Is Habitual Cheating in a Relationship a Sign of a Sex Addiction?

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Infidelity is a difficult thing to face, but it is something that you can recover from and move beyond. Whether you or your partner cheated, the cheating person must be willing to step up and admit the truth. Visiting a cheating recovery center can help you and your partner get back on the same page and find ways to move past the cheating.

If you aren’t sure where to find the right recovery facilities for cheating in your area, call us at 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? to find a center that can help you and your partner.

Signs of Cheating

Many men and women go years without knowing that their partners or significant others have cheated until they see the affair firsthand. Detective Gomez, of the Gomez Detective Agency, lists a few potential warning signs of a cheating partner, including:

  • Changes in appearance
  • Changes in work responsibilities
  • Engaging in secretive behaviors
  • Frequent arguments with a partner
  • Less intimacy at home

A person who cheats will go to great lengths to hide that behavior from a partner. Cheating spouses may keep their phones with them at all times, stop using the shared family computer, and become more secretive about their work schedules. A cheating partner won’t want to spend as much time around a loved one and may claim to have had a hard day at work to cover up a lack of interest in sex.

Cheating Is Common

Cheating is more common than you might think. According to the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, more than 50 percent of both men and women admitted to cheating in a previous relationship. The study found that 14 percent of married women and 22 percent of married men cheated while married. Those affairs lasted an average of two years, and more than 30 percent of those affairs were with coworkers. If you have learned that your partner cheated, you’ll find that a cheating recovery facility will help you both move on with your lives together or separately.

What About Sexual Addiction?

Some people cheat because of an addiction to sex. You might cheat because you feel your partner doesn’t satisfy your needs or vice versa. Robert Weiss of Psych Central defines sexual addiction as an addiction that causes an individual to feel an intense need for sex. This addiction can lead to new and uncharacteristic behaviors, including excessive masturbation or pornography viewing. Weiss points out that most addicts do not seek treatment until the addiction causes a major lifestyle change. A sex addict might only attend a cheating rehab center after facing divorce or problems with the law.

Signs of Sexual Addiction

sex addiction

Before you look for cheating recovery programs, you need to decide if the cheating was an isolated event or the sign of sexual addiction. Dr. Michael Herkov lists the signs of sexual addiction as:

  • Having intercourse with multiple partners
  • Engaging in risky or promiscuous behaviors
  • Experiencing problems at home because of the addiction
  • Ignoring other obligations in favor of sex
  • Viewing sex as more important than anything else

In the popular media, psychologist Patrick Carnes (1991) identified the following signs associated with sexual addiction:

  • Compulsive Behavior
  • Loss of Control
  • Loss of Time
  • Preoccupation
  • Inability to Fulfill Obligations
  • Continuation despite Consequences
  • Escalation
  • Social, Occupational, and Recreational Losses
  • Withdrawal

Kafka (2010) proposed diagnostic criteria for Hypersexual Disorder which incorporates a number of the criteria for sexual addiction. Among the criteria relevant to sexual addiction are the following:

  • Excessive time consumed planning for and engaging in sexual behavior.
  • Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors in in response to stressful life events.
  • Repeated but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these fantasies, urges, or behaviors.
  • Repetitively engaging in sexual behaviors while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others.

Treatments for Sexual Addiction

Studies of persons struggling with sexual addiction reveal a number of co-occurring disorders for which the addicted individual needs to be screened prior to treatment. Co-occurring drug addictions, risk-taking behaviors, and psychiatric problems such as depression and anxiety may be part of the diagnosis (Rosenberg, et al. 2014). Professionals in integrated treatment programs are no strangers to treating these disorders.

Treatment for sexual addiction follows a pattern similar for the treatment of other addictions. Generally, psychotherapy, substance and behavioral counseling in group and individual formats will be part of the process of recovery. Couples counseling, if and when deemed appropriate, will be integrated into the recovery program as well (Rosenberg). Treatment of other addictions, insight-oriented therapy to identify deeper causes, and family therapy to resolve conflict are an integral part of the sexual addiction treatment program.

12-Step peer-support groups, based on the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) model, offer the support and spiritual component which some folks consider to be necessary for an awakening to freedom, hope, making amends, and sustained recovery. They include Sex Anonymous (SA), Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.

Medical treatments for sexual addiction can be very helpful in reducing sexual urges or compulsions, stabilizing mood, and reducing impulses to engage in behavior which has potentially devastating emotional effects on self and others, e.g. continued cheating/infidelity. These medications include mood stabilizers such as valproic acid (Depakote) and anti-depressants which can reduce desire and arousal (Rosenberg).

Depending on the cheating treatment facility, the counselor might recommend that you abstain from sexual activity for a few months. This gives you the chance to recover from the thoughts and feelings associated with the sex addiction, and it allows you time to work on your relationship.

Take a Step Forward

When one partner cheats, the other person often feels alone and a little hopeless, but you need to keep in mind that it isn’t your fault. Your partner might stray because of insecurities. Cheating treatment facilities offer counseling sessions that can help you take steps toward your new life.

As you meet with your counselor, you can decide if you want to salvage your relationship and move forward together, take a short break from your addictive partner, or let go completely in order to find healing in your life.

Cheating recovery programs can also offer support for those dealing with a sexual addiction. Through family sessions and couples counseling, you’ll learn that the cheating is a sign of a larger problem that you can overcome together. When you decide to take that step forward, call us at 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? to find cheating recovery centers for you or your partner.

Sources

  • Carnes, P.J. (1991). Don’t Call it love: Recovering from sexual addiction. New York: Bantam Books.
  • Kafka, M.P. (2010). Hyeprsexual disorder: A proposed diagnosis for DSM-V. Archives of Sexual Behavior 39(2):377-400.
  • Rosenberg, K.P., O’Connor, S., and Carnes, P. (2014). Sex Addiction: An Overview. In Rosenberg, K.P., and Feder, L.C., Editors. Behavioral Addictions: Criteria, Evidence, and Treatment. Boston: Elsevier. pp. 215-236.
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