No one can tell you how long the anger will last. It may be weeks or months, and hopefully not longer. There will be times throughout the first year – maybe even into the second – when anger will return when a phrase, a smell, a person, or a sound trigger the painful memories. If you find yourself constantly angry, if it is disrupting life and the peace in your heart, seek professional counsel.
This is a hard one. Be as open and fair as possible, and work to make a judgment based on analysis of all actions. Is there a change? Has help been sought? Is there a sponsor of some kind? These resources encourage honesty.
Be somewhat careful about opening up. We recommend that you do not to open up to all your friends and family. Some will be supportive, some will struggle to understand – and some may be very critical of you or your spouse. Speak with a counselor. Find a support group like COSA, AL-ANON or S-ANON. It would be better to keep quiet than to speak with a friend who will be critical or non supportive of you.
No, you should not. Your role is to be something different than their police officer, parent, or guard rail. They need someone who understands addiction; someone who has been there and is working recovery. It is also beneficial if the encourager/accountability partner is the same gender.
Your job is your recovery. You cannot recover for someone else. Pestering or pressuring someone to recover will not work. Cooperation and teamwork are valuable because they give responsibility to all parties involved.
For your personal recovery, focus on your vocations. Be the family member, church member, and member of society that God made you to be.
This depends on you. You have 4 options:
- Do nothing, know nothing and go on as if life is just fine. (It won’t stay that way.)
- Know every detail of everything. This can be dangerous because detail can get in the way of forgiveness.
- Know the “types” of things your partner has done. Know the basic actions – watched porn, went to a sex shop, had an affair, visited a prostitute – so you know how to protect your marriage.
- Simply know they are addicted to porn or sex and try to move forward.
Porn and sex addiction take place when a person has taken him/herself out of the context of right and wrong, losing control and the power of choice. It includes lust, in any form, and sex in any form, including sex with oneself.
Any porn use is too much. Porn always leads to exploration down dangerous avenues. Even if a person were able to avoid becoming addicted, watching porn leaves marriage behind and replaces it with lusting after another in his heart and mind.
“Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart” (Matthew 5:28)
In a case like this, addiction has likely replaced relationship. Porn’s advantage (and lie) is that it is always new and different. Your addicted spouse needs to admit that they are addicted before any progress can be made.
First of all, even when it feels like you are, you are never alone – Christ is always with you. He promises to never leave or forsake you. Next, find a counselor to talk with, preferably one who is familiar with sex/porn addiction. Use the internet to find one (Conquerors through Christ has a list of trusted counselors.) Find a supportive group in which to participate, such as COSA, Heart to Heart Partners, or even ALANON. Groups like these help you understand that you are not alone in the struggle of living with an addict.