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How Sex and Porn Addiction Affects relationships

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How Sex and Porn Addiction Affects relationships

A high number of clients seek help for their compulsive porn use and sex-related addictive behaviours because their relationship with their partner is put at risk.  Until their partners say that they are unhappy and are ready to leave many addicts do not even recognise their behaviours as unhealthy or potentially damaging.  They stay in denial until something bad happens or is imminent. 

Many men in particular bring their addictive behaviours into a committed relationship and continue with them in secret – such as looking at porn or sexting – and somehow convince themselves that this is okay because most men do it or they ‘need’ it as an escape from stress or boredom. Interestingly, they keep this pattern secretive. 

Men in this cycle of compulsive behaviours should get help before it is too late and their relationships are threatened or broken for good.  Even where couples overcome the hurt and conflict of the discovery of the behaviours, it can take many years for the trust to re-build.  Not dealing with the behaviours may mean they will be carried forward into the next relationship starting the cycle all over again.  These men may never experience a long-term relationship because their addictive behaviours have a stronger hold on them than they are willing to admit.

What stops us making changes that would make our lives so much better?

There is a quotation from the famous thinker Goethe that goes like this "The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision". 

As you are reading this you will may well be feeling a resistance to taking the next step to get support in changing something about yourself even though it is giving you discomfort.  But once taken, as the quote above goes, amazing things can happen.

Most people who go to a therapist or counsellor have left it too late - they are pushed into getting help because a crisis has occurred.  Choosing to get help sooner rather than later will make change that little bit easier - you have chosen to change of course so are more in charge, but also the problems may be addressed before they get quite UNmanageable.

What else makes us slow to get help and make change when it is needed to prevent our relationships, health and work suffering the consequences?  

Most partners of sex and porn addicts experience the discovery of these as the same as discovering an affair - even if the behaviours are 'virtual'.  Their whole perception of their addict partner is turned upside down.  It's not simply a question of "well all my mates do it" or "it wasn't actual sex with someone".

We know that making important changes in our lives or giving up old habits or difficult behaviours is going to take effort - finding a specialist, going to sessions, experimenting with new behaviours and thought processes.  But talk to anyone who has come out the other side of the change process and they will say that the hardest part is where you are now - fighting the resistance to change.  As Goethe says, once the decision is made, all sorts of novel and beneficial things can happen all contributing to a better quality of life.

 

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