Betrayal Cycles

Some women who read this will feel better than others. Sometimes it will depend on how many betrayal cycles they’ve been through.

This is what I mean by “betrayal cycles”:

At first, a woman may not know about his porn problem. She may wonder, but she may not know for sure. If he does have a problem with sexual activity outside the marriage, he will probably feel ashamed and will hide it.

Then she finds out.

Now, the way she finds out can cause more damage; more detailed information can damage her further, but usually she asks and eventually he answers with the truth, or she stumbles on irrefutable evidence.

But he immediately promises he’ll get better, and in that moment he may be completely sincere.

So she believes him. For now, she may actually feel the experience has brought them closer.

This is betrayal cycle #1.

Since porn can be so difficult to stop (see footnote A), he may eventually relapse, and because he gave his word, now he feels even more ashamed, so may continue to hide it.

Then she finds out. Again, the way she finds out can cause more damage, and again he sincerely promises he’ll get better. She still may be hopeful, but a little less so this time.

This is betrayal cycle #2.

By now, she may be much more alert and may ask about it, but this time, if she finds out he’s relapsed again, the pain may cause her to react with anger.

And even when the anger comes from a righteous place, he usually responds with defensiveness or impatience. By now she may not be able to believe his promises, which only angers him more, but even still he says he’ll get better.

This time she may not be sure she can believe him.

This is betrayal cycle #3

Over and over this can happen, with both of them showing more and more emotion each time.

Just One Aspect:
You may have been through one cycle. You may have been through too many to count, but something to know is the amount of betrayal cycles is just one way to gauge the impact of all this.

How you found out, what you found out, if he dumped too much detail on you, if he’s resistant to give you any detail, how he’s acted since, if he’s apologized, if he’s sought recovery, if he slips back into old mindsets, if he’s defensive, impatient or angry… those also determine the how much damage is done to your heart, mind and trust.

Many things factor into the overall trauma you experience, but the amount of betrayal cycles is one of them.

How about you?
How many betrayal cycles have you been through? If you write your story, it may be helpful to outline the betrayal cycles you’ve experienced.  If you’d like to work together, feel free to send it to me: lori(at)pornpainhealed(dot)com.

Footnote A: We’ve heard several addicts say, “I kicked my cocaine habit (or heroine habit… or both). But this porn habit… I just can’t kick it!”

Comments 5

  1. I feel like my cycles were more like degrees of disclosure. I first found out about a “little,” then weeks later found out there was more to it, then weeks later found out there was much more to it, and then even more, and then realized my husband would tell a blatant lie right to my face. Each time I was more deeply shocked & more deeply wounded.

    1. Post

      Hello again, Esther Faith,

      That kind of “drip fed discovery” is incredibly damaging to partners… and then to have subsequent lies on top of that?! Wow! But since our paths have crossed a few times, I can tell you, you’re one strong woman! I find myself thinking of your situation often, glad you have such a strong faith and peace… despite this past. It’s admirable!


  2. Hello.
    I’ve finally confronted him. He was defensive and VERY ANGRY. Told me he’s never had a woman understand him or sexually satisfisfy him and that’s why he watches porn, for 25 years!!
    Tells me I’m his everything. He’s been married twice with multiple girlfriends in between.
    Tells me he’s trying. I’ve noticed some of his porn apps are deleted. Now he’s adding apps about how to improve your sexual relationship with your wife.
    Still uncertain and on guard.

    1. Post


      It’s wisdom to stay on guard… especially given the new apps he’s installed. It wouldn’t be a healthy thing (for either one of you) to replace the porn with you.

      And the anger is incredibly common. I’d say 98% of our male clients, even most of the quiet ones, become explosive when she finds her voice.

      So yes, proceed carefully.

      I’m praying for your situation,

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