Why Do Relationships With Sex Addicts Become So Dysfunctional?

Sex Addiction seems to be the hot topic of the news media these days, especially with the ‘outing’ of celebrities or their spouses. As the news churns and the stories take us behind the closed doors of these marriages, only a brief lip service is given to the spouse (except in the case of Sandra Bullock). A few sentences question if they will support or divorce, but, beyond that the spotlight is on the Sex Addict. I guess our story just isn’t exciting enough.

The effects of living with a Sex Addict are subtle but deep, destructive to our sense of safety, emotionally devastating and life changing. As the relationship with a Sex Addict progresses our personalities change. We try to find normal ways to deal with an abnormal situation. Sex Addicts have two sides to their personalities and the deception over who they are, what they believe in and what they are doing presents an ever changing, contradictory picture that is impossible to make sense of.

Because of our natural and normal desire to please our partner and our need to feel loved in return, we often believe the outrageous lies we are told and blame ourselves for the Sex Addict’s behavior. In a society that worships physical perfection we start to think that if we were only younger, prettier, thinner, nicer or Mother Teresa with the body of Paris Hilton that our spouse would finally love us the way we deserve to be loved. If only we were more perfect he would stop looking elsewhere for satisfaction and stay home with us.

There is a phrase that 12 steps use to describe the irrational thoughts of Sex Addicts. It’s called ‘stinkin thinkin’. I think that phrase aptly describes the distorted thinking that spouses and partners eventually fall into as their partner’s Sex Addiction progresses. As the addiction consumes more and more of the addict, the lies and deceit, which are used to cover up their behaviors, their financial chaos and all the lies they have told before, life becomes a surreal vortex for both partners. The non addict keeps trying to make changes to bring their lives back to normal, but nothing works. Eventually the spouse or partner of a Sex Addict loses all sense of self and feels totally out of control.

Society and the media want to label these women (yes, most are women) as co-dependent or co-addicts. Even counselors and the 12 step co-groups like COSA embrace this theory and demean these women even more by offering to fix their personality defects. They put the cart before the horse by stating that these women chose the Sex Addict because of these personality defects, when, in reality, a normal, loving, nurturing woman has had her self esteem and sense of worth slowly eroded and destroyed.

Spouses and partners of Sex Addicts have no control over the addict’s behaviors. Sex Addicts will act out whether you are living with them or not, whether you are aware of their addiction or not, whether you are nurturing or a bitch. Sex Addiction belongs to the addict, and only to the addict. But, unfortunately Sex Addiction causes serious trauma to those around them.

Remember, the longer you let things continue – the more you are enabling or allowing the behavior to continue. A really common excuse I hear is that ‘I love them so I need to be there for them.’ Don’t kid yourself. How are you showing someone love by letting them continue along a destructive path?

Real love is often taking the tough approach. Setting boundaries, being firm and creating consequences for the bad behaviors. Ultimately that’s the best chance you have of creating change. Otherwise you will continue being a door mat and will lose all your sense of self worth. Not only is your spouse’s life being destroyed, but yours as well.

So, take a step back and fight the urge to engage in the distorted thinking that tries to make sense out of nonesense and find a good counselor who will work with you on your self esteem issues and the trauma you have endured. Take back control of your life and make positive changes. Will this change your Sexually Addicted spouse? Maybe, but only if he is ready. But, it will certainly change you. And that’s what is important.

There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. ~ Aldous Huxley

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Responses

  1. TRUE. Oh so true.

    And for me, getting away from my partner has been absolutely crucial to recovering myself. Yes, he’s living out his commitment to sobriety in every respect, but I can’t live with him right now. I need a womb to rebirth myself, a womb for one, please.

    The crazy-maker machine can still start up without any warning. And I find that now I’ve taken this step, I can’t tolerate any of it. I just meltdown.

    But I have to say that in the midst of the terrible grief and upset and rage and despair of marriage loss, house gone, etc, the gift of recognizing myself again is thrilling. I guess that’s why I’m always supporting the women to leave home themselves, or exile the addict. The discovery that I was still in there, has been such a great thing. Because I thought I was gone forever. And I’m not.

    Sometimes that is what I hear in the posts by other women–the sheer terror that comes with having lost ourselves to the crazy-making relationship with the addict. It’s a slow death, built with a thousand small decisions to manage the madness. But when you don’t have to make those decisions day after day, who you really are begins to engage the world again. It’s like you got out of jail, because you rattled the door and found it wasn’t locked after all, you just thought it was.

    I know its an easier escape for me because my children are away at university now, so I don’t have that daily parenting thing to face. But even the women I know who left with young children tell me that once the initial shock and immediate needs were met–they felt happy for the first time in years.

    I just don’t think the dysfunction can stop until we step out of our place in it. Great little piece, JoAnn, as usual.

  2. What I don’t understand is why a sex addict begs for his spouse to stay with him when he gets caught. It takes so much energy to hide and deceive. Wouldn’t it be easier to let go of the person that is in your way. I asked my husband “Where do you see me fitting in?” “What role did I play in our marriage?” You went to other women for sex, you had your secretary type something when you needed it, we had a housekeeper, and we normally ate out, so why did you keep me around year after year? What was my purpose in your life? And then it dawned on me, I was simply the house cat. MEOW

  3. I suspect there are a lot of answer to your question, Rebecca.

    In my case, I offered a good cover for respectability and normalcy. No one looked to closely at him. I was more outgoing and more “up front” in the way we lived out our careers. I had the friends. They always knew me better. He was quiet and mysterious.

    On the more sinister side, I was also his justification for acting out. Speaking of cats–I left cat food in the laundry tub from rinsing out the dishes–therefore he was entitled to internet porn. He thought I lisped some words (actually he is a lisper), therefore he had a right to masturbate anywhere anytime.

    Do you see what I’m getting at?

    This dysfunction was necessary for him to practice his addiction with cause. He needed a scapegoat in order to set it all up. He also needed a scapegoat in his relationship with his mother. As she also needed a scapegoat in her emotionally incestuous relationship with him. Guess who?

    They both used me to wipe the shit off their asses for 30 years.

    Is there something of the scapegoat in your life, maybe? My husband needed to think he was somehow better than me. That justified and provided permission for his acting out. His mother was his active partner. Their bond in emotionally abusing me is deep, and feeds their illness. Eventually I told him to go fuck his mother.

  4. So it’s awfully quiet on this site these days.

    I’m wondering if some of us are a little unnerved by Jon, who identified himself as the sex addict husband of one of the members, posting under her registration.

    It’s pretty clear he wanted to shut us up. And I guess he did.

    In JoAnn’s piece above, she talks about how being in a relationship with a sex addict erodes our sense of safety. We try to find a “new normal” out of the abnormal situation. Don’t let silence become the “new normal” for this site. It’s too important. We are sharing information and experiences to help each other find our way.

    And by the way, thank you Lorraine for taking him on. I was afraid to. HOw do you like that admission? How’s that for dysfunctional thinking?

  5. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for your comment and concern, but have no fear, Jon has not done anything to shut me or Rebecca or anyone else up. Rebecca has chosen to communicate privately with me and she will decide later how much she wants to share. It’s been a really difficult time for her, as Jon is a formidable opponent, but Rebecca has remained strong. Jon has attacked me and everyone on this site as ‘JoAnn and her crew’, chastising us for supporting Rebecca and not believing him.

    That doesn’t surprise me a bit and it certainly doesn’t inspire even a twinge of fear or any thoughts of withdrawing my support of Rebecca.

    She is out of the house and in a very safe place. Her attitude has improved, she has not given the money back and she has changed her password for comments here so Jon could not sign in under her name any more. She is doing so well and she has remained so strong, I know all of you will be proud.

    I will encourage her to share her story about this really tough ordeal as I feel that it will be an inspiration to everyone who feels the pressure to give in to the Sex Addict’s demands and pleas when you know in your heart that they have not earned that trust or support yet.

    (((((((( ))))))))) Hugs to all.

  6. JoAnn, thank you for letting us know about Rebecca. I’ve been so worried about her. A good trial lawyer is deceptive and manipulative. When one’s an SA — double whammy. I spotted all kinds of holes in Jon’s story and have started to respond several times but got too emotional and deleted what I wrote instead of posting. Glad to hear she’s staying strong and I hope she’s getting good legal advice. It really worries me that he tried to convince us she was “stealing” the money — who knows where he’s going with that? And really — court reporters waiting for settlement to be paid? Never happens! They deliver the transcript, you pay the bill in 14 days. THAT’s how it works. Oh, yeah, and spreadsheets can be easily faked, happens all the time. It’s called “two sets of books”. Just how much professional misconduct is going on here?

    Sorry. See how easily I get carried away?

    Wherever you are, Rebecca, I hope you’re finding some peace.

  7. Poor Jon. “Drowning victim.” Grasping at whatever little possible piece of anything he can hang onto, no matter how absurd or nonsensical. So, it makes sense that the “collective we” (“Joann and her crew.” I rather like that!) are now the enemy, “ganging up” on him. Unfortunately, this boy done cried wolf about 50 times too many. We’re onto him—big time!

    Brava Rebecca… Take him down deeper into the water if you must… Just hang tough and don’t let him clog up your air ways with his nonsense.

    Still… and this is the still… i had a dream the other night about my ex-lover. He had contacted me (in the dream) and ugh, I was so happy? (I know) then he gave me his new email/IM address which was about as long as the code for how to make an atomic bomb. (good analogy). I woke up so disturbed because even 8 months later, there’s still a part of me that longs for him.(or the him that he let me see, most of the time.)

    Dysfunctional? Well, yes and no. For most of us, we simply loved someone who has some aspects of their persona that are most unworthy of our love. And most of us were completely duped. We blame ourselves for being “weak”, “emotional”, “fearful” and “loving.”

    But why? Those are all very real, very valid and normal states to be in, depending on the situation.

    Peace and strength to all.

    L

  8. Thank you all so much for your concern and care. I am in my new place and I love it, all my books are on the shelf, which we never had room before, Jon has tons of books, we have boxes of books everywhere and he does not want to get rid of any (huge packrat), so it is nice to see mine all organized by subject on the shelf. . It’s also great to be able to fix up the place the way I like, my style is different than Jon’s, and we went with Jon’s style because it is nice too, just very traditional. I have a little more eclectic taste, a lot of things I like you will find at an antique store. Jon also hates incense and now I get to burn incense now so it smells really good when you walk in. OK enough about my place. Bunny (my 9 year old yorkie that has been with me almost my whole marriage) is with me, so I never really feel alone, although she seems bored since she’s used to getting attention from two.
    I have mostly been communicating with Jon through email, and we go back and forth until wee hours of the morning. It seems like I’m always exhausted, even the few nights we aren’t emailing, I just have a hard time sleeping. I think the main reason (and I’m sorry if yall are sick of hearing about this) is because I honestly don’t want to screw anyone over, and don’t want to end things like this. Even though he has done the things he’s done to me, I hate to see him in such a bind, and see him so worried about “what the hell he’s going to do” if I stick to my guns.

    I must have some codependency issues, because when I hear about a problem with my husband, family members etc, my natural instinct is to fix it, and I’m pretty good at finding solutions, sometimes even at my own expense. Anyway, it’s just eating me alive, and I hate it, because on the other hand it will be upsetting to give some back, it’s all I have to feel secure, something I haven’t felt since I can remember. I was so consumed with trying to prevent him cheating the last few years or busy helping him with his law practice that I didn’t focus on me or bettering myself, well I did learn a lot, but not enough and I still feel lost. I think I am going to take things one step at a time, and for right now just chill with Bunny, and hopefully be able to survive this period without too much regret.

    Just so you know, I would not be where I’m at right now, if it wasn’t for you all. It’s nice to get support from people (JoAnn & the crew) that truly understand what I am going through. I THANK YOU, FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, it’s so nice to have friends, I was isolated because I was so depressed for many years, and now I feel like someone who understands cares. I mean it really touches my heart when I read that you are concerned or worried about me.

    You know what’s interesting, is that we all got to this site the same way (I assume), we were desperately searching the internet for answers, because we wanted to find out answers, for it to stop, or to find out if there was any hope. I know I was when I stumbled upon it.

    He does not know where I live, he wanted to see my place tonight (and naturally I wanted to show him, so he could see how cool it was), but I put him off because I had dinner with my mom, she told me no way because of the threats. It hurts me to treat him like this, it was just the two of us for so long. I do have to go over because I forgot my prescription sunglasses and a few other small things. I don’t know what I’m going to say next time he ask. This is really hard because I don’t want to be mean to him, I mean I spent the last 10 years with him and I do love him, it wasn’t all bad, never mind, now I’m showing you a glimpse of the things that run through my head nonstop. Put it this way, I’m not out of the dark yet, so no need to applaud for being strong, I don’t feel so strong right now. This is only the beginning trust me.

    I’ve got to find a new station to listen to, my TV will not be hooked up until Tuesday, so I listen to the radio and my favorite station plays love songs nonstop and they are really pretty but they make me cry sometimes, maybe I should try rap, just kidding.

    Oh guess what, I decided to use my really pretty china that was in my china cabinet for years and gold plated silverware that has been in a box for god knows how many years.(non-microwavable but special)

  9. Bravo, Rebecca,
    It sounds like you are recovering a sense of your own presence in this world. Coming out from under the colossal drama starring your partner is a powerful first step. He probably needs that constant crisis in his professional life in order to have a reason to avoid his personal mess, and keep you enslaved to it.
    One day he may realize that you taking this first step out of the madness was his first step to a real life. But even if he doesn’t, you will have one that is your own.

    I love the part where you are using your pretty china and flatware. When I started living alone, I got out some pretty things too and put them around my room. It was a symbol of all the beauty I had given up day after day in the dysfunctional dance of being married to a sex addict. It’s never too late to get it back.

    Here’s the question i kept asking myself as decisions had to made, and doubts crept in, and my fears increased:
    What’s fair for me in this issue? Making myself answer that question helped me find the next step. And I’m still asking it.

    After years of looking after everybody else in my marriage, my family, my work, etc, I learned how to honour myself. And then you have retrain everyone else how to treat you!

    Stay strong and true.

  10. I’m not sure how long you have been away from your husband, but I am curious if you would ever go back? Did he get help? What did he do when you left, continue? Just curious. You seem to be doing really great! Cograts!

    You may have hit on something when you talk about him needing the constant crisis in his professional life, He always waits until the last minute (not because he forgot) to do things and then it’s panic mode, crazy, stressful, speeding to make the deadline kind of thing, this was the norm.

  11. I forgot to add something: You know how even a drug addict normally has an end date in mind, “I will quit by Christmas”. I don’t know if it is this way with all sex addicts but with Jon, if he could find a way to hide what he was doing, he would go on runs (5yrs, 1yr) and would not stop on his own, he would only stop when he finally would get busted and sometimes not even then. When he was caught on this last year-long run, I asked him how long he had planned on doing it and if he had an end date in mind and he said “no”, so I said so you were just going to continue until we finally died as long as you were getting away with it? and he said he never looked it like, “I will only do this for a little while”, kind of thing, he never has and end date in mind as long as he was getting a way with it than he went for it. This really surprised me. He’s very arrogant, he said he felt he didn’t have to play by the rules. I appreciate his honesty about things, but it always blows my mind. Because normally if someone does something wrong, they justify by using an end date, or this is the last time kind of deal etc. But he does not seem to have a concious.

  12. Hi Rebecca,

    Alright–Some possible answers to your questions. It sounds like Jon may have ADD — Attention Deficit Disorder. I sent a link for you and others to see,(below) because I think that a lot of sex addicts have it. I think its been touched on, but most SAs have “co-morbid” psychological/neurological disorders along with their SA. Procrastination and thrill seeking, novelties, addictions, often go hand in hand with this complex neurological disorder.(ADD or ADHD–with hyperactivity) It presents differently in adults than it does in children who are frequently so out of control that life is miserable for those who have to live with them. I have an almost 20 yr old son who has it. People with ADHD are usually very bright and often very successful. Jon needs psychiatric care and may need to explore some medication with a doctor who is knowledgeable about ADHD and sex addiction. Here is a link about a man with adult ADHD.

    http://thesplinteredmind.blogspot.com/2006/02/adhd-upsides-to-thrill-seeking.html

    Re: the time table. End date? What for? Ahhh… well, you are presuming that Jon WANTS to get well and to STOP his acting out. Deep down– I don’t think he does.(maybe even, not so deep down) He doesn’t want ANYTHING to change, except for maybe your intolerance of his behavior which IS horrendous. But, he also doesn’t want to lose you. Believe it or not, I think your being there actually keeps him somewhat in check!–although that is not helping him, at this point! It is enabling him to act out! He knows that if he doesn’t make you think that he’s changing that will be a big problem for him. Can he change? I don’t know. Its been going on an awful long time. So far, he’s been kinda sorta able to manage it all…(albeit, not very well) However, for HIM, the excitement of living life on the edge actually feels “good” and “normal”. That’s right. Not only does he like the danger and excitement, he needs it! Without that continuous stimulation of the THRILL it provides his brain, he would feel “bored”, lethargic and depressed. Sex, barely getting by, flying by the seat of his pants. This way of life is masking these other states that he doesn’t want to deal with or feel. It wouldn’t feel good for you or me or most of us to live life like this, but for some people, and Jon sounds like one of them, this is a big part of why they conduct their lives as they do.

    He needs a lot of help and he also really needs to want to get well whether you are there or not. This is the point. If he can’t do it without you, he won’t be able to do it with you either!

    I am a bit concerned about all of the emailing going on. I’m not sure, but its worrisome to me. Its not that you can’t communicate, with him, its just, RIGHT NOW, you have just left, there’s no one mediating and I’m afraid he’s going to keep on attempting to manipulate you and do a mind trip on you. Also, learn from my mistakes. Please be careful what you put in print. Narcs love to throw it back in your face, out of order and out of context. Aaarrrggghhhh!!!

    I can feel that your ultimate goal is for him to get well and for you to be together again. He has to want to live his life on YOUR terms— on healthy, normal, terms. He has to learn that his way is harmful and destructive and not just to you, but to himself, as well.

    xo,

    L

    PS: Have you found your own therapist yet? I hope so. I think its really helpful to keep your own head on straight! Please try to keep busy with other stuff and your friends. I know its tough, but it helps. I think you’re doing spectacularly well!

  13. Thanks Lorraine, you know at this point I’m leaning towards not going back, it would definatelty take a lot of convincing and hard work on Jon’s part for that to happen.

  14. Lorraine,

    I think you might be right as far as the add or adhd goes. He sure fits the description, he is very bright, he graduated in the top 3% of his class, he’s one of those people that can play jeopardy or trivia on any subject and do great (I on the other hand suck at trivia). When I met him I was attracted to his energy, there was never a boring moment.

    As far as emailing, we used to email when we were in the same house a few years ago, and I liked it because I can get out what I’m saying without being interrupted or screamed over or Jon running out, and I like to analyze what he writes. Plus, I can’t talk on the phone when I am upset.

    He wants to talk to me about what I’m going to do as far as the money goes, so he attaches spreadsheets, I guess that’s how we got into it again, because I would look at it and reply. I do agree, it is not good for me right now, in fact it completely stresses me out beyond belief.

    He is really pushing the fact that his way of thinking has changed, and that he’s ready for help, and he does seem sincere, however, he could be fooling me once again. He said something that really threw me for a loop tonight.
    He told me that the way he was treated on this site (I guess your reply, I don’’t remember if anyone else replied or not) almost made him say, “fuck it and give up”.
    This is our conversation:

    Reb: Oh really you would say “fuck it” because of someone’s reply. Do you realize that these women have been exactly where I am, have been very hurt and because they have experienced it first hand, they sometimes they can read between the lines better than someone going thru it. They are just looking out for me.

    Jon: It doesn’t matter I was sincere and it was bullshit! It really hurt my feelings. I have never in my entire life had anyone be so harsh to me!

    Reb: That really worries me that a reply from someone you do not know would make you want to get back into it.

    Jon: Rebecca that is not what I meant! Yes I may have said that, but I misspoke. I’m just saying when I went to my meeting there were four guys there and one of them was crying and saying that his uncle raped him, and so I could see how if someone like that was trying and being sincere and then was slam blasted like I was, saying fuck it.

    I appreciated you taking up for me.

    That’s the thing, Jon came from a good family, no abuse of any kind, no one ever, even raised their voice at him. He has one little sister and they are very close. He was great in school, was on the football team, no problems. He has thought really hard and seriously cannot think of anything from his past that could possibly be the root cause of his addiction. Now he does and has always had intimacy issues; I asked him in high school or college if he can ever remember being really crazy about someone and passionately making out for what seemed like hours and he said no, that he couldn’t. I couldn’t believe that, I mean high school, college? I know I sure did, (does that make me a love addict? lol) I thought that was the sort of thing happened in those days, I can’t imagine skipping that part. He has never been into kissing, and I have really missed it. I am very passionate and so it’s been hard having a partner that isn’t. Now that I know Jon, I realize that we really aren’t a match. If I had all the correct info prior to marriage, I would have realized this.

  15. Rebecca, Once again, it’s all about Jon and his feelings, wants and needs, isn’t it? As I have written before, Sex Addicts are hypersensitive to their own feelings and oblivious to the feelings of others.

    The point here is that Jon has created an environment where you no longer feel safe. You are not safe emotionally, physically or financially. And you needed to find a safe place, which you did–good for you. Now, because Jon has obvious issues with impulse control, he wants you back NOW. He seems unable to put off gratification (he wants you back right now) or to envision the future (you might come back if he makes significant changes) or that he just might have to face life without you. What he needs he needs to do is to start some serious work on HIS issues right now instead of focusing on you. And I don’t mean just saying that he has changed and crying over the fact that no one believes him. He just doesn’t get the enormity of what he has done and the significance of his actions upon you.

    Jon has trashed your trust, your marriage and your finances. If you are ever to go back to him he needs to prove to you that he is fixing these things and will provide a safe place for you. That takes time. And you need time to get your thoughts together, heal from the trauma you have been through and take an objective look at all the facts before you can make a decision about whether to stay with Jon or move on. That takes time too.

    A lot of counselors are now recommending lie detector tests when counseling couples who are struggling with Sex Addiction. Just as drug rehab clinics insist upon urine tests to verify that the addict is clean, a polygraph verifies that the Sex Addict is being truthful and maintaining their sobriety. For those couples who are looking toward a possible reconciliation it is the only way that the partner can feel on steady ground about what the Sex Addict is saying.

    Whatever Jon’s issues are, whether it’s Sex Addiction or ADD or ADHD or all of them or something else, the point is he has done some pretty awful things that have hurt you deeply and damaged your relationship. He needs time to show you that he is sincere about changing and you need time to decide what you want for your future.

    Remember, time does nothing to heal wounds, it’s what you do with that time that matters.

  16. Hi Rebecca and everyone,

    “If I had all the correct info prior to marriage, I would have realized this.” Oh my goodness how often I’ve thought some version of that! There should be a sign over every marriage office in city hall or every church door that says “If I’d known who he really was, I wouldn’t have married him”! And then a place for women to sign under it. Well, I guess that’s too negative, though.

    YOu asked me some posts ago if I’d been living apart from my partner for a long time. No. We lived separatley in the house since the fall and apart since the start of this year. I’m a quick learner and process quickly. I also have a partner who only really got serious with recovery when I insisted we sell the house so I could downsize a mortgage for myself and move on.

    We both are both in therapy (separately), and he is in a 12 step as well. You need your own therapist. We may be good but we can’t be that for you. My partner is very motivated now and we have preserved a good relationship for this time apart. I once believed there was no hope, but now I know there is hope–but it is hope for a very different kind of life–as JoAnn has described personally for us. I had to let go what I had hoped to have and really never had anyway. Then my hands were free to hold the hope that really has a future in it–if I wanted it.

    So, JOn’s feelings were hurt by “JoAnn and her crew”. What a sucky-baby response to the truth. He needs to drop the child act and be a man about his behaviour and what it has cost you and him. He won’t get away with that in 12 step.

    I also learned that we can’t know what his childhood was actually like. What it appears to be, and what he says it was, is not necessarily how it was. Jon may have a hard story that truly calls for compassion and our support, but he needs to get there with his therapist first. One thing my partner said is that 98% of the people in his program had terrible parenting with unimaginable horrors that they had buried so deep they would have denied them all their lives. And religion always made it worse, no matter what religion was involved.

    He probably believes that if you knew the truth of his life, you wouldn’t love him. Because he doesn’t love himself either. Right now, you are the only love he has and he wants to prop up the lie to hold on to the love. But I KNOW THAT YOU CAN LOVE HIM IN HIS TRUTH, if you want to after all this. So there’s a response, your love is waiting for him to “show-up”, and when he does, when he starts to face truth, be honest, recover his life and his experiences, you can see the changes. There will be no mistaking it. He has to want your love FOR REAL.

    But don’t listen to the “they’re so mean to me” crap. And as long as you aren’t with a therapy, it’s still all about his story. YOu have one too. It matters. YOur experiences of emotional abuse are also important to face and heal. They say shame is all about “me” and guilt is all about what we’ve done to others. His program needs to move him out of shame and into guilt, so he can see beyond his own story and into yours. I hope he has the guts for it.

    Tulips coming out of the ground here, finally. I move next week. Life doesn’t have to be one big struggle, Rebecca. Give yourself a break. Set the table.

  17. Hi Rebecca,

    I had a morning appointment and was relieved to hear back from Joann and Diane who are right on the money. Ya know, I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with anyone’s advice on here! Diane’s explanation sounds EXACTLY like my ex-lover (who coincidentally has the same name, but he’s not a lawyer). So-called “great” family… hmmmm… not so sure about that!

    Now, there’s another clue for you when he said. “I have never in my entire life had anyone be so harsh to me!” Really? He IS a lawyer, right? Wow! What a mean nasty bitch I am!!! Out to get poor innocent Jon… I don’t even know him!!!!!!! I don’t know you either. (Although I have fantasized that we will all meet up, one day, at Joann’s book signing!) :)))!!!

    It sounds like his parents were so “nice” and “friendly” that there were never any consequences to when he was out of line. All children misbehave at times, and this boy crossed over the line many times, you can be sure! A man with such poor impulse control was also a child with poor impulse control. It doesn’t just develop out of the blue. AND/OR, he learned early on to LIE as a way of self-preservation and to possibly avoid some very harsh treatment,(physically, emotionally, verbally) that occurred behind closed doors. The way he acts now is learned behavior and a coping mechanism. For that, we can feel sympathy for him. However, he can also unlearn the hurtful, harmful behaviors and find new and healthier ways to cope. The question is. Will he? He won’t if he won’t take responsibility for it or truly understand how it affects others–especially you! Yes, he IS deeply sensitive (to himself only) and the truth is creating stress for him and DOES make him want to act out! This is how he has learned to handle his stress! Life is always going to be fraught with stress and “idiots” like me who are going to rub him the wrong way. Does this give him the license to behave as he has been? He did not misspeak. He merely vocalized what truly goes on inside his mind. I actually think this is a wonderful first step. Awareness.

    I understand about the emailing and I also can’t talk when I’m angry cause I can’t think straight. My lover used this against me. (“I tried to ‘talk’ to you, but you wouldn’t let me”–NO, he was SCREAMING in my ear, and nothing but lies!) However, I would convey to your husband that the money situation is a done deal. YOU set the limits, sweetie. If he gets threatening. Let us know. (or your new therapist!) 🙂 He is not allowed to do that. There will be consequences.

    This is the new now.

    Remember to try and do things which bring you joy–each and every day!

    xo,

    L

  18. Ya’ll (I’m from Texas) are all so great!!!

    Well today is the big day and he wants me to give him a final answer today on $$.

    I finally made a decision and was going to give 23K back, and then I get a phone call from him saying: “I have an idea, why don’t you just deposit 55k for now and I will try to make it work with that, but you do know that I will still be short by quite a bit, so I may end up needing a little more”. So now I don’t know what to do, I feel like he’s going to freak out if I deposit what I was going to, and I cannot do what he wants me to, so if he’s going to be pissed unless I do more, than maybe I shouldn’t deposit anything. Or maybe I should deposit the 23 so I don’t feel so bad. I don’t know, I hate this! I need advice!

    JoAnn what type of therapist should I look for, someone that understands sex addiction?

  19. Oh Rebecca,

    He has always wanted all of the money back and he still does. Every time you say you will give him a little he wants it all. You will have to make a decision and stick to it. If you decide to give him a little, then say ‘that’s it’ and mean it. But just be aware that he will keep badgering you until you have given it all back. That’s been his goal right from the beginning.

    You know what my advice has been all along, but only you can make those tough choices for yourself. Just remember, without any money you have no choice except to go back to that unhealthy environment. Without funds to take care of yourself you are at his mercy. Without funds to make yourself independent you are completely dependent upon him to make all the choices for your future. When you give up those funds you give up your choices. You should care at least as much about yourself as you do for him. You are important too.

    Giving up those funds takes away your chance to have this time alone to think, get counseling, spend some time with yourself, heal and clear your mind to make decisions that are best for you. Giving up those funds means going back to the unsafe, unhealthy environment that you fought so hard to leave. Giving up those funds means that all of your efforts have been for naught.

    I just wish I could be there to give you some self confidence to deal with all this. Don’t ever say that you are codependent in a negative way. All humans depend on one another, and to have a helping personality is admirable. It only works against us when others take unfair advantage of our kindness–which is exactly what Jon is doing.

    As to finding a counselor I will give you the advice that Barbara Steffens gives in her book ‘Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, How Partners Can Cope and Heal’. She says to find a counselor who is trained, experienced and knowledgeable about sexual addiction’s impact on a partner.

    You should ask for a free half hour consultation where you can decide if it is a good fit and if they understand that a spouse or partner of a Sex Addict experiences severe trauma which causes them to act in ways that can be perceived as co dependent but is really a symptom of the trauma.

    I’m sure that everyone here is rooting for you and sending you lots of love and support. If you want my bald faced advice, here it is–don’t give him any money and quit communicating with him for a while. Give your head a rest. If you had been in a horrible car accident you would allow yourself time to heal. So, why not give yourself time to heal from ten years of hell?

    We are here for you.

  20. Oh, and by the way, I thought the world was going to end last Thursday if you didn’t give him the money. Well, today is Monday and he’s still surviving.

    Give him some time–you’ll see that he will work out the financial mess that he has made.

    Time is on your side, take advantage of it.

  21. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply JoAnn, I feel like you all are my Guardian Angels and I appreciate you so much!

    And I love the idea of meeting you and everyone at your book signing, I would be honored to be there.

  22. Eye eye Captain!!!

    I am so relieved that you said this JoAnn!

    Rebecca – please— DO NOT GIVE HIM A RED PENNY!!!

    wow. That felt good.

    Here is my “Dear Jon” letter. If this helps you, you may cut and paste or edit it to suit yourself.

    Dear Jon,

    While I do understand your need for the money, I am sorry, but I have reconsidered all of this very carefully and unfortunately, I will not be able to return any of it. Not now, tomorrow or ever. Its not that I don’t care about you and your obligations… I do, but I care about myself and my future even more.

    In addition, I realize now, that if I give you back ANY money, then I will be continuing to enable your addiction and I am no longer willing to be a party to that in any way, shape or form. I do love you, and I truly feel in my heart, that the most loving thing I can do is to help you face your life. By leaving you and not giving you the money back,(which *I* need even more than you do) you will be forced to finally seek out the help that you need. (I hope)

    Right now, I need one week of no contact. No contact means no contact of ANY kind whatsoever. I do not even want a response to this. I have had heard more than enough and it is clear that the only thing you care about right now, is the money. After that, I will be happy to continue to communicate with you via email, however you may not ask about the money or attempt to have me give ANY of it back. Please understand this very clearly. I will not be giving any of it back–ever. If you bring it up even ONE TIME, then I will have to block your email address, to prevent further harassment. There will be no texting via cell phone either. There will also be no discussion of money verbally. This is the money that you SQUANDERED ON WHORES and therefore, it is rightfully mine. I am serious. If you cannot abide by my wishes, then I will be forced to get a restraining order from the authorities.

    Love,

    Rebecca

    Be strong sweetie. Do you have some friends or family who can be there for you? He’s going to be very angry, but he doesn’t know where you are, right? Good. You are fine and you are safe. If necessary, please go to the police and tell them the situation and that your husband is harassing you. If you must, change your email address. He is not allowed to harass or threaten you. I don’t think your husband would enjoy being dis-barred. They may first call him with a stern warning. Show them any evidence that you have.(this is only for a worse case scenario.) And save everything. Keep a file. Please keep in touch.

    xo,

    L

  23. I cut and pasted, didn’t change a thing, I’m about to send, I’m nervous. I will be in touch!~ thanks so much!

  24. Bravo!

    For crying out loud Rebecca, all you’re asking for is a week of peace–the money is rightfully yours and does not even begin to pay you back for the home you went into the marriage with and the financial security that he promised and denied you because of his whoring around and all those bad choices he’s made with the finances. If he won’t give you at least that, then he won’t ever give you anything.

    And please, let me restate a little more clearly what Lorraine has already said. YOU NEED TO STAY SAFE! People can and do get violent when their desires are thwarted. Women are attacked and murdered every day by ex lovers and husbands who didn’t get their way. Not to scare you, but just to make you aware, about 75% of the calls to law enforcement for intervention and assistance in domestic violence occur after separation. It is the most dangerous time for women.

    Take ANY threats seriously. Go to your mom’s if you have to, or, get on a plane and come here. You better believe that Larry and I will protect you. I’ve worked with domestic violence groups and I have seen and heard the horror stories.

    Please–stay safe.

  25. Brava Rebecca! I am so proud of you!!! Possibly, for the first time in Jon’s sad life, someone gave him some limitations and what will happen if he does not adhere to them. Hun, he has no control and no boundaries and guess what? You just gave him some. Forget the money. Its the least of his problems.

    I know that you are feeling badly. That’s normal, but try not to. Every time that feeling comes welling up, keep reminding yourself that IF he hadn’t squandered the money on whores for all of those years and instead had invested all of that money wisely—well, you get the picture. He made poor choices and he’s going to have to live with them.

    One step at a time. Hopefully, he’ll listen and respect your wishes. Damn it. He doesn’t even respect you! If he doesn’t, you have to be sure to enforce the consequences. Sweetie, I have one son with ADHD and another one with high functioning autism. You state the rules and what will happen if the rules are broken. end of story. But, you must adhere to those consequences and you must not ever deviate or back down. If you do, even once, he will walk all over you. It works.

    I have just thought of something. There is nothing stopping him from reading all of this on his own and not replying. Fine.

    How are you spending your time. Do not obsess over him. (ugh… easier said than done) Please work on getting your own therapist and also, I don’t know what your insurance situation is, but if the money is a problem, many will work something out with you. This is WHY you need the money. I think you may also need legal counsel.

    I just read Joann’s post, before I hit submit. She’s right. I had said one week, because right now, the barrage is every single day! He is not allowed to ever bring up the money issue again. It is a non-issue. Do not hesitate to contact the authorities, if you need to.

    We’re here for you.

    L

  26. Yes, I am well aware that Jon probably is watching this site to see what is happening and what we are saying. I hope it gives him an idea of how good problem solving works and how friends stick by each other. He needs help to find the root of his problems, to find a way to manage his addiction and compulsive behaviors and to learn to lead a healthy, normal life. That is the best I could wish for anyone.

    But, he cannot do that at the expense of someone else. He needs to understand the enormity of what he has done and face the consequences of ALL that he has done. He just doesn’t seem to realize that this takes time. His financial mess is all of his own doing and he needs to quit blaming Rebecca because she took some money and face the consequences of what he has done. The bottom fell out and he wants her to save him. He doesn’t even seem to acknowledge that this whole, entire mess is of his own doing, AND that the responsibility for fixing it is also his and his alone.

    If he had not squandered away huge amounts of money on various addictions that not only sucked up his money, but also his earning capacity, he and Rebecca would not be arguing over that small amount that she took to keep herself safe.

    We are here to support spouses and partners of Sex Addicts as they go through the crisis and trauma of learning that the safe haven of a home and relationship that they believed would be there for the rest of their lives has become nothing more than a source of trauma and pain.

    Thank all of you for supporting Rebecca and giving her your love and advice. My heart is full with love for all of you.

  27. I just found this site today. I hope to find some support here. I have been married for 26 years, this July, I can honestly say that I have been in pain for a long time. My husband has so many issues, and is so adept at hiding them,for a long time I thought I was – whatever he said, which was mostly degrading.I got counseling at a Womens Protective Agency several years ago and this helped me realize that that I am a healthy person who needed to make some changes in my life, including looking at him in reality, not my expected illusions of him.(he,like so many, changed the day we were married. THe man I dates is gone. It has taken me this long to realize that.) This was a big first step. I am about to graduate with my first degree and I feel more confident in myself every day. I have five grown children that I do not wish to hurt. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I am hurting. I want to take care of myself. I don’t know what I can do to help myself, at this point, to take the final step, and file for a divorce. I want one all day every day- almost, yet I can’t bring myself to it. For one thing I want to make sure that I can provide for myself etc. He,my husband does very little to improve himself much less anyone or anything else. it has recently occured to me that something is very essentially wrong in his attitudes, actions, and interactions with others, especially me. This is old behavior,yet I am keenly more aware of this dysfunctionality every day. He is a sex addict, maybe a psychopathic personality,an alcholic, and overall very-very dysfunctional. I have absolutly no family on earth except my children. I need some supportive relations. Please reply if you have any words to offer me. Thank You Lisa P.S. I feel like I am talking behind his back right now. I am somewhat brainwashed.

  28. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for reaching out.

    My first response is to celebrate all the strong and courageous things you have done already. Getting counselling that helped you take your needs seriously-bravo! Going to school and now ready to graduate with a degree–bravo! Understanding you’ve been hurt so deeply, but not turning towards any need to hurt others—Bravo! And finally—knowing what you want “all day and every day”–bravo!.

    Now go get what you want. Find a good lawyer. Get support from counselling as you move towards a life without his cruel craziness.

    If you have a spiritual story–connect with it and look for a supportive community that expresses that. And don’t settle for any pale imitation.

    You are an amazing person. I don’t think I could have done what you’ve done, in the horrible context of this relationship. The light is shining very bright in you. It may not feel that bright–but I’m wearing sunglasses right now!

    You can do this. You will have a life that is better than the one you have now. Even if you live with less material goods, you will be far far richer than ever before.

    with love, D.

  29. Hi,
    I found this site a few weeks ago, after reading Barbara Steffans book, and have read everything on the site and like it, and you girls, so much. Barbara’s book resonated with me so much, it was spot on about what I have been feeling. I do not think I am codependant, and I am not a co-addict which, to me, implies that I was somehow complicit in his behavior. This should not be taken to mean I don’t have my own issues, believe me I do, but I am struggling with profound grief, rage, and loss of hope for working things out after finding out what he’s been doing for the last five years. He’s a lawyer too, Rebecca, and gifted in his ability to sound sincere and make me believe it. He seems to be working hard in recovery, but he’s had two slips since all of this came to light in January. I discovered it, he didn’t fess up. To him, the slips were minor…just a membership on adultfriendfinders, one a one-month paid membership where he could make contact with women, and did, which he closed, and recently an unpaid membership on the same site which only allows him to look at little pictures. He doesn’t consider that porn or acting out since he did not meet with anyone and, he says, not nearly as bad as what he had been doing for five years which was having kinky sex with nameless women, maybe as many as 20 of them, and two affairs of some duration. I’m thinking he probably needs to move out for a little while until he “gets it” (or not), but he doesn’t want to and, frankly, I don’t want to do that either. Ah, but neither can I live with a man who is or will be unfaithful to me, and adultfriendfinders is a slippery slope even if all you are doing is looking at itty bitty pictures! I cannot again go through the pain I have been through these past 20 weeks, it has damn near killed me, and I don’t want to always be looking and wondering. Somebody please tell me why women stay with a man who is repeatedly unfaithful. I don’t get it. A friend at a very religious coda meeting (I just gave up) said her husband acts out every three years like clockwork. That has to kill the love, can the finances or whatever be that important? While I’m on the subject of acting out, I want to say that I do not like that term. Children act out, these are grown men (and women). What my husband of 24 years has been doing is fucking around, before, during and after a bilateral mastectomy, 18 weeks of chemo and six weeks of radiation by the way (sorry, I won’t drop the f-bomb again, but you can see how it was important in this context). I am scared too, I forgot to throw that in earlier. Thank yo for your wonderful posts.

  30. Oh God!

    I am just speechless, yet again (but as usual, not stopping me) with yet another heart-wrenching story, not only of immense betrayal but such a courageous woman battling cancer on top of everything.

    Yes!!! He’s FUCKING around!!! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not mincing words and honey, just let it out!

    FUCKER FUCKER FUCKER!!!!!!

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What a selfish MOTHERFUCKING PIG!!!!!!!!!!!!

    There, that’s better.

    phew…

    But, actually, these “men” ARE just children. Children who never really grew up. Does anyone else notice how “boyishly” charming they are??? ugh…

    ***

    Now… I know ALL about Adult Fiend (yes FIEND)Finder. (sad to say) 🙁

    75% of the women on there are fakes and yes, the pics are small,(if u don’t pay) but you can write to whomever you wish to write to and also converse with, even IF you don’t have a paid membership and then they can send you pics that you can SEE… blah, blah…

    As for WHY women stay with their cheating husbands. I think there are lots of reasons and most of them you already know, such as money and kids, loss of home, friendships, family pressure, etc.

    However, I think that still, in a lot of cases, women are still in denial over their partner’s activities. Oh, they so want to believe!!! Sometimes, its not their fault. The SA, as your H has done, will minimize and deny, no matter how crazy and absurd, the reason. There is never full disclosure and actually, I’m not sure that there should be, because believe me, some of it is that bad. And I don’t feel its appropriate to elaborate here.

    Anyway, I am with you, Sally. I could never live with that kind of abuse, but some women have a “script” whereby because of their own issues, are actually more comfortable with that kind of yes, fucked up relationship. (you’ve got me on a roll, but I’ll calm down, soon) 🙂 The “excitement” of life with as one woman I know puts it “a man who’s hell on wheels”, feels normal for them and their fear and insecurity of the unknown has them paralyzed with fear.

    I think, no matter what, it takes courage to leave, but most say that as soon as they did, they never looked back or regretted the decision.

    I may have lost the passion with my husband; it is not always a perfect situation but we do have genuine love and respect for the other and there’s something to be said for that, because I don’t think that is that easy to find. For 24 years, he has always been very kind to me; He allows me my much needed independence and he’s the most outrageously funny person– ever and damn it, if I was ill, I know that he would drop everything to be by my side every waking moment of the day or night or whenever. And that’s an awfully nice feeling.

  31. Hi Lorraine,
    Thanks for your reply and your support. Boy, I fired that one off this morning didn’t I? I have calmed down quite a bit since this morning. We had an appointment with our therapist at 9:00 and I got a lot off my chest. The anger was right up front and I told him that I expected complete fidelity, 100% fidelity by every definition of the word, and I don’t care how hard it is. If he can’t do that I don’t want to be married to him and I don’t want him in my life. I said his addiction is his problem not mine and to get it together or get out. (Our therapist told him that if he is doing something or wants to do something that he can’t share with his Eagle Scouts then don’t do it. I thought that was kind of catchy, and it seemed to make a dent in his brain.) We are headed to New Orleans tomorrow through the week, a trip already planned as a reunion with his old army buddies, and I told him that I would let him know when we return whether or not I want him to move out for awhile. I need to get away from home for a little while. I imagine we will have a nice time (if I can stand these guys and their wives) and I will not be as anxious for him to leave. That’s okay, I’m making the rules for me. I surprised myself to some extent, though, in that I really was prepared for him to go today. I don’t want it, but if it happens it happens. I’ll manage. Yes, the finances are shot to hell, we are up to our eyeballs in debt, and I figure that what he spent on his little “hobby” combined with 1 hour a day 5 days a week that he didn’t bill we are out about $600,000. over 5 years. How’s that? See you next week!
    Sally

  32. Amazing! I had never heard anyone say that he changed the night they were married. Same!
    Sometimes-got to just let it Rip! I feel better just reading the Rips!

    1. I have had the experience of my spouse changing the day we got married also. I thought I was the only one that ever had this happen. I felt duped into marriage. It ended in divorce.

  33. Wow, Soul in the sun,
    I can’t keep up with your input to this site!!

    Glad you found us here—when I found this site last fall I just read and read and read everything on it. Still do. It is so good to learn about SA from the viewpoint of the partners and spouses, and to learn about myself from them as well. Very challenging sometimes, but major growth for me from this shared pool of wisdom, humour, pain, research, compassion, and insight.

    I hope you remember to breathe in between the sparks of empathy and epiphany. The threads of your story are not easy for me to follow, but I hope you are able to keep going with courage, self care and trust that the greatest force at work in this world is a force for abundant life.

    Welcome and light for your journey
    D.

  34. Can anyone please tell me can a whole relationship 4 yrs friendship and 5 yrs living together have been on the SAs part all his addiction????? I have been putting the entire picture together instead of looking at separate events. The big one is when we were just friends I know I never saw him doing anything that I did only a few weeks after we moved in together. I would have noticed something this I know with out a doubt.
    Thanks,
    katt

    1. Hello Katt, I have no idea how wives and husbands dont know they live with a SA.. I just found out yesterday that my son in law is a SA he admitted to her that he has cheated on her almost everyday of their 13 yr marriage and the 2 years prior to them getting married..i am so upset for her.. she is trying to keep it together and is being really strong.. but the betrayal she feels has broken her heart..she loved him and their life together with their one daughter who is 12. my question is can they change, he started going to a therapist last night.. but i feel its a con trick to get her to stay. he has always treated me like crap throughout their marriage, well not in the beginning after i told him to butt out of my life and not to be controlling toward me..then he turned into a vindictive person towards me .. treats my ex husband like a god me like crap..but i want to be supportive to them both, just not sure what the best course of action would be for her to take..she has had a problem with her uterus for a few years,cant remember the name f it .but the gyno said it was from a std?? my daughter was like oh no that cant be right but be something else etc etc.. turns out now he may have infected her years ago and she is struggling with all these things. she said she is in shock and has to process all this, they have debt a house a car and animals 3 dogs and 2 cats.. a life they built over time together.. portraying this perfect couple with this perfect life.. he when i think of it wanted me out of the picture a long time ago..was it because i was smart and might find out about his elusive affairs he was having.. and what about my grandaughter who is 12.. would he have sexual feelings for her that we never would imagine he is like the perfect dad?? i have so many questions, this has devastated our family.. and even now she hides messages from me incase he looks through her emails.. in my opinion she is still protecting him, like she would defend him if he said something mean to me, turning it around to be me that was the problem..can you give me some advice please on how she can handle it and how can i help without interfering.. she wants to divorce him..her thoughts are 15 yrs of lies, she said its unforgiveable

      1. Hello Mother,
        You daughter is experiencing an unbelievable blow, one which most likely will take years for her to recover from. I have experienced about 1/50’th if I could guage it accurately, and I am still utterly devastated after one month post truama of finding out about my bf’s sex addiction. I don’t know if youdaughter is religious or spiritual but I would highly recommend both you and her spending time exploring teachings around forgiveness, empathy, mercy, etc. There is great stuff on YouTube, TedTV,and lots of resources on the web and books which focus on it. I have been watching SuperSoul Sundays on OWN and surprisingly, have found many of the speakers (Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Ylana Vanzant, etc) to be incredibly inspiring. If I could afford a good therapist I would be there too. I recently tried the most innovative type therapy I’ve found called Part’s Therapy (from a system of psychological study called Family Systems Dynamics). Look into it – it is amazingly powerful, my first session (which is mostly a guided type meditation allows for accessing the parts of us which are calling out and may be overlooked – and to tend to them, in a way it is hard to do without help). It sounds weird but is incredibly powerful when we peal back the layers upon layers which may be getting in the way of our peace, you find yourself, or parts of yourself that need healing. Most people only use this type of therapy for a few months as it really does help us in removing/reframing parts of ourselves which get in the way of our self-compassion and love, and it happens quickly. Lastly, I’ve found meditation focusing on breathing and prayer have been very restorative for me, not easy for me to sit for a few minutes but I do know it helps me.
        I pray she will find her way toward a healing and safety within her heart soon. It is wonderful that she has a mother like you who cares and reaches out on her behalf.
        Best,
        Sammy

  35. They will keep on fucking around won’t they?

    I am devastated. Now that it is officially an illness- yet another excuse to carry on.

    Why, oh why :((((((

  36. I have contacted the police on one of my husband’s escorts and they are after her. We have been married 11-1/2 years with two beautiful girls ages 9 and 11 years old. My husband change his work number/cell number–wonder why?? My D-Day was Aug 2013 but I have had a delayed recovery because of other family issues.

  37. I am pleases too see a support group my story about my sex addict husband really tips the ice burg with his 14 yr old prostitutes I’m a person who usually has high self esteem but sex addicts have a way of making us question everything about our physical. I have no time to share but there are many more partners out there who need ur support I’ll be back soon thanku

  38. Almost four years to the date of my husbands first affair (that I know of) with a 22 year old stripper, I just discovered he hired a prositute 2 weeks ago. We’ve been married for 16 years and have had many battles over his porn use. Now that I’ve had enough, the last straw that broke the camels back, I’m filing for divorce. For years he had me convinced I was the problem. Now I see it’s not me at all. I’m certainly not perfect, but I’ve been the rock in this family. I’m emotionally exhausted, I don’t even have the energy to feel sad, or angry or anything else. I just feel numb. The fact that my spouse is attracted to young tight bodied women makes me feel disgusted about my body. I’m slim and attractive, but I’m also 41 years old and have given birth to 3 of his children. There are some things that will just never be where they used to be. I wish he thought I was beautiful, but even more so, I wish I felt that about myself. After so many years of watching him lust after other women I feel like I just can not measure up to the beauty ideal. I just feel broken. I was once a young vivacious beauty and now I feel like a wrinkly shel filled with broken pieces. I’m just tired, tired of the world telling us what’s attractive and ignoring the inner beauty of women. I wanted a husband who made me feel adored, instead I got a boy who adored only himself. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have someone look into my heart and love the tender places in my soul. To value and cherish my heart as if it were their own. To look into my eyes and share the most vulnerable parts of themselves, handing me a peice of their heart in confidence that I value their inner most self. I miss the feeling of loving someone purely and without bitterness and resentment. I miss taking people for their word and having faith that they are who they say they are. I miss the innocence that has been stolen from my soul and I know I can never get back. I didn’t intent to high Jack this conversation, I just need someone to hear my soul cry out for all that has been lost.

    1. Dear Broken and exhausted.
      You have not hijacked this conversation at all. I read your message and i broke down crying. Its exactly how i feel, exactly what i have never been able to verbalise. Its helped me make some hard decisions about my future and given me hope that i might have one instead of thinking that the only way out was to end it. I don’t have kids. I was never given that oppourtunity due to the fact that my husband hasn’t come near me in so long as he uses porn and other people. Thank you so much for sharing how you feel. Never feel that what you have said has went unheard. You have helped someone else in the same position as yourself and when things are beyond bearable i hope you know that there are people out there that have been really moved, helped, encouraged and spurred into action by your words.
      I was the same as you once. Had a good life, amazing job, great friends and family and day by day have left it all behind and crawled into the closet of deceit and lies in order to protect someone i thought loved me. I realise this was all in my own head. Being lied and cheated to only made me more delusional and determined to fix him and make him better. After reading what you wrote i realise how much i was missing. Me. Yes me. How utterly selfish to think about what i had missed out on in my life. What i have given up to help someone who has never wanted to be helped. Who only really got married to me in order to help himself and make himself look like he was A ok. I think you just ”do unto other….”. Not everyone has that same sense of love and giving. I’ve learnt the hard way but at least i’ve seen the light. Thank you so much.
      Please please please start to love yourself again. Despite their mind games and blind siding! After reading what you wrote i can tell you are an incredible individual who is an amazing mother and has just been shafted by a selfish person. None of it was your fault and you will have an amazing future without that crap dragging you down. Much love

  39. Its so hard to start…where to start? I’m 28 with two gorgeous children, my daughter is 5 and my son 3. Their father and I have been together 7 years. Seven years of hell. I’ve had to go against my every morale, my own being, self respect, loyalty, just all of it. For the last two years I’d make comments about his actions when refused. I’m talking, in the middle of cooking, cleaning, projects I use to do with the kids, where we would be, he’d ask and then demand sex. At times, more the last year, he’s been violent over no. My children have heard so much. Previously, I’d feel bad and want to fix him, now I’m so over it. Completely, I feel bad for his next “victim” since he’s in denial. He has not raised one of his 14 children. I myself was outraged to discover my pregnancies not because I didn’t love him but because I knew he wouldn’t be a father to mine either. I’ve turned to substance abuse, he’s been a user for well over 13 years. I’ve stayed so long wanting to help him but now that my daughter is starting school and in growing stages for empathy. She by far is extremely smart but so very mean that I can’t handle it. My son has also shown signs but not so tramatic I hope. I have tried leaving but its always the same thing, he says the most horrible things that have no truth so its like I’m in a constant fight to prove him wrong. I hate it. I am researching programs and rehabs inpatient that accept clients with children. I’m here but leaving to move back into my moms. I never thought I’d have no accomplishments in life. My childhood being so damaging BUT I’ve been blessed to know I didn’t want to continue allowing that person control of my life as a adult only to live this way. I can’t let these choices and patterns continue to be engraved in my children. I don’t Know where to start!?

  40. I have been dating my bf, for 2.5 years…. The first 6 months everything was great, I didn’t find out till over a year that he was a lie. I remember the day I found out, my world literally shattered.
    He had his computer hooked up to the tv, and never closed out the windows. I had come home and turned on the tv and wham there were emails of him and multiple women messaging back and forth, women he met on Craigslist. Making plans to hook up for sexual encounters. He came home and I confronted him, with me in shock I of course believed every excuse he gave me and believed he would never do it again. I was so in love with him then.
    Then about 6 months later he was acting weird, figured he was just stressed. Nope definitely not. I remember getting ready to leave and I was late and clicked his phone briefly to see what time it was, a message from a girl was on his screen, it said, lets fuck!. He of course said he had no clue who it was and it was a wrong number. I obviously got suspicious and started checking on him. My hunches were right. Fast forward to 8 months ago, and that’s when the crap really happened. I was checking on him, he had obviously done a good job at hiding things, I found pictures on his phone of girls, modelling lingerie, and another set of pictures of a girl laying on the bed with a condom next to her, these were actual pictures he had taken of his cheating.
    I found out he cheated on me half a dozen times, some with prostitues and some with random women he met online. Also found out he spent over 800 dollars on webcam girls in two months time.
    He chats, flirts and cheats and balls his face off when he gets caught, manipulating me every chance he gets and lying, omg the lying is endless.
    He claims to love me, but yet that too is a lie.

    He has been going to therapy for exactly a year since I found out the worst of it, and obviously it’s not doing any good.

    I must be the most naive, pathetic person ever to have given this man so many chances, and to put up with things I swore I never would. I must really have lost all self respect for myself. I’m such a sucker.

    1. I’m really sorry you have to go through this because I’ve been there and I know what it is like. Still, I have to be blunt and tell you that change is highly unlikely. My husband was a good man in so many ways, and kind and big hearted. We had therapy, together and separately, and I forgave him from the bottom of my heart. The fact that it continued to happen told me he would never stop and I left him after 26 years of marriage. He had spent all of our money and was deeply in debt and had hidden that from me, so I got nothing in the divorce except debt. It’s been 5 years now and I’ve never been happier.

      1. Thank you, I know it’s going to end because I know he will never stop. Just hard to swallow when I was so sure in the beginning he was the one for me.
        Hard to move past what I thought he was.

  41. I stayed after finding my husband was having affairs, sexual and emotional throughout my whole marriage of 31 years. He disclosed every incident and I was devasted. He had 24 yrs of Sobriety from alcohol and drugs and I lived through those years too. Every memory was destroyed as he did this behavior at home, at work, and on vacations. He spent 3 yrs in an out patient program but did not complete it. I filed for separation 2 yrs ago and have tried to rebuild our relationship but he is a pathological lier, and continues to slip, with porn and flirting. Our arguments have increase because we still live in same home. I started going out with friends and now he stocks me and confronts my friends. I have now had to do a restraining order and file for divorce. I feel I wasted 5 more years of my life trying to save our family. I realize the damage to relationship is too extensive and iy’s tell to move. I have been with the same man for 40 yrs so I have no idea how to get out there, so it will be a lot of work to learn. The stories here have really helped me. Thank you all

  42. Finding out was seeing the husband I thought I knew fall like a house of cards right in front if my face. And it sickens me when other people think I should have known this all along. They wonder how I didn’t know. But, the man I thought I knew would have never picked up a street walking hooker, I never I’m my wildest dreams thought he would ever do that. It took a long time for that to sink in, and even now a year later I still don’t think it has completely. The advice given to me to stay a year in treatment with Him before leaving was the worst advice ever given to me. It was a year wasted. I couldn’t continue a relationship with this person I viewed as a creeping pervert. I wanted to stay for my kids, but what good is it to my kids to witness this dysfunctional relationship, and their mother in constant emotional turmoil. I’ve been out on my own now for 4 months. And other than some financial concerns, it feels grand. The addict is no longer able to steal Any more of my soul. I am able to heal, though the past hurt and betrayl still haunt me. At least I feel safe, and that is priceless. My heart goes out to any women out there that uncovers this monster. Just remember to love yourself first, and take care of yourself. I didn’t do this at first, I was going to help him. That obviously was futile.

  43. I have been married to a sex addict for 32 years now. I have allowed him to mentally,psycially, verbal abuse and to continuously cheated on me. I met him when I was 15 I had no mother father grandparents raised me all of the Family members were drug/alchol addiacts he was like everything I needed. 2 kids and 32 years I realized how low self worth I have and why in the world would I keep the self tourture. I have followed him put recorders in house and car and heard him more than one time on tape having sex with prositutes and he gets another phone I still take the abuse bc of course he’s very mean ugly and always something he cusses me out says all kind of mean things and then expects I have sex with him and if I don’t it’s not fun for me even at times voilent. I have just got my cup running over and I was wanting to do very bad things to him so I left drove 10 hrs and then talked to him the calls and text was many he got my mind confused again I come back I seen flags and it’s been 3 weeks and I do realize he will never change why do I stay why am I still trying to show him he’s still lying still trying to prove what I know. I have decided I have to leave and change number and let this go I have to leave life as I know it as dysfunctional it is. I have got so much encouragement from post bc most people don’t understand hell most time I don’t either. Just was to b happy and to know and appreciate happy without him

  44. Just found out that my boyfriend of 6 months has been posting ads on Craigslist casual encounters and visiting online chats for sex. We were amazingly happy and he treated me like a goddess! I was devestates. When I confronted him, he admitted he was a SA but loves me more than anything and swears to get help and stop. He lied about the extent of the infidelity and I found pictures on his phone that he was sending to other women. Finally, he admitted that it was going on for the entire relationship. He has called two therapists and wants me to go to counciling with him. I love this man more than anything. Do I give him another chance?

    1. I hope you get help for yourself. Sex addiction is probably the hardest addiction to treat. He knows you love him and he is counting on that. I suggest you get help for yourself immediately so you can make the right decision and not regret the invested time with this huge and very complex problem that is NOT yours. You deserve to be loved by someone who is healthy and capable to give you what you need. I wish you the best.