Hi Chump Lady,
What would you do if your husband did the following behaviors in an 11 year marriage (two early elementary kids)? He says this is all that ever happened.
1). Went to the strippers about 15 times since the year we had our kids).
2). Had 4 lap dances where strippers put breasts in his face, and one where he said the woman put his hands on her outer thighs.
3). While away for work, asked a woman on a date (lunch supposedly) and purchased condoms for the “date.” He said they didn’t get together at all, and I was able to confirm this through a third party and texts.
4). Several months later, the woman was in our town and he went to see her (without bringing along his family) at a BBQ.
He says he has never had sex with anyone besides me. He was actually a virgin when we started dating. I’m inclined to believe him, partly because of that. Please help. I always thought my dealbreaker was the sex act specifically, but it seems he really tried to make that hookup happen.
I see a therapist alone, and he is seeing a sex addict therapist weekly. He did read Out of the Shadows and this week started on the workbook.
Confused Chump (am I really a Chump if there was no sex?)
Thank you for the public service announcement on Why It Sucks to Be the Marriage Police.
You’re confirming condom purchases and clandestine lunches through third parties and texts? WTeverlivingF?
Forget what I would do — how do YOU feel? Is this relationship bringing out your best self? Do you feel safe and respected right now? Cherished? Loved?
Stop untangling the skein for a moment, and forget if he’s This or That degree of fucked up, or did his hand graze the thigh past the point of no return. You’re really in deep with what he’s Done and Has Not Done — step back and look at the whole relationship dynamic — is what he’s doing OKAY with you? (Yes, just the incomplete disturbing bits you know about. That’s ENOUGH to know how you feel about it!)
Here is what his behavior is saying: “I like being a skeevy creep. It’s working for me. I have all the comforts of home AND I get to act single. I go to strip clubs. I ask women out on dates. I buy condoms in case I get lucky. I go to barbecues solo.”
Who cares if he has a sex problem? He has an ENTITLEMENT problem.
Are we to award him a bitch cookie for not consummating the date?
The issue here, is that he feels entitled to date while he’s married, to do whatever he likes regardless of your feelings about it. You don’t get to “cheater” without that mindset. He can stop cheating (trust me, the guy is cheating) — but as long as you have this You’re Not The Boss of Me attitude, where you are the Sheriff and he’s a wascally wabbit, you’re doomed. Anyone who wants you to live in this dynamic doesn’t love or respect you. He’s A-okay with this sucking for you and the kids. “His” time and money belong to him, to lavish on potential pussy, or sailboats, or political office, or whatever. It is good to be King! And who are you again?
So now… about that sex.
If there was no sex, why is he seeing a sex addict therapist?
Would you go on a diet for the cookies you might eat?
Anyway, at CN we’re pretty skeptical about sex addiction. As I argue elsewhere, whatever flavor of fucked up it is, get away from it. But you should read this open letter to Patrick Carnes about his methods. Supporting sex addicts and accepting “colluding” status is just more Reconciliation Industrial Complex bullshit. This isn’t a couple problem, it’s a fuckwit problem.
Confused, workbooks don’t cure entitlement. It’s a character problem, and changing character is a long road with iffy odds. Sex (and I’ll wager you all my pinecone elves there was sex. LOTs of sex. And he’s got a burner phone.) shouldn’t be the dealbreaker — him treating you like shit is the deal-breaker.
Please break the deal.