Love Addiction And Physical Cheating
For a love addict, cheating can be emotional, but it can also cross the physical line. Emotional cheating is devastating, but for many people, knowing your partner has crossed that line and had sex with someone else is even worse. A cheater may be a sex addict rather than a love addict, but it is possible to be the latter. The need to be adored by someone, to feel the rush of early infatuation or to get high from feeling desired can easily lead to a physical affair. Maybe youre conflicted because you love your partner, but youre not satisfied because of your love addiction. This is a dangerous combination that may cause you to cheat. Love addiction in itself is damaging and unhealthy. Its no way to live or to have a satisfying relationship. If you dont address the issue, you could even become a cheater or be betrayed by your partner. The best thing you can do if you recognize love addiction in yourself or your partner is to get professional help to learn how to make positive changes.
Therapies For Sex Addiction
For sex addicts, both individual therapy and group therapy can be extremely beneficial as they begin the healing process. Individual therapy provides people with a time to meet one-on-one with a therapist so that they can participate in in-depth explorations of themselves in a safe and confidential setting.
Group therapy allows for further support from peers who are experiencing similar struggles and can be a time to learn from one another. Couples therapy is an essential component in helping to restore the broken pieces that sex addiction and marital infidelity have caused within a relationship.
Additionally, it can be beneficial for each partner to participate in individual therapy along with couples therapy so that they have a place where they can process through their own thoughts with the support of an individual therapist.
About the Author:
This blog was written by The Refuge clinical content team member, Erica Smith, MA, NCC. Erica has several years of experience working in the treatment field as a clinical therapist and has her Masters degree in Clinical Community Counseling from the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University.
At The Refuge, true healing and lasting recovery are achieved because of the attention paid to each persons mind, body, and spirit.
Increased Rates Of Infidelity
Approximately 40% of relationships and 25% of marriages experience at least one incident related to infidelity. Likewise, up to 70% of all Americans engage in some kind of extramarital affair at some point during their marriage. Pornography use can increase the likelihood of infidelity by a whopping 300%.
Infidelity typically occurs from residual relational dissatisfaction. One or both partners feels like their needs arent getting met. Some couples work this out before cheating. Many dont.
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Are You Cheating In Your Relationship
Committing adultery is the ultimate betrayal. Anyone who cheats, while in a monogamous relationship, is violating the love, trust, and loyalty that their significant other has placed in them. Whether you are an accidental cheater or an habitual one, cheating in a relationship rarely goes unpunished.
Also, did you know that a cheating spouse may as well be committing a criminal offence? Anti-adultery laws still exist in some parts of America. In certain states, adultery is a Class B misdemeanor, but watch out if you live in Michigan. Here, adultery is deemed a Class I felony, which could land you with a four-year prison term. You can also be reprimanded for infidelity if you are a member of the United States military forces. Whether such antiquated laws deserve a place in the 21st century is a matter for debate. Nonetheless, they are still being enforced, albeit rather infrequently. So remember: cheating always has consequences!
How Substance Abuse Can Encourage Infidelity
When someone drinks or does drugs, they can easily blame their poor decisions on the substance. Saying things like the liquor made me do it or I only did it because I was drunk allows someone to side-step taking responsibility for their mistakes.
Furthermore, substance abuse often makes someone feel relaxed and carefree. There may be very little awareness of consequences for harmful behavior. As a result of this, intoxicated individuals may take bold actions. Unfortunately, feeling free and having little fear can cause someone struggling with substance abuse to discount the impact their addiction and infidelity has on their family.
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How To Tell A Cheater From A Sex Addict
Many people, both men and women, cheat on the person they are in a relationship with at least 20-30% admit it depending on which data you are looking at and how the research questions are phrased.Some people cheat very rarely and others cheat a lot.
Some people cheat repeatedly but do not meet the criteria for sex addiction.
Others who cheat repeatedly use cheating as a sexually addictive behavior and can definitely benefit from being given appropriate treatment.
So how do you tell the two apart?
The generally accepted clinical criteria have to do with things like being preoccupied with and unable to resist the urges to do certain behaviors, escalation of the behavior over time, inability to stop despite negative consequences, and distress if prevented from engaging in the behavior.But many of these criteria would be hard for a spouse or partner of a cheater to see.
For sex addicts cheating, or having serial affairs, is part of a larger pattern of using sex as a drug.The majority of sex addicts who cheat usually have some other form of sexual behavior in addition to affairs, such as porn, internet sex, phone sex, flirting, sexual hook-ups, and so on.And in general they tend to view the world through sex colored glasses, sometimes without realizing it.
Some signs that your cheater may be a sex addict
Sometimes a cheater is just a cheater
When Sex Becomes An Obsession There Are Always Signs
Cheating may be a common symptom of sex addiction, but it is far from the only symptom. For someone with sex addiction, sex is more than an obsessionit becomes the single most important thing in her life, and the search for sexual gratification is constant. While she will try her best to hide the most obvious manifestations of her sexual addiction , there are almost always other signs that inevitably become apparent.
People with sex addiction often make frequent sexual jokes and remarks in public and talk about sexual topics, such as other peoples physical attributes, continually in private. They sexually objectify the people they meet, and aggressive flirting or visual fixation in the form of intense eye contact or staring often gives this away.
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The Main Differences Between Infidelity And Sex Addiction
Someone with sex addiction uses sex as a drug and will therefore often engage in other behaviours such as porn, cybersex, phone sex and even visiting prostitutes.
Someone who is cheating but does not have a sex addiction, may not engage in any of these other activities. Sex is not used as a drug for them but if they are carrying out these activities, it tends to be part of a larger pattern of behaviour thats impulsive, self-indulgent, irresponsible or immoral. Its more likely to be used for self-gratification rather than because the person feels they have a dependency on sex.
Just like a person addicted to alcohol or drugs uses substances to numb feelings, escape stress or cope with other forms of physical or emotional discomfort, someone with sexual addiction is doing the same thing with sex.
Compulsive sexual fantasies and behaviours are not being carried out because it feels good or because the person is simply looking for a good time. Theyre doing it to temporarily escape the pain of life and its very rarely about the act of sex itself.
More often than not, people with sex addiction have other addictions as well. Many studies have found that the overwhelming majority of those who suffer from sexual addiction have at least one other addictive behaviour such as alcohol, drugs, nicotine or even work.
Dealing With A Serial Cheater
When one partner cheats, the other person often feels alone and a little hopeless, but you need to keep in mind that it isnt your fault. Your partner might stray because of insecurities. Cheating treatment facilities offer counseling sessions that can help you take steps toward your new life.
As you meet with your counselor, you can decide if you want to salvage your relationship and move forward together, take a short break from your addictive partner, or let go completely in order to find healing in your life.
Cheating recovery programs can also offer support for those dealing with a sexual addiction. Through family sessions and couples counseling, youll learn that the cheating is a sign of a larger problem that you can overcome together.
When you decide to take that step forward, call us to find cheating recovery centers for you or your partner.
- Carnes, P.J. . Dont Call it love: Recovering from sexual addiction. New York: Bantam Books.
- Kafka, M.P. . Hyeprsexual disorder: A proposed diagnosis for DSM-V. Archives of Sexual Behavior 39:377-400.
- Rosenberg, K.P., OConnor, S., and Carnes, P. . Sex Addiction: An Overview. In Rosenberg, K.P., and Feder, L.C., Editors. Behavioral Addictions: Criteria, Evidence, and Treatment. Boston: Elsevier. pp. 215-236.
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How Love Addiction Can Lead To Infidelity
Love addiction is a complicated thing. It can take a lot of different forms and can cause someone to behave in a variety of damaging ways. It may seem counterintuitive that someone addicted to love would cheat on a partner, but it happens more than you might think. Love addiction and cheating too often go together. To avoid the harm that can come from being a love addict and from infidelity, be aware of what love addiction is and how it can lead to cheating.
Making Everything Into Sex
The nature of the sex addict is such that most, if not all, areas of thought become centered on things of a sexual nature. Sex and everything related to sex becomes the top priority.
Some sex addicts may try to fill their cravings by engaging in activities with their spouses, only to discover that their spouses are not able to meet the sexual needs that their brains have convinced them that they require. Whether it be the frequency in which the addict wants to have sex, the ways in which he or she wants to have sex, or something else, the failure to find satisfaction in having those needs met leads the addict to look elsewhere.
In other cases, sex addicts may be too fearful to express their desires to their spouses and instead search for ways to manage their urges outside of their marriage.
Sex Addiction And Infidelity
Sex addiction involves repeatedly engaging in sexual acts despite negative consequences. If sex addicts are in relationships, their actions often harm their partners. People battling sex addiction can lose even more control when under the influence of alcohol. Their destructive behaviors may increase, and a once-healthy relationship can be further damaged.
Sex addicts look for highs through sex and can spiral into emotional lows and highs, possibly fueling an SUD. The mixture of substance abuse and sex addiction is a serious combination needing immediate treatment.
Break free from addiction.
What To Do In The Short Term
If you are the one who has been betrayed, hopefully your spouse will talk to you about it and respond with comfort and reassurance, as this is a time when you will feel completely vulnerable and will really need to be able to express your feelings and thoughts to the very person who has injured you.
If your spouse will not be that person for you, then you must find a therapist, pastor, rabbi, trusted friend or family member to be there for you. You are going to need to vent and process, and a compassionate, caring, non-judgmental, trusted person to witness and minister to your grief and pain will help enormously and set you on a path to healing. If your husband or wife is seriously involved with someone else and will not come back to the marriage, the best thing you can do is to focus on yourself and your own growth and healing moving forward, and yes, processing rage, anger, disappointment and sadness will certainly be a part of that.
The way each person behaves and handles themselves during these dark days must be as much as can be under such circumstances intentional, deliberate, and thoughtful, with the onus mainly on the betrayer.
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Is It Ok To Be Close
In the coming days, weeks and months you will be working on understanding what has happened to each of you in your marriage that got you to this place? Youll also need to take a hard look at how the affair came about, and you are going to have to figure out the best way to move forward. While doing all of these things I want you to know that of course it is OK to have closeness and intimacy, and if you feel so inclined, I encourage it. What most couples report is that they will have incredibly close moments, and then waves of upset and turmoil, and I tell them that this is normal. What is also truly helpful and healing is to have moments together when you are not talking about or processing the betrayal, but just enjoying one anothers company.
As I said, though, we are going to have to explore what was taking place in the marriage prior to the affair that left one person vulnerable to getting involved sexually with someone else. If the marriage had leaks, the leaks are going to have to be repaired and plugged. All the research Ive ever read on infidelity, and my clinical experience, says that for a marriage to fully recover from an affair, the circumstances that got you there in the first place must be resolved. Couples who reconcile willy-nilly, have a honeymoon period of make-up sex and closeness, and who dont deal with the root causes of the crisis have an extremely high failure rate, meaning they often end up divorcing.
End Your Current Affair
But do it right. You may owe themand yourselfmore complete closure. Thank them for your time together, apologize for anything you have done to hurt them, and tell them what you will or will not do going forward.
Let them know that you appreciate the relationship. If you loved them, tell them it was true. Be honest about your boundaries going forward. If you have to see them every day, like at work, for example, tell them you’ll be “light and polite,” but you can’t continue in the way you’ve been operating. Tell them why. If it’s because you are getting back with your spouse, tell them you are making your marriage work. Let them know you need time to think things through.
It’s OK to admit ambivalence. You probably have strong feelings both ways you want to stay, but you know you have to go. Tell them. But be clear that you know the best thing for you right now is to end this affair.
Finally, change your behavior. Don’t keep texting or calling or flirting at the water cooler. Really give them a chance to get over you, move on, and get another lover. Give them the space they deserve.
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Can You Be A Cheater And A Sex Addict
The short answer to this question is yes. But not all cheaters are sex addicts, and not all sex addicts are cheaters. If a person is keeping important sexual and romantic secrets from his or her significant other, that person is cheating. That person might also be preoccupied to the point of obsession with his or her sextracurricular behaviors, unable to quit even though he or she would like to, and running into all sorts of life issues as a result. If so, there is a good chance that person is sexually addicted. But plenty of men and woman cheat, even regularly, without meeting any of the criteria for sexual addiction. And plenty of sex addicts are not in relationships and therefore cant cheat.
Unfortunately, those whove been caught cheating will sometimes plead sex addiction as an excuse for their behavior, hoping to avoid or at least to minimize the judgment and reprisals they experience related to their infidelity. Sometimes these men and women really are sexually addicted, but just as often they are not. Either way, a diagnosis of sexual addiction does not let the addict off the hook for what he or she has done.
Many Roads Lead To Infidelity
According to the substance abuse disorder experts at Swift River, there are a number of factors that may lead an addict into the arms of another. Addictive personalities are at a higher risk of engaging in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex with strangers or multiple partners. Others still employ sex as a means of obtaining drugs or alcohol. Sex may be used as currency to fund habits the addict wishes to hide from their partner, who likely has access to the familys finances. Another common reason that addicts cheat is to feel a physical connection with someone who gets them. Engaging in sexual activity with another user eliminates the fear of being judged for the addiction. In this case, the addict may use extramarital sex as a tool for comfort.
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