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Porn, Betrayal, Sex and the Experts — PBSE
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Porn, Betrayal, Sex and the Experts — PBSE

Author: Steve Moore & Mark Kastleman

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Two sex addicts in long-term successful recovery are ALSO world-class mental health professionals who specialize in porn and sex addiction recovery. Drawing on 40 years of combined personal and professional experience, Mark and Steve get RAW and REAL about HOW to overcome addiction, heal betrayal trauma and save your marriage. If you're struggling with addiction—we get it. Recovery is hard. We've been there. We'll help you take the fight to your addiction like never before. If you're married to an addict—we KNOW what it's like to nearly destroy a marriage! We'll help you understand the world of your husband's addiction and begin healing your betrayal trauma, regardless of what he decides to do. You don't have to stay stuck. You don't have to keep suffering. We've made all the mistakes so you don't have to. Take back your life. Take back your marriage. Let's do this together! This is the PBSE podcast. 

223 Episodes
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In Episode 224, Mark & Steve discuss a topic that many couples face—the addict in recovery is trying to stay sober from his use of porn and other sex addiction outlets. At the same time, his partner is seeking her own path of betrayal trauma healing. in the midst of their individual efforts is the issue of their "sexual relationship." How can a couple balance his recovery/sobriety and her healing, while also navigating the role that sexual intimacy has and will have in their relationship? How do they start talking about this in a healthy, open, vulnerable and authentic way? How does he do so without coming across as pushy or pressuring? Here are some key points that Mark & Steve address:-  Let’s get REAL—unless we’ve really done some deep work and practice, we ALL have dysfunctions in the way we don’t talk, or even do talk, about “sex” with our partners! -  WHY is that? Where does it come from? And what are the consequences?-  What happens when we take what is often ALREADY not a healthy, open, holistic physical intimacy in our relationship and THEN add sexual betrayal and infidelity???-  What are the complexities and the “balancing act” of a porn/sex addict getting and staying sober while ALSO leaning in and leading out in helping the betrayed partner to heal AND  navigating healthy sexuality in the relationship?-  Is sex a “need," or a "want," particularly in the long-term? What is authentic for you (individually and as a couple)? -  What are the initial steps in seeking to create truly healthy sexual intimacy in a relationship?-  You MUST decide whether or not you are both willing to get “emotionally naked” and begin to actually dare to be vulnerable, authentic  and real about this part of your relationship—YOU MUST OPEN UP A REGULAR DIALOGUE! This can be awkward, triggering and clumsy. What are a few basic beginning steps?-  What “role” has sex played for each of you and your relationship in the past? What have you been “asking of sex”? How has this been healthy and unhealthy? What needs to change?-  Can you become healthy by continuing on the current sexual track, or do you need to take a break; engage in a reset or a “sexual fast”? If so, what are the basic steps for this to NOT be a “disconnection disaster"?-  True healthy, connecting, ascending sexual intimacy is ALL about the consistent dialogue, sharing, and intimate connections OUTSIDE the bedroom!  Learn more about Mark and Steve's revolutionary online porn/sexual addiction recovery and betrayal trauma healing program at—daretoconnectnow.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
In episode 223, Mark & Steve address a submission by a PBSE listener who is in long-term recovery from his porn and sex addiction. At the same time, after many years of gaslighting, lying and multiple layers of betrayal, his spouse is understandably and significantly struggling in the relationship. Here's how he describes the situation—Hey guys! Recovering addict here, coming up on a year of sobriety. First off, I just want to say I take full responsibility for the complete destruction I've caused in my marriage through my gaslighting and lying about my porn and sex addiction. My wife did not sign up for this when we married and was 100% in on the relationship when I was not. Now that I'm in recovery and have disclosed to her the extent of my acting out, a deep seated hatred has set into her heart. I'm often the target of verbal abuse that she uses to hurt me as deeply as she feels hurt. Threats are another common form it takes, threats of cheating on me, getting revenge, or telling me I'm ugly or worthless. There are times that this escalates to physical abuse such as throwing things at me, spitting on me, or hitting me. She is seeking help for her betrayal trauma through a CSAT and I feel slowly her healing is beginning, but these episodes of extreme rage are difficult to navigate. Can you offer any advice? We have young children which can make it difficult to draw boundaries around stepping out of the situation when they need caring for also Thanks! What is the Addict's Daily Part in all of this (His recovery and Her healing)?-  What does leaning in; sitting in her pain; leading out and “loving out” look like? -  1 year sober vs. at least a decade or more of betrayal—how does this impact the levels of patience and “grace” he should be willing to offer her?-  How can he practice progressive skills of self-regulation; stepping back; asking, “What is under this;” LEARNING TRUE EMPATHY? -  How can he become skilled at navigating the line between "leaning in" and "taking a break"?-  How does he NOT go back to an old shame mindset, co-dependency and/or become a “doormat"? How can he learn to set and LOVINGLY hold "healthy" boundaries? Does he even have the right to do so?What does a "Healthy" Approach to all of this look like for the Betrayed Partner?-  First of all, an extra measure of self-compassion and self-patience for herself is critical. In many ways this is all new territory for her—emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. -  Betrayal trauma is "in the eye of the beholder"—the thoughts, feelings, symptoms and timing are unique to each betrayed partner.-  Seeking help that is outside of her addict partner is CRITICAL! -  The discovery of his years of betrayal will understandably and legitimately trigger deep pain, heartbreak, anger, confusion and many other emotions. These emotions are NOT bad; nor should they be "shut down" or ignored. They should be given a voice. However, there are both healthy, toxic and at times, even abusive ways for this to happen—for her; for the relationship; and for their children.  What is the Goal/Vision as a Couple? -  Start where they are, with ongoing raw, honest, transparent dialogue and sharing—but in a progressively "healthy" way.-  Each partner must do his or her own independent recovery/healing work so that they can then come together to be "inter-dependent" and COLLABORATIVE. -  Remember, that is some ways, you are starting a whole new relationship; you are coming to see and know each other for the first time. You are seeking to place yourselves in the position to "choose each other and the relationship" or not. 
In episode 222 of the PBSE podcast, hosts Mark and Steve delve into a deeply personal and challenging topic after receiving a unique submission from a listener. The episode focuses on a couple where both partners have a history of porn  and sex addiction, but only one is actively pursuing recovery. The submission details the struggles of trying to support a partner who is resistant to seeking professional help due to past traumas and fears of exposing their addiction. 02:09 - 04:18: Unveiling the Listener's Challenge—Revealing the listener's submission about dealing with porn addiction in her relationship, highlighting the dynamics of both partners struggling with addiction but only one seeking recovery.04:18 - 06:27: Recovery & Resistance—The listener's journey of recovery and her partner's resistance to seeking professional help.06:27 - 08:36: Addiction & Hypocrisy—Mark & Steve share personal reflections on their own experiences with addiction, including the struggles with hypocrisy and denial in the face of needing help.08:36 - 10:45: The Stigma and Fear of Exposure—Exploration of the stigma surrounding addiction and the overwhelming fear of exposure that prevents many individuals from seeking help.10:45 - 12:54: Barriers to Recovery & the Power of Connection—The various barriers to recovery, including shame and fear of rejection, and the crucial role of connection and vulnerability in overcoming addiction.12:54 - 15:03: Empathy, Support, & Relationship Dynamics—The importance of empathy and support in a relationship affected by addiction, and how the dynamics between the partners play a critical role in recovery efforts.15:03 - 17:12: The Importance of Professional Help & Boundaries—The necessity of professional help in recovery and the establishment of healthy boundaries within the relationship for both partners.17:12 - 19:21: The Potential for Recovery & Healthy Relationships— The potential for individuals and relationships to recover from addiction through committed work and mutual support.19:21 - 21:30: The Role of Individual Recovery in Relationship Health—Highlighting how individual recovery efforts are essential for the health and sustainability of the relationship, and the dangers of co-dependency.21:30 - 23:39: Love, Boundaries & Relationship Sustainability—Discussion on the balance between love and boundaries, and how unboundaried love can affect the sustainability of a relationship.23:39 - 25:48: Facing Hard Truths & Making Difficult Decisions—The importance of facing hard truths within oneself and the relationship, and how difficult decisions may be necessary for long-term health and happiness.25:48 - 27:57: Cultural & Social Perspectives on Addiction & Recovery—Reflecting on how cultural and social perceptions of addiction and recovery can impact individuals and their willingness to seek help.27:57 - 30:06: D2C Program & the Importance of Community—Introduction to the Dare to Connect program, designed to provide a unique recovery experience through vulnerability, connection, and community support.30:06 - 32:17: Conclusion & Encouragement for Listeners—Concluding remarks encouraging listeners to seek support, embrace vulnerability, and pursue recovery.Learn more about Mark and Steve's revolutionary online porn/sexual addiction recovery and betrayal trauma healing program at—daretoconnectnow.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
Episode 221 comes in response to the heart-felt submission by a PBSE listener struggling after the disclosure of her porn and sex addicted partner. Have you ever felt the flame of love flicker and feared it might go out? That's the heart of our latest episode where we peel back the layers on rekindling romance in the wake of a porn/sexual addiction disclosure. We share our own stories of navigating the rough seas of love post-recovery, offering listeners raw insights on how marriages can not only survive but grow stronger through these trials. The journey is not just about rekindling what was lost, but discovering a new depth of connection and understanding with your partner. We can choose to redefine love—not as a whimsical emotion, but as a daily, conscious choice.02:20 - 04:40: A Listener's Heartfelt Submission—Introduction to a listener's raw and open submission questioning "Where's the joy" after a partner discloses his porn and sex addiction and his years of betrayal?04:40 - 07:00: Reflections on the Past and Present Relationship—Discussing the contrast between the listener's idealized past and the reality of their current relationship.07:00 - 09:20:  Yearning for the Past vs. Accepting the Present—Addressing the listener's desire to regain the 'spark' and excitement of the early relationship years.09:20 - 11:40:  The Challenge of Addressing the Submission—The hosts discuss the complexity of the listener's situation and their approach to addressing it.11:40 - 14:00:  Insights into Recovery and Relationship Evolution—Sharing professional and personal insights into how love and attraction evolve over time in recovery and healing.14:00 - 16:20:  Understanding the Honeymoon Phase—Discussion on the difference between the initial honeymoon phase and the pre-betrayal phase in relationships.16:20 - 18:40:  Authenticity and Guardedness in Relationships—Exploring how authenticity and being guarded affect relationships during the honeymoon and pre-betrayal phases.18:40 - 21:00:  Loss and Discovery Post-Betrayal—Addressing the profound sense of loss and discovery of true selves following betrayal.21:00 - 23:20:  Love and Attraction Post-Recovery—Discussing how love and attraction change and become more conscious choices post-recovery.23:20 - 25:40:  Evolution of a Relationship Post-Betrayal—Reflection on how relationships evolve and become more authentic after overcoming betrayal.25:40 - 28:00:  The Realities of Love and Choosing Each Other—Examining the deeper, more holistic understanding of love that develops in long-term relationships.28:00 - 30:20: The Desire to Return to Simpler Times—Contemplating the natural desire to return to simpler times versus accepting and valuing the evolved relationship.30:20 - 32:40: Embracing the Present and Future of Relationships—Encouragement to embrace the current state and future potential of relationships after recovery.32:40 - 34:55: Conclusion and Invitation to Explore Further—Closing thoughts and an invitation to explore deeper into relationship recovery through Dare to Connect.Learn more about Mark and Steve's revolutionary online porn/sexual addiction recovery and betrayal trauma healing program—"Dare to Connect!" To try a free, 2-week trial, visit—daretoconnectnow.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
In Episode 220, Mark & Steve talk about a challenge in porn/sex addiction and betrayal trauma healing that is all about a "third party"—the family and friends of the addict and partner. Here's a situation submitted by a PBSE listener—Hey guys. Would you consider doing a podcast episode about advice for friends or family trying to support the addict and/or the betrayed partner? It’s like I want to send my friends a guide around [how they can support me] Eg: being “supportive no matter what” & helping them understand why a partner may stay due to the nature of it all being addiction outside of sex. I guess I’m struggling to explain to my friends what I’m experiencing with my grief, relationship with God, triggers etc. They are amazing friends but they struggle to understand that it was an addiction and not him just being a cheater. So they just want what’s best for me & think I need to leave. Just an idea on a helpful episode/s for us! For the Coupleship:-  Decide as a couple, as much as possible, how much you want to share with others and then HONOR that agreement.-  It's your story - don’t feel obligated to overshare!For the Partner & Addict:-  Be selective about who you confide in.-  Sharing is a one-way street (you can't "un-share" later).-  Before sharing, consider the benefits and drawbacks:             -  How can this person be of help?             -  How could sharing with them impact me negatively?             -  Do they have the capacity to bear the weight of this information emotionally?-  Always be authentic, but use wisdom in how deep you go.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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
In Episode 219, Mark & Steve get super passionate in addressing a heart-felt, yet tragic submission from a PBSE listener. Here's what he had to say—Hi, I would love it if you guys could do a podcast around the effects of years of lies and trickle truths on a full disclosure? I've been a PA for 18 years roughly and i've had a hard time coming to terms with my addiction and its consequences. My partner and i have been together 4 years and she found out 1.5 years ago that I was being unfaithful through my excessive pornography and social media consumption. I have always had a hard time running away from conflict and I have a history of communication trauma and sexual assault in childhood. I done everything wrong with my partner, I lied and lied time and time again, I minimized and justified my actions where I felt I could and for most of my "recovery" I just found sneakier ways to access pornography and just flat out refused to be accountable for the hurt it would cause my partner in these moments. I don't think my addict brain could fathom accountability at these low points.  I allowed my partner to dig through every site/app/device and find just troves of visits to profiles and video history, bank transactions. This happened hundred of times over the year and with each new item discovered my partners pain Increased. I had every opportunity to be upfront and honest to my best friend and partner but I was reluctant to let go of that fear. Its like my addicted brain was convinced its easier to sprinkle dust onto her than to drop a ton of bricks but thats just not true at all. Unfortunately i have realized a lot of things too late for my partner at this point and we have just recently moved into a state of in house separation. We both have CSAT therapists but are in very early days of this and still have a long way to go. My reason for reaching out is due to the fact that my entire life at this point (our relationship/my dog / my home/my job) relies on openness and full disclosure. Is there any hope that I can ever navigate around the fact that i allowed my partner to be the detective and she uncovered at least 95% of what I've done with a measly 5% being my efforts. We have spoken for a year and a half about aspects of my addiction and I struggle to dig deep and expand on my occasions of acting out. This coupled with lack of honesty just breeds an environment for my partner to rightfully wonder, "What the hell do I not know? " I'm sorry if this seems a bit all over the place , but I’ve tried to express my situation the best I can. I appreciate the work that you guys and everyone involved do to make this available for people.-   Why do habitual lying and addiction nearly always go together? Why do addicts fear telling the whole truth and being "seen" in their totality?-  When a relationship account is SEVERELY overdrawn and operating from a deep deficit, is their any hope for reconciliation?-  Why is acceptance of, accountability for, and consistent verbal acknowledgment and validation of the pain the addict has caused, CRITICAL for both him and his partner?-  How can the addict use the "language of safety" and the ACTIONS that follow it to show true empathy, real amends and lasting change?-  Proactive, DAILY transparency, not just around sobriety, is essential!-  Why the addict must PRACTICE daily vulnerability, not only in his marriage, but in all his relationships. -  What place does "Formal Disclosure" have in this process?   
In Episode 218, we address two similar questions that we received from partners who are in betrayal trauma healing as a result of their addict spouse's sex/porn addiction behaviors. Here's an excerpt from each of the questions submitted—Partner #1—My husband and I have been together for 3 years. In  late 2022, I found out he had been emotional cheating/porn-using our entire relationship. It continued until the fall of 2023. I have given him feedback on what I need from him to start trusting again and he tells me that I am putting too much on his plate. That he can only remember to do so much at once. In my opinion showing love and respect should come naturally in a relationship. How do I navigate this? Is it a loss cause?Partner #2—My addict partner does have some mental health challenges—ADHD and mild Autism—but, he can focus and show deep emotion in various life situations, but NOT for me when I share my pain and desires for his recovery. He responds—"Well, what if I can't do that? What if I'm not capable of that?" It feels like he's using  his mental health challenges as a crutch and an excuse for his poor thinking patterns. We (Mark and Steve) can SO relate to these two scenarios! We have both suffered from the feelings of huge "overwhelm/too much on our plates," and from the challenges of mental health struggles. A super significant part of our own recoveries, helping to create a healing environment for our partners, and making consistent deposits into our relationship trust accounts, was coming to healthy balance between "reasons/explanations" and "proactive accountability." We found too often that we were "weaponizing our weaknesses" and this created a huge barrier between us and moving forward with "real" daily, consistent recovery. In this episode, we talk about the healthy role of reasons/explanations and how, at the same time, to take full accountability for one's daily recovery and meeting the needs of a partner as she progresses on her healing journey.   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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
We want to thank a courageous partner for submitting the situation and question for Episode 217. Here's what she shared—Hi Mark and Steve, I want to thank you for making this podcast and continuing to tackle these hard topics in a way that is so relatable for recovering addicts and being compassionate for partners. My question relates to sexual intimacy and bringing that back into a relationship that has been crushed by porn and sex addiction. We have been married 15 years and have 2 kids, my husband has been acting out the entire relationship in many ways and we had a few small discoveries over the years but completed the full disclosure process over the last year. He has been working hard in recovery, has some sobriety and is saying and doing all the right things. I am also working on my healing and recovery and have seen a lot of personal growth. That said, we have been trying to navigate bringing physical intimacy back into our relationship, and it has been a challenge.My biggest struggle is believing that he actually wants to be with me, is attracted to me, for me and not because I happen to be a female living in his house and he doesn’t have any other sexual outlets. I feel like I want physical intimacy to be organic so when he asks or says something about being attracted to me, I worry it is because he has been thinking about sex/fantasy. I feel like he is only interested in me because I am what’s available. I know he is choosing our marriage and family over porn and other women, but intimately is it actually me he is choosing? In the past I knew it was not me he was interested in, it was the idea of acting out and being in his fantasies. I know he was not actually with me when we were together and he was in his addiction. How do I accept that his interest or attraction is real, how do I believe he is choosing me out of anything but convenience? Is there anything he can do differently? Thank you for reading this and considering providing me with some answers!-  Accepting the reality that a partner did not in any way cause their addict-partner's addiction and betrayal, nor can they cure/fix their addict partner—what CAN the betrayed partner do in this situation?-  In response to the betrayed partner's question—"Is there anything he can do differently?"—Mark and Steve have a LOT of hard-earned counsel for addicts in recovery who want to help their partners feel TRULY chosen!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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
Episode 216 is in response to a very courageous, transparent submission by a parter who is seeking to heal from the betrayal of a sex/porn addicted spouse AND also overcome her own sexual addiction. Her's what she sent in to PBSE—Hello Mark and Steve! Thank you for all the work and dedication that you have put into your programs and podcasts and for providing the community with invaluable tools and resources! Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I have an unusual/embarrassing question. I am the wife of a sober porn addict. I am a recovering sex addict. I have been attending S-Anon meetings as a way to heal from the betrayal of my husband's porn addiction (and I think it's helping me to heal from my sex addiction as I'm learning that sex does not equal intimacy and I'm learning that I need to let go of my addiction to control everything). My husband has not done any external recovery work other than white knuckling. We have realized that we have both hurt each other very much throughout our relationship. I feel like we have come to an impasse. I have told him that I cannot feel safe and secure enough to trust him unless I can see him initiating and doing recovery work. My husband has told me that I have never supported him in our relationship and have never been happy with anything that he does. So, no matter what he tries, it will never be enough for me. So he is reluctant to try anything new. I feel like one of us has to budge but I don't know how to move forward. I guess my question is: Can a sex addict and a porn addict (or 2 people with a sexual addiction) actually make it together? Or are we doomed to go in circles for the rest of our lives? -  Lots of circumstances and complexities can lead to a "dual sex addiction" situation-  There is a tendency to place the main focus on the "addiction symptoms." It is crucial that a couple be open and willing to explore and heal the "deep issues." -  There are a LOT more issues going on in this coupleship than just addiction! What are these issues and how can they be addressed in healthy ways?-  Why this couple can NOT rely on each other as the primary source for healing—what does an "outside support system" look like?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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
In Episode 215, a PBSE listener asks some very-often-wondered-about questions regarding addiction and related mental, emotional and relational behaviors—I’m wondering what comes first….the chicken or the egg? Do men who already have narcissistic tendencies (born or developed in childhood) gravitate to sex/porn addiction more frequently given their insecure nature and need for validation? Or, has excessive porn use led to an increase in narcissistic tendencies in men? Could this be one reason why some men are successful in recovery while others never find true recovery?Mark and Steve get raw and real in addressing these questions and in seeking to correct some all-to-common misconceptions. 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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
In Episode 214, Mark and Steve respond to a PBSE listener who finds herself in an all-too-common situation. After several years of marriage, her spouse has owned up to his porn addiction and is in active recovery. However, during their entire relationship, his porn addiction ruined what could've been healthy, connected, mutually-satisfying sexually intimacy. Now, they both want things to be very different going forward. Here are the questions she submitted to PBSE—-  In what ways could we reset our dating and early stages of marriage?-  We have discussed trying to redo our dating experience by doing a partial separation and cutting out sex so that we can both have a time period of “dating” that we can look back on and be happy with and commemorate the ending of our dating redo by coming together sexually in a way that is mutually desired. Is this a bad idea?-  Do we just need to accept that our dating, wedding, and first months of marriage were terrible and entirely shaped by my husband and his pornographic desires?-  Our sex life has always been about him and what he wanted and was never a safe place for me to explore my own wants and/or desires. How do I learn to enjoy and desire sex with my husband after he criticized everything I did sexually before and after marriage?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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
In Episode 213, Mark and Steve tackle a very heart-felt and all-too-common situation submitted by a PBSE listener who is suffering under the heavy burden of betrayal trauma—while at the same time being criticized and discounted by family, friends and other people on social media. Here's what she vulnerably shared—Mark & Steve, I have listened to every episode of your podcast and I wait on the edge of my seat the days in between them. Your words have helped my significant other and I so immensely. I can’t thank you enough for what you both are doing. I haven’t heard an episode on this topic yet… social media. I discovered my partner's porn-use on a shared iPad after we had been living together for about a year and a half. His issue has been on [she lists numerous social media sites], finding anything from semi-suggestive material to straight up porn. He agreed to stop immediately but over the last 2 years it’s been discovery after discovery and a string of lies, all relating to things he’s been looking at online. My partner has recently agreed it’s a big problem that he said he has struggled with it since 8th grade and he is now getting into therapy, D2C, and doing what he needs to heal himself. But I am constantly ridiculed and told by other people online or even some friends and family that I am just too sensitive and insecure, and they ask who am I to worry about what he does in private? Is the consumption of this sexually charged material online something that we are allowed to be hurt by? I find myself experiencing nearly every single PTSD symptom I’ve learned about. It feels like a big deal even though people try to convince me that it’s not.Over much of our lives, many of us have heard certain "cultural slogans/attitudes" that say something similar to—"He can look all he wants, as long as he doesn't touch," or "What he does in in his private time is his business," etc.  Yet, over more than 20 years of working with the partners of porn and sex addicts, Mark and Steve have heard exactly the OPPOSITE! In this episode, they talk passionately about what it means to have a holistically intimate relationship; what is required to be respected, cherished, exclusive, loyal, authentic . . . and many other aspects of a truly "connected coupleship." Mark and Steve also talk directly to partners carrying the heavy burden of betrayal trauma—what are your rights; what is speaking your truth; what do authenticity and boundaries look like; why is betrayal ALWAYS "in the eye of the beholder"? And they give invaluable guidance to porn/sex addicts in recovery—if you want to create, build and nurture TRUE intimacy with your partner—what you think and do when you are not with her is CRITICAL!   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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
Episode 211 is in response to a very raw and heart-felt submission by a PBSE listener. She is about to turn 40, is married to a guy who struggles with porn/sex addiction and they have 3 children. About 10 years ago, she found out that he had been regularly viewing porn for the first decade of their marriage. She was devastated and let him know she considered it cheating. In the years that followed, every time she would bring it up, he promised to stop but never did. He gaslit her and claimed it was "normal" behavior. Then over the last 12 months or so, he engaged in a "trickled disclosure" about just how bad his porn/sex addiction has been their entire marriage. Finally, about a month ago, he started into serious recovery. But, over that same year, she was so deeply impacted by his betrayal that she went to every possible length (money, time and energy) to try to modify her body to compete with or match up to what he had been seeking in his porn use.  This even drove her to struggles with anorexia and a complete mental breakdown. She realized she could never win this competition/contest! At the end of the detailed recounting of all she's been through (which was heart-breaking), she asked the following—"Will his addiction keep him from seeing me the way I so desperately want to be seen in his eyes? Or are all the signs pointing to me just never being able to be enough?" -  Why is sex and sexuality such a high priority and singular focus in our culture?-  What does it mean to be "sexy" and "sexual"—what are the deep needs behind these?-  Why is it unrealistic, inauthentic and unhealthy to seek to compete with sexual fantasies?-  After more than 20 years working with partners suffering from betrayal trauma, what have Mark and Steve found that these individuals actually and truly want/need from their addict partners?-  How has our culture confused sex/sexuality and true, human intimacy?-  For the partners of porn/sex addicts—In what ways can your partner choose, pursue and create safety for you? How can your partner authentically meet your wants and needs on a consistent basis?  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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
In Episode 210, Mark & Steve address an issue that comes up often in porn/sex addiction recovery and betrayal trauma healing—the challenges of ADHD that seem to often correlate with, and/or accompany addiction. This episode is in response to a situation submitted by a PBSE listener—"I have heard there is a correlation between ADHD and addiction. Have you noticed this in your practice, and what is your advice to both addict and partner on how to cope and battle through both issues collaboratively? I looked into the symptoms of ADHD and some of my long term frustrations with my partner could fit that. But others don’t. It’s hard to know what could be attributed to the addiction (emotional immaturity and selfishness) versus what could be ADHD related."-  Mark talks about his own life-long struggle with ADHD symptoms and addiction.-  How ADHD and porn/sex addiction symptoms can correlate and cross over in a variety of ways. -  How porn use, as well as other online practices can "fuel" already existing ADHD symptoms and vice-versa.-  What can an addict in recovery do to also manage his ADHD symptoms/challenges?-  What can the partner of an addict do to support him in his "dual" struggles—without crossing the line into rescuing, over-owning, playing policewoman, etc?-  How can a couple come together to collaborate as a team in facing these issues?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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
Episode 209 is in response to a very complex, awkward, embarrassing, infuriating and painful situation submitted by the partner of a porn/sex addict. He IS in initial recovery, BUT when he finally started "trickle disclosing" his past "addiction behaviors," this led her to do some "detective work" to find out more. In searching his computer, phone, Internet search history, etc., she discovered a devastatingly DARK SIDE to him that she didn't know about and would never have assumed! But, she does love him and is very weary of bringing up what she has discovered, for fear of causing him extreme embarrassment and shame. She doesn't know how to approach this! In this episode, Mark and Steve talk about this challenge from the crucial standpoint of "relationship intimacy"--not the traditional narrow paradigm of intimacy—"sex"—but true, holistic intimacy in what we often talk about as the "8 Areas of Intimacy." What level of true intimacy does this couple want to have? What level of discomfort, awkwardness, embarrassment, confrontation, etc., are they willing to face to enjoy full, true intimacy? What does it mean to allow your partner to actually "see the whole you"? What level of "being seen" does it take for your partner to be "fully informed" to be able to "choose you." Are you wiling to do what it takes to get to the place where you can ACTUALLY CHOOSE EACH OTHER? 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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
This episode (#208) is in response to a very vulnerable and heart-felt submission by a PBSE listener. Here's her situation—"You may have already covered during previous episodes and I have just not been able to find it, but could you do a podcast on emotional cheating? This was a big part of my relationship and devastated me more than finding out about his pornography habits. This woman wasn’t something he turned to occasionally, she was someone he contacted daily. All day. Even much earlier in the morning than I’d hear from him. While he was lying in bed next to me. As soon as he’d leave my side. He claims it was not an intimate connection, just his codependent need for validation, but I’m not sure I believe that. Regardless, she’s now in every memory I had with him. Even the ones I thought were good, which brings me great pain. To make matters worse it was with his ex wife who he co parents with, so he was unable to cut ties with the person he was cheating with. I’d love to hear expert advice on how to heal from it. I’m already journaling and seeking support, taking care of myself and mental health, doing all the things one can to move past it. But I wake up everyday with a literal pain in my heart that’s so heavy. I carry it around like a rock in my chest all day. I had not previously believed people when they said, emotional cheating can be worse, but I do now. Maybe you can also touch on how too much contact with someone who’s not your partner can be damaging so that addicts understand what it is as well. I’m sure partners could benefit from that as well. Thank you."We SO appreciate this listener bringing this extremely difficult and painful situation to our attention. This is a topic for which Mark and Steve are extremely passionate and have a LOT to say! — What is "intimacy"? Is it more than just "sex"?— What is "Emotional Cheating"?— What is the responsibility of the partner who engaged in emotional cheating? What does "real" change and amends look like?— What is the healthiest approach for the partner who has been betrayed?— What is a couples best chance to move through and forward from emotional cheating?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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
In Episode 207, Mark & Steve address a situation and concern sent in by a PBSE listener who finds herself in a very painful, difficult and complex situation. Here's how she describes it—"Hey guys, firstly thank you so much for your podcast - it’s helping more than you will ever know. My question is about separation and how to do this well. I found out four months ago, while I was 8 months pregnant, that husband of 7 years has a severe sex addiction. I moved out with our 2 year old and in with my parents, telling them everything. He & I have thrown ourselves individually into counseling & gotten support from our closest friends. However, my husband relapsed badly & I realized I needed to give him a year of full separation to see if he can change for himself, or I need to move on. How can I do this year well? What do we tell our church and wider community (our pastors know everything)? I don’t want opinions and judgement if I stay or go, but I don’t know how to live in this limbo without lying or pretending to be together! For our kids, is it better to live apart or together? I desperately need advice on boundaries and how to navigate separation with two littles! My husband is an amazing father committed to them, but his addiction got so out of control, I just don’t trust what he’s capable of, so the kids will be with me until he’s 1 year sober. It’s so so hard."-  Therapeutic vs. Non-Therapeutic Separations-  What do the expectations, boundaries and structure of a therapeutic separation look like? What are the potential pitfalls?-  An "in-home" separation vs. living completely separate. -  Creating a specific "plan for reconciliation" with specific steps, benchmarks and accountability toward reunification.-  Setting and holding boundaries with family, friends, neighbors, etc. -  What about the HUGE consideration of children in all of this?! 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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
We know that the title to Episode 206 is hard-hitting! But, this is very close to a "quote" from a PBSE listener who is a partner in betrayal trauma healing. Here's the very raw and real situation and question she sent to us—"Hi Mark and Steve, My husband and I are coming up on one year since D-Day. We’ve each been in individual therapy and 12 step groups: he for his addiction, me for betrayal trauma. One of the problems is that we haven’t had a formal therapeutic disclosure and more and more information about past betrayals keeps trickling out. Every time it does, my scab is ripped off. Here’s the heart of my question—the more I learn about his disgusting past, and many many betrayals, the less I want to have sex with him. In fact I feel actual physical disgust at the thought. I hope to work through my trauma and his recovery and come out the other side with a stronger relationship. My question is what do I do about the absolute physical/sexual revulsion I feel toward him? Thanks so much. I love your podcast."In this episode, Mark & Steve directly address HOW this couple can have the best chance to "come out the other side with a stronger relationship." They talk about what each partner can do to "own their side of the street" and set and hold healthy boundaries. They also address what a proper, healthy "therapeutic disclosure" looks like and WHY it is CRITICAL that this approach replace the all-too-common "toxic trickle-disclosure." 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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
In Episode 205, Mark and Steve tackle a VERY sensitive, but crucial topic. This episode comes in response to a porn/sex addict in recovery who wrote the following—"Hi there, I just want to start by saying thank you for your work in this area of addiction. I'm an addict and I've been in a relationship for the past 4 years. I've betrayed my partner several times during that time. I've been to treatment and I've come a long way since those early days in the relationship. I've stopped my damaging behavior and language towards my partner and I've been showing up for her consistently over the past few months. I feel like I'm doing everything I can for her. I've had to endure a lot of emotional and verbal abuse over the past few years from her and it's mostly always been blamed on my addiction or my behavior. I always believed that if I acted differently then things would be different. Now that I feel like I am showing up at my best, I'm really starting to question whether or not my partner is capable of treating me respectfully. I realize that the recovery process takes time and consistency, but the abuse is becoming intolerable for me. I feel like I’ve continued to be attacked and yelled at. My partner often says or hears things that she doesn't remember saying afterward when she's in a triggered state. One thing I have noticed in this area of recovery is the lack of information regarding what the betrayed partner's responsibility is. I feel like my partner is struggling with taking responsibility for her abuse or her own recovery work. When should an addict walk away? What is the betrayed partner's responsibility in rebuilding a relationship? What should and shouldn’t be tolerated in the recovery process? "In this episode, Mark & Steve speak with authenticity, empathy and compassion to addicts in recovery; partners in betrayal trauma healing; and to couples seeking to repair their relationship. This is a very direct discussion about a very important issue. 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.comFind out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension CounselingLearn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services
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Comments (3)

Pashm Ina

the island is called Big Island, not Hilo. Hilo is a town on the Island! aloha from oahu!

Oct 18th
Reply

Bekah

Seems like a cop-out not to have any women on here. Just 2 guys guessing what a betrayed woman is going though.

Dec 23rd
Reply (1)
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