The Hard-To-Face Truth About Being Married To A Sex Addict
Is there hope for peace of mind in a marriage like this?
By Compulsion Solutions — Updated on May 02, 2023
Photo: Syda Productions / Shutterstock
He swore on his children’s lives that he wasn’t having an affair.
He said someone must have broken into his email account. He kept reassuring his wife that it was nothing.
Finally, she got access to all of his phone records and his secret receipts. She also found a second cell phone he accidentally left on the passenger seat of his Lexus.
What happened next is that, unlike her husband, his phone couldn’t lie.
His extensive Internet records of porn site usage and emails and texts to scores of women couldn’t deny the truth — she was married to a sex addict.
Living a secret life of sex addiction
Being married to a sex addict usually comes as a big surprise (more like a shock). No one wants to believe that the person she said “I do” to has been lying, cheating and ultimately living a secret double life.
She only knows the side of him that’s spent with his family, his friends, and at work. She’s totally in the dark about his darker side — a seedy life with prostitutes, strip clubs, massage parlors, and porn.
The hard-to-handle truth is that an addict’s most significant relationship is with his addiction. And for people married to a sex addict, it can be even harder to handle the feeling that somehow you are part of the cause.
Sex addicts usually are really bad at sex
You might think being married to someone addicted to sex would mean having lots of sex. But it’s the opposite.
Wives of men with a sexual addiction typically don’t have much of a sex life. Why?
Because sex addicts, for the most part, are afraid of being intimate with a real woman.
Women in porn are not “real” in the sense that a wife is real.
Instead, they seek out the safety of fantasy relationships.
Did you know that there’s a very real epidemic of erectile dysfunction among men who are addicted to pornography?
One reason for this erectile issue is that porn stars are not presented as real women: They don’t show their real feelings. They don’t smell. They don’t ask for something to be fixed around the house.
They contort into various positions which, in real life, are physically uncomfortable.
As a result, men get used to a fantasy world and have difficulty being sexual in the real world. Many are unable to have intercourse with their wives and are in dire need of pornography addiction help.
Remember that it’s not your fault
Women in our culture are conditioned to have negative beliefs about their own bodies.
Supermodels and movie stars are made to look amazing.
So, it’s natural for a wife to believe that if only she was more attractive or shaped differently her husband would not have developed a sexual addiction.
This is not true. It’s not true even if your husband when his secret life and lies are exposed, insinuates that it is.
Although there are many complexities in marriage, most sex addicts began their objectification of women and their sexual acting out behaviors long before their marriages began.
The real truth is that the sex addict is 100 percent responsible for his own behavior. Getting help and committing to sex or porn addiction recovery is also entirely up to him.
Dishonesty is worse than the addiction
For many women, it’s easier to forgive the cheating, porn use, etc. than the deeper betrayal of the lies. The affairs might be over, but not the distrust.
Wives of sex addicts often say: “Why didn’t he tell me the truth? I feel like such a fool. It’s his lying that hurts so much.” The months, or years, of denial before the truth finally comes out can do more damage than the hidden porn use and affairs.
The truth about being married to a sex addict is that you may never be able to trust your husband in the same way you once did.
How to get help for your sex-addicted spouse
If you’re both committed to making the marriage work, it’s possible to ultimately achieve a level of intimacy that didn’t previously exist in the relationship. But there needs to be a concise plan with clear commitments.
An addict who’s declaring that he doesn’t need any counseling or porn addiction therapy because he realizes that he’s been selfish and self-centered, that he’s so completely and totally determined to never do such hurtful things because he values his marriage, is a spouse who is in denial.
His “plan” to just stop on his own is not a workable plan for sex or porn addiction recovery. What a wife can do is support and encourage her husband to seek the proper help on how to stop his porn addiction.
If she is willing to give him a chance, and sometimes it’s the third or fourth chance, she needs to have clear boundaries about what she will tolerate going forward. She also needs to hear from her husband that he’s seeking recovery not for her or the marriage, but for himself.
Similarly, if you choose to stay in a relationship with a sex addict in recovery, you need to make that choice for your deepest and most honest self. Such clear inner decisions will give you both the greatest possibility for success.
Rebuilding trust in the relationship will probably be as challenging as the addiction itself, and you will probably also want to seek couples counseling.
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George Collins is the founder and director of Compulsion Solutions. An acknowledged national expert on sex addiction and porn addiction, George knows sex addiction firsthand.
This article was originally published at Neulia Compulsion Solutions. Reprinted with permission from the author.