For months, Circle of Moms member Janel C. would wake at 3 a.m. and find the other side of the bed empty. In a sleep fog, she would go in search of her husband and find him hunched over his computer screen. He’d tell her he had insomnia and just couldn’t sleep.
Then came the discovery. Morning after morning, she’d find porn sites popping up on the computer screen. He explained it away as an Internet virus, but she became increasingly suspicious and asked a friend how to confirm her hunches on the computer. With the friend's help she discovered he was surfing porn sites.
“I was blown away and I was devastated,” she shares. “I believe it is a form of cheating. I started not to trust him. I did not want to have sex with him. I would lay there in bed thinking, 'So, is he really making love to me, or to some woman he saw on the Internet?"
She is far from alone, according to the stream of Circle of Moms conversations in which moms are talking about discovering their husbands' secret passion for pornography, and about what it tells them about their marriages.
Some say the discovery makes it a struggle to stay in their marriages. Others says it's not a big deal, just something all guys do. And still others say that while it hurts, they love their husbands and don’t want to toss out the life they’ve built together. In all camps, tehre are moms who say a couple can work together to heal the corrosive impact of one partner's porn habit on a relationship.
While every reaction to the discovery of a partner's secret interest in pornography is as individual and unique as the couple inolved, moms who've been through it have pooled some good advice for dealing with it. What matters most, theys say, is finding ways to rebuilding their relationships. Here are some words of wisdom gathered from both members and experts, and representing a range of responses.
1. Cut Yourself Some Slack
Panic and confusion are normal responses, says Katie C. “You're completely within your rights to feel hurt,” she adds. “If it is something that hurts you, your husband needs to know this. It's something my husband and I talked about early in our marriage because he had trouble with it in his past.” Shelli T. adds, “Remember it is not you. Been there! You feel hurt and angry. The first step is to realize that it has nothing to do with you (or) how you fulfill his needs.”
“Before you accuse your husband, I would approach the subject lightly and make positively sure he was looking at porn," says Rebekah S. "It is easy to type in a web site wrong and those sites pop up, or think you are going to a site and it turns out to be something else."
Some moms believe it's just fantasy and doesn’t mean your spouse doesn’t love you or find you attractive. "It's natural. And most guys do look at porn," says Kea G., adding, “I would rather have my husband looking at porn than cheating on me. Men have fantasies and sometimes they are going to act on those fantasies. It's better to act on them in front of a computer then with another woman."
4. "Support Him and Share Feelings to Help Rebuild the Relationship"
Jessie N. agrees that pornography habits are far from rare, and that many married men struggle because it's so easily available online. “I know my husband has. The best thing you can do is know that your husband does love you. You can choose to love your husband despite his weaknesses and you can be his help mate when he struggles."
Mark Chamberlain, Co-author of “Love You, Hate the Porn," adds that women often feel left out, believing that this is an issue their husband wants to handle on his own. But he adds, the couple needs to work on it together. Couples are more likely to repair the relationship if "it becomes us — husband and wife together — working against the problem of pornography."
Janel C. adds that it's important to share feelings of anger, fear and hurt rather than bottling them up. "Tell him," she urges. After confirming her husband's Internet pornography habit, she said it took a long time for her wounds to heal. But working through those feelings ushered in a happy ending. She and her husband spent a year in counseling together and he joined a men's accountability group at their church.
”It really helped him and saved our marriage,” she says. ”It did, however, take me a long time to forgive and trust him. If you suspect your husband is looking at porn, you need to confront him and tell him how you feel about it. If this is something that is hurting you, you need to deal with it now before it tears you and him apart.”
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.