Learn how to cope with your partner’s sex addiction
Grounds to be concerned
You have been dating or have been in a relationship with this guy for some time, everything started fine, you were having a great time together, it was fun and exciting. But once the “honeymoon” phase ended, you started to feel that something was not right, especially regarding your partner’s sex life.
You have started to suspect that he’s hiding some things from you. He may be having a tough time and haven’t been able to share it with you, he may be cheating on you or maybe you’re dating or are in a relationship with a sex addict.
How can you be sure? A sex addict is a person with a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Sex addiction is not just about sex, it has some very distinctive symptoms:
- A sex addict is unable to control his decisions about sex
- His attempts at stopping unwanted sexual behavior always fail
- As a result of his sex life, there is a pattern of negative consequences (broken relationships, health risks, legal problems)
What causes sex addiction? Why someone develops a sexual addiction? There are some theories about it, but these three appear to be the most common ones:
- Psychological: they are usually associated with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), with bipolar disorder or with a narcissistic personality disorder.
- Biological: Since addiction takes root in the reward center of the brain; it may occur that certain parts of the brain mistake pleasure responses for survival mechanisms.
- Dysfunctional families: Research has found sex addicts often come from dysfunctional families and are more likely to have been abused. The parents were usually described as rigid, distant and uncaring.
When a sex addict cheats or indulges on his fantasies, he’s dosing his brain with dopamine and other chemicals. These chemicals cause excitement and act as distractions or cover-ups for some other deep issues like underlying distress or emptiness. It’s his impulse to cover his pain with sex and afterward, he feels guilty and ashamed for his behavior.
Signs you are dating a sex addict
Do you want to know for sure if your suspicions are true? Take note of these signs:
1. The lying never stops
He lies all the time and his lies are numerous. He lies about where he is, he lies about the people he’s hanging with, he lies about money and he also may lie about his life. He lies about having to work late when he’s really at a bar.
2. There’s non-stop cheating
Yes, a lot of guys cheat but a sex addict cheats non stop all the time. He could be carrying three or four illicit relationships at a time. If you suspect he’s cheating, you need to confront him, that could be the beginning so he can stop this cycle.
3. He masturbates all the time
You’re glowing because you just had the most awesome sex of your life, you feel so close to him and that’s why you go to sleep with a big smile. Then you wake up some time later and he’s masturbating in your bed right next to you. If he can’t stop masturbating and does it compulsively, he has a problem.
4. There’s not a single serious relationship in his life
If inquiring about his past, you stumble with the fact that he hasn’t had any serious relationship, you should consider that a red flag.
5. His phone is always out of sight, he always logs off his computer
His phone’s always with him, even when he takes a shower. He gets nervous every time you ask to see it too. When he’s using his computer and you enter the room, he minimizes the screen. He never leaves any of his social media accounts or email open, always logs out.
Granted, he may be having an affair, but he also may be hiding a sex addiction.
6. In bed, he needs to be in charge all the time
He’s a good lover but he needs to be in charge all the time, you became less his partner and more someone to be controlled and led around. Does he even care if you have an orgasm? Some sex addicts don’t. Yet, others need to be the best you ever had. Either way, being in control of the encounter is key to him.
If you’re into that… good for you; but if the controlling is paired with the other signs your partner may be a sex addict.
7. He flirts with anyone who catches his eye
He chats up the cute bartender in the bar, the woman behind the cash register at the supermarket, his ex-girlfriends still receive birthday cards from him, your female friends receive funny texts messages. It never stops.
Flirting is something almost everyone does, it’s normal and even healthy but for a sex addict, is a way to get off and also a way to groom potential partners.
How can you cope with his sex addiction?
If you have confirmed your suspicions, you must be feeling hurt, betrayed, devastated. Finding out that the person you love is a sex addict can leave your spirit crushed, can sap your energy, can totally darken your days.
What can you? How you handle it? Here are some top tips to help you cope with your partners sex addiction.
1. Don’t put the blame on you
You are NOT responsible at all for his sex addiction. It’s definitely not about you. The addiction is all on him, it probably was there way before you two met and started the relationship. So, don’t blame yourself.
2. Get informed
The more information you have about sex addiction, the better you are prepared to understand it, to cope with it and to help him.
3. Look for support
Dealing with your partner’s sex addiction requires a certain level of emotional support. So the best thing you can do is seek assistance from a professional, preferably a therapist specialized in sex addiction. Seek support from people who understand what you’re going through (support groups, family and friends who’ve dealt with a similar situation).
4. Talk to him
You need to confront him. You may assume that he won’t be open to talking about his addiction, but if you find it in you to ask if he has a problem (without shaming him), and are willing to listen, you’ll be surprised with the outcome. You have some influence on him, use it.
5. Urge him to seek therapy
If he’s open to talking to you, he’ll be open to trying to find help for his addiction. Suggest therapy, the most commonly used form of treatment for sexual addiction is Cognitive Behavioral therapy
You have an investment in this relationship, don’t avoid the problem now that you know that your partner is a sex addict. Pretending that it will go away… is tempting but is not going to solve anything and you’ll only be perpetuating the lies. The better way to handle it is to address head-on.