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My husband and I have been married for 18 years. Unbeknownst to me 14 years ago he got addicted to porn again after having stopped after college, however it was an infrequent addiction of watching it 1-3 times a year, so he always thought he had the willpower to stop. Our sex life suffered and we were having sex maybe once a month but after our 2nd daughter was born it dwindled to 1-3 a year. After that we didn’t have sex for 7 years. 3 years into having not being physically intimate I knew it was a problem and for the last 7 years of our marriage we sought pastoral counseling, attending Christian marriage conferences and going to Christian couples counseling but he never revealed he was unfaithful (although I would ask him a few times over the last 12 years whether he was having an affair or having sex with other women because we weren’t and he always lied.).
I found out just 2 years ago that he was unfaithful -having sex with prostitutes every since my 2nd daughter was born 12 years ago. The entire time we sought counseling I thought it was me, my anger. I was devastated and these last 2 years has been one of the most difficult journeys in my life. I have learned so much about sex addiction. I understand that sex addiction can be biological but when you add on childhood wounds and abuse, then a person is fertile ground for sex addiction. There needs to be physical healing (brain rewiring), emotional and spiritual healing.
I am now at a crossroads, my husband has been “sober” for 2 years and has worked hard on his recovery from sex addiction but unfortunately our intimacy disorder is so significant. I have sought counseling, support groups, prayer healing to work on this marriage, but now I just feel stuck and realizing, our marriage may never heal in the area of intimacy. minus a miracle from God. I don’t think God intended me to be in a loveless, sexless marriage and I just feel like I have tried everything in these last 9 years to save this marriage. These last 2 years when his actions don’t follow what he says he will do, it triggers the anger in me or makes me feel hopeless. His passivity and inability to make me feel cherished and pursued makes me not want to open my heart to him. I cannot trust him and feel so traumatized. Are there any resources for women like me? (Besides Pure Desire, Patrick Carnes, Barbara Steffens and Doug Weiss?) Is there any help out there for men who are not only sex addicts but also have extreme intimacy disorders? I do not want to remain in a marriage like this, I would rather be single then be married and alone. I am sorry for this long email.
My heart goes out to you. The betrayal you have suffered is just awful– there is no other way to say that. I think you have been amazing to go to the lengths you have to try to salvage your marriage. The effort you put forth to learn more about sexual addiction and how to walk beside your husband is admirable.
I know you said you have spent years in counseling so the last thing I want to tell you is that you need to find a counselor but the truth of the matter is that our resources are geared to be a support and to help point addicts and those who love them to begin the steps to recovery. Obviously there are going to be some cases that are more complicated than others and not all everything can be covered by a “blanket statement”. I think the intimacy issues that you and your spouse face need to be addressed by a sexual addictions counselor or someone that deals specifically with the sexual dysfunctions that can happen as a result of years of abuse and addiction.
It sounds to me like your husband crossed into a form of sexual behavior that aroused him and now that he is trying to “tame” it and rebuild a normal sex life, his body and brain are just not on board yet. This is not uncommon with addicts of this length of time.
If you have not gotten a list of the resources available on XXXchurch.com, I would recommend going to the start here section for spouses and download the PDF and consider looking for a local therapist that deals specifically with sex addiction– not just a pastor as you said you were doing for years.
Now to address whether God wants you to stay… I cannot help you with that one. I think what really needs to be addressed is whether or not your husband is really committed. I think you’ve proven your commitment.
I do wish you the absolute best. I understand better than you may realize what you are walking through. My marriage did not survive sex addiction. My husband chose the world after 13 years.
God bless you.
we live remotely and have very slow internet. we also do not have video chat, only Skype.
is there another way for us to access your materials for me, spouse of porn user, and for the porn user?
thank you kindly,
Email [email protected] and she can give you the options available for spouse groups. OR go to X3groups.com and check out the FAQ and if your questions still are not answered you can submit a form right there.
My husband and I have been married for a little over a year. I was wondering how to move on from issues (see below) in a healthy way. He has a history of terrible boundaries with women (he’d be the first to admit). After we were married, he was emailing long letters and sending pictures to a woman he met on Craigslist. On top of that he had a codependent and too-intimate relationship with a female coworker who was herself married. (Although she had an affair with a married man when she was single). The stash of porn I found after we were married was the least of my worries – he threw it out, and I believe him when he said he hadn’t looked at it for some time. I myself had struggled with porn in the past. We moved, and we both got new jobs (love the area!). Since moving, I’ve walked in on him looking at porn once, when my gym time was cut short, but I don’t believe he’s done it again. His boundaries have improved, although he has a tendency to ‘focus’ a little too much on his new boss (a lesbian) and mentioned her, in fact, last night several times while on a date with me. I gently pointed it out and he apologized. I’m struggling with how to not withdraw into a ball of fear so I don’t get hurt again and at the same time avoid swinging to the other side of the pendulum and trusting foolishly only to be trampled on. I know it’s important that a man feel respected and I don’t know how to bring up his ‘women’ problem if something is a red flag for me without communicating disrespect. The hurt is still there and fear and anger and it’s hard to know how to heal in a healthy way since my heart’s not been broken before. Thanks.
If you’re not already in counseling, I would definitely recommend it. First year of marriage and your husband is on Craig’s lists looking for encounters with other women? This is not just a porn problem– this sounds like full blown sex-addiction. Marriage is not going to cure it.
Please get into some type of counseling. Will your husband get some accountability with other men? Would he consider joining an X3group?
For more resources on building a stronger marriage please visit strongermarriages.com there are also some workshops there that might be helpful.
I’m sorry you are dealing with this in your first year of marriage. I know freedom is possible if your husband is willing to really pursue it!
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