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Don’t Ignore Your Marriage After Sexual Addiction is Discovered

Last Updated: September 9, 2015

Ella Hutchinson
Ella Hutchinson

Ella Hutchinson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) who is passionate about advocating for partners of sex addicts by helping them to find their voice. She served for three years as a founding board member of the Association for Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS). Today, she proudly serves on the board of directors for the organization, Certified Sex Addiction Specialists-International (CSASI). Ella and her husband, Jeff, work together helping couples whose marriages have been invaded by sexual addiction.

Over the past month I have given a few presentations at conferences for other therapists on the topic of Sex Addiction in marriage. It is such a neglected topic and has gotten me thinking. When pornography addiction or sex addiction is discovered, overwhelmingly couples are encouraged to focus on their own treatment and the marriage is often ignored. Meanwhile the couple continues to live together (usually) and must interact on a daily basis. They are usually sharing household responsibilities and childrearing. A tornado has torn through their home and they are being encouraged to each pick up the pieces alone.

The Bible tells us that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). It also says “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6).

God clearly puts the marriage above the individual. Yet couples whose marriage has been invaded by sexual sin are too often being advised to focus only on the individual. Why are professionals giving this recommendation and why is it so harmful to ignore the marriage in recovery from sexual addiction?

The Wrong Approach to Sexual Addiction Counseling

It is a popular notion amongst many counselors that when a couple is having problems they stem from the baggage each individual brought into the marriage, and once that is treated, then the marriage can be worked on much more easily. There is certainly a lot of truth to the fact that marriage is significantly impacted by the issues we bring into it. When a counselor sits in front of a couple struggling with the damage sex addiction has done to their relationship, she or he sees two very wounded individuals. These people can appear out of control in every sense of the word.

It may seem easier to separate them and treat them separately until they are in a better place. Sometimes this is the best course of action, such as when the addict is not willing to get into treatment or the wife does not want to stay in the marriage. But what so many counselors are failing to recognize is that the marriage doesn’t stop while each partner is getting individual help!

I have seen too many couples grow apart as they get individual help. I have had more couples than I can count come to me after months or years of counseling individually and they have virtually no marriage left. Studies have shown that the best indicator of success in recovery from sexual addiction is family support. Further, the best indicator of healing within the marriage for the partner of a sex addict is support from her spouse.

The Right Approach to Sexual Addiction Counseling

My philosophy is: teach the addict who is the injuring party how to empathize with and patiently support his wife, and then in time she will almost always be able to follow his lead and offer him the same support (assuming he is no longer acting out). This is not an easy feat, but when done correctly, it works!

Couples, don’t be afraid to insist on getting help for your marriage, in addition to the recovery work you are doing for yourselves. Don’t give up until you find someone who agrees that your marriage should be a priority. A three day couple’s intensive can be a great way to get a jump start to recovery for your marriage. Learn more by clicking here.

  • Comments on: Don’t Ignore Your Marriage After Sexual Addiction is Discovered
    1. B

      I am damaged. My husband looks at other women and constantly denies it. He has a porn addiction and once blamed me for it.although he apologized and explained to me it is not my fault I will always feel that I am less than a woman and not what he wants. I was able to deal with all of this pain until I found out I was pregnant by him again. The emotional pain is unbearable. I tried talking to our pastor but I got the feeling that he just doesn’t understand my point of view. I feel alone and lost and just plain ugly.

      • graham

        Maybe it is perhaps because your sex life with him is Boring. Men are Horny goats.. If he is a sex addict then most likely he was a sex addict WAY before you both wer married. With that being said, he loves you. In my opinion that’s a cry for help to YOU. As his spouse it is Your responsibility to keep his eyes in his OWN bed. If he is interested in other women.. Who’s fault is That if he Married you? Spice the marriage. Sex does not always have to be an annual or ceremonious event with roses and wine. Lol

      • With all due respect, Graham, this isn’t good advice. No doubt, keeping things fresh and intimate in the bedroom is good for any marriage, but that is not a cure for sex addiction anymore than gourmet cooking is a cure for alcoholism.

      • Sara

        Please find a therapist who is qualified to work with partners of sex addicts. It is not your responsibility to keep your husband faithful. It is his responsibility. God loves you. Please get the professional help you need.

      • Daniel

        how many male orphans never adopted has learn to be passionate lovers in their relationships

      • Melissa

        I understand I’m going threw my husband having a sexual addiction but lies says he’s not cheating on me but I have found all kinds of eveadence I know he is he’s has his own business so that helps him he has done stuff in our home he is very slick I want to walk in and catch him so bad so he can’t look me in my face and lie nomore he likes men and women he’s always smells like someone’s body part and it kills me he doesn’t want to be with me sexually don’t do any of the things with me that he does with them I love but I wish I didn’t been married almost 30 years I think he has cheated most of it what to do when it feel like my heart being ripped piece at a time

      • Kay Bruner

        Hi Melissa. I am so, so sorry to hear about the pain you’re going through in your marriage. It sounds to me like you’d benefit from some support at this point, as you think about what healthy boundaries might look like for you. (Here’s an article on boundaries.) Personal counseling might be a good step for you to consider at this point. And support groups can be a really great source of help as you consider what to do with the situation you’re in right now. It sounds to me like you are well aware of the realities of the situation. The question is, what’s healthy for you in this? While you sort through that, find some safe people who can help you–a therapist, a group. Blessings, Kay

      • Barbara

        I understand how you feel. My husband is addicted to porn for over 30 years. I learned about it 15 years ago, didn’t freak out, talked calmly and told him I would support his recovery. He lied and lied and manipulated me and used gaslighting and deception. He continued with porn and blamed me. I was hospitalized 20 years ago and he tells me I abandoned him, I have chronic pain so he now blames me for having to plan sex when the pain isn’t as bad, he even blames covenant eyes software for bad reports to our friend who is his accountability partner!

        I have always had a stronger sex drive than him, very adventurous sexually, highly stimulated visually – none of it kept him from choosing to cheat. He admits he brought hundreds of women into our bedroom through porn. He has turned my children against me by getting them to feel sorry for him.
        I am contemplating suicide as I cannot take anymore pain. I have no money for therapy, no support and no future. I feel hopeless and I know God understands. My God is Jesus who DOES NOT judge – he knows I am suffering – I can barely breathe with the pain.

      • Kay Bruner


        I am so sorry for the pain that you’ve suffered in this relationship, and I understand that the pain is severe. Please do not harm yourself. There is help and hope for you!

        You are describing a situation of emotional abuse. Abuse is not just hitting; here’s an article that describes a variety of abuses. Your local women’s shelter will understand that abuse is not just hitting, and should be able to offer services to you. You can search for a local shelter here. Call them and see what services are available to you.

        You can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

        Please do not harm yourself over this. There is help and hope. No matter what your husband chooses, YOU can choose to be healthy and whole. Escaping the abuse is your first step to healing.

        Peace to you,

      • Karen

        I have been reading about sexual addiction and it really scares me. My husband has been viewing porn and just recently I found chargers to massage parlors. What a blow to me. At first I hopped back into bed and had sex with him. After a couple of weeks he seemed disconnected again. Finally he confessed that he had been back at it along with Facebook flirting. Now I have no desire to be close to him at all. We are in therapy. I don’t know what lesson this is for me. I want an intimate relationship but I don’t know if it’s with him.

      • Kay Bruner

        Hi Karen,
        Well, it sounds natural to me that you don’t want to be close to someone who has broken your trust so completely. It’s not wise to trust someone unless they are trustworthy, and you can only tell if someone is trustworthy by their trustworthy behavior over time. Your husband has been completely untrustworthy. It’s good that you guys are in therapy, but really he is the person who has to do the work of being trustworthy, while you have to pay attention to his choices, and decide what healthy boundaries will look like for you, given the reality of the situation. TRUST YOURSELF! You were able to tell when he was disconnected from you. GOOD!!! PAY ATTENTION to your intuition. Follow those signs, and make good, healthy decisions for yourself. I would say that at least one lesson is that YOU are trustworthy, and YOU can make good choices for yourself. Keep doing it! Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries that should help as you pay attention to the truth of what’s happening. And here’s an article that looks at the research of Dr. John Gottman to see how emotional trust is built and destroyed in a relationship. (The research confirms your intuition! Turning away from the relationship is a dead giveaway!) Peace to you, Kay

      • Mary Colleen Moss

        The devil is a liar and your worth is not found in a mans desire but rather that. God has chosen you for Himself. You can find pure and u defiled intimacy with God. He knows yiur heart and your wounds. In His presence is fullness of joy. Gid opens and xloses the womb and children are an inheritance from God. He has blessed you and you will find joy and contentment with your precious new baby.
        God works in strange and mysterious ways.

      • Diana

        I am so deeply sorry that you feel so alone and confused in your relationship. I completely understand how you feel!!! I site the really helped me heal and feel understood by other women in the same situation: https://sisterhoodofsupport.org/

    2. Ashley

      I too have caught my husband continue to look at pornography. The rejection is beyond horrible. Every time I have asked him if he is doing it he has gone so far as to swear on God to save himself. How do you trust someone who will do whatever it takes to save himself from confronting his sin??
      B, let me tell you that you are a beautiful woman of God. He hand picked you to be on this earth for a purpose. You and I both need to turn to God and lean on him for acceptance and truth. Hope things get better for you.

      • B

        Thank you Ashley. You are right, I need to give this to God. My resentment is taking over and I am in a bad place. I don’t trust him at all and he has the audacity to be angry about it. He hurt me deeply and doesn’t seem to care. I am literally sitting here contemplating taking my daughter and my unborn child and leaving him today. I love God ,but I can’t understand why I have a husband with a porn addiction and a problem with looking at other women. I can’t go on like this for too much longer, I pray God speaks to me soon because this is too big for me to handle.

    3. terri wafer

      Ashley i know just how you feel. My husband has a sex addiction and likes to call phone sex chat lines. I’ve found in his GPS addresses to cheap hotels. He admits after being caught to the chat lines but vehemetly refuses to admit to meeting at hotels with him. I truly believe he has but i have no hardcore proof. And his word nothing to me. I am a recovering opiate addict. I understand addiction and the cycle. I want to give him a chance in his counselling to get well before i make any decisions to leave. but it is so difficult laying next to him at night knowing what he has done and living with the constant suspicions. we have a child together and i really want to give our son a home with both parents. And that he has parents that get along at the very least.

    4. Crista

      The truth in this post affirms exactly what I have been feeling. This whole idea of “you deal with your stuff and let him deal with his” seems ludicrous at times. For me, the most intense counseling for the couple is indeed for the coupleship to survive the initial crisis of disclosure. After the new reality has been stabilized for the couple, then individual counseling is imperative. I have felt so invalidated in the relational trauma that I have experienced in my marriage by much of the pioneers in the sex addiction recovery community.

    5. Lily

      I feel conflicted about this because empathy is so often lacking until some recovery is gained. I have witnessed this in my husband and in the stories of many other couples. It just seems to me to do no good to expect a husband to reach out when he doesn’t seem ready or able. It only *adds* to the pain to expect something he is not yet able to give.

      The fruits of focusing more on our marriage have not been good, have not felt right to do.

      I just have to think that it may be different in different situations.

      That said, I am glad to see articles validating a wife’s point of view, so thank you for what you are writing. The trauma is real and is so often minimized. I have felt invalidated by my husband’s therapist and by his sponsor. It is refreshing to feel validated.

    6. Lily, you are right that it is different in different situations. However, I see several couples who both want marriage counseling and are being told they aren’t ready. I see addicts who are ready, but counselors who are brain washed by their archaic training tell them they aren’t because they haven’t reached a certain milestone or “task” in their treatment. Furthermore, how do we define ready? Will an addict ever be eager to do a disclosure? Can either party really ever be “ready” for such a painful but necessary step in order for there to be healing and recovery for both? There are indeed some who aren’t there and may never be. In these cases I believe it is unfair to instruct a wife to sit idly by and patiently wait for him to be ready, especially after all she has already been through. Instead, I tell wives they have choices and I will support them no matter what they choose. But there are many couples who are both willing and able to successfully work on their marriage who are being told they can’t. In my experience, if he is “ready” to take recovery seriously and his actions show that, he is no longer acting out, and he truly wants to stay married….he is as ready as he’ll ever be too work on his marriage, and with professional guidance and preparation (that does not need to take very long in most cases), to give his wife a full clinical disclosure.

    7. Lily

      I am not sure we are in disagreement here on the basic principles. I fully and completely believe in women having and owning and making choices — not just sitting around doing nothing. I only share my experience that there has been a middle ground time where having parallel and individual healing processes has been *essential* to move us toward being able to work on our marriage. And I felt that decision guided by heaven. Had we tried to work on our marriage before he’d found some grounding and healing, and before I’d done the same, I think it could have ended our marriage. There was just too much baggage and too much trauma (the addiction was only a symptom of deeper spiritual self-worth issues, as is so often the case), and a deep need for us each to find some grounding and healing in God first, and for him to have some physiological healing via months of sobriety.

      I completely understand the value of having a husband give a full clinical disclosure up front. I think that is important. I have experienced having professionals not encourage that and it has not been helpful at all. Still, waiting until the lines of communication could be less cluttered by baggage may not always be a bad thing, in my opinion.

      “How do you know when he’s ready?” I think this is as much of a gut thing as anything. I think women can learn to discern and sense when there is some real recovery, because they live with their husbands every day and see the patterns. There is a real difference when some of that healing takes place.

      I imagine that once you get men to a three-day intensive, they may already have done some initial legwork and by definition be ready (or have a wife who is one step away from done). But perhaps for many there is some process before that. I think it’s important to leave room for that possibility and help wives trust their instincts as to whether they want to take some time to heal themselves from the trauma and observe and draw healthy boundaries that communicate that she chooses not to continue to live with the unhealthy dynamics that addiction and trauma bring to relationships.

    8. Megan

      It’s been a year since I discovered I was married to a porn addict for 12 years. I have been through marriage and individual counseling this entire year. I stopped the marriage counseling after 10 sessions because I felt invalidated by the therapist and everything was about my husbands addiction. I wanted to escape and focus on myself. My husband relapsed after 6 months and it brought me right back to the very beginning. After a year I am still having nightmares from the videos and images my husband traded for a life with me. I now go through longer periods of feeling like I’m married again but it always comes back and haunts me, the feelings of inadequacy, severe sadness, abandonment, and resentment. I am still not sure I will stay in this marriage despite that my husband no longer engages in porn and is trying very hard to stay married. I feel numb and depressed even though things are better. Thank you Ella from the bottom of my heart for your articles. They have saved me when I feel no one will ever understand what I’ve been through in this secret life that I have to hide from the world.

      • Lisa Eldred

        Stay strong and focus on your own recovery! You might want to read the free e-book Hope After Porn, in which four wives share their stories of reconciliation with their husbands after severe problems.

    9. christan thomas

      My husband and I are both in recovery for drug addiction. He has been clean for 3 years. He also suffers from a sex addiction. I relapsed after 15 months clean when I miscarried our 3rd child in a row. While i was in inpatient he had sex with 3 different people that I know. He was honest about what he did and told me that he loves me. He is seeking help and we have treated it as both ofbus relapsed. I worry if our marriage is able to be saved. I know that it wasnt about me just like my relapse wasnt about him. He wants to go to church and seek counseling as well. He believes we can make it through this and become stronger because of it. He was like this when I met him and through our relationship remained faithful until now. I love him greatly and want to believe him.

      • Where have you sought out help? Have you looked for a counselor in your area?

    10. I appreciate these articles. There are so many of us out there.
      A little over a year ago I found out about my husband’s 53 year sexual addiction. He is 62 years old, I am 67. We have been married for 42 years. He lied to me smd betrayed me every day of those 42 years. He entered our marriage in a lie. The disc

      • Kay Bruner

        Hey Caroll. I’m so glad you found some community here. You’re absolutely right, there are so many of us who’ve had this experience. I hope that the more we talk about it, the more open we are about all this, the more honesty we can grow around sexual issues. I feel like so much of our problem with this in the Christian world is that we don’t know how to talk about sex in a healthy way at all, much less cope with difficulties like sexual addiction. The truth is, there’s healing and freedom available for all of us together. It’s a tough road, for sure! But healing happens. It does. Please let us know if you have questions–there are lots of free resources here. In fact, here’s an article with some of our best materials for women–just in case you happened to miss any of these. I hope you have someone local to talk with about this, for your own support and healing? I like to recommend the American Association of Christian Counselors as a good place to look for a counselor if you need one. Blessings to you, and please let us know if you have questions we can help with. Kay

      • Jeanne

        We have been married for 46 years and he has gone the gammit. First it was affairs, then he molested my daughter, and went on to porno. The affairs I knew about. My daughter I found out about over 10 years later. The port when he was fired from his job at the age of 60. He had concealing hipnosis and faced his childhood. I found that my father had also molested my daughter when she was small. Was told by dr. that if either of them had no history of abuse it would not have happened. She has been married 4 times and I
        blames me for everything. I have been told that I was a bad mother Abad wife and if I hadn’t been so dumb non of this would have happrned. I am 71 years old and refuse to keep paying for the sins of the two most important men in my life. I pray daily for my daughter, myself and my husband. God is a God of miracles and I am waiting for mine.

      • Kay Bruner

        Jeanne, your story just breaks my heart.

    11. Ken

      I have a different problem. My drive is lower as I cross into my 40s. My wife wants to have more sex and it puts more pressure on me. She began complaining to me. Then stopped. But the judgement I feel in the bedroom now is incomprehensible. I find I avoid possible encounters altogether or that my mind is just in a different ‘safe’ spot to even expect to end up ‘there’. With a guy, you’re either ready or you’re not. I find I’m way to stressed out if I feel theres even a suggestion of messing around… and I seize up. We were way active early in our marriage. I’m the only partner she’s ever had. The whole subject to me is a downward spiral of inadequacy and tension no matter how hard I try to hide it from her so that she doesn’t feel guilty or starts second guessing. Because she’s not doing anything wrong. Its my lack of…whatever. To compound things, I am a recent member of sobriety. I was a quiet – nighttime to bed drunk. It stopped. It used to be the only time I was ‘relaxed’ enough to not be so stressed in the bedroom over this. Now that’s gone. I almost wonder if a ‘forced’ situation (ie like viagra) is the cure to get some regularity and confidence. For most guys with lost of interest, I’m reading its porn. But what about someone like me?

      • Hi Ken,

        This is a good question. I’ll give you some of my thoughts.

        1. Have you noticed any physical issues recently, namely ED? A loss of libido can be caused by hormonal factors.

        2. It seems like the most likely cause of this is the stress in your life. The crutch of alcohol was keeping you relaxed but now that this is gone, your stress levels are too high to really engage with your wife. It is important to get to the heart of the stress you feel, the causes of the tension you are describing.

        3. If one of those causes of tension is the dynamic between you and your wife, it is important you talk it through with her. It is a common myth that men should always be “ready to go” because men are horny 24/7. It is also a myth that men don’t need real intimacy to be turned on. Your wife needs to understand that what turns you on is not the immediate request for sex, but a place of safety where you can really connect with her.

    12. Julie

      It has been 2 1/2 years since the last discovery. We’ve been married for 14 years and there have probably been 9 or so major discoveries, but the last one broke me in ways I didn’t know I could break. His porn addiction had breached the virtual world and had evolved into an obsession with a woman at work and sexting. He has not had an affair (verified by a polygraph). Nor has he visited strip clubs.

      We’ve had loads of counseling. Individual. Couples.

      None of it helps me deal with the triggers I feel. I actually hurt when I see sexy women who resemble what I found in all the discoveries. Video after video after video of the same woman just with a million different faces and bodies.

      I’ve accepted that my husband is not the man I thought he was when we married. I’ve accepted that he was deeply broken and had developed this horrible crutch. What I can’t get over is how hurt I still am. How angry. How betrayed. I have nightmares STILL. Take medications to help me with anxiety since I have PTSD episodes in public. I look at my husband and I see two men: one who loved me then and loves me still and one who did whatever it took to make the pain go away with no regard to the land mines he was planting all around me and which eventually detonated, leaving me to pick shrapnel from my deepest core. I both love him and hate him. I don’t know if I will ever get past this or feel better or believe it is finally over and we can close the chapter on it.

      He has passed 3 polygraphs. He is sober. He could certainly improve on expressing empathy and compassion and he still tends to avoid me when I’m in my worst pain, which just makes me feel abandoned in an abyss he dug for me.

      I don’t know what to do. When do you say ENOUGH. This isn’t going to heal. I’m changed – forever. Gone is the lighthearted, funny, trusting woman I once was and in her place is this volatile, afraid, defensive, strong beyond belief woman warrior who will take NO MORE SHIT.

      That’s not who I was. I’ve lost all my softness. I’ve lost total respect for him. I don’t like him anymore. I don’t even feel like I know him – or me – anymore. Would someone please, please, please help me? I don’t know what to do.

      • Kay Bruner

        Well, the very first thing we do when treating trauma is to make sure the person is safe. I think it’s really hard for women to feel safe when they’re being required to repair a marriage relationship that has caused so much deep trauma. I would much prefer to see a couple separate when a wife is in the kind of distress that you describe. Have the husband do his work, allow the wife to have real, trauma-informed personal therapy that’s NOT focused on repairing the marriage, but completely focused on helping the wife with recovery. EMDR, yoga, biofeedback–all the tools that research shows to be most effective. THEN, when the wife is feeling herself again, IF the husband has done his work, THEN you can talk about whether the marriage is viable.

        To me, it sounds like you haven’t had the opportunity to be truly safe. The truth is: you CAN heal. PTSD is totally treatable! But if basic treatment protocol is violated (you’re not in a safe place, you’re required to stay while he continues to ‘struggle’ through recovery) then I’m not surprised you’ve had poor results in treatment. Have you read Bessel Van Der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score? Best research out there on the treatment of PTSD. He’s also been interviewed at OnBeing, a great podcast that gives you the nugget of his ideas.

        I would never, ever tell you that you’re required to stay in a marriage when the vows have been so thoroughly and repeatedly violated. Here is Luke Gilkerson’s article where he talks about how he changed his mind on divorce and porn. If you need Bible verses to go along with your inner convictions!

        I would say that while he’s got these polygraphs on his side, if he doesn’t express empathy and compassion for you, if he avoids you when you’re in pain–well, that is not a person who has done his part to rebuild emotional trust in the marriage. Here’s John Gottman on emotional trust, and an article I wrote a while back on the same topic.

        I think that “recovery” efforts cannot just focus on “sobriety.” If you can’t rebuild the emotional heart of the marriage, what’s the point? Unfortunately, that’s a task that a lot of addicts aren’t willing to undertake.

        You are a person of value, of inestimable worth. You are Beloved. Live a life in congruence with that value, that worth, that Love.

        Peace to you,

      • Oni

        Julie, I can relate to you more than one could imagine. I have many (unfortunate) years of experience with a porn/sex addict & the acting out was a breeches line I thought I could handle eventually, that one day Icould look back at & roll my eyes like so many other things. Im 47 now, He is 54, and I stayed thinking “i dont need to decide anything in the immed, i will simple stay, observe his actions, his desire to change or not change, etc etc”. So sex addicts see many things as an eacape route, and in your sex addiction may have been once upon a time about pain escape, or blocking bad feelings of some “harmless sounding emotional baggage” BUT Inow believe that by the time the guys in his 20s and if still into porn sex whatever that it is NO LONGER SERVING THE SAME PURPOSE as it had for that young man who started it, it numbs emotions. Numbing them those long years numbs their Ability to care, to live and eventually to believe someone else’s feelings are of any importance. They eventually seek to control through action and inaction, they seek to harm in passive agressive ways that they can claim wasnt them or was not what they had wanted WHY? Because they are never the reaponsible party…. they are trapped in an emotionally stunted even frozen toddlers mind while using a full grown mans hard on to cause the current woman in their life to be the one who now experiences pain or humiliation or disease. The bullcrap line of escape holds a small truth even now however, the line is more used in their adulthood to consecrate their fantasy of still being some victim who will never be held reaponsible for thier actions or inactions. Dies that make any sense? I hope I explained it in a way that will give you an insight to allow you to watch and listen from here on and now be able to better distinguish the reality if the situation VERSUS the manipulation the addict is imposing on you to rob you of your own senses and perceptions. Its called GASLIGHTING and its a very very serious form of abuse IF that is indeed whats going on. Only you can say as none of us lives your life. One thing I can promise is the truth, the person you thought you married may be innocent or kind way way down when his mind quiets and he is only in your presence… but, the truth is the real him will never care more for anyones wishes, feelings, urges, ability to control their own lives or to ever be a “what u see is what u get” kind of man. He has deep seated beliefs that people all simply wear a mask and then secretly live what they want to really live. The best easiest way to so this is to find a responsible, beautiful, loving, compassionate, understanding, empathetic EMOTIONALLY AVAILABLE woman so their life will hold some quality while still allowing them to indulge in deviant behavior YET STILL convince themselves they are a good person with nothing to hide and no reason to feel shame. They begin to convince themselves that who YOU are is actually how others perceive THEM. If you challenge that bubble then you find them accusing you of doing the very things they do to you and so one. These people have no interest in living differently, the life they chose was THEIR CHOICE therefore in their control and resentment sets in when you say you reduse to accept the life they have to offer you. Sadly however, they cant accept that living the life they offer is nothing special, nothing you cant find anywhere else. These men are a dime a doze whether a sex addict or heroin addict or crack-head. Special says “ your my love, and if you were gone, even then NOBODY ELSE COULD EVER DO!”
        So please dont do anything in your situation with out first considering it will never stop with out something magical . They do NOT tire of drama, they do NOT get bored and wake one day and say “im over now babe” they will not suddenly become loving and fearful they may lose you. They do not EVER stop unless made to stop and that usually only stops them from sex with the spouse as porn-creep sets in and they can no longer perform. WHATS WORSE is any children in the home are LEARNING -being taught by the addict all the behaviors to escape responsibility and EASILY fall into addictive thought processing. They are poisoning more in your home than you could EVER imagine. Sometimes sitting back waiting as I mentioned I tried, does more harm than you can fathom! Sometimes its time to get out and look up at the stars and be thankful to be able to be back to being YOU, to feel blessed for being FREE, toknow you did everything in your power to do right by your children and failed marriages are nothing compared to failed parenting which addicts are clear proof of the dangers and how it spreads to more and more lifes to allow failed parenting!
        There are no coincidences in life…
        There are no addicts who are able and/or willing to process their thoughts in a reasonable, adult, reaponsibility driven manner. They have purposely indulged in unhealthy thought processes for so long that truth escapes them, anger builds and noone, NOONE will ever tell them secrecy isnt the same as privacy, that love has nothing to do with sex AT ALL, that their actions or inaction is to blame for their consequences. They victimize while crying out POOR ME Im the victim here!
        For example: a SA come home and his spouse yells at him for not taking out the trash, and not checking oil because NOW trash is everywhere, and the engine blew in the car. The SA screams at her that the car isnt HIS fault, he didnt blow the engine of purpose, he drives so well and babies that car and he didnt make the trash pile up HE ISNT THE ONLY ONE IN THE HOUSE, why should he be blamed??? Its NOT HIM.
        Well, the choice to avoid the reaponsibility of checking and changing oil is why eventually the engine blew or seized so his inaction left the family without the car, he refused to take out trash and it sat there and continues to pile up and spill over. But never mentioned he would not take care of those things. He quietly avoids mentioning he never did them until the mess has occured then tells you I NEVER SAID I WOULD DO IT OR DID DO IT. I FORGOT. I DIDNT KNOW. ITS NOT MY FAULT. YOU COULD HAVE DONE ALL THOSE THINGS. I NEVER SAID I WOULD. Trying to guilt you into thinking your the nut job. Well your NOT. They have very deep seated issues and desires to manipulate, and play word games to shift blame and responsibility. Why? Because again, they chose this lifestyle long before you came around.

        YOU didnt lose all your softness, you didnt lose your ability to see the beauty and innocense in the world. Your subconscious simply senses the lack of safety you experience while allowing this person to be in your life. Your softness is being hidden so that being targeted by this person will not happen again. You have all of that still inside of you but must remove the person of danger from your life completely before you will be able to heal and finally feel aafe enough to be the real you again. Your truing to protect yourself from further damage while telling yourself you have simply turned hard, cold, & mean. Just stop everything, sit alone and dig down deep and ask yourself just how smart it would be or how beneficial it would be to your wellbeing to hand this person your trust again and leaving yourself wide open. You obviouslu already know the answers but acknowledging them sadly means a new direction is the only durection left and thats hard to accept, to deal with, and to go through!
        Best wishes! I really hope you get free and find yourself again!!!!

    13. J-mama

      I’m in a marriage of almost 7 years, with a 3 yr old son. Before evenngetting engaged, I explained to my now-husband that porn was my biggest deal breaker (along with drugs, alcohol, smoking). Since becoming pregnant, things felt off, but I just couldn’t figure out why and blamed other stresses of moving, job changes, family deaths, etc. I finally confirmed the problem was porn addiction the entire time I was pregnant, nursing, exhausted and needed my husband the most. He was completely emotionally withdrawn. I gave up work, as we agreed I’d stay home until our son goes to school. I have no trust for my husband. How could he lie and hide something like this from me? I feel like he robbed me sexually… all the energy he spent on himself and with the computer. I can not decide if I should divorce, but I am starting to really consider it. I’m wondering how divorce will affect my child. Does God really want me to suffer through being treated second-best by my own husband? He says he wants to fix this. He promises it won’t happen again but he couldn’t even tell me he had a problem. I had to catch him. I’m so miserable. It’s been a year since my discovery and I just can’t get a grip on the clues I kept missing… leaving socks around the house to clean-up with later, him being too happy when I left to go do things for myself, I started initiating sex just to avoid feeling like a roommate to my own husband. I’m only 29 and I’m already being traded-in for a computer?

      • Kay Bruner

        I am so, so sorry.

        Your husband definitely needs to work on his recovery, and I hope he will do so!

        Meanwhile, I hope you’ll find a counselor who can help you process your emotions and consider healthy boundaries for yourself. A group would also be a good support for you, and you might also want to check out the online resources at Bloom for Women.

        Peace to you,

    14. Sid

      First if all let me say how truly sorry I am for all the suffering and misery I see in these posts.
      I am a 62 yr old male. I have been married for 35 years to a wonderful woman. I have had a sex addiction since I was in my teens. I am sure I was born with genetic tendencies. The sexual urges that I felt were so strong almost like a bad tooth ache. The need to become turned on was easily met at first by visual stimuli, however as time went on increased stimuli was needed to achieve the same effect. For a long time I saw nothing wrong with it. I gave my heart to God when I was 25 yrs old, was able to give up smoking, swearing, and other sinful habits, but was unable or unwilling to give up self abuse. I got married, to a wonderful woman whom I am still married to, and I love her very, very much. I find her attractive to look at, wonderful to be with as a friend and a lover, but still found myself tempted to lust after other women through media, (television, billboards, etc). I wanted desperately to have a pure mind and a clean heart. I prayed to God in heaven so many times to remove this curse from me I cannot begin to count them all. I became addicted to porn to feed my addiction, but was to ashamed and fearful of what it would do to my dear sweet wife. I so, so, so did not want to break her heart. I didn’t think she would be able to understand much less forgive, so I hid it from her for 35 years. I finally got caught and promised myself I would not continue, however within a year I found myself deeply involved again. I fell on my knees each morning begging God to help me with tears streaming down my cheeks in great agony of heart and soul, but was unable to stop even knowing full well what it would do to her. I would get up in the morning, have coffee, watch the morning news, and go about my daily routines with no intent of vitiating my self or marriage, then some women whom God had made to be beautiful and attractive, would enter my field of vision, and the lusting would begin. I would then find myself looking at porn and abusing myself. I found my self fantasizing and looking at things which became increasingly risky. I finally got caught again. This time I had responded to a family friend’s face book blog which had openly sexual suggestions posted, not directly to me, but in general. As I responded there was a sensation of excitement, apprehension, shane, guilt, and fear of getting caught, along with a wondering of how far would I be willing to let it go. The person must have told my wife. She then confronted me and my sin which I had so desperately wanted to keep between just God and I which then became very public. The pain I caused my wife was so intense. The feeling of betrayal, and broken trust was ripping her heart out. I could see the pain, feel her pain, and with agony of soul know I was the one that nailed her to the cross along with my God and Savior. I agonized for days knowing the damage I caused. Even as I write this and it has been three weeks, tears stain my face knowing what I did to her.
      I knew I could not continue in such a life style. It would surly kill us both, so I started doing some research. Why would I continue in such a sinful path knowing where it would lead? Research is finding that continued long term viewing of pornography makes changes to the frontal lobes in the brain which is significantly involved in the higher functions of moral reasoning and impulse control. Wow! That makes sense! Ok. So does that now, make it not my fault; not in any way! It does however give one and understanding of the sure results, if you choose to drink the poison. I made a decision based on this knowledge to never, never, go anywhere near this addiction again. I have put adult content restrictions on my phone, computer, iPad, etc. and my wife has the password. We have started reading the book “Love Dare” together. We are determined to repair the trust. I have been completely celibate for three weeks now while the healing process is taking place. Yesterday we kissed and hugged each other and I noticed a great difference how my desire for her had changed from a lust fueled by the lure of sin and fantasy to tender love for her heart and soul not just her body to satisfy the burning lust of sin. She could feel the difference, and even with such a horrific betrayal, she was becoming mentally, emotionally, and physically stimulated and believe it or not even with my erectile dysfunction so was I. It seems if I stay pure, keep her in the loop with my sexual urges, communicate, stop justifying my actions, (by jealousy of not having time for intamacy, or resentment of family and friends taking her time, and revenge, making her pay by porn and self abuse) and start trusting that she wants to spend time with me as much as I do with her, we could, and will have a unity of mind, body, and soul that far surpasses the joy we felt for each other before betrayal, because it will be so much more for us both.
      Keep us in your prayers please!

      • Chris McKenna

        Thank you, Sid for sharing your story. Heartbreaking in places but FULL of the redemptive power of Grace-driven effort. I have prayed for you both.


    15. AJ

      What does it mean when you, the wife, are doing all the leg work? Backstory: I knew, or found out, my husband was viewing porn, had images saved to his phone, and even made a profile on adult Friend finder, before we married. But, we had a child together so we stayed together. Almost like it was more convenient for us both. We started going to church, recommitted our lives to the Lord, were baptised, and married, back to back. I thought we were doing better. It was so easy for him to slip right back into his sneaky and sexual lifestyle. He was easily led astray. He would hide Google searches of images, porn use, nicotine use, anything. I would find it, he would lie, I would plead with him to open up, he would continue to lie, I would die inside, then anger came. He might decide to finally say, Ok, yeah. It was me. I did it. I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I won’t do it again. Of course, I would stumble upon something else he was hiding down the road. I would always tell him to just be open with me, share with me, let’s work on this together. It hurts me more when you are dishonest. Nothing helps. He admits to me he has addictions that began early in his life, but he won’t admit it to anyone else. He will not seek help on his own, he does not research. I do the research and send him the links or copy and paste. I contacted a sex addiction counselor and told him he was open to speak with him. Nothing happened. I told him we need counseling. Yeah, we’ll get counseling when I have more money. Blah, blah, blah. This is probably the fifth post I’ve made on the internet about all of this crap. I guess I’ll go to my grave with this junk haunting me. I don’t trust him. I love him or the thought of him… There’s so much more. If you read all of this, thank you! I contacted some local volunteer counselors that work by donations…called Living Waters Counseling. I was open with our struggles and asked for prayer. I’m waiting for a reply email. I told dh and he was fine with it. I also told him I would set him up an appointment with the sex addiction counselor. Shouldn’t he be making some effort?!!!!!!!!!

      • Kay Bruner

        Yes, he absolutely should be making ALL of the effort to take care of his addiction issues.

        Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to force other people to be healthy. The only thing we can really do is take care of ourselves, and make our own healthy choices. It sounds like you might need to think about your boundaries. Here, here, and here are some articles that might help.

        I’m glad you’re pursuing therapy, as processing your own emotions and getting support for your healthy boundaries is enormously helpful. You might also appreciate the online resources at Bloom.

        Again, you’re right: he should be doing his own work. If he doesn’t, that leaves you with important boundary decisions to make.

        Peace, Kay

    16. Kay

      I first want to thank you for all these amazing articles. I have been frantically searching the web just to figure out some things.
      Recently my husband admitted to me he believes he has a sex addiction.. he said he has never cheated on me physically but watches porn, lusts, and has violated me more than once during my sleep. I knew he has had a problem with porn, but it never really bothered me, until he wanted to start taking some of the things from “porn” into the bedroom. Just the other day out of nowhere he expressed to me that we need to abstain from sex for a year for his “recovery”, and that he is getting his own bedroom in our house (which he has set up now and has slept in since him telling me) . We have 2 children and one on the way, and I am devastated. I am scared to be alone, scared of no intimacy, and communication. He has not talked to a therapist about this, and just decided this is what he had and this is what he is doing. I feel like I have no say, nothing. He expressed this is his decision and he needs to work on himself and I am selfish for the feelings I am having. I have some anger issues, that I have just started a 12 step program for, he said he doesn’t want to get marriage counselling until I am better too.. I feel this is so hard, as we are in this marriage together. He is an alcoholic who is in the AA program and has been sober for quite some time now.
      I don’t know how to act around him, I don’t want to hug or kiss him because I know I won’t be able to have more, or that we won’t be sleeping in the same bed at night. I am hurting deeply, praying is all I feel like I have at this point, and I need some help into the direction I or we need to go. I feel tired, I feel weak and I do not want to do this relationship anymore.

      • Kay Bruner

        Hey there.

        Well, what a painful and confusing situation. Of course we do want men to do their own work in recovery, so it’s good he’s doing something. However, cutting himself off from you so abruptly, blaming you for your feelings–that does not sound healthy to me at all. That sounds more like the behavior of a ‘dry drunk’ who does the program steps without addressing the personal pain and relationship issues that underly the behavior.

        I would suggest that you find a counselor just for you, someone who can help you process your feelings and work on healthy boundaries. I’m glad you’re already going to a group, and I hope that’s helpful to you. If you want something more specific to your situation, you can check out the online resources at Bloom.

        Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries you might find helpful.

        You might also appreciate The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman–the best marriage research out there! It’s helpful to know what successful, healthy marriages look like so you know what you’re aiming for, and where to put your efforts. (Spoiler alert: it’s not sex. It’s emotional trust that makes the difference. So even if you aren’t sleeping together, there are things you can do to build the relationship–IF both people do the work.)

        Hope that helps,

    17. Re: to graham, November 25 2014…..have you ever heard of victimizing the victim ? you have never been her shoes, with comments like she is boring in bed, who do you think you are? That is sexism remark, you must be a woman hater, that’s to bad we have men like you in this world.

    18. Forever Hurting

      Wow. As I read through all of these comments and painful stories, one underlying theme keeps coming back to me over and over. The offender has now become a devil. What happened to the good woman or man you have known? That person that you gave your heart to. That was your partner in building a great life together with your kids. That still loves you despite how you may feel. Yes, they lied about their addiction. Maybe you had to corner them with so much evidence to present they couldn’t lie about it any more. Who knows? But the fact is you found out, and even though all the things above are true about your life beyond the shadow of a doubt, when you found out, the offender is now a devil. Someone to be despised and digusted with. Like it or not, more often than not this is the reaction nearly every person has. We’re human. That’s what we do and how we act. Pervert. I thought he was a decent guy. Did anyone here for one second think about the pain and suffering this person may have endured trying to keep their addiction to themselves? How dare you continue to speak of your 6 months of pain when this person has been suffering their entire life with it. Knowing it wasn’t right. Knowing they should get help. But still caught up in it nontheless. And through all the pain caught up inside they were still able to love you. To partner with you to get the things I mentioned above. They lied about their addiction when confronted. That surprises you? Really? Look at the choice they have to make. Maintain the lie keeping it to themselves and protect evetything they love from the consequences of admission or with one word EVERYTHING they love falls apart. Could you do it? Would you do it? Don’t be so quick to answer. Its much easier when you’re the offended. If you find out, please pray about it for a long time before confronting. Its hard but only God through his spirit, not even a counselor, can give you the peace in your heart and the calmness to approach this situation. Our old nature wants to lash out quickly and you will say things you can never get back. Instead of yelling, instead of crying and sobbing with hurt, wrap your arms around the offender. Tell them that you love them and the 3 (including God)of you will get through this and be stronger and better for it. This can make such a difference in laying the foundation for healing. Possibly the difference in saving the marriage. Love and forgiveness begets love and forgiveness even if you have to wait until we’re together in heaven to receive it. Sorry this is so long.

      • Let someone do that to you for years and come back to share your thoughts .

    19. Scott

      I am a sex addict and my wife turns me down for sex all the Time but I am scared I am going out of my mind because I am not getting any sex I hate to be turned down and makes me feel like shit feels like I am not good enough for her she says I am but I don’t feel that my wife asked me to find a sex buddy I don’t want that I just want her I did that before with my ex wife we split up I love my wife I don’t want to loose her but not having sex is driving me crazy I even thought about killing myself it so hard dealing with this

      • Moriah Bowman


        Thank you for reaching out and asking for help. I am sorry to hear that you are going through this trial, and it is my prayer that your marriage will be saved, even though it seems difficult right now.

        Do you have a close friend or mentor whom you can reach out to and ask for guidance? Even just having someone to walk alongside this trial with you can be a tremendous help. I would also recommend that you find a counselor, whether it be for just you or for you and your wife together!

        Finally, I want to encourage you to be strong. Your life is worth it. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

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