It’s About Time -Therapy For Couples!
There are many questions about sex addiction therapy and other forms of recovery, especially when considered in the context of a couple or family’s experience.
- How long will it take for a recovering individual to manage the addictive cycle effectively?
- What kind of healing experience does a spouse (or another family member) go through in the recovery process?
- How long until a spouse or significant other can heal?
- How can they share their experiences with each other in a way that is productive and not destructive?
The answers to these questions vary as much as people and circumstances vary. However, when people are ready to make real change happen, they usually care far less about the timetable for healing than they do about the life changes themselves.
Simple Metaphor for Understanding Sex Addiction Healing
One of my favorite forms of exercise is running long distances, especially outdoors. (Some may say this justifies another kind of therapy!) When participating in organized race events, I always enjoy the emotional lift that can come from the observers who cheer on the runners along the way. What is even more helpful is when a fellow runner passes on some encouragement.
Why is that more helpful?
Because they’re doing something hard while I am doing something hard – we’re striving together.
We don’t necessarily have the same challenges – I may have sore muscles while the racing cohort may have a rock in their shoe. But we are both working to move forward. And it doesn’t matter where we are in the race (which, for me, is usually closer to the back of the pack than the front!) because we’re making our way through the course in a supportive way.
Couples, like running cohorts, are far more effective in their healing efforts when they work together. In fact, full recovery can only come as the couple uses their emotional bond to support each other along the way. But this is not easy, and it takes time. Since that supporting emotional bond is more painful to the spouse of a recovering person to offer, here are three things for spouses to understand in the healing marathon:
- The addiction is not your fault – but it will usually take some time to realize that. Spouses of addicts often feel like they’re not good enough or attractive enough. They feel inadequate. However, your spouse did not become addicted because of you. Addiction is a brain condition that you can’t cause.
- You need to heal too – and it will take some time to experience that. “That’s your issue – let me know when you get over it!” can sometimes be the feeling of a spouse. But feelings of inadequacy, betrayal, and hurt don’t go away without being addressed gradually over time. But you need time.
- Your connection with your spouse is integral to your spouse’s healing and yours – but it will take some time to offer that. Being supportive cohorts for each other – while acknowledging that you both have real pain – allows you to heal completely over time.
So, it’s about time! Give yourself some time and know that progress and healing will eventually come.