Set clear boundaries.
If you and your partner don’t have clear agreements about what behaviors are okay and what aren’t okay, it’s time. It’s important to communicate about what your expectations are and to set boundaries if a mutual agreement doesn’t seem possible regardless of whether or not your partner is diagnosed with a psychological disorder like sex addict.
If your partner’s behavior is negatively impacting trust or your ability to be as close and connected as you’d like to be, find the courage to talk about it.
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You can set a boundary without blaming or shaming. Identify the behavior and ask your partner to agree to either limit that behavior or completely stop it. Don’t assume that he or she “should” know what you mean. Be specific and watch for proof that your partner is following through with what you’ve asked.
Get professional help.
If you believe that your partner truly is a sex addict, urge him or her to get help from a professional who specializes in compulsions and addiction. As you see your partner facing the addiction and learning new strategies, the damage and trust can begin to be repaired.
A professional counselor, coach or therapist can teach you techniques to deal with your partner’s behavior and help you get the support you need as well. Even if your partner refuses to admit to the problem or do anything to change, you can learn a lot when you reach out for help individually.
Put your well-being first.
Addiction is a tricky thing. You may tolerate what would otherwise send you packing because you see the “addiction” as what’s driving your partner. Don’t put your health, well-being and self-respect last even if your partner is diagnosed.
Do find out effective ways to communicate about his or her sex addiction and address the behaviors that are impacting you and your relationship. Do use protection if you two have sex and especially if your partner seeks out sex with others.
Do give yourself permission to choose. Ask yourself if it’s healthy and in your best interests to stay in this relationship. Are you seeing clear signs that your partner is getting help and making significant changes? Or would it be better for you to end the relationship now and start the healing process?
There are no guarantees that your partner will stop whatever he or she is doing that’s eroding trust and coming between you two. Make a decision that will allow you to be healthier and happier now and in the future too.
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What’s really best for you? Being in a love relationship or marriage with a sex addict or partner who is breaking trust is painful. Get help deciding, Should You Stay or Should You Go? at www.stayorgo.com