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.
Sometimes, a struggle with porn outlasts a relationship. But sometimes, like in this relationship, it doesn't. For many couples, there is hope of overcoming porn if you're both committed to fighting.
Thank you for your efforts in freeing the world of sexual exploitation, destroyed relationships, and damaged minds.
Today is my anniversary. Yes, my wedding anniversary, but also the anniversary of D Day, or Discovery Day. That is a term, among a multitude of others that I never wanted to learn.
Two years ago today, I came home from transporting children to events. My husband was away at a holiday party for work. After tucking the kids in, I sat at the computer to pay bills. I noticed an odd legal pad on the desk. As I perused the notes in my husband’s writing, I was shocked to see lists of women’s names, ages (most under 19), bra sizes, occupations (strippers, porn performers, and even a fitness instructor like myself), and favorite sexual positions.
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In shock, I attempted to reach him for an explanation. I was told he would be home soon to explain.
Hours later I went to bed, sobbing and confused. When he finally arrived, he tried to sneak into bed. We talked all night, when I was fed a watered-down version of his porn obsession that led to him playing an online sexual dating game that I discovered that evening. I didn’t even receive a note on a napkin for my anniversary.
I felt inferior, old, ugly, unwanted, and crazy for being so upset. I confided in a friend. She said everyone watches porn and maybe I wasn’t giving him enough sex. I KNEW that wasn’t true. I’ve always been extremely comfortable with my sexuality and open with my husband. I was often the one to instigate sex and had much more interest. So, maybe I wasn’t good at it or the years and babies had taken a toll. My husband assured me this was not true.
Related: Here’s Support For People Who Are Hurt By Their Partner’s Porn Consumption
I confided in another friend who said she likes her husband to use porn because he would leave her alone. That just made me sad. I was afraid to tell anyone else, so I stopped talking to friends and family. I knew they would be able to tell something was wrong, but I could not risk another person thinking I was stupid for being upset. It was isolating.
A year and a half later, I demanded full disclosure from him. So much time had been wasted, and now, I was in deep despair, knowing how severe his addiction had been and how it affected his daily life.
Dealing With New Fears
A post from you, shared by a friend, led me to begin to heal the hurt. I learned that others felt this way. I discovered Bloom and Addo. I met other women like me. Although it was gut-wrenching to know they had also suffered, it was comforting to find solace.
I have been through a great deal in my life, including domestic violence and divorce. This is by far the most challenging. The healing process is long and slow. You lose trust in your partner, trust in yourself, precious time, hope for the future you had planned, the relationship you had built, and mostly—but rarely discussed—your own sexuality.
Where I previously would not have thought twice, I am now inhibited. I overthink every sexual advance, or lack of, from my husband. I obsess about clothing, wrinkles, makeup, hair products, and every pound gained. I worry about his pleasure and never my own. I am afraid to initiate sex for fear of rejection like before, when I could not measure up to what his brain had been conditioned to find sexy. His sexual addiction has cost me my sexuality. I no longer enjoy what I once loved.
Related: I’m Hopeful For The First Time Since Learning About My Partner’s Porn Issue
I have become the “prude” friends accused me of being to cause this. Sexual images, television, advertisements, women in revealing clothing, and even flirting with my own husband now make me uncomfortable. I am terrified of what may trigger his addiction and the things that trigger my fears. I think my enjoyment of sex is what I miss the most.
We are both in recovery. It is exhausting and requires many hours and much work. I don’t know if I will ever be okay again. I don’t know if I will ever regain the sexuality that porn has selfishly stolen from me. But, I am thankful to Fight The New Drug for your work in preventing others from losing relationships and true sexuality that cannot be found on a screen.
Thank you for all you do.
Why This Matters
Hundreds of studies show that porn can be toxic to relationships. Porn is not a harmless pastime, especially when it’s hurting a romantic partner.
Many porn consumers develop a secret porn habit long before meeting their partners. Many consumers don’t understand the negative impact porn can have on a relationship and have never learned that porn is harmful, and this is why we exist to raise awareness on the harmful effects of porn.
We respect this Fighter’s decision to stay and fight for her relationship. Sometimes the decision to break up and start over may be healthier for everyone involved, but this couple in the story above is choosing to fight. The pull of porn can be overwhelmingly strong to someone who is struggling, but in the end, real love can be stronger if both have the desire to fight for the relationship and leave porn behind.
Related: How These Women Supported Their Partners Through Compulsive Porn Habits
The reality is, not every couple will mutually choose to recover from the harms porn fuels in a relationship, and that’s okay. Some do seek healing and reconciliation. Porn can be hurtful to a couple’s connection, but mutual love and understanding can work through some of the most difficult situations.
Even when it’s difficult, real love is worth fighting for when both partners are committed to overcoming the obstacles porn fuels in the relationship.
When dealing with a partner who struggles with porn and feeling the betrayal that comes from that, the fight can be really difficult, but it can also absolutely be worth it if both partners are invested in overcoming the odds and working together.
For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out 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 unwanted porn habit, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.
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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.