When Your Spouse is a Sex Addict

Sexual and pornography addiction can wreck havoc on the life of the addict. But the addict is not the only person affected by their actions. The spouse, or partner, also feels pain. Besides dealing with the emotions of anger or depression that come along with discovering or confronting your partner’s sexual addiction, there may be other long reaching consequences, such as financial problems.


As with all addictions, partners often are co-dependents. By turning a blind eye or making excuses for certain behaviors, spouses allow the addiction to grow. In cases of sexual addiction, spouses may take on the added responsibility of “trying to please” their partner, sometimes participating in sexual acts that make them uncomfortable or offend their beliefs. These efforts usually deepen the addiction rather than helping it.


Characteristics of the Spouse or Partner of a Sex or Pornography Addict


In an article, “If You are a Spouse of Partner of a Sex Addict” [1], partners or spouses of sex addicts share some characteristics:


  • The partner or spouse is normally someone who tries to please other people. They automatically consider what their spouse wants and then set out to provide it. The partner hones in on moods and adjusts their actions to fit the mood of the partner.


  • The partner or spouse worries consistently about what the addict thinks of them and tries to become exactly what is wanted, even if actions go against their value and belief system or makes them feel uncomfortable. This includes participating in sexual acts they feel are perverse.


  • The partner or spouse may try to manage the addict’s behaviors or begin to check up on them, for example, they may check in pockets or wallets, open mail or listen to voice mail to find signs of unwanted actions. They may ask their children to tell them what their spouse is doing when they are not home or call them numerous times throughout the day to check where the addict is and what they are doing. When incriminating items are found, the spouse or partner might punish by withholding sex or have screaming fights. All attempts do not help the situation.
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