Support for the Spouse

A Place To Heal

We strongly believe that support for the spouse is critical to healing the marriage relationship. The Spouses’ Program is a 3-day workshop designed to help the partner of a sex addict begin to cope with the hurt and confusion known only to those living through infidelity and betrayal.

Provided in a safe, compassionate environment, this workshop will help you learn about the impact your partner’s addiction has had on you and begin your healing process.

It’s Not Your Fault

When a spouse learns that her husband or loved one is involved in pornography and related compulsive sexual behaviors, she is flooded with distressing emotions.

These include feelings of shock, anger, disgust, deep hurt and confusion. Women also experience intrusive and obsessing thoughts. These overwhelming emotions and obsessive thoughts occur naturally as a result of the betrayal, trauma and being blindsided by the disturbing information surrounding their spouses sexual secrets. Often times, the end result is impaired daily functioning and profound powerlessness.

The most common request that women seek through therapy is a safe place to sort through this traumatic experience. Because most addicts are disconnected emotionally and tend to deny or minimize their problem, it is not very likely that the partner can consistently provide the safety and support necessary for healing. You need a support system!

Does Your Partner Have An Addiction?

Has your partner admitted to you that he/she has a problem with sexual acting out or compulsive sexual behaviors?

You may have known something didn’t seem right in your relationship for a long time, or perhaps they confessed and the confession may have caught you off-guard. Often times, the partner of an addict knows, at least on a subconscious level, that something is wrong.

Some signs are very obvious, like finding a pornographic video, discovering inappropriate Internet browser history, or unexplained charges on your credit card statement.

Other signs may be more subtle where it takes years before a partner suspects anything. The following list of symptoms may indicate your partner is suffering from sexual addiction. These are not absolute indications of addiction—just possible red flags or warning signs.

  • Noticeable change in frequency of sexual relations with you—from total lack of interest to insatiable appetite for sex
  • Noticeable change in actual sexual relations with you—rigid, dispassionate, quick, detached
  • Requests unusual sexual practices that make you feel uncomfortable
  • Neglects your sexual, physical, and emotional needs
  • Neglects responsibilities involving family, finances, and job
  • Increased isolation or withdrawal from family; unexplained absences
  • Easily irritated, argumentative, defensive
  • Unexplained or secretive financial matters
  • Has stopped participating in hobbies
  • When confronted, reactions may include some of the following; defensiveness, pouting, turning the blame and fault to you, manipulation, withdraws, plays the victim role, gets angry, or plays dumb
  • There is an unsafe feeling for your emotions

To Stay or Not To Stay?

The spouse and family members of the addict are dealing with the harsh reality of an attachment being violated. The security and safety of the emotional needs are lost or gone. Much of the relationship feels false; like a fraud. If the addict, has been a safe place for the partner in the past, after learning of the addictive behaviors, she is left feeling vulnerable and disoriented. She will naturally ask, “Who can I trust? Who will be there for me now?”

The betrayed spouse does not know where to turn and will often struggle alone. The spouse’s identity, security and stability are destroyed. This type of trauma shatters the internal world of the spouse of an addict. All aspects of her life are affected. Her ability to function with employment, household duties, and parenting is disrupted. Her sense of self is altered. Often her spirituality is impacted. The experience is very traumatic and her responses to this type of wound typically fall in the category of a “trauma response.” A trauma response can be defined as an emotional response to a perceived threat.

We recommend that you do not make any major decisions regarding your relationship during the first year of recovery. The world of the spouse needs to have some stability before major decisions are made.  To go or to stay will become clearer after the first year of treatment, and healing process is well underway.

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