocked my world. Thanks and hugs. Your words are a balm.
You are mighty. Everything you said will come to fruition one step at a time. Keep the faith.
Our spouses are spiritually dead. That is my sadness for them and everyone else who got tangled in that web of a false empty life.
There is an old saying, “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living” by Mother Jones.
That is what these wonderful forums, here, are doing. Fighting like hell for the living.
Recovery Girl –
There is nothing I want more than success for YOU. That would include your husband’s total recovery or not. Either way, we are here for YOU, always.
I so appreciate each of your thoughts and feelings on this ugly truth. I will say honestly, I don’t have years of his recovery in me. I simply do not. If I need to be supportive in any way, it will have to be from the posture of a friend, not a wife. Yes Sandra, healing myself, taking care of myself instead of being consumed by hurt and confusion. Each incredibly difficult, passing day provides some sense of clarity, some sense of awareness to what my life has truly been. This addiction, this disorder has been more important to him than I could ever be.
I think was strikes me most in your last post is the last sentence “This addiction, this disorder has been more important to him than I could ever be.”
That is awareness of a very high level. I can say that I reached the same conclusion very quickly (maybe it is our age?) and understand at my core that there is no going back – husband doesn’t even want that since he is in love with a prostitute and infatuated like a teenage boy.
AND (Calmity Jane) “OUR SPOUSES ARE SPIRITUALLY DEAD.”
Your spirit is guiding you – and you are listening.
There’s a life out there – know that something better is waiting!
Many cyber hugs from me,
The fool is not “in love” with a prostitute. They are incapable of love. His dick is in lust. It tickles his dopamine receptors. They fit because neither one is capable of truly loving another person. What they both see in each other is their empty souls and for him sexual arousal, her, money. For now.
It’s doomed. But thank God that is NOT YOUR PROBLEM.
There is light. I am there and it’s life affirming.
It starts by stepping out of the box and doing something, anything you have always wanted to do but were afraid.
I am rooting for YOU!
Thank you all for sharing your stories; I have read each and every one. Since this is a safe place to rant, here is mine.
For 23 years I was married to a highly educated lawyer who was mean, manipulative and emotionally/verbally abusive, and who also found pleasure in throwing objects at me or pushing/slapping me on occasion. This behavior destroyed my self worth and confidence, and landed me in the office of a psychiatrist who prescribed therapy and two years of Paxil. After our son was in university, I finally found the strength to leave. I swore to myself that I would never, ever tolerate a similar situation again, and that my future home, be it a mansion or a studio over someone’s garage, would be my sanctuary. I was finished with the crazy making.
During the long months of legal arguments waiting for my divorce to be final, a man I knew from the gym asked me to go for a run. Even in the darkest times I have always honored my body, mind and soul. As part of my depression treatment, my doctor asked me to keep physically fit. I actually think I ran myself out of depression.
My running buddy and I became good friends, and I was rather taken aback when one day he kissed me; I didn’t think he thought of me in that light. We started dating, and before I knew it he was spending every week-end at my apartment. (He had a new job and it required him to travel Monday through Friday.) He, like me, had only been married once and for 20 years. He and his wife could not have children, and he claimed the years of infertility treatment took a toll on their marriage, and they ultimately divorced.
My boyfriend’s and my relationship grew stronger. We would cook together, laugh together, grocery shop together, walk hand-in-hand everywhere – including to take the trash out. We laughed that we couldn’t get enough of each other. I nursed him back to health after a nearly fatal cellulitis infection in his jaw and cooked him soup when he had a particularly miserable flu. I stood by his side at his mother’s funeral and hiked a mountain with him to scatter her ashes. As he so often said, “We do life amazing together.” He would open my car door, carry in the groceries, take me away for week-end trips. He was the perfect gentleman and everything my ex-husband was not. Oh, yeah, and the sex was toe-curling awesome!
In April of 2014 I bought a condo. By this time we were so crazy in love that I asked him if he wanted to move in with me; he was never at his place anyway. We were both committed to living the rest of our lives happily ever after. We put in new floors, bought new appliances, painted, decorated, had plantation shutters installed, and made a home. Yes, the deed was in my name (dumb I am not), but it was our home and it was beautiful! We snuggled on the couch and watched movies, and he would bring me coffee in bed on Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Remember, his job kept him out of town Monday to Friday.) Life was good – really good.
In May of 2014, B. as I will call him, got a big promotion. This now required him to not only travel our state, but also make frequent out of state trips. Las Vegas and California are frequent destinations. Life was still good, but he was consumed with work. He became less attentive to me, and when he was home he was always with some device in his hand. But then again, he had always taken his phone or iPad with him to the bathroom. Don’t all guys?
Fast forward to January 4th, 2015, the night before B. was to leave for California for a business trip. We had had a disagreement earlier that day; nothing major, but we were both irritated with each other. As he was packing his suitcase that evening, he looked at me and said, “Maybe I should just leave tonight.” I told him that was not what I wanted, but he was free to do as he wanted.
He left for California on January 5th, and texted me at 3:00 am my time to tell me he had arrived. We exchanged a quick text on the morning of the 6th, then he called me in the evening to tell me he was going to dinner – it was 6:00 pm in California, and 9:00 pm in my time zone. I finished some things I was doing at home, then went to bed at 10:00-ish. As I headed to la-la land, a “bing” kept going off, you know, the kind you get on an Apple device. I checked to make sure my phone and iPad were silenced – they were – but that “bing” kept coming. I looked at B.’s side of the bed, and sure enough, his iPad was next to his night stand. Out of sheer frustration, I checked to see if it was silenced. That was when my world fell apart.
The “bings” were Tinder messages for B. I could not believe my eyes. Since he uses the same 4 digit code for everything from suitcase locks to ATM card to garage door code, I did something I never, ever did before – I tried to log on to his iPad. Sure enough, the code worked. Not only was he looking for booty calls through Tinder, he also used an app called Badoo. The conversations he had with these “matches” went from let’s have a drink, to graphic sexual talk about what he was going to do with them when they met. And then I went in to his Craigslist account, and that is when I became physically ill. Yes, he had been placing ads (complete with photos) in the casual encounters for 8 YEARS! Yes, 8 years. I went through all his videos, photos, e-mail, and Facebook; there was no stone left unturned. I could not believe that all this belonged to the same man with whom I shared a life. I was in love with a Craigslist “Handsome older, in-shape, professional, very sexual DDF looking for NSA. Race and age not important but I prefer you not be fat. Can host in my suite at the Marriott. Send pic and write cum in the subject line so I know you’re for real”. A true pervert and SA, and I had no idea.
When I confronted him, he denied it. Then I started sending him pictures I had taken of his postings. He was caught, but still tried to lie, saying it was his own private world, it had nothing to do with “us”, he never cheated on me, never “crossed that line.” It was something he only did when he was out of town and got bored. Really? He sat in the same living room with me on New Year’s day and wrote “Happy New Year my sexy friend” to all these strangers.
I told him he had to move out, and he had 10 days to do it. He begged and pleaded, told me he loved me more than anything, that he wanted to work on our relationship, but to please, please not make him move out. We would go to counseling together, he would give me access to everything, etc. My heart wanted to believe him, but my gut told me otherwise. And based on what I have read and what my doctor told me, it was the right choice.
This whole thing has rocked me to my core. I try to understand, but it is difficult. As many of you have theorized, the basis for SA is a personality disorder. I believe B. may suffer from NPD, but diagnosis should be left to professionals. All I know is I cannot coexist with whatever he suffers from. I know I will be fine; I am spiritual, healthy, naturally upbeat and very strong.
In the end lady warriors, the SA’s problem is their demon to slay, not ours. Don’t let the experience taint your soul, live your life purposefully and joyfully. Spring always follows winter.
Thank you for letting me vent.
Three years ago, I came to your website in an absolute panic and was totally devastated. I learned — after many years of marriage, three kids, etc. — that the man I loved, cherished, and supported wholly was having multiple affairs, with co-workers, hired professionals, friends, and others. I have never felt so sad, angry, confused, you name it. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, had multiple health effects, and cried day and night. I learned about “sexual addiction” the hard way, and although I’m still not sure he’s addicted (maybe he’s just a lying, cheating bastard) the result was the same: I was alone and had a huge decision before me. Should we try to make it work? Should I give up on the marriage, knowing what it meant for my family, my career, and every other aspect of my life? I didn’t know what to do.
So, I read this blog/website with interest, as I learned that this isn’t as unusual as I would have ever believed. It was comforting, somehow, knowing that others had dealt with this problem, and it was comforting too knowing that I had options. Some writers said that their marriage was “better than ever” after the revelation of their husband’s betrayal. Others – most others – said that a man so wired couldn’t change and it was futile and frustrating to expect that.
With hopes for a better future, I tried making it work with my husband. He said all the right things; he was sorry, he was under stress and made poor decisions, he got lost, etc. etc. But I didn’t know what to do. And so I saw counselors, started exercising daily, read everything I could on the topic, journaled, drank wine, sought the advice of family, travelled, sought religion, went on anti-anxiety medication, and wrote pro and con lists. More than anything, I cried and felt a deep sorrow that wouldn’t go away. I wanted more than anything to be happy again, to be able to trust my husband again, and to move past this — but I couldn’t either forgive him (since his actions were so very purposeful) or believe that the future would be anything different.
After one year, I realized what I had to do and I finally had the strength to do it: I filed for divorce. Today, I know, it was exactly the right choice for me. It wasn’t easy; we had an amicable end of our marriage, but even then it was a huge struggle. But I can tell you: I am happy again. And my kids are fine and, yes, very happy too. My job is better than ever. My confidence level is normal again. I feel positive, in control of my life, and daily exercise has transitioned from being a necessity to being a joy. I am forever free from someone who never deserved my support, comfort, cooking, cleaning, bill paying, or companionship.
And, also, I’ve met a new man — marriage isn’t in the cards for me again, but I’ve learned that there are truly wonderful men out there who are faithful, trustworthy, and truthful.
Are you married to a sex addict and/or a lying/cheating husband? Here’s my advice: (1) exercise every day (it really helps); and (2) leave him — you deserve better. You don’t need the sorrow, you don’t need the lies, you don’t exposure to disease, you don’t need medication, you don’t need alcohol, you don’t need religion, and you don’t need false hope. What you need is control of your life, to make it joyful for yourself and for the loved ones who DO deserve all that you have to give.
Thank you for sharing your happy ending to a very painful, ugly, and arduous journey.
Your final advise couldn’t be any clearer or correct. Ladies and gentlemen, go out and claim what is rightfully yours – a joyful life free of all the absurdity and pain that comes with being married to/in a committed relationship with a sex addict.
Life is amazing!
Hi JH — thank you for your thoughtful response. It’s been almost two years since I wrote the message, above, and five years since I found out the truth about my EX-husband. Here I am, in my fifties, and I can say that divorce was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have created a full, new life — I’m still a mom, my kids are as great as ever, and I even have an amicable relationship with my ex-husband — we’re able to co-parent effectively and I’ve learned that I can still appreciate the good things about him.
But, seriously, leaving him was the right thing to do. To walk away from a hopeless situation, to not carry the burden of watching every step he makes to ensure he’s not cheating (again), to enjoy my life with a wonderful man who I CAN trust . . . all of this is INCREDIBLY freeing. Yes, the transition was challenging, but my life is GREAT now because I control it. I wish this for everyone reading this blog.
Good luck to all, best wishes, and may you find the happiness that awaits you.
There’s no easy answer for you. If you want to find hope and healing, just keep asking the right questions and educating yourself on all of the things we discuss in these forums.
A personality disorder is a very complicated matter. You would need to find a therapist who has the training and background to delve and keep digging. But here’s the thing: no matter what is uncovered or discovered or revealed to you through his therapy and journey, it is ONLY your husband who can make the u-turn back to you and your life together. All the therapy in the world will not help if he is not totally committed to you and to healing and being there, totally transparent in his relationship with you 100% of the time — or you will be disappointed and then angry! So many spouses, ever hopeful, end up becoming ” snoopers” and lose their own dignity tracking down and comings and goings of “their” SA.
You haven’t said how long you have been in this relationship so I don’t know how much you are emotionally invested in him? Be careful, be wary, be open to understanding — but also be prepared if things don’t go well. Take care of YOU!
First Joann thanks for this site. What an invaluable resource for all those with SAs & those like myself that are divorced because their SA just wouldn’t do the work of recovery. I’m not wanting to force religion on anyone but after 23 years (17 of which I didn’t know he was sneaking behind my back for a “relationship with porn”-his words to describe his behavior) & lots of reading about SA, I feel it’s a choice issue & a matter of simply not wanting to follow the plan laid out in the Bible. While I feel sad for those who begin SA due to a childhood trauma, we are all ruptured in some way or another in childhood. Joyce Meyer has said in many of her Christian books that she was sexually abused by her father. He repented shortly before dying & never acknowledged his responsibilty & her pain until he was about to pass away. But she didn’t become a sex addict. She chose to use the tragedy as a growth experience. I also look at the bipolar, narcissism, borderline issues & yes these are mental illnesses according to psychology. But what does the Bible say about narcissism, selfishness, coveting, lying, the covenant of marriage? Even a lab rat can learn to make better choices. Does it take years of therapy to understand that lying, cheating, porn, being deceitful are not good choices? I don’t know of any religion that would advocate such choices. I am leaning towards the thought that addiction & the related behaviors to justify it are poor choices for not wanting to put in the effort to do the right thing. Real men take RESPONSIBILTY for their actions hence I don’t see SAs as real men. Yes this applied to female SAs too. Just accept personal RESPONSIBILTY instead of blaming your upbringing, spouse, your circumstances, the I just can’t stop or I can’t pray it away. If you’re married or in a relationship then do the right thing or stay alone. Destroying families, hurting kids & spouses with poor choices is despicable. If SAs spent as much time serving others and striving to live a virtuous lifestyle that doesn’t include escorts, porn & other forms of trash then it would be in the right direction.
Also one other thing. We all sin but my point is SAs live in a habitual pattern of lying, deceit & engaging in illicit behaviors. Even if one had a personality disorder….one doesn’t have to be genius to figure out that these behaviors are wrong & hurting others. These are basic skills we all learned in kindergarten or some where in our school careers even if we didn’t have good role models at home. Don’t hurt others, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal etc. In my experience married SAs spend a lot of strategizing their next fix, encounter etc. as they are leading double lives. They work to be masters at deceit. That same energy could be channeled to make positive choices. It seems to me married SAs like to look respectable & want to have their cake and eat it too.
WOW! It is so difficult to read all these posts. The confusion and heartache is so familiar. My husband of 25 years…..the wonderful Christian boy I met in 10th grade…..the father of my four daughters….the priest…the teacher……the writer….that man with whom I was going to grow old….was arrested out of the blue one morning. My world came crashing down around me and my girls in one day. He had a double life…so carefully hidden and managed…..I thought he was one man and suddenly found out….he was another. It took me three years to even feel the pain. It took my church community to kick him out and help me sell our house. It took a counselor to help me see that this man was evil and wasn’t confessing or repenting. I really believed him when he told me he loved me. He was SO good with words. I thought he could change….beat this addiction….love me like he said he could. I went through a trial….he totally dismissed my heart for his own selfish needs. I went through a loss of our home, dog, financial security. He took his retirement from his teaching job and bought himself a sports car so he could “look” for work. I went through a bankruptcy which I had to set up because he couldn’t get it done while he waited for his trial …..I faced the realities of life…cooking, teaching, managing four girls with broken hearts as they faced not having a father and all the shame that comes from a public trial. He was arrested for soliciting a 14 year old! The man I thought was a God honoring, father and husband…..was soliciting a 14 year old. I found out ever so much more….his life had been nothing but lies. He had covered everything so well. I had to face the shame of STD testing because he had slept with who knows how many women, men, etc…The darkness never seems to end. He still lies and tries to cover up his shame. He still blames me. He actually told me he didn’t confess everything to our counselor when he had the chance because he figured I would tell him. So it was my fault! He actually told his daughter that he would commit suicide if she didn’t talk to him. He actually told me he never slept with anyone….then changed it to slept with his secretary…then I found out about more and he told me five women….then I found out more online and …..the hole just gets deeper. Someone asked me recently…”If your daughter found out her husband was a SA what advice would you give?”. And without hesitation….I would tell her RUN! RUN with all your might. This is a mortal sin and will eat your soul if you don’t run. Never believe a word they say. Never believe they love you. Never believe they can change. If my ex husband does manage to change….it won’t be anything I can believe. My trust is completely gone. Even if he looked perfect on the outside (he looked perfect to me for 25 years), I could never trust that he wasn’t lying and manipulating and gas lighting. I could never, ever believe him again! and now I have to try to build a world in which I can trust any man is good and honest. It has taken me three years just to be able to think it is a possibility….there are men who don’t lie and manipulate and desire anything that can give them a feeling of being lusted after. Thank God I had a great school community, great church leaders, and a great counselor who didn’t treat me like I was to blame. My whole community has supported me beautifully and loved me well in the midst of a very traumatic betrayal!
Some of the bloggers mention that SA is an illness and that the addict does not want to hurt you. Well actually maybe they DO. That may be part of their personality disorder, what floats their boat so to speak. Hurting, humiliating and conning may be what they like best. At any rate all those specialists will be caring for (and empathizing? with) the SA.
Who is going to care for you and help you with all the trauma you have experienced? Who will help you rebuild your life and trust again?
It seems like the SA’s specialists are all about making him feel better and I can’t really speak to that, but unfortunately it involves listening to the SA discuss his world view – which seems to have a need to blame the people lured into his web of lies, seduction and deception. Attacking your perception of reality, your independence and support network is part of their addiction pattern. Councelors validating his twisted world view is not going to help YOU (or any other victims) at all. I’m sorry to be skeptical but It is hard to imagine a scenario whereby you and the SA can both heal and recover together.
My beautifully broken life is spot on about mortal sin. It’s a deliberate violation of God’s laws. It’s premeditated. The married ones plan this illicit behavior within the context of a family system. Even if one isn’t religious, societal norms don’t condone this type of behavior with porn, prostitutes etc. Hence all the shame and secrecy. The fact that they willfully and maliciously choose to marry and cause extreme damage to partners, kids etc. is reprehensible. Why not stay single and live a life of perversion without destroying others? Oh that’s right. I forgot. They’re selfish and can’t stand being alone too long. Truly a wicked and miserable bunch.
Ladies (and Gentlemen), I feel for the constant betrayal you have suffered at the hands of your sex addict partners, I really do. That said, I am a psychiatrist and I do not agree with the idea that sex addictions do not exist, merely personality disorders do. In truth, it is possible to be addicted to a number of things — anything that is pleasurable from drugs to video games to shopping and sex and certain foods. Just because it isn’t researched to the rigorous extent necessary to include it in the DSM doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Anything rewarding that gives you a high can be compulsively pursued to the detriment of other things, and that’s a key tenet of addiction. Other tenets include a loss of control, preoccupation, and repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut down or quit. Heck, hoarding and certain eating disorders can also be viewed as addictions because they are compulsive behaviors that people engage in despite them ruining their lives. A certain degree of pleasure-seeking is normal, but kick the evolutionarily beneficial pleasure-seeking circuit into overdrive, and you’ve got an addiction. Sex addiction is only unique in that it strikes at the core of our most intimate relationships, our most intimate feelings as partners.
Now, the reason I think that a strong link is seem between addiction and personality disorders is because the guys (and gals) with the personality disorders — the antisocial, the narcissistic, and the borderline who think they’re king of the world and who have never learned to appropriately manage feelings — are the ones you hear about who’ve failed. Anyone can develop an addiction, it has nothing to do with personality, but not everyone can manage it successfully. I’ve seen people who’ve abstinent from drugs and many other things for many years, but it takes honesty, humility, and a thorough reappraisal of one’s self. It also takes accountability and constant vigilance. There are SOME who are capable of that, and many who are not.
So ladies (and gents), if you see lying or minimizing or any refusal to assign accountability to anyone but one’s self, don’t make excuses. It’s tempting to think that your man or woman is one of the few, but common things are common and uncommon things are not. At the end of the day, though, I want to make one thing clear: *people do not choose to have an addiction.* There’s a reason why addictions run in families, and many people with addictions are miserable and wish they could be rid of them. *The one thing we DO have control over is how we respond to said addictions, and yes, that is where personality and personality disorders come into play.*
For instance, I personally f*cking love sugar. It is a struggle to refrain from reaching for the tray of cookies at the office. Every time I walk by a coffee shop, I feel like a shock wire has been attached to me, and all I need to do to make it go away is to go in and buy that donut. (By the way, that’s a feeling bonafide addicts describe when it comes to their vices, though I haven’t been diagnosed and it’s not professional to diagnose yourself). My love affair with sugar has been going on for YEARS, egged on by the fact that I’ve never been particularly heavy, and ever since I was very young. I’ve binged on sugar for years, for a long time I could never turn down a treat, and it’s only been recently, in part as a result of my psychiatric training, that I’ve started to understand and manage my behavior. I still eat sugar, now much less, but it’s still my kryptonite. I know all about diabetes and obesity and high blood sugar — I went to medical school, for goodness’ sake, but that’s not what helped me — an understanding of myself as a person did, what my desire and my behavior MEANS. Oftentimes, I find myself frustrated when I tell people they ought to quit smoking or drinking or gambling… for the fifteenth time. But then I think to myself, maybe I ought to quit sugar, and my empathy goes up tenfold.
It’s unbelievable how much non-victim-blaming information is out there, and how much “fluff”, when I try to look for real advice about my situation with my husband. Only you and the Sisters in your private group have been real with me about what to expect.
I’m especially put-off by the SOFTNESS of the so-called-12-step-programs. Where is the accountability? WE the VICTIMS are supposed to expect “Slips” and “Relapses” and “Acting Out” like they are toddlers being potty trained. If an alcoholic takes a drink, they’re sent back to day one. They’re not allowed to still say they are “recovered.” It’s all a bunch of bull. I’m still shell shocked and walking on eggshells almost 4 months after D-Day and my husband gets to be all brand new and shiny and collecting tokens of “accomplishment” just for acting like a real adult human being with a semblance of empathy and self control. It’s infuriating.
Edit for my typo above:
How much victim blaming, not how much non-victim-blaming—It’s EXTREMELY hard to find REAL advice for wives and partners that is not just “accept and move forward”. Also, so much of the traditional “cheater” advice for couples with infidelity just doesn’t seem to apply to chronic and repeated and multi-layered abuse like we have suffered at the hands of our most trusted partner.