How do I know if my Partner is a sex addict?

You, more than anyone else, know your partner. Through your lives together, on a day to day basis, you witness your partner’s habits, schedules, and idiosyncrasies. Becoming used to them and in fact, learning to expect them is part of the intimacy of relationships. It is there, in that knowledge, where you begin to see changes that may seem concerning.

Sex addiction, like all addictions is progressive in nature. As such, if a condition has seated itself in the psyche of your partner, it will mature and progress to the extent that it will grow increasingly unmanageable and therefore apparent to the partner. Most often the addict’s behavior becomes known through their own lack of control over managing the details of their secret life.

The first thing you should look for is any measurable change in your partner’s behavior. Examples of this can vary and rely on your ability to remain as objective as possible. Some of the more common changes include modifications in schedule resulting in more time out of the house. Also look for changes in behavior within the house. Examples here include an increased, (or decreased), amount of time in a particular part of the house such as a den or garage. Pay particular attention to the part of the house where the computer is located. Forms of acting out for addicts can include Internet pornography also known as Cybersex. In fact, Cybersex is easily the most rapid form of sexual behavior for addict’s as seen by clinicians today.

Secondly, if this behavior persists for several weeks it may be time to intervene in your partner’s behavior. Approach your partner fairly and as objectively as you can. Preface your questions with affirmations if possible. Something like; “I know you keep very consistent hours which has led to my feeling secure with you but I have noticed that you are in the den during early morning hours. Can you tell me why you do that? Usually the first confrontation is the only real chance at an honest approach, because if the dishonesty begins then it will most likely remain. So don’t try to be intimidating or confrontational.

Watch as well as listen to your partner’s response to your questions. Remember, if your suspicions have reached this point, then you probably have something on your hand to contend with. Non verbal responses can be as revealing as verbal responses. Do their eyes divert? Do they shuffle in their seat or stance? You are looking for responses that you don’t normally see.

If you are not satisfied with your partner’s response, back off and give it time. Their behavior might return to normal. Your intervention may have been just what they needed. If there is an addiction however, it will progress. But, there is help for you through SLAA and professional intervention.