Why Porn Has Me Feeling Like I’m “The Other Woman” in My Own Relationships

By KC

Give One For Love

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.

This story shows how hurtful porn’s presence in a relationship can be. Contrary to what porn is sold as, it is not a relationship-enhancer, and it doesn’t improve the connection in an intimate connection. Watching just isn’t worth it.

I don’t talk about this. Ever.

It’s difficult and upsetting to describe the feelings of being in a relationship tainted by porn. But here’s my story of how porn ruined my relationship.

Let’s start with a little about me before I met him. I was just starting to love myself. I was getting to that point of growing into myself, feeling comfortable and really knowing who I was becoming. It was the first time I was really happy with who I was.

Related: How Avoiding Shame Can Help With Healing From Betrayal Trauma

When I met him I felt even happier with myself. It wasn’t just me anymore, it was me and him together. I thought I was at a good place in my life to let myself be in love and be okay with it. I knew I needed to love myself before anybody else. So, I let myself fall for him. And I fell hard.

Three years later.

I’m lonely. So lonely. I was never much of a jealous person but I’ve turned into this hateful and jealous woman. I’ve lost all my self-esteem. My confidence just kept drifting away more and more each day. I lost myself, and I’m ashamed of it.

It all started when I began noticing something wrong. He would stay up through the middle of the night for hours and hours. The next day he would sleep all day. I noticed he was getting bored of me. Then one day I was going through our computer history to go back to a recent page and there I found it:

Loads and loads of porn.

Related: Having A Porn Habit Isn’t Just A Personal Thing, It Affects Your Partner Too

At the beginning of our relationship three years ago, it was something totally different from now. Both of us were together and we were happy. Then, of course, it started. He tried to hide it.

But then he finally said it. Those words: “I watch porn.”

Honestly, it didn’t really bother me at first. I wasn’t really against it. I didn’t care. I even offered to watch it with him. But that never happened. Never once. Now, I’m so happy that it didn’t. I give myself credit to this day that I didn’t do it, or I probably would’ve been sucked into it too.

Thinking I was crazy.

Over the past three years, things have gotten worse and worse. I’ve been yelled at for not giving him his “private” time. There was actually one night he said the words that cut my insides: “I don’t love you.” All because I came home early and he didn’t get to finish looking at it.

There was a time I found out he was looking at pictures of a girl he knew that I had serious problems with. When I confronted him about it, he got angry and said, “Maybe I should’ve gotten with her.” He’s said some terrible things to me that’s affected me. I felt like I was the one in the wrong. I felt like I was that crazy girlfriend. I honestly thought I was the one with problems.

Related: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: What Partners Of Porn Consumers Want You To Know

I started hating myself; hating the way I looked. I know I could never look like those women. It tore me apart. I didn’t understand why he didn’t want me and only me. I didn’t know why he had to look at photoshopped photos and edited videos. I don’t understand. I really don’t understand.

I don’t even want to look at him anymore. I feel less attracted to him. I used to think he was the sexiest man alive. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t show his attraction toward me anymore. He used to call me “beautiful” and “sexy,” and I used to feel beautiful and sexy.

Related: So You’ve Struggled With Porn? That’s Okay, Here’s Why

Then our sex life finally changed. It turned weird, silent, and awkward. We used to “make love,” and feel it. But that’s gone. I started hating myself and finally, that anger went toward him, too. I started hating him. Every inch of him. I hated him and what he’s done to our relationship. I never planned to feel this way. I never planned to hate myself or him. It just happened.

Conversation Blueprint

The other women.

You may think while reading this that porn is “the other woman.” But it’s not.

I am the other woman.

Time after time, I am his “other” choice. When compared to these other women he can’t stop looking at, I am the second option. I’m supposed to be his only woman, but he chooses other women over me every day. This is our relationship.

Related: From One Consumer To Another: Quit Watching Porn, It’s Not Worth It

I started doing research because in the back of my mind I knew I wasn’t crazy. When I found out that I wasn’t the one with the problem, I started crying in tears loudly. I wasn’t crazy after all. For three years I thought something was wrong with me.

My significant other is addicted to porn. Pornography officially ruined our wonderful and loving relationship.

– J.

Brain Heart World

Why This Matters

Sometimes, a struggle with porn can bring a couple closer together when they decide to mutually fight for their love, together. And sometimes, the relationship won’t outlast the porn struggle, or porn enhances already-existing issues in a relationship, like in this story.

Either way, couples need to decide what’s best for themselves—to move on together, or apart. There’s no “right” way to do it, if each partner is making the healthiest possible choice for each other and themself.

That being said, research shows how porn doesn’t make relationships any healthier or easier in the long run.

Related: When You Watch Porn, Who Is It Actually Hurting?

Two of the most respected pornography researchers, Jennings Bryant and Dolf Zillman at the University of Alabama, studied the effects of porn and media for more than 30 years. They found that consuming pornography makes many individuals less satisfied with their own partners’ physical appearance, sexual performance, sexual curiosity, and affection. [1] They also found that, over time, many porn users grow more callous toward females in general, less likely to value monogamy and marriage, and more likely to develop distorted perceptions of sexuality. [2] Other researchers have confirmed those results and added that porn consumers tend to be significantly less intimate with their partners, [3] less committed in their relationships, [4] less satisfied with their romantic and sex lives, [5] and more likely to cheat on their partners. [6]

That doesn’t bode well for any relationship where one partner is consuming porn, especially since most of us want and expect our intimate relationships to be built on trust, respect, commitment, honesty, and love.

But for anyone who is struggling and wants help and wants to change for themself, there is hope.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

Get Help – For Partners

If your partner is struggling with porn, you are not alone—know that there is hope, and there is help. As you navigate this difficult situation, there are supportive communities and resources available to you. Below is a non-exhaustive list of several resources for those experiencing hurt because of their partner’s porn consumption. Note that this isn’t a complete resource list.

Disclaimer: For those who may find themselves involved in this sensitive situation, their responses can differ. This is why resources need to fit the specific needs of whoever is seeking them. Some of these resources are gender-specific, others are religiously-affiliated, others use a variety of approaches. Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative awareness and education organization hoping to provide access to resources that are helpful to those who need support. Including this list of recommendations does not constitute an endorsement by Fight the New Drug.

Recover

Bloom

Addo Recovery

If this article inspired you to have a conversation with your partner or someone else about porn, check out our step-by-step interactive conversation guide, Let’s Talk About Porn, for tips.

Citations

[1] Zillman, D. & Bryant, J. (1988) Pornography’s Impact On Sexual Satisfaction. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 438-453. Doi: 10.1111/J.1559-1816.1988.Tb00027.X
[2] Zillman, D., & Bryant, J. (2000). Influence Of Unrestrained Access To Erotica On Adolescents’ And Young Adults’ Disposition Toward Sexuality. Journal Of Adolescent Health, 27(2 Suppl), 41-44. Doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(00)00137-3; D. & Bryant, J. (1988) Pornography’s Impact On Sexual Satisfaction. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 438-453. Doi: 10.1111/J.1559-1816.1988.Tb00027.X; Zillman, D. & Bryant, J. (1984). Effects Of Massive Exposure To Pornography. In Malamuth, N. M. & Donnerstein, E. (Eds.), Pornography And Sexual Aggression (Pp. 115-138). New York, NY: Academic Press.
[3] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunction? A Review With Clinical Reports, Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; Minarcik, J., Wetterneck, C. T., & Short, M. B. (2016). The Effects Of Sexually Explicit Material Use On Romantic Relationship Dynamics. Journal Of Behavioral Addictions, 5(4) 700-707. Doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnason, J., Ezzell, M., (2014). Pornography And The Male Sexual Script: An Analysis Of Consumption And Sexual Relations. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 45, 1-12. Doi:10.1007/S10508-014-0391-2; Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone Or Together: Associations With Relationship Quality. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9585-4; Bergner, R. M., & Bridges, A. J. (2002). The Significance Of Heavy Pornography Involvement For Romantic Partners: Research And Clinical Implications. Journal Of Sex And Marital Therapy, 28, 193-206. Doi:10.1080/009262302760328235
[4] Minarcik, J., Wetterneck, C. T., & Short, M. B. (2016). The Effects Of Sexually Explicit Material Use On Romantic Relationship Dynamics. Journal Of Behavioral Addictions, 5(4) 700-707. Doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone Or Together: Associations With Relationship Quality. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9585-4
[5] Minarcik, J., Wetterneck, C. T., & Short, M. B. (2016). The Effects Of Sexually Explicit Material Use On Romantic Relationship Dynamics. Journal Of Behavioral Addictions, 5(4) 700-707. Doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078; Morgan, E. M. (2011). Associations Between Young Adults’ Use Of Sexually Explicit Materials And Their Sexual Preferences, Behaviors, And Satisfaction. Journal Of Sex Research, 48(6), 520-530. Doi:10.1080/00224499.2010.543960; Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone Or Together: Associations With Relationship Quality. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9585-4; Yucel, D. & Gassanov, M. A. (2010). Exploring Actor And Partner Correlates Of Sexual Satisfaction Among Married Couples. Social Science Research, 39(5), 725-738. Doi:10.1016/J.Ssresearch.2009.09.002
[6] Braithwaite, S. R., Coulson, G., Keddington, K., & Fincham, F. D. (2015). The Influence Of Pornography On Sexual Scripts And Hooking Up Among Emerging Adults In College. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 44(1), 111-123. Doi:10.1007/S10508-014-0351-X; Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone Or Together: Associations With Relationship Quality. Archives Of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 441-448. Doi:10.1007/S10508-009-9585-4

The post Why Porn Has Me Feeling Like I’m “The Other Woman” in My Own Relationships appeared first on Fight the New Drug.