Do sex addicts love?

Sex addicts can learn love and intimacy when they treat and heal past trauma. More here on emotions of love and the sex addict, as well as how expressions of love and attachment patterns manifest during sex addiction.

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Emotions and the sex addict: what is love?

“The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.”  Margaret Atwood

There seems to be a cliche in our culture that every sex addict is a cold-hearted sociopath devoid of caring. The truth is that sex addicts report a wide range of complex emotions, but typically haven’t learned a healthy relational model for appropriately expressing and regulating their emotions.

As it is, love is a most mysterious feeling. It is often interchanged with more technically specific feelings of longing, preoccupation, attraction, affinity, appreciation, validation, comfort, commitment, and security. When we speak of love, it is very easy to get lost among assumptions and projections. This is because, perhaps more than any other emotion, love means something different to everyone. Love will even mean something different to the same person at different times.

Even non-addicts may occasionally find themselves questioning the nature, reality, and consequence of love in their lives. Such confusion might be traced to conflicting information that is perpetuated about sex and love around the world. We don’t have to look very far to find strange and distorted concepts about the true nature of sex and love in any culture.

Sex addicts and expressions of love

Often sex addicts first get into treatment to save a relationship (sex addiction and marriage are rarely compatible). In treatment, sex addicts who relate with any of the 10 types of sex addiction do report feelings of love. While it might seem that the reasons for cheating are to get out of a relationship, most sex addicts I’ve met do not want to get out of their primary relationship. They express genuine love for their partner, whatever that looks like.

At the same time, sex addicts will sometimes express momentary feelings of love for prostitutes and other acting out partners. Contrary to all these feelings, there can be a complete avoidance of love in any relationship. This raises many questions, with no easy answers. How can the sex addict feel love and yet show such lack of caring through their actions? Are sex addicts deceptive or truthful when they say they love?

A sex addict typically sexualizes situations and tries to manipulate outcomes. The sex addict brain will use people, places and things to escape reality. This is not an honest and transparent way to interact. Some addicts might even think they’re being honest, might think they love, but they might be in denial and might not actually know that they’re being deceptive. Others might experience a clear awareness that they are being deceptive when proclaiming their love, but they too might be in denial and might be avoiding true feelings of love.

An addict is emotionally unavailable

If there is one trait that applies to all sex addicts, and all types of addicts, it is emotional unavailability. What does this mean?

All addictions serve to numb overwhelming feelings of stress and trauma through substance abuse. In the case of sex addiction, addicts will compulsively substitute pornography, prostitutes, binge sex, stalking, obsessing for appropriate feeling and relating. Feeling and relating are two aspects of intimacy. In fact, sex addiction is often referred to as an intimacy disorder. Intimacy is related to the verb “to intimate”: to make known. Sex addicts are usually incapable of making themselves truly known as they often lack the tools for healthy self-knowledge.


Most addicts have suffered trauma – either in childhood through early neglect or abuse, or later on in life through a pivotal traumatic event. When such events have not healed, we refer to this as unprocessed trauma. It’s possible that the love experienced between an addict and co-addict might more aptly be described as a form of trauma bonding.

Early childhood attachment patterns

There are four basic attachment patterns that are imprinted during infancy. These are secure, insecure-ambivalent, insecure-avoidant and disorganized/disoriented. Secure attachment is established when the primary caretaker is able to relate appropriately with the child by sharing love and affection, responding to the child’s needs in a timely manner, setting healthy boundaries that support the psychological growth of the child, and repairing any disruptions to these interactions. Repairing is one of the most important stages for secure attachment and will impart a healthy model for how to repair difficulties in any relationship with tools for handling stress and trauma.

Without a significant psychological event establishing a new pattern, these four infancy attachment patterns will develop into the following four adult attachment patterns:

  1. Secure Attachment – A relational pattern typified by the capacity for healthy intimacy.
  2. Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment – A relational pattern typified by a general need for enmeshment at the expense of intimacy.
  3. Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment – A relational pattern typified by a general need for independence at the expense of intimacy.
  4. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment – A relational pattern typified by a general need for self-protection at the expense of intimacy.

Secure attachment and intimacy is possible

Through therapeutic treatment and/or recovery in support groups and 12-Step programs, sex addicts learn new patterns of secure attachment implicitly modeled for them by therapists, support groups, and sponsors. In therapy, this is called Empathic Attunement, the capacity to connect, resonate and calibrate with a client’s state of being for the purpose of developing relational intimacy as a continuous and dynamic process.

Creating secure patterns of attachment is a slow process that actually changes the neural pathways of the sex addict’s brain that were established over a lifetime. To use a simile, it is like re-routing a nation’s transport infrastructure to reach a remote island – and the remote island is healthy love. Healthy love is a place that is not accessible to the sex addict, but it resides inside all of us. With the help of a higher power (higher than the sex addict’s own overpowering addiction – be it therapist, support group, or sponsor,) the sex addict can develop reliable tools to locate and develop true healthy love.

Questions about sex addiction and love

Do you have questions about sex addiction and love? Do you want to bring some light to your own personal experience as a sex addict? Please leave your questions, comments and feedback here. We do our best to respond to all comments with a personal and prompt reply ASAP.

About the author
Alexandra Katehakis, MFT is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist/Supervisor, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist/Supervisor, and Clinical Director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of Erotic Intelligence: Igniting Hot Healthy Sex After Recovery From Sex Addiction. Please visit our website or contact (310) 843-9902 for more.


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  1. I am in a relationship with a man that has not been diagnosed yet but all symptoms are present of haven a sexual addiction. I’m wondering can the person have true feelings for someone but not control themselves when it comes to having sex with others. This person has to have an orgasm at least 3 times a day or more. Him and I are extremely sexually active. I want sex as much as he does. But I dont have the urge to sleep with others. Him and I both get involved with some very kinky things. He doesn’t want out of our relationship. But he has made the comment that he is just sick in the head.

    Is he just wanting his cake and eat it too or can this really be something that he can’t control

  2. I’m involved with a man who distanced himself emotionally from me despite a strong attraction. He continues to stay involved with me via text and occasionally in person but whenever I try to show any kind of affection or loving feelings for him, he shuts down and withdraws. But he always comes back. Could he be hiding a sexual addiction problem? It would explain a lot but how do I proceed with him? Should I continue to engage with him but from a distance? Show him what pure love is separate from sex? He’s a Christian and he characterizes himself as a sinner and fornicator so he’s walling himself off from any physical temptation. I’m suffering so much because I truly love him. Can I get help on how to help him? Or should I give up on him? I’m so confused…?

    1. I have been married to a man that continuously cheated on me since we were dating for 8 years. I thought I could fix him… Now we have an infant together who he was nasty to the other night. I am now fighting to keep him away from him before weve even had a custody hearing. If all sex addicts are like him… He is manipulative, deceitful, messed up In the head, but is so charming and appears to have a big heart. If you want my opinion… RUN!!!! I’ve loved him for so much over the years but I have been so verbally abused and manipulated that I’m afraid I am no longer going to be able to have a healthy relationship in the future.

  3. After being a sex addict for 30 years . Is it possible to find an emotional connection with someone and stop the behaivor

  4. Do sex addicts typically “desire” their acting out partners more than their spouse? Why do they often cease having sex with their spouse if this is not the case?

  5. Hi I’m Linda , I met my boyfriend on Nov.22 2018 really a wonderful guy but a week ago he come out and admitted he had a porn addiction. This is all new to me well I’m a little scared or worried I don’t know what to say he said he really wants to get help for it he struggled long enough he wants to be a good man to meso I was just wondering what is my rule what can I do to help him through this he really wants to get help and we haven’t had intercourse yet but my question is what about cuddling and holding each other is that off-limits until after he receives help with all this

  6. Husband addict not using drugs stopped taking Luvox now looks like in addictive affair and possible other behaviors. Do they love fantasy affair partner will they leave it. Ian counseling myself and he is deniel and defensive. Detaching in anger from me. With periods of being nice. Advice.?

  7. My boyfriends a sex addict. We’ve been together 9months and in the snap of a finger everything is going to hell. He’s tearing me apart and wants me to accept his cheating. He openly told me about it. He is very brutally honest with me. From the start of our relationship he admitted to me that he was a sex addict and being a woman I thought I could help him. I know we need to break up but there’s somethings I need to get in order before he leaves me or I kick him out. He’s so vengeful it’s scary. Is being vengeful another part of not understanding healthy love?

    1. Find a SAA (sex addicts annon) group in your area. And look for a therapist who is certified in sex addiction. I’m married to one. His battle has taken a toll on me. But this is the first time he has gotten genuine help and started to change.

  8. I live in NH I can’t find any therapists here for sex addiction and every website
    ends up not being local I can’t afford 1000 dollars a day nor can I be away from
    my business. I was exposed to pornography when I was 8 or 9 we found magazines
    Of our Dad’s employees when we played in the building. I never knew what it would cause

  9. Hello,

    My boyfriend is a long time sex addict. I recently uncovered many betrayals and confronted him.
    I was hoping he would want to get some help as he has lost a lot because of this behavior
    already however he basically gas lighted me, told me he loved me but that I was taking things from a one level to a ten with my imagination.

    He took a time out to reset himself and except for a banal message regarding something that has nothing to do with our problem, I haven’t heard a peep from him for two weeks ! We used to spend a lot of time together and had plans for the future.

    I haven’t reached out because unless he is interested in getting help I wouldn’t know what to say to him. Also, if he is done with this relationship I would have appreciated him reaching out to let me know.

    So here I am, suffering from pstd and he is missing in action. What is my best course of action ?



  10. I am in a relationship (3yr) with an addict. He has control issues on meds for depression/anxiety. He restarted therapy 3 weeks ago. He claims he loves me and I love him. My question is…should I run? He wants help on one hand but loves his kink…wants sister wives. I say no way to that.

  11. This a very informative article. My husband has been in therapy for years yet can’t seem to apply the fundamential principals into his life. Why is it that there are some that seem to adapt to program while there are those that struggle a great deal?

    1. Find a SAA (sex addicts annon) group in your area. And look for a therapist who is certified in sex addiction. I’m married to one. His battle has taken a toll on me. But this is the first time he has gotten genuine help and started to change.

  12. Very good article!Thank you!I am deeply in love with sex addict.After he get busted last August and I forgave him again and took him back for third time.He sent me a text message telling he is not ready for US and suggested to move on from him and find a true man because is to much going on in his life.I becomes numb and speechless.
    After few weeks I find out he has a new girlfriend. I contacted her and warned to stay away from him because he is going to hurt her.She don’t believed I guess and she still with him.
    I pray every day for him for her for me.I am moving on very slowly.Still very hurts.I still love him and I know he loves me even he is with other woman.I am asking God helping J.become a sober and saved him.I believe a miracle.

  13. I would consider myself an addict. When I get bored, I want to move on. Well I’m getting a little older now, and genuine want something serious. I’ve been like this for the last decade, and so I find myself inable to connect on that deep of a level. Maybe it’s fear? I’m not sure.

    One thing is evident though. I have been in a relationship and cheated before. However the person I was with (cheated on), I did love them. But looking back, I didn’t cheat for any reason other than sex is fun, and feels good. I do have genuine remorse too for those actions. I’m not saying it’s an easy situation or one we can justify, but I just hope people realize that the addicts are fighting a battle of our own.

  14. Donnie,

    Thank you for your honesty….I did read Aaron’s post… that is scary as I have heard those words come for me from my partner….
    you said things I knew but didn’t want to hear. There is nothing more heartbreaking than to realize you’ve been living a total lie. Not a little lie, a TOTAL lie. When I found out I was one out if about 40-50 other females in the start of our relationship… I knew my future was no longer with him. When I found out he was using his little sister’s death to hook girls ( including myself)…. it was something I could not even process anyone to do. It’s beyond my comprehension or beliefs…
    I wanted so desperately to believe him… but I know I could never trust him… I love him… but love myself more, and know I deserve more…
    Its a great sadness I feel for all who have given thier all, and got this life….

    Thank you Donnie

  15. To Melanie, want a brief example of how sociopathic narcissist thinks and behaves? Scroll up and read the comment by a self confessed sex addict named AARON (dec. 8 2013). He shares a moment of clarity about how he really sees things about he and his unfortunate “partners.” It’s blunt, and shows darkness. Climb out from the relationship that you have fallen into. And live.

  16. To Melanie, run away from this person and others will also tell you how fortunate you are to find out before you married this narcissistic monster. And yes, he is a socio-pathic, narcissist. And nothing is worse than someone who is a sociopath narcissist. He will know how to press your buttons, and will lie whole heartedly, maybe beg, But believe me, until this depraved person gets help, and he is in treatment for a minimum of a year, you cannot trust nor RELY on this person. Saying all of this, I know that it is hurtful and that you are going through something very serious right now, but it would be wrong to water down at all what kind of person a sex addict that is not in recovery, is. You will be tempted to believe him and take him back, you must a) seek support for yourself!!! b) he must actively be demonstrating to you that he is in a recovery program c) He must be completely transparent and open to you whenever you ask for information about what he has done AND WHAT HE’S DOING NOW. He probably won’t want to by the way and will lie. This is tragic for you but you must see this as a silver lining…you found out before you married him. DO NOT STAY WITH THIS PERSON. Can sex addicts love? This article/blog on this site doesn’t seem to truly answer that question directly. I say anything is possible but because sex addicts are the ultimate predator and are narcissistic sociopaths, it will take them years, years, to have anything that truly shows genuine, whole hearted, selfless, sacrificial love. Until then they are broken, damaged and very dangerous.

  17. Hello,

    I am very concerned. My fiance has a sex addiction. However, my concern in the matter is we started our relationship as a part of his addiction. I knew him for over 16 years, our fathers have been friends for over 40 years. He got married, then he contacted me and wanted to hang out, saying he didn’t give a f@@@ about his marriage… I declined, but gave in. We have been together ever since ( about 2 years). Then I discovered the same things being said about our relationship to about 6 other girls that I know of. They started to rat him
    Out and send snapshots of his texting/sexting…
    I thought we had the best relationship- best friends we are, I felt soul mates. But he was living this double life. He was so slick, he put my finger print into hos phone, and told me I could look anytime… which gave me a sense of security ad he hid all this behavior for close to a year.
    He has expressed remorse, but my fear is he is remorseful because he got caught.
    My question- can he really be in love and respect me if I started out as part of his secret life I had no clue about? I fear this isn’t real. It was real for me. But I’m having a hard tome teusting this whole life that had been built. Thank you

  18. I just found out that my husband is living a double life. We’re married for a year now (together for 3 years) and we have a 10 months old baby.the last time we had sex was when our baby was conceived! He kept telling me excuses which I rationalized due to pregnancy weight, lactating etc, his pressure at work etc. last week I found out that he’s seeing prostitutes (he’s working abroad and we were going to join him in November) at our own house (two girls at a time). I opened an old mob of his (he used it before I met him) and I realized his other life and his addiction. Talking to more than 30 different women, asking for photos, sending money, through various media (What’s app, Skype etc) having a serious relationship at the time, having paid sex, being enrolled in 5-6 dating sites, all together. We’re talking about a very serious person. Extremely kind and caring to all. He’s faking it for all his life. I also found out some photos of teenage girls (he’s in his mid 40s) and I know he has an fetish about Asian women (he told me he traveled to Sri Lanka alone in the past and now I discovered that he’s probably also been to Thailand). In any case he doesn’t like the Monica Bellucci types (sex bombs) but the petite, and young. Now I’m afraid he might also be a pedofile. Let’s hope he’s not that pervert. I’m going to bring him over and end it in the next days. I’m shocked and really sad. I was living a lie. Why, why couldn’t he be open about it, and give me the choice? Why did he (once he wanted a family) choose a vanilla woman and not the ones he sponsors for sending him photos and do dirty talk with him? I guess because I am a good cover up for his colleagues, friends and family and a good mother. Why didn’t he made love to me for so long? I’m honestly fairly good looking but not petite. Much more beautiful that the ones he sponsors for sending him photos. Do you think he’s a pedofile? Do you think he might try to hurt me when I reveal him that I know everything? Do you think he’ll want to keep contact with his child? The selfish bastard. The most shocking is that he thought he could get away with it. The selfish bastard. Thanks. Wish me luck.

  19. I am a 50 year old married to a great man that’s a SA in denial. I have gone through hell and back with the whole thing. I do believe he loves me like he says but he can’t stop. I want to thank all of you for your stories theyake me feel like I’m not alone. I have no insurance or money for therapy right now. I allowed him to make me a shell of a person and am alone andalone and devastated..I do believe God will get me through this. What I’ve learned as a former addict is you can only change if you see it and want to change. My guy is in denial. No hope. No one deserves to live that way. Good luck

  20. Pls contact me. I treat people like crap but sleep with people and tell them I love them to benefit me. Does this count as a sexc addict?

  21. no. these reasons are not because of their childhood experience, but it is because of in their genes or their personalities.

  22. Hello I brake up yesterday with my boyfriend who is sex addict.I had a no idea he is.After looking a text messages in his phone to 25 different woman and he also sent them pics of his penis and other parts I get totally shocked and speechless.I tried so hard to confront him and he denied telling me he having no idea what I am talking about.I get so angry and asked live my house.He really hurt my feelings and never apologized.I still love him very much and like to help.I know he loves me too even he is cheatting..I don’t know what to do.Any ideas?
    Thank you for your time.Sinserely,Natalie

  23. My boyfriend of 6 years just admitted to me he’s a sex addict. I woke up from a dream this morning of him cheating on me. I was so mad at him even though it was a dream. So I went on our phone site and looked up his phone records. Found some numbers I didn’t recognize. So I grabbed his phone and the numbers were not saved in his phone and the texts were all gone. I looked up the numbers and found the person on Facebook. It was a older man. I was then so confused. I had to go to work, and he later texted me he loved me and to have a good day at work. I fired back with a “who’s number is this” and he tried lying at first and then told me it was someone from Craigslist. He called me crying saying he had a problem and didn’t know what was wrong with him. He said he can’t stop looking at porn and was texting people from Craigslist. He even admitted to meeting up with one of them for oral sex. Needless to say I am devastated. He told me how sorry he was and how he can’t lose me and my son. I am so hurt and confused. Part of me just wants to let him go but part of me wants to make sure he gets help. I know I can’t fix him. He has already looked up places to go see a counselor and get help. I have started reading up on relationships with a sex addict and I am so scared. My family and I are literally all he has. He has no family as he had a bad childhood and my whole family has become his. I don’t know what to do, this is something I can’t fix and it kills me.

  24. Okay so I am just now realizing in life I’m a sex addict. I’m not married. Divorced ..twice. and so single Nd alone. Why is it that I get turned on while I’m alone. And then it’s torture. Especially because both men that I have had hands down.most amazing sex with and a relationship that wasn’t bad either. At all . They have healthy sex appetites also. They are with other woman. Sometimes. I feel like I will be alone forever. But most of the time…I like it that way. Or I thought I did.i don’t know.any feed back appreciated!!

  25. I have been with my husband 10 years and it has been one he’ll of a ride he cheats porn masturbation prostitutes and tells me it’s not me it is him I can’t deal anymore I don’t know what to do we have a 8 year old daughter who loves us both strongly help please

  26. thanks you all for enlightening me here about SA. My fiance died a week ago and i am devastated. I wonder if he truly loved me. I want to talked to him after his death just to reassure me that he truly loved me. But now i know the answer. I have to forgive him and release his soul. Although i have loved him so much in spite of all his infidelities i have forgiven him when he asked me to forgive him. May you rest in peace Mark.

  27. I’m a 39 year old married women. I believe I am a sex addict, because of the amount of time and money and things I’ve done for sex up to this point. I’ve tried all I can think of to stop. Please help.

  28. I do believe that SA can be in love in some capacity. My husband of 17 years loves me, and is a great friend, dad and overall human being. Except he has a porn and prostitute addiction that I discovered 3 months ago by accident.
    He wants to resume his normal life at home with me via actions, which speak louder than the words he is saying. He is also somewhat narcissistic as he makes these grandiose gestures (think soliloquies on FB about his love for me) that leave everyone wondering why I kicked such a great guy out of our family home that includes 5 children 12 and under.
    I’m in therapy, but he is pressuring me to start joint therapy now too. I’m so overwhelmed and confused and I honestly don’t even know what to do anymore as on paper, he looks like I should let him have another shot, but I really think he is not mentally healthy or over his addiction. He is doing therapy, and is supposedly attending SA meetings.

    1. Hi Libby. It’s a tough position to be in…I give you that. There is also no pressuring. I am glad to read that you are going to therapy, that will help you process a lot and deal with your own internal processes. If and when you feel ready to start couples therapy, you can. There must be a lot of things between the two of you that are left un-discussed. See how you feel first, and take it slowly from there.

      I wish you all the best. Stay strong Libby!

  29. I believe my boyfriend of 9 months is a sex addict. I don’t know how to leave in a healthy manner. I’ve come to realize that he sees several other women along with me. I need to leave him and don’t know how. Thank-you!

    1. Hi Marilynn. I suggest that you openly speak about your problems with your boyfriend. And, tell him what’s bothering you.

  30. I have been involved with a sex addict for 15 months. I have no logical reason to adore him the way I do , but still find my heart absolutely broken by his actions.Why do I truly , and totally love this man when I know we could never have a normal relationship? We have had moments when I know he truly loves me too , but not enough to stop him from searching the net for women , to have Skype sex with.

  31. Im 8 months pregnant. I believe im with a sex addict. Before i had gotten pregnant i caught my bf on craigslist in the personals. He had people emailing him to hookup but hadnt responded to them. I confronted him and he admitted he had a problem but never got help. Fast forward to 2 months pregnant he was still searching on craigslist he even looked up massage parlors. I left him but eventually went back when he allowed me access to his phone email everything etc told me the baby and his family was enough to put him to shame about his habits and against my better judgement i believed him. Stupid i know. Now i am 8 months pregnant and he went so far as to meet up with someone from craigslist. I do not wish to continue a relationship with him but he’s still the father of my child. I guess my question is, did he ever love me? Is he capable of love? Is he capable of genuine love for the baby? I swear when hes with me hes the perfect bf tends to my needs tells me how much he loves me rubs my back offers financial support even when its not needed but when he’s not with me hes someone else. He even says so himself that he feels like someone else. Is this possible? Or was the love fake and the addict is his true self? I just want a better understanding so i can move on with peace of mind

  32. Ive been with my husband for almost 30 years. When he quit drugs and got in NA 15 years ago he told me he was a sex addict. I didnt pay much attention to it. Well after he was caught cheating with his friend’s girlfriend caught on pof meeting women as well craigslist and adultfriendfinder and text to women t meeting up for sex I paid attention. This activity started in like 2002. He admitted he had cheated multiple times and that he told the women he was married and he wasn’t changing that and obe of the women i called and and asked her how many times they fucked she said she didnt know. That tells me it was alot. The emails about meeting in the woods or here or there with this or that woman.we broke up for 4 month’s once and he was talking to a woman for about two weeks i think he liked her but daid he had sex woth her once and told her he didnt nt a relationship and she ever spoke to him again. She was in NA and so am I. So m pretty sure thats true. I told him the lasttime i caught himmeeting Someone for sex that the only was staying was if he did something about it. A month later he joined ssa. He only goes once a week but there are 2 meetings available . I still feel like hes acting out. I know he loves me but he told me that love has nothing to do with his problem. I think about what hes donr with other women. and i dont know if i can get ovet it. I am resentful towards him because he wont e me details and i cant believe anything he says. My whole .arried life had been a lie.

  33. I need more information. I have a sla partner and myself am a la, dealing with abandonment trauma. We have 14 years and 3 children, is it possible for us to heal individually amd keep our family unit together with the end hope loving one another in a healthy way.

  34. I am a spouse of a sexual addict. I have been and known for 26 years. There is no intimacy anymore. He’s just recognizing his addiction after all these years. And identifying it as so. I need help in believing if this relationship can survive if I choose to stay.

    1. Hi Gloria. I suggest that you consider family therapy to solve your problems. Also your spouse may consider speaking with a sex therapist.

  35. Dear Jane, I’m so sorry to hear about the horrible things that you went through. I hope my words can give you strength. Do all you can to not personalize what he has said and done. His addiction has absolutely nothing to do with you. Sex addicts are very narcissistic. This guy cannot have the feelings that is needed in a normal, loving relationship. Faith in God helps and will help you. He may have loved you or may still love you, as much as an addict can love, but you have to not see yourself as a person rejected because you were inadequate. He is just a sick person who cannot experience close, true feelings. Seek counseling for now and find your healing in Jesus Christ.

  36. Hi my partner of two years broke up with me. He said he never loved me. So I got my things and left. Next day he was at my house. He had sent a ref to say he could not bare me thinking I wasn’t loved but he just realised he was a sex addict and told me all the lies and things he had done behind my back. As he was honest and rang someone to get help. I said I’d stand by him. So after two therapy sessions he dumped me again. Said he needs to recovery alone. He then rang me. Told me he never loved me and had been using me for a good time. So as u can imagine I’m destroyed. Ehy tell me just to end up dumping me? I can not cope with this please help me 🙁

  37. My husband went to a 35 day in treatment program for sex addiction over a year ago. They also diagnosed him with alcoholism. He has since followed up with group meeting led by a therapist, he himself a recovering sex addict. Many people in the sex addiction community question this therapist and his work but when I bring it up my husband gets upset and says he gets what he gets out of the group regardless. He also goes to AA meetings. In the beginning he was going to a lot of meetings, a few to several a wee. Now I’d say he goes to maybe one meeting a week. Sometimes two. Sometimes none. He doesn’t have a sponsor.

    He has been sober for 15 months and he passed a lie detector test a few weeks ago, so I can feel a bit more secure in his sobriety. I am still having a lot of trouble feeling trust for him and even just feeling connected to him. I also have pretty serious case of ptsd and I get triggered every day by at least one thing. I have bad trauma responses too. He has said he will stand by my side while I heal.

    My question though is about his recovery. He says he used to have a disease he WAS sick and selfish and had self pity etc etc. but that now he doesn’t. He says he doesn’t have urges to act out nor does he exploit women or sexuality them when he sees an attractive one.

    Sometimes I feel his old ways of treating me with resentment come back but when I bring it up he says I just expect old behavior because of his last actions that lasted twenty years. He says he has no problem connecting and that I am the one who is not connected. Then sometimes he apologized for these things he says and tells me he will be better next time and is still learning but then we always have another incident/argument whatever you want to call it. I feel in the end he is not really able to take my emotions or my expressions of grief and rage. He wonders about how it will affect HIM rather than thinking about what I go through in order to try to be married to him. What happened I am starting to think might not be the best road to travel here. I was devastated by the discoveries as I always just wanted to make a beautiful life and grow a loving family and have worked very hard at improving my own self and connecting with my own spirituality over the years.

    Is it really possible that 35 days of in treatment is all he needed to be sober? I think he still needs therapy on a regular basis but he says his group and AA meeting is enough. Meanwhile saying I am happy well…that would be a lie. And I am trying my best not to accept lies anymore. I want the real thing now. Please let me know your thoughts.

  38. My husband has had affairs for years. We’ve been married 15 years and this is the second time he’s left. Both times he said he wasn’t in love w me anymore. He went to someone else both times. His sister is helping him w his affair this time and trying to help him get divorced from me. Is there a chance he ever loved me at all? We have 5 kids together.. Is there any chance for us or is this an ongoing cycle? Should I cut him loose?

  39. I enabled a sex addict with my behavior about 3 months ago for a couple weeks and have been working through the aftermath. I was so ashamed of it I couldn’t make myself go for help. I am getting help now and have decided not to disclose to my husband because it was fantasy role playing and more like an emotional affair which I understand would be more hurtful to him than if we’d really had sex. I cut off the friendship after a miserable 3 months of trying to hide what I’d done. In contrast to what other people/partners here have expressed, my friend was my friend for 12 years without incident. I didn’t know about his addiction. Neither of us ever used the friendship for resolving marital problems (at least I didn’t). I was and am happily, healthily married. I haven’t ever done an impulsive, reckless or “love addict” action in my life before the incident, but I understand now that we were more like trauma partners because I did have the sort of upbringing characterized by poor boundaries around sex – something I never revealed to him until we did the single act of role playing and he let me know he is an addict. I refuse to make myself out as a victim. In addition to the therapy (which has been so hard to find and get in my area where docs are in such high demand), what are the strategies you recommend for coping with my anxiety, guilt, shame, etc.

  40. I almost married a sex addict. I “discovered” him about four months ago. He said he would stop and then I caught him again and again. It was mostly internet related (web cam porn $, dating sites, masturbation chat room sites, social media flirting, texting other woman, Skype, and FaceTime). We finally sat down and made the decision to end our relationship due to his compulsive behavior. It all just became too much for either of us to handle. He called me and told me that he admit’s he’s a sex addict, went to the doctor and has got on antidepressants, and has started one on one therapy with a professional psychotherapist. We made the decision not to speak for a few months so we can both heal independently. Am I crazy to have a glimmer of hope that him and I ever have a fighting chance again? I don’t even know why I would put myself in that situation again, however I almost married him and I still love him deeply. I don’t want anyone else but him. Should I take it as I “dodged a bullet? ” or do I take it as he’s getting the help he needs and there is hope for a happy, healthy future? Please advise.

  41. Hello Sonya. You may want to talk this out with a certified psychologist who is trained in sex addictions/compulsion. Sex addicts experience issues with intimacy, and if you notice a pattern in who you’re attracted to, you may want to address this. But ultimately, you have the answers to your own questions inside of you. You may need some guidance in bringing these answers to light.

  42. My boyfriend of 18 months and I just broke up last week because I caught him telling other women he wanted to kiss their feet and that he fantasizes about them sexually. I have seen, although minimally, the side of him where he truly expresses love for me. He says he does not want to hurt me. I know he doesn’t want to continue to hurt me so he pushes me away. I just want to work through this even though I know it would be a long road. Especially since I was married to a sex addict before. I have been researching it and trying to understand my role in it. Should I just move on? It is obviously a pattern I have so even if I move on I will more than likely just meet another addict. I would rather stay with the man I love and work through it than keep repeating patterns. Any thoughts

  43. To Lars

    If you ever read this- I had exactly the same experience except for 6 years. He cheated on me for 2 with casual people, then met someone he liked more and saw regularly. We were finished exactly 3 months after she appeared. I did everything you did. He lied emphatically like she did. We had great times and great intercourse. I was truly happy. I stayed miserable and in denial just hoping that the old man I knew would re-appear. I’m still trying to accept the relationship is over. He still gets this seedy, sordid intercourse out of me as I miss him so much. But every time I see him, I feel terrible. He ignores me, is rude and snaps at me and doesn’t even treat me like a human being. He’s manipulated me and character assassinated me to his friends that he never let me meet. It was when I exposed him that he flicked a switch. He shut me down. I am so damaged and the road back is hard. He took advantage of me financially too.

  44. Aaron, is all of that true? Are sex addicts incapable of true love? Am I to believe that everything that has been told to me, which is very much what you said, all lies? Please enlighten me. I’m not judging you in any way. I just want to understand.

  45. I am a sex addict. I have had many several-month to several-year relationships with women, including one marriage and several instances of living together. The common thing in all of these relationships was the sense of entitlement the women had to “love”. For all of them “love” was shortand for me tolerating behavior that I would not tolerate otherwise. Endless boring conversation. Demands that I agree with them, or tell them they are right when they aren’t. Letting them scream or cry or act in otherwise childish ways. Of course, provide them with financial support. Tell them they are the most beautiful person in the world. Tell them I will “love” them “forever” so they can feel secure about the future. Tell them once I met them, my sexual attraction for other women faded, because they are just that amazing. I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of “love” is simply a mutual agreement to lie to each other so you can hide from reality. All the rituals associated with love are about escaping from the simple truth that we are each utterly alone in our own heads with our own thoughts. So much of addiction counselling is about addicts readjusting to depending on this system of mutual lies again, rather than addiction, which finds a way to temporarily accept this solitude rather than create a web of lies to pretend it doesn’t exist.

  46. I have just gotten out of a 3 year relationship with a SA. Through the entire relationship I always knew something was wrong and when I approached her about it she would lie emphatically. She lied all the way to the end – and it was only through a mutual friend that I discovered how active she had been. In 3 years there must have been dozens. She is an extremely beautiful girl, which enables her to easily act out. She has had breast enhancements and a nose job. I was very upset when she did these things because I could tell that she had little to no self-esteem. She keeps telling me that she’s fat – although she has a perfect body – and I believe that she may develop an eating disorder. In fact, I believe that she may continue down the road of self-loathing and wind up as a prostitute. She fills the holes in her heart with designer bags, shoes, etc – and without access to my money (she does not work) I believe she may turn to prostitution.

    When we broke up I found that she had already entered into a relationship with someone else. I felt like she had just been using me over the years and when I became inconvenient that she just jumped ship to make it easier on herself. I wondered – and still do – if she ever loved me. When we broke up, she called me up crying and told me that everything was her fault, that I was the only man that had ever cared for her. But she still lied about her relationship with her new boyfriend and about the 3 years of infidelities when I asked her.

    I find myself going through previous lies, when my gut knew something was wrong and I can’t believe I didn’t listen to myself. I would pack her bags and throw her out – but she would bang on the door for hours until I let her in. She would dilute the truth into a lie that seemed like it was less of an offense and beg forgiveness. I would forgive her and she would do it again. I guess that seems pretty codependent – huh?

    I have contacted her once since I last saw her. After our mutual friend told me what had happened I was so angry – I wanted to hurt her back. I IM’d her and told her that I knew what she had done and that I was happy that she was out of my life. She wrote back and told me that it wasn’t true and that she didn’t care what I thought anymore. I gave her specific examples so she would know that I knew. I told her I never wanted to see her again and then she blocked me. I often wonder if she’ll be back in touch or if she’ll just try to forget me. At least I would know that she cared if she tried to contact me again.

    I have been really confused about why I allowed things to go on so long when I knew deep inside that something was severely wrong. I have gone to a doctor and had an STD test – negative thank god! The feeling of betrayal is like nothing I have ever known. I want to forget this person and move on. I want to be able to recognize the signs early so I can avoid this type of person in the future. I need to address this issue of co-dependence – but I live overseas in Asia and there is not exactly much psychotherapy available here. Are there any books that I can read to help?

    Since researching this, I have come closer to finding peace. Maybe she loved me – but I don’t think you can really love anyone if you hate yourself. Maybe she cared about me – but the way in which she manipulated me makes me doubt it. I think she’ll just move on from man to man until I’m just a distant memory that can’t hurt her anymore.

    After reading about various people’s experiences I feel exceedingly fortunate that I did not marry this person. I had it in my mind – but I realize that I had fallen in love with an idea rather than a person. I need to move on. It’s not my fault and I showed her as much love and caring as I could. She was just too broken inside to know how to deal with it.

  47. Hi Lisa. It’s natural to wonder whether or not former lover experienced deep feelings of love for you. But seeing how things have ended, it might be better to just move on rather than torture yourself with these questions.

  48. I was in a relationship with with a sex addict….I always felt something was “off” but thought it was my insecurity. We went from romantic/sexual partners to friends….no type of sex what so ever. He married someone else but I always felt that he loved me….is that possible? his addiction came to light after he was married….he confessed to me that i was “one of the things he obsessed about.” I wondered if that began as a genuine feeling of affection toward me?

  49. I agree that sexually addiction has the power to overcome one’s ability to love. I further agree that we can regain that ability to love somebody selflessly when we turn to Christ -I’m Christian- and ask Him to help remove that burden from us, and then put in the work that we have to.

    I have a blog about my recovery from sexual addiction from a spiritually-based approach. You can check it out at pasgonline[dot]blogspot[dot]com. PASG stands for Pornography Addiction Support Group.

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