Is Your Husband Addicted To Porn Or Just Unhappy In Your Marriage? The Truth

pornography

We receive many letters from wives who discover their husbands are secretly watching porn. They tell us how devastating their discovery is and how offended they are. Some speak of feeling “not good enough” while others blame their husband. In a way, their husband might as well have been having a secret affair! They say how angry and upset they are.  In many letters we often read, “how can he do this to me”, or, “I thought my husband was a decent man!” Others call their husbands a narcissist because of all the articles and latest trendy nonsense passed on by irresponsible therapists who think it is okay to offer a way out for the women rather than help them become more loving. This is a two-fold problem.

  1. Labeling your husband will in no way help your marriage.

  2. Blaming your husband will in no way help you find happiness.

The narcissist label is used these days to suggest husbands are 100% to blame for being self-absorbed and closed off (plus anything else an unhappy wife throws on top of her complaint pile) but it basically means he is no good and you are a victim. Do you wish to be a victim?

Your husband using porn is not your fault

Let me be perfectly clear about that.  But, rather than lament, I want you to see his porn use as a symptom.

If you choose to avoid seeing yourself as his, or the porn’s victim you can put your attention and your focus, which is what this takes, to change the very dynamic of your marriage back to the basics of love and happiness.

When was the last time you consciously acted out of love and to make him happy? Isn’t that what marriage is for, to open your heart?

Some wives don’t truly want a solution that includes them changing how they behave in their marriages because they either believe that their husband is “bad” and not worthy, or their marriage is so off track that they see no hope. Some are so mad and disappointed that they can’t see straight. Others hope and pray we can offer ways they can get their husband to change.

Let’s take a closer more compassionate look at this porn thing so you start thinking like a loving wife who recognizes his pain and suffering. Rather than just see his flaws, see his suffering. Rather than be a lonely victim recognize him as a victim, too.

Remember why you got married

I founded TMF back in 2009 after developing an accurate way of looking at and thus helping marriage. I was a divorce mediator until 2001 but switched my profession when I saw how poorly the day’s “common knowledge” served us.

I began with the question we should all have asked ourselves; why do we get married in the first place?

I discovered the obvious. There are two simple yet profound reasons to get and be married.

  1. To be happy.

    Marital happiness is for me and the clients of our course for women nothing short of an expectation. That your marriage will be better every day of your lives.

  2. To experience real love.

    The therapists who sent me clients to get a divorce are so afraid of the word spiritual that they missed the point that marriage IS spiritual because love is spiritual, we are spiritual, and when we learn how our marriages will produce ever-expanding love for the rest of our lives marriage is amazing.

What will help you and your husband and your marriage are positive, realistic changes in how you view your husband, yourself, and your marriage (which takes some education). Then you can take the lead in changing your marriage into what you want, and always wanted.

If you follow what I tell you eventually he will eliminate porn from his life completely, but not because of laying morality on him, threats to him, cajoling, or you acting like some kind of a porn star (yes, some idiot therapists actually think that is a solution!). I don’t want you to do anything other than what you promised you would do and what you looked forward to doing when you got to be married, which is to be a loving wife who wants her king to be happy. The problems are not your fault. We, collectively, had no idea. Now, you can know. Begin with something you know but forget to know. This is a universal truth

We do not have the ability to change another

Only ourselves!

But, by changing ourselves we can positively, lovingly, inspire others, your husband, for instance, to become more considerate and loving. This is your key to happiness for yourself and your marriage. This is not something to read and just move on to the next paragraph. You have the ability to change everything so you must not overlook this. It is actually a human obligation to self-improve. It is called evolution and we can be so happy when we acknowledge this and take it on.

Is Your Husband Really A Porn Addict?

Let’s get this out of the way. The term “porn addiction” is misleading, condescending to your beloved husband, and separates you from both him and the real problem. The real problem is that your marriage is not creating love and happiness to where you are both floating in marital bliss.

A legitimate clinical addiction (not something offered by a psychotherapist who has no medical background) refers to physiological dependence, as is the case with opiate-based drugs, nicotine, or alcohol. Those are difficult to treat and when it is treated it requires the patient to be fully committed to changing. The psychological tendencies in those cases which lead to physiological dependence are deep-seated.

So realistically, pornography does not have the same kind of power over its users as opiates or alcohol which have the added physiological component. Your husband isn’t “addicted”.

He is “choosing” and before you judge him for that choice read further. Keep in mind we want your marriage to be what it is meant to be, filled with ever-increasing happiness and ever-increasing love.

His use of porn is an escape, plain and simple

Be honest with yourself. Have you behaved in your marriage in a way that will achieve the two promises of marriage for yourself and your husband? Or, have you been “going with the flow” and leaving him “on his own” in his marriage?

So-called “sex addiction” is no more about sex than an eating disorder is about food or pathological gambling is about money,” according to Rory Reid, PhD, LCSW, research psychologist at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. It is rooted in a form of desperation.

I prefer that as his wife, you open your heart and rebuild your marriage the way it should be rather than get into this too much intellectually.

Regular masturbation, with or without using porn, we are told is common for many men because societal misguided “experts” and Hollywood types (so persuasive) consider sexual release and recreation to be normal. I cannot tell you that “everybody” masturbates or uses porn and I don’t trust the studies but I can tell you that it is not healthy. We are human beings, a very special creation, and we are above using sex mostly for recreation. Sex for humans should be used mostly and primarily for soul connecting in marriage.

For a human being who is essentially a soul. The truth is your husband is misguided yes, and is running away from his marriage, but he is not “addicted” to porn. And, what about you? Are you having sex with your husband as a way of expressing your love and loyalty? Or are you having sex only when you feel like it, ignoring his needs?

As his wife, is it appropriate to shame the man you chose to love unconditionally because of this? Would it not be better to heal your marriage? To write him off rather than feel sorry for him is betrayal. To try to understand his needs so as his wife so you can be there for him as you promised in your vows is more like it.

Porn Use & Masturbation Is A Wakeup Call

When you found out that your husband was looking at porn, your first reaction was probably condemnation, perhaps you felt overwhelmed by the effects you thought it has on you. But, we know that we are not supposed to judge others, and especially your husband. So, let’s put those thoughts aside.

Sure, you could focus on your hurt feelings and express that through negative reactions. You could also use that perceived offense to justify condemning and criticizing him. However, this sort of behavior will definitely and inevitably push him further away from you than he already is. Is that what you want? I hope not!

Recognize him not being fulfilled in your marriage so you can rationally acknowledge that the underlying dynamic in your marriage is the real problem and furthermore that you have the power to take positive action to heal your relationship with him.

It is your choice. Do you focus on errors on his part and your part and make both of you even more miserable and frustrated? Or do you start today to redesign your marriage and relationship so you can methodically achieve the happiness and love that you got married to achieve when you said: “I do”?

Any hurt feelings will block both your heart from opening up, which is what he needs from you as well as your ability to be objective and loving.

Instead of loving your husband unconditionally, it seems easier to deride and shame him for being an “addict” and pretend that you are an ideal wife but your husband is bad. That is because of the trap of emotions and all the disinformation we get about what emotions are. In my books and courses, I explain what emotions are so you are not whipped by them but learn how to master them.

Is it right for your husband to resort to porn? You can argue either way but I am not here to quote the bible or tell you what the filthy adult film community would say. Nobody is perfect so I don’t judge but marriage IS perfect and when you know how to be married you will not have these kinds of destructive things happening, at all.

Your husband is definitely not looking at other women, using porn, or masturbating for the purpose of intentionally hurting you. In all my years of working with couples and individuals, I only met one man who was so messed up with anger that he masturbated on his wife while she slept. Everyone else who took the porn route was incredibly frustrated by their wives not loving them, and I was able to help them learn how to love their wives in ways that re-started their marriage. When men come to us we help them and when women come to us we help women.

Normal men prefer unconditional love

Men would much rather experience the unconditional love he anticipated when he sought your hand in marriage. The primary ingredient of a healthy marriage, unconditional love, is lacking. That is the real problem.

Think about it in this context. Would a loving spouse think about how hurt she feels by her partner’s behavior. No. She puts the needs of her husband ahead of her own. She will think of how she can be there for him. She will recognize that poor choices like infidelity, porn use, or constant arguing, are symptoms and wakeup calls of a deeper problem, which they have both contributed to.

The highest rewards are achieved through unconditional love, nothing else. If you put your perceived offense ahead of his need for love you will not win; he will not win; your marriage will not win.

A happily married man finds porn distasteful and, frankly, childish when he is fulfilled by his wife, and I’m not talking about sexual fulfillment. He will not be stimulated by watching other humans romping. To those who have lifted their sights and experience love, watching porn is like watching animals mating.

Porn use or masturbation never ever creates an ‘unrecoverable’ marriage, but they are a huge red flag indicating that there are core problems in your marriage that need to be addressed. If they are not, destructive symptoms will continue to manifest in the way you both behave. Then the end will come,

If not replaced with intimacy based in unconditional love men may use porn/masturbation as an outlet for coping with an unfulfilling marriage. They resign themselves to carrying on as best as they can.

Other men move on to truly marriage-destroying behavior like meeting other women who they hope will provide that need.

The cycle is not caused by porn. It’s just a signpost on the road that you’ve been on for some time.

You can turn this around and go the other way at any time. You can start making sweeping changes. You have the capability to dramatically shift your marriage by yourself. We hear that “marriage takes two” but healing a marriage takes only one.

Marriage is an individual path that two take together but it is like hiking where you travel and enjoy together but your efforts are individual.

You need to be very careful with the steps you start to take to bring about this recovery. Your “natural” inclinations, like condemnation or having more sex, are likely to be destructive. So, let’s start with what you most definitely do not want to do.

Don’t Do What Doesn’t Work

We have a lot of experience in this area, as an organization and me personally, from working with countless individuals and couples. What I share with you is not just “my opinion”, these are the experiences of thousands of people we have worked with.

Commonly used remedies do not work at all.

I have seen them all from calling him out on it; criticizing, condemning, or judging him; dragging him to marriage counseling; forcing him to get individual, professional help; dressing sexier or being more sexual to compete; using your children; crying, yelling, belittling, shaming and more.

Don’t do any of those things if you want success. We already know exactly what will happen:

  • Competing with webcam girls and porn stars is missing the point of what he needs. he needs your love, If you are withholding sex it isn’t good but that isn’t the real problem, either. You need to learn to be the heart.
  • Criticism, threats, and condemnation will push him into hiding, lying, or more discretion.
  • Forced “help” from a therapist will end your marriage. I was a divorce mediator before I changed in 2001 to helping marriages and I assure you therapists are not marriage healers.
  • “Rewarding” him with increased sex just fills in for porn/masturbation, but having missed the point, the outcome is still empty.

No solution will work unless it addresses the one and only thing that WILL fulfill him, which is your husband’s need for unconditional love from his wife!

I am not putting the blame for your husband’s porn use on you, but you hold the keys to the solution. Nor would I blame you for any infidelity that might have taken place. Nor am I placing the responsibility for healing your marriage solely on you.

As a woman, you have a unique power and a far greater ability to heal your marriage than he does and it would be foolish to not take advantage of it. Just as if you were moving, it would be foolish to have you do all the heavy lifting while your husband tapes boxes.

Do you want to heal your marriage?

Many wives subconsciously react to a straying man by pulling back, which is one of the worst things you can do. He will feel even less loved and things will spiral down even further; sometimes losing all sense of reality.

Marriage is in some ways a cause-and-effect relationship. Can you see how the actions of the one affect the other, which in turn impacts the first spouse again, creating either a terrible or wonderful cycle?

You will need to break all the destructive cycles and implant beautiful cycles of love.

Sex Is Not Intimacy; Real Intimacy Is Transcendent

Wives who try to compete with webcam girls and porn stars through more or kinkier sex are going down the wrong path. I know that this needs some explanation.

Sex is portrayed by society as the “ultimate” recreational experience. Sex is also used as a reward (or punishment by withholding it).

Animals are 100% driven and controlled by instinct, which includes the desire rooted in the body’s innate drive to survive and procreate. This is primal and we have that primal drive in our biological body.

As human beings, though, we are souls first. We are a consciousness inhabiting a body, and thus have the ability and responsibility to control our bodies and master our minds. This offers us a unique and amazing opportunity to identify as the soul, which is love itself.

As a soul you have free-will; animals don’t. You are aware of being conscious, which animals are not. They do not experience love the way we do. They have reactive “love” not discriminating love. They can’t give love in the form of forgiveness, for instance. We can. We can love those who hate us, they can’t. The differences are cool, but the best is that we can choose to love or not love. We can choose to act from our body, mind, or soul-consciousness. Everything is a choice for us. Free will is amazing!

As souls, we can also connect at the soul level through love. We can use our free will, which no other animal has, to love another, even when we are not feeling loved. We can also use sex as a means to express our love, which no animal can do, lifting it up from the primal to the transcendental.

Expressing real love does not come naturally because of the mental interference from our animal bodies. So, we need to be deliberate, purposeful, and conscious in our actions. We MUST control our emotions, anger, and so forth.

Sex can be just sex, or it can be a vehicle through which you express love by elevating it from a physical connection to a heart or a soul connection. That is intimacy.

This is what is really meant by a soul mate or making love. You’ve chosen to connect with someone at the heart level, not just during your wedding ceremony, but throughout your daily life together.  You should be striving to connect your hearts, in and out of the bedroom, so you can build a joyous marriage on the foundation of love.

As a woman, you probably think a lot of this is obvious that we should nurture a spiritual view of sex whereby the purpose is to express love. But men are not “designed” by nature to have an open heart as you are so it is not obvious to them. Even when they try to understand this, they often have a hard time grasping this idea. That is why you are so important to your husband in this area. You must show the way.

There is no getting around the fact that men who are not shown true love by their wives have shallow sex. This is not intended to put a “burden” on wives, it is just the way it is.

Men who do not experience their wife’s heart, seek false replacements in the only way they know: sex, and failing that, masturbation. “Good men” do their best to maintain their vows and keep their family intact, even while living in an unhappy twilight zone marriage their whole lives. Porn/masturbation might be an outlet that will help them to continue coping in this environment. Others are not as strong and slowly seek the soul love demanded by their higher nature from unsavory alternatives like other women.

The Root Cause Of Your Marriage Problems

The real cause for the lack of love you are both experiencing is that you each individually lack foundational marriage skills.

You weren’t taught them in school or by your parents; not that either would have provided useful instruction anyway. You didn’t learn enough relationship skills while dating or being engaged. This isn’t a judgment on you or your life; it’s just a basic fact of the situation.

When your husband feels unloved he may turn to porn/masturbation for an outlet. When you feel unloved you may withdraw, share with your friends (never do that), or get upset. The problem is the same, you just manifest it differently. Because of this, you both perceive each other’s behavior as a personal attack. Then you react negatively and the downward cycle has begun.

It’s very difficult to get out of this situation because it’s nearly impossible to be objective and see what is really happening. I hope that you are now starting to see things more clearly.

If so, take this as just one small example showing you that in order to have a happy marriage you need to be shown how to achieve that – and that is by a serious marital education and knowing which efforts will move your marriage in the right direction. Just a little understanding can make your efforts tremendously more effective at bringing back the love and vitality into your marriage.

Over the decades, I have seen that most women can rise above their current pain and resuscitate their marriage. I hope to inspire you to heal your whole marriage, not just address this one issue.

Contrary to popular belief, it only takes one person to turn a marriage around.

Even a man who has progressed to an affair can still be reeled back in by a wife who has decided she wants to recover the marriage and who has been shown what works.

Moving In The Right Direction

You may think that you can improvise, but that is likely how you got into this situation in the first place. You will almost always go through all the commonly used “remedies” I listed above that we already know do not work at all. You’ll end up cycling through condemnation, demanding, pleading, trying to be sexier, and so on until you’ve decided you’ve “tried everything” and given him enough “unconditional love” without getting anything in return.

Don’t waste your time or energy on things that do not work and will just make matters worse.

The first essential step is to change your mindset, your very thinking. View your husband’s outlet as a manifestation of his unhappiness in your marriage, rather than an intentional offense towards you. Pay more attention to your husband’s needs and make him first in your life again, as you did when you were dating and trying to win him.

Do you remember those days? Make a conscious effort to express your love in all kinds of big and little ways, while at the same time erasing all the negative actions you are doing now. But don’t stop there.

The reason you got married is the same reason why you now want to preserve your marriage. Everyone wants to be happy. And everyone is happy when they experience unconditional love. Everyone! The highest purpose in marriage is to learn to love each other unconditionally. But…

How you experience unconditional love is by giving it, not by receiving it.

Looking at your husband’s choices with judgment is not being loving. Condemning him is not being loving. Seeing how his problem affects you (“doesn’t he know what this is doing to me?”) is the same as condemning him for not walking faster if he had a broken leg. Unconditional love doesn’t judge, it is compassionate.

Instead, employ a marriage-building stance through understanding and using the right tools. Commit to helping your husband extricate himself from the grip porn/masturbation has on him without even bringing it up. If he is “straying” it means your marriage is no fun for you, either, so by doing this for him, you are doing it for yourself and your family. It is a win-win-win.

He doesn’t need to be humiliated. He is unconsciously using porn/masturbation to replace the joy that should be found in marital love. But the overriding physical desire for sex artificially fills in for his true need for intimate, unconditional love.

Blaming or condemning a porn-using husband is, in almost every case, counterproductive and a distraction that prevents you from discovering and dealing with the underlying problems, or realizing how you too are also missing out on the joy and beauty available in unconditional, marital love.

Learning to love unconditionally is going to change everything. Burst through your barriers of judgment and self-pity that are preventing you from feeling unimaginable joy and marital bliss.

The Permanent Solution

The only solution that works to help your husband stop using pornography or masturbating is to overhaul your marriage with methods that have been proven to satisfy both of you on every level: physical, psychological, and spiritual.

Marriage is one of the greatest gifts we have. With the right knowledge, it opens up greater opportunities for love than you can imagine.

To reiterate one more time, the “burden” of saving your marriage is not being placed on you. You don’t have to put out the effort. You are welcome to keep reacting negatively to his unsavory behavior and keep fueling the downward spiral. But if you see it as a burden, you have the wrong mindset.

Shift.

If you want to have a happy marriage, then you have a unique opportunity. You have recognized there is a problem. You’ve searched for a solution, and you’ve found it. Let’s summarize the steps I’ve shared with you in this article:

  1. Stop seeing your husband’s porn use as a personal attack on you.
  2. Start seeing it as an outlet he is using to cope with the lack of unconditional, intimate love in your marriage.
  3. Look for big and small ways to express your love.
  4. Eliminate all negative behavior, including condemnation, judgment, criticism, complaining, and other negative reactions.
  5. Behave how you did when you were dating and trying to win him over.
  6. Don’t use sex as a reward or punishment or to compete. Use it as a means to connect your hearts. Help him elevate the connection.
  7. Learn how to love him unconditionally.

You won’t attract him back through manipulation or anger. If anything will, it is love.

It’s probable that you have built up years of reactive, judgmental thoughts and habits that need to be unraveled. Many women find that reorienting themselves is a huge undertaking.

If that’s you and you’d like some help, then I encourage you to look at my Complete Marriage System. It’s an online, 12-week course that will walk you through every step.

In the course, I will teach you techniques I’ve developed that will help you start to control your mind and emotions so you can eliminate your negative reactions. I’ll teach you a technique for breaking down old, bad habits.

In the first couple of weeks, you’ll focus exclusively on practicing these techniques daily until they become second nature. Then you will continue to use them for the rest of your life, as negative, reactive behavior is always destructive.

After that, we’ll help you lay down a solid foundation for a healthy marriage. You’ll finally understand which behaviors are beneficial and which are destructive and why. We’ll start restructuring your habits so all of your actions are marriage-building and none are detrimental.

Finally, in the third phase, we’ll build on that solid foundation and show you how to elevate your marriage to a truly joyous marriage. We’ll talk about achieving unconditional love in the Sacred Space of Marriage™ and where your children fit into your new marriage.

Will making all of these changes by yourself make your husband stop using porn and start worshiping you again? Probably, but who knows? He has free will and we have to respect his choices. But he chose to marry you because of the amazing person you were and still are underneath potentially years of judgment and criticism. If you become that person again, he will likely fall in love with you all over again. Nothing else you attempt can possibly work.

But far more importantly, regardless of what he does, when you make these changes and start truly loving him unconditionally, you will become happier and will get everything out of your marriage you’ve been seeking.

And when you’re around someone who is happy all of the time, isn’t it difficult to be negative and unhappy yourself? It’s hard to imagine that your joy won’t have an impact on him. We are shifting your mindset from the tragic, self-destructive thought so many women express “my mood depends on how you treat me,” to you becoming a goddess of love and joy regardless of the other’s behavior or immaturity. This is the ultimate women’s empowerment. And this is the only path we’ve seen that has any chance of success in marriage.

Our women’s course can help you turn your marriage around by yourself.

If your husband is interested in taking action on improving your marriage as well, we have a men’s course for him. With both of you individually working on your courses, it’s virtually impossible to fail.

It’s fine to share this article with him or to suggest you are interested in taking the women’s course and inviting him to check out the men’s. But don’t suggest he needs to fix the problem by himself or try forcing him to do anything.

I hope you keep building on the positive steps you’ve already taken. Take advantage of the positive space you’re in and learn more about my Complete Marriage System, including the free trial and money-back guarantee. I invite you to watch this video in which I explain more about my system. (YouTube, 42min).

If you’d like to ask a question, we’re here for you.

Blessings to you and your husband and family

Is Your Husband Addicted To Porn Or Just Unhappy In Your Marriage? The Truth
Paul Friedman
Paul Friedman
Founder, The Marriage Foundation
Paul devised an entirely new approach to marriage that empowers individuals to finally understand and cultivate expanding happiness and love in their marriages.

He has written two books, produced several video educational programs, regularly speaks on marriage, and founded The Marriage Foundation as a non-profit organization.

Our mission is to end divorce by spreading Paul's revolutionary marriage system around the world. We have helped thousands of individuals and couples for nearly 20 years and in over 45 countries.

39 thoughts on “Is Your Husband Addicted To Porn Or Just Unhappy In Your Marriage? The Truth

  1. Joe Reply

    This post, like so many anti-porn posts, is completely immersed in lies. Men, universally, do not choose porn over real relationships because “there is someone willing and waiting in bed for them”. That’s a woman’s fantasy lie. “Oh, We are the perfect wives, but for some reason men want to choose fantasy instead of us!!!”. We all know that the truth is: wives don’t want sex UNLESS they have some emotional connection before they want to have sex, and, the less they have sex, the less they actually want sex… In the face of that, basically what’s happening is men are forced to have a deep emotional connection with a woman before he has sex. But if that emotional connection doesn’t emerge then, guess what, there’s no sex for the man. Basically it’s HER WAY or the highway…

    • Paul Friedman Reply

      Both men and women should see how screwed up the world has become where porn is justified and glorified. Joe, you don’t even reveal your reasoning but launch an attack against anyone who dares challenge your rationalizations for porn.

      No, Joe, although watching porn is not as evil as some think, it certainly degrades those who perform it as well as those who watch it.

  2. Nanette Reply

    I was married 22 years and my husband died suddenly a year ago. 2 years into our marriage I discovered his fascination with porn. Pain, rejection, understanding and fear followed and remained through the rest of our marriage. Everything else was good and I couldn’t stop loving him. But my anger always got in the way. I was his best friend and I know he loved me. …. I have failed. I am spent.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Please find a competent and positive therapist to help you through your grief. You have our prayers.

  3. Teresa Dietz Reply

    I have a question, not comment…my husband and I, have been married for 33 years, until recently, he started to watch pornograpy, his personality has changed a bit, currently he’s going to have a test for alzheimer, could his suddenly personally change be a part of a mental illness? His mother died from this disease. I consider our marriage a fulfilling relationship, I appreciate your insight

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Obviously, your husband should be tested but not be accused for his recent proclivities, which may very well be tied to the disease. As your marriage has been fulfilling, I would make every moment count by being all the more loving, all the more his soulmate, and banish all and any thoughts of judgment and criticism, though it sounds like you are already there. My sense is you are a great wife to your husband and you both feel the joy from your right attitudes.

      The key to marital happiness is unconditional love, lived and expressed.

  4. Breezy Reply

    Paul,

    The man I married a year ago, has been using porn and masturbation as his primary sexual activity and emotional outlet for over 20 years. I was totally unaware of this when we married, but it took only weeks to realize what was going on.
    There is no way his actions are a reaction to or symptom of a bad marriage because they existed long before our marriage. And, without question his addiction to porn and the lies and manipulation around it, have absolutely destroyed the 100% trust I had in him – only a few short months ago.

    Your article felt like a vicious stomach punch to someone like me struggling to make sense of the quicksand I find myself and my children in, with this sweet man – who is absolutely addicted to porn & masturbation.

    You seemingly absolve the porn addicted spouse the responsibility of being honest, being sexually faithful, protecting, being open and available, and offering unconditional love, themselves, to their spouse.

    Then you pretend that unconditional love from the non-porn-using spouse will somehow be the magic key that one-sidedly heals it all.
    It doesn’t. And the futile trying emotionally kills the porn-free spouse, one lie at a time.

    Your article misses the mark & the reality of marriage to a porn addicted person by miles!!!

  5. Paul Friedman Post authorReply

    Dear Breezy
    Your anecdotal experience is only valid for those who choose to ignore specific agendas I have in all my presentations.
    First, the people who use our philosophies and methods want to save their marriage and make it joy-filled.
    Those who need resolution and justice are not good candidates for the principles-based help I provide because the first principle is that marriage is based souly (intentional misspelling) on unconditional love.
    To me, real marriage is not a social contract, but a spiritual path two individuals take together and must follow the simple but difficult path of all spiritual aspirants. In all my research and study I have encountered no other way to achieve true and lasting happiness.

    My second agenda is to empower the individual with correct knowledge and useful efforts.
    Because we are all raised in a mundane material world the forces of ‘their’ illogical views are a hindrance and need to be exposed through explanations. I do not ask for blind acceptance. Through my work and making our counselors available for free I provide useful info that will help individuals make proper use of their free will so they can learn to love unconditionally.

    It is not my agenda to argue and win anyone over through pandering.
    When I was a divorce mediator I saw plenty of marriages go down in flames because of “marriage therapy” which was mostly client coddling. If you are in pain in your marriage it is NEVER your spouse’s fault. You have the pain, you must own the pain (free will dictates that reality).
    The question is what do you want to do about it? Do you want to heal yourself and your marriage, or justify yourself and trash your marriage? It is always a binary choice.

    I hope you meditate on what you have written and wake up to the tragedy inherent in your positions. Scolding me will not change your marriage. using my course will, however, change you…and heal your marriage; if that is what you seek. I pray for you in either case. I don’t try to be right, just helpful.

  6. Melissa Reply

    I understand your premise of loving someone through their problems and weakness.
    Totally makes sense. I also understand that there are marriages where both people need to do personal work and that the collective weaknesses can totally play into an unhealthy cycle. I also believe it’s not really about the porn, but other issues. However, I think the approach you laid out would only work if the man is coming to the woman and disclosing his secret habits by saying, “I have a porn viewing habit and it’s destroying our relationship and my self-respect. I’m going to get the help I need and I’m asking for your support. It makes sense you would be hurt by what I’ve done, so I want to reassure you that my porn use has nothing to do with you, I’ve got to figure out why I use it to cope. It’s a choice I keep making.” Most of the time the reason men go to porn has nothing to do with unconditional love that the wife hasn’t given him, but his own arrested development from his childhood and lack of coping skills and emotional regulation.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Melissa’s attempt to prioritize the symptoms, she describes as “arrested development”, ahead of the cause is typical of what is professed by practitioners of Western psychology and though it keeps them busy this approach also keeps them in a constant state of unease.

      Simply, mankind (a genderless word) is dependent on God, who is Love. Learning to express unconditional love is the all-embracing solution for every malady. The rest of what she states is nonsensical written in a way to look credible.

  7. Melissa Reply

    This article basically says, “Don’t take his porn use and the accompanying integrity disorder that has developed, just love him unconditionally and then he’ll stop.” This might work for a few men that have self-awareness and empathy skills, but overall men who have a destructive habit need to develop personal integrity, new ways of coping, sexually integrate, and quit blaming others for why they do things. The principles that are laid out above aid in creating a perfect abuser mentality. “If you didn’t push my buttons I wouldn’t have to hit you.” Just love me unconditionally and I’ll stop it. I know I just lied to you and acted out again AND didn’t disclose anything, but you catch me, but you need to quit complaining and just love me unconditionally.” The premise that your argument is built on is placing a portion of the liability on another person and the mentality of a porn user loves to be a victim because then they can opt-out of growing and becoming sexually mature and integrated.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      It would appear that Melissa has studied some modern-day psychology which we all know focuses on analyzing and labeling negative states of mind and behavior but is quite handicapped when trying to help individuals find themselves. Their nearly universal failures are due in large part to their “sophistication” which cuts them off from all things spiritual, like God and love, which they label as abstract thoughts and ideas.

      Although fancily-articulated to make her statements seem ‘verified’ they are incorrect. Additionally, Melissa put her own interpretation in quotes, not what I stated (nor intend). Her sequencing of actions and reactions are deeply flawed.
      The reality is that men marry to experience unconditional love and learn to express it themselves. But, like most people, wives need to study and learn what these higher teachings mean and how to implement them.

      Don’t be discouraged by ignorance. You are a soul and your capacity for love and compassion is endless.

  8. Melissa Reply

    I think the principles you outline, although well intended, won’t heal marriages long term because the effects of real love, healthy sexual integration, and the ability to take accountability have to come from within regardless of your circumstances outside of each of us. Don’t get me wrong, these men do need love, but using the word “unconditional” denotes that women have to do anything to make them “feel loved.” It is REAL love to have healthy boundaries and not invest in a relationship when there is continued acting out. The premise you are using above is secondary abuse to the partner of the porn user.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      What Melissa does not consider is our track record of success. I began using these principles in 2001 and our record of success with the courses is over 97%. It would be higher if we did not encourage those whose husbands had already left to try, anyway.

      Melissa relies on ideas generally promoted by the psych community which largely discounts the spiritual (love) aspect of marriage as “abstract” while I accept love as being among the most important aspects. Unconditional love, without a doubt, is the very reason we get married. Just because there is fallout from not honoring it’s necessity thus far does not mean you cannot recover your marriage by learning how to live it and incorporate it. Unconditional love is not sacrificial. It is fulfilling.

  9. Joann Reply

    My husband has used porn and fantasy for 40 plus years. He has admitted to going out, when he was on a business trip , and pick up women just to have sex with. I thought we had a healthy sex life but learned that my body turned him off and preferred what he saw on porn. On top of that, he taught me to roll over and play dead in bed. Alone again, naturally. He has even went as far and complained that another women has offended him. He’s controlled me for years. If I didn’t support him in what he wanted, he stopped paying attention to me and push me away and porn got worse. I don’t know how to react any more. To me our marriage hasn’t been nothing but a partnership.

  10. Deb Reply

    Adult relationships have conditions. An unconditional adult relationship is unrealistic. A man, could however, get a dog if he needed something unconditional.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Deb’s cynicism leaves out at least two important details
      1. Marriage isn’t an ordinary relationship. It is safe to learn to love unconditionally.
      2. There are thousands of historical examples of unconditional love so we only need to apply what we know is possible.
      How sad it would be to get married thinking we could not enjoy the greatest of all benefits, unconditional love.

  11. Paty5 Reply

    To any wife or husband reading this post, there is hope but please love yourself. Your partner’s addiction is not your fault. It is your choice if you want to fight for your marriage but set boundaries. God is love, God is true, God is life!
    IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT remember that. That’s what satan wants you to feel. Stay away from that and love yourself!

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Paty is well-intentioned but other than that there is no information that will help anyone.
      GOD IS love! We know that, and I thank her for saying so.
      But porn is a habit, not an addiction and each person is endowed with the ability to overcome their challenges.
      Your challenge, in short, is your husband is not getting all he needs from your marriage even though you promised him “everything” so consider learning more about marriage so you know how to give him that marital love that is far superior to stupid porn.

  12. john Reply

    I have been married for twenty years. My wife is constantly negative and I’m honestly repulsed by her. Furthermore, she feels oral sex is something only teenagers should engage in. I do not agree, as I grew up in a house with parents that were permiscuous and I accidently caught them more than once. They are a healthy couple that others admire. I have considered suicide frequently over the years because the aftermath of divorce seems worse than remaining in an unhappy marriage. The shameful impression of explorative sex is centuries-outdated. If women were more willing to engage in porn-star sex, husbands would find them more attractive.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      John expresses his unhappiness with his wife not wanting to act like a porn star with him and argues that she is “wrong” and his desires are “right”. If he thinks those arguments combined with the threat of suicide if he does not get his way is a pretty good indication of how frustrated Mrs. John is in their marriage. If there was one word I would use to describe him it would be immature.

      Sex is a side compartment of marriage no matter how much or how little sex is in the marriage. It is not a basis for happiness at all, though it may seem like it is. The basis for marriage is love. When an individual misses this point they cannot be happy for long. Love, being spiritual, needs spiritual actions, meaning selflessness, to feed it. The desire for sex when it is out of the context of committed love is a drain that undermines happiness. John needs to expand his heart and his thinking.

  13. Joann Reply

    I was doing everything to satisfy him. But he wanted a porn image. I tried the oral sex but my appearance was a disappointment. Porn on the internet ruined everything. How can you compete with what’s real and fictional. I had to honor all his wishes. All his dreams and wanted to control me. If I didn’t do it, he threw temper tantrum and said he was mad at himself. I’ve been kicked out of bed because I wanted affection before we fell asleep. I do mean, kicked out of bed and head banged because I just wanted to be loved. Now I’m 66 . I tried to commit suicide a few years ago because of the negative comments on how I disappointed him . After I got out of hospital, he blamed me because he claimed he was mad at himself. That I should understand that. He was telling me how he was upset because HE was rejected by other women. He wanted me to hold his hand. I know that I should support him because PORN is a severe problem. But I’ve wasted my life supporting him and trying to make him feel loved and I’m here for him. But when a husband tells you, I wish you had longer legs, smaller ass for better penetration, and bigger boobs. I’m burned out. He even asked if I would have sex with another women and do it over him just get a thrill and two women satifiing him because that would make him feel good.
    embarrassed.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Joann says she was doing everything to satisfy him and it is possible, but not likely because she talks about sexual pleasure, not heart love. The whole of sex is like a microdot compared to love, but we are not taught about love so we go right away to sex. I feel for her. But her response does nothing but blame.

  14. Ashley Reply

    My husband and I have an intensely romantic, enlightening and loving marriage. We are pregnant, baby girl due in 3 weeks. But now, when we should be our closest and most excited, I looked into our log history was pretty surprised to come across a porn site visited the evening before. Shock turned into heartbreak. I didn’t understand. He and I have an intensely sexual relationship. I told him what had me so distraught. He looked very embarrassed at first. He told me how relieved he was to see how bothered I was over this. He assumed I just wouldn’t care if I knew. He admitted that his porn/masturbation habit had started back up just before Christmas and had increased in frequency to where it is now (1-2x per day). He appropriately likened it to a drug that helped him in dealing with stress. It actually DID give me a small sense of relief to know that he, too, is a human in need of a coping mechanism to deal with hardship. We ended the discussion with his swearing never to seek sexual release of any kind outside of our marriage. And I believe him. Well, I believe that HE believes it. He sees this simply as a bad habit to be kicked. Why does he act like this is no big deal? I’m on the verge of a breakdown. Am I ever going to look at my husband the same way again?

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Ashley’s obsession is far worse than her husband’s attraction to porn for herself and her marriage. Her judgment and condemnation are no less “terrible” as she has decided the moral code and has cast aside all reason and love in the name of some perverse justice. The fact is she feels betrayed and has put all her attention on that instead of the deep love that is their marriage. She needs to gain control over her emotions, not her husband. She needs to recognize what is truly causing her to suffer which is not some outer condition but her own filters and habitual reactions to what her mind is telling her.
      This is so sad for her and her family. I wish I could get her to utilize the course for women that we have, which would deepen her understanding and give her the tools to overcome, but her mind will not allow her to hear anything but what it is telling her. I am sure she did not read the article!

  15. Daniella Reply

    I gave unconditional love to my husband. I was devoted to him, his needs and a good team player on all domains.
    He said that he needs sexual variety and his sexuality cannot be fulfilled with one partner no matter how loving the partner is.
    If I love him unconditionally, I let him have what makes him sexually happy and accept that.
    Correct?

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Daniella would never pass my tests for expressing unconditional love even though she lists how she has. It is imaginative but nonsense. The fact that she imagines her husband being “allowed” to cheat on her defines an intellectual, not heart-centered connection.

  16. Aaron Reply

    My wife is extremely loving and caring, she always puts me first. When we were dating I was completely in love with her, still am, and fell fulfilled in all possible ways. Still, I was sexually attracted by other women all the time and seeking sexual arousal with other women.
    Now we are happily married and she looks at me with awe.
    Still, I am sexually attracted and seek sexual arousal with other women.
    Just because I know her body and it is not as arousing as a new body.
    Just because other women are sexy and I react strongly to sexiness.
    I love my wife, I can honestly say that she is the most loving person I have ever known.
    But all I can think about is getting sexual arousal from other women.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Aaron knows he is in trouble with this tendency but is missing some of the pieces of the puzzle.
      The innate drive in the normal male body if allowed to guide a man’s actions would soon decimate society by making intact families rare. We would be reduced to savagery and barbarism. There is a missing part for Aaron that would motivate him to apply himself in the right direction. He does not understand that love is not of the mind but of the heart, it is spiritual. So, although he feels the love emotionally he has not allowed it to overwhelm his mind. If he learns how to control his urges as they arise and how to redirect his mind to the heart’s spiritual love and keep it there, both of which are doable with training, he will discover a whole new level of joy. Without training he cannot do it, nobody can.

  17. LDG82 Reply

    Just found out that my husband of 11 yrs is watching porn regularly. Checked his browser history and found that he searches for porn multiple times a day. We have a good sex life I think, experimental, vocal, “into it”, make our own porn for private viewing, and both faithful. Never have we been unfaithful. 7 years ago I found porn on his phone and it devastated me. I reacted emotionally, he reacted apologetically then defensively (“all men do this”) so we began watching porn together sometimes (maybe once every 20 sexual encounters)…Flash forward to now and we both decided to strengthen our relationship with the Lord. Part of that for me was no more porn. I assumed he felt the same. Now I’m offended by his porn use. How do I stop being offended and judgmental and start showing unconditional love? How does he actually stop his habit? I don’t want to confront him about this. He shows attraction to me and loves me. The browser history shows his viewing is during my work hours and NEVER while I’m home. To me that shows he knows its hurtful and he doesn’t want me to find out. I need help. I’m still upset and confused but I want to solve this issue so badly.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      The panacea that sets a high bar is learning how to love unconditionally, not just learn how to behave lovingly. In her case the ideals of sex in the context of love are ignored by them as they have made sex recreational for themselves and they are not using sex to build or enhance their heart connection. In the future, I will add exercises for doing in the courses for men and women but for now, they need to create some on their own. It will be awkward, but she needs to be creative. Her first step would be to get Breaking The Cycle os she can gain a deeper understanding of love, everyone needs that! https://themarriagefoundation.org/breaking-the-cycle/

  18. Nicole Reply

    If you can’t beat them join them. My husband and I have been married for 25 yrs and now use porn as a tool and not a weapon. We share it together and apart. We even share it when we’re apart from each other sending videos. We also flirt and send each other nude pics. It’s really brought us closer together in an exciting way. It took me a long way to get to this point because I was like most women and felt really betrayed and hurt by it. I basically played along just like what he was seeking from me all along. I’m shy, reserved, can be controlling, stubborn and resentful, but now I’m trying to be loving, flirty, and available and it’s working in my favor. I stopped complaining, telling him what to do (being helpful), and just listen without judgment or my opinion about anything. It’s like learning a new language, it feels really foreign and I still make lots of mistakes but I see the more I do this the better we’re doing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still angry and hurt about his need to flirt with other women and have emotional affairs, but I have the upper hand… I’m his wife and they’re not.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      Nicole is fooling herself. The basis of marriage is ever-increasing love, yet she states that their focus on recreational sex brought them closer together. Her contention defies what we know happens when keeping our consciousness rivetted to bodily pleasures. Jumping in has reduced these human beings to animals and he and she dance with disloyalty. This kind of thinking appears to them to be “sophisticated”. It is not. It is sad.
      IF she only held off from the condemnation but then drew her husband into her heart without jumping into this sad pool of ‘sex’ they both would discover love. Her shortcut is like jumping off a cliff.

  19. Michele Reply

    I might be the only woman doing this, but we now include it as a tool for fun in the bedroom together. I don’t feel threatened by it anymore. Am I crazy to think this way? We share videos of things that we want to try together, and things are really heating up in the bedroom. We don’t use it all the time, but it’s something fun to explore. I think there might be more couples out there doing this together because some studies are showing an increase of women joining porn sites for viewing purposes only. They are following the data of what women are watching and who they are watching with by their comments. They say things like “My husband and I really enjoyed this.” I’m an older woman too, and I’m just trying to be more open-minded and see things differently. Once we started doing this, my husband opened up to me and said that he sometimes watches it alone. I said I know, and I know you are loyal to me, and I confessed that I sometimes watch without him too. Our intimacy is becoming closer and we don’t feel shameful and feel safer to share and explore and be more open. I was the one to introduce it into the bedroom, so he felt safe with me to be more open. I had to be the one that guided it and made it okay for us to do together.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      I am not a prude about sex or a moralist but you and your husband are distracting yourselves from the higher benefits of intimate love from the heart by focusing on the lower pleasures of your bodies. In your case, you may want to “try” looking into each other’s eyes while physically engaged and telling each other “I love you” and visualize opening your heart.
      LOVE is the only platform of marriage that is limitless.

  20. BevLee Reply

    I’m just a little torn how it’s the wife job to maintain unconditional love when if husbands did the same thing, loved unconditionally, we would never be here! If he unconditionally loved me, he’d understand I don’t want anal and be able to fantasize about that with his naturally given imagination instead of loving me only under certain conditions. It should not just be on the wife but the reader maybe.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      To find a marriage-saving solution means looking at what YOU can do to change. If you want to be “objective” and weigh the flaws of each of you that will only create a worse situation. I merely expose the dynamics and offer solutions I know will work, not sit in judgment.

    • Paul Friedman Post authorReply

      The narcissist label is used these days to suggest husbands are all to blame for being self-absorbed and closed off plus anything else an unhappy wife throws on top of her complaint pile. But it basically means to those that he is no good and she is a victim. Do you wish to be a victim?
      Regardless of his proclivities, you will do well to open your heart to him because love is always the source of happiness. Be in your heart. Therapists who label and blame are not heart-centered so they look for outer “solutions” which never work. Go to your heart! Behave from your heart! Win his love and adoration.

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