I’m Dating a Porn Addict

There has been some recent discussion on MM about pornography in dating. If you haven’t read the article “A Pornography Addiction Doesn’t Kill Love, Fear Does” yet, I suggest heading over there to check it out. I just want to say how absolutely important this article is. The author begs the women of the world to “give [those who have struggled with pornography] a chance”. I was a little surprised by the tone of the comments following the piece. They were not unkind, but definitely unsympathetic to the author. One commenter mentioned that “sweet virginal young women” need to be able to walk away without guilt. As a “virginal young woman” (whether or not I’m sweet can be debated) currently dating a recovering addict, this discussion struck a chord with me. I think that people — both parents and YSA — need to realize how prevalent pornography addiction is among members of the Church. The prophets aren’t kidding when they say it is a “plague sweeping across the earth” (Boyd K. Packer, October 2010). So many of my girlfriends have encountered otherwise fantastic guys who are also fighting to conquer this addiction. You would have no idea that these guys struggle with porn unless they told you. It’s everywhere.

Now, I have made my choice to fight alongside my wonderful, righteous man. (Why I made that choice is another blogpost.) We have experienced joys and sorrows together that have strengthened our relationship more than anything else. He told me about his pornography addiction a month into our relationship. I was aware of what I was getting myself into. I have been there as he experiences “a mighty change.” We have a goal that we are working toward together. He makes me a better person. Since I started dating him, my prayers have become more fervent, my scripture study more meaningful, and my temple attendance more consistent and purposeful. I have never felt such love or awareness that my Heavenly Father knows me than during this process.

While I have chosen this, I cannot condemn women who choose to walk away. I said I was aware of what I was getting myself into. Did I know what I was choosing? Absolutely not. It is DIFFICULT. It is painful. I have cried tears that seem to come straight from my hurting heart. I have prayed and studied and searched for the seemingly non-existent resources for people in my situation. To be honest, it can sometimes feel like hope is draining out of you. Satan doesn’t use pornography to just wound your recovering addict, but to wound you. He sends thoughts of “why aren’t I good enough to keep him from relapsing?” “Am I not beautiful enough?” “Am I not righteous enough to deserve a ‘perfect’ partner?” It can be isolating as you feel like you cannot tell anyone about your struggle with his struggle. On the worst days, you start crying in the temple baptistry because other girls are being confirmed by their boyfriends and that’s all you want.

But pornography can be battled. It doesn’t have to dominate your relationship. It doesn’t dominate mine. If he is open and honest with you from the get-go, is meeting with the bishop, going to counseling, letting you into his recovery process — he is choosing you. When he finally relapses (which he will — it’s a process), but tells you about his struggle and asks for your forgiveness — he is choosing you. When he takes you to meet with his counselor or his bishop — he is choosing you. The dark days come, but they do not have to stay long. I know that I’m doing what my Heavenly Father wants me to do. I love my boyfriend. I love him for all he has been, all he is, and all he will be. I know that he will be a loving and committed husband and father because of the way he has handled this trial. He has always been completely honest with me about when and how he struggles. He has me set the passwords to blocks on his computer. We have a 24 hour rule in place (he tells me about a relapse within 24 hours or there are consequences we have set). We often share times of heartfelt prayer. We go to counseling together. His relapses are few and far between, and increasingly so. He is choosing me. Every day, I am choosing him. His addiction is not who he is. We are happy. I believe that we have great things to do together. Why else would Satan be attacking our family before we’ve even started it?

To the author of “A Pornography Addiction…”, I say have patience. There are girls who are willing to fight. If you show us that you are doing everything you can to conquer this, we will stand alongside you and throw some punches too. One of my dear friends is also in a relationship with a recovering addict. After a night of tears following a discussion of the situation, her man turned to her and asked, “You’re thinking about leaving?” She shook her head with a mixture of determination and disbelief thinking about the experience. She looked me in the eye and said, “I told him ‘I will not leave you when you need me the most. Leaving you would be the worst thing for both of us… We’re going to push forward.’” He is temple-worthy and I am looking forward to being at their wedding in a few months. Author, have patience. I have hope that you’ll find your fighter someday.

Sisters, have you thought about pornography? Have you thought about the evil that our men are being faced with daily? Our generation is experiencing something different. I hate porn. My boyfriend hates porn. Anyone who has experienced it hates it. But the Atonement is real. Are we women listening to the Spirit as our cultural upbringing tells us to run from the “broken boy” to find a new one?

I disagree with the title of the aforementioned piece. Porn does kill love. Fear also kills love. Lies kill love. But you know what? Love kills lies. Love kills fear.

Love kills porn.
NOTE: If you are a partner of someone who is struggling with porn, please know that you are not alone. It is too prevalent for that to be true. I know I am not alone — I have friends who are experiencing the same feelings and situations that I am. Please do not suffer in silence. Go with your partner to counseling. There are professionals and religious leaders who can support you. Do NOT discuss other people’s trials without their consent, but reach out according to the promptings of the Spirit. I love you. I pray for you. You are not alone.

To read “A Pornography Addiction Doesn’t Kill Love, Fear Does” click the button below.

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