Recovering Couple

Elana Chasser, LCSW, CSAT, CPTT, CMAT

Recovering Couple

Sexual addiction can deeply affect relationships in ways that set it apart from other addictions. For the betrayed partner, it brings about a unique sense of betrayal and trauma. As an addict, you find yourself unable to control your actions and choices, which violates your own values and self-identity.

When active addiction is present, couples are familiar with living with anger, rage, fear, hyper-vigilance, gaslighting, confusion, cycles of ups and downs, and communication that goes sour quickly. However, in the journey of recovery, the focus shifts towards embracing honesty, transparency, taking responsibility, and valuing the truth. Being authentic and present for yourself and your partner becomes a top priority in the journey to heal your relationship. This shift can lead to a more positive and supportive connection between you.

In a relationship that is seeking recovery from sex addiction, there are specific primary challenges that each partner must address for the relationship to flourish:

As a betrayed partner, it's incredibly difficult to rebuild trust and safety while knowing that sex addiction is now a part of your life and your partner's struggle. The pain of broken trust can be overwhelming and it's natural to feel hypervigilant, constantly seeking trust-building actions and dwelling on moments when they fall short. You may also experience hyper-arousal, where your nervous system is always on high alert, making it hard to relax. It's essential to understand that this heightened state is a normal response to trauma, and there are ways to strengthen and heal your nervous system over time.

As a recovering addict, you're called upon to have and express compassion and empathy for your partner who has been deeply hurt by the choices you made in your addiction. This isn't just crucial for your own recovery but also for your partner's healing and the well-being of your relationship. It's important to remember that there's no expiration date for your partner's pain. As long as they are on their journey of healing, and whenever triggers or moments of post-traumatic stress arise, they need your presence, compassion, and empathy.

To heal and maintain your relationship, it's vital to prioritize honesty and integrity. Rebuilding trust and recovering from this betrayal are critical to the process. Truth is the foundation of trust, and trust is what makes us feel safe. Since there have been many secrets and lies, betrayed partners often long for the truth. Without complete honesty and transparency, trust and a sense of safety cannot take root or flourish.

Couples navigating recovery after the impact and betrayal of sex addiction are encouraged to participate in a guided process designed to facilitate healing. This structured approach is intended to help and support both partners navigate the challenges and work towards rebuilding trust and connection in their relationship. I will explain this process with you as well as the benefits of doing it. The process includes:

- Formal Full Disclosure. This is when the addict in recovery shares the complete truth about the history of their sexual acting out with their betrayed partner. It is written in a structured format and read to your partner, usually with both of your therapists present in order to hold a safe place for each of you. This honesty is an important step towards clearing all doubts and secrets, creating a foundation of transparency and trust. Giving a Full Disclosure is a crucial first step in rebuilding trust because the truth is brought into the light.

- Impact Letter. After the Full Disclosure, the betrayed partner writes an Impact Letter. This letter allows you to express how the addiction has affected you emotionally, mentally, spiritually, sexually, and relationally. It helps the recovering addict understand the pain and betrayal they've caused you and fosters empathy and compassion which is essential for healing to occur within your relationship.

- Restitution Letter. The process ends with the recovering addict writing a Restitution Letter to the betrayed partner. This letter acknowledges the harm done, expresses genuine remorse, and commits to making amends.

Completing this Formal Full Disclosure process is essential for creating the basis for genuine healing and intimacy. When done with honesty and integrity, it shows strength in both individuals and commitment to each other and to rebuilding their relationship.

I want to acknowledge the immense courage and strength it takes for both partners to navigate the difficult yet courageous waters of addiction and recovery together. This journey is marked by pain, fear, and uncertainty, but it also carries the potential for profound healing and renewal. By embracing honesty, transparency, responsibility, and truth, you are taking essential steps towards rebuilding a foundation of trust and understanding. By bringing compassion and empathy to the pain, you contribute to profound healing and trust.

Remember that you are not alone in this struggle. I will support you in your healing process every step of the way and by supporting each other with compassion and empathy, you can create a safer and more loving space for your shared future.

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.

Recovering Couples Testimonial

When we began seeing Elana in couples therapy, our relationship had hit rock bottom and both of us were individually broken. Elana quickly gained our trust by creating an atmosphere where we learnt how to listen and communicate with each other, without personalization and judgment. She taught us to recognize our inner child needs and trauma and through her insightful and thoughtful feedback, gave us tools to support each other. She challenges us in a nurturing and kind manner to think deeply and to recognize our own blind spots. We always feel heard by her and her ability to empathize with both of us simultaneously creates a safe environment to talk to each other about uncomfortable feelings and issues in a productive and connective way.

Therapy with Elana has impacted our level of intimacy with each other and our ability to communicate. We have learned to take emotional risks and experience vulnerability and love. Our coupleship experience has become fulfilling, committed and connective.

Recovering Couple
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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