How to Have a Relationship with a Recovering Sex Addict
Sex addiction is a disorder in which sexual fantasies, preoccupation with sex or sexual behavior becomes compulsive. As a way to relieve stress or escape from emotional pain, a sex addict repeatedly turns to these behaviors in spite of negative consequences. After sex addiction treatment, it is possible to approach sex in a much less compulsive way, but having a healthy relationship requires the sex addict to remain committed to recovery. Since sex addiction is an intimacy disorder, if you want to start or continue a relationship with a recovering sex addict, it’s important to recognize that your partner has a condition that could impact your relationship at any time.
Signs of Problems with Sex Addiction
If you are in a relationship with someone who frequently cheats on you, views pornography or wants to have sex almost constantly, you probably realize this behavior is abnormal. When your partner goes through sex addiction treatment, the goal of recovery from sex addiction can’t be complete abstinence as it is in recovery from drugs or alcohol.
It is possible to recover from sex addiction, but what makes it tricky is that there can be a fine line between normal sexual behavior and compulsive behavior. Some warning signs that your partner may have resumed treating sex in an addictive way include:
- Distancing himself or herself from you and refusing to tell you where he or she is
- Becoming demanding or dominant during sex
- Staying up late surfing the web or watching TV
- Avoiding intimacy in the relationship
Relating to a Sex Addict
When your partner is a recovering sex addict, his or her behavior and commitment to recovery isn’t the only thing you have to consider in your relationship. When you become involved with someone who has addictive tendencies, your own behavior is affected and often becomes unhealthy. It’s important for you to get help for your own issues with low self-esteem or codependency.
If your partner goes back to his or her old ways, the last thing you should do is blame yourself for your partner’s behavior. If you are betrayed, it’s not because you have fallen short, but because your partner has an illness that can be difficult to keep completely under control.
Going through individual and couples’ therapy can help you both as individuals, and also improve the relationship. As long as both you and your partner are committed to recovery and to the relationship, there is hope of healing.
Psych Central: FAQs for Partners of Sex Addicts
Choose a better life. Choose recovery.