Infidelity is a betrayal of trust and security within a relationship. It causes emotional damage and can be challenging to overcome. If someone keeps secrets about sexual or romantic contact with someone outside their relationship, most people consider it cheating. And while not all cheating is due to addiction, chronic infidelity can be a sign of a sex addiction.
Understanding the definitions of chronic infidelity and sex addiction and their impact on a relationship is key to understanding how to treat them and move forward.
Understanding Chronic Infidelity
Chronic infidelity is consistent infidelity in a relationship and can take many forms. Generally, infidelity is sexual behavior with someone outside the relationship. It may be a series of one-night stands with different partners. It could also be a long-term affair that eventually ends, only for a new long-term affair to begin. It can also be spending time or money with someone outside the relationship, especially if you hide or lie about it.
Chronic Infidelity and Sex Addiction
In some cases, chronic infidelity may be a sign of sex addiction. People with sex addiction often look for highs through sex. And even though they may have a happy relationship with their partner, they seek sex outside the relationship. For someone with sex addiction, every sexual encounter ends with them thinking about the next one.
People with sex addiction use sexual acts to cope with emotional pain or trauma that they don’t know how to manage. The behavior is similar to someone with a substance use disorder. Individuals with drug or alcohol addiction use those substances to numb themselves from traumatic memories or challenging emotions. People with sex addiction use sexual encounters the same way.
Even if they are in a happy long-term relationship, sex addiction may make it difficult to focus on the joyful aspects of their relationship. They feel like they need to engage in sex acts outside the relationship. And they often do so at the risk of trauma to their partner.
The addicted person is acting on urges to “get a fix” to numb an emotion. They need help to heal to be fully in the relationship with their partner.
Other signs of sex addiction include:
- Constantly thinking about sex to the point that it interferes with your daily life
- Disregard for potential negative consequences of sexual behaviors
- Spending an excessive amount of time or energy focused on sex or sex acts
- Feelings of guilt or shame about your sexual behaviors
- Engaging in risky or illegal actions
- Cheating on your spouse or partner
- Hiding your internet activity
Can You Overcome Infidelity?
Chronic infidelity will take a toll on a relationship. It’s a betrayal of trust and can be difficult for both partners to come together and work through. And unless both partners are willing and committed to healing, you can’t overcome it. But there are some signs that you can rebuild the relationship.
Both partners must be open and honest about the damage the infidelity has done to the relationship. Being willing to communicate about infidelity objectively may seem impossible at first. But if both partners can do so, it’s a good sign that they are ready to work together to rebuild the relationship.
Additionally, both partners must commit to staying in the relationship. If one partner has recently found out about the infidelity, they may need time and space to process their emotions. Also, if one partner decides they no longer wish to be in the relationship, you should respect their wishes. But if both partners are willing to work together to rebuild the relationship, that’s a good sign that you can overcome infidelity.
Treatment can also help both partners overcome infidelity. If the infidelity results from sex addiction, that partner needs help discovering the root cause of their addiction. Then they can stop the behavior. The other partner needs help processing the betrayal, so they’re ready to rebuild the relationship.
How Begin Again Institute Can Help
Chronic infidelity can cause irreparable damage to the relationship. But there are treatment options available. For men experiencing sex addiction, Begin Again Institute offers a 14-Day Men’s Intensive Program to help treat the root causes of sex addiction. The Partner Support Program helps partners heal from the trauma of betrayal and move forward in their relationship.
No one has to deal with infidelity or sex addiction alone. If you’d like more information about Begin Again Institute’s programs, contact us.