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Reconciliation :
Sex addicts? Is anyone a spouse of an SA?

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 mskitty (original poster member #61389) posted at 12:59 AM on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

Curious to know if any of you are spouses of someone with a diagnosed sex addiction? I’ve known my husband is an addict since his first A in 2012 (involved young prostitutes). Of course he denied it....couldn’t face the mirror and accept the label. Fast forward to 2017.....A #2. Again, despite it starting with him offering a young girl to be his paid mistress, he STILL would not accept the fact that he clearly meets the criteria of a sex addict. He’s been an addict before in his life (many, many years ago with cocaine.....LONG before I knew him), so addiction is nothing new to him. Now after what I thought was a long hard road, but one where we were both in such a good place, he blew it out of the water again. Risky behavior, propositioning, once again, a young girl at his work to have sex for $$..... a sugar daddy kind of situation. Only now, or maybe I can say finally now, he is ready to admit he is indeed a SA and is ready for a treatment program. He also has NEVER been willing to admit to his childhood traumas being an issue and/or his trauma of being a US Marine. His PTSD has always been obvious, and he would admit it, but he never sought help for it and would never admit it had something to do with his acting out, etc. He finally is ready to open up all of the wounds, explore his trauma, explore his PTSD and accept that he is indeed a SA. He’s enrolled in an inpatient program out of state and taken the first steps locally to find a CSAT therapist.

I guess I’m just reaching out to see who may have been in a similar boat before and what your experience was. After the A in 2017 I swore to myself and him if anything ever happened again, I would divorce him. Now, here I am pausing because it’s clear he finally sees his addiction and wants to do something about it. Anyone have a WS who has successfully slayed this dragon. Not everyone who has affairs has a sex addiction, I realize. My H checks almost every box in the quiz for one....unfortunately. His behaviors have been VERY risky (2012 involved prostitutes), 2017 involved propositioning an employee, and now, again propositioning an employee, a young girl (age 23)....he’s 59! Even though his life almost has blown up time and time again he continued to take the risk. He now has sexual harassment charges pressed against him. The girl was interested and willing, the texts prove as much. They did not physically get involved because she kept saying “no” then would change her mind. But, in my mind, he cheated whether he actually had sex with her or not. He’s sick, sick sick in the head. I just wonder if there is any hope with addiction treatment?

Another thing that has been very hurtful, but is something he never would do is he is willing and has provided disclosure of two other women he slept with multiple times since the affair in 2017. I’m obviously blindsided by this, but I guess not surprised because he never, ever, ever go the help he needed. He just white knuckled it, saying he’d never do it again. The urge is too strong. I’m numb and confused. I haven’t left him.....yet. I said I would, but EVERYTHING he’s doing now is exactly what I knew needed to happen before, but never did.....disclosure, sex addiction treatment, seeking a local counselor, giving me his cell phone password (never did before), etc. I’m just a hot mess. Uuuuugh!

posts: 194   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2017
id 8660322
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 1:20 AM on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

I'm sure you will get lots of replies to this, however in the meantime, go to the "I can relate" forum on this site, and look for the post (near the top) called "Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts". That will get you some quick info.

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1434   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017
id 8660333
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 4:28 AM on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

I WAS the spouse of a sex addict. Life got a lot better when I stopped being that. It's hell, it truly is.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 5083   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8660369
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stubbornft ( member #49614) posted at 7:09 PM on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

Yes, me. And it is a painful slow death.

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

posts: 852   ·   registered: Sep. 14th, 2015   ·   location: TX
id 8660550
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Notmine ( member #57221) posted at 1:45 PM on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

I haven’t left him.....yet. I said I would, but EVERYTHING he’s doing now is exactly what I knew needed to happen before, but never did.....disclosure, sex addiction treatment, seeking a local counselor, giving me his cell phone password (never did before), etc.

I am an alcoholic with 23 years sober. I say that to let you know that I have some knowledge of addiction and addicts. I hope what I have to say is helpful and know that it is meant in a loving and supportive way.

My FWH is a sex addict. He was clean and sober from alcohol/drugs for 20 years. He stopped doing the things he needed to do stay sober and to maintain a healthy spiritual condition: stopped going to 12-step meetings and stopped working a program. It took a few years, but he began an addictive relationship with pornography. I caught him a few times and finally began to see that it was becoming a problem for him and for our relationship. Sadly, I swept this under the rug and, like all addictions, it progressed... into a physical affair. When my husband was caught, he was actively planning a second affair. Progression is the name of the game with sex addiction,

It is very typical for and addict to replace addictions if they are not actively participating in a program of recovery consistently and for the long term. Sobriety from addiction is a LIFETIME process. If your husband is not actively working on the emotional and behavioral dysfunction that enables the disease, then this is almost a guaranteed path to relapse. He needs to learn the tools necessary to sustain long term sobriety and he can only learn those tools through work with sober addicts. In my experience, sustained sobriety is only possible with active participation in a 12-step program. Period. Not for a week, not a year, FOREVER.

TBH Words are meaningless. Addicts are constitutionally incapable of honesty. ACTIONS will tell you if your husband is serious about being safe for you and for himself. If your husband will not do whatever it takes to get and stay clean, then he is not serious about recovery. I have been working with addicts for many years. They, like cheaters, follow certain patterns of behavior. They commonly promise a LOT of action while waiting for the commotion to die down so they can continue to use. In this, your husband is acting like most other addicts when they are asked to face a consequence. Unless he actually follows through with his promises, then it is addict bullshit. Your husband has “used”/cheated before and you are still married. Addicts understand this as a “free pass”, and will manipulate the situation so that they can continue to comfortably do what they want to do.

If your husband refuses to make meaningful changes, you will be a hostage to his active addiction (behaviorally, if not physically). As you know, life with an active addict is guaranteed to bring chaos and misery to your life. If he does not want to take the steps necessary to get and stay clean, it is up to you to set the boundaries and expectations with what you can or cannot tolerate and to follow through with consequences. Addicts do not find sobriety until they hit their "bottom". If he is able to stay in the house and married to you without making any significant changes, why would he? He will not get better until he is ready and this is completely up to him, NOT YOU.

This would be my list of non-negotiables:

1. 12-step meetings multiple times per week. They are online, so no excuses.

2. Work with a sponsor.

3. Ongoing therapy with a CSAT. MC is not what he needs right now. The marriage is not the problem. HE is.

4. Taking the suggestions of his therapist and his sponsor and ACTING on those suggestions willingly.

5. Complete honesty at all times.

6. All electronics are open to your review whenever you need to see them and his whereabouts are verifiable. This is ACCOUNTABILITY. If he is misbehaving online, then I would consider computer use only when you are present when he is not at work.

I am an outspoken gal, and I will tell you that without honesty, there is no hope. If your husband does not get willing and honest, he will almost certainly continue some sort of addictive behavior and you will bear the brunt of that. Addicts will take advantage of kindness, which they see as weakness, to manipulate in order to continue to do what they want. Yes, addiction is a disease, but the only way for most addicts to be truly willing to get the help that they need is for the lifestyle that is assisting their using to go away. Yes, addiction is a disease, but do not let your husband manipulate you with his sickness. Addiction explains the behavior, but in no way excuses it. He and only he can decide to get better. You need to take care of yourself first. If you have kids, they need to be far away from active addiction.

It is counterintuitive that kindness, mercy and compassion will enable an addict, but that is the truth of the disease.

When you're going through hell, for God's sake, DON'T STOP!

posts: 756   ·   registered: Feb. 1st, 2017   ·   location: DC
id 8660778
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 mskitty (original poster member #61389) posted at 11:48 PM on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

Thank you for your responses. I fouind the "I can relate forum" that you mentioned DaddyDom....thank you!

NotMine, I appreciate your thorough response. It was SUPER helpful and I couldn't agree more with everything you have said. I knew each time things blew up before, although band-aided, that due to my WH's inability to accept the reality of his addiction, and his white-knuckle approach, that danger was always lurking. I did, admittedly, naively think that the things we had gone through and how horrid they were were going to be helpful in keeping him from being unfaithful again. Wrong! Painfully wrong!!!! He is highly educated, a surgeon, and the god-complex, narcissism component is a big part of his problem, along with his addiction. For the first time, he IS willing, or at least he says he is to do the work, to admit that he is a SA and to do all of the steps necessary for help. He has never sought treatment for his PTSD from his years in the Marine Corps, let alone never spoke of things, not even to me. He would never go there with his IC or our MC before. He is willing to now. He also has never shined a light on his childhood trauma and he is now. As we speak he is on his intake call with the treatment center he will be traveling to in CA this Sunday. I've listened in a bit and he has mentioned both his childhood and military trauma and I heard him say it was very important that as part of his treatment he receive help with both. I understand clearly as you stated that the only way to know if he's serious is not by his words, but by his actions. He is/has been in capable of honesty, another thing he has discussed needing help with. He admits he lies and that he always has since he was a child. He says it's his "go to" and I believe it. There's a long road ahead of both of us and I'm not commiting myself to anything, only to work on myself. I'm not going to beat on him emotionally, but I'm also not going to love and coddle him at this point. He's a big boy with a big job ahead. He will be 60 in July!!!! I do wonder if a man this old can be helped? Time will tell I suppose. I no longer am willing to be a hostage, as you said, to his active addiction. The chaos and pain has been unbearable. I do ask myself, and just asked him today, how many times one can drag themselves back up off the floor after the intense pain and disillusionment? I feel disgusted simply for the time that I know lies ahead of us and the work to be done. I have worked MY ASS OFF over the last 4 years (his last A that I knew of) and it was freaking hard work. I was just starting to feel good, to feel that my life no longer was about the A's and the past, etc., only to be slammed in the face again. It is numbing and nearly unbearable. I do believe in the pro-dependence approach of Dr. Robert Weiss as opposed to the blaming co-dependency model, but even with that, how many times is too many? I am happy he is willing to finally admit his addiction and seek help for it, I truly am. I have always known our/his healing was totally imcomplete without it, I'm just not sure it will work. Does it work? Does it really work? If this were the first A and he was having an epiphany and was heading straight into therapy, maybe a relapse along the way could be tolerated, but I've dealt with too many second chances at this point that I cannot and will not be able to tolerate one single relapse along this pathway of true treatment. Am I kidding myself to think there won't be one? I question myself whether or not I even want to take the risk. Some might say, "Choose your hard". It's hard either way. Staying is hard, hard on me. Leaving is hard....hard on me and my children. I'm not afraid, I know that. I can do hard things. I can do anything! I'm trying to stay level-headed and not make any decisions right now. He leaves Sunday for two weeks in LA. I suppose I just need to step back, let him do him and me do me and see what comes out on the other side?

Thank you for the non-negotiables! I agree with every single one of them!

posts: 194   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2017
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Notmine ( member #57221) posted at 11:10 PM on Sunday, May 30th, 2021

Ho - Sorry for delayed response.

Does it work? Does it really work?

Yes. Long term sobriety is sustainable without a relapse. I know many people who did not relapse (including myself). If your husband is willing to do whatever it takes to stay sober, no matter what. If he buys into a recovery program, consistently and for the long term. If he gets a sponsor and if he willingly follows suggestions. If he can put his ego aside and is able to accept that he cannot control his addiction and that it has caused chaos in his life (we say that you need to surrender to win). If he is willing to attend meetings for LIFE.......then he can stay sober. The most important part of recovery for the newcomer is that they attend lots of meetings, get a sponsor and LISTEN. The suggestion is 90 meetings in 90 days. This allows a newly sober person to learn the tools necessary to stay sober and deal with cravings. It also allows them to make connections to others in recovery. These are the people who will be instrumental in their sobriety and who will teach them how to maintain sobriety through example.

I cannot and will not be able to tolerate one single relapse along this pathway of true treatment.

Nor should you. My husband is well aware this is his ninth life. I have my ducks in a row: post-nup, financials separated, etc. I can walk at any time and he know it. I can monitor his activity and his whereabouts whenever I want (I have the password to all electronics and sites- gps location is enabled). This is part of the consequences to his actions and a non-negotiable. He does not have a Facebook account or any other social media (his choice). If I get even a whiff of anything inappropriate, I am out. Addicts capitalize on weakness. "Niceing" them does not work. You have to be willing and ready to walk and he needs to know it.

I suppose I just need to step back, let him do him and me do me and see what comes out on the other side?

Yup. Focus on yourself. HE is responsible for his sobriety. He should be seeing a CSAT as well as attending meetings, but HE needs to take the lead on scheduling, etc. I would also suggest al-anon or S-anon. It is really helpful to get together with others who are dealing with addicts.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

When you're going through hell, for God's sake, DON'T STOP!

posts: 756   ·   registered: Feb. 1st, 2017   ·   location: DC
id 8663945
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 11:52 PM on Sunday, May 30th, 2021

mskitty

NotMine offers sage advice.

Also, I've sent you a private message.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 5:52 PM, May 30th (Sunday)]

posts: 381   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8663954
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 12:06 AM on Monday, May 31st, 2021

For me, and I recognize that we're all different, I had to ask myself if I were willing to dedicate my life to being with someone with these issues. I had to ask myself if he was truly the most amazing human being that the world had ever seen and if he truly contributed so much to my life and happiness that it was worth going through all that being with him required me to go through.

My conclusion was that I was the most important person to me and that I did not want to put myself through one more day of pain because of another person's issues. I had to ask myself what my goal was, and it was peace. I wanted peace and I wanted off the rollercoaster. The only way to achieve that was to separate myself from anything to do with him.

I lost a lot financially and I had to do the whole grieving thing that always comes with ending a marriage. But I have peace. I'm happy. I don't have to deal with an addict spouse. I don't need to worry about where he is or what he's doing or if he'll do the worst stuff again or how to recover from the pain of all the cheating while looking at him, etc. Because them stopping doesn't bring you to the finish line, you know. Even if they suddenly stop behaving like an addict, you're back at step 1 of figuring out how to reconcile from infidelity. It's a lot to ask of a spouse. Staying with a sex addict is a LOT to ask of someone. I wasn't built for it.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 5083   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8663957
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 12:55 AM on Monday, May 31st, 2021

I recognize that we're all different

This is so true.

mskitty,

What I've learned from my involvement in some of the 12 step SA anon groups is that there is no one size fits all, and that eventually happiness is possible again no matter what a person decides is right for them and their children.

That's why I went to a second meeting, because I couldn't believe that these traumatized women were laughing and smiling.

I still don't have the answers, but I certainly do laugh and smile a lot more than I used to.

posts: 381   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8663961
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