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Dear Chump Lady, Is pornography infidelity?

Xmas9Dear Chump Lady,

I asked my porn addicted husband to leave 4 months ago. He is living in our RV a few miles from the house. I have been a chump for 8 very long years and now I find myself in a terrible position. When I married him 14 years ago, I thought I had vetted this guy well. I was a divorcee with an alcholic x and a 4 year old son.

We dated for 2 years and I had to get an annulment so we could marry in the Catholic Church. I asked all the “right ” questions. My mistake was believing him. I even asked about porn and he assured me that he found porn disgusting and would NEVER hurt his wife that way. He came from an intact family, mom and dad well liked and very involved with the church. I got my annulment and we married. I agreed to quit my career and stay home to raise my 4 year old. We had 4 children over the next 6 years.

I caught him masturbating to porn when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with child #3. He swore it was stress and his first time and he was sorry. He went to the priest and confessed his sins. Hmmm. Then of course, I caught him again and again and again.

I went through the oh honey let me help you stage. The take the kids and leave for a week stage. The throw the computer out and get rid of cable stage. The screen EVERY SINGLE movie we rented for nudity or sexy scenes stage. The acting like a hooker in the bedroom stage. And on and on it went. I read every Carnes, Schaumburg, Marsha Means book available. I told no one. I kept it as my shame and secret. I tried, God knows I did to help him to stop. But, in the end this old girl could not look like a Nympho Teen. Or a Slutty Teen. Or a beautiful 16 or 17 year old girl. I was not enough. He has never admitted to anything physical, but my instinct says different. I always caught him. Then he would “try” recovery.

I am 53 and have 5 children. 4 of whom are still at home and I am homeschooling them. I have not been employed in the workforce for 14 years. I told him the last time I caught him, he would have to leave. He was a police officer and within 2 months lost his job. We now have no health insurance and I doubt he will be able to get a job as an officer again. He has not been very forthcoming about why he lost his job after 5 years of decorated service and a promotion to detective. But I can make an educated guess.

My question is this: I realize that all of you have had husbands or wives who have had physical or emotional affairs. But this porn feels just as bad I think. I am so hurt and I do not love him anymore and have told him that. I have told him I will NEVER live with him again, but he comes over 3 times a week to eat dinner that I cook, with the kids. So I have to sit there and eat the shit sandwich and smile while my kids are so happy to see daddy.

I still am a chump. I can’t divorce because he has no job and no way to pay child support. I walk around like a zombie. I love my children and do not want them hurt. I believed him everytime he said he would change. What to do? How do I stop with the hopium? How do I extricate myself from this man? He says he will NEVER give me a divorce. I would have to rely on the state legal aid to try to get a divorce. I have no family here.

As a side note his father has been found to have been molesting 3 of my husband’s sisters’ daughters. This shit runs in the family. His mom knew, just never said anything. Am I wrong for feeling like this is infidelity? He says it is not infidelity and that he loves me and that I am his “soulmate” and he will never let me go. He says there are two sides to him –the good guy and the “deciever.” He has lied so much to me I can’t believe anything he says, but he brings me hot coffee in the morning and my favorite sandwich for lunch. He makes me sick.

Why am I stuck being a chump? I am trying to get away but I can’t seem to get out.

Hopeless Chump

Boy, where to start? Okay, first call that legal aid society and get some professional help NOW. You need to divorce this guy — he’s not going to get better and he’s had umpteen chances. Why are you stuck being a chump? Because you’re ACTING like a chump. Change the actions and the chump thing goes away. First step — get legal advice. Make an escape plan with the help of a professional.

Next, grandpa is a child molester and husband likes to jerk off to pictures of underage girls is NOT a coincidence. This little “aside” would be enough to have me running for the hills with my 5 kids in tow. Get your kids some therapy now — direct yourself to local social services, whatever you have to do. Find out if they’ve been abused and get them some HELP.

After that — quit homeschooling. You need to free yourself up to get back in the workforce. And if the kids need counseling, the best place to get it might be the school counselor who can make referrals and set something up. Especially with this drama and crazy dad in the RV, the kids need a safe haven that isn’t home life. And you need the independence that comes with a J-O-B.

Lastly, the porn question. Is it infidelity? It doesn’t matter what I think — what matters is what YOU think. If this is a deal breaker for you, then it’s a deal breaker for you. He knew this, he did it anyway. You’re not compatible. Your values don’t match. He’s not the man for you. Look, he’s not the man for ANYONE seeing as he’s very fucked up and admits to being a “deceiver.” You could never feel safe with this man, ever. So start putting your life together to DUMP him.

He won’t grant you a divorce? Huh. He doesn’t get a say in that. He can tell it to a judge. Sure, he can resist and try and make things difficult, which is why you don’t tell him what you’re doing — you just DO IT. Get professional support ASAP and make a PLAN. I’m sure whoever awards custody would be interested to hear about his porn habit and grandpa’s molestation. Demand supervised visitation.

Back to porn — if you want my opinion here it is — in moderation, I don’t have a problem with porn. I don’t think looking at naughty pictures is cheating. I think for some people it spices up their sex lives, and for men, it’s just something most of them do. As much as it might skeeve some of us out, and our own sexuality might not be wired that way, some people enjoy it. Okay.

But here is my problem with porn — and spending huge amounts of time in virtual worlds PERIOD — it’s escapism. When porn warps your idea of what actual sex with real people is like, when you prefer the fantasy over the authentic, when you demand that real life mirror porn life — you have a problem with connection and intimacy. Pin-up photos don’t have needs. They stay glossy and perfect no matter how many times you jerk off to them. No real person can compete with a fantasy, whether that’s an affair or a porn site.

So if someone spends an inordinate amount of time with porn — my take away is that this person prefers sex without intimacy. They prefer escapism over real life. That tells me a lot about their character and what kind of partner they’d be.

And I hope this goes without saying, but if the porn is CHILD porn? If their fetish is underage girls and boys? You call the cops. Period.

(If anyone wants to jump on me for civil liberties and presumed innocence — I’d prefer to let the law enforcement professionals make that call. My sympathies are with the victims of sex trafficking and sexual abuse.)

Hopeless Chump, your situation is not hopeless, it’s just hard. But you can get out if you set your mind to it. Just take the first step — call legal aid — and get on the road to your new life.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Hopeless, I agree with everything CL says, but I’d add a couple more things– with the comment your STBX said about never letting you go (and his having been a cop), be careful. That kind of talk, his always being around, delivering you food, something about it raises my alarm bells that he might get out of hand when you file for divorce and enforce some boundaries. Discuss that with a lawyer too and maybe a woman’s abuse hotline or shelter, and have a plan for that.

    And yes, with your STBX liking young girl porn and your FIl a child abuser, I’d run for the hills with the kids metaphorically speaking, get the kids counseling, try to get supervised visits. Someone needs to have some conversations with your kids about what might’ve happened with dad or FiL, I’d vote for having a professional do it. I know what it feels like to wonder how much of a “deceiver” my ex really was. It is a sickening sinking feeling. If you have access to his computer, I’d take a good hard look at it or have someone knowledgeable do it, and then lock it down and secure it till this is “over.”

  • Oh and hopeless, my ex was “addicted” to porn, but it didn’t stop there- he was simultaneously having multiple affairs, group sex, etc. I don’t know but I personally doubt that most of these guys stop in the virtual world — do grown adult males really feel satisfied with online porn in the kong run? I personally doubt it. To me it’s like him saying he only had an emotional affair….as CL says, that’s not generally how grown adults roll. My ex didn’t. But it doesn’t really matter now, does it? He has profoundly broken your marital bond.

    • Hopeless Chump, I agree with Kelly….he has plenty of room to arrange all kinds of meetups, seeing as he’s unsupervised in that trailer. If your gut is telling you it’s physical also, then you’re probably right. There are a plethora of websites, apps, etc. to help people get instant hookups, it’s pretty easy nowdays.

  • Porn and any discussion of it is a Pandora’s box. Beliefs about porn range from one extreme to the other and every “tweaked” nuance in between. Debates will rage for years.

    But YOUR reality is this: YOU must live in the here and now; and since his use of porn is and will remain a deal breaker for you, then you are forced ( whether you like it or not) to make hard choices..

    Why? Because when we sacrifice our personal values in the name of ” love”, we remain in a state of cognitive dissonance that keeps us miserable until some resolution is achieved.

    When we refuse to acknowledge and deal with reality, we live in a limbo of, ” What If’s.” As a child I would sometimes try to negotiate with my father about some parental decision he’d made. I’d put out my very best, “BUT-IF” arguments. He had a famous response…….
    “If a frog had hip pocket, he could carry a pistol to shoot snakes, too.”

    Your reality is that you don’t have a hip pocket and your husband either cannot or will not get rid of his “snakes.”

    Your husband has made his decision.

    Now it is your turn.

  • You don’t want to divorce because he can’t pay child support?? That doesn’t make sense to me. Is he paying you money right now? If he’s paying now, then he can continue to pay after the divorce. If he isn’t contributing right now? Then it’s no loss, you’re no worse off.

    I’d argue you’ll be a lot better off. You can stop making those sandwiches for him (why do you do this?), and stop being the Porn Police.

    Remember that porn is different than it used to be. It used to be just dirty mags and videos. Now thanks to the internet, people can send personal messages, get dirty panties in the mail, call them, instant message them, email them, and have pseudo-relationships with webcam girls/guys. The customers often believe they’re in actual relationships. They are often EAs, from the customer’s perspective. So is it “just porn”?

    My ex was a cop, also….and I find it weird that you don’t know the reason he was let go. I’m betting his conduct was out of line, somehow. My ex wasn’t let go, but he got into trouble a few times at work because of out-of-line things he did and said.

    Heed CL’s advice – see an attorney. But don’t tell your jackoff-husband. Just go by yourself and find out your rights. Many attorneys do free initial consults.

  • I have a comment about the home schooling. I am a home schooling mom who has lived both in the US and Canada and there are few in this group that I know of.

    Depending on the ages of your kids, your home schooling support group and your work background, you may be able to continue home educating your children if that is a priority – but – you will have to have a good support group and you will have to figure out how to juggle earning a living while having the kids learn outside the public system.

    A few of us do it – some with older kids, some with younger kids – always with a support group around us. Not sure how you can ask questions if that’s what you want to do, but do what is best for you and your kids….and that includes putting them in school at least temporarily if you have no other option.

  • Pick up your babies and run. The unknown is scary, we get that.

    But an unknown life, where your kids might be exposed to Dad showing his true colors, as opposed to a fifty-fifty secnario where one of them gets abused/becomes a sexual abuser themselves?

    You do the math.


  • Hopeless Chump, you are not really hopeless, your husband is. The likelihood of him being anything other than what he is now is zip to none. I agree with CL and the others, you know in your heart what is true about this man, and you would never forgive yourself if his shadow side decides to repeat the family tradition. You need help, and even though it looks impossible right now, those calls you make to a domestic violence hotline will point you in the direction you need to go. There is help for women in our situation, but making the call is the first step. Do NOT discuss any of it with your husband. This is your escape plan – you already know that you cannot stay. Sending love and hope from the other side. I’m 2 1/2 years out from D-Day and a month after my divorce. It gets so much better. Trust that he sucks enough to do whatever it takes to protect your babies and have the life you deserve.

  • The first time I walked in to see my exnarc masturbating on my bed, (dating at that time, and while he was ‘sick’) I approached it with an open mind. It ‘told’ me that he was sexual and since I am too, I thought that would be good. However, from that very moment on there was always a small “niggling” reminder in my mind….to pay attention….

    And I did. But also, as our relationship went forward, we never really bonded emotionally in a sexual way…because (after 18 long years)….he couldn’t be intimate with me really. I would find his porn habits, and talk to him about it. I AM NO PRUDE. I tried to weave it into our life….I went along….I did all I could to not make it an issue but actually build a better sex life. BUT….the hiding of it, the long, long absences of our own lovemaking (while he of course continued to beat off whenever and wherever he could)….He always had an excuse for why he wasn’t “INTO” our lovemaking at the moment (job stress, busy, blah, blah, blah). But the patterns made themselves known to me actually very easily.

    After many years, I started to just turn away to it…by then we had a real life, a child, houses, businesses…However, did it fuck up my entire sense of my own desirability? YES….for years and years. I’m a very confident woman. I’m successful, very pretty and never ever have had trouble connecting with men and having them notice me. But this issue….cut at the heart of our life together. And HE was never ever willing to admit that, fix it, understand the corrosiveness of it on our entire marriage and life.

    This is what I have a problem with in terms of accepting porn or not. I did…and had no big issue with it. But combining his narcness, with his porn addition that substituted for our love life and intimacy…he ruined our life together.

    But really, in the end, it was not his porn, it was his narcissism that broke us. If you read the annals of narcissism you will see that most narcs prefer masturbation. Which makes perfect sense of course. Its all about him, and always will be. But the red flags were there from the VERY BEGINNING. I just did not want to know it.

    • Missy,

      Thanks so much for that.

      I’m dealing with a cerebral narcissist, and with them, it’s ALL about them, ALL about masturbation, which they don’t even like but do because they NEED to, and not at all about anything else.

      Mine has been a big porn addict for years. He can’t or won’t get it up for me. He’s highly intelligent, as most narcs are, yet the only way he can get it up for a woman is if she’s very young and a total skank… the opposite of what his preferences would seem to be in a life partner… but then, it’s taken 20 years for me to figure out that the only life partner he wants or has ever really had is himself. It’s ALL about him. It’s ALL about getting his rocks off for whatever short-term release it serves for him.

      In fact, he hates women, and that’s why he has no problem paying girls with money and/or goods (shoes, cars, etc.) to suck his dick and get him off in whatever ways he feels like.

      It occurs to me now, as I read your account that, while men are visual, and I’m certainly not a prude and have theoretically never had any problem with porn… if porn is an obsession, and is the central thing in a guys sex life, which does not interact with his REAL sex life, THAT is when it is a problem.

      I mean, you could incorporate certain things in the porn world with your own sex life… and that would be fun. But when it is the be-all, end-all, and you only want objects around you to reflect that two dimensional world back to you for your own pleasure, not for the pleasure of the two of you as a couple… that’s where it gets bad.

      It’s easy to see this now, actually, and answers a lot of my own questions about my husband and his situation.

  • Thanks for the replies and advice. To clarify, I filed a police report on FIL as soon as I found out what he had done. It is still under investigation. That really pissed the entire family off. Too bad. My husband took all computer hard drives when he left and had them erased. I have talked to an attorney who told me that in this state viewing porn is not illegal, even showing it to your children provided they are your legal children, is also not illegal. I know what kind of porn he was looking at because at DDAY #2 I did a recovery of the hard drive and stopped at 16,000 photos. I saw what he was looking at, and it was not child porn as in toddlers or preteen, It was child porn as in teens 13-17. He found his fathers hardcore porn stash when he was 9 and that is what started the ball rolling so to speak. The attorney also advised that if I got a job now, he would never get one, and I would not only have to split custody, I would have to pay him child support. I do not have enough evidence (yet) to compel the court to limit or order supervised visitation. The thought of leaving my young daughters with him alone is terrifying to me. He swears that is not his “bent”. He told me he swears he would “never touch his little angels.” I told him “Sure, but they don’t have breasts yet. You might think differently then, and I can’t take that chance'”
    Yes , he is somewhat supporting us. He went down and got us all on the dole. He is working “odd” jobs and has a sales job of some sort with commission.

    My children never spent time alone with their Grandpa. He used to touch me subtley and inappropriately for years. I was afraid he would do that to my girls, so I never let them spend the night or stay alone with him. I told my MIL and my husband what he was doing. I even confronted him about it when we had an “intervenvtion” about his porn use, that was destroying his marriage to my mil. She always said she thought he was innapropriate with the young granddaughters, but was so cowed by him and he is so subtle that it is hard to point it out. He would just say she had a “dirty mind” and that ” did she want him to go to jail? Because that is what would happen if she continued to say such things.” Finally, after my husband SAW what he did to me, and did NOTHING, I filed an assault report. Yeah, that went over real well. Turns out he was doing that to 2 other DILs besides me. My husband warned his whole clan of what I had done, and to stymie the investigation. Don’t answer the phone, don’t talk to any investigator ect.

    I am so afraid. I am pretty well paralyzed at this point. I know this is frustrating for others to read this, because they see a way out and I am too afraid to do it. My own father warned me to be very careful because ex cops can be dangerous when their wives decide to divorce. My dad has met my H and has told me to please be very very careful. He has never hit me, but he has a yelling and stomping around temperment that frightens the kids. I feel like such a loser. I can’t seem to do the right thing. I am still being a chump. I hope that by reading success stories here I can get the damn fire under my ass to do what I know in my heart I have to do. These kids love their dad. They will never forgive me if I divorce him. Just making him move out has caused them so much pain. I need to go “no contact”, but I don’t know how to accomplish that with 4 children in the house and my worries about him with my daughters.

    Thanks Chumplady for posting my story. If anything, I hope it helps others see the absolute damage caused to a marriage by porn. It has ruined my life. It has wrecked who I thought I was, and I realize my whole marriage has been a farce. I married a con man. A pathological lying POS. Oh, he is in “recovery” again. Sexual sobriety, 12 step, accountability partners, therapist……………. YAWN. BTDT more times than I can count. He swears he is gonna “get me back.”

    • I would gladly pay that idiot support if it meant getting away from him.

      You reported child sexual abuse and his response was to help his father COVER IT UP? And not cooperate with the authorities?

      Run like HELL away from this man! You need to call a domestic abuse hotline and tell them the whole story. They are professionals who will help you make a plan. The lawyer you spoke with isn’t the only legal opinion. Get someone through a domestic abuse resource who knows how to deal with abusers.

      Your children won’t forgive you for divorce? How will they forgive you if you keep them around this abuser and his family? And I’m sorry 13-17 year old kids in porn is underage. It’s child porn.

      RUN don’t walk away from this guy.

      • ETA– and GOOD FOR YOU for reporting the FIL!!! You found the strength to do that, you can do this.

        The problem isn’t porn. Porn didn’t make him this fucked up monster — I’d put the blame on his family. Porn is a symptom of the fucked up.

        • CL is right (as usual). When I saw the headline (is porn infidelity?) I was thinking prude. Porn can be harmless, even shared with your spouse (not something I’m into, but to each their own). It’s harmful when it is preferred to the real thing though.

          But this is not a porn problem. This seems like a pedophilia, sex crime problem. Yes, porn is only a symptom here. RUN RUN RUN. And my God the family courts are horrible.

          • Hopeless Chump, I have a hard time believing it’s legal to show a child pornography of any kind. I’m not so sure you are getting good legal advice. Check with another attorney, and make sure he/she hears about your husband’s father too. That sort of information must have some relevance in a custody hearing.

    • You married a “con man!!!” Hello! What makes u think he wouldnt touch his “little angels?” How can u believe ONE word that comes out of his mouth? Look at his actions! Listen to your natural instincts! You are scared for yourself, but think of your children’s safety. Abused kids will NEVER tell unless they can get away to safety. Home schooling may be your thing, but if something wrong is going on, the can’t Tell anyone. This is not just a porn issue! This is a mom trying to get out of denial of what is happening or what could happen. Get them out! Please.

  • Hopeless, I so feel for the horrible situation you are in.

    I think porn is like any other pleasurable behaviour (drinking, gambling, recreational substances, food …) Many people can use it ocassionally and have fun with it, and some people really become addicted. And porn has increased its addiction potential by a TON over the past couple of decades; so easily accesible, so specific to people’s kinks, so low-cost, in terms of both money and investment in a relationship.

    So what’s important here is that your husband is ADDICTED. The swearing to stop but not stopping? Addiction. The lying? Addiction. The seeing what it’s doing to his wife and marriage, but still not stopping? Addiction.

    And you’ve tried all the steps the non-addicted partner can try. They haven’t worked. Time to detach from this addict.

    BTW, ‘teen’ porn is legally CHILD PORN. You can totally denounce this to authorities, and probably should, based on what you found after DD#2. Don’t forget that girls were abused to make the porn he watches, or at least their photos are being shared by sceevy people without their knowledge – this is in violation of their rights.

    The lawyer you spoke to sounds like they are thinking of your hopefully-soon-to-be-ex as a ‘normal’ person who would get ‘normal’ custody and conditions. Child porn will TOTALLY stop that in its tracks.

    Your best bet would be to talk to a domestic violence hotline, and get local info on counselling, support and SAVVY lawyers. Not garden-variety lawyers, you need the one who can handle this kind of case and get this creep away from you and your kids.

    The kids adore the father they THINK they have – the one they actually have is a creep. Supervised visitation would be the safest thing for them. While they may be devastated by having less contact with their father in future, that is TOTALLY on him; he could have avoided this, but chose not to. And it will do them MUCH more damage over time to see you continuing to eat shit sandwiches and giving in to a selfish addict. Is this the example of adult life you want to give them? Of how much respect they should have for themselves when someone is treating them badly? Of what a marriage should be like?

    It sounds like one of the barriers to action for you is the total confusion in the face of the reality of your situation. I know so well how that feels! How could this be happening? How could my apparently great life have gone down the drain this way? One thing that helped me was to keep reminding myself of the REALITY of my current situation, and that I had to deal with that REALITY, not what should have, could have been, what I thought I had but didn’t ….

  • CL, you wrote: ”
    Back to porn — if you want my opinion here it is — in moderation, I don’t have a problem with porn. I don’t think looking at naughty pictures is cheating. I think for some people it spices up their sex lives, and for men, it’s just something most of them do. As much as it might skeeve some of us out, and our own sexuality might not be wired that way, some people enjoy it. Okay.

    But here is my problem with porn — and spending huge amounts of time in virtual worlds PERIOD — it’s escapism. When porn warps your idea of what actual sex with real people is like, when you prefer the fantasy over the authentic, when you demand that real life mirror porn life — you have a problem with connection and intimacy. Pin-up photos don’t have needs. They stay glossy and perfect no matter how many times you jerk off to them. No real person can compete with a fantasy, whether that’s an affair or a porn site.

    So if someone spends an inordinate amount of time with porn — my take away is that this person prefers sex without intimacy. They prefer escapism over real life. That tells me a lot about their character and what kind of partner they’d be.”

    The hugely under-reported problem with porn is that it is NOT just ‘pictures’ anymore, it’s super high-speed video in which brains get rewired. Dopamine (& other feel-good chemicals) flow in the user’s brain like a torrent, and the end result over time is a dysregulated reward system circuitry in the brain’s neural pathways.
    English translation: so often porn use starts out without the need for escapism per se…it’s more curiosity than anything (especially when the user is very young) and then the brain starts getting trained on “instant rewards” for a job well done (procuring the long-hoped-for- date and successfully getting to orgasm, i.e.: mating accomplished) for doing NOTHING. Nothing but masturbating to a girl who is way outside the league of the masturbator. Or the group of girls, the harem of available and willing females just panting for a touch from him.

    It’s ridiculous to assume, (given the fact that human orgasm is the single biggest reinforcer of behavior that we can engage in consciously), that “just a little porn” is safe to engage in. When I say “safe” I don’t mean in terms of STD’s, I mean in terms of the user of it being able to set limits on time spent online, limits on the kinds of material he’s accessing, limits to how much he’ll then superimpose the images of his dream-girls onto his wife, and so on. Can some do it? Yes, but not many in my own professional observations.
    The way porn use insidiously dysregulates the normal functioning of the reward circuitry in the brain is frightening to behold.

    I work exclusively with porn/sex addicts and partners (primarily partners) in my practice and cannot begin to underestimate the damages it causes, porn-induced Erectile Dysfunction being the newest unwanted symptom in epidemic numbers of cases, and almost all of it sneaks in under the user’s radar. Because there aren’t obvious hangovers as with drugs or alcohol, it becomes very easy to increase use of the drug (yes, porn is a drug due to the way it floods the brain with endogenously-produced chemicals, just like ingesting a drug does that). It becomes all too easy to wipe off, shut the computer off and continue on with the day….ignoring any quietly mounting consequences of use.

    When the wife learns of the increase in use, or what they’re really looking at, with very few exceptions, the porn user will then enlist minimization, rationalization and justification so that he can continue his use. Even HE isn’t aware at that point how difficult it would be to stop. Cutting back doesn’t work once he’s on that grassy slope.
    Clinicians refer to this as: “the erotic trance”. The prefrontal cortex which is also the Executive Decision Making Center, closes down when one views porn. The reasoning part of the brain is now no longer working, so a “normal” suggestion one might give oneself like, “Geez, this girl is awfully young, I have daughters this age…maybe I should click off now”….or “I’ve exceeded my time limit on the computer and I have work to do” – or-
    “I won’t be in the mood for my Date Night tonight if I climax now” …STOP WORKING.
    Those messages do not occur to the user once they are already viewing because the Decision Maker portion of the brain isn’t communicating with the rest of the brain. So, use continues and very often increases. The material has to become harder for the user to start feeling the same “hit” from it…and stopping becomes a dreaded idea much like us really wishing we could lose those extra ten pounds but dammit if donuts don’t do the job of anesthetizing our pain faster than actually committing to a diet and proper food.

    When we learn of the extent of their “habit”, and we ask them to tell us the truth, how often are partners overtly or covertly blamed then? VERY often. We become the thing that stands between him and his super-easy/free/always accessible/anonymously-engaged-with “habit” that dumps euphoria-producing chemicals into his bloodstream for doing NOTHING but hopping online and unzipping his pants.

    I understand that not everyone is interested in the brain science behind what porn use results in alarmingly quickly, but I think we do ourselves a disservice to talk about all the sneaky tactics of the narcissistically disordered and leave out that porn is one giant gateway into those same tactics, often entered into unwittingly, and often ending up in true addiction…once that happens, you can almost count on it: the partner will be devalued and discarded either actually, almost always sexually, and her self-esteem and desirability will be in shambles. Do I speak from personal experience? You bet. My own and that of hundreds of other partners I’ve worked with.

    And yes, one can always argue endlessly about the chicken & egg effect: were they disordered to begin with? Or did porn use escalate and create the disorder of character?
    I say they each occasion each other.
    One eases the way for the other, but I have met too many men who, once they were down the grassy slope on the way to compulsive use of porn, whether they were aware of it or not, they took on the characteristics of active addicts: they don’t care about anything or anyone but getting to “use” their drug, their partners requests be damned.

    In the over 250 informal talks I had with men who used porn while I was gathering material for my upcoming book, I can count on ONE HAND how many said they were honest with their partners about their porn use. When I pressed, almost all of them said they lied about:
    1) how often they looked (many said they only admitted to using it WITH her, to spice things up in the bedroom)
    2) how long they actually stayed online once there
    3) when they were actually online (lying about work, study, etc. while actually being online)
    3) what they were looking at (the themes were in actuality much more problematic than they represented to their partners, whom they assured they were just viewing “vanilla” stuff, cheerleaders and the like.)

    When I asked them why they lied to their partners, 99% said, “She would probably leave me if she knew” or at the very least, “She’d be really upset!”

    As CL reminds us, once a lie is told and gotten away with, it becomes very easy to lie again and over time, we’re talking about the possibility of a lifetime of lies when it comes to porn use. As much as the Sexual Exploitation Industries try to normalize pornography, it is still at least somewhat stigmatic for users to be honest about with themselves and others who matter to them.

    So at the very least, we need to be curious, ahem….yes, curious about how much truth we are in actuality receiving IF we are lucky enough to even know our partners are using porn.

    The amount of mail I get daily at from partners who are heartbroken at the
    sexual and intimate deprivation imposed on them by the compulsive porn users is just mind-bending.
    Yet so many partners are suffering quietly, afraid if they speak up, they’ll be seen as prudes, conservatives or hopelessly uncool. Make no mistake about it: the Porn Industry has spent millions on branding porn as ultra-cool. To stand apart nowadays and say, NO to it means risking social ostracization.

    And any activity that furthers the demand end of the Supply + Demand chain which keeps sex trafficking flourishing and growing every day, is not something I think we can just conveniently shrug off as “some guys like it and they’re wired differently than us sexually” .

    I respect other readers’ rights to see this differently, but for me to turn a blind eye knowing what I know, is just another form of spackle.

    Sorry, CL, I agree with your perspective 99.99% of the time but on this one, I have to be true to what I know about pornography and the effect on most partners, whether they’re cool with porn use or not. The objectively measurable effects don’t care whether one condones porn use in one’s relationship or not.
    So: as with many things shiny that promise easy, instant rewards with little to no downside? Caveat Emptor!!

    • Wow, I didn’t know all of that about how porn can affect the brain. I can see how porn can be very dangerous. I think porn is like anything that’s potentially dangerous and addicting – you have to be careful. Some people will get addicted. Some people should never use it at all, they should just stay away. And it can be very harmful.

      But not to everyone. Similarly to other potentially addictive things, not all people are bad about it. Some people can enjoy just a little and be fine. Case in point, drinking. Some people can have just a few drinks and they never become alcoholics. Likewise, some people can just watch some porn, and never get addicted. Some people can gamble and not become addicted.

      So honestly, I don’t think porn is the entire problem. CL stated it correctly. Porn may be a catalyst (such as drinking, gambling, etc.) but the main problem goes deeper than that. Porn doesn’t take all the blame here.

      BTW, I’m not a fan of porn at all, for reasons that are too numerous to mention (heard Shelly talk one time, very moving: . Still, I think in HopelessChump’s case, porn isn’t the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that her husband is an entitled, gaslighting, closet-pedophile (pedophile, meaning that he has a sexual preference for children). Take porn away and all those things are still true.

    • Outstanding commentary, Lili Bee! Are you familiar with this speaker?

      “Why I stopped watching porn: Ran Gavrieli”

    • I disagree that everyone will have an issue with porn and that there is no point to asking if it’s an underlying issue within the person who becomes addicted to porn. I look at porn myself on an irregular basis, I’m not “trying to be cool” about it. There is nothing wrong with it in moderation. I don’t crave it even though I have only had sex once in the last 6 fucking years. I believe porn addiction is due to an underlying mental health issue.

      I’m not talking about this as a theory. You said: “porn-induced Erectile Dysfunction being the newest unwanted symptom in epidemic numbers of cases”. My ex had this problem, I didn’t have sex for 5 years while he tried drugs and cheated on me. At some points, he told me I was “too aggressive, just wait for me to initiate”. That never happened. I almost divorced him before I discovered the cheating because of the lack of sex but I hung in for love of him. And stupid me, it never occurred to me that if he loved me then he would have sex with me even he could not orgasm. He would at least try to give me pleasure. I know it was simple, he didn’t have the same love for me that I did for him. After the cheating I found he was looking at hard core porn at least 2 hours

      He admitted porn might be the problem exactly once and told me that he could no longer come even to porn, ending that confession with “are you happy now?”. Thereafter he insisted he never said it and it was not true.

      Finally, we once had a conversation that I told me all I needed to know. He said “I’m jealous of you because you can have sex with someone for fun, I can’t do that because it’s the same as masturbation”. (What he said is true when I am single) I then asked him about his partners before me, something I’d never done before. It turned out that he had sex with every single woman within 48 hours of meeting them (including me). Cognitive dissonance was key to his view of himself; for my ex, having sex with a woman really is no different than masturbation. He told me who he was, I really listened.

      • PS: I know for a fact it took a year before his OW could make the magic happen – god knows what shit she did to accomplish that – both in and out of the bed.

        • Porn is a lot like cigarettes. The ease of availability, age of exposure, and coolness factor have a lot to do with how likely someone is to become addicted. And lets be honest…if cigarettes were as available and as socially acceptable as porn we’d be a nation of smokers (the U.S. that is).

          I didn’t used to have a problem with porn other than it’s not really geared towards women but I now know too many couple’s lives who were destroyed by “just porn”. Honestly the phrase is insulting. Yes, some of us can watch it without turning into glossy eyed, shaved bald, obsessed anal monkeys. Um, yeah…that’s a description of my ex. And no his main problem wasn’t porn but it didn’t help. I dated a guy for a minute who literally couldn’t finish during sex unless he finished himself off. You know why? Because he watched too damn much porn. It certainly isn’t a version of healthy sexuality or something that encourages intimacy and the amount of exposure now a days is starting to cause an epidemic of these issues.

          I promise DDWuf that I’m not prude. I just can’t endorse playing with fire when I’ve seen too many burn victims.

    • hopelessly uncool. Make no mistake about it: the Porn Industry has spent millions on branding porn as ultra-cool. To stand apart nowadays and say, NO to it means risking social ostracization.

      I saw a revolting slogan on facebook last week that stated….

      ‘Porn is the new Black’

      That is how hypertolerant and sick our culture has become.

      We should be shifting our sex to its intended higher level elevate it to the height it was designed to be not dragging it down to the lowest common denominator cesspool.

      The sacred merger of two souls who are attuned to the sacredness of others.
      Two ppl committed to the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of each other as lovers.

      Key words are self-mastery, mindfulness and responsibility.

      • Thank you, Lili Bee. Online pornography was my husband’s gateway to five years of sexual addiction that sucked the life and happiness out of him. He had been an occasional pornography viewer up till this time. All that was needed was the right amount of depression over difficult life events and a person out-of-touch with themselves due to the former, and wham! This pornography and “sex industry” set up shop in his brain as his new god. It’s sick and there’s lots of it going on, just as Lili Bee says in her excellent post. Thanks Lili Bee.

        • Preya, I agree.

          My situation was similar.

          Mine was always a porn watcher, and used to have some videos, then DVDs, then when things went online and for free, things increased exponentially.

          I believe prior to the inundation with online porn, the ex actually had things under control still to some extent, but getting too much too frequently made him want to explore the same things with live bodies, but definitely not with me! They had to be 18 and skanky to fill the fantasy brief. I was the madonna. He wanted the whores.

          After many many years of porn addiction and then what I guess can only be called “live porn” addiction, that was pretty much the end of someone who used to be intelligent and interested in the world… he changed to depressed and focussed only on getting his “hit”… which became more and more frequent.

          • “who used to be intelligent and interested in the world”

            In my conversations with addiction counselors, I realized male and female sexual addicts are quite often very highly successful people. They are often the ones you would not suspect because of all their accomplishments and how well they appear to keep all the many balls up in the air: crazy successful career, marriage, kids. I think these heavy-on-accomplishment-oriented people wind up losing themselves in the enormous stress of the day to day. In their crazy busy lives, they stop rejuvenating spiritually, stop focusing on mindfulness, and via the gateway of pornography, the sexual exploitation industry (Lili’s excellent label) knows just how to come in and take their money and their souls to hell. Yes, many are narcissistic to begin with, but many gain their narcissism as a result of interacting with the sexual exploitation industry. Lili, I reread your post and plan to send it along to others. In particular, our youth need to learn more about the dangers. Thank you.

    • Dear CL, like Lili Bee I agree with your perspective 99.99% of the time (actually, I adore it).

      Is Porn Infidelity? I expected that you would go directly past that debate and point out that DECEPTION is the issue.

      I see no point in debating about consensual porn use here. Most porn use is done secretively. Deception in committed relationship is betrayal. We Chumps can certainly be susceptible to arguments to the contrary, because we are Chumps. Resist the urge to spackle.

      Friends, if you have ‘discovered’ evidence of porn use, and been assured it was ‘one time’ or ‘in the past’, what the relevant take-away here is . . . Your Partner Has Proven To Be Capable Of Secretive Behavior. THAT is what you need to know.

      • “if you have ‘discovered’ evidence of porn use, and been assured it was ‘one time’ or ‘in the past’, what the relevant take-away here is . . . Your Partner Has Proven To Be Capable Of Secretive Behavior. THAT is what you need to know.” THIS.

  • If he is looking at child porn, you have a responsibility to report it to the police immediately so they can lock down the computers and protect you from having it turned around and pinned on you. Sadly, there is a stigma about parents who home school their children, and this situation will make you look very bad in the eyes of a judge, especially if your husband goes bonkers and does everything in his power to keep you down. Contacting the detectives would also give you an automatic restraining order. I know it sounds harsh, but you are dealing with a very scary man; someone who lost his job in law enforcement and has openly admitted to being deceptive, but “loves” his kids. Red flags everywhere.

    It’s a harsh reality, but men who are in law enforcement know all the tactics that will make you look really bad, and may even pin the child porn on you. Don’t wait for that to happen.

    You are in a very difficult position, but with some planning and information from people who know what they’re doing and what you’re going through, you will be able to feel as though you are finally doing something to take back control of your life and protect your children. Perhaps a priest in a different parish could also help you through this ordeal. I would not trust the priest who heard your husband’s confession and did not offer couples counseling.

    You have all of us routing for you. The first step is hard, but you can do it.

  • This. This. This!!!!

    “He’s the engineer of his train. And he’s not about to look back and see what he’s dragging behind him. He’s just going to keep going furiously forward, ever forward.
    And as long as you stay on his tracks, you’re going to keep getting hit by him.

    If you really love your abuser—if it’s really and truly about him rather than you—then leave him. (And I know that’s not as easy as it sounds: see Seven Reasons.) All you can do for him—the very best you can do for him—is to stop playing such a vital supporting role in the terrible movie of his life. It’s not likely that he’ll ever hear the voice of goodness inside of him: he’s too committed to his chaotic cacophony for that. But if he has any chance of ever hearing that voice, he’ll only do so when, all around him, it’s suddenly become very quiet.”

  • Hopeless, please FOLLOW this advice from CL. Is sound, makes sense. Follow it 100%. Please. Empower yourself and your kids. There is a way out, always.

  • Sorry but porn isn’t ok its degrading to women -(and men for that matter).

    Have you ever seen the typical porn men watch these days?

    Would you really want to have two or three men ejaculate on your face? whilst calling you a whore and a slut because that is most definitely ‘not’ modelling a healthy or normal sexual intimacy!

    Also (speaking from a spiritual perspective)-Pornography (even soft pornography) causes dark forces to be invoked because it involves a deliberate desecration of the human archetype.

    People who are involved in this access cosmic evil as it involves and celebrates a desecration- an animalistic debasement of the female form and human sexuality.

  • Dear Hopeless Chump,

    I have five children, too. I was forced to stop homeschooling them when I got divorced. It wasn’t the end of the world. Frankly, when you’re dealing with something as emotionally wrenching as divorce, it’s difficult to do an excellent job of homeschooling.

    You said your husband is a user of child porn. It doesn’t matter if the children are teenagers, it’s still child porn. Have you told your attorney what you found?

  • First post to ChumpLady—you are awesome, by the way!!

    Hopeless—my STBX is a porn addict and I will be divorced from him in the next few months. As LiliBee so eloquently shared—porn is an addiction, just like alcohol and gambling. I have wanted to post your letter to ChumpLady—do you consider porn infidelity? He left two years ago—I have not heard about OW, in my case, but wouldn’t doubt someone existed.

    We used to watch videos before we had kids—to spice things up. About a year before he ran away, I found an email that he printed (what an idiot) about buying panties from a woman. A few months before he left, I found porn DVDs in his dresser. When I confronted him, he told me he needed them. Ten months after he left, I found sixty porn magazines from the mid-1990s hidden under the house.

    I also caught him in the mid-1990s talking to someone on the internet and jerking off—he told me he was under alot of pressure and it would never happen again. He just went further undgerground—for 16 years.

    Addicts have to lie and deceive to protect their habit. I think in my case, his addictions (he is an alcoholic also) started to take up more of his time—and abandoning me and his sons gave him unfettered time to do as he pleased.

    As LiliBee stated—STBX has ED—it started when he was about 44 and by the time he left, he couldn’t get it up at all.

    As wives of porn addicts, I say RUN. Porn addiction escalates—who knows what they will watch or do to get their jollies. Being married to an addict of any kind is covert abuse. It is hard to break free, but for your sake and your children, see that he is abusing all of you. How much time and money is being used to fund these activities and not going towards your family?

    I had an uncle who was sexually suggestive and I would now question if he touched me inappropriately—I am glad you reported your FIL.

    I, also, would not trust your H around your daughters—-I just couldn’t take that chance. If your gut is telling you he may act inappropriately with your daughters, please listen.

    My counselor also told me her practice is seeing many men (married) with porn addictions—it is becoming an epidemic.

  • Pornography is dangerous to your soul.

    With the sexual revolution it became acceptable to think ‘if it feels good do it’
    Anything goes nowadays and shockingly it seems to be the norm to think porn is ok and ‘healthy’?!

    Pornography is an unintelligent degradation of human sexuality that has nothing whatsoever to offer any woman (or man) except loss of intimacy and low self esteem.

    Why would someone watch a woman losing her dignity by allowing herself to be objectified by animalistic unloving men.

    Men who use pornography disgust me.

  • NOT Hopeless Chump, you are just momentarily frozen, I call it going “tharn” from the book “Watership Down”. I was there once, it was an awful place and it took a gun in my face to get me to move. Don’t be me.

    I want to add my voice to others; respect your intuition and be very careful in leaving this guy. Read “Gift of Fear”, also visit the authors site and fill out the survey here: these give you the tools to determine how dangerous things may be. I found them a bit late…

    I worry that he said “I love you, you are my “soulmate” and I will never let you go.” Before my ex escalated to physical abuse he made many comments about suicide and he often said things like “I will live in this house until I die”, “You show me the path, I need you” and “we are not getting a divorce. These “loving” words were often followed by rages about a myriad of things. Followed by more “loving” protestations. What I realized later was that in finally standing up to him he had speeded up what psychologists call the “cycle of abuse”. Look it up. So he started doing the sweet things followed by the abusive things faster and faster until I could easily recognize the manipulations for what they were.

    None of what I wrote may apply to you, putting it out there in case it does so you can validate what you are experiencing. And seriously, read that book, take that survey. Find out why your husband lost his job while you are at it.

    And whatever you do? It’s going to be hard as hell, reach out to family, find some local support. Definitely check in with your local women’s abuse shelter, they usually offer free therapy sessions. jedi hugs

  • I posted something similar to my comments on here on another site and I received several angry replies mainly from men saying….
    I was just ‘jealous’ (of the so called porn stars) because I was obviously ‘fat and ugly’ also I had psychological problems because I was so ‘prudish’ and should ‘lighten up’.

  • I want to add to the chorus about taking care of your safety since he’s a former police officer – the things he said made my hair stand on end. Perhaps try the Mosaic threat assessment.

    I’m wondering how he lost his job. I am getting a sense that he quit when he saw the spectre of divorce and didn’t want to pay child or spousal support.

  • Has anyone here had the pleasure of sitting in on Sex Addiction support group meetings or been in group therapy with a partner that is a SA? If you have I am certain you have also had the shock of witnessing the large number of 20 -30 year old porn addicts that are now filling these venues up to overflowing. Cyber porn addicts. Look up what porn addiction does to a persons brain. It is one of the most pathetic addictions I have ever witnessed. The men I witnessed were miserable, very hooked, and it very sad. It usually get really gross and twisted as the addiction accelerates and the need for novelty and something more intense grows. (Thus grandma porn, child porn, and other violent, demeaning and or just twisted sick porn is desired )
    Porn wires the brain to be anti social and distorted. It shuts down the pre-frontal cortex where empathy and the ability to attune with other human being is located. It can also teach young men at developmentally sensitive time (11 -16) to objectify women in very serious ways that will effect future human relationships and interactions of all kinds.

    MRI scans have shown that fast paced digital porn, where it is easy to access image after image for hours, has the same effect on the human brain as heroin does. Porn is really messing up a lot of young peoples lives at this time.
    The porn addicts I met were suffering horribly.. Young men are rendered incapable of having normal sex with real partners. They are often self isolated and preoccupied and their partners are confused and suffering because of the PA’s porn use and porn addiction.
    Another point worth mentioning is that almost every single porn addict in the large group I witnessed , sited that their porn use had been a huge contributing factor in their subsequent use of prostitution. These men would attribute the porn cycle (usually at 6 months to 1 1/2 year of porn) as the catalyst that spiked their interest in and drive to use prostitution, cyber sex, and all the new sexual venues that go with this.
    Sexual gratification with objects and images that expect nothing back from you is one of the big things that drives these PA to use porn. It is an easy fix. One of the biggest issues that porn addicts discuss is excessive masturbation that goes with excessive porn use and this often goes to the point that they seriously damage themselves physically. This was discussed matter of fact again and again as something that just goes with porn addiction. Gross and Ouch Yes!
    Also a question for anyone here that is over 40. Do you have any idea what is actually available porn wise now??? I was so naive about this. Anyone gone on line to check out what all the fuss is about? It is actually a very sad and dangerous situation that we will all have to deal with and it will destroy many relationships and many other people with be used, violated, and trafficked etc. Porn addiction is now a bigger deal now on the world stage then ever before. Because of what happens to porn addicts neurologically it can actually change our world and not for the better especially if PA was normalized as just something people do.
    Porn Addiction does and will effect everyone that the PA is connected to in any way. It is now a collective human issue and we all, as parents, partners and as humans will be effected in some way. It would be wise if we educate ourselves on what can happen when anyone and especially young people are exposed to porn and not taught about the very real dangers that now exist regarding PA .

    • “Porn wires the brain to be anti social and distorted. It shuts down the pre-frontal cortex where empathy and the ability to attune with other human being is located. It can also teach young men at developmentally sensitive time (11 -16) to objectify women in very serious ways that will effect future human relationships and interactions of all kinds”.

      Martha that is so frightening.

      There is a new word in the dictionary now that describes what is happening to society western civilization


      Hypertolerance, political correctness and the decline of Christianity is the cause.

  • Addiction to anything sucks. What makes us chumps? Addiction… The modules in our brains are built on millions of years of extremely complex push and pull. No pun intended.

    I think it’s safe to say that child abuse should trigger negative reactions every, every time. As an educator, I tell kids to be careful of what they put in their heads because it stays there. And it’s my job to protect them. By law, I must report abuse. It should be that way for all of us.

    I do want to say though, that it’s possible there are many men like me – for whom masturbation is about avoiding “sex without intimacy”. I have not had a sex partner since my D-Day in January of 2010. Being single does not mean I’m weak. It means I’m strong enough to wait for the right person. That being said however, there are tensions in all our lives. But I’d rather fill it with an occasional healthy release alone than with a partner I don’t care about… I only control me though.

    I hope I’m not the only guy here that’s going comment on this post! Hopeless Chump? You’re an educator too… Protect your kids. Protect all kids.

  • Hopeless, do you have family somewhere that would take you in, at least temporarily? How about friends? How old are your children?

    I was a homeschooler as well, but I just have one child, so it was easier for me. Is there any way you can teach classes at a homeschool coop, or take in daycare kids to make money once divorce is done? I agree with others you need to be VERY careful with this guy, he is potentially dangerous. I also agree he needs to be reported to the police again, and perhaps that would be the road to freedom for you.

  • I am so grateful for all the input. I have been devastated by this, my marriage ruined- if I ever had one, it was certainly not to the person I thought he was. He insists that he is that good person and does not want to be the “deceiver” as he calls the other person. He compartmentalized so well I did not know for 6years of marriage and 2 years of dating! He is always remorseful, but It is always after I have caught him. He has never come to me and said I am having trouble again. His whole family is this way. Sister was molested by father, or younger brother, older brothers’ marriage is falling apart due to his excessive porn use. Youngest brother raped a 16 yo girl when he was 19. He spent time in prison for it. I did not know ANY of this before I married Mr X. I found the teen porn over and over, he insisted that it was from sites with a disclaimer that all girls are over 18. So the fuck what. He WANTED to look at TEEN girls or women who LOOKED like teens. He also suffered the last 2 years from ED. I thought it was me. I thought that I just was not good enough for him. I was too old. I am scared out of my skull. I am so afraid of making the wrong move, and making my situation worse. I do not have nor do I have anyway to pay the 7500$ retainer the attorneys want up front. I could use legal aid and file, but if he contests it and lawyers up I’m fucked. I would have to represent myself and I would lose. Judges HATE for you to come in with no attorney. I know, I had to do it with alcoholic X. Also, he was a police officer and as such knows all the judges and all the attorneys and could easily get one to represent him gratis. Once again- I am fucked. I am so scared. I feel like a trapped animal. I am considering all my options and I realize that some hard decisions will have to be made. And soon. The devastation he has caused me, the anxiety and indescribable trauma and stress is , in my mind anyway, immeasurable. He said it himself, he is a pathological liar and has been a liar his entire life. Those are his words, not mine. If the children were not involved I would get myself gone. I am lost.

    • Be careful, only you know your situation well enough to determine the best route. I do think you should call a women’s shelter in your area and see what resources they can provide, the one I visited had an attorney who does cases for free. I paid for my attorney but I know that she also did pro bono work for abused women, it’s one of the reasons I picked her. Cops are the hardest to get away from, as you said, he knows everyone and other cops will help him.

      Make sure your husband does not know what you are doing.

      • Hopeless (that you are not)… Listen to Datamwuf. She knows from experience. Only you know what is safest and best for your situation. I work in the DV field IN A POLICE DEPARTMENT. I know how one sided anything involving cops can be. Start with a local DV agency (not connected to a police department or prosecutor). Something advocacy based either in your community or in a community near you. Most of the advocates I refer people to in my area have attorneys they can call upon for the cases they really know need free or reduced cost representation. You can get away from this situation, but you are going to need help. It can’t hurt to start asking for it… but do it safely and secretly. Don’t let him know what you are doing. The things he is saying to you are very ominous and are designed to make you feel too paralyzed to do anything. They might only be words, but then again, maybe not. You need back up!!!! We here at CL can be your cheering squad, but we can’t do the legwork that you are gonna need help with. GOOD LUCK!

  • Hey Hopeless,

    Listen to Datdamwuf, their advice has been bang on ever since I started watching this blog.

    Like many abused women, you are spackling- read over what you have written-there is alot of ‘if only’ in there. Whatever you do is going to scare the shit out of you, and you are in a situation where ‘least worst’ may be all you can manage. But staying put is not an option.

    I would go to a shelter-perhaps they can help you relocate, enroll the kids in school. You only pay child support if he has access to them, and it sounds like you have a fair chance of getting a no contact order. I see the tightrope you are on-if you abscond, it may go against you, but equally, if you stay, much worse might happen.

    Your stbx sounds like a proper narcissist, and if he is anything like the unlamented Mr. Fab, once your girls hit adolescence, their wanting to differentiate or individuate will make the crap hit the fan anyway. Sounds like much worse is possible, given the family constellation you describe, so be a Mom, step up and get the hell outta there.

    No, a court order won’t stop your ex if he goes postal, but equally, you either gotta stand your ground, or you gotta go to ground somewhere. Not interstate, and if your kids are homeschooled, then it won’t disrupt them too much. You mentioned a Dad, can he set you up somewhere this douche can’t find you or the kids? You may find that, given the chance to express themselves, that your kids don’t need or want this jerk in their lives.

    Keep us posted, Hopeless. We want you to be Hopeful. Someday….but for now, we want you to be able to live to tell the tale. And for your kids to not be abused, or tolerate abusive partners in future.

    ONLY you can make that difference.
    May the force be with you.


  • Hopeless,

    It seems to me that everyone is assuming that you are further down the path to thinking that your husband may be quite evil than you actually are.

    Let me say this to you… I was married for 20 years to a guy who I knew liked to watch porn. I thought that’s all it was. I was trusting. He had me absolutely convinced that he just liked to watch, and that was OK, because, hey, all guys like porn, right?

    Until I started doing some digging, and found out about multiple affairs. About him spending ridiculous amounts of money to buy sex from girls. About his membership to About HOW MANY YEARS he had been involved in such activities.

    It is likely… no… I’d say it is DEFINITE that with his father being a child molester, his quirks and problems run MUCH deeper than simple porn addiction.

    If you do some digging… and it is NEVER pleasant… you are going to find out a WHOLE lot more than you really want to know about what this man is REALLY like.

    I would encourage you, however, to try and find out everything you can about him. But do it quietly and with caution.

    As long as you only SUSPECT other things of him, and have no proof, you will continue to tell yourselves lies about how it’s better for the kids to have a dad… ANY dad… how you still love the idiot somehow.

    Only with some good, hard facts about his real behaviour and his real sociopathy will you get the gumption to pull you and your family out of this mess.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE…. do this for yourself and your kids now. Trust someone who knows, and many will back me here on this. Your marriage is going to end at some stage anyway… better to pull the bandaid off quickly and get it over with, than living with this (and hey, let’s face it, with the possibility that he or his dad is finding time to molest your kids) for a few more years before finally getting yourself out.

    PLEASE… find out more. Get the show on the road. Take action. Gather your facts first though, before he can hide things from you. Then dump his ass.

    • What she said!

      I know you’re scared. Leave anyway. Take it from me, I was also scared to leave my ex, but the consequences of staying were much worse. Feel the fear, and leave anyway.

      Don’t wait for that rock-bottom moment (when he molests your daughter? Or your daughter’s friend? Or when he gives you an STD from his prostitute trysts?). You know everything you need to know right now. This is your window to act, before it’s too late. Take it. We’re here if you need to vent.

      Your kids need to you to do this for them.

    • Well said Justsaying! I can relate totally to your experience. I started digging and couldn’t believe how long his activities went on for and for how sick they were. And the anger he turned on me because I insisted on knowing his “deepest and darkest” secrets. The divorce was ALL my fault because I “just HAD to know”. What a bitch I was!
      You’re so right in saying that as long as Hopeless-soon-to-be Hopeful only suspects she will continue lying to herself. It’s a trait of our chumpiness. And also because we still somehow love the person we still hope/wish they are. The side they showed us. Not the hidden part.

      Hopeless-soon-to-be-Hopeful – being fair and non-judgemental is wasted on someone like him – how fair has he been to you? Not one bit in the least. So cut that out now.
      Giving him that consideration is totally wasted on him – turn your attention away from him to yourself and your children and saving yourselves.

      • Lynn,

        So true, so true.

        I mean, it’s difficult. We chumps, by our very nature, can’t conceive of the awful, hateful, and sometimes very demented things our cheaters will do and the lengths they will go to, to cover them up because, well, WE would never DREAM of being like that.. and many of us can’t conceive of the fact that there ARE people like that.

        A friend said to me, “People are capable of all kinds of stuff… look at Hitler.” I hate to compare my husband to Hitler… but it’s true. Just because I can’t conceive of it, doesn’t mean others can’t be horrible!

        Hopeless will get there. Hopefully a little encouragement will egg her on.

        I know for me, I am still in the middle of it, and still digging. I hate to dig, but I have to, because there is potential money in it for me that he has wasted and owes me back.

        And still, everytime I start digging, I think I couldn’t possibly find anything worse than what I’ve already found, and surely there can’t be MORE anyway… and everytime I find MORE and it is WORSE! It’s astounding.

        I say to Hopeless again… even if you don’t believe it… find the facts, do your research. Start digging. It is painful, but it is necessary, as you need some facts so that you actually know for sure what you are dealing with.

        It’s Valentine’s Day today here in Australia… we’re a bit ahead of the US in timing! I’m going out for a lovely lunch with a good female friend of mine and we will celebrate our freedom!

        Take care everyone!

  • I thank everyone for their concern and input. I took the mosaic, and it accessed my situation at a 7 out of 10. That tells me that my gut is right, that I have cause for great concern. I am inching forward. Datdamwuf I loved the expression “tharn” I had totally forgotten that from watership down. That was a great book! And that is EXACTLY how this feels. Mephista and JustSaying- thank you for putting into words what I need to know. I AM AFRAID. And I keep hoping he is not the evil person that he is appearing to be. I am trying to be “fair” and not be judgemental. Just trying to stay sane. But staying with the devil you know is not going to be the best thing for my children. The Mosaic accessment got my atttention that is for sure. And Lili from posarc is right on with her explanation of SA. I know in my gut that he has done much, much more than I know. And I probably don’t want to know. CL I love this site and it is a great help to read stories of people who have gotten out. I pray that someday I can sign in as Hopeful rather than Hopeless.

    • I’m glad you used mosaic, that is a high score. I hope you will contact the womens shelter in your area also to see what they can help with.

      • Hey Hopeless (soon to be hopeful)

        I second that on the mosaic-I did one, too, for emotional abuse, but still (DD was self harming), an eye opener.

        Fear can sometimes be a gift- sticking with Watership Down-Fiver was the most fearful, but also the one with the most character and courage in the end. You can bring down this Efrafa, and get your babies to a safer burrow.

        Other Chumps with more dire experience advise gathering evidence, so do that.

        This guy feels dangerous. I second and third and fourth the women’s shelter idea.

        And may your black rabbit run many many many years from now.

        Keep us posted.


    • I cant understand you wanting to be fair and non judgemental Hopeless Chump

      He isn’t a good person.

      He has a mind that is dysfunctional, sick, cannot distinguish between right and wrong, and has no moral compass.

      It isnt okay for your children to be in the same room with a man with such a perverse mind?

      If you have anything more to do with this creep you are being a bad mother.

  • I meant to write this earlier.

    Your note sounds a lot as if it’s coming from an abuse victim, and the mosaic score suggests that you have cause for concern. I know you’re worried about lawyers, retainer fees, etc., but here’s something else you should know.

    Even though your husband is a scary bastard, abusers like to assume much more authority and power than they have. Your husband isn’t a cop; he’s a former cop. He’s not working now, right? So something went wrong, very wrong, at work. Dollars to doughnuts he’s not as respected and powerful as he tells you he is.

    That doesn’t make him less dangerous. It simply means that he doesn’t hold all the cards in the judicial system.

    Take your power back.

    Contact the local womens shelter. Many family lawyers will donate their services to women in these shelters. Shelters also have contacts for therapists experienced in dealing with abuse situations. Even if you opt not to go into the shelter, you can at least get some good advice for area resources.

    The abuse shelter can also help you explore whether your children’s grandfather molested them. It’ll be important to the children to know that you have their back on this. Also, this gives you the documentation you need for family court.

    The shelter can also help you with transitional housing as well as plugging you into local job training resources.

    So, talking to the shelter will be a first step in taking back control over your life.

    Hugs, and keep us updated.

    • Yes, Kb makes a good point. I bet your husband isn’t as powerful as he brags to be. My ex was also a cop, active-duty at the time. It scared me to think of going to court where he would know the judges, etc. But in hindsight, I know that while he did have some friends there, he also had enemies. Enemies he made because of his own poor behavior as a cop.

      You said that up until recently he was working as a cop, and you are the full-time mom who homeschools, right? That will help you a lot in getting physical custody. The courts usually want to keep the status-quo. They look at what the children are used to – not just the past six months, but a larger time span, overall. It sounds like they are used to being with you as the stay-at-home, so the court will want to continue to have you be the main caregiver. Just a guess.

  • I know this thread is ancient but I just want to say my ex was a porn user as well. And here is the trouble with porn: it’s not the same as alcohol and gambling. I think it more closely resembles meth or heroin or crack. Some couples might be able to hit an opium pipe together and have a great time, and not have it ruin their relationship or their lives. But is that really a healthy thing to do, and should women be pressured to say “ok I accept that most men like to hit the opium pipe and it’s just in their DNA, I’ll get over it.”
    nah… I met the love of my life finally, and he has no desire to use porn. There are men out there who were not raised on internet porn and see it as the skeevy crack pipe that it is. I have a large network of friends online who escaped domestic abuse, and porn was ALWAYS present. I can’t think of one of my fellow survivors who didn’t experience this porn problem in their marriages.
    So yeah CL — go ahead and tell women that most men like to hit the crack pipe and all that matters is if you are down with it or not. I guess in the end we get what we ask for. Just want to give hope to any women reading this that there ARE men out there who don’t want to use porn, they are NOT unicorns, they are out there.

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