My husband is in the midst of what appears to be a major relapse of his sexual addiction, which appears to have been going on for several months. In fact, it now appears that he was clean only briefly, if at all, following his last major relapse just over a year ago. I am devastated.
This will be a very difficult series of posts to write, but I feel that our current situation illustrates some concepts I have wanted to discuss here for some time now. This first post will be an overview of the situation, which is the latest chapter in our story of coping with his addiction and his efforts at recovery. The next few will be more informative discussions of the pattern of escalation, confrontation, breakdown, and recovery in sex addiction relapses, using our situation as an example. I will also try to explore the challenges of coping with the emotional impact of a recovering partner’s relapse, and hopefully I can offer some useful insight.
My suspicions began several months ago with a minor slip on his part. I was sitting beside him as he logged into his email account, and he started to type in a username I did not recognize. He caught himself and mumbled an excuse, and although I accepted it at the time, the incident lingered in the back of my mind. It just didn’t feel right.
A few weeks later, I found a suspicious file on his computer (admittedly, I was snooping) linked to a profile with the username he had begun typing previously, and the explanation he offered seemed shaky at best. My gut feeling screamed at me that something was wrong. In a previous post here, I wrote that a spouse’s instincts are usually correct. Trust that warning voice in your head.
A little research turned up more red flags and more coincidences than I could allow myself to explain away, although I desperately wanted to. I found other profiles under that username; one was on a photo-sharing site he had used for inappropriate activities several times before, one was associated with a woman he had been unfaithful with previously, and at least one had recently used the password he typically uses for these activities.
His reaction has followed a pattern of dismissal, denial, and frustration which has been fairly predictable in past relapses and confrontations. At present, I am very hurt, quite frustrated, and utterly terrified of what he might have been doing since December with those profiles, but in the interest of staying positive, I am trying to focus on the lessons that can be drawn from this situation and the insights that can be shared.