Partner Betrayal Trauma


If you have just discovered your spouse’s infidelity, sexually inappropriate behavior, and intimate deception, you may be experiencing partner betrayal trauma. Whether you are still in initial shock or reality has already set in and you trying to figure out how to put your life back together, know that there is help and hope after betrayal.

You may already know or suspect that your loved one has a problem with sexual integrity but aren’t sure if it could be an addiction. Take the quiz to see how many commonly reported patterns associated with addictive behavior you can identify.

Does your spouse:

If your spouse exhibits many of these symptoms, their behavior pattern is similar to individuals who struggle with sexually compulsive behaviors.

How many of the commonly reported experiences of Partners of Sex or Porn Addicts are true for you?

Do you:

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, the possibility of pornography or sex addiction exists. Although this questionnaire cannot diagnose your spouse’s behavior, your ‘yes’ answers indicate that you have been hurt in this relationship.

As a partner of a sex or pornography addict, you are likely devastated by your spouse’s behavior. You are on an emotional rollercoaster that fluctuates from shock, disbelief, numbness, anger, sadness, fear, and grief.

You may be tormented by images of what you discovered or even of what you only imagine your spouse did. Your sense of security has been shattered. Your ability to trust your spouse and, perhaps, your judgment and intuition are wounded. You have become preoccupied with emotional safety seeking, such as searching for evidence of what really happened and whether it is still happening.

Many partners of sex addicts experience a form of complex PTSD called partner betrayal trauma. This includes both shock trauma and attachment-based, relational trauma.

If you answer yes to a number of these questions, then your spirit has been negatively affected by pornography and sex addiction, and you can benefit from a betrayal trauma approach to your recovery.

Healing and empowerment are absolutely possible after partner betrayal trauma! Shattered hearts can mend – with the help of a team trained in treating partner betrayal trauma. Healing starts with accepting the reality of what has happened to you and beginning to grieve the loss of the life you thought you had, the one you planned to live, and the person you used to be. It starts with reaching for help.

Yes! A relationship CAN survive pornography and sex addiction.  If both parties receive help and live an active recovery lifestyle, you can develop a deeper, more fulfilling relationship. The most successful relationships are those in which the addict and partner participate in individual and couples-related therapy activities.

Group therapy, healing communities or faith-based support groups, and Twelve-Step programs can also be an essential source of support for you and your addicted spouse.

It will be necessary for your spouse to work with a therapist with specific training in identifying and treating the impact of sexual addiction, such as a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist. However, not all professionals trained in treating sex or pornography addiction have specific training in understanding partner betrayal trauma or experience in marriage or couples counseling.

You can seek a Certified Clinical Partner Specialist, Certified Partner Trauma Therapist, or certified Partner Recovery Therapist. Professionals with these credentials have had specific training on identifying and treating betrayal trauma, including its impact on your relationship. ERCEM-trained (Early Recovery Couples Empathy Model) professionals understand that your relationship itself had been wounded by betrayal and need a relationship guide with knowledge of both addition and trauma.

To obtain this information, you will have to ask about the educational background of the therapist you work with to guide you through your own healing and help rebuild your relationship. Ask as many questions as needed to determine who is the best fit for helping you and your relationship navigate the recovery process.

Our team includes Certified Clinical Partner Specialists, Certified Partner Trauma Therapists, Partner Betrayal Trauma Therapists, Partner Recovery Therapists, Certified Sex Addiction Therapists and Early Recovery Couples Empathy Model Specialists. We are trained to treat the betrayal trauma that partners of sex addicts often experience, as well as help your relationship heal.

If you want to learn more about our approach to working with partners, please contact us or check out the Partners of Sex Addicts recovery blog.


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