If you are in a monogamous relationship — whether that be a marriage, live-in or dating relationship — and you suffer from a sex addiction, your significant other may be dealing with betrayal trauma. Find out from the certified sex addiction therapists at Desert Solace what betrayal trauma is, why your partner may have it and what the two of you can do about it.
What Is a Sex Addiction?
Most people enjoy sex, but at differing levels. It can be challenging in a relationship when one partner has a higher sex drive than the other. The partner with the lower sex drive may feel guilty for disappointing their partner, resentful for being called upon to have sexual relations more often than they are interested and tired from giving in to their partner’s requests.
The partner with the higher sex drive may also feel guilty for what may feel to them like nagging or pressuring their partner into having sexual relations more often than they want to. They may also feel like something is wrong with them, that they are dirty or weird, or they may feel sad or rejected.
This type of disparity is not unusual in a relationship and is not indicative of a sex addiction.
While there is no official definition of a sex addict, here at Desert Solace, we frequently see male sex addict clients who are experiencing serious negative consequences as a result of their sex addiction, and that is how you can tell if you have an addiction. For instance, if one person has five partners in a year, this may be considered OK if the person is happy with their experience and behavior. However, if you have five partners in a year and you are married and have a family, this can bring you great distress.
Fighting to Control Sexual Urges
Having a high sex drive is not the same as being a sex addict. When you suffer from a sex addiction, you feel like you are unable to control your sexual urges even when you know they will bring you sadness and trouble. The guilt and shame that comes from your sexual actions could be due to the conflict of being in a monogamous relationship and not being true to your partner, or it could be because you are having unsafe sex with prostitutes or you are having sex or watching pornography when you are supposed to be working.
A porn addiction usually goes hand in hand with a sex addiction. When you have a sex addiction, you might find it difficult to think about anything other than sex. You may try to control your urges, but you often fail, and when you do, you may feel hopeless, humiliated and sad.
What Is Betrayal Trauma?
Betrayal trauma is a feeling of overwhelming sadness and shock, often accompanied by anger and other negative emotions, associated with betrayal. While betrayal trauma can occur with all types of betrayal — including between friends, family members and co-workers — for our purposes, we will be talking about the kind of betrayal that is the result of marital infidelity.
When your spouse or partner finds out that you have been lying about pornography use, or having affairs or sexual relations with other partners behind their back, they will likely be crushed. As a sex addict, you may know that you love your spouse or partner with all your heart and would never want to hurt them, but this is hard for them to understand. Additionally, you can expect that they may not accept it.
It’s tragic to lose a spouse or a partner over a sex addiction, but the tragedy is multiplied when you have children. Breaking up a family due to one member’s addiction brings anguish to everyone. Staying together and trying to heal takes time, however.
Besides the initial shock of the betrayal, your spouse or partner may also have to deal with the fallout of being exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.
When someone is suffering from betrayal trauma, it can take years — or even a lifetime — for them to recover. They may have a hard time trusting others — even those who are trustworthy — and they may experience feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness.
At Desert Solace we believe it is important to provide support and resources for a betrayed wife or partner which is why we have a family support program that includes weekly phone calls to discuss betrayal trauma and other issues that arise while dealing with a partner who struggles with sexual addictions. We have found that relationships are able to heal and become stronger when both partners are willing to work on healing together.
Sex Addiction Therapy at Desert Solace
At Desert Solace, our therapists know how to treat sex addiction so you can get your life back and be the kind of spouse or partner that you want to be. We can’t promise you will get your partner back, but you will learn how to make the necessary changes to regain control of your sexual urges.
Our certified sex addiction therapists have been treating male sex addicts for many years, helping them get to the root of their problems so they can deal with them in a healthy and responsible way. Part of your therapy will include sex addiction group therapy and support meetings, where you can discuss your struggles with others. Regardless of what type of addiction anyone has, it can be difficult to attend that first meeting and admit your problem to a group of strangers. But it’s a critically important step. And attending sex addiction supports groups helps you see that you are not alone — there are others just like you.
When you attend our in-patient sex addiction recovery program, you will learn not only the reasons you have developed a sex addiction, but also ways to cope with, avoid temptation and eventually triumph over your addiction.
When you don’t know where else to turn, when your health and your relationships are in a shambles, when you know you need sex addiction help, call the team at Desert Solace. Here, there is no shaming and no blaming — only the sex addiction counseling you need to get better. Joining our sex addicts anonymous group is just one of the steps in your journey to happiness, fulfillment and satisfying relationships.