This blog post is continued from “Jennifer H story… Thank you for sharing your story with others who may have experienced the affects of pornography .
THE EFFECTS OF PORN – Jennifer’s Story Continues
I was married to a porn addict and the effects it had on the family were astounding! You would think that being LDS would help someone not be an addict to porn but I can tell you that it has nothing to do with the addiction. Addicts will find a way to feed their addiction any way they can but the biggest way to feed it is being secretive. They will find an excuse to be alone to feed the addiction.
We were married 27 years and 15 of those years he was looking at porn or finding a way to talk sexual to other women. Once he started looking at porn the atmosphere in our home changed. It went from having a good feeling to having a very dark feeling in our home. I didn’t notice the change as much as others did because I lived in the home all the time but after he moved out I had several people tell me that they could feel a difference in the atmosphere in the home.
Porn feeds on darkness so keeping things dark is what helps feed it but once you add light to it then it goes away. The changes were not drastic so I didn’t notice them right away–they happened a little at a time. This reminds me of the story of the frog and a pan of water. If you put a frog in a pan of boiling water he will jump out right away but if you put the frog in a pan of cold water and turn the heat up slowly he will end up boiling to death because he becomes accustomed to the heat. This is the way porn works too.
As one looks at it at first they don’t see the damage it is making on them but their brain tells them that they need to see more to feel satisfied or build their self-esteem. It starts with soft porn and can lead to hardcore porn the more they look at it. With the harder porn you end up looking at how men dominate women and how they treat them. If you watch it all the time then you start treating the women around you the way you saw them treated in the images.
It doesn’t matter if you are a religious person or not, porn doesn’t discriminate–it affects everyone. It does, however, make it so you don’t want anything to do with the people around you or your religion–especially the LDS religion. LDS standards are higher than other churches and so when one watches porn then they don’t want to live on the higher level that the church teaches. You lose the desire to be active and the social aspect of going to church too. Being around people goes out the window and all you want to do is be alone.
This also affects how you treat your spouse and children. With our oldest 3 children he was more involved in their lives but with our youngest 3 children he didn’t seem to care as much about being involved in their lives.
He started to criticize his in-laws and my side of the family. He also started to criticize going on family events and this affected our children to the point that they will not go with me to their grandparents home anymore. Even the thought of having my parents come to visit makes my kids very negative towards them.
Our affection towards each other disappeared completely. The only thing he ever wanted to do to get out of the house was to go out to eat which in turn made it so that we both gained weight and became obese which affected our health. I would try and try to get him to go out for a walk or do something else but he always had an excuse to stay home. With my calling in my church I was gone a lot to scouting events and would purposely stay as long as I could to avoid going home or would wait until I knew he was in bed before going home.
He told me that he had a problem with porn and asked for support as he went through the 12 step program to try to overcome the addiction. But he never followed all the way through the 12 step program even with my support. A lot of other women have felt that the addiction is their fault and their spouse would make them feel this way too but I only had a small time where I felt that it was my fault.
Also these women will turn away from God and their church after being betrayed but I didn’t. I actually turned towards God and asked for his help to overcome my feelings of betrayal. As I would talk to people and tell them my story I came to realize that we are only in charge of ourselves and the choices we make but we have to also think of who those choices will affect us. They don’t just affect us– they affect everyone around us especially family. Once I was able to accept that, the healing was able to take place a lot quicker than I expected.
I even went to the point of asking for forgiveness from God to help me heal and I did get confirmation from him that I was forgiven. That is the most important part of the healing process is having God forgive you, then you can forgive yourself a lot easier. I now can wait for forgiveness from my children and my ex because I know that God has forgiven me.
I also have a Facebook support group where if I feel I need to talk to someone I can go there and they will not judge me or make me feel bad about myself. I have become friends with several of those women and have talked to them and helped them with their healing. Once you heal then you are able to help others in the healing process.
One of the ladies I met on my mission recently told me of her husband’s addiction and how it has affected her and her children. The difference with her situation and mine is that her husband is very controlling and my ex wasn’t that way. But I am here to help her and it makes me feel good that I can help someone else.
I have considered my situation and realize that mine is probably a lot different from others–especially after reading some of the other stories from women in the support group. My ex was actually willing to work with me on our divorce papers and not fight me. In hind sight I also noticed he was preparing me to support myself by telling me to get my own bank account and telling me to put my paychecks in that account instead of our joint account.
But he wasn’t the only one that prepared me for things to come. God prepared me for the bad news of his physical adultery. I knew he had physically cheated on me before he came home and admitted it to me. This physical cheating was brought on by all the years of looking at porn. Most people would not consider looking at porn as cheating, but in reality it is.
I was always a happy person but after years of feeling like I wasn’t worth much that disappeared. My parents and siblings noticed the change but my kids didn’t know anything different until I became the happy person I was before all this happened. I have had several of my children comment on how much happier I am now that I am on my own and living life the way I want to and doing those things to make me happy. I took my oldest daughter to an Air Supply concert and on the way home she said, “Mom, I’ve never seen you that way before”. I was singing and dancing to the music and had not done that before with her.
My determination to become the person I want to be is so much stronger than it has ever been. I know that despite what I went through for 15 years has made me a stronger person and now I am able to help those that need to become stronger too. There is help out there and there is a way to get out of the situation you may be in. Having faith and love for God will help you do that. God won’t abandon you and if you think he does it’s because you have abandoned him. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move forward with his help. He will be there for you anytime you need him. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it!
I still have bad days just like everyone does but I know he is there to help me. On those days I turn to him in prayer and ask for his help. For my children the only thing I can do now is be a good example for them and be there in case they need someone to talk to. They have their own personal feelings towards the church and other things but I can’t fix those for them. I can only be their support and help them when they ask for it.
With the healing process I have been able to tell my ex my feelings and what I expect from him to help me and the kids heal. Expressing my feelings to my ex took a long time to do, but now it is up to him to make things right with us and not my problem anymore. He says he is doing the 12 step program again so we will see if he stays with it this time. I only wish the best for everyone.
Learn more about the effects of porn on these sites…