Porn, voyeurism and more — dark past of husband scares wife
DEAR ANNIE: Not long ago, I discovered that my husband of 25 years was living a completely secret life. This life included pornography, voyeurism, physical affairs, emotional affairs and flirtations with hundreds of women he met through his sales job. Many of the women thought he was going to divorce me, even though he was manipulating them to get his fix. He is a sex addict. At that point, I simply stayed with him for the sake of our children.
According to my husband, his addiction to pornography and masturbation started after he was abused as a child. He shared with me that he used lust, fantasy and sex to numb his pain and the belief that he was fundamentally flawed. As he is learning to deal with his old trauma, I have given my husband mountains of grace, though he raged and verbally attacked me. Lately, he’s doing significantly better and is regularly attending meetings of Sex Addicts Anonymous.
My husband claims he has been in recovery for 18 months, but he has yet to disclose everything he did, and I have come across evidence that he is still looking at racy photos on his phone. (Voyeurism is also his thing, so he stares at women in public and then denies it.)
I am out of patience. Anytime I start to build trust, I discover he is still lying. But it is hard to leave, because when the marriage is good, it is great. What should I do?
— Want My Husband to Stop Lusting After the World
Dear Want: Recovery from any addiction takes time, and there are often relapses. But your husband may need to put a bit more effort into reassuring you that his progress is sincere and ongoing, and you are the only one who can determine whether you’ve had enough. He isn’t the only one who needs help. Please look into COSA (cosa-recovery.org), a support group for those whose lives have been affected by someone else’s compulsive sexual behavior. And do get tested for STDs.