New initiative sheds light on pornography's impact on families

DMC launches 'Out in the Light: women uniting against pornography'

Published: Sunday, Sept. 19 2010 1:19 a.m. MDT

She believes there is a disconnect in the thinking of married men who view pornography — which objectifies women for their own pleasures.

"I do not understand how human beings can be using and denigrating women in one area of their life and claiming to love and cherish a woman in another area of their life."

'I thought we would be heroes'

Sitting on a couch in her Springville home on a recent day this August, a 61-year-old woman talked about how her husband's addiction to pornography had impacted their 42-year marriage and her own happiness. "I thought the papers finalizing the divorce would arrive Monday," she said.

But, she added, with half relief, half lament, they didn't.

"I see my husband as so entrapped," she said. "He has a hard time seeing the picture. He says, 'If you would just take me as I am.' "

But she can't.

Pornography creates darkness and confusion in a home, she explained.

She recalled the night she found him at his computer at 2 a.m. The images on the screen made her nauseated.

There were times he blamed her for all his problems and countless nights he came home late causing her endless worry. He lied to her so often, she lost the ability to know if he was telling the truth.

"Even in the house we were parading around this elephant," she explained, noting that pornography led to infidelity and even prostitution.

Now she catalogs his losses — his job, his LDS Church membership, his home, the trust of his children and, finally, his marriage.

She always thought their ending would be different, that they would overcome.

"I thought we would be heroes and you would be interviewing us as some who walked out of it," she said.

Lies and secrecy

Dan Gray, a licensed clinical social worker and director of the LifeSTAR Network in Salt Lake City, said many men who compulsively view pornography are very good at compartmentalizing their life. "They have a dual life going on."

On one side a man can be outstanding in his community or church, a good dad and a provider. "But on the other side he is engaged in pornography or other sexual behaviors that he has been able — for a period — to keep separate or secret."

Talking about the problem is often something these men do not want to do. They become ambivalent.

"If you disclose it and bring it forward, you are going to have to face the reality of having to carve this out of your life," Gray said.

But eventually, he added, many men with this problem get tired. "The dual life is very draining," Gray said. "It is emotionally exhausting. It is hard work to cover the lies and the deceit."

Many wives of those dealing with pornography also get tired of keeping up a good public face when their private lives are in crisis, said Gray.

"Most women can say, 'I can deal with him, even if he has a relapse or a problem. What I can't deal with are the lies and the secrecy.' "

'That is not OK'

The voice of a woman from West Jordan in her 40s softens as she talks about her husband. "He is not living here right now," she said. "I don't know when I will let him come back."

Then she acknowledges this day is a crazy time for an interview about her husband's pornography use and infidelity.

He had been in recovery for a year and a half before he relapsed just two days earlier.

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