I first met my husband, D, when we were both in high school. We were friends for a while, started dating and were together through college. From the beginning, D was a wonderful friend and partner, and our relationship was, though not perfect, a wonderful time for a long while. We moved to college together, stayed in the same dorm. Around the middle of freshman year, D started showing certain changes in his character. He became much more secretive, defensive, and started hanging out with a lot of other people rather than me. He asserted his independence often to the point of hurting my feelings. We had a lot of discussions about his behavior, he agreed that he was being hurtful and immature, and our relationship resumed as ever.
A year later, things again took a turn for the worse. D became secretive again, especially about his activities on the computer. When confronted, he would deny that anything was wrong, even after I began to find e-mails from internet dating and "rate me" sites that he had visited. There were excuses for everything--that he was looking for a friend, it was nothing, I was wrong for snooping, etc. He finally agreed to delete his membership from the sites and life moved on.
About a year later, things continued. I continued to find incriminating evidence from dating websites, even online chats that were sexually explicit in nature. As always, he denied that anything was wrong, made up ridiculous excuses that I knew were probably lies but accepted because aside from this, we were happy and things were great. Unfortunately, About a year and a half ago things took a turn for the worse when D shared with me that he had been chatting with a particular girl online for quite a while, and about a year before (the admission) had ended up going to her house and exposing himself to her and fondling her breasts. The girl was underage, and he was arrested for sexual misconduct. He of course begged forgiveness, asked me to help him because he would never put himself in such a situation again, he had been a stupid kid who made a huge mistake but nothing more. Our relationship deteriorated, he made his way through his court case and was convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to a year probation and mandatory therapy classes.
After beginning classes, D was a whole new person. He truly seemed to be turning his life around, regretted his mistake, and was a star performer in his classes and with his probation officer. Both of us, thrilled with his progress and finally free to move on with our lives, began to rebuild our relationship. Over the course of the next year we got engaged and married, and generally we have begun a wonderful life together. About two months after we were married, D was set to graduate from his therapy class and finish his probation, and of course, we were both very much looking forward to finally moving beyond this horrible chapter in our lives. For the end of his class, he was required to take a polygraph test that was supposed to determine if he had been completely honest and forthcoming with his class and PO. Unfortunately, he failed the test. The entire time he had been working through therapy, seemingly making wonderful progress, he had in fact been continuing to visit inappropriate web sites, chat online with strangers, and even begun to use his cell phone to text message other women (almost always with sexually driven conversations) that he either already knew or met online. He looked at porn almost daily, and had been masturbating usually two or three times a week. All of this while all of us--his PO, his counselors, and myself--were convinced that he had really been taking to heart all of the things he had been learning about how to prevent a relapse, how to stay clean, etc.
Two months ago, my heart was completely broken. I didn't know what to do, whether to stick around or face the shame of divorcing my husband two months after we got married, whether to support him as he continued to deal with the consequences of his actions, etc. The day he came home from his first meetings after the polygraph results, he admitted to me that his class recommended that he begin to attend SAA meetings, and that his behavior was the result of a sexual addiction. Part of me was devastated---part had known all along that his reclusive behavior, the way he would get edgy whenever I entered a room when he was on the computer, his adamant proclamations that there was nothing I needed to worry about, was all a signal that he was back to his old behaviors. Once he admitted the addiction, his first step was to ask me to remove his computer from the house. He claimed (once again) that he was really going to try to fix things this time, try to prove to me that he loved me and could be a better person. A week later, I found another text message. It was at that point that we had "the discussion." I let him know that I thought he was addicted, that I thought he was too arrogant to admit that he needed help, and that his problem all along was that he was going to these classes, knew what to say and how to say it, but didn't think it was really something he needed to act upon. I told him that I was willing to stay and help him fight this--but only if he was really, finally, actually going to seek help and put forth the effort to get himself straight.
It has now been a month since the last text message was sent. I check the cell phone bill daily for any signs of unusual numbers being called. He still has no access to a computer except for work. And things have actually been doing better. We have worked out a relapse prevention plan where he identified the situations when he was tempted to text people or get on the computer, and devised plans to deal with those situations when they arise. If he feels frustrated at work, for example, and begins thinking about acting out, he will call me to explain the situation, turn his phone on full volume so that any incoming text will get him in trouble, and if all else fails, will take his phone to his car and return to work without it. We have daily checkins where he lets me know if he has had any inappropriate thoughts or has been tempted to do anything during the day, and if so, what he did about it. He is beginning to become the person I once knew again.
The problem is, addiction is a powerful thing. It has so completely overtaken our lives that it is hard for me to even comprehend sometimes. Some days I feel like we are doing the right thing, taking steps, moving forward, and some days I am overcome with fear that he is still lying about his progress, just as he used to. Some days I worry constantly that he might find a new way to act out that is less easy to catch or keep up with. I am constantly afraid that when he keeps track of how many days he has been clean, he is telling me what I want to hear instead of the truth. I am very, very proud of him for taking action to right himself. But I am also very, very scarred by everything I have been through to this point. And what makes it even scarier is the legal aspect of everything. Because he violated probation by not completing his class on time (because he failed the polygraph), and also because he admitted during the polygraph that he had crossed state lines without permission for work, he is now going to have to go to a hearing to determine if he will be violated. When he first went to court for his initial offense, we hired a very good private lawyer. Now, because I am in school and we are living off of his income alone, we do not have enough money and so would have to accept a public defender. For the first time yesterday, I went with to one of his probation meetings, and I feel like it was relatively productive. Unfortunately, the PO also gave us a rundown of what would happen at his court date. The options are: plead guilty to violating the probation (at which point the judge will decide punishment) or plead not guilty and ask for a lawyer (at which point there will be a date set for another hearing). The probation officer is recommending to the judge that D be given another year's probation and community service because of his lying. The judge, however, does not have to accept the PO's advice, and could send D to jail for up to a year for the violation. While this seems unlikely (from what everyone, including the PO, has said), I am terrified that D will end up in jail just as he seems to be truly beginning the recovery process. He is going to his first SAA meeting on Monday night, and I am hopeful at that prospect. Also, it will be impossible for me to pay our bills without his income. And so...right now I am extremely stressed and don't really know what to do. It helps to put this all out there, somehow, even if no one will ever read it. I only hope I can somehow find the courage to make it through the next couple of weeks.