A man's use of pornography is not uncommon. It has most likely been going on since his teen years. In general, wives should not necessarily be alarmed if their husbands continue to use pornography even while married.
So, when does pornography become a problem? Here's what you need to focus on:
- He prefers porn over sex with you
- Porn use is interfering with his normal daily responsibilities
- He can't get turned on without using porn
- His porn use is hidden and sneaky
- He refuses to have an open discussion about porn with you
- The porn is violent or contains illegal subject matter
It is also important to consider the quality of your relationship overall. Are you emotionally connected? Do you have a healthy sex life? Also, think about your spouse's mood. Does he seem depressed? Does he use drugs or alcohol to excess as well?
If you gauge from what you just read that porn is a real problem in your marriage and you have reached a point of saying "It's me or the porn," your marriage has obviously been hurt by pornography. When your husband chooses porn over you, you have to face the reality that he is not going to change this behavior.
"So what typically happens is she puts her foot down -- 'Porn or me!' -- and he promises that he'll stop watching. Some guys actually do stop, but the rest will do what they did when they were 14 -- they'll do it in secret, feel bad about it and hope they won't get caught. And so a life of lying about sex continues. You can imagine what that will do to the couple's closeness.'" Vicki Larson, Does Porn Watching Lead to Divorce? in HuffingtonPost.com (2011)
Things You Can Do When Pornography Hurts Your Marriage
- Have a talk and share your feelings. You may wish to have a counselor present to help you if your previous attempts have gotten you nowhere.
- Accept that if your husband has not stopped viewing pornography after he realizes it could end your marriage, he probably will not ever change this desire to watch porn. His attraction to porn could be stronger than his love for you.
- If your marriage and sexual relationship does not improve after you and your spouse have honestly talked about how the both of you feel and think about pornography, we recommend that you seek marriage counseling to see if other problems in your marriage are triggers for his pornography use or his lying about watching porn.
- Make a decision. Four possibilities include staying married and ignoring his use of porn, getting a divorce, staying married and agree to compromise on porn (separate computers, sexual intimacy improves, etc.), or staying married but continue to fight about your husband watching porn.
- Do not let your husband's use of pornography negatively impact how you feel about yourself. Your belief in yourself is a key factor to your personal happiness. The fact that your spouse watches porn has nothing to do with how you look or how sexy you are. The problem is his.
- Do not accept any blame or guilt for the fact that your mate wants to view pornography. It's not your fault. Sure, it is a problem for you, but he made the decision to watch porn and to allow it to harm your marriital relationship. That puts the responsibility on his shoulders, not on yours.
The first step is to determine if your spouse really does have a problem with pornography. It may actually be you that needs relax more about it if you both have a loving connected relationship and an otherwise healthy sex life. But, if this is not the case and you believe there is a real problem, it is time to directly address this concern. You may certainly seek professional help if you can't gain any traction on your own.
Build Trust in Your Marriage
*Article Updated by Marni Feuerman