I've been kind of absent for a while because I've been swamped with work and summer classes. WH slipped this summer - he looked at Craigslist and clicked on a link to a porn site that was sent to him at work (spam), and watched a porno he found while cleaning out the computer desk.
He did not follow our agreed protocol, which was to let me know within 24hrs that he slipped. I'm angry. He's sorry and has been working with his IC on dealing with his urges and healthy responses to stress. But I am still angry.
H wants me to go to counseling with him on Tuesday. Not for MC but so that his IC can hear my POV, which H thinks would be beneficial for his treatment. And yet I'm triggering really bad about it - scared it's an ambush.
What doesn't help is that H has been really hot and cold with me lately. He's either really affectionate, or snappish with me. We've only had sex twice since May which makes me really self-conscious.
When he's super nice, I get suspicious. He's been sweet the past couple of days and that makes me worried. I've been having so many issues with my PTSD as a result. I've been conditioned that if people are being nice they are either trying to make up for something bad they did to me, or because they want something. I don't know how to get past this because I know it's not helping our relationship.
Sounds like you had a boundary in place, but what about the consequence for breaking the boundary?
I am not sure why you feel attending your H IC could possibly be an ambush. Did something like that happen in the past? This might be a good place to vocalize your boundary (no porn, intentional or accidental - like encountering a pop-up) and the consequence if he breaks it (change of password, no access at home unless you are in the room). It is okay for you to be angry, but put that anger to use. Let it help you create boundaries/consequences. I feel that it is important to share your anger with others who are "in the know" - like here or groups. The anger will poison you if held inside, but can be very theraputic if shared. Once you are able to share your anger it will help you with clarity and confidence. It will help you own your own truth.
The hot and cold interaction with your H could be a lot of things, but if he is struggling with acknowledging SA it could be shame. The lack of sex in your relationship could be related to the cycle of shame as well: Acting out leads to out of control behaviors which leads to acting in and trying to be overly in control and sexual anorexia.
It is understandable you question your H motives and his behavior, but rather than making yourself crazy trying to figure something out that you can't - direct that energy to you. If he is being nice and attentive, take it for what it is at that time. If he is miserable, tell him you see that he is not having a great time right now, if he wants to talk that you will listen, but you will not tolerate his foul behavior. Then go do what you have to or want to do.
which was to let me know within 24hrs that he slipped
I like that idea.
I am currently reading Mending a Shattered Heart. I just started tonite.
Partner implied that I should dress up more, particularly in skirts. He doesn't like the jeans esp. since some are a bit old(read-kinda broke college student trying to pay car not). He said that maybe we'd have more sex if I dressed better. A few days ago I went out and bought some sexy clothes.
Looking back, I don't think that was a good idea.
I think the biggest determinant of how often he has sex is how much adult material he views. Ex. he went a week without porn on our vacation, when we got back it was like WOW!!! He hadn't been so enthusiastic since we had met. He says it was like a little "honeymoon." Even before that his viewing decreased, and his interest in me increased.
He's out of town now. I don't feel triggery at all about him cheating, at least not now. On our vacation we went to a waterpark, and I didn't feel triggery. Occasionally, I do feel triggery with his computer use, and I can't ask him not to get on b/c he has to for his job. I don't call him anymore than I usually would.
Lately I haven't feel too preoccupied with what he's doing, though I still get twinges. I'm tired of being naggy, I don't want ot do that anymore.
However, I do suspect that he's trying to prove that he doesn't have a problem. A lady married to an SA says her husband will do that-go awhile porn free to prove a point to himself, that he doesn't have a problem.
However, I do feel a bit worried about his alcohol usage sometimes. Like last night (or rather early this morning) he called me at 1am (and I have get up at 4:30 for work) and was nicely toasted. I'm afraid he'll get into a car. His mom thinks he has an alcohol problem. Does anyone significant other have issues with alcohol as well?
We have disagreements on what's porn and what's not. He has a bit of a stash of Maxim and 1 Playboy. I say it's softcore porn, he says it's not. I've read thru Maxim, and aside from the pictures the content disturbs me.
[This message edited by lovedontlivehere at 10:51 PM, August 9th (Saturday)]
We have disagreements on what's porn and what's not.
He's trying to manage and enjoy his addiction, not get sober.
I really really need help....
I think my H is a sex addict. I've posted in other forums, so some of you may already know my story.
In sum, I found out that for the last two years, my H has slept with at least 20 different women, some more than once. He met these women on-line when we moved across the country. He would meet them in a public place and then at their houses for sex. H & I were having all kinds of marriage problems due to the stress of the move, his career, and my career. He also felt that I tried to "keep him from his family." He claims he felt "very alone" and that the affairs were a way to "get some sex without having to deal with emotions." When I would find out he was looking at porn, I would get very angry and tell him to sleep in the other room. Because I did this, he felt I used "sex as a weapon" and this further drove him towards annonymous sex. He says the reason why he had sex with so many different women was to ensure no emotional attachment.
Even though my career changed for the better and I became happy in the new city, he still continued the annonymous sex for two years, even though I would complain and ask him why we weren't having sex as often - he makes it out like I wanted him to sleep in the other room very often, and I didn't. We weren't even married one year when his annonymous sex all began. There was also an EA & PA that he had with a co-worker. My H claims that during the EA, he still met other women for sex, but not as often.
My H is remorseful and he is seeing a psychiatrist. He claims he had annonymous sex on an average of "once per month, sometimes less." His cell phone record for January, however, reveals that he was in contact with at least three different women.
I have never been more hurt, angry, and confused in my entire life. Most of all though, I am *scared* sh*tless. I have no idea who I am married to. I've only told one person in my family that I found out about more women, but I didn't want to get into any more details because I'm too embarrassed and ashamed and worried that if I reveal the full extent of this, my family will pull the plug and fly out here and pack my stuff for me and take me home.
H's mother called ME and I told her about 4 women only (because that's all I knew at the time). Her reaction was that I had "no right to tell her such things about her son," so that pretty much settles how much support we'd get from his family too.
I am reading "Out of the Shadows" and my H has a copy as well that he is reading. I have tried to find some of the other titles suggested here in our local bookstores, but to no avail, so I'll have to order them on-line.
This probably sounds insane, but I'm having trouble understanding how Dr. Caines' book is applicable to my H.
My H was not abused as a child. My H excels in all areas of his life - mainly his medical career, but other things too - and he does not feel/never did feel that he is an unworthy person. He is not in any way suicidal (he also told this to our marriage counsellor, who asked him the question & if he had considered addiction). Ironically, my H is paranoid of diseases, and claims he has never slept with prostitutes. He always used safe sex during his annonymous encounters, but "never thought" about how you can still transmit things through oral sex and what would happen if the condom broke? (trust me, I told him as a medical professional he should KNOW BETTER THAN THIS!). He says in his career he has learned to "compartmentalize" very well and this is how he was able to separate continuing his marriage, his career, and the affairs for so long. He said he was trying to "fill a void" but it never quite worked out. He says in his mind, he compartmentalized him and I being happy again some day when he was finished his residency and we could move back home and that's when the annonymous sex would've stopped for him.
My H does not expose himself in public. Although he paid for chat rooms & pornography, our finances have not been negatively affected by his behaviour. We are not in debt because of it. He continues to excel at his career - his career has not been affected and his job has not become unmanageable. His residency is inherently stressful, however. He says he did not feel guilty or ashamed after the encounters. Occasionally, if he let himself think about it, he would feel guilty about me, but for the most part, he insists this was a very separate part of his life. He did not try to stop on his own, though he claims he once said to himself "I should stop this now," but when our marriage continued to have problems, he went back on-line again. He claims he does not "crave sex" or compulsively mastrubate.
Addiction does run in his family. His brother is in AA. I fully agree with Dr. Caines' notion of "sincere delusion" - there were many many mind games that my husband played/plays with me where he turns his lack of explanations back on me as if I'm the crazy person. I absolutely see how my H twisted my suspicions to further his anger/justifications toward me. For example, when I would ask him if he was having an affair, he would get really offended that I "would even ask such a question." He told me he was "insulted" and "hurt" that I would ask and please "never ask him again."
My H told our marriage counsellor that he does not feel sex addiction is applicable to him because he "doesn't crave sex." The last time he claims he was with someone was March. Pornography was as little as one week ago. He claims he does not see a slippery-slope relationship between on-line pornography and meeting people on-line for annonymous sex. He is still grappling with my request for absolutely no pornography if/when he moves back in with me. He feels looking at pornography is "normal" and that my request is "unreasonable."
If/when he moves back in, he has agreed to having internet nanny software installed on his computer, and a GPS device activated on his cell phone with software so I can know where he is at all times. Obviously there are still loop-holes to that, but I can't think of anything better...
I believe that my H believes he can quit this cold turkey. I believe that he believes he will never do this again and that he sincerely wants to be the "husband I deserve."
Although I can't quite understand how everything fits with Dr. Caines' book, I believe my H is a sex addict and I am quite possibly a co-addict in the way I am handling this and in the way I've handled our sex problems in the past.
I don't want to end our marriage, but there is just so *much* involved in sex addiction, and I'm still young, we have no kids, and I feel like God wanted me to find the evidence and give me the opportunity to cut and run now.
I've also read that chances of recovery are better for the addict if the spouse stays. I don't want to stay out of guilt - I just keep thinking about the "in sickness and in health" vow and like I would be breaking my promise to him if I left because he's a sex addict. I also still love him very very much and don't want to wonder "what if?" for the rest of my life if I don't stay and give things a try with him.
Does my H sound like he fits the profile for a sex addict? What will my life be like if I choose to stay with him?
I'm feeling so lost and right now I know I'm dealing with my own clinical depression coming back after all that has been revealed.
Thanks in advance.
'Out of the Shadows' is not the best book to read when you are first learning about sex addiction. It's rather scary in that it does focus a lot on deviants. I would suggest you read some of his other books. 7yrs, which one would you suggest other than the one by Stephanie Carnes, Mending a Shattered Heart? BTW, Brokenhart that is a good one for you to read, as the partner of a possible sex addict. It's brilliant. I suggested it to you in your other thread.
My FWH was not abused as a child either. But his father was an alcoholic and his mother was disengaged. I guess that's abuse, but there was no physical or sexual abuse. He started finding comfort in viewing porn somewhere around the age of 10. It became his medication to console his loneliness, stress, feelings of inadequacy; any kind of pain. I believe 'Out of the Shadows' was Dr. Carnes first book. He has learned a lot more about SA as he studied more. His later books are not so much of a 'hit over the head with a sledgehammer' type.
BTW, sorry you find yourself here. But this is a great forum. There are so many learned partners of SAs in this thread that will give you great support and advice as well as comfort.
ETA: If I told my MIL about her son's activities, I would have got the same response. She simply would not want to hear it.
[This message edited by 1Forward1Back at 1:43 PM, August 10th (Sunday)]
I agree with 1F1B and 2be... My H was not abused either... The examples are typical patterns they uncovered in their research, but not hard and fast rules...
My H didn't do a lot of the "paying for sex", or financially setting us up for financial ruin, but what he was taking away and compromising was time that should have been with me and energy that should have been directed at me and our whole relationship in general was compromised... He was willing to take that risk, over and over again and he wanted to stop and felt terrible after, but he didn't stop until I found out...(and he started getting treatment)
I do have to say that he also didn't think the porn was a big deal, until he started connecting the dots with therapy... He realized that whenever he was "stressed" or felt like he needed to relax, that would be the first thing he would go to. It was his "cure" for difficult situations in life... It DOES sound like your H fits that pattern... ie: stressed with my work, your work, the move, the weather, whatever excuse to blame it on.
Once my H realized that he was picking fights with me, (or not having sex with me, but blaming it on everything else but himself) so that he could feel better about "using"- He made that connection with the compulsion and creating situations where he didn't feel as guilty about doing it. He started to realize (after therapy started) that if he was stressed, it is his first reaction to want to look at porn or go masturbate. He didn't realize that was the first step to the addiction for a long time.
This is a great, direct point with any kind of addiction, including this one...
An addict does not have to fit every criteria to be an addict, they just have to have a compulsion they are unable to control.
My H sat down and was honest with himself and took this online test for SA:
It may help you if he takes it honestly. My H is also successful (and in the medical field), no negative impact on work ( except also had a EA/PA with co-worker for a year), can control impulses in public, no overtly sexual behavior around strangers, BUT he did go the anonymous sex route online... No one would EVER guess from him- He's a model citizen in "public".
No one can say for sure if he's an SA or not, but one thing is certain... If he doesn't think that he is (and after taking the tests and reading about it and he is completely honest with himself) there's no way anyone can convince him. This has to be his deal to want to change and get help.
which one would you suggest other than the one by Stephanie Carnes, Mending a Shattered Heart?
It IS important to realize that not every "deviant" (ie: molestors, rapists, sexual criminals, etc) are SA, and not every SA has the ability (or even desire) to EVER to do those things...
It depends on the individual and their addiction issues.
(My analogy in trying to come to terms with my own fears are that some alcoholics like beer and some like vodka and still others like wine, but they are all seeking the same "high", just in different ways... And a vodka drinker may never want to become a beer drinker...)
So sorry you are in this situation, but glad you have some support- These guys are great.
You may find out that the more you learn about SA that it doesn't fit, but at least you're exploring and getting educated.
(Some people are serial cheaters, not addicts... You'll know when you start to learn more... You'll get that "ah ha" moment when you read more about it, I know I did. Things started making sense and it all started to add up and explain all the things I had been feeling for so long....That's when we knew he was an SA)
Good luck- So sorry again- We are all struggling with the same scary decisions- Unfortunately, I'm still quite new to this, so I can't tell you what your future holds if you stay- I have high hopes for mine, but I am still quite scared and suspicious...
We're here if you need us-
[This message edited by innerstrength at 9:40 PM, August 10th (Sunday)]
My partner is successful at his job,too. If you met him you wouldn't guess he has done the things he does. At this point, his habits haven't caused a lot of financial trouble, but I have an inkling that it would if we had kids. He has no compulsion to expose himself in public.
I don't think every single thing has to apply to him for him to be a SA.
Sorry you had to come here.
Did anyone do a disclosure with their spouse and MC?
[This message edited by lovedontlivehere at 9:50 AM, August 11th (Monday)]
She felt it was a personal attack on her - and was insulted.
I don't know if FWW is a SA or not, she doesn't seem to fit most of the criteria. She says she wasn't sexually abused as a child, but she certainly suffered abuse in the form of abandonment. However, she is most definitely sexually maladjusted in a big way. Guilt and anorexia are big players in her dynamic. She can be very sexual if she has a mechanism to avoid the guilt (ie. blame it on the man).
Her mechanism as a teen was; trade sex for attention and friendship. There was a similar dynamic with OM in her last affair. He stalked her, then raped her, then threatened and demanded, and she complied. She won't admit that she was a willing partner.
Nothing about it was compulsive. Except her response to OM's demands.
[This message edited by toonice at 10:38 AM, August 11th (Monday)]
I am so sorry you have found yourself here but we are all here to hear each other out and support each other.
I am also young with no children, so I understand your feelings.
There are certified sex therapist and other professionals who can make a diagnoses of SA. I know it is sort of ironic that your WS is in the medical field, but you may start by visiting your family doctor or a counsellor to inquire.
When you are at your family doctor, please do all the STD tests.
Whether your WS is a sex addict or not, he has engaged in sexual activities (be it porn, physical affairs or what have you) that are not acceptable to you in your definition of a marraige. That is, I assume you two never agreed to have an open relationship. Thus, whether your WS is a sex addict or not, his behaviours have to stop.
I think counselling for him will be appropriate. If he does not recognize he has a problem, or at least his behvaiours are not acceptable to you, there is no R. You cannot R by yourself.
In the meantime, until your WS is willing to seek therapy or at least admit there is a problem (whether it be sex addiction or "simple" promiscuity), you have to look after your wellbeing. Remember to see a doctor for STD tests, get prescription for anti-anxiety medication or whatever your doctor recommends, use a condom, drink/eat/sleep, and see a therapist FOR YOURSELF.
You may want to read "Mending a Shattered Heart", which is geared towards BS. "Out of the Shadow" is more for WS.
Having said all that, from my understanding, denial, compartmentalization and blaming others is often how a WS to handle stress and handle problems in life. If your WS is willing to recognize there is a problem, to work on R, and to seek help, there is hope for your future together. Many of us are here because we are R'ing.
Please do post whenver you need to.
[This message edited by birdwatch at 12:07 PM, August 11th (Monday)]
edited for typos (I always have to!)
The other crappy part of the "competition" issue for me is that I've actually *tried* and failed miserably at having sex/making love with him again since d-days and feeling like I've rocked his world. Sure, he's up for the sex (pun intended) but the second I want to make love instead, he claims he's "too tired" and "why couldn't I have initiated it sooner?" and "why do I have to be so direct about it because it takes away from the mood?" WHAT?????!!! He's always told me that he "can't read my mind and I have to specify what I want." So I did. And it "killed the mood for him." Oh but wait - I'm sure if I appear on his computer monitor in some scandalous CHAT ROOM, then my "directness" would be perfectly acceptable THEN? RIGHT? I don't know why he's being all funny about the "make love" issue when in those moments I just wanted so badly to feel close with him again. Now, it's almost like HE'S the woman in our relationship about the sex and I'm the MAN! And I feel really really low - like my husband would rather be with every girl in the city except his wife.
I have "been there, done that"... My H was unfaithful to me before we got married and we did not go to counselling, we knew nothing about SA and we both thought it would never happen again- But, of course it did...
I want to tell you that what you are describing with your sexual relationship fits my story exactly... We went through this for awhile before we started getting conselling... We still have issues, but at least we know why now.
Lack of intimacy and really "making love" are hallmark signs of SA. Sex is sex and that is separate from love for them. My H still cannot go there with me yet.
A good tip I was given from "Don't Call It Love", is that the sexual/intimacy issues typically don't start getting addressed until about 2 years after recovery and treatment for SA begins... It's too much of a task for them in the beginning... (Someone correct me if I'm misspeaking here)
When I responded to your original post in this forum, I hadn't read your other one-
I do have to say that it sounds like SA, even if your H doesn't "crave sex"... It's not really like that- It seems to be more of a comfort, a replacement for real intimacy, a support to go to when things are hard to handle... Some SA's can go years without acting out (sexual anorexia)to prove that they don't have a problem and then have a relapse in a split second.
I send you hugs and strength right now- And I hope you and your H can learn about this and begin to face it together.
The only thing I need to "recover from" is the fact that the person I trusted most in this world has been lying to me since we met! I fail to see how I have any responsibility in his issues... (Or that I had any issues to begin with- I feel that I am (or was?)very stable and well adjusted)
Maybe I'll feel differently as I learn more, but I've tried to look at COSA and S-anon, and I just didn't feel like it was the right place for me...
If anyone out there has a different viewpoint, or can explain what they are in recovery for (other than mutual support- which I DO need) Please let me know... I just didn't feel like I fit in with that...
When one has NO CLUE behaviors are going on, actually confronts issues head on as they see them, only to be lied to, hmmmmm, is there a non-coaddicted response?
Thanks for empathizing....
I want to confront my H with more "evidence." He says he was never with a prostitute (which I might be inclined to believe) and that he was only ever in a motel once with his co-worker (which I'm less inclined to believe).
I've gone through his bank statements again with my newfound "20 or more women" in mind. I've noticed that even on days when he's at his bank and withdrawing $40, later that day he might withdraw another $140 or $160 from a GAS STATION. He told me he would buy condoms from gas stations before going to meet the women (this was so I would never notice condoms going missing). All the statements show are large cash withdrawals, so I have *no proof* what he used the money for, other than he buys EVERYTHING else on his credit card (down to his lunches) so i don't see where the cash would've gone so fast for things like lunch, groceries, etc. when all that goes on the Visa anyway....
Next thing: I found a photograph of him on his computer. I'm quite sure it was one he was using of himself for the chat rooms. He's wearing a shirt I don't recognize. And his whole *face* just looks different. I can't quite describe it.... It's obviously him, but it's *not* him at the same time. It kind of gave me an eery feeling, actually...Since he was using a fake name, I'm wondering if there's some kind of split/personality something or other going on here...I don't know, maybe I'm just being WAY too paranoid.
Should I confront my H with the bank statements, or would it be pointless to bother since the proof isn't *definitive*? If I should confront him, how would you go about it? This feels like a very delicate matter...I'm not sure I'll even bother asking him about the picture....
Thanks again in advance...
I'm scared as hell right now that I'm about to open yet another can of worms/secrets.
If you have just discovered his SA activities, then you have not become a co-dependent. If you eventually do what I did, then you will be. Had my FWH had a real live A earlier in our marriage, I would likely have woken up a lot sooner.
Just read the books and ignore what does not apply to you. Understanding why your spouse does what he does is a beginning. Understand that there are real co-dependents and co-addicts of SAs out there. I am one of them. Read it and let it be a guide to what you do NOT want to become.
Granted, I got married young, but we both went on to advanced degrees, married just short of 21 years, 3 kids before I had a clue. It came out after serious excavating into the why of the affair (1.5yrs after d-day).
I soooo appreciate being able to come here and get educated. I agree, as well, that learning co-addict tendencies is a great way to help steer me clear from some of those responses, it seems a lot of the tendencies are easy to fall into.
Thanks bunches, you guys...
[This message edited by JustWow at 8:43 PM, August 11th (Monday)]
Keep learning and reading- That's my best suggestion to getting to the bottom of all of this... Your situation definitely has its complicated aspects and hopefully after getting more and more information you and your WW can get the help to work on all the "stuff" (Whatever that "stuff" may be!)
Keep posting here and if you have questions, ask them- These people are so well educated about this issue- I trust their judgement b/c they've all been down this road...
Wishing you luck and sending you support-