Partners of sex addicts, spouses of sex addicts, or any significant other who is close with the patient will also need support when they discover the secret life of their mate. The pain of broken trust is massive. The partner or spouse in relationship to a sex addict is exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, financial ruin and social embarrassment. Support is needed to make sense of the crazy-making reality of being repeatedly lied to about the foundation of a relationship.
The person I love is a sex addict.
Sadly everyday there are thousands of people in this country who have to acknowledge one of the following statements as being true for themselves:
- My husband is a sex addict.
- My boyfriend is a sex addict.
- My wife is a sex addict.
- My girlfriend is a sex addict.
If you have recently discovered that this is also your reality, it can be very upsetting. Getting support for living with sex addiction is good for your mental health. Partners of sex addicts normally find themselves reeling once they discover their significant other has been hiding compulsive sexual behaviors. Common secretive behaviors include:
- compulsive masturbation
- pornography addiction
- anonymous sex
- hiring prostitutes
- numerous affairs
Being the spouse or partner of a sex addict is a painful position to be in as you try to figure out how you’re going to survive all the feelings that come up. The feelings many partners report are:
I don’t understand this – I have so many questions.
Feeling confused is normal when you discover that the person you love is a sex addict. The confusion of sexual addiction is usually accompanied with all sorts of questions. How could he do this to me? What is sex addiction? Does this mean they’re crazy? Am I crazy? What should we do?
In the midst of all these questions, partners of sex addicts may start to feel alone and isolated. If you have children, you may feel the added pressure of having to figure out what is the best thing to do for your children and family.
Unfortunately, partners of sex addicts often find themselves feeling like invisible casualties because so much attention is directed at protecting the family and getting treatment for the sex addict. If you are wondering what you are going to do, consider this: all the experts agree, getting support for partners, spouses, and family members of sex addicts is the first step.
Support for partners of sex addicts and spouses of sex addicts
Expert sex addiction therapists create supportive treatment plans for partners of sex addicts. Such treatment plans often include individual, couple and group work. Individual therapy and group therapy are designed to help you make sense of what has happened and to clarify personal boundaries. A therapist might recommend participation in recovery support groups such as PoSA, COSA, CoDA or Al-Anon. Another important task that only individual therapy can offer is to prepare you for therapeutic disclosure from the sex addict. Individual psychotherapy treatment for partners and group therapy for partners is strictly confidential.