Interview with a porn addict’s ex-wife

One of the bravest women I know left her husband and his porn addiction after 25-plus years of marriage. Her divorce journey paralleled mine in many ways, but in other ways it was different. I decided to ask her a few questions to gain more insights. Here’s Julie’s story.

ipad-1411864_1920Q: How and when did you discover your husband’s porn addiction?

A: I didn’t discover it. He told me on Easter Sunday in March 1989 – seven months into our marriage. However, I knew something was “off.”

Q: What did you do about it then?

A: The next day I dashed to the nearest Christian bookstore to find a book, tape, video, anything on the subject of porn addiction. There was nothing. If I could describe that moment in my life like a scene from a movie – it was like the room started spinning and I felt so alone. Nowhere to turn. Nowhere to run. No one to turn to for comfort except under my breath I pleaded with God, “Help Me Lord Jesus, help!”

After that, I told no one. I felt so ashamed and rejected and embarrassed like I was not adequate as a woman. Not pretty enough. Not desirable enough. Not sexy enough. Not good enough. Not sufficient enough. Not woman enough.

Q: How did his addiction affect you …

emotionally? The emotional pain was excruciating. I felt like my heart had been ripped to shreds. And at the time, I didn’t realize I was not only married to a porn addict, but also a narcissist.

mentally? I felt like my world was crashing all around me and caused me to doubt everything about my marriage and wedding vows.

physically? Surprisingly, I was fine. I worked out daily which, reflecting back, was key for me staying healthy.

spiritually? Brought me closer to God, and this is not a Sunday School answer. My prayer life took off.

as a woman? A complete failure and loser.

as a wife? A total disappointment.

Q: Give me an example of how his addiction affected your family life.

A: With God’s help, I succeeded in keeping his addiction hidden from our two sons. They individually discovered their dad masturbating in front of the computer (while I was away from home). Our oldest son was 12 when he witnessed this event. Our second son was 13 when he discovered his dad’s secret.

My sons are four years apart in age. Individually, they came to me and I “explained” in an age appropriate manner. In that moment, they deeply understood why I had taught and ingrained in them as males to “guard your eyes.”

Overall, the major effect and impact was broken trust between father and sons. At times, my sons’ mistrust of their dad would be “transferred and projected” upon me. God opened my eyes to this dynamic, and God helped me navigate the waters to help my sons see what was really happening.

Q: What was the turning point for you; the beginning of the end?

A: A series of events from him almost losing a great job (for viewing porn at work) to our sons confronting him made me realize my spouse wasn’t going to get better. He was just going to get better at hiding his double life.

Q: Why did you stay with him for as long as you did?

A: Because God told me, “Don’t abandon him and I won’t abandon you.” I did struggle and question this a lot, but always in the end, I obeyed God. So glad I did, because now I am enjoying the fruits of my labors per se. I received six years of severance pay, popularly known as alimony. (LOL!)

Q: It takes a lot to heal from being married to a porn addict for over two decades. What are some things you’ve done to help with your healing process?

A: I consider myself a work in progress. A counselor told me a formula that for every five years of marriage, it takes a year to heal. This is truth. I am nearing three years of being divorced. My “formula” is five years of healing. Every day that passes finds me more at peace, calmer than the day before and filled with hope and joy.

Every day I wake up with the expectation that God will give me favor within my day. I have no one to romance me with flowers or chocolates on this side of Heaven. Yet God romances me daily.  God sends me “love notes” all the time and I look for them daily. It can be as simple as a good cup of coffee, a sunrise, a flower blooming or hearing a songbird in the woods.

My daily verse is Nehemiah 8:10: “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Finding a good Divorce Care program has been very beneficial. I took it twice. We were given a workbook. The first time around, I wrote the answers to the questions in blue ink. Six months later, I wrote my answers in black ink. This truly helped me see the healing and movement in my life. How I answered the questions the first time around was very different to my second round. This was deeply encouraging to me and was like a personal report card of progress.

And let me tell you about the same gender friendships that were cultivated with Divorce Care. I can’t begin to tell you the treasure of each lady. I call them my Divas. They have been a priceless tool towards healing.

Lastly, diving into God’s word daily if not hourly has made all the difference in how I handle daily battles. Through scripture, I have learned this truth – when situations arise that I cannot control, I can control how I respond.

Q: You said you’ve been divorced now for three years. Where are you at emotionally and mentally?

A: I am doing amazing! Soli deo gloria. (To God alone be the glory.) I’m on the road to self-discovery and enjoying hobbies that fell to the wayside while being married, because time and energy was spent on self-preservation and protecting my sons. Every month that passes, I find myself more distant from the pain. And it feels good.

Q: What’s your vision or dream for your life now that you’re free?

Moving on in total freedom from being lied to daily. It’s like every day is a vacation!

Q: Is there anything you want to add that I didn’t ask?

I cannot begin to express the importance of prayer. This was the best tool for me on a daily, and sometimes moment-by-moment, basis. “Pray” is my favorite four-letter word; “free” being my second. Praise God, both four-letter words join hands and can be used together.

*****

Feel free to share this post with a friend who may be struggling with her husband’s porn addiction. And if you’ve gone through this hell yourself, let me know what helped you heal.

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2 comments

  1. Julie, thanks for your honesty and transparency! You a a wonderful Diva and my life has been forever touched for knowing you! They say this is the most damaging addiction to a spouse because we keep it to ourselves because we are led to believe it is our fault. Our healing starts as soon as the Lord reveals his truth! Thanks for sharing your heart!

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