Rebuilding Trust during Porn Addiction Recovery
When talking about addiction, the media often focuses on the effects on oneself, yet anyone who has been through any addiction (whether to alcohol, substances or pornography) knows that its effects extend to one’s closest circles – family and friends.
When it comes to porn addiction, one person who may need to recover by your side is your spouse or significant other. Despite the fact that it may take work, however, trust can be rebuilt.
These tips may be useful when it comes to strengthening your relationship with your loved one:
- Make your spouse or partner loved and desired: There are many ways to make your partner feel beautiful, loved, and wanted, but it is up to you to work out the best one. The best-selling book by Gary Chapman, The 5 Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, shows that each of us tends to have a preferred language through which we express our love, and prefer to receive it.These languages are an affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch and receiving and giving gifts. Therefore, those whose language is ‘acts of service’ feel loved when others do favors or go out of their way for them; they also tend to be very giving in this way. Those who crave physical touch, meanwhile, like to give and receive hugs frequently. There are free online tests to work you your and your partner’s love languages. Once you know your partner’s love language, try to speak to them in their preferred language and ask them to speak to you in yours.
- Work on your faith together: Whether it is by attending church service, reading scripture daily or praying together, faith is a powerful glue that binds couples together. Sometimes, it is important to surrender to a higher power; to acknowledge that although much of the success of our efforts depends on discipline, consistency and sheer will, other aspects of our lives are beyond control. These aspects should be entrusted to God or a higher power, who can guide us on the steps we need to take together.
- Be affectionate with each other: Not everyone is a ‘touchy feely’ person, but for nearly all of us, few things express love more than a warm embrace when we first see our spouse or partner after a long day at work or a gentle caress at an unexpected moment. While a good sex life is a fantastic way to bond, so, too, is non-sexual touching and holding.
- Work on communication: It is important for you to be honest with your spouse if you feel you have things you need to share regarding your addiction to porn, but it is also important for them to listen to you without making you feel shamed, blamed or judged.The feelings and impulses you feel can be hard to control and sometimes, sharing these sensations can help your spouse understand what you are going through. Cognitive behavioral therapy espouses that we are a compendium of what we think, feel and do. Sometimes, just by changing our behavior, we can also change what we think and feel, and thus control our impulses better.Therefore, we can work alongside our spouse to come up with a contingency plan. For instance, you may decide that when you feel the urge to use porn, you might take part in prayer, meditate or even do a bit of yoga, to lower your stress levels and enter into a more mindful state.
- Be willing to show your commitment: Each person in recovery is a world unto themselves, and each couple is unique. Therefore, it is up to you and your partner to think of ways that you can show your commitment to doing away with porn.You may decide to eliminate your online files or unsubscribe from any relevant sites. It is important to emphasize at this stage that these acts are not about ‘policing’; think of it as a fast food addict who commits to a healthier lifestyle by eliminating chips, biscuits, and other unhealthy foods from their cupboard.
- Start a hobby together. One of the best ways to remove porn from your life is by filling your days with so much activity and entertainment; you simply don’t have time for it!Discuss your hobbies and interests with your spouse/significant other and ask them about their hobbies. You may find that both of you have always wanted to take up dance (ballroom dancing? Hip-hop? You are never too old to try something new).Otherwise, you might be up for something more sporty or adventurous. The sky’s the limit when it comes to hobbies so have a brainstorming session and work out an activity you can enjoy together!
Article by Anne Foy