Sex addiction: marriage or divorce?

If you’re married and just found out your husband has problems with sex addiction, do you stay married or consider divorce? We examine options here.

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Sex addiction or sexual compulsive behaviors can be treated.  In fact, sex addicts who can’t stop fantasizing can come to reality and live in an intimate, committed relationship.  But when you do know that your marriage is over? We weigh in here, and invite your questions, comments and feedback about sex addiction in marriage here.

Why sex addiction isn’t so bad

I’ve been reading the recently published book A Couple’s Guide to Sex Addiction: A Step-By-Step Plan To Rebuild Trust And Restore Intimacy. I love it (I’ll tell you why later). But the key point to the work is that sex addicts do not know how to limit or stop sexual behaviors, and that they use sex to avoid or cope with life stresses. Just like any other addiction. But some time or another, the sex just isn’t enough – it leaves them empty, needing more, and never feeling satisfied. This is why sex addicts repeat compulsive sexual behaviors. And underlying sexual addiction is a fear of intimacy with a real partner.

So why isn’t sex addiction so bad? Because it is definitely treat-able. And if your husband or marriage partner is willing to work on the deeper issues that compel sexual compulsion, you can grow together and experience a marital connection that is deep and satisfying. Although it may take time, and you will need to build trust again, a sex addict who is ready to change CAN CHANGE. And there is hope for a marriage in which both partners support one another in personal growth. Although you may not ever forget infidelity, it is possible to forgive it.

So what is the key to staying together?


Sex addiction and marriage

If you are just finding out that your husband act out sexually online, with porn, or with other partners, you may not feel compassionate just yet for him. You probably feel a range of thing, but compassion is not one of them.

But if you are both committed to working through infidelity and sex issues and emerging as new people, your marriage can survive. Your connection needs to be strong enough, and you may need a determination to continue with him despite setbacks. But the good news is that sex addiction treatment options are out there.  If you work to understand sex addiction as well as your own personal issues, you can grow. If your husband works to do the same and ALSO commits to limit or stop his sex actions, you can emerge as a different, more intimate couple. How can you do this? I’d suggest you check out A couple’s guide to sex addiction.

A couple’s guide to sex addiction

If you are looking for true guidance for repairing and healing your relationship after sex addiction, I highly recommend the book A Couple’s Guide to Sex Addiction. The authors (who are married, one a former sex addict) have a clinical background in treating couples with marriage problems. In fact, it turns out that sex addiction is not as taboo as you might think. The book is very easy to read is FULL of couples’ stories that you can relate to. This helps you accept the sexual behavior as a symptom of larger issues.

Plus, the book informs and guides you through the shock of finding out your partner is a sex addict. There are multiple MINDFUL exercises that you can do together (and that can help anyone interested in self-growth) that help process the pain and hurt of addiction, as well as identify issues that drive sexually compulsive behavior. Written to HIM and HER, this guide is truly an essential tool in repairing relationships that are damaged by the suffering that sex addiction causes. I will not hesitate to purchase a copy for friends (I know of a couple) who suspect infidelity from their partners or who commit infidelity and want to stop.

Sex addiction and divorce

There are cases, of course, when divorce occurs after sex addiction is found out. Your decision to support a husband who soothes himself with sexual behavior will be based on the strength of your overall relationship. And on his commitment to REAL CHANGE. Some reasons that you may want to end a marriage and get divorced from a sex addict are if:

  • you are unable to forgive betrayal or accept the sexual addiction
  • your husband is unwilling to stop sexually compulsive behavior
  • your relationship lacks a strong foundation or commitment

It is perfectly understandable if you do not want to continue a partnership with a sex addict. In fact, this decision is yours to make. Only you can really know what your tolerance is for others and when it is time to throw in the towel.

Sex addiction, marriage, and divorce questions

Do you have a question about sex addiction and marriage? Please ask it here. We welcome all comments, questions and experiences from married couples who are facing sex addiction. And we will do our best to answer you promptly or refer you to someone who can help.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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