We must not be right for each other. If we were meant to be together, nothing like this would have happened.
The devastation of betrayal can happen in any relationship. This myth implies that somehow, I must have picked the wrong partner. One of the ways partners have been traumatized is when they are told that they somehow attracted a sex addict (sometimes called the heat seeking missile theory). This sends the message that somehow the partner is culpable and must share the blame for being in a relationship with a sex addict. Nothing could be further from the truth. This jeopardizes the partners healing and the addict’s recovery process.
Most partners did not know about the sexually destructive behaviors prior to the marriage. Even if they did, it still wouldn’t make you responsible for the addict’s choices. In no way are you responsible for his choice to betray you. If he is to get well, he must accept responsibility for the way he chose to medicate himself. Virginia Satir once said “problems aren’t the problem, coping is the problem.” The addict has chosen to cope in a way that will harm himself and everyone in his family. The domino effects of betrayal are devastating.
Part of the healing journey will be making decisions about relationships. For now, please know that the addict’s choices are not your responsibility. The relational impact of those choices is overwhelming. There is hope, and I have seen so many relationships that seemed hopeless turn around and thrive. Yet this only happens when the addict is able to take responsibility and learn to cope in healthier ways. And it’s important for you to take this journey of healing so that your wounds can heal and you can find hope.
Adapted from Spouses of Sex Addicts: Hope for the Journey
Richard Blankenship and Joyce Tomblin