Hi Judith, I understand how you feel completely. It can be very difficult to keep the resentment and anger in check. It's very difficult to apply the 'theory' of sex addiction to the situation when it stirs up such raw emotions. I've been dealing with my partner's addiction for 18 months now and I'm coping much better but sometimes I go right back to square 1. I know that sex addiction has very little to do with sex and everything to do with addiction but my sexual jealousy still gets the better of me. I know this is because of my insecurities and I need to focus on me and my recovery - not on his recovery. We are working on our relationship to see if it can be salvaged. My partner seems to be in a sustained healthy recovery, so his life and associated mental health has improved beyond recognition. But the horror of the addiction has burdened me in a way I never imagined possible. I think it's really important to actively participate in your own recovery. I will have to 'forgive' BUT I don't see that as something I give him - it's something I give myself - the ability to abandon all hope of having a better past and to accept what's happened in my life and to move on ( with or without him). I want to move from being a partner in recovery to being a recovered partner.
Hi Darren, I'm not sure if my response from the partner perspective will be helpful but I hope so. Your story mirrors that of my partner - the shame, the guilt, the overwhelming urge to act out, the downward spiral etc etc. Then the 'relief' when it is discovered or disclosed and the chance for a new beginning. I hope you are accessing specialist support to help you to beat this thing and give you back your life. Your partner is 'forcing you' to get help you say. Take something from that. The majority of partners would have cut and run on such a discovery. She hasn't but now your pain has been transferred onto her as her world collapses. So you have both embarked upon the road to a sustained healthy recovery ( I hope). Your feelings of worthlessness are not based on reality. Specialist SA therapy will help you to understand the emotional root causes of your addiction. Please never feel you are not worth it. There is a woman in your life who knows you are. You will come to know that you are worth it too. My partner's life has changed beyond all recognition since discovery just over a year ago. He got his acting out under control straight away but we both knew that would not be enough. He's working hard on understanding his feelings of worthlessness, being a failure, fear of rejection and abandonment. He knows he must do that in order to avoid the emotional triggers that lead to the acting out behaviours. As a partner that's the evidence of true recovery I'm looking for. Without that I'd live in constant fear of relapse.
Hi Sarahc, I understand that pendulum swing between feeling in control and homicidal rage. I still occasionally feel those extremes of emotion now and I've been in recovery as the partner of a SA for just over a year. You've only just discovered that your partner has these problems and you are in shock and traumatised. Its important to remember that. He needs to sort himself out and get the necessary help to do so and you need help and support too. Your physical and emotional responses are natural and inevitable to such a shock. Paula's books on SA for addicts and partners were very helpful for us when we started on our very painful journey. There are lots of sources of support out there for for both addicts and partners. It's almost impossible not to take this personally. Every fibre in a partner's body tells her ( or him) that they mustn't be good enough and that's why the addict does what (s)he does. I've come to understand that it's nothing to do with me, it's nothing to do with the other women. It's not even about sex - it's about addiction and the emotional and biological drivers for addiction. It's hard to accept that as a betrayed partner but if you do it helps to explain why your partner didn't set out to hurt you. It was just inevitable that they would because they are an addict.
Hi, I understand how difficult it must be to cope with a partner who, as a sex addict, is one of the most selfish and self serving creatures on the planet. Once in recovery we partners expect things to change for the better immediately. They don't. Alas that's not how it works. Your partner will have been told to focus on his own recovery. I hope you are getting support for your own recovery too. BUT you have the right to expect certain things based on some form of accountability from him and some boundaries you've set for yourself about what behaviours you will and won't accept. I assume from your post that you are hoping to recover as a couple and move forward together. If this is the case you will expect to see your partner develop grown up emotional responses ( instead of the emotional immaturity that fuels SA). To do this he will need to fully understand and address the root causes of his addiction ( the SA is the symptom of an inability to manage life not the cause). Part of managing life includes showing real empathy. I would recommend you read 'Worthy of her Trust' by S Arterburn and J Martinkus. Then give it to your partner to read. My partner found this book invaluable in helping him to step up and do what it takes to rebuild my trust in him. It's still a work in progress but it helped enormously. I think timing for this is important. I don't know when discovery happened for you but the first few months for me were emotional chaos. I gave my partner this book after about 6 months when some of the fog had started to clear. I hope it helps
Hi Kitty, I've just read your post from 5th August and thought I might have some insight to share from my own experience. I discovered that for years I had been with, and eventually married, a sex addict just over a year ago and, like you, my world collapsed. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I can see clearly now the signs that should have got me to that discovery years before. I felt foolish for not doing so. But I've learned that, having entered into a committed relationship based on love and trust, I would not have been looking for any signs of wrong doing. Like you I've had other women in my home, 100s of prostitutes, and that feels like the most hurtful part of my partner's acting out behaviour. It almost feels as though it was designed to hurt me. But having been 'in recovery' myself since discovery I have learned a lot about SA. You should know that your partner didn't do all of this 'to you'. If he is a sex addict ( and not just a philanderer) he has a chronic, progressive, primary dysfunction of his brain's reward system. He sexualises negative emotions and is hooked on the dopamine hit he gets from seeking these encounters. He still has done all those awful things and he faces a very challenging road to a sustained healthy recovery and that's his responsibility not yours. You now face an even more challenging road to your own recovery. It won't feel like it now but it does get better. But you will need help and support. I would strongly recommend reading Paula's books on SA for addicts and partners. You may need to read the one for partners several times but it contains all the info you need to be able to rebuild your life. Your relationship may not survive this addiction but you can. There are lots of other resources to help partners of SA deal with this extreme form of sexual betratyal trauma. Look for online resource packs and you tube clips. There are local support groups for partners which are free. Paula runs courses also. You have been traumatised by this discovery that why your mind and body feel the way they do. I hope at something I've said is helpful. Don't think you're going crazy - you're not. Your responses are natural.