After the disclosure or discovery of your partner’s sex addiction, it isn’t uncommon for you to be left with many questions. One of the biggest questions I hear in my office is, “I Just Found Out About My Partner’s Sex Addiction. What Now?”
Most women find the following three items helpful as they begin their journey toward healing and recovery.
1.) You did not cause his sex addiction or compulsive sexual behavior.
Your husband’s pornography use or compulsive sexual behavior is not your fault. There is nothing you could have done to stop him from acting out. You may feel that you are the one to blame. You may even feel physically inadequate and feel guilt and shame for not “being enough”. Please know that it is more than likely that his pornography use started long before you met and it has nothing to do with your value or worth.
In addition, it isn’t uncommon for my clients to overlook signs and symptoms of their partner’s hidden behavior for years or even decades. Many times it is simply because it’s difficult to know how best to confront the issue. As well, when the sex addict is confronted he can become defensive or dismissive. Many women blame themselves for not addressing the topic sooner. This is not your fault and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it.
Whatever you have been experiencing, be it self-blame or shame, his sex addiction is not your fault. You need to let this fact sink in. I cannot express this enough!
2.) You need to find support to heal from the impact of his sex addiction.
The biggest mistake I see women make is they don’t find a licensed Christian counselor that has experience treating partners of sex addiction. Seek help from a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) or a counselor who has years of experiencing treating partner’s of sex addiction. This part is important!
Be aware that you will want to invest some time with a professional Christian counselor working on healing your hurt. The happiest outcomes occur when spouses work individually on their own recovery first. For the betrayed partner, this work involves tasks such as processing grief, expressing emotions, understanding sexual addiction, caring for self, and establishing healthy boundaries.
I also highly recommend finding a healthy support group that is meant to offer strength and hope. Groups such as Partner’s In Process or Celebrate Recovery are great places that offer support. You can find a counselor that offers therapy groups for partners. I also offer a support group and you can learn more about that by contacting me.
3.) You need time to heal.
You have been deeply wounded and healing this kind of trauma takes time. You may be looking for the quick fix but there is no easy, fast way to address the root problems. That will always take time and hard work. Real, lasting change occurs over a longer period of time and could take anywhere from 12 months to 2-5 years. This does not mean that your relationship has to be on hold for years. It’s helpful to think of progress in smaller more manageable stages of 3, 6 and 12 months.
Although it is tempting to focus on your partner, you should be focused on your own recovery process. It is essential to live “in the moment”, one day at a time so as to not get overwhelmed by looking too far into the future. As you live one day at a time, intentionally working on your recovery, you will be able to look back and see the progress. Believe it or not, many women are amazed at how the days quickly turn into years.
If you get anything out of this article, hear these three things:
- You did not cause this!
- You need support!
- You need time to heal!
If you still have unanswered questions or if you would like assistance as you navigate your way through the unknown please contact me so I can help you understand the recovery process.
Let me help you answer the looming question: “I Just Found Out About My Partner’s Sex Addiction. What Now?”
I’d love to offer you support. You are worth it!