I'm a wife dealing with her husband's addiction to pornography. I hope to be a resource for wives (and family members) dealing with similar struggles. Please join in the conversation and leave comments--even if you are here for curiosity's sake and are just learning about this kind of struggle! You can read my story here and the 4 things I think every addict's wife should know here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Hi. My name is Mac. And I have bouts of paranoia!

Actually, I'm not that bad anymore. But we all go through it. Take the other night for example. My husband got home before me (which never happens--this set off alarm number 1). His car was home, but he wasn't anywhere to be found. Eventually I found him in bed. (Alarm number 2 goes off.) Why would my husband go to bed at 6pm? I ask him how he's doing. "Just tired." (Alarm number 3--is he really just tired or emotionally unstable??) Then alarms number 4, 5, and 6 go off just because I'm already full swing into the paranoia. So while he was getting out of bed and going to help make dinner, my mood was spiraling down and down and down.

"You're just tired?"

"You sure that's just it?"

"Did you do anything?"

"For sure? Are you telling the truth? For sure? For sure?" (My husband has lied to these questions in the past, so there's always a part of me deep down that thinks if I ask him enough times, he'll spill the beans.)

I tried to resist. I really did.

But when I went back into the room to change into sweats, I found myself doing a quick sweep under the covers, under the bed, in the hamper for any signs of masturbation.

I felt so dumb. I felt like someone else was controlling my body. When did I become this paranoid person trying to catch my husband in the act? If I found something, would it really make any difference? Would it fix anything?

I went back in the kitchen and shared my concerns with my husband.

The look on his face made my heart melt. He hugged me and truly felt terrible for making me worry. He didn't realize that taking a nap in bed as opposed to on the couch would bring all these thoughts flooding into my head. He explained that he had been falling asleep at work so he left a half hour early. He came home and decided to take a quick nap before we got home so that he wouldn't be exhausted all evening, but we came home right after he lied down. Nothing happened. He hadn't even been having tempting thoughts that day. As we talked, it was obvious that he felt so responsible for the fact that I have these kinds of trust issues. He knows it's his fault that I worry like I do.

Sadly, if this had happened in the past, it wouldn't have mattered. If he had been so tired at work that he came home early, I probably would have told him to keep sleeping. I would have made dinner, gotten the kids in bed, and then snuggled into bed with him. I would have been concerned about the fact that he was tired. Instead I made him get up and did a sweep of the bedroom, half expecting to catch him lying to me.

It breaks my heart that this is plaguing our relationship.

That's what happens when addiction and lies enter a relationship. We stop taking care of each other and only focus on the addiction. Tired husbands lie down for a nap and wake up to the Inquisition. Wives come home happy and are triggered into paranoia by something as innocent as a nap.

I'm working on the paranoia. Most of the time I'm great. But remind me of the lying and I turn into a mess. We're working on it. He's slowly learning what triggers my emotional scars and I'm slowly learning to trust him.

What do you do to keep yourself from being paranoid like this? Have you gotten to the point in your battle where you can let things go and be more calm about it? I am WAY better than I used to be. How are you doing?

{Tomorrow's post: Being a Control Freak Fixes Nothing}


  1. I smiled through this whole post because I could have written it! Occasionally I get like that and then my husband feels so bad that I was so worried over nothing. Read about co-dependency, gradually we can get over our paranoia. :)

  2. Jane--I'm going to start the 12-step manual this weekend. I know I have some things to work through as a result of my husband's struggles. Here's to working through our own issues!

  3. Mac, this is EXACTLY what happened two nights ago in our home. It can be so exhausting!!! I don't understand why if he's been doing so well for so long, I'm still struggling with the paranoia and not trusting him. I've been trusting him a little bit more, but I'm still hanging on the "well, get ready for it...." "it" being the rollercoaster that's about to come. I hate thinking that there has to be a relapse, in my mine, there is NO way he has struggled for so long but is suddenly healed forever. That of course is my dream, but I just don't believe it. I have become addicted to porn myself. My addiction is deffintely different than his but I look for it, I look for signs of it, I have a hard time letting go. Am I being crazy and prideful by not letting it go or is it normal to feel the pain after so long?

  4. Hi Mac, I've been meaning to get in touch with you. My email is meg1472@yahoo.com if you want to connect. It's not fair that we have so much anxiety and fears of what our spouses actions. My situation is different but I have lots of triggers I can't control and my body just responds and I can't stop it.

  5. Secretbattles--I wonder the same thing sometimes. Will it ever go away? I was talking to my husband about this today and mentioned that it will always probably be there (no matter how small) as a way to protect myself. Twice he has gone long periods of time (once over a year) assuring me nothing had happened and then I found out he had been lying. He wasn't trying to deceive me--he was terrified to tell me and have me shut down again. He's slowly learning that I'm actually quite supportive and forgiving when he's honest and up front. Anyway, we're all different, but I'm not sure it will ever FULLY go away for me. Or maybe if he is ever truly past relapses, the paranoia (promptings that something's wrong?) will go away. Time will tell. But I'm working on it.

  6. ugh I pray that it's not a prompting :( It's so dumb that I ALMOST rather live in oblivion... last time I listened to that nagging little question in my head it really had been a prompting. I've asked him and he tells me he's doing well, he's never lied about it when I've asked him. I just want to trust him. I might be naive, but I don't want to search everything all of the time. I HATE HATE HATE this paranoia.

  7. The last thing I want to do is make you more paranoid. Ha. The only thing we really can do is trust our husbands when they assure us they are being honest. But I also think the spirit keeps us vigilant in order to make sure we don't get too relaxed in this battle. Whenever my husband starts thinking he's fine and can do it on his own, he runs into trouble. I don't think it's healthy for us to be trying to catch them lying (that's not healthy) but I think it's smart for us to remember that relapse is a possibility--if for no other reason than to make sure we (meaning us and our husbands) don't get lazy or assume we're out of the dark prematurely. Does that make sense? Even though my husband has been afraid to tell me the truth in the past, I know his heart is in the right place, so I will trust him until he gives me reason not to.