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11-Aug-2018 01:17

The reality for most partners I see is that they experience phenomenal shock.” The damage to self-esteem, she continues, isn’t just about the sexualised behaviour, such as visits to prostitutes that partners never knew about.

It’s the fact that they’ve lived with someone so long and had no idea.

Indeed, you can find a whole load of stuff you don’t desire, but get hooked nonetheless,” she says.

I felt that meant the risk of relapse was too great, so I left.

The expanding importance and role of the Internet in everyday life has an interesting side-effect, that of an increase in cyber-sex addiction.

is overdue, Hall believes, with thousands of partners across the UK struggling with something that evokes all the most destructive ingredients of personal pain – betrayal, infidelity, deceit and shame.

“Sex addiction feels extremely personal when you’re the partner because it affects the most intimate part of your relationship in a way that, say, alcohol or drugs just don’t,” she explains.

Some relationship therapists work with the partner’s pain by treating it as an infidelity, for example, but it’s so much more than that – and sometimes it isn’t even that at all, with some people not actually having sex elsewhere, but using porn instead.” No wonder Hall’s therapeutic practice, which recognises the uniqueness of the partner’s pain, has gone from strength to strength.