You probably remember the moment your heart sank when you first suspected that your husband was struggling with pornography. Maybe you saw his Internet search history. Maybe you saw him quickly close his laptop when you walked through the door. No matter the reason for his addiction, this issue must be addressed to keep love and trust in your marriage. Here's what you can do:
Know the signs
You should trust your gut when it comes to suspicions about pornography. Be aware of the signs. Sexual addictions experts Rory Reid and Dan Gray say to look out for these signals: becoming irritated easily, becoming isolated, losing emotional intimacy, losing interest in sex and neglecting responsibilities.
Why should I confront my spouse about pornography?
Pornography can harm your marriage. Research shows that when a spouse has a pornography problem, the marriage has less intimacy and sensitivity, as well as more anxiety, isolation and secrecy.
As difficult as it will be to bring up such a sensitive topic, the outcome is worth the pain. Studies show that 93 percent of spouses who received a disclosure about porn addiction and 96 percent of addicts who disclosed their behavior felt it was the right choice. If your husband doesn't come to you first about his addiction, you should go to him. Here are tips from experts on how you can best address this sensitive subject:
You might have suspicions that your partner is viewing pornography, but maybe you aren't quite sure. Plan what you will say so it doesn't make your spouse feel that they are being blamed.
"Yes, it is devastating to hear that your husband has been choosing to view pornography, but you also have a choice in the situation," says Erin Smalley. "How will you respond to this discovery?"
Schedule your discussion, choose your words carefully and consider involving a religious leader or therapist.
Start your conversation by expressing your concerns. This will give your spouse the opportunity to see the issue from your point of view. In addition, it can help steer the discussion away from blame and foster a feeling of care.
Be prepared for their reactions
Your partner might initially be in denial when you first confront them. The Utah Coalition Against Pornography (UCAP) suggests this might be because he is trying to protect you from pain, or because he wants to protect himself from your reaction. Here are some tips for what you can do when your husband is in denial or comes up with excuses.
You can play a significant role in your partner's improvement. Discuss and set boundaries with him. Your spouse's stage of addiction will affect how difficult the recovery will be. Remember to be patient and supportive. He can't get through this alone, and your help can be immensely beneficial to him.
Here are six ways to know your spouse is committed to recovery:
Being honest about struggles
Taking responsibility for personal change
Understanding the difference between abstinence and recovery
Being able to explain what they are doing to recover
Participating fully in therapy
Being willing to continue recovery steps long-term
As you help your husband through this process, don't forget about yourself. This issue is just as delicate for you as it is for him. Allow yourself to heal and reach out for help when needed.