13 March 2012

This Post is About Porn

my husband is addicted to porn

Danny & I want to send a lot of love out to a group of people dealing with what can be an extremely challenging trial in a marriage:  porn addiction.  Since starting this blog, we have come to know of several women who have been reading our posts who are facing this issue & looking for strength and inspiration as they face their challenges.  We want anyone reading to know that we send you our support.  And while we know everyone is at a different stage of strength & healing, we know that a lot of things we talk about on this blog can make a difference in your lives when you're ready (choice, finding your own individual worth, peace, having real love for another human being, etc.)  We wish you the very best on your path.

Today's post is written by a woman whose husband is addicted to porn.   We admire this woman's desire to pursue a path of love & forgiveness, despite what she's faced with. 

Here's her story....
(Photo is a picture of the husband and wife in this post.)

*******************************

I was tickled to see Mara call me out at the end of Shiloh’s story. I had already thought about asking if I could post my experience with the internet and marriage, so I was delighted to get to the bottom of the post and see that Mara was one step ahead of me!

The pain in my life and the comfort in my life both come from the internet.



My husband (a loving, kind, funny, amazing person) has an addiction to pornography.  

I feel I should be clear on some things first.  Everyone has differing opinions about pornography, and I am okay with that.  No matter your opinion on whether pornography is harmful or not, I would ask you (even temporarily) to open your mind as you read what I write.  If someone drinks alcohol, that does not make them an alcoholic.  If someone wants desperately to stop drinking alcohol because they see it interfering with and even ruining their lives, but cannot seem to stop no matter how they try or what they will lose by continuing, they are an addict.  Not everyone who has looked at pornography is an addict, but take for example a man who wants nothing more than to never look at it again and knows that looking at it will hurt his marriage and potentially lead to the breakup of the family he loves dearly, yet no matter how he tries, he still goes back to it time and time again.  He is an addict.  Addicts are not bad people.  They have a problem.



My husband started looking at pornography when he was a teenager--back when the internet was new. It was easy.  There were no magazines for your mom to find under your mattresses.  (Most moms didn’t even know how to get online back then.)  He didn't feel right about it, and he resolved multiple times not to look anymore, but he always went back.  He served a two-year mission for our church after convincing himself that he had kicked the habit (during which time he had no access to the internet whatsoever), but when he came home, the internet was waiting for him, and so was the pornography.  Then he met me.  I'd love to say that he gave up all his vices and became the perfect man just because I came into the picture, but that's not the case.  He was completely honest when I asked him if he had ever looked at pornography, but I don't think either of us really knew the extent. Someone recently asked me if I felt he had "tricked" me into marrying him on the premise that he would never look at it again.  I don't think there was any trickery intended or involved.  I just think neither he nor I had any idea that pornography could, in fact, be an addiction.

I do not regret marrying him at all.  He is my love.

  It is hard for people to admit that they have no control over their behavior.  They feel weak.  They feel worthless.  There were times when my husband wanted so badly to tell me that he had messed up again, but he was terrified to be the cause of my pain. Terrified to make the woman he loved cry.  Terrified that I would actually leave him.  So he would lie. Logic takes a back seat in addiction.  Then (6 months, 1 year, 2 years) down the road it would all come out.  And I would shut down and cry and yell.  It was so painful every time.

I used to be most sensitive to the pornography itself.  However, as the years went on, I discovered a new kind of hurt that puts the actual pornography to shame.  The lying.  Knowing that the person you are supposed to trust and love with all your heart is capable of lying to your face is really scary.  They may lie out of fear and weakness, but it's lying nonetheless.  This, my friends, is the crushing blow of addiction.  Even more than the actual pornography.

 

It is so easy for someone on the outside to say, "What in the world are you still doing with him? Go find someone who doesn't have those problems!"  But I know that they don't know him.  He is my love, and he loves me.  He is a good man.  He is kind.  He makes me laugh.  I adore him.  Everyone who knows him adores him.  He hates this problem.  He has worked so hard over the years to kick this addiction, and he is making amazing progress.  I, too, have learned and grown right along with him.  I don't break down and cry and yell anymore.  I don't shut down.  Over the years I have used many of the same strategies Mara talks about in her posts, and I am able to see the blessings and lessons that have come through this.  As I am able to find peace in my own heart, I am more understanding of my husband’s problems.  As a result, he feels more comfortable opening up and telling me things.  He knows I'm here to support him, not to knock him down when he's already at his lowest.  As I have figured out how to truly be happy even in our trials, our relationship is thriving.  He and I are both working harder to make our marriage as good as it can be.  Our communication with each other and our relationship with God are better than they probably ever would have been if we had faced this together.



I mentioned at the beginning of this post that the internet has been a key source of my comfort and healing.  After bearing the burden in secret for over eight years, I turned to the internet for support.  (I was aching to be friends with women in the same situation—who truly understand what I am feeling without me even having to explain.)  Looking for a more intimate setting than the online forum sites, I came across a handful of women who were going through varying degrees of my situation and were supporting each other through their blogs.  These women lifted me up with their words, and made me realize that I want to do the same for other women.  I started my blog as a result: bestrongbeconfident.blogspot.com.  Burdens are easier to carry when you share them with others.  If you know anyone who is struggling with this, please refer them to my blog or any of the blogs listed in my side bar.  The conversation is open to everyone, even those who have never dealt with this.  This is something more people need to understand.

Mac

*******************************

If you have experience with the challenges of porn addiction in your marriage [or are facing something else that is relatable] what advice can you pass along to someone dealing with this issue? (And by the way, please don't feel limited by the questions we ask at the end of posts....always feel free to comment on or share anything that you'd like.)

Here's mine:

-Don't take it personally (I wrote about this here.)
-Work very diligently to focus on feeling your own worth...this can be a game changer for you (I wrote about that here & here.)
-Anticipate in advance how you want to handle the next blow & be ready for it...feel empowered, feel confident.
-Be aware that you have a choice in how you react.  Choose to be still.

How on earth does one do this???  Here's the best answer I can give you....if your spouse is dealing with an addiction, choose to see him/her as someone who is not doing well emotionally, physically, or spiritually.  Don't make it about you.  Choose to have compassion & forgiveness for them and work with them as a human being, instead of against them.  Choose to do these things out of love for them.  It will do you both good, no matter how things unfold.

 
Follow @ablogaboutlove on Twitter

96 comments:

  1. Great post! Thanks Mara and Danny for inviting Mac to post here. Thanks Mac for posting and for having made your own blog to help other people out! I love to see true love working it's path towards true understanding, humanity and light!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My husband has a dual diagnosis of depression and a porn addiction. It was good to read your story Mac.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My heart goes out to you. Those things are hard enough to deal with on their own and are exponentially more difficult when paired. Sending you my love and best wishes as you two work through this.

      Delete
    2. Depression and Porn addiction? Depression is a trigger to the adddiction and the addiction is a trigger to depression. They kind of go hand in hand, I think.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous,
      Thank you so much for your willingness to share what you and your husband are dealing with. My husband is battling the same dual diagnosis and so I know exactly what you are going through. Please know your family is in my prayers and I am here if I can be a support for you.

      Delete
  3. I appreciate where you are coming from . . . but what if you looked at it in a completely different way? What if you looked at it as not an addiction but as something NORMAL. What if no one said there was anything wrong with it? What if your church didn't care about it and found it completely acceptable? What I'm hearing is that you don't like it therefore he should stop . . . and because he can't, he's addicted. What if the two of you came to an understanding and an agreement as to when and where it's acceptable? Pornography is complicated to be sure but I look at it this way - what my husband does privately, alone, is his business. It's not mine. Everyone has that right. It's not infringing on our life. We have a wonderful relationship and a great sex life. I could care less what he looks at when he's alone. In other words, if it is impeding your life (he never wants to have sex with you, he wants to look at porn 24 hours a day and not spend time with the family) than it's a problem - but if the problem is really that you just don't like it, and you think he shouldn't look at it all, than perhaps you both need to come to an understanding. You say, "(t)ake for example a man who wants nothing more than to never look at it again and knows that looking at it will hurt his marriage and potentially lead to the breakup of the family he loves dearly, yet no matter how he tries, he still goes back to it time and time again." Why will looking at porn "hurt his marriage" and potentially lead to the "breakup of the family"? Is it really a deal breaker? Isn't your marriage worth more than that? Isn't it worth accepting the fact that he likes to do something, that you don't like, in his alone time? I realize that it's likely that you have been told by your church over and over again how harmful it is to your marriage . . . but what if you looked at your marriage as YOUR business, and what's OK with the two of you is OK.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon-

      I totally agree with what you saying here. I think for many of us though, at least for me, I had NO CLUE- until it was loooooooong past just 'looking at something in his past time because he enjoyed it' and became a danger to my health, my financial security, and my sanity.

      For me, what is so scary about porn is not really the porn itself... people having sex... so what? But it's what happens when the porn just isn't enough anymore. I know a handful of men who are sex addicts (yes if you look at porn compulsively and cannot stop, you are a sex addict.). They watch porn and that's it. No chat rooms, no cyber sex, no sexual encounters with strangers, just watching porn every 2 days- they can't go longer. These are LDS men... and their wives know... and although it is hard for the women, they are ok with it. Good for them that they have this understanding- it's none of my business and I don't think one bit less of them.

      But it doesn't work for everyone and I think that situation is actually far and few between. I've know first hand dozens of women whose husbands put their very lives (the women's) at risk because the porn was no longer enough- they needed more because it was in fact an addiction-they couldn't stop. So, while I agree with everything you have said, I think that the type of relationship to porn you describe in a marriage is very rare. Just my humble opinion.

      But in this specific case, Mac's story, she is not comfortable with it. It affects her... the lies are infringing upon her life.... and that's is what is most hurtful to her... he isn't just stopping. So, she's trying the best she can to overcome this obstacle. I don't think she can be expected to just 'look at it differently and accept it' just like her husband can't 'stop looking overnight'. It's a looooooong process. It's not easy.

      I totally get what you are saying... and what you have said describes the exact thought process I'm having as I'm dating again... a more realistic approach about porn and masturbation (I was soooooooooo naive!!!!!) but I think it's REALLY tough to just change feelings over night- especially when it;s something as touchy as porn.

      Totally appreciate your thoughts. Interesting topic for sure.

      Delete
    2. Hello Anon! I actually agree with you (which may surprise you). If a man and woman truly believe that something is okay in their marriage, then that is fine. Of course, I was raised in a an environment that believes pornography is not a healthy addition to marriage. My opinions on pornography have evolved over the years, and I can truly tell you that my opinions on pornography are my own, not just a carbon copy of my religion. I have asked my husband multiple times over the years (in loving conversations, not fights) if he is actually okay with pornography. I have asked him to think about whether he would be okay with it if he were not a member of our church. If it is something he'd prefer to just be okay with. (I should note--I did not ask him this question until I felt I was prepared in my heart for him to say that he thought it should be an okay part of our marriage, and I was prepared to work with his sincere desires.) He has answered sincerely multiple times that it is not something he is or wants to be okay with. It is not something he wants in his life. He does not like the way it makes him feel. He does not like that he can't resist it. That, my friend, is the difference between addiction and recreation. I hope that sheds a little light on our situation.

      Delete
    3. Accepting porn in a marriage can be possible, but it has a lot to do with the agreement between both parties. Many women, whether or not it is a religious conviction, struggle with accepting pornography in their spouses lives. Not every porn addled adult will go on to cheat on their spouses, but many do, and THAT is devastating. Also, I think this conversation about what is acceptable or not should also include the third party. Pornography is photographed and performed by real people. Some happily chose this line of work for its potential rich cash payouts. Others, many others, are compelled to do it at an unacceptably young age and then continue in the industry because they feel trapped. Or others who are compelled to work in the sex industry because of their own poverty. Having once been close to the industry, I can say every young women I had talked with had been sexually abused as a child or teen. I know, not a scientific sample, but scary and notable. Because it is largely unregulated, we don't know where the abuses occur. Everyone who asserts that is acceptable blindly participates in the abuse of others.

      Delete
    4. It's always good to look at things with a new perspective; however, I don't think porn is normal at all. When you go into a marriage, you promise to be true, faithful, and to practice complete and total fidelity towards your spouse. I personally view any type of porn, no matter how little or how much as a type of infidelity. I do admire Mac for her courage in this situation and the fact that she is devoted to her husband, but I don't think she's making a "big deal" about this. I think you can live and be okay with a spouse viewing porn, but when complete fidelity is not practiced in marriage, I think that is an issue in and of itself.

      Delete
    5. I value your opinion, and think you make a good point that many people do not view pornography as harmful. If both parties in a marriage honestly do not have a problem with it, then that is their business. On the other hand, I have talked with people that didn't have a moral problem with pornography UNTIL they discovered their spouse's addiction. My husband is a porn addict. I just found out last year, several years into our marriage. I find pornography very degrading to women everywhere. I personally, as a woman, don't want to be seen as an object. I agree with other commenters that pornography is a type of infidelity. It is essentially fantasizing about having a sexual relationship with whomever is on the screen.

      In my case, the infidelity did not stop there. My husband had an affair with a woman he met through work. Needless to say, when he told me, I was devastated. We have been to counseling and are working VERY hard to repair our relationship, as well as deal with everything that pornography addiction brings to the table. My husband has told me that when we got married, infidelity was something that was completely out of the question for him. It was pornography that grayed the line between right and wrong. Because he was living a lie in so many other areas in his life, one more lie was just too easy.

      So yes, pornography in and of itself did come to threaten my marriage in a very real sense and is threatening to break up my family because of the lies and infidelity. And it's not just me that's not ok with it, my husband is also devastated with his choices and wants more than anything to be free from the snare.

      You asked "isn't your marriage worth more than that?" and I would answer that YES. My marriage is worth much more than the facade of intimacy and connection that pornography presents.

      Delete
    6. Like Mac, I've thought a great deal about how I felt about pornography aside from religion. I wrote a blog post about it, you can read it if you want. But most of the other comments here address the points I made there.

      http://hisstrugglemystruggle.blogspot.com/2012/01/if-i-werent-mormon-would-i-still.html

      Better yet, Miggy below says my feelings exactly, and much more intelligently. I decided I believe it's wrong regardless of religious principles. Having said that I agree with Miggy, religious principles are a good enough reason to ask a spouse to disengage from an offensive behavior.

      Delete
    7. As a counseling center that specializes in pornography addiction, we are here to say it is very damaging, destructive, morally degrading and literally destroys a person from the inside out. We have counseled with several couples where one spouse finds more satisfaction in the viewing of porn then actually being with their spouse. When you delve into the private lives of others, in what should be the most intimate culmination of a relationship, sexual intimacy, the prefrontal cortex or the rational thinking part of the brain does not know how to handle it. You can learn more by watching our videos on YouTube innergold1000.

      Porn will eventually destroy those who watch it! It is not safe. It is not O.K.. It is a business worst than illegal drugs and much harder to learn how to manage it.

      Delete
    8. My fiance is a sex addict. It's a phrase I haven't seen used here yet, but I think it is worth bringing up. He was addicted to porn and masturbation, and was on his way to getting involved in other sexual acts that would not have been good for him, others or our relationship. I appreciate your opinion, but I do not agree that porn is natural. It is not natural to watch other people having sex. These days, porn is rarely just your "run of the mill" sex--it is often violent and degrading. Many people who we tell about my fiance's addiction also don't believe that what he was doing was a problem. But do you think that masturbating 3-5 times before even leaving for work in the morning is natural or good for you? Porn and masturbation were detrimental to my fiance because they kept him from experiencing real love with another person. They skewed his sense of reality, his ideas about relationships and love, and even his ability to have positive sexual experiences with me, someone he loves very much. Sex addiction is a very real problem in our society, and one that I believe more people deal with than we (or they) are even aware. For those of you wondering about ways to deal with such an addiction, both my fiance and I have found comfort, strength, answers and friendship through Sexaholics Anonymous and S-Anon/couples groups. I encourage you to find a group near you and try it out if you or someone you love is struggling with any type of sex addiction. Thanks to Mac for sharing your story and thank you to all of those who have commented!

      Delete
  4. I once had a boyfriend who was addicted to porn. When he confessed, I was shocked. I suddenly felt like I didn't know him at all. And my self-worth plummeted with thoughts of, Why would he need that when he has me?? Am I not pretty/sexy/good enough? But Mac has it spot on...it was the lying that was most devastating. I couldn't believe he could blatantly lie to my face for years. It was so painful to come to terms with and took a long time to heal. But we did heal. At first I wanted to leave him. But he was such a good man, he loved me, he just had an addiction, and he wanted to change. So, like Mac said, I tried (and sometimes failed, but tried and tried again) not to make it about me. I got over my initial shock and knee-jerk reactions, and in forgiving him, found healing myself. It wasn't easy, but it made us stronger in time.

    Thanks for sharing, Mac.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is amazing that we all go through the same thought processes when we find out. I am SO glad you two worked through it and were stronger because of it. Those who are struggling need to hear more stories like yours.

      Delete
  5. I cannot relate to the whole 'dealing with porn in your marriage' thing (because I separated immediately after I found out)... I can relate to the porn DESTROYED my marriage thing. My husbands case was the worst case our sex addiction counselor had seen, as well as one of the worst our bishop and stake president had seen. That being said, I KNOW first hand the danger of porn! But I love what Mac said (way to go on writing such a beautiful piece girl!!)... it wasn't the porn that ruined my marriage... it was the LIES. Everything had become a lie- all for the porn. It's a vicious cycle!

    Here is the best advice I can give.

    1) repeat over and over and over again as many times as possible "his addiciton is no reflection of me or my beauty or my worth. NONE!" until you believe it whole heartedly! This was a simple phrase that my friends husband told me during such a hard time and it really stuck with me- even 2 years later.

    2) GET HELP! Seek help from a therapist- specifically a sex addiction specialist! They aren't just for the addicts... get passed your pride and GO! You will not only find comfort and strength to deal with the challenges in your marriage but you will also dig deep into your inner self and realize so much more. My shrink saved my life. If you're in Northern Utah he is THE BEST! Maurice Harker at mwharkertherapist.blogspot.com

    3) Lean on those who love you. Entrust those, even if it's just one person, who will help you on your path to healing. This is NOT something to be ashamed of because, going back to #1, it has nothing to do with you.

    4) Maintain your dignity. ALWAYS! It's ok to set rules and make boundaries... but always always always hold your head high and be dignified. So any people care in shock with how well I've handled my particular situation... and it's all impart to those three words- Maintain your dignity (although, one woman who is travelling this horrific road says it is possible to be a dignified bit#*- my shrink laughs and agrees haha!)

    5) If you can make it work in your marriage, DO IT! I respect and commend those who can. But if you are like me and you can't, it's OK too . You will be ok.... you will survive. I PROMISE! Divorce, although it's extremely hard, is not the end of the world.

    6) Never never never say "never". I NEVER thought this would happen to me... and it did, TEN FOLD. Talk openly with your husband, boyfriend about porn and masturbation. Ask WHEN the last time he looked at porn or masturbated was. It's not a matter of 'if' it happened... it's WHEN it was.

    7) Happiness lies within you. Even when it feels like it can't get any worse, YOU are in control of YOU. You can't change him... but you can work and heal yourself- whether you stay married to him or not. Happiness is a choice. "It's not what happens to you that counts- it's what you do about it!"

    Those are my tips. I could go on and on and on ;)

    Thanks for sharing Mara! And Mac... I admire the heck out of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As always, I love your advice, J. The admiration is mutual!

      Delete
  6. this was really interesting to read. my experience was much different -
    my father was an addict to porn which led unfortunately to many other addictions. he was not interested (or able?) in changing and it tore our family apart.

    thank you mac for being willing to open up and share.i wish the best for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, I think there are many out there who are not interested in changing and it breaks up families. It is very unfortunate and I think that's something much of society overlooks when it comes to the harms of pornography. Thank for your sharing.

      Delete
  7. I am SO grateful for this post today! I've been struggling this past weekend having found out that my husband fell again. We've been working on this for 4 years now, he has been working on it since he was a teen. I am so grateful for Mac's words! I hope to find more insight while looking through her blog and find ways to help us. And J, thanks for your comments I needed to hear those things too!

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it amazing how we fall right back into the hurt when our husbands have a relapse? Over the years I have gotten better and better and better at dealing with it to the point where I almost feel comfortable with it. I'd love to have you over on our blogs.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! We will see what happens! =) For now I am just lurking. Still getting comfortable about sharing, even though that is the thing I want to do most!

      Delete
  8. Tresann,

    I am always in awe of the women who are fighting through this! I think it's sooooooo admirable. It's not easy... I don't know how you women do it (since I chose divorce).

    Sending you my love! Repeat #1 over and over and over again!

    XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have struggled with a pornography addiction off and on for 15 years. My story is not much different than the one here. My wife has been the single most important factor in any recovery and stability. After reading through some of the comments I would suggest a few things to addicts:

    First: focus on getting close to God and Jesus Christ as opposed to focusing on avoiding pornography. There is only so much you can do to avoid pornography. At its core, pornography is self-centered, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is centered in a love for God and your fellow-man. Finding a new center if more important than just getting rid of the old center.

    Second: accountability is more valuable than filtering. When you know someone you care about is watching, you avoid pornography. Find ways to increase accountability (url logging, covenanteyes, public facing computers, etc.) as opposed to increase filtering.

    Third: be careful when labeling yourself as an addict, as opposed to identifying times when you are addicted and times when you are not. During periods of sobriety, focus on building up a better center as opposed to tracking time away from pornography. There is no magic time when it is all over. Don't fall for thinking like, "If I can live this year porn free, then I'm home free". There are times when porn is interfering with your life, and there are times when it is not. When you slip up in a time of strength, admit your mistake and move on. You have not become addicted again because of one mistake.

    For the wives. Educate yourself on the science of pornography addiction. A good book is Confronting Pornography. There are others as well. When you understand the science it will become less about you. You too need a divine center. Most men do not start to view pornography because they are unsatisfied with their sex life. They start it because they are curious, bored, or stressed. It is a way to self-medicate without having to think much or put in much effort. Love your husbands, but if the addiction is causing other problems like anger, neglect, abuse, etc. - then you do not need to live with that forever. Spend time with trusted counselors, friends, and leaders to make good decisions to support your health and safety. If the problem is not interfering. If your husband continues to support, provide, love, attend to the needs of your family, and make an effort to do the things you both have agreed are important, then give him your love and support and work on a plan together. Spend time talking about shared values and goals. Your trust will mean more than anything to him.

    All the best to addicts and their spouses. Marriage is long, everyone has their weaknesses and trials, this may just be more visible. You can fight through it if you work on it together!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As a wife of a porn addict newly in recovery, I love hearing words of encouragement and hope from you.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, thank you for sharing. There are so many women out there connecting with each other and lifting each other up. Unfortunately, the men who have gone through this and are working hard and succeeding in often life-long battles are all too absent on the blogs and forums. Thank you for chiming in.

      Delete
    3. You are correct in labeling yourself as the addict. You need to separate the two. You or I is the person you want to be. IT or the Addict is what your brain has learned to use to help you for survival. We must learn the language of recovery and retrain the brain. Good of you to share!

      Delete
  10. My husband came to me every 6 or 12 months, confessing he had a problem and had been off the wagon. I initially took it personally, but I had to stop being sad and had to realize he was looking for my help, not punishment when he came to me. For him pornography was like overeating, it happened when he was bored or extremely stressed and never left him feeling satisfied.

    He had to be away three months for work and was terrified of slipping back into old habits that left him feeling terrible. My solutions were too emotional, he needed something that worked for him. He personally researched several computer monitoring programs that would send information to my e-mail. Once he found one that he couldn't get past, he downloaded it and I had the only password. It sends me e-mails of his screen shots. He also gave up his smart phone with the internet, for a plain old phone that just dials and sends texts. He has been working on the addiction recovery program that is provided by the LDS church. He has felt empowered by choosing real solutions and sincerely taking it one day at a time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Covenant Eyes now has an accountability program for smart phones too! It works well. Good for you both - working on it together is the only way!!

      Delete
    2. I love that your husband was proactive in his recovery. It takes many addicts a really long time to get to that point. I don't normally advocate for internet filters and policing programs, but that is because it is usually the wives who want them. When the husband is the one who implements it, I am all for it. That's him taking action in his recovery as opposed to us trying to force it (which does not work--ever). Thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  11. My spouse has been dealing with an addiction to pornography since he was a young boy. Like Mac said, we were a little naive when we got married & thought that simply by saying it would stop after we became Mr. & Mrs. it would. Three months in, we realized that wasn't how it worked at all. I was hurt, angry, scared. But we moved forward, we healed. We are still healing. It's been two years since that little realization. My husband has been "sober" for half that time & we now meet with other couples struggling with this problem each week to share our stories & our hope; he meets with the men & I the women. Here are a few things that have helped us come out on top:
    It's not about you. I have to remind myself this frequently and I always make sure that other women understand this. Your husband isn’t looking at other women because you aren't enough for him. Addiction is a symptom of other, deeper problems. It’s not because he isn’t fulfilled sexually. Most of the time, the problem has nothing to do with sex. It's a symptom of a deeper issue. Most men (& women who have a problem with this) have grown to use it as a coping mechanism. When life gets hard, it's become a habit to look at pornography, rather than venting to someone or taking a bubble bath. Figuring out the deeper roots is the key. If you don't do that, it's just like picking the top of a weed. It looks like it's gone, but it will just keep coming back. Start digging up the roots and healing will begin.
    The addiction is the enemy, not your spouse. It took a little while for my husband & I to figure this one out. And we still have to remind ourselves sometimes. When my husband would tell me he was struggling, I would get so angry with him. But over time I came to realize that it wasn't him. I wanted to be on his team in this, we were both reaching for the same goal. He didn't want this in our marriage & neither did I. We were partners, not enemies. And if we could just face it together, we could face it. Things are always when we keep that in mind. At times it's been hard, but when we have that mindset, we don't fight each other, we fight the problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. continued...


      It won't be gone in a day. But it CAN be gone. It might take your spouse years to heal. Some people might be able to stop looking right away but still have temptations, thoughts & struggles left for some time. Others might struggle with looking at it for a lot longer as they battle the problem. It's different for everyone. Just have hope & keep moving forward. Some say "once an addict, always an addict," but I don't buy that. I know that people can change. I've seen my husband change, I've seen myself change. We are becoming fundamentally different through this experience. Our actions, outlooks are changing, and desires are changing. We are changing. It hasn't come all at once, but it has come. One day, we will be totally healed from this.
      I am so thankful that this has happened to us. Weird, right? Two years ago you would not have heard me say that. But now, I am. We have become closer as a couple, learned to rely on one another in ways that some other couples haven't. We’ve learned to love one another more deeply, have helped one another change and become better, we have more faith in one another. We have become better alone & together as we have faced this trial as one. If I could go back & make the decision over again, to start a marriage with my husband knowing we’d have to face this, I would do it every single time. I have grown to consider it a blessing.
      This blog really is heaven sent. The ideas and concepts discussed here are all things that have helped me as I've dealt with this & just trying to be a better spouse, despite the addiction. I feel like that is one of the keys to dealing with something like this, that it's just about trying to improve yourself & your marriage. As you do that, things that are harmful and unimportant slowly start to fall out of the picture. Just remember to be patient and loving with your spouse and with yourself. Especially with yourself. And with your spouse. :)
      -Tor

      Delete
    2. It won't be gone in a day. But it CAN be gone. It might take your spouse years to heal. Some people might be able to stop looking right away but still have temptations, thoughts & struggles left for some time. Others might struggle with looking at it for a lot longer as they battle the problem. It's different for everyone. Just have hope & keep moving forward. Some say "once an addict, always an addict," but I don't buy that. I know that people can change. I've seen my husband change, I've seen myself change. We are becoming fundamentally different through this experience. Our actions, outlooks are changing, and desires are changing. We are changing. It hasn't come all at once, but it has come. One day, we will be totally healed from this.
      I am so thankful that this has happened to us. Weird, right? Two years ago you would not have heard me say that. But now, I am. We have become closer as a couple, learned to rely on one another in ways that some other couples haven't. We’ve learned to love one another more deeply, have helped one another change and become better, we have more faith in one another. We have become better alone & together as we have faced this trial as one. If I could go back & make the decision over again, to start a marriage with my husband knowing we’d have to face this, I would do it every single time. I have grown to consider it a blessing.
      This blog really is heaven sent. The ideas and concepts discussed here are all things that have helped me as I've dealt with this & just trying to be a better spouse, despite the addiction. I feel like that is one of the keys to dealing with something like this, that it's just about trying to improve yourself & your marriage. As you do that, things that are harmful and unimportant slowly start to fall out of the picture. Just remember to be patient and loving with your spouse and with yourself. Especially with yourself. And with your spouse. :)

      Delete
    3. (My post wouldn't fit in one comment so those two are both from me!)

      -Victoria

      Delete
    4. Great comment Victoria, I too am grateful for this challenge being able to review it in hindsight. For those who are not subjected to this, count your blessings. For those who are, you can look forward to a day when it also can be viewed as a blessing. It can help to define how you face all kinds of challenges as a couple.

      Delete
    5. Isn't it interesting how much we learn and grow through challenges? I know not everyone has been able to see their dealings with this as a positive experience, but it's a nice reminder that it can be. I think that's the message Mara and Danny are so often sharing. We decide what we get out of experiences.

      Delete
  12. To the first Anon--

    First, I just want to say I hope you don't read my tone as rude or upset--I'm not meaning it to be either. Just matter of fact. In one sense I get what you're saying and you're right, not everyone who views porn is addicted to porn. For some marriages it works. Just like not every person who drinks is an alcoholic.

    What I disagree with is your suggestion that some (including myself) believe pornography to be wrong simply because my church tells me it's wrong. Of course my church does teach those things, but I'm not a blind believer willing to accept anything they tell me without my own thoughts and research. However, I would also like to say that having a religious conviction is also reason enough. Especially if both spouses share those beliefs. To simply suggest they put those beliefs aside and even suggest that maybe their beliefs are the real problem, is a little insulting to me. I'm not saying you meant it to be that way, but it felt that way to me. Sometimes it's easy to give religion the big "aren't we all past that God stuff" eye roll, but to those of us who believe it's not an insignificant thing.

    Additionally, many studies show that the affects of pornography are most often detrimental to one's health and even society on a whole. There are many people, religious or not, who see porn as the demeaning and and base fantasy oriented, mind altering drug. Gloria Steinham has talked openly about her opposition to pornography and it's long term affects on the women involved in that industry. Other studies show that pornography alters the brain's chemicals even more than heroine. Porn use has a direct link to violent crime against women. While some people may be able to function on their own and in a marriage with casual porn use, more often than not I think it's a risky investment with a high probability of negative consequences.

    In short, there are a lot of reasons to be concerned about a spouse's use of porn, some religious some not. Personally I think my religious reasons are as valid and actually very connected to any and all other reasons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smart answer. I was waiting for someone to bring those points up. I think we'll never know all the ways normalizing porn consumption has changed our society. One of the most appalling to me is the sexification of the ever younger "tweens." Anyone who works with young girls can attest that the level of importance girls place on being "HOT" is alarming and unhealthy.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. I have a good friend who pointed out that while many people don't see pornography as a bad thing, it certainly doesn't do our society any good. We as a society are not changing for the better because of pornography. I do believe more studies will come out in the future showing the harmful effects of pornography. And not just studies done by faith-based groups.

      Delete
    3. Miggy, I agree with what you have said, the religious reasons for avoiding pornography are important, but I do not feel like it can be said that everyone who views any form of pornography is going to all of a sudden turn into some kind of Ted Bundy and start raping women and cutting their bodies up. As prevalent as pornography is, it wouldn't take long before you could scarcely find a woman and I don't see that happening, at least not yet. We aren't mindless violent crime robots. We still have a personal responsibility to not harm others emotionally, mentally, verbally or physically. We may have so many emotional scars of our own that our turning to this addiction for an escape can create emotional scars for those who love us, but is not always intended or perceived.

      Delete
  13. Mac- you are my lifeline. You have unique characteristics and a personality that seem to be custom made to meet my needs. There is no way to measure the influence you have had on my life these last few months. I know I could have shared this in an email, but I want the world to know that even in the dark garden of pornography addiction, beautiful friendships grow. You are remarkable.

    As for my experience, what has helped me? Everything mentioned already! This is what I did.

    1. I learned about addiction.
    2. I found resources for my own recovery, I felt hurt and broken. (Support group, counselor, sponsor, etc.)
    3. For months I cried, and mourned the loss of my expectations for my marriage.
    4. When I was done being miserable, I decided to work each day to dismiss self-pity and worry and choose faith and gratitude. This is still a daily challenge for me, old habits are hard to break and I am frequently tempted to return to the sadness that I harbored for so long.
    5. I also did exactly what Mara said: decide how you are going to handle the next blow, it WILL empower you. Tell your husband what you are going to do, and then when the moment comes peace will follow as you execute your plan. (Sleep in another room that night, go for a drive/run, go see a movie, or ask him to do any of the above.)
    6. Keep reading Danny & Mara's blog. :) I'm a sponge for their wisdom. They have changed my life, and that's coming from someone who hates cliches.

    While I am sorry that this problem exists, it is changing my entire way of living, for the better. I hope the same for others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree. Jane and I have become close friends through the blogging world because of this. She is no longer another woman who blogs, but my friend who totally understands and pushes me to think more deeply about my emotions, my actions, and my relationships. Thank you!

      Delete
  14. I'm curious, have any of your husbands been able to quit cold turkey?

    It's been just over two years since my husband confessed his 18 year involvement with porn and masturbation. He claims that he hasn't had a slip-up since the night I found out. How can I possibly believe him when everyone I have ever read about has slipped up at least once.

    Thanks,
    NDM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello NDM. I am ever the realist and uber practical, so I may not be the best person to answer this. I assume that it is possible to quit cold turkey, but not common. My husband assured me over and over that he hadn't slipped up. Twice it has come out that he was lying for a couple years straight. Yes, it hurts. It is possible that your husband really has not had a slip-up, but if you have very strong promptings that something is not right, do not hesitate to ask him very pointedly about it. I asked one time and my husband assured me over and over that he hadn't looked at anything in years. I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest and I told him that I REFUSED to be one of those wives who goes along her merry way while her husband lied to her face. I REFUSED to live that life. And the confession came out. That is my story. You and your husband could have a very different case. I have learned that it is different for absolutely everyone. If your husband truly did stop cold turkey, I'd love to hear his thought processes and steps he took to do that. And if anything changes in the future and you need support, you know where to find us.

      Delete
    2. I'll just echo Mac. I asked my husband if he thought it was possible to quit cold turkey, and he said "Certainly." He said that if your husband hit rock bottom he might have been motivated AND desperate enough to never go back. (Assuming he got the right kind of help.)

      Having said that, I agree with Mac. It's probably rare. I like what Mac said about sticking with your instinct. If you are the praying type, ask God to help you discern the truth. If you aren't the praying type, go with your gut.

      Someone mentioned the phrase "Once an addict, always an addict." I can see how after years of sobriety a former addict might not still consider himself an addict. This is important because I don't think addicts should let their addiction define them. They are so much more than their "problem."

      However, my husband knows that although he looks forward to an indefinite sobriety, a time in his life when he feels he has moved past this temptation, he knows there are some things about him that are different than men who aren't addicts. There are some things he knows he will never do. Just like an alocoholic, even one who has been sober for years, will likely never enter a bar, my husband will never be casual about his use of the internet or flipping through
      channels alone in his hotel room. Someone recovering from an addiction to gambling will probably stay away from casinos. This is how my husband's counselor explained it.

      Suppose you own a house by the beach, each day you walk the same pathway to the beach. Then you decide you don't want to go to that beach anymore so you avoid that pathway. The pathway will grow over, and become harder to use, but it will still be there. That is how the brain is. During active addiction the pathway is clear and so easy to use/access. During recovery the pathway will grow over and become harder to see. But it IS still there, and with the right triggers it could be found again.

      So while I believe whole-heartedly in recovery, I also believe that there is some truth to the saying "once an addict, always an addict."

      Sorry, I think this was more than you bargained for, NDM. God bless, and like Mac said, you know where to find us should you need support or have more questions.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, that's what I thought. I walk a line here, between paranoia and naïveté, not wanting to find myself on either side. Is this nagging feeling the Holy Ghost or the result of the abuse of trust? For some reason, God's not very forthcoming with me.

      Thanks ladies.
      NDM

      Delete
    4. Just FYI--I talked to my husband about this tonight, and he believes that it is possible to stop cold turkey. He said that if someone is not "addicted" but is doing it for enjoyment, they could likely stop cold turkey if there was a reason for them to have a change of heart (such as not wanting to hurt his wife or ruin the relationship). When it's not an addiction, those kinds of decisions make sense and are possible. Just thought you'd want to hear his perspective.

      As for the difference between trust issues and the Holy Ghost, that is definitely a hard one. I often have a nagging suspicion and I think that's my trust issues, but there have been times when I felt very strongly like I HAD to ask and was prepared in my heart for the answer that was coming. And I think those times were promptings. But I think it's different for all of us. All the best to you and your husband!

      Delete
    5. Us men are such liars. We say we will quit and then we don't. Or we keep doing it and act like we aren't. There was one thing my ex was more offended about than me looking at pornography. She said she would prefer I do that than do something else that hurt her even more. I'm a light sleeper and she snores loudly so if she was already aseeep, I couldn't get to speep and if I was already asleep, she would soon begin to snore and wake me up until I could not sleep. I could have, well, should have gotten up, prayed, studies scriptures, just slept in another room, or anything. But she didn't like it if I slept in another room. I started getting online moreso to chat than to look at pornography. Pornography was just pictures on the screen. There was no emotional connection. I felt I was receiving no emotional support from her, so in my mond I justified this activity and chatted with any women online that I could. When my wife would catch me doing this, she was madder than if she caught me looking at pornography. If she stopped to watch and I mentioned anything about my life to them that I had not mentioned to her, it was a matter of infidelity to her, as if I wanted to have seax with them because I had told them something I had not mentioned to her. Well, she wasn't available for me to talk to during the day emotionally, mentally, or physically. It was easier to talk to total strangers than her, and no, not because I wanted sex, but because I wished to connect with someone, anyone who will accept me as a person and not treat me like a worthless piece of garbage like she did. I had enough of that growing up with an abusive father. Then she taught my daughter to do the same, so do I want to talk to her? Why would I??????

      Delete
  15. I understand the misconceptions that come with a naive outlook on the problems of pornography - within or outside of any religious affiliation. I struggle with the idea that the danger of porn is something as little known of in today's society. I am a loving husband and animation student. I chose animation as a career to improve family entertainment. From a man's perspective - when I was 12, I ran into porn for the first time and slowly became addicted. I'm not anymore because I got help from my parents shortly thereafter to stop. I didn't like it, but for several years, it changed my perspective on women. THIS IS THE DANGER OF PORNOGRAPHY. It changes the man's perspective of women, of sex, of relationships in general. I love your point of not losing view of your own worth as a woman - that doesn't change. Women are amazing and deserve all of the respect that their men have to offer. UNDERSTAND that porn makes women appear as sex toys and objects rather than women. Sex - even between an addict man and his own wife - then becomes an object of stimulation rather than an expression of love. Girl (whichever one of you that reads this), you are NOT A TOY. You are NOT AN OBJECT OF STIMULATION. If your husbands have a problem with porn, it's just that, a problem. It is cancerous, dangerous, and will fester. I don't care if you believe it or not. That doesn't make it any less of a reality. If you feel your sex life is not unhealthy in any way, even with your husband indulging in secret (or maybe not so secret) pleasures, you're wrong. That's all there is to it. You're simply an object of pleasure until he works his mentality around and leaves that old addiction behind. It wasn't until I was about 16 that I started to change to a healthier perspective again because of a change of social circles. When I was 18, I began to feel a better respect for women as women. I became a normal kid without tainted understanding of what a woman is for. My dating relationships became healthy and I learned how to properly treat a woman, but I also learned what I wanted in my wife - love, a companion, and for her to be my best friend. I UNDERSTAND BOTH SIDES. I have learned from experience that my family relationships are healthier without it. I love my wife, and our intimacy is full of love because I view her as my friend and companion. Help your husbands see you as who you are and not as Hefner portrays you to be. Otherwise, you may end up in a position where he's pushing to find more satisfaction - more stimulation. Imagine what he might feel if you were to indulge in pictures of men. Food for thought. That was a really drawn out response, but I want you all to be happy. Take this as my fighting your unhappiness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I do agree that pornography gives a skewed view of women and sex. Unfortunately, many young people are learning about sex purely as self pleasure (and women purely as sex objects) even though(while certainly self-pleasing) it is actually about connecting and giving and is so much more than pornography portrays it.

      Delete
    2. I'll tell you another way pornography can be destructive. I had said in a previous post I was exposed to it against my will from several encounters I stumbled across or that presented themselves to me as a young man of 14 or 15, not to mention an RM brother who had been exed for blatant unrepentant fornication in which he blamed my father, the bishop, the girl, her parents and basically anyone but himself, but since he lived at home, I had foind his collection hidden away. While I should not have been in his room, I feel strongly that at his age, he should not have been allowed to have that in the home, for as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. But possibly just as or more damaging than this was discovering in a drawer at my grandparents house around this time when we went for a visit, a stack of Cosmopolitan magazines. I was embarrassed and ashamed to be curious about them, but curious I was and all these articles about how to do things that were unmentionable and certainly never discussed openly in the home. The pictures were definitely pornographic in their own right and the articles were filled with a kind of spiritually mind-numbing addictive warped heightened sense of sexuality that I already did not need at the time. But the confusion in my mond was why my supposed staunch strong Mormon grandparents had these disgusting trashy magazines in their home. I never knew if they were my grandfather's secret stash because his wife was an overcontrolling nag or if it was her stubborn way of entertaining herself because she felt unfulfilled by him or if they both engaged in reading them and looking at them. I was definitely too ashamed to even admit I had seen the magazines, let alone ask why they had them.

      Delete
  16. My little brother is addicted to porn and has been going through the 12 step program this past year.

    The 12 step program, when followed properly, CHANGES LIVES. I was a little surprised to see that no one has mentioned it here in the comments (or maybe I missed it, sorry :/). If you are suffering from pornography addiction (or any other addiction), get lined up with the 12 step program! If you are a person suffering from a loved one having a porn addiction, get lined up with the 12 step program! There is so much support for you. These people are trained professionals who will give you the tools to help you on the road to recovery.

    My family has grown in ways that I never thought possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! And look to see if there is a 12-step support group for the loved ones of addicts. I was hesitant to go at first, but I LOVE it. My husband and I both go to our separate group meetings each week and we both love going.

      Delete
  17. I've known about my husband's porn addiction for about 8 years. Actually, longer than that, because not long after we were married, I discovered it in our browser history and confronted him. He swore up and down that he had just stumbled on some random images. I believed him with no questions asked. So when, a few years later, he confessed his addiction, I was devastated--mostly about the lies, as Mac said. I went through several awful years of being so angry and paranoid, trying to spy on him and catch him by checking the browser and filter we had installed on our computer (it had a log of websites visited that he couldn't erase). This just made things worse. We finally both started going to the Addiction Recovery Group sponsored by our church. I only went for a few months, but it helped me understand that this is a problem that's not going away overnight (as I had hoped), and it helped me have more empathy for him.

    However, our marriage now is not in a good place. We've got lots of problems, but I know that the underlying issue is the porn addiction and my trust issues because of it. I don't know what to do, though. I know we should be talking about it, but I don't know how to bring it up. And when I do bring it up, he usually gives me a vague answer, like "it's fine" or "I'm working on it", and that's the end of the conversation. Does anyone have advice or ideas about how to have a more open dialogue about this? I love my husband, and want to stay in the marriage, especially now that we have kids. But I know that it can't continue on like this, with this problem just festering under the surface.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trust is tough. REALLY tough. After being hurt I've put up so many walls. Like you said, the open dialogue is crucial. Once your husband feels safe with you, he'll open up. To become a person he feels safe with, go back to the group meetings! :) There is a new manual specificially for the loved ones, and it is a game-changer.

      Danny & Mara always talk about the power to choose. Now is your opportunity to choose, if you choose to work for your marriage dig in your heals, commit to the task and give it your best effort. Then no matter the outcome of your marriage you'll have learned how to feel happiness and you can have peace that you did all you could.

      I could write pages and pages. As we mentioned, Mac and I have found great strength in talking/emailing with each other. Here is my email address hisstrugglemystruggle@gmail.com

      I'm sure Mac would be happy to correspond as well, you can find her email on her blog she linked to in her post. (Blogs are a great resource too, find one that resonates with you and take comfort and strength from others.)

      Delete
    2. I think what Jane said about your husband feeling safe is HUGE. He has to feel safe before he'll come to you about it. My husband still has trouble with it even though he feels safer than ever before with me. We have a designated time each week to talk about it. On Sunday evenings after the kids go to bed, he is in charge of bringing up how his week went. He knows it's his responsibility, so he brings it up each week. We talk about how his week went, how he's doing emotionally, and how I'm doing emotionally. Often we end up talking about things that don't even have to do with the pornography, but it is so nice to check in once a week about how we are each really doing. We've used it as a positive time to share with each other and lift each other up, and not a time to get angry or emotional. And it helps me to not feel the need to bring it up all the time.

      He will open up when he is ready to open up. Give him the opportunity. I tried for years to force my husband to open up, and in return he just dreaded having conversations with me. This has allowed him to start the conversation (since we have a designated time). Maybe give it a try.

      My other piece of advice is to take a step back and try to work on what's lacking in your marriage without trying to blame all your problems on the pornography and trust issues. I know that's hard to do, but it's rather enlightening to realize that even couples who are not dealing with this have many of the same communication problems as us. It's just easy for us to blame the addiction.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Mac and Jane, for responding to my comment. I really appreciate your advice! I've been thinking about what you said, and there are a lot of things I can do on my end to improve our marriage, and a lot of ways I can change myself to be someone my husband wants to confide in. I had no idea that there are blogs out there about this issue. I will definitely be checking them out.

      And thanks, Mara, for this blog! It really has been inspiring to me.

      Delete
  18. Thank you for this post! My sister has dealt with some of these issues before, but I haven't, and I really appreciated being able to send her the link. She was grateful to know she doesn't struggle in this alone.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I don't know a lot about pornography, but I have wrestled with an addiction of my own, so I am going to jump into the discussion.
    First of all addiction is complicated, it is no longer just about loving your family, loving god, having will power etc, or even changing one or two behaviors (say not going to a bar, if you are an alcoholic). It is a complex psycological, social, and biochemical phenomenon (I'd include sexual type addiction in this last because of the hormone released are as powerful as many drugs). Most addicts, of any type, relapse periodically. I don't know if a person is always an addict, but I know the road is long (many, many years).
    However, to use the example of smoking, as harmful as they have proven smoking is, they have also shown that repeated quiters, people who make it six months without smoking before they fall back, and then quit again, and keep quiting, even if they relapse again and again, suffer fewer negative consequences. I'd say the same is probably true for porn, whatever the negative consequences may be. Addicts need to be able to congratulate themselves for the progress they made, not berate themselves because they are not perfect.
    Using these above two idea, I'd say for many addicts the important thing is focusing on harm reduction. (Harm both to the addict and family members) Lots of people find this controversial, because they think it is a crutch for addicts, but I think it is a step. Rather than take the additude that your spouse must stop completely for you to be happy, take the attitude that me must avoid illegal and violent sources, make sure the kids never find anything he's been viewing, and spend time each week working on your relationship.
    Guilt, shame and self loathing only make things worse. You are not qualified to be your spouse's police officer, priest, or therapist, and if you are monitoring or lecturing him you are treating your spouse in a dehumanizing way that will only contribute to the problem( and make it hard for him to be honest with you). I am not saying you should let him mistreat you or your children, but seperate real harm from your disappointed expectations of your spouse or of marriage. Just because you don't like it, or think it is wrong, or think it may cause bigger problems doesn't mean you are being immediately and directly hurt by the behavior. If your spouse smokes in the house that may harm you, but if she smokes out by the garage, you are not being hurt. If you spouse views porn and is then distant, violent, sexually aggressive (in a way you don't like) or leaves things around for the kids to happen upon, that is harm. If you can't tell if your spouse is viewing pornography without searching through the computer history or some high shelf in the garage, I have a hard time believing you are being immediately and directly harmed. Build up the self-confidence to seperate your spouse's behavior from your own self-worth.
    Finally, many addicts adopt a substitute behavior, that you might not like. He may have to go for a long run each day when you expect him to help with the kids, he may eat more and gain weight, he may play video games all the time, he may loose an important promotion at work, or change social habits. Unless it is worse than the original addiction, put up with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LM - What a beautiful comment. I love your perspective, your insights, and every thing you wrote. Thank you (and everybody else that commented here) for adding your voice and wisdom.

      Delete
  20. I am truly BLOWN AWAY by the comments coming in here. You all are wonderful for putting yourselves out there to have this important conversation or to send some advice and support to each other. THANK YOU, Mac. And THANK YOU to each & every person contributing here. There is so much sound advice written in these comments. Also - I feel that so many trials are the same...they require the same kind of perspective, self-worth, etc...so I think that even if someone is not dealing with porn in their marriage, there is still so much to learn here about facing a trial of any kind. I send love & support to all of you. Mara

    ReplyDelete
  21. We have been helping individuals world-wide with porn addiction, as well as their spouses. As has been expressed, spouses need help, too. You can learn more at InnerGold.com

    We are here to help!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Also, I forgot to mention, you can learn more about this addiction and others on our YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/innergold1000

    ReplyDelete
  23. My husband and I had to go through many, many, many fertility treatments . . . and without porn, well, I'm not sure how we would have managed! I wasn't allowed in the room with him - and as much as I'm sure he'd preferred not to - he had to use some "visual aids" - if you know what I mean! :) Now we have two kids! I wonder what people who are completely opposed to it would do in our situation?
    --Betsey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess they wouldn't have two beautiful children. They would just have each other. Let's face it, without our God-given natural desires, would man even be procreating in a monogamous relationship? If we try to ptetend we don't have these desires, the truth is really not in us.

      Delete
  24. Is there a site anywhere (or blog) that indicates signs of pornography? Are there signs your partner is addicted to it?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've been to dozens of websites that indicate usual signs of pornography addiction. Just google it and you will find more than you were looking for...


    I will say though that my husband didn't display hardly any, if any at all, of the signs listed. I never knew ANYTHING was wrong or out of the ordinary... Little did I know he was just really good at covering it up. I won't list it all here, but you can check out my blog to see the devastating events that transpired in my marriage- all rooting to pornography.

    If you are worried and suspect your spouse/boyfriend may have an addiction, the best advice I have is this:

    Talk openly about pornography and masturbation (if Mr. M is an issue for you). Ask him WHEN he did it last, not IF. If he says 'never' BIG RED FLAGS! I was told 'never' my whole marriage when 'never' was really the furtherest possible answer from the truth.

    If he is willing to be upfront and honest with you and it seems to be an addiction, seek counseling immediately. BOTH OF YOU!

    Again, I was totally bambozeld for 5 years... I didn't have the tiniest inclination or suspicion that ANYTHING was wrong. He was chipper, he still wanted sex from me, we had great sex, and he our life was just peachy.

    Then the bomb hit.

    Had I known the reality of the addiction, like I do now, I would have been MUCH more inquisitive and well, willing to accept that *most* men do look at porn and masturbate... but when it becomes something they have no control over anymore, it's a whole new can of worms.

    Not sure why you're inquiring about this and I'm rambling now... So, GOOD LUCK! Whatever the reasoning ;)

    J

    ReplyDelete
  26. Just curious if anyone has tips on how to not let tha ruin your sex life? I found out my husband had a pornography problem about a year into our marriage. It's been 4 years since then and it's still a struggle. I love my husband and we've been working really hard to get through this but I have absolutely zero interest in sex. I love to hug or kiss him but even the tought of being intimate usually makes me cry. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is definitely a difficult area. I think we've all struggled with this. Understandably, the longer he goes without a problem, the easier it gets for me. But the real key for me is separating myself from the pornography. Remembering that his love/attraction to me is separate from his addiction. Another thing that is big for me is making sure that I feel attractive (for me!)--small things like wearing a cute outfit, making sure my legs are shaved, and, ahem, trimming. I do all that for me. Me feeling sexy is a bigger turn on than him thinking I'm sexy (although as we've built up the trust again, I'm starting to respond positively to the latter as well). The way he feels about me is definitely different than the way he feels about pornography. I am real. We are connected. It's different. Regardless, the thoughts still creep into our minds: "I'm nothing special to him. He finds any naked woman sexy." So the key is feeling sexy for yourself. Being in the mood before he makes any moves. Being the one to initiate intimacy is actually really helpful. In that way, I know that he is in the mood because of me, instead of "he is coming to me because he is in the mood." Sorry for the rambling. I hope that all makes sense.

      Delete
  27. Thank you for helping me to realize I'm not alone. I cried when I read your post because I feel everything you felt. I love my fiance and want to be with him forever but feel betrayed, not good enough, not pretty enough, and most of all weak for letting someone get to me to this extreme, especially the one closest to me. I feel pathetic because I've been crying myself to sleep each night since I found out, and when I wake up in the morning, I no longer feel excitement to take on a new day. As soon as I open my eyes and realization hits I'm crying again. I don't think I've ever felt this low. I am doing my best to acknowledge and deal with his feelings as well, but this has to be the single most hard thing to deal with in any relationship I've ever been in, in part because I was so convinced he is different from all the rest. I loved your insight and appreciate the honesty and understanding. I don't know how to fix myself, I haven't loved myself for a long time and insecurity has been something I've had to live with since I was a child. I believe that my relationship is worth fixing, not throwing away, and that he and I could come out of this so much stronger then before if we are both understanding. Right now I hurt so much because unlike some who try to upstage the porn or do it more often and better, I no longer feel like doing it at all. I know this isn't healthy either but don't know how to manage these feelings right now.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is a beautiful post and I am in tears because I can relate to EVERY WORD. Thank you for your courage and honesty. It will help me heal, I think, to realize that I'm not alone.

    (This is the first post I've read that was written from the wife's perspective. I found out about my husband's addiction a month & 1/2 ago and have been going it alone since then.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon - sending you (& all others) some love. I really recommend Mac's blog: bestrongbeconfident.blogspot.com. She also has a side bar of other blogs that offer support, women to women. They really have a wonderful network and they help each other a lot. I encourage you to engage with them, too, as you will need extra support and love during this time. xo

      Delete
  29. I am so sorry for your pain. You are definitely not alone. It has been a little over ten months since I found out about my husband's addiction. You are welcome to email me and "talk" more if you'd like. I cannot you know of some resources that I've found that have been helpful in my healing. My email is crushedwife@gmail.com. Sending you a big hug today.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you for helping out, excellent information. “Whoever obeys the gods, to him they particularly listen.” by Homer.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I found out in June of 2011 that my husband who I've been married to for 15 years has a porn addiction who is in denial that he has a porn addiction. When he confessed to me it gave me hope to all of the lost feelings thats I have had in our marriage. I thought maybe he might start desiring me a way a husband should desire his wife. I just found out last Tuesday that he had a lapse. He didn't me. I found out by looking on his computer and then he lied to me. That is the worst thing also the lying. I am feeling so completely lost. I just don't know what I'm going to do.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am no longer in love with my husband although I do love him. He has all sorts of issues to deal with from his childhood (he him self being the result of his mother being raped by her father in law. I cannot, do not, will ever understand his addiction to porn. It literally has destroyed my being in love with him. I switch off and continue living my life as a lie. I enjoy where I live, my friends and my family and enjoy the company of my husband (minus the thoughts of him doing what he does on the computer or DVD's) Why should I let the rest of life suffer by divorcing him because of his "problem" not mine. I only let him have sex when I want it now, live my own life (living in a house I love, spending time with people I love (ie my children and grandchild and friends) and enjoying his company when I want it. I am actually in control as I could leave him but at what cost! My advice to any woman is to switch off. I have gone off my husband sexually (unless I want it) but I do not want to spend the rest of my life living in a world of financial insecurity as I love all the other pieces of my life. I have come to the conclusion that when we die we are responsible only to our maker and we are not responsible for another persons actions. That allows me to do my own thing, and be happy for the time I have with the people I love. When my husband dies he will meet his maker and have to answer for his actions. I am not a religous freak but after so many years of heartache I have found it much more rewarding switching off from his actions and concentrating on my own wants and needs. He now "fits in" with my wants and needs. That is how I cope! He knows this now and is always asking what I am doing and where I am. I have told him I no longer care what he does and I am not his keeper, but to remember - that life is short and eternity is long......Hope this helps................This applies to anyone I do not see eye to eye to in this life. I now put myself first. I am not afreaid to say NO to anyone about doing anything I don't want to do. I am a lot happier in myself!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm really glad to find this site. I've needed to hear some other stories. All my friends just tell me that I should just leave and not deal with his porn addiction. It is the lies that hurt the most. His case left him unable to be intimate with me for months and months. It has had a very negative impact on me. Its all still new and painful. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  34. I thought I might share my blog here... I'm an LDS daughter of God in recovery from a sexual addiction, primarily to pornography. I'm open with my story, it is free, to share hope to other women who are trapped in shame. You are welcome to use me as a resource if you feel the need.

    www.bythelightofgrace.com

    Thanks!

    Sidreis

    ReplyDelete
  35. I happened upon this post at the perfect time....My fiance (we will be getting married in 42 days), confessed to me tonight about his pornography addiction. He had told me about it in the past, but I thought that he had "taken care of it" after serving for our church for two years. I thought he had over come it and that our marriage would never see the consequences of his previous behavior. How naive! How ridiculous! After struggling with such an addiction, anyone would be left with scars of some sort - I was not however, expecting an open wound.

    In high school, I was depressed and turned to pornography for comfort/ stress relief. I struggled for 5 years. I was an addict, but when I changed my priorities and put Christ first, it was relatively easy for me to change. I have not viewed pornography for a year and a half. I have no desire to have any part of it anymore.

    My past experiences definitely give me more empathy and insight into my fiance's struggles, but it does not make the lying or feelings of betrayal go away any faster. It has been helpful to read the comments and advice that were shared on this post.

    Knowing my fiance is struggling with addiction to pornography does not make me love him any less. I respect him, I admire him, and I love him just as much (if not, more!) than I did before he brought this to my attention. I am going into our marriage with eyes wide open and a heart ready to accept the challenges that will arise. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. In some ways I feel as though our relationship has the opportunity to grow into an even more beautiful marriage. There's always the potential for failure, but with two people joining together with God, miracles happen. Especially when they are both fighting to rise above their trials and support one another through any and all weaknesses.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Few months back,I found that my husband watches porn when ever he's alone. I has been a bolt from the blue for me as he has been always saying that he dont like this stuffs,all this 7 yrs we r being together. Even when I approahed him he didnt told me the truth.We once had a big fight when I just cought him on hand. Then he justifided saying that its not a big deal evry one watches porn. Still I just cant cope up with his idealization. After this also he continues to njoying porn whenever he gets a chance. .Though he is very caring n loving,this habit of his, hurts me a lot. I felt that whatever image I have of his is all a lie. I do feel insecure and seems that am I not enough for him,cant I give him the pleasure what he wants, is he at all happy with me physically -and all this thoughts killing me inside. I tried to be postive n let him be what he is,still evry time I ended up with the negetivity. Everytime when we make love,I feel like he's njoying by fantasizing those perfect size porn girls n that make me withdraw from the act. . I am really depressed this days n dont know if I can overcome this or not. ...

    ReplyDelete
  37. I just learned of my father's porn addiction yesterday (although i've had an idea it was an issue for a while). I am 25 years old and am very close with my mother. My parents have been married for almost 3 decades, but I've never seen my mother more miserable. Apparently the porn addiction has jumped off the porn sites and led its way to craigslist where my father has been messaging women through an email account set up under another name. I feel absolutely disgusted and do not think I can ever look him in the eye again. I feel for my mother and I'm not sure what to do about it......What do the children of porn addicted men do? How do they cope with their father's "addiction"? I feel like the relationship I had with my father is forever gone, and I'm not sure I am interested in even having a conversation with him.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I want to share this testimony about a spell caster. I contacted drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail.com about my Fiance. We were engaged for two years, and dated for three. Everything in the relationship was great. One day, out of the clear blue, he tells me to put the wedding plans on hold. I suspected that he was getting nervous, possibly getting cold feet because the wedding was coming up in the next few months. Few days pass by, I found out that his ex got into the picture and was trying to ruin our relationship. When speaking with Dr Lawrence he told me I was compatible for a spell. Soon after, he helped us reunite.

    ReplyDelete
  39. My fiance has been addicted to porn since he was young. He was previously in a sexless marriage and porn was his only outlet. Since we have been a couple (6 years) he has still been sneaking behind my back. We've had interventions at least 4 times now and every time he says he'll stop and get professional help. He hates how it hurts me and feels disgusted with himself at the time......until it happens again.
    It wouldn't affect me so much if I didn't already make such an effort, I watch porn with him, dress up in the clothes that he likes to see in the porn that he looks at. I have low self esteem and to know that he'd choose to look at other "mature" women as oppose to me, his attractive 37 year old fiance makes me feel physically sick.
    Today I found out he'd been looking again (I know my way around a pc). He promised he would tell me if he felt he was going to look or had looked again, he didn't! He removed his history and carried on as if he'd done nothing wrong.
    I have reached the end now, I'm just glad I didn't marry him! I still love and adore him but I love myself and my children and our happiness.more.
    Well done to all you ladies standing by your men. Good luck and god bless.
    Xx

    ReplyDelete
  40. My Ex-Husband dumped me two weeks after because i accused him of seeing someone else and insulting him. I wanted him back in my life but he refused to have any contact with me, i was so confused and i didn't know what to do, so i had to go to the internet for help and i saw a testimony of how a spell caster helped people to get their ex back so i contacted the spell caster and explained my problem to him and he did a love spell for me and assured me that after 3days, my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my ex came knocking at my door begging for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married. Once again thank you Esango Priest, You are truly a great man. He can be of great help and I will not stop testifying about him on the internet because he is a wonderful man, you can reach him via email:esangopriest@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  41. It's true it feels great knowing that we're not alone in this battle. I'm married to a porn addict. He's currently under the program GreatnessAhead and although our relationship, especially the intimacy is far better now than the early days after discovering his addiction (which was worst), I still have that fear of him slipping for good. But I am strong enough not to allow his addiction tear us apart- again. We're halfway there, and that makes me face his recovery with my courage being doubled. Thanks for sharing, I know this has inspired a lot of PA/SA wives and partners.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm married to a recovering porn addict under the GreatnessAhead program. I found out about his addiction in 2011 and our lives were shattered by his addiction. Things are different now, our intimacy has improved and he has been porn-free since August, but the memories of all the fights and devastation always bring me to tears. I hope and pray that we will get through this. Best of luck to you and to all wives like us.

    ReplyDelete
  43. After being in relationship with him for 3 years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email is DRAISEDIONSPELLCASTER@GMAIL.COM you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or any other problem.

    ReplyDelete
  44. After being in relationship with him for 3 years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email is DRAISEDIONSPELLCASTER@GMAIL.COM you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or any other problem.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I have been found out recently by my wife of my addiction. I didn't believe I was addicted or had a problem, I've always looked at it, even had relationships that included it. This has been made worse by me using photo-based apps to hide & view without using traditional browsers. My viewing had been low but over the past 3 years it ramped up as we had problems getting pregnant including a miscarriage, failed IVF & stress. We now have a beautiful daughter but I was using porn as a distraction or boredom reliever all the way up to & after her birth. My wife found out by using my iPad & I hadn't closed out the app. She then started googling & figured out that I was looking at while looks after my new born daughter. It finally came to a head when I couldn't work out why she was always avoiding me, wouldn't talk or tell me why or what was wrong. She confronted me finally & I had tried to say it was a bad habit but it clicked I have an addiction. Since then I've started seeing a therapist but today she searched online again & found old profiles to adult sites. We were starting to get through this, but this has set it back again. I don't understand why I can't be truly open with her, constant fear of rejection, low self esteem whatever. I love my wife dearly & want badly to get through this. I hope I can find her love & get back to being truly in love with her. Thank you for this blog, I hope we can survive this for our daughters sake.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Mac,
    I really appreciate your view about pornography. In a book that I am currently reading, Ess (2014) states “We can add to these considerations common objections to proposed Internet regulations as being too costly, as imposing unneeded costs and inconveniences on governments, the corporations responsible for maintaining the internet infrastructure, are users/consumers.” I have related this to your situation with your husband. As I do agree with the way you have handled the situation, if the Internet didn’t provide this kind of thing to the public, then your husband would not have the “problem” that he has. Also, I believe it is a good thing that you are open about it to the point where there is no more lying in your relationship. This poses some ethical issues between the two of you when lying is involved. Ess again states, “ If we knew that everyone would lie when convenient (the result of universalizing the maxim of our action), then we would never know when someone was telling the truth,” and includes “That is, it is always wrong no matter the consequences.” I really believe this part is true because it keeps you true to yourself and others around you. Lying about something so serious in which one may need help with is something that I believe wouldn’t be worth lying over, even if it might hurt someone that you loves feelings.

    Ess, C. (2014). Digital media ethics (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Im new to this entire thing. My husbands addiction is new to me. I just found out about 6 months ago. It hurts me so much. I hear you saing don't take it personal? How can u not? It makes me feel so worthless, disgusting, incompetent as a woman, a wife & a person. I feel like I'm not good enough for him. He talks to these ppl on line, men & women. . Sharing pictures of himself and telling these ppl all the sexual things he wants to do to them. He lies about it all the time. I've even found pictures of little girls. Im talking, underdeveloped breasts, braces on their teeth little girls. He's almost 40.. I have threatened divorce so many times. He cries, apologizes, says he'll try to stop, but never does. What do i do now? I don't want to give up on him. Just like you, my husband is my best friend. Treats me amazing, makes me laugh, we're so close. Then there's this problem. It's like when he's not here, he's a different person. Someone i don't know, nor do i like. I feel so hopeless. Plz help

    ReplyDelete

We love hearing from you! We read each and every comment. Any topics you’d like us to write about? Let us know.

Hostgator Promo Code