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Extramarital Affairs: When Sexual Addiction and Infidelity Meet

One kind of extramarital affair revolves around sexual addiction. The partner involved in the affair, plain and simple, has a difficult time saying "NO." He/she may want to, but feels compelled to say "yes."

People can't say no? Well, I believe we all have the capacity, at some level, to say no. However, not all have developed that capacity or reached that level to firmly say no and mean it.

Some are 'stuck' and seem to lack the ability to consistently act on the 'no.' Please remember that all of us are 'grabbed' by something and find it difficult to let go. Infidelity when connected to sexual addiction and its many forms, however, becomes a powerful focal point.

How to know if infidelity is attached to sexual addiction:

1. Sex takes on an inflated role or value. Sex, sexual conquest, sexual release becomes a powerful force. Acting on the sexual impulse is a frequent activity. Thinking about sex likewise consumes an inordinate amount of time. Multiple ways of acting out sexually (porn, strip clubs, multiple sex partners, etc.) are common.

2. This activity is bound by fear. The person lives with fear: the fear of getting caught, the fear of consequences, the fear of 'being found out,' the fear of being abnormal, the fear of being punished, and the fear of losing family, spouse, job and respect.

3. A promise/failure cycle ebbs and flows with the inability to say no. After an 'acting out' episode the person usually experiences guilt/fear and promises to self or others, 'I won't do it again.' This will last...until the 'urge' is acted upon again. The spouse may be aware or unaware (but sense that something is not 'right') of the 'roller coaster' and succession of broken promises.

4. Others are used or seen as objects for personal gratification. No true intimacy is developed.

5. Sexuality is often confused with other needs or connected to unresolved past pain or trauma. A child who experiences confusion around sexuality or sexual abuse of one form or another, may carry along that confusion and attempt to 'work that through' in a marriage or extramarital affairs. (I worked with one woman who 'used' a one-night fling with a significant person to 'clear up' a particular issue.) She was free of that 'urge' from that point on. No one ever knew. Could she have chosen a different way? Maybe.

6. Such a person lives in a distorted world. They come to see the world and relationship through the eyes of their 'addiction.' They have a great capacity to rationalize their behavior, deceive others and may lead a 'dual' life.

Tip: If you suspect these characteristics fit you or someone you love, get some help before your world disintegrates further or falls apart. Life can be different. Life, sexuality, a truly intimate relationship IS different. You can get there. You are stuck, and need some true love, care and guidance to arrive at the next level.

If you are interested in learning about the 6 other forms of infidelity I outline in my book, "Break Free From the Affair," visit my website. Dr. Robert Huizenga, The Infidelity Coach, has helped hundreds of couples over the past two decades heal from the agony of extramarital affairs and survive infidelity. Visit his website at:


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