AMom31

Pornography and Affair in an LDS Marriage

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I have been married for 9 years. My husband and I are both born and raised LDS. Five years ago he revealed to me that he has suffered from a pornography addiction since the age of 12. At the moment of his reveal, he also told me he, while on a business trip, had slept with an escorts and been going to strip clubs for about a year. He was disfellowshipped. We went to therapy and did some addiction recover for about 2 years. However, we both stopped. He gave me some accuses. I stopped for financial reasons. Over time our marriage started to fall apart. We started drifting farther and farther from each other. I started wondering if he was back into his addiction, but I've always had a hard time with communication, and was too afraid to ask. After my 3rd kid was born it was as though I had no energy left for him and his needs and our marriage. We really started to pull away from each other. Little did I know that a year ago, a year after #3 was born my husband met someone else. His addiction never really left. Just before he was refellowshipped he had slept with an escort. After that his addiction really took over and he was back at strip clubs. That is where he met her, a dancer at a club. Over the last year they have been on every business trip he went on, some he made up to go with her. Places he hasn't even taken me. Overnight getaways, gifts, restaurants. He had an emotional and physical affair with her while I sat at home with our kids. A month ago she ended things with him and that is why he confessed everything to me. We are going to try a trial seperation next month. He says he is trying to figure everything out in his head. He has not been ex-communicated yet, but it should be soon. I am afraid that while he is away he will love it. Not miss us at all. That his love for me has dwindled so much he won't care that we are not in the same house. But also, I am afraid that he doesn't understand the pain I am in from the betrayal. That separating is the only way for me to show him I am hurt. I have been so kind through all of this. Not screaming, breaking things or trying to hurt him-it's just not who I am. 

I still love him, though. I think I still want to stay married to him. But only if he is committed to fixing his life, his addiction, us. However, I know he doesn't love me like he used to. I see it in his eyes. I feel it and it makes me so sad. I'm angry that he could do this to me,  have and desire someone else. I know that the affair stems from his pornography addiction, so that makes me want to stay and help him. But his faith in the gospel and the atonement is almost completely gone. I just don't know what to do. Has anyone gone through something like this and made it out together and better or is it bound to be that we will get divorced? 

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I'm sorry. So very sorry. One of my closest friends has been dealing with much the same the last couple of years, and it's so hard.

I think you're the only one that can answer whether you should stay, with help from Heavenly Father and your bishop. I think you're right in that his commitment is key. All I can say is do not have unprotected sex with him, if that's still on the table, and certainly no more children unless this is fixed. 

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Guest LiterateParakeet

I'm so sorry as well.  I think a separation is a great idea.  I also don't think anyone would fault you if you choose to get a divorce, but I like the idea of separation first...one last attempt.  I, wholeheartedly agree with Eowyn's advice, no unprotected sex, and no more children until this is resolved.  

 

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Dear AMom31,

Your post is so heart wrenching! But something you wrote is a very important concern to me - "I stopped [therapy] for financial reasons."

It concerns me that so many people can't seem to get marriage counseling or advice they need because of the cost. I realize that speaking with Church leaders or clergy is free, but it is also true that very few church leaders have the expertise or understanding to provide much more than a listening ear and a caring heart.

AMom31, let me ask this: If you and your husband had been able to discuss these matters with a private, caring, non-judgmental and non-professional couple for free, do you think that would that have been helpful?

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You are suffering from at least 1 of the A's which justify divorce in my mind.  Adultery.  You might even be able to throw in Addiction, but porn addiction is difficult to diagnose at best. 

First bit of advice.  Get a lawyer.  A good one.  You weren't willing to spend $ to protect/work on your marriage, so now you need to spend real $ on an attorney to protect you and your children s rights.

Second bit of advice.  Get on birth control now.  He did all this awful stuff, got disfellowshipped, and you still made another baby with him?  Your children deserve better.  Don't subject your potential future children to the same nightmare.  If you can't avoid being intimate, then make sure you are on birth control.  

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Adultery is a biggie.  And if I read you correctly, multiple times.  And lately it is unrepentant?  He can afford a mistress and strip clubs, but he can't afford counseling?  That sounds like a lie.

There is a lot that a couple can work through.  But this...  I personally don't have much hope based on what you're telling me.  Like you said.  If he really were repentant and dedicated to overcoming everything, that would at least give some hope.  But it sounds like he's not interested in that.  If you have a talk with him and determine in your heart that he can be truly repentant, that may give some hope.  Pray about this very hard.

Until then, you can love him.  You can pity him.  You can hope he eventually finds his way.  But at this point it sounds like you need to watch out for yourself and your kids.

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13 hours ago, mdfxdb said:

Second bit of advice.  Get on birth control now.  He did all this awful stuff, got disfellowshipped, and you still made another baby with him?  Your children deserve better. 

Also, some states won't finalize a divorce if the woman is pregnant, so you could end up stuck for a few more months, then trying to deal with the divorce at a time when you'd need to be resting.

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So when I stopped therapy it was a group for the wives of sex addicts. I stopped because I didn't feel like the therapy was moving me forward and honestly couldn't handle all the wallowing from the other wives. So I stopped while he continued. Little did I know that while he was in therapy he was continuing his addiction. He has since told me that he thought, "well, therapy clearly isn't helping and I've fallen so far that I might as well stop." So he gave me some excuse and I didn't fight him on it. I didn't fight him on a lot of things. I never said anything when I felt him being distant. But he never said anything when he felt I was being neglectful to his needs. 

We have talked a lot. Probably more than we have in a long time. We are being 100% honest with each other. I know he feels lost and abandoned by God and the gospel, having had this addiction since he was 12. It makes me sad for him, that he feels that way. 

No more kids. We had already decided that. 

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AMom31,

You are not alone when it comes to those who didn't or don't feel that therapy and counseling was moving them forward. Elder Craig A. Cardon gave a talk recently where he outlined the difference between "programmatic" and "heart changing" approaches to problems. He mentioned that most of the time we (you, me, the church, etc.,) default to ineffective programmatic solutions because they are simple. We avoid the hard "heart changing" approaches to problems because they are less certain, much more difficult, and it takes far more time.

For example, when we have problems keeping our God-given opposite-sex attractions within the bounds the Lord has set (that's my description of pornography) leaders and well-meaning friends will almost all suggest the programmatic approach - "Stop now, attend a twelve-step program and counseling, recognize how much your spouse and family feels betrayed, pray for strength, read your scriptures every day and then everything should work out." They do that because it's easy to measure if you've done those things. But as Elder Cardon pointed out, it rarely ever changes the heart and the person who is struggling doesn't overcome the problem internally despite doing all those things and ends up feeling even more "lost and abandoned by God and the Gospel."

It sounds to me like the two of you have started the "heart" changing process by talking a lot and being 100% honest with each other. Add being non-judgmental, caring, and helpful to each other with a firm commitment to stand by each other in your trials and you have a firm foundation for developing a long-term plan to slowly walk away from Satan's lies that true happiness can be found in sexual imagery or extra-marital relations.

We will never lose our natural desires to see the human body. But we can examine our impulses and separate truth from reality in a step-by-step fashion over time. Gradually we can bring more and more of our daily behaviors in line with the bounds the Lord has set and that will bring more joy into our life and marriage as our heart will have changed in the process. I sincerely hope you can find some wonderful people to help you both as you progress on that journey. People you can trust to love and help you both no matter how long it takes. People who see you as the sons and daughters of God that we are in a world full of challenges.

The analogy that I like to use is that you can't bring a plane that's going the wrong way home by turning the engines off in flight. You have to work to turn it in the right direction and then gradually descend to the ground. Along the way there will be numerous course corrections, each one helping a little bit. Turbulence is a given, but don't let it stop your progress.

Again, we are all praying for you!

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I'm sorry for the pain you're going through and feeling.  You've had some good advice and support from above - I'd also like to chime in to say I know they do all sorts of blood tests when you are pregnant and test for diseases, HIV, etc. but I'm not sure how long ago your last baby was born.  I'd highly recommend going to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases - all of them - including venereal warts, HIV, etc.  especially since he was with escorts. 

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He will never be committed to fixing anything because he has no reason to. He can do whatever he wants to you and you will still love him, still want to be married to him, have his family waiting at home for him, what incentive does he have to want to change?

I have lived with a family member who was an addict, sadly the vast majority of people with these problems follow similar patterns. Unfortunately they most often need to loose everything or 'hit rock bottom' before they discover that they need to change. The longer you prevent him from hitting rock bottom, the longer his addiction will continue for. You can not help an addict recover, the only person who can do that is themselves.

You need to stop trying to help him and if he seeks help from you, support him by giving him information on where he can seek help from professionals as they are the only ones who can help him. Pray for him, fast for him, love him as the father of your children, but not as your husband.

You need help to build up your self esteem. Ask yourself this, is your husband the kind of person you would want your daughter to be married to, to spend the rest of eternity with? Is your husband the kind of man you want your son to grow up to be? If your answer is no, then why would you not want your daughter or daughter in law to have to live like that, but you are happy to subject yourself to it? 

 

 

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On 4/30/2016 at 6:49 PM, AMom31 said:

 

No more kids. We had already decided that. 

Unless you are abstinent, or  taking serious medical measures, either you or him,then you have decided nothing.  

 

I urge extreme caution moving forward.  You have invested significant time, and made babies with someone who doesn't want to change.  You need to have a serious conversation with yourself about how much longer you are willing to wait.  You need to decide how much more of this you want to subject your children to.  They learn and repeat what they see and observe.

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The other concern I read is your reference on more than one occasion about "fulfilling his needs."
I assume this must be one of the excuses he often uses to justify his behaviour and only shows he wishes to shift the blame from himself to you.

A marriage is a partnership based on love, respect and honesty, it is not about what you get from it, it's about what you give. The problem lies in when one person in the partnership abuses this and become solely a taker and never a giver or when what they give causes harm. He has given you lies, broken trust, put your health at risk, put your financial position at risk, put your future as an eternal companionship at risk. What exactly is it he is giving you that makes him think you in anyway need to fulfil his needs?
Are you so far devalued by him that you feel you must subject yourself to fulfilling his needs in order to prevent him going elsewhere? 
  
Don't be blinded by his so called 100% honesty at the moment. He is only being 'honest' because the other woman ended it. If it wasn't for that, he would still be there. He is doing the 'band aid fix' to give you a false sense of hope. He doesn't love you, he loves the fact he can use you. People with addictions often loose their ability to genuinely love a person, they pretend to love them just enough to keep them there fulfilling their needs. In my case it was a severe gambling addiction, I went from being a family member to being nothing more than a source of money and they would stoop to any low to get that money. I still love that person, they are still very much a part of my life, but I had to learn to be strong enough to protect myself, to stand up for myself, to value myself, to accept that I can't fix everything and to do that I needed to remove myself from the situation and give myself time to grow. That person hit rock bottom, it was horrible to see, but they had to learn to fix themselves and now they know that taking advantage of me will not be tolerated. It was then that I could support them in building back their life, it has been 6 years now.

 

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Eliminating use of porn, does not equal recovery.     His previous efforts were likely the former, rather than the latter.   He will have to address and resolve all the things that create the craving.

If you have not been tested for STD's do it now, and remain abstinent until that is completed.   Get on an effective birth control: you need to be protected for that night when you want to be intimate, and are.  (So long as you love him, it is going to happen at some point.) 

Separation can be very useful.  Agree that you will honor the marriage vows, and maintain the current financial arrangements.  Is there a room in the home of an empty nester couple that he might rent for six months (it is best not to go home to family, whose presence and involvement may interfere with what the separation is supposed to address).?  Agree it is for a time certain.  (I'd think at least 3 months in your case.)  During this time he should come to your house three evenings a week and feed and put the kids to bed, and Saturdays get them up for breakfast and chores.  (real life things, not play).  You should do something outside teh home during the time he is there.  Go on dates once a week, as well as couples counseling (could be before or after the date night or separate.   (The point is that you each experience what divorce life is likely to be, as well as working with fresh eyes on the issues.  He goes to an addiction 12 step program, and to individual counseling until the counselor says he no longer needs it).   (One advantage of this kind of separation in your case is that you will not feel compelled ot always be checking up on him: he will either act like he wants to be married, or he won't.)

At the end of the three months if he has lived up to his agreements with behavior and counseling and finances and visitation, he moves back in and you try to make your marriage work with the new skills and insight you have about each other and yourselves.

Adultery is one of the acceptable reasons for divorce, and when serial adultery has happened can be inevitable.   But OP will need to come to that decision herself.   There are those who can work through everything, though that is much less likely when it has happened more than once.

I am so very sorry you and yoru children (even your dh) have to live through this.  You might find some help in

He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, Colleen Harrison

Clean Hands Pure Heart  http://deseretbook.com/store/product?sku=4919796

https://www.lds.org/topics/pornography/audiences/individuals/sexual-addiction-reading-list?lang=eng

http://rowboatandmarbles.org/

 

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On 27/04/2016 at 5:27 AM, AMom31 said:

I have been married for 9 years. My husband and I are both born and raised LDS. Five years ago he revealed to me that he has suffered from a pornography addiction since the age of 12. At the moment of his reveal, he also told me he, while on a business trip, had slept with an escorts and been going to strip clubs for about a year. He was disfellowshipped. We went to therapy and did some addiction recover for about 2 years. However, we both stopped. He gave me some accuses. I stopped for financial reasons. Over time our marriage started to fall apart. We started drifting farther and farther from each other. I started wondering if he was back into his addiction, but I've always had a hard time with communication, and was too afraid to ask. After my 3rd kid was born it was as though I had no energy left for him and his needs and our marriage. We really started to pull away from each other. Little did I know that a year ago, a year after #3 was born my husband met someone else. His addiction never really left. Just before he was refellowshipped he had slept with an escort. After that his addiction really took over and he was back at strip clubs. That is where he met her, a dancer at a club. Over the last year they have been on every business trip he went on, some he made up to go with her. Places he hasn't even taken me. Overnight getaways, gifts, restaurants. He had an emotional and physical affair with her while I sat at home with our kids. A month ago she ended things with him and that is why he confessed everything to me. We are going to try a trial seperation next month. He says he is trying to figure everything out in his head. He has not been ex-communicated yet, but it should be soon. I am afraid that while he is away he will love it. Not miss us at all. That his love for me has dwindled so much he won't care that we are not in the same house. But also, I am afraid that he doesn't understand the pain I am in from the betrayal. That separating is the only way for me to show him I am hurt. I have been so kind through all of this. Not screaming, breaking things or trying to hurt him-it's just not who I am. 

I still love him, though. I think I still want to stay married to him. But only if he is committed to fixing his life, his addiction, us. However, I know he doesn't love me like he used to. I see it in his eyes. I feel it and it makes me so sad. I'm angry that he could do this to me,  have and desire someone else. I know that the affair stems from his pornography addiction, so that makes me want to stay and help him. But his faith in the gospel and the atonement is almost completely gone. I just don't know what to do. Has anyone gone through something like this and made it out together and better or is it bound to be that we will get divorced? 

If I tell you what to do will you do it? 

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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this yet, but Christ's Atonement is big enough to cover all of this, regardless of the outcome.  You need to rely on the Atonement to heal the hurt that his actions have caused you.  He needs the Atonement to stop, to change, to know that God loves him.  If either of you are serious about getting the help you need for this situation, start with Christ.

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3 hours ago, Southern_Bell said:

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this yet, but Christ's Atonement is big enough to cover all of this, regardless of the outcome.  You need to rely on the Atonement to heal the hurt that his actions have caused you.  He needs the Atonement to stop, to change, to know that God loves him.  If either of you are serious about getting the help you need for this situation, start with Christ.

Easier said then done, when I was 12 I was exposed to porn from my non-member friends and been on-off again since. I have had periods of a year or two that I stopped but it kept finding its way back. My spirit knew it was wrong but my body took control, after every episode I would feel bad but at the next opportunity my body easily gave in again. It became such a repetitive habit to sin and then repent and then sin again and repent again that I decided to go beyond prayer and just start talking to God directly. I would say "HF I know you know what im about to do right now and I know what Im going to do, please bare with me as this is hard and I know you know that its hard for me too".

You guys may not agree with my approach but we all must find our own way. I think the blessings that I have received by being so candid and remorseful at the same time is that I never EVER felt a need to physically seek out another woman. I know someone like TFP might chime in and say "You are being deceived by an evil spirit, you never receive blessings while sinning!", sorry, but you can believe what you want and I can believe what I know.

As far as my advice to the OP, only you know what to do. You are temple sealed so you could possibly let him go in this life so that he can hit rock bottom and hope that in the eternal afterlife he finds his way back to you and you will happily accept him back to enjoy eternity together. As much as Christ is the mediator between us and God I also believe that we can vouch for our loved ones too, and that is why relationships here on earth is important, especially eternal relationships created in the temple.

 

Edited by priesthoodpower

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17 hours ago, priesthoodpower said:

Easier said then done

 

Yes, but applying the Atonement is the only way to regain and retain peace in this life.  And it is definitely not easy.  It takes work, consistent daily (if not more often) effort.  Part of what we are to learn in this life is how to effectively apply His Atonement, to have a complete and lasting change of heart, to always remember Him.  When we do that, it is much more difficult to sin.

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I have lived through both sides of this horrible tragedy. I have been the cheater and I have been cheated on. Looking back I have a clearer vision and hope I can help. 

Your husband's infidelity has little to nothing to do with you, and everything to do with his own insecurities, addictions, or lack of being able to express his own needs and have them met. Try to not let your mind go to it being your fault in any way.

As one who cheated I know it's a HARD thing to escape. I felt I could never be IN love with my spouse again. I thought the grass was greener on the other side. It's not. You almost always trade one set of problems for another (that goes for both of you). When I cheated, initially my spouse was forgiving and loving and wanted to find a way back into love. THAT, along with not wanting to hurt my children made me love him and want to work on it. However, he could never get over the jealousy. His random hurtful remarks and following me to places made me give up after two years of trying to mend it. So in short....love him. He's hurting more than you...which is so hard to get when you've been betrayed. The book "Believing Christ" has helped a lot. 

In my current marriage, I was cheated on. He also had a porn addiction. Our sex life was amazing, but still not enough (only because he was an addict).  Call it karma I suppose.  But I must say, having been on the other end probably saved us.  When I found out, he continued the lie and wasn't repentant, so I left. It nearly killed me. However, I kept praying his heart would soften. In the meantime, he was lonely. He realized his intermittent sexual highs would never give him he lasting joy a real relationship could. He started praying to see things for what they were and from my (and my children's perspectives).  After a 5 month separation, we met to talk. I still absolutely loved him. He still loved me. He said my love for him even after all that he put me through is what changed him forever.  We still have struggles of course, but I could not be happier. We both changed in profound ways because of pain and a desire to find joy and peace. We still have to be careful. We talk and pray and made some ground rules, and thank God every day for our marriage. This was the short version but the moral of it all is....1) The pain you and your children will suffer by divorce will outweigh the work you will have to do to save it. (Although God does always give us a plan B if we can't find our way). 2) LOVE and don't judge, or keep him stuck in guilt.  He already feels crappy....even if you don't see it. Make ground rules but let him know he is better than the sins and you love him unconditionally. Try to understand how you can help meet his needs without taking the blame.  3) Complete honesty on both parts will help rebuild trust and keep resentments and temptation at bay. Be open about sexual expectations, suspicions, insecurities, temptations, everything. No passwords, no private email/social media accounts, etc. 

My heart goes out to you. (((Hugs)))

Edited 24 June by Reece


 

 

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