By: Zuleida Herba
I have seen up close and personal that the women who have suffered betrayal from their sex addict partners experience knee weakening, stomach clenching emotional pain that has been imposed on them, not because they wanted or asked for it. It is a kind of suffering that is hard to describe unless you’ve been there personally. It may feel as though the world you thought you knew has disappeared – in effect, as in the movie ‘The Matrix’, you have chosen the blue pill, entered into a new world, and are living with a deep regret that you can never go back to not knowing that you have been deeply betrayed. A person you love, trust and have invested a great deal of love and energy into has been hiding a destructive secret. Exposure of that betrayal can lead to humiliation, anger to the point of rage, and deep distrust of everything you thought you could count on.
Fellowship of Suffering
If you are dealing with this level of betrayal as a believer, it may help to know that you are not alone in the fellowship of suffering. Jesus was also deeply betrayed by his closest friends. One of the people in the Bible who famously betrayed Jesus was Judas Iscariot (Matthew 27:3-4). Judas Iscariot walked with Jesus for three years and was an intimate partner in His ministry. We know from Scripture that he “had charge of the money” but was stealing (John 12:6). Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high council. That lead to Jesus’ arrest , sham of a trial, conviction, and death. Having been betrayed to the point of losing his life at the hands of a close friend who knew he was innocent, He intimately understands what you are going through (Hebrews 4:15).
Deal with the Emotions
There isn’t an easy formula for dealing with betrayal related to addiction. Most partners of sex addicts want to move on from the destruction that has been imposed on them as quickly as possible, but the level of devastation and the grief it causes takes a lot of time to get thought. The process of grief through the infidelity, disloyalty, and deception of a loved one is much like experiencing a death – it comes in waves, it can be unpredictable, and it may take years to fully process the weight of the damage done, especially if you are dealing with the problem with no support. Investing a lot of time and energy in a relationship than realizing that a person you’ve been vulnerable with has lead a double life leaves one feeling raw, exposed, angry, and hurt.
Whatever the circumstances surrounding your betrayal it’s important to deal with the feelings in a healthy way. Don’t minimize feelings of anger, sadness, or grief. Allow yourself the gift of being honest and dealing with emotional upheavals head-on. If those feelings aren’t dealt with it can lead to depression, anxiety, sleeping problems, weight gain or loss, and other health problems. Unhealthy coping can include drug or alcohol self-medication, over-eating, isolation, or denial.
Take care of yourself
The women who have been through our 8 week small ‘Haven’ have all agreed that the support they received in the midst of the pain of betrayal led to faster healing and processing. They reported that they were given resources and support through the material, in the time sharing together, and in one another that accelerated their healing process. One of our Haven graduates said at the end of the small group time, ‘I have a friend who went through this betrayal at the same time that I did, but she wasn’t able to join the group. I see now how much better off I am in my healing process as a result of this. I’m going to tell her that she needs to join the next group.’ Other women have expressed regret at not having the education and resources provided in the group while they were going through the earliest stages of their partners disclosure of sex addiction. All of the women agreed that the bond created in the group time was healing and a necessary part of their journey.
There are a few things you may go through in life that will require and have significant benefit with the help of a professional. Going through betrayal by a sex addict partner is a complicated process to try to navigate, and doing it alone may cost years of mistakes that will be to the partners disadvantage, where the sex addict who has not been as invested in relationship has less to lose. Ironically, it is the sex addict who wants to work his or her recovery who is offered a wealth of resources to deal with their problem. But what is there for the partner who has been betrayed? Many never have support and never are able to know that there is a very specific protocol and boundary setting process that needs to take place for partners of sex addicts who want to live beyond the addiction. For these women, the process is most effective with the support of a professional who has experience in this area.
Don’t Give Up
In the midst of your pain, remember that God’s word is full of verses about His care for us. When you feel discouraged think about a verse like: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” The God of the universe holds us in His hands. We are not alone.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of betrayal in their marriage or relationship caused by a sex addiction, Life Counseling Solutions offers weekend intensives as well as small groups designed to provide an intimate and safe environment to overcome the effects of your betrayal. For more information call 407-622-1770 or visit at LifeCounselingSolutions.com.