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New to all this and a little bit lost......


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Good evening,

So I am not 100% sure where to start.  But I believe my husband is a sex addict (mainly addicted to pornography and masturbation).  For over 13years now, we have had a cycle of discovery, apologies, promises to never act out again/be honest with me, abstaining for a few months (5months max), before falling back into old patters.  We have had at least 24 separate discoveries.  It’s affected our sexual health, my emotional state and now the family unit.  We have 3 children and they are are noticing how unhappy we both are.  My husband has used pornography at work, masturbated at family members houses, and self pleasured every day since he was a teenager to block out emotional painful memories.

he believes he might be an addict, but won’t see a therapist or go to any 12 step groups as he believe this is something he can tackle on his own.  He thinks pure will power alone is enough to combat this, and genuinely believes that because he has now stopped watching and masturbating, the problem has just gone!  He’s got no triggers, doesn’t even think about watching stuff anymore and says he can and has stopped.

Meanwhile, he has left me reeling in a bucket full of betrayal trauma from all the lies and secrets that have been circling us like sharks.  Lock down has made this so hard, I did speak to a sexual therapist and she said from what I have said he does sound addicted, and I definitely have betrayal trauma.  She suggested some self help books and told me get in touch with her again if I want to set up some more sessions.  I will once lock down is over.

I am now now just so confused about whether my husband is even addicted if he can give it up so freely......

Thank you for listening.

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Hello MrsATwister, I'm so sorry you're going through this. Many of us have been where you are right now. They key phrase for me in your post is the one about him masturbating everyday since teenage years to block out painful memories. I suspect all the SA specialists ( I'm not a therapist I'm a recovered partner of a SA) would point to that being a good indication of his addiction. It is unlikely he will be able to maintain a healthy recovery without understanding what drives his behaviour. You've  been round that relapse block many times from what you've said. His reluctance to seek help might be driven by shame ( which in turn will drive his addiction). Well I'm sure you've been advised, or discovered for yourself, that you cannot fix him and it's not your job to do so. You have to focus on your own recovery from the betrayal trauma you have experienced. I think you should be able to access therapy virtually rather than wait for lockdown to end. Would your husband be prepared to read stuff on SA if not attend groups or therapy?

Your doubt about this being an addiction for your husband if he can stop so easily is perfectly understandable. I went through the same thing. My husband's acting out triggers stopped immediately once he understood the underpinning childhood trauma that was fueling them. It was the same as saying he could unlock the door once he had the key but not before. But that made me question if it was an addiction or just 'fun' for him. However, in reality, it was no fun for him to be so driven to engage in behaviours that caused him toxic shame and hurt those he loved. He immersed himself fully in recovery groups, self help materials and specialist therapy to ensure his continued recovery and help him grow as a person. We remained together trying to reconcile for several years after discovery and I watched him rediscover himself and fulfil  the potential the SA had stolen from him. But in the end his acting out had been extreme and caused catastrophic damage to our sexual dynamics and we agreed to go our separate ways so we could both move on. But he was in a sustained healthy recovery ( I hope he still is). So it is possible for your husband to do the same. I think he will need help and support from others to do so ( not from you as your focus is your recover). I wish you all the best for your recovery journey.

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