Concept of computer button on a keyboard with porn content icon symbol

Sometimes in marriage, neither spouse is having an affair, but there is an enormous amount of time being spent watching porn by one party. This is sometimes unbeknownst to the other party until, one day, it’s out in the open. Many clients who have made discoveries like this become deeply disturbed by it for various reasons — including a tangible loss of respect for their spouse.

This reckoning with porn addiction is taking place all over, all the time, and across socioeconomic classes. Its present conspicuousness and palpability is partly due to the multifaceted impact and effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns brought married couples together…all day, every day. Close quarters and open drawers allowed people to see their spouse in high-definition, 360-degree clarity. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Some wives who previously thought their husbands worked 16-hour days, suddenly learned that their spouse, in fact, only performed 2 hours of substantive work a day and spent much of the rest of the day watching porn and the like.

Porn addiction occurs primarily in men, and it could have any number of effects on a marriage. It does not create divorce, at least not immediately. Instead, it often creates the first fissures in a relationship — fissures that have the potential to grow. In talking to clients, I noticed that a lot of spouses of porn addicts start to feel like the other person is irresponsible.

  • “Wow, XYZ is really a deadbeat. Or dead wood. You get it.”
  • “He’s weighing us down right now.”
  • “I’m discovering my husband’s shtick about being so busy is fakakta.”

Usually, before a porn addiction is discovered, there’s evidence of something invisible or intangible taking place in the relationship. After the discovery, the non-porn-addict spouse begins to feel more deserving of a concrete action plan. It’s not uncommon for couples to enter into a postnuptial agreement as a result.

There comes a certain time in a person’s life, usually in their 40s or 50s, when they just want to be the person they want to be without feeling weighed down by another person’s brokenness or addiction. They want to spend their energy on things that make a difference in the world. And most people want a partner that inspires them and values the same things. A consultation with an attorney is a good idea if you feel like this describes you.

Cheryl Stein, Esq.
The Law and Mediation Offices of Cheryl Stein
745 Fifth Avenue, Suite 500
New York, NY 10151
Phone: (646) 884-2324
E-mail: cheryl@cherylsteinesq.com