The Kavanaugh Hearings – aka Hell Week for Spouses of Sex Addicts

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For spouses of sex addicts, this was a tough week.  There’s been a lot of confusion for me and my fellow warriors who called in tears – unexpectedly triggered by the Kavanaugh hearings.

I’m NOT saying Kavanaugh is a sex addict. That’s never even been alleged. And I’m NOT taking sides. Surprisingly, I can’t…. yet.

This is much deeper than politics to those of us who’ve been entangled with a sex addict.

The problem with sex addicts isn’t just the sex, it’s the abusive patterns of lying, gaslighting, and projection, mixed with whopping doses of feigned righteous anger.

Even after disclosure, intensive therapy, and weekly attendance at Sex Addicts Anon meetings – where our sex addicts often “led” their groups while still screwing whores – we’ve watched them pound tables, cry, and declare their innocence with legendary righteousness.

We’ve seen our sex addicts lie to judges, children, family, and counselors with seething anger because anyone would dare think ill of them.

The entitlement of sex addicts is a wonder to behold. The denial is staggering, upstaged only by their firmly held belief that they are great spouses, fathers, and employees – despite mounds of evidence to the contrary.

Many of us couldn’t get past Kavanaugh’s “righteous anger”.  It was too familiar. It tied our stomach in knots and took us back to divorce courtrooms where we sat across from our once husbands and listened as they dismantled us with lies.

It took us back to counselor’s offices, where our then spouses threw things, yelled, and demanded the counselors stop accusing them and instead fix their “crazy” wives.

And so, we couldn’t quite believe Brett Kavanaugh. We couldn’t get past that righteousness.

On the other hand, we’ve had to live thru our own character assassinations by our sex addicts.  Most of us assumed that once the addicts had confessed and taken steps to “fix” their addiction, they’d forever be honest about it.

It took us completely off guard when we learned how our exes had turned the tables and accused us of the hideous things they’d actually done. For many of us, that projection has been the hardest abuse to stomach in all this mess.

We often struggle with a burning desire to clear our own names of  false accusations. We’ve pounded our pillows, cried, yelled, and felt physically ill when learning of our ex’s continued lies at our expense.

And so, we want to believe Brett Kavanaugh. We, too, have been consumed with the need to be heard and have our reputations restored.

Because we have survived both ends of this argument, it turns out many of us are having a hard time taking sides.

Most of us know who we want to believe, and we don’t always agree on that. But we do agree that it’s been one hell of a week.

 

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Palter Much? Decoding the Secret Language of Sex Addicts

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I found it! The word that explains why communing with my ex was so maddening that it left me deeply confused, often to the point of questioning my own reality.

While Miriam Webster defines PALTER  “to act insincerely or deceitfully”, it turns out to mean a whole lot more.

According to the Harvard Gazette:

“Paltering is when a communicator says truthful things and in the process knowingly leads the listener to a false conclusion. It has the same effect as lying, but it allows the communicator to say truthful things and, some of our studies suggest, feel like they’re not being as deceptive as liars,” said Todd Rogers,  (bolding mine)

BINGO!!

So let’s get this straight. My sex addicted ex lied using the truth so he didn’t have to feel bad about himself! 

Let that soak in. While he protected himself from “feeling bad”, he was building the mother of all bombs that destroyed my family, my past, my present, and my future.

While protecting himself from “feeling bad”, he sacrificed my children and me to years of counseling to rebuild our own self images, trust, and reality. Not to mention a lifetime of whack-a-mole- forgiveness every time we run up against more of his shit.

I knew my ex was sick,  but the deeper I dig, the more I learn just how sick. Every day that passes I gain more clarity and become more thankful I escaped when I did.

At the end, a sex addict’s entire house of cards is built on a twisted foundation: they will say and do just about anything so they don’t feel bad about themselves, while they are doing despicable and often illegal things!

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s delusional at best. And if you’ve lived this firsthand, you know that delusional is just the tip of a deep, dark, ugly iceberg our society lightly refers to as “sex addiction”.

Court Ordered? Ha! Maybe it’s Time to Cut Your Losses When Divorcing a Sex Addict?

The sad truth about divorcing a sex addict/sociopath is this: You may never get what the court orders.

I didn’t believe that. Instead, I battled through 7 years of court to get what was rightfully mine in the first place. It ended up costing me more than I got.

It all ended with a(nother) letter from my ex, which basically stated: Take this pittance that I’ve calculated and go away, ….. or else.

Or else what?  Or else he’d appeal, countersue, and continue to take me to court until we both had nothing left and he became “inactionable”. This from the father of my children.

Easy for him to say. He remarried for money, then inherited enough to last him the rest of his life – none of which could be considered in the divorce. He didn’t have to destroy me; that was just for sport and to claim that he was right.

Divorce is a serious game to personality disordered sex addict. They will fight like a cornered animal when their reputation is on the line. You can continue to meet in court, or you can do it the sex addict’s way at the very beginning.

I foolishly thought my ex, who defied laws of nature, reason, and man throughout our marriage, would suddenly comply with authority.  I was wrong.

It cost me my finances, my health, relationships with friends who could no longer watch my shit show, my sanity (for a time), self-respect, and so much more.

If I could go back…..

I’d leave the second he said “I think I might be a sex addict”. Although I didn’t’ know it, he had already blown thru hundreds of 2nd chances every time he screwed another whore or blew another man at a nudist colony.

I’d get a court-ordered lie detector test. Witnesses and documentation will matter GREATLY in the years to come, especially if you have children together! Me asking for the test didn’t work. A counselor suggesting the test didn’t work.  Go for the court order!

I’d take whatever I could get, which would essentially be whatever pittance he offered. There is no “winning” or even “negotiating” with a personality disordered man. Given the chance, they’d rather destroy you.

I’d never look back, knowing that I was lucky to get out without ruining myself in the process.

What it cost me to STAY with a sex addict

price-clipart-price-clipart-canstock16268757After 16 years of marriage, I found out my ex was a severe sex addict. I asked him to leave that very night, and he did.

Before you praise my heroic and decisive action, you’ll need to know the rest of the story – the part where I start to look like the typical confused and traumatized spouse of a sex addict.

For 2 years, he lived elsewhere. We had very little contact except for counseling. He even became the leader of his Sex Addicts group. I guess they didn’t know he was still “acting out” – or worse yet, they knew and didn’t care.

So I let him move back home, trusting that he had changed. Boy was I wrong. Trusting a sex addict turns out to be an oxymoron.

The next 4 years were hell. He now had recovery language in addition to his arsenal of bible verses to lob at me.

His self-righteousness increased tenfold. Now he could even proclaim that he was winning the recovery race, as evidenced by the fact that I couldn’t just “get over it”.

Finally, after those 4 “bonus” years of being completely beaten down emotionally while he continued to cheat, I filed for divorce.

The cost of trying to reconcile with a sex addict was more than I could have possibly imagined.

Money: he spent those 4 years hiding money and preparing for the inevitable divorce.

Health:  Living under the enormous stress just about killed me. As is the case with many spouses of sex addicts, I will pay for the rest of my life with compromised health.

My children’s respect: I held them hostage with my indecision. I forced them to spend some of the most precious years of their life in a purgatory that I allowed.

Sanity: It’s one thing to live with a person when you don’t know they are a deviant sex addict. It’s quite another to stay when you have full knowledge of the abuse involved.

Self respect: It’s been a long road to forgiving myself. As my children became adults, they, too, forgave me – but not before we all went thru several years of trauma counseling, emotional distance, and pain.

Time:  This one hurts the most. I’ll never get back those wasted years when I could have been living a peaceful and active life.

I’m happy to say that I now love the life I have. I worked hard for it. I am at peace and am learning to trust again.

I’ll ever be the same as I was before the abuse, but in many ways I’m better.  And that’s enough for me!

Married to a Sex Addict: Should You Compare Timelines?

Immediately after discovery of my husband’s sex addiction, I sought out other wive’s timelines. In particular, I desperately sought out stories of success … and didn’t find any. After all, it was 2004 and we were only beginning to see the tip of this sinister iceberg called sex addiction.

Stories seemed to offer me some predictability in this whole disaster. Of course, the predictability I wanted was the happily-ever-after type – otherwise known as denial. While no two timelines will match, the one thing I’m relatively certain of 12 years later, is that these men will cheat again. All that energy I spent trying to rebuild the marriage was the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Attempts at recovery give them new tools with which to abuse us.  The language of recovery is a powerful weapon. Ever been told to “stay on your own side of the street”? Or that mentioning their addiction is shaming, and thus out of bounds? Or my personal favorite, that you are “too angry”?

They now get to hide behind recovery words like “slip” vs “sex addiction” and we’re supposed to blindly accept that. You know, like accidentally having sex with someone else is just a little oopsie as opposed to the ongoing betrayal and abuse it really is.

So while it’s useful to compare timelines, perhaps it’s more important to compare endings. In my 14 years since discovery, I’ve read forums, met in groups, attended weekend retreats, and thus heard the stories of hundreds of spouses fo sex addicts.

I’ve met one, ONE! wife who was glad she stayed and worked on her marriage. I’ve met MANY who stayed and are miserably trying to put the genie back in the bottle – just as I did for several years.

Those odds aren’t good, but somehow we all think we’ll be the one. We’re different. We’re stronger. Our man can do it with our support. Just one needle-in-a-haystack success story is enough to give us the hope we so desperately need.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the other 999 stories go something like this:

  • I found out I was married to a sex addict.
  • He promised to change.
  • Outwardly he did some right things.
  • Unbeknownst to me, he kept cheating.
  • I found out again. And again. And again.
  • After x  years, I finally had enough and left him. By then, my health, finances, and children were in ruins.
  • “I wish I’d have left when I first found out.”

Are you the one?  Are you willing to bet your children and your life against those odds? I don’t ever discount what God can do, but it seems He’s not often in the business of changing sex addicts hearts.

You see, while they’re still married to us, they have it all –  a marriage and family for a good cover story, and a secret world filled with all their sickest desires. Why would they change?

They’ve made it abundantly clear that we aren’t worthy of the smallest crumb of respect, let alone a cosmic shift in the depths of their souls. And we’ve shown them that we’re willing to put up with all of it …. over and over and over again.

 

Predicting the Future with a Sex Addict

 

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When I discovered my husband’s sex addiction, the questions began immediately.

Over the next several months, I googled and cried my way through hundreds of questions about sex addiction. Then something unexpected happened: the more answers I found, the more unsettled and angry I became. It was all too much.

Now, all these years (and mistakes) later, I know the 2 questions I was really trying to answer:

“How do I return to my “before” life?”

I wanted to go back to “before” and forget all about this sex addiction crap. In the fog of pain and confusion, I thought I could find my way back.

Here’s the hell of it – I couldn’t ever go back. I could never un-see or un-know what I had discovered. My marriage was dead, and so was a part of me. When I cried and told my counselor what my marriage should be like, she told me flatly, “You didn’t get that.”

It was like cold water in my face, but it was true. I didn’t get the happily ever after. Not with my then husband. It was now up to me to create a different story, and to do so while confused, lonely, exhausted, and trying to raise 2 children in the fallout.

“What is my future with this sex addict” (i.e. Should I stay or should I go?)

Later, as began to grasp the gravity and depth of my husband’s sex addiction, this question was at the core of all my searching. I obsessively sought out detailed stories of those who went before me.

  • Did he cheat again?
  • How long until he cheated again?
  • What did real recovery sound like?
  • Did his recovery “stick”?
  • What are the statistics for sex addiction recovery?
  • If I divorced him, what if I had paid the ultimate price and his next wife got to reap the benefits of his recovery?

I falsely believed that if I could get enough information I could predict my future and make a sound decision about divorce. Or, better yet, I could somehow control the outcome of things that were never mine to control.

In the end, he kept cheating and lying, and I had my answers. Looking back, I realize that I knew the answers all along. I just doubted myself and was afraid of facing the truth. Years of being lied to by a sex addict will do that to a person.

5 More Things to Get When Your Spouse is a Sex Addict

Continued from yesterday. See 1 – 5 here.

6. Get your spouse to admit his addiction to the children during the small window of opportunity! 

The truth is VERY painful for the children of sex addicts. If they hear it from only you, they may begin to doubt it over time as the addict usually crafts a(nother)  false reality to present to the children. It’s the old “repeat something often enough and people will eventually believe it”. If your children are too young, get it in writing to share with them at an appropriate time/age. All of this is, of course, with appropriate professional help.

7. Get One or Two Trustworthy Confidants.

There’s a huge difference between curiosity and concern. Many people will ask you questions. Few will actually care. Most will be looking for tidbits that make them feel better about their own situations or, worse yet, provide a good laugh at their next girls’ night out. You would do well to keep the curiosity seekers at bay.

8. Get a New Friend Who Has Walked this Path Before You.

Don’t expect those who’ve never lived through a spouse’s sex addiction to understand your battle or accept that you really didn’t know . You will have to rest in the knowledge that many of us have gone before you, survived, and tell the same story: I. Didn’t. Know! We fell victims to gifted deceivers – because we were trusting.

9.  Get Tested for STD’s

Tell your doctor the truth. Get tested. Enough said.

10. Get Back in Touch with Your True Self.

You will never be the same – but consider who you were: You were an abused woman living in darkness and confusion. If you’re anything like me, you also became someone you neither recognized nor liked as you attempted, prior to disclosure, to make sense of that horrible feeling that “something isn’t right”.

On the other side of all this mess, you get to be who you really are; who you were before an abuser systematically dismantled you in a sick attempt to make himself whole. He will likely never be whole. But you will. You always were.