| For Family Members
You may be feeling great sadness and shock at this time. Others have expressed how embarrassed and alone they felt when they first found out that their partner/child/parent was sexually addicted.
You are not alone. Hundreds of people wake up every day to discover their partner, the one person whom they are supposed to trust completely, has been living a life of lies and deceit because they suffer from a disease–sex addiction. Spouses or partners are often left devastated and angry, attempting to pick up the pieces of their broken hearts. If you are a partner who has just made this discovery, your first instinct may be to flee the situation and never look back. There are other options besides running away.
If you are a Partner of a Sex Addict, Your first steps should include establishing your safety, protecting yourself, and getting support. Most therapists strongly recommend taking a minimum of 6-12 months to evaluate the relationship. During this time, you shouldn't make any major life decisions.
Actions you should take now.
- Get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), no matter what.
- Seek personal therapy from a certified or experienced therapist who specializes in sex addiction. If a therapist is available that specializes in working with partners, even better.
Insist that your partner receive an evaluation and follow the recommendations from a trained therapist.
Work with your own therapist to set boundaries to protect yourself while you evaluate your relationship.
Work with your therapist to determine who in your support system is a safe person to talk to. Confide in a select few people.
Whether you make the decision to stay or leave the relationship, you need to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Finding a good therapist who specializes in treating sex addicts and their partners will be an important part of your healing process. Through therapy, you can begin to achieve balance in your life and learn to care for yourself.
For Parents of a Sex Addict
It can be equally traumatic for parents to discover their adult child is a sex addict. It can be confusing and embarrassing for children to learn that one of their parents is a sex addict. There are now many confidential resources for sex addicts to turn to for support, however, since addiction in any form is a family disease that impacts the entire family system, you too need support. If your parent or child is a sex addict, locate a good therapist who specializes in treating sex addicts and their families or join a support group.
Information Adapted from Patrick Carnes on www.sexhelp.com