How to best support your PA SO

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by RecoveringLion, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. RecoveringLion

    RecoveringLion Fapstronaut

    So your SO has either been caught or has confessed to his problem. Lets assume (most likely He) has agreed to salvage your relationship and try to recover. I want to start by saying that you are not wrong in any capacity for how you have responded. You are hurt, betrayed, confused. Life is upside down. So what is the best path forward?

    How can you best support him? I would encourage you to not let Google be your guide here. Everything I am going to share is informed by licensed therapists for sex addiction. There are way too many excellently articulated articles written by SO’s giving horrific, controlling and counter productive advice.

    Here is what you shouldn’t do:
    1. Feel like you need to hold everything together.
    2. Hide your feelings and emotions.
    3. Try to be “perfect”
    4. Set no boundaries
    5. Set no expectation.
    6. Get involved in his recovery
    7. Tolerate lying or deception
    8. Make yourself the expert on what is best for his recovery. Much of SA recovery is counter intuitive to the the betrayed SO.

    Here is what is best:
    1. Agree on boundries and expectations (more on this in a moment).
    2. Realize these problems most likely began before you entered his life.
    3. Realize like most issues, these issues stem back to childhood and family in most cases
    4. Give yourself permission to prioritize your own mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
    5. Give yourself as much space as you need.
    6. Once boundries have been agreed on, allow him space and privacy to work through his recovery (so long as he shows he is actually working on it).
    7. Hold him accountable to broken boundries, and also praise and celebrate him (if you are able, dont feel pressured) when he has successes and milestones.

    So what are healthy boundaries and expectations?
    1. If he watches porn, masterbates,just one of the two, or both, it must be reported to you within 24 hours. Its okay if he needs to process with someone else first, but it must be revealed within 24 hours, or it counts as a lie, and lies come with consequences (choose your own consequence) (this also includes him participating with any other addictive behavior such as escorts, cam girls, strip clubs, etc. This DOES NOT include working through his proclivity to fantasize and ogle or other urges and temptations, so long as he doesn’t succumb to them. Its going to be a frequent struggle for him, you dont need to hear about it all the time).

    2. He must, with the guidance of a qualified sex addiction therapist, work on a full disclosure letter to you and reveal it to you when his therapist feels he is emotionally mature enough to handle it properly.

    3. He must prioritize and own his recovery. How that looks is up to to him, but you can of course make suggestions. (The more you try to control this process, the more you will own it instead of him... The result will be him resenting you and distancing himself. I know its counter intuitive. But if you are helicoptering over him like a parent over their toddler, he will not be thankful that you didnt leave)

    4. He needs to be willing to let you process without getting all butt hurt, offended, emotional, and weak. He as a man needs to become capable and mature enough to face his failures, and how they have hurt you, with grace and compassion.

    5. He needs to pursue whole change of personhood. Heart change, not just behavior change. He may need to confront his family on some issues growing up. He may need to distance himself from them or other enabling friends. He needs to put his relationship with you first. He needs to live in the balance of who he could be if he works hard, and who he will be if he doesn’t.

    Ultimately you want a man who owned his recovery, struggled forward through it, and found himself in the process. If you decide to stay, give him the opportunity to do this. If setup what success and failure looks like. Let him know what has to happen for you to stay and what needs to happen for you to leave for good. Motivation is best maintained when balance between opportunity for gain and fear of loss.

    Good luck!
  2. Hopeishe

    Hopeishe Fapstronaut

    thank you. i needed this guidance :)
  3. @RecoveringLion,


    Your posts regarding this topic are as concise, lucid, and thorough as any book I have read on the subject.

    RecoveringLion likes this.

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