I am a mother of three who has been married for five years. My youngest is nine months old. I just found out a week ago that my husband is addicted to pornography. Needless to say, I am devastated. looking back, I can see signs of trouble, but I just took those to be normal marital struggles. One minute I want to say forget it and call it quits and the next I am so sad with how much I do love him. I don’t know if I can do this. He has moved out and I am taking care of our three children every evening after work and all weekend. I am worn out, I am emotionally a wreck, and I just have a sick feeling in my stomach. He admitted that he’s had these issues since he was thirteen. I am meeting with someone on Wednesday to try to find some resources. I am very fortunate to have a very strong Catholic faith that I am desperately clinging to right now. I don’t know if anyone has had this issue or if anyone can say if this is recoverable. I don’t know if I should try to work this out, give us some time apart, or what. HE is seeking help, the issue is that I found out by mistake - he didn’t tell me. I think I could’ve helped him if he had come to me, but he didn’t. I feel devastated, hurt, and so betrayed. If anyone can share advice, I would greatly appreciate it. I don’t know how long to give it. I don’t know how long I should remain separated, or where I should go from here. Any good advice would be appreciated - no condemning or judgements here, please. My poor heart cannot take it.
Of course you will receive no condemnation here! Our hearts go out to you. You have just had a terrible shock and a blow to your marriage. Did your husband decide to move out or did you ask him to move out? I can understand this but you both need to make a plan for going forward. There are many men who struggle with this addiction and it can be arrested if not totally cured. He has to want to fix it and I pray that your husband does. He needs accountability from other men who are going through this. He needs to be accountable to you but not that you can watch over him like a mommy. Your children need their father and I hope and pray that he will do what it takes to remain your husband and their dad in the home.
I think there is a group here on CAF for wives of men who struggle with this problem.
As someone who struggles with a similar issue as your husband I think it is important to realize that an addiction does not mean a person is evil and can lessen the culpability of the sin. Like all addictions there is a chemical imbalance that affects the will, so I would encourage you to search for information regarding sex/lust addiction and offer your support in working with him if he chooses to get help.
Try to be patient with him and understand that there is a truck load of shame involved with sex addiction and that more often than not they stem from the person being sexually abused when young. My porn and lust problem started when I was 12, after being sexually abused by my step mother.
Some good resources can be found at dads.org. You can also google lust addiction and catholic community services which should list counselors that specialize in sexual addiction.
I asked him to leave. I cannot be around him right now. I am overcome with anger and sadness. I am shocked, as I thought our marriage was at a really good point. I did not see the warning signs as warning signs - the moodiness, irritability, and staying up much later than I do. I did not see his excessive time spent on the computer, or other warning signs. I need time to breathe and right now, the only time I find any peace is being with my kids and him not being around.
This sort of addiction is very difficult to completely defeat. However, even though they struggle with it forever, lots of men are able to keep it from completely destroying their lives. Your husband needs support from professionals and he needs accountability. However, you can’t be the person in charge of making sure he stays clean because you change from a wife to a helicopter mother and that can ruin your marriage. He needs someone else to keep him straight and he can get that in a support group or with a doctor trained to help him with this.
Please check out Mark and Debbie Laasers ministry Faithful and True. They help families of sex addicts. Join the group on CAF women suffing because of unchastity.
There is helpful post on there.
Make sure both he and you get serious orthodox Catholic counseling and support, this is a spiritual battle, a battle of sin. Pray the St Michael prayer often.
Please, talk to your priest and find out what Catholic resources are available to you.
Irish, my heart aches for you. I will keep your entire family in my prayers – that’s a promise!
I have absolutely no experience with this, but I have worked with individuals who deal with all types of other problems, and I know that there is one thing to be said for everyone: Do not lose your inner peace. Cling to Jesus, and let Him lift you from the sorrow. This is very difficult to do, especially in moments of such great shock, but it is possible. Please – please! – make a commitment to spend time in fervent prayer, every day if possible, even for 15-20 minutes; every week, if not daily, if you don’t already do this.
Only Christ can make things new.
Take each day once step at a time. Let your heart rest. Prepare yourself for the possibility that you may never live with this man again. Do not let yourself fall into anger and frustration with Christ; God urges us to feel the spectrum of emotions, so anger toward your husband is very healthy and necessary, but do not be angry towards Christ. Rather, remember that, with no cross, there is no crown, and this might be your cross to carry.
May God bless you, and guide you, and lift you up.
No condemnation here for you or your husband! My heart goes out to you, your husband, and your precious children.
It’s good you’re holding tight to your faith. Are you planning on talking to your priest or deacon?
There is a novena to Our Lady called Mary Undoer of Knots which I’ve found extremely helpful. Our Mother will help you when you call out to her. Here is the link to the novena. You can also buy a booklet of it at EWTN.
Praying for you.
I know you mean well, but, that would be the utterly last resort. This is not the end of the world, her husband can go to Confession, he can amend his ways and with the help of Jesus he can be free of this sin. Don’t give the devil so much credit!
I actually did speak to a deacon and this week I am meeting with someone else more trained in this area. It is, unfortunately, so hard to find good Catholic counseling - at least in our area. My fear is that if we just settle for who we can get, it could place a death sentence on our marriage. So many ‘professionals’ feed you the lines of, “who do you want to be” and I fear they would see nothing wrong with this. So, this week I am driving two hours away to meet with someone who is solidly Catholic and I am praying he has some resources for counseling. THe priests, unfortunately had no resources for counseling.
I am praying for guidance. St. Therese has been my go=to saint on many occasions. I have never felt Lent more fully than I do now. I am trying to unite my sufferings with Christ’s and get through each day. I am blessed to have three wonderful children who can brighten even the darkest day. I am also blessed to have a strong faith and to know God is with me, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
Really, he has to defeat the lust that is in his heart. I struggled with a masturbation addiction for a long time before I found my faith. Without God, the addiction is almost impossible to overcome because much of secular society teaches that masturbation and porn is a natural release for men. Even if your husband resolves to stop the habit, without God’s grace, our sexualized society will wear him down since it seems like every second woman is dressed in a provocative manner. Just think about how hard it would be for a cigarette smoker to quit smoking if every commercial and movie on TV was glorifying tobacco and every second person he sees was actively smoking??
Truly, sins of sexual immorality are the most difficult sins in our society today to overcome (according to Our Lady of Fatima, more souls will go to hell for this then for any other sin). To beat this, your husband will truly have to give God the first place in his life.
What I recommend is to make it clear to your husband that he has to make an effort to overcome this addiction. Evil cannot be negotiated with or tolerated and you will have to be quite firm that this is unnacceptable behaviour. Talk about the eternity of hell-fire that awaits him if he chooses to continue with his lifestyle. Make it clear to him that many Saints say that the vast majority of souls will fall into hell for an eternity… what will be his odds if he chooses to continue with this lifestyle after having full knowledge of how wrong it is? I recommend reading him some personal revelations of the Saints that talk about just how tramautizing a vision of hell is (just imagine being sent there for an eternity…). One of the satan’s techniques to stay in control is to hide from the truth, so you’re going to have to be prepared to be persistent with your husband that what he’s doing is wrong and unnatural and is NOT something that “everybody does” (but, of course, be forgiving at the same time).
God bless. My prayers will be with you.
This is true. They’re not easy to find. I currently have a Catholic counselor. I found her by “mistake,” a.k.a. the grace of God. I knew she was schooled in Christian counseling, but she didn’t say she was Catholic. I had told her I was thinking about returning to the Catholic Church, and we got to talking about it,and she revealed she was Catholic. She told me about a youth Mass that I might enjoy, I went to it, and the rest is my revert history.
Because of a series of events, I know the Holy Spirit led me to her as part of my journey back home. I know the Holy Spirit can lead you to the counselor that’s right for you, Catholic or not Catholic. God will use who he needs to use for your particular situation. Trust in him. As Jesus and Blessed John Paul II said often, “Fear not.”
And keep in prayer.
A Catholic counselor would be good, but don’t be too concerned with secular counselors not seeing the problem. Sexual addiction is fully recognised by the mental health profession and specialists in the area know the damage it does to marriages and families. Just because an organization is not Catholic, doesn’t mean they can’t help.
I honestly don’t know why this still surprises anyone. When I look at myself and think about others like the Pope, our Bishops and Priests, and other lay men, I can imagine what they go through daily.
If people can understand this, they will be better placed to deal with an unfortunate concealed wickness when it is brought to light.
I struggle a lot with inner peace when I feel very jealous again of all these beautiful women my husband likes(and liked) to look at and I really would like to look at men in the same way(which I forbid myself so far),so we can get even in a way+he can experiment the same feelings I have…
I know it’s evil and don’t want to do it really but I don’t feel we have a good marriage anymore even though we are working in the right direction and am very grateful about that.It is very hard to grieve a good marriage ,and to not feel jealous,I am trying my best and hate being unhappy so am doing lots of things that are supposed to make me happy-including prayers and clinging to God…But no,the inner peace does not come back:how do people do it?
I recommend also the Mark Laaser workshop for the husband,we haven’t tested the women or couple workshop yet but it must be great.The workshop was a life changing event for my husband.
I also found out recently what my husband was up to-even though I knew for a long time vaguely that he was struggling with purity.
How do you find happiness when your “career” is to make your husband and children happy,and be a homemaker,love and admire and cherish your husband -and you feel you are failing miserably because you are not as loved in return?It your whole life-not only the marriage like for the husband who has a carreer otherwise-your whole life that looks worthless.
How very sad for all involved.
I have to ask this. Is it worth breaking up your marriage over this? Is this man a worthy husband and father except for this problem? While he is working on this issue, can the family stay intact? Is this really worth a lifetime as a single parent?
He may be more motivated to kick his vice after reading about the addictive and emasculating effects. And those are just the physiological consequences. Technology has been utterly devastating to moral integrity in the last century. Get rid of the computer altogether if you have to, especially since you also have children; or at least try to limit its use to the times when others are in the room. Lately I think families are at an extreme risk to allow anyone very much private use of the internet and its endless supply of temptation.
I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. Unfortunately it is an all-too-common problem in marriages today, even in sacramental Catholic ones. Please feel free to join the CAF group called, “Women Suffering Because of Unchastity” (link can be found at the top of the CAF page under “Groups” ) if you wish. Its purpose is to help lend support to wives and girlfriends going through this specific issue in their relationships and hopefully help ease the pain you’re feeling in your heart. As the wife of a man with the same horrible habit, I can honestly say that it can be a real roller-coaster ride in a marriage, but there also is hope to get your marriage back to the way Our Lord intended. Through appropriate counseling and support for both of you, a sincere desire by your husband to change, and prayer and the holy sacraments, satan’s lure can eventually be diminished and often overcome. Please know that you’re definitely not alone, and his habit is in no way a reflection upon your worth and beauty.
You will be in my prayers for strength. May God bless you and keep you in His tender care.