Living With A Stranger


How could this be? This isn’t how you saw your life unfolding. You were in love and believed that you were meant to be together. This is the man that you have felt so attached to and been building your life with. He was your rock, your soul mate and above all you committed to be true to one another.

But now things are different. You caught him in a lie and one thing led to another. You’ve discovered that the problem is much bigger than you could have imagined. He has an addiction to pornography and he’s been chatting on line with other women. Your heart feels like it’s been shattered into tiny pieces. There are a million questions that you want answered. How long has this been going on? Why am I not enough? What else has he done? Has he told me everything? What do I do now?

sad-coupleHe’s seen how devastating this has been for you, the tears you’ve shed. Your mind is consumed with worry and you are preoccupied wondering what he is doing on the computer when your away or what he might be thinking as you stroll through the mall together. Does he really understand the trauma you have experienced?

Yet, he says he loves you and wants things to be better. He’s going to try really hard to conquer this addiction. After all, he is a good person in so many ways and you said you would support him and help him. Every fiber in your being wants this to be true and at the same time your heart and spirit are broken. You just don’t know if you could survive one more disclosure. So, you start checking his emails, his cell phone and computer history. This can’t happen one more time! In some strange way this gives you a false sense of control for a moment in what feels like your out of control life. But this isn’t you. This isn’t the person you use to be. Somehow you’ve lost yourself through all of this. You didn’t find anything in your checking and searching this time. Things settle for a short while but then you find yourself preoccupied again with all the hurt and worry. This is called the fear cycle.

This is a familiar story for partners of sex addicts. Partners do experience trauma and often require professional help. You can heal and your relationship can heal. Recovery is not just for the addict, partners too have to experience their own recovery. If you would like more information about our recognized leading out patient program go to


By Jennifer Thibodeau MSW, RSW

Clinical Social Worker, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist


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