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We Need Serious Elbow Grease

I am having a very difficult time in my marriage. I’m a strong-willed person and keep trying to fight to make our marriage work. But one little disappointment or flash memory and I go into a downward spiral and just want the torment to end, and just end our relationship. My husband has always had an issue with porn, at times he would try to work on it, others he would be very open about it. He has had two affairs, one of them was for a few months and he was emotionally involved then decided to end it to save our marriage. That is the only step he took, I hardly see any effort from him towards making us better. We have four young kids and I feel it is mostly for them why we are still together. I want to get past things and work, but I’m exhausted in trying to do it what feels like mostly on my own.

           – Andrea

Dear Andrea,

Thanks for reaching out and sharing your situation with us. It sounds like you’re looking for more evidence of change in addition to him ending his second affair.

  • Actually, it’s a worthy ask.
  • You’re worthy of the changes needed.

You’ve got 4 children and I’m sure neither one of you want to go through the pain of all this again.  Because you’re not alone in your feelings and situation, I decided to write a BLOG to respond to your question, as it’s a very real and common concern.

Recovery takes effort. In my book, Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal I have two chapters that I think may help you. One is on trauma triggers, Chapter 12 – Quick on the Trigger and the other is Chapter 9 – How He Can Help You Heal. I’ve had several husbands email or call me to tell me they’ve read my book and had no idea the extent to which they caused their wife pain. If your husband would be willing to read several pages, start with Chapter 9, page 131 which says:

“Change and restoration as a couple are possible. When a man embarks on his sexual recovery path, it’s not just for him; it’s for your sake as well. Most men know they’ve caused you pain. They see the hurt on your face, notice your withdrawal, and want the damage to quickly go away.

How men move through their sexual betrayal is a whole different issue and generally falls into three categories:

      1)   Those that get it—Men who are willing to recover.

      2)   Those that don’t get it—Men who are in denial.

      3)   Those that don’t want to get it—Men who have no desire to change. They are aware of what they’re doing and want to keep you and their reputation comfortably intact while they sexually act out.”

When I see a man who is serious about his recovery, he is willing to do whatever it takes to rebuild trust.

  • He attends a 12-step SA/SAA recovery group with other men to address his sexual breaches and make amends by restoring safety and truth, since he’s been looking at porn since he was young, plus has had two affairs.
  • He’s willing to get a sponsor in his 12-step program that will hold him accountable, talk with him daily, and support him while he’s turning things around.
  • He’s willing to see a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT, iitap.com). They have specialized tools and training aimed at helping them dig deeper, heal from the issues involved in sexually acting out, and get into recovery/sobriety.
  • He would also be open to meeting with a marriage therapist to talk about your fears, concerns and any blocking beliefs that are keeping him from doing the deeper work. Time doesn’t heal wounds. Deep work heals wounds. Time doesn’t help in recovery. A deep commitment to active, honest, 12-step recovery work helps people get sober.

Andrea, I suggest you speak with an APSATS (apsats.org) or CSAT partner trauma specialist who can walk with you along this path. We need a road map for how all this healing can take place. More often than not I meet women who have not reached out for help and painfully things either get worse or stay chaotic. Please don’t wait. Change can happen if you are both getting what you need to heal.

I’m for you Andrea. It’s too big to go it alone. My hope is that each one of us protects our families by facing our fears and reaching out for what we need. You’re worth it. Check out these trained professionals and partner support groups that are ready to help.

Brave On Girl!

Dr. Sheri

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. I totally agree. My husband has made no changes. He wanted both… Me and his porn addiction. The hardest decision I’ve made after 28 years of marriage is to have filed… The court system has done NOTHING to enforce him paying alimony and so I am hopping from house to house (friend to friend) and very FRUSTRATED, not to mention this one BROKEN heart.

    1. Hi Angie,

      Thanks for reaching out. I am heartbroken about what has happened to you. I am also grieved over what looks like his unwillingness to get help and deal with his porn addiction and infidelity. It was the hardest decision I had to make as well. I moved 11 times in 13 years as I was trying to get my life back together again. I want to encourage you to take care of yourself, press into your own healing, and work to get the truth of who you are back. I hope you will have the opportunity to read my book, Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Deception, as I would like to express hope and healing in your direction. Brave On! Dr. Sheri

    2. Angie,
      I am so sorry for your pain. I understand. I will pray for you. Please make sure you have a good attorney. After 20 yrs in most states you are entitled to alimony & his Social Security once you turn 65. I hope your attorney has examined all your husband’s finances as well. As Dr. Sherri teaches take good self care! I have learned it is only safe to take my broken heart to the Lord in prayer. In Hebrews HE says He will never leave or forsake us. I only learned recently that “forsake” in the Greek means HE will take care of us. Jesus will not leave you & HE will take care of you Angie. Blessings.

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