As a partner, the thought of throwing yourself into the marriage may seem overwhelming and traumatizing. “I’ve just been betrayed by this man and my world is upside down. Why would I want to put all of my energy into him?” One of the partners I worked with had been told to do everything she could to serve the addict in her life and give him all of her attention. She came to me devastated. She was wounded, betrayed, and could barely get out of bed in the morning. And now she was being told that she was responsible for making his life better.
The addict may like this solution. It fuels the narcissism that often accompanies compulsive sexual behavior. Some partners have tried this approach believing that it will keep them safe. In reality, it typically wounds the partner and denies her the healing she needs. As a partner, physical, emotional, and spiritual safety is necessary for your healing.
The balance of connection and separateness will need to be managed in the relationship. A properly trained therapist can help with this process. Marriage is comprised of two imperfect humans who have their own histories and traumas. Just spending time together won’t be enough to address the relational traumas. True intimacy must be learned and practiced.