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Why Porn Has Me Feeling Like “The Other Woman” in My Own Relationships

By January 26, 2021No Comments

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.

This story shows how hurtful porn's presence in a relationship can be. Contrary to what porn is sold as, it is not a relationship-enhancer, and it often doesn't improve the connection in an intimate connection. Watching just isn't worth it.

I don’t talk about this. Ever.

It’s difficult and upsetting to describe the feelings of being in a relationship tainted by porn. But here’s my story of how porn ruined my relationship.

Let’s start with a little about me before I met him. I was just starting to love myself. I was getting to that point of growing into myself, feeling comfortable and really knowing who I was becoming. It was the first time I was really happy with who I was.

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

When I met him I felt even happier with myself. It wasn’t just me anymore, it was me and him together. I thought I was at a good place in my life to let myself be in love and be okay with it. I knew I needed to love myself before anybody else. So, I let myself fall for him. And I fell hard.

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Three years later.

I’m lonely. So lonely. I was never much of a jealous person but I’ve turned into this hateful and jealous woman. I’ve lost all my self-esteem. My confidence just kept drifting away more and more each day. I lost myself, and I’m ashamed of it.

It all started when I began noticing something wrong. He would stay up through the middle of the night for hours and hours. The next day he would sleep all day. I noticed he was getting bored of me. Then one day I was going through our computer history to go back to a recent page and there I found it:

Loads and loads of porn.

Related: Having A Porn Habit Isn’t Just A Personal Thing, It Affects Your Partner Too

At the beginning of our relationship three years ago, it was something totally different from now. Both of us were together and we were happy. Then, of course, it started. He tried to hide it.

But then he finally said it. Those words: “I watch porn.”

Honestly, it didn’t really bother me at first. I wasn’t really against it. I didn’t care. I even offered to watch it with him. But that never happened. Never once. Now, I’m so happy that it didn’t. I give myself credit to this day that I didn’t do it, or I probably would’ve been sucked into it too.

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Thinking I was crazy.

Over the past three years, things have gotten worse and worse. I’ve been yelled at for not giving him his “private” time. There was actually one night he said the words that cut my insides: “I don’t love you.” All because I came home early and he didn’t get to finish looking at it.

There was a time I found out he was looking at pictures of a girl he knew that I had serious problems with. When I confronted him about it, he got angry and said, “Maybe I should’ve gotten with her.” He’s said some terrible things to me that’s affected me. I felt like I was the one in the wrong. I felt like I was that crazy girlfriend. I honestly thought I was the one with problems.

Related: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: What Partners Of Porn Consumers Want You To Know

I started hating myself; hating the way I looked. I know I could never look like those women. It tore me apart. I didn’t understand why he didn’t want me and only me. I didn’t know why he had to look at photoshopped photos and edited videos. I don’t understand. I really don’t understand.

I don’t even want to look at him anymore. I feel less attracted to him. I used to think he was the sexiest man alive. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t show his attraction toward me anymore. He used to call me “beautiful” and “sexy,” and I used to feel beautiful and sexy.

Then our sex life finally changed. It turned weird, silent, and awkward. We used to “make love,” and feel it. But that’s gone. I started hating myself and finally, that anger went toward him, too. I started hating him. Every inch of him. I hated him and what he’s done to our relationship. I never planned to feel this way. I never planned to hate myself or him. It just happened.

Related: So You’ve Struggled With Porn? That’s Okay, Here’s Why

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The other women.

You may think while reading this that porn is “the other woman.” But it’s not.

I am the other woman.

Time after time, I am his “other” choice. When compared to these other women he can’t stop looking at, I am the second option. I’m supposed to be his only woman, but he chooses other women over me every day. This is our relationship.

Related: Is My Partner’s Porn Habit Harming Our Relationship, Or Am I Just Insecure?

I started doing research because in the back of my mind I knew I wasn’t crazy. When I found out that I wasn’t the one with the problem, I started crying in tears loudly. I wasn’t crazy after all. For three years I thought something was wrong with me.

My significant other is addicted to porn. Pornography officially ruined our wonderful and loving relationship.

– J.

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Why This Matters

Sometimes, a struggle with porn can bring a couple closer together when they decide to mutually fight for their love, together. And sometimes, the relationship won’t outlast the porn struggle, or porn enhances already-existing issues in a relationship, like in this story.

Either way, couples need to decide what’s best for themselves—to move on together, or apart. There’s no “right” way to do it, if each partner is making the healthiest possible choice for each other and themself.

That being said, research shows how porn doesn’t make relationships any healthier or easier in the long run.

RelatedWhen You Watch Porn, Who Is It Actually Hurting?

Long-term studies paint a very different picture than what you might be hearing from pro-porn advocates. The preponderance of evidence from a dozen or more in-depth, longer-term studies consistently show porn consumption lowering relationship satisfaction, emotional closeness, and sexual satisfaction. [1]

Let’s take a look at some of the info.

• A 2012 study by Amanda Maddox and her team concluded that individuals who never viewed sexually-explicit material reported higher relationship quality (on every measure) compared with those who viewed the same explicit material on their own. [2]

• In one of the few studies to follow married couples and their pornography consumption for several years, researchers found that porn did, in fact, harm relationship quality and satisfaction. The researchers concluded:

“In general, married persons who more frequently viewed pornography in 2006 reported significantly lower levels of marital quality in 2012… Pornography’s effect was not simply a proxy for dissatisfaction with sex life or marital decision-making in 2006. In terms of substantive influence, the frequency of pornography use in 2006 was the second strongest predictor of marital quality in 2012.”

• A new study published in 2017 examined the impact of couples where one partner consumes more porn than the other—which is a pretty common pattern. The researchers concluded that “greater discrepancies between partners in pornography use were related to less relationship satisfaction, less stability, less positive communication, and more relational aggression.” [3]

Related: How It Feels To Finally Be In A Relationship With Someone Who Doesn’t Watch Porn

Study after study has shown that contrary to popular belief, porn itself is bad news for long term relationships. Not an unsupportive and porn-disapproving partner, but the porn itself. The majority of research reflects that porn negatively affects satisfaction within the relationship and ultimately can lead a person to withdraw from a loved one.

As porn becomes more normalized, we want to be a source of information pointing out that porn is not harmless. This isn’t a moral argument. This comes down to you and your personal relationships, and the opportunity to make an informed decision about what will make them indefinitely thrive.

But for anyone who is struggling and wants help and wants to change for themself, there is hope.

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 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.

Citations

[1] Wilson, G. (2013). Studies Linking Porn Use Or Porn/Sex Addiction To Sexual Dysfunctions, Lower Arousal, And Lower Sexual & Relationship Satisfaction; Retrieved From https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/studies-reported-relationships-between-porn-use-or-porn-addictionsex-addiction-and-sexual
[2] Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior40(2), 441–448. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-009-9585-4
[3] Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., & Brown, C. (2016). Differences in pornography use among couples: Associations with satisfaction, stability, and relationship processes. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45, 145-148, doi: 10.1007/s10508-015-0562-9
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