How can I deal with my spouse’s pornography addiction?

Jan 9, 2011 by

We’ve been gathering information and resources that we hope might be helpful for those who are dealing with this difficult trial. (We’ll continue to add to this list as we find more information.) If you are a woman with a husband (or ex-husband or boyfriend) who has a pornography addiction, we encourage you to prayerfully consider what might be relevant and helpful from what we have included here. If you have walked the path before, please feel free to let us know what helped you.

We’ve got a growing list of first-person accounts and reflections of facing the trial of addiction in our pornography addiction personal stories index. This list includes many articles by women who have been married to someone who is addicted, as well as those (men and women) who have walked the path of addiction themselves.

  • We highly encourage you to be sure that you have ecclesiastical support, professional support, and group support (through a 12-step program that includes support for spouses of addicts — LDS Addiction Recovery has these family support groups in some areas, and S-Anon is another possible option, as is LifeStar (FYI, that is a fee-based service).) Or at least try to find someone who has walked this path before so that you can have the perspective of someone who understands what you are going through. (Please contact us at mormonwoman(at)gmail(dot)com if you would like some specific suggestions for people you could contact in a one-on-one basis. We’ve had a few women who have told us they are willing to help. Edit: See information about a new forum where you can connect with these women.)

Here is some information and some resources that we hope might be helpful:

First, know you are not alone! It might be helpful to read/listen to other women’s stories. You can read personal stories of women here. Even as some specifics of stories may differ, the Atonement’s power and knowledge about addiction can help all who struggle navigate this difficult challenge.

You probably have a lot of questions. (e.g., “What do I do now?” “Should I stay or should I leave?” “He knows it’s wrong! Why doesn’t he just stop?” “Can we ever have a healthy marriage?”) Here are some links with answers to commonly asked questions and helpful information for spouses of pornography / sex addicts.

Other resources and information

A 12-step manual with an LDS focus (this is a draft of a manual that was used for a while in a pilot program in the Church) written for loved ones of those struggling with sex/pornography addiction.  You can also find a 12-step workbook at
See Combating PornographySA Lifeline, Hope and Healing, LDS Recovery and Healing Resources, and BYU Women’s Services for some general information on the topic of pornography/sexual addiction. Becoming educated about how addiction works and why your husband/loved one cannot stop on his own will be important in your own recovery.

Cyber Secrets: Brigham Young University’s Women’s Services has many resources about pornography addiction (see left sidebar). In 2001 and again in 2003, WSR hosted a conference on the topic of pornography. You can find several talks here. Browse the topics for ones that seem like they might be good for you at this time.

– It might be helpful to hear the perspective of a man who has walked this path before and is in recovery: Hope and Help for Sex Addicts – A Personal Story (+resources).

Andrew also has written some thoughts on the way addiction works in this post ABCs of Addiction. He also has commented on the thread below.

And his wife recently commented on our site. She has left her email address if you want to contact her.

Online forums for wives of sex/pornography addicts:

– Sara, one of the contributors in our recent series about pornography addiction, moderates an online support group for wives of men with pornography/sex addictions. She says it is a place where women can get support and can sort through the struggles and ask questions from other women who have walked this difficult path. You can find that private (non-denominational) support group here.

– Heart t’ Heart – doesn’t appear to have a lot of active discussion at the moment, but has public archives of past discussions. For an LDS audience.

– Hope and Healing for LDS Wives –  new, unofficial, private forum space for women to connect with other wives walking their path of recovery. Includes links to general resources and info, FAQs with responses from women facing this trial, and places just for talking about the struggle. (Started as a way to help readers of this site connect with women who have shared their stories, but is designed to help anyone in need of such support.)

More  resources :

The Church has a 12-step program for addicts, as well as including support meetings(some areas also have family support groups for spouses and loved ones of addicts). For more information and resources from the Church/LDS Family Services (including some locally-created or -sponsored resources), see the following:

Other resources that might be helpful include the following:

BYU Women’s Services — website and blog (with many posts helping wives of addicts, such as this one)

LDS Addiction Recovery Blogs

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We’re also trying to gather resources at our Pinterest board on the topic of pornography addiction. See also our board for parent who are interested in content that talks about how to teach children about sexuality and pornography prevention.