Got a problem you'd like to share with Sidney? Write to her at: The Meridian Star, P.O. Box 1591, Meridian, MS 39301 or e-mail her at sidneycovington@comcast.net. All submissions are confidential and go directly to Sidney.



Dear Sidney,



I’m devastated.

My husband is a respected business leader in the community and we’re very active in our church. We’ve been happily married for 27 years and our children are grown and on their own. In other words, we live what I and others would consider an idyllic life.

However, recently while looking for something on our home computer, I somehow managed to find out that my husband had been visiting porn sites. The more I explored this, the quicker it became obvious that he’s spent an excessive amount of time on these sites.

One day I confronted him with this information and he confessed that he does visit those sites. He said he only goes on those sites at night after I've gone to bed and that he’s not spent “that much money” on those sites. Honestly, I have no idea how much he’s spent but that’s not what bothers me the most. He says he can stop anytime he wants to but doesn’t feel it's necessary since it doesn’t “hurt our marriage.” I told him it hurts me but he said that it shouldn’t, that it's harmless. We’ve argued and argued about this and he’s finally agreed to stop but says he doesn’t know how or where to go. I'm sick to my stomach over this. I would just die if anyone finds this out.

Can you offer any help or suggestions?



Hating the Internet



Dear Internet hater,



Well, I’ve gotta tell you, you have a lot of company in this one.

Internet surfing and research has become a regular pastime in most homes. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. However, the disadvantages can be pretty devastating to any person or family and your situation is no exception.

Internet surfing and research can generally be harmless. But, a harmless behavior becomes an addiction when it starts interfering with the person’s daily life –impacting it negatively. Clearly, this has happened to you and your husband. Your husband couldn’t be more wrong when he says it doesn't hurt your marriage. It most certainly does and you need intervention big time.

You indicated in another portion of your e-mail to me that you’re from the Midwest, but that you don’t have much availability to counseling centers. Without addressing every point you made in your letter, let me say that I’m glad he’s acknowledged that he has a problem and that he finally wants help. There are many sites on the Internet that can offer help, but one that I’ve found to be particularly useful is one called Covenant Eyes. In a nutshell, it works so that if your husband should ever “hit” on a porn site or anything of that nature, that computer communicates with another computer owned by an accountability partner.

I’d suggest you two go together to your minister and share with him your husband’s illness and ask for his prayers. He may also be a good choice as that other partner. I’ve seen this program work and there may well be others available. Do your own exploring to find something of that nature. It will be impossible for your husband to deal with this addiction alone. Solicit the prayers of your minister and go from there. I wish you the best.



Love,

Sidney



• Sidney Covington has a master’s degree in counseling. She is a patient advocate and public relations representative for Riley Hospital.

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