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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 21

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Countingsheep65 posted 4/21/2021 00:58 AM

I too have a sick and distorted view on sex and also towards women.

I donít feel worthy.

It will be almost a year since I had sex, and that was when my husband was wearing my bra, I kicked him off me, he was trying to tell me I told him I wanted him to do it. I did not tell him this. His got some serious problems.

All the mind games have taken their toll on my me, my thinking and perception of things. I donít know if I ever see myself in a sexual relationship again.

Why have you stayed Lionne?

Lionne posted 4/21/2021 07:04 AM

Why have you stayed Lionne?

40 years of a shared life, not wanting to travel, birdwatch, garden alone...
And that if I left I'd lose half of my assets. I worked and saved and scrimped and sacrifice to get to a financially comfortable place. I've sacrificed enough with this shit.
I'm not interested in finding another relationship. How could I do that in good conscience knowing I'm irreparably damaged?

You didn't mention if you or you and your SAWH are in counseling for the sex issues - which, from what I've read, are 110% normal

Been there done that. The last time I thought about it, and sought counseling to try to overcome my trauma, I discovered that he had relapsed quite a while before. He doesn't look at "normal" porn (I detest porn. It's almost all the time an abuse vehicle for the participants and too, too often part of a human trafficking operation) his porn is ugly, violent rape, murder dismember porn. Now, it's all animated, but I have a sneaking suspicion there were live people involved somewhere.
I'm just completely creeped out.

There's plenty of evidence that people become immune to arousal once porn becomes compulsive. The addict needs more and more extreme images to get off. Not uncommon among SAS. Do I think my saggy baggy body would turn him on? Nope. He'd be imagining some image, some other woman while in bed with me. Which wouldn't be the first time.

Once when he was caught at a strip club he told me that he had had such a good time on our recent vacation that he wanted to make love with me so went there to get in the mood. You can imagine my reaction to that

[This message edited by Lionne at 7:06 AM, April 21st (Wednesday)]

BlackRaven posted 4/22/2021 00:43 AM


I'm so, so sorry. Have you considered a lover? I'm not suggesting two wrongs make a right, but you're living with someone in the depths of addiction. It's an 'open marriage' on his side already. What about opening both sides of it?

Lionne posted 4/22/2021 07:16 AM

Lol, Raven. No. Never have, never will. I wouldn't do that to another human being. And I'm sure my view of sex wouldn't change with a new person. Rather I'd assume porn was part of their life, too. It's just so easy to have a sexual relationship with porn, all the messy human interaction is eliminated.

To be clear, I'm not leaving this marriage unless he interacts with other women. That ended in 2008-9, I'm unsure which. I believe he's been sober since that last relapse but I know he could revert at the drop of a hat. He's working with an IC who is constantly reiterating methods for avoiding a skip. But my husband seems to be cognitively unable to see that the train is coming.
Ex. "I don't need sunscreen, I'll be in the shade" (he's a scientist, he understands radiation, and has had multiple skin cancers removed.)

"I'll just stick my phone in my pocket while I'm on this unsteady sailboat it will be fine. (He has Deval several waterproof bags for this. Did I mention he's been without a phone for 3 days)

He lives in a Scarlett O'Hara world "I'll think about that tomorrow " Doesn't see the train coming despite all the people who are yelling and screaming to warn him, until it hits him, but usually hits me first.

PurpleReign posted 4/22/2021 07:39 AM

BlackRaven I will continue to look for a good fit with these meetings. Iím always open to learning from others and getting support. But like I said before, if they start saying Iím codependent or Iím part of his addiction Iím out. I think I just need short term help or counseling for this.

Itís been a helluva ride now knowing that sex addiction and probably a personality disorder or whatever the fck is wrong with him, is at the root of my marriage problems. Itís the shadow thatís been there the entire time. I see everything clearly and although I didnít know it was SA I always called out his trash behavior. I think Iím on the tail end of trying to revive a dead marriage. Iím way past the CPR stage. Right now Iím moving all the way back so he can fix himself. I know thereís nothing else I can do.

stubbornft posted 4/28/2021 09:08 AM

I am a little over 3 months from Dday. My stupid story is here: https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=651349&HL=49614
And here: https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=653094&HL=49614

But a summary is Ė we have been together for 9 years. I am 40 he is 50. No kids together. I love him but I am beat up by all of this. We had intimacy issues for the past 2 years (at least) and it turns out he was going to massage parlors for happy endings. I had ZERO clue. He asked me to help him report a credit card stolen and it popped up on the screen ďplease confirm these last 5 transactions are validĒ and one was a massage parlor and the rest is trickle truthing my very sanity away until it seems that he went about 2 years, hand jobs usually but 2x he had full sex. There are gory details that I donít want to trigger you all with but it is causing me to lose my mind. Not sure what I am looking for here but this is just the most awful experience of my life.

He is in IC with a CSAT and I moved from a regular therapist to a betrayal trauma therapist as the regular therapist didn't really know how to help me with the betrayal and wanted to focus on boundaries only (I do need boundary work but also need help with the PTSD).

We have done 1 couples session. I don't know what to do with this stupid life I am in at the moment.

Lionne posted 4/28/2021 10:52 AM

stubbornft I'm so sorry. Your reaction most likely mirrors the rest of ours. The idea that this man we respected, loved and supported, would stoop to these sordid levels. And BTW, those "intimacy issues" were likely the result of his chronic masturbation and fantasy life. SAs, like all addicts, must continually up the level of arousal, trying more and more extreme behaviors to get high/climax.

Self care is the rule here. Do something nice for yourself everyday. Some of the things that helped me were bubbles baths, spending time at the beach or in the garden, treating myself to a small luxury like a soap or candle, or a piece of expensive chocolate.

The thing I most regret is that I gave up my daily gym visits while I sat paralyzed. I wish I hadn't and my body wishes I hadn't.

Allow yourself time to heal and allow yourself the anger. You can't skip these parts, you can only wait until your body and mind process it all.

SANON is a tricky subject but it helped me enormously, mostly because I was able to talk about this with others who had been there. The literature that talks about detaching from the addict and focuses on you is very useful.

THIS THREAD saved my sanity. And feel free to PM me or others for extra support. Reach out, you aren't alone.

One of the things I learned is that these men are really and sick. But they still must take all the responsibility for their choices. And IME it take a long time, years, for them to truly understand themselves and their choices. The vast majority of SAs relapse or slip. While this is to be expected in any addiction, the toll it takes on you is enormous. You must do whatever it takes to protect your heart.

I'm holding you in the LIGHT.

[This message edited by Lionne at 10:54 AM, April 28th (Wednesday)]

stubbornft posted 4/28/2021 11:15 AM

Lionne, thank you so much for your kind message. I can't tell you how much it means. I did stop going to the gym! About a year ago. With COVID plus him being so distant and me working from home, I just stopped, I was so down and had no energy. I had frozen my membership but will unfreeze this month. I was in excellent shape and felt much better about myself then. I know I can get that back. I am sad for myself that I have let that go. I struggle with finding any energy. My IC told me to focus on sleep right now, she said if melatonin isnít helping me (so far it isnít) that I should talk to my doctor about getting on a sleeping pill temporarily.

And BTW, those "intimacy issues" were likely the result of his chronic masturbation and fantasy life. SAs, like all addicts, must continually up the level of arousal, trying more and more extreme behaviors to get high/climax.

Yes I think you are right. I begged him to tell me if he wasnít attracted to me anymore. I told him I was lonely and that I missed having a sex life and that I needed intimacy and that he was the only person that could give me that. Stupid me, I had no idea he was getting his needs met elsewhere. He was telling me he was attracted to me and loved me and didnít know what was wrong with him. He was actually in counseling for a lot of last year, but the dumbass never told the therapist about the massage parlor sex workers!

He doesnít blame me at all, says that our life together was great and he has this problem and he is done and wants help. But he is manipulative in many other ways. Some days I donít even recognize myself. The stress and trauma and exhaustion are too much and I am in a constant state of panic and stress. If you asked my friends or family to describe me they all would use the word "strong". I am betraying myself and that is just so..... gross.

He is in IC and I really do believe he wants to get better Ė HOWEVER Ė I donít think he is strong enough to do what it takes to help himself and to help me.

I do know relapse is common. I just canít handle a single relapse and I have told him that. I am sure we wonít end up working things out but I would like to get my mental health a little more stable before taking that on. I am really excited to be with the new therapist Ė they work with partners of sex addicts and they are not of the belief that everyone should reconcile. I will look in to SANON here. I live in a large city and the therapist I am going to has a ladies group every other week and some of them are reconciling, some are separated, and some are divorced but still needing to heal from all they experienced. I think that group will give me some strength as well as this site.

Shockt posted 4/28/2021 16:53 PM

I am so sorry, Stubborn. We all empathize with the terrible pain and confusion you are feeling now. You'll get lots of support here for sure. It sounds like you are doing a good job of taking care of yourself and that's so important. My own awful story is similar to yours. It was just a year ago a few days ago that I discovered my husband of 20 years had been cybersexting for two years prior. It was a huge shock for me. H and I then separated for 6 months, during which time he sat alone with the consequences of blowing up what we both thought was a pretty good marriage. He has been remorseful from the get go and is trying hard to rebuild trust. We have been back together the last six months and are doing well - maybe even "very well" BUT for me there will always be the uncertainty of "will he do it again?" and "will I ever have respect for him again?" Can I live with that, that is the question. Reconciliation, as all here would say, may be possible if you want it, but it is a hard road.

Lionne posted 4/28/2021 18:08 PM

I donít think he is strong enough to do what it takes to help himself and to help me.

I was shocked that my husband was able to stick with his changes over the years. He is truly a different person. I never in a million years thought he was capable of admitting he was wrong. He has. BUT had a major relapse that went on for years without me knowing it. All the outwardly negative and abusive behaviors changed but the lure of medicating his own pain through porn was too great. My boundary for staying in this long term, financially and practically intertwined life is that if he acts out with RL women I am gone. We have a post nup of sorts should it come to that. I have slept in a different room, practiced the famous SI 180, etc.
It occurred to me after the last slip, that this is truly an illness/compulsion that is unrelenting. I'll never say that "it's not his fault" It is. He's responsible for his actions, has resources to prevent relapse, it's up to him to use them. But the key, imo, is the willingness to admit he's powerless, thus sending him to ask for and accept help. Until they exercise that last bit of sex addict bigshottedness, they will never truly be able to institute recovery practices.
Lastly, my husband is also bipolar, mis diagnosed as chronic depression until the shit hit the fan. I believe addiction often serves as self medication. Once an addict has a modicum of sobriety, that is sober for 6-12 months, allowing the brain to reset, he should see a good psychiatrist for an evaluation on brain based illness. I know my husband would have had no chance to recover until that chemical imbalance was addressed.

BlackRaven posted 4/28/2021 22:56 PM


I'm so sorry you're here, but know that you will get through it. You're doing everything right - focusing on you, working with a betrayal trauma therapist.

The first things my therapist had me do was practice grounding skills (a godsend) and join a 12-step meeting for spouses of sex addicts. Both of those things were spot on. She also had me read TINSA: A Neurological Approach to the Treatment of Sex Addiction, which is the only thing she's had me do that focused on him instead of me, but I thought it was a great book.

I'm less than a year out and I can't believe that I laugh and smile and the good days at seem to outnumber the bad.

I immediately separated from my SAWH and we are still separated. It's been good for both of us. I meet with my therapist about three times a month, and I'm just wrapping up a weekly women's group that met for 3 months. I went on an antidepressant and was prescribed a sleep aid that I never use. I'm just starting brainspotting. I do at least 2 SA Lifeline 12-step meetings a week, and I have a sponsor, though I haven't started any step work. I do a lot of work on boundaries, and am working toward the full therapeutic disclosure. I've learned a lot about myself and my view of the world.

As for my SAWH, I think my kicking him out shocked him enough to go into a rehab program for sex addicts - and this is where I'll disagree with Lionne about the timing, since the psychiatrist at there put him on naltrexone right away, so sooner than her recommendation.

He spent 8 weeks in that inpatient program for SAs, then transferred to an intensive outpatient program for professionals for six weeks. He then transferred to another outpatient program but that one wasn't a good fit, so he left it and instead took an intensive program on DBT therapy. Now, each week he sees a CSAT, a psychiatrist, a therapist for DBT work, attends a men's group, a DBT group, at least 3-4 SA or NA meetings, and a half hour of brainspotting.

I'm telling you all this so that you know that it doesn't all happen at once. It's like an onion with layers being peeled back. If he truly understands that the way he's been living his life hasn't been making him happy (and I guarantee it hasn't) and that he needs to learn new tools, and he's willing to address his FOO shit, he might make it. Or he might not. From your story I see that he's been an addict for a long time. None of us have a crystal ball. But keep the focus on you and your kids and it will get easier, week by week.

Lionne posted 4/29/2021 11:19 AM

Lionne about the timing, since the psychiatrist at there put him on naltrexone right away, so sooner than her recommendation.

Excellent post BR. That's a medical decision, sounds like that psychiatrist has more experience than I. The belief is that some diseases can't be diagnosed until the brain chemistry resets. I suppose that's more of an issue with chemical addictions.

I have dozens of stories about the path of (successful) recovery. Every one different
My son is an alcoholic in strong recovery. His bipolar wasn't diagnosed for a year after sobriety and even then, it took ac year to find the right medication.

BTW I never actually worked the steps with a sponsor. I did use them as a basis for some intense Journaling and that was useful. There are no sponsors in my chapter.

Onward and truly upward. Surviving this has been a long journey.

stubbornft posted 4/29/2021 14:14 PM

Ladies, thank you all. Having the person that is supposed to love and cherish you lie to you for years is so damaging and shakes your faith in all ways. Having you strong and kind ladies respond to me in the way you did is so touching to me and healing. Thank you so very much. I will stick around here for sure.

PurpleReign posted 4/29/2021 17:14 PM

Hello Stubbornft, Iím new here but just wanted to say how sorry I am youíre in the club none of us ever wanted to be in. The ladies here have given me support that I havenít begin to receive anywhere else. Self care is definitely the number one priority.

Ok so just an update on the fuckery Iíve been going through. Iíve been dealing with a SA monster on steroids. His moods are off the charts ever since I made him go to the 12 steps for SA meetings. Heís nasty, rude, mean, blames me for every choice heís made, complains, heís just an overall asshole. Plus he has narcolepsy and itís infuriating. He can fall asleep during serious conversations, in the car, standing up. Itís because heís let himself go physically. Heís a mess and he did this to himself. I canít take the sleeping or the abuse.

I honestly just want out at this point. Iíve done so much to try to understand what heís going through. His withdrawal is off the charts which tells me that he acted out daily and used sex for every emotion or feeling he didnít like. Like an addict does he lied about how often he watched porn, masturbated, and obsessed over fantasy. Heís whiteknuckling it big time. From what I read by CSATís heís in big trouble and can relapse any day now. Anger is his new addiction for now. Iím his target. Except as usual I never go down easy and I always get back up. Heís angry he confided some horrible dark thoughts and behavior. He wants to take it all back. Welp I told him itís too late now and I had the right to know.

So just wondering if any of your spouses turned into a raging monster? Oh heís an intimacy anorexic too. Yay me! This idiot had the nerve to say Iím the one that has IA! Heís projecting all his issues on me. Itís been a horrible month. All because I put a boundary in place. I understand withdrawal as much as Iím able to but that line stops at abuse. Oh and I love dealing with his arrested development. Heís about 2 yrs old to 12 and on a good day heís 16. Itís been a nightmare and I donít believe anything he has to say. Heís only nice when Iím infuriated or wanting a divorce. Itís all a game to him. Itís pure manipulation.

We have a session scheduled for a CSAT on May 12th. All I wanted to know is how to make him stop abusing me and blaming me. I feel like I donít know him at all. Also an offer came in on the house on Monday. I truly feel like bouncing, divorcing, and just moving forward. Iím so tired.

stubbornft posted 4/29/2021 17:39 PM

PurpleReign I am so sorry you are dealing with so much! My partner for sure has intimacy anorexia!!! It was AWFUL while he was acting out regularly. It was the loneliest time in my life and I had no idea why things were the way they were. I talked to him about it so much, it was torture. I am big on physical intimacy so I felt so unloved and it was just awful. I have seen some glimpses of anger but my partner is extremely conflict avoidant. I think he has a lot of anger under the surface. The narcolepsy sounds so infuriating! I am so sorry!

My partner isnít mean but he is still not ďgetting itĒ but finding the CSAT and getting a diagnosis seems to have helped him. His CSAT gave him a booklet about withdrawals. He said he hasnít had withdrawals yet and feels physically sick when he passes a massage place and feels no pull to go back and visit one. I keep telling him that he needs to prepare for those feelings to come back again and have a plan. He canít seem to identify his triggers, which is scary to me. He was going to a massage parlor that was literally steps away from where he parks his work vehicle. He would leave his cell phone in his car, walk over and get his nasty sex stuff, and then walk back to his car. We have always had Life360 on our phones (HIS freaking idea years ago). I never knew it was happening. I think honestly that his trigger was just opportunity. But who the hell even knows how all of this works? We didnít sign up for this shit!

I hope your CSAT visit goes well. I pray for peace for us all. Such selfish actions by those who are meant to love and respect us.

Are you in IC? I had a session today, I have just recently moved to a betrayal trauma therapist and I really like her a lot. Today we worked on grounding exercises and she wants me to have a plan to enforce boundaries when he gets manipulative with me and when he breaks the boundaries I have set.

That is great you have an offer on your home, I hope the new options give you some clarity.

PurpleReign posted 4/29/2021 20:24 PM

Stubbornft thanks so much for responding. I wasnít prepared for the withdrawal and obviously neither was he. Which means he has been acting out until 4 weeks ago. He minimizes his SA all of the time. He thinks he can stop at anytime. Addict speak. Heís been an SA for 35 years now. Itís insane.

He doesnít know what his triggers are either. Mainly because he isnít in touch with his own feelings at all. Hence the AI. I just canít believe he has both but stupid me of course he does. Heís a workaholic. Does anything to avoid spending time with me. When he does he starts an argument. Doesnít initiate sex. I remember begging for it at one point. The only emotion heís ever in tune with or can show is anger. It doesnít fit well with my trigger points because Iím a bitch. Then when he canít out bitch me he gets really ugly and passive aggressive. He plays the tit for tat game. It gets ridiculous. Then Iím dealing with the manchild again. There are just so many layers to his dysfunction.

He put off finding a counselor for 15 months and trying to be clean is kicking his ass. Itís all cold turkey. Heís being extremely passive in his SA meetings. Doesnít ask questions when needed and just goes along to get along. Heís passive in the world but aggressive with me. Iím just exhausted. The only reason weíve had any contact is because of selling this house. Itís too much for me to do but Iím finally seeing the finish line.

Iíve already decided we are nowhere near us ever cohabitating. He blames me so much for all his choices that I feel I need to move out of the way. Iím thinking he needs to hit a different kind of bottom and thatís divorce. So far Iím doing self care like a champ. Going out with friends again. Grooming myself and shopping. Heís the only negative in my life. Not only am I afraid heíll fail with SA but Iím just as afraid of the IA and his complete lack of maturity. I donít want to live with a manchild the rest of my life. SA is just so unfair to the spouse.

Right now Iím fighting that urge to feel sorry for him. Itís not healthy for me to do and itís a trap. Heís like a wounded animal that will bite me if I come close. I read recently that if the withdrawal is this bad then so is the addiction. He has no fcking clue just how bad his addiction is. This was obviously a daily thing. Plus he moved from porn to strip clubs, cheating, and prostitutes. So yeah itís bad. My number one goal is staying safe and self protection. Addiction or not abuse or the attempt to abuse is not ok. I just want this nightmare to end.

BlackRaven posted 4/30/2021 01:28 AM

PurpleReign- it sounds to me like your SAWH may be borderline. It's so common in SAs and is so under diagnosed in men. Anyhow, I'm glad you can see the finish line and are doing what you need to do to protect yourself.

SA is an intimacy disorder, so what you ladies say makes perfect sense.

In 85 to 90 percent of cases, the addict has suffered some kind of abuse. Recovery isn't possible until they are prepared to deal with that trauma. My SAWH saw therapists for decades but never told them about his abuse, and he also never told them about his acting out. What a waste of time, energy and money!

It wasn't until he was inpatient and spent weeks listening to other men talk about their traumas - when he was in a place where he truly felt safe and supported and that he wouldn't be judged - that he remembered it, and also finally recognized that his FOO is screwed up. I truly believe that that was the start of his recovery (though I think he still has a lot of work to do in learning how to deal with his FOO and I don't know if he'll ever succeed with that.) I don't believe there's such a thing as white knuckling recovery. An alcoholic who does that is just a dry drunk and a SA who does it is still a sick person. I also don't believe they will get anything meaningful out of any work they do for us. They need to do it for themselves because they are tired of living a pathetic life of misery and shame.

I think that they can get that acceptance through 12 step programs, but it's not a model set up to encourage them to get in touch with their traumas. Maybe that happens with the CSATs?

Anyhow, that's their side of the street. I believe that the three most important things I can do for myself are having solid boundaries (and I really recommend Vicki Tidwell Palmer's book "Moving Beyond Betrayal: the 5 step boundary solution for partners of sex addicts," surrenders, and keeping the Karpman drama triangle in mind when I make my own choices and when I deal with my H. The boundaries are HARD. I had one set while he was in rehab, but am still refining them for his being back in the same state. But I'm so glad I'm learning those tools because they help me with other difficult relationships, too.

PurpleReign posted 4/30/2021 08:48 AM

Hello BlackRaven yes BPD was mentioned about 4 years ago. The thing about BPD is that itís slowly being seen as a form of PTSD caused by trauma. Itís true that a majority of SAís were abused. My spouse is no exception. Heís still minimizing the impact of being sexually abused by a pastor. I think there is a lot more. Most addictions were triggered by a traumatic event.

The thing about early recovery is theyíre all still very sick. Theyíre all hanging on by a thread. All addicts are desperately trying not to use or relapse. So perhaps what we call white knuckling is normal. They just canít stay there. I understand why Carnes advocates 12 step programs and a CSAT. Itís just too serious of a condition not to.

I just wasnít prepared for the withdrawal. Sadly my brother who is an alcoholic had to go through withdrawal behind bars so I didnít get to witness that part. My mom got the brunt of his anger unfortunately because he lived with her. Iíve seen other family members go through it but only for a very short amount of time. Seeing it up close and personal is insufferable. So obviously there should have been a plan in place but he didnít want to find a CSAT yet. Well now that this withdrawal is kicking his ass he does.

The first step in getting help for addiction is still admitting you have the addiction. Heís done that. I keep reminding him it takes 5 years just to get in a place of full recovery but he will always be an addict. There is no cure. I just think Iím second guessing my commitment to the process. Iíve been with him for 21 years. Do I really want to give him 5 more. Plus Iím just as afraid that he will stay a child emotionally. It scares me just as much as the addiction itself. I canít live with his mindset anymore.

DevastatedDee posted 4/30/2021 09:05 AM

I can relate to so much of what you two write, stubbornft and PurpleReign. The intimacy anorexia, the anger, the blaming...all that. I also had the sad little boy, the victim, the crying, the begging all mixed up in it.

Some battles aren't ours. They're fighting themselves and using us as scapegoats, teddy bears and punching bags. There's nothing we can do to actually help them, but they can certainly chip away at us.

I'm always going to advocate for leaving sex addicts and saving yourselves. Staying doesn't fix them, but it breaks us. There isn't much marriage to save once it reaches a point of serial cheating. What does marriage even mean when that is going on? It makes a mockery of marriage.

There's a lot here for you two to heal from. So much trauma. Books, support groups, therapy...these are all helpful. They're most helpful when you actually have the mental and emotional bandwith to use them for your own healing. When you're still living with them, you're living on high alert, stress, and fear. You obsess about the addict because it doesn't feel safe not to. I don't think you truly heal until you get away from the source of the trauma and can focus completely on yourself.

All of this is hard. No question about it. Staying, leaving, limbo...all of it sucks. There's no simple solution. Leaving and going no contact with my XWH saved my sanity and has led me to a life of peace and happiness. I don't know what his current issues are and I don't want to know. They were never my issues anyway. I'm grateful every day that they aren't my problem anymore.

stubbornft posted 4/30/2021 09:13 AM

DevastatedDee thank you, I get a lot from your posts. I need to keep reminding myself that this isn't my battle. I want to help him (I know that isn't healthy or realistic). It is hard to get through my head that we are not on the same team, there is no team, I have been tricked by him for a long time and it is a lot to process.

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