My husband has a porn problem — what do I do now?

One of the saddest and increasingly common problems women in our time face is discovering that her husband has been looking at pornography, or has become addicted to it. Sometimes, this terrible discovery comes as a result of his direct confession to her.

6,906 views   |   7 shares
  • One of the saddest and increasingly common problems women in our time face is discovering that her husband has been looking at pornography, or has become addicted to it. Sometimes, this terrible discovery comes as a result of his direct confession to her. Far more often, she stumbles unexpectedly into evidence of his porn use – on their home computer, on his cell phone, or elsewhere. Other times, she has had preparatory feelings – “something just feels wrong.” Sometimes, she is utterly blindsided by the discovery. However, and whenever it occurs, learning of a husband’s porn problem can create waves of intense pain, disillusionment, anger, fear, and devastation for her.

  • Many women describe this situation in terms reflecting severe trauma and betrayal

  • “The world as I knew it just blew up.” “It’s like he had an affair. No, it’s worse than an affair because there are so many women involved, in endless supply.” “Suddenly, nothing in our life together feels real anymore.” “My trust in him is utterly destroyed.”

  • Women also describe the devastating impact this has on their sense of themselves, and of basic safety within their marriage: “This means – I’m not good enough, I’m not attractive enough, I’m not… enough.” “I can’t even leave the house anymore without wondering if he’s going to do it, again.” “I wonder now if it’s safe to leave him alone with our children.” “I worry that our sons will find his porn, and develop similar problems.” “I’ll never be able to trust him, again.” “Maybe I need to end this marriage.”

  • In the wake of all this, women in this situation often describe feelings of intense anger and disillusionment toward their spouses. They often feel that all of the good qualities they had once seen in him are nothing but pretense and deception. Years with him now seem sprinkled with the poison of pornography. Positive memories are now shadowed by traumatic awareness of what he was doing privately with the arrival of the new baby, or the new job or church responsibility, or other aspects of this life together that she had previously viewed in a positive light. He has known all along of his problem, which has developed gradually over the process of time. She learns of it in a sudden, blindingly intense way – creating the experience of shock, trauma, and instantaneous shattering of her perception of this man to whom she has committed her life.

  • If you find yourself in this situation, what can you do to weather this storm in your marriage?

  • Advertisement
    1. First, recognize that this is not about you. In most cases, exposure to pornography began long before your marriage began (usually between ages 10 and 14.) Men often become addicted to porn before they have significant experience with real women – coloring their expectations and perceptions. Sometimes, porn users will blame their wives for their problem; saying they’re not sexually available enough, or they’ve gained extra baby-weight and aren’t attractive, or that he looks at porn when he feels distant from her or criticized by her. Such conditions can contribute to the problem. Most often, he learned years before to deal with frustration and stress by turning to pornography. Even some of the most stunningly beautiful, sexually attractive women in the world have had spouses who struggled outside the marriage with sexual addiction. Truly, this is not about you.
  • Remember that you are not alone

  • Thousands of women share your problem – and thousands of men share his. In recent years, many of them have written books, or created programs to help others struggling with these problems. Such resources can help expedite the healing journey, for you and your husband.

  • educate yourself

  • Third, educate yourself. Learn more about why internet pornography is so incredibly addictive, and what you can do to defend your family against its destructive influence. Some good books to start with are “Love You, Hate the Porn” by Mark Chamberlain and Geoff Steurer, and “Drug of the New Millennium”by Mark B. Kastleman.

  • recognize that you can never solve his problem

  • Fourth,recognize that you can never solve his problem. He is in charge of his own recovery – and you are in charge of yours. Checking up on him, buying books for him to read, taking responsibility yourself for his weak moments, and overseeing his treatment and recovery – these will not typically help him recover, and will likely distract you from your own healing work.

  • don’t retaliate, or make it worse by your own misbehavior

  • Fifth, don’t retaliate, or make it worse by your own misbehavior. Some women have dealt with the pain of this situation by developing their own addiction or infidelity problem. Be smart. Follow your conscience, and don’t allow his serious mistakes to launch your own.

  • nourish yourself – physically, emotionally, and spiritually

  • Sixth, nourish yourself – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Take good care of you. Keep doing the things you enjoy. Your family will need your strength as you and your husband navigate this healing journey.

  • Advertisement
  • Marriages can recover from this affliction. Men and women caught in this web of pornography can heal, and become stronger than ever. One step at a time, you can find your way through this. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Prov. 30:5)

  • Carrie Maxwell Wrigley, LCSW, is the mother of five children, a singer/songwriter, and a counselor in her private practice (

  • em,Morning Light Counseling
  • , in Sandy, Utah, with over 25 years of counseling experience. She maintains an

  • em,Online Resource Library
  • of articles, handouts, and other resources on a variety of mental health and family life topics. She has written over 800

  • em,original songs
  • and many music programs, and has been married to her husband Steve for over 24 years. Carrie is a popular teacher, lecturer, and performer, and loves using the power of the arts and media to strengthen families, and to give hope and practical skills for managing troubled times.

Want uplifting and insightful stories in your inbox?

Click below to share

Carrie Maxwell Wrigley, LCSW, is a counselor in private practice, and mother of five. Visit her website for handouts and other resources on similar topics.

Website: http://morninglightcounseling.org

9 ways your husband will change when he becomes a dad

Every woman needs to be aware of the ways her husband will change when he becomes a father.

Advertisement
Tell us your opinion
 

Thanks for subscribing to our email list. Please enjoy our latest articles.

tumblr