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justme73

Hi, new & need perspective

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I was married in the temple 15 years ago. We have 3 children. We were very happy, when little by little, my husband's pornography problem subtly came to light. It began with "accidental" clicks here and there that I chose to let go. Right before our oldest turned 8, I found some videos downloaded that he confessed were his doing. He was unable to perform the baptism, went straight to the bishop, and seemed very repentant. He went to a few ARP meetings, but said it wasn't an addiction; that he just needed to stop, and he would. We counseled with our bishop, and things seemed resolved. Still, even after this, there were things that told me in my gut it was still a problem. I told him he needed to be honest and vigilant to fix this problem, because I couldn't bear the pain of this anymore. He assured me he was committed.

In March, I found proof of his continued porn use. I kept it to myself until May. I have been to the temple alone, been in counseling for several months, and he's gone some, too. I go to the family ARP meetings; he goes to them addict ARP meetings, but only when I remind him. He hasn't even bothered talking to the bishop yet. I feel I really need the bishop's support, but if I go first, I'll feel like I'm telling on a grown man. He has become very affectionate, very helpful around the house, and more even tempered with the kids... But it feels like he's trying to appease me without really changing things. We have an agreement to wait until August and re-evaluate... But I am so tired of the hurting and the lies, I honestly would leave now if I had the financial ability to do so. I actually feel peace when I think and pray about divorce. But I know it will put the kids through hell and turn all our lives upside down. Am I horrible for just feeling like I'm done? Anyone in the same boat? I welcome any thoughts.

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You are not alone, this is sadly all to common these days.  My Bishop said to me that it is surprising the number of sisters there are addicted to porn, not just men. 

 

My two cents is that if he is not sleeping around or abusing you or hasn't abandoned you or his kids then I don't think divorce is the way to go.  Think of this as an illness.  Would you divorce him if he had cancer, if he became clinically depressed?  Going on the war path against him over this is going to push him away from you and towards all those porn stars who never judge him, never push him away.  That doesn't mean you can't speak your mind, it just means you speak with love, not anger. 

This is a serious problem but he needs your help and understand and love and example, not your anger and hostility.  You need to work as a team and fight it together.  Ask if there is anything you can do to make it easier for him to resist temptation.  He knows what he is doing is wrong, he feels guilt and shame over it and that isolates him from you and others and pushes him further down the path.  There is a lot of fear in admitting the problem and confronting it.  If he knows you'll be there for him no matter what it makes it easier to drop the mask and seek help.  Tell him you need the Bishop's help to deal with this and encourage him to go with you to talk with him about it.

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Thanks, I appreciate your thoughts. I should probably expand some... I should also mention that our oldest is 13, ADHD, and very difficult. She has been in counseling and seeing a behavioral pediatrician for years. Both my husband and I have at times lost our patience with her. He, however, is usually downright hurtful to her. She apologizes for wrongdoing, and he says things like,"If you were sorry, you'd stop. Don't apologize unless you'll never do it again." Which, obviously, leads me to look at his behavior. He even told her once that if she didn't change (she's not into major issues, drinking drugs, sex...anything that severe) that he would have to leave. He is sometimes great with the kids, but often emotionally and verbally abusive.

Due to the nature of some of the sites he visited, I thought he might be meeting other women. He assured me he wasn't, that I was always the only woman for him, and if I ever doubted, I should just look on out Find My iPhone app to see where he is. Tonight, for the second week in a row, when he is supposed to be at his ARP meeting, he is disconnected from the app.

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Let's sum up, shall we?

 

You have a husband who looks at pornography.  

 

As far as you have posted, he is not chatting or hooking up with other women, correct?

 

And he is trying to parent his children better than he can control himself, correct?  

 

BTW, don't use the word 'abusive' until you know what it means.  Saying "If you were sorry, you'd stop.  Don't apologize unless you'll never do it again." is called PARENTING.  It's under the category of "Do as I say, not as I do."  I'm sure YOU have some things that fit into this category too, don't you?

 

 

And YOU'RE the one thinking about divorce???

 

I think there's a BIG PROBLEM IN ZION when the women of the church are thinking of divorce MORE than trying to fix the problems... or even if the problem is big enough to bother solving in the first place!

 

There are plenty of people who have marriages that stick around to make work even when the spouse is addicted to alcohol and tobacco.  Yes, I agree that pornography can be thought of as a drug, and it can be a problem... but you're ready to "call it quits"???

 

You have lost all trust in your husband and you are trying to 'parent' your husband instead of being his helpmate.

 

 

Get counseling FOR YOU on this.  And I'm not talking about ARP meetings.  Go see a COUNSELOR.  Stop thinking about "tattling on your husband to the bishop".  Learn how to pick and choose your fights and issues.

 

Out of all the things out there that could be threatening your marriage... I think you're turning an anthill into a mountain.

 

Remember this:  the gospel of Jesus Christ makes bad men good, and good men better.

 

As long as he is a good man, please be happy with him.  And the sooner you stop parenting him and nagging him about this... and start just appreciating HIM for WHO HE IS and WHAT HE DOES FOR YOU... the sooner you'll feel at peace in your marriage.

 

 

(Says the divorced guy whose wife left him for numerous reasons but pornography was on the list too.)

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Oh, and I have ADD and my son has ADD/ADHD as well.  I want better standards for him, so I will help him the best I can... because I'm the best he has in figuring out how to live with this mindset.  I will be harder on him than I am on me.  That's what good parents do - to help set their children up for success later in life.

 

The more 'absolute rules' you can incorporate into the ADD/ADHD mind... the better and more disciplined that mind can be.  However, it takes one who HAS ADD/ADHD to understand that.

 

Here's a rule that I have always lived by:  "Early is on-time, on-time is late, and late is unforgivable."  Got that from my marching band days and it has always stuck with me.  I'm early to everything.

 

I'm also incredibly neat and tidy because my mind can't stand the chaos of disorganization.

 

So, let your husband be the "ADD/ADHD" coach for your children... and make sure that he himself has his own medications and systems in place... because I'm sure that he has this too.

 

ADD/ADHD is not an excuse.  It's an explanation that needs a diagnosis and new patterns of thinking and doing things to manage one's life properly.

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^ Good example of why you should be wary of any advice you get on anonymous internet forums. 

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...So, let your husband be the "ADD/ADHD" coach for your children... and make sure that he himself has his own medications and systems in place... because I'm sure that he has this too.

 

ADD/ADHD is not an excuse.  It's an explanation that needs a diagnosis and new patterns of thinking and doing things to manage one's life properly.

 

Why should her husband be the ADD coach? Why do you assume he has ADD too?

 

IMO, the best way to be a good parent is to lead by example.

 

M. 

Edited by Maureen

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Why should her husband be the ADD coach? Why do you assume he has ADD too?

 

IMO, the best way to be a good parent is to lead by example.

 

M. 

 

ADD is generally hereditary... and you can trace the same behavior patterns through parents or others in the family.  Most people assume it's 'normal', until they find out otherwise.

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ADD is generally hereditary... and you can trace the same behavior patterns through parents or others in the family.  Most people assume it's 'normal', until they find out otherwise.

 

The other day I was chatting with my brother about his kids' ADD and he said to me, "Remember when we were kids and it was just called being bad?"

 

Ah, for the good old days. :)

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ADD/ADHD has more impulse control issues and the sense of wanting gratification in the moment.  Long-term perspective really can be 'out of reach' for someone with untreated ADD/ADHD.

 

They can't organize their thoughts, environment, or time very well.  

 

They need more tools to help them to stay on top of things.

 

They can APPEAR to pay attention in class... but really doesn't because the mind wanders.

 

In addition, certain medications help with the way the brain works, but this is only a part of the solution.  New habits and structure have to be implemented for maximum effectiveness.

 

 

I knew my son had it when I went to a parent/teacher conference and she described his behavior in class.  I could identify very clearly with his behavior.  I had him tested by my doctor and began to implement new routines as well as a mild prescription.  His classroom performance greatly improved... no late assignments... and is just much more comfortable in class.

 

I'm glad I found out while he was in the 4th grade... and that I knew how to help him... rather than in high school as it was with me.

Edited by DHK

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Does living the gospel encourage the view that a spouses pornography addiction is a "get out of marriage free card"?

 

No. But you must understand that LDS spouses of porn addicts are caught between a couple of really tough "what ifs." On the one hand we are told in the scriptures that if a man looks on a woman to lust after her he has already committed adultery in his heart (sorry can't remember the reference for that off the top..) So many spouses live in dread that their spouse's addiction will progress to that point.  But on the other hand we are told that a large percentage of men in the church are currently entrenched in addiction to pornography, and I haven't heard or read of the statistics about women but we know there are many women who struggle with it as well. So is it better to live with someone you want to fully trust but cannot, to not condone but still tolerate (by not seeking divorce) behavior that is all-but adultery (and if left unchecked can often lead to that kind of acting out, even if it is just online but still "with" another person) and leave your children at risk too? Or is it better to try your luck on a new start and hope that your next spouse is more honest and worthy in this aspect? The statistics sure aren't great. So what is better, not having a spouse or not being able to trust your spouse or depend on them as a Priesthood holder and someone who can at least attend the temple with a clear conscience? At what point is being married for the sake of fulfilling a commandment more important than your own emotional/mental wellbeing? It is not the non-addict's fault that their spouse is where they are, so while they ought to do their best to support their husband/wife and attempt to bear their burdens, at some point it may become nothing more than self-punishment to keep trying, praying, and aching for things to change. 

Edited by char713

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I'm more worried about him threatening your daughter with him leaving than I am about the pornography, to be honest. That is not an okay tactic.

 

If you're truly worried about him meeting other women and he's not cooperating with the ap he suggested, I say getting a third party to come up with a solution you can both agree to.

Edited by Backroads

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Though I'm not LDS, we share the same view on pornography, and the high value of marriage and family.  Let's start with a statistic.  70% of first time marriages succeed!  Divorce may be common, but it's not inevitable.  For first-timers it's not even the most likely result.  Marriage is worth fighting for.  Second, while I agree that porn-viewing is not grounds for divorce, at the outset, in Jesus' words, it is a form of adultery.  It may be an addiction, but it is also a violation of wedding vows, and an assault on the marriage.  If it becomes an unrepentant sin ("Take me as I am, babe") then could it be a form of abandonment and unfaithfulness?  Again, I'm not arguing for divorce here.  However, no matter how common porn viewing is becoming, it is grave sin, sin against the body, and it's not something to be dismissed or endured.

 

As for parenting approaches, it sure doesn't sound nice to tell a struggling child to not say sorry until perfection can be promised.  Yet, it may be healthy for a child to sometimes hear that they really have irritated mom or dad.  Frankly, if such words are spoken only rarely, or somewhat occasionally, they may build resilience in the child.  Again, though--this is hardly abuse.  Not ideal?  True.  Are there better approaches?  Certainly.  Does this behavior build the case for divorce?  Just the opposite!  If the concern is over the harm of mildly bullish parenting, be assured that fatherless parenting is so much worse.

 

Bottom-line:  hubby needs to see his porn viewing for what it is.  Adultery.  Sin.  Perhaps addiction too.  Grave, serious, and heart-breaking for his wife.  At the same time, I would hope despairing wife would fight for her man--in prayer, first.  Then, through loving support.  Hubby needs to know he's loved and respected.  If he only hardens his heart more, then the end result will be his to bear.

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we are told in the scriptures that if a man looks on a woman to lust after her he has already committed adultery in his heart (sorry can't remember the reference for that off the top..)

 

Yet committing adultery in your heart is a far cry from committing adultery in your bedroom. Jesus drew no absolute moral equivalency between lust, however ugly, and adultery. The effect of the former on your soul may be reminiscent of the latter, but it's the difference between getting a deep cut on your finger and slicing off your hand. At least, that's my reading of it.

 

(Scriptural reference is Matthew 5:27-28)

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Vort, I get that lust is not physical adultery.  Yet, it is adultery in the heart.  A 30-second lustful glance might be like a paper cut.  However, hours of lustful porn viewing is probably more like breaking the wrist.  To give an extreme example, some polling suggests that when spouses are caught "chexting" (cheating by texting--or other social media) they find it more difficult to forgive than actual adultery.  The words are there to be read again and again.  "But babe, I didn't actually DO anything!"  Frankly, that only makes it worse.  So much could be "spoken" without even meeting up.  A fantasy allowed you to say things you've never even said to me???

 

Again--porn viewing does not qualify as a sin that should result in divorce.  Not initially.  However, if it is done with abandon, without repentance...and then the spouse is told, "This is who I am--deal or go," what then?  To me, it may not be too hard to argue that the lust has become adultery, and the repetition of it a kind of abandonment.

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I don't disagree with what you write, PC. I certainly do not condone cardiac infidelity.

 

But I think it is "wresting the scriptures" to suggest, as a great many do, that Christ said that having lustful thoughts is adultery. It is not. It is the pathway to adultery, the first step. But it is not the act. Experiencing and even dwelling on lustful thoughts causes only a small fraction of the evil and spiritual damage that actual adultery causes. That is my only point, and I believe it is a very important one.

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Vort, I think we agree--probably completely.  If there is an area of difference, it may be in what we perceive is an issue within the household of faith.  I have not seen anyone try to use a spouse's lust as an excuse for divorce.  On the other hand, I have seen some try to excuse porn as no big deal.  Some even argue that the viewing is an outlet that helps them resist actual adultery.  This is why I stress the evil of lust/porn.  You may be seeing excuse-making for divorce that I am not. 

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No. But you must understand that LDS spouses of porn addicts are caught between a couple of really tough "what ifs." On the one hand we are told in the scriptures that if a man looks on a woman to lust after her he has already committed adultery in his heart (sorry can't remember the reference for that off the top..) So many spouses live in dread that their spouse's addiction will progress to that point.  But on the other hand we are told that a large percentage of men in the church are currently entrenched in addiction to pornography, and I haven't heard or read of the statistics about women but we know there are many women who struggle with it as well. So is it better to live with someone you want to fully trust but cannot, to not condone but still tolerate (by not seeking divorce) behavior that is all-but adultery (and if left unchecked can often lead to that kind of acting out, even if it is just online but still "with" another person) and leave your children at risk too? Or is it better to try your luck on a new start and hope that your next spouse is more honest and worthy in this aspect? The statistics sure aren't great. 

 
I agree and understand deeply char713 but we need to be careful. Certainly there are many what-ifs and many degrees of severity. Perhaps rather than what-ifs (which are infinate) focus on "what is". 
 
Surely Satan is putting just as much effort into destroying mens virtue with pornography as he is turning the hearts of women inward and "past-feeling" toward their imperfect spouses and children as they seek to secure their "emotional/mental wellbeing". I have forgiven a life worth of lies and adultery for the sake of my family and would do it again. So I can empathize with the feelings of betrayal, anger and not feeling cherished or valued.
 
Looking back I can say I'm grateful I had that opportunity to forgive on that level and for the perspective it's blessed me with. 
 
So what is better, not having a spouse or not being able to trust your spouse or depend on them as a Priesthood holder and someone who can at least attend the temple with a clear conscience?

 

You do realize there are many members on this forum who willingly married or remain married to people who are not members of this Church and some whose spouses have turned away from the truth and are openly hostile towards this Church. Church members are not encouraged to leave their non-member, inactive member, or active member spouses because they are not worthy to hold or exercise their Priesthood or enter the temple. 
 
 It is not the non-addict's fault that their spouse is where they are, so while they ought to do their best to support their husband/wife and attempt to bear their burdens, at some point it may become nothing more than self-punishment to keep trying, praying, and aching for things to change. 

 

I agree there are addictions that can reach a level of severity that it necessitates divorce to protect Children. But remember we will answer for our decisions and would be wise to stay far away from "putting away our spouses"

 

Consider these statement by Dallin H Oaks.

 

"A good marriage does not require a perfect man or a perfect woman. It only requires a man and a woman committed to strive together toward perfection."

 

"The kind of marriage required for exaltation—eternal in duration and godlike in quality—does not contemplate divorce."

"I strongly urge you and those who advise you to face up to the reality that for most marriage problems, the remedy is not divorce but repentance. Often the cause is not incompatibility but selfishness."

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The two exceptions under which divorce may be sought in my faith tradition are adultery ("unfaithfulness") and abandonment.  These terms tend to be defined strictly and narrowly.  Even in these incidences clergy do not counsel divorce.  Rather, it is permitted.  The general rule for unfaithfulness is that if the betrayed spouse loses trust (after all, the "one flesh" joining has been torn asunder) then s/he could seek divorce, and remarriage would be permitted. 

 

So, Jesus says lust is adultery-in-the-heart.  Can the case be made that trust has been broken--that the one flesh joining has been ripped apart?  I doubt very many of our clergy would endorse that tack.  Asking questions like, "Well, what if he goes ahead and commits adultery, now that he's been thinking about it, viewing it, fantasizing, etc.?" 

 

The question implies hurt (hopefully).  So, the answer is:  FIGHT FOR YOUR MAN/WOMAN!  Seek joint counseling.  Go to counseling alone, if need be.  Deploy the help of the church/ward.  Pray pray pray!  To passively give up, and say, "I might as well divorce, and start over with a clean slate," suggests that unfaithfulness and porn are not the only reasons for discord.  Perhaps they are not even the real ones.

 

Love is action.  It is tough.  It does not fail.  It is humble, long-suffering, patient.  Jesus counsel to avoid lust was just that--not a loophole for those weary of loving their spouses.

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It would be so refreshing to hear of someone whose spouse not only falls off the wagon but falls off the 30,000-foot cliff beside the wagon and their reaction is, oh no!  What can I do to bring my beloved back to the wagon?  I'll do anything!  Instead of, dagnabbit, who's gonna love me now?

 

My advice:  Stop using your husband's imperfections as bullets that you can fire at your husband and your marriage.  Instead, love him and help him overcome those imperfections while you do what is in your power to shield your children from his and your imperfections.  This is not you versus him.  This is pornography versus your marriage.  Both of you should be on the same side fighting against pornography.  Yes, you are hurt - it sucks big time and you wish it would just stop.... your husband is hurting too.  Even if he doesn't realize it now, he'll be roasting in the fires of hell eventually unless he repents.  So, if you really love your husband, you wouldn't want that for him either.  So, helping him get over this and be steadfast in your love for him no matter how stupid he gets... brings both of you joy when you come out victorious.  And if you make that plea to the Father and the atonement of Christ to work in your marriage, you will be victorious.

 

And the very first step to this is... Forgive him.  Don't wait until he realizes his mistake and begs you for forgiveness.  Forgive him anyway.  Seventy times seven times.

Edited by anatess

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 I honestly would leave now if I had the financial ability to do so. I actually feel peace when I think and pray about divorce. But I know it will put the kids through hell and turn all our lives upside down. Am I horrible for just feeling like I'm done? Anyone in the same boat? I welcome any thoughts.

 

I've said it before , but why are you owning his problem; it is his problem-he has to be the one to solve it-not you. Yes it does affect you-but you cannot solve his problem. You must be his wife, rather than his mother. Unless there is something you aren't saying, I do not believe divorce is justified in this case. Marriage can be extremely difficult, especially when the marriage couple are not husband and wife.  You are not being his wife and his is not being your husband-if you want your marriage to work-then you must be his wife (and he must be your husband). 

 

I should also mention that our oldest is 13, ADHD, and very difficult. She has been in counseling and seeing a behavioral pediatrician for years. Both my husband and I have at times lost our patience with her. He, however, is usually downright hurtful to her. She apologizes for wrongdoing, and he says things like,"If you were sorry, you'd stop. Don't apologize unless you'll never do it again." Which, obviously, leads me to look at his behavior. He even told her once that if she didn't change (she's not into major issues, drinking drugs, sex...anything that severe) that he would have to leave. He is sometimes great with the kids, but often emotionally and verbally abusive.

 

I will probably catch flak for this; but I believe ADHD is a bunch of modern age psycho-babble that "Parenting" magazine, CNN, etc. and all the rest of the county is brainwashed into believing.  It is a bunch of junk. I have a little boy who I guarantee would be labeled as ADHD-but I won't test him b/c I don't care about a label. What he lacks is discipline and that is what my job as a parent is-to raise a future adult and to be an adult requires discipline.  How to cure ADHD-pick the battles worth fighting. Do I care if my son runs around crazy-no go outside and play, climb a tree knock yourself out. Will he get disciplined for being destructive and mean-yes, disciplined for not completing assignments-yes. Will he disciplined for not doing what he is told-yes. 

 

By the time a child is 13-if you have not instilled in them a sense of strong obedience to authority figures (namely mom and dad) - good luck b/c you are certainly going to need it. At 13 the time to learn obedience is over and the time to be mentored starts.  If she is having obedience problems at 13- by 16-17 she'll be having sex, drugs, etc.

 

Due to the nature of some of the sites he visited, I thought he might be meeting other women. He assured me he wasn't, that I was always the only woman for him, and if I ever doubted, I should just look on out Find My iPhone app to see where he is. Tonight, for the second week in a row, when he is supposed to be at his ARP meeting, he is disconnected from the app.

 

Umm, is he visiting Ashley Madison or something? If so, well the cat is out of the bag.

 

If you read nothing else, please see my final questions and comments.  Over the past 13 years, since you've had kids-who has taken a bigger role and precedence in your life? Has it been your children or your husband? I bet that you've been sucked into what has been called the "Good mommy club" that a wife's primary role is her children and that during a significant portion of the last 13 years you have paid more attention, done more for your children than your husband; that from his perspective he probably feels ignored and pushed aside as simply an appendage. That in parenting with your children, they have driven a wedge between you and your husband-that you defend them from him and they are able to play you and him against each other.

 

If you want to save your marriage-be a wife first, mother second. Allow your husband to be a husband 1st and father 2nd. If you want to know how to be a wife . . . well go to the scriptures.

 

But that's my 2 cents.

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