Being a partner of a sex addict can be very distressing. Often partners have no idea that their loved ones have been seeking sex elsewhere until they accidentally find out. Or, they may have had a suspicion but ignored their intuition, only to find out it was true. For many the shock of finding out that their partner has been chatting to others on line, having anonymous sex or visiting sex workers for example has been likened to serious trauma, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is common to feel very isolated as the relationship you thought you had disappears. It can be difficult to talk to family members and friends as they are likely to tell the partner to leave. However, they do not understand that many partners want their loved ones to seek help and are willing to stay in the relationship if this happens.
Most people enter into a state of shock but then they are likely to start doubting themselves and attempting to take responsibility for why this has happened. Common questions partners ask themselves are things like:
- How could I have not seen this earlier?
- Why did I not confront him/her about this sooner when I was wondering why he/she was always late from work?
- What did I do to drive him/her away?
- Maybe I wasn’t sexy enough?
- What does he/she have that I don’t?
- How could he/she do this to me?