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My Husband Was Addicted to Porn

Could our marriage survive his compulsion?

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I have a confession to make: I've have been married to a sex addict for most of my 25-year marriage. For much of that time, I hid my shameful secret. I'd tell myself my husband, Paul, was normal, that every man was into pornography. All the while, I silently suffered tremendous damage to my self-worth, blaming myself for my husband's problem.

I never caught Paul looking at pornographic magazines, watching x-rated movies, or surfing pornographic Web sites. Instead, I found out by his own admission. Since he was a Christian while involved in these activities, his guilt eventually got to him—and he had to confess.

When I finally stopped denying the seriousness of his addiction, life seemed unmanageable. How could I cope with my crippling emotions of pain, anger, and shame? How could we go on? I needed answers—but didn't know where to turn.

When Paul and I married, I wasn't a Christian yet, and Paul had become one just a month before we wed. When I finally accepted Christ, our marriage should have followed the "happily ever after" route. But we learned the hard way that becoming a believer doesn't automatically eradicate your family inheritance.

When Paul was 10 years old, his father left his mother for the neighbor down the street. Paul's mother went back to work, leaving him unsupervised with his two teenage brothers, who introduced him to porn. When Paul became a teen, he became sexually active. Sex made him feel cared about; it replaced the care and concern he missed at home.

Paul's addiction to pornography filled me with feelings of failure, guilt, shock, devastation, and hopelessness. I didn't know what to do when he came with a confession of his activity. I felt as though my heart broke into a million pieces. My worth as a woman plummeted, and I put up walls to close out any emotional or physical intimacy with him. It would take me weeks before I could allow myself to be intimate with Paul again.

Although Paul confessed, he was unable to stop. When he saw the unbelievable pain I experienced, he'd be overcome with remorse. We fell into a pattern: Paul would confess his involvement in pornography, beg for forgiveness, then promise never to do it again. But—he would.

I could always tell when Paul experienced a failure. He'd behave as someone who had something to hide but would become offended that I didn't trust him. Finally, after weeks of questioning him, Paul would confess that my suspicions were right.

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My Husband Was Addicted to Porn