Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Really not sure what to do....husband is a sex addict

Topic: Really not sure what to do....husband is a sex addict

23 posts, 0 answered
  1. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    12 June 2020

    I'm not 100% sure that I'm posting in the right spot but I thought that this post may offend some people, so I shouldn't be posting in the new members area.

    To try to cut a very long story short: my husband of 20+ years is a sex addict. When we first moved in together, we had a regular sex life - but looking back on it, not normal. He was always "zoned out", I felt like he wasn't present when we had sex. He was there in person, but certainly not in mind. Within seconds of finishing, he was asleep. He always had his eyes closed, and tried to avoid any kissing, and there was no foreplay at all.

    Fast forward a few months, he was pushing me away. He joined Whatsapp and I saw messages on his phone from women younger (after I looked them up on FB) than his daughter (from previous marriage). I told myself that I was stupid for looking at his phone, by the way these messages were coming up on the homescreen. I wasn't unlocking his phone as I didn't know his password.

    I realised that something was really off, and I discovered that these messages were all from prostitutes. Some he was in "relationships" with. Buying them gifts, giving them money etc.

    I might add that at this point in time, we didn't have a joint bank account. I was continually worried about paying bills and didn't know where all his money was going. He kept telling me that he had to help out his ex-wife or his daughter so I couldn't really question him any further.

    I left him once but a couple of days later he got his mother to ring me and beg me to come back. He rationalised everything that had been going on, I now know that he was gas-lighting me.

    It got to the point where I had to hire a P.I, I couldn't prove what was going on and I was extremely anxious all the time. I spent thousands having him followed but the PI couldn't catch him. Two days after I sacked the PI, I found proof. Of course, he denied and tried to say I was mad and crazy. I more or less forced him into therapy.

    There was individual therapy for both of us, followed by couples therapy for almost two years. Then he cut it all off.

    Two years after the therapy ended, I have caught him out again. Screwing prostitutes only several days after the covid restrictions have been somewhat reduced. I have told him to return to therapy or move out immediately. He is going back to see a therapist next week (first available appointment).

    I'm running out of space to write but can tell more if anyone asks. I'm stuck ATM - financial reasons

  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9779 posts
    12 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    Hi, welcome

    yes, it’s ok to post here.

    I don’t have answers for you however I’d like to ask- can you imagine life without him? What do you think it would be like? What keeps you together?

    The reasons might be obvious to you but isn’t clear in your post and having endured such turmoil and ongoing trust issues, I’d like to know more.

    Reply anytime

    TonyWK

    1 person found this helpful
  3. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    12 June 2020 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    up until this episode, I couldn't imagine life without him. I kept telling myself that "I had made my bed and had to lie in it". Even though we aren't married, we have many commitments and I was brought up by my grandmother who has many "traditional values" which she installed in me.

    Financial reasons are what keeps us together in my opinion. He doesn't want to lose half of everything again (has been married before), and for me to leave would be difficult. I do work but my income wouldn't cover our mortgage so I couldn't afford to stay here on my own.

    There is no trust anymore. The last time that I caught him out, after we went through 2 years of counselling, I was told by the therapists to set boundaries which I did. They were 1) no cash. no cash withdrawals, no spending any money unless receipts were provided to me. 2) continue therapy (didn't happen, and I was too scared to bring it up so he got away with it) 3) delete all social media accounts and block numbers belonging to ex "girlfiends"/prostitutes (doubt this happened, I was too scared to ask to look at his phone).

    I do still love him, but am certainly not in love with him.

    Another reason why I haven't left is that I feel very isolated. I have no friends of my own anymore, all my friends are wives of his friends and if we split up, I know that he would convince everyone that I was at fault. He would likely tell everyone that I had an affair which could not be further from the truth but he is a master of manipulation and I have no doubt that whatever the case was, I would be made to look like the villain.

    At the moment, I'm still in shock. I've been crying almost every minute when I'm on my own but trying to hold it together when he's here. I haven't slept more than a few hours over the past week, I feel like a zombie. It has been awful.

    Sorry that my post hasn't been straight-forward. I'm struggling to keep a clear head and write everything in order.


  4. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9779 posts
    12 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    You did very well.

    I now understand. We all have various levels of forgiveness and tolerance and it’s your standards that matter.

    However, he is breaking your boundaries and clearly set out rules. It is obvious counseling has not worked. What will work? I’d it worth wanting something to work eg giving up on trying?

    Your financial situation is part of the reason you are staying. You mentioned the mortgage but would he pay you out if you left?

    If you released him to continue his actions as he liked but kept your friendship in tact - could you survive happier than you are now?

    Im trying to think of all avenues that you could find a suitable remedy

    TonyWK

    1 person found this helpful
  5. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2824 posts
    12 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    Hi aussiemel

    Definitely sounds like there are some trust issues happening and I can't say I blame you for not trusting him, given the history.

    Of course, sex means different things to different people. For some it's about love or soulful bonding, for some it's about personal expression and experimenting with getting to know them self and their partner on a different level and for some it's simply about feeling the excitement or the work up. Do you think it's possible your partner falls into that last category? Is it possible he can't feel excited unless he's excited by prostitutes? What I mean is he's excited by the fact these women are prostitutes. Of course, this is a real problem. It means he can't be in an honest relationship with someone unless they're openly in agreement regarding him feeding his fetish. Wondering if you've ever asked him straight out 'What really gets you excited?' You may face him not wanting to admit it, if it involves prostitutes, for fear of losing you. He definitely owes it to you to be honest otherwise this is flat out selfish on his part.

    Unless counseling is going to help you both get to the core of what's really going on, trust is probably going to remain an issue in the relationship. My greatest concern involves him not being trusted to wear a condom every time he meets with a prostitute. I fear for your well-being, not just mentally but physically too, in this case. If he doesn't want to let go of his ways, it's up to you to let go of them and him. Completely understandable if the thought of this is upsetting.

    I know it's easy for me to say but if you lose the sort of people from your life (so called friends) who are willing to let him trash you whilst they don't step up to support you, like you deserve, it sounds like he and they deserve each other and you're better off without them. Spreading your wings and finding friends who announce they have your back is the way to go.

    I feel for you so much aussiemel as you face the irresponsibility and selfishness of someone who should be treating you with more respect and consideration. I believe he should be treating his mum with more respect too. Manipulating her into phoning you, so as to serve himself (as opposed to letting you move on) is questionable behaviour all 'round.

    You're strong, full of beauty (beautiful) and deserving of so much better. Don't allow him to disappoint you from the life you deserve. Appoint yourself a life of honesty and self love.

    :)

    2 people found this helpful
  6. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    13 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    Hi Tony,

    It's really hard to explain, but I might add that this week when I confronted him and told him that I knew with certainty where he was one day last week, one of the first things out of his mouth was "are you tracking me now?". I think there's every chance that he has other psychiatric issues going on because he seems to be completely detached from reality a lot of the time. It's as though absolutely everything is compartmentalized.

    Another thing, I don't know where he is getting the money from for the prostitutes this time. It certainly hasn't come from our accounts. I'm wondering if he has been siphoning cash out of my purse and saving it up. I don't often have much but I certainly haven't been paying attention lately, I really thought that he might have broken his addiction.

    I guess I shouldn't worry about him. That's one of my problems, I always put him ahead of myself. I've just ordered a book called Many Brave Fools. It's about codependency, and I read about it on a psychotherapy website.Time for me to face reality.

    It's really hard right now as my emotions are all over the place. I spent a few days in hospital a while back and now I wonder if there were other women in my bed while I was in the hospital. All these little things that are coming into my head about what could have been happening and what has been going on.

    Thanks for listening,

    Mel

  7. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    13 June 2020 in reply to therising

    Hi Therising,

    I asked a lot of questions of him when we were in Couples therapy but he would usually deflect the question or "beat around the bush" so to speak. I'm pretty sure he was playing down how out of control his addiction is.

    He told the therapist that the addiction began soon after we had moved in together. Do I believe this? Not anymore. From everything I've read, a middle aged man does not decide to start visiting prostitutes having never been to one earlier in his life. Plus, he said there had been 8 over the entire time and he reeled off their names.

    But when I caught him out (this was around 5 years ago), he had a list of names and numbers. Of course when I googled the numbers, they were all prostitutes and I got to read about their features eg 18 years old, size 8 with DD breasts. Reading all that was really not good for me.

    Your comment about him wearing a condom all the time is something that I think about regularly. I have told him that he may want to risk his life, but I don't want him risking mine. He brushed that off, more or less laughed.

    Unfortunately his mum passed away late last year but in her eyes, he could do nothing wrong. He was the favourite child. As I mentioned earlier, he is a master manipulator.

    ATM I'm really sad, I just can't think straight and don't know what to do or where to start. It's all overwhelming me right now.

    Thanks for listening,

    Mel

  8. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2824 posts
    13 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    Hi Mel

    You're definitely in a tough place at the moment (an understatement). I really do feel for you so much, as the decision to leave him would be life changing on a huge scale, with some intense challenges thrown in.

    Although our standout issues are different, I can relate to where you're coming from. At the moment I face the question 'Where do I go from here?' in my 18 year marriage. I've worked up to a huge amount of revelations over the last few months. A biggy is the disappointment factor. My husband and I started off as great drinking buddies, where we'd sit around the tv and occasionally go out for lunch or to friends' places and...you guessed it...drink. After having 2 kids (who I absolutely adore), I've discovered my teenage kids have raised me to maturity, responsibility, a new way of perceiving life, a natural love for myself and a life free of depression and self doubt. They've raised me to life in a lot of other ways too. I've changed dramatically but my husband hasn't changed all that much. He sees absolutely nothing wrong with this. While I appoint him partner in excitement, he disappoints himself from this role. While I appoint him the role of he who naturally wonders his way to possibility and a future full of plans and adventure, he has disappointed himself from this role time and time again. While I have cycled 'round and 'round again through distancing myself, to being hooked by his occasional lures of excitement (undertaken out of fear of losing me), to being enthusiastic, to being brought down again, I can see how the years have played out. He says to me, when I'm enthusiastic about the relationship and I challenge him to wonder and be excited and make plans, 'You always do this, you always spoil things'. What I spoil is his comfort zone. I can't naturally be myself around him. He has no idea how depressing his narcissism and comfort zone can be. Mel, I've got no idea where I'm going from here, all I know is that I deserve better and I refuse to tolerate the relationship. Maybe that's all you need to know at this point (you shouldn't tolerate your relationship) and just sit with that for a while. You don't have to make any moves right now. Just get used to the fact you are better than the relationship you're in. Once you get used to it, it might open your mind to some possibilities that pop up regarding the way forward.

    I've been through my grieving process. Now I'm excited to love my natural self. Who are you, naturally, Mel?

    :)

  9. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    13 June 2020 in reply to therising

    I don't know who I am anymore. I have changed into a person that I don't recognise. I used to be very happy go lucky, just go with the flow and not worry. I never suffered from anxiety until ten years ago. Now the worries are never ending for me.

    If I'm not worried about something financial, I'm worrying about anything and everything, even saying or doing the "wrong thing". Although I have no idea what his triggers are as he has lied in the past. When we were in therapy he said his main trigger was spare cash. Now there is no cash that I can find any trace of, and I believe he is finding women on craigslist or one of the dating apps, but I can't be sure. His phone never leaves his side. He turns if off at night and as soon as he turns it on in the morning, he'll take it everywhere including the bathroom. Plus I don't know his pin.

    On many occasions prior to us going to therapy, he would come home drunk and accuse me of all sorts of horrible things, having affairs, fancying other men.

    Although those types of things haven't happened recently, I know because of them that I'm much more subdued now and reluctant to go out with him.

    I don't have any family support, we've never been close and they are interstate and overseas. I also don't have any close friends to confide in. I know I'm not a weak person but I'm really struggling to find any strength to even think, let alone act at the moment.

  10. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2824 posts
    13 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    Hi Mel

    It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if you've been doing all the right or reasonable things. I assume your reasons are often naturally justified

    • If you didn't trust me for some reason and asked to check my phone, I'd hand it over with the pin and encourage you to have no fear, for I am trustworthy
    • If you feared losing control over finances, I would encourage you to speak of your fears and help you manage your way to balance the finances (between responsibility and enjoyment, between incoming and outgoings)
    • If you mentioned you stepped out of the flow in life, I would lead you to wonder what the flow was all about. I would not stop at saying 'Well, that's no good'. What do you remember the flow being like? Did you naturally challenge yourself to flow with the way forward, even if there was some drama in it? Did you not settle for anyone getting in the way of the flow, sabotaging it for their own reasons? Did you naturally dismiss such people as being selfish or thoughtless? Did anyone ever say back then 'Mel, you're a natural'?
    • If you were to take anyone out on the town, would your goal be to bring them to life or would it be to bring them down? I imagine the first is who you naturally are.

    I'm wondering whether you were a natural inspirational life changer Mel. Was this a part of your flow? It wouldn't surprise me if you loved bringing people to life, up until about 10 years ago. Wondering what happened 10 years ago, that led to an interruption to your flow. Perhaps there was a challenge that came up, something that challenged who you naturally are. I'm not looking to know, if this is the case. Just leading you to wonder.

    I'm assuming you're naturally wonderful (full of wonder of all different types). Wondering helps create the most amazing flow.

    :)

  11. bluenight
    bluenight avatar
    88 posts
    13 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    Hi aussiemel

    I don't think he's compartmentalising things, I think it's possible he doesn't care anymore. Addiction does that to us, maybe he's decided subconsciously he won't change if he knows you'll put up with it. He knows he can get away with it because you have caught him a few times and confronted him about it but you have stayed with him, and I'm not criticising you for doing so.

    I think it's possible that he won't change until he realises that you're serious about ending the relationship.

    Sex addicts anonymous might help, people share their stories of addiction and there are people in those groups who are changed and remorseful and that might be good for your partner. From personal experience with addiction it can give you clarity or insight and that can be the impetus for change.

    1 person found this helpful
  12. Curious77
    Curious77 avatar
    97 posts
    13 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel
    Hello aussiemel,

    It sounds like your dealing with a person who is only interested in his own needs and does not want to acknowledge the needs of other people. Manipulation is surely a sign that he does not care about your mental wellbeing or happiness and only his is important. He seems to see women as just people to be used and not as someone to care for and connect with. He seems to have no morals so I don't think he will ever be anyone's friend in the true sense of the word. Not a good person to be stuck with so I feel for you.
    1 person found this helpful
  13. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    15 June 2020 in reply to Curious77

    I had the worst night last night, terrible nightmares. But I can't remember exactly what they were about. I do know that when I got up this morning, I am remembering things that he has done in the past. Little things that at the time made no sense, things that I had pushed to the back of my mind.

    It's awful, I feel like a zombie. Even if I could get my head together and formulate a plan, I don't have any energy to even begin to put anything in place.

    Where to start? What to do?

    I can't really afford therapy and last time I went for 2 years, my therapist convinced me that my partner had changed (we had signed an agreement that my therapist, his therapist and our relationship therapist could all liaise). Both my therapist and our joint therapist seemed to take my partner's side. I felt pressured to give him another chance.

    I don't know what I did to deserve all this and I don't know what to do next.

    There is absolutely no one that I can talk to about any of this.

  14. Curious77
    Curious77 avatar
    97 posts
    15 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel
    Hello aussiemel,

    You have been living with a manipulative person and your needs and desire have not been met and you have not had any support from others as they are on his side. This type of relationship is a very tiring experience and painful too because of how he has treated you and the affect that it has on your self esteem and he hasn't been giving you anything and only taking from you emotionally. He has isolated you and you are becoming more and more aware of his behaviour which is painful. I think you probably need to join a domestic abuse support group to help you so that they are on your side and he can't manipulate them to be against you or something like that.
  15. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2824 posts
    15 June 2020 in reply to Curious77

    Hi mel

    It's so tough when things start coming to mind, as greater clarity helps us begin to make more sense of the past. While such clarity is good, it can also challenge us in the most intense ways. 'Where do I go from here' really challenges us when we've no clear direction at all. I suppose you could say, in a way, it's like waking up from a dream and thinking 'Where am I, what day is it, what time is it?' and so on. It can be like a bit of a Zombie state, where our brain's trying to make sense of things, processing information between our dreaming and waking state.

    As things start becoming more clear mel, you'll need to catch your breath a bit and get your bearings. Sit with your questions a little and your statements, such as 'Where do I go from here?' or 'I can't believe I'm just realising all this now'. I imagine you may be thinking it's easy for me to say when I suggest these are positive questions or statements but as clarity becomes greater, I'm hoping you'll begin to see these in a new light. Past statements, in comparison to those, could have been more like 'I feel stuck in this situation' and 'I just don't know what the problem is'. From my own personal experience, enlightenment can at first present as rather torturous in some ways before we see it for what it is. A little sappy to say but...it's our way out of the dark. Actually, very sappy :)

    I love interpreting dreams/nightmares. The mind is pretty cryptic the way it works in this state. Your dreams may reveal a lot, possibly even the way forward. If you can work out a way to remember them, write them down and try and interpret them, this could provide even greater clarity.

    You mention 'I don't know what I did to deserve all this'. I know it's going to be pretty challenging but try and apply this statement to the process you're now facing, seeing the light. You did a heck of a lot to deserve this clarity. You worked hard, you questioned often, you searched for answers and you even worked hard to trust others when they weren't worthy of such trust. You are amazing. You are strong. You are determined. You are forgiving. You have searched for optimism and change for so long long. Brace yourself, here it comes. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open to opportunity, try not to keep your focus on him. He may do nothing more than distract you, to anger and resentment.

    :)

  16. phoenixwaitingtorise
    phoenixwaitingtorise avatar
    8 posts
    24 June 2020
    Mel how are you feeling now? I hope that you’ve had some time to catch some air and find some clarity. This is an overwhelming situation to be in but you have more control than you can perhaps see in all of this. You matter. Please remember that and be sure to update us. You do have people to talk to, we are here and we hear you.
  17. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    24 June 2020 in reply to phoenixwaitingtorise

    HI,

    I've been having nightmares every night, they aren't the same all the time but they are terrible and I'm finding it really hard to sleep. In fact I'm scared to sleep because the nightmares are awful.

    I feel sick in the stomach and have had a lot of headaches. My GP is on holidays due to COVID (she is over 60 and not taking any risks).

    I'm self-employed and in danger of losing all my work due to the virus, if we have a second wave I'll have no income so I can't even contemplate moving out.

    I don't want to look at him and he is working from home ATM which is really difficult as he's here all the time now too.

    I still feel like it's all surreal and can't really be happening. I'm probably not making sense, sorry.

  18. phoenixwaitingtorise
    phoenixwaitingtorise avatar
    8 posts
    24 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    You’re making complete sense and what you’re describing is the feeling of being overwhelmed by everything and a sense of being out of control. What have your nightmares been about?

    Covid is amplifying everything because it creates an environment that can make us face things we don’t want to face. Whether it be someone’s presence, lack of work so not staying occupied, too much time in our own thoughts. It’s tough. We are here though. Keep talking it out. It can help to get these things out of your head.

  19. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    25 June 2020 in reply to phoenixwaitingtorise

    Up until last night, nightmares that I remember vividly have been the following:

    * me locked out of our house and being able to see him through the window having sex with another female

    * me in a car with my brother driving around town looking for partner and finding him at a motel with other women

    *me believing I'm trapped in a room with my ex-partner (someone I split with 22 years ago because he physically assaulted me and I haven't seen him since - or thought about him for years)

    *me completely lost - with no money or phone

    Then last night it was my grandma was really sick and no one would let me see her (she's 93 and lives alone) so I'm waiting until a respectable time this morning when I can ring and check that she's okay.

    Yes COVID is making everything hard. I doubt that I would have found out he was cheating again if it wasn't for COVID. The receipts wouldn't have been in his wallet, they would have been shoved in a drawer at his work.

    If only this wasn't my life!

  20. phoenixwaitingtorise
    phoenixwaitingtorise avatar
    8 posts
    25 June 2020 in reply to aussiemel

    Those dreams seem very aligned to your underlying concerns of his behaviour, the financial concerns, a sense of losing your identity breaking away from the life you and perhaps not feeling that you have the support network to leave what you know as well.

    I’d strongly suggest speaking to a counsellor who specialises in divorce or separation. Sometimes they can help break down the barriers and show us away to find the clarity and hope that we need when making such a big decision to leave this type of life and create a new one where you feel you may matter.

    There will be hard times and it will feel like the scariest thing you’ve ever done until you suddenly wake up one day and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. It takes time to build up the strength to make any decision about how to go from here. Whether you stay or leave, you will need time to think through the pros and cons and ultimately you will gain peace when you know you’ve made the right decision. Right now you are half in and half out because you don’t want to leave but also don’t want to stay with the way it is either so you’re going to feel confusion and anguish.

    I‘be stayed in past relationships for fear of how much worse things could be if I left but I wrote down all the challenges I’d face and wrote down some realistic actions that I could take to combat those issues and then suddenly it made it really clear that whilst leaving could make things a little tricky to begin with, it would be harder and more exhausting to stay. I took the plunge and in the end, I’ve never regretted having life upside down for a little while to mean more happiness.

    I also think the feeling of being alone and in the unknown is one of the biggest mental roadblocks when leaving a relationship but each time I’ve realised I not only already felt alone anyway but also more stressed than I’d be if I was just spending my days doing what made me happy instead of worrying about the other persons nonsense. Again that takes time but you suddenly find yourself feeling lighter, spending more time figuring out what makes you happy in life and focusing on the important things in life without the baggage weighing you down.

    This is of course just my own experiences but I hope it gives you some hope.

  21. aussiemel
    aussiemel avatar
    170 posts
    25 June 2020 in reply to phoenixwaitingtorise

    Thank you Phoenix. what you say makes total sense to me.

    In my heart, I know I'll feel a lot better in time if I leave. I know I have to leave or I'll never feel "normal" again.

    I do need some time though in order to get myself together and work out a plan.

    I made an appointment to see my GP tomorrow. She is seeing patients again, as long as you aren't "sick"! Maybe that will help.

  22. Jonathan03
    Jonathan03 avatar
    5 posts
    26 June 2020

    Hey aussiemel,

    I’m sorry to hear you have to deal with all of this. You deserve better. I really hope things get better for you and I’m sure they will.
    Calling the National Debt Helpline at 1800 007 007 and talking to one of their financial counsellors might help with your financial problems. You can find their website at “https://ndh.org.au/“.

    Best of Luck Mate,

    Johno.

  23. phoenixwaitingtorise
    phoenixwaitingtorise avatar
    8 posts
    4 July 2020
    How did things go with the GP? How are you feeling now?

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up