Spouse of an Addict? Don’t handle it alone.

 Dear Andrea,
I was searching for some “Counsel” on this subject myself, and found it comforting to find your comments and advice on the effects of pornography on a marriage relationship. I have also had this issue affect my life for the past six years. A few months into our marriage I discovered my husband was looking at porn in the internet. I was shocked since he had portrayed himself to be a very dedicated Christian man when I married him, and I believed our sex life was awesome. He also had never admitted he had an addiction to the porn and has never admitted to how often he visits these sites. I know of dozens of times because of finding evidence in our internet history. As the years went by the sites he visited were more and more “hard-core”. Yet he never admitted he was “addicted”. He continued to go to church and appear to be a devoted Christian husband and leader to the outside world. It has affected how I see him as a husband and a man. It has affected me sexually, because I do feel like he has cheated on me. We have gone to two different counselors, and each time I hoped it would stop. It didn’t. He became more clever in covering his tracks. And it is true that he also had other areas in his life that Satan was also able to infiltrate. He is very emotionally and sometimes verbally abusive to me. He has often made me feel like I am to blame for his actions. Even though he now claims he no longer looks at porn, I don’t believe him because nothing has changed in the way he treats me. And he has never shown any remorse for what he did and has never really agreed to ways to become more accountable by putting “blocks” on his computer or by seeking intensive counseling for addiction (which he wouldn not do since he doesn’t believe he ever had an addiction to it). At this point I feel like my relationship and faith in him has been damaged to the point that I no longer want to be his wife. I do feel that our marriage bed has been defiled, and his claims that he no longer looks at porn does not suffice to mend any damage done, especially when he continues to have this hot/cold attitude toward me. As a Christian woman I feel especially betrayed, because I believed I was married to a man of God, whom I could trust. And now, being a Christian woman, I suffer with guilt for wanting to divorce him…..yet I know I cannot endure the mental anguish this causes for me being his wife.–Leah K.

Dear, you can’t handle this alone. Talk to your pastor, other women who have been through this. Give counseling one last chance before you give up on him. Let him know as quietly and gently as possible, if he doesn’t take his problem serious and get help, he will lose you.

And for the record, it’s not your fault. The addiction feeds itself. No real woman can compare to the fantasy porn creates. Porn warps a man’s mind to view all women as sex objects, and most fail to measure up to the fantasy. He may or may not have stopped, the poison remains in the man’s system long after he’s quit feeding new images into his brain. If he has stopped, though, nagging and continued distrust will be used as an excuse to go back.

Try explaining to him how this has broken your trust and that you need help from a third party to regain it and would like him to go with you to counseling. Emphasizing how this has effected you and your need may make it easier for him, and the counselor may be able to help him take more responsibility for what he’s done.

What it comes down to is this–if after serious prayer, you reach peace that what he has done is adultery and you are free from your vows–before you take that step, let him know what’s coming and give him a chance to make things right.

But you must remain calm and use non-accusatory language (I feel I can’t trust you, rather than you’ve broken my trust.) Hysterics and statements like, “You never…” and “You always…” , while understandable, will put most men on the defensive and ultimately backfires

Another great page I came across, that may help: Dear Hearts–Encouragement for the spouse of a porn addict

And here’sa support group for those affected by a friend or relative’s sexual addiction:

And you might be interested in the Christian Wives of Addicts which has a forum for wives of porn addicts.

By the way, if you decide to confront him again, try practicing by “role playing” with a trusted friend until you know you can say what needs said and remain calm.

Thank you for your comments on this blog. I’m glad to be of service.

In Christ’s Love,

Andrea Graham

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson’s Website, Is It Just Me?, The Random Yak, Woman Honor Thyself, Adam’s Blog, stikNstein… has no mercy, Big Dog’s Weblog, basil’s blog, Stuck On Stupid, The Bullwinkle Blog, Dumb Ox Daily News, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.


  1. thank u for the link and keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. dear leah
    my husband when he got found out had a blow out! he yelled, blamed me for being a terrible wife. He then left, and we have not seen him for 9 1/2 weeks. he refuses to talk to the children and says he is so angry with me he wants to put a bullet in my head!! He is playing the victim. He has told every one except me, he wants a divorce. Every one including him believes he is just full on for God. no one would imagine that as well as pornography he is mentally physically and emotionally abusive. i wonder how a person who is spirit filled not have the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

  3. Author


    I’d be willing to wager he’s doing this precisely because if anyone should be seeking a divorce, it’s you. He’s self-condemned and wanting anyone else to blame, and the victim is often the target of their projection. He’s defending himself from your rejection by rejecting you first, and attempting to save face. Talk to your pastor to see about getting help repairing the broken heart and a lawyer about a restraining order. If the pretender wishes to depart, let him depart as the unbeliever he is, as the word says. The Spirit has left him, as with King Saul, he deceives himself and those around him. The Spirit indeed convicts those He indwells, and if we grieve Him enough with hardness of heart, He takes the hint and leaves. So in this matter, you are free, dear heart.

    In Christ’s love,
    Andrea Graham

  4. Dear Andrea,

    After a weekened visit to my parents house by myself, i came back home with an awkward feeling and some suspicions. I checked our computers history, and to my surprise found a bunch of pornorgraphic websites that my husband had visited over the weekened..all viewed at night time. Due to his actions i lost complete trust in him and am having a hard time regaining it back. I feel like our sex life has gone down hill. My husband makes me feel like a sex object that is only used to his advantage. One evening while taking a walk i decided to take the opportunity to confront him about it. He looked embarrased and ashamed…and he denied it at first..until i got the truth out of him. The sad thing is that i live with the guilt of wanting to divorce him. We have a three mth old baby together which we both love dearly. Would i be a bad mother/spouse for leaving my husband and my baby without a father?


    Unhappy Wife

  5. Author

    Unhappy wife,

    I understand your feelings. It is a hard thing to deal with. Put yourself in your husband’s shoes. If you were in his position, would he be a bad husband and father for divorcing you and taking the children from you?
    Adultery is an offense you can biblically divorce over, and based on scripture and the nature of the beast, porn can be considered a form of adultery. But do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If your husband is willing to work things out and take the steps necessary to be faithful to you from now on, by all means, stay, get into counseling with him, and get yourself the help you need to come to terms with this.
    If, however, he will not repent, and you’ve given him every opportunity to, and your conscience doesn’t tell you otherwise, then you are free.
    If the child is a boy, I highly recommend Bringing Up Boys. As the book says, boys need their fathers to learn how to be a man. A girl likewise learns how to relate to her husband from her relationship with her father. An absent father is associated with sexual disorders and disfunctions of all colors.
    But any father isn’t necessarily better than none. An emotionally absent father (which porn addicts have a high rate of being) or otherwise not modeling positive, loving relationships can be just as bad. If the addict will not repent and straighten his life out, the child will suffer whether you divorce him or not. So for the ladies dealing with a stiff-necked man who won’t repent and turn back to his covenant, if the Lord releases you, if you trust Him, He can also provide a good father for your children (one way or another.)
    But if he will repent–stick it out and get to counseling for help to heal the breach and rebuild trust. It may seem hopeless now, but by the grace of God, your marriage can recover. It takes both spouses being committed to working it out, however.

  6. My fiance and I are getting married this August.

    Last night I discovered that a porn site was one tf the top 9 websites visited on my computer, thanks to this new google “top visited pages” thing that opens up on my screen when I open a new tab. I knew that this was something that he had a problem with before, and have caught him doing this before, but I thought it was not a problem anymore. (I had suspision, he always deletes his browsing history, but he just says it’s habit.)

    We are going through pre-marital counseling (we have a session tomorrow) and I believe that this is a serious problem that he needs to confront. He does not want to bring it up in counseling, saying that this is something we can fix on our own. He downloaded software from xxxchurch.com (a christian porn help site) that sends me emails if he visits any porn sites, but I still feel like there are deep issues that need to be addressed, possibly in counseling. Should we bring this up in counseling? Or is this a private matter? He says this is something he has struggled with since he was younger, which is what leads me to believe this is an addiction. I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want to make a bigger deal out of it than it is, but I feel hurt and betrayed. I asked him how often this happens, he says about once every 2 weeks (which means about twice as much, right?) He seems very apologetic and knows that I am hurt… Says “I’ll change”.

    I know he is embarassed and this is why he does not want to talk about it in counseling. What to do!

    1. Author

      Honestly, I would give serious thought to breaking up with him. Losing you over his porn addiction might just be painful enough to give him serious impetus to change. Otherwise, this is the top issue you need to discuss in your counseling sessions. You are not making overly big deal about this–I seriously do not recommend marrying someone with a known porn viewing habit. You deserve and can do better and as I said, getting a ring handed back to him might just be the kick in the pants he needs to really get serious about this problem.

      A resource you might want to look into is Reading Your Male it has extensive research on porn addiction and male sexuality in general that will help women understand what the men in their lives deal with everyday and what we can do to help them navigate the dangers. Not light reading, but highly recommended.

  7. Thanks for the advice.

    Since my last post, we have this software up and running that we heard about from a speaker at a local church that we visited. The group is called xxxchurch and I would highly reccommend that any woman who is looking for answers with her man’s porn problem check it out. They have this software you can load on your computer that is supposed to help him stay away from viewing porn, because he knows that you will know whether he tells you or not. So far, it has been helpful for us. I get an email every 2 weeks with any website that seems questionable. So far so good here. I’m so glad that I have not pushed this to the side as it is a serious problem… I know more steps need to be taken, but this is a start.

    I still have not brought this up in counseling because I guess I’m just not sure how to… especially because it is such a heavy and embarassing subject. It is one thing to write this all out on the internet but a completely different matter when we are all three sitting in a room face to face. I am hoping for the strength to bring this up before our counseling is completed, which should be about 3 more sessions, all two weeks apart from each other.

    I will check out that website. Thanks so much.

  8. Dear Andrea,

    Since the start of this year I have found out that all 4 of my brothers, my Dad and my husband use porn. This has been a huge and very difficult reality that I am still stuggling to come to terms with. My mom and dad raised us with strong Christian values. In fact my Dad was the Bishop of our congregation while I was growing up. I am shocked and sadened by this info. I don’t understand what is up with all the men in my life. I am worried sick for my young son. If ALL the men in his family have this problem to some extent , what hope does he have? What is wrong with men? Why can’t they be happy with what they claim to love. The more reseadch i do into the effects of pron on men and marriages make me feel even more hopless. It changes men’s minds, it makes them not be attracted to their wives.

    With all this, i feel, what is the point. My husband of 9 years lies and lies to me, until I show him proof that I know what is going on. This has not been the first time he has lied about inapropriate actions on his part. He claims to be repentant, and goes to see the our bishop, but never really seems remorseful, just defensive. If I get upset, he gets upset and that is not productive, if I don’t he just drops it and acts like it’s not a big deal. He says it’s between him and God and so it dosen’t involve me.

    I feel betrayed and angry towards all these men, for what they are doing to thier wives and myself. I figure, what’s the point anymore. It’ll just happen again and my husband will never be honest about it with me for obvious reasons. He says he will , but he just keeps lying and I keep finding evidence.

    So if there is not trust it is very hard to have love, and if there is no love than I feel, what’s the point. But what is the point of divorce either. It would kill my kids and that is NOT what I want to do to those innocent children. I feel like I don’t even want to bother with having a relationship with all these men who don’t/won’t change. I don’t even know if I believe it is possible for them to change. I hear them all diminishing the problem, saying it’s not serious.

    I am becoming bitter toward men and indifferent towards the ones in my family. I know this is not a Christ-like outlook, but what eles can i do? i don’t feel it wise to keep putting trust, faith and love into things that just end up hurting me and the ones around me.

    I guess I am not asking for advise just sharing my grief with you about how men are slimy jerks.

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