Frequently Asked Questions from Wives of Sex Addicts

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When the idea for this site (blog + forum) was first discussed, a small group of wives who had experienced some recovery helped create a list of questions they wished they’d had answers to when they had first found out about their husband’s addiction. These questions (along with others that have been added since the forum began) are addressed in the private, password-protected forum.

If you are a wife who is struggling with the impact and betrayal trauma of your husband’s sexual addiction, perhaps some of these questions will resonate. We encourage you to join the forum and see what other women have said in response to these questions. (There are also some resources shared that can help you get more information about many of these topics.) There is much more in the forum, such as a section just for talking and asking questions of other women who understand this trial; places to record daily tender mercies, healing progress, and spiritual insights; and information about support meeting options (there are many!), conferences/events (like UCAP’s conference today), and other gatherings. We welcome any woman who has a loved one in addiction to join the forum.

If you a woman with a loved one in addiction and you have some recovery under your belt, we’d also love to have you join to share your experience, faith, and hope with others.

  • I think my spouse may be addicted to porn/sex. What are typical signs of porn/sex addiction? What signs did you see?
  • Should I talk to my husband about this? How? (What has worked for you?)
  • I just found out that my husband has a porn problem, and I don’t know what to do.
  • How did you FEEL when you first found out? (anger, denial, guilt, etc.) How have you worked through those feelings?
  • I feel hurt, angry, guilty, scared, unable to focus. How can I ever feel hope?
  • What did you DO when you first found out? What do you wish you had known then that you understand now?
  • Have you dealt with your loved one denying there is a problem? What did you do?
  • Did you see any signs of addiction? Did any other behavior make sense after you found out?
  • Have you ever considered divorce/Have you divorced? How did you sort through what to do?
  • What did you do to get help and support?
  • Have you attended a 12-step support group? Which one (LDS PASG, S-Anon, LifeStar, etc.)? How has group helped you?
  • Have you been in therapy? What kind (group/marriage/individual? addiction specialist/general therapist?) How has therapy helped you?
  • How did you go about finding a therapist?
  • What does your day to day look like?
  • Of all the resources out there, which resource(s) has/have helped you the most/the least (i.e. 12-step support group, therapy, bishop, etc.)?
  • Where do I begin in my own self-recovery/healing? What has helped you in your recovery process?
  • What has recovery been like for you? How can I know if I’m progressing toward recovery?
  • Are there ways I can know if he’s progressing toward recovery?
  • I can’t get over this feeling like I wasn’t “enough” for him. How have you dealt with those feelings?
  • Can you help me understand more of why I need to do recovery work when it’s his addiction? What do I need to recover from?
  • How have you been able to rebuild your sense of worth [if you have struggled with that]?
  • Do you ever regret things you’ve said in anger to your spouse about his addiction? How do you avoid saying things you regret later?
  • I hear a lot about boundaries. Help me understand them better. What are some boundaries you’ve set to protect your well-being?
  • What is codependency? What have you done to try to overcome your codependency [or codependent behaviors that are tied to betrayal trauma]?
  • What is a relapse/slip? How do you react when your husband relapses/slips? Will he ever stop relapsing/slipping?
  • Did/How did your spouse’s addiction affect your sexual intimacy?
  • I can’t imagine ever liking my husband again, let alone loving him. Can I love him again? How have you gone about rebuilding that love?
  • I feel like I’ll never be able to trust him again. How have you been able to rebuild trust?
  • Do you have children? Have you told them? How has this affected them?
  • How have others (leaders, family members) responded? How have you dealt with negative or unhelpful responses?
  • What resources have helped you?
  • How have you been able to keep and build faith through it all?
  • How do you “let go and let God” in your life?
  • What scriptures/articles/teachings have helped you get through the hard times?
  • Can you share thoughts on how the Atonement can work for me, being affected by someone else’s sins?
  • How have you seen the Lord’s hand in your life through this trial?

6 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    When I met my husband, we were a typical LDS couple, with the same goals and plans for what we wanted in a marriage. I am a convert, and he was less active for most of his life. We met in our home singles ward, but didn’t get together until after I went back to school on Utah, which meant we were doing the long distance relationship thing.

    Two weeks after we got together, I could already tell there was something he wasn’t telling me. So I asked him directly what it was, that I wanted to know the truth. He told me then about the nearly life long struggle he has had with pornography. I grew up with pornography in my home environment, so my reaction was not the same as many other people’s at the discovery. I largely responded with compassion and a desire to be supportive, because he was already actively working through the necessary changes himself.

    While he was on his mission, he had companions who struggled actively with pornography, and this caused him to struggle, and he did eventually give in. I didn’t find out about this until after I returned from my mission, and that was when I spiraled into a deep depression. I was so terrified I was going to lose him, I couldn’t function. But in that dark place, he once came to me and told me to leave him and save myself. But I was committed to the beautiful soul I knew he still was inside. So I grabbed him by the lapels and told him he was not giving up, that he was going to beat this, and I’d go and pull him out of hell myself if I had to.

    Things got better after that. He did the necessary repentance process, and after many months of hard work we were sealed in the temple.

    We have never been to counseling or support groups. We have never considered divorce or giving up an option. We view this as a necessary part of our relationship, and my role is to be his support and protector. We talk about this openly without fear, and we have always treated turning to our priesthood leaders as an utmost necessity.

    Recovery from pornography addiction is possible. But it takes 2 willing minds to make that happen. You and your husband. The Lord will bless you as you respond to these challenges with strength and understanding. If your husband wants to change, help him magnify that part of himself. Don’t treat him as some sort of monster. Go through the process, and allow him to decide what his new boundaries and protections are going to be (computer software, phone software, changes in friends, etc.) he has to want to change, and those changes need to be his, not yours.

    Believe there is hope and a future, and there can be one. My husband and I are living proof.

  2. I LOVE this website. My husband has been in recovery for three years and we are both heavily involved in the ARP. Thank you so much for taking the time to put together this website.

  3. My husband, whom I’ve been married to for over 20 years, went through the LDS Family Services Addiction Program, for molesting his two daughters, in his first marriage, before I married him. His first wife divorced him and she and his children refuse to see him. I thought he was over his sexual addiction when I’d married him, because he’d graduated from the program. What I didn’t know was that his sexual addiction didn’t stop, instead he transferred it and was hiding it better by abusing our family pets: dogs, cats, and a rabbit. He and his friend had abused their dogs in his childhood, viewed pornography, and he’d abused his sisters as was shown by his father, and his behavior continued on into his first marriage, but never told anybody about it, except the child molestation part, having been turned in by his daughter. He’s recently admitted that he also fantasizes about women at church and at his job. His brothers and sisters have been mad at him and blame me for the reason that he didn’t get back together with his first wife, even though she’d left him and divorced him, so they’ve quit inviting us over to see them and they send me abusive e-mails. My own family has quit inviting us to most of their family events, because my husband comes with the package. My adult children do not like him because he’s never warmed up to them and constantly bad mouths them. Now that he’s been recently caught abusing our family pets, my children and family will never let their children come to visit if he’s around, even after he’s gone through the LDS addiction program again and will graduate again. He is also going through the repentance process with the church, however, I don’t feel anybody in the church is going to recognize the fact that he’s a changed person and can be trusted, especially because the program requires that he has supervised visitation from other Priesthood holders when he goes to church. Already the people in the church were cautious of him, because of his past history. Every Bishopric that ever gets called always reads about his past abuse history because it is recorded in the church records and flagged. His name was also put on the sexual offenders list over the internet. Because I stay married to him, I’ve had to give up a lot of my freedom in society from teaching children to friendships of people who have children. It has taken quite a toll on me. The post traumatic stress syndrome I have, due to finding out about his continued sexual addiction, will never go away because, not only do I deal with the fact that he had been cheating on me for 20 years and that part I can forgive him of, however, other people will continually mistrust me and judge me to be a bad person for staying married to him therefore, I will always be isolated. Counting the number of years he’s had a sexual addiction, from the age of 12 to 62. (50 years) I’m not sure he’s going to be cured myself. I had to make a decision of whether my life would be easier to live with him or without him. For now, I’ve decided to live with him, because I’m too old get hired for a decent job and I need his support, plus he’s treating me very nice for now. I feel that, due to his age, soon he won’t be able to care for himself. I’m accepting the fact that we won’t be able to have children nor animals around us. I’m hoping that his companionship will be enough. I’m currently not able to attend church anymore, because of the way that people are treating and judging me and him, causing me reactive depression that’s being added to my post traumatic stress … I’m still keeping myself close to God and living the commandments. I’m healing myself through meditation, living as peaceful as I can, doing fun activities, and becoming stronger through my convictions of what is right and wrong, and I am still strengthening my relationship with God.

    • Wow! This is a heart-wrenching story. I love that even after everything you’ve been through, you ended on a positive note. Take care of you. 😉 And hang in there. You are not alone.

    • natasha

      Yes, thank you for clarifying how complex it is. Please keep in contact so at least you have friends here, ok? I had even forgotten I gave up a child care because he was not thorough and did not say he had a legal problem at one point (not related to porn, but the habit of not being thoroughly truthful came into it). I have also been isolated my whole life – molested in childhood and now this. Dear God, give us strength and friendship and your love.