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Cover photo by Brooke Cagle. 3 minute read.
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.
My experience is so similar to the many stories that thousands of women have shared. I not only developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I also seemed to have lost hope in love because of my husband’s porn struggle.
My concept of men has changed after discovering his porn habit, even though I know this is completely unfair because not everyone thinks that pornography is okay. Truthfully, I am so glad to hear stories of hope through your organization. I think I can finally find the light at the end of the tunnel.
It has been almost 5 months since my life was torn to shreds, and I honestly have learned so much from this community of people also struggling.
In the last few months, I have been able to understand my partner and have been able to reach out to him, I also have been able to discover that it is not me who has to change her appearance nor to change the way I am intimate with him. I have always given him love, and that’s all I have to give.
Now that we both have come to the strong realization that pornography is a problem, we have been able to reach a whole different level in our relationship. It is still something very painful that we’re working through. I’ll admit that some days it’s a struggle to look my husband in the eyes.
But I know one thing—I love him, I love him deeply and I won’t allow porn to destroy the life and all the wonderful memories that I have built with the man that gave me a wonderful child.
I am sure of this, and I trust that love is strong and can overcome all this.
Why This Matters
Over the years, we have received countless messages from partners of porn consumers who feel deeply hurt by their partners’ porn habits. Individuals who learn of their partner’s porn habit often internalize their shame and confusion, asking themselves why they aren’t enough.
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.
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.
As world-renowned relationship experts Drs. John and Julie Gottman wrote about porn, “Intimacy for couples is a source of connection and communication between two people. But when one person becomes accustomed to masturbating to porn, they are actually turning away from intimate interaction. [Additionally], when watching pornography the user is in total control of the sexual experience, in contrast to normal sex in which people are sharing control with the partner… In summary, we are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.”
One study showed that those who never viewed pornography reported higher relationship quality—on every measure—than those who viewed pornography alone. Staying away from porn is a great way to invest in your relationships.
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.
Fight the New Drug may receive financial support from purchases made using affiliate links.
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.