Relationship Connection: Are all men just ‘gross, sex-crazed, weak things’ with no self-control?

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Question

Two years ago, my husband confessed that he had been looking at porn throughout our marriage. Immediately following his confession he basically shut me out completely. Porn had been the one and only thing I had ever asked him to make sure he was honest about. I was completely blindsided. I had absolutely no clue.

Immediately following he did all the “right” things. He had no problem giving me his passwords, never being alone with his phone, putting internet software on and so on. However, he completely shut me out emotionally and stopped talking to me.

Since his confession, I gave birth to our fourth child, which was especially hard because my husband is gone with the military and we move around a lot. I feel like a horrible mother. I hate everything about myself, and I feel so completely alone. I find myself getting more and more resentful and so angry toward God and men, in general.

My heart is constantly racing, and I feel like the more time passes, the more hurt I feel. Any little things that happen during the day just increase my pain and bitterness. It’s been dragged out so long I just feel overwhelmed and want to give up on everything.

My husband is a good man, but he refuses to talk to me. Every man in my life has betrayed me. My dad, my two grandfathers, my brothers, my best friend’s dad and one of my church leaders have all been caught or admitted to having inappropriate sexual behaviors. So are all men just gross, sex-crazed, weak things that have no self-control? It feels that way to me, and I don’t see the point of anything. I hate being a woman in this world. Nothing is sacred or special anymore. It just feels dirty and pointless.

Answer

It makes perfect sense that you would ask questions about the integrity and fidelity of all men. You’ve known nothing other than complete betrayal from the very men who were supposed to care for and protect you. There’s nothing wrong with you for feeling the way you do and asking the questions you’re asking. Hopefully I can help you find answers, support and, ultimately, complete healing.

I know you’re asking if there are any good and faithful men out in the world. Even though I want to reassure you that there are good men out there, this question can’t be the first priority. Instead, your biggest priority needs to be setting healthy limits so you can begin caring for yourself physically and emotionally. You’re experiencing acute relational trauma from the discovery of your husband’s secrets. And, combined with the massive amounts of betrayal you’ve already experienced from other important relationships, it’s hard for you to feel settled and secure.

The emphasis on healing your relational trauma symptoms is to help you slow down and reclaim your peace. Trauma can stop time or speed things up, so it’s important to not get pulled in either direction. Ultimately, you need to know that you are going to be safe and can protect yourself emotionally, physically and sexually.

I recommend you immediately get some outside help. No woman can or should start her recovery journey alone. There are compassionate women, men and professionals who have been down this same road who can help you make sense of what’s happening to you and give you the tools and resources you need.

You’ll find that education will help you normalize and organize your experience while support from others will help you come out of isolation and give you the encouragement you need to keep moving forward. Seek out local 12-step groups for family members of those affected by addiction and courageously reach out for support from trusted friends and family.

I also recommend you find a therapist who specializes in scientifically validated trauma-based treatments, such as EMDR and Somatic Experiencing, to help you heal from the impact of the multiple relational betrayals you’ve experienced in years past. Additionally, effective trauma treatment can help you heal with the current marital betrayal you’re experiencing.

It’s terribly disorienting to discover that someone isn’t who he says he is. This has happened to you so many times in the past that you were taking a huge risk and hoping your husband would never deceive you. In fact, my guess is that his honesty with you about his behaviors is more important to you than anything, including his mistakes with viewing pornography. Deceiving another person, especially someone who has given his or her life to you, causes deep wounds that take time to heal.

Naturally, you want reassurance and connection from your husband in the aftermath of betrayal. You want him to show you that he’s remorseful and wants to protect you and the relationship. So, when he’s distant and avoidant, it makes an already difficult situation virtually unbearable. That is why you can’t focus on the relationship as a source of healing at this stage of the recovery process.

Your own individual connection to spiritual support, physical and emotional self-care, professional support, community support and educational resources will give help give you back your emotional balance. You deserve to feel safe and secure, so please seek healing in those areas before trying to figure out what to do with your relationship. When the time comes to make relationship decisions, you will be in a much better place to think clearly.

As you begin to connect to a world of support where you can feel secure, it will make it easier to trust others. Right now, it’s OK not to trust your husband. It’s OK to be suspicious and careful. Even though living with mistrust of others isn’t a very satisfying way of living your life long-term, it’s a completely sensible response today. Even though trust is terrifying right now, there are resources and people who have proven track records and can give you the necessary support and guidance you’ll need to help you get back on your feet.

Stay connected!

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Instagram: @geoffsteurer  

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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20 Comments

  • statusquo August 1, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Geoff, she confesses a faith in God. Should not her church be included in helping solve this problem?

    • AnnieMated August 1, 2018 at 7:45 am

      No. She needs professional help led by people who know what they’re doing and won’t blame her for the actions of her husband.

      To the sweet lady who wrote this: I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through this. Not all men are “gross, sex-crazed, weak things that have no self-control”, though I know it can feel that way sometimes, especially after a betrayal of this magnitude. I agree with Geoff’s opinion but I would add that you should find things to do that benefit others and do not involve those men you mentioned. You could volunteer at your childs school, work in a food pantry, get a job, join a community theatre, write opinions for the St. George news, the list goes on. No matter what though, you need to heal from this and with time and dedication, you will.

      • comments August 1, 2018 at 7:33 pm

        Ofc, all men are perverts and would-be rapists, and it’s ALWAYS the man’s fault, right Annie? hahahah

        😉

    • Badshitzoo August 1, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Absolutely not. I’ve known many women who have sought help from their bishops only to be told in one way or another, that staying and keeping the marriage & family together is the answer. It’s the answer for the church, but their answer isn’t going to help you. Remember, it’s a “Man’s church.” Of course they’ll patronize you, and tell you how you are the “most important one.” But watch what they do, and ignore what they say. They’ll spell it out for you with their actions.

    • mesaman August 1, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      Geoff; aside from your anecdotal experiences I think you are premature in describing EMDR as a “scientifically validated” procedure in the treatment of trauma-based presentations. Furthermore, somatic experiencing fits into the same category although one study of interest is the success in treating an experimental group of Israelis whopresented with PTSD. Both methods are soft approaches with most efficacy remaining in the control of the patient’s expectations.

    • Badshitzoo August 2, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      What Geoff hasn’t mentioned about this patient is that PTSD and whatever else aside; this individual has been victimized by so many, for so long, and at so many different formative points in her life; that being a “Victim” was hard coded into her psych long ago. The “Professional Victim” for lack of a better term, is what she is now. If Men being Pigs looking at porn is the only issue, get over it. Statistically speaking, in 5-7 years you’ll thank your lucky stars for porn.

  • JOSH DALTON August 1, 2018 at 8:40 am

    I don’t know about all men…but I know I am! GO FALCONS!

  • DRT August 1, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Lady, you need a shrink, preferably one that is female. Maybe, just maybe, when you find the whole world is against you, it just might be that you are the one who needs to change.

  • LunchboxHero August 1, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Yes. And apparently, they also have neck-beards and tons of moles.

  • ladybugavenger August 1, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Yes, yes they are, But some are gay or transgender so you don’t have to worry about them betraying you. 🤣

  • theone August 1, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Religion and god = sexual dysfunction and emotional failure.

  • No Filter August 1, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Sounds like you are the one with the issues with men. Maybe it’s time to look into the mirror and think maybe your the problem with your marriage.

    • LocalDad August 1, 2018 at 11:51 am

      I imagine there will be backlash on your comment here, but I happen to agree.

  • Scott August 1, 2018 at 11:18 am

    When you start off with the assumption that anything other than church-approved sex is evil and sinful, then you’re going to be disappointed to find out that humans have a variety of proclivities.

  • LocalDad August 1, 2018 at 11:58 am

    I don’t mean to sound cold, but I’ve kind of been under the same kind of scorn this lady is projection, well, every man. I think I’m a good man, even still, the ones who suffer most from my ex’s exaggerated hatred of me, is my kids. I don’t care what she says, but my children care! So, I understand feeling disappointed when loved ones stumble, but I don’t take it personal, I don’t imagine it’s me being “persecuted.” So if you want to feel better about the world, for the time being, pretend nothing matters but your kids, lady. If you want men to be better, stop focusing on how all men are attacking you and see to raising your own good men.

  • comments August 1, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    She knows the relationship isn’t going well and yet she keeps popping out kids. How is it that “all men are sex crazed” and yet she’s the one who can’t keep her legs closed. I actually kinda get where she’s coming from, but she needs to realize that part of the problem is her. Your man may not be able to live up to the LDS standards of purity and give up the porn. Marriages fall apart both because of the women and the men. Basically, at the end of the day we all just animals, and the animalistic urge to procreate which we call the sex drive is gonna cause problems for both the man and the woman. Plenty and men watch porn, and plenty of both women and men cheat on eachother for whatever reasons, whether it has to do with sex or not. And it aint the fault of all men that this woman has a bunch of perverts or degenerates in her life (the way she tells it). She needs to get over herself. She’s not a special snowflake.

    • comments August 1, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      oh, and lastly, I believe this woman could seriously benefit from some intensive therapy, and also couples counseling for the both of them…

  • dogmatic August 1, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Men are not much different than dogs and other animals they would go around humping Anything and everything if they where not restrained by social norms. The only thing that is more important is breathing. Sex is one of the most fundamental of human urgents and it should be celebrated. Definitely not a weakness.
    This poor sexually challenged woman needs help.

  • Mike P August 2, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    I had to stop at the old “Every man in my life has betrayed me.” Sorry, time for a beer.

  • Rob83 August 8, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    From the perspective of someone who’s gone through what you have. I say, only look for the positive and forget the negative. Did you know that men have the same need as a nursing mother? Google it, very interesting. My ex was a serious sex addict and even completed the Life Star Program with Geoff, all phases. I went through the Program too, up until we couldn’t afford both of us anymore. My ex put a lot of blame on me, which I understand now, but didn’t at the time. Be glad your husband told you and he is probably avoiding you because he is embarrassed perhaps or he might be mad that there is something he’d like to try out in the bedroom but feels you are to much of a prude. You have to be available to him sexually or he’ll find someone else who is..

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