When I logged into Facebook last Thursday, “trending” stories were popping up about the Osborne family. Apparently, Ozzy Osborne has been having an affair, and his wife, Sharon, has spoken out on her talk show about his sex addiction.
As I was reading through things people posted regarding this story, a young lady asked a few questions about sex addiction.
Is it real?
What happens when someone goes for sex addiction counseling?
Is there hope?
How is the family affected?
Can they make it through this ordeal without divorcing?
As I have a family member that has gone through this, I’d like to answer some of those questions that are swirling around in a lot of people’s minds right now.
While there is so much hurt and betrayal that goes along with a sexual addiction, it is possible for the family to stand behind the person going through it that is seeking help. It is a long process to finally seeing the light at the end of the dark and dreary tunnel, though. The hurt will never truly “go away” as some people would like for it to. Instead, it remains. There are questions as to what other lies there are out there that this person hasn’t owned up to yet or that haven’t yet been uncovered.
Trust is definitely a factor here. After someone lies, deceives, and betrays you, there is a LOT of work that person has to do in order to have trust restored in your marriage or relationship.
In the case with my family, we were told that the sexual addiction was in the form of pornography. Videos, pictures, magazines, etc. all played a part in this addiction, yet they claim it did not go any further. They claim they did not have any affairs, nor did they seek out prostitutes, etc. as a lot of wives and girlfriends fear when the addiction comes to light. I pray this is true that their sexual addiction did not go that far before they sought help.
Here is a very important point I’d like to make. The sins that you think you can keep hidden will not remain a secret. EVERYTHING you do in darkness will eventually come out in the light. At some point or another, your dirty little secret will be revealed, whether you like it or not.
Another thing I’d like to point out is that the person doing this is completely selfish and self absorbed. They think only of their sexual gratification and not of their spouse at all. If the roles were reversed, though, they would not tolerate nor accept your betrayal of them, yet they want you to accept and come to terms with what they’ve done to you.
Boy, is that not a hard pill to swallow?
Yes, it is!
You’re expected to forgive and try to patch things up in the marriage when you were faithful and true, yet they were not.
For me, pornography is different than having an actual affair with a person or multiple people. While I could try to recover from a pornography addiction, I am not so sure I could recover from an actual physical affair. The thought would always be in the back of my mind that if they did it once (or ten times) previously, they could “relapse” and do it all over again. So no matter where you are in your recovery after the damage that has been done to your relationship, it would magnify the hurt a million times over!
Don’t get me wrong, I would not like my husband “getting off” to pornographic images when he should be interested in ONLY me. But, if I had to choose which I’d “rather” have him do, that would be the one; certainly not having an affair or multiple affairs. They both hurt, though, and erode the self esteem, self worth, and self confidence of the spouse. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that someone else was the object of his sexual thoughts and brought him pleasure.
The important thing here, too, is honesty. Don’t start to “come clean” with your spouse only to leave details out that you reveal later. It will only prolong the agony and the recovery process, throwing your spouse back into the initial phase of shock, disbelief, anger, and extreme heartache all over again.
Is it worth it? A few minutes of self pleasure? When in those few minutes, you’re crushing the life out of the one you claim to love!
Can you recover from this? Yes, but it does not happen over night for either of you. Also, you cannot just focus on yourself, as you did before. You have to consider your spouse who you hurt DEEPLY! You cannot skip merrily on your way now that your “secret” is out and you no longer have to try to cover your tracks. That may seem like a relief to you, but now the entire weight of the world has come crashing down on your spouse. You BOTH need to recover. It can’t just be about YOU! She is hurting far more than you will ever know or be able to fully grasp! And it’s all because of your sexual addiction.
Although the hurt is great after discovering the pornography addiction, it would be far worse to discover an affair. There are couples that weigh the options and realize even after an affair that they need to stay together and try to make it work. Whether they do it for the kids, for financial reasons, or because they truly do love each other despite the straying spouse, it is a long process to recovery.
When one goes for sexual addiction counseling, they go for individual sessions with a counselor as they try to uncover what lead to the sexual addiction in the first place. Maybe they had a troubled childhood, the parents weren’t there a good bit of the time for support, or the child felt neglected so they turned to pornography or self pleasure as a way to cope. There could have even been trauma in the person’s life that lead to this lifestyle. It is the counselor’s job to uncover the true reasons that lead to the addiction in the first place.
After the counselor feels your spouse has been making progress in individual sessions, they move on to group sessions. The only thing that concerns me here is that others in the group that are worse off than your spouse may give them ideas on things they haven’t thought of or haven’t tried yet. This is extremely dangerous and only hinders the progress made previously.
Honestly, I think the only true way to recover from this or any addiction is to turn to God. Confess your hidden sins, and TURN from them! All of them. You can’t give up a few things and hold on to other sins that contributed or went hand in hand with your addiction. Put your trust in God to see you through this. Marriage can be a beautiful thing once all things hidden have been revealed and healed by God above. It takes time. But, you can save your marriage with God’s help.
One thing that a sexual addiction does is take away that which the person truly wants most; closeness with their spouse. It erodes the relationship and puts a huge wedge between you and your spouse. Yet, with the sexual addiction out in the open and your spouse in recovery, you two can reconnect eventually and have a deeper bond than you ever thought possible before. Once that barrier is gone and the walls of division have been brought down, you and your spouse can begin rebuilding a love together where you two come to each other to have all of your needs met. God intended for marriage and sex within the marriage relationship to be a beautiful union of two souls. Two becoming one! Don’t taint it or tarnish it. Keep the marriage bed sacred. Your desires should only be met and fulfilled by your spouse. Don’t go outside of your marriage and break your vows by lusting after others whether it’s with pictures, videos, a strip club, a person walking down the street, someone at your job, an online dating site, etc. It is so much easier to be true and faithful to your spouse than it is to tear down your marriage and your spouse with your bare hands with betrayal such as this.
Can you recover – YES! Can you rebuilt trust in your marriage – YES! Can you and your spouse have a close bond like never before – YES! Can you go to only your spouse for all of your needs, especially sexual – YES!!!
It is possible to recover and rebuild trust. It is possible to be faithful and true with only eyes for your spouse! It is possible to have a love and closeness better than you ever imagined in this life.
No more secrets.
No more lies.
No more betrayal.
Just you and your spouse as God intended.
I encourage you to seek help if you or your loved ones are entangled in a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal. Get to the bottom of why so God can heal you and your marriage.