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My husband and I have been married for 18 years. Unbeknownst to me 14 years ago he got addicted to porn again after having stopped after college, however it was an infrequent addiction of watching it 1-3 times a year, so he always thought he had the willpower to stop. Our sex life suffered and we were having sex maybe once a month but after our 2nd daughter was born it dwindled to 1-3 a year. After that we didn’t have sex for 7 years. 3 years into having not being physically intimate I knew it was a problem and for the last 7 years of our marriage we sought pastoral counseling, attending Christian marriage conferences and going to Christian couples counseling but he never revealed he was unfaithful (although I would ask him a few times over the last 12 years whether he was having an affair or having sex with other women because we weren’t and he always lied.).
I found out just 2 years ago that he was unfaithful -having sex with prostitutes every since my 2nd daughter was born 12 years ago. The entire time we sought counseling I thought it was me, my anger. I was devastated and these last 2 years has been one of the most difficult journeys in my life. I have learned so much about sex addiction. I understand that sex addiction can be biological but when you add on childhood wounds and abuse, then a person is fertile ground for sex addiction. There needs to be physical healing (brain rewiring), emotional and spiritual healing.
I am now at a crossroads, my husband has been “sober” for 2 years and has worked hard on his recovery from sex addiction but unfortunately our intimacy disorder is so significant. I have sought counseling, support groups, prayer healing to work on this marriage, but now I just feel stuck and realizing, our marriage may never heal in the area of intimacy. minus a miracle from God. I don’t think God intended me to be in a loveless, sexless marriage and I just feel like I have tried everything in these last 9 years to save this marriage. These last 2 years when his actions don’t follow what he says he will do, it triggers the anger in me or makes me feel hopeless. His passivity and inability to make me feel cherished and pursued makes me not want to open my heart to him. I cannot trust him and feel so traumatized. Are there any resources for women like me? (Besides Pure Desire, Patrick Carnes, Barbara Steffens and Doug Weiss?) Is there any help out there for men who are not only sex addicts but also have extreme intimacy disorders? I do not want to remain in a marriage like this, I would rather be single then be married and alone. I am sorry for this long email.
My heart goes out to you. The betrayal you have suffered is just awful– there is no other way to say that. I think you have been amazing to go to the lengths you have to try to salvage your marriage. The effort you put forth to learn more about sexual addiction and how to walk beside your husband is admirable.
I know you said you have spent years in counseling so the last thing I want to tell you is that you need to find a counselor but the truth of the matter is that our resources are geared to be a support and to help point addicts and those who love them to begin the steps to recovery. Obviously there are going to be some cases that are more complicated than others and not all everything can be covered by a “blanket statement”. I think the intimacy issues that you and your spouse face need to be addressed by a sexual addictions counselor or someone that deals specifically with the sexual dysfunctions that can happen as a result of years of abuse and addiction.
It sounds to me like your husband crossed into a form of sexual behavior that aroused him and now that he is trying to “tame” it and rebuild a normal sex life, his body and brain are just not on board yet. This is not uncommon with addicts of this length of time.
If you have not gotten a list of the resources available on XXXchurch.com, I would recommend going to the start here section for spouses and download the PDF and consider looking for a local therapist that deals specifically with sex addiction– not just a pastor as you said you were doing for years.
Now to address whether God wants you to stay… I cannot help you with that one. I think what really needs to be addressed is whether or not your husband is really committed. I think you’ve proven your commitment.
I do wish you the absolute best. I understand better than you may realize what you are walking through. My marriage did not survive sex addiction. My husband chose the world after 13 years.
God bless you.
we live remotely and have very slow internet. we also do not have video chat, only Skype.
is there another way for us to access your materials for me, spouse of porn user, and for the porn user?
thank you kindly,
Email Catherine@XXXchurch.com and she can give you the options available for spouse groups. OR go to X3groups.com and check out the FAQ and if your questions still are not answered you can submit a form right there.
I need help. I clearly remember masturbating at the age of 3 or 4.. Yes, I can’t understand it neither.. Nor did I understand it at the time. But it’s been this hell of a journey everysince then.. I haven’t stopped, it has just gotten worse. At the age of about 13 when the internet fever started, so did pornography.
Oh & I forgot to mention I have grown up in church & now in my 20s I have been having a delightful relationship with God.. I love being in his presence and growing spiritually.. But there has always been this struggle of mine, and it always pulled me back. I was able to stop for a year after I had an amazing encounter with God and promised I would stop.. A year later I failed him once again. It was so heartbreaking because I thought I had finally overcome this addiction.. And everytime I mess up again I feel that I will NEVER overcome this.. And it kills me inside. I don’t want to feel this way anymore.. I need help. Thank you.
Have you visited out start here section? There are so many resources there and suggestions for first steps.
You are not alone and freedom IS possible but you have to put the right things in place. Check out those resources and really pursue freedom by being proactive in setting up the right boundaries, accountability and steps.