Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

We received this personal story from a Fighter whose heart and relationship have been deeply hurt by her partner's porn habit. Stories like these show how watching porn isn't just a personal pastime, it's something that affects both partners.

Dear Fight the New Drug,

I have debated with myself for a while whether or not I should try to reach out and share my story, and whether or not it would really even matter to anyone. Today a stronger me is deciding to come forward because it matters to me. So here it goes.

Growing up, I guess you could say I was a pretty naive girl. I was raised by my very old fashioned, conservative grandmother. The reason for this was my dad dealt with some serious mental and emotional disabilities and my mother worked full time. One thing I remember my grandmother saying to us constantly in reference to women who dressed skimpily was, “A gentleman turns his head.” Like I said, very old-fashioned. My parents were still in my life, but they were both sort of checked out. Still, I was a daddy’s girl through and through. My dad was my world. Every day consisted of me hoping that today would be the day he “got better.”

Hurt, Confusion And Anger

I had always thought of porn as something only perverted pigs of men did. I did not think it was a common or normal thing for guys to do. I’ll never forget the day I found it. I was 15 years old and I found porn on my dad’s laptop that he had forgotten to close out of. I felt a flood of emotions that even to this day I have a hard time explaining. It was a shock. Hurt. Confusion. Anger. I was floored to see that someone I looked up to so much was doing this. I felt betrayed. I felt that our family was being robbed of a part of him.

In an instant, my eyes were opened to the way it affected how he treated my mother, the way he talked to her. He would say, “No wonder everyone thinks you’re 9 months pregnant” or “It’s no wonder you can’t button your jeans, fatty.” Whenever this would happen all I could do was sit there, hot tears filling my eyes. So much anger; so much hate in my heart that I had never felt before. The man I looked up to was staring at these girls who couldn’t have been much older than me, his daughter. I was truly traumatized.

In that moment, I told myself I would never allow myself to end up like my mother. I would never let myself go. I would maintain a tiny body, I would dye my hair bleach blonde, I would be as close to flawless and I could get, so that I would never have to feel this way with my own husband.

A Secret Relationship

When I was 17, I started a secret relationship with my manager who was five years older than me. On one of our dates, the conversation took a very serious personal turn. We discussed our most painful experiences; he opened up to me about his dad’s death and how he felt somewhat responsible for the stress that caused the stroke. And what did I choose to share? Was it the abuse I had endured growing up with an alcoholic father? Was it the time my mother was going to leave us and start over? Was it watching my father being arrested in front of me? Nope.

Without even thinking of it, I chose to tell him of my experience with finding my dad’s porn. His response was interesting; he told me he had used to be a porn addict. I had never heard someone talk openly about being addicted to porn. He told me that Fight the New Drug had visited his high school when he was a student and it had inspired him to ditch porn now and forever. I knew right then, in that moment that I had found the man of my dreams. Someone who would never hurt me the way my dad did. Someone who only had eyes for me.

Fast forward a few months, I found myself pregnant, and we chose to get married. I had everything. But just two weeks after I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, I got on our computer while he was at work, to do some online shopping to buy him a watch. (He loved watches.) Well, I found porn in the history. My heart dropped. When I confronted him when he got home, he denied it. This was the beginning of the end for me. Over the next few weeks, the truth came out bit by bit. He had been watching porn the entire time we were in a relationship. I then found myself obsessed with knowing why. I had made sure my makeup was always done, I bought lingerie, I wore fake eyelashes, and my hair was always dyed. I wanted to know why. I was desperate to know why.

I Had Just Been Hurt Too Many Times

Life became miserable. I would spend the nights crying, chain smoking, on the internet looking for answers. I began to talk to everyone about porn: my family, my friends, co-workers, everywhere I went, all I could think about was porn. I would always try to be a good wife and forgive him to keep our family together. I would have a few good days, we’d go a week without a fight, but then something would trigger me back into feeling hopeless. He said he would stop watching it, but I had just been hurt too many times. Plus, I still wanted to know what was wrong with me? What did porn have that I did not? This time in my life was even more emotionally devastating than I could have ever imagined. And then, he finally did start to give me the reasons I was asking for.

“Your boobs are too small.”

“You don’t have a tongue piercing.”

“You aren’t graceful.”

“Not tan enough.”

“Not toned enough.”

“Not exciting enough.”

Let’s stop there.

A year later, I still struggled emotionally. He did not. He promised to stop watching it and made efforts, but they were not efforts to protect us from porn, they were efforts to protect his porn from me. He just found better ways to hide it, better ways to give me false reassurance. I tried so hard to protect us from it in order to save our marriage. I  put a keylogger on our computer and an internet block on his phone. Now if he watched it, I would know.

I Tried So Hard To Protect Us

In the meantime, I had to do what I could to win him back. I began to skip meals, and I started to look at porn myself. But not in the way you’d think. Just imagine someone watching in tears, something extremely traumatizing, studying the women to try to find what I was lacking. This left me feeling only more and more hopeless. How could I have ever been so bold as to think I could ever compete with these women? Sometimes it felt like things were getting better but I would still have bad days.

Eventually, things got to a boiling point and one day I grilled him. He told me he had stopped watching porn, but that he had started looking at girls on Facebook. It was then that all hope came crashing out of me. I admitted defeat and gave up. So he left me. Now here I am, five years after my first experience with my dad looking at porn, feeling the weight of it every single day. I feel it every time my daughter goes to her dad’s house for her time with him, everytime I see another woman and immediately start to compare myself, every time I’m hungry but decide to skip a meal. It’s heartbreaking for me to know I’m missing parts of my daughter’s life due to these issues.

I hope someday I can heal and I just want to thank you guys. You’ve been one of the only forms of support I’ve found for myself. Because of you, I don’t feel so alone. I don’t feel so quick to question my sanity and whether or not I’m wrong to feel the way I do. I’m so thankful there is support out there. Please keep doing what you do.

– B.

__________

Why This Matters

This email is just one of thousands of personal stories we receive from people all over the world who have had their life negatively affected by pornography. Facts are facts: porn is harmful to relationships. Countless studies have been done, showing the correlation between porn use and decreased satisfaction in yourself, your partner, and your relationship as a whole.

The Research Is In

It’s sad, but it’s true. Research has found that after men are exposed to pornography, they rate themselves as less in love with their partner than men who didn’t see any porn. On top of that, another study found that after being exposed to pornographic images, people were more critical of their partner’s appearance, sexual curiosity, sexual performance, and displays of affection.

Any relationship is extremely threatened when porn is brought into it. We don’t say porn kills love just for the fun of it. It’s the scientific truth. Those who have experienced this first hand tell us how they feel like they need to do more to please their porn addicted partner, that they don’t feel like enough.

Porn creates the illusion that there is always someone sexier out there and that sex is just a game to play. Not true. Healthy people expect their intimate relationships to be built on trust, respect, honesty, and love. When that person finds that their partner is watching porn—which typically glorifies the opposite: disrespect, abuse, aggression, and infidelity—it can only damage that relationship.

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What YOU Can Do

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