QUESTION: I confronted him in the past about looking at pornography on the computer and he said he’d stop, but he didn’t. What now?

ANSWER: What incentive he had to change in the past and what incentive does he have now? If you don’t have boundaries, or don’t follow through on your ultimatums, there is no incentive for him to listen to you other than he knows it’s easier to just listen and nod, then go do what he wants.

Probably about three years before the police ever got involved in my life, prior to entering the critical phase of my addiction, my wife stumbled upon my browser history after a particular session of looking at porn. She said something to the effect of, “Do you really spend this much time looking at porn?” I don’t remember the exact wording, but the message I got was that I shouldn’t be as involved with porn as I knew I was.

But that was the end of it. I don’t know if she was asking me to change, or just making an observation, but it went in one ear at out the other because there was no incentive for me to reduce my viewing.

By the time my viewing reached a critical point, there was nothing she could have said or done to stop me. You need to nip this in the bud before he ever gets to that place.

This question sounds a little bit like a cop-out or throwing up your hands, if I’m being honest. You seem to not think the situation can be fixed because of previous history, so why bother trying again? If you value your relationship and want it fixed, shouldn’t you try again and again until you reach the conclusion it’s hopeless? Once you deem it hopeless, you can either stay and brace yourself, or you can leave the relationship, but until then, you try, try, try.

If he says he’ll change again, hold him to it. Find out how he’s going to change. Is he going to see a therapist? Is he going to give you access to his computer? What are the ways that life will be different after you have this conversation? If he says “You can look at my email” then look at his email.

If he says he can’t change, offer to help find him the recovery tools he needs to begin. If he says he won’t change, then you’re back at bracing yourself or leaving.

The kind of change you’re looking for involves seeing a therapist to get at the root of the addiction and if you can be there to help him in a positive, constructive manner, this time you may see the change that you didn’t before.

 

If you liked this Q&A, check out the others HERE

You can check out my Resources page if you need a place to start getting help. Click HERE

If you’d like somebody to talk to who has been there about porn addiction, be it yours or someone you love, but aren’t ready to make the leap to get help from the medical community, I can be a great resource. For more information, click HERE

DISCLAIMER: While many call me a pornography addiction expert, I have no formal training in counseling or medicine. My advice comes from experience as an addict and as someone in recovery for over four years. Please take my words only as suggestions and before doing anything drastic, always consult with a professional. If you’d like me to answer a question publicly, either post it in the comment section or visit the contact page. Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

5 comments

  1. People need to understand porn addiction is just as destructive as alcohol or opiate addiction. Few would stand by and watch a loved one sink deeper and deeper into their obsessions with those poisons without taking extreme measures to save them. Pornography is a heart and mind disease that’ll take a huge toll on an individual in the long run if not seriously dealt with through therapy or counseling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My wife feels that my sex and porn addiction is like suffering a heavy cold. One day I will wake up and I will be cured and fighting fit. She feels it is my issue and does not discuss or want any involvement in my recovery. Upon reflection, I would have been a sex and porn addict regardless of who I was married to. A combination of my upbringing, mental health and emotional trauma issues are the main causes behind my addiction. My recovery is centred around my support group and therapist. I have come to terms with my wife not understanding my addictions. My hope is that she feels I become a better person in recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, that’s not exactly how my wife feels, but it’s not far off. I know many women in the betrayal trauma recovery community are very different than our wives, but most of them suffered real infidelity, not just pornography. I’ve come to accept that it’s my wife’s way of processing it and we’re doing pretty damn well now. As long as I stay healthy, the relationship stays healthy. She’s proud of me for turning myself into a pornography addiction expert, but she’s not going to be attending any luncheons that I speak at.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am glad that you have a relationship with your wife that is good. It must be a massive boost for your motivation to tackle your porn addiction knowing that your wife is proud of you. That shows an element of understanding on her part. Keep up the good work Josh.

    Like

  4. There’s loads of good advice here so I’ll be short:two things. Simply, ending an addiction takes time and, often many failed attempts; anyone who’s given up smoking can confirm that. Secondly, along with Josh’s book, take a look at The Porn Trap (more importantly get your husband to) by Wendy and Larry Maltze, it will give you a lot of places to start.

    Liked by 1 person

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