Wives: You Are Not to Blame for Your Husband’s Porn Addiction

by | Aug 9, 2019 | Pornography, Uncategorized | 65 comments

Why we need to stop blaming wives for a husband's porn use
Merchandise is Here!

Are wives to blame if their husbands use pornography?

One of the things we’ve been talking about on the blog lately is that you are not to blame if your spouse has an affair. You may have contributed to serious marriage problems. You may even have been the biggest cause of a rift in your marriage. But no one can make another person have an affair, and the choice to have that affair is still on them. Repenting of that affair is necessary before you can start to address marriage problems.

There’s another issue, though, that pops up a lot when we’re talking about who is to blame for sin, and it’s the topic of porn use.

I was helping another author work on a marriage book recently, and he asked me to take a look at a few chapters. In those chapters he had several stories of men who had turned to pornography because they were so sexually frustrated because their wives wouldn’t have sex. The author was warning women how much men need sex, and how much of a temptation porn will be if their husbands aren’t kept sexually satisfied.

Now, this does have a grain of truth. When we do not make love with relative frequency, we can make our husbands feel rejected, unloved, and unwanted. And that can make the temptation to turn to porn a lot stronger because turning to us for sex is more difficult.

However (and this is a big however), in most marriages, that’s not the dynamic that’s at play when it comes to pornography, for these reasons:

Most porn use pre-dates the marriage.

What he said may have been true for couples in their late 40s and 50s. But for most younger couples, internet porn use predated the marriage. Most guys who use porn do not start AFTER they’re married. They started before. So to say to a wife that she’s causing her husband’s porn use simply doesn’t always line up with reality. How could she cause something that started 11 years before he even met her?

Porn use programs a man to find his wife inadequate

And that porn use rewired their brain so that what was attractive was an image or a video, rather than a relationship. It wouldn’t matter if she were the #1 supermodel in the world; she’s not pornography, and so she’s not enough for him. Porn also rewires the brain to want DIFFERENT, not just more, so what becomes arousing is always different stimuli. No matter how hard we try, we can’t be different. And finally, porn use makes sex into a self-focused physical thing, not a relational, mutual experience focused on both intimacy and pleasure. In essence, she becomes his sex toy.

If this is how he has trained himself to think of sex, then she can’t compete, and she can’t be responsible for his porn use.

I’ve got more on the 10 effects of porn on his sex drive and his brain right here.

In many marriages where porn use is frequent, the problem is the husband rejecting sex, not the wife

Additionally, porn use is one of the biggest reasons for men’s libidos to fall. It also is one of the biggest contributors to erectile dysfunction. Porn robs a man of normal sexual desire for his wife, and channels it all into porn. I frequently hear, for instance, of husbands who will masturbate frequently in the shower, but reject sex with their wives.

Porn use often channels a husband’s sexual preferences in weird, dangerous, or degrading directions

Sometimes the reason that women turn down husbands who want sex when they watch porn is that husbands end up wanting sex that is entirely one-sided. Frequently they demand oral sex but reject intercourse, or they want things that wives consider very degrading. When women hear the message that you are causing your husband’s porn use by rejecting sex, but the sex that he wants is selfish and perverted, that’s a very harmful message.

A better message is this one: Work on developing a healthy view of sex together, and then pursue it!

All of us can have sexual issues. Maybe he used porn a lot and has to retrain his brain to find the relationship and intimacy exciting. Maybe she feels a lot of shame about sex and has been withholding sex for a long time. Whatever it may be, they can work together for a healthy sex life.

However, like recovery from an affair, it must start with the porn use ending. A healthy sex life is built on intimacy and trust. You can’t have either if he’s watching porn. Even if she’s been withholding sex, and even if she’s left him feeling neglected, you cannot build a healthy sex life until he is dedicated to quitting porn. And turning to porn is still a sin that she did not cause. It was his own choice, and it needs to stop–even if she also has things that she needs to fix.

Here are 4 steps you must take if your husband uses porn.

To the husbands: I understand if you’re frustrated, but the porn needs to stop

If you’re the husband in the situation, and you do really want a great sex life with your wife, and you’re just really frustrated, I do hear you. I know what a lonely place that can be. But you can’t build a great sex life on the back of pornography. It needs to stop first. She won’t feel safe, and sex won’t feel intimate, and you won’t be able to be fully vulnerable with her when pornography is in the picture.

I highly recommend getting Covenant Eyes for screen accountability. It filters out porn, taking away that temptation that you feel when pornography is only a split second mouse click away. You can install it on all of your computers and devices, and it can protect your children, too. Remember that kids are first exposed to porn, on average, at age 11. This needs to stop before porn wraps its tentacles around your kids, too!

And when you click using my link, or use the code TLHV, you get your first month free, so you can test it out. Your marriage, and your family, can experience real freedom from porn.

Find freedom from porn!

Your marriage, and your thought life, do not need to be held captive to pornography.

There is freedom. 

Beat porn–together!

Even if you do that, though, it doesn’t mean your sex life will automatically get better.

You have to rebuild, and a lot of that includes two things: understanding what sex is supposed to look like (since porn warps everything!), and figuring out how to communicate and talk through this better together. I’d recommend working through 31 Days to Great Sex, which helps you build a sex life from the ground up, one step at a time, focusing on intimacy, affection, as well as the physical aspects of sex.

Are you and your spouse sexually disconnected?

31 Days to Great Sex helps you flirt, be more affectionate, talk–and especially spice things up!

No blaming. Just solutions–and a whole lot of fun!

Also read this series on how to change how we see sex so that it is mutual and intimate, and so that no one feels like a sex object.

That’s really a better message to give to women if you want to encourage them to commit themselves to great sex. It’s much healthier than just, “if you don’t have sex he’ll watch porn!”

When we were discussing if you were to blame if he cheated, a commenter left a link to a wonderful letter to wives of porn users.

I thought it was very helpful, and very hopeful, and I think it brings healing to women whose husbands have been using porn. It says the things that we all need to hear: that it is not our fault; that they have broken covenants; that it has been a terrible betrayal. 

I want to point you to it today, because I know many of you need to read it:

From An Open Letter to Wives of Porn Addicts by Jay Pyatt

On behalf of myself and the other husbands addicted to porn, I am sorry. We have given your place to another and it is wrong. You knew some men struggle with this; you just didn’t think it would be your man. There are no justifications for our actions. We try to justify, but these are only excuses.

I am sorry we’ve blamed you for our addiction. Instead of owning our actions, we have gotten defensive and angry. In time we may realize how far away this is from the truth. You’re not to blame. It is not your fault. We chose to turn away from you and God to follow the lust of our hearts.

I know this is painful for you. The person who stood before many people and professed his faithful love at the altar has betrayed your marriage through porn, lust, and lying. You did nothing to deserve this behavior, no matter what he tells you. We lied, thinking we were protecting you from a situation we couldn’t handle on our own. Always thinking we’d get clean, we just needed a little more time. But the lies still hurt and the problem still grew–and damaged–like a cancer.

Read the rest here.

Porn is not harmless. It seriously damages a person’s sexual arousal cycle, sexual response cycle, and libido. It has affected so many men, and now it’s affecting so many women, too. Let’s start speaking more loudly about the harm it does, rather than considering it an inevitable response to sexual frustration. And maybe then we can have healthier conversations about it!

Stop blaming wives for a husband's porn use: 4 reasons why it's not your fault

What do you think? Do we talk about porn in a healthy way? What’s a better way to tackle it? If you’re a wife of a porn user (or the husband of a porn user), what message do you need to hear? Let’s talk in the comments!

[adrotate banner=”302″]

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

10 Ways Hollywood Warps our Expectations about Sex

Has Hollywood totally messed up our sex lives? I talk a lot about how evangelical teaching has messed up our expectations around sex. But let's face it--a lot of those expectations are in movies and shows, too!Behind the scenes at the blog we're getting ready to move...

Comments

We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!

65 Comments

  1. Swty

    Good reminder. Most guys who use porn do not start AFTER they’re married. They started before. So to say to a wife that she’s causing her husband’s porn use simply doesn’t always line up with reality. How could she cause something that started 11 years before he even met her?
    And I was blaming myself for his porn use. Now I am feeling relaxed.
    I need to say myself this many times.
    “I am not responsible for his pon use.”

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      You really aren’t! I hope that you can work together to deal with it, though. It really does need some pretty firm boundaries: Something like, “I am more than willing to work on our sex life. I want a great sex life! But I will not have a sex life or a marriage where porn are a part of it. We need to deal with this now.” The effects of porn on a guy’s sex drive and sexuality (and on women’s, for women who use porn) are so grave that you can’t build a healthy sex life with porn in the picture. I hope people understand that!

      Reply
      • Swty

        Sheila,
        Can you please list some articles to keep him sexually satisfied, other than 31 days to great sex.

        Reply
  2. Jim

    Shelia,

    You wrote “The author was warning women how much men need sex, and how much of a temptation porn will be if their husbands aren’t kept sexually satisfied” and then you followed this up with the comment “Now, this does have a grain of truth.” I would suggest that the first sentence isn’t just a GRAIN of truth, but IS truth. Men in the situation where their wives are refusing or gatekeeping will be more tempted. I don’t think you will deny this. That makes the basic premise of the books (at least as you summarized them) correct.

    May I suggest that rewording the “grain of truth” sentence to something along the lines of “This is true is so far as it goes” might be more accurate (because the rest of your post makes a great argument that while this summary is true, it isn’t the whole truth)?

    That’s just a niggle, though. This was a great post. I totally agree with you that a man’s sin of pornography is not somehow his wife’s “fault.” Each man (or woman) bears his (or her) own sin and, no matter how one’s spouse might be sinning it does not negate one’s own sin. If your spouse snaps at you in anger, it doesn’t mean your snarky or angry remark in response is justified (which I usually remind myself – about 30 seconds too late 🙂 ) In a similar way, even if a spouse is refusing/gatekeeping (which many could categorize as sin), it wouldn’t somehow make one’s sin of porn use “right.” In some cases refusing/gatekeeping might explain the increased temptation (though you make a great argument that in many cases it does not), but temptation does not MAKE one sin (as a point of reference may I refer one to a certain savior of mankind who was tempted in the desert?)

    Reply
    • Jim

      Talk about editing errors- I just re-read my own post and saw this sentence “This was a great post. I totally agree with you that a man’s sin of pornography is somehow his wife’s “fault.”” Obviously I missed a NOT in there right before “somehow”. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea max culpa 🙂

      Reply
    • Jay Pyatt

      As the guy who wrote the above Apology Letter: I want to say, when a woman does not feel safe with her husband–refusing to have sex is not sinful or unreasonable.

      I know the bible says not to “withhold yourselves”, however there is a lot more said on self-sacrifice and self-discipline. If you have broken trust with your spouse there needs to be repair before expecting the relationship to have all the “benefits”.

      Reply
      • Jim

        Please define “feeling safe.” If you mean physical safety or a high degree of emotional safety (emotional abuse, gaslighting, etc.), then yes – I totally agree. A marriage covenant is not a suicide pact. However, if you mean absolute emotional safety in a “normal” marriage (where one’s spouse is generally a good person – not an abuser – but has sinned in some way that puts stress on the marriage) then I am not so certain I agree (at least for ALL cases), though I agree there is enough grey in these definitions through which one could drive a busload of theologians . . .

        But that wasn’t the case I posited – it was refusal/gatekeeping before the porn use. In that example, I think there is enough Biblical authority to call the refusal in this case to be “sin.”

        As for “repair” before all “the benefits” – well, I’m not sure I like that phrasing. It seems to change the marriage covenant into a marriage contract (if you do X, and only if you X, and if you never do Y, then I will do Z). I won’t go into a long explanation of covenant vs, contract (you can find some good explanations on-line. One such source explains that “the difference between covenant and contract is evident when someone breaks either one of the agreements. A contract is invalid when one of the involved parties violates it. On the other hand, a covenant remains intact even if one of the parties breach it. “) In a marriage contract, withholding “benefits” until “repair” is a valid option. In a marriage covenant? I’ll let you decide. (Again, I caveat that this is predicated on a marriage to generally “good” spouse where safety is not an issue – not a situation of abuse.)

        There needs to be repentance on the part of the sinner before healing can be complete, but there can be forgiveness (and, with forgiveness, even the beginning of healing – at least for the sinned-against spouse) even before repentance by the sinner. Whether having or withholding sex during the healing process is the best option for healing (both for the sinned-against spouse, but also for the healing of the sinner) is probably not a blanket statement I can endorse. I can envision scenarios where either option might be necessary.

        Reply
  3. Nathan

    This is a huge issue, so it’s worth repeating now and again. Affairs or porn (or other things) are never the fault of the other person. Nobody else makes a person have an affair or go on the internet and look at porn. Yes, there may be other issues in the marriage, and some may be the fault of the wife as well, but there are two main points when considering that. First, each of us is responsible for their own actions and second, porn and affairs are much larger than most other issues, since they go to the heart of betrayal of the marriage itself.

    In order to fully heal, ALL issues must be worked on, but porn and affairs have to be dealt with first. That involves owning what you did, taking full and complete responsibility for what you did, and acknowledging the hurt that you caused your spouse. Then you can work on the other issues.

    Reply
  4. Nathan

    My own relationship with porn is minor at best. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, there was no internet porn, although my friends and I often had dads with magazines in the basement. Some people who did this say that it was no big deal, since their wives never knew, but from things I’ve read my guess is that many wives back then DID know, they just didn’t want a confrontation. And even if nobody knows about your porn addiction, it’s still wrong and does affect others because of how it rewires the brain.

    One of the biggest surprises when I started looking into this (while helping a friend) was the fact that very often, men have good sex lives, and either start to watch porn anyway or have always done it. I’ve seen posts on this site from women who will literally BEG their husbands to have sex with them, and the husband will reject them because he wants to watch porn instead. One particularly heartbreaking post came from a woman who says that whenever she tells her husband “it’s been a long time since we’ve made love” he’ll actually yell at her for bringing it up.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yep. It honestly happens all the time! The number of emails I get from women whose husbands masturbate in the bathroom rather than have sex with them is astounding. And heartbreaking.

      Reply
    • Jay Pyatt

      Nathan, I agree with you. Many men will turn to porn instead of their wives.

      However, the center of the porn use is not really about sex per se. It is about intimacy and connection. For me, I didn’t know how to connect with my wife effectively and struggled to feel like a healthy contributor in the relationship.

      Pornography allowed me to have pseudo-connection / intimacy without all of the problematic emotional interaction. But, I had been using it for years to medicate the things in my life I didn’t feel comfortable with, so marriage was added to the pile.

      Reply
  5. Phil

    Hi Sheila – Out of all the 100’s of men I have worked with not one has ever told me that they started using porn because their wife wouldn’t give them sex. Usually if anything because they were using porn they used it even more because their sex life suffered from it in the first place. Me personally, I can tell you my porn use had NOTHING to do with my wife. That is the case for most. You are the numbers lady but I just go by my experience….The numbers feel very high probably 90% plus that porn addicts use porn well before they are married and it has nothing to do with the wife. It is a hole they are trying to fill. They are missing key physical, emotional and spiritual inputs from their lives. Either someone took it from them or they made bad choices and or both. Trying to blame the spouse for someone else sin such as an affair or porn use is absolutely ridiculous. You know what my wife did wrong? She married me. Seriously. She recently told me that had she known my past we would never had gotten married. Of course this sounds harsh but it’s true. She married me and that is her only part in what she played in why she was effected from my porn use. We could disect it more and say well if you didn’t have premarital sex you may have seen it…..but the bottom line is we got married I used porn and I hurt her. ITS NOT HER FAULT. So today while things are great and I have a good marriage we still have our issues. I half wonder what effects my former porn use still has on me. It’s been over 16 years. I and we have worked so hard. But maybe I still want different and that is my problem. Anyway, I still believe we need to work on things because I do believe there is more…..but for now all is well. Have a great weekend everyone.

    Reply
  6. Dave

    My ex-wife doesn’t blame herself, but her women’s pastor/pastor’s wife called her an enabler. This was less than helpful.

    Reply
    • Dave

      My point being— many church leaders will make wives feel guilty for their husbands’ porn use even without saying the more blatant blaming things— more of “you should have prayed more/better for him or known he was doing it and put a stop to it.” Also when my wife (we’ll call her “B”) was divorcing me, pastor’s wife (we’ll call her Mrs W) cornered her to say she should separate but never divorce, because God hates divorce. She divorced me but we have not yet separated. (Separation after 41 years and with health issues and limited income is very difficult.) In B’s mind I left her no choice, since she can’t trust me and Jesus gave the divorce exception for “porneia”. It’s really a matter of extreme trauma and survival for her— which the pastors failed to understand.
      In our small town, this works out like last night. B wants an ice cream cone, and the rodeo is in town —there’ll be a booth! So we get there, and who’s scooping? Mrs W. What’s she going to think? So we walk on by. No ice cream for you — you enabler!

      Reply
      • Jay Pyatt

        Dave, this is a sad truth, many well-meaning people say awful hurtful things because they don’t really understand the situation.

        Dr Doug Weiss just posted today about Betrayal Trauma, something my wife and I talk about all the time. This trauma is caused even by the helping community who imply the betrayed spouse was somehow at fault.

        Reply
        • Dave

          Thanks, Jay. I’ll check out Dr Weiss. I checked your website last week after the first article and signed up for your mailing list and free material. I should add that not only the faith community failed my wife, but her healthcare professionals IMO. She tried a secular counselor who basically suggested she have a little fun and sleep around.

          Reply
  7. Anonymous today

    Amen Sheila! The message I always heard was that men stray when they are unsatisfied at home. Now I genuinely did enjoy sex and made sure we never went more than a few days…but I didn’t realize until after I found out that there was an undercurrent of fear there, that if I didn’t keep him satisfied he would turn to porn. So needless to say I was completely shocked when I found out 10 years into our marriage that he had never really kicked the habit. I had done everything right – kept myself in shape, dressed attractively, and been an eager partner. That’s when I found your blog and it helped me so much. When I first confronted him he completely broke down, and told me it was his issue and had nothing to do with me. I’m not sure I would have been able to believe him if it weren’t for your writing on the topic.

    Five years on, our marriage is truly more intimate than it’s ever been. There have been a couple slip ups, and they are always painful, but he is willing to talk to me about it and keep working on it. I pray that someday he will be so healed that it won’t have a pull on him anymore.

    Thank you so much for writing this. While it’s true that depriving your husband could make him more vulnerable to porn, that doesn’t make the opposite true – that if you satisfy your husband, you can protect him from porn. It’s a really important distinction.

    Reply
    • Anon

      I’m really sorry you had to go through this, it’s so horrible.

      But I just have a bit of an irk with the concept of porn addicts ‘slipping up’. I know there is all sorts of research out there about addictions etc etc. But it has been proven that a physical affair is also an addiction.

      With that said, and your husband had been having a physical affair or sleeping with prostitutes or something similar, would you have stayed with him if he had ‘slipped up’ in this way?? Physically with another woman? We all know porn use is just as devastating as a physical affair.

      It just frustrates me when I see women justifying what’s termed as a ‘slip up’. A slip up is when you fall over on the pavement and couldn’t help it.

      Using porn is always a choice.

      Reply
      • Anonymous today

        Believe me, I am not justifying it. We both agree that it is wrong and there is no excuse, and he has deep shame and regret when he chooses it again. As far as staying with him after he “slips up,” we have a long history and he is a wonderful husband, father, and provider. Yes he is a sinner, and so am I. But his heart is in the right place and he has made huge progress. He no longer tried to hide it if he fails. If it was escalating or starting to impact other areas of our relationship, you bet I would take action. I can see your point and I could have worded it better. But it seems appropriate to me because I know my husband and that this issue does not define him; it isn’t who he wants to be.

        I guess I have a bit of an issue equating porn use with a physical affair. The betrayal feels the same; I have no argument there. But if I equated the two in my head, there is no way we would be able to move forward together. We really do have a happy marriage, and it would not be worth the pain caused to us or our children to treat him as if he’d had an affair. We are sinners saved by grace, moving towards sanctification together, and it would take a lot more than his occasional sin to make me throw that away.

        Have you dealt with this issue in your own marriage? Please be careful judging what you haven’t experienced.

        Reply
        • Anon

          Oh I’m in a position to comment for absolute certain and don’t need to be told not to be judgemental. Most definitely I have been through this. Thirteen years of it with screaming and lying and crying from him telling me I was crazy in the head for not believing something I found on our computer was just a ‘one time silly little thing’.

          I don’t think you’ve done your research. To suggest porn use is not as bad as a physical affair is utterly astounding with what people know nowadays about the darkness of this wicked topic. It is every bit as destructive as a physical affair and to say it isn’t, is downplaying the pain and horror wives go through with this, not to mention ignorant.

          My marriage did not survive this. Partly because I had to draw a line in the sand somewhere and I am not a sucker for punishment.

          Reply
          • Anonymous today

            I am very sorry to hear that your marriage did not survive, and I am very glad that you were able to stand up for yourself. Every marriage is different, and my husband has chosen to repent and walk the road to healing with me. That does not make me ignorant. Again, I am very sorry for what you have been through.

          • Anon

            I just think you’ve got a misinformed perception of the damage of a pornography addiction and the seriousness of it. You’re downplaying it and that’s not helpful for anyone to read, nor helpful for you.

            If someone’s spouse had an issue with violence and he ‘slipped up’ would you stay there. It’s like you’re making this out to be less serious than it is. That’s great he’s a good father and you’ve got a history etc etc, but you are enabling him by staying with him.

            Perhaps read ‘An Affair Of The Mind’ which might help you better see the seriousness of what you are allowing.

          • Doug

            I am so sorry for what you went thru. Obviously, it was very painful.

            I don’t know if you have ever sought healing for yourself, but it might be helpful.

            Nobody is downplaying your hurt or your experience. Nobody is downplaying the damage. That said, trusting someone to be better, and then being able to forgive when they fail is a choice that some make, and some do not. I suspect that the condition of the marriage in other areas plays into that. It sounds like Anonymous Today has a very good understanding of her own situation, and has made her choice fully aware that she could be hurt. That is nothing like denial. It is the opposite of denial. It is clear that she believes in the man she married, and I am taking her at her word that he is a good man. He is also a sinner and subject to sin. We all are. You can love the man and hate the sin. Whether or not you are willing to risk being hurt again is a choice we all make. All of us, every day, in every marriage. It is clear that you were not. Nobody here knows what you endured, and nobody is questioning your choice or telling you that you were wrong. That doesn’t mean others can’t decide differently.

          • Anon

            Doug as you are a male I’m taking what you are saying with a grain of salt. You are not a wife damaged by this, as far as I know.

            Anonymous today is boldly stating porn addiction is not as bad as a physical affair. That is simply uneducated and disrespectful in this day and age. Sin is sin as you say so does that mean someone gets beaten by their spouse and that the wife just keeps on forgiving? A physical affair is sin, so does someone keep forgiving?

            I suspect you have caused someone a lot of pain yourself in marriage and now carry a sense of entitlement.

            This whole article is about not blaming the wife!!!!! You’ve just blamed me for ‘choosing’ not to stay in a marriage. You don’t have any facts on it but have laid the entire blame on me, which is ironic considering what this article is about.

            I won’t be reading anymore of your replies thanks Doug.

          • Anon

            Oh I get it now Doug!!!! You are the husband of ‘Anonymous Today’!!!! LOL 😂!!

            There are no men by the name of Doug chiming in to this post and all of a sudden a guy named Doug launches forth completely sticking up for Anonymous Today.

            Your comment makes total sense now. All in support of yourself and your own self justification.

            As I say, I won’t be taking any more time to be reading replies from you but just wanted to let you know you blew your own cover.

          • Doug

            Anon, a few points.

            First, I didn’t blame you for anything. I said I was sorry for what you went thru.

            Second, I am no relation to Anonymous Today.

            Third, while you are right that I have caused a lot of pain, you couldn’t be more mistaken about me having a sense of entitlement to continue to do so. On the contrary. I am deeply committed to never hurt my wife again. I did receive grace when it was not deserve it, as we all have.

            Again, I am sorry you have been hurt. You didn’t deserve that.

        • Lori Pyatt

          Anonymous Today,

          You wrote, “I guess I have a bit of an issue equating porn use with a physical affair… if I equated the two in my head, there is no way we would be able to move forward together.”

          I think, for YOU, you’re absolutely correct. Here’s what I mean.

          Betrayal trauma trainings usually teach: Go at the woman’s pace.

          This means it’s fine if you don’t see porn as an affair. Other women might, and for them that’s fine. Each woman has to go at their own pace and not be swayed by others.

          The feeling I get between you and the other lady responding is this: your husbands probably have two different attitudes after the truth came out. Most men get more hard-hearted and even cruel. For their wives, this leads to feeling as bad as if their husband had an affair.

          Your husband seems to be one of the rare cases where he’s still humble and honest and good-hearted toward you, which is awesome! I wish more men were that un-affected by porn.

          Unfortunately, it that’s rare.

          So to me, both you and the other responder are correct: Y’all are allowed to go at your own pace… at least according to the trauma model.

          Reply
          • Anonymous today

            Thank your for your kind words Doug, and thank you so much for responding Lori! You are absolutely right, that FOR ME porn didn’t equate to an affair because of my husband’s attitude. That’s what I was trying to get across. I completely understand that for a lot of marriages, porn is absolutely as devastating as an affair. But it wasn’t for us, which is why one size fits all approaches don’t work. You stated it much more eloquently than I could have. I’m sorry if anything I said came across as minimizing the problem. I just want people to have hope that a husband struggling with porn doesn’t always mean your marriage is doomed.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Sorry, I’m just seeing all of this now (I was out camping for the weekend with my kids and so didn’t see all the comments).

            I will say that “slipping up” is extremely common when getting over any addiction. What really matters is the heart. Some people “slip up” because they’re still using porn and they don’t want their wife to know and then they get caught again. And then some people honestly are trying to rebuild, and they hit a very stressful part in their life, and they turn to porn because it used to be their default go-to for stress. In this case, it really isn’t analogous to an affair, because they would never have slept with anyone else, and as you continue to deal with the root cause, this will become far less likely. Porn is a very, very serious thing, but I do believe there is a world of difference between a guy who is genuinely sorry and wants to quit and someone who is only sorry he got caught. When we understand that much porn addiction started in very young boys, when they weren’t really old enough to withstand the onslaught in front of them, it is very different from a guy who is choosing to do online sex chats or choosing to use prostitutes. I’m not saying it’s okay, or that the marriage can continue just as it is. You need to deal with it, confront it, draw boundaries, etc. But I also think each case is different. I’ve talked to some women whose husbands are truly repentant and broken, and some who are defensive and abusive. And they need to be treated differently, too.

          • Amanda

            Sheila, I am a trained female counsellor who deals with women in these situations all the time.

            I have to say that I don’t agree with a lot of what you’ve just said. I see women who are devastated by the fact that their husbands are broken and repentant but also defensive and abusive at the same time. It is often not one or the other.

            The majority of women I see are also absolutely devastated by their husband’s porn use and to them, even if they haven’t physically had an affair, the pain these women are experiencing is the same – if not worse. Do not undermine the seriousness of this.

            To say that ‘slip ups’ are normal is not in any way helpful for anyone. It is excusing the behaviour and sending the message to porn addicts that “hey, you’re going to slip up and that’s normal”. Would you be saying the same to someone who had issues with violence? That during their recovery they are going to slip up and sometimes punch their spouse? Because it’s an addictive habit and what they’re used to. So the spouse just needs to be gracious about that?!

            I have seen women who’s lives have been destroyed just as much as if they had been physically assaulted by their spouse. The porn addiction has caused them to have PTSD, mental breakdowns, health issues, panics attacks, depression and so on.

            A client of mine recently decided she just could not take anymore. Her husband had been using porn for many years and was abusive and lied about it for so long. As far as she knew, there wasn’t anymore porn. But he had been lusting after many women in public but was lying to my client and making excuses about it. More aggression mixed in with remorse. This woman was exhausted. It was time to get out. She had my full support and there is no way I would want anyone like her to feel any condemnation. If anything, she did a very strong thing by leaving and putting an end to her misery.

            Be very careful what you are advising women to do. I have seen previously on this blog you say that women can’t just up and leave a husband who is ‘trying’ to quit a porn addiction. I categorically disagree with you. Do or do not – there is no ‘try’.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Oh, Amanda, she would have my full support to leave, too! I certainly don’t mean to demean what women go through. And I do think that abusive situations are totally different kettles of fish.

            Like, there are some marriages where he is ANGRY all the time, and where the discovery of the porn use starts a huge eruption where he becomes defensive and abusive and blames her. That’s very, very common, and I’ve seen it again and again.

            But I’ve also seen marriages where he’s been using porn since 10 or 11, and he so desperately wants to stop, and he’s the one who has confessed the porn use and taken the initiative to get accountability.

            It’s just very hard to compare those two groups of people. The situations are very different, and that’s why I would hope that everyone going through porn addictions would seek out a qualified, licensed counselor to walk them through this, because different situations require different things.

            I’ve also seen that men who have been addicted to porn for decades do have a very difficult time quitting cold turkey. And because it’s become a way they deal with stress, when there is stress again, say two years down the road, they may turn to porn again. I’m not condoning that; I’m just saying it’s extremely common, and I think women need to know that. The road to recovery with porn use is rarely quitting cold turkey and never looking at porn again. It’s more quitting, and getting accountability, and doing really well for a time, and then having a setback, and then recommitting to quitting, and so on. Again, I’m not condoning, and I certainly would want it to be different. But this is simply what I have seen.

            I think women need to be very firm with their boundaries, and what they will put up with. And counselors do need to be involved. But again, I do think there’s a world of difference between a man who has confessed on his own volition about his porn use, and is taking the initiative to get accountability, and is trying to get help, and one who is continuing to deflect blame and to try to get out of doing the work of getting better.

            Now, that being said, if a guy is having continuous “slip ups” (like, not just once or twice but every month, and he says all the right things but he never gets better, and this goes on for years), then that is a different story as well. I know couples where he’s been “trying to quit” for like 15 years. That’s not “trying to quit”; that’s trying to get away with it. There has to be a point where the wife says, “enough is enough!”

            The problem is that I don’t think you can make a firm rule for that, since every couple is different. And, again, that’s why I really advise couples who are going through this to see a licensed counsellor who is able to better judge the dynamics of what is happening.

            I’m just saying that I’ve rarely seen a healing process from porn that doesn’t have at least one temporarily relapse. I wish it were different, but I haven’t seen it. But I’ve also seen women who hold on far too long, thinking that this relapse will be the last, when it’s really just indicative of a problem that has never truly been addressed.

            I’m sure that doesn’t make much sense, but that’s why I think every couple is different!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so glad you found me, too, and that I could help!

      Reply
  8. Hopeful

    I’m always surprised by how many people still blame the wife, almost as if the husband isn’t to blame for watching porn if the wife doesn’t satisfy him sexually.
    I’ve told only one person in real life about my husbands past porn addiction, because I know that I would be judged , for his behaviour.
    I was sexually deprived by my husband for many years. I cried my self to sleep often, begged and pleaded with God and my husband, dealt with almost unbearable temptation sometimes , ( and I worked in a career where being unfaithful could have been easy). But the thing is – I didnt. I remained faithful, I chose to love my husband, to push for counselling and a better marriage. Eventually I was ready to leave him, before he finally chose me over porn.
    And men aren’t somehow weaker, it wasn’t easy for me to not sin( I’m a high drive wife).
    And men are also capable of choosing to be faithful, of taking the steps necessary to improve the marriage, pushing for counselling, enforcing boundaries etc. And if they just can’t live like that , then maybe leave first. But there is no excuse ever to cheat.
    And sometimes the wife may love you but have a lower libido, then it’s time to learn self control. I’ve had to, even now I’d love to make love three times as often as we do in a month. But even though are marriage is great now and my husband tries to please me, he just doesn’t desire sex as often as I do. And I’ve had to learn that it’s ok.
    I’m not sure if this comment makes sense, but from someone whose dealt with all the pain and guilt and inadequacy of being the wife of a porn addict, then I hear that it’s still somehow my fault , it hurts even more. When I didn’t even know about his addiction when we got married, when I’ve done my absolute best as a wife and lover, when I’ve held in when I’ve wanted nothing more than to let go…. porn is evil and disgusting and always the sin and responsibility of the user , not anyone else!

    Reply
  9. Scott

    I agree with the overall message and was one of the men commenters on the affair post: you can read my comment there (it was July 30 at 5:55 pm). It is now one month to the day since I broke my wife’s heart with my porn confession. We are working through things well, but it is a bit overwhelming for her, particularly with the other things we have going on in our life. We have had intercourse four times since then, which is normal for us. But the quality of the sessions has been above average (particularly for me) due to the increased closeness.

    I want to point out how not all cases are the same, specifically how ours is different. Hoping to help someone who has had porn fallout that doesn’t fit the typical mold.

    “Porn use programs a man to find his wife inadequate”
    For us, this wasn’t the case. I’d say it was the complete opposite. The superiority of my wife became clearer and clearer every time we had sexual relations and every time I indulged in porn. She simply fills a need in me that porn can never do. If anything, this just made me more frustrated and ashamed of my porn addiction and being unable to kick it.

    “In many marriages where porn use is frequent, the problem is the husband rejecting sex, not the wife”
    The word “many” makes it clear this isn’t every situation, but chiming in that it certainly wasn’t us. I rejected my wife’s hints maybe 3 times over 12 years. She was rejecting direct requests that many times per month, if not per week, at times. That said, only one of my rejections of her was actually for a non-porn reason, and this realization has made me declare (to myself) that I will never reject her again, even in old age when/if my libido disappears entirely.

    “Porn use often channels a husband’s sexual preferences in weird, dangerous, or degrading directions”
    Similar to above, the word “often” acknowledges this isn’t everyone. But again, we were the opposite of this (minus a few times maybe). I was terrified to request or try almost any new act/position/etc because I didn’t want to associate my habit with my beautiful wife in any way. The unfortunate side effect of this was that I was afraid to pursue my wife when she started drifting away sexually. For instance, she used to love receiving oral sex and we got her dangerously close to orgasm multiple times (legs shaking, tingling extremities, some involuntary contractions), but she started rejecting oral sex for some reason (I think she was frustrated of the “close but not all the way”), and I was afraid to pursue it because of damage from my porn habit. After maybe 7-8 yr of little/no oral, she’s finally slowly accepting again, but we simply do not have the time/energy (4 young kids!) to get her figured out to get over that last hill to orgasm. It breaks my heart.

    So those are just my thoughts. Hope someone can relate.

    -Scott

    Reply
    • Dave

      I can relate. More tomorrow, perhaps.

      Reply
  10. Nathan

    Scott, I’m glad that things are (slowly if surely) working themselves out in your marriage.

    You’re absolutely right that every person, marriage and situation is different, although there are a few common themes.

    1. When a person watches porn or has an affair, it’s their fault and nobody else’s. There can be other problems in the marriage, some the fault of one and some the other, but each of us bears the responsibility for our own actions.

    2. We must own and repent of ALL of our sins to God and our spouse before a marriage can heal.

    3. Extensive use of porn rewires our brains so that we prefer it to the real thing.

    Good luck and keep working on the healing!

    Reply
  11. Mary

    Hubby of 30 years admits that his porn habit started before marriage. I was very naive. He says he uses it now when he gets mad at me, among other times, but that’s just his excuse. It feels like a wall between us and takes away my desire. So that probably adds to the problem. I don’t know how to decide when to welcome him back in our bed since I know it is not something he can stop and not go back to.

    Reply
    • Nathan

      Mary, I’m so sorry that this is happening, and I hope that it can all turn around.

      It may seem like he can’t permanently stop, but my guess is that there’s a good chance that it can.

      I can’t really speak from experience, though, since my history with porn is so light. I was a child in the 70s and 80s, so no internet. And even by the late 90s, I would only look now and then. I had a personal rule that I wouldn’t look at it when in a relationship, and gave it up forever when I met my one and only wife in 2001. There was internet porn back then, but not as pervasive as it is now.

      But, if he can admit full responsibility and own what he’s doing, there’s a good chance that he can overcome it and you can heal your marriage. Here’s hoping for the best

      Reply
      • Mary

        Nathan,
        Thank you for your response. I cannot ever imagine him taking full responsibility. He asked me if I could just forget all about it and it would be like we were starting over. Seems like a callous response.
        Mary

        Reply
    • Jay Pyatt

      Real freedom is possible. I have 9 years + without it.

      However, boundaries are needed for you to feel safe and if he keeps stumbling then you can keep him out of the bedroom or house as needed.

      I had to mature in how I handled the world in order to overcome my addiction. I believe it is the immature or unwilling how camp on the idea that they will always stumble (notice I said stumble, not struggle).

      Reply
      • Mary

        Jay,
        Thank you for your response. I definitely see the immature aspect you mentioned. That, along with dishonesty and secrecy are prominent.
        Mary

        Reply
  12. Non-English speaker

    Hmm… I guess I am the 0.01% of men who began porn after marriage. The fact is that we ‘make love’ once or twice per month and when we make it, it’s more for her to feel good than me (yes, she needs to work on her appreciation of sex).

    So, one day, I eventually looked at porn just to know what it is really like to have sex with a woman.

    Imagine for a moment that you signed for a tiny house with a tiny garden in a little suburb, just what you need to live peacefully, and you end up in a substandard public housing, into a dilapidated building. You’ll get very frustrated.

    Then one day, you pass by a real estate agency and you see pictures of little tiny houses and then you begin to crave for it. But there is others pictures, pictures of bigger houses, cottages, even castles, etc. and you begin to wonder why ‘you’ couldn’t be there and you dream of being there and, eventually, you crave for it too.

    Is it sinful to take a look at pictures of houses ? Yes (Exodus 20:17)

    In this case I can say it’s not the fault of my wife, it’s the fault of another guy, long time ago… The responsibility of my wife is to work on her depreciation of sex and mine is to be by her side to help her… If she accepts, but it’s another topic.

    Reply
  13. Doug

    I think this post is spot on. As a long time addict(clean and sober) I will freely admit that my porn addiction didn’t have anything to do with my wife. It was easy to use that excuse, because our sex life was almost nonexistent, as well as any true form of intimacy, but it was just an excuse.

    I think it is important to draw a line between an addict and a user. They are not the same thing, but there might be some overlap.

    In the case of an addiction there is a root, or many root causes, and without addressing those things, you will likely never be free.

    I suspect that one of the most common roots to that addiction is what makes it so easy to try to blame in on your spouse. REJECTION, or fear of rejection can play a huge role, and it can make it that much harder to climb out. I suspect that the women who have been victimized by porn and rejected for porn would agree with that statement.

    It doesn’t make porn right, but it can make the struggle easier or more difficult, depending on how it is approached.

    Accountability is a powerful weapon, as are apps that monitor internet usage and such, but the battle is won in overcoming those roots. You can be clean for months, or years, and find yourself back in front of the screen if you don’t address those(I know because I have been there).

    Porn is most corrosive because it feeds that feeling of rejection in both spouses, and it can turn into a death spiral.

    Spouse uses porn because he feels rejected. Other spouse rejects because of porn.

    Certainly that is not the only reason, but it is the root of the “wife made me” argument.

    After a point, it does become somewhat self sustaining, and in my case, I rejected my wife (in the sense that I quit pursuing) because porn was easier than rejection. She rejected me in return because of the porn.

    Does that make it her fault. Did us both figuring that out make the battle much easier to fight. Absolutely

    Reply
  14. Diana

    A lot of men have abuse in there pasta and have never told anyone. The pain is medicated by a number of things: food, drugs, booze, working, using prostitutes or pornography. You are right that they are avoiding intimacy because it forces them to be vulnerable. Lots of children who have been sexually awakened too early from abuse or rape, get involved in pornography. Professional counseling is often required in order to deal with the underlying reasons for going to the porn. But healing is possible for those that want it.

    Reply
  15. Purplecandy

    Thank you for your information about porn and its consequences. I would love an article on how to talk to children about porn. My oldest is soon to be eleven and she starts using the internet alone. I’ve told her about inappropriate contents but I worry about what she might see on friends’ phones or at their place… And I have other children too whom I’d want to help navigate through their childhood and teenage years porn free… I would love any idea/guidelines you’d have about it

    Reply
    • Jay Pyatt

      Purplecandy, the best site for helping children with pornography is https://protectyoungeyes.com. Chris McKenna who runs the site works for Covenant Eyes and put all of this information together to help parents.

      The best way to start the conversation if your child has found porn is “I’m so sorry this happened to you.” The industry is targeting them to start consuming early.

      Reply
  16. ThePhilZone

    This is obviously a very painful topic for many women. But I assure you, it is for men too but for very different reasons. Ladies, if I can plug a book on this sight, please read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. You have no idea who your man is because they don’t even know. This book is gut wrenching to read. You will see your man in a completely different light, I assure you. On the topic of porn, he writes, “Why is pornography the number one snare for men? He longs for the beauty, but without his fierce and passionate heart he cannot find her or win her or keep her. Though he is powerfully drawn to the woman, he does not know how to fight for her or even that he is to fight for her. Rather, he finds her mostly a mystery that he knows he cannot solve and so at a soul level he keeps his distance. And privately, secretly, he turns to the imitation. What makes pornography so addictive is that more than anything else in a lost man’s life, it makes him feel like a man without ever requiring a thing of him. The less a guy feels like a real man in the presence of a real woman, the more vulnerable he is to porn.” This is a sad but true commentary about the modern man, in large part we are posers. We are not the men God created us to be. Eldredge goes on the say, “Why don’t men play the man? Why don’t they offer their strength to a world desperately in need of it? For two simple reasons: we doubt very much that we have any real strength to offer, and we’re pretty certain that if we did offer what we have it wouldn’t be enough. Something has gone wrong and we know it.” So thanks for letting me share this, I think he is spot on. Men aren’t men any more for many reasons. Society, no masculine mentors, schools and even the church. Most men these days have no idea what makes a man and they, we, know it. Women have their own issues too, trust me, but that’s for another day.

    Reply
    • Rachel

      PhilZone,

      Thank you so much for this moving quote from Eldredge. I have spent some years now seeking to understand this issue from several different angles, because of my own husband’s struggle. I used to look at it solely from the perspective of my own anger and pain, which was very intense and, I eventually realized, stemmed in part from my own feminine wounds, some that occurred in childhood and some that simply came from living in a fallen world. With the help of some godly and caring Christian counselors, I am working hard to uncover the roots of those wounds. As a result, I find that I am more and more able to at least seek to understand my husband’s deeper wounds. Never excusing it or allowing it to pass, and not minimizing my pain, but seeking to give him the compassion he needs from his wife, the most important “real woman” in his life.

      Of course, it helps a lot that my husband generally has not shied away from his actions. He grieves that he has hurt me and is frustrated that the capacity to hurt the one he loves most even exists. Some women don’t get this attitude from their husbands and that makes it extremely difficult. (Boundaries do need to be set in that case, but respectfully, not vindictively. We went through a period like that, and I’d do it again if I needed to.)

      It’s complicated when you factor in childhood wounds and the souls of men and women, not to mention hotly contested definitions of masculinity and femininity. But if one woman or man reads the quote you posted and starts to think more deeply and from different angles about their own wounds and the wounds of their spouse, I consider that a positive thing.

      Reply
      • ThePhilZone

        Rachel, Thank you for the kind words! I would highly recommend picking up the book for both of you. I’m an active reader, Sheila’s books included, but Wild at Heart was eye opening. My guess is that you will be in tears when you read about the extent of men’s wounds, how they came about and what manifests because of them. No excuses in this book, just some understanding and a way out for men. Certainly a Christian perspective if you were wondering. I applaud you for thinking deeper and trying to figure out this most complex puzzle called marriage.

        Reply
  17. Nathan

    May from above…
    > > He asked me if I could just forget all about it and it would be like we were starting over. Seems like a callous response.

    I agree. This SOUNDS wonderful sometimes, and I see this kind of thing in books, TV and movies. As in, let’s just pretend that the past never happened and we can start over all fresh and in love.

    But it sounds a lot like an easy way to skip out on responsibility for what he did. This way, it just gets brushed aside like it never happened.

    My guess is that men can often “get over” things easier than women can. We often don’t realize the depth of the hurt that some things can cause. For us, it can be a case of “okay, I did it. I was wrong. I’m not doing it anymore. End of problem”. Women tend to be a little more complex than that, though, and some things leave an emotional trail that can take a while to work through.

    Reply
    • Doug

      Actually, I am not sure this quote is true. “My guess is that men can often “get over” things easier than women can. ”

      I am in recovery for a number of issues, and while I am not an expert by any means, beyond my own experiences, from what I have read, men carry the deeper hurts, longer and more privately than women. I think that the reason is that they tend to be better at burying them and compartmentalizing. They might not be aware that those wounds affect them, but they are in the background eating away at them until they are addressed and some reconciliation reached.

      Didn’t mean for that to be argumentative. It is just contrary to my own experience, and to what I have read.

      Reply
      • Nathan

        > > I think that the reason is that they tend to be better at burying them and compartmentalizing.

        That could be true. Kind of like that old saying “women forgive, but don’t forget. Men forget but don’t forgive”

        Reply
    • Mary

      Nathan,
      What is more painful is that he has never apologized or acted remorseful in any way. No empathy. He wants me to forget . . . But has never asked me to forgive.

      Reply
      • Doug

        Mary, I have prepared a couple of replies to your comments, but couldn’t quite translate my thoughts into words. I do have one recurring thought from what you have mentioned about your husband. He doesn’t sound much different than I was. There seems to be an undercurrent of anger in him, that runs much deeper than current circumstances. I could never respond to anything with any emotion other than anger. Does that ring true where your husband is concerned. Note, I am not saying any of this to let him off the hook. He is still responsible for his own behavior. For the record, I didn’t believe either my anger issue or porn addiction were wrong, until I was convicted otherwise. I was ashamed of the porn and kept it hidden, but that isn’t the same as admitting to myself that I thought it was wrong.

        I have to be honest. He will probably never change without a deep conviction that comes from something other than rules. It was in seeing how I had hurt my wife that I finally changed, and anytime she came at me with anger, it hid the hurt she was feeling.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Anger and porn addictions are actually highly correlated. I’ve written about porn and anger here. I’m glad God got a hold of you, Doug. But I also think that many men do not really see the severity of what they have done until the wife draws some clear boundaries and says, “I will no longer tolerate this anymore.” He needs to feel the consequences of his actions. Hopefully God gets a hold of him first, but if not, sometimes only consequences will speak.

          Reply
          • Doug

            I absolutely believe there should be consequences, and I know it is a difficult path to figure out. Even now, if someone were to ask what my wife could have done differently to move my heart, I couldn’t give an honest answer. What I do know is that when I got anger or accusation, it gave me cover and justification. It doesn’t mean that I was right, just that I was immovable. I guess my point is that I don’t know what the best way forward is, but I have seen lots of ways that don’t work. What really changed my heart was a thread not much different than this one, where I could read of the pain it caused in other womens words, because I could easily harden my heart to anger. I could give as much as I got.

            What I couldn’t do was deny the pain that was so apparent, once I saw it. Even then, I had not yet accepted Christ, and I didn’t really see porn as wrong. I didn’t understand all the fuss and anguish. It isn’t real, after all. It didn’t take long for my heart to completely change, but I wasn’t there yet. But my heart was softer. I quit because I understood I was hurting my wife, not because it was wrong.

            Like I said, I don’t know what works. I know what worked for me. I can tell you with an absolute certainty that there isn’t a consequence in the world that would have changed my heart.

          • Doug

            Thank you for including the link in your remarks
            It was very good, and perhaps gives me something else to think about. I would have never connected porn to anger the way it was outlined in the post. My anger gave me permission to use porn, but I would not have considered that it was somehow rooted in porn even in part.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Oh, I definitely think it is! It’s amazing how many men report that when they’re truly over porn, their anger often dissipates as well. Researchers have found that the two are highly linked (as are depression and porn). It’s really very sad.

          • Doug

            I never looked at it that way, because in my situation, I confessed and repented my anger at the same time I did my porn, so having them leave at the same time was somewhat expected. It was two sides of the same decision(along with about 6 more pages of confession).

            I’m glad I did things the way I did, but after reading that I am forced to wonder if my anger would have subsided some anyways. I don’t think it would have left me completely, or even have had a noticeable impact. My anger preceded my porn addiction by at least a decade. Still, it makes one wonder if it got worse with the porn. Lots to think about

        • Mary

          Doug,
          Yes, he certainly has anger issues. I am on the receiving end most of the time, but I see it also directed at friends, strangers and relatives. Sometimes it occurs as road rage. He also has zero patience. I have anger too, only mine is directed towards myself. The years of betrayal have caused me to become bitter, something I never felt like I was before. If only I had been smarter to see what was going on and stood my ground against him. I hate the fact I let it go on so long (over 30 years).
          Mary

          Reply
          • Doug

            Mary,
            I am sorry. I know I probably say that a lot and I know how little it helps.
            So much of what you say about your husband reminds me of myself. I can’t help but wonder if there is some serious trauma in your husbands past. It could be anything, and there is every chance that he has buried it pretty deep.

            I am by no means a trained counselor, but I have worked with a lot of men in the last few years as a member of a combat veterans group. It surprised me early on, because I expected that everyone struggling had the same issue, combat related PTSD. That was naïve on my part. For many of them, there were other wounds. I guess we were the “Band of Broken Brothers” in a lot of ways.

            The point is, men are very tight lipped about those things that wounded them. They might complain about that EX that left them, but they will never talk about the loneliness, the feelings of rejection, the hurt. There are more wounded men than truly whole, I suspect, just as there are wounded women.

            Sheila mentioned the correlation between porn and anger, but I suspect that there is more than meats the eye there. If there is a true addiction, there is usually a wound also, and the addict has found a drug that “works”. I suspect that some anger may very well stem from the threat of losing the drug. After giving it some thought, I don’t find it surprising that those recovering from porn addiction also become less angry, as they are likely in a recovery program that deals with the root issue. I know Celebrate Recovery works that way.

            I am going to share a link with you. It is a post I wrote after spending a great deal of time pretty deep in thought. At first, I was pretty combative to some of what Sheila wrote, but we are not so far apart in the way we think. We just have different perspectives. I don’t want you to read this and think that your husband gets a pass on his anger or his porn. He doesn’t. Both are wrong. It might help you see him differently tho, and it might help take some of the edge off the hurt you feel.. I know when I truly saw my own brokenness, it was so easy to find compassion for my wife when she hurt me. It didn’t make the hurt go away, but it allowed me to address it differently, more healthily.

            https://manwithoutamapsite.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/i-wish-we-were-better/

            Is there any chance your husband might be convinced to attend a meeting or two.

  18. Jim N

    I believe this was very well written! It took into account that marriage drift and issues before are an issue, but it no means justifies a person making the choice of porn! You put it so very well at the very beginning.

    This is just… so well written.

    I help with a Reformers Unanimous group that runs out of our church and also goes into 4 prisons.

    I’ve seen both sides of infidelity and porn. I’ve seen marriages crumble and marriages flourish. I’m currently experiencing this first hand also. It shows hope yet tells the reality of the situation in that it will be hard if the offending spouse wants to put in the work. Debunks myths and sheds light to darkness.

    I only have one critique that I was so saddened to have you not bring up. Maybe it was intentional as this is devoted to women, but recently you through out a staggering percent of women that are addicted to porn. I never knew that until you brought it up. If I remember right it was brought up to shed light on it being not just a male issue. Man would it have fit in here to encourage men also that have to go through this. Also to let women know that if they do have a porn addiction that:
    There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

    Basically they aren’t alone. Other women are tempted and other women have fallen. But there’s hope for those women also.

    Maybe I was too hopeful as I am on a primarily woman’s blog tackling these issues from a woman’s perspective to have an excerpt correlating the opposite. Also maybe a woman going through this massive issue doesn’t want to read anything about males.

    Side note: I realized I’m not the only one going by the moniker Jim… should have realized that before… /facepalm

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, Jim, definitely women are addicted to porn, too, and I’ve got a lot of posts on that! The difference when I was writing this one is that I was specifically trying to combat a theme that women hear from the pulpit–namely, that they are responsible for their husband’s porn use. You just don’t hear it from the other side (that husbands are responsible for the wife’s porn use) because a woman’s porn use is rarely acknowledged from the pulpit and blaming men for sex problems is also not as common as blaming women. So I was really writing against blaming women even more than I was addressing porn. It’s part of a larger series I was doing on why you’re not to blame for your spouse’s affair.

      But you’re absolutely right–women use porn in large numbers, too, and we have to start talking about that. I’m really concerned with teenage girls today, because I don’t think parents realize girls are at risk just as boys are! So we do need to be more cognizant of this.

      And thanks for your kind words on the post!

      Reply
      • Jim N

        I figured that might be it (why I kind of added an overly long explanation at the end).

        Reply
  19. Flo

    Fortunately, my husband never blamed me. That would have been devastating.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *