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  1. I really feel ill 🥺 his presence in the house is ruining my relationship & time with our 8yr old. As the accomplishment actor & liar he is... my husband can act like things are ok. He can compartmentalise and laugh & joke with little one while I’m sat catatonic & broken on the sofa. It’s his day off so there is no respite from his presence. I can’t bring myself to tell little one anything, he thinks Dads in the box room because of his snoring. He sees I’m not ok but I’ll just seem like the miserable cow while dad’s laughing & joking & it infuriates me because this is not my fault. I didn’t ask for any of this. I became the queen of trauma recovery work after those first two times years ago. I put a metric shit tonne of work in to try to claw back our little family & he’s done this to me & is again. I just want what I thought was real back 😭🤯🤬😭 I can’t stop crying. I really want my mum & I feel so small like a child. I’m really really hurting & the one one person I count on is the person who’s done this to me. I’ve nobody to hold me & comfort me.
  2. Hi there, I've been on these forums for a while now. Relating with so many of you but struggling to put my own words and feelings into writing this so this will probably be a very scattered mixed bag of thoughts and feelings.... It's hard to even rearrange and organise what's worth/more important to share and seek support with others about since it's so much. Our story is short since we've only been together for 2 years but we're already facing issues most of you have years in of marriage .. We're a a young couple in our mid 20's. Long distance relationship (different continents). He's my first serious true love & relationship where we're both sure we're each others "the one" so it's been great, serious and heartbreaking at the same time. I'm gonna skip to last year when shit started hitting the fan. I caught him cheating w an ex, sexting and planning to meet up (but never did according to him, i believe him), sexted some other random girl, being generally shady with his socials etc, found out about his porn addiction in this tornado and it's basically been heaven & hell for almost a year now. Heaven when it felt like we've reconnected and felt more in love than ever, and hell.. well you guys can imagine that part. He's been serious about recovering for the first time it feels like after I recently discovered he's been relapsing multiple times when i caught him going into chat rooms, specific instagram girls and watching porn... while I was in the other room. He's attended a few SLAA meetings, started reading books and booking an appointment with a therapist specialised in porn addiction. But how am I supposed to think it's gonna work this time AGAIN. This man has seen me broken, in so many ways. I know he loves me like no other but he's lied straight to my face about things I've already known the truth about so many times. A LOT of traumatic drip drip disclosure and awful fights where he sometimes just shuts me off and pushes me away when we're away from each other which is extra stressful since i can never be sure about what he's up to. Which sometimes is nice but ignorance is only bliss for so long.. Our fights have been a reason for him to relapse too. My stress levels are just up the roof when i spiral, i literally feel like i'm having heart attack sometimes just thinking if he's hiding / lying to me or not. How will I ever know the truth without dragging my heart and soul through what feels like a million daggers? How will I know when he relapses? It feels like he's just gonna find new ways to hide and delete his tracks. How do you set new boundaries in a relationship since the ones you thought were completely unacceptable to break has been broken and you're still here..? I've done my best to educate myself about a before completely unknown territory for me, staying out of his hair at the same time as getting to learn about his addiction and showing my unconditional support, but I just don't know how much pain I should take? I already know I can take a lot but how much is too much? How do you set your limits when the ones you thought you had has already been reached and passed long time ago? Appreciate if you read this far, i'm so lost as you can tell haha..
  3. Has anyone had experience attending the Partner Workshop? If so was it helpful? What was your experience? I feel like I need more specific support. It's been 2 months since my world exploded due to my husbands addiction. His actions surfaced publicly due to a leak and as a result he lost his job. He let me down as well as so many others. He's since been diagnosed as a sex addict, attended therapy until the insurance lapsed from the job and is now working very hard in a 12 step program, attending 2 meetings a day most days and working with a sponsor and co-sponsor. I truly believe he is remorseful and is committed to doing the work. I can already see him changing at a fundamental level but it is still so early on. We have separated and are living apart. At first we were marching towards divorce but I feel like I have new emotions every day. I want so badly to see the change on the other side and try to work on our marriage but it feels impossible due to the public nature. I feel so much judgement and shame from even entertaining the possibility of reconciling. I am so hurt by his actions but very heavily grieving the loss of our life, his presence, our future. I don't feel as strong today. It feels like nothing will ever feel good or normal again. I have been attending therapy twice a week since this happened but my therapist is not a specialist in sex addiction and trauma and I often feel misunderstood or like she's telling me what I should do. This is covered by my insurance (I'm in the US) so I'm hesitant to seek services at additional cost. I want to heal, I feel so overwhelmed by all the change it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel today. I know I need to be taking care of myself and I feel I've been very strong considering. I thought I had a plan of focusing on me, letting him attempt recovery on his own and seeing if we could work on the marriage on the other side. It seems so logical but I'm finding it extremely difficult to go through the process. I'm experiencing trauma from the public embarrassment, from the weight of his addiction and from the overwhelming change and disruption of my life. Thank you for reading and sharing your stories. It helps to not feel so alone. I'm just so heartbroken.
  4. until
    This workshop has been created to give partners a fast track way of getting professional advice and support and an opportunity to meet other partners. Tailored for delivery via zoom, the workshop is split into 2 x 3 hour sessions on consecutive Saturday mornings. We know how devastating and isolating discovering addiction is and how scary the roller-coaster of emotions can feel. This day will help you to break those feelings of isolation by meeting other partners and it will also give you practical tools for establishing emotional stability. Our topics include: Surviving the trauma of discovery Looking after you Understanding what sex and porn addiction really is Recognising your Cycle of Reaction Avoiding trauma related triggers Establishing boundaries At the end of the workshop, partners may choose to join an ongoing support group to continue their journey of recovery. Please note, our partner support groups do not assume that you are staying within your relationship but will help you to consider what your future options may be. Groups are completely confidential and limited to a maximum of 6 people. The sessions will run from 9.00 am to 12.00 noon (UK time) with a comfort break.
  5. I don't know where to start really, this is my first time here and posting for help, so please excuse if this is in the wrong place. I have been with my partner 21 years, in year 16 I found out that he has been cheating with a co-worker, when confronted he ended things with her and claimed he was cheating as I was ill with depression and he felt he had "lost" me at that time. I went to counselling, went back to my GP and worked on getting better. I blamed myself for all that had happened (On reflection he was eager to blame me too) and worked hard to try to reconnect with him. One year on I found a phone hidden in our bedroom, when I turned it on there was no calls, or numbers saved, just nothing, checked the internet history and it had a gmail account with the password saved. I know it was wrong to log in but I did. I discovered he had been using sex workers for about 6 years, I saw the emails, appointment times, "services" he ordered and how much he paid, he was a member of an escort website that allowed you to book women and then leave reviews after. I have read his reviews of his experiences, seen photos of these women and my heart was broken all over again. He claimed this was a compulsion for him, that it was nothing to do with me or anything I have done and he went to counselling while angry at me, life and being discovered. He then decided that he needed time apart to help us reset and get back on track, he moved out temporarily (three nights a week) to give us space to heal and work together to be more united. He moved back home full time after 8 months. That was two years ago, last week his first affair partner showed up at our home to speak with him, he told her to go away he never wanted to see her again. She came back the next evening to again speak with him. It turns out during the time he was healing and needed space he was still seeing her and then coming to me on the other nights. He has been in contact with her to various degrees since I first found out about them cheating. It ended up with me consoling her on the doorstep and hugging her when she broke down crying. She has been in the background of our relationship for the last five years, it has now emerged he has been cheating for about half of the time we have been together, in one 18 month period he joined 27 different no strings attached hook up sites, he has spent a lot of money on escorts and web cam sites, it is endless. I feel numb, this is my third time dealing with discovery and I don't know if I have the energy for it again. Her turning up at our home frightened him, and he has for the first time volunteered himself to go to counselling, he has found and booked an appointment for a therapist who specialises in sexual addiction and seems eager to engage with them. But I just feel numb, I swing between anger, grief and numbness, sometimes I think I am doing OK but then it all hits me again like a wave, I cannot eat and am lost. He is making all the right noises about getting help, but he also said and did all the same things when I discovered his infidelity twice before and within weeks he was back cheating again. How do I know what it genuine any more and how do I keep my own head above water while I decide what I want long term? I have a background of childhood sexual abuse and my boundaries and self esteem are not good, I sometimes feel he is with me because I am easy to manipulate and blame for his actions, his behaviour feels familiar to me as it feels so similar to my childhood abuse. When I discovered his use of escorts he told me that it was because I was abused as a child, that when he is with me that is all he sees or thinks about. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  6. Our second testimony follows the journey of a partner of a sex addict. From the initial discovery through to where they are today as a couple. This testimony provides advice on what she would have done differently and things they did as a couple to heal. We hope this testimony will help you feel less alone and provide support as you travel your own journey of recovery. This testimony concludes our blog series for partners of sex addicts and porn addicts. If you missed the series, then you can catch up by following this link. -------------------------------------------- Just over 4 years ago my husband left his laptop open in his study. I spotted an email for a hotel reservation (when I was going to be away). That night I asked him why he had booked a room. There was a long silence, so I knew it was not good. I was distraught and fled the room. About 15 minutes later, my husband found me and explained he had been going to strip clubs with some of his colleagues and had met a young woman there, they had become friends and had met occasionally for drinks, however it had got to the point where he wanted to take it further. I was devastated., felt sick and literally could not believe this was happening to me. We had been married for a long time and had never doubted our relationship. I had always trusted him; he is not a risk taker and had been a dependable husband and father. He told me how sorry he was and that he realised now that it was a mistake and would end it there and then. I felt numb and tried to convince myself it was a stupid mid-life crisis and it had been nipped in the bud. I was too ashamed to tell anyone. Over the next few weeks, I could not convince myself of the coincidence of the discovery and so I asked him to be completely honest with me. He admitted that he had met her in hotels a few times over several weeks and had developed feelings for her. I cannot describe the pain and sadness I felt. I found it very difficult to function for the next few weeks, I lost my appetite, had brain fog, could not sleep and suffered a complete loss of confidence. I told no one, I was sure they would all judge me. So, what happened next? Well, we decided to embark on relationship counselling and made good progress. We both realised how much good there was in the relationship – our children, we enjoyed each other’s company and shared the same interests. However, I still felt I was in a very dark tunnel with no light at the end. I had a niggle that I did not have the whole story. So, after 8 months since the first discovery/disclosure, I decided to go through his emails on his laptop. I found hotel reservations going back 2 years. I could not believe he was still lying to me. I confronted him and told him I needed to know the complete truth. He said, ‘are you sure, there will be no going back’. He then told me that he had been regularly paying for sex and looking at pornography for many years. There is no way I can explain the pain I felt, the sadness that what I had perceived as a good, strong marriage was a complete sham, that suddenly everything I believed in seemed to be shot to pieces. After this final disclosure, my husband enrolled on a 12-week sex addiction recovery course. The leading therapist asked me not to make any decisions on the future of our relationship until the course was finished. To give the relationship time. After the course ended, my husband attended weekly group sessions for 4 months and then later he attended individual therapy to help him understand the root of his addiction. We also continued couple counselling. Initially, I could not find any support for myself. A local retired therapist saw me for two sessions. Weeks later, I found the Partners course at the Laurel Centre. This course provided me with knowledge of the function of sex addiction, how to look after yourself, but most importantly a network of other partners who could relate to what I was going through. These partners were my lifeline in the early weeks and 4 of us (3 women and 1 man) are still in touch and meet up regularly. After the course, because I felt I still needed an outlet but had not told any close friends or family, I attended individual therapy sessions for a few more months. If I could do things differently, I would have confided in someone close to me. The only person I could discuss my feelings with was my husband, which was difficult because he was the one who had caused me all the pain! There was no one safe to vent my hurt and anger to, so my anger did not get vented often enough in the early stages of discovery. My anger can still bubble up. We went through a full therapeutic disclosure a year after I found the email and 5 months after full discovery) and with hindsight I wished we had done this sooner, so I would have had the full story much earlier on. As a couple, we put the following rules into place: Created a shared online diary - so I would know his work schedule Inform me immediately of any changes to his work plans I had full access to his laptop and his mobile phone Activated ‘find my phone’ on his mobile phone – so if I felt anxious, I could check to see where he was. Each evening we sat down and discussed our day – how we were coping, if there had been any triggers, what we had done in the day etc On a monthly basis we go through our family finances Parental controls onto the Wi-Fi (to help with the porn watching) The above provided a framework for me to help restore trust in my husband. To help rebuild the relationship, we made time for each other and listened to each other. We took more interest in what the other was doing, we had more empathy for each other, we went on date nights and planned new activities and holidays together. If I could give advice to a partner who has just found out that their partner has a sex addiction and/or porn addiction, then I suggest the following: Seek professional help in the area of sex addiction and porn addiction. Confide in someone you trust, who can hold your anger and pain, but not tell you what to do or judge your actions (either a friend or family member) Be kind to yourself – your whole life has fallen apart. You may not want to eat, you might not be able to sleep, you might want to isolate yourself, or not get out of bed in the morning. It is important to look after yourself physically and mentally. There are still times when I struggle and question why I stayed in the relationship. However, my husband and I have a much better relationship today, and this would not have happened without the discovery of his addiction.
  7. Back in January 2020 we started a blog series which focussed on the partner of a sex addict. We covered many different aspects of the partner’s journey from discovery, management of self-care, understanding emotional triggers and setting personal boundaries through to thinking about the relationship – do you leave or stay and rebuild? We wanted to finish the blog series with two real-life testimonies from partners who have walked the painful path. We hope the testimonies will give you encouragement that the thoughts, feelings and reactions you are experiencing are normal. We also wanted to give you hope that relationships can mend after the discovery of sex addiction or porn addiction. Please find below the first testimony. Our second testimony will follow next week. At the bottom of the blog is a link to some further help for partners. Testimony It has been 5 years; I had a knock at the door from a lady from HMRC. She told me that she had come to assess the assets in our house after a long line of unpaid tax debt from my husband. As the day unfolded, the story that my husband put forward made less and less sense, and by the early hours of the following morning, I turned to his emails to desperately try to make sense of the fact that we were close to losing our home. It was there that I saw the first email about booking an appointment with two sex workers. Over the next few weeks, I felt as though someone had unzipped my world and I was watching it fall apart around me. I felt completely out of control! I did not trust that anything was as it seemed anymore. My husband drip fed me a disclosure. Just when I thought I had found out all there was to know, I would discover something else. “That’s everything” he would say, there was always more. This felt incredibly cruel to me. I felt shock, disgust, shame and horror both at him and myself; how could I not have known about this! I had been planning our babies first birthday one minute and then sat in a sexual health clinic the next. I think one of hardest thing for me to process was the grief. The loss of the husband I thought I knew and a feeling of losing who I was. So how did I move forward? Well, my husband agreed to attend a rehabilitation programme as well as receive individual therapy with a trained sex addiction counsellor. We also attended couple counselling. The day my husband packed his bags to go into rehab, I remember feeling intense fear but also a sense of relief. I had been so swept away with the addiction that I was becoming more and more unwell. In a traumatised state of fear, I was trying to control the addiction. I became a detective and my husband’s personal rescuer! It was my personal one to one therapy with a Laurel Centre therapist that helped me realise two vital things; 1 - I did not cause the addiction and 2 - I could not control it. I had to learn to let go and take care of my own journey of recovery. The hardest part of recovery for me was looking in on myself. In order to empower myself I had to open a closet of childhood trauma and dysfunctional relational problems. By looking at my past, allowed me to find the control over my own feelings and gain the tools I needed to recover. I realised that the only person I had any control of rescuing was myself! We gradually started to break down layers of defences in our relationship, we have become aware and respectful of our individual triggers. We have now found healthier ways to communicate our pain. The biggest issue that we both had was our fears. In facing the things that are holding us back, we are now able to communicate our fears and our needs to each other in a way that allows us to have a truly emotional and physically intimate relationship. And the best part is that we can now model these to our child and help break any cycles of shame going forward to our future generation. Through a structured therapeutic list of boundaries that were constructed by us and our therapists, I started to learn to take small leaps of faith to enable me to trust my husband again. But most importantly I began to learn to trust myself. If I could give you some advice from someone who has walked the path before you….it is this be kind to yourself; you are more than just a partner of a sex addict. Seek the help of a trained sex addiction therapist that really understands addiction and the trauma it causes a partner. Be willing to grow from this and not just stay a victim to it. If you have a desire to hear about details about your partner’s disclosure, do it in the safety of a therapy room if you can. I found that my husband was a professional in the art of denial. Trying to make sense of it was soul destroying and futile. Trying to reason with denial left me feeling crazy and that I was losing my mind. My therapist would gently remind me that recovery is a process, just trust in it one day at a time. It may sound unbelievable at this stage, but you will be ok (with or without your partner) and you may even feel grateful one day from the lessons it brings you. Click here to find further support for partners of sex addicts and porn addicts
  8. Due to Cov-19, many partners have felt very isolated, but we have developed some online support to help. Recently (2021) we are carefully reintroducing face to face sessions as well. To find out more and to register your interest: https://thelaurelcentre.co.uk/starting-soon We hope this support can help you through this difficult time.
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