You may know that something is wrong with your intimate sexual connection, but you wonder if your partner could be a sex addict. Maybe your partner is looking at a lot of porn on the internet and masturbating or he may have escalated his online activities. He may be frequenting prostitutes, engaging in multiple affairs, or participating in other sexual encounters that are outside of his relationship with you. If he is engaging in sexual behaviors that are destructive to the relationship and he wants to stop but doesn’t seem to be able to, then it is wise for you to suspect sexual compulsivity or addiction.
You cannot make your partner (or anyone else) see what they do not want to recognize or are not ready to face. Successfully dealing with sexual addiction or compulsivity generally requires outside support from someone who understands and works with this issue — or, at the very least, the partner who is sexually compulsive needs to receive support by joining a group that focuses on this problem. The most important point for you to remember is to trust yourself and your intuition. Partners of sex addicts can be true to themselves and honor their own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.
If you are partners of sex addicts, in order for you to attempt to continue your relationship three factors need to be in place:
- He needs to realize he has a problem and have the desire and willingness to stop sexually acting out. He needs to find support in stopping the sexual compulsive behavior.
- You need to have the desire and willingness to go through the process of investigation with your partner.
- You both need to be willing to begin to look into the dynamics within your relationship system that are not working.
If sexual compulsion or addiction is a part of your relationship, it is helpful to keep in mind:
- Partners of sex addicts are not responsible for their partner’s sexually addictive behaviors. His choices about how he deals with his irritations and stimulations are his alone, as are yours.
- Your partner’s sexually addictive actions are not an indication that he does not love you.
- Your relationship is not hopeless or doomed because your partner has a problem with sexual compulsivity.
- You are not weak or damaged because you want to stay with your partner and rebuild your relationship.
- You don’t have to force yourself to trust your partner right now. It is normal to feel angry, upset, and mistrusting.
- You don’t need to go through this time alone. Reach out to friends, family, and other support systems.
All relationships can be difficult at times. The challenges of relating openly with an intimate partner can be like a master class in human interaction. But when you have two people who have the willingness to work with the painful feelings and emotions that arise in dealing with a difficult passage, there is an opportunity for growth, awareness, freedom, and ultimately, for deeper love and intimate connection.