Photo by Ryan Jacobson. 3 minute read.
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 true story that shows how love can persevere through difficult circumstances—even through a difficult fight to give up porn. Some stories, like this one, show how much porn hurts partners, but how determination and choosing help can rebuild trust and heal a relationship.
I feel compelled to share the story of how porn has affected me, my husband, and my other friends. It has been the most horrible and emotional past 4 years of my life, and I hope that maybe my story could help save someone else.
When I was dating my husband, he lied about watching porn. He told me he was against it just like I was, and I trusted him. We had the perfect relationship and everyone we knew wanted what we had. I started to grow suspicious because of the anxiety he had around sex, and I eventually figured out that he was watching porn, so I tried out porn too. It made me feel disgusting, dirty, anxious, depressed, I didn’t want to have sex. I hated what I saw but I understood the attraction to it.
I decided to talk to my husband (then boyfriend) about it, and he opened up to me about how he started looking at porn when he was 11. His dad knew and didn’t care. He didn’t like it either but he couldn’t stop. He was completely obsessed and consumed by it.
He started cheating on me, having cybersex with women he found on the internet because porn wasn’t enough for him anymore. He couldn’t even look at me, and we didn’t have any romance. He felt horrible about himself, and I felt the ultimate betrayal. I couldn’t eat or sleep or think about anything except what was wrong with me that the man who married me and swore he loved me couldn’t want me. Honestly, I wanted to die.
He went to counseling and recovered from his addiction, and now we are happy and healthy. His recovery wasn’t easy though, it was just like what I imagine a drug addiction to be like. He was depressed and irritable. All of his friends teased him for giving up porn and said I was controlling and jealous. Thankfully, he quit anyway.
We just found out that his best friend was addicted to child pornography, and he is now behind bars. What I really want to say to anyone struggling or in love with someone who is, stay strong and keep fighting. Porn is a dark hole, you get desensitized and you’ll get deeper and deeper until you’ve hit rock bottom.
The ridicule is worth it, the embarrassment is worth it, the fight is worth it.
Why does this matter?
In the thousands of messages we get from people all across the world, a lot of them are about relationships that have been deeply hurt by porn. But we love hearing stories like this Fighter’s that are about making it work, and choosing to love through the hurt caused by porn. Even so, not everyone’s situation or relationship will work out this way, and that’s okay.
It can be so frustrating to feel helpless in the face of your partner overcoming a porn struggle. The truth is, it’s their personal battle to fight, while you can be a huge encouragement to them through it all. Porn doesn’t have to kill love. Sometimes, love (along with time, recovery tools, and determination) can kill porn.
It is really important to remember that people who struggle with porn aren’t broken human beings that should be rejected, shamed, or judged. Porn is a very real problem and should be approached similarly to how you would approach someone with a gambling addiction or with an eating disorder; “just stop” and shaming are never helpful—recovery is a journey. We can all fight for love by raising awareness on the fact that porn can be highly addictive and it damages relationships, as well as providing support to those already struggling.
In the end, love wins over shaming, and teamwork wins over fighting alone when both partners are invested and want to make it work. Regardless of the struggle, love is always worth fighting for.
Porn isn’t just personal, it can hurt both the partner and the viewer. SHARE this post and raise awareness that there is hope for anyone—both those struggling, and their partners.
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.
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