This is my personal list of recommended reading material for the partner of a sex addict. These books focus on helping you recover from the devastating effects of sexual infidelity in your relationship. If you chose to work on rebuilding your relationship, I have also included books that may help a couple heal from betrayal.
May you too, be reborn and rise out of the ashes.
~ Phoenix Emery
Sexual addictions and compulsive sexual behavior are growing societal problems, with as many as three to six percent of the world population affected. Your Sexually Addicted Partner shatters the stigma and shame that millions of men and women carry when their partners are sexually addicted. They receive little empathy for their pain, which means they suffer alone, often shocked and isolated by the trauma.
Barbara Steffens’ groundbreaking new research shows that partners are not codependents but post-traumatic stress victims, while Marsha Means’ personal experience provides insights, strategies, and critical steps to recognize, deal with, and heal partners of sexually addicted relationships. Firsthand accounts and stories reveal the impact of this addiction on survivors’ lives. Chapters end with “On a Personal Note” questions and propose new paths that lead from trauma to empowerment, health, and hope. Useful appendices list health and mental health care providers and clergy.
Sudden changes in routine, bizarre and inexplicable shifts in behavior, in the bedroom and out. Emotional distance and excuses for lack of connection. These are all telltale signs that something is very, very wrong. For a sex addict’s spouse or partner, these changes and fluctuations are upsetting and crazy making, leading to thoughts that they have done something wrong, aren’t good enough or that there is some other reason for the inconsistent, bewildering behavior. For many, sex or porn addiction is farthest from their minds or too scary to consider. Inspired by a career of working with sex addicts and their partners/spouses, Wendy Conquest’s collection of letters fuses fiction and nonfiction to astounding results. Diving deeply into the psyches of those whose lives are shattered by betrayal and the resultant feelings of hurt, rage, resentment and despair, this book directly mirrors a partner’s experiences from multiple perspectives. Each letter explores a different facet of the relationship dynamic, the addict’s illness, and the partner’s thoughts and feelings throughout all the stages of this devastating experience.
This powerful book is for men and women experiencing the trauma of infidelity caused by their partner’s sexual addiction and the fallout that occurs. This informative book was written for anyone needing to understand what is happening to them, that they are not alone, that there is help and that there is recovery. In addition, this book is for addicts to better understand what is happening for their partner, why healing is taking so long and what they can do to help their spouse. Therapists, ministers, counselors, pastors and doctors will be better able to relate to people whose partners are unfaithful. This book is a must read for anyone doing couples work when pornography use or affairs are present to assess how much damage has occurred for the spouse and the relationship. These insightful, gut-wrenching, yet hopeful letters create a well-rounded picture that delivers clarity, understanding and a path of healing. Letters to a Sex Addict: The Journey Through Grief and Betrayal will help those affected to regain sanity and clarity and peace of mind.
Those in an intimate relationship with someone struggling with sex addiction will find hope and relief as they work through the exercises in this self-help workbook. They will also develop a better understanding of what is happening in their lives and find a path to healing and recovery.
Claudia Black, PhD, is a renowned addiction and codependency expert recognized for her pioneering work with family systems and addictive disorders.
Cara Tripodi, LCSW, is the executive director of Sexual Trauma & Recovery (STAR) in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.
Anyone who has discovered their loved one, the one person that they are supposed to trust completely, has been cheating on them will want to read this book. Readers have an opportunity to explore whether the person they are in a relationship with is simply behaving badly or truly suffers from a disease called sex addiction. Knowing the difference and knowing what to do about it can be transformational.
Author and editor, Stefanie Carnes brings together several leading experts in the field of sex addiction and family therapy to guide the reader through an assortment of difficult questions, including, Should I stay or should I go?, How Do I Set Boundaries and Keep Myself Safe?, What Does It Mean if My Partner Has Shown an Interest in Minors? and “What should I tell the kids?” Each of these topics are tackled in individual chapters producing a comprehensive guide that offers readers expertise on how to begin the painful road of mending a shattered heart.
What is unique about Mending A Shattered Heart is that it offers such inspiration and promise for the partner of a sex addict. It shows the seriousness of sex addiction and offers hope by showing that treatment can be successful, but hard work needs to be done—by both the partner and the addict. Without partners really examining their relationship with the sex addict, they can find themselves in a spiral of devastating relationships, essentially leaving the relationship and then falling in love with the same type of person over and over again with the same disastrous results. Mending A Shattered Heartshows the reader that they do have options. Even if the partner makes the decision to leave the relationship, there are things they can do to help them in their own recovery and make sure this never happens again. If they choose to stay in the relationship, they can work toward repairing the damaged relationship along with their own recovery.
A go-to guide on how to confront, heal from, and ultimately thrive after the devastation of betrayal by a partner’s compulsive sexual or other addictive behavior.
The first book specifically for partners affected by addictive behavior that addresses, in detail, how to identify, create, and maintain boundaries as a vital component of self-care and an indispensable tool for healing and growth. Through working the 5-Step Boundary Solution partners will gain clarity; reduce the chaos inherent in relationships impacted by sex addiction; feel more empowered and in control of their lives; discover whether or not their relationship with the addict is salvageable.
Using a trauma-model approach, Journey to Healing & Joy: A Workbook for Partners of Sexual Addicts, provides a healing pathway women can follow, either individually or in a support group. Beginning with the raw pain partners of sex addicts experience, this well-researched, soul-searching guide sensitively uses a forward-moving process, enabling women to grieve, grow, and heal. With a balance of educational content and penetrating questions, women review what has happened in their relationship and process it as they journal their answers to the workbooks self-reflective questions. They also learn important new skills and gain new strengths that equip them for the challenges they face, whether their relationship heals, or comes to an end. Chapter by chapter, women learn what it takes to share one’s life with a man striving to break free from sex addiction. And as they grow and evaluate their options, they gain new insight and clarity, enabling them to choose the next best step for their own lives.
When you discover that the person you loved and trusted most in the world is hiding a secret life as a sex addict, the result can be devastating. Facing that heartbreak is what this book is all about. The healing process will take time regardless of whether you decide to stay in the relationship or leave.
Facing Heartbreak weaves real life stories with practical therapeutic advice and specific tasks that gently educate, empower, and guide the partner of the sex addict through a process of recovery. Using Dr. Patrick Carnes’ thirty-task sex recovery model, readers will learn to heal from the heartbreak and betrayal as they discover hope and healing.
Drs. Schneider and Corley’s groundbreaking 2002 workbook, Disclosing Secrets, addressed the impact of disclosure on both addicts and their partners. Their subsequent research showed that the impact of disclosure is very different for partners than addicts. Surviving Disclosure, helps partners better understand the trauma resulting from the addict’s behaviors and offers a step-by-step guide for how to begin the healing process, prepare for the impact of living with an addict (even an addict in recovery), and deal with shame, anger and fear. The book describes what to tell the children and others, how to promote self-care and well-being no matter what the addict does, and how to set boundaries as part of rebuilding trust. Relationships can heal and partners can thrive after disclosure.
Pornography, cybersex, prostitutes, voyeurism, multiple affairs. No matter their “drug” of choice, men who act out sexually leave their partners reeling in fear, rage, incredible shame, and isolation.But there is hope.In Deceived, bestselling author Claudia Black offers women in relationships plagued by sexual betrayal the care and guidance to create a new path of clarity, direction, and confidence. Black uses stories of real women who have been through a wide variety of experiences to help readers develop the understanding and skills to: confront their partners, heighten their personal security by setting nonnegotiable boundaries, avoid preoccupation with their partners’ problems, practice forgiveness, let go of the uncontrollable, talk to their children, make positive changes derived from esteem and integrityDeceived teaches women how to proactively emerge from emotional isolation, shed secrets and shame, and discover their power to incite positive change in their relationships
Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out―three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list―her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon found that rock bottom was a familiar place. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.
Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. This astonishing memoir reveals how our ideals of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for a man and a woman to truly know one another – and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, commit to living true―true to themselves and to each other.
Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.
This book is a collection of letters that reveal the raw and intimate details of the life of a sex addict. It depicts a journey that starts at a turning point: Getting caught! Moving from pure denial through the recovery process to acceptance and beyond. A must-read for anyone cheating or being cheated on.
As the wife of a man who is addicted to lust, pornography, or masturbation, you are not alone. Millions of men can’t get through the day or the week without clicking on to their favorite Internet porn sites, thumbing through adult magazines, or watching sensual videos–and millions of wives suffer as a result.
Over the past decade, nearly 400,000 men have found inspiration and hope in Every Man’s Battle, the best-selling men’s guide to victory over sexual sin. Now, here at last is the book for every woman who has become a casualty in the fight for sexual purity. Every Heart Restored offers godly guidance and wisdom for a woman facing such personal betrayal.
“WHAT DOES GOD EXPECT FROM ME?”
“HOW CAN I TRUST AGAIN?”
“IS IT POSSIBLE TO OVERCOME PAIN AND UNFORGIVENESS?”
“CAN MY MARRIAGE BE REBUILT?”
“WHAT IF I JUST WANT OUT?”
Filled with stories from wives and husbands at every stage in the struggle for sexual purity, Every Heart Restored addresses the questions and real-life issues that matter to you most. Whether you are facing the startling new revelation of your husband’s sin, dealing with a long-term problem, or cleaning out an old wound, Every Heart Restored will meet you where you are and guide you to healing greater than you imagine possible.
Exploitive relationships can create trauma bonds–chains that link a victim to someone who is dangerous to them. Divorce, employee relations, litigation of any type, incest and child abuse, family and marital systems, domestic violence, hostage negotiations, kidnapping, professional exploitation and religious abuse are all areas of trauma bonding. All these relationships share one thing: they are situations of incredible intensity or importance where there is an exploitation of trust or power.
In The Betrayal Bond Patrick Carnes presents an in-depth study of these relationships, why they form, who is most susceptible, and how they become so powerful. He shows how to recognize when traumatic bonding has occurred and gives a checklist for examining relationships. He then provides steps to safely extricate from these relationships.
How do you know you’re ready to trust again … and what does it take to be ready?
Painful relationships violate our trust, causing us to close our hearts. But to experience the freedom and love God designed us for, we eventually have to take another risk.
In this breakthrough book, bestselling author Dr. John Townsend takes you beyond the pain of the past to discover how to re-enter a life of intimate relationships. Whether you’re trying to restore a current relationship or begin a new one, Townsend gives practical tools for establishing trust and finding the intimacy you long for.
You can’t put it into words, but something is happening to you. Your stomach churns, your heart aches, and the tension in your marriage is making you feel weary and a little crazy. The constant criticism, disrespect, cruelty, deceit, and gross indifference are eroding your confidence and breaking your spirit.
For any woman caught in an emotionally destructive marriage, Leslie Vernick offers a personalized path forward. Based on decades of counseling experience, her intensely practical, biblical advice will show you how to establish boundaries and break free from emotional abuse. Learn to:
· identify damaging behaviors
· gain the skills to respond wisely
· promote healthy change
· stay safe
· understand when, why, and even how to leave
· recognize that God sees and hates what is happening to you
Trying harder to be a perfect fantasy wife won’t help fix what’s wrong your marriage. Discover instead how you can initiate effective changes to stop the cycle of destruction and restore hope for the future.
Gaslighting is an insidious form of emotional abuse and manipulation that is difficult to recognize and even harder to break free from. That’s because it plays into one of our worst fears—of being abandoned—and many of our deepest needs: to be understood, appreciated, and loved. In this groundbreaking guide, the prominent therapist Dr. Robin Stern shows how the Gaslight Effect works and tells you how to:
Turn up your Gaslight Radar, so you know when a relationship is headed for trouble
Determine whether you are enabling a gaslighter
Recognize the Three Stages of Gaslighting: Disbelief, Defense, and Depression
Refuse to be gaslighted by using the Five Rules for Turning Off the Gas
Develop your own “Gaslight Barometer” so you can decide which relationships can be saved—and which you have to walk away from
Learn how to Gasproof Your Life so that you’ll never again choose another gaslighting relationship
From the world’s most acclaimed expert on verbal abuse comes the first book that answers the question foremost in every woman’s mind: can he really change?
Combining practical applications with the latest clinical research with the trademark support and assurance of Evans, The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He change? shows victims of verbal abuse how to empower themselves, improve their relationships, and change their lives for the better.
Little compares to the devastation people feel upon discovering their spouse has been unfaithful. Shocked, devastated and overwhelmed, couples often hit stalemates as they struggle to get past intense emotional pain, mistrust, resentment and never-ending arguments about the betrayal. From the bestselling author of DIVORCE BUSTING and THE SEX-STARVED MARRIAGE, renowned therapist, and TEDx speaker, Michele Weiner-Davis, comes a powerful blueprint for helping couples rebuild trust and mend their marriages following the crisis of discovery of an affair through forgiveness and beyond. Based on over three decades of experience helping couples recover from betrayal and save their marriages, Weiner-Davis offers a step-by-step program to help readers: · Deal with traumatic feelings after the discovery · Respond to questions about the affair · Talk about intense emotions without arguing · End the affair · Offer apologies that are sincere and healing · Overcome flashbacks and painful memories · Rebuild trust and accountability · Make their marriage stronger than before the affair · Find forgiveness · Reconnect sexually This book is filled with case vignettes of couples whose lives were shattered by betrayal but have eventually recovered and thrived. With the publication of HEALING FROM INFIDELITY, the practical advice available to her clients will be made accessible to millions more who desperately want to move through the pain of infidelity and restore their love.
A staggering number of couples in America—about 70 percent—have been affected by extramarital affairs. After the Affair is the only book to offer proven strategies for surviving the crisis and rebuilding the relationship. Written by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D., a nationally known therapist and acknowledged expert on infidelity, this revised and updated version brings the groundbreaking classic into the 21st century, with a new section dealing with online affairs in cyberspace. For women who are struggling in their marriage—and for clinicians, psychology academics and readers fascinated by of popular psychology—this newly revised and updated edition of After the Affair is essential reading.
A few days after an ordinary Valentine’s Day, Cindy Beall’s life changed forever. She listened with disbelief to her husband, Chris, a respected pastor, confess to pornography addiction, numerous affairs, and the startling news that a woman was pregnant with his child.
With raw honesty and intimate knowledge of pain and of God’s power to resurrect something new out of the debris of betrayal, Cindy reveals how to:
- seek guidance, counseling, and prayer support when deceptions surface
- help the family heal from the grief and humiliation
- rebuild trust after porn, sex, and other addictions undermine a relationship
- protect a marriage from lies and unfaithfulness
- rely on God to pursue forgiveness and move forward in new promises
Cindy’s compassion, grasp of God’s Word, and the Bealls’ remarkable story will help wives and husbands trust God with their broken hearts and follow His leading, hope, and redemption.
One of the world’s leading experts on infidelity provides a step-by-step guide through the process of marital infidelity—from suspicion and revelation to healing, and provides profound, practical guidance to prevent cheating and, if it happens, recover and heal from it.
You’re right to be cautious when you hear these words: “I’m telling you, we’re just friends.”
Good people in good marriages are having affairs. The workplace and the Internet have become fertile breeding grounds for “friendships” that can slowly and insidiously turn into love affairs. Yet you can protect your relationship from emotional or sexual betrayal by recognizing the red flags that mark the stages of slipping into an improper, dangerous intimacy that can threaten your marriage.
It’s devastating to discover that the person you trust the most has betrayed you. You’ll be facing some hard questions after learning of your partner’s infidelity. You may choose to rebuild your relationship, or you may decide to move on. Whatever the right decision is for you, this book will help you figure out why your partner betrayed you and decide whether you can remain in your relationship. It will also show you new ways to relate that can help you and your partner become a lasting, loving, and committed couple.
You’ll start by taking a look at the phenomenon of infidelity and the three types of intimacy: self-intimacy, conflict intimacy, and affection intimacy. Then you’ll learn about the three kinds of infidelity—those of fear, of loneliness, and of anger—and what each reveals about your relationship. Then it’s on to practical exercises that can heal emotional wounds and enable you to recover your ability to trust. Even if you decide not to remain with your current partner, the book will help you make wise relationship choices to “affair-proof” your future relationship.
Over ten years ago, Gary and Mona Shriver experienced the devastation caused by adultery, and after experiencing healing in their marriage, they wrote this book. Raw, transparently honest, the Shrivers’ story alone is an inspiration, offering hope and practical strategies for healing. Now this updated and revised edition adds other real-life stories of betrayal and forgiveness, and new information defining adultery, including the destruction of emotional affairs. And since one in four marriages is touched by infidelity, the need for hope, and a biblical approach to saving a broken marriage, is greater than ever. The Shrivers have shared their story of redemption many times in such media as The 700 Club, Focus on the Family, and RBC’s Words to Live By. Yet their most powerful testimony remains this book, a source of hope for wounded marriages everywhere.
Maurita Corcoran’s world collapsed when she learned that her husband, a successful physician, was a sex addict. She was suddenly submerged in a world of painful choices about how to rebuild a life for herself and her four children. This is an absorbing memoir about forgiveness, resilience, and hope. With the growing public awareness of how pervasive sex addiction has become, this memoir answers the questions that spouses must face in building lives of self-respect.
Written from firsthand experience, this amazingly open book offers hope and healing for women who have been hurt by their husband’s sexual addiction.
Sex addiction can be profoundly difficult to face. It destroys relationships, marriages, families, and careers. Anyone afflicted with sex addiction, as well as the people who love them, will find invaluable assistance in this essential guide that is filled with in-depth information and delivered with deep understanding and compassion.
Milton Magness, DMin, MA, LPC, CSAT, is the founder and director of Hope & Freedom Counseling Services. A Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, he served five terms as the president of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), the international professional organization for sexual addiction therapists. Prior to becoming a therapist he was a pastor for twenty years. He has a Doctor of Ministry from Luther Rice Seminary, a Master of Arts in Psychology from Houston Baptist University, and Master of Arts in Religious Education from Southwestern Seminary. Dr. Magness is the author of Stop Sex Addiction: Real Hope, True Freedom for Sex Addicts and Partners, and Thirty Days to Hope & Freedom for Sexual Addicts: the Essential Guide for Daily Recovery and Relapse Prevention.
Marsha Means, MA, a trained Marriage and Family Therapist, as well as the founder and director of A Circle of Joy Ministries, an organization designed to help women impacted by sexual addiction and address the needs created by this growing problem. In 2000, she gained international recognition through Prodigals International, an organization she and her husband founded in the Seattle area to train and equip therapists, churches, and lay people in providing help, hope, and healing to those touched by the pain and shame of sex addiction. Ms. Means is the author of Living With Your Husband’s Secret Wars, and the co-author of Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal.
Sexual addiction and infidelity have reached epidemic proportions. The result is devastation, not just to men’s souls, but also their wives’ hearts. And while betrayed wives have an excruciating road ahead of them, many are learning that God is faithful to heal… and even redeem.
Beyond Betrayal interweaves the stories of betrayed wives – including the author’s personal story – with the latest research on sexual addiction and partner trauma. That research includes the largest survey to-date of wives of sex addicts – a study conducted specifically for this book.
Wherever a woman is on her journey, Beyond Betrayal offers her clear, realistic guidance on how to move forward into the healing God has for her. The stories recounted are authentic and grace-filled — because we’ve all messed up in our pain and we all struggle with issues such as anger, boundaries and forgiveness. Despite this, God’s arms are wide-open and He is actively working to bring us to new levels of faith, wholeness and maturity: as individuals, couples, families and communities.
In this revised and updated version of Facing Love Addiction, bestselling author of Facing Codependence and internationally recognized dependence and addiction authority Pia Mellody unravels the intricate dynamics of unhealthy love relationships and shows us how to let go of toxic love. Through twelve-step work, exercises, and journal-keeping, Facing Love Addiction compassionately and realistically outlines the recovery process for Love Addicts, and Mellody’s fresh perspective and clear methods work to comfort and motivate all those looking to establish and maintain healthy, happy relationships.
In a revealing study of relationships where partners love themselves first, last, and always, Cynthia Zayn and Kevin Dibble help readers determine whether their partner is over the line and has narcissistic personality disorder. The book draws on the authors’ research and interviews with a variety of men and women who’ve been narcissized. Featuring compelling stories and scenarios, Narcissistic Lovers helps victims understand the pain brought on by their abusers, shows why these self-loathers can’t change, and offer hope for healing from their “N-fliction.”