Stages of Recovery: moving forward as a couple

In past blogs, we’ve talked about the stages of recovery for partners of those with a sexual addiction. These partners go through stages of shock, grief and acceptance, much like someone experiencing the five stages of grief might go through. However, did you realize that as a couple, you will also experience similar stages of recovery? Much like the individual spouse of the addict, the relationship will move through these stages as the couple learns together and ultimately decides how they are going to handle the situation. Here’s more about the stages of recovery for couples:


This is when the spouse or partner begins to suspect their partner’s addiction. While this may not seem like a pivotal stage because the partner hasn’t actually discovered their spouse’s addiction yet, it is important. This sets the stage for the rest of the stages.


At this point, the partner confirms their partner’s addiction. This could be through finding hook-up apps on a phone or emails on a computer, or could be the partner comes clean about the addiction. This is when the partner of an addict decides they can no longer tolerate the addiction. This leads to…

Shock and decisions

Either as a couple or as individuals, the addict and their spouse must decide how they will handle the situation. In past blogs, we’ve discussed how we encourage all couples, either as individuals or as a couple, attend counseling to begin to work through this stage and toward recovery.


After the decisions are made, both partners must begin working toward personal recovery, whether they choose to stay together or not.


If the couple has chosen to stay together and work through the addiction together, this is where partners experience a new depth to their relationship.

Wherever you are in the stages of recovery as a couple, consider speaking with a certified sexual addiction therapist, either as a couple or as an individual. For couples in the North Idaho or Spokane areas, find a counselor here.