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.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Men Don't Cry

I think it is no coincidence that this topic showed up on three different blogs today.

I was struck by this post on A Cup of Joe today. Judging by the 250-and-counting comments, it looks like a popular topic in general, but what really struck me about the post was the conversation she had with her husband about men not crying. That they are taught from a very young age (through comments and teasing from other kids) that boys do not cry. Boys do not show weakness. Boys do not show "mushy" emotion.

Fast forward 10, 15, 20 years. Boys do not know how to express themselves.

Am I making a generalization? Sure. Is this true of all boys? No. But is it true of many? Yes.

I have seen my husband cry about 3 or 4 times in almost a decade that we've known each other. (I wrote about that here.) However, not once has my husband let himself cry in front of me when he admits his mistakes. The only time he did was after the fact in expressing relief that I didn't blow up at him. Otherwise he is stoic. Does not break down. Does not show any remorse emotionally. In fact, he barely even shows any emotion. Says the minimal words necessary in those conversations and then moves on. It makes me hurt for him.

Made me think of Scabs' post today. Even as her husband was cracking inside and about to burst, he gives a 5-word response and then silence.

Even Leo over at Master Myself Master the World mentioned today that he was uncomfortable blogging (i.e. sharing his emotions in writing, even anonymously), referring to it as a "woman thing." And that makes sense. I don't blame him for thinking that way. We teach boys (through our actions, our movies, our culture, our words) that emotional matters are women stuff. That showing emotion is effeminate.

Why are we raising our boys and men to hold it all in? Why are we teaching them that to be a man you can't cry? Can't release your emotion? Can't show others that you are hurting? Gender roles make me so angry sometimes. So angry.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Is There a Reason?

Shiro Kuramata, Revolving Cabinet, 1970  
I have said it before, and I'll say it again--I don't believe there's a reason for everything that happens. However, there are times when you can look at a situation and see that there may have been a reason. Right now I'm struggling with that possibility.

Lately I have been feeling down about my husband's employment situation again. I feel like I am on a pendulum that swings between feeling surprisingly positive about our future and feeling like he is going to struggle in his career for the rest of our lives. When am on the latter swing, I get this terrible pit in my stomach and want to give up.

Especially when I look realistically at why things may not be working out the way we had hoped.

You see, my husband has always wanted to work on the international side of things. That involves travel. Often lots of it. Travel involves being away from us for long periods of time.

Sometimes I worry that God knows better. Maybe He knows that our marriage wouldn't stand up to that test.

As if unemployment and difficulty pursuing a career and him feeling like a failure and me not being able to be home with our kids weren't hard enough, the possibility that this could all lead back to the addiction makes me sick.


Waiting for the pendulum to swing back to the other side. I could use some positive thinking right now. I will be patient.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Men

Alabama Tenant Farmer, 1936, Walker Evans  Source

I'm glad the women are here finding a safe place and supporting each other. Most of our husbands (or ex-husbands) are quiet and secretive about their struggles because they don't want anyone to know. They are ashamed (and some are in denial). They don't even want us to know. My husband talks to me about it every Sunday evening (since that is a decision we made together), and while he has been wonderful about talking each week, he has also admitted that he still dislikes it. He'd still rather not talk about it at all. Bury it. Pretend it doesn't exist outside his group meetings. Unfortunately, this desire to sweep it under the rug has been the root of our problems for years.

Although it is very hard for most men to talk about their struggles with pornography and sex addiction, there are some out there who are sharing their stories. 

Some of you already know about Master Myself, Master the World. I don't know these men, but I have come across their blog a couple of times. They are two men who are supporting each other through blogging about their struggles and their triumphs. You can read their blog here

And let me introduce you to Warrior. Warrior has a different situation than many of the men we are...um...supporting (...loving, forgiving, helping, hating, forgetting, enduring...?). Warrior has never been married. He knows he has a problem. He has sought counseling. He is fighting very hard to rid himself of this problem, and is struggling internally with reconciling wanting love and a marriage with his very realistic understanding of the problems his addiction could bring into a young woman's life. I think Warrior is brave. He gets it. He knows this is a problem. And he's blogging about it. You can read his thoughts here

If you are going to read their blogs, be sensitive. This is their safe place, too. Do not criticize them. Learn from them. Learn how this affects people on the other end of the addiction.Sometimes I wish my husband would write like this. I think there is a clarity and honesty in writing that doesn't always come out in conversation. The more my husband opens up to me and explains what is going on in his head, the more I understand him and can relate. (We all have addictions. ALL OF US. Theirs are just on a greater scale and have bigger consequences.)

A special thank you to these men for writing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When Your'e Down and Out

Walker Evans, 'Truck and Sign' (1928-30) Source
My go-to remedy when I'm down and out is to pray for comfort. Nothing comforts like Heavenly Father. It's true. What's funny is that it usually takes me being really down and practically sobbing to remember to pray for comfort. And when I do, it comes. My problems aren't solved. I'm not suddenly Miss cheerful and happy. But I'm calm.

I wish I could remember to pray for that comfort on a regular basis instead of waiting until I'm a wreck.

I was reading in my 12-step manual the other week and came across this scripture: "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you" (3 Nephi 18:20, Book of Mormon). My first thought was, "Yeah right. How many times have these women prayed that this could be taken from their lives?" But then I started thinking about the phrase "which is right," and it suddenly clicked. It's all about what we are asking. One of the concepts that has stood out most throughout all this recovery stuff is that we cannot control others. We cannot take away their agency. God gave us all the ability to choose for ourselves. He believes in this principle more than almost anything else. Asking him to force our loved ones to do the right thing goes against the concept of agency.

So instead, I try to pray for that "which is right." For those things that align with the concept of agency. Please comfort me. Please help me to be happy. Please give my husband the strength he needs to make good decisions.

 But mostly I pray for comfort. Because I know it will come.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pomegranate Jam

My mother-in-law makes the BEST pomegranate jam. Or jelly. Whatever. Only the handwritten label on the top says "Pom" and the date. Pom looks just like Porn. It drives me insane. Every time I get out the absolutely amazing jam, I look at it and think "Porn."

Dear Porn: Do you really have to ruin my jam, too? Really?? Piss off.

Rant over. I'm seriously considering covering the label with a new one that says the entire word: Pomegranate.

However, I am very grateful that the worst thing porn has done to me today is ruin my jam. Counting my blessings. One by one.

where are the men?

Hi everyone. Someone used to have a link on their blogroll to a blog written by two guys who are helping each other overcome their pornography addictions. But I can't find the link anymore. Anyone know what I'm talking about? (Thank you, Angel, for sending me the link! http://familyprestige.blogspot.com/)

And why aren't more men who are winning this battle blogging about their experiences? Don't they realize that their wisdom is needed??

I tried to get my husband to respond to an email I received since I figured he would have more wisdom for that particular person than I, but he just stared at the computer for 20 minutes and declared that he didn't know what to write. I wish he could share what he has learned, but I have to accept that it's not my decision to make or push.

Where are the men in this discussion?