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Joined: Jan 1999
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I have been living with my fiance for almost a year, and we have been together for 1 1/2 years. We have just set a date to marry this spring. I recently found pornography of his; I am upset about this. He already knew I did not approve, and acknowledges this, but engaged in it anyway. He thinks it is a non-issue. It makes me feel a host of unpleasant things--unwanted, undesirable, jealous, hurt, excluded, etc. I confronted him about it. While he said he would throw it out, he also honestly says he does not think there is anything wrong with it, but will get rid of it out of deference to me. <p>I was very hurt--angry, crying, upset. During this confrontation, one of the things I felt that hurt me most was that he never expressed any kind of apology for hurting me. He rather focused solely on defending his perspective on pornography and talking about that issue. <p>I do not want the relationship to end; however, I am concerned about moving forward now. I feel like the "bad" guy: making him get rid of something he wants. He says it's really not that significant--however, if he knew it would upset me and chose to do it anyway, does that make my feelings and our relationship less significant (to him) than his desire to have the material? He has told me he would respect my feelings about the issue and not purchase more. At the moment, I don't feel I trust him. <p>In other aspects, he is a great partner to me, and he says I am to him. Is the relationship poisoned? Can I expect him to really get past this? What can I do to help us past this conflict? Any shared experience, suggestions, comments appreciated.

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One other comment. We do have an active sex life. There are times when we're both pressured from work and for time, but I think we probably have an above-average sex life, with a good amount of varied activity. I tend to want sex more than he does. I feel I provide a pretty much "on demand" (and willingly)outlet for him. However, in the past week or so we've been kind of "missing" one another's cues in that department. I have felt like something is wrong, but can't put my finger on it. He says we're just having off moments--no big deal. Usually, sex is great.

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You summed it up well when you asked if this has "poisoned" your relationship. In a word, yes.<p>I had a 30-year addiction to pornography that started when I was about twelve, and only three months ago was I finally able to finally give it up once and for all. Of course only time will "prove" my commitment, but after all the suffering I've witnessed as a result of my problem, I really can't imagine ever having the slightest desire to ever look at that stuff again.<p>Like your fiance, to me it was a non-issue. It really didn't matter what my wife said about how she felt about it -- I felt her reactions were blown way out of proportion. Over the years I managed to get better at hiding it, but it was always there. <p>Only now can I see that it was like a slow-acting poison, destroying our relationship in such tiny pieces that I never saw it happening. There are so many ways this cruel addiction eats away at a person, and subsequently any intimate relationship that person might have.<p>I always thought I had high moral standards, yet my addiction to pornography led me to live a double life. I was active in church and a loyal father and husband, but I had this dark secret that only my wife had any idea was there. Many times I even tried to give it up, but I never could. It was an addiction, plain and simple. I know all the excuses and rationalizations -- I used them all. Not only on my wife, but on myself.<p>There were many other problems in my marriage, much of which was related to my wife's life-long struggle with depression and eventually bipolar disorder. To escape from the frustration I felt over marriage problems, I got more heavily caught up in sexual fantasies -- fueled greatly by my pornography habit. Over time, fantasies led me closer and closer to the real thing. <p>The outcome could have been predicted by just about anyone, I think. I eventually began making some of the fantasies a reality. Looking back now, I'm appalled by the things I did. I wish I could claim temporary insanity. The thing is, I knew the whole time what I was doing was wrong, going all the way back to my more innocent days just looking at the pictures in my dad's magazines. I could have given it up, I should have given it up, but I didn't because I told myself it was "harmless" fun. No big deal. Well, let me tell you, and your fiance, it IS a big deal. Like you said -- poison. It took twenty years before it finally killed my marriage. In many ways, I wish it had been faster acting. Then perhaps I would have seen how deadly it was and stopped before it was too late.<p>Will your story have the same sad ending as mine? Who knows - are you willing to take that chance? If my wife had given me an ultimatum before we got married -- either her or the pornography, I know I would have chosen her. But I also suspect I would have kept up the habit, just taking greater precautions to not get caught.<p>I'm not saying your fiance is like me at all. I sincerely hope that nobody is like me. Now that I see where my selfishness and thoughtlessness led, the pain and guilt I now feel over this are unbearable at times. From the perspective of someone who has "been there, done that", hopefully my story will give you and your fiance the opportunity for some soul-searching and honest communication.<p>When it comes to pornography, my philosphy these days is "just say no." No more rationalizing, justifying, minimalizing, etc. I won't even go to an R-rated movie anymore.<p>Sorry this is so long -- this is just something I feel pretty passionate about, and I hate to see anyone suffer the way my wife did for many years, and the way our whole family is suffering now [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com].<p>Good luck.

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serendipity, thank you for your reply. you have given me a lot to think about. i realize right at this moment what a block this is to our relationship--i want to share my post and your post with him, to try to show him my side, but fear doing so because i fear he'll just be defensive and argumentative about it, seeing it as an attack. maybe that's an unfair prediction on my part, but that's what i fear. so much of what you outlined has happened in your life parallels my anxieties. <p>thanks again for sharing your experience.

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Thanks, jmb, for your post. I spoke with my fiance at length about this issue shortly after starting this topic and receiving serendipity's reply. <p>It is true that he does not see the issue the same way I do. However, he has expressed a sensitivity to my feelings on the subject and has listened at length to my perspective. Furthermore, he has discarded all materials and has given me his word that he will not engage in this anymore, nor divert it to another medium. I feel that he responded to me sincerely and from his heart, and I am going to trust him to remain true to his word until I am given reason to do otherwise. <p>I'd be a liar if I said that I haven't had moments of doubt since all this arose. However, since dealing with this issue, I have felt better. The communication was at times tense (in all honesty, I did not conduct myself as I would have liked. I became far too agitated and angry), but it ended well. <p>Thanks to you both for your replies.

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Your feelings about this aren't wrong and I'm glad you have helped him realize them. I know exactly what kind of anger can build up about this because my husband has been to pornographic sites on the web. The problem is it's part of his job. He is a security administrator for the company he works for. He basically catches people who go to these types of sites and builds a profile on any persons under investigation. I have a problem with him seeing this material, whether or not he likes to see it. It is a form of adultery to me. He has also built a sense of distrust because he didn't tell me about having to do this in the first place. He said he would request these duties be given to someone else. But this hasn't happened yet because the team of people in his department is very small. So, I've been living with him doing this during work. We still have to work this out, but since I'm in a similar boat, I suggest you not only relay your distaste for pornography, but what you will do if you find out he continues. And if he does continue, be willing to go through with your said reaction.


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