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Married to Someone with Sex Addiction: Is Divorce the Only Option?

A paper heart is broken in half and each half is pinned to a clothes-line.
 

Has my entire marriage been a lie? Am I to blame? Is there any hope for my marriage? Is divorce my best option? These are just a few of the questions that will run through your mind after discovering a partner’s sexual betrayal and sex addiction. You will experience a roller coaster of emotions.

You want to, first, encourage the betraying-spouse to take care of himself or herself while you seek support. Next, don’t make any permanent or rash decisions while the feelings are raw and fresh. Finally, realize that divorce does not have to be the answer, if both individuals in are willing to follow an intentional path toward healing the relationship.

Let’s take a look at these intentional, choices that can make healing a reality, in a relationship overwhelmed by sexual addiction.

  •  Both partners are willing to do their own work: Though there may come a time down the road for each individual to go to counseling together, it is very important for each person to be committed to a plan that will help them individually. The betraying partner may not be in a place to consider working on the marriage. Rather than forcing that the issue, work your own plan to deal with the grieving, the pain, the anger, and the actual betrayal. Focus on who you are, first, before concerning yourself with your role in the relationship, and how it has/will change. At the same time, the partner that has done the betraying needs to have a very clear and specific plan for himself or herself, individually.  If this step does not take place, it will prove to be very challenging. Each partner needs to be committed to their individual healing.
  • Steps to stop the sexual addictive behaviors: Once a betrayed-spouse knows about the sexually addictive choices and behaviors his/her partner has engaged in, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay engaged in the relationship. Major steps to end the behavior(s) need to be taken. This does not make him/her the dictator, but it is fair for the betrayed-spouse to set boundaries which state that, in order to stay together, the addictive behavior(s) must stop. This can look different for each couple, from having check-in meetings, to creating an actual written agreement. Again, this goes back to the betraying-partner’s willingness to face their sexual addiction, take accountability, get counseling, and engage in an openness of sharing that will foster and rebuild trust. This will have a dual benefit to the relationship. The hurt partner will see an effort in their spouse to take care of him or herself and also begin to honor the relationship. The partner facing the battle with sexual addiction will finally get some freedom from the shame they have been living with, and begin to find a new approach to life.
  • Be willing to give each other space and respect each other’s healing process and timeline: Too often, when the betraying-spouse unloads on their partner, they feel a sense of relief; A weight has been lifted from living in lies. At the same time, their partner is realizing a terrible truth about the marriage in a way he/she never dreamed would happen. Now is NOT the time to press an agenda, other than agreeing to each take steps toward healing, and respecting that each person will progress at their own pace. By working on an individual path, each partner will be focusing their energy on him/herself, while, at the same time, honoring the work the other is doing. Each partner will have time to adjust to the changes that are now taking place in his/her own life.

Where divorce does not have to be discussed at this point, it will, more than likely, cross each partners’ mind. Before this decision is made, or things are said that will be difficult to overcome, take some time to work through each of these steps. Again, if there is going to be hope, and eventually healing, each partner will have to be committed to first focusing on themselves and then, when each is at a safe place and most likely with the guidance of a therapist, they can begin to take steps to restore their relationship.

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© Copyright 2011 by Janie Lacy, LMHC, NCC, CSAT, therapist in Maitland, FL. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments
  • lena January 10th, 2011 at 9:30 PM #1

    I wouldn’t care if my partner wanted to work on the marriage or not. Once a cheater, always a cheater. I’d want out completely and not give him the chance to cheat on me twice!

  • Dan C. January 10th, 2011 at 10:07 PM #2

    An affair is extremely hard to forgive but not impossible to. I’ve been married forty seven years and my wife cheated on me right before our fifth anniversary with an old boyfriend. Do I think about it? Yes, I’d be lying to say it never crosses my mind. And I’d also be lying to say it was all her fault because it wasn’t. I’d be neglectful of her and eventually drove her into his arms that weekend by being a bigger ass than usual. We got through it because we wanted to. Never say never.

  • fiona January 10th, 2011 at 10:50 PM #3

    My husband begged me to forgive him when he had a stupid short-lived affair I discovered that led to him confessing to several more. I told him if he cared that much, he would have suggested counseling when he first felt tempted instead of acting on it repeatedly. Our marriage was far from perfect and we both knew it. I’d asked him to go before and he refused, so he knew I would have. Why flog a dead horse? We broke up and that was that. What gets to me most is we had a very active sex life. It was the one thing we could say worked in our marriage. He didn’t need to go looking outwith for sexual gratification.

  • Richard January 11th, 2011 at 3:58 AM #4

    @fiona: Are you sure the affair was not an emotional one too? Not to offend you but sometimes even when the sex life between a couple is fine there is not much emotional connect between the two and one of the partners may try to find this connection elsewhere…?

  • dv8 January 11th, 2011 at 6:03 AM #5

    I have lived this but my husband was addicted to porn. Talk about hard to get past. It might have been easier had it been an affair with an actual woman who I would have been able to recognize what my competition was, but who would ever feel like they could compete with or be what these porn girls are online? I never felt like I would be good enough or pretty enough or whatever for him anymore after I found out. It has been a difficult raod to recovery for him and for me too. I am not sure that our marriage will ever be the same but we have been trying for about two years now and I have to say that it is getting a little better. But will I ever feel the same about him? I don’t think so.

  • D Fletcher January 11th, 2011 at 2:20 PM #6

    I heard of the term sex addict for the first time very recently and I’m not too clear about what it means. After readin this blog post I have a question-can a person be termed a sex addict even if he does NOT look for sex outside marriage? Is that possible?!

  • Janie Lacy January 11th, 2011 at 8:23 PM #7

    Hi D Fletcher: A person can be a sex addict even though they have not physically acted outside of their marriage. For example, they can be addicted to compulsive masturbation and pornography. A great question!

  • Rex January 11th, 2011 at 9:17 PM #8

    @fiona – You didn’t need him to go with you for counseling or therapy. You could have went by yourself and talked about your own feelings about the marriage with a therapist. Don’t let going alone hold you back from getting help with relationship problems.

  • Jessica January 11th, 2011 at 9:41 PM #9

    That’s what I did, went to therapy on my own. I’d recommend it. I didn’t even ask him my bf if he wanted to go and went for months in secret when he was at work. The sessions didn’t save my relationship so there’s no happy ending in that respect. However it helped me immensely. I was able to make a clear headed decision based on what I learned about myself and my role in its breakdown.

  • doug January 11th, 2011 at 10:56 PM #10

    “This can look different for each couple from having a signed contract, to check-in meetings, to an actual written out document.” Seriously? You must be joking. If you need them to sign a contract and they can’t just accept that when their partner gives them their word they mean it, the couple might as well split up there and then. What would be the point of it anyway if they broke the contract? Does it make it any less hurtful that they won’t control their sexual addiction because it was in writing and not a verbal agreement? With all due respect, that’s ludicrous. The only use that would be is in the divorce courts for proving their sexual addiction. That could be the real reason behind writing it down. How the heck can you say the partner facing the battle with sexual addiction will finally be getting some freedom from the shame? A piece of paper does that? Please.

  • sophie January 11th, 2011 at 11:18 PM #11

    I would kick him out, no question about it. Adultery is inexcusable. Call yourself a sex addict if you want but to me you’d just be another guy wanting to get laid as much as possible. I think sex addict was a phrase coined by men to be used as a feeble excuse when they got bored with playing happy families.

  • Owen January 12th, 2011 at 12:11 PM #12

    Women cheat and can be sex addicts too you know! I was with a woman once who couldn’t go out for a night out without hooking up with some bozo. I loved her so much I was blinded to it. My best friend tried to tell me but I wouldn’t listen. I thought they were jealous. She was like a drug to me, and other men were like a drug to her. She needed the ego boost of being found attractive by somebody new. She moved away and we broke up. I know now I was her safety net until something better came along and when it did, off she went. In small towns, people see and don’t talk much until they are ready to. When she left town, I found out all about her after that from guys who knew she was my ex that she’d been with. Nothing could have saved that relationship.

  • Daniel January 17th, 2011 at 6:45 AM #13

    Sex addiction is a coping mechanism, and it is simply that. It doesn’t mean that the person you are seeing is the person that you married. In fact, it has nothing to do with that individual’s character. Anything can be a trigger. I’ve seen in women it is throwing a fit and being angry. For some guys it is alcoholism, others violence. Everyone has a weakness, comfort food, depression, it is the achilles tendon of human nature. There are some things in life we can not handle, or things we do subconciously. The addiction hurts spouses because they are in the proximity of the addict’s actions. But can you imagine what the addict is going through? Some of us don’t know where we are going when we die and some of our traumatic experiences have caused such existential damage that nothing but intense psychotherapy will work. Of course a sex addict is never going to tell you when they have a problem, it is an addiction, most are in denial until a crisis puts things in perspective. I will tell you that most of you have left the addict, have left someone who doesn’t know the consequences of their action. You have left someone with a loaded gun but blind folded. I’m not saying no one has the right to be angry or saddened, betrayed or upset. But that is the truth. Some of you don’t know what addictions are like, some do. It is your actions afterward that determine the course of the relationship. You can let that person run themselves into the ground, contract AIDS, spend their money on prostitutes, or continue blindly hurting people. Or you can realize that God loves us all, and make a difference in this world, and quite possibly save someone else from the hurt and betrayal that you felt. I hope anyone who is going through the addiction, or anyone has been hurt by someone with one, can heal. It is possible.

  • Lorrie May 30th, 2011 at 10:36 PM #14

    I am very frustrated at the comments from people who do not understand , nor care to understand exactly what sex addcition is. No it is not a term men use to get “laid” as much as they want. Actually a lot of the time it has nothing to do with cheating etc. it is an addiction just like drugs or alcohol. There are many levels, it can involve porn, masturbation, objectifying others just to same a few. Please do not make assumptions. I never dreamed I would ever need to know what it was either until my husband was diagnosed and started therapy. His has very little to do with intercourse, so I educated myself and am going to therapy. Please at least research a little about what you plan to comment on.
    Thanks

  • A selfish "mans" wife June 27th, 2011 at 1:51 PM #15

    I won’t argue whether sex addiction is real or not. I will argue if you are a sex addict then stay SINGLE! Why drag another person down with your lies and sickness. Subjecting them to lies, betrays and deadly STD’S.. All the while collecting smiles, love and dedication under misrepresentation of yourself to the one you say you love? They are self centered, cruel and conniving individuals using other to quench their sickness and a spouse to delude and blame for their sickness. Selfish..selfish..selfish..

  • Ashley August 20th, 2011 at 9:08 PM #16

    I know sex addiction has made my life become suddenly a lie. My husband of 7 years and two children cheated then desired affairs ever since that point. I found out that he had been involved with married woman, phone sex, and even invited a hooker to my home. The lies are what hurt the most and even though he knew our marriage would be over he continued to seek out other woman to fulfill his sexual needs. Im confused on why he would beg for me back every time and what he sees me as in his life. He states he has two lives and im not in the other one and he never thinks about me when he cheats. I am faced again with the decision to keep my marriage and subject myself to this again. Im lost on what to do and why he even wants me.

  • Dee October 5th, 2011 at 11:57 PM #17

    Sex addiction is exactly what the words mean, an addiction to sex! It is sad to say that it hurts many people, from the husbands/wives, to the children or siblings! This is something that kills, tear apart and destroy sometimes forever those in it’s path! I am a addict who truly loves his wife with all of my heart! I would never regardless of who I come across leave my wife for ANYONE, but it is wrong for me to lie, cheat and rip apart my family happiness! It is sad and I am going to get help and hopefully whomever read my post will too! LET BEAT THIS DISEASE TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • angie December 18th, 2011 at 2:38 PM #18

    I am married to a sex addict. I nearly left him once but decided to “work it out” with him. HUGE mistake. He has not done the things he says, he continues to webcam and look at porn. all the while killing me a little with every action. unless you’ve been in this situation, you cannot know how heartbreaking and destroying it is. my husband loves me, i know. but it’s not enough. i hate him for what he has done, what he is doing. i can’t believe that he can’t think of our children long enough to keep his penis in his pants instead of displaying it out there for the rest of the screwed up sex addicts who are online. divorce is the only option i have at this point and its so gutwrenching to me. :’(

  • Susan December 27th, 2011 at 4:02 PM #19

    Angie – I am in the same situation and it is heartbreaking. I have stuck it out for over 12 years hoping the therapy, counseling and my support would get us through. I now found out again that while he has said he hasn’t been acting out that he actually has at work in his office. I am disgusted and so angry. After being out of work for over 8 months he finally got a job earlier this year and he is willing to risk losing it along with me and our son. I feel I have no other option at this point either and asked him to move out. I don’t know what to tell my son – they have a great relationship and he will be heartbroken. So much damage has been done…as you so perfectly described it, it’s gut wrenching.

  • hope March 24th, 2012 at 5:50 AM #20

    I have been married for less than a year and have discovered hundreds of emails to webcam girls… some becoming relationships that last a month.
    I truly thought i had married someone i could trust around sex and other women.
    for me now, without the trust there is no love anymore and i want to end my marriage- all i can think is that its bound to happen again and why have children and more responsibility to have to consider next time, it seems a lot better to move on now and start again!… i feel really bad and guilty to leave him as i think it would destroy him…. does anyone have any feedback?

  • j April 1st, 2012 at 7:18 PM #21

    @hope! You have to set the rules, for you. And you have to go as far as you are willing to go, once you have drawn those rules for yourself. If he has betrayed your trust in such a gross manner, you have to follow your heart. You cannot allow what he “might” do, dictate the rest of your life. I am married to a sex addict. We are working on things, and I have committed to give him time. I am comfortable with that. But if, or when I leave, it will be for me, and for my children. My husband has to learn to value a family, or value his addiction. And if leaving him destroys him, I will feel sad. But again, he choose the betrayal. He has to live with his choices. You have to decide how long you are willing to live with his choices.

  • renee April 29th, 2012 at 6:22 PM #22

    I wish I had some feedback instead of needing some myself, I recently found txt, fb, picture messages,emails from 9 different women over a 12 month period of time from from the end of 2009 through the beginning of 2011 in an old black berry of my boyfriends, in some months he had contact with all 9 of them in the same month. We have been together for almost 15 years over the years he has been unfaithful in one way or another numerous times, he has physically cheated, but more often as far as i know alot of his contact was inappropriate contact through txts, emails etc, some with women he met online an ex girlfriend and co workers. We have separated and gotten back together a few times. Our longest separation lasted over 6 months and 3 1\2 years ago we got back together and both made a lot of changes, our relationship has never been better, our sex life is amazing, we enjoy each others company etc, so I was not prepared at all for what I found. I am not a naive person by any means if i were i wouldn’t know any of this. Due to his past I would on occasion check his FB, he left it up on his iPod and never hid it, never found anything until 3 Mos ago i found a message to a coworker of his giving her his cell # that prompted me to look further and I was shocked at what I found, I always knew he liked to watch porn,he has always had a abnormally high sex drive and the porn didn’t seem to interfere with our sex life so it really didn’t bother me, I am an attractive woman and have never doubted his attraction to me.I had no idea the amount of porn, frequency or kind if porn he was into. I feel like my whole relationship has been a lie, the last 3 years I was building trust and he was betraying me it seems the entire time. He has sworn he did not have sex of any kind with any of the 9 women, he actually said it was like entertainment to him, like it even matters, some of these women are women we know, not well but still. Sorry for the book but I am so disgusted hurt and angry, so much anger, I have never felt this much anger ever, I have made an appointment with a therapist and was all set to leave and still am but We have 3 children, they are not his biological children but he has raised them for almost 15 yrs and is a great father you would never know by his actions that they were not his biological children, our 18 yr old daughter made us grandparents last year and it was heartbreaking for me, but he was amazing supportive to me and her and helped me come to terms with it, we have a beautiful grand baby and a good life, I only mention thus because he is not a total monster, I believe he really loves me and is happy. How could this man the man I thought I built my life with be the same person as the man living this double life with all these secrets, how and why would he risk loosing everything. I feel so broken and helpless!

  • Maria May 22nd, 2012 at 1:11 PM #23

    I just found out yesterday that my husband of 26 years had a double life for several years. He was always very protective of his privacy and in 2009 a woman called and said they had unprotected sex and then she found out he was married… I was devastated but chose to work on our relationship thinking it was that ONE instance. Yesterday he left his email open and I was able to see what opened my eyes and ruined my spirit, me trust, my marriage. He had secret passwords stored in a document I was able to get into… He had been seeing countless women spending dinners and such. I don’t even know how he did it he was home on weekends and most nights save the Occasional company dinner… But now I know. He said he realized this couldn’t go on and stopped on his own accord without any help and he sounded proud of this achievement. He even sent pictures of our children to some of this women pictures of family vacations …. I lost my husband, my best friend and my future with him. I can’t see how I will be able to ever have a relationship with him. I hate him and despise him. I truly do think my love has vanished. He arrogance, the way he talked to me with so many put downs all the while he was doing this… Even yesterday morni g he had a chance to come. Mean and he didn’t!!! How can I ever trust him again? I can’t.

  • renee May 23rd, 2012 at 7:52 AM #24

    My best advice is see a therapist ASAP, check their qualifications first though, make sure they have plenty of experience with addiction and marriage counseling. I started seeing one and it seems to help, I am only a little over a month into this so unfortunately I have still have no idea what I am going to do and my emotions are still all over the place but with therapy and educating my self on the issue if sex addiction I have become less angry. I have realized for now I have to take care of myself so when it is time to make a decision I can feel confident in the decision and know I will be ok weather I move on or choose to stay. Good luck, try to stay strong this is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with

  • Angela June 17th, 2012 at 10:53 AM #25

    If you are talking about a sex addict then probably the cheating is not once, but more than hundreds.

  • Angela June 19th, 2012 at 12:53 PM #26

    No children?
    Leave the guy, it will not destroy him, but rather give him motivation to recover!
    If I could go back in time, the time I had no children yet, then I would save myself all the discoveries…. There is always more, and always new ones. I would safe myself discovering the use of prostitutes and so on. I would leave and not look back.

  • Deb October 12th, 2012 at 3:08 PM #27

    In the last month found out I was married to a sex addict after 35 yrs of marriage. I was able to get my hands on his cell phone, which he protected like a newborn baby. (yes a clue I know)
    There it was, emails and pictures from women, thousands of them. I had suspected he was seeing someone and had been searching for PROOF, well the proof was in his phone.. I am devasted and disgusted by his behavior and the lies he has been telling me.
    He keeps saying he will make things right and wants to stay together. NO WAY! Is it typical of a sex addict that they dont see what they have done as being so damaging that there can be no looking back.
    Everything I have read says they will continue to do what they were doing..
    That is so discouraging.. I want out now…
    I pray he gets himself help but I dont see that happening…

  • Katie October 28th, 2012 at 3:05 AM #28

    Interesting comments. I’ve been married for 31 years to a sex addict. I understand the problems alright. Lack of maturity, self centered, inflated ego, total lack of empathy, manipulative, lying, deceptive.. The list goes on. I have been more than patient and understanding. He has not. Nothing is beneath an addict to satsfy his addiction. Forget the sympathy; try living in the spouse / partners life and you see how it feels!

  • Rachel November 23rd, 2012 at 1:21 PM #29

    honestly? to the girl who said that the term sex addict was coined by a man who just wanted to use it as an excuse to get laid, please, open a book and stop spreading your hate and ignorance!

    sex addiction is very hurtful to ALL parties involved. it’s like drug or alcohol addiction. you’re going to tell me that alcoholics and drug addicts should remain single for the rest of their lives too? You’re telling me you don’t have problems that you unleash on your significant other? please.

    for the people who say “if he ever cheated on me, there’s no way I could forgive” I hope you’re never faced with that situation, but to make up your mind so adamantly without any knowledge of how or why, it’s just so disgustingly narrowminded.

    Nobody’s perfect, people have problems – usually sex addicts are severely abused as children and their brains chemically don’t work normally. For you to just assume it’s a selfish act with no point but to get laid is retarded. It’s a profoundly sad psychological problem.

    The people betrayed have every right to feel hurt and anger, but sex addiction is very real and painful for the addict as well. open the dictionary and look up “addiction” – just because it’s hard for you to comprehend doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

  • Renee November 23rd, 2012 at 8:13 PM #30

    I found out 7 1/2 months ago my bf of 11 years has seen prostitutes & filmed it-and posted it on-line to make money. (so he says this is all). I know he is a sex addict, because he frequents porn and does cyber.chat & probably cyber sex. I have been out of my mind & in deep depresion, pain & feelso hurt and betrayed. I found a good therapist who said “he must get therapy and go to SA meetings”. I asked him to get insurance one day- and guess what? he forgot. That is because it was not important to him. I want to say they I thought we were going to live our golden years together- but I asked myself this? Do I want to live with the agonizing pain of a cheater the rest of my life? or The agonising pain of getting over him now? I chose to break it off. and it has only been 3 days now. I must tell you- this whole thing was TRAMATIC! I have been tramatized. Now I am working on healing. as for him- addictions using come with RELAPS-ES. tHANKS FOR LISTENING. newely broke up after 11 years of being lied to.

  • Renee November 23rd, 2012 at 8:29 PM #31

    I have a qustion for people who have experienced this. What is going to my sex addict bf now that we have broken up? Is he going to progress? Or is he going to find the Perfect prostitute to marry? I really am raged & feel so nagry at him & betrayed that right now I feel like he doen’t get better. I want him to feel 3 times the pain he has caused me. Then I will feel good that I made the corrcet decision on leaving him forever.

  • AM December 10th, 2012 at 8:19 AM #32

    Renee – most likely, he will binge. He will gorge himself on sex and whatever other addictions he feeds, consuming sex to drown out his conscience, his feelings of loss and guilt, his memories. He will NEVER feel as badly as you do because he has spent most of his life running from sexual encounter to sexual encounter, addiction after addiction, running from his own broken, twisted inner world. And, even better, he can blame you for all of his pain because you ‘just didn’t accept his apology,’ refused to ‘see how he had changed,’ or ‘chose not to believe him’. These addicts value only deceit and lies, cherish their secrets, and give their time and attention to their addictions.

  • connie January 18th, 2013 at 5:22 AM #33

    To #20
    Leave the marriage. The lies, serial cheating only gets worse. He will not stop. Go before your whole life is destroyed. I am now facing this decision after 40 yrs. of lies, adultry etc. on and on. Don’t let the begging from him keep you in the marriage. Get out while you still have many years ahead of you. It will destroy you. It takes a toll. It is a horrible way of life. Leave.
    Good Luck and God Bless you. Pray for divine direction.

  • Hope January 30th, 2013 at 3:49 PM #34

    Thank you all so much for posting. My husband of 12 years and I have been “working” on things for the last 6 years, ever since I discovered that he cheated on me. I decided to accept his words and it took some time, but was able to get back to normalcy. It seems like right about the time we were ok again, I discover that he’s been sexting and starting things up with an old girlfriend. She’s in another state so he could claim they never had sex, but that’s not the point..He’s still having an affair; they are having sex over the phone and exchanging all sorts of photos. It rocked my world. I can go into all of the stories; tell about his porn addiction and obsession with genital piercings but I never kicked him out. We have two children and at that time they were very young. I didn’t feel like I could do it by myself (physically and financially). I felt trapped and so stayed in the marriage. The pattern only repeated itself time and again progressively getting worse. This last time was the last straw. I made him leave, but Connie (#33) hit the nail on the head. Already the begging and sympathy pleas are overwhelming. I let him back in the house to see the kids and he wanted to spend the night (on the couch) and it felt like I had to kick him out again. The only thing I can think of is do I want this pattern to continue for the rest of my life? I’m young(ish) and have plenty on my side… I just don’t know… It was so hard on the kids watching him go. They don’t understand and I don’t know what to tell them… He is supposed to get therapy and get help, and I need to see him doing that but honestly, I don’t know if it will be enough.
    Thanks again to everyone who posted. Reading about your experiences has really helped me.

  • renee January 30th, 2013 at 7:05 PM #35

    leave. put up with 2 tears of morning so you can find happiness again. You cannot fix addictions and they do not care. The addicted mind doesn’t think it’s wrong. do not be a follower- be a leader. leave.

  • renee January 30th, 2013 at 7:08 PM #36

    i havent seen my old man. I miss our friendship very much, but living with betrayal is so painful-it is so hurting. I am almost better.

  • Hope January 31st, 2013 at 6:07 PM #37

    I know I should. He said he is starting therapy on Monday…I want him to get better. I want my family to be whole again. Do people who go through therapy get better and stop? I would imagine its like any other addiction, theres bound to be a fall off the wagon every now and again…Can I handle that? I guess the biggest question is do I want to? Maybe I should be the selfish one for a change and do what’s best for me. I don’t know anything at this point except that for now he is out and until he works on his problems he can’t come back.

  • renee February 2nd, 2013 at 1:02 AM #38

    I like what Connie #20 said “It will destroy you. It takes a toll. It is a horrible way of life. Leave.
    Good Luck and God Bless you. Pray for divine direction.
    ” this is true…………

  • Laurel February 2nd, 2013 at 9:30 PM #39

    yes. leave. however, its not easy and its also lonely because after all of these years finding out that my “best friend” is a lying cheating fucktard has not exactly ingratiated me to the opposite sex.

    what kills me the most are all of the “fake recoveries” and then women who are thinking that all is hunky dory, only to discover years and years later, that the leopard really didn’t change his spots. He just learned how to cover them up better.

    as for being abused as children. sorry. that is not an excuse. I was abused too. get help. or better yet. get a conscious AND a f–king soul!

    signed,

    trying-not-to-be-a-bitter-bitch.

  • Laurel February 2nd, 2013 at 9:41 PM #40

    Yes, Hope… #20. You do not have the power to destroy him. He is indestructible for he has no soul to destroy. If you stay, however, he does have the power to destroy you.

    save yourself. he’s a sinking ship and will pull you down with him if you let him. choose life. YOUR precious life. Your instincts of self-preservation are spot on.

    For any SA who have embraced recovery and are truly walking the talk… I commend you, however you have to know that you are in the vast minority.

    It takes a dogged determination to change these ingrained patterns of behavior. And even then, most cannot succeed for the long term. Yes, its very sad, but most sex addicts, I believe are not truly sad. They live in a world of their own making and the rules that apply to most of us do not apply to them. Oh, they put on a good show… but it is not real. Again, a truly recovering addict has enough insight to know this about him/herself and does not want to be THAT person anymore. It truly takes a paradigm shift of the highest order.

    I pray for all of our souls…

  • Laurel February 3rd, 2013 at 8:30 AM #41

    I just want to add a few more things at this time. Sex addiction is real just as alcoholism is real, however, having an indiscretion as some people were discussing earlier in this thread is absolutely not what we are talking about.
    My belief is that sex addiction, per se is not the disease, but a symptom of the underlying personality disorder which is usually either narcissistic personality disorder or avoidant personality disorder or a combo of both.

    Can a sex addict, (say a man) who’s been with hundreds of other women while still coming home to the wife and family also be someone who loves his wife as he most often claims? Well, yes and no. In his mind it is “love” but his version of love is warped and one-sided. It is not what a healthier person perceives love to be.

    My husband claimed that he did not feel adored and yes, that is true because he does not adore himself and he also went out of his way to make himself as unadorable as possible to me. I wouldn’t even have gone on a second date with this unfortunate dude, much less have fallen in love with him myself. But that love died, because love needs to be nurtured and cared for, or it WILL die. The sex addict will use this as an excuse for his heinous actions, but that is all it is— a lame excuse. There are always other choices such as talking, therapy, etc. My h and I actually had a very close and intimate relationship in other ways, but when I found out about all of the affairs and read about “the five plus CONSPIRACY to commit adultery” and how she felt so “guilty” because he had born all of the culpability, I said, “ENOUGH!”

    That my friends is not love. He goaded me into looking into his computer which had been locked up tighter than NORAD. (with enough disk space to fuel it as well.) He actually had the temerity to say that he had nothing to hide.

    How sick can a person be?

    I went to therapy for years without him. She encouraged me to pull out all the stops and give the marriage my all, which I did–albeit reluctantly. But it takes TWO to make a marriage.

    All of the thousands of hours that he spent pursuing other women were taken away from me, his children, his ability to earn a living, etc. (he was unemployed for 3.5 years)

    The betrayed spouse will still rack her brain. Was there more *I* COULD have done? Is any of this my fault? Relationship problems, yes… but sex addiction is not due to “relationship problems”—EVER. It is an aberration that lives inside the sex addict’s heart and what’s passing for a soul. I cannot possibly even begin to imagine what that feels like and yes, of course, they are suffering, but they are taking all of their loved ones down with them and that is just not right.

    I too thought of doing what he did to me… and what stopped me every time was seeing the look of pain and anguish and on his face, when he eventually would find out. All the while, he was cheating on me left and right.

    Leaving was extremely difficult on account of our financial problems, however, I do have a good business and can support myself and my mom helped me to buy an apartment where I am sitting right now.

    I’m going to be 57 in a few days. I’m still attractive, slim and vivacious… but the thought of being with a man makes me wanna vomit.

    I don’t think that there’s a shrink in the universe who can help me. I was an abused child. My father used to beat me up with his belt whenever the mood struck him. It took me years, and years to trust a man. any man. My husband was the sweetest, kindest individual I ever hoped to meet. He was so devoted and passionate and obviously nuts about me. I felt so safe with him…I (and don’t hurl) but I used to call him “puppy.” He’s still very kind to me and helps me with whatever I need… he just can’t wrap his arms around me and tell me that he loves me. (even though I’m sure in his warped way he does.)

    well, I don’t love him either. Its so sad.

    thanks for listening… if you’re still reading. ;]

    best,

    L

  • Blessing March 19th, 2013 at 9:08 AM #42

    I am married to a sex addict who is a doctor. Isn’t that something? I feel terribly, terribly lonely and have been through all the phases of confessions, tears, ‘recovery’ and back to discovering he’s still at it for the last 4 years. Am wondering if it will ever stop? Probably not. Am 30 with a 4 year old daughter. I don’t want my daughter to grow up without her father as I did (and he’s a great father). But I don’t know how long I can put up with this. Am thinking I need to cut my losses and run before I waste the rest of my life on this man.

  • Rosie April 15th, 2013 at 12:45 PM #43

    I have been reading all the threads and feel dispair. My husband is a sex addict that my 16 yr old daughter discovered through his dumb emails and she even found his web sight with his profile, looking for sex. I left him for 4 months and found out 2 days after my return he never stopped. Tonight is our first marriage counseling appt, but I am wondering why go. He has been the best and most kind husband ever. When people have heard of our seperation everyone is floored and have a hard time believing it, me to. The lies are almost unbearable. Even when he is caught flat out lying he deny’s it. I HATE THE LIES. I am trying to come to grips my marriage of 24 yrs is over,,, sigh, guess I will go see what the therapist says.

  • Renee May 18th, 2013 at 1:38 PM #44

    It has been one year and one mnth since I found out. I gave hime up totally say after 10 months of fooling myself into thinking it would get better- no trust- it wont. I am still mad, hurt,and in pain. He is in another state for the time being. He is in denial, but all the studying about sex addiction, and I have learned how to live single. I am still not ready to date. But who knows..maybe another best friend will come along. If not- well, I am okay. He still hasnt admitted he is an addict, but I got in his email- and he is doing worse things than before. My therapist was right- it is progressive. I never felt pain like I did for those first 9-10 mnths. But please people believe me- it is better to be alone than have the pain- or non-trust. Good luck evryone

  • Sam May 19th, 2013 at 2:39 PM #45

    Salifeline.org will be a lifesaver for you in terms of information. And if there is a LifeSTAR Program in your area, that will help immensely.

  • tired of the lies June 11th, 2013 at 2:14 PM #46

    to #13
    “But can you imagine what the addict is going through?”

    I don’t think the addict is suffering at all, until he gets caught. My husband enjoyed himself a lot. People don’t stop doing something that they are getting enjoyment out of … until they get caught…and then they just learn to lie better.

    The only pain a “sex addict” goes through is losing his family, job, money, etc. after they are caught. So if he doesn’t get caught I don’t think there is any pain.

    I will never believe it is a disease either, that word is just another justification. Is cigarette smoking a disease? No, it is a choice that harms you, but you made the choice. Does it change your body yes, but it was a choice, it is not a disease.

    This is a life based on selfishness that hurts the ones around him more than him….until he gets caught.

  • Renee June 13th, 2013 at 2:21 AM #47

    I read the book “codependent no more” If you want to heal-READ IT!! It is easy reading and will make you feel so good. I miss my relationship with my ex, but I do not have to spy, worry & care about his crazy sex ideas (anymore). I say-leave those sex addicts and dont look back. In the long run-they loose.

  • Renee June 13th, 2013 at 2:37 AM #48

    this post is called “Married to a Sex Addict! Is Divorce Your Only Option?”

    pretty much yes seems to be the majority opinion here.
    i know some may stop their acting out – but as with most addictions – there is relapse. Can you live with that?

  • Renee June 14th, 2013 at 12:56 AM #49

    Rosie, I know what you mean about “being floored”. When I discovered what my man was doing I was in tramatic shock for 6 months. The fact that he is going to get help- to prove to you that “he wants to stop and that he loves is”. Is the only chance he has. Read the :codependent no more” book. It will help you be stronger. Tale care – “of you.”.

  • Renee June 14th, 2013 at 1:00 AM #50

    Blessing- take the Dr. to court and make him pay-large child support” and alimony(for 2 years). I would run if I were you. your still young enough to get another man. Your child is better of w/o two parents than having a miserable mom, or a family that is fighting.

  • Michelle June 24th, 2013 at 9:35 AM #51

    The horrible part of this type of progressive addiction is that unlike drugs, alcohol, and food, sex triggers are immediately available with the flick of the imagination. Nobody can take that away from them. The other problem is that how do you trust a deviant sex addict who can’t control their compulsive behavior around your children? They eventually sexualize everything. Many otherwise normal heterosexual addicts end up with other homosexual men, admitting that it is only because unless the acts are more deviant than before, they don’t get their “fix”. It is a matter of time.

    Then there is the fact that in order to cover up their dirty deeds, which is something they are very good at, they require their partner to be vulnerable, weak, have low self esteem, and be relatively isolated. They are masters at passive aggressive abuse and gaslighting. This spiritual and psychological abuse to me is worse than physical abuse. If it isn’t your or his 1st marriage, or the betrayer hasn’t really led a double life, I would say RUN, don’t just walk away, RUN!

    That said, the ability to forgive is a must for you and your children. Resentment is like drinking a poison thinking it harms someone else. Even worse, that resentment gives the abuser continued power over your life, they are continuing the abuse. Resentment is a shadow that will have a negative effect over your new life without him. It takes time, but you should put any remaining energy into being grateful for getting away, grateful the abuse didn’t extend to your children, being grateful you weren’t the one capable of doing those things (women are sex addicts who abuse their families also) and being grateful you had the strength to get away etc.

    The betrayers dies spiritually and mentally. Mourn and move on with faith. God takes care of widows and orphans, but He can only do that if there is forgiveness. It is extremely important for your success and that of your children for forgiveness to happen eventually.

  • Michelle June 24th, 2013 at 10:33 AM #52

    There are different variables and stages in sex addiction. A person can be a sex addict without having been unfaithful. The common denominators would be Porn, neediness in terms of sex, and of course continuing the behavior despite it’s negative effect on their lives.

  • renee July 8th, 2013 at 8:49 PM #53

    #52 Michelle Absolutley awsome post. It is true. I took 15 months to start to really get over the selfish cheating brained man. Life is getting better!!! Lots of tears, what if’s etc. It isnt easy but it gets better. I think the govenment needs to stop so much porn being available but I know- that will never happen.

  • Melissa July 29th, 2013 at 7:56 AM #54

    I totally understand I’m going through the samething I’m 26 and have to kids with my husben all the signs r there he just hasn’t told me everything I don’t no what to

  • AM September 2nd, 2013 at 2:09 PM #55

    These sites which treat sex addiction like some clinical exercize infuriate me. Sex addiction is not an affair, but a deep willingness to lie in order to continue cheating in the worst possible ways. I have met some sex addicts who do NOT try to have relationships with people so choose NOT to drag them through the same horrific filth. Getting a divorce is the ONLY thing the partner can do, because their only choice to get free and get as healthy as they can after experiencing some of the worst betrayal possible in life – someone who claims they love you, and is willing to destroy your life. Maybe the sex addict will wise up and choose to change, and maybe they won’t, but the partner should never be coached into staying, and worse, made to feel like they are not being supportive by trying to love themselves enough to survive in tact.

  • renee January 13th, 2014 at 1:18 AM #56

    Melissa, Please go talk to a therapist. It is not healthy for you- to be going through this pain of his addiction. Like I said before..go to the library and get the book “co-dependent no more”. I hope you can get help for you- he can only get help for himself and change himself. you deserve to be happy. you deserve to have someone who is faithful.

  • Maria January 23rd, 2014 at 9:46 AM #57

    Going through this since sept 24th. in so much pain. tried and tried but filed for divorce.

  • MONTEZ January 23rd, 2014 at 10:27 PM #58

    i FEEL YOU i DONT EVEN GET SEX OR A KISS HUG DONT EVEN HOLD ME AND WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 1YEAR ANDNINIE MONTHS

  • Anthony February 19th, 2014 at 3:51 PM #59

    This will be the super short version. A little history. My wife’s sex drive heightened once she hit 30 and the story will proceed there.
    There are many holes in this story but the crux of the issue is here.
    In March of last year, I moved to CA from CO for work. It was either transfer with my company or lose my job. Coming to CA was a temporary thing and being that I worked from home, I would be in CO for great lengths of time so it worked out. Eventually my family was going to join me out here.
    In Sept of last year, I started having suspicions something was going in back home. My wife and I would communicate all the time and that started falling off. One night she was supposed to call me when she was going home but never called. She said her phone died. The next day I called her and she was very hesitant about where she was. That night I asked her if she had anything to tell me. She asked “Why do you even like me?” Then proceeded to tell me she has been smoking weed. That wasn’t what I thought she was going to say so ok, we can work with it.
    The next night I had a gut feeling to check the phone records. I saw there were phone calls coming in on weeknights when she has to get up in the morning to take the kids to school. I called the number and some man answered. I hung up and immediately called her. My wife proceeds to tell me that she has been engaging in light BDSM.
    Fast forward to Oct. I had another inkling to check something else. I found her profile on a fetish website with a list of her fetishes and other pictures. I couldn’t believe it and I was in shock. She was under protection from some man who identifies himself with a Pirate Captain. I found some of my wife’s writings that she scripted. One of them is a fantasy of being a slave in Louisiana during slave times and another of being a pirate prostitute.
    I also found an ad on Craigslist for a man and woman looking for another woman. The woman described was my wife. Don’t ask me what prompted me to check but I did.
    Fast forward to New Year’s Eve. My wife’s car was stolen from somewhere where she should have never been. Her purse was in the car and they lifted over $1000 from our bank accounts.
    She said she was at this persons house engaging in BDSM where she was being beat by a female dominatrix.
    My wife says she masturbates 50-60 times a day and can’t get enough porn.
    She stopped talking to me and three days later she left me. She said the reason she left me is because she is irresponsible and she needs to fix herself.
    Three weeks later I found another ad and I called her on it. She says that its not her and she told me to reply to it to see who is looking for someone. So I did. I created a fake response and I received a reply with a picture of her and this guy. I sent it to her and she blatantly lied and said she had nothing to do with the pic and that she was not going to participate in any way shape or form.
    My wife admits there is something wrong with her. She is sick in the head and I have my own theories as to what is wrong with her but I am not a psychologist.
    This isn’t my wife, I don’t know this person.
    She says fixing herself fixes “this”. This being our marriage. I love my wife and I want her to get help and support her through this process but I also know that I can never trust her fully. She will never tell me what she has been involved in because these secrets will go to her grave with her. She has two kids that I took on as my own. I started seeing a therapist that says no one can help her. Except her. She has to hit rock bottom and I don’t think she is there yet.

  • kristine March 1st, 2014 at 2:17 AM #60

    Run. Run. Run. Run!
    I have been married for 20 years! After 18 years, my husband told me that he had been sexually active with hundreds of women, beginning four months after our wedding!
    I thought that I had a reasonably good marriage! I thought that my family was doing well.
    I went into severe shock. Deep trauma. HE played therapist after therapist after therapist. For nearly two years, he mostly used therapists to blame me, to delay providing any formal “disclosure” process to provide full information to me, he raged, he was suddenly a man I had not ever known. He was a raving madman, a cruel, sadistic, manipulative man. He was NOT the man I thought that I knew –

    Clearly, he had been medicating himself VERY WELL over all those years, so that his unstable, frightening true self was well covered.

    Just as I was preparing to file for a divorce, he appeared to be stabilizing, had been in therapy and reported that he was getting well. I decided to “try” to begin some steps forward, and he committed to putting work on recovery and our marriage as his top priority.

    BUT, he started an intense sexual/emotional affair. THIS time, it was not secret, it was not hidden, it was not far away – HE carried this affair out to my full knowledge, reporting to me that she was far more supportive, more sexual, more intimate, younger, more fun, awesome, wonderful, great listener, far superior to me!

    AGAIN, just as I was calling my attorney, he committed to intensive therapy with one of the nation’s top sex addiction specialists. He entered residential treatment, and he vowed to me
    that he was intensely committed to becoming healthy, and that he was entirely devoted to the therapy process he was being required to follow.

    BUT, a few days into his residential treatment, he sent me a note: “I cannot let you have access to the phone bill, because I had started seeing another woman before I came here. I do not want you to interfere by calling her or exposing me.”

    I sent the information to his therapist, and several days later I received an apology.

    Deeply committed. Great progress. Learning much – radical transformation.

    BUT, I did look at the cell phone bill this evening, AND, HE IS TEXTING THE NEW WOMAN FROM THE RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTER AT 1:00 AM AND 2:00 AM AND 3:00 AM —

    Seriously.

    DO not believe a word he says!
    Do NOT believe the sex addiction therapists who seem to defend the sex addict over and over and over again –

    I have known people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and they are NEVER enabled, protected, and defended the way professional protect the sex addict.

    WHY do they all work so hard to claim that the sex addict can recover and to work to save the marriage?

    WHY? I have never witnessed such adamant attempts to “save the marriage.”

    TEXTING THE NEW WOMAN FROM THE RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTER!

    Why does a sex addict have access to his iPhone in a residential treatment center for sex addiction?

    WHY does he have access to any technology at all?

    WHY?

    I give up. THIS is far too crazy for me!

    RUN! I tell you, RUN. You easily get stuck in a loop where one promise after another, one incident after another, and you do not look at the global view and realize that you are on a carnival ride, and you keep looping back and back and back again to the same insanity.

    The problem is that he is not looping you back with one more night at the bar, one more bottle of whiskey, he is looping you back but each time you are more and more diminished. Each time your integrity and your value is less.

    Many claim that the sex addict actually loves his wife, that the other incidents and women and sexual exploits area not the same.

    Why do they keep claiming such insanity. Okay, it’s “not the same.” When he has an affair with a woman from work, it’s not the same, he loves me and his family, but he is “compelled” to have the affair —

    It’s not the same.

    BUT, his energy is focused on the other woman, or porn images, or fantasy, or chats, or hundreds of women…
    His hormones are being released onto the “other” sexual experience –
    His devotion is directed to that “other” experience….

    WHY are women being told, actually, “it’s not the same” ??????

    It’s not the same. BUT I just spent 20 years of MY ONLY LIFE with a man who was not invested in me, not in our marriage, not in our family, not in growing together, increasing intimacy, nurturing, supporting, touching, providing the healing, positive, dynamic neurological and physical and psychological power that comes from attached, intimate partnerships.

    “It’s not the same,” and “it’s not about sex,” and “he loves his wife,” and all that may be true. The bottom line is that his partner is living her life — with less than — without.

    He is texting his NEW affair partner from his residential treatment center!

    RUN!

  • kristine March 1st, 2014 at 2:27 AM #61

    NOTE TO ANTHONY:
    The idea of “rock bottom” is sheer nonsense!
    MOST reputable addiction therapists and theorists and centers now acknowledge that the theory of “hitting rock bottom” is madness.
    An addict has lost the capacity to “reason,” they have damaged their brains.
    The sex addict has created serious damage to the pre-frontal cortex – REASON and CRITICAL THINKING! Look at the images from Dr. Amen’s work on the brain of the sex addict.

    When drug addicts his rock bottom they are DEAD.
    When alcoholics his rock bottom they are DEAD.
    NOW, families are encourage to “get the addict to a treatment center,” NOT wait for “rock bottom.”
    Waiting for “rock bottom” also means that the loved ones, families, partners, children, SUFFER terribly as they not only live without the healthy participation of the loved one, but the family is diminished, each individual is diminished – damaged, hurt, in pain, in trauma.
    Telling a partner or a family member to “detach” is ABSURD! ABSURD!
    We can learn to not be “reactive,” to understand addiction, but many profoundly misinterpret the idea to “detach” and wait for “rock bottom” as precisely NOT taking care of the addict, not getting them help, but standing by and watching the addict and every single person in his/her life destruct.

    NO to “rock bottom.” ROCK BOTTOM is usually DEATH.

    Would you watch anyone else sit and destroy their brains? WAITING? Seriously?
    Seriously?

  • kristine March 1st, 2014 at 2:45 AM #62

    To Laurel:
    You write: “I was an abused child. My father used to beat me up with his belt whenever the mood struck him. It took me years, and years to trust a man. any man.”

    I was NOT an abused child. My father was kind and gentle and attentive and encouraging and supportive. He taught me to oil my bicycle chain so that I could explore the world!

    BUT, like you, I cannot imagine sex with any man ever again! Devastating abuse.
    Read the book, “My Sexually Addicted Spouse” by Marsha Means and Barbara Steffens and learn about the TRAUMA – real medical trauma – experienced by the partner of a sex addict.

    The betrayal is devastating to your neurology, your identity, your sense of self, your sense of trust in how you read and interpret your world, your sense of worthiness, your sense of being loveable -

    The long-term intimate partner betrayal is seriously and profoundly damaging, and it is for any partner!

    The idea that the partner of a sex addict had her own issues/ her own history of abuse, her own dysfunction or attachment disorder that created her bond with her sexually addicted spouse is NONSENSE.

    Many abusers, including sex addicts, actually select strong, empowered women because they want to “usurp” her positive characteristics, AND they want to hide their shame and their often malicious intentions. They will chip away at her esteem, at her reputation, at her public character, to diminish her, so that they look more favorable —

    THESE tactics are common among a spectrum of abusers. Those who end up in relationships with them are NOT somehow psychologically predisposed to being victims. They are “groomed” over time to become complacent, confused, cooperative, helpless, diminished —

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