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OurLifeIsALie

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Hi,

I'm new to this site after coming to the realisation that my husband may have a sex addiction.  How do we know for sure? How is it diagnosed? How do I know if he has a genuine addiction or is just wanting to have his cake & eat it?

I have been drip fed/discovered things over the course of our marriage. From his sexually messaging his exes, watching porn, finding an escort website on his phone, to discovering he's joined dating websites.

I am shocked by it all, but very confused that one of the porn websites was shemale porn & he had joined a transgender dating website. What does this mean? He claims he is not gay or confused, but he said on his 'about me' section that he has a fantasy to go with one, & had messaged one. I'm struggling to understand.

I feel repulsive. Claims he has never met up with anyone, but how can I ever trust/believe him again? I feel like my heart has been ripped out.

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Welcome to the Forum. I am sorry to hear your pain and the disclosure will have as you say ripped your heart out.

If you have not already read it this blog is very helpful:-

https://thelaurelcentre.co.uk/blog/the-partners-journey-through-sex-addiction
 

Your husband may well be in denial and deflection. A Porn Addict is very good at cognitive distortion and minimising things.

A good online test to determine PA is here:-

https://thelaurelcentre.co.uk/am-i-a-sex-addict
 

I hope that helps and I am sure that there are many others with similar experiences.

Take care.

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@OurLifeIsALie, I found similarly shocking stuff on my partner's phone.  It was so disorienting for me, as he had never shown a shred of interest in other men.  It made me think, how can I be enough for a man who fancies other men?  If he had plain said he was gay, I think I would have found that easier to manage in a way, as I know some people discover this about themselves later in life.  What I find hard to get my head round is that he vehemently says he isn't, but was sending very explicit material to other men (and women).  I've done a lot of reading, and have talked to trusted and knowledgeable friends about this, and I have come to the conclusion that in SA, a big part of it is the secrecy and the shame, and that each reinforces the other.  The expression of the relationship between the secrecy and shame happens to be sex and the more shameful and secret that sex, the more it does that job.  I have learnt, from talking to my partner, that this kind of sex, and all the feelings that go with it, are compartmentalised into a different box in his head than his feelings for me.  He kept saying to me, "it's not about you" which I found very hard to understand, as it felt so deeply personal to me.  I don't put my sexual feelings into little boxes in that way, so it is very hard to understand what that feels like.  

It's not easy at all, but I am working very hard at not taking his addiction personally.  He is doing the work, and I believe that he wants the stuff in the shameful box to lose its power in his life and for the feelings in the box in which he puts our life to be stronger and safer.  I hope for that too, and am prepared to support him in getting there, as long as he keeps the work up.  I hope that I am not being a mug for doing this, but I know that if he can't manage his addiction, it won't be for lack of support on my part, and I will leave the relationship sadly, but without blaming myself.  

Read all you can - knowledge is power! And I while everybody is different and has to find their own way, I would strongly urge you to be true to yourself, and remember that your recovery from this is yours, regardless of what choices he makes.  x

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Hi OurLife, I’m so sorry that you’ve found yourself in this situation too.  

I do think that it’s possible for an addict to end up seeking out experiences that they wouldn’t otherwise have wanted, simply because they are seeking something more and more extreme to get the same effect from it.  As I understand it, a person can end up pursuing men (or fetish topics, or illegal content) because their original interest no longer ‘works’. 

What I don’t quite understand is whether, once someone has hijacked their own ‘reward’ system in this way, it can permanently change their neural connections and therefore desires.  I struggle to know whether I will ever feel like enough, and whether I will always be worrying that my partner is now ‘programmed’ to want something different.  I completely believe him when he says that he find me beautiful, but what good is that if he doesn’t actually desire me!?

The only thing that makes me feel better is that there is an element in my partner’s behaviour in which he is wants to feel disgusted, and in that sense it’s not as if he is exactly enjoying the experience.  So he might be getting off on the behaviour but at least he’s not having an amazing time!

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