Your sexual addiction has been discovered. She or he is angry and in pain, and you don’t know what to say. I’m often asked if there are any right answers for the onslaught of questions? I tell my clients that there are right answers, or at least better answers as long as they’re honest answers. The problem is that the words have little value after the discovery. All you can really do is make your amends and take action. That’s it.
So, what can you say to your partner when the trauma of his or her discovery is so overwhelming? Here are 7 things I tell my clients they can tell their partners when their sexual addiction has been discovered.
Note: I recommend that you run this list by your counselor first and then get started!
1. “I am responsible for offending our marriage / relationship in these ways…” – Yes, disclosure. Learn how to do this properly with the help of an experienced sex addiction counselor.
2. “I Make Amends to you for…” – You might have made apologies, but a formal amends means you recognize the harms your actions have caused. Get help with this.
3. “I will be rigorously honest with you … because that is what you deserve.” – Trust takes time, but your intention should be clear. Make a 24 hr. “tell on yourself” commitment. Learn what this is.
4. “I will take direction …” – This one says, “I’m ready to do whatever it takes and follow the suggestions of those who know how to get and stay sexually sober”, i.e., a therapist or sponsor.
5. “I will take care of my own needs …” – Get the sleep you need, eat to nourish, exercise. Learn what an “outer circle” is and make self-care a commitment.
6. “I will be accountable for my…” – Be accountable for your recovery commitments, your Internet use, the money you spend, where you go, and what you do. Seriously.
7. “Nothing you did or didn’t do ever made it okay for me to…” – You’re not going to blame your out of control sexual behavior on something your partner did or didn’t do, right? Catch yourself!
People can and do recover from sexual addiction. Get the help you need and follow a process that can be trusted. You can get better and your relationship can heal. All you have to do is make a decision and then just do whatever it takes to get and stay sexually sober. It’s that easy.
Jeff Schultz, LPC, CSAT is a sex addict counselor and founder of the Sonoran Healing Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Read more of Jeff’s work at the SexualRecoveryBlog.com.