How Pornography Impacts Relationships

Written by on February 24, 2010 in Masturbation Addiction, Rebuilding Relationships - 39 Comments

Recently, I was interviewed by a prominent newspaper regarding what effect pornography addiction has on relationships. After 27 years as a clinical psychologist, I have worked with individuals, couples and families from all age groups and walks of li

fe. I can tell you that pornography addiction has a devastating impact on relationships. Most often, the damaged relationship we think of first is the marriage relationship. While porn addiction is most certainly destructive to marriages, there are other relationships that pornography can devastate—the addict’s relationship with self; parents, siblings and other family members; dating relations and fiancés; friends, co-workers and contacts in everyday life. In addition, porn addiction can affect future relationships that have yet to be formed.

Here are some of the newspaper reporter’s questions and my responses. I believe you’ll be surprised by some of the information. I hope it helps increase your understanding and provide greater light on your path forward.

Reporter’s Question: How does pornography affect relationships before and after marriage?

My Response: Most people think of porn use as a mainly “male” pastime. Unfortunately, with the Internet and cell phones, virtually everyone has access. I just finished meeting with a 15-year-old girl who is addicted to pornography. She mentioned that she is “terrified of anyone finding out.” The shame is incredible. The addiction is so strong, she fears that she will never be able to overcome it. She also fears that when she does have a boyfriend, she will become addicted to sex with him. She is so afraid of this that she doesn’t allow herself to date or get into a romantic relationship. She fears that this addiction is “screwing [her] up generally.”

She has lost confidence, self-esteem and self-respect. She is afraid that her parents or minister will find out. She also mentioned that she is afraid that she is going to Hell. She is fears that this addiction is ruining her ability to relate normally with guys because she is objectifying guys rather than relating to them in a healthy way. She is intensely ashamed because she believes that porn addiction is largely a “guy thing”, which only makes her feel more “freakish.” Lastly, she is afraid that it’s messing her up so that she won’t be able to have a normal sexual relationship when she is married. Her concerns are typical of kids I see who are struggling with pornography and sexual addiction.

Additional Response: Often, the reason marriages are impacted by porn addiction is because the addict relates less and less in an emotionally intimate way and relies more on the physical sex act to connect with their spouse. Emotional intimacy takes skill, maturity, love, unselfishness, risk, and courage; whereas, sexual intimacy does not. Often spouses are increasingly seen as objects and are treated disrespectfully. I saw a man yesterday who faces a church sanction because he “raped [his] wife.” He was acting out what he was seeing in porn.

Because of guilt, shame and a reduced ability to relate to others generally, addicts often become depressed, withdrawn and isolated. Because many men, children and adolescents manifest their depression through irritability, anger and aggression, an attitude of disrespect and resentment are common towards family members. Aggression and violence can sometimes be an end result. Because of the obsession, distraction and actual time spent looking at porn, family relationships are diminished and neglected. When the addict is with family, often he is physically present, but absent mentally and emotionally. Sometimes an addict will seek to justify their neglectful and abusive words and actions, declaring it to be their spouse’s fault. The spouse often feels angry and resentful towards the addict because they personalize the porn addiction—“I must not be attractive enough, or good enough for him.” Trust, confidence and closeness are usually lost when the addiction is discovered. Divorce is not uncommon.

Reporter’s Question: Studies I’ve read indicate that pornography desensitizes a man toward “real”-world women, because they’re not as hard core or extreme in nature as the women portrayed in online pornography.

My Response: True. Addicts build up a tolerance and habituation to the pornography. What was initially “extreme” is considered more normal. The porn user needs more and more stimulation to achieve the same high. Mentally trained through constant repetition by the grossly exaggerated and twisted world of Internet porn and how it portrays women, the addict increasingly expects the same type of behavior from women in real life.

Reporter’s Question: Even if addicts or self-described “porn hobbyists” don’t spend more and more time online, studies do show that in the same amount of time spent viewing pornography, it becomes increasingly deviant.

My Response: I have found that generally, consistent porn users increase both the time on the computer, and also become more deviant. This is due to the brain’s natural tendency to habituate to an activity and build up a tolerance, thus requiring greater levels of stimulation to get the same high. This is the case with any addiction. Tolerance with alcohol builds up so that more and more alcohol needs to be consumed in order to get drunk or get the “buzz”. It’s the same with Porn.

Reporter’s Question: How does this increased interest in more extreme and fanatical things relate to pre-marriage relationships, as one searches for a marital partner?

My Response: It can lead someone to put a higher priority on sexual criteria than on other criteria such as compatibility with values, maturity, personality, quality of the relationship, ability to relate, spirituality, etc. With a major focus on physical attributes and the sex act, two individuals can form a very shallow relationship—one that in many ways is not really compatible or sustainable. If a marriage is entered into with sexual criteria as the first priority, then the marriage is in trouble generally after a few weeks or months because the sex becomes common and the relationship isn’t strong enough or deep enough to sustain itself through the difficulties that occur in the normal course of marriage. Interest is often lost very quickly, likely resulting in cheating/adultery and eventually divorce.

39 Replies to How Pornography Impacts Relationships

  • Acitone

    March 8, 2010 • 3:13 am

    It’s true, pornography not only hurts relationships as to “husband & wife” or “boyfriend & girlfriend”, it can also damage other types of relationships. I have personally been addicted to porn and have confronted everyone in my family over the last several years and destroyed evey relationship. For me, anger was the outlet.

    But one thing we cannot fail to see – is that porn is a coping mechanism for something in one’s mind that they cannot appropraitely deal with. It’s sort of a “bad solution” (my personal quote), if you will. It’s something some people who have something hurtful in their past, run to, for escape. What we must deal with is the problem itself, the reason we ran to pornography in the 1st place. For me, I have discovered that it was my childhood. My parents weres strictly over-protective of me as a child. My father wasn’t abusive towards me, maybe to some of the other siblings, but was still mean as I can remember. I have had anger towards him for a long time because of that. The anger just manifested itself yesterday as I slammed a door and got angry with him, yelling at him and showing disrespect. Was it because of pornography that I exhibited anger? Perhaps, but what is the main cause of my anger? The main cause of my anger is my troubled childhood. I ran to pornography because of it, and I displayed my anger because of it, not because of porn. It’s no excuse. I just think it’s very essential to deal with the real problem – “why am I looking at porn in the 1st place?”. If it is because of something that happened in your past, deal with it. If anger and a big argument is what follows, so be it. At least you are dealing with the initial issue instead of smothering it with porn. Feelings may be hurt and you might say things you will regret, as it happened in my argument yesterday and today with my dad, but at least you get to work on the main problem. That’s the way I see it.

    Thanks for this helpful article, porn can truly cause people and relationships to self-destruct.

    Reply

  • Matthew

    March 11, 2010 • 1:18 pm

    I am a recovering pone addict and I am proud of the progress I have made. But some days it;s hard when you realize the real emotional damage you have done to yourself with your addiction. Running has been my salvation. I think you need to replace bad habits and addictions in life with positive new activities. Things to pass that time in a healthier way. To all that fight this addiction, I pray for you to find the strength to overcome it. Just take it a day at a time. It can be done.

    Reply

  • March 23, 2010 • 10:53 am

    I have had an addiction to pornography since I was in my early teens. I can remember my dad having playboy magazines in the bathroom and I would take the liberty of staying in there and masterbating to the pictures. I also had some sexual relationships with several boy friends, a cousin, an adopted brother and other people throughout my life. I am now 60 years old and still have this very powerfull addiction still holding me down and affecting my life in many negative ways. Internet porn is one of them. Internet porn is very powerful because each person who is nude is there ready willing and able and never says no. I am now living a very lonely life and sometimes just want to end it all, though now I am not feelilng that way. I always hope for god or something to come my way to help me

    Reply

  • jane

    March 24, 2010 • 6:08 pm

    i live with my boyfriend and he is addicted to porn. it always gets me upset everytime i find out that he was viewing it because he denies everything even when the prove is right in his face. he doesnt want to admit that he has a problem and he has a lot of anger issues that cause him to be violent. I want to help him but i dont know how and i dont think i can deal with it anymore. our sex life from the beginning has always been like a porno video but with some romance but now theres no romance at all and it is ruining everything. im starting to hate internet and technology because i see it as the problem. guys think that viewing porn is okay is a substitute for doing it with other women. my boyfriend told me that if I didn’t want him to cheat on him I had to let him view porn. this is his main excuse for watching porn. but i know he just says that so that he can ease his conscience.

    Reply

  • Mark

    April 17, 2010 • 11:04 am

    Jane, your story touches me, and I wish I knew how to comfort you, but I doubt you’ll even see this comment.

    I’m addicted to porn, and it hurts my wife very much. While I’m sure there are differences between your boyfriend and I, I’m just as sure that we share one thing in common: As Acitone said above, porn is not the root of the problem, porn is just our “bad solution” since we don’t have better skills at dealing with the real problems. For me, porn is only one way that I run away from my problems. But porn is the most addictive and difficult to overcome, so I’ve tried to start by finding other ways I can be present with life, aware of my beliefs and emotions, and reaching towards healthy and productive activities rather than running away from overwhelming or painful problems.

    While I’ve made some good progress, all my wife can feel is her pain because I haven’t overcome porn yet. But we’ve been struggling with this for so many years, I’m learning that if I fall into the trap of focusing on overcoming porn, I will fail again as I always have. I’m going to do my best to work on the things I can work on, and as I succeed at facing and overcoming little problems, my confidence will grow so I can succeed more at facing the things that I’ve been using porn to run away from.

    I’m going to subscribe to Candeo today and hope it will be a part of my growth. My heart goes out to all those affected by pornography, both addicts and those hurt by addicts. This is such a painful trial for us all. Nevertheless, I have faith that if we seek our God’s help, he will help us through this and we will be better for the trial.

    Reply

  • Mark

    April 17, 2010 • 11:07 am

    If you could see me balling like a baby as I write this and re-read what I wrote, you’d know I’m speaking from my heart.

    Reply

  • Mary

    April 27, 2010 • 11:38 am

    I have been in a serious relationship with a man for about 2 years with a lapse in between for about 6 months. He has an internet porn addiction. He has acted on it as well–met people for sex–To date, he is finally able to admit to it, and how it controls him, interferes with his daily living, goals, etc. To date, I am able to not take it personally and see it as described in the posts above: an escape, release, a “drug”. I am a medical professional. I am well versed in psychology. In the beginning I felt the initial feelings any woman naturally would have: Is it me? am I not enough, am I unattractive, undesireable etc. It was hell. My self esteem took a nose-dive. At the same time I researched the subject obsessively.I was understanding to a degree, attempted a non-judgemental stance, and stepped outside the ideal that I wanted, and offerred my support and friendship. Finally, we had to end the relationship. He was unable to face the demon. I was mentally exhausted, and depressed. Our relationship lacked the intimacy that should have developed in a years time. I doubted that intimacy could be attained regardless of intentions on either part. I felt he was incapable of it. I doubted he had ever known it. He has no control over his impulses. I cannot trust him to refuse a sexual encounter if faced with such.
    He has now made progress in the fact that he has admitted and recognized his problem and wants to change. He is seeing a professional, however I am not sure this
    subject has been brought to light yet. For myself, I have found healthy ways to redeem my self esteem and restore my own value as a woman. But, now, we are back together.
    I know he is trying. He has pursued some healthy goals (ie) has gone back to college.
    The porn is still there. I still find him desireable. When he is ovewhelmed, anxious, etc., back he goes, and he does admit.
    In the past I took refuge in the sex we had, but there was no hugging, kissing, foreplay, romance etc. I ignored my hurt. Now that we are back together, I find myself turned off by the lack of the just mentioned. He initiates sex by just exposing himself–at random times, and expects me to just “hop to it” (if you will). I guess it is like clicking the mouse on the computer and there you have it–instant sex, detatched sex. I do not know how to approach this. For the first time, I am refusing him, I am not “hopping to it”, BUT not saying why–as surely he must know atleast unconsciously. I now find it inappropriate, repulsive, abusive.
    If we are to be together, this must change. I just cannot do it. I do not know how to approach this now. He has made positive steps forward. It is a sensitive subject. I do not want him to feel rejected. (damn- how nice of me!) But I cannot ignore my feelings anymore. I feel myself sliding down that emotional road again. I am in my 40′s, he 30′s. I am very attractive, kind, and smart. This dillemma could take years to repair. I do not know if he is worth the time or energy. I care deeply for him. I think he for me as well. “I think”. Jeez I am rambling on. If you are reading this you prob have figured I am seeking validation to what I already know. I just had to get it off my chest. I would appreciate any feedback…I feel as though I am sinking. Anyone?

    Reply

    • joyce

      January 4, 2012 • 5:15 pm

      My boyfriend if you want to call him a boyfriend more like a roomate I in my 40′s he in his 30′s we have a small child together He has his bedroom I have mine. He watches porn about an hour after I leave for work cause I see it on his history.When he comes home from a long work trip I might get a small kiss like you would kiss your grandma. We have sex maybe once every two months if I’m lucky.Like you say It makes me feel worthless unlovable and down right ugly. I.ve begged him to leave before and he would leave one day and always com back that night.all sweet and apologetic telling me he loves me bla bla bla I say bla bla bla because when we do have sex it seems so porno no kissing no intimacy no loving embraces I am sick of it! I’m a loveing woman not a bad looking woman and I deserve to be loved. I can’t leave this house cause I have no family to go to and no money to support my child. I work hard but I need a better paying job.I’m working on ideas of a better paying job but damn I am getting older and taking care of a three yr old is more work then I can handle at times. I need to be super woman If only I was superwoman I dream.Porn is his subsitute for a real woman. If he thinks I’m too old I would welcome him finding a younger woman so I can find a man that suits me.I know if I left him I would have even bigger problems to deal with so right now I settle with no love, no intimacy and noone that really cares. I even tried living in a shelter and that was a disaster social services tried to take my child away and I had to work very hard to prove I was a good mother. My three yr old is happy and I do a great job makeing my child think I am happy too but I know that day will come when my child will realize mother is not happy,he loves his father and his father loves him but mother is left out in the cold. lonely and sad on the inside.

      Reply

  • S

    April 30, 2010 • 4:36 pm

    Mark,

    I don’t know if *you* will see *this* comment, but just in case you do….please know that you are very brave. You can and will succeed; just take it day by day–or even hour by hour, if necessary–and be proud of yourself for the little accomplishments. Try not to beat yourself up if you relapse; you don’t deserve that type of denigration from anyone, let alone yourself.

    I feel deeply for your wife, but please realize that she is primarily responsible for her emotions and reactions. When we enter into committed relationships, we implicitly accept the additional responsibility that comes with having the power to profoundly affect our partner’s feelings…but at the end of the day, every individual person must accept responsibility for his or her own attitude and emotional status. I sincerely hope that she will find a way to overcome her own pain so that she can create a safe emotional environment for you to heal in and avoid judging you or saddling you with extra guilt.

    Bottom line: You are a good person who is worthy of love and respect. Being addicted to anything, including porn, does not negate that. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you are able to find peace and happiness.

    Reply

  • Hussain

    May 24, 2010 • 11:18 am

    I am currently married to a lovely lady and we have a beautiful daughter, we had a big argument about me loving pornography whic I do know. It happened in the past and she gave me a chance but I drew the lsat straw today, I don’t want to lose my wife or my family I deperately need help and she made it known to me that our marriage is over.

    I love my wife but pornography is killing our marriage and I have tried but i am not succeeding can someone please give me advice on how to get over this.

    Reply

  • chris

    May 26, 2010 • 6:13 am

    I have been married to my wife for just shy of 10 years we have been together for 15. The last five years I have turned to porn more and more to cope with anxiety,. I sought help almost 5 years ago and stopped for only a month. I justified what I was doing, buy thinking that I could handle it. Each time it made me feel shame, but I continued nevertheless and It escalated. My wife hates me, and rightfully so. The big problem is the cover up and the lie. I do not know how to fix this with her. I do love her deeply and want this to work out. I know if it is salvageable it will be a long road. I don’t really know how to begin to do this since she won’t talk to me outside of dealing with our childeren and expressing her emotions. I am glad that she is sharing that with me, but I think I may have ruined the greatest thing to ever come into my life. If anyone has any words of hope or inspiration, I could really use it

    Reply

  • May 31, 2010 • 2:39 pm

    I have been married for 3 yrs, been with my husband for 7 before that, not only does he have an alcohol problem, and pot problem, but now he has a pron addiction also. I caught him last year, and he vowed to never do it again, not only did he lie to me about the vow, but he never stopped, and recently I found it again. He denied it, so I took it to a specialist and she downloaded 663 files of it, and the computer is not that old. Of course, he is now blaming me, and does not think he has a problem. I guess some of the best advise I can give on this to all wives is to read the book Co-Dependent No More. It helped me in my first marriage. I found it while we were in therapy for problems. For 3 1/2 yrs, I spent with him in therapy, we finally got him to admit he had the problems he had, but that was all. He quit and just kept his problems. Years later, his poor new wife called me and told me the whole time we were married he had 2 other women, and they both at different times showed up on their door step wanting paternity test for kids they said were his. I can honestly say thru-out all that, my only savior was my faith, and that book. This time, in this marriage, I can step aside and not take it personal and know they are not my problems, they are his. He says he wants the marriage, we will see how much. He cannot come back till he has taken steps to help him self. I found this website, he came over and looked at it, since he has given up his computer so far, and he became agitated and left. I called him and told him I thought he could not do this alone, and recommended this program, as of now, well, we will see. Please, all wives read this book, it has saved me.

    Reply

  • TY

    July 3, 2010 • 4:04 pm

    I am in my mid 20s, i was addicted in Porn & Mastubation for about 4yr. I have been fighting it also sincwe the day I started with no positive response. The most I could do was 2wks and I am bad to my bad habit which was everything against my believes. It slows my day, my goals etc. I never liked it but i couldn’t stop.
    WHY i started: couldn’t have straight answer to my questions from home/school. Most people that I know also have the same problem. Everyone was too shy to talk about sex while I needed answers to my body.
    HOW I stopped (in progress though): I actually poisioned my self with too much porn to the extent my brain had enough and I was like “now, what is the point? What have I gained? What if I was caught? etc” those questions were more important to me than the answers. So I began to look for solution while I also created a new interest in “making money” so that I can have enough to take my fiance’ to various vacation. The pursuit of my new dream made me read more motivational book and that took the Porn time away from me (with prayer also). I also engaged in exercise.
    In a nut shell, a honest effort with a replaced hobbie will in a matter of time help out.

    I also now know the right source to get answers to my body mechanism, sexual, relationship building question. It is not porn

    Reply

  • lesley

    July 26, 2010 • 3:12 pm

    wow you guys have blown me away,my 4yr relationship has just come to an end as my ex partner is addicted to porn.so much of what i have just read is our relationship to a t..the lack of emotion..lack of communication…lack of sex as hes getting his high from porn…his lack of zest for life..every non working hour is porn time.me ive found it so damaging to myself esteem.thinking im not attractive or not pretty enough..but in reality i know i am attractive to others so why does the man who says he loves you not want you in that way…im done..ive tried being understanding and a friend,well damn it im important too..i have needs and wants..ive decided you cannot help someone who is happy in what hes doing although it makes him angry yet cannot stop himself..what right does any human being have to demoralise another

    Reply

  • AQ

    August 31, 2010 • 9:49 am

    Thanks everyone for what you have shared. I am currently in a relationship with an ex-porn addict. He has been clean for over a year, but he still struggles with many of the after effects. We have been together for a year but he is still incapable of emotional intimacy. I have told him that I love him but he refuses to say anything back. He treats me well and I believe deep down he does love me, but I don’t know how much longer I can stay in love alone. I don’t want to lose him but I have no idea what to do. His distance is a constant source of anxiety and depression for me. Do you guys think it is possible that he will be able to really love again?

    Reply

  • Alex Wolf

    August 31, 2010 • 10:36 pm

    I think the scariest thing about pornography addiction, is the effect it has on families. What is even more sad is most men don’t realized that they are unable to stop watching pornography, until after they become husbands.

    Personally, I always thought that my addiction was a normal behavior, until I found my true love and tried to stop. That is when I realized I couldn’t.

    When I look around I see millions of people in a very similar situation. Scary stuff…

    Reply

  • Inga

    September 9, 2010 • 4:03 am

    This is for Mary:

    Mary…how can I put it. I feel like your twin sister??? What you’ve been through is exactly the same with me. I am coping for 6 years now. He’s the love of my life, but it is destroying me. I just can’t get any other man in my head. (not even going any further!!!!!!!!!!) I feel so sorry for him, because I know (also studied psychology) it’s not really his fault, but he’s still in denial phase about it. He tries to tell me that I am not normal the way I react on his porn addiction. Everybody does it and there is no need to be jellous or hurt….???? Obviously this is causing self-doubt, but I am through this phase.
    I am very beautiful, in my 30′s, indepedant and could have any man I want, but I still only want him (the dream him!!! or cured him). Unfortunately we are in this part now that I can’t even touch him or be even nice to him, because the thought he’s been through god knows how many women in his head before me, (and his menhood is exhausted by masturbation and won’t work anyway) is just a right turn-off, that I don’t even feel any sexual arousement in myself anymore, not even in my head.
    This is so unhealthy and I know I am wasting my best years on him, but I still love him with all my heart. The only thing I’ve learned is that the closest person is the last one who can help an addict! They can only help themseves. The only thing that can help me is to leave him, but I also know I will also waste my best years if I do, because I will never be free in my head. Thinking would it had worked out if I just had stayed longer and been strong?

    Reply

  • Pete

    October 21, 2010 • 5:26 am

    Hey guys. This is really encouraging to read. Granted there are some hard stories here and in no way do I want to fudge over that pain and those struggles, I really feel for you. I myself have a porn addiction, and no matter how hard I attempt, (to try) I’m always running back to it. I’ve spoken about this to a counselor and we have established some areas where it might come from. (mostly as Acitone stated; from childhood). Mine was quite lonely, being much younger than my siblings, and having parents that were overloaded at work. I also saw my first girl naked at the age of 7. I’m currently 22, so I have had this addiction for over 2/3s of my life. Yet this counselor suggested something quite bizarre, that I open my shame up to myself, so I can love my whole self. To me it sounded like I should love myself loving porn. But this was not what they meant. It was on the lines of having the porn addiction in the open, with those I loved and with myself. Having myself and my shame encounter love, my porn addiction wouldn’t fester and grow in the dark.

    I can’t offer a solution, but have found that AA and the 12 steps is very useful. And going one day at a time. I hope that everyone here has success in being sober from pornography, and moving in to a good space where relationships can grow again. What I really appreciate is how open this forum is to engaging with this issue.

    Reply

  • anonymous

    October 25, 2010 • 10:04 am

    Many of these comments are helpful. I am not sure what to do, if there is anything ‘to do’. My fiance is a “porn addict” or more precisely an “addict”. We used to have a relationship nearly 20 years ago, with what was the most intimate sex of my life, something i always yearned for since and we are now back together after 19+- years apart. i knew he had a stack of magazines and dvd’s when we got back together (which he threw out) but i did not know porn was a compulsion, and i did not know the content he was into, and i did not know how much it, among other things, had damaged him in the 12 years or so of being single, and i think, isolated. He is a shell of who he once was sexually, and though he is still one of the sweetest most sensitive persons (and able to show it) i have ever met, he is full of secrets, and he lies to cover up things, things that i suppose he feels are unacceptable about himself. I am not sure anymore what is real, and what is pretend, ie if i pretend ‘this’ or ‘that’ she wont leave me. When i first found the history of porn use on the net i was shaking. but now, returning from a trip, i browse to see the content he looked at and i am not at all surprised that he did look at porn. how do i know ? (His lies to me were making me crazy, because my intuition said he had been doing it and his words said he had not. it is a little like looking at a pine tree and having someone keep telling you are wrong “it’s a maple!! it is a maple!!” until i started to doubt my own senses. so as a method of preventing my own insanity, i installed software that records all the sites and confessed this to him after 3 weeks–i had to know for sure he was lying. so anyway, he is fully aware that this software exists yet he still chooses “private browsing” on the firefox, and still, though not as often, looks at the porn.) still feel a bit shaky today and am here commenting instead of working as i should be but at the same time i think i am at the point of knowing that this will not go away. i just made a call to look into therapy for me, to help me cope and understand what part of this is my responsibility ie where does the boundary lie i am the eye of my own storm i guess as he is the eye of his own storm, and what really are my decisions?? i think to stay and cope or to leave. i cannot make him change his behavior. i ask myself what is wrong with me that i stay with this wounded broken man….if i had not known him so closely so many years ago i would never stay. the question is how long can our past connection keep us going, will it be destroyed completely? the questions….will he find it in himself to heal before our mutual “gas tank” is empty. i find that there is only so much energy i have for trying, trying trying….at some point the tank is empty and it is just simply over, i am done. the fact that i am not that upset, upsets me. i too am becoming desensitized to this, after repeat blows, I guess one gets used to it. the sex has its elements of potential but is nothing like it was. i remember we used to be so simply “into each other”. I know for sure it is the mask of other problems, it is just the symptom. or it was the symptom, now it is a problem of its own isn’t it? Any comments on the content of the porn watching would be appreciated….

    Reply

  • Dwayne

    October 29, 2010 • 10:27 pm

    To aq.
    It seems you are talking about me. I’m am sure that this guy loves you even tho he doesn’t say it! I fear I might be in the same boat:(. So I’m asking the same question? How do I get over the scar tissue that is there??

    Reply

  • VC

    November 3, 2010 • 11:48 am

    To anonymous

    I have been in your position for the past year and my boyfriend continues to struggle. I learned his marriage failed because of porn so I am torn whether to continue the relationship. I do not want his struggle to cause harm to my self and possibly my children. Did your fiance ever remarry or has he remained single all these years? Isolation for a porn addict can escalate into more deviant behaviors. Has he forfeited relationships so he can continue in secrecy? Perhaps it would be prudent to ask more questions. You seem intuitive, so ask him the questions you need to before you say “I do” for better or worse.

    Reply

  • vw

    November 8, 2010 • 5:05 pm

    I am posting this in the hope that my husband will view this website now that I have sent him the link. this posting is for him .
    For 11 years there have been three of us in our marriage, me you and your porn .. We have seperated 3 times as your addiction has stripped me of self esteem, attractiveness and the feeling of not being loved, loyalty to you has kept me trying, my strength has kept me sane as I have battled with this side of your life that I truly cannot understand, when you fire your computer, your screen saver shows your 5 beautiful children having been apart from them for 18 months, I wrongly assumed that porn had gone for good,that we were the most important people in your lives, your family !!. you know how much you have hurt me in the past, how I think of the many acts you have peformed over the years as being unfaithfu, you said losing us was the worst thing in your life,and to be given the opportunity of a fresh new start. yet this last week you have been indulging in your pleasures constanty ,even on our anniversay day . you were seeking discret services, and happy ending massages !! you probaly never stopped, private internet browsing was the perfect tool for you, sadly I know you too wel, the signs were al apparent and You have had to leave my life again, I want to help you, I still love you, but porn and your detachment from being able to show your love to me as once more been discovered and I am truly heartbroken. I work so hard to raise our children and business to give us a lovey home, holidays and cars and a perfect lifestye, I have a nice figure and am attractive, but this just isn’t enough, how can you choose Porn instead ??
    It is so damming, the ones that suffer most are the innocent family that just don’t understand .. Your babies are tucked up in bed, they have been asking for you and don’t understand why Mummy has told you to leave.. I wonder where you are .I hope you have the strength to see a counsellor, I just want my husband back, the one I had before he encountered a fantasy world of sleaze that i just don’t understand.

    My thoughts are with all the people on this site that are suffering x

    Reply

  • hard

    November 11, 2010 • 4:09 pm

    to vw,
    I’d bet he does want to change. It is hard to do so. Pornography is an addiction, and not something that can just be stopped cold turkey because he wants to. He is not choosing pornography OVER you or your family. You may be working hard, but he probably is as well, but it is harder to see because it is all internal. This is also not a factor of whether he loves you or not. Obviously he does, since you have been together and separated 3 times. It shows he does want to make it work. It is an addiction, and not just something that he does because he prefers it over you. It is not a reflection on you at all.

    I think that it would be a great idea to talk to him about how it makes HIM feel, and tell him how YOU feel. I would also say you need to look up and read about this problem in books or articles so that you can understand it better – understand causes and solutions.

    He needs help, and needs to find a counselor or group to meet with to help him and be a support system for him. It is RARELY something that is overcome alone. Get together with him and talk. Let him know what you want to accomplish, how you view the issue, your emotions caused by the porn, etc; and also get him to open up to you. Ask him about his struggles with it, about his feelings about it, about whether he wants to overcome it or if he thinks it is not an issue, what he is willing to do to overcome it (go to counseling, etc.); but also know that overcoming it will take TIME.

    I say this as a woman in a relationship with a man that has been addicted to pornography for 12 years, and is still fighting.

    Reply

  • FH

    January 5, 2011 • 8:33 pm

    Interesting how an individual with addictions attrach those of us that are co-odependant. Like magnets forever looking for a rewarding relationship without the proper tools to acquire one. My partner has a porn addiction, as does his son and as does his father. Forever hiding the addiction and when it’s brought out in the open and denying it’s a problem ( normalizing it). This is his problem and not mine. I understand that. It does however continue to effect how I feel about myself and about our relationship. It impedes my trust and security in the belief that he has any control over himself or his behavior. He is actually addicted to sex and porn. Sex is his way of communicating, of securing himself, of relieving his anxiety…in fact I have become his dealer. When you love your addiction there really isn’t room for anyone else, despite him saying he loves me. Daily I think about leaving but alas until I address my own issues, here I am.

    Reply

    • Brad

      January 10, 2011 • 4:39 pm

      FH, one of the most powerful analogies I’ve ever read about this addiction: “I’ve become his dealer.” Wow, I hope he can get some help before he loses you! We have so totally underestimated the power of this behavior and the effect
      it REALLY has, as opposed to the old “oh, it’s not really doing anybody any harm” mentality that most of us addicted men have. I would say that those of us who are attempting recovery HATE our addiction, but we LOVE the release of the dopamine, etc.
      that our body gives us to help mend all the broken emotions and feelings that most of us have no experience understanding, or expressing to anyone, including our wives/partners. Sadly, until the curtain drops, we live in a fog hoping we don’t have
      to address it. When we finally do, most of us have lost everything we once said “we love more than anything in the world.” The answers are here, but the sledgehammer approach to recovery never has and never will work. He/they will have to
      love the idea more than they fear “what will become of me and my life without porn?” I thank God I found these ideas. The mirage (which porn is) is a counterfeit; a cheap Las Vegas trick. Finding REAL friendship and intimacy lasts long after the lights go out and the party is over and the guests go home. Wish you the best. I’m so sorry for putting my ex and kids through what you’re going through.

      Reply

  • SB

    February 11, 2011 • 3:56 am

    I feel for all of you. I have been in a relationship with a porn/mastrubation addict for almost 2 years. I just ended it this past weekend.
    I found out about his addiction only last June – from his ex-wife, no less. He had been sexting her since we met and she thought I needed to know. I thank her for that.
    But, it has taken me this long to break it off. After many promises to quit and then me finding out that he hadn’t, I realize now that I had to become stronger as a person to be able to separate what “I want for my life” from what I think he should be. I have read the Co-Dependency No More book and I am also a member of the “Recovery Nation” website (which is also a great site for addicts and partners). Someone said above that the problem is not the addiction and I have to agree. The “acting out” is a cover-up – a way for addicts to “feel good” about themselves. It is an addiction, just like any other. Change can only come through life chnages – abstinence doesn’t work.
    I ended our relationship because I do not love him enough to be a part of his addiction, nor a part of his recovery. It took me these 7 long months to realize it’s not me and that there is nothing I can do about it. At one point, I even went so far as to get “into it” with him with the hope that is wouldn’t bother me if I was part of the porn. Big mistake. After a short time, I felt used and degraded and he still looked at porn.
    Husbands and significant others – If you love your partner, please let them go. Find the strength at least, to not put them through this hell. You are not your addiction. You can heal and learn to be the person you want to be.
    Spouses/Partners – Learn to love yourself first and realize that you CANNOT control or change anybody. You are in control of you – that’s it. Work on making you the best person you can be and you will see, more clearly, what you want out of life. Set up your values and boundaries and stick to them. You will feel better about yourself, no matter what you decide to do.
    My prayers are with you all.

    SB

    Reply

  • Dawn

    March 2, 2011 • 1:00 am

    my boyrfriend will stay up late on the computer… waits till i fall asleep then starts his “browsing.” I know this as i got up in the middle of the night and caught him red handed. Even though he was caught, he continues to do it. I have explained how it makes me feel several times now and it has gotten to the point where everytime he DOES come to bed with me, its as if we have to reanact a porn. He doesnt believe he has a problem.. he has also said that he doesnt understand why it bothers me (even though he’s been told several times over the 6 years we’ve been together). Its getting to be unbareable and i dont know what to do. I dont trust him even being AWAKE at night unsupervised……. i go to bed most nights alone, usually cry myself to sleep as i know what he’s up to and there seems to be nothing i can do other than become the “Pornstar” girlfriend he’s looking for…

    Reply

    • March 3, 2011 • 10:33 am

      Dawn – We say this a lot but hopefully it still holds impact for you. Many times the spouse is left to deal with the fallout of this addiction more so than the actual addict. At Candeo, although we are focused on helping the addict, we do offer support for the spouses within the program. More importantly, we are in the process of strengthening that support perhaps to the point of a program specifically for spouses. We also have a series of podcasts directed towards women, you can find it on the iTunes store by searching for Candeo or follow this link:

      http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/candeo-podcast-for-women-its/id308361650

      All the best.

      Reply

  • starlit

    March 3, 2011 • 10:08 am

    First of all……BRAVO to ALL of the men & women here for being

    A: able to admit you have a problem (which is terribly hard to do especially when the general veiw on pornography addiction is believed to be simply “normal behavior” and “harmless.”) and B: for being brave enough to face those problems and try to overcome them the best ways you know how.

    I have been in 3 long lasting relationships throughout my life, all of which have been involved with a porn addict. My 1st major relationship was an absolute nightmare. He constantly compared me to other women and pourposely made me feel inadiquate and ugly. He had the addiction but was also extremely abusive both mentally and physicaly. After 10 years, I was finally able to break free from his grasp but had developed severe insecurities and low confidence and general self worth.

    My 2nd relationship was decent. Amazing at first, but I soon began to uncover his secrets. He had severe depression and extreme social anxiety. He was good to me, but his problems were so dibilitating that he began to cringe at the thought of having sex with me for fears he was not good enough. He was literally terrified so to satisfy his needs, he masterbated online while I went with nothing. Sex was outstanding at the beginning of the relationship but as he fell deeper into his depression, he used more porn to soothe his heartache and completely shut down. The insecurities I had gained from my previous relationship mixed with his porn addiction was chaotic and disasterous. It was a dangerous combo and we just couldn’t make it work. This relationship made my personal issues greater because I was very much in love with him and couldn’t understand how he could be MADLY in love with me, yet push me away.

    I am now in a wonderful relationship (8 months) with a guy I am deeply in love with. He is EVERYTHING i could ask for, just absolutely amazing, however, he is also an addict. Unlike the previous ones, he was honest from day 1. He laid the cards out on the table. ALL of them. Because I was in love with my last boyfriend, I had researched this addiction like a MAD woman and learned SO much. I began to have a better understanding of it, therefor was able to deal with it a LITTLE better so i told my current BF i would stand beside him. SInce we have been together, he has proved time and time again how he feels for me, but today, after an entire year of sobriety, he fell. He had previously maintained his sobriety by ridding his home of the internet, staying “busy” with various other activities and running. The physical activity of running has been his greatest stress relief. However, after failing to get into 3 law schools he had applied to, having his writing submissions turned down, realizing the hatred he has for going to a crumby job every day, and having to spend TONS of money he doesn’t have on his broke down vehicle….he is stressed out. He is depressed and scared and is generally not feeling hopeful about his future. It was no surprise he fell. It hurts SO much that I can not give him the stress relief that the “internet” provides. I can’t stand to see him in so much pain. He cried when he told me last night. He felt so bad.

    The reason I’m writing this is because I am torn. This man..my boyfriend, is a KEEPER. He is attentive, compassionate, he remembers EVERYTHING i say, he remembers everyday how long we’ve been together and celebrates the day of every month that we got together. He takes care of me when I am sick. He is there for me like you would not believe. He loves me and I love him, but I am faced with a dilemma: Yes I have researched this addiction and have gotten a clear understanding of it. Yes I know it is “not my fault” and that apparently “I have nothing to do” with his want to seek out other pleasures, but because of being in a similar boat with previos relationships, I am SCARRED. I’m pretty sexy =) I have guys asking me out alot and it helps with my self esteem issues, but it does not change the fact that I have been tremendously wounded. The thing is, i have not even been single. I jumped RIGHT into this relationship after being driven insane from the previous one’s addiction. I’m saying, I so desperately want to be there for my BF how he has ALWAYS and WILL always be there for me, but I am terrified that I simply am not strong enough to do so. When i was with my most recent ex, i was treated over the last 2 years for severe panic attacks I had developed JUST from the stress I was under. i was on medication because I went from happy go lucky, to feeling like i was going to die every day. It was all stress. I am SO afraid I may end up like that again. Also, I am scared that i will begin to resent my BF and treat him bad. He does NOT deserve that. He is a GOOD man, but I don’t think I’ll be able to control myself.

    I want to be with him. I want to support him. I want to tell him he is loved and it will be ok……I just don’t want to kill myself from stress though. Could anyone give me advice? I don’t want to abandon him, but I fear that if I start going nuts, it will only hurt his progress and tear us apart. I have thought that maybe this guy could end up being “the one.” Is it possible? Is it possible to love someone you’re with SO much, but because of your addiction, cheat on them? I’m so very scared. Sorry, guys.

    Reply

    • March 3, 2011 • 10:45 am

      Starlit – Thanks for the great post and for sharing your story with us and everyone on this site. It’s very interesting that you’ve been with such different types of men dealing with porn addiction. One that seemed to not care about the behavior and forced some it’s effects onto you. One that used it as a coping mechanism for deeper issues. One that is a great man but has found himself caught up in the addiction. As a quick side-note on him, we see time and time again how white-knuckling your way through this addiction just doesn’t work. His year of sobriety is great news and shows he has a determination to break free. With the proper education, tools, and training that determination can be laser focused to kill this behavior.

      For you, I’m sure it’s not “interesting” that you’ve been with so many guys that have this addiction. We’re glad to know that you have educated yourself and you know that it’s not your fault and even more glad to hear that you’ve decided to stay with your current boyfriend to help him through it. The help and support of a significant other/support person is a catalyst during this process.

      Our program has support training for spouses that deal with the specific effects the addiction have on a spouse or girlfriend and how you can play an active part in his recovery and more importantly, your recovery. We are always happy to hear about helping individuals but we are absolutely glowing when we hear back from spouses telling us how much we’ve helped them and their relationship.

      If you or your boyfriend do not have an active account with Candeo, we also have a series of podcasts specifically for women. You can find it by searching for Candeo on iTunes or follow the link below:

      http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/candeo-podcast-for-women-its/id308361650

      We are in the process of increasing the support for spouses and perhaps even a full program just for spouses. Please check back with us. All the best.

      Reply

  • Barbara

    April 27, 2011 • 1:37 am

    After googling “Marriage Counseling Porno Addiction”… in order to find out how it affects someone who loves the addict, I found this site. Perfect! Thanks to all of the heartfelt comments, after the excellent article, I am more convinced than ever that I am doing the right thing by walking away from our relationship… as an engaged couple planning their life “together”… and can only offer a friendship, from this point on. Why? Well, I do not plan to get caught up in an unhealthy drama… that has the potential for jeopardizing my soul.. now that I saw what he was viewing on his computer. After spending time at SLAA meetings, breaking my addiction to “love”… I am repeating the “Serenity Prayer”… and reminding myself that I have no control over another person, nor do I want to control anyone else… and THE only person I can change, is myself… and ONLY with God’s help. That’s how I broke my “love” addiction… and that’s why, like many of you on this site who are in love with an addict… I do not want to get pulled into the abyss… and spend time wondering what he is doing on his computer, or who he might be meeting if leaves town. No! I only have one life! I only have one chance to try to be the best person I can possibly be… and I CANNOT risk getting caught up in someone else’s nightmare and risk damaging my soul. God is the answer… and repeating the “Serenity Prayer” is the best advice I can give. God bless all of you… and may you find a way to keep moving towards the LIGHT, away from DARKNESS.

    Reply

  • annoymous

    November 30, 2011 • 1:05 pm

    Wow! I am so glad I stumbled upon this forum! I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful man, whom I love more than I have ever loved anyone before. We just celebrated our one year anniversary, and I could spend the rest of my life with him. He is sweet, kind, funny, caring….everything you could ever want in a man. The only problem with our relationship, is that he is a porn addict.

    I knew he “liked” porn when we first started dating. I didn’t think too much of it because I assumed, like most men, it was just a thing he occasionally looked at. I know men are known as “visual” and enjoy looking at women. But a few months later, I started seeing more and more porn. His main computer (there are several in our home) is his designated porn computer. He used to have this in the bedroom, but moved it into his office. And now every time he goes on that computer, I know that is what he is looking at.

    One of the largest issues I have, is that he goes onto a webcam social networking site. When I confronted him about this, he got defensive saying that he has friends on there and that he is not doing anything porn related on it. I know this is a lie, as I have seen the history on his computer, and there are pics of girls when I click on the link. I think what scares me the most is that if he is in fact using his own webcam or viewing live feeds, he may be tempted to cheat. He has stated in one porn related argument that I have two options: One, I can accept that he looks at porn and find a way to deal with it, or two, I make him feel guilty about it, he continues to do it, and he cheats on me. When I focused on that statement with him, he said he didn’t mean it, and would never cheat on me. But with the webcam site, it feels like it may be a possibility.

    He has told me time and again that it is nothing to do with me, and I have stated to him time and again that it still hurts me. After reading these posts, I truly believe that it is in fact nothing to do with me. But for the past few days have been thinking that even though I love this man more than anything, maybe I’m just not strong enough to deal with this. I can’t even picture our future anymore because all I can see is him in his 50′s or 60′s and still doing this. And me still hurting. And is it fair for me to hurt? Is it fair for me to stay and resent him for something that isn’t his fault, but something he stated he refuses to get help for?

    I know this is a long post, but any comments would be greatly appreciated. I have never once talked to anyone about this, and even just writing this out is opening my eyes wider. Thanks to all who may respond, and a huge thanks to all who have shared. This was truly inspiring to read!

    Reply

    • Vinny

      November 30, 2011 • 2:54 pm

      Hi Anonymous,
      I’ve been a Candeo student/contributor for almost 3 years. Reading your comments is a horrible trip down memory lane. Your words are my ex-wife’s words. I was the man of her dreams; “everything she ever wanted.” I had no clue I was a porn addict back in those days. Hey, “I only looked a magazines once in awhile.” Then came videos, CD’s, phone sex, and THEN THE INTERNET! I just wanted to let you know that the “visual” excuse, and the “most men” stuff are just part of the lame excuses we hide behind to deny that we’re addicted. I, too, was “sweet, kind, funny, and caring,” (her words), how many times did she tell me, early on, that I was “everything she could ever want?” Indeed, I was all of those things inside, but once porn put it’s strangle hold on, all those things got put on hold. I’m now 58, lost the love of my life. Estranged from 6 beautiful children, and 14 grandchildren. The heart of my wife, who waited, and waited, and waited patiently for me to change took it’s toll on her, just as it will you if you don’t find a resolution to this FAST! My porn use had nothing to do with my ex-wife. So what? My addiction grew and grew. I’m your boyfriend, only “in his 50′s.” The only bigger regret in life I have than wishing I could have stopped earlier, was that she could have left me earlier, or never married me, for knowing the hurt I have put her through, and my entire family. Pornography has so many costs and consequences that often are never revealed until so many years later. The accumulated damage is overwhelming. It has nothing to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with him. If you move ahead with this relationship, you better get your seat belt on and hold on for the ride. It’s what we call “The Roller Coaster Ride from Hell,” here at Candeo. Porn was the great miscalculation of my life. Can I just paste some words from an article in our local paper from the chief law enforcement officer at our Attorney General’s office: “I’m pushing 30 years as a cop. I saw (our state) in its cocaine epidemic and we thought that was terrible. I saw (our state) when heroin was a big thing, and it’s coming back, but nothing like it was in the 80′s. I saw meth from when it first came into the state and sent many people to prison and I thought this was the worst drug to ever come along. I believe that cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine have nothing on pornography when it comes to destroying lives. You cannot overstate the dangers that are there and parents have to recognize that and engage in it. IT’S HUGE!”
      “It’s no big deal! It isn’t hurting anybody. I can stop whenever I want. It’s not about you. Hey, everybody does it.” The fact that he gets “defensive” about it should be a gigantic red flag for you. Sounds to me like your “Dream man” is one who cares enough about you to care about your feelings; your wishes, and your desires more than he cares about his own. That doesn’t sound like the man you’re describing in this paragraph. It’s more like he’s saying “Hey, I’d do anything for you! Just don’t ask me to do this, this, this, and this.” It’s called “conditional love.” Wouldn’t life be great if everybody would just do things the way I want them to be done, when I want them to be done, they way I want them done? Sounds like selfishness to me.
      I better add here that these are my opinions only. I don’t speak for Candeo. Your post just stirred up in me how angry I am at how self-centered, selfish, and self-serving I became when I got interested in porn. You asked for comments. You got one. I wish you the very best. I hope your boyfriend can find help before he breaks your heart, over and over again, until you finally have to take the kids and leave, as he begs to have you back, “just give me one more chance.” But you will have heard it so many times you won’t be able to take it anymore. That’s life with a porn addict, until he gets REAL help. Doesn’t sound like he’s even close to thinking he has a problem. Why should he? He doesn’t see any damage yet.
      Best to you,
      Vinny

      Reply

  • Anonymous

    December 3, 2011 • 4:44 pm

    Vinny, thank you so much for your response. It’s what I need to hear. I wish I had someone to talk to more about this. This addiction just seems to be so much more complicated than I ever imagined it to be. Everything you said was correct: the selfish things he says and does, what he expects, etc. The defensive way he reacts was a huge red flag for me. To me, it seemed like if he wasn’t doing anything wrong, then he shouldn’t be acting like this. Since you’re the only person who responded, can I ask a question? If he is on this webcam site, do you think he is showing himself on the camera? And even if he is just looking at other women on their cams, do you believe that to be a gateway into him probably cheating on me? I guess my issue is that I thought looking at porn was bad/hard enough, but to view young girls live on their cams seems like he’s needing more and more to be satisfied. I don’t know. I just feel so lost.

    Reply

    • Vinny

      December 3, 2011 • 5:34 pm

      Hi Anonymous,
      It’s a privilege to try and help. Often, it requires saying what “needs” to be said. Obviously not what you wanted to hear. It’s funny how we hand out coins in AA meetings to celebrate an alcoholics sobriety. NA does the same thing for those struggling with drug abuse. Sex addiction and porn addiction gets no such attention, nor do those who recover get any standing ovation. We just don’t want to talk about this problem. It’s so much easier to just ignore it and close our eyes. This just feeds the myths and misconceptions that surround porn use. I am happy to attempt to answer as many questions as you may have.
      Your comments let me know that you’re starting to see below the tip of the iceberg: “this addiction . . . is much more complicated than I ever imagined it to be.” Sadly, this could be one of the biggest understatements of all time. I visit with the spouses and partners of those struggling with unwanted sexual behaviors in our combined forum, and if they were here they would just be smiling and nodding their heads, “Yeah, she has no idea what she’s getting into with somebody struggling with porn.” Defensiveness is a HUGE red flag, and your conclusion is correct. As for having a clue if viewing a webcam site will lead to him showing himself, or otherwise pursuing real life affairs, I can’t speak to that specifically. I am happy to share my opinion and my own observations over 20 years. My conversations with others struggling with unwanted sexual behaviors, in this case, porn, and I include myself in this group, has been to discover what you suspect: “needing more and more to be satisfied,” is more common than it is the exception for porn addicts. There is an increase in tolerance that seems to demand more and more deviant material in order to get the same high. Alcoholics and drug addicts call it “chasing the high.” While porn addicts don’t experience exactly the same physiological and biological experience that that group experiences, our the bodies natural “feel good” chemicals are released, and neural pathways are created that find many of us, so afflicted, demanding, as you suggest, “more and more” to get the same satisfaction.
      I’ll let you answer your own question on whether or not you think he would expose himself or masturbate with other women on camera. This technology wasn’t available when I was at the height of my addiction, but if it would have been, I have no doubt I would have jumped in full steam ahead. Some men, based on a lot of different character traits, personality types, etc. absolutely have no intention of hooking up with another person in a live or real setting. Others, will be at strip clubs, then massage parlors, then escorts, then affairs. But your fears that his behaviors can lead there, if they haven’t already are totally normal, and legitimate. You could cross your fingers; close your eyes; and spend a lot of time on your knees praying that it doesn’t turn out this way, and that your boyfriend is the exception, only to find out 10 years, and 3 kids later that he isn’t. Or, you can communicate about this topic. He certainly has the right to look at whatever he wants and do whatever he wants, but not without consequences. He cannot ignore your feelings and concerns. Well, I guess he can, but it will probably mean that he isn’t ready for a healthy committed relationship just yet. Depending on your own behavior, he may feel that it’s not a huge deal. You might need to be more direct and let him know your concerns. If he isn’t sensitive enough to take your concerns seriously, now, do I need to tell you how seriously he’ll take them in the future? You might be being spared the thing you feared the most in your first post by finding out about all of this information now, instead of in 20 years.
      I’m not a clinician; not a counselor; just somebody who wants to help a few addicts along the way, and their spouses/partners. Are there people who can drink “just one drink?” Surely. They never become alcoholics; never abuse their loved ones; live responsible and productive lives. Are there those who can “just look once in a while,” to porn without going further? I suppose there are. I just have never met them. I’m sorry you feel lost. Maybe it isn’t “lost” you’re feeling, but the fear of facing what you might have to face if you stay in the relationship, and the fear of giving up someone you love, dearly, who may lack the capacity to reciprocate that love in the ways you’ve hoped and dreamed of. Neither situation, in the present moment, is pleasant. Having been the “boyfriend” in my life, I hope and pray that your communication can allow him another chance, and that he can recognize how deeply you feel, and take steps to learn about the fire he’s playing with, and get your relationship back on the path that will bring you both great happiness. But for the addiction, he seems like a terrific guy. That is a big “but,” however, that simply cannot be ignored, for both of your sakes.
      I would also encourage you, hard as it may be, to try and discuss this with others you are close to. You may discover that they have experienced something like this, or know of some that have. I hope this helps a little. I check in from time to time, and as I mentioned, am happy to help, where I can.
      Best to you, your boyfriend, and your relationship,
      Vinny

      Reply

  • Hurting

    February 4, 2012 • 7:52 am

    I have been in a relationship for almost 2 years with a man I love with all my heart. However, he is very addicted to online porn. Every chance he gets, he is on the computer or his phone….. If I am not home, I know he does it, but I always feel the need to check his history and lo and behold, unfortunately my heart sinks because he has…. it breaks my heart. As stated by a lady before me, like her, my boyfriend’s and my sex life has been like a porn video since the beginning, with a smidgen of romance. It is hard for me and my heart and my sensitive, emotional side, but because I love him, I just deal with it. I hate how this controls him though. I have talked to him about it, told him how it bothers me, hurts me, but he doesn’t understand where I’m coming from and always gets angry at me. Even as I type this, just thinking of it, I am shaking. I searched his history of when I was in the Emergency Room for four hours last night…. he was online looking at porn the entire four hours I was there. That is killer. Brutal. My heart aches.

    Reply

    • Vinny

      February 4, 2012 • 10:31 am

      Hurting,
      You’ve just described the perfect storm in a relationship that is involved with porn. You’re heart is broken; He doesn’t get it, or have a clue, and there you are with the reality of an aching, broken heart, while he scratches his head saying “What? Did I do something?” And until he does “have a clue,” things don’t get better. I know, because I’m the guy who had everything; beautiful wife, and six kids, and lost them all to porn addiction. That was 15 years ago, and life has changed completely as I finally got help, awakened out of that deep sleep that is addiction, and have been given a second chance, but I NEVER forget the damage that I always see in the rear view mirror. How I wish she could have left me all those years earlier before it destroyed her life. “Yeah, baby, c’mon now. You know I love you.” With that stupid smile on our face. Yeah, what we porn addicts know about love we could probably fit in a thimble. I’m upset, because I’m reading what my ex would have written all those years ago, yet against all her common sense, she married me, and endured me for 17 years. When you’re in the emergency room for four hours, and he’s cruising porn sites, you’re right: “That is a killer!” I hope you mean “relationship killer.” That’s about as bad as it gets. I pray you have the courage to get out while you can, OR, give him the ultimatum, it’s me or the porn. They simply CAN’T exist together and at the same time build a happy and healthy relationship. Good luck to you. Hope he can find help, but it doesn’t sound like he even knows he needs any.

      Reply

  • Anonymous

    February 16, 2012 • 9:35 pm

    Hi Hurting.

    I just want you to know that you’re not alone. I feel for you. I’m right there with you. It sucks. We love these men with all we have, but for some reason, they don’t seem to care that they are hurting us with this addiction. And honestly, lately I’m having a difficult time believing my boyfriend has an addiction. I’m just starting to think he likes it, and doesn’t give a sweet eff at all that it bothers me. Just the way he speaks “AT” me and the things he does…it’s just all starting to wear me down. Not starting to…continuing to. We’re beyond the ability to have a conversation about porn. I did confront him about the webcam site, and he actually deleted the app from his phone. That sent me over the moon with joy. And during that argument, I asked him if he could be more open with his addiction and porn watching. I think it would make it easier if the topic want so “taboo”. And it did seem to get better for about a month. But then, things went downhill again. And he said the three words that send me over the edge. “Get Over It.” Why are we, the women trapped in a nightmare that isn’t ours, the ones that have to “get over it”? I can’t picture a future with this man anymore, but I can’t picture my life without him either.

    I try to live with it. Try to pretend it isn’t hurting me. I make an effort. I’ve with lingerie around the house 3 nights in a row, and got no response. I can not, literally, remember the last time he told me I looked nice. Haven’t heard the words pretty, beautiful or sexy. He says the porn is nothing to do with me, but when I feel like he’s not even turned on by me anymore, how can I not assume it has something to do with me. I’m simply not enough anymore. I checked his office today and find his hidden bottle of lube. He used to use the stuff we had in the bedroom, but he used it so much that a bottle would be gone and we’d only had sex once our twice. So now, he buys his item bottles and god only knows how often he needs a new bottle. Ask the times he says he’s tired or whatever his excuse is for not having sex, now I know it’s probably because he’s exhausted himself. How is this supposed to help me believe it has nothing to do with me?

    I haven’t had any visits to the hospital, but, I can guarantee you, my boyfriend would probably be looking at porn while I was there. Your story made me sad for you, but tragically, didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. I’m just becoming numb now. It’s scary, but…when you love someone….

    Reply

  • Anonymous

    October 17, 2012 • 5:04 pm

    Things are going from bad to worse. I’m trying to hold on and make things work, but it seems like the more I try, the more he decides he can get away with. No longer am I allowed to use his phone. No longer is his viewing limited to his office computer, it is now also done on the shared one. Does he have ANY respect left for me? I shouldn’t have to see it. The amt of hours put in for his job is dwindling. Yet, it feels like he is jealous of any man that I may come into contact with, at work, in social settings, etc. Why is he jealous, when it’s clear I want only him, and HE’S the one looking elsewhere, if only online? I really didn’t think it would get this far, and I fear it isn’t even at it’s peak.

    Reply

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