Today I heard our wedding song on the radio. Of all the things that could’ve made me cry over the last few months I didn’t think it would be that. I haven’t cried much. It seems too big for that. Tears are for when you can feel better. You cry, you feel really bad then you start to feel better. This has seemed mostly beyond tears. I’m scared of feeling bad, of crying. I’m scared the hurt is too big for me to control, I’m scared it will consume me.

I don’t know what to cry for. I don’t where to start. I want to cry for my marriage that is over, for my relationship that is gone. My dream. The love. The future. Us – I believed in us. I want to cry for the loss; the devastation of having something I believed in so much snatched away.

I want to cry for all I have learnt that I don’t want to know. The things that I have seen that I don’t want to see. I don’t want to know about child pornography. I don’t want to know how addiction can take over someone’s life and ruin their life and those around them. I don’t want to know how an addiction can change a person completely and make them lie and not care about anything more than they care about their addiction, their need, their desire.

I want to cry for the trust I have lost. For the cynicism that now pervades my entire being. I want to cry because I don’t trust anyone not to be a pedophile. I have lost my belief in human kind. I no longer believe that people are good until proven otherwise. I want to be naive.

I want to cry because no one understands what happened; how bad it was. I want to cry because some days I forget and I ask myself why I left. I say pornography and people think they know what I mean. They don’t. They don’t know about the lies. They don’t know how an addiction can change a person you love with all your heart to a person you no longer recognise. They don’t know how it feels to know your husband looks at fantasy women. That you compare yourself and you know you can never compare with fantasy. That your self esteem is shattered. He won’t stop. He won’t even tell you the truth even though he is the only person who knows how it is killing you. The pain of these lies I can physically feel. If this is how the person that was supposed to love me treats me, how can I trust anyone else?

What does it mean if a person is excited by looking at women being brutalized? What does it mean if his desire is for teens or even children? What does it say about me and my choice in a life partner? Is he a bad person? Am I a fool? Can he change? Could I have done more to help him change without losing myself?

The shame of the thing that ruined my marriage! How many people can I tell about this? Sometimes, I just want to scream it, what he’s done, what he does. His family blames me. I wish I could tell them all.

I don’t know what I am crying for; which loss, which bit of hurt. I don’t know where to start so I usually stop. I am scared of crying. I am scared of not crying. I am scared this thing will hang around my neck and hold me back: It won’t let me trust, it won’t let me live, it won’t let me love. But I am scared of letting myself cry; that I will drop my carefully crafted life and that I won’t be able to go on. I am scared of losing everything.

(Used with author’s consent)

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Dear Anonymous, I share your pain, as your story is my story.

It is some 22 months since my partner was arrested for his underage pornographic activities, so I can say that time and professional help was beneficial in supporting me through this agonising experience. I attended weekly sessions with a forensic psychologist for 1 1/2 years to help me keep my sanity and start building up a life around this horrendous incident.

Throughout this time I desperately needed to speak with someone who had been through the same experience, I really needed to know that one day life may be tolerable. So I am offering that comfort now to you, if you would like it. It has been my intention that when I was a functioning human being again, that my pathway or my comfort may be of some support to other women.

I just don’t know what to do for the children who are exploited by this crime, but I can certainly support the women who suffer on so many levels because of their close association to the predatory activities of their loved and trusted ones.
So please take heart, Natasha

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you are stronger than i, you have some control over yourself and i admire that. and you are right, once you cry, it feels impossible to stop. I have cried 24 hours a day for the last week and a half. i think i may never stop. i wonder what could be so wrong with me that i wouldn’t know after a decade of being together. i cry everywhere. i apologize to everyone. i am sure they all know, all look at me and think i must have known. since my address was posted, i cry when i check the mail, afraid there will be a flier or poster or nasty letter in there. how could i fail to protect myself, my daughter from this. i had spy programs on the computers… never anything. i never thought of the phone. the shame, the guilt that someone’s child was abused for this, and my husband used it for pleasure kills me everytime i look at my own child, who i find it hard to look in the eyes anyway. what kind of mom doesnt know. going in public with this huge secret is unbearable. i too want to scream it out, tell everyone i see what a monster he is. i actually did during a breakdown at the storage facility sobbing please just give me a unit fast my husband is a child pornographer and i want everything he ever touched out of my house. it felt good to get it out, to not be burdened with his secret, to not feel like i was protecting his reputation for a second, but then they quickly told me they werent interested in helping us and pushed me out locking the door. i sat at the door begging them to just help me. not him. there was no us. they didnt care. they said they didnt want to help anyone that would be married to someone like that either. i can’t say you will ever feel ok, because i honestly dont think i ever will. but you are not alone, its not just you, it feels that way for me too, isolating and lonely. Just know there is someone who would let scream or cry, who would talk to you, who wouldnt be disgusted, who wouldnt blame you.

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Dear ‘inshock’

Your partner would have worked very hard to hide this from you; that is why you didn’t know. He probably went to great lengths to cover his tracks. How can we possibly guess or suspect that the person we think we know, and trust, more than anyone else in the world is capable of and interested in images of children being abused?!
Sadly and wrongly, there is so much stigma for us as partners of men who have accessed child pornography. People do say that we must have known. That is part of why PartnerSPEAK exists, we are working hard to dispel that myth and, hopefully, some of the stigma and blame experienced by women in this situation. Please do not blame yourself (enough other people will do that for you). You have come to a place where others understand and know that you didn’t know and know that you are blameless and that you and your daughter are also victims in this situation.

It is so hard to separate ourselves from our husbands (especially when we may have been partners for a long time) but we are not our husband. We did not commit this atrocity. He did. They did. We didn’t. We are not to blame in any way; no matter what others say or how they treat us. You have found a place where we know this is the truth.

Though I am acutely aware of how society blames women in this situation I still can’t believe it. I’m incredulous every time I hear someone’s experience of being rejected and stigmatised because of the actions of her husband/partner that she had nothing to do with. I’m so sorry that you are being treated the way you are. It is wrong that you are being treated like this. Please, try to find a way to know and remember this and to know that the people who are blaming you are wrong.

Do you have any allies or supports? Even one person who supports you and your daughter? I really hope you do.

Please come back here whenever you need to talk and need reminding that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. We support you, believe you and don’t blame you and are outraged that others do.

Please be kind to you and take care,

This breaks my heart even further. I have told.very.choice people in my life. I feel the same- we are trying to reason something that.has no reason. Crying is not what i would call what happens: it feels like my soul is ripping apart. So far I have been surrounded by my family and friends. My brothers keep saying-" it wasnt you- you didnt know- you couldnt stop it" even with that i couldnt eat- it felt hard to breathe- all I know is last night I was thinking where am i going to go and now all i can think of is- i refuse to let me and my children be his victims as well. We did nothing wrong. It was too nice of you to try and put things in storage: when he is released and comes to get his stuff he had better hope it didnt rain too much. I am extremly lucky that I have a large support. So glad i found this site- because even wth support: they dont understand the turmoil- the only see my outside strength they dont see the pile of ashes. Good luck and God bless you all.

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