While there are many negative effects of having a sexual addiction, possibly the most painful is the effect it can have on relationships. For some couples, an addiction like this can be easy to dismiss. After all, how serious can a sex addiction really be? The truth is that it is a very serious addiction. Though the effects that the addiction have on the relationship may not show up at first, eventually they will rear their ugly heads and the impact of this can be devastating.
One way sexual addiction can ruin a beautiful relationship is by affecting the trust one partner has on the other. Every moment that that person is unaccounted for is another moment the non-addict is drawn to assuming the worst of him or her. It usually does not matter that the addict might have admitted that he or she has an addiction in the first place, the trust is now dangerously low. Opening yourself up to someone else about an addiction means being vulnerable and ready for any judgment, opinions, and emotions they might have about it. Because of this, the person has a right to not trust as easily as they once did. If a couple does not have trust, does it have anything?
Physical Health Risk Factors
Another dangerous way that sex addiction can affect a relationship is through physical health. If the sex addict is unfaithful, he runs the risk of giving his partner a sexually transmitted disease, amongst other ailments. Not only can this destroy the relationship, it can destroy the life of the non-addict partner. Sexually transmitted diseases can have severely debilitating effects. Chlamydia, for example, can affect a woman’s ability to have children – a long-term and damaging effect. The addict is not only risking his own physical health but that of his partner. There is always that risk being taken, and in the end, with the varieties of pain the addiction can cause physically, it is not worth it.
While this one may be a bit more abstract for some, it is an important one. For a lot of people, sexual addictions create an unhealthy idea of what loving someone physically should look like. Think about other common addictions people can suffer from – alcohol, drugs, gambling, eating, shopping, etc. Now think about what those addictions have in common – they are about objects. Addictions can be a lot about satisfying a desire or need but to a more extreme level. As a sex addict, one may become used to the idea of physical relations with someone being a way to satisfy the extreme desire. In that way, the addict is using the person they are with for their own physical gain. This is a dangerous way to see an important aspect of a relationship. The connection that two partners in a relationship have will not survive if one begins to see the other as an object of pleasure.
For sexual addicts, unless help is found, the addiction can last a lifetime. But if there is any kind of family or perception of “normalcy” that the sex addict is hoping for in the future, he or she must at some point make a choice as to which lifestyle to live. Not many can have both. Every scenario involving staying an addict and having healthy relationships involves secrecy and/or at least a little resentment (which is not healthy at all!). Thus, having a sexual addiction not only destroys a current relationship but it can ruin any chance of having a healthy one. The only way to save a future relationship is by getting the necessary help before that future arrives.