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Eight years into her marriage, Rachel started to wonder if her husband had lost interest in sex."He'd always go to bed later than me and often made excuses when I brought it up," explains the 41-year-old.
Married sex chat
Some relationship therapists work with the partner's pain by treating it as an infidelity, for example, but it's so much more than that - and sometimes it isn't even that at all, with some people not actually having sex elsewhere, but using porn instead." Hall's therapeutic practice, which recognises the uniqueness of the partner's pain, has gone from strength to strength.
Also providing a haven of hope is the small, but growing, number of support groups.
"One confident businesswoman recently told me that the discovery that her husband is a sex addict turned her into a 'screaming banshee - I've become a stranger to myself'," Hall tells me.
Hall believes these partners need help of their own - hence her self-help guide, covering three broad areas: understanding sex addiction and why it hurts partners so much; repairing the damage it has caused to the partner; and finally, helping the partner to work out whether the relationship can survive and, either way, how to move forward.
"I could have dealt with a gambling addiction or alcoholism - anything but this," Rachel confirms.
Like most partners, she initially didn't buy into the concept of sex addiction ("it sounded like a pretty weak excuse for an affair") and even when she did start to believe that her husband's behaviour was compulsive, her friends didn't ("they'd look at me in despair, asking since when had sexual desire became a monster that can't be controlled"), leaving her feeling isolated.
Sex addiction for a partner brings up feelings of 'I'm not good enough' and 'He doesn't want me', but it's not about the sex, it's about the dopamine fix.
Once they understand the nature of the addictive drive, sometimes they're able to move into self-care." Rosendale's anecdotal research reveals that a third of those partners seeking help decide to stay in the relationship, while a further third leave and the final third "remain stuck".
Rosendale starts each 12-week support group by educating the women about sex addiction.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating