I wonder what he was thinking on the ride home that night. Earlier in the day, he received a call from his wife.
She was doing some work on the computer and found a bunch of porn sites in the Internet history. "Have you been looking at porn?" she said as her voice cracked. His silence said it all. As she started to cry, she hung up the phone. He tried calling her back, but she texted him saying she was too upset to talk and that they would talk about when he got home.
That was a story a friend told me about a coworker of his many years ago. I remember being glad I wasn't him but also not understanding at the time why she was so crushed. As I have talked to women and read many stories similar to the one above, I have come to realize why it is so hurtful. If we think through and know the end results of our decisions, we tend to make better ones. I'm not intending to make anyone feel guilty, but the effects of pornography watching on our wives are clear. Here's how your porn use affects your wife.
1. It makes her feel insecure. She immediately thinks something is wrong with her. Women spend a lot of time beating themselves up and obsessing about their faults. A husband's porn use validates all of the negative things his wife thinks about herself. If she only looked different, lost weight, was blonde, sexy, wore better clothes, or fit into the right size are all things that flood her brain, and more importantly, her heart. Ultimately, she feels like she is not enough.
2. It makes her feel betrayed. The majority of porn use in a marriage is kept hidden from each other. Even in the small number of cases where the wife says she's OK with it if they watch together ends with the husband alone in a room somewhere in secret. When a husband and wife hide things (other than surprises), it's living a lie. It's a betrayal. Personally, I believe and I know there are plenty who will take exception to this—that it is a form of cheating.
Is it as bad or does it involve the depth of pain and fallout as a physical or emotional affair with an actual person? No. But a husband's sexual connection is something reserved for his wife. When engaged in porn, he replaces his wife and connects sexually with something else. If a physical affair is the end of the road, this is certainly the beginning. There may be a considerable difference between the two, but it is still highway betrayal. It's a road to avoid at all costs.
3. It makes her feel suspicious. Lies, secrecy, and wandering sexual pursuits is a violation of trust. Once trust is broken, it can be rebuilt, but it is difficult. She will always fight an internal battle of taking his word or not. Her mind will work overtime on what other secrets there could possibly be. She may even question how well she knows her husband.
4. It makes her feel like a failure as a wife. In her head, she will feel as though she failed her husband sexually. It is obvious to her that if her husband did not have unfulfilled desires, he would not have turned to porn. Everyone is selfish to some degree, and plenty of women are all about themselves. However, I think most women strive to be wonderful wives and compare themselves to the next person fearing that they fall short. A husband's porn use will confirm a wife's fear in her head and heart.
5. It makes her feel like a fool. She thought she knew her husband, that they shared everything. Meanwhile, there has been a lot she didn't know. Right or wrong, her husband isn't the man she thought nor is her marriage. She'll question why she didn't know and, again, if she really knows her husband at all.
BJ Foster is the content manager for All Pro Dad and a married father of two. For the original article, visit allprodad.com.