Spouses & Partners
You are concerned about your spouse’s/partner’s welfare, yet you are trying to balance your own needs and emotions. You may find that there is an increasing dissonance in your relationship, an escalation in arguments and a foreboding sense of hopelessness.
Dealing with your partner’s addiction, emotional/mental disposition, sexual abuse or infidelity has made you feel helpless, depressed and angry; as well as limited your ability to concentrate, socialize and be productive.
At The Men’s Center, we can help you address your individual concerns in a compassionate and encouraging environment. We have supported women and men going through challenges in their relationships because of their spouse’s / partner’s disposition. We offer strategies to help you regain a sense of control and efficacy in your own life, as well as build a relationship that is more satisfying.
When Your Partner is a Survivor of Sexual Abuse
Historically, services for victims of sexual abuse were geared towards women and children. However, over the last 10 years, there has been growing awareness of the impact of childhood sexual abuse on the adult male. Unfortunately, little has been focused on spouses and partners of sexually abused survivors.
If your partner is remembering abusive episodes or has finally come forward about his victimization, he may feel a variety of raw emotions, including shame, anxiety, depression and anger. In addition, your partner may be despondent, unable to concentrate, tearful and possibly suicidal. He may experience intrusive thoughts about the abuse or get flashbacks at any time (fragmented memories of the abuse that he may physically or emotionally be reliving). You want to console him, but he may not be able to articulate his experience or communicate what he needs.
It is a very difficult period for him, as well as for yourself because you may feel pushed away while at the same time feel desperately needed. You may become his closest friend, but other times you feel his rage as though you were the one who abused him. You walk on eggshells every time you are with him.
The physical intimacy you once shared is also at risk. Most couples decrease the frequency of sex to almost none at all. When you do have sex, you notice that he is mentally or emotionally no longer present. Any form of touching (from holding hands to intercourse) brings with it anxiety and tension.
Though you are sensitive to his experience, you feel more rejected and isolated. You question the relationship and the value of your support. You begin to doubt yourself as a sexual person and as a partner. You wonder if he will get better.
At The Men’s Center, we are compassionate about this period that you are going through. We offer supportive counseling to help you feel more in control of yourself. We will help you establish safe boundaries that will decrease your feelings of hurt and inadequacy; as well as develop strategies that will help you become a supportive ally of his healing process.
When Your Partner Has a Sexual Addiction
You suspect or found out that your partner is addicted to sex . At first, your addicted partner may minimize his behavior, and may suggest that the real problem is you. If he is genuinely remorseful, he will make promises (but will ultimately break them) — creating a cycle of further discoveries, more promises and broken trust.
The loss of trust is as harmful to the relationship as the sexual activities themselves. The discovery often results in shock, betrayal, anger, pain, hopelessness, confusion and shame. Other reactions may include feeling sexually inadequate, unattractive, doubting your judgment and sanity and other mental health issues, including depression and thoughts of suicide. You may try to problem solve, control his behavior, become vindictive or surrender to his addiction, that is, participate in activities with which you would normally feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, none of these coping strategies works in the long term and you feel further isolated, ashamed and angry.
At The Men’s Center, we will be compassionate to your experience. We will educate you on the addictive cycle in order to empower you to make mindful choices and set appropriate boundaries in your relationship.
The betrayal of infidelity leaves its mark on the relationship as well as the individual partners. It is often devastating emotionally and difficult to get over. Most couples who seek professional guidance for how to recover from an affair never dreamed they would find themselves in such an emotionally painful predicament. However, even the most devout couples can be vulnerable to infidelity if partners are not vigilant to protect their relationship from such intrusions. Learn More.
The Men’s Center welcomes people of all backgrounds. If you have questions or comments about our services, or if you want to learn more about how The Men’s Center can help you or someone close to you, please contact us.
The Men’s Center. A Place for Healing, Mindfulness & Possibilities.