A man told his story recently. He recounted the numerous times he told his wife he would stop using porn, stop meeting with other women and start meeting with a therapist… only to lie to the therapist and his wife… only to keep meeting with other women… only to be found out… only to start the cycle all over again.
Later, many women in the audience confessed to asking themselves why his wife stayed.
Sometimes I wondered that about myself: “Why do I stay?” My husband had stopped using porn and he was seeing a counselor. But so many of his old tendencies still made an appearance: minimizations and justifications and doors-left-open. He didn’t do this all the time, but often enough to make me wonder how long his sobriety would actually last. It was during these times I wondered why I stayed if it all was just going to happen all over again.
Sometimes I felt crazy for not separating, but I had reasons:
-At first I stayed because I’d be haunted by questions and regrets if I left before giving us a real chance.
-A little later I stayed because, despite some old tendencies, he seemed serious about breaking free from porn.
-Even later I stayed because I heard Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott say, “No one ever regrets staying until the very end.”
But ultimately this is where my mind always landed:
Since most men struggle with porn,
the issue will be in my future… at least as long as I want a romantic relationship.
So if I’m going to be with a man who wants sobriety
I’ll start with my husband.
If I’m going to help any relationship survive this problem,
I’ll start with my marriage.
This problem is everywhere, so if I left him I knew I’d eventually see the same problem, only in a different relationship. “So,” I reasoned, “I might as well figure it out here.”
(And I’m glad I did, because we’ve found ways to create a marriage that’s better than what I thought possible. And it’s not just me doing those things; he does them too.)
Basically the reason I stuck around was because this problem is just that pervasive, yet I had a man who actually wanted to be free of the hidden life and lies.
And that has been worth staying for.