I can’t even....

It’s hard to even put into words where I am at.
My husband my best friend has struggled with pornography since maybe he was 14. We started dating at 16. Here we are 18 years later and porn is still unfortunately an issue for us.

Growing up every man in my life cheated on every woman and left her for the next best thing. So I came to into our relationship with insecurities.
I considered not marrying him knowing that porn was an issue but I was young and in love. It was a secret I never shared with anyone ashamed embarrassed. I did think when we married it would stop because of course we would have a fulfilling passionate marriage......

We both have our moral and religious reason why we don’t want porn in our life.

He shares information with me he owns it takes responsibility for it is very sorry. Almost makes him self sick with guilt.

He has had counseling. We have gone together.

I have never once caught him in the act. Never once seen anything left behind. I’m just aware when this is in our life by the distance I feel from him. I’ll ask him and then he’ll confess.

He has no accounts to anything has never spent money on anything. Has never cheated with a person. To my knowledge doesn’t have any over the top fetishes. It’s your average porn that he becomes obsessed with and maybe views in 3-5 times a day short amounts of time and out of the week maybe maturbates one time. He said that act brings on extreme guilt so he tries not to go there.

I thought we were officially recovered from this. I am completely over it. Knowing I’ve been lied to. Knowing he was doing this when I needed help with our children. Knowing I’ve been rejected for sex countless times because of porn and blah blah. Everyone knows all that comes along with it.

He is my best friend a great dad to three kids. Amazing provider always there for me. But I want to leave. I want away. It hurts me to bad. More than the actual porn. Just the secrets and lies and precious time wasted. The distance between us when things could have been some much better. I’m not ok with mediocre. I want to live abundantly. I know that’s what I deserve.

There is no way in the world I will ever trust him again. I feel like a fool that I have tried for this long ....

I need some encouragement. I’m so broken right now.
  • 19 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • @Sadconfusedmama... Welcome to the community and thank you for sharing with us. I can't imagine the pain and heartbreak you are feeling because of your husband's porn addiction. Unfortunately, this problem is quite prevalent in today's society.

    If you want to leave, you have every right to do so. You should not have to live with the feelings you're feeling. Marriage should bring you joy and happiness...not the kinds of emotions you're struggling with. You have a right to feel better.

    I'm not an expert on this subject, but I think @JoshuaShea could probably shed a little light on it for you. He's provided his insight to many people here on this forum. I hope he weighs in soon.

    Please know that we are here for you. If you need help, support, advice, or just a place to vent, don't hesitate to lean on us. You may also want to consider seeing a therapist. I think they could help you deal with everything you're feeling right now.

    Sending you lots of love, light, and hope.
  • @DeanD
    Thank you for commenting. I appreciate the support it feels good being able to just put it out there being I’m not comfortable to share in my personal circle.
  • I’ve seen a counselor in the past about this. I kind of know the whole recovery drill. Now I’m just trying to decide if I’m willing to be a part of it any longer. Without this in our lives we have a beautiful marriage and life together so it almost seems crazy to give up on it. But I’d rather be alone then feel the pain and frustration I have from this built up over the years.

    And sadly the worst part in my mind right now is what I would tell people. Such an embarrassing weird reason to get a divorce. People would think he was a pervert and or that I’m ridiculous. Shouldn’t matter what anyone thinks.... but it’s does
  • @Sadconfusedmama hey there. so sorry you're struggling.... know that we are here to support and encourage you however we can....
  • @Sadconfusedmama Please don't take this the wrong way, but it sounds like you got very little out of counseling based on what you've written. If you're where you are and he is where he is, you don't know the recovery drill.
    First, as my friend @DeanD said, you don't have to stay. People leave unhappy marriages all the time. Is it really the porn addiction thing or are there a list of reasons you'd like to go? Nobody is going to fault you if you walk away. Half of the marriages end in divorce today. You deserve to be happy.
    It sounds like your husband has been mostly open about his problem, but it doesn't sound like he's actually taken on his problem in a very serious manner. I know there was some counseling, but it doesn't seem like it worked. I can't believe there is no gaslighting happening on his part because even in open, communicative situations, I've never seen an addict (of any substance or behavior) be 100% open about it to anybody. If you're relying only on his information, you've got a poor source, but I suppose that's not totally the point here.
    There's one big thing about his illness/addiction that you need to understand. It has nothing to do with you. Nothing. You said he came into the marriage with it, so when he's "choosing" that over you or your kids, it's not really choosing, it's more having to deal with the addiction. If he came into the marriage with diabetes and had to give himself a shot of insulin multiple times a day, would you be feeling the same thing? Addiction is a disease, the science proves it and the scientists finally have included porn addiction as a diagnosable behavior as recently as a month ago. He's not picking the porn over you or the family. He's doing what his brain tells him that he needs to do to stay alive. It's fair to get frustrated at him for it, but try not to be too resentful. He doesn't want to be an addict.
    I notice that a lot of the time you use words like "we" to describe the addiction. Unfortunately, addiction is an "I" thing at the core. Yes, it absolutely affects families and they, too, get ill and often need help, but at the end of the day, the only person who can truly enter recovery for porn addiction is your husband.
    Addiction is rarely the core problem for the addict. It's much deeper stuff and when you spend the time and energy to get to that deeper stuff, untangle it, understand it and figure how to move forward with it, taking care of the addiction becomes easier. I'm proof of that statement with porn and alcohol, but I've also seen dozens if not hundreds of people be successful at this point. The sad fact is, 94% of porn addicts (and 90% of all addicts) have some kind of unresolved trauma in their past. Many don't even know consciously what that trauma is.
    He's the one who is going to get this fixed and it doesn't sound like it's going to be happen with only a weekly 12-step meeting. If this addiction is this front-and-center in both your lives, he may need some deeper help, like an inpatient rehab, or intense therapy on a rigorous schedule with somebody who specializes in this area. You would probably also do well having your own separate therapist who you can get into all of the details with and who can guide you through this -- whether it be sticking around or divorce -- with some expertise. If neither of you like these new therapists or feel like you're not getting anything, find a different one that is effective. You wouldn't throw away an insulin pump that didn't work and not find another. You'd buy insulin pumps until one worked. You wouldn't stop going to the dentist if you didn't like your dentist. You go until you find what works.
    Finally, I'd say do a little more research. Read more about addiction and about women in your position. You're not alone and there's a large community here, and elsewhere, that would love to help. I'd urge you to check out the resources page on my website at http://www.RecoveringPornAddict.com as there are multiple modalities of help and research listed. If you or your husband are looking for a slightly different kind of support, check out my other site at http://www.PornAddictionCounseling.org
  • @JoshuaShea
    Hi thank you for responding.
    After I posted my comment I realized I may have sounded rude or cocky by saying” I know the drill”. I’m sure I didn’t mean it like it may have come across.
    My husband and I “we” have just been down the road. I know it’s his thing but I have recovery in that same process not from addiction but from everything that goes along with it.
    with a sex addiction (I am no expert on any type) but I know with my relationship the amount of Intimacy attention time& love that is taken from me takes a huge toll and makes me a part of this process. It’s his addiction but we are married and one and it’s also very much my problem. It affects me greatly.

    He saw (and I did on occasion) a very experienced sex addiction therapist. I also saw my own therapist. He and I took necessary precautions for electronic devices. We worked at bringing ourselves closer together making our relationship more of a priority.( which is challenging with 3 small children and running two small businesses)We talked a lot. He allowed me to express myself. He was also able.m to express himself. And things got really really good. We would do regular check ins. Just to talk about how he was doing not for accountability for him but for reassurance for me. Unfortunately I usually initiated those conversations. He said it was a hard topic for him to bring up knowing how I feel about it. Even if he had good news to report. For more than a year it’s been good news all the time. He stopped the counseling. Was feeling confident.

    Then he just told me on his own the other night that he has a problem again. It’s been going on maybe 8months. And some of the times I checked in with him he actually lied to me about it. Which he had never ever done before.
    You’re saying he could be gaslighting me and I guess that really is a possibility and is a huge concern of mine knowing that he lied to me. Typically he is the most honest person I’ve ever known. So I’ve always believed him. But you saying that makes me question it even more for sure.

    Can I ask you?... with how secretive his porn usage is I’ve never ever seen or caught it or him ever in 18 years. Should that be even more concerning. He comes across as the most respectful kind man and truly is that way besides this situation. With that much secrecy it has really scared me of what he could possibly be hiding. Or can that be common? Seems like most women catch their spouses at some point.

    Besides having an emotionally unavailable father. I’d have to say he has not experienced trauma of any kind and has had one of the simplest unbringing and lives of anyone I know.
    Mom and dad stayed together worked hard had plenty of money to provide anything needed. He was very smart in school, plays musical instruments had friends. Married his high school sweetheart. Works for the family company. We had our own company . He cannot seem to pinpoint the cause or triggers. Which is so frustrating to me.

    I have read about porn addiction as much as possible over the last 18 years. Recent years obviously have the most information and everything first and foremost says it’s not about you and how you look and all that I truly understand that it’s an addiction buuuuttttt how can a woman that married him at perfect 19 years old and is now a very tired 34 year old Mom of 3 who is angry and sad not feel and believe that it has something to do with me.
    I’ve read it til I cannot read anymore. And just like he can’t make his brain stop liking porn I can’t make my brain believe there isn’t something wrong with me. It’s heartbreaking typing that. Ugh.

    I do understand your comparison to diabetes or dentist. Thank you. I must be annoying. I know I’m annoying him right now lol the last 4 days have been rough in this house ....
  • @DeanD @JoshuaShea
    In a great marriage with all needs met and on the road to recovery from porn addiction. Honestly does anyone ever truly get better and turn from porn 100%. ?? No slip ups. No relapse. No real struggle? Just happily married and sexually satisfied? Where a woman could feel secure again. I know every situation is different. But do you know anyone that is 100% happy after porn.
  • @Sadconfusedmama I've been porn free for 4.5 years. No relapses, no slip-ups. Same thing with alcohol, which was also a beast in my life. But I attribute the jump-start of that to going to rehab and giving it the time it deserved. Very few people are willing to do that.
    Is there any reason aside from the porn that you want to leave? Just a thought but my you be crediting the porn addiction for other negative aspects of what's happening? If you think he's not as attentive a father as he should be, is that really porn or something else?
    I don't think an addict being good at hiding their addiction is that out of the ordinary so I wouldn't read too much into not catching him. We thrive on covering our tracks. I bet most women don't catch their mate. Mine never caught me.
    Here's the thing on trauma...we're really good at repressing it. I didn't begin to unravel my issues until my first rehab and it wasn't until my second a year later that I began to truly understand how the pieces fit together. I would have spent 37 years of my life telling you there was no trauma there, but when allowed to really explore it in the right environment, it was sitting right there in front of me the whole time. He may not know what the trauma is...or he's the snowflake in the 6% who has none, but everybody thinks they're the snowflake prior to treatment. Much like him, I had the archetypical 1950s upbringing even if it was the 1980s when it happened. My parents were both school teachers, totally in love, and great parents. Shit happened with a babysitter and I never said anything...and then blocked it for nearly 30 years.
    It sounds like he did well for a while, but there was not ongoing support. I know that I can never chill for a minute. A big part of my recovery is coming on sites like this an trying (and sometimes failing) to help people. My recovery was spending a year writing a book and getting it published. My recovery is trying to be advocate for porn addiction recovery. My recovery is still going to two hour sessions of group therapy once a month and two hours of one-on-one therapy twice a month. Recovery is an active, breathing thing. It's not a finish line.
    I know you think it is about you, but the fact he came into the marriage with it should show it's not. You can bring a woman into the marriage and have a three-way, but tomorrow he'll just want a four-way. It's not about you and it's not about sex. That gets confused because the ending to sex and the ending to feeding the pornography addiction is often the same, a quick orgasm, but what's going on in the mind is 100% different.
    If you leave, he still has the problem. If you stay, he still has the problem. It's really not about you.
    It's going to take more work on his part. You both sound busy, but this is about the rest of his life and the quality of it. I can't believe how much better life is as someone who is open about his past addiction and even though it was more work than anything I ever did, I wouldn't trade my recovery experience for anything. It sounds like he got to a point and said, "Well, this should be good enough." That's not the way it works.

  • @JoshuaShea
    Thank you for being so open and helping me through this. I’m so happy for you that you’ve been able to get your self better and then also help others. I hope you stay the course forever.

    Porn is my only reason for wanting to leave and because of what porn has done to us and our relationship.

    He is the absolute best father I could ask for best friend best provider loves my family sometimes more than I do. Helps make me a better person when I struggle with things. He is the smartest person I know. The list is endless.

    The porn between us. Being lied to and rejected my entire marriage and always thinking it was me because of course while I’m being rejected and neglected I don’t realize that it’s porn related.

    When he is on a good healthy clean path sex is great we are close it is beautiful.

    I’ve been sooo mean to him the last few days. My anger is extremely out of control. I’m currently taking prednisone which heightens mood swing (yay) I have done everything to hurt recovery rather then to help.(in the last 4 days) I know it’s addiction and he can’t control it or whatever Because he wasn’t getting help but I feel like he has been incredibly selfish taken advantage of my trust and love and givingness. I kind of just would like to make him miserable like this has made me and keep him that way the rest of his life. Because I feel like that’s how I’ll feel the rest of my life. I’ll never be able to trust anyone.
    If I can’t be married to him that will ruin my life and staying with him will keep my life ruined.

    I sound like a dramatic teenager. So I feel like I’m gojgn crazy too. I am angry. Sad. Sick. Cannot eat or sleep and can find the stupidity and comedy in my behavior and instead of crying can be laughing.

    I blame him for all of it.

    I told him what you said about gaslighting. He said he has been 100% truthful and that he only wants to get better and he is going to fight to do so. He said he really felt confident and he sees now he cannot do this properly without continued help and that he just didn’t know or realize that before.

    I’m going to try to find out about trauma maybe he didn’t realize.
  • Gee, an addict told you they weren't lying....
    If he really wants to get better, he'll figure out a way to go to rehab. I know, I know...you have two business, little kids, blah blah blah. If he were arrested and wen to jail tomorrow for a month you'd figure things out. Why? Because you have to. This isn't about 4 weeks of him missing. It's about the rest of his life and if he took it seriously, you'd probably see a great improvement in your life.
    I really hope you'll consider entering therapy for yourself. While the addiction isn't yours, you need a professional to speak with.
    As for his trauma, you'll probably find yourself bumping into walls. He needs very specific attention to create the environment where he can have his a-ha! moments. Check out my porn support website and if I can help further, drop me an email
  • @Sadconfusedmama hey there. you've gotten some excellent insight from @JoshuaShea .... i'm sorry you're still struggling. it does sound like both of you might benefit from more counseling..individual and couples... maybe with a different therapist or one that can journey both of you deeper....

    this can be your downfall or you can use it as a springboard toward growth, healing at a deeper level....and a deeper intimacy. i do think it will take an expert on the topic....

    you may not be able to find out about his trauma and he might not want to go that route with you. i would probably not want to dig deep with my partner in this type of situation... just my two cents.

    he may need continued help for years....or life, and if so, it's ok. @JoshuaShea is proof that you can overcome porn addiction, but he also will tell you he works his butt off at recovery...

    thank you for reaching out...we are here!
  • @dominica

    Thank you for your input. I will seek out counseling for myself again.

    I’m so frustrated that I have to deal with this. I wish I had understood what this was a long time ago so I wouldn’t have gotten married.

    But here I am...
    I’ll update when I make a decision.
  • @Sadconfusedmama i'm sure it is quite frustrating... :/

    glad you're going to look into counseling again!
    sending you a big hug!!
  • @Sadconfusedmama... Good for you for seeking out counseling again. That is definitely excellent self-care, and self-care is absolutely essential for someone in your situation!

    Definitely update us when you make a decision. We are here and we care.
  • @Sadconfusedmama hello there! just wondering how you're doing...
  • How are things going, @Sadconfusedmama? Did you ever make a decision? We're always here if you want to update us or talk.

    Sending you love and light.
  • @dominica @DeanD

    Hi thank you for checking on me.

    Me husband joined celebrate recovery 2 meetings a week. Got a certified sex therapist. Started a 90 day reboot challenge. Is reading some wonderful books and doing homework figuring out how he ended up in this place. He is reading his bible and in prayer. He called my mom dad and older sister to tell them what he has be doing, how he has hurt me, apologized to them and asked them Them to be a support for me. He is being supportive of me however I will allow him.

    This makes 1 week that we are separated. He is staying at his moms. He also confessed and apologized to her.

    He is still in need of an accountability partner.

    I have been to counseling 3 times. Going again Monday. Trying to decide if I can get passed this and move forward with him. The latest he told me absolutely broke me heart.

    He searched my younger sisters computer roughly 9 years ago looking for pictures of her and she had some nude photos. She is a twin. Since then he has fantasized about them masturbates and ogled at them. And has looked for random pictures on my computer of them At the beach in bathing suits and has tried with photo editing to remove their bathing suits.

    I am so heart broken by this I had no clue. I allowed my sister to live with me at various times. They always felt comfortable and safe around him and never once sought out any attention from him like this.

    I’m pretty sure because of this we are headed for divorce. Our life was so beautiful now it just feels ruined. He is so sorry and was honest and remorseful and wants to fight for our marriage for the rest of his life. And I just am sure I can’t get past this moral line crossed. That has hurt me so deeply.
    Any thoughts or advice on this are very welcomed as I’m at a loss.
  • @Sadconfusedmama hey there. thank you for the update. i am glad to hear that both of you are doing things to heal and grow. i find that inspiring..and i hope that you both can heal at a deep level. as far as the moral issues, i'm not quite sure what to say. i'm sure it would bother me too... i think for me reconciliation could only come if i could get past the hurt....and also recognize that underneath his addiction or illness.... he is a good man who made poor choices (if, in fact this is the case...just speaking in terms of if i were married to a man)

    glad you're in therapy and can work on things there. wish i had better insight or advice.... but want you to know i hear you....and we are here for you.
  • @Sadconfusedmama... It's good that the two of you are working on improving yourselves. Hopefully you'll both get to a better place. That said, I totally understand what you're feeling. And even if you do get past the negative feelings, maybe the relationship has to come to an end anyway. Just know that you have every right to move on if you feel that's the best thing. You have to do what's best for YOU. Personally, I would find it hard to continue in a relationship after discovering the types of things you discovered. But that's just my opinion.

    Reach out to us anytime you need to, okay? We will hold you up when you need it most.
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