This post is attributed to my friend Camille, who has bravely and loving shared her experience, and feelings on the matter.
*If you haven’t already read the first part of this post, check it out HERE
Once again , here are some of the signs and red flags that may be caused by your husband viewing with pornography
These are the signs that Camille caught before and after Trevor told her.
Self isolating. Avoid social gatherings, don’t like being around other people
Become more critical of the way you do things: This could be how you take care of the children, care for the house, talk etc.
Short tempered or irritable
Helps around the house less or not at all
Pornography numbs the soul, so they may try to fill the void with mindless activities like more time playing video games, more time watching TV, more time on the computer or playing games on their cell phone.
Won’t look at you in the eyes
Is bored during church related meetings/activities
Less interested in things you would like to do
Sleeps more/sleeps less
Puts less effort into their work
Guilt trips you into intimacy.
isolates themselves from family
Your conversations seem lackluster
Telling frequent white lies to others (and you)
>>>>Ultimately YOU know your spouse best, YOU know when something is off, or out of the ordinary. When something in your relationship feels off, and it’s for none of the usual reason, you have every right to communicate these concerns to your spouse. They should not get angry by you asking this. If they get defensive, that could be another red flag. But be sensitive in your approach, don’t accuse and attack.
WAYS TO HANDLE THE SITUATION
Even if you only have a “feeling” that is enough. Anything that is causing a rift in your marriage needs to be addressed.
This is a difficult topic to confess to. 98 times out of 100 your husband never wanted to hurt you. They had a moment of weakness or they innocently came across it once and couldn’t stop. They love you. This being the case it is very difficult for them to bring the matter up. The more directly you phrase your question(s) the easier it will be for him to be honest. Don’t make you questions vague.
What NOT to say (if you believe pornography is the issue)
“Is there anything you need to tell me?”
“Has something been bothering you?”
“Is anything on your mind?”
“Are you struggling with anything morally?”
These questions are vague, and easy for them to ‘chicken out” per say.
Try this instead
“I feel something is off, I want to be there for each other. Have you looked at porn recently?”
“I want to be there for you. When was the last time you viewed porn?”
“Have you viewed porn recently?”
*You add the flowery words around the question that work in your relationship. But the part that is easiest for men is the direct question. “Have you looked at porn recently?”
It’s not the end
If your husband is struggling then this is an area that my friend and I can only say so much. First your husband needs to be willing to change his behavior He needs to speak to someone holding the proper authority, your bishop or Stake President. I (Camille) was very fortunate that my husband felt remorse, and wanted to fix our relationship. I realize that this is not the case in every situation. All I can say is that although it is a lonely and painful journey, you MUST keep yourself close to the Savior. You’re husband’s behavior does not reflect who YOU are. So be sure that you continue to be your best self, to rely on the Lord, and trust that he loves you. Set boundaries, and be firm in how you are to be treated by your spouse, especially how he is to treat you around your children. Seek the guidance and comfort of church leaders, family or friends. Or anonymous support groups. It’s important to keep taking care of yourself, and doing things that you enjoy, and that make you happy. Here are some key things that you can do.
1. KNOW that it is not your fault! It has nothing to do with your appearance, or who you are.
2. Talk to someone. You obviously don’t want everyone in your circle of friends to know your home situation. And that’s understandable. But you need to talk to someone, holding it inside will only cause the hurt to fester. Camille would speak to her bishop. She and her husband both had bi-weekly interviews with their Bishop. “There were times I wanted to call my mom, but I didn’t want her opinion of Trevor to be tainted. I know this may not be the best course for everyone, but for me looking back I’m glad I didn’t. I did however confide in a friend who’s husband also struggled with the same thing. We were able to cry, hug and give comfort to each other. These conversations were healing.”
3. Read talks and articles on the LDS website (my favorite being this one) and immerse yourself in the scriptures, and pray.
Camille and I both hope this was helpful to at least one person out there. It’s something I feel very strongly about, and forgive me but I daresay that so many women in the LDS community are naive or ignorant of growing commonality of this problem. I’m not encouraging to become sceptic or accusatory of your husbands, but to NOT turn the other cheek assuming that “oh will never happen in our family” Always have open and honest communication on this topic and EVERY topic. Make each other feel safe and loved to talk about anything. I love you all, and thanks for reading!