Spouses Impacted By Their Partner's Problematic Pornography Use
You will never forget the moment you found out. A bomb was detonated, destroying your world. Your trust in your partner, and in the world, was broken. The memories replay over and over again in your mind, searing into your memory.
You alternate between rage, anxiety, numbness, and despair. You feel like you’re going crazy. The confusion makes you wonder whether you can believe anything anymore. At times you want revenge, for your partner to hurt as much as you have. Nothing has ever felt this painful, and it’s not like you haven’t been through difficult times.
You wonder what to do. Do you ask them to leave? Can they change? Is there more information to come? Meanwhile, life keeps going. The laundry piles up, your kids need help, and your phone has voicemails. Their promises to change seem empty, and you wonder how you’re going to get through.
You keep going over the details of the past in your head, trying to make sense of everything. You feel like a detective, trying to put the pieces together. You can’t shake the impulse to keep checking your partner’s phone and computer, but you don’t want to be a police officer. It’s difficult to sleep, eat, and you have little motivation to do anything. You want to talk about what has happened but you also want to protect your family. The secrecy keeps you trapped in a lonely prison of hurt and rage.
Maybe you had some idea something wasn’t right, but you doubted yourself. You would never be unfaithful, and you wanted to give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Now you don’t know what to believe. You feel unattractive, wondering if your partner is comparing you to those air-brushed women on the screen.
Turns out that your responses are natural, and you are not crazy. Clinicians have found that experiencing a sexual betrayal is similar to surviving war or being in a car accident. You have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When people have experienced trauma, they often have intrusive memories of the experience, intense emotional swings, and the need to monitor and check their environment.
In the confusion and emotional rollercoaster of this early stage, my focus is on helping develop some stability and clarity. As a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, I help spouses to heal from the trauma of sexual betrayal. Often the first step is to understand your responses as a reaction to trauma, and to know that you’re not alone. Many people have survived the trauma of a spouses’ betrayal, and you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you decide to give the relationship a chance, it is possible to repair the damage and work on rebuilding trust. If you’re like many of the client’s I’ve worked with, you’re a resourceful and compassionate person who given so much to others. It’s now time for someone to think about your needs. Your needs are a critical element of this recovery process.
I can help you to:
- Restore self-care (eating, sleeping)
- Understand addiction and what to expect in this process
- Establish boundaries and expectations for the relationship
- Repair the broken trust in your relationship
- Heal from the trauma of sexual betrayal
What's the Next Step?