So you’ve found out that your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse has a sexual addiction. Now, this could mean a variety of things (excessive viewing of pornography, infidelity, etc.), but it doesn’t really matter at this point because the bottom line is that it is an addiction, a disease, and an extremely damaging one at that. For some, this could be the end of the relationship because of the severity of the addiction and its effects on both people. For those who want to make this relationship work despite the struggles of one half, it is an uphill battle that will be difficult for both partners. There are solutions to the problems, tips for the tough times, but in the end, it is how the couple works together that will determine whether they make it through the addiction or not.
Supporting Your Better Half
If the addict in the relationship has confessed to the non-addict about his/her addiction, there is a very good possibility that they are doing so as a cry for help, even if he/she is not directly asking for help. If the relationship is to last, there are important things for the non-addict member to do and keep in mind. The struggling partner has an addiction, which is a disease. It is what feels like an uncontrollable urge that must be satisfied. To help your partner, it is vital that you understand to the best of your ability how your S.O. is feeling. Keep in mind that it took a lot of courage for this person to be honest about this thing that is probably extremely embarrassing for him/her. Encouragement is key in helping your S.O. heal; he/she must feel supported in his/her efforts to get better by the person they expressed honest self-disclosure with. With a sexual addiction, it is common for the addict to suffer from depression and self-harming or suicidal thoughts, so any support will be a breath of fresh air and might help to end these thoughts.
Encouragement is key to helping your S.O. heal. He/she must feel supported in his/her efforts to get better by the person they expressed honest self-disclosure with. With a sexual addiction, it is common for the addict to suffer from depression and self-harming or suicidal thoughts, so any support will be a breath of fresh air and might help to end these thoughts.
Finding Solutions Together
Try to connect with each other by finding mental exercises to do and other ways to help the addict get better. The non-addict must show that he/she cares and wants the best for the other, and dedication and the utmost patience will accomplish just that. Going to therapy together is a great way for couples to heal and grow, and this is no exception. By helping the suffering partner find a way to overcome the addiction, the non-addict strengthens the relationship. It tells the other person that he/she cares enough about the addict’s mental well-being, as well as shows patience and often, forgiveness on the non-addict’s part. It is another way for the couple to grow and mature, especially when they get into the details of the addiction. Learning your S.O.’s triggers, specific struggles, and habits is necessary for finding a solution.
Taking Care of Yourself
While your partner is definitely struggling with this dangerous and unhealthy addiction, the non-addict will surely suffer as well. Knowing your partner has a sexual addiction can cause a number of problems – lowered self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and mistrust in the other partner. Like any other addiction, it affects the lives of the people closest to that person and those lives will need healing too. It is important for the non-addict to find support for his/herself. Whether this is through support groups, online forums, or therapists, he/she will not be able to help the suffering partner if they are falling apart themselves. Together, a couple can get through even the toughest of trials if they simply try to understand and support one another.