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  • Is Sex Addiction Real or Just an Excuse for Bad Behavior?

    Is Sex Addiction Real or Just an Excuse for Bad Behavior?

     “I don’t believe in sex addiction. It’s a convenient excuse for atrocious and unforgivable behavior.”

     Amy is correct; there are no excuses for cheating; it is unforgivable behavior. When someone in a committed relationship has secret affairs sex with prostitutes, compulsively views pornography, and masturbates to the point of injury or job loss, it is a sign of a more profound and more severe issue.

     Sex addiction is more serious than having an affair. It is a chronic, longstanding behavior that often begins early in life. It is a primitive way to cope with distressing and overwhelming emotions. It is a desperate measure used to survive extreme circumstances.

     There is more than one truth for the person struggling with sex addiction. One truth is that the behavior is egregious. Lies, manipulation, and gaslighting are means the betrayer uses to get what they want; to keep cheating. Choosing to cheat again and again and again is unforgivable. There are reasons, but no excuses.

     Another truth is that acting out with sexual addiction involves years and years of obsession, compulsion, hiding, lying, avoidance, numbing, and shame. At its’ root, it is a disorder of attachment, and it impairs ones’ ability to be intimate in their relationships. Again, there are reasons but no excuses.

     What does this mean for Sue Anne and the many others navigating through the murky water of betrayal trauma?  They are left feeling confused, shocked, angry, terrified, and alone. “If this could happen right under my nose,” Sue Anne says, “anything is possible. Will an illegitimate child knock on the door? Will we be sued and lose everything?”. As betrayed partners learn about the magnitude of the problem, their betrayer and the CSAT therapist often insist that the deception and infidelity have nothing to do with them. And yet, their world as they knew it was a lie. It has everything to do with them.

     Unsuspecting partners are traumatized when they discover their betrayer’s dark secret. As more and more of the betrayer’s deception is exposed, the trauma increases exponentially. Betrayed partners quickly learn that their betrayer has been cheating for much of their life together.  Joyous events and memories are tangled up with cheating, and the very fabric of their life unravels. Betrayal trauma is complex. It is much more than bad behavior. 

     Those committed to saving their relationship and aiding in the healing of their beloved must begin a rigorous process of self-exploration, including individual and group therapy with a trained and licensed mental health professional. They must immerse themselves in recovery by attending 12 step meetings, reading recommended books, working with a 12 step sponsor, and healing the childhood traumas at the root of the problem. This is the most challenging work of their lives, and it is not a buffet; they must commit themselves to do the work. 

     Couples that commit to their own healing journey and then work together to create a relationship based on honesty, trust, and intimacy move ahead, building a rich and meaningful future together.

    If you’re experiencing any of the above you would benefit from our workbook, Ambushed By Betrayal which can be found in the book section of this website.

    Ambushed by Betrayal: The Survival Guide for Betrayed Partners on Their Heroes’ Journey to Healthy Intimacy – Rediscovery Counseling & Coaching (