Friday, July 13, 2012

How do you know if your husband is addicted to pornography?

Yes it happens to lots of men, it happens more than you think.  You may even be in a place where you have a sense or suspect that your husband is involved in pornography but you can't put your finger on it.  How do you know?  You have this nagging feeling that things are not what they appear to be.  How can you tell?

Here are some symptoms that could be indicative of an addiction to pornography:

*  Your husband isolates himself from the family frequently and often at unusual times - like late at night, middle of night or in the early morning.
*  He will seek out errands or activities that take him away from the family and out the house.

*  He is inclined to be secretive and especially private about cell phones, computers, books and DVD's.

*  He may lock himself in a room for extended periods of time saying he needs space.

*  He may be very distracted in the company of women and noticeably paying attention to their bodies.

*  Seeking out company of women in social settings is a norm or the opposite may occur - he might be be very uncomfortable around women socially.

*  There is media evidence:  history of websites visited, videos taken out or magazines.

*  Financial privacy - he may be spending money on pornographic material so he will want to cover it up and will not be accountable or transparent about finances.  There may be unusual numbers on credit card or sums of cash  unaccounted for

*  Boys nights or trips where no women are allowed. Though pornography is normally viewed in isolation, the cover of going with friends might allow him to seek out satisfaction for his addiction freely.

*  There is a lack of accountability and often isolation from friends and mentors.

*  There may be an over-defensiveness and unwillingness to discuss or review behaviour and is easily offended when the subject comes up.

*  MIA - Missing in action without a logical explanation or vague explanations of where he has been.

*  Changes in intimacy - though your husband may be trying to be creative or adventurous, sometimes husbands will try and re- enact what they have seen.  They may also not want intimacy (as they are finding satisfaction elsewhere) or they may become excessively interested in sex.

(There may be other factors, and also not all of these symptoms taken in isolation will necessarily be indicative of an addiction to pornography  - but a few of them, may be a warning to you)

According to Focus on the Family there are 5 stages of addiction:

Five Stages of Addiction

  1. Early exposure. Most guys who get addicted to pornography start early. They see the stuff when they are very young, and it gets its foot in the door.
  2. Addiction. Later comes addiction. You keep coming back to porn. It becomes a regular part of your life. You're hooked. You can't quit.
  3. Escalation. After a while, escalation begins. You start to look for more and more graphic porn. You start using porn that would have disgusted you when you started. Now it excites you.
  4. Desensitization. Eventually, you start to become numb. Even the most graphic, degrading porn doesn't excite you anymore. You become desperate to feel the same thrill again but can't find it.
  5. Acting out sexually. At this point, many men make a dangerous jump and start acting out sexually. They move from the paper and plastic images of porn to the real world.
I know you may feel like ignoring it, you may be too afraid to ask him because you  know the answer already, maybe you are too ashamed to talk about it because you are afraid your friends will reject you.  It's a scary place to be in, you blame yourself, you blame him.  But you would rather leave things as they are.

Pornography is a serious problem and it's not static, left undealt with it has the potential to escalate - destroying lives and marriages and leading to criminal behaviour.

Now I know this is a difficult subject and even now you may be wondering:

What do I do?
Before you judge your man and accuse him, remember that most men know that what they are doing is wrong and are ashamed but like any addiction, he doesn't know how to break free, how to stop or how to fix himself.  I know you may be feeling hurt, confused and betrayed but there is far more at stake than just your heart.  His heart is also hurting.  He already feels like a failure and that he's not good enough.  Something in his past, started him on this journey - it's not just in his genes, or just because he's a man.  When you read some of the real life stories of why men become addicted to pornography, you will realise that there are defining moments in a man's life that will lead him down that road.

It's not about you!  It's not the weight, your looks, the clothes or anything you have done. This is all about him and his particular struggle. Don't blame yourself.  Don't condemn or doubt yourself. This is not your fault!

Seek out your pastor, a mentor, counsellor or a trustworthy friend and let them walk alongside you as a couple.  There is a wonderful opportunity for healing and restoration.  It's possible to overcome this in Christ! It may not be an overnight fix but as you work through this, you will find freedom.

There are two fantastic books written by Dave Hain, who has counselled thousands of people, with all kinds of addictions around the world.

He runs an international ministry in addiction called "From Addict to Disciple" .These books are a must for both you and your husband.

Don't feel alone, don't feel like you can't speak to someone because its a shameful secret. Don't let the fear of others, decide how you are going to deal with this.  By speaking out, you loosen a foothold of the enemy to destroy your marriage.  By speaking out you will find people who will support you and pray for you and counsel you.  By speaking out you will have the freedom to move forward and fear will no longer have a grip on you.

If you want to ask any questions or share a personal story, you are welcome to email me. otherwise feel free to leave a comment.

Linking up with Unveiled Wife

1 comment:

  1. very good article and very much needed to be out there. STOP - stand together against pornography, is a really great help to. they offer support to the men to help them deal with this addiction.


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