Effects of Sex Addiction on A SpouseAlyssa
Sex addiction can be described as a compulsive need to perform sexual acts to achieve a similar high or “fix” that a person with alcoholism gets from drinking or someone with a drug addiction may get from using drugs. Sex addiction, or compulsive sexual behavior, is a behavioral addiction. Similar to substance use disorders, sex addiction can affect your health, finances, and especially your relationships. For people with sex addictions who are married or have long-time partners, their spouses may be significantly impacted. As a luxury drug rehab that provides mental health programs, including treatment for compulsive sexual behavior, we’re sharing the effects of sex addiction on a spouse.
How Sex Addiction Affects a Relationship
Being in a relationship with a sex addict can take a serious toll on your mental and even physical health. Oftentimes, spouses of sex addicts experience the brunt of the individual’s behavior. They may feel the pain and betrayal of their partner’s sexual acts, which can slowly destroy the relationship. Partners of sex addicts need just as much assistance in overcoming the repercussions of sex addiction as the individual themselves. There are multiple effects of sex addiction on a spouse, ranging from emotional manipulation to health problems.
One of the early signs of sex addiction is a disconnection between the individual and their spouse if they have one. Spouses may minimize the disconnection they feel in their marriage because they either can’t pinpoint what the problem is or don’t want to believe it. However, sex is part of a healthy marriage. Not only is it about physical pleasure, but also about intimacy and making an emotional connection. When one partner begins to explore other sexual opportunities as a result of developing an addiction, then it creates a divide in their relationship. Oftentimes, a sex addict husband or wife may be more focused on experiencing sexual pleasure in other ways which don’t include their spouse.
Lack of Trust
Another common issue in relationships where one partner is a sex addict is infidelity. Many individuals who struggle with compulsive sexual behavior may look to prostitution or have sexual affairs to sustain their addiction. These are a few of the many ways that a sex addict may try to hide their problem from their spouse. However, when the spouse discovers their loved one’s problem and their sexual behaviors, it can result in a lack of trust. Even if the individual remains in the relationship and helps their loved one find treatment, trust that once existed will take time to rebuild.
Another unfortunate side effect of sex addiction on a spouse is self-blame. The individual may blame themselves for their loved ones sexual behaviors. They may place the blame on their weight, age, appearance, or sexual competency. This can impact their self-esteem and mental health. They may feel less than as a partner. However, a person’s sexual addiction is no one’s fault but their own. If you’re a spouse of a sex addict, it is not your fault that they’re struggling with this condition. The worst thing you can do is take the blame for someone else’s choices.
While this may go without saying, hurt and betrayal are a few of the long list of emotions that a person may feel when they discover their partner struggles with sex addiction. Some other emotions include anger, betrayal, insecurity, vulnerability, jealousy, inadequacy, and more. This is the result of a broken intimate bond in a marriage. These are all normal reactions because the trust, intimacy, consideration, and respect for one partner have been broken. Although the individual may not have performed any sexual behaviors maliciously or with the intent to hurt their spouse, it’s usually inevitable.
Increased Risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Not only can a spouse’s sex addiction have an emotional and mental impact on their spouse, but it can also have physical repercussions. Since many people who struggle with sexually compulsive behaviors participate in risky sexual exploits with other people, their risk of contracting an STD (sexually transmitted disease) is increased, as well as their partner’s risk. Many STDs are dangerous, painful, incurable, and even terminal. Therefore, there are also physical implications for spouses of sex addicts, as well.
Unfortunately, not all marriages impacted by sex addiction survive it. Divorce is a very real and heartbreaking repercussion of sexually compulsive behavior. Although the addict’s spouse may forgive and help the individual find mental health treatment for their condition, they may feel too hurt to stay in the marriage. While divorce, in this case, shouldn’t be blamed on anyone, the reality is that many marriages affected by sex addiction have ended in divorce.
Can Sex Addicts Have Normal Relationships?
If your spouse struggles with sex addiction, then you may wonder if your relationship can work. While sex addicts can have normal relationships, it takes time and effort. The first thing the individual should do is seek professional treatment. Our luxury rehab is one of the few sex addiction treatment centers in Florida that have the expertise and comprehensive care to help patients overcome this condition. While treatment won’t magically solve all of your problems, the right recovery resources can help the individual learn relapse prevention strategies and how to best manage their condition.
Also, a major contributing factor in whether a relationship can survive sex addiction is commitment. “Can my partner stay committed to me? Will they cheat on me?” It’s normal to ask yourself these questions. However, there are different types of sex addiction, and not all sex addicts cheat on their partners. Even so, other avenues that they may explore to fulfill their urges can also be hurtful. If you’re living with a recovering sex addict, be sure to discuss the do’s and don’ts in your relationship to make sure that you’re creating healthy boundaries.
Sex addiction is a complex disease that can be difficult to understand and overcome without professional help. Support, discretion, accountability, and treatment are vital tools needed to overcome sexually compulsive behavior. So please, if your spouse is struggling with sexual addiction, let Seaside help. Call us today at 561-677-9374 to learn more about our sex addiction treatment and other forms of addiction and mental health support.