Partners of Sex Addicts
Are you feeling betrayed, confused and alone?
Does your addicted partner display any of the following behaviours?
- Loss of control: In which the addicted person does more than he or she originally intended or wanted to do;
- Negative consequences: the addicted person’s behaviours continue despite physical, psychological or emotional problems that are likely to have been caused or made worse by the behaviours;
- Loss of time: a lot of time is spent by the addicted person planning, engaging in, or recovering from the effects of the behaviour;
- Tolerance: the addicted person is compelled to engage in the behaviour for increasingly longer periods of time, or in increasingly risky ways to achieve the previous levels of arousal;
- Withdrawal symptoms. Depression, rage, anxiety, sleep disturbance, or irritability emerge as the addicted person tries to abstain from the behaviour;
- Inability to fulfill obligations. The addicted person’s behaviour interferes with important social, occupational or recreational activities.
- Repeated efforts to stop. Usually seen as persistent unsuccessful attempts by the addicted person to cut back on or limit the behaviour.
Sex addiction affects millions of people, young and old, male and female. So you are not alone. Most importantly, if your partner is sexually addicted this does not mean he or she is a bad person, but that they are actually suffering from a mental illness; where they have developed, over many years, an addictive and compulsive relationship with sex.
The goal of sex addiction treatment is not abstinence from sex, but the elimination of the compulsive, self-destructive aspects to create the opportunity to develop positive, vibrant and satisfying sexual relationships that reflect real emotional intimacy and connection.
I can help, I am a therapist who specializes in supporting the partners of sexually addicted persons.
I offer an empathic treatment of the traumatic impact of sex addiction on spouses/partners, couples, and families. The goal of treatment with me is rebuilding partner’s lives and relationships that have been lost to sex addiction. Many problematic, out-of-control sexual behaviours are rightly classified as an addictive disorder. My work is influenced by Patrick Carnes and Paula Hall. I offer individual and group therapy for the spouses/partners of addicts, with facing to face counselling available for those who live in Gauteng. I am also available online via Skype, zoom, teams or WhatsApp video or any other format for those outside of Gauteng. I have helped many partners and wives to find their own true voice and discover their purpose. I go at your pace. You need not be alone. I am here for you.
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a traumatic attachment to a sexually addicted partner:
1. Hypervigilant behaviours: You find yourself in a constant state of ‘red alert’ (this is also known as hypervigilance) where you are constantly checking your partner’s cell phone and on-line behaviour (secret partners, sex worker websites, pornography and sex chat rooms to name a few). This behaviour tends to become highly obsessive and increasingly debilitating as partners of sex addicts search for the unequivocal truth and extent of the sexually addicted person’s acting out. This behaviour is also known as ‘investigating’.
2. You find yourself being triggered by: Environmental factors (seeing something sexual on television, seeing an attractive person in the street, or a particular conversation), Emotional factors (such as feeling angry and resentful towards your sexually addicted partner, lonely, insecure, hopeless or overwhelmed). Relational factors (your sexually addicted partner disclosing yet more information about his or her acting out, or your sexually addicted partner being home later than he or she said he or she would, or even withdrawal and angry reactions from your sexually addicted partner).
3. Attempts to control: you find that you are constantly trying to police your sexually addicted partner in the hope that you can control their behaviour, yet you find your attempts render you powerless to control him or her.
4. Reactive behaviours: you are prone to angry outbursts, withdrawing and even violence. This behaviour is often associated with feelings of regret, shame and self-doubt afterwards.
5. Defence mechanisms: after intense emotional reactivity during conflict with your sexually addicted partner you use mental, emotional and behavioural strategies to bring the relationship in to a calmer place.