In episode 212, Mark and Steve respond to a tragic situation submitted by a PBSE listener. As opposed to a structured podcast, Mark & Steve spontaneously share their raw, passionate feelings as they read and comment on each part of this partner’s submission; ask a LOT of hard-hitting questions; and relate to their own addiction/recovery experiences and the experiences of the many couples they’ve worked with over the past 20+ years. Here’s the PBSE listener's submission—
Hi guys! I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your podcast, in the darkest moments of our lives. My question—and it may have already been addressed: How can I be empathetic toward a partner who continually relapses with excessive masturbation [and porn]—rather than asking to have sex? For context, my husband and I have been together for [more than a decade and have several kids]. I suspected his addiction throughout our relationship but it wasn’t until the last 4 years that I had evidence of excessive porn and masturbation use. He has so much shame and remorse but doesn’t talk to me about it or even allow me to disclose it to anyone. It’s a nasty hurt that I must safeguard so his “image” is maintained. My sexual, emotional and relational needs are not being met, and he doesn’t seem to care. It is like a continual re-traumatizing and violation of trust when he relapses. Our agreement was that he would never do anything sexual without getting permission… to have additional accountability. Every time he asks [for sex]—if I don’t engage with him—I “give permission” for him to masturbate or to help him do so. Please help me understand this and be patient, loving and forgiving. I’m losing hope that this can actually work. I feel like I have to constantly put myself on the back burner to appease his needs and keep our family together for “the greater good.” But I feel like I’m being slowly suffocated.
Learn more about Mark and Steve's revolutionary online porn/sexual addiction recovery and betrayal trauma healing program—"Dare to Connect!" You have live access to Mark and Steve in 3 one-hour sessions every week—addicts, spouses and couples! And live support groups on weekends, facilitated by Mark and Steve! To try a free, 2-week trial, visit—daretoconnectnow.com
Find out more about Steve Moore at: Ascension Counseling
Learn more about Mark Kastleman at: Reclaim Counseling Services