Risk letting go of control and opening to trust

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Risk letting go of control and opening to trust

Partners often struggle with the need to control the recovery program for their addict. They might prescribe how often the addict needs to attend groups, see a counselor, and share his/her triggers, urges and thoughts around the addiction. Some partners require the addict to have screening software on all personal technology, and even undergo regular lie detector tests. All these boundaries are valid, personal decisions, and only you know what is going to make you feel safe to participate in your relationship repair and remain grounded.

The caution I offer, is that regardless of how much information or assurance you think you have that the addict is indeed “working his/her program”, and not engaging in compulsive sexual behavior, there is still risk. Risk is scary, but also necessary for trust to be rebuilt.

So, I propose a challenge— and I realize this is really difficult, because when you have been betrayed by sexual addiction, your trust is shattered. You may also feel disrespected, devalued, and more guarded than ever. But, we are looking to create a new way of being in your relationship, and this requires different behaviors. You have already established some boundaries in the realtionship. Continue to communicate and montior adherence to those boundaries. My challenge is that I encourage you to open up to a little more risk, in whatever way you can. One option is to try not to look at your addicts phone, or journal when it is left on the counter. Respect their privacy, and instead, try to practice sharing your feelings or insecurities with your partner. Let them know you were tempted to look at their phone, curious about what they were writing in their journal, an open a dialogue about what they are willing to tell you. Begin to model the behavior of taking risks, being vulnerable, and sharing openly what is on your heart. The hope, is that this type of invitation to connect will create a balance between risk and respecting boundaries, that provides an opening for trust to be re-earned.

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