Like a dog with a bone

bernie with branch

That’s me. A dog. With a bone. Mean comments give me the opportunity to purge, and apparently I am not done venting yet. When someone denies my husband’s sex addiction diagnosis, it doesn’t make me question his addiction, it makes me question the motives of the denier, but it also causes me to think about just exactly what has transpired to get us to where we are today.

I have written about the relationship my husband had with his long term acting out partner (his third extramarital sexual relationship). They saw each other very irregularly. It started with a Craig’s List personal ad in early 2005 saying he needed to be nurtured, held, loved. He says he wrote it not knowing what would come of it, if anything, but it was exciting to him, forbidden, shameful, secret. He had been living with shame nearly his whole life, and shame ignited his secret world. He created the ad during an especially stressful time with his family. The ad implied he was single and needy. Blue Eye’s pathology does not include strip clubs, massages, prostitutes, chat rooms or other internet sex forums. Previously he had groomed women he worked with. This time, there were no handy women on the hook. This was his first (and last) ad. An email response by one lonely, older woman turned very quickly not into a romance, but into a sexual outlet for my husband. A dark secret dirty fantasy world. He knew what he was doing was wrong and disgusting, but he did it anyway. It took the edge off everything else in his life that he had trouble coping with. The other woman would write “dirty” stories. I would call them erotic, but they just weren’t. I had the rather disgusting reality of reading part of one. Ew. They shared those plus sexually explicit conversations, all by email. There was no wining and dining. There were a handful of communications, all sexual and then a hook up at her house. A quickie where she played out his sexual fantasy. There were no deep conversations over candlelit dinners. There were no long nights chatting and getting to know each other. There were no elaborate bouquets of flowers, love letters, or walks on the beach. They, truthfully, have very little in common as human beings. What was the glue that held them together for eight years? For him, his desire for secret sexual liaisons and the fact that she was easy pickings. For her, sex with a man, any man that would have her.

For three years, as the story goes, every few months, his desire for a clandestine sexual encounter would escalate slowly. He would fantasize, view porn, masturbate, and eventually think about the light bondage sex. There is no question in my mind, since I have seen her and I have seen her neighborhood, and her house, that he created a fantasy in his head that did not resemble reality, at all. When he saw her later, after their sordid “affair” was over, he went to the bathroom to throw up. She is not an appealing creature. She is not sweet, gentle, kind or feminine. She is scary and she looks crazy. I don’t know how else to describe her. From her phone call to me, her stalking, her communications, and my husband’s disclosures, she is not nice in any way. What she was, was a willing vagina offered up freely to a sex addict.

At the end of 2007, she decided to up the ante. She was no longer willing to have sex at her house. If he wanted sex, he needed to go away with her. He denied her that intimacy, that familiarity. He was not looking for a mistress. After months of no contact, and as his addiction enveloped him with a vengeance, he concocted the idea of taking her on a business trip and in April 2008, he told her she could travel with him to Japan if she paid her own way and followed a number of elaborate rules he created in order not to be found out, and not be seen in public with her. She agreed. They took 11 trips together from 2008-2013 ranging from 1 to 10 nights. All followed the same demented course. In the end, she hated the trips because he worked most of the time and spent no time with her, except of course, to have sex. There was no romance, just sex, and arguing, and violence on her part, but he continued to engage in this behavior a couple times a year to get his fix.

In 2010, Blue Eyes’ brother committed suicide. All along Blue Eyes had been trying to control his own behavior. Regretting giving in to his deviant sexual desires, each and every time he would swear he would never do it again. Until the next time. In 2010, he gave it a good hard try and lasted 15 months, no contact. He always had masturbation and porn, but no other woman. But by May 2011, he was at it again. He then went nearly 10 months with no contact. By June 2012, our children were both out of high school. He started planning trips only when I could go with him. He didn’t want the temptation of going back to his old ways. By mid 2013, he had one last slip and then he called it off for good. During this same time, he was seeing his therapist regularly to deal with his family of origin. His therapist recommended a book by Pia Mellody named ‘Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives.’

Amazon Description: Pia Mellody creates a framework for identifying codependent thinking, emotions and behaviour and provides an effective approach to recovery. Mellody sets forth five primary adult symptoms of this crippling condition, then traces their origin to emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical and sexual abuses that occur in childhood. Central to Mellody’s approach is the concept that the codependent adult’s injured inner child needs healing. Recovery from codependence, therefore, involves clearing up the toxic emotions left over from these painful childhood experiences.

Blue Eyes read the book and started self reflecting on the decisions he was making and possibly coming to the realization that there were underlying reasons he had such a severe lack of coping skills. He even purchased a second copy of the book for me to read. He carried the book around with him like a security blanket. He talked about attending a Pia Mellody workshop at the Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona. He asked if I thought it a good idea if he went to a workshop. He basically was asking my permission to go. I now realize this behavior is caused by his own insecurity. When he asks me if it is okay, or a good idea, if he does something, it means he is scared. I told him he should do what felt right. It seemed like a good way for him to try and come to terms with FOO issues that were seriously bothering him. Of course I had no idea of his secret life, but I am always supportive of any person’s desire to better understand themselves and their behavior, especially Blue Eyes. By this point he had ended his relationship with the other woman and although he did not divulge his secret, he was determined not to cave to the blackmail by the other woman (a part of their ongoing relationship… she threatened him, he re-engaged). At the point when he decided he would never re-engage with the other woman again, she started calling me in earnest, but he did not give in. He did erase her calls from my phone though. I know he did not have any intention of telling me about his secret life. He knew if he told me the truth, our marriage would be over. He was sure of it, and that was never his intention. On December 11, 2013, Blue Eyes decided on his own that he needed to stop masturbating because it felt wrong to him. He felt his masturbation and porn were out of control too. We know he never could have maintained his sobriety on his own, without proper recovery. Nearly two months later, after he was diagnosed as a sex addict, he started attending regular 12-step meetings and that day, December 11th, will always be his sobriety date. The date he gave up the last of his ritualistic sexual addiction acting out behaviors. I believe 100% that he gave up his acting out behaviors on his own, however, he needs structured recovery in order to learn to properly cope with his life. He has already spent extensive time in therapy on his childhood wounds.

August 14, 2013 is the day Blue Eyes finally excised the other woman from his life. January 11, 2014 was the day Blue Eyes’ secret life was revealed. On December 11, 2015, Blue Eyes will receive his two year sobriety chip. The healing and recovery are just beginning, but the journey is real. I could call him a cake eater and leave him, but it wouldn’t change the fact that he is a sex addict. I am not making excuses or letting my husband “off the hook.” He is responsible for all his behaviors, then and now. I have, however, acknowledged and live with every day the fact that Blue Eyes is not the man I thought he was. That does not mean I don’t love him, and it does not mean I am throwing in the towel. Not at this time anyway.

16 thoughts on “Like a dog with a bone

  1. I was just talking on the phone last night to another betrayed wife and told her there is no doubt in my mind that what you and I and she are doing is harder. It takes more effort, stamina, soul-searching and work to stay with an SA. I’m not taking anything away from the pain of those that choose to leave but for me, it’d be easier to leave. You’re amazing and I thank you for your honestly about your journey. You have no idea the impact you made in helping me come to terms with the addiction itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The thought of walking away has been an enticing one since I realized I could do it. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t need my husband to feel whole. Once I did that, it has been more of a battle to stay, because even though I know the betrayal would be a forever part of my story, I could move forward. I would no longer care what he did with his life, or if he was going to hurt me again. Once I realized he was able to extract me from his conscious in order to do the things he did, I realized I have control over whether his actions hurt me or not. I acknowledged his emotional limitations and realized he is nothing like me. I love and feel in a completely different way. I do not carry his baggage. It is freeing to realize we have complete control over our own happiness. It definitely takes more work to stay with a sex addict because the addiction is now an acknowledged part of their personality and not one easily managed. But, it is their job to manage it, and our job to manage our own lives. If they do not behave in a way that is conducive to respect for us and the marriage, detaching is the only recourse we have. At the beginning, a commenter asked me if I had detached from my husband. I was confused. I had no idea what she meant. I said “how can I detach from my husband, I may as well leave him then, we are married.” Now I realize it is more of an emotional detachment from his addiction and his recovery. I can do that. I am doing that. I have learned so much. I have also learned that we each figure it out in our time and on our own terms. What is nice is to have people who understand the process, figuratively holding our hand along the way and saying it’s okay. It’s all okay. We are doing a great job of hanging in there and figuring things out on our own. We’re here on the journey together. Sometimes it’s two steps forward, one back, but we’re giving our best and most honest effort at handling something incredibly difficult and heartbreaking. Something we could not have imagined would ever happen to us. But there are others who have walked and are walking the path and understand. It is important that we stick together with respect and kindness and love and compassion. Thank you for being there for me and others and for your kind words. It humbles me to know I walk this path with such amazing women. ❤

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  2. “A willing vagina” that is exactly what my husband would seek out too. It’s as ugly and crass as it sounds. It is the most horrible think when u find out your partner isn’t who you think they are and the mask falls off- especially when you share so many years and experiences together. It makes you question everything.

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    • It is such a very ugly thing… broken down sex amongst broken down people. I do question everything, but it has helped me to live in my own reality, something I had no idea I wasn’t doing. I sort of felt like I had been repeatedly punched in the stomach, and I had no way to block the punches. I feel much better about my own reality now… but trust will be an issue for me for a very long time.

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      • You are such an amazing and special woman, Kat. I write to you with tears….it has only been a 4 month journey for me. I am so appreciative of your site and women who write here. I will be 69 years next month and married 38 years. I have always been the strong, responsible woman but this has taken me to my knees. I have not eaten or slept well in 4 months. Lost weight and now pneumonia. I have read and read and tried to help myself by focusing on myself…having great difficulty. This is the first site that is giving me some comfort as my world is upside down. I feel my live is over at my age…so alone and afraid. My attention span is nil, rambling thoughts, pain that I have never felt before. I admire your strength. Thank you

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        • Thank you so much for your kind words. I am humbled by them. I do the best I can, but I do care about people, especially those of us who innocently went about our lives doing things right and were mistreated anyway. It’s not fair, but it is what it is. It is important for us to get back up. Your life is never over, until the end. You have many years left and those are your years to own. Choose life. We, betrayed women, know your feelings so well, the feelings of despair, of not being able to eat or sleep, of feeling lost, of being sick. I am so sorry you are suffering so. I hope you are resting and trying to take care of yourself and healing from the pneumonia. At first it is so difficult focusing on ourselves because we feel so beaten down, so abused, so worthless. The truth is, it does take time to build back from infidelity. I do not even go back and read my blog entries from the first year. It is too painful to re-read what I went through. All I can say is go to your strengths. Always remember that you are still that responsible woman and what has happened is not about anything you are or anything you have done. You are in trauma and you must take care of yourself. I hope you are getting some therapy, because it is important to talk this through… to come out the other side. Your pain is young. You will survive it and thrive. Time will help you to do that. It is important for you to eat and sleep, but I know how difficult it is to do those things when you are just trying to get through the day. Even without knowing the details of your story, I understand the agony all too well. I wish I could give you a big hug. Please try to take care of yourself during this most difficult first few months. You are always welcome here, or if you just need a virtual shoulder to cry on, you can reach me at crazy0907cat@yahoo.com. ❤

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          • Thank you so much for your support. I shook and cried when reading your words…it lifted me and gave me a great sense of calm….someone who understands, someone who has bothered to care when I have felt so unloved, unworthy and alone. Please know I could feel your hug and I embraced it. I am seeking therapy and finding it very challenging as this is such a misunderstood addiction not to mention looking for a seasoned woman therapist who has some life experiences. I am not giving up as my emotions continue to be up, down and all around. Things are slowly getting better….at least I am over reminding myself “to breathe”. Hugs back to you and all the strong woman on this site.

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            • Karen, this is such an incredibly lonely and emotional journey. I am glad you reached out and I hope you continue to reach out here and elsewhere. Feeling alone and misunderstood is part of the battle we shouldn’t have to fight, but we do fight it, every day. Yes, take those sweet deep breaths and breathe in life. His addiction cannot break you. It is his battle alone. Please keep searching out that special person (therapist) who can at least keep you focused on your life strength, on you, and all that you are because that inner strength (possibly buried deep right now) is what will bring you peace as you move forward. The therapist may not have gone through what you are going through, but she does need to understand sex addiction and the powerful and traumatic impact discovery and disclosure have on the partner. Even though I know very little about your situation, I do know how you feel. More hugs back to you, hugs of deep understanding and love and support. ❤

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        • Hang in there, karen. This is a supportive and caring environment (mostly) and we all know and have felt your agony and deep trauma. Kat’s advice is on the money. Rest if you can. Try to consume water and nutrients if you can and get some outdoor – gentle or rigorous, it matters not which – exercise when you can. It is quite unbelievable the force of this. To bring sensible, powerful, rational people to our knees – and MUCH lower. Sadly, it is a long and arduous journey back to health. But we’re doing it. And we understand. We’re here x.

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          • Thanks for your caring and advise. Your words have been an enormous support. My pneumonia is so much better. I continue to make strides (though it is in baby steps) with my sanity. What a wonderful place for me and others who share “the same membership of a club” that none of us signed up for. Our stories may differ but the feelings are the same. I feel safe here….thank you

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  3. Yep. A big FU to the haters. Like infidelity itself, sex addiction is not for the faint-hearted, nor understood well without some sad, ugly, agonising personal experience. Just fuck off with all your opinions if this is not YOUR life! Totally agree that staying is the new shame. But you know full well that you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Quite the opposite. You are the kindest, ‘realist’, strongest and most loving and thoughtful woman I think I have met. Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s working! 👄

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  4. CK, this is a tremendous narrative. What a journey! You have travelled so far and so has Blue Eyes. I know that finding out about it all is heartbreaking but now you know the truth – it is a completely different environment. Love him for the flawed man that he was yet love him also for the man he wants to be. It’s inly when you get the details that you realise how wretched the behaviour was and how awful the women were who joined in so willingly. Nobody in their right mind would want such slime in their life. Then, having to keep it all a secret! Imagine the horror! There is nothing erotic in this just animal, base copulating. Like rutting pigs. No wonder they want to work so hard to keep us. Really, we have options still – but what would their lives look like?
    Keep on going KC – you’re taming the tiger xxxxx

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    • Thank you, MR. What, indeed, would their lives be like without us. As we know, and many have written about, I could walk away and people might actually respect me more than they do now, staying being the new shame and all. It doesn’t make sense to me, but I know it would be acceptable and even encouraged for me to leave. My husband would certainly be the loser in that scenario as he is stuck with many years of healing and recovery, and he would inevitably do it alone, or more lonely without me. Building a strong, honest relationship at this point would be incredibly difficult for him. It is my belief that I am good right where I am, fighting the fight with a man I love, and who loves me. As far as the other woman, yes, she is a sad, sad woman with little more than rutting ugly sex at her disposal. xo

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