1. It’s Not About You – I know it hurts; it’s confusing. How could this man be attracted to you if he’s so interested in viewing other drop dead gorgeous women haveing sex? It might not make sense at first, but usually men compartmentalize their actions with you separately from their use of porn. Just because he’s viewing porn, does not mean he’s not attracted to you. Men are visual…porn is visual – He may compartmentalize but he can’t control where his mind goes. Most men talk about images being burned in their head that can’t seem to be erased. They sometimes come up at the most inconvenient moments.
2. Porn and lust were there first – If you’ve been together for awhile or have been married and you’ve just been surprised with the fact that your man watches pornography, the knee jerk reaction is to feel unjustified, how could he do this? If he loves me…if he loves our children, how could he look at porn? How could he be so careless with his usage at work? How could he be so insensitive…emotionless? Why does it seem like he doesn’t care how I feel? Ladies…Porn itself and feelings of lust were there long before you were. This doesn’t justify his actions, but think about it: He’s been participating in these thoughts and actions for years and then all of the sudden a serious relationship or ring on his finger waves a magic wand and he stops? It’s a completely unrealistic expectation for anyone.
3. You can’t control the situation…or him – As women, we like to feel in control…confident that our family is intact. However, turning into super computer wife or a detective will only make matters worse…for you and for him. Work together. Allow him to set his own boundaries. Sure, put safety things in place…maybe a computer program (at his request)…but if he wants to look at porn, nothing will stop him. Not your tears…not your children…not your threats…. This leads me to #4
4. He has to want to change – This is another reason why it’s helpless to control the situation and why it’s important for him to be the main person suggesting change. It’s because only him or God can change him…not you. This may take some time. Things might unfortunately get worse for awhile before he may realize what he wants out of this situation.
5. Perfection will not happen. Don’t expect it – He’s a human. He’s a man. He’s made mistakes before. So have you. He will make more. This is a journey – not a bunch of hoops he must „practice‟ to jump through in order to get a „good score‟. You can set hoops…he’ll learn what it takes to jump through them, but you’ll find no amount of hoops will change anything. A journey is a path that’s chosen with inevitable lessons. He is not the only one who has something to learn. You are on this road together and you need to be his biggest cheerleader to victory…not demeaning every effort that’s not perfect.
6. It’s not about getting even – This may have turned your world upside down, but this is not a reason to be righteous, entitled, or unforgiving. He is still on even ground. There is no reason to use his past mistakes against him. What does that cause? It causes anger, resentment, and gives him more false excuses to lie to you.
7. He is responsible for his actions…as you are for yours – YES, he’s in the wrong. YES, his actions need to be addressed. However, just because he’s hurt you, lied to you…does not allow you the right to allow yourself freedom in the „harmful‟ area. Whether it is harmful words, thoughts, or actions. You are both going through a lot of ground breaking stuff…Working with the problem and not against it can open up many more doors and opportunity to grow for each of you. He needs to feel safe in order to come and talk to you. If he knows he’ll be met with backlash, he will be too afraid to do it.
8. His actions don’t determine your trust – As stated before, he will never be perfect…with porn or any other area. Having trust in someone is not believing that they will never mess up. His actions and progression may or may not be what you’d like…but you need to decide when you’re ready to trust again. You’ll never feel confident trying to believe he won’t hurt you again. I trust Damien. It’s not because I think he’ll never view porn again. It’s because I trust the system set up in his life and that he will take the course of action and responsibility he’s supposed to when and if he does look at porn again.
9. He’s a victim, too – That’s how you feel, isn’t it? Like a victim…of his behavior…of porn…of this expectation you now feel you have to meet. Remember…this has been in his life a lot longer than you…this society has taught him what he’s doing is natural…sexual things are in our faces thousands of times a day. I firmly believe men are victims of the billion dollar adult industry.
10. It will be hard – You might be thinking “this sounds all great; Justine, however, I’m not there, don’t want to be, and I feel like punching him in the face”. That’s fine….and it’s okay. These ten tips are coming from very arduous years of my life full of hurtful reality and hours upon hours of therapy. It’s a road and it’s not fun…it’s definitely not easy. But I’m telling you…if you would be open to change yourself…open to learning about this „porn thing‟ instead of completely shutting it out…open to listening to his thoughts…open to hearing what God expects from you during this situation and not just what your thoughts or friends are telling you to do – you two will grow together and form a love that is so unlike anything you’ve experienced before. And you’ll be glad you tried. This is important. I’m not sure if women reading this are those that have been hurt by pornography or those who accept it. But I am a woman who’s been both and am here to tell you porn is as real as anything physical. In certain ways, I feel thoughts are stronger than actions. Not all the time, but many times…porn can be the gateway to deeper secrets…escorts, strip clubs, etc. If you think it’s not harming you because „it’s not physical‟ and what you don’t know, doesn’t harm you….then why is he hiding it in the first place? If he’s open about it, and thinks it’s perfectly fine, why would it be such a big deal to stop? Ask him. Tell me what he says.