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Dealing with Spouses Pornography addiction


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#1 Singing_gal

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 02:47 PM

I have been going thru this for about 8 yrs now. It has been such an emotionally painful thing to deal with. For a few years my husband denied it. I was at the point that I was searching the PC history and crying everday. Finally I asked him very firmly and told him if he lied and I found out that I would leave him. He was humbled, apologetic and crying. Things were better for a long time. Honestly as much as it hurt that time I was able to give it to Heavenly Father and let go. I was so relieved that I forgave him quickly. Still I had a filter put on the PC and the right to check in with him on it anytime I felt the need. I let Heavenly Father guide me with this. He went to the Bishop and repented. There was a 4 year period that I knew he was doing well. He had a few slips but told me right away. He was the Deacon’s Quorum Advisor for 3.5 yrs and I know that it kept him inline. Now we have moved and his calling isn’t that big anymore. I started getting that feeling that something wasn’t right again. At the same point he told me he slipped a few times that week. It started bothering me really badly this time. He had an ipod that I periodically checked and I found he had searched inappropriate things a few weeks later. I am now the owner of that ipod. He only has access to the internet from his work laptop that for one thing has a massive filter and for another he would be fired if he looked at it on there since they moniter things. I have gone thru the whole spectrum of feeling so alone, knowing he was lying, being told the truth finally, having a ice peaceful period to having it happen again. While he has not been an avid addict ( he went in 2-3 week spurts where he would look a few times a week and then abstain, and then go back and there was no masterbating) it has been so hard. This time especially. I will feel like everything is fine for weeks and be very happy and then even though he hasn’t looked in a few months now, it hits again. It is almost like for a few years after he admitted I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore so I numbed myself. Now while I still love him I am noticing all his faults, wondering how it would have been if I had made a different choice when we were dating and feeling so depressed. Then I can numb it away again for a while. I am in the hurt time again. I feel like I am being bi polar about the whole thing. It is so hard because I can’t talk to anyone about it obviously. Yet I know that my friends and people I serve with probably notice that I seem off for periods of time. I have to put on a happy face and keep serving even though I am falling apart inside. I want to have a family life where my husband presides and we are more spiritually minded. Right now even though I know I need Heavenly Father so much it is so hard to feel his love and to feel the desire to continually go to him. I do love him and have hope that he can totally get past this and become the man I once knew. till I am terrifed he will keep slipping and make a bigger mistake. I have felt that Heavenly Father wants me to stay. Honestly the thought of leaving is too terrifying. Plus I do love him and have hope in him. Anyone else notice when their Husbands have relapses that they are more grumpy and hard on the kids? He is always great to me and complimentary, etc. But he is too hard on the kids in those times. I also want to express my fears to him but I feel like it would be counterproductive to his recovery. I feel bad saying this but sometimes I don't think he realizes just how much it has hurt me. Before he confessed the first time I honestly felt like I was better off dying because it was so unbearable. I hope that makes sense. I always spurt my emotions out quickly and sometimes they aren’t organized lol.

#2 rex8499

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 03:07 PM

Be aware that internet browsers now have a "private browsing" option which temporarily disables all history, cookies, saved searches, etc. It's found under Tools: Start Private Browsing. So just because porn sites don't show up in the history, doesn't mean they aren't being accessed. Just a good thing to be aware of. If you think something is going on based on behavior, but cannot find any evidence, it's easy to hide the evidence.

#3 slamjet

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 03:22 PM

First off, you have every right to feel the way you do. Be aware though, as difficult as this is, it's still his fight. There is not a whole lot you're going to be able to do to help him other than hang on for the ride. Unfortunately, you can't fix him. He needs to do that himself.

That being said, there are a few things to know about this addiction. For one, it's very selfish. I believe that he knows how he is treating everyone, but the addiction overrides those feelings for it's own purposes. Also, it's an unquenchable fire. You can make yourself available to him every minute of every day and it still will not be enough. So for now, you need to work on keeping yourself sane and the children safe.

However, if he's approachable, sit him down and talk with him. Be ready to be manipulated because that's what the addiction does. But let him know how you feel in a non-threatening and loving way.

I would strongly suggest you find an Addiction Recovery Group run by the Church in your area. There may be a part dealing with pornography. If there is, there should be an alonon part to it for the spouses and loved ones. The Church is putting out very, very soon a manual to compliment the ARP manual for spouses and loved ones. From what I've heard, it's amazingly good.

But be patient with him. It's all he can do to white knuckle through this. He will slip up many times but there will come a time, if he continues to work on it and turn to God to take the addiction away, that a switch in his head will flip and he will be on his way to sobriety and recovery. It's not impossible, it's a difficult battle, but you both have every potential to get through this and come out the other side stronger and better. I've seen it happen, you two deserve no less.

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#4 anatess

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 03:55 PM

And in addition to what Slamjet said... What he needs right now is a support person, not a mother. Porn addicts hide from their mother. Porn addicts who truly want to repent will go to the support person to ask them for help. Checking browser history, etc. etc. and then confronting him with it is something a mother would do. He would just learn to hide it better! And you're constantly stressing yourself out. What you need to do right now is accept that your spouse is not perfect. That he is struggling. That he needs positive things in his life to help him fight this. Stay strong in the gospel to inspire him to be strong as well. Love him - not just saying it, but also showing it. Every minute of everyday. Encourage him to talk to you about ways he feels you can do to help him fight it. In the end, this is his fight. You're just the sidekick. You can't help him unless you are strong enough to fight it with him. DON'T BE THE MOTHER.

#5 hiddentreasures

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:34 PM

Internet filters don't work for at least 2 reasons. One you are taking responsibility for the problem instead of him. If he is going to beat this, it will have to come from inside of him, not you. Second, they can be worked around. I don't know that it is easy to do, but certainly possible, and in my experience, any filter just left the challenge open to figure out how to get around it. The problem then gets worse as the secret just gets buried deeper. They give you a false sense of security that you are doing something. Filters have a place and an important one in keeping our families safe. However, to beat this problem it will take open communication. It will take your h to take responsibility for his actions. The other pp gave good advice. I am sorry that you are dealing with this. It is a difficult struggle.

#6 Dravin

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:37 PM

Internet filters don't work for at least 2 reasons.


Also as he's an adult he has access to hard copy materials. An internet filter won't prevent him from stopping by an 'adult' store and picking up something up to stash in the trunk of the car or a closet.
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#7 JudoMinja

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 07:26 AM

One thing that I think can be hard for the spouse to understand is that this addiction does not make YOU any less of a person. A porn addiction is really only a symptom of a larger problem within the individual and is in no way reflective of any lacking attention on your part. Speaking from the perspective of someone who has been through a porn addiction and beaten it, your husband is striving for an outlet to fill an empty feeling within himself. All addicts have something like this at the core of their addiction, whether they are addicted to porn, alcohol, drugs, or something else entirely. However, the addiction continues to get worse as the object of the addiction temporarily relieves their "pain" and then only makes the hole bigger. As others have stated, you cannot be the one to fix your husband. He has to fix himself, and that must come from within. Yes, his addiction hurts you, but it is hurting him much much more. If you are the "police" his desire to change will lessen as he feels a stronger need to hide it from you. He needs to build a desire within himself to be his own police force. The choice has to come from within himself. For that, you can be the support to help him realize that he needs to change his behavior and help him find better outlets to cope with his "pains". The source of addiction comes from some form of emotional upheaval. Everyone's is slightly different, but if he can identify his "hole", then he can start working on fixing it properly. Mine, for example, stemmed from a growing feeling of loneliness and disappearing faith. My addiction started when I was in college- living in the college dorms away from my family, my friends were all getting boyfriends, and I was going to church less and less. It wasn't until I was in a really dire state that I realized I needed a serious change to overcome my addiction. Those who knew (my bishop and parents) did nothing to interfere with my personal progress and decision-making on how to rid myself of the addiction. I became my own police force. I placed my own limitations on internet use and worked on increasing my faith and eliminating that sense of loneliness. When my efforts did not work, I increased them, until I finally had the addiction beat, and with that addiction my depression. While you are affected by your husbands choices, it is still HIS addiction, and only he can be the one to truly overcome it. If you are only monitoring his internet use and trying to keep him away from the porn, you are only treating the symptom of the real problem. The real problem is inside him, where he is struggling emotionally. Focus on that instead of the porn, and you may find that he starts correcting his own behavior, avoiding the porn entirely on his own.

#8 Guest_JustAnotherGirl_*

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 09:17 AM

I am so sorry you are going through this issue. :(. It hurts! I know because I've been in your shoes.

Check out this website I found for spouses of those who struggle with pornography. This site was recommended by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Spouses - Combating Pornography

And there's more. This site has info on support groups for addiction:

Addiction Recovery Program

Just one more. In church one day, I remember an entire Sunday School lesson on pornography. Boy, the bishopric, who gave the lesson, looked so embarrassed and uncomfortable while talking about porn and masturbation etc! But we did see a good video about pornography. You might find it helpful. It is called Pornography, the Great Lie (I think).

Remember, with God, ALL things are possible. Hang in there! <3

#9 Guest_JustAnotherGirl_*

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 09:23 AM

Remember, you are a daughter of Heavenly Father. And He loves YOU. He is mindful of you and your struggles. His Son, Jesus Christ, suffered--not only for our sins, but for your sorrows. He knows exactly what you are going through. Remember---Doctrine and Covenants 121:7 My [daughter], peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment...

#10 bcguy

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 02:00 PM

I wonder if age plays a more addictive role when a guy is younger, vs middle aged?

#11 pam

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 02:22 PM

Age has no bearing on porn addiction.

#12 slamjet

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 03:05 PM

I second what Pam just said. Circumstance is more of a trigger than age.

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#13 littlefrau

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 04:44 PM

I am at the beginning stages with this... I, unlike many spouses and significant others in this situation, had the knowledge of my husband's addiction from when we were dating. My husband treats me like an absolute queen - he is infinitely kind, understanding, loving, and romantic. We dated for under a year and just got married in December. He has struggled with pornography since he was very young, and has always detested it and sought help - his parents know about it, and he has attended different ARP programs over the years to work on his sobriety. When we started dating seriously, I joined the ARP support group for the wives and could not relate to the abusive side of the addiction - my husband has never been neglectful, or anything close to unkind. However, he relapsed the last 2 weeks, and just told me this past weekend. Due to the fact that I know all about his struggles, and was fine in the past when he struggled, I surprised myself with the huge emotional reaction I had. I was completely distraught. I was most distraught about the fact he struggled for 2 weeks before telling me. He told me right after he had a meeting with the Bishop - and he scheduled a meeting to see a therapist for the first time tomorrow. I realize that compared to so many other couples where the husband is resistant to help or change or admitting he has a problem, my husband is definitely doing a good job. What I am finding is that the more I try to educate myself on the addiction, the more scared I get - church talks, support websites... they are really terrifying me. They talk about the cup that is clean on the outside but rotten on the inside... and it makes me wonder if I should be very worried. I am concerned for my husband's wellbeing and the spiritual impact it will have on him and on our relationship, but all the things on the web and even some things on this forum makes me wonder if I should be more scared. That isn't good - as I am already more uncomfortable than i was - but with my husband treating me so well, and our relationship being so good, should I really read into it more than that?

#14 jayanna

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:29 AM

littlefrau, I don't think you should look that far into it...he is working on it. He is doing what he should do about the problem he is having. About the OP It is a serious problem, and the church leaders are taking it very seriously. More tools are coming to deal with this issue that is growing in occurence throughout the world. I think that you should know that whatever your spouse is doing does not reflect on you at all. It is not your fault, and it does not mean that you are doing something wrong. keep loving him and forgiving him....it must be hard, I can't imagine But it doesn't make you a bad person It shows that he has a problem, it might be something hidden way down deep, like a splinter, and he needs help getting it out. I'm sorry to say that he needs someone else to help him get it out. Filters can help him not be bombarded by images when he is not expecting them, even though it is very possible to go around them, even remove things from the history. (I work at a public library and we have the best filters around, but 13 yr old kids can work around them in no time.) An example, before I joined the church I used to drink coffee, a little, and sometimes the smell is so hard to walk away from that one time I actually groaned. Most of the time I'm okay, but sometimes one of my coworkers will deliberately put it right under my nose when I'm not expecting it. Someone even made some lovely chocolate cupcakes one day and I took a bite, only to find out that coffee had been added to them. I felt so dirty after that one little taste. Even though I spit it out, it lingered. It is not bad to be tempted, even Jesus was tempted, it is bad to give in. Filters can help him go around on the internet without having to worry about something unexpected. A lot of times a pop-up can lure someone in that has been free of that addiction for a long time. He needs help. It takes practice to shun any thought of an addiction. When that tempter comes we have to be ready, and act fast. He needs help learning about the 'how not' and not just the 'why not' or the 'or else'.

#15 slamjet

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:35 AM

For those who are trying, or want to understand the issue with pornography and kicking the addiction or habit (however you want to look at it) may I highly suggest this book called He Restoreth My Soul: Understanding and Breaking the Chemical and Spiritual Chains of Pornography through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The author is a doctor who looks at this issue from not only a gospel sense, but also a scientific one as well. It make it clear just why pornography is such a heinous addiction to have.

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#16 g8trjasonb

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:38 AM

I'm a little late, but wanted to add my 2 cents. I suffered with porn addiction for about 10 years, thanks to my ability to find it so easily on the internet. I was exposed to it at a VERY early age when me and some of my friends found somebody's stash in the woods one day. I then witnessed two other children having intercourse as a direct result of what we had found. That obviously stuck with me throughout my life. Porn is an absolute poison. People that view it, like I was, are very much addicted to it and it should be treated just as any other addiction. If someone is repeatedly returning to it with the knowledge that it is negatively impacting the relationships in their life, drawing them away from Christ, etc. then they are absolutely addicted and need help. But they must first recognize that they are addicted and want to be treated for it. It took me a LONG time to get to this point. Unfortunately, your husband needs to make this decision before he is going to change for good. It may take you taking a drastic stance, like threatening to leave him until he seeks treatment, before he hits bottom and realizes he must change. However, if he does make this decision, its important that you support him 100% along the way. There is a book I read called Clean Hands, Pure Heart. Its written by a member of the church who suffered through this addiction for 35 years. He was married for most of this time before his first wife passed away, then remarried and finally quit his addiction with the help of his second wife. He applies the principles taught in the Heart t' Heart program, which is the LDS Family Services 12-step program for fighting any addiction. He talks about his recovery process and incorporates a lot of scripture. This book is wonderful and I highly suggest you both read it. For you, it will give you great insight into your husband's mind. For me, I no longer view pornography, although I will consider myself an addict for the rest of my life, just as a guy that hasn't had a drop to drink in years still refers to himself as an alcoholic. There were lots of slip-ups along the way, but I finally got to the point where I was just sick and tired of it and it made me angry, which is what I needed to trigger quitting for good. I got to this point through reading about other people's struggles, reading Clean Hands, Pure Heart, applying its principles, gaining and strengthening my testimony in the Gospel through intense reading of the scriptures and daily, FERVENT prayer, in addition to sheer will power. There have been lots of moments since I quit that I have had the thought enter my mind about viewing it again, however, I know that I am now clean, through proper repentance and confession, and I simply don't want to be unclean again. Also, those moments of desire are fewer and fewer the longer I have remained clean. The desire to remain clean now greatly outweighs the temptation to view porn again because I know that one slip-up will undo everything I've now worked for and that would be disastrous. As a result, I've regained my self-confidence and self-respect and some of the innocence that I had lost. I also know I am now finally doing what the Lord expects and I can FEEL Him in my life. As a result, I'm infinitely more happy than I was before. So, it can be done. Hope this helps.

#17 kev_stevens67

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 02:53 PM

I am married to a wonderful wife who I love very much. I had trouble with pornography for years after we were married and it was a tough and trying time for both of us. I would repent and slip again. It was the worst feeling for me, I knew I was hurting the woman I loved so much and felt I couldn’t stop. I can only give some advice on what helped me through this. I went to an LDS counselor and discussed my addiction openly with my wife present. 1. When I was home alone, I turned on Church hymns to listen to. 2. I put a picture of the Idaho Falls temple as my desktop on the computer (where my wife and I were married). 3. I decided to get out and exercise more often. 4. I prayed every night for the strength to overcome my addiction. 5. I started reading the Book of Mormon every day since I wasn’t doing that. In the end my wife and I have grown closer together and I am thankful for that. I will just say that I know this is a very tough and painful time. There are also some great books to read on this topic to help those who are struggling. I think it was also mentioned, an Addiction recovery group. It’s not an easy hill to climb – I know from experience, but I also know it can be done.

#18 billsmith

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 01:28 PM

I am experiencing the same kind of betrayal and hurt right now. My marriage is in serious trouble because of her selfishness. I didn't know about her addiction when we got married but soon afterward I found evidence on her computer. She forgot to close her browser and the site she had up horrified me to be honest. What I don't understand is why I'm not enough for her? Why does she have to go seeking this stuff online? I confronted her about it and she blew it off like it was nothing. She said that I was always busy at work and that many times I don't make myself available to her! I personally believe a marriage is about intimacy and the way she insists on logging on to these sites to get what she needs hurts me deeply. Don't get me wrong, we do it together almost every day and I have even tried to do the "phone thing" while I'm at work. I can't always do that though and no matter how much I try she can't stop logging on. Am I wrong in thinking that I should be enough for her?

#19 MarginOfError

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 01:37 PM

I am experiencing the same kind of betrayal and hurt right now. My marriage is in serious trouble because of her selfishness. I didn't know about her addiction when we got married but soon afterward I found evidence on her computer. She forgot to close her browser and the site she had up horrified me to be honest. What I don't understand is why I'm not enough for her? Why does she have to go seeking this stuff online? I confronted her about it and she blew it off like it was nothing. She said that I was always busy at work and that many times I don't make myself available to her! I personally believe a marriage is about intimacy and the way she insists on logging on to these sites to get what she needs hurts me deeply. Don't get me wrong, we do it together almost every day and I have even tried to do the "phone thing" while I'm at work. I can't always do that though and no matter how much I try she can't stop logging on. Am I wrong in thinking that I should be enough for her?


Yes, you are. There's something else going on in her mind. She's seeking out pornography not entirely for sexual gratification, but because there's some kind of psychological gratification there as well. A lot of porn users seek it out in times of stress or anxiety. They use sexual release to satisfy a need that isn't sexual.

So yeah, you need to understand that it isn't you...it's her. And I wouldn't make a huge deal out of it. Making a big deal out of it is likely going to encourage her to hide her pornography use, not admit it. And admitting it and then admitting it is a problem is the first step toward recovery.

At the same time, it's okay to express disappointment and discouragement, but keep it rational. Above all, remember that this is an issue about her, not about you.

Dude. When both Vort and MOE are in agreement, the thinking has been done. :D


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#20 rex8499

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 02:17 PM

Every day isn't "available" often enough for her? Jeez. I wish my wife felt that way.




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