Trauma Impacts Both Partners

Create a good support system to help you and your loved one find healing.


Sex addiction does not only negatively impact the addict, but loved ones, too. If you discover your loved one has a sex addiction, you may benefit from professional counselling to help you deal with the aftermath of discovery. Intimate partners, especially, often experience intense symptoms of trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), after discovering the sexual behaviours of the addict.
partner trauma counselling ottawa

Partners of sex addicts suffer three types of overwhelming injuries which together damage the intimate relationship and cause you to experience Complex Betrayal Trauma.

Attachment Injury occurs when the sexual behaviour of the addict violates the trust and vulnerability of your relationship. When the addict lies, manipulates, coerces, and intimidates you in an effort to try to deny or hide their secret behaviour, you experience emotional and psychological injury from the confusion. Sexual Injury impacts your sexuality as a result of the addict’s pursuit of sex with you, with someone else, or both.

Like most partners, you may experience highly emotional reactions upon discovery, including:

  • Shock
  • Feeling Scared
  • Helpless
  • Confused
  • Depressed
  • Grief & Loss
  • Angry & Frustrated
  • Tired of Faking It
  • Isolated & Alone
  • Rejected & Replaced

Many partners also struggle with feelings of shame or self-blame and feel too embarrassed to reach out for help.

Recovering from trauma involves stabilization and validation.

Individual and Group Counselling are two ways that one can heal from the relational trauma of being in relationship with a person with sex addiction.

You may also find yourself thinking one of these statements:

  • “I have been traumatized by the repeated discovery of his deception and betrayal of me with these activities.”
  • “We don’t have sex often, and it irritates me that he puts more time into the porn than trying to be intimate with me.”

You may insist your sex addicted partner seek professional help, while you take on the burden of caring for and protecting your family. Try not to isolate yourself from seeking professional help for your own healing. Sex addiction is very complex and leads to devastating consequences. If you lack an adequate trauma support system, you face the risk of developing or exasperating poor coping skills, such as overeating or excessive drinking. You may even find yourself confronting the aftermath of a revenge affair or another act of self-harm. Betrayal trauma and the aftermath it causes creates deep wounds in your relationship with your loved one, but it may also change how you see yourself. Exploring self-help resources is an excellent place to begin, but it is very difficult to achieve lasting healing and effective recovery from betrayal trauma on your own without a solid support system and good self-care.

Partner counselling can also help you learn how to best support your partner through sex addiction recovery, if you decide to stay in the relationship. You will learn what to expect from the recovery process and how to manage the roller coaster of emotions that occur during recovery. Down the road, couples counselling can provide support as you work to restore your relationship and rebuild broken trust.

Under The Stones - Free Orientation Session

Have you been betrayed by a significant person in your life?

This can impact us in many ways – emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, sexually, socially, financially, and even time-wise (as the past, the present, and the future are all different now). Figuring out what to do next can include getting information and support.

Attend the 1-hour orientation, “Under the Stones: The Stress and Trauma of Sex Addiction”. Facilitated by experienced and compassionate counselling staff, you will learn about sex addiction, partner betrayal trauma, and a place for your questions. While you did not cause this, yet you are the best person who can heal, grow, and reclaim your life.

Please sign up below for your private individual session or contact us about counselling services.

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The Whitestone Clinic offers an intensive couple therapy program for couples impacted by sex addiction. In the program, the couple flows through key steps of therapy timed for effective recovery from sex addiction and healing from betrayal trauma. Important stages include initial couple assessment, followed by individual work on addiction recovery and healing from betrayal trauma, dovetailing with the crucial work of preparing, delivering, and receiving the recovering addict’s Disclosure Statement and the partner’s Impact Statement. In the final phase, the couple begins intensive couple work to repair their damaged relationship, rebuild intimacy and healthy sexuality, and Return to Love.