In dire sitation over Husband's porn use

A little background information to hopefully shed more light on the situation:
My husband and I have been married to 10 years and have 3 children. Early in our relationship I realized that he was watching porn. I was a little disturbed by it but was young and naive so I didn’t say anything to him. But by accident I soon discovered that his home computer had so many adult videos. I mentioned to him quite casually that I didn’t like this behavior and asked him to stop. He agreed. After we married I was always a little suspect that he never stopped so I would do a little searching on our computer and continued to find some. I would hint here and there how porn disgusted me and that no loving husband would do that to his wife to which he would silently nod in agreement. After five years of marriage we became pregnant and to my dismay I discovered that he was still watching porn and even masturbated in bed next to me thinking I was asleep! I couldn’t handle it and knew the stress was not good for my health or that of the baby. I confronted him once again and broke down and didn’t speak to him for the rest of the day. A few months later, yet again, I discovered more porn. I wrote him a letter because I am not very coherent or in the right state of mind when I am upset. He wrote back with a sincere apology and promise to stop. I wanted to believe him but have always been suspicious of him. Next pregnancy I find more porn, and again during the third pregnancy. I was tired of confronting him and felt like he wasn’t changing so about 3 years ago I began with holding from him: kisses, sex, holding hands, “I love you’s” and so on. I felt like he didn’t deserve it because his return wouldn’t be genuine and also because I was angry. I have a horrible self esteem problem and feel like a lot of this is my fault: I’m not good looking enough for him, etc. I’ve always wanted to catch him in the act of watching porn so that I could confront him once again and so I wouldn’t have to bring up the issue myself but I never did. Until last night. I came downstairs and he had just begun a video. I told him that I’ve never trusted him when he’s alone and with his electronic devices. He apologized but began to make me feel horrible for all the with holding I’ve been doing. He says he feels like our marriage is hopeless so why should he care about his disgusting behavior anyways. He knows it’s sinful but he doesn’t believe that I love him (which I do!!). The baby woke up in the middle of our conversation so we didn’t get to finish but now I feel completely responsible for all this. He wants to stop and is sorry for what he did but he kept going back to how I stopped showing him affection and wouldn’t accept any affection from him. I understand that I have hurt him too by not being so loving as we used to be but I don’t want to believe that this is all my fault but honestly I am willing to take the entire fault if it will help him stop. Should I allow myself to take the blame or at least some of it to resolve this situation? Divorce isn’t even a question but it is so hurtful that he keeps saying that our marriage seems hopeless. And will I ever be able to trust him completely again so that I may openly and unconditionally show love to him?

Do not blame yourself. Placing the blame on you makes him feel less culpable.

Would the 2 of you be open to talking to a good Catholic counselor?

I know firsthand that this is a battle. What helped my husband and my marriage was getting professional help by a Christian psychologist. I’m not making excuses for him, but it is a form of addiction. They may be casual watchers at first, able to control their consumption, but at some point it turns into addiction and they need professional help to stop. He may want to stop, just not have the skill set to do so. A counselor would be able to address his specific issues. Maybe call your parish’s rectory and see if they have recommendations of Christian psychologists in your area. Stay strong!

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
:signofcross:

I’m posting from the perspective of a man who shares your husband’s addiction. I understand that it can be very hurtful for you, and I do not blame you at all for being upset; but I would also urge you to recognize that this is a genuine addiction. I have been trying for quite a while to stop. I’ve made some progress, but like all addicts, I have my good weeks and my bad weeks. Every time, when I come back to my senses, I feel terrible about it, and I hate myself for it. I do not know if your husband feels the same, but perhaps you should talk to him about it. My wife is also aware of the problem, and has caught me at it a couple of times; and the hurt in her eyes does more to make me want to stop than anything else.

You need to talk to him about if he really desires to change. If he does, then you need to work with him. Install a filter on his machine. If you share a machine, change the password so he can’t log on while you’re not around, stay with him around electronics when you’re able. He will get angry, I’m sure; when the urge is bad enough it really messes with a guy’s mood; but persist, and realize that he’s not truly angry at you; he’s just dealing with a withdrawal of sorts.

I will also tell you that you are absolutely not to blame, and he was way out of line to suggest that you are. Again, I’d lay odds that it was his frustration with his addiction talking, not what he really thinks. Your decision to withhold intimacy might not have been the most prudent, and, to be honest, I doubt it helped with his urges; but that does not translate into you being responsible for his addiction.

I wish I could give you better advice, but sadly I cannot. I pray that, through counseling, you both may find healing. God bless.

To him, you are definitely not good looking enough, alluring enough, exciting enough, etc., but none of that has anything to do with you and everything to do with his poisoned mind. When it comes to lust, there is not a woman that ever lived or will ever live that can even hope to compete with a man’s imagination (or vice versa). Shooting down a bad self-esteem is easier said than done, but you need to continually pray to keep away thoughts that debase yourself. You’re a daughter of God and worth infinitely more than ten trillion porn stars. Your qualities aren’t the problem. The porn/lust is deranging his mind and soul so that he cannot see you the way that God intended him to.

Try to get him to talk to somebody / expand outward for help. He needs to understand that he is killing himself. At this point if he just tries to solve it through a personal act of will, then he’s basically guaranteed to fail. An act of will to stop is all well and good, but when you have pneumonia you don’t take a cough drop. You seek stronger medicine. I’m just posting this as a single guy and I never delved into porn to the point that I couldn’t make myself stop on my own, but if I kept digging into it I’m sure it would have eventually sunk to that point. Porn is a reality of the world today and you’re definitely far from the only person suffering from it either directly or in your case indirectly.

Yes, she should not blame herself. But, you have got to understand that this is an addiction and that he probably feels terrible shame, guilt, and responsibility, but the addictive nature also makes him feel powerless. Making him feel more culpable will only make it worse.

Masturbation and porn are sins that love to hide in the dark, they grow in isolation and privacy. When you add to the sense of shame and responsibility, you make them want to run further away, hide more, and when someone is addicted to porn and feels ashamed and guilty they feel greater stress, anxiety, and/or depressed and the porn addicts answer to those problems is more porn and more masturbation.

She is not responsible for his problem. It is not how she looks, how she acts, or anything that has to do with her or her relationship with her husband. She says she discovered he used porn early in their relationship, odds are he had a porn habit or addiction before they even met. And, as much as young men like to think that they will just use porn until they find a wife, and as much as our society has bought into that young man’s lie, the truth is once you start finding personal pleasure in porn and masturbation, it is a very hard habit to break… it becomes an addiction.

I understand what you are trying to tell her, but please, please don’t put it this way. He almost certainly does find her to be beautiful, attractive, alluring, exciting, and good enough. And, very likely he sits there in his shame asking him why he looks at porn when he does have such a beautiful, loving, exciting wife.

His mind isn’t twisted to not see her as the stunning, attractive, loving, beautiful woman he fell in love with and married. His mind is twisted to have some inexplicable desire for something that he can’t rationally explain and can only satisfy with something he finds shameful.

He is behaving like a Monkey in a banana Three, huh.
I know the feeling he is having and believe me its not anything he even enjoy anymore (my Guess of course).
When one watch porn and masturbate several times a day (I did this sinful Things multible times a day at my worst) one start to feel so, so dirty and its like everything that reminds you of porn gives a tremendous lust that very hard not to give in on.

I was at my worst before I decided to become Catholic this august.
Before this i didnt even know how mortal is was, so at least I lived a life of ignorence.
What helped me a lot was to devote myself to Mama Mary.
Im trying to treat every women I meet as it was Queen Mary herself.
Im single at the moment and are concidering a possible Franciscan vocation, but I will try to live a life in 100 per cent celibacy to honor Our Queen regardless of me becoming a Franciscan or not.

Non reproductional sexual behavior is very damaging and ruins ones spiritual life and make having a relationship to God a lot harder.
Encourage him to start a Marian Devotion, Pray the Holy Rosary. Thats my advice.

Seek counseling With a Priest and/or a psychologist if it dosent help.

You are in my prayers.

God Bless!

Why would you say something like that? Are you serious? Do you think any of that has anything to do the addiction? That’s just cruel and very possibly wrong. I know I’m being a little hard on you but geez, that’s just awful to say especially when we know nothing more than what the op posted.

And to the OP, I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it is very likely a simple addiction to the physical release and has nothing to do with your marital relationship whatsoever.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Amen.

I don’t want to turn this thread into a debate, even a civil one, especially since I’ve figured out by now that my worldview is outnumbered on this forum, so I’ll post my thoughts to your response and then I promise to let it go:

1: She’s an adult.

2: In other words, what you are saying is that you think Catholicism is wrong and secular liberals are right. He just has a unexplainable urge to watch porn and release himself sometimes. Leave it alone and he’ll still be a great & godly husband. She shouldn’t be so sensitive and irrationally possessive. His activity has no effect on his mind or soul.

That isn’t what the CC teaches. Every time we sin, it has an effect on our body, mind, and soul. The OP herself explicitly pointed out (I’m sure quite accurately) that he is becoming worse, so basically the only thing I’m doing is nodding my head and agreeing with her. Are you trying to convince her that she is wrong, and if so, why? You need to stop thinking like a 1st worlder. You can’t be ultra-conciliatory about the situation and view porn as a grave matter at the same time. They don’t fit together.

God bless.

This is, sadly, not the first time a wife in your situation has sought advice from CAF.

One lengthy and fruitful discussion is this thread: Marriage hurt by pornography.

In that thread I suggested the COSA 12 step program for the spouse in your situation. It is based on the Al-Anon program which is for those affected by another’s drinking.

As always, I recommend Sexaholics Anonymous for recovery from impurity addiction. Through that program I have now been 10 months clean of any form of sexual impurity, after a lifetime of struggling unsuccessfully.

I agree entirely.

I second all the above, plus your husband needs to make use of the sacraments of confession and holy Eucharist. Attending couples counseling with a Christian therapist who understands the danger of pornography would also be helpful.

You will know your husband is serious about stopping when he actually starts attending SA meetings, therapy, or confession and mass. If he says he is serious about changing then you should be able to see him do these things; otherwise it’s just lip-service.

Just wanted to throw this out there…
I think that there is a miscommunication happening between you and another poster(s) due to syntax and grammatical errors. I think, for those who think they are in disagreement, it would be good to try to read the posts out loud in a conversational tone of voice, as that might very well clear up the misunderstanding. Hope that helps.

To the OP: this is not your fault. Your husband needs to own up to his problem and take the blame. Shifting the blame is a classic misdirection tactic, and is very hurtful. Do not take the blame upon yourself. You can still be the loving person that I sense you are, but insist that he not resort to blame-shifting to self-justify and cover his shame. I am so sorry you have to go through this. But be strong, dear sister. You do have the right to insist that he stop this behavior. You also have the right to tell him he must treat you better before you feel safe and loved enough to be able to engage in lovemaking again. You have been horribly betrayed and he needs to make you feel safe and loved again. His attachment to this sin is blinding him to that truth.

What the op’s husband needs to do is sit down and ask himself does he really love his wife.

I would hate to be in the OP’s position and I will pray for her.

I’m personally not convinced that pornography, like promiscuity, and a lot of other injurious behaviours are addictions. Addiction means your body needs the substance or it will experience withdrawl symptoms, such as the dts for alcoholics. Sometime in the seventies everything became labelled an addiction; overeating, sex, etc. At most what people who need porn have is a dependency. Very similar, but different, OP’s husband won’t get physically ill if deprived of pornography. That being said the following may help her understand why her husband feels a need for pornography.

“Habitual porn use can become a crutch to distract from unpleasant emotions or boredom. When pornography becomes a primary method of self-soothing, porn and/or masturbation dependency develops. Sexualizing uncomfortable feelings creates a patterned response: craving sexual arousal in the face of fear, anxiety, frustration, or sadness. The brain comes to rely upon a flood of sexual neurochemicals (e.g. dopamine, endorphins, vasopressin) to anesthetize emotional discomfort. This quick-fix escapism is the driving force behind porn “addiction.””

jennerbishop.com/pornography/

In short it’s a form of self medication. OP needs to get her husband to a counsellor, there are emotional issues he’s coping with by watching porn. There is little else she can do to help him, he first needs to identify the stressors causing him to behave in a way which is destructive to his marriage. She also needs to seek support for herself, to make sure his behaviour does not cause her to denigrate herself and allow this to lead to poor self-esteem. People dependent on destructive behaviours, which her husband is, can become great manipulators, such as physical abusers who express regret, apologize and then continue the abuse. She needs help to ensure he doesn’t turn her into an enabler. Just as spouses of alcoholics need support from al anon, she needs a strong support group to help her cope.

this is, without any doubt, the best explanation for my personal experiences. I cant thank you enough for sharing this information.

OP, i find this post extremely helpful, maybe your husband will too.

Wow! I am on my knees in gratitude for each and every one of you who took time to respond. This is obviously an issue that I can’t just hash out with friends and family but I should have known that I can trust in my Universal Catholic family to come through and give me such deep, kind and meaningful insight. I have taken to heart each reply and have been able to put my thoughts and feelings together in a more healthy and productive manner. I am just as grateful for the prayers. I feel confident in God’s plan for our marriage and know that much of His counsel was given through you all. My family and I strive everyday to live a devout Catholic life and we are all sinners who need forgiveness and love which I want to give abundantly to my husband. In reading other posts about this same issue please know that all your comments positively affect many lives. I will pray fervently for you all! My heart is pouring out with gratitude. Thank you and God bless you all!! :blessyou:

We have a saying in Sexaholics Anonymous… Knowledge is not power.

While coming to understand how our addiction began may be interesting, it gave us no power over it. Just as understanding how I had an accident which crippled me won’t help me walk again.

That has been my experience. Yours may differ.

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