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How To Navigate Betrayal After Pornography


May 16, 2024

The revelation that your spouse has betrayed you through pornography has shocked your life in many ways, including your emotions, your body image, your history as a couple, and your trust. You have been betrayed by your best friend. What now?

It is tempting to look at your marriage now in a before, during, and after framework. Before the discovery of your spouse’s secret life, questions arise. Was it all a lie? Can I trust anything about our past? Before you knew, everything seemed normal. Now you’re not so sure. You may struggle to look back on your marital history, and wonder if it is tainted beyond recognition. Because living a secret life involves lying, to themselves and to you. An artificial reality was created.

Now that reality comes crashing down like the house of cards it was. The emotions of anger, doubt, and confusion are normal as you deal with this new reality. What about during his secret life? Questioning everything about the past isn’t going to be helpful. It wasn’t all a lie. Servicing a secret life requires some attention, but not all of it all of the time. As referenced in the previous article, you already know about his usage of the material, and the time he spent on viewing it. 

After The Discovery

You’re dealing with “after” the discovery now. You’ve gathered the info you needed about how this addiction began, how he serviced the addiction, how often & where he serviced it. Now it’s time for you to begin to understand some of the pitfalls to avoid after having discovered your spouse’s secret life.

Dr. Mark Laaser writes on page 163 in his book, Faithful & True, “the pain of sexual addiction for those who are in a relationship with a sex addict is undeniable.”  You can find resources by Dr. Laaser on his website https://www.faithfulandtrue.com/.

Let’s deal with your feelings, beliefs, and thoughts about your spouse’s betrayal.

  • I’m not good enough! If I were, he wouldn’t have gone looking at other women. 
  • If he loved me, he wouldn’t have been looking at that stuff.
  • I’m too embarrassed to tell any of my friends what I’ve found out.
  • If I would’ve been better at satisfying him, this wouldn’t have happened.

False Belief #1: I’m not good enough! If I were, he wouldn’t have gone looking at other women.

You being good enough or not, has nothing to do with his choice to look at other women. The most destructive behavior he developed is objectification. Objectification is the behavior where a person creates a perfect mental sexual fantasy life. He is the star of the show, and the other women he fantasizes about do everything perfectly just the way he likes it. It is fantasy, not realistic in the least. However, it indulges his insecurities and fears. He is never told “No.” You’ve always been good enough, he just expects something that will never happen.

False Belief #2: If he loved me, he wouldn’t have been looking at pornography.

He does love you. Betrayal isn’t about not loving someone. It is about allowing yourself to believe you can love your spouse, and also love others at the same time. We see this played out in the Christian life. Scripture is full of examples of believers loving God, but also having idols. An idol is a replacement for your allegiance. You want to be loyal to something other than God. But no believer thinks about abandoning God for the idol, they want both. So it is with your spouse.

If we’re being honest about betrayal, we are more intimately familiar with it than we would like to admit to ourselves. Betrayal is familiar to us, and on a regular basis. I am NOT condoning your spouse’s decision to betray you or the marriage! I am suggesting betrayal is a personal experience we all engage in. If repentance is genuine, there is forgiveness for the believer who betrays God. Then there is also forgiveness for your spouse if his repentance is genuine. 

False Belief #3: I’m too embarrassed to tell my friends what I’ve found out.

The first two false beliefs reinforce this false belief that I am a failure as a wife. I have done something wrong for my husband to do this to me. I’m afraid of what others will think when they find out what my husband has done, and what our marriage really is: unhealthy & insecure. But remember the stats on pornography/sex addiction, they are staggering. The odds are in your favor that your friends have also been betrayed by their spouse, or know of someone who has been betrayed. You are most certainly not alone in your experience. More importantly though, your friends are there for you in times like these. If they are not, you need new friends! Trust that they will be compassionate & consoling to you in your pain. 

False Belief #4: If I would’ve been better at satisfying him, this wouldn’t have happened. 

No amount of sexually satisfying your husband would have prevented his betrayal. Remember objectification? He lives in a perfect fantasy world where he gets everything perfectly just the way he likes it. He’s never told “no,” he’s never rejected, never turned down, and his fantasy girl does everything he asks of her. This is not realistic. His insecurities, and selfishness is the issue, not your ability to satisfy him. As he works on becoming a more secure individual, dealing with his issues of rejection, disappointment, and selfishness, your marital sex life can become healthy, whole, and very satisfying for the both of you.

Related: I Just Found My Husband Watching Porn! Now What?

Betrayal is a painful, confusing, and devastating assault on our personal security, worth, and value as a spouse. It seems so personal because it is personal. We trusted our spouse was the one person who would never do this.

But betrayal really isn’t about you. It’s about the other person! It reveals something to us about them!

When something like this happens, you learn something about your spouse that needs to be addressed. This can help him become who he is meant to be. It doesn’t feel like it, but it can be a blessing in disguise. With hard work in therapy, your husband can become a loyal, trustworthy, and integral man. The man you want to be married to!

If you would like to know more about how to heal from spousal betrayal, give us a call.

Jeffrey Scogin
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