I was once your husband. Well I still am... but not 'as' bad as I was I guess. Before I go on, I've been married for 8 years, been together for 16 years, have a 2year old son, I'm heterosexual.
So I'm obviously not YOUR husband but I'm my wife's husband and I am EXACTLY what your husband is. But if he is anything like me... it is A LOT worse than you think/know. Actually it's MUCH worse, more than you can possibly imagine. Especially if he's cruising backpage. Let me say I did not choose/want this life, I know that's no excuse... but I feel like a victim. I have been dealing with this for about 10 years now. I and can say proudly... heh it's sad that this is me being proud... but in the year 2013 I've only "acted out" once. For the past 10 years it progressed from porn, to exhibitionism, escorts, casual encounters, with women, men, transsexuals, groups, sex clubs etc... so many I can't even tell you if I wanted to. I've met a lot of the "same" type as me and we're all pretty much alike. SO the FIRST question is... how is your health? I recently got tested for everything with fear that I have some ef'ed up STD.... but turns out I tested negative across the board. Luck I guess. I love my wife very much and each time I've been with a women, man, prostitute, transsexual, group, club, I can only think about her the entire time. It's like I'm being forced to do these things.
My wife has no idea btw. I've tried hinting to her several times, because she found out I was seeing a sex addiction therapist. But she got mad at me for "lying" to her... well she's mad that I didn't tell her I was seeing a therapist (doesn't care what my problem is) So about a year ago... I was talking to my therapist and she said something that really STUCK. Maybe you can say this to your husband. She asked me... how long has this been going on? She said don't answer that right away... go home really think about it and write it all down on a timeline. So I did.. and as I was doing it I was getting sick to my stomach and started becoming very emotional. When I saw her again she looked at it and said... "You've had long run with this, more than you can handle, It's time for the next chapter in your life." For as simple as those words were... it stuck, and like I said before, I've only acted out once this year. BUT the past few days have been hard and I've attempted to act out but didn't follow through with anything yet.
Sorry for my rant, you probably don't care or you bypassed this all together. I guess what I originally wanted to say is. It took a lot for me. YEARS ago I went to the 12 step group... which did nothing, been to several therapist, been on every SSRI's you can imagine... still on them, and now smoking weed everyday and taking hydrocodone. My wife hates me. But not because my sex addiction. But because I made her move to LA and I smoke weed. Even tho I have a medical recommendation. My marriage is in shambles. I hope your husband isn't as eff'ed up as me. But here's something to know about him that you don't know... or you might.. but my wife doesn't know and DOESN'T care to know. Is that a sex addiction is from an event or MANY events that happened to you during your childhood. So I PRAISE you for supporting your husband and accepting his problem as a "condition" This is something my wife would never do. So already I'm jealous of him that he has a wife like you.
I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I hope you are a much stronger person than my wife for your marriage sake.
Wow. I really enjoyed reading your post which was quite illuminating. Thank you!
I haven't been on TAM since my last post, but I'm happy to say my husband is trying and I'm slowly but surely accepting my lot. While I am "accepting" this reality and slowly becoming more realistic about future expectations, I'm also very depressed about it (obviously) and it is emotionally draining. I fear for my own health and happiness, as well as his.
EUG, can he get better? Do you believe you would be doing much better if your wife was supportive? It sounds like your wife carries a lot of resentment towards you - for reasons beyond this. Are you in marriage counseling? The strange thing about my husband and I is that despite this we really are connected and love one another. Though I once adored him, and now his faults shine and have tainted the image I once had of him.
I don't know if he can get better. I passionately hope so. Either way I want to help him get to a better place.
He's doing the 12 step meetings. If nothing else, it will help him connect to others (he doesn't have many friends here) and will help him see that he is not alone in this struggle.
We got cable, so that he didn't watch youtube video clips which inevitably led to sexual things and the urges to scan backpages and so on. That seems to be helping. He gave up the phone that has internet in favor of a more basic phone.
He's also (falling the recommendation of the therapist he saw) trying to improve career possibilities. He's been in assembly work positions, which pay around $10/hr. Now he's considering other careers which require some, limited investment but that will allow him to feel he is accomplishing more in life. Some of the possibilities include being a truck driver (not sure this is healthy though he is excited about the possibility of earning >$40,000/year), going to community college for some sort of technical skills, and so on. Until now, he really has been coasting through life in terms of work. He hasn't had many goals to guide him and give him meaning.
He's open to joining a spiritual community - not religious one though. We are trying to find the appropriate venue to inject some spiritual meaning into his life.
I don't know. I'm rambling. But I really wanted to thank you for your post EUG. You may want to consider if your relationship with you wife is the best thing for both of you - based on what information you have shared. It's unlikely for your relationship to move forward if there isn't empathy and hard work on both ends.
It's hard to understand what the hell is going on in my husband's brain. It does seems so "effed up" but then again there are a lot of "effed up" conditions in this world. He wasn't sexually abused or anything that bad as a child. Yet he did suffer from a controlling, emotionally abusive father as a child (though interestingly his father really changed years later). Additionally, while all his siblings had the chance to study, he only completed 9th grade due to financial problems and the inability to find housing in the town that had a school. His village only had elementary school. (He's from another country.)
He also grew up in a very sexually-inhibited culture. As a result, I think sexuality became a more secretive sphere of life. He didn't actually view porn until he was 20 years old and working in a country with more relaxed rules. That is also where he had his first sexual experiences - with prostitutes a couple times. Still, it wasn't until having fast internet in the US, strip clubs advertised on billboards around town, and freedom here that he spun out of control.
I know he doesn't mean to hurt me. But my self-esteem has plummeted, and I don't know that I will ever be a healthy human being because of this experience. It made me distrustful of the world, hateful towards my own inadequacies, and insecure and paranoid. Worst of all, I felt I had no security. There are no guarantees, and the one who was supposed to protect me repeatedly stabbed me in the heart. I don't feel safe emotionally, and I really can't rely on any other human beings. I really feel that internally I have changed so much for the worse. And I'm not optimistic or hopeful anymore. It hurts to much to have hope and be slapped in the face. Instead I take it one day at a time, and focus on supporting him and trying to empathize and see the good in him. Also, it helps to just see this as part of experiencing life, being a sentient being rather than just a robot, and as having become someone who can live with a bitter reality. I never understood how people did it - resigned themselves to losing their innocence, not achieving their dreams, and being hurt by the space between their ideal and their real. Now I do.