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Is my Husband or Partner a Sex Addict?

Why do I, the partner, need help when I didn't do anything wrong?

Is my Husband or Partner a Sex Addict?

When partners discover betrayal and dishonesty from problematic sexual behaviors including sex addiction, they find themselves in a state of crisis and a powerfully traumatic situation. If you are this partner, you need support.  This is an unbelievably shocking and scary time.   Please do not walk through this alone.  Processing your trauma in a safe, non-judgmental setting is crucial to finding sanity and peace. We can help you navigate this devastating period of time with the steps you need to heal yourself and your relationship.

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.

What kind of help is available?

The first step in therapy is giving compassion and support for partners of sex addicts. You need validation for the intense trauma that you have experienced. As a partner, you may have sometimes felt you were going crazy with the lies and secrets the sex addict has told you. Maybe you have felt scared of telling anyone for fear of blame and humiliation. Validation for all of your feelings is very important.

Partners are encouraged to participate in individual and group psychotherapy. Participating in a therapy group for partners of sex addicts and /or a 12 step support group like Co-Sex Addicts Anonymous (COSA) help to get support and to feel less isolated.

Included among the goals for partners are:


  • Understand sex addiction and its effects on the addict and yourself

  • Understand the traumatic affects of the lies and betrayal

  • Understand your own reactions and behaviors

  • Learn how to identify and communicate your needs and to be assertive about these needs - be able to identify and set healthy boundaries with the addict

  • Learn how to set safe healthy guidelines with the addict regarding yourself and your children

  • Look at your own history including addictions and understand your reactions and behaviors

  • Regain your own inner wisdom and strength to feel comfortable again in your skin

What if my partner who is a sex addict will not come to therapy?

We encourage you to come and talk whether or not your partner is ready to start their recovery at this time. It is important for you to get support and clarity for yourself. You can learn about sex addiction and how it affects you and your family, you can decrease the isolation you feel and learn that you do not have to be ashamed because of the actions of your partner or even your own actions. In a safe non-judgmental environment, you can step back and sort out your situation and your options.

Counseling Services Available

Counseling Services Available

We provide a safe place for you to talk about these difficult issues, sort out your situation and your goals, and start to make healthy choices to take care of yourself and your children.

We provide the following services for partners of sex addicts and cyber sex addicts:


  • Support

  • Evaluation and treatment planning

  • Education about sexual addiction and cybersex addiction

  • Individual psychotherapy for the partner and/or addict

  • Couples counseling sessions for the partner and addict as indicated

  • Information and referral to co-sex addiction and sex addiction treatment groups-both 12 step and psychotherapy groups

  • Coordination of services with other treatment providers for the partner, family and addict.

  • Information and resources

  • Referral and assistance with arrangements for more intensive treatment if necessary including inpatient hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment

  • Referral as needed