Guest Post: 4 Things to Determine If You Can Trust Your Sex-Addicted Spouse

For this guest post, I welcome Eddie Capparucci. He’s an LPC, CSAS, CPCS, a licensed professional counselor, certified in sexual and pornography addiction. He is the author of the soon-to-be-released book “Going Deeper: How the Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction.”
Pre-orders are now available at  Use the promo code PREORDER2019 to save 15%. He can be reached at

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS, CPCS

It is one of the most common questions a spouse will ask during a couples’ first counseling session when a sex addiction has been discovered. “How will I know when I will be able to trust him again”?

It’s a great question because at the core of the couples’ issues is the broke bond of trust. Sex-addicted partners:

  • Violate their commitment, to be honest, and faithful.
  • Drive a wedge in the relationship that feels like the size of the Grand Canyon.
  • Create a sense of hopelessness that leaves the other feeling numbed and confused.

Ask any partner who has been betrayed sexually and they will tell you, while the infidelity is like a punch in the gut, the worst part is the dishonesty and lying. While they hate being cheated upon they detest the lack of integrity their partner displays in their attempts to cover their tracks. That is why at some point, the focus on re-building trust is as critical as helping the sex-addicted partner manage the addiction itself.

So how can a betrayed partner start to become comfortable and regain a sense of confidence that their sex-addicted spouse is safe? Let’s examine four key factors to look for to determine if your spouse is becoming trustworthy.

  1. He is committed to his recovery

Of course, this is the one number key to not only learning to manage a sexual addiction but to begin the process of rebuilding a tattered relationship. A sex addict must demonstrate dedication to the game plan that has been created to assist them in breaking the bondage of secrecy and betrayal. I have seen partners who dive in and go beyond what is asked of them in recovery. I also have witnessed spouses who barely scratch the surface in doing the work that is required of them. When this happens, it is incredibly disheartening to the wounded spouse.

If your spouse is following a treatment regimen and sharing with you his progress, then have hope better days await both of you.

  1. He doesn’t shut you down when you vent

One of the first things I will tell a husband who has abused sex is that his wife has a barrel of rocks and she will be throwing them your way for the next 12-24 months. The ability for a woman to properly grieve the betrayal of the relationship is critical in order for there to be a chance for the relationship to move ahead.

But some men struggle when their grieving wives are throwing rocks. They become defensive and attempt to shut down the conversation. However, this is a grave mistake. When a woman is not given an opportunity to grieve she will continue to sit on those emotions and learn how to express them in other ways including perhaps being passive aggressive. As I tell men, when she grieves, she is healing. Let her grieve.

You can start to sense your spouse is getting better when they can sit with you in your pain. This demonstrates they understand the extent of your anguish and are committed to helping you get to a better emotional place.

  1. He starts to develop and engage in healthy communities

Clinical studies have demonstrated a critical key to recovering from sex addiction is participating in a healthy community. Yet, it’s the most significant pushback we receive from our sex addiction clients. In their intense shame and embarrassment, it would be easier to get them to agree to walk a tightrope across two New York City skyscrapers than attend a recovery group meeting. Men who refuse to participate in a support group are playing Russian roulette with their recovery. The lone wolf fails.

As the wounded spouse, if you see your husband is attending a support group; working with a sponsor and engaging in a men’s group, you should feel comfortable that he is learning how to step outside of his negative comfort zone. Establishing authentic relationships with others will help him maintain accountability, which for you and your relationship is a significant win.

  1. He demonstrates the ability to attach with you emotionally

A man struggling with sexual addiction is confused about intimacy. Somewhere along the line, they confused physical intimacy for emotional intimacy. They have an easier time connecting physical, and therefore their emphasis is on sexual relations.

When you find your spouse being able to identify and express emotions, or showing signs of being open and vulnerable, you know he is on the right track of recovery. Sexual addiction is an intimacy disorder, and the course of treatment is designed to broaden the addict’s view of healthy intimacy to include an emotional connection.

An addict who is committed to recovery; supports his wife’s grieving; engages in a healthy community and begins to identify and express deeper emotions is an individual who is on the right path for recovery.

13 thoughts on “Guest Post: 4 Things to Determine If You Can Trust Your Sex-Addicted Spouse

  1. This is fantastic. I think one of the most overlooked factors in rebuilding trust is #2 – allowing your spouse to vent, and not becoming defensive when she does this. I agree that this can be hard for the guy, especially if it happens frequently over a long period of time. However, it is an integral part of healing.

    1. You’re right. It is one of the most difficult things for men to do because most of them had been raised in environments where they learned to hide and lie. But without honesty there is no healing. I talk a lot about this in my upcoming book, Going Deeper: How the Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction.

  2. Great post. From my perspective as the spouse, I think there’s a 5th factor that’s important too: your spouse starts telling you the truth. Sounds simple, but when you’ve been living a lifestyle of deceit it seems as though lying – even over simple, insignificant things – becomes second nature. I knew my husband was at least trying to get better when he started to be honest about things that I couldn’t possibly have found out on my own and/ or that put him at some risk (that bag of rocks mentioned) to share with me.

    1. I know that my lying came from a place of keeping myself safe and a fear of abandonment. After so many years of doing it to everyone, it just seemed natural to continue with my wife. The honesty came when I had the revelation that the way I was living my life lead to absolute ruin and with just about nothing else left to lose, or being at a spot where what was left was about to disappear, I tried a new way. Life is so much easier this way and it’s two-fold. One, I don’t have live with the fear of remembering and perpetuating the lies correctly and two, the recognition if I need to lie about something, I probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place and to make a better choice.

      1. Isn’t it sad Joshua that we grew up thinking we had to lie in order to protect ourselves from feeling unjustly accused or because no one was willing to explain to us the how to process emotions in a healthy way. I am so glad there is forgiveness and healing found in Jesus Christ.

      2. My husband also talks about how much easier it is to not have to worry about juggling the lies. He said it was literally exhausting and I can imagine that based on how much he had going on.

      3. And I’m sure you realize, he wasn’t just lying to you. I was lying to everybody about a lot of things, and sometimes, you need two different lies for the same thing depending on the person you’re talking to at that moment. About a month ago, a friend of mine finally read my first book and brought up a lie I told him about 7-8 years ago where the truth is in the book. Having to apologize all these years later is a good reminder not to go back to that style of doing things.

    2. Great point. There are few opportunities that come along where men can earn trust and being proactive in telling the truth is one of them. I see too often when men are afraid to share something because they are concerned it will upset their spouse. It may. But it also plants a seed that says “he didn’t have to tell me that, perhaps he is changing.”

      1. Exactly. For me, sometimes that realization is not immediate but if I can stew in whatever I am being told I generally realize that he’s trying to be honest and build trust.

  3. I understand this great post personally. I would add that I can never trust him again and that is safe for me as I decided to stay with him. I decided to trust in God only because He is always faithful and takes care of my need for relationship. Other people can’t handle that and I get that too. But these are good strategies if both are trying to get back to health. (It is one sided in my case so I do what I can do and stay knowing I cannot ever trust him because he does not choose to be healthy.) Great post for those couples where both are working toward healthy union.❤

    1. Tonya, sorry to hear he will not come beside you and heal. You are right in protecting yourself, that is the only avenue you have available. Keep up the courage and Blessings.

  4. I agree. The lies are the absolute worst. And, fake confessions can be just as bad, and fake recovery, and fake loyalty and devotion, etc. i.e. anything fake. It is that whole thing of being lied to over and over again. The recycling of all the same stuff, the same lies, the same excuses, the same justifications, the same attacks, the same passing the blame, i.e. all that is entailed in playing a game and being fake and not real is just horrible.

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