"My Husband Is Addicted to Internet Porn"

Kathy is disgusted by Brad's addiction to porn and cybersex, and doesn't know if she will ever trust him again. Brad feels ashamed and isn't sure if he can change. Can this marriage be saved?
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Her Turn

"Imagine that your husband cheated on you with one woman. Now imagine that it was with dozens of women," said Kathy, 43, a nutritionist. "Sounds like Tiger Woods, right? Well, Brad was the Tiger Woods of the Internet. He'd get incredibly graphic photos of women online and then engage in smutty sex talk with them. And he used our credit card to pay for it! I feel-betrayed on so many levels -- not only was Brad unfaithful but he lied to me.

"This isn't the man I fell in love with. Brad and I met at a party seven years ago and instantly hit it off. He was handsome, funny, and interesting. And our upbringings were similar. We both had parents who made us feel worthless. My mother was too self-centered to pay any attention to me, and my dad was hypercritical. The men I dated before Brad were either indifferent or constantly put me down -- treatment I was used to from my parents. Brad was different. He and I had a comfortable, easy relationship, and after two years we got married. We decided not to have children because our own parental role models were so poor.

"About a year and a half into our marriage, Brad became withdrawn and sullen. He stopped kidding around and wasn't affectionate. Our sex life had always been great, but suddenly he wasn't interested. He'd spend hours tinkering in the basement. I had no idea what was going on but hoped it was just a temporary midlife crisis.

"One day I went down to our basement to use the computer. I hit a key and up came a photo of a naked woman on her back with her legs spread open. I was horrified. At first I thought it was some random pop-up ad, but then I clicked around and found dozens of other images of women engaged in all kinds of unbelievable sex acts. I snooped a bit more and found erotic e-mails he'd written and even more photos. I felt as if I was married to a stranger. A perverted stranger.

"When I confronted Brad, he said, 'My friends and I goof around and sometimes exchange photos. We're just having fun.' I wanted to believe him. We'd had a good marriage and I couldn't bear the thought of ending it.

"I lay in bed for three days, crying. I called in sick to work. I couldn't talk to my friends because I was too ashamed. Meanwhile, Brad kept insisting that I was overreacting. 'You're blowing things out of proportion,' he said.

"I worried that it was my fault, that he wasn't attracted to me anymore. I'd put on weight since our marriage, and even before that I didn't have a body like the ones those online women have. But they're in their 20s, and I'm 43!

"I decided to try to get him interested again. I lost some weight and bought sexy lingerie. Nothing has worked. In fact, Brad avoids me even more. We never have sex. We barely talk, not even about what I caught him doing. It's like neither of us can bear to mention it. Mostly, we fight. I am so disgusted by his porn problem that I wonder if I can ever trust him again."

Continued on page 2:  His Turn

 

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