Therapy for Spouses of Sex Addicts

Sex Addiction is a family disease. It affects not only the addict but the rest of the family as well. Wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, and other family members are often traumatized by the terrible discovery that the person whom they had trusted has been engaged in unthinkable behavior and deception.

Sadly, frum families are not immune to the devastation that sex addiction has caused for countless addicts and their family members. Frum men from all walks of life, whether businessmen, professionals, kollel yungerleit, mechanchim, and even rabbanim, have been affected and thereby affect their families.

Discovering the Horrible Secret

Whether online pornography, chat rooms, webcams, strip clubs, massage parlor, escort services, or extramarital affairs, many frum women were horrified to discover what their husbands had been up to.

Many times, the wives were completely unaware that their husband was involved in this behavior. In other cases, some wives suspected that something was wrong but were unable to put their finger on the source of the problem. For many frum women, they would not dare even to consider the possibility that their husbands, whom they trusted and looked up to, could commit such terrible crimes of infidelity.

Many frum women upon discovering the sordid truth are too shocked to take action. Not knowing where to turn or who to tell, many are too embarrassed to seek out help. Many are too embarrassed to even confront their husbands and instead decide to pretend as if they never discovered anything.

The Trauma of Discovery and Betrayal

These frum women often become literally traumatized by the discovery of their husband's offensive sexual behavior. Scientific studies have shown that the wives of sex addicts often display the same signs of post-traumatic stress as survivors of rape and other sexual abuse. Some of these symptoms may include the following:

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:
  • Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include:
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Symptoms of anxiety and increased emotional arousal may include:
  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren't there
(Source: Mayo Clinic)

Breaking the Silence: Getting the Help You Need to Recover

If you are suffering from the recent shock of your husband's sexual acting out, you don't need to suffer any more. You can get help from a qualified professional therapist who is trained in helping the wives of sex addicts recover from the trauma and hurt of their husband's infidelities. Before you can make any decisions on what to do next in your marriage, you need to get help for yourself to deal with the emotional aftermath of your husband's behavior. Then after you have taken the time to help yourself you can start to decide what to do about your marriage and your family.