PARTNERS OF SEX ADDICTS

help!  I'm in love with a sex addict

"What I found most helpful was being told that I have been traumatized, coupled with it is not my fault. While other counselors have told me that it was not my fault, I always felt as though I was supposed to hear [he] was sorry and move on. I also basically felt as though other counselors looked at his sex addiction as his part in the problems in our marriage, and all the rest of our problems were mine. At the intensive I was told that a good part of the reason we had the problems - finances, lack of ...

is my partner cheating?

Do you feel as if something is going on behind your back that your partner or spouse does not want you to know? Are you continually finding clues that your partner may be involved in sexual behavior outside of your marriage?

Diagnosis of sex addiction should be left to a health care professional. However, it’s not uncommon to observe behaviors that are unusual and lead you to believe your partner may be hiding something.  You may notice some of the following behaviors that indicate compulsive sexual behavior or sex addiction.  

Important: The presence of any one or even several of these items is not proof your partner is a sex addict. Diagnosis of sex addiction should be deferred to a health care professional. Treatment for sex addiction should be referred to a health care professional who has expertise in dealing with sex addiction.
  • He has a sudden interest in doing things with you sexually you have not done before
  • New sexual moves or positions suddenly appear
  • He seems to be texting more frequently than usual and when you ask who he is talking to, he abruptly stops
  • He erases the history of his computer and/or the record of his phone calls and text messages
  • Arguments become more frequent, sometimes followed by your partner or spouse leaving
  • Questions about your schedule are more frequent
  • You catch him in lies, large or small ones
  • He is unavailable frequently for family outings and activities
  • He gets defensive if you ask if he is cheating (or looking at pornography, or visiting an adult-oriented business, etc.)
  • His desire to be sexual with you diminishes
  • He purchases a webcam, scanner, or digital camera, for no, or what seems like a contrived reason, or tries to convince you of the need to make such a purchase
  • He has unexplained credit card purchases
  • There are unexplained cash withdrawals or he chooses to use cash more frequently for purchases where he would have otherwise used a credit card
  • Back pains or other ailments suddenly appear that necessitate the need for periodic to frequent massages. (This is not meant to be an indictment of legitimate massage therapists and physical therapists)
  • Gasoline usage suddenly increases more than normal and/or there are gasoline charge card purchases from stations that are not in his usual traffic pattern
  • You experience frequent “hang ups” when you answer the phone
  • When your partner gets cell phone calls he has to take in private (Certainly there are appropriate times where privacy is necessary, however, an unexplained need for privacy causes suspicion.)
  • He gets cell phone calls he tries to end hurriedly or seems to get a large number of wrong number calls
  • You discover a secret checking account, webmail account, Post Office box, or charge card
  • He insists on his employer paying his expense account reimbursement by separate check or in cash
  • He has a sudden interest in his looks: Losing weight, working out, coloring his hair, purchasing clothes that are more trendy, etc.
  • You discover he has a suggestive screen name
  • He waits until you go to bed to get on the computer and then stays up for several hours to "work on the computer"
  • He quickly clears his computer screen when you enter the room
  • He gets up in the middle of the night “because he cannot sleep” and you find him on the computer
  • You have caught him previously secretly accessing pornography or in some other secret sexual activity, and he promised not to do it again; but lately his behavior leaves you wondering if the activity has returned
  • He describes his relationship with a co-worker as “just friends”
  • You find that he has inexplicably laundered some of his clothes or has “just dropped off” a single piece of clothing to the dry cleaners
  • He suggests that you perform sex acts with which you are uncomfortable
  • He asks you to go to sexually oriented or “adult” businesses when that has not been your practice
  • He purchases a phone “calling card”
  • You discover he has purchased an additional cell phone that is kept in a secret place or left at work
  • He has to suddenly work overtime when that has not been required, or he “has to work late” more and more frequently
  • He has to go to work on weekends when this has not been his practice
  • He is frequently unavailable when you try to contact him at work
There are no “sure signs” of a cheating spouse. If you are noticing some things that seem unusual, they may or may not be anything to be concerned about.
"I think I already shared with you my feelings for the most part, however it was life changing for me. You have incorporated all the things a woman needs and all the things the addict needs into a perfectly timed 3 day experience. It was neither too long nor too short. You addressed all of our individual concerns and made us both feel very comfortable in a situation that is anything but comfortable. We walked away with so many tools—great! Thank you again!"  BT, Virginia

is it my fault?

If your partner is a sex addict, rest assured that you did not cause it. Not only did you not cause it but you cannot change him and you cannot cure him. Your focus needs to be on yourself, on getting healthy, and learning to set healthy boundaries.

Consider a Couple's Three-Day Intensive for you and your partner, proven to be an excellent way in which you both can begin the process of healing and recovery. Set some good boundaries for what is acceptable in your relationship—and be ready to back them up! Remember, you didn’t cause your partner’s sex addiction, but you can be the key to helping him recover.  Determining behaviors that you won’t tolerate is a great first step. An example of behaviors you may find unacceptable include: 
  • Sex with anyone other than your partner
  • Viewing any pornography, print, video, Internet, etc. (realizing that a growing trend is for cell phones and iPods to be used for viewing porn because the “tracks” are easier to hide)
  • Visiting any adult-oriented business (i.e., strip clubs, massage parlors, adult video and bookstores, modeling studies, etc.)
  • Other behaviors outside your boundaries that are non-negotiable for you
three-day intensive application

is there hope for my marriage?
is separation or divorce inevitable?

Yes, there is hope! But the success of working through this issue is dependent on both you and your husband being willing to do some very difficult work. He needs to work on his sex addiction. You need to work on boundaries and recovering from the trauma caused by his acting out. And together, you will need to work on your marriage.

A highly effective way in meeting all three goals is to participate in a Couple's Three-Day Intensive. This is not a three-day cure. But it is good way to get a critical jump-start on recovery and lay a foundation upon which to rebuild your marriage. You may read more about Three-Day Intensives on our website or you may call us at (713) 630-0111.

Before you assume there is no hope, it is important to realize that many people find their relationships or marriage are strengthened and, in some cases, are better than they have ever been after treatment for sex addiction. If a person is being physically abused, separation is certainly in order. In some cases, where verbal abuse is present, separation is also indicated.  

if my partner is a sex addict, what do I do?

  • Don’t panic
  • Sex addiction is not only treatable, but your relationship may even prosper as the result of treatment
  • Remember, your relationship need not end
  • Regardless of the acting out behavior, the relationship has hope if you and your partner are willing to work hard
  • A great deal depends on his willingness to admit that he has a problem with compulsive sexual behavior and to do whatever it takes to eliminate it from his life
  • Your willingness to go through the recovery process with him is also a key factor

get help yourself

One of the most important steps you can take for yourself, is to learn as much as you can about sex addiction. In addition to the information you’ll find here, there are a number of good books that can help you learn more about sex addiction. A good place to begin is in reading Hope & Freedom for Sexual Addicts and Their Partners.

It is important for you to realize that you have been wounded by his actions and those wounds will not heal properly without support. An important aspect of this healing takes place as you have contact with other women who have experienced the same trauma due to their partner’s sex addiction. The following are some support resources for partners or spouses of sex addicts that you may find helpful.
Journey to Healing and Joy is an organization providing Christian support groups for women who have been wounded by their partner's sexual addiction. Therapist and author Marsha Means facilitates very effective groups by telephone and offers a number of resources on this website.

Infidelity Survivors Anonymous (ISA)
Infidelity Survivors Anonymous is a support group for individuals who have experienced infidelity induced trauma caused by any form of sexual betrayal in their relationships. The program is focused on the empowerment of its members. The tools of the program offer members hope, strength, healing and ultimately freedom.
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