Dear Abby: Here’s how to find help if your partner is addicted to sex

Two support groups specialize in educating and assisting those affected by someone who cheats or compulsively looks at porn.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m writing regarding “Broken-Hearted in Oregon” (Jan. 13), whose partner is pursuing recovery from porn addiction, and “Fading in Washington” (Feb. 1), whose husband is likely watching porn, is displaying narcissistic tendencies and belittling his wife’s appearance and age. Please suggest these women seek appropriate support to deal with it. If either of the men were abusing drugs or alcohol or gambling excessively, you would have told the spouse to seek out a 12-step group like Al-Anon. Well, there are support groups for sex and porn addicts, as well as their partners.

My ex-husband kept his sex and porn addictions from me during our marriage. But after one affair (that I knew of) and twice discovering his constant use of the internet to view porn and enter chat rooms, I realized the man I thought I knew had a secret life that did not include intimacy with me. It left me shattered, disillusioned and horrified.

There is great shame associated with this “disease.” I was fortunate to find two 12-step programs for co-dependents of sex addicts — S-Anon and COSA, a group in which I continue to engage although my marriage is over.

There is help out there for partners like me. I have learned a great deal about the conditions that set the stage for future addiction, and also my own co-dependency that led me into that relationship and caused me to turn a blind eye to what was happening.

The abuse of pornography is a crisis in our society. Please encourage your readers to seek information about porn and sex addiction by Googling “Is my partner a sex addict?” and learning more about COSA and S-Anon, as well as consult a therapist who recognizes and understands this problem. — RECOVERING IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR RECOVERING: Thank you for writing. I’m pleased the support groups you cited helped you. Readers, COSA ( is a 12-step program for people whose lives have been affected by compulsive sexual behavior. S-Anon ( helps individuals connect with others who have also experienced the effects of someone’s sex addiction and found a way forward. If you find yourself in the kind of situation “Recovering” has described, I urge you to seek support.

DEAR ABBY: I have been with a divorced man for almost two years now. He has told me several times he will always be there for his ex-wife regardless of what she may need. He often reminisces about his life and is constantly telling me about places he has been and things he has done which include her.

I have talked to him about how it makes me feel, and his answer is, “That’s life.” He says he is who he is and will never change. He swears he is no longer in love with his ex-wife. I wish I could believe it. What should I do? — OTHER WOMAN IN OREGON

DEAR OTHER WOMAN: Understand that you are involved with a man who loves reliving his past, regardless of how it affects you. What a bore he must be. Since you asked, I’m suggesting you find someone who prefers looking forward rather than looking backward and who is more stimulating company. This person is too dismissive of your feelings for my taste.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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