If you are the partner of someone suffering from sex or porn substance use disorders, then you are probably suffering as well. You’re probably wondering, “Can a sex addict be faithful?” and that is a fair question to be asking yourself.
Feelings of inadequacy, betrayal, and guilt may be plaguing you and causing significant disruptions to your life and your relationship. Many of the behaviors your partner may be exhibiting will feel like a violation of trust and faithfulness. The most common cause of a breach of trust in a relationship is, in fact, infidelity.
If you or your partner suffer from an intimacy disorder, you may feel faithfulness can’t exist within the relationship.
However, there is hope. Through a process of accepting, understanding, and taking positive steps towards healing, the partner experiencing sex addiction can become entirely faithful to their dedicated partner.
Education is always the first step in the Begin Again Institute’s healing process.
What is Sex Addiction?
Understanding sex addiction is vital to understanding the role it plays or played in your partner’s life. Sex can turn into an intimacy disorder when we start prioritizing our sexual outlets over our daily lives and responsibilities.
If you or your loved one is suffering from sex addiction, there may be signs. Behaviors such as deceitfulness, denial, defensiveness, and even manipulation are the most common.
Often, those who are suffering from sex addiction show worrying symptoms such as:
- Using the services of sex workers
- Out of control sexual behaviors such as having unprotected sex with strangers
- Reliance on external sexual stimulation from others
- Always asking or even demanding sex from their partner
- Dangerous and even illegal sexual behaviors such as voyeurism or exhibitionism
All of these behaviors and more can often violate the trust implicit in a relationship. This person’s partner will feel like their partner has been unfaithful and cheated on them.
As the partner of a sex addict, you may also feel the need to be intimate with your partner more often than you would like to as a way of reintroducing yourself as an outlet for sexual relief. This pressure to serve as a sexual outlet may feel like the only way to keep your partner from straying and becoming unfaithful. You may feel trapped, hopeless, and alone in your relationship.
The use of pornography has become a fact of life in the era of the internet. With constant access and exposure to pornographic or even sexually suggestive websites, it is no wonder that so many use and even depend on pornography as an outlet for sexual satisfaction.
As the partner of someone addicted to pornography, you may feel forgotten, pushed to the side, or like the sex life you share isn’t enough.
These feelings of unworthiness, or like porn, is being chosen over the real human intimacy you offer feels isolating and daunting.
If you are the partner of someone who has become addicted to pornography, you may notice odd, secretive behaviors that feel like a breach of trust in your relationship. But your partner can be faithful in your relationship.
Porn Addiction Feels Like Infidelity
Even if your partner isn’t going out and seeking sex and intimacy from others, their other behaviors may feel like a violation of your agreement to be faithful to one another.
If your partner prioritizes watching pornography over spending time with you, you may feel like they are choosing the actors and actresses on a screen rather than prioritizing your relationship.
Another example, if your partner is consistently asking for sex from you and wanting more and more, you may worry that if you don’t provide them with what they want, they’ll seek it elsewhere.
It isn’t your responsibility to appease your partner. It isn’t your fault they have become this way. You deserve support and understanding of what trauma you have suffered during your relationship with them just as much as they need and deserve treatment.
Faithfulness is Possible for Recovering Sex Addicts
Can a sex addict be faithful? The answer is yes. By utilizing a treatment program, a partner support program, and working to rebuild trust in your relationship, couples often have the chance to reinvigorate their relationships.
Steps to Rebuild Your Relationship
It takes time, communication, and a commitment to practicing rigorous honesty to reestablish trust in any relationship, but especially one in which infidelity has occurred.
There are a few key things that must be discussed or re-established before a couple can truly rebuild their relationship.
Understanding the Details of Faithfulness
As the betrayed partner, it is important to understand the details of what broke your relationship. It may hurt, but without honest communication from your partner, you’ll always wonder what really happened. Ask questions like:
- What happened?
- What were the circumstances?
- What feelings led you to deviate from our marriage?
Your spouse needs to be willing to answer any and all questions that come to your mind.
Expressing and Releasing Anger
It’s tempting to repress our feelings – especially feelings of despair and anger. However, it is of utmost importance that you feel all of the feelings that you have.
Feelings, especially negative ones or ones that create a sense of anxiety, can cause physical, emotional, and mental health issues. You may find yourself unable to sleep or eat and you experience irrational outbursts over small inconveniences.
Reflect on the feelings that your partner’s betrayal induces. It is equally important to engage your partner over how you feel.
Recommit to Your Relationship
It is not unusual to wonder if your relationship is repairable. However, if you believe that it is, defining what is required to make the relationship work is vital.
When creating this criteria, avoid using words that are conflict-triggering. These words include always, never, must, etc.
Reframe your statements using “I” statements. For example, say “I need to feel like I am a priority in your life” instead of simply accusing your partner of never putting you first.
It takes a considerable amount of time and effort to rebuild trust. Set reasonable timelines and realistic expectations for your relationship. Rebuilding trust doesn’t just take time. It also requires the following:
- Forgiveness: Decide to forgive or be forgiven and make a decision to let go of the past and lead the next chapter of your relationship with love and empathy.
- Self-Growth: Simply stating that forgiveness has been reached is not enough. You must be open to examining the underlying causes of the betrayal and work through those issues. By finding the root cause, you can destroy destructive sexual behaviors.
- Share Your Feelings: Openly discuss your deepest thoughts and feelings – including expressing your anger and hurt
Most importantly, you have to want it to work. If you don’t, it is best for both parties if the relationship comes to an end.
Treatment Options at Begin Again Institute
If you or your loved one is suffering from an intimacy disorder, Begin Again Institute offers treatment programs that work in tandem to help both partners.
This unique course focused on three factors:
- Stopping the destructive sexual behaviors
- Finding the root cause of the addiction
- Creating a solid foundation for lasting recovery
Partner Support Program
You deserve support, understanding, and care just as much as your partner does.
At Begin Again Institute, we offer a tangential, 10-hour intensive course for partners of recovering sexual substance users. Operating using the Multi-Dimensional Partner Trauma Model, we are the first and only institute to offer this sort of support to partners.
Facilitated by Laurie Hall RScP, CPC, PSAP, Ms. Hall works with partners to help restore a sense of safety and understand what the partner with an intimacy disorder is experiencing. As the President of the Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists, Ms. Hall has the unique experience and insight to help partners recover from betrayal trauma and create tangible and defined plans for their future.
Intimate Partner Betrayal is the cascade of devastating emotions you experience after your partner has betrayed your trust. This betrayal can create mental and physical symptoms similar to those experienced by those who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). That’s because you are experiencing real trauma.
In a relationship, there has to be a certain level of trust in one another. If a partner is deceptive, dishonest, or disingenuous, you may feel hopeless, lost, and unsupported. While every experience of partner betrayal trauma will be unique, there are some common ways it manifests itself.
- You may feel shame about your experience, and due to societal norms, you find it difficult to discuss what has happened with others
- Blaming yourself is a natural feeling – If only you had been intimate when they wanted it, if only you weighed ten pounds less, if only you didn’t forget to pick up the dry cleaning. The “if only’s” are untrue and unfair. The truth is that your partner’s betrayal is not your fault or your responsibility
- You may become insecure and experience distrust in your relationship with your partner or even with others. You may feel that if the person you are supposed to trust the most has done this, indeed others will as well
These are just a few of the ways you may feel after your partner’s betrayal trauma experience.
A person’s response to trauma is unique. Therefore your treatment should be as well.
Leading your healing in Begin Again Institute’s, as well as our team of certified therapists in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The complete care and support with 24-hour supervision will ensure a strong start to your or your loved one’s recovery journey.