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Boundaries after addiction: building back trust.

Rebuilding your relationships may be one of the most difficult parts of addiction recovery. Sex addiction and porn addiction are uniquely able to damage trust in your closest relationships, particularly with your romantic partner or spouse. But while it can be a challenging journey, it is possible for trust to be rebuilt after addiction if both partners are committed to making the relationship work. Here are just a few ways to get started on the road of earning back trust in your most intimate relationships.

Commit to total transparency.

Institute a “no secrets” policy with your spouse. Give them all of your passwords and codes. Allow them unfettered and no-questions-asked access to your phone, your computer, and your social media accounts. Getting into a habit of total transparency helps your spouse to build confidence in the fact that you no longer have anything to hide.

Foster non-sexual intimacy.

“After our separation, Michael initiated a 90-day abstinence period in order to work on building emotional and spiritual intimacy back into our marriage. That time was both fulfilling and draining. It was draining because issues surfaced that we couldn’t gloss over with sex. We had to deal with them. But it was fulfilling because it took the pressure of physical intimacy off the table. It allowed us to actively pursue rebuilding our relationship with physical intimacy as the overflow of our emotional and spiritual intimacy. It also helped to “reset” his brain chemically, and prove to us both that sex was no longer going to be an idol in his life.” -Micah Horner, wife of an addict.

Some great ways to build non-sexual intimacy include:

  • Long talk
  • Date nights
  • Cuddling
  • Holding hands
  • Communicating with each other throughout your day
  • Laughing together
  • Writing notes and letters

Cultivating non-sexual intimacy takes a little more effort, but it’s so worthwhile for your relationship.

Set up common-sense boundaries.

Take the initiative to willingly put common-sense boundaries in place to protect your relationship and prevent relapse. Here’s a good place to start:

  • Establish accountability relationships with other healthy men
  • Commit to counseling as a couple and as an individual
  • Install internet protection software on all of your computers
  • Make your smartphone a “dumb phone”
  • Go to bed at the same time as your spouse
  • Stop spending any time alone with someone of the opposite gender
  • Completely cut off contact with people who encourage addictive behavior

Get treatment

You can’t overcome sex and/or porn addiction on your own. Reach out for help today. Effective treatment is the first step toward a long-term recovery.

Comments 2

  1. I have been watching hardcore bondage videos for years. The past 4 years I have completely stopped having sex with my wife. About a month ago we started to have sex again, but I can’t keep an erection once I’m in her. Using my hand I’m hard, but not once I insert into my wife. She tells me I have no emotional intelligence also. She has a Masters degree in social work & is very good at counseling others, but of course we need outside counseling because she caught me dead to rights with pleasuring myself with these porn videos in our guest bathroom a few days ago. She is completely torn apart because she thought we were working things out. I feel pretty bad and can’t seem to do anything right because I don’t know what to do while she’s crying her eyes out and trying to get me to understand what she’s going through. I admit I messed up and want to try to make things right, but I don’t know what to do. I’m going to call my Pastor tonight to tell him what I’ve done to see if maybe he can help or can tell me someone who can help. My wife is thinking of divorce, but has had a back injury from a big dog jumping into her back about 3 months and can’t work. Our second car got repossesed so we’re down to one car for me to take to work so she feels trapped and I don’t know what to do. She gets up at 3am to take me to work so she can have the car if she needs it, but is taking xanax to sleep and stuff so she can’t always be awake enough and feel safe to drive. She said it is eating her alive thinking about me meeting someone to have sex with and she’s stuck home with no car. She has completely cut off my wifi at home and turned my data off on my phone so I can’t get to the porn sites. I think that’s a good idea because I’m trying to stop. She keeps telling me to show her that I love her and want our marriage to work, but I don’t know how. We’ve been together for 30 years. It makes me really sad to realize just how bad I have hurt her especialky since she said she thought we were getting somewhere in ourmarriage andIhave torn her world apart. God bless her because she told me she still loves me and if at all possible she is willing to try as long as Icantruly stop the perversion and see her as my wife and treat her like my wife. Any advice would be really welcome.

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