Tiger Woods and Jesse James: Sex Addicts or Bad Boys?
Have you noticed lately how folks seem unable to take responsibility for bad behavior? We seem to have become a society that uses emotional illness as an excuse. For example, Tiger Woods cheats on his wife and goes into rehab for sexual addiction. The question is, is he a sex addict or does he lack character?
According to Psychcentral, “Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all addictions, its negative impact on the addict and on family members increases as the disorder progresses. Over time, the addict usually has to intensify the addictive behavior to achieve the same results.”
The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity has defined sexual addiction as “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others.” In other words, a sex addict will continue to engage in certain sexual behaviors despite facing potential health risks, financial problems, shattered relationships or even arrest.
I receive emails from people whose spouse’s have cheated or have been caught viewing porn on the Internet. The running theme in these emails is, “my spouse is a sex addict.” Not only are sex addicts and cheaters not taking responsibility but those married to them are making excuses for their bad behavior.
Shortly after my divorce, my children and I were in therapy. My ex was behaving in a way that caused our boys a lot of emotional pain. I made excuses for his bad behavior. He had abandonment issues or he was clinically depressed. The man I had been married to and loved would not do what he was doing unless something was wrong.
The therapist told me, “mental illness is no excuse for bad behavior.” More than likely my opinion about the new trend to use sexual addiction as an excuse for cheating will not be popular. That said, isn’t it about time we, as a society start taking responsibility for our actions and what those actions do to others?
Jesse James has broken the hearts of his wife and children. He is now attempting to make it right by entering rehab for “personal issues.” He was aware of those issues while cheating on Sandra Bullock. He was aware of what it would mean for his family if his cheating became public knowledge.
As adults, it is our responsibility to use awareness in a constructive way. To not deny we have a problem but to find a solution for the problems before we do harm, not after we do harm.
That is my issue with the issue of sexual addiction. It is not an excuse for bad behavior. It is not an excuse to cheat on your spouse and it is no reason to remain in a relationship. Especially if it means giving up what you need from the relationship.
Does someone who engages in “certain sexual behaviors despite facing potential health risks, financial problems, shattered relationships or even arrest love his/her spouse? More than likely yes. I believe Tiger Woods and Jesse James love their wives.
I also believe they were fully aware of the harm their actions would cause their wives and chose to continue. They chose to dismiss their wives need for fidelity and carry on with their bad behavior. With that knowledge, should you, the victim excuse the bad behavior?
That is a personal choice. Only you know what is right for you but I urge you to take into consideration your needs. Don’t put aside what you want from your marriage and become someone who enables a sex addict or cheater. Set boundaries with your spouse AND yourself. If you are not cautious, you can do yourself more harm than the sex addict and cheater.