Married to and Addict and I'm Codependent...Help!


#1

Hello, Everyone. This is my first post. I am desperate for answers.

I am a Christian woman who married the son of a minister almost 20 years ago. 10 years into our marriage, he confessed to numerous infidelities. From personal encounters to phone encounters to pornography. I was devastated, but determined to do whatever I could to save our marriage. We both thought that accountability was the answer. He stayed faithful for 6.5 years. It seemed all of that was behind us.

In 2015, I discovered pornography and confronted him. He confessed he had been living a double life for 9 months including everything except personal encounters. He said that he was a sex addict and began going to a 12 step program. I thought, ok, he is addicted but as long as he will stay in recovery, I can give him another chance. I gave an ultimatum that if he engaged in acting out and hid it, I would make him leave the home.

7 months ago, I walked in on him on the phone with a “900 number” if you will. Then followed a confession to everything but a personal encounter for the past 1.5 years. We are currently separated.

About 3 months into the separation, I noticed a real change in him. He seemed to really be trying to understand the trauma he had put me through. Seemed to really be thinking of me instead of himself first. Seemed to be maturing. We began dating. It was wonderful for a couple of months. Then I slowly started to see that he was less kind, less humble, less willing to take responsibility for his mistakes. I called off the dating because I no longer felt emotionally safe with him.

In the mean time, I have discovered the book, Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. I realized how codependent I was. I am working on changing. My main problems are seeking my value in his desire for me. I also obsess over him…is he cheating? Does he love me?, etc.

My question is, How can I, as a Christian woman, find my value in Jesus? I hurt so badly. And I have spent years trying to make my husband change so I can feel ok. I realize I can’t make him change and it is possible that he will never be a loving husband. I don’t believe I can divorce him. I feel stuck. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

PS we are both in individual counseling and we have 7 children, all still at home.


#3

Pray to Jesus and ask that your sufferings be put with His for the good of the world, specifically for the aiding of your husband.

Try to pray a Rosary every day as a family. You say you are not near him, so insist upon him praying a rosary every day. It is very full of graces, it is amazing in aiding us from sin.

Pray for him much, and talk to a spiritual director.

Pray to God on what should be done.


#4

Thank you for your response. The infidelities did occur before marriage, but also off and on throughout our marriage. My desire is for restoration, but I also wonder how many chances I can give him. I have a spiritual director who encourages me to stick it out. I want healing for myself, whatever my husband decides to do. I just don’t know how to have that as long as he is in my life.


#5

Is there an Al-Anon type 12-step codependent group for family members of sex/ porn addicts? Seems like it would be the same principles as for codependents of other types of addicts.

That Melody Beattie book is a godsend. I used it 30+ years ago to get myself out of a bad codependent relationship with a mentally ill alcoholic/ pill addict. It was a brand new book then and an eye-opener for me. Glad to see it is still helping people all these years later. Good luck.


#6

If I were you, I would have divorced him already. He doesn’t seem to care about anyone except himself. Surely he must have known that doing these sexual perversions would hurt you, but he did them anyway. To me that screams selfishness. That’s how I feel.


#7

There is a 12 step program for partners of sex addicts, but there is not a group anywhere near me. I have begun attending CoDA meetings (Codependents Anonymous) and they have been helpful.

Regarding divorce…I honestly sometimes wish I would have divorced him years ago. But here I am, days away from our 20 year anniversary, married to him. Now I feel like since I stayed with him in spite of the infidelities, I need to stay as long as he is working on recovery. But I also have a hard time trusting my own judgment. That is why I value other people’s fresh perspectives.

One question: do I have grounds for divorce even though I have stayed with him this long?


#8

I don’t know where you’re located, but in the United States, all states have some type of no-fault divorce, so if you’re looking for a civil divorce you don’t need “grounds”.
If you are actually asking for an annulment in the Catholic Church, that is a different matter and you’d need to talk to a priest.


#9

Seven children is a good reason to fight for a marriage. Codependency and Sexual addiction can be overcome. I can recommend a book for you both- it is called “Getting Free” by Bert Ghezzi. I will keep you both in my prayers - pray for Gods Will be done in your marriage. Trust in Him. Everyday will be work but in the end it will be worth it. Also - pray to St Monica to intercede for you - she is a patron Saint of Marriages especially difficult ones.


#10

I was married to an alcoholic. Everyone’s addiction is at different levels and different damage being done.

I too read the book you mention.

I divorced my husband with the idea that if he straightened up we can always reconcile.

The damage being done to my children was not worth staying for. I would go to hell to save my kids and thats what I did. I have never regretted my decision.

Guess what - my ex has never changed… probably gotten worse and I just don’t know how bad because he is not dragging us around.

I thank God everyday that he opened my eyes to help me save my children from that mess.


#11

So it’s not a case of adultery! But the “lesser evil” of a “certain” infidelity/untruthfulness.

First of all, you both have a moral obligation of trying to rescue your marriage. Patience and dialogue are key here.

It’s part of our nature to feel the temptation of “Lust” and acting on it to varying degrees. And it’s our obligation to control those urges through Chastity.

I would suggest that you try to read some texts or videos by John Anthony Hardon S.J. about marriage. Also, try “love and responsibility” by saint John Paul II, you’ll find there most of what you need in terms of “sound and formal answers”.

Finding “your own person” and your own relationship with Christ is important at this point. Your best weapon would be praying with your children and inviting your husband for you all to pray together.

You’ll find there is “no way” to “forget” a long lasting marriage with children. Thinking about it constantly is not being codependent, but just a part of life. Those that are in love also constantly think about their other half.

Trying to escape “into the arms of another” or seeing “divorce” as solving anything whatsoever would be just a mistake.


#12

I was in a similarish situation, but married 12 years and my husband was also an alcoholic. With out going into a whole lot of detail, because I could seriously write a novel about the whole thing, turns out he had bi-polar 2 disorder. He had been to councilors and nobody caught it until I started looking at the patterns over the years of our marriage and started doing my own research. A psychiatrist diagnosed him on the first visit. I’m not saying that’s for sure what’s going on with your husband, but I saw a lot of similarities between your story and mine, and many many other stories I’ve heard about people with bipolar 2, so I would definitely recommend he see a good psychiatrist to at least rule out any underlying mental illness.

Also, don’t be so quick to jump to the conclusion that you’re codependent. You’re separated right now, that’s actually a pretty strong indicator that you’re not. I remember going through everything with my husband and having everybody put that label on me. I think to most people the only way you could stay with any kind of addict is because you’re codependent, but there’s a lot more to it than that. It wasn’t until I brought it up with my therapist that I really started to understand what real codependency was when she just laughed and said “I knew you weren’t codependent on your first visit because you were seriously considering divorcing your husband, codependents don’t do that.”


#13

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.