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 personal story from a Fighter whose heart and relationship have been deeply hurt by her partner's porn habit. Stories like these show how watching porn isn't just a personal past time, it's something that affects both partners.

Hi FTND team,

I would like to share my story with you, because I’ve read other people’s stories and they have helped me, and I hope someone else can be helped by mine. Due to the sensitive nature of pornography addiction, if you could please keep me anonymous or simply use my middle name “Jane” rather than identifying me, I would appreciate it.

I met my husband almost 8 years ago in college. When we were engaged, he told me that he needed to take care of his pornography addiction that he had fought off and on for several years prior to marrying me. He made it sound relatively simple, asked me to take control of his internet blockers and hold him accountable. In a matter of months, we had “tackled” the problem and it was “no longer an issue.”

RelatedHow Porn Can Hurt Your Partner

We got married and had a baby within the first year. During my recovery, I discovered he had gone back to porn—and my heart broke. Already dealing with self-image issues, I felt I now had to compete with porn stars, which was impossible, just weeks after delivery.

I was angry and hurt and demanded that he stop. He said he would try, for months after I would check in and he would say he had been good or had slipped again. Eventually, the “slips” grew farther apart and I thought he was doing better. I felt so accomplished for our marriage having survived the blow and moved forward! Such a relief! I periodically asked how he was doing, but honestly, I was not really worried.

RelatedMy Partner Would Rather Watch Hours Of Porn Than Have Sex With Me

Fast forward to our seventh anniversary, we now have three beautiful children together, just bought our first home and finally have a great job to support us, but I’ve felt something was off for a long time now. I just assumed it was another episode of extreme postpartum depression…but I chose to ask more sincerely last night:

I asked, “Do you ever look at porn anymore?”

Then, silence.

His hesitation in the dark stabbed my heart, and I knew before he even opened his mouth. Through more questions, I’ve learned that this never really stopped. Not actually. He’s had this deep, dark secret for six of our seven years of marriage, and I feel totally betrayed.

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

Now our relationship is strained, and seven years of trust are now in question in my mind. Do I still love him? Aways. Will I stay with him? Absolutely. But I had the most heartbreaking conversation last night where I told him that I would always work through this addiction with him, but if he ever chooses to turn his addiction on to a child, if he ever hurts a child, if he ever hurts MY children because of this, there will be no second chance.

I hope it never ever comes to that, but this is the reality that porn has created in my life.

The man I love, that I have built a life and a family with, heard last night that there is a point where he can lose it all. I never wanted to address that concern, but until our trust is rebuilt, I will worry. I will constantly wonder what other women he has looked at.. I will cry more over my mom-of-three body. I will hurt for a while. I will be okay. But it really sucks right now.

Jane

Porn Hurts Partners

No one ever woke up and said, “Today, I want to get out there and ruin my current and future relationships. I’m going to cut myself off emotionally, undermine trust, and leave my partner feeling confused, rejected, angry, and betrayed.”

No one says that, but a growing amount of research shows that’s exactly what can happen when we watch porn.

RelatedWatching Porn Isn’t Just A Personal Habit, It Affects Your Partner Too

Someone who learns of their partner’s porn habit often internalizes their shame and confusion, asking themselves why they aren’t “enough.” They may feel undesirable, unattractive, and worthless. [1] Many partners of porn consumers even start showing physical symptoms of anxiety, depression, and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. [2]

And, because of the shame they feel and their worry about being blamed for their partner’s problem, the majority of partners who learn of a partner’s porn consumption isolate themselves at least somewhat from their normal sources of social support, just when they need that support the most. [3]

We fight for love because no one deserves to feel second place to a digital, airbrushed fantasy. Keep it real, and fight for your love.

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

FTND_FightForWhatsReal_v1

Get Involved

Make a commitment to be honest in your relationship, and fight for real love. SHARE this post and get the word out that porn hurts partners, too.

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Citations

[1] Minarcik, J., Wetterneck, C. T., & Short, M. B. (2016). The Effects Of Sexually Explicit Material Use On Romantic Relationship Dynamics. Journal Of Behavioral Addictions, 5(4) 700-707. Doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; Bergner, R.M., & Bridges, A. J. (2002). The Significance Of Heavy Pornography Involvement For Romantic Partners: Research And Clinical Implications. Journal Of Sex And Marital Therapy, 28, 193-206. Doi:10.1080/009262302760328235
[2] Steffens, B. A., & Rennie, R. L. (2006). The Traumatic Nature Of Disclosure For Wives Of Sexual Addicts. Sexual Addiction And Compulsivity, 13(2-3), 247-267. Doi:10.1080/10720160600870802; Wildmon-White, M., & Young, J. (2002). Family-Of-Origin Characteristics Among Women Married To Sexually Addicted Men. Sexual Addiction And Compulsivity, 9(4), 263-273. Doi:10.1080/10720760216042
[3] Manning, J. C. (2010) The Impact Of Pornography On Women: Social Science Findings And Clinical Observations. In Stoner, J. Stoner & Hughes, D. (Eds.), The Social Cost Of Pornography: A Collection Of Papers (Pp. 3-20). Princeton, N.J.: Witherspoon Institute.

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