There are various behaviours that a sex addict can exhibit that make being in a relationship with them extremely difficult. Some of these can include a porn addiction, phone sex, online affairs and in some of the severe cases, prostitutes and strip clubs. Someone who has a problem with sex addiction is far from what anyone would desire as a partner, however, you may be enabling their behaviour without even knowing that you are doing so.

To understand how this can actually happen, you need to take a look at the exact meaning of “enabling” in the right context. There is the commonly used stereotype of the man who is enabled to continue his problem with alcohol because his wife grudgingly supports his problem. She will clean up after him when he comes home late at night and makes a mess in his drunken state, she’ll call in sick for him when he’s too hungover to function at work. Basically she is “helping” her husband in a way that will allow him to carry on with his life in his addicted state. Enabling a sex addict without knowing is done in a fairly different way.

By now you must be asking yourself how it is possible to enable this kind of behavior without even knowing you are doing so. Surely you would have to be physically and emotionally blind to not see that you are enabling your partners sex addiction? The sad fact is that most addicted spouses or partners will have a secret sexlife and will be extremely effective in hiding it. Sex addiction is much easier to hide than a drug or alcohol addiction, you will only find out about it when you stumble across some condemning evidence or something that will create suspicion.

The most common way in which your partners addiction is enabled is when you both lead very busy lives and spend the majority of your time away from each other. Your partner will be able to carry out his desires without you knowing about it. If this is the case then it important to remember that it is not your fault, you can’t be blamed for having an active career. Another way that the addict is enabled is when your relationship is under stress and when you are plunged into emotional turmoil, whether it be because of family or other matters. This atmosphere can make it easier for the addict to pursue their secretive behavior without drawing attention to it.

Another very disheartening factor, is that although your partner loves you, they were subconsciously seeking out characteristics in you that would enable them, at a later stage to indulge in their desires. They would, unknowingly, seek out traits in you such as your work situation or interpersonal style that could leave room for the addiction.

At a certain point in the recovery process, both parties will need to understand the complicated dynamics of the relationship and do so without blaming one another.

Author's Bio: 

The Harmony Group is a registered non-profit organisation, the Harmony Foundation, whose sole aim is to bring the highest standards of treatment for addictions and other compulsive behaviours to South Africa.