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, June 19, 2012

Attacked from all angles


The last two days have been a struggle for me. I texted Jane today to vent, and she suggested that Satan's usual tricks aren't working on me so he had to come at me from a different angle. Ha! I love it. That girl keeps me sane.

So let me tell you about the last two days.

Monday morning: Pity party. (Yes. Even Mac has pity parties.) Let me share the thoughts that periodically run around in my head: Sometimes I wonder if Mr. Mac really likes me. Sure, he loves me--I'm his wife; the mother of his children. But does he like me? Does he think I'm fun? Does he like being around me? If we met right now, would he ask me out and pursue me like he did way back when? On Monday I happened to look back at the text messages on my phone and realized that of the 5 texts I had sent him in the previous 4 days (including 2 that morning), he had only responded to one. Nothing like big fat silence to make you feel loved during the day, huh? I wanted to send some rude comment like, "Feel free to respond to my texts once in a blue moon." Instead I took a deep breath, ranted a bit to Jane, and felt much better. (I later subtly asked if he received my texts and immediately he started responding to me and continued all day--even joking with me over text. Things aren't always as we make them out to be.)

Monday evening: Body images takes a crash. We watched a movie. The girl in the movie was gorgeous. Sexy? Yes. But not just sexy--all around adorable. Later that night we got a bit frisky, but all I could do in my mind was see the girl from the movie. All I could think about was my belly skin that used to be so tight before I had kids and was now hanging in strange directions. And my acne that I'm sure will never go away no matter how old I get. And that I hadn't shaved--neither legs nor whooha. (My tiny boobs didn't even cross my mind. Good thing, too, because that may have been the straw that broke the camel's back.) My mind was racing. I could see this ending badly. Me bursting into tears in front of a husband who wasn't aware of the battle going on in my head and was just happy to be with me. But... BUT... I gave it everything I had (Mentally, people! Get your minds out of the gutter!) and pushed those thoughts out of my head. And I succeeded. That was a hard one, my friends. I've always had a decent self image, so this caught me off guard and took a lot of will power.

Tuesday (today): I had lunch with my coworkers (love those girls) and the topic turned to trusting your partner/husband. They oozed trust and confidence and love. I heard them saying things that used to come out of my mouth, "I don't care what he does. I trust him." "Why would I need to give him permission to go somewhere? When you trust each other, it's a non-issue." "It doesn't matter if we're halfway across the world from each other--we both know neither of us would do anything questionable." "I'm not worried about him going to Vegas. What? He'll go to a strip club with the guys? I don't care. I know him well enough to know that he's not going to take a girl home. We trust each other." I didn't feel the need to say something about how they should be careful because you just never know. Instead I wanted to start sobbing because I used to have that kind of trust in my husband. I used to have that. Now I wonder what he's doing with his time and I get nervous about his female coworkers. It's ridiculous. This is no way to live. I miss the trust.

When did I become this broken woman? Where did my confidence go? Where did the trust go? Who in the world wants to live this way? Not I, said the Mac. Not I. But this is where the road of life has taken me. And there are so many other lovely things along this road of life that I can handle these things.

Satan, if you were standing in front of me right now, I'd punch you in the face. Quit bugging me. I have better things to do in life and refuse to let you bring me down anymore this week.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Secret to My Success

I'm having a good laugh about the title of this post. Success? What does that even mean in this context? I am successfully happy. I guess that will have to do. And a secret? Oh, how I wish I had a secret for all of you. Instead I've been thinking about what has led me to how well I'm doing mentally. Let me try to put it in words for you:

Success tip #1: I practiced Step 1. I'm sure the other steps in the 12-step program are wonderful and all, but really, I can't even tell you what they are. I can, however, tell you what Step 1 is: admitting I'm powerless over the actions of others and letting go of control. How do you do this? You just start. Even if you don't believe it yet. Start with small things. Do you have the urge to check the history on the computer every other day? Stop. Let go. Do you ask your husband what he did every day in order to point out all the ways he could have better spent his time to maximize recovery? Stop. Put it in his hands. It's not your addiction. Let go. Does your mind race and race and race thinking about his addiction or what you'll say to him the next time it comes up? Stop. Clear your mind. Stop the racing thoughts. Let go.

Success tip #2: I will not let it ruin my day. Oh, this takes so much practice. SOOOO much practice! I loved this post by Faithfully Jaded in which she talks about breathing slowly and forcing herself to not become despondent when hard things hit. When my mind starts racing and my heart starts pounding and I want to become a raging codependent, I sit back and think, "What did my day look like before I started having these thoughts? What was I hoping to do today? What kind of a mood did I plan to have?" Chances are I was going to have a good day. I was going to do something fun. I was going to be happy. So I make a very deliberate decision that this will not ruin my day. I will not let one more day of my life be ruined by this. I want to look back on my life and see good memories. I do not want to look back and see that my life revolved around this ONE thing. My husband is so much more than this one thing. Our relationship is more than this one thing. My life is amazing and I will not let the rest be overshadowed by this one thing.

Success tip #3: I trusted my gut. No, I don't mean that I trusted my gut and knew he was lying to me. I was never sure if he was lying or telling the truth. I wish I could tell you how to know if he is lying or how to trust again. I don't have those answers. I'd like to know them myself. However, I trusted my gut when it came to reacting. You see, when I found out he had been lying, my gut told me not to freak out. My gut told me that things were okay. My gut told me to roll my eyes and have a little heart to heart talk with my husband. My gut told me to reassure my husband that I will support him if he will just come to me in honesty. From what I can tell, my husband really is doing much better, and my gut confirmed that quite clearly. He is making progress. I never expected him to stop cold turkey. I knew he would have relapses (and that always drove him crazy--like I didn't believe in him). My gut told me not to freak out over this. So I didn't. And I'm fine.

Success tip #4: Support. Oh, friends, this is such a huge player in my progress and well being. Are you still silent and doing this alone? Are you still lurking in the shadows here on the blogs? Come out of the shadows. Say Hi. We don't need to know your real name. Pick a name for yourself and start commenting. Connecting to others who know exactly how you feel helps more than I think any of us every realized. I can tell you with everything in me that having a support group has made me all the difference.

I really am doing well. I did not get to this point over night, and it may change in the future. But for now, I am happy. I am proud of how far I've come and hope that many of you are on this journey with me.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I know you are all wondering how in the world I shrugged off this last "discovery." You'll have to wait a couple more days since I want to share something else first, but let me assure you that I am not pretending in the least. I am fine. I am happy. And, if you really want to know, we have been happy, we have been having fun together (and we have great sex twice since I dug up the truth on Wednesday). "HOW IN THE WORLD?" you ask? Stick around and I'll tell you in a couple of days.

In the meantime, I want to talk about consequences.

On Wednesday, I found out that my husband (dubbed Mr. Mac by some good friends) was once again, hmmm, how shall I put it? Lying to me? (Ugh. Those words are so ugly. But the truth is the truth.)

The night before Mr. Mac's lies were uncovered yet again, we briefly spoke about consequences. We didn't, however, set any that night. Of course.

You see, our biggest problem at this point is him being afraid (unwilling?) to tell my when he slips back into looking at pornography. So having some sort of pre-determined punishment is not going to encourage him to come to me in honesty. He already dreads my reaction. Additional punishment is not going to encourage honesty.

Instead, we talked the other night about implementing a consequence for lying. That made more sense to both of us.

When Mr. Mac got home from work on Wednesday, we talked about consequences. I've talked to girls about various consequences they have implemented, and I brought them up to my husband. (Please note that these consequences are very effective for many of the woman who use them--all create a safe place and help them heal and deal with things. You'll notice that I didn't choose any of them, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be right for you.)

  • Sleeping on the couch: Some couples decide that the husbands will sleep on the couch for a pre-determined number of nights. This creates a safe place for many women. You see, going to bed brings up anxieties about groping husbands and sex and associations with porn. That's a rough association for many women. I haven't felt this kind of anxiety in a long time, and my husband actually enjoys sleeping on the couch, so this choice didn't make any sense to us.
  • No sex: Some couples decide that there will be no sex or sexual advances for a pre-determined number of days. This also creates a safe place for women who are struggling with associations of sex with porn use. It encourages the strengthening of emotional relationships. If you can't have sex, you have to show affection in other ways. Safe place, non-sexual affection. I have craved this many times in the past, but right now in my life, it's not what I need. Besides--we have always been once-a-week-sexers, so this consequence wouldn't even make much difference for the first few weeks. (That and I've been wanting sex more, so I'm totally being selfish in which consequence I choose.)
  • Moving out: Some couples decide that the husband should find another place to stay for a pre-determined number of nights. This is obviously more extreme than the others, but it is something I would not hesitate to implement if it felt right. Once again, it creates a safe place for the woman, giving her time to heal and not feel pressured to show or accept emotional or physical advances. I didn't feel the need to have him move out, so this was off the table.
Where does that leave us? I asked Mr. Mac for suggestions. If you follow my blog, you know that I believe strongly in having the husband make many of the decisions in his recovery process. I planned to have a strong say in what was decided (since I am the one being lied to), but I wanted him to be the one coming up with the suggestions.

He thought for a few seconds and the first thing he said was, "No TV for two weeks." It was at this point that I started to cry. The crying caught me completely off guard.

You see, I have issues with the TV. Throughout our entire marriage I have gone through many periods of feeling like I was being replaced with the TV. He watches for hours each night. I go to bed by myself most nights, because he isn't tired, has shows to catch up on, and stays up watching TV. As soon as the kids are in bed, the TV goes on. There isn't much Mac time unless I want to sit on the couch and watch with him. This is hard for me. It always has been. He knows it.

So to have him suggest that the consequence of lying to me is to lose TV privileges for two weeks was quite significant. It was probably the most endearing thing he could have offered to me: his time.

The verdict is in: no TV or internet at home for one week this time. Next time it will be two weeks. Perhaps the next it will be three. I'm not sure he could have come up with anything better.

Have you and your husband determined consequences for relapses or lying? I'd love to hear what they are.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Or not. Spoke too soon.

Oh, the irony. OOHHHH, the irony! I spoke too soon, friends.

But at the same time, I didn't. It really does get better. YOU get better.

Let me explain. For the past 8 months, I've been using phrases like "as far as I know" and "Could he still be lying? Yes." I'm no fool. Or maybe I should say it this way: my gut is no fool. I did a little snooping. The record isn't 100% clean. I'm not actually surprised. Disappointed? Sure. Angry? Only a teeny bit. Sad? Nope. Crazy? Oh thank goodness--no!

You see, I'm finding the names of web sites and laughing out loud. I'm not even kidding. How do they come up with these cheesy names? I think you know you're on the healing path when the reaction in your mind moves from life shattering to recognizing that it's all ridiculously absurd and pitiful. It's the dishonesty that hurts. The porn itself is just absurd.

I actually do think that my husband is doing better. But the honesty is not there yet.

Regardless of his recovery successes or failures, I have gotten better. And YOU can get better. When you work on healing yourself, what they do just doesn't matter as much any more. Yes, it still sucks. Yes, it still makes you question the future. But I know I'll be fine. And knowing that is HUGE. It's huge.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Does it every really get better for anyone?

This next week is going to be very busy, but I’m committed to blogging more after this crazy week ends. I miss you guys. Here are my latest thoughts:

I think these are often the biggest questions on all of our minds: Is this going to get better? Will this ever go away? Will I still be dealing with this in 2 years? 5 years? 10? 30? Not gonna lie--these questions kind of make me sick.

We wonder where the success stories are. Do any marriages actually survive sex addiction? Sometimes it seems like we’re all here suffering together but the success stories are few and far between. Or maybe even absent.

So I want to share our progress with you. I don’t know what’s going to happen with us. I don’t know if things will keep going in the right direction, but this is where we are:

I am happy. Things are good.

My husband has been doing well for about 8 months. He goes to group meetings faithfully. He initiates prayer with me every evening. (Have I told you how we structure our prayers at night? If not, I will.) We pray as a family with our boys almost every morning.

He listens to spiritual talks on his way to work. He talks to me openly about his addiction (answers questions I have about his past, how he’s doing, if he has felt tempted). Is the communication perfect? Of course not. But it is getting better.

He is okay with me telling people about his addiction. He’s not exactly thrilled about it, but he understands that it is important for my healing to have a support group. And he is starting to also see that I am now reaching out to other people not necessarily for my own healing, but to bring them into the fold as well. He understands that my telling people has nothing to do with him; it’s about the women connecting and supporting each other.

I am starting to trust him. Our sex life is getting better. I am less codependent. I am letting him take charge of his life. His career. His addiction. His responsibilities.

I am happy.

Are things perfect? No. Is the addiction gone? No. Do I react perfectly to everything he does and treat him with perfect love? Heck no. I’m not perfect, people.

But things are good right now. They are moving in the right direction.

This hasn’t been a fast process. This is 8 years in the making. And it’s a work in progress. But I want you to know that it’s possible. We’re not a success story yet and things can change any time, but it can get better.