When is infidelity a sex addiction?
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518 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Offering In-Person and Online Therapy Services
Infidelity is devastating to relationships
Are you trying to repair your relationship after physical or emotional infidelity?
Do you question everything your spouse says or does since the infidelity occurred?
Are you involved in an affair and can’t decide if you want to stay married or be with your affair partner?
Do you fear you’ll never be able to recover from this?
Are you uncomfortable with your spouse’s relationship with a friend or co-worker?
Do you feel like you’re losing your mind since you found out about the cheating?
Infidelity is becoming more common
All forms of infidelity are devastating. It’s common to feel utterly hopeless that you can ever repair your relationship, that you can ever trust your partner again. But there is hope. With the help of an experienced infidelity counselor, couples can eventually get their relationship back to a healthy place, often to an even healthier place than before the affair. Counseling for infidelity, also called affair recovery, can help.
Sadly, infidelity is fairly common. Though data on the frequency of infidelity is, for obvious reasons, difficult to come by, research over the last 60 years has shown that infidelity occurs in approximately 10-30% of relationships. The Internet and the digital connections that come with it, have added new ways for people to connect with affair partners and new ways to violate the boundaries of their relationships. Over the last decade, I’ve seen more and more couples where the infidelity began with connections on Facebook or other social media platforms. Many experts believe infidelity is actually becoming more common.
Surviving infidelity is possible
I’ve worked with couples struggling with infidelity for over 20 years. Part of why I like working with couples going through this difficult challenge is that I’ve seen how couples can recover, can go from a broken, painful place to a healthier and happier place. There is never an excuse for infidelity, but generally infidelity occurs in relationships with fundamental problems. Sometimes these problems only get addressed after the breach of trust has been addressed. Though it may be impossible to imagine now, I’ve seen many couples who ultimately look back on the infidelity as the catalyst that made them work on their relationship and turn it into something better than it had ever been before. Over the years I’ve seen that if both partners are willing to engage in this process, even if it means feeling uncomfortable, surviving infidelity is possible. It really is possible to get beyond this and make your relationship healthy so that fidelity will never again be an issue.
Though all couples heal from this process in their own time and way, there is a typical process most couples going through affair recovery follow. Initially, trust must be established and the person who cheated must be honest, which sometimes takes a while. Often, it’s only in the relative safety of the therapy room that the whole story comes to light. Although this process can be excruciating, it’s an essential part of healing. Once we get past this stage, a deeper look at the relationship and its underlying problems can be undertaken. For some couples this involves developing better communication skills and learning how to hear each other better. For some couples this means exploring sex and intimacy and working towards making this part of the relationship healthier. Though these are some common themes, every couple is different and has their own unique issues.
As a marriage counselor and an addiction counselor, I’m able to determine when and if infidelity actually is part of a sex addiction. If this is the case, I am also qualified to help with the sex addiction. Not all people who cheat are sex addicts, but some are, and this distinction can be important in determining what kind of help a couple needs. If sex addiction, including porn addiction, is part of the picture, traditional infidelity counseling will not be enough. I’m able to make this distinction and help you if this is, in fact, an underlying issue.
You might have some questions about infidelity counseling...
Do I have to end my relationship with the person I had an affair with?
Only if you want to save your marriage. Affair recovery cannot occur while an affair or any contact with the affair partner continues. Period. If this is what your current issue is, then we can meet to figure out what you want to do. If the affair is with someone you work with, this can be especially complicated. Trying to determine if you want to stay married while actively having an affair is extremely confusing. I can help you sort through this, too.
Now that the affair has come to light, we are doing great! Do we really need therapy?
After an affair comes to light, some couples have a period where the relationship changes dramatically for a while – increased closeness and intimacy. But this will not last without addressing and working through the affair and what led to it. Although this renaissance of romance is wonderful, it takes some ongoing work to keep from falling back into the same patterns that allowed the affair to occur.
My partner feels horrible about cheating. Isn’t this enough to ensure it won’t happened again?
Sadly, even if they feel terrible, surviving infidelity requires much more than just remorse. Without understanding and working through what contributed to the infidelity, it will likely happen again. Take this as an opportunity to do the work on your relationship that needs to be done.
Once a cheater, always a cheater, right?
This is not usually the case. Although some people who cheat are habitual cheaters or possible sex addicts, many of those who are unfaithful will never cheat again if the marriage gets the attention and help it needs and the couple doesn’t allow themselves to fall back into unhealthy patterns.
You can get help to heal from infidelity
If you think you might be ready to start working on this, feel free to call me at 512-590-9868. I’m always happy to take the time over the phone, with one or both of you, to see if I’m the right therapist to help you.