Monday, September 21, 2015


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? 

35 comments:

  1. Glad Devin didn't fit all of those things, because that's a lot. I wonder how many other addictions follow a similar pattern?

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    1. Yes, it was a lot and I wondered when I read the original article just how many he'd have in common with the author and it was more than I expected. I think that most addicts share many of the same traits while they're active in their addiction. Especially lying and manipulating. How else can they keep others around them if they're not lying about what they're doing?

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    2. As an alcoholic I'd agree with the lying... that's the main one - I'll come back to that in a mo.
      The manipulating, a bit no doubt although I still struggle to see that in myself - I still see it as I have a clear vision of what needs doing and I'm just explaining that to the person who needs to help/agree with it. But sometimes subconsciously there is manipulation in there - "You trust me don't you?" etc. Still for me work in progress.
      Personally if you know someone well - we'll assume that is the case for a partner - you will see the side you describe here about Devin - that unconfident, self-concious, self-critic.... my own experience and experience talking with many other alcoholics/addicts over the years is that most of them have these kinds of traits. They don't believe they are worthy overall (as it is one of my hobby horses) it is all about self-worth - they lack it and they often can only see worthiness in themselves when externally judged. That is in terms of job, car, house, family, etc. Or in terms of being liked, adored, considered attractive, flattered.... simply put for me as an alcoholic you give me a compliment my ego soars only to be crushed simultaneously by that crushing lack of self-worth but if you say another quickly enough I'll soon be devoted to you.
      Lying - I said I'd return to it. How do you know an alcoholic is lying? His lips are moving!.... Frankly that isn't even true my experience has been the biggest problem is lying to myself! But lying is so engrained in me that still today 11 years sober a topic comes up and the age old lie I told about that is there on my tongue before I can stop myself because it became my truth, my story, my legend, the you I felt sure you all wanted me to be. I'm much much better these days but again it'll always be work in progress on that one I think.
      Great Post Elsie - glad I sent you the original post I felt sure you'd have something of immense value to say about it

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    3. Thanks, Graham. I appreciate you sending it on after you saw it. It really gave me some food for thought.

      I totally understand what you mean about the praise and then the criticism. Devin has told me countless times that I could give him 100 "attaboys" and while that's all well and good, he doesn't really hear it the way he hears a negative comment. Those attaboys just get wiped out as if they didn't exist for him. He suffers terribly from low self-esteem and sometimes it's hard to remember that. I also agree about lying to ones self. I do it too and I've been sober for how long? But I still manage to find a way to deceive myself about something things. Thank you again!

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  2. He's sure come a long way hasn't he?! I'm so happy for both of you guys.

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    1. He definitely has come a long way in the last five years. It's amazing. Thanks!

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  3. You know what to look for now and that's probably half the battle. From that list, I'd have to say my husband is the polar opposite.

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    1. Yes, I'm definitely more aware of things now than I was before disclosure. Slowly Devin is becoming the opposite of that list too. It's a work in progress for sure :)

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  4. Fascinating the signs that come along with this. I wouldn't have assumed lying over small things or being overly confident would link to sex addiction. I'm sure it's helpful to have something like this, though, not as a way of being paranoid/suspicious, but as a way of identifying potential patterns.

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    1. From what I've heard other spouses say about their partners, the overly confident thing is fairly common but I think it leans towards narcism. At least that's my guess. For Devin it was completely the opposite. Just goes to show how different everyone is and we're not all cookie cutter cases. Having this is helpful for sure!

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  5. I guess it is the same with anything, not all signs fit everyone equally, but if enough are there than your gut is probably right.

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    1. I'm a firm believer in trusting your gut instinct. It rarely fails me and that kept me sane during times of chaos.

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  6. I have found that, if something doesn't seem right to you, it probably ISN'T right.

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    1. Same here, Al. I think we're given that gift of instinct for a reason and it's wise to listen to us. Especially when it's screaming.

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  7. It's great to read stuff that gets us thinking. As long as it's not over-thinking and taking over the day. That kind of thinking is a huge waste of a otherwise, lovely day.

    Wishing you the best. Cheers and boogie boogie.

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    1. I love reading things that inspire thinking. But you're right. Who wants to obsess over anything. Not me! Have a great day, Ivy :)

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    2. No, you don't have the time. You've got a brand new novel ready to break into the great big world. Far more exciting things to think about.

      Wishing you THE BEST!

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  8. I'm always amazed at the things we know. I was watching Dr. Oz with mom the other day and this woman was saying that our brain often knows things before we do. On a conscious level. They had a study with people playing cards. There were two decks people could draw from. The red or black deck. The red deck was loaded to provide good cards, winning cards. The black deck was loaded to lose. After a minimal amount of card draws (12 or 14) people started to sweat when they drew from the black deck. It took them much longer to "know" that they black deck was just going to be bad. I think it was around 50 card draws that they "knew" it. So we know things on two levels. That tells me we should always trust our gut.

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    1. That study is amazing. It's almost like they wanted to sense it but didn't want to admit. I can relate to that. I sensed there was something wrong longer than I ever thought I would. I think it was a mixture of gut instinct (God) and me being in some pretty deep denial. I didn't trust myself that what I knew to be true was true. That what I was seeing really was.

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  9. The last thing that got me thinking- and will soon crystalize into a Sunday post soon- was a pastor who was going through a deal with his wife that led him to Listen to God that the problem between he and her- the horizontal- couldn't be fixed until the damage was repaired between him and God- the vertical. The quote that got me: "I realized the only time I was in the Word was when I was trying to write a sermon." Which set me upon a debate with myself that concluded with my stating to myself- I need to ask God to help me REMOVE my sins, not just "put a polish on them".

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    1. I love to read your Sunday posts. There are so reflective and insightful. Definitely one of my favorite things that you do at your blog. And I have to agree with the pastor. I used to only be in my Faith while I was praying. It's much easier to live your Faith in a few moments than it is to turn those moments into days, weeks, months, and years.

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  10. Such painful stuff to read about. I'm dealing with a mother who has dementia but also has addiction issues (alcohol not sex. Whew.) But it's the same heartbreaking thing. It's just crazy how hard wired addiction is in some people.

    And *waves* to you Elsie. Haven't been around on the blogs much, but still thinking about you and everyone else. :)

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    1. I cannot tell you how awesome it is to see you, Lu. Really good! I'm so sorry about all that you're going through with your mom. My mom has dementia too. She's had it for over fifteen years. It's such a painful disease to watch progress. Hugs to you! You need them!

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  11. Wow this is interesting. Lots of reads get me thinking, but one book in particular still pops in my head despite the fact I read it years ago. It's called the 19th Wife. It's very interesting and leaves you thinking.

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    1. Just took a quick peek at the book. Looks interesting. A book I read moons and moons ago that sticks with me is When Rabbit Howls. Oh My Gosh - it's haunting.

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  12. Elsie I think you have a good instinct and you are smart, and we know some things is really true.
    Always I think this was really painful for you. And I think you are a brave woman.
    I believe in instinct too and sometimes all say some thing and we dont want believe . This happens me with a friend and I trust in this friend but I noticed he wasn´t.
    Send you hugs and love always. A big hufg dear :)

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    1. Gloria!!!! So good to see you. I hope you're doing well. I'm doing great. Life is treating me good, real good. I'm not a brave woman at all. Just someone who really loves her husband and had enough patience to navigate through his addiction with him. Well, mostly patient. Not always :) Hugs, my friend!!

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  13. Yeah there are so many things in life that we just know, there is no explaining how we know we just do

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    1. I really think it's God that gives us our instincts. Must be, right?

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  14. I'm hearing about this more and more. It's a shame how many marriages are being ruined by sex addiction. You're brave to post about it. Good for you.

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    1. Unfortunately, I'm hearing about it a lot more as of late. It seems that the Internet has really complicated matters and the accessibility is insane. If you've got an addictive personality, it's only logical it could have an adverse reaction. Thanks for the kudos. Not brave…probably more naive than anything else :)

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  15. I honestly think we all struggle with something--some people's "things" are much more difficult than others. Sex addiction has to be especially difficult, especially for the spouse/significant other of the person.

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    1. I'd say this is definitely a more personal addiction as far as addictions go. It's hard to wrap your head around the fact that the serial affairs are a symptom of the disease. Really hard.

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  16. That’s something sure to trouble the marriage life... sex is a part of life and it’s right or wrong depend on the situation, health and everything becomes an addict if cross the limit.

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    1. Well, you know that saying - everything in moderation, right? It's a toughie on the marriage, that's for sure.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.