About the author, Coach Sarah

Coach Sarah is a Certified Professional, Relationship, and Partner Coach at Betrayal Trauma Recovery, trained by the Association of Partners of Sexual Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS). She is passionate about using her story and her training to help people heal from the devastation of betrayal trauma and the effects of gaslighting. Working alongside therapists, Sarah provides support and care through individual coaching, group work, classes and workshops. She’s also a mom to two amazing kids. Sarah lives with her daughter and son in Austin, TX.

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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.

11 thoughts on “5 Common Myths about Setting Boundaries

  1. I would like to know more about how far boundaries can extend. Should recovering addicts drop all self-centered activities, such as sports, to focus on group accountability, Pastoral counseling, Church meetings, and family healing? I believe those things must take priority over recreational activity for the addict. My husband claims to be set free from porn, but I still want to see consistency in these areas. He says I am controlling for myself having a trauma response to his failure to go to Church over a soccer game. He has abandoned me and the family to soccer for years, and a lot of the time would see prostitutes before or after playing soccer. He has seen counselors, but nothing consistent. He prays regularly, talks about how Jesus has delivered him from this sexual struggle, meets with a men’s group once a month, and goes to Church as long as there is no scheduled soccer game to interfere. I am seeking divorce because I feel he is not willing to sacrifice self-serving activities, and show consistency with accountability. He and others claim I am to extreme, and should be satisfied with the positive changes he has made. Bottom line, the trust has not been rebuilt.

    • Hey Heather,

      If your husband was seeing prostitutes before or after soccer, then I can completely understand your trauma response to the situation you describe. It does seem to me that if he really wanted to rebuild trust, he would do whatever it takes, including and especially giving up soccer when it is so closely associated with his sexual addiction.

      Given the severity of his acting out, where he has clearly broken the marriage covenant by visiting prostitutes, it looks to me like all of your options are open even with the most stringent religious standards applied.

      Boundaries can extend as far as you need them to extend.

      Your husband can say that Jesus has saved him, but actions speak louder than words every time.

      Here and here are a couple of articles on divorce that should be helpful, and that you might pass along to others.

      Peace to you,
      Kay

    • 10 years ago after dealing with a husband who was addicted to pornography…I chose to leave him…because he refused to admit that he was doing anything wrong with any consistency. So between that and other mental health issues…I felt that my boundaries had to include a complete and total cut off of my relationship with him. Because my mental health was going through the wringer.

    • For many of us addicts, sport can be an important activity, a healthy activity that is to be encouraged. But, what you are describing is not sport, but sport-watching. Also, what you are describing does not sound healthy because it is all-consuming. It actually can be quite addictive in its own right because it is another form of escape from real life.

      I am a member of a 12-step Sex Addiction Recovery group. We define behaviours as inner-circle – like porn. Outer Circle – like attending recovery meetings, church, prayer, bible-study, meditation etc, and Middle circle, which covers everything in between these.

      It is for each addict to define their own circles. We are addicts by our own definition. Whilst this might seem like watering down the strict Biblical position, it is not. It is more about recognising what we can and cannot do at the moment. it is about progress rather than perfection.

      I wonder where your husband would put sports-watching? It does not sound like outer circle, nor inner circle. But, because it can lead him towards his inner circle, and is closely allied to inner-circle behaviour, I would suggest is it a ‘boundary behaviour’ – something that is in the middle circle close to the boundary with the inner circle. As such, he needs to be extremely careful around it, possibly giving it up entirely because it is so dangerous for him.

      There is another 12-step principle that is at stake here: we go to any lengths to get recovery. This can be very, very tough at times. But, necessary.

      So, I can fully understand you seeking divorce – because he is not going far enough to satisfy you that he is doing all he can to get recovery.

      God Bless you

    • Heather – as a husband who put my wife in a similar situation, an affair and an attached porn addiction, I feel for your situation. I’m now almost fully recovered from these situations and addictions that almost ruined my life. My wife is pregnant with our third child, and could have left, but chose to stay. I have to chime in and say that your husband is completely wrong to not stop playing soccer, for many reasons. He doesn’t have to stop forever, maybe just for a season so you can heal. The fact that this hobby is a source for his acting out tells me he may still be partaking in infidelity. Even if not, and I say this in the most non-judgmental, loving way possible, he needs to be in church for his sake and your peace of mind. I reiterate this: the fact that his weekend soccer was a tool used to selfishly cheat on you is even more of a reason for him to commit to not going anymore, for however long you see fit. I pray he drops his pride and changes his stance, so your relationship can be fully restored and thrive in the future.

    • Hi Heather,
      I want to validate your choice to leave the marriage if your trust has not been rebuilt. I tried to regain trust, from my ex-husband, over four years after his confession and I could not come to feel “safe” or trust him again. We had two children and I was having to do everything–working, groceries, meals, daycare, bills, holidays, and simply keeping the household running. I could not do that any longer, as I was experiencing many physical and emotional stress related symptoms. The situation got to where I did not even feel safe for my kids and I. My ex-husband tried, but it was not enough to keep me feeling safe and helping me want to stay in the marriage. I am a strong christian and believe in trying to “save” a marriage, but I was risking my own life and two children’s lives. Finally, I realized that I had to leave the marriage and God told me (through prayer) that it was okay. My ex-husband was not going to change and therefore I had to end the marriage to save the kids and I. I am happy to tell you that my ex and I have the best relationship now than we ever have–after five years of being divorced; almost six years since separation. There is hope afterwards!

  2. well when I discover my husband that he has las year 2017 an affair I was devastated because he ask me for divorce. after pastor intervine he decide to stayed and work in our marriage in the beginning he was sleeping with me for 4 months and then with excuses he decided to sleep in another room….we start having arguments because I didn’t trust him and in May after suspicion in my heart I confronted him and he confess about his porn addiction and that he didnt want to quick because was nothing wrong do it. ….so I ask him either to work in our marriage and his addiction or to leave…..and he decide to move out of the house……now he dont speak to me at all and the only way of communication is through my teenager son…..he told me to lie to our boys and said he got a job in another city and he later will divorce me…….I so hurt and rejected

    • Armida,

      I am so, so sorry for the pain you are going through. Your husband’s choices are heart-breaking. Of course you are hurting, but I hope you understand that his choices are not about you, they are about him and how he chooses to deal with life.

      You don’t need to lie to your boys or anyone else about what’s going on here. You find the boundaries that work for you, and work on creating a healthy life for yourself. You might want to find a counselor who can help you process your emotions. You might consider a support group as well. And the online resources at Bloom for Women are fantastic.

      No matter what your husband has chosen, you can choose to be healthy and whole.

      Peace,
      Kay

  3. It is so sad when marriage partners fail to realize that their bodies (including sex organs) belong 1st to God and then to their marriage partner. Their bodies are not to be used to seek pleasure solely for themselves. They are to use their bodies to glorify God and to serve their marriage partner. When a partner seeks pleasure outside of their marriage through pornography, masturbation or another partner, they are destroying the oneness that God intended to protect the relationship. Setting boundaries are critical and appropriate. We initially set those boundaries when we pledged our love and faithfulness to our partner at our wedding. When one partner fails to abide by those boundaries, then it is acceptable for the other partner to protect themselves by setting ones that will provide safety and security.

  4. I had no problem with porn until my wife started witholding sex. The irony is that it was after I shared that I was feeling more temptation because we already had sex just a few times a month. I was a healthy guy who would have preffered to make love several times a week if she was willing. Now she says I have made it into a duty to “service” me. Doesn’t faithfulness mean serving each other not just avoiding sex outside marriage?

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