How to Deal with a Spouse who is a Sex Addict


How to Deal with a Spouse who is a Sex Addict

There is a divide on where sex addiction comes from among psychologists. Some believe it stems from a trauma endured during infancy or early childhood. This trauma creates an intimacy disorder. The disorder surfaces later in life in the form of an obsession with porn or taking part in infidelity and other high-risk behaviors. Another camp of psychologists believes sex addiction isn’t a compulsion at all but a coping mechanism. Just like with drugs or alcohol, it is taken part in to relieve pressure, pain or an emptiness felt deep inside. Drug addicts need a fix and, in this view, so do sex addicts. The fix here however is sex. No matter where it stems from, a spouse with a sex addiction takes a heavy toll on a marriage. The person should seek individual therapy with a counselor experienced in such matters. What’s more, they should also attend a support group in your area as part of their treatment plan. When they enter recovery, they will hopefully cease their destructive behaviors, and work through whatever trauma they’ve endured with the therapist. The marriage will also need significant work to get it back on track.

A remediation strategy is needed to address the pain, hurt and trauma the spouse of a sex addict has endured. The couple should then meet together with the therapist during periodic strategy meetings in order for the partner to assist in therapy. The spouse can be a valuable resource, helping the therapist to evaluate the addict’s recovery, provide other information on the spouse and help the spouse work through their problem. Trust at this point has been obliterated. It has to be rebuilt from the ground up. Still, the healing process has to be conducted in such a way whereas it heals both parties, rather than causing more harm. Usually, the recovering addict either wants to clam up, recoiling at the very thought of revealing details about their previous activities, or to show their sincere desire to change, blurting out their betrayals regardless of setting or present company. Neither one is helpful when trying to repair a marriage stretched to its limit. There are a few addicts who practice a strategy of “staggered disclosure.” This is letting out just enough information to dismay their partner, without getting to the heart of the questions the partner most wants answers to.

None of these patterns ensure a healthful recovery. Still, all therapists agree a certain amount of disclosure is required for the healing process to take place. One survey found that 93% of partners wanted full disclosure for intimacy to be rebuilt. Disclosure however must only be done in a very tightly controlled way. Usually, three to six months is the period where psychologists believe full disclosure can finally take place. One method often used is when the addict writes down all the lies and infidelities in a timeline. Then the spouse is asked to write down their “deal breakers” that would discontinue the marriage. The person in therapy is given this to work into their completed disclosure essay. When a sex addict is in the full throes of their addiction, they will do anything to cover up their trail. They may lie about where they were. They may erase texts, calls, emails. They will lie about the relationships they are involved in and the hookups they’ve had. But in the recovery period a spouse has a chance to talk about how they feel and elicit empathy and regret from the addict. If done correctly, this can be a powerful moment, lifting a tremendous weight off of each person’s shoulders. It is a good place to start from, in terms of rebuilding intimacy. If you are in a marriage with a sex addict, get them to seek treatment. For more on this topic pick up a copy of, Before the Dust Settles (Advice from a Sex Addict’s Wife): 8 Mistakes to Avoid Immediately after Discovering Your Partner’s Sex Addiction by Margaret Stone.

How to Avoid OCD Related Divorce


How to Avoid OCD Related Divorce

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can seem like a stranger getting between you and your spouse. Of course a spouse with OCD can limit your comfort level in your own house, play with the balance of power and limit your lifestyle. OCD rules can seem confining, even smothering. So how do you avoid OCD ripping your marriage apart? How do you avoid OCD related divorce? The first thing to do is to learn all you can about your spouse’s condition. OCD is a brain disorder that distresses and can even disable the sufferer. According to the World Health Organization OCD is one of the topmost causes of disability across the globe. OCD doesn’t just affect your spouse, it affects everyone around them. 60% of family members get involved to some degree in the rituals of someone with OCD. Often slowly an OCD person’s habits, rituals and opinions will take over your life. It can start to feel as though you are being criticized constantly, or as your spouse might see it, re-corrected. Further, they could make you late to engagements say making you go a certain route to avoid potholes. They may curb your good time out by refusing to let you use a public restroom. Of course, making any marriage work can be difficult. But OCD can look like a boulder size stumbling block, especially if the condition has worsened over time.

One way to put things into perspective before you call the divorce lawyer is to see things from your spouse’s point of view. How hard is it for them to live with OCD? Though they do these habits compulsively they may secretly feel guilty about say driving friends away with their difficult behavior, making outings less interesting by interjecting their needs or demands and so on. They may struggle between trying to control their behaviors in order to make you happier and being compelled to fulfill their compulsion or compulsions. OCD sufferers usually take part in these rituals because they are scared of what might happen if they don’t go through them.

They believe deep in their hearts that these rituals keep themselves and the ones they love most, namely you, safe and protected from harm. Now it’s time to do some research. Look on the internet and find local support groups in your area. There are some great books out there about OCD. Contact the International OCD Foundation for more information and see if they have any workshops, symposiums or other resources or events in your area. Be sure to discuss the problems you are having with your spouse. Convince them to go to therapy with you. Tell them the truth. Don’t sugar coat it. If there behavior is driving you to think about seeking out a divorce attorney, maybe this information will provide them with the wakeup call they need to get a handle on their condition.

Offer to help them find a counselor and to go to counseling with them. Make sure this is a therapist they can connect with and that has some experience or background in dealing with OCD conditions. Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of Louisville Monnica Williams, Ph.D. writes in an article for Psychology Today, “Ask yourself, Am I going to let my spouse’s rituals ruin our marriage, or am I going to find strength to be supportive and compassionate so that we can have the marriage that we have always wanted?’” A supportive therapist may be required to help keep the relationship together and cope with the situation depending upon how serious your spouse’s symptoms are. If your spouse is going to therapy, it’s a good idea to go with them so you can get a new perspective on the issue, how to handle them, get knowledge you didn’t have before, and perhaps you can even ask the counselor for some strategies to help you cope with your spouse’s behavior. Being married to someone with OCD isn’t easy. There may be many times you want to throw in the towel. But if you truly love this person and think you can support them through this difficult time you and your spouse should come out better and stronger than ever before. For more, read Loving Someone with OCD: Help for You and Your Family by Karen J. Landsman, Kathleen M. Rupertus and Cherry Pedrick.

When your Partner is bad with Money


Handling money is a skill. Some people are good at it. They have a budget all written out. Their planner or calendar has what to pay and when. They even have a retirement plan in place. Others are not so good at managing their finances. They pay late, incurring late fees. They’ve hurt their credit. They go on shopping sprees or can’t resist impulse buys. But what happens when your romantic partner is the one who is bad with money? It may be fine if you live in separate places and have separate finances, but warning bells go off when the relationship gets more serious. Bad credit can affect important options for the future such as buying a house, financing a car, getting a better job and so on. This could truly inhibit life goals. The number one issue that couples fight about is money ( Financial worries put strain on a relationship. So what can you do if your partner is bad with money? Turns out there are a lot of things you can do.

First, evaluate how you spend money. Are you a free spender? Do you hide things in the closet that you’ve bought out of guilt? Are you a miser or prudent and sensible when it comes to managing money? Next, evaluate who your partner is. Some people would rather live in the moment while others save for important moments in life such as college or retirement. If you and your partner’s money saving styles are in conflict, have a heart-to-heart about it. Make sure it is a conversation with no judgment, only a pointing out of certain behavior and how it effects the relationship. If one person is being too tight with money, and the other too loose, a compromise can be reached. A sensible budget should be drawn up with discretionary spending for each party and what each party will equitably contribute to the bills and savings. Negotiation, patience, encouragement and rule making are key to success. If one strays from their promise, one should only need reminding of the budget and their agreement. If there is a compulsion which no amount of discussion has curbed, seek the advice of a couple’s counselor, or perhaps the party who has the compulsion should seek counseling, whatever you decide together is best.