We have had some interesting discussions in the Sisterhood forums as to whether or not women can find happiness after discovering that they are in a relationship with a sex addict and if their marriage can be better than ever.
The phrase that 12 steppers, therapists and Intensive Therapy programs pitch is the ‘Your marriage can be better than ever’ after discovery and therapy.
Is that possible?
Sure, but not they way they promise.
First, let me clarify, The Sisterhood is all about Partners. We focus on the trauma we have suffered and how that can be treated. We talk about our right to have our anger acknowledged. We question, will we ever forgive? Can we forget? Can we ever trust again?
Many of our Sisters choose to stay in their relationships, and there are many reasons for doing so–as long as their expectations are realistic. Some of the Sisters separate for a while so they can gain some insight without the manipulation and gaslighting. Some choose the long and difficult road to divorce.
No matter what the choice The Sisterhood offers support, friendship and the collective wisdom of women who have been there and done that. One thing we can guarantee is that life will definitely get better if you focus on YOU. As you heal and recognize the truth about this thing we call sex addiction you will be able to make informed decisions about your life and your future based on facts rather than flimsy, unsubstantiated claims from treatment centers and therapists who have no statistics to back them up.
Smoking the ‘hopium’ of your relationship can be better than ever without any statistical proof of success can only lead to more trauma for the Partner and repeated devastation when it all falls apart. Sex addiction is not a single disease or even an addiction; it is simply a trait of a much more serious, underlying personality disorder.
Hoping that 12 steps, marriage or couples counseling, individual therapy or just plain ‘wanting to get better’ will fix those underlying issues does a great disservice not only to the Partner, but also to the sex addict himself (I continue to use the term ‘sex addict’ because it is recognizable and I have not found an appropriate substitute).
So, where is the hope? Will you ever be happy again? Is there a better future for you?
Real hope comes from within ourselves, the Partners. We have been abused (yes, this is domestic abuse). These men isolate us; from our family, from our friends and even from ourselves. We forget who we are. We forget how normal people act and interact. And, we forget how to socialize with normal people.
We start to think that THEY are normal. We are forced to learn odd ways of interacting just to cope.
At The Sisterhood we recommend some sort of a separation from the SA with a ‘no contact’ rule, even if a short time is all you can manage. That time is not to think about the SA–what he is doing, why he is doing it, how could he do this to us, why, why, why?
A separation with no contact (no calls, no texting, no e-mails, no nothing!) is a time to focus on yourself and what you want (realistically). It is a time to think about what you can live with and what you can live without. It is a time to focus on what you are teaching your children by allowing yourself to be abused. It is a time to set boundaries. And, it is a time to rest and renew.
It is a time to decide how you want to proceed or, sometimes it is just a time to do nothing but veg out in your jammies all day, eat junk food and watch dumb reality shows on TV. It’s a time for you to heal and detox.
Even if you have children you can take the time to just love them and forget all the chores for a while. The world will not fall apart if you take some time for yourself.
Change will not happen overnight; in fact it will not come for a long while. For some it takes years. But that time is not wasted. It took a long time for us to lose ourselves and it will take a long time before we find ourselves again. But we will.
That is where the ‘better than ever’ really is. It is within ourselves. ~ JoAnn