Rebuild Your Marriage
Rebuild Your Marriage 3 minute read

Has porn invaded your marriage? – Letter to a Hurting Wife

Last Updated: April 9, 2024

Dear Hurting Wife,

Healing after I found porn on my husband’s computer, honestly, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever endured. Everything you are feeling right now, and everything you felt when you found out, I felt.

My husband George stopped looking at porn, but I still couldn’t trust him. When he left the house alone, I felt like my lungs caved in. Every moment he was gone I imagined the worst scenarios: gorgeous, barely dressed girls walking around; his eyes taking in every detail of their bodies; his heart eating, and me wondering if he’d have more fun with a girl like that—a girl so different from me.

I knew George loved me. He didn’t love the women he looked at. They were in his fantasy land—separate from me. But I wanted to be enough for my husband. I hated that he needed a fantasy world where women looked and did everything he wanted—everything I didn’t do. I wanted to captivate him. I still want this. I want both his eyes and heart. I want to be enough. And I know you want the same.

Please know that I am with you. I have been where you are. I know the pain and anger, all of the tears soaked into your pillow, and the nights you’re too numb to cry. And many other women know what it feels like to be crushed by their husband’s sexual sin, too. We know what it’s like to feel like we’ll never measure up. And we’re not alone. We’re in this together.

Sometimes people tell us to get over it or get used to it. All men look. All men fantasize. As long as they come home to us, that’s all that matters. But this is so far from real love and pure desire, and it’s certainly not romantic.

I don’t know about you, but my wedding vows meant the world to me. When I realized my husband hid his affair with porn, those vows felt like lies. Everything did. It’s heartbreaking to fall in love, be broken to pieces, and then wonder if your love was ever real to begin with.

Sometimes I still wonder if our relationship was real: the love and romance in the beginning, and the wedding vows. Was it all fake? Was he looking at porn the night before we got married? Thoughts like this come and go still, but I don’t dwell on them anymore. I don’t want you to dwell on them either.

Let’s grow together. Let’s surpass these negative thoughts and feelings and let God transform our hearts. My life’s motto is Beauty after Rain. One of the reasons I picked that motto is because my most meaningful times in life, my deepest joys, have come after the most painful circumstances. God carves us, shapes us, and in the process we get cut by the sharpest blades.

George’s lies and lust sliced open wounds that already existed. He went deeper than anyone ever did. I remember crying in bed one night as George slept beside me. The only thing that ran through my head, over and over, was, “He ruined me.”

But porn didn’t ruin me. It didn’t ruin our marriage. I chose to stand up to the lies and say, “My marriage is worth fighting for.”

It’s been a difficult fight—a painful, bloody, but hopeful fight. But if there is one thing I know to be true, it’s that the devil hates marriage. And I wasn’t about to let him have his way.

My hope is that your smile will be genuine and your joy will be complete. I want you to feel what I feel, to know that you can overcome this. Your heart can heal. And you can be content in who God made you to be. You can discover the growth and beauty that comes after the rain.

If I were writing this on paper you would see splotches of smeared ink where my tears have landed. No, that’s not me trying to be poetic. It’s true. I still feel the pain. But listen to me: your heart is precious, and so is mine; through all of this I almost forgot that; but now I know, and I want you to know, too.

YOU are worth fighting for.

If you need someone to talk to, feel free to e-mail me, or leave an anonymous comment on this post. I’ll answer any questions or talk to anyone about this. When I went through this I didn’t have ANYONE to talk to about it. No one felt my pain. I feel your pain, and I’m here.

Hang in there,
Ashley

  1. Humiliated wife

    My husband and I have been married for over 20 years. He has secretly looked at pornography all the way through those years. I was so shell shocked at first that for many years I simply ignored it and didn’t let on that I knew about it. Eventually I confronted him about it and he admitted to it. I have rarely seen him use porn yet instinctively, I know when he has been. Something about the way he is with me changes ever so subtly. He tells me it is only an occasional sin. I’m not sure I believe that. He refuses to discuss the matter with another man or take an accountability partner. Internet accountability is only good once a man sticks to his own computers but my husband is given a work laptop. I don’t think he really realises the harm he has done to our marriage. I don’t think he realises that sexual intimacy between us is merely an act without any emotional connection. He retreats into his head and barely looks at me throughout our ‘love making’. I don’t think he realises the effect the sin has on his own heart. He knows it is wrong but isn’t concerned enough to seek help.
    Last weekend he got annoyed at me for not being in the ‘mood’ and accused me of having no libido. We had already been intimate that day I was exhausted as it was after 1 am in the morning. I am a peace maker so I said nothing but I was so hurt because I try so hard at times to be what he needs me to be. The truth is that perhaps he is somewhat correct in his accusation. My desire is at times very much affected because of the rawness of the wound I feel. I often feel that I am the wife of a man with multiple concubines. They are always young, beautiful, nubile and wanton. I am older, ageing, less desirable and certainly never comparable sexually with his digital harem. Yes, at times my desire for intimacy is affected by those others that have come into the marriage bed. Perhaps a man can compartmentalise porn and reality but for me, ‘they’, those other women are always with us in our intimacy. It doesn’t really matter to me whether this is an occasional sin or a regular habit. The fact that my husband does not see the need to deal with it means that it will most likely never leave us. I could never say this as clearly to him because, while he is a good husband, he is very defensive and reactionary at times and can be very petulant when confronted with his sin. I don’t want my children to be made aware by his loud indiscreet arguing that porn is a part of our marriage. For this reason alone I cowardly bury it. Please pray for both of us.

    • Kay Bruner

      I am so, so sorry.

      I want to just affirm the signs that you notice as real and true. Porn deeply interferes with the emotional intimacy of a marriage, as porn users turn toward porn rather than the relationship for their fulfillment. Interestingly, The Gottman Institute just came out against porn for this very reason: not a “moral” or “religious” indictment against porn, but finally recognizing the emotional devastation that porn causes to relationships. It’s just not healthy, and you can feel that.

      Another thing you should know is that many, many spouses in situations like this will meet the clinical criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So the wound that you feel is also real and true. I would encourage you, no matter what your husband does, to seek treatment for yourself with a trauma-trained therapist. You can search directories at Psychology Today and The American Association Of Christian Counselors to find someone in your area. A trauma-focued group might be helpful. You might also want to read The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk–one of the best books out there on how trauma affects us. Finally, there is an exciting new website for women, Bloom, which offers trauma-focused resources, along with groups, classes, etc.

      Whatever he chooses, YOU choose health, YOU choose healing. YOU choose a life that’s congruent with God’s great love for you. Peace, Kay

  2. Dana

    I found out two years ago. He truly repented and willingly agreed to accountability software on everything. We’ve come so far, but I still hurt. A few days ago, I saw in his accountability report that he had looked at the Facebook page if a playboy bunny. It was about 30 seconds, and being on Facebook, there was no nudity, but I still felt crushed. I saw that one of his friends from work was a follower, so I assume it popped up in his news feed from him. I asked him about it. He says that he clicked it on accident while scrolling past but did take a second look and scroll down a little before feeling guilty and clicking out of it. He says he didn’t continue thinking about it at all after that, and he seems to think that it shouldn’t bother me very much since he didn’t look long and felt bad about it and didn’t think about it later. For me, it was still a huge betrayal that he’d do that after 2 years of clean reports. I am proud of him for feeling guilty and getting out before it escalated further, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still hurt and scared by the lapse in self control. I told him it betrayed my trust, and he said I didn’t trust him anyways, that he doesn’t understand why I’m not over it yet. :( I HAVE forgiven him, and I’m trying to trust him. I know i have a degree of trust for him, because I can leave him alone at the house without feeling afraid, and I couldn’t in the beginning. He hid this from me for 5 years. He’d been clean for a year before marrying me then was clean 2 after we were married before it started again, then he did it for 5 years before I found out. Am I supposed to be over it just 2 years later? It doesn’t nag at my mind every moment like it did at the beginning, but it passes through my mind at least once a day. Most days I can put it in the past and move past it in a moment. Other days are harder. I can’t have sex without it passing through my mind at least for a moment. Am I good enough? Does my body repulse him in any area? Is he wishing I was bigger here or smaller there? Am I boring him? Is he wishing I’d behave more like them? I still very much enjoy being with him, and the thoughts are fleeting, but they still take some of the joy out of the moment. How long can I expect to fell like this? Will I ever have a day that I don’t think of it or another chance to make love without feeling insecure?

    • Kay Bruner

      Hi Dana.

      It sounds to me like there may be two things going on.

      1. It sounds like you haven’t been able to process your own thoughts and emotions about this. And, that’s something I see all the time. THere’s lots of emphasis on the husband’s recovery, but the wife doesn’t get help with her recovery. So, I’d encourage you to find a counselor who can help you process those thoughts and feelings. A support group is excellent as well. Living in a marriage threatened by porn is extremely traumatic to women. If we want to recover, we have to work on our own healing.

      2. I’m thinking that while your husband has been pretty trustworthy behaviorally, it sounds like there’s a gap in your emotional connection, and you’re both needing to work in that area. Here’s an article about building emotional trust. I would suggest getting a copy of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by Dr. John Gottman, so you’re strengthening the marriage in real ways outside of just waiting for the porn problem to be over.

      I hope that helps! Kay

  3. Leeandra

    I have tried sending Ashley an email with the above link. Can she please email me…

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