Typically, the best way to confront a sex addict is to start by saying you are concerned about his or her sexual behaviors and wellbeing and you think there might be a problem. Then you should list a few of the concrete, undeniable facts that are causing you to worry. Be as specific as possible with these facts, and speak using “I” statements to reduce defensiveness on the part of the addict.
- I worry because you stay up late on your computer every night, and whenever I wake up to go to the bathroom I catch you masturbating to porn or a webcam.
- I’m afraid we will lose our source of income because you’ve been warned twice by your job to stop using company-owned equipment for sexual purposes, yet you continue to do it.
- I’m hurt, angry, and afraid because you contracted an STD and passed it along to me, and I wonder when it will happen again.
After this, you should tell your partner that you will no longer sit idly by while he or she ruins his or her (and your) life. Then you can offer to help your partner find sex addiction treatment and a 12-step sexual recovery program such as SAA, SCA, SA, or SLAA. After that, it’s up to the addict as to whether he or she wants to accept the help you’ve offered.
If you think your partner might react badly to this type of intervention, do not undertake this process on your own. If you think you might be abandoned (including financially) if you undertake this process, take steps that ensure your short- and long-term security and wellbeing before confronting the addict. If you can afford it, you may want to consult an interventionist for advice and guidance.
With or without the assistance of an interventionist, the goals of the initial confrontation are the same. Your purpose is to let the sex addict know the following:
- You care about his or her happiness and wellbeing.
- You are worried about his or her sexual behaviors, with an explanation as to why.
- You will no longer co-sign or support the addict’s destructive sexual behaviors.
- You hope that he or she will accept the help you are offering.
It is important to remember throughout this process that you cannot get well for another person. Nor can you create in that person the motivation needed for recovery. The choice to get well or not is the addict’s and nobody else’s. No matter how badly you want this person to recover, no matter how great your love for this person, you can’t magically make it happen. If and when the addict decides that he or she wants help, that help is available in abundance. Until then, the best that you can do is to voice your concerns and stop doing anything that enables the addiction.
If you think your significant other or anyone else you care about might be sexually addicted, help is readily available. Residential treatment for sex addiction is available at Seeking Integrity: Los Angeles, as are online workgroups for male and female sex addicts. Seeking Integrity also offers online workgroups for betrayed partners and couples.