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Healing Beyond Betrayal

By Kayla Sullivan

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Recovering from my husbands porn addiction

By now many of our readers have had the chance to read the latest blog post regarding a husband’s full disclosure. This may leave many questions from the wife’s standpoint such as “What happens to me?”, “How do I get through this”, or “Is my marriage over?” Others may be reading the blog, and they may be objecting to the idea of their husband waiting six months before he discloses his secret struggle.

Having walked through the blazing inferno that is caused by a husband’s pornography addiction, I would like to share some of our story and offer hope and encouragement that this is not where your story has to end.

To many, I would be considered a victim of scattered disclosure. I would have considered myself more as a victim of scattered discoveries and naivety.

I met my husband in 2002 and we began dating in 2003. While he worked in construction, he also worked in a recycling plant and he would often tell us about the pornographic magazines that would be brought in. I knew that he looked at those magazines, and still reeling from the effects of my broken off engagement with another man, we quickly entered into a sexual relationship.

Many of my friends talked about porn videos and how watching them with their significant other really enhanced their sex life. Soon after moving in together, I welcomed pornography videos to enter into our home. I told myself that it was just to improve our relationship, and I believed that it would not hurt anything.

We were married in 2005, and within the first month of our marriage we found out that we were going to become parents. One night after coming home from work, I realized that my husband was now watching internet pornography. I was crushed! What I had invited into my home was now growing in size, and it was replacing the intimacy that I was supposed to experience with my husband. I convinced myself that he was looking at it because of some complications with my pregnancy, and though I was secretly hurting, I trusted that it would discontinue as soon as the baby was born.

It didn’t stop there.

Eventually I would discover that my husband was in chat rooms, sharing emails, and talking or texting while I worked in the evenings. I didn’t understand this at all, as I was not neglecting my husband’s needs. I would confront him with my findings, only to be told that he would stop because he really loved me. The only excuse that I would hear would be the one that would remind me that I was not at home in the evenings, that I was putting all of my focus into my job.

A few years after our second child was born, we started to attend church. My heart became convicted heavily about watching pornography with my husband, so we made the choice to rid our home of all pornographic materials. I believed that we put that old life behind us, and was looking forward to the new life ahead of us.

My life came crashing down quickly when I came home from work late one night to a message from another woman. She told me that over the past several months she had been having regular conversations with my husband, and had planned to meet my husband at a hotel. He had told her that he was never married and had no kids, so she thought it was acceptable to have this kind of relationship with him. Shortly before flying out, she came to the discovery that he in fact had a family and she really felt that I should be made aware.

How could my husband deny not only me as his wife, but how could he deny the existence of his children all for the sake of his sexual addiction?

The pain and pressure instantly became too much to handle, so I had to make the decision to separate from my husband. He tried telling me that he was sorry, but in my immediate reaction I just could not deal with the hurt anymore. In anger, he punched the wall with our daughter standing beside him and ran out the door with our kids screaming and crying.

It was a difficult week. My kid’s made it known that they hated me for sending their daddy away. I hated myself for who I had become, and I allowed myself to believe that I had let him down which is why he was searching elsewhere. I hated him for hurting me so bad, when I loved him so much.

I walked through my home, picking up all of the photos that I could find of us as a happy family and I cried. I looked at our wedding picture, and I sobbed. I loved this man with everything I had, but the wounds were so deep that I didn’t know how to process them. In the end, my deep love for him caused me to invite him to come back home.

Shortly after moving back home, I became pregnant with our youngest. He got stuck in the middle of it all when family members questioned his paternity since my husband and I had separated for a time. Thankfully he was so young, and he will have no recollection of those moments in time.

Unfortunately, though he never went down the road of planning another affair, my husband still struggled with pornography. His behavior, his anger, his reactions became warning signs to me and I would start digging until I found something. This continued for years, until I hit another breaking point.

I found myself crying out to God, pleading for God to take my pain away. God asked me to pray for my husband, and I argued that I had been for many years. I was gently, but sternly, reminded that I had been praying for my husband to be fixed because of my pain and not because I felt that my husband deserved it. Though I did not have the words to say, I knelt by my bed and began to cry for my husband–crying with a level of heaviness in my heart that I couldn’t understand.

Within hours, I found myself sitting on the opposite side of a pure confession. My 6’2’ tall husband who is always strong began to crumble in front of me. With tears streaming down his face he spoke for hours of all the secret things that he had been through in his life–witnessing his father’s affair, keeping the secret and feeling full of shame because he never told, wondering why those who knew what was happening never stepped in to protect him, and the residual anger that he carried in his heart ever since his parents divorced. He shared how financially difficult times in his life made him believe that he wasn’t enough, that he could never provide for us. The late nights while I was working, all he heard in his ears is that no one cared to spend time with him. All limbic lies that had been a direct spin off of the trauma that he endured early in life.

All of these years, I had been so focused on my wounds that I could not see that he was broken deeper than one could imagine. That night, my husband came to the end of himself and that is where he found the true beginning of God’s grace, mercy, and love. We have not looked back, and my husband now walks in full knowledge of who he is because of who Christ is and he no longer harbors guilt, shame, and blame in his heart. It took time, but eventually the walls of trust started to build back up. I no longer view myself as a victim of my husband’s struggle, but instead see myself as an overcomer of a battle straight from the pits of hell. We are not only restored, but more in love with each other than I ever thought could be humanly possible.

Sullivan Family Photo

Ladies, you’re going to find yourselves on the opposite end of those confessions and trust me, they are going to completely break you. Nothing will be able to numb the pain that you’re going to feel, and I have no doubt that you’re going to react out of the immediate pain but I encourage you to prayerfully consider how you’ll respond.

Some of you may have known about your husband’s struggle for quite some time, while others are going to be completely blindsided by the disclosure.

The lie is that your husband cannot change, but the truth is through Christ he most certainly can. If your husband has been on his six month journey, walking through the Conquer Series with a group of men, he is completing the necessary steps to stand up and say that he is willing to fight the tough fight for you, your children, your grandchildren, and all of the generations to come.

Allow yourself time for the revelation of everything to really sink in before making any decisions that would affect your family for the rest of your life. Once you’ve had time to process all that you’ve heard, I would encourage you to engage in a conversation with your husband. Through this journey, he would have had Study Guides and would have been encouraged to keep a journal. When you can tangibly see the dedication that he put forth on this journey, I believe that many of you will be able to join hand in hand with your husband to walk out this journey.

It’s okay for you to find a support system of like-minded women who are going through or have already gone through a similar situation. Look to them for prayer and encouragement. Do not allow yourself to participate in a man-bashing group, but find yourself immersed in a group of women who are on the journey to find themselves again while seeking complete healing for their husband and their marriage.

KingdomWorks Studios is currently producing a powerful series which will help you through this journey.

Be sure to sign up to receive updates about this latest project!

The Conquer Series is a powerful cinematic 12-disc DVD series which is helping over 1 million men conquer porn and walk in freedom.

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