If you suspect (or know) that your partner has turned their attention to porn, sexual addiction, or any sort of sexually destructive behavior, you are not alone. You may be facing heartbreak, fear, anxiety, or likely all three. We get it. Your partner’s behavior is not your fault, and you don’t have to go through this by yourself. We have the resources to work with you collaboratively and establish a relationship to support you during this challenging time.
Is this you?
When most women discover that their partner has been acting out sexually, the sense of betrayal is profound. Many say they feel as if they have run full force into a brick wall. A period of shock often follows, and other stages of grief.
Not every betrayal of fidelity is due to sexual compulsivity or addiction, but a pattern of betrayal may include sex addiction as a factor.
While some people become aware of the problem in one horrible instant, often the understanding can creep up in a series of small awakenings. The betrayed partner may have voiced suspicions that were repeatedly denied, but which, over time, added up to certainty. No matter how you learn about your partner’s sexual addiction, it is always a stunning and painful revelation. You may feel shocked, numb, hurt, ashamed, afraid, and/or angry. Please know that any and all of these feelings are normal, and have been experienced by countless other partners before you. Once again, you are not alone.
We are here to help…call us at (925) 932-0201 *All contacts are completely confidential.
When your partner is an addict, you have to take care of you.
If you are the partner of a sex addict, you absolutely must prioritize your own self-care. While your partner’s recovery, if they are willing to pursue it, is critical, your own healing is just as important.
Do you believe that? Do you really believe that you are worthy of help and healing as well? Because you are. Many partners of sex addicts struggle with their self worth after such a betrayal. Which is all the more reason to make sure that you are getting the care you need during this process of recovery. Couple-counseling is valuable and has its place, but don’t underestimate the importance of specialized therapy specifically for the partners of addicts.
Taking care of yourself right now is imperative. Make sure that you:
Eat enough nutritious food
Get enough sleep
Take time for yourself
Surround yourself with positive people
Get professional help. Reach out to Alicia Richardson, LMFT, today.
Alicia Richardson, LMFT
Alicia brings a breadth of experience to our practice, reflected in her 20-year track record of having a positive impact on the families and individuals she’s served. Alicia believes that by “instilling a sense of hope and healing for clients we elevate them and empower them to live their best lives."
There are warning signs or behavioral “red flags” you might see if your partner is having a problem with sexually compulsive behavior
EXTRA "PRIVATE TIME"
He may spend a lot of “private” time on his computer, his phone, or at work. Working long hours could be a cover for compulsive viewing of Internet porn. When you notice your partner is on the computer, he may turn it off or flip to another page. He may set up secret or hidden email accounts. He may hide his cell phone to avoid your detection of his phone calls or text messages.
CHANGE IN DEMEANOR
In general, his demeanor may change. You may notice that he’s acting differently. He may become more secretive, private, unreliable, critical, or irritable. He might not be as social as he used to be. There may be unexplained absences. You may feel like you just don’t get straight answers anymore.
LACK OF CONNECTION
You may experience a lack of connection and intimacy. Your partner may not seem available to you. You may feel he’s avoiding you. He may seem “tuned out” or lost.
CHANGE IN SEXUAL INTERACTIONS
Your sexual interactions with your partner may change. Your partner may become uncharacteristically demanding or rough sexually. He may require more and more stimulation. Or he may become unresponsive sexually and cease initiating sex. He may develop a preference for masturbation.
RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS BODY
His relationship to his body may change. He may become overly concerned with his penis — with caring for, touching, adjusting his pants, or exposing his anatomy.
Money might become an issue in your relationship. If he is spending money on porn, prostitutes, or other illicit sexual activities there may be a lack of funds or unexplained expenses.
He may be sexually unfaithful. Not every sexual betrayal is a sign of sexual addiction. However if your partner is engaging sexually with another or others and is not stopping, even if he says he wants to, he probably has an issue with sexual compulsivity.
Unfortunately, there is no magical formula that will let you know without question that your partner has a sex addiction. You may see all of these signs, other signs, or none of them. These behaviors could point to other addictions, or they could point to an affair.
However, if your partner’s sexual behaviors are causing strain to your relationship, to his connection to friends and loved ones, or to his work, then sexual addiction could be the problem.
If his desire for sexual activity is overriding his capacity to regulate those impulses, then there is a problem.
The difficulty with any addictive behavior is that ultimately it does not provide the desired relief or reward. The addiction creates an internal war because the addict can never get enough of what cannot satisfy.
7 Reassurances for the Partner of a Sex or Porn Addict
You didn’t cause this. It’s not your fault. You can’t cure it. It’s not about you.
Your partner’s sexually addictive actions are not an indication that he has fallen out of love with you.
There is hope. Your relationship isn’t necessarily doomed because your partner has an issue with sexual compulsion.
You don’t have to decide on the future of your relationship right now.
You are not weak or damaged because you want to stay with your partner and rebuild your relationship.
On the other hand, you are also not weak, damaged, or unkind because you want to leave your relationship right now.
You don’t have to force yourself to trust your partner right now. It is normal to feel angry, upset, and mistrusting.
You don’t need to go through this time alone. Reach out to friends, family, and other support systems.
Basic Facts About Sexual Addiction
Sex addiction is a compulsive urge to engage in sexual activities, thoughts, or fantasies in a way that is detrimental to the individual, his family, his friends, and/or his work. It blocks the development of true intimacy in relationships.
For someone caught in sexual compulsion, sex has become something other than an intimate expression of loving connection. The pleasure that is inherently present in orgasm and human connection has been altered in the mind of the addict, and is being used as an escape or a distraction, rather than a form of intimacy.
The sexually compulsive individual may know that his secret sex life is keeping him from the connection he wants to have. He just doesn’t know how to limit (and stop) the sexual behaviors that are getting in the way of intimacy with his partner.
The natural (healthy) urge for sex, the way sex is used for marketing purposes, and the explosion of porn on the Internet have created a “perfect storm” of conditions that can lead to sex addiction. To understand how sex addiction can become a problem, it helps to understand the impulses and motivations that drive the behavior. Gaining understanding about these influences, it is possible to work with the urges and impulses as they arise.
This book by Paldrom & George (published by Adams Media) presents a refreshing new approach for couples struggling with the issue of sexually compulsive behaviors such as excessive pornography and masturbation, frequenting prostitutes or strip clubs, serial affairs, and other sexual acting-out behaviors.
The book takes readers by the hand to gently and compassionately lead them from the pain and disillusionment of a relationship shattered by betrayal toward a future based on trust, vulnerability, and the joy of true intimacy.