Oh Dee, you ask me to try to clarify what is the deal allowing the offending cheater/SA to stay on but just as a roommate? Tough job! Let me see...
Simply summarized it's Safety: mine and his.
When we were newlyweds, he was 39 years old and I was 46. Early on, he once confessed that making love actually "scared him!" I never understood that at all, until all the garbage came out 4 years later. Turned out his whole sexual history before our wedding day - including our 4 year dating relationship, unknown to me - had been with Prostitutes! He never allowed any of Them to get emotionally close to him and the idea of marriage = emotional closeness was turning into a big THREAT, I take it.
Because before me, it seems the only woman he ever HAD BEEN emotionally close to was his Mother - however, from his earliest childhood she was physically and emotionally incestuous with him. Stories came out very gradually...but a totally F'd up family background I had no inkling of, as he'd lied and lied about his overseas family during our 4 years of dates. I had no way to verify any of what he told me during those years, only occasional joint phone calls on a holiday was my exposure to them, right up until the week of our wedding. Anything he mentioned about his family/culture, I would interpret in light of his parents still living together, so I figured his parents had to be "healthier" than mine, who'd divorced when I was 24.
But the night of D-Day 1 in 2002, I withdrew to another room in my little house to sleep alone. To feel SAFE. I was terrified! He had taken over paying MY home's mortgage, as I had quit my job 2 years earlier. Then just prior to D-Day we had jointly used MY home's equity as the down payment on this farm and added another massive mortgage! Talk about trapped...at age 51, I felt every negative emotion you can imagine, but "leaving" was NEVER an option: he had moved into MY house!
As we did the whole counseling bit, I did the whole trauma response repertoire we just talked about, of feeling empathetic towards the suffering bastard, wondering how the heck he got so messed up, etc., yet I couldn't ever "paper over" the trauma his actions continued to cause me. So night after night, I made my bed on the couches in my dining room. And one year became five....then ten, now 20.
Unlike probably everybody else on this forum, he and I had just hung out as platonic friends the entire 4 years before we shifted to a committed, sexual relationship AFTER MARRIAGE. By D-Day at year 4 of marriage, I was also starting to go through menopause. So that part wasn't hard for me, but it also wasn't hard for HIM, apparently. Never again has he expressed a wish to explore resuming anything physical. I think my visceral reaction to betrayal scared him right over the edge, and from that edge he wasn't coming back! I am not the shrinking violet type!
At first, I put his physical distance/disinterest down to a classic case of the SA's "sexual anorexic" stage I'm sure we've all read or heard about. But year after year, no change? And then, years of suffering and struggle to try to heal just led to more betrayal, anyway, as was predictable I suppose (but it's too long of a sad story for anyone to grasp.)
To your bigger question: does a SA need to withdraw from sexuality in order to stay "sober?" I'm not sure, but you know what? I wouldn't bet against it! They can't trust themselves, I think. I think there is a spiritual element to this as well, but I'll leave it at that.
As for me controlling my roommate? After D-Day 2 and the post-nup, it came down to this: "My House, My Rules. Period. Nothing slimey going on behind my back under this roof - or you're OUT." Not hard to grasp. My lawyer confirmed in 2014 that he forfeited spousal rights when he signed the Agreement and Deed of Gift, so from then on, he is living here 'at my pleasure.' If I ever discover he cannot put this issue behind him? Well, I'm all out of more time to give this set-up. It's his choice. I can only stand so much doubt, and the other day was one of those days....triggered a lot of feelings of disappointment, even disgust that this guy hasn't learned how to build trust, but knee-jerk reacts like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Yuck. Even if innocent: yuck.
Hope all are doing okay with the heat and all, our old dog wishes it was Coooler.
Typos as always...
[This message edited by Superesse at 4:55 AM, Tuesday, July 19th]