My Spouse is Addicted to Porn … Help!

Heath Wise, LPC

Pornography

QUESTION


How do I move forward in my marriage? I have been married for 23 years and there has always been a third in our lives: porn! Any way he can get it, he would, and the Internet has opened up the biggest hurt. When he gets caught he is sorry, but I’ve reached breaking point.

SEX THERAPIST’S ANSWER

Being married to someone who struggles with porn is so painful – I am so sorry that this has been your experience for 23 years! But let me tell you, there is hope!

The best thing you can do to move forward in your marriage is to be in a group yourself that is for partners of sex addicts. I am not saying that your husband is a sex addict because I don’t know him, but the tools that you will learn there and the support you will receive will be helpful to you regardless.

Many wives think, “Why do I need to be in a group when it is his problem?” That is understandable. But as you unfortunately know, his problem really has affected you. And you have been affected for a really long time.

What we are finding out is that spouses of sex addicts frequently have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) just like the soldiers coming home from a war zone. The spouse has been traumatized and needs to get help to heal. The checking behaviors and hypervigilance that we used to label codependence we now are seeing as related to trauma and feeling unsafe – when the trauma is dealt with, those behaviors stop. So for many years, spouses felt like they got either overlooked and all the focus was on the addict or they got blamed as having their own addiction and were co-addicts.

Getting help for yourself will get you in a place of strength where you are more empowered to make good decisions for yourself and for your marriage. You are the only one that you can change – if you could have changed your husband, I’m betting you would have done that long ago!

So really the only thing you can do is to work on yourself and getting yourself in a place of strength. If there is not a group in your area for spouses of sex addicts, then join an online one. There are multiple ones available. I would also suggest a couple of books:

Shattered Vows by Debra Laaser

Mending a Shattered Heart by Carnes

Your Sexually Addicted Spouse by Steffens and Means

There are many others out there but these are the ones I usually recommend first. I pray that your husband will get the help he needs to get well. But whatever happens, you can do what you need to do to help yourself move forward.

It is not easy but it is so worth it!

One Response to “My Spouse is Addicted to Porn … Help!”

  1. Jacqueline

    My husband struggles with a porn addiction and I feel like it is my job most of the time to believe in him, trust him and not be closed off, because if I am hurt and closed off, then it will make him feel bad about himself and he will mess up even more! Reading this made me realize I am denying my own needs! I have been traumatized! I have seen the things he looks at and it has scared me! I want our marriage and our sex to be filled with intimacy and trust, but it can’t be when I am afraid all the time of getting hurt! Reading this has helped me decide to take a step and talk to someone.

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