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just learned ex-boyfriend is a sex addict
September 2, 2007
9:08 am
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wonderingone
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My ex and I have known one another two years, we met a conference and dated for a few months (didn't work out - distance, among other things) but we remained friends... we started dating again about 7 months ago, and it was wonderful - while we still lived 3 hours apart, he was able to stay with me a few times a month - we never went more than ten days without seeing one another, actually; and we were online with one another constantly. I loved him very much, and he did me, too.

He ended the relationship about a month ago... citing the physical distance, his feeling unable to balance the demands of our relationship with his presence with his young son (who I'd met 2 times in two years)... it was hard to close the door on our romantic relationship, but I saw his pov, and could see for myself that it was challenging for him to balance it all. We remained friends - after all, we work in the same field and have a lot of mutual respect and regard and genuine like for one another.

About ten days ago, I discovered that he wasn't what he seemed and that nothing was what I thought it was. He had a blog where he posted all of this, I found it unintentionally - he didn't come to me with his story, his truth, I found it and was wholly unprepared). I learned that he cheated on me for months - with one long term cheat, anonymous hookups and sex with strangers, meeting sex partners from online personal ads, calls to FWB, etc. That it was easy for him to cheat on me, to play me, even as he wrote that he really cared for me. That he considers himself and recognizes himself as a sex addict, and has for some time - I will admit that he is a very self-aware person. That I wasn't the first partner that he'd done this to (he cheated on his previous relationship for all of their five years together), but apparently, I'm the first to learn all of this...

So I'm devastated, and trying to take care of myself, scared and sad (horrifying to learn that your monogamous committed relationship wasn't - waiting for all sorts of test results)... While I'm working through this; my deepest struggle is wrestling with the knowledge that some I care very much for is living a dangerous life; and trying to come to terms with what comes next.

Within that struggle - this is someone who I now feel contempt and compassion and concern for - all at the same time. Can I, should I try to be present for him in some way? There's a lot of history there. Better to close him off entirely? I've been doing lots of looking for answers/perspective and I wonder about things like co-dependency, and trauma bonds and all of those things... so many questions... thoughts? anyone been through something similar?

September 2, 2007
10:45 am
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((((wonderingone))))

Ah, I feel sad reading your story. It is indeed difficult to know what to do when you still care for him. Does he know yet that you found his blog?

There are two parts to your story I find very scary: first, the STI's you may have been exposed to, and second that he was able to cover everything so well, lie to your face so convincingly and make it all seem so plausible.

The man I'm seeing right now has a porn-and-masturbation habit that I think borders on or is sex addiction. We've been together and apart several times over the last few years. His habit has had negative effects on our relationship, but at least I am not worried about having been exposed to STI's. (Although reading your post, maybe I should be. There could be more about his life that I don't know.)

I have found several books by Patrick Carnes on the subject to be helpful. Maybe you're read one or more already since you're familiar with the concept of trauma bonds.

What is your gut instinct about what you should do? Talking about it here may help you uncover your own wisdom about this.

I really do feel for you, WO. Wishing you a healing outcome.

September 2, 2007
11:21 am
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serenityali
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Wonder,

Sad story...My xhusband told me he was a sex addict before we got married. I loved him so much and we had been together for 11 years off and on. So, I went ahead with the wedding. I made a terrible mistake!

He was abusive sexually once we got married. He has a history of hooking up with prostitutes and strangers etc. We divorced filed for divorce within the first year. I wanted to try to save the marriage, attend counseling and he did not.

I am not a person to abandon someone when they need help. But you need to establish boundaries for yourself, for selfcare. If he wants help, which he needs you could be friends and support him. If you can do that with your heart involved?

If he doesn't want help, you must decide if continuing some type of relationship is in YOUR best interest.

There are many support groups for sex addictions and individual counseling. There is a book called "out of the shadows" it has been around for a long time. I am sure there are many new ones as well.

Take care of yourself and remember the only person you can change is yourself. Keep us posted...

Ali

September 2, 2007
11:21 am
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sdesigns
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Hi wondering:

The books recommended by kroika I think are a must for you right now. the one that I read was called "In the Shadows" by Patrick Carnes. I think it is important for you to understand sex addiction before you engage any further with this guy.

Another great book is "How To Spot A Dangerous Man before you get involved" by Sandra Brown. You definitely met a dangerous man- dangerous to your emotional health.

I was involved with a sex addict, and I didn't identify it until after we split. I was horrified to learn the things I did BUT it was all in plain view and it was me that had her head in the sand. Learning about that was the beginning of big changes for me- as I learned the problem was me- attracting such a guy and staying with him when I knew there were things wrong.

Its our choice to stay- and its our choice to leave. It is what it is- don't expect it to change- and its our choice to be happy or not. Its our choice to find a good partner or stay with a sick one.

I am sorry you got fooled, but at least you found out and can leave. He really has shown you all that you need to know.

SD

September 2, 2007
11:23 am
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sdesigns
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OOPS- the book is called "Out of the Shadows", as serenity mentioned- I need more coffee!

September 2, 2007
11:45 am
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There is also another book by Patrick Carnes called "In the Shadows of the Net" which is easily confused with "Out of the Shadows"...! ("In the Shadows".... is more specifically about cybersex addiction.)

Good points from serenityali and sd. Hope to hear more from you, Wonder.

good thoughts your way,
kroika

September 2, 2007
8:32 pm
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wonderingone
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Thank you for sharing and offering your support - just finding replies to my post was so heartening. To answer a few of your questions, yes, he knows that I know - his reaction was to say - 'you don't know how sorry I am' but he's not engaged me about this beyond that. I'll definitely check out the books you recommended - I agree that I need to understand a bit more about this before I can create a plan/offer real support/move forward. It's really difficult to think about dropping out and away from him, because he is someone that I care a great deal about, but I know that I can't afford to put myself into this situation without really clear, strong boundaries and protection for myself. Some time and space will help me heal and figure all of this out - what he'll do with that time and space remains to be seen...

Nothing about this is easy.

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