QUESTION: I *KNOW* my husband is a pornography addict. He’s a landscaper and watches it on his phone at work. That browser history is full of dirty movies. At home, he likes to watch porn at night after I go to bed, but he says he doesn’t watch it every night because he also watches a lot of sports. I don’t know if I should be worried and I don’t think he’s telling me the truth about his use. Should I assume he’s lying to me about it?
ANSWER: Like every question about pornography use people seem to be sending me lately, there are multiple issues working at one time here. I think the most important thing to take a look at here is if he is an actual addict.
You say that you “KNOW” he’s an addict, but aside from a lot of watching, you don’t say specifically why you think he is. When he watches at work, is it on his lunch break in the truck, getting a laugh with his buddies, or is he neglecting his duties? When he’s watching at night, is that taking time away from something the two of you would be doing? I’m not going to disagree with you that he’s an addict, but I’m not going to agree with you either. This kind of plays to the point that at the end of the day, “Addict” is more a title than anything else.
You probably are safe to assume that he’s lying to you about it, but again, that doesn’t mean he’s a full-blown addict. Pornography is one of those things that I think 99% of people lie about. If you look at the studies that are coming out almost weekly now, porn consumption is at an all-time high. A recent study by a few Canadian researchers found that 98% of married men 18-35 years old looked at porn in the last 6 months. I would say that unless you have that seriously rare snowflake, any married woman reading this with a guy in that age group should assume he’s looking at porn. The number for women was 73%. Young married people are looking at porn. I don’t know if you’re young or not, and that’s really not the point. I think that almost everyone lies about their porn consumption and it’s a trickier red flag to spot than many other addictions since the majority who view it are not addicted.
I’m a little troubled by the fact you’re looking at his browser history on his phone. Are you looking only for porn are you going through his texts and his other personal information? If you are, that’s a serious trust issue that you have. Maybe your lack of trust is warranted, but invading his privacy should be an alert that something unhealthy is happening here. Whatever is causing you to snoop needs to be addressed. It may be his problem, it may be yours, or it may belong to both of you.
My advice to you would be to book a few marriage counseling sessions. You may just be at a bump in the road and in need of a little tune-up or you could have some serious issues. It’s hard to tell based on what you wrote. Getting the help of a professional is never a bad thing and they will probably help you be able to put your problems in perspective and help define what they really are in the first place.
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DISCLAIMER: 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.