If you have landed here you are facing some intense and scary feelings, and are probably looking for answers and peace of mind. You have come to the right place. If you are in a relationship with someone who has been unfaithful, my goal is to help you navigate the devastation of being sexually betrayed and heal from the effects this awful experience.
Whether your partner is a sex addict, porn addict or isn’t an addict but has cheated or kept sexual behavior hidden the shock and destruction is the same.
Please do not underestimate the effect this has — this article may help you understand the experience and effects that your partners' inappropriate sexual behavior can have on you.
Is the sex addict in your life not understanding what he has done? See our immersion for men.
If your loved one is addicted to sex or pornography, they need help. How can you determine if your partner is addicted to sex or pornography? The following questions will help you gain insight and better understanding.
If you answer "yes" to three or more questions, you may be in a relationship with someone who is addicted. These questions come from Wendy Conquest’s book; Letters To A Sex Addict.
|1.||Has your husband, wife, or partner recently been more irritable, depressed, angry, or distant (emotionally or physically)?||YES||NO|
|2.||Have his/her routines changed so that he/she is leaving the house early, coming home later, or is unresponsive or absent during times when previously available?||YES||NO|
|3.||Is he/she suddenly asking for different sexual behaviors?||YES||NO|
|4.||Has he/she been distant (emotionally or physically), or sexually dismissive or uninterested in you?||YES||NO|
|5.||Is he/she lying about or hiding pornography use?||YES||NO|
|6.||Do you feel compelled to check credit card or phone bill statements?||YES||NO|
|7.||Do you feel compelled to check his/her messages (text, email, social networking etc.) or web browsing history?||YES||NO|
|8.||Do you find yourself normalizing a less than satisfying relationship?||YES||NO|
|9.||Do you find yourself making excuses (to yourself or others) for him/her?||YES||NO|
|10.||Have you felt more like a parent than a lover?||YES||NO|
|11.||Are you desperate for any kind of affection from your partner?||YES||NO|
|12.||If you are in couples counseling, do you feel he/she is conning your therapist?||YES||NO|
|13.||Do you feel intimidated or frightened to set limits with him/her?||YES||NO|
|14.||Are you afraid to ask for your needs to be met?||YES||NO|
|15.||Do you feel uncomfortable or jealous about your partner's behavior with others?||YES||NO|
|16.||Are you compromising yourself to maintain or keep the relationship?||YES||NO|
|17.||Do you feel like you are going crazy?||YES||NO|
|18.||Do you feel your reality is surreal?||YES||NO|
|19.||Are you eating more or certain foods to feel better?||YES||NO|
|20.||Do you find yourself too anxious to eat?||YES||NO|
|21.||Do you find yourself working extra hard or much more than your partner just to connect?||YES||NO|
|22.||Do you feel that something is very wrong in your relationship?||YES||NO|
Please see our podcast for more information on sex addiction and betrayal trauma.
A Little History...
Back when sex addiction was first identified, therapists took the same stance with sex addiction and spouses as they did with alcoholics and their wives, basically an addict/co-addict model. What happened was the women, mostly only men were being diagnosed with sex addiction then, were immediately leaving therapy. And rightfully so! What we have learned over the last ten years primarily from pioneer Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means, is that sex and porn addiction create a different and unusual experience for the partner. And this does not matter whether the addict is a man or a women, straight or gay. The effect is what we call C-PTSD; Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Finding about a secret sexual life of your best friend, your main person, emotional support, sexual companion is the most awful heart-wrenching experience anyone can have, outside of loosing a child. And because it happens over a period of months to years with promises of stopping but continued acting out, the trauma becomes not one isolated incident but a continual string of lies. The Trauma page can explain more.
I invite you to move towards healing yourself…