In the first part of this series we talked briefly about the blame some partners feel about their sexually addicted partner’s behaviors. In this post we’ll dig a little deeper.
Many partners of sex addicts not only feel some blame or responsibility for their partner’s behavior, they also think they can make changes in themselves and “fix” their sexually addicted partner.
We often hear from our partner clients things like, “If only I was sexier or prettier or more attentive or gave him or her sex more often then he/she wouldn’t have done what they did and I wouldn’t be hurting.” (Or some variation of that theme.)
There is not doubt in our minds that a sex addict’s behavior is NOT because of their partner’s behavior. It’s just not the case that someone with a sexual addiction would stop their acting out behaviors if their partner changed. I’ll say it again – it is NOT true that if you changed, your partner’s sex addiction would disappear.
Sex addiction is a real problem that many people (estimates range from 8% to 15% of the population) struggle with. Because your partner struggles with compulsive sexual behaviors (masturbation, viewing pornography, multiple affair partners, prostitution, or others) does not mean that he or she is a bad person, and it doesn’t mean that you caused any part of the problem.
What this does mean is that both of you could benefit from seeing a therapist or support group for help – to help you heal from the betrayal and multi-faceted trauma you are enduring, and to help them stop their compulsive sexual behaviors.
In the next part of this series for the partner we’ll address some of the forms of trauma that partners of sex addicts experience after the discovery or understanding of the sex addiction.