Spouse Of Sex Addict Counseling
Sex addiction is his problem, not yours! You did nothing to cause him to turn to sexually acting out. He is fully responsible for his own decisions and his resulting addiction. You are worthy of getting support!
Most spouses of sex addicts first learn about her husband’s sexual behaviors by accident—a friend tells her that her husband is having an affair, she accidentally discovers a hotel bill, or she finds pornography on the home computer. Maybe her husband lost his job because he engaged in cybersex at work. Or even worse, he was arrested for some type of illegal sexual activity.
Some wives first find out about the addict’s sexual activities when he reveals it out of fear, believing his wife has already discovered incriminating evidence. Perhaps the spouse suspected all along that something was going on, and finally confirmed her suspicions by looking through his computer, mail, or briefcase.
No matter how she learned of his addiction, it is a very difficult experience. Her first reaction is probably a mix of emotions: shock, anger, fear, sadness, hopelessness, and disgust. She may even momentarily feel relieved to have the problem identified and her suspicions validated because part of her already knew that something was wrong; now she at least knows what.
Healing From Relational Betrayal
Forgiveness is not a simple, one-time event. It is a process that takes time. Many spouses of sex addicts struggle because they feel they should forgive their spouse, but don’t feel ready to do so. Or if they do extend forgiveness, they may continue to have feelings of hurt and anger, and not know how to express them. Both addict and spouse need to understand that the decision to forgive is different from the process of forgiving.
The process of forgiving is much like the process of grieving: feelings of sadness, hurt, and anger will come and go like waves. Instead of being squelched (“I shouldn’t be feeling this way”), they need to be accepted and heard. Then, over time, the waves will diminish.
Spouse Of Sex Addict Support Group
The spouses of addicts need to find safe friendships – and ideally a safe group – where they can share their struggles and be heard. They need outlets for conversation and support where they can share their anger, so that their addicted spouse does not have to be on the receiving end of all of it.
Without these additional places of support for the spouse, either the addict will be overwhelmed by the sadness and anger of the spouse, or the spouse will hold back their genuine feelings, and progress will be slowed. Spouses also need support for decisions they have to make about how to support the recovery of the addict, and how to deal with their marriage and family if the addict is not staying sober. Spouses need support as much as addicts.
You will feel worse before you begin to feel better. You will go through cycles of hating him and loving him. Know that this is perfectly normal reaction to discovering his sex addiction problem. Both of you need to heal. Although it is tempting to focus all attention on getting him help to stop his sex addiction behaviors, do what you can each day to get yourself on a healthier path as well.
Setting Boundaries For Safety
Our counselors can teach you to set boundaries in your relationship if your partner is struggling with porn or other related sex addiction. Sex addicts often believe that it is something “that everyone does” and “no one is getting hurt”. Most of them are unaware of the trail of devastation they leave behind.
We also have several women’s spouses groups that can support you during this very difficult time in your life. The other women in the group fully understand your shock, anger, pain, and depression. Our groups provide a safe place for you to talk, cry, get angry, or whatever other emotions that you may want to express.
We are here to provide you the support and understanding you need. Make an appointment today to speak with one of our counselors that have extensive experience helping the partners and families of sex addicts.
If you are looking for understanding and support as a spouse or partner of a sex addict, there are two ways to setup an appointment with one of our counselors: 1) Fill out the Contact Form and a counselor will call you with 24-hours; 2) Call our offices at 303-933-5800.