I'm so sorry you're going through this. It seems like YOU have a handle on his problem -- but HE doesn't seem to. One of the best pieces of advice I came across told me that I can't micromanage his recovery. He has to take responsibility for it -- all I can do is to keep myself okay. No easy challenge, I know. But it's disempowering to focus on him. And empowering to focus on what you can control -- yourself.
Hang in there... I'm thinking of you.
Although the sex offender info may not apply to most, I found the statistics interesting.
Excerpts from the article:
Behaviors used to produce gratification or to escape internal discomfort can become compulsive (Schneider, 1991). When compulsive sexual acting-out behavior continues, even in the face of negative consequences, it is considered a sign of addiction. For the sexual offender and/or sexual addict, this statement is proven true in the vast majority of cases. Individuals who are sexually addicted and have sexually offended share similar sexual behaviors and thought patterns. For example, both engage in irrational thinking, rationalizing, justifying, denying and defending (Schneider, 1991).
Data based on the self-report of sexual addicts shows similar consequences to those described by sexual offenders. In one study, 70 to 75 percent of sexual addicts have contemplated suicide (Earle and Earle, 2000), yet the frequency for sex offenders was not reported. Evidence supports the notion that many sex offenders and/or sex addicts have been involved in dysfunctional relationships. Research further indicates that the vast majority of sex offenders come from similar backgrounds and that 72 percent of sexual addicts have been physically abused in childhood (Earle and Earle, 2000). The same research found that approximately 81 percent had sexual abuse histories and 97 percent had some form of emotional abuse (Earle and Earle, 2000).
In a study conducted with sexual addicts, 48.6 percent of respondents reported that self-disclosure of their addiction was helpful for both the addict and his or her partner (Corley, 1998).
Background: WH had a difficult childhood. No money and an alcoholic father who couldn't hold a job so his mom had to take care of everything. WH is oldest of 3 and is the "white sheep" (only one to go to college, get married, have kids (in wedlock), have a successful career, no drug/alcohol problems). His younger brother is an alcoholic, drug addict, and criminal and was recently diagnosed as bipolar. Sister is somewhere between the two. Functioning well but likes to party and can't commit to a relationship. We thought WH must have escaped his family's demons.
I was WH's first and only girlfriend (met when we were 18). He had not even so much as gone on a date before meeting me. We were together 5 years (through college) before getting married. Right before our 3rd anniversary, he met someone on a business trip, came home and told me we must have problems because he was interested in her so we started MC. Well he ended up contacting her (which made MC pointless), ended up seperating from me for 3 months and pushed for a D. Then he came to his senses, realized that's not what he wanted and he threw away the best thing that ever happened to him and came back to me. We did MC for a few months (basically just learned how to communicate better). Now it's 10yrs later plus a house and four kids. All is well (or so I thought). WH was starting to spend lots of time with a group of single guys from work, which made me nervous so I started checking his stuff. I found he had been IMing with a female ex-coworker almost nightly for a few weeks and received TONS of emails from her. Nothing sexual but maybe a little flirty on her part (I got the impression she likes him but he didn't seem interested). But since the A hurt me so badly, he kept this relationship from me to "protect my feelings". He admits it was selfish, but since he knew he wasn't doing anything wrong he didn't see the big deal. Then I found a file on the computer listing websites he'd logged onto and there were SIX married dating websites. After threat of a polygraph, he said he did log on to those. He'd been looking at porn, saw an ad for one of those sites and it excited him that there were "those kinds of people out there" so he went to check it out. He told me it was last year and only for a week because he knew it was so wrong so he stopped and hasn't been back. Well I recently found proof that he's been on these sites for TWO YEARS. No proof of actually contacting anyone. In fact his profiles are mostly just random keystrokes (nothing anyone would possibly respond to). Haven't been able to verify if he chatted or met anyone in person (he says no). I knew he's looked at porn on the internet over the years and it seemed to be maybe only once a month or so. I've seen the sites he'd looked at and it wasn't anything out of the norm. Even with these dating websites it looks like he only signed on once every few months. (He says he just liked looking at other people's profiles and had no intention of contacting anyone). He does not have a high sex drive, but we have a very fulfilled sex life (maybe once a week). He rarely pushes for more and doesn't ask me to do anything special.
When I think "SEX ADDICT", I think of someone who can't control the urge to have sex or look at porn. SOmeone who does it for hours on end and can't stop. WH did this so infrequently that I have a hard time putting him in that catagory. But the MC thinks maybe he's using porn as an outlet in seeking an emotional connection he's not currently getting (which also explains the A, the secret friendship, and the websites).
What do you think? Any websites you can recommend that discuss different types of SA?
He'd been looking at porn, saw an ad for one of those sites and it excited him that there were "those kinds of people out there" so he went to check it out. He told me it was last year and only for a week because he knew it was so wrong so he stopped and hasn't been back. Well I recently found proof that he's been on these sites for TWO YEARS.
My advice is start learning all you can about sexual addiction...for yourself, not for him. You can't save him. You can't fix him. You can't force him into treatment. You have to do what's best for you and hope that he'll hit rock bottom and get help for himself. Check out http://www.sexhelp.com
Dr. Patrick Carnes is the end all be all expert on SA. You might also want to go back a few posts and find my link to the co-dependent info for yourself. I hope this is helpful to you on your journey.
I think it may be more useful to think of sex addicts as people that are using sex to self-medicate. This behavior often escalatesas it becomes more difficult to numb the pain with more "normal activity".
Sexual addiction doesn't have anything to do with an increased sex drive or liking sex more than others. It really has nothing to do with the sex.
A SA will spend an abnormal amount of time, thinking about sex, judging women he sees in public, using porn, having inappropriate relationships - think about all the time and energy they are dedicating to that instead of thinking about the pain in their lives, emptiness and about anything important. Or maybe it's to avoid any real intimacy.
It is very complex. My WH's IC told him that he must learn his addiction inside and out before he can even start to recover. He needs to understand all the triggers, his real feelings, his motivations, the why, and explore some about how he ended up this way.
So, it takes a person really dedicated to getting better.
Your WH may still be escalating. Sometimes I think there are people who are using sex in an unhealthy way, on their way to an addiction, but not there yet.
Married 8 years, together 12 years
2 young daughters
FWH in IC for SA
I don't know what you're looking at -- will depend largely on him, I think. For my husband, me finding out about an office affair was the final straw for him to realize he had a problem. Took him six more months to work up the courage to tell me about the whole thing (an entire relationship's worth of cheating) but by then, he'd found a counsellor that dealt with SA and had been "clean" for the entire time.
In the meantime, he's become the husband I always wanted (minus the sordid past, thank-you very much!). So remorseful and determine to get at the root of a life that he can finally admit was destructive and painful for him, as well as for our family.
The hardest part, I think, is for those of us who view sex as intimate and an expression of caring, to come to terms with how many partners, how much sex talk, etc. our spouses engaged in. I still struggle -- though less -- with understanding that it had absolutely nothing to do with love. I imagine he was living every guy's fantasy -- sex all over the place, plus a nice-looking wife at home taking care of the kids. But he tells a different story -- unbearable shame, fear of being found out, anxiety... All the hallmarks of an addict, whatever the "substance" of choice.
For me, I could't have made any decisions in the early days. It was all I could do to get out of bed and parent my three kids and meet my deadlines. Which was a good thing. It allowed me time. And that's what I would advise. Give yourself time to really assess your own situation and figure out the best plan for you.
I'll be attending a group starting in January for spouses of SA and I'm hopeful it will give me more insight. Because, frankly, this can all be confusing as hell!
We decided to R last fall, with me thinking we were dealing with only 2 OWs and a sexual harassment complaint.
Since deciding to R, my whole world has come crashing down. I have since discovered the BJ was a 3-day fuckfest while I was traveling on business, and it happened in my home; and in addition there were multiple hookers in other countries and massage parlor "happy endings" here and abroad.
Shit. There have to be at least 20 different ocurrences over our 13 years together.
A big hurdle to our R is my "disgust factor". Everytime I think about the OWs, or the hookers, or the happy endings, I just want to PUKE.
We have not had sex since we've been in R (a little over 1 year). The intimacy is not there, and I refuse to be used so he can get off and get his fix. I will not feed his addiction, as we recently discovered he was an SA, and it was subsequently confirmed by his IC.
If I had known any of this, I would not have agreed to R.
But now I feel stuck, committed to the R for son's sake, and resentful that once again H did not clue me in to the reality of my life. Once again, I made a decision based only on half-truth and lies.
I am totally repulsed, knowing who and what he's fucked and been with and where, and knowing that I was fucking him too during the same time period -- ugh.
How do I get past this? Is it something one CAN get past?
Any advice and suggestions and 2x4s would truly be welcome. I am at a loss and deeply, deeply sad.
[This message edited by gibbonsrose at 6:47 PM, December 11th (Tuesday)]
I think if he gets deep into IC and is willing to share his pain with you - it is possible to find compassion.
I feel very sad for the little boy my husband was and for the years as an adult where he felt shame and regret.
Take care - I know it's very difficult.
SO relieved to read your post; my husband has also frequented as many as 15 (or so HE says) hookers. I found out about it 2 1/2 yrs ago. Since then he's had LTA with a woman he was "Sponsoring" in AA (hah! some sponsor! not to mention the fact men aren't supposed to sponsor women). Just recently, I found out that one hooker held him at knife point and robbed him.
How am I supposed to respect this man and R with him knowing all this? He's a recovered alcoholic whom I believe has become addicted to sex instead. I kicked him out of our bedroom after D-Day #2 last February. He lives in guest room now. We haven't had sex in 10 mos. He attempts to make me feel guilty for that, but COME ON! He's dirty goods to me right now. I'm angry and resentful. Our MC says she believes he's an SA and it doesn't matter if he believes he's one or not...he's exhibiting the behavior of one whether he likes it or not.
WS says he turned to hookers and his LTA because he lacked the intimatcy he needed at home from me.
We've been trying to R but I just discovered text msgs from OW yesterday on WS phone. He denies knowing anything about them...give me a break .
His "outgoing" text message folder is always empty and freshly deleted. Do these WS's think we're stupid?
Sorry...just rambling. Anyway, hoping someone can shed light on WS's who try to make us feel to blame when they're the ones who couldn't keep their dicks in their pants and are risking their kids' happiness, their marriages, etc.
I NEED TO FEEL STRONG IN THE FACE OF HIS resentment toward me!!!
Hugs and warm thoughts to all you brave soles who are going through this along with me....here's to 2008 being better and happier!!!
D-Day 1: Nov 2004
D-Day 2: Feb 10, 2007
D-Day3: Oct. 29, 2007
how stupid AM i?
Kids: 2 girls 9 and 12
Married 18 yrs.