One night he awoke mid grope.
20yrsagoBS, are you saying he is groping you while both of you are asleep? Or are you asleep, and he is awake?
I've experienced his sleep groping a couple of times. I personally wrote this off though, because it felt like he was having a sex dream and then acting it out. I felt bad for policing his dreams, as we really can't control that. I'm sure I should have seen this as indicative of a larger issue, though. The groping I mention in my list is that my XH would be fully awake and while I was sleeping he would grope me and try to have sex with me. No matter that I was in a dead sleep. He would also grope me during the day too, but the sleeping part was more bothersome to me. It felt more predatory.
Whether he was asleep or not, waking up to being groped has to be very jarring for you. I'm sorry that you had to wake up to that.
The hard part about this is, no one behavior can make or break a sex addict. IMHO, your therapist is misinformed. Saying that he can't be a sex addict because he doesn't masturbate at work is too definitive.
For the longest time, my XH's biggest issue was compulsive masturbation. Some might say that this wasn't a sex addiction, because he wasn't actually having sex. I knew in my heart of hearts though, that it was just as dangerous of an addiction as any other.
While there are many disturbing similarities, I think if all of us here in this thread revealed our full stories there would be striking differences, because people are all so different. My XH tore/knotted up my underwear to masturbate with. While I'm sure I'm not the ONLY person to have ever experienced that, I'm pretty sure it's an outlier. I would never claim that another woman's husband is not a sex addict because they don't engage in that same behavior. And my husband's engaging in that behavior doesn't make their SA's behavior any less hurtful to them.
Many women's SAH's end up going to massage parlors. To my knowledge, even after all my digging, XH never did that. And I'm pretty sure nobody here would tell me that because he didn't go to a massage parlor, he isn't an SA. And his not going to a massage parlor, doesn't make any of his SA behavior any less hurtful to me.
I have reason to believe that my SAXH was (and probably still is) masturbating at work, or at least in his car in the parking garage and to/from work. However he is a high anxiety individual who uses masturbation as a self soothing mechanism when he is stressed. So it is not surprising to me that he would masturbate at work considering he has a high stress job.
It also wouldn't be surprising to me to find out that others might avoid that at all costs, for many reasons: the consequences of being caught were too great, there simply wasn't a place to do so, they were really focused at their job and didn't have the time, they are more stressed at home, and therefore more likely to engage in self soothing behaviors there, etc. There are any number of reasons why an SA might not masturbate at work. Doesn't mean he's not an SA. It is true that often as the addiction escalates, riskiness of location also escalates. We see it with those who choose to engage in anonymous sex in public locations, or even those who have a penchant for voyeurism, or those who might masturbate in a public place etc. But the fact of the matter remains that while the location can be an aggravating factor, the behavior itself is the problem. Their sexual behavior has become unmanageable. Period.
If you do a search of Sex Addict test, you can click around and find some links. The one I used was Recovery Zone. My XH would not take the test. I took it, and to the best of my ability answered as he would. The questions are pretty loaded, and you can pretty clearly see what is the "good" non SA answer, and what is supposed to be the "bad" SA answer. If an SA were taking the test, I could see how it would be tempting to give the "right" answers in order to say, "See, I'm not an SA!" As the spouse, I can see how it might feel good to you to give the "bad" answers, so you have some evidence to show to prove your point and say, "See, I told you you have a problem!"
If you really take the time to answer each question honestly, you can try to avoid such confirmation bias. This required me to really get into my husband's mind set, and to be empathetic towards him, so I could do my best to answer how he would if he were being truly honest and authentic. I also admitted to myself when there were items I truly could not answer, such as his mental state after sex, whether or not he had ever been sexually abused as a child, or whether or not he had used escorts, because while I strongly suspected all of those things, I couldn't prove them, and he vehemently denied them. The test will not allow you to progress without answering all of those questions, so in those instances, I would give him the benefit of the doubt and answer in the way that I believed to be the "good" non SA answer.
It is not a long test, but if your partner will not take it, you need to be willing to really sit and attempt to get inside their head. Not from a place of trying to blame or shame them either. When we let our anger take over, because we are fearful and hurting, we can often try to find a label for the person who betrayed us and throw that label in their face, because we want to make them feel the hurt that they can't seem to feel. If you do decide to take the assessment, it has to come from a place of truly trying to understand, and to get answers for yourself. Not from a place of anger.
I have taken the test several times in this way. The "score" is on a 1-20 scale, the higher you go, the more likely you are a sex addict, with most sex addicts scoring above a 6. I (as him) have always scored somewhere between an 11-14 - I'm assuming that based on my mood at any given time while taking it, I don't always give the exact same answers. This is when I give my "benefit of the doubt" answers. When I take it and give the answers that I believe in my heart to be true (depression after sex, sexual assault/molestation as a child, use of escorts) I (he) score at 19.
As demolished said, at a certain point, you'll just know. IME, if you continue to be drawn to the SA literature, something about it is speaking to you. Here are some of the criteria that helped hammer the point home for me:
Preoccupation: obsessive thinking about sexual behavior, opportunities, and fantasies
Loss of control: inability to stop behavior despite commitments to self and others and despite problems caused by behavior
Relationship disturbance: sexual behavior has created significant relationship problems
Affect disturbance: significant depression, despair, or anxiety over sexual behavior
I'm paraphrasing, but one of the questions on the test that seemed so glaringly obvious once I saw it in black and white was:
Have you tried to stop some of your sexual behaviors, even made promises to loved ones that you would, but can't?
The other was:
Do you regularly engage in use of pornography/masturbation when in a situation where you could easily be caught by someone who would be hurt by this behavior?
As demolished mentioned, please check out Page 1 of this thread. The 4th post down by Lionne lists a ton of great resources, and also just gives some good advice.
Many people will tell you that there is no such thing as sex addiction. They cite the omission of SA in the DSM-4. This is the same publication that claimed autism was caused by the mother being unable to bond with their child. The label serves to direct the TREATMENT, and whether this is a “disease” or compulsivity. If the label enables the extinction of the behavior, go for it. Just don't allow yourself to make excuses for a spouse who is “sick.” No truly recovered addict will ever tell you they don't own the behavior. There is “hope and freedom” from SA. Whether you stay in the relationship or not.
These recommendations lean heavily toward 12 step work because it’s been seen to work. Other paths may have equal success. But 12 steps have the benefit of being free and widely available, if only online or by phone.
ETA: This should go without saying, but it can be validating to hear it: NO. HIS GROPING WAS IN NO WAY YOUR FAULT!
[This message edited by HeHadADoubleLife at 12:33 PM, December 11th (Wednesday)]