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.

 

5 Things to Get When Your Spouse is a Sex Addict

1. Get the Facts about Sex Addiction – it’s NOT your fault!

A sex addict’s behavior usually starts when something “twists” his* sexuality as a child. No 8 year old just magically decides to perform sexual acts because it seems like a good idea. Something warped that kid, long before you ever met. According to studies of sex addicts, it was most likely sexual abuse and/or a father with the same addiction.

2. Get a Counselor who is Comfortable with Anger.

Anger is an appropriate and predictable response to finding out the depth of deception that affects every aspect of your life. Sex addiction is way beyond simple betrayal. Of COURSE you are angry! You can either express that anger or it will go underground to destroy you from the inside out – depression is a given and illness can often result.

3. Get Comfortable with the Word “Abuse”.

Sex addiction includes insidious, willful, premeditated abuse. No matter how deeply you wish “I could go back to the way it was before”, you can never go back…. and that reality sucks. Coming to grips with abuse takes time as your blinders slowly melt away.

4. Get a Witness.

As the sex addict desperately tries to stuff everything back into his sick little compartmentalized life, he will make vows, swear promises, and even declare complete honesty – sometimes with a list of “all” his infractions. Make no mistake: this honesty will be short lived, incomplete, and there will be no record of it unless you create one! Trust me on this: you’ll need a record!

5. Get a Bulldog Attorney (even if you plan to stay!)

These men are gifted liars who specialize in false realities. If you think you won’t be discredited and further abused in the divorce process, think again. A man who risks your life and the wellbeing of you and your children will think nothing of lying and blaming you in order to keep “his” money and things. If you plan to stay, get a post-nuptial agreement.

Continued tomorrow. See 6-10 here. 

 

How Much More Validation Do You Need?

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Someone asked me a tough question that proved to be a turning point in my recovery from divorcing a sociopathic sex addict:

“How much more validation do you need?”

Early in the discovery phase, I developed some predictable coping mechanisms. A call from my divorce attorney could result in hours of me Googling things about sex addiction. An intrusive thought about my ex would leave me rehashing all the evils he had committed. Startling awake from a nightmare meant I would frantically go down the rabbit hole on YouTube, watching films about sociopaths.

The triggers came almost non-stop, and with each one I went searching for more truth, understanding, and information. For a time, this was appropriate as I came to grips with what had happened to me. I felt my story was so extreme that no one could comprehend it. I felt utterly alone.

Then came the day when those coping mechanism turned on me. I was no longer actually seeking truth, understanding, and information. I was really on a mission to get validation. I just didn’t know that yet.

I lived like that for too long … and then came my answer to the question, “How much more validation do you need?”:

There will never be “enough” validation if I’m waiting to hear it from my ex. He is not capable; he never was and never will be. There is nothing I can say to him that will make him suddenly see the damage he caused and beg for my forgiveness. Never. It matters not what he does from this point forward – the damage was real, it was horrific, and it is over.

Armed with that flash of insight, I finally checked the box marked “Validation”. I know the truth. My family knows the truth. My close friends know the truth. And God knows the truth. That’s enough for me. That’s finally enough for me. At long last, I am looking to the future rather than the past.

 

 

The Sociopath’s Lies Never Stop

 

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I recently discovered that my ex, the sociopathic sex addict who engaged in such deviant acts I can’t catalog them all, is telling my children I was the cheater. With 4 men. And it “crushed his soul”. According to him, it’s why he “struggled with infidelity a few times”.

Let me make this very clear. I never cheated. I never thought about cheating. I never even cheated in my dreams. It’s not in my DNA to cheat. Hell, I wasnt even a flirt. And he knows it.

This new lie shows the depths to which he’s willing to go, and it shows that nothing is sacred. He will do everything in his power to protect his reputation by destroying mine. He even stole my exact words – “crushed my soul”.

And so it goes with a sociopath. The lies grow bigger each day, and as they do, it becomes more obvious that the truth must be closing in on him. Each ounce of truth requires yet another cover story. It must be exhausting.

I can shoulder it – but his lies continue to take a toll on my adult children. He keeps them dancing the twisted dance of gas lighting, repeatedly uprooting their footing in reality and truth.

There is no fighting back. There is only no contact, and the knowledge that he can no longer hurt me. The truth will prevail. I am safe.

 

 

Get Over a Narcissistic Sex Addict?

“You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”

~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler

And so it was when I discovered my husband was a deviant sex addict. I can never be the same. He broke something in my core. I can be repaired, but the scars will remain and reminders will come.

This wasn’t simple betrayal. It wasn’t “just” being lied to. And it surely wasn’t a little secret that “didn’t mean anything, I swear” – to quote my sex addict. It was so much bigger than all that.

At the exact moment of discovery, my life was ripped into two distinct pieces – before and after. As if that weren’t enough, each broken half was then sent thru a truth shredder, leaving me with giant piles of twisted wreckage.

Truths were intermingled with lies to the point that I had no idea who or what to believe anymore. I was trying to understand a situation that cannot be understood by normal people, all while my brain and body mounted a fight against the extraordinary trauma of it all.

At each phase of my now adult children’s lives, I witness their deep pain as they wrestle with an increasingly mature understanding of the truth about their father. One has chosen denial; the other, truth. Both paths have their own special kind of hell that grieves me daily as a mother.

There isn’t any ‘getting over’ what he did to us. The damage was too great. He opened a Pandora’s box that can never be closed. None of us can ever again enjoy the bliss of ignorance about the evils and the sick underworld he forced into our lives.

There is only moving on, rebuilding, and learning to trust the world again. Someday, I hope to no longer have nightmares. I hope to awaken each morning to a sense of joy and purpose rather than dread and remembrance and pain. This is the aftermath of marriage to a sex addict. This is PTSD. This is my life’s work.

 

 

Angry at a Sex Addict? Damn Right I Am!

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My favorite theory of anger is that it arises out of embarrassment, insecurity, hurt, shame, or vulnerability – all of which we have in abundance when we discover our partner’s sex addiction.

1. Embarrassment:

I learned to hide the real reason for my divorce after being blamed, dismissed, and even ridiculed. I endured stupid questions and suggestions born of ignorance, and I quickly learned the difference between curiosity and concern.

Even my physical body took a humiliating turn – I lost a lot of weight unintentionally, my hair fell out, and my eyes looked hollow and dead. I seemed weak and appeared to be handling divorce much more poorly than “normal” people – when in reality I was doing exactly as could be expected under such heinous conditions.

I was embarrassed by what I’d become, and felt a deep need to explain who I “used to be” and why I’d become a shadow of my former self.

2. Insecurity:

I was at the mercy of attorneys and judges who, on a whim, would decide my financial future.

My relationships became tenuous, dependent on others’ willingness to ride my unpredictable waves of raw emotion. I feared I’d become a burden so I kept to myself. I had friends drift away because I couldn’t “get over it” on their timetable.

I became very negative. I canceled plans repeatedly. For a long time, I could barely converse – I was so overwhelmed by my own grief that I couldn’t bear anyone else’s seemingly trivial concerns. I felt utterly alone and hopeless that anyone could ever truly understand what I’d been through.

3. Hurt:

The intense, physical pain in my chest sometimes made me worry I was having a heart attack. When that pain became too intense, my body swooped in and replaced it with a numb gaping hole.

Two years after discovery, I was diagnosed with 4 new and different heart defects and a severe autoimmune disease. He really did break my heart and damage my body.

That, my friends, is what these men can do to us if the professional help we get is inappropriate or inadequate. I’d love to see a study on the health of sex addicts’ wives in the years after discovery – and the differences in health of those women who stay and those who leave immediately.

That’s to say nothing of the emotional pain.

4. Shame:

Am I the only one who feels, at times, that I did this to myself? That I chose him? That I made poor decisions that worsened his addiction? That I failed my children? That chosing him to father my children means that I passed on his genetic personality disorder?

5. Vulnerability:

I married because I wanted a partner to share the good and bad in life. I wanted to help carry his load, and he mine.

Instead, I was introduced to the dark underbelly of society. That knowledge became a burden I couldn’t put down, and it destroyed my ability to trust myself and others.

Deep down I know I can never withstand another blow like the one I’ve been dealt.

Now What?

Through hard work and (finally!) a fabulous trauma counselor, I’ve learned to open my heart again. I have fewer people in my inner circle, but those allowed in are precious – and my relationships are more emotionally intimate than ever.

This is not a path I’d have chosen for myself or anyone else, but even this path has some strange lessons and gifts along the way. You just have to dig through mountains of shit to find them.