The Sex Addict

The next day, I did what countless people do every day.  I turned to Google for answers.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t have.  Just like you shouldn’t self diagnosis any ailments using MedMD.  However, we all do this, right?  At least in dire straights.  Screw waiting for a therapist to get to the bottom of this.  I wanted answers.  And quick.

I needed to understand why this happened.  You know, the actual underlying reason why this occurred.  Why my husband wanted to cheat on me.  Why he felt compelled to go outside our marriage, at a time when our lives were pretty damn idyllic (no mortgage, no kids, no debt, no stress).

And for the record, his first infidelity occurred right after we had ended a trip around the world–for 9 solid months I might add.  In my mind, he had no reason to be unfulfilled, to seek out an affair.  Our lives back then were one giant adventure, a bucket list trip that began on a safari in Africa and ended on an elephant in Thailand.  For real.  It made no sense to me whatsoever.

I wanted to figure this out.  Because in all honesty, I needed to know what I should be guarding my marriage against.  If not, we were doomed and likely would happen again.

That evening I told my husband, “I read this article on-line and think you might be a sex addict.” I was dead serious when I suggested this as he also confessed to a porn addiction.

All the other situations just didn’t seem to fit when reading up on various types of affairs.  So we sat down together and emailed a support group for men struggling with sex addictions.  He went to a meeting that night, while I stayed home with Vivian and my ever-expanding belly.

When he came home, I was expecting him to say, “That’s it.  That’s what I suffer from.  Now this is how we go about fixing this.”  However, it’s never that simple.

As he opened the front door, he had a look of astonishment spread all over his face.    The stories he heard that evening shocked him.  He proceeded to tell me that he felt so unbelievably sad for all the men in the room.  Hearing their stories, hearing their struggles assured him 100% that he wasn’t a sex addict at all.  Far from it.

Looking back, I think it was a knee jerk reaction at the time.  Me grasping for straws, trying to figure this whole situation out.

We laugh about it now.  Him a sex addict?  Ha!  Not even close.  Over time, I can see he was trying to fix things in our marriage.  And he was willing to face whatever “this” was because he didn’t want to divorce.   Even going so far as looking into whether or not he was a sex addict.

That counts for something, right?

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The Letter

“I have an assignment for you.” I emailed later that week.  “I want a confession letter outlining everything.”  My email was longer than that, but that was the gist.  The idea being this was his shot to be 100% honest with me.  There would be no miscommunications regarding what was said during this time in our marriage later on.  It would be there, in black and white, for both of us to see.  And it would be in his own words.  No more lies, no more trickling out the truth.  I wanted every gory detail.

“You have one week to give it to me.” I said later that evening.  I thought that was quite considerate considering the situation.  However, I wanted dates and times which required him digging through cell phone records and other documents.  He agreed to write it.  What choice did he really have though?  It was either that, or divorce.

When he handed me the letter, I checked the last page.  I was wise enough to request that he end it with some truth statement.  I wanted to know that his confession letter was actually truthful and not packed with lies.  He included it, which meant he actually read my entire email, kind of like those riders celebrities include in their contracts to ensure only white M&M’s are kept backstage.  Only I wasn’t famous.

Things were icy between us that week.  He got asked to travel to San Diego for work, which meant another business trip was on the horizon.  You know, the exact situation which triggered him cheating.  I wasn’t about to let him go alone either.  So the three of us went on his business trip, enjoying the pool while he worked.

On our journey home, Viviane fell asleep.  It gave us time to talk.  I had been pondering one of the things he had confessed to and wanted to double check a few details.  Like did he really use a condom, which is what he wrote in his letter.  If so, did she have it in her purse?  Or was it him?  Being the detailed person that I am, I couldn’t shake this feeling that he lied about that part.  So when I pressed further, when I asked if he had bought them before heading back to his hotel, or if she whipped it out of her purse, he caved.  Through tear filled eyes he said, “I lied in the letter.”

That is all it took for me.  I phoned my mom and informed her that I was dropping Vivian off for a few hours.  That me and hubby had some talking to do.  It was the longest 45 minutes of my life till we finally were alone.  I pulled up to our driveway and slammed shut the car door, then ran inside our house and closed every single window.

I then proceeded to scream every profanity known to man while my husband stood stoically at one end of our house, me at the other.  Sitting on the floor of our kitchen, I was sobbing.  Then screaming anything that came to my mind.  “You fucking lied to me.  You asshole.  You have destroyed our family.  You have single handedly ruined everything we built.”

It was a cathartic release.  Something primal coming out of me during those dark moments.  Up until that point, I had been in control of my emotions.  I had handled everything diplomatically.  But this was different.  This was my moment to let it all out.

And I did.

The following day, I wrote a post on a mommy blog asking for any good therapist referrals.  At last check, it had thousands of page views and nearly crashed their servers (ok well maybe not exactly).  But it got a helluva response, as if that should have been a surprise.  One unintended consequence was that my post got included in their email blast.  And I received two emails, from two different friends, who had seen my post.  They were offering their support, but at the same time felt as if they had just read my diary or something.  Obviously, they felt torn, as if they shouldn’t know about this.  But they did.  And they wanted to see how I was doing.

That night, after I put V to bed, I cried myself to sleep.  The pain was gut wrenching.