I’ve Been Betrayed

Finding out that your partner has been viewing porn behind your back can be totally devastating. “How can he say he loves me when he goes and views porn?” “Am I not pretty enough? Am I too fat? Don’t I perform well in the bedroom?” These are all common questions that women ask when they find out about their partner’s porn habit.1

 But it’s not always women who suffer, even though that is most common. Sometimes it is men who find that their female partner is hooked on porn. As the partner of someone who’s addicted you might be feeling little empathy for you pain, leaving you to suffer alone and become more and more isolated by the trauma of the situation.2
So what on earth do you do now?

The journey to recovery

If you’ve only just made the discovery of your partner’s porn viewing habit you are most likely at the start of a very long and slow journey. There will be good days and there will be bad days. Research has shown three distinct stages in the recovery process. 3

1. The impact stage

  • You might find yourself seeking to understand why this happened.
  • You might second guess everything that your partner does.
  • You might find your interactions with your partner to be always negative, trying to find fault, leading to more relationship difficulties in this tense time.
  • You might feel like putting in boundaries like moving to a different bedroom from your partner or moving out for a while.

2. The meaning stage

  • You might find yourself trying to work why on earth your partner started looking at porn. How long they’ve been doing it? Whether or not it’s related to their childhood or some kind of trauma in the past.
  • You might find yourself hunting for ways to fix your relationship. Books to read and other information.
  • You might begin to try and find ways to rebuild the intimacy in your relationship and re-establish trust.

3. The moving on stage

  • You might begin to take steps forward using the information you gathered in the meaning stage.
  • You will look for forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • You might decide to make changes to your relationships so that it can be rebuilt (or end it, if you decide it is necessary).
  • You will most likely have moments reflecting on the past but the impact of them will be less severe and you will recover from them faster.

So where to from now?

  • Remind yourself that you are not responsible for your partner’s viewing habit.

  • You are not responsible for your partner’s lies and secrecy.
  • You are not responsible for your partner’s recovery.
  • You are not responsible for your partner’s habits. They have to make the changes to them by themselves.4

Get help for yourself

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to get in touch with a help professional i.e. a counsellor or psychologist (we have experience experienced professionals listed here). They will help you work through your situation and give you guidance on healthy ways to move forwards, considering your pain and emotions. Your partner should get professional help too and you can encourage them to see someone, but they have to make the decision to do so themselves. They need to want to change and get better.

Don’t journey alone

Although you might not want to talk about this issue to anyone it’s important that you don’t make promises to talk to no-one. When the time is right, you might want to discuss it with a close friend (one who wont gossip and is just there to listen and support you) or a pastoral care worker if you are part of a religious organization. This will help you process your emotions and most importantly help you not to do the journey alone.

Healing can happen

When your partner started in their porn viewing, they most likely did not expect it to get to this level, or to be doing it behind your back. Addictive processes are generally there to try and help cope with something. To provide an escape. It has most likely taken your partner a very long time to actually get to this point, so it is going to take a long time for them to heal. This by no means discounts your feelings and incredible pain they have caused you. Lots of couples have found healing in this area, so be encouraged that it is possible, albeit a painful and long journey to get there. Be encourage that you can get through this.5

Great resources to help you

Many times it is women who find out about their man’s porn habit but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen the other way. Most of the resources are focused on the woman’s point of view but still can be relevant for men who have a partner who’s struggling.

Non Faith Based Resources

By Barbara Steffens

Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal

By Stefanie Carnes

Facing Heartbreak: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts

By Patrick J. Carnes Ph.D.

Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction

Faith Based Resources

By Debra Laaser

Shattered Vows: Hope and Healing for Women Who Have Been Sexually Betrayed

By Matt & Cameron Fradd

Restored: True Stories of Love and Trust After Porn

By Douglas Weiss PhD.

Partners: Healing from His Addiction

By Cindy Beall

Healing Your Marriage When Trust is Broken

So what next?

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1 Hutchinson, E. (2011, November 14). 7 Questions Wives of Porn Addicts Often Ask. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from
2 Steffens, B., & Means, M. (2009). Your sexually addicted spouse: How partners can cope and heal. Far Hills, NJ: New Horizon Press.
3 Baucom, D., & Snyder, D. (2009). Helping couples get past the affair a clinician’s guide. New York: Guilford Press.
4 Steffens, B., & Means, M. (2009). Your sexually addicted spouse: How partners can cope and heal. Far Hills, NJ: New Horizon Press.
5 Steffens, B., & Means, M. (2009). Your sexually addicted spouse: How partners can cope and heal. Far Hills, NJ: New Horizon Press.