Sex addiction can lead to very serious relationship problems. As their addiction progresses, sex addicts isolate themselves from everyone, including their partners. This can lead to intimacy and trust issues within the relationship. Partners often feel inadequate, ashamed, embarrassed, helpless, frustrated and angry throughout the addiction. In cases where a partner discovers or is informed of his or her partner’s addiction, that person experiences a loss of trust, anger, resentment and many other emotions. Most couples struggling with sex addiction will not be able to successfully work through their problems alone.
In general, couples seek therapy when:
• They are unable to communicate with each other
• One partner has been engaged in extramarital sexual activities
• One partner is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction
• The couple is struggling with intimacy issues or are near divorce
• The partners feel as though they have grown apart
• One partner feels as though the person has changed (in a bad way)
In these cases, sex addiction only compounds the problem. So what can be done? The first thing that couples should do when they are ready and committed to make a change is to get help from a professional. They need to find someone who specializes in working with couples who have been affected by sex addiction. A trained professional will be able to work with the couple and help them rebuild communication, trust and intimacy. Rebuilding a relationship can take a long time and it requires commitment from both people.
It is important to bear in mind that addicts need to reach a certain point in their recovery before they are able to work on their relationships. They need to bring themselves back to health before they can focus on gaining back a healthy relationship. However, during this process, their partners can get personal help from a therapist and attend support groups specifically designed for partners of sex addicts. Once both people in the relationship are ready to work on their relationship as a couple, they will be able to see a therapist together.
In some cases, the relationship may be beyond repair. This is a reality of life. Sometimes people part ways and in time they will have to come to accept this reality. Overcoming this painful break-up will be difficult, but it can also be an important part of recovery from sex addiction. Working through the break-up with a therapist is an effective way to come to a healthy understanding of why the relationship did not work out.
In some cases, addicts may not have been in a relationship at the time of their addiction. Toward the end of their recovery from sex addiction, they may be looking to enter into a healthy relationship. For addicts, learning how to meet someone can be a challenge. Bars and other social settings may trigger sexually compulsive behaviors so it can be difficult for them to actively seek out a relationship.
Loneliness or hopelessness can set in and create a strain on the recovery process. However, it is important for addicts to acknowledge those feelings and understand them so that they can ultimately keep them under control. Instead of going to bars or other traditional meeting places, addicts can simply live their lives and pursue their interests and passions in life. Those interests and passions will likely lead them to lifelong friendships and maybe even romance. For example, say that you are an avid hiker. Joining a hiking group in your area will open up a new world of possibilities for meaningful relationships in your life. It’s important as an addict recovers for them to replace the unhealthy behaviors with new healthy ones or those that they find healthy that they may have ignored in favor of their addiction.