10 Challenging Emotions A Partner Experiences When An Accused Sex Offender Like Bill Cosby Returns Home

What does this situation do to a loved one?

Camille Cosby Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com/CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

Bill Cosby’s return to public life, three years after being convicted of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, has stirred up many emotions.

On one side, there are the Cosby accusers and detractors that are furious that a high-profile, iconic figure will no longer be accountable for allegedly assaulting many women over many years.

On the other side are Bill Cosby’s supporters, who championed his release due to the miscarriage of justice for breaking a promise to prosecute him in order to avenge those women.


Even though Bill Cosby is a high-profile case, most individuals who commit this type of crime spend an average of 27 months in jail, according to the United States Sentencing Commission.

What does this mean for Cosby's wife, Camille Cosby? What do the spouses and families of sex offenders feel about the choices they will have to make when their offender loved one returns home?

RELATED: Why Bill Cosby Is Being Released From Prison And His Sexual Assault Conviction Was Thrown Out

Here are 10 challenging emotions spouses of sex offenders feel when their partners return home.

1. They fear that they will have to move.

When Bill and others like him are in jail, the shock and anger their spouse feels will eventually subside. Of course, they will receive stares that show despair, pity, or downright anger, but most of the time, the spouse is left alone.


Once the offender returns home, those emotions come flooding back. The stares turn into more aggressive comments and public scorn can become almost unbearable.

2. They worry that their spouse will need more support than ever.

In the eyes of most people, Bill is guilty and will always be guilty even if he served all of his time.

With the lack of support, the partner who stood by his side, his wife, will be expected to be even more present for his emotional wellbeing. She will be his sounding board and will be expected to reconnect physically, socially, and mentally inside of a tragic situation.

3. They are frustrated feeling imprisoned in their own home.

Sometimes it’s easier to just stay in the house, but it can be very frustrating if they enjoy being outside.


They can get anything they want nowadays except the thing they need the most: connection.

4. They feel anger for the lack of privacy.

Being a quiet person, Camille was able to freely travel without Bill around.

Now that her husband has returned, everyone wants a piece of them to either voice their displeasure with his actions or hear his side of the story.

5. They are exhausted.

How can spouses of sex offenders keep their kids mentally together? If they have younger kids, the kids will just be overjoyed that their father is finally home.

Older kids, meanwhile, will be a little more jaded due to their heightened understanding of their dad’s actions.


As the spouse of a sex offender, it can be exhausting to manage their emotions and allow themselves to express their feelings in order to heal at the expense of their own.

RELATED: Bill Cosby’s Release Doesn’t Mean He's Innocent — Why We Should Still Believe His Victims

6. The anxiety around finances will be even greater now.

Bill Cosby’s financial stability is the exception. People tend to be more forgiving and their starvation for scandal will afford him the opportunity to make money.

But, with most sex offenders, the ability to make a substantial income is compromised, leaving the burden to fall to the partner.

7. They feel vulnerable.

They feel that they have to protect their spouse from the rest of the family. Not every family member will be excited to see someone with these accusations return to society.


Family members read the papers and watch the news. They form their own opinion just like the general public.

So a partner's intuition will have to guide them on who those individuals are and they'll be forced to work to minimize any potential conflict.

8. They are tired because they will not get a chance to breathe.

In the beginning, the situation will take on a life of its own and will be all-consuming. Their partner may spend the early days trying to recapture the life that has been lost with celebrations, meetings with old friends that have stood by him, and just taking in the freedom.

Meanwhile, a partner may feel as though the walls are closing in on them.


9. They feel conflicted around their obligation to stand up for the victims.

When your husband is convicted and you read stories of at least 35 women who have been sexually assaulted by him, what do you do?

By standing by him, are you negating the fact that these women’s lives have been traumatized or even destroyed by those actions? How would you feel if you were a victim?

For wives or partners, it can be stressful to separate feelings as the life partner of this one man, especially if the relationship was otherwise stable and has lasted the test of time.

10. They are destroyed by the fact that they have to help their spouse get back on their feet.

Meanwhile, they may not get any support from their spouse or anybody else. Their sense of self, who they are in the marriage, and who their spouse is — these are all completely destroyed.


In Bill Cosby’s case, he projected to the world that he was America’s Dad. A man that communicated to us all that women should be loved, valued, and protected.

In the end, Bill didn’t provide that love, value, and protection to the woman that needed it the most: Camille.

A partner that commits this type of crime will project a persona of being a decent person but have a secret life. This revelation will make a partner question their faith in this man until it destroys any sense of self.

Families, especially the spouses, of sex offenders, experience substantial economic, sociological, and psychological challenges that often takes a back seat to the outrage.


In order to return to some sense of normalcy, they must rely on the goodwill of sympathetic individuals (which usually isn’t given) who may inadvertently offer the wrong advice but have never been in their shoes.

RELATED: What Bill Cosby’s Release Means For The #MeToo Movement And Survivors Of Trauma

Keith Dent is a certified empowerment coach by The Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching (IPEC). He has 10 years of experience and is the author of In the Paint – How to Win at the Game of Love. Contact Coach Keith for a free consultation.