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When a porn addiction escalates

UserName123
Community Member

I know this topic has been covered a few times on this forum but I'd really appreciate different perspectives on my situation as I'm too in my own head right now. I've been with my husband for 5 years. I have known since we were dating that he had an unhealthy relationship with porn. The first time he shared this with me I was understanding and said I would be there to help him through it. I've had male friends in the past who have also shared about their porn addictions so I wasn't too shocked or surprised.

Time went by and we got married. A month into being married I noticed he was being very possessive over his phone. For example, if I used his phone to Google something he would hover over my shoulder while I used it and snatch it away almost immediately. So I confronted him about it and he admitted he continued to struggle with his porn addiction. I told him I was hurt by the fact he tried to hide it from me and asked if in the future he could be open with me whenever he felt tempted and we could work through it together. He said he would like that.

That was a year ago. Fast forward to this month, I noticed he started being possessive over his phone again and I confronted him about it. He admitted he was struggling with porn again and was ashamed he had relapsed so didn't tell me. I was hurt by this but kept my composure and I asked him if there was anything else he would like to tell with me. He said no. So I asked to see where he stores the content on his phone and I find out that not only has he been downloading porn but has been filming women in public to create his own content to consume later. I am shocked and disgusted. Not only did he lie to me seconds after promising he wouldn't but apparently he has been engaging in this behaviour since before we met.

At this point, we've both agreed he needs to seek professional help, however I'm conflicted. I want to be understanding but I can't take the lying and deceit anymore. On top of all this it's also been affecting our intimacy. I've confronted him in the past that I've noticed that he never initiates intimacy with me and it's normally me who has to initiate. Each time I've brought this up he got defensive saying it's my fault because I expect him to read my mind. In hindsight I realised he was also gaslighting me. I still love him and realise he is struggling with deeper issues but I feel like I deserve so much better. I don't know what to do.

9 Replies 9

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear UserName123~

Welcome here to the Forum, I'm very sorry for your situation but think coming here is a good move. As you said this problem does surface here at times and you may get a variety of views.

For you it is realy horrible, being lied to, his having secrets and a lack of leading in intimacy are things that are so bad to bear. For many there may be a feeling that one is not attractive enough or valued.

Can I suggest you see if you can find professional advice and support? It may give you the facts for you to decide what is possible, and also support you as you go on

I'm afraid the kindest thing to do is to be blunt, though I doubt I'll say anything you have not though of for yourself. You write as a realistic and strong person, one who simply does not have a clear easy to choose path in front of her.

To over-simplify a bit there appear to be three choices in front of you, and I'll try not to influence you thinking, just lay out the options.

The first is to do nothing and accept the situation. This of course means the effects you are feeling now may well continue, maybe get worse and maybe even give negative feelings about yourself. It would probably not be good for your husband either as he may constantly know he is letting you down. It may lead to confrontations or drifting apart in the future

The second is to separate, either on a temporary or permanent basis. You said you love him and have had 5 years together, that is a lot to give away, but may be necessary if you cannot bear to live together

The third is to live with someone who has a long standing addition -and all the dishonesty it entails- while both of you try to overcome it. This is no easy path, no addiction is. On the up-side you have know there has been a problem for a long time and have been able to confront your husband and get him to admit (when backed into a corner) that he has a problem

He has agreed professional help is necessary, and you are both talking about it, hopefully nothing still hidden. Addiction normally has a cause, and in this case it sounds as this came into effect before you were on the scene. Understanding and encouragement of his victories along with professional assistance does help, but not everyone can do this

These are only broad alternatives, you -or others- may be able ot think of other ways of approaching the matter.

May I also ask if you have anyone you can discuss this with? Though hard to bring up it can help not to deal with it alone

Croix

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello UserName, most addictions are not easy to overcome, not unless you have a specific agenda in mind, but if it's so readily available, as porn, for instance is, then the temptation sometimes overpowers the nessacity to stop.

His need for intimacy will deteriorate the more he watches porn and will only accept it, if it's offered to him, because there is a chance he may be exhausted or feels guilty in asking for it, as you know he is watching it.

If he is told not to watch it, then he may become frustrated and perhaps irritable, so the marriage may suffer.

You have to decide whether or not you can trust him, in other words, an alcoholic can't have a single drink, so watching porn can't be done at all, because even a little bit only encourages his addiction.

I can't tell you what to do, unfortunately, it's a decision you need to make, but you can do this with the help of a counsellor, however, if it's affecting your marriage, then to overcome this addiction not only when he is alone, but also when he's outside with other people.

I'm really sorry.

Geoff.

missep123
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi UserName123,

I am so sorry to hear that you have been going through this. I wish I knew exactly what to say but I can completely understand how confused and conflicted you must feel finding out that this addiction has re-emerged and about the other filming that you mentioned.

I really agree with the other posters here in receiving professional advice and help to assist you, I really wouldn't want you to go through this alone and I really hope you can receive support during this time.

@croix detailed three choices, do any of these stand out to you?

We really are here for you, please continue to reach out to us whenever you feel comfortable to do so

Karen0901
Community Member

I'm really impressed with how well you have been dealing with this over the years. It sounds like you have been a positive influence on him. It was good you were able to get him to seek professional help.

I think what bothers me the most is the fact he had filmed women without permission. Since it was a public space, I imagine there is no law against it but it still feels very wrong. It feels like a progression past a porn addiction, maybe borderline cheating.

You mentioned you can't take the lying and deceit. Lying and deceit are a fundamental part of addictions but he seems to be open with you when confronted. So it does sound like he is trying to improve to me. I think this is a good sign of how much he wants tackle this so that he doesn't lose you.

I think you really need to think about if you want to keep fighting this addiction with him. It's a difficult one because, being an addiction that is focused on other women, it must be hard to dissociate the addiction from his love for you. Therefore, it might also be worth having some couples counselling so you can talk about the situation together and get an understanding of it from his point of view.

Kim1988
Community Member

I am going through a somewhat similar situation with my husband. Although he has never filmed any women, but for sure there’s some kind of porn addiction there.

At least your husband can admit it. Mine doesn’t think the amount of porn he consumes is a problem even though it’s sometimes at times when he could be helping me with our newborn baby and he tells me he can weeks without watching it when it’s clearly not the case. He can’t even go a few hours. My husband blames it on other people saying that people at work influence him to watch it, however most of the time he isn’t at work while watching it. He’s not working at the moment so not sure who he’ll blame it on next.

I thought I was the one at fault because he said I don’t initiate enough, wear sexy lingerie and I’m always busy looking after our baby. It’s deeper issue than those things though. He tells me he does prefer the real thing than watching porn, but I guess just not with me. It makes me feel like I’m not enough for him and that I’m competing with porn. When I said this he looked at me like I’m an idiot. He doesn’t get it. I don’t care that he watches it. It’s the frequency and the lies that I get told.

He now uses DuckDuckGo, which is a privacy browser. He never did this before I caught onto things. Nothing has been resolved really. He’s just hiding it better from me. It doesn’t solve the issue. I don’t want to be a wife that monitors what he’s doing but I’m not being told the truth. He’s not being honest with himself or me. I want him to get help but he doesn’t think he’s got an issue so he won’t.

I want to know what he’s doing on DuckDuckGo to make sure it’s just watching porn and he’s not asking models for pictures or anything like that. The latter to me is cheating.

I've had similar issues with my husband. I thought it was just me that felt this way. So glad to read other similar stories.

I have often caught him watching porn after he thinks I've gone to sleep. Then he even lied and said he wasn't when I saw he was and he thought he had turned it off in time. It frustrates me that he lies about it. It also makes me feel like I'm not good enough and that I have to compete with these unrealistic looking women.

We've been together for almost 20 years now and we have hardly any sex life now. I feel like he just gets his fix from porn, so then isn't interested in the real thing anymore. Feel so unloved.

Hello Bluebirdie, getting any satisfaction from watching porn behind closed doors is an unrealistic imagination, but it happens on many occasions much to the disdain for their partners/spouses who may not know until they finally find out in one way or another.

It does have the possibility of drawing two people away from each other, and can seize the opportunity to do what you once were able to do.

To hide it and lie about it even makes this so much more disappointing because it's an obsession they take as being a primary factor in their life.

You can try and talk with him, however, the truth may be hidden away and even if he says he'll stop, can you be sure this will actually happen, especially when he believes you're asleep.

If he believes this is causing a problem within your marriage then he has to accept that getting some help will overcome this obsession, if however this doesn't happen, then first you need to see your doctor using the mental health plan, which entitles you to 10 Medicare paid sessions to talk with a psychologist. He may need to visit a group or a psych by himself.

Please keep in touch with us and let us know what's happening.

My best.

Geoff.

Miss_at_a_loss
Community Member

Hi UserName123

Sorry that you are going through this and believe me I know from experience how soul destroying this can be as I am going through a similar situation (one of his many addictions) with my ex partner of 8 years it has totally destroyed our relationship and I was left feeling like I wasn't good enough for a very long time but I eventually came to the realisation that I am good enough and this is something only he has control over and no amount of crying and pleading will make any difference it has to be their choice to make the change whilst I only joined this group yesterday I am amazed at the level of support the lovely people on here have to offer please keep posting and make time to focus on yourself

Much Love x

missep123
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi @UserName123,

I just wanted to check in and see how you were doing!

We are here for you!