Letter From a Listener
I listen to you on The Hits and I was intrigued, I have a lot going on in my life and it all feels like a great big mess, it’s hard to unpack it all and explain everything because its huge but I can make it a short story and I’m sure you will get a fairly good idea of what’s happening and I’m hoping you might be able to help me with some advice…
I am currently married but we are separated, living in the same house but separate rooms, we have 2 girls aged 7 and 5.
Last May I had an affair which my husband found out about and it was rough, as a result of that affair though it brought my husband to come out about his “stuff”. He has a sex addiction, he never had an “affair” but he had an addiction to pleasuring himself, porn and voyeurism…
So during our marriage, he had purchased cameras disguised as normal objects, i.e. a shaving foam can, a lighter, an alarm clock and filmed my closest friends and family in private situations while getting in and out of the shower or getting dressed in the guest room when they stayed over. I had NO idea this was happening!
I’m not an angel, I drink too much and that has taken its toll on our relationship, my husband is a workaholic and also struggles with gaming and escapism, so I was basically functioning as a single parent because his time management was terrible. We tried for 5 years to have our girls, so we definitely wanted them.
This is a short run down, there is a lot more info but I would be writing a novel… Our wedding anniversary will be this coming December…
What would you suggest I do?
I'm so sorry to hear you are going through that. Only you know what's right for you but I will tell you about a friend of mine who had a similar situation. They had 3 small kids and he worked all the time so she definitely felt lonely and drank too much. She started an affair one night with a friend when her husband was away (she felt super guilty about it).
They slept together a few times before her husband got back. The weird thing was, her husband knew about the affair as soon as he came back and was furious! He seemed to know every detail of what they had done, things that he could have only known if he was there.
She started looking around and found several hidden cameras and confronted him. Turns out he was a "porn & sex addict" and was into voyeurism. He had been filming her and their family and friends for years. She was horrified but felt like she was so messed up herself, she couldn't judge. He promised he had destroyed all photos, hidden cameras and porn. They tried to move on by pretending nothing happened but things were still a mess.
A few years later, they get a knock on the door and it's the police. Her husband had been caught downloading videos of the severe abuse of children. When the police went through his computers, they found thousands of nude photos of her kids which he had shared with others, plus lots of other children and tons of videos from hidden cameras. He is still in jail and her life was turned upside down.
Taking covert sexual photos is a serious crime and is one that tends to escalate to more serious and harmful offences. By staying with your husband without reporting him or at the very least making him be totally honest and get help, you are condoning the behaviour and giving him the opportunity to continue.
Ask yourself, ‘Would I be okay with it, if I found out he continued to do this behaviour to other people?” Serious covert voyeuristic behaviour is characteristic of a more severe and compulsive sexual disorder. Voyeurism can become an obsessive - compulsive disorder that may promote and reinforce, violent sexual fantasies, and is often connected with other sexual crimes.
Voyeurs typically diminish their victims to objects in their fantasies, which indicates they can then do what they want to them, which makes it easier to act out their fantasies. People don't get help unless they have to. The truth will set you and your husband free. As my mother always says, "You are only as sick as your secrets." If you don't talk about what's going on, it's not going to change.
I have been a full-time Therapist for over 13 years. People come to see me and pay me to talk to them and help sort their problems out. Most of the time the problem comes down to the same issue.
The issue is: we lie. A lot… To ourselves, our lovers, friends and families. To everyone we talk to. And it's exhausting and one of the primary sources of stress. So stressful, that lying can even kill you.
And the type of lying that is most harmful - is lying by omission. Withholding the truth because we are too afraid of what might happen. Of how that information might affect our lives or other peoples. Or that it might affect how people see us, or bring us shame. Physical and psychological disorders of the worst kind can be the outcome of this type of lying. Healing is achievable from the liberation that happens from not covering up the truth.
Our lives can become a jail built from our lies. Denying the truth from ourselves and others, by not telling them about what's going on for us, keeps us locked in prison. And the longer we stay in jail, the faster we go downhill. Either we escape, or we slowly die. The way out is to start being honest. I know it's scary to tell the truth about your husband but trust me, your life will be way more terrifying if you don’t. It’s only when you start telling the truth, that you can heal and set yourself free.