How do I handle my husband's pornography problem?


#1

My husband has had an attraction to pornography for some time. At one point, before my reversion to the faith, I bought into the idea that maybe I should watch it with him. This just led to an addiction of my own which I successfully fought and won. I am left though not knowing how to deal with his addiction. At time it makes me so angry I just want to throw it all out (magazines, videos, etc.) but that just makes him mad and I’m not sure of the morality of this. I mean, as bad as it is, it’s his stuff and do I have a right to throw it out? Never mind the conflict this has caused in our marriage the couple times I did throw something out!!

My husband is a new Catholic. He was just baptised almost 3 years ago. He understands my feelings on pornography and how it hurts me, but views it as me having a problem and doesn’t understand why it’s wrong. He also has issues with alcoholism that he does admit is a problem but isn’t at the point where he is willing to seek out help for it (he thinks he can handle it on his own). I just don’t know what to do or how to handle this. Like I said, I get so angry sometimes I just want to take it all, throw it in a garbage bag and pitch it. I know this would make him very angry however so haven’t done it.

I would appreciate any thoughts or helps in this area.

Thank you and God bless, Jen


#2

Geez…your hubby sounds like me a few years ago…but I was able to successfuly defeat my own demons myself…I am still tempted at times, but I think about Jesus dying on the Cross for me and the tempations are gone. I suggest going to speak to your parish Priest about this problem…they can work wonders…also if the Parish Priest doesn’t work for him…seek professional help. Don’t be afraid to throw his smut away and put cyber-nanny on your cpu to keep him from being able to look at porn on the internet. Also, sit down and tell him how much it hurts you and how much it hurts Jesus.

[quote=im_wildrose]My husband has had an attraction to pornography for some time. At one point, before my reversion to the faith, I bought into the idea that maybe I should watch it with him. This just led to an addiction of my own which I successfully fought and won. I am left though not knowing how to deal with his addiction. At time it makes me so angry I just want to throw it all out (magazines, videos, etc.) but that just makes him mad and I’m not sure of the morality of this. I mean, as bad as it is, it’s his stuff and do I have a right to throw it out? Never mind the conflict this has caused in our marriage the couple times I did throw something out!!

My husband is a new Catholic. He was just baptised almost 3 years ago. He understands my feelings on pornography and how it hurts me, but views it as me having a problem and doesn’t understand why it’s wrong. He also has issues with alcoholism that he does admit is a problem but isn’t at the point where he is willing to seek out help for it (he thinks he can handle it on his own). I just don’t know what to do or how to handle this. Like I said, I get so angry sometimes I just want to take it all, throw it in a garbage bag and pitch it. I know this would make him very angry however so haven’t done it.

I would appreciate any thoughts or helps in this area.

Thank you and God bless, Jen
[/quote]


#3

[quote=im_wildrose] He was just baptised almost 3 years ago. He doesn’t understand why it’s wrong.
[/quote]

The thing that helped me get over it was the bolded part below, from the catechism:

**2354 ***Pornography *consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

Until he wants to overcome it, though, he won’t. You need to pray for him, sacrifice for him, let him know how it makes you feel, that he is endangering his soul, that he is nothing more than an empty slave to it, that the baptismal vows he made specifically spoke to such acts. You have to somehow, with the help of the Holy Spirit, arouse his conscience, which, like mine had, has apparently been long since hardened.


#4

I found that praying a quick Our Father or a few Hail Mary’s helped me kick the habit, but you have to want to quit and know that its a sin. Prayer focuses the mind on God and away from the sin. It really is an addiction…

Pray for him. Ask him to talk to a Priest in confessional. The ‘face to face’ reconciliation is great for this sort of thing…Often times, having someone else (outside the family) talk about it helps…

Good luck and God Bless…


#5

Unfortunately you can’t handle his problems but you can pray they he will and ask the rest of us to do that too.

It’s like alcoholism - you can’t change the alcoholic, only he can change himself.


#6

It sounds like he needs to work on a number of things. If he ditches the porn, when he drinks he’ll go right back. His healing needs to be comprehensive.

I once discussed with a preist that I had all this “Stuff” in my basement. I didn’t watch it but it was there and I wouldn’t throw it out. He promised me if I did I would feel free and a burden would be lifted from my shoulders. That night I junked all of it and he was right, I felt so much better.


#7

[quote=im_wildrose]My husband has had an attraction to pornography for some time. At one point, before my reversion to the faith, I bought into the idea that maybe I should watch it with him. This just led to an addiction of my own which I successfully fought and won. I am left though not knowing how to deal with his addiction. At time it makes me so angry I just want to throw it all out (magazines, videos, etc.) but that just makes him mad and I’m not sure of the morality of this. I mean, as bad as it is, it’s his stuff and do I have a right to throw it out? Never mind the conflict this has caused in our marriage the couple times I did throw something out!!

My husband is a new Catholic. He was just baptised almost 3 years ago. He understands my feelings on pornography and how it hurts me, but views it as me having a problem and doesn’t understand why it’s wrong. He also has issues with alcoholism that he does admit is a problem but isn’t at the point where he is willing to seek out help for it (he thinks he can handle it on his own). I just don’t know what to do or how to handle this. Like I said, I get so angry sometimes I just want to take it all, throw it in a garbage bag and pitch it. I know this would make him very angry however so haven’t done it.

I would appreciate any thoughts or helps in this area.

Thank you and God bless, Jen
[/quote]

Jen
You just described how my husband was several years ago. New Catholic, alcohol problem, porn addiction. An yes much earlier in my marriage I actually watched it with him. Is it possible your husband has untreated depression? When my husband finally got treated for depression, it made over coming his other issues easier.
Porn is like crack for the mind. It is unbelievably addicting. I have a very strong personality and basically said this is my house too and I have the right have it free from that garbage. The internet unfortunately is having the drug sitting right in the middle of your living room. When we got a computer I said if we get the internet you have to promise me to stay away from that garbage.(Our house had been porn free for several years.) He did but with a couple months he did it behind my back and I found out. I was devastated and furious and nearly hysterical. I said ok I’m cancelling it. Instead he talked me into changing the pass word which I did for about 5 months and then gave it back to him. Well within a few weeks of having it it started again, but this time he told me he had an addiction because he tried not to and would find himself looking. He now stays off the computer completely unless I’m home. He rarely gets on it period.
You have my prayers. I believe dads.org has good info on porn addiction.


#8

As a former porn addict I can understand your problem, and I can understand your husband’s as well. This addiction is truly demonic in it’s ability to control and destroy those persons who are addicted to it. There is never a point where they can get to much or a time that they have control over their appetite for this garbage. It is all consuming and the user will always create a layered defense of justification by rationalization. Like all lies it is “harmless” “healthy” “natural” and “victomless” because the actors are getting paid after all" This deception is so ingrained in the user that they will often resist with all their will.
I was addicted to this garbage for years, I formed all my impressions of women and sexuality off of this trash so I had to overcome a lot, it really warped my mind and ruined our love life (ironically) when we were first married.
In my case I was only able to over come through a deeper conversion to the faith. By entering into a real relationship with Christ through prayer and the sacrements the Lord was able to tear down my rationalizations and show me the evil of my ways. The struggle was hard, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” really applies here.
I recomend prayer and fasting for your husband to experience a deeper conversion. Perhaps a parish mens retreat, or marriage encounter weekend would contribute towards this end, and I can highly recomend the Steubenville summer conferences in Ohio.(if you’re located on that end of the country). This addiction forms some real thick scales over your eyes along with your soul, the kind that only Jesus can remove. Steve Woods also has a great program for fathers “St Joseph Covenant Keepers” I’m certain his organization has resources you can use as well.

                 Peace

Ill pray for your husband


#9

Been there, and done that! I am finally to the point where I can look at a woman and not check out her breasts, legs, etc…I agree about the lies…they don’t tell you that you will look at every woman that walks by as if she were naked. Awful way to live life, I swear by it.


#10

Jen,

I’m glad some others have written words of encouragement, that the problem can be beat. It can be beat; however, there is no guarantee your particular husband will stop.

I wouldn’t tolerate the stuff being in the house, but it is entirely your call. He needs to be able to get rid of it himself. If he can’t do that, then you getting rid of it probably won’t cure him.

I think a large problem here is that your husband thinks porn is okay to use. Do realize that porn and “self-abuse” are related. Lying is also quite well associated with it if the addiction is ingrained.

And Jen, YOU do not have a problem.:nope: Porn and the associated behaviors are wrong, and very hurtful to the wife and relationship. Pray hard and long. Find ways to keep your mind off him if he is in the other room with his videos. You’ll go crazy otherwise.


#11

Jen:

The Family Life Center International has a section specifically on this problem. Maybe it will give you some pointers.

PF


#12

[quote=im_wildrose]He understands my feelings on pornography and how it hurts me, but views it as me having a problem and doesn’t understand why it’s wrong.
[/quote]

The fundamental truth is that addiction treatment has 0 chance of success if he doesn’t think it’s a problem. That’s pretty much guaranteed. Hence why all 12 step programs start with “admitting you have a problem.”


#13

THROW IT ALL OUT!!!

Why must you be put in a position to tolerate this trash in your own home??? You have rights too. Demand that the filth not be brought into your house. Your husband is disrespecting you and your marriage by allowing this stuff to be around the house. You may give him the chance to get rid of it on his own (within 24 hrs), otherwise tell him you’ll do it yourself. You must adopt a ZERO TOLERANCE for this stuff…PERIOD!


#14

[quote=im_wildrose]My husband has had an attraction to pornography for some time. At one point, before my reversion to the faith, I bought into the idea that maybe I should watch it with him. This just led to an addiction of my own which I successfully fought and won. I am left though not knowing how to deal with his addiction. At time it makes me so angry I just want to throw it all out (magazines, videos, etc.) but that just makes him mad and I’m not sure of the morality of this. I mean, as bad as it is, it’s his stuff and do I have a right to throw it out? Never mind the conflict this has caused in our marriage the couple times I did throw something out!!

My husband is a new Catholic. He was just baptised almost 3 years ago. He understands my feelings on pornography and how it hurts me, but views it as me having a problem and doesn’t understand why it’s wrong. He also has issues with alcoholism that he does admit is a problem but isn’t at the point where he is willing to seek out help for it (he thinks he can handle it on his own). I just don’t know what to do or how to handle this. Like I said, I get so angry sometimes I just want to take it all, throw it in a garbage bag and pitch it. I know this would make him very angry however so haven’t done it.

I would appreciate any thoughts or helps in this area.

Thank you and God bless, Jen
[/quote]

I think it would help to point out to your husband that what he is doing is grave matter and if he meets the knowledge and consent requirements for mortal sin he could very well be on the road to the eternal fires of Hell!!! :eek:

I think it would be even better if both you and your husband went to a priest and heard it from a priest! Maybe you could talk to your confessor and ask if he could do this for you?

You could also find accounts of saints who had visions of Hell and read those to your husband. If anything can be a deterrent, it’s that.

I also think it’s your DUTY to do this, because you should help him get to Heaven, and right now there’s reason to worry for his salvation.


#15

[quote=Tlaloc]The fundamental truth is that addiction treatment has 0 chance of success if he doesn’t think it’s a problem. That’s pretty much guaranteed. Hence why all 12 step programs start with “admitting you have a problem.”
[/quote]

That is true. But consider this. He may be struggling with it without openly showing it. So intervention may not be futile.

PF


#16

Ask him to pray with you each day. (I stress EACH DAY) It would be best if you could attend morning mass together or say the rosary but if time does not allow, at least say a decade of the rosary together. Give him small incentives if he stays away from the junk. (e.g golf with his buddies.) Encourage him to see if there is a men’s group at church, being with other men who strive to be more Christ like is a great motivator (ours meets every week and has helped me a great deal.) Find out if there is a church in your area that offers daily confession. This way if he falls on Tuesday he can go the following day and pray with the priest and be forgiven.

If it is that he does not want to give up the porn, at least see if he will pray with you daily. Never forget how powerful prayer is

Strive to see God in all things without exception, and consent to His will joyously.
- Francis de Sales


#17

I want to thank everyone so much for their kind and thoughtful responses. I do think, at some level, he knows it’s wrong (I mean, otherwise he’d be wanting to paste the stuff up all over the walls, right?? lol) but just can’t admit it. Keith actually has several issues that compound and overlap each other. His upbrining wasn’t the best, his first marriage was awful, his kids from his first marriage are wasting their lives, he has terrible self-esteem and frequently feels like he’s getting the raw end of the deal, even if it’s just how things happened to go. He also, I don’t think, understands the gravity of sin and how it affects your soul, so that’s something I’m definitely going to try bringing up to him. We also really need to start praying together. I’ve known this for a long time but because it’s something that’s so difficult to start doing (awkward, uncomfortable, etc.), I keep putting it off. The kids and I pray together almost every night but he doesn’t generally join us. This is something I’m going to put a priority on.

Thank you again so much for your thoughts and prayers.

God bless, Jen


#18

Hey, kid.

The porn habit generally goes hand-in-hand with manic masturbation. Masturbation is where the porn habit is going. Each porn girl, psychologically, is “the perfect lover.” She doesn’t talk. She doesn’t complain. She has no needs. She’s just plain beautiful. She’s like the girl in that man’s joke, “What’s the perfect wife? One who’s deaf, dumb and blind and owns a liquor store.” And, she responds perfectly. The porn-lover/masturbator makes the perfect girl with the perfect body he has been fantasizing over in his mind respond perfectly to him in his mind.

But, there’s something missing. Because he’s making love, when he masturbates, to a picture in his imagination, rather than to a person not himself, conscience rebels, and the psyche asks, “Is that all?” Then the guy mistranslates these as a demand for more, more, more, more, more, more.

In effect, he’s a dog making love to a ripped-out-of-context, go-nowhere feedback loop.

The big trick about all of that is this: One can not be so suffusively evil and selfish and pleasure-stealing in his own physiology without being damned.

Believe it: The odds are that he is currently living in a damned state. At the end of his life of relentless auto-eroticism is a trap door with the word “HELL” on it.

So, perhaps that is why God married you to him. (That is why God marries each of us to the other – salvation.) Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray for him. The prayers will be answered.
Good luck, kiddo.


#19

I would opt for a long and blunt talk… but you probably have already had many of those.

Watching pornography is wrong if the intent is to stir the sex drive or release the tension or whatever such. And what other intent can one have? For an artist, it may be better to take a porn picture rather than to ask a female model to undress, and it’s also not necessarily illicit to look on nudity in art, but we aren’t talking about just appreciation of the beauty of the human body here. As Jesus said Himself, looking on a woman to lust for her is adultery in heart. It’s not just your problem, it’s his problem. The “every guy does this” excuse may work for guilt level but not for the objective sinfulness of the act. And if it’s objectively sinful, it’s quite risky to presume the lack of guilt on one’s own part.

I did watch porn in the past. I feel a lot happier now that I don’t, and a lot more of a man. You can tell him I said this or show him this post. It feels so free staying away from it compared to watching it, let alone looking for it. One isn’t defiling himself anymore (not in this respect, at least) and one isn’t cooperating with the porn industry. It’s inherently tied with prostitution and not all prostitutes choose to “work” as prostitutes. Not all porn models probably, either. Some are collecting money for a parent’s cancer surgery, some actually are married but lacking money to feed or educate the children. Some are engaged and working in a brothel to collect money for the wedding and apartment rental. Some are threated, some are forced. Some were kidnapped, drugged up forcibly and sold out from their native countries. Does porn get much better? Probably a little. But it’s the same business. Often the same owners. Sometimes the same girls. Can he still watch his porn and feel good knowing this? If yes, then let him think how he could feel if a woman for whom he cares ended up like that. A daughter, a sister… if it doesn’t work, you could even ask him how he would feel if someone taped you, his very wife, in non-consensual circumstances and a guy somewhere in the world watched that to feel good. If he takes that, he can take anything. But I can’t really imagine a man watching porn to any pleasure after hearing this. If he survives it, it means he needs counselling. And, first of all, a lot of prayer - although you probably already do this. Deepest apologies if I hurt you in what I said.


#20

I haven’t seen anyone suggest an ultimatum: me or the porn + alcohol. It seems pretty simple–not easy, just uncomplicated. I would no sooner tolerate a physical addiction (drugs/alcohol) than a porn one. And you have both in your household. If he fails to see/admit he has a problem, that doesn’t require you to bury your head in the sand.

You mentioned kids in the house…suppose they’re blissfully ignorant of this vice of their father’s? I’d bet my bottom dollar they aren’t (and if they’re really young it’s only a matter of time.) How do you suppose this impacts their respect for him? For you?

Time for an action plan and time line. Demand that he remove the porn from the house and give him a very short time in which to do it. Insist on some counseling–joint or individual, and if he won’t go, go without him. Inform him that if the porn and alcohol stay–you are prepared to go–even if just temporarily. While your goal may be to save your marriage and your husband, getting his attention focused on the existence of the problem may require the proverbial two-by-four between the eyes. If you have family you can stay with, by all means impose for a short period.

It is a huge challenge, but you have to be willing to back up your convictions with action. And you should be convicted that these vices can destroy your husband and your marriage–not to mention take a good swipe at you and the kids.


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