Prodependency: A Compassionate Approach to Supporting Partners of Sex Addicts

In the realm of recovery from sex addiction, understanding the experiences and needs of partners of sex addicts is crucial. Traditional views have often labeled these partners as codependent, suggesting a kind of mutual dependency that could be contributing to maintaining the addiction. However, emerging perspectives, notably the prodependency model introduced by Dr. Robert Weiss and further developed by Dr. Kim Buck, offer a more compassionate and supportive framework that aligns better with the needs of these partners.

Understanding Prodependency

Prodependency moves away from the often-blaming tone of codependency by recognizing that the responses of partners to sex addiction are normal reactions to abnormal situations. Dr. Weiss and Dr. Buck argue that prodependency should be seen as a strength-based approach, where the partner's efforts to maintain the relationship are viewed as resilient and caring rather than pathological. This shift in perspective is grounded in cutting-edge research that emphasizes attachment, commitment, and love as healthy responses to a partner's addiction (Weiss, R., & Buck, K., 2019).

The Role of Therapeutic Intervention

Therapeutic interventions based on prodependency focus on strengthening these relationships rather than critiquing them. Counselors and therapists are encouraged to support partners in their desire to stay connected and engaged with the addict, recognizing their efforts as adaptive and supportive. This approach aligns well with the holistic and comprehensive strategies of the Family Strategies Counseling Center's SABR program, which values empathetic and informed support for both addicts and their partners.

Integrating Prodependency into Recovery Programs

Incorporating prodependency into recovery programs involves educating both partners and therapists about the value of understanding and supporting each other's recovery efforts. This includes recognizing the emotional bonds that motivate partners to remain in the relationship and supporting them in ways that promote healthy interdependence. Educational strategies that emphasize these aspects can lead to more effective and compassionate recovery processes.


The prodependency model represents a paradigm shift in how we support partners of sex addicts. It offers a framework that respects and values the deep emotional commitment of partners, viewing their efforts as constructive and supportive. As we integrate these insights into recovery programs like those offered by the Family Strategies Counseling Center, there is renewed hope and encouragement for both partners and addicts in their journey toward healing and renewal.

Family Strategies Counseling Center has actively serviced clients since 2000 in treatment for pornography addiction or sexually compulsive behavior. Our SABR program for adults, Tribe for college, and Band of Brothers for teens can help you! Give us a call (800) 614-8142 or visit our website for more information: Family Strategies Counseling Center.


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