After 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!