Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ask Mishka About YOUR Spouse's Sex Addiction ...

Many women email me during the earlier stages of discovery / recovery of their spouse's sex addiction and just need some guidance from others who have SURVIVED the insanity of it all.  Today I want to answer some really common questions that I get from women, women who are lost, confused, scared and truly are just trying to keep it together one day at a time.  

I remember that time so clearly, just making it until dinner time was a chore for me.  The uncertainty of our future, keeping it together for the kids, putting a smile on my face when I was out in public and trying to make sense of the reality that was now my life was almost too much to bear!!  But I did bear it … we all survive … and it helps to reach out for support from the blogging world, there is so much support to be found here and I just want to say a big Thank You to all the awesome women who share their stories … we can all learn so much from each other!!!!!  

Ok - now on to the Ask Mishka Post!!!!  

Q.   I feel "Stupid" that I didn't know my spouse was acting out sexually.  My whole  relationship feels like one BIG LIE.   HOW DO I DEAL WITH THAT????

A.  Let me ask myself that …. Was I that stupid?  I'm sure many people think so ….I used to think so too but now I KNOW I wasn't.  The fact is that part of our lives with our spouses was great.  We both fell in love for a reason and there are parts of Ed's personality that is exactly what I want in a life partner (some of his other traits I can really live without … obviously!)  We have had our wonderful times and our terrible times.  But to the addict they are able to compartmentalize the 2 sides of their lives … it's a little bit insane if you ask me, but that is the unhealthy coping that they have developed over so many years.  

NOW, that doesn't make any of it ok, excuse the horrificness of the acting out, or ease the pain of betrayal one bit.  But it is important to come to terms with the reality of what has been happening without feeling like your whole life was a lie or a waste.  That is a natural emotional state to go through but not one you should get stuck in!  

Q.  I found out that my husband is a sex addict and I am not sure if I should stay and try to work it out or if I should RUN as fast as I can for the door.  I want to try to work it out but I am so angry.  Am I stupid for not leaving?

A.  I gave Ed a chance to turn his life around and be the incredible person I know he can be ... for me and the kids.  But he had to earn it and work for it ... we both did.  And if he didn't do the incredibly hard work … well, then I would have left him and survived on my own two feet!  We spouses are anything but stupid ... if you ask me most of us are loving, caring, compassionate, and a little bit awesome!  If loving Ed so much and wanting to do what I can to save my family is stupid ... well, then I accept that!  

I think it takes a special, fabulous person to not run away immediately and try to save your family.  I gave him a chance to change, truly and whole heartedly change (not a half ass attempt to stop by still clinging on a tiny bit to the rush of it all - a real I CHANGED MY LIFE)…. and if he didn't work hard enough, or I just couldn't move forward over time.... well, then at least I would have known I tried!  Anyone should have respect for that! I DO!

AND ... When you are officially done, you'll know it .... and if you aren't sure what you should do  then I think it is good not to make any decision at all.  Life can't go on the way it was .... he has a choice and is now being given an opportunity to learn tools to actually help both of your lives.  Neither one of you have had those tools before.  You have a different awareness now and that is empowering … change can happen and it is OK to give your relationship a chance to be what you want.  And if it doesn't work out, you tried and YOU have learned a great deal about yourself along the way ... and that is never a bad thing!

Q.  I have so many intense emotions, I am angry, scared, overwhelmed but he can only focus on himself in recovery, should I keep my emotions to myself?  My emotions make me feel pathetic, how do I get over that?

A.  Although recovery is about him .. it's really about both of you.  You are going through it together and although he is wrapped up in his emotional wounds you have some severe wounds that are equal to his.  

Letting yourself feel all of your emotions (the good, the bad and the ugly), allowing your mind to accept it helps to wake you up.  This is empowering, not pathetic!  It is because deeply feeling your feelings allows you to see the truth and it prepares you to watch out for YOU this time around!  This is an incredible thing!

You are ALLOWED all the crazy emotions that you have.  The anger, fear, sadness, and whatever else you have. He NEEDS to see your pain, understand the effect that his actions had on you, be able to empathize with what you are going through ... understand that his actions are INFIDELITY ... he did terrible things and it hurts you, soooo bad!  It is NATURAL and NORMAL to show your emotions, it is OK!  Just make sure you express them with keeping to how YOU feel, how it feels inside for you ... and don't  shame and blame him.  He is hurting too ... the empathy we have for our spouse's is great .... and they should learn it toward us as well.  

Let's allow and accept our EMOTIONS, LOVE OURSELVES for them, stop trying to numb our pain and run away from it ..... once we can truly feel and love ourselves for our good and bad days ... that is where we can find inner peace and with that comes our HAPPINESS.

I learned to provide support for myself, that is the my most important tool but once Ed was able to support and empathize with MY pain that's when it became an equal partnership.  And I know EVERY woman deserves that!!!! 


  1. I had every single one of those questions too. There are no easy answers. Things that helped me were taking my time and making no fast decisions (unless i was in danger). One step at a time

    1. Those are wise words my friend ... as you said, the answers aren't easy! I totally agree with you about taking your time and not rushing any crazy decisions. Once we do a bit of self discovery and get into a better emotional place we are then able to make the decisions that are best for us .... and we aren't basing our decisions on fear or anger! One step at a time is exactly what it is ....

      Thanks for your input!!!! If anyone else is reading this, you should really check out Eat My Scabs's blog .... she is a wonderful support in this community. She's a great writer and Ed and I both love to read her honest, upfront, funny, emotional and real words. She is a great voice and many can learn a lot from her! So, check her out!

      You're awesome!!!!

  2. I sometimes deal with those questions on a daily basis, even now. :) I agree with all of your answers, too. It's nice to have a little reminder now and then from an outside source.

    1. Thanks sweetie! It IS nice to have little reminders every so often. I agree .... we ALL need it from time to time!

      BTW - LOVE your blog .... your honesty is wonderful!!!!

  3. I have been married for 27 years. I knew early on my husband was a sex addict. He spent most of our marriage dabbling in magazines, movies and sites on the web. In 2008 we began to raise 5 grandchildren. Shockingly our adult daughters also married addicts and then lost custody of their kids.For the longest time I use to ask what happened to my daughters. One of our grandchildren 2year old fell extremely ill and struggled for her life in ICU. While we were heavy in the grips of fear concern and grief over her my younger daughter discovered a secret email account he left open. It reviled a entire different sexual high. My husband has been posted ads on Craigslist and other sights fro the last 6 years. The last year it escalated to him meeting men in the park for oral sex. Now the threat of his secret leaking out looms over my grandchildren because DSS can reverse the order for their placement for the next 18 years. I clearly understand it is not about what he did but the addiction. I have seen him in recovery and he is wonderful and I have seen him in relapse YIKES. I feel betrayed horrible grief and anger. I now must decide if I am going to keep my home and take the chance of this secret getting out to DSS and go through recovery again.Or do I foreclose my home move several states away witness protection style and take a shot of freedom and raise 5 grandchildren and a 15 year old son and I would be surprised if I do not have to bury my husband from suicide. No answer seems easy or fair. I know his recovery is a long hard journey and relapse follows him with each step.

    1. WOW my dear!!!!!! What a story you have!!!! It took me a while to answer your comment because as you said "no answer is easy". I am so not sure where to go with this. First let me say that I am soooo sorry that you have to go through this. It sooo sucks and you truly deserve a big, huge hug for it all and I just want to say that it is sooo wonderful that you are able to be there for your grandkids ... that is amazing!!!!!

      Ok, first ... recovery is a long, hard journey but relapse does NOT have to follow him with every step. Yes, relapse can happen but he can make the CHOICE to embrace recovery and truly learn tools to help him get out of the cycle. He is wonderful when he is in recovery .. and then he CAN make that his life. I have seen soooo many men heal and completely CHANGE their lives and be the men that they want to be. They just have to make the choice. That is where the term addiction gets sticky for me ... now, I totally believe it is an addiction ... BUT, the word addiction should empower men to wake up and recognize the WHY they are doing what they are doing and therefore they can make amazing changes in their lives. The word addiction should NEVER be used as an excuse for crappy behavior.

      You said you understand it is not about what he did but his addiction ... well, it IS ALSO about what he did. It is a HUGE betrayal and lies and blah blah blah .... of course you are angry, YOU SHOULD BE!!! It is NOT OK ... even if he is an addict. He always HAS a choice, he always HAD a choice .. he just doesn't have the awareness of that. He can learn that though if he wants.

      Is he getting any help right now? Are you seeing anyone? It might be a good idea to sort through all the crap that is in your head right now.

      I am so sorry my dear that I have such crappy advice!!!!!!! I am just so not sure what the best option for you is ... you'll figure it out though. Trust your gut ... out guts usually tell us things and when we can stop, connect with it and listen ... our guts are usually pretty spot on!!!! OK, I am leaving you with a BIG HUG ! You need it!!!!!!