My ex is my ex because he doesn’t think he is an addict. If he could or did come out of denial long enough to get help I would/could take him back. But he isn’t an addict. According to him he was never an addict and he will never BE an addict. He is adamant about it. He is in serious denial. In fact, being in denial is an art for him. His failure to come out of denial was nearly my undoing. I am not even joking. Denial can kill those you love if you are not careful. It will defiantly kill love. If an addict can’t admit there is a problem then there is nothing anyone can do with that. There is nowhere to go, no remedy, nothing to fix. Because if a man cheats on you, and he does it deliberately, then that is a clear indiction he is an a**hole. So says my therapist.
I was discussing my, then, husband’s denial with my therapist. A husband’s denial is problematic for the spouse for lots of reasons, we will discuss them further in another post. But back to the story – My therapist stopped me in the middle of my animated details of how he swears he isn’t an addict with this observation – “If he isn’t an addict, then what is he? An a**hole?” What? I said. “Well, think about it, if he isn’t an addict then he has complete control over his actions which mean he did this on purpose. That makes him and a**hole.” Then she just paused, waiting for what she said to me to sink in. .. … It was one of those “lightbulb” moments. If he isn’t an addict, I reasoned, then he is in complete control of his thoughts, intentions and choices, which means he CHOSE to cheat on me. Not just once, but over and over and over again, for at least 3 years. Like my ex likes to tell me, “I just made a series of mistakes and bad decisions.” I’m sorry, but, a mistake is when you do something devastatingly wrong, ONCE. A bad decision is something you make, ONCE, maybe twice if you are a slow learner. After that, IT IS DELIBERATE!
Yep, that would make him an a**hole! So men, if you are reading this, think carefully when you chose to refuse the truth of your addiction and sit in denial. There are far worse things you could be than an addict! Don’t be an a**hole! Addiction can be overcome. A**holes are forever! let me explain –
An addict who knows he is an addict, and has come to terms with his addiction, really doesn’t want to be an addict anymore. When he gets to that place of self assessment and awareness where he can say, “yes, I am an addict.” Then, and only then, can a couple move forward into recovery and healing. When an addict sits in denial and stays there, and stays there, and stays there, with no intention of moving from that indefensible position, there is NOTHING anyone can do. There is no moving forward in the relationship, there is no repairs offered, there is no connection, truth, safety, there is no healing. There is NOTHING. You are stuck in “cheaters limbo!” Trust me, it is a hellish place to be. Unfortunately, if you are in this spot, and nothing changes, you either have to have the patience of Job to stay in the relationship, or you will probably have to end it, because you cannot do ANYTHING with denial or an a**hole. The biggest question you have to ask yourself is, “How much of this can I take in a relationship that is not improving anytime soon?” The answer will depend upon your ability and willingness to endure it.
A**hole is not the technical term, but it gets the point across. It may sound funny for the purposes of the blog, but the reality is anything but funny. It’s heartbreaking, gut wrenching, all-consuming, agony. Why? Because someone you love refuses to see what his actions are doing to you and your family. The technical term for someone who deliberately sets out to cheat on and emotionally harm a spouse is a sociopath. So if your cheating spouse is doing it on purpose, like mine claimed to be, then it really isn’t safe to stay in the relationship because the behavior will never change. And being cheated on is mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically dangerous. It is my opinion that you must remove yourself from this kind of abuse, because that is what it is. Abuse.
Sociopath, narcissist, psychopaths are all dangerous to your well-being. If you are in a relationship with one of these types then you need to know what you are up against to be able to decide if you want to continue in a relationship with them. There are 1 in 100 sociopath living in the general population, the chances of knowing one or being in a relationship with one are greater than you think.
For me, the constant mental abuse, lead to thoughts of suicide. That was crossing the line. I realized I had to choose between him or me. I chose me. Believe it or not, it was the most difficult choice I have ever had to make. Why? Because I knew that if I divorced him he would blame me for the ending of the marriage. I would be the one accused of walking away from him, nevermind that my own life hung in the balance. I was between a rock and a hard place. I couldn’t sit in denial with him indefinitely. It was literally going to kill me! I had to choose. I chose me.
I second guess that choice everyday, especially when I have to listen to him tell me how I abandoned him. I left him. I gave up. I walked away. I divorced him. These pronouncements, when they are aimed at me, are like daggers. They are all, technically, true. That hurts. But the truth is something much deeper that an addict cannot see. He is unable to see it. Not while he sits in denial. For him, he is blinded to the truth. Guilt trips, manipulation, rationalization, turning the tables, and gaslighting, are all symptoms of denial. To the addict, their behavior is always everyone else’s fault and they are masters at spinning it so that you might believe it too, if you are not careful. Unless you get help. Please get help, this is too complicated and convoluted to navigate on your own.
If you find yourself in the position of being in a marriage with a sex addict, my heart breaks for you. Please just remember that you are not responsible for healing him! That is his job! Your job is to make sure you are going to be ok. If you cannot sit with your husband in denial, then you have to remove yourself to a safe distance until he comes to his senses. If he has to live in the basement, or if you have to go to your mom’s house or if you have to separate…do it! Do whatever you have to do to maintain your safety. Especially, your mental and emotional safety. I’m not going to lie to you. Sometimes this can take years to see improvement or feel like its getting better. This is the definition of “for better or for worse.” There is no quick fix. The road is long and it is painful! But if you have a husband who is dedicated to you and his recovery it is worth every step to walk that road with him, If you have a husband like this, hold on to him, support him, take his hand and make that journey to healing with him. You will be grateful you did!
To this day, my ex husband will swear he is not an addict. He goes out of his way to find people who will believe him and back him up. He only hears what he wants to hear from therapists, counselors and religious leaders. He chronically cheated on me for the last 3 years with over 20 different women, that I know of. Thankfully for me, I have documented proof of all of it, or I might be tricked into believing him too. Is he an addict? He says no. I say yes. Either way, until he comes out of denial and gets the help he needs, he has proven himself to be an a**hole.