From Betrayal to Healing: Katie’s Journey and Insights on Her Husband’s Battle with Pornography

Imagine discovering a hidden struggle in your marriage that shakes your sense of trust and security. Katie, our courageous guest, faced just this when she learned about her husband’s battle with pornography—a revelation that came a year into their marriage. In this powerful episode of “Happily, Even After”, Katie shares her deeply personal journey from naivety to awareness, and how she now channels her experiences to help other women navigate the betrayal and healing process. From meeting her husband during their LDS mission in Armenia to building a life on a hobby farm in South Carolina, Katie’s story is a testament to resilience and growth.

Together, Katie and I unpack the intricate layers of recovery from betrayal. We discuss the pivotal moments of honesty that helped shift the focus from addiction itself to underlying issues like shame and perfectionism. This episode emphasizes the importance of individual inner work, highlighting how separating personal growth from the addiction can transform a relationship. Monitoring a partner’s behavior can be exhausting, but Katie offers insights into how focusing on personal development can pave a hopeful path towards a successful marriage.

Effective communication is key in tackling difficult subjects, and Katie shares practical strategies for discussing pornography with both partners and children. From the use of written notes to the significance of early, open conversations with kids, Katie provides actionable advice for fostering emotional education and creating a non-judgmental space for dialogue. Don’t miss the valuable insights and resources, including Katie’s work as the Christian Betrayal Coach on Instagram. This episode promises to equip you with the tools for healing, growth, and meaningful communication.

Please follow me on instagram and facebook @happilyevenaftercoach and if you want to see what coaching is all about I offer a free 30 min. clarity call via zoom.

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Welcome to my podcast. Happily, even After. I’m life coach, jen, I’m passionate about helping people recover from betrayal. I rode the intense emotional roller coaster and felt stuck and traumatized for years. It’s the reason I became a trauma-informed certified life coach who helps people like you navigate their post-betrayal world. I have the tools, processes and knowledge to help you not only heal from the betrayal but create a healthy future. Today we begin to help you live happily even after. Hey friends, welcome to today’s podcast.

Today I have another awesome guest on and her name is Katie, and it’s been fun. I met Katie several months ago. We’re in a business cohort together and her and I have a similar thing that we coach on. She coaches more on the pornography side of infidelity and I coach on real human infidelity. I don’t know the betrayal. Anyways, betrayal feels a lot similar, I’m guessing, and so I just asked her if she would be my guest and I’m so excited to have her on. She’s darling. You’re going to definitely want to follow her after this and she has lots of good insight. So, katie, tell us a little bit about you, like where you live, anything you want, okay. Well, thank you so much for having me on. I’m so excited to be doing this and I love the work that you’re doing as well and, like you said, it is similar to my work and I just love that we’re doing this for women.

But, yeah, so I live in South Carolina right now with my husband and I have two sons. I have a five-year-old and a four or three-year-old, and there is kind of funny because they’re about 17 months apart but, like, my three-year-old is really tall for his age and my five-year-old is like kind of more shorter and more average. So they’re like really similar in height and everyone thinks that they’re twins and like, in a lot of ways, they could be twins. So, yeah, they are so much fun. But for the three-year-old, because you’re like, wait, why are you acting like a three-year-old? You’re like because, exactly, yes, exactly so they’re really fun, just so energetic. Um, do you live on a farm? Yes, we do, which is really cool. Yeah, we wanted to get kind of like a hobby farm, so that’s one of the reasons we moved out to South Carolina I’m from Utah originally and so on our farm we have some geese, some ducks, chickens, goats and a dog, so it’s been really fun, yeah, awesome.

So kind of tell us about your story, what parts you want to share and how you got into wanting to help women heal from betrayal, especially when it comes to pornography. Because I think a lot of really probably all of our husbands, all of our children, all of our are going to be exposed to pornography. Not everyone maybe becomes, and I don’t even know if you use the word addicted, so I’d love to learn the terminology you like to use. But maybe share a little bit of your story with us. Okay, great, yeah.

So it all kind of started when my husband and I first got engaged. So my husband and I we met on our missions, we served LDS missions and we met there. I came home a year before him and we were kind of writing each other. Sorry, we served in Armenia. Oh, wow, armenia it was just kind of, yeah, very foreign, kind of random Mission was really small, and so we were all like really good friends on the mission and so we were friends. And then, anyway, when he came home, we got engaged really quickly. We both just knew this was our person.

And it was interesting because when we got engaged I kind of like vaguely knew that I was supposed to have like a pornography talk with him, but I didn’t really know what I was like supposed to ask kind of thing. I don’t know, like I don’t know if I had had a lesson, yeah, yeah, I don’t know if I had like a lesson about it, or like who talked to me about it, but it just felt like, okay, like I should, you know, have this conversation with him. So I kind of awkwardly brought it up and was asking him these questions. I didn’t really know, you know, so it was just kind of vague. I asked a lot of like you know, like yes or no questions. So I was like have you struggled with this? You know, we didn’t get into a lot of details and he, he told me that he struggled with it before his mission, but now that he was home he was totally fine, he wasn’t struggling anymore, kind of thing. And so then in my mind I was like struggling anymore, kind of thing. And so then in my mind I was like, fearfully, I’m so glad we don’t have that in our marriage. Like I asked yeah, yes, exactly, I’m like check off that box, we’re totally fine. So I really just I didn’t know a lot about pornography. Um, I hadn’t really like experienced any type of that myself. And so, again, I just went into it, just not really knowing a lot about it.

And then so we got married and then a year into our marriage, and I had been asking him, like during that year of our marriage, you know, like randomly, I’d be like hey, you struggling with pornography, like is there anything you want to talk about? And he’s just like no, I’m good, I’m good, I’m like Okay, sweet, like this is so easy kind of thing. And then it was. It was funny because on our very first anniversary I mean, it wasn’t funny, it was very sad, but just ironic timing because on the on our very first anniversary, the night before our first anniversary, we had been talking and I just felt like such a strong impression to ask him about pornography and I was like this is so weird, like why am I feeling like this? Like I know he’s like not struggling? And then I kind of started asking him some questions, kind of more like specific and like probing questions. And then he started answering like honestly and it kind of thing, and didn’t tell me about it when we were engaged or when we were married. And so I was just devastated, like I was shocked.

I just I couldn’t reconcile, like this amazing man that I had married, and like our amazing Relationship with someone who had been lying to me, like it just felt so confusing how that could be. And I also just remember feeling like so alone and so like ashamed, like oh my gosh, I can’t believe my husband has been lying to me, like I must be the problem or like you know, like our marriage is broken, our marriage is doomed, right. Like it just kind of felt like this yeah, no, and I think that feeling, all those feelings that you described, exactly when you find out your husband’s been actually having an affair, are very similar. Yes, I can imagine. Yeah, really cloaked with shame, right, it’s like their shame becomes your shame, right, yeah, yeah, exactly.

And I remember just feeling like, oh my gosh, like this means we’re going to get a divorce, like in my mind it felt like husband struggles with pornography, lies about it equals divorce, like that’s kind of the only story I ever heard. And so I was really scared, of course, and so when I get scared, I kind of just like go into action really fast, right. So like I was just very much like oh my gosh, like let’s get this under control, like I’m going to check in with you every day, like what, I’m going to monitor your devices, right. So, like I just like kicked into gear, it’s like I’m going to do all of the things and make sure, make sure, for sure, he will never struggle with this ever again, right. And it felt like it felt very real to me where I was like, hey, we’ve got this, like we’re going to have this out of our life in like several months, right, like this is not going to be a problem. Let’s get it away and never talk about it again, is kind of how I felt.

And so, of course, that was very interesting, because, after I had been doing that for several months, I was like, oh, this isn’t like working the way that I thought it would. Right, it doesn’t work that way. Yes, yes, yeah. Or I was like what I’m being like so helpful, I’m being so supportive, like why is he not doing the things I’m asking him to do, you know? So like again, it just felt very confusing.

I was focusing so much on him and like trying to help him get better, and meanwhile I was like miserable. I was exhausted. I was going to school, right, like I had a job. I was like trying to manage everything and I was also just trying to have this control over my husband and, like back then, I wouldn’t have called it control, right, I would have said, oh, I was supporting him, I was helping him, yes, right, but it was very much control you, where I was just like okay, like let’s just get this done really fast and I need you to do everything that I tell you to do, yeah, and then you can feel better. Right, like, yes, I need you to do this X, y and Z, yeah, exactly. And it’s interesting that you say that because, like again back then, like I just said, no, I want it for him, I want him to feel better, I want him to get the help that he needs. But really I was doing it for me because I was so upset, I was so, like, insecure with my body, I was like so betrayed and ashamed, and so it felt like, oh, if he is not struggling anymore, then I’ll feel better. Yeah, and that’s what kind of seemed like a solution in my mind. Yeah, I think a lot of women, a lot of people can totally relate to that. Yeah, and so so it seemed like things had been getting better.

My husband had we’d been like attending meetings and stuff, and after about a year he had been saying that he was 150 days sober from his addiction or whatever. So I was like, oh, like it’s working, like this has been so hard, I’m miserable, but like at least he’s sober, kind of thing. About a year after the first time I found out again, I had a very similar impression of Matt is lying to you and I was like shoot, like that is not what I wanted to hear. And so I went home and I asked him. I was like are you lying to me? And he was like, yeah, I’m lying. And he just broke down and was like I’ve been lying to you for the last year, kind of thing.

But I must say it says a lot about him that he admitted to lying. Right, he didn’t also continue to gaslight, because that’s my yes, I catch gaslight, manipulate you and tell you you’re crazy. So I can still do doing my behavior. So that does say a lot about your husband that he was willing to admit once he was approached. Yes, that’s so true, because that’s not always like the case for couples, right? Yeah, so that was interesting.

And it’s funny because I feel like that point was just like a turning point for both of us. He kind of realized like, oh my gosh, like God is going to tell Katie if I’m lying. He was just kind of like I can’t hide anymore, right. And then I feel like he kind of realized he had more of an addiction to lying than he even did to the porn, right. And like he was struggling with like perfectionism. He had like so much shame, like all of those things that come with it, and that was like a really big moment for him where he was like why have I been lying again? Right, was like why have I been lying again? Right. Like, yeah, it’s hard for him to like get out of that. Yeah, and I think I mean I don’t know if you’re like set on calling porn an addiction, but also it’s a symptom of other core things. Right, it sounds like absolutely so. It’s almost the. It was the porn that he didn’t want you to find.

But then the line and the am I good enough and I can’t be perfect? Because I can’t be perfect, then I have to relieve that feeling of inadequacy and I’m going to look at porn. So it’s like the system of a lot of other deeper core issues that we have. So exactly anyways, and like yeah, for you just to even say that, like that whole past, like year, we had been focusing on the porn. We were like don’t watch porn. Let me check in with you, right. Like we’re focusing on how can she stop watching porn?

And what we needed, and like what I realized now is exactly what you said, like it was so much of a deeper problem and that wasn’t none of those things were going to solve his problem, right, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t solve it for him. He had had to do it himself, like he had to do that inner work for himself. And then I kind of realized, like on my side, his porn had nothing to do with me. And it was like it was a turning point for me too, where I was like, oh my gosh, like even if he gets better or whatever, none of that matters, because I have my own stuff, like my own internal insecurities and fears and whatever that I had to work on as well.

And so for what? We kind of both like I mean, we were still working together, but we kind of like took our separate paths a little bit where I was like, hey, I’m going to be focusing on me and like what I can control, and he’s going to be focusing on healing those parts of him. We’re not worrying about the porn anymore, right, like that’s just a symptom. Yeah, but I just started healing those things goes away, right, the symptoms go away. To start healing those, because you don’t need the feel better or to exactly um, or whatever you’re using it for, just like, for whatever. You’re healing your insecurities. You can learn to start loving your body or whatever you were. Okay, yeah, yeah, exactly it is.

I mean, listening to it is very like lots of similar things, right, and it’s exhausting monitoring your husband 20 years, like a full-time job, and really it’s a lose-lose because they can lie to you. They can write ways around it if they really want to. You don’t even know what you’re monitoring and you’re so focused on them that you you fall apart and separate that and heal yourself. So separate that and heal yourself, and then he heals him. So that was like year two or year three. That was, let’s see that that was like year three is when we started really working through all of those things. Yeah, so it takes time, right, it’s not? I mean, everyone has a different path, a different journey, but which is great to know. Like I think the more knowledge we put out there for other women, the quicker it can be for them. It doesn’t have to take too long, and in my case, 26 years, right, no-transcript. Help other women like see that hope.

Because once I started, like putting the pieces together and realizing like oh, it’s not about the porn, like the porn isn’t the biggest problem in the world, like it’s, it’s just these other things, like the insecurities and the fears and the self doubt. Right, like that feels so much more manageable instead of like this addiction or like this big, like void into the universe. Right, like we don’t even know what we’re talking about. But then it’s just like, oh, like this is why my husband’s acting this way, this is why I’m acting this way, and there is a way for us both to heal and also have a successful marriage, if that’s what you’re wanting, right, and I’ve never heard that story. I’ve never heard someone say, hey, my husband struggles with pornography and we have a successful marriage.

And so one of my biggest things is trying to help couples. See, like it’s hard, it’s not easy, but it is possible if that’s what you choose, if that’s what you’re wanting to do and reality is. I mean, we live in the world of the internet and porn is out there. It’s on TV shows, I mean, I guess there’s all levels of porn, right, but you’re going to experience porn. So if you have the idea that if my husband, anyone, ever looks at porn, we have to get divorced, like, not, a lot of people are going to be married, right, right, exactly, and I’m guessing that you and your husband have a more connected relationship because you can have these hard conversations yeah, be honest with one another, which is like more couples need to have that than the other. Right, yeah, exactly, yeah.

So when you work with women, how do you work with women? Do you just work with women or do you help men as well? No-transcript month program, and I help them work through all of those things that are coming up because of their husband’s pornography problems. So for a lot of women, it’s like trust issues, it’s body image issues, it’s self doubt, it’s fear, it’s indecision, it’s paralysis, right, like so many things, all these triggers that are coming up. So I help them work through these things and, obviously, like, it is about pornography, right, pornography is right. That’s what, right, yeah, uh-huh, yeah, exactly.

And so I do work with women whose husbands are struggling with pornography and I try to help them see that, even if their husband is struggling with pornography, they can still heal themselves right. We can separate the two and she can be okay even if he’s not necessarily working on himself or he’s not in recovery the way she wants him to right. She doesn’t have to wait for her husband for her to start feeling better, right, which I mean I just love that concept and really then, once you’re in that space of healing, you can choose okay, do I want to stay married to this person or do I want to leave? It’s almost impossible to make that decision from a good headspace If you’re in the monitoring, in the monitoring, the managing, trying to manage them with porn or with an affair, and so we all have healing to do, right. And I think sometimes it’s like, oh, if I didn’t discover my husband was looking at porn or having an affair, I would never have to do all this work.

But honestly, that beautiful part of marriage teaches you, we all have work to do and just some of us never. We have it this way to do and we have, you know, everyone, the world is not free from problems, right, right, and someone might have a job loss or a sickness, or there’s lots of ways to realize like, okay, I need to or our kids you know, things happen with our children so we’re going to have to do work and healing, because we live in an imperfect world and this is just the way that we’ve had to do our work, right. But don’t you love, like, from past Katie to now Katie, like how do you feel about those two versions of you? Oh, I love that question.

I look at past Katie and I feel so much compassion for her. She is doing her very best, she is doing everything she knows how to do and she’s committed to her marriage. She’s trying to help her husband and she has a lot of compassion for her husband. But she was in just this place of suffering and in this place of like feeling victimized, kind of like you were saying of like why me, like this is so unfair, right, and seeing that growth from who I used to be is just so incredible because, like you said, like it doesn’t just apply to this, it applies to every aspect of your life. Life is just so has a knack of like bringing out these things in you right, like whether it’s your kids that you’re trying to control or family members or whatever. There’s always just, there’s always work to be done, there’s always healing to do. And so I just see myself in the past and I’m so grateful for the choices that she made and how she chose to get out of that suffering and that victim mentality, because I’m so much happier now and things are not perfect with me and my husband.

My husband still struggles with pornography or lust or whatever, right, like we still have these things coming up. I still struggle with triggers sometimes or trust issues. Right, it’s not just gone. It’s not like poof, you’re better, but it’s like now I know how to manage those things for myself, where I am empowered, like I have the power, instead of like feeling sad and just like the total, like emotional roller coaster, of dealing with my husband’s problems. Now I’m in the driver’s seat and I get to choose how I want to live my life, and that’s just what’s so empowering to me as my husband.

I love that so much because I don’t think we see that I mean you should be so proud of yourself, right, and the growth continues because, yeah, we’re going to have a day that it’s like, oh, I didn’t show up the greatest today, like, but that’s okay Because you know the tools. You have the tools and the skills to get back and sometimes fall short of our best selves. But then we have like, okay, this is, I know the way, I know the path. So I love that you’re helping other women find that path, because there are a lot of people in this situation and sadly, I mean I think it’s so much better now back in the day, like you didn’t talk about any of this, right? No way, yeah.

And to admit your husband is looking at porn would be like the worst thing you could admit, but honestly, or having an affair, right. But now I think, taking that, making it more, not okay, but you know, make it, you know more like this is the reality of the situation. Men and women look at porn sometimes and for all sorts of different reasons. So I love that you can share that and you’re not because you’re coming from an authentic self, not from shame. You’re coming out love and compassion for you, your husband and other women that find you to help them so that they can feel safe, because, especially, you and I are both the same religion, but even in a broader christian world it’s labeled as evil or it has all these negative labels, which I understand. We can understand those labels, but maybe they’re just not so useful or helpful.

Yeah, exactly, do you have a few words of advice that you could offer someone that is struggling or like how to approach your husband? How do you, how do you say the words? Because it feels, I think, did it feel scary? At least for me, I always felt scary. How am I going to say that? Because I think it feels scary, because we don’t necessarily want to hear the answer. We’re the truth, we want to hear the truth, but it feels scary. So do you have any suggestions? Yeah, for sure.

So one of my biggest things is I don’t feel like there’s a right way or a wrong way to approach it, and I really don’t ever want women to be like, oh, I have to do it this exact perfect way and if I don’t, then it’s my fault. Like, if he’s mad, have to do it this exact perfect way and if I don’t, then it’s my fault. Like, if he’s mad, if he’s defensive, then I did something wrong. Right, however you’re doing, it is totally fine and right. Like you, you get to own that decision and everyone’s learning. That’s totally fine.

But one tip that I always will give to women something that really worked in our marriage is we would write notes to each other, and this would really help my husband, because if I approach him like I’m very just like, kind of in your face about things sometimes, you know, and sometimes when I was like in his face, or if I asked him like a really direct question that he wasn’t expecting, he kind of would panic and that’s when he would lie or that’s when he would gaslight or get like really defensive or something right. And I’m not saying like that’s excusable, none of those things are excusable, I think. But it was my response right, that’s both. Yeah, it’s so. It makes sense that he did that doesn’t matter. But it was his nervous system reacted, he went right or really probably freeze right. He woke up and yeah, so continue Exactly. Yeah, no, well, exactly.

And so it was helpful for us when we kind of learned these patterns and like these trauma responses that both of us had, and so we kind of started writing letters to each other when we had like difficult questions to ask or difficult things to say to each other. My husband responds so much better. Like. We still do this to this day, but we usually do it over text, where he’s like if you have something to say to me, just text it to me, because it helps him like feel safe, he feels in control in his environment, he can process it on his own and then he can respond to me in a certain amount of time or whatever, and for him that’s like just very less confrontational. So that’s something that I recommend to women who are like I’m not really sure how to do it or what to say or how he’s going to respond.

Maybe just try that. And if that’s not, if that doesn’t work for you and your relationship, that’s totally fine. But just try to think, like outside the box maybe, of how to have this difficult conversation. That’s not so like abrupt or like in your face or like harsh kind of thing. If you’re looking for like a new way again, it’s not your fault. If you do, you know it’s your trauma response too. If you do just like get in his face and you’re like, why are you lying to me? That’s it’s totally fine, right, but if you’re in the head space to like try something new, those are maybe some things that you can try. Yeah, I love that and I’m sure that skill is going to help you throughout your marriage. Right Now, you’ve learned this is how my husband prefers to be communicated with, especially on difficult conversations. So you have that knowledge and then, and maybe sometimes you do it the other way right, but that’s okay, you still have that. So I think it’s great to do like an experiment, and especially I’m thinking with porn. It’s not a one and done. We’ve learned yeah, let’s don’t have the.

You know, some women do choose to live in denial about this. I I’m guessing I know a lot of women that husbands are having affairs. It’s like they know but they don’t want to ask. Yeah, because there’s a lot of decisions and lots of things that you’re suffering. But I think figuring out a way to have the conversation about it and my favorite part is that there’s hope for you everyone in the story hope for your family. You don’t have to. Your family doesn’t have to be over. You don’t have to end your marriage. If this is something going on in your marriage, you can, if you want, but it you definitely can have a healthy, happy marriage even with yeah, which I I love that. You’re such a great example of that really fast. Also, tips like for kids, like are you, how are you going to talk to your kids? Have you thought about that? Cause you have boys? Yeah, for sure. And again, it’s a very personal decision for everybody, um, and I, everyone’s very opinionated about this, right. So if you don’t agree with this, it’s a very personal decision for everybody and everyone’s very opinionated about this, right. So if you don’t agree with this, that’s totally fine. You do what’s best for you.

My husband and I have chosen to be very open about pornography with our kids. I mean, we have a five-year-old and a three-year-old, so those conversations are very age appropriate. Right now, right, and we try to keep it very neutral. But I think the studies show that, like, most kids are exposed to pornography by like eight years old or something like that. My husband was exposed when he was six, and so to even think like, oh, my five-year-old is too young, that’s not true at all. Like my husband was only a year older than my son. Right now, right, teaching, not from a shame point of view, but from, uh, you know, hey, this might happen and you know if you’re just for more of educational, or yeah, yeah, exactly, and we, like we really want to focus on, you know, getting comfortable with those uncomfortable emotions.

One of the biggest reasons men who struggle with pornography or like unwanted pornography if they’re not wanting to struggle, but they keep going back to it is because they’re offering their emotions. They’re having these uncomfortable emotions. They’re not sure what to do with them. They’ve been, just, you know, like wired, been taught whatever. They’ve been having this habit for, however many years, and that’s how they cope with it.

And porn makes you feel good, it’s an immediate, so it’s like, it’s like a fast fix. Yep, exactly. And so one of the one of our strategies with our kids is explaining to them and teaching them about emotions positive emotions, negative emotions, how we get comfortable with them, what, how we can cope with them, right, that’s one of one of the best ways to prevent this. But then also, obviously, just being open, non-shame, right. No fear, as much as we can as parents. Of course, we can’t be perfect, but yeah, well, I’ve loved our conversation tonight, so I’m so fun talking to katie. You’re a lovely young woman. I just think great things in the world. So, really fast, tell us where to find you and what you know, if you have a website or your Instagram. Yeah, so my Instagram is called the Christian betrayal coach, so that’s where I put out a lot of content, and you can find my website through the link in my bio there. But, like I put out a lot of content about women and betrayal, I also put out content about men and pornography use, so I’d love to see you there. Okay, awesome, all right, well, thanks so much and have an awesome day.

If you liked this podcast, please like and share with your friends. Leave a review so other people can find you. Talk to you soon, thank you. If you want to learn how to live happily even after, sign up for my email at hello at life coach Jen with one ncom. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook at happily even after coach. Let’s work together to create your happily even after.

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