What is the healing process like?
Partners of sex addicts are deeply affected by the behaviors of the sex addict. Like the families of an alcoholic or other addict, the family members of a sex addict feel powerless and are powerless to control the disease and the addict.
As a partner you may go through a wide range of responses to the lies and behaviors of the sex addict. You may feel anger or rage, hurt, pain, desperation, compassion, and love. At times you may become a chief detective trying to find out what is going on or can become obsessed with uncovering information and monitoring the activities of the sex addict in hopes of understanding and changing the destructive behavior. You may become so focused on the sex addict that you may neglect your own self-care and that of your family.
You are in crisis and are dealing with a powerfully traumatic situation. Many times you may be embarrassed and humiliated at what the sex addict has done and may continue to do. There is typically an overwhelming feeling of fear and isolation. You may feel alone in dealing with these issues and may not be able to talk about it for fear of reaction and judgment from others. Often there is a deep concern that your dreams of a happy future with their partner and family are shattered.
Most partners are very angry and feel blamed about what their partner has done and is doing, you are not alone. Sometimes you may inappropriately blame yourself for the sex addicts’ behavior and in an attempt to make things different you may have joined in the addict in sexual activities that are outside of your value system or desires. Your hope that if the addict gets more and varied sexual activity with you then the addict will stop their acting out.
You are not responsible for or to blame for the sex addicts’ compulsive behavior. Only the sex addict is responsible for his or her behavior just as only you are responsible for your behavior. It is however very crucial for you to do the difficult healing work after betrayal. This work allows for you to deal with the intense anger and pain and provides hope for personal healing and a healthy relationship with the addict if they choose recovery.