Knowledge. Awareness. Understanding. I needed to identify what had caused my marriage to go so very wrong. I couldn’t fix any of it, including myself, until I had the answer.
I began gathering information. Quietly donned my W5 investigator’s hat. Wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for, but I had an idea.
But honestly, in my naivety, this was only a whisper of suspicion. Because I had learned out of necessity to suppress my own sexuality, I simply assumed that my husband had also. I believed that if I was no longer having sex, then logically, neither was he.
There were signs throughout the years that I chose to ignore or didn’t recognize. I was colour blind to the flapping flags. Or in some cases did not have the knowledge to understand or distinguish the different hues and patterns on those flags.
When we married, I was aware that my husband had a couple of porn magazines. Not a stash. It didn’t bother me. Just something normal that men did. I didn’t even consider this to be a bad habit. And although we never viewed porn together, admittedly, out of curiosity, I did look at the magazines occasionally when he wasn’t around. I believed it to be harmless for both of us.
Before I continue with my story, I implore you to resist opening computer files and sites you discover and suspect your partner of viewing. If the name is suspect, the content is. You don’t need to know for sure. You don’t need to see what was viewed. Protect yourself from those disturbing images. They will stay burned in your memory. I can describe to you today every sickening image that I was exposed to in the last fifteen years as vividly as a room in my house.
Fast forward to the advent of home computers and a non-techie wife (me) who one day accidentally discovers unsettling file names. And opens them to confirm that the titles were indeed what they indicated. I was stunned. Disbelieving. Confused. Felt sick to my stomach. Why was he looking at porn when he scorned all things sexual?! Or was it just my sexuality that he shunned?
I confronted my husband. Most of what he said didn’t make sense whatsoever. His responses confused me even more. Left me questioning myself. The outcome was that he needed to be more careful with his computer activity so that our children didn’t accidentally happen upon porn. I essentially gave him permission to continue. If it was out of sight, I could willingly bury my head in the sand.
Several years later, I walked into our home office and stumbled upon pornography staring back at me from the monitor. This time I did not have the choice to look or not to look. The excuses and feigned surprise he offered over their presence were just as ridiculous as before. I didn’t swallow them as easily, but I did. I wanted to so I wouldn’t have to admit that my husband had viewed porn twice now during our marriage.
Another three years passed before I took a deep breath, broke through my denial, and began searching my husband’s computer history. To say I found what I was looking for is a mild understatement. As I tracked his activity over the next few weeks, it was impossible to overlook the irrefutable evidence that this was more than a bad habit. It was a pornography addiction.
And yet, what unhinged me as much as the extent of his porn usage was uncovering the magnitude of his lies and deception. My feelings of foolishness and stupidity. The unearthing of betrayal.
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28