The Testimonial

My Wife's Experience Of My Healing From Sexual Addiction


    My wife recently wrote this on Reddit in a reply to someone who had asked me how things went for her as I overcame sexual addiction.  She has graciously allowed me to publish it.  The person asked, "Hi I'm really curious as to how your wife felt and how she acted while you were recovering and what recovery looked like for you?"  Here's what my wife wrote to the other person.  Keep in mind, this is from her perspective.

The Reply

The first thing, I had to do was work thru my own hurt and realize that this was not my fault, and it was not my battle to fight. I was fortunate because my partner was always transparent about his struggles even before we truly started dating, but I didn't understand what he was struggling with or knew what steps he making to make changes him his behavior. Early in our relationship I found out that he saw still watching porn and we had a huge fight. I was very disappointed. I felt like he wasn't doing enough, and it hurt. I wanted our relationship to be enough for him, and it seemed like it wasn't.

I sat down and thought to myself, what could I have done differently. I concluded:


I did nothing wrong. I am not perfect, and there was nothing I could have done to prevent this. Hell, I didn't know it was even an issue, until I accidentally discovered his videos. This lead to me questioning him, because if there was nothing I could do, what was he doing?

My partner hadn't confided in me because he didn't know how to deal with his own issues, let alone tell me about them. He was floundering in his steps to change his habits. Quitting smoking had been easier for him. The only advice he had received until this point was: to stop, and he always was looked down on after he confided in someone. No one understood what he was going thru. I was another one of those people.

The scariest thing about being in a relationship is putting your trust in another person. It is a two way street, you can't control what your partner does, anymore than he can control how you react.

I had to accept that was a risk I was willing to take to stay in a relationship with him. Like I said before I was fortunate. My partner was so desperate to change as much as he had been desperate for love. He was so desperate for love, he looked for it in all the wrong places and people. His previous partners hadn't been good to him and his own issues made everything worse.

It didn't happen overnight. It took years, many of them without progress, but slowly we met the right people, that understood him and his struggles. He had to really reach down deep and he pulled up some ugly things in his past. He had to forgive himself, made amends and do a lot of changing. He slowly healed and matured over years we were together. He went out on a limb, stretched himself thin, and battered and went to war with himself. I was there for all of it. I offered what support I could to help him, but all the changes he had to make on his own with the guide of a sponsor in SAA twelve steps.

I had to chose to love him despite his flaws. He was good to me, but it was better when he was finally good to himself.

Like I said before, I was fortunate. I know that many stories similar to mine don't end up like this. That it could get much darker and illicit than ours did.

Long story short. I accepted that he could and would make mistakes. I took a chance that he would not want to make them and take steps to change. I never made him do anything. Everything he did was on his timetable and his own effort. He made the most progress when met someone that understood where he was struggling and recommended SAA. I was just there for him and I hope that it was enough.


  1. Spouses who go through the betrayal of being married to a spouse who is addicted to pornography constitutes what is now referred to as betrayal trauma.
  2. It's not your fault if your spouse is addicted to porn.  Dr. Patrick Carnes did find that plenty of betrayed spouses had minor issues which may have provided rich soil for a porn addiction (but I am NOT saying this means they set themselves up for failure or contributed to the problem).  But it's still not the betrayed spouse's fault.  Often these are boundary related concerns.
  3. Many, many people who are addicted to pornography simply have no clue how to break free.  This is very true in my own life: in past churches, when I would mention the desire to quit, I would be sort of pushed aside or given an inadequate answer.  It was a wise elder at a church in Florida that told me of a person in his congregation that attended Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA).  SAA and therapy with a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) ultimately helped.
  4. You never know what can happen in a marriage, even though you can do your due diligence to at least be prepared and informed.  I recommend pre-marital counseling with a good pastor or therapist who will ask the tough questions, which includes pornography use.  And to be fair, I had no clue whether my wife would leave me or not.  Truth be told, she had every right to leave.  However, hearing my wife cry and scream the one day I relapsed helped me (though I am NOT advocating for harming your spouse).
  5. Change isn't overnight.  It takes roughly a year sober to be considered "safe," and 3-5 years total for the brain to fully heal from pornography addiction (see Dr. Patrick Carnes, The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction).
  6. For someone to recover from sex addiction, it takes hard work.  I had to stop making stupid excuses and resting on my high IQ to help me "outsmart" sexual addiction.  Indeed, most of the work wasn't intellectual, so high IQ didn't do me a single bit of good.  It was emotional and intuitive.
  7. The only thing you can do for your spouse is to encourage them to go to therapy and meetings, and to generally be kind and gracious.  You CANNOT fix your spouse by giving them more sex any more than you can heal an alcoholic by locking them in your own private bar with an unlimited supply of their favorite drink.  I see this sometimes and I have got to say it: you can't fix your spouse by giving him more sex, or more sexual favors (that I am not mentioning due to a desire to keep this page PG-13).  You can't fix your spouse by incorporating porn into the act of sex with you.  You cannot fix your spouse by incorporating their fetish or BDSM or their sex doll or your next door neighbor(s).  They must fix themselves.
  8. Your spouse is not perfect, and neither are you.  (This is NOT an excuse for porn addiction, mind you.)  You have to at least accept that.  When it comes to porn addiction, you can't defend or protect them.  So CSAT and SAA efforts can help.


    If you are struggling, here are the things that I commonly tell people (on Reddit) that helped me quit: