Behavior, Actions, and Words?
By momof5
6/30/2011 12:22:50 PM
I first wanted to thank everyone for all your advice and kind words to me everytime I blog:) I again need some advice! Everyone keeps saying believe actions not words! I am wondering what do you mean by that?

Also my husband have been seperating on and off because everytime we are around each other he is trying to show me love and I am saying unkind things to him. Yes I know this is not how I am supposed to be but I am heartbroken. So my husband came to me last night and said if you want this marriage to work we both have to be in 100%. I couldn't answer him yet. We are going to the temple tonight. The reason I can't answer him is I have prayed for 14 months to get an answer about staying or leaving i haven't received and answer yet. So for those of you who are truly staying with your husbands no matter what your husbands choose ( my husband can never go back to porn or I will leave no matter what) did you get a lightning bolt answer? Or did you just make the decision by yourself and hope for the best?

Any other advice you would like to throw out at me would be great because my husband says until I can show him some kind of love back to him he doesn't want to be in this relationship! I am still trying to get over the porn addiction and it may take me years! Thanks MOMOF5


I can only offer my experience but I hope it helps.    
"I can hardly claim to be a model of healthy behavior....HA! That is a laugh! But I can just tell you the positive things that are happening in my life recently that are working for me along these lines.

I am also praying about leaving my husband. I went to the temple last week to find an answer. The answer came back that I wasn't ready for the answer. I feel like there are a couple areas that I need to work on to be ready to receive an answer. I need to study and pray about the consequences... So I've been studying divorce and marriage. I am also not ready financially to be on my own and so I am going back to school to add to my degree.

My plan is very simple. I will not divorce my husband unless I receive confirmation from Heavenly Father that I should. Even if he looks at porn again. Even if he cheats. But I believe that God will let me know when it is time to go. I keep asking the question, but I am also at peace with not getting an answer because I know that may also be His way for now.

The reason i am willing to wait is because I've experienced this before with my testimony. This is a very sacred experience for me, so I will share it only in generalities, but I find myself wondering if my experience with my husband will not be similar. When I was a young teenager I desperately wanted to know if the Church was true. I prayed and prayed to know and received no answer. Finally, I made a personal covenant with the Lord that I would accept this religion fully and follow it's teaching unconditionally even if I didn't get the answer right away, with hope that sometime along the way He would confirm it's reality to me. It was my way of testing the seed. And so that is what I did. I lived it. I gave it everything I had. Bit by bit I received strong witnesses of points of doctrine. I gained a testimony of Jesus Christ, though I still wasn't sure this was His church. I gained a testimony of the afterlife. I gained a testimony of prayer. I gained a testimony of the Word of Wisdom. On and on, but I still waited for that final confirmation that this was His church. I lived it. I married in the temple. I raised children and taught them. Years and years passed and no undeniable answer....until....finally.... It would end up taking 17 years, but when that answer finally came it was worth the wait.

I know that God will answer me. It will be in His time and in His way. If I have to wait years, then so be it, but I can't act on my own on this....I need Him. I will wait for Him to speak.

In the mean time: My husband and I live in a platonic relationship in separate bedrooms. We are very kind to each other and polite. We try to maintain a friendship and work on it through service and scripture study and time together. I cannot be with him physically at all and he understands that and so there is no power struggle there, thank goodness. When I have a codependent moment or a break down (like I did yesterday) I ask him to leave the house, or I leave for a while to avoid the destructive pattern that can happen if we are around each other. Sometimes I would try to 'work it out' with him once I am having a despair meltdown, but my sponsor/support person has helped me understand that as a perpetrator of my pain it is better to handle it away from him. She has been right. He is often my trigger...and like all addict minds you have to know your triggers...that is true for porn addicts like him and codependents like me! We both have an understanding that we are on separate roads to healing right now and that maybe those roads will bring us back together, and maybe they wont.

BUT in the mean time...we are not enemies. I've learned that lashing out at him is just part of my codependency and I cannot, cannot indulge. I must treat him like a child of God and with total charity. That doesn't mean that I share everything with him. I think I am finally starting to understand what people talk about with boundaries. I have them...a few of them, but I have some boundaries! Yea! He has relapsed recently and even through that I have maintained my boundaries and I handled it with peace. It has been the most painful relapse to date because of the things I learned when it happened, but I feel like I am in the eye of the storm. I feel calm and assured that I am on the right track. His failures have nothing to do with me and they don't have the power to drag me down, even if it does hurt.

So I have some questions for you IF that is ok with you...

What does he mean by 100%? 100% of what? 100% of your trust? That doesn't seem what is he looking for?

He said he wants 'some kind of love'....what does that mean? Love without boundaries? Hmmmm...that also doesn't seem reasonable. But it also doesn't seem fair to not tell him the rules or not have something concrete that you can both work with. I am not sure about mom used to say, "There should never be any ultimatums in love". I get confused about that. Because it seems like maybe there should be a time and place for them...but I am started to wonder if maybe she just meant that you do what is right no matter what in the circumstances you find yourself. If others do the same, great! but if not, then just keep doing the right thing for you. Ultimatums are a way to control another persons behavior. They are the top of the codependency scale. It sounds like he is using an ultimatum on you. Ultimatums and boundaries in my mind are turning out to be very, very, very different things! Sounds like you need boundaries...not ultimatums.

You are in so much pain. I can hear it in every post. It is as if you are just reaching and reaching and reaching for peace and sanity in your life in all this craziness. I personally think it is ok to not know if you want to be with him. I DO NOT want to hurt your feelings because I have no right to kick you while you are down, but I also don't think it is ok to say unkind things to him....and I say that not out of defense of him, but out of defense of YOU! I know from personal experience that lashing out at him aggressively or passive aggressively will hurt you, and you are the whole point here. You are the one who's healing matters to me.

Forgiveness is an interesting thing, when we give it, it heals us more than the one who offended. Forgiving my husband is for ME! I am not there yet, but I feel it growing.

You asked about actions vs words. To me (again I can only share my experience). In the book He Resoreth My Soul, he talks about 'ritualizations. Things that the addict does before he relapses. Through that book and the 12 step program I've learned to see my husbands addict-self as well as my own more clearly. I now can recognize his 'rituals' before he relapses. He becomes grumpy. He withdraws emotionally. He starts fault finding in everyone around him. He starts complaining about work or things he is powerless to fix. He starts behaving very prideful and arrogant....and then the relapse. It isn't just one bad day becomes a pattern of negativity. There are other rituals happening that I can see and some that I can't but this is where I have to look at his actions and not his words. Other examples are if he skips his church meetings or starts griping about the Bishop and refusing to go in and meet with him for regular appointments. When he starts saying things about "I don't need that!". Those behaviors are all a prelude to pornography. That is what I watch for and I always knew instinctively when this was happening years ago, but it helps me now to know the pattern. It doesn't stop it from happening, but it helps me internally.

I hope all of this helps even just a little. I am going to go rest my fingers now. Hugs MOMOF5. You deserve joy!"
posted at 13:27:45 on June 30, 2011 by maddy
I agree with Maddy's post    
"Those are such good points Maddy shared. The only way you are going to get some peace in your life is to detach emotionnaly from his addiction. When you still see it as a personnal attack on you, you continue to suffer and anger and resentment will rule your life. I know it is a horrible, horrible situation. I woke up again this morning giving this to the Lord and thinking about Joseph in Egypt. Wondering how he felt when he was sold, betrayed, thrown in prison, etc... Did he still kept the hope that he will see his family one day. His parents. I wonder how he kept the faith, alone in his beliefs? How he dealt with his hurt, anger and resentment. He lost so much, so many years, and he never got to see his mother again. The Lord would test us. Sometimes trough the actions of those that we love the most. Joseph looked to his brothers for love and protection, and was betrayed.. He did not know why the Lord had let it happened, only many, many years after did he find out. I know the Lord will test us, and we all have to go trough the abrahamic test. I feel like the Lord took what was most important to me. The security and love of an eternal marriage. I will never feel secure again, nor really love him like I did. How I still yearn for it. But The Lord gave and the Lord takes, blessed be the name of the Lord. He knew what was going to happen to me, and he let it happened, I know that it is for my eternal salvation, thou I can not see it now just like Joseph. I want to trust, I want to do what is right. I must have the courage, the heart to rise above my circumstances and not let my circumstances decide who I am going to be.
This has helped me a lot to feel like my husband's addiction was not a personal attack, not a personnal betrayal. I just got caught in the middle. I have trought the first few months of knowing, treated him with anger and resentment. I saw him like a monster, a pervert, I could not believe was in my life. Now I see him for who he is, a child of God, a sick child of God trying to get better. I can not resent him anymore like I did before. He is my fellow brother who has hurted himself more than he has me. I am glad I do not have to live with the ugly memories of what he did, and have to deal with such an ugly and terrible disease. I have a control over my body that he will kill for. He is still responsible for what he did, but it is between him and the Lord. I must also not be in the way of his healing. However, I have a responsibility towards myself and my children. To take care of myself and them and to make sure that his disease does not make us all crazy and sick. I know that I and the children deserve a house free from porn. We need the Spirit and to be away from those influences. If my husband was to indulge again he knows that we will have to be separated. I know and feel that that is the best for me and the kids and that is what the Lord wants for us. I can financially support myself and the children if need be and I have support from my parents, I can count on. This makes me feel that I have a choice and I think he feels the pressure (even thou it is unwillingly from my part) to shape up. But as long as he is working hard on his recovery, I feel like it is best for the kids and they deserve a chance. I hope along the way, I will learn to respect him more and develop some kind of love for him. But, for now, we like Maddy and her husband, are just learning to be good friends and roomates, co-parents. Learning to treat each other with more respect. He does not even try to touch me, I shriek from it. But I find, I can be his friend, listen to him, support him in his recovery, counsel with him when needs be, encourage him, etc.. It is working for us at this moment, and there is less and less contention and more and more peace in the home. I find as I am letting go of my expectations, accepting my losses like Joseph in Egypt, I can concentrate on today and being a better person. I am learning to count my blessings and feel very blessed still. With health and strenght, an amazing family who love me, opportunities to change what I like and develop my talents, beautiful and amazing children. I look at my children and am so thankfull, I think of those mothers in the hospital with their children dying. I and my children have a roof, more than enough to eat. The rest is up to me, to decide if I am going to let this ruin my life or I would focus on making a rich life for myself, knowing that I can not have everything I want right now.
I hope this helps you.
love and prayers and hugs dear Mom of 5 "
posted at 21:37:11 on June 30, 2011 by crushed
What do you want?    
"The issue here is simple: you haven't forgiven your husband.

No wife should have to be slapped in the face with the realization that her priesthood-holding husband has hidden an addiction their entire marriage. This elicits feelings of betrayal, fear, and distrust. It's a horrible thing and my heart goes out to you.

Anger is a natural reaction. But to feel it to such an extent that you are constantly saying negative and cruel things to your husband a year after he has come clean (you mentioned he quit a year ago in a previous post) means you are intentionally holding onto the anger. You are relishing it. Savoring it.

You haven't forgiven him.

The real question here is what do you want? Do you want an eternal marriage? Do you want a happy relationship that will nourish your children? Then you need to forgive him.

He did sin against you, so you also have the option of holding onto that anger and pointing out to the world how much you've been wronged. This is not a happy path. It will hurt you, your husband, and your five kids. I say this as a child of five kids from divorced parents. But like Maddy said, forgiveness is for the sinned against just as much as the sinner.

You also mentioned previously that your husband wants to make it up to you and be the man you deserve. You are one of the lucky ones--most men have this problem; there are a select few who are actually willing to do something about it. It sounds like you can still make this work. Isn't the well-being of your children worth at least trying?

This, of course, is contingent on his attitude. You haven't given many details of his actions. Specifically, is he:

1) Active in church
2) Involved in the LDSAR program (or something similar)
3) Working with the bishop
4) Willing to do these things and whatever else it takes

These, especially number 4, will give great insight as to what the future of your relationship can be. If the answer is yes, then you can still have an amazing marriage.

As a recovering addict myself, I can tell you how crucial a spouse's support is in the recovering process. My wife has been terrific. She has treated me with love, patience, and understanding. In a strange way, this has brought us closer together and our marriage is even better now than it was before. MUCH better.

This couldn't have happened without her. If she had decided to hold onto anger and hurt, it never could have been like this. By giving your husband the cold shoulder and rejecting any attempts of his towards reconciliation, you are suffocating the marriage. YOU, not him, are suffocating the marriage.

That is, of course, assuming the answer to the above four questions is yes. If it is no, that is a different matter.

Either way, please try and forgive him. If not for his sake, for your own. Forgiveness is such a better path. It's not easy. Just like your husband cannot root out his addiction without Christ and His Atonement, you cannot root out your anger without falling on your knees and asking Him to help you forgive."
posted at 10:38:37 on July 1, 2011 by iwillnot
Stay together    
"I feel strongly that you should do everything you can to stay together as a couple in love. If he hasn't been unfaithful with another woman (actual person), I think there is room to work and build. Even relationships involving adultry with another person sometimes are saved. How do you know you won't have the same issues to confront in a subsequent marriage? I'm not being insensitive: I can't imagine the pain and sorrow you have felt. But you have five children and a relationship that can be restored to something beautiful. I can't imagine ever receiving an answer from God to leave your spouse. I think God would understand if you did, but I just feel like his merciful and long-suffering nature hopes that we will act the same toward each other.

I also think that living a separte, platonic relationship will not lead to a full recovery for any husband. While you can't be responsible for his recovery, what he needs most of all is compassion and love. It's an incredibly tough journey. His brain is broken chemically. His heart is broken. His sould is broken. Yet Christ will never give up on him. He can be healed and made whole. Having a wife that stands by hime with compassion, mercy and forgiveness will lead to a full recovery or both him and your marriage. I know that seems like too much to ask, but that is what is working in my life and with my marriage."
posted at 14:21:54 on July 1, 2011 by jc004
a bit upset    
"when I read the two comments above JC004 and I will not, I find them interesting, I know that they mean well, but I just want to point out that forgiveness is not a swicht that you turn on as you will. If your wife has forgiven you, good for you. You have no idea and can not measure the path, the strenght and what is required to forgive such a thing. My sister who was raped as a youth finds that this is a hundred time much more violent and cruel to a women soul's than actual rape by a stranger. I felt so violated by what was done, like my soul, my heart was raped. not only my body was used, my dreams, my wishes, my children's heart all broken. How can someone that I had loved had done the work of the ennemy and destroyed everything while I was sleeping. IT is a million time worse than any physical beating and rape. So leaving wiht the perpatrator of the most horrible crimes against me , right in my house... It is beyond anyone's strenght. I am sorry, it is so graphic... I am just saying that I understand, fully understand how you feel mom of 5. And being told to love and be supportive, because the poor addict, after he has destroys and used everyone, needs even more love, more support and more what??? I am sorry, I find strenght to forgive (it does not mean that I will stay married) in my Savior. In trying to rise above the horribleness of it all, but forgiveness takes time, a very long time, especially if you are still living with the addict. It is even harder.
I am sorry, this was probably not constructive. I am very upset at my husband, because I think that thou he has been clean for a year ( so he say),he brought home an STD, and has been hiding it from me. I am feeling like the cost of living wiht an addict is bigger than what I could have imagined. PLS husbands addicts be patient with your wife when she is angry, even if she has been angry for a year or more. You have abused her for so much longer, in many cases decades of abuse and she is only angry because she is in such pain because of what you did. she needs time to heal and time to learn to deal with her anger and her loss and time to grieve. It takes about two years to heal from the traumatism. And you can not expect someone who is suffering to have compassion and act normal. Every women is different, amybe for your forgiving and supportive wife , this was not a traumatism as such as to produce a traumatic stress syndrome. For most women, it is and anger is a natural reaction that can last for 2 years.
But it does not mean, taht you must not work on yourself. Dear momof5, you must. You must find healthy ways to deal with your anger and of coping than raging. I know that it is hard, but it is possible.
Good luck"
posted at 18:48:29 on July 1, 2011 by Anonymous
"I have no idea how traumatic this must be for you. Hearing that it feels like a violation worse than actual rape is startling but helpful to me. It helps in my motivation for recovery to read things that cause so much pain and sadness to me, sadness because of what I have done. I'm glad the church doesn't see porn as worse than rape or I'm not sure where I would be right now.

I am so thankful for my wife. I will owe her a debt forever. She has somehow found it in herself to love me with a certain degree of unconditionality. I am working so hard to make it right and to be who she deserves. I know she hurts immensely, but she has also come to understand how pervasive this problem is and how different men and women are when it comes to this issue.

In terms of healing, I highly recommend, for wives, the books He Restoreth My Soul and Confronting Pornography."
posted at 22:44:13 on July 2, 2011 by Anonymous
Restraint of pen and tongue    
"This is a perfect illustration of why it is a good idea to let addicts give support to other addicts and let loved ones give support to other loved ones. Yes, it is downright insulting when an addict has the gall to tell a wife, in essence, to "Just get over it and support your husband" It is akin to a wife telling an addict, "Just STOP masturbating! You idiot! Duh!" The point is that the addict has no idea how to lend support to the suffering spouse of another addict and vice-versa. The above exchange is a shining example.

And then to go on and say,"Well, my wife is just wonderful and forgives me, blah blah blah." Is just another insult that tells the loved one who is already in pain, "You are also defective because you can't forgive, like my wonderful wife."

Easy solution...Just don't give advice on something you know NOTHING about. Pretty simple, but so hard for some of us self-centered addicts. We get a little clean time under our belt and suddenly we have the answers to everyones problems. It's good practice to just "listen" to what our wives are going through without tossing out advice. I know it triggers some strong feelings and can put us on the defensive. I'm sure every addict reading the above post wanted to jump in and defend how pornography is not the same as rape but the whole point is... to our wives, it FEELS EXACTLY LIKE RAPE. A little sensitivity goes a long way.
If you are an addict and feel the need to give "advice" to a loved one in extreme pain, pause, take a deep breath, and don't. How would you like if someone judged you with comments like, "Just get over it""
posted at 23:43:23 on July 2, 2011 by Anonymous
Loved ones giving advice to adicts and vice versa    
"Anon -
I really appreciated that perspective personally, and it gave me a lot to think about. Thanks!"
posted at 08:22:52 on July 3, 2011 by maddy
It takes a very long time to heal    
"I am a wife and work my steps daily for over a year. I am grateful for my PASG group and my husband has stayed sober. However, I am still in extreme pain at times.

I have come to learn allot from my own recovery. I feel like I am not the same person I use to be. It is very hard to adjust. I have just begun to open up to close friends and family about the truth, and I have found both love and rejection. I am still not cozy, but in my progression, I feel like I need to open myself more because I hid and ran away from just about everyone in my life, for 20 years. I am trying to reconnect, but it is hard. I can't go back. My family is a mess and most of my kids are stuck. They don't get to live in the world of magical thinking anymore. None of my kids connect with their church friends anymore, because suddenly they live in truth, while most of those around them can still play pretend (or things are really not so bad for them). I have to accept all that is happening and sometimes I can hardly bare it all. Nothing is the same and while I lived my life in denial, I was coping just fine and connecting just fine with my LDS neighborhood, just fine. That part of my life all ended with something I call reality.

Now I have a hard time feeling normal at Church, especially relief society. There is so much said that I find guilt filled, and damaging. No everything, but enough that it stings. I know that I see things through the eyes of recovery and I especially see it through the eyes of those women who are damaged by this evil addiction. I even think of those women who don't even know yet. Most addicts are masterful at keeping their secrets and looking good in a suit and tie. Some not all, attend the temple, hold leadership callings, and take the sacrament every week. I think of it every time a wife bears her testimony about being so grateful that she has a worthy priesthood holder in her home. I remember thinking that way. Although my husband is a worthy priesthood holder now, I still cannot hear a sister say that and not think, really? Are you sure, or do you just want to think and say that?

My testimony in my Savior is stronger than ever, but my connection to the church has been hurt by the crazy crap I hear, as well as the insincerity of most of the people around me. I have been alone through this until I found the SA women's group. They are my sisters, my relief society, my fellow truth seekers.

This addiction has flipped my family into a whole new world, and we are all learning how to swim in a new ocean of what is now called our new life, or our new normal.

Is it like rape? if a sister feels like that, then it is to her. I understand what it feels like when your husband comes home from a trip and he wants to try something new and oh so fantastic. You feel like screaming, "stop", but you move on anyway because you did not know that you needed to have boundaries. After all you are just trying to please your man. Most wives have played that roll in thinking that if they were just better wives, lovers, mothers...blah, blah, blah, they thing that is wrong in their marriage would be fixed. And, guess what? The Church, sometimes even Bishops (my experience), and culture promote that kind of thinking.

I know men who have lost their church membership for porn use. It is not about, this sin is worse than that sin. It is about the damage it causes for generations to come. It’s about cutting the addict off from hypocrisy And for that, the addict is sometimes held accountable. I am seeing that my addict husband is willing to suffer any and all things to heal and help us heal because his eyes were opened, and that was the day he said. “Oh my God, what have I done?" He was addicted for a long time and knew he was wrong. But it was not until the damage was staring him in they eyes that he realized what looking at porn has done to those he professed to love the most. Now he lives every day in regret for the damage he caused a loving wife (who was full of life) and bright children who once had strong testimonies, but now are still trying to move forward upon learning that what they were taught their whole lives was not being applied in their home. My husband has lost the respect of a once adoring family. We all still love him, but respect is earned. I respect him for his efforts in recovery. One of my children said they wish he had cancer instead. Sad.

We are putting things back together and we will be stronger than before. I have to have faith in that or I would not continue. Porn addiction, and all addiction, is the devil's plan.

Did I sin? We all do, but I did not break sacred temple covenants, and yes addicts you are breaking sacred temple covenants.

Redemption is real; my husband is experiencing it now. It is real for me too, but not quite yet. I will heal in time, I pray so will our children. But it will take a very long time."
posted at 12:54:14 on July 3, 2011 by Anonymous
33 Year Anniversary Gift of Accusation    
"My beloved wife of 33 years has yearned for a stronger emotional connection for several years. We have 6 wonderful grown children and 8 grandchildren. We are both so grateful for valiant children and a close family. I feel blindsided by recent accusations that my failures to emotionally connect with my wife is allegedly tied to pornography use. The porn use is categorically false, but the emotional connection limitations may have merit. I am sure I can do much better to meet my wife's emotional needs, but they seem so elusive. I have pleaded with her to show a little more initiative so that I have stronger clues. I have some good communication skills and I have always been interested in counseling, but my wife says I am too cerebral and that she wants to really "feel" what she is feeling. Even after I listen and acknowledge, she yearns for me to actually feel her emotions. I am really trying to understand and I have requested that we engage in various Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) but she resists and seems consumed with resentment and fault-finding. She is studying a lot about boundaries and has requested that I not touch her. This has gone on for about 3 months. She says she is recovering from codependency. There has been no dysfunctional family history or the like, it is just the traditional devoted LDS mother who started talking about her marriage with the wife of a porn addict, started reading about boundaries, then the accusations started flying, and "boom" the estrangement began and has continued with no end in sight. In fact, she says I should not rush her because it has taken 33 years for her develop these feelings. I feel estranged from my wife and wrongfully punished. I feel like one of the most meaningful gifts from God to develop a strong emotional connection (intimacy) is being shelved under the guise of codependency. Any advice out there for my wife and me?"
posted at 10:24:13 on July 8, 2011 by Anonymous
Anon above    
"Sounds like this could use it's whole new thread....

It sounds like the pain she is experiencing is real and that perhaps there is a lot of codependency involved. Your pain is obviously very real too. Pornography may not be the problem, but there is a problem there and she is reaching for help. Maybe she is using the pornography accusation to fill in a black because she doesn't know what is wrong and she'll come to it over time. The only advice I can give is to give her Christ-like love and patience.

You cannot fix what is wrong with her, nor can you heal your own marriage. You can work on it and yield and submit it completely over to the Savior, but all this will come through the personal relationship you have with him, more than you have with even her. As I grow closer to my Savior I inevitably treat those around me with more charity and gentleness. Focusing on Christ is the only answer for every marriage and every individual.

She may not be able to heal through the means that would help you. She may need to walk her own road and find her own way. Focus on healing yourself. Respect her boundaries even if they don't make sense to you. Your real and unconditional love will be what she needs the most. Do not be offended by false accusations. They are false, so answer softly and let your behaviors speak for you."
posted at 10:43:49 on July 8, 2011 by maddy
Intimacy anorexia.    
"Many men display these characteristics even if there has been no porn. Some wives also. So all I can suggest is that you check out the resources that Dr. Doug Weiss has on the subject. My husband and I have been married for 40 years and have raised healthy successful children and have many grand children to enjoy. He had no porn addiction but emotional infidelity, and a bad case of intimacy anorexia. I would suggest getting his DVD Married and Alone. Watch that with your wife and if she relates or you relate than get his other resources to help you. There are simple daily exercises that you do as a couple that can change your relationship quickly. This was the major issue in our marriage. Any spouse who has lived with this in their marriage is in so much pain. Hope this is helpful. "
posted at 10:54:01 on July 8, 2011 by Hero
So are you saying that you are not a porn addict?    
"When my wife asks that I not touch her, I don't touch her. If she is going through something I try to lend support and not impose my own "needs" on her. Recovery has taught me that I don't have sexual "needs" from my wife. I have intimacy needs that I confused for sexual needs while active in my addiction but today my intimacy needs are met through our friendship not our sex life. If we have sex as a natural product of that intimacy than that is just great but it is not my goal anymore. There was a time in our marriage that my wife was physically unable to have sex and that was ok. I think if any man cannot handle going without sex from his wife without all hell breaking loose, than something may be wrong. Now if a wife is withholding the real kind of intimacy for an extended period of time, something might be going on in her corner. If that is the case, maybe she needs help seeking out help in the form of counseling etc.

To the above poster, if you don't have a problem with pornography I doubt there is much a recovering addict has to offfer in the form of help. But if you do have a problem, and just haven't come to terms with it, please don't lay the whole problem on your wife to take the focus off of yourself. If you are in denial, don't harm your wife further by acting like she is the one with the problem. Of course, if this doesn't apply to you please just disregard.

If you suspect you may have a problem, don't worry. You're not alone. And there is a solution. The very first step is admitting to ourselves that we have a problem."
posted at 10:57:56 on July 8, 2011 by Anonymous
IT will be important    
"Anon 33 year anniversary to look at yourself. Have you ever lusted or looked at porn? Have you had any sorts of sexual relationship outside your marriage? You may feel that you 've got it under control, but you may just be protecting your addiction. If there is even a sporadic or any use of porn or lusting or masturbation in your life then you are cheating on your wife and that would explain her attitude. If you have never looked or done any of that stuff then why will she be accusing you at all. If any of those things have been or are present in your life, then you have a problem and her reactions are valid. PLs look into it and be honest with yourself. My husband has been a porn addict for 20 years and only realised that he had been one last year. He has been in very deep denial of the effect his bad habit was having on our marriage and blamed me for a lot of it. It was not really cheating since he was not really doing anything with anyone, it was not really that bad, it was not veryday after all, etc.... But pornography in any form (or masturbation, lustful thoughts) is a monster that will kill and gnaw at your relationship. Get help now if you have any of those things in your life"
posted at 11:47:22 on July 8, 2011 by crushed
On forgiveness    
"The thread has moved on since the comments on forgiveness, but there are still a couple things that need to be said.

It isn't uncommon for people to be upset and even outraged when forgiveness is mentioned. Two anonymous commenters wrote in and were upset that this was suggested for MOMOF5's situation.

I feel a bit like C.S. Lewis in his radio addresses to England after World War II. He told England, who had nearly been bombed into oblivion by the Germans, that the doctrine of Christ taught that they would need to forgive the Germans. Many people were furious at this. Their response to Lewis was, "I wonder if you would say the same thing if you were a Pole or a Jew." (two groups who were murdered by the Germans).

His response was "So do I. So do I. I'm not telling you what I would do, I'm telling you what Christ taught."

Forgiveness is a tough doctrine.

As far as our situation on this website goes: If a spouse, whether husband or wife, has come clean about an addiction and has done everything he or she can do to repent (confession, meetings with the bishop, AR meetings, scriptures, prayer, reconciliation, etc.), and is doing everything possible to make the marriage work, but that spouse refuses to allow them, harboring anger to the extent that 14 months later he or she continually makes viscious, deragatory remarks to the other regarding the addiction (MOMOF5 admits in her other posts that she constantly makes cruel and undeserved comments to her husband out of anger), then it is perfectly obvious that that spouse is the one keeping the marriage from working. This is true not only with pornography addiction, but any other weakness/shortcoming encountered in the arena of marriage.

Again, this is a tough doctrine, I know. But it IS the doctrine. Go through the scriptures, the general conference talks, the LDSAR manuals for both addicts and spouses and show me if I'm missing something.

People get outraged when it is suggested that they forgive someone. I've had the same reaction. But take a moment to pause and examine that reaction. It comes from a desire to hold onto anger. Don't. Let it go. It's so much better.

I am an addict. I DON'T know what it's like to find out my spouse has been lying to me for years and living a double life--I'm not so ignorant as to argue that.

But I do know about forgiveness. I know unbelievable, magical things can happen when we forgive, and that many things that were irreparibly broken can be fixed. I know that for a marriage to thrive, forgiveness must be applied liberally.

Are you justified in holding onto anger and pointing out to the rest of the world how much you've been wronged? Sure. And you can choose this path. It all comes down to what you want. Do you want years filled with hatred, hostility, emptiness, and a broken family? Or do you want light, joy, Christ, and a family strong and happy in the gospel?

Coming from a highly dysfunctional, emotionally abusive family, I took the first path for nearly a decade. It sucked. Once I gave that to the Lord and took the other path, my life has been better than I thought it ever could.

Based on what MOMOF5 has said in the past, it sounds like she is headed down the anger path. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. That's why I suggest forgiveness. People can rail and rage against that if they want, but it's still the better path.

My simple message is this: if a spouse has come clean about an addiction and is doing everything possible to make things right, there is still hope for the marriage. In fact, the marriage can be even stronger than before. But the other spouse has to give the anger to the Lord for this to happen. This doesn't and shouldn't always happen immediately--there are feelings of anger, distrust, and betrayal to recognize. But eventually it can happen. For healing cannot happen without the Atonement. And the Atonement cannot happen without forgiveness.

One final thought: Everything I have written is considering that the sinning spouse is legitimately seeking to repent. If he or she isn't, that's another story. In that case, the other spouse may need to take extreme steps for the sake of the family."
posted at 12:04:49 on July 8, 2011 by iwillnot
On Mercy and Forgiveness    
"I'm not pointing any fingers so don't take this the wrong way. But, one thing to keep at the front of your mind is this: the scriptures are explicit that the level of forgiveness and mercy we show to others will be shown to us by God. It's easy to think we don't need God's mercy or very much of it, because "I'm the good one here." The bottom line, if we want God to show us his mercy and forgiveness, we need to find it in us, somehow, to show the same to others. If we're very slow to show it, perhaps he will be slow to show it to us. That's what is written. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm not judging how hard it must be. It takes time, not doubt, but this idea helps me keep it all in perspective."
posted at 12:09:39 on July 8, 2011 by Anonymous
"I think it's interesting that IWILLNOT is making it sound like MOMOF5 is the reason her marriage is not working. From where I'm standing, it just seems like IWILLNOT needs to get off his soapbox.

The Savior makes it clear that there are cases when divorce is the RIGHT answer. Take a look at Mathew 19:9 -

"And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."

The KJV uses the word fornication, whereas the NIV uses the word immorality. I don't know the actual Greek roots of the word fornication, but I would imagine that a woman married to a man who is committing virtual fornication through pornography would be justified in seeking a divorce. I also think this is a very personal decision, and while the Savior requires us to forgive everyone, He never said we had to stay married no matter how bad the marriage gets. It seems ridiculous to me that IWILLNOT would have the gall to preach to MOMOF5 and tell her that she has to forgive and make the marriage work. That's a decision that MOMOF5 and the Spirit need to work out together.

I think it's perfectly possible for MOMOF5 to forgive her husband completely, divorce him, and never speak to him again. In other words forgiving and putting a broken marriage back together seem like two very different ideas to me."
posted at 17:46:57 on July 8, 2011 by ETTE
pedro nunez    
posted at 18:00:36 on July 8, 2011 by pdnunez
Logistical problem?    
"No one would argue any of the good points you brought up, Iwillnot. The only problem is the fact that you, an addict, is giving this advice to a spouse. I believe every spouse on here is FULLY aware of the commandment to forgive all. I think this very fact causes them so much more pain and self-doubt because it is the very thing they struggle with. And that is precisely why it is in poor taste for an addict to give that kind of advice. Here is a comparison:

Imagine one of those times in your active addiction that you wanted with all your heart to stop acting out and stop looking at porn and despite your best intentions and every fiber of your will you find yourself falling into the smut one more time. Now imagine, if while in the pit of shame and regret you reach out on this site and ask for help. Now imagine one of the spouses on here directs a post to you telling you that she has an answer for you. STOP MASTURBATING! Now that's not really an answer at all is it? You might immediately think something like, "Thank you for stating the obvious but you just don't have a clue what I am going through. And now I'm not only depressed but now I'm angry"

That is exactly what the spouses might think when they read your post.

Ette, those were great points."
posted at 19:05:30 on July 8, 2011 by Anonymous
LOL Anon    
"That was a great answer!!! You have put words on my thoughts. tks (by the way I will not, it is not a personal atttack, we all know you have good intentions and we are all grateful that you are interested enough in our well being to write, even if you did write the obvious as anon above explained)"
posted at 21:41:01 on July 8, 2011 by Anonymous
I think Anon has an excellent point!!!    
"WE KNOW ALL TOO WELL THAT WE NEED TO FORGIVE just like you know all too well that you need to stop porn and lusting and m&b. When an addict relapses or falls, he does not need me to tell him that he will go to hell if he continues. That the Lord is unhappy with that wicked behavior, that he is sinning against his wife, children and so on... An addict who is reaching out for help needs to be told to hold on, to turn to Christ, etc... and you do just that, you show compassion because you understand. A relapsing addict does not need to feel judged or reminded that they will go to hell. The same with a struggling wife, the struggling wife is in pain and needs compassion. I understand that too well, because I have and still am there at times. It is the hardest struggle to try to forgive the unforgivable and pretend nothing ever happen. When a wife is reaching out and talking about her pain, she needs compassion, and understanding that is all! She knows what she needs to do. But I appreciate, as well that Iwillnot you are taking an interest into a loved ones pain, you have a good heart.

Ette you are making a lot of sense to me tks.
My prayers to you mom of 5. thinking about you and praying for you. You are loved!"
posted at 21:58:31 on July 8, 2011 by crushed
""I know why you are batting for the addict who is doing his or her absolute best to repent and show they mean it. I really do, I am in that boat and I know you mean well. I think you are a great guy as we have helped each other a lot.

Please know that if I had to view things as you are right now, I would be a divorced man and my family an eternal wreck.

I have discovered that the anger she is feeling is the greatest blessing at times because it tells me when I can think straight, that she somehow cares behind that anger. Think of it as a sign, a positive sign that she still cares about the marriage. Her anger is just a stage in recovery and a necessary feeling that allows my wife to heal. I know I do not fully understand how this is possible but it is true, if she is angry and resentful, it is normal. All our wives are entitled to feel that rage.

Lets just let them be angry. Her anger is a fantastic opportunity to show her how I can forget my own pittiful self and put her feelings above my own. That is what she wants.

I suck so bad at this but this is what I must do.

One more thing you are blessed that your wife was able to forgive, I am truely happy that you guys did not have to endure what hell we went through.
Your wife must be special, but then all the spouses who are on here including my own are and always will be special no matter how angry they can be.

This is not about forgiveness, it is about healing. If they heal they will forgive eventually. We cannot help them with forgiveness at all. We can however help them heal by being sensitive and giving them all they need from us. This is why anger if seen as it should be is essential in allowing us to show our better and new selves.

I hate the anger but I know I need to change that and be a bit greatful that she was as angry as she was. After all it tells me she has not stopped caring for 540 days. That is a lot of anger and a lot of caring too.

I love my wife so much.""
posted at 22:51:59 on July 8, 2011 by ruggaexpat
"I realize that there are a lot of contradictory opinions on here, but I actually love reading them all. I got a lot out of Iwillnot's comments, Anon, and Rugga you too...and everyone else even though people are saying such different things. I like the commentary about intimacy and intimacy anorexia too! I appreciate this conversation in general."
posted at 18:19:10 on July 9, 2011 by maddy
Good thread! Does any of this tie into powerlessness? On either side.    
"I think it does but can't quite articulate it..."
posted at 19:17:10 on July 9, 2011 by Anonymous
"not really"
posted at 01:47:57 on July 10, 2011 by Anonymous
What I learned....    
"Seems to me after reading this entire thread that we need separate groups for addicts and separate groups for spouses. Many spouses are not far enough along in their recovery process. They are still indignant over the thought of forgiveness. Like wise, many of us as addicts are still insensitive to the fact that every couple's recovery is different. Recovery is not a "one size fits all". There are many things that have to happen in the heart of a spouse for them to begin to see light at the end of the tunnel. Her addict needs to be working and living the steps. Therapy is an added bonus. The addict has to be patient with the progress of his spouse. The thing I kept reminding myself of as we were beginning recovery is, "I can't force her to love me". My addiction was 35 years, and my marriage 25 when I disclosed my problem. Like all of you spouses, she was devastated. We spent some time very distant from one another. She read a great book call, "Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief". It was a godsend to her as she worked through her feelings. Once she was able to forgive, and give up her anger, we started healing as a couple. We each had our own recovery to work on, but coming together as a couple was hardest. Trust requires putting your heart out there to be trampled again. Very hard for spouses of addicts who have been lied to for years. It's a SLOW process, but very much worth it. Stay tough MOMOF5. The journey is not without bumps. In the end, you and your husband will find a level of happiness you never dreamed possible. I promise you."
posted at 11:40:44 on July 10, 2011 by chefdalet
"First of I want to say thank-you for everyone's comments. I did put this blog out there for everyone to comment addict and addict's spouse on purpose! I want to here from both sides. Yes I do know that my anger is what drove my husband to leave. But I asked my husband after 10 years of lying and secrecy and then getting caught, did he think I would be understanding. A lot of women know from the start that there husband has a porn addiction. My husband started his addiction at the time my first daughter was in my belly, and got caught 2 weeks before my fifth child was to be born. I don't understand that at all. Why would heavenly father want me to have five kids in my mess of a marriage. Anyway I do know I need to get to a place of forgiveness but I wish I had a rock next to me to lift me up. Instead he just runs away because he can't handle anything right now. To the addicts out there please be the rock your wife needs right now in her recovery. I realize you don't deserve the words that are coming out of her mouth, (and yes I do realize there are a lot of amazing woman who do not handle the addicts with anger, I wish I was strong like them.) But if your wife is like me hug her, kiss her , and apologize a million times please try to save your eternal families:)"
posted at 15:52:40 on July 10, 2011 by momof5
An apology and my gratitude    
"You know, I've realized as I've read through these last five or six comments that I have been wrong. Thank you to everyone for explaining their perspective to me, especially those who have done it with patience. I apologize to you, MOMOF5, to ETTE, CRUSHED, HERO, and any other spouse out there that my poorly thought out comments may have offended.

I've seen that, while forgiveness is the ultimate path, it is not my place (especially being an addict) to trivialize someone else's pain. Dismissing that pain with a quick "you should just forgive him" does just that.

I also see the sublime wisdom in the statement that no two relationship recoveries are the same. As every relationship is an amalgam of different factors, experiences, and personalities, it definitely isn't wise to compare them and assume each recovery should follow the same pattern.

Thank you for helping me see this gaping blindspot I have. I realize I have some past issues that have led to my current attitude. Now that I notice it, I can begin addressing it.

Again, I'm sorry for trivializing and minimizing your pain, MOMOF5 (and everyone else). I wish nothing but the best for each of you. I'll pray for you, and I hope you'll pray for me. With how imperfect I am, I know I need the help."
posted at 10:50:08 on July 11, 2011 by iwillnot

You are awesome. That is all. :)

posted at 15:33:12 on July 11, 2011 by maddy
"IWILLNOT! Then this thread really was great for all! I think even though it is crazy sometimes, just like addiction and recovery, the hope I have received from those of you who have been on this site for some time and are showing recovery and sharing it, having both the addicted and the spouse dealing with his or her addiction of codependency, gives us all insight we might not gain any other way. The spouse has an addiction, co-addiction plus recovery from PTSD, and her pain is why the spouses recovery is sometime more difficult and may take longer. Patience! Rely on the Lord. So simple, So difficult. But His Grace will be sufficient.
Thanks and Love to you all!"
posted at 16:59:26 on July 11, 2011 by Hero
posted at 10:10:14 on July 13, 2011 by Anonymous
I commend you, Iwillnot,    
"We all learn from eachother and my opinions are constantly evolving too. I agree with maddy. You sound like a humble guy, and that is a great compliment."
posted at 14:23:37 on July 13, 2011 by Anonymous

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"Brothers and sisters, stay on the straight and narrow path. No, stay in the middle of the straight and narrow path. Don't drift; don't wander; don't dabble; be careful. Remember, do not flirt with evil. Stay out of the devil's territory. Do not give Satan any home-field advantage. Living the commandments will bring you the happiness that too many look for in other places. "

— Larry W. Gibbons

General Conference October 2006