I wanted to write a blog post about G’s progress. April 5 is a special date for two reasons: two years ago on that date G and I started talking, and this year April 5 is G’s 5 month marker since D-Day. I wanted to talk about the highs and lows of dealing with a partner with a porn addiction, how I originally felt, how I feel now, and what I hope for the future.
As you may already know, G started looking at porn when he was about 11 years old, maybe younger. So long before I met him he was already entangled in this battle. For most of his life he didn’t think porn was a big deal and felt he could honor God and women while looking at porn. By the time he was in his twenties he had already been looking at it regularly for nearly half his life. He felt it would be easy to just quit, but it’s never that easy. You try to quit then you’re triggered and binge.
When I realized that G had a high interest in porn, I originally tried to push it to the back of my mind and not worry about it. I had friends who looked at porn, I told myself it was normal. But then I started to feel sad and angry: I didn’t look at other naked men, so why was he looking at naked women? Did I not satisfy him? There were lies, tears and regrets along the way. It took several frustrating conversations to really get my feelings across. I felt he didn’t understand me because he kept slipping up/relapsing and didn’t tell me. I was hurt by the rationalizing he did. “It doesn’t affect our sex life at all/that much,” “It’s not cheating/as bad as cheating,” “There’s worse things that I could be doing to you/myself,” “It has no effects on how I view you.” The rationalizations hurt because maybe he didn’t see what it was doing to us, but I did.
For any one reading who is the partner to someone who is very interested in porn you understand what I mean. Your sex life becomes inconsistent because even if it doesn’t affect sex every single time, it’s making an impact. Sometimes an erection will disappear or won’t even happen at all. When you attempt to discuss it there’s tension and anger because your partner believes that you’re belittling them and the stress you’re causing is leading to the lack of an erection. When you finally start to believe that they’re serious about making changes a slip up happens and it causes you to have doubts and be consumed by anger and fear. You deal with porn always being around you basically, and worrying about triggers that will lead to a slip. It’s a nightmare.
What I feel now is a bunch of different emotions: happiness, relief, optimism, nervousness, a tad discouraged, anger. I feel the happy feelings because I know that G understands my feelings, has for awhile, and that he regrets hurting me. I feel nervous and discouraged mostly because of things that are said on days like yesterday. G says he feels his sex drive is mostly hindered by his diet rather than porn and reminded me that there have been times he watched porn and was just fine. It makes me sad because it makes me feel like it’ll always be a bigger deal to me and that someday he could just resume watching it. Part of me feels angry because I still recall events that have happened in the past, and I feel angry that this was able to have such an impact on our relationship. I feel angry when I see anything that comes close to being porn because of how it impacted my relationship. But overall I feel happy because I see a change in G, our sex life, how we interact with each other and also it has helped us discuss hard to talk about issues. So I am overall happy with how things have gone.
I think that the biggest thing that still bothers me is that G and I have different perceptions about events that have happened. When we couldn’t have proper sex it led to arguments which in turn could have psyched him out. I felt it was porn, he felt it was my reaction to the porn. I believe part of what impacted our sex life was moreso that G felt guilty for watching porn and hiding it from me, then when he went to have sex with me it established a mental block. So either way I believe porn directly or indirectly impacted things. I know that he respects my view point and I respect his because I know he’s had times where porn didn’t affect him sexually, but I believe that was before I spoke up and I think after I did he felt guilty and it affected him.
My hopes for the future are that G continues to make progress, simple as that. I want him to continue to grow, learn about triggers, stay away from ANY porn (naked porn stars/celebs, naked amateur women, wardrobe malfunctions, sexy pictures of women in certain clothing, etc.), and to be honest with me. That’s all I want from him. I do not expect him to be perfect and not slip up ever again. But if he does I want him to at least be honest with himself and try to avoid what it is that led him to slipping up. I would like him to be honest with me, but I know it’s kind of embarrassing for him to tell me whenever something happens. I’m proud of him because I know it is hard for him to always avoid things and that he has slipped up before and felt embarrassed.
I still hate porn and will never want it in my relationship, and that is my choice because I am a strong, sexy woman and I won’t compete with anyone directly or indirectly. I still have nightmares related to porn and still get feelings similar to PTSD when I see it. I recall feelings of wanting to end my life because I felt why bother living if the person I love and forsaked all other people for continued looking at other naked women knowing how it destroyed me.
I also wanted to include some advice for partners of porn addicts, whether they’re still in the battle phase or dealing with the aftermath. You should understand porn is one of the worst habits to quit, similar to cigarettes and drugs (which G has quit both). It is hard to avoid it because there are advertisements that will pop up just because your partner is a guy who reads sports and looks at clothes. The fact that you’re dating a human being means you’re dating a fallible, curious creature and that there will be slips. You have to say what you mean and mean what you say, so if you say he can tell you when he slips up and you won’t get mad, you have to mean that. You have to be able to have calm discussions and understand your partner isn’t perfect. Have regular discussions about progress but not too much that it makes them think about porn and relapse or slip.
You have to accept that your partner isn’t perfect and that they’re trying. I consider G to be trying with porn/intimacy now over other times in our relationship because of the fact that he supports me blogging and gives me ideas for topics, he makes effort initiating intimacy more, his sex drive is better and the sex is way better now than in the beginning, he apologizes for hurting me, he communicates with me when he sees nudity, he’s let me use his phone and I’ve seen that he hasn’t had huge slips, and the biggest thing is that he validates my feelings. He tells me that I have the right to feel how I do about porn and that my feelings are rational, and that I have the right to not be in a relationship where my partner does something that hurts me.