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Ali’s Story: I was Sure Our Relationship Would Outlast His Porn Problem—But it Didn’t

By October 21, 2019 No Comments

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.

Ali and Tony reached out to us, and wanted to share their story publicly in 2016 when it seemed like their relationship would overcome porn. Then, in 2018, Ali reached out to update us. Spoiler alert: it isn't as happy of an ending.

Tony & Ali’s Story from 2016

Hi Fight the New Drug!

My name is Ali and my best friend and boyfriend of eight years is Tony. We are both from Dayton, Ohio. I would first like to sincerely thank everyone involved in the FTND movement. You have no idea how comforting and empowering it is to know that we are not alone in the fight against porn. Thank you for everything that your organization does to spread the word and raise awareness about the harms of pornography. You have reached so many people and changed so many lives. I’ll never be able to say just how grateful I am for what you guys do.

I think today seems like the perfect day to share our story with you.

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The beginning of a decades-long struggle

Tony was exposed to porn for the first time when he was eight years old. He had been consuming porn for eleven years by the time we had met. At the beginning of our relationship, he kept his habit hidden from me but it didn’t stay that way for long. I knew something was off. I could feel it, like a pit in the bottom of my stomach.

Years went by, and his struggle only worsened. I had confronted him multiple times about how uncomfortable I was with porn, and how much it hurt me that he was consuming it. He always promised me he would stop. He always told me how sorry he was for lying to me. He agreed that it wasn’t acceptable for porn to be a part of our relationship. But as soon as I felt like I could trust him again, I would catch him in another lie. Every fight we’ve ever had, every bad day, every argument, every issue between us, could always be traced directly back to porn.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Relationships and Porn Don’t Mix

Our struggles could be traced back to porn

Pornography was a wall between me and the man that I love. Porn drove us apart. Porn made me question why someone I trusted would emotionally betray me so deeply. Porn made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for him, like I couldn’t give him what he needed. Porn fueled my own insecurities and sent me into a downward spiral. Porn kept our trust and our passion and our happiness from growing. Porn almost killed our love. Almost.

There was no way we were going to give up everything we had worked so hard on. We will not submit to pornography. We will not let it control our relationship. And we certainly will not let it kill our love.

So last year, we made the decision together to kick pornography out of our relationship for good. Tony signed up for and completed Fortify. We’ve been attending regular therapy sessions (both individually and as a couple) to work on building back the trust that we lost. Tony achieved one-year porn-free on August 31st, about a week shy of our eighth anniversary!

Fortify

Telling our story to the world

Just a few months ago, our local news channel aired a special report on porn addiction among children, and we had the amazing opportunity to be a part of it. Admittedly, we were both a bit nervous to be talking openly about porn on local television, but keeping this problem in the shadows only gives it power over the people who are struggling. Once we decided to come out about our struggle with porn, we felt even more empowered. We are so excited and hopeful for the great things that are sure to come out of drawing attention to this serious public health crisis.

Related: I’m Helping My Boyfriend Quit Porn For Himself, Not For Me

If our story helps even one person, it will have made every day of our difficult journey together worth it. Below is a picture of us repping the Fight the New Drug movement right after our on-camera interview. We are happier now than we have ever been. We are fighters and we fought for love!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Keep on doing what you guys do. You rock and we love you for it!

Sending health, happiness, and real love,

– Ali & Tony

__________________________

Be A Lover And A Fighter - Retro

Fast forward to 2018

Hey FTND!

My name is Ali. Some of you may actually remember me. I first wrote to you back in 2016 about my boyfriend Tony and I, and our struggle with pornography. It’s been a couple of years now and I’ve been meaning to write again to update you guys on how we’ve been doing. I know this is a long one, but it means a lot to me to be able to share the past few years with you.

We were doing wonderfully and felt so hopeful for our future together. Between quitting porn and regular therapy, Tony and I were making great strides. We were having meaningful conversations. We were spending more quality time together. We were building trust back where it had been broken for so many years. And most important of all, I felt like we became best friends all over again.

We did everything together, and we genuinely enjoyed life in each other’s company. I thought that we were really on the right track to having the kind of relationship we both had always wanted. But although we were closer than ever in almost every way we could be, there had been no change in our physical relationship.

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I had hoped things would change

At first, I just assumed that it would take a while for Tony’s brain to reset and adjust to responding physically to real-life sexual intimacy. We’d been talking openly about it in therapy, and I was very outright with my concerns. Tony assured me that he would begin making better efforts to connect with me physically. So I waited. And waited…. and waited.

RelatedTrue Story: How My Porn Habit Spiraled Out Of Control And Changed Me

Every week that went by, I addressed the lack of physicality in our group therapy sessions together. And every week, Tony would promise to make a step. But every session that passed became another week I was left feeling let down, disappointed, and alone. I tried everything my therapist suggested to try and ignite something physical between us: non-sexual touch, sleeping together partially unclothed, massages, holding hands, cuddling on the couch during our shows… but it was all one-sided.

No matter what I did, it wasn’t reciprocated. Tony rejected my advances every time. He always had an excuse why he didn’t want to. Sometimes, I played it strong and shrugged it off. But a lot of times, I rolled over in bed and cried myself to sleep.

Why wasn’t I enough?

Weeks turned into months, and before I knew it, a year had gone by. Our routine seemed set in stone. I stopped making physical advances toward Tony, because even the smallest ones were met with rejection that left me feeling inadequate, unwanted, unloved, and crushed. Instead of gently prodding him to try, I spent our therapy sessions in tears, begging to know why I wasn’t good enough for him.

Why couldn’t he bring himself to touch me, to love on me? But he never had an answer. He just sat quietly, looking at the floor while I sobbed and pleaded with him to please tell me why. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. No matter how much my therapist stressed to me that it wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t help but blame myself. I felt like if I resembled the girls in porn, he would be more attracted to me, and he wouldn’t turn me down. After all, how many guys in their twenties would turn down sex? Every single day!

RelatedThe Diary Of A Porn Addict’s Girlfriend

I was convinced there was something lacking in me, and that was to blame for our dead bedroom. The demise of our relationship was in the making for a very long time, which even now, hurts me to think of.

The moment I admitted I couldn’t do it

One day, I simply just admitted to myself that I couldn’t do it anymore. I had been in denial about it for a while because I wanted so much for things to be okay. I put every ounce of energy I had into trying to repair something that was broken before it even started. I had needs that had gone unmet for a long time. I was sad and lonely and down to the last little bit of hope I had left. I was emotionally exhausted and tired of fighting for “us” all by myself. So I made my decision.

I told Tony that I felt like we should do a trial separation, to take some time and focus on improving on ourselves individually. And when we were ready, we could start working on our relationship again with a fresh perspective and renewed energy. I thought that this would be a good opportunity for both of us, as did our therapist.

Unfortunately, it did not work out the way I had wanted it to. Tony went straight back to using porn again, breaking his more than two-year porn-free streak. Those actions spoke louder than anything. I couldn’t believe that he’d so easily given up, after everything we’d been through.

Classic PKL

The end of an era

Tony and I spent nearly ten years together. Many of those years were spent unhappy because porn drove us apart. I did everything I could have done to try and help him through it. I did everything I could to save and repair and renew our broken relationship. Nothing I did was enough. And even though he had stopped using porn for a period of time, he still could not bring himself to have a sexual relationship with me.

My therapist says it could have been due to a number of reasons. Maybe Tony was scared of sex triggering a relapse, maybe he was afraid of not being able to perform?

RelatedEven After My Divorce, I Don’t Believe Porn Is A Dating Deal-Breaker

Whatever the reason may be, I still don’t know. What I do know, is that I lost my soulmate to porn. I loved Tony, more than anything in this world. I would have done anything to help him. And I tried. But in the end, I just didn’t measure up. I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering what could have been. The list of things we dreamed of doing will forever be unfulfilled. A little piece of my heart will always be broken.

Finding healing, hope, and happiness 

It’s been a year now since our relationship ended. It’s been hard. Ten years is a long time to be with someone. Leaving Tony was leaving everything I’d known. My entire life has changed because of this. I’m trying to do my best, but I’m struggling. My family wasn’t very supportive in the beginning. They adored Tony, and they didn’t understand why I would break things off. As far as his family goes, they all hate me. They think that I’m a terrible person, probably because they don’t know what really happened between us. Everyone blames me for the breakup. But the truth is that Tony made his choice, and his choice was not “us.” His choice was porn.

I represent one of the many people in the world who has been affected by porn. And now, I represent the movement against it. Thank you so much for reading. To all of the Fighters out there: don’t ever give up. What’s on the other side of recovery is worth it. I promise.

To health, happiness, and real love,

Ali

Don't Buy The Lie - White

Why this matters

Sometimes, love outlasts porn. Sometimes, though, a struggle with porn can outlast love.

Our mission since day one has been to shine a light on the real harms of pornography and make this issue more easy to talk about, not some awkward or hidden conversation.

By being open about the harms of pornography, we can change attitudes and perceptions about this new drug in our society, and how it’s affecting individuals, relationships, and our society as a whole. Porn may seem like an awkward issue, but it’s one we have to be bold and shine a light on. Pornography is robbing people of meaningful relationships and genuine happiness.

By taking a stand and fighting for love, we are not only bettering our own lives and protecting our relationships with those who mean the most to us, we are bettering our world.

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