How can I deal with my spouse’s pornography addiction?
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 and listen to personal stories of women who have dealt with this heartwrenching challenge at “In Their Own Words” at Combating Pornography. (Note how the women’s situations and decisions differed. Personal revelation is key to knowing what is right to do in your situation.)
- 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.
- For the Spouse — Answers and information for wives of pornography addicts
- “Ask the Expert” at Out in the Light — this page briefly addresses common questions women have when they are trying to figure out what to think and what to do when they face the trial of having a husband with a pornography addiction
- Help and Support for Spouses of Pornography Addicts at Combating Pornography
- What’s a woman to do? How pornography affects women and what they can do : Geoff Steurer, an expert counselor in the area of sexual addictions, writes about how pornography addiction affects wives of addicts, and what women can do
- Recovery for Spouses: SA Lifeline explains about how spouses of sex / pornography addicts have their own journey of recovery, too…and that it will take time.
- Why can’t he/she just stop looking at porn?
- Other resources and information
- 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).
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:
- Addiction Recovery Manual and Workbook (available in a variety of languages)
- Family Support Guide (for loved ones of addicts; recommended to be used with the addiction recovery manual).
- Information about Family Support Groups — see if there is an LDS family support group in your area
- Free call-in addiction recovery meetings Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. (MST): Call 1-877-453-7266; meeting ID number is 537277
- References and more resources recommended by the LDS Addiction Recovery Program
- Combating Pornography – help and support for addicts; help and support for spouses, help and support for parents;help and support for youth; help and support for leaders
Other resources that might be helpful include the following:
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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.