Treatment for Partners and Spouses of Sex, Love and Porn Addicts

  • Have you recently discovered a secret life in which your partner or spouse engages that violates your relationship agreement?

  • Do you suspect that your partner is using pornography to the exclusion of a relationship with you?

  • Do you doubt your own reality and question at times if you are going crazy when you are repetitively and seemingly reassured that nothing is going on?

  • Has your partner begun healing but your needs have been neglected?

Complex Partner Trauma Sex Addiction-Induced Trauma

Addictions are typically considered hard-betrayals within the context of a committed relationships; they are deal-breakers. It is not uncommon that relationships find an ending when the pain from the betrayal is unbearable or that there is no hope for recovery. Yet crises of this magnitude often signal an opportunity for change.

Pain and suffering is not exclusive to the sex, love or porn addict. Partners, spouses and often children are impacted by the sex addiction and compulsivity such that they experience their own traumatic responses and symptoms.

No longer underestimated is the impact of the betrayal trauma on the partner. The model of the co-addict is still sanctioned at times wherein the partner has her own co-dependency and subsequent behavioral or process addiction. It is more recently recognized, however, that partners experience symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that treatment for the partner is equally important if not mandatory. Hence the use of the terms sex addiction-induced or complex-partner trauma.

Complex Partner Trauma is not limited to those with a sexual betrayal but extends to other hard- betrayals, such as but not limited to substance abuse, money issues and eating disorders.

With Sex Addiction, Partner’s Need Their Own Healing

Traumatic incidents resulting from discovery, disclosure and ongoing traumatic events, most of which are staggered, need to be processed within the context of PTSD or Complex PTSD. The latter might include more severe symptoms like extreme anxiety and variable emotional arousal (rage and flight reactions), numbness, hyper-vigilance, depression, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts and images as well as specific concerns and shame secondary to the specific nature of the trauma, all of which might continue to occur long after the initial trauma. Clearly developmental trauma or current shock trauma poses a threat to our capacity for connection, attunement, trust, autonomy and love and sexuality.

As we all need to make meaning of our experiences so does the partner. Reactions inherent to the process include It is imperative that trauma recovery and healing need to occur so that the partner can heal and couples can formulate a new relationship, different from the one that presented during and prior to the betrayal.

Treatment for the partner typically includes individual, couples and group therapies, involvement in a recovery community and psycho-educational materials; sometimes a structured inpatient and/or intensive outpatient program is indicated as well. Partners needs to face their own experience and find resolution in the trauma.

Couples as well need to grieve the relationship as it was and create in a new space a new relationship. At points during treatment, there are often times where it is necessary for couples to work to heal the broken bonds. Dr. Winter is aware of the fragile bonds that become threatened with addiction.

As a trauma specialist certified in EMDR and trained by Dr. Stephanie Carnes and others, Dr. Winter, psychologist, sexologist and certified sex addiction therapist, understands these issues and works with partners to help heal complex partner trauma. Facing the betrayal takes courage. Healing—establishing boundaries and regaining trust and intimacy—requires fortitude and patience.

Dr. Winter also offers a group for betrayed partners.

Shame Can Be Isolating—Don’t Struggle Alone

Reconstructing a healthy relationship with sex, your body, food and money can be difficult. I understand the pain of addiction and am available to resolve your trauma and guide you through your recovery. Take the first step and reach out via phone or email with any questions or for an initial appointment at my Boca Raton office.

GET CONFIDENTIAL HELP NOW