I’m Dating A Sex Addict! What Can I Do To Help My Partner?
Updated August 28, 2020
It can be incredibly challenging to go through problems with addiction. If you’re currently dating someone who is a sex addict, then you might be at a loss for what to do. On the one hand, you love your partner, and you want to be able to help them get healthy again. On the other hand, this situation might be impacting your life in terrible ways. You have to look at the situation realistically and really know that you want to move forward with trying to help your partner. If you’re committed to this individual, then the following article can help you learn to support your partner with their sex addiction issues.
Talk About What is Happening
You aren’t going to be able to help your partner recover from sex addiction if you avoid the topic. It might be painful to acknowledge this situation, but you have to discuss what is happening. Your conversation with your partner might be the first step toward them, realizing that they have a problem. If you let them know that this is hurting you and that you want things to change, then it could be a step in the right direction. However, you can’t just take your partner’s word that things are going to change. Together identify actions that represent moving forward and getting help such as attending support meetings. A trained sex therapist or couple’s therapist can work with both of you to develop actionable steps in meeting the goal of addressing their sexual addiction.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Some people who are dating sex addicts tend to try to push their feelings to the side. This isn’t healthy, and it could wind up making things worse in various ways. You’re being hurt emotionally because of this situation. It’s fine to be mad, and it’s understandable that you might be furious about your partner’s behaviors. It’s possible to forgive someone without forgetting what has occurred. You can love your partner or spouse very much while still feeling a deep sense of hurt. Getting over what has happened might not be possible for some people, and others might be able to move on after speaking to a therapist. Either way, your feelings need to be recognized, and you have to understand that your well-being matters just as much as your partner’s.
Get Support From Friends
You’re going to need support during a trying time like this. It isn’t easy to get through troubling situations in life alone. If you have a support system to turn to, then you’ll have an easier time staying strong through this process. It might feel tough to talk to others about what is going on. You might even be embarrassed to admit that your spouse or partner has become a sex addict. However, it’s going to be worthwhile to have one or two friends or family members who will be understanding. You’re going to need to vent sometimes, and you need people that you can trust to speak openly with. Choose your support system carefully and rely on them when you feel like you have challenging moments.
Other Forms of Addiction
It’s also important to note that sex addiction isn’t always going to be the only form of addiction that sex addicts will deal with. Many sex addicts deal with drug addiction or alcohol addiction. It isn’t unusual for a sex addict to feel shame about what they are doing. Sometimes they try to hide their shame with drugs and alcohol. This is much more common than you might realize, and drug addiction can be a real hurdle for many sex addicts. You might need to look out for signs of drug and alcohol abuse as well as sex addiction. Doing so can put you in a better position to realize the full scope of what your partner is going through.
Setting boundaries is likely going to be the next step in your relationship. This can be a make it or break it moment for many couples who are dealing with this situation. Your partner is currently dealing with sex addiction and might not be capable of making rational choices at all times. This means that he or she might continue to sleep with others because of their addiction. You’re going to have to set boundaries while you determine what treatment options to use. The most important boundary to establish is what matters to you the most. This can range from emotional, sexual, or physical boundaries.
Continuing to have sex with your partner may not feel appropriate to you. Intimacy and sexual encounters with your partner might need to be taken off of the table for now. You might be worried that your partner will continue to seek sex elsewhere if you don’t provide them with it, but this isn’t safe for you. Having sex with someone who is seeking out sex with strangers is putting your health at risk. You could contract a sexually transmitted infection, which may cause other health implications. It might feel emotionally painful to have to set a boundary like this, but protecting your body is important. Next, you may want to set other boundaries, such as whether you can keep sharing a house or living space. Another boundary may be insisting that your significant other seeks out treatment while you stay in the relationship.
Getting Treatment for Sex Addiction
The treatment process may involve different modalities and healthcare professionals. You should make an appointment with a doctor to discuss what has been happening with your significant other. They may recommend sexually transmitted infection testing or mental health support. Your partner, if they are willing, should also make their own appointment. It’s possible that your partner could be experiencing other mental health issues on top of having a sex addiction or have a sexually transmitted infection.
Some people may seek treatment for sex addiction in a rehab facility or otherwise known as inpatient treatment. As mentioned earlier, some sex addicts also struggle with other forms of addiction. Your partner could have a problem with drug addiction or alcohol addiction. Facilities like this are good at helping people, and this could be a positive step for your partner. A sex addict can receive much-needed support from dedicated facilities.
As a means of treatment, your rehab facility may recommend your partner abstain from sex. Abstaining means your partner will top having sex or participating in sexual activities of any kind. This may be recommended to help them process their sexual urges and learn healthy coping skills. It takes time to recover from sexual addiction, and your partner may need treatment beyond their stay at the rehab facility. Finding a therapist to continue treatment can be key for maintaining your partner’s good progress. If you don’t think that a full rehab facility is necessary, then you may wish to simply work with a therapist who understands sex addiction.
Work with a Therapist
Working with a therapist is going to make a difference in your partner’s life. You want to be able to get things on track, and a therapist can help to guide things in the right direction. Recovery from sex addiction is a process that takes time, and it isn’t always going to be easy to get through things alone. Even if you’re a very supportive partner, your significant other is still going to need expert help to get things back to normal. The urges that come along with sexual addiction will be hard to control. Speaking to a therapist can help your partner to get through this time while learning how to cope with how they’re feeling.
It’s also beneficial to work with a therapist because it will be healthy for your relationship. This sex addiction issue has likely put your relationship in a difficult place, and it’s going to be hard to move past what has happened. You might feel very hurt and betrayed by what has occurred with your partner. These are natural emotions, and you need to work through them safely with a professional by your side. Therapists are able to help people in your situation, and they can work with you as a couple while also providing individual help.
Looking into your options might be helpful for you, too. Many couples will want to work with a therapist in-person at a traditional office, but others might be more comfortable with online therapy. Online therapy gives you the same great treatment without making you have to leave your home. If you’re looking for a very discreet and affordable form of therapy, then online therapy might be for you. Either way, you’re going to have a caring professional to assist you in this recovery journey. It will take time to realize your goals, but you’ll never have to go it alone when you have a dedicated therapist who knows what it takes to help a sex addict.
Can We Get Back to Having a Normal Sex Life?
Yes, it is possible to get back to having a normal sex life with your partner eventually. They might need some time before this will be possible, but normal intimacy and sexual relations should be a part of your lives once again. Work with your therapist to help move things in the right direction. Once your partner has better control over the urges that they have been experiencing, it will be easier to return to normal activity. If you can forgive your partner and keep on loving them, then you should be able to work toward having a happy future together.
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