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Ask Dave

A Lot of Work Ahead

Laura just found out her husband had an affair and is addicted to pornography. They have two homes and owe $408,000. Dave says they're going to have to do a lot of work to get past this.

QUESTION: Laura in Denver just found out her husband had an affair and is addicted to pornography. The money that was supposed to be going toward their financial plan has been going somewhere else. Laura doesn’t know where to start. They have two homes and owe $408,000. Dave says they’re going to have to do a lot of work to get past this.

ANSWER: An accountability partner won’t touch this. This is in-depth, detailed marriage counseling and counseling for an addiction. You guys have a lot of marriage counseling to do. For a marriage to survive a porn addiction is a huge undertaking. For a marriage to survive a porn addiction combined with an affair is a super huge undertaking. Can it be done? Yeah, it can be done. But it requires both of you doing some unbelievable work. This is not just, “He needs an accountability partner.” This is way past that.

You guys need to get a marriage counselor. Commit to a plan there. He needs to be in counseling. He needs to be in a 12-step plan for an addiction. You’ve got to have all kinds of steps that he’s willing to take.

There’s no middle ground on this for you guys to survive as a couple. I’m not a marriage counselor. I just end up in the middle of these things because the number- one addiction that is breaking up marriages right now is gambling, and a close second is porn. We’re running into it a lot. We’re having to deal with it a lot, and the only people we see that are succeeding are those who are treating it as if it was cocaine.

Your family is in danger because of it. That’s the people you’re messing around with when you mess with those sites. It’s organized crime. It’s ridiculous. It’s dangerous. It’s not just dirty pictures. It’s filth at an unbelievable level. It’s not just me being a prude. I’m talking from a counseling coaching perspective. In order for you to have a quality marriage ever again, there is a ton of trust that has to be rebuilt on two different fronts—on the marriage and the fidelity side and then on the addictive behavior side. He has an amount of work to do to regain your trust and an amount of cleanliness to walk in to regain your trust. If I’m in your shoes, that has to be extreme measures. Otherwise, you’re just kidding yourself. I don’t want you to do that. I want you to heal. I want the marriage to heal, but don’t kid yourself. You can’t just say, “Oh, my buddy’s going to walk with me through this.” His buddy’s an idiot. That’s not even close to what he needs.

Let me give you some numbers on this stuff. It’s why we endorse SafeEyes—the computer filtering software. You should never have a computer in your home without it—especially for your children because they’ll get drawn into this stuff in a heartbeat. The online porn industry makes more revenue than all sporting events in North America combined. NFL, NASCAR, NBA, NHL—name it. Major league baseball. Add them all together. You know how big professional sports are. Porn makes more. This is not a game. This is evil running rampant into your homes. It’s not a cute little picture. This is not a 13-year-old with a Playboy under his bed. This stuff is filth. It’s unbelievable, and it’s coming into your home on HBO and Showtime and everything else too.

There’s a wickedness to this—an evil to this—and this is not me being a prude. I’m watching lives being destroyed by this stuff. Men who are otherwise intelligent, well-trained academically, positive career situations, and they completely end up in the seediest end of town with prostitutes before the story is over. Men that you would have never thought—not in a million years—this stuff is out of control. To think that it’s going to be okay on any level and not treat it with an extreme antidote when you find it . . . I’ll just tell you we find it in some of the men in the office here, and the answers are extreme. The reaction is extreme.