Partners of sex addicts...
If you are on an emotional roller coaster and are ready to stop and take a calmer ride then this the place for you. Being betrayed is a trauma. Discovering your reality was not what you thought it was is a intimate betrayal. Your partner, whom you thought was wonderful, has hurt you in the worst possible way. Your body is reacting to the sting, and you may be experiencing all kinds of symptoms, like snooping on him, crying uncontrollably, arguing with him any time you see him, feeling like you want to run away or crawl up like a ball and sleep forever to name a few.
Your first steps should include establishing your
Safety, Protecting yourself, and getting Support.
I strongly recommend taking a minimum of 6-12 months to evaluate your relationship. During this time, you shouldn't make any major life decisions.
Actions you should take now:
1. Get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), no matter what.
2. Seek personal therapy from a certified or experienced therapist who specializes in working with partners of sex addicts.
3. Insist that your partner receive an evaluation and follow the recommendations from a trained sex addiction therapist.
4. Work with your own therapist to set boundaries to protect yourself and care for yourself while you decide what to do with your relationship.
5. Decide with your therapist who are safe people for you to confide in while you heal. develop a network of friends, professionals, and supports who can support you through this difficult time.
6. Whether you make the decision to stay or leave the relationship, you need to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Finding a good therapist who specializes in treating sex addicts and their partners will be an important part of your healing process. Through therapy, you can begin to achieve balance in your life and learn to care for yourself.
For Family Members
You may be feeling great sadness and shock at this time. Others have expressed how embarrassed and alone they felt when they first found out that their partner/child/parent was sexually addicted. The pain and betrayal you are feeling is shared by many. The sorrow and grief others like you have felt finding out your loved one has hurt you so deeply can be unbearable at times. Finding your spouse, parent, child has lied and deceived you, and has led a secret life for (sometimes) many years leaves partners, parents, children feeling devastated and angry.
You are not alone. If you are a family member who just discovered your loved one has betrayed your trust, your first instinct may be to leave and never come back. There are other options besides running away or getting angry and seeking revenge. See 4 and 5 above in Actions you can do now.
If you are a Parent of a Sex Addict
It can be equally traumatic for parents to discover their adolescent or adult child is a sex addict. It can be confusing and embarrassing for children to learn that one of their parents is a sex addict. There are now many confidential resources for sex addicts to turn to for support, however, since addiction in any form is a family disease that impacts the entire family system, you too need support. If your parent or child is a sex addict, locate a good therapist who specializes in treating sex addicts and their families or join a support group.
Information Adapted from Patrick Carnes on www.sexhelp.com