Helping Your Husband Battle Pornography

Written by Dr. Dave Currie

If you’ve discovered that your husband is into pornography, well, you’re not alone. This battle with the pornographic monster is a growing problem across the entire societal grid. With the proliferation of sex sites on the Internet resulting in growing accessibility with total anonymity, the problem is only going to grow. Statistics tell us that 35% of all Internet usage is pornographic, and that as many as 50% of men have serious struggles in this area.

Of course, none of that makes it any easier for you to accept. You will naturally be devastated by the news of your husband’s involvement with pornography. There is a huge sense of betrayal and a breaking down of trust. Whether your spouse has been involved physically with another person, or emotionally and mentally through pornography, the violation feels the same. Your reaction could range from disbelief, to disgust, to anger. You wonder, “How could he do this to me?” You likely have no desire to be with him sexually, and you may want to leave him altogether.

First steps

The first thing you need to work through is your immediate response. Your strong feelings are both understandable and justified. At the same time, you need to be very careful that your reaction to your husband does not create more problems than you are already facing. You have both a right and a need to express whatever you are feeling, but you need to do it in a way that will not complicate your recovery. Be honest about your hurts, share openly about your disappointment, but realize that lashing out with damning accusations and attacking, harsh words only makes things worse.

Your initial reaction will likely be impacted by the way in which you found out about the issue. It makes a difference whether your husband openly disclosed his struggle to you, or if you had to discover it and thus he got caught. Obviously there is more credibility indicated in a person who is willing to admit it before he is found out. On the other hand, sometimes God forces the discovery to push a person to deal with their porn problem. Regardless of how you found out, the problem has to be dealt with. As long as your spouse is willing to be totally honest about their battle now, you can work together to overcome it.

Sometimes wives say they’d rather not know if their husband has pornography issues. Yet the bottom line is you cannot be close as husband and wife if there is a cloak of secrecy around these personal struggles. True intimacy requires complete honesty. Although there is some real hurt that you are going to have to work through, you need to accept that resolving the issue is still the path to closeness. Many couples have successfully worked through pornographic addictions. It is possible to recover something precious between the two of you!

How much do you need to know?

You need to have complete freedom to ask your spouse the questions you need answered to be settled in your heart. If you are doing it to get more data to become vindictive and bitter, then don’t ask the questions. But if you desire to understand what he has faced, and you intend to forgive him and find peace in your own heart, feel free to ask the questions. Try to do this in a non-judgmental, non-punishing way. Your husband is likely already feeling plenty of guilt; what he needs now is to know that you are still on his side.

Your needs, his needs

As you face this battle together, you and your husband need to be aware of one another’s needs. You can help your husband by sharing openly with him what your needs are at this time.

Your biggest need is likely to rebuild the trust in your relationship. There are no shortcuts to this: it just takes time. Complete transparency is critical on his part, whether it’s about past indiscretions or subsequent failures. Likewise, you need to be totally open about your feelings. Since the emotional aspect is a woman’s highest priority, a reconnection towards friendship and intimacy is paramount. Rebuilding the relationship must happen before you can freely re-engage in the sexual dimension.

Furthermore, with the knowledge of your spouse, it would be wise to have an outside advocate to share your struggles with. This is a private issue that shouldn’t be shared with others, but to have a chosen friend, counselor or someone who has faced this with their husband is critical. They can help you work through your feelings and frustrations, validate your emotions, and coach you through the right course of action.

Lastly, you need a commitment from your husband to work through his battle with pornography and do all that it takes to get the help that he needs. He must get help beyond you; he must break the silence and be accountable, whether to a counselor or another Christian friend. They must ask him the tough questions as he faces his lust battle. It is unwise to have the wife be the accountability person. You have a relationship to build. Let someone else be the one that holds his feet to the fire.

Though you may not feel like meeting your husband’s needs at a time like this, the fact is he does need your help to conquer this addiction. Above all, he needs your unconditional love, as well as your forgiveness. He needs to know that the slate can be wiped clean, and that you won’t hold this against him for years to come. Nothing will strengthen him more to move to freedom than you believing in him and standing with him to fight the battle.

It would be very helpful to understand the complexity of pornography to the male’s psyche. Although some women struggle with sexual addictions (even in seemingly milder forms like romance novels and soap operas), it is predominantly a male issue. Listen to your husband and try hard to understand. Read at least one of these excellent resources: Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn, Pure Desire by Ted Roberts, and Men’s Secret Wars by Patrick A. Means.

Finally, while you are working with him to overcome his problem with pornography, realize that your husband will still have sexual needs. After an appropriate but limited period of time, you do need to be willing to re-engage in some sexual activity, as a sign of your love and commitment to him. This will help ensure that your husband isn’t further tempted to go back to pornography as a substitute for healthy marital sexual relationship.

Why the void?

In some cases a man’s problem with pornography is born out of his own issues. Many men started when they were younger and just never tell their wives about it. Yet, in some cases, pornographic involvement is his response to other problems in the marriage. Honestly assess your relationship and determine whether it is healthy and whole. Are his sexual needs being met? Are your sexual encounters as a couple satisfying and frequent? A husband’s pornographic addiction cannot be blamed on the wife, because he still has to make choices himself. However, a husband is also made very vulnerable to temptations when there isn’t regular sexual intimacy in a healthy, secure relationship. So it may be that there is a void that he is looking to fill with pornography because of the struggles of your relationship. You may need to make some adjustments as a couple so that you have a healthy relational balance and good marital sex.

I would urge you to go for help as a couple to make sure that you’re headed in the right direction. This might be the best time for you and your husband to recommit your lives and marriage to the Lord. Conquering the lure of pornography is very difficult, and you will both need to have a surrendered life, asking God to help you through this. Being assured of forgiveness from both God and spouse is a wonderful source of stability for your relationship. I would suggest that you pray together about it and work out your relationship with a God-centred focus.

Many couples have succeeded in overcoming pornography and have found a healthy balance in their marriage again: a marriage that they love being part of. Instead of being the end of your relationship, let this be a doorway to a new level of intimacy that you never thought possible.

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161 Responses to “Helping Your Husband Battle Pornography”

  • Tia Glenn-Cooke T. Glenn-Cooke says:

    Kellie, sister, you are not disposable. You are loved, you are worthy, you are cherished, and you are chosen by our Father in Heaven. I’m so so sorry that you are feeling so hurt and betrayed by your husband. I can understand how you might be feeling defeated, but “they” have not won yet.

    It sounds like you said, that your husband is struggling with something like an addiction. I want you to take a moment and think about what you might do if he was struggling with a chemical addiction: you would be able to see the physical damage done to him, and his dependency might be a little easier to understand even though the negative effects are detrimental to him and to you. I hope that you would want to help him through it, to encourage him in rehabilitation, and even see that his addiction is not because of you but probably comes from something much deeper. I hope that you can take a step back and look at this situation the same way. Yes, your husband has wronged you. Yes, he is hurting you and your marriage with his behaviour–but he is also hurting himself. I would encourage you to search your heart, through the hurt, and to look at porn as your enemy–not your husband. 24 years “down the drain” is unappealing at best, but it sounds like neither of you have given up quite yet.

    I strongly recommend you and your husband seek counseling together. You are both suffering from the effects that porn has had on your relationship. I’m sure he’s hurting too, but it can be hard to see that when it probably feels like this is something he is doing to hurt you. Of course you feel broken, but I hope that you can seek healing together.

    When it comes to becoming “unbroken”, there’s only one way to achieve that and it is through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Son of God and He came to save us, to heal our brokenness and to bring us back into relationship with our Father…the One who calls you ‘beloved daughter’, worthy, cherished, and chosen. We needed to be saved because we have sinned. We have been adulterous in our relationship with God, choosing to “worship” money, sex, power, even seemingly good things like the people we love, and putting those things in between us and Him. The same way porn is a cheap imitation of real intimacy, the happiness we get when we worship the world is a cheap imitation of the real joy that God offers us. If you want to experience the real thing, I encourage you to seek healing by confessing your brokenness to God and inviting His Son Jesus to work and live in your heart. It is only from that place that you will be blessed with real healing.

    Lord, I thank you so much for Kellie and I pray that you would walk with her through this valley of suffering. I pray for forgiveness toward her husband, and we pray together Lord that he would have a real desire to save their marriage. You are the God of Love, the God of intimacy, and the God of healing: work in their marriage Lord and please work in their hearts as they seek what is best for their family. I pray this in Your Son’s precious name, amen.

  • Kellie says:

    My Love Story…

    I met the man of my dreams when I was only 15 years old and knew that someday I would call him mine. We went our separate ways and reconnected when I was 19, engaged and married at 20 and it has been a roller coaster of amazing, good & bad for 24 years…I wouldn’t have thought I would change a thing as he and I are soul to soul and have created such a beautiful family with 3 amazing children but then our world as I knew it changed in the blink of an eye 10 years ago.

    The kids were in elementary school and having an interest in the “world wide web” so I created an account for each of them and just as an after thought, created the free monitoring that would send me each month an account of where they were going and what they were viewing online. I did not discuss this with my husband and honestly it wasn’t to spy but rather just to know they were safe online and didn’t think anything of it until that 1st report came to me….even now recounting it, I can tell you exactly how the air felt rushing out of my body, the instant “heat” that I felt on my face thinking about my poor 5th grade boy viewing these explicit sites as I clicked over 100+ of the links provided in the report, sitting there on the phone with my sister-in-law in what was first a fun catch up girlfriend conversation where in the the next instance I am yelling, crying, cursing, clicking and clicking and she is on the other end in complete silence until she finally says “Kellie, you need to stop…you know there is no way this is your son…this is your husband”. I can tell you it had not even crossed my mind until she had said that. How in the world could it be my husband? My best friend, biggest supporter wouldn’t do this to me, he wouldn’t need to look at this filth (and this was hardcore filth), we had an amazing and very open fun sex life. Ya, we used porn but it was always because it enhanced our sex lives and it was something for us as a couple…..PLEASE DON’T EVER THINK THIS IS A GOOD THING.

    My husband is a firefighter and he was at the station this night for his 24 hour shift, I told my sister-in-law I had to go and talk to him so I immediately called him and I am sure his recount would be that he was speaking to a very unbalanced nut job, one minute screaming, the next minute crying….how could he do this to me!! I berated him with 20 questions demanding answers and he gave me some…little did he know that the pain of a scorned wife even with bits and pieces will dig with her bare hands to the ends of the earth to try to figure something out…especially when jealousy is involved and the green jealousy coursing through me was and is some of the most painful times in my life… how was I not enough? why was I not enough? what do they have that I don’t? what can they provide that I can’t? how could he not love me enough? how could he choose another women over me…his wife? It goes on and on the feelings of INADEQUACY, HURT, BETRAYAL, JEALOUSY… these emotions are all consuming and debilitating.

    During our phone conversation and my many many accusations and questions something came up about printing pictures and he mentioned that he had printed a few and gave a round about answer to the location…I vaguely remember feeling out of control and maybe he thought this piece of information would help calm me down…no, it didn’t. I remember having no shoes on and getting the ladder out and climbing in the attic space in the garage…I proceeded to rip through every box up there and finding picture after picture of of these naked disgusting females…do you know how shocking it was to realize that your husband isn’t particaly fond of blonde’s such as yourself? These pictures were of every shape, size and color…lovingly cut out for future viewing. Even writing this right now takes me to a horrible place where I never thought I would recover.

    Hours later when I felt that I had every piece of trash from the attic I went back into the house and tackled the computer….that is a painful one as well and many many wasted hours that will forever be burned into my minds eye and heart. I located a saved file that was buried under file under file under file that contained 5007 pictures of women from varies porn sites and these images and the pain they inflicted on my heart is something I am not sure that I will ever completely recover from…again, the feelings they created within me almost destroyed me.

    The first years of dealing with this and trying to save my marriage are some of the most painful memories I have and will forever carry. I sought medical treatment for the depression that I was sucked into and had never experienced, I didn’t want to live. I sought counselors to try and get my head on straight and to figure out how to deal with the devastation…I never realized how fragile our minds are and when the limits are pushed with the information received. Still it amazes me and I honestly still feel shame at how I am not able to cope or accept the pain. Around year 4 I somehow started to pull out of the depression and actually created a local support group that was very positive for the 4 women who had the strength to come forward and share their pain without knowing one another…this lasted for a year until we each felt strong enough, each felt that we were ready to work through anything else on our own and wanted to move past and try to “forget” the damage.

    Now fast forward 6 years (this originally came to light 10 years ago) and bam ….here I am again and it slammed into me just as hard, hurtful and damaging as it was back in that black black place 10 years ago. I had chosen to rebuild the trust, love him again, try to not dwell….there would be little red flags here and there but on the rare occasion that I would ask him “how are you doing” it was always always “fine, great…Kellie, nothing to worry about at all”. You see, I had brought the porn back into our bedroom because he said that if he could have it between us then that would be enough and it would be for “us”…stupid, stupid naive girl! Three days ago during an argument where I was telling him that I felt as though he was not desiring me, becoming desensitized towards me and my pain, emotionless….let me just state that as I was using these words with him HUGE red flags went up! These are words that are used for pornography addiction stages. He then admitted that yes, he was still into the porn and that truthfully it has never stopped in the 10 years since it first reared it’s ugly head. The devastation is so consuming; just like a river rapid, I am sucked underneath trying to find the air to breathe yet really unable to do so. The absolute worst though is that while he finally stood up and tried honesty for a change; his honesty was for the first time ever telling me that he doesn’t think he can choose me over the porn. That he wants and desires to still continue to have it….this is the biggest heartbreak I have ever experienced and just like dejavu he is at the station for his shift but it is different this time as he says that this will give us each 2 days to figure out where to go, how to get there and who will take what…..24 years down the drain and “they” win……
    How do you become unbroken? I have never felt such dispair and heartbreak; unable to function, I feel so numb. I keep being told this is not about me…how can it not be? I feel so unworthy, unloved, uncharished, disposable… I am broken

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Arianne, I am sorry to hear that you’re feeling so lost. I was looking through our archives to see what sort of information I could bring you. There’s a video here on Why Does He Look At Porn? that could be a good place to start. Here’s the thing: Christian men do struggle with pornography which does not make it okay, but I’m telling you that so you know that you are not alone in this. I know that it feels awful right now, and probably you’ve got a lot of emotions battling in your heart and that’s okay. THis is not what you wanted and it makes sense that it feels like your world is shaking. I would encourage you that this does not need to be the end of your marriage. You have a marriage worth fighting for. You have children together. With help, you can work through this.

    First, counselling is always a really good idea. If your husband is willing to go with you that’s excellent. If he won’t go, then go by yourself. There are powerful emotions at play here and a professional can help you sort out where your boundaries are and how to move toward a resolution. I know that generally speaking, how a wife looks has little to no bearing on whether or not her husband will look at porn. I know that feels counterintuitive. A counsellor would be able to explain it more fully. You are already in a delicate place as you are dealing with past abuse – emotionally you must be exhausted. If you are already in counselling, see if you can get in to see your counsellor and talk about the issue with your husband’s use of pornography. If it falls outside of his or her area of expertise he or she should still be able to guide you to good resources and someone who could help.

    One thing that is important to keep in mind, and I’ll warn you it’s hard: shaming your husband is not going to help. It can be tempting to think that if you can get him to see how awful this thing is he’ll just stop, but it’s often a lot more complicated than that. Letting go of this is going to be a big job for both of you. He’s going to need to be willing to talk about it and if you make him feel really guilty he’s more likely to withdraw and refuse to face it. This does not mean that he is not at fault, all I’m saying is that if you can try to keep from adding to the guilt he likely already feels this process can go a little faster and get you back to where you would like the relationship to be. Shame is a very, very powerful emotion but it rarely leads to longterm lifestyle changes.

    You’re going to need some support in this because this stuff is HARD. Is there a pastor or one, close, trusted friend you could ask to pray for you through this? Be careful in who you choose to tell, but see if you can get some extra prayer support. Satan is probably going to lie to you in this – he’ll tell you that things are over, or that there’s nothing you can do or a whole host of other things. He’s going to play off of your very worst fears and whisper horrible, horrible things. You can’t listen to those whispers. Remember that God is FOR your marriage. God is all about restoration and hope. He brings new life and redemption, he makes a way where there is no way. He is a God of miracles, a wonder working God. If you hear yourself thinking, “This marriage is over” that’s a lie and you have to stand against it. I know that it’s hard. It’s really hard but you can do this because God is with you and He will give strength both to you and to your husband. You are a team and with God anything is possible. (There’s a great article about the lies Satan whispers to us and how to know if you’re hearing from God here.)

    If you would like to talk to someone privately, we have email mentors available you can stand with you and pray for you. You can use this form to request a mentor and you’ll hear back, usually within a couple of days. Mentoring is a free and private service. You can learn more about how mentoring works here.

  • Arianne says:

    I’m a married, Christian mother of two girls (3yrs and 1yr) I have been married a little over a year now. Been with my husband 6 years before we were married. Had our of ups and downs. I’m am very in secure as I am currently dealing with being sexually abused at 5 years old. Just this past sat I felt the urge to look thru my husband’s phone. He had been distant last few days. With our history I took a look to put my mind at peace. I found porn sites fresh on his internet browser. I am crushed… I am devastated. I left the house fire a day and a half just to clear my mind and not fight in front of the girls. I can’t sleep. I am building walls so thick I am ready to forget that he is my husband. He always said I have no reason to worry. He doesn’t want anyone but me. He is supposedly a christian man..al ways saying how sing he is. How well prepared and able to stand firm against attacks. Ugh. I’m disgusted. I am so exhausted… What do I do? I have questions he keeps ignoring or just not answering… like how long has this been going on? How Often? What is he looking at? What is it that turns him on? I don’t think I look bad for having 2 children. I work out take care of my body and my family. What do I do now? I can’t trust the man I love? I’m a stay at home mom. … No money of my own. I feel so lost. Lord help me.

  • Candace says:

    Andrew… sorry… phone changed your name to Amy :-)I my last comment was to you.
    Post script, I forgot to add that not every woman is dealing with a Christian man… or a man that is ready to convert to Christianity to kick an addiction. You can’t really go there all the time with some people. I’ve seen non Christians fight and win before… however I’m well aware its fully easier with Christ. But I’m just saying a lot of men are too self reliant and proud to entertain religion in the middle of porn addiction. Its not going to happen a lot. This is how the evil one has it all set up presently. It’s working. In order for me to ensure the purest problem free life is to stay away from men. They are our main weakness in this world for the evil one to play with. Its so sad to see the most intelligent creature on the planet helpless to his own sexual immorality. A slave to his attraction for women. Tisk tisk.

  • Candace says:

    AMY…thank you…. as I stated in previous comments, I left him. I’ve already read hundreds of articles and scientific research on this topic. Im here to release my information to others that may not know where to turn. When I first started looking for info years ago when I realized my ex’s porn addiction was deeply embedded , I couldn’t find any females that knew how I could help in the fight. They were ALL clueless. All I read was complaints and long stories. Or worse, I read of defeat and acceptance which made me angrier and sick to my stomach. I will never tolerate men again. They are all the same. Statistics and research have proven most men use porn to some extent. Also read tons of comments from men admitting they always fantasied about other women while having sex with their wives. Even Christian men. So what’s the point in looking for another man? I will tell you my Father said I’ve had enough. Im staying single from here as now I know too much about how men think. I am ruined. But I will find a new life alone. Will be far better than being lied to, used, and neglected. I belong only to God my Father now. And I’m at peace with that.

  • Andrew Andrew says:

    @Candace you are right with the majority of your comments however one of the things which I am curious about regarding you and your b/f relationship. First off I think that I would be right in assuming if your living in the same house that you were not married and was more of a physical relationship without the blessing of God via marriage so there was not really too much of a commitment on your b/f part.

    I understand in todays society sex is like eating candy the more you have it the more you want it the more it destroys your soul. Living together or having sex outside of marriage is not a big issue for most couples. Majority of common law couples will end up breaking off due to no commitment with that being said why would you be surprised that your b/f was into porn? He may very well have thought I will have a g/f then I will become free from porn.

    Porn is easy accessible and often the reason that men and woman get involved in porn is because it temporarily heals a deep hurt or insecurities that they may have. You can fight the porn industry all you want but you will loose and the reason you will loose is because you are not changing the heart of a person like creating a law against the use of guns will not change the persons heart. If a person is feeling under pressure or needs to be comforted porn becomes the drug. Porn is an addiction that without surrendering control to Christ and asking him to forgive your sins and asking him to heal the hurt inside of you it will only become a viscous circle. Often the issue is not porn but porn is worse than a drug as it creates a false sense of sexual gratification to get rid of the pain that is inside of them.

    Change the heart and the problem won’t run away however when you change the heart you will have the power from a much greater source through reading the scriptures and praying for God to give you freedom. Going to see a psychologist to discover why you are crave porn then finding an accountability partner are good steps. God Bless

  • Candace says:

    It’s been a while since I was here. Man it has been a long road. I’m not even going to waste my time describing the last year and a half with my bf. Just know it sucked big time. He’s made every mistake in the book.. I will say though that trust really was completely destroyed from all the lies in the initial discovery(ies) of the addiction. I too have gotten the attitude from my bf about trust. Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to begin to build trust with someone who will lie about anything at the drop of a hat. I don’t care what the lie is about, it’s a lie, and I’m not going to trust any sooner picking through what he will lie about, and what he won’t. I agreed to fix the relationship if there were no more lies about anything, and he got professional help. Guys, you MUST be completely honest about everything if you’re going to try to repair the trust and relationship after discovering porn addiction. You no longer get to tell your harmless white lies that you’re so
    used to
    getting away with. When you are at this stage of the fight, your woman is on hypersensitive for info. She has been so hurt that her subconsciousness is constantly reminding her to watch for more hurt. When she is watching that hard, she will find a lie easy. If you were an hour at the store…then say it was an hour. Do NOT falsify one detail. It will set her back to I hate you and get out in a heartbeat.
    Also, I never did address the issue with accountability and the computer. I’ve read all the posts here of people saying that putting a filter on the computer doesn’t and won’t work. Yea….tell me something I don’t know. lol
    I didn’t not bother with that route. My bf and I are both computer savvy so we both knew a proxy would bypass any filter. Women, most men are comfortable with the inner workings of the computer. So you’re going to have to get up to speed with him if you’re going to feel safe he’s not using his computer for porn. History and cookies can e deleted as well. The only way was a KEYLOGGER installed on his computer. These programs monitor every move someone makes on a computer. You can set the program to take a snap shot photo of the actual screen and what is being viewed at second intervals if you want, and the program saves and stores everything it records. This is how bf got busted the last time. It truly worked. He told me he was terrified to even try to use his computer for sex and porn after I busted him like that. He willingly let me keep this program on his computer so help keep himself in check.
    Juicy good tactics for sweet sweet proof. :-)
    I don’t need any more advice at this time, as I did move into my own place and let go of what the bf may, or may not still be doing. I’m not convinced he has stopped as I know he has access on other computers of his family. I do know that with that keylogger program, he is not able to view it from the comfort of his own home.
    Finally, I really hope that I can gain the energy to fight this porn industry as much as I can. I don’t understand how I can ask people if the internet is a public place and get “yes” every time….it is basically against the law to be nude in public in this country. The contradiction exists because MEN WANT PORN there for their pleasure for sex and money. I can’t even imagine what our boys will be like as men that have been raised with porn available since 11 years old. I don’t want to venture out in public to watch the degrading disrespect I’m seeing already….imagine a whole generation oversexed from a lifetime of free porn. Men will be like crazed animals.

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Well! What a huge subject, but I pray that You oh Lord will help men and wives in this subject,as if anyone is struggling with this that they will turn to You for guidance.

  • ????? | ?? says:

    [...] 8. Dave Currie, “Helping Your Husband Battle Pornography,” http://powertochange.com/sex-love/battleporn/ [...]

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Ammy,

    This is a very hard situation. Addiction is not an easy thing to break. The person who is addicted has to want to get better and has to be willing to do whatever it takes to get better. From what you’ve written here it sounds like your boyfriend is not there yet. You’ve said that he won’t see a counsellor and that his promises to change fall flat. That’s very common with an addiction – they want to keep their promises but they can’t. That’s part of why they need help. It is very difficult to break an addiction on your own. It’s not impossible, but it is very, very hard.

    You cannot get better on his behalf. Only he can do that work. So you’re left with a very hard decision. Is his use of pornography something you can live with? Is he someone that you can be in a relationship with if he never stops looking at those images or having those chats?

    I know that you love him very much and I can hear in your comment how much this is hurting you. Consider the future. If this behaviour never changes can you see yourself being with him as husband and wife? If not, then as hard as it would be you need to think about breaking up with him. You have given him every chance to change and he can’t or won’t. He has lied and hidden things from you – that’s not a very good foundation for a relationship.

    You could tell him that it’s his addiction to porn that means you cannot be together. Perhaps losing you would help him to see how serious this is and give him a reason to do the hard work of getting better. But you have to be strong. If you break up with him and he promises to change you can’t take him back right away you have to make him prove it because he has lied to you before.

    Think of it this way. When one partner has had an affair and the other is willing to try and make the relationship work the offending partner has to be willing to be completely open with the partner who did not cheat. Often these couples will check in with each other throughout the day. He will let her read his email. She will check his internet history. I heard of one couple where she was allowed to ask any question she wanted at any time. That was what it took to rebuild trust, for the partner who did not cheat to know for sure that the affair was over. I think that if you and your boyfriend are going to build a life together he’s going to need to be willing to give you access like that. If he’s really trying to stop then they’re shouldn’t be anything that you can’t see.

    You need to think long term. It would be incredibly hard to break up now, it would be much harder 6 months, or a year from now. It would be awful if you got married and then discovered that he never stopped looking at porn and you had that to deal with in your marriage.

    You said that he won’t see a counsellor, have you considered seeing one yourself? A counsellor could give you the support you need to make this choice. Whether you stay or you go, keep your eyes wide open. From the sounds of things he is not interested in getting help so most likely he is not going to stop. Is this what you want your life to look like?

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