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.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What I've Learned: Part 2


I've learned that there are so many of us struggling silently together. We feel so alone, but there are more of us going through this than we realize.

Some are newlyweds. Some have been married for 20 years. Some have kids. Some don't. Some knew about their husbands' addictions before they were married. Some found out when the problem started a few years into marriage. Some found out after years and years of secrecy. Some husbands only look at pornography periodically. Some husbands are so deep into their addiction that they have have cheated on their wives. Some husbands are loving and kind and trying hard to stay sober. Some are in denial. Some are emotionally abusive and blame their wives for their problems. Some women have been left by their husbands. Some were the ones who did the leaving. Some are still walking alongside their husbands in the battle to beat this problem.

Our situations are all different. There is no one right or wrong way to get through this. We are different, yet we are the same in so many ways...
  1. It hurts. IT HURTS. I didn't know before this that you can actually feel emotional pain. It hurts in my chest. It's an emotional and physical pain you can't describe. But we don't need to be able to describe it. Our sisters in this struggle understand. Oh how it hurts. 
  2. We are concerned about the future. We wonder if it will every really go away. Will we be able to fully trust again? Is this my life? What if things get worse? When do you fight with all your might and at what point do you call it quits? Just the thought of those questions makes our hearts heavy.
  3. We want it all to go away. Forever. We wish this didn't have to be part of our lives. 
  4. We feel so alone. For most of us, our closest friends and family have no idea. We tell people we're doing great even when our hearts feel like lead. We reach out to our religious leaders and to our therapy groups and to our online friends. But we long to be honest with our friends and family and say, "No. No, I'm not okay. I'm struggling. I need you."
  5. We are strong. Some of us may think we aren't cut out for this kind of battle, but look at us.We're fighting it. We can do it, because we are doing it. We are strong.
I am grateful for the women I have found online. I don't know you, but I feel you are my friends. We all have different stories, but we can relate. It is so comforting to know that someone out there knows exactly how we feel.

I want so badly to send an email out to all of my friends--every last one of them--and share my story. There is no way I'm the only one of my friends struggling with this. If only we could find out who is struggling without having to tell everyone. If only we could all secretly throw our names into a hat and magically know which friends are going through the same thing.

We're not silent to protect ourselves. We are silent because we love and respect our husbands. This is their problem. We were caught in the storm by association. We keep the secret out of love. Their struggles and dealings with God do not need to be out on the table for everyone to gawk at. So we do our best to support their efforts and find our own support system (whether that be a few close family members and friends, a therapy group, or solely anonymous support groups online). But we don't publically divulge their sins. It's not an easy thing to go through.

But we're not alone.


  1. thanks so much for sharing. You have explained my feelings exactly. It's so hard to want to be loyal to my husband and not share his secret when he has been so disloyal to me and caused so much hurt.

  2. R--I completely understand! I am intrigued by your use of the word "loyal." I would probably default to saying it's a matter of being "respectful" of their problems and their personal struggles. (Remembering that they are the ones with an addiction, something I would NEVER want. I'll take the effects of an addict over an actual harmful addiction any day.) When I hear the word "loyal" I immediately think of a "loyal subject" which denotes that they have some sort of power over us. But in reality it is "loyal" as in a "loyal friend." A loyal friend is someone who supports you in hard times. Who is with you through thick and thin. It's hard to be that kind of a friend when we've been hurt (often over and over) but I try to remember that he is hurting, too. Just in a different way. I'm glad you used that word. It made me think. Thank you.

    I've asked my husband if he is okay with me sharing with some select friends of mine and he has agreed. He doesn't necessarily want me to, but he recognizes the pain this has caused me and wants me to have the support I need. I haven't told those friends yet, but when the right time comes, I will. I've only chosen friends who I know would never judge my husband for this.

  3. Keep up your Awesome blog. I am loving it. You are an amazing woman! I want so badly just to fb it or something but pornography addiction is not widely accepted. I know so many are suffering yet it is so shunned to discuss. For all we know we are best friends who live next door and blog anonymously. 4 of the 5 woman I have told are dealing with this. I hope to be brave enough someday to share my story publicly. So many are suffering. So many need this strength from each other. Thank you for blogging. I feel uplifted from you.

  4. Wife A-- 4 out of 5? Just hearing that makes the desire to tell all my friends just bubble up inside me! I care so much about my friends and hate to think of any of them dealing with this alone. You inspired me to blog, so you keep it up, too! I don't know you guys, but at the same time I consider you my friends. Very important friends.

  5. It's sad to think how many of "us" there are. I think we are a causality of the rise of the internet. The world opened up to amazing and terrible possibilities with just a click of the a mouse. I think it took a lot of families by surprise. Addictions started before anyone knew that such a thing as an addiction to pornography existed. Hopefully,youth today will be a bit more protected since we as adults have learned by experience and counsel that internet whether in the home our on mobile devices needs to be guarded.

    1. "Addictions started before anyone knew that such a thing as an addiction to pornography existed." Amen, Marlee. When my husband and I got married, the word "addiction" wasn't even in our vocabulary even though we knew my husband had struggled with pornography. We just didn't know what a problem it could be. As for youth today being more protected? I'm not so sure. I have yet to meet many youth who don't roll their eyes at their "more experienced" parents. My kids are young, so I have a few more years to try to figure this out. It's daunting.