My wife was sharing pictures of herself and talking with many men online all of last year and the first few months of this year. Three of them turned into physical affairs.
First I'll say we are currently both in MC and IC. I have not been to an attorney yet, and don't have any desire to at this point. As horrible as this is, she really is doing pretty much everything I could want her to.
We've been married 7 years. She has always struggled with depression, low self-esteem, and sensory overload issues (can't handle too many noises or things going on at once). She also has problems with intimacy (has never liked kissing and has never had an orgasm except by herself with no one else around). She has also always had great difficulty being open about how she is feeling, and with saying or doing anything that would hurt or disappoint anyone. So, definitely some things to work on. She's been in IC a number of times, but has never stayed with it. She is more dedicated to IC now than she has ever been, and I'm going to insist that she stay with it for a long time.
So I guess over the course of time we slowly grew apart. I didn't think we were that far apart, but apparently she did. She would sometimes get very angry with me about something that seemed like not that big of a deal, and was unhappy much of the time. I thought this was a result of her working through her own issues, and totally unrelated to us as a couple. I didn't think there was anything I could do, other than give her the patience and space she needed to work through it. In hindsight I can see there was a lot I could have done to support her, and I can see that I did quite a few things that helped cause the distance between us, like frequently preferring to do things by myself rather than with her and our son.
So early last year, or possibly late the year before, she started exploring domination and submission stuff. We tried it a couple of times together, but it never seemed to work for us. At the time she said she just liked to fantasize about it, but found she didn't like the reality of it at all. Being naive and trusting, I believed her completely. I knew she was chatting with a few people online and reading dom/sub stories, but thought that was the extent of it, and I thought it had only gone on for a few months.
On May 30 this year she told me she wanted a separation, totally to my utter surprise. We started going to marriage counseling, and started making good progress. I very soon realized all the things I had done to contribute to the poor state of our marriage and immediately went about changing my bad habits into good ones, but she was still never sure if she wanted to stay married or not. Then in late July I accidentally discovered a graphic email from an OP, and after that I installed a keylogger program on her computer and found many more emails. This was a complete first for me. I've never snooped on her before, and never had any desire to. I had always trusted her completely. I confronted her and she came clean about the emotional affairs, but denied any physical affairs. We were well on our way to reconciling, and with that "confession" off her chest, she finally admitted that she did want to stay with me. Things were great for about a week until I found the pictures of her with another guy. So I confronted her again on July 27 and got the rest of the story about the physical affairs. For many reasons I won't go into right now, I feel as confident as I can (95% sure?) that she has now told me everything.
She started chatting with many people online, and sharing pictures of herself. Many, but not all of these conversations turned sexual, and she did a lot of sex chatting online, all with the guy being a dominator and her being a submissive. In January of last year one guy who happened to live fairly close by discovered where she worked and started calling her at work. He pushed for sex and for meeting her, threatening to come to her work if she didn't. She said she felt no connection with this guy and didn't want to go, but was terrified of what he would do and found she somehow couldn't keep herself from answering his calls. Finally she agreed to meet him for a few minutes because he said he just wanted to look at her and wouldn't do anything. When she got there he pressed for sex again, and she gave him oral. This happened twice more over the next couple of months before she finally got up the nerve to stop answering his calls or communicating with him in any way. He always pressed for more meetings and more than oral, so I am a little grateful that it never went further.
Soon after things with that guy ended she met someone else online who was farther away. At first they just chatted and got to know each other, but after a few weeks it also turned sexual in a very domination/submissive form. He gave her assignments on a nearly daily basis, like wearing her hair a certain way, or taking certain pictures of herself, or hurting herself in some way and recording it for him. This relationship went on for about 6 months. They met twice - both times for 1-2 days. Both times it was when she went out of town for a work related trip. I am especially hurt and resentful about these - she left me at home to take care of our son so she could go be with another guy.
This went on until late last fall, when she got back into singing, which had always been a talent and passion of hers in high school and college. As she got into singing she found her desire to be a submissive declined, and she slowly stopped being interested in guy #2 and stopped responding to him. Eventually he moved on.
Guy #3 had been in contact with her off and on since all the submissive stuff started, claiming he wanted to be a mentor to her. He would show interest in her, then claim she wasn't "ready" or "mature enough", then give her assignments or tests. She wanted to earn his approval, and one day in January of this year he said he thought she was ready and that he was going to send a male friend of his to meet her at a specific time and place, and her assignment was to have sex with him. She did.
Shortly after this things with guy #3 ended. She had one more emotional affair with another guy online, but nothing physical happened with him. That continued until sometime in June.
Obviously all of this reeks of some sort of addiction. I'm not sure if it necessarily qualifies as sexual addiction, but there was definitely an addiction to being a submissive and completely her assignments to earn her dom's approval. She said she actually felt a submissive high when she would complete difficult assignments.
So, she has spilled her guts, shared everything with me, done a no contact agreement with all the OPs, completely opened up her computer and all her passwords, is getting IC, answers any questions I have, supports me the best that she can while I'm going through this hell, and is doing everything she can to reconcile. She said a big part of the reason she wanted a separation was because she couldn't handle the secret of the affairs, but couldn't bring herself to tell me and figured I would want a divorce if I knew.
She is in a much healthier state of mind now, though I'm not naive enough to believe it could never happen again. She is extremely remorseful for everything she did, and is also disgusted by her behavior. One of the reasons I know this is because I've been giving her links to good articles on this website, especially one that talked about the best things the WS could to do help the BS through this. She wants to do everything she can to help me, but realized that my giving her a specific list of things she could do to help felt very much like receiving an assignment, and that is very difficult and painful for her right now.
This may sound like I'm defending her or giving her a pass on all of this, and for awhile I was. Much of this is an addiction and psychological problems so I felt like she didn't have a great deal of control over her actions. However, she was still deceiving me constantly, and that frequently took some effort on her part. She could have told me the truth at any point, or told me she was unhappy with our marriage, and of course nobody physically forced her to do anything. So I've only recently started feeling anger toward her for all the deceit, for taking my trust from her, for creating these horrible images in my head, for letting other men touch her, and for poisoning all my memories of us together and in fact all my memories of the last year and a half.
In many ways we're closer now than we've ever been, and while this is still the worst thing I've ever had to face and my trust in her is gone, I also feel like I know what to look for now so I would hopefully have some fucking clue if something like this were ever to start again.
That's pretty much my whole horrible fucking story.
Thank you for listening.
I am wondering the same thing too.
What I thought was my husband's infidelity now appears to be much more.
I have found slips of paper hidden in his car with just descritpion of women on it and cities...."large breasts", etc. and condoms.
It no longer seems like I was in a bad spot and made a connection with someone.
I think he is connecting with whoever will give him the time of day.
My life with SAH is a little difficult right now as well.
I just wanted to let those tht have questions, to find the post (within the last few pages) from 7 yrsbetrayed with tons of Info.
I have COSA this evening but will try to get back.
I have a couple of PMs to send too!
"If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's probably a duck".
Yesterday I had such an epiphany. He was into porn of morbidly obese women. Some of these women in the photos he looked at were gorging themselves with food and smearing it all over themselves. (I apologize for being so graphic) Since discovery, I have been aware of women of this size when we are out together (and I mean women so large they can barely walk... some of them cannot)
Throughout our relationship, he liked to go to Chinese buffets. (He is not a big eater!) It occurred to me yesterday that sometimes there are very large people at these buffets. And yes, some are eating very large amounts of food.
I do not intend to offend anyone. And it is so sad when a fetish objectifies any body type.
I believe he frequented these restaurants to watch these women and getting turned on seeing them eating.
I know... this sounds so crazy. And I feel crazy. But I have nobody to talk to about this. I hate these "ah-ha" moments.
[This message edited by Nouveau at 8:47 PM, August 11th (Wednesday)]
I used to foolishly think that the sex addict title was a copout for men
Me too. None of my preconceived notions about it made any sense when trying to apply that label to my WH. When I told him our MC suspected that he was an addict, and recommended that he read "Out of the Shadows" by Patrick Carnes...he was skeptical. He finished the book and had his first appointment with CSAT yesterday.
WH is still out of the house - but came over last night to talk. We talked for over 5 hours and confessed all the god-awful details of his Sexual addiction. Some I knew about - the three affairs, the porn, the masturbation, the chatting. Several times over the course of our marriage, WH has expressed guilt / disgust over porn use / context. He is a spanking fetishist - and all his guilt seemed to stem from the content of the porn - not the pornography and masturbation aspect of it. Last night he confessed "the rest of the truth" inappropriate behavior with strippers - paying them extra to let him spank them, unprotected sex with a Drug addicted Stripper/Prostitute in a bar when he was drunk, Cruising - being on the make constantly when he went out to bars - the act of seduction - and seeing how far he could get with strangers and friends. This part included seducing and kissing people we knew - women that knew me, had been to my home. He appeared to go through phases with the addiction while we were married - always the cruising, then a period with the strippers (he admitted he was going to these clubs constantly - with friends, during the day..whenever. Once he 'gave up" the strip bars, it became online chatting on fetish sites. When he was done with that it just became the non-stop porn and masturbation... leading up to the affair last year and the one this year.
I am having a bit of information overload right now....but as sickened and disgusted as I was to hear all of this....it was that he was finally honest with me that provided some relief. I'm sure the fallout of these revelations is coming.
I'm also frightened about the co-dependency issue. His CSAT told him that the recipe for recovery is his IC, Group Therapy, MC and IC for me. I would never have identified myself as a co-dependent. Reading more on it - I believe I am. I discovered when we talked last night - that I had repressed memories of things from our marriage. When he talked about the online chatting - he was telling me about a situation where I had discovered a disc with photographs of a woman - (non-explicit - just snapshots). I printed the pictures out, drove to my husband's work - threw the pictures at him and asked "Who the F is this??!" and then jumped in my car and drove off. This was a huge issue - he talked his way out of it - like he always does - in the end making me out to be paranoid and unreasonable. The thing is that I have absolutely no recollection of this event. Granted this is about 8 years ago - but when he told me about it - nothing was familiar. That scares the shit out of me. The fact that my denial led me to rationalize his behavior and make it fit into my mind somehow to co-exist with the notion that I had a faithful and good husband who would NEVER do something so horrible.
He does have childhood issues that he did not address. He has supressed thsi for years, low self-esteem, can't cope with feelings, doesn't like himself,etc.
He gets very angry and then all of a sudden, when he has his fix (pressures me for sex), he is as nice as can be. The MC says he is not "compulsive" at this stage. Meaning he has control over his physically acting out.
Terrible, terrible stuff. He get sexual anorexia where when we have too much he says that's enough. Sex is the pain reliever for SA. I see it with him everyday.
I can't take it anymore. He won't go to SA mtgs, etc. He is still playing with lust, lies and deceit. He won't leave but for my sanity, I am just going to get him out of the house.
The MC says, as with all addicts, he has to be the one to do it. Very important for us all. We can't help them, we can't force them, they have to come to the realization and get help. I think first, they have to hit rock bottom.
My kids are home and have experienced his anger when he needs a fix. Its too much, he needs to get out to realize what he is doing. Even so, he will have this for the rest of his life. I don't know that I want to be with someone who coudl relapse and act out again.
How do any of you deal with this??????
I am trying to fix / nurture me. There is a great site that is really helpful for spouses. There is a workshop -like set up and it's free. Both spouses can do it if they want to. I do not feel like ANY of his addiction is my fault or even my problem, except it f-up my life and my kids' lives. SW WH will have to choose to heal.
We often beat outselves up for being good spouses - giving room, being understanding, or babysitting, like shurt says, but you know what? Do we really want to be people who are not trusting, kind, and helpful? NOPE!
We do need to be better at drawing healthy lines and asking questions. I know that my SA WH gets angry when he is white knuckling.
He often says he is not good enough for me.
I am not soothing the anger. i ask if there is a problem, he denies, I ask again, he denies, and then I say "I get nervous when your feelings are expressed by door slamming or talking under your breath, so I am going to take the dog for a walk... garden... take a nap etc."
It's not magic, but it helps me to remind myself multiple times a day that I am myself, and that no one would ever choose to be a SA - can you even imagine the hell they live in every minute?
it's all about James Hunter, now ;)
And here's the 180 link:
That's why I don't bother with a keylogger. He'll find a way to act out if he wants. He's extremely resourceful about it
They will find a way. But we also have a foolproof way to know they are acting out: their own behavior, as in what torn to bits says,
My kids are home and have experienced his anger when he needs a fix.
but in the past he has had tantrums if he did not get "enough"
I could grab a lot more quotes, but "you know it when you see it." if it makes you feel bad, and you are often wondering what you did to make him rage out... and sex is not a refuge... and no matter how many times you talk about it nothing is ever fixed or addressed... then one may well be dealing with a sex addict. The only way to deal is to educate oneself and decide what one will tolerate. When strong enough, confront and make your decisions based on whether SA spouse embraces active healing or not.
Hugs, everyone, this is the worst of the worst (only those who are violent sex criminals or deal with kids cause worse pain as far as I am concerned).
I'm stunned and numb. He's been saying he's "working on himself" during this separation time. I'll say he's working on himself - probably with his hand! He's said he's trying to "get healthy" but won't say if he's working with a counselor or what. Now I know... he's doing nothing and continuing to act out.
So I need to take the next step. I don't know what, though. I'd better get on the phone to an attorney. Then...???
Help me through this - I can't think straight.
My WH is in denial, gaslighting and won't admit the problem to me. Here we are 9 months later. I have been with him for 21 years! I deserve the truth and so do you. I have resolved that I will not spend another minute of my life chasing after a cheater, a lier and someone who does not want help.
You are beautiful, intelligent and you and your children will get thru this. The sun will rise tomorrow whether he is there or not.
Its time to see your joyous future from the choices you have made for YOU! My biggest lesson....detach!!
Hugs and strength to you!
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!
Godsgirl, I recommend looking into the 12 step programs to see if they would be a good fit for you since you are asking how not to try to control things.
UnexpectedSong - thank you for your insight. I learned a lot from your posts, and the anger that my SA WS went thru now makes a lot more sense. I am sure that some of the periods of intense anger and irritability were during periods when he was fighting his compulsions. I can see a pattern now in our relationship where he would be irritable and angry for a while, then all of a sudden, everything would be okay between us, and he would be loving and friendly again. Some of these I can actually remember certain "absences" during his anger, and then coming back all happy, now I know what he was doing during those brief absences. More pieces of the puzzle fitting together.
Someone asked about denial...my WS is the king of denial. He only claimed he had a problem when I threatened to leave. Once I was staying, though, he changed his mind, he minimized his problem, he told me I was making way too much out of the issue, and that the biggest problem was that I could not get over everything and move forward. He said since he apologized for what I had found, I should forgive and move on. The thing is, my gut kept telling me it wasn't over, and there was more. I learned thru all this to always trust my gut. That may be one of the most important things you can do. You don't have to be a private eye and investigate your mate's every move. You only have to listen to yourself and your inner voices to know if there is something wrong or not.
That bit of knowledge right there can help you relax and detach from it all a bit. Trust yourself.
I have no insight for those of you with spouses in recovery, as mine would never even go to a counselor. At one time, he put it back on me and told me I was the one with an addiction, as I was on this site every day looking for answers. He told me I had a computer addiction, and he was not the one with the problem.
He was very good at manipulating and blameshifting, projecting and minimizing. It was a deal breaker for me, though, when mine would not get help. I knew I could not live without being able to trust him.
Mine had been abused as a child, and grew up with porn in his house that he was able to view from the age of 7. I feel he was pretty much given the disease, which is sad, but he never did anything to educate himself about it or even to try to come to terms with it. His jobs and career have suffered because of it, he has never had a stable relationship, and he does not have a good relationship even with his own daughter.
He has a hard time with emotional intimacy, and is only capable of tiny little bits of it from time to time. Also, if he does get intimate, he seems to need to pick a fight and distance himself again. So the intimacy never lasted.
He truly was a decent man, but his issues could make him very ugly. We are apart, but I still hope some day he confronts his addiction. But I have doubts that he ever will.
[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 7:25 AM, August 17th (Tuesday)]
Is denial normal in SA? He seems to have a hard time accepting the truth and realty. He doesn't like to think about his actions or dig deep to figure out the why. I can understand that. The shame and pain are huge for WH as well. I quess I'm surprised at how slow my WH processes everything. WH is so used to stuffing the pain and feelings and compartmentalizing his life that he seems terrified of anything different.
And then I feel terrified because I have been with this man since I was 16. We were supposed to be best friends. But he's lived this double life for most our M. I thought I knew him but now I find out that I only knew a small part of WH. Actually I don't know how much of my WH is real. How scary is that!!
Is he seeking treatment with a CSAT? Are you in IC?