Q & A TOPIC: Addiction or compulsion
Sheri from Washington:
Q: Do you offer any type of counseling or can you direct me to some that has to do with a spouse using the internet for cyber sex? And of course the wife not knowing about it and finding out? Thank you, Sheri.
A: Sheri. I'm afraid that I don't have any better suggestion than to try the search engines and type in: [ +cybersex +counseling]. You will get a long list of sites dealing with the phenomenon. If your husband shows a more generalized compulsion about pornography and sex, then go to www.sanon.org. Good luck. - Bryce Kaye
Lisa from Marlboro, Ma.:
Q: Hi, my husband likes to enter porn sites via the internet. Last year alone he downloaded 180 files. A few were dating services. He claims that the porn site must have accidently entered him there. He has received massages from different woman out of state. He lied about that until I called them. When I was in the hospital having our baby he went home and looked at porn. He still lies about, says I am crazy and just looking for things to aggravate myself, and that I am not happy until I make myself miserable. I called the porn co. and they gave me his user name, which is our baby son's nickname. That hurt. When I asked him he said the porn site made a mistake and he never entered that porn site, when I have the proof that he did. I am hurt. I have been sleeping on the couch for almost three months because of this. We have been married for 15 years w/ 4 children. He absolutely refuses to go to therapy and claims the last time we went, it did not help.
My question, is why does he lie about it. I think because he feels shameful. I told him it is not necessarily the ACT but the LIE, that it is killing me. I cannot eat, sleep, think straight, etc. Please help, I would greatly appreciate it. Sincerely, Lisa
A: Lisa. You can be helped best by going to www.sanon.org which is the website for family members of sexual addicts. When you get to the site, try to track down where there's an actual meeting near you. Start going to them. Your husband's lies and deceptions suggest that he has a strong compulsion. Since you're emotionally involved with him, you will be infected by his shame. You are more probably right about his shame than you realize. However, you're probably not as aware of the amount of shame that you are having to carry because of his compulsion. Get help at S-Anon and good luck. - Bryce Kaye
"C" from Florida:
Q: I have been married for 14 years and we have four children. Over the years my husband has gone from being addicted to video games to staying on the computer until 3 am in the morning. He barely speaks to the kids or me. Its computer in the morning when he gets up, work and then computer in the evening until 3am. What can I do? I have told him how sad it makes me and he does nothing about it to make me happy.
A: See if your husband will negotiate a schedule with you for when he will and will not be on the computer. If he won't negotiate when he will be available to his family, or if he's inconsistent with his committed schedule, then you will need to raise the confrontation level. Your point of confrontation would need to jointly see a professional counselor who is trained in compulsions. He may or may not have one but you want a good counselor there to call it just in case. Your husband may have some biological or personality issues that would naturally lead to social isolation but that would be a professional call. - Bryce Kaye
Charlene from Kansas:
Q: My husband and I have been married for 3 years. Within that three years he has kissed another woman, asked a man to sleep with him, and recently I found out that he was wearing women's underwear. I know this sounds like it is straight off the Jerry Springer show but this unfortunately is very real. He says he loves me and wants to be with me, but I think he is just a weak willed person who thinks the path to being gay is just too hard and that staying married to me is easier. He wants to go to counseling and is making an appointment this week. I guess my question is, is this really worth it? Should I just give up? I could fight it if it was another woman, but I just don't have the right equipment to fight another man. I love my husband and I know he loves me. But I am thinking he doesn't know what true romantic love is and is mistaking love for a best friend for the marriage love. Could I be right? Help me please, I don't know what to do with all this.
A: Charlene. You ask an existential question about whether the relationship is worth the gamble and the time. No one should answer that for you but you yourself. However, there are some critical mistakes you are making that can be corrected if you look at them closely.
First, you are misconstruing your responsible. If you consider it your fight with another man, then you've accepted that you need to control his emotion. DON'T DO THAT TO YOURSELF! The fight is his not yours. He must fight his internal fears, shame, and ambivalence to understand the truth about himself. Either he will pursue truth or he won't (by merely trying to placate you). If you take on a "fight" for his passion, you set yourself up for shame because you do not have control in this situation.
Second, it sounds as if you do not understand the nature of compulsion. This may or may not be about being gay. Even with homosexual feelings, many people also have heterosexual feelings as well and can manage a relationship with the opposite sex. The more important issue is that your husband has exhibited a compulsion by acting in an inconsistent manner with his marital commitment. This probably has nothing to do with whether or not he loves you just as an alcoholic's drinking has nothing to do with whether or not he/she loves their spouse. You may want to learn more about sexual addiction. You can go the the LINKS page on this website and click onto the SAA website. - Bryce Kaye
DJW from Belleville, Il.:
Q: My wife and I have been together 11 yrs, married for almost 7 of them. We have always had a good relationship until about the past few months we have been arguing more and more and some have became physical on my part not to the point of hitting yet but close. All times have involved alcohol. All the arguments have started after we have left a party with some newer friends we have been hanging around. Most of them are single and her 2 new best girlfriends from the group never bring their husbands to these parties and they have their boyfriends with them. I know my wife has never cheated on me but I have become extremely jealous and overprotective over her and I never was like that before . If I even bring up staying away from these people it leads to an argument . Well, one night we got into it and she told me she needed her space. We decided to try working it out. It didn't work. We had another argument after one of these parties. I saw her dancing with a guy that earlier in the night made what I thought was a lewd comment, so I erupted on the way home. She told me she was leaving. I know that I have a drinking problem and a temper problem and I'm getting counseling for that now but I still love my wife to death but I'm totally confused on this one. She says she still loves me but is afraid to be w/ me at this time and that she has no other interest in any other man.. But why does she act this way when she's out with me then ?
A: DJW. You're unlikely to figure out the answer to your question until you've been consistently sober and have curbed your raging for an extended period of time. If you're still drinking in these circumstances, maybe you need more help in addition to your counseling. Have you been going to AA frequently? If you've been going to counseling for awhile and you're still drinking. consider that you may need to radically increase your recovery resources in order to save your marriage. Talk to your counselor about this.- Bryce Kaye
Tas from Cape Town, South Africa
Q: My husband and myself have been married for twenty years. He gave up smoking 8 years ago and has been nagging me to give up. Due to tremendous pressures and tension of looking after our severely handicapped daughter who I nurse 24 hours a day I have struggled with giving up although I have tried hard. Now he wants to leave and say's he does not love me anymore because I couldn't give up smoking and he couldn't kiss me. Is he using this as an excuse, he has also had affairs recently and changed radically, I don't even know him any more, from a good, hard working man to a lazy man who won't work and lives in bars. Tas
A: Tas, I'm sorry to hear this. First, it is true that your smoking will likely kill you earlier in life and that it will likely impact him. A partner does have a right to decide if they will buy into that kind of risk to life quality. However, what you describe as his behavior is not your responsibility. Lying, having affairs, etc. all have to do with his character. It's one thing to negotiate out of a relationship you no longer find acceptable. It's another to betray it.
I would encourage you to find an end-smoking clinic where you can use the emotional benefits of group support along with a nicotine withdrawal aid. That would be your best bet. In terms of the marriage, if your husband continues to have affairs, then all you can realistically expect is an "arrangement" but not much of a relationship. Sorry. - Bryce Kaye
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