Sex Addiction’s Overlooked Victim

sexaddictpartner_w200The partner of a sex addict is often lost in the shuffle during treatment, causing new problems.

Compared to other addictions such as chemical dependency or eating disorders, sex addiction is still somewhat of a mystery. There’s less talk about the topic, less understanding and less support, often because the topic makes us uncomfortable. Even more forgotten is the partner of a sex addict.

When someone discovers a spouse or partner is battling a sex addiction, the first question they often ask is should they stay or should they leave? (Counselors often advise waiting six months before making any permanent decisions to see if the partner’s sex addiction can be treated.) The level of betrayal is often so deep that those around the betrayed partner just want to help sooth the pain. What they really need at that point, though, is help figuring out what it means and where to go next.

Wrongful Diagnosis

In the past, there hasn’t been much help at all for partners of sex addicts. The help they did get was often directed at examining their role in choosing this type of partner, therefore putting blame on the victim. Partners are further victimized when they attend counseling as a couple and find themselves blamed for the partner’s disorder (“she’s overweight, she’s a nag, can you blame me for seeking out others?”).

It’s no wonder so many people at support groups for family and loved ones of those dealing with addiction will often say, “I don’t like the person I’ve become as a result of a loved one’s addiction.” Some act out by developing addictions of their own. They become compulsive shoppers as a way of retribution against the offending partner or they have affairs of their own.

We’re making progress, but we need to do a lot more to address the unique issues that sex addiction brings up for the partner in those relationships in order to ensure lasting recovery and healing for all.

5 Responses

  1. Sheridan August 15, 2012 Reply

    I had a sex addict pursue me on FB, and later on I felt like a victim. He turned the tables after I stated my opinions about him, and is now filing harrassment and stalking charges against me for stating my opinions. Please help with any suggestions to deal with this guy.

  2. Marlina November 27, 2012 Reply

    Sex addicts are actually predatory creatures. You may or may not have been lured into a “relationship” of sorts with this person but regardless of that fact, you certainly do have a right to state your opinions about him and even inform others about his problem. If you merely stated your opinions, I don’t consider that to be stalking or even harassment. If you tried to maintain contact with them because you still have feelings for them or if you are still trying to have a relationship with them, you should probably stop so that they will not have any “evidence” that you are indeed “stalking” them.
    You probably want (and even deserve) an explanation for their behavior. You either want closure or a continuing relationship with better results for yourself. You may even want them to get some help with their addiction. My heart feels for you. I know you are in pain. I know you are hurting. I wish you the best. You probably need recovery just as much or more than your hyper-sexual partner. Hope this helps you, at least in some small way. It isn’t easy being the victim. Good luck to you.

  3. Karen February 13, 2013 Reply

    I have just learned that my partner of 11 years is a compulsive sex addict and I’m beyond devastated. I have only known him as a kind and caring man so that the real truth of his behavior has been a horrid, horrid shock. I have loved this man so much that I would have considered supporting him while he gets some help, but when I read the graphic details of his tendencies/ fantasies/ experiences towards bestiality and pedophilia, I knew it was over. I really wish he could get some help but I’m left wondering if this aberrant sexual behavior is just part of his illness or does he have some additional personality disorder.

    • Tandy February 15, 2013 Reply

      Hi Karen, I too found out my fiance is a sex addict on Jan 28th to be exact. We both had just completed our divorces from our previous marriages and had bought a home in December 2012 in the country to support the blending of our children, 5 boys. He took a new job last January and was so excited to be moving forward as a new couple. Took me every day I was the love of his life and that we would have another baby together. Literally 1 week after being at his new job he began to pursue setting up meetings with female prostitutes. I believe his first meeting ever was on Valentines Day because I had my boys to care for that day. Come to find out he had oral sex with 9 women over the year, two of which he also had intercourse with. I was always suspecting things from his email, text, and phone call activity and it wasn’t until Jan 21st when a weird text came through on his phone from a girl making a special offer for the week for $50. I kept her number and began to text her.I don’t know if it was God and praying but eventually I spoke to her and then went and met her at her home. She showed me his fake email account, name, photo, and texts. I was horrified but also at peace. His lies were finally confirmed. I sent him the picture he used to contact this girl and lets just say there was cake on his face. He confessed the same day. I left the home and checked into a hotel which I have now been at for 3 weeks. I will move back into my townhouse but I haven’t decided if we are over as I learn more about this addiction. Unfortunately I cannot work, sleep. I am depressed, anxious, sad, angery, shakey….I believe he has OCDC among other personality disorders but his antidepressants have helped quite a bit and he is taking all steps to recover. ?? I am a blacl/white person and don’t know what to do

  4. Val June 18, 2013 Reply

    I just found out 4 days ago that my partner is a sex addict. I was and still angry about the whole thing. His divorce is still ongoing and over the years I have supported him emotionally, and especially financially. He has a son with a disability which we worked on becoming a family together. I’ve always had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Every time I confronted him about my feelings he would get angry and blame me for being paranoid. He would convince me that nothing is going on and that we are building a life together. But ever so often my gut would tell me something different. He had several email accounts, and I was finally able to log into one and there it was. Emails to numerous girls, websites where he could meet women in our living area, videos and pictures. My reaction was one I never had experienced before. I couldn’t stop shaking. My mind was racing so fast and the anger I felt was incredible. His response to me when I confronted him was “When was this” , “I didn’t sleep with them” and “I’m sorry” All the business trips he had, the rides home from work and working in the office there were thousands of emails. He said he stopped a long time ago, but the dates of the emails say otherwise. The more he tried to talk his way around it the angrier I got. He even went as far as to blame me because I wanted to leave the relationship. The fact that he couldn’t or wouldn’t come clean even though I had the proof is very hard to take. I feel so betrayed, used physically, mentally and financially. His reaction to the whole thing is so passive. He doesn’t or won’t understand what he did to me and that too is unbearable. He can’t answer the question “Why” and that is an answer I want hear, but I don’t think I will get that.

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