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My life fell apart.” Sex addiction hurts partners in a way that no other addiction can, says Paula Hall, who has written a book on the subject.
is overdue, Hall believes, with thousands of partners across the UK struggling with something that evokes all the most destructive ingredients of personal pain – betrayal, infidelity, deceit and shame.
“Sex addiction feels extremely personal when you’re the partner because it affects the most intimate part of your relationship in a way that, say, alcohol or drugs just don’t,” she explains.
The reality for most partners I see is that they experience phenomenal shock.” The damage to self-esteem, she continues, isn’t just about the sexualised behaviour, such as visits to prostitutes that partners never knew about.
Hall believes these partners need help of their own – hence her book, which is essentially a self-help guide, covering three broad areas: understanding sex addiction and why it hurts partners so much; repairing the damage it has caused to the partner; and finally, helping the partner to work out whether the relationship can survive and, either way, how to move forward.
“Ideally, partners get their own therapy,” says Hall.
It’s the fact that they’ve lived with someone so long and had no idea.
“These guys, and it is mostly guys, are on the whole loving husbands, yet they did this right under your nose, leaving you unable to trust your partner, or even your own judgements,” she explains.
Among other things, he encouraged more child-abuse and child-sexual-abuse identification training for officers and borough employees.