By SHARI COHN
What are the 6 Best Gifts Sex Addicts can give their Partners?
Not diamonds or gold. Not cruises or luxuries.
The best presents sex addicts can give their partners are actually gifts for the sex addicts themselves as well as their partners. They are:
- Commitment to Recovery
Sobriety. Name and stop the destructive sexual behaviors. If you don’t identify what the problematic behaviors are then you can’t end them.
Honesty. NO MORE LIES. Sounds simple but for sex addicts being honest is very difficult. Their worlds are so jumbled that they do not know what the truth is. They feel shame about themselves and their behaviors. They often do not feel that they are worth the time and effort it takes to be honest. Analyze the rationalizations. Bring the secrets out into the open. Evaluate the addiction cycles. Stop justifying and excusing damaging behaviors.
Accountability. Willing to name what they did in the past. Transparent about what they are doing now. Committed to total honesty in the future.
Responsibility. This is the commitment to being personally identified with authenticity and reliability. Capable of being depended on. Understanding the negative effects on themselves and their partners if they are not worthy of trust. Answerable for their actions. Wanting to be called to account for their behaviors.
Empathy. Recognition of the damage they have done to their partners and families. Compassion and respect for their partners. Seeing and feeling the trauma and grief caused by their actions. Feeling remorse for their behaviors – but repentance alone is not enough. Understanding that trust repeatedly abused does not easily become reestablished. Commitment to ongoing learning about and understanding the fear partners feel when they risk trusting the addicts another time knowing they again could be devastated.
Commitment to Recovery. Doing whatever it takes to get into recovery and stay in recovery. Not just for their partners but for themselves. Accepting and acknowledging that they will need to continue to monitor their thoughts, feelings and behavior for the rest of their lives. If they do not, they risk relapsing into old patterns and risky behaviors with severe consequences. Recovery is not just about being sober. It is learning about and valuing themselves, doing self-care, developing honest loving relationships, learning about healthy non-addicted sexuality.
Ironically…the 6 best gifts sex addicts can give their partners are just what they themselves need to live a life of wholeness and integrity. Through sobriety, honesty, accountability, responsibility, empathy and commitment to recovery, there are the possibilities of growth and truly intimate relationships.
See tips for Sex Addicts and their Partners to survive holidays and vacation in my articles Recovering Sex Addicts Holiday and Vacation Survival Tips and Partners of Sex Addicts Holiday and Vacation Survival Tips.
Shari Cohn, LCSW, CSAT is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist providing Sex Therapy, Sex Addiction Therapy and Psychotherapy to the Madison, Wisconsin area for over twenty years.