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Awhile back, I posted in this thread I think about issues I have had in the past with viewing pornography online and engaging in private chats with women, while I was married, and hiding and lying about these behaviors to my wife. My purpose here is to attempt to continue my own healing process while offering others who struggle with these behaviors a hope of their own.

I had continued with these behaviors in secret, off and on, for over 15 years. Looking back now, I can see that my sex and love addiction goes back even farther, but was manifested differently. I tended to attach myself emotionally to women with whom I became involved, and became dependent on them for my sense of validation and self-worth. My current wife (we are now separated, divorce papers have been filed, a reconcilation is possible but unlikely) was the first who ever stayed with me for longer than a month. Wanting the security of a long-term relationship, I asked her to marry me even when I had deep misgivings about our prospects for a happy marriage. I rationalized that I could make it work, since people in other parts of the world are able to make arranged marriages work.

The marriage was difficult from the start. Over the years (about 20), we were separated twice, for a total of about 18 months, and had one child together. We tried counseling a few times, but due to emotional and psychological issues both of us had, we were never able to build any sense of intimacy or partnership. We struggled day to day, each seeking to fill our own emotional needs without the other. For many years, I planned my escape from this marriage, always postponing a final decision until a time of economic security could be sure for both of us.

In April of this year, I developed an emotional relationship to to a woman I had met in a chat room. The influence of that relationship led me to believe that I could no longer continue in a marriage where I had become so unavailable, and now emotionally unfaithful, to my wife. Early in June we had an argument at a moment when she was suspicious about my behavior and she suggested I leave and I did so, in June, and I filed for divorce.

My emotional attachment to the woman online quickly intensified, and soon became more complicated due to issues that soon surfaced about her life and her real availability to me. I grew increasingly obsessed, confused, and sick with codependent behavior, until I was almost unable to function in my job or be available to support my daughter as she struggled with the new changes in her life. Eventually, in August, I terminated the relationship in a moment of fear and panic and have not attempted to make contact again, although I continue to have powerful feelings for this person. I began reading SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) literatue and going to meetins, and identified with the behaviors discussed in the literature and meetings. Since this breakup, I have not acted out on my "bottom line" behaviors, going into chat rooms to meet women or viewing pornography, and struggle continually to prevent myself from engaging in romantic fantasies. With some time in recovery and the knowledge I have gained in my reading about my other problems...being a victim of child abuse, the adult child of an alchoholic, codependent, and compulsive behavior with alcohol, I am getting a better idea of what has been healthy and unhealthy in my life. Most of it has been unhealthy.

Anyone who is struggling with online sexual behaviors, or is involved with someone who is, might consider looking at the website You are not alone. | Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. There is hope for recovery, but the damage that this addiction can do to a persons life cannot be underestimated. It is a potentially fatal disease, and can surely destroy lives and relationships. Life is a hard, daily struggle for me now, with guilt for the damage I have caused in the lives of innocent people, with the fear I face about whether I will ever be able to experience a healthy relationship with a woman, or even if I can continue to face myself in the mirror every day. My only hope is that my Higher Power can continue to pull me through, and heal me, if I keep working on the steps and avoiding the behaviors that have almost destroyed me.

Peace....
 
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