Erin Wysong-Warren, LPC, NCC, CSAT, CPTT Candidate
You may suspect or have recently confirmed that your partner is a sex addict, and you are experiencing a myriad of reactions. You may be in shock and full of emotional turmoil, experiencing feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and despair. You may think that everything you believed to be true about your marriage and your partner is now a lie. You may be confused about what is true and not true, believing that you can no longer trust yourself. You may ask yourself how it is that you did not know what was happening with your partner or in your relationship. You may even blame yourself, even though you are not the one who chose to act out sexually. These symptoms and reactions that you are experiencing are a normal reaction to discovery of your partner’s addiction and infidelity. Research by Steffens and Rennie (2006), showed that partners experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, and symptoms of acute stress disorder.
If you find yourself relating to these symptoms, it is important for you to seek help and support. You may feel a tremendous amount of shame about your partner’s behavior, leaving you with questions about who you can trust to share such sensitive information. You feel vulnerable and exposed, and afraid of how others may react if you share the reality of your situation. You may fear judgment or think that others will disapprove if you stay with your partner and seek recovery for one another and your relationship. These feelings can lead to isolation. It is important to know that you are not alone, and that there are safe people with whom you can share your story and get support. You can also choose to work with a therapist who will help you through your process of grief and recovery in a nurturing environment. You may find that it is difficult to face your everyday responsibilities as a result of severe depression or anxiety, and a referral to a psychiatrist for a medical evaluation could help. You can find more information about meeting with and scheduling an appointment with a therapist at our website at cciadallas.org/erin-wysong/.