Relationship Tips If Spouse Is A Sex Addict
This guest blog is written and provided by Danielle Adams with Lifestar Therapy.
Six Relationship Tips If Your Spouse is a Sex Addict
Shock, hurt, and resentment are all normal feelings you may experience
when you find out your spouse is a sex addict. However, it’s not useful to
dwell on those negative emotions. Rather than dwelling on the problem, now
is the time to practice (some) self-care and move down your own path of
To help you in your own recovery, here are six important
relationship tips to help you move past the hurt and progress down the
path together toward forgiveness.
1. Recognize the Signs and Consequences of Sex Addiction
Sex Addiction is best described as “a progressive intimacy disorder
characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts.” This compulsion is
“persistent and may escalate despite increasing negative consequences to
self and others.”
The following are the signs of porn addiction:
* Being preoccupied with or persistently craving sex, even while
attempting to limit sexual activity.
* Thinking of sex to the detriment of other activities.
* Spending considerable amounts of time participating in activities
related to sex, such as viewing pornographic websites.
* Feeling irritable when unable to engage in sexual behavior.
* Having the need to escalate the scope or frequency of sexual
activity to achieve the desired effect.
The consequences of sex addiction include:
* Low self esteem and self worth
* Lack of intimacy
* Inability to form and foster healthy relationships
* Sexually transmitted diseases
* Co-occurrence with alcoholism, substance abuse, compulsive
gambling, and eating disorders.
* Illegal behavior
2. Seek Specialized Help
Remember, you and your spouse are dealing with a lot of emotions during
this time and, because of that, it’s important to seek specialized help.
Treatment consists of (1) treating the logistical side of the addiction
such as being separated from sexual images and other triggers; and (2)
treating the emotional side of the addiction such as depression.
When finding a therapist or treatment program, look for one that, in
addition to your spouse’s therapy, allows you and your spouse to work
together on the intimate issues of your relationship and gives you time to
receive your own personal therapeutic support as well. In addition to
finding a reputable therapist, having a support group, trusted friend or
spiritual leader you can speak openly with during this time is essential
for your own healing.
3. Focus on Your Own Needs
During this difficult time, take some time to practice self-care and
focus on your own needs. Do something that gives you positive feelings of
happiness or lets you forget about your problems for a little while. If
you’re shaking your head while you read this, thinking about the
“selfishness” of taking time for yourself, consider this quote from
Eleanor Brownn, “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty
Use this time to learn a new hobby, go on a trip to somewhere new, take up
a challenging fitness routine or find a service opportunity. By
distracting yourself from the challenges and consequences of addiction,
you’ll be happier, healthier, and stronger—both mentally and physically.
4. Together, Make a Plan
Set specific goals and work toward achieving them together. This will
allow you to look forward and start to strengthen your marriage. Your plan
can include attending a support group together, strengthening the
spiritual side of your relationship, building healthier habits, and fixing
relationships with other family members who may have been affected by the addiction.
5. Practice Patience
It’s not uncommon for a spouse with sex addiction to slip up or make a
mistake occasionally. As hurtful as this can be, it’s a normal part of the
recovery process and with time, the episodes will happen less and less
frequently. Don’t keep a continual count of how many times your spouse
makes a mistake and don’t continually replay every episode in your head.
Though it can be difficult, practicing patience will encourage recovery
and allow you to continue on in the forgiving process.
6. Rebuild Trust and Love
An important step to take on the path to healing is rebuilding the trust
and love in your relationship. Set and practice physical and emotional
boundaries if anything makes you feel uncomfortable. Regularly engage in
open and non-aggressive communication.
By recommitting to each other and your marriage, you’ll both come through this challenging time stronger than ever.
About the Author: Danielle Adams is a freelance writer who works
with Lifestar Therapy. She is committed to helping people practice open communication and build healthy relationships.