“The presumption is that the partner knew at some level what was going on and was ‘enabling’ it, which is frankly an insult.
My life fell apart.” Sex addiction hurts partners in a way that no other addiction can, says Paula Hall, who has written a book on the subject.
is overdue, Hall believes, with thousands of partners across the UK struggling with something that evokes all the most destructive ingredients of personal pain – betrayal, infidelity, deceit and shame.
Indeed, you can find a whole load of stuff you don’t desire, but get hooked nonetheless,” she says.
Traditionally, most partners of sex addicts have been treated as co-dependents, says Hall.
“One of the points of this group is to depersonalise it.
Sex addiction for a partner brings up feelings of ‘I’m not good enough’ and ‘He doesn’t want me’, but it’s not about the sex, it’s about the dopamine fix.
“He’d always go to bed later than me and often made excuses when I brought it up,” explains the 41-year-old.
“So when he sat me down one day to tell me he was a sex addict, I actually laughed – although I soon stopped when he disclosed night upon night of watching pornography for hours on end and numerous short-lived affairs.
It’s the fact that they’ve lived with someone so long and had no idea.
“These guys, and it is mostly guys, are on the whole loving husbands, yet they did this right under your nose, leaving you unable to trust your partner, or even your own judgements,” she explains.
The NHS has a website page dedicated to sex addiction.