Is This a Sex Addiction?

Ms. Vicki

Ms. Vicki --

When my sailor husband and I first started dating, I lived in Florida and he lived in California. I moved to be with him and very shortly after found out that he had been cheating on me with two other women.

I forgave him after some time, and he cut all ties with both women. We got married last year.

I then started seeing porn sites and chat sites on his computer. He said that I wasn’t giving him enough attention and sex so he felt like he had to look for it elsewhere.

We started trying to rebuild our emotional and physical problems. We went home to Florida on vacation, and I got the shock of my life.

While we were there, my sister informed me that my husband had been texting her, sending her pictures of his private parts and trying to get her to sleep with him.

I confronted him, and he said that he had a sex problem. He apologized over and over, saying that he needed help.

I was not going to go back to California with him. At the very last moment, I did because I wanted so badly for my marriage to work.

I kept telling myself I would regret it if I didn’t try.

Then I found out that he had been trying to sleep with his ex-wife.

We haven’t even been married for a year, Ms. Vicki. I love him with everything that I am. I moved away from my family in Florida. I have no one here to talk to or to confide in.

I’m left feeling alone and with nowhere to turn. But I can’t keep putting myself through this.

He keeps saying that we aren't the way that he feels we should be -- more love, more attention, more sex. I try, but it seems like it’s never enough.

I don’t know if he has a sex addiction, if it’s me, or if he just doesn’t want to be married. He says that he loves me and wants to be married, and he does show it a lot of times.

Sometimes, I think that he has been in the military for so long that he doesn’t know how to have a true, real relationship with me because most of his military friends cheat, lie and don’t care about these things.

I try to make him understand that he is going to lose me one day. And that day is going to come very soon if he doesn’t change his ways. Is this something that counseling can fix? Or am I just in a hopeless marriage?

-- Stay or Leave

Dear Stay or Leave,

This is serious. After one year of marriage, you are miserable. Your husband has robbed you of your life as you once knew it.

Now you are married to a guy who could have a sex addiction. He could also just be a selfish man who doesn’t care who he hurts to get what he wants.

Your self-esteem is low because he makes you feel like his problems are all your fault. He tells you if only you would be a better wife -- more attentive, more loving, more sexual, more attractive -- he would not stray.

Still, your husband is flirting and sexting with everyone, including your sister! That’s totally inappropriate.

Here’s the deal: People with addictions will risk everything to keep that addiction going. They put everything in jeopardy (e.g., marriages and other relationships, careers etc.). But people who are not addicted sometimes do the same things.

Trust me, you can’t watch your husband enough or keep an eye on him enough to stop him from cheating. He will do what he wants to do.

I think he needs counseling. It sounds like he has a hole in his heart and he is using other people to fill it up.

You are in a dilemma. It’s important that you make him responsible for his actions and for getting counseling. You also need to talk to a counselor who can help you decide on your next course of action.

-- Ms. Vicki

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Family and Spouse Marriage