If sex addiction has consumed your life and the marriage is now in jeopardy due to your actions, you need to fight for your spouse if you want to save the marriage. You fight for your spouse by following through on your recovery work, attending groups and seeing your therapist. You fight for your spouse by not defending yourself, your actions or by turning the tables and making everything about you and your recovery. You fight for your spouse by supporting her through her recovery.
Being supportive is to allow your spouse to share the pain, fear
and anxiety that the addiction has caused her, and you taking accountability for the actions that led to her despair. You simply state, “I see that you are in pain and my actions caused that. I am sorry.” You also know that the past cannot be undone, so you could state, “What can I do for you today/ now?”
When your spouse is triggered or wants to share her feeling, allow her to do so. Do not make this time about you and how great you are doing in recovery. Remember, your spouse needs you to fight for her. You
fight by making it about her and her feelings. When she shares how she feels, you may simply say, “Tell me more about that” or “Is there something else that you would like to say?” This is not the time to become defensive, sarcastic or making it about you.
Fighting for one’s spouse does not mean that you allow verbal or physical abuse from your spouse. You excuse yourself if verbal abuse or raging takes place. You may simply say, “I can see how angry you are right now. I would like to hear more about that at a time when we can both talk calmly about this. Please let me know when it is a good time for us to continue this conversation. “
It takes courage and practice to learn to hear and tolerate the pain that has been inflicted upon your spouse. In the past, you may have become impatient, defensive, angry and unable to hear the message.Your spouse needs you to hear her. Your spouse needs you to validate the pain that your actions caused her. Relationships can make it, and even become stronger following sex addiction recovery, but your road to couple’s recovery will be longer -unless you can hear her.
Relationships are more likely to end, even if the acting out has stopped, if the sex addict becomes “the hurry up guy.” Dr. Weiss describes the “hurry up guy” as the person who cannot tolerate the pain he has caused. He just wants to move on quickly. He cannot allow for his spouse to grieve. The “hurry up guy” wants it all the acting out to be behind them, as if nothing has happened. It doesn’t work that way. She needs you to fight for her no matter how long it takes.
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC-Intern, NCC, SRT, therapist at McKinneyCounseling and Recovery, specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy
deprivation. McKinney Counseling and Recovery serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and Sherman area.
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist