TilWeHaveFaces wrote:OK, so Leah -- serious question. I wasn't around for the worst days with you and Jake. But you obviously chose to stick around even though his addiction did serious damage to your marriage, and he "slipped" or was "caught" multiple times.
Do you think you had legitimate grounds due to the extent of all that? After all, all of his limited sexual energy was being spent in 100% selfish ways for a very long time, leaving you with nothing. You could certainly argue that this was a form of adultery.
And since you chose not to leave, why not? (Other than to cultivate a store of hard-won wisdom for those of us here, of course.)
I hope you take the line of inquiry as sincere curiosity. I don't want to pick at old wounds, and I know that even absent the porn, Jake has serious issues relating to you.
The Reader's Digest version is that we are a low-income, no-frills kind of family and did not have a computer until we had been married about 20 years. I don't think Jake was involved in porn before that time, but I've been wrong about these things before.
His involvement was pretty serious. I wouldn't say he was into weird stuff, but he was definitely into the quantity. I don't know how he found hours in the day. At one point I looked at him and wondered why his eyeballs had not just melted and oozed out of their sockets. Our sex life has never been sizzling, but he began to refuse more and more. God gives women a way of marking time and sometimes three or four months would go by with no sex. I would bring it up and Jake would have some sort of excuse. He would use porn and masturbate while I was in the shower. If our computer history was anything to go by, he could hardly wait until I was out the door for work before he would log on and use. We went almost three years with no sex at all.
So in that regard, I think we were to a point where I probably did have grounds for divorce. He was using almost all the time. He was lying about it. He was in total refusal. He was emotionally and financially abusive and controlling. Dd and I were walking on eggshells because of the anger. It was a very frightening time for us.
Why did I stay? I think there were a lot of reasons.
1. I grew up in an alcoholic-codependent home. All the nonsense looked normal to me. I didn't know I was sick.
2. I was surrounded by people who did not believe I was the sexually refused wife of a man addicted to porn. Jake was pretty high up on the lay-leadership ladder. Of all the men in our church, Jake would have been voted least likely to stray. We were mainstays in our church. Our pastor flatly stated, "That can't be true. A man does not refuse sex with his wife. You must be doing something wrong."
3. I believed a lot of lies about God, about marriage, about my role as a wife. This is probably the main reason I stayed. For me, divorce would have piled one set of problems on top of another. I was sick. I was angry. I was helpless. I needed to get free of that stuff. My marriage is a lot of things. Mainly it is a safe place for a high-interest, high-drive wife to learn some lessons without the distraction of other men in my life. I needed to stay married to keep myself out of trouble. I found TMB. I found SAnon. I found Boundaries.
And God began to set me free.
My life isn't perfect and my marriage is still not a fun place to be, but I am more free now than I have ever been. I have good people around me who hear me when I hurt. I have a really good church. I have good tools to help me be healthy in the middle of all the problems.
If I found myself single tomorrow, I feel confident I am healthier for having stayed married. Marriage provided protection for me to be able to get healthy. I look at what God did for Israel in her slavery. They went in as a small family and came out a nation. Egypt was hard, but it was safe, and there was growth. That's where I am. It's a hard place, but it's a safe one.