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Really not sure what to do....husband is a sex addict

Community Member

I'm not 100% sure that I'm posting in the right spot but I thought that this post may offend some people, so I shouldn't be posting in the new members area.

To try to cut a very long story short: my husband of 20+ years is a sex addict. When we first moved in together, we had a regular sex life - but looking back on it, not normal. He was always "zoned out", I felt like he wasn't present when we had sex. He was there in person, but certainly not in mind. Within seconds of finishing, he was asleep. He always had his eyes closed, and tried to avoid any kissing, and there was no foreplay at all.

Fast forward a few months, he was pushing me away. He joined Whatsapp and I saw messages on his phone from women younger (after I looked them up on FB) than his daughter (from previous marriage). I told myself that I was stupid for looking at his phone, by the way these messages were coming up on the homescreen. I wasn't unlocking his phone as I didn't know his password.

I realised that something was really off, and I discovered that these messages were all from prostitutes. Some he was in "relationships" with. Buying them gifts, giving them money etc.

I might add that at this point in time, we didn't have a joint bank account. I was continually worried about paying bills and didn't know where all his money was going. He kept telling me that he had to help out his ex-wife or his daughter so I couldn't really question him any further.

I left him once but a couple of days later he got his mother to ring me and beg me to come back. He rationalised everything that had been going on, I now know that he was gas-lighting me.

It got to the point where I had to hire a P.I, I couldn't prove what was going on and I was extremely anxious all the time. I spent thousands having him followed but the PI couldn't catch him. Two days after I sacked the PI, I found proof. Of course, he denied and tried to say I was mad and crazy. I more or less forced him into therapy.

There was individual therapy for both of us, followed by couples therapy for almost two years. Then he cut it all off.

Two years after the therapy ended, I have caught him out again. Screwing prostitutes only several days after the covid restrictions have been somewhat reduced. I have told him to return to therapy or move out immediately. He is going back to see a therapist next week (first available appointment).

I'm running out of space to write but can tell more if anyone asks. I'm stuck ATM - financial reasons

22 Replies 22

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

yes, it’s ok to post here.

I don’t have answers for you however I’d like to ask- can you imagine life without him? What do you think it would be like? What keeps you together?

The reasons might be obvious to you but isn’t clear in your post and having endured such turmoil and ongoing trust issues, I’d like to know more.

Reply anytime


Hi Tony,

up until this episode, I couldn't imagine life without him. I kept telling myself that "I had made my bed and had to lie in it". Even though we aren't married, we have many commitments and I was brought up by my grandmother who has many "traditional values" which she installed in me.

Financial reasons are what keeps us together in my opinion. He doesn't want to lose half of everything again (has been married before), and for me to leave would be difficult. I do work but my income wouldn't cover our mortgage so I couldn't afford to stay here on my own.

There is no trust anymore. The last time that I caught him out, after we went through 2 years of counselling, I was told by the therapists to set boundaries which I did. They were 1) no cash. no cash withdrawals, no spending any money unless receipts were provided to me. 2) continue therapy (didn't happen, and I was too scared to bring it up so he got away with it) 3) delete all social media accounts and block numbers belonging to ex "girlfiends"/prostitutes (doubt this happened, I was too scared to ask to look at his phone).

I do still love him, but am certainly not in love with him.

Another reason why I haven't left is that I feel very isolated. I have no friends of my own anymore, all my friends are wives of his friends and if we split up, I know that he would convince everyone that I was at fault. He would likely tell everyone that I had an affair which could not be further from the truth but he is a master of manipulation and I have no doubt that whatever the case was, I would be made to look like the villain.

At the moment, I'm still in shock. I've been crying almost every minute when I'm on my own but trying to hold it together when he's here. I haven't slept more than a few hours over the past week, I feel like a zombie. It has been awful.

Sorry that my post hasn't been straight-forward. I'm struggling to keep a clear head and write everything in order.

You did very well.

I now understand. We all have various levels of forgiveness and tolerance and it’s your standards that matter.

However, he is breaking your boundaries and clearly set out rules. It is obvious counseling has not worked. What will work? I’d it worth wanting something to work eg giving up on trying?

Your financial situation is part of the reason you are staying. You mentioned the mortgage but would he pay you out if you left?

If you released him to continue his actions as he liked but kept your friendship in tact - could you survive happier than you are now?

Im trying to think of all avenues that you could find a suitable remedy


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi aussiemel

Definitely sounds like there are some trust issues happening and I can't say I blame you for not trusting him, given the history.

Of course, sex means different things to different people. For some it's about love or soulful bonding, for some it's about personal expression and experimenting with getting to know them self and their partner on a different level and for some it's simply about feeling the excitement or the work up. Do you think it's possible your partner falls into that last category? Is it possible he can't feel excited unless he's excited by prostitutes? What I mean is he's excited by the fact these women are prostitutes. Of course, this is a real problem. It means he can't be in an honest relationship with someone unless they're openly in agreement regarding him feeding his fetish. Wondering if you've ever asked him straight out 'What really gets you excited?' You may face him not wanting to admit it, if it involves prostitutes, for fear of losing you. He definitely owes it to you to be honest otherwise this is flat out selfish on his part.

Unless counseling is going to help you both get to the core of what's really going on, trust is probably going to remain an issue in the relationship. My greatest concern involves him not being trusted to wear a condom every time he meets with a prostitute. I fear for your well-being, not just mentally but physically too, in this case. If he doesn't want to let go of his ways, it's up to you to let go of them and him. Completely understandable if the thought of this is upsetting.

I know it's easy for me to say but if you lose the sort of people from your life (so called friends) who are willing to let him trash you whilst they don't step up to support you, like you deserve, it sounds like he and they deserve each other and you're better off without them. Spreading your wings and finding friends who announce they have your back is the way to go.

I feel for you so much aussiemel as you face the irresponsibility and selfishness of someone who should be treating you with more respect and consideration. I believe he should be treating his mum with more respect too. Manipulating her into phoning you, so as to serve himself (as opposed to letting you move on) is questionable behaviour all 'round.

You're strong, full of beauty (beautiful) and deserving of so much better. Don't allow him to disappoint you from the life you deserve. Appoint yourself a life of honesty and self love.


Hi Tony,

It's really hard to explain, but I might add that this week when I confronted him and told him that I knew with certainty where he was one day last week, one of the first things out of his mouth was "are you tracking me now?". I think there's every chance that he has other psychiatric issues going on because he seems to be completely detached from reality a lot of the time. It's as though absolutely everything is compartmentalized.

Another thing, I don't know where he is getting the money from for the prostitutes this time. It certainly hasn't come from our accounts. I'm wondering if he has been siphoning cash out of my purse and saving it up. I don't often have much but I certainly haven't been paying attention lately, I really thought that he might have broken his addiction.

I guess I shouldn't worry about him. That's one of my problems, I always put him ahead of myself. I've just ordered a book called Many Brave Fools. It's about codependency, and I read about it on a psychotherapy website.Time for me to face reality.

It's really hard right now as my emotions are all over the place. I spent a few days in hospital a while back and now I wonder if there were other women in my bed while I was in the hospital. All these little things that are coming into my head about what could have been happening and what has been going on.

Thanks for listening,


Hi Therising,

I asked a lot of questions of him when we were in Couples therapy but he would usually deflect the question or "beat around the bush" so to speak. I'm pretty sure he was playing down how out of control his addiction is.

He told the therapist that the addiction began soon after we had moved in together. Do I believe this? Not anymore. From everything I've read, a middle aged man does not decide to start visiting prostitutes having never been to one earlier in his life. Plus, he said there had been 8 over the entire time and he reeled off their names.

But when I caught him out (this was around 5 years ago), he had a list of names and numbers. Of course when I googled the numbers, they were all prostitutes and I got to read about their features eg 18 years old, size 8 with DD breasts. Reading all that was really not good for me.

Your comment about him wearing a condom all the time is something that I think about regularly. I have told him that he may want to risk his life, but I don't want him risking mine. He brushed that off, more or less laughed.

Unfortunately his mum passed away late last year but in her eyes, he could do nothing wrong. He was the favourite child. As I mentioned earlier, he is a master manipulator.

ATM I'm really sad, I just can't think straight and don't know what to do or where to start. It's all overwhelming me right now.

Thanks for listening,


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Mel

You're definitely in a tough place at the moment (an understatement). I really do feel for you so much, as the decision to leave him would be life changing on a huge scale, with some intense challenges thrown in.

Although our standout issues are different, I can relate to where you're coming from. At the moment I face the question 'Where do I go from here?' in my 18 year marriage. I've worked up to a huge amount of revelations over the last few months. A biggy is the disappointment factor. My husband and I started off as great drinking buddies, where we'd sit around the tv and occasionally go out for lunch or to friends' places and...you guessed it...drink. After having 2 kids (who I absolutely adore), I've discovered my teenage kids have raised me to maturity, responsibility, a new way of perceiving life, a natural love for myself and a life free of depression and self doubt. They've raised me to life in a lot of other ways too. I've changed dramatically but my husband hasn't changed all that much. He sees absolutely nothing wrong with this. While I appoint him partner in excitement, he disappoints himself from this role. While I appoint him the role of he who naturally wonders his way to possibility and a future full of plans and adventure, he has disappointed himself from this role time and time again. While I have cycled 'round and 'round again through distancing myself, to being hooked by his occasional lures of excitement (undertaken out of fear of losing me), to being enthusiastic, to being brought down again, I can see how the years have played out. He says to me, when I'm enthusiastic about the relationship and I challenge him to wonder and be excited and make plans, 'You always do this, you always spoil things'. What I spoil is his comfort zone. I can't naturally be myself around him. He has no idea how depressing his narcissism and comfort zone can be. Mel, I've got no idea where I'm going from here, all I know is that I deserve better and I refuse to tolerate the relationship. Maybe that's all you need to know at this point (you shouldn't tolerate your relationship) and just sit with that for a while. You don't have to make any moves right now. Just get used to the fact you are better than the relationship you're in. Once you get used to it, it might open your mind to some possibilities that pop up regarding the way forward.

I've been through my grieving process. Now I'm excited to love my natural self. Who are you, naturally, Mel?


I don't know who I am anymore. I have changed into a person that I don't recognise. I used to be very happy go lucky, just go with the flow and not worry. I never suffered from anxiety until ten years ago. Now the worries are never ending for me.

If I'm not worried about something financial, I'm worrying about anything and everything, even saying or doing the "wrong thing". Although I have no idea what his triggers are as he has lied in the past. When we were in therapy he said his main trigger was spare cash. Now there is no cash that I can find any trace of, and I believe he is finding women on craigslist or one of the dating apps, but I can't be sure. His phone never leaves his side. He turns if off at night and as soon as he turns it on in the morning, he'll take it everywhere including the bathroom. Plus I don't know his pin.

On many occasions prior to us going to therapy, he would come home drunk and accuse me of all sorts of horrible things, having affairs, fancying other men.

Although those types of things haven't happened recently, I know because of them that I'm much more subdued now and reluctant to go out with him.

I don't have any family support, we've never been close and they are interstate and overseas. I also don't have any close friends to confide in. I know I'm not a weak person but I'm really struggling to find any strength to even think, let alone act at the moment.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Mel

It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if you've been doing all the right or reasonable things. I assume your reasons are often naturally justified

  • If you didn't trust me for some reason and asked to check my phone, I'd hand it over with the pin and encourage you to have no fear, for I am trustworthy
  • If you feared losing control over finances, I would encourage you to speak of your fears and help you manage your way to balance the finances (between responsibility and enjoyment, between incoming and outgoings)
  • If you mentioned you stepped out of the flow in life, I would lead you to wonder what the flow was all about. I would not stop at saying 'Well, that's no good'. What do you remember the flow being like? Did you naturally challenge yourself to flow with the way forward, even if there was some drama in it? Did you not settle for anyone getting in the way of the flow, sabotaging it for their own reasons? Did you naturally dismiss such people as being selfish or thoughtless? Did anyone ever say back then 'Mel, you're a natural'?
  • If you were to take anyone out on the town, would your goal be to bring them to life or would it be to bring them down? I imagine the first is who you naturally are.

I'm wondering whether you were a natural inspirational life changer Mel. Was this a part of your flow? It wouldn't surprise me if you loved bringing people to life, up until about 10 years ago. Wondering what happened 10 years ago, that led to an interruption to your flow. Perhaps there was a challenge that came up, something that challenged who you naturally are. I'm not looking to know, if this is the case. Just leading you to wonder.

I'm assuming you're naturally wonderful (full of wonder of all different types). Wondering helps create the most amazing flow.