The disclosure is crucial: the co-addict needs to know the extent of her partner's addiction in order to decide whether she can stay in the marriage. Their own needs, wants, and values are often obscured by years of self-neglect due to "other focus." Further, it is draining living with someone whose attention is always elsewhere. This means individual therapy with a sex addiction specialist, 12-step groups geared for partners such as COSA, therapist-facilitated partner support groups, and psychoeducation about co-addiction. The discovery of the addict's behavior is intensely traumatic.

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Snooping through the addict's belongings, calling multiple times a day to check the addict's whereabouts, telling the addict's therapist how to treat the addict, are all understandable responses to trauma, but can actually be re-traumatizing, in addition to shifting the focus from where it needs to be: on the co-addict. Even if she decides to stay, she needs to set personal goals that will enhance her life.

The co-addict must learn the only person she can control is herself. This may mean taking charge of finances, seeking paid work, developing a self-care program, nurturing relationships with friends and family.

He never gave her a formal disclosure of his sexual history and continued to act out sexually.

Stephanie, on the other hand, diligently attended individual therapy, 12-step meetings and a partner's support group. She harnessed her self-proclaimed "obsessive tendencies" into a part-time business as a personal organizer and set up a separate bank account with funds from her organizing work.

"Stephanie" came to see me after discovering that her attorney husband "Sam" had been visiting prostitutes during his lunch hour.

She learned this one night while up late with their sick toddler.

When they are not met, research has found that psychological damage can occur, including feelings of rage and betrayal, lowering of sexual and personal confidence, and damage to self-image.

Depending on the context, men and women can experience social consequences if their act of infidelity becomes public.

When It's Time to Leave After one year in her own treatment, Stephanie had enough information to make her decision.