Have you recently found out that your husband has been viewing porn? Or that your partner has been cheating on you with multiple partners? The list of ways a sex addict acts out sexually can include strip clubs, prostitutes, anonymous sex partners, adult bookstores, sexually chatting, sexual webcam, fetishes, and group sex. Whatever his/her sexual behaviors, the partner of the sex addict experiences deep trauma. Research shows that 70% of partners of sex addicts meet the criteria for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
At our counseling center, we believe that the partner/spouse of the sex addict experiences PTSD and trauma upon learning that the person she or he loved has been unfaithful (some for years). We have found that most partners had no idea that their spouse was a sex addict. The partner may have known that something was wrong, but had no clue that the problem was his or her infidelity. Sex Addicts hide their addiction and fear being caught. They are experts at lying and manipulating the reality by deflecting or turning the truth away from themselves. We often reassure partners that she or he is not the problem and the problem is solely the addicts’ problem. Your counselor will provide you with direction on how to interact with your partner, what boundaries need to be set, and how to deal with the trauma triggers that come up.
As part of the healing process, our counselors are trained in helping couples complete a full disclosure or sometimes referred to as a healthy disclosure. We believe that this a an important part of the healing for both you (the partner) and your addicted partner (and for the marriage). We prefer this to be accomplished early in the recovery and the partner is allowed to ask questions. The Full Disclosure allows the addict and his/her therapist to write out the full history to make sure it is complete. Lies, half-truths, and secrets prevent healing and prevent the relationship to be fully healed and keeps the partner from ever having trust. Without the Full Disclosure, the partner doesn’t fully know what he/she needs to heal from. Sometimes the partner will request that the addict partner take a polygraph following the Full Disclosure.
If you are visiting this website and you are currently in pain because you recently learned that your husband/wife or partner has been unfaithful and caught up in sexual addictive behaviors and you are feeling shame, guilt, abandonment, anger and depression. You have initially have focused on your partner’s problem and you now are realizing that you feel hurt, confused, angry, and depressed. You may also not find support in your family or friends because they just don’t understand what you need. Please don’t hesitate another day to call us for help. We have therapists that work with the partners/spouses of sex addicts. We recognize that this is your partner’s problem and you did nothing to cause your partner to betray you. He/she is full responsible!
We also know that the pain doesn’t go away on its own. You will go through different stages of hating your partner and then feeling love. You need support, understanding, a safe place to share your hurt, and to learn boundaries that you have a right to set in order to feel safe again. We understand that you may be feeling shame and fear others learning of your partner’s unfaithfulness. We get it. Family and Friends may not be your best advocates right now. We have support groups of other wives/partners who fully understand your shock, pain, trauma, rage, and deep sadness. The support group will provide a safe place for you to share your story, cry, get angry, and share whatever emotions that you have to share.