Lee Psychological ServicesSex Addiction Recovery Program-SARPDon't hesitate to give us a call! 415-771-1967


Six Stage Model Of Recovery For Partners


  • Prior to learning partner's behavior is an addiction
  • Can last months or more commonly years
  • Partners either knew of the behavior or were completely "in the dark" re: illicit sexual behaviors
  • If a partner knew of the behaviors, often would minimize, deny, blame themselves or join in the sexual escapades of the addict
  • Believe tall tales
  • Tolerate, normalize unacceptable behavior from the addict (verbal abuse, dependency, unavailability, mood swings, etc.)
  • Self-doubt (second guessing, not trusting gut feelings)
  • Seek couples therapy to treat the relationship
  • Unmanageability


  • Façade of addict has been exposed
  • Catalytic event that has caused partner to confront reality of addiction
  • Information-seeking at the highest
  • Take action/making decisions (e.g. sending to treatment, joining a 12-step group, read literature pertaining to sexual addiction, separation, file for divorce, seek information
  • Emotional turmoil


  • Feelings and emotions occur as a result of Initial discovery/disclosure of the addiction
  • Emotional numbness or avoidance
  • Victimization
  • Suspicious
  • Terror about slips, future
  • Feelings of despair
  • Anger (hostility, self-righteousness, blame, criticism)
  • Ruminating
  • Desire accountability/disclosure from addict
  • Distrust


  • Grieving losses, feelings of depression
  • Ambivalence about the relationship
  • Increased introspection and focus on the self
  • Less focus on the addict's behavior and more on your own


  • Introspection
  • Decision-making stage about the relationship
  • Deeper insight into causes of co-addiction
  • Family of origin themes examined and integrated
  • Prior losses more fully grieved
  • Increased strength and coping skills
  • Boundary setting
  • Emotional Stability


Couple talking to the therapist
  • Decreased feelings of being victimized by the addiction
  • Focus on issues not directly related to the addiction
  • Awareness of your role in the dysfunction of the relationship increases
  • Acknowledgement of gifts the addiction has brought to your life

Still have questions? Please contact us anytime! We look forward to
hearing from you.

Lee Psychological Services

582 Market Street Suite 708
San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone: 415-771-1967
Fax: 415-771-1053

Recommended Reading


  • A Gentle Path Through the 12 Steps, Patrick Carnes
  • Contrary to Love, Patrick Carnes
  • Cruise Control, Rob Weiss
  • Disclosing Secrets, Deborah Corley & Jennifer Schneider
  • Don't Call it Love, Patrick Carnes
  • Facing the Shadow, Patrick Carnes
  • In the Shadows of the Net, Patrick Carnes, David Delmonico & Elizabeth Griffin
  • Mending a Shattered Heart - A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, Stephanie Carnes, Ed.
  • Open Hearts - Renewing Relationships with Recovery, Romance & Reality, Patrick Carnes
  • Out of the Shadows, Patrick Carnes
  • Ready to Heal - Women Facing Love, Sex & Relationship Issues, Kelly McDaniel
  • Sex Addicts Anonymous
  • Sexual Anorexia, Patrick Carnes

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