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  1. Rena

    No improvement

    Greetings and love to both of you. I'm in a similar position 18 months in. I am sorry we all feel so alone. I wish I had answers. I broke up with my my partner in January, because nothing had changed. I came back because he agreed to see his therapist again on a regular basis. That has trailed off again, and he wouldn't do any of the exercises she gave him to complete. He tells me he is a different person now, and that I should just believe him. We are at a stalemate now, as I've become depressed, and he blames me for making things miserable. He won't read the SA books, won't reach out for support. He thinks he is doing a lot more than he actually is. When he does something secretive and I call him out, he gets angry at me for not trusting him. He doesn't understand why I can't move on, despite me explaining it all to him so many times. I think he is still in denial. Maybe I am too. I've become very lonely, and the situation makes me feel crazy. Thank goodness for this forum. I hope that we can all find some peace. Xxx
  2. Rena

    Partner Recovery

    Hey everyone, I am very thankful to this forum and everyone sharing stories and advice. I saw a post recently from another partner who has reached a 'numb' point, and I would love to know more about people's personal journeys later on in to the process of 'recovery'. During the last 18 months I have learnt that my partner suffers complex PTSD and has ADD and addictive personality. Trauma has been the reason for his sex addiction problems. He is learning a lot about himself, but finding it overwhelming and hard. My therapist diagnosed me with clinical depression a couple months ago, and suffering my own form of ptsd. Most of this is due to being so wrapped up in my partners behaviour, trying to be vigilant, strong, supportive, firm, setting boundaries, and trying to look after myself all at the same time. His issues are really complex and it triggers and engulfs me. I'm learning a lot about myself too. Is anyone else f*cking exhausted? I have reached a numb stage (interspersed with tears haha). I'm so mentally exhausted from dealing with his actions, and trying to heal the pain he caused me, that I've switched off. I love him, but I don't feel love. What does it look like to be looking after yourself while still in the relationship? Does anyone have experience in SA recovery with complex trauma? I am young and I don't know if I can spend the rest of my life feeling like this. It's really hard! I want it to work out, but navigating these issues is exhausting. I want to get my own love and fire back. Is it possible while still together? Thanks and love.
  3. Rena

    Will things get better?

    Hi Eliza, I am sorry to hear you have been through this too! My heart goes out to you. I hope that you have some people around you to support you. PJs comment shed a little light, that's true. I am still struggling with it to be honest with you. I've avoided the forum for a while, as it feels like my partner's problems have consumed my whole life! It is so tiring! The morality thing is something we speak about a lot now. I found out that he has continued to watch porn and cruise ex girlfriends online for the last year, despite promising me over and over that he had stopped. It finally led to him saying the actual words 'I have a sex addiction problem' after nearly a year. He tells me he wants to be a 'good person' and is trying really hard to 'be who you want me to be' ... but as always I think deep down he still wants distant lust and fantasy with his supermodel ex gfs and fetish girls online etc who he cheated on me with during our entire relationship. Intimacy scares him and he just is not capable of stopping. What has helped is actually reading more about codependancy. So thank you PJ. I am also reading more about self esteem. It has helped me to to establish boundaries, emotional and practical, and to talk to my partner in terms of what MY needs are. I underestimated the impact that gaslighting, manipulation and deceipt have had on my cognitive and emotional wellbeing. The book codependency for dummies is something I would recommend. Not that all of it is relevant, but parts of it certainly are helpful. I am focusing now on what I can do to make myself happier, and better. I would really like to hear more from other SAs to understand where this split moral personality happens, and if it is possible to reconcile the two halves. I don't know if I am ever going to trust my partner again, because he is literally capable of anything. I know it is different for everyone, and I really hope that you find some support and help that you both need Eliza. Love to you.
  4. Rena

    Will things get better?

    Hey Kitty, Really good to hear from you - as much as it can be on these topics! I am sorry you are going through a similar thing, but like you I find it useful to realise I am not the only person experiencing it. The double moral standards, as you very nicely put it, is a really big problem. I hope we can find a way through it. It certainly would be interesting to hear from any of the SAs on the forum, what their thoughts are, as from our perspective it is completely inaccessible. A bit like saying ' I am an extroverted introvert,' is there also a feminist mysoginist? I'm sorry you are having to go to medication, but I hope it helps. Certainly reducing anxiety a little should help all round. Some counselling, even short term, may help you to work out some of your feelings too. I feel very alone with it all at the moment, and sometimes find it difficult to justify why I am staying with someone who is capable of being so cruel to me, and other women. We don't deserve it! I realised recently that while it has been about 9 months since everything came out in the open, there are all these new and confusing ways to feel bad about it, while my partner is angry that I am not over it already. The predominant thing is the complexity of trying to re establish trust with someome who appears to have a split personality, or, as I read in some of his messages to other women, thinks "I can do whatever I want". Love to you Kitty. I hope for both of us we can find happiness X
  5. Rena

    Constantly Thinking of sex

    Hey Ava, My personal situation is pretty complex, but I definitely found that the more I tried to talk about the lack of sex in our relationship, or lack of intimacy, the worse it became. Even when I would make advances in the evening, I was rejected very often, and the more I tried to turn him on, the more he pushed me away. Only now that we have come full circle to the real root of our relationship problems, have we been able to have a satisfying sex life. (It turned out he had been cheating on me for years and had long running sex addiction problems) But In terms of worrying about alienating him, I think it might be part of the male brain not being able to cope with feeling they cant satisfy a woman. Egos are very fragile sometimes. In my head when I would say to my partner "I love you, I enjoy sleeping with you, let's do that more often please" it read in his head as "You don't satisfy me, I am going to leave you for a man with a ten foot penis who will sleep with me 17 times a day" or something equally as crazy. Do you have a very active sex life? You could try talking to him openly and say "I have a high sex drive, which I would like to share with you because I like it when we both feel good" or something else kind of positive? Good luck! XXXX
  6. Rena

    Constantly Thinking of sex

    Hey, I am the partner of a sex addict, and it sounds like you might be having difficulty. I am a woman, and have a high sex drive. I'm a sexual person - I suppose I think about sex a fair bit throughout the day- but I would always look to flirt with or initiate sex with my partner. It never really occurred to me to look for that elsewhere, because I love intimacy and sexuality with a partner. Over the years it emerged that actually it was my current partner who has serious and long running sex addiction problems. He thought about sex 24/7 and spent all his time looking at porn, contacting women, cheating on me, collecting images, living a double life... But all that time he could very easily have been having sex with me and we would both have been satisfied. I couldn't for the life of me understand why I was being largely ignored. I wanted desperately to be more sexual with him, but instead he took his sex obsession and rejected me, and outpoured it in lots of damaging and unhealthy ways on to other fantasy women. In the end we both felt bad - I had been rejected and was sexually starved and lied to, he felt terrible and was living double lives everywhere. The point is, maybe your wife doesn't want to participate because it has become more like an ultimatum than a pleasurable activity - there is all this pressure on her. She probably feels bad too because you, probably without realising, might be acting stressed out or different because you feel frustrated. Women don't tend to feel sexy when things are stressful, men are the opposite. Take the pressure off her, show her some attention, give her a massage... make her feel special and try to satisfy HER. I'm sure she will be happier and more open with you in bed with you when it stops being weird and obsessive. (I really don't mean that to sound rude) If it interferes with your day to day life, read Paula Hall's book on Sex Addiction. It is very helpful. Sexuality should be the joyful fire in your soul, not the source of pain. Hope you find some peace XXXX
  7. Rena


    Hey Ali, Sending some love to you. I had similar problems to you in my relationship. Unfortunately for me it turned out to be the tip of the iceberg, but obviously that is not the case for everybody. Women tend to beat themselves up quite badly when they have a gut feeling about something. I would say 98% of the time the gut feeling is correct, but for some reason we are trained to doubt ourselves. If there was something going on with your partner while you were together which made you feel uneasy, then there is the problem. The fact that you looked on his computer and found the source of your discomfort, just shows that you understood what might be wrong. And that is okay. I woke up one day after a very difficult patch, and something clicked in my brain to check my partner's old mobile phone. Inexplicable, but spot on. The best thing to do is to have a discussion with him about it. I tore myself up for months because I didn't want to have that conversation with my partner. It made me feel bad, and it made the situation worse. Just let him know that you love him, but that you felt something was off and you found he was watching porn. Ask him if he is okay, and what the porn means to him. I am sure that he, like most men, is using it as a quick 'fix' for his endorphins. It makes him feel good about himself for 10 mins, and he doesn't need to do anything. If the porn makes you feel bad, tell him. Let him know you love him, and want a beautiful and loving relationship, and that for you porn is not part of that. Be clear about what you do want in the relationship. If he gets angry, or upset, take a deep breath. He won't like being called out on it, as it is uncomfortable, and he may be unpleasant about it at first, but it honestly will open up your communication together, and hopefully you can have an open and honest discussion about your relationship. Don't let it make you lose confidence, or feel bad about yourself. From what I understand, men watching porn is a detachment, and will have very little to do with you as a person, or how you look. ( I used to watch very specific types of porn both alone and with partners as it was joyful and celebratory, but since being with a sex addict I have stopped as it makes me feel really sad now) I have spent the last year feeling terrible after I realised that my partner was watching ex gf porn and internet porn every day, plus cheating on me for years with other women (again - not that porn = cheating!) and none of the women looked or acted anything like me. It was a real shock to the system, and a difficult thing to feel confident afterwards. But please do remember that his porn life is a fantasy, and whatever he is watching has very little to do with you, or how he feels about you. It is ENTIRELY about how he feels about himself. The most important thing for you to do just now is open up lines of communication. Don't make him feel bad for watching porn, just tell him that it makes you feel uncomfortable, and you would like to talk about it. Good luck! XXXXX
  8. Rena

    Will things get better?

    Thank you PJ and Rob for your insight, and for the links to other forums. I really appreciate it. It was good to read some success stories, thank you PJ. It helps to know that if you put your mind to it, you can change these behaviours and make your life better. I'm sorry I waited so long to reply - I did not mean to be rude - I think I still feel very ashamed of everything, and hid. I'm finding it hard because I do understand on a theoretical level the detachment and illogical behaviour patterns. I see the train of thought - or feeling - that led to everything. I'm a pretty empathic person, so I do understand that it comes from a place of pain, and technically it has nothing really to do with me. But I struggle to detach myself from it, because it is MY being which has taken the hit. For me it has been a different journey. He has always known about his behaviour, but I was completely blindsided. The numerous affairs, deceit, and deep manipulation which went along with covering up his hideous behaviour, has just left me feeling very empty, ashamed and abused. Some things he did to juggle me and the other women are so cruel I can't even write them down. I always knew he had a bit of a problem with porn, and was constantly looking up ex gfs on the internet, but the rest was a complete shock. It has shaken my inner confidence down to the core. Therapists have said I am suffering PTSD, which makes sense, but it's getting better. One day at a time and all that.. I'm trying hard to get to grips with letting the past go, and rebuilding our relationship, but I feel stuck in a bad cycle just now. Because my fiancee feels so bad about himself all the time, nothing I say or do is good enough. I have been (I think) really supportive and encouraging, trying to use confidence building language, telling him that he is a wonderful person, gently complimenting him, being direct and calm when there is a problem, reassuring him that we will get through this.. but no matter what I say he takes it as a criticism - even really nice things like casually saying 'I love the way you kiss me'. Then he gets really stressed and is rude to me, I get upset because he is rude, and he tells me that I make him feel awful every day. When we finally get to the core of it, he admits he feels so crushingly guilty for what he has done to me, and that he genuinely does feel bad all the time. But then he turns around and blames me for this stressful behaviour - He is rude to me and I get upset, and it's my fault for being upset.. and so on.. then he starts being secretive again, and deleting the internet history, or making up stories, I ask him directly why he is doing this again, and explain that this makes me feel scared. But then it is my fault - he says I make him feel so guilty every day that even when he isn't doing anything 'bad' he feels the need to hide it from me, he feels like he is being watched 24/7. This upsets me, which gives him more fuel to tell me I am the problematic one. It really worries me. It doesn't help with the trust, and it doesn't help with either of us in building confidence. I really feel like I'm losing my mind. I don't WANT him to feel bad every day - that doesn't bring me any joy. Plus it is tiring for both of us. I also have no interest in policing him, or watching him - he is a grown man and in charge of himself. I just don't know how to talk to him. I don't know what to say, or how to say even the simplest of things any more without it spiraling out of control. I also don't like him turning it around and trying to make me feel guilty. Naturally I am upset if he is secretive, because that's what it felt like for years while he was cheating on me. But he really doesn't see it from my perspective. He is the cause of my pain, and now I am the cause of his! I feel bad for what he did to me, and I feel awful that I continue to make him feel bad.. it's too much feeling bad for one girl to handle! Is this hypersensitivity towards me normal? Is he just being defensive/attacking because he is ashamed? When people have deep routed fear and shame cycles, is there really ANYTHING I can say or do to make it better? I am so very very tired of 'doing it wrong'. I know is all comes down to inner happiness and confidence, which he is lacking, but is there any way I SHOULD be talking to him? What I am doing now clearly is not working and I don't want to live like this. I want to help him feel better about himself, and I want to come to him from a place of kindness and understanding. I can't continue on a cycle of being the 'source of all pain'. Unfortunately there is another thing blocking me at the moment - and is something I would be very interested in hearing opinions on from other men with SA problems - the general attitude towards women in 'acting out' behaviour. My fiancee is a staunch feminist in his outer life. He loves women, most of his friends are women, he is very vocal about women's rights and equality - it is something I really love about him. He outwardly demonstrates 'respect' and honour, and a celebration of women. He hates men mistreating women, he has even spoken to me numerous times about an ex of mine who cheated on me and makes a point of saying 'how dare they treat you this way, that's awful - what an idiot! You are the best thing in the world'. However, in his 'private life' behaviour for at least the last ten years, he has been absolutely awful to women in just the same way. Not only has he never been respectful, or faithful, but he has actively manipulated and deceived women over and over again. I mean, he has really been - what I consider - not in the slightest bit feminist, in fact he appears to really hate women, and uses them terribly. His treatment of women has been really truly appalling, especially while in 'relationships'- multiple affairs, compulsive lies, huge levels of deceipt and living multiple realities online and offline, plus making the women feel bad about themselves when they ask if he is cheating... Some people act like this outwardly and we just call them assh*les or misogynists. But when it is secret and covert like this, it is very confusing. Without going too deeply in to examples, it is like split personality disorder. I cannot in any way reconcile the two sides in to the same person. I don't understand it AT ALL. That is not the man I know. Is this something that happens with SA? Is it part of a fantasy, where you can be king of your castle, and women are awful and need to be punished? Does he actually hate women, or does he just hate himself? I know it is not directly answerable, but I am very interested in the psychology or rationale behind it, if anyone has experienced this, because it really scares me. I am also scared of fooling myself any further. Any insights would be greatly, and humbly appreciated. Our day to day life has been almost the opposite of his 'private life', so I don't know which part of it is real. The strangest thing for me is that I am a 'hot'/beautiful person, smart, with a high sex drive and am tactile and affectionate. I also enjoy porn (not any more haha) and engaging sexuality. Without blowing my own trumpet, I'm quite a catch all things considered. I have always been very confident about my sexuality but the reality is sinking in that I am with someone who may NEVER consider me to be enough for him... and I don't want to experience that rejection over and over again. The feeling that my fiancee would rather hide in the bathroom and video chat masturbate with some 'super hot model' he was secretly dating, rather than make love to me - his real life hot girlfriend waiting naked in our bed- is such a uniquely terrible feeling! I would not wish it upon anyone! I was deprived of intimacy for so long I felt incredibly bad, but couldn't put my finger on what it was, only in hindsight did I realise it was intimacy problems. I felt so rejected, and as I don't cheat, there isn't really a replacement for that kind of attention. The thought that I make my partner feel bad, instead of feeling loved and sexy, is a total nightmare! Loving yourself is the most important thing, but some external TLC is what makes us alive! Sorry for rambling.. a lot... I am really interested in perspective from people who have been through something similar. Does any of this behaviour, or split personality make sense? No one I have spoken to has any experience in this at all, including therapists, so it has been really eye opening looking through forums, and through Paula's books. I didn't realise sex addiction was real until my world collapsed. It is so different from 'being cheated on', so complex, so deep.. we are all fragile little creatures haha. I am trying exceptionally hard to be a loving and compassionate partner, but I'm a bit scared to be honest, and I feel like I'm doing a very lousy job. Thanks for listening. XXX
  9. Hello, I'm new to using forums, and very new to 'being the partner of a sex addict'.... I need to ask whether it actually gets better. Can someone with strong and long running sexual addiction problems ever get better? Or will I spend the rest of my life paranoid and sick, because I don't trust my partner? I know there are no magic formulas for this, and I have had some short term counselling for myself, but I have never experienced anything like this, and neither has anyone I know - that I could speak to about it. My support network is very small because I am confused and ashamed of everything that has happened. There are very few I feel comfortable discussing this with. I have been with my partner for 3 years, we are engaged. We have a beautiful life together (besides this). I discovered 7 months ago that he has been cheating on me with numerous people, hundreds of online affairs / inappropriate behaviour, long term secret online girlfriends, porn addiction, shopping addiction, constantly cruising exes, reigniting exes.... it goes on. He has done some incredibly unkind and cruel things, and destroyed the relationship I thought we had. Without going in to too much detail, he has been gaslighting me and deceiving me so deeply and completely for so long, that he still believes his own lies to some extent. I have spent a long time in grief, trauma, despair.. in and out of anxiety and depression. I discovered that he has been acting like this for over a decade, and created a huge web of lies for himself which crept across all aspects of his life. Unfortunately he works in pop culture, and is a little 'famous' so there is opportunity for him to access sexy girls pretty much 24/7. The girls he cheats with are all famous models (usually he has dated them), suicide girls, fetish models... nothing like me. I'm a babe, but I'm not a fantasy girl. While things are improving significantly, there are still a lot of issues not being addressed. My main problem is that while things feel more level now after a heart breaking period of explanation, new discoveries, digging, therapy for both of us, revelation after revelation... we are both exhausted... I don't think he fully grasps the fact that he has addiction problems. He is directly addressing the core, root problems that caused his unhappiness with a therapist (childhood trauma, recent death of parent), but won't address the acting out behaviour or participate in the directly 'addiction' based things I want to talk about, or work on. He thinks it is all over now that everything has come out in the open. The pressure release was devastating but great, for both of us, but I'm worried it will be damaging for the future for him to sweep it under the carpet. To give him credit, he is working very hard to be better, to change our life, and to demonstrate his love and commitment to me now. I feel a lot of positive changes. I want to know how to rebuild trust, and to love him fully again. I don't want to marry someone I don't feel safe with, and I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling paranoid and crazy. It's truly truly awful. Does it get better? Is it possible? I believe in the life we have together, and in our future, but when you have been lied to so successfully, so fully, it is hard to trust your own judgement again. I have chosen to stay with him right now, because I am optimistic, but I am cautious. I appreciate any words of light, or encouragement. Thank you xxx