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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The spouse's worst kept secret

So many out there don't tell ayone about their spouse's pornography and sexual addictions. Sometimes they feel like the people they tell might feel negatively towards their spouse, maybe they feel that the addiction reflects poorly on them, maybe they are embarrased, the list goes on and on.

This kills me. When your spouse has an addiction, it puts you through the ringer. The spouse ends up needing just as much help to heal as the addict does. Did you hear me? THE SPOUSE NEEDS HELP TOO.

The addiction does not reflect badly on you. The addiction itself has nothing to do with you.

Find someone that you can confide in that is trustworthy. Not the town grapevine.  Maybe you have family members or a friend that would fit this bill. I would personally suggest a qualified, therapist-run spouse-of-addict support group. I'll be talking more about these later.

A word of advice when choosing someone to confide in: The best people to confide in are those that are very good listeners. The people that I confide in have lots of good qualities, some of which are:

1. They are good listeners
2. They don't mind if I need to cry on their shoulder
3. (And this one is very important) They are supportive of the decisions that I make. The people that I confide in have an excellent track record of specifically trying not to say things that might influence my decisions. Not to say that they can't give advice, but the advice has ended up being more general. These are also people that, as my circomstances changed, were able to give specific advice when I asked for it.  In otherwords, these people are supportive.

Speaking of decisions though, some women will stick with an abusive guy no matter what anyone says. If you are in a dangerous situation, get to some-place safe. And don't get mad at your friends if they point out to you that you are in a dangerous situation. They may just be looking out for you.

In conclusion, the spouse of an addict needs help as well. Therapy, church leaders, someone you trust, someone else who has or is going through it.

To the addicts: Having an addiction in the marriage effects everything, even if your spouse doesn't know about it. The addiction changes things. It sets up an unhealthy situation in ways you probably don't even realize. Both you and your spouse are going to need to do your therapeutic work to heal. That is just the way it is. It doesn't make you a bad guy. If anything, supporting your spouse in their healing process is extremely helpful. Whereas not supporting your spouse is not helpful.

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