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In couples who have experienced a broken trust in their relationship, one spouse always feels cheated. It could be any form of broken trust really–pornography, emotional affair, emotional affair, secrets, gambling–and any of these in any varying degree. Clearly, in some of these situations, cheating is cheating. But the line blurs somewhat when another person isn’t physically involved. In the instance of pornography, he didn’t actually cheat, so why does it feel like he did? Is pornography cheating?
Watching & using pornography is cheating
Take a look.
When we seek sexual arousal and pleasure from someone other than our spouse, we are in fact committing adultery in our hearts.
Matthew 5:28 makes it clear the seriousness and offensiveness of this betrayal: “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Many people will argue.
- “It’s a guy thing. Good grief! All guys do it.” — Read more about this HERE.
- “I didn’t do anything with anyone, so it’s not cheating.”
- “My spouse won’t provide for my needs, so I have to find relief somewhere.”
But…I didn’t do anything with anyone.
This is where many people get hung up and want to argue about the issue. Yes, we hear all the time that it’s not a big deal. I mean, “it’s just porn; I didn’t even flirt with anyone.”
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
There’s that verse again. The Bible says, and this is Jesus speaking, that even if you have the thought, you have done the act in your heart.
The other thing is this: when you both vowed to one another on your wedding day, you agreed that no one else would come before your beloved. When a man is lost in the trap of pornography, he is NOT putting his spouse first.
Just a side note: Pornography will do the opposite of what we think it will do. It will not spice up your marriage. Perhaps for a time, it will feel more spicy, but in the end more damage is done than revving up the love life.
It’s true that for a man “just” using pornography, no physical adultery was committed. But as a wife whose husband was “just” using pornography, I can tell you that it feels like he was cheating.
- I wasn’t first and foremost on his mind when it came to sexual pleasure, intimacy, or fulfilled needs.
- He was seeking satisfaction and pleasure from somewhere (someone) other than me.
- I thought we were committed to being transparent with one another, yet he was hiding a huge secret from me.
- He was lying to me on the daily about what was going on with him, when I could see him drifting further and further away from me.
Why does it feel like he cheated?
He did. For all of the reasons I listed above, he did. But here’s the other reason it feels like he cheated.
What you thought you had was a lie. The wonderful marriage, the great relationship, the joy in the mundane–it all feels like a lie because what you thought was, isn’t.
What I’ve realized since my husband confessed to a porn addiction is that he broke his vows because he promised I’d be the only one. And when someone else entered in, even in the form of a screen, it began to change him and damage our relationship. What I thought we had was far different from what it had become, and so I grieved the loss of what once was. I mourned for what I thought we had. I felt lost and numb, shocked and embarrassed.
Related: Hope in the Battle Against Porn Addiction (Our Story)
I began to cycle through the grieving process for the loss of what we had. It was very real, and it is real for you, too!
Allow yourself time to grieve. Give yourself grace when triggers set you off. But also, give yourself permission to forgive and work towards restoration.