Helping a sex addict who is in denial

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adams, PhD offers advice to spouses of sex addicts when their partners are in denial
Relationship Advice | Helping a sex addicted spouse who is in denial
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Helping a sex addict who is in denial

So the question about how do you help a partner or a spouse of somebody who is a sex addict, for example who denies that he's having affairs or denies doing pornography and if you know as a spouse of a partner that you're certain it's going on, and he is, he in this case is completely denying it, what do you do? And that's a big dilemma particularly if you have children in the family because it makes it harder becasue you have a set of dependencies now that you're trying to protect, at the same time trying to protect yourself from experience that's hurtful to you. I think you have to track your own reality and I think you have to begin to make sure that you do the treatment that you need to do, invariably the relationship has to be put on the line. There's no way around that. And if you're unwilling to do that, then it's going to be hard to hold onto your reality. Eventually a relationship has to be brought back to some degree of homeostasis. In other words, at some point, somebody starts participating in believing the lies just to stay out of conflict and get functional, so if you're got three kids and, you know, you're married and you've got two, you know, everybody, both of you have jobs, you have to find a way to get functional. You can't stay in conflict. You might snipe at each other, but the question about the infidelity starts to receed and usually it's because the partner or the spouse has to swallow her knowledge and not believe the lie, but leave the lie on the table as the defining reality. And so the only way around that is to have to come to terms with the fact that the relationship has to be put on the line in order for me to move forward, not as a threat, but as one of the possible outcomes.

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adams, PhD offers advice to spouses of sex addicts when their partners are in denial


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Kenneth M. Adams, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT, is a Licensed Psychologist, the Clinical Director and Founder of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit, Michigan, as well as a faculty member at the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. As previous Clinical Director for the Life Healing Center in Sante Fe, New Mexico, a residential treatment center for trauma and addiction, Dr Adams created the first inpatient program exclusively for partners of sex addicts. In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Adams is a national lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of child abuse, dysfunctional family systems, and sex addiction. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, the books Silently Seduced and When He’s Married to Mom, as well as co-editor of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction. In 2011, Dr Adams received the “Carnes Award” for “outstanding work in the field of sexual addiction and compulsivity”. He is a certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and CSAT training facilitator as well as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. Dr. Adams is a member of the American Psychological Association, Michigan Psychological Association, Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), and International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) as well as an advisory board member to SASH and IITAP, and an editorial board member of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. For more on Dr Adams visit


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