Note: FamilyLife received the following e-mail, and we were so moved by this story (written by a man who will remain anonymous) that we wanted to pass it on to you. Not all stories end well, but one like this serves as a good warning to anyone tempted by pornography.
My story begins in a feed store that my family owned. One day after a couple of years of working there a beautiful young woman came in our store to buy feed. After several visits to the store she and I became friends. Feelings began to develop and we then started dating. Dating became marriage. We were not only husband and wife, but also best friends—the kind of friends that make you wake in the mornings with a smile on your face.
Our problems began when we went into debt. We had a lot of expense between the wedding and lifestyle decisions, and we went through a lot of money. I used the equity in my house to get a loan, so we could pay off some of the debt we had. She worked two and three jobs, while I picked up a few side jobs for extra money.
Things took a turn for the worse when I decided to try inventing a tool that I thought was going to make us rich. Each time I came up with a new idea, I would think to myself, "This is the one." I think I said that about five different times through our three and a half years of marriage. But nothing sold. I felt as if I was letting everyone down. When a new idea would come to mind I would not stop working on it for anything or anyone.
I felt like time was against me. I had to hurry and get it sold before everyone got older. Each time a company told me "No," I sunk deeper into depression. I felt worthless. I didn't want to do anything but stare at the TV.
A nightly obsession
As I got more and more depressed I became more and more involved with pornography. It all started with pictures. Then I found where you could download short movie clips. When that wasn't cutting it anymore, I used a file-sharing program on my computer to download videos.
It became an obsession. I would come home from work and spend a minimum of three hours on the computer before my wife came home. I used the computer as an outlet for my depression. It kept driving me further down.
I hated to look at myself in the mirror. I had no self-respect and viewed the world and everything in it as bad. It got to the point where my family didn't want to be around me. People at work didn't like working with me. I could see I had a problem, but I felt I could not share it with anyone. I was embarrassed and ashamed. How do you discuss a sexual addiction with someone?
I saw how I was hurting my wife, but I didn't know how to stop. I even tried taking anti-depressants. I hoped I could take a pill and everything would be better. But the pills were like putting a Band-Aid on cancer.
I really didn't realize how serious the problem was until one Saturday when my wife told me she had rented a house and was moving out. I was devastated. I then began trying to figure out why. Was it money? Was there someone else she was seeing? Each thing I kept coming up with was a dead end. I finally stopped looking at her, and started looking at myself—I realized my depression and the computer drove us apart.
At this time my wife still had no idea about my addiction. It wasn't until the second week of our separation that I finally felt guilty enough to tell her. There was still a chance to reconcile, but I knew when I told her she would never forgive me. Still, I wanted her to know. She was very forgiving at first, but the more she thought about it the more difficulty she had.
It took a couple of weeks after she left to turn my problems over to God. I was still trying to do everything myself. Once I realized I could not do this on my own and I started looking to God for strength, everything turned around. That confused her even more. She wondered how I could go from being depressed one day to being very positive the next.
She doesn't have the same beliefs I do, which makes it very hard for her to understand. When you feel the love that God has for you, you have a real sense of peace, even in trying times. I only wish she could feel half of what I do.
Someone to talk to
How do you talk to someone about a sexual addiction? I'll tell you. Find someone who is a good Christian. Not one of these "go to church on Sunday and I'll be alright" Christians, but someone who tries to apply the Bible to everyday life. I promise you this: When you tell him about your addiction, he will not look down on you. He will be willing to help you in any way possible to help you overcome your sin. I thought if I told someone they would look at me as being perverted, but it was exactly opposite.
Please, if you have a problem with pornography, please talk with someone about it. It won't be as bad as you think. I cannot express the importance of coming to terms with this addiction. It is more serious than you think. If you do not confront this problem, you stand a real chance of losing a valuable part of your life. I know. I have lost the one thing that means the most to me—my wife.
Of all the problems we had, pornography is the one thing she can't turn loose. She says she forgives me, but she hasn't forgotten. She says she feels I was living a lie for three and a half years. In a way I was.
Unlike fairy tales, this story does not have a happy ending. My wife filed for divorce several weeks ago. We now have less than two weeks before the divorce is final. I know she will not change her mind. I was her best friend. I know her too well.
I also know that when the divorce is final we will never see each other again. She will never look to me for any kind of help or support. Once she is through, she's through.
I will never get to hold her in my arms and tell her that I love her. I will never wake to her beautiful face again. We will never get to share an evening meal together again.
If you have a problem with pornography, I am begging you to seek help. I wish you could see how my life was when we first got married compared to now. I do not want anyone in this world to experience the pain of losing the most important thing in your life.
Please wake up and see what you are doing to the world around you before it is too late. It's too late for me. Don't let it be too late for you.
Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Used with permission.