These Are the Things that Keep Me from Telling My Wife I Still Struggle with Porn

By KC

Charcoal And Gold PKL

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.

We received this story from a Fighter who wishes he could open up about his struggle with porn, but fears the consequences from his partner if he does. In the end, honest, open communication from both partners can make a world of difference in this fight for healthy relationships.

FTND disclaimer: by sharing this Fighter’s personal story, we are not implying endorsement for his lack of communication with his partner. We’re simply sharing a real perspective that reveals what some people go through while they silently struggle with porn.


Hey! I read a lot of the posts on FB and read one this morning that convinced me to write an anonymous note.

If it helps, awesome. If not, don’t worry about it. But here’s my story:

I was heavily addicted to porn before my marriage. I can remember times where the entire day was spent struggling with it. Now, eight years later, I still feel the draw and even sometimes—more than I’d like to admit—fall backward into it.

Related: 5 Ways You Can Support Your Partner As They Kick Their Porn Habit

My wife is the type to be extremely hurt by this, and the last thing I want to do is hurt her. I’ve never told her about the struggle, but I’ve said quite a few things that have suggested an old habit. She knows, I’m sure, that I’ve been there before…but I do not believe she knows that it comes up now and then to this day. She is the type to always take the side of the cheating victim in the movies, while I sit back quietly and pretend I feel the same way but hold back any condemnation for the cheater. Because I am that cheater. So I get it.

Feeling trapped with nowhere to turn

I don’t want to keep struggling—I don’t want this. But she wouldn’t understand that—she doesn’t want to understand. Therefore, I do not have her to go to when I struggle. It would ruin our marriage.

Related: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: What Partners Of Porn Viewers Wish You Knew

I didn’t want to write this. I don’t want to take the chance on revealing anything about me. But I had a conviction this morning while reading another post from an anonymous writer and thought I should.

For the man who struggles and has a wife he can’t go to—you’re not alone. For the wife who doesn’t understand it and condemns it unquestionably—consider listening, consider understanding, consider grace. I beg you. Choosing love in the midst of something as painful as this is not easy, not at all. But also consider that my struggle is not something that can just stop in its tracks—for most of us, it takes years.

Developing new pathways without porn

In my studies for psychology, I learned that everything you learn creates a pathway in your brain. The way you retain information is by repeatedly using that pathway and it’s an actual physiological structure that you can strengthen. It’s how you learn information, and it’s also how you create addictions. That’s why we can be addicted to things that do not necessarily have an “addictive property.” For example, OCD routines or a Soap Opera.

Throw in some dopamine like you get with drugs, food, and porn, and you not only have a strengthened route, but a chemically pleasing one as well.

Here’s the trick. As much as you can strengthen that route, you can weaken it. You can eventually break it too. I’ve been working on this for years, and it gets better. I promise. Think of that addiction like a route you’ve taken before, and take it less often. It’s likely that you can’t stop entirely, immediately. Each day you go down that route a little less, is a day that habit gets weaker. I know this concept has helped me to slowly kill this habit, and I hope it helps you, whoever you are, reading this.

Related: The Brain’s Delete Button: How You Can Erase Years Of Watching Porn

I’m not a victim, I’m a Fighter

I haven’t been porn free, but I am not a victim either. Neither are you, if you’re struggling. I don’t care how overwhelming it is. I know. I’ve been there. Worse than I would ever even type out anonymously.

In the midst of a struggle, you are not some damsel in distress, trapped in a high tower waiting for a knight in shining armor to come and save you. I believe we often think of our bad habits like this. We wait until something happens to save us.

You and I, we are not pathetic. We are not prisoners. We are warriors and we are in this intangible battle that rages.

This is a war, and we are taking arrows from the enemy left and right. They won’t stop coming either. The question becomes, do we lay down and let the arrows fill us up, or do we keep going even though we know we’re going to take more hits?

Related: So You Think You Have A Porn Problem—Now What Do You Do?

We live in a time now where it will always be around us, this sex-saturated culture, and sexual exploitation. It will always be there. We may dodge a few arrows here and there, but the hard truth is that technology has put us in the center of a war. Don’t get me wrong, technology can be used for great things, but we are treading dangerous territory like nothing ever before, truly.

Those little ads at the bottom of an innocent article you were reading out of boredom that show more than enough to get your heart pumping? Arrows. Take a different route, there are arrows on that one. Weaken that route by going somewhere else. And if you go there and take a hit, think of it as a reminder that you are not in that tower. You are on the battlefield.

Get out of the tower and live your life despite the arrows. That thing is burning down and it will take you with it when it falls. Don’t be a victim, take the hits, and keep fighting. Because in the end, I know it will be worth it.

I write this knowing it may expose me. That sucks. But I have to take my own advice. I hope you do too.

M.

The importance of honesty and openness

We admire this Fighter for not falling into a victim mentality with his struggle, and want to emphasize that we highly encourage open and honest communication about porn within relationships at any stage.

We want to be clear that it is okay for partners to feel upset by their significant other’s struggle with porn, and it is never the responsibility of a partner to “fix” their significant other’s struggle with porn. With all of that in mind, having open, honest lines of communication in a relationship—aimed toward love and understanding—can make a world of difference in the fight.

And honestly, there is only one sure way to know if a partner is struggling with pornography: communication. Even when it’s tough and heartbreaking, talking through things can be a huge help in finding resolution, if that’s what both partners desire.

Related: I Think My Partner Is Looking At Porn After Promising Not To—What Do I Do?

Porn kills love through secrecy

We always say that porn kills love, and one way porn can do that is by the secrecy and deep shame felt by those who haven’t yet been broken free from porn. If their partner finds out about their private struggle, the hiding then can make the confrontation feel much worse.

Another way porn can kill love is through the betrayal that partners often feel when they learn about their significant other’s secret porn habit.

The pain goes both ways.

The only sure way to avoid these issues in a relationship is to throw it out into the light, and talk openly about it as early as possible. If your partner is a habitual consumer of porn who doesn’t have the facts, try to express to them the harmful effects it can have, and especially how their viewing it makes you feel. Have a totally open and honest dialogue that comes from a place of love. And as the affected partner, try your best not to judge them, or make them feel shameful for what they’ve seen. Be loving, supportive, and open when you address it if your heart is invested in continuing the relationship. If they truly care about you and your feelings, they will listen to you, and they will ideally open up about what they’ve been dealing with, too. Honest communication goes both ways.

Related: How To Tell If Your Partner Is Struggling With Porn & What To Do If They Are

Shame and shaming make a struggle worse, not better

If a struggling partner admits what’s been going on in their fight, be careful not to judge or shame. As their partner, you may feel hurt, but understand that they may be dealing with a serious issue that started years before your relationship. Judging and shaming do not solve the problem, and just because they’re struggling, that doesn’t have to mean it’s automatically the end of your relationship if neither of you

Let’s face it: having a desire to watch porn doesn’t automatically turn someone into a “gross” or perverted human being. It means that they’re human. But porn has ultimately been shown to be hurtful to partners, which is why honest communication is so important to thriving relationships.

Let’s fight for love together by being transparent, honest, and anti-shame, whether you’re struggling, or you’re the partner of someone who is.

If this post inspired you to start a conversation about porn with a loved one, we’ve got your back. Let us help you have a successful dialogue—click through our step-by-step conversation guide, Let’s Talk About Porn.

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