Trusting a Past Sex Addict

There was a recent situation where my friend found out her husband was a recovering sex addict. Trust issues have risen because he hid this part of his life from her before the marriage.
My friend is concerned her husband may not have fully recovered and fears the unknown future.
Anyone in this kind of situation?
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  • I haven't been in the situation before but I can understand her apprehension...especially since it wasn't something that was openly disclosed. I do have a friend who is dealing with a husband's extramarital affair, and they're doing both individual counselling and also counselling together to try and repair the damaged trust. I really do think counselling is a great thing even in a healthy marriage - I think it helps a lot with learning to communicate with one another better. Maybe that could work for them, to help strengthen things?
  • I think that trust is the basis of any relationship and without it there is no relationship. He should have told her about it and now that she knows it is something that he should have mentioned before they got married. Sex addiction is a disease and recovery is also a thing that has got to be managed. For a relationship to work out both partners need to feel safe with communication and perhaps a therapy session or two might get her to see what it is all about and where they go from there because to understand that addiction you need to hear what the journey has been and what it involves. Open communication is important so that trust can be rebuilt
  • i have not. thank you for reaching out and sharing. trust is very important in a relationship...professional help for both may be necessary moving forward...

    i do hope the best for both of them.
  • Well, I'm not in that situation but I think that your friend shouldn't be affected by all the stigma and wrong ideas about sex addicts, yes, they were addicts and there's always a chance of relapse, but a lot of them have coping mechanisms to avoid those situations. Your friend should have more trust on their husbands recovery and self control.
  • I am not in such situation but I understand what your friend is going through. It is almost the same when you put a face to all the past girlfriends your husband has had and they suddenly send him a friend request on Facebook.

    Trust is a big deal in every relationship and when there is no assurance that you are the only one that matters, the relationship goes through a lot of crises. I am sure the reason your friend's husband hid the truth was because he did not want to be judged. It is absolutely normal to feel doubt but your friend should not use his past against him; rather, she should help him stay recovered.
  • I have never been in this kind of situation before, but I understand why your friend is having trust issues with her husband. Even though it was already in the past, he still should have told her about his previous addiction. Trust and honesty are really essential in any kind of relationship.
  • The best way to help a sex addict is to be there for him. It is good to remind at all times that this is not a violent crime, this doesn't need to be a stigma for life. The conscious understanding of the spouse is vital to promote a healthy and full recovery. This includes providing your partner with enough confidence for him to realize you are on his side,  despite past actions.

    Bear in mind he is in recovery by his own choice, indicating he already has the main thing required to be completely clean agian: inner will.
  • If she has nothing but suspictions. She is judging too harshly her husband. She hast to  really trust him in order to strengthen more his addiction recovery. Mistrust can lead to doubt, and anxiety, and eventually relapse.
  • I firmly believe that the start to recovery is planning and strategy. He will not eliminate lust, fantasy, porn, or compulsive masturbation by using one or two tools, such as going to a group, or going to a counselor. These alone are not enough.

    You must establish a web of freedom - a specific written strategy for YOUR context. The goal is neither perfection, nor dismissive acquiescence of occasional acting out. Rather, the goal is freedom from compulsive or addictive sexual behaviors. Many of us have failed in our struggle because we have not brought our struggle into the open; and we do not have a comprehensive approach or strategy. I know that was the case for me!

    Here are some things that may prove helpful for him.

    1. Take care of your spouse if you have one – and get care for her (or him). They more than likely have been damaged and broken by your actions.

    2. Consider extreme measures such as getting the Internet out of your home. If you think you must access it on any computer or other device, give your spouse and an accountability partner a specific justification for it.

    3. Block all sexual content from all electronic devices with Internet connection, and use accountability software. Get it installed on your work computers. Make sure one or two people, including your accountability partner (not your spouse) receive your Internet usage reports. (visit http://www.mymensgroup.net/helpful-links.html for some links to these tools)

    4. Begin meeting weekly with a counselor with experience in addictions (preferably a licensed therapist certified in sexual addiction), and give full disclosure of your sexual history. If married, be willing to include your spouse when the therapist recommends it.

    5. Confess your struggle and your behaviors to God (a higher power or whatever you believe in), to another spiritually mature person of the same gender, and (with counseling), to your spouse.

    6. Meet regularly with an accountability partner that will hold your feet to the fire, call you a liar when necessary. It may not be easy to find the right person for you; but persevere until you find a good one. Make sure he/she is committed to radical honesty. If he/she is inclined to let you slip, find a new one. (visit: http://www.mymensgroup.net/accountability-resources.html for some helpful accountability resources)

    7. Maintain open communication with your spiritual overseers.

    8. Participate weekly in a 12-Step or similar support group that specifically deals with sexual addiction/compulsion, and seek out a sponsor or mentor.

    9. Develop a specific strategy for what you will do when tempted or vulnerable. (See http://www.mymensgroup.net/addiction-recovery-resources.html)

    10. Develop a specific strategy for what to do if you relapse (slip, fall). (see http://www.mymensgroup.net/uploads/7/8/1/1/78111116/relapse.pdf)

    11. Defeat Isolation. Stay connected with other men/women – call them regularly.  This is a big one! (see http://www.mymensgroup.net/building-intimacy--connection-resources.html)

    12. Read recovery books and articles, and view recovery media on the Internet. (For tons of great material visit: http://www.mymensgroup.net/)

    13. Initiate a relationship with a pastor or spiritual director, to help you develop and keep a plan for spiritual health.

    14. Have a plan for physical health, including good diet, exercise and sleep. See a medical doctor regularly. Tell your doctor about your sexual struggle. Don’t overlook medication for anxiety or depression if needed.


    I hope these ideas help and establish a comprehensive web that will allow your friends' husband freedom as he seeks to recover. I can honestly say that when I started focusing not just on my behaviors (trying to quit porn or masturbation) but employed a bunch of these safeguards and practices and then starting getting down to the hard work of digging in to underlying root issues (for me it was shame, fear of vulnerability, perfectionism, lack of love and affection in my childhood, etc.) is when the recovery breakthrough happened.

    The key to breaking the addiction for me was to figure out what those underlying things were (with the help of a counselor) that needed to be addressed in more appropriate and healthy ways so that I could learn to not turn to porn numb out. I was using porn and masturbation as coping mechanism and to self medicate. I learned growing up that when I felt pain, rejection or unloved that I could make myself feel better by turning to those inappropriate things. They were safe. I didn't need to be vulnerable or rely on anyone else. Now I reach out to others in a healthy way when I am in need. We are all wired for intimacy and connection and when we try to bypass the hard work that connecting with others takes we end up choosing a quick fix that leaves us feeling empty and lonely inside. Once I was able to make that shift I could break the cycle, the behaviors like porn and masturbation started to go away, and I naturally had less of a desire for them because I was getting those needs met in appropriate and ways through healthy relationships.

    If you get a cold, you'll have the symptoms of a runny nose and cough. Focusing all your efforts on the symptoms (behaviors) what kinds of tissues to buy or which cough drops you need misses the mark. He'll need to get at the underlying cold and then the nose will clear up and the sore throat will go away.

    Blessings to you him the road to recovery.[b] Remember...it's about progress. Not perfection![/b]


  • great tips there for sure @MyMensGroup717 thanks!
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