GuardUrEyes
A website for Jews struggling to maintain their moral purity in today's world
  GUE Home New Website Forum Email List Stories Tips Hotline 12 Steps Filters Links FAQ Help Us Kosher Isle Contact  

 

The following stories were written by women who are/were married to porn addicts

 

Mainly taken from the Forum at www.jewishsexuality.com

 

See here for some advice to women dealing with these problems. Also, there are chapters in the SLAA books on partnerships which will help couples cope with this together in the most constructive way. Two suggested books are "Sex and Love Addiction (SLAA) Anonymous" and (2) "Cybersex Unhooked". Both are available here.

 


 

Click here for an inspiring story of recovery written by a non-Jewish couple. The wife of the addict tells the story from her point of view.
 


I was married for 4 years. The beginning was great but then things began to go bad. He started looking at pornography. We stopped having relations, which destroyed me, he stopped talking to me and his hate for himself turned on me. it go so bad that i thought i was going crazy, so bad was his hostility, his hatred for his affliction that i couldn't take it anymore so i took our daughter and left. 1.5 years later we got a divorce.

Four years down the road after the divorce and i have not seen such a wonderful father as my ex-husband. He has changed completely, a new person, out of himself and not in on himself, loving, kind, happy and the most important thing, not intense. He once said to me that his addiction was intensity everything else was the result of that. i asked him how did he change and he said, a lot of hard work, counseling, following the 12 steps, work, mussar, work and more work, forgiveness, work and work. He said he has been trying since the age of 12 to stop acting out, and the only thing that worked was understanding himself, 12 steps and work. We won't be getting back together but i respect him and think that my daughter is very lucky to have him as her father. Ladies, you must realize that it is an addiction, you must understand that an addict has only one way out and that is the 12 steps and hard work. If he wants to stop, he must take responsibility, and he may not so this until he hits rock bottom, what ever that means for each individual. But in the end, it is a commitment to the program and damn hard, honest work.


I caught my husband too. I told him, "Either the computer leaves the house or I do!" He tried to convince me that he would stop, but I held my ground. So he sold the computer and I still have my husband. That was five years ago. Now that they have filters, we agreed to buy a new computer "for the kids" but with the condition that only I know the filter's code so that the bad stuff won't be seen. I also made by husband have his employer download a filter for the computrs at the office where he works. It wasn't simple to convince them, and my husband wasn't happy about being the office "Boy Scout" ruining things for the rest of the guys, but he did it and I think he is proud of it now. So my advice is - be strong, girls - don't back down, don't take a passive victim attitude - if you want your man you have to fight for him, even if you have to scratch out the eyes of your computer rival and its harem of adulterous lovers.


Dear addicts

My husband was so bold and so over-confident that he behaved as if he ruled the world and thought he was infallible. He even performed his addiction in front of my eyes without shame. For many years of our marriage he would turn on the computer after the kids had gone to bed and effectively ran raw sewage through our home with no shame whatsoever, even the religious books in our cupboards didn't make him flinch or stop for second. If I would come down and tell him to turn off the computer and come upstairs, he would talk to me as if I was his child and say "go to bed - I'm coming later." He wouldn't turn up of course, he would stay up all night - night after night after night - until shabbos came and he went to shul. Often he would be chazan and everyone would compliment him and smile at me and the kids and say how lucky we were. It made me suspicious of all mankind. At home he would show his true self. On Friday night he slept by the table and never had any time for the kids whatsoever, often he was so finished from the week he would end up on the sofa all night get up early for shul and after lunch he would sleep for ages to re-charge his batteries for the porn-filled week ahead. I screamed, shouted, behaved like a mad desparate woman and carried around so much pain I cannot begin to express its depth - and all the while he carried on. He found me unbelievably boring and I found him selfish, self gratifying, perverted and abusive. I then decided to refuse anything I felt was not kosher and not right - I explained to him my soul was suffering - I then became extremely boring - overnight I became a granny in his eyes, but I stuck to it. One day when I was due to go to mikvah - I looked at him in the kitchen and smiling I told him the news (he never counted - after all he didn't really care enough), He laughed and said "you care that much?" I said "don't you?" I then went very miserable and he said he hadn't really meant it. He tried to persuade me to go but I refused and he then got angry and verbalized the awful truth - which I knew already but it sounded so awful when it was actually said. He said "he didn't actually need me anymore anyway and I meant nothing to him and with that he switched on the computer. I stopped going to the mikvah altogether and that year I enrolled on a university degree. It demanded so much of my attention it literally saved me and my marriage - if I hadn't shifted my attention I would be divorced by now - my intention was to get more qualified so I could get a good job and find a way of getting out of this marriage and the constant pain. By the end of a whole year of separate lives we somehow got back to together with lots of promises that things would be different.......but gradually they got worse, he started using the internet all day as well as all night and time had no meaning - he could be there for hours on end. One day my daughter complained that when she got home from school "Daddy had opened the door in his underpants." Apparently he had forgotten the time she was due home from school. Thank goodness he was not a child molester of any type - and was actually very regretful that this had happened, it was clearly a direct (though unacceptable) result of his addiction. On another occasion my son walked into the living room and just as he was about to pass the computer my husbands hand gave him a firm push backwards to stop him in his tracks and stop our little tzadik from seeing harmful material. I had just been serving supper (which he never had time to join us all for as usual) and he thought we were all in the kitchen and amazingly he took the risk of contaminating his own children - his addiction was so strong it was just unbelievable. I tried explaining to him that he had a serious problem but it was to no avail as he believed he didn't and he could handle it.

He didn't want to work, preferring to live poorly and on state handouts, he didn't want to attend to the house or garden - happily leaving everything to fall into neglect and didn't care if I had to attend to these things alone. The only thing he seemed to go on and on about was having more children. "are you nuts - how can you bring more children into such an unhappy, dysfunctional home" I would say. Yet against all odds Boruch Hashem I have been given the most wonderful children who I have worked so hard to protect - endlessly throwing filth in the bin wherever I found it. He was very careless, he would leave it everywhere.

Last year I fell pregnant by accident and I immediately ran to have an abortion - I just couldn't face the idea of prolonging the torture of living with him. I told him, but although he said he would prefer me not to - he was staring at the computer whilst he said it. I saw my whole future ahead of me at that moment and quickly went on my way to the Mary Stopes Building. I comforted myself with the knowledge that I was only six weeks gone and Hashem knew how much I had suffered.

This year my husband fell ill with deep depression and has been on various SSRI's, all of which haven't worked at all - I have just finished my degree and I've had to find the resources within me to take care of him. If love were a bank account - well, he was already well overdrawn!! At times I've not been able to manage him at all. He now shuns the computer and can't bear to look at it. This was not a result of sudden strength of character, but due to being too ill, suffering too much and being full of shame, remorse, regret and pain. This is not the first time he has been depressed - he had it 10 years ago as well and went through the same process before returning to good health (restored to him by seeing a kabbalist in Israel), he then went back again to his addiction..........

He is again in Israel now - he's due back tomorrow. He's been with Rav Leon in Bnei Brak doing tikkunim. He sounds a lot better on the phone and he ferverently says he wishes he could get back to his "old self" meaning he wishes he could feel healthy. I yell down the phone at him "I didn't like your old self - don't dare bring him back." I still have a lot of anger and pain, he hasn't phoned much whilst he's been away and that wouldn't bother me too much - only he phoned me everyday when he went on holiday to Israel several years ago. I later learned that he wasn't actually in Israel at all - he was in Bangkok and didn't want me to find out. So I keep thinking about the contrast. Incidentally, we don't have any relatives in Bangkok!!

I hope this story helps others - so please feel free to pass it around - it might make another man who is addicted understand the terrible pain he brings to his own family and the terrible price of his addiction.

Esther.


 

Thank you from all of my heart. You told my painful story for me, with different details of course, but the same thing happened to me, only we got a divorce. My former husband hardly ever see his children. He is probably still addicted. I lived three years with this nightmare and the pain has been stuck in my heart but it helps knoing there are others and maybe I can help other women too like you are doing by telling them not to blame themselves, this is a disease not something that happens because we are not attractive enough for our husbands - in fact I am considered a pretty woman with lots of offers, but it is a terrible disease and women must learn not to punish themselves by staying in empty marriages, but have the strength to know that they can start over again.
 


 

 When I discovered that my former husband was watching pornography for hours on end in our study at home, I took a hammer and smashed smashed smashed the computer. That didn't stop him from watching on his laptop and cellular phone. Our eleven year marriage ended in an angry divorce and who knows what damage it has had on our kids? And this is a religious man who was a bigshot at shul and a big giver to charity. When I poured out my heart to our rabbi, he said at least my husband didn't have another woman, but it was just as if he had. I felt he wasn't a part of me anymore. He made it out like it was all my problem and that I should accept him for who he was and be grateful that he wasn't having an affair, just like the rabbi said. But I couldn't take the betrayal I felt. I don't want to marry again. As far as I am concerned men are all liars.

 


  

I lost my husband to the Internet. For a whole year, I had a funny feeling. Even though he was in the house, he seemed to disappear. He said he was "working" on the computer day and night. It turned out he was addicted to Internet porn. It was like he was having an affair with a mistress right under our roof. Unfortunately I found out to late. He was already gone after some other woman before I could throw the computer out of the house. I threw it out anyway to make sure the same thing didn't happen with my kids. Look out!

 


 

You have my sympathy. It happened to me also.

 


I went through it too. I still am. I know what you feel. The humiliation is awful. You have to realize that your husband has a sickness, a terrible sickness that has no cure unless he is willing to make very big chances in his life which my husband has never been able to do. We stayed married because of the kids and because I don't want to start over again. When we make love I never know if he is thinking about me or some porn star but I try to tell myself that he is a mental cripple and not responsible for his sickness and I try to give him the love he needs to break away from his addiction which a psychiatrist has termed a need for love he didn't receive as a child. I pray a lot that God help the both of us. I have heard of success stories and I am hoping it will happen to us. If it is any help, you should know that there are thousands of betrayed wives out there like you and me who have lost all intimacy in their marriages because of the Internet. Be strong and God will help you too.

 

 

Written by a man, in regards to his wife and marriage...

 

I want to thank you all for highlighting the suffering that wives go through. Unfortunately I know this first hand, as someone who has given in to his porn addiction for most of my  marriage. My wife had 'caught' me once, years ago, in what I claimed was a one time incident, however I'm sure that through her intuition and the innate kedusha of her neshoma she knows that there's more to it. She feels no intimacy from me - how can she, when all of my being is tied up in this ever deepening struggle. I've turned distant, cold, and even emotionally abusive as a result of my actions. This is not the real me, but I feel powerless to go back and find my true loving, considerate self

I've also succumbed to the inevitable depression that results from the porn surfing, masturbation, and worse, that I've been a prisoner to. I always carry around guilt and the feeling that I will be found out for what I am and lose everything that I cherish and is most dear to me, my wife, kids, job, etc. The depression and anxiety led me to seek medical help and I am now on SSRIs. All this without once admitting to myself or anyone else that I have an addiction that I am a slave to.

 

 

 

 

This story, written by a man about his recovery, highlights the very important role that a wife plays in the husbandís recovery by refusing to accept her husband's behavior and insisting that he change.

 

Excerpts from the "Feature Story" on our site....

 

... One Purim, some eight years into our marriage, I got drunk. I was reading Psalms and I cried and cried to G-d, like never before, to help me out of the bottomless pit I felt I could never leave. That very day, my wife was browsing through pictures we had taken from Purim on my computer and she happened upon pictures of porn. She confronted me that night about it and I felt that the time had come to tell her all. I was expecting that when she heard my whole story, and how young I had started doing these things, she would accept me for who I was. But G-d had heard my cries that day and had determined otherwise. My wife reacted with disgust and anger, albeit with some understanding as well, but she cried for days. My wife refused to accept that this was who I was and that this was who she had married, and she forced me to re-examine that which I had already give up on ever conquering.

 

Broken, threatened with divorce and yet not believing I could ever stop, I had finally "hit bottom". I wrote to the renowned religious psychiatrist, Rabbi Avraham Twersky, the author of many books and a leader in dealing with alcoholic addictions, and I asked him if there was anything I could do to break free. Here is what he answered:

 

"Your case is not unusual. I say this because I can tell you what works and what does not work. Sexual compulsions come in a variety of ways, but the common denominator is that the person has a compulsion which he finds it very difficult to resist. He tries all kinds of ways (like you did) but nothing works, including marriage. This kind of compulsion is essentially an addiction. The only thing that works, in my experience, is participation in a 12-step recovery program similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is called either Sexaholic Anonymous or Sex & Love Anonymous. They have meetings everywhere, including Israel. You should be able to locate a meeting via the internet.

 

There are many excuses for not attending meetings. What happens if someone sees me? The bottom line is, if a person wishes to be cured from cancer, he'll do anything. If one wishes to overcome a destructive sexual addiction, nothing should stand in the way. There are two important books to read. (1) Sex and Love Addiction (SLAA) Anonymous and (2) Cybersex Unhooked. Both are available at www.hazelden.org/bookplace. Get these books and you'll find out what it takes to free yourself of this problem. Psychotherapy is the frosting on the cake, but the 12 step program is the cake. When you attend SLAA meetings, you may be able to find the name of a competent therapist. Many psychiatrists and psychologists have not been trained in addiction.

       

The particular type of sexual compulsion does not make much difference. A beer drinker can be as alcoholic as a whiskey drinker. The core problem is the inability to restrain oneself from doing something that one knows he should not be doing but appears powerless to control it. A number of religious people have been able to do with the 12 step program what they were not able to do with mussar (religious ethical texts). Perhaps this is because of the group support. We may learn mussar together, but we don't practice it together, which is what happens in a 12 step meeting. Read the books. There is a book "12 steps and 12 traditions" which describes the 12 steps. It's worth reading. Although it was written about alcoholism, one just substitutes the particular compulsion in place of "alcohol."

A. Twerski"

 

Rabbi Twerski's answer made me realize for the first time that I was dealing with a serious addiction. I bought the books he suggested and began to learn about conquering addictions. My wife was supportive but she didn't want me going to the SLAA meetings. For about 8 months I struggled with it, and I promised my wife that I had changed, but I slowly fell back into it, especially when I got high speed internet. Finally, feeling that this fooling myself (and my wife) can't go on anymore, I felt I had to do something drastic. I packed a few items and ran away from my home to the Kever of Shimon Hatzadik in Jerusalem. I left my wife a note that I might be gone a month. I felt I had to break my yetzer hara and I planned on davening and learning Torah a whole day at that site for about a month, and sleeping on the stone benches over there, until I became a true Ba'al Teshuva. That night, the first night of Chanukah, in the cave, alone, as the cold rain fell outside, I felt so dried out from a whole day of davening and learning and I knew I wouldn't be able to stay there much longer. Also, I realized how much pain I must be causing my wife, that I won't be lighting with the family, and I so I cried and cried by Shimon Hatzadik's Kever for Hashem to help me truly change, and I came home. At that point I had to tell my wife the truth, which was that I hadn't fully changed and had fallen back to my old ways, and that is why I had run away. Again she took it very hard and cried a lot, but this was my salvation! I had no choice but to change!  

After taking advice from my spiritual advisor again, I began psychotherapy with a religious psychiatrist. From that point on, I really had a strong determination to change. But my G-d, was it hard! He tried to teach me the 12 steps, how to "let go and let G-d", and how to be happy with what I had. We tried meditation techniques. We learned from the Holy texts. Slowly I began to learn control. But he was shocked at the intensity of my addiction. I was intensely sexually aroused, by the slightest things. I couldnít even walk in a normal, religious street without becoming aroused. I had messed up my mind so bad, over so many years of seeking stimulation from almost everything I saw.

 

Anyway, after almost a year of psychotherapy I was showing good control, but the obsessions were still there, like a monster ready to burst out of the cage. Finally he suggested that I be evaluated for medication by a prominent, non-religious psychologist who was well acquainted with this field. When I met with him and explained the intensity of my obsessions, he diagnosed me with "hyper-sexuality" and suggested that I take special shots (Decapeptyl, which in the United States is marketed as Trelstar). These shots would rid me altogether of sexual desire. He said that the shots would allow me to feel a new freedom in my life. (This treatment is routinely given in Israel to convicted serial rapists and pedophiles. The shots reduce the testosterone in the body to zero, removing all sexual desire. There are almost no side effects). The psychologist also offered me the option of SSRI medication, but he said he did not believe that the medication would be enough to really help me break free.

 

Understandably however, my wife was virulently against me taking the shots. Besides the loss of intimacy that it would cause us, she felt I should be working on myself to slowly get rid of the garbage, instead of just closing the door on the garbage and leaving it all there. Having no choice, I started with the SSRI medication that he had suggested (Recital, Cipromil, Lustral), twice a day. After a while, together with my determination to break free and the psychotherapy, it really did begin to help. The obsessions began to lessen somewhat. They were still there, but were more controllable (and the side effects of the medication are negligible). It seems that the medicine helped me in my struggle, by taking an "edge" off of the deep depression and bottomless void that I used to feel when I was in desperate need of a "fix". After another few months, I felt strong enough to stop the psychotherapy altogether.

 

Today, I am happy to say that I have been free from the pornography addiction and masturbation for more than three years. About two years after breaking free, when my wife was about to give birth, I became afraid again. I knew I would have to be "cold turkey" for about 6 weeks and I had never attempted total abstinence for more than two weeks (when my wife was periodically not available to me for halachic reasons). So I gathered the courage and wrote again to Rabbi Twersky again asking him for advice on how I would possibly manage! Here was his answer:

At one time, it seemed like 2 hours was impossible. You progressed so that two weeks abstinence is possible (when your wife isn't available). Continue the methods you are using, but instead of thinking 6 weeks, think, "Just today I have to control," and that is feasible. You can't do anything today about what is going to be tomorrow, so don't take it on. Had you been in SLA they would have told you that the only success is by taking just one day at a time.
Hatzlacha.     twerski

 

To my own amazement, I made it through the 6 weeks! Obviously, I was extra careful to guard my eyes during that time, and it really helped a lot. This major test did a lot to prove to me that I was truly free from my insidious addiction. Today, I have learned to guard my eyes where ever I go. I have learned to give up these crazy desires to G-d. I feel so free today, compared to the obsessed and compulsive person I used to  be.

 

The medicine alone however, would not have been enough. I know this because I know myself only too well. The prominent, non-religious psychologist was indeed right. However, he had underestimated the power of determination, religious belief and prayer. He underestimated the power of G-d to take his people out of Egypt against all odds. Besides the above methods, I also continued using vows to make fences for myself, and I continue this practice until this day. For example, I vowed not to browse the internet unless my wife was in the room with me and not to go to inappropriate sites, I vowed not to watch movies with immodestly dressed women, I vowed not to open non-religious newspapers and magazines while alone (maybe for others this was Ok, but for me it was poison, like a drug to my mind--analogous to someone who is quitting smoking who smells tobacco smoke). I vowed that every time I masturbated I would need to go to a "Mikva", a ritual bath, as well as give a large donation to charity. All these vows helped me tremendously, and I was slowly able to break free completely from the addiction. (In Judaism, vows are a very serious thing. I don't suggest anyone use vows unless they know they will be able to keep them).

 

I also began to use a fool-proof internet filter to block my internet access. I knew I would never be able to stay clean with open internet access. It is too easily accessible and that makes it basically impossible to resist.

 

Anyway, I am happy to say that with G-dís help, with the psychotherapy, prayer, determination, vows and the medication, and last but not at all least, my wife's strong determination that I change, that which I always believed was impossible--has actually happened. TODAY I AM FREE. And you can be too. G-d heard my cries, and he hears the cries inside the hearts of so many of his people who yearn to be free.

 

Talk to G-d about getting started. You will see miracles.

 

May G-d save his people from the tremendous power of desire that fills the world today, and may we learn to give our desires over to G-d and replace them with true love for him. Amen.