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4 Things to Determine If You Can Trust Your Sex-Addicted Spouse

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS, CPCS

It is one of the most common questions a spouse will ask during a couples’ first counseling session when a sex addiction has been discovered. “How will I know when I will be able to trust him again”?

It’s a great question because at the core of the couples’ issues is the broke bond of trust. Sex-addicted partners:

  • Violate their commitment, to be honest, and faithful.
  • Drive a wedge in the relationship that feels like the size of the Grand Canyon.
  • Create a sense of hopelessness that leaves the other feeling numbed and confused.  Breaking Heart

Ask any partner who has been betrayed sexually and they will tell you, while the infidelity is like a punch in the gut, the worst part is the dishonesty and lying. While they hate being cheated upon they detest the lack of integrity their partner displays in their attempts to cover their tracks. That is why at some point, the focus on re-building trust is as critical as helping the sex-addicted partner manage the addiction itself.

So how can a betrayed partner start to become comfortable and regain a sense of confidence that their sex-addicted spouse is safe? Let’s examine four key factors to look for to determine if your spouse is becoming trustworthy.

  1. He is committed to his recovery

Of course, this is the one number key to not only learning to manage a sexual addiction but to begin the process of rebuilding a tattered relationship. A sex addict must demonstrate dedication to the game plan that has been created to assist them in breaking the bondage of secrecy and betrayal. I have seen partners who dive in and go beyond what is asked of them in recovery. I also have witnessed spouses who barely scratch the surface in doing the work that is required of them. When this happens, it is incredibly disheartening to the wounded spouse.

If your spouse is following a treatment regimen and sharing with you his progress, then have hope better days await both of you.

  1. He doesn’t shut you down when you vent

One of the first things I will tell a husband who has abused sex is that his wife has a barrel of rocks and she will be throwing them your way for the next 12-24 months. The ability for a woman to properly grieve the betrayal of the relationship is critical in order for there to be a chance for the relationship to move ahead.

But some men struggle when their grieving wives are throwing rocks. They become defensive and attempt to shut down the conversation. However, this is a grave mistake. When a woman is not given an opportunity to grieve she will continue to sit on those emotions and learn how to express them in other ways including perhaps being passive aggressive. As I tell men, when she grieves, she is healing. Let her grieve.

You can start to sense your spouse is getting better when they can sit with you in your pain. This demonstrates they understand the extent of your anguish and are committed to helping you get to a better emotional place.

  1. He starts to develop and engage in healthy communities

Clinical studies have demonstrated a critical key to recovering from sex addiction is participating in a healthy community. Yet, it’s the most significant pushback we receive from our sex addiction clients. In their intense shame and embarrassment, it would be easier to get them to agree to walk a tightrope across two New York City skyscrapers than attend a recovery group meeting. Men who refuse to participate in a support group are playing Russian roulette with their recovery. The lone wolf fails.

As the wounded spouse, if you see your husband is attending a support group; working with a sponsor and engaging in a men’s group, you should feel comfortable that he is learning how to step outside of his negative comfort zone. Establishing authentic relationships with others will help him maintain accountability, which for you and your relationship is a significant win.

  1. He demonstrates the ability to attach with you emotionally

A man struggling with sexual addiction is confused about intimacy. Somewhere along the line, they confused physical intimacy for emotional intimacy. They have an easier time connecting physical, and therefore their emphasis is on sexual relations.

When you find your spouse being able to identify and express emotions, or showing signs of being open and vulnerable, you know he is on the right track of recovery. Sexual addiction is an intimacy disorder, and the course of treatment is designed to broaden the addict’s view of healthy intimacy to include an emotional connection.

An addict who is committed to recovery; supports his wife’s grieving; engages in a healthy community and begins to identify and express deeper emotions is an individual who is on the right path for recovery.

 

 

4 Steps to Manage Temptations

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSRRS, CCSAS, CPCS

As you know, we don’t cure sexual or pornography addictions, instead, we learn to manage them. To assist us, the following are 4 steps we should take when temptations hits.

Don’t React. Respond. 

This is a critical step. If you don’t get this one you will not be successful. Slow everything down. The key is to not rush off and act out but instead to sit with the emotions that have been activated by the triggering event. Find a place to be alone with your thoughts and feelings.

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Continue reading “4 Steps to Manage Temptations”

Help Her Heal: Walk into the Fire

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS

He is not doing enough,” exclaimed Susan speaking about her husband Artie who betrayed her with his numerous affairs and pornography use.

Her statement left me a little puzzled since I thought Artie had been doing well in his recovery. And from what I could see, Artie certainly had been doing everything that was asked of him. So, I asked Susan, “What do you need that he is not doing?”

“I don’t know,” she answered. “But he is not doing enough.”

fire-300x225 Then it hit me. “Are you saying he is not doing enough in his recovery or he is not doing enough to help your recovery,” I asked her.”

“It’s always about him,” she said as tears formed in her eyes. “What about me? When does he start to focus on how much I am hurting?”
Susan felt Artie was rushing her recovery and wanted her to “get over it” so they could return to their normal life. What Artie did not understand is they could not return to their former relationship. In Susan’s eyes that relationship didn’t work. And she was right. There was no going back. The only road to travel – if they were to remain together – was forward. Continue reading “Help Her Heal: Walk into the Fire”

Give Up For Lent

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CCSAS

Every year the conversation in our home surrounding what to sacrifice for Lent is pretty entertaining. Each individual throws out an idea, while other family members counter argue why they believe it is not a true sacrifice. It’s always the usual list including sweets, bread, or electronics. In reality, all are good ideas and serve the purpose of denying oneself over a period of 40 days.No Porn Sign

Last year I proposed men make a sacrifice that could have long-term and healthy outcomes for themselves and their relationships.

“Give up Lust for Lent.” Continue reading “Give Up For Lent”

How to Determine if You are a Sex Addict?

Sometimes it is difficult to determine if someone is dealing with a sexual addiction. A man who views pornography a couple times a year may be acting inappropriately and hurting intimacy between him and his wife, but it doesn’t mean he is a sex addict. sexual-addiction1

A sexual addiction is diagnosed when sexual activity has a negative impact and effect on other parts of a person’s life including relationships, finances, health, safety, employment, and/or relationship with God. 

The following is a brief assessment to help you get an initial read if you are indeed struggling with a sexual addiction. Check each one that applies to you.

Does your mind wander with sexual thoughts throughout the day?

Do you spend more than 4 hours a week viewing pornography or engaging in sexual chat/video rooms on the Internet? Continue reading “How to Determine if You are a Sex Addict?”

4 Reasons Why Women Are Not Sex Objects

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of objectifying is as follows:  “to treat (someone) as an object rather than as a person” Now think for a moment if people started looking, referring, and treating you like an “object”? How do you believe you would feel? Insulted? Demeaned? Dishonored? Befouled? Humiliated? Tarnished?

How about outright pissed? You know you would be! So why then is it considered cool or even natural for us men to look upon women as playthings created simply for our own gratification? This type of behavior rings with an air of superiority, which we have no right to claim.couple-913236_640

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28,

There is no mistaking that men and women are different. However, they also are seen as equal in God’s eyes. And if the Creator sees them that way, then how can we not? There are many reasons why women are not sex objects and should not be treated as such. Let’s take a look at four. Continue reading “4 Reasons Why Women Are Not Sex Objects”

So You Think Women Enjoy Being in Porn? Think Again.

Readers, the following first appeared on the website ThePornEffect.com. It is a letter written by a young woman who spent time in the pornography industry. For those men – and even some women – who think there is nothing wrong viewing pornography, you need to read this.

Dear Porn User,

I want you to know that I don’t write this with any hostility to you. Maybe you watch porn but don’t want to. Maybe you watch porn and don’t want to stop. Either way, thanks for reading.internetporn

I was a “porn star” for only six months but featured in over twenty films. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I’ve seen the reality of what the porn industry is really like. I think many people believe falsehoods about porn. Falsehoods which, if they knew them to be such, would probably try harder (or try at all) to stop watching porn. Continue reading “So You Think Women Enjoy Being in Porn? Think Again.”

Should a Woman Ignore Her Man’s Porn Use?

During a recent marriage counseling session, a young wife said this to me after I discovered the husband enjoyed viewing pornography.
“I don’t see the big deal,” said Candy. “I think it’s something all men do. Besides, that’s not the reason we’re here. As we said earlier, we are having troubling connecting and I feel he is being very distant.” Breaking Heart
Candy, like many other women, buy into the myth that there is nothing they can do to stop their husbands from watching pornography. They have been conditioned to believe that watching porn is as natural to men as leaving the toilet seat up. Continue reading “Should a Woman Ignore Her Man’s Porn Use?”

Should You Date a Man Who Struggles with Porn?

This is a great question and our author Kristen Clark does an excellent job answering it in an articled that appeared on the Covenant Eyes website. Pornography addiction is the result of deeply-rooted emotion issue(s) and/or trauma that have not been resolved. Entering into a relationship with a man that you know struggles with pornography is setting yourself up for a lifetime of heartache until the day comes when he elects to get help (if that day comes).     Continue reading “Should You Date a Man Who Struggles with Porn?”

Should I Tell My Spouse about Struggles with Sexual Purity?

Great article by Garrett Kell on being upfront and transparent with our wives about the struggle of sexual sin. This article originally appeared on the website “For The Church’. Read and take the advice to heart. One of the biggest issues facing couples in this situation is the husband lacks the courage to be honest and open. It is a BIG mistake and only leads to further pain and mistrust. 

Continue reading “Should I Tell My Spouse about Struggles with Sexual Purity?”