If your spouse has just admitted to sex addiction or porn addiction, he or she is hopefully seeking professional counseling or therapy as part of his or her recovery plan. This is increasingly a normal part of efforts to recover from an addiction, and it is good that your partner is seeking professional help. Unfortunately, it is sometimes less obvious to everyone involved that as the spouse of an addict, you have been through a lot, and you are facing more still, and you will need some help too.
A counselor or therapist can be a valuable resource as you move into the recovery process. As a trained mental health professional, he or she can provide useful tools and services to help you heal and move forward. Here are some of the reasons you should be seeking help as as you cope with your partner’s sex addiction.
- You need someone to talk to. It is sometimes difficult, scary, or embarrassing to admit to friends and family that your spouse is a sex addict or that you were the victim of infidelity. You may want to protect their opinion of your partner, or you simply may not be comfortable talking about it. However, you will need someone to confide in. A counselor or therapist will listen confidentially and non-judgmentally to anything you have to say. He or she will allow you to talk through your experiences and feelings, give you a safe place to vent, and offer a shoulder to cry on if necessary.
- You need help rebuilding your self-esteem. Your spouse’s porn addiction or other infidelity probably left you with doubts or negative feelings about yourself- your attractiveness, your ability to satisfy your partner, or your worth as a person. It is important that you remember that your spouse’s behavior is about your spouse, not about you. A counselor or therapist can help you internalize this, cope with your negative feelings, and teach you how to regain your confidence.
- You may be facing depression and/or anxiety. Anyone who has suffered from a partner’s infidelity is likely to feel depressed or anxious, especially if the fate of the marriage or relationship is still uncertain. Spouses of addicts or those with other mental health issues also have a higher susceptibility to depression and anxiety than people who are not dealing with this kind of emotional strain. A counselor or therapist can help you cope with these feelings in healthy ways, as well as teach you how to overcome them.
- You need a sounding board. As you both move toward recovery, you will have questions, doubts, and decisions to make. You may be uncertain about what you feel or what you perceive. A counselor or therapist can help you assess your observations and feelings. He or she can also provide an objective eye to help you gauge when your behavior or choices might be unhealthy or harmful. Your counselor or therapist may also give limited advice or recommend strategies for communication and conflict-resolution, as the need arises.