Partners-Spouses of Sex Addicts are usually in shock when I meet them. Often they have spent many desperate hours searching for treatment resources to help their sexually compulsive partner. Their feelings shift frequently. They are scared, horrified, angry, embarrassed, lonely and feel helpless. They fear for their future and the future of their relationships, marriages and families.
Partners-Spouses of Sex Addicts alternate between being overwhelmed with upset feelings and being numbed out just trying to get through their days doing their jobs and taking care of their children despite the crisis under which they are living. They are constantly and distressingly triggered to intrusive memories, thoughts and feelings about the sexual behaviors of their sexually compulsive partners. They feel threatened with and fear sexually transmitted diseases, financial ruin and the end of their committed relationships as a result of these problematic sexual activities.
Early in my work with partners of sexually addicted and compulsive people, I remember sitting in my office thinking that these clients looked and sounded like the trauma survivors with whom I work. They display classic symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In their new book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal , Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means speak in powerful voices to address these issues. They name the trauma that partners experience giving examples that will resonate for spouses who are going through this difficult time of disclosure and the aftermath when partners are not only trying to decide what they are going to do about their relationships which are in crisis but are also just trying to survive day to day.
Stefffens and Means offer support and specific suggestions to help partners to not only get through these difficult times but to survive intact and taking good care of themselves. They discuss the importance of self care including building a healthy support system that includes family, friends, spiritual support, therapists and group support.
Here is a link to my Amazon bookstore Shari’s Bookstore Selections. To learn more about this book look in the section titled Partners, Spouses and Families of Sex Addicts. Features of Amazon that I find useful are the reviews of other people who have read the books and the ability to look inside the book to evaluate whether this might be a useful purchase. Please don’t feel pressured to buy this from Amazon. In this blog I will be offering links such as this to help you become familiar with resources available to you. You can also access books I suggest through libraries and book stores where you prefer to shop.
Shari Cohn, LCSW, CSAT is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist providing
Sex Therapy, Sex Addiction Therapy and Psychotherapy
to the Madison, Wisconsin area for over twenty years.
Shari specializes in counseling sex and porn addicts, partners of sex addicts,
abuse and trauma survivors, ptsd and sexual problems.
“Reclaiming Sexuality…Reclaiming Your Life…One Step At A Time”
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Call Shari at 608-237-8000 x 109 for a Free Initial Phone Consult