“I would rather know the truth; I can deal with the truth much better than not knowing. If I only knew the full truth from A to Z, I wouldn’t feel like I’m going crazy.”
I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard statements just like this, from partners of sex addicts. So often, partners have been deceived time after time and trust in the relationship was bruised and battered.
After an initial disclosure, a partner may feel the affects of being traumatized. Hurt and confusion dominate every moment of the day. As time passes, partners may come to accept a small portion of their new reality and commit to working through this difficult situation with the one they love. They may believe that they have the whole truth and affirm that they can work through this.
Down the road there may be yet another disclosure, which turns their world upside down. Although the first disclosure was painful, they were re-assured by their spouse that they had all the information. Yet they find themselves, again struggling to make sense of it all. They begin to question everything they knew about their former life.
Again, promises are made and many partners agree to continue in the relationship hoping that this is now the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yet, in their mind and heart, they worry and question everything. Feelings of uncertainty about themselves and their love relationship are always with them, as they wonder if there is more that hasn’t been told.
These staggered disclosures are extremely damaging and painful to the partner. Partners deserve to have full disclosure. There are several decisions that need to be made and they need to be based on truth.
Full disclosure is an opportunity to help heal the relationship in a real and authentic way. Although the very thought of this can be paralyzing for both the partner and the addict, full disclosure holds the key that unlocks the door for developing real connection and emotional intimacy. There are no more secrets, no more hiding, only truth and transparency.
The process of full disclosure is so significant and important to the couple’s healing that it is not to be taken lightly and should be guided by a trained professional. A therapist trained in disclosures can assist the addict in preparing his full written disclosure. This preparation can take months, as they identify truth and accountability.
During this time of preparation, the partner also works with the therapist to identify specific questions that need clarity. When the day of full disclosure comes, the partner, addict and therapist meet together. The therapist assists and guides the session while supporting the couple.
This disclosure process, when done properly, can be pivotal for a couple’s progress. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is a gift of renewal and empowerment for both the addict and the partner as they journey down their path of recovery.
Jennifer Thibodeau MSW, RSW
Clinical Social Worker, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist-Supervisor