After 16 years of marriage, I found out my ex was a severely depraved 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 few 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 “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 are in the process of unearthing the extent of abuse.
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’ll ever be the same as I was before the abuse, but in some ways I’m better. My victories often felt small or hollow, but I just kept stacking those victories until the day I finally recognized myself again.
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.