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Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.
Is your question whether you should continue with the marriage or stick to your plan to have him leave?
It sounds as though you don't trust him (for obvious reasons) and that you don't want the marriage to continue unless you CAN trust him. What does he have to do for you to be able to trust him, do you think?
He's been behaving in this way most of his adult life, you say. So what would make him commit to changing something he's been doing his whole life?
You say he went to therapy. Is he getting any treatment right now? If so, what type? How is it going?
If not, when was the last treatment? What type of treatment was it? Was it helpful?
Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.
Dr. Mark, I would like to know if I should stay with him. I do not know if it is worth putting in the work and effort for something that will never be. I am 51 years old and do not want to spend the rest of my healthy life being suspicious, afraid of what he might do, and wasting away in a "not the best" relationship when I could find the a man that will respect me.
I really do not know what he would need to do for me to trust him. I waited a year after he cheated on me, just to make sure he was going to be faithful. That still did not stop him from going on the porn sites and to strip clubs (although he promised me he would not do any of that before we got married).
He went to several sex addiction sessions in 2009 before we got married. He improved after the session and did not go on porn sites for a good while. He did not go out to places like clubs. He did not continue the sessions or complete the steps because he did not like the sessions. He said they consisted of people who were rapist, pedophiles and similar, of which he said he is nothing like that. He did have a deep assessment of himself and realized that he did not want the old lifestyle that he once had.
I was suspcious for the past year and never really got to the point of trusting him 100%. We had our first anniversary in May of last year. We did not argue or have any problems in the bedroom or otherwise, which he also admitted to. So why would someone risk a new marriage by going to strip clubs, watching porn, etc after being married only one year. I have a feeling that he went to strip clubs during the day before our first anniversary because I was working out of town. I caught him at a strip club last month during the day. He bought a sweat shirt and took his wedding band off. He had done this several times last year too.
I sat down the other day and asked that he and I spend time ready the bible, praying and communicating more instead of wasting so much time watching television, etc. I believe we need to be on the same spiritual plane and invest in studying and fulfilling our roles. He spends so much time watching sports, politics, talking to his friends. He has not made an attempt to do what I recommended.
This is his 3rd marriage. He was married for approx. 6 years, and then approx. 2 years. I was married one time before for 25 years. My ex-husband never cheated on me and vice versa.
We recently went to one couseling session at a church and had an appointment to go back a couple of weeks ago, but was a little late and the couselor had left.
So, after saying all of this, what should I do?
Thank you for the added information. It helps a lot. I believe I can now be of help with this issue.
First, let me say your added information was very eloquently stated and gave an even greater sense of the anguish and pain you have been undergoing. It is clearly getting to unbearable levels in order to bear the strain of your husband's addiction problems.
And this is the key to my answer to you. I am going to say what I think you know within yourself, but need to hear it from a professional:
Your husband is not committed to getting better. And if he WERE committed to getting better, that wouldn't be a guarantee that he would succeed any better than when he was committed the first time you threatened to leave and waited a year. Why?
Well, first because addictions are not so easy and sex addiction is one of the toughest given that our society sells sex everywhere all the time. And second, because as soon as he has some success, you relax. And as soon as you relax, he goes "off the wagon", or back to the clubs in his case.
And that is untenable. You can't live your life in a constant state of alert, like you're the FBI watching over his virtue to make sure he doesn't do something wrong. That's not a life for you.
Let us say that instead of chasing the women, instead of the thrill of the chase, that your husband used alcohol to numb himself from himself and his inner spiritual, psychological anxiety about being himself alive in the world. Because that is what alcohol achieves: it numbs all that. And that is what the chase does for him, it numbs all that. Just like alcohol is not for the pleasure of the taste of the whiskey for the alcoholic, the infidelity is not for the pleasure of the orgasm for the sex addict. It is for the numbing.
That's why 2 wives later, he still is behaving the same way with you, wife number 3.
I wish I could tell you that the alternative is easy. That once you see that sex is just like an alcohol bottle for him, or given his past, drugs, that I could show you a quick fix for everything and you aren't going to have difficult choices to make. But it isn't so and life doesn't work like that. Your husband was an addict, was clean for quite a long time with you, and relapsed. He has not faced this reality AT ALL. He thinks that just because sex is all over this society it is somehow more socially accepted and so it is not a relapse of his addictions. Well he's bringing himself down with this illusion and you are sinking as well.
I know I'm being very open and honest but your pain is so intense and you are such a nice and good person and I want to help you and illusions have been a problem here for too long. So I have to tell you how it is in reality: your husband is fooling himself. He has had a relapse of his addictive behavior and he is giving himself into the cycle of addiction: use, get caught, repent, repeat.
And so you have to decide if you can live with an addict. So is it better to stay or to leave? I cannot tell you. You love him. You have a lot invested in the marriage. But you are a human being and you have a right to not be enabling addiction and to not have his addiction take over your life.
Okay, I don't know whether to tell you to leave or to stay. But I want to help you by giving you the real view of what's going on and the parameters for your decision making. I wish you the very best!
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Thank you so much for your answer. You have hit the nail on the head. I would like to add that my husband married the second wife because she was pretty and he was looking for a step-mother for his children, who are living with his first wife. The second wife was kind of ditsy, young and had no clue how to be a mother. He is now looking to get custody of his youngest son, 16 years old. I am a mother of 4 beautiful children and a grandma of 2 children.
I asked him if he was just trying to make a good family setting by marrying me. He is very intelligent and probably had been planning this, as well. He saw my motherly, good, caring, heart and has been taking advantage of me.
I would like to add that I to have great looks (not bosting), but am a very faithful, intelligent and loving. My husband said he went to the strip clubs because he was being egotistical. He was upset that I did not change my bank account name to my marital name. He says that is disrespectful to a man because I am not 100% in the marriage. I told him had one foot out because I was not sure what he might do. He said this is what has been driving him to do that in addition to me taking a excellent paying job out of town not long after we got married. How does that sound?