How to trust again after pornography? 5 Commandments of Sex Addiction Recovery

We are constantly getting comments on our blog from women whose husbands are compulsive porn users. These men are in varying stages of change in their lives: some are completely disinterested in stopping their use of porn, others express a desire to change but show no signs of improvement, while others show signs of improvement but cannot seem to earn back their wives’ trust.

Recently “Lynn” commented:

My husband has quit viewing porn but only by shutting down all facets of intimacy in our marriage. He won’t seek out counseling or an accountability partner. He says there isn’t anyone available to help him. When he first told me he quit viewing porn, I felt hopeful. It took a couple of months but I could see that he was serious. Now, six months out from his decision, things seems worse than ever. I know he’s hurting, and me “policing him” clearly is not the answer. He doesn’t acknowledge it as a problem. He tells me that the fact that he’s given up viewing should be enough for me. I can only push the conversation so far before he becomes angry and shuts me out. This just stirs up a lot of fear and paranoid thinking in me. I truly do not know how to deal with this anymore.

Dr. Doug Weiss says the only way trust can be rebuilt is by what he called “believing behavior.” “Believing his behavior is the only way for a partner to stay sane,” writes Dr. Weiss. As the spouse of a sex addict, you cannot trust his intentions, nor can you trust your intuition. The only way to rebuild trust is to see a change in behavior, to see the addict moving forward in the steps of renewal.

Dr. Weiss has what he calls the “Five Commandments of early recovery.” These are five steps he requires all of his sex addict patients to do in the first 100 days of recovery.

  1. Pray in the morning asking God to keep you clean today.
  2. Read literature related to sexual addiction recovery daily.
  3. Attend a Twelve Step or Freedom Group as much as possible.
  4. Call someone in the group daily to report your recovery status.
  5. Pray again thanking God for a day of sobriety.

Dr. Weiss says these are the things your sexually addicted spouse needs to do. “Remember if you believe a lie instead of believing behavior you are actively choosing denial. That would not only be him lying to you; that would be you ly­ing to yourself.”

Learn more about these five commandments, how they will impact the sex addict, and how they impact your marriage. You can download two free chapters from Dr. Weiss’ books. Read “Five Commandments to Freedom” from Dr. Weiss’ book The Final Freedom, and “Believing Behavior” from Partners: Healing from His Addiction.