My Husband Blames Porn For His Affair. Can We Overcome This?

By: Katie Lersch: If a man was caught cheating a hundred years ago, he might tell you that the devil made him cheat.  Today, men still use the same type of excuses, but their excuses take on a new tone that fits with the time in which we live.  They will use terms like “sex addiction” or tell you that regularly using porn contributed to their cheating.  Many people think that this is one way that men don’t take responsibility for their cheating.  But many of these men completely believe that they are telling the truth when they make their claims.  This leaves their wives trying to untangle the knots in order to determine how to handle this excuse.

A wife might say: “I caught my husband watching and interacting with porn long before I caught him physically cheating.  Catching him in porn chat rooms happened years ago.  We would have a huge fight about it.  He would say that all men do it, but he would promise to stop out of respect for me.  I do believe that he would sometimes stop for a while. But after a certain amount of time went by, I would catch him at it again.  And every time, we would get into a huge fight.  He would reassure me that he would stop, but he would also say that it was harmless.  He said he was looking, but not touching. And he said that this would never lead to physical contact with anyone.  Well I suppose that, in a sense, it hasn’t. I found out that he has been having an affair.  But the affair was not with some stranger that he’s been ‘chatting’ with online – (although it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that this has happened before.)  No, he’s been cheating with a woman at work.  Of course, my first inclination was to ask him why on earth he would do this to us.  At first he said that he didn’t know.  But I told him that this answer wasn’t even close to good enough.  A couple of days later, he told me that he had been thinking about this and that he had determined that it was probably the porn that made him have an affair.  He said that he thinks that the porn gave him unrealistic expectations of how sex should be.  And he was probably frustrated that I did not have sex with him like the people on porn had sex.  But that “the other woman” came closer to his expectations in that regard.  Honestly, this makes me stomach roll.  It makes me think that my husband is absolutely disgusting, as is the other woman.  I have no intention of having sex like the people on those videos have it.  I’d really like to save my marriage, but I’m certainly not willing to stoop to this level.  My husband says he doesn’t expect me to.  He says that he will stop watching porn and he will break the hold that it has over him.  Is this even possible?”

Examining His Motivations: I think that porn being a contributing factor is ultimately possible, but I also think that sometimes men will use the “porn” or the “sex addiction” excuse in order to not take accountability for their actions.  I once watched a discussion where the expert speaking pretty much summed up this issue perfectly, at least in my opinion.  The moderator asked him if there were such a thing as “sex addiction” and if it was a valid excuse.  The expert basically shook his head and said, “You don’t see all these men seeking treatment for sex addiction when they haven’t been caught, do you?  It’s only when they are caught that they suddenly go to seek treatment.”

What Statistics Tell Us: With the above said, I DO think that men who seek out porn are more likely to cheat.  I hear about this topic too frequently to think that there isn’t any connection. While statistics show that only 33 percent of men who engage in cybersex go on to have affairs,  statistics also show that pornography increases the rate of infidelity by 300 percent.  The reason for this might be that increased porn contributes to someone being less sexually satisfied with their spouse and also being less emotionally connected.  Neither of these things are great for your marriage and both could certainly be a contributing factor to an affair.

Overcoming This: Yes, people do, with determination and hard work, overcome all sorts of addictions – pornography included.  But it is not easy.  Often, they require both a willingness to overcome this, plus support, and professional help.  The thing about porn is that it’s so easy. It’s readily available and people can easily access it in private on their phones.  So they have to REALLY want to stop.

Your husband likely wasn’t lying to you when he told you that porn played into the affair.  As you’ve seen from the statistics, it may well have been a contributing factor.  But that doesn’t negate the fact that HE needs to take responsibility for his actions and that HE needs to take the initiative to put an end to WHATEVER contributed to the affair – whether that was porn or something else.

It’s good that he clearly sees what needs to be changed.  Not all men do.  Some will pretend that they have no idea why they cheated.  So him being able to identify the problem and show a willingness to eradicate it is a good sign.  But it can’t stop with just these initial steps.  This can be overcome, but it often takes help, determination, and patience.

There were certainly some behaviors (on the part of both my husband and myself) that contributed to the affair.  These were habits that had to be identified and then broken.  I believe that any habit can be broken.  But it takes a high degree of determination and a desire to change. You can read more about my own struggles on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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