Is your spouse, partner or family member addicted to sex or porn or chronic infidelity?
Sexual addiction can be defined as a pattern of compulsive sexual behavior that causes problems in the sex addict’s life, and in the lives of his or her loved ones. Usually, the most obvious issue is relationship turmoil caused by the addict’s ongoing infidelity. Other consequences include trouble at work or in school, declining physical and/or emotional health (including sexually transmitted diseases [STDs]), financial woes, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities (including family-time activities), legal issues and more.
Is Your Partner a Sex Addict?
The following factors may indicate sexual addiction in your partner:
- He or she lies to you about sex or keeps secrets about sexual activities from you.
- He or she breaks promises or agreements made between the two of you about sexual behavior.
- One or both of you have experienced specific negative consequences due to his or her sexual behavior such as arrest, disease, job loss or public embarrassment.
- Sex has become his or her primary recreational activity, superseding time with you, with family and with friends, as well as hobbies and other social activities.
- His or her sexual behavior is escalating — he or she has increased the amount of time spent acting out sexually and/or the intensity of the behavior.
- He or she has made repeated attempts to stop or reduce involvement in some sexual behavior, only to return to it later.
If the themes described above — lying, secrecy, escalation, negative consequences and loss of control over sexual activity – mirror the primary concerns you have with your partner’s behavior, it is likely that he or she has a sexual addiction problem.
Coping with the Trauma of Infidelity
Most betrayed spouses experience a wide range of emotions on learning about their partner’s behavior, including feelings of grief, anger, loss and overwhelming betrayal. This is perfectly natural. For one thing, the sex addict has known about his or her behaviors all along (and may actually be feeling relief now that the sexual acting out has been exposed), whereas you have probably been blindsided by this revelation. Even if you had some idea that your partner might be cheating, you probably had no idea about the extent of that cheating. Most likely, what is causing you the most pain is not the cheating itself or any specific sexual act, it’s the betrayal of relationship trust caused by your partner’s consistent lying and secret-keeping.
The truth is that if you are partnered with a sex addict, you have good reason to feel betrayed, hurt, enraged and confused. If you choose to stay in your relationship (as many partners of sex addicts do), it will probably be quite some time before you and your partner are able to reestablish trust. That said, if the sex addict is committed to recovery, then healing is possible. And if you join the addict in his or her efforts by also starting your own healing process, you can help rebuild your relationship and your life.
Treatment for Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts
It is important for treatment programs to include spouses and partners of a sex addict in the recovery process, both short-term and long-term. To learn more, call us at 205-610-9319. We understand the trauma you’re experiencing and can help you discover ways to get your needs met in the midst of crisis and, if desired, rebuild your relationship.
Trauma Recovery Workshops for Partners of Sex Addicts
Inspired by the work of world-renowned author and Elements Behavioral Health Consultant Stefanie Carnes, Ph.D., we sometimes offer workshops for partners of sex addicts.
These workshops incorporate exercises from Stefanie’s Facing Heartbreak workbook, among other trauma-based recovery tools. Some topics include:
- Partners and the Trauma Response
- Sex Addiction as an Intimacy Disorder
- Setting Boundaries to Support Recovery
- Grounding Skills & Building Internal Resources
- Healing Guilt & Shame
- Navigating Healthy Disclosure
- Rebuilding Trust & Intimacy
TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
Call us 205-610-9319 or use our easy online scheduler here.
If you have any questions or would like to contact us by email, you can complete a brief confidential contact form here. Once you submit the contact form, a Bevill and Associates intake staff member will respond as soon as possible.
Bevill and Associates LLC is located in Birmingham, AL (on Valleydale Rd between I65 and Hwy. 280). Please click here for our full address and a map to our location.