Living With a Sex Addict

3: The Life You Have Been Living

 

Your husband has been a sex addict for some time. Whatever event occurred that made you aware of his addiction, it is only one in a long stream of others. Did you find out because he’s been having an affair? If he’s a sex addict, this means one of many flings, longer affairs, or paid sex workers. Did you catch him watching pornography? He’s been carving out hours of his day or binging on it when you were out of the house—and he’s been doing it for so many years he’s probably bored with it himself.

 

What has changed in your life is not the substance of your marriage, but new information about it. Pornography, prostitutes, other women (or men) have already been occupying the fringes your life—you just didn’t know it. If you are in shock from whatever discovery you’ve just made  (what some people call “D-Day”), prepare for further shock. But understand also that there has been no sudden shift. Your knowledge of what is going on has changed, but what has been going on remains the same. You are now aware of what was true all along.

 

I make this point because there are tragic shifts in our lives that are of a very different nature. For example, if a person is suddenly in a car accident she can go from perfectly healthy to very injured or worse in a moment. She doesn’t come to understand that she has been injured but experiences it in real time. She is a person who can say, “Everything in my life was fine until…” We are not. Our married lives have not been fine, at least not for a good many years.

 

At the time of discovery you may experience the same thoughts I did about the state of your marriage, and even use the same language. For example, I decided that I’d been deceived and my marriage was a sham, that none of the closeness or intimacy and love that I’d thought I was feeling during the eighteen years marriage was “real.” From the moment I discovered the affair it was though our lives had been dissolved, then reassembled, and everything looked how it had before, except it wasn’t.  Our home didn’t feel like our home anymore, but like a place where we used to live. The flower beds, the little stacks of post and books, the kitchen calendar and potted plants and laundry folded into baskets, were instantly counterfeit and vile, transformed through oath and curse as though this Other Woman was standing in a witch’s hat, casting spells.

 

Suddenly, all the years we’d been together—even our most treasured days of walking hills in Cumbria, climbing mountains in Scotland, the Christmases and birthdays, the nights we dressed up and walked through lighted streets, or nights we stayed in, wrapped in blankets by the fire before sharing a bath—were photographs from another age. Even our children seemed distant from me, as though I was looking at them through a pane of glass. To feel disconnected to the world was hard. Feeling disconnected to my own children was agony.

 

He’d been play-acting; I’d been duped. I got really into the role of being the deceived one, the oblivious little fool. I was indignant, outraged, and so sorry for myself  that I couldn’t see the marriage clearly at all anymore.  Later, I came to understand that, while there had been a lot of deception and pretense sprinkled throughout our union, it was a disservice to call the marriage a “sham.” We were still ourselves, our genuine loving selves; whatever had happened because of addiction did not take that away.

 

Non-addicts have difficulty imagining this, but for the most part sex addicts love their wives. I’ve spoken to or heard of too many sexually addicted men speaking with enormous depth of emotion and commitment about their wives to believe otherwise.  These men are deeply fearful that their wives will divorce them, and will do anything to keep their marriages intact while they recover from addiction. One of the many things they will do is lie—which we rightly despise—but the positive intention of the lying is often to hold onto us, to their families, and to their jobs.

 

My husband compartmentalized sex addiction; he knew it was marginal to his real life, that it was repetitive and fruitless and worrying. He’d been addicted for so many years he’d grown to hate it but was unable to stop.  The progression of his addiction meant he’d become increasingly self-centered, self-absorbed, consumed by his own troubles and imagination. Maybe this is because his imagination was consuming him. At the same time, he also seemed increasingly dependent upon me, on my approval and my love. I believe that much of what we might observe as selfishness in the addict is actually emotional isolation. His self-involvement drove him further into himself. His pursuit of sex was probably a means of relieving his loneliness and fear—for almost every sex addict I’ve ever known is intensely fearful. The sex distracted him for a short while before plummeting him further into it.

 

Did I see any signs of trouble? If I’d taken inventory I might have concluded that over the years he’d become more self-obsessed and anxious. But like the story of the frog placed in tepid water that gradually rises in temperature until the poor animal is boiled alive, I didn’t notice such gradual change.

 

I thought he was over-worked. I thought he was a bit stressy. I’d occasionally receive phone calls from him in which he needed to hear my voice even though I’d only said goodbye to him a few hours ago as he left for the office. I later worked out that these phone calls took place just after he’d acted out, or had nearly acted out, and were a means of anchoring him back to his real life, his real family, his real wife.  It wasn’t so much that he acted out because he didn’t care for me, but that the momentum of his addiction was so intractable that he engaged in sexual fantasy or actual sex with someone else in spite of  how he felt about me.

 

Having said this, I don’t for a minute downplay the degree of hurt and destruction that sex addicts bestow upon their lives, their marriages and their spouses. And I don’t feel it can be explained away as “an addiction like any other.” Sex addiction is a disease and it is a real addiction. However, in most other cases of addiction the increased dependency on a substance is fairly obvious to the spouse. A spouse can often see signs of drug use. They see signs of alcohol abuse. I doubt very much I’d have overlooked it if my husband were an alcoholic, for example. He’d have been drunk, for one thing. I’d have seen the progression of the disease from the start and been able to make decisions in full awareness of the situation. But the nature of sex addiction means that unless you find evidence of it on one or other electronic device or catch him with another person, you are unlikely to have any idea. Years can pass, your whole life even, as you remain cocooned in oblivion wondering why he is so anxious, so dissatisfied with himself, even though he has what appears to be a perfectly lovely life.

 

So, while sex addiction is an addiction, it is not just like “any other addiction.” And sex addiction is not like “any other disease” either. You may hear someone say that sex addiction is a disease like diabetes. I really don’t know what therapist started this notion that sex addiction is like diabetes or why addicts try this one on. The analogy is probably due to the necessity that a sex addict take daily actions in order to prevent “acting out” in the same way that a diabetic may take daily insulin to prevent a diabetic coma.

 

Whatever the reason, the analogy never made any sense to me. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder involving insulin resistance. It is a physiological symptom with no premeditated agenda to its symptomatology. By contrast, acting out a sexual addiction requires deviousness, deliberate deception, and intense covering up. You may explain this to your husband who is telling you sex addiction is like diabetes. He may become angry but you are right—whatever we think about sex addiction it is not like diabetes. Don’t be surprised if he storms off or sulks while you shake your head in despair that he could ever have been duped into the diabetes analogy.

 

He’s not deluded. He’s just stuck. He is stuck because sex addiction is a disease and he is suffering. Because the burden of having caused such pain to those he loves overwhelms him. Because of the intense shame. He wants relief from whatever poison he feels inside himself and wouldn’t it be great to say it was like diabetes or some other common, chronic condition?

 

I feel sorry for today’s sex addicts because, while the condition is not uncommon, it is relatively new to the scene in psychology. Men and women who are sex addicts are at the hands of professionals with little understanding of the problem, spouses who are shocked and bewildered by the problem, and a media that loves to poke fun at the problem.

 

Even so, wishing sex addiction to be a disease like any other does not make it so. I cannot think of any physiological disease for which the best known treatment is what the 12-Step programs call “a spiritual solution.” You might now ask who cares what the 12-Step programs call it? Why are we talking about them anyway?  We are talking about them because so far their programs have had the best results. I don’t claim to thoroughly understand the 12 Steps, I don’t understand why programs centered around the 12 Steps have done so well with men and women with addictive disorders, but it is clear this is the case.

So, sex addiction is not a physiological disease. Is it, therefore, a mental illness? In a way, yes. But even if we call sex addiction a mental illness, it is not one in which the person is delusional. That is, the problem does not manifest itself across all of the addicts’s interactions. It is not easily detected by those with whom the addict lives, let alone work colleagues or the like. So, while it might be a mental illness like anxiety, it is not a mental illness like schizophrenia.

 

Before I understood much about sex addiction, I believed it grew out of what could be called “ordinary cheating.”  That is, I thought my husband had enjoyed casual sexual so much he repeated the action until it became a habit he found difficult to stop. I used to point out this out to my husband, telling him that he didn’t start out as an addict, but as a regular guy who cheated on me for years before the behavior became an addiction.

 

This thought kept me miserable for a long time. Only recently have psychologists established that it wouldn’t have been like that at all. He didn’t make a practice of cheating and then turn into an addict. He was an addict looking for a fix, and eventually alighted upon sex. He found the fix and settled on sex addiction as opposed to some other addiction. Sex was simply the drug of choice.

 

There may be a number of ways in which it seeds itself in an individual. Almost everyone suffering an addictive disorder has suffered a childhood trauma. In the case of sex addiction, there is often a history of childhood sexual abuse.  Recent studies tell us that early exposure to pornography can create an experience of abuse even in children who are not physically abused, which makes me think that sex addiction will continue to grow in years to come as the porn industry expands its reach to our children. Also, that we will see an increase in women with sex addiction.

 

Experts in sex addiction often say that the addiction burgeons early in life, probably during puberty when the future addict first discovers his response to sex as not exactly like that of his more typical peers. He may ignite an active relationship with fantasy years before he has any thoughts of marriage. The fantasy can be powerful enough to blank out some of the other more challenging conditions of his life and he then begins to rely on it. Can we blame the addict for resorting to what he learned as an adolescent or a very young man? By fantasizing about women (or men) through pornography or some other means he has discovered how to relieve himself of what feels like intolerable stress, perhaps due to a history of family problems, parental abuse, sexual abuse or similar. His addiction is in the making before we even arrive on the scene.

 

When I first found out about my husband’s sex addiction, I was in way too much agony to have sympathy for him, for his condition, or for what may have caused it in his early history. Even reading a paragraph like the one above might have annoyed me. I didn’t like it when addicts and therapists called sex addiction a “disease”. I felt like I was being told that I did not have sufficient sympathy for the poor man, who was the real victim in all this. Also, that I was an unsympathetic wife just for challenging the notion of whether he was really an “addict” in the first place.

 

I was supposed to be calm and supportive. I was supposed to be patient about whether or not he stayed “sober” so early in his recovery program. Being understanding about infidelity—even on medical grounds—was an untenable position for me as a wife. And who was asking this of me? Oh yes, by my husband, a sex addict. Sex addicts are notoriously good at moralizing while failing to follow their own principles. He was advising me on my behaviour? This only further inflamed me. It seemed absurd that there was a recommended way of responding to what felt like an assault on myself, my family, my marriage or what might be called the memory of my marriage. And yet, it wasn’t an assault on any of that. He was ill. I was not.

 

I realize I can sound critical, especially considering that I am happily married to a sex addict, but I only became happy after years of frustration with my situation and it would be dishonest of me not to acknowledge that. Like any wife, I felt enormous pain associated with my husband’s addiction. I have been in turns frightened, angry, hurt, bewildered, baffled, dysfunctional and broken-hearted—and this went on for years.

 

I’ve heard a few addicts state flatly that a woman should stand by her sexually addicted spouse in the same manner she might had he been diagnosed with cancer, because after all sex addiction and cancer are both diseases. I’ve been told a woman should stand by her addicted spouse “until he is ready” for treatment or until he achieves sexual sobriety. Such advice (often from recovered addicts) downplays the painful emotions, the exhaustion, the despair and loneliness, not to mention the utter shock and horror, experienced by spouses of sexually addicted people. Many addicts take years to gain sobriety and are completely absorbed either or in their addiction or in their recovery programs during that time. Standing by your man can feel very lonely and you have no guarantee he will ever get better, nor that you will ever be able to relax, trust, or feel happy with him again. There are psychological risks to sticking with him, time and opportunity costs, as well as physical risks of sexually transmitted diseases.

 

Having said all this, I am also going to tell you that I am very glad to be with my husband, whose recovery was slow, frustrating, not always obvious, and something he still has to work at every day of his life.

 

We’re going to get to the part where I show you how that happened, but meanwhile it is worth saying that nothing I describe is meant to persuade you one way or the other about your future with your partner. I just want to reassure those who are hoping to stay with their partners that while the past can be ugly, the future can be better. Did you love your husband or partner before you found out about the acting out (by “acting out” I do, of course, mean the pornography, affairs, chat rooms, phone sex, prostitutes and sex websites)? If so, you love him now. And don’t believe anyone who tells you that you love a man you who you have “invented.” I used to hear that all the time. You say you love him, but you didn’t know him. You say you love him but you’ve only made him up in your head.

 

You haven’t invented him at all. He wasn’t always hiding himself, nor could he have done. Sex addiction is progressive—he wasn’t always quite as selfish or mercurial or deceptive or deep into addiction. If you love him, it is the genuine love for a real person, not a misguided projection of love onto an invented man.  It will take years, not days, to dismantle that love, if this is what you choose to do. But you don’t have to leave him; he can get better. And as impossible as this may sound at the moment, you can forgive him. Loving him doesn’t mean living with him will be any easier. That you love the man so much may intensify the pain of his unfaithfulness and dishonesty, making it almost unbearable. He has disrupted what you believed at your very core, about your life, about your marriage, and about yourself.

 

Like the rest of the world, you thought good people did good things and bad people did bad things.  But your husband, who is a good person, has not only done something bad but has done it at your expense. If you feel crazy, don’t worry. You should feel crazy. You learned something unspeakable about the man upon whom you’ve hung every hope. Moreover, your entire worldview is being challenged. If a man you love can do such wrong, what about all the other “bad guys” out there who you may once have comfortably separated into a different part of humanity? Are there “good people” in prison? Is it possible, as Thomas Aquinas says, that nobody intentionally does evil?

 

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Copyright © 2016 by TheWife. All rights reserved.

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103 Comments

  • Reply
    CLJ
    July 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Looking for wife support! Help!

    • Reply
      The Wife
      July 13, 2017 at 8:35 pm

      Can you perhaps put her in contact with me through the site? I’d be happy to help. 🙂

      • Reply
        JangledChick
        July 16, 2017 at 5:56 pm

        I need wife support too please!

    • Reply
      Annie
      July 23, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      I need support too

  • Reply
    Cathy
    August 17, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    I need support. Please!

    • Reply
      The Wife
      August 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Hi Cathy, I wonder if you’ve found http://www.posarc.com? It has some good articles. I am not associated with that group so don’t think I am trying to push my agenda on you (or anyone else!). If you’ve just found out your husband or partner is a sex addict you are right you need support! I know all too well. Hugs to you.

  • Reply
    Adam Gallacher
    August 26, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I need help. I deceived my wife by watching pornography. I have watched for years and tried to stop but failed. My wife is going to leave me and I only have myself to blame. She has given me second chances before but she’s had enough. I feel bad for her and my 3 little children. I don’t want them to be in a broken home. If I’m being honest, yes I watch porn but actually grown tired of it and I don’t understand why I feel the need to watch it. I wouldn’t say my Sex life is terrible but I guess I would like it more often. We have just moved into a new house which we put alot of work in. The kids have a room each. We have a lovely dog and a nice family car. Our jobs are stable. There really isn’t any reason for my betrayal. I hate myself and selfishly think of suicide but that’s no good at all for anyone. I just want my wife to take me back. I am such an idiot.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      August 26, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Hi, and thank you for writing to me. I’m going to email you from another account as this is in the comments section of the website and I think it might me more helpful for me to email you privately. However, I want to say just quickly that if you feel compelled to watch pornography and you cannot seem to stop it, there are a lot of options for getting help and you DEFINITELY can get better.

      As for your wife forgiving you, she may very well forgive you and accept you and love you as ever. However, even if she does so, you still need to work on the addiction that brought you to this place to begin with.

      And don’t hate yourself. There is no need to do so. There is tremendous hope and a good future ahead of you. It will just take some time.

      🙂

      • Reply
        Adam Gallacher
        August 29, 2017 at 7:55 am

        Thank you so much for the reply. I’m happy to have any advice you can give.

  • Reply
    Pam
    September 13, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    All I can say is wow! This was the best article I have read to date. It’s been 1 year since I discovered my husbands sex addiction. It all started with a screen name he was using on a gameing site. It brought me back in time to when we were dating (18 years ago) and found him chatting on AOL with people. At the time I confronted him and didn’t think much of it because we were very young and I attributed it to him being 21 and playing a stupid game. Last we went to marriage counseling while I was under the impression that he was only watching porn and chatting on sites. It wasn’t until I took the home computer and had forensics done that I found out what a serious sex addict he was. Our lives before his discovery were very much like yours. The perfect couple… He has since been diagnosed with ADHD and is on medication that is helping control himself and is in therapy and is practicing mindfulness. So much of this addiction is played out without the addict being present. He has acted out with both men and women and had MMF threesomes. How many people I don’t know. The majority was fantasy on his computer. He did the majority of this while at work. He doesn’t recall a lot of what he did and has blurred fantasy with reality. He feels shameful and discussed with himself and when we fight about it with the result of him becoming very angry and eventually breaking down and crying. I have become a bit numb and don’t know what to believe anymore. Is he lying? Does he really not recall what he did? Does he have a disassociative disorder as well? He has always been a bit of an extremist and lived on the edge. Most of this was before we were married. The stories I was told were of him drinking to excess jumping off a moving vehicle for fun/rush. Sexually promiscuous etc… Since I have found out I still have felt the urge to search. Looking from things he’s done in the past and I’m still so consumed by it all. He says he’s better and the medication has helped quiet his brain down and his dopamine levels are better and he doesn’t feel the urge to do any of this anymore. I know he truly loves me and his children and doesn’t want to destroy what we have. God this is hard for me to talk about and is the first post I have done. If the author would contact me via email id appreciate it. I don’t need any comments saying run from others. That’s not what I’m looking for. I’m looking to heal.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      September 14, 2017 at 10:17 am

      Hi, I will certainly contact you by email. I am just so sorry to hear of this problem and the extent of his addiction. He has a pretty complex set of problems that will need a lot of work. As for you….well. I know how you feel. It is awful but it *can* get better. I’ll email you soon.

  • Reply
    Pam
    September 14, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks so much for your reply!

  • Reply
    Sophie
    September 14, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Please can you contact me, I’m in the depths of despair as I’ve just found out my partner is a chronic sex addict.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      September 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

      Hi, I am so sorry to hear this. When you find out your partner is a sex addict it is like finding out he’s cheated but at an exponential, pathological scale. It’s devastating. I’ll email you.

  • Reply
    Sheila jeffreys
    September 15, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Please help me I’m desperate

    • Reply
      The Wife
      September 15, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      I’m sorry…tell me how I can help.

  • Reply
    Iris
    September 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Hi there. I can’t believe I have found this article. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I agree with an earlier comment about this being the most helpful l have found and it is so recent. You have described so much of how i am feeling. I discovered my husband had been seeing prostitutes for the last 2 1/2 years. Found out just over 2 weeks ago. I’m trying to keep a sensible head and carry on as I have 3 young children (they keep me going!) I know I am in shock still and experiencing all the classic symptoms. But I know it is still very early days and hope with the correct help I can deal with this situation and heal properly. One minute I’m coping, the next i can’t stop crying. I think about supporting him getting help (he has already started professional help and put things into place like restrictions on laptops, phones etc) and the next I want to move away with the kids and start a new life for us without him. The pain is excruciating and would really love some support if possible please. Thank you so much for your time. Ps. I have never posted on any site before…this just feels like someone else’s life!!!

    • Reply
      The Wife
      September 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Iris, I know so well all the feelings you are going through. One minute I wanted nothing more than my husband even with all his flaws, and the next I wanted to run away. In the end, I couldn’t do either. I couldn’t have the man I wanted and I couldn’t entirely leaving him either.

      What helped? His becoming sober helped. Without that there is no “line in the sand” you can draw, no finishing point, nothing that will serve as a stop. Once be became sober, he also made a lot of progress emotionally so that I could actually talk to him without him going crazy. He began (slowly) to see things from my side, to see thing more fairly. His empathy deepened. Was he perfect? No, not at all. And he must attend a 12-step program twice weekly to stay sane and sober. But he does!

      I know all that excruciating pain and the constant crying. It is all so exhausting but so natural and necessary. I do hope that there will be better days for you soon.

  • Reply
    Baldoria
    September 16, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Hello there:
    You can probably guess why I am here. I just found out two weeks ago that my husband has had several emotional/sexual affairs. After the affairs stopped, although he kept in touch with them, he got addicted to Porn…. I feel like I have been cut off from the knees. looking for some guidance
    – Thank you

    • Reply
      Jenni
      January 31, 2018 at 10:55 am

      WoW, please contact me- this is exactly m story & I need help

  • Reply
    Ali
    September 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Please can you help me too.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      September 18, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Are you okay? Tell me what is going on. 🙂

  • Reply
    Julie
    September 18, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    THANK YOU! I can’t tell you how relieved I am to finally read something from someone who describes exactly what I’ve felt for far too many years.
    I discovered my husbands indiscretions, well, let’s just say, many many years ago. It started off with ‘sensual massage’; and after I presented the evidence I found, we landed in therapy. After many tears, and hours in therapy, things were ‘seemingly’ better. Not. 2 years went by, and it popped up again and again. In 2013 while I was moving his daughter (I’m his 2nd wife) into her college dorm in another state, along with his 1st wife, and his other younger daughter (he couldn’t make it .. he was ‘too busy’); I found out that he was at a very romantic hotel for the weekend with a hooker that he had been ‘dating’ for months, yet paying the entire time. The devastation was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. The lies, deception and betrayal were so mind-blowing, and made me question everything about my life, and reality. I didn’t want to live anymore. The pain was overwhelming. How could someone do this to another?
    It was at this point he went to see a ‘sex-addiction’ therapist. Well that only lasted as long as getting to the ‘disclosure statement’. When he read his statement to me, and he saw the pain that ripped through me, he burst into tears, and within moments his tears stopped (like shutting off a faucet) and it was as if his feelings had been stripped from his body. He literally shut down (emotionally). I never saw an ounce of empathy, remorse or compassion since that day (vis-a-vis his addiction). We’ve struggled, separated multiple times, got back together, therapy, etc. He’s gone to the other side where I am to blame for any cheating that he does. To my knowledge, he’s been involved with hookers, sensual massage, public dates with paid sex workers, endless porn, flew someone to the US from a foreign country that he ‘met’ on some website. I even found (okay, I’ve become the greatest PI in the world) a piece of paper from a local court for the dismissal of his violation of ‘soliciting prostitution’. I found out he was on some website where he advertised himself as a ‘Sugar Daddy’; and the only reason I knew was because one of the young girls that he completed duped (after she discovered his ‘real name’ and did some research other own), decided to contact me directly via facebook and tell me around my scoundrel husband. She went so far as to write a horrific article on some trashy website that can’t even be removed about him. She released his real name, address, mentioned me, and all of what she did with him. Each time a google search is/was done with his name, it’s the first thing that would come up. He spent nearly $20k with Reputation.com, a company that specializes in ‘squashing’ unflattering stories on the internet. He works in financial services, and he’s even lost several clients because of the story, and was contacted by many people who saw it.
    I know my husband truly loves me, and I’ve tried to help him, but as we know I can’t help him, he needs to help himself. He’s such a lost soul, and it’s heart wrenching. His pain and loneliness is endless.
    I threw him out of our home almost 1 year ago, but he continues to try and reconcile, but is in complete denial of his disease even after all of the discoveries. Unfortunately he gets to deny, because I’m one directly impacted by his disease. How do I stop loving and walk away from someone who is in so much pain and lost? I know it’s not my job, but the man I feel in love with so many years ago still lives within.
    Just as a side note, I have done everything to help myself, I’m in weekly therapy (sometimes twice a week) for sometime; I go to group meetings, read, and talk to my friends about it. I get the support I need because otherwise I’d be in a straight jacket 🙁
    Any advice you can offer me, would be most welcomed.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      September 18, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Wow. That is one heck of a life you are living over there. I know the stuff that happened is shocking. I am very aware of the “sensual massage” (read: prostitute) or the young women who are listed on “dating sites” from faraway lands (read: prositute) and all the other ways our husbands convince themselves that they are not actually having sex with prostitutes. Heck, mine used to bring a bottle of wine when he ‘visited’ a prostitute because that made it seem more like a date. In fact, guys can even have a “GFE” (girlfriend experience) if they are willing to pay.

      Of course, the point is that they are not paying — WE are paying. With our lives, our families, our emotional health, our physical health and our actual money (half of what they pay is ours, you see). So, they are making decisions on our behalf whenever they “visit” a prostitute and we are understandably intolerant of that. On the other hand, we can see that these men we love are very sick, that they need help, that they are desperate. It’s hard to turn them away.

      There is no way to reason with an active addict. If I have any advice for you it would be to convince your husband that therapy is part of his recovery process but that he needs to get into a 12-step program ASAP. It’s the only thing that really worked for my husband, who used to pay hundreds an hour to experts who didn’t really do much to help him stop acting out. I mean, therapy is good generally but if you want to recover the serious 12-step programs seem to have a good reputation. That’s my only advice. Other than that, I only wish you were around the corner and we could sit and talk, because you sound as though you could use a friend right now and I do totally understand what you are going through! I was separated from my husband for a long time…I think it was about 15 months. I couldn’t live with an active addict. Who can?

  • Reply
    Cathy
    September 22, 2017 at 1:46 am

    I feel lost due to my husbands sex addiction. This has gone on for 23 years. We are in counseling. He goes to Sa meetings. Babysitting him is tiring. He travels so I only see him on the weekends. How do we heal when we are hardly together. Says he doesn’t want to give up on us. But after years of a sexless marriage and years of all of his porn and affairs I’m afraid I may catch something. He has been tested but I feel like he should be tested every time he comes home. So overwhelmed!

    • Reply
      The Wife
      September 22, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      Hi, and thank you for being in touch. Your situation sounds familiar and untenable and exhausting. I am sorry you’re going through all this.

      I think I felt overwhelmed for years in my own marriage for much the same reasons. Perhaps I was a little different in that I didn’t really try to look after my husband. I understood that his addiction was nothing I could really influence or prevent. I did have to get away from him, however, when he was still an active addict. It is just too much to bear and, as you rightly point out, there is the physical risk aspect of it all.

      It’s good your husband is going to SA meetings. I hope he’s got a sponsor and is moving through the steps. SA was the best thing my husband did and he did a LOT of interventions, including regular counselling.

      I wish I could wave a magic wand and relieve you of the worry and sadness you are going through. My only suggestion is that you read Barbara Steffans book on being the partner of an addict and that you glance through the various topics covered in my blog just so you know you are NOT alone!

      Hugs to you.

  • Reply
    Cathy
    September 23, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you so much. Just ordered the book you suggested. Praying it helps!

  • Reply
    Belinda
    October 3, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Please I need help too !!

    • Reply
      The Wife
      October 4, 2017 at 7:19 am

      Are you okay? If you’ve recently found out your partner is a sex addict you might want to look into resources like http://www.posarc.com, for example. Also, Barbara Steffan’s excellent books. The articles on this sight might help. 🙂

  • Reply
    Robin
    October 11, 2017 at 3:17 am

    I’m glad I found this site. My husband and I have been married 37 years and only 10 of those years he was faithfull. I have been going through this for so long that I feel like my head is unraveling. It started on porn sites, magazines then to sites to hook up . My 2 children found out and told me he is saying nasty things about me to other woman. He then started paying for sex. I thought he was working really hard and seeing a therapist but when I was asked to go he lied to the therapist changed therapist many times. Fast forward we are in therapy plus he is going by himself do I trust him no! I feel like maybe he won’t ever stop because we renewed our vows at 25 years and much to my surprise he was still going strong . I have a terminal illness and thought we could make memories but not to sure anymore I’ve never see any remorse we need to look foward he says I can’t be looking back. My shoulders and neck are so tense because I never feel relaxed. Sorry so long but thanks for letting me vent

    • Reply
      Cinderella
      November 29, 2017 at 1:13 am

      I understand your plight. Not all sex addicts, mine is personality disordered, unconditionally love their wives or feel love, empathy, compassion etc. My husband and I have been to csats and he has been to the twelve step meetings. He lied to me, at his 12 step meetings and our therapists. I , despite the agonizing pain, tried the intimacy excersizes with him, which always failed, read all the books and articles etc. He’s just gotten worse to the point I was kicked out of our room. Our marriage is only on paper. He likes the way he lives, always in pursuit of the next of many young women, online or in person….when he has a wife at home whom takes care of him, house, etc. He doesn’t want sex or a real relationship with a woman. He doesn’t feel remorse, he doesn’t feel guilt. I’ve never seen him cry in almost 30 yrs of marriage. I cannot leave, I am chronically ill. I cannot even imagine a happy, normal life. Like this is it for me. I truly suffer at the hands of this person who deceived me for decades. It’s like my life has been a sham. Everyday is painful, I even have to take meds and see a trauma therapist now because I developed ptsd from this. All as he goes on with his merry life.

  • Reply
    JoAnne
    October 11, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    I have so many questions for you. I wish I could pick up the phone and call you. I’ve been married for 34 years and just found out (4 months ago) that my husband is a sex addict. I swing from having compassion and forgiveness to anger and feelings of hatred. I’ve known from our early years of marriage that he had deep hurts from his childhood — not being accepted by his father and never feeling like he had any close friends. I encouraged him to seek help through spiritual direction, counseling, etc. He would go to one or two sessions, present everything as being wonderful in his conversations and then determine that no further sessions were needed. I grew up in a large family and both of my parents were addicts. I was determined to raise my children differently and worked hard at personal work, reading lots of books on child rearing, etc. I figured my husband needed to work on his childhood trauma just like me. I also knew that I couldn’t force him to get help so I focused on myself and my work and prayed he would eventually get to the point of being ready to work on his stuff. He is now 61 years old and is attending 2 SAA meetings a week and working with a therapist. I want our marriage to work but I’m afraid this may be too little too late. He is truly remorseful but has been living a double life for over 20 years. The last 8 years have been the worst as his disease truly did progress.

    Thank you for this website. It is very comforting to know / read about someone who has experienced something very similar to me and has worked through it and is happy in your marriage. I’ve been in therapy for over 5 years and attending Alanon meetings for over 2 years – all this to help me recover from my experience of growing up in a very dysfunctional home. I’m thankful for all the work I’ve done. I know I’m able to care for myself so much better now and I’m sure handling this news far better than I would have 5 years ago. I went to one 12-step meeting for partners of a sex addict and found it very discouraging. It seemed to be much more of a gripe session than a place where people shared their experience, strength, and hope. I live in a large metropolitan area and am amazed there is only one such group as this. Any other suggestions or tips you can provide?

    • Reply
      The Wife
      October 12, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Hi JoAnne, this is a quick reply because I’m squeezed for time. I completely understand where you are coming from! My husband was an addict for 15 years before I found out and still wasn’t “sober” for 7 years after that…so yes, it’s a hard and awful road.

      Have you read Barbara Steffan’s book? I like that one. Also, Dr. Rob Weiss is very good. Look for his videos on youtube. Sometimes, he seems like an apologist for sex addicts but actually he truly has a heart for the partners and understands our anger!

      More soon…. 🙂

  • Reply
    JoAnne
    October 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you. I love your website — beautiful design and so easy to navigate. I love your very balanced approach and sensitivity. I love your commitment to share your story to help others. Your intelligence and gift for writing shine through! My husband and I have found Dr. Weiss’ website and have been reading some and watching some of his videos. I plan to purchase Barbara Steffan’s book. It helps to know you recommend it. My husband and I are also reading each of your articles together and stopping and discussing various points you make. Do you plan to write about the part of your story when you started to heal, trust, and feel joy/happiness again? I long to hear this part of your story. Hugs to you and all of the other partners that have written in and are suffering.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      October 12, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Thank you so much, JoAnne! I am so glad you find the website useful (as well as Dr. Weiss’s website and Dr. Steffan’s work). Yes, I am writing a manuscript that I’ll eventually have available for cheap on-line. Meanwhile, when I can I write another blog! 🙂

  • Reply
    Iris
    October 12, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Hi everyone on here.

    I posted a few weeks back after discovering what you have all discovered….husband is a sex addict. I just wondered where everyone is based? USA, uk????? I’m in london. If anyone is near London and would like to meet up please let me know. I was meant to start a partners group last week but they have delayed it as not enough people! I would really love to have a chat / meet up with someone who knows exactly what I’m going through (and I know there thusounds of women and men going through this). Anyway, if any of you are near and fancy a coffee and a chat please please let me know. Ps I’m coming up to 7 weeks post discovery. Thanks. Ps To the Wife / author of this website…I really hope you don’t mind me posting this here!

    • Reply
      The Wife
      October 12, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      I think it’s great you are posting this here! And wow, you are certainly taking a lot of positive action, especially for someone only 7 weeks post-discovery! I think I was still too upset to string words together at that point! 🙂

    • Reply
      S
      October 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Whereabouts in London are you? I am 3 weeks post discovery, I’m in SW London/Surrey and I think I really need some support from other partners/spouses. I talk to close family and a couple of friends but it is difficult for them to really “get it”.

      • Reply
        S
        October 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

        PS. I work in London (near Waterloo) so there is always the option of a meetup after work one day if I can get a babysitter.

      • Reply
        Iris
        October 22, 2017 at 7:45 am

        Hi S.

        I am in west London. I’m sure you must be feeling exactly the same as me and all the other partners on here. I think about the whole situation all the time. I’m not sure the best way to exchange emails, numbers without making it public!? TO THE AUTHOR ‘The wife’ have you any suggestions? Is there anyway you can forward my email to S? Would love to meet up. I am the same as you. I can talk to family and close friends but would be great to meet someone who fully understands. Hopefully we can organise a meet up. Big hugs x

        • Reply
          S
          October 22, 2017 at 4:42 pm

          That would be amazing. Fingers crossed ‘The Wife’ can arrange for us to contact each other privately. And if there are any others local to London too, the more peer support the merrier x

          • C
            December 8, 2017 at 6:48 am

            Hi there. I am really struggling and wondered if a London/Surrey “meet-up” had been arranged. I have kept quiet for so long but I could really do with some support from women who are going through what I am going through.

          • The Wife
            December 8, 2017 at 12:27 pm

            Hi C,

            I’m not aware of a London/Surrey meet up specifically from those who visit this website. However, you can sometimes find COSA style meet ups just by doing a search on it, or on SA-Anon. Sadly, the co-addict model is the dominant one right now but the people who attend these meetings can be invaluable! 🙂

        • Reply
          The Wife
          October 22, 2017 at 5:41 pm

          I can do that, Iris….don’t worry. 🙂

          • The Wife
            October 22, 2017 at 5:45 pm

            Let me know if you guys got my email and could connect. 🙂

  • Reply
    Another wife
    October 13, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I can’t believe I have found this. I could have written that myself. Have felt so alone. Thank you.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      October 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      “Another wife”, you are most welcome… 🙂

  • Reply
    Katherine
    October 20, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    I found out sbout my husband’s sex addiction over 7 years ago after 7 years of marriage. I left him immediately, even moved to another city where my grown children live, however, we have continued an on and off relationship. I have discovered a ‘crazy’ person inside of myself that erupts into rage and sinks to depths of despair. Your article is the first thing I’ve read in the hundreds of pages I’ve gleaned that presents a perspective that may offer me an avenue toward relief. I hope to read more of your view.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      October 21, 2017 at 11:41 am

      I am so sorry that you find ourself in the same situation as so many who have been on this website. I know exactly the kind of “crazy” you mean and I can promise you that you aren’t crazy. You’re perfectly normal but you were put in a crazy situation. I really feel for you.

  • Reply
    S
    October 21, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you so much for this website. I am 3 weeks into the mess following D-Day, yours was the first website I came to when I was looking for something to help me make sense of all this. I have gradually uncovered my husband’s lies over this period, he says he has told me everything now but obviously I can’t trust this to be true. I just feel so utterly lost, I can’t say what the future holds – for us, for our daughter (1.5 years old). Everything feels like it has shattered. I guess I am writing this as I feel like I need to connect with more people that have been through this and understand what it is like. I haven’t yet made it to a COSA meeting, I would like to but am a bit worried about the co-addict angle. Are there any good online groups / forums you would suggest?

    • Reply
      The Wife
      October 21, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Hi and so sorry you find yourself here. As you’ll know from my blogs on the subject I don’t go for the co-addict model. I think that for many of us it is not only incorrect but damaging. However, there are some people who probably are co-addicts and for them it is important to see what they are doing. Also, the COSA people are incredibly nice and you can usually find a meeting. So, even if you don’t go for the co-addict angle (and I do not!) it is worth considering going to a meeting or two and seeing if it helps. I think it may, at least for a little while.

      Meanwhile, yes, you can find a little support on-line! You can go to https://bloomforwomen.com and have a look around there. Another excellent resource is POSARC.com. Let me know how you find these resources and come back and talk to me and others who comment on here anytime. 🙂

  • Reply
    Nina
    October 24, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    I am so glad I came across your Blog! I can relate to this so much. I recently discovered pornography on my husband’s cell phone and also that he had been seeking encounters with prostitutes and hookers. After talking with him about all of this he finally admitted to cheating on me with Prostitutes and being addicted to pornography. All of this has come a huge Shock! You see we have been married for 14.5 years and have 2 children and a dog. We live in a nice home and both are college educated. I keep asking myself how did this happen?
    When did it start and how did I not see the red flags? Currently, we are separated and he is starting Therapy with a Psychologist who specializes in Sexual Addiction. Plus, he is renewing his heart to God. What is so crazy is that he pretty much lived 2 lives: his sexual fantasy life and our family life. I am so very hurt and devastated, but I still Love him. I feel like as his wife I should at least try to get him help. He seems to want to change and get better. He does have lots of Shame and Guilt. I don’t know that things will ever be the same between us? I am still trying to understand Sexual Addiction,but I do feel he has some type of emotional isolation problem too. It’s only been 2 weeks and I am starting to feel a little better and more in control. I do feel like even though he has his own apartment he still wants to be around the kids & I. It’s really hard to set boundaries that protect me emotionally. How did you set healthy boundaries? Does treatment work is there Hope?

    • Reply
      The Wife
      October 24, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Hi! I was sorry to hear that you had that same awful D-day discovery that the rest of us had. I have to say you sound a lot like I was — I’d been married 15 years and had 2 children and would have staked my life on my husband’s fidelity. Yes, they seem to live 2 lives. They compartmentalise their addiction, feel great shame, but carry on. I don’t think you would have seen any “red flags” because you wouldn’t have been looking for them (why should you have? You trusted him!) and because he’d have hidden them anyway.

      If you read through the blog you’ll find lots of stuff about therapy and lack thereof. As for boundaries…well. That is a problem for all of us. How can you be both married to someone and have great walls and boundaries? Well, you’ve separated, however temporarily or permanently I don’t know. Depending on what happens going forward you’ll know a lot more about what you want. Right now, it is very early. Have you read Barbara Steffan’s book for partners? Have a look if you haven’t. And poke around the website, ask questions. Sometimes other women come on and answer questions or share their lives just within the comments section.

      Hugs to you!

  • Reply
    Stay strong
    October 28, 2017 at 2:46 am

    Wow! What a great read. Makes me feel like I’m not alone. Thank you. It has been 8 days since finding out about my husbands addiction and this gives me hope!

    • Reply
      The Wife
      October 28, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Eight days…I really feel for you. You are at the worst of the worst time. It will get better, although slowly. Hugs to you..

  • Reply
    A man
    November 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    All of you must hate men and frankly I don’t know what’s wrong with us. What is surprising to me is that how every wife is the same in this situation. How every husband is living two lives. I have yet to come across a couple in this situation that are different from this sickening stereo type of sex addict and clueless wife.

    Why am I here? Well I too am like your disgusting husbands. The only difference is maybe I come from a very sheltered family environment so have grown up seeing sex as something evil.

    The thing is there is definitely something powerful in sex. If done the right way it freaking brings a human into the world. So there’s definitely some spiritual or other power connected to it.

    Back to the point I want sex, I want it from literally every woman I see. I don’t actually want it, but that’s the thought that pops into my head, “oh what about her”. I don’t have a history of sexual trauma or anything of that sort. But like every single human male alive right now, I have watched porn. A lot of it.

    I had just watched a little porn and had no idea I would ever be in a hotel room with two prostitutes on a working day at some later point in my life.

    When I was 21 I started dating. By the way I’m Muslim so that’s a big no no. This to me was the turning point I believe. When you treat something in that way, like it cannot be talked about. It doesn’t make me or any other addict think well I should stop now. It blends into the background of our sexual desire. That is one of the reasons sex with your wife becomes less interesting to addicts, the whole background is wrong. At least that’s what I think. Anyway if you’re still reading I started dating a girl and thought I was the luckiest person on earth. For 3 years I was in heaven then, her parents found a guy for her who was much better off financially and that was that. We can still be friends. Sure. I should mention for 3 years I never had sexual intercourse with her, just dry humping and the sort.

    Anyway I was at rock bottom. First love, first breakup I’m sure you girls can relate to this probably the only thing you can relate to. Please remember for 3 years my relationship was a secret, so I was sad alone. Crying in the car etc. As I said earlier when you hide and sex (hide from society and seek sexual gratification) it becomes a part of your sexual desire. For 3 years I used to hide and sex with my girlfriend. So yea I was done for.

    I wanted to get back at her. Anyone, anyhow, I guess you can see where I’m going with this. So I installed dating apps on my phone. Girls did not respond, maybe I’m not a looker whatever. Then there were some girls on these apps that just straight up had put up their number online with description like “call me if you want to know me”. Well I called and I was shocked. I felt weird inside, I had just spoken to a prostitute. Quick delete the call log restart your phone and go to your mother you sick man. Well that was exciting, remember how you deleted the call log? That was smart, you’re smart and that’s so weird she will have sex with you just like that. She will have sex with you just like that. That girl in the app will have sex with you. Just like that.

    So I went to her and oh my god what a sight, she must have been at least 40 and if she’s in this business she has had so many genitals in her mouth. She maybe needed just a minute of makeup to play a starring role in a conjuring movie. Hideous absolutely hideous. You know what just go with it. I remember every detail of that 30 minutes. Oh no I don’t last that long, I remember the phone call under her building, I remember looking for parking, I remember the security guard looking at me, I remember her teeth hurting my thing. But guess what this was just the beginning. And like every other addict I had my completely rational justification, I’m not having sex, just blow jobs and the sort. Bravo moron.

    I’m not proud of this, I don’t have a number of how many followed. I used my I don’t want to have sex with you line with every one of them and they loved it. Everything you do is added to the sexual desire and so this was part of it to. Before going to these women I would imagine how they would react when I would tell them I’m not going to have sex with them.

    Pathetic and disgusting.

    Fast forward to 2015, I’m seeing these girls fairly regularly and then I meet another girl. I get those same feelings from back in the day I’m not imagining giving money to her, I’m imagining having breakfast together. So I got engaged to her and we decided to get married in early 2017. This girl, like all of you is smart, beautiful, loving and downright an angel. So do you tell angel what’s wrong with you? No I’ll tell her after we get married we’ll be closer then and she will accept me.

    Ok so I stopped? Happy ever after? Obviously not. We’re both Muslims so our parents decided it’s not good to meet before marriage. So we met in secret and that my friends rekindled some old emotions in me. For this I can give you a number. 7 girls, on 5 separate occasions. You know what my genius mind had come up with? This is the last, let’s go out with a bang. As I’m typing this I’m considering it again.

    So anyway since the day we have been living together I have thankfully not touched another woman. I never thought myself as a cheater and I will never forget what I did while we were engaged. But I want it to be a thing in the past. Something I vaguely remember like a bully stealing your lunch at school. A bad distant memory.

    But it’s not a memory, it’s my every morning. And my wife is super religious, she will never ever trust me again. I’m trying so hard to fight it. I have sex almost daily with my wife and it’s awesome. I’ve never had sex before but my past sexual experiences have ruined these pure feelings I should be enjoying with my wife.

    Since our marriage I have gone to the hotel of 3 different girls. (sidenote: in my country these girls get a lot of customers contacting them through WhatsApp so customers will ask them to send pictures, tell them they’ll be there in 15 minutes and never show up). So I have gone to their hotels, told them I’m there and prayed to God that they think I’m just fooling around and block me. One did, one I requested to block me and one I actually met. Went into her room, thank god she was dressed in the most stereotypical hooker get up because what that did was remind me of my first ever encounter so I apologised to her for wasting her time and left. This was the last girl a month ago.

    I need help.

    Why am I here? Not just for some guidance but also to show you how it eats you from the inside. I am the same boy that cried in the car because a girl left me and I’m the same boy that once ejaculated on the chest of two girls. So your sex addict husbands have some decency in them. But it’s behind a lot of I don’t know what to call it. It’s not sex, it’s something entirely different. How do I tell my wife? She was so angry at me for being a bad Muslim when I told her I had a girlfriend.

    At this point I don’t even want to go to the girls I enjoyed texting them. I was under her building she told me to come up I said I’m not sure send me your picture, she blocked me and I was rock hard. Why? I love my wife, I don’t want to go to these girls, I don’t want to lie. I’m not even that rich, I can’t even waste a lot of money. What do I do? Every time I’m alone I think about it. I goddamn have a girls number memorised.

    But hey I’m still sort of safe for the following reasons. God and religion. I don’t care if you’re an atheist or whatever, you need some hope, god is just a hope that there is something out there and you need all the hope you can get. No passwords. When I told my wife about my ex girlfriend she was really disappointed in me (wait till I blurt out that massage girls number in my sleep and she saves it, yes this is a fear I sleep with). So what I did was cleaned my filthy online life and gave her the password to everything I thought it would keep me away from the whores and to a certain extent it does. If there was a way for her to have access to my WhatsApp all the time I would be a happy man. Ok so religion, no passwords and staying busy.

    So I don’t know if this helped anyone but I feel good that this out there. I hope my wife finds it and accepts me.

    As for you poor girls, your husbands are morons like me, they don’t know why they put their things where they put them. They really don’t. They’re not selfish people, accept them and lock them up in a cage for a month.

    I’m not a bad person I’ve always wanted to have sex with slutty women since I was a kid I think. Every movie introduces the female character starting from her heels up and ends on her chest sometimes they don’t even show the face. Every successful man in the media has women all over him. I don’t know where it started but it’s deep inside me. I love my wife. But I’m damaged goods I believed and when I read some husband here started at 60 I thought oh great that’s me. I’ll hold out for so long and ruin everything at the end.

    I have been reading many such articles to try and control myself better. This was one of the best.

    Thank you for reading and hopefully I can love my wife without having a clause

    • Reply
      The Wife
      November 8, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Hi “A Man”…thanks for dropping by and for being so honest about your situation. 🙂 You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? That you can’t beat this addiction without some help. You have to really want to do so and you have to work at it every day, sometimes every hour of the day in the beginning. The best advice I can give you is try a 12-step program. And when I say “try”, I mean dive into it 100%, go to every meeting you can for SA and then as many “open” meetings as you can for other addiction (like narcotics or alcoholism). Get a sponsor. Don’t think you can just attend meetings for the fellowship — it won’t be enough. Get a sponsor and work the steps and transform yourself into the man you were always meant to be, and that you can be.

      You don’t have to give into this addiction or have such despair, anxiety and unhappiness. You can recover. I really mean it when I say that my husband is the best husband in the world — now. He was deep into his addiction and felt hopeless many times. But there is hope and there is sobriety and recovery. I’ve seen it right before my eyes. I really want it for you.

      • Reply
        A man
        November 9, 2017 at 6:31 am

        No thank you really

        I’ll do whatever I have to

  • Reply
    Tameeka's Man
    November 15, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I have recently sought treatment for sex addiction via therapy and a 12 step program. Ultimately, while I would love to save my marriage (she’s mentioned divorce), I have to do this for me for it to be effective. My issue currently is that she doesn’t think sex addiction is real. I fear that everything I am doing will be seen as an act to further my lies of the past as opposed to it being a solution. As I mentioned, I need to do this for me… but I wish there was some way for her to understand what is going through my mind as I begin this journey to recovery. Can you offer any advice/help?

    • Reply
      The Wife
      November 16, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Well, I completely understand where you are coming from as I have had many people incorrectly tell me that sex addiction isn’t real. There is a lot on my blog about it, in fact. Could you convince her to look at the blog? Or to watch the youtube videos on the subject by Dr. Rob Weiss, for example, who has a couple of very good videos that talk about this very issue.

      I am so happy you are getting the help you need. Sex addiction really is an addiction and it ruins lives. However, it can be overcome. I’ve seen it be overcome in my own husband’s life. And I am so glad I stuck it out. It wasn’t easy. I was often angry or hurt or confused or just exhausted, so be easy on your wife. I was a little ball of fury for quite some time. She may be, too. All the best to you!

  • Reply
    Marie
    November 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I am 2 years and 5 months past D-day. For the most part I am stable as my husband stopped all acting out/porn from D-day because he thought he had AIDS from a sex worker. He did not but it scared him and we have come far. My biggest challenge now is figuring out how to acknowledge our 39 year anniversary since he has not really been faithful since 1982 or so. I do feel like my marriage to him is a lie and a sham. Our adult kids know nothing. I love him but it is not the same as it was before discovery. How does anyone pretend to celebrate all these years together knowing that one’s spouse paid for sex and jerked off to porn for years and years while pretending to be Mr. Moral Guy and Mr. Perfect? I’ll accept any and all suggestions because as of now, I made him take off his wedding band because I did not want it touching me after he fondled whores with it on. I got a whole new wedding band set with diamonds that I purchased so I did not have to wear the ones he bought for me. He feels crushed because he wanted to “rebuild” and the rings we had were purchased by him and meant something “special”. Well not for me. Not anymore. Everything you wrote above makes sense but my body will not allow me to even acknowledge my marriage anniversary anymore. It just shuts down and I want to puke. Perhaps EMDR?

    • Reply
      The Wife
      November 17, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Oh wow, Marie, this is awful. I’ve been married for 26 years so I know what a long-term marriage means, or can mean. I know what it is like to live with history that is checkered with lies. I know what it is like to know that the man I trusted with everything was with other women. I even know what it is like to refuse to wear a ring (in fact, I lost my engagement ring, the ring I loved and which meant so much to me). I don’t know where it is…it just seemed to have disappeared along with so many other things I cherished. But here is where we are different: I understand that my husband was (is) an addict. So, even though he is no longer acting out, he is an addict. Though he had sex with hundreds of women during our marriage, and did all the awful things that your husband did, he did it because he is an addict. Not because he hates me, not because he wished I were younger, prettier or more sexy, but because he is to sex what an alcoholic is to alcohol. Cheating is a major issue that goes straight to the heart of a marriage and I am not trivializing it. However, I see it in a different context. My husband didn’t love any of these women. Half the time I doubt he was all that attracted to them. But he was attracted to the whole weird world of it all. Have you looked at Dr. Rob Weiss’s videos on Youtube about sex addiction? I’d take a look. There was nothing personal in your husband’s awful behavior. He’d have done it anyway…he couldn’t stop himself.

      I don’t think it will ever be the way it was before you found out. And yes, you’ve been totally, completely traumatised. You have every ounce of my sympathy and compassion. I feel terrible for you. You don’t have to do anything — you don’t have to “move on” or forgive him or work on the marriage or anything. It is your choice (though even there it isn’t your choice because your choice isn’t among the options anymore, is it? the choice to have had a faithful non-addict of a husband, that is!). However, you say you love him. So, you do. That’s no crime. He wants to be a different man than he’s been. He wants to be sober. How long has be been sober? Is he going to 12-steps? What is he doing with his recovery? Because if he isn’t working at it like a dog he’s not going to maintain it, in all likelihood, and then you will be further traumatised.

      I’ve not tried EMDR. I’ve heard good things about it from my husband who did do it, however. Can you “get over” all this. Well, yes. If by “get over” you feel happy again in your life and in your marriage. It takes an awful lot of time. I wasn’t anywhere near where I am now at 2 years 5 months. I hate to say it, but it takes longer and a lot depends on what you really want and, also, whether he is working on his recovery and sobriety all the darn time. Because if he isn’t, you guys won’t move forward.

      Hugs to you…I am so glad you reached out. See if any of my blogs help…buy Barbara Steffans book, perhaps?

    • Reply
      Carol
      January 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      It will be my 39th anniversary this year. Mine because I was the only faithful one. I insisted the SA take his ring off and U removed mine for awhile. Then I realized I was still faithfully married and put them back on. He asked if he could wear his. I asked Why? A ring means nothing to him other than a reminder of how he cheats his wife. So he does not wear one. Means nothing to him or me. Its been 2 years 9 months. He saw a therapist 1 hrs weekly for almost 2 yrs along with 2 mtgs a week. We also saw a couples therapist twice a month for a year. It took 18 months of hell till finally there was a Disclosure. By that time I preety much had most events thrown in my face causing great trauma with each discovery. Everytime I would ask when disclosure would be I was told I was not ready. Well finally I said I was leaving as I could aee there was never going to be one. At disclosure nothing new was revealed . she charged huge amounts of money for it and put us both through hell waiting all those months. So all therapy stopped for me. What is the point. It did more harm for me. I have to see he has changed. He appears to be doing what he needs to But he is such a good liar how do I realky know. He has blown up most tools that were for trust building. Example: daily check in. Each night he would hold my hands and tell me of his day. Thursday after he arrived hom from a mtg he sat abd told me of his day again Fri. Again Sat. Then Sunday afternoon an email came rhat was addressed to his SA group. Gentlemen and Lady. I frecked!. Lady. Back story. In the beginning His SA mtg had a ladies name on the list. But according to him she had never been at a mtg. I had said I was not ok with men and women going to the same mtg. I mean really putting male and females with no boundries come on. So he agreed if there was ever a women he would tell me. Back to check in: He sat 3 nights in a row and Never mentioned a Women had been at the Thursday night mtg. That was in June. I am further back then Sq one. NOT trusting. As you say feelings are not the same. I have read not to wtirh hold sex but I pray to get through it each time and pray there will be some feeling other than wanting to vomit. This is the hardest part right now. Any suggestions?

  • Reply
    Ashamed
    November 23, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Thank you for all of your words, it is a relief to know I am not alone. It is just devastating to hear how many women are struggling with addicted partners.
    I have 10 years of living with a compulsive liar and porn addicted man. NOTHING has ever changed!!!!!! It doesn’t matter how many times he is caught out lying, he never changes.!!!! He can lie to my face, say everything he thinks he should and just continues. He only thinks about him and it is only about what he wants.
    The addiction has resulted in someone who is not interested in anything apart from the choices he makes. There is nothing from him, just his golf, his dinners with friends and his business trips. He does nothing else, and has no interest in anything else!!!! I am irrelevant (I could be anyone) and I have been the cover for his addiction. On one occasion, having said to him that I couldn’t take anymore and that we had to end everything, he went straight to the bathroom and masturbated. He said ‘well you said it was over and I wanted to do it’. How can you compete with that???? He cannot even sit next to me and have a conversation, without having to get up and masturbate in the toilet to porn, and then sit down without an ounce of remorse. Then when I went in the bathroom and found some of the semen on the bathroom floor, he still continued to lie and say he didn’t know what it was!!!!
    All we have is a continuous cycle of him being caught out, him saying how he will change and talk about his problems and get help (he never does or says anything), and then carries on, until I catch him out again!!!!!

    I have tried everything!!!!!!!! I have been diagnosed with trauma and been offered anti depressants. I feel empty both mentally and physically. I feel uncomfortable in a any social settings, like I am looking from the outside in at everyone else. If we are out, he continues to sit there imagining my friends having sex and what their breasts and everything else looks like. I now cannot sit in front of them, I feel so ashamed by his behaviour, so I am retreating from them. I feel trapped and isolated.
    My son is in the middle of his exams and I do not want to disrupt this, but I am actively preparing to leave and put things in place once my son has gone to university. I am now applying for full-time jobs to be able to get some money behind me. Unfortunately there are practical areas of life that I do not see discussed in any articles. People just say run, but you can’t do that if you have a child and very little money.
    I know that although I have allowed this man to strip away my self-worth, self esteem, trust and everything I have ever held dear, I AM WORTH MORE!!!!!
    I am living in the same house, but in my own room, and I have clear boundaries. I have worked through trauma, betrayal literature and this has helped a lot. To be honest I do not want anything from him, I just want to be left alone now. The problem is that he still wants to carry on and pretend that everything is fine. Unfortunately I cannot do that anymore. I cannot pretend, live his lie, and be a cover for him to sit in front of my friends. I feel deeply ashamed about his behaviour, and I do not want to put my friends in that situation. Whereas he is just fine to continue the pretence as he feels no remorse, no shame, and no empathy for others.
    I have to accept that I have allowed this to happen, I saw a lot of signs at the beginning, but I chose to believe his lies and keep starting again. I have to live with the decisions I made. I am a shadow of who I was, and it will be a long time (if ever) that I recover from this mans choices.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      November 23, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      What an unbearable situation for you. I am so sorry. But you shouldn’t be ashamed, Ashamed. You’ve done nothing wrong. I am so sorry that a man you loved and on whom you hung every hope is apparently allowing himself to succumb to an addiction that is only going to get worse and destroy his life. It’s a disaster for him. It’s a temporary disaster for you. I hope you can find a better life — if you are in your own room now, that’s great. Keep those boundaries firm. Ready yourself for an exit, even if you choose not to take that exit. I wish I had something more encouraging to say!

  • Reply
    C
    December 8, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Hi there. I am really struggling and wondered if a London/Surrey “meet-up” had been arranged.

  • Reply
    Zamora
    December 10, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    hello my husband cant stop looking at porn he has cheated on me 4 times in our 9 year relationship i need help knowing what to say to him and help him i just have all of this anger and i dont want to take it out on him i want to help and support him though this. i love him so much and he loves me and he doesnt want to do any of this anymore. please help me know what to say to him while he is going though this.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      December 10, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      Hi and thank you for stopping by the website. I honestly think the only way that a sex addict gets better is by committing themselves to a recovery program. I just don’t think a true addict can do it on his own. If you have any 12-step programs in your area, I’d encourage your husband to look into attending them as often as he can. He could go to an SA group (for sex addicts) as well as “open” days available at AA groups (alcoholics anonymous). Not only would be need to attend these fellowships but he should look for a sponsor and begin “working the steps”. Going to the meetings, in themselves, will yield little.

      I am sure your husband and you love each other — it is clear through your message — but getting through this takes hard work. If he doesn’t put in the work, he won’t be able to stop. And he needs to stop, for his own sake as well as yours.

      I wish you the very best. I hope you find some helpful information on the website. 🙂

  • Reply
    P
    December 19, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Hi, I’m in London too and if a meet up has been arranged I’d be interested in getting involved. For me discovery has been a long drawn out process with bits of information coming to light. At first he said he was addicted to porn and then he disclosed two sexual encounters with real women. He then told me about an 18 month emotional affair with a woman at his work and now it transpires that one of the sexual encounters he’d told me about was actually a 6 month affair just after I’d had our beautiful second child. I’m destroyed by all of this. I love him so much and I can see his pain. He says he loves me. He’s in the 12 step program, on meds for anxiety, getting therapy and he genuinely seems to want to get better. I’m seeing two therapists and have been to a couple of 12 step meetings for partners but I’m still in bits and feel like I always will be. I think we could all use as much support as we can find. Love to all xxx

    • Reply
      The Wife
      December 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      Hi…I can imagine how devastated you are. It’s great he’s involved in 12-step…does he have a sponsor? He really needs to get through the steps (more than once, in fact) to achieve the sobriety that he and you both want.

      I am so sorry about your pain. It is palpable in your note.

  • Reply
    Marie
    December 20, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Marie again. My husband does not go to any 12 step meetings and would not consider it. He did individual counseling and couples with me. He read George Collins book about overcoming sex addiction and he too a couple of Mindfulness classes including one specifically for addictions. He has been “sober” since disclosure and is properly and consistently apologetic and attentive. I struggle to accept all of his actions as you describe (Nov 16th post of mine) because I just struggle. When I think about our upcoming wedding anniversary I want to throw up. He wants me to see all the good in the past 39 years and not the bad however his secrets and lies over our marriage are difficult to understand. He has large compartments, I know that. He says he has not had any urges since early after Disclosure and he does tell me when things trigger him and his brain wants him to open a computer. He says even if he went to a massage parlor he would feel personal pain when he touched the door handle and he knows that I would feel worse pain if he opened it. I wish I could believe him. I want to somehow acknowledge something but I don’t know what. When I think about that date I hope he dies. Not a nice thing, right? I just went for my annual Medicare checkup and now I have a heart murmur. I’ve always been healthy and this time my doctor asked if I’ve been under much stress. Ummm, yes, and I’m dealing with it but now I’ve got a heart issue because of my stupid spouse. What have you done to acknowledge years together?

    • Reply
      The Wife
      December 20, 2017 at 8:42 am

      Hi Marie, It sounds like an all-out nightmare. You’re doing the best you can. I think the fact that he won’t go to 12-step is very telling. I don’t know how far/deep he’ll go in his recovery if he doesn’t get some humility on this matter. 12-step sounds ridiculous, I know, but it is a program with a decent record of recovery.

      What do I do to acknowledge years together? I don’t really. I just look forward. Having said that, there is a very important shared history and I do acknowledge that. I know my husband has turned himself inside out to beat the addiction. If I didn’t think he had and was willing to continue to do so, I’d be unable to cope, I think.

    • Reply
      P
      December 20, 2017 at 10:17 am

      @Marie. I think you need to put yourself first in this anniversary situation. Would it be possible to tell him that you are struggling with it and that you don’t want to make a fuss? You need to let the day pass in a calm way. If on the day you feel you are able to celebrate some of the happy times you guys could do that by going for a walk, to lunch or seeing a movie together. If not you just might need some downtime. Just a suggestion, I feel the same way about anniversaries now and I found this approach helpful for our 15 years in September this year. Because the pressure was off I was actually able to enjoy some parts of the day. I still cried at other parts though, but that’s okay I think. After all you’d have to be a robot not to feel the pain on days like that.

      Hope it goes okay. Sending love your way xx

      • Reply
        Marie
        December 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm

        Thank you for your responses to my post. Yesterday my husband and I talked during a walk. I told him how I was triggered Monday morning and how it was intensified after my doctor visit. He is really very attentive and responsive and apologetic. He understands how difficult this is for me and if I am to read and believe the information on this blog, I should believe him when he says he loves me and loved me and that he was suffering in a terrible mental health crisis during his acting out years. He swears he will never hurt me again and he understands that our anniversary is not a day that I look at fondly even though he does. He is very remorseful about his past including how he never told me the truth, ever and how he hid everything from everyone and how he always felt like a miserable failure despite being a highly educated and well respected professional. His interpretation of our relationship was also negative despite knowing that it was all in his head. He does not have those demons anymore. He recognizes the voices in his head and is able to banish those thoughts. He says it wasn’t all bad and it wasn’t always bad and really hopes that someday I can honor or anniversary with those thoughts in mind. It’s like the post on this blog that explains that discovery changes everything but all those experiences prior to discovery really happened and some of them were good. I just struggle with finding the good at times. Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

        • Reply
          The Wife
          December 21, 2017 at 5:10 pm

          What a nice walk that was, Marie. He does sound like he is recovering and serious and wants to renew his life with you. I remember well similar walks and talks with my own husband.

          My husband has been sober for over 3 years. I only feel pain if I think about what he did too long. It’s a delicate balance to hold what happened as a real, verifiable history and yet forgive it at the same time. But it can be done. I don’t think I’m much different to any other wife and I somehow manage to love him, forgive him, but not forget the history either.

          I really want the very, very best for you and for your husband. He’s doing well, it seems! So glad!

  • Reply
    P
    December 20, 2017 at 9:20 am

    He was going solely to SAA meetings and he had a sponsor and was getting ready to do his first step. Based on the full nature of his addiction issues, with the emotional affair and the way he uses “romance” as well as sex to bring a dopamine hit into his brain, the sponsor suggested he also try some SLAA meetings and find a sponsor there. He’s now going to a mix of both. He needs a new sponsor. I’ve expressed the importance and he knows it too.

    It’s all total madness! He’s sober right now and it’s the longest time he has been for over 20 years. We’ve talked and talked and talked. He knows that he has no real emotional connection to any of these women but that’s actually the part which hurts the most that in his fantasy addict land he convinces himself that he does. The women he gets fixated with are all total screw ups themselves and part of me feels sorry for them. Another part of me thinks – how can you choose that over a strong, intelligent, beautiful woman like me? But I know he’s not really choosing anything, he’s being driven by the addiction and it isn’t about me. It’s not always easy to keep that logical perspective though!

    He says the love he has for me is different and that it’s real and solid. I’ve told him that I’ll stay as long as I think there is a chance and that means staying sober and working the program. I can’t live with the madness that occurs when he’s acting out and if he starts again, no matter how much I love him, I’ll have to remove myself from the equation for my own sanity!

    I have a big family and lots of friends but I haven’t spoken to them about this. Partly because I’m protecting him, partly because I’m humiliated and partly because people don’t understand sex addiction. That’s why I think a meet up would be so valuable – the partners on here are all going through this, we understand and can help support each other. Please keep me posted if we can make that happen. I’m willing to help out with logistics and organisation too.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      December 21, 2017 at 7:00 am

      Hi P,

      I hear you. I know exactly you’re talking about.

      We can set up a meeting of some sort, of course we can this happen. Is it okay for me to email you at the address I can see through the admin panel of this website but that I believe is hidden to the public?

      Sorry for my short reply…I’ve been down with the worst cold I’ve ever had, one that has lasted 2 weeks, too! 🙂

      • Reply
        P
        December 21, 2017 at 8:49 am

        Of course it’s okay to email me.

        Hope you’re feeling better. Xxx

    • Reply
      Baldoria
      December 27, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      Hi P:
      Sounds just like my husband. Wow, almost the same. I found out about his “Secret” life about 4 months ago. Numerous affairs, fake intimacy, fantasy world with them etc. Also married 20 years. He travelled for work so was able to easily hide all of it as the women lived all over the world in other Countries. I was knocked down at the knees to say the least and struggle every single day. I really had no idea at all. He was charming, fun, kind and affectionate. Stupidly, Read several emails I probably should not have. Nicknames, sex talk etc.

      He also suffers from an avoidance intimacy disorder that had him running anytime anything got real. Was your husband also diagnosed with this? Anyways, this contributed to a porn addiction after he retired as he wasn’t traveling and he could hardly have sex with me as it is the ultimate intimacy (having sex with your wife). Surprise surprise he meets another women, while we were on vacation, who I also know, who had even friended me on Facebook, great for her right, she could creep me anytime she wanted and I was completely unaware, and guess what, they fall into a “fake” friendship which then evolves into another physical and emotional affair. They weren’t able to see each other very much as he was no longer traveling so affair basically became “porn” based. She loved to send him extremely graphic notes and videos. Yes, I saw them.

      He is really working on his recover, Counseling, group and SLAA meetings but boy do I wish there was something for us. Just so unreal all of it. Sometimes I feel as if I am going f’n crazy. Here’s to another glass of gin (kidding)

  • Reply
    Laura
    December 26, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Thank you for this blog. Everything I have read so far clarifies what I am beginning to learn and makes complete sense to me. The description of your husband sounds so much like my husband.
    I discovered 5 months ago that my husband of 25 years has been a sex addict since before we were married. I had no idea at all, none. We have had a good marriage and I do love him. We have four grown children (all great kids) and they all now know as well. He is currently in a 30 day inpatient treatment program and will be getting out in a few days. When I discovered he was still seeing his affair partner, missing his SA meetings and seeing his therapist I decided that I needed to divorce him. When I met him at home on a Wed in mid November to tell him this he threatened to shoot the lawyer, make the news etc (he owns guns which I had, unknown to him, removed from the house) His reaction was somewhat surprising to me because he had told me to give him an ultimatum the previous Sunday and seemed as though he, at least on that day, was fantasizing about a divorce and I think being with this other person. Despite his addiction, I believe this was the first long term affair that he had had and it had been going on for 15 months ( I read his therapy journals and other information. I think I know the whole story finally. It is mind boggling, affairs, one night stands massage parlors, pornography, prostitutes). Interestingly he met this young woman (28 yrs old he is 53) on “Seeking Arrangement”, so I would say that she is a prostitute. But in an account of his problem written for his therapist he said that it turned into something more and they decided to make it permanent, a real relationship or whatever. (BTW She apparently has childhood abuse problems herself). The day he threatened to shoot the lawyer I called the police, he was arrested, and he spent five days in a mental health facility. During that time I got a protective order against him because of things he had said and other previous general threats (I think they were all manipulations. He never threatened to hurt me and he has never physically hurt me, but I do not really know what is/was going on in his mind) He then checked himself into inpatient treatment. I have not spoken to him since the arrest. It is hurting him so bad that I have not spoken to him. I believe that it is hurting him (which makes me feel so bad) but I also think he is a master manipulator and will say or do anything to preserve what he has suddenly awakened to as his real life. This man is a well spoken, attractive, successful professional. He has been a great father a good husband and we have done so very many many things and accomplished so much together. Everything is now viewed through the lens of what I now know, however. (I read what you wrote about this tonight and am thinking about it) I have read the first few of these posts and look forward to reading the rest of them. It is Christmas day. The 3 youngest of my kids and I went out of town for a couple of days. They are going to see their father tomorrow at the treatment facility. I have said I would meet him at his therapist to talk with him if he makes an appointment when he gets out. He is begging for me to give him another chance (in letters). He is promising to commit to and take all of the steps for recovery. 5 months ago he also promised all of this and he did begin to take the steps in a significant way, but yet he continued to see the other person. I want him to recover for our kids, for himself and because I do care about him. He will not be coming to live at our house and he knows that. I wonder what your opinion, “The Wife”, is on what will happen to him/us/our relationship if I divorce him but still support his recovery and still hope for reconciliation? I do not want him to have control over me, my finances and what I do. I want to develop more of my own identity and do activities to help my personal healing. I really do love my husband and want a future with him similar to what you have described as what resulted with you and your husband. I am attractive, warm, and have several interests so my goal is not because I am afraid to be alone or that I could not attract someone else if I chose to, it is more that I feel the commitment to the man I married and that I do love him. I believe I can handle what that entails for me long term if we do reconcile. But at the same time I need a certain independence from him, at least for now, if that makes sense. Will a divorce ruin a chance for reconciliation? How much of my devotion and attention will he need during this “self centered” part of his recovery? Should I worry about that since, as is said by the experts, I have nothing to do with his recovery? That it is up to him.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      December 27, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Hi Laura, I just read this. You’ve done exactly the right thing in getting some distance from your husband immediately. I have no doubt he has all sorts of good qualities, that you really do love him, and that there is another man somewhere underneath many layers of accrued madness. However, right now, he will indeed be the master manipulator you describe. Addicts will do anything, say anything, promise anything, and lie about anything in order to get what they want. It isn’t because they are “bad” people but because they are deeply sick.

      However, they can recover. They can’t recover by behaving as your husband is right now, nor sometimes within a marriage (don’t forget I had to kick my husband out for a long while before he finally reached rock bottom and begin to truly address his addiction). I don’t know what will happen if you legally divorce your husband, whether that will be the end of your relationship or not. I suppose it depends on his recovery and how he feels about divorce (and how you feel!).

      Your husband needs a lot of help during his recovery, but I agree with others that he probably doesn’t need any help from you, at least regarding this recovery. He needs it from other addicts who have recovered, from a strong sponsor at 12-step meetings, from working the steps, performing the daily actions that will keep him sober, and probably from a therapist as well. Your job is to look after you, which may prove incredibly challenging anyway to begin with. I hope that doesn’t upset you — it’s only that you can’t help him right now except by not standing in the way of his recovery (which you are not) and you deserve to make some space for your own recovery from the trauma his addiction has brought you.

      You may or may not stay married to him. It’s impossible to say right now. You do have a life to lead and many chances for happiness. You certainly need to worry about yourself, and not him. I am rooting for your success!!

  • Reply
    Meg
    December 28, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I am really struggling. This article is really what I needed to read. My husband went away to a men’s retreat for sexual addiction back in August. When he came home he confessed many things from the past that I did not know. I felt that was a clean slate for us and that there was hope for us to move on from it. I knew the addiction was still there but I thought that maybe we now had a grasp on it. I knew he might slip up and watch porn again and I think in my mind I thought I could handle that. Because hey that’s better than an actual affair in my eyes. But I found out a week ago that he has had another affair. Now what? How long do I do this? Is he really even trying or is he just saying he’s trying? At what point do you call it quits. If I keep sticking by him every single time won’t he just keep doing it thinking I’ll forgive him every time? I feel so lost. I don’t know if I should give up or stand by him. Sadly, I some how still love him. Could you email me, please. Did your husband finally stop once he confessed all to you or was there still more “acting out?”

    • Reply
      The Wife
      December 29, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Hi Meg,

      The dilemma you are facing is common to man of us with partners who are sex addicts. The recovery process is, indeed, a process and man people (including the addict) wrongly imagines that the very beginning of the process (for example, going to a men’s retreat) is the entire thing. Ongoing, daily vigilance is needed, not only for the first months and years but sometimes for an addict’s entire life. My husband’s recovery took seven YEARS to fully work. He was kind of playing with recovery for at least the first five, I’d say, going to 12-step meetings and engaging a sponsor but not truly committing himself to his SAA program and thoroughly working the steps. My feeling is that a confession or disclosure as you have experienced with your husband is one of many, many aspects of recovery but nothing like what it will take to give up his addiction. I suggest he finds an SAA program, a sponsor and rigorously works the steps. Only then, does he stand a chance (and therefore, only then does your marriage stand a chance). Lastly, can I say how sorry I am that you are going through this. You don’t talk about the pain much, but I know you are experiencing it. I know you are sad and lost and bewildered and hurt. There are so many of us who have felt just that way. I wish you the very best but I would advise you insist your husband get into an SAA program. If he refuses, the likelihood is that he will not beat this thing. Even if he goes, he will have to work hard at it for the success that is, however hard-won, available to him.

      • Reply
        Meg
        December 29, 2017 at 9:02 pm

        @thewife what is the difference in SAA meetings and 12 step programs? Is it not the same thing? Does he need to be going to both? At the convention he went to in August the therapist there did say he may have underlying depression. Which seemed odd to me because my husband is normally a pretty happy person, but I’m not a doctor. So he has an appointment to see a therapist and get on some mess to help with that. So we are hopeful that is one step in the right direction. Also, he has agreed to go to the SAA meetings. Although he was not very happy about it. I asked him if he was going to resent me for making him go or if he thought I was being unfair. His response- “considering everything I have put you through, I don’t think anything you ask me to do is unfair.” My husband who clams up in moments like this finally said something right! I just want him to get better for him. Sometimes I think In his own mind he thinks it might be easier if he wasn’t with me dealing with the Shame and guilt. Because let’s be honest if you are a single male you can do all of these things and no one would really care. But I have told him that that road is a lonely road. Because eventually he will want a partner again and he will find himself in this exact same spot but maybe even worse next time. Some days like today, I feel strong, other days I just want to throw in the towel. How do you know your husband is finally free from it? How can you tell? Even now does he still have to go to meetings for it?

        • Reply
          The Wife
          December 30, 2017 at 7:50 am

          Hi Meg,

          SAA is a 12-step program, yes! I’m glad your husband is going. He will need to muster up some major enthusiasm for the program, however. I hope he does.

          One can never tell for certain if a person has “acted out” sexually, but you do notice a lot of difference in an addict who has been sober a long time (as in, a year or two or three), so I think my husband is okay. He’ll always be an addict and will always attend 12-step (SAA) and take the daily actions that keep him sober, however.

          Guilt and shame are “triggers” for addicts but he’d have guilt and shame even without you. Accept no responsibility for how he feels, one way or other. A lot of the men in 12-step sex addiction programs have no partner at all. He’s lucky. 🙂

  • Reply
    Allie
    December 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    This article helped me a lot. So much.

  • Reply
    Shattered
    January 1, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    I am 6 days in from discovery. My step-daughters told me about pictures, conversations with women online, toys, etc. they knew about. I was absolutely blindsided. When I confronted my husband, he admitted to pornoagraphy, meeting women online & cheating with multiple women. My world crumbled around me. I thought he was my best friend and have always felt like the lucky one. A week ago we were preparing for a family trip, affectionate, and I felt safe & secure. I am absolutely heart broken, humiliated, confused and feel as though I am losing my mind. I was so guarded when I met him, took everything very slowly, thought I really knew him before we married (4 years) and did everything the cautious way. I feel like a complete and utter fool. I immediately took STD test. Right now HIV & syphallis are negative, still waiting for the rest. I have been advised to take those again in 6 months – absolutely degrading. He’s been sober from alcohol for 12 years & has replaced his addiction with sex or maybe the sex was first, who knows. He’s been to several SA meeting, gotten a sponser and he is waiting to see about a treatment recommendation after he took an assessment. I understand that drug/alcohol addiction is a disease, but am really struggling with accepting sex addiction. He says that this is his bottom, he surrenders and is willing to do whatever it takes to get sober. Does treatment help? How do I believe him? Why should I put my life on hold? I feel like that would be foolish and weak. What kind of life is this? Will I always live in fear? I know you don’t have the answers. I am desperate & scared. I am strong women. I have a career, run 3 marathons a year and am a terrific mother. I still cannot believe this happening. Please, please send any suggestions and guidance. I have never been in more pain.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      January 3, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      Dear Shattered, I completely understand what you are going through and it is just as earth shattering as you describe. It is also VERY common for those who’ve had one addiction (like alcohol) to then end up with second addiction after beating the first! I can’t tell you how often my husband, who sponsors a lot of SAA people, has come across this. It is important for your husband to go to both SA and AA meetings, I suspect, even though his initial addiction may have been alcohol.

      Treatment helps….depending not he treatment. I’d try SAA to start with but go at it hard with meetings every night or as close as he can get for awhile. A sponsor, working through the steps, all of that is essential.

      You, yourself, shouldn’t put your life on hold. Go to work and work you best, run your marathons, be YOU. Nothing you do will alter his addiction anyway, frankly. It is up to him to get the help he needs. He will find it very hard, very boring and time-consuming. He can get better, however.

      Have you heard of POSARC (www.posarc.or). Have a look around their website and mine. Also, buy Barbara Steffans book, I think. Come back and talk to me and others who read these comments. You’re not alone. x

  • Reply
    F
    January 15, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Hello! Came across your blog while doing my own healing as the ex of someone who has this illness. Thank you. This was objective, honest, realistic, heartfelt, and educational–exactly what I needed.

    The ex is still in denial of sorts, believing he can ‘white-knuckle’ through life by hiding this from a significant other. He still hopes to find someone he can successfully deceive, believing that he can stay faithful as long as the relationship and life is good. But life’s stresses always triggers the addiction!

    My only regret was not breaking his heart enough so that he really wanted to change his life of hiding. He’s never gotten resolution on what brought him to the addiction–repeated abuse by a catholic priest who was also a close friend of his family’s. His shame is too great to share that hard truth and get closure.

    Only other point I’d add is no matter how supportive the partner is…the sex addict has to *want* to recover for him or herself. He also turned down therapy and meds because it made him more depressed and suicidal. There would be individuals in the groups who would talk about urges for children.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      January 15, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      Thank you for your kind words about the blog, but also for all very good points, F!

      My husband is also a survivor of child sex abuse and says how difficult it is for him to be in meetings with people who may have had some kind of involvement (or urges) for children. He changed to different groups — there are always groups in which there isn’t someone with those tendencies. So, while I totally understand your ex’s feelings, I think he could have found an appropriate SAA group.

      When you wrote, “believing that he can stay faithful as long as the relationship and life is good” I nodded me head in recognition. I’ve heard that one before! My own spouse blamed me for his addiction, I’m sure. He doesn’t anymore.

      Yes, the partner has to want to recover. More than want, he has to do the work. You are 100% right there, too!!!

      • Reply
        F
        January 15, 2018 at 11:05 pm

        I agree! If he truly wants to change, he would have found another group. There are always options. Not just with addictions, but also with all sorts of life challenges. It is sad to see that he will continue the cycle of abuse he suffered as a child, albeit in a different form.

        I am sending you a huge hug! And to everyone going through this, addicts and partners alike. WIFE, I am in awe of your courage, willpower, and humility to work through such a difficult thing together.

  • Reply
    TA
    January 18, 2018 at 2:00 am

    I am 18 months in and I started looking for groups online because I have severe anxiety – I even work from home – so in person support groups aren’t my thing. I have been with my husband for 13 years (married almost 6) and he started out with masturbating to porn when he was younger and then eventually it turned into meeting random women for sex. We went to therapy and learned that he has intimacy issues that stem from childhood abuse, and he’s spent his whole life looking at women as objects. He goes to SA meetings – he started out going every day and now he only goes once a week (he has two work two jobs currently so that doesn’t leave him much time for this). He says he’s been sober since I found out, he has the chips from the meetings – he had a sponsor but the guy couldn’t do it anymore so he’s been looking for a new one – and he talks to group members on the phone – but one time about 4 months ago I read some things in his journal (and I know I shouldn’t have done it) that said he had been looking at some pictures online. I confronted him and of course he got hurt and angry because I snooped but It’s just making me so anxious to find out that he still looks at pictures sometimes. I do see a definite difference in him, and our intimacy has improved – and I know that this process is very long – and that he will never be “cured”. Intellectually I get this…..but my heart is still so sad. Some days I look at him and I don’t even feel in love with him or attracted to him anymore…..other days I get glimpses of how I used to feel before my world was torn apart. WIFE – did you go through feeling not in love with your husband at all? Does that part get better? He has been my best friend forever (or so I thought) and all of this has just made me numb and I feel like I will never be able to look at him the same again. Thank you for reading and for being there for so many of us.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      January 18, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      Hi TA!

      Yes, I went through quite a long patch of thinking I wasn’t in love with him and definitely not being attracted to him. After many months of struggling with his periodic use of porn, massage parlors or phone sex the idea of having any kind of intimate relationship with him was definitely gone. In fact, we separate for 15 months (not legally but I couldn’t stand to have him in the house!).

      And yes it all was repaired eventually after he’d been sober quite a long time. Now, had I known that he’d eventually be sober, faithful, and honest, all the waiting wouldn’t have been so bad. But the thing is I had no idea if any of that was ever going to happen, so I was a ball of anxiety and also just really pissed off at him.

      The “crime” of you snooping is not a crime but a natural defence against disappointment. It is not a weakness on your part but a sign you wish to know what is happening so you aren’t duped. I’m not the only person who would think this — if you look at Dr. Barbara Steffans book on being the partner to a sex addict she is quite clear on the subject. Only “anon” groups think “snooping” is wrong…it’s not wrong. It’s a good way of shoring yourself up for the next awful blow that may be in store for you.

      Now, do I snoop these days? Not really much that I can think of. After you’ve looked a few times and there’s nothing to find out, you tend to look less. Could I be in for a terrible shock? Maybe. But I think he’s sober. When he’s not sober, he’s a mess in a number of ways and I’ve learned the signs. However, I could be fooled. I hope I don’t get fooled, though!

      Stay in touch…it’s early days for you. Don’t be hard on yourself. I think you are doing AMAZING!

  • Reply
    TA
    January 19, 2018 at 3:07 am

    WIFE – thank you for your response and your kind words. I don’t feel amazing – most of the time I feel angry and confused. I’m 52 and this is my second marriage – I don’t have time for this BS, you know?

    Since we share a lease that I can’t afford to break, we didn’t split up…in fact our therapist said that rash decisions weren’t always a good idea. I did make him leave for a couple of weeks in the beginning though (and I missed him – and I felt stupid for missing him)……and there are days where I definitely wish he wasn’t here. Some days I tell him I hate him – and he tells me he understands…and it makes me feel better and more angry….lol

    This site has helped me so much already and your willingness to be so open about your ordeal gives me hope that there will eventually be a light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel.

    I will definitely check out Barbara Steffan’s book.

    Thanks again! TA

    • Reply
      The Wife
      January 19, 2018 at 7:18 am

      You sound very much like I was, or better than I was. The whole thing burned through me in a way that took on its own momentum and nearly consumed me. I am frankly astonished I came out the other side.

      Yes, Steffans book is good. So glad my blog could help, too!

  • Reply
    Maranatha
    February 5, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    I have just left my husband. I discovered his porn use one year ago after 30 years of marriage. He said I caused it because I was cold and a prude. I recognized that I need to be more aware of his needs and agreed to have sex once a week. This went on for a year and I figured I had fixed the problem I caused more or less. I still played the century in my life, guarding the computer, looking around corners, having blow-ups and thinking I could control this situation. Last Tuesday, I went to the library with him and left him alone. When I returned he was looking at Cosmo “getting ideas for spicing up our sex life.” I can’t do it anymore and I won’t. I’m going to S-Anon and I’m going to stop this cycle. My children, though grown and thriving, are very upset and ask me why I can’t just understand that “Dad is weird and has always been weird.” I cannot tell them anything and must hold this in and take it in the shorts while trying to heal myself. I love and cherish my husband and I don’t want to lose him but enough is enough. All I did was slap a band-aid on the wound for a year and it continued to fester. I cannot keep making the band-aid bigger to fix this. Regardless of anyone’s opinions, I know there is something that is just NOT RIGHT. It doesn’t matter what other’s views are, it matters how I feel about it and I’m going to trust my emotions.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      February 6, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Hi Maranatha, I am so sorry to hear this. I don’t know the circumstances regarding your husband but I do know that feeling of something is just NOT right. Sometimes, yes, you have to trust your instincts. Hugs to you.

    • Reply
      Sara
      March 25, 2018 at 10:09 am

      Hi, I’m sorry about what you are going through. I, too, feel I want to stop the cycle I have been in for years. I realise I can’t change my husband, he has to do that work himself, but I am trying to change the way I am. My whole set up feels just not right either and probably never has been. Like your kids, mine say, ‘ Dad’s weird’. I have to stop seeing what I am hoping for and see what is actually there, painful though it is. I hope things improve for you, you sound like a brave, strong woman. Good luck.

  • Reply
    Jen
    February 17, 2018 at 5:33 am

    Hello,
    I know this post was written a long time ago but I hope you still answer.

    I have a boyfriend of 3 years almost 4 in June and I recently discovered (a week ago) that he is a social media/porn addict.

    When we first met we used to be those “cute couples” on Facebook having pictures of each other and such but as time went on we decided to get rid of social media and we did…Atleast I thought so. I deleted mine but he still had his I confronted him and he said he would delete and he never did so next time I found out he told me he would delete his fb but that I could have mine because I needed it for school…I told him he could have his I just needed to know and he said he didn’t like it anyways.
    We moved recently (almost a year in April) together.
    Well soon after after a month or 2 I found out he was using his Facebook and had taken screenshots of some girls that used to be my friends and he knew and others. And even put a cover photo of a girl with a low top and his status said Single.
    I told him about it and he deleted it in front of me or so I thought.

    I don’t know why I knew I shouldn’t have but I was curious to check if he still had it ….he Did. I was so devastated because I trusted him and once again he still had it (This February)
    I told him and he said that he doesn’t know what happened that maybe he forgot to uncheck the amount of time for it to be activated but hasnt used it since I found out (when we moved in) he said that he would delete it I was working when he supposedly deleted and I told him I wanted to be there so apparently he opened it again (if he deleted it, he still knew his password to reactivate it)
    I told him I wanted to see if he was hiding something so I can see if it’s true that he hasn’t been using it but he wouldn’t let me physically hold his phone and look at it ….he had it in his hands and took screenshots and then showed me in person when I was right in front of him. He told me because he didn’t want to hurt me more than he already has and Some of the things still did hurt because he would tell girls all these words he never said to me.
    After that he said we would delete it and we would make a password both of us didn’t know I wrote 5 letters and random symbols and then he did also and when we changed the password we flushed it down the toilet.
    After that he told me how he was going to change that we were going to go to therapy and we even looked at places and emailed them. He was acting better the 2 days after that being sweet writing me long letters how much he loved me but again my curiosity.

    Feb 14…. After he went to work I went to Facebook I didn’t know that long password but I went for the Forgot Password, changed the email to reset and bam I was in …..
    First I went to his searches and who did I found he searched many many people ….including my older sister. We had problems with this because one time when we were having intercourse he was saying how he wanted to have a three some with my older sister and me, she’s married and I wouldn’t even want to do that.
    He searched her up the day he deleted it but I wasn’t there. No wonder he didn’t want me to touch his phone. And he also lied to me about not using it since we moved. He didn’t just search her up but girls I know, girls I don’t know again even his ex.

    Next, I went to his messages…Oh I shouldn’t have done that he texted a lot of girls telling them they have a sexy body and the thing that got to me was that he was texting this girl who was having problems with her boyfriend and she was saying how she didn’t know what to do because she didn’t have no one else and she didn’t want to stay there….he offered her our other room saying how he has another room and it’s comfortable and if she didn’t want to be there he could get her a hotel room asking what city was she in which turns out same city as us.

    He texted this girl that he has known for a long time but she moved away and he was asking how was the weather was like there and that she should come back to take college classes with him and flirting.

    If that wasn’t enough….I went to his activity log….
    He liked so many pictures of all kinds of girls that were revealing too much skin or breast. ALL the girls he told me not to worry about he liked their pictures. He even liked some posts of girls saying nasty stuff and even commented on some saying things like hot, cute, gorgeous, beautiful, sexy. I kept scrolling down and down but it never stopped….I felt like a bullet went through my heart and soul I felt like fainting, I fell in the floor and starting crying so much it hurt to breathe.

    I was gonna wait to tell him on Friday so we can talk more about it since I work weekdays but I couldn’t wait I texted him telling him how he could have such a heart and take me for granted….he asked what was wrong and he said he could explain and how he wanted me to hear him out and that he was coming from work right away and to keep something in mind that he did love me.

    I left to the park and cried while there was couples everywhere happy on Valentines day and I was alone, crushed and confused…all those 3 years together and before we met he had been doing that everyday except the days I was with him even then he would check it at 1 am or 3 am or 5 am after work. I felt like our whole relationship was a lie….it was never real.

    He kept calling/ texting me but I didn’t reply until he found me ….it was night by then. And he said he could explain to go home with him I went.

    He told me that he loved me and wanted to be with me and how he has a social media/ porn addiction how it started when he was 12 years old when he first got internet and had MySpace that he would look at those types of stuff then it went to pornhub and continued on his parents found out and took him to church but that was it….he told me he needed help that he wanted help he told me that it has nothing to do with me that I was perfect and he would never want to leave me for someone else, he told me he never did stuff with anyone else but I didn’t think that since he stopped having intercourse with me for many times since we moved but he said he would go get an std test, he said how he was going to tell me once we went to therapy all about it and that he wanted to grow with me and have a family do all the things we planned together still and move on together with our lives.

    I told him I felt betrayed like all of the relationship was a lie and he said it was never a lie it was all real he even cried and went down on his knees telling me he didn’t mean to hurt me or us to help him get through this by going to therapy and how he wanted to change that he never did it intentionally he would do it out of habit because he was bored but that he wasn’t admiring them or doing it for pleasure which I didn’t believe him and he said how yeah he did all those stupid stuff but he would never ever do it in person….he even said how could he give someone the room when I was there he would never and didn’t want to because when they said okay he never answered them back.

    I do want to help him he seems like he wants help and is willing to save the relationship because he told me that I could take the internet router when I went to work and how he’ll even have one of those parent things so I can check what he does in the internet and that he would get one of those old brick phones that don’t have internet. He said that all may seem dark right now but that he will grab my hand out of the storm that he created. And that he has always loved me and all was real that not to let his stupid actions and demons tell me otherwise and that he would spend all his life proving it to me.

    I want to help him I want to be his shoulder for support….I know this is going to be so difficult for him but it will also be for me….I try to remember All our positive memories together we had but then I think how it was never enough since at the end of the day he still would do that. Even though he tells me he would never have had sexual acts with them I think otherwise…. sometimes I think if the times we actually did it would he think of them? I truly feel like I was never enough then for him to still be wanting to do that. I try to be supportive but sometimes I wonder if he even has such disorder or is it all just an excuse…. even tho he tells me that he didn’t check them out just hit like and scrolled down I really don’t believe that how could he if all those girls were beautiful and had something I don’t (big breasts) I love him but I just don’t know if he loves me way less than I do He knew I had Facebook and he told me he didn’t want one….I felt bad when guys would message me and tell me Im hot or such and they have a girlfriend or wife I would block them immediately but who knew my own boyfriend would do that as well. One time He got mad/jealous because a guy commented on one of my pictures saying I looked beautiful and I just replied with a thanks. He lives far away and I don’t talk to him, yet my bf did all that and all those girls live near or in our city even my sister….I feel bad knowing that I can’t even take him to birthdays or family parties because of that. Or going places with him like to the beach and thinking if he’s checking girls out and thinking like that….I don’t know what to do or how to overcome this….how can I be strong and supportive to my partner in his recovery if I’m broken and emotionally damaged as well

    • Reply
      The Wife
      March 12, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Hi Jen,

      First, I am so sorry this has all happened to you. I am sure you already know this, but there is nothing about you or your actions that have contributed to your BF’s addiction. In some ways, it is a great relief to truly understand that. On the other hand, it means there is little (really almost nothing) you can do in order to address his behavior or addiction. You really are helpless to control him. In fact, right now, he’s probably helpless to control himself. No, he doesn’t want to hurt you. I’m sure he loves you. But he’s not going to stop doing things to hurt you. At least not yet.

      We are seeing young kids (like 12) getting hooked on porn and having every aspect of their sexuality hijacked form the makers of it. We are seeing an increasing use of bots and real life girls who are making social media their market for selling sex, whether that be viral sex, cam sex, live sex, etc. It is a total minefield and as your BF has been engaged with it for quite some time, he probably can’t even think straight anymore. He can’t actually stop as all of the social media/pornography etc. is bound up in his sexuality. It will take him years to straighten all this out. I mean it: YEARS.

      Having said that, it may only be a matter of months if he really set his mind to it and got into a 12-step program with Sex Addicts Anonymous. He will need sponsor. He will need to attend meetings at least once, and probably several times a week. He will need to do everything to keep front of mind the importance of being sexually “sober” (that is, having no inappropriate sex, images of sex, etc).

      Don’t believe him that he would “never” have sex with someone else. He may already have done and he almost certainly will do if he doesn’t address the addiction now.

      So, while there is plenty of hope, the commitment to dealing with sex addiction must come from him. No amount of loyalty and suffering on your part will move him. Can he get better? YES! But will he? I don’t know. And I can’t advise you on what to do meanwhile. You need someone close to you to help you with this — close in proximity and everything else. This is very very tough.

      I am sorry that your BF got ensnared by the pornographers. Porn is quite evil stuff for many, as you can see. The harm it has caused you both is palpable. I wish you both the best of luck and wisdom in addressing the problem. Hugs to you.x

  • Reply
    Confused one
    March 10, 2018 at 4:59 am

    My husband on 14 years is a sex addict and I found that out about 1.5 years ago. I forgave him and moved on. At the time my job was so stressful and I could not afford more stress. About 2 months ago, I accidently found his steamy chat in his Skype with another woman. I was crushed. I tried to look away because we have 2 small children. He is a good father to our children. He takes care of the house and me. I’m not understanding of why he does that. We have good sex life. Can someone help me?

  • Reply
    Sara
    March 23, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    Hi, thank you so much for your time and what you have written, I appreciate it all. I identify with large amounts of your experiences and those of others who have commented on your posts. Sadly, I discovered 8.5 years ago that my husband of 28 years is a sex addict. Since his disclosures, I have learnt an enormous amount about SA but would like to have other partners to talk to; I feel quite stuck and lonely with it all! It would help me to share my experiences with people who really understand and I’d try to help others in return. If anyone is interested in meeting up informally for mutual support in the London area, I would be happy to hear from you.
    I wish you and all partners hope and good wishes for happier times.

    • Reply
      The Wife
      April 27, 2018 at 7:45 pm

      Hi Sara,

      Please forgive me for not responding earlier. I feel terrible about it. Let me see what I can find for you in London. There are meetings at the Hinde Street Methodist church for partners of sex addicts. I’m not crazy about their way of doing things and understanding the position of the partner, but the “Anon” group is nonetheless very useful!

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