Marcia & Steve had celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary in style, renting a hall, hiring a caterer, and being generous with the guest list. They were toasted as the “ideal couple” and complimented on their parenting of 8 year-old Luke and 5 year old Emily. For Marcia, the party was a welcome relief from her nagging worries that their marriage was actually not quite the model relationship others thought it to be. There was really nothing to put her finger on, but she was concerned something was just not right. She had begun to blame herself as a negative person.
Marcia had met Steve shortly after they had both begun working for the same bank. He was reserved and had a great sense of humor. Later on she discovered that Steve had survived a difficult childhood, with a father who became angry and abusive when he drank. His mother was preoccupied with managing his father, and had little time left over for Steve. After they were married, she found she wanted to know more about his past, but Steve said he didn’t want to burden her with too many sad stories.
Now, 10 years into the marriage, Marcia still found Steve to be a man she would marry all over again. He didn’t have a problem with drinking, and was a great father. However, for the last few years, Steve just didn’t seem to be there even when he was there. He seemed detached, like someone playing the role of husband and father.
Then one night while Steve was at a meeting, Marcia discovered a trail of pornographic sites and images on their computer. Feeling shocked & betrayed, Marcia confronted Steve when he came home. He denied it. She showed him the evidence. He blew up. She persisted. He finally started to cry and admitted that he “used” porn, and had done so for a long time. He had no idea why, as he was still very attracted to Marcia. He said it helped him to “calm down” and “fill a void”. However, he agreed to get help.
That night was two years ago, and except for a few brief relapses, with lots of hard work, Steve has stayed away from internet porn. He now sees it as an addictive process that helped managed the unresolved hurt and anger from his childhood. He now turns to a therapist and a support group. He is now able to be fully present with himself and his family.