There are some TED talks about porn, too.
Meant to tell you that the John Wooden one is great too - watched it while running yesterday -
I am new to all of this and so glad to have found this thread. A week and a half ago, I found out that my husband has been seeing escorts -- 16 of them over the past 5 years. Beyond the shock and horror, as we talked and talked about what in the world might have caused this, we both became convinced that my husband is a sex addict. He almost seems like a classic case.
At any rate, this is all completely new, but my husband says he is committed to recovery and wants help. I am trying very hard not to do everything for him and try to control the situation -- I have offered him ideas and suggestions but made it clear that he has to take the lead. Right now, he has agreed to see a certified sex addiction therapist (and says he will make an appointment today). We also have a no porn rule in effect, and we agreed no sex until he gets the results of his second STD test, sometime at the end of August.
I feel so hopeful, but then I feel afraid to be hopeful. Can marriages survive this? Can sex addicts really recover enough to maintain strong marriages?
I love my husband SO much. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and heal him.
I saw emails indicating that he was setting up a meeting when he was out of town in June, but he says he didn't follow through on that, that he realized how messed up the whole thing was, that he had decided to stop. He said that he was getting a thrill from emailing women and setting up the meeting and then masturbating, and that he had determined that he could get his excitement without the actual meet-up. Not his exact words, but that's the gist of it.
This entire year his drinking has increased to the point where I was worried and had brought it up -very gently out of concern for his well-being because I assumed that it was tied in to how miserable he has been with his job (his career has turned into a boring, dead-end job at mid-life and he is frustrated with the day-to-day stuff and scared for the future.) He says that he was drinking so much because of his guilt and shame about the prostitutes.
Sex addict? I don't know. He was confused when I brought up porn. He doesn't see what looking at porn has to do with anything, that it's a normal thing, and that he looks at porn maybe twice a week. He says he masturbates once a day.
Alcoholic? I don't know. He says he thinks he has been a heavy drinker, and that since he decided to get himself together he has cut back with no problems. He hasn't had anything to drink in the last week (unless he is now sneaking it.)
He says his issues are depression and anxiety caused by FOO stuff and that the sex and drinking are symptoms of that. He went to a counselor for the first time in his life yesterday and seemed pleased with how it went. He said he was upfront with the counselor about what was going on.
I don't want to have sex with him. I don't want to feel like I have to hurry up and feel better. I don't know how to tell him that. He interprets most everything as people cutting him down and he reacts defensively to even the slightest thing. Already, when it has been just a week, I feel like he is going to feel rejected and withdraw if I continue to be uninterested in sex. Help?
[This message edited by thoughtitwasa at 12:00 PM, August 1st (Wednesday)]
When I asked him about porn and suggested that it was part of the problem, he said what I wrote in my other post, and backed off the sex addict explanation.
sK, hindsight is 20/20 as beneficence said. Each of us makes the best decisions we can with the information we had at the time, in those circumstances, considering who each of us was at that time. When you wrote, we all know that he would have had a fighting chance of avoiding it if he had grown up in a house without this level of dysfunction. It reads to me (IMO, as always) that you're coming very close to taking responsibility for his addiction. It's second nature for some of us to second guess ourselves, but you aren't responsible for him, no matter what. None of us can change the past, as much as we might wish to. IMO, the best thing any of us can do is set a good example *now*, be present for him *now*. Go to meetings, work active recovery yourself. ((sK)) I can only imagine the agony of watching an addicted child.
WindyTree, hugs to you..the journey of an SA Spouse is long. And torturous. And exhausting. As far as marriage survivability, some remain married, some divorce; it's all highly dependent on each partner's individual strengths and weaknesses. And sobriety and recovery are lifelong- not "once and done". Keep posting, someone will answer you. We're supportive of each other's path and try to hold each other up. You've come to a good place.
Briefly, here's my story. It's in my profile in detail.
We're still together. Nathan was diagnosed SA in late June of 2010. Nathan (SAWH's nickname here) is likely personality disordered in addition to being a polyaddict (alcohol & sex). He's working his issues, his way, with his IC. I try (and sometimes succeed, lol) to leave him to it. I've been working hard with my issues ever since. I've done CSAT work, IC, group therapy and S-Anon. I was a SAHM before my life was incinerated, but now I'm working part time.
Others here may share their stories. Welcome.
"Live a life not an apology." Edward R.Murrow
"I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it."
Not wanting to have sex with him is understandable. Hold your boundary firm- do not allow him to manipulate you emotionally into having sex with him. Get the STD panels back first, make sure you have more than one panel done. Thorough results takes a series of tests as not all antibodies show up immediately. Prioritize what *you* need to feel safe. There are consequences to his actions- not having sex until the panels come back clean is one of them.
You didn't cause it, you can't cure it, and you can't control it.
Read that again and again. When you think you understand it and have taken it to heart, keep reading it. That is a mantra that I've had to repeat to myself countless times through this process.
My quick backstory:
I am still with my husband. He was diagnosed as a sex addict in April of 2011. It took him until about 1 month ago to really, fully accept that. Before that he would waffle. He would go to SA meetings, then stop. He would go to IC with his therapist who specializes in sex addiction and go through the motions. He would complete things from the Sex Addiction Workbook without fully believing what he was writing. He would say he was a sex addict one moment and in the next have some justification.
Like I said, though, something clicked for him a little over a month ago. He went to SA and kept going. He stopped thinking "I'm not as bad as them" or judging the other men, and started really listening with his heart. I backed off and realized that I need to fix my codependent tendencies. And he stepped up big time. He is now going to IC and SA meetings weekly, we have weekly MC together, but more importantly I can sense a major change in his outlook. Again, it took him over a year to even get to that point - truly accepting he has an addiction and committing himself to work on it. Before that things were alternately rocky and "really good." That year was a roller-coaster ride for sure. Now I have a very cautiously optomistic outlook.
As for how your stories will play out, I don't know. I do know that in order for your relationships to recover you will both have to be fully committed. I've been through a year with someone who was "half-assing" and "white-knuckling" it. That can only take you so far, and it is emotionally draining like you can't believe.
As for sex? I concur that it is important to stick to your boundaries and what makes you feel comfortable. I second the recommendation that clean STD panels be required for BOTH of you before the possibility of sex can even be considered.
[This message edited by beautifulmess7 at 2:58 PM, August 1st (Wednesday)]
My WH has been looking at porn since he was a teenager (30+ years). We have been together for 20 years and he hid the fact that he was looking at porn for our entire relationship. He looks at it online now and has bought videos to watch at home in the past. He Ms to it and does it mostly on business trips or when no one is home.
His infidelity was an EA and I have no evidence that there was a physical component. I have been tested for STDs and have come up clean. He has stopped his porn viewing since I confronted him about his A. It has been 4 months. He is not aware that I am monitoring him, so if he wanted to look at it, he could be doing it and thinking he was getting away with it.
He has not been remorseful so far and recently I finally had enough and told him I was going to D him. He had a come-to-Jesus moment and asked me for another chance to work on the M. One of my conditions was that he see a CSAT to see if he is a SA. He asked me if he could work on IC first (he was previously refusing to go to IC, but he has been going to MC with me), before he went to a CSAT. He said that he was embarrassed and didn't have the bandwidth to deal with his other issues and the porn at the same time. Knowing him, this seems reasonable, but I'm wondering if I should accept this or if he is just snowing me.
His other issues are passive-aggressiveness, NPD and mother-enmeshment issues, so he has quite a lot to deal with. My feeling is that a CSAT would only need 1 or 2 sessions to determine whether he is a SA, correct? So I don't know why that would be such a big deal. Also, can a CSAT deal with other issues (NPD, PA,) in addition to the SA? I was thinking that he could just start with a CSAT to work on his other issues and then work on the SA when he is ready so that he doesn't have to start all over with his story or see 2 different counselors.
Also, does the fact that he doesn't want to deal with the possible SA now mean that he likely is a SA? I feel like if you didn't think you were, you would say, sure, I'll be evaluated right away because you would know that you would do the eval and that would be it. Sorry for the rambling.
Hugs and welcome. I'm sorry you find yourself here. The ladies here are knowledgeable, BTDT and very helpful. I'm new but they've helped me immensely so far, even when I'm just lurking and reading.
You told your WH that seeing a CSAT is a requirement for moving forward... don't let him negotiate "later" out of you. Your requirements are firm, no? Sounds like he is testing you and seeing how little he can get away with doing. He's embarrassed? He doesn't have enough bandwidth? What about how you feel? He had enough bandwidth to have an EA and watch porn... he should have enough to dedicate to doing right by you.
Also, a CSAT is an IC. I've been going to a different one than my SAH, and I think after 2 appt's I'm already sure he will help me way more than my old IC. The ladies here suggest seeing one as the spouse of an SA and I am so glad I took this advice. I suggest you consider it as well.
There are online tests your H can take to see if he might be SA. Unfortunately, he can snow these, just as he can snow an IC or CSAT if he really wants to. He needs to take this seriously in order for you to know if he has a problem or not.
As to whether his not wanting to go see a CSAT means he is SA? Who knows. But as a confirmed WH, he should be moving mountains to do right by you, and if you want this question answered, he should do what it takes to satisfy you, SA or no.
((Numbandnauseous)) I hope this gets better for you. How are you doing with your own healing? Do you personally think he is SA? Check out this thread and see what the folks on it have had to say about their stories. There are common themes among SA's and if some of these things sound familiar, then maybe you are in the right place.
Either way, the high volume porn viewing can be a problem in your marriage. Take some time to read the last few pages in this thread, because there has been a lot of discussion about porn. There are some great studies listed.
just an update:
Went to see CSAT with WH/BH on Tuesday. It was the first time we saw an IC/MC together that I felt that I was truly "gotten". I cried.
I am STILL not completely convinced WH/BH is a firm SA, he registers low on the spectrum. I think his SA rehab was helpful, though, to get him to deal with some of his deep FOO issues.
I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around the SA as it relates to his A's-his 3rd A seemed very odd & mostly just sexual based as MOW#2 was freaking desperate for sexual contact & they got busted very quickly. The thing in that that seemed SA is that he did all that stuff with our kids in close proximity.
His 2nd A was an EA (or so he says) with his MOW#1 from A1. And A1 wasn't just all sex, even though he claims he was in it just for that, but there are hours & hours & hours of phone calls.
So the only other thing he's got going on for SA (or so he says) is compulsive masturbation.
I'm still confused, but I'm taking the SA seriously as it relates to my kids.
I guess I'll keep slogging through & make another appointment with the CSAT. I thought he was good. The only thing I didn't like was his opinion about disclosure; he thought I shouldn't know all the details or instances, etc... I don't want WH/BH to have any secrets of his A's or any other sexually related locked in his head. I feel like that keeps this crap alive. So I just disagreed with him.
So anyway, I am advised to keep looking at WH/BH's actions over time & make sure he's working on himself consistently & then keep increasing the contact/visitation with the kids as I feel more comfortable.
I am trying not to be co-dependent, but will try to steer WH to a CSAT for his IC.
I read the last few pages of posts on this thread and will also have to track down the studies cited. I am really overwhelmed right now, because I have a list of about 30 books that I need to read! NPD, PA, SA - it really is overwhelming! I have read Porn Nation and want to read some of the Carnes books as well as Codependent No More, Getting the Love You Want, etc. I am just paralyzed by too many choices right now. Wil have to forge ahead.
I also wanted to say how wonderful this group is - feels like you are a family - such a supportive place to be! Much peace and love to all of you! Thanks again - will post more when I have more info to pass.
Hugs and light to all tonight.
@Sabina and Bene. I know, I know, I am not taking responsibility for his addiction. He made bad choices. But I remember that lost little boy, staring at the other daddies who were playing with their kids in the pool, throwing them up in the air. Checkers with your mom on the deck just didn't cut it. When DS1 was a very little boy, my fWH was a TERRIFIC dad, taking over the childcare routines just as easily as I did. When DS1 was a taciturn, moody teenager, fWH would say "I don't know how to TALK to him" and "he's YOUR kid DS2 is MY kid" (DS2 was a very difficult but charming kid, friendly to everyone but I had to sit on him. He knew how to play WH against me. He was spared much of the later drama and has emerged less damaged and still sunshiny as ever thank the gods and goddesses!) At one time DS1 challenge fWH about his women, and fWH lied. DS1 said that he regretted that he was his son. Another time, while drunk, he asked me if dad was "allowed to go to motels and sleep with other women." He knew, even if he didn't "know." If I had bailed out when he was little, MAYBE, just MAYBE we would have found a real daddy for them.
And we have just found out that he hasn't been sober. He has been smoking "spice" artificial marijuana, undetectable in urine and blood tests and legal. I don't know how often or when it started, but it's unacceptable. We told him no more. Don't come home if you plan to continue. I am not entirely sure how we are going to enforce that, since it's undetectable, but we have put other conditions on his living here, albeit part time (he lives on his boat much of the time) conditions that support sobriety, and discourage the isolationist behavior drug addicts love. After our conversation he did get schedules for NA meetings to augment his AA meetings. He is treating me with great hostility. I can deal with that, I'm not his enemy, but I'll fight that addiction with my last breath. And that means not enabling it.
Thanks for all your love and support and words of wisdom. I hear you. I do...
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 8:56 PM, August 2nd (Thursday)]
This is a whole other level of crazy I'm dealing with & it feels surreal sometimes. I actually get dizzy & nauseous thinking about everything.
He is treating me with great hostility. I can deal with that, I'm not his enemy, but I'll fight that addiction with my last breath. And that means not enabling it.
SAWH/BH did this at first with regards to child custody/visitations, but the rehab & assorted IC's convinced him that I was protecting the kids, and doing my best to keep him in their life while he gets healthy. It's been tough though. Lot's of crying & begging him to understand that the kids need to come first. I think he's doing better as he is letting go of his lies & things he feels ashamed of (childhood), and sharing at SA meetings.
As long as he is on the path to being healthy I will be supportive. I just don't want to be his parole officer, KWIM? I've got a ton of issues MYSELF that I'm dealing with, so I need him to get it together & lean on his support team.
He has been smoking "spice" artificial marijuana
Sounds like he is not done trying to "run" from his issues. As he gets healthy, doing that kind of stuff will look EXHAUSTING, hopefully.
You don't kick heroin by taking up cocaine; all that does is take up time kicking cocaine AND then getting to the bottom of why you were shooting heroin in the first place! Ugh...exhausting....
((BB)) Work your side & protect the babies. You're doing great.
Just wanted to pop in quick and offer a little support. Up late watching the Olympics. Work early tomorrow.
Do your SAWH's drink still? Heavily?
SAWH/BH went to visit my family this weekend because I had to work. He went out with my sister and her boyfriend and some of their friends, including her single friends. His phone died (typical, we have the same phone and mine dies all the time too). My sister texted that if I needed to get a hold of him I could text/ call through her. He would call/ text goodnight when he got home and charged phone.
Of course he didn't.
He puked >4x this morning (so did sister's boyfriend) and texted once to say sorry for not calling and he felt horrible/ sick. Ok, fine. I've BTDT, but have had very little to drink since D Day. When I go out with friends, I am DD so that I am not pressured to drink, and I can stay in control of the situation. Obviously, he was not in control of his situation last night. While I trust my sister, I do not trust him.
He has said that he fantasized about her before using her facebook pictures. I was kind of petrified that he'd say or do something towards her. She wasn't weird or anything today when we talked, so I think nothing happened. I'm angry that I have to worry about this in the first place.
And I'm angry that I cannot control his actions. I know I have to let go and not be codependent and try to manage his addiction, behaviors, etc. I'm doing better than I thought I'd be doing. He finally called after I texted sister to ask if he was alive (I told her not to tell him I was worried, she probably did anyway, trying to be helpful). I told him I was LIVID and that if I pulled this shit, he'd be beside himself.
Why, why, WHY did he go down this path. I know that I need to be in control of myself. Doesn't he know this too? And if he can't contain himself from drinking this much, HOW CAN I TRUST HIM TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS ABOUT HIS SA. How can I trust him to not use porn, to go to meetings, to be honest and forthcoming with his CSAT? I don't live in the same house as him, I live 3 hours away for my job. How can I trust that he is doing the right things when here he is, SHOWING me that he isn't responsible.
This is bullshit.
ETA: when I recently began using prescription (topical) medication for my acne (which was nonexistent before D Day), he got paranoid that I'd have "side effects" changing my personality, as I had personality changes after going off BC. Really. REALLY? You're worried about my TOPICAL acne medication, but you can't control your DRINKING, Mr NEM?!
[This message edited by NothngElseMattrs at 2:21 PM, August 5th (Sunday)]
here he is, SHOWING me that he isn't responsible.
Unfortunately, I agree with you.
Great rant at the end, BTW.
He is now on a plane to Vegas for a work trip.
"Keep calm and carry on."
I will now proceed to try to preserve my sanity.