I hear women ask their spouse after an affair or acting out sexually, “Why did you do it?” Men have a difficult time answering why. I’ve heard them say I am just“stupid”, “I just wasn’t thinking” or “ I don’t know”. They also blame their spouse, claiming that if they had more sex in the relationship, they wouldn’t have to step out. As a counselor, the real answer is that there is a part of them deep inside that craves for something they missed growing up. This part is so strong it drives them to soothe themselves. Don’t get me wrong; the spouse did make the choice and there is no excuse for this. What I tell women is that this drive doesn’t have anything to do with sex and he has had this problem before he married you. It is not your fault. He made this choice and it has hurt you deeply.
When someone steps out sexually they are usually not trying to hurt their spouse. In fact, men tell me all the time that the sex itself was not fulfilling. The part that is exciting is the planning and anticipation of acting out. It’s like a traveling salesman who picks up women at a bar and invites them to his hotel room for sex. After years of doing this, he goes through the same action of picking her up, but when he senses her interest, he gives her the wrong room number. He realizes the sex is no longer satisfying and just goes for the excitement of the chase and catch.
Under a man’s addiction is a craving for belonging, acceptance, touch, love, and feeling good about himself. This is a deep need that wasn’t fulfilled in his childhood. He learned to turn to sexual gratification to soothe the need. I want every woman who was traumatized by their spouse’s unfaithfulness to understand the following:
• It’s not your fault.
• You are not a fool for trying to keep the relationship together to save your family
• You have been severely hurt and need to talk with someone
• There is hope for change but he needs extensive treatment
• If he refuses to get help most likely he will do it again
• Trust can be rebuilt so that you have a renewed love, passion, and good friend in your spouse.
After working with many couples it is exciting to see relationships heal and transform. However, this does not happen overnight. I know that when the sexual addict gets the treatment he needs, change occurs so deeply that it gives the spouse the confidence he will never do it again. Yes, it’s possible!