In this new weekly series, ‘What Partners Say‘ I have gleaned the best of the best of some of the comments from the private forums. These are all anonymous and any personal information has been removed. Some of the comments may have been combined, but all are real words from real women who are partners of sex addicts.
One of the first reactions of women who discover that their husband or partner is a sex addict is to get him into sex addiction therapy. But, does that therapy really work?
For over a decade my websites, Married To A Sex Addict and Sisterhood of Support have posted the experiences that partners have had with sex addiction therapy. Below are short excerpts from comments of partners of sex addicts who have shared their thoughts about sex addiction therapy.
Please note, the comments below are only about sex addiction therapy, there will be other posts with comments on the treatment models for sex addiction such as 12 step groups and inpatient therapy.
Here are some of the partners comments:
We have already been to one sex addiction therapist who totally traumatized me. My husband asked about getting on an antidepressant because he thought he really needed it. The therapist was total anti medication. I have been on medication for anxiety for 15 years. I have also been to therapy. I believe the combination of the therapy and medication is what has helped me deal with my anxiety. When I disagreed with his stance on medication, he compared psychiatric drugs to using alcohol or drugs. That totally pissed me off. I tried to further continue the conversation but he said the conversation was over. That we could agree to disagree. I refused and said that I did not feel comfortable with his approach. I was aggressive when talking to him. He got up close to me and goes “I am in control in here. Not you. You may try and control your husband, but you will not control me”. I was physically and emotionally scared of him. I got up and walked out. I fainted in the parking lot. I felt like he traumatized me all over again. It was awful.
Re: Barbra Steffens. Steffens continues to believe that these guys can recover. And that it is a relational problem that both parties need to work on. And that these guys just need to ‘learn’ empathy. I find that statement not only naive, but unprofessional.
TWO YEARS in our sex addiction therapy and no therapeutic/clinical disclosure, eight previous therapists, three “intensives,” relentless cycles of acting out and passionate affairs, erratic behaviors, threats, (he does NOT any longer live in the house), I have NO HOPE OR EXPECTATION for any future, but to have closure and a divorce that protects my few assets.
My SA would begin therapy, would report good rapport with the therapist, and then, shortly, would become confrontational, arrogant, blaming – AT first, I was very confused. It took me some time to figure out what was happening, partly, I guess, because he had spent so many years creating a fog around us that everything was confusing.
Mine (therapist) suggested that I went out and had some casual sex so that I could feel we were even and we could move on with our lives.
No amount of therapy can make emotionally abnormal people, normal. They can perhaps modify their behavior, perhaps stop the sexual activity. BUT stopping the behavior does not mean their desires are gone- they are simply controlled. That means as wives, we are charged with living with a husband we KNOW lusts after things that they do not want from us, a husband who is defective sexually and emotionally. It is a tall order…to keep the familiarity of your life at such a price and the price becomes higher the more invested you are in your marriage.
Therapists or counselors are not really qualified to deal with personality disorders. A psychiatrist (who is an M.D) or a psychologist (who has a PhD) are the ones you need.
Part of my anger over this whole thing is that all those counselors out there, who CAN RECOGNIZE personality disorders, should be referring most Sex Addicts to the appropriate professionals. But, they don’t. So we keep hoping and staying, thinking that counseling or 12 steps will solve the problem.
Stay tuned for more comments from partners on sex addiction therapy and watch for other posts from the ‘What Partners Say’ blog series.
These are real comments from real women. If you think you would benefit from the experiences and support of women who have walked the path of living with and loving a sex addict please consider joining our online support group. To find out more click here.