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Saving My Husband from Porn Addiction

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Question: The problem in our relationship is that my husband is much interested and passionate to porn sites. He is open and honest; he never denies what he did (He is 30 and I’m 23. We got married in our early ages i.e. during our marriage he was 24 and me 17). I knew his behaviors for the last 6 years i.e. from the beginning of our marriage itself. Before, I just kept quiet by thinking that one day he will definitely change his behaviors. It was very difficult for me to do so because it hurt me a lot and there were days which I kept on weeping from the night till morning – me waiting for my hubby in my bedroom and he mostly sitting in front of the computer and staring at others’ nudity, really a horrible truth which I can’t accept even in a dream, still I was forced to accept it. Up to 4 years the same things were going on, we never quarreled on it and it never ever affected both our physical and mental relationships (even though I disliked his behavior, I can’t imagine of hating him). From the last 2 years after being more Islamic we both came to know that the things which he is doing are totally Haraam (Alhamdulillah we both were able to quit all our habits such as music, television and movies). But he was not able to quit this behavior and I’m sure he is struggling with this. The problem started from here, after being more Islamic my hubby’s behaviors really worried me because he is doing a Haraam which Allah has forbidden. At first I just tried to make him understand that I’m really worried for him and also his behavior hurts me and its agony is a lot for me. But he never changed. So this often created a problem between us and mostly we both started quarreling on it. At this time I came to understand that he is not only watching those stuffs but also saving them to his personal hard disks, this again shattered me. Most of the days we quarreled on it, and I won’t talk to him for 1 or 2 days; after that he will assure me this time please pardon me I’m trying my best to quit it. He will be on his promise for 1 week then again he’ll go back to the same. The BIGGEST frustration I had was that neither my tears nor my anger made any changes to him. Also being a Muslimah I always tried my best to please my husband in every aspect, but he never cared for that, me waiting for my hubby but him spending his whole night in front of the computer staring at others’ nudity. I’m sure that one day my husband definitely will have a change (may Allah help him to do so, Aameen). Still sometimes I feel awkwardness, irritated and disgusted when he comes close to me (even though I love him a lot). It feels like I’ve lost my intimacy towards him (which is unbearable for me). I know that we must do everything for the sake of Allah’s love but still sometimes I can’t cope up with it. Please help me with essential steps to overcome such feelings because I love my husband a lot and I don’t want to lose our precious time and I want to be more intimate to him. I apologize for a long email. Salaam.
Counselor: Attia Zaidi
Answer

Wa `alaiykum as-salaam,

I am sorry to hear that you are in such a dilemma. I can only imagine how difficult it is. Despite its overt haram status in Islam, pornography is not something that the Muslim community is immune from.

The reason for such prohibitions is obviously because there is so much harm in it, not only for oneself but also for one’s family. However, just because something is haram does not mean that people will stay away from it.

 

There are some positives in your question;

a) You have a lot of love for your husband. You may not like what he does but it seems that you are not judgmental or mean, which is a wonderfully refreshing thing to see.

b) Your husband understands not only the prohibition of his actions but he also acknowledges and shows an inclination at wanting to change.

These two factors will prove to be great strengths as you two begin the journey of breaking his addiction.

 

Intention Not Enough

It comes as a surprise to many but pornography is a real addiction and specialized therapy is needed to break the compulsiveness that accompanies it. Having a firm intention is often not enough, despite it being a pivotal factor in treatment.

There are many stages in breaking addictions:

·         Pre-contemplation (when the addict does not think s/he is addicted and sees no reason for concern),

·         Contemplation (when the addict begins to feel that there may be a problem),

·         Planning (when the addict actively plans a way to beat the addiction and works towards abstinence),

·         Maintenance (the period during which the addict is ‘clean’),

·         Relapse (the period or time when the addict falls short and goes back to his/her behavior).

Relapse can happen at any stage and one should not be discouraged at every relapse. Relapse is expected and should be planned for because it always happens. What is important is that there is renewed intention and the person re-starts their commitment to abstinence. 

Due to the nature of the addiction, it may seem strange because others may feel that there is nothing more to it than will power. However, there is much research done on the brain changes during the time when an addict views pornography and has likened these brain changes to those addicted to more hard core drugs.

 

Counseling and Therapy Needed

The point is that pornography addiction can be a very real thing. As you probably know, it can also cause very real damage to the family. I would strongly suggest that the two of you seek out counseling.

There are specialized addictions therapists that can help develop a plan and discuss the various support mechanisms that you will need during the process. I can tell you that it won’t be an easy journey, but I pray that once your husband is successful (note: not if your husband is successful) the results will be worth it.

I wish you my very best.

 

How to Help My Husband Out of Porn Addiction? (2)

Question: I got the answer from previous question: How to Help My Husband Out of Porn Addiction? And I already did all.The thing is he is more comfort about that and becomes like enemy when I say that. He still keeps saying it’s my business and it’s become emotional so for sure those not help in my case. I don’t know what to do since sometimes bothering me so much if I remember that picture till I feel disgusted. He doesn’t want to cooperate, he just said let me take care of my business. Even though I told him it’s hurting me. I am now just trying not to put that as a big issue as it will sadden my days and I am not ready to separate this time. He blocked his computer so I can’t use it and all with his personal matters, he becomes a close person to me. He thinks I am a nagger or complainer the way I take care of his business even though I already said that I am not your enemy or hate him as a person. I just point to the action; still he doesn’t want to listen. I am thinking now I just need to strengthen myself now by being a good Muslim and make myself busy taking care of myself. Since it will not be a good idea if I talk and discuss about that again, he will be emotional but my mind is still so bothered about that and practically I still can’t refocus to myself.. So my question now is how to reshift to just focus on myself since I don’t want everyday have a cold and enemy treating from him.
Counselor: Dr. Maryam Bachmeier
Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

 

As-salam `alaykum Sweet Sister,

I truly feel your struggles in my own heart as I am aware of how devastating addiction to destructive behaviors can ultimately place a marriage relationship on “hold”.

 

His ‘Escapism’

Your husband is retreating and there is no communication. He is not able to be present with you as he is consumed by this nightmare of escapism that he has become trapped in.

Indeed, part of addiction is an overwhelming fear of being present in one’s own life, in the here and now, tuned in, and facing one’s emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical/situational/practice problems. People who are afflicted with addictions often do not have the coping skills that they need in order to work through the problems that are overwhelming them.

 

Your Counter Addiction

The people who love such individuals usually crave intimacy and a connection with that person, but cannot get that need met. This can cause a ‘counter addiction’.  In this type of relationship, such as in a marriage, the person who is not addicted to the destructive behavior or substance becomes addicted to the marriage partner…always trying to get something from that person that the addict cannot give.

It makes sense that this would happen. Human beings cannot survive without companionship, friendship, attention, connection and love. And, we marry with the hope and belief that many of these needs will be met through the marriage. But, when we are married to an addict, those needs cannot be met through the marriage with the addict marriage partner. This is a very sad truth, but it is truth.

 

Solution: Shift Your Focus

Shifting your focus on healthy ways to get these needs met by becoming active in your community and making healthy friendships is a very good beginning for your own personal road to recovery.

Honor your own soul and acknowledge that you have been traumatized by this situation and that yes, your husband has hurt you, even if he doesn’t have a clue that this is the consequence of his actions. Remember, he is not “present” with you, and he can’t be. It is a form of mental illness.

Attend healthy Spiritual and Faith Based Functions, make friends, and focus on developing your own skills and talents. This will help you meet many of the needs that you were hoping to have met in your marriage.

 

Good for Both of You

Sometimes, an addict senses that they cannot take the person that loves them for granted when she/he begins her/his own personal journey of soul recovery. This can cause some anxiety in the addict. The good news is that this might facilitate the addict’s process and move his/her own progress toward the contemplation stage (see stages of recovery website below). Whether this happens or not, at least you will be a “soul survivor”.

You are correct in making the wise decision to shift your focus on yourself and becoming a stronger woman and moving forward with your own personal growth.  Porn addiction, like any addiction is very hard to overcome. Your husband is not ready to change. And, you are correct in acknowledging that you have done all that you can do to help him and that for now, there is nothing more you can do.

 

Know About Addiction

I would like you to review information on the stages of change for people who are afflicted with addictions. There are several websites online that describe Prochaska and diClemente’s Stages of Change.

This website has a table posted where you can see the stages of change and the most effective approach to you with the individual who is afflicted with the addiction:http://www.stepupprogram.org/docs/handouts/STEPUP_Stages_of_Change.pdf

It is helpful to have a working definition of addiction in your own mind as you continue to live with a person whom you love and whom is also addicted to a behavior and/or substance. Here is a definition that I find helpful.

Addiction: The negative end state of a syndrome (of neurobiological and psychosocial causes) resulting in continued or increasing repetitive involvement despite consequences and conscious efforts to discontinue the behavior. Addiction to any particular substance or behavior is seen mainly as a matter of personal vulnerability, exposure and access, and the capacity to produce a desirable shift in mental state.

This definition was originally formulated by Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S.Harvard Medical School, Division on Addictions. – Retrieved 1/26/2012:http://www.addictioninfo.org/articles/11/1/Stages-of-Change-Model/Page1.html

 

Please feel free to continue writing in with your questions related to this addiction. I pray that this response has been helpful. Remember ALLAH loves you and you deserve to be happy.

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