My husband of 18 years was rarely intimate with me. I tried everything, cried a lot and through pity sex we produced two great kids, now 14 and 11.
Our older child discovered dad’s chatting online when I’m not around. He also found dad’s browser history – all porn sites. He showed me: they were mostly teen sex sites with daily visitation. I looked once; these were hardcore images I wish I never saw.
Prior to this discovery, I got my husband to a counsellor, where I learned he’s not interested in working on the marriage, only staying "for the kids.”
I’ve disclosed that I know about his porn addiction. He says he can stop, but I see no change to his behaviour patterns (staying up late).
Am I crazy to stay, to preserve the kids' lives (we fake normalcy)? Or do I make a scene, with me seeming the selfish, self-seeking one, who can't stay together for the kids? And will he be leering at their future girlfriends?
Yet I fear the kids will see both porn and the 100 per cent lack of intimacy or affection as normal.
- Torn by Porn
Weigh the negatives: What you fear from a break-up (disruption for the children) vs. what you fear from staying (living a lie, modelling acceptance of porn addiction, and far more).
Raising teenagers in a home of coldness and secrets – especially when teen porn is the elephant in the room – doesn’t bode well for providing the inner security and values children need to have future happy relationships.
You can’t have much respect left for your husband, who’s willfully neglected your needs for years and which they’re also bound to see. They’ll eventually either turn against him, or you, or both, from all this duplicity.
Apart, you’ll be able to impart your values more effectively and may even find your own happiness in a future relationship.
When you separate (and I believe you will), make sure your separation agreement includes a requirement for him to get therapy for his porn addiction if he wants contact with his kids.
My best friend divorced a man who was emotionally and physically abusive towards her. Instead of improving her life, she’s since been dating a man who I think is worse.
Although he hasn't hurt her physically, he’s cheated on her with more than 10 women in three years. She’s found evidence (and even confronted one of the women) but won’t confront him.
He’s broken up with her many times via text message; she always spirals into a deep depression. He’s crawled back later.
I’ve suggested therapy, but she refuses. Her children hate him and he doesn’t like being around them, either. I’ve warned her about STD risks, no response. She’s begun isolating herself from her closest friends. When should I give up?
- Rejected Advisor
Back off unsolicited advice-giving now, after explaining why: You care about her, but she doesn’t care enough to want something better for herself and her kids. Say you’ll be there for her when he leaves her for good, or she gets tired of being treated badly.
Hand her the phone number of a therapist, your local distress centre and an abused women’s shelter. Tell her that these may be the friends she truly needs, soonest.
Make contact periodically - it’d be helpful if you can also ask to occasionally take her kids out, so they don’t lose the sense of your caring and support.
My niece, 15, has been on drugs and in legal trouble; she’s on probation. Some problems stemmed from an ex-boyfriend, but I believe it was a cry for help. When she was young, her mother (my step-sister) would call her a bitch and tell her to shut up.
My niece says her mother has a drug and alcohol problem. She’s not living with her mother and I want to take her in, but I have three small children. I worry it’ll cause problems with my children. What should I do?
Offer to take her in “on probation.” Be very clear about the house rules and regular scrutiny that’ll take place: No drugs inside or outside, no ex-boyfriend contact, no strangers in or around the house.
If she wants family help, she’ll have it. If she just wants a place to crash and do her own thing, settle her through a community agency.
Tip of the day:
When a spouse cares more for porn than the partner, the marriage is a sham for everyone involved.