How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex Addiction

As much as the term, “sex addiction” is thrown around these days, you would think we know much about it but the fact is, we're still learning more and more every day. As someone who is the partner of a sex addict, it can be overwhelming, confusing, and painful to talk about. It's hard to talk to outsiders who might not be educated on the matter or who, in good nature, only react emotionally. Talking with your partner can feel scary or unattainable. 

Your partner could also be feeling sad, confused, like they're disappointing you, and of course defensive. Because everyone reacts so uniquely, it can be hard to tell how your partner might react when the subject is brought up. Even though we want to go full speed ahead and solve the problem, it's not as cut and dry or simple as we might hope. 

Here are some tips for talking to your partner about sex addiction. 

First you should become educated on what sex addiction is, what it stems from, what the underlying causes may be and what can be done about it. You should also prepare for a range of reactions from your partner, as with any other addiction, your partner may not be ready to accept that they have a problem, let alone solve it. 

When you decide to go ahead and talk with your partner, try waiting for an opportune time. Don't wait till the end of a long work day, at the dinner table. If there's been stress or tension lately, it might never feel like there's a good time. Try waiting until the day has settled and everyone is in a light or decent mood. 

Approach the subject how you would want someone to talk to you, if it were you on the other side. Although we may feel like this is being done to us, we have to remember that our partner is the one going through the addiction, we're just feeling the ripples of the aftermath. Handle the subject with care, compassion, and understanding. 

Try using, “I” statements. I statements help keep us from placing blame on our partners in conversation and can help the conversation feel less like a reprimand. Instead of saying “You stay out till all hours of the night and never call,” try saying something like, “I feel worried and scared when you're consistently out late and I haven't heard from you.”

If you're not sure where to start the conversation with your partner, try giving them the floor first to see where they're at. You might be surprised at how the conversation flows.

N.D. “Depression and Sex Addiction”. Health Central. (website). 2017

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