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Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal [Paperback]

Barbara A. Steffens , Marsha Means
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

10 Sep 2009
Sexual addictions and compulsive sexual behavior are growing societal problems, with as many as three to six percent of the world population affected. Your Sexually Addicted Partner shatters the stigma and shame that millions of men and women carry when their partners are sexually addicted. They receive little empathy for their pain, which means they suffer alone, often shocked and isolated by the trauma. Barbara Steffens' groundbreaking new research shows that partners are not codependents but post-traumatic stress victims, while Marsha Means' personal experience provides insights, strategies, and critical steps to recognize, deal with, and heal partners of sexually addicted relationships. Firsthand accounts and stories reveal the impact of this addiction on survivors' lives. Chapters end with "On a Personal Note" questions and propose new paths that lead from trauma to empowerment, health, and hope. Useful appendices list health and mental health care providers and clergy.

Frequently Bought Together

Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal + A Couple's Guide to Sexual Addiction: A Step-by-Step Plan to Rebuild Trust and Restore Intimacy + Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts
Price For All Three: 29.38

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: New Horizon Press Publishers Inc.,U.S. (10 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882823094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882823096
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has restored my sanity 2 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are the partner of a sex addict who had no clue what was going on behind your back, please, read this book!

After I found out about my husbands betrayal, I read and researched all I could. I attended counselling, and joined a 12 step program for partners. The counselling which was helpful at first, turned into a damaging excersice. The 12 step program eroded my sanity and my sense of self.

The traditional model says us partners are "co-addicts", "co-dependant", and "enablers" of our husbands secret lives. While I do agree, some peole are this way, and have lived knowing for years about thier husbands activities and choose to look the other way. These women can and likly will benifit from the traditional model.

This book looks at the "trauma model". The partners are caught in a horrifying circle of trauma, which involves trying to find safety, trying to figure out whats going on, trying to protect ourselves. We are not labeled with damaging labels, not asked to wait for god to help us, not told we are sick. It echoes the feelings we feel, and the thoughts we have, while offering a gentle hand of understanding rather than condemnation.

I am actually considering buying another copy to give to my ex-counellor in hope he can see the truths in it, and stop damaging other women with his damaging rhetoric.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
97 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a book that addresses the trauma a spouse goes through 15 Mar 2010
By Bernie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was so grateful to read this book. It's definitely the missing-link in treatment for the spouses of sex addicts. Unlike the traditional Patrick Carnes model, this book is about recognizing and treating trauma in spouses.

As the spouse of a sex addict, the co-addict label has never felt 'true' to me. Each of us are different, in recovery, but unlike so many people that I know, I've never had a big discovery moment before, or found porn or anything. My discovery was truly the shock of my life. I love this book because it recognizes the trauma for what it is, and details many of the symptoms I have had, like PTSD. It doesn't call me codependent, and doesn't tell me that I am to blame for part of what's happened. (how would I have known?) It does address some of the beginnings of the deep emotional abuse it's taken my husband to use, to keep me in the dark about his addiction.

Don't buy this book for your husband to read, or for you to understand him. (Most of us do that anyway.) Make this the one book you buy for YOU-- and take it to your therapist too. Your trauma needs to be heard and validated, so that you can begin to heal these deep and painful wounds. With or without your husband, you deserve healing, and a life free from the weight of what he has done.
89 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A window to my soul and salve to my heart 30 Aug 2009
By Jessi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Oh-my-goodness! I'm only on page 93, but just realized that for the past 5 years I have felt like I've been living like I'm in a front-loading washing machine and no one can really see me, no one knows I'm here, but they don't look. I can see out, but I remain alone. I had an amazing counselor who saw me. Thank You God for him. But I finally feel like there is someone IN here, WITH me. Someone understands where I have lived the last 5 years, and prior. Thank you Marsha and Barb. Thank You. From a partner of a sex addict, great guy, but doesn't connect with me, yet blames me for my efforts to remain safe in an emotionally unsafe marriage, I can't stress enough that this is a must read for partners and those who want a window into partners' souls. Counselors - please, please, I beg you, read this. Understanding, validation and affirmation have been the MOST soothing and healing things I have experienced on my path toward healing this traumatic, deep pain. Please read this and if you can afford to, give copies to those you know who live in their own isolation, and those who try to support them. This has been like a bubble bath with candles and soft music to my soul.

If you work with or know someone who is a partner of a sex addict, please, please read this book to see into their wounded soul. If you have lived this betrayal, the validation in this gift of a book and the hope to heal that it offers is salve for your weeping, bleeding heart. Barb and Marsha, I thank God for you. Peace.
52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the only one YOU need - and I would know! 13 Dec 2010
By Bless 1 Another - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well, they say WE, the devastated are to read everything we can get our hands on to understand THEIR DISEASE. So, I did that. I read and read, with what felt like two broken legs, two broken arms, an eye patch, a brain injury, cracked sternum, and perforated heart. (Emotionally speaking that is..........) All that came of the books I read on this subject was even MORE TRAUMA. This is the ONLY book out there folks to read if you are feeling the lowest low of your life due to the betrayal. If you are sitting there with an STD and a heart made of swiss cheese, an addict that is still righteous in their wrongness "crazymaking", who looked on line at things that you didn't even know existed? If you can barely get your kids to school, remember where you put your keys, don't care to put makeup on or go to the grocery store to trigger off a darned magazine cover- if this is you, ...............buy this book. Actually, buy atleast three if you can afford it, and I will say why: The first one, you will probably mark up and underline to death.(don't want our addict to see how much we despise them in our notes- (or we would be called shaming, and toxic) If you are triggering off the whole world after disclosure you need this to validate that you are exactly where you are supposed to be in this stage of grief and trauma. The second one, you will want your addict to read in helping them GET IT - which will also aide them in their fourth step - which is where they are supposed to be able to see what all they have done, and with whose blood they paid the bill with - (which some never will, but we try don't we- when we have kids to these folks and arent sure if we do or don't have the strength to stay in this hell?) You may even buy a third of fourth copy to hand to those people closest to you, so they too can understand what you are going through. I would not see a CSAT therapist now, that was not following this trauma model for healing me. Hopefully, this will be your lifes lowest low and its up from here. Though this book doesn't have any magic pill in it, it describes the process of what is available in the most divine way, and it validates that we aren't as sick as our addict (That one makes me mad - some of us are just super great people that had impeccable liars in our midst sucking our lives right out from under us with their eyes, mind and lies. I think PC needs to update his treatment. We are not co-addict sickos because we had good deceivers, and if I am looking at my husbands journal, that doesnt make me sick, just a darned good mom protecting my kids from a man that is very ill in his disease. I am called to protect my children, and I will!) When you read this book, you can tell these gals have walked our walk, and you will aim to talk their talk. I find it interesting, that one left their addict, and one stayed. This is a great perspective. I just wish a few things, one, the cover triggered me. I hate anything with sexual pictures or nudity. I wish they chose another cover, but it probably wouldn't sell as many copies. I hate that it would trigger my husband and now I want to hide my new "Bible." Second, I wish there was a chapter or two on what the brain impaired addict can do on an hourly, daily basis to try to begin consoling our pain. Not even inpatient treatment centers teach this to the addict and God himself knows they need a roadmap or two! My overall feelings other than that, it is a Super book. The only one to buy if you are overwhelmed with despair, confusion and aren't sure you want to read about perversion any longer. They did a great job not using triggering stories or words, so that both the addict and the betrayed can enjoy this book. BUY IT. YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID. Just cover the front with a bookcover so your addict doesn't [...]to it after reading it.That had to be the only thing they didn't pray about. The inside contents were laid out with impeccable grace and it flows.
57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why it hurts so bad and how to deal with it. 4 Nov 2009
By Real Life - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Affects of sexual addiction are devastating, from the first surge of shock through the speechless terror, riding the wave of disassociation, from this is really only a bad dream to reality; you are never the same. This book covers it. It validates your deep painful wounds, explains the trauma, chemical reactions in your body, gives you concrete recommendations, and does not skirt the physical / psychological reality of harm and priority of safety. Awesome reality checks to pastors and counselors as well as in depth bibliography if you choose to go deeper.

Kudos to Barbara and Marsha, for shifting the paradigm and giving many such a powerful concise tools to deal with the obliteration of their security and trust; personally your timing has been perfect.

Buy two because someone you know or don't know through a third party has been traumatized and could use it.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed! 1 Sep 2010
By Krista - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've spent the last year looking for a book for partners of porn/sex addicts, but found that they were all either completely religious based, or automatically labels partners as codependent. Obviously when writing about this subject you can't leave out religion and codependency because groups like COSA and S-Anon can be great for people who are, but not everyone is. This book has the perfect balance, it covers every point of view necessary but without being too forceful about it.

This book is great for people who have had to deal with sexual addiction in their relationship. Before I read this, I had been convinced my "crazy" reactions to my partner's addiction were caused by codependency. I wasn't sure I believed it, and after reading this book I'm almost positive I'm actually suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The book explains how almost all of the signs and symptoms of codependency can also be signs of PTSD, and I agree. I think in most cases people who act "crazy" after finding out about their partner's addiction aren't codependent, those "crazy" behaviors are their way of seeking safety, not control. This book compares the two and also goes into a lot of detail about the ways PTSD can affect your health, which I found interesting and useful.

Another one of the reasons I loved this book was, like others have mentioned, it gave me all the validation I've needed for the things I've been feeling. Part of the book actually brought tears to me eyes because I was feeling like "yes, finally, someone understands!" It makes you feel like you're not alone, it makes you feel understood, and it makes you feel like you have a right to feel everything you're feeling. I've never gotten any of that from my partner so this book was really everything I've been needing to hear.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was that it can be slightly repetitive at times. Also, there are quite a few stories thrown in and I felt like maybe there were too many... but that's not anything that's going to make me take a star off this amazing book!

I'd recommend this to anyone who's dealing with a sexual addiction, whether you're the partner or the addict. Partners can benefit from the validation, resources, and other information and I think addicts can benefit from being able to really see things from their partner's perspective, hopefully helping them to be more sensitive and understanding. Be warned though; both partners and addicts, some of the content in here may be triggering at times. Nothing too bad, it really depends on what you're triggered by and how easily, but I thought I should mention that.
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