What the hell happened to the kinder, gentler days when I was the center of my adoring husband’s world? There were no distractions like beer, football, video games and internet porn to turn him into an overgrown Man-child, who is incapable of focusing on more than one thing at a time.
I was raised in a traditional family, where I was taught that it was my wifely duty to keep my man happy and satisfied — which to my husband, meant a batch of homemade peanut butter cookies and an occasional blow job, sometimes at the same time (I was a bit of an overachiever)! It was up to me to stroke his ego regularly and with gusto, so that he was not forced to go astray and look elsewhere for attention and validation. For all intents and purposes, I thought I was the rockstar of wives… I cooked all of his favorite meals, kept the house spotless, took care of his offspring, and managed all of the finances so that he needn’t worry his pretty little head. I lived with the delusion that if I was the perfect wife, and didn’t rock the boat, I would be able to control him and keep him reined in.
In the summer of 2015, that theory was smashed to smithereens. This was the summer that I discovered that I was actually married to one man who had been living two very different lives for the past 16 years. Husband number one: Loving husband and father, respected professional, cub scout den leader, and a product of catholic education. Husband number two: Cheater, liar, manipulator, and sex addict. He was finally caught engaging in “inappropriate” behavior at his office with a willing, wide-eyed, twenty-something year-old who had been texting him naked pictures of herself. And, as I soon found out, THAT was just the tip of the iceberg.
WTF? How could this be? How did I not know for 16 years that he was screwing half the ladies in town? Oh, yeah…at hotels, backseats of cars, random apartments, the office. How did I not know that he was having private porn viewing parties with Rosy Palm and her five friends (if you know what I mean) three to four nights a week? Only God knows when he had time to pee with all that action his penis was getting.
I know, I know…it’s hard to imagine someone leading that much of a double life and not getting caught sooner…unless, well, you’re James Bond. All kidding aside, sex addiction is a REAL thing. I used to think that it was just a term that Hollywood came up with to excuse the bad behavior of celebrity husbands. Remember Arnold and Maria, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Tiger and Elin, Ozzie and Sharon, and of course Bill and Hillary?? In a twisted way, it gives me a sense of relief that I am in good company. Safety in numbers, my mom always said!
Sex addiction, as I have learned, is a predominantly male phenomenon (though there is a small percentage of female sex addicts amongst us), and, yes, it is an actual addiction, much like alcohol, drugs, food, compulsive gambling, and on and on. Nowadays, there isn’t much that you CAN’T get addicted to! Sadly, many spouses or significant others of sex addicts tend to blame themselves…that it’s somehow their fault. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. As uncomfortable and painful as it is to admit that my husband is a sex addict who finally came clean to me after he hit rock bottom, my goal is is to spread awareness, and to hopefully help others come out from under the darkness of shame. For him, rock bottom meant losing his career, his professional license, and public humiliation for him and the family. His consequences were now my consequences, which sucked big time.
After the initial shock, fury, rage, and deep sadness had subsided just enough for me to wrap my brain around what was happening, I made the decision that if he was seriously committed to getting treatment for this addiction, I would do my part to try to move forward in our marriage. I know that women in my situation get judged harshly about their decision to stay, but it’s a whole different story when it’s YOUR story.
Besides the whole sex addiction thing, my husband was a wonderful father to my kids and a genuinely good person who had learned to cope with painful emotions in very sick and unhealthy ways. It’s way more complex than this, with many many layers that are unearthed through lots of therapy. So, after devouring every piece of literature we could find on this topic, fifteen weeks of inpatient treatment, hundreds of hours of individual and couples therapy, attending hundreds of 12-step meetings; eighteen months later, our marriage is stronger and more real than it has ever been.
In this day and age of unlimited free porn and anonymous hook-up dating sites, chances are good that porn and sex addiction will be coming to a town near you. When it comes crashing down on you or someone you know, I am a living example that there is life after sex-addiction.
This author has chosen to publish under the pseudonym “Lemon Drop Bombshell “.