His sex addiction is not your fault – Help for Wives of Sex Addicts.
It’s one of those most beautiful days of the year. She is more beautiful than ever. It’s her wedding day; she remembers walking down the aisle, the music, the vows, the rice, the partying and even the honeymoon. It all seemed so beautiful, wonderful as she remembers it through her tears.
Why is she crying again? Charlie, you see, is a porn addict. Carolyn is beautiful by any standard; blonde hair, blue eyes, fun to be with and one of the sincerest people you’ve ever met. She tries to blame herself for Charlie’s sex addiction. It’s been more than two years ago that she first found out when one of the kids found the porn sites on the computer.
He says it’s no big deal
He told her it was no big deal and he won’t do it anymore. Then again and again he lied, got caught even at work where he almost got fired. She is sitting across from me in my office and right now I’m thinking he is either an addict or insane because she’s as lovely a woman you can meet.
Don’t blame yourself for his sex addiction
So many women like Carolyn have sought counseling, crying, trying to blame themselves for their husband’s sex or porn addiction. Weight gain, moods, being unavailable, his work are all reasons they try to conjure up. Defending why they watch porn, go to strip clubs, visit prostitutes, expose themselves or whatever else the sex addiction causes them to do.
It has nothing to do with you
His addiction has nothing to do with you. “You are enough, he was sick before you married him. He has been masturbating and viewing porn way before you said I do.” The sex and the brain concept from my book The Final Freedom: Pioneering Sexual Addiction Recovery written by Douglas Weiss, Ph.D. states:
“Your husband has taken the brain glue from the endorphin and enkephalins that sex gives and has attached himself to fantasy and porn instead of you.” He has sex with pictures of other people thousands of times and if he is disconnected during sex with you he actually is using your body while scanning the pictures that are now filed in his brain like a computer chip. This information is painful to hear but it does relieve wives from any self-blame.
Imagine if there was a pill
Imagine if there was a pill you could take that would lower your self esteem. This means, if you were smart, pleasant, hard working, attractive and fit but you felt worthless, stupid, inconsistent. What if this pill also made you depressed? Imagine taking this pill and then having low-energy, difficulty with making decisions, and difficulty with concentrating, feelings of worthlessness, having difficulty sleeping, having suicidal thoughts and feeling down. This would be a difficult pill to market for sure, but wait, there’s more.
You take this pill day after day for years or even for decades and you would also have an 80% chance of gaining significant weight. Now you don’t look or feel anything like you used to. You have gone through wardrobe after wardrobe. You look in the mirror with disgust and shame.
Marriage with a Sex Addict
This pill is marriage with a sex addict. What can a wife who unknowingly married a sex addict do? Thankfully today there is a lot she can do.
Firstly, get informed both about his addiction and the impact it has had on her. The Final Freedom book will provide the basics of how he became addicted and what he will need to do to start recovery. Wives appreciate this book because there are no stories or triggers for them as they try to begin to educate themselves about their husband’s addiction.
Secondly, attend a support group for partners of a sex addicts. There are several names for these 12 step support groups for wives of a sex addict. You can find a Partners group, S-Anon, COSA type group. Unfortunately there are few groups out there. The best bet might be a telephone support group lead by a therapist at Heart to Heart Counseling Center, who specializes in partner’s recovery for a list of telephone groups call 719.278.3708.
Thirdly, you might need professional help. I would recommend you go to AASAT.org to find a counselor certified to treat spouses of sex addicts, the addict and the marriage. All three need to recover for you to feel like you have your life back. He and you will need competent and specialized help. Most therapists do not specialize in sex addiction and in my experience, I have heard some real horror stories from those going to someone who is unaware of the proper treatment for the sex addict and his spouse.
If the therapist is sex addiction certified that would be a good sign but definitely ask how much experience they have. If you get there and they start blaming you or work and start working on the marriage before addressing his addiction you are in the wrong place. The last thing you need is a therapist blaming you for something that’s not your fault.
His sex addiction is real
I know addiction is real and painful for any wife of a sex addict. It can be difficult when telling your friends or family about his sex addiction. We also have a website dedicated to helping partners of betrayal at partnerbetrayaltrauma.org.
I also know the results of recovery if worked on, that it’s possible to have a healthy marriage again free from the shame and pain of sexual addiction. Most couples make it and have a happy ever after. It’s work, but when both of you commit to recovery, many tears turn back once again into a smile, like the day you said I do.