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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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I recently discovered porn on my husband's phone. we've been

Resolved Question:

I recently discovered porn on my husband's phone. we've been married for 6 years. at first he denied it , then later admitted to it. what should I do at this point. I tried taking to him. Im trying to logicaly understand why? we have a healthy sex life. His response was he was curious. This is not the only problem. I checked his email and discovered he is surfing the dating sites. he denied that as well.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 6 years ago.

Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

I'm very glad that in the midst of the emotional distress and upheaval this is causing you are trying to logically understand what is going on. In the end, this is going to require all of your best rational decision-making.

First, you may want to try to investigate this further e.g., does he have private bank accounts or credit cards you don't know about? Are any billings coming in from memberships at any of these sites. If you can find out, you'll want to know what the full scope of this is i.e., is he searching, simply curious, or is he past that stage and actually cheating on you? Any worries, evidence of this?

You face primarily, a big communication problem because typically this experience is very upsetting and disruptive to a marital relationship.. When the perpetrator doesn't show remorse or minimizes it, this is a bad sign. One possibility is that he isn't empathizing with what he is putting you through. Is this because he cannot easily empathize with you? Any problems with his empathy or sympathy in the past? Alternatively, he is putting on a "minimization display", trying to portray to you that these events are only worthy of a shoulder shrug and minimization, and he is seeking to model this for you and persuade YOU to buy into minimizing it as well; this approach of course, is entirely self serving because it is designed to help him escape responsibility for his behavior. Is this a reasonable construction of what he is doing, in your mind?

You will eventually need to talk about this some more if it is to be resolved. If he refuses to talk, you can write him a letter---take your time, expressing how it makes you feel, that it does represent a sort of threat to the intimacy in your relationship. His 'curiosity' means that the relationship may be broken in some way and needs fixing; but it could also mean that you two really do not share the same core values regarding marriage, monogamy and transparency in a relationship. By that I mean that a spouse will sometimes enter a marital relationship somewhat dishonestly; they verbally agree to monogamy and exclusivity in a marriage but privately hold core beliefs regarding a 'double standard for monogamy" i.e., they expect their spouse to be faithful, but they feel literally 'entitled' to have a relationship on the side, in the event they ever feel 'unhappy' or dissatisfied. Such values are of course, different from those of the truly monogamous-minded spouse. The monogamous spouse's reaction to feeling unhappy or dissatisfied would be consistent with her core values-----she would not look outside of the relationship to 'become' happy or more satisfied, she would try to work on the relationship. So I would be concerned about whether you and your husband really share core values about monogamy in marriage. Anyway, if you opt to write a letter, you would talk about your concerns about whether you actually do share core values and if it proves out that you do not, there is probably not much hope for this relationship. There was either a certain level of dishonesty about the value of monogamy at the point in time you got married, or his values may have changed after marriage (but probably, the former, occurred). In the letter, you can invite him to join you in marital therapy to talk about your relationship problems and help repair your communication or begin engaging in activities to build intimacy etc.

If you foresee that you may not be able to live with this man, then you will need to be planful. You are 'stuck' right now economically in this situation but this need not last forever. Being planful may mean waiting some months or even a year or two until you find a good job through which you can support yourself. You are unemployed and many people opt to take some vocational or university classes to upgrade their job skills during such times e.g., local campuses or on line universities, and prepare for a better paying job. It is difficult to continue to live with someone under the circumstance in which you privately know you are planning on leaving; however, such an action would restore at least some sense of control in this situation. And, a person can always continue to prepare to leave (e.g., vocational training) and then decide not to---they will have improved themselves vocationally in any event. What I"m suggesting here are parallel courses of action i.e., offer to work with him on improving the relationship in the event you want to fix this relationship; but whether you do work on it or not, quietly prepare to take care of yourself financially by saving money and taking classes, in the event this extra-curricular behavior happens again; or you simply want to bide your time to see if his behavior actually changes.

What do you think?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you I really appreciate your advice. Im currently pursuing a nursing degree, but I still have a way to go, but eventually I will get there. It's so stressful for me. I have to put forward a strong face when I'm around my classmates, friends and family. I recently broke down and told my sister who I'm very close to. She was understanding and offered me a place to stay, but I feel ashamed about my circumstance. My pride won't allow me to hide my face. On the other hand my husband hold's his head held high. It's very hurtful. I belive you are correct in that my husband lacks empathy, when I broke down and cried he just turned his back to me and went to bed. He thinks I'm putting on a show. When I married my husband I was a virgin by choice. I was naive to belive that because my husband was muslim, that he shared a sense of value for himself and towards marriage. In his religion it is forbidden to have premarital sex before marraige, I later discovered my husband had relations before marriage. I belive I have come to the reliization that my husband and I do not share the same core values about marriage. At this point I don't trust my husband. I have one more question,what does the context of the pornogrophy entail. Im sorry to be so graphic but what does anal porn mean? is my husband gay. I tried taking and reasoning with my husband but he always states that he feels like he is recieving a lecture. Should'nt I wait for my husband to broach the situation. Dr I'm always the person to come foward and communicate regardless of the situation.

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 6 years ago.

Since men don't have a vagina, gay men engage in anal sexual intercourse with one another. It is unclear whether he may be attracted to men sexually. If he is keeping/storing pictures of men having sex, he may have more than a mere curiosity. If he has a collection of pictures or videos on his computer for example, the possibility increases that he has genuine interest or attractions to men. If your husband has been having regular sex with you and is the one pursuing it with you, he is either heterosexual or at least bisexual. If you find that he is avoiding having sex with you and you have not had intercourse for a long time, this may also indicate that he has found out that he could be more interested in men than women.

You can certainly wait to see if your husband will take the initiative to talk to you more about the issue of the pornography and the on line dating sites. His approach so far has been to actually escape or avoid talking about it, so it is doubtful he will bring it up on his own. It is a serious problem in any relationship if issues or troubles that need to be talked about or addressed are always brought up by one spouse only.

I realize that in some cultures, the idea of marital therapy is not acceptable to some couples and may even be a taboo. But I do raise it as a possible means of helping fix your marital problems. If you do not have children at this point, it might be wise to continue to abstain from having any until it is clear whether your marriage can survive. As I mentioned before, you can probably do some additional investigations e.g., there are on line companies that can do some rather thorough background checks on individuals at quite a low cost. Some spouses will place small, hidden GPS tracking devices in the family car their husband drives to assess whether he is going places he claims he is, visiting particular apartments or homes during the day, evenings or weekends, etc. You can Google these devices---they run anywhere from $75 to $200 and one would download the data periodically, recharge the batteries or replace them, and conduct another round of GPS tracking . You can do this legally if you are co-owner of the vehicles your both drive. So, in summary, there are some ways to uncover more facts about whether your husband is trustworthy or not, is likely cheating on you, etc. For example, if a GPS tracking device documented repeated visits to massage parlors or bars or clubs that cater to gay men, then this would reveal a great deal about things you don't presently know.

And, as I mentioned before, regardless of the outcome of your dealings with these marital issues, your personal education is supremely important; I am very, very glad to hear you are completing a nursing degree.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question.

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