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HELP and Support required

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New to this forum so bare with me. I’ve been married for 15 years, knew something not quite right shortly after when he didn’t initiate anything in the bedroom apart from when he’d had a drink, which I refused. Went through usual turmoil - is he gay? Is he A sexual, is it me ? Then 2 years ago found the answers. He’d been on hundreds of porn sites on his phone. I’ve never thought bad of people watching porn together but he always turned off the TV if anything sexy came on. I spoke to him we had a huge row and in the end told me what I now know were lies. He said he’d only just started watching it since he had a smart phone, and that he would stop and quote “sort himself out”.  We haven’t been intimate in seven years, almost half of our marriage. I can’t afford to leave him or ask him to leave, and last week found out he’s still doing his thing on a daily basis. Obviously addicted and has been for a very long time. Do I tell him I know it’s still going on? I don’t want a physical relationship with someone so obsessed with other women.  It makes me feel sick, unattractive. I’ve lost all my self confidence, even though I put a good act in st work. It’s consuming my every thought, what did I do wrong to deserve this? There’s no way out of it, he just gets better and better at hiding it.  Please help

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Hi Susie

I hear the sound of desperation in your post.  Sounds like a very testing situation.  

Can I ask, other than coming on this Forum, are you getting any support?  That would be my first piece of advice?  Whether from friends or counsellors.  Going through such times alone makes things so much more difficult to bear.

I have this addiction, and my only other piece of advice is that it thrives on deceit, collusion and secrecy.  I would encourage you to pursue truth and openness, that way you might both come through this with a stronger marriage.  

There is lots of help here - Laurel counsellors are helpful and Paula has written an excellent book for partners of sex addicts - well worth a read.

Let us know how things develop?


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MSusieQ, your experience appears very much like my own. I also found myself in a sexless marriage with a husband who wanted to use porn in preference to a sexual relationship with me. It was a very lonely existence and it just about annihilated my self esteem. I lived with the shame of knowing that my husband didn’t have any desire for me. Although he quit, I’m still aware of the cracks in my soul where the damage took place. 

Also, as with your situation, after I discovered porn in his internet history, he didn’t stop. He just got better at hiding or deleting the evidence. After several discoveries and feeling ignored and defeated, I gave up trying. At that time, there was nothing I could do or say that could make any difference. This situation carried on for another 15 years. 

As PJ says, there was a kind of ‘collusion’ going on. I didn’t like the situation but I eventually accepted it because I thought the alternative would be worse. I still loved my husband and I believed that our relationship was otherwise OK. I felt that I had to accept that my husband was not choosing me as a sexual partner so that I could have the ‘good’ parts of the relationship. In the long term, the price of this acceptance was too high. I had to live in a state of permanent denial.  I had to live with the secret shame of my husband not wanting me sexually. I believed that the reason my husband didn’t want me was because I was unattractive and undesirable.

Living with all this crap in my head eventually took its toll. I developed an eating disorder, late-onset anorexia. I was depressed and clinically underweight. People were shocked at my appearance. My husband had hardly noticed. I had given up getting undressed in front of him anyway because he didn’t bat an eyelid if I was stark naked and I didn’t want his lack of interest in me confirmed in that way on a daily basis. So I guess I shrank myself, physically and metaphorically. I didn’t feel that I was allowed to take up space in my own home, or in my marriage  

I say all this because this is what happens when you ‘do nothing’. It’s not possible to be in a relationship like this without it taking its toll. The damage isn’t always obvious or immediate. It’s gradual over time and you just don’t realise it because it becomes your ‘normal’. That’s why I urge you to take action sooner rather than later. 

My husband’s addiction eventually made him miserable and lonely. When he finally woke up to the damage it had created, that’s when he quit. I guess I feel hurt and I admit I am sometimes resentful because it had to go as far as damaging my physical as well as my emotional health to get my husband to see the harm. That’s why I urge you to act now. 

Whether your husband quits and stays that way is beyond your control. Ultimately it’s his choice. You need to think of yourself right now. You need support because you cannot rely on your husband right now. Even if it’s online support it’s better than nothing. If you can afford a specialist counsellor, then I advise you to see her/him on your own. Couples counselling isn’t appropriate at this stage. I recommend  Paula’s book for partners, it’s my go-to book.

Be assured you are not alone. Many of us have been there and we have survived. Recovery is slow and imperfect. Be kind to yourself. 

Edited by Hannah

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