Can You Trust Your Partner After Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction is a controversial concept in the world of mental health and addiction. Some experts consider it a real disorder, while others dismiss it. The official word comes down from the guidelines in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which does not include sex addiction as a diagnosable condition. If, however, your relationship and your life have been ruined by the hypersexual behavior of your partner, it can be hard to dismiss the concept too easily. What else can explain how your otherwise loving partner could sleep around with so many people?
He’s Been Caught: Do You Leave?
Whether sex addiction is a so-called real disorder according to experts is irrelevant. If your partner feels a compulsion to cheat and be intimate with numerous people, he has a problem, no matter what you call it. The important question is what to do next. You have caught your cheating partner and the extent of the problem is overwhelming. He has had multiple affairs or one-night stands. He sexts with numerous women and interacts with them online. Is this a deal-breaker?
Whether you leave your cheating, sex-addicted partner is a personal decision. Only you can decide what you can live with, but his willingness to get help should be a major factor. You also need to consider the question of trust. Can you envision a time, after a lot of work on his part and yours, that you could trust him again? Your immediate answer may be no, but give it considered thought before you decide.
Can You Forgive?
If you decide to work on your relationship and give it a chance, you will need to prepare yourself to forgive. It is a conscious choice that has more to do with you than him. You will not be able to move past the hurt and the cheating if you hold onto it and refuse to forgive your partner for his actions. By forgiving him you remove a roadblock to getting your relationship back on track. Reflect on it and think carefully about the consequences of forgiving or not forgiving. This step may take time, but once you give your forgiveness, you will feel a great weight lift from you and be ready to work on rebuilding the trust in your relationship.
When Will You Trust Again?
Being able to trust your partner again may be the biggest challenge to putting the pieces of your relationship back together. Soon after you have learned of his infidelities, your trust is shattered. Even as he goes through recovery and treatment, you still can’t trust him. This is normal. It takes a moment to break trust, but it can take months or years to build it back up.
Work with him and his therapist to develop strategies for rebuilding trust. This may mean tracking his movements, asking him to check in wherever he goes, or him promising to restrict his activities. Whatever it takes to help you begin to trust him again is what the two of you should do. Given time, if he can prove to you that he has not committed an infidelity, you may trust him again.
The alternative is that you can’t ever trust him again. Without trust, you will not have a worthwhile relationship. Protect yourself in this situation and have a plan for getting out of the relationship if it isn’t working. If you find you can’t trust him anymore, or if he cheats again, you may have to say goodbye. It will be difficult, but you deserve to have a partner who is trustworthy and always there to meet your needs and to make you feel safe.