Partners of Sex Addicts

The pain that you are experiencing is both normal and understandable.  Discovering your partner is a sex addict is an overwhelming and life-changing experience.  You may feel betrayed, devastated, angry, full of despair, hopeless, lonely and lost. You may be asking yourself, where do I go from here?  

It is important to know that you are not unique and that there are countless others who are experiencing the same issue. They have stepped out of the shadow of co-sex addiction and sought help.  By facing the inevitable, partners of sex addicts have reclaimed their lives and have come through their pain with greater wisdom, strength, self-esteem and gratitude.  The first step was a realization that they too were powerless; that their lives were unmanageable and that they needed help.

It is essential to realize that the shame about your partners behavior belongs to the addict and not to you.  Many partner's will take on, internalize and carry the shame from their partner’s addiction as being about them.  You must understand a very important point: Your partner's sex addiction is not about you.  You may have thoughts like:

    • If I had been a better sex partner...
    • If I was more attractive...
    • If I had only lost those few extra pounds or gone to the gym more...
    • If I had taken better care of him/her, the house, the kids...

Let me say this again, your partner's sex addiction is not about you, it's about your partner.  Nothing you could have done would have slowed or stopped the progression of your partners disease.  You could have been gorgeous, wonderful, attentive, incredible in bed and even perfect, if that’s possible, and your partner would still have acted out in their addiction.  I remember talking with a sex addict who had been in recovery for some time.  He had said that his greatest fantasy would have been to spend a night with Christie Brinkley.  She was his ultimate fantasy.  He then said that even if she fell madly in love with him and devoted herself completely to him, he still would have ultimately, began to act out with other women.  It is the ultimate pursuit of the perfect sexual experience which never comes.

Your partner's sex addiction would have developed and progressed with or without you.  Your partner is suffering from a powerful and destructive compulsion of which they have lost control.  They are caught in the throws of addiction.

Therapy will help you to examine how you have:

    • organized your life around your suspicion and distrust of the addict
    • given up on significant parts of your life in order to maintain control and watchfulness
    • used obsessive thinking and behavior to avoid your own pain, shame and loneliness
    • spent as much time and effort focusing on sex addiction as your partner

Therapy will help you examine your painful emotions, help you to re-gain control of your life by taking responsibility for your own recovery and help you evaluate what brought you to this point in the first place.

The good news is that recovery is possible.  It does, however, take a tremendous amount of work, dedication and patience.  Emerging from the indescribable pain comes meaning, hope, clarity, gratitude and depth of purpose.

Seth A. Weinstein, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor
Specializing in Addictions, Trauma and Codependency