Sex Addiction and Divorce
I have worked on over 250 divorce cases in California and have heard many reasons why a spouse wants a divorce. In my experience, these are the most common:
Not enough employment income to cover family expenses;
Loss of love, passion, or intimacy;
Verbal, emotional, or physical abuse;
Financial infidelity or mismanagement;
Sexual infidelity; and
Alcohol, drug, gambling, or spending addictions.
But the other day I heard a new one -- the prospective client’s husband was struggling with “sex addiction.”
What is Sex Addiction?
Not sure what to make of this, I reached out to Cory Anderson, a marriage and family therapist who is the founder of Integrity Counseling Group.
Cory’s practice specializes in sex addiction, with more than half of the therapists earning advanced certifications in this area. They also work with partners who have been impacted by what they call “betrayal trauma”—the fallout from affairs and being in a relationship with a sex addict.
Cory explained that 11% of the population is estimated to struggle with sex addiction, which can include anything from compulsive pornography use, to hiring prostitutes, to serial infidelity (note that not all infidelity is from sex addiction).
What distinguishes healthy sexual behavior from sex addiction is that the behavior is unwanted and/or destructive, and the addicted person is unable to stop doing it in spite of the consequences. For example, a person with a sex addiction may get fired from a job for looking at pornography on the company computer, or strain the family's budget by frequently paying for sex.
Less dramatic (but equally problematic), an addict of any kind may have certain inter-relational patterns that threaten his or her marriage. These can include lying, manipulation, gaslighting, and more.
If you are curious about sex addiction, I recommend you listen to this 40-minute podcast interview with Cory.
You can also take a free sex addiction screening or betrayal bonding test at Recovery Zone.
Integrity Counseling Group also specializes in Christian counseling. As a sexually open-minded non-Christian and supporter of LGBTQ rights, I was skeptical about what a Christian therapist would have to say about sex.
I am pleased to report that my conversation with Cory was enlightening, and I thought his approach to the subject was informed, empathetic, non-judgmental, and practical.
If you think sexual addiction may be present in your marriage or relationship, I suggest you reach out to the team at Integrity Counseling Group, whether you are Christian or not.
The Financial Impact of Sexual Addiction and Divorce
I have seen many couples divorce over addiction issues, typically involving alcohol or drugs. I have also seen couples divorce over serial infidelity. Sometimes these couples can successfully divorce using a mediator and other times they need to be represented by attorneys, particularly if disagreements over child custody occur.
My role as a financial expert in these cases is challenging. I often work with the non-addicted spouse to help him or her prepare financially for living independently, not knowing if he or she will receive child or spousal support, or whether he or she will have to pay it. Much depends on the addicted party’s ability to hold a job.
In these cases, my role as a certified divorce financial analyst and divorce financial planner is to ensure that assets and debts are divided fairly and to help the non-addicted spouse prepare to live on possibly inconsistent and unpredictable monthly cashflow.
If you are contemplating divorce or need financial analysis and planning during or after divorce, visit TheOptionsLady.com and request a consultation.
Laurie Itkin is a financial advisor, wealth manager, and certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). She is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, Every Woman Should Know Her Options: Invest Your Way to Financial Empowerment. In both 2017 and 2018 Investopedia named Ms. Itkin one of the top 100 most influential financial advisors in the country.
Through her financial consulting company, The Options Lady, she provides divorce-related financial planning and analysis to individuals and couples throughout all stages of the divorce process, with a specialty in California divorces. She is a member of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) and is certified by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA).
Laurie has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and San Diego Union Tribune. She has also appeared as a guest on broadcast news channels.