Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Interview with Dr. David Ley, ‘The Myth of Sex Addiction’ author

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email
the myth of sex addiction

Anyone dealing with a “sex addict”? I thought this interview with Dr. David Ley, the major debunker of sex addiction, was worth a rerun. My advice stands — whatever flavor of fucked up you call it — please get away from it.

***

Today we’re speaking with Dr. David Ley, a clinical psychologist and author of The Myth of Sex Addiction. Dr. Ley is an outspoken opponent of the pseudo-science and hype surrounding “sex addiction.”

As many of the readers here had cheaters who were diagnosed SAs (and probably have the thousands of wasted therapy dollars to prove it), I thought you would appreciate Dr. Ley’s sex positive but own-your-shit perspective.

CL: Do “sex addiction” therapists have to have any particular sort of licensing? Who can call themselves a sex addiction specialist?

DL: Sex addiction “treatment” is an unlicensed, unregulated industry. Some sex addiction therapists are licensed mental health professionals, such as counselors or social workers. Mental health licensing boards have not yet come down on these therapists for practicing an “experimental,” unsupported, undiagnosed treatment, but they might. Especially as many such therapists are engaged in treating “same sex attractions” as a form of addiction.

In other words, some of these patients’ sexual behaviors include homosexual activity, in video stores, etc. Sex addiction therapists often characterize such homosexual desires as a form of illness, and work to suppress it. This is a form of conversion or reparative therapy, banned by most professional associations. Licensed therapists doing this are likely to start seeing licensing complaints and malpractice suits.

But, most sex addiction treatment occurs in unlicensed settings, from:

  • “Coaches” who are former sex addicts who have embraced the model of sex addiction treatment to help themselves, and now sell that service to others, often online. There is no regulation of these folks. They often have no liability insurance, supervision, and have no requirements to protect confidentiality or treat people ethically.
  • 12-step groups – including SA, SLA, SAA, etc. There’s a proliferation of these. These are peer-led. There’s no regulation or monitoring of them. Each varies significantly, in theory and practice. Some ban anything except heterosexual monogamy, including masturbation. Other groups are more “flexible” about what constitutes unhealthy sexual behaviors.
  • Residential treatments – these are residential recovery centers, which charge cash for sex addiction treatment. They often claim to bill insurance, but because sex addiction is not a recognized disorder, such treatments aren’t covered by insurance. Such centers are rarely closely regulated. Recent exposes about such rehab facilities are proliferating in the media, for good reason. Typically, they provide 12-step based treatments.

It’s incredibly important to know that there is absolutely NO evidence that any of these sex addiction treatments are effective, in reducing sexual behavior problems, improving relationships, etc. So, it’s unethical in my opinion for any of these folks to provide or charge people for such services, without making it clear to the patient that these treatments are unsupported by literature or medicine. They are “experimental” and frankly, comparable to treatments such as homeopathy. These treatment providers are usually well-intended, and genuinely are trying to be helpful. But that doesn’t prevent them from causing therapeutic harm. 

CL: Is there a connection between sex addiction and personality disorder? Instead of I’m a poor sausage who is a slave to his urges, how about I’m an entitled horndog who is fully cognizant of what he’s doing and lacks empathy for his partners?

DL: There’s a really strong connection here, in two ways:

  • Substantial research has demonstrated that as many as 30-70% of alleged sex addicts may have a diagnosable personality disorder such as Narcissistic PD, Antisocial, or Borderline. You can imagine how such problems could have a sexual component, in a variety of ways. It raises the very real problem of diagnosing/treating sexuality as the problem, when the reality is, the problem is the person themselves. These people don’t behave selfishly just in sex. They have lots of other problems. Diagnosing sex addiction in such cases is the equivalent of diagnosing “sneezing disorder” in someone who has a cold. It’s dangerous, and distracting, and reflects our society’s fear and mistrust and obsession with sex.
  • Secondly, it’s important to know some of the numbers here. Roughly 90% of sex addicts are males. About half of these males in treatment are white men who make over $85k a year. What does that mean? It implies the strong possibility that in these men, what we are seeing is a form of sexual privilege. Wealthy, powerful men have always had the privilege to engage in infidelity, have a harem, etc. But, starting in the 80’s we started applying the same rules to men as we do for women, as a result of the feminist revolution. And suddenly, we have a “disorder” that explains and excuses these selfish sexual misbehaviors.

CL: Does it matter what flavor of fucked up it is? If someone is behaving this destructively and risking your health and emotional well-being, isn’t the healthy thing to get away from it? Does it need a name? (Or does giving it a “syndrome” keep partners stuck?) 

DL: I’ve heard from many wives and partners who stayed with spouses who treated them dishonestly around sex, in part because the wives bought into the sex addiction excuse. One woman told me, “it was easier to believe he had a disease, than to believe he was merely treating and my safety in such selfish ways.” I’ve seen countless other women who told me that the “sex addiction identity” became their husband’s justification and explanation for all their sexual choices, and that it became impossible to get their husbands to assume responsibility for their behaviors or their consequences.

However, and this is the one caveat I will really give to the sex addiction model – it does give people who are struggling some sense of peace, resolution or mastery, to be able to “name their problem.” For some people, saying “aha, that’s my problem, I’m addicted to sex,” gives them a way to begin working on their behaviors or problems. Unfortunately, in my view, it’s a deceptive and not very effective strategy, that depends on externalizing one’s sexual desires, rather than increasing one’s personal understanding and acceptance.

CL: Let’s say SA is an addiction — then why doesn’t the same advice apply to partners of other addictions? In addiction literature, you are taught the 3 C’s — didn’t cause it, can’t control it, can’t cure it. But partners of sex addicts are encouraged (guilted?) into owning their part (“colluding”) and supporting the SA through expensive therapy. Why is that?

DL: Well, few things I’ll say:

  • There is NO evidence that such men cannot control their sexual behaviors. In fact, there’s a wealth of research showing that they have as much self-control as any other person, even though they often believe they have difficulty controlling themselves. I think this is evidence of a disturbing self-fulfilling prophecy. They present themselves as people who have difficulty controlling their impulses and desires, but there’s no evidence that they actually do.
  • There’s a radical difference between “choosing not to exert self-control,” and “being out of control.” Most sex addicts appear to be people who choose not to exert control over their sexual behaviors. I believe that’s a problem of personal responsibility and understanding of one’s sexual desires/needs, not an addictive disorder.
  • Much research indicates that so-called sex or porn addiction is most often an indicator of high libido. Sex/porn addicts “look” just like high libido people in much of the good experimental research. But, many of these self-identified addicts also have moral/religious/family/social conflicts about sexuality. So, they are people who grew up in an environment where sexuality is shamed and suppressed, but they are a person who responds strongly to sex. It makes sense that they would identify and understand that as an addiction, because they haven’t been taught to understand and accept their own sexuality. (As said before, they are often also bisexual men, who treat their homosexual desires as an addictive impulse to be suppressed.)
  • This libido mismatch/conflict appears to often be at root of wives labelling their husband as a sex addict. I saw one man who was married three times. First two wives, and the couples’ therapists they saw, all labelled him as a sex addict. He really, really wanted to be a swinger. His first two wives refused, and said his obsessive interest was an addiction. Third wife cured him. How? She was a swinger. So, the point is, “too much sex” is a relative term, which varies by social and relational context.
  • Finally, there is a group who advocate for something they call “Sex Addiction Induced Trauma” where they are literally trying to diagnose PTSD in the wives of these men who’ve been treating. While I understand and empathize with the devastation and emotional pain that comes from such a revelation and the dishonesty of one’s partner, calling this trauma, or a disorder, is disturbing. So, now, a person with a fictional disorder has created another fictional disorder in other people, as a result of their behaviors. Where does this stop? We don’t get to just make up a disorder to label every problem out there, especially when there are already really good explanations and labels out there.
  • I encourage husbands and wives to sit down and have a really good discussion about infidelity, sexual desires, libido, etc. Unfortunately, in our heteronormative, monogamy-idealizing society, these people with high libido have no real room to say, “Hey, I’ve got a high libido, and sometimes sex with one person might not be enough for me. Is that something we can deal with?” This is where porn, open relationships, fantasy, role play, etc., can all come into play, to help partners resolve these issues from a place of understanding, mutual respect, compromise and personal responsibility. Personally, I think that’s a lot better than saying, “It’s not my fault, my sexual desires are an addiction and I can’t control them.”

CL: PTSD is a real thing, isn’t it? It seems to be recognized by therapists as a legitimate reaction to discovering infidelity. Having experienced the discovery of a disordered person’s double life I had the shakes, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, vomiting, triggers. Honestly, I don’t know many people who discover infidelity that don’t experience major trauma from it for months. I can’t speak to SAIT, but it would stand to reason these people do a lot of damage to their spouses and then they’re encouraged to stay with them and take more abuse. 

Why do you think their partners don’t have PTSD? My advice would be, whatever its label, recognize the situation isn’t good for you. If staying with this person makes you physically sick? Get far away from it. 

DL: PTSD is defined as trauma and lasting impact (over 3-6 months) from a life-threatening situation, rape, death, etc. The emotional devastation from infidelity is real. But it’s not a disorder. As hard as it is, it’s a normal reaction to an awful situation, just like grief is a normal reaction to a normal, but devastating loss. We shouldn’t medicalize this.

I think we’re mostly in agreement on the character issue. I believe that character and personal responsibility comes from acceptance and understanding of one’s own needs, including sexual, and treating others with respect — not treating others as though their needs matter less than our own.

But, I often point out that the character/moral issue of infidelity is one that is heavily influenced by social standards. In the US, we’ve identified infidelity as an overriding moral/character issue. Once a person cheats, it becomes the overriding variable regarding their morality. Other cultures take different views of infidelity. Some ignore it, some don’t like it, but accept it as one of the many human flaws. The big point for me here though, is these are moral issues, not medical ones. Society and morality can oppose infidelity, and define it as overriding. That’s fine, I’m not arguing it. But they shouldn’t be allowed to pretend that these moral issues are actually medical issues.

On that – there are many religious groups, like the LDS, the XXX Church, Focus on the Family, who use addiction language to masquerade their moral attacks against porn, masturbation, and homosexuality. It conceals their true intentions, and conveys a sense of altruism and beneficence, and confuses people into thinking they are getting healthcare, when actually they are getting moral preaching.

CL: I think we are in complete agreement on personal responsibility and communicating your sexual needs. Especially the “I can’t do monogamy” talk.  

However, you’re making an argument a lot of people make on infidelity, that it is a “monogamy” problem or a high sex drive problem. I argue cheating is a character problem. It’s an entitlement problem. 

Swingers get cheated on too. Every arrangement has boundaries. The whole “he married a swinger and everything was fine” narrative might work for that guy, but it ignores the major problem with cheaters — they violate agreed upon rules. 

By your own writing, you say 40-70 percent of SAs are personality disorders. These are people who get high off deceit. They PREFER the un-level playing field. 

I fear we do great damage to chumps when we focus on the sex drive and monogamy issue, and avoid the character problem. If the chump stays stuck on upping their bedroom skills or winning back the cheater by “improving” their “inadequacies,” they’re playing a rigged game. 

DL: Relationship issues involved in infidelity, around honesty, communication, respect, boundaries and negotiation are absolutely real, important issues. I wouldn’t like to be cheated on, deceived, or treated as though my feelings or needs don’t matter. I see such people in therapy and support them in dealing with it. But, those feelings aren’t inherently a disorder, and the “bad actors” in these situations aren’t necessarily mentally ill. I think at some point the mental health profession has to stop labeling as a disorder all the things that hurt and cause problems. Pain is a normal part of life. Getting rid of pain leaves people more vulnerable. The pain of being cheated on and hurt, teaches people to try to avoid that in the future, with that person or others. If we treat this as a disorder, we’re saying that pain is abnormal, and we should get rid of it. A life without pain sounds ideal, until you realize that getting there involves some dystopian science-fiction story, where we all take “Soma” and live numb and placid lives. Unfortunately, medicine and mental health become the “arm” of society enforcing moral rules. This is how homosexuality was called a disease, and women who liked sex as much as men, were called nymphomaniacs. Bad things happen, people get hurt, when we let morality dictate medical treatment. 

CL: How do people complain about sex addiction “treatments”? To what authority would you report a quack experience? 

DL: Complaints should go to: state licensing boards if they are licensed clinicians; also to groups like IITAP if they are a “Certified Sexual Addiction Counselor” or SASH if they’re a member of that (Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health — they used to be the National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity and renamed themselves in a pretty transparent ploy to pretend they are something they’re not.) It’s a problem that there is no oversight of many of these sex addiction coaches and 12-Step groups.

* * *

Dr. David Ley is a clinical psychologist in practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the author of The Myth of Sex Addiction. He is the Executive Director of New Mexico Solutions, a large outpatient mental health and substance abuse program in Albuquerque, NM.

Dr. Ley has been treating sexuality issues throughout his career. He first began treating perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse, but expanded his approach to include the fostering and promotion of healthy sexuality, and awareness of the wide range of normative sexual behaviors. The Myth of Sex Addiction challenges the concept of sexual addiction and exploring a different model of male sexuality. Since it was released, The Myth of Sex Addiction has triggered a firestorm of debate, allowing people to finally challenge the media hype of this pseudo-disorder.

Dr. Ley is on Twitter, at @DrDavidLey

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Thank you for this. This brings up a lot of issues that I had brought up previously with my own therapist in individual counseling that I think I would like to circle back to. It may also be time for me to find a different therapist…

    • Almost like he said that chumps shouldn’t feel hurt over the cheating and that we are wrong for assuming that we were in a monogamous relationship. Like those who have a “high sex” drive SHOULDN’T practice self control. I felt he was promoting anything goes attitude which our abusive ex’s practiced. Like I am old fashioned expecting my XW to be faithful and monogamous in our marriage? I have complex-PTSD from the abuse in my marriage with my XW. My sister is a “sex addict”, sleeps with anyone for anything. Cheated a ton of times on her two husbands.

      • I don’t think he’s saying those with high sex drive shouldn’t practice self control. He says people who claim to have sex addiction have just as much self control as anyone else. Which is one reason why sex addiction is not a real disorder, nor is it an excuse for people who cheat.

        He did say that often people who label themselves with the title of “sex addict” have other, actual, personality disorders going on. Such as Narcissistic PD, Antisocial, or Borderline. Their real mental/personality disorders are getting ignored and slapped with the fake label of sex addict. It provides a false excuse for their immoral behavior, gives them a reason to not exercise self control, and distracts from real psychological disorders (most people with NPD never seek help for it because they don’t think anything is wrong. It’s easier to blame something stupid like “sex addiction” than to admit you’re a narcisisst.)

        I think what he’s saying is we need to not put names of fake “disorders” and medicalize things that are not medical problems, but issues of morality. Medicalizing cheating by calling it sex addiction gives cheaters an excuse to not change. “Oh I can’t help myself, I have an addiction” is easier than admitting they make choices they know to be immoral within the structure of monogamous marriage. It’s easier to blame a “medical condition” than it is to be honest and say they do not wish to be monogamous (or to admit to themselves this is not something they are able/want to do.)

        I don’t think he’s saying they should not practice self control. I think he is saying fake disorders and fictional addictions give them a reason not to. Why would they bother going through the gauntlet of having to actually do the work to find a person who matches your relationship and libido through honest conversation and understanding when you can just do whatever you want and blame it on addiction? It makes it so they don’t actually have to practice any self control.

        I think what he is saying about pain is similar. Getting passed pain means opening yourself to being more vulnerable. Our natural reactions to trauma and painful situations is to try to protect ourselves in whatever ways we can, whether those ways are healthy or not. We develop coping mechanisms that may or may not actually make us safer. PTSD, whether we see it that way or not, is a coping mechanism. It’s the brain wiring itself to have fight-flight-freeze reactions to situations and triggers that look similar to the thing that originally caused the trauma (for me, my biggest panic trigger is long response times between text messages. I had an abusive ex that used the silent treatment as punishment, so he would be non-responsive for HOURS and when he came home, he’d be silent for a few minutes before screaming at me. So to me, silence terrifies me because my brain associates it with punishment and explosive anger.)

        But dealing with that pain, the triggers, and whatever coping mechanisms, such as PTSD, our brains have developed means being vulnerable. Even if you leave your cheater and start rebuilding your life (the point of CL and the healthy thing to do) it still means being vulnerable to the unknown, vulnerable to an uncertain future different from the one you had planned, fear of losing financial stability, and the pain of actually standing up and asserting your value, or even being vulnerable to a therapist, your family, your friends, to yourself (fixing the picker and learning new ways to cope that are better for you.)

        Society at large also has a habit of treating Chumps like our reactions to cheating are not normal. Enter the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. We baby cheaters, we pity them, we Try to Understand What Lead to the Cheating, we tell Chumps to OwN tHeiR PaRt and other such crap. But what we should be doing is recognizing that PAIN is a NORMAL reaction to cheating. It isn’t a disorder to react to cheating with pain. It isn’t a psychological illness to react to cheating with pain. It is normal. By medicalizing a painful reaction to cheating, we make it even more abnormal. Instead of recognizing that being cheated on is painful, labeling it with a disorder delegitimizes the Chump and their normal emotional reactions to being cheated on. Oh, it’s not that her husband of 20 years betrayed her with the bimbo down the street, it’s that she has Stress Disorder. Oh, it isn’t that his wife is pregnant with another man’s child, he has Anxiety and Paranoia Syndrome, or whatever. RIC says it’s not that the Chump is reacting to betrayal with pain, we say the Chump has a mental illness and their reaction is coming from that, not the betrayal. We place the blame on something being “wrong” with the Chump, medicalizing normal reactions to trauma makes it an inherent, internal problem with the Chump, implying that it was something that was ALWAYS wrong with them, and not a response to abuse.

        TLDR Bottom line: Instead of saying, hey this person has NPD/Borderline/Antisocial PD, RIC says they have “sex addiction” and absolves them of responsibility. Instead of saying, well Chump got betrayed by someone they trusted and had a normal, painful, reaction, RIC says Chump has a mental illness and they need to deal with it, which also absolves the cheater of responsibility.
        PTSD and anxiety are reactive coping mechanisms, caused by traumatic events, and healing from them invites vulnerability, which is painful and we often prefer to shove that away because after being hurt, nobody wants more pain. But there are forms of pain we need to face in order to get passed them.

        • “TLDR Bottom line: Instead of saying, hey this person has NPD/Borderline/Antisocial PD, RIC says they have “sex addiction” and absolves them of responsibility. Instead of saying, well Chump got betrayed by someone they trusted and had a normal, painful, reaction, RIC says Chump has a mental illness and they need to deal with it, which also absolves the cheater of responsibility.”

          You wrote that so beautifully. Thank you.

          • I agree. Kara – you have beautifully summarized Dr. Ley’s answers. (I, too, have a stress reaction to long periods of silence between texts. Never connected it to having been victimized by silent treatment, from several awful, awful people in my life, but you have made a valid link.)

            • It took me a while to figure out that trigger too. I thought I had generalized anxiety disorder. But I started seeing a therapist who noticed my triggers were very specific to certain situations and behaviors, and that the symptoms had manifested after a certain point in my life. GAD is usually really general (hence “generalized” anxiety disorder) rather than specific, the anxiety is about fears of things that have not happened and are likely not to happen, and usually aren’t contained to certain things and attacks can come at unpredictable times.

              PTSD is different. It’s not the fear of something that might happen, it’s the fear of something that has already happened repeating itself. It’s usually limited to certain triggers and situations related to a traumatic experience (I.E. repeated instances of being screamed at following silences. Or your spouse disappearing for hours on end leading to the discovery of an AP.) And usually the initial trauma is something that actually could be likely to happen again, like it is possible to be damaged by a spouse using the silent treatment as punishment, and then subsequent partners (or even friends/family) also using silence to punish, adding on to that pain and reinforcing the trigger.

              For a really long time I did think I just had GAD and felt like it was something deeply wrong with me that was just always going to be there. I wrestled with it, thinking I was never going to be better and was this something I would just have to struggle with for the rest of my life? I even second-guessed my own personal history, wondering if I had always been that way and just didn’t notice, and if I had, how many people’s lives had I burdened with it? Didn’t really occur to me that no, I had not always been like that, and no, it isn’t something inherently wrong, and no, my cheating exes (or just exes in general) didn’t get rid of me just because they were too burdened dealing with it. It was a reactive coping mechanism to repeated trauma, which is more common than we give credit. Usually when we hear “PTSD” with think military or assault (which is true) and when we think abuse, we think being beaten (which is also true) but PTSD can still result from emotional trauma and abuse can come in the form of mental manipulation.

            • I have a panic attack when my wonderful wife gets quiet when she is processing something emotionally. She does it to make sure she doesn’t say something she can’t take back. But my XW did it before a huge screaming fit (rage) that would last for hours. So my body reacts to silence with a panic attack. It is slowly getting better.

              • Same here.

                When my boyfriend is in a bad mood, he prefers to just have a little bit of time to process his mood and get himself back in good spirits. At first it freaked me out, but then I started to learn this is how he processes emotion. I’m someone that HAS to talk it out. If I’m in a bad mood or something is bothering me, I need to get it off my chest or it festers.

                My boyfriend understands that we process things differently, and when I say I’m upset or in a bad mood, he’ll ask me why, and listen to me, and talk to me. He was better able to adapt to my emotional processing that I was with his XD But he also comes from a background of y’know…NOT being a huge narcissist.

                It’s a learning processes.

        • I agree with that 99 percent of this blog. However, remember PTSD is about an being blindsided by an unexpected event. An earthquake, reap etc. 75% of the time it is the spouse that uncovers the cake eaters shit behavior, is blindsided and then meets criteria for all of the PTSD symptoms. Also when the individual who is your source of love and support unexpectedly becomes your source of excruciating pain it is A Traumatic experience! I love Barbara Steffens research pertaining to PTSD and spouses of so-called sex addicts.

          Thank you so much for speaking the unspoken with such colorful language such colorful language. I work with partners and a link to your blog is at the top of my resources. We laugh at things that are not funny, and you help us do that. Thanks!

      • David Ley needs to take his Clinical Psychology/Sex Therapist practice and sit with a dozen or so women whose spouses have cheated on them repeatedly & have been diagnosed and labeled as “sexually compulsive” simply because the DSMV doesn’t recognize Sexual Addiction as a true addiction. Ley is the author of “Ethical Porn for Dicks” and hosts podcast on one of the most famous sex cam sites called Strip Chat. The vast majority of sex therapists don’t believe in monogamous relationships. All of this tells me that Ley’s opinion is just that; his opinion and not worth a hell of a lot to me.

        So, take all that in.

  • The problem I have is my ex”s ow told him he was excellent at sex. She had the skill of extending his penis, apparently they measured it with a ruler, shame, he caught sti. Unfortunately she liked unprotected sex, but didn’t want her kids, she “picked” him, but he didn’t apparently want her. He informed me he got her or someone pregnant, I don’t know what happened, ITS NOT MY PROBLEM, apart from the sti. We split up nearly 7 years ago. I think wealthy men are more likely to have “sex addiction” because they have more disposal incomes.
    The problem with ex is he tells that many lies you don’t know what’s true or not.

  • Open to being wrong but I didn’t think this was very good..
    I feel like his solution isn’t a solution. I understood him to say that people with high sex drives just need to find The right situation for them when we all know that that’s not how life goes.

    • I agree with you and will go just a little further. He shouldn’t be giving advice. It’s almost back to blaming the chump because the chump just didn’t ask all the questions of the intended spouse before marrying. Dang! If I had only asked if my dick-ex would really ‘keep’ his vows instead of ‘intending’ to keep his vows (until he didn’t feel like it) then I wouldn’t have ever married him. See…, it’s still my fault. I didn’t ask the questions like he recommended. Anyway, that’s what I got from the ‘Doctor’. I think ChumpLady is still the winner her. She has boiled it all down to a character problem. Cheaters just have bad character.

      • I think this interview is an EXCELLENT post and a super interesting read. I also landed right where you landed — he clearly describes all the character issues that CL always brilliantly points out, then argues that character isn’t actually the central issue. It isn’t hard to see, though, that the lying and secrecy about one’s desires is indicative of a character problem, even if one wants to argue that the character problem comes from bad experiences. I also don’t agree with him that identifying the character problem is necessarily equivalent to “medicalizing” it.

        Further, I don’t agree with his assessment that betrayal trauma is “just pain” that is “just a part of life”. All pain that results in trauma is common in many lives. He’s clearly off base there, and the research that supports it isn’t quackery.

        Aside from that, though, I think he has many cogent things to say. I like reading things I disagree with, too, and re-thinking them, because it all helps me think things through.

        And I’m like you, am crystal clear on one thing — it’s up to me to communicate clearly and refuse to accept vague answers and things that don’t make sense, things that show bad character. The cheating is 100% the cheater’s fault — but if I had always listened to my Spidey sense, never made assumptions or projected a reality onto a person who looked pretty (seemed good), and always drilled down to the heart of matters or let a person go if they wouldn’t work with me to do that, I’d never have married a cheater.

        • Well said Amiisfree! This was interesting but I do have an issue with his opinion on the trama aspect. I think for those of us who have experienced it, we know how real it is. Grief is only a small part of what we go through. My life was not threatened in a physical sense, but in every other sense it was not only threatened, but obliterated.

        • Thank you Amiisfree, yours is a spot-on summary of my take, as well. In particular, I resist and resent the notion that betrayal trauma is just range-of-normal life pain. Betrayal trauma is abuse. It is the emotional equivalent of physical violence and its literal and figurative damage. I do not want any fellow human–or creature of any kind, for that matter—to believe and accept that abuse is just part of life.

  • Recovering addict here chiming in…

    I’m deferring to Mary Jeanine Kreek, professor and head of the Laboratory on the Biology of Addictive Disease at Rockefeller University in NYC:

    “I’ll never call binge eating or sexual behaviors an addiction. Those are compulsive behaviors. Behavior is behavior, distinct from neurobiological changes in the brain from drugs that my lab and others have been able to define in terms of addictive disease.”

    I have always understood that compulsive behavior and addiction are two different things, and that sexual behavior is one category of the seven categories of OCD. Our relationships with computers, laptops, and smart phones can also be compulsive…..

    That being said, at the end of the day an explanation for a problem is not a free pass to engage in it, or a reason to keep hanging around with it. It is incumbent upon the person with the problem to treat it using the best accredited resource available.

    On the subject of PTSD, I defer to Peter Levine, the foremost trauma expert. Chumps are traumatized and we do experience PTSD, no doubt.

    IMHO

      • Interesting. By the definition here most of our cheaters wouldn’t even qualify to say they had sexually compulsive behaviors. They don’t neglect their appearance and comfort to pursue strange. They don’t feel guilty and ashamed of their debauchery. They don’t engage is sex that is unpleasurable because they can’t help it. By these criteria very few people would have truly “compulsive” sexual behavior. What most cheaters have is some thing else entirely. They enjoy what they are doing, they do it because they want to, because they like to. Wether you say they enjoy abusing their partners this was because they lack character or because they are narcissistic is kinda ND of tomato tomatoe to me. I hey are not doing it because they can’t stop. They are doing it because they want to.

        • I would agree that not every cheater qualifies as having an issue with compulsive sexual behavior disorder. Not everyone who drinks is addicted to alcohol either.

          I think today’s blog was addressing the reality of sex as an addiction, hence my response.

          • I always come in late but anyway … don’t forget that the DSM lists hyposexual (and general risk-taking, impulsive, grandiose) behaviour as part of bipolar.

            Bearing in mind that bipolar is very often a comorbidity with any of the cluster B personality disorders. (For reasons of nature or nurture or both, who would know?)

            Mine said about the prostitutes and gay clubs – hundreds of anonymous random strange for over a decade – “You won’t understand but … my body just needed it.”

            I kinda believe him tbh – but also believe it was entitlement and that he did it BECAUSE HE WANTED TO. And totally got off on the deceit, and the powerful feeling his secret double life gave him.

            He comes from a long line of narc and bipolar cheaters, and on his father’s side, Autism Spectrum. On the whole, self-interested and difficulty with empathy. Clusterfuck!

  • Wow! That’s a good read. I wish I could swap out my ex-wife with someone who would be honest enough to tell me from the start “Hey, I’ve got a high libido, and sometimes sex with one person might not be enough for me. Is that something we can deal with?”

    I ended up with the loony who devoted all of her time and energy to developing a persona of “altruistic, church girl” even though she acted like “high libido girl” in secret. Then liberally applied charm, rage, and self-pity anytime I suspected that she was more of the latter than former.

    Honestly, I don’t care what flavor of fucked up she is. I just know it wasn’t good for me and that’s enough.

    I mentioned sex addiction once and she freaked out. Freaked out when I suggested our morals are incompatible too. Any irrefutable evidence I have that suggests otherwise renders her unfunctional. Completely shuts down. Any pressure to get her to talk just sends her into a mad spiral of rapid fire cycling through rage and self-pity. Charm was reserved for a couple of days later when she suddenly acted like nothing happened.

    She gave a confession once, but admitted that she thought the marriage was over and that it “couldn’t make anything worse”. It took over two hours to tell me. Things she “couldn’t remember” before were suddenly recalled would surprising lucidity and complete calm.

    Like I said, I don’t care what flavor of fucked up she is…I’m just glad I finally divorced her.

  • “Getting rid of pain leaves people more vulnerable. The pain of being cheated on and hurt, teaches people to try to avoid that in the future, with that person or others. If we treat this as a disorder, we’re saying that pain is abnormal, and we should get rid of it.”

    He seems to contradict himself here.

    Searing pain and betrayal in a relationship should be abnormal and we should get rid of it. Whether it’s “I can’t believe you said that and it really hurt my feelings! What are you going to do to fix this?” or “You fucked strange and now I’m kicking your ass out” you are still ridding yourself of pain.

    Admittedly one manner is more direct and sidelines the second person.

    Where does he fall in the Wreckonciliation Complex hierarchy of fuckedupedness?

    • The way I understand it is that pain is not a disorder, it’s a normal reaction to a terrible situation. So when you experience the searing pain of infidelity, your reaction is normal and it will teach you an unforgettable lesson that will help you detect and avoid similar situations in the future.

      So I think the way you phrase it,

      “Searing pain and betrayal in a relationship should be abnormal and we should get rid of it. Whether it’s “I can’t believe you said that and it really hurt my feelings! What are you going to do to fix this?” or “You fucked strange and now I’m kicking your ass out” you are still ridding yourself of pain.”

      is a correct interpretation of what he said.

      • “If we treat this as a disorder, we’re saying that pain is abnormal, and we should get rid of it”

        See, I don’t think that is what he’s saying at all. He seems to be saying that we shouldn’t get rid of pain. It’s not a disorder, so the pain isn’t abnormal, so we shouldn’t get rid of it.

        To me, he’s still supporting the cheater more than the cheated upon. He’s suggesting that the pain of infidelity and betrayal isn’t searing enough to qualify as traumatic. Now, admittedly this was in 2015. Perhaps he has expanded his view since then.

  • Thank you for this interview and a different perspective on Sex Addiction. My name is Kate and my story was posted in October, “When Sex Addiction Turns Deadly”. After my husband shot himself in an attempted suicide, he was hospitalized several weeks for his medical condition and then spent a FEW DAYS under psychiatric care. Despite my descriptions to the psychiatrist about his behaviors, he was NOT diagnosed with Sex Addiction, in fact, he is being counseled for depression.

    I am inclined to believe that this so-called Sex Addiction is actually a combination of personality disorders and other psychological conditions that the psychiatrists and counselors simply guess at. Therapy consists of a pill for depression and an hour on the couch where they discuss his childhood and anger issues. After watching many utube video’s from Sam Vaknin, a self described pathological narcissist, I have concluded that my STBX is a SOMATIC NARCISSIST who gets his narcissistic supply from the conquest and exploitation of women. It does not matter if the supply is positive or negative; this explains why he can repeat his behaviors, “suffer the consequences” and charm his way back.

    Can narcissism be cured? Not likely. Vaknin proposes that narcissism is a form of PTSD and should be treated with a similar protocol. He also points out that narcissism is a type of false self that is veiling a true, wounded identity. Most importantly though, Vaknin advises us to GET AWAY from the narcissist. I agree that theorizing about why these people behave as they do is interesting, but do your musing from afar. Effective treatment has yet to be discovered.

    • Hey Kate, it is good to hear from you. I think about you and other chumps. I’m always glad to see your well written thoughtful responses. I hope you are safe and free of your cheater’s madness. I like your “do your musing from afar.” Works for me!

      • Thanks fellow Chumps!

        I am alive and well….filed for divorce, have a restraining order in place. There is a LOT of anxiety in figuring out what to do next, where to live, how to live…how to rebuild my nest egg after he decimated it. I am 62 and a full time student and hope to graduate this summer. My college has been 100% supportive and even offered me a place to live on campus.

        STBX is STILL trying to win me back!

    • I hope you’ve been able to fast-track your divorce and get as far away from him as legally possible.

      You are incredibly lucky not to have been harmed even worse.

      A friend of a friend was married to a man who had a secret life including drug dealing, prostitutes, etc. He tried to hire a hit man to kill his wife. Fortunately the prostitute in whom he confided recognized the difference between being an accessory to a murder and being a symptom of a bigger problem. She told the police. The “hit man” he hired was an undercover cop. He committed suicide in jail. His wife and kid are still shaken but they are doing pretty darn well considering. Both are in therapy. Apparently he hadn’t tried to harm the kid or get the kid on his side in some sick twisted pathology.

      The in-laws may or may not have had a suspicion. They disliked his wife, so now that death has parted the family, they are cut out of their picture entirely.

    • I remember your post. Horrible. I only hope, Kate, that you’re far away from him, safe and will soon stop untangling the skein.

    • My ex-wife seems to be a Communal Narcissist. She gets her supply from the adoration of the church and community. Hard work in those places gets her praises from many. Hard work at home only got her praise from one. Since there’s only so much time in a day, helping me with the household took last place.

      The most disturbing thing about her false self is that she would protect it as though her life depended on it. If I hadn’t found phone backups of her true behavior, I would have never been able to believe how horrible she truly can be.

      Regardless, I don’t care what her official label is. I’m just glad to be “musing from afar”.

    • gotta jump in here and give a big thumbs up to SAM VAKNIN

      whose YouTube videos are fascinating, informative

      and very much on the side of “no cure, no hope, no future”

      when dealing with Narcs, who make up the supermajority of cheaters

      check out VAKNIN today!

    • Definitely “do your musing from afar.” There isn’t much treatment or “cure” options for true Narcissistic Personality Disorder because most Narcissists have that roadblock of not thinking they have a problem, not admitting they are narcissists, and the ones that do are often proud of it. Someone who thinks there is no problem will not seek help for it. You cannot fix a narcissist and it is dangerous to try.

      A friend of mine right now is in an abusive relationship. His girlfriend behaves exactly the way my abuser did. She yells at him, blames him for things that have nothing to do with him, threatens to leave when she doesn’t get her way, and tells him every problem they have in their relationship is completely his fault and the result of his mental illnesses, and she has said verbatim, “There is nothing wrong with me that I need to fix, it is ALL you. I don’t need to work on anything, every problem we’ve had is because of you.”

      He asks me what I think makes people manipulative or abusive. I told him don’t waste the time trying to figure out the why. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it is happening, and it is toxic and harmful.

    • Hi Kate
      I just posted above about hypersexuality in bipolar (as DSM criteria), and my exhole saying “my body just NEEDED it” …

      I haven’t heard of Somatic Narcissism before, but that fits. Over a decade of prostitutes and gay clubs. And a lot of porn. Part of me does believe the “body just NEEDED” it.

      His childhood was pretty fucked up and I had concluded that his narcissism is a form of PTSD … interesting to hear that’s also thought elsewhere. In fact I think most PD result from PTSD adaptive/survival mechanisms to childhood trauma. Also, members of his family diagnosed bipolar (also clearly flaming narcs!)

  • So sex addiction is just another excuse common to cheaters. That doesn’t surprise me. I am surprised that Dr. Ley dismisses the possibility of suffering PTSD from the after effects of infidelity. How did he come to this conclusion? Where is his research backing his statement? It felt dismissive of the horrendous aftermath of discovering infidelity. I think I understand his aversion to handy labels to explain mental health issues. Isn’t adultery a mental health issue? It was for me. It damn near ended me. I’m still in therapy and will most likely be until I am past finalizing this divorce.

    Still I like knowing sex addiction is just another bullshit excuse! Thank you for this, Chump Lady!

    • Not to mention that many of us suffered through not only cheating and lying, but verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, violence, and theft.

      What is supposed to cause PTSD if these things don’t?

      Side note – as a teen I had fireworks thrown at me and was severely burned, eventually getting gangrene in my wounds and was close to amputation (luckily I kept my hand!) Do I have PSTD from this? You bet I do. I startle easily at sudden sounds and hate hate the smell and sound of fireworks.

      But you know what was worse and messed me up more? Being cheated on. You know what took longer to heal? Being cheated on. You know what destroyed my inner sense of self and shattered my self worth? Being cheated on, lied to, and gaslit into insanity.

      Agreed that this guy is too dismissive of the effects of abuse in a marriage.

  • Great insight. Great clarity. Great interview.

    BTW, I can’t be the only person to whom it’s occurred that “Dr. Ley” sounds (phonetically) like the screen name of a self-described sex addict. Like hearing from “Professor Carlos Danger.”

  • “Dr. Ley has been treating sexuality issues throughout his career. He first began treating perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse, but expanded his approach to include the fostering and promotion of healthy sexuality, and awareness of the wide range of normative sexual behaviors.”

    You know who else has dealt with perpetrators of sexual abuse? Dr. Anna C. Salter. Her book, published in 2004, is still worth reading. Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders

    In fact, I would give her more weight than I give Dr. Ley. Despite him not siding entirely against chumps, he isn’t completely in our corner either.

  • Agreed, In Light of Grief. I am wary about the label “sex addiction,” but I also agree with Tracy that cheating is an entitlement/character problem. And sexual entitlement/character problems are categorized in the “immorality” classification, as much as Dr. Ley refuses. And it’s not only church groups that point this out, although in some societies these groups are the most active against it.

    I feel that our society and most “professionals” focus on helping the cheater- whether it be helping him fulfill his sexual entitlement or trying to control it. Tracy and Chump Nation believe more focus should be on the chumps- the victims. A cheater with an entitlement/character problem is very unlikely to change. Why focus all our energies in such futility? Focus on helping the chumps. Dont tell us what we are not (not traumatized, not PTSD, not fulfilling enough for polygamists)- focus on helping the chump develop a better “picker” and getting rid of the guilt, developing boundaries, etc.

    I don’t think sex addiction is real. But I also dont think that character-deficient cheaters are unable to control themselves. They just dont feel they need to.

    P.S. in general, I tend to listen to chumps for advice and find more comfort in that kind of “therapy” than the crap
    i get from a therapist or other disinterested party.

  • “PTSD is defined as trauma and lasting impact (over 3-6 months) from a life-threatening situation, rape, death, etc. The emotional devastation from infidelity is real. But it’s not a disorder. As hard as it is, it’s a normal reaction to an awful situation, just like grief is a normal reaction to a normal, but devastating loss. We shouldn’t medicalize this.”
    —* Tell that to the families and physicians of the chumps who harm or kill themselves over the trauma of infidelity. Trauma is trauma. Infidelity is an abusive act, just as traumatizing as the other listed PTSD causes.

    • You said it Magneto.
      I was dx’d with Acute Stress Disorder after I had a breakdown finding out about his hooker habit when our baby was 2 months old. Destroyed me.

      Dx’d with PTSD about a year later.
      Going on 5 years now…

      • PTSD after infidelity is noted in UNMARRIED adults – so of course married people suffer from it too! He is behind on his reading, as well as probably not as good an advocate for Chumps as he WANTS to believe himself to be.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31199042

        “This empirical evidence suggests that infidelity may produce PTSD symptoms at a relatively high rate, even in unmarried young adults, and may put individuals at risk for poorer psychological health, partially through post-traumatic cognitions.”

      • I agree. Kara – you have beautifully summarized Dr. Ley’s answers. (I, too, have a stress reaction to long periods of silence between texts. Never connected it to having been victimized by silent treatment, from several awful, awful people in my life, but you have made a valid link.)

    • Thank You, Magneto. You’ve validated my experience. I appreciate knowing I’m not alone in this experience. The abuse of adultery damn near killed me. Thank You, No Shit Cupcakes. You have sources!!!! I’m not a weak sister whining about my pain. I am a survivor of decades of abuse. I am so glad to be alive and have Chump Nation at my back.

    • Exactly

      I had and recovered from complex PTSD after being abused by a previous boyfriend in my teens (I sure know how to pick them)

      Because of this I can now recognise the symptoms this time round. Thankfully this means that I know how to deal with them and have strategies to keep the worst of it from taking hold.

      My point is that I can 100% verify that infidelity causes PTSD. That is me talking from vast experience of the condition.

      In fact in the 15 years that I suffered from c-PTSD I never once had a panic attack. My first experience of that joyous experience was on D-day #3

      And by the way the treatment for C-PTSD that worked for me was EMDR. In 6 sessions my life changed. EFT/tapping & mindfulness are what I use now to control my panic and anxiety when I see the symptoms reemerging.

        • Yes it does sound very similar.

          I find it quite bizarre how these therapies are so effective but I now never rule anything out til I try it.

          I thought my GP was bonkers when she referred me for EMDR 10 years ago but like I said it changed my life

          • Totally. I happened into Brainspotting, and it was effective beyond my identified trauma. Phobias I never discussed are just GONE, which is crazy weird. I feel like someone opened a door and I saw the me I always was but couldn’t find. It’s quite the gift. 💚 I am glad you’ve found such help too!!!

            • Shame it doesn’t work on getting asswipe out of my life.

              Wish I could move my eyes in a certain way to make him just disappear lol

  • Yes, they can totally control their sex addiction otherwise they would be raping strangers. They are extremely calculating in their targets.

    Sex addiction is a blameshift for bad behavior.

    • My therapist is a specialist in addictions and she pointed out that he clearly has a sex addiction.

      When i said “does that mean I should stay and help him?” She virtually shouted “Fuck no!” Lol

      She is very much of the mind that his problems are his problems not mine and that no matter what you name the behaviours they are still abusive.

      She also advised me not to tell him that I consider him to have an addiction because it will just give him an excuse to mind fuck me with.

        • Haha yep. She reminds me of CLs description of hers “swears like a sailor”

          I was extremely lucky to get her first time and through a service which funds several free sessions and only asks for donations after that.

          In the first session she must have said “What about you?” A dozen times (I was deep in the guilt ridden stage)

  • Overall I enjoyed the read and feel that he made some very good points, primarily that “sex addiction” is not a get out of jail free card that excuses bad behavior . But I was also bothered by the section quoted by No Shut Cupcakes, ie, that pain is good because it teaches us to avoid these situations in the future. This is kind of minimizing. It suggests that doing that is possible. To me, the biggest conundrum and one of the greatest sources of sadness in all of this ( because I’m a big learner, I can learn from things and do better no problem) is that sussing out human deceit in someone who is determined to hide it from you is really, really, hard. To suggest that you can learn from past experiences by just picking up that handy skill and employing it in future is a little bit “blame the victim” and minimizing. I’m not saying you can’t improve, but many of the variables that caused us all to be victims of infidelity are out of our control, and I would have preferred more of an acknowledgment of that in this comment.

    • As someone who is determined to learn as much as I can so that I can self-heal, be more grounded, and just plain smarter, I completely agree with your post. While learning, improving oneself, and developing greater self-awareness are all laudable, NONE OF IT insulates one from being duped. How do I know? Because the ex-partner who conned me came recommended by my best friend! The problem was that she had not interacted with him much in the past twenty-plus years (he lives miles away), but she thought she knew him. She kept referring to him as “one of the good ones.” Perhaps he was a good one when they knew each other in their twenties, but she had no idea that he’d become as entitled as I learned he had. She had no idea that even though no prior partner of his had ever felt comfortable with his porn use he didn’t care enough to stop but instead did it in secret. And she had no idea that he had gone to prostitutes and strip clubs for over a decade (he was single at the time so at least he’s not a cheater). I’ve not disclosed any of this to my friend because their friendship is a thing separate and apart from my now-defunct relationship with the guy, but what I have learned is that I will never again override my instinct that something is “off” about a guy because of someone else’s endorsement. The same holds true for anything I read about personality disorders, sex addictions (assuming it’s real), or trauma.

    • Totally agree!

      I do believe “pain is good because it teaches us to avoid these situations in the future”. However, that assumes that the pain is obvious and the person inflicting it is behaving in a malicious manner. It doesn’t take into account pain with a major dose of mindfuckery. That’s how people are brainwashed! They are repeatedly given pain while being told it’s to help them, save them, free them from their prison, etc.

      Learning to detect deceit is not going to work like this, otherwise people wouldn’t go from one bad relationship to the next. I’ve had to study and come up with a method. Then I had to fight the temptation to give someone the benefit of the doubt more than a couple of times. I still know I’ll never catch all of them.

      For what it’s worth, here’s my method. If I feel like I have been the recipient of some sort of negative behavior, I don’t shrink back or go on the defensive…I seriously and firmly state how I feel. I don’t use the word “you” or even imply it. I simply state “I feel _____” (invalidated, attacked, hurt, ridiculed, mocked, belittled, gaslighted, etc). Most healthy people who can feel empathy will quickly try to assure that it wasn’t their intent to make me feel like that or actually own up to the bad behavior. Unhealthy people will double down on the bad behavior. Usually by implying there is something wrong with me. That’s a good enough indicator to me that they are controlling and I don’t need them in my life.

  • I am a licensed therapist, Former CHUMP, and a Certified CSAT. Our training was rigorous and I promise that sex addiction therapy does help our clients recover lives of meaning and value. That doesn’t necessarily mean no blame or saved marriages. I found this article to reduce the complexity of human experience to simple factors. It can’t be done that way and minimizes the Pain that all experience. There are many moving parts. At the very least, we want to change the future so those who have children can teach different ideals to their kids and co parent successfully.

    • Just so people can see what bullshit CSAT is in theory and practice, here is their site. It’s a marketing term and it was developed by and for people who figured out how to capitalize on their own pathology. See the little (R)? That means it is a registered trademark. It would be nice to be able to find that information on the site: http://appft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html

      https://iitap.com/page/csat

      I think the acronym would be better as SCAT. Scat, for those who don’t know, is a way of identifying their quarry (prey) via their poop.

  • I was really helped by the book ” Emotional Rape Syndrome” by Michael Fox PhD . He examines infidelity and abandonment and general “people using each other” in other contexts , and helps you see the common core of entitlement and (to use an old-fashioned term) selfishness in all these behaviors. He also gives more concrete advice on how to identify when you’re being used. Highly recommend.

  • Huh. Trying again. This may eventually show up as a repeat.

    ust so people can see what bullshit CSAT is in theory and practice, here is their site. It’s a marketing term and it was developed by and for people who figured out how to capitalize on their own pathology. See the little (R)? That means it is a registered trademark. It would be nice to be able to find that information on the site: http://appft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html

    https://iitap.com/page/csat

    I think the acronym would be better as SCAT. Scat, for those who don’t know, is a way of identifying their quarry (prey) via their poop.

  • I think framing of infidelity in terms of “morals” suggests that those who have been cheated on are just “making too big a deal of it.” Perhaps there would be some merit to that if the cheater didn’t also pretend to have the same morals. Why get married and promise someone that you will be faithful if you don’t intend to — unless you only care about your own selfish needs/desire/image, and actually care so little about them that lying and misrepresenting yourself is acceptable to you?

    These people all had the choice/opportunity to say “hey I’m not sure monogamy is for me” before marriage, or to have honest, painful, conversations about how maybe they thought monogamy was for them, but then changed their minds, or as my Jackass put it, “decided to go in a different direction.” But none of them take that route. That’s an issue of character, as CL insists.

    It’s not just the sex — it’s deception, betrayal, lying, gas lighting, etc. that goes into cheating — and all of that goes well beyond one’s moral code about sex to emotional abuse.

    Experiencing trauma and PTSD should be recognized a medically diagnosed response to ABUSE, not a moral failing to not understand that other cultures don’t consider infidelity to be a “big deal.” If it’s a big deal to you, and your spouse told you it was a big deal to them, that’s the moral framework that matters — not the “everybody cheats so why are you so upset” blameshifting that cheaters like to throw at us when we dare to be upset by their betrayals.

  • Word Mark CERTIFIED SEX ADDICTION THERAPIST
    Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Educational services, namely arranging and conducting training and certification courses and workshops in the field of sex addiction for mental health professionals. FIRST USE: 20010101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20010101
    Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
    Serial Number 78151834
    Filing Date August 7, 2002
    Current Basis 1A
    Original Filing Basis 1A
    Owner (APPLICANT) The Meadows of Wickenburg, L.P. Meadows Investment Management, Inc. an Arizona corporation, its general partner PARTNERSHIP ARIZONA 1655 North Tegner Wickenburg ARIZONA 85390
    Attorney of Record Anne L. Kleindienst
    Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
    Register PRINCIPAL
    Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
    Abandonment Date July 16, 2003

    Word Mark CSAT
    Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Training services in the field of sex addiction
    Standard Characters Claimed
    Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
    Serial Number 77545364
    Filing Date August 12, 2008
    Current Basis 1B
    Original Filing Basis 1B
    Owner (APPLICANT) American Association For Sex Addiction Therapy LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY COLORADO 5080 Mark Dabling Blvd Colorado Springs COLORADO 80918
    Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
    Register PRINCIPAL
    Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
    Abandonment Date February 12, 2009

    Word Mark AASAT
    Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Education services, namely, providing training of clinicians and therapists to assist in the treatment of sexual addiction and the distribution of training material in connection therewith. FIRST USE: 20081201. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20081201
    Standard Characters Claimed
    Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
    Serial Number 87550226
    Filing Date July 31, 2017
    Current Basis 1A
    Original Filing Basis 1A
    Published for Opposition December 5, 2017
    Registration Number 5407392
    Registration Date February 20, 2018
    Owner (REGISTRANT) American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY COLORADO 720 Elkton Drive Colorado Springs COLORADO 80907
    Attorney of Record Christopher J. Day
    Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
    Register PRINCIPAL
    Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

    So. Bullshit marketing term. I don’t like con artists.

  • I also was distracted/harmed by SA model – it caused further financial and emotional-psychological harm after Dday because 1) I stayed longer and pick-me danced harder including agreeing to sell our family home, which cost me $800K in lost equity in 5 years; 2) my kids pick me danced for dad- he left anyway- blameshifted and gaslit them- two became suicidal; 3) thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on counseling, testing, researching, meetings…. I could go on…,

    In hindsight, it would have been WAY better to have told X to GTFO, gone NC, lawyered up and divorced immediately after Dday and spent that time and money healing from the initial TRAUMA of discovery.

    As for the libido argument – that’s complete BS— I have a much higher libido than XH of 25 years.

    It’s all about entitlement, the thrill of deceit, and for my X— the power and privilege that made it possible for him to entice a goldigging much younger physically attractive but immoral economically challenged woman to move in with him in a secret apartment. If he wasn’t a high-six figure wage earner there is no way in hell this you g woman would have succumbed to him and no way she would have continued to stay with him through many instances of his cheating on her these past 5 years…

    Newly chumped: Get away from the cheater, divorce ASAP, go no contact. We are here for you! Life is wonderful at Meh.

    • Agree on the libido issue. Never seems to consider that a “mis-match” in “libido” might be a result of an abusive dynamic in the marriage. I had plenty of libido, but being the only person shouldering the burden of a household while my now-ex blamed me for not measuring up in so many ways killed my attraction to him.

      Also, I saw a contradiction between the “high libido” claim and the recognition that many of those exhibiting the behavior have a personality disorder. You don’t cure or negotiatie a personality disorder by having a conversation with your spouse about how much and what kind of sex you need to satisfy your libido.

      • Totally agree, Adelante and Motherchumper99, at best, the mismatched libido issue feels like another escape hatch and distraction tactic; at worst, it feels like an opening to normalize and validate the whole package of fuckupedness. Just say no.

  • One of the problems I had when I first learned about “sex addiction” was that it elevated the behavior to a disease status, and there is that tricky vow about “in sickness and in health.” I like the distinction between obsession and addiction.
    There are many obsessions that can cause a relationship to fall apart, because the partner who has been deceptive about the obsession has been dishonest in order to continue the offending behavior while continuing to enjoy the benefits of the agreed upon relationship. The chump partner did not agree to having a relationship which included the consequences of living with the obsession. The chump partner was duped. If the obsessed deceiver is not honest, even with himself (or herself) then there are going to be problems. I think the dishonesty is what ultimately leads to the dissolution no matter what the behavior is. In chump nation, we never agreed to living with infidelity, or any of the accompanying behaviors. We thought we were agreeing to a different relationship, and we thought we were involved with a different person. We were intentionally deceived from the beginning. That is criminal behavior in my opinion, we were conned. The other party received the benefits, but never provided the agreed upon behaviors or upheld their end of the bargain made. Fraud, pure and simple.
    Our reaction, once we discovered the truth, was a normal reaction to a tragic occurrence. We suffered in many ways, and each of us suffered differently, according to our own dispositions. No one should question another person’s pain. We all had to find our own way out of the situation, we all experienced varying degrees of success.
    I think the programs designed to treat behaviors like alcohol or drug addiction are great for those who desire to be done with those behaviors. I cannot judge their pain, or desire to change, as I have not had those particular problems. But I had to change my own behavior by setting boundaries and refusing to live with someone who had unacceptable behaviors. I choose my own lifestyle, and live with the consequences of my own decisions. I choose not to be exposed to those who do not live this way. I will not carry the burden of another person’s obsession or addiction. Living a life free of this dishonesty is well worth it for me.

  • Frankly, this guy is about 60% full of shit. He promotes swinging, polyamory and porn as “solutions” to what he admits is most often about a character disorder. As CL rightly points out, that’s not going to work. They will find a way to break the rules of any arrangement because the thrill is about transgression, not the sex itself. Besides, these are highly dangerous lifestyles from an STD perspective, and porn is built on a foundation of abuse of women. Anyone who would promote that which is dangerous and abusive may be character disordered himself. I agree that sex adduction is bunk, but so is the crap he promotes as solutions to “managing high libido”. Wanna manage high libido safely and ethically? Look for a monogamous partner with an equally high libido. Or how about masturbation just using fantasy, not misogynistic, objectifying porn in which actresses are often trafficked, routinely abused and have a sky-high suicide and drug abuse rates? What happened to using your imagination? Talk about selfish. You’re too lazy and unimaginative to think up a fantasy to jerk off to so you participate in abuse that may lead to somebody killing herself. That’s an asshole who does that. Further, the fact is that not being monogamous is not safe and nobody has a right to put others at risk. Safe sex does not exist. Condoms are not effective against HPV and herpes and only 80% effective against HIV. So people just need to get over the “But I want multiple partners!” thing. It is not a need, it’s a whim. Grow up and learn that not all whims must be satisfied.

    Also, his understanding of what causes PTSD is way out of date. We now know it does not have to be a life-threatening event. I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist, and it was caused by betrayal and emotional abuse trauma. Sometimes what starts as a normal reaction to traumatic life events can indeed spiral into a disorder. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I would not buy this book. Fuck this guy.

    • Even if there’s a thing like sex addiction you don’t need to put up with the cheater. Hopefully you wouldn’t stay with a person who chases you with a knife when drunk and you certainly don’t need to put up with a person who cheats and abuses you.

    • This was first run in 2015. I hope that since then he doesn’t discount the trauma caused by betrayal and infidelity. But who knows. His motives are suspect in MY book!

      At least he doesn’t peddle the idea that sex addiction is real; and the perpetrator is the victim. That is faint praise though.

  • Whether we have PTSD or not, whether they have a sex addiction or not, whether they trickle truth or not, whether they have a character disorder or not, the question is always “Is this acceptable to me?”. Truer words have never been spoken!

  • While ChumpLady is the leading authority on infidelity and I live by her advice and wisdom daily, I would like to say a few words in defense of 12 step sex addiction groups as a source of assistance for those who cannot afford counseling. As a chump many times over in several Long term relationships, I attended one year of weekly meetings to not only untangle why my cheater cheated (futile effort, thank you ChumpLady), but also to understand why I would repeatedly take back partners who cheated on me multiple times. In the 12 step meetings there were two groups of people: Husbands whose wives dragged them to the meetings. Those people would never return after 1 or 2 meetings because they did not see themselves as having a problem or needing help. However, there was a core group of men who genuinely sought to understand their behavior because it had destroyed their relationships with women repeatedly, and they sought to have a committed relationship with someone in the future. (None of the men had partners because they had to experience consequences in order to get them to that point of seeking help). I believe 12 steps programs can be helpful to those who attend regularly for long term, because the steps include admitting to everything and trying to make amends. I do not suggest that as a way of salvaging a relationship, but rather as a source of help for cheaters who do want to change their behavior. In my case, I thought if I was prettier or more understanding then my cheater would be faithful, but thanks to ChumpLady I have in my head her instruction: Step away from the disordered fuckwit. Have boundaries. Don’t accept relationships that are not reciprocal. Thank you ChumpLady.

  • This was first run in 2015. I wonder if he has since changed his mind about PTSD for the cheated-upon partner/spouse?

  • IMHO, lots of people are making money off the fucked up cheaters. Call it whatever the hell you want and whatever makes you feel better. Bottom line is they Willingly deceived their spouse or significant other, children, families etc. There are hundreds of ways to betray. I was married for 32 years and will never again say to myself or others that he once loved me, married me, made a family with me, everything seemed normal, until discovery. He searched me out to play a part in his movie of his life. Its cruel and unacceptable the destruction and trail of dead carcasses he left behind. While I cut him loose 5 years ago and he happily skipped away, not once did he ever admit wrong doing. His story is completely different than mine on what, why, when, where it all happened. He broke my heart, mind and body His Choice!! Not mine!! I quit trying to figure it out and Dr. Ley is just another person making lots of money giving his opinion of what occurred. All of us chumps know what occurred to us, we lived it. I for one don’t need anymore experts diagnosing me or my Xah! It is what it is and the best advice of all is get away from them. It was never love, it was 100% intentional and that is the message I finally accepted.

    Peace ~

  • Well, some people have high libido and culture doesn’t enable them to have honest discussions with their partners about fidelity. Hmmm … They could satiate their high libido with their partners. How many chumps had a total or partial dry land in their marriages only to find out that their partners cheat? Plenty of people do have honest discussions and are polyamorous, swing, go dogging, have threesomes etc.? The problem is that these type of high libido people usually don’t want to have equally open or promiscuous partner. So nah, they’re just hypocritical petty cheaters.

    • Yep-mine started with his ED and his porn addiction. I tried to be understanding, gently accepted his porn and didn’t judge. We stopped trying to have sex because he started to say he didn’t really like sex and it wasn’t as important as the intimacy we shared. I like sex, but we already had 2 kids and were in our 40s by that time and it seemed like something I could live with. During this time, he would also make demands that were simply not fun, or wake me up in the middle of the night demanding a blow job–and he still couldn’t perform. I started to pretend I was asleep to avoid these random demands. Then he would be loving and intimate emotionally and, with little kids running around the house, exhaustion and a lot of travel on his part, it’s easy to sort of forget about sex. I’d think about how we needed to get some time together to rekindle things, plan a romantic evening and then he would get stoned and watch TV and he became so un-sexy when he was stoned that I’d lose my drive. Then slowly, over time, he started reversing it-saying that I didn’t like sex but that it was ok because he didn’t either. I started believing him, despite his obsession with porn. Maybe it was easier than feeling undesired. But I am outwardly sexy-I wear things that show off my figure, I pay attention to my body. I like to work out. I like to smell nice. His friends would say things about how lucky he was to have me. And my dirty little secret was that I didn’t like sex, despite presenting myself as a sexual being. I believed his argument because he had made sex an aggressive, hateful thing. I wanted a loving intimate thing. I got more of that from him when sex wasn’t in the picture. And then I found out he was cheating. And it was my fault of course.

    • Right. Plus, high libido isn’t even why they cheat. It’s because they get off on deception and moral transgession. If you’re horny, you can masturbate when your partner is not in the mood. Or how about being a better, more sensitive and caring partner so your spouse will desire you more? They never bother with that. Besides, if there was such a huge discrepancy in libido, they shouldn’t have made the commitment to begin with. Often a lowering of the chump’s libido is caused by an emotionally disconnected, abusive partner and by the chump not feeling safe due to prior cheating and/or being used like an object by their partner. Then they take what they themselves have caused as an licence to cheat.

        • You’re welcome. I needed to say it. This Ley jerk’s BS triggered some bad memories for me. I’m sick of these assholes using alleged “high libido” as an excuse to be abusive pigs and engage in behaviour which spreads STDs. I don’t even think these clowns have the high libido they claim to. I think they just have an obsessive need to use and abuse others sexually. Sex itself doesn’t get them off, transgression and abuse combined with sex does. The proof is that they don’t prefer to engage in healthy, loving partnered sex but instead choose cheating, sick porn and coercive sex. Any sex with a cheater is coercive because they are lying about who they are and what they are really up to in order to get sex from you. They like it that way. They get off on power and control. I hope their gonads shrivel, the fuckers.

  • There are laypersons’ definitions of things and there are widely recognized authorities who determine “official” definitions for their field.

    In mental health there’s trauma – as in being chumped – and there’s trauma as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), put out by the American Psychiatric Association.

    We chumps experience “PTSD-like symptoms,” which means what we go through is very similar to PTSD. According to the people who write the DSM definitions, we don’t experience the level of trauma that is required to meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD as currently written. That could change, but for now a clinical diagnosis of PTSD may only be given to someone who has experienced “exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence.”

    There are therapists who will fudge and give the diagnosis to people like us, possibly as a kindness so that insurance will pay for psychotherapy (most health insurance in the U.S. will only pay for long term psychotherapy if a patient meets the diagnostic criteria of a condition that is found in, and defined by, the DSM).

    By the same token, sex addiction isn’t in the DSM either.

    • The DSM is not honest and is already out of date as soon as it comes out. They add and delete stuff all the time just for political correctness reasons or because of requests by the justice system. For example, the refused to include coercive paraphilia because prosecuters and judges thought it might give rapists a way to claim their disorder made them do it. I understand the thinking behind it, but they are essentially lying. Serving the needs of the justice system or engaging in politics is not their job. They are supposed to be unbiased. Some of what is currently in there has little to no evidenciary support as well. There is, however, ample evidence that you need not experience a sudden, life-threatening event to develop PTSD.

      It’s ludicrous when some so-called expert cagily refers to “PTSD-like” symptoms and claims they are not evidence of actual PTSD. What are they evidence of, then? PTSD symptoms= PTSD just like schizophrenic symptoms = schizophrenia. Mind you, one or two mild symptoms probably don’t mean it’s PTSD. But all the classic symptoms, to an extreme? WTF else could it be?

  • I only skimmed the site.

    https://www.addorecovery.com/betrayal-trauma/the-other-side-of-infidelity

    “Perhaps if more of us understood betrayal, and the genuine trauma that ensues, our responses would be less flippant and unfeeling to those who have been betrayed.

    Dr. Kevin Skinner, Clinical Director of Addo Recovery, a clinic specializing in helping relationships overcome infidelity and trauma, said “I have sat with thousands of betrayed spouses and have found that the trauma resulting from their discovery of infidelity holds almost identical symptoms to those who are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. And like PTSD, unless treated, recurring triggers will not only sustain their trauma but can feed and exacerbate it, regardless if the relationship remains intact or not.”

    Furthermore, Dr. Skinner said “To heal from betrayal trauma, betrayed spouses need education, professional help, compassion and support from loved ones. The knowledge of knowing it’s not their fault and they are not alone provides tremendous relief and healing.”

    I don’t know where he is on the RIC ladder of harm, but at least he acknowledges that being betrayed is being HARMED.

    “After infidelity, why do some couples work it out and others don’t? The answer is in rebuilding the trust that has been broken through addressing the trauma symptoms, eliminating secrets, creating transparency and eliminating denial, and shame.”

    Oh, whoops – well, he slid backwards by buying into the sexual addiction b.s. Plus making his money via people wasting more of their time on relationships predicated on a mountain of lies. Pity about that.

  • Chump Lady-Did you agree with this guy? I did think he made some good points, but really only by accident. I got a strong sense of that faux-progressive attitude that undermines the plights of us chumps. By faux-progressive, I mean folding these classically conservative issues, like religious fervor and homophobia, in with the rejection of infidelity, implying that “monogamy-idealizing” societies are antiquated, and that the respectful and progressive thing to do with a cheating spouse of many years is to be open-minded about about his or her potential high libido and porn addiction. I agree with Dr. Ley that calling cheating an addiction and offering a 12-step program is quackery. But for the reasons Tracy gives not his reasons. I personally feel that he objects to the term ‘sex addict’ because it labels “high libido” as a disease, not because it gives cheaters an out. He does acknowledge the obvious link between ‘infidelity labeled as sex-addiction’ and entitlement, by pointing out the majority of those in SA programs are wealthy white males. So, that means the people that embrace the label of SA are entitled narcissists, which we all know is true. But he seems to think there is this separate group of trapped people with a high libido who are shamed by the American anti-porn, “heteronormative”, “monogamy-idealizing” society and need care and understanding until they find their soulmate swinger. But Dr. Ley—they are the same people. He refers to a society where “homosexuality was called a disease, and women who liked sex as much as men, were called nymphomaniacs.” He states “In the US, we’ve identified infidelity as an overriding moral/character issue.” Well, first of all–isn’t it an indication of poor moral character? Second of all, as many of us chumps will testify, we encounter “cheating-normative” attitude more than the “monogamy-normative” one. You aren’t even allowed to bring it up in a divorce court in California–even if you lost your entire career because you trusted your marriage was actually an unbreakable bond. Why? Because “affairs happen” and “we are past the Scarlet Letter type of society”. Never mind that Hester Prynne thought her husband was dead-she didn’t actually cheat on him. You know who is marginalized in today’s American society? CHUMPS. Has Dr. Ley watched Netflix, Showtime, HBO, HULU or Amazon recently? Seen a rom-com? Been on a college campus? In what dystopian society does he live where prudish attitudes about “heteronormative”, monogamous behavior prevail? No, a lax attitude about fidelity is what prevails. So your “high libido” husband is just a normal guy who is trapped in a relationship of monogamous, “conventional sex” with your perfectly fine, but less than perfect, body. You need to listen to him, without labeling him as having a mental condition, and understand he just needs to fulfill his need for the sex he sees on the Internet with a like-minded woman, with flat abs and no cellulite who doesn’t bug him with boring discussions of broken air conditioners and math homework. And if you think this shows bad moral character you’re a homophobic prude. I’ve heard this before. Same insidious Chump marginalizing crap. Am I missing something?

  • Chump Lady is skillful in moving the conversation to gaining a life.
    Wherever cheaters landed/continue to on the spectrum-who wants to spend days/weeks/months/years of their life, dragging around a relationship corpse? For what? Cracking some kind of Da Vinci Code of the ex’s behavior? What would that do? Magically change everything?
    Moving away from the “label speak” works on several levels.
    I’m sensitive to those at CN who need to figure things out/understand/learn- but then, keep moving. Hard to read a “stuck point” status in posts. Like years later. It’s painful to see-since it doesn’t have to be that way.
    Labels can encourage a victim identity with a lot of this work.
    Gently raising that gain a life is also in the book title.
    If I’m spending a majority of my time in the past, I have a responsibility to look at why, and adjust for well-being. Taking inventory is great, but there’s a lot more after the autopsy- and it’s life changing stuff.
    I refuse to bathe myself in microanalysis-with a relationship ghost.
    Retroactively studying the ex and his mental health status? Nope, today I got shit to do.

    • Good points. But I think the “stuck points” you see are simply why people come here. We can move on but many chumps have kids, lingering issues with settlement agreement breaches, irreversible losses and other reasons that, even while moving on, the anger and resentment remain. Coming here is better than texting the ex angrily.

      • I hear you, Katie. And really enjoy your posts here.
        I’m suggesting that Ley is just another human with opinions and experiences-along with training.
        My concern is the stuck chump-with the cyclical replay after it’s clearly over.
        I want that stolen time back-but also refuse to donate any more under the guise of ex-analysis.

  • Interesting the urge to hold back the application of PTSD for those discovering infidelity. It feels like such a pat-pat on the head and a “honey, you will be fine” sort of take.

    My first D-Day in 2008 was very much like the shock of a life threatening situation. It haunted me for months with reliving the moment I found out. I lost 55 pounds and got scary-skinny, was barely able to function, and I felt suicidal. I get it that we want to reserve the diagnosis for those who served in war but by any other name this was a major trauma and it took very specific focused therapy to fix it long after the threat was removed.

    Sorry to “medicalize” it there, doc, but I hesitate to reserve special language for this because it might prevent someone from seeking the right kind of help. The experience created a scar on my brain-to-gut highway that needed to get rubbed out by EMDR before I could move on. I believe I had

    that thing-which-we-CAN’T-call-PTSD

    and therefore I undertook treatments specifically to deal with

    that thing-which-we-DO-call-PTSD

    and it worked.

    I should note that I did not experience PTSD upon his ultimate shocking abandonment of me in 2017 so I do believe that it is not simply experiencing any trauma that dictates the label. As with CL’s advice, we need to do what is right for us. Chumps should feel free to seek whatever treatment is needed without fear of not being sufficiently traumatized to warrant some special status.

  • This time of the year, for various reasons, I always feel down, like rock bottom down, which is so unlike me.

    Today dear CL, you diagnosed me.
    I have PTSD.
    What do I owe you?

    I give you my heart!
    ❤️

  • I thoroughly disagree with Dr Ley ridiculing the work that people have done identifying trauma in those of us who have been betrayed by a spouse. Finding out about decades of a hidden life IS traumatic. And it IS abuse. I wonder if Dr Ley has kept up with the research & if he has changed his opinion on this yet. Here are 2 good podcasts with Dr Omar Minwalla: https://www.btr.org/problems-with-sex-addiction-model/ and https://www.btr.org/is-pornography-use-abusive-to-your-spouse/

  • Thank you for having recommended this book Tracy. I read it when I found your website almost four years ago.

    I burst out laughing when the last man I dated told me he was in SA/SLAA and he was practicing sexual sobriety, whatever the hell that is. His real story had seeped out-cheated on his first wife with prostitutes (caught in a sting operation) and met his second wife in a couples program that was supposed to save his first marriage. He admitted that he was consensually touching a female fellow church member when he gave her rides home from work (she doesn’t own a car and lives in a SRO hotel). Translation-she gives him blowjobs in exchange for pot and free rides.They don’t work together and she blurted out to me she was sexually abused over Thanksgiving turkey. How vile can somebody be ?

    Thankful I never invited him to my home and used protection the couple of times we had sex. I dumped him.

  • gosh, this post is SO NECESSARY!!

    thank you Dr. Ley (and or course you, Chump Lady)

    for this medically-based discussion about how Sex Addiction Isn’t A Thing

    sadly, we all know good, smart people who have become addicted to the hopium sold by the RIC

    because of their predictable fear of confronting the grim emotional truth

    that their Cheater isn’t “sick” or “addicted”

    but rather “a rational, self-aware person doing what makes them happiest: lying to you”

    however going forward, we can send them a link to this excellent interview

    Stay Mighty!

  • I was on board for what he said about the sex addicts but it was awfully gaslighting how he dismissed PTSD in chumps/victims of sex addicts. Many of us experienced severe domestic violence and sexual assault at the hands of our cheaters. Not to mention that cheating is itself abuse and sexual abuse. He’s very tone deaf about the impact of cheating/“sexual addiction.”

  • I’ve always felt like the problem isn’t that their sexuality is deviant, it’s that their morality is deviant.
    Anybody can choose any kind of consensual adult sexual lifestyle they want and still have integrity.

    What I’ve seen in my STBX is that he’s extremely ashamed of his sexuality. For someone with the morals of an alley cat he’s incredible judgmental about his own preferences and interests.

    It would’ve made all the difference in the world if instead of marrying me claiming to be monogamous, while we were dating he stated his lifestyle. I may or may not have continued to date him but I would not have been traumatized by him.

    If someone has a personality disorder – which is essentially a character disorder – they retain the capacity to be honest with themselves and their partners about not being monogamous, not wanting transparent relationships or whatever. But like CL says, they enjoy deceit – and I guess it takes out all the fun if you warn your chump ahead of time.

    No one can ever tell me I do not have PTSD. From a previous cheating relationship – now over several years – I get panic from touching my STBX’s phone – because it was on my ex’s phone that I discovered so much deceit. I also can’t go into the home of anyone I’ve dated since because at my ex’s house I made discoveries.

  • Interesting interview!

    My adulterous, abusive SA now ex-husband had an affair, one of many, with a multiple DUI-earning single middle-aged psychotherapist. (So many ironies.) In a letter (I tripped over while organizing today) sent to my then- husband, the affair partner had the gall to accuse me of being a horrible wife, told my husband that she was smarter than me in spite of me having more advanced degrees than she did, and said that she wanted my husband to impregnate her and then get a vasectomy, adding ‘Your wife might want more kids, but no matter.’ She also said that she had told me that I should ‘Fight for my husband’ in a text conversation but that I had appeared uninterested in doing so’–Shocking! I don’t do duels to the death with my spouse’s affair partner. She also tells my husband that she has to shake off her other married affair partner. (I can’t imagine such a disordered, unempathetic human being providing psychotherapy.) For a few minutes, I was really ticked off by the show of utter disrespect of me by my husband and this affair partner of his. Now, I think, ‘Thank you for taking him off my hands. You can share him with the rest of his harem.’ The only thing that makes me upset about my ex-husband bonking other women (and men?) is him spending money flying all over the world (on vacation, not for work, not all on frequent flyer miles), while complaining to everybody that I am a gold digger (I don’t know any gold diggers who sleep on the floor of their kids’ room) and decreasing his support of our kids and me. (I am unemployed but looking non-stop for ways to legitimately earn money. Unlike my now ex-husband, I don’t give marital funds to prostitutes instead of our kids as we agreed to do.)

  • I just feel that the over-riding message of Let’s interview was “infidelity isn’t a big deal.” It isn’t a big enough deal to label cheaters as sex addicts, it isnt a big enough deal to traumatize chumps, it isnt a big enough deal to convict the cheater to stop cheating.

    This is what was so disturbing about the interview.

  • I am late to this topic and too many responses for my addlepated brain to read at one sitting so my two cents worth has probably already been discussed; I’m tossing it in anyway.

    I am getting so tired of reading ‘experts’ opinions and this is perhaps because my x, the serial cheater and man who lived a double life for 30 years, is an ‘expert’ – ie he is a therapist and the people who he supposedly sought out to ‘help him with his problem’ were also therapists none of whom apparently thought it necessary for him to include me in the discussion. (His seeking help, to my knowledge, didn’t happen until towards the end when he latest whore put the heat on.)

    In other words, I was kept in the dark; made to feel it, whatever IT was, was MY problem.

    In ‘more’ other words, I was the perfect Chump.

    (Please note that at no time during our 30+ years together did he mention that he had unresolved issues with sex for which he was seeking help. Guess he thought that was a personal problem hence none of my business.)

    I have to admit that reading through the interview I did get the distinct feeling that this guy was side stepping the horrendous fall out created by betrayal especially when it has been ongoing which brings me to the point of why I felt compelled to add my two cents worth….The discussion lost me when he started labeling, using semantics, to, in my opinion, soft pedal through the many layers of abuse betrayal encompasses.

    Which brings me closer to the point I started out to make – The impact of the x’s betrayal on my children who grew up with a cheat and a LIAR as a parent. Hence their lives were saturated with lies. A father who lied as a way of life and a mother who lived her life as a wife believing his lies – ‘Oh, poor sad sausage, he is depressed because he has to work so hard so I will do all the work here and what I can’t do you, meaning the children, will have to do because he is too important for me to inconvenince him.’

    In other words they had a mother, unbeknownst to her, that was enabling his dishonesty while, at the same time taking on not only all the duties he so gladly relinquished because they were beneath him, but was also allowing her self-worth and sanity to be eroded slowly and steadily over years and years and years of living shrouded in lies.

    Uneven playing field. Three words that encompasses so, so very much.

    To date there are only a few people I have read that I feel are spot on. Chump Lady leads amongst them.
    Most of those I have read do not profess to be ‘professionals’ in their fields. Just people who have paid attention and listened and observed the results of betrayal in themselves or in others. No fancy talk or discussion as to whether or not something is medical or normal or psychological just straight from the hip description of behavior and the results of that behavior on others. No sugar coating.

    This stuff is confusing enough, or at least it is for me with only about 2 years out from Dday #1, so I guess what I am saying is that I need clarity. Straight talk. I need people who say it like it is period. Maybe someday I will get to where I can discuss what ‘psychological category’ this shit belongs in but for now I am just keeping my head afloat in it so I am seeking life rafts and hope that there is life after all this crap that was dumped in my unassuming lap and the laps of my children.

    Thank you Cl and CN for being the voices of sanity for me. For speaking a language I can understand and for understanding me as so few can – most of my friends are in long, long term marriages.

    Amen.

    • Elderly Chump, I am in the thirty-fourth years of marriage to a selfish, duplicitous man. I can’t wait to be divorced. When I finally get that decree suitable for framing I’m having a funeral for him. Where do I get that idea? He is dead to me. The marriage will be legally over. Time for a funeral! Your act of closure inspired me. Thank You for that!

      • 33Years,

        Make sure you dig a DEEP hole :*)

        But I gotta tell you, I didn’t do that. Too cold and I was afraid the cemetery caretakers would have me arrested or something worse – committed to psych ward for crazy-elderly-females…

        So I tore the pictures of him and our wedding into itsy-bitsy pieces and let them flitter to the ground as I walked through head-stones. I figure they are gone now. Disintegrated into oblivion.

        Hang in there.

        P.S.
        When does yours become final? I know I read here awhile back that you had your first court appearance but haven’t seen any comments on that since then. (I don’t always read through all comments on a given day.)

        • Elderly, my STBX refuses to settle so we are going back to court in January. He was forced to pay me Temporary Spousal Maintenance. I don’t understand why he won’t agree to the divorce. I’m working on being “MENTALLY divorced”. I work so hard at having a better life.

  • 33years,

    How awful that you have to deal with his resisting divorce on top of everything else.

    Do you live in a place where that is allowed?

    In my state you can’t say no if your spouse files against you.

    Sounds like he just doesn’t want to give up being central and wants to make your life hell which I have just read about in this book – Five Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life –

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=5+kinds+of+people+who+can+ruin+your+life&crid=2HUX4DOYHZ2PZ&sprefix=5+kind+of+people+who+can+%2Caps%2C198&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_25

    Once you become their target they don’t let go and it is usually someone close or a person in a position of authority.

    Good for you to keep working on yourself. What courage and fortitude. You can do it!

    I hope you have a really good attorney who knows what she/he is dealing with here.

  • “Roughly 90% of sex addicts are males. About half of these males in treatment are white men who make over $85k a year.”

    I would also add that these reasonably wealthy males are the ones who can afford to pay for this ‘sex addiction treatment’, which helps prop up the sex addiction treatment industry. Imagine if there were a treatment for people in extreme poverty, but it cost $$$ to do. No poor people could afford to do it, so it would go out of business, whether it worked or not. The opposite is at work here – there’s a supposed condition that a lot of people with money have, so a treatment industry pops up, whether the treatments work or not.

  • >