by Kevie Simon on Thursday, August 13th, 2015
Learning that you are the partner of a sex addict is a traumatic event. What is often overlooked is just how traumatic this event truly is for the partner. When studying parters of sex addicts, the symptoms are in fact symptoms that resemble Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sounds crazy, right? If you are like me, you thought that PTSD was something that veterans struggled with, not someone who found out that their partner has been unfaithful.
When I first found out that my spouse was a sex addict, I thought my shattered world would never be able to be put back together. After our divorce was final, I thought that all of my pain would magically go away. Without the broken marriage in my life, I assumed would be free and able to live the promised life of greener grass. What I found was that my pain did not go away. In fact, it got worse. Everyone else seemed to be going on fine with regular life, but I was reliving the nightmare over and over again. I thought that I just needed to “get it together” so I kept my internal turmoil to myself. The side effects of my secret pain kept building and building until I could not take it anymore, and I turned to a trusted friend who lead me to a counselor.
Trauma like I experienced effects someone on every level – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There is no realm within a person that is not effected by the betrayal of their loved one. You may be experiencing physical symptoms such as shaking, sweating, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, or more. Spiritually, you might be angry with God or having feelings of guilt over the situation. On an emotional level, you can feel anything from paranoia to inability to concentrate to shock. All of these reactions, and more, are due this trauma. What you are feeling is not wrong, it is validating your experience.
If you are a partner of a sex addict, my educated guess is that somewhere deep inside yourself you don’t believe you are worthy. You likely have done things you never thought you were capable of doing in the addictive relationship. You probably have put up with behaviors from your partner that would make you cringe if you heard it was happening in a friend’s life. There is something within you that has been deeply wounded that must be addressed in order for you to move forward.
The truth of the matter is that you are worthy. You are worthy of a healthy relationship. You are worthy of self care. You are worthy of authentically loving yourself. No matter how your partner acts, you must decide that you are worthy of the journey of learning to love yourself as you are. The trauma you experienced will not go away once the traumatic event or relationship has changed or subsided; there are deep wounds within you that need healing. My question for you: are you ready to take the first step towards loving yourself?