How To Deal With The Guilt Of Having A Partner Who Is A Sex Addict

Self, Sex

They're the one with the problem, so why do you feel bad?

When many wives and girlfriends find out that their boyfriend or spouse is a sex addict, the first question that they'll ask is, “Is it something I did?"

RELATED: The Hard-To-Face TRUTH About Being Married To A Sex Addict


In the YourTango Experts video above, certified sex addiction therapist Wendy Conquest explains that the first thing that you need to understand is that your partner’s sex addiction is not your fault.

Whatever caused them to develop these urges is not something that you did. And while that may be a relief for some people, for others, it can be frustrating. Because if the sex addiction isn’t something that you caused, that means that it also isn’t up to you to fix it. And that means you have no control over correcting it.

But this isn't up to you to fix or to work out … this is something that you’re going to have to support your partner through while they do the work to get better. And these experiences can even be traumatic for them — more so than many people realize. You don't expect to be dealing with guilt, but it's not uncommon to feel this way — even when you did nothing wrong. 

Sex addiction is often a complicated and sometimes painful situation for someone to come to terms with and it takes work to heal from, just like any situation where addiction is involved.

And finding out this information about your partner can feel pretty devastating to you, as well. While Wendy says that there are thirteen different dimensions of trauma that can affect you when you discover your spouse’s sex addiction, she focuses on three aspects so that you can try and get into your recovery phase as quickly as possible.


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In the video, she outlines these dimensions in particular:

  • The impact of finding out your loved one has a secret or “double” life, which can feel like a betrayal.
  • Trying to find out the whole truth, the extent of the trauma, and how far this addiction really goes.
  • Treatment of the trauma, and giving you a means of feeling a little more in control when things can feel like too much to handle.

In focusing on the three dimensions of trauma, there are also three steps that you can take to start yourself on the path to healing, too.

  • You can begin by reading her book, Letters to a Sex Addict, which might help you gain insight into some of the complicated matters that drive men to sex addiction and how it impacts you, their partner.
  • She also recommends that every day you write down three things that you’re grateful for. This can help you feel thankful and give you some perspective when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • She also recommends finding someone you can talk to when you need it who isn’t your partner. This person should be a trusted friend, religious counselor, or even a professional therapist. Don’t leave your feelings on the situation bottled up, because that can lead to bitterness and resentment, and cause more problems for you later down the line.

Last but not least, no matter how you might feel when faced with this situation, you need to understand that you’re not alone, and you’re not crazy.

And you can get through this.


RELATED: How To Cope With Your Husband's Sneaky Pornography Use


Looking for more support? Reach out to Wendy, or look for her book, Letters To A Sex Addict: The Journey Through Grief And Betrayal.

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