We receive emails and calls on a daily basis from men and women describing various issues in their intimate relationships: Infidelity, sex/pornography addiction, low libido, sexual incompatibility, past trauma that is now impacting their intimate relationship, substance abuse issues that have created chaos in one's marriage; mental or physical illness that impacts the relationship connection. You name it!
One of the questions I often am asked is, "Is it possible to recover from....?" My answer is always, "YES!" Couples can recover from almost anything with the following conditions present:
- Both have to be WILLING to get the right (and accurate) help and actually DO the work
- The relationship must be free from criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling
- Both have to have the mental and emotional wherewithal to be able to endure the struggles as much as the successes--this can be challenging!
People wonder if saving their relationship is possible even with intimate betrayal (i.e. betrayal as a result of cheating, porn/sex addiction, abusing substances, stealing money from the relationship)? Again, my answer is YES.
In many relationships, there is often a history of being together for a very long time. Chances are, children are in the mix along with a lot of great (as well as challenging) memories. There is also love. When I do couples therapy I initially ask each person, first, if they want to stay together, and second, what it is about their partner that that they initially fell in love with? The goal is to get back to that feeling, that attachment, that connection.
The road to getting there can often be long and winding, but beneficial if both are willing to stay in it. That is key.
There are some relationships that have had a stable amount of recovery time; however, other factors continue to create challenges in the relationship. For example, one partner (or both) may have significant mental or physical health issues that can cause perpetual challenges. For instance, no matter if one or both individuals have successful recovery from an addiction, if there are other underlying and unresolved mental or physical issues, it can cause on-going problems in the relationship if not destroy it. If this is the case, it is essential that both parties seek mental and medical help by a professional that specializes in what they are needing (i.e., perhaps medication management, or a specific therapy).
Just because your relationship looks like it is in dire straights right now doesn't mean that it will always be this way.
With the accurate treatment interventions and on-going support, intimate relationship recovery from ANYTHING is possible.
by Candice Christiansen, Founder
Namasté Center for Healing, The Prevention Project.™, The Love Ed. Movement™
(Candice is looking at offering a Men's Healthy Relationship Support group for men with advanced recovery (from sex, substances, food, money, trauma) who need tools to continue progressing in their relationships with self and their partner. If you are interested in attending this group, email Candice@namasteadvice.com. She will start this group depending on interest.