Welcome to “Love and Sex today.” I’m Dr. Doug Weiss and today’s topic is “My Husband is a Sex Addict, Now What?” Many women know others who have husbands struggling with pornography, sex outside of marriage, sex with self, emotional affairs, social media affairs, etc. You ladies talk about this stuff and it’s sad. Some of you are living with this in a secret way. You know what nobody else knows.
What are you supposed to do when you find out your husband has a sex addiction? Sex addiction is one of the biggest, fastest growing addictions in the world, not just America. Billions of dollars are being transferred from the producers to the users and this is a huge issue. When you married a good guy, or maybe he was spiritual or religious, or maybe he just was clean, you thought you wouldn’t have to worry about this. You’re raising your kids together and you think, “He really loves me. He’s really into me.” Then you find out months, years, or decades into your marriage, that he’s really into porn, or strip clubs, or sex with this type of person or that type of person, and all of a sudden your world goes upside down in a big way.
You had no clue, you’d been blindsided by addiction. Addictions are real. Sex addiction is real. This might have been going on for years. I have a client who has been dealing with this for two decades. Every so many years, there’s some kind of revealing, there’s some kind of affair, or there’s some porn thing, or strip club receipt, or stripper phone number. Can you imagine every few years getting punched like that?
What do you do? Today’s post is not only about what to do, but how to talk to a friend about this. What do you encourage them to do? All of you women know a woman who’s struggling with this. They might not be talking about it, but they are struggling with it. So, what do you do? Let me give you some tips here, because this is the real deal.
First, do not blame yourself. You are not at all responsible for your husband’s sex addiction. It is not about you. It is not about him feeling you are not having enough sex, or you are not doing the right type of sex, or you don’t have the right body, or you’ve gained weight. If you are doing sex right, it doesn’t matter what your body looks like, your husband will be attaching to it. When someone tells me, “You know my wife has gained some weight,” I go, “How much porn are you looking at?” They are always like, “What are you talking about?” I say, “Well, obviously you are having sex with something other than your wife, because if you were having sex with only your wife you’d be totally happy with what she is presenting.”
So don’t blame yourself. It’s not about the kids, or how clean the house is, whether you don’t work or you are over working. It’s not about that. They are responsible for the addiction. I have done thousands of assessments on sex addicts. 98 percent of the time, the behavior started before marriage around 12, 13, 14 years old. You weren’t there. You weren’t responsible for that, so please don’t take responsibility for someone else’s addiction. They will love you for taking the responsibility because then they can give you guidelines of what it will require from you for them to stop. Doesn’t happen. You’ll be on a treadmill trying to fix yourself and not get any results as far as them stopping their addiction.
Second, get informed. In my book “Final Freedom,” I explain what sex addiction is, how someone becomes addicted, and the six types of sex addicts. There is also a class on sexual freedom at DrDougWeis.com/class that shares principles on how to get better. I would also encourage your husband to get the DVD “Helping Her Heal” so he knows what he has done to you. Also get informed yourself. The effects on partners are huge. I have done a post on the effects of his addiction. I have a book, “Partners Healing from His Addiction.”
Third get support, even if it’s a phone group. We have plenty of those for spouses of sex addicts. You can call my office at 719-278-3708. This is what we specialize in. If you talk to a counselor that’s been trained by me, you will be talking to someone who really understands the spouse’s issues. You want to get support, and I would say get support before you do the confronting.
The fourth step is: if you want to confront this, you can confront this. Now often times it gets exposed—child finds porn on the computer, you know there’s a phone number or a woman calls your house, or something crazy like that. Usually it gets exposed because rarely does the sex addict say, “Honey, I need to tell you something.” Now if that’s the case, that’s good news, but it’s not usually what happens. If you found out and you are just burning to confront him, I would really consider having a place to send him, or having the information in your hand and say, “Read this.” I can’t tell you how many people have come to a three and five day counseling intensive here in Colorado Springs with me, or one of the people I train, because they found out about sex addiction and Googled help. Dr. Phil says we are the best place in the world for sexual addiction help.
We have seen thousands of men and women get free and walk in a new way. They have restored their relationships. Their families are still together and it’s a wonderful thing. But you need a place to go and seek help. If not our place, then find a place. It’s better to go to a place that specializes in this than to go to some person who says they treat sex addiction. I really caution you, most people that you look up in your city who say they treat sex addiction, have no certification. If they are certified by The American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy, or some organization like that, then you have someone who has some training in this area. You really want someone who knows what they are doing.
The last thing you need is to have a sex-addicted husband and go to a therapist who says, “Well just have more sex together.” You don’t need that experience. There are a lot of sex addicts who are therapists. You don’t want to go to one of those. In my office, all our therapists take a polygraph test to verify they are clean. I’ve interviewed many therapists in my office, and asked them about their masturbation and pornography, and I was hugely disappointed at how many of them had a sex addiction and were unwilling to get better. So please, you need to be in good hands when you are looking for professionally help.
Next you want to create boundaries—what’s acceptable, what’s not acceptable. Be able to maintain that. You can do that if you have support and you’ve done the steps, getting informed and then getting support. You know, getting in some kind of group for yourself. You have support. You have women who have been there, who have fought this battle and won. It’s up to the addict to get better. You can’t make someone get better. If you could, wow I would love that. I would be totally out of a job, but I would love that if women had the power to make their husbands not be addicted. Make sure part of the boundaries is he gets help. He needs to get in a support group of some kind. Addictions do not get better by, “Honey I promise I won’t.” That promise will be broken if their plan is just to fix things themselves. Do not accept that as the plan.
Now the other thing, allow yourself to feel. The first part is going to be shock and all of that, but go through the grief. Feel the anger, the betrayal, and the sadness. Go through your own grief about this. This is not what you signed up for. You might be a hero and be able to work through this if your spouse is willing to look at their life and get help. You have a life together, maybe children, and you are going to fight for that. I’m currently working with a client and part of the reason she is staying in her marriage is because she doesn’t want to give the children to the husband every other weekend, while he’s dating prostitutes. So she is staying and trying to fight, just because she wants to give their children a few more years before they have to address this issue. That’s where’s she’s at, but she has work with where she’s at. I would really strongly encourage you to walk with other women through this.
You really are going to need some support friends. It’s not going to be your girlfriends. It’s not going to be the girls at the club. It’s not going to be your Sunday school class. It’s not going to be your neighbors. You need to find some women who are going through this also or who have gone through this. This is a really big deal. Sex addiction doesn’t usually go easy. It really needs to be addressed. So I encourage you, this has nothing to do with you. I’m a professional. I’m an expert. I’m the person Oprah and Dr. Phil call. I’m telling you, its not about you. Don’t make it about you, because if you do, you will be fixing the wrong person.
The side effects and the residual of living with a sex-addicted partner are real, and those are something you might need to address, and heal yourself. The depression, the weight gain, the low self esteem, are very significant things that could happen. The addiction is not yours to fix, its theirs to fix.
I hope today’s show has been helpful. Please share this if you know a girlfriend who just found out her husband is dealing with sex addiction, pornography, affairs, prostitutes, strip clubs, whatever. Be a good a friend and send her this. Let her know it’s not about her. She’s going to hear that better from an expert than any person on the planet. I can’t tell you how many beautiful and talented women I’ve sat across from in my office, who are blaming themselves. I have to look at them and say listen, “I am an international expert. I’m telling you it has nothing to do with you,” and when they look back at me, I can tell they believe me. Its like hundreds of pounds go off their shoulders, so be a friend and share this with someone who needs it today.
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