Wives of Sex Addicts Seek Support After Suffering in Silence

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As for Michele, she said she knew her husband was a sex addict before she married him.

"But I did not understand addiction," she said. "I was young and overlooked that. In fact, sometimes, I even participated. I would watch porn with him sometimes and actually helped him purchase some items for cross-dressing."

Growing up in a large family with a mother who was ill most of the time, Michele said, "To this day, I struggle with feeling I did not get enough love."

Michele's husband was a "lost child" in the family dynamic who helped care for his siblings and didn't get of his mother's attention.

She later learned in therapy that in marital couples, "healthy attract healthy, and unhealthy attracts unhealthy."

"My self esteem was kaput," she said. "I also got a lot out of the relationship, because we were like ships passing in the night. I was free to be totally unaccountable. I could spend money as much as I wanted and go to parties. I was able to do anything I wanted. It's the bribe."

She finally realized something was wrong when their daughter, then in middle school and looking for printer paper in the family office, found her father's stack of porn magazines.

"That was the breaking point," said Michele. "I confronted him and his response was to get mad at her -- that she shouldn't be looking through the desk."

After other pornography incidents, Michele demanded a separation, but her husband continued to blame her. Eventually, he agreed to try therapy, where he was required he talk to a support counselor, abstain from pornography and take a polygraph test.

"Ultimately, he did all three and he has not had any porn ever since," said Michele. She knows, because he agreed to sign up for Covenant Eyes, a computer program that tracked her husband's every move online.

"He's come a long way to being much more able to be emotionally intimate to understand and care about my needs," she said."Things are better than they have ever been."

He also continues to participate in a support group, and Michele now serves as a group facilitator after completing the 12-step program.

"Many women who come to group need to know that with both partners in recovery the chances for their marriage healing is great," she said. "I love telling the women that come to our group that there is hope. Some can actually make it through this. I did."

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