Porn Addiction Support for Wives.
Let’s have some straight talk.
If your husband struggles with porn addiction, my heart goes out to you. If he doesn’t have a problem, you need to educate yourself on how to keep it that way. Because either way, he is constantly tempted by this. In movies, on billboard, in magazines and online. It’s everywhere.
We have programs that can help him with his recovery, but this page is about making sure you’re taking care of you.
The trauma that many women experience when they learn about their husband’s porn addiction is often compared to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Just for comparison, soldiers returning from a war zone often experience this.
This is serious business. And the biggest problem that we have seen is that too many women try to stuff these emotions. Just bury them and hope they go away. But as author Steven Covey says, feelings buried alive never die- they often resurface in uglier ways.
This may be one of the most devastating things you ever have to face. It strikes to the core of your marriage. It challenges your sense of worth and causes you to compare yourself to an impossible standard. And the hardest part about it is that you can’t make your husband change.
You can help him. You can love him. You can support him, but in the end he has to choose. Many of the women that have come to my wife and I for help have expressed a nagging fear that they can’t shake off- that he might go back to it again. It haunts them.
And even if he does improve his behavior, the pain of the betrayal lingers.
This seems like an impossible burden. A weight that is bigger than you can carry.
So, what can you do?
If you can’t force him to change, what action can you take?
3 things. A couple of them are free, the one requires a little bit of money.
First, we created a free 7 CD download program for Christians called A Better Believer. You can download it at www.ABetterBeliever.com
This will give you some insight into what you are really dealing with, and talk about steps you can take to move forward.
Tony’s “Cure the Craving” program is phenomenal! I found this program to be incredibly insightful into the causes of porn addiction. While other programs and books talk only about the “how” to combat pornography viewing and sexually acting out, Tony’s program goes deeper to get to the root-cause of the addiction: the “why”. Tony has done his homework on the topic of porn addiction and is able to present the information in a way that is clear, concise, and easy to implement. And that’s the beauty of it! Using the methods and insights in Tony’s program, you will be taken to the source of your conflict and work from the inside out. By implementing the “Cure the Craving” principles you not only will learn how to stop your compulsive behavior, but you will earn a whole new respect for yourself that will allow you to reach new levels of success in your life. And you’ll be given the motivation to do it!
It will help you see clearly how your own healing can help your husband in his journey. It will give you tools for stress reduction.
And it comes with some bonus CDs that will help you access the healing that you deserve.
The second is a program my wife and I put together after working with couples that were trying to heal from this.
The focus in many programs and websites seemed to be on the guy and his recovery, but we couldn’t find anything that supported women in their personal healing.
So Bri and I created a support program for women. It is a weekly call that helps you process what you’ve been through and gives you tools to move forward.
And because Bri helped me create the program, it really focuses on the challenges women face. Its for women from a woman’s perspective.
Bri shares what steps she took that took our marriage from the edge of divorce to a thriving partnership. I give her the credit here, because she was truly the cause of change in our relationship. She shares these tools with you and says it like it is.
To find out more about this program, watch the short video we created on the products page to describe it.
And the last thing you should do is find a support group. It’s better if this is not family because your dirty laundry never goes away with family.
Some churches put on women’s support groups. Some recovery programs have them.
You may hire a therapist or a coach to be your support system. But whatever you choose, you need to include other’s in your healing journey.
I have gone longer without a mishap than since I married my wife. While I recently messed up again, I see myself constantly improving and the temptations are almost always vacant. I notice the chemical reactions and changes far more now, and I am almost always doing things that are substituting them, and they are working beautifully. I am more balanced than I have ever been in my life.
Why Porn Addiction Is So Difficult To Quit
I have found that many people underestimate how difficult it is for someone to end a porn addiction. I’ve talked to many frustrated wives, girlfriends and parents who have all taken a similar approach. They have attempted to put pressure on the addict, to reason with him, or to punish him- all in an effort to help him end his porn addiction.
None of these things work.
Because pornography addiction is not an intellectual addiction. This is an emotional addiction that is anchored with the body’s most powerful “feel good chemicals”, or endorphins. And it has been reinforced with the most powerful form of goal achievement known to man- visualization.
It is truly an addiction of the body, mind and spirit.
Because of this, the recovery must engage all of these components as well. You can’t talk yourself out of an emotional addiction. You can’t use the intellect to undo the addiction to endorphins.
Recovery from porn addiction must include:
- Replacing the brain chemicals
- Ending the fantasies
- Creating new habits- new coping tools to deal with life
- Eliminating easy access to the materials
It might help to understand the emotions of the user.
The reason he keeps going back over and over, even after he has promised himself and others that he won’t do it again is because porn and masturbation are very, very effective at shifting his feelings. It is predictable. It works every time.
This is an emotional coping exercise. It is a way to feel better for just a moment.
For a man, the one time he feels that everything is perfect in his world is just after a sexual release. Nothing else compares to this. (The only thing that trumps this is a spiritual connection- but that is less predictable and accessible in his mind).
I love this program. I used to feel like I had to compete with porn in order to have a relationship with my husband. I didn’t realize that this addiction is deeper than just looking at women. It has a lot less to do with me than I thought.
This program has helped me to communicate with my husband in a way that doesn’t make him feel ashamed, and lets me express myself. I learned how to help him, and what not to do. I was surprised to learn how I used to make this worse for him in the past.
I feel like for the first time we are on the same page. We connect in ways that we never did before. I have my marriage back. Thanks Tony for all that you do.
Porn is so predictable. It will make him feel like everything is ok for a few minutes. And it will make him feel really bad and empty a few minutes later. Every time. Guaranteed.
But there is an illusion that he plays out in his mind- a fantasy that the next time he acts out, it will leave him feeling good forever.
It’s no different than a food addict believing in his heart that Thanksgiving dinner will complete him. If he could just eat everything on the table, without restraint, he would finally get what he’s looking for. Endless satisfaction.
Since the time he was a teenager, he has been managing his emotions with the tool of masturbation. Any time he felt down, lonely, stressed, bored, horny… you name it- he could make all those feelings go away. Even if for just a moment.
And he started the illusion at that age as well. The illusion that the reason he felt down after acting out was because he wasn’t able to fully act out.
The teenager says to himself: “if I could have actually had sex, then I would feel fulfilled right now, but since I was just imagining it in my mind, it didn’t fulfill me… if I could really do it, then I will feel full.”
And he begins the pattern of managing his emotions through sexual release. For most men, this pattern never ends.
Eventually, he starts to add porn into his fantasies because it makes them much more intense. And in a surprisingly short amount of time, he can no longer use his imagination- and has to have porn to get the release.
I know a family member who started drinking alcohol when he was 12. He has been a life long heavy drinker. He drinks every day. I’ve watched him down glass after glass of vodka, and carry on like nothing had happened. He copes with life through a steady stream of alcohol.
In his fifties, when he inevitably got a DUI, he was ordered to go sober for a year. He reluctantly complied to stay out of jail, but he was miserable. He realized he didn’t like his wife, he didn’t like her family, he didn’t like kids around him, he didn’t like people, he didn’t like mornings, he didn’t like the cold… He didn’t like anything.
He had not skills to manage life. He had managed life with alcohol. The truth was that it wasn’t’ his wife causing the problems, or kids, or mornings, or stress. Without alcohol, he didn’t like life. And the reason was that he didn’t have any skills to find balance in life. He never needed to learn any. Alcohol did the trick.
The same thing happens to guys when you take away their #1 coping tool- a sexual release. Suddenly they have no way to handle stress, rejection, pressure, exhaustion, hunger, anger… or in other words- life.
Most people approach recovery in this way. They decide to eliminate the most predictable, fastest acting, preferred coping tool- and they put nothing else in place.
A plan like that is pure insanity. It defies reason. It is ridiculous. And it will fail 99% of the time. (1% of the guys who do this either had a spiritual awakening (which replaces the old tool) or they have a serious painful consequence they are avoiding)
For every other guy on the planet, this sets them up for failure and SHAME.
If you want him to end his pornography addiction, you must give him new tools. And it will take time for those tools to become habits.
He also has to create new thought habits. He has to give up his favorite past time- fantasizing. And new thought habits take time and effort.
He will also need a “safe place”. A place where he doesn’t have access to the material. Because he will absolutely, for sure, without a doubt have moments when he wants to go back to the old behavior. And he needs to be in a safe place during those times or he will fail.
Can someone overcome a pornography addiction? Absolutely yes.
The challenge is that none of the tools to overcome this will ever be as intense as the old behavior. Nothing will ever compare to it. No tool or habit will be able to take away his pain instantly, or take him to such a pleasant place.
Its kind of like replacing a daily stream of chocolate with oatmeal.
Is oatmeal better for you? Clearly.
Will oatmeal give you the long-term nutrition your body requires? Absolutely.
Can you learn to enjoy oatmeal? I do. (my kids… not so much…)
But does it instantly give that deep down, everything is going to be alright feeling, every time, without fail? Nope.
Recovery from porn addiction becomes a lifestyle choice. If you implement all the tools as a way of living your life, there will still be some moments of temptation, but for the most part, your needs are being met in healthy ways, and you don’t need to escape.
But these tools have to be implemented ahead of time. They don’t work very well if they are only used to chase away cravings. Its too late at that point.
Porn addiction is the symptom — not the problem.
What is porn addiction really? It’s a way to trigger the body’s most intense emotions and trigger a sense of well-being. It is intense and forbidden- so it triggers adrenaline. It involves sexual release, so it gives a feeling of deep relaxation and contentment- so it triggers serotonin. And it involves fantasy and imagination- so it triggers dopamine.
These brain chemicals are 100 times stronger than heroine.
This becomes a coping tool for life. It only involves porn because that is the vehicle to trigger the chemicals. If mowing the lawn caused the brain to release all of these chemicals, every guy would have a landscaping business.
Porn addiction is the symptom. The real problem is an out of balance life. Too much stress, low self esteem, a lack of fulfillment, no real connection with others, no spiritual connection, a diet that leaves the body full of junk and hungry for nutrients…
These are the problems. Porn addiction is the medication to make all of those problems go away for a little while. But it doesn’t make them stay away for long.
If you want to overcome this, you need to focus on one thing: learning new coping tools and intentionally turning those into the habits of your life.
Healing a Wounded Heart
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