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Hi. I've just signed up to this site because I don't know what else to do. My husband and I have been together since our late teens, married for thirty years. We have never had other partners. We have three children, two in their early twenties and one who is just 13. Last year I found out my husband was/is a sex addict. Things hadn't been right for a couple of years and I had been to talk to a counsellor about the fact I couldn't seem to get through to him anymore, and just didn't know what to do. He refused to come with me and said our problems were all in my head. He was distant, moody, argumentative and behaving very strangely. He's always worked away and I've always trusted him completely. I told my counsellor I knew something was going on, but my husband denied it. We had months of him 'gaslighting' me. He told me he would never cheat, loved me and the kids, was just stressed about work etc. But he changed completely from the person I knew. I began to think I was going mad, but I've known him since we were children and I just knew he was cheating. I asked him a few times when he got home at the weekends, but it just led to arguments. On our son's 21st Birthday party evening, when the last guests had left and my husband wasn't expecting any confrontation, I quietly asked him what we were going to do about his cheating. He looked horrified, then burst into tears. In brief he has been using porn daily, a lot, for over two years. In the last six to nine months before he admitted anything to me he had been using prostitutes. At the time he said this wasn't cheating as it was only for hand jobs. We separated for ten months. We told the older children he'd had a one night stand, and the youngest that we just needed a break whilst Daddy got over some work problems. We have now jointly been seeing my counsellor (and he has realised that hand jobs are cheating). He has also seen his own addiction counsellor and joined a 12 step programme. He moved back in at the beginning of lockdown, party because he was desperate to come back and as he was making good progress on the 12 step I said it was ok, and partly because our - then - 12 year old didn't understand why he couldn't come back and was already distressed about the lockdown and all that involved and was desperate for us to be 'normal' again. Six months later and I am really struggling. My husband has done really well with his therapy, is far along the 12 step path, and has regular meetings (now just by phone) twice a week to keep him well. He has explained it is an illness, that he is getting better and will never go back to those behaviours again. I believe him. He was suicidal when he realised he was addicted. We sat down months ago and I asked everything I felt I needed to know and he was very honest. But we both agreed that once we'd covered everything I wanted we'd not bring it up again as it's upsetting for us both. The problem is now. Things just aren't the same as before. Although I trust him again, I can't get over the months and months of lying. It was so easy to him. Even when he was making me feel like I was insane. Also the sourcing and visiting prostitutes still makes me feel physically sick. The images in my head won't go away. I cannot accept this is the same man I married and have known for over 40 years. I can't talk to anyone other than our counsellor and that is difficult as everything has to be done via Zoom or phone now. She is focussing on our future, both she and my husband think that is what we need to do, but I am still hurting. Is this normal? As my husband is making such good progress I don't want to 'spoil' that. He has managed to deal with his demons and put his problems in the past. He says he feels lighter and happier than he has done in years. I don't. I feel like I'm trying to play catch up, but still drowning. I can't tell my family, they would be too shocked. My parents are in their eighties. I can't tell any friends. No-one would understand the extremes of emotions I'm feeling, and to be honest, I don't think even my closest friend would be able to resist telling other people. I can't risk the kids finding out. I feel stuck, lonely, unhappy and I'm sorry for rambling, but I just don't know who else to turn to. Thanks if you've read this. Sorry it's so long.
Firefly, I've only been on this forum a couple of days and haven't had time to read much, but I've just seen a post you made a couple of months ago where you say: Why did I still do it? Well each fix led me to more shame, remorse, self-loathing and feeling that everyone would be better off without me around. This is almost exactly something my husband has said to me. When I said I didn't' understand, he said it got to the stage where if he didn't get his fix, he would have committed suicide because of the demons in his head. I'm trying so hard to understand this. You seem to have been in a similar situation where you had two separate lives going and compartmentalised each. Do you mind if I ask you a few question? Please don't answer if this will trigger you in any way. A) Firstly, when I trusted my instincts and absolutely knew my husband was cheating in some way, I offered to have counselling with him - both jointly and separately - but he refused for a long time, still saying that it was all in my head and that I was ruining our marriage with my imagination. He watched me spiral into depression believing I was going mad. Why would he do that when it was obvious I knew and offered to help him? B) Also, we were still having a sex life, but he kept shouting that it wasn't enough and saying he needed more and 'wasn't a monk' no matter how frequently we had sex. (Although I must admit that near the disclosure and subsequent separation I'd really gone off him as a person because of his persistent lying and terrible moods, so it probably became obvious I wasn't really keen). C) How can you have over thirty years of intimacy with one person and then have an alternative sex life with strangers going on at the same time? I may sound - and probably am - very naive, but it makes no sense. Thank you for being so candid in some of your other posts, that's why I feel I can ask. Take care x