About the author, Ella Hutchinson

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

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Porn and Your Husband

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

Did you catch your husband watching porn? Learn the answers to common questions, tips to productive conversations, steps to setting boundaries, and how to determine the next steps for your marriage.

19 thoughts on “How to Tell If Your Husband Is Really in Recovery

  1. When I first came into recovery 4-1/2 years ago, great content on the internet was difficult to find. This is FABULOUS! If you’re looking for recovering sex addicts to write or speak publicly on the matter of recovery or porn/sex addiction awareness, contact me.

    • I am a 60 year old male who was molested at a young age introduced to porn at 5 , and my way of seeing woman has been absolutely distorted, I have been married for 27 years and I have completely destroyed myself and my wife and family. My wife has now moved away and I am struggling to keep my head above water . I have and accountability partner, Covenant’s eyes on my stuff. And I am doing the 40 day challenge, I am also seeing a therapist tomorrow and entering into a program tomorrow. I also lost my job , all this in last two weeks . I will do what I need to regain the trust of my wife.

  2. Trust is shattered! It is that simply! Having counseled sex addicts for over 30 years, I wouldn’t make it so complicated. A man who has truly changed is a different man, and that shows up almost immediately. The opposite of mistrust isn’t trust. Ultimately you can’t fully trust a sinner, especially a sexual sinner. Given what’s at stake, the opposite of mistrust is caring!

  3. 10 years ago, I found out my husband was a porn addict. We had been married 25 yrs, and he promised me that he would quit. 6 years later, I realized he had never quit. My heart was broken. I had always trusted my husband so much, that I wanted to believe him, so I did. When I found out that he had lied to me, I actually became physically ill and nearly died. I was in a coma, on life support for 4 days, and the doctor told my husband that my chances were 50/50. I lived through that illness, but I never got over the pain of his betrayal. It has been 4 more yrs now, and he claims to have quit again since the last time that I discovered that he betrayed me. Whether he really quit or not, I may never know. I now have terminal cancer, and I will die sad and depressed, not knowing if he ever really loved me. I am taking this horrific pain to my grave. And the truth is, I loved him with all of my heart, and never thought of another man. All of my fantasies were about my husband, while all of his fantasies were about every women but me. The thought of that is too much for me to bear. I do feel as though our whole marriage was a lie, or a cruel joke played on me. If any men out there truly care about their wives, they need to know that putting her through this kind of pain, can cost your wife her life. Is that what porn is worth to you….worth losing your wife over??

    • Sheila i feel your pain..when i was going through my chemo an radiation treatments my husband took matters into his own hands not saying a word to me an by the time i got done it was to late i could tell things have changed big time..no more hugs no more kisses nothing unless i asked..30 years ive lived with this man an my heart is crushed because we now have our first granddaughter witch makes things even harder..but because what he has done i no longer want to keep track of myself..its harsh but its how i feel..i get alot of flash backs on somethings that ill never forget…i hope things turn better for you..ill pray for your change!!

  4. Dr. Ella,
    Thank you for this article. In the last 5 years I still find MOST therapist/counselors are not addressing the Porn/Adultery FIRST before any other minor problems in the marriage. Instead they start with communication, inlaws, kids, etc. while the wife has been deeply wounded & is hurting & the husband is still sexually sinning. Why the don’t address the Major Sin first either they are not trained or have other motives. But either way I find way too many couples are walking away from therapy without getting the help they need & paid for. Often the marriage will not survive.

    Dr. David Clarke is one of the few marriage counselors that when doing an intensive with a couple does address the Porn/Adultery first.

    Thank you that you also are addressing the Porn/Adultery first with couples. I only hope that more therapist/counselors & Pastors will begin to realize the old approaches are not working. Following Matt.18 the major sin should be addressed first allowing the husband to give full disclosure & start his own recovery while allowing the wife to vent all her anger to her husband & ask all the questions she needs. Wound thoroughly cleaned out , then hopefully healing can begin.

    • Yes, porn addiction is NOT a marriage problem, it’s a personal problem that impacts the marriage deeply. Porn must be dealt with first, before any marriage work can be successful. Thanks for pointing that out!

  5. Interesting! Heart change boiled down to a list of 12 things to do? I think not! That would be behavior managaement. Having counseled 1000s of couples from across the U.S., with countless marriages healed after discovery of serious sexual sin (A.K.A. Addiction), I would say that in heart change, you know that your husband is a very different man, and you take great comfort in his spiritual, relational, and sexual maturity; his strength! Simple put, you know, because you know him. You care!

    • Unfortunately, Dr. Schaumburg, partners of sex addicts do not feel they know their husband and no longer trust their own intuition. They thought they knew their husband before and learned they were wrong. While your sentiment sounds nice, it is unrealistic and partners need concrete steps to watch for.

  6. I watched porn for over 20 years. I quit and marrige is hopless as far as i can see. I am too selfish. I was honest from the begining but had trouvle quitting. Thank you for letting me vent.

  7. I wish I could see the change. Someone in an article said that an addict in recovery should be sharing his place in recovery with her and should be able to trust in his intent. It’s not happening. He is still gaslighting, hiding things, downloading fake or deceitful apps and has never gotten rid of hidden photos or external storage on private servers from his electronics. I have been suffering without support for our whole 21 years together. I am exhausted. He has been going to s.a.a for 3 years but continues to lie to his group and to me, and yes his group is saying that all my pain is my problem and I am put on my own side of the street repetitively. I have no career or income but if God were to drop a lottery on me I’d be gone.

    • Hi, when your husband has a pattern of untrustworthy behavior, of course you don’t trust him. Trust is earned. And it’s earned by trustworthy behavior over time. If he’s not trustworthy, it’s foolish to trust him. And if he’s continuing to be untrustworthy, then you are faced with the very difficult question of what your boundaries will be. Here, here, and here are some articles about boundaries that might be helpful as you think things through. I’d encourage you to find support through a counselor for yourself, a group just for you, maybe an online resource like Bloom. You’ve got hard things to face, so find some companionship on that road. Peace, Chris

    • I’m living the exact same life. My husband lies to his group, lies to me, and probably lies to our dogs as well. There is a HUGE problem with these guys lying to their groups. They are receiving affirmations for hard work they’re not doing. It empowers them, recharging their ability to gaslight and deflect. My husband came home a few months ago from his group and said to me, “I dont feel I can stay ‘sober’ living here (with his wife & kids).” I will never forget that. His group must’ve told him that based on the fictional him–the self-motivated model student who never ‘relapses’ and is quick to throw out biblical scriptures of God’s love. +$!Barf Barf$!€

      After my initial sadness, I said to myself, this dude is not getting away with this shit. He May have a group of men all forced to attend thus group, but I have the army of God (or worldly good, karma–whatever floats your boat).

      I sent an email to the leader of the group twice. The first time the leader’s response was, “ok, plz dont contact me. We have to allow Joe (name changed for anonymity) to come clean on his own.

      After my initial embarrassment I thought….my gosh! These guys have no accountability layer other than what they admit yet they’re all pathological narccissist liars!!!! And the wives, the victims, can’t know anything about these groups due to the hiding of them. Last I checked, AA meetings for alcoholics are wide open to whoever. If a spouse walked in wanting to tattle, she’d be offered a cup of coffee and a Big Book.

      I am a recovering alcoholic of 6 years sobriety now. These sex addicts groups clearly do not have the ‘sobriety’ an AA meeting has. A sponsor should at least have 5 yrs sober. The leader of each meeting usually has at least 10 yrs sober but usually more. The structure of the Big Book is tried & true. The main theme in AA is accepting while actively drinking, we alcoholics are the most selfish bastards ever to live and people actually DON’T want to hear my opinion 6 times in one night. In other words, humility.

      Most of what I’ve seen in my husband’s 7 Pillars book would be appropriate for someone who crashed their car into a strip club while checking out a prostitute walking by.

    • Thanks, Sarah. It’s so important for women to be wise about what’s really going on, and to be empowered with healthy boundaries for themselves. Here, here, and here are some good articles on boundaries. For me personally, the biggest sign of recovery is not a behavior-based heavy-duty bunkered program that protects the addict, but rather the level of emotional trustand “turning toward” that you experience in the relationship. I wrote about that a while back and it still holds true years later. Peace Kay

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