I remember one rough period when I just couldn’t seem to do anything to make my husband happy. I didn’t know at the time that an affair he was having was breaking up. I just knew that he was angry with me. Underneath I felt that something was wrong, but I just tried to cope by accepting him with his quirks.
As time went on, though, I became more and more suspicious that he was seeing another woman. My own “acting out” really started to pick up then. I went through his wallet, his car, and checked up on things. I discovered the name of the person with whom he was involved. When I found out that my husband had taken our three-year-old son to her home, I even questioned my child and found out where she lived. I went to her house expecting my husband to be there and, indeed, caught him trimming her lawn. My denial was so strong that I believed him when he told me she was just a good friend, but I got suspicious again when I was in the hospital giving birth to our second child. His parents remarked that he was coming home rather late, and then I remembered that the woman he had the affair with lived across the street from the hospital. When I got out of the hospital, I alleviated the devastating pain by checking up again. I hired detectives to give me hard evidence that he could not deny. My obsession was so great that the detectives said, “Don’t snoop anymore. You’re going to ruin things for us!” But I couldn’t stop.
I continued to focus so much on his sexaholic behavior that I couldn’t pay as much attention to my children as I should have. For example, one time my son wanted to go to the pool, but I was expecting the detectives to call. I told my son we had to wait. To pass time he innocently began singing a song, but in my obsession, his singing drove me crazy. I just lost it, grabbed him and screamed at him to stop.
My unmanageability was growing, so I confronted my husband and served him with divorce papers. I couldn’t tolerate the relationship any more. But he begged me to stay. I gave him a bottom line: “If we are going to stay together, we’re going to see a couples counselor, you’re going to cut up your credit cards, I am going to give you an allowance, you are going to call me before you leave work and I’m going to give you a reasonable amount of time to get home.”
My efforts to control the situation seemed to go O.K. at first, but after five months I started getting suspicious again. I called the detectives and found out my husband had saved up his allowance for weeks and had gone to a motel with the other woman at lunch time. I finally realized that I couldn’t control him. I despaired; I didn’t know what to do. It was then that my Higher Power entered our lives in the form of a person who helped us find the SA and S-Anon fellowships.
I came to S-Anon hoping to find answers. I wanted to know the statistics on his chances of acting out again and how soon it was going to be. Though I didn’t find statistics, I did find a supportive group who gave me unconditional love, acceptance and understanding. At a gut level they understood my situation like no one else could — not the therapist I was seeing, not my sisters, not my friends. I was in so much pain, and I was so angry. The group helped me to see that I cannot control a sexaholic’s behavior and that I am powerless over trying to control him. Today, with the help of this fellowship and the Twelve Steps, I am happy. I am grateful to have this program and to be in this relationship with a recovering sexaholic. I also am excited and hopeful for the futures of my children, perhaps the ultimate recipients of what I’m doing today.
Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, pages 7-9.