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How to Stop Living in Denial About Your Husband’s Porn Addiction

By June 26, 2020August 31st, 2022No Comments
denial

According to the Gottman Institute, the average couple waits six years to seek help for marital problems like pornography. Six years is a long time to live in denial. That would be like waiting all the way through middle school and high school before you admit the one thing that will destroy the most important relationship you will ever have. Six years is too long to wait.

Denial feels easier than dealing with pornography head-on.

I know. I lived in denial about my husband’s porn addiction for more than six years. I couldn’t face it nor did I know how to. Who could I talk to about it?

Shame became my constant companion.

I felt punched in the gut, intimidated, worthless, less-than, unable to compete, ugly, and unlovable.

If you relate to any of those feelings, my heart aches for you.

However, I have good news. There is hope.

What is the next step when you’re not sure you can take the next step?

  1.  Tell the truth to someone you can trust.

    You have a friend you tell everything who has never betrayed you. Make a coffee or lunch date, find a remote table, and tell her what you’ve discovered. If you can’t face being in a public place, invite her to your home when you know everyone else will be away. Put on some coffee or tea, and share your heart and pain with your friend. Trust me, you’ll feel better once you open up about the truth in your marriage.

    This friend needs to be a heart-sister, one who loves Jesus and you no matter what. You need her prayers just as much as her understanding heart. You need someone who wants to see you survive this crisis with integrity, honesty, and grace. More importantly, this heart sister needs to be mature enough not to fly into a rage at your husband (even though you kind of secretly hope she will).

    Each time I hear another woman’s broken heart over her discovery, my eyes flood with tears and I feel the pain in my gut. Yet, the worst thing I can do for that woman is rage at her husband. And it’s not about her husband right now.

    It’s not about your husband right now.

    You need your pain acknowledged, your worth validated, and your heart carefully nurtured. You need to be heard.

  1. Consult a professional.

    Whether that is a coach or other professional who specializes in porn addiction recovery, you need an unbiased third party to help you find your footing once again. When you experience the aftershock of your husband’s porn addiction, your world de-stabilizes. “Betrayal trauma unzips us to our very core.” I’ve been where you are.

    Often, wives who uncover repeated evidence of their husband’s porn addiction experience PTSD symptoms. Continual aftershocks break down your emotional, mental, spiritual, and, yes, physical health. The longer you deny what you’ve uncovered, the worse your disorientation becomes. As someone who kept dates, appointment times, phone numbers, addresses, and all kind of data easily organized in her brain, after I heard Dave’s revelation, I couldn’t remember anything. The brain fog descended quickly trapping me in a disoriented and frightening place. I needed help to unwrap the emotions, lies, and confusion.

  1. Confront your husband.

    Okay, breathe.

    I know you’re scared, angry, and maybe hyperventilating right now. But, you must talk with your husband about what you’ve discovered and even suspect.

    The rest of your life is at stake. With that hanging in the balance, it isn’t good to ignore the problem anymore.

    You could start the conversation with, “Honey, I feel like there’s a distance between us.” Or “I went online to check our credit card statement for a recent purchase and noticed a charge from a company I didn’t recognize. Before I put the charge in dispute, do you know what this is?” or “You’ve been working a lot of really late hours lately. What’s going on?”

    The initial shock knocked me off my feet. Each revelation deepened the wound in my heart. And, while it sent me reeling, the best thing we did was talk about the problem.

    While you need to confront your husband about what you know, allowing the conversation to grow into another emotional earthquake doesn’t help either of you. At times, having the full disclosure with a coach or other unbiased professional present allows the truth to come out with a safety net for you and your husband.

    You both need assurance that the goal of this disclosure is safety and truth. Without this, reconciliation and recovery rarely happen.

Once you stop living in denial about your husband’s porn addiction, you can face the truth.

Yes, the truth stinks, hurts, and feels embarrassing. Satan, the father of lies, loves to keep us in denial by convincing us that telling the truth will bring rejection and pain. But, as the Bible tells us, the truth sets us free.

Dave found freedom from his porn addiction.

I discovered my feelings had value and made sense.

No one made either one of us feel less-than, stupid, or rejected. We experienced the opposite. We found understanding, grace, and help to heal.

There’s nothing worse than trying to remember all the lies you’ve concocted to remain in denial.

The truth is much easier. I didn’t say it was less painful. But owning your choices brings you face-to-face with the truth. And, once you bravely face the truth, you can begin your road to recovery.

When you’re ready, let’s talk.