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, February 28, 2012

Is everything a lie?

The message in this post was hard for me to put in words, and I'm still not satisfied with it, but I pray that you will understand what I am trying to say.

I've heard this sentiment expressed by many women: once they find out about their husband's addiction and lies, they feel like their entire relationship was built on lies. That everything was fake. That he never loved her. That she was stupid to have ever believed in him. That it was all a lie.

It's not true.

I can say this, because I have come to know this. I know what it's like to wonder if your husband is lying to you about everything. I do not claim to know what it is like to have my husband cheat on me, but I do know what it is like to have him lie to my face and to look back and wonder how many times he lied to me. So, please, open your heart for a minute to what I am about to say.

My husband's addiction does not invalidate everything else about our relationship.

He married me because he loved me. Has he made some bad decisions since then? Sure. Does that mean he didn't actually love me when he married me? No, it does not.

We have laughed together millions of times since we have been together. Has he looked at pornography behind my back and lied about it? Yes. Does that mean he faked all the laughs he shared with me? No, it does not.

People make mistakes. They make bad decisions. They even fall out of love. But that does not mean that everything that came before or the life they led with you was fake or a lie? No, it does not. Am I excusing their lying and cheating? No. Not at all. But please remember that the lying and cheating does not automatically mean that everything else about your relationship was a lie.

In fact, many times an addict is afraid to tell their loved ones about the addiction for fear of abandonment. Think about that for a little while. They are afraid to tell you for fear that they will lose you. They know what they are doing is wrong, but that doesn't mean they want to lose you. I know it is selfish and flawed thinking on their part, but it means that their feelings for you were real even as they were making bad decisions.

It is your decision whether you stay with this person or not (and often a very difficult decision at that), but whether you end up staying together or going your separate ways, please PLEASE do not convince yourself that everything in your life was a lie.

I am grateful to have gained this perspective now. I hope that if my husband and I ever separate in the future, I can look back on the good times we had and know that they were good times. His joy was real. My joy was real. Our love for our kids was real. Let good memories be good memories. Separate them from the addiction and the lies.


  1. This is so true Mac.

    It's hard not to feel that everything is a lie after you find out about all this... I know first hand too.

    It wasn't until Maurice reminded me that the good times were real... and even if he was miserable in our marriage, I wasn't. I loved it. I enjoyed myself and my marriage very much. It's harder to decipher if it was all a lie when he (my ex) has said to me "I regretted marrying you... I wasn't happy that first year". I took it very personally and it still hurts. But the truth is, he loved me enough to marry me and he kept his choices secret because he didn't want to hurt me (and that he didn't want to suffer the consequences he knew would be inevitable). I believe that. He did love me the best way that his broken self knew how (his words not mine). It all wasn't a lie.... but soon the lies that transpired became waaaaay more significant than the 'good times' we had. Sad but true.

    I really like your perspective on this Mac. Great post!

  2. Well said Mac. I feel the same way.

  3. I think its a great post on a subject we all struggle with at some point. It is hard not to let doubt creep in to every part of your marraige. I absolutely agree with the statement that he loves the best way he knows how...at the time. The best part about counseling for me is that my husband is learning what true, selfless love is supposed to look like. By someone other than me. He has been able to convince himself that he did love me, and that I shouldnt allow his actions to make me feel otherwise! (yep..somehow I have been the misinformed in his mind:) Yeah for professionals! And for husbands who, despite their weeknesses genuinely want to be better. How often I wish I had my husbands humility and willingness to change. Yep...he definitely loves me, he just has to work on loving himself, demonstrating his love appropriately, and healing the hurt we have both suffered because of the addiciton! We have a long way to go, but I am very grateful to be out of the "was everything a lie phase"!

  4. J--It is a hard thing to truly grasp, isn't it? I love your perspective on things, and I'm inspired by the way you have handled it all.


    Amber--It's amazing what we are able to convince ourselves of, isn't it? When I'm having a bad day, I am able to convince myself that everything is wrong and that my husband does nothing to help out, etc, etc. And most of the things I convince myself of during those down times are not true. So I can see how our husbands, who are struggling constantly, convince themselves of alternate realities as well. It's nice for us all to step back and really see what is true and what is not. And normally, things compartmentalize, and the times we have had fun and experienced joy together are true even if some other things were not.

  5. Thank you for this encouraging blog. A while back you posted a portion of my blog on healing being a process & God, the healing balm (from beauty inside). I've now changed my blog to: "With Love From A Rescued Heart," & I hope you will add me to the people you follow. Thank you for being an inspiring & REAL woman who is allowing God to use the good & the bad in your life, to help others.

  6. I'm struggling a little with this. Okay, a lot! I guess it's good for me to mingle with you ladies who have a different perspective than my own ... because I am most definitely in the I-do-not-believe-anything-he-says phase. I guess I just need to give it time, eh?

  7. ugggg. you're right and it's so painful. With this kind of double-sided secret life revelation it does feel like life with him has been a lie. I just flipped though our journals and scrapbooks...makes me sick. THIS man, the one in the pictures smiling laughing playing with our kids, THIS man!!?? If I hadn't felt the kick in my gut I almost wouldn't believe it's real. HE, HIM, THIS man, MY husband he walked down the street of betrayal. It's like I can't combine the two people Im now aware of. My husband the funny happy-go lucky guy who adores his family and then the dark pervert lurking for his next fix.

    It's mind-boggling. And my heart can't comprehend it, not yet anyway. Maybe I'll find more understanding in the future.

    Mac, thanks for your compassion!

  8. With Love--Welcome back! I'm glad you're blogging!

  9. Angel--Don't worry. We all swing back and forth between positive thinking and episodes of mistrust and hurt and worry. But I think it will help for you to be here and be part of the discussion. The comment below is for you as well:

    Scabs--(Do you mind if I call you that?) My heart goes out to you. You know, I wrote this post in part to remind myself (if anything were to go awry in the future) that the good times we are having now are, indeed, good times. I'm happy. We are having fun. If things explode in the future, it does not change the fact that right now at this moment I am happy or that tonight my husband will run up and down the hall with my kids laughing. I know it would be incredibly (INCREDIBLY) hard to have something happen like in your marriage, but the best I can do is learn from what has happened in relationships like yours and do my best to have a good perspective on it now just in case I'm in the same boat some day. I pray that some day (for your own sake and peace) you can look back on your marriage and be able to separate the two lives your husband led and be at peace about the one he led with you.

    1. Scabs is perfect! I was laughing when i read it. Thanks for you encouragement. it's nice to know that maybe there is peace in future.