In the beginning, he told you were the most amazing woman he’d ever known. He gave you his full, rapt attention, texted you all day long, and seemed to take a special interest in whatever you were interested in. Sex was spectacular, and he spun tales of grand future plans. And then the relationship ended with no warning: It was as if a light switch had suddenly been flicked off. What happened?
Supply of Sex
Most of us want relationships for connection. But sex addicts don’t seek connection. Their primary need is the chasing and procuring of sex, which will always be more important than you are. When they meet you they don’t want you for who you are but for what you can do for them — feed their sexual appetite. Because they’re exploitive and are only with you for a high, once they meet someone who offers better “supply” — supply usually coming in the form of appearance, status, or money — you become a regular person and lose your value to them. That’s when you experience the narcissist discard.
Because sex addicts have no true attachment to their partners, they tend to end relationships abruptly, without any explanation or concern about the feelings of the other person. The precipitous drop to the bottom of the seesaw is painful and disorienting. Partners who have experienced the Narcissist Discard often comb through every moment of the relationship searching for clues as to what went wrong. But instead of wondering what happened to make the sex addict end the relationship, the important thing to realize is that you never had a relationship. Because they will do anything to get sex, addicts will pad sexual encounters with window dressing — dinners, gifts, flattery — to make it appear they want a meaningful relationship with someone who they only want as a sex partner. Accepting that you were never more than a disposable commodity is vital in order to keep from being lured back for another round of fleeting highs and empty promises from the addict.
After the initial discard, the addict will often circle back when they’re in between conquests. Because they’re charismatic and seductive, they can make the most ludicrous statements sound convincing. They will have you believing, for instance, that despite disappearing from your life for months, they actually miss you and love you. The only way to keep from enduring yet another discard is to go “no contact.” Do not communicate with the addict in any way: no e-mails, no texts, no phone calls. Delete his contact information from your phone and social media contacts. When you feel tempted to believe his nonsense and see him again, remind yourself that you never actually had a relationship and that you just had sex on his terms.
Recovering From the Narcissist Discard
Being discarded by a sex addict can be emotionally devastating. It’s wrenching to feel adored one day and devalued the next. During this withdrawal phase, it’s important for partners to focus on their own recovery, rather than obsessing over the sex addict. Employing the No Contact Rule will keep you from becoming ensnared in another doomed go-round with the addict. The following tips can ease the pain of withdrawal and shift your energy from focusing on the addict to focusing on yourself:
- Individual therapy can help you explore issues that make you vulnerable to people who take from you and give little in return.
- Partner support groups can introduce you to a community of people who know what it’s like to be discarded by a sex addict.
- Coping skills such as journaling, yoga and art can help manage feelings of rejection and loss.
As painful as it is to feel discarded, the sex addict actually did you a favor by moving on. Now it’s time to start valuing yourself so you won’t be vulnerable to more people who are incapable of giving you the love and respect you deserve. By Virginia Gilbert, MFT Follow Virginia on Twitter at @VGilbertMFT