Most partners of sex addicts do.
You may believe that the reason your partner was unfaithful was because you weren’t good enough, didn’t look “right,” or because you weren’t willing to have sex often enough or in the ways he wanted.
This is distorted thinking.
While it’s completely normal for you—as a betrayed partner—to wonder about measuring up or how you will be “enough” for the addict, I want to encourage and invite you to banish these toxic thoughts.
There are three major reasons why the “measuring up” mindset is distorted—and a lie.
What other people do is 100% about them. They have complete ownership of their choices.
When a person is unfaithful and deceives, that choice belongs to them. If the addict attempts to blame-shift by telling you that if you had just done ____________, or not done _____________, he wouldn’t have acted out, he is—in essence—telling you you’re not enough or you didn’t do enough. He’s placing the responsibility on you and isn’t being accountable for his behavior.
Second, by its very definition, addiction can never be satisfied.
When a person is acting out in their addiction—whether to alcohol, food, gambling, sex, or drugs—the relief they experience is fleeting, temporary, and laced with shame and self-loathing. These feelings eventually drive them to their next futile attempt to get relief. Addiction can never rest in a calm, grounded feeling of “I have enough.”
Addiction—and the intensity that goes with it—is a bottomless, insatiable pit of desperation.
The third problem with the “measuring up” mindset is that when you entertain the thought that you don’t measure up, you objectify yourself. You reduce yourself to a set of body parts, traits, and attributes.
degrade to the status of a mere object.
Most partners are fearful and distressed about the addict objectifying others. But the truth is, when you’re in the “measuring up,” competing mindset, you’re objectifying yourself.
Imagine weighing and measuring your best friend, your sister, or your daughter in this way? You probably never would.
In my post Honor Yourself (10 Ways), I talk about how important it is for partners to know how to protect their confidence by practicing good self-care and taking steps toward re-building their esteem after the painful impact of discovery.
If you struggle with the “measuring up” mindset, I hope you’ll read it and add at least a few of these habits into your daily life.
(Related article We Each Have Our Own “Becky With the Good Hair”)
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2017)
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