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can cheaters really change?
August 21, 2005
3:21 am
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zeldapinwheel
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Just found out my serious boyfriend of 2 years has been to strip clubs and gotten so-called "lap dances". If you don't know what that is, (he even admitted this is how it was), the stripped is wearing nothing but a g-string, straddles the seated man and dry humps him while rubbing her boobs all over his face. My boyfriend said he did orgasm during those times.
He also had a stripper initiate a hand job on him and he let her do that until he had an orgasm.
I knew nothing about any of this until I found incriminating evidence in our apt. and he admitted after extensive questioning what he had done (he didn't offer any info, I just had to ask all these questions by guessing what he might have done).
We just started couples counseling. He says he looked at a website about sex addiction and believes he is a sex addict.
Earlier in our relationship I asked him not to go to strip clubs and he agreed. I also brought up that the reason I didn't want him to go was because I knew there was sexual contact at some of these places--such as "lap dances." He said "I don't get lap dances."
He is crying and telling me he'll never go to strip clubs again, and that he'll go to sex addicts anonymous meetings.
What scares me is that part of me does want to stay with him and give him another chance. Am I crazy? What do I need to look at to be realistic and protect myself?
Thanks, Z.P.

August 21, 2005
2:27 pm
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sdesigns
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Hi Zp: Sexual addiction is like any other addiction and he's got to do some hard work to deal with it, if he truly wants to. There is an excellent book called "Out of the Shadows" that talks about the dif categories of sexual addiction, some reasons for its occurence (usually abuse as a child) and ways of healing. I think you find it very useful to read it to gain knowledge of what you are dealing with. Only you can decide if this is something you want in your life. Please don't get wrapped up in his addiction. It is a part of him that has absolutely nothing to do w/ you. If you want to stay w/ him you are going to need support as well. Its no dif than dealing w/ a drug addict or alcoholic, only the addiction is different. Good luck to you.

August 21, 2005
4:13 pm
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Worried_Dad
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In the deep south the lap dance thing is fairly normal for bars. Disgusting, but normal. I remember visiting my brother in Maryland a few years back and this tiny town had nothing but those G-string bars. It was pretty depressing, but part of that good ol boy culture, I guess.

Hard to tell if your bf is really a sex addict. He may be just a "normal" guy who likes to look at women's breasts. Does he seem addicted to sex in his relationship with you? I don't mean does he have a high sex drive, I mean does he make sex be the only thing in the world that gives him happiness.

Could be as simple as he is a somewhat immature guy who is bored at home. If there is trouble at home, his acting out with "professionals" might be his way of trying to get his needs met without ending the relationship. Maybe couples counseling?

August 21, 2005
4:39 pm
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horace
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I don't know about that one WD. In my wilder days I had quite a few lap dances. It was mainly a visual experience with a lot of teasing, but what I'm hearing sounds a bit more like sex for money and makes me lean more towards sde's opinion of sex addiction.

zelda, in my short time researching this codependency thing I've seen so many examples where we have gotten involved with sex addicts. I think you would find some support and healing in whatever -anon meeting you choose. Awareness, action, and acceptance are the keys.

Horace

August 21, 2005
5:30 pm
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exoticflower
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I do have to confess that I would actually RATHER my ex had been paying professionals to give him cheap thrills than developing thoughtful emotional and physical relationships with other women gradually and deliberately...of course I suppose that is easy to say concidering that I have not been faced with such a problem as yours in many years...but on the flip side, I did used to be an exotic dancer (though it was short lived, not my scene), and the girls where seductive, con artists, they where like pushers. We where actually trained to 'upsell' to a drink, a lap dance, a more intimate one, there where techinques and one liners and such all to make it happen. It was high pressure sales all the way. Not my most tasteful expreiance, but it was a lesson in human nature, namely GREEDY human nature and INSECURE human nature...these guys where always hopelessly insecure or completely narcistic, either way they absolutely devored any compliment or praise like ahot fudge sunday. Just some other things to concider here.

August 21, 2005
5:58 pm
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faceit
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I can see the draw to have that kind of sexual experience. When you are single and not having a regular sex partner it wouldn't take much to let go..orgasm per say. If this is a thrill for your boyfriend then the playful bedroom game it should be between you and him. If this is the kind of guy he is ,someone that wants to go to clubs behind your back. Then is this who you want? If he stops going because he knows it is a form of cheating and opens up to you about his intrest then I could see a person not repeating the lap visits.

August 24, 2005
11:14 pm
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zeldapinwheel
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To all who commented on my thread (I'm new here).
THANKS SO MUCH!
You guys helped me more than you'll know just by reading and responding.
---Zelda P.

August 25, 2005
1:12 am
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Matteo
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I agree with Sidesigns.
I don't know how long it is going on, how long you are together, and how is your relationship, but if he is a sex adict, there is a lot of hard work in front of both of you. The positive side of this is that he is concern about it and that he seeks therapy, he is not in denial, like many other people who are addicted. Thats the first step in overcoming an addiction.
Good luck to both of you.

August 25, 2005
1:36 pm
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fluff
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Are men cheating when they are looking at porn sights sent to them through email by other men that they work with? I sat down at my husband's laptop that is distributed by the company that he works for...I was just going to access my bank account and all I typed in was http://www.s and up came all kinds of porn pictures and hits on this one particular sight...so, I typed in http://www.g to start another site where I look up stuff and a whole bunch of other porn came up! He walked in the room and looked shocked but as I asked him about it, he shared that a guy at work had started sending him this stuff through the work email, as well as some of the other managers in the company. He said that he was feeling strange about it but hadn't done anything different to stop it, and left everything on the computer, almost in a way to get caught somehow. He admitted that he had used porn when he had been in a relationship where the sex had died. She told him to go take care of himself and she liked to look at porn and had it laying around the house.
We are really a happy, well-adjusted newly married couple...we knew each other a long time ago and reconnected over a year ago. This has been an earth-shaker to me because I ended an almost thirty year marriage five years ago because I could not handle the porn that he was addicted to...
This husband would have been the last person that I thought would access porn so he and I talked in depth...I was quiet but firm, no yelling, accusing, no threats of any kind...he was sorry and very concerned that I would leave...he said that I have helped him to come through some guilt and wrong thinking that years of exposure without realizing spiritual ramifications of such actions have done to him. I had told him that I would not touch his laptop again and because he wants us to be totally open with each other, he erased everything and cleaned it up, assuring me that most of it had happened in the past two weeks.
Just wondering your thoughts about people looking at porn pictures but still operating in a healthy, vibrant relationship with their partner...is it possible, is it normal, is it okay, by the standards that you live by? I can forgive but this has been a very uncomfortable realization and I hate it...

August 30, 2005
10:09 pm
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zera
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I SO UNDERSTAND,DO YOU SOMETIMES FELL LIKE,IF I CAN'T BET THIS I WILL JOIN THIS AND BE EVERYTHING HE WOULD WANT TO HAVE ,BUT THEN THINK WHY AREN'T I THAT ALREADY? HE DID NOT MARRY A STRIPPER OR A PORN STAR ,SO THEN WE'RE LOST IN CONFUSSION OF HOW TO KEEP OUR RELATIONSHIP HEALTHY WITH OUT EXTRAS!!!

August 30, 2005
10:17 pm
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wildflower79
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I really would hope they would but you know the saying once a cheater always a cheater!! I was cheated on and was so hurt that the only thing I thought I could do is the same cheat on him but I wish I could take it back but the funny thing is he did it first and it was like I was just suppose to forget about it well then I did it and the world is now gonna end...

August 30, 2005
10:22 pm
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littlesteps
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I'm a women 35 with 2 children, I have been married for 15 yrs together for 18 yrs and my husband and I have an awesome sex life and I have seen myself go to porn sites to check things out, I'm just curious by looking, if I was doing it on a regular base I would be wondering what the heck and why to myself. Anyways what I am trying to say is, I dont think anyone is being unfaithful by looking, and I may be wrong, I think if we are all truely honest with ourselves we have all taken a wee peek every now and then and as long as that is where it starts and stops I say what the heck, Im sure it has no reflection what so ever on your marriage or what he thinks or feels for you.We are all guilty of taking a wee peek at something or someone sometimes, but I can understand how you might think he could be up to something, I would probably think similar, but it would be my own fears and insecurity's driving me.

August 30, 2005
10:22 pm
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zera
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I WILL NEVER CHEAT AGAIN I WAS YOUNG AND VERY CONFUSED I WOULD LIKE TO THINK PEOPLWE CAN CHANGE IS NOT THAT WHAT COUNSELING IS ABOUT???

September 6, 2005
6:29 pm
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fluff
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I really appreciate your responses to me about the website porn and wondering if that is kind of the same as cheating...I do believe that many of us have seen stuff or snuck a peek sometimes and it doesn't affect our relationships; magazines are mainly what is accessible. I have never brought up the subject again with my husband but he has referred back to it a dozen times...how my response affected him, how he felt inside during the week that he was receiving the email references to sites, and how we talked about it because he wanted to get through all of it. He said that I should be able to access his laptop anytime without fear of what will pop up and that he addressed it with the individual that was sending it. He found out another guy in his company got in trouble with his wife because the same thing happened to her when he was away and she had to look up something on his laptop. Over all, I feel more comfortable...communication is everything. When a guy wants a partner, he is looking for more than what porn can offer...in our case, I think that we have come to a good understanding...the understanding being that I will trust that he is not involved or hooked to porn...if I find out otherwise after all of this, I will have a big decision to make.

September 6, 2005
7:07 pm
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And is "phone sex" in this same category?

September 6, 2005
9:34 pm
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glittered when he walked
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I flatly reject the notion of once a cheater always a cheater...it cheapens the human spirit. Why should we be lead to believe that cheaters must always be cheating?

alcoholics can live in recovery for the rest of their lives. Heroin addicts have stayed clean...

People can, and do, change.

September 6, 2005
10:56 pm
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chickyfighter
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Sure cheaters are capable of change but only if/when they get ready.
I would not hold my breath...reality bites sometimes!

September 7, 2005
9:10 am
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Anonymous
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I have to agree with glittered, people change when THEY want to change. No one else can do it for them. However, just like an alcoholic goes to rehab, a cheater must get professional help and guidance. I was and can continue to be a cheater, but in getting help I realized it was low self-worth that fueled my cheating. Many other factors lie behind it, but the bottom line is communication and professional help. You seem to be on a good path, and your man is right, you should be able to access his computer and phone without finding some nonsense or anything shady! Good luck!

September 7, 2005
9:26 am
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mamacinnamon
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I agree w/ above. A cheater or anyone can change, but is has to be done by that person, for that person, when that person decides to do so. Nobody can push them into change. If they are pushed they may go thru the motions but statistics show they will go back to whatever it is they were doing. But, if they choose to change and they choose to daily pick up their cross/burden then they will make it thru.

September 7, 2005
9:28 am
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Anonymous
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I think change is possible if the person comes to the decision that he is doing something wrong and wants to fix it - and comes into this decision ON HIS OWN - and for nobody else but himself - not to save your relationship or make you happy - but because he knows in his heart it is wrong and he shouldn't do it.

I say this because if we do it for someone else - and that person lets us down in some way - our first knee jerk reaction is "why did I change for them" - or "to hell with it - I did this for them, this is what I get - let's go find some porn, or drink or drugs or whatever the addiction is".

sometimes changing for someone is a good reason to start - if we do it to save our relationship, but in the end, if the change doesn't come from the heart and is for our own good, it has a good risk of rebounding.

I am currently working out my relationship with my BF who cheated on me. But we discussed how/why he cheated, and how he and we can change our relationship to make it better, so he won't want to leave, and he has come into the decision that what he did was totally unacceptable and irresponsible and never wants to do it again - cuz of the pain he caused himself, me and the other woman - he realizes what a mess he caused and what it almost cost him - and never wants to risk something like that again.

he is giving you open book policy too - wanting it to be safe to look on his computer and phone - that's a great start.

I think to make sure he is not addicted to porn, maybe joint counseling is in order - this may help you address how he can get his sexual needs met at home instead of looking for some kind of thrill outside the relationship - and maybe you guys can possibly come to an understanding of what is acceptable and what isn't.

I know that every couple feels differently about porn - some enjoy it together, others allow their partners some leeway in accessing it, others are against it totally for many different reasons. Try finding out what thrill he got from it and see if there is any way to help him get that thrill at home - or find ways to go about getting the thrill that is not so hurtful to your relationship. Just like anything else, a sexual appetite between partners is always bound to be different, as are their values and morals - that's something you have to work on together - come to a middle ground if possible.

I hope this works out for you - sounds like you are on the right track.

September 7, 2005
9:46 am
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taj64
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My opinion is that if the porn/magazine is causing you pain and that he has to hide it really boils down to trust issue. I think that lack of trust bothers you much more. Hiding it from you might mean he has a problem with it especially if he is trying it at work. It could be sex addiction especially if cheating is concerned. Women could be seen as objects or conquests that may have absolutely nothing to do with the way he feels about you. Cheaters can/do change, but it takes a lot of hard work and commitment to the effort. Trust has to be earned.

September 7, 2005
3:32 pm
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kathygy
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I think that whether or not a cheater changes is totally dependent on the person and their history. Sometimes a person is so deeply wounded that they can't change or don't want to change. But someone on a healthier track may be willing to grow and change. It does happen.

September 8, 2005
2:13 pm
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fluff
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I SO appreciate all of the good input and responses to my question about website porn and how it may or may not affect relationships, and is it considered cheating. You all have brought out the very core points that are involved...trust, addiction, possibility of the need for counseling, reasons that cause someone to start looking in the first place, and the difference in people's sex appetites. It's very helpful to have your support and responses. Thank you so much! I've got to work through this and want to come out on the other side with an understanding of some kind.
I want to address the question, 'is phone sex in the same catagory'? I say yes, almost to the next degree above looking at porn. If someone is involved with a voice on the other end of the line, there is some kind of a connection being made that eventually takes away from a relationship. This stuff all scares me alot...my gut feeling tells me it will probably lead to unrest, unsatisfaction, and going out of the boundary of respect between couples.
For example, some of us might love the taste of peanut butter cups but we know what will happen if we eat them all the time. We can eat a few every now and then but what if we start eating them every day? It will show up as extra pounds and that's hard to hide. Our good physical health would be at risk then...the same as good relationship health would be affected by something that was trying to be hidden but really cannot stay that way for long.
Your thoughts?

September 8, 2005
2:42 pm
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Anonymous
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not sure actually - again, the phone sex is a symptom of addiction, or possibly the need to get something that he can't get from the relationship, or possibly just a fantasy thing that goes along with appetite.

if it's something he cant get from you, would you be willing to learn to talk dirty, so he can get his fix from you instead of someone else?

if it's an addiction or fantasy, then he needs to address that issue and how he can stop it so it doesn't hurt you and your boundaries.

I don't think it's cheating - cuz it's all fantasy play - but that's my opinion. But at the same time, I would be uncomfortable with my partner doing it. I would be willing to learn how to talk dirty if that's what he was doing it for. Same with watching a stripper - if he was willing to have me strip for him and I wanted him not to go - then I would step out of my shell and try it - can't hurt - that's what intimacy is about - sharing and learning and doing something new.

however, getting any kind of arousal outside of the marriage/partnership has to be addressed - why - and only he can tell you or change it...remember, this could possibly be an esteem issue for him too - he may think that this other woman on the line DOES want him, even if he knows he is paying her to want him - it may boost his esteem - that's another thing you can't fix either - but alot of times at the root of cheating - people go looking for the ego boost of knowing they are attractive to other people - not just their partners...cuz alot of time we think "they love us even if we were ugly or fat or sick and dying - it's their job", so we look outward for confirmation of our desirability.

bottom line is he needs to figure out and communicate the why's and see if it's something he can fix on his own and if it's something you can fill - if it turns out to be a void he is experiencing.

September 8, 2005
3:13 pm
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July1209
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I think what is considered cheating depends on the couples agreement on that subject, assuming they discussed it. I have friends in open relationships that are very trusting of each other and don't have hurt feelings because they are in an agreement and don't break it.

I personally wouldn't feel cheated on with the occastion porn site lookup. However, I do think that looking at it supports the exploitation and I don't like that.

What do you think is cheating?

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