A sample losses or impact letter
I am writing this impact letter in hopes that you will gain a better understanding of how your addiction and acting out behavior has wounded me.
Your sex addiction and deceptive choices and behaviors have impacted me in the following ways:
Physically I have felt violated and sickened that you risked my health by having sex with other people and then having sex with me. The risk you took by potentially exposing me to STD’s made me feel vulnerable and scared that I would catch something. I am hurt that you did not consider the health risk which made me feel like I didn’t matter and that you didn’t care what would happen to me.
I’m mortified that I most likely caught HPV from you as I did test positive for it. I am embarrassed and ashamed that I had to ask my health care provider for STD testing more than once which includes shamefully having to explain that my husband has been unfaithful and further explaining your acting out behavior.
I am mad that when I recently suffered from a yeast infection, I spent days being anxious and worried that it may have been an STD that had not been detected. I am still worried that I might come down with an STD and any unusual symptoms I experience, my mind goes there and I spend too much time and energy worrying about it.
I feel despair about our choice to terminate that pregnancy as I do believe your addiction and acting out behavior played a role in that choice. I feel that if you were not an addict you may have encouraged me to have another baby instead of telling me how hard it would be and all of the things we couldn’t do if we had it.
I am overwhelmed by the knowledge that you were having an affair when we made that choice and during the emotional upheaval I experienced in the time that followed. I am very angry that when I needed you most emotionally – you were not there for me and you were having an affair.
I am dismayed and astonished that you had strangers and affair partners in our home and apartment. It shocks me how reckless you were with our safety and the safety of our kids. I’ve been anxious and worried that someone in our neighborhood may have seen you bringing strange women into our house and the thought that someone else may have witnessed this humiliates me.
I was frightened that the strangers you had to our house might come back and cause us harm or rob us. I worry that the partners of the people you had to our house might discover the encounter and find our address, show up at our house and do harm to our family or property in retaliation. I spent time obsessing over considering installing surveillance and alarms to protect us.
I am horrified that you acted out with people you worked with and that you used your work computer, phone and car to facilitate your acting out behavior. I have felt helpless and worried that if your acting out behavior was discovered at work it would be a wide spread scandal and you may have been fired. The repercussions to our kids and family would have been tremendous and it confuses me that you put everything at risk and did not consider the consequences.
In reaction to multiple discoveries and the FTD I have felt awful and have had physical stress reactions such as headaches, stomachaches, back and neck aches. You broke my heart and I did not want to be near you. My job has suffered as I have felt unfocused and have made careless mistakes. I have had and still do have trouble sleeping as I wake up many nights and this situation floods my mind and I can’t get away from it – when I can’t sleep these unwanted thoughts are the often the culprit.
Emotionally I feel angry, let down and empty with the knowledge that you have acted out with a series of prostitutes, massage parlors, strangers and affair partners for the entirety of our relationship and that the number of actual encounters total in the hundreds and online encounters in the thousands. I am hurt that you did not show empathy for how that might make me feel when I tried to talk to you about it.
Your acting out behavior makes me feel betrayed, hurt, scared, insecure, not good enough, demoralized, not sexy or pretty enough, not loved, not safe, vulnerable and absolutely devastated. Knowing that you are part of other people’s histories and memories and that you have shared yourself (body, words, energy, attention, charm, time, passion) with other’s causes me deep sadness and pain. I am so mad at how careless and reckless you were with my health, our life, safety, marriage and love.
You gave part of you away, shared what was mine.
Your serial lying and serial infidelities have destroyed the trust and confidence I had in our relationship and has made me question every aspect of our life; I am distraught that our history in my mind is forever changed. Instead of happy memories, I now imagine and insert acting out scenes across all stages and memories of our relationship/life and rethink what I thought was real.
I was disillusioned by who I thought you were and I feel so let down to know that you have led a double life. I feel disrespected that took these risks and valued what we had so little to not do something about it and that you did not trust me enough to ask for help.
You have inflicted horrible betrayal on me and I have felt isolated, ashamed, and lonely and many times have contemplated divorce. I have lost respect for you – the person I respected and trusted most in my life and I am scared that I may not be able to find my way back.
I am bitter over the amount of time and energy I have spent trying to figure out what my life would look like without you. I’ve imagined how we would tell the kids and our families, what our living arrangements would be and spent days sorting through our financials to see how divorce would impact my future financially and if I could swing it without you.
I am offended and angry that I always put you first and you did not treat me the same. I always saw your job as so stressful and so busy that I was willing to take up the slack. I spent all my time trying to make your life easy. House clean, dinner on the table, plans made, kids stable, and shirt ironed. Now I feel regret that my actions to keep home all together made it more convenient for you to act out. I feel hostile that when I iron your shirt I always (and mean always) am triggered to think how many times did I iron and you went on to act out with someone in that shirt I ironed for you.
I am mad and resentful about how much energy and time this has taken from me. I spent so much time over the years investigating your phones, emails, searching through your workbag , car and wallet looking for clues to acting out. And when I did find something I would go into a panic, my heart would race and I would tremble in a sort of shock which would spin me into deep turmoil.
This is your addiction yet you injured me so deeply that I have to go through recovery. I resent the time I have to spend going to meetings and therapist appointments and doing the work. I am bitter about the emotional toll this has taken on me and how I still cannot get this out of my head. I think about this every day and it saddens me. I am furious and heavy hearted and I don’t want this to be part of us and don’t deserve this.
I feel withdrawn and tired over that fact that I am desperate for regular, intimate conversations with you but you avoid initiating these conversations. I have expressed to you many times how important this is to me and how much it helps me, yet I am the one that must always start the talks and feel like I have to coax real feelings from you and often feel unsatisfied.
I am tired of trying… thus withdraw and expect you to read my mind Simply asking me how I feel or if there is anything you can do for me in regards you SA would open the conversation. I want to know about your feelings, stresses, anxiety and recovery progress, what you are working on, what new you have learned about yourself, what you are doing differently to avoid going down the path of acting out and reassure me of your commitment to our marriage.
I am worried and anxious that you will relapse. I know this is a real possibility and it scares me so much. I believed you to be in recovery before and this has come back to slam me over and over. When I start to worry about this it makes me so anxious I wonder if I would be better off alone.
Financially, I am angry that you took our family money and spent it on prostitutes, massage parlors and taking affair partners out and buying gifts such as Christmas presents. Although I am grateful that you are in a solid recovery I am resentful that it is not covered by our health insurance and we have to pay out of pocket which has cost us thousands of dollars.
I have avoided expressing this because I don’t want you to stop what you are doing but, I feel stress about money and when we run low on our checking account I feel annoyed because if you were not an addict we would not be spending $600- $800 on month on recovery. I am also resentful that I felt it necessary (because of money) to not choose Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) for myself thus sacrificing my recovery.
If money was not an issue, I would have chosen a CSAT and feel jealous that you have a specific, structured set of tools to lead you through the recovery stages for this particular addiction, but I don’t.
Sexually, your acting out behavior and infidelity has made me feel inadequate and not enough for you. It has made me feel insecure about my sexual attractiveness to you. I see now how much our love life and our passion has suffered from your acting out. I feel let down that you shared your passion with others and not with me.
I have always worried about the frequency of sex and thought as long as we were doing it regularly, you wouldn’t need to get it elsewhere. I spent an extreme amount of time over the years feeling anxious if more than a week would pass without sex and I would start feeling stress about when we could do it.
I am remorseful over the amount of time I worried about this. Now I often feel frustration and despair when we are having sex and I start to think about your acting out behavior and compare it to what we are doing. Did he do this with her? Did he like this better with her? Is he thinking about his acting out behavior while he is having sex with me. .. I hate that I often struggle to be present when we are having sex because my mind goes to these thoughts.
I also worry that sex to you may be just sex and a way of feeding your addiction and wonder are you really with me. I want to put effort towards connecting more intimately.
I am mad and feel helpless that I have a list of innocuous words and things that trigger me and put my mind in a bad place. Such as etch-a-sketch, itza-party, Andrew, Retirement party and East Boston. I also hate that I have flash backs of how your acting out behavior played out in our home… where in the house? One what furniture? In our room?
Another flashback I struggle with is the night you came home at 4am after the retirement party and lied to me saying your drank too much and passed out the car. I see you standing at our bedroom door explaining this too me – and now that I know what really happened I have a reel in my mind that plays imagining what you did with her and how that went down.
I am pissed off that you did this to me, to our marriage and to our life. I am shocked that you didn’t you respect us more. I feel betrayed, heartbroken, insecure and vulnerable that you have lied to and betrayed me over and over again. The depth of your deceit and secrets has scarred me so deeply that I sometime fear it’s unrepairable.
I am frustrated that I don’t trust you and I am afraid that I may never trust you again. My mind jumps to the worst case whenever there is something I don’t expect. I am saddened that I have lost confidence in our marriage, what for many years I would’ve called perfect….I often feel we are putting on a charade, a good face for the outside world but we are really just covering up all of this hurt and pain and that we are only pretending to be alright.
I am terrified that we won’t get back to each other and even more terrified that sometime I question the sanity of trying to get back there.
I support you in your recovery and am committed to doing the work to repair us. I have made progress in my own recovery and today I can say with confidence, I can’t change the past, I don’t know the future, I can only live me best day today and I choose not to be angry or sad but to do my best to live a happy and productive life. This is whether or not you choose to stay sober but I feel vulnerable and have this worry of abandonment and I fear you might choose your addiction over us.
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We cover writing an impact statement in our 12 week support group, “Facing Heartbreak: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts” in chapter 3, “Taking an Inventory of Your Losses”.
A good resource for writing your impact letter is Dr. Stefanie Carne's book on Couple's Recovery, “Courageous LOVE: A Couples Guide to Conquering Betrayal”. There are worksheets for processing what you head in disclosure, and counting the losses in several aspects of your life.
Boundaries support group. Master Boundaries, get support for boundaries to guard against gaslighting, blame, denial, minimization, manipulation and isolation.
* If this website, or any part of our private, tightly moderated Facebook Group has helped you, you can encourage me to continue publishing helpful content by Buying Me a Cup of Coffee for as little as $3.
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