Partner Betrayal Trauma – Where’s the Support?

March 23, 2021 | Monifa Ellis-Addie, MA, AMFT, CCPS-C

You just found out you’re the partner of a sex addict.  You’re in shock, you’re hurt, you no longer trust your addicted partner. You may not even trust yourself.  You need someone to talk to.  Your family and friends may not understand. You fear they will pass judgement on you if you decide to stay or leave.  Your church may want you to “pray on it,” but you lack the tools to receive the blessings of healing.  So you start to become a recluse, fearful of how to interact with the outside world.  This is certainly not healthy for your well-being, but you don’t know how to get back to your “normal” self.  

Finding help as a partner of a sex addict may be difficult but is not impossible.  In today’s age, it is natural to do a Google search when looking for assistance. But, what do you do when that information is scarce or incorrect?  Here are some tips for creating a solid support system on your journey to recovery from this common, but unspoken of, trauma.

Trusted Family/Friends

Yes, it is difficult to perceive that anyone could possibly know what you’re going through in your close circle, but these people DO love you and want the best for you.  It may be only one or two loved ones that you feel will not be judgmental about your situation and encourage you in your healing process.  If you do have some safe family or friends, lean on them. They want you to.  It would be hurtful to them to know that you were struggling on your own and suffering in silence.

Support Groups

There is strength in numbers.  If you don’t feel like you are getting the support you need from loved ones, search for a support group.  Betrayal Trauma Recovery (BTR) is a great resource.  Their focus is to support you in your healing process.  They have suggested readings, healing retreats, and support groups.  S-Anon is another place where you can find support, if your local meeting recognizes the traumatic impact of sex addiction on you.  Similar to 12-steps practiced in Alcoholics Anonymous, S-Anon practices a 12-step system for recovery.  If you prefer smaller groups, you can check with local therapists (that specialize in partner betrayal trauma) in your area.  We, here at Banyan Therapy Group, host groups like these which present a more intimate setting with a licensed professional.  

Individual Treatment

It can be tricky searching for partner betrayal trauma treatment.  Often, professionals may claim to have experience treating this or they are Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT).  A therapist who is proficient in sex addiction does not mean they are just as knowledgeable in addressing partner betrayal trauma.  It is best to find a Certified Clinical Partner Specialist (CCPS) or Certified Partner Coach (CPC).  These individuals are licensed through the Association of Partners of Sex Addiction Trauma Specialists (APSATS).  The reason why it is very important to be treated by one of these individuals is in the name. They specialize in partner betrayal trauma.  Without this specialization, you can be susceptible to judgement, lack of empathy, more focus on the addict’s recovery over your own (if you choose to stay together), or just poor treatment.  Due to the lack of social understanding of this trauma it is extremely important to be treated by one who is truly qualified.

Partner betrayal trauma is real and there is help for you.  Do your research, try different things and find out which one, or which combination works for you.  We know this journey can be confusing and painful, and we are behind you in your quest to heal.


Partner Resources | Trauma Resources