What I Lost When My Husband’s Porn Addiction Won

There have been many losses in my life created by my husband’s porn addiction and intimacy anorexia. Many things were blatantly stolen from me throughout my marriage leaving me dazed and confused. But others were a slower trickle that I didn’t even notice until the emptiness engulfed my soul.

Either way, I lost. And my husband’s addiction won. It wasn’t fair that I was an unknowing participant in a battle I knew nothing about it. I wasn’t prepared. I had no warning. I didn’t even know it was occurring. I repeatedly got knocked down, each time multiplying the losses and shattered shards of my heart. Until one day, I lay battered and crumpled on the floor. My opponent oblivious and uncaring that he and his addiction were the cause. On my knees, I cried out to Jesus for mercy and help. And then I rose unsteadily, turned around, and hobbled away from the ruins.

Sexual betrayal devastates and ravages a person to their very core. It is a complete and brutal attack against the whole being. Heart, mind and body. There is nothing left untouched, unaffected, unquestioned. Once you begin trudging through the aftermath of destruction, sifting through the truths and deceptions, the sense of loss settles in. And as grief often does, it incapacitates as your reality is shaken. When you no longer know what your reality was, is, or will be.

My husband’s sex addiction, unbeknownst to me, insinuated itself into our entire marriage. And I suffered immensely because of it. Loss upon loss upon loss as I slowly faded away.

I never knew just how much his addiction cost me until several months into my recovery. An exercise in my Partner’s Recovery Guide encouraged me to identify and acknowledge each of my very real losses so that I could release them from my head and into a healing process. I was entitled to own every loss, allow myself to grieve, and then stop the betrayal from taking anything else away from me by “throwing it all away”. I was hesitant to trust this new concept of loss and grieving. My heart was guarded, but I was committed to searching for any offering that might hasten my healing.

The exercise’s directions were to make the list as long as it needed to be, followed by the instruction to write down one loss per sheet of paper. The example used was that if you had thirty losses you would need thirty pieces of paper. I was quite bewildered at the possibility of anyone having thirty losses because of their partner’s sex addiction. But because I had been diligent in my recovery program thus far, I found a stack of paper, sat down and stared at the blank pages.

A few losses came to mind immediately resulting from my sexless marriage. The obvious one being the withholding of sexual intimacy. As I reflected on that, the related losses snowballed: lack of any physical affection or touch; my sexuality, needs and desires; the ability to feel sexy, attractive or desirable; healthy body image; comparing myself to other women; comparing my marriage to other marriages; fidelity.

Soon the recognition of my losses was coming faster than I could write: trust; security; respect; acceptance; sense of belonging; self worth; confidence; praise and affirmation; emotional intimacy; companionship; receiving love; giving love; joy; peace.

Followed by the isolation and deficiency in: family time together with our children; doing things with other families or couples; time with my parents and other family members; close friendships; spiritual intimacy with God, my husband and others.

And then the crushing weight of understanding just how far reaching, just how much living in a marriage and home riddled by my husband’s addiction and intimacy anorexia had stolen from me: the ability to express and identify my emotions, needs, desires, and likes; the ability to have fun and laugh, or relax and just be; my sense of adventure; travelling, outings, new experiences; spending money on myself; dreams; hope for the future.

I wrote more than thirty pages. A lot more. My pile was disconcerting. Each scrap was a missing part of me.

The next step of the exercise required me to actively and symbolically let go and rid myself of each loss/page one at a time. There were several methods suggested. I liked the idea of starting a fire, tossing the papers in and watching them disintegrate into ashes. But as that wasn’t a viable option, I found a cigarette lighter and pie plate and began burning them one by one in my kitchen sink.

The moment didn’t bring me instant freedom. My world didn’t suddenly fall into place. My thumb was raw from setting the pages ablaze. My back ached from leaning over the sink.

What I did receive was an expanding hope for my full recovery. Knowing that with each effort I made, I was doing everything that I could for my healing and not expecting it to just happen. Freedom may not have been immediate, but I was moving closer towards it.

Through this recovery exercise, God opened my eyes and heart to the possibility and probability of a deep healing from sexual betrayal trauma. But first, I needed to recognize my losses and gain an understanding of what I was grieving. It isn’t true that what you don’t know can’t hurt you.

What I do know now is that what was lost can be found. What was stolen can be replaced with something better, brighter and more beautiful. And amazingly, what was once mourned will be celebrated.

The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. Isaiah 51:3

19 thoughts on “What I Lost When My Husband’s Porn Addiction Won

  1. Cynthia, dear sis, how I wish you had not gone through all this. But wow!

    I have never heard it put on “paper” the loss suffered like this.

    This will allow other women to work the process you did and realize what they are grieving and let go of them. And then as you so eloquently stated realize….

    “What I do know now is that what was lost can be found. What was stolen can be replaced with something better, brighter and more beautiful. And amazingly, what was once mourned will be celebrated.”

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I must share this on my blog. This is powerful stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing my post on your blog!

      At one time, I certainly wished I had not gone through all this devastation, but it is pretty neat how once redemption and true healing occurred, I became grateful, and even joyful, for the journey I am on. God amazes me, I amaze me, my husband amazes me, every day. The pain just doesn’t matter any more. It is just a part of the story from there to here!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Something to Stu Over and commented:
    As I was reading Cynthia’s post I was floored. I have NEVER seen loss from a spouses addiction like this before. That is why I simply had to share this with you.

    As an ex porn addict this cut me deeply but and the same time this quote proves that God works all things for our good…

    “What I do know now is that what was lost can be found. What was stolen can be replaced with something better, brighter and more beautiful. And amazingly, what was once mourned will be celebrated.”

    Guys, share the heck out of Cynthia’s post…not mine, please. Sharing her story and give other women hope!

    Like

  3. Wow, Cynthia, what a lot of losses to grieve over and recover from! It’s difficult, having not been in that situation, to comprehend the depth of the damage done, so thanks for sharing.
    Thankfully, God is good and is bringing beauty from the ashes, allowing you to experience the joy of discovering “that what was lost can be found. What was stolen can be replaced with something better, brighter and more beautiful. And amazingly, what was once mourned will be celebrated.”
    Continued blessings on your healing journey, my friend! 💗

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Mia. It really and truly is a beautiful journey. I didn’t write this as a “woe is me” piece, but for others to see a glimpse of the true effects of porn use on the partners. It is much more than something that just hurts us and makes us cry, or angry. As always, I strive to offer the abundant hope and healing I have received. The beauty from ashes thing is real!!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Very eloquently put.

    Having been there and back, I know you can recover from the harm inflicted on your soul. I am still working through a lot of issues brought on by his porn use but I am in a much better place than I was four years ago.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Barbara, I am sorry that you have had to live with these soul crushing injuries as well. I am glad to hear that you are seeing progress through your hurts and receiving healing. Keep pushing through the remaining issues! It has taken me over three years to get to this place, and although I love where I am, there are still lingering remnants at times. There is no timeline for where we are supposed to be in our journey, just that we keep moving forward. Blessings to you on your continued journey to wholeness.

      Like

  5. So much hope and healing. Thank you for a beautifully written post and a solid method for letting go of the losses. We need to go through the dark to get to the light. Never easy but always worth it. I am also going to share this on my blog. Very wise words that more people should read. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your kind words and for sharing my post! You are so right that it isn’t an easy process, but it is indeed worth it. For me, so worth it that I have become grateful for the pain that was. I am living and thriving in a way that I never would be if I hadn’t had the need for a healing journey. Today is bright, my future brighter!

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. I did this exercise too and I was overwhelmed by all the losses I have incurred due to sin. Thank you for your beautiful words of hope. I continue to be encouraged by the healing that has taken place in your life and marriage. God is good!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I would like to say I am sorry you were overwhelmed by this exercise too, but really, I’m glad that you were! It means you did the work!! Until we reflect on the affects of sin in our lives (both our own and from others) I don’t believe we can even begin to understand the bondage and destruction enslaving us. And if we don’t understand that, it is kind of difficult to seek freedom and healing, because what are we seeking it from?!

      The best part about my words of hope, is that it is true. Keep pressing on my friend. God indeed is good!!

      Liked by 1 person

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