Have you ever thought that something is "off" with your spouse or partner? Has he or she been more emotionally distant over time? You bring it up and tell him you feel like he's always somewhere else. He tells you he's been under stress, maybe working a lot, or simply that nothing is wrong at all and why do you ask. But your intuition says that something is wrong. It seems like you do not even know him anymore.

Maybe the sex you used to share and enjoy – the sex that left you both feeling close and nurtured – is now about getting him or her to orgasm. Intensity is the rule and real intimacy is a memory. Porn may be introduced or certain sexual adventures that do not seem very loving. Or maybe you no longer have sex.

You feel lonely and depressed. You might think that you're a little crazy since he or she tells you that you're wrong, or over reacting, or just a nag. But you can not shake this gut feeling that he's no longer in the relationship.

Trust your "gut." You know more than you think you know and you are not crazy.

Your partner may be out of control with sex. If he is, then you will not see it like you would if he were an alcoholic or chemically dependent. He will not be impaired in those more obvious ways. But if he is a sex addict, then ever he will get aught. Every sex addict gets caught. Either the secrets are disclosed or a discovery is made.

Sex addiction is different from other dependencies. This "drug" of dependency is arousal – that wonderful, pleasurable, and potentially addictive storm of "feel good" that that fires off in the reward centers of the brain. Brain scans show us that an aroused brain looks just like a brain on cocaine. Imagine that nature provides us with such a powerful experience with an unlimited supply at such a very young age. Remember that the age of first masturbation to orgasm is in adolescence. Early arousal experiences are very important. Maybe your partner's childhood home was less than ideal. Perhaps he or she experienced painful neglect or abandonment. This can be true with even the best and most caring of parents who might simply have been stretched so thin that there was no time or energy left to give the love a child needs.

Or maybe your partner had an even less ideal childhood experience. Maybe there was emotional, physical, or even sexual abuse. Children adapt to even the most terrible of situations. They figure out how to get along or even just survive. For some children, sexual arousal is more than just a gift of nature. Instead, it is a secret and often shameful comfort. It may have been the only time that he or she feels in control and alive. The makings of a sexual addiction begin here. Without non-shaming intervention, healthy sexual information, and mature guidance, he or she may continue an often life long relationship with compulsive sex. Rarely are these things available.

If sex addiction were like alcoholism maybe it would not be so personally hurtful. At least you would not say, "You think that brown bottle of beer is sexier than I am." Sex addiction is a very personal thing. It is not easily shared. Who can you talk to? Once something is spoken, it can not be unspoken. And so the loneliness, pain, shame, and anger of not knowing becomes the loneliness, pain, shame, and anger of knowing.

If you identify with this article, then you owe it to yourself to get help. You can set limits. You can maintain healthy boundaries and you can come to your own aid. If he says it's not true, then what you have are his words. Confront what you see and speak your truth. Watch for actions which speak louder than words. Take the time that you need and listen to your intuition when something does not feel safe. Often, the shame that a sex addict carries looks like arguments, anger, or even rage.

When you ask for help you will find that you are not alone. Many others have been here and by doing certain things that theyaled old wounds and often healed their relationships. You can not do his recovery for him. Sexual sobriety is his responsibility. This would be easy if you did not care but I bet that you do. Give yourself the gift of caring for you. You are precious and valuable no matter what. Start to live again now.