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Even my socks feel tight...

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I'm not looking after myself properly. I know the theory, but I'm struggling to cope four months on from finding out that my husband is a sex addict. I've turned to food, which has always been my comfort. I had lost two stone before that fateful day, now I've put over a stone of it back on. Each day I wake up I tell myself that today will be the day I start to get my act together and start eating healthily but it just isn't happening. 

Finding out that my husband had been having communications with other women online while we were together was devastating. I have never thought of looking anywhere else at any time during our relationship. It has now happened three times during our time together – and I have been devastated each time. On the previous two occasions I had wanted to know the details but couldn’t bring myself to ask. The first  time involved 'just chatting to women' online, he said nothing else happened. The second time I found messages from other women on his laptop - he told me that he had used the services of a dominatrix prostitute on two occasions – in our bed. I don’t know if he met other women for sex at that time, he says he didn't. On this occasion I insisted that my husband sought help, professional counselling – he went for several sessions and said that he was OK, and that he had strategies to deal with it if he thought it might happen again. I later discovered that he lied to the counsellor – or rather didn’t tell the truth about what had been happening and so his true behaviour wasn't addressed. I was so naive, and I didn't seek more information, I thought sex addiction was something only celebrities and footballers had.

I found out last October that he had been contacting women online since April, he didn't even make it to one year of marriage before this happened. He was using a second phone, meeting and paying for sex. He paid an online dominatrix a monthly sum, and was given tasks to do by her. He also joined a site to hook up with women for sex in return for payment. He told me that he has given these prostitutes (he doesn't see them as prostitutes - but he did accept the definition of a prostitute when I read it out to him from the dictionary) money for sex and to help them out of difficult financial situations according to him. He paid out the sum of around £10,500 - some of this, around £4,000 was his company's money. He falsified invoices from them for 'consultation fees' - and told me he didn't have a problem with this as he owns the company and he sees it as his money to do what he likes with - I'm not sure the other directors and shareholders would agree. He has also given money to at least two other women that he didn’t have sex with – they gave him sad stories and he handed over money. One of these prostitutes was 23, just a year older than his daughter and a year younger than his son. He had sex with her over several months, paying her a monthly ‘allowance.' He was at one time having sex with several prostitutes, all who thought they had an 'exclusive arrangement' with him. I am devastated by his betrayal.

The sex he had with these women was very risky for many reasons. He usually took these women to the place that we both work at in the evenings before he had band rehearsals – he plays in a band. One of our friends also works there, and often works very late. He could have seen my husband with any of these women – he had sex with them in his office and in the warehouse. My husband was also spotted with one of these women in his car going to a hotel by another employee, who I think was trying to warn me that something was going on behind my back. I challenged my husband, but naturally he lied to me about it all.

I had thought for a couple of months there was something amiss with our relationship and something was going on. I gave him plenty of opportunities to tell me what was happening but he didn’t take them. He was messaging women and reading emails from them while I was at work with him, literally feet away from him. I needed to catch him in the act of communicating with these women – which I did one day at work – he was reading messages on his second phone (which I had found at work two weeks previously). To give him credit he admitted it straight away, but really he had no choice. He wouldn’t let me see the phone or the messages even though I asked him to show me – he said it would be ‘too upsetting’ for both of us. He then started to tell me what had been going on, but was in fact still lying to me. I wanted him to write everything down, to get him to face up to what he had been doing. He gave me a memory stick with the information on, but what he told me wasn’t in fact complete. I found other evidence of further cheating, and he then edited the document and he tells me now that he has told me everything – I have no idea really if he is telling me the truth. It was all so much worse than I thought it was going to be. I feel numb. I don’t understand why I just can’t walk away – it would be the sensible thing to do.

I am devastated that he could have unprotected sex with four women (maybe more??), deciding that simply by chatting to them about their sexual history that they couldn’t have HIV or any other STDs. He wasn’t honest with them, he didn’t tell them that he was having sex with other prostitutes, so why on earth would they tell him the truth? I am angry that he could put me at risk from contracting HIV or an STD or both. I feel sick when I think about it, which is much of the time. I insisted that we went for tests, thankfully they have all come back negative. 

Everyone thinks my husband is perfect, no one has any idea about any of this. He has started to see a specialist counsellor, but he is very sceptical. He is a psychology graduate and questions everything. He doesn't admit to being a sex addict, but he does acknowledge that he has a problem. He says that he will do everything he can to put it all right, but the fact that he lied and had sex with prostitutes will never go away. He's agreed to complete the sex addiction course with the counsellor, but unless he fully engages I'm not sure it will help.

I lie awake every night replaying in my head what he has done and I feel terrible. I have had some counselling which has helped somewhat, but little things set me off again and the spiral of depression hits me again. I know the theory of making sure I look after myself, I just can't seem to do it. Comfort eating isn't helping, even my socks feel tight. :(

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Sadcat most people would say they can't begin to know how you feel. Unfortunately the reason why most of us are here is we totally understand. Your words take me back a few months. 9 months ago I faced similar, although I knew infidelity was happening but hadn't understood the extent. Like you i uncovered what to me was the biggest breech in trust... in my home and bed. And the disclosure of this came from a woman who my partner had used for 4 years to fuel part of his addiction. She described the wallpaper in my bedroom and told me about how many times she had been in my bed whilst I'd been working away. My partner agreed to councilling early on and for us this has helped. We certainly aren't there yet and 9 months on my world is still uncertain, but there is hope. For a while I was out of control and now I feel far more stable. I still don't understand how someone who says they love you can have a 4 year affair, pretend they are in a couple with that person and be on a swingers website with them, pay for sex but not to prostitutes, meet various strangers on websites etc etc. I never will, but life has more hope. 

I truly feel what you do and empathize with where you are. Wishing you turn a corner and with or without your husband find joy again. (I'm not quite at the joy stage but am hopeful!) 

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