16 Av 5780 / Thursday, August 06, 2020 | Torah Reading: Eikev
 
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Tough Love    

Tough Love



Rabbi Arush’s advice on marriage always works if it is applied correctly. But sometimes, the marriage isn't really a marriage at all...

 



When I read the articles by David ben Horin (Jungle Warfare) and Rachel Avrahami (The War of Google and MaGoogle), I knew that I just had to throw in my two cents. After all, I lived this. 

 

When I married my ex-husband, there were a few clues that he was into dirty stuff, but I had no clue how serious the issue was, nor just how mired in the muck he was. He swore to me that he wanted only me and that he would get rid of it altogether. He later admitted that it lasted less than one month. 

 

For the duration of the marriage, I called him the “RDH” – Rapidly Disappearing Husband. One example of so many painful memories: Our very first dinner at home after the excitement of the wedding and Sheva Brachot (the first week after the marriage there are nightly feasts for the bride and groom) – he never showed up for it. Nor did he bother to even inform me that he would not be attending. I just cried the entire evening until he finally waltzed in the door after 10PM, while I was on my way to bed. 

 

After years of this, suddenly one day everything changed. When I called for him, he was at the door: “What do you need, honey?” He informed me of his comings and goings, he got a better temporary job after years of unemployment and was actually excelling there, with the potential of actually getting hired, and much more. For the first time EVER, we were a happily married couple. 

 

Then, just a few weeks later, everything went back to normal, and he was fired from the temp position. It left me reeling; what on earth was going on?! I had had so much hope!  

 

Hashem had mercy on me, and revealed the answer. He got a virus on his computer, and being a computer whiz, with his permission, I went to cleaning up his computer. As I was backing up his hard drive, suddenly, I found it – loads of Internet pornography. On the computer, and on the Jump drive I was using to back up his files. I searched further. I had been supporting us solely – where was whatever crumbs of income that he made going? Internet porn memberships, along with sporting events that I didn’t know about. That led me to check his email – which sent me running out the door of the house with torrents of tears running down my face. He wasn’t alone; he was in a pornography ring, along with his brother. 

 

My body is shaking as I write about it twelve years later, even with my new life surrounding me. My entire life came crashing down around me. The lies, the excuses, the basic foundations of trust in marriage imploding inside me. I couldn’t be in that house for one more second – but where to go? I drove to a far Starbucks outside of the small Jewish community, ordered a kosher chamomile tea, and called Rabbi Brody from a back corner. I could hardly get the words out, I was sobbing so hard.  

 

Rabbi Brody listened, and then responded, “Until now, I couldn’t figure out why all the marital advice I had been giving you wasn’t helping. Rabbi Arush’s advice is tried and tested, and has saved thousands of marriages! Now I understand. Unless the porn goes away, nothing is ever going to help, because all of his energy and focus is going to the porn, not your marriage.” 

 

In the aftermath, I discovered that my ex had made a New Year’s resolution to get clean. Those were the glorious weeks of marital bliss we had. When he crashed back into it, he crashed hard… and got a computer virus to boot.  

 

I thank Hashem for those weeks, because when some of the local Rabbis tried to convince me that I should live with him and the porn and not divorce - after all, it’s an unfortunate but common problem, they quipped - I knew I just couldn’t listen to them. I had tasted the Heaven of real marriage for three short weeks – I was no longer willing to put up with Hell. I gave him a real chance to clean up his life before giving up, but my choice was clear as day right from the start: Or me, or the porn. 

 

The rest of the story is history, but the point is clear: Where there is porn, there is no marriage! Rabbi Arush has three exceptions to his no-divorce rule: Abuse, adultery, and addiction. Porn is potentially the most addictive thing on the planet. Moreover, it is adultery of the mind, which is actually worse than adultery of the body, because the mind, heart and soul are no longer married to the wife – but to the fantasies. In my case, and I believe in many cases, the total subordination of the mind to the addiction inevitably leads the husband into the abuse category as well to some degree or another, because the husband simply has no vessels to tolerate his real-life wife who inevitably has bad moods and needs, besides normal expectations of her husband to be a partner in the marriage and building a life together.  

 

The real truth is, where there is porn – there is no life. All of his energy went into the porn. I never understood until that night why he didn’t really care about a career. He just wanted to get through the hours, get through the job, and get back home (or wherever he went at night) – to the porn. 

 

I hoped that the real threat of losing me would shake him enough to kick the habit for everyone’s good, but unfortunately, it didn’t. Sadly, my understanding is that he never learned the lesson. Last I heard, he is living at home with his mom, and pushing grocery carts at the local supermarket for a job. It's a waste of a life for someone who is smart with a college education. And that’s just the career aspect…  

 

I once heard from someone else the same story – he graduated from an Ivy League level university and soon after started working for large investment bank on Wall Street. After a few years of indulging in this filth he was also living with his mother, collecting unemployment and waiting tables at a local event hall. He finally got a full time job five years later – after he quit the porn once and for all. 

 

It’s like those old commercials with the eggs in the frying pan: "This is your brain on drugs...” This is your life on porn… There are no exceptions. 

 

Deep down, I still believe that my ex-husband was and is a good person. I appreciate these articles, because they helped me to forgive him on a new level. True, a person must know when to divorce, when they are the rare exception to the rule and a true tzaddik and Gadol B'Torah recommends for them to do so. But they helped me to understand that what he did to me wasn’t him, wasn’t his essence – just a consequence of his addiction. He might not have even actively chosen that first time or two, and certainly if he knew what it was going to do to him and his life, he would have run for his life! By the time I knew him, he didn’t even remember what real life was anymore to want it…  

 

A real shame isn't good enough - we're talking about a Yiddishe neshama... a holy Jewish soul, stuck in the gutter.  

 

If these words encourage you to strengthen yourself in holiness in even the tiniest amount, it should also be a merit for him, and every one like him, to get out of the gutter, once and for all. 

 

 





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  1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  1.
  Powerful words- and true!
David2/9/2020 8:04:26 AM
     
 

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