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Moral Compass different. Can the marriage be saved?

Community Member
I found my husband had been watching and downloading porn for years and I feel like he's been cheating on me for doing it. He has never physically been unfaithful and in fact, we have only ever had sex with each other (been together for over 30 years). He said it's purely for entertainment and that he loves sex and looking at women.

We came to a compromise that he wouldn't download or search for porn (the obvious XXX porn websites etc) but he thinks anything else that may have or be about nudity is ok. My friend thinks he shouldn't even be searching or looking for things with explicit nudity in them or are of a sexual nature. For my husband, he thinks any nudity is ok to look at but is happy to draw the line at actual pornographic websites but still wants to be part of social media groups or watch TV shows or movies that have nudity in them, as he says he enjoys it. He thinks a person should be allowed to see anything and it not affect their marriage and he has no issues with what she sees or does, as long as they are faithful physically and emotionally. He believes I am just a jealous, insecure and conservative woman who wants to control everything he sees. He thinks it's ok to be turned on visually, as long as you don't cheat or neglect your wife sexually. He tells me he loves me and only me.

Sex quantity isn't a problem as we have sex regularly. We have separated over this whole issue but are still seeing a counselor to see if it can be saved. I am a Christian, whereas he is not. While we both are reasonable people and respect each others beliefs we have a mismatched moral compass here. With 4 kids and 30 years of marriage, is there any way to save this marriage?
4 Replies 4

Community Member

Can the marriage be saved?

Probably not, unless one or both of you accept a compromise. Your husband has agreed to stop watching porn but wants to watch TV Shows etc that may contain nudity. It sounds like he is meeting you half way or have I misread the circumstances?

Usually in these “porn addiction “ cases, the marriage is suffering in other areas but your situation is unusual in that everything else seems to be fine.

You are obviously taking this very seriously for you to separate after thirty years of marriage. Ultimately, it seems that you are being forced to choose between your religious convictions and your marriage. Do you love your husband? I’m assuming your children are adults and not living at home. Is your husband satisfied with the separation? Is he or you prepared to lose the marriage on this issue?

If the answer to the final question is YES, I don’t have any suggestions I can make except to offer you my best wishes for you both and hope the counsellor can throw some positive light your way.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi JennyA,

I’m sorry to hear that this is bringing you so much misery...Like you I don’t love porn in a relationship either, I classify it as a form of cheating, and find it disrespectful to your partner to look at other naked women with desire. You mentioned that you have been with your partner for over 30 years? Has this always been an issue in your relationship? Or has it just gotten to the point where enough is enough? I only ask because I’m wondering if he hid it from you for most of those years, suggesting that he may have some awareness that it’s not as ok as he is now making out.
For me, I think that a fundamental part of any relationship is listening to the other person and not doing anything that would make them uncomfortable or hurt. And this clearly hurts you..it’s not really his place to deny your feelings on that. However the murkiness comes in with sexual desires as that’s not a particularly easy thing to suppress either. Perhaps a sex therapist or relationship counsellor could assist here? Alternatively, maybe you can come to some agreement where he views photos of you in these instances? I do think he needs to start listening to you on this. However, I also assume that he may not find it so easy to give up or may be unwilling to. I suspect that it can become a sort of addiction or habit for some men.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
I really don't think your jealous, controlling or unfair. It sounds like it is an unhealthy habit he has and I think it would be good if he showed any recognition of that, which would help him get help. In that case, it could be saved. But without that - if he sort of toes the line and justifies looking at sexual images - I think that justification is a huge problem. It's different to acknowledging one needs help.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
also, unlike other entertainment, pornography is addictive and skews ones views of the world. I wouldn't compare it to entertainment.