I know it's wrong but I feel it's justified. Am I wrong?
My husband and I have been together for 14 years. We were friends for 7 years before (from day one at secondary school I knew he was the one), but we were very different, so we were friends (with benefits) and both resisted the temptation of a proper relationship until he had played out his drug-fueled raving days and slept with as many girls as possible).
We settled down together when he was ready and got pregnant (accidentally) very quickly, with our first child. We now have 4!
Our love is very very strong but my husband has never really been able to leave the past behind. Over the years he goes through phases (usually every couple of years, and due to mental health issues) where he has got addicted to coke, weed, porn, alcohol. This has always been behind my back, although I know him better than he knows himself so it's never a secret, but he never admits it until its hospitalizing him.
Through my pain and anger I still help him through it and nurse him back to better, in my head I switch off as his wife and support him as his friend. And then we become stronger. But it's gone on for so long now that the last couple of times I've got weaker and more damaged.
Our relationship hasn't recovered and has put a big strain on our marriage. I've been so patient, so understanding, but I think he's gone from admiring my strength to now seeing me as weak and pathetic. There is definitely mental abuse in our relationship now. He belittles me at every opportunity, he treats me like I have done something wrong. He lied to me a few months back about where he was and there's confusion about whether or not he cheated on me. My sex drive is very low as is my confidence.
And so we now have a viscous circle. I need him to prove that he wants me, treat me with respect and nurture the deep wounds that he has inflicted on me so that I can feel he is sorry and that he appreciates how bloody amazing I've been
throughout our relationship, and how much love, forgiveness and loyalty I have shown him. But the trust is so badly broken now because we reached a stage where I genuinely thought things had changed and that I would be able to trust him again and it was broken again.
I was openly checking his phone to check up on him, unless I had an overwhelming gut instinct that he had been up to no good, then I would check in secret, confirm my doubts but not say anything, and then I realized he was deleting stuff (thousands of porn videos from his history). I know people will think it's natural for a man to watch porn, but when our marriage is so broken and my sex drive is so low I need him to not watch that stuff as it makes my confidence even lower. I have no problem with him masturbating but i don't understand why he needs a visual aid to do it, he has tasteful pics of me so why isn't that enough?
Anyway, I realized his tablet that he'd forgotten about was linked to his Google account so instead of causing the issues it was causing looking through his phone, I started secretly checking the tablet, (and still finding porn but not addictively). I know it's wrong, and I hate having to do it, but it's the only way I can get any reassurance. We are planning on starting marriage councelling next month but I'm scared it's already too late.
I love him so unbelievably much, and I know he loves me too. I've stupidly told him about the tablet because it went missing and I know it would only have been him that took it so I confessed I had been checking his history on it and confronted him about him having something to hide (which of course all is denied) now he's making me feel like I'm completely disturbed for doing it. I know I kind of am but I'm only doing it to try and move forward with him, which I'm now struggling to do.
I'm so confused and hurt. Am I nuts? Can we actually move forward?
Eugene Kayser, lic. Marriage & Family Therapist