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Traditionally, most partners of sex addicts have been treated as co-dependents, says Hall."The presumption is that the partner knew at some level what was going on and was 'enabling' it, which is frankly an insult."One confident businesswoman recently told me that the discovery that her husband is a sex addict turned her into a 'screaming banshee - I've become a stranger to myself'," Hall tells me.Hall believes these partners need help of their own - hence her self-help guide, covering three broad areas: understanding sex addiction and why it hurts partners so much; repairing the damage it has caused to the partner; and finally, helping the partner to work out whether the relationship can survive and, either way, how to move forward.

No wonder many partners suffer trauma, which can lead to depression, anxiety and panic attacks, rage or utter dissociation.

Joy Rosendale, a sex-addiction therapist specialising in partner work, instigated the first one in the UK back in 2005, following her own experiences.

"Although there is usually huge reluctance for partners to seek help, let alone come into a group, because of the privacy and shame, something happens in these groups that liberates these women - and I say women because in my experience, it is usually women who access them," says Rosendale, who still runs the group at the Marylebone Centre, London.

Eight years into her marriage, Rachel started to wonder if her husband had lost interest in sex.

"He'd always go to bed later than me and often made excuses when I brought it up," explains the 41-year-old.

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