During those dark, emotional cold, and lonely days of early discovery before going to therapy or a recovery program, most addicts minimize the pain and trauma their partners are experiencing, and that’s because they really don’t have a clue that their acting out behavior has absolutely traumatized and devistated their partner.
If the goal is to heal and recover from the effects of relational trauma, that resulted from a loved-one’s sexual betrayl, then the single-most loving ACTION an addict can extend towards his traumatized partner is to look HER in the eye acknowlege the present behavior he’s done; for example, driving by the building/location where the betrayl occurred, it is the absolute responsibility of the betrayer to muster up as much sincerity as possible and acknowlege what she needs to hear, for example, “I see we are passing by the building, and I am sorry, I know this is a trigger for you, I am, and will continue to work on recovery so YOU will never experience this pain again”.
This evolves as the relationship grows and heals. There is not a once-size fits all approach to what each partner may need for empathetic support from her sex addict spouse. Since each coupleship is as uniqe as a snowflake, and the psychological injury is distinctive to a partners experiences, what she needs must be tailored to her and their journey. For instance, how a partner suspected or discovered elements of the addiction would inform what triggers she may experience as the journey progresses. This can and often does shift as a couple makes strides in healing the damage to their relationship Multiple sessions working on empathy with the couple could prevent further damage to the partner and the couple.
The key ingredient is the williningness to work from both individuals. First and foremost, the SA, MUST be willing to humble himself, which is not suggestive of a tail between the legs stance, like a vicimized dog. Rather it is honest acceptance that his sexual betrayl, regardless of what form it had taken, has irreversibly injured his partner. With a trained therapists assitance, she needs to outline what her triggers are. She will know immediately what they are and as time progresses she will learn she may have other triggers. What he has control over is implementing empathy into their daily lives so that she is not re-traumatized as a result of his blaim and minimization of what has happened. It is absolutley possible to heal quicker from this injury, when empathy is provided as the medicine.