I pulled into the parking lot of the park a few days ago and my wife and I both looked at each other. We had randomly stopped at a location that brought back an instant reaction. You see, this was the spot where I had first talked to my girlfriend (and now wife) about my struggle with porn.
Of course, early in our relationship, I didn’t want to share this information with her; but I knew that if we had any hope of moving forward as a couple, I needed her to know that this was a part of my story.
I didn’t want to hide why I went to online meetings on Monday nights and why I had filters on my phone and computer. I also wanted, really needed, to see if she would bother sticking around or if she would throw up her hands and walk away.
The conversation was difficult.
It was a dreary Sunday. We had only been dating a few months and it was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so there were very few indoor places we could go to meet. When I asked her to meet at a park because I needed to talk to her, she became convinced I was planning to break up with her.
When she got out of her car and I told her I needed to tell her something, she already had tears in her eyes and a sad look on her face. I reassured her that I was not breaking up with her and I gave her a hug.
Then we sat down on a bench and I shared with her about my decade-plus-long struggle with porn. It wasn’t easy, I felt a lot of shame and I had trouble looking her in the eye. I remember that.
I was very clear that I was not okay with what I had done. I told her about the online small group I was a part of and the accountability partners I had, the internet filters I had on all my devices.
I wanted her to know that I did not want this to negatively impact the future of our relationship.
To be clear, she wasn’t happy to hear this. But I also remember how supportive she was. She wasn’t so much upset with me, as she was upset for me.
I felt as though she really understood the character that I was trying to build and that I genuinely did not want this to be part of my life. She felt sorry that I had a sin I was struggling with and was fighting so hard to beat.
She offered to support me in my journey toward recovery. We talked together more, prayed together, and I went home feeling like a weight had been lifted. More than that, I knew I had met the right partner to help support me on my journey.
While I know this is never an easy chat to have, I do recommend it. I believe that I would not have been able to marry my wife without having had this difficult conversation.
Completely hiding this struggle from your significant other (girlfriend, fiancé, or wife), will only give it more power.
We all need to have an ally in this journey. Sometimes a difficult conversation is the only way to get there.
Last month one of our partners, Jeff, released his brand-new book Better Man, Better Marriage. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do it today!