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How do I confront or support my husband when he's in denial about porn?

By February 23, 2010 - 4:30pm
 
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Hello,

I'm new here and really feel comfortable and like the community. Therefore I'd like to ask for some help for a piece of mind.

I have been married for almost 10 years. My husband and I have had our ups and downs. When we first got married he had a big box full or nude magazines. His explanation was that it was a “college project” he did in school. He seemed fine about it. Like he didn’t need them anymore, I didn’t insist on throwing them out but it just happened.

From that point on I’d see pornos and nude magazines around “us.” They weren’t mine so I’d ask (confront him) and he’d deny it saying he was holding them for his brothers. He doesn’t work at home, there would be times when he’d be in his office and he’d close the door. There’s no point for him to do that. When I’d prop the door open he’d close the window. I would catch a glimpse of it and ask him and of course he claims it was a computer “virus” pop-up.

He had an email bettersex@....he’d have a ton of porn emails. He claimed he opened up that email so his brothers could use it. So I said if your not using it and they have their own now let’s close it out. He obliged. A week later he opens up a new email sexbetter@....

This week I found a few nude magazines hidden in his office and 8 porno DVDs hidden. He’s got a lot of porno clips on his hard drive too.

Everytime and anytime I confront him he’d get VERY defensive and things would get so bad he’d throw things and break down the entire house. He says I don’t trust him and believe anything he’s saying. I have told him before I only want the truth from him, he can continue to watch them if he’d like but I don’t want him to lie to me or hide anything from me.

I’ve told him we can watch it together if he’d like. Of course he says he is not into that stuff and it’s not his. I know that I’m the first love-interest in his life and first girl he’s ever been with. I haven’t confronted him about the DVDs and magazines I recently found because I know all hell would break loose if I did.

I don’t take this as he’s cheating. I can’t stand that he’s hiding this and lying to me all the time. He won’t go tor consider counseling. I feel I can’t ignore this anymore because it hurts me to know he’s in denial, hiding something and lying to me. I can’t bottle this up.

He doesn’t like it when I wear shirts that show too much of my neck yet he likes watching girls who are hanging out all over the place. He’s always talking about how slutty certain girls look but he enjoys watching them. We have (what I believe to be) a healthy sex life. I mean 2-3 times a week. However he only wants to do it when he initiates it, not me. With all this and how he is around me, it’s like he’s 2 different people.

I am very positive the pornos and magazines are his. I can’t accept the fact that he’ll deny it for the rest of our lives. I am pretty sure he loves me. Pretty sure because how can you lie and hide something from someone you love therefore hurting them so much.

Is this some sort of addiction or personality problem? How should I approach this or get him to admit the truth to me? I want to help him through this and be supportive but he looks at it as me accusing him and I don't want things to end.

Thanks for your time!"

Add a Comment6 Comments

HERWriter Guide

Hi married4-10yrs - Thanks for writing back. Alison has provided some great advice. Most likely you've never been to counseling before, so working with a therapist would be a new experience. Their role is to assist you in understanding and gaining perspective on your current situation and assist you in developing goals and moving forward in life. This is not finding fault, or what's wrong, or "fixing" people. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for most of us to gain perspective on our own individual lives or the daily lives that we live. An impartial third party who's been properly trained has the ability to do that without bias, without drama and without judgment. Counseling helps people, and improves lives. The role is somewhat like a facilitator's role in a business meeting - to keep the discussion on track and productive. Without the benefit of counseling a lot of people would just keep going over and over the same thoughts in their own minds, and that is absolutely useless. It's clear you have a lot of concerns and are very frustrated. A counselor can help you handle those same concerns in a more constructive manner so that you can take actions to resolve the issues you face and move on with your life. Otherwise you could end up having the same issues for many more years. You deserve a healthy, supportive relationship and to feel comfortable in your own home. I sincerely believe that having professional assistance will help you to get that and hope you will consider it.
Take care, Pat

February 25, 2010 - 9:38pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Pat & Alison,

THANK YOU both so very much for your insight. Sometimes it's hard to turn to a family or friend because I fear they may look at us differently. You both helped me so greatly and you noticed other facts that I didn't mention. I can only help and change myself. I think I've lost myself in this long marriage. Counseling sounds like it would be a positive step for me to enforce so I can focus on myself and help me find my strength so I can see the next step that is right for me.

I really appreciate both of your time and sincerity! God bless you both - Take care.

February 26, 2010 - 11:50am
HERWriter Guide

Hi married4-10yrs - Thank you for writing to us. I'm glad you feel comfortable sharing your situation. As I read your comments, there seem to be two different concerns. First, your husband's relationship with pornographic materials and second, and more important, his relationship with you.

You've asked, "How can you lie and hide something from someone you love?" It sounds like you've attempted to discuss your concerns about deception regarding several things related to porn. Do you think he is lying and hiding other things from you? Or do you feel that you have a good, open and honest relationship about everything except the porn?

You mentioned that you were the first woman in his life, and the first girl he's ever been with. What you've described sounds in many respects like adolescent behavior and not that of a mature individual. He may see counseling as a threat rather than a way to improve his knowledge and his relationship with you. What do you think are the barriers to his getting counseling? How have you presented the concept to him?

Sorry to hit you with so many questions, but my sense is that you want to explore this and talk about it and get some advice. The more we understand your situation, the more we can help. I'm also going to ask one of my colleagues who has more knowledge about sexual behaviors to also take a look at your post.

Again, thanks for writing and we're looking forward to hearing more from you.

Take good care,
Pat

February 24, 2010 - 5:22pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Thank you for your reply!

You're right I'm concerned about his addiction and our relationship.

Yes, I've tried talking to him. I tried to be very calm, open and understanding when I confront him. I don't accuse him. I ask 'What's this doing here?' He'll quickly reply with a lie and then deny that it's his. I'll try to affirm that I didn't ask if it's his or accuse him. I know he's lying so I just say, Ok and walk away because he lied. When I do that he says things such as, See you don't believe me. Then it all goes down from there. There's two sides to every story and I'm sure if he was to explain this he'd say I was snooping through his things to find things to accuse him of.

I don't think he lies to me about other things. However because he lies about the porn it makes me question what else he could be lying about.

Yes, we have a good, open and honest relationship. I just can't confront him about anything because it's too much of an accusation and he'll think I'm trying to find things to fault him on.

I can certainly understand where you mentioned his behavior. I can see that. I don't know if it's just my man but it's like he doesn't know he has a sense or responsibilities and priorites as a husband and father.

With couseling I've said, I'd like to try couseling because I think it'll help us understand each other and be able to communicate that. However he thinks couseling is a joke. Like it's just a person who likes listening and dealing with drama.

Thank you for asking questions to help clarify my situation!

February 25, 2010 - 12:58pm
(reply to married4-10yrs)

Hi,
It sounds like Pat has provided some great "food for thought", and I just read your last response and wanted to comment, too.

From your post, it sounds like your husband has all of his bases covered, with none of the responsibility and none of the guilt. It is all someone else's problem. He has created this relationship with you that includes your not being able to ask him any questions or he gets mad/lies/denies...or worse puts the blame back on you that you are snooping (and all of the negative connotation that goes along with it). This is does not sound like an open, honest relationship, but sounds like he has some behavior patterns that are manipulating, and has become a cycle that sounds very frustrating! If he feels that you are trying to find fault with him, and you have agreed with this sentiment (because you "can't confront him about anything"), then this does not sound like a relationship built on trust anymore, either. Not that it's not there, just more manipulating behavior. Lastly, he is refusing to have any responsibilities as a husband or father...in what ways? All of these combined do not sound like a healthy relationship (you asked if it is just "your man"), and it sounds like something is truly going on with him that he needs help.

If he refuses counseling (another sign of manipulation...not only does he refuse to talk about anything confrontational, won't take responsibility...but then any help that is offered, he thinks is a joke. He's got this game won!), then have you thought about going to counseling just by yourself? This must be very frustrating to be in this situation (and I'm sure my words have been equally frustrating to read), but counseling could really help you talk about these issues and see what role you are playing in his game; how you may inadvertently be enabling his behavior, and until you identify your actions, you may not be able to help him stop his negative cycles.

What are your thoughts?

February 25, 2010 - 2:26pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

You're right, counseling for me would probably help me see why I have "hope" left in this when it's pretty obvious that it's one-sided. In a way I feel like I haven't done everything I could or should be to make this work. I am afraid to give up and accept that this marriage was a failure.

I completely see what you're saying and I can see how he fits the bill. However some part of me can't believe that he'd be like that or that he is doing that. I can see that I can/am in denial about how he views me and our relationship. In my eyes, I stereo-type manipulation, lies, secrets and all those negatives as someone who show signs of being a jerk. But I can't accept my husband is like that because I do see his gentle side and his fears. In some way it's blinded me from seeing what others see or say.

And may be couseling for me may help me find the underlying emotion of why I feel like I need this relationship. But I can't exactly tell my husband I'm going to get counseling because he'd say (and he has before when I mention this) "You're so gullible. It's fake. Why do you believe that?" In some ways I don't blame him for us. I blame myself. I may have been too controling, I didn't trust him, I don't give him space and may be that is why he does this. I nag him a lot because he's forgetful.

There are always two sides to every story and my concern is that it could be my fault too. I know I can only fix me and not him so I only focus on me and what's wrong with me and how I can adjust to help things become better.

February 25, 2010 - 4:28pm
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