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I Can Relate :
Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts-22

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 SI Staff (original poster moderator #10) posted at 11:32 AM on Tuesday, September 13th, 2022

For BS's who have been or are in a relationship with a Sex Addict

posts: 10034   ·   registered: May. 30th, 2002
id 8755017
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forestfirepine ( new member #82479) posted at 9:07 AM on Monday, December 19th, 2022

I posted a bit ago on "just found out." I’m really struggling and need some support. It has become clear to me (and my husband) that he was acting out of a compulsion that lead him to seek a bigger and bigger "high." Years ago I talked to him about his porn usage and told him I was concerned it would lead to other things. He shrugged it off.

Well it did lead to other things. He paid a prostitute for a very long and very fruitless (if you get my drift) encounter. It was 1500 dollars. Two years after that he was having cyber sex with many, many women. He says he did it almost every day from June 7 - Sept 18 2018 (he gave me a timeline recently). At one point he made a fake cellphone number (web app) and communicated / sent images with a 25 year old woman. She eventually asked him for money and he realized he was getting catfished. He says that he kind of "woke up" after that. In addition, at least two women had called him out and told him to get the hell off the site because he was married.

He says he deleted all accounts, deleted his fake email and Facebook, and deleted all dating site accounts four years ago. He went to cam / chatterbate usage (no communication, just watching but a DEFINATE line for me). He did that for six months and claims he went back to "just daily porn" until d-day. What prompted him to reveal is a long story and can be found on "just looking for support."

I have a few things that are making my life a living hell. He is constantly telling me, "I don’t know" but then is claiming memories are coming back to him and falling into place. I can’t tell you how many times he’s looked in my eyes and told me I know everything and then I find out more. As I shared in the last post …. I’ve had a lifetime of layered trauma and before any of this I already had PTSD. On D-day I did something very uncharacteristic and checked myself into a 2 day psych ward stay. I am in IC and I’m on meds (and yes I’ve tested myself for STDs) but I am REALLY struggling with the constant surprise information. Each time it’s a trauma … and my brain is fried. Sometimes it’s information I’ve asked for (like recently I asked questions that divulged he was having cybersex with women in our bed and when I was home). Other times it is information he tells me (like the catfish story).

My husband was my best friend and I loved him so very much. I thought he was one of the most trustworthy people I knew. I am so heartbroken. I’ve been through so many things but this is the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I am a survivor of sexual assault, my own sister committed suicide, and I had a stillbirth when my baby was five months along. It feels a little strange saying this but … going through this with my husband has been the hardest thing yet. I’m a pretty tough person - I earned a master’s degree, I have run three marathons, I took care of two kids solo while my husband travelled a lot. But for the first time in my life I feel like I just can’t.

My husband is sleeping in the guest room. We have loooong talks and connect but then he has more information and I am just ruined each time. Is it typical for sex addicts to have a hard time working out all the details? Sometimes when he describes that cybersex stint it sounds like a bender or something.

We have our first marriage counseling tomorrow and I am having a hard time figuring out how to feel optimistic about it.

Thanks for "listening."

ForestFirePine

posts: 39   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2022   ·   location: Minneapolis
id 8770066
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 2:38 PM on Monday, December 19th, 2022

I’m so sorry you are here. I will come back later and respond more but you are not alone. I also dealt with PTSD. Here is one reason why:

Well it did lead to other things. He paid a prostitute for a very long and very fruitless (if you get my drift) encounter.

Lies. He still lies and that’s why you feel so stressed and compelled to ask questions.

Mine also made me DRAG info out of him, if I’m honest it
caused me to despise him, to not only cheat and lie but then make me interrogate him to try and put my life back together. It was too much.

I left and my life got better. Stay in therapy but focus on YOU. Figure out what life you want and what you need to be healthy.

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 852   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8770083
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JasonCh ( member #80102) posted at 5:28 PM on Monday, December 19th, 2022

forestfirepine, you are heard. When i first found out I wanted to talk to people that had similar experiences about what was going on. I ended up attending weekly meetings of COSA.

cosa-recovery

My situation was not one of dealing with a sexual addiction. I explained that and let me attend anyway. The people and the meetings were very helpful to me. Take what you want and leave the rest.

posts: 482   ·   registered: Mar. 18th, 2022
id 8770103
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forestfirepine ( new member #82479) posted at 8:39 PM on Monday, December 19th, 2022

Thank you Jason CH. I checked it out and found a meeting near me. I think it's a great idea.

ForestFirePine

posts: 39   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2022   ·   location: Minneapolis
id 8770127
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Luna1115 ( new member #82456) posted at 9:45 PM on Monday, December 19th, 2022

ForestFirePine,

WeTonglen dot com is a very supportive forum for women partners of Sex Addicts. They have a lot of resources and online events.

I also get a lot of support from the podcast Overcoming Betrayal and Addiction with Dr Rob & Tami. Dr Rob Weiss also has a YouTube channel Sex and Relationship Healing with lots of videos on all kinds of SA topics.

One more thing, you may want to consider having him get therapy and healing BEFORE you take on marriage counseling. If he's not in recovery, marriage counseling can be very frustrating and get you nowhere.

Many prayers to you, it's a long journey.

[This message edited by Luna1115 at 9:47 PM, Monday, December 19th]

posts: 9   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2022
id 8770145
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 5:14 AM on Friday, December 23rd, 2022

I'm sorry you're here. I too was married for more than 25 years to a man who turned out to be a SA and addict in many other areas.

Given the way he has disclosed and the fact that you're jumping into marriage counseling, it sounds like neither of you is working with a CSAT or trauma specialist. That's the first place to start. The counseling is premature, imho. He's still a sick, broken man. He needs to become whole before there's a hope of his being honest and your regaining trust. He started making your life a living hell years ago, you just didn't know it yet. (He may be recovering memories. He also may still be gaslighting you.) You need time to process and understand what has happened. (Know that it had nothing to do with you. Sex addition is about their own trauma. Read TINSA; A neurological approach to sex addiction by Michael Barnes if you need background.)

I had TT for a little over a year. My ex did two inpatient rehabs for a total of nearly four months, one for SA and one for boundaries, and 'worked' at his recovery. We did a proper therapeutic disclosure with lie detector. But even after all that, he couldn't stop lying about the little things, and that's when I knew I needed to end the marriage. Two years later, he still struggles with healthy behavior, and I'm still waiting for a letter of amends. I miss my dreams but I don't miss a dysfunctional marriage or babysitting a broken man.

Focus on your own healing. Find an SA-Anon meeting or SAL12step meeting so you will have a community who knows what you are going through. Work with a trauma therapist. Understand trauma bonding. Do family of origin work so you understand how you ended up with this man. EMDR may help with your previous traumas. Get the focus on you, not him.

Maybe he gets himself back together, but the percentage of SAs who truly recover is about 5%, and learning healthy behavior - if they can- takes years.

Good luck.

posts: 381   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8770511
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secondtime ( member #58162) posted at 5:41 AM on Monday, January 2nd, 2023

Hi Forest,

I am sorry you are here.

What is your husband doing to work on his sobriety? Is he going to a 12 step group and working the steps? Therapist?

Are you asking for everything when he remembers? There's other ways to go about getting the info: including disclosure where you, your H, and both of your ICs are in the same room together.

You might ask him to share his inventory step work with you.

Some folks choose a specific day/time to discuss questions, whatever.

I totally get the feeling of trauma when you get more info.

You also might ask yourself how much do you need to know? For my husband's Recovery v1, I was satisfied with knowing he was an addict and he was trying to recover. Recovery v2 (my husband quasi-relapsed for a long time) I asked more questions, and processed more. Those were the hurtful things. I don't really know that I need to hear the hurtful things. They don't really serve a purpose. It didn't my husband more or less of an addict.

There are some things that my husband did not disclose, even though I asked. He says he doesn't remember. Which, is probably a good thing. I do not know the specific coworkers he fantasized about. And, he may have forgotten. I asked during Recovery v2, and we're talking about folks he worked with 20 years beforehand. So, it is within the realm of forgetting, as I don't remember everyone in my office 20 years ago. He also fantasized about moms at my kids' school, but he would not give me names. While I am curious about these things, it is better likely that I not know. Honestly, at this point, doing web searches of folks in the wee hours of the morning at the expense of my basic needs is really not a good thing. And I think we both know that's what I would do.

Like others have said, I would not do marriage counseling. Just IC. Your husband is dysfunctional. You cannot try to repair a marriage when one party is dysfunctional. It just doesn't work.

My husband and I have not yet done marriage counseling. We probably should at some point. For the most part, the individual work we've done on ourselves has been enough. There are still some lingering things that my husband has yet to grasp. In time, he might. Or he might not. These aren't deal breakers now, but they can be in the future.

In a few months, my husband will have been sober/in recovery for 6 years now. He was sober through covid (we both had to work at home, see to 3 kids going to school online, and manage a toddler for more than one academic year). He was sober when my dad died, and he had to shoulder more. He stayed sober when I had breast cancer.

I do think his recovery is real this time. He did all the outward work for recovery, v1. But, he didn't address the shame he felt, and I don't think he fully accepted he was an addict in his heart of hearts. Which is why he started slipping (like once a year and then it progressed). There was no good way for me to know that he was still dealing with the shame.

I probably will never trust my husband again, when it comes to other women. It's too bad, but consequences are a bitch. I trust him with most everything else.

And, if things go south, I have a plan B that I have discussed with DH. Always good to meet with a few lawyers. Knowledge is power.

Focus on yourself. Invest in yourself. Disengage from your husband. Stand back and watch him like an impartial by-stander. Make your decisions based on his actions, not anything else.

posts: 1104   ·   registered: Apr. 5th, 2017
id 8771746
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 11:17 AM on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

I have a broad question. As the partner of a SA, do you feel you got the support you needed from those from whom you sought counsel? (Therapist, clergy, FOO etc). I don’t and I wonder how common my experience is.

posts: 381   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8774605
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 3:32 PM on Friday, January 27th, 2023

Blackraven, I have found that my therapist is very supportive. Even when I was thinking of working things out. She was happy when I didn’t but my now ex was being very emotionally abusive. Family and friends, mostly I guess. Some acted like it would be scary to start over which I didn’t find supportive. I think people were more supportive when I decided to leave. I think if I had decided to stay they would have been supportive as long as he was doing all he could and treating me well. I think when I was trying to figure out what to do, people didn’t know how to support me. Which I guess I can understand.

He - has gotten immense support and very little judgment. I asked my family to cut off contact and they did. He still tries to contact them and me and my friends. He truly doesn’t comprehend the damage done.

Raven how can we support you here?

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 852   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8774961
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 3:34 PM on Friday, January 27th, 2023

To add, my therapist specializes in working with partners of sex addicts and our sessions have always focused on me and not him or SA. She has helped me in my life in more ways than I can articulate, I am so thankful I found her. I tried two others that were so-so but she is great.

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 852   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8774962
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Luna1115 ( new member #82456) posted at 9:52 PM on Friday, January 27th, 2023

My therapist is a CSAT, so she is great!

I have not talked to clergy.

I also have not told family, but my family has a lot of issues. My mom and sister continually tell me how lucky I am to have my husband. UGH! I did tell my mom about his first affair almost 30 years ago. At that time my mom had a conversation with my MIL and they discussed how difficult I am. So I would say FOO is not supportive at all. I also think this is part of the reason I have stayed with him. Back when it would have been easier to leave, I had no support system and two small kids.

posts: 9   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2022
id 8775043
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 4:22 AM on Monday, January 30th, 2023

Stubbornft,

Raven how can we support you here?

You are so kind. I'm actually OK. I have a descent therapist now. Mostly we focus on family of origin work. But he has betrayal trauma training and does a lot of work with addicts.

I asked just because I've heard a lot of horror stories in my support group, and wondered if that was unique or if it was widespread.

He - has gotten immense support and very little judgment. I asked my family to cut off contact and they did.


That was true in my case as well. His family dropped me immediately. My family continued to support him, and both my brother and father reached out on his last birthday. I wouldn't mind so much if they asked me if I was OK with it, but they don't, and that feels hurtful.

Luna1115

So I would say FOO is not supportive at all.


I had the same experience. Comments I got included "I guess you should have had better boundaries" and "you wouldn't leave someone with cancer" as well as "being alone is terrible" and that my trauma is "all a mindset." I finally got to the point of asking them if they'd treat me the same if I was covered in bruises instead of having PTSD, if my abuse had been physical instead of emotional? I won't say they are now supportive, but at least it stopped their comments.

posts: 381   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8775314
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 4:25 AM on Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

That was true in my case as well. His family dropped me immediately. My family continued to support him, and both my brother and father reached out on his last birthday. I wouldn't mind so much if they asked me if I was OK with it, but they don't, and that feels hurtful.

I’m sorry, that is hurtful! I have been sort of bewildered at the support he has gotten. I don’t expect him to be alone and for everyone to hate his guts, but we have mutual friends that know what happened and don’t seem to think any less of him and some even pity him because he says he wants to work it out. Mind BLOWING!

I try to keep in mind that addicts are very manipulative and that the other people in our lives have been duped and manipulated like I have.

I’m glad you are doing well and have a good therapist!

Me: BS 40 Him: WS 51 He cheated with massage parlor sex workersDday 01/19/2021
Kicked him out in 2021 - life is better on the other side. Moved on with the help of a wonderful therapist.

posts: 852   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8775475
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dontsaylovely ( member #43688) posted at 10:13 PM on Tuesday, February 14th, 2023

What's everyone doing for Valentine's Day? Was never an occasion I cared about. But we are inundated with ads/messages etc. to remind us of the day. This March will be 9 years from dday for me and I chose to stay for my own health reasons, yes he can take care of me and do the housework after years of his secret life. Not ideal but easier than coping on my own. Anyway, I'm on purging and way back I had printed off piles of SA spousal support. Now skimming through and shredding. Most of it pertains to coping around discovery so no longer relevant to me. But still is all sad. This many years later I will say once an addict, always an addict. Don't think he's acting out but don't believe the thoughts and mind images have left him so I try to stay in the don't care attitude.

DDay: March 15, 2014

posts: 194   ·   registered: Jun. 11th, 2014   ·   location: Canada
id 8777693
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 2:43 AM on Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

Dontsaylovely,

I intentionally set up some activities for today, and was fortunate in that some friends made me feel special (one brought me chocolates.). That emotional connection with friends made me feel seen and valued, which in some ways is what the day is about.

I also made sure that I passed that forward, and reached out to several female friends.

The day wasn't without its triggers. Thinking back 2 years, my first DDay was April 2020, and I know from my hyper vigilance that exSAWH spent an hour on the phone with his mistress on V-day 2020, after he got me a card and brought me coffee in bed.

And I still haven't purged all the FB memories of him. One of those popped up today "I know my husband loves me because he was so thoughtful and go me xxxx " - I don't think I'll ever know if he loved me.

I think I get triggered, I just have better tools to get it under control.

posts: 381   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8777715
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 3:03 AM on Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

duplicate

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 3:04 AM, Wednesday, February 15th]

posts: 381   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8777716
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dontsaylovely ( member #43688) posted at 10:37 PM on Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Thanks Black Raven. I really thought this many years later I would be over it. But obv not and I should just accept I'll forever hate the day. I know V day 2014 SAWH went to strip club and had PIV with his "fave" stripper that day. We had never celebrated the day so nothing special for him and I which I WAS fine with. Until I found out everything. Now it's a big deal for me and he tries but there is absolutely nothing he can do to obliterate those thoughts. He tries and does try hard but how do you undo all that? Don't think it's possible. I've done everything I think possible to deal with the triggers but - I stayed with him - so really will still be there. I think for you, divorcing (I think?) and moving on will be better for you. For the most part I can ignore (not really healthy) and carry on.

Some days he says I look at him with disgust on my face. Well that is probably true. I am disgusted by what he did for so many years. I said I stayed for health reasons and for so many reasons wish I didn't have the chronic pain issues and could live a normal life. But is what it is. I am beyond disgusted by his past and know I can't really get over it as long as I'm with him. If I had my health I think I would have been gone in a heartbeat so just adds to my sorrow at the health issue that keeps me with him. He does do everything he can to take care of me and look after me, cook for me, etc. But I don't think everything is enough to overwhelm the affects his emotional abuse his actions created.

Kudos to you for getting out of it and I hope the triggers do have an end point for you.

DDay: March 15, 2014

posts: 194   ·   registered: Jun. 11th, 2014   ·   location: Canada
id 8778044
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 4:18 AM on Friday, February 17th, 2023

dontsaylovely,

I'm so sorry you're stuck in a groundhog day of memories. I'm also sorry about the chronic pain issues.

I can't really get over it as long as I'm with him. If I had my health I think I would have been gone in a heartbeat so just adds to my sorrow at the health issue that keeps me with him.

What sort of support do you have? I know I preach this all the time, but I would have lost my mind without the women from the SAL12Step program. It's not just the step work, which I don't actually do although I do often get things out of the readings, it's the 'afterparty' when the women stay on the zoom call and just talk. And it's the messages and calls - both from me and to me - with women who just 'get' it. It's hard to describe how uplifting, empowering, reassuring & validating it is to be able to speak freely and not worry about being judged or fixed.

The people who started the program are LDS, but I'm not and it mostly sticks to the 'god of our understanding/higher power' language of traditional 12 step. Perhaps because it's LDS, however, I'd say half the women are still married. I can think of two that have chronic health problems as well, one who stayed and one who left. Maybe there is some support and some recovery tools that they can offer?

posts: 381   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8778098
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dontsaylovely ( member #43688) posted at 10:17 PM on Friday, February 17th, 2023

Thanks Black Raven. I know I don't have enough support (none). Haven't and probably will never tell family. No friends that I think will understand and if I want to be "couple friends" with them expect there would be some ostracizing so not going there. When Dday happened we were working in the city but have since retired to our cottage 2 hours from city. While there I did different meetings but nothing really clicked with me so no motivation to drive a distance now for that.

But thank you for suggestion, maybe I'll look and see what I can find online now. I go in fits and starts on looking for chronic pain help and same with this. I try, get nowhere so give up for awhile and then get looking for the next thing. So far, only to be disappointed again. Just haven't found my fit.

And I should have responded to your q re therapy/counsellor help. Way back I looked up a CSAT at the beginning. Quite liked her and she had the qualifications to handle us separately. Until she didn't. Her own H was a SA and she upgraded her qualifications to deal with him. He spent all their money on his second life (she's still rebuilding). She recommended my SAWH to a group which was great and he needed to be there. But she then went to a meeting to give them a talk and wore a very revealing top - really? to a group of SA's? Do you really get it? I lost all respect at that point and stopped going to her. And she didn't push SAWH through to deal with whatever trauma/childhood issues got him here. And he truly does seem like stopped at a young emotional age. I did go back to get her to push him (we were both seeing separately) to get whatever help he needed to deal with that. She just said group helping him - it was - but he needed so much more one on one and because it wouldn't be dollars in her pocket (hindsight is 20/20) she didn't refer him on further which he needed. And, bad on me, because I wasn't going anywhere he had no motivation to further pursue.

She really was good at the crisis point and fallout but beyond that not so much. And I didn't find locally any therapeutic help to pick up my pieces. I thought I'd be better at this point that I am and probably the biggest disappointment is me in myself putting up with this. But health. I'd be worse off on my own. I've recently had a bunch of surgeries and more to come and he's certainly be there for me so I guess I live with my best friend that I can count on. Just not all that you'd expect from a husband.

Maybe I'm just a good cautionary tale for youngers to pay attention to.

DDay: March 15, 2014

posts: 194   ·   registered: Jun. 11th, 2014   ·   location: Canada
id 8778341
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