Do you want your kids finding your husband's porn?
I eventually had to create a boundary of NO PORN. STBX knew that if he crossed that boundary I would divorce him. He did, so I did.
I will never tolerate porn again. Never.
For any of you spouses, what are your feelings on porn?
It's a huge huge trigger for me. Sometimes (less than once per month) we watch a dvd together. I've thrown away every DVD we have/had. I've put codes on all of the cable boxes. I discontinued all of the extra pay channels whose shows (IMO) were mostly soft core porn. I haven't asked him how he feels about it, his addiction is his to police. He does occasionally whine about the tv codes. I ignore him. Politely. The things I've done have been boundary setting, protective measures so I feel safe.
"Live a life not an apology." Edward R.Murrow
"I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it."
I have so, so, so many thoughts about this. I have blogged about it alot!!!!!! Here are some outside articles that have affected my opinions, besides just my own personal experiences.
The Demise of Guys: How Video Games and Porn Are Ruining A Generation - wtvr.com/2012/05/23/the-demise-of-guys-how-video-games-and-porn-are-ruining-a-generation/
Sexual Dysfunction: The Escalating Price of Abusing Porn - http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex/2012/05/abusing-porn/
Statistics of Porn in America - beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/2201/
Obsessive pornography viewing plays a factor in 56% of divorces?! Wow!
The funny thing is that before all of this mess I wasn’t really opposed to pornography. I didn’t understand the destructiveness that it could create. I had watched pornography here and there, and had a few videos that were included for free with some “toys” I purchased. It could be somewhat stimulating, but always left me wanting my partner. I could never imagine getting lost in those and disregarding my partner… that seemed so counter-intuitive to me – like a self-defeating exercise. I found that I never really had the urge to view them. They were more like fun, different foreplay.
Now my views are completely different. Thinking of having pornography in our house actually makes me sick to my stomach. What I used to see as harmless fun that could increase sexual oppenness and/or lead to discussion of fantasies has now turned into the biggest threat to my marriage. I feel disgusted by things that I used to find at least mildly arousing. Now all I can think of is the way my husband lied, hid, excluded me, and put his job and our relationship in jeopardy. It’s not harmless…. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing ready to tear your whole world to shreds.
It was a completely foreign idea to me that has still been very difficult to wrap my brain around, but porn can (and does) replace an actual, real-life sexual relationship. It is mind-blowing! Why would anyone rather have 2D images on a screen than someone they can touch, feel, and interact with who is trying to please THEM specifically? But there it is – “More than 50% of those engaged in ‘sexual internet interactions’ had lost interest in sexual intercourse.” It is still so baffling to me, though!
I also see similarities between pornography addiction and a physical affair. Both are seeking of sexual fulfillment outside of your spouse and a healthy, normal relationship. That statistic of pornography viewing increasing the marital infidelity rate by 300%? It is super-scary, but also really, really true. It blurs the lines between reality and make-believe. It leads to rationalization, justification, and denial – all incredibly dangerous! Even moreso for an SA!
For all of those reasons and more pornography viewing is a deal-breaker in our marriage. I am adamant about it. It is one of the non-negotiables for me, right up there with honesty. He is also part of SA and their philosophy is the same - no porn or any sexual acts outside of a healthy, monogamous relationship, even masturbation. He agreed that it is the only way he can stay sexually sober.
Porn is a gateway. It is what led him down the path to everything else he started... And at the end he was looking at teen porn, too, which was highly disturbing. It doesn't start there, but it will lead to worse and worse behavior. It becomes all consuming and perpetuates the addiction cycle. The compulsion, then the acting out, then the shame afterwards, rinse, lather, repeat. Those who are addicted, don’t actually WANT to be, I don’t believe they get fulfillment or true enjoyment out of it, but rather can not stop themselves. And then you have the problem leaking into every facet of their lives with the depression which gets worse with the shame from acting out. The financial impact, the job loss if there is one, etc. also contributes to the mental health. Porn is unhealthy for a sex addict. Period.
[This message edited by beautifulmess7 at 12:00 PM, July 23rd (Monday)]
For SAs, porn isn't just a gateway, it can BE the addiction. SA is about isolation, as are all addictions. My SAfWH would isolate himself with the computer instead of interacting with family or instead of engaging in activities he formerly enjoyed.
I think porn is destructive to all concerned.
What do you think? Is complete abstinence to porn necessary to recovery, or can they coexist? Maybe I should just be happy its "just" porn?
Again, just my opinion, but complete abstinence to porn is necessary to SA recovery and it cannot coexist in any form. It is part of the rewiring the addicted brain, and that won't happen if it keeps getting its "fix". It would be akin to an alcoholic drinking "just beer" during recovery. That's not recovery. That's just trying to manage the active addiction.
Again, just my opinion, but I would not continue to see any therapist that thinks it is ok for him to view porn (your therapist or his). This is not to be confused with a therapist who is trying to help you detatch and not be dictating his recovery, but one who doesn't seem the "harm" in him continuing porn. If either of your therapists took that position, in my opinion there will be no recovery for either of you.
Porn is one of my boundaries. Zero tolerance. And before discovery, I honestly had no issues with porn. Now I am totally glad I don't have to worry about the kids finding it (as much as I can, anyway) - honestly IDK why I didn't figure that out sooner.
The "soft porn" on premium channels (say, like Game of Thrones, not like Californication) and sexual content in mainstream movies is something we still struggle with. Some therapists have a hard line with that, others think outside of initial recovery that there should be some coping skills learned and applied because it is so prevalent in everyday culture. In general my view is avoid it as much as possible in early recovery, and then maybe work out ways later when more coping skills are in place under the guidance of the therapist. Because quite honestly you could be watching totally benign TV and the commercials can be over the top with sexual content, and I think the SAs need to be able to deal with it as a trigger long term.
NEM - I *think* his IC gave him Out of the Shadows as his first assignment, if I'm remembering correctly. However, it concerns me that his IC has never tried to help a SA before (she is a tradional addiction therapist), and admitted to never having read the book before she loaned it to him. SAWH told me that his IC told him that since sex is a part of normal life, he is okay to still use masturbation, etc. and not go cold turkey. I'm not sure he's telling me the whole truth, or just want he wants me to hear about the issue. I'm a conflicted about it though - I think porn is inherently harmful to healthy thoughts about sex, but since we are separated and living apart and I see NO time in the future wanting to be intimate with him, can I blame him or insist he not? I would never be able to verify it, anyway, so sometimes I just feel like throwing my hands in the air and trying not to care one way or the other.
NG - you are so strong, and I admire you greatly for having the backbone I need to develop.
Sabina - I understand your feelings about it being a trigger as well. Before all this, I considered it a bit titallating, but usually after viewing it, I felt disgusted and dirty. It takes on a whole new meaning now that I know the whole story and how much he was abusing it without my knowledge. Now I have trouble even watching shows that use comedic examples of affairs, let alone anything explicit.
BM7 - thanks for the outside sources. I'll go through and read them, maybe pass them onto SAWH.
That statistic of pornography viewing increasing the marital infidelity rate by 300%
SK - I certainly agree with porn becoming its own addiction as well. Seems there are plenty of spouses her who have to deal with obsessive porn use, even without affairs, that are destroying their marriages and taking time away from their families. That was one thing that was really hard for me to deal with - so much time spent away from us, and even when he was with us, he was on the computer playing "poker". *Yeah, right!* It was really a poke in the eye to me because last spring we had put our wonderful house on the market because I wanted to move closer to his work so we could spend more time with HIM...all the while he was coming home late and taking long lunch breaks with his whores! Thank god our house didn't sell, else I'd have been 45 minutes away from all my support group and family who have really been there for me.
Hath - it feels good to know my gut feeling is validated by your experiences. I too think abstinence will be key to his recovery.
Thanks to all of you for responding...it makes me feel much better and less like a traumatized prude.
Given that we are physcially separated, it feels almost like its not my place to tell him not to use porn. He wants to reconcile with me, but I know for a fact I couldn't handle him using it near me (thought he kept it well hidden before). What stance would you take? No porn to be able to work on R? There's no way for me to verify right now. How can he break that habit?
[This message edited by Beneficence at 2:42 PM, July 23rd (Monday)]
I think you've fallen in the trap most people (including me) fall into. You're viewing sex addiction as different than other addictions. Because of that distinction you're mistakenly making, you're not fully realizing the scope of the problem, and your thinking is fuzzy (should I tolerate porn, as an example). If your WH was a drug addict, would you wonder for even a second if you should still tolerate him doing drugs? If he was an alcoholic, would you be okay with him continuing to drink?
Of course not.
Early on in this process, as I said earlier, my WH was given that book to read (I haven't read it to know what it contains). Pretty sure it was the Out of Shadows book, but not 100%. He told me then (probably a month into this) that it contained the idea that he shouldn't abstain because sex was a natural part of life, and it wasn't like drinking alcohol, because you can't NOT have sex for the rest of your life, as you would for drugs and alcohol.
I bought it...not sure how you could completely abstain, would have to be able to integrate it somehow, but I definitely think he could abstain from porn. Stick to the healthier forms of sex? Will even that trigger his need for more and more? Do people advise complete abstinence from all sexual activity to overcome SA? Maybe that's what he needs though, to break through his fog. I'm disturbed by what he's revealed about his inner thoughts. He admitted that when we would walk together out and about, hand in hand, he'd be fantastizing in his head about having sex with women we'd pass. How can someone change that ingrained of thinking? Ugg. Hate this.
Also, you can google Patrick Carnes and read his website - and also watch a series of short videos by him on UTube.
And spouses, because we still are capable of rational thinking and logic, want to believe our SA when they say their therapist says this, or the latest article/book says that. But you will need to learn that until he is further in recovery logic simply does not apply.
What would I do in your shoes? In all honesty, I would:
Demand that your SAWH sign the HIPPA papers that allow his therapist to discuss his treatment with you as a condition of R
Make an appointment (phone conference if you have to) to see what her take on his diagnosis and treatment is. See if it aligns with what your SAWH is telling you. See if it aligns with what you read about SA treatment.
I would also make porn one of your boundaries. Simply state, there is nothing in that book that states porn is a healthy part of recovery and in fact states otherwise. If he's seriously about R, he needs to be serious about recovery. And that means no porn. If he's not serious about recovery, you will re-evaluate your motivation to stay in the relationship.
Again, my two cents. Easy for me to say over here, totally different when you are in the thick of it. ((HUGS))
I've been working too hard to fix other things in my life since I can't fix this. And the aftermath of the recent trauma has completely slayed me. So I've decided, instead of killing myself fixing other things, I'm going to try new things. Because clearly the old ways aren't working, right?
Little stuff. I wear different clothes than I normally do. I drive a different way to my appointments and meetings to see what's there and what inspires other thoughts and actions. Shopping for groceries and such in different stores. Doing the kids' bedtime routine in a different order. That sort of stuff. And it has been very liberating and enlightening. Gives me a different perspective.
So there it is. How's everyone else's week going?
However, I'm sort of doing the same things! I'm driving my children to camp each day, and on the way back, I drive through different neighborhoods. I went running through a sort of hippie-ish suburban neighborhood today (I live in a city in a very traditional neighborhood). Found two farmer's stands and try to stop every day - we're baking a peach pie right now.
I'm mixing up the clothes and jewelry a bit too.
I'm trying to READ again. I haven't been able to concentrate on a novel in a long time. Even if it's just the New York Times, I try to read something good every day. And I'm watching all sorts of television series that I missed the first time around. Things I wouldn't watch with STBX, because I was afraid they might "trigger" him. I'm watching Girls, which I love.
It all makes me feel like there's a bigger, wider world out there, and my troubles aren't quite so insurmountable. And that I could live in a bunch of different places and find a bit of happiness there.
Good luck with YOUR new things. ((((Hugs))))
We are getting back to "normal." We are about to begin a major home redo which will take a lot of energy. I had an IC today that was a bit frustrating...she confronted me about my inability to get past my feeling of being a non-sexual being. That I had been cheated of that, that I just feel that I can't ever get that back. She feels that I may be punishing him.
I considered that. I am not. It's true, that I just cannot forget the abuse. I cannot forget that while he was being abusive and rejecting to me, he was being kind, respectful, loving and passionate to whores. EVERY TIME he touches me I think, "he grabbed some whore's leg like that" "he held some whore's hand like that" Forget kissing, forget sex. Forget believing that he thinks I am sexy and attractive NOW! What about when I had a young, attractive body??? If he had to go seek out young whores then, how could I possibly believe that he would REALLY think of me in a sexual way as gravity has created this ugly body I now inhabit???!!! He lied to me forever, I can't believe a word he says.
So, we are friends. We have a good friendship. We do snuggle. He rubs my sore back, I rub his back, although he is far more attentive to me than I am to him. I don't feel bad about that, I feel I he owes me.
IC wants to try EMDR to help me erase the ugly words. I'm game.
If you are in a relationship with an SA, I think complete healing for you may have everything to do with how you were treated. I was treated and spoke to with hatred and disdain, and those words burn in my brain like scars.
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 7:03 PM, July 24th (Tuesday)]
I am getting stronger. I have started to share my marital situation with more and more people. No dirty details -- only that he cheated, we are separated and I am seeking a divorce.
This will sound shallow, but the responses have boosted my fragile self-esteem. Friends, acquaintances and clients have assured me I am a very attractive woman who looks years younger than my age. (how is that possible?) They have assured me I will have no problem finding someone who will love and cherish me. I am already fending off offers of dates with friends or family of the people I've told.
Let me be clear, meeting someone new could NOT be further from my mind. I am in no way ready, nor may I ever be ready to open up my heart again. But I must say, it is nice that others think of me as someone worthy and attractive, when my SAWH did not. God, how he damaged me!
How they've damaged us all. As always, you are all in my thoughts and prayers...
Thanks again for your responses. I went looking for the Patrick Carnes books and got the Out of the Shadows book from my library. Looking through his other works, I remembered that the one my SAWH read was "Don't Call it Love". Is that one similar?
In the very beginning, I was reading a lot. One was "Your Sexually Addicted Spouse" by Barbara Steffens. When my hubby read the Carnes book, he told me after reading it that I would need to do some work because according to the book, I was a co-addict. I just got mad. I didn't read it, and discounted it for that reason. I am definately in the "trauma" camp, not co-addict camp. See no way I could have helped him along, seeing how as soon as I found out, he slept on the couch that night, kicked him out the next morning, and filed for divorce within the week. How dare he involve me? How dare he try to pass blame my way? But I will read the Out of the Shadows book and try to get a handle on the addicts side.
But you guys are absolutely right - I need to be verifying everything he is telling me and not letting it go. We did both sign disclosure agreements with our ICs, and the ICs have spoken with one another, so I'll see if I can ferret out more information about his therapy and her (IC's) view on pornography. He has also told me that he can't tell me much of his therapy adn I'm not invited there because he has said his therapist believes he needs to work alone at first and having me know or be there will be inhibiting for him. I'll have to verify that as well.
Have any of you read Carne's other book, In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free from Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior? I'm thinking that might be a good read for me too. At some point, though, I don't want to be directing his recovery. I *want* this to come from him, but I guess I should at least tell him what boundaries I have and see if he steps up. Do any of you have parental filters on your computers for accountability? I've thought about using those, but my SAWH is a professional computer guru, and pretty sure he'd work around anything I could find.
HNF - Sorry about your disclosure difficulties. Reliving it must be brutal. I love your coping method (changing little things to make a positive difference). I will try that as well.
If you are in a relationship with an SA, I think complete healing for you may have everything to do with how you were treated. I was treated and spoke to with hatred and disdain, and those words burn in my brain like scars.
Ghost - Rebuilding your esteem is so very important. I'm happy to hear your friends and family and giving you the support and encouragement you need. Keep remembering their positive words.
Do. Not. Be. The. One. To. Hold. An. Addict. Accountable.
No filters for the computer. No GPS. No nanny-ing a grown-ass adult man. You are not his mother.
If he was an alcoholic, would you be following him & tasting every drink before he swallowed? No. If he was in recovery he'd have a sponsor and THAT person would be his accountability partner. If you want a marriage with a SA, you can't also be his mother or his parole officer. You have to be the wife.
Can you guess that I tried to do the computer filter thing with my STBX? Yeah, that didn't work out for me. I tried enrolling us in an email counseling series, too. Oh goodness, well, at least I was trying. But you know what? These things were doomed for failure because they were coming from me. They weren't coming from STBX.
Did you get that? Do you understand what I'm saying? Here, I'll say it slow & enunciate:
All. Efforts. Will. Fail. Unless. They. Are. From. The. Addict. Alone.
Okay, so you don't want to think about the co-addict label. I get that. I do. I hate it as well. But guess what? The fact that you're thinking about internet filters and talking to his counselor and all that helpful stuff? That's co-dependent. Sometimes called being the co-addict. Now, *I* am a co-dep. Oh yes. Well, I'm a RECOVERING co-dep. I'm over a year into counseling and am breaking free from that trap.
Maybe you're not as co-dep as I was. I hope for your sake you're not. But are you open to the possibility that some of the things you're wanting to do are mentally & spiritually unhealthy?
At some point, though, I don't want to be directing his recovery. I *want* this to come from him, but I guess I should at least tell him what boundaries I have and see if he steps up. Do any of you have parental filters on your computers for accountability? I've thought about using those, but my SAWH is a professional computer guru, and pretty sure he'd work around anything I could find.
Unfortunately, you can't control another person. It's very easy to get around parental controls and keyloggers. It's even easier to download programs to temporarily disable or "fake locations" on GPS. I know, because my STBX has done all of this. As soon as I used to find some sort of way to monitor him, he would find a way to get around the monitoring.
At one point, he was sending me fake emails from his CSAT and other people - from their email addresses. There is a program that allows you to do this.
I could go on and on.
If the addict wants to continue his behavior, he will find a way.
As for the porn, NO, I don't think it's okay, and I don't think that any CSATs would say it's okay.
Bene, I think you should read as much as possible about SA. And then read:
Deceived: Facing Sexual Betrayal, Lies, and Secrets (Claudia Black). Her chapter, "in the face of truth" changed my life.
Codependent No More (Melody Beattie). I predict this book will make you SO angry, because it makes everyone angry at first. But it will help in the long run, I promise.