Just having their husbands look at porn makes most women uncomfortable. It feels like a betrayal to have their husbands lusting after other women. Both men and women feel pressure regarding their sexual performance when they know their spouses are looking at porn. It is not uncommon for a husband to ask his wife to do things during their lovemaking that he has seen in porn and push her to be sexier or more aggressive, passive, or provocative.
If this is a change in their lovemaking, this feels uncomfortable and creates a dilemma. Addicted spouses may want sex several times a day and will pressure their spouses to be available to them for sex anytime. The other spouses may give in to things that are uncomfortable in order to feel connected and desirable, to keep the peace, to keep the addicted spouses from being tempted to act out, and to avoid anger and reprisal.
If the acting out is frequent, regular, or recently discovered, the spouse will experience lots of painful feelings, especially if the acting out includes personal contact with a real person. Here are some of the feelings: It feels shameful to admit this problem to other people. It feels like a personal failure to admit your spouse is seeking sexual satisfaction in ways other than through marital intimacy.
Spouses also worry about the ramifications of exposing their partners to other people, especially if it will cost a job. Spouses also feel responsible for their spouses acting out because they believe they should have been better partners to prevent it. Some spouses withdraw emotionally and physically from the relationship when they are engaging in their addiction. Spouses feel more rejection when there is another real person involved in any way and when marital and emotional intimacy is absent.
Ignore or deny it. Ask for controls on the computer or remove the computer from the home. Ask your spouse to get help if it is a continuing and serious problem. Get support for yourself. Tell someone close to you, read books, attend 12 Step groups, or attend individual or couple counseling. Work through the problem together in a healthy way with both partners getting help through support groups and therapy.
Abstain from sex in the marriage, sleep in separate bedrooms, and have emotional distance without someone moving out of the house. There are a number of things that will help you come to terms with the problem.
When you admit your powerlessness, it keeps you from trying to force change and allows you to make decisions that take care of yourself. Boundaries include the use of the computer, whether you put a filter on it that prevents adult content, and the sharing of all passwords.
You do need to find out the truth initially, so you will know what you are dealing with and make decisions that protect yourself physically, financially, and emotionally. You will have to decide if you want to know everything in detail or in general. You will need to trust that God will let you know the truth when you need to know it.
It is stressful for you and destructive to your marriage for you to have to act as an untrusting detective continually. Trust has to be rebuilt slowly by your spouse being trustworthy. This will take time, and your spouse will have to work through this with you. The Best Approach The best approach includes the following things: Be honest about how you are feeling about the sexual acting out and how it is affecting your relationship.
Be honest about what you need. Be honest about the grieving process that you need to go through. Be honest about the struggles you are having.
When you are ready, state your boundaries. State them with consequences for violating them when you are ready to enforce them. Until you are ready to follow through, just state what your needs and feelings are. You allow your spouse to be responsible for the problem, and you recognize you are responsible for your own reaction to it. Without detachment, spouses get too enmeshed in the problem and lose themselves in the process. You need to get support for yourself so you can get stronger and clearer on the problem and how to respond to it.
You need to do this whether or not your spouse gets help. When you meet with other people who are going through similar things, it gives you hope and validation. This can include 12 Step groups, counseling, books, or a mentor.
Continue to pray for your spouse, yourself, and your marriage. The Holy Spirit can use your honesty, boundaries, and actions to convict your spouse.
Pray for wisdom with timing and grace, especially if your spouse is trying to stop and is getting help for the problem. Trust God with the outcome. Remember, you have triggers too. You will react to anything that reminds you of the sexual addiction.
It could be a look, a phone call, being on the computer, not answering a cell phone, a touch, a movie, or anything else that reminds you of the acting out. The healthiest situation is to be able to share them with your spouse and have your spouse care about your struggle, but to remember it is up to you ultimately to deal with your own problems in a way that heals the relationship, if that is your goal. Therapy for Sexual Addicts Therapy is a lengthy process for sexual addicts. Effective therapy needs to go deep to identify and heal the wounds and to teach the addict to deal with pain and stress in a different way.
It also needs to deal with the triggers and to change the acting out behavior. It needs to teach the addict to deal with the fantasies, triggers, thoughts, and urges. Women often find that their sexual addiction is rooted in a need to be loved love hunger less than the need for sex.
Marriage therapy needs to identify the problems in the marriage that resulted from the addiction and the patterns that are destructive to healing the marriage. The Healing It takes time to process what has happened and to rebuild the relationship through honesty, grieving the losses, and accountability.
The question is how much to tell. The addict is afraid to tell it all for fear that the spouse will leave. The spouse usually wants to know everything. The addicted spouse needs to tell what the non-addicted spouse wants to know.
Healing will include rocky times in the relationship on both sides. It may also include slips. A commitment to the marriage by both partners can allow trust, fidelity, and love to return. You will know your spouse is sincere about getting help if: Your spouse is being honest about the addiction and what has happened. Your spouse wants to get to the root of the addiction and is willing to get whatever help is needed to do so.
Your spouse is broken emotionally and spiritually. Your spouse is able to accept your feelings and boundaries and give you space to heal. Your spouse is willing to make whatever changes you need, with a good attitude and to re-establish trust. Your spouse is willing to get help and be accountable.