9 minute read

How to Talk to Your Husband about His Porn Use

Last Updated: July 21, 2021

Coach Laura

Coach Laura is a Betrayal Trauma Recovery Coach, trained by The Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS). Her interest in coaching Betrayal Trauma survivors began in the aftermath of her own traumatic betrayal when it became clear that many professionals “just didn’t get it.” Laura is familiar with the physical, emotional, and mental pain the accompanies betrayal trauma and she is passionate about walking this journey alongside others, in hopes that no woman ever again has to walk this path alone.

If you’re reading this article, you may be one of thousands of women each year who discover that their husband’s online viewing habits include pornography. Perhaps you’re a woman whose relationship with your husband has been negatively impacted by his porn use, or you object to his use of pornography based on factual, moral, ethical, or other principles.

In any healthy relationship, and especially within marriage, that is reason enough to open the door to this important conversation. There are several principles and strategies you can adopt to have this talk and make it more effective. But first, let me say that his viewing habits are not because of you. And if you have suffered any (or a lot) of pain as a result of his use of pornography, I want you to know how sorry I am you are going through this. This pain is called betrayal trauma. It’s not easy, and I understand your pain. I have had to have this conversation myself, so let me help you prepare to do the same.

Spend some time reflecting before you start the conversation.

If you intend to confront your husband regarding his use of porn, first spend some quiet time alone thinking and journaling. Before confronting your husband, consider the following.

What are you hoping to accomplish by having this conversation? Is it to reassure yourself that you are enough? Or is it a conviction against the use of pornography? Are you already angry and looking to express this? Check your motives, because how you approach the conversation can either help or hinder you in achieving your purpose.

What is it that you do not like about his use of pornography? What is your objection? Is it moral? Is it based on what you think of pornography in general? Is it the lies or other behaviors that commonly accompany porn use, like gaslighting or his avoiding intimacy with you? Being clear on exactly what you object to will help you make yourself clear to your spouse.

What impact has his pornography use had on you? Pay attention to what your body has been telling you, what your thoughts have been, what you feel in your heart about his use of pornography and describe its impact. What are your needs and fears you are carrying with you into this conversation?

Be clear about what the negative effects of pornography are to you. Write these down, so that you can be prepared to discuss them with your partner.

If you are concerned that his pornography use is an addiction, gather research regarding this. Also, consider the impact of pornography use on the community and on society, at large. Much research has been done in this area. (Read recent statistics regarding the impact of pornography.)

Know what you’re willing to accept and be prepared to state boundaries around this. Consider your thoughts and feelings regarding your marriage, impact on the children, etc. Consider what type of behaviors you need from your husband to help you feel safe and cared for. Boundaries are to help you establish emotional and physical safety.

For example: I don’t feel safe when my husband lies to me. If I find out he’s been lying, I feel I can’t trust him. Since I can’t be intimate with someone I can’t trust, I’ll likely abstain from sex until I feel safe again. Another example might be, if my husband states that pornography is not a problem and he won’t quit, I will explain it’s a problem for me. I will seek help for myself to decide how to proceed.

Be prepared, if necessary, to follow through in order to establish safety for yourself and your children.

How to actually have the porn conversation with your husband…

Now that you know how you feel about pornography, its potential impacts on you, your family, society, etc., prepare yourself to speak with your partner about your feelings regarding these things. The following principles might be helpful.

Don’t assume that your husband won’t hear your concerns. This will enable you to address the situation in a nonjudgmental fashion, and increase the likelihood that he will hear your heart on the matter. You may consider starting the conversation with a curious question, such as “How do you handle temptations when online?”

Calmly and respectfully, tell him your feelings about it, based on the journaling you did prior to your conversation. Be open and curious about his thoughts and opinions.

Acknowledge his viewpoints. This doesn’t mean you agree with him. This simply reassures him that you’ve heard his opinion and you understand what he’s saying. Repeating back what he stated in your own words will help him see that you are listening.

Ask questions. “Do you feel this impacts your ability to be intimate?” “Why do you view porn?” “Are you able to stop?” “Will you stop?” “What do you get from it?” If you find that these questions cause you to feel trauma, or that the answers are causing you to feel trauma, stop the conversation, and get insight from a coach trained by the Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS) to help you navigate how to proceed.

Based on his responses, continue to share your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and concerns. Don’t assume he should understand how you feel. Tell him. Share your fears with him. If he becomes angry or defensive, stop the conversation and again, consider talking with a trained Betrayal Trauma coach to get help understanding your situation.

Strive to reach an agreement regarding what’s acceptable and what’s not. If he is unwilling to discuss or agree on the matter, and if his intended behaviors are not acceptable to you, state your boundaries. Be prepared by knowing what you need in order to feel safe in a relationship. If he acknowledges that pornography use is a problem or that it is a struggle for him, try, if possible, to reassure him. Let him know that help is available for him too.

Sometimes starting the conversation is the hardest part. Some people appreciate a front door approach, which is bold and direct: “I’ve noticed you’ve been looking at pornography. I have concerns about that. Can I tell you what they are?” Others prefer a side door approach which is less direct: “Hey some friends and I were talking about… (or “I was reading an article…”) about pornography and its effect on relationships. What do you think of that?”

How the conversation goes will depend on several factors. Are there other behaviors correlated with porn addiction like lying, gaslighting, or other unhealthy ways of interacting, including narcissistic traits? Has pornography been a casual interest that he can take or leave? Or is it a compulsive habit that he’s begun to depend on as a coping mechanism or to gain a quick mental “high?” How he responds may offer some clues. Does he get defensive and angry during the conversation? Or is he understanding of your side, supportive, and committed to addressing your fears and reassuring you?

If, at the end of your conversation, you feel you’ve not been heard, or you were thrown “off course” and are left confused and frustrated or if you didn’t keep your cool; don’t beat yourself up. This can be a tough conversation, and there’s always another chance to talk again, to clarify, add on, or any other thing you may wish you’d done better.

If you’re left feeling lost and confused or not knowing how to proceed, know that help is available. If you feel your husband is unable or unwilling to stop his compulsive porn viewing, there is something you can do. The partner coaches at Betrayal Trauma Recovery are specially trained by APSATS to assist women whose partners are caught up in the web of compulsive pornography use or sexual acting out behaviors. They know how to coach women through these tough conversations and assist them in creating appropriate boundaries to establish emotional and physical safety in their homes. Getting help to navigate the very muddy waters of a relationship impacted by pornography use and sexual addiction is key to success.

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  • Comments on: How to Talk to Your Husband about His Porn Use
    1. Rhonda Jane on

      My boyfriend looks at porn everyday. I finally caught him looking at it at three am. I tried to talk to him about it and how it hurt me. Our intimacy is almost nonexistent. He says it not a problem it’s just something he does,denied everyday use which is a lie because I checked. I am so hurt please help me, I don’t know whether to leave or not

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        It definitely sounds like it’s time to consider what healthy boundaries will look like for you. You know the truth of the situation, and you know how it impacts you. Decide if this is a way of life that’s healthy and right for you. If not, it’s probably time to leave. It’s sad and painful when our partners won’t connect with us, but when this happens, it’s best to allow ourselves to see reality and take action that’s healthy for us. If he wants to change, he can. But meanwhile, live a life that reflects your value and worth as a person. Peace to you, Kay

      • Megan Welchel on

        Very similar situation with my marriage except he does want to have sex with me but I have a hard time because I’m thinking, “ok, is he picturing her” etc. It’s hard, SO VERY HARD! & He doesn’t even care that I am so hurt over this. Like I’ve never felt a hurt I’m feeling. I am so lost!

      • Jane on

        My husband looks at porn throughout the day. He never wants to have sex with me. When I try to nicely confront him about it he calls me names that I do not want to repeat. I’m not trying to control what he watches. I’m just trying to communicate the fact that it’s affecting our intimacy. I’m not sure what to do anymore.

      • Moriah Bowman on

        Hi Jane,

        I want to commend you for reaching out here and asking for wisdom! I am so sorry that you are in this situation. Pornography can hold such a tight grip on our lives, and it sounds like you are experiencing this grip on your marriage.

        It sounds like your husband is not open to change and perhaps does not truly understand just how much his pornography addiction is harming your relationship. It may be time for you to put some boundaries into play. Although I cannot encourage you to divorce your husband, I think that there can be steps taken to help guide you through this. I would highly encourage you to find a therapist. Even if your husband won’t attend with you, therapy can be instrumental in helping you decide what next steps to take.

        I would also recommend that you turn to resources like support groups and Bloom for Women. Both will help you to find other women experiencing similar situations.
        Ultimately, cling to Christ as your source of hope and healing. Porn’s grip is tight, but God’s grace shines brightly with hope and love.
        Blessings,
        Moriah

    2. Mellissa on

      My husband watches porn every night. He doesn’t care that I know and tries to get me to watch it with him. He thinks it would be good for me and maybe I will learn something. I tell him it is disgusting and leave the room. He keeps watching and when I go to bed, he tries to get me to do the things he just watched. I tell him that I am his wife, not a porn star. He just complains and asks me why everything has to be on my terms. Why don’t I care about his needs.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey there,

        Well, this sounds pretty typical of a man who’s watching a lot of porn and sees women simply as objects for his own self-gratification. I don’t think there’s much you can do to change him, but there’s a lot you can do to be healthy for yourself.

        Consider your boundaries. Here, here, and here are some articles to help you start thinking about that.

        Find a therapist for yourself, to help you process your pain and to get support for your healthy boundaries.

        Find a support group for yourself.

        Check out the online resources at Bloom for Women.

        Whatever he chooses, you choose to be healthy and whole.

        Peace,
        Kay

    3. darcy on

      my husband has always watched porn and we have talked about it and I have told him how much he hurts me but he dont stop he will leave his kelnix on the end table for me to find, and somtimes I will catch him but nothing seems to change we been together 30 years but not sure to make it 31

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        I’m so sorry. I hope you’ll find a therapist who can help you process the pain and consider what healthy boundaries will look like to you. Of course we can’t control other people, but we can control our own choices. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries. You might also appreciate the online community at Bloom for Women. Peace to you, Kay

      • Vicky on

        My fiance has been watching p*** for over 2 years I have had previous experience and lost a marriage and another relationship because of p*** because it don’t stop there so they start seeking women to satisfy their fantasy and they don’t view p*** as the cause of it it is the beginning of it and then with some alcohol consumption it just can’t see my fiance went back to a 30 year relationship but because they both was drinking he claimed they didn’t do anything but I heard tapes of him bragging about he went over there he didn’t do anything that time but he did the week before we’ve been on the rocks every since I was so frustrated we went to counseling he said he was going to make it up to me I asked him how he was he going to do that he said just watch our relationship has declined so bad because he didn’t know what to do or how to do it because he didn’t think p*** was part of the problem I spent three nights out a fourth night I stayed over the sister house I stay the night over my girlfriend house and he think I stayed out with a man that’s how he shut it off he said if you out all night you must be having sex so he think that makes us even I was frustrated he moved in my house with me rather than to argue I left and stayed out at a friend’s house each time one time with his sister he keep me arguing with him I asked him for sex he claimed he didn’t developed Ed he tried kills but when it comes to me he can’t get heart he also didn’t want to do anything else to please me so he kept arguing with me creating an argument and then a few times when he promised me he would he would say well let me do what I got to do of course that turned me off you don’t understand my frustration I didn’t stay with him for two years and nothing you don’t even let me see his penis but when you get mad with me he said his body is fine he can get an erection yeah he can get an erection for p****** but he can’t get one for me you claim that are arguing turns him off he don’t want to go get counseling more counseling with separate counseling he don’t think p*** is the problem p*** led to all of this or the beginning of it how do you go back to a 30 year relationship and think this woman is still waiting for you to come back he has a friend that’s in the church Church of God in Christ she told him that is okay for men to watch p*** and she laughs with him about that that I’m upset that he watched p*** they don’t know how hurtful that is I’m really upset at her rather than for her to tell him the right thing they uphold him for the wrong thing and they are supposed to be his friend they’re making a fool out of him and he don’t even realize it how do you talk to females how do you talk to males how do you not go get some professional help about your penis even when Viagra won’t work I feel cheated on I feel Rob if I relationship he’s emotionally unavailable for us to grow he’s not mentally connect it I don’t feel the connection I don’t know if it’s worth it but I am traumatized now he look some stuff up and say that I must be a narcissist because I get angry all of a sudden yeah when I try to talk to him about this he carry me in circles say where you spent three or four nights out like that supposed to make us even don’t know then I’m not doing nothing I’m frustrated I walk away from my own house so that I won’t get upset run my blood pressure up I’m 66 years old you hate to get back out here and start over again but I got to do something because he’s stuck and I feel like I’m stuck but he’s never going to get it but I think he got it he doesn’t want to admit it me and don’t think what I should say people who’s in the poem they don’t think that it affects the relationship they don’t think that it affects the other person that it don’t mean anything but just like in one of his tapes he’s had now he’s tired of just p****** he need to go get with somebody and he went back to a 30 year relationship and tried to get with her I’m losing respect for him I look at him with such discontent now that read some of this information it was my story blow-by-blow I have PTSD he has violated me he is abused my trust my love and my respect to him and he won’t step up to the plate he won’t get the help he needs and you think I’m a narcissist you telling people I’m crazy that I fly off the handle you don’t understand my anger if I walk away from my house and stay out all night I am frustrated that must be frustrated this is my househe want me to just start over go from here he think we’re even he need help he need help now he’s making it that I need some help I can’t just forget what he’s done I want to forgive him I was forgiven if he did some valid attempt and understand for 1 do some about it for two don’t repeat it he can be looking at a video of girls twerking and make comments and I’m sitting right there he would say hmmm hmmm and then say he didn’t say it I don’t know if there’s any hope I’m not feeling it I’m not feeling that there is any hope cuz he’s in denial

      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Vicky,

        Clearly you’re in a situation that is not okay with you. That’s where you draw your boundaries: what’s okay and what’s not okay with you. You are not required to live with things that are not okay. Here, here and here are some articles on boundaries that you might find helpful.

        Peace to you,
        Kay

    4. Nikki on

      My husband looks at porn. We have talked about it many many times. I have explained how horrible it makes me feel. How I feel like I am not enough for him. Asked why he just can’t be satisfied with me. Etc. He has said in the past that he can and would stop but he hasn’t. He says that he doesn’t understand why I feel the way I do and that all men do it. I get really depressed, I feel absolutely alone. I have tried so many times to explain how it makes me feel and it’s like he just doesn’t care. I don’t understand how someone could continue to watch porn knowing that it is breaking their wife’s heart.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Nikki,
        I’m sorry that your husband isn’t able to respond to your pain. It sounds to me like when you try to talk to him about it, he gaslights you: he twists reality with lies like “every man does it” and “your feelings aren’t valid.” Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse, and it compounds the pain you’re already experiencing. The truth is that many many women will meet the clinical criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in a situation like this. Your feelings and experiences are not made up, and you are NOT alone!

        It sounds to me like it’s time for you to look honestly at the reality of the situation, and then choose healthy boundaries for yourself accordingly. Here, here, and here are some articles that might help.

        You might want to find a counselor who can help you process your emotions, and you might also want to look into the online resources at Bloom for Women.

        Peace to you,
        Kay

      • Chriss on

        My boyfriend gets really angry if I accuse him when he turns me down in the bedroom saying he’s tired however I’ve been out working that evening. He swore he hasn’t done it in ages yet I found it on his phone the other day it killed me inside, I know exactly how you feel. I even had a boob job because I felt inferior to the porn stars, yet he still watches it. I’m out of luck, I feel worthless.

      • Kay Bruner on

        I hope you can hear me when I say: THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. THIS IS NOT ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK.

        This is a choice that he makes.

        The question I have for you is: is this the way you want to live? Is this the kind of relationship you wanto be part of? Is this how you want to be treated?

        If not, then you might want to consider your boundaries: here, here, and here are some articles that might help.

    5. Tracey on

      I have discovered that my husband whom is not interested in sex with me has been buying sex toys for himself and hiding the fact. Then I just became aware of him joining a social media site and receiving pornagraphy. I have asked him several times not to do so and how badly it makes me feel because we don’t have a intimate relationship. I feel that I am unattractive to my own husband. He has tried to become more sneaky about it. I am very hurt and think I want to leave.

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        There are no easy answers; there’s not one right answer. You just have to take the information, process it, and decide what’s right for you going forward. You might want to find a counselor who can help you process your emotions, and decide what healthy boundaries will look like for you. Here, here, and here are some articles about boundaries that might be helpful as you think things through. A support group would be great, too. And you might appreciate the online resources at Bloom. Whatever your husband chooses, you can choose to be healthy and well! You have a right to take care of yourself. Only he can choose his recovery.

        Peace to you, Chris

      • Bobbi on

        I’ve been married to my husband for 28 yrs and sex has been few and far between due to his pain from work related injuries over the years. But hes been pain free enough for sex, but is having an issue finishing. He credits it to remembering the pain. Well I’ve been very supportive thru it all, he claims hes gonna see a dr, but hasnt made attempts yet. I noticed about 3 weeks ago hes been viewing porn on his phone for a few months now, daily. Sometimes when I’m leaving the house, sometimes when he gets home from work while I’m sleeping….and when I learned this, I tried more often to have sex and remind him I’m here, and will help him thru his “mental block” so to speak. But after a week of not visiting, hes back to daily in the last couple days…I really dont know how to confront him, cause I’ve made random comments and given him plenty of opportunities to come clean or see I’m supportive to no avail. I’m terrified this may mean my marriage will end eventually. I feel he’ll either get super defensive or he’ll just lie. And I really dont wanna take a chance of him figuring out how to make it where I cant check and the trust factor just kills everything…I really am alone in this, and fear the end result. Our marriage had its ups and downs but honesty and loyalty were never an issue, this would take the cake.

    6. Cheryl on

      My husband of 16 years has sext an old flame of his a few years ago. When I caught him, he seemed sad and willing to stop sexting her. Their conversations were quite erotic and graphic in sexual situations and positions. A few months later he was back at it with her. This time they were exchanging sexual pictures with each other. Once again I busted him and he seemed remorseful. He said it was his own insecurities and it made him feel better about himself when the flirting and sexting happened. This entire time I am doing the best I can as a wife and pleasuring his sexual needs. Now, about a year later, I find searches on his phone of topless women, women groping other women, etc. It’s not a conversation or him sending pics but I still feel betrayed and violated. Does he not care how this makes me feel or just can’t help it? I haven’t approached him yet about the searching he’s been doing. I’m a Christian and respect and value what a marriage is but I’m not sure how I can handle this yet again. I’m stuck between is this just the way he is? vs this is not what I signed up for! Thanks for your help and advise

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        There are no easy answers; there’s not one right answer. You just have to take the information, process it, and decide what’s right for you going forward. You might want to find a counselor who can help you process your emotions, and decide what healthy boundaries will look like for you. Here, here, and here are some articles about boundaries that might be helpful as you think things through. A support group would be great, too. And you might appreciate the online resources at Bloom. Whatever your husband chooses, you can choose to be healthy and well! You have a right to take care of yourself. Only he can choose his recovery.

        Peace to you, Chris

    7. Marie on

      I’m 56 years old, and I no longer enjoy sex, so my husband has turned to porn, and I feel like it’s my fault. I’ve told him I don’t like him doing this, so now he does it secretly, in private. We no longer sleep in the same room, due to schedules and my insomnia. (But we have occasional sex, like once every 2 months). I’ve caught him on several occasions, but didn’t say anything about it. I was too embarrassed and didn’t want a confrontation.
      I really am very angry at him all the time now, but he doesn’t know why. I’m a christain and this really bothers me. And not fulfilling his needs makes me feel like it’s all my fault.

      Reply
    8. Becca D on

      I am a year into a relationship with a man that is one of the best relationships I’ve ever been in. The closeness and intimacy we share has been exactly what I’ve wanted in a relationship. I just recently found out he watches porn, which was incredibly surprising to me, because I assumed it would have come up by now considering how open we are sexually with each other. We’ve talked to each other about everything and I’m also incredibly open minded in the bedroom. I told him I was hurt and I felt completely betrayed and blindsided. He made the point of asking how has it really negatively effected our intimacy at all. It didn’t effect it because I didn’t know it was happening. In fact, I assumed he felt the same way about it as me this whole time. Now that I know it’s happening, I feel like his actions in the bedroom have been motivated by the porn he watches or that my value is weighted on what I do sexually for him. We have time apart from each other during the week which is when he watches it. My openness to him and my vulnerability feels minimized now. He has said he sees my side but will not stop watching it. He says I am turning it into something’s it not and that I can’t control what happens between his ears. I agree with him. What he fantasizes about is not at all what I’m upset about. He says the videos he watches are nothing but a “cue” and he’s not comparing me or my actions to those women. I don’t see how someone could be watching those things and NOT compare or relate it to your actual sexual life. I also have my own past experiences with porn, to the point where I was personally addicted to it and it effected my sex life; I was unable to orgasm without watching porn. I am well aware of what it provides as well as the problems it causes. The argument that ignorance is bliss is not good enough for me. If someone is cheating, of course it doesn’t effect you until you find out about it! Any input or advice?

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey there, you might be interested in this article from The Gottman Institute on the effects of porn use on relationships. The bottom line, though, is that you get to decide what boundaries are appropriate for you in a relationship. If you don’t like porn, it doesn’t belong in the relationship, simple as that. If your partner can’t understand that, then perhaps the relationship is not all that you have imagined. That’s a hard thing to face, but reality is reality and your boundaries are your boundaries. Live in relationship that values and respects you. Peace, Kay

    9. Dawn on

      My husband and I have been married almost 2 years… sometimes I wonder why I even try with him. While we were dating he was trying to hook up with other girls. I forgave him for that. We got married and within less than 2 months was talking to his ex. I found out 1 week after he left for a 6 month deployment. I forgave him for that. We got pregnant and he lost interest. I checked his search history back then and he had been watching porn instead of wanting to please me. Our baby is 3 months old. I’ve tried to have sex with him so many times and he turns me down. The last two nights he has been sneaking out of bed to “poop” his search history determines that is a lie as I already knew. I don’t know how to confront him about this but if I don’t talk to him soon I don’t think I can handle it.

      I am his wife and mother of his child. I have never felt so alone, betrayed, hurt, and bad about myself in my whole entire life. I’m not super pretty. My body is not perfect. I have had thoughts of surgeries to make me prettier but what for? A man who doesn’t care about my feelings, thoughts, pain, and all that. I have thoughts about divorce but I don’t want to hurt my daughter like that. I don’t know what to do.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Dawn,
        I am so, so sorry for the pain you’ve been through. I think that toxic ideas about “forgiveness” that do not include the rebuilding of TRUST are the cause of many women stepping past healthy boundaries and into places where they are not respected or valued as they should be. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries that should help. I would also suggest that you find a group, a therapist locally, and check into the online resources at Bloom for Women. While you can’t control your husband’s choices, you can be responsible for yourself, and for the sake of your sanity and the health of you and your child, you must take responsibility for yourself and your choices, given the reality of your situation.
        peace,
        Kay

      • Anonymous on

        I just had a baby 7 weeks ago and I found out that my fiancé is using porn. I haven’t wanted to be intimate since giving birth so I blamed myself at first, but then found out he has been using it for a long time – probably since before we were dating. He even has pictures saved to his phone of his friends that are girls in bikinis or revealing clothing. He has even taken their Instagram pictures and photoshopped them to be naked. This hurts me so much because I already compared myself to those girls. I have felt so betrayed and sick to my stomach the last few days. I don’t feel like I can trust him or be intimate with him knowing about this. Especially because my body has changed and I have loose skin and stretch marks, I don’t feel comfortable around him. I also don’t know how to bring up the conversation because I feel bad that I invaded his privacy by going through his phone after I found out about his usage. I’m also afraid of bringing it up because he has lied to me in the past, if he’s doing something that he thinks will upset me, I don’t think he’ll stop – he’ll just try to hide it from me. Just over a year ago he decided we should “take a break”. I specifically asked him if he wanted to see other people on this break and he said “no”. After we had been back together for a while I found out he did see other girls while on the break, and before the break even started he had been seeing another girl. I was just waiting around for him to decide if he still wanted me. This discovery of his porn watching has brought back those feelings of not being enough for him. It makes me question if he loves me. I’m so torn on what to do, he’s my best friend but I don’t feel like I can trust him. I just want to do what’s best for our baby, but I am so hurt. I don’t know who to talk to, please help!

      • Lisa Eldred on

        Ouch, that’s a rough place to be!

        There are a few things to keep in mind as you consider how to address this:

        (1) His porn use probably started a long time ago, in childhood. He likely became habituated to it long before he even met you. It has nothing to do with you or your body. Do NOT let anyone try to shift that responsibility onto you—even you yourself.

        (2) He won’t quit and enter recovery from his porn use unless he sees a need to quit—and that starts with a conversation that you will not tolerate it. Talking to him about it is hard, but it will be so necessary—for his health, for yours, and for your child’s health too. As you talk to him, be honest about how his porn use hurts you, but also try not to heap shame on him—that’s a big driver to porn for a lot of people. Instead, try to present an unwavering positive belief that he’s better than this.

        (3) Look for other ways to encourage him to find freedom. If he’s very relationally driven, just knowing it hurts you may be enough of a wakeup call. If he’s more intellectually driven, it may help him to understand how his porn use is physically affecting him. We have a ton of free ebooks and challenges; encourage him to pick one so he can learn for himself how his porn is harming his own body, not just you. (As one motivating factor, I would consider putting your wedding on hold until he’s shown signs he’s committed to quitting porn—but make sure you seek wise counsel from people who know you and your situation. This is NOT you giving up on your relationship… just acknowledging that marriage is a huge commitment.)

        (4) Do NOT try to be his sole cheerleader for healing. That usually just heaps shame on him and pain on you. Encourage him to find additional help, whether through a trusted friend who he can meet with regularly or even a counselor.

        (5) Don’t neglect healing for yourself. This is a heavy load! You’re undoubtedly feeling emotional whiplash at the least, especially with all of the endorphin rushes of a new baby. Minimally, there are online support groups for partners of porn users (https://beyondbetrayal.community/ is a partner of ours). You may also want to seek counseling for yourself.

        I’ll say a prayer for you, sister. You are worth so much more than this—and the good news is, if you’re both willing to work for it (and it will take time and hard work), you can both find healing, and have the eventual marriage you desire!

    10. Holly on

      Hi, I recently found out my husband watches porn, daily. He says it’s just something to do on the toilet. Also, it’s just a guy thing. We have sex nearly everyday, (at least 5 days a week) sometimes he cant get his, which I’m assuming. It is because he relieved himself earlier. He admitted that he has pleaded himself before, mostly when it’s if I’m really tired(2 young kids and a fill time job starting at 5 am)
      Or that time of the month (which that doesn’t matter to me, I dont mind doing it then and he doesn’t either)
      I just want him to understand how I feel. It makes me feel like I need to do something more. Even though he keeps saying everything is fine its just an issue he has sometimes(not getting his).
      I’ve even asked if he wants to watch together (I’ve never watched) he said it would be weird for him.
      He know I’m open to do anything (if that’s what he looking for, new things by watching).
      I just need some guidance on how to talk to him more about it. It REALLY bothers me. Why, and I even told him if we need to have more sex, I’m FINE with that, I love it.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Holly,
        I think you might appreciate this article from The Gottman Institute about the effects of porn on marriage. Dr. Gottman has this very interesting concept of how emotional trust is built in relationships, and that is by each person “turning toward” their partner. The other options are turning away and turning against, and porn over time can often become the place where a person turns away from their partner, and eventually even against their partner. I think that’s what you’re sensing here: you don’t like this, he’s not attending to your discomfort, and even though you are having sex often, you can tell the relationship is slipping.

        Also, it sounds like you’re observing early signs of porn-induced erectile dysfunction, which is a sign that things are not healthy for your husband, either.

        Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries which you might find helpful as well. You do get to define what is right and healthy for you in this relationship.

        Peace to you,
        Kay

    11. Holly on

      Thank you.
      I talked with my husband and he said if I’m that uncomfortable he just wont watch anymore. Its not that big of a deal to him. (Not sure it’s that simple) but I’m wanting to trust and believe he would do that for me. He has a hard time seeing my view points on it making me insecure. He said he didnt get anything out of it, it’s just a guy thing.

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Trust and verify is what I’d do in a situation like this.

        It sounds like he’s minimizing both his own situation, and your emotions about it. That’s a very common defense mechanism which easily becomes gaslighting.

        One of the ways you can tell if your husband is doing well in recovery is by his ability to build emotional trust with you: “turning toward” is what Dr. John Gottman talks about. Caring how you feel, listening, taking your concerns seriously. I’d watch for that, as well as behavioral changes. A lot of men, I’m afraid, are just not aware of how much they are turning toward porn as a way of coping with their own emotions. I did a Facebook Like here at Covenant Eyes a while back that talks about that.

        Hopefully what your husband says is true.

      • Vanessa on

        I’ve been with my husband for 27 years. For many years now it’s been a constant battle with the poem thing. There were times were I bursted out in tears because of how much it hurt me to see how much he watched porn. He promises over and over he would quit. There was a time where he saw how hurt I was and he begged for forgiveness and promised he would stop. I feel that the women he watches are really what he wish he’d have. I am slim and curvy, but the porn he watches, well the women look nothing like me! They are xxxbbw and it really disturbs me! I’ve talked to him about how I feel in every way. He’d get mad and twist it around on me being exaggerated. Recently we started to get along better and he out of his own will he promised no more bad habits and no more nothing that bothered me. Well it’s been a lie. I go on his phone and he is watching daily. And all throughout the day, he thinks he deletes it but I have a way of looking at his google history. Tonight I left the room and am on the couch because I can’t stand laying next to him when I know he just got a ride from all those other women! And specially because they are not even close to what I am. This makes me feel little shamed humiliated ugly too skinny not enough! Even tho I get tons of attention it doesn’t matter, he is the one I want to satisfy not other men. I feel so insecure right now, he heard me crying and he just didn’t care to come find out why. He knows I caught him in a lie and he knows he betrayed the trust we were trying to rebuild. Now, I know that he will flip this on me and say I’m the cause of our failure in our relationship. I wish I could just disappear and make this feeling go away .

      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey Vanessa,

        I think it’s time to reassess your boundaries in this relationship. Here, here, and here are some article to help get you started. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. This is not your problem, you are not making these toxic choices. Those are his choices. And you can make healthy choices for you, regardless of what he does. Find a therapist just for you. Check out the online resources at Bloom for Women. But your husband’s bad choices are not your problem to solve, and you can have boundaries that support a healthy life for you!

        Peace,
        Kay

    12. Grace Scott on

      Hi.
      This site seems to be directed to wives talking to their husbands about porn but…my problem is with my Dad.
      I am 17 (not sure if that matters) and I found out a few years ago. I’ve walked in on him a few times but I never really know what to say and he always shrugs it off.
      I found out a few months ago that my sister knows about it too but, she doesn’t know what to do ether. We both find it very disrespectful and hurtful.
      I want to confront him about it but I don’t know how. I don’t know if I should tell my mom or not. I want to tell her but, I’m worried about how she’ll take it.
      Please help! I have no idea what to do!

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hi Grace, What an awkward place to find yourself in. I would say that it’s not your job to fix this situation. Really, I don’t think you have to do anything as far as telling your mom or confronting your dad. It is simply not your job as the child in this system. This is something that he should deal with as an adult. I think the important thing is for you to process through this for yourself, with a counselor, if you can. I’m sure this impacts how you feel about both your parents and it will important to process that in a safe place. Peace to you, Kay

      • Mom on

        Tell your mom. Your dad is acting inappropriately in the house where his daughters can see him. This isn’t okay, and as a mother, I would want to know about it so I could shield my children from further uncomfortable and inappropriate situations.

    13. Rch on

      My husband and I have been going through marital problems and it’s much more escalated ever since he lost his job. I confronted him about his poor news when I found it in his phone including live porn. The last time I caught him watching porn he blamed it on me that I was not “putting out”. Ever since becoming a mom I have had decreased interest in sex. I continually asked for us to go to counseling but he’s become more and more adamant about not going at all. He says that he’s just done with the relationship. I feel like the more he sees me hurt the more verbally abusive he gets.

      Reply
    14. Tommy21 on

      I just found out my husband is watching Asian Porn. At first I was furious. Then did some research and read that it’s their way of releasing stress or handling things. I’m not sure how to handle it. He doesn’t know that I know. I don’t want it affecting our marriage. I just want hin to open and honest and explain why? I’m very confused about how I am supposed to deal with this. I’ve left a message on his phone with the sites, and have asked him to rather approach me.

      Reply
      • Moriah Dufrin on

        Hi friend,

        I cannot imagine the confusion and grief you must be feeling at this time, and I am sorry that he is hiding this from you. I also want to commend you for not lashing out immediately when you discovered this on his phone. Open communication and honesty are incredibly important in any marriage. As with most addictions, it is unlikely that your husband will approach you about it. There is a lot of shame and secrecy tied to pornography. If he has a true heart change, perhaps he would approach you.

        That being said, I would encourage you to first pray. Ask God to give you grace and peace as you handle this situation. Prepare your heart before you talk to your husband. Then, talk to him. It won’t be easy, and it may result in even more grief, but imagine how much more difficult it would be for you to just keep hiding this secret of his?

        I would also encourage you to turn to someone you can trust for wisdom and guidance. For some, this is a church leader or counselor. For others, it is a close friend or relative. Share your struggles with them; ask them to pray for you.

        Praying that God moves in your husband’s heart! You are strong!
        Blessings,
        Moriah

    15. B.Wilson on

      My husband and I have been married going on 5 years.. for 3 years now porn has been an issue in our marriage. I’ve expressed how it’s effected my mental health and how I see myself as a woman and a wife. I’ve expressed that I do not trust him to my full extent because it’s always in the back of my mind. He gas lights me or manipulates me by saying it’s my fault because I go looking for these things I know I’m going to find and that I make myself upset from the situation. I don’t know what else to do. He’s acknowledged that he’s addicted.. I’m lost..

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Hey there,

        Well, it sounds like it’s time for you to get some support just for yourself. We always recommend the wonderful online resources at Bloom for Women, where they understand the pain of marriage betrayal and will work to help you process the trauma and move toward healthy patterns.

        I’m really glad that you are able to recognize your husband’s gaslighting and manipulation for what it is. Of course you don’t trust him: he is not trustworthy. That’s not your fault, that’s his work to do. Here’s an article I always like to share: A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce. If you are married to someone who refuses to take responsibility for themselves and instead turns to emotional abuse, then that’s definitely a situation where you want to consider what healthy boundaries might look like for you. Here and here are a couple of other articles on boundaries.

        Whatever he chooses, I hope you’ll choose to take good care of yourself and get all the support you need.

        Peace,
        Kay

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