How Sex Addiction Can Affect Your Partner
Sex addiction can cause relationship, career, and personal issues. It is obvious that people who are dealing with out of control sexual behavior need to build a plan and support system. However, individuals and the therapy field often forgets about the consequences that sex addiction can have on the addict’s partner.
Partners of sex addicts need just as much assistance in overcoming the consequences of sex addiction, even though they don’t have an infatuation with the subject. There are multiple elements that go into a partner’s well-being, all of which may be tested, from emotional manipulation to resulting health problems.
First, a more obvious effect that sex addiction can have among partners is their emotional well-being.
Sex can be a powerful, connective experience between individuals in a relationship. This intimacy is not something that should be taken lightly. It’s a physical connection that stimulates trust, love, and strength within the relationship. That private, intimate experience can intensify betrayals when they occur.
When a spouse or partner faces sex addiction in their counterpart, they may feel several forms of emotional reactions because that intimate bond between lovers is altered or broken. Such typical emotions may be, but are not limited to:
- Denial and avoidance
These are normal reactions because that cherished and trusted bond between loving partners may be tested. In any case, finding out that a partner has sex addiction is a heartbreaking occurrence. Partners can experience intense emotional reactions.
In most cases, an emotional reaction is appropriate. Don’t be afraid to feel these sensations. Learning about addictions and out-of control behavior may be helpful for you down the road. The first step is to find ways to take care of yourself.
Boundary Confusion and Boundary Re-establishment
Boundaries can become confusing for partners of sex addicts. Boundary confusion is a common symptom of gaslighting. Gaslighting is a term used to describe situations where your reality is manipulated by another person. That person often benefits from this manipulation.
Although this will be part of your ongoing work, one of the first steps that you’ll want to take is re-identify your boundaries. This can be challenging and even frustrating. Through various types of therapy, including trauma therapy, these boundaries usually emerge over time.
Partners and spouses of sex addicts may face certain health risks as well.
Since their counterparts may be involved in more risky sexual exploits with various people, the risk of contracting an STD (sexually transmitted disease). Several of these conditions are highly dangerous, incurable, and even terminal. Therefore, major health concerns are on the line for partners who face sex addiction in their counterpart.
Secondly, a partner’s health may be affected through emotional repercussions. It’s common that affected loved ones may experience depression, severe weight loss/weight gain, thoughts of suicide, or paranoia. All of these symptoms can lead to major health problems if left unaddressed or untreated. If you face any of these symptoms, it may be beneficial to seek professional help.
These are not the only side effects that a partner may face when it comes to dealing with sex addiction in a loved one. However, these are typically the most common and most dangerous. Regardless, there is help for both you and your counterpart. Multiple treatment options and resources are available for both of your health and safety, such as sex addiction therapy and couple’s counseling.
For more information, check out the “Information for Partners of Sex Addicts” here.