What kind of treatment are you talking about? Do you mean to start therapy with a CSAT? A psychiatrist? Or a support group?
SK you mention a residential treatment center. Is that like rehab? Where can I or he find one and Aren't those very expensive? :/
I understand the codependent part, I'm currently reading codependent no more, so I hope that helps me with this issue . I know I need to take care of me so I have started that. As for him owning his shit I totally agree, it's just hard to trust right now :( I have doubts of everything he does or says, it's pretty bad.
Thank you both for your replies!
Add edit: I haven't gone to a CSAT yet or any kind of group, but will for sure go, I'm looking for one this week.
As for the residential treatment, wouldn't he need to be evaluated and diagnosed as a SA first? I have told him I needed that first, but now I don't know.
[This message edited by SpaceJane at 11:17 PM, September 8th (Sunday)]
If SANON has no local meetings, or if you find that the temperament of the meeting isn't a good fit, try COSA, http://www.cosa-recovery.org/ It is the same kind of 12 step meeting with the same kind of support. I would NOT HAVE SURVIVED the first few months if I didn't have the support of my SANON group. I will warn you that the first few meetings are confusing and overwhelming. And it takes time to learn a 12 step way of life. Take what you need and leave the rest. It is a healthy way to live, you don't have to adopt every single line, but it sure helps you cope with the insanity of addiction.
You need to find an counselor that specializes in addiction, preferably sex addiction. Missy gave you a link for that. My IC is an addiction specialist with some experience with spouses of sex addicts. The only other CSAT in my area was the one treating my SAFWH. She has been great for me. But you need a specialist.
Your WS needs treatment. But that's not your concern. HE needs to do that. You CAN however, set a boundary that you will CONSIDER staying in the marriage IF he gets specialized treatment. And that will be your starting point. There will be many other things that you will require in order to consider a future with him. Intensive treatment is the beginning.
Here are links to a few. The first are residential centers that I know of from people wh have been there, or their spouses have been there. The last one is NOT residential, but the one we used.
Listen, this is all overwhelming. I hear that everyone is fawning over poor WH. YOU have been traumaized. You have been betrayed and victimized and possibly exposed to disease and exposure to strangers. Put yourself first.
He started SA and finally opened up to me about some childhood trauma that he thinks triggered him. His brother has the same issues and so me and my sis-in-law are in the same boat. Doesn't make it any less lonely.
As awful as this sounds I'm glad I'm not the only one. I really thought no one else on the planet could understand what I'm going through but now I see that not only can you understand but you can empathize and help me through.
My mom always said "never complain about the challenge God has given you bcuz you never know who he will put in your path later that your experiences will help." So thank you for sharing your pain and experiences bcuz I now know I will make it through this (with or without him) and hopefully help someone else later on in life.
Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.
I am a little worried about the financial aspect of it since we don't have health insurance and we don't have a lot of money laying around :/ but I guess we will have to work it out
I'm married to an SA. He goes to the SAA meetings - faithfully and Group Counseling with other SA's. Working the program...
Anyway, I've always worked with a lot of men. Okay...don't be mad, please.
I'm thinking, really, and have thought this forever...That the only difference between an SA or just say my husband and other men who are not labeled as SA's is that The SA chose to act on his thoughts and the non-SA men chose to not act on their thoughts.
There is so much research on this. That men are such sexual beings that we, women, can never ever get it. We just can't. One talk show host who deals with men's sexuality says that for a woman to understand a man's sexuality is like a human to get inside an ape's head and to understand exactly what it is like to be an ape. We can't - humans can study apes and love apes, but we cannot understand what it is like to be an ape. Same with women and men's sexuality. And with that, he says that it is so difficult to stay monogamous for men and that there are men who cheat and men who don't - they all think the same and want to do the same and the one's who don't cheat don't - not because they don't want to - they just don't. And the men who do cheat think the same as the men who don't cheat - but they just decided to be extremely selfish and cheated. He also says that women just want to believe so badly that their husbands aren't like that, that their boyfriends aren't like that, that their brothers aren't like that, that their fathers - of course not Daddy - is not like that...but they are all men....and men's sexual nature is about abundance....
Many men believe this also. My SA actually believes this but goes to all the meetings so that he will constantly be reminded that he needs to be a better person and never wants to put anyone else through this ever again - I often talk of divorce... I'm so glad I'm making a better husband for the next wife...
But back to the men I've worked with. All the owners I've worked with (I always seem to work closely with owners) cheated on their wives, but I would not call them SAs. Most of the other men I worked with cheated in some form - strippers, PAs. I did not consider them SAs - and I've known about SAs since it first came out because I'm really into reading everything.
I call my WH an SA to make it easier with language. I actually believe he is just a cheating addict. That he was never meant to be in a monogamous relationship and lied to keep me.
If you watch any TV or movies - so many men would be labeled Sex Addicts - but they are just labeled men. Of course it is not real - but again, I worked with so many men who were cheaters. My SA worked with so many men who were cheaters. My friends worked with so many men who were cheaters....
I don't want to start a fire here. Just wondering if anyone else thought the same way as me. That if most men get a chance - they will. What is that saying - woman: Do men/my husband cheat? Man: Is he a man? And the types of cheating quotes about men ... And in other cultures, it is just expected/allowed that men cheat and women deal with it. Yet in our culture we expect our men to be different. To me the ONLY difference is this - that I believed it when HE said he would not and did not cheat. I believed him. So if he couldn't be monogamous, just tell me...don't F with my life. If you are a typical man and cannot be monogamous then don't get married!!! Of course then men would get all upset because they should be able to have a family life and all that also. But of course they can and I want them to have it also, they just have to tell the truth.
And so that is where I am. I just honestly believe that men cannot really be truthful about their true sexuality. That if they were truthful they would be able to admit to their sexual natures and say to us women: Hey women, your nature is monogamy, my nature isn't. Can you live with that?
I know - I know, everyone will say SA is SA and most men don't cheat. Just tell that to the French and Italian and Thailand women (among all the Mid Eastern countries that allow men to marry more than 1 woman or have some on the side- I studied this in University and travelled to Egypt also for a whole class study) .... and no I'm not being too general - it is what it is.
But please don't be too harsh on me. Every time I raise this women get so upset - as if they HAVE to defend men. I don't get it. Why do they feel that there is anything to defend if it is the truth about male sexuality. I feel that women dupe each other into believing something that isn't true and that men do it also so that they can have the wife and family and the sides (not corn or salad, but PAs). The men I've always known are the last to defend other men on this issue - they tell me the truth, but I do know they don't tell their women (ha ha - been there). It's usually only the men that have been cheated on also that will defend other men to the death on this subject.
Thanks for allowing me to write. Again, I don't feel I'm attacking men - I feel that they (Western males) are not being truthful about themselves to themselves, to other men, to women to society, to the world. If they were - we would all be the better for it, I believe, because I believe in truth only. In fact I feel I'm on men's sides - be true to yourself. If you can't be something then don't and stop lying to your women about it. I am monogamous. It is my nature. Some women are not. Most men -( I believe all, but I don't want hell fire) - are not. But I am. Maybe all you are. And we deserved the truth - and that's all.
[This message edited by trappe25 at 1:11 AM, September 10th (Tuesday)]
The way I understand it, and again I am not a mental health professional (but I play one on SI LOL), is that sexual addiction is the pursuit of acting out at all costs. They literally cannot stop without help. It's like a recreational drug user vs. a junkie.
How I KNOW my WH is SA: He spent THOUSANDS of dollars on hookers. He spent more than a thousand alone when he was laid off, we were borrowing money from our parents because the savings ran out, and we were looking at publics assistance and trying to figure out how to not lose our house. He spent HOURS on the internet surfing porn and soliciting prostitutes. He quite literally could not go a day without it. It eventually wasn't enough to see hookers, he had to see them and convince them to do acts that weren't on the "menu". There was a steady progression of the acting out becoming more and more dangerous. I could go on and on, but you get the point.
For me, it is different than a womanizer. They are on a power trip collecting trophies. They usually don't progress to more dangerous activities, just get a bigger body count. They could stop if they wanted. That is just an asshole. It is still a broken person but a different kind of broken that requires different therapy. And many SAs start that way, and continue being one but also can't stop.
I personally don't believe men are hardwired against monogamy. Not for a second, any more than women are wired for it. I do believe FOO issues are a huge factor in either becoming an asshole or a SA. Being taught what is right and wrong, and being honest and faithful, what boundaries should be, is part of FOO. If it's wrong from childhood you chances of being a healthy adult are much lower. In any culture.
I do agree culture plays a huge factor as well. That is why there are more and more female sex addicts now, in addition to female asshole cheaters. There are TONS of women who go online and solicit sex. The difference is most SA women do anonymous encounters instead of paid ones, and in many ways that is infinitely more dangerous. "Reputable" hookers need to stay clean and provide safe service for their johns if they expect to make money long term. Anonymous sex people do not, and psychopaths take every opportunity to use anonymous sex forums for victims.
What I do know is a lot of what you are saying sounds like justification. To me, saying it is just part of being male is a cop-out. There are tons of betrayed men here that would take HUGE offense to that. While men and women are wired differently in many ways, so much of it is cultural and FOO, so as that changes it becomes less of a difference.
What I DO know is real addicts who believe that it is part of being male will never really progress in recovery. They will use that as an excuse, and they already have too many excuses in their mind. A skilled IC will teach them what the hardwired human response is, and how to process that response and act appropriately.
But I do agree one should explore if WS is just an asshole vs. a SA. But my guess is everyone on this thread will say both.
Trappe - Hope you are able to come along in your own recovery. It sounds like you have been the perfect spouse for an SA, buying into the boys will be boys lie. Please read the Betrayed Men thread sometime. It absolutely contradicts what you are saying and it is written by men. If a man has an example of a father that lies and cheats, as well as a culture that accepts that, then they 100% believe that men are just this way. If a man is brought up by a father and community that believe men are honorable, monogamous and honest, then that is what they believe men are. People are influenced by their surroundings, they are not base animals without higher reasoning.
My spouse was primarily a porn addict who had started to escalate to strip bars. There are several things that make me see the addiction. First, the tried to quit and could not stop piece that Hath mentioned. Second, the escalation that PP have discussed -- my H was a slow escalator across decades but he was def. escalting. Third, sexual arousal was not the primary or probably even the secondary motivation -- it just wasn't about sexual pleasure for him but stress relief, self soothing, dealing with resentment. Fourth, when H began sobriety there were stunning changes -- he was so much more present (before I felt ignored even when he was talking to me), he had several new ideas at work. His mind was relieved of the addictive circling.
Trappe, I sense from some of the comments in your post that you feel like your H is wrongly wearing this label that is threatening the end of your marriage--and that some other woman is going to end up with the prize of him. IMO no man who cheats, lies, disrespects, and distances himself from his life partner is a prize. The question is whether he is going to do what it takes to make HIMSELF worthy of the real prize -- you.
How do you reconcile with someone who won't admit they have a problem? (I know the answer is... you can't... right?)
sexual addiction is not defined by either sexual offending (as Ariel Castro would have us believe) or having a high sexual desire (as the study would have us believe). Instead, sexual addiction is about escape and dissociation from life. Essentially, sex addicts are men and women who've learned to repeatedly self-medicate their depression, anxiety, boredom, low self-esteem, unresolved childhood trauma, and/or any number of other underlying conditions by numbing out via sexual fantasy and behavior.
My X was a bigger asshole than sex addict. He never admitted any problem with using prostitutes and porn. He thought it was acceptable behavior.
But I do believe choices are made
This. The choice. Choice to pull up that website. Choice to cruise for encounters. Choice to spend endless time & resources scouting for next encounter. The methodical, rhythmic nature of the whole cycle is more than I will ever be able to wrap my head around.
Our situation has toned down. Things have been moving a little more smoothly (knock on wood) for longer periods of time. I think that qualifies as progress even if only by a small measure.
I had a wonderful surprise last week! A very special friend has invited me to spend a week with her in Aruba! All expense paid! Yay! I gladly accepted & tickets were purchased. It wasn't until a couple of days later I realized I would need a passport. I've never had one & according to the gov.com website takes some 4-6 weeks to obtain. Long story short, H & I drove to New Orleans on Friday in order to get an expedited passport. It's about a two hour drive & we used to go there whenever we had a long weekend. We used to walk around the French Quarter & buy pastries, find good places to eat, shop the antique/junk shops and, of course, have a few mint juleps or hurricanes.
We always had a good time.
It wasn't like that this time. The last time we were there was a few years before Katrina. Some things had changed but, the thing that remained was the constant barrage of sexual images, graphic T shirts, scantily clan women "performing" in Jackson Square. Things that have always been there but, I actually never paid that much attention to. It all had my attention now. My head was spinning as i tried to imagine the things going on inside of my sex addict's head as he walked along side me. We avoided Bourbon Street where most of raunchy sex workers hang out but, I got absolutely no pleasure from that little day trip except for having passport in hand and a few very tasty French pastries.
I'm ready for my much needed R&R. My agenda does not include any discussions regarding H or marriage. Period! Hopefully just a time for clearing my mind and a time of peacefulness. Peace. Can you imagine?
Here's my latest. If you remember, SAWH gave me a "contract" where he said he would get monthly polygraphs and see CSAT and in exchange for this, he wanted to be able to go to Vegas with the buddies that he cheated with, wanted me and my son to reduce our IC, wanted me to reduce the cleaning lady, etc. Anyway, he has discussed the contract with his CSAT, but didn't want to discuss it much tonight. We did get into a long discussion and I would like your thoughts.
He still does not think he is an SA because there is no "compulsiveness" to his porn use. He says he hasn't watched porn for over a year and hasn't masturbated in 6 months. He says that he feels "judged" and "criticized" by me calling him an SA. I said that wasn't the case and gave him the following example:
If he comes home from work and I am drunk every night and neglecting the kids and he says, "I think you have a problem, you need to get some help," that is not "judging" or "criticizing," that is a loving thing to do because you see your wife and children being harmed and you are pointing this out so they can get some help. To this, my SAWH says, "Yeah, but if you stop drinking (=he's stopped using porn), then I assume everything's ok and all is good." To which I gave this example:
I'm not drinking, but I haven't worked on any of the issues that caused me to drink in the first place, so I am angry and bitchy because I was drinking to numb the anger and bitchiness away. Now I am screaming at the kids, verbally abusing them, which is not healthy either.
He then asked if he was angry and mean to the kids; I said no, but your sexualized values, thoughts, beliefs and feelings are coming out and will be noticed by the kids and passed on to them. I gave two recent examples:
1) he said to my 5 year old daughter who was dancing the other night "shake your money-maker."
2) He and I went to the movies the other night; there were two teenage girls standing off to the side and he was looking at them. I asked if he found them attractive; he deflected by saying he didn't see them clearly, he just saw that they had long hair. I asked if he found their long hair attractive and he said yes. I asked if he masturbated to them later and he said no. I asked if he thinks it's appropriate for a 50 year old man to be noticing teenage girls and he said he didn't realize how old they were when he looked over at them.
I told him that the above things are teaching our son that women are only good for sex and teaching our daughter that all she is good for is sex and that is not what I want to teach our children. I told him that even though he is not "using," he has not worked on the deep issues that got him here and so he is continuing to damage our family.
He said he was "exasperated" after our talk. I don't think I got through to him and I don't know where we are going, but I don't know where my talking points came from tonight - I haven't thought about these issues in such a coherent way before. It is actually starting to really freak me out.