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confused

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Where to even start, I have been a sex, porn, love addict probably starting about 12 years old, when games of dares on bus trips with a youth group were the norm. I then lost my virginity at 13yo so sex has always been a thrill for me.  Home life was turbulent and I never really had any recognition so constantly seek approval from people. My work life has been in a military then emergency service environment which has given me 20 years of trauma. The age of the internet from my early 30’s opened up a whole new world of porn, adult dating sites, swinger sites, gay saunas. (I am not gay, but will have sex with men purely for the thrill) I have always been in relationships and have always cheated, I have hurt many women and moved on when the damage was done.  I am now married to a fantastic woman who loves me, knows about my history and addiction, knows I have cheated on her time and time again but still wants to help me overcome this and have a normal happy life together.

 

I had always promised myself as a child that I would be the father to my children, that my father wasn’t to me. (I don’t have any children of my own, but have a stepdaughter) I have always sought out relationships but still acted out for my thrills. I have always tried to analyze myself, I generally am a very honest person, I am helpful to others even total strangers but when it comes to sex, I lie, cheat and hurt people closest to me just for meaningless thrills.  I have tried changing, I have tried abstaining, I have read numerous books on the subject of addiction, I have been to many counselors and paid out a fortune all to just go back to acting out.  My confusion now is that I don’t know if that is just who I am, am I just someone with sexual tastes outside of the norm and should I just go and live that life, stop hurting my wife and anyone else in the future, forget about relationships. I do love and care very much for my wife and stepdaughter and I know I would miss them very much and regret it if I lost them. Even knowing that I still have my fantasies, desires and at times act out. Lately I am forced to confront my actions all the time, my wife monitors my phone,  media and I hav to account for myself all the time. There is no let up from the turmoil going on in my head.

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Hi Confused.com

I suppose I would want to ask whether your addiction life makes you happy and builds your self-esteem.  And where is it going?

If it doesn't make you happy etc I would do everything you can to escape from it.  I would recommend Paula's course - it enabled me to escape and get into recovery.  Well worth the money.

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Hello confused.com

I have asked myself the very same question.  

I will help people cross the road, carry bags for someone, give time at my volleyball club, be generous with my money to friends & family and generally be polite, courteous and 'nice'.  

But then there was all the acting out that escalated and escalated.  It took away my time, my money and my morals and made me irritable and unpleasant to be around.
 
Since my 'rock bottom' moment I have been professing to anyone that will listen that I am a good person that did something bad, that the deceit and lies were a shroud that covered over me - over the good man.

My wife on the other hand has taken a view that I am an evil, selfish person, that should have stayed a bachelor to act out my sick fantasies, that I am rotten to the core and am not a good person.

It hurts to read my wife writing that.  It hurts to write it out again, maybe because there is truth to what she says.

So, am I a good person with a dark shroud that covered me, or am I a bad person that had a mask showing to others?

In reality I have no way of knowing right now.  I asked about it with my therapist.  Her take is that she has seen countless people just go through the motions when they are in my position; that I have tld her things that others wouldn't and have left myself emotionally bare to her; that she thinks I have an adddiction, that somewhere along the line my sexual obsession took a different road from what is normal and that we can overcome it.

The best test for me is to think of the moments when I am at my most low, when I am at my most vulnerable, and what is my inner most response?:

Who am I thinking of in a loving way?  I think of my wife and my children and how much I deeply love the.  I don't think of loving my compulsive behaviours.

That tells me the answer - at my most inner core I am a good person because my response is to think of love, not a shameful acting out behaviour.

 

Take it easy on yourself, you can get through the next few hours, and that's all you need to do in the immediate moment.

 

P.

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