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My Porn-Addicted Husband Won’t Stop Lying To Me

by | Betrayal Trauma

This episode is Part One of Anne’s interview with Amy Kate.
Part One: My Porn-Addicted Husband Won’t Stop Lying To Me (this episode)
Part Two: 4 Ways Your Husband is Emotionally Abusive
No matter how much money we spend on treatment programs, including 12-step programs, rehab centers, sex addiction therapy, and counseling, my porn-addicted husband won’t stop – and he keeps lying to me. It’s harming our children and it’s destroying our marriage. Help! Is this your story? You’re not alone.

Does Addiction Treatment Work For Pornography Use?

On The BTR.ORG Podcast, Amy Kate shares her heartbreaking experiences. She gave her second husband every opportunity to change. His emotionally abusive behaviors broke through the dam after Amy Kate discovered his affair. She gave him more time to change. But in the end Amy Kate had to reconcile that the man she thought she married was not safe and wasn’t going to choose to change.

So why, after all of the time and sacrifices she made to delay her divorce and put him through rehab, did he go right back to his abusive behaviors?

Her Story is Our Story

Amy Kate’s experience is unique to her, but many betrayed wives have been through similar scenarios. It is essential for women to know that they cannot cause, cure, or control their husband’s secret pornography use.

He uses porn because he wants to. It has nothing to do with you. You are enough, you are precious, and you deserve love and respect.

The Heart of The Problem: Not Just Addiction

Tragically, most therapists and clergy never label the problem for what it is: abuse.

Abusers will continue trying to treat the pornography usage, but the root of their decisions is not addiction, it is abusive thinking. That is why addiction programs do not stop men from returning to their sexual acting-out and relationally abusive behaviors.

Pornography Use Is Never a “Stand-Alone” Issue

He was still lying to me, he was angry, he was blaming me for stuff, we were having circular conversations that were making me feel insane. I did not know my reality. Is what he just said true? Am I going crazy?

Amy Kate, member of the BTR.ORG Community

When professionals identify pornography use and other sexual acting-out behaviors as the sole issue, they enable abusers to keep abusing.

Pornography use in and of itself is abusive. But additionally, it is never a stand-alone issue.

Abusive Behaviors That Accompany Pornography Use

Common abusive behaviors that pornography users will exhibit are:

  • Gaslighting
  • Chronic lying and manipulation
  • Intimidation and threats
  • Sexual coercion
  • Marital rape
  • Covert physical abuse
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Emotional abandonment
  • Passive-aggressive communication as a tactic to control
  • Financial control
  • Spiritual abuse

This is My Situation! What Do I Do?

At BTR, we understand how devastating it is when addiction treatment programs don’t work for your partner. It is sickeningly frustrating when he won’t change.

His diagnosis is incomplete. He’s an abuser. He can only change if his abusive thinking and behavior is addressed and changed.

At BTR, your safety comes first. Work toward establishing safety boundaries. This is the first step to healing and will help you to begin to feel peace again.

What Are Boundaries & How Do I Set Them?

Boundaries are not statements, ultimatums, or requests. Boundaries are actions that you take. They help you live a healthy life, safe from others’ choices.

You don’t have to tell anyone your boundaries. Your abuser doesn’t have to “agree” for your boundaries to be valid.

You can set these boundaries around your partner’s pornography use:

  • No pornographic material in the house
  • Physical separation until your partner has addressed the abuse
  • Refusal to engage in sexual contact
  • Refusal to allow him to use family computers/tablets/phones

You can set these boundaries for your own healing:

  • Daily self-care
  • Daily positive affirmations
  • Resting & eating when you need to
  • Getting a full check-up from your OB-GYN
  • Sharing your story with a safe person
  • Giving yourself permission to separate or divorce

BTR.ORG Is Here For You

Victims find peace and healing when they have a safe place to process trauma. You don’t have to do this alone. You may have questions, feelings, experiences, and emotions that you need to express.

Attend a BTR.ORG Group Session today.

Full Transcript:

Anne (00:00):
Welcome to btr.org. This is Anne.
Today we have Amy Kate, an advocate for partners of those with sexual addictions and a survivor of two marriages that ended due to sexual addiction. She has six awesome kids. Welcome, Amy Kate. We’re going to talk to you a little bit about your personal story, so we know that you went through two marriages with sex addiction. Let’s focus on the second marriage and what happened there. Can you talk to me about what your life was like before that D-day with your second spouse?

Amy Kate (03:47):
I divorced my first husband who was a porn addict. Then I met this guy who was everything that I never imagined existed. He was soft, he was sweet, he was feminine, but not in a weird way. He was just this really super awesome, amazing guy. I was not actually a Christian at the time, neither was he. We dated for a couple of years and then we bought a house together and we went to church and we both got saved in that church, and when we got saved, we got convicted for living together, so we got married. I had already had six children from my first marriage and he was a very good stepdad. My children were rather young. It was a pretty normal life. I had the kind of relationship that my friends were jealous of because my husband was always home. He would do chores.

“He looked like this model man”

(04:52):
He didn’t leave his underwear on the floor. He looked like this model man, and life was good. I had all kinds of health problems, but even despite all that life was just good. Then in 2010, after a couple major surgeries and a foreclosure on my house, we moved and everything just kind of changed within the relationship. He was very different and I couldn’t figure out why. Of course, I thought it was me. Well, I thought it was me or my kids because I couldn’t possibly be him, and so I kind of just started creating my own world outside of him. I had been a stay-at-home mom, which I loved, but I opened up a photography studio, so we were a pretty normal couple. We didn’t go to church, which was unfortunate. I kept trying to get him to try new churches, but he was very resistant, and as time progressed, he got more and more distant.

“I started seeing more anger”

(05:54):
I started seeing more anger and our sex life pretty much almost disappeared. Then one day, September 20th, 2012, I was on his computer. I had all his passwords and he had all mine. We had nothing to hide, so I looked at his computer history, not really sure why I was looking at his computer history. He swore that he never watched porn and I believed him. I saw a bunch of the meetup groups and in his history and all the profiles that he looked at were female, and I thought that’s really weird, but I kind of brushed it off thinking that he was looking for a tech meetup group. He’s a tech guy. As I kept looking and seeing all these female profiles, it was literally just like a light bulb went off and I out loud to myself, said, my husband’s having an affair, but I couldn’t see anything, so I ended up combing through his computer trying to find something and I couldn’t find anything, and so then I went upstairs and I got his phone and I started looking through the phone and I didn’t see anything until I found the Google Voice app, and when I found the Google Voice app, I took the phone downstairs and I promptly read two years worth of texts from his affair partner, so that was my first eDay.

(07:26):
Yeah, as I’m telling it, I can literally feel still reading the texts from her, and at first I thought it was just virtual, but it wasn’t just virtual. By the end of the texting, I realized that they had actually met in person.

What does the term “D-Day” mean?

Anne (07:44):
For our listeners, maybe some of you are not familiar with the term D-day. I’ve used it on the podcast frequently, and I realize I’ve never defined it in this context. D-day means discovery day, the day that you discovered your husband’s sex addiction husband’s secret life that he’d been lying to you. In my case, my worst D-day was when my husband was arrested for domestic violence and I realized, wait a minute. The behaviors I’ve been experiencing for the last seven years have been emotional abuse and physical intimidation, so that day when everything came to a halt, that is what we refer to as D-Day. We would love to hear about your D-day, what you experienced. If you go to btr.org, you can find this podcast and you can comment anonymously about what happened to you. We would love to hear your experience. Okay, thank you. Sorry to interrupt you.

“The more you tell your story, the more healing you get”

Amy Kate (08:35):
If I can actually piggyback on the telling your story part. I think that is probably one of the most healing things that a spouse can do is tell her story. The more you tell your story, the more healing you get. At least that’s what I’ve experienced as well as with the women that I’ve worked with. Telling your story is super, super hard, but there is so much healing in telling that story, so please share your stories. I confronted him, of course, he tried lying and minimizing, and then I decided to relapse myself. I am a recovering drug addict and in my cabinet in my kitchen, I had a gift. One of my clients had flown me down to Florida to shoot their wedding, and they had special favors of tequila that had their names, and it was super cute. I kept them in my cabinet, but that day I went and grabbed the tequila and my own relapse started and didn’t stop for quite a while, wanted to kick him out, but I was too busy yelling at him, so I didn’t kick him out.

You don’t have to be a perfect wife. You deserve safety now.

(09:41):
Then I tried to get to the why’s, and of course it was all me. It was everything that I was doing wrong. I went into this, I have to become a perfect wife because I drove my husband to an affair that lasted a little while on longer than it should have. Then the relapse got worse for me and he was still doing things that I didn’t even know existed yet, and so I led the quote, I’m doing air quotes here, recovery by handing him books and finding him therapists and trying to teach him how to help me, and the whole time everything’s getting worse for us. There’s more fights. He’s starting to get borderline violent. He never actually hit me, but he would trap me in rooms when I wanted to leave to get away from a discussion or he would try to force his way into rooms if I didn’t want to have a discussion right then and there.

“I clearly had PTSD at this point.”

(10:38):
The behaviors just really escalated about 15 months of this chaos, and unfortunately I did my own sexual acting out.I thought it was revenge. I thought that would make me feel better. All it did was make me feel worse, and to this day it still breaks my heart that I did that. So 15 months later, nothing was better, everything was worse, and I clearly had P T S D at this point. The symptoms were there. I was a twitchy mess. That’s how I described myself, so I kicked him out. Two days later after I kicked him out, the floodgates opened and I found out about all the porn and the men and the prostitutes and everything else that went along with the sex addiction. So for 15 months I thought it was just an affair, and then everything else came out. When he did all that admitting it was really broken, you could see he was legitimately broken. Because I have so much history with recovery from addiction, I know that change is possible. I let him come home because now I had an answer. This is why we haven’t been able to heal. It was because an addiction. Well, now we can fix the addiction, so I let him come home.

Terrified, Shocked, Hopeful

Anne (12:03):
You’re having ups and downs with your own recovery during this time, and then you get the bombshell of finding out that he has been looking at porn, he’s been with other men, he’s been visiting prostitutes, and where are you then?

Amy Kate (12:17):
I was a weird mix of terrified, shocked, but hopeful. Again, I believe in the power of recovery. I know that an addict can change. I know that because I changed. And I know that because I know a ton of addicts that have changed, and actually the addicts that I know that change, they’re some of the most authentic people you’ll ever meet. Yes, so I mean, I know that change is possible, and so I did have that hope, but I was terrified.

Anne (12:47):
I feel the same way, by the way, even with what I’ve been through, my ex-husband’s not in recovery. Well, lately, I’ve been praying every day that Christ will revive him, literally bring him back from the dead.

Amy Kate (13:03):
Amen.

“We still want our family to be together”

Anne (13:04):
Because I watch him and I want so badly for our family to be together, even though he’s my ex-husband now, and even though I hold a no contact boundary because of his lack of emotional health, we still want our family to be together. I am with you there. I absolutely believe that addicts can change, and that’s so difficult about the situation and really what breaks your heart and also what gives you hope. So as you’re hoping for him to change, what are you doing?

Amy Kate (13:32):
I did my research, but I did the wrong research. I ended up in the female coex addict codependent books. So I didn’t find the right path to healing for a long time. I was slowly starting to recover me. I’d lost me at this point. I was literally unrecognizable. Within a couple months of him moving back home after the second large disclosure, that’s when the P T S D got insanely bad, him coming home, nothing changed. I mean, all the behaviors that come along with addiction were there. He was still lying to me. He was angry. And he was blaming me for stuff. We were having circular conversations that made me feel absolutely insane. I did not know my reality was what he said just true. Am I actually crazy? I really wrestled with that one for a long time, and then I got some form of, I guess it’s agoraphobia.

“Just going to the bathroom was traumatic”

(14:31):
I was so triggered whenever I left my bedroom that I basically lived in my room for like a year. I remember there was a period for a couple weeks where just going to the bathroom was traumatic, which sounds exaggerated, but really it was. I’d put my hoodie on and I would put my hood over my head. For some reason that made me feel safer, and I would literally run to the bathroom. There was this monster in the house that was going to get me and then run back, and my bedroom was like my cocoon. It was the only place I felt safe, and I missed a lot of my life for almost a year in that place, and the whole time he’s acting out and of course saying he’s not. He’s claiming his sobriety from the rooftops, and she’s actually just crazy. And actually later I found out just not that long ago, even after the divorce, I found out that his therapist had suggested to him multiple times that I needed mental health because he was afraid for my own safety, and my ex-husband chose not to address it with me. He didn’t even acknowledge it despite a trained therapist saying, your wife needs help.

Establishing a safe space in the home

Anne (15:51):
Was he sleeping in the bedroom with you at the time or is he sleeping somewhere else in the house?

Amy Kate (15:56):
After he moved home? He was in the bedroom for a very short time, then he was on the couch.

Anne (16:01):
Okay, so he’s not in the bedroom with you, and so thus you feel like you at least have a little bit of a safe space, kind of –

Amy Kate (16:09):
Yes –

Anne (16:10):
But not really since you’re still terrified.

“That was just my cocoon”

Amy Kate (16:13):
That was just my cocoon. We were just kind of in this chaotic cycle and the behaviors progressed. He pushed me. He grabbed my arm once because he was arguing with me and I said, I need to stop this conversation, and he grabbed my arms and was trying to force me to talk to him, and he did it so hard that they bruised, and I didn’t even realize that that was physical abuse. That thought never crossed my mind, and then one time he pushed me into my car. He was starting to get mean with the kids and I mean everything was just escalating and my children were really suffering because mom’s locked in her bedroom and dad’s gone crazy, and it was just a really, really rough time period. This part’s just a little hard because I have kids that I love and I was so depressed that they didn’t even matter, and as a mom, that’s really, really hard to admit, but that’s how low things had gotten for me, and I should have explained.

“He had isolated me from my church and from my friends”

(17:26):
I have literally no family, none, and he had isolated me from my church and from my friends, and so I literally was alone, and so I’m sitting in my car with this bottle and I hadn’t been to church in a couple of years. All of a sudden, I keep hearing this, well, not literally hearing, but call Robin, her name is Robin, a woman from my old church, and Robin and I were never close. I mean, I know her. And I liked her, but it’s not like we were good friends. I just kept feeling this call Robin, call Robin, call Robin, and I’m like, I don’t want to call Robin. I’m done. I’m done with life. I can’t do this anymore. I summoned up the nerve to call Robin and I went over to her house and I vomited my entire story onto Robin. That’s the first time I’d ever really told my entire story, and she had no advice. She just listened. By the end of it, I got angry. All of a sudden I asked her for a Sharpie. She’s kind of looking at me like I have three heads, but she gets me the Sharpie and on my wrists. I wrote Live free one on each wrist. That day I decided that I was done. I was not going to end my life because he couldn’t fix his, and that’s really when recovery started for me.

Amy Kate’s First Steps to Safety

Anne (18:54):
Wow. You have a very powerful story and I really appreciate your candor and sharing this with us today, and I’m really sorry for all of your pain can hear it in your voice, and so many of our listeners have felt similar feelings to what you felt. When you decided to recover yourself, what were your first steps?

Amy Kate (20:26):
The first thing I did was go back to church. I knew that I was so far in a pit I was not going to be able to get out out of my own. So I started reading my Bible all the time and I stopped listening to any kind of secular music and I just kind of surrounded myself with the word of God, and I actually sought out people for the first time and I started telling my story to anybody that would listen because I needed help. I was so desperate that I didn’t care if you were a rock, if you could help me. I was going to tell you my story because during all of this, I found out that five of my six children had struggled with pornography. It was just really bad. I started going back to church and I found a couple different websites that had me doing exercises on visualizing what I want my life to be, what my values are.

“I learned the word ‘boundary'”

(21:24):
I learned the word boundary because I had never heard of it. Then I started reading books and piece by piece by piece, I started getting better and I figured out what boundaries were and I made them. He faked it for a little while. He was really good at faking it. Things were not changing, so I actually kicked him out and I filed for divorce. Wasn’t ever what I wanted, but I was literally dying, so I felt like I had no other options. Somewhere in there, I got the job at Covenant Eyes, which also significantly helped my healing, and we were a month away from divorce when I heard about a program called Teen Challenge, it’s actually designed for drug addicts. It’s like a rehab year long live in program. I felt led to tell my husband at the time, I’ll stop the divorce and see who you are if you commit to go to Teen Challenge, and of course at first when I felt like that’s what I was supposed to do, I told God no. God, and I argued a lot about that one. I felt done. I didn’t want to do this anymore. A good way to put it is that I resentfully submitted.

Anne (22:42):
I totally understand what you’re saying. I have had so many moments like that where I did the surrender process, but I did not want to. Yeah, I get it.

“There were still a lot of red flags for me”

Amy Kate (22:49):
It was kind of like, I know you want me to do this. I don’t want to do this, but I’m going to obey anyways. I trust you. And so I offered it to him and I kind of mostly offered it to him. I didn’t think he’d say yes, but he did. He went away for a year. He quit his job and he lived in a program for a year. And he got better for a couple months and relapsed in Teen Challenge or so. He told me now he says he didn’t actually relapse. He’d changed the story so many times. I don’t actually know the truth, but either way, he wasn’t getting better, so he graduated Teen Challenge and seemed better, but not good. I was still very afraid of a relapse. There were still a lot of red flags for me. So he moved in with our pastor for a while so I could see how he could handle life on the outside.

(23:53):
My landlord in the house that we lived in gave us 30 days notice. He was selling the house, so I had to find a new rental that would accept my of children and my animals while I’m working and still dealing with trauma, and so I actually let him move home to help me, so we got the new house. It spiraled very, very quickly over the summer, and he went from a fairly soft sweet guy back to those old bad behaviors, physically threatening me, the anger, the lying, and then I caught him with porn and I kicked him out.

Completely Devastated

Anne (24:35):
I can’t imagine what you’re feeling. Well, I kind of can actually. Sorry. Part of me can, so you send him away for a year. You are doing what God asked you to do. You have faith in God, and he’s been through this program. He moves back home and it all just totally falls apart again. Right. I mean, I’m imagining that you felt completely devastated at this point.

Amy Kate (25:01):
I started going back into, I call it PTSD land, where I kind of lived with just all the PTSD symptoms. What made me make the decision to kick him out was the agoraphobia thing came back again, and at this point I had regained my life. I was an active mom, fun, light. I was doing things outside in the world. Like I could handle football games for my son. I was me again, and then this relapse over that summer, all the old stuff started coming back in me and I said, no, I’m not going there again. I gave him a two week warning and literally nothing happened. He made absolutely no steps towards fixing his relapse. I gave him his two weeks notice and I kicked him out.

Anne (25:58):
Wow. How are you feeling about God at this point?

Amy Kate (26:02):
Oh, I’m angry.

Anne (26:04):
I would be too. I’m thinking God’s told you to send him to this year thing, right? You’ve been doing all this alone. He comes back and basically didn’t change at all so kind of like, God, why didn’t you just have me end it a year ago? Right. I mean, we’ve all been through that thought process.

“I felt betrayed by God”

Amy Kate (26:21):
I just went through a year of basically hell while he’s in rehab and he’s not even out two months and he relapsed. What am I missing here? Something’s not adding up. Yeah, I was angry. I felt betrayed by God.

Anne (26:42):
Yeah, I can imagine. What did you do to repair your relationship with God?

“I had to tackle a couple big triggers”

Amy Kate (26:49):
I had to tackle a couple big triggers. Music, I love worship music, but all my worship music reminded me of my husband, so I stopped listening to that. There’s this one song that talks about I’m going to take back what the enemy has stolen. For the longest time, that song resonated with my husband and I that we were going to take back our marriage. I decided that I was going to flip that song around, and it wasn’t about my marriage anymore. It was about what the enemy stole from me, and one of the things he stole from me was my faith in God, and he didn’t get to have that. He got my marriage, but he doesn’t get to have my faith. He doesn’t get to take the pieces of me that I liked. Basically, I declared war on Satan, so I tackled every trigger I had around it, and honestly, I kind of yelled at God a lot. I yelled at God some more and then I yelled at him some more, and every time I did it, I could feel him saying, I understand, but I got this. I kicked him out and he moved 900 miles away. We divorced. The divorce is final, and I actually offered reconciliation, obviously, if it would require repentance and recovery. That has not happened, and he has basically abandoned the kids. He has absolutely no contact with them whatsoever. Right now. That’s the hardest part is watching my teenage girls go through that abandonment.

“We’re not alone in this journey”

Anne (28:35):
Yeah. My ex, he moved from a city he was living in temporarily, back to the city where we live. He told his friends, I’m so excited to move back. I can spend more time with my kids, yada, yada, yada, and then from the day he moved back, he did not see the kids for four weeks. Now, I know that’s not completely abandoning them, but so interesting to me that they can just not realize the impact that their actions are having on other people. I’m so sorry for your children.

It stinks, but it’s so good to know that so many other women understand and are walking this path with us and that we do have support from them. We are not alone in this journey, even when we feel like we are.

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5 Comments

  1. Liz

    How can I get my husband to love me?

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      You can’t. So don’t waste your time. Find someone you don’t have to make love you. You deserve better.

      Reply
  2. Brenda M.

    Thank you for sharing this story. It’s so hard to share something so deep and personal. I’m glad you moved on and are in the path of healing. I separated two months ago from my husband of three years and I am also in the process of healing. It’s a slow and very painful process, but I am determined.

    Reply
  3. Marta

    So much is published about helping your husband recover from porn addiction but really nothing about living with a man who is addicted and refuses to stop. I am 71 years old and my husband has been addicted to porn since he was 17.

    I did not find out about his porn addiction until three years ago when I made the discovery. I was shocked. I want to see an attorney but it has been decided that I need to stay for financial reasons at this point. I have found through a church organization that there are many ladies in my exact situation. We do our best to help each other.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    My husband just doesn’t give a *$% how it makes me feel. Now he’s watching granny porn so I’ll look better by comparison.

    Reply

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