What i want you to know about being married to a porn addict

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by Samantha.
My husband of 2 years struggles with pornography as an addiction. What I want you to know, is that if you have a partner who struggles with this addiction as well, you are not alone. You may feel alone - you may feel the loneliest you could possibly imagine - but you're not, and neither am I.

I feel like I'm not beautiful. I feel like I'm worthless. I feel like I'm the one who causes him to look at what he does, because, well, why would he watch other people having sex if having sex with me was enough? I feel not enough.

What I feel and what I know are two very different things. I know that he loves me, and I know that his addiction has - on a physical level and an emotional level - very little to do with me and very much to do with personal issues that he struggles with, like control, like confidence, like self-esteem.

But what I know is sometimes overshadowed by the fact that the way he lies and keeps secrets and tries to sort out this guilt on his own... and that this makes me feel like I'm second best.

I feel alone in this struggle. I feel like if I criticize him, or turn down sex with him, or pretty well anything that harms his confidence, that I'll be at fault for the next "episode".

I feel like there is no support for people like me: there are very few people I can talk to openly about the problem, because it's not my problem to talk about, not mine to expose.

I feel like I'm bombarded with messages that pornography is "normal"; that it's expected in or out of marriage, that watching and masturbating to pornography is a fun way for guys to relax or "release their urges". So if I'm the one who's hurt, I'm the one at fault.

I feel confused about how I'm supposed to react. I've tried anger. I've tried accusations. I've tried seeing a counselor. I've tried being calm, supportive, hugging him, loving him, forgiving him - and let me assure you, this is the most successful approach - but there is always going to be an underlying sense of sadness and shame in my own heart over this problem and it will be there until time wipes it away. And time can only wipe it away if there is a long enough period of time where he simply stops.

What I want you to know - and my husband to know, and if I could, my family and friends to know - is that pornography destroyed my marriage for months. My husband's addiction to pornography destroyed my confidence as his partner in life, and it has been very difficult to recover in a healthy way. My husband's addiction to pornography destroys and tears apart his own confidence.

I want you to know that the day he made the choice to recover from his pornography addiction, he decided to make a lasting, saving difference in the future of our marriage. He still struggles, he still slips up, and I still get hurt - and so does he. But a path EXISTS - and he is on it - to recover from this addiction, and by making the decision to walk onto that path has saved us.

What I want you to know is that if you are a husband who struggles with porn, you can recover, you can overcome, but you need to be honest - with yourself, your partner, and with whoever you choose to hold you accountable. You, dear husband of someone wonderful, are special, and can be confident in yourself, and you are worth loving. You do not need to turn to this addiction to fill any void. God can and will do that for you.

What I want you to know is that if you are a wife who has a husband (or if you are a girlfriend who has a boyfriend) with a pornography addiction, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

I have not had the opportunity to hear this message from anyone else in my situation, but if I could sit myself down 2 years ago today, I would tell myself:
You are lovable
You are precious
You are worth more than you could imagine
You are not at fault
You do not need to hold onto your anger or pain
You can forgive
You as a couple can and will overcome

And if I could share a message with everyone who has the opportunity to support a woman in my situation, I would say that there is hope. I would ask you to please spread this message and help your friend to feel free from isolation and loneliness, because the support of a few close friends has helped me more than words can express.

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