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 recently received a letter from one Fighter who wants to encourage anyone who might feel like a lesser person because their partner struggles with porn. In the end, if a couple chooses to fight a porn struggle as a team, there is hope for both people to come out stronger, together.
FTND note: The aim of this post is to challenge the shaming narrative that can happen in this fight against porn, and offer up an alternative narrative via exploring actual, real-life experiences. It is not our intention to imply that anyone is obligated to date/marry someone with a porn struggle, if they do not want to. This person has a story that may look differently from many other former partners of porn consumers, and that’s okay. In the end, it is up to every individual to decide what is best for them—even if that means staying with a significant other who is working through a porn issue.
To the girl whose boyfriend is struggling with porn:
1 year, 1 month, 1 week, and 1 day.
Every step forward is a step in the right direction. March 4, 2016. It may not be a significant date to anyone else, but to me, it is hope. It was the last day my boyfriend watched porn. However, he is not totally free. The images of supposed “perfect” women and fake sex still haunt his mind.
If you are reading this via FTND, you probably already know the statistics and facts regarding porn and what it does to people and how it really is an addictive and harmful habit. If not, look at FTND’s other articles and see for yourself. It is a real struggle, a fight, and a battle for the people that truly want to stop. But what about those who do not struggle with it but are dating or are married to those that do? I’m referring to girlfriends or wives in heterosexual relationships, because that’s what I relate to.
If you are that girl, this is to you.
You are real, and you are beautiful
You are beautiful. Your partner knows this. He knows you are beautiful and I hope he tells you often, because you deserve to be told. Even so, his actions may not always make you feel beautiful and worth it. I know it, firsthand. You feel like those women he watches and thinks about must be absolutely gorgeous and he would rather look at them than at you. Just remember, those actors are entirely manufactured, if you will, to be perfect and fake and 100% appealing. They are acting, they are edited, they are surgically altered. Keep in mind that they are real people, yes, but never forget that Photoshop is a thing and you’re more real as you are right now than those manufactured pixels will ever be.
You are a real, authentic, worth it, amazing, beautiful individual. Never forget that.
Don’t give up. Whether he tells you when he falls back into that pit over and over again or if he keeps it to himself, you feel like the cycle may never end. There is hope. People overcome their struggles with porn all the time. Keep encouraging him. Show him REAL LOVE. Show him you are worth fighting for.
While you are worth fighting for, remember, you are not the solution. No matter how much it seems true, you are not the solution. It’s easy to want to say “If he we just had sex enough…” or “If only I were pretty enough…” or “If he loved me he wouldn’t do this…” Lies. His compulsion to porn has nothing to do with your value as a person or who you are. The truth is, porn has chains that hold on. Your guy has to fight and break those chains for himself as well as the two of you as a couple. You are worth fighting for. Love is worth fighting for. You might be a piece in the solution, a reason to start fighting, but ultimately, he has to fight for himself. There is no magic “no more porn” button to push. For most people, there is so much more to fighting than just determining you are going to do it and white-knuckling your way through.
Be brave, because this is a fight
You too are a Fighter. Be brave. Be strong. Be courageous. Sometimes the greatest love comes out of the most difficult situations. If it’s best for both of you, choose to stand by your partner. Fight alongside him. Encourage him. Even if you choose to part ways, your encouragement, support, forgiveness, and love would mean more to him than ever. In addition, he needs your honesty. Forgiveness and grace can potentially give off the vibe that you’re okay with what he’s doing and can be balanced WITH honesty and a strong reminder of the serious harms of porn.
You are not alone. When you feel like you are the only one out there, like no one else’s boyfriend is struggling with porn, like you are helpless because you cannot fix it yourself, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I do not have it all figured out. I am still working through this myself. But one thing I do know for sure: love is worth fighting for.
Every single hour, day, week, month, and year without porn is a victory. Celebrate each and every victory. Keep stepping forward together, or part ways and know you’re doing what’s best for both of you.
Much love to my fellow girlfriend Fighters.
Why This Matters
We love to hear stories of hope and positivity sent by couples who refuse to let porn tear them apart, and choose to fight together. Anyone who struggles with porn has to decide to stop watching for themselves, first, but encouragement from a partner can make a world of difference. Not all couples are equipped or healthy enough to stay together through a porn issue, and that’s okay, too. Only you can know what’s best for you and your relationship, in the long run.
We continually encourage couples to make decisions about their relationship that’s best for them as individuals. Sometimes, that choice is to go their separate ways, and sometimes, that choice is to stay and support each other through the struggles porn brings. It all depends on the couple, and we respect the decisions people make for themselves. There’s no “correct” answer because every relationship is different.
Even so, by choosing love and understanding like this Fighter, instead of shame, we are helping to promote true change in this porn-saturated society. Continue to spread the word that pornography is harmful to individuals, relationships, and society in a way that will inspire and motivate others to choose love for themselves, too.
For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at 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.
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, we’ve got a non-exhaustive list of several resources for those experiencing betrayal trauma. Because this isn’t a complete resource list, feel free to look for more betrayal trauma resources that are catered to your specific needs and/or location. Note that while both men and women can experience betrayal trauma, some of the resources are gender-specific. Please also note that while some of the resources below are religiously affiliated, Fight the New Drug is not.