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3 Reasons Deception Is More Destructive than Porn for Your Wife

Last Updated: February 15, 2019

Carl Stewart
Carl Stewart

Carl Stewart is the author of the Amazon Kindle bestseller, The Porn Antidote: God’s Secret Weapon for Crushing Porn’s Grip, and Creating the Life and Marriage You Dream Of. Carl is a counselor and coach in an overflowing private practice where he works with men and marriages devastated by pornography and sexual addiction. He has advanced training and supervision in Emotionally Focused Therapy–the most empirically validated marital therapy which is uniquely suited to restoring marriages affected by sexual betrayal. Carl is a speaker at men’s events, marriage retreats, and parenting seminars. Check out Carl Stewart’s website and blog at www.thepornantidote.com.

“I can’t keep doing this!” she screams with bulging eyes and face wrenched in a tormented mix of anger, fear, and pain. “I can’t keep going through this again and again. I feel like I am going crazy! How can I stay married to a man I can’t trust?”

This is the scene I encounter every week in my office as a counselor working with men and marriages devastated by pornography. Her hair is on fire, and he is in panic mode. Overwhelmed by his wife’s anger and pain, he resorts to the oldest trick in the Book (literally) in an attempt to fix the situation. He lies, minimizes, and blames. Adam did it in the Garden, and we have been doing it ever since–with grave consequences.

When I tell a couple that lying and deception are more damaging than looking at porn, the response is shockingly predictable.

The wife looks up to catch my eyes in an “a-ha moment.” “That’s it! You nailed it on the head!” She felt this truth but couldn’t put it into words. She is relieved to have someone understand this realization resonating inside of her.

He looks, well, shocked and confused. He gives me the head cocked “cocker spaniel” look, letting me know this is all Greek to him. “How can that be?” he asks. “I was just trying to protect her from details that would only hurt her more.” Another half truth no one really believes.

Here is what I share with the men and marriages in my office about why deception is worse than looking at pornography.

Violated trust cracks the foundation of your marriage.

A fundamental breech of trust in a marriage brings everything into question. Wholeheartedly trusting someone to love and protect your heart and to act in your best interest is foundational for marriage. Having that trust violated is an act of intimate betrayal.

“Et Tu, Brute?”

The violation of lusting after other women is painful enough. Lying about it makes things worse. Now she wonders if she can trust you about anything.

Read that last statement a few times, and let it sink in.

She isn’t just afraid you are lying about looking at pornography, she is afraid she can’t trust you about anything. The naive trust is gone–it is like a death. Now she questions if you are really at the store, at the gym, or if you were actually checking work email on your phone. It understandably creates a state of paranoia, and she feels like her hair is on fire

Related: Your Wife Has Triggers Too

She feels like she lost her best friend. Now your wife’s best friend, her most intimate companion, is simultaneously the person she fears the most. Wives tell me they feel like they are going crazy when this happens. It is torturous, and there is nothing you can say or do to make it all better in the moment.

Interestingly, the part of the brain that processes relationships is the same part of the brain that processes life and death experiences. Whether you hold a gun to my head, or my wife tells me she is leaving me, I will feel the same thing.

This gives you an idea of what your wife is feeling when you lie, deceive, or blame her to take the focus off of yourself. It feels like she has a gun to her head–it is horrifying. Solomon nailed it on the head when he wrote, “An honest answer is like a kiss on lips” (Prov. 24:26).

Lying after your first disclosure amplifies the betrayal.

Relapse is a part of recovery. This is hard for wives to understand, so they are predictably angry and hurt that you acted out again.

Relapse may take you back to square one, but lying, deceiving or blaming takes you to square negative 100. If you want to make a bad situation worse, this is a great way to do it. Lying after the first disclosure is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

When this process of relapse, deception, and getting busted plays out over and over again, it gets pretty raw for both of you. She is more angry and hurt, and he is tired of the emotional explosions.

Whether it is out of pride or fear, the worst type of deception is the fearful counterattack. Knowing your wife’s suspicions–that you have been looking again even though she doesn’t have the evidence–are dead on, your best defense becomes a good offense.

Attacking your wife and calling her “crazy.” Accusing her of never forgiving you. Thinking “you’ll never trust me, so why try.” These are toxic responses to an already bad situation.

The problem is your wife will take these words to heart and actually question her reality. Even if she doesn’t tell you or show you she is doing this, it is happening. When she questions her grip on reality, it is another experience of free fall–out of control and hopeless.

When, not if, she later finds out she was right and allowed herself to doubt what she knew to be true, the sense of betrayal is magnified. This isn’t pretty for either one of you.

Please, do not go down this road. If you have been doing this, stop it now. It is psychological abuse, and you are better than that.

Related: How can I prepare for my husband’s next relapse?

Repeated deception is death by 1000 cuts.

Listen closely to what I am about to say: when your wife first finds out you have been looking at pornography, she is in shock. This means she is not feeling the full extent of the pain and betrayal.

This is the best and most loving time to tell her everything and to really come clean. Shock is God’s anesthesia, so spill the beans and spill all the beans at once.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted. –Prov. 27:6

Every time you go through the process of rebuilding trust then lying to her again, it deepens the wound. Wives in my office repeatedly tell me, “If I let my guard down, I’ll just be devastated again. It is easier not to trust or to care anymore.” Hearing your wife feels this way is terrifying. It is hard to find much hope in those words, even if she doesn’t completely feel that way.

Related: Therapeutic Disclosure–What It Is and How It Can Help Your Marriage Heal

This trickling out of the truth is torturous–literally death by 1000 cuts.  Today, a wife whose husband has repeatedly gone back to porn put it this way, “I’ve been cut so many times that I don’t have any more blood to give.”

Around 75% of the time, the wife discovers pornography rather than the husband confessing on his own. Repeated deceptions drive home her belief: “I can only trust what I discover, and I am convinced there is always more to discover.”

Honesty really is the best policy. Not just for your wife and her recovery–it is in your best interest. Being honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly actually re-builds trust with your wife and helps her heal. That means less time on the emotional roller coaster of recovery.

Think of it this way: honesty creates emotional safety for your wife (and therefore for you). Emotional safety is the foundation for any type of close relationship. Honesty and transparency actually help repair a cracked foundation (i.e. using tools like Covenant Eyes and letting her see your phone, email, texts, and iPad without pouting).

I can’t overstate how powerful it is to tell your wife the truth, even when it is painful. Every wife I have worked with emphatically tells me how helpful and healing it is when her husband tells her the truth. It is a literal and visceral relief for her.

Even if she is upset because of what you are telling her, she will respect you and be more able to forgive you if you are honest with her. I beg you… no, I dare you, to try it.

The next time you feel the reflexive urge to lie to save your own skin, or “protect your wife” from further pain, picture yourself standing over a camp fire with a bucket of full of gasoline. What you are about to do will not help anyone. If you want to keep your eyebrows, I recommend telling her the truth.

  • Comments on: 3 Reasons Deception Is More Destructive than Porn for Your Wife
    1. Jeanie on

      This is one of the best articles I have read so far. During my husband’s first disclosure, he told me a lot, even things that I did not want to hear. But, in a weird way, through all my pain, I felt relieved. I always knew something was wrong but, I never knew what. I was devastated but I was very happy that he was telling me the truth. But after his truthful disclosure, he went right back to “protection” mode, with lies, half-truths, lies by omission and I feel…every deception trick imaginable. I sometimes discover the real truth and his response is usually, “I didn’t want to upset you.” Of course my response to him is, “What you really mean is, you didn’t feel like dealing with my reaction, right?” And then, we are back to square one and, I feel that I have been betrayed all over again. I would much rather hear the truth, even if it causes me pain because, at least I feel as though I can trust him. We have been riding the emotional roller coaster of recovery for a long time now and, he just doesn’t get it. I am going to let him read this article later. I hope it helps. Thank you. I think your article is fantastic because…it’s all true!

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Jeanie. Can I ask, does your husband have a counselor? Sounds like a CSAT therapist would be helpful–someone who understands how to push past the denial. And, do you have a counselor just for you? So many times, I see wives not getting the help that they need to process emotions and build healthy boundaries. Dealing with recovery long-term can be so traumatic to a spouse–just want to make sure you’re getting help! Peace, Kay

      • Carl on

        I’m glad this helps in some way. The pain of repeated betrayals is brutal- every time a little trust builds up it is demolished. I pray that the Lord works in your husband to do what is probably terrifying for him to think of- be honest and clear even when it hurts you.

      • Jaclyn on

        I whole heartedly agree with your comment and the article itself. I am now in marriage #2…second verse same as the first. This time I have been married 9 years next month and have just dealt with it longer than in my first marriage. My first husband blamed it ALL on my…my current blames it on his past and his inability to be what I want him to be (in a negative sense…like I want perfection) but what he gives me is not even close to what I believe ANYONE deserves in a marriage…its the porn, the money, the alcohol, the bank account, and credit cards, and lavish purchases and spending as well as all the money he throws at people to bail them out of their crap. I finally got the courage to ask him for a separation. I have a daughter and I have the Lord…so I am trusting in my individual counseling, I can gain some rest and recovery from the undertow I have been in for over 7 years and in our counseling together, to find the answers we need…primarily, is he willing to fight. I am willing to wait, but this time he needs to do the work and do it on his own without my constant KNOWING that I am being deceived. At least now, I can watch from afar. I could add so much more to that, but I just wanted to let that breathe.

      • Amy Garrett on

        This is probably the best I’ve ever read on this subject. And I’ve studied a lot! Trying to understand myself and what’s going on psychologically with ME, after deception. Most writings give insight into understanding men and betrayal. Not often have I read anything that speaks so accurately to women and so perfectly understanding of the psychological effects of living in a post betrayal, continually deceptive environment. Praying for complete freedom from this trauma.

      • Patrick Medina on

        I am desperate for help in my marriage of almost 22 years. The way we are heading because of me not being there fir my wife in her healing from my sexual sins we may not make it to our 22nd anniversary. I read this article and got deeply convicted bit i need help and i need it soon. Can anyone please help me before i loose the best thing that has ever happened to me second to my relationship to God. Please help

      • Kay Bruner on

        You might want to find a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist for yourself. Regardless of whether the marriage can be restored, you need help and healing, which is readily available when you’re ready to do the work!

    2. daniel d faugot on

      This is the most accurate article and the most important article I have read in relation to my addiction. Every husband who is suffering with the addition of lust and pornography needs to read this article and then read it again. The greatest damage to a relationship comes from the lying and the deception. I know this to be true because my wife told me this ” more than any of your sins of lust, pornography and all the acting out, what hurt me the most was that you lied to me over and over again.” Yes the TRUTH will set you free! Thank you Covenant Eyes and thank you Carl Stewart!!!

      Reply
      • Carl on

        Thank you for sharing your experience. May the Lord continue to heal you, your wife, and your marriage.

    3. Courtney on

      Tears, to see in words, what has has been the story for so many women, and men that have had to deal with the psychological abuse from their spouse over addiction. Thank you for the article.

      Reply
      • Carl on

        It is deeply sad to see couples suffer through the results of deception. I’m thankful that there is still a path to healing even when there has been so much devastation.

      • Angela on

        This is one of the best articles I have read. Yes, the pain of repeated betrayal is brutal, crushing, faith shaking…. Now what?? How many times do you allow (as a wife) for this pain to be repeated?! How many chances do you give your “repented” godly husband another chance to crush you again? How many times do you continue to cling to God believing and praying for change only to again have your heart slaughtered and disappointed again?

      • D on

        I am so sad. I have been very patient with my husband. He has said, “there’s more and it’s worse” three times so far. This feels like abuse and torture as he says he said it because I was pushing him and just won’t believe him. I believe that was a slice of truth. I believe that there is a lot more and it’s worse. I am broken by the deception’s. We are in marriage counseling. He has revealed little about his 38 yr. Addiction. I am loved by God and our 4 children, now adults. I struggle with my committment and hope for our marriage vs any abuse is wrong. Thanks for the info

    4. Kerri on

      All the articles on CE are wonderful and helpful. But I have to say, it is always a breath of fresh air the hurt partner’s feeling and pain to be validated! This was spot on! My husband has been on the porn wagon even before we were married (I didn’t know it at the time), but I found out shortly after we married. So it’s been 20 years of this roller coaster. And I finally got to the point of no longer feeling **anything**. I told him the ‘light’ went out, and that our marriage was completely dead. We have separated, and it’s been 9 months. I just want to hit a few spots for those who are in my shoes:
      1. The article is very true that the pain is in the betrayal and lying about it. BUT, that being said (and I know an article can only address so many things at once), after 20 years…..there turning back to porn (and it’s very real consequences, in our case, of losing his job because of it) will be just as damaging, even if he comes clean.

      2. Jeanie, I feel your pain! I wanted off the roller coaster, so I told him he had to leave. No, it doesn’t get rid of the porn, but it got rid of dealing with him on a daily basis (trust me, after 20 years, porn has greater affects than just the pain of lying, a husband will treat you as a second class citizen).

      3. I know that a man (or woman) turns to porn because there is a big gaping hole in their needs, that will never be filled by their partner! They need help to know where that hole is and how to let it heal.

      4. Please, please, please, any woman out there who is getting counseling from a couple who has been in your shoes….if this is a first time offense, I would say give it a go, BUT if you’ve been dealing with this for years on end,get professional help!!!! We had a couple counseling us, since the church believed that any believer who is versed in God’s word could counsel…..this is NOT true. I didn’t think it was possible to hurt any more than I already was, but the counseling I received was very damaging. Regardless of what your christian couple counselors tell you, if you have red flags, or they are not allowing you to feel you pain and express it…get the heck out as fast as you can!!! I kept being counseled that I had to forgive (which is true, but should be done in MY timing), BUT that I had to be the best wife I could be, including the physical part. NO, NO, NO!!!! They were totally against any boundaries, and just kept telling me again and again that I was sinning! This is NOT counseling this was bondage. Do not feel guilty! Run from anyone counseling you in this way!

      I know that was not very positive, but I pray it may help someone else! I know I can’t be the only one who has been down this road. As a side note….It’s been nine months of separation, and God IS using it to bring healing, and for Him to do the work that only He can do. My husband is making progress, though I will say that I have no patience whatsoever with the fact that he is still looking at stuff. BUT that being said, he is making his own boundaries, it is getting better, and it is helpful to know that your husband WILL relapse (it’s part of the process). It has been helpful when he is honest about it. There is hope. I still do not know if our marriage will stand, but there is hope for getting over the pain and hurt! Hang in there!

      Reply
      • Carl on

        Hi Kerri,
        Thank you so much for what you wrote. Other wives need to hear what you said- your experience. Unfortunately- well intentioned attempts to help from the church can be even more wounding and destructive

        I’m glad to hear that the separation has been fruitful. God never wastes pain- and He is patient with us as we heal.

      • Sav on

        Angela,

        I feel your pain… that cycle is a nightmare. I was in that storm, trying to be a good wife, trying not to give up on my marriage. There is a certain amount of empathy necessary to be in a healthy relationship. When someone is detached enough to injure and reinjure endlessly I personally think it’s time to take a step back… Set boundaries. I don’t know what that will look like for you but I can speak from my experience… writing you now, removed from the storm, in God’s perfect peace, even without transformation from my husband.

        In my case of 14 years of psychological, emotional and verbal abuse and a continued addiction ensuing, I did the unthinkable. I felt stirred for the first time by God to let my husband go… to let him go to his creator, to the one who knows him best. I asked him to leave the house. I thought it would be scary to be alone, I thought I’d feel embarrassed before others, I thought the workload of the house and kids would crush me… none of this was true. I joined a support group called Heaing Hearts at Mariners Church in Irvine Ca and God met me, consoled me, became my Father/protector and Romancer/companion… my everything. I felt weightless, I fell on my knees before God and he gave me clarity, and vision into the spiritual world and the real enemy ruling my husband’s thoughts and actions. With the correct opponent sized up I’m now going into action against the forces of darkness and praying for my husband’s full salvation.

        I’m reading The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. It helped immensely in recognizing the root of this storm. Satan takes satisfaction in our weariness, in our being battered while in his storm. We’re tormented, unable to see clearly, find peace or be powerfully used by God. He is “the adversary” Job 1:6. He is the tempter, Matt 4:3; Thes 3:5. He is the father of lies, John 8:44. “He seeks to distract you, discourage you, divide you from others, and disable you from experiencing everything that is rightfully yours as an adopted member of God’s family. He wants to terrorize you until you are rendered incapacitated, miserable and incapable of living in the benefits of a victory that has already been won.” We must be able to discern this disruption and be alert and on our guard against the true enemy.

        Praying for you, that you would hear God’s voice and take comfort in where he leads you as you trust him only. He is your shelter in the storm.

      • Kay Bruner on

        Thank you for sharing this powerful testimony to healthy boundaries!

      • Dilya on

        This applies to more than pornography… my husband is an alcoholic who has completely destroyed any trust I will ever have for him and the love I once felt for him. I asked him to stop, went to AA meetings with him when they were court ordered, and daily asked him to please not drink…. after being married for 37 … yes 37!!! Years I no longer love or trust him. I stay because of finances and I truly love his family… the day the straw broke and I packed my bags to leave, he decided he’d try and change…. it’s been a year and he wonders why I don’t love him … I will never ever trust him again and it’s hard to love someone you cannot trust. It doesn’t help that I also caught him viewing porn … and he can’t say it’s because of lack of sex… I should have left a long time ago…

      • Kay Bruner on

        I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve been through in your marriage. I agree with you completely: love requires trust. Emotional trust is the key component in a relationship: does the other person care how I’m feeling? Will they turn toward me instead of away from me, or even against me? Without emotional trust, you’re left with a shell of a relationship.

      • Tanya on

        Kerri, all of this! Thank you!!

    5. Melissa on

      This article is spot on to exactly what I have been telling my husband for over 8 years. I can deal with anything he has thrown at me but I can’t deal with the lying. It has destroyed our relationship, my trust in him and/or in most people for that matter. Sexual addiction and the trauma it has caused in my life has changed me in a way that I never though possible. Thank you for putting in to words what I have been feeling for so very long!!!

      Reply
      • Carl on

        Thank you Melissa. I’m glad this put what you are feeling into words. I also regret that you have had to go through it.

      • D on

        I am so sad. I have been very patient with my husband. He has said, “there’s more and it’s worse” three times so far. This feels like abuse and torture as he says he said it because I was pushing him and just won’t believe him. I believe that was a slice of truth. I believe that there is a lot more and it’s worse. I am broken by the deception’s. We are in marriage counseling. He has revealed little about his 38 yr. Addiction. I am loved by God and our 4 children, now adults. I struggle with my committment and hope for our marriage vs any abuse is wrong. Thanks for the info

    6. Kit on

      Wow! A man who understands! I have been trying to communicate these same concepts to my husband for nearly 4 years since D-day. The emotional roller coaster described has now turned into physical health issues for me. Nearly constant fear of the next ‘slip’ or ‘relapse’ has been the cause. Only 1 week ago I had to go through this process AGAIN after I caught him. This led to the typical self preserving denying, minimizing, justifying and compartmentalizing that I am forced to endure to get to the truth. I don’t know how much more of this I can subject myself to. I will ask my husband to read this and pray he will have an epiphany. On a side note: these responses by wives and partners are the results of Betrayal Trauma; clearly explained in another CE article by Dr. Skinner. I only hope more professionals will begin to understand that wives and partners are clearly suffering due to their husband’s and boyfriend’s sex and/or porn addictions.

      Reply
    7. Fresh66 on

      This is a very destructive force that is affecting peoples lives. I work as a CSE Child Sexual Exploitation Project work and educate in schools about the risks of becoming addicted to Pornography. I believe this is not just a physical stronghold but more so a spiritual stronghold. The devil is no fool and targets the mind of people who are addicted to porn. The brain over time gets rewired and like one who is hooked on drugs you are trapped and can’t just walk away from it. There is a very clear link between porn usage and Child Sexual Exploitation. Over time the ability for porn watched at the start of its usage to stimulate the user diminishes and this cycle leads to more deviant behaviour and many have gone on to watch more violent abusive porn that is degrading to women. Not just that but also indecent images of children. This is a downward spiral that will take you further into the pit of sin that it represents. Men who are consumed by watching porn need to be spiritually set free in Jesus name and this will only come through true repentance which means a change of heart and direction. A choice has to be made about what they value the most. Their family or their habitual use of this destructive mind altering demonic lead force that has ensnared thousands of people. It really is time for men to rid themselves of this third person in their relationship.

      Reply
      • Mattie on

        Thank you for your response. It is definitely a heart issue and will never be changed without Christ being the center. I’ve been dealing with my husband porn, lies, and a BLATANT DISREGARD for how porn has effect our marriage. I no longer trust him at all or any man. I am broken down and realize only the living God can change any addiction. But you have to want it changed. Until men realize the damage, stop blaming everything else and take accountability it’s never gonna go away. Even in the garden they passed blame but ultimately they still were kicked out. I’m tired of begging, pleading for my husbands sexual attention and getting rejected because porn has such a grip on him. I’m tired of feeling not good enough visually or any other way. I’m tired of my needs not being met because he’s selfish about meeting his own. I’ve jumped thru every hoop put before me to draw him away from this demonic sin but ultimately it’s his heart. When you look, welcome, lie,deny any sin in your life is going to consume you. This sin seems to be considered the norm for our society. Men aren’t running from it, there embracing it, not holding themselves accountable. It’s adultery no matter how you wanna view it. God’s word makes it clear. To deny that already shows that your heart is in the wrong place. I pray for every woman going thru this because this seems to be every Woman’s battle!! I pray for the men who are earnestly wanting to be out of bandage to be BOLDLY HONEST with your wife. God gave her to you,she really is your biggest supporter.
        Draw on Jesus together, fight for your marriage, not each other.

      • Chris McKenna on

        Powerful, heartfelt words, Mattie.

      • Dianah Shiflett on

        AMEN. I have heard so often (even from The Pulpit) that “David looked upon Bathsheba” as a continual excuse for lust. Apparently they bi-passed Job who made a Covenant w The Lord to punish him if he Ever looked upon a maiden with lust in his heart. God help us all! My husband lived a double life until I found out 36 yrs in. After nearly 5yrs of my own recovery I can truthfully say… A man with that level of deception is Untrustworthy & Unsafe PERIOD. Reprobate as The Lord says in His Word. Any Redemption will be between him & God. He “played” at recovery…the NarNarcacissm ssm is his God it appears.

      • Kay Bruner on

        I’m glad you were able to face the reality, even though it’s hard. Thank you for sharing.

    8. Shaun on

      As the husband in this situation, I am still stuck on the lie of self protection. I am seperated, and still unable to not make it about me. My relapses are few and I immediately tell my wife – even though all my old temptations of lying, minimizing, denying pull hard at me, I have been able to not give in and to tell her. I now know my bigger sin is making her feel guilty about our situation. I continue to hurt her by not protecting her and appearing to be the good guy. I am the guy in the movies who everyone thinks is a great dad, husband, neighbor, but the wife somehow finds out he is secretly a killer. She sounds crazy as she tries to tell everyone and feels unsafe and fearful around him. I am that killer. I don’t set out to be and I deny it. My hope is that I can figure out how to protect her instead of me. It may be too late, if it is, she is beyond justified. I have changed who she is. She was an innocent trusting loving person and I have taken innocence away. I am working to change and repair what I can and I am in counseling as well. I am not the good guy- my wife is the wonderful, patient, great woman who deserves much better than what I have been.

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        Shaun, I want to encourage you to press on. Have you surrounded yourself with the right weapons to keep you protected and accountable? Is she surrounding herself with the right care during this trying time? God is for you! The cross of Christ gives us hope and healing.

        Peace,
        Chris

      • Jan on

        Oh to hear these words from my husband.

      • Sav on

        Mattie,

        I feel for you. I’ve been through a 14 year marriage of straight betrayal. In fact my husband lied to me in order to get me to marry him. I felt so trapped and deceived.

        It’s been 2 years since I asked him to leave. I was destroyed and rageful at the years he stole from me. In this time alone I’ve sought out God for my healing like never before. God showed up… He actually revealed Himself and His love for me and it is beautiful and real. He showed me His plan to use me in my husband’s life. My husband is dispondant, Satan’s foothold is firm. So God and I have joined forces haha, my prayers and his angels, to break this stronghold. I see Satan and his plan and I see God and his plan. I don’t see my hurtful husband anymore. I prayed for new vision to see the spiritual realm.

        These plans are the same in every scenario of sexual sin and marriage. I read Captivating, it changed my life. We as women are called to be life-savers/givers of life, ezer kenegdos. The good news is this entails zero injury on our part! From my peaceful place I forgive my husband, freeing myself from Satan’s snares, and I pray for my husband’s full salvation, for the strength of God’s angel armies as they go on full attack on his behalf, for God’s ultimate plan to take effect, for the Holy Spirit to open his eyes to a fuller life in Christ, not just honoring to me but to God as he furthers His Kingdom on earth. Big plans. I love God’s big thinking!

      • Kay Bruner on

        I’m so glad you were able to make healthy choices for yourself. God never asks us to be abused or to be slaves to the sin of another person! Thank you for sharing this message of hope and freedom.

    9. Job Nomen on

      I’m sorry, but this doesn’t address deception as a coping mechanism for a wounded man. A wounded man will continue to run from the pain his wife is causing him, even if that means by deceiving her. Is it wrong? Yes. But it’s the same cycle as suicidal thoughts: I want to get out of this pain, but I know it’s wrong. I would love to see a blog post on that subject (not suicide, but coping with poor treatment from a spouse by wishing to act out sexually).

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        Hi Job, thank you for the suggestion. To help me understand better, as you’ve struggled through this, have you discovered any healthy alternatives to acting out sexually when in that situation?

        Peace, Chris
        Covenant Eyes

      • Sav on

        Hey Job and Chris,

        I think we’re all assuming that everyone commenting with struggles in sexual purity is sold out for Christ. I think the first question should be where are you in your walk with the Lord? Have you let him into every room in your heart? Do you ask Him for direction in all you do and say? Is he your everything? Are you putting Him first? How much time a day do you devote to seeking Him… His guidance in your life and His protection over it?

        I’d be so bold to say that no one asking for help on how not to lie has sought full surrender in Christ and answered to Him first. When we know that God is our total security, when we have the confidence that God loves us and called us His own we don’t fear what our spouses will think of us when we tell them truth. We aren’t living for their acceptance. If every man here found completeness in Christ, if they loved themselves as much as God loves them, I think these comments would sound much different. I think all of these, yes all of these inquiries about how to engage with spouses could be solved w/ a deep reliance on God and following through with how He calls us to take risks and live in love and die to self. We need a deep walk with the Lord for advise, books, support groups, & counseling to be of any help. It’s so simple, put God first… don’t just say you do. Hold His commandments high, put on the armor he has given you, and fight this spiritual battle with his weaponry. Every question on this page will be solved. Christ himself will work in you.

    10. tootie on

      This article just spoke everything that I have felt and thought. One of the things that I pay the most attention to is the lying and the deception. More times than not, I already know the truth and I just wait for that moment for him to either tell me before I address it or wait for him to tell me the truth once I address it. Some people say things like “it’s a small lie” or “it’s not the end of the world”, well to us who have to constantly deal with a lying spouse, it’s like the end of the world. I tell him to think about his response before he responds to me. I have on occasions told him to think about how he will respond because he knows that I can find the answer or may already know the answer. So there have been cases where he had no choice but to tell partial truth but he still did whatever he could to hide the rest. That thing of accusing him of doing something I suspect, but then I get fought off with “I’m trying” or “everything will be an issue” or even those tears is just real. I have thought of myself crazy or “maybe it’s me” on too many occasions and even when I found out about gaslighting, I found myself still doing it. The starting over, we grow, then we go back to start. One thing I learned with dealing with my first husband’s drug addiction is to watch the addictive person’s actions and what they say. I can use his own words against him because the story changes so many times. This is a tough place to be as a wife who wants nothing more than a healthy marriage and to please God. This article just spoke volumes and I thank you for getting it!!!!

      Reply
    11. Anna on

      This article is truly amazing to see in words. It’s everything I have felt for the last 6 years finally put into words in one article. Too bad it’s coming too late for me and my husband, I’very already requested a divorce and I could never trust him again. I wish, out of the list of 13 counselors we tried, someone would have said some of these things.

      Reply
    12. AD on

      Reading this actually made me cry tears of relief. Relief that what I’m feeling and going through is not absolutely crazy!
      I’m feeling so much of this and I’m just so relieved to know that other women feel the same as I do.
      I wish there were more resources for women out there and from some different perspectives. I’ve been reading a lot of books, even ones from the wives’ point of view and while I’ve found some of the information helpful, I’ve always felt that much of it didn’t pertain to my situation.
      May I be completely honest here? I have a hard time identifying with many of these women because, frankly, it seems as if they’re all very pure, sexually speaking. Not one of the women whose stories I’ve read have admitted to having sexually impure thoughts or having struggled with any of it themselves. I realize it’s more about her feelings of betrayal, anger, hurt and I definitely still feel all of those things, but many of them have given the very strong impression that sex is something her husband wants and needs, but for her, not so much. It’s pleasant when it’s happening with an attentive and loving husband, but not something she thinks about much or needs in any real way. And, she certainly doesn’t have any temptations with porn, herself; she’s simply disgusted by her husband’s desire to indulge in it.
      My story is a little different. I’ve never been sexually pure, so I don’t know what that’s like. I was sexually abused as a very young child and my entire childhood is colored with sexuality. As a teen I was very promiscuous and my husband and I were married when I was 16 due to my pregnancy. So, I was “damaged goods” going into our marriage.
      I can’t tell the whole of it here, but my marriage has not been like theirs and I haven’t been pure like them. I’ve struggled with my own sexual sin while also feeling the hurt, anger and betrayal of my husband’s. The only difference is that he has continued to look at porn and hide it and lie to me while my acting out occurred while I was still young and immature. Our marriage was very rocky in the beginning – we were both just kids and we acted like it. We were absolutely awful to each other. It’s a wonder we’re together at all! However, I confessed my wrongdoing to him many years ago, but he still doesn’t confess to me until he’s caught, when it comes to porn. So, I really understand the “…there is always more to discover,” feeling.
      But my recovery is impeded by the added guilt of my own sins. Not only do I have the normal anger, hurt, resentment and sense of betrayal, but also a strong sense of guilt. I struggle with feelings of inadequacy, feeling ugly, fat, undesirable, unwanted, wondering what is wrong with me that he has to look at porn, but underlying all of that is a deep feeling of shame and questioning whether I brought this on myself. Am I being punished for not being a good, pure and faithful wife? Maybe he’s never going to be able to stop because I’m not like the women I’m reading about; their husbands can recover because they’ve been good, faithful and virtuous wives while I’ve been impure from the beginning. Guilt and self-loathing have become my constant companions along with this gnawing feeling that there’s more that I’m going to find out.
      I didn’t actually intend to write all of that – I just wanted to say that this post was very meaningful to me in terms of helping me to see that many of my feelings and thoughts are the same as other women have felt and it helps to know that, at least in that respect, I’m not alone. I hope I can find more resources geared toward women in general and maybe some things that I can identify with a little more.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey there.

        Your story just breaks my heart. I want to say first of all that being a survivor of child sexual abuse does NOT mean you’re an impure person. I do understand that you acted out as an adolescent, but as a therapist, I would see that as simply a continuation of the abuse that you suffered as a child. Did you make choices? Yes, I know that you did. But you were a CHILD, an ABUSED CHILD.

        And more than anything else, A PRECIOUS CHILD.

        You are still a precious child today.

        And none of your choices diminish your worth or make you undeserving of love and support.

        I think therapy would be enormously helpful to you. Find a counselor in your area who’s experienced in treating the trauma of child sexual abuse. Look for a trauma-focused support group. Check out the online support resource, Bloom.

        You might also like to read Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk’s wonderful book on trauma: The Body Keeps the Score.

        Peace to you, Kay

      • Carl on

        Wow- thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad the article helped provide some relief. Coming out of a home where you experienced ongoing sexual abuse beginning at a young age really messes with the mind. The shame of the abuser is absorbed by the one being abused- and it becomes a constant companion.

        I have great respect for telling your husband when you fall short- that you have control over. I hope that he will risk to do the same for you.

        Patrick Carnes has a great book that may be helpful in untangling some of the damage from growing up in an abusive home: “The Betrayal Bond”.

      • Rebekah Griffin on

        Shaun,

        Thank you so much for your honesty! I am one of those wives. It hurts. But honesty is what we need to heal.

    13. Alan on

      Being constantly lied to about practically everything and being constantly rejected/rebuffed and made to feel like a rapist or a pervert because of a physical need and desire which
      1.) GOD Himself put in me, and
      2.) I waited for until marriage also = death by a thousand cuts. Just saying.

      Reply
    14. Carl on

      True- God Himself put the desire to have sex in us..and He called it good. Waiting for marriage puts you in an unfortunately small category. Longing for this kind of connection and being demonized and rejected after waiting for it cuts to the core.

      In all of my work with sexual addictions, I have learned that nothing happens in isolation. It is never as easy as “stop doing that”. You have to address the wounds that lead us to escape into these dark areas. You have to address the wounds for the wife AND the husband.

      Praying for healing for you.

      Reply
    15. Ronel on

      How do you get your husband to tell you the truth, I have tried everything and nothing works. I goes well for a couple of months or weeks and then its back to squire one. I have given him all the articles in this website to read and then it goes better. I talked to him, cried, yelled set ultimatums and its like he doesn’t care what it does to our family or to our marriage and honestly I don’t know if I can take it any longer……….

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        You can never control another person, or force them to be honest and healthy. That is the sad reality we all have to face at some point.

        However, you CAN control your own choices. Look honestly at your situation, at the impact it has on you and decide: what do I want my life to look like? Then create healthy boundaries for yourself that build the kind of life that works best for you. Here and here are some articles on boundaries to help you start thinking in that direction.

        When you make changes in your life, you need support! Find a counselor who can help you, find a group, and check into the online resources at Bloom for Women.
        Whatever your husband chooses, you can make wise, healthy choices for yourself.

        Peace to you,
        Kay

      • Sav on

        I agree, boundaries are key for a person in an unhealthy relationship. The book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend is a good place to start.

        I asked my husband to leave the house and gave him over to God. I then took my focus off of my husband for the first time and put all my energy into pursuing God. I’m putting on the armor of God to fight this spiritual battle, and He is bringing peace and protection over my life. I would also encourage you to take your eyes off of your husband and focus all of your attention on your walk with God. Your husband is falling for Satan’s tricks, and Satan happy to use him as a puppet to bring about pain and destruction. It’s Satan you need to take up arms against. Satan doesn’t want you to realize this, he wants to keep your husband in a dark tailspin and you in utter frustration. Ultimately he want to keep this divide between the two of you and this repeting cycle of faults and hurt and mystery propelling all involved in a downward spiral… Eyes off of God. When you see the spiritual battle you’ll rely completely on God to fight this battle for you… The only way to overcome this type of warfare. Trust God, as you “be still and know that he is God” ask him to intercede for you, pray his angel army will come down and break Satan’s stronghold, and be steadfast in asking for restoration so that you and your husband can not only heal but be used for a mighty purpose to further God’s Kingdom. When you let God go to work on what only he can do he will honor you and the desires of your heart.

    16. Wren on

      Shaun….”Worthy of Her Trust” by Jason Martinkus is one of the best resources.

      Kerri…Your comment was so insightful. Maybe you should write a blog for CE.

      Reply
    17. Carol on

      Worthy of her trust was the first book my sa husband brought home read and asked me to read. He said trust is most important and that he was worthy. 2 and a half years later he still lies. And just says he is making progress not profection. He may not be paying prostitutes or having affairs anymore ( of course I can’t be sure) but i still catch lies. When will it end. Less and less Love left

      Reply
      • Sav on

        It will end when he finds God… when he fully submits to God and His purpose for his life.

      • Rob on

        It will end when you realize that you are a sinner too and give grace and mercy. If you are saved, look at what Christ forgave you? Will you turn around and be unforgiving for such a smaller amount? Matthew 18:21-35
        I encourage you, and everyone, to listen to Brad Bigney “When Marriage and Mercy Collide”
        https://www.graceky.org/sermons/series/when-marriage-and-mercy-collide/

    18. RICHARD on

      As a recovered sex addict I find the article fascinating and very helpful in identifying exactly how exacerbated my Wife’s trauma. The problems I have are:
      (A) telling the truth. I lie by default. I always deny. Ok you say – stop it. As a person who has had this trait since childhood it is very very deeply ingrained. And I do it without thinking. Any ideas for stopping
      (B) how do I respond when my wife is hurting after being triggered. I just don’t seem to get this right.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Richard,

        (A) Go to therapy and work on the lying. Work on what you’re protecting with the lies. Do the deep work that truth-telling requires.
        (B) When your wife is not triggered, ask her how you can best respond when she’s hurting. What does she want? Here’s an article about building relational trust, with research-driven information from John Gottman that might help.

        Hope that helps,
        Kay

      • Sav on

        I hope this is received as intended, in love. I felt nudged by God to respond. As a wife of a porn addict I ask you to first look at your relationship with God. This is key… All of your questions will be perfectly answered by Christ as he speaks to your heart. Are you a believer? Are you pursuing God’s call on your life? Do you wake up each day and ask God to guard your heart from Satan’s arrows and give you the courage to protect your wife’s heart? God has created you to be her spiritual warrior. Do you believe in spiritual warfare? Satan is using pornography to corrupt your mind and win your soul, and your lies to destroy your wife and cripple her walk with God, rendering you both ineffective to being useful to help in God’s kingdom on earth. When you realize you are in an actual battle for YOUR LIFE and commanded to protect your wife’s, your perspective will never be the same. God wants you to first seek Him, and seek Him constantly. He wants you to surrender all you are and all you do to Him first… yes, before you are accountable to your wife. He even asks for you to surrender your sexuality to Him. When you consistently lay down your life and ask God to forgive you for misuing your sexuality that he gave you and for hurting your bride that he gave you, he will open your eyes. He’ll enter your daily walk, convict you of certain things and guide you into deeper relationship with Him primarily and secondly grow in you an empathetic heart for your wife.

      • Sav on

        A) & B) solutions offered by Kay will never work without a fully surrendered heart & deep relationship with Jesus Christ.

    19. Sav on

      This article is spot on from the wife’s perspective from what I personally experienced. I do wish it spoke to the husband’s lies as not only destroying the wife’s heart, but first and foremost their relationship with God. When they are playing God they can’t attenpt to be the men they were called to be for their wives. I’m a born a again believer… my husband is Catholic, and he lied to me through 3 years of dating and 14 years of marriage. I experienced psychological and spiritual abuse as I tried over and over again to accept someone who was burning me, claiming they were walking with God and telling me I should be a good, forgiving, Christian wife each time. He never got help though I begged him to throughout our relationship. At the mention of internet protection he said simply, “you can get it for you but I don’t need it.” Two years ago I asked him to leave. His dad told him to go to my church’s support group and he did. I have not seen a new spiritual walk. He’s been living with his parents and I’ve been raising our 3 young kids. If anyone who is reading this has any Godly discernment on how to navigate these waters I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

      Reply
    20. SC on

      Reading these comments really helps me to stay focused in recovery. However, I have to say, as someone who was exposed to pornography at about the age of eight, I don’t know how that was a *choice*. I did not choose to find those magazines, to feel those feelings, to experience those chemicals running through my body and to have images that I will never forget emblazoned upon my mind. It makes me angry that Satan influenced my father and the innocence of a child was stolen as result. And don’t ever forget that this is a *sin* problem, not just a sex problem. All of us, including therapists and pure wives, continue in sin. The question is what kind, to what extent, and have we learned to “put to death” the things in us that are earthly since we ourselves have died in Christ (Colossians 3)? The church at Colossae had already died to Christ, but apparently needed to put to death some of the earthly things that remained. Sex and lust aren’t the only things in that list. Have you coveted anything that belonged to anyone else? If so, Paul lumps that together with sexual immorality. He also immediately follows it up with a continuation of actions that include anger and wrath.

      Please, I hope it is an encouragement to anyone reading this who is tempted to heap judgment upon their spouses. Judgment belongs to God. We all, including you, are worthy of death because of the sins we have committed and the sins that you either have already committed or will commit today. Draw boundaries out of love. Ask seeking questions. Plug all the digital holes and physical holes. Refuse to allow an unprotected and unaccessible device in the house, but also refuse to allow a week to go by without speaking about how he or she is growing in Christ. Start a Bible study together. Do positive things that contribute to spiritual health rather than living in fear. He will relapse at some point, and depending on your past response he may or may not feel comfortable opening up. Don’t forget that it is the *kindness* of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4), not his reminders of our broken promises. If you want men to “confess so that they may be healed,” (James 5:16) then you should be ready to pray with him as it is also a component of that same passage.

      God bless you all in your continued efforts to fight a *spiritual* battle not against flesh and blood.

      Reply
      • Rob on

        AMEN! SC, that is the best response I have read yet! Brad Bigney has a saying in his “When Marriage and Mercy Collide” it goes “My sin first, my sin is worse, and I need to focus on my sin most!”
        We all find it easy to find faults in our spouses, regardless if they are the offender or the offendee. Christ tells us to focus on our own hearts, and LOVE our neighbor. Your neighbor is your spouse. We all make choices. With God’s help we can even break the addictions! He gives us each other to HELP, not to toss your spouse out because its too hard. I have read so many responses talking about how we need to give ourselves some peace and comfort…I don’t see that ANYWHERE in Scripture. Most men and women with sexual addiction have been exposed to it when they were children. They are still suffering from that early hard-wiring. But nothing is too hard for God…He chooses to use those who are willing to be His servants to help each other.

    21. Jason on

      I am using Covenant Eyes to remain pure and to keep hope. I praise God, that through this software, accountability partners, recovery, and therapy, that I am 20 months sober (if you will). My experience is so very different than what I constantly see in the blog.

      I confessed. I confessed knowing my spouse was actively looking for a reason to divorce me at the time and had tried for several weeks to get me to agree to a divorce already. I was so tired of the shame, and the lies, and had been going to therapy already to work on overcoming my use of porn. Our marriage was deteriorating at a break neck speed. I had come to the conclusion that I could not continue to lie about the porn use (hiding it).

      When I confessed I did not go into detail. I told her I had struggled with porn use for 24 years, that was our 16 years of marriage and 8 years going back into young adolescence. We were in the car on the way home. When I offered to share more, she declined. She did not want our marriage and she did not want to seek recovery. Even though she had wanted the divorce in advance, I could see the level of pain the disclosure caused her. I watched as her capacity to trust me was shattered beyond belief (while she wanted to divorce me she had stated I was loyal to our family), to the point where I was accused of predation on children.

      I’ve been broken into a million pieces. Knowing the pain I caused her would be beyond bearing without God. The pain of her total rejection and facing down terrible charges of abuse, and finally having the courts take my children from me based on false allegations nearly finished me off. Without God, I would not be here today. He rescued me.

      I’ve had to rebuild alone. I want to rebirth and reconciliation in our marriage, but she has made it very clear that she does not. So, my focus right now is staying pure, and being a daddy to my children. I come here to read these thoughts in the blog. There is always pain in the reading, because they remind me of everything that has been lost, but there is often hope. At the very least, I can stay away from the terrible counterfeit and vomit of porn. So, while what you folks post and reason at times stings me deeply, I am grateful. Keep it up. We need you.

      Reply
    22. Pauline Manville on

      I would like some advice please as to whether I am over-reacting to a situation. First of all I must say all trust in my husband is gone. In the past he has viewed porn and been on ‘escort’ sites, which are prostitutes advertising their wares. He spent money on there, I don’t that I have the truth about on what. He didn’t tell me, I found out and he said just photos and videos, the photos I saw were absolutely disgusting and that was the free ones, goodness knows what the ones you pay for are like. I don’t think he is doing it now. He is secretive, hates sharing passwords and says his emails are private, but I have access now because I insisted. The present situation is this. He has a friend on Facebook who is an ex work colleague. She is a lady. That’s all he has said about her. Some months ago she sent him a message on Messenger. They chatted a bit and then he invited her out for a coffee and a chat as he put it. (He doesn’t know I can see these messages). He didn’t tell me they were in touch or intending to meet. My son thought this was quite inappropriate. Especially as it was behind my back. They were going to arrange this but he changed him email provider and lost all his friends on Facebook. They are now back in touch on Messenger again. In the meantime he has been diagnosed with cancer and has had an operation not long ago. He can’t drive at the moment but told her when he was mobile again he hoped they would be able to meet. He hasn’t mentioned any of this to me and I doubt he will. She seemed delighted he has asked her and said she would love that and thanked him for asking her. They have known one another at work for quite a few years I think but my husband has been retired for 12 years. We have only been married 5 years so I don’t know much about his past with her. He has her on his special birthday list which mostly family and very close friends. What is really bothering me is in his latest message he said she would always have his love. Is this appropriate, would people normally say this to an ex colleague? Am I over reacting being upset by this?

      Reply
      • Kim Thulin on

        Pauline, The relationship with your husbands coworker is completely inappropriate. The biggest reason is he is keeping it secret from you. If he came clean and told you about it, YOU still get to decide if you feel OK with it, Which, because of his history you’re not going to feel OK about it! What happens to us as betrayed spouses, is that we second-guess our own God-given intuition because they have trained us to minimize our own feelings. You’re not crazy. Your husband is giving parts of himself to this other woman that belong to you. Check into materials by Dr. Doug Weiss. Then get yourself into a 12 step support group for betrayed spouses. If you cannot find one there are phone support groups through Dr. Weiss. He also holds three day intensive‘s for spouses, which includes a polygraph test so you know where you’re starting. Google Dr. Weiss or Heart to Heart counseling. They are based out of Colorado springs Colorado. People fly in from all over the world to this center. My support group is helping me heal and get stronger so that I can make better choices, which include firm boundaries. Another book that really addresses the trauma you have received by your husband’s betrayal is called Intimate deception by Dr. Sheri Keffer. But the biggest help will be getting yourself into a betrayed spouse support group. You can become healed and healthy and whole even if your husband chooses not to. I am only four months in with my support group, and for the first time I am getting the support I need from women who have been there and get it, and are on their own journey to heal. They are the most courageous women I have ever met. They inspire me and give me the courage to focus on healing myself from betrayal trauma. They have become a sisterhood that I can ask questions just like the one that you asked, and help me see through the fog of deception. It would be awesome if your husband would also agree to get himself into a 12 step sex addiction group as well, as they will hold him accountable. Dr. Weiss says “men make men.” All of our crying and pleading falls on deaf ears with our husbands, your husband needs other men who struggle with the same thing to call him out into call him up. Do not spend one more day trying to do this alone, make that call and get into a group!

      • Andee on

        I know it’s been a long time so I don’t know if you will see this or what happened. However, that is not ok for your husband to make plans with another woman behind your back, or to go out alone with her. I hope that he did not do that and changed his mind.

    23. L on

      It’s sad when your husband won’t even admit that he has a problem and instead says that your ‘critism’ and ‘suspician (even though it was true)’ caused his infidelity… 😔

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        That is called gaslighting, and it’s a very common technique used by people who don’t want to take responsibility for themselves. Stay strong in the truth, and build the healthy boundaries that are right for you: here, here, and here are some articles that might help. Peace to you, Kay

    24. Heather on

      I cried reading this article. It is 100% spot-on in describing what lying and deceit and hiding do to a betrayed wife. Every husband needs to read this. I can’t say how amazing it was for me to see how I’ve felt for the past year in writing. Thank you!

      Reply
    25. Jeff on

      Recovering porn addict here. My story- Introduced to porn about age 8 through my father. Found his hidden stash. I truly believe I fell into a well laid trap that day. A trap that countless other innnocent boys fall into. Had no idea the damage it would produce in my life and the lives of those around me. Started a addiction that lasted for 42 years in one way or another. Got married at 29 and never told my wife about my addiction. Two reasons I didn’t. 1. I was scared she wouldn’t marry me and number 2, I foolishly thought it would go away once I was married. I was in full time ministry for years dealing with this mess. I completely hated my self for all the lies and deception I had lived all those years. My wife and I also had 3 children in a span of 34 months. I came clean the first time at 47 years old. I just couldn’t live the lie anymore. Completely devastated her. She stuck with me and we went to a lot of counseling. Stopped for a while but sexual thoughts consumed me. My brain had been rewired and I could not shake it. Relapsed and confessed and devastated her again. Again she stuck with me and we went to professional counseling. Lasted awhile and relapsed again. Confessed again and she asked me to move out this time. I did and spiraled like crazy. Not on porn this time but on alcohol. I have always had some type of addiction, if I stopped porn I switched to something else. I hated myself for the lying and deception I had lived since I was a kid. I was living at her dads office and drinking a fifth of whiskey a night and for the first time seriously considering suicide. I hated what I had done to my wife and children and started thinking they would be better off without me. That scared me. At some point in time I asked myself why I always had to have something to get by. The answer was I was always trying to change my mood. I decide to see a physchiatrist and get evaluated, it was a big step but at this point I had nothing to lose. Had a few visits with the physchiatrist both alone and with my wife and she diagnosed me with Major Depressive Disorder and Obsessvive Compulsive Disorder. She wanted me to try meds which I was very afraid to do but again at that point I had nothing to lose. She put me on Prozac and the change was almost immediate! The depression left and the compulsive sexual thoughts completely disappeared. I couldn’t believe it. Wish I would have done this 30 years ago. I’ve been on Prozac for 15 months now and haven’t relasped. All the temptation and fantasy that was caught up in my brain is completely gone. Don’t get me wrong, I still take precautions. All devices in my house are monitored, I’m VERY careful what I watch on tv, movies, etc. I’m thrilled with where I am right now and NEVER want to go back. The Prozac isn’t a cure all for everything, I still have to watch the alcohol very carefully. My wife and I still do therapy and I know I did a tremendous amount of damage to our relationship but I have been back at home now for over a year and are relationship is slowly getting stronger. Trust, of course is a issue but I have to keep in my mind that it is a issue I created. I am now 50 and our 20th anniversary is coming this year. I’m dedicated to telling the truth about everything. I’m convinced that the worst thing a person can do to themselves is lie and hide. It posions our spirit and leads to self hatred. When you hate yourself you can’t possibly love and take care of others. Thanks for letting me share, hope this helps someone. Btw- I’m not saying meds are the answer for everyone, matter of fact, I know they are not. But they sure have helped me.

      Reply
    26. Chris Heitstuman on

      I would like to rewrite this and replace the word affair with porn. After a brief explanation of what an affair truly means.

      Reply
    27. Maria Kenyon on

      That article is the story of my marriage- which ended in divorce at the beginning of 2017. After 26 years and 4 children! All because of porn addiction. I had no one to counsel me as a woman, and it was a terrible thing to go through. Of course I can’t change the past ( how my marriage ended)but I have prayed for God to use me as a voice of hope for so many hurting women. I can say that only God can heal those hurts; after the last ‘ trip around the mountain” and confronting my ex husband again, I wondered if I would ever be the same again. Could I ever be restored to who I was before all those years of repeated betrayal? God has healed my heart and it has been a process! But God is the perfect husband, and has strengthened me to where I am at a whole new level than where I was before the divorce. I am seeing just how faithful God is even when others aren’t, and that my value doesn’t depend on the validation of a man. There are so many ways that porn addiction brings pain, and how I wish that my ex husband had understood the truth in your article. Thank you so much for bringing this major issue to the light, and declaring truth!! May God bless your ministry.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Thank you so much for sharing your story of hope and healing, Maria. We can always choose to be healthy and whole, even when others do not. Peace to you, Kay

    28. Trish on

      Finally, an article that is spot on..What it feels like on the receiving end. I am practically a newlywed…My husband’s 1st marriage and he is middle-aged. When I first found his porn collection, I wrote it off as a single man who watched the occasional tapes between relationships…My sex drive is probably over zealous so I thought his needs were being met since we became a couple. While others above mention that porn often leads to other things…Very true…In our case, I discovered transexual porn. My husband is extremely manly and a tough guy profession. I was so confused…When I confronted him..Got the story, he didn’t purchase intentionally, etc etc..It was inserted into a sealed magazine he bought….He promised when we married he wouldn’t bring the porn into the house…Only he did, all but the T-porn…Again, “must have been an accident” and we had a terrible fight because I knew when it was put where I found it…No accident…That was our turning point. I think he felt exposed and I had discovered a part of him that he was ashamed & secretive of. He has stonewalled me ever since and I feel that he is intentionally punishing me. The lies have only picked up steam..Over meaningless things…He says he lies because he doesn’t want me to feel empowered, and just to mess with me. I have zero trust now. He is very secret about his phone, hasn’t added me as his wife to any of his legal or financial matters after almost 2 years of marriage. We are like roommates and the sex has dwindled to once every 2 weeks if I’m lucky and it feels like just a duty to him. I don’t try anymore because I’m tired of the excuses. He’s tired, hasn’t showered, his work days are off limits, says low Testosterone after being on shots for over a year and his drinking has progressed to nearly a fifth of vodka daily around his work. No one at his job has a clue. I’m not sure which came first…The sexual devience or the alcoholism….I do know that I’m incredibly lonely..And it’s not like I’ve let myself go…I am 50 years old, very active, and most think I am in my late 30s even…But I don’t think I will ever be enough and he won’t talk. I suggested counseling and got shut down immediately. I’m at a loss…But the lies and deception go way beyond the porn…That was just the beginning…It has just picked up steam. The tapes are gone but he just uses his phone and the internet now….All communication attempts have failed and I am totally shut out. It feels like we are roommates. I wish he could see this article and really absorb the content. It destroys people and relationships and it IS an addiction

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Trish, it sounds like your husband has a number of painful realities in his life that have nothing to do with you, but are his to face and deal with. We cannot change another person, ever. All we can do is take responsibility for ourselves, and be healthy, no matter what our spouses choose. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries that you might find helpful. You might also consider a therapist just for you, a group, and the online resources at Bloom for Women. No matter what’s going on with him, you can choose what’s healthy for you. Peace, Kay

    29. Vic on

      I discovered my husband’s porn addiction shortly before we got married. He apologized profusely at the time and promised to change. He seemed sincere and I believed him. But then I just kept finding it again and again. Sometimes he would apologize, other times he would justify himself by saying “it’s no big deal” or “everyone does it” and sometimes he would make me feel like I’m crazy for being upset. We’ve been married now for more than 15 years. We have two kids. This article explains so clearly everything I felt for so long. It feels so good to know that others have felt the same way when confronted with the repeated deception. I have no faith left in my husband. The last time I found his porn, I only asked that he makes sure our kids don’t see it. I’ve stopped asking him to stop going on porn sites because I know he never will.

      I stay because my parents were divorced and I want so much better for my kids! He’s a good dad and a decent person. We don’t argue about anything now that I am ignoring the porn issue. Our kids have no idea that anything is wrong, and we enjoy spending time together as a family. We live more like roommates than husband and wife. I cringe when he touches me because I’m always wondering if he’s imagining some young, beautiful online perfection when he closes his eyes. I feel inadequate and unloved because of his constant porn use. So, we rarely have any physical intimacy (maybe 2-3 times per year). But I try to focus on the things that are fulfilling in my life – God, my kids, my friendships, volunteering at church and school, and my work. I pray that my husband will one day find an article like this on his own, and that it speaks to his heart. But I no longer have the strength to ask anything of him that has to do with our relationship. If he wants to change, he will. If not, we’ll continue to live like roommates/ business partners who operate a household and family together. It’s not easy, but I think it’s easier on my family than a divorce would be. Maybe I’ll feel differently when my kids are grown, but that is still a decade away.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        I am so, so sorry for the pain you’re living in. I hope you’ve got a good support system, as living for another 10 years, or forever, this way, sounds extremely difficult. A therapist, a group, and the online resources at Bloom for Women may be helpful. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries that should be useful to you as well. Of course you are free to choose how to best manage your situation; I just hope it includes the support and care that you need in this difficult reality. Peace, Kay

    30. Rob on

      I have so much to write, I don’t even know where to start. First of all I should introduce myself. I am both an offendee and an offender. I was introduced to porn and sexual abuse at a young age…the person who introduced me to this was also abused, and likely the one who abused them was abused as a youngster as well. It is an ugly chain. As a boy I was pressured into these acts from someone older than me. It was confusing bc though I didn’t like it, it sometimes felt good. This caused me to keep searching out that feeling. You know what causes that feeling? Dopamine released from the brain. It IS a drug. The more you feed it the more you need to get the same feeling. It is also a SPIRITUAL problem. Satan is using your physical body and spiritual warfare to trap you into eternal damnation, or being useless as a believer.
      As a young man, the internet came to be. This allowed for ease of access to all kinds of porn and the ability to meet people, whether online, or eventually in person. I believe the internet has been THE greatest tool that Satan has used in modern times. Not that the internet IS the evil thing, it is USED for evil. Anyway, this allowed for being exposed to even more porn. My father fell into this web and through it I also was exposed to more. He eventually was caught in a sting and I was to testify against him in court. He spent some years in prison based on intentions. This was damaging to my family, however I was still battling sinful desires. I started living a fast life, heaping more pain on my mom. I also felt Romans 7 inside me. I cried out to God many times for deliverance, only to keep going back to alchohol, smoking, and the constant pursuit of women.
      Eventually, I began dating someone for a few years and we got married. She had baggage of abuse and promiscuity as well. We both had a Christian upbringing so we were familiar with how we were living our double lives. Over the years we settled down and began raising a family, got plugged in with a church, another church, then another, and so on. I had listened to some strong preaching and was strongly convicted of my sin and I believe at that time I got saved. I had long periods of victory and purity. However, I was still hiding lies and I was still finding myself desiring that “high”. I began watching more and more porn, which led to having multiple affairs. No one knew that half of me. I kept it hidden. We had four children. I was/am a good dad. I kept things happy at home. I went to some mens conferences, got more involved with church, bible study and verse memorization with our kids. I truly desired to do the right things…but I still was clinging SELF and that “high”. I wasn’t allowing God to be my all in all. I believe I was born again. I still would cry out for deliverance, more desperate each time, basically asking Him to make me a eunich!
      Eventually, God answered my prayer. I don’t know His timing, but I believe He saw me as a child and decided to discipline me and see if I would come to Him or run away.
      My wife ended up finding out about the last affair I had had. It tore her world apart. It wasn’t but a week or so after we met with a counselor and close christian friends that God laid it on my heart to come ENTIRELY clean about all the affairs and porn.I was always so afraid to do it, and for good reason! It really hurt her! I thought our marriage was over. I thought my kids were going to be hurt. It was a day I will NEVER want to live again. But it was a GREAT weight that fell off my shoulders!! However, it fell on her. It has been 1.5 years since that day. We are still together. We went through biblical counseling with a couple from another church. They have been excellent! They have been loving, and yet firm…with BOTH of us. You see, we were BOTH sinning and causing a toxic marriage with a happy outside covering. However instead of blaming each other, we were counseled to get to the root of our OWN sin, and our position before God. It has been hard, but so worth it. We still have a long way to go. I still have those desires, but I have ways to overcome them. I have a few men now that are in my life and I feel comfortable talking to about it. My wife also now has godly women who are putting time into her and helping her be a Godly wife. I am slowly working on a book that I hope to be able to write to help other men come clean, or avoid the trap based on my experience.

      I would recommend 2 resources, though there are many:
      Brad Bigney “When Marriage and Mercy Collide” https://www.graceky.org/sermons/series/when-marriage-and-mercy-collide/
      Start at message #1
      Also, Pure Life Ministries. Steve has a book that was excellent to read and work through. “At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry”
      https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Gallagher/e/B001JO9K2K%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
      He was able to describe my struggles like no one has ever before! And he uses scripture and Biblical principles, lots of it!

      Now, I have read many responses to this article that trouble me. They are all about telling the husband to take a hike because its time to focus on me and my peace. This is unscriptural and the author should not be condoning this behavior unless there is physical abuse happening. Also, men, you are to take responsibility for your sin, whether its stemming from an event in the past or not. Both husband and wife both have to look at their OWN sin FIRST, see their OWN sin as WORSE, and work on their OWN sin MOST!

      Finally, I would like to thank the author for bringing up the points they did. It was a good read, and it is important to understand and be reminded what the offended spouse is going through. Thank you for that.

      Reply
    31. Ashley on

      My husband has not only lied, his, and deceived me about porn for years, but also his use of tobacco products, money spent, and God knows what else.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        I’m so sorry, Ashley. I hope you are finding support for your healthy boundaries with these betrayals. Here, here, and here are some articles that should help. You’ll also appreciate the online resources at Bloom for Women: forums and good courses you can take for your own health. Of course, a therapist just for you is always a good idea at a time like this as well. No matter what your husband chooses, you can choose to be healthy and whole. Peace, Kay

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