Partners of Addicts

If you recently discovered that your partner or spouse has been using pornography, cybersex, strip clubs, massage parlors, prostitutes or escort services compulsively or has been having affair(s) or one night stands, you are most likely in shock and traumatized. Your life has been turned upside down and you are in a crisis.

Sexual betrayal in a relationship is most often a traumatic experience and cuts into the core of what you thought your relationship is and was. Your world is turned upside down and you don’t know how to get through the day.

As the partner of a sex addict you most likely suffer from a severe blow to your self-esteem, body image, and sexuality after being faced with the secrets, lies and betrayal of your partner.

You will need to process and heal from the trauma of broken trust and intense feelings of hurt and anger.

You might have heard about sex addiction and wonder "Is my husband a sex addict?" Often cheating is just cheating. Infidelity is often the result of multiple personal factors that vary from one relationship to another. Sexual addiction and infidelity don’t always go together, but there are signs that your husband might actually have a compulsion when it comes to sex. Whether your husband has a sex addiction or not is for an expert to decide, but if you’re worried about it, here is some information you might find helpful.

Contrary to what you might think, a sex addiction does not necessarily mean that someone has sex all the time. It can take a number of different forms:

  • Obsession with masturbation
  • Compulsive use of pornography
  • Compulsive sexting or online sexual encounters
  • Sex with multiple partners
  • Frequent use of prostitutes, massage parlors, strip clubs
  • Constant inappropriate sexual comments or jokes
  • Obsession with sex paraphernalia
  • Cheating, social media addiction and online affairs

What defines a sex addict is that he craves sexual activities often. This compulsion and need for their ‘sexual activity of choice’ interferes with the normal functioning of the sex addict. For instance, he is distracted all the time, it keeps him from taking care of the kids, late for work or repeatedly coming home late without a proper explanation. Sex addicts continue doing what they do in spite of negative consequences.

If you believe your husband is suffering from sex addiction, you need to talk to him about it. The next step would be set up a consultation with a seasoned sex addiction specialist for a thorough assessment. At NYCSAT we will be able to diagnose if your husband really has an addictin problem an what the underlying issues are. If he does suffer from an addiction to sex, he needs to commit to treatment.

Sex addiction and fear of intimacy

Sex addiction is oftern referred to as an intimacy disorder. The sex addict can easily engage in sex with a stranger or with porn but finds it very diffcult to have intimate sex with their significant other. This split between intimacy and sex allows the married sex addict to compartmentalize their cheating and repeated infidelity. In fact, what is often perplexing to the spouse, the sex addict might display sexual anorexia in their marriage, avoiding sex at all cost. He prefers the high of meaningless sex without the possibility of getting hurt or being vulnerable. That’s why a sex addict pays for or engages in anonymous sex, anything other than that feels too intimate.

What can you expect from therapy?
Part of treatment for the spouse of a sex addict can involve a full disclosure by the sex addict about his past acting out behavior, if you think this is right for you. Disclosure can be extremely validating, providing a sense of relief that your perceptions were correct. In addition, therapy should focus on re-establishing healthy boundaries and relationship dynamics. Another key issue of your treatment should focus on re- building of your self esteem and self worth.

Recovery will take time as you learn to deal with the betrayal and grief the loss of the relationship you thought you had. You will have to learn to feel safe again in a relationship and re-establish trust. A crucial component in your healing process is to pay attention to your own emotional needs.

Treatment at NYCSAT helps partners and spouses deal with the shock of the discovery and addresses your specific needs. Our specialized therapy helps you cope with  the devastation of the betrayal , validates your experience and guides you through the trauma and to stabilizing your life. We provide  education on sexual addiction and sexual compulsivity while helping you with the impact your partner’s sex addiction has on you. We assist you in determining your next steps. Therapy focuses on guiding you how to re-establish safety for yourself, providing validation, empathy and support, while helping to define and set personal boundaries and develop trust in your own discernment. Emphasis is on selfcare, build up of resilience and self-growth. The goal is to move you from crisis to stability and healing.

If you are open to saving your relationship or marriage,it is best for both of you to seek therapy, individually and together. It will take time and effort but healing is possible for many couples.

To schedule a confidential consultation in person or by phone email us or call at 212.665.7352

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