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.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
What I've Learned: Part 3
I've learned that being a control freak doesn't really fix anything.
That doesn't mean I don't still have my moments, but I'm slowly accepting that my husband's battle is to change and my battle is to support him in that change. I can't cause that change, no matter how much I try.
I may be quite radical in my philosophies here, but this is the way my brain works. This is what I think, and you may have a different approach.
We don't have special filters or locks on our computers. Our Google searches are set to a moderate-high filter just to keep some of the temptation (and inappropriate material in general) at bay when we're doing regular searches. But we don't have any special parent locks or anything like that. Why? There's always a way around it. If they want to find it, they will. I recently read on CafeMom about a husband who is a computer whiz and goes around every block and lock they have on their computer. I'm not interested in putting everything on lock down. I'm interested in my husband taking control of his life and being accountable for his actions. That involves agency.
I don't check the browser history anymore. Did you know that you can delete individual entries in the history in most web browsers? Did that just make you sick to your stomach? I had a paranoia moment the day I realized that. If my husband is looking at pornography and not telling me or deleting it so I won't see it, then he has things he needs to work out. Me finding it on the history is only going to lead to me being upset. That's not going to fix the problem. My husband needs to learn how to not look at it in the first place and how to tell me when he messes up. Communication and honesty are more important to me than checking browser history.
And I don't ask him a bazillion times a day what he's doing. He doesn't need me hounding him. He knows he has a problem. Sure, he could keep from looking at anything if I were standing next to him all day long, but is that really fixing anything?
That said, I do think it is important to set healthy boundaries. If he tends to look at things on a laptop late at night, it's important that he plan to only use a laptop in a location and at a time when others would be able to walk by and see what's on the screen. If he tends to mess up when he's on YouTube, he should block YouTube and make a commitment to never go on YouTube for anything. He needs to find out what is triggering him and then make a plan for staying away from that. If that plan involves putting a lock on the internet, then that's what he needs to do. If he looks at things on his smartphone, perhaps he needs to consider going back to good old fashioned cell phones.
What I'm saying is that he needs to set boundaries for himself. He needs to figure out his triggers and the necessary boundaries. We cannot control what he does, and trying is only going to make us crazy.
Instead of trying to track his every move, work with him to figure out what is causing his episodes. Then work with him on a plan to stay away from those situations. Ask him how you can help and then be that help. But don't be a control freak. I know (from experience!) that it's hard, but it is possible.