Life Advice



Husband's Porn Habit Leaves Wife Feeling Inadequate

Abigail Van Buren on

DEAR ABBY: My husband looks at pornography. I find it disgusting and it turns me off. I feel that if he has to look at it, it means I'm not good enough or sexy enough for him. I don't believe his excuse of "It has nothing to do with you." When I try to tell him how it makes me feel, he becomes indignant and turns the conversation around to something he doesn't like about me to take the focus off himself.

He doesn't watch porn around me, but he gets pop-up ads on his phone all the time, so I assume he looks at it frequently. I have even seen notifications suggesting he belongs to a website where he can chat with women, although he says he has no idea why he gets them. I'm not stupid. I don't know anyone else with this kind of issue. I haven't been able to have sex with him lately knowing this is going on. I don't have plans to leave him over this, but what can I do? -- TURNED OFF IN WASHINGTON

DEAR TURNED OFF: Realize that your husband's appetite for porn really has nothing to do with your level of attractiveness, and EVERYthing to do with his own appetites. Next, and this is equally important, please seek a referral to a licensed psychotherapist who can help you to rebuild your damaged self-esteem. Your husband is far from the only man who enjoys X-rated entertainment. (So do some women.) And many couples view it together as a form of erotica.

The chat rooms, however, are another matter. Perhaps your husband can explain that to you during some of the sessions with your therapist. It might be more effective than him becoming critical and accusatory when you attempt to try to explain how his behavior affects you. Of this I am sure: Denying sex to your husband not only won't improve your relationship, but it will erode it further, and I don't recommend it.

DEAR ABBY: Our only son, who is 32, and his wife are expecting their first child. They have been married two and a half years and relocated to Florida. We followed him down from Michigan because he's our only child and bought a home about 20 minutes from him. He informed me that he wants me to be the primary babysitter after the baby is born, but after being here a year, I recently acquired a new job that I really want. I don't know what to do. He expects me to be the babysitter. The baby is due in a few months, so what do I do? -- GRANDMA-TO-BE IN FLORIDA

DEAR GRANDMA-TO-BE: I am troubled that you used the word "informed" rather than "asked." Tell your son and his wife NOW that you won't be available for full-time babysitting, so they should start making other arrangements. If there is time in your schedule so you can give them a break, outline when it will be -- every other weekend, perhaps. Do not allow yourself to be guilted into doing more than is comfortable, or you may find yourself chained to a playpen until your grandchild is ready for high school.


HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY ASIAN READERS WHO CELEBRATE THE LUNAR NEW YEAR: The Year of the Dragon, which begins today, is said to be one of the luckiest and most prosperous, filled with unprecedented opportunity. People born in the Year of the Dragon are creative, have a talent for active listening and are cherished friends. They are ambitious, intelligent and courageous. Famous "Dragons" include Bruce Lee, John Lennon, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Florence Nightingale and Joan of Arc. -- LOVE, ABBY


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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