If you’ve been in a relationship that didn’t work out — and most of us have — you may feel like you failed. It’s common for people who go through divorce to feel as though they failed, or that their relationship was a failure.
What if your relationship with the sex addict didn’t —or doesn’t — work out? Did you fail?
When I wrote Moving Beyond Betrayal: The 5-Step Boundary Solution for Partners of Sex Addicts I had one mission — and one mission only — to share everything I know about how to help partners of sex addicts understand how to identify, create, establish, and maintain effective boundaries.
So what does that have to do with “failing” in a relationship?
I’m convinced that anyone who wonders whether or not their relationship with an addict is salvageable can find out — sooner rather than later — by learning how to practice better boundaries.
Salvageable means the relationship can survive, be repaired, and restored. But the truth is, some relationships aren’t salvageable. And when they’re not, partners have every right to leave.
When you practice good self-care, learn boundaries, become highly informed about sex addiction (including the essential components of a sound sexual recovery plan), and take action around getting your needs and wants met in your relationship, you will get rapid-fire clarity.
You’ll find out how the other person can — and will — show up in the relationship.
You’ll discover how “workable” the other person is. And by workable, I mean whether or not they can listen to your concerns, validate your reality, empathize with your feelings, and be accountable most of the time (remember, there is no perfection.)
Don’t fall into the trap of believing or saying that you were “forced” to make a decision to leave your relationship because the other person wouldn’t get help or wouldn’t do what was necessary to repair and build a new relationship. When you choose to leave a relationship, you are taking care of you. You’re saying, in essence:
I deserve better.
Notice how that feels.
In relationships — and life in general — what you have control over is showing up and doing the best you possibly can. After that, you must let go of the outcome. Even if you didn’t know about boundary work before your relationship ended, my guess is that you did the best you could.
Honor yourself, forgive yourself, and set your sights forward to your new, wonderful life.
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2016)
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