By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CCSAS, CPCS
One of the most tragic aspects of sexual addiction is the emotional pain our insensitive and self-absorbed actions cause our innocent partners. They are the unfortunate ones who get tangled in our web of deceit and are made to pay a large price for our destructive behavior.
It breaks my heart the first time a couple sits across from me in a counseling session and I listen to the wife or girlfriend describe her anguish and frustration in trying to understand why the man she thought loved her with all his heart could crush her world through his wicked infidelity.
I see in women’s eyes the internal struggle to contemplate how they will ever be able to recover from the betrayal and learn to trust and love again. What makes it more heartbreaking is when they start to question what they could have done differently to prevent him from acting out.
It has been noted the timeframe for healing from betrayal can be anywhere from 12 to 24 months and in some cases longer. That length of time is required in order for the offended partner to process the pain while grieving the loss of how she viewed the relationship.
During this time of recovery, the offender can expect to encounter a wide range of emotions being exhibited by his partner including sadness, doubt, confusion, disgust, and anger.
Particularly anger. In fact, I tell my clients who have abused sex to understand their partner has a barrel of rocks and “she will be launching them in your direction for quite some time to come.”
One of the worst things a man could do is try to shut down his partner in the grieving process. I remember one wife who told me her husband said she had one weekend to get answers to any questions she had and after that, he would no longer discuss the matter. All this man was doing was once again demonstrating his own selfishness and putting his desire to move on ahead of her need to heal.
Gentlemen, the long-term rock-throwing you will be experiencing is better known as consequences. For those men who sincerely feel a sense of remorse and want to restore their relationship, they will need to stand tall and allow the rocks to fly providing their partners with the release they need to mend. And when it becomes difficult, instead of seeing their wrath, see their pain.
Believe me, your wife or girlfriend would rather be in a different position than rock-throwing but you put her there. If you shut her down and prohibit her from grieving, you are doing nothing more than simply extending her agony. And if you are successful in shutting her down don’t think for a moment that you have escaped her wrath. Most likely, her anger will come out in passive-aggressive ways. And as the grieving process continues and she begins to sense you are safe, you will see the size of the rocks become smaller.
Now, a quick note to the ladies. You realize I am using a metaphor when I say you can throw rocks? I know you do. However, in the heat of the moment, things can occur that people regret. Therefore you must keep your hands to yourself. No hitting. And I would strongly encourage you to seek the counsel of a therapist who understands what you are experiencing is trauma.
Guys, we failed the first time when we hurt our partners by abusing sex and betraying them. We cannot fail them during their need for healing.
Be a man. Take the rocks thrown your way.