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Internet sex is destroying my family.

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Q: My husband & I were only 21 when we got married. We’ve been married for 13 years now and are facing a problem because of his internet sex addiction.
We were each other’s first sexual partners (and the only ones so far), but when we were in college his curiosity got better of him. This was about 12 yrs ago. I discovered he was visiting x-rated sites and masturbating. I confronted him about it. I was devastated! We talked and talked about it. He was sincerely sorry about it, made a promise not to visit such sites again, and I believed him. I said I would divorce him if I ever found it again.

Since, Tve been checking and not finding anything. I’ve been also constantly reminding him of that! I was very clear. He stayed away from internet porn for next few years and then 5yrs ago started again. He’d do it when I’m not at home. We both worked full time, but he’d use every opportunity to do it (he didn’t have that many).
We have 2 kids (3yr & 1yr), and faced serious health problems with them when they were born. They are ok and healthy, but it’s been particularly hard on me!

About a year ago I again discovered his internet infidelity and confronted him about it. He said it wasn’t him. I really wanted to believe that, so I did. But this year, same story. I was so hurt, even more then the first time! Whenever I’d mention it in the past (quite often I did), he’d say I have to trust him. So now I don’t trust anything anymore. Because of some financial & family issues we are not in a situation to divorce now, so we’ve agreed to do it next year. I’ll move to be close to my sister and he’ll be near by. Over and over again he said he’s been an idiot about it, there is no excuse etc. He said he took me for granted and that he didn’t respect me enough. He now seems genuinely sorry, but I don’t want to set myself up again. So divorce is definite.

But I love him! He is great husband (other then that) and the best father there is. I grew up with him, became a person with him, and I cannot imagine myself ever loving someone else. I’m not young now (34), but Iâ?Tm still very beautiful. What should I do? He’s sleeping in the same room still (the kidsâ?T room); I try to sleep in a different bed, but not always. I sleep the best when I hug him, I really need him.
I know I should be more decisive about it, because now he’s convinced we’ll work it out somehow. We still talk about it all the time (Iâ?Tm still checking his computer).

Please tell me – how would I ever trust anyone again? Do I stay with him, or do I bite the bullet and leave? PLEASE HELP!!

A: As hard as things have been, it does seem as though there are a number of good reasons to try again: You have two very young children. You love this man and describe him as a great husband and the best father there is. He has repeatedly said he’s sorry and really wants to try. You’re hurt and angry but you still look to him for comfort and can’t imagine life without him.

If the two of you could fix this on your own, you would have done so already. It looks to me like he needs therapy to deal with his addiction to porn and the two of you need couple therapy to work on trust. Without solid help for him, the pull of the addiction may be stronger than your husband’s best intentions. Without some new ways to deal with each other, the tension caused by distrust and anxiety will sink any efforts the two of you make to keep your family together. You can’t live your life always worried that you are in competition with internet sex. He can’t live his life always feeling like you are checking up on him. Please get the help you need and give this marriage one more chance. It really does sound like it’s worth it.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Internet sex is destroying my family.

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Internet sex is destroying my family.

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Internet sex is destroying my family.. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/01/13/internet-sex-is-destroying-my-family/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.