Annie had been dating Dale for nine months, and everything seemed to be going pretty well. He proclaimed his love to her early on, made extravagant promises and seemed like the perfect boyfriend — on the surface.
"He was extremely secretive about his past, seemed to have a lot of enemies and blamed his ex-girlfriends for every relationship failure. I thought that was especially curious."
Annie began to suspect that Dale was living a double life. When she mentioned her concerns to him, he became angry and called her crazy for questioning him. He never wavered from his claim of being a one-woman man.
One day, Dale left his computer open and Annie looked at his Google search history. He had been researching sexually transmitted disease symptoms and clinics. When she told him what she found, he admitted that he had been sleeping with multiple women for the entire duration of our relationship.
Dale entered rehab for sex and drug addiction (he was also a cocaine addict). He had weekly therapy sessions and went into a 12-step program. He also attended weekly therapy sessions. They tried to make it work for another seven months, "but the damage was done. My trust was broken, not only because of the cheating, but also the lack of appropriate remorse, the pathological lying and the fact that my health was jeopardized. His recovery took all of his energy, and he demanded saintly compassion on my end while being emotionally incapable of providing the same for me. I worked hard to forgive his behavior. I worked hard to trust him again, but I found it impossible.
He began to withdraw emotional and physical affection and became hypercritical of me. Ultimately, I became very angry and bitter, and he ended up breaking up with me and never speaking to me again. I was blamed for the relationship ending and was turned into the bad guy. In his eyes, I was just another ex-girlfriend who treated him wrong and lead to the failure of the relationship.
So, I'd like to offer a word of advice to readers: If you discover your partner is a sex addict who either has not yet entered treatment or hasn't had at least a year of sobriety, I strongly discourage you from continuing the relationship — unless you are married or have children. I would have saved myself a lot of time and heartache by cutting my losses and allowing him to enter recovery in solitude. Trying to force the relationship to work did not do either of us any favors. Any addict entering treatment for the first time will not be emotionally available to contribute to a healthy partnership until their addiction issues are more stable. I do have compassion for his struggles, but I am left wishing he had more compassion for mine.
Got a problem? Send it, along with your questions and rants to [email protected] And check out my ebook, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."