A Partner of a sex addict speaks on sex addiction and that age old question that Partners always ask.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. The new sisters who have recently discovered their husband’s sex addiction always ask this question. Why? ‘Why?’ is the killer question. And I’ve looked everywhere for the answer. We laugh and joke and call them names–the sex addicts, and that’s all good, but really… Why?
Why does a man choose hookers over his family? Why didn’t we see this major flaw in our husbands? Why do we stay and have nervous breakdowns when we find out? Why do therapists push us towards acknowledging our part? Why are we triggered? Why can’t we just walk out the door and never look back? Why do we seek help for them? Why do they blame us? Why do our friends and family want us to just get over it? Why did this man who watched me deliver our daughter/son leave the hospital and seek out a prostitute? And the winner is “why can’t they change?”
Think back when you first got married (maybe before kids and mortgages). If someone had asked you the question “what would you do if he cheated on you?”, I bet that 99.9% of us would have answered without hesitation “I’d want to kill him and then I would leave him”. And we would have answered that way because we never believed for one second that he would actually cheat! We did not marry men that we thought were cheaters. We married nice guys, successful guys, little league coach type guys, church member guys, community oriented guys, lovable/funny/smart guys. Sure they had faults and so did/do we but cheating with whores and strippers with family money was NOT one of the faults. Risking our health with unprotected sex was not one of the faults. Stopping on the way home for happy ending massages was not one of the faults…. That we knew about.
Then when we find out that our husband has a life long habit of banging hookers (strippers /whatever) and we get the “I’m a sex addict” line. I’m so sorry. I love you. You’re the only real thing in my life. I need help. I’ll spend the rest of my life making this up to you. I’ll change. I’ve found God (who knew that God was on Milk Cartons with a call this number if seen?). I was abused as a child. I was molested as a child. My dad was an alcoholic. I never felt good enough for you. I was adopted…. It goes on and on and on. Every reason in the book (and some not) as an excuse for banging hookers. And then, after they have read the Spark notes on one of Patrick Carnes’ stupid books (or worse talk to a CSAT), we get….Well you werent sexy enough. You were never satisfied, You didn’t clean the house. I never had a voice (what does even mean? We all heard their voice in our marriages over and over). You have to take some blame here too. You loaded the dishwasher wrong. You let the dog drink loudly from the water bowl. My shirts were on the hanger wrong. You made roast and I hate pot roast, You wouldn’t have anal sex. You always have to be right. Nobody can make you happy. You’re impossible.You never appreciated me. You spent money on curtains for the house. You bought the kids new clothes so I deserved that hooker. At least I didn’t go golfing every weekend, that’s a real expensive hobby. And on and on…until you finally get the big ones (this is when you know for a fact that they’re crazy) ”the sun came up and it’s hot outside ” yes, that’s your fault too. When they spiral into this then run, do not walk, run away.
Then while we are barely able to breathe when the life has been sucked out of us, when the thought of just brushing our teeth is impossible….. we are asked to help him. We are fired upon by the whole reconciliation/CSAT/Carnes industry. We are told to attend 12 step meetings at age 50 when we’ve never been addicted to anything. We are told to take anti depressants and Xanax (nothing wrong with that if you need them) when we’ve never needed meds before in our lives. We are forced to go disrobe and spread our legs and explain to our OB/GYN (that probably delivered our children) why we need a full STD panel. We are encouraged by our pastors to work things out..acting like our husbands just forgot to take out the garbage. We are told by our friends and some family that ”all men do it”. We are forced to learn words like ”slip” and ”relapse” and ”acting out” to replace ”he fucked hookers”. That’s a particular annoying thing. Two year olds ”act out”. Grown ass men fuck hookers. But I digress….We are told by marriage counsellors everywhere that we need to be more loving/forgiving/affectionate/ etc. we are told by CSATS to enforce a 90 day no sex plan. We are told to not be the marriage police and don’t interfere with his ”recovery” (there’s another doozy! Like he has cancer?). BUT if we don’t set up ”boundaries” and be a part of his ”recovery” (install Covenent Eyes, check in once a week to ask him about his progress), then we are enablers and codependent.
We are chastised and treated like children. We are talked down to and patronized. We have people like Milton Magness who sells expensive video tutorials and promises partners “healing in 30 weeks” and the videos say nothing except “stay on your side of the street and let him heal and go to COSA meetings”. We have other women in the CSAT proffession coddling our husbands and treating us like we are insane crazy bitches. Our own husbands believe this drivel and begin to blame us again. The same husbands that swore they would spend the rest of their lives making this up to us. And just wait till he attends his first few SA meetings. That’s a special treat. You get to hear all about how damaged they are and how all of this is his mother/father’s fault and then they start telling you (again) everything you’re doing wrong. If he happens to get a ”chip” for being ”sober” then God help you if you don’t celebrate. All the while you’re thinking ”I can’t even breathe. I can’t begin to know what I’m supposed to tell my children. I don’t even know the strange man that is living in my home”. That same man that promised to love , honor and protect you and also swore to do everything to make this right and keep you will now be replaced by a walking talking robot. He will speak in SA therapy speak and if you thought you were crazy because he banged hookers then just wait until you get the Carnes Clone treatment. The man that you have loved your entire life, the one that laid next to you on the couch and laughed at movies, the one that knows you don’t like butter on your popcorn, the one that had sex with you and whispered he loved you, the one that held your hand when your mother was sick, the one that leaves a nightlight on because you’re afraid of the dark, the one that you have a special language with that no one else knows, the one that knows you better than anyone will start talking in code that no one except CSATS and sex addicts can understand. He will trade his world of secret hookers for a life of a secret sex addict in ”recovery”. I honestly don’t know which is actually worse. I think after being through all of this I would choose the hookers as easier to deal with…
I took a little step yesterday and told one of my friends what my wonderful husband has been up to. She was shocked to say the least. And when I told her he claimed he was a sex addict, she said, “Isn’t that what they all just say?”.
And that’s where we get so sidetracked. She was exactly right. Sex addiction has become a catch all phrase for “cheater” or “psycho” or “bad husband”. When my husband said the words sex addict to me back in February of 2012, I didn’t have a clue how to respond. I thought I had just caught him cheating (like that isn’t bad enough). But oh hell no!! He wasn’t just a cheater. He was SICK. Why couldn’t I understand? He felt sooo much better now that it was out in the open. Blah blah blah blah … On and on and on. I did what everyone else does. I googled. One book from Patrick Carnes had me throwing my iPad against the garage wall. Then I found SOS.
I thank God (for real) every day for this site and especially for JoAnn. I learned there is no “why?”. I learned it wasn’t my fault. And I learned the hard way that these guys do not change. They are broken somewhere so badly that it cannot be fixed. Ever. It’s not about the sex. It’s about being a man that can lie and cheat and deceive for his whole life. He can google ”hooker” on BackPages while drunk and then say he’s ashamed. But he cannot google ”help” the next morning when sober? I wouldn’t buy that excuse from a 10 year old. If he’s smart enough to fool everyone in his life for 50 years then he’s smart enough to search for help before his wife and children and family and friends are hurt. Either google ”help” or get a divorce and give the mother of your children a chance at a life. Don’t steal her youth, her sex life, her femininity, her self worth, her ability to smile and then claim to love your children. Men that love their families run into burning buildings to save them. They do not decimate their children’s mother. Ever.
Pirate on sisters. This siloquoy is for Daisy girl today. I love you and you are so much more important than all of these fucked up guys put together. There isn’t one of them good enough to take out your trash. There is no ”why?”. It doesn’t matter why. It’s the truth. If you happen to be one of those partners that believe the ”I’ll spend the rest of my life making this up to you” crap then try divorcing one of them. Good luck with that. He will turn monster on you before you can say, ”let’s have an amicable divorce”.
So whatever any of you are planning (stay/go/murder) …. The murder part is a joke in case anyone is really considering this. They aren’t worth jail time……….let’s do it with the understanding that we will never understand them. And we are grateful that we don’t. The answer to ”why can’t they be helped?” Is that …. THEY ARE NOT NORMAL