This is what it often looks like when a couple uses the old-school methods for dealing with their porn problems:
We'll use Mike and Jane as an example.
Jane becomes Mike's "monitor."
She doesn't want to get hurt by porn again.
And she doesn't want to go through the pain of divorce…
So, she makes it her responsibility to monitor her husband’s internet and phone use.
She asks for his passwords.
They have regular check-ins to see how he’s doing.
She takes him to therapy or a 12 step program.
She asks that he meet regularly with their religious leader.
And she joins Facebook groups where she starts connecting with other women who have felt betrayed by their husband’s porn use… even though the posts in these groups often left her feeling icky and sad.
She does all to help ensure that her husband won't have another "slip-up"...
But secretly, she hates the fact a “slip-up” will probably happen in the future… at which point she’ll have to deal with the feelings of betrayal and broken trust all over again.
She starts to wonder, "Is all of this even worth it?"
Meanwhile, Mike is going through his own miserable experiences.
As friends and family start to hear about his porn problem, people start talking behind his back. He gets labeled as a selfish, immature sexual deviant.
He’s treated as if he has no self-control, or moral compass.
He is constantly fed the message that he is undeserving of trust, that he’s dirty, unworthy, a disappointment as a husband and father, and will always (eventually) end up hurting the people he loves.
He walks around in constant fear that one weak moment could result in him losing everything that is dear to him.
He feels misunderstood.
And he feels like nobody sees all the good in him anymore. All they see is a man with a porn problem.
Nobody hates himself more than he hates himself... and that's saying something.
And this is the tension Jane and Michael live in… day-to-day for months, years, or even decades.