Partners of Sex Addicts
Have you recently learned of your partner/spouse’s affairs and infidelities?
Are you devastated to find out your partner/spouse has a secret life?
Have you found a significant amount on credit card bills spent on strip clubs?
Does your partner/spouse have compulsive sexual and out-of-control behavior?
Does your partner/spouse have an internet pornography addiction?
Are you anxious, confused, and scared to talk about this problem with anyone?
Have you recently discovered that your partner is a sex addict?
The discovery of your partner/spouse’s sexual addiction can destroy your foundation and dreams of your relationship/marriage, breaking apart the meaningful life that you built upon together. The partner/spouse faces a double bind of betrayal of a sex addict due to the complexity of affairs, infidelity, deception, hidden secrets, and the painful realization of her partner/spouse’s compulsive sexual addiction. The partner of a sex addict experiences PTSD Posttraumatic Stress Disorder symptoms in response to the traumatic discovery that can have long-lasting traumatic effects. Most partners/spouses of sexual addicts respond to revelation with substantial trauma symptoms.
Signs & Symptoms
· Intense emotions including anger, anxiety, sadness, jealousy, hypervigilance, rage, insecurity, depression, suspicion, and paranoia
· Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms
· Emotional dysregulation including numerous mood shifts, over-the-top emotional reactions, anger, and tearfulness
· Experiences of love and a desire to work it out with partner/spouse
· Hypervigilant behaviors searching for evidence including checking emails, cell phone voicemails, apps, texts, and credit card bills
· Anxiety, depression, low self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence
· Lack of trust leads to trauma triggers, including when partner/spouse comes home late, suddenly turning off cell phone or computer, having a wandering eye towards another person, and flirtatious behavior.
· Insomnia, sleep disturbance, and nightmares
· Difficulty focusing on the present moment and here and now
· Trying to over please partner/spouse by dieting and exercising, dressing sexy, cooking extravagant meals, and catering to their wants and desires
· Intrusive and ruminating thoughts and obsessive thinking
· Pretending the sexual betrayals never happened
· Escapism behaviors including indulging avoiding the reality of the betrayal, alcohol and substance use, promiscuous sex, disordered eating, shopping, and attention-seeking
Partners of Sex Addicts Need To Know
Your Intuition Is On Point
If you feel that something is not quite right, then it is probably true. Trust your instincts. If your partner turns it around and states that you are crazy, realize that they are gaslighting to make you second guess yourself. This makes you doubt your intuition yourself and making you feel like you are crazy or that it is your fault liberates them of the guilt of their behavior.
Your World Is Turn Upside Down
The discovery that your partner/spouse has a sexual addiction is devastating, causing you to question your self-worth, attractiveness, the relationship/marriage, your judgment in choosing your partner/spouse, the time you invested into this relationship/marriage, the trust in the connection that you provided, and the life that you have built together.
It Is Not Your Fault
Do not blame yourself for your partner/spouse’s sexual trauma. It has nothing to do with you. It is not because you may feel that you are not beautiful and attractive, have a great body, are intelligent and clever, are sexy, or have a promising career. It has absolutely nothing to do with this. You are good enough.
It Is Your Partner/Spouse’s Responsibility for Their Recovery
Your partner/spouse is responsible for their sexual addiction recovery. They are accountable for putting in the effort to recover. It is a choice that only that can make. It would be best if you let go of controlling the recovery outcome because you simply cannot predict what will manifest from the recovery process. It is up to your partner/spouse to break free of their sexual addiction and compulsive behaviors. It is best to focus on your recovery as the partner of the sex addict.
Focus On Self-Care and Recovery From The Trauma
Be compassionate with yourself and provide self-care throughout the healing process. You have experienced a significant trauma that has caused devastation in your life. Your world has been completely shattered, and everything that you believed in has broken. Allow yourself to grieve and mourn the damage caused by this shocking discovery and the loss of your original relationship/marriage. If you want to reconcile and work on the relationship, realize that the original relationship/marriage is over, and a new relationship will need to be created. Rebuilding the trust will be challenging, and both partners must be committed to working together to create a new relationship/marriage built on a foundation of honesty and transparency.
I can provide you with guidance, healing, and hope as you process the distress of your partner/spouse’s sexual addiction and support you during this painful and challenging process as you navigate the challenges during this time. Please give me a call today. I will share with you the advantages of therapy for partners/spouses of sexual addicts for your restorative healing and recovery.
Barbara A. Steffens & Robyn L. Rennie (2006). The Traumatic Nature of Disclosure for Wives of Sexual Addicts, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 13:2-3, 247-267, DOI: 10.1080/10720160600870802.
Cara Tripodi (2006). Long Term Treatment of Partners of Sex Addicts: A Multi-Phase Approach, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 13:2-3, 269-288, DOI: 10.1080/10720160600870810.
Gretchen Hentsch-Cowles & Linda J. Brock (2013.) A Systemic Review of the Literature on the Role of the Partner of the Sex Addict, Treatment Models, and a Call for Research for Systems Theory Model in Treating the Partner, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 20:4, 323-335, DOI: 10.1080/10720162.2013.845864.
Rhonda Milrad (1999). Coaddictive recovery: Early recovery issues for spouses of sex addicts, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 6:2, 125-136, DOI: 10.1080/10720169908400185.