Q&A Will He Be Able to Stop the Memories?

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Question: 

My husband, a sex addict, says he cannot control his thoughts or fantasies; he can only control his behavior. Analytically, I get it, but as a betrayed wife who found out my husband has been unfaithful for 23 of 25 years, I find that statement unacceptable. I believe if my husband didn’t desire it, he wouldn't think about it. He admits he thinks about it daily. To me, that feels like betrayal. Because of the amount, it’s not fantasizing, it’s reminiscing and that REALLY upsets me to the point of anger because it hurts so much knowing he has those memories stored away for instant recall anytime, anywhere. He doesn't want the memories but doesn't have complete control over them coming to the surface of his mind especially when he is remorseful for all he has done. I should somehow be grateful that he is now choosing me and our marriage over choosing to act out but I feel resentful and angry that he has all these memories to think about even if he is not choosing to act out again. My question for you Rick is, will my husband's reminiscent thinking ever stop? Will he ever be truly free from those lustful memories? I don't know that I can move forward knowing he thinks about his encounters with other women. It feels deceitful like he’s being unfaithful whether he’s physically acting out or not. Thank you in advance for any clarity so I can have hope that this can and will be resolved.

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Intrusive Thoughts

Rick - Thank you so much for this answer. I am the betrayed wife of a husband who is a sex addict who has acted out for 28 years - and that might be a clue as to who I am. This is a great question and it is something I have been feeling about my husband but for some reason have not been able to verbalize it. Your answer is so helpful. I also feel the technique or exercise you suggest of writing out the memory and then switching to a negative thought will help me with my intrusive thoughts. I am having terrible intrusive thoughts about my husband's acting out and I feel if I write out my intrusive thought and then switch to the reality of today and that my husband has changed and all the love he is showing me it will help me cope with the intrusive thoughts. We have been to 2 EMS weekends and I have been having EMDR with Leslie and I want you to know that without Affair Recovery I think my husband and I would have definitely divorced. Thank you so much for all you do.

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