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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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ashestophoenix posted 3/6/2019 17:37 PM

90 meetings in 90 days.

Lionne, yes, they are stunningly selfish and heartless in their lack of empathy. I actually do think the inappropriate relationship with the woman from South Africa was fantasy. South Africa is pretty far, she's pretty darn safe. I finally got that they are really intoxicated by the search....the perfect porn picture, the perfect "one", the...whatever. It's actually the search that hooks them more than the actual result. When I understood that, I realized that there was never going to be a "perfect one" for my husband and whomever/whatever it was for him would fade because the addiction was to the search.

Somber, you don't have to stay. It isn't your fault. None of this. It's all on him. Blaming is something we should unlearn by, what, age six? Think how whiny and immature it is. I as well started to take these messages in, but now, I just will not put up with it. They just cannot take responsibility for their behavior and that's childish. Growing up will tell us if they have truly recovered.

And, when, how, how much sex you had had nothing to do with their behavior. Remember, they are terrified of intimacy. They have objectified sex, not relational sex. A better way to say it is they use sex to numb, disconnect, self soothe; not to engage or connect.

A HUGE part of my individual therapy work is getting back to me and shedding all this crap and lies my husband put on me.


Somber posted 3/6/2019 17:48 PM

Thank you. It is difficult to see clearly as I am blamed for the way he is. Iím not this or donít do enough of this...blah blah blah. The blaming is whiny and immature but can be very effective. I understand what you are explaining and it helps. He is afraid of intimacy and I have mostly felt objectified and disconnected when we have had sex. I also know that he has pursued other women both in the best of times and worst of times during our marriage. He also minimizes and refuses to talk about any affairs with the attitude that I should just get over it. It is so frustrating! I certainly would leave if we didnít have kids but sharing my kids when I have done nothing wrong is the ultimate heart break!
I havenít been to IC for a while, I guess I should go back! Sounds like it helps you.

Shocked123 posted 3/6/2019 17:52 PM

Thanks Lionme , Iím just being introduced to the works of SA.
Have not attended any meetings yet but my H did agree to buy the Patrick Carnes book his CSAT recommended. Out of the shadow. I guess heís coming to terms with what he may be.
Very interesting what you said about the chase/ search.
One of the things that hurt me the most was when I saw how many different women my H contacted every month, year after year. He kept two regulars but still called others incessantly, like some sort of shopping.
Always looking for what exactly? A HJ is a HJ, no?
Left handed, Asian, Russian, lingerie, location, Good value? Age? Hair colour? What was it exactly?
What is it that kept him searching for more contacts when he had two women he saw alternately once a week? Maybe some were for different types of service and other reserved for HJ only. Iíll probavly never know.
I understand that he was searching for the fun of searching. It was compulsive and took up a lot of his time. Time that he took away from his youngest kids were 5 years old. They are now 18 and donít really have much of a bond with him. I wonder why...
I have so much to learn about SA and am so glad to have you all to guide me along the road to recovery.

bluetears posted 3/6/2019 22:50 PM

You will end up saying and doing things you normally don't say or do.

Yes, been there! Or, you will say things that are true such as giving away some of your spy secrets. Be careful or you will regret it in the morning. I have.

I am so happy for any of you that have a WH that has actually admitted to what they have done to you. If they are trying, Awesome!

Question: Am I just in denial? I have a little FOO but I thought I was emotionally strong. I still feel like I was just too trusting rather than co-dependent. I am probably wrong huh?. I do know he has a lot of foo! I was able to get only ONE remark from him and that was, "It probably started when I was a kid". Nothing after that though.

Question: Have you asked about fantasies? Have they told you anything about this? Do they think about it when they are with you? Have they admitted to their favorite type of "whatever".

And last question: Why do I even want to know? Uggg, I am soooo mad at him for ruining what I thought we had!

Thank you everyone, I really enjoy reading your posts!

[This message edited by bluetears at 10:53 PM, March 6th (Wednesday)]

ashestophoenix posted 3/7/2019 07:05 AM

Bluetears, I hate the term co-dependent. Try to find a consistent definition. There isn't one.

You were not too trusting. You trusted. Our partners betrayed us. Repeatedly. Intentionally. I really needed to let that sink in. My husband wanted to protect his secret life at all costs and intentionally wanted me to believe non-reality. Were we leading a secret, double life? No. Were we sexually and romantically betraying our partners over and over? No. An intimate relationship is based on trust and BOTH partners have to work on establishing and keeping trust. This is normal. This is to be expected.

I do think I had denial after a period of time. I think my denial was based on thinking my husband had the same moral compass I did. Wrong! Boy, was I wrong. I know I didn't see the pattern of his deception and abuse and sort of took it as "one offs". I've read a lot about gaslighting and all of us, no matter our histories, are susceptible. But, honestly, how can we be in denial about something we don't know about?

I have asked about fantasies. I have some understanding. They usually have themes to what they fantasize about and it's important for them to understand what that is all about. My husband is not transparent or open about his fantasy life. Of course we want to know. We want to know who we are living with. I felt totally unsafe with my husband and still do not feel safe. Who is this person? What is he longing for? Does he have proper boundaries? In a healthy relationship, wouldn't we share our fantasies? Couldn't that be fun? Playful? Loving? Not in my relationship.

At some point it became destructive to me to learn more about my husband's fantasy life. But we have every right to ask. And we can change our minds. And they are going to do what they are going to do.

There is no way a normal human being can learn of this addiction in what is supposed to be an intimate partnership and not be traumatized. Not question our self esteem, our self worth. Add to that the relentless cultural messages about our bodies: not good enough, not hot enough, not thin enough, not...not...not.... Our safe harbor was supposed to be our partners. And they were anything but safe.

It wasn't like my husband was having loving sex with me and romantic moments, AND doing it elsewhere. He withheld sex from me, denied me romance, didn't cherish me, definitely did not make me feel chosen or special. I didn't get just has extreme this was until I discovered his addiction, and learned about it. This is a deeply traumatizing experience for us no matter what our FOO issues. For me, my FOO issues impact how I responded to my husband's abuse and how I respond to this trauma. It's not about blaming me or making me the problem.

It is so important for us to realize we have been wounded. Deeply. Traumatized. With intention. Betrayed. We have a need and a right to heal. It takes time and I needed help.

Sending my gentle embrace to all of you.


sami1234 posted 3/7/2019 07:35 AM

I read something yesterday regarding co-dependency and do agree. There is nothing wrong with depending on your partner, we are hard wired for that connection and it is part of a relationship. I know that my WH and I fill in gaps for each other's personality and that is part of what makes things work. The issue becomes when are we effectively dependent as opposed to ineffectively dependent. That is a balance, but most of healthy relationship is based on creating balances...so is life!

I think my denial was based on thinking my husband had the same moral compass I did.
Ashes this!! Wow, this really sums me up too. I am shocked beyond belief that my partner of decades did not have the same moral compass. I am looking back into MC as I want to currently explore what he thinks of "strip clubs" their role in society, paid sex etc. I think if he can't align morally with me (whether he is participating or not) and we can't have an intelligent conversation about these things I don't see how we can ever have true intellectual and soulful intimacy. And I don't want to hear that these things are "wrong." I want to know when are they ok? What purpose do they serve? I want him to really probe his mind on all of this. As it is he just wants to "move forward" and leave it all in the past. I am not happy with that.

I don't want to know about his fantasies, the real life people he was with are scary enough! Yuck!

End game is I need a partner who contributes to making me a better human being. I am over helping everyone else achieve their higher selves, including him.

Cally1975 posted 3/7/2019 08:09 AM


With my husband and I am the one who read questions to him from a SA website. In this journey of trying to understand I have learned he fits every aspect of being a sex addict. So he has never like blamed this on I am an addict. But after reading stuff to him he is realizing how big of a problem he has.
I keep struggling to make sense of this. Why? When did it start? Is there something I wasn't doing for you that you needed more?
He is still closed off on a lot. But has been more open to conversation, really deep meaningful conversation since I have known him. He has told me he remembers being a kid and discovering masturbation. He said when his parents would leave he could remember printing off pictures to masturbate to. The first time getting a computer as a young adult he would spend hours on porn. He has told me there has been nights where we would have sex and he would get up early and go masturbate. He said when he travels for work and arrives many times masturbates as soon as he gets there. He said it's habitual.
Last night we had a very painful conversation over the phone because he is out of town working. I told him I discovered yet another e-mail and craigslist account. I think I am up to 15 accounts dating, facebook, tumblr, craigslist etc. He don't even remember how many he had or what passwords are he changed them so often. I asked why.
He said he was trying to protect this life at all costs. He was so scared to be caught and for anyone to know. That he remembers there being shame and guilt. He would stop for a bit. But the shame never left and he would start back up wanting to feel a high to pick him up. I asked why and pointed out how many texts he never even responded to me. Or never buys flowers like he did in the beginning. How he very much distanced me. He told me there was many times he would think about me and go to send a text. Or think about picking up flowers. Or think about putting a post on my Facebook wall. But he said he would feel such guilt and like why would she even believe me then would stop.
So far that's about all I have got out of his sick life. I was pressing hard on the massage parlors of specific details. He said he will do That when he gets home tomorrow. He didn't want to do it over the phone. He has admitted to it. But I need more details.
I also feel I was just to trusting. But I think some dependency happens with both partners. After all that's what marriage is supposed to be anyway is a partnership. Kind of like he is dependent on me to take care of things at home while he travels for work. But I am dependent on him to fix things or do yardwork when he is here.

Lionne posted 3/7/2019 10:02 AM

I think it behooves those of us in these dysfunctional relationships to read about and consider the behaviors known as codependent. It is a fuzzy line. In my family, I'm the organizer. I remember appointments and obligations. My H doesn't. I often reminded him of things that were "his" as in, "don't forget you are playing a concert later today." Just now he was stomping around calling himself names because he forgot a therapist appt. I still remind him if I know about things, since it often involves a punitive payment of some kind, but I no longer keep track of "his" things except as it applies to me.
So, most of us started out in marriage looking to learn the nuances of our roles. Because I was the organizer, that's what I did. He grew to resent it, not because I did it but because he was reminded of his LACK of organization. He had other strengths, I tried to emphasize that we were different and that was okay, but he didn't buy it. My marriage vows, which I took seriously, spoke of being a "loving and supportive wife." I interpreted that as saying I would be supportive in whatever way was necessary. What it doesn't say is that I'll compromise my own needs and sense of safety to accommodate his. In y life, I was codependent in the sense that I did many things and ignored many things if he was made uncomfortable or unhappy if mentioned. I tiptoed around things with the excuse "he's stressed about work" or the like. Never mind that I was stressed about work, too. "I" could handle it, he couldn't. So I picked up the slack, took responsibility about the kids' on myself and allowed my fear of his anger to change my actions. I WAS NOT that person early on. But his anger tempered my reactions. I either shut up and smiled or shut down and behaved in passive aggressive ways.
But aren't wives and husbands supposed to adapt their behavior to meet each other's needs? In a healthy relationship that train goes both ways. In addictive households, the addicts moods take precedence. I started as a strong, independent woman who was willing to be a supportive wife, to a frightened little girl afraid to insist on respectful behavior. Yes, the roots were in my FOO.
I knew NOTHING about the acting out, but I surely knew I wasn't getting what I needed and that his behavior was out of line. I even planned to leave him twice, each time one of his parents got very ill, or he'd lose another job, or some other crisis in HIS life. I sublimated MY needs over his, every time, because I "couldn't abandon him" when he was in trouble. Stinking thinking on my part. My kids suffered because of my inaction.

Shocked123 posted 3/7/2019 12:06 PM

You just described my life/marriage.

Lionne posted 3/7/2019 12:52 PM

You just described my life/marriage.

I'm sorry. It truly was dysfunctional and exhausting. It could have been so much better.

I'm struggling with thinking I wasted my entire life. I'll be 65 soon and we've been married almost 40 years. I have a beautiful, paid for house, a pension that allows me to live in comfort, the satisfaction of fulfilling career and two wonderful, if damaged, sons. I only wanted someone to love me and who I loved. He was a nasty SOB.

He's trying. Trying so hard to make up for it. But that's impossible, right? and his "making up" means that our marriage is lopsided again, he bending over backwards, me trying to suppress my resentment. I had made a lot of progress until my discovery in December.

I believe all marriages go through ups and downs, one partner being more needy, the other picking up the slack, and then, in a healthy marriage, the situation reverses, equilibrium is kept. but with addiction, even if we were unaware of it, the focus is always on the addicts needs, which are never ending.

The good news is that the tendency towards codependent behavior can be arrested. I don't want to tell anyone that they were or were not codependent, but I think we should be aware of that dynamic and take steps to reverse it if it fits.

marji posted 3/7/2019 19:20 PM

But his anger tempered my reactions. I either shut up and smiled or shut down and behaved in passive aggressive ways.

Wow. This rings so familiar. Actually I wasn't able to shut up and smile and not good at passive/aggressive so at times there were fights and scenes but his anger was always upsetting, always hurtful and always had me wanting to leave.

Actually most of the women I've know who have left their husbands left because of their husband's anger management failures. Those who stayed tried making as separate a life for themselves as possible finding joy in a host of other things. And those who stayed did so because they had decided raising children on their own would just be too difficult given their economic situation.

But "keeping the peace" not telling dad "because he'll get angry," doing x,y and z, not doing a,b and c because "he's tired," "in a bad mood," "worried about . . . " are the all too familiar ways and means women have used to deal with men in their lives and it seems to be in all sorts of cultural, social, economic, geographic and generational groups though we might be starting to see less of that accommodation and resignation in younger generation of women who wait longer to have children, put more stake in their careers and just seem less willing to accept anger/moodiness/selfishness in their mate; maybe there is an emerging generation of young women who are not willing to make the kind of compromises earlier generations were socialized to think were good and wise. Guess time will tell.

delilah2016 posted 3/7/2019 19:42 PM

Has anyone done a retreat for betrayal trauma or spouse of sex addicts?

They are all so expensive, so I wondered if anyone here had any recommendations.

I'm almost 3 1/2 years from Dday.


Lionne posted 3/7/2019 20:00 PM

Has anyone done a retreat for betrayal trauma or spouse of sex addicts?

No. But I'd go in a heartbeat if you all would go with me!

Somber posted 3/7/2019 22:07 PM

maybe there is an emerging generation of young women who are not willing to make the kind of compromises earlier generations were socialized to think were good and wise

It will have to start younger than me and I sure hope it does! I sure have compromised everything in hopes for change and R. Mostly in hopes to keep our family together. I keep wondering what advice I would provide my own daughter (who is only 5) but I really have no idea. I am in a constant state of fight or flight so never know what to do.

I just found out he is starting a PA with a mutual friend. Another Mom at our school to avoid when I pick up my sweet children. No real point posting again on just found out, I can only imagine the advice after everything he has put me through.

Yes there has been porn addiction, ongoing messages to other women, mulitpe affairs I believe, sex club visits...but a mutual friend!!!! Has anyone been tormented to know your friend is sleeping with your husband? It seems to hurt deeper and I am in disbelief and complete heartache! I think this has pushed me over the edge with his crap and I have made an appointment to see a lawyer and discuss my options.

[This message edited by Somber at 10:08 PM, March 7th (Thursday)]

secondtime posted 3/7/2019 23:40 PM

Have you asked about fantasies? Have they told you anything about this? Do they think about it when they are with you? Have they admitted to their favorite type of "whatever".

No. I haven't asked about fantasies. Too hurtful, and I won't go there. But, I have asked if there has been something that appealed to him..being in a position of power, dominance, whatever. He said no.

I have asked my husband if he's thought about porn/women he's fantasized about while we are together. He's said no.

My husband also doesn't have a type. From late night google searches, it seems pretty common. So. I think he's telling the truth there.

I would like to know what sort of porn my husband was watching. He's said "regular porn." I've responded that there's between 90-100 porn categories on well-know free porn sites. That's all considered mainstream. He needs to narrow down what he looked at eventually. I won't push today.

sami1234 posted 3/8/2019 06:52 AM

anger/moodiness/selfishness: this definitely describes my WH! Before Dday I told him that the only emotion he allowed himself to feel was anger. He wasn't yelling or throwing things. But he was angry, and it showed. If I or the kids headed toward something he didn't like he often said "I'm gonna get mad." Finally I had enough and said "go ahead and get mad!" I was tired of being threatened with that. I never saw, joy, love, affection, happiness, he doesn't laugh or cry. He says he's non-emotional, I said that's not true, you just only allow yourself anger and that IS an emotion. So much immaturity.

Somber: I am so sorry to hear about the PA with a mutual friend. They know no boundaries. My WH even told me our female MC wanted to have sex with him. Just. Wow.

Secondtime: Regular porn? Hmmm...what is that...exactly? Over a decade ago I saw the porn my WH left up on his computer, it was NOT regular porn IMHO. It wasn't the porn I found disturbing as the type/dress/look of the women involved, it was very disturbing. We don't know women who look like that, and I wouldn't want to. When I confronted him his first question was if our daughter had seen it, I think she was only 8 at the time. She had not. When I probed more he said he was "just curious." At that time I discussed it with my IC and she said not to worry, most men watch porn. I had no idea...but neither did she and that's all we had to go on. Never saw another thing until all hell broke lose.

A retreat?? Is there such a thing?

Lionne posted 3/8/2019 08:02 AM

This is a never ending struggle, isn't it? I'd certainly advise young women to strongly consider leaving. I'm tired.

I've recently become aware of the work of Frank Pittman on infidelity. His work is older, he died in 2012, some of the conclusions are outdated but some ring true to me.

I've long thought my husband's acting out was partly because he had mommy issues. She was strong willed and demanding, ridiculously controlling in her attempt to feel she was of value to her often distant, creative and quirky artist husband. We all witnessed the control and flinched. My husband was visibly disturbed.

He picked women who were needy. Who needed a KISA. I clearly didn't fit the bill. So he looked for them elsewhere. Pittman states that these men (philanderer is his label) basically don't like women, especially strong ones.


Habitual philanderers are those who have continuous, impersonal infidelity. Many are men, but a few are women.

'Most of these men really do not like women,' Pittman says. It doesn`t matter to this type of cheater whether his marriage is going well or is on the rocks. The philanderer behaves as if the marriage has something to do with preventing his freedom.

Pittman doesn`t believe that this kind of cheater`s motivation is related to sexual dissatisfaction. These men 'are still stuggling with their fear of female control. They are proving their manhood-just as they did at age 12 when they sneaked out of the house in the middle of night to find out about the world. People having these sorts of affairs describe the excitement of it as if they were running away from home. These are adults who are acting like adolescents running away from Momma. Philanderers are addicted not to sex but to adventure.'

A lot of this rings true...

Superesse posted 3/8/2019 13:30 PM

Great excerpt, Lionne!

In my SAWH's case, the adolescent sneakiness went one step further...he was trying to feel sexual about women who were NOT Mother, (with the Playboy mags snuck into his bedroom), since Mother always wanted to be seen as sexual, she tried to be a part of every aspect of his developing manhood....even to insisting on dancing with him at local parties that were held in a community center....and nobody else danced with him, except Mother.....what teenage boy wants his classmates to see him ballroom dancing with his MOTHER? 😦

All this, added to the power and control of a domineering woman....yuck....

His mother and father had the motel room next to ours on our honeymoon trip to the midwest (planned so he could show them American farm machinery factories - romantic getaway, huh?). His mother tried to joke that I should not close the door connecting the 2 rooms, so she could "keep an eye on us....."

(I locked that sick b#tch right out...WH was smiling.....red flag I totally missed...)

But then why the hell do they choose strong women, any idea?

delilah2016 posted 3/8/2019 14:32 PM

A retreat?? Is there such a thing?

There are!! And they sound awesome but are 1500-3500 plus travel expenses. It would be a huge stretch for me and I would have to dip into my exit plan stash..... I would love to hear it they are worth it. And I would love it if some people from this thread could join me!

These men 'are still stuggling with their fear of female control.

Both Ddays one of my husbands reasons for the affairs was that I was acting like his mother....Could have been true on Dday #1, less true on Dday #2 and now I'm very aware of every word out of his mouth. Especially early on, I would have to remind him that "You don't want me to be like your mother, but you act like I am your mother! I am not your mother and stop talking to me like I am your mother". Many IC sessions about this topic, he's better about it now.

[This message edited by delilah2016 at 2:36 PM, March 8th (Friday)]

Shocked123 posted 3/8/2019 21:08 PM

A retreat sounds lovely. I first assumed they are with Hís but if itís for spouses only, Iím in if any of you are, lol.

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