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 HealingthroughChrist.org.
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:

http://salifeline.org

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


LDS Addiction Recovery Blogs

http://lifestarnetwork.com

http://pornharms.com/

-  - – - – - -

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.

85 Comments

  1. Nonamer: My heart goes out to you. This isn’t what you signed up for when you married him. Your husband has dropped a grenade on you with all of this and has obviously done an enormous amount of damage. If I could offer just one piece of advice, it would be to focus on your own SAFETY right now. You have a right to feel safe or do whatever it takes to find safety on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

    Separating yourself physically from the source of the chaos is certainly a wise idea. You should feel no hurry to go back or end things. Look instead to finding SAFETY.

    When we’re wounded, we want to curl up in a ball and isolate–but doing so often adds to the enormous pain and confusion we already feel. As Sara and Michelle indicated above, counseling and support are vital. A therapist with specific experience in counseling wives of sex addicts would, I think, be best.

    While many support groups inside and outside the Church are unbelievably effective in helping woman deal with the grenades their husband’s have dropped, it is often overwhelming at the outset even to consider going to such a group meeting. Whether or not you think you can do that right now, I encourage you also to do something else that will rescue your sanity: Find and talk to an LDS woman who has not just survived a husband’s infidelity, but has also achieved lasting recovery from it. She will have experience, strength and hope that you will find nowhere else. I mean that. She will have been to hell and lived to tell about it. She will listen to you and tell you she knows exactly how you feel. She will offer advice that no one else can offer. She will pray with you and say amazing things you never thought of. She will help you understand the depth and breadth of the Savior’s Atonement in an entirely new way.

    Several of the women who have commented and offered advice and support above are absolutely brilliant. I have no doubt that they can either help you one-on-one or put you in touch with another woman who has found recovery. Alternatively, SALifeline.org has resources to help you find someone. Finally, my wife is also one of those women. She is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet and would be happy to talk with you by phone or email. You can contact her at Recovery at RowboatAndMarbles dot org.

    We’re praying for you.

  2. nonamer

    I am truly thankful for the responses. I am so thankful to have found this site, it is such a comfort to read the stories and experiences, it helps to read the success stories and it also helps to read the non-successful ones too.

    I just feel at a stand still right now. We are separated, and I am so lonely, but I am trying my very best to stay faithfully patient, and have come to a conclusion that the only decision I have made, is the decision to be patient in making a decision.

    I went to the temple a few days after he confessed this to me, and I went to look for comfort and support, as every time I have gone to the temple have left feeling so uplifted and at peace, but instead I left feeling more sad and abandoned than ever, it was so difficult to go through and hear over and over again all of the broken covenants, it was truly heart breaking. But I have gone back, it was scary to since this one time was so sad, but each time I feel more comfort and peace, and I am so thankful for this.

    I will visit these sites recommended, and would love to seek advice from someone who has gone through this. I have only a couple friends who I have shared the details with, and they are so supportive, but I feel like I need advice from someone who understands, so I am thankful for these recommendations. Thank you again, I can’t express how much of a comfort this site has been for me, I spend nights reading all the stories, and wish it was all in a book. Thank you for your time, thoughts, and prayers, it is all so truly appreciated.

  3. Dear Nonamer, I’m the wife of a recovering pornography and sex addict. I am also myself recovering from the nightmare of my husband’s addiction. I can tell you from experience that you can get through this.

    I agree with the previous posts that now is not the time to make big decisions about the future of your marriage or your relationship with your husband. Rather, now is the time to take care of yourself and your child. I encourage you to find and attend an S-Anon support meeting. You will find there a place where you can speak openly about everything you are feeling. You will find women who understand and will not judge you.

    You will also need a counselor, someone who understands sex addiction, someone who can help you work through the incredible hurt and pain you are feeling.

    Regardless of what happens with your husband, you will need your own recovery program. If you want to stay married and have a strong, healthy and happy relationship, it is possible. If you are both willing to do the hard work that recovery requires (i.e. counseling, attending SA/S-Anon, each of you getting a sponsor and working the 12-step program) you can overcome this devastating addiction and find peace, serenity and joy. I know because I am doing it.

    It’s been almost fourteen months since my husband disclosed the full extent of his acting out and began working toward recovery in earnest. We’ve passed through hell and come out again on the other side stronger, smarter and closer to the Lord. Together, we’ve fought for the survival of our marriage and our family. I’ve watched miracles occur in both of us. My husband has been completely sober since disclosure and today we are both happier and healthier than we’ve ever been. We’ve created a website to share what we’ve learned. You can find it at http://www.RowboatAndMarbles.org. We sponsor several LDS and non-LDS couples and try to give away to others the gifts of hope and recovery that Heavenly Father has given to us. I’d be happy to talk with you. You can reach me at recovery@rowboatandmarbles.org. You are in my prayers. –Claire

  4. Lacy

    I have been dealing with this for 13 years, and i just am at a point where i cant anymore, im not a prude, i am willing to [be intimate] everyday if he wants…and still he misses work, uses his phone, uses the comp at home when im gone and my KIDS are right there, i mean, at 1st i felt like…it must be me, if i was like the girls in the vids this wouldnt happen! but i am fit, [attractive, with an active libido] and still he looks at porn, and it has DESTROYED my life….well then i started thinking hmmm, lets examine HIM! … its ALL ABOUT HIM, no concern for my needs…i wanna leave cause its to much, but i have kids sooo…

  5. Lacy,
    Your life is not destroyed. It sure feels like it though, I’m sure! When you say that you’re dealing with this – what does that include? Therapy? For you/him? Is he making any effort? Have you made clear what your boundaries are and what the consequences will be if he crosses them?

    You are not STUCK because of the kids. It’s fear of change. Speaking from experience here… it’s true. Is it a healthy relationship for you and your kids? No. His behaviors, his lack of respect for you as the mother of the children (at the very least!) are things that need to change. Again – you should figure out what’s okay and what’s not okay. And be strong in standing by that. I am not saying you should leave him. That is not my place and only you can figure out what’s right for your family. In thinking things through, consider what you’re showing your kids. That’s it’s okay to have a frustrating marriage where your self-esteem has gone to pot, he’s not supporting the family as well as he should, and etc? Again – back to the boundaries & consequences. He needs to know where you stand, what it’s going to take for the relationship to work and what your expectations are.

    This junk is horrendous to deal with. I’ve gone through it. While it’s not clear to see right now, this is helping you discover your own strengths as a woman and that will most certainly help you and your family have a healthier, HAPPIER life.

    I’m sorry, friend.

  6. Ashley

    Hello, my name is Ashley and I as well have a husband who is addicted to pornography. I’ve known about his addiction before we were married. Just three years ago. His addiction was so strong that he had premarital sex with a woman before he met me. He met me and I guess it changed. He saw that I was a good person so he told the bishop his problems and what he did. Then he was disfellowshipped from the Church and kicked out of BYU Idaho so he felt miserable. His parents pressured him to talk to a counselor. I myself felt like pulling out on our relationship. So he decided to change or so I had thought. He was on the road to recovery doing the 12 step program and talking to the bishop. He eventually got the membership back and a temple recommend. He even got re admitted to BYU Idaho. I was so excited because then I could marry him. He proposed I said yes because I felt the Spirit say to me “I need you to save him”. It was so comforting at that time to feel that. So we married, he thought that his problem will get better when we were married I thought so too. But unfortunately that wasn’t the case, our first year was tough, We weren’t going to the temple. I felt the spirit leaving our home. It felt dark. My husband would get angry easy, started to curse when i wasn’t around. I started to feel disconnected to him. The first year came and went, the darkness was still there. Deep in my heart, I knew he went back to porn but I didn’t want to trust that. Now, its been two years since we’ve been married. About 4 months ago, my husband came to me and told me that he was viewing pornography again. My heart broke and these past few months have been the hardest months of my life. The lies he’s told. He never was honest with me from the beginning of 4 months ago. Each week, there would be a new lie that I’d find out. The frequency, the sources. Each time it gets worse. He started to view it again just shortly after we were married. It was few times a week he would do it. He got his sources from various things internet, magazines, videos, hotlines, emails. Each time he’d come out, their was nothing I could do to stop the tears from flowing. I have so many of the same feelings you ladies have. Depression, anger, hurt, frustrated, confused. It really has been an emotional roller coaster ride for me. But their is one thing I’m holding on to and that is that I’ve had some amazing spiritual experiences that the Lord has revealed to me that my husband will get over his addiction but I don’t know how or when but he will. But even knowing that is still hard for me. I’m so impatient. I want a family, kids and everything. But now I feel like one sister on here, I’m too afraid to have children with my husband who has this addiction. I’ve done what most of you have probably done, Nagged my poor husband to death to get him to be honest with me (He still isn’t honest with me its so frustrating), threaten to leave him (Which I’ve done a lot of times during the past few months but felt urges to stay.) Put filters on the computer (which he got through them and found more pornography so he decided to have the filter be time restricted, he’s only allowed on it certain times of the day when I’m home), Cancelled magazine subscriptions ( Which he still finds lingerie ads in the mail), I’ve bought self help books for both of us, Cancelled the internet on our phones, i’ve helped him see the bishop (Which actually that has helped him, he got to a breaking point with my husband and my husband makes appointments to see him).So you see, I’ve done a lot and even though he agrees with doing these things I feel like I’ve failed and that he needs to do this on his own but it is so hard to just sit back and watch him. Lately, I’ve been feeling like he needs to feel like he needs more help. I don’t know how to bring him to that point. I also feel like in order for that to happen he needs to suffer a consequence. I have multiple feelings to leave but I’m scared. I know I’d crush his heart but I feel like he needs a consequence so he can learn to change. I’ve threaten him so much to leave that it pushed him further away from me. I’m not sure what kind of boundaries to set and that is so frustrating. I feel so stuck right now. :( Any words of advice? I’m so afraid he’ll take a step further and act out like Nonamer’s husband did.

  7. Jane

    Ashley- Perhaps you have forgotten about this or wondered if anyone would respond. I have a blog http://www.hisstrugglemystruggle.blogspot.com and you can email me. hisstrugglemystruggle@gmail.com I’d love to correspond with you. There is hope!

  8. Patsy

    I am so angry because I know I will not deal with this absurdity. We were together for fourteen years and for the last three years our sex life changed to once a week and there was no warmth on his part anymore. It got to the point where he told me, “shut up and turn over,” and physically push me into position. When I found out what he was doing locked in the room I figured out why he changed from a loving man to imitating what he saw on the hardcore porn he was watching. I cannot forgive him or even attempt to monitor his every move, I just can’t.

  9. We need to fight back verbally! China has stopped adult sites all together on the internet. Some women are brainwashed into watching this stuff by men, because they feel dressing like a pole dancer and doing what they want is the only way to get a man. How many people do you know that have no partners because there seem to be no nice, kind, decent men with family values around. Work men have so little respect for women and children that they even take The Sun paper into a school canteen and have it open on page 3. If it was not for the TA asking them to close it children would have seen it. That is exactly how disrespectful some men are to women and kids. I have had a 10 year battle. My partners family are sick of me standing up for my rights and some of them don’t talk to me any more. Funny how the victim always gets punished! This stuff does make men violent. As a Mother I should have full control over what comes into my family home. These disgusting sites got away with using my Trademark name to get to the top of Google which stopped me trading. I want to take them to court and fine them for all the damage they have caused. Why should women be treated with such disrespect! The more women that fight back the better chance of winning. Are you with me?

  10. Stephanie

    Anonymous:

    I’m sorry I’m just now reading your post from this spring. My email is stephg8z7[at]gmail[dot]com…..please write me!

  11. x1134x

    As a former member I have this to say within the framework of Mormonism.

    I find if encouraging that many of the comments I read here indicate that the wife involved feels compelled to stay and to help. One even said they felt the spirit tell them: “I need you to save him”

    Women are called of god as well. Men are not the only people fighting for righteousness. Womens calling is in the home. THIS IS IN THE HOME. YOU MARRIED THE MAN, *HELP* HIM! Help him even if he rebukes your help. Turn the other cheek as well.

    Work WITH him, and HELP him.

    Men only go to pornography due to the ease of access. Porn is NOT easier to access than a willing and able wife. If you feel guilty, then pray about it. Guilt doesn’t just come from nowhere people.

    Please don’t go to your bishop and ask “how can our marriage be just like yours” or “how can our marriage be this *ideal*” Get those ideas out of your head NOW. All marriages are different. NONE are ideal. ALL of them have challenges. WORK on them.

    Comparing your reality to some fantasized “ideal” or comparing your real husband to some fantasized “prince” is a waste of time. They don’t exist. Even the most “perfect” Mormon husband has UGLY black spiders that scurry when you get that person’s inner closet open. EVERY ONE OF THEM INCLUDING YOUR BISHOP, YOUR STAKE PRESIDENT *AND* THE PROPHET. If you don’t agree, you haven’t studied your scriptures.

    “Lead by example”

  12. Mom of three

    I have been dealing with.my husband’s attiction for 12 1/2 years. I started attending a support group for women last year. This has really helped me to start healing and to reach out to people who understand. I cannot say things are perpect and I don’t struggle some times but I am finding healing. My husband is not in a recovery group because he still thinks he can do it alone. The thing I have learned is I can heal and that god loves me and he can heal me. :)

  13. Lost

    I am lost. From moments into my marriage the the “perfect man” I knew something was wrong. I would go to my husband and ask him how he felt about our marriage and if there was anything that I should know about or a reason for his distance from me. Each time he would laugh at me and tell me that he thought everything was great and there was nothing I needed to know about. As time went on things would get worse and then better for a while. I never felt his equal. I knew nothing about his life at work or with friends. I did not hold access to bank acounts but we would go through a good cycle and then back to bad. I started believing that this was what marriage was supposed to be. My husband would tell me that I expected too much from marriage and should be content yet he was content with nothing that I would do. I didn’t cook good enough or often enough, I did not clean enough, I did not work enough…but I worked too much…he liked to know where I was every second. I thought this was because he cared. Things got a bit better and we decided to have children. I had a pregnancy loss and he was no support to me…he stayed away from home. I soon after became pregnant with twins and because of the physical tole it took on my body I was even more dissapointing to him. He did not help me do anything though my pregnancy…now we have three children and I have just discovered why he has treated me the way he has all of our married life. He gets so mean to me if I ever suggest that he needs help. We went to counseling for a few months and I was acting out with anger and did some things I regret but all the while I just felt that he hadn’t had a change of heart. I stumbled onto his porn addiction by accident and now feel stuck and lost and depressed…I should have left when I felt strong…before I knew…because now my husband will not seek help and says it is my fault because I am not a sexual enough of a person so he had to turn to that…even though I now am finding out that it started long before I entered the picture. The thing is I felt all of the pain before I even knew…some where deep down I already knew. It didn’t help when my husband (because of my nagging) went to the bishop and the bisop told him that “masterbation is not a big deal. If you wake up in the night and are next to your wife in bed and need to do that, that is not that big of a deal” my entire faith was shaken until I spoke with the stake president about it but I am still heartbroken because that bishop is still my bishop and I don’t even have a clue where to turn to because now my husband feels validated in at least part of his addiciton.

    Do I stay or do I go?

  14. Mom of three

    No one can tell you to stay or leave your husband. That is between you and god. I know the pain a well meaning bishop can cause who does not understand what you are going through. I have been there too! It took me years to finally find help so I could start healing. Just remember that your bishop is not perfect and he makes mistakes just like you do. I would suggest finding a support group so you do not feel so alone and you will have people around you who understand what you are going through.

  15. Lost,
    There are a lot of red flags in your post that lead me to believe that you are in an abusive relationship in conjunction to the porn use. Complete control of finances, extreme criticism, isolation from your friends and family, and zero support when you’re going through your own serious trials.

    I know you don’t want to live like this, and most certainly you don’t want your children growing up thinking this type of relationship is ok. Now is the time for you to figure out what your boundaries are going to be within this relationship. Is it worth saving? I personally can’t say. I do know that one can’t “save” another. He’s not willing to do counseling, he feels like he’s perfectly justified in masturbation and engaging in porn use. Which is hard for you because you love him and want him to not do that stuff, to recognize how much harm he’s doing to the relationship, you, your family.

    First and foremost, I would urge you to get back into counseling for yourself.You can then learn tools to help you make decisions. You’ll learn about your own enabling patterns and how to stop that. You’ll also learn about the power you have within you to rise above this. Secondly, in your talk with the stake president, did you express your concern about what the bishop said? Regardless, I would suggest to the stake president that additional training needs to take place and LDS Family Services should be a part of that (education on porn addictions and other addictions.) It makes me sad that the bishop doesn’t understand that masturbation is a sin (within our beliefs) especially as it’s such a self-gratifying act.

    I am sad that you are going through this. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know. I also moderate a non-denominational woman’s group online that you’re more than welcome to join. The link is listed above in the references that Mormon Women has listed.

    You’ll be added to my prayers. (((hugs)))

  16. I tend to agree with Sara and mom of three…no one can make this decision for you. I also agree that getting a counselor to be able to sort through your particular situation would be a wise course of action. I would tend to agree with Sara as well that it looks like there are abusive patterns happening along with the addiction…which, as I understand it, is not uncommon.

    Addiction also has a predictable pattern to it…and the positive side of this is that there is a clear path to recovery that works. As people have shared their stories here, that has been something that has come through loud and clear to me, and given me hope for women like you who are going through this…it’s why we keep talking about it on our site, too.

    No matter what your husband chooses to do, you can find healing. As you work on your own recovery and get the help you need, you will have the clarity to make decisions about what to do in your marriage.

    If you haven’t had a chance to read the personal stories that have been shared here, I encourage you to do so.

    You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers as well.

    Michelle

  17. BeenThere

    Dear Lost,

    I am so sorry you are going through this. It is so hard when a spouse has an addiction and is unwilling to change. In the past, before I knew my husband had the same addiction and before I’d met so many others with spouses with the same addiction, I would have said, stick with it! Keep your covenants! I feel incredibly blessed that my husband was willing to change, but I have seen so many, many women whose husbands aren’t even willing to try. In your case, if you feel prompted by the Spirit, leaving may very be worth considering. Maybe just setting the boundary of leaving is proof enough that you are serious about change. If you don’t feel good about leaving, though, then definitely don’t leave. Like Sara said, no one can give you that answer, but sometimes it is the right answer — but that is only for you to know.

    Also like Sarah said, to me it sounds like there’s some abuse & control issues going on. That is not right either. The anger, abuse, and control can all relate to the pornography addiction.

    As for what the bishop said about masturbation, I do wonder if that is just your husband’s interpretation of what the bishop said. The bishop definitely could have said it, which is totally out of line, but I’m also inclined to wonder if that was not actually what he said, but that your husband either made it up, or misconstrued what was actually said to condone his behavior.

    As for you, I do hope you are getting help for yourself. 12 step groups can be wonderful. Personal counseling, too. The Church’s new Healing through Christ workbook should be out very soon — it’s the loved one/spouse book that goes along with the Church’s Addiction Recovery Workbook. As you mentioned, you’ve made some mistakes in your relationship, too. Healing through Christ helps you work through that; it also helps you find peace and understand addiction. If you attend a support group (if available), you may be able to get an early copy.

    Keep doing the things that will keep you close to the Lord, even if you feel he has abandoned you at times. Take care of yourself. Don’t let your husband’s actions destroy you. Remember you are a separate being and a daughter of God. Remember you are not alone. God bless.

  18. Lost,
    As a marriage and family therapist that specializes in these issues i have to say that you are getting some good advice from most of the others who are posting.
    Your first priority should be to get yourself into a setting where you feel safe…this may include setting particular bondaries with your husband.
    I also agree that you should pusrue added support in the form of 12-step and individual counseling.
    the only thing you have conrtol over is yourself and how you will act so take care of your own issues and work your own recovery. As you do this it will give your spouse an opportunity to see that you are serious about getting better and may encourage him to address his own issues. It will also begin to instill confidence and peace within you to make some very difficult decisions that you face.
    Your husband may not be perfect , but even with each of us having our own frailties it is ok for you to expect to be in a relationship where you feel safe, respected, and supported by your spouse.
    As far as your bishop is concerned, i bet it is very likely that your husband in his form of denial misinterepreted what the bishop was really saying. Either way it wouldn’t hurt to talk to him yourself about these issues as well and make sure you are all on the same page.

  19. Here is a link to an article about the effects of compulsive masturbation on relationships if interested. http://www.sexualrecovery.com/blog/compulsive-masturbation.php

  20. strugglingaddict

    I read through this entire thread and I would like to comment. I hope this is not out of place. Please forgive me if it is. For starters, I am not a wife. but I am an addict. I’m a single guy 27 years old. I have been really working on recovery over the past 2 years, but this is insanely hard. I am scared to death of marriage. I’ve been studying how girls view this for the past 3 months. These posts confirm my position of no marriage until i’m solid. Here are my observations, correct me if i’m wrong. I greatly want to be a good, trustworthy husband. I wish I could promise perfection but I can’t.

    1. The lies, the disconnect are the worst part
    2. women want to make the marriage work
    3. they speak of leaving but they rarely do. They don’t want to be alone nor leave the husband alone
    4. this is devastating on all levels. emotional, physcial, spiritual
    5. women like to see their husbands doing EVERYTHING he can. He may not be cured in a day or month, but being rigorously thorough is good.
    6. wives like honesty! and even hear him express emotions or even his struggles that day
    7. women want to be in the game plan, in the huddle not in the stands trying to figure out the game
    8. the hurt/confusion needs to be addressed and supported by other women.
    9. women need to connect with women.
    10. women take it personal – thinking it’s their fault, their lack of attractiveness/sex appeal/support
    11. when healing is done for both persons, somehow is makes the couple stronger

    I’m glad that I am learning all these realities now. I am still terrified to go through the confession stage in a relationship. Is there any way to go about it?? Can I still have any sort of hope of having a girl trust me or still love me??

    Again I apologize if this is out of place. I feel so much for all you sisters out there. I want to beat up your stubborn husbands! :)

  21. strugglingaddict,

    Your comment is definitely welcome here! Thank you for taking the time to share it. I hope some of the wives who have commented will contribute to the conversation, but I just wanted to thank you (and welcome you) as the site’s editor.

    ~Michelle

  22. BeenThere

    Hi strugglingaddict, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. Hang in there and keep seriously working at this every day. It will take time, but it can happen. Your temptations may never go away completely, but you can surely get it under control.

    It’s refreshing seeing a guy really looking at how the women feel about it and being worried about bringing this addiction into a relationship. So many of us had NO IDEA of our spouse’s addiction before we were married. Honestly, in a way, it was probably good not to know, because who knows if we would have actually gotten married after we’d learned something like that. And now, after the dust has settled for a few years, I am soooo glad I married my husband!

    However, like you say HONESTY is a HUGE deal. I’m not sure what to say, as I’ve never been in the situation, but I think girls may be more accepting if you are open and honest and are seriously working on overcoming your addiction. However, even if you are open and honest and working on it, and you tell her, a consequence may still be that she walks just to protect herself. Just a reality.

    I have a friend who’s dating a guy who’s a recovering addict. He’s always been honest with her about it, and he is still working on it. When she told me that, I was shocked at his openness because so many of us a little older than her never had that kind of honesty. When I heard her story, I realized it may truly be possible (and it should be) to date/marry a recovering addict when you know it from the getgo, but it’s all up to the couple and personal revelation.

  23. Struggling Addict: I commend you for your concern and desire to address your problem. I am a porn and sex addict in recovery. I know it’s possible not only to recover but to be happier than you’ve ever been before. I just wanted you to be aware that I know personally many men who delayed marriage for a period of time in order to get sexually sober–and then as sober addicts in recovery met, courted and married women and did all of it in a very healthy way. Keep in mind however that they found recovery first and they were able to have healthy relationships.

    Here’s another thing to think about: you don’t go through a confession stage in dating. You don’t confess; you disclose to the person you’re dating. Remember that there’s a big difference between saying, “I have a pornography problem,” and “I have pornography problem. Now let me tell you about the solution I’ve found…” There is most definitely a solution and it includes an effective 12 Step group as well as counseling with a professional trained in treating sexual addiction.

    We talk a lot about what it takes for LDS men to get in recovery from porn addiction on our website: http://RowboatAndMarbles.org. I hope you’ll take a look. We encourage LDS men to get involved in Sexaholics Anonymous. Also you might want to check out http://www.PASGworks.com. The writers there have found success through the Church’s Pornography Addiction Support Group. Stick with it. Be willing to do whatever it takes–and then do whatever it takes!

    Andrew

  24. Pornography Addiction is a secret plague in our society. I am an addicts wife and run a blog about our trials and triumphs. http://www.wiveshelpingwives.blogspot.com I can promise you that you and your spouse if willing can recover. You can be happy again with an even stronger marriage than before. Everyone’s path is different but with the Lord’s help along with professionals you can beat this. Find a 12 step recovery meeting. It has done amazing things for my personal healing process. I wish you all the best in your recovery and hope that we will all become advocates against this vicious plague.

  25. Another place in Utah that does a great job with addictions is ARCH Counseling. I am a marriage counselor and refer clients there. I do not work with addictions, and I am honest about that with couples. Sadly, a lot of therapists will say they work with addictions and they don’t. If you are struggling and have seen a counselor, have you seen an addiction specialist? The church offers a program, and there are other programs like ARCH and LifeStar (already mentioned in links above) that do addiction specific treatment. I always tell people you wouldn’t go to a podiatrist for diabetes, so don’t go to someone who doesn’t specialize in addictions if you need help with an addiction. The right kind of therapy will make all the difference!

  26. Wow, the women on here are great. I hope you can stand by your eternal partner and help them overcome this addiction. If you can help him through this he will be eternal grateful to you. And he will have a feeling that there is nothing the two of you cannot overcome.

    If the man is getting back up after slips and trying to quite I hope you can recognize the great amount of courage and determination it takes to try to quite over and over again.

    I was addicted for almost a decade and half. This addiction started in my teens which is often the case for most addicts of any addiction.

    I was able to cut my internet access and for 10 months before my mission I was porn free. And during my mission I was porn free, simply because I did not have access to it. But my brain had not healed. I had not dealt with the issues. So when I returned from my mission it only took me about a month to relapse. Which was heartbreaking for me because I thought the addiction was over after being addiction free for over 2 years and closer to 3 years.

    I again ended my internet access and was porn free for a few months and got married. I thought the addiction would be gone if I had a regular sexual outlet that that would cure the disease. For a few months after my marriage I was porn free. But again I relapse. Because I did not understand how the addiction worked, I was destined to fail again.

    The cure in this world is not avoidance. If we are going to be in this world, we have to have internet access. It is necessary for most jobs and to be able to raise a family. So I was not going to run any more. I was not going to put on silly filters that I could always work around.

    I bought a program that was very expensive. And I learned about the addiction and I learned about strategies that helped me overcome the addiction. And 10 months later I was pornography free. And I remain that way today (2 years later) even with internet access. And if I have a relapse I will know why and how to deal with it swiftly.

    The feelings I have now are worlds different. My brain has been rewired. I wish I was able to include my wife in my recovery, but because of her negativity and her disgust to the addiction I chose not to include her. I hope you can be a part of the recovery. You can may the recovery happen so much faster.

    I am the first generation to be exposed to the bad uses of the internet. And I need to be a warning voice to others. I need to show others the way out. I have a website that talks about overcoming the addiction. …

    The internet is wonderful and given from God to progress his work. May the solutions be as readily available as the traps that enslave the mind.

    [A few thoughts for loved ones]
    For the non-addicted supporter!

  27. Seeking for Happiness

    My husband is been an addict and I’ve caught him more than once. He tries to pretend it is not a big deal and down plays it. Doesn’t want to go in to see the Bishop. If I do anything wrong, he holds it against me, and say’s there is no need for him to go see the Bishop. Like my mistakes are holding him back. When seeing church leaders they tell me to read some articles, or tell me how good my husband is. So now my husband knows I’ve been to see the church leaders, and is mad that I did, and then the church leaders don’t really help either. So, there I am by myself. I want to believe that he is changing because he says he is, but yet my heart tells me different. I feel alone, sad, and not sure where to turn, or what to do…

  28. Find Help

    I’m so sorry to hear of your experience Seeking for Happiness. Your church leaders are right in that there are some good articles to help you and that your husband is a good guy; but I get you, there’s more to it. Read the articles and get out of them what you can, but get more help for yourself than just that, too. If you can, some private counseling could be good from someone who shares your value system. If you have a 12-step pornography addiction recovery support group (PASG) nearby, they are extremely helpful, too. If you know of anyone going through this, DO talk to them if you feel so inspired. Take a look at the forum for spouses: http://www.hopeandhealinglds.com/forum. Take care of yourself right now so that you don’t become an even worse mess.

    As for him being a good guy, yeah, he is, but he’s got some big problems that he needs to acknowledge. You probably need to let him discover that for himself. Focus on the things you can do to help yourself to find peace, and pray that he’ll come around. Trust me, you’re not alone.

  29. needing help and support

    I did go here days ago http://www.hopeandhealinglds.com/forum. and still have not heard back to get my reregistration taken care of. I’m exhausted. My husband asked for a divorce 2 weeks ago all though is behavior of neglect has been going on for months and months. I am so tired inside trying to save this marriage. My poor kids. He’s been dealing with addiction for years and has never asked for a divorce. I did talk him out of it but don’t know how much I can go on. I am hoping to hear from the forum soon so I can hear how people deal with this stuff.

  30. needing help and support:
    I’m so sorry for all that you are going through. I did check your registration and it’s good to go. I sent you an email so you can contact me if you are still having problems getting in.
    Michelle
    MW editor and forum admin

  31. I tried to find a way to contact the owners of this site to make them aware of a Treatment System for the addict and spouse struggling with pornography addiction. Please, please do not think I am here to spam this blog. I am here to help. We have been helping spouses and addicts for over 20 years and this last year we created a course specifically for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    We, the founders of InnerGold are LDS and licensed therapists. We know what is working to find healing. I just want to make you aware of another option that many Bishops and Stake Presidents are using to help their ward family. You can learn more about InnerGold at http://pornstinks.com

    I will gladly answer any questions you may have, just fill out our contact form. Again, I am just letting you know about something that is healing many families. We are located in Utah County.

    Our heart goes out to all of the spouses that are dealing with the affects of porn. One thing that you need to understand is that it is not to late to find healing for your self. For a lot of individuals, it is not to late for your family and your marriage. We have the tools that will help you.

    Our prayers go out to you.

    Porn Stinks – Help for Latter-day Saints Struggling with Pornography

  32. What About Women Addicts?

    What about men who have a wife addicted to porn? This isn’t a guy only problem you know… it’s very evenly divided, sometimes worse on the women end of things since it’s easier for them to cheat.

  33. To What About Women Addicts,

    You are right that women also struggle with pornography addictions (although most of our traffic comes from wives of addicts, which is why our focus is there).

    If you are struggling with this (and it sounds like you are), we encourage the same thing we say for wives of addicts. Get support for your own journey to healing. Find an LDS Family Support group or support forum online (such as Heart t’ Heart or LDSAR.org) to start to learn about how spouses can heal from the effects of addiction. Read the links we have shared here. It may be helpful to get a therapist who specializes in sex addiction and understands its impact on spouses and family members. And seek the support of your bishop for your own spiritual well-being.

    We are sorry for what you are going through…and we also know that hope and healing is possible, thanks to all who have shared their stories and all the research we’ve done since starting to address this topic. But like we say to the wives, don’t let your healing be dependent on your wife’s choice. There is definitely hope for her, but you won’t be able to ‘make’ her choose recovery. But you can choose to work your own recovery work and learn how to allow the Savior to help you heal, regardless of what she chooses to do.

  34. beawesomeb

    I skimmed some posts but if I read them I wouldn’t be able to post. I don’t want to be judged because we recovered and maybe someone else can’t. I don’t want to make it sound like it’s easy or hard to get through- so this is the first time I am telling my story.

    I and my husband both went through addiction problems. We have both not had problems for over 7 years. Not sure how long just never think about it. It was before this big revolution of addiction we are seeing. I think that it helped us to understand others and our children. And how addiction and recovery both work.

    I don’t remember very much or exact specifics about how we got over it or the process other then we stopped having the internet. We used the safety of our children as an excuse to not have internet. I remember being very hurt even though I had done the same thing. We are both more alike then we realize. Realizing that we are alike helped me to relate when I felt hurt and betrayed. I tried to look at it as How would I want to be treated.

    He decided to be completely honest always in everything. I didn’t need to know details about the past. But any question I had, he was willing to answer. His honesty with me and knowing he wanted to stop and be better inspired me and helped us to both heal. We never went to a priesthood leader. It was through the Savior that we both changed and by sharing that we were both addicted with each other -we eventually became very close. But it took time. we pretended to be close.

    In the beginning though we were distant I am sure. We lived our lives without bringing it up. We both decided to move past it. It took awhile for the healing to start. There was anger. Never openly expressed to the other but I am sure I yelled cried and screamed when no one was around. Probably for 2 months. I am sure I was bitter but didn’t want to be the one that was judgmental.

    I read articles about others who had been through it but there really weren’t very many, like there are now. But I know I felt betrayed. I experienced the feelings but because I had also done it, I was able to be less judgmental and patient. But it still hurt the same. It was like How could he do that to me. Doesn’t he love me? But having been through it myself I understood that it wasn’t me- just as it wasn’t him. It was the media and addiction. It is a media set-up. And it is an addiction like all addictions. I had overcome other addictions and so had my husband. Perhaps that is why we were able to overcome this addiction. at the same time, but separately, and in our own ways. never talking to each other about it. Just working it out on our own in our own way.

    If he had a problem he would say He had a problem and when and where and why. That would lead to a solution such as not being home alone. Getting a dumb phone. Things like that. Then we would keep up our fake lives. Take care of the kids, pretend and act as though we were great. And eventually the healing came. I know I probably left articles on my computer screen about addiction recovery for him to read. Which he probably never did. I didn’t want to pressure him because It might make it worse.

    See I know that some things push people away. But I also want to be helpful as any woman does. So tact is very important. But so is patience. Time heals wounds. I am sure trust took probably 2 years to get back. I knew I had to leave him alone and find peace myself regardless of what he did. That was hard to do. I felt like I hated him and what he did. But at the same time I loved him and didn’t want to lose him. I thought about our children and I thought about eternal marriage.

    I thought about addiction and different kinds of addiction. See all addiction is the same. It can only be overcome through Christ. This addiction is different in the fact that it blackens from the inside out. If you smoke it is an outward addiction that eats away at you from the outside and then blackens the body from the outside in damaging your spirit inside. But with pornography it is the opposite. It blackens from the inside. Your spirit darkens and then you act differently on the outside.

    Learning about addiction from how I overcame things helped me. I was able to analyze different types of addiction. Understanding how pornography is made helped me a lot! Understanding the industry of it and what they do to make it attractive and addicting. How the industry makes money etc. All opened up my understanding. Those people aren’t real. Understanding how things desensitize a person is also helpful.

    When I understand why I shouldn’t play violent video games, listen to bad music, watch horror shows etc. I understand about pornography. In order to protect me and my family I must do what needs to be done for safety first. Prayer is a big one in getting help. Priesthood blessings help as well. Names in temple help. Finding Peace can take time and that is o.k. Don’t jump to conclusions. take your time. Don’t make rash decisions because you are angry, hurt, etc. Give healing time. You are building a new marriage now. It will need to scab over before it heals. Sometimes some pain has to come before healing can begin.

    Sometimes you have to look at it as if it were one of your children instead of your husband. A child: How would you treat them. you would want to help them. But if they get to much pressure from you then they may block you out completely. Parents walk a fine line sometimes with kids. Now relate that to your husband. You wouldn’t stop loving your child then why stop with your husband. yes sometimes boundaries half to be set. but is it your place to set them or to support them? You can only change you. But you can remind others of your love for them. Even when you are furious with them.

  35. 5 Months Pregnant & Broken Hearted

    I know this thread is old… but I googled support group for LDS wives, husband porn addiction… and this came up. I read through the thread and much of what you all shared is very helpful. I recently asked my husband to leave because I found out that he hasn’t been in recovery for the past 3 years as he told me, we met 2 years ago, married last year and I am due to have a baby girl in June… He has been actively pursuing this as well as 2 other addictions in our home. While taking the sacrament, teaching elder’s quorum, attending the temple… he told me he struggled with the addiction for a couple of years before his conversion… but that since his mission he’s been in recovery with a few relapses–but the greater part of a decade. After we were married I found out it was actually an addiction starting at 8, now lasting 24 years… and I learned recently that it’s active… I don’t know where to go or what to do… I feel so lied to and betrayed…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Rebuilding Trust in a Relationship Damaged by Sexual/Pornography Addiction | Mormon Women - About LDS Life and Belief - [...] You can also find more resources and information for help and support with sex / pornography addiction. [...]
  2. When a Husband is Addicted to Porn | Hope for LDS Women | Mormon Women - About LDS Life and Belief - [...] If you are one of the women searching for support and information as you face the challenge of a …
  3. Pornography: Satan’s Power Tool « Diapers and Divinity - [...] More resources for wives of addicts (more to come!): http://mormonwoman.org/2011/01/09/how-can-i-deal-with-my-spouses-pornography-addiction/ [...]
  4. Porn Harms Awareness Campaign | Mormon Women - About LDS Life and Belief - [...] in educating about pornography/sex addiction. We have several resources on our site (e.g., this post) for those personally affected …
  5. For Tess | Regally Blonde - [...] How Can I Deal With My Spouse’s Pornography Addiction? [...]
  6. Resources for those affected by addiction (their own or that of a loved one) | Mormon Women - About LDS Life and Belief - [...] have a personal stories index here at Mormon Women of people sharing their experiences with pornography/sex addiction. Most [...]

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