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15 Things I Want My Ex-Partner to Know About How Porn Dissolved Our Love

“You know I stopped watching porn. You don’t know that it was because I woke back up after seeing disturbing videos of women being used as sex slaves.”

By January 22, 2019June 10th, 2021No Comments
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This article contains affiliate links. Fight the New Drug may receive financial support from purchases made using affiliate links.

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.

The following letter comes from a Fighter who poetically describes the lessons of a relationship destroyed by porn. We wish we could say this was a rare occurrence, and that this story is uncommon. Unfortunately, the majority of the thousands of personal stories we get from kids, teens, and adults all over the world are of lives similarly damaged by pornography.

We want to clarify that Fight the New Drug is anti-shaming as well as anti-porn and this post, composed by a Fighter, is in no way intended to be shaming toward those who struggle with porn.

Dear Steven,

I am proud of how well we’ve dealt with our family’s transition since our divorce two years ago. You were my best friend. You knew me so well.

And yet, so much has been illuminated for me during these last couple of years that you don’t know about.

What you never knew

1. You know that as an 11-year-old girl, I caught my father watching porn.
You don’t know at that tender age, Dad’s choice of porn over Mom sent a painful subconscious message that a single woman can never be physically or sexually enough for a man.

2. You know when we were dating, I loved being with you and despised porn for many reasons including what I learned in my Women’s Studies course in college about it being a form of oppression of women.
You don’t know how much it meant to me that you were willing to throw your porn collection away without my needing to ask you.

Related: After 10 Years, My Partner Won His Struggle With Porn Addiction

3. You know that when you asked me to marry you, we had shared dreams of creating a family and building a life together.
You don’t know how much grieving I’ve done over the death of our unified family as a unit and the dreams I held for us all.

4. You know while we were married I wanted you to be intimate with me and was relentless about getting to the root of our lack of intimacy.
You don’t know how deeply the scars of your consistent rejection devastated me.

5. You know I ended up watching porn with you after you admitted you had resumed your porn habit.
You don’t know what it felt like to have to alter my view of porn as an act of love, as one of my many attempts to intimately connect with you.

6. You know I said I wouldn’t remain in a loveless marriage.
You don’t know how I constantly wished you fought harder for me, our marriage, and our family when I became worn out from keeping up the fight.

7. You know when we were moving to separate homes, I still felt confused as to what had happened to our relationship.
You don’t know that I felt even more confused when you told me that throwing your porn collection away when we first started dating “traumatized you.”

Fortify

8. You know you desire porn.
You don’t know how much it hurts that your desire for porn instead of me kept you from having the very thing you said you wanted—to keep our family together.

9. You know I stopped watching porn.
You don’t know that it was because I woke back up after seeing disturbing videos of women being used as sex slaves.

10. You know I broke up with my boyfriend after the divorce.
You don’t know how his dishonesty around his porn use triggered painful emotions created by your dishonesty in our marriage.

11. You know I’ve been healing from post-traumatic stress.
You don’t know that the most devastating traumas were your rejection and betrayal by choosing porn over me.

Related: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: What Partners Of Porn Consumers Want You To Know

12. You know that I did a significant amount of healing after coming through our separation and divorce.
You don’t know that I’ve needed to do it all over again as I’ve continued to process the brutal connection between the presence of porn in our relationship and the death of our marriage.

13. You know we both want what is best for our children.
You don’t know that I am doing everything in my power to ensure that our sweet daughters avoid even greater damage by being educated on the easy accessibility and toxic content of online porn.

14. You know that I am now an anti-porn advocate.
You don’t know how much I want to share with you what I’ve learned about porn’s impact on the brain, relationships, and society, and how much the research I read makes perfect sense of what happened between us. But I fear you will shut down in denial.

15. You know you put me through hell. You even admitted it.
You don’t know that the hell was the role porn addiction played in the destruction of our marriage.

Yours Truly,
N.

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Why This Matters

This is a raw look at the pain that porn can cause in relationships.

As heartbreaking as this email is, it is one of thousands of personal stories we receive from partners all over the world who have had their relationships fall apart in part due to porn’s harmful effects. Porn is harmful to relationships, and research is showing it. A growing number of peer-reviewed studies have been done, showing the connection between porn and a consumer’s decreased satisfaction in themself, their partner, and their relationship as a whole.

Related: An Official Letter From The Co-Founder Of Fight The New Drug

Note that porn can sometimes worsen already-existing problems in a relationship, as well as create new ones.

Two highly respected pornography researchers from the University of Alabama, Jennings Bryant and Dolf Zillmann, studied the effects of porn and media for more than 30 years. Their findings conclude that consuming pornography can make an individual less satisfied with their partner’s physical appearance, sexual performance, sexual curiosity, and affection. What’s more, some individuals felt not just dissatisfied, but critical of these aspects of their partner.

Let’s not forget that a person’s porn consumption isn’t all about them. Partners who feel that their loved one watching porn is problematic can suffer with lower self-esteem, poorer relationship quality, and lower satisfaction.

The solution here isn’t to suggest that partners shouldn’t care if their boyfriend or girlfriend is excessively consuming porn. Instead, let’s look critically at this product that promises mind-blowing sex while actually devastating relationships.

Be A Lover And A Fighter - Retro

Not Just A Slogan

In one of the few studies to follow married couples and their pornography consumption for several years, researchers found that porn did in fact harm relationship quality and satisfaction. The researchers concluded:

“In general, married persons who more frequently viewed pornography in 2006 reported significantly lower levels of marital quality in 2012… Pornography’s effect was not simply a proxy for dissatisfaction with sex life or marital decision-making in 2006. In terms of substantive influence, the frequency of pornography use in 2006 was the second strongest predictor of marital quality in 2012.”

In other words, how often a partner (specifically, husbands in this study) consumed porn negatively affected the relationship quality, and even more interesting, the study discussed that porn was not a cover-up for some other marital issue. It was the source of the problem.

Related: Millennial Sex Is The Worst, And Porn Is Partly To Blame

World-renowned relationship experts, Doctors John and Julie Gottman, explain it this way:

“When watching pornography the user is in total control of the sexual experience, in contrast to normal sex in which people are sharing control with the partner. Thus a porn user may form the unrealistic expectation that sex will be under only one person’s control… the relationship goal of intimate connection is confounded and ultimately lost.”

The truth is, in healthy relationships, you can’t endlessly have it both ways—the instant gratification of thousands of virtual sex partners and a satisfying long-term relationship. Soon enough, they’ll prove to be incompatible, especially if one of the partners is uncomfortable with porn’s presence in the relationship.

Healthy intimate relationships are built on trust, respect, equality, honesty, and love. Porn encourages the opposite in relationships, which is one of the many reasons why it’s anything but harmless.

FTND note: We continually encourage couples to make decisions about their relationship that’s best for them. Sometimes, that choice is to go their separate ways, and sometimes, that choice is to stay and support each other through the struggles porn can bring. It all depends on the couple, and we respect the decisions people make for themselves. There’s no “correct” answer, seeing as every relationship is different.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

Fight the New Drug may receive financial support from purchases made using affiliate links.
Get Help – For Partners

If your partner is struggling with porn, you are not alone—know that there is hope, and there is help. As you navigate this difficult situation, there are supportive communities and resources available to you. Below is a non-exhaustive list of several resources for those experiencing hurt because of their partner’s porn consumption. Note that this isn’t a complete resource list.

Disclaimer: For those who may find themselves involved in this sensitive situation, their responses can differ. This is why resources need to fit the specific needs of whoever is seeking them. Some of these resources are gender-specific, others are religiously-affiliated, others use a variety of approaches. Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative awareness and education organization hoping to provide access to resources that are helpful to those who need support. Including this list of recommendations does not constitute an endorsement by Fight the New Drug.

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