Lots of people are wondering why it is difficult to maintain an emotionally connected relationship these days. In my own marriage, I always had questions about my husband and why he seemed so disconnected and uninterested in sex. Of course I was unaware of the double life he was leading. Lies and deception are a very large part of sexual addiction. Gary had been a totally believable liar. [It is hard to lie about being an alcoholic, or involved with substance abuse because of the how they alter a person, it isn’t hard to see that a person is drunk, or high.] But behavioral addictions such as sexual addiction can be hidden for a long while without exposure. The internet has created a way to access sexually explicit porn in complete secrecy in the privacy of one’s home.
How does a marriage or relationship recover when there is a sexual addiction, when there has been betrayal, or infidelity? Is it just about forgiveness? Is there any way that trust can be built again when promises have been broken, and the foundation of a relationship has been shattered? These are complex questions to be sure. Certainly trust will take some time to begin to grow again. The foundation of the relationship will have to be rebuilt and that will entail both people (in the relationship) being in recovery and accountability. Finding a qualified counselor that understands sexual addiction is important for the process to begin. A person or support group ( like a freedom group) that would be a safe place to check in with the struggles is a necessary part of the process of recovery. If anyone is thinking you can just read a book to get over this addiction, think again.
It is difficult to counsel a marriage that has sexual addiction at the core. It takes two people dealing with their own individual issues, the addict with his addiction, and the partner with the codependency side of addiction before the marriage relationship can be addressed on any level. Boundaries must be put in place by both partners. Boundaries are a very important part of addiction recovery and an essential element in restoring a marriage torn apart by betrayal.
I will talk more about boundaries in my next post.