1. People & Relationships
Cathy Meyer

How to Deal With a Spouse’s Sexual Addiction

By January 23, 2013

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The key to surviving your spouse's sexual addiction is to not only focus on getting the addict treatment but, also seeking treatment for yourself.

I know a woman whose husband is an alcoholic. It is her belief that she doesn't need to seek help for herself because he is the one with the "problem." Sex addiction, just like any other addiction causes emotional pain and devastation in the lives of those who love them. The addict may be the one with the "problem" but you can't respond to the problem without first getting your ducks in a row.

Whether your marriage survives your spouse's sexual addiction or not you will want to.  To do so you need to educate yourself about the problem, seek a support group, align yourself with a therapist, set firm boundaries about what is and isn't acceptable behavior and, detach, detach, detach.

Comments
January 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm
(1) Michael, MSW, LCSW, LCADC says:

As a clinical social worker and clinical alcohol and drug counselor, those affected by a loved one’s addiction should research CRAFT, a research based program with interesting outcomes. You’d be better off doing that than “detach, detach, detach”. There’s a video about CRAFT on the HBO website in the Addiction series. And DO find a therapist with knowledge of addiction research findings.

January 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm
(2) Heather Hubbard says:

I am shocked by your article about people who have affairs. I know that such people are demonized by society, but having just come from the other side of this issue, I can ASSURE you that I am NOT without empathy, emotion or concern for anyone who was hurt by my affair. I actually went into a major depressive episode because I was so upset by all of the pain that my infidelity caused both my spouse and my lover’s. Anyone can fall into this trap. Saying that I have no morals because I fell deeply in love with someone at a very inconvenient point in life is just not fair.

February 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm
(3) TheOtherDoctor says:

You should seriously consider the argument that there is no such thing as sex addiction. David Ley, Marty Klein, and the APA have argued persuasively that sex addiction is, at best, a secondary, contingent diagnosis and that it doesn’t exist in the absence of other psychopathology. You spouse might have had an affair (or affairs). She or he might want sex more than you do, like porn, want to swing, etc., but that doesn’t make him/her a “sex addict”. While some people’s sexual behaviour certainly causes pain, it makes more sense to focus on the entire context of a person’s life, not just the sex part. The sex addiction diagnosis is just conservative, traditional sex panic dressed up in psuedo-clinical language. It’s another way of telling people that the sex they want is bad or wrong because it doesn’t conform with traditional, heteronormative, sex negative conceptions of sexual propriety.

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