Blogger’s note: this is the conclusion of a two-part series about the devastating affects of pornography use and pornography addiction on men. Click the link to read part 1 of Confronting him about his pornography addiction.
There isn’t a man with a pornography addiction who hasn’t thought to himself “that was the last time”. That was the last time he would sneak off to the bathroom, lock himself up in his office, or slink into the basement to get his fix. It’s the point where he has finally reached the deepest level of guilt, shame, and disgust with himself. Sensing that what he is doing and what its led him to become is wrong he knows its time for a change. And being a typical man he sets about this journey of transformation – completely alone. He’s far too embarrassed to share his challenges with someone else and too prideful to seek the help of others but he’s convinced this time he can do it own his own, because he’s made this promise to himself before. The first sign of any addiction is an inability to stop despite previous attempts to do so.
Porn is an alluring mistress. Though he starts on the path with sparkling optimism life has a way of making us all U-turn. Maybe the job gets more stressful or the home front becomes rife with disappointments, and soon that hopefulness gives way to despair. And since he has no one in his corner to turn to for support he eventually goes back to the only source of comfort he has – his virtual lover who is just a few keystrokes away. And when he’s done and still left empty the disgust and regret returns like a never-ending spiral.
So many men struggle in silence with their pornography dependency for fear of shame, humiliation, and retribution if their secret was ever discovered. Their thoughts include, “What would people think if they knew I had this problem? How would they treat me? What would my wife do if she found out?” “What if my boss found out?”
The Internet is widespread with the stories of women who have been devastated by their partner’s porn habit. They feel betrayed, deceived, and rejected. Yet many more undergo feelings of guilt as if their actions had something to do with their partner resorting to such behaviors. From a man’s perspective, nothing could be farther from the truth. A wife is no more responsible for her husband’s porn addiction that she would be his golf handicap. And I’m persuaded this is why more women don’t take a stand, since doing so would be self-incriminating. But on and on the stories go of women who either ignored the signs entirely or felt it was his problem to deal with until it’s too late, when amid the consequences of his addiction she is left with no choice but to end the relationship.
Confronting a man about a pornography addiction may sound intimidating; it is his private life right? WRONG! From personal experience a man will unlikely ever break porn’s grip if he fights it on his own and I know of only one sure-fire method – it must be brought out in the open. Only by talking about it with others in a trusting and safe environment is there any chance for real healing. Much like the drug addict, the longer he keeps his secret hidden the deeper down the rabbit hole he finds himself, while he takes everyone with him.
First and foremost a woman simply can’t knowingly consent to her husband or partner viewing pornography. While you may pride yourself on being a ‘good wife’ by letting him ‘be a man’, that level of open-mindedness is a road to hell paved with good intentions. Not only are you allowing the problem, you are ultimately making it worse.
Once discovered your response to his secret will have a lasting significance in determining how he reacts. If you respond with retaliation and anger he will likely turn even farther towards what he believes brings him comfort. He’ll promise you he will never look at it again and he’ll just hide it better the next time. What he most desperately needs from everyone at this point is compassion, which will probably be difficult to give but only by exhibiting empathy and concern will he be willing to talk openly. The goal in all of this is for him to be transparent about his habit.
He also must understand the disappointment and hurt that his actions have caused those around him and that this continued behavior will not be tolerated. Unless he is aware of the damage done he may have little motivation for change, because this next point is pivotal. It is absolutely essential that he commit fully to repairing what has been done and getting the help he needs. Regardless of how supportive you may be, unless he is willing to do what is necessary lasting change will never happen.
It’s now where one of two approaches should be taken. He either needs to seek professional counseling (religious or secular) and/or he needs to get involved with a group of respectable men to walk him through the next stages of the healing process. While he still desperately needs your support, experience shows healing of this type is most effective in the presence of other men. Plus you will likely need your own time for emotional and spiritual restoration resulting from his deception.
There are a significant number of resources available on and off line for individuals and their families struggling with a pornography addiction.
- Sexual Recovery Institute is a secular organization aimed specifically at sex addiction problems including pornography addiction.
- New Life Ministries is a faith-based organization with a program called Every Man’s Battle. They conduct intensive weekend workshops across the country for men focusing on pornography and sexual addiction.
Additionally, there are numerous Anti-Porn software programs that are designed to block inappropriate websites and even email specified individuals when the user attempts to access pornographic material.
- X3Pure includes a confidential on-line streaming video solution specifically for pornography and addiction.
- This CNET blog post lists multiple software programs available for free download and for purchase.
Virtually every man will struggle with pornography. Regardless of how hard we may want otherwise we are visual creatures by nature and with easy accessibility to porn it’s a battle that will keep men in the trenches their entire lives. And if we hope to end this cycle of addiction and sexual impurity not only must we heal ourselves it is up to us to raise the next generation of men to view sex, women, and pornography differently that what society says today. And my own son is a foremost constant reminder of that obligation.
Because I must be the man I want him to be if I am to be the father he needs me to be.