Partner & Relational Betrayal
The shame, stigma and betrayal felt by partners of sex addicts is painful, shocking, traumatic. It can be so profound that it leaves them traumatized to the very core. The individual partner, as well as the relationship, are in jeopardy and require healing.
Sex addicts make sex a priority more important than family, friends and work. Sex becomes the organizing principle of the addict's life and they are willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue the acting out behavior as a response to emotional pain, chaos, stress, anxiety, and past trauma.
When the addiction involves sex outside of the relationship, partners may experience unprecedented fear, anxiety and turmoil. The nature of the addiction involves a culture of lies and deceit. Often partner's initially make excuses. But once the facade of the secret life of the addict has been exposed, reality sets in and everything you have always believed to be true is suddenly a lie. Your inner and outer world is shattered.
At this stage, partners may experience symptoms of shock and trauma, which may include intrusive, recurring, or disturbing thoughts, images and flashbacks, emotional numbness, anger, rage, disgust or guilt. Partners may find it difficult to be touched, or emotionally distant and withdrawn. These are normal feelings and responses to a truly traumatic discovery.
It is important to know that you are not crazy and with a community of support you will get through this.