Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dating a porn addict

This is a topic I've wanted to write about for a while because I've had quite a bit of experience with it. Well, maybe not compared to some of the stories I've read about women who have married men who are addicted to pornography and have had to deal with it for years and years. But I've dated two guys with porn addictions and have heard experiences from other men who had once suffered from the same problem, and I do think that's probably more than the average person.

So yeah, I dated two different men, both living in Utah, who were addicted to porn. One was LDS, but the other was strongly Greek Orthodox. They were both in their early 20s and hadn't had very much experience with relationships. In fact, I'd say that their strongest female relationship throughout their lives was with their mothers.

I'm not an expert on pornography addictions. I've done some research,  but I mainly just have my experiences to go off of. I don't know if having an unusually strong relationship with your mother is a symptom or product of a pornography addiction, but I do know that in these specific examples of the two guys I dated, it was a strong factor in the unhealthy relationships they had with women. I do also know that the rates for pornography addictions are higher in Utah, and that religious beliefs about sexuality can definitely be a big determinant in that.

If you are beginning a relationship with someone who has problems with pornography, my advice to you is to just stop. They are great people, I'm sure, but you do not want to have to deal with that problem if you don't have to. If you don't believe me, just go to any support discussion board and read the stories of these wives who have had their hearts broken so many times.

Here are a few things I've noticed about men with pornography addictions:

  1. They usually have another problem that they are treating with pornography. For example, one guy I dated suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, while the other had severe anxiety. I didn't stick with these guys long enough to know if treating those other problems helped with their pornography addictions.
  2. They felt that they were victims. To some degree, I agree with this and sympathize. I've heard stories where a man's first exposure to pornography starts with something tame, like Victoria's Secret ads, or with someone else giving them the porn and not with them seeking it out. It makes sense, with internet ads and pop-ups frequently being very pornographic in nature. But no matter how the addiction starts, it seems to me that the addict could never get out of the "victim" phase. When my exes confided in me that they had pornography addictions, it was usually accompanied with tears and feelings of anguish and regret. They genuinely wished that they did not have an addiction. However, that was as far as they were willing to go. They would ask for my help, and I would waste no time going to the internet and trying to find out how to help them. I found software programs that would report all of their internet activity to them or a sponsor. I found group therapies for this specific addiction (not hard to find in Utah). I found internet chat boards. I bought them journals. I encouraged them to go to therapists and religious leaders. I encouraged them to put their computers in a more public place in the house. But they responded by doing very little. That is their own choice and fine. No one should ever push an addict to recover if they don't want to. But if they act like they want to change, but then employ very few methods or put forth only a little effort, then back out. At some point, they need to move past the victim phase. But they aren't going to do it because of you. It is my belief that, deep down, these addicts did not want to give recovery everything they had, and I think it was because they were afraid of failing and feeling like they really were bad people. Either way, just don't deal with it.
  3. They do not have good relationships with women. They have very few female friends. They have been in very few romantic relationships. Some have unhealthily close relationships with their mothers that keep them from forming romantic relationships with women who are not related to them. Neither of the addicts I dated were very into commitment, which I believe is partly due to the places they were in their lives and partly due to their addiction. Both of the addicts I dated eventually went to therapists and talked about me. Though both of them were unwilling to give me up completely even after we broke up, both of them would report back to me that they talked about me in their therapy sessions and discovered that I was often the one to blame. Both of their therapists diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder without ever having met me. So as much as a porn addict may need you and love you, they also will turn on you and use you as a scapegoat if it means lifting some of the blame off of themselves. 
  4. Neither of them actually wanted to have sex with me, surprisingly enough. They were both willing to fool around with me and had many sexual desires, but that was as far as it would go. I do not think this is because they already had an outlet and, therefore, didn't "need" me. I think it has more to do with their religious beliefs and with their inability to make that emotional connection.
  5. Many porn addicts I have met have confided in me that they have committed some deviant behavior. One admitted to me that he had hired a prostitute. One admitted to me that he had molested a girl in her sleep when they were both young teenagers. One admitted to me that he had previously been in a dominant-submissive relationship, also when they were teenagers (which, regardless of whether or not you are okay with that type of relationship, is way too young to start trying that sort of thing out). They were all secretive about the types of porn that they looked at, but I did hear from them the different types of fetishes that they had watched. I have always believed in the saying "to each his/her own" and so I do not judge those with very specific and unusual sexual preferences. However, it is my understanding that pornography addictions become a problem of constant escalation, of constantly needing newer and more exotic material until the addict becomes unable to have a healthy sexual relationship with a real person. So while having one unusual fetish may be healthy (I really don't know), I do know that an addict getting off on lots of different fetishes is unhealthy. This article from an actual porn addict is very helpful in understanding what I'm saying here: http://www.salon.com/2013/01/13/did_porn_warp_me_forever/.
I think that'll be the end of my thoughts. 

I want to wrap this up by apologizing if I've offended anyone. I do not mean to say that porn addicts are pariahs that we should shun, or that they are bad people. All I want to do is advise women to not date people with this particular problem until they learn how to recover from it. I am clearly not an expert, nor do I believe that every observation I've recorded here must necessarily apply to all persons with a porn addiction. 

15 comments:

  1. An addict needs a relationship. By denying them that chance, you actually harm them more.

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  2. The porn is often used as a means to NOT have a relationship.
    Broken people cannot be fixed by others.

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    Replies
    1. That's true, it's basically a surrogate in many ways. It's important to remember, however, that an addict who is trying to have a relationship is in a very different place from say a guy who isn't, possibly seeking escorts, etc. By seeking a real relationship, they are very much on the mend. A true blue addict simply won't go that road.

      The trick with relationships and porn addicts is dealing with all the downsides that are triggers for running away into porn land: breakups, she cheated, she lied, argued, etc... The upsides are really very therapeutic for an addict.

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    2. Although it might be good for an addict to have a relationship, and it might show that they are really trying to change their ways, it isn't fair for the other person in the relationship. I think that it is actually quite selfish for an addict to put their significant other through the trauma of caring for someone that is putting porn above them. Porn effects every aspect of a person's life, especially the people that they are most intimate with.

      The triggers that you just listed are mostly a result of what happened because of how porn affected a relationship. It is not fair to blame someone else for triggering an addict. An addict should identify what triggers them and then make sure that they are not in a position to be effected by them.

      If you are addicted to Porn don't be in a relationship. If you are in a relationship with someone and you discover that they are addicted to Porn, then you need to seriously consider distancing yourself from that person.

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  3. I dated a porn addict. He told me that I needed to lose weight. I am a size 2!

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  4. Hi ally, I'm going through a really tough time dealing with this problem. Can I please contact you by email?

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  6. No. As a wife to a recovering porn addict who's under the GreatnessAhead online therapy program, I don't think the honesty and transparency of your post offended anyone. In fact, they are extremely helpful in opening the eyes of those who would encounter the same scenario and I've even gathered a few tips that I could actually use in being able to face the challenges on my hubby's recovery. Thanks and all the best.

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  8. Praise the Lord I just got out of this, what scared me is I thought I had gotten preganat. Oh boy that is why I am prasing the Lord. My ex use to get off in the morning with his phone in the bathroom and he would look at it at work and any time he could find he was committing adultery with other women in his heart Jesus says, any man who even look at a women in lust commits adultery. It also led him to try and hook up with other sex addicts out side our committed relationship. Pure evil. RUN LIKE HELL!

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  9. Praise the Lord I just got out of this, what scared me is I thought I had gotten preganat. Oh boy that is why I am prasing the Lord. My ex use to get off in the morning with his phone in the bathroom and he would look at it at work and any time he could find he was committing adultery with other women in his heart Jesus says, any man who even look at a women in lust commits adultery. It also led him to try and hook up with other sex addicts out side our committed relationship. Pure evil. RUN LIKE HELL!

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  10. My husband is addicted to pornography. He says I'm not understanding because I'm insecure. I don't think I'm insecure because of that. I am insecure though. He went from cheating with different women from his job and his exes 2 masturbating and watching porn everyday. I don't have a problem with him doing porn here and there hell I watch it myself sometimes. It's becoming a problem no it is a problem and I'm not sure if he would even want to fix it because it makes them happy obviously. It's really something hard to deal with.

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  11. My husband is addicted to pornography. He says I'm not understanding because I'm insecure. I don't think I'm insecure because of that. I am insecure though. He went from cheating with different women from his job and his exes 2 masturbating and watching porn everyday. I don't have a problem with him doing porn here and there hell I watch it myself sometimes. It's becoming a problem no it is a problem and I'm not sure if he would even want to fix it because it makes them happy obviously. It's really something hard to deal with.

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  12. My boyfriend is going through porn recovery program now. This is difficult for me as he is not recovered and he does defend himself whenever there is a problem. I said I was going to be there for him, but fearing he cannot really be there for me at this point.

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