After you discover your partner is addicted to sex or pornography, you may begin to wonder what the next steps for your relationship may be. Most of the time, some sort of counseling is helpful. It may also help to establish some definitions with your spouse, so they understand why and how the sexual addiction has affected you.

What is infidelity?

For many betrayed partners, there is often not a specific act that is considered infidelity; there is no hard-and-fast line that they can point to and say, “That is the moment.” Instead, for many partners of sexual addicts, infidelity is the act of breaking the trust in the relationship, usually by the spouse or partner keeping intimate, meaningful secrets.

This definition may be different from what the sexual addict believes infidelity means, as it does not specifically address affairs, pornography, online sex or sexting. However, this emotional damage is what matters to the partner of a sexual addict, and the trust is what they must work to earn again, should they wish to save their relationship or marriage.

What is an affair? What is cheating?

In many instances, there is no specific act that can be pinpointed as the start of the affair or affairs. With the digital age, there are many gray areas that did not used to exist — is using hookup apps, watching excessive amounts of porn or using webcams for sexual purposes considered cheating or having an affair?  Most often the answer is yes!  For any time there is a “third” in a relationship, there is hurt and betrayal.  Instead of a specific act, your partner may consider the loss of trust in the relationship as the betrayal.

Now what?

If you or your partner are looking for the next step, consider counseling, either together or separate to begin working toward a solution. For couples in Spokane or North Idaho, contact Coeur d’Alene Counseling today to set up an appointment.