My husband has been sober from pornography and self-gratification for 10 months. He has attended group regularly and seems to be on a path that is helping him learn about himself.
I’m still confused as to why things aren’t starting to feel better for us as a couple. Can you offer any ideas on how to reconnect in our relationship?
Needed Areas of Healing
The impact of sexual betrayal on any relationship unsettles both parties especially in a marital situation. The husband needs to do work regarding his sexual behaviors, and the wife needs to begin to heal from the betrayal and trauma. While his behavior and healing has been ongoing, betrayal became a part of her story unexpectedly, and there is much she needs to work through personally. However, we consistently see a deficit in support and care for the marital unit in the aftermath of betrayal. Many would say relational trauma has occurred, and there is intentional work that must be done for the relationship also.
Many colleagues in the professional arena advocate for marriage therapy earlier versus later. The reason for this is each individual does have their own work to do, but it’s also critical to teach the individuals how to become a unit again. It’s important that they are able to transfer the skills from their individual work into the marital relationship to facilitate its healing.
The When of Marriage Therapy
When is the right time to enter into marriage therapy? There is no typical answer for this. Each couple’s situation is unique in the way that each chooses to heal and move through his/her heart spaces. However, if both are willing to do the individual work and have enough capacity to also do the marital work, marriage therapy with trained professionals is a good next step. It is important though to find a therapist who understands both betrayal trauma and sexual addiction. There’s not a specific certification available for someone in this training just yet, but I anticipate it’s not far off. For now you may want to look for someone who has trauma-based marriage therapy understanding, EFT, or relational therapy.
When you begin to seek a marital therapist to support the healing of your relationship, it is important to trust your gut. Not all therapists are created or educated equally. Consider seeking out individuals through the APSATS.org website and even IITAP. Verify that they are able to help with relational repair and healing. Once you find a therapist you feel comfortable with and trust, steps toward marital healing will begin.