Relationship Struggles: Infidelity & Sex Addiction
For the last couple weeks, we’ve been focused on how to build and strengthen relationships. We’ve discussed how to strengthen your relationship through active listening and the importance of true intimacy. This week, we want to focus on one of the most damaging issues couples can face: infidelity through porn and sex addiction.
How does Sex Addiction affect relationships, exactly?
When we talk about sex addiction, the reason it can be so very damaging to relationships is that it blocks true intimacy and results in betrayal trauma for the partner of the addict. Often, the root of these problems rests in an intimacy disorder which stems from wounded parts of the addict that fear rejection and abandonment. Additionally, the addicted person’s behavior often involves dishonesty and deception. This exacerbates the feelings of betrayal in the partner and seriously damages trust in the relationship.
How can we deal with Sex Addiction issues?
If you find yourself struggling with compulsive sexual behaviors, or seeking out superficial relationships purely for physical satisfaction and pleasure, it may be an indicator that you’re avoiding intimacy. Our staff are trained on this very issue and are experienced in working with clients on difficult issues such as sex addiction. One of the first things, as with any addiction, is to recognize the problem. You might also check out our blog from last week, which points out ways to work on those issues. Overcoming sexual addiction involves a multifaceted approach of individual therapy, couples counseling, and 12-step group participation like Sexaholics Anonymous(SA). This is a complex issue that can often take several phases of recovery to bring about more complete healing.
How does Porn Addiction affect relationships?
One of our specialties is working with men who struggle with addictive and compulsive sexual behaviors, including pornography. More men and women are affected by this type of addiction than ever before. Because of the ease of access to pornography, combined with a lack of healthy decisions, pornography can have an incredibly destructive effect on relationships. Just like with sex addiction, porn encourages objectification of others and avoids true intimacy in relationships. It is not only self-serving, but it hurts our relationships as it changes the way we think about other people and creates a wound of betrayal for the partner. This wound leads to a loss of trust, safety, and intimacy in the relationship.
How to cope with Porn Addiction?
Similar to sex addiction, porn addiction can benefit from individual and couples therapy. At its core, porn addiction is a way for people to seek control when they often might feel like their life or their relationships are out of their control. The attempt to control things can lead to compulsive behaviors that then encourage addictions. Be honest with yourself and your partner about your struggles, and seek emotional intimacy. Don’t let your relationships be destroyed by compulsive sexual behaviors and infidelity, but rather, work towards a stronger relationship by overcoming your urges and learning how to develop true and lasting intimacy with your partner.
If you or your loved ones are experiencing relationship struggles because of infidelity through Sex or Porn addiction, our trained staff is here for you. We also offer telehealth, and virtual therapy so if you’re concerned about going out because of the pandemic, you can still get the help you need.