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How These Women Supported Their Partners Through Compulsive Porn Habits

By May 9, 2019 No Comments

FTND note: The aim of this post is to challenge the shaming narrative that happens all too often 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. These women have stories that look different from many other former partners of porn consumers, and that’s okay. Consider what is being said, and understand that 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.

It affects your brain, hurts your partner, warps your ideas about sex, and so much more.

To put it simply, porn is unhealthy. It’s harmful to you and to those around you. But just because porn is toxic, it doesn’t mean that those who use it are “bad” or inherently “toxic” people.

A couple’s story does not have to be defined by or end with porn—we believe there is always hope, especially for partners who equally want to fight for the relationship.

Sometimes, it is those who compulsive porn consumers are closest to who must have the biggest and deepest hope for the future.

Rebecca and Mark’s struggle with porn

In a recent blog post, we wrote about two men who both had porn habits to “ease the struggle of the single life.”

We mentioned a guy by the name of Mark whose own daily porn habit hadn’t ended with a relationship, even to his wife Rebecca. Instead, it followed him long into their marriage.

Related: How Avoiding Shame Can Help With Healing From Betrayal Trauma

We sat down with his wife to get a real-life look at how porn can affect marriages.

“Mark shared with me that he occasionally [watched porn] before we got married,” Rebecca shared with us. “However, it wasn’t until we were actually married that I realized how all-consuming the issue was for him. It only took a couple of months before I began to notice that his laptop was always with him at the weirdest of times in the weirdest of places. The sexual and relational signs of an obsession with porn were all there too, and they got more and more pronounced as our relationship continued. After a year or so, I started to wonder whether I should stay with him,” she continued, tears in her eyes.

It’s no wonder she began to think that way.

Porn Is Totes Not Cool

There’s a wealth of evidence that illuminates how mentally and relationally damaging it can be for a partner to find out that their significant other has been consuming porn. More specifically, partners often feel a wide array of negative emotions including rejection and betrayal. Also, the secrecy, isolation, and lying associated with a porn habit only serve to plant seeds of mistrust that can lead to even greater mental and relational issues.

Given the harm that porn can cause in relationships, it’d be easy to assume that Mark and Rebecca broke up and went their separate ways.

But they didn’t.

“There came a point where I knew I couldn’t go on in the relationship if it was going to continue as it had been… with all the lies and hiding from one another. Mark and I eventually ended up talking about everything. Through a lot of tears, he shared with me how he felt trapped by and ashamed of his addiction. He desperately desired freedom, in addition to a strong marriage with me, but didn’t know what to do to get those things,” she explained. “The conversation was so, so hard, but in hearing Mark share honestly for what seemed like the first time, I felt like I could finally distinguish between him and his porn problem. He was not porn, nor porn him. And, so I chose to stand by his side to fight through it instead of giving up.”

Related: The Science Of Betrayal: The Emotional Trauma Of Having A Porn-Addicted Partner

While Mark and Rebecca’s big conversation occurred about one year into their marriage, it would take another three years for Mark’s porn struggle to end completely. Even though it was difficult, Rebecca stayed committed through every counseling session, every setback, and every other difficult conversation the couple would have regarding the struggle.

Together, brick by brick, they dismantled the walls that porn had built around Mark’s heart and mind.

As of today, Mark has been free for over three years and shares a healthy, love-filled, pornless marriage with Rebecca—and he attributes much of his freedom to his wife and her willingness to walk every step of the journey with him.

Stephanie and John’s journey with porn

We also caught up with Stephanie, wife to John—the other guy we mentioned in this article from a few weeks ago—who shared with us about her commitment to her husband in the midst of his fight with porn.

“It took until the middle of our dating relationship before John finally opened up about his porn struggle,” Stephanie said. “Honestly, the thought of being in a relationship with someone who was addicted to porn really scared me, but I realized being addicted to porn was scary for him too… it was as if a riptide had swept him up and he was stuck, drowning out at sea. There’s this stigma that all men who look at porn are dirty and disgusting. When John and I talked though, I could see that that wasn’t the case with him; there was a lot of hurt and shame, but also a deep desire to be free.”

Related: 4 Ways To Support Yourself & Your Partner Through A Struggle With Porn

Now, everything isn’t exactly perfect with John and Stephanie’s relationship. As John shared in our earlier conversation with him, “…the stuff I saw in porn is different from what I experience sexually with my wife, which sometimes makes that part of our relationship more difficult.”

This struggle makes sense, seeing as porn is filled with performers who are Photoshopped, surgically enhanced, and airbrushed to perfection in both photos and videos. Porn creates and fuels unrealistic sexual expectations, and unrealistic expectations affect relationships.

Regardless, in the midst of the repercussions of John’s fight against porn, Stephanie has stayed fully committed.

As John put it, “With Stephanie, I am fully known and fully loved and that gives me all the strength in the world to take a stand.”

Classic PKL

Love on, fight on

The aim of sharing these stories is to offer up some hope to couples who are working through issues brought into a relationship by porn, and challenge the shaming narrative that happens all too often in this fight against porn. 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. These women have stories that look different from many other former partners of porn consumers, and that’s okay. Consider what is being said, and understand that 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.

If you are struggling with porn, or are the partner of someone who is, we encourage you to find your tribe and lean in—whether that be your friends, family, and significant other.

Related: How Discovering My Partner’s Porn Secret Pushed Us To Fight For Our Marriage

Of course, not every relationship will end up like Stephanie’s or Rebecca’s. Sometimes, love cannot and does not outlast a porn struggle, and that’s okay. But know that it is possible for love to triumph over porn, if both are willing. If you know someone who’s struggling with porn, consider what it would mean to stand with them in their fight and offer encouragement. Let them know they are not alone, and they are worth love and support.

Together, like Mark and Rebecca, and John and Stephanie, we can shine a light on how porn hurts, but love can heal.

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Need help?

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.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery

Recover

Bloom

Addo Recovery

Fortify

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