A couple of weeks ago one of my blogger buddies, Graham, sent me an article he saw online written by Brian Whitney, a sex addict. It really got me thinking. I love when someone's writing can make me do that. It made me realize that while we’re all different, couples going through sex addiction can share many similarities.
The first thing the article said to be on the lookout for is lying. About everything. Yep. Devin fit the bill. He lied to me about the tiniest of things not just the biggies. As Devin worked on his sobriety, the lying continued. It was so engrained in him, he had to make a conscious effort to stop.
Cheating was the next thing Whitney discussed. Sure, lots of guys cheat, but does that make them sex addicts? In most cases the answer is no. Some are just narcissists. But others are addicts. You have to look for additional signs. In Devin’s case, cheating occurred as his addiction escalated.
Next on Whitney’s list was the lack of long-term relationships. Here is where Devin differed from the author. Devin’s first marriage lasted eleven years and he never cheated on her. (Yes, I wondered why but that’s a post for another day). After the marriage failed, Devin found online dating and the seed of the addiction was planted.
Excessive masturbation was another red flag. All I can say to this is: Ding, ding, ding! I wasn’t aware how compulsive the behavior was until after disclosure of his sex addiction. He hid it that well. And it’s still something he struggles with when he’s not in a healthy state of mind.
Whitney also warned about kinky stuff in the bedroom. This was never an issue with Devin. I was more into risqué stuff than he was. For him, it was more of a fantasy than reality. I don’t think he wanted to picture his wife, the one woman he didn’t objectify, in that light.
The article also warned about secrecy regarding cell phones and computers. Again, this one hits home when it came to Devin. His phone was never in the house. It was always on the charger in his truck and I didn’t have a key. While his computers weren’t locked down, he did click out of whatever he was looking at when I walked in the room. It took a long time, and his descent into his addiction, before I started catching him closing out porn sites. Thank God those days are over. It took months for me not to trigger when I heard the click of his mouse.
The next warning Whitney discusses is someone who is extremely confident and controlling sexually. Devin doesn’t even come close to this description. His low self-esteem carried itself into the bedroom along with other areas in his life. He was far from confident and continues to be his own worst critic.
Another thing to be aware of is flirtation. I’m not sure Devin fit this bill except when he was at the worst in his addiction. From what I read in his emails to other women, he did not so much master the art of flirtation as he did being just plain blunt and crossing boundaries. And trust me, there are plenty of women out there who don’t mind what kind of attention they’re getting as long as they’re getting something.
Another indicator you're involved with a sex addict Whitney warns against is manipulation. Devin was a master manipulator and was able to turn things around on me in a matter of seconds. Before long I wouldn’t know if I was coming or going and was more than willing to take the blame for whatever was wrong.
Lastly, the article says if you think you’re partner is a sex addict, they may just be. I have to agree with Whitney. Most people don’t wonder if they’re spouse is an addict. Whether it’s porn, masturbation, and/or multiple affairs, if you’re questioning the compulsiveness of it, go with your gut because it’s probably right.
What have you read lately that really got you thinking?