Intimacy is an essential part of healthy relationships, but if you suspect your partner is a sex addict, sexual relations can become very traumatic. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to assist a sex-addicted loved one.
Get Educated About the Symptoms
Sex addiction can play a role in heterosexual relationships as well as same-sex unions. If you think your partner is a sex addict, it’s important to educate yourself about the common signs.
The internet is a great place to start learning about the disorder. However, while doing research, you may find lists of symptoms that don’t seem to fit how your partner behaves. Keep in mind that just like other types of addictions, this one has some variations related to how it presents within patients.
Set Expectations About Your Role
Maybe you’ve nearly run out of patience and decided unless your partner changes their ways, you won’t stay in the relationship. On the other hand, perhaps the two of you have already dealt with a lot of difficulties and you have no intention of ending the relationship just because of another rough patch.
No matter what you decide, make sure your role is clearly stated to your partner. You don’t want to realize too late you weren’t specific enough when determining your part in the relationship, and that the ambiguity caused incorrect assumptions.
Ask Others for Support
Admitting you need help is difficult, but you shouldn’t expect to be able to properly support your partner with getting your own help. That may mean deciding you’ll find a therapist that can help you deal with the chaos related to being in a relationship with a sex addict.
Alternatively, you may decide to start attending support groups in your area that are geared towards loved ones who know sexually addicted people. If there are no such meetings in your area, consider participating in online forums. Sometimes just knowing other people have gone through experiences similar to yours is enough to replenish your own strength.
Encourage Your Loved One to Start Therapy
Professional therapy sessions are often essential for people who want to put sex addiction behind them for good. By suggesting that your loved one visit a therapy center for individual sessions, group meetings, or both, you’ll be giving them a targeted resource that goes far beyond the support you can offer them alone.
While meeting with a therapist, your partner may find out that a genetic predisposition, childhood event, or improper exposure to sexual activity was at least partially to blame for these current struggles. That new insight could reduce some of the negative stigmas often associated with sex addiction.
More importantly, therapeutic interventions allow your partner to learn the skills he or she needs to stop being dominated by sex addiction’s symptoms. Willingness is crucial, but a therapist can teach a client how to apply newly learned principles to stop the destructive cycle.
Hopefully, it’s now clear that in order to help a partner who’s struggling with sex addiction, you also have to take care of yourself. The tips above could help you become an indispensable source of stability in your partner’s life.