Infidelity & Sexual Addiction
There are few marital problems that can cause as much pain and devastation as infidelity. If you have just learned of your partner's infidelity, you are understandably hurt, confused, angry – and wondering what to do next.
One kind of affair revolves around sexual addiction. The partner involved in the affair has a difficult time saying “NO.” He/she may want to be faithful, but feels compelled to say “yes.” Some feel stuck and lack the ability to consistently follow through the “no.” Remember that many of us are lured in by something and find it difficult to let go. Infidelity when connected to sexual addiction becomes a powerful focal point.
So how do you know if the infidelity is a symptom of sexual addiction? Sex addiction is a pattern of acting out sexually. If this affair is the not first time that you have suspected or discovered infidelity, it may be a sign of addiction. Another sign of sexual addiction is regularly visiting strip clubs, adult bookstores, "hook-up bars", or other locations where there are opportunities to stray.
Other indicators that infidelity is attached to sexual addiction include:
Sex takes on an inflated role or value. Sex, sexual conquest and sexual release become a powerful force. Acting on the sexual impulse is a frequent activity. Thinking about sex consumes an inordinate amount of time.
This activity is bound by fear. The person lives with fear: the fear of getting caught, the fear of consequences, the fear of being found out, the fear of being abnormal, the fear of being punished, and the fear of losing family, partner, job and respect.
A promise/failure cycle ebbs and flows with the inability to say no. After an “acting out” episode the person usually experiences guilt/fear and promises to self or others, “I won’t do it again.” This will last…until the urge is acted upon again. The partner may be aware or unaware of the succession of broken promises (but sense that something is not right).
Others are used or seen as objects for personal gratification. No true intimacy is developed.
Sexuality is often confused with other needs or connected to unresolved past pain or trauma. A child who experiences neglect, confusion around sexuality or sexual abuse of one form or another may hold on to that confusion and attempt to “work that through” in a relationship or affairs.
Such a person lives in a distorted world. They come to see the world and relationship through the eyes of their addiction. They have a great capacity to rationalize their behavior, deceive others and may lead a dual life.
Additionally, ask yourself the following questions to help determine whether your infidelity is a symptom of sex addiction:
- Even before the affair(s), I was obsessed with sex to the point where my desire interfered with being able to accomplish important things.
- I have a deep yearning for sex as one of the only ways I can feel "normal" and sometimes it doesn’t even matter whom it is with.
- I use sex as a way to escape my typical problems either at work or at home.
- I spend hours every week on the internet looking at images of sex or sexually provocative images of people I don’t know.
- I spend several hours a month on the internet engaging in sexual-related chatting with individuals I don’t know.
- I usually have to masturbate or have sex at least twice daily in order to concentrate on normal work or relationship requirements.
- I frequently pay for or exchange favors for sex with people I don’t feel an emotional connection to. When I complete the act, I feel temporarily satisfied, but the feeling quickly goes away and I feel ashamed or guilty.
- Anonymous sex appeals to me, and I feel more comfortable with it than sex with someone I know.
What Does Infidelity Recovery with Sexual Addiction Look Like?
Infidelity, like sexual addiction, often includes secrecy, dishonesty, shame, guilt, emotional turmoil, and difficulty with intimacy in significant relationships. To recover from infidelity, couples must address the pain caused by the unfaithful behaviors, create awareness about the reasons for the infidelity, communicate their new expectations, learn to set boundaries, establish clear consequences for any future infidelity, and learn to trust one another once again. The infidelity recovery process requires commitment and patience from both partners.
Why Choose CSRC for Your Therapy?
If these characteristics fit you or someone you love, know that your life can be better! Recovering from infidelity with sexual addiction is typically more challenging due to the fact that there may have been multiple affairs over many years, often along with additional sexual compulsions. At the CSRC, we are uniquely qualified to address both issues and provide hope and healing to the sexual addict and his/her partner.