Surviving Valentine’s Day
It is that time of year when you see lots of adverts of smiling couples gazing lovingly at each other, restaurants advertising ‘lovers’ special menus and florist windows packed with hanging hearts. Yes, it is Valentine’s Day. This day can be a difficult day for a partner of who has found out her spouse is a sex addict or a porn addict, especially if no one knows what you are going through. It is very draining hiding a secret that partner has been watching porn, visiting hook up sites, or visiting sex workers. The shame of carrying around this secret can be heavy, lonely and at times overwhelming. This blog is a small, concise survival guide for getting through the lovey dovey season.
Partners of sex addicts and porn addicts : remember you are not alone
Visit the Laurel Centre forum exclusive to partners. This forum is a place where you will find other partners who understand where you are coming from and are also trying to get their heads around sex and porn addiction. The forum allows you to ask questions, receive support or read up on advice from people who have walked your path and can help you along your own recovery journey. Click here to take you to the forum.
Talk to a trained sex addiction and porn addiction counsellor
The Laurel Centre has a large group of counsellors / therapists across the UK who are trained to listen and help partners who are affected by sex addiction or porn addiction. These therapists can offer face-to-face therapy or online therapy. There are also support groups for partners of sex addicts and porn addicts through our Laurel Centre support programmes. Sharing your story helps lift the shame you are carrying, teach you what sex addiction is and normalise the different feelings and thoughts you are experiencing. We can help you regain control and stability in your life.
Plan your day
Think through what Valentine’s Day will look like for you. Prepare for triggers that could make you angry, upset or anxious resulting from your partners past behaviour. For example, you may work in an office and see the receptionist walk through the office with a big bunch of roses. Will this trigger rage in you that your spouse used to send you flowers when he was feeling guilty? or you are waiting at the school gates and other parents are discussing how they are going to spend Valentine’s evening, and someone asks you. Prepare some stock answers so you are not caught off guard. If you can sense your feelings are going to overwhelm you, then try and ground yourself by doing some deep breathing exercises or look around the room for 5 objects that are blue, then try and spot 4 objects that are green etc. This can give you a bit of time to calm down your reactions and get to a safe place.
Put in some boundaries with your partner
What boundaries do you need to put in place with your spouse or partner in relation to Valentine’s Day? If as a couple your normal pattern was to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and you don’t want to celebrate in a big way this year, then ask them to not send flowers, card or book any surprise meals. If you need your spouse or partner to text you when they have got to work, or text when they are on the train, then ask. Alternatively, ask them to look after the children that evening, so you can go out for a jog or go to a class at the gym.
Be kind to yourself
Don’t be surprised if you feel low or have no energy to do your normal routine. Discovering your spouse or partner is a sex addict or porn addicts is traumatic. Dealing with trauma is very tiring for the mind and body. Acknowledge to yourself that there will be very bad days, some okay days and some good days.
We hope that the above tips can help is some way in your recovery with living with a sex addict or porn addict. If you want more information on individual therapy, group therapy or partner programmes then please go to our home page.