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Why am I pursuing extramarital sex when I get everything I want at home?

Client: I've relapsed into pursuing other women, but I don't know why considering that my wife does everything I want, and then some. But nothing ever seems to be enough for me! I think it's something from within me.

Therapist: There probably was a triggering event, or something from deep inside of you, or perhaps an episode of hypersexuality, or maybe some sexual addiction symptoms. Although it seems like it's about the sex, it probably is really about something else. The sex is just a symptom of the underlying problem, like a default mechanism that happens to be maladaptive and self-destructive. Does that make sense?

Client: Yes, it does. I've been under a lot of stress lately. I've been working 7 days a week for at least a month straight, so I feel like I haven't been around other than to eat and sleep.

Therapist: And there you have it. That's probably the cause of this. You’re under stress and you’re also feeling some guilt for being an absent husband and father. Your needs as a father and husband are not being met because you actually need your family, but you’re being prevented from being there with them. So you just need to work on effective coping skills for the current stress until you can resolve the problem of your work schedule. And stop pursuing other women! The lesson here is that, for you, too much stress can lead to sexual acting out. That's your unhealthy fallback. But it’s self-destructive and counterproductive to leading a happy, healthy life as a husband, as a father and as a person with moral convictions.

Although this article was inspired by the last 400 clients seen for therapy services, it is not a depiction of any particular client, but rather a representation of all of them seen for this particular issue. Any identifying information has been altered. Therefore, any resemblance to any specific individual or family is purely coincidental. The purpose of these writings is to reach all of those who identify with these issues, but may never enter into a therapist's office. So, for those who will not come to therapy, therapy must come to them.

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