Behind Closed Doors: Sex Addiction

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I don’t know where to start.

We are getting married in 12 weeks.

We have a child who is 18 months old.

My husband to be is a sex addict.

I found pictures of him naked last night on his iPad. Then I did a bit more digging and found some pictures of women that he’d forwarded to himself on his email from WhatsApp. I confronted him and he told me that he’d had signed up to a website where you exchange pictures and can chat to women on line. He pays a monthly fee. One of the images was from October. Which was around the time I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression.

He believes he is a sex addict. He claims he isn’t using that as an excuse. I believe that this may be the case as he has always had a high sex drive and I know he watches porn. I am so mad, confused, angry, upset and I can’t talk to anyone about it. Literally anyone. If he was a gambling addict and he’d spent all our money then people could understand or empathise because their friends cousin once did the same. If he was an alcoholic who always had a few too many then people would feel sorry for us but know that we could get help.

But how can I tell anyone? On the surface we are a happy family, we have a nice life, good friends, I don’t understand it.

He can’t explain to me why he feels the way he does, he sees it as a separate part of him that has nothing to do with our life. He’s keen to have counselling, couple and one to one. I worry that addiction is something that doesn’t go away. That I’ll never be enough. That I’ll always feel on edge and that he will be looking for something that I can’t give him. This is also not the first time we’ve been here. In 2008 I found a video of him in a compromising position with a woman. He promised it would never happen again and he was sorry. I would say it took at least 3 years for me to completely trust him again.

I just don’t know what to do. Will we get married? Will I end up a single mum? Should we postpone the wedding? Who can I tell?

For better or worse and in sickness and in health. I just never believed this would be our sickness.


Categories: Behind Closed Doors
12 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted May 12, 2015 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    This is difficult and horrible, I really feel for you.

    Addiction is weird. People do remain addicts, yes, but they know the choice they made is one that they are happy with/is best for them. We all need to make these choices. You choose one thing and it necessarily rules out other things. It’s one of the difficult parts of being a grown up, but we do all have to do it. I know I hate it sometimes but, if he wants to be married to you he has some choices to make.

    The thing here that gets me is the trust thing. It took you 3 years to trust him again. That’s a long time. The fact he was doing this while you were diagnosed with post natal depression clearly hurts. You sound like you are hurt and concerned about trusting him. I’d love to give you an answer on that but I think only you know if the hurt is too much and the trust is too damaged.

    Counseling could be good for everyone, and that he’s willing to try it is a very good thing but it is a tricky one. Do you feel it could help? Would it help you explain to him your feelings?

    Sorry this doesn’t give you clear answers. I think you guys need to talk and, addiction or not, you need to own your feelings of hurt and damaged trust because they are real. If he is a sex addict that doesn’t stop those feelings existing. I wish you all the best however the cards fall. Xxx

    • Posted May 12, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      P.S please speak to someone. You might have can friend who is more understanding than you’d think or a counsellor for you but you need support. Please get it xx

  2. Amy
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    I’d suggest taking the counselling and going from there – both of you having couples and individual.
    I’d also postpone the wedding. You don’t need that extra pressure right now.
    This sounds like a really shitty and stressful situation for you, I’m very sorry.

  3. Posted May 12, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Oh, Anon. What a difficult situation.

    I would echo the others – if at all possible, put the wedding on hold – if anyone asks why, blame the venue or the minister or the band, and then tell them it’s too stressful to talk about and change the subject.

    I’d also suggest relationship counselling, both alone and as a couple. I think it’s important that you have the opportunity to discuss how you feel with someone neutral, professional and experienced – while friends can be very helpful, they’re not objective and they won’t ask the very difficult questions that you need to think about (mostly revolving around trust and forgiveness. Only you can really know what your gut and your heart are saying, and which is shouting loudest).

    At the moment, while you’re shocked and hurt, I would imagine there’s an element of being on autopilot. If you do find yourself crashing – it can a while for difficult situations to hit, and if you’re worried about your PND – then it’s important that you do speak to someone and look after yourself, regardless of what you decide about the future of your relationship.

    Good luck.

  4. Fee
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    This sounds so hard, I am so sorry.

    I think maybe the first thing is to talk to a professional – without sounding harsh, you probably need to find out if this really IS an addiction problem or not.

    Also, the other big thing is whether you feel you can have a relationship that will comtrubute towards a safe stable home for your little one. If you can’t get over his actions or won’t be able to trust him, eventually they will pick up on that too. Again, sorry if that sounds harsh.

    I would have a good think about your friends and identify one you can trust and talk to – or even look online for any chat communities for partners in this situation? It must be so hard to be doing this on your own.

    Wishing you lots of luck for the future, I really do hope you find yourself happy whichever way it goes xx

  5. Penny
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I think it’s really good that he’s now being open about it and apparently wants to seek help… however the damage he’s done so far is incredible, especially at such a vulnerable time for you. I wonder if he’s aware of the true extent? Definitely see a professional. A good one will help him identify his problems, but also help him to see the enormity of the impact on you.

    Get as much support as you can. Looking online is a good suggestion. There will definitely be others in your situation.

    If it was me, I would postpone the wedding, however I appreciate that it’s a very personal decision.

    Good luck, and I’m so sorry this is happening to you at what should be such a happy time.


  6. anon
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Speaking as someone who does separate sex from love and my sexual urges from my relationship in my head I also know it is not something that is completely separate from my relationship because if I was to scratch that particular itch my husband would be devastated. So my feelings of it being separate are not enough to make it meaningfully separate from my relationship because there are two people in it. In fact we have trust issues that may never resolved as a result of my particular “problem” in that area and I have to own up to my part in that and take responsibility for it, because I knew how my husband felt about it, regardless of how I felt.

    I echo all the above in encouraging seeing professionals but though I have some sympathy for your fiance I would say that in my experience I knew it was not really separate due to my husband’s feelings, I just didn’t want that to be true.

  7. Anon
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    First of all I would say that you are the only person who can know how you feel, and what is right for you. But you have asked for advice, so here goes. I can only offer what I learned from my experience of marrying a man who liked to cross dress, a secret we kept from everyone for years. I pretended to myself that it was fine, and that I loved him enough anyway, but ultimately I wasn’t OK with it and having to keep the secret put a huge amount of strain on our relationship. I needed to talk about it with other people but I struggled because I felt it wasn’t my secret to tell, and yes, I was embarrassed and ashamed. That relationship has now ended and the secret is out in the open. I’m only telling you this so you understand where my advice is coming from!

    You need to talk to someone other than him about it. Counselling is a good idea, for both of you, separately and together. But you also need to tell ‘real’ people. You may be surprised how understanding family and friends are about it. I know it feels impossible (believe me, I’ve been there) but you can’t keep hiding it, that won’t solve things, and you need support in your own right. It will also be really important for them to understand if you decide not to get married in 12 weeks, and you will need their support. There are people who love you and will support you no matter what. Talk to them. The first one is the hardest, but once you’ve told one person it gets easier to tell others. You need them to know what you are going through, so they can help you.

    I can’t imagine how hard it would be to postpone or even cancel the wedding, but if you go ahead with it and things don’t work that will also be really hard. However impossible it feels to postpone, it is not the easy option to go ahead with it. Getting married won’t solve this problem, and whatever is difficult now will continue to be difficult once you’re married. It sounds like you’re hurt, and you’re angry, and your trust has been seriously damaged, and you need to address those before making those vows.

    I’m sending you so much love. I’m happy for you to email me directly if you think that would help, just reply here and I’m sure we’ll find a way without giving up our anonymous statuses x

  8. Laura
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi anon,

    I’m afraid this comment might be vague, in the attempt to respect my ex’s privacy but equally I feel some degree of detail might help you.

    In a similar vein to those above, I would encourage you to go to counselling.

    My ex, you could say, had a few ‘preferences’ with which I was not entirely comfortable. I knew a little of these before we got married, but I carried on somewhat naively and in a little denial. As time went passed it was clear I was increasingly uncomfortable with what he wanted, and confronted him about it. He refused to talk about it or attend counselling, and as a result broke-down our marriage quite abruptly (amongst a few other reasons).

    I’m happy to share my email and talk more candidly if the AOW ladies would like to put us in touch, but my advice really is to think about how you feel now, and how that could change over the next few years. Married or not, this is unlikely to go away. I think you need to look after yourself and child, and discuss this with a professional.

    L x

  9. anon
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Sympathies anon. I don’t have a great deal to add to the excellent advice already given above but just wanted to add that I’m another one who understands (sort of) what you’re going through -speaking as someone whose partner openly admits to watching porn, that his sexual urges are such that if I’m not around he has to ‘do something about them’. I totally understand that feeling of ‘That I’ll never be enough. That I’ll always feel on edge and that he will be looking for something that I can’t give him’.

    Personally I think you should postpone the wedding. Marriage is hard enough if you are 100% sure, never mind if you already have doubts in your mind. Very, very best of luck to you and your little one with whatever you decide x

  10. Chirstymac
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    my thoughts, for what they are worth, having not been in a similar situation myself, or in fact married, but feeling for you massively:

    It sounds like he has compartmentalised the aspects of his predilections in a way that works for him and fits into how he sees his life, with you and around you. It is a HUGE jump to expect the same of you and, I think, important that you realise what a massive ask such an adjustment is and be kind to yourself in taking however long you need to assimilate and make decisions.

    I echo the others in suggesting seeking external help in the form of a councillor especially, if you can find one, someone specialising in this specifically.

    I would agree on postponing the wedding. It may seem like a massive deal and huge faff but, in the grand scheme of a theoretical ’til death do us part’ it isn’t and I suspect people will be more accepting of “I just couldn’t imagine my big day without this exact band/ venue/ dress” or whatever feels easiest than you might think. This is no one else’s business and you should feel nothing but totally fine with doing this if you feel you want to.

    You may feel, out of the other side of the process, that he is the man for you, for better or worse and if so you can re-arrange a wedding a any point in the future without the feelings and doubts you are having now. But to make that commitment knowing what you’re committing to and with the happiness and confidence that you are a team, with whatever you have decided is the way that works for you BOTH is, I think, key.

    I wish you all the love and support in the world and know that all us AOWettes are here for you. This is your life too. X

  11. Anonymous
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all to you lovely ladies. Each comment has provided comfort and your kindness jumped off the page. We’ve talked every night this week and he’s been to see a councillor which really helped and I have an appointment to see one tomorrow. We aren’t going to postpone the wedding as that poses too many questions as to why. We have a long road ahead, but I’ve learned this week that love is unconditional and I feel like we are in this together which is the most important part of being in a relationship. I actually think this will bring us closer together longer term and although these aren’t the best foundations to build a marriage on at least we are going into it with no secrets. Thanks again AOW ladies. Xx

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