Betrayed Partner

Elana Chasser, LCSW, CSAT, CPTT, CMAT

Betrayed Partner

Partners of sex addicts often face a world turned upside down when they discover their loved one's addictive behaviors, leading to a profound crisis. You might have just learned about your partner's sexually addictive behaviors, or perhaps you've been aware of some over the years without fully understanding their significance. Betrayal inflicts tremendous pain, triggering emotions like anger, shock, confusion, mistrust, and self-doubt regarding your body image and self-worth. Your own feelings of sexuality and desire may be profoundly affected, even to the point of feeling shut down or numb. You might feel like you've lost yourself or like you’re going crazy, not knowing what to believe, who to blame, and where to go from here.

Being a betrayed partner is a lonely experience. You may want to tell the world about what happened while also feeling embarrassment and shame, unable to share with anyone. You may fear others’ judgement towards you or your addicted partner and want to protect both of you from this judgement. It may be confusing to realize a part of you wants to protect the addict who hurt you. This is entirely normal. You don’t want family or friends to change the way they look at or relate to either of you, especially when there is so much uncertainty about your relationship and future right now.

Like other addictions, sex addiction causes chaos and trauma in families and in those closest to the addict. Sex addiction, however, is different from other addictions in that it cuts right through the heart of love, trust, loyalty, and safety. You relied on a fundamental trust and safety in your primary love relationship which makes the discovery and betrayal of sexual addiction entirely devastating! As a betrayed partner, you are left with a lot to heal inside. You may feel sexual trauma, damage to your body image, insecurity, loss of confidence/esteem, embarrassment, shame, a lacking sense of generalized safety in the world, physical/health problems, and may have contracted sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The fallout is enormous!

Perhaps most profoundly, trauma from the betrayal of someone’s sexual addiction often results in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Common PTSD symptoms include distressing flashbacks, heightened anxiety, a constant state of alertness or hypervigilance, nightmares, overwhelming sense of mistrust and unsafety, and overwhelming emotional turmoil. Experiencing symptoms of PTSD after discovering secrets, lies, and betrayal is totally normal and understandable. It is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation! It's important to recognize that living with these symptoms for a prolonged period affects your nervous system, keeping it in a heightened, activated state. With this in mind, I find it extremely helpful and healing to use Somatic Experiencing, a trauma modality which focuses on sensations in the body to help discharge trauma and relax the nervous system.

You didn’t CAUSE it.
You can’t CONTROL it.
You can’t CURE it.

You might have spent years attempting to change yourself in an effort to please and accommodate your addicted spouse or partner. You may have gone to great lengths to fulfill their desires and make them "happy," only to realize that their behavior was beyond your control from the start. This realization can be profoundly devastating! With your best intentions to love and be loved, you invested considerable effort into your relationship.

Now, it's crucial to make sense of a situation that is highly confusing. Educating yourself about sex addiction is important: what is it, what it entails, how it has impacted you, your love, your life, and your relationship. Most importantly, focusing on healing from the profound effects that sex addiction has had on you is priority. This journey toward healing is essential for your well-being and emotional recovery.

Connecting with people who understand the challenges of sex addiction and betrayal trauma is crucial. S-Anon, a 12-step program, provides a supportive community for individuals grappling with partner betrayal. Being surrounded and supported by those who truly understand, people who “get it,” can offer strong validation and alleviate deep feelings of isolation. Sharing experiences with others who have been through similar struggles can be empowering. Witnessing the resilience and growth in others and gaining insights from hearing about their healing journeys can be a source of inspiration, instilling a sense of hope in your own recovery.

Working with a therapist who specializes in sexual addiction treatment and partner betrayal trauma is crucial. Having specialized training and a breadth of experience working with partner betrayal, I will assist you in your search for recovery and with healing the deep trauma and pain. It is vital for you to feel like you have a safe space to talk about what happened and explore the feelings you are experiencing. Here there is a safe, holding space for you to begin making sense of something that makes no sense, is hard to comprehend, and difficult to digest. Together, we will help you wade through these thick waters until you start to feel a sense of relief and lightness within.

You don't have to make decisions about your future right away, nor do you need to make any changes until you feel ready. Together, we will address the thoughts, feelings, and trauma symptoms that require healing. We'll also explore the life circumstances that you want and need to figure out. Your healing journey is unique, and I am here to support you every step of the way. I often remind my clients to be patient with themselves and the process. Recovery is possible, and it will unfold. Just by being here and reading this, you've already begun your journey and have taken the first steps towards your courageous healing.

Are You Looking To Heal Your Relationship After Betrayal?

With over 30 years of clinical practice and having had the privilege of working with many individuals and couples, I've consistently witnessed the incredible drive people have to find relief and heal their pain. It's truly remarkable how we can transform our lives.

If you've noticed patterns in your choices or behaviors that aren't serving you or helping you reach your goals, it's important to approach them with curiosity and compassion. The good news is that these patterns can change!

My approach is rooted in encouragement and support for your growth and healing journey. Together, we will align our efforts with your personal goals to enhance your overall quality of life and your relationships. You're not alone in this, and I'm here to walk this path with you, guiding and supporting you every step of the way.

Betrayed Partner Testimonial

Reaching out to you, Elana, in my darkest hour of need would prove to be the most positive, life altering decision I had personally made for myself. I was about to embark on a journey that I was not prepared for but knew that I needed because I could no longer control the events surrounding my existence. My life, as I knew it, had become completely unmanageable. I was the Victim and now a proud Survivor of a Sexually Addicted Spouse for 31 years. I would also learn that I suffered from the effects of losing myself and thinking I was “crazy”, which I now know is common for betrayed partners who’ve lived with someone’s active sexual addiction over time.

Immediately upon our first meeting, I knew that I could safely tell you “My Story” to which I had never told a Sole. There was no judgement, nor did I ever feel judged. I felt safe, cared for, supported, validated, respected and seen for the first time.

The pieces of my life that had destroyed me and shattered my world would start to come together. I would learn to deal with truths I never acknowledged or understood. I would learn to dig deep and let the emotions that had been buried so deep within me in order to survive in my daily existence come out in order for true healing to begin. I felt challenged after each session and eager to put the work in to succeed in order to never return to the broken individual I was when we first met.
I have been seeing you for the last 18 Months and continue to ensure that I am and remain the healthiest version of my new found Self. I am still challenged, learning, and loving life in the most authentic way. I am in recovery, have recovered a sense of my Self, and have truly broken the cycle.

I have thanked you personally over and over again for truly saving my life. I am always taken aback by your response which is that “I am honored you chose me to share your story and be on this journey with you”. It is always said with complete sincerity.

My success to learning how to overcome all the Trauma has come from your guidance, love and support. I could never thank you enough for what you have taught me, how you have inspired me, and continue to help make me the best version of myself each and every day.

If all the pain that I have endured was necessary to find you, in order for you to help evolve me in to who I am today.................Then it was all worth it.
= Amy

Betrayed Partner
Elanna Chaser Headshot

Elana Chasser,

About Elana Chasser

Working as clinical social worker for over 30 years.
Work history: Residential Treatment Facility for emotionally troubled adolescents, domestic violence shelter, outpatient mental health clinic – supervisory role, private practice since 2005.

LCSW Licensed-Clinical-Social-Worker
CSAT Certified-Sexual-Addiction-Therapist
CPTT Certified-Partner-Trauma-Therapist
CMAT Certified-Multiple-Addiction-Therapist

Licensed in:
New York and Massachusetts

Elana Chasser, LCSW, CSAT, CPTT, CMAT

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