Whether it’s a substance addiction or behavioral addiction, addiction can take a toll on a marriage. Psychologists are increasingly considering behavioral addiction and substance addiction to be forms of mental illness. Tragically, many who are struggling with addiction often report prioritizing their addiction over their loved ones, acting in ways they’ve never thought possible, and disregarding morals and values that they once took very seriously.
Understanding Behavioral Addictions
Pornography addiction is a behavioral addiction. Unlike being addicted to substances such as illicit drugs or alcohol, behavioral addictions do not involve a substance. Instead of being addicted to a substance, the person is addicted to a set of behaviors that they are dependent upon for happiness or fulfillment. Oftentimes, a person becomes addicted to a set of behaviors because they continually behave in that way in order to fill a void in their life. Here’s a good example: a person may become addicted to video games when they continue to play video games to escape from a less desirable reality. Perhaps the person in the aforementioned example isn’t achieving in college. Therefore, they escape into a video game where they can achieve objectives. If the person compulsively escapes into a video game in order to look for self-worth, a behavioral addiction may have emerged.
When Does It Become an Addiction?
There’s a difference between a person who plays video games and a person who is addicted to video games. Similarly, there is a difference between a person who’s addicted to adult content, and a person who simply views adult content. Though addiction should be diagnosed by a mental health professional, there are signs that a person may be addicted. Those suffering from pornography addiction may struggle to accomplish day-to-day tasks, or fulfill work obligations or social obligations. They may lose interest in activities that they enjoyed in the past. A person struggling with an addiction may experience some of the emotional symptoms of withdrawal such as anger, or irritableness. They may also experience various forms of sexual dysfunction.
Coping with Your Spouse’s Pornography Addiction
If your marriage has been harmed by pornography addiction, you may feel as though you’ve run out of patience and exhausted all options. This is especially true if your spouse’s addiction has caused them to lose their job, or has caused them to spend a lot of money. In significant cases the addicted spouse may avoid intimacy with their spouse in favor of engaging in that behavior. If your spouse has been diagnosed with an addiction by a qualified mental health professional, it’s important that a mental health professional is involved in their treatment. If your spouse does not meet the standard for an addiction, but you are still hurt by their behavior, it may be a good idea to attend couples counseling to work through the pain, and build a path to an improved relationship.
A lot of people are made miserable by their own expectations. If you are unsatisfied with your marriage, it may be a good idea to reflect upon your expectations to ensure that they’re realistic and that your spouse is aware of them. You may decide that, even though your expectations are realistic, that there are some things you can compromise on. Even if your spouse does not have a pornography addiction, you may still benefit from an open and honest conversation about your expectations regarding their usage. Many people feel as though their marriage has been harmed by their spouse’s use of adult content. If you have been hurt by this, it’s important to have a conversation about your feelings without shaming, or passing judgment on your spouse. If your spouse is battling an active addiction, you may benefit from researching addiction and the road to recovery. This way, you can have a better idea of what you can expect on this journey.
A lot of people struggle to rebuild trust after their partner has done something to destroy it.
If you struggle to trust your partner, and you’re not sure how to rebuild trust, or if it’s even possible, you may decide to attend counseling sessions. Both individual and couples counseling sessions may benefit you and your marriage. It’s possible that the marriage can be saved, even after large betrayals such as pornography addiction. However, in order to recover from a betrayal, you will need to trust your partner. You don’t have to trust immediately and forgive instantly, but you will need to be open to trusting them and forgiving them eventually. Working with a qualified mental health professional can help you get to a place where you can trust your spouse again, and work on rebuilding your marriage.
Only You Can Decide If It’s Time for Divorce
Only you can determine whether or not your spouse’s addiction is cause for divorce. If you’re ready for divorce, it may benefit you to speak with an attorney regarding your rights. Having an idea of what the divorce process looks like can help you make informed decisions on how to proceed. If you’re ready for your initial consultation, contact CoilLaw today.