My husband has been “sober” for the past five months, and is finally starting to prepare with his therapist for a disclosure. That’s when the sex addict sits down with his partner and tells everything: all the sexual acting out, all the lies to cover it up. He has to do this without making an excuses, without explaining mitigating circumstances, in front of one or both therapists, by reading a formal statement. And I am supposed to sit there, listen, and ask clarifying questions at the end.
In the very beginning, when I first caught my husband and, about a week later, learned of sex addiction for the first time, I read everything I could get my hands on. I heard about the disclosure process and found numerous warnings to partners from certified sex addiction therapists and other partners who had traveled this road before. Sure, I might think I already knew everything my husband had done. I might think he had told me the full truth. But chances were good, they wrote, that there was still more, perhaps worse things, he had done, that I did not know about and that would shake me all over again.
Thanks a lot, guys. So I sat my husband down and told him that I refuse to be lied to anymore. I told him I was sure he was still lying to me, and that I understood how scary it must be for him, that I empathized with his fear of losing his family and needing to move out, of never being loved or accepted if he was known in entirety — but that I refused to accept being lied to.
I picked a day two weeks from then and told him that he needed to tell me EVERYTHING by that afternoon. When that Saturday came, he got home from his 12-step meeting and asked if we could talk. And he did tell me about several other instances of acting out that I had not known about before. Then he swore that he had told me the full truth.
But none of the things he told me involved what, in my mind, would be the most devastating. He said he had never been sexual with any other person for real, physical, in-person intercourse, and that everything had been sex with himself (masturbation), or over the internet (and that there had been no video- or image-sharing, either). Well, this seemed, and still seems, a bit “too good to be true.” From what I had read about the tendency of sex addiction to be ever-escalating, it seemed unlikely that a man in his mid-thirties would not have acted out more than he was claiming.
As the months have passed since that day, I have to admit that I do “get the feeling” that he is telling the truth about this. It isn’t so much that I trust him, but more so that I trust my own intuition and “gut feeling” about his honesty. In the past, when he was lying, I had a bad feeling that something was not quite right, and told him so. This time, I am convinced that, at the very least, he believes what he is saying is true.
So the nauseating anxiety I felt in the past about he disclosure is gone. I feel nervous, but also peaceful. I have firm boundaries and although I dread certain outcomes because of how painful they will be to me, and more especially, how they could devastate my children, I feel prepared. I will write again as the disclosure approaches some time in the next month or two, and I promise to update afterward and let you know the outcome. My husband will also be taking a polygraph so that I can have some peace of mind.
If you went through the disclosure process, how did it go for you? How did you feel about it afterward?