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Is Your Partner’s Porn Addiction Ruining Your Life?

Is your partner’s porn addiction ruining your life?

Porn Addiction Nearly Ruined My Marriage – Don’t Let it Happen to Yours

If you don’t believe that porn is a real addiction, then please read my story.

My husband’s fix was online porn and acting out – over the years it destroyed me, him and our family.

In the beginning, I fell into the notion that sex between married couples eventually becomes infrequent and let’s face it boring. I read lots of stuff online about how to keep it fresh etc.

With complete naivety, and in an attempt to spice up our love life, I embraced online pornography and encouraged my husband’s active participation.

We engaged in role-playing and fantasy.

At first, it was novel and fun but soon, it became a little uncomfortable and weird.

As more time went by, it pushed us further apart, destroying all intimacy in our marriage. No longer did I see pornography as harmless, or “something that lads do.”

In the case of my husband, it was hugely apparent that ‘porn’ was not just an interest or a compulsion, but an overriding life encompassing habit.

In his mind, when he was having sex with me, he was somewhere else or with someone else.

sex addiction

Compulsion behaviour versus addiction

“11% per cent of people who view porn regularly have unsuccessfully tried to stop.”

Compulsions are repetitive behaviours with no rational motivation other than somehow they feel calming. A little like how a child sometimes responds to a daily routine.

In some adults, compulsions are acted out to help reduce or distract from anxiety and worry.

It works through immersion; think of a ‘complete distraction’.

Addictions, on the other hand, involve a physical and mental inability to stop a behaviour.

This is despite the ‘yets’, the negative consequences or any rational thoughts of possible danger.

Both compulsions and addictions involve a lack of control.

Addictions often show a far greater degree of loss of control and are more extreme in nature.

If watching porn becomes problematic to you or a loved one, there are tried and tested ways to try to regain control of your life.

Get help now.

beat porn addiction

Happier times

In 2012, I met my husband Keith, online, of all places.

Within less than a year, we were married and planning an exciting future together.

Being in love, young and naive, we partook in risky sexual behaviours and threw ourselves into the deep end of a great varied, no holds barred sex life.

However, with age came maturity and after our first daughter was born two years later, it was time to grow up and get real.

Throughout the years, my husband became more distant, especially in the bedroom. I knew he watched porn on the laptop, but so did most men I knew.

Over time our sex life changed, becoming uncomfortable and disturbing.

He kept wanting more and more sex with stories and fantasies. Whatever I did, he would get angry and verbally abusive. It became a battle almost every night.

In a bid not to nag or seem stuffy about these kinds of things, I did what I thought was best to do; ignore it.

I would go to bed later and often sleep in my daughter’s room. Hugs became invitations, it felt gross, but we still slept together.

addiction ruining my marriage

An addiction out of control

Just like drug addiction, things just got worse.

Never in my wildest dreams had I thought that pornography would quickly become a problem in my marriage and eventually tear my life apart to the point of divorce.

The more he sat glued to his laptop watching god knows what, the higher levels of stimulation he needed in the bedroom. It was exhausting and stressful.

There was no fun or tenderness. I felt used and dirty.

The content of what he was watching was getting more and more graphic and more violent.

Even heterosexual porn had become boring.

We share the same computer at home so I could see his history in Chrome.

I knew he had been Googling prostitutes

I saw that his fantasies had escalated to group sex porn, gender-bending porn, homosexual porn and even rape fantasies.

With a toddler and a new baby on the way, I thought that if I didn’t say something now, then I would lose my marriage. But who could I talk to? This is shameful and embarrassing.

Was I weird?  Was I a bad wife? Everyone has odd sexual fantasies at times, right? Maybe he was just a bit unhappy; going through a rough patch. He did work long hours.

Little did I know.

what to do if my husband is addicted

Addicted to everything but love

We started rowing about his inability to interact with the family (and me) and his habit. He was withdrawn and often late home.

When he was present, he wasn’t if you know what I mean.

Sadly, it turned out that my husband’s addiction did not just stop at pornography.

He turned to drink and prescription drugs to overcome the shame and guilt he was feeling.

He seemed so depressed after watching sex videos that I often asked why he bothered?

My husband told me he didn’t love me

I remember it was a cold night in December 2019, I was feeling isolated, lonely and depressed – I just couldn’t take it anymore.

This could not be my life forever. Where was the man I fell in love with?

We argued that night – really bad. The man in front of me was seething with rage and hurling hurtful abuse. It was my fault, I was frigid, I was a whore. Gone was the amazing, kind and calm man I promised: “for better for worse… in sickness and in health.” Well, we had lots of sickness.

During one row, he told me that he didn’t love me anymore. I was “stupid”, “ugly”, “old” and “fat.”

I threw him out, along with everything he owned. I hated him, I hated myself and my life and all I wanted to do was give up. I smashed the laptop.

The next few weeks became a blur. Looking back on it all now, all I see is despair and grief. The children cried a lot and asked where Daddy was.

porn addiction help

The truth finally set us free

My husband eventually came back home. Three weeks in a hotel seemed to have made him contrite.

He looked like death warmed up. I knew he had been signed off work but had no idea what he had been up to.

Feeling scared he would be alone forever, he admitted that he couldn’t stop watching pornography and taking drugs or drink at the same time.

He asked me to help him. He cried in my arms.

Instead of hating him, I began to look at him with compassion and understanding.

I knew the man he once was and I knew the man I fell in love with had sadly lost himself along the way.

He was obviously very ill. I was still very angry but willing to give him one last try.

We needed to find help immediately

After everything we had gone through, my sleepless nights, the brave face for the kids, the phone calls and excuses I made to his work, helping him find the right treatment seemed like nothing.

Gone was the shame. This was my husband, and this was his problem which was now our family’s problem.

“My husband is addicted to porn, yes I know it is embarrassing but no pity, just help us please.”

alcohol rehab ireland

Residential treatment saved his life and our marriage

He went to Sexaholics Anonymous after finding an online self-assessment quiz, to which he answered “yes” to every question. You can take the same test here.

He also went to SLAA meetings in Ireland and some in London.

I knew it was helping but it didn’t stop him. We needed more than just meetings.

Whilst the 12-step programme seemed really good, my husband couldn’t shake the urge and it felt like we were going down the slippery slope all over again.

He did not stop drinking.

As we live outside Belfast, we contacted Smarmore Castle in County Louth who was very helpful. So many rehabs did not treat sex or porn addiction, and I  had begun to feel like a leper.

An in-depth assessment and meetings with a psychiatrist during admission to rehab helped diagnose some existing psychological problems that we were told may explain why he fell into addiction in the first place.

It was very positive.

ireland rehab

The treatment included detox (for alcohol), 1-1 daily intense therapy and group therapy.

This taught him that addiction is a disease and led him to take responsibility for his recovery.

Through a process of self-discovery conducted with rigorous honesty, he learned to identify areas for change and to begin the process of change.

He learned to manage relapse triggers and understand how his thoughts and feelings could affect his behaviour.

Meanwhile, I read everything I could find online about addiction and attended family therapy sessions at Smarmore Castle.

It was only after completing treatment at Smarmore Castle did we get hope for the future. I could see he was really trying with AA meetings as well.

The after-effects

The process of recovery was not easy for me, I had to get over jealously and the insecurities that had formed because of my husband’s addictions.

So, after his 35 days stay at Smarmore, I kept a very close eye on him, his internet history and his emails.

I wanted to follow him everywhere!

But I had also learnt that only he could make his recovery a success.

The rehab was so understanding and helpful in dealing with my anxiety and my tears! We even had family sessions where I was involved.

He proved to me day after day that he was trying so hard, and my trust slowly came back.

We have continued with his therapy and aftercare sessions to ensure he remains motivated during his commitment to sobriety – and 32 months later, we’re happy, (who’s counting!). He goes to meetings a lot and he seems much happier. Intimacy has safely returned.

addiction treatment at smarmore

Our happy ending

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through this entire experience, it is that sex and porn addiction certainly are diseases.

My husband was very very unwell. No wonder he drank.

My inability to say no or to talk sensibly about what was happening contributed to the breakdown of our relationship.

Having zero boundaries meant that all trust was lost. Using Dr Google rather than asking for help, was an error.

All I was doing was enabling my husband, and in my naivety, I became a willing enabler.

If I could go back now, the one thing I would change is confronting the problem sooner and finding the best place for treatment. I would not waste time playing therapist myself. 

Why is mental illness so secretive? I wouldn’t try to cure my daughter’s broken leg myself.

Getting help sooner could have stopped me from turning to drugs and alcohol. Perhaps the children would have suffered less. I don’t know.

All I do know is I have my Keith back and it is one day at a time.

Please get help for yourself now, if you’re struggling at all similarly.

Or schedule in for a FREE addiction assessment with professionals here.

Porn addiction and dual diagnosis help