Surviving Your Partner’s Disclosure — Help For Partners of Porn Addiction and Sex Addiction

couple-boy-girl-fighting-upsetIs it time for disclosure? How much do you need to know about the specifics of your partner’s sexual acting out? How much do you want to know? You know his disclosure will be painful and confusing and yet you wonder what exactly has he been doing and with whom.

 

You really want to know but you may be afraid of actually finding out, of actually hearing the facts. You want to know what he’s been up to. You probably feel rejected, humiliated, and shamed by his need to watch porn, or to have an affair, or to see a prostitute.

 

Let’s face it — our society makes sure we women see ourselves as physically imperfect. We are bombarded with information that tells us we need everything from massive diets to reconstructive surgeries. We hear about face lifts, tummy tucks, etc. or at the very least we are inundated with information about a cornucopia of products promising to make us smell wonderful, have impossibly thick shiny hair, and so on.

 

Whatever insecurity you may already feel, it has probably been heightened dramatically by your partner’s infidelity — after all, he chose someone else over you. So your partner’s acting out is not only extremely painful, but it may trigger feelings that you are a “loser.”

 

Your partner is probably ashamed of his behavior. He feels guilty, so wants to minimize what he’s done. He has to face his betrayal and his fear that you may chose to leave him. He also may fear that you may never forgive him and will feel the need to unendingly demonize him.

 

Let me give you an example to illustrate what I’m talking about. Let’s look at Peggy and Bill:

 

Peggy and Bill had been married for twenty-one years with three teen-aged children and seemingly a comfortable and busy life. Peggy became worried about Bill two years ago when seemingly overnight he became moody, distant. He began working late at the office and seemed more and more distant and pre-occupied. Their sex life took a nose dive.

 

Peggy was worried and she began questioning Bill who brushed off her fears accusing her of nagging. Peggy was puzzled. She was seeing a change in Bill and felt afraid. After several moths of ongoing and escalating arguments, Bill confessed that his occasional watching of pornography had been increasing but that he intended to stop.

 

He kept insisting that the porn had nothing to do with Peggy — that he had first watched porn when he was a kid in high school. Somehow as there were cutbacks and lay offs at his company he had become very stressed and found himself watching more and more pornography to “calm himself.”

 

Peggy was devastated. Their arguments escalated even further. Peggy went online and found websites and testimonials about porn addiction. She discovered just how widespread this issue is in our society. She found her way to Compulsion Solutions where both she and Bill have found the help that they needed. This has been a painful and scary journey for both of them but it has given them the opportunity to each find the support and help that they have needed.

 

It has been important for Peggy to have a safe place to begin to understand that Bill’s compulsive sexual addiction has actually truly  not been about her. She has done some important work in learning about herself and her insecurities. She has grown. She has also had a chance to learn how to communicate her desires and needs to Bill and to ask for what she needs.

 

As she became more secure in herself she was ready to hear his full disclosure and to be present in the moment. Hearing Bill’s disclosure wasn’t easy, but over time she has begun to see that they and their marriage will be stronger. They will have learned how to really talk to each other.

 

So… what do you need to hear from your partner? How much disclosure do you want and need?

Faye Reitman, MFT

Faye Reitman, MFT

 

Before the actual disclosure occurs each partner needs to have come to a reasonably comfortable place in their own recovery and be ready to face this challenging task in their relationship. In my experience disclosure is best done in the presence of an experienced and caring therapist. Both partners and the relationship need the understanding support and counsel of the therapist who is equipped to serve as a mediator and a support for both partners.

 

Don’t be discouraged. We here at Compulsion Solutions have seen that when couples get through the difficulties of disclosure and rebuilding the relationship that their bond gets stronger than it ever would have been had they not faced these issues. It’s amazing.

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Surviving Your Partner’s Disclosure — Help For Partners of Porn Addiction and Sex Addiction

  1. Briana

    I’m a sex addict. I haven’t been diagnosed but I know I am. I can’t go a day without thinking about sex. I can’t even go a day without wanting sex. Me and my boyfriend have been together for 5 years I don’t want to hurt him and I don’t want to leave him. It’s just he isn’t always around when I want sex. I hate myself for this. I have had sex with nearly 20 guys in this year alone. I need help.

  2. melissa childs

    My husband was diagnosed with sex addiction he has started making some changes which is hard for him .he has read the same book and went to on of the meetings but it was very discouraging to him and me. we have been married 27 years Nov.but been together since we were 15.

    I am devastated from this disease and at times I feel like there is no hope but he has made changes .the therapist wanted us to separate until he got himself under control,it’s hard but we are still living together as husband and wife. We love each other but are afraid. His childhood was awful, even cousins are affected and there lives have been affected including ours.

    I brought my husband the book, he hasn’t started reading it yet, it’s been very encouraging to me, I found it through Amazon and got it because of the reviews, I’m hoping it will help him and encourage him to fight against his addiction.in the mean time can you give me words of encouragement as I’m so emotional that I’m fine one day the next day a wreak.

    I’m afraid I frustrate him and discourage him when he says he’s trying. Thank you

    1. Compulsion Solutions Post author

      Melissa, Great to hear from you. The tools in my book, “Breaking the Cycle,” can be a game changer. Thousands of men have gotten to the “other side” of sexual addiction using them. It’s how I got well and changed my own life.

      Why don’t you read, “The Couples Guide To Sexual Addiction,” by my wife Paldrom and myself? You can work that book WITH your husband. And, you (or he) can always call us here at Compulsion Solutions for help and advise. We’re IN your corner.

      Best, George Collins, Director.

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