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  #1  
Old Nov 14, '09, 12:51 am
sixlittlesaints sixlittlesaints is offline
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Default Pornography Addiction and Annulment

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I have reached a state of spiritual confusion where I feel a tribunal would likely annul my marriage if I were to divorce my husband and apply. I know this would not be in the best intentions of my children and have no intention of going down this route at this time. However, in the future if things get worse I feel I might.

Before we were married my husband had 'known' five other women in the biblical sense. I was vaguely aware of this but he would not talk about any details. He was a wonderful man and very involved at Church. We met at church and we would even go to Mass as part of our dates. He led me to believe that his struggle with remaining pure for his future bride was way... in the past and that he would always be faithful to me. I suppose I figured that I would just get over it and should marry him as I did love him.

Fast forward 8 years and our marriage is less than ideal. He is whining and begging me to have six more often, insisting that I have to reach climax everytime or else something is physically wrong with me, and even asking for anal sex and S&M stuff. He finally reveals an addiction to pornography and masturbation, goes to counseling, and proclaims to be free from sexual sin at last. I (stupid me) believe him and we conceive two more children one of whom we miscarry.

Now, 2 more years have passed and I find out that he was clean for only 6 months. That means another 18 months of lying even when he knew that he was committing adultery. I find out that he masturbated almost every time he took a shower just be remembering the porn stars. He would even masturbate in the bathroom at the pool while the kids and I were swimming. Plus, in his delusional thinking, he spent 6 years holding onto the belief that our second child was not his because she shows a few recessive traits.

It turns out that the pornography thing started at age 10 and lasted through our dating time, engagement, and entire married life. My question is, "How can a man who masturbates to pornography for 4 to 5 hours a night, 2 to 3 times a week, during his engagement actually be preparing for marriage?" Clearly, he is missing some essential element of understanding what marriage is all about. Clearly, he is physically and emotionally incapable of vowing to be faithful for life. In my husband's case the "faithful for life" part only lasted three weeks. Then I was pregnant and he was stressed to finish his dissertation so he could support me and the baby. Being on the computer late at night working while I was throwing up or sleeping made the "faithful" part too hard to keep.

He is doing everything he can now to get over this but there has been a lot of damage in our marriage. I really do not want to be married to someone who is chemically dependent on the high resulting from breaking the marriage covenant. It is all really gross.

Naturally, I've gone through ever state of hurt and devastation I know about. I am calm now but still I feel my marriage could be annuled someday in the future. I no longer feel a life long "till death do us part" attachment to my husband. If his addiction gets worse or he stops seeking help then I want to get far away. I do not want to be hurt again so I can't trust him again. My heart is broken. I know God can heal and restore our marriage but..... what if that happens and then my husband relapses again No matter what he or I do now will not change the fact that we do have a decent case to bring to a tribunal. That is terrifying.

Please help.
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  #2  
Old Nov 14, '09, 1:09 am
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MrZetterlund MrZetterlund is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

Oh my gosh, I'm really sorry. I felt really scared for you when I read this part:

"in his delusional thinking, he spent 6 years holding onto the belief that our second child was not his because she shows a few recessive traits."

Usually when someone's cheating on their spouce they'll get defencive and start acusing their spouce of jibberish. I'm really sorry. Don't be like one of those women who take mental aduse and become too faithful to their marriage despite the mental assults. This happened to my mom when she was married to her second husband, (and also her first.) He's a slave to his sin if he cannot maintain swimming in a pool with his wife and kids without masturbating. Of course, I'm just a kid. But my mom's been through alot and I learn from her. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers. God bless you and help you.
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  #3  
Old Nov 14, '09, 3:26 am
bpbasilphx bpbasilphx is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

While I feel for you, I'm afraid that most people who assume the tribunal will grant an annulment are quite surprised when the decision is actually given.

Intention to be faithful is presumed, without positive evidence to the contrary at the time the marriage began. Only he can provide this.

Also--contrary to what most people think, the Hebrew word YADAH (know), is used nearly 1000 times in the scriptures. Only TEN of these times does it have sexual significance.

The rest of the time, it simply means "to have congnitive experience of"--"know" in the ordinary, non-sexual sense.
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  #4  
Old Nov 14, '09, 4:29 am
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tbcrawford tbcrawford is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

My dear friend I am so sorry you have suffered so much in your marriage with your husband.
I know a liitle of how you feel I too have suffered.I think it would be a good idea to talk to your priest.I know you may feel embarrassed but please don/t be as your priest will have heard it all before and much worse! He will be confidential and knowledgeable.Let me know how you go.You are in my prayers God bless.
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  #5  
Old Nov 14, '09, 9:20 am
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Havard Havard is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

I think it's important to know whether the problem is philosophical or psychological. If he believes he's been committing a grave sin, it's more psychological, and he needs counseling. If he really doesn't think what he's been doing is a sin at all, then I think the battle will be much harder, as he won't be receptive to counseling.

You said he is "doing everything he can now to get over this." I'm guessing that means he agrees that he's sinned and that he is seeking counseling? Support him through the process, just as you would support an alcoholic seeking treatment. God bless you and your family.
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  #6  
Old Nov 14, '09, 11:03 am
sixlittlesaints sixlittlesaints is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

Thank you for the replies. We have seen our parish priest and my husband is has admitted his sin and is in recovery. But this does not change the conditions of our wedding. On our wedding day he was phycologically addicted to breaking his marriage vows. How could he even pretend he would be faithful for life. Of course, he did not know he was addicted and did not even kow that masturbating to pornography for hours while engaged or married would offend me. Seems to me that men can be pretty dumb about this when it really is clear as day.

Also I do not think one can really compare this to alcoholism. Breaking marital covenants is a sin of the flesh and a sin in my own body. Plus it is entirely 100% disgusting. There are days when I see my husband and I want to throw up. I don't tell him that anymore as I know he is recovering and wants to be a great spiritual head of our family. My feelings of disgust are pretty much the same after all these years though.
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  #7  
Old Nov 14, '09, 11:09 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

Quote:
Originally Posted by sixlittlesaints View Post
Thank you for the replies. We have seen our parish priest and my husband is has admitted his sin and is in recovery. But this does not change the conditions of our wedding. On our wedding day he was phycologically addicted to breaking his marriage vows. How could he even pretend he would be faithful for life. Of course, he did not know he was addicted and did not even kow that masturbating to pornography for hours while engaged or married would offend me. Seems to me that men can be pretty dumb about this when it really is clear as day.

Also I do not think one can really compare this to alcoholism. Breaking marital covenants is a sin of the flesh and a sin in my own body. Plus it is entirely 100% disgusting. There are days when I see my husband and I want to throw up. I don't tell him that anymore as I know he is recovering and wants to be a great spiritual head of our family. My feelings of disgust are pretty much the same after all these years though.
While masterbation and pornography are gravely wrong, mortal sin if done willfully, you would be hard pressed to make the case that your husband was "breaking his marriage vows."

You need to decide if you are going to continue to live with him or not. And you need to talk to someone in your diocese who is well versed with canon law and nullity.

You have some ideas about getting a decree of nullity over this, and I don't think you are being realistic. These things might point to other issues that would be grounds for nullity, but by themselves are not.
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ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
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  #8  
Old Nov 14, '09, 3:48 pm
kage_ar kage_ar is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

You chose to marry a man who had sex in the past with other women (confessed and forgiven I will assume). You chose to marry a man who was into porn, a sinful and nasty habit.

Did you think that marriage would make him change? That the sinful habit would go away? And, now, it has not and you are hurt.

Please, see a good Catholic counselor about this.

He has to decide to stop the sin. Pray for him and love him and support him.
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  #9  
Old Nov 14, '09, 5:07 pm
whatevergirl whatevergirl is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

Hi sixlittlesaints, praying for you both. I just wanted to add, that I think your husband is a sexual addict, as opposed to only being addicted to porn. The fact that you posted he masturbates ''for hours,'' that is a sign of a sexual addict. I watched a 20/20 type show (it wasn't 20/20 but something like it) on this a few weeks ago...basically, the show was mainly about men, but there were a few women. Of the men who were admitted sex addicts, the one thing they all had in common, was that they felt very low self worth, didn't view sex in a healthy way (obviously) and their desire to masturbate, view porn, have sex with strangers for hours (like you post here) was due to the fact that they felt deeply depressed. Not much different than an alcoholic, who ''needs'' the alcohol after a while. These men were literally depressed if they were not escaping in these immoral ways. They would get depressed, have sex with a stranger in most cases (literally would patrol the streets looking for any woman to have sex with), and then they'd feel 'better' for a short time. Once the ''high'' wore off, they would feel guilty, and thus depressed...and then the cycle would keep going for hours.

I thought it was interesting. It still hurts you, I know...but it hopefully helps you to see that your husband has a serious sexual addictive disorder, as opposed perhaps, to someone who is just being selfish. According to the show I viewed, your husband, like the men interviewed, the underlying problem that they all share, doesn't sound like it's the vices they turn to, but rather the underlying depression that causes them to seek out a vice. You sound like you know this, but I wanted to share this, because it helps to know that your husband isn't alone. The men in the show by the way, went to GROUP therapy sessions with other men. They said it helped TREMENDOUSLY because they felt ''better'' knowing they weren't alone. Might have your husband try finding such a group?

It is not the same as a man driving by a strip club, with his buddies, lying to his wife...and then hanging out there all night. Then, he may not do that again for months or if ever. It's not like a man who even has an affair, falls in love with another woman, and lives a double life. (both scenarios are bad, but not indicative of a deep rooted depression problem-maybe more of a character problem) Sexual addiction is more about supressing depression through sex. Some of the men on this show were even frequenting prostitutes. That is how one of them really knew he had hit rock bottom. It was a very sad show, I caught a few moments, and then decided to watch, because it was uplifting to see that these men overcame their addictions, and went on to save their marriages. I think once their wives stopped looking at their husbands as having inherent character flaws, and selfish behaviors, they were able to be supportive in helping them to heal from their 'illness.' The men were very ashamed of their behavior...just as much as their wives were ashamed of them.

I think that if you view your husband in the light of, that he is ill, you might not have resentment, and hurt feelings. I know that you must be hurting, and that is part of the consequences that your husband's behavior has caused. But, whatever you do, whether you stay or leave...like others have said, talk with a priest, and keep the faith. Your husband isn't going to be ''all better'' over night. He has a serious problem, and it will take a lot of effort and time on his part to kick this sin out of his life.

I hope that your marriage can surivive this, and be better for it, in the end. But, whatever you choose, know I'm praying for you!
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Last edited by whatevergirl; Nov 14, '09 at 5:23 pm.
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  #10  
Old Nov 14, '09, 5:30 pm
whatevergirl whatevergirl is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

I just reread the last portion of your opening post. No one can tell you here, or elsewhere if you should remain with your husband. It's a choice only you can make. I think that only you can decide what your breaking point is. Your husband has a lot of trying to do. He has to really make a concerted effort to change and heal, there is only so much you can do. You can be supportive, you can pray together, etc...but, he has to want to heal. I am so saddened to read that he has been masturbating since he was 10? Did something horrible happen in his childhood...sexual abuse? Did he witness physical abuse against his mom...or was he mistreated? My heart breaks for your husband, also. No one should go through life shackled in sin like this. God bless you for standing by him all this time. Again, I can't suggest either way, what you should do, but just know, we're here praying for you!
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  #11  
Old Nov 14, '09, 5:47 pm
flyingfish flyingfish is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

Quote:
Originally Posted by sixlittlesaints View Post
Thank you for the replies. We have seen our parish priest and my husband is has admitted his sin and is in recovery. But this does not change the conditions of our wedding. On our wedding day he was phycologically addicted to breaking his marriage vows. How could he even pretend he would be faithful for life. Of course, he did not know he was addicted and did not even kow that masturbating to pornography for hours while engaged or married would offend me. Seems to me that men can be pretty dumb about this when it really is clear as day.

Also I do not think one can really compare this to alcoholism. Breaking marital covenants is a sin of the flesh and a sin in my own body. Plus it is entirely 100% disgusting. There are days when I see my husband and I want to throw up. I don't tell him that anymore as I know he is recovering and wants to be a great spiritual head of our family. My feelings of disgust are pretty much the same after all these years though.
You said you think you will be granted an annulment, what makes you so sure? Have you been told this by a priest? Maybe if it really is very likely that there is no marriage, then you probably should leave your husband.

If you feel those strong feelings of disgust towards him, and there is no marriage there, why stay?

But if you do make this decision, you have to realize that it's very unlikely that you will find another man who does not have this problem. Plus, since you already have children it might be harder to find a man just because of that. Is there any way you can get over your husband masturbating?
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  #12  
Old Nov 14, '09, 7:03 pm
Ailina Ailina is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingfish View Post
You said you think you will be granted an annulment, what makes you so sure? Have you been told this by a priest? Maybe if it really is very likely that there is no marriage, then you probably should leave your husband.

If you feel those strong feelings of disgust towards him, and there is no marriage there, why stay?

But if you do make this decision, you have to realize that it's very unlikely that you will find another man who does not have this problem. Plus, since you already have children it might be harder to find a man just because of that. Is there any way you can get over your husband masturbating?
Are you saying that most men are addicted to porn and masturbate 4 - 5 hours a night? Good grief! I would rather remain single than put up with some guy who does that for hours on end. And people think porn is harmless. Uh huh.
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Old Nov 14, '09, 7:13 pm
Ailina Ailina is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

Quote:
Originally Posted by kage_ar View Post
You chose to marry a man who had sex in the past with other women (confessed and forgiven I will assume). You chose to marry a man who was into porn, a sinful and nasty habit.

Did you think that marriage would make him change? That the sinful habit would go away? And, now, it has not and you are hurt.

Please, see a good Catholic counselor about this.

He has to decide to stop the sin. Pray for him and love him and support him.
Go and back and read her original post. She didn't know about the porn and masturbation until after she was married. It's more than a habit here. It's an addiction. If he can't overcome his addiction, and it is affecting family life, then maybe it is time to leave. It is a very hard addiction to overcome, unfortunately, because of the brain chemistry involved in masturbating to porn.
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Old Nov 14, '09, 7:39 pm
whatevergirl whatevergirl is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

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Originally Posted by Ailina View Post
Are you saying that most men are addicted to porn and masturbate 4 - 5 hours a night? Good grief! I would rather remain single than put up with some guy who does that for hours on end. And people think porn is harmless. Uh huh.
Many men are not addicted to porn and sex. Many men have healthy views of sexuality.
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Old Nov 14, '09, 7:49 pm
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Rascalking Rascalking is offline
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Default Re: Pornography Addiction and Annulment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ailina View Post
Are you saying that most men are addicted to porn and masturbate 4 - 5 hours a night? Good grief! I would rather remain single than put up with some guy who does that for hours on end. And people think porn is harmless. Uh huh.
"Most Men?" Wow. That was offensive. No. "Most men" are not addicted to porn.

OP-You husband has an issue with porn, clearly. Like others have said though, there is a world of difference between porn and breaking a marriage vow.

We'll pray for you, but please think long and hard before doing anything that'll permanently change things.
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