Hello everybody! I decided to write this post because there are many people dealing with a loved one using pornography and it being detrimental to both of their lives, and these people don’t know how to spark the conversation with their loved ones. It is a difficult conversation for sure and you may be met with skepticism. It is impossible to change someone who does not want to be changed, and it is the definition of insanity to repeat behaviors over and over and expect different results. This blog post should hopefully give you some ideas on how to approach a loved one with a porn problem, and what to do if your talk does not go well.
Step #1: Planning the Talk
Before you go into this conversation with your loved one, it needs to be planned out and you have to know all the facts. How long has this person been using porn? How long has it been affecting your relationship? Is your sex life affected by their porn use? Do they neglect relationships or responsibilities to watch porn? You absolutely have to know the answers to these questions before you can think of approaching the person. If you don’t know these answers, you have to think to yourself/ask the loved one questions to get answers.
Step #2: Initiating the Talk
This is the hard part. First of all, you don’t want to go into this conversation in a hostile way. You’re a disgusting porn addict and I can’t take it anymore! This is a horrible way to handle the situation and you’ll push your loved one into a corner and they will shut down. Start off in a way like this: X, I wanted to discuss pornography with you. I’ve noticed it’s been having negative affects on your life and I want to help you help yourself. When you take this approach it makes the person more likely to listen to you.
Unfortunately, because porn is a taboo subject you may be lied to initially by the porn addict, about the amount of porn they watch, if they masturbate to it, what they watch, etc. You have to show them that they can trust you. Don’t get angry, sad or upset with the addict if they tell you the truth. If you feel they are lying, and you’ll know if they are, you have to keep a mental note of what they told you and have to go back to step one.
Step #3: Following up
After you revise your talk and prepare yourself, you have to have a follow-up talk. There may be tears, explosive anger, or more lying. The person may not be ready to address any issues that they may have. You have to be patient and understanding, but you also have to keep your guard up. Know when the person is lying to you and don’t be afraid to tell them you know if they’re lying. Know that this issue is likely something they’ve been dealing with for 10+ years. It is not your fault, it is not because you’re not good enough for that person, or that they’re some sexual deviant. It has a hold on that person and they need your support. If you can come to an agreement, that’s great. The person has to be accountable to you or to someone else, and they have to be honest from here on out.
Step #4: Getting help for yourself
A step that many people in this situation neglect is that you yourself need help too, due to the mental and physical stress this addiction may be causing you. Whether it’s professionally, through keeping a journal or by talking to someone about it, you have to get your feelings out. It is difficult to deal with something like this on your own. Your mental sanity depends on you getting your feelings out. I do this by blogging, talking to my partner and confiding in good friends. It helps and I know I’d be more of a mess if I didn’t confide in someone.
As previously mentioned, this is not about you, your beauty, your sexuality, or you not being good enough. It is impossible to compete with billions of different women in photos or videos, so you can’t try. I’m learning I can’t do that myself, and I tried really hard and it was detrimental to my mental health. You have to love yourself, your body and your beauty. You have to know that this is an issue that plagues a majority of men (and a lot of women) today, and that all you can do is be supportive, listen and be there when they fall. It’s hard on us loved ones because we take it personally, we can’t deal with the stress, we try to force honesty when the other person isn’t ready to give us honesty, and it is just overall harmful to the relationship. But you can’t give up on the other person just because things get hard. Relationships are about sticking through good times and bad. It’s hard, especially if you are like me and feel porn is akin to cheating (in a romantic relationship) or makes for bad character (if you’re a friend/family member of an addict). Know that just because they have this addiction does not mean that they are not the same loved one you’ve known and loved.
In the end, you can’t force someone to change if they don’t want to. But you can be supportive and inform them so they can make an educated choice.