Dear Annie: Last May, I found out my husband, “Aldo,” was addicted to child pornography. He was never very interested in sex, but I had no idea this was the reason.
I have four children from a previous marriage and, as the result of being sexually abused as a child, have always talked to them about good touching and bad touching. After counseling and checkups, I have been assured that Aldo has not done anything to them.
Aldo and I decided to work things out. His counselor says that since Aldo has come clean with his problem and finally opened up about his own childhood sexual abuse, he would not have the urge to do this again.
I have locked my computer and tried to recover, but, Annie, I can’t get over it. It’s not only the disturbing behavior but the deceit. He never showed any signs of guilt or anguish. When I searched my computer’s history, I was able to see all the images he downloaded, and they are forever etched on my brain. I don’t believe his problem will just go away.
I am in my last semester of college and cannot support myself financially. I am losing sleep and am pretty sure I’m losing my mind, as well. I take antidepressants and will begin my own counseling this evening. I am hopeful that will help, but I feel I have no options. What should I do? — Sleeping With the Sicko
Dear Sleeping: First of all, having child pornography on one’s computer is against the law. If discovered, your husband could go to prison. We cannot say whether he will be able to overcome his proclivity, but for safety’s sake, you should never leave him alone with your children or anyone else’s. There are support groups for those whose lives have been affected by another’s compulsive sexual behavior.
Please contact COSA (cosa-recovery.org) at P.O. Box 14537, Minneapolis, MN 55414, or S-ANON (sanon.org) at 1-800-210-8141.
Dear Annie: I’ve known my husband for 14 years and we have three beautiful children. I still love him, but something is missing.
My husband is loving, good-looking and smart. He works so I can stay home with the children and still helps clean and take care of the kids so I have time to myself. But it’s like living with my best friend. Sex feels wrong. Can the sparks be rekindled? — No Sparks
Dear No Sparks: Yes. First, get a complete checkup to make sure there are no physical problems. Then, get out of the rut that prevents you from seeing your husband as a romantic partner. It requires an attitude adjustment. Wear your slinkiest negligee to bed. Jump in the shower with him. Arrange babysitting and book a hotel room for an evening. There are dozens of books that will give you ways to replace those negative feelings with positive ideas. You’ll have to work at it for a while, but it will become easier, and your husband seems worth the effort.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Sadder and Wiser,” whose husband hid his homosexuality. I was in my 50s with grandchildren when I found out my husband was gay and fooling around.
“Sadder” did nothing to be ashamed of. She was duped just as I was. It took me a long time and counseling to get over it. She must get checked for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Her doctor or health department will do that discreetly.
Gay people should know they can’t be happy living a lie. It has been 10 years and I am now remarried to a wonderfully honest man. — Duped by a Minister in Kentucky
Dear Duped: We heard from many women who have lived through this experience. There was a time when homosexual men (and women) felt they had to marry in order to hide their sexual orientation. It still happens, but thankfully, not as often.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.28.08