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Ruby

Husband a sex addict but with men

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How and where do you begin to even comprehend the horror and utter devastation of finding out the man you've been with for 20 years has been having encounters with men during all of that time? I have never ever written on a forum before but I am in so much pain - or at least swinging between pain and intense anger - that I am hoping someone can understand a little of what I am going through. I guess I'm reaching out to ask, has this happened to anyone else and how di/are you coping?

I had absolutely no idea he was doing this and he did not suddenly confess. It gets worse.....one of our children saw an app called Grindr I think, on his phone and confronted me about it. I didn't even know what it was never mind  why it was on his phone!

Needless to say they are now reeling as much as I am although I haven't actually confirmed what he has been doing to them. I don't have the words and don't believe they deserve to have the burden of knowing they have a father that has done this.

He is having counselling and his counsellor told him to recommend to me I read books about being a partner of a sex addict. That was another blow because when it first came to light what he'd been doing he said it was related to a very short spell of childhood abuse and what the male abuser had instilled into him.  He says its only ever been masturbation with other men.....not sure whether that's supposed to make me feel better or not.  I've read a couple of very good books for partners of sex addicts but many seem to feature men who are addicted to sex with  other women or look at pornography involving women.

Now my husband refuses to talk any more about it. He claims his counsellor has told him that further disclosure will only hurt me even more and its time to move ahead. His counselling seems to be focussing on the trauma caused by the abuse which I appreciate is much needed and very good for him. However I cant even begin to think about 'moving ahead' until I know all of what he did. I feel as if I am on shifting sands, a place of dark shadows where every tiny shred of new information sets me right back - I've already realised he's told me one or two lies during the very basic disclosure he did give.

We see to be at an impasse. He wont talk any more about it and says we should focus on rebuilding the marriage and not look backwards as its destructive. I cant move forwards when there is still so much I need to know before I can even think about forgiving him or trusting him

 

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Oh Ruby, dear! Your situation sounds so very painful and i am so sorry to hear you have been hit with such horrendous discovery. Although my husband  has been acting out  with women I know that at least on two occasions there was another man present as well.  He says it was only to observe his performance.... (I feel sick!) It is impossible for my brain to digest it and I have stopped trying to do that. All I need to know is that he has a problem, that he acknowledges he has a problem and that he is actively working on recovery. 
One thing I can not recommend strongly enough is to be careful what questions you are asking because once you know that information, you are suck with it and it can be much more damaging than useful. I now truly regret knowing  some things. And I understand that in the beginning you are just hurting so much that you think nothing else will hurt me more, i just need to know... Therapeutic disclosure might be the least damaging way for you to have answers to your questions.
As for 'not looking backwards' bit, it makes me so angry!! My husband often says that, 'why cant we just move forward?, why cant you stop looking back?'. And I feel like screaming 'Why couldn't you stop for all those years? Why coudn't you!!!'
You are not alone Rudy, sadly there are many beautiful, successful, once joyful and happy women whose lifes has been torn apart by sex addiction. Take care of yourself, do what is right for you, take one day at the time. It's a long journey to recovery but there is a recovery. Love and hugs.

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Thank you very much Vava for your kind words. How did you decide what was right to know and what wasn't? I am feeling that having little ort no knowledge is killing me. I imagine so much and feel even more anxious when he refuses to talk more.  How long have you been trying to recover as it were?

 

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Hello Ruby.

I am not in the same position as you, and can only begin to imagine what you must be going through, but I thought sharing my experience may be helpful for you.  I discovered just over three years ago that my partner's interest in porn (which I had known about since we were first together as teenagers) had grown to the point where it was an addiction.  I also found out that many of the sites he was visiting involved gay porn, violence and incest.  We have been together for more than 40 years, and I would never have believed that he would find any of those things appealing or arousing.  

As I say, this is quite different to finding out that your partner has been meeting men.  But I have spent a lot of time thinking about how much I need or want to know about my partner's addiction, and you might find that useful.  Vava is right that once your partner has told you something, you're stuck wth it, and you have to find a way of living with that knowledge.  It is also true that (in my case at least) the things you imagine can be worse than the reality.

What worked for me was:

1. To take my time and to think clearly and as calmly as possible about what I needed to know in order to feel safe and in control.  I tried to make it about information I needed, and not about making him suffer by having to 'reveal all' (although that was a tempting thought).

2. When I decided there was something I needed to ask my partner, I rehearsed what I wanted to ask, and chose a time when I felt strong enough to have the conversation (I tried not to ask difficult questions when I was upset or tired or just plain pissed off with the whole situation).  

3. I gave myself time to think about his answers - if they didn't ring true, or if I felt or thought he was dodging a question, or fudging the truth, then I asked again and again until I thought I'd got a genuine answer.  Often his answers made me uncontrollably angry or incredibly sad, but I always tried to walk away from him to process all of that on my own.  Early on, I decided that I had the right to honest answers to all my questions, and that our marriage would not survive if I didn't get that honesty.  

4.  If you can, find someone to talk to about what your partner tells you - maybe a counsellor, or a very close and trusted friend.  We have all found ourselves in an incredibly lonely place and it is easy to end up replaying every conversation and every disclosure over and over again in your head until you can't think about anything else.  I found I needed to get it out of my head, either by talking to someone else, or sometimes just be writing it all down.

I also agree with Vava that it just isn't possible to 'stop looking backwards' - we can't rewrite the past, so we have to find a way of living with it.  That's a tough one, and one I am still struggling with.   But many people are able to move on and rebuild their relationship together (if that's what you decide to do); others decide to call it a day and move on alone.  My partner and I have stayed together, and I am (after three years) beginning to feel confident and in control again.  It took a lot of tears and a lot of misery, but we are getting there!  Whatever you decide to do, I wish you well.  Stay strong!

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Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m beginning to realise I’m not alone in this horror and I’m so saddened to hear of others experiences. You sound incredibly strong and brave and I only hope I can get there. 

I need the disclosure to know that there is no more to the horror of all this. I appreciate what you’re saying and understand it. Maybe I’ll feel like that in time but now his refusal to share and answer my questions is just pushing me farther away from him as I wonder what else he’s done and what sort of a person I’m really married to. 

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I agree with Ruby in that I want to know everything rather than imagine it. Also to see who it is I am married to. I wrote four pages of questions down and let him read them first. Then we sat down and went through them one at a time.

i didn’t get all the answers I wanted so there are still more. I think writing them down stops the anger to an extent so that the conversation is calmer and you are in control. I still have to find out exactly what my husband had watched. So far I know it involves Asian girls having sex. We lived in Asia for many years and the sex industry was always very much on our doorstep.  When I ask for details he says he can’t remember. Sadly this may be true as he suffered a brain virus last summer which has affected his memory. But it may also be a good excuse and a way out for him. However, I need to keep asking the questions until I am happy that I know what I need to know.  The worst thing for me is that I have been living in a sexless marriage for many years.... he blamed me because I had an affair 35 years ago! How sad is that? I was 30.

look after yourselves girls. Xx

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Hi Pippa,

 

I just came across this board.

 

I totally understand what you are going through.  I have been there.  My husband acted out 4 different times with 4 different men in a gay massage parlor.  I remember the utter shock of finding out last winter.  We have been married 25 years, and he kept his porn addiction a secret all this time.  It would take a long time to post my entire story here right now, but I wanted to share this with you.

I raged, cried, cursed, and had a burning image in my mind for weeks after I found out.  I was sick for months! I also met another partner who's husband did the same thing.  Unfortunately, I have lost contact with her.

I did find out in my research that:  porn addiction is progressive, sometimes to weird acting out behavior,  Betrayal Trauma can cause PTSD, something happened in the Porn Addict's childhood to cause the addiction, there are support groups for us partners, there are specialized counselors that deal with Betrayal Trauma in partners.  Here are some suggestions:  The website: Your Brain on Porn/the book: Is Your Husband Gay, Straight or Bi.  Many married men with the addiction have been with men.  I know it's sick---I am totally not justifying what they did.  I have categorized what my husband did in a "sick" category.  That's not the only gross thing he has done.  I will address that some other time. A lifetime of gross stuff.  

If anyone had told me that at my age,  and being married to  "The Best Thing that Ever Happened to me", my "Rock", that I would be on these boards, I would have fallen down laughing.

There is so much more to my story, but it is really long.

We both are in counseling---I do not know where our marriage will go from here--We live like roommates.  He has taken a polygraph, we have had our disclosure.

The initial shock will wear off--what helped me is to sit in my car and call him every low down name in the book, write even if it makes no sense, counseling, /when I was raging and thinking I was going to have a stroke, deciding he was not worth it to damage my health.

Do anything you can to take care of you.  I was in a fog for about 6 months, and am finally coming out of it now,

I hope that helps.  When did you find out?  Are you in the US or the UK?

Take care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you Ter  and Pippa. I’m sorry to realise so many other women are suffering, albeit in different ways. Your thoughts and advice are really helpful. I’m going to start counselling this week as I know I can’t get through it alone   I too am raging and feeling  a deep grief I think for the loss of the husband I thought I’d had for 20 years. A person is still there in front of me who looks like my husband but isn’t really is he? I think the one big thought I can’t get round is why would someone who supposedly loved me, write his own beautiful marriage vows, is the father of our children, would deceive and betray us in such a devastating way?  I have disliked people over the years and at times briefly wished them ill but never ever have I wanted to wreak such damage and harm.  Has anyone else managed to come to terms with that ? 

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Hi Ruby,

I know what you mean--the loss of the husband you once had.  I felt like I was living with a complete stranger after I found out.  It took me two years to even trust him when we first got married.   My friends would say Oh you don't have to worry about him being unfaithful to you.  My soft spoken, kind hearted, quiet husband had become a monster to me.  Some days, I look at him and still get triggered at how he has destroyed our marriage and me.  How for the last 8 months I have been in some kind of a fog--everyone else is enjoying life, and I'm lucky if I can make it through the day doing the basics in life.  And like you, I wondered how he could do this to me if he loved me.  What was he thinking when he did this?  What has helped me is learning that an addict actually is not thinking.  Their frontal lobe in their brain shuts down.  I am understanding that more and more intellectually, but emotionally it's not working.  I feel there was that little voice saying you know this is wrong.  But he chose to do it anyway.  Hope that helps.

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