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  1. Cowslip added a post in a topic Recent discovery of partner’s sex addiction   

    I read the postings above with tears in my eyes, Victoria and Janey.  Thank you for your honesty and clarity!  It breaks my heart to think that so many women are having to deal with this trauma in their lives (I recently read an article which described what we are going through as 'betrayal trauma', and that certainly made sense to me).
    As I have said before, there is no right and no wrong way to respond to this kind of life event.  We all have to find our own paths.  My partner and I have been together since we were teenagers and have children and grandchildren, and a whole web of friends built up over more than 40 years, and so walking away (or uncoupling, as Gwyneth Paltrow puts it) is both more difficult and more complex.  I also suspect that I am luckier than many other women - my partner's addiction has been only to porn (and free porn at that).  If he had been seeing escorts or paying for sex then I think my reaction would have been very different.  The length of our relationship also means, I think, that I find it easier to take the long view and to accept that no genuine recovery from addiction can be quick - we are in this for the long haul.
    I am also perhaps a little further down the road than you - there had been a number of times when I had become aware that my partner was using porn in the past, and called him out on it, but only in the last 18 months have I really understood the extent of his porn use and had the courage to properly confront him over it, and he has had the courage to accept that he has an addiction and take the steps to deal with it.
    I am a staunch atheist, but in trying to understand the situation I find myself in, I have read a number of 'faith based' articles, and what I have taken from them is a message about 'hating the sin and not the sinner'.  It has taken me some time to get to this point, where I can begin to detach the act (the porn addiction) from the man, and see them separately. I understand what Janey says about past memories being 'tainted'.  Again, it has taken me time to give myself permission to look back on the good times with pleasure, and to face the bad memories head on.  Trust will take time to be rebuilt, but I am willing to give myself the time to see if that can happen.  I have also prepared myself for the fact that it is possible that my partner will relapse, and I have discussed with him what must happen if that occurs.
    None of this is meant to suggest that anyone should stay with their partner if that is not right for them.  I have complete and utter sympathy (and admiration) for anyone who walks away from their partner in this situation. I absolutely feel that I am not in a position to give anyone advice!  
    I think that recovery from this type of trauma is always a work in progress - there are good days and bad days; days when I want to scream at the world; days when I want to lie in bed and sob; days when I want to see my partner really suffer for what he has done to us.  And there are days when my partner and I laugh, talk and have fun, and I am full of optimism for the future.  And with each month there are fewer bad days, and more good days.  All this is only possible because my partner has taken responsibility for his actions and his addiction - without that, there would have been no hope.
    I also wanted to thank this forum for giving us all a safe space to share our experiences, to try and make sense of what we are feeling, and to share with other people in the same situation.  This forum, and others like it, have been a lifeline for me, and I hope it will be there for me and others like me for a long time to come.
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  2. Victoria added a post in a topic Looking for understanding   

    My heart goes out to all of you. My partner has been addicted to porn and seeking out sex with men and women for quite a few years. I found out nearly two weeks ago. We are not together anymore. I considered staying with him as he’s the love of my life. He desperately needs me in his life and can’t imagine how he has has done this to me. But, those few days were so traumatic, thinking if I could cope with his addiction. The answer is, I can’t. I have my children from a previous marriage and so am free to rebuild my life. My heart breaks for him and his does for me, but I know that I would become a different person if I stayed with him. A distrustful, resentful, constantly heartbroken wretch. I know this and thankfully I have the support of family and friends to see me through this.
    I can’t recommend talking enough with those who love you. I’m also starting counselling next week as I’m scared of the repercussions of this awful trauma.
    Best wishes to all of you, you are in my thoughts, Vicky.
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  3. Victoria added a post in a topic Recent discovery of partner’s sex addiction   

    Oh thank you, thank you Janey. 
    Gosh, I can only imagine what you’re going through because we had only been together for two years, but I know we are soulmates and the loves of our lives (so far). It was the most romantic, loving, caring, affectionate relationship I have ever had. My children loved him, my parents took us all on holiday etc. He was my world. But as you say, looking back, everything is tainted, I’ve said this to him. He’s broken. He desperately wants me but has enough respect for me to let me be, to heal. 
    I really feel for you in your situation, you must feel incredibly alone. I’m glad you have your daughters’ support, that is something that you need. I also understand how you haven’t told anyone else  they would say ‘leave’, but I can see that your life is different from mine in that you share a family and home. Only you can make this decision  but I would greatly recommend that you seek counselling for yourself. You MUST be able to talk this through with someone who isn’t emotionally attached. Maybe you already are. I’m having counselling starting on Monday. I almost don’t know what to say at this point as I’ve done nothing but talk for the past fortnight nearly.
    At this moment, after a very tearful morning at work, I am feeling positive and relieved that he is no longer in my life. I know this feeling won’t last, but I’m hoping for more of these up feelings and less of the down. 
    I have read that some couples do recover from this, but I know that I cannot live like that. I’m already wondering if he’s using our time apart to act out more and I know that I will NEVER trust him again. I think I would become incredibly depressed and obsessed with him having a quick recovery. And that is why I’ve stepped away, as hard as it was. I can count my blessings and move on. We don’t live too close and only saw each other at weekends even though we FaceTimed constantly (obviously not enough as he still found the time to cheat and deceive). 
    Im really feeling for you. 
    Are you still living together? If this is the case, then how are you giving yourself the time and space to see things clearly about what you need to recover? I implore you to step away from him for a time. Make a list of the pros and cons of being without him. Write down all the negative feelings and fears for your future together and the positive and freedom of being apart from someone with such a destructive illness. Ask yourself if you are strong enough to embark on such a hard journey. Only then will you get the clarity you need to make the right decision.
    Im sorry Janey, if I’m giving too much advice, but I’m so passionate about how us partners need to heal. Psychiatrists liken our experience to PTSD and I can’t say that they’re wrong.
    Please, please think of yourself. Yes, I’m sure your heart is breaking for him at times, after all he’s the one with the illness, but is it worth making you ill too?
    Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. 
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  4. Janey36 added a post in a topic Recent discovery of partner’s sex addiction   

    Poor you, Vicky. I do truly feel so sorry for you. There seems to be so many of us in this situation.
    I made this discovery just a few weeks ago and, like you, am on an emotional roller coaster. My husband of 36 years has been seeing sex workers for about the last 14 years. The porn addiction I believe to be much more recent. 
    I have told out 3 daughters the situation and I know I would have their support if I do go ahead and divorce him, which I what I want to do today, but maybe I wont want to tomorrow, this is how it goes as I am sure you know.
    I have read others stories on here and they all pretty much say the same thing about giving YOURSELF time. This discovery is, to me anyway, very much like a bereavement and after such an event one is usually advised not to make any immediate and permanent changes. 
    He has just started counselling and if he does overcome his addictions I still don't think I will want to remain with him. The secrets and lies have destroyed so much, there will never be trust again. The treasured memories of the last 14 years , a daughters wedding, anothers graduation, the birth of grand children all these are now tainted by his actions. 
    To you, Vicky, I would say stay away from him ( I get the impression that you are currently living apart). Let him fight his battle while you get on and fight your own battles.
    You are a strong woman. You had the courage to tell family and friends, I certainly don't besides my daughters, you had the courage to step away and stand lone. I haven't.
    Now you have given yourself some space, give yourself some time. Make the next few days and weeks about you. Scream, shout, rant, cry but do not bottle up your emotions. If you feel unable to do this with family or friends , do it on here, rant to me. I will always listen, I KNOW what youre going thru. If none of those options appeal, then write yourself an email or a letter. Banging away at the keyboard as you spill out your feelings is quite therapeutic! 
    From one sad, broken lost soul to another, Vicky, you are not alone.
    Take care.
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  5. Victoria added a topic in Partner Concerns   

    Recent discovery of partner’s sex addiction
    I’ve recently discovered that my partner has a sex addiction. I am devastated and heartbroken and am going through a roller coaster of emotions. I told all of my family and close friends. This was to ensure that I wouldn’t go back to him. The pain is unbearable. 
    He is attending SAA meetings weekly and his one hope in life is that he recovers and we can be reconciled. I want to hope this too. But I am torn between letting go totally and moving on, and hoping for him to recover so I can have the love of my life and soulmate back. I am also terrified of being in a relationship with him again, knowing that he will always struggle with his addiction and what this will do to me. I don’t feel strong enough.
    One moment I feel strong and can hope for a future without him and the next I am that sad, broken thing, wandering, lost...
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  6. Janey36 added a post in a topic Looking for understanding   

    Hi Anon123, Alys, K65 and especially Cowslip who answered my recent post which lead me here.
    How are you all doing? I am where you were 6 months ago. Feeling that sense of loss, devastation, heartbreak, anger and foolishness.
    I feel selfish for saying that its good to know that I am not the only one in this situation, but I do so wish that none of you and the many others out there didn't have to face this at all.
    My husband is attending his first counselling session this evening, I am sure this is a good thing for him and applaud him for making this effort. But in my heart I know that I will never be able to trust him again to be honest or truthful about his behaviour. I will never know the full extent of his actions, the number of girls he saw the amount of times he saw them or spent with them at the expense of his wife and 3 daughters. 
    Due in great part to my upbringing I have a real problem him lies and the people who tell them. Not the everyday lies, where you tell someone they are looking good after their recent illness or that the Jolly Man in Red wont visit on Christmas Eve if youre naughty, but the ones that hurt and can be life changing. 
    My husband knew about this from the early days of our relationship, so going back nearly 40 years. I also made it very clear before we married that if he ever had a fling let alone an affair I would divorce him in a heartbeat. Yet knowing all this he still carried on like some single 25 year old. 
    Now he is 'heart broken' that I don't want to be with him........yet he hasn't really made any effort to part of our family for so many years. I'm sure he thinks that its ok to see prostitutes and watch porn because that's not having an affair, is it? I saw somewhere on here another person wrote this as her mantra....I didn't cause it, I can't control it, I can't cure it. Its kind of comforting in a way. 
    Thank you to all of you who have shared your story and helped me get some prospective.
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  7. Cowslip added a post in a topic No compassion, no nothing   

    As Christine says, there is no right or wrong in this - only what feels right and makes sense to you.  First and foremost, take care of yourself.
    I am the same age as you and can understand how devastating it is to find out that your partner of so many years has been deceiving you all this time.  In my case it was 'only' a porn addiction, which started when he was a teenager.  There have been several times over the years when this has come to a head and he has told me he was giving it all up - only to go back to it at some time afterwards.  And each time he has returned to porn, the type of thing he has been viewing has become more extreme and more at odds with the kind of man he appears to be.  We had our rocky patches over the years (and looking back now, I wonder how many of those were when his porn addiction was at its worst), but despite everything I still enjoyed his company, he still made me laugh, he was a good father to our children and he was still my best friend. 
    On the last occasion (18 months ago), I was where you are now, and had decided to end the marriage.  I have since changed my mind, and would like to share my reasons with you.  Firstly, I did some research into porn addiction, so that I could begin to understand why and how it comes about, and what the chances are for recovery.  I reached out to other women through on-line forums (like this one), so that I felt I had some support and that someone else understood where I was coming from.  Finally, I told my partner that if he wanted our relationship to continue, it was up to him to make the running.  Basically, I took a step back and made it clear that this was his problem and it was up to him to fix it.  His responsibility to save the marriage and not mine. He had ruined our relationship, not me.  
    The turning point was when he decided to come clean about his porn habit - the kind of thing he was watching, when he watched, why he watched. I recognised how difficult this was for him to say (and how difficult it was for me to hear).  This was the first time, in more than 40 years, that we had properly talked about it.  He did some reading and spoke to some counsellors and was able after a short while to talk to me about how he was fighting this and what he was doing to stay clean.  I made the decision at that point to wait six months to decide whether to go or stay (I didn't tell him this). I decided to stay, but I now feel it is my right to ask him, at any point, if he is still clean and to expect an honest answer.  I make it clear to him that I expect him, from time to time, to let me know how he is doing, and the bottom line is that if I once again have to find out for myself that he is using again, then I leave.  If something triggers a bad memory or a reaction in me (something he says or does, something we are watching on tv, or a news item), then I tell him, and tell him exactly why it makes me feel so terrible.  He has to own this!
    The best thing is that on a day-to-day basis, everything is fine, and we now have a level of honesty between us that was missing before (about everything - not just the porn).  My partner taking real and genuine responsibility for this situation has been key.  I could not have stayed if we had continued to have that elephant in the room.  The worst things are the sadness which I think will never go away and the feeling that I may never entirely trust him.  Staying has not been easy, but (for me) leaving would have been harder, and I felt I stood to lose more than I would gain.
    Please give yourself time and space to process what has happened to you.  This is not 'all about him and his recovery'.  This is about what has happened to you and the impact it has had on you.  Be kind to yourself, and whether you go or stay, just make the decision that is right for you.  
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  8. Christine added a post in a topic No compassion, no nothing   

    I wonder if you need to allow yourself time before making any long term decisions, although whatever decision you make is yours to make and whether you stay together or decide to leave the relationship is completely your decision and their is no right or wrong decision in a situation like this. Christine
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  9. Janey36 added a topic in Partner Concerns   

    No compassion, no nothing
    My story is so similar to others I have read here over the past few weeks. 36 years of marriage, now to discover that my husband has been visiting prostitutes and claims to have a porn addiction. These things I found out quite by chance and until I showed him my evidence he just kept denying everything. I believe this behaviour has been going on for the last 14 years at least and escalating. He is, supposedly, starting counselling this week. I say supposedly because I only have his word for it , he could tell me that's where hes going or that's where hes been, but how would I know, do I get a report card from his counsellor........ lets face it, the man is a deceitful liar who has broken my heart, destroyed our marriage and seriously damaged his relationship with one of our daughters. His actions have appalled me. The girl he has been paying recently is 4 years younger than our youngest child!
    I find that I have absolutely no compassion for him whatsoever and wish only to divorce him, never to have to lay eyes on him again. He says that he is broken and broken hearted too. As far as I am concerned that's only because he got caught. 
    I have read many stories on here from loving and tolerant partners going above and beyond to help their other halves overcome their addictions. But, you know, I'm not sure that I can do this. I wont ever trust him again, I don't have any respect for him, no compassion for his problem. I can't bare the sound of his voice or the sight of his face, yet I have loved him so much and for so long. I tell myself that I am 'in shock', to give myself time, to try to understand. My husband is being as nice as pie, thoughtful and helpful and kind. He wont talk to me about any of it tho. Its this giant elephant sitting in the corner.
    My daughter asked how I was doing the other day, I told her my mood changed ten times a day from feeling euphoric to wanting to sit under the table and cry!
    At 62 years old I am preparing to spend the rest of my life alone, and I'm sad about this. Which, from what I've read on here is not the right attitude, it should be all about him and his recovery. 
    The damage is done and can't be undone and quite frankly I dont care whether he 'recovers' or not.
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  10. Joy added a post in a topic Sex addiction and lack of empathy   

    The title of this thread is really where I feel I am at, at the moment. I am really lost and don't know what to do.
    @Rob, I really appreciated what you wrote there, it is interesting to get a perspective that is not the partner. 
    @Chris, you have hit the nail on the head with do more than apologise I need to air out how I feel here because part of me worries that I am doing something wrong. I think my husband feels he doesn't need to keep apologising because he apologised already. But anyway its not just about apologising anyway, I have said all the things you listed in your quote already. And he always responds by saying what do you mean? How can I be more empathetic? What do I need to do? Just tell me. So I say things like, listen when I cry, and talk, and don't get defensive. Or understand it's hard for me to be physically close. Or understand I can't be around your mother because she doesn't think you've done anything wrong and it upset me that she felt so confident to say that. And his response is, well I told you already I'm sorry, and I don't push you for sex so you should be happy. Then he'll say but I do want to have sex and I'm unhappy we have no physical relationship. He'll say I don't push you to spend time with my mother, but I want you to and I want you to know she has a right to be upset with you because you've pushed her away in the past, or when you were upset you didn't even say hello to her. So you need to realise you're wrong too.
    It's been a while since you posted and I don't know if things in your situation improved. I feel I can relate to some of what you say. And was almost relieved at what you wrote. Can I ask if anything has improved? I understand your feelings about your two sons, I know everyones situation is different, but ultimately if you are happy and fulfilled you're giving the best for your children, when you are not it's much harder. We are all a better version of ourselves when we are happy within. If you are also able to be this way and be in the relationship then it's worth exploring but sounds like you have done a lot?
    I feel almost the same, I feel I have tried, I have been patient with recovery, I was patient with disclosure, I rooted for him I still do even though the whole time this has been heartbreaking. I took a step back in the early days of recovery, I sought help and counselling and I worked on myself to get my strength back. I got to a point eventually where I was open to couple work to see how we could get through this. It didn't go so well.
    I feel that although he is not 'acting out' as such there are some things that just don't sit right with me. Maybe its the cause of the addiction, lack self love, entitlement and not being open about feelings that haven't been addressed. It is also his total lack of empathy. He occasionally tells that me he is still working on this , but most of the time he tells me that the biggest issue in the relationship is me because I am unstable and don't know what I want. He tells me that because I am unable to fully BE in the relationship that I am the problem.
    My husband continues to tell me how he wants a relationship with me where I'm stable, and not angry or upset at times. He says "I don't know what I'm coming home too, sometimes you're happy, sometimes you're angry and will be short with me, other times you're crying." "I need stability".  He wants to have a sexual relationship with me and is upset and finds it hard to be in any sort of relationship with me as we're not physically intimate. To me there is a lot more to work on that just that.
    We were working on a relationship together early last year, 6 months after discovery, and at first I felt like there was hope, he'd been on the Paula Hall partners course and had been regularly seeing his one to one counsellor. I too had regular partner counselling and still do. I have been on the partner course too. When couple therapy started in 2017, he said he didn't need to work on himself anymore and he just needed to work on us. This made me uncomfortable and I communicated that to him, but he said he was no longer acting out, and felt like he had control over his feelings now.
    I eventually put couple counselling to an end because the focus was continually on him. He kept saying he didn't understand what he needed to do, he just wanted to be in a good relationship, how he just wanted to know whether I was in or out. He didn't understand how to empathise. He said he just needed a list of what he could to, examples things to tick off.  
    There has been a lot of turmoil since then, I have left and come back, but when I left he said he realised he needed more than just sex addiction counselling, that there was more he needed to work on, he said his feeling of entitlement, his communication and happiness outside of being in a relationship needed to be worked on. He has been in weekly psychotherapy since November 2017. He doesn't share much about what they work on and when I ask he is very short about it.
    But I too feel he is obsessed with my behaviour, how I am upset, angry, traumatised. Before all this happened I was very giving, I spent a lot of time with him and his family. I prioritised 'us' and looking back I feel that it was all things that I knew would make him happy, he used to come across so stressed and upset and made me feel that I had the power to make everything better, so I tried because I wanted to make him happy too. However since discovery I have learned a lot about myself and my own behaviours as well as his. I realise now that there is co-dependancy evident in the relationship and for my own recovery I need to work on that. But I honestly feel that my recovery harms him. Maybe I take my boundaries too far? But I am protecting myself, and he isn't consistent enough for me to take this protection down. I know we all need to take risks in a relationship in order for it to bloom but I still feel he isn't genuine enough to really take on board my feelings or situation. 
    For example, my relationship with his family has detoriated through lack of support, but also I have for the first time in a very long time started to focus on myself, making time for my own needs and requirements to ensure my own well being i.e spend time with my friends, make time for myself, i have only so much time to dedicate to others and they're not the top of my list, besides it gives me anxiety being around them, especially when I don't even feel safe around him either. So for this reason, that is on hold. This causes problems.
    I have also set boundaries on physical intimacy, this is mainly due to not feeling safe, the trauma from sex with him before discovery and ultimately not feeling connected to him has resulted in a shut down of physical intimacy. He is so detached from being able to empathise with what Im going through that I do find it hard to be close to him. It is like he is just waiting and wanting for me to be 'fixed' so that he can list his demands on me again. Yes I am unstable but this is because of everything that has happened. He makes me feel like I need to start giving back to him, still has an issue that we're not having sex. But then when we're talking he says things like I'm not pushing for sex so why can't you be happy? I'm not acting out anymore, why can't you let it go? I didn't run off with her, I chose you, can't you see I love you? 
    There have been times where I have been open to something physical, a small kiss, holding each other at night if we do share the bed, in the last 18 months we have been sexual a handful of times. However he will bring it to my attention and tell me I am not consistent by saying "well why were you able to do that then, and not now, don't kiss me if you can't be like that regularly", ok that's fair but then don't hold it against me that I'm not either! He's right, I am not consistent, but that is because we are not connected on an emotional level. It is because I cant cry on his shoulder and tell him how things make me feel. I can't talk about my fear and anxieties. When I do I get defensive behaviour and anger. I am also not consistent because I have triggers, and times I am upset, and he adds fuel to my vulnerability rather than diffusing it.
    I do often think, if I am having a bad moment to not share it with him, I used to do that, it kept the peace. However, I'm then keeping it to myself and suffering in silence, I am human and it will show anyway. So it creates a cold environment for us to be in. He hates that too and tells me its worse when I don't say anything. Counselling taught us to be open and share, with checkins and listening by taking it in turns, but almost 99% of the time when I share he will bulldoze onto me and tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, or that what I'm saying is unfair. Or that I'm not perfect and I do this, that the other. I am left feeling worse than I did before sharing. And when he does share, he is telling me that it upsets him we are not physically intimate, or it upsets him I'm not ready to have kids, or it upsets him I have no relationship with his family. I am the reason for his upset. 
    He says that he only wants anything from me if I can give it regularly. I know it must be hard for him, he wants to feel loved by me. But this addiction has really impacted me. I really don't want to be this way.  All I need from him is some understanding, patience and empathy, genuinely. 
    When we had couple counselling this time last year, 6 months into discovery, he too chose to shame me about things rather than own up to the situation we are in now. My behaviour hasn't been perfect, I know, but my head is a mess and has been a mess I haven't made the best choices. He makes me feel like I'm the worst wife in the world but then he tells me how upset he is at the thought of losing me. It's confusing. I feel he has a list of demands he needs me to meet, and if I'm not meeting those he's unhappy and I'm not good enough. He doesn't see that I'm the way I am now as a result of all the trauma. I am not punishing him, if anything I am torturing myself.
    Just the other day we spoke and we agreed the relationship is probably going to end because neither of us are happy.  He said the important thing for him is to have a healthy sex life with his partner and because Im so distant sexually he doesn't think either of our needs will be met in the relationship. We start with a new couple counsellor next week.
    I know there are things that I must be doing that make it hard for him, but the way I see it is there is some serious damage done here, and I am the living consequence of that damage. What does the addict do? Am I the problem? If I can't let it go then I guess maybe I am the problem, but I also don't feel I've had the opportunity to because he's bulldozed on my every feeling, and at any given opportunity he's got his demands. 
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  11. PJ added a post in a topic I really need help   

    Hi Sunbeam
    Yep - that sounds tough, and it sounds like you hate the place you find yourself in - at the same time you don't want to give it up.  In fact, if you are anything like me - there is real fear about having it give it up.  It is easy to feel trapped.  In profound conflict.
    I suspect it all feels so big to deal with.  
    I think you might find it helpful to take a step at a time.  The first step is to get some help.  You won't be able to beat this on your own.  
    I would encourage you to either try Paula's therapists/courses and/or a 12 step group.  There are 3 that focus on Sex Addiction.  I use SAA.  The groups vary enormously even within the same organisation - so if one doesn't work, try another.  And I would go several times before you make a judgement.
    I would also encourage you to use the many on-line resources.  This page is very helpful;
    I wish you well.
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  12. MH added a post in a topic Only 18, is it worth trying again?   

    Thank you for your response. Should I stop being friends with him? I don't want to because we deeply care for eachother. I just don't know what would be best. Imaging him not being in my life feels like it would be incredibly lonely as I have lost my closest friendships recently (it's unrelated, we had been drifting for a long time). The unis we want to attend overlap so it is possible to go to a similar area that is a really good school. I wonder whether we should purposefully go to different ones if we don't know if we want to be together or not. But if we do go to separate ones, I know for a fact that I wouldn't want to do the long distance because of everything that has happened. He feels disheartened because he wants us to be together but he said it feels like everyone is telling us to split properly and distance ourselves 
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  13. Christine added a post in a topic Only 18, is it worth trying again?   

    Hi, just wondering, maybe it would be helpful if you did not put yourself in a position where you have to make a decision at the moment, it sounds like he has alot to sort out, you both have individual plans to attend Uni and that you have mixed views about the relationship. Just allow yourself time and permission not to have to make any further decisions for now and see how things go with your life and attending Uni. Time to grow and time apart might be helpful for you both right now and if you do decide to try again in the future then you might be clearer about one another's needs and feelings and what is okay for you within the relationship. Take care Christine
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  14. worthyhope added a post in a topic Struggling to trust again   

    Hi Judith, I understand how you feel completely. It can be very difficult to keep the resentment and anger in check. It's very difficult to apply the 'theory' of sex addiction to the situation when it stirs up such raw emotions. I've been dealing with my partner's addiction for 18 months now and I'm coping much better but sometimes I go right back to square 1. I know that sex addiction has very little to do with sex and everything to do with addiction but my sexual jealousy still gets the better of me. I know this is because of my insecurities and I need to focus on me and my recovery - not on his recovery. We are  working on our relationship to see if it can be salvaged. My partner seems to be in a sustained healthy recovery, so his life and associated mental health has improved beyond recognition. But the horror of the addiction has burdened me in a way I never imagined possible. I think it's really important to actively participate in your own recovery. I will have to 'forgive' BUT I don't see that as something I give him - it's something I give myself - the ability to abandon all hope of having a better past and to accept what's happened in my life and to move on ( with or without him). I want to move from being a partner in recovery to being a recovered partner.
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  15. Yiksob11 added a post in a topic Tell parents?   

    Thanks for the responses.
    Look I have told my parents I am struggling and need help but I did not go into detail. It is my personal issue and I think being so open would cause A LOT of harm.
    And my motivation was probably my guilt...wanting to unburden as you say. 
    I am made some silly mistakes but I dont think my parents need to know every last detail...just as I don't about them.
    Nonetheless I am burdened with a heavy guilt each day.
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  16. Claire added a post in a topic Just discovered my husbands secrets   

    I just wanted to add a positive note to fellow sufferers - those of us who have had to grapple with the lies, the deceit, the horror of living with a sex addict.  I gave it three harrowing years trying to fix things for my two boys.   An absolute horror story.  I managed to separate last year and as Angel recommends in her contribution, I haven't looked back.  A weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  My husband proved obnoxious to the end giving me no choice but to leave and I now realise that this was a blessing in disguise.  I am so much better on my own, I'm getting my life back on track, and am stronger with every day.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  If there isn't any sign of remorse or a real commitment to giving up then my advice is to leave now and move on.  
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  17. MH added a topic in Partner Concerns   

    Only 18, is it worth trying again?
    A few months ago my boyfriend of a year and a half admitted to cheating on me. We got together when we were 16 and had a really loving relationship (well thats what I thought), we were serious and everyone was completely shocked that he cheated as it was something so out of character for him. I broke up with him but he still wants to be together, I don't know what to do. As weeks went by, more and more things were being revealed, he cheated on me multiple times, not just physically but by sending nude photos, flirting with girls, having files of over 1000 photos of girls we knew without their consent that he would use to masturbate to. I knew he watched porn but but I did not realise how immoral and indecent the type of things he would watch and how frequent it was. We had previously had a period of time where he seemed completely disinterested in me and he now admits that he was having romantic feelings for another person which he tried to pursue while we were together. He came to the conclusion that he was a porn, sex and love addict. He had this type of behaviour for years before we even knew eachother. He says he used the porn and photos of girls as a way to cope with his depression. He wants to change and has been partaking in the online community NoFap and will start seeing a psychosexual counsellor soon.
    Right now I'm waiting for a specialist for their opinion on whether or not he is an addict because at least that way I would have some closure. Hes dealt with severe mental health issues for years, throughout his adolescene. I have remained friends with him as I deeply care for him and love him. But it is also largely due to the fact after the breakup his mental health plummeted and he is still struggling with feelings of suicide after several attempts. This time has been really intense but he is being put into counselling for his depression and I've been receiving counselling myself too. 
    Hes fully aware about how I feel. I love him but I am not in a place to have a relationship at all let alone him. I know I could find someone else, even being single now I have had casual encounters with people. But despite everything I love him so much. Maybe I'm being young and stupid but I thought I was going to marry this guy. We will both be moving away to go to university (not sure where yet) in Autumn this year and I have tried to explain to him how we are so young and have so many opportunities ahead of us to meet someone else. But hes convinced that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. I tell him how unrealistic that is but he just tells me its what he want. So really, when I'm ready and he's recovering, do I try again? Is it worth it? Another complication is that after all this I'm refusing to be long distance. I wish someone would just give me their honest opinion and advice. Please help
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  18. PJ added a post in a topic Lost everything   

    Hi Essex addict
    Sorry to hear your addiction has got you into such a mess.  What support are you getting?
    There is hope.  You may feel it is hopeless but it is at rock bottom that we have the greatest chance of recovery, and in recovery we can rebuild our lives.  I would encourage you to use this rock bottom to do what has to be done to get free from this stuff.
    Keep coming back.
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  19. PJ added a post in a topic Hate   

    Hi WW
    Thanks for this.  I wonder if it might be helpful to say the forgiveness isn't the same as how you work through your marriage - at least as I understand it.  There is a common saying that 'Unforgiveness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die'.   In other words one forgives another as much for your self, maybe more, than for the other person. It is to escape the damaging effects that the hate and bitterness have on you.  If you don't forgive, his wrong doing has an ongoing damaging effect on you.  
    As I understand it, forgiveness isn't:
    Approval of the wrongExcusing the wrongLegally pardoning themReconciliationRepressing the emotional impactForgettingPretending we aren't hurtI think of it like a debt.  When someone has hurt us, they have taken something they shouldn't have.  Our self-respect, our reputation, something material etc.  Such a concept crops up in our language around this area e.g. "I'll make him pay for that" or "He owes me for that".   Forgiveness is simply cancelling the debt - deciding not to make him repay it. Making him repay, has of course the sense of punishment.  That's another way of seeing it - deciding not to punish him.
    But forgiveness isn't reconciliation and it isn't trust.  They are different.  You can choose to forgive (not that it is easy or necessarily heart felt to begin with) but not to trust the person again (sometimes that is very wise!) or you can choose to forgive and yet walk away from the person.  Desmond Tutu talks about those two options v. well in his book.
    I do hope that is helpful.  You are right to look after himself and as an addict I think it is extremely important that partners set boundaries and for you to look after yourself in all this crap.  Don't deny yourself.  Look after yourself.  Addicts in addiction are extremely selfish.  It is a mistake to collude with them in their selfishness.
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  20. Christine added a post in a topic I really need help   

    You can recover from this addiction and find other ways to manage past traumatic issues that have led to this need to self soothe and address the anxiety, have a look at the success stories on the forum and be encouraged - their is hope. Christine
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  21. Christine added a post in a topic End of 40-year marriage   

    Thanks for having the courage to share your story on the forum, you have been through a long battle and I am glad that you have taken on the 3 C's in your own walk. I hope things work out for you in your future and that you are able to continue move away from destruction. Take care Christine
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  22. sunbeam32 added a topic in Sex & Porn Addiction   

    I really need help
    I'm in my 30s and have been seeing prostitutes since I was 16. I have been with my wife for 13 years and I have still been secretly seeing prostitutes/escorts . I love my wife so much but due to a condition she has, we never get intimate. I know this is not an excuse but I feel so lonely. 
    This has now led on to me trying to getting into personal relationships with escorts. I know it would never work (previous experience) but I get some kind of kick from it. I seem to get this love sick feeling, especially from one I have been seeing. I need help to stop. I've already been diagnosed with PTSD and acute anxiety. This habit will just top me off. 
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  23. WW added a post in a topic Hate   

    Thank you.
    I have often thought about the Truth and Reconciliation process in S Africa and wondered in awe at their ability to forgive. I have forgiven him more times than I can remember but the last time was unforgivable. He agrees that it was unforgivable given all that had gone before. Part of the problem is that I would never have hurt him like that. I would have sought help if I was hurting my spouse so much. He admits he loved porn more than my happiness. He loved porn more than me or his family. He now agrees that the issue is not about porn but about honesty. None of us can have everything we want. We have to make choices. If he wanted porn, he should have been honest and taken the consequences. At last, 2 years after his last relapse, we are getting somewhere. There are no more excuses from him. Porn addiction does not mean you cheat. Porn addiction does not mean you lie repeatedly. Maybe if he continues to face the truth, I will hate him less.
    BTW, I spent the first one and the half year after his last relapse pleading, cajoling, supporting him to seek help. Finally, he has sought help. Now, my feelings have come to the fore.  It seems as though at last I can look after myself and it is now my turn to work through my emotions. I am not dealing with his addiction any more. I have to deal with my conflicting emotions.
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  24. PJ added a post in a topic Destroyed relationship and hurt girlfriend I love deeply   

    Hi Crisper
    Well done on reaching out on this website.  It sounds like you have reached rock-bottom which whilst very unpleasant is an opportunity to take concrete and effective steps to recover from this addiction.
    I would encourage you to go to a 12 step meeting - SAA have some in Surrey - there is a big one in Guildford, but also other places like Slough and Twickenham.   They are free and you will find friendly like-minded people who can help you.  You can find there list of meetings here:
    I wish you well.
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  25. PJ added a post in a topic Hate   

    Hi WW
    I am so sorry to hear of the damage his addiction has done to you and your marriage.  This addiction is so damaging.  I remember Paula saying to me that the best way marriages recover is if the couple can externalise the addiction, identifying it as something external to you both, so that you can image it as an object before you both - something that you both work in partnership to overcome.  
    I think the road you probably need to explore so you that can lessen or even stop hating your husband is by forgiving him.  No one says it is easy and there is a lot of confusion around forgiveness.  As I understand it, it isn't about excusing or justifying his wrong doing in anyway.  Nor is it about minimising how serious and damaging it was.  I have personally found Desmond Tutu's book very helpful on the subject, but I am sure there are others that might help you along what will no doubt be a long road.
    I hope you find a way through this.
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