caught looking at porn

My Wife Caught Me Looking at Porn

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Last summer, I was eating my favorite street tacos with a fellow dad. As we talked about the hot sauce and why the tacos were so good, he paused and asked, “Can I talk to you about something?” As I took another bite, he said, “My wife caught me looking at porn.” I quickly realized this lunch would be about something more important than tacos.

My friend’s wife had come home early and walked in on him watching it. “We haven’t had sex in months,” he said, followed by, “But I know I shouldn’t have done it. It had been so long since I’d  looked at anything.” When we get caught doing something we shouldn’t be doing, we can get stuck on this fence. We want to make things right on one side and on the other, we want to justify our actions. Here are 3 questions to ask to help men who get caught looking at porn.

1. Why do you think you’ve been looking at porn?

If we don’t know how to release stress in a healthy way, we turn to unhealthy things.

We must excavate all areas of your life. How is work, how are the kids, what’s really going on down deep? Most of the time, we can look back and see how our drive, our focus, and our desires all were affected by the circumstances around us, both good and bad. Naturally, when stress or pressure is introduced to a man’s life, we tend to find ways to medicate the problem. If we don’t know how to release stress in a healthy way, we turn to unhealthy things. For some, it’s alcohol or excessive hobbies. For others, it’s porn. So this is the first question we ask because we have to examine what’s really going on.

2. If you didn’t get caught, would you stop?

This one cuts deep. When I ask this question, I can tell if a man is ready for reconciliation or not. If we are honest with ourselves in this question, we all know personally what the answer would be. This question forces us into being honest or continuing to lie to ourselves and those around us. So this question is about finding honesty. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, we are not ready to be honest with anyone else—especially our wives. If she doesn’t ask you this question directly, she is thinking about it. Healing starts with being honest. No more secrets and no more lies.

3. What safeguards did you have in place?

Not to pour salt on an open wound, but I ask men if they had any protection in place to safeguard themselves from looking at porn. Some have all the filters and apps and yet they still fell short. Others take no precautions because they don’t think porn is a big deal. But this question gets us to consider how to fix the problem, now that we’re admitting it exists. If you know this is a problem for you and you have set up the safeguards, then reconciliation starts with reassessing your current strategies. What exactly failed in your strategy? Start there and then take the steps needed to fix the shortcomings of your plan. If you have no safeguards, we know to start by establishing some new rules in your home and on your devices. This question is meant to help men start thinking through the next steps.

Beyond these three questions, every situation is different and every marriage is different. I have seen this destroy marriages and I have seen, after extremely hard work in reconciliation, this strengthen a bond between husbands and wives. No matter what the situation is, it all starts with looking at what is really going on, being honest with ourselves, and taking action steps moving forward.

Earn some points: Share this related iMOM article with your wife: What to Do if Your Husband Is Watching Porn.

Sound off: What would you say to a friend who got caught looking at porn?

Huddle up with your wife and say, “I don’t know how to do this perfectly, but I love you. I read this article today about porn. Can we talk about it?”