My Husband is Addicted to Porn. What Can I Do?

Dr R. Y. Langham

Dec 04, 2021

The truth is being in a relationship with a porn addict can be hard – really hard. It can also be extremely frustrating, depressing, and anxiety-provoking. It can make you question your relationship, spouse, and your own self-worth. Thus, being in love with someone, who is dependent on porn, can affect you in profound ways, impacting your self-esteem and self-confidence, trust in your partner and marriage, etc. It can even prevent you from taking your spouse around your friends and family.

Let’s be honest, having a husband with a “porn habit” can be embarrassing. As a result, you’ll most likely want to keep this little tidbit to yourself, which can feel very isolating and shameful. You love your husband and don’t want to leave him because of his “bad habit,” but what can you do? You are at your wits-end!

You understand that addiction, even a porn addiction, is a disease, so technically your spouse can’t help his behavior, but it still irks you to the core. You’re angry, lost, confused, and frustrated – all rolled up into one. And, who can blame you? Although your husband is going through something, you’re also dealing with a lot.

The truth is porn addiction can lead to a host of relationship woes. And, just like any other addiction – i.e., drug and alcohol, gambling, excessive eating, etc., porn addiction can and will take over your marriage, if left untreated. Your husband needs porn addiction help – even if he doesn’t realize it. And, you need porn addiction support – even if you don’t realize it.

You can’t save your marriage by yourself.

And, while your spouse’s first step to recovery is admitting he has a problem with porn, your first step is understanding that you’re not the “cause” of his “porn habit.” It’s not your fault. There is nothing you could have done to prevent it, and there’s nothing you can do now to stop it. Your husband must want to stop his “porn use” – not for you, but for himself.

Nothing will change if he is unable to “see” how it is damaging him, you, and your marriage. But, that’s not your responsibility – it’s his. All, you can do is support him on his journey to becoming “porn-free” and encourage him to seek porn addiction treatment. It’s up to your spouse whether to take it or leave it. But, regardless, give yourself some slack.

What is a Porn Addiction?

Before we delve into how you can help your husband STOP his “porn use,” you need to have a clear understanding of what a porn addiction entails. When a person, like your husband, feels dependent or obsessed with porn, he is addicted to it. This is especially true if the person’s “fixation” with porn ellipses everything else in his life – even his wife, child, and marriage.

Understand that when a person has a porn addiction, it becomes more important than going to work, paying bills, taking care of his family, or even practicing good hygiene. Nothing else matters but porn. However, the main component of porn addiction is an inability to STOP the behavior – even if, for instance, your husband wants to. Porn addiction is a disease – it’s not a choice. So, keep this in mind as you go on this journey with him.

What is Going to Happen to Our Family Now That My Husband Has a Porn Addiction?

Even though the DSM-5 doesn’t list porn addiction as an “official” mental health condition, when a family member is struggling with it, all of his or her loved ones are also left “dealing” with it. So, while your husband is the one, who is struggling with a “porn habit,” it’s impacting your entire family – you, him, and your child(ren).

Because porn addicts typically become consumed with porn, their behavior affects the entire family in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Little-to-no interest in spending quality time with the family
  • Emotional-distancing or a noticeable withdrawal from you and your child(ren)
  • Mistrust between you and your husband
  • Ridicule, derision, mockery, and pessimism between you and your husband
  • Divorce

Will My Husband’s Porn Addiction Destroy Our Marriage?

To be honest, it could…

If it is not already happening, your husband’s porn addiction could lead to mistrust, marital dissatisfaction, anger, irritability, resentment, frustration, and low self-esteem. All these factors could destroy your marriage, if left unchecked. Truthfully, the only way to ensure that your marriage remains intact is to seek porn addiction help. Unfortunately, without porn addiction treatment, your marriage will not survive your husband’s “porn fixation.”

So, what should you do? Well, it’s normal to want to help your husband win his battle against porn, but as I mentioned above, it’s not your battle, per se, it’s your husband’s. Your role is and should be as a “supporter.” You can’t win this war for your spouse. But the worst thing you can do is blame yourself for your spouse’s addiction. You are not to blame and there is nothing you could have done differently to prevent or stop the behavior.

Watching porn was a personal decision your husband made because of something within him. You have nothing to feel embarrassed, guilty, despondent, or ashamed about. Still, it is normal and almost expected to fear that your husband prefers “someone else” and that he will never be fully “cured” of his porn addiction. Your feelings of being abandoned, rejected, and/or humiliated could destroy your marriage.

Will My Husband’s Porn Addiction Affect Our Child?

Possibly, depending on the age and maturity level of your child.

The truth is children (of all ages) are very perceptive. They pick up on things quickly, especially stress or tension. As such, they can sense when something is “off” with one or both of their parents. In fact, studies indicate that children are extremely sensitive family members, so if your husband is struggling with porn addiction, your child is bound to notice – if not right now, eventually. When your child finally figures out that something is “wrong” with Daddy, it will be up to you to cushion the blow.

But, until that time, the best thing you can do for your child is to shield him or her from your husband’s “porn habit” as much as possible. Although your child may not know exactly what’s going on with his or her Daddy, he or she probably “senses” that he isn’t paying as much attention to him or her as he or she did in the past.

Perhaps, your child has started to notice how Daddy has become preoccupied with something on his computer or how he has been spending inordinate amounts of time “holed-up” in his office “working.” Maybe, your child has begun to notice how his or her Daddy no longer spends much time with him or her anymore, because he’s always looking at his phone or in his room with the door locked.

This lack of attention can cause a child to feel abandoned, alone, or unloved. So, although your child may not know what’s happening, he or she can probably feel that something is “different.” So, it is up to you to provide your child with an abundance of love, support, affection, and attention to ensure your husband’s porn addiction doesn’t harm him or her. Because it can happen. And, if it does, it could negatively impact your child’s view of love, romantic relationships, marriage, and sex when he or she becomes an adult.

What Are the Statistics?

Listed below are porn addiction statistics – from a wife’s perspective:

  • Approximately 22 million Americans are suffering from sexual addiction (i.e., porn addiction) right now.
  • Nearly 80% of women, whose husbands were diagnosed with sexual addiction (i.e., porn addiction), developed depression because of it.
  • Approximately 40% of women experienced an “emotional disconnection” with their spouse because of his porn addiction.
  • Nearly 60% of women developed an eating disorder after discovering their husband’s “porn habit.”

Is There Any Way I Can Help My Husband Beat His Porn Addiction?

Yes, there are ways you can help your husband STOP his “porn use.”

Keep in mind, however, that helping your husband end his “porn habit” will not be an easy or quick feat. It will take patience, forgiveness, unconditional love, and commitment to help your spouse become “porn-free.” But it is doable.

Remember, for your spouse to break the spell porn has over him, he must want to change his behavior. He must have a desire to STOP his “porn use.”

If your husband is at the point where he wants porn addiction help, you can help him beat his addiction by taking the following steps:

  • Learn the Signs

    The truth is it will be easier to help your husband kick his “porn habit,” if you have some idea what to expect. So, try to learn as much as you can about porn addiction, porn addiction withdrawal, and porn addiction relapses. Joining a support group and searching for personal experiences can help you feel less alone and more understood. But you won’t be able to help your husband if you don’t know what to look for.

  • Be Prepared

    In other words, “hunker down” because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Think of your husband’s porn addiction recovery as a marathon – not a sprint. Adopting this mentality will help keep your marriage intact as your traverse the troubled waters of porn addiction. Don’t forget to practice self-care because that matters too.

  • Refrain From Blaming Yourself

    Remember, you are not to blame for your husband’s “porn habit.” It’s not your fault that he’s struggling with addiction. In other words, it is not up to you to solve this problem for him. He must want to change for himself.

  • Hold Him Accountable

    The best way to offer your spouse porn addiction support is to hold him accountable for his actions. Remember, your husband is ultimately responsible for seeking porn addiction treatment. You can’t do that for him. You can walk WITH your spouse, but you can’t walk FOR him.

  • Encourage (But Don’t Force) Him to Seek Help

    The most effective way to STOP your husband’s porn addiction is to encourage him to seek porn addiction help – i.e., porn addiction therapy, support groups, forums, articles, books, apps, porn-cessation programs, etc. Online porn-cessation programs, like Stop Together, can help your husband “quit” porn for good!

    Stop Together is not only affordable, but also accessible – your husband can work on kicking his “bad habit” from the comfort of your home – with you beside him for support. This porn-cessation program relies on CBT and other therapies to retrain his mind, so porn loses its grip on him. Thereby, Stop Together can help get your spouse’s life and your marriage back on track.

  • Talk to Your Husband

    Explain to your husband how his porn addiction is affecting, you, him, your child(ren), and your marriage. Be honest about how his “porn habit” has hurt you and your child(ren). Don’t sugarcoat, ignore, or dismiss your feelings because they matter.

    If your spouse knows how much his addiction has hurt you, he’ll likely be more inclined to STOP doing it. So, share with him what it’s like to love and be committed to a porn addict. Don’t, however, use threats, intimidation, or ultimatums to get him to change his behavior, because it won’t work. It could also lead to a divorce. Just be honest and open with your spouse about how you feel.

  • Create a Strong Support Group

    Grappling with your husband’s porn addiction is bound to exhaust you at some point, so you must create a strong support group to provide you with relief and help you navigate the ins and outs of your husband’s porn addiction. You need positive people in your life – people, who really care about your well-being and who will look out for your best interest, while you look out for your husband’s well-being. So, when you feel emotionally and physically drained, lean on the people, who love you most.

  • Expect Relapses & Setbacks

    Once “porn-free,” there is always a risk that your husband will relapse. This is normal, but it may mean starting a scratch…again. Thus, it is important that you emotionally and physically prepare yourself for this possibility.

    It’s also important to understand that your spouse’s progress may not be an easy or quick process. He may experience “slips” (not full-blown relapses) from time to time, and that is to be expected. If or when this occurs, the best thing you can do is encourage him to seek porn addiction help again. But, don’t neglect your health and well-being in the process.

  • Explain to Him What Could Happen if Nothing Changes

    Explain to your spouse that his “porn habit” could ultimately destroy your family, if left unchecked. Once again don’t sugarcoat your words because your husband needs to hear you loud and clearly. The hope is that by clearly outlining the possible “consequences” of his “porn use,” he’ll be motivated to change his behavior, so it’s focused less on viewing porn and more on your marriage and family.

  • Remove Any Triggers

    One way you can help reduce or eliminate your husband’s “porn use” is to remove any triggers (i.e., porn magazines, books, apps, movies, downloads, etc.) from your home and his smartphone, computer, laptop, and tablet. You may also need to remove these items from his car if you suspect he’s viewing porn, while in it.

    Do a thorough check of any place you think your husband is viewing porn and then trash any pieces of “evidence” you find. If all the porn is removed from his environment, he’ll be unable to view it. You may also want to move his computer or laptop to the family room, living room, or kitchen so you can monitor what he’s looking at on the internet.

  • Spend More Time Together

    One way to combat a porn addiction is to spend more time together. So, try to keep your spouse busy with fun activities. If your husband is mentally and physically occupied with other things, preferably you and your child(ren), he will have less time to think about or crave porn. So, try to plan a “Date Night” every weekend, where you have fun together. For instance, go bowling, putt-putting, swimming, to dinner and a movie, etc. These activities will put your husband’s attention back on you.

  • Change it Up

    Change up your sexual activities. For instance, try a new sex position, dress-up in a sexy costume, use sex toys, or create fantasy scenarios to spice-up your sex life. Everything gets boring after a while, so change it up. Do something totally uncharacteristic to peak your husband’s attention again. Make intimacy fun again. There is nothing wrong with throwing your husband off-guard occasionally. So, show your husband what he’s been missing! A warm body is always better than a cold screen.

So, What Should You Do?

You should be a positive and supportive force in your husband’s life. Be patient with him, while he tries to “quit” his “porn habit.” Your husband probably needs you more than ever now – even if he doesn’t realize it. So, stay strong and believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel (a “porn-free” husband) – because there is.