DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife is hooked on porn. It's not something I ever expected, although she spent a lot of time in our den working on papers with the door locked. She had a television in there and headphones" so she wouldn't bother me. I guess she was busy bothering herself. I had no idea how bad it was until she stopped having sex with me... and sex is important to her. I suspected an affair, but she told me "No way!" Besides, she was always at home, but behind the locked door. Finally, she got careless and I walked right into the room and caught her. She confessed she wastes hours and hours at this. I asked to see one of her movies -- explicit, shocking stuff with men built like no normal man is built. I asked her if she was willing to get help and she quickly said yes. I think she was just trying shut me up. I listened at the door and caught her again three days later, when she thought I was out. I don't know where to go from here if she can't quit. We had a reasonable sex life before she got into this. -- Disgusted and Demeaned, Selkirk
Dear Disgusted: You can't expect her to be totally un-hooked until there's been some help. Your wife said she was willing and that's all you need -- a wobbly yes answer is good enough. Constant masturbation and porn addiction are the basis of a home-based sex addiction and your wife needs to work through this to get past it. Gerry Pettyjohn, a recovered sex addict, does one-on-one counselling with sex addicts, which often includes porn addiction (www.livinginfreedom.ca), and his wife works with partners of sex addicts. You be the one to get in touch and set up first meetings for the both of you. Just as much as your wife needs help, you need help, so don't sit by waiting for her to change, thinking everything will then go back to the way it was. Get help for your shaken trust and self-esteem. You should also know where to draw the line and end it, if necessary. Your counsellor will help you to recognize that boundary.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My wife goes to her "brie club" every week and I stayed home with the kids for the last year like a real sucker, while she actually saw her boyfriend. She broke it to me while we were separating last week... I went quiet, so she unloaded her guilt and the story about the "emotional affair." Our kids play hockey together and she's been the one to take them. I'm not sporty but I make all the meals and look after the kids while she advances her big career. I have a regular day job. She and her honey had a lot of early morning coffees together at the rink before the Wednesday night meetings started -- with or without actual sex, I don't know. He's divorced. She swears she has never actually had sex with the guy but she loves him. She wants me to stay until after Christmas "for the kids" and, get this, she doesn't see why we can't have sex until I leave the home. We have always had great sex. Should I use sex to win her back that way? I'm torn apart. -- In Terrible Pain, St. Vital
Dear Pain: This woman has a lot of nerve and everything is about her, with no consequences. She wants you to be her sex buddy while she's now openly the partner of Rink Guy? Why? Because you're in the same bed? Forget it! As for staying until Christmas, it must be hard to stay another week with her, although the kids might be enough to make you want that. It's a rough time of the year to break up. Is she necessarily the better parent? You sound like your role has been Mr. Mom. Maybe she should be the one moving out, and you keep the house and kids. Your first trip should be an appointment with the best domestic lawyer you can find and an appointment for relationship counselling so there can be some (relatively) "peaceful resolution" work even if there's to be no reconciliation. And start sleeping elsewhere. Let her miss it. To take care of yourself physically, see your physician and confess what's going on. You may need help with eating and anxiety. Do lots of walking and running where you'll run off some angst and do your best thinking, and see a counsellor where you can vent. Klinic offers free drop in counselling (784-4067 for hours) and has a 24/7 crisis line at 786-8686.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org