Get your cheating partner to truly understand your pain – “How do I get my cheating husband/wife to get it?!” Here’s how. This hugely important question by partners brings us to the “E” word: Empathy. Empathy is such an important issue to talk about, yet such a painful one. A partner’s world shatters before her/him after discovering their partner’s sexual secrets, secrets that may have spanned decades.
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This betrayal trauma is so painful, and causes an enormous rift in a relationship. Healing this rift takes plenty of patience and a commitment to recovery from the sexually addicted partner.
Healing also takes a commitment to openness, honesty, and empathy in the relationship.
Unfortunately, so many sex addicts have narcissistic tendencies (after all, sexual acting out in the relationship is an inherently selfish act).
Narcissism and empathy, as you can imagine, don’t go together very well. It’s like going to a foreign country where you’ve learned the basics of the language but aren’t fluent. You can learn the “words” but it’ll be clear very soon to a native speaker that you really don’t get the language.
All too often, sex addicts can learn “formulas” of things to say but these phrases quickly ring hollow to many partners, as they really want their partners to FEEL the pain that they are experiencing.
Developing empathy CAN be done, but it does take time. It will take some patience on the part of the partner, as this is a new language being developed by the addict.
So what are some ways that addicts can start to learn the new language of empathy?
1. Learn what empathy is.
Brene Brown has an excellent short description of empathy.