The first time I found the porn stash, it was fall of 1997. We had just moved in to a new house, our three-year-old little boy and we. I was home alone one morning, unpacking boxes. At first, I came across some photos obviously downloaded from the Internet of a woman dressed, but barely. My body began to twitch. What is this? I thought. I dug deeper, and the more I shuffled through, the worse it got. I can’t even explain the filth I came across, and my body had graduated from twitching to shaking. Heartbroken couldn’t even describe what I was feeling. I cried. I smashed a family photo in the floor, in anger, glass shattering around my bare feet.
I searched for the phone, holding on the furniture for the strength to stand up. I called my husband’s work, and could not even attempt to disguise the despair in my voice as a co-worker answered the phone. He must have thought I was dying. My husband rushed the half hour home and found me in the tub, shaking and crying. He did right then what would become a long-standing reaction to me anytime I was upset. He lied.
The lying continues
What I felt was my last time confronting his sickness was May 2009. I found over 30 (could have been more) DVDs. He actually had the nerve to say I had planted them when I pulled them out in front of him. I was disgusted by the smug face I was staring into and I couldn’t imagine that this was a man that I now had two children with, a man I slept next to, a man who held my daughter and kissed her goodnight every night. One night shortly after this, my daughter, just 10, walked in to our den and crawled in his lap, curling around him like she was a scared kitten. My stomach churned as I looked at them, remembering the disgusting titles I had found. Knowing he had looked in to my eyes and said, “these are not mine.”
He was the most despicable human being ever. If I had anywhere to go, I would have left. I begged him to leave. He refused. His voice, his smell, the sound of his key scraping the lock…all things I once loved and longed for, now caused nausea and an unbelievable ache. Was this hate?
I don’t know if any one engaged in this addiction ever knows what this does to their significant other. Maybe the addiction is just that strong. But I don’t know that even now he sees the damage that’s been done.
Through counseling both in and out of church, a marriage DVD series, and reading on Christian marriages, we are trying to work this out, but it’s always in the back of my mind. Can this be stopped cold turkey? Can this hold one for so long and then just vanish?
I rely on God every step of the way through this, and I know sometimes I try to handle it in a way not pleasing to God. Those feelings of revulsion and hate return. My feelings of self-consciousness and self-loathing are more pronounced, and it’s hard to turn to God when you feel so lowly and worthless.
More than anything, I want my husband to talk to me about what he’s going through, but I can’t promise him the grace like God would give. I don’t know about his prayer life and we rarely talk about his emotions at all. It has to be hard, though. I do recognize that these women are beautiful and the things they are doing I wouldn’t dare try! I understand the basic premise…the attraction to such erotic images. That doesn’t keep me warm at night when I am lying there desperately wanting my husband to roll over and initiate sex with the same passion he had in the hiding and the lying. Those videos obviously changed even what used to be my favorite part of our lives together (I love having sex with that man!).
God knows that we, those suffering the addictions of our loved ones, aren’t strong enough to handle it. We’re not equipped to just make this better and we certainly can’t control these intense feelings we feel (despair, revulsion, hate, etc…). This is where we have to hand it over to him. This is what we are told…