An Interview with Barbara Steffens, Author of Your Sexually Addicted Spouse

Here is Part One of the four part series of interviews with Barbara Steffens. She has generously given her time and knowledge so that we can all benefit from her research and ideas about how partners of Sex Addicts can cope and heal. I cannot thank her enough.

Be sure to check back next week for Part 2.

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Click here to download Interview Part 1 .zip file 32.4MB

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Responses

  1. That was the best thing I’ve heard since my nightmare began.

    thank you.

    I can see in my choices and decisions since the big discovery, a deeper wisdom about caring for my traumatized self that is appropriate, not selfish. I am proud that somehow I knew what I needed to do.

    I do need to be safe from my partner’s capacity to abuse me with cruel criticism, lies, betrayal etc. I also need to safe from his recovery program’s built in capacity to blame me, make me carry the burden of his recovery, and treat us all like we have family disease. And I need to be with my therapist for what comes next.

    thank you so much JoAnn and Barbara. I hope some day you will see how great and warm and healing is the light you shine.
    D.

  2. I have known since discovery 4 years ago that I changed. I have told my friends and family the worse part about all that happened is what all the abuse took from me in terms of trust and joy, as a person. The court papers in the divorce stated I had post traumatic stress due to the deceit, infidelity, verbal and physical abuse…..the belittlement and degradation and pushes while discovering the affairs were the most damaging……when I needed him most to be sorry, to care the most, he tore me up instead, after already cheating and tearing me up with that. I divorced him, but once you have been through years of this, you are never the same. I can’t wait till the day comes when I do not have to worry about him anymore and live in fear anymore. We have a child together, and I have no contact with my ex, have a third party handle visits that recently have started unsupervised for him. I have a therapist for my son since he witnessed the physical abuse as I discovered affairs….and the ex is court ordered to attend the therapy, but is a no show often. I have done everything possible to shield my son and myself from anymore of his abuse….but it still trickles in and I worry constantly about my little boy. The worry, the fear….it steals the joy right out of you. My son is autistic spectrum disorder, asbergers, and I have spent the greater part of my energy pulling him from the trauma and protecting him……but I look forward to the day I can feel joy and happiness instead of fear and worry.

  3. Hey everyone, we have some new friends in the forum who could use a hug and some wisdom and comfort. It’s too bad that the forum software does not integrate with the comments here, so when people post their stories or needs in the forum, it does not show up on the main page.

    Anyway, I know they would benefit from some support. Thanks.

  4. Thank you both so much for this. Validation of my trauma experience is the best thing I can get right now, after his betrayal and denial and my first ever std — which he says is nothing to do with him.

    I am looking forward to part 2.

  5. Hi Joanne,

    Hope everyone is having a lovely Memorial Day Weekend!

    I was trying to chat on the forum page when all of a sudden, the whole thing I was writing, was deleted. I’m not sure what the difference is from this page, but it seems a lot more complicated and my sentences would go outside the box.

    The other tech issue I’m having is that Barbara’s interview which is fantastic, BTW, covers up the box of “To leave a comment” as it’s right in the middle of the page.

    For Tina, I am so sorry to hear that you contracted an STD— and that your partner says that it has nothing to do with him??? What???????? How the hell did you get it then??? from a toilet seat??? The absurdity of their comments are beyond laughable with what they will say to deny and minimize their unconscionable, and devastating acts.

    Lynn, I also have a son with high functioning autism/asperger’s. Fun, isn’t it? (that was a sarcastic remark, in case you didn’t realize). Of course, he’s 15– ’nuff said! 😉

    But, in addition to many other factors, it is also a source of isolation, which we all feel, especially around holiday times.

    I just want to add something that I’ve said before… For those of you who imagine that their sex addict partners are having such a rip roaring time with their prostitutes, other lovers etc.

    Not so. Nope. Not the fun you imagine— at all!!!

    I was a first-hand witness. The sex addict is not really enjoying himself. My lover was always anxious, tense, worried, and MASSIVELY insecure. Sex is simply a “release”, that is not the same as “fun” or even pleasurable. There is no real feeling behind it. So when they say that it didn’t mean anything, that much is true, however, its still a BS excuse for their heinous behavior.

    However, do not for one minute think that they are having this fabulous rip-roaring, hot fantastic time that has somehow eluded you.

    They aren’t.

    They are merely attempting to stay afloat— and eventually, they will be forced to succumb to the abyss of shit they are trying not to get swallowed up by. Maybe, not today and maybe not tomorrow, but soon… This is the one certainty, if they do not get help.

    They will bring you down with them, if you choose to stay with them as they are. This is also certain.

    This is the tough thing. For the sex addict needs to UNDERSTAND that he has a huge problem and be willing to have the necessary boundaries placed on him–and ongoing therapy and support. Until you hear that they will take whatever steps are necessary to be well and healthy, there is no hope.

    For them to even have the possibility to change, you will have to change. Not for them, but for yourself. However, through your changing, they will be forced to, one way or the other.

    So for those of you who are alone right now. Congratulate yourselves! Throw your own party. And celebrate the fact that you are at least on the way to a better, healthier more beautiful life where anything you can imagine is now possible.

    Here’s to a beautiful, warm, relaxing and wonderful summer, for all!

    xo,

    Lorraine

  6. Hi Lorraine,

    Thanks for the heads up on the flash player. Sometimes I forget that other people don’t have the huge monitors that I have for working on video and websites. I have made the player a little smaller, but because of the type of page format that I have, with the four columns, if I make the player small enough for most monitors you won’t be able to read the type. I’ll play around with a fixed width and see what that does.

    I am also frustrated with the forum set up. I have tested several other types of formats without success. We may just have to abandon that idea and just continue sharing ideas as comments.

    Along with Lorraine, I also wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.

    Love to all,

    JoAnn