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To The Wives -- And a Little of My Pain
By fightingit
2/13/2007 8:09:09 PM
It has been coming up on a year since my wife left me. Our first date was on Valentine's day. Last Valentine's day was our last, and she wouldn't pay any attention to me.

Right before we got married 7.5 years ago, I confessed my problem with her. At that time, I was (mostly) clean for two years. I wasn't completely clean and let her know this, and how much of a struggle it was for me. I knew about s-x and p--n addiction 10 years ago, but few other people seemed to. I had confessed at that time to my bishop, repented and with the exception of a few incidents, I erroneously thought I was going to be OK -- especially without the help of a therapist, 12 steps, or bishops. I cried in my soon-to-be-wife's arms that night, and she promised me that she would stand by me and help me every step of the way.

A year later, I selfishly, and even somewhat naively turned back to my addiction more and more as marriage wasn't quite what I had hoped. I quickly realized that this was a much bigger problem than I had originally thought (or would ever really realize until it was really too late), and I went to my wife and confessed to her that I had been doing it again and wanted to quit.

She absolutely crucified me. I was devastated. I wanted her help and support, and although I really did (and still do) understand her anger, I was crushed that she wasn't willing to do anything but tell me how bad I am. I turned inward, feeling lost, bewildered, and unsure of what to do. She caught me once or twice after that, and flew off the handle at me again. I was wrong, but I turned even further inward, and took greater steps to hide my activities. I did want help, but I didn't want to get yelled at all the time. I thought I was trying my best to do the right thing. I guess I wasn't trying as hard as i thought.

After a short time had passed, I decided to be brave and try to talk to her about it again. And again, I was "in trouble." At that point, I made the worst mistake ever -- decided that I could never ever trust her to love me anyway, to help me, and to not beat me up over it. At that time, we had a child, and I felt that she had even kicked me while I was down by bringing him into it...suggesting that I would put him into danger. I tried to tell her that there is no way that I would ever, EVER even chance exposing our little angel to the chains and the sheer and utter h**l that is this addiction. I did not (and do not) ever want him to EVER have to struggle as I do.

Nonetheless, it killed me that she could possibly think that I would ever risk his well-being, even in a moment of an "acting out frenzy."

But, I made my mistake. I thought I could hide it from her, bishops, and everyone else. Feeling like I was forced to do it alone, I tried to heal alone, but it only got worse. I wanted so bad for her to just take me into her arms and tell me that while it isn't ok that I was doing those things, she was proud of me for telling the truth. All I wanted was for her to tell me I was hurting her, but that she loved me enough to work to forgive and to help me recover.

My addiction became worse, and eventually the double-life I was living destroyed our relationship. I do not blame her at all -- only myself. The tremendous amounts of guilt that I feel for what I did is tearing me apart.

But I can't help but wonder how things may have been different if she would have just given me a chance, like I've seen many of the wives on here do for their husbands. Like so many women I've known who's husbands did what I did..and they stood faithfully by.

To see those of you wonderful sisters write about your pain, but to see you willing to help your husbands is bittersweet to me. You sisters are amazing in the eyes of this wayward soul. I still don't understand why my own wife would not stand by me. My choices are my own, but I still wonder how different things could have been.

I just thought the sisters should know. And I hope that you bretheren who are blessed with such loving and dedicated wives truly understand how blessed you are. I would have given anything to have my wife help me instead of shame me.

Once again, I know it's my fault. It really is. It's all my fault. I tried, but obviously not hard enough. I just don't understand why. And I'm having an especially rough time lately.

Comments:

We'll be judged based on how we judge others    
"I am one of the lucky ones who has an incredibly supportive wife with my addiction. I feel so bad for you guys who's wives are not supportive. There is NO WAY I could overcome this without her support. If she left me I would just throw in the towel. I know myself too well. I have gone to porn so many times in the past for comfort and having my wife leave me would be the ultimate "needing comfort" situation.

So I have the utmost respect for you for even continuing to try. I don't know if this will help your situation any but if there is any chance of ever getting back with your wife you may suggest that she read "The Peacegiver". My wife and I both read it and it really helped her a lot with my addiction.

Even though our poor wives don't deserve what we've put them through and they are forced to deal with the repercussions of our sins, they still need to remember D&C 64. (If you don't forgive others then the greater sin is on you). That's what the Peacegiver is all about.

My family went through an incredible trial about a year ago when my younger brother came out of the closet and announced to the family that he was gay. It was so hard on everyone. My initial feelings were anger. I wanted to just "talk some sense into him". I couldn't understand how this happened to him. Nobody suspected it at all. After several weeks of anger and totally mixed feelings it hit me that I am no better than him. I'm an addict just the same and a total hypocrite for even thinking of judging him. I realized that I needed to forgive him and accept him, even though I don't accept the behavior. As I had that feeling and made that choice I remembered the Sermon on the Mount about how we'll be judged based on how we judge others.

So I don't know if that sort of thinking helps our wives any but it sure helped me. Knowing that I had forgiven my brother gave me such a great feeling, because I knew that the Lord would be that much more merciful to me. Our wives have their agency just like us. I pray that they will forgive us. On one hand you kind of can't blame them for wanting to leave, but on the other hand they need to remember that the way they judge us will be exactly how they will be judged themselves."
posted at 22:33:03 on February 13, 2007 by dan
Learning to trust    
"I just wanted to comment on a couple of things fightingit mentioned.

First you said that you "decided that I could never ever trust her to love me anyway, to help me, and to not beat me up over it". Initially for me it seemed like a major battle was going to be me earning my wife's trust again. The thought had never even crossed my mind until a couple months ago that I would need to learn to trust my wife. And doing that has been very difficult. We hide these ugly parts of ourselves for so long I think because we just don't trust that others would actually still love us if they really knew who we were. After all we know who we are and we really don't love ourselves at all. So how could others? My wife brought up the fact that I didn't trust her to continue to love me when I make mistakes, and that I needed to. It was very hard and still is because I will tell her when I'm struggling and she has a hard time with it. So that makes me want to retreat into myself so I don't risk losing her. But gradually I think I'm learning to trust her and be able to tell her when I'm weak and when I'm not living up to what I should be. And I'm learning to trust in her love and desires to help me. And I know that the more I can learn to do that, the better off we both will be.

Also, the talk of judging is so hard. Because the fact is that none of us can accurately judge another. I can't say that FightingIt's wife will necessarily be judged worse for abandoning him. Frankly I get nervous even thinking about "on the other hand they need to remember that the way they judge us will be exactly how they will be judged themselves", because that sure sounds judgmental. I mean I know that is technically true, but at the same time we can't REALLY know the pain our wives are feeling, we can't really know their intentions and their hearts. There is only one who can honestly judge any of us, and that is our Savior. In other words I'm not saying you're wrong or you're right, Dan. I'm just saying I really don't know and none of us do, if FightingIt's wife or any other wife who walks away will be judged harshly for that, because there is no way for any of us to know that person like the Savior does. All WE can do is worry about OURSELVES. "Am I being forgiving", "am I being merciful", "am I doing all that I can"? And that's really all we can worry about and pray that our wives are doing also."
posted at 10:19:45 on February 14, 2007 by derek
A Wife's perspective...    
"Let me tell you guys something about your wives... underneath that calm supportive exterior that your wives are trying to wear every single day, there is a completely frazzled emotional wreck that is desperately trying to believe in you. She tries to read into every single thing you say or do, so that she can know if you are being honest with her or if you are lying to her. She wants so hard to believe in you, and to believe that you have changed, and so she is outwardly supportive, and for the most part, she really does believe in you. But there is always that small amount of doubt that hovers around inside her head that keeps her on guard, constantly wary that any day now, you are going to come and destroy her heart again. Your wife is so incredibly strong and can shoulder the toughest of burdens, and yet she is so very fragile the smallest disappointment could emotionally shatter her. Though it might have seemed shallow to her before, now she desperately wants you to believe that she is beautiful and attractive, and that she is the only woman in the entire world that you'd ever even consider looking at ever again. She wants to know that you will put as much effort into bettering your marriage and loving her as you did trying to hide the truth from her. She HATES that part of you that did those awful filthy disgusting things. She has to hate it, or she wouldn't be able to bear the pain you inflicted on her. Her heart was completely shattered when she found out the truth about you. She wonders constantly if this new "recovering" you is real, or if you are just waiting for her to relax so that you can go back to your old ways. The more time passes, and you continue doing all the things you promised you would do in order to recover (keeping with the boundaries you set, visits with the Bishop, group meetings, this site, scripture reading, journaling, etc), she is learning to trust that you are changing... but it takes TIME. She will NEVER show you the depth of how badly she hurts, because she is afraid that it might hurt your recovery, so she buries it deep within her and only shares that part of herself with the Lord in her prayers when nobody else is around. She prays constantly that the Lord will take her pain away so that she can heal, but until that day, she continues to desperately cling to that hope and faith that you ARE working to become the man she deserves to be with. One of you husbands mentioned before that maybe she needs to not judge you guys so harshly and instead focus on her own repentance. Never say that to your wife. She is all too aware of all of her own flaws... you looking at pornography only heightens her awarness of all of her own flaws because in her mind, you went seeking pornography because you were not satisfied with her. Nothing you say can change her mind about that as actions always speak louder than words.

As far as your wife bringing up your child, Fighting it, I know you wouldn't purposely expose your child to that filth, BUT bringing that evil spirit it into your home is exposure enough. And you really don't know how your addiction will change you over the years if you don't put a stop to it now. If you haven't read Derek's blog about breadcrumbs, read it, it's really good. As you sink further into the addiction, you lose sight of your moral line and become more careless with your actions too. Who's to say ten years down the road your son won't turn on the computer and find porn and get hooked? Or that you won't be so far gone that you end up having an affair with a psycho who kills your family in order to be with you? Or that you won't become one of those whose tastes for porn become more and more disgusting and you end up raping your next door neighboor's little girl? OKAY, those are extreme examples, but they do happen, and they are thoughts that cross a mother's mind. Maybe your wife was hoping to shock you into wanting to change FOR REAL. One of the first things I told my husband after I found out about him, was "how could you risk the lives of our daughters by bringing that filth into our home???" I was furious with him and I guess my "mama bear" instincts kicked in.

Anyway, just my thoughts on it all."
posted at 15:30:05 on February 15, 2007 by mcr285
ps...    
"that wasn't me justifying why your wife left, by the way. It wasn't saying that those of us who stay are so great and wonderful either. I just think it is so important to remember how incredibly hard this process is on the wives here, because in the middle of all the joys you guys feel as you repent, I think sometimes you forget the hell you put your wives through (and sometimes say stupid things like can't we move past this yet???). Hey, we're human too! It's possible your wife was following the spirit in her decision to leave. Or maybe she felt it was the only way you'd really have the desire to change FOR REAL. Honestly, it's what I'd do if my husband went back down that path again and kept it hidden from me for so long. Not to be spiteful or vengeful or to make him pay for what he did, but to protect our children and my own salvation. Anyway, I want you to know that you have my full support in your road to recovery, and I wish you all the best. You and your family are in my prayers."
posted at 16:28:16 on February 15, 2007 by mcr285
Thanks MCR285    
"What you wrote really touched me today. I appreciate your honesty and insight. It really helped me put things in perspective for myself and my marriage again. I needed that.

I have been "recovering" since October 2004 and sober since September 2004. The road has been hard and long. That first year or so was the hardest of my life. Nothing has torn me apart more than dealing with this addiction and working the 12 steps of recovery. Nothing has hurt our marriage more than my addiction but nothing has brought it so much closer than the recovery process.

Your comments remind me that I am NOT out of the woods. I CANNOT get complacent and think the war is won and I am free and clear. I CANNOT let Satan lull me into a false sense of security that “all is well in Zion” and that I am free and clear. I need to keep vigilant. I try to continue proving to my wife how serious I take my recovery, but I needed a reminder to try harder and you were that reminder.

It is so true. I am a person who likes quick fixes. I thought the recovery meetings would work for me after 12 weeks and I would be “cured”. That did not work and I realized, after a while, this is a life-long process. I also thought my wife would forgive me after a few weeks/months and life would be back to normal. Satan had such a hold on me and my way of thinking.

After confessing that last time, my wife laid into me… She let me have it; and rightfully so. What I learned from that experience is that I have no right to stop her. Although she was saying and doing things to purposefully hurt me as much as she was hurt, I did not stop her and I tried not to say anything in return but “I am sorry”. I think I had to hear those things. I had to be snapped out of the cloud I placed myself in. I had to finally see and feel the damage I had caused. I don’t blame her for feeling and acting like she did. I was going through hell, but she had no sympathy because she was right there with me. I had to see that. It woke me up to the damage, pain and suffering I had caused for so many years.

These are hard issues to deal with. I feel grateful that my wife is still here with me and things are going very well for us. BUT, I know without a doubt, it could all be taken from me very easily. I am grateful our marriage did not end, it could have. But I know it still could end at any time if I do not continue doing the right things.

By the way, my wife was also concerned about how my addiction would affect our kids. Sorry to say, I think she was right to be worried… As fathers, we need to be VERY concerned about how our addictions may affect our kids (no matter what age). Regardless of how much we love them, we are putting their innocence in danger when we continue to act out."
posted at 09:20:46 on February 16, 2007 by doanair
There is hope..    
"I just wanted to add a few thoughts. Mostly to confirm what has already been said. My husband’s father was an addict. There are no words to describe adequately the damage addiction causes in a family. It is not that consciously any of us wake up and say, “Today I am going to hurt my child.” Satan is good at what he does. He is patient, he is consistent, he never gets tired, and he can wait. The traps he lays are very subtle. The traps create selfishness not just with the addict. It is a ripple affect.

I watch my husband’s family struggle to feel some sort of acceptance. Their feelings of isolation, self-esteem, depression, and discouragement are pretty consistent through all of children and sadly even some grandchildren.

Healing also has a ripple effect. True recovery is an incredible gift. The spirit brings hope and peace. It fosters relationships and provides avenues for healing each other. Only the Savior can truly reach beyond what we see and meet everyone’s needs. It takes time, a lot of effort, quite a bit of pain and a lot of faith.

I just want to share a little of my story with you. My brothers wife, after 19 years of marriage, left him because of a pornography addiction. The last several years he has really struggled. It is hard to watch. My husband is also addicted to porn. His addiction started when he was really young. Like many addicts he thought when he got married it would go away. When it did not it was devastating to him.

His cycle leads to many things one of which is his desire to have a “do over”. He gets caught in the trap of “if I had a wife I enjoyed looking at, if my child wasn’t disabled, if my wife was a better mother, if my parents cared about me, if I was more successful at work… I would do better.” These are just a few of his thinking errors.

In this process I have also had thinking errors like “I would be happy if…. he would just be honest, if I was a size 2, if I was smarter, if I could just learn to talk to him.” Satan is good and he is subtle.

We both had expectations of each other and of ourselves. Those expectations were not compatible. He expected me to be completely supportive 100 % of the time. I could not break. That was a lot of pressure for me. I felt like that meant I could not feel. Not very realistic. I also had the expectation that he should be supportive of me 100% of the time. He should not get upset that I didn’t react quite the way he had hoped. I wanted the same thing “you are not to feel”. I really liked what Derek said “we can't REALLY know the pain our wives are feeling” neither can we really understand your pain. I think it is a weapon Satan uses against both of us.

I really started to heal when I got past those things I could not control. I can’t control that my husband thought he married the wrong person, I can’t control what he exposes himself to etc. There came a point when I absolutely had to yoke myself to the Savior. Trust is a hard thing to acquire. I not only had to learn to trust my husband I had to learn to trust the Lord (especially because I thought I did already) and myself. Trusting the Savior was the only way I could endure the pain.

Pornography shatters family life but when you let the Savior heal you the strength is amazing. He can bring peace that no other source can. That peace has come to me not through my husband, not my kids, not any earthly thing I have brings the kind of peace the Savior does. I can’t focus on how my husband feels or what he is doing. I have to look to the Savior because if I look around at my life I sink just like Peter did when the Savior called on him to walk on water. It doesn’t mean that I am weak, or that I accept what he does or how he feels. It does mean that I have strength of the Lord. I love the scripture found in 3 Nephi 20:22 “…..And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you.” It is true.

I am not out of the bondage of pornography. It surrounds my life but I am happy. I know he will help you in whatever way you need. It looks so different for all of us and yet the solution is the same. True repentance. The spirit does guide us through chaos. I like what Elder Wirthlin said in general conference “Sunday does come” even through the darkness of Friday and Saturday. That I testify is the truth."
posted at 10:20:39 on February 16, 2007 by danielle o
Thank You    
"Thank you all for these posts, my husband informed me the other night that he spent time on the internet only once 8 months ago looking at p-rn. i am more upset about the fact that he has been "lying" to me for this past year than the action in itself. I feel that I can no longer trust him or believe him. And I feel so stupid, after all he would "shop" for lingere all the time and I didn't think anything of it, thinking he had me in mind not lusting after the girls. I know i will stay with my husband if what he tells me is true and he only did it once and he fully repents, but I do truly believe that if he continues his actions he will become a full on addict (if he is not already?), I cannot live with someone who lies to me, I have a hard enough time putting trust in people, I'm sure I can recover from this, but my heart could not take another lie. Anyways the posts were helpful to read I'm not sure where he is at with this, I advised him to talk to the Bishop and then we would carry on. He did make an appointment, but some of you men expect your wifes to take you in their arms and tell you it is okay, I would prefer my husband to not touch me at this time and it is not okay, Matthew 5:28 does say it all, and I feel my husband doesn't feel like he has really committed that big of a sin against God or his family. Can I truly forgive him when I don't think I can trust him again?"
posted at 14:40:44 on March 12, 2007 by Anonymous
Stuff of my soul    
"Thoughts on motives and priority allegiance.
I have to agree with the essence on Danielle O' comment. Wether we are they that hurt or those that are being hurt I believe true peace and atonement come through the Savior and heeding His glad tidings. With or with out my spouse I will repent because I have a testimony that Jesus is the Christ. Or I will not repent because I reject that testimony and no other reason.

Thoughts on story telling and staying on target
Since I've been in recovery I've leaned to try and recognize when I'm story telling. Examples: I looked at porn today, I read my scriptures too. Vs. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed so my scripture study wasn't effective so I looked at porn because I felt bad and I'm a bad person anyway and now my wife hates me. Or. My wife yelled at me. Vs. My wife doesn't love me. One is objective and points our minds to possible solutions (repentance) and one is simply a story that we usually end up sticking too (damning). Though I understand why comments like "Her heart was completely shattered when she found out the truth about you." by mrc285 are made, and probably justified, I think it's important to look at what is and what is the story we are telling our selfs. To illustrated my point I would ask the commenter "what 'truth' did you find out about your husband?" The reply would probably be the obvious "he is addicted to porn." though she may think of a whole slew of other "truths" she found out then too. Like what a dirt bag he is. I would then say "what other 'truths' did you find out about your husband?" Certainly while the train of thought was moving in this direction the next few "truths" would be negative. Then I would say "what is a positive 'truth' you've found out about your husband?" It may be labor intensive but I'm confident she could find something. Perhaps he is a hard worker. After some time I would then ask her to refer back to her original comment and ask her "so when you found out your husband looks at pornography did you really 'find out the truth about him'?" If she said yes reminding me "he is a porn addict". I would then say, "so, is he a porn addict or a hard worker?" She may eventually concede that he does both. I would then ask again "so did you find out the 'truth' about him?" The answer would have to be no. This may sound semantic and petty but I believe the truth will set us free and I want to know it. I also know that faults core beliefs are at the heart of addiction and sin in general and stories like these no matter how small only start and perpetuate them. I saw many stories here I had to question. I go through this process with myself all the time and It has changed my life! It has unveiled the things of Satan and my cooperation that make my ground unfertile. Like toxic shame. The word does not take root well on toxic shame. Shame of which started much with false story telling. Stories like these can be very harmful. More so even in this case to the story teller. It seems likely that any womans heart would be "shattered" if the "truth" about her husband is, he's a porn addict and possibly on his way to committing adultery with a phsyco killer that kills his whole family right after he raped the next door neighbor's little girl all because he was not satisfied with her (his wife) his actions being concrete proof of this. Or that Matthew 5:28 "says it all". It doesn't say it all there are millions of other scriptures that give understanding and hope to Matthew 5:28 but if it "says it all" then thats the end of the story and we may as well all quite. Don't get me wrong sin in the slightest wont be look upon with allowance so I'm not expecting Mat 5:28 to slide either. But the true truth that really says it all is much more comforting. I believe finding out the "truth about you" or anyone is a wonderful thing. Because the only truth about our selfs worth really knowing is who we are. We are children of God. This truth is cyclical. In it we come to know God. In that we again come to know our selfs. "And this is life eternal". Sure we commit sin. Great sin. The worst of sins. But there is an Atonement. We also do good, much good. But what we do can not change who we are and if we could only grab hold of this we would stop worrying and story telling and start repenting never looking back. And repentance is a result of a testimony that Jesus is the Christ, and that we are Gods kids or appendages to those ideas and perspectives. The truth will set us free. Satan does not want that. Henry B Eyring said repentance means to be of new mind. So lets start by recognizing where our mind ain't right and renew them. Only you and the Lord (and a licenses therapist...J/K) decide that. And who's to say you and your husband or wife don't end up over coming all this refining? Passing your Abrihamic tests becoming clean and moving on to eternal burnings!! Thats the story I'm after. Line upon line. One time I said in tears to my bishop quoting another bishop "this (addiction) can destroy marriages" he laughed lightly and said "huh cancer can destroy marriages. Bankruptcies can destroy marriages. Wayward children can destroy marriages. Addiction can destroy marriages.... They can also strengthen them!" Love life.

P.S. I'm preaching mainly to myself and hope where I was lacking any reader may feel free to add tenderness and words of consideration for the feelings of those they may touch. Especially those who's words I commented on. I hope I wasn't out of line. I hope my intention is understood. On a good note it's 6am and has taken enough of the evening writing and blogging stuff that I'm through the nights withdrawals and on my way to slumber. I hope."
posted at 07:08:05 on April 27, 2008 by Anonymous


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"If, through our unrighteous choices, we have lost our footing on that path, we must remember the agency we were given, agency we may choose to exercise again. I speak especially to those overcome by the thick darkness of addiction. If you have fallen into destructive, addictive behaviors, you may feel that you are spiritually in a black hole. As with the real black holes in space, it may seem all but impossible for light to penetrate to where you are. How do you escape? I testify the only way is through the very agency you exercised so valiantly in your premortal life, the agency that the adversary cannot take away without your yielding it to him. "

— Robert D. Hales

General Conference, April 2006