I want to start this blog saying I applaud Elin. In the midst of the worst storm imaginable, she has remained publicly strong and I hope she is receiving care for herself.
But others (women mostly) who find themselves in relationship with or married to sex addicts have an immediate understanding of why all the news is about Tiger with little to no mention of his wife. Its not just because he’s famous, rich, talented, etc. Its because the focus is always on the addict, whether its sex addiction, drug addiction, alcoholism or out of control gambling. People are interested in “how did he (or she) get that way? Is it really an addiction?” or “He can turn his life around…people will forgive and forget.”
But wives or partners of sex addicts know that the spot light is where most addicts thrive, even after getting caught. And standing outside of that glare stands a loved one whose world was just turned upside down and inside out, who has experienced a betrayal that hurts more than just about any other conceivable pain, and yet they are invisible. No one sees them. No one pays much attention to their wounds. They are voiceless. No one writes press about what it must be like for the woman standing in the ashes of what was her life and future.
But they do wonder. “How did she not know!” “What kind of woman picks a man like that!” (Rather than what kind of man makes those kinds of choices!) “She should just leave! Why doesn’t she just leave? What’s wrong with her?”
I’ve long thought that women married to sex addicts are treated much the same as women who experience domestic violence were long treated, and unfortunately often are still. They are blamed for their pain, called “sick” because their spouse develops a compulsion and betrays everything.
So for wives or partners of sex addicts, there are two choices: remain invisible or ignored, or be blamed or ridiculed for what someone else does to her. Which would you choose?
Its time to take the sole focus off those with addictions and attend to the needs of those caught up in the fallout. Partners of sex addicts need a third and healthy option.