Taking a Realistic Approach to Healing: Starting ground rules for partners
Chances are, the pain and hurt from infidelity were not caused overnight… It took weeks, months or even years of build up that has led you and your significant other to this point. Because of that, you won’t be able to solve your problems overnight. In addition to recovery from sexual addiction, you’ll need to work to recover the trust in your relationship.
Trust is not rebuilt through the lack of infidelity either. Instead, just like it took deliberate actions to break the trust and stability of your relationship, it will take deliberate actions to rebuild that trust. Sometimes, that road will be rocky or painful. However, the end goal is a healthy relationship with your partner.
After a sexual addict’s infidelity is out in the open, there are several ways a couple can move forward. If the couple decides they want to try to heal together and work toward a healthy relationship, there are a few basic ground rules that the couple should agree to. This will help rebuild a solid foundation and remove extra stressors during a difficult time.
- Put big decisions on hold
During this time, you and your partner will need to concentrate on healing. Because of this, it is a good idea to refrain from making life-changing decisions. This can include having a child, getting a divorce or separating, or making a large purchase. Usually, this period should be about six months to a year.
- Use others as emotional support — not each other
If you are angry with your spouse or feel as though you can’t trust your partner, they will not be a good emotional support system. Instead, turn to trusted friends, family or a therapist during this time for emotional support until you’re ready to begin trusting your partner again.
- Put sexual relations on hold
Much like you should put big decisions on hold, it is also a good idea to refrain from sexual relations for a period during the beginning of the recovery process. The reason is simple — if you don’t yet trust your partner, the sex will not be healthy.
- For the recovering sexual addict: practice “active honesty”
This means being honest with your partner about everything, before they ask. This way, your partner does not feel as though you are hiding anything and you are actively working to regain trust through deliberate action. This doesn’t mean giving your partner too much detail about your exploits; however, if you slip up and find yourself using an app you agreed to stop using, you let your partner know.
- Utilize your resources
Attending therapy either in a group or as individuals can help rebuild trust in a relationship. Contact a local therapist who specializes in sexual addiction, such as Coeur d’Alene Counseling to begin the process and find a session that is right for you and your partner.