Stages of Relationships
The fear of being discovered as defective makes sex addicts fear intimacy. The closer they move to their partners, the more vulnerable they feel. This increasing vulnerability scares sex addicts into aggressive and defensive postures.
The emotional walls addicts construct cause them to conduct their relationships in extremes. Their containment boundaries fail them, and they spew their emotions like a garden hose. Or their protective boundaries fail them, and they can become emotionally flooded,not allowing themselves to be approached or touched by any emotion or physical contact. Or they may wall themselves up thoroughly from their own authentic emotions and the desire to be physical that they become as silent and untouchable as a tightly shut clam. Boundary practice teaches us to regulate the levels of respect, affection, and sexual intimacy that are appropriate to our relationships.
Note: Not from the book. Book deals with one-on-one relationships: Acquaintance; first level friendship, second level friendship, intimate relationship.
With implementation of boundaries, the development of healthy relationships can begin. In establishing or assessing relationships, it is helpful to apply the concentric circle model. This concept maybe be difficult or awkward for the recovering sex addict because of his limited ability to relate.
The concentric circles represents levels of relational development or emotional connection: The closer to the center of the circle, the more intimate the relationship.