Sex addiction can damage any relationship. It can impact family, friends, and romantic partners. If you’re wondering how to help a partner with sex addiction, you probably already know some of the impact sex addiction can have on a relationship. You’re not alone, and you deserve help and support on this healing journey, too.
How to Help a Partner with Sex Addiction
Your partner is struggling, and you know they deserve love, help, and support. But you aren’t sure what to do next. There are many ways you can help support your partner and some things you should avoid doing.
Educate Yourself First
Sex addiction is a far more complicated disorder than many people realize. Compulsive sexual behaviors mark sex addiction. It probably started as healthy sexuality, then began to take over your partner’s life. To be empathetic during treatment, you need to understand why they have these compulsive sexual behaviors.
Trauma probably is the root cause of the sex addiction. To help them heal, you need to know this trauma’s impact on their lives. Triggers may cause your partner to relive painful memories, spurring them to seek sexual gratification. Seeking out sex has become a coping mechanism to help them deal with trauma.
Build Trust and Compassion
Sex addiction is a mental health disorder. Be patient just like you would someone recovering from any other illness. Putting pressure or stress on them may encourage your partner’s compulsive behaviors. Show your partner that you’re trustworthy by being there for them.
Talk about your experience throughout the healing process. Share how their behaviors or choices impact you. Hiding your unhappiness will only be perceived as deceit and erode the trust you’re trying to rebuild. Demonstrating that you feel safe opening up to them can help them open up to you.
Expect It to be Difficult
Addiction comes with stigma and shame. It may leave your partner inclined to deny treatment for sex addiction. Try to focus on encouraging feelings rather than the negatives of the situation. It’s a long road to recovery, so patience is critical.
Your partner’s sex addiction has likely impacted everyone around them, especially you. To help manage the stress of their addiction and recovery, get the help and support you need. Asking for help is a sign of strength. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Respect Their Privacy
Trust has to be at the heart of every relationship. If you invade your partners’ privacy, then trust doesn’t exist. Discuss your feelings honestly and in a therapeutic context if possible. Respect their boundaries and don’t try to push them for additional details.
Uplifting words and support will be some of your most substantial assets. Consider finding a mantra that works for both of you. You can use it during times of frustration, stress, and doubt.
Learning how to help your partner with sex addiction may make it feel overwhelming. But taking it one step at a time will make recovery more manageable.
Things to Avoid
Just like there are things you can do to help your partner recover from sex addiction, there are also things you shouldn’t do.
Don’t Shame or Guilt Them
It is human nature to try and shift blame onto other people. But if you’ve chosen to help your partner with their sex addiction, avoid blaming them for it. Doing this may harm their recovery efforts.
Don’t Give Ultimatums
Sex addiction isn’t easy to put behind you. Giving your partner ultimatums may lead to them being dishonest and hiding their behaviors. Change isn’t going to happen immediately, regardless of pressure. Healing is a day-by-day process.
Don’t Expect Immediate Change
One of the best ways to support your partner with sex addiction is to be realistic with your expectations. Change will happen over time as they rewrite old habits and trauma heals. Not every treatment works equally for every person. Expect some trial and error.
There is a fine line between being empathetic and enabling someone with an addiction. You are not responsible for your partner’s choices. Question yourself if you find that you are inclined to protect them. Your partner may be more proactive in seeking treatment if they experience the negative impact of their actions.
Don’t Give In to Manipulations
If your partner is unwilling to seek treatment or goes out of their way to continue their addictive habits, you have to decide what’s best for you. This avoidance may cause them to lie to you or guilt-trip others who care about them. You must establish boundaries and learn how and when to say no.
Recovery is a journey. Getting and staying sober takes support and active participation from you and your partner. Being a positive force in their life and healing may be the incentive they need to get and stay sober.
Getting Support for your Partner with Sex Addiction
Getting help can be the key to your partner’s success in their recovery. Working with a team of experts takes the guesswork out of recovery.
At Begin Again Institute, we understand how challenging recovery from sex addiction is. We specialize in helping your partner get and stay sober while also offering you support.
Our 14-Day Men’s Intensive is in Boulder, Colorado’s rural Rocky Mountains. During the intensive, your partner will get the chance to rewrite some of their old, harmful behaviors. Only 12 men are invited to each intensive to guarantee one-on-one support.
Our Partner Support Program runs concurrently with the 14-Day Men’s Intensive. This complimentary program gives you the education and support you need. You will get space to heal and create a clear path forward.
Sex addiction is challenging. So is helping a partner with sex addiction. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more about our treatment options.