You found out your husband is addicted to porn. Or he had an affair. Or multiple affairs. And now you feel like you’re going crazy. You’ve lost your sense of control and your security. Your emotions are all over the place. Is he a sex addict? You feel shocked, hurt, angry, alone, confused, afraid, and most of all…betrayed. You love your husband; you want to connect with him, but he doesn’t feel safe anymore. You can’t trust him. You’re fearful. You don’t know what to do next.
We want you to know that you’re not alone. You’re definitely not crazy. And there is hope!
What you’re feeling has a name. It’s called betrayal trauma. It happens when someone you’re in an intimate relationship with betrays your trust. And that trauma affects both your mind and your body. So if your brain feels like mush, you’re not sleeping, you’re overwhelmed with anxiety or shame, or you have racing thoughts or depressed feelings, that’s betrayal trauma manifesting itself in your body.
You’ve been traumatized, and when trauma occurs, your brain cannot adequately process all the information coming in, so it becomes fragmented, creating a foggy feeling. Betrayal trauma is real, and its effects are far-reaching.
The 5 Hs
As a woman experiencing betrayal trauma, you will naturally try to make sense of and “repair” the problem that feels so out of control. What can I do to make my husband’s behavior stop? Is this my fault? Am I not sexy enough to fulfill him? If I take his phone away, will he stop?
Certified sex addiction therapist (CSAT) Brannon Patrick describes common responses to betrayal trauma with 5 Hs.
Hugging: Some women become extra nice to their husbands. They keep the house extra clean, try to make themselves more attractive to their husbands, or initiate sex more often.
Hiding: Some women pretend like the betrayal didn’t happen. They are frozen by shame. They don’t know how to cope with the truth, so they ignore it.
Hovering: Some women hover over their husband, obsessed with where he is, what he’s doing, who he’s with, what he’s looking at, and if he’s taking the necessary steps for recovery.
Hating: Some women just get mean. They choose to hate their husbands because of what they’ve done.
Hopelessness: Lastly, some women just shut down. They not only grieve—which is normal and necessary—they get stuck. They become depressed and can’t cope.
Hope in the Hopelessness
We want you to know that there is hope, even in the chaos, even when you feel completely hopeless. Real recovery happens. You can rebuild the trust that was lost and feel safe and connected to your husband again. Sex addiction is not the end. It can actually be the beginning to a more deep and meaningful relationship when recovery is done well.
It is important to work with an expert when dealing with sex addiction and betrayal trauma. Many therapists do not have the experience or qualifications needed to successfully navigate a couple through recovery. You need to work with a fully-certified sex addition therapist (CSAT).
Our CSATs Ryan Russ and Dan Hunt are specially qualified to understand both your husband’s addiction and your betrayal trauma. They understand how addiction affects a marriage relationship and can help both you and your husband take the necessary steps to recovery.
At The Finding Place, we offer individual, couple, and group therapies for sexual addiction and the partners of sex addicts as well as structured disclosure for partners backed by a polygraph test, when needed.
You can love your husband and hate his addiction. Don’t suffer in secret. Please reach out to us for help.