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How His Porn Obsession Outlasted Our 30-Year Relationship

By February 13, 2020 February 20th, 2020 No Comments
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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 received a story that shows what a real struggle pornography can turn into. The following story shows how porn can isolate, consume, and eventually even destroy friend and family relationships.

We were in high school when I first met my future husband. He was my first serious boyfriend, so obviously, I had no real experience. He came from a nice family in our town, and I was determined to have a fairytale life with him.

Since we started dating at 15, I didn’t know what was really appropriate. Even then, I felt I was fulfilling his porn fantasies, and he treated my body as “parts.” I thought it was just him being a young guy. I remember the first time we were alone at his house—in his bedroom—and I saw the giant bag full of porn magazines. He said his mom knew and didn’t care, she just advised him to hide them when his younger nephew came over.

Related: From One Consumer To Another: Quit Watching Porn, It’s Not Worth It

We did the usual high school stuff—went to dances, football games, etc. Then there were times we snuck into the X-rated movie theater with other teens. I was very uncomfortable with it, but that was my first exposure to sex.

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Porn as the third wheel

We were married by age 20. Our honeymoon included him bringing porn magazines. Almost as soon as we were married, it seemed he lost interest in me physically. But he always had porn around.

Our first Christmas together, I innocently asked for a Polaroid camera. He obliged, and immediately used it to take nude photos of us. I even got sick with the flu on Christmas morning but that didn’t stop him. It’s not what I had intended the camera to be used for, but I loved him and wanted to make him happy. We were one of the first people we knew to get a VCR, and the first thing he did was go out with his buddy and bring back some porn videos. I wasn’t happy, but I went along with it.

Related: Confessions Of A Neglected Wife: How It Feels When My Partner Prefers Porn Over Me

Even though I’m an attractive woman, I never felt attractive to him. I felt nearly invisible. Our sex life was lackluster and never initiated by him. There was never any passion or true intimacy.

We had two children and he was a good provider, but once we had kids I saw porn in a new light and no longer allowed it in our home. So, much like an alcoholic, he would hide it.

At one point, he worked with a bunch of male co-workers, and they had their own “porn club” in which they would swap magazines through the office mail. I would find piles of magazines in the trunk of his car. I didn’t know what to do, so I would just throw them out. He was our son’s scout leader, basketball coach; to the outside world we seemed like the all-American family.

Then the internet arrived.

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Fighting against the rising tide

As soon as we got the internet, there simply was no way to combat the flood of porn that was able to enter our home. On a major wedding anniversary of ours, I got up in the morning to find he’d accidentally left a print out on our kitchen counter of a graphic sex act he’d downloaded off our computer. I wondered if there were other times he had forgotten but our sons found it first instead of me. I’ll never know.

From the browser history on our computer, I was shocked to see his tastes were becoming more and more extreme. Still, I talked to no one about any of it.

Related: 3 Ways Porn Damaged Our Relationship and Killed Our Sex Life 

I suffered from bouts of depression, even attending therapy, but I never connected my depression or our relationship difficulties to the porn; I barely even mentioned it to the therapist. I still thought this was something all men did to some extent, and had no clue how devastating it was to relationships.

After many years, my husband became a workaholic who was advancing in his career, leaving me to take care of the family by myself. We were very dependent on him, but still felt alone. He became a top executive in his company and moved deeper in professional circles, and that’s when he started having the affairs.

Related: How To Approach The Subject Of Porn With Your Partner

Looking back, I realize there were signs he was cheating on me before we were married and then into our marriage, but I couldn’t allow myself to believe it. He would always deny it, and frankly, since he never seemed to have much of a sex drive, I dismissed the idea.

Don't Buy The Lie - Black

The separation, and a reason for his obsession

We eventually separated after I made a major discovery about an affair. He then admitted that he was sexually abused as a preteen. The abuse involved older teens and pornography, he said. He went to counseling and we tried to reconcile.

Finally, I discovered a year’s worth of bank statements in the trash in our home office, and saw numerous charges to not only porn sites, but swinger sites where married adults can hook up. We hadn’t had sex in a couple of years at that point, so he claimed he needed it for “emotional release.”

We divorced just shy of our 30th wedding anniversary. He remarried 2 months after our divorce, to a woman I had suspected he might be seeing. Our family—and my teenaged fairy tale—was officially torn apart.

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

I joined a support group for family and friends of sex addicts and it was such a great help. My sons were completely blindsided by the divorce considering my ex-husband and I kept our issues private for so long.

Although we’ve all moved on with our lives, my sons will never have the family holidays the way we had them before. My youngest son battles anxiety and depression, I had to sell our family home, and I now work two jobs to barely get by.

Fortunately, I’ve met a wonderful man who has helped heal my heart. The family we were, the family I gave my entire adult life to, is forever broken and gone.

This is real life, this is how pornography eats away hopes, dreams, and lives.

– K.

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Why this matters

We applaud this Fighter for her honesty. While their relationship did not outlast the porn struggle, sometimes, partners can be pushed to fight for each other in the midst of difficult issues that porn can bring into a relationship. It all depends on the couple, and whether they’re both willing to fight for the commitment. In the end, every couple needs to decide for themselves what’s best.

We get thousands of emails and messages from partners all across the world who describe how their relationship was harmed by their significant other’s porn habit.

Related: Here’s Why Those Who Struggle With Porn Aren’t Bad People

Decades of research from major institutions supported by countless personal accounts from people all over the world confirm that porn is, in fact, not harmless, and we wouldn’t be doing society a service by saying it is. All someone has to do is evaluate the existing research on porn to understand that this issue is bigger than what you might normally hear about porn being a tool to “express sexuality” or “spice up relationships.”

“Porn Kills Love” is an impactful statement that is meant to spark awareness and motivate a change in perspective in our porn-saturated world. It encompasses, in a simplified statement, what the research is saying about porn’s impact on society as a whole, as well as individuals and their ability and/or desire to healthfully bond with others.

Our declaration is “Porn Kills Love,” not that “insert consumer’s name” kills love. Our message is directed at porn itself, not at the person who consumes it. In fact, consider how most porn consumers have no idea that porn is harmful—and why would they? We live in a world where porn is completely normalized, celebrated, and even promoted.

Related: Here’s Why Those Who Struggle With Porn Aren’t Bad People

Porn is, at best, heartbreaking, and at worst, downright destructive to relationships. Thankfully, real love and mutual determination can have the power to work through the damage porn can cause in a relationship. But both partners have to be all-in; in this case, it was clear that they both didn’t want the same thing.

Our mission since day one has been to shine a light on the real harms of pornography and make this issue a hot topic, 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.

Fight for real love, and fight to change the world.

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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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If this article inspired you to have a conversation with your partner or someone else about porn, check out our step-by-step interactive conversation guide, Let’s Talk About Porn, for tips.

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